34. Visited by an Ignoble Prize winner.

1.There should be rules. Today Mr B took off his shirt and wore a ‘wife-beater’ singlet. He thought he looked buffed, but the rest of us thought he looked like a profiterole.

The most vociferous critics of Mr B’s choice to wear a singlet were Peter the Heckler and Gary, which is a bit rich given that either man could be the house model for the Matthew Talbot Homeless Shelter.

Unfortunately, Peter the Heckler made the situation worse by making an unseemly observation. He claimed that every time Mr B became earnest his nipples stiffened under the wife-beater. This scribe can’t verify the claim because he wasn’t prepared to look. However, Peter was happy to give a running commentary all afternoon, much to Mr B’s ‘delight’.

This is getting too outrageous. Since Andrew Toth (the flasher) stripped naked four years ago, the rest of us have been trying to claw back some semblance of respect for Speakers’ Corner and make the place classier. But today Mr B, Gary and Uncle Pete ruined any gains we may have made. Thanks, guys.

2. Thankfully, Mr B’s embarrassing need for attention was broken by a shaft of white light in the form of passer-by, Glenda. Glenda bravely replaced Mr B on the Ladder of Knowledge and spoke about indexing. Yes, indexing. That blockbuster topic. Apparently, a non-fiction paperback is likely to include an index, but its ebook counterpart probably won’t include one. Glenda explained why. She also explained why ebooks should have indexes. And, she put Peter the Heckler in his place TWICE, and that’s no mean feat.

(Glenda says the plural of ‘index’ is ‘indexes’, not ‘indices’ unless you’re talking about numbers. You had better believe her, because she is the winner of a prestigious Ignoble Prize. She won it for her treatise on the difficulties of indexing the word ‘the’. (True.))

3. After resuming her seat, Glenda pointed to the Australian flag flying high above the NSW Art Gallery, and asked firmly, ‘Why is that flag up there?!’ Mr B assumed she was asking why Australia was not yet a republic, but before he could respond, Mirko appeared from nowhere and bellowed, ‘Someone put it up there!’

Holy moly.

Even his imaginary friend refuses to talk to him.


4. Found in the grass: a recording device. To get it back all you have to do is describe its type, brand, colour, dimensions, and the number displayed on the counting mechanism. If you think it’s yours and you can afford the hefty ransom, leave a message in the comment section and negotiations will begin.
Mr B will have it with him this coming Sunday. We advise you to approach him when he isn’t earnest.

5. Helmut told us how the universe was created, and the explanation failed to satisfy at least two members of the audience. (One of them was this scribe.) Helmut is adept at quoting dates, numbers and scientific terms in his speeches, and appears to be a genius. But it’s said that every morning he puts his pants on backwards.

6. Helmut also made the claim that space is light and light is space. Someone in the audience asked, ‘When I switch on my bedside light does space come out from the globe?’ No firm answer was provided.

7. Steve Maxell spoke about Australian history with a huge flag draped across the podium. It was Australia’s first flag, and it was called ‘The Red Ensign’. Good one, Steve!


Australia’s first flag, the Red Ensign. 1901. Variants followed and at some point the flag became blue.

8. Other subjects discussed were:
– the shonky practise of some utility companies sending ‘not quite quarterly bills’. (The period might be 18 April to 11 July instead of to the 17th July.) That way, over time they get to send more bills.
The shonkiness of this practise was hotly disputed by a few unimaginative infidels in the audience.

– Do animals have rights?

– What is nothing? If nothing is coming down the road, that suggests the absence of something, and that absence is something. Therefore, the ‘nothing’ that is coming down the road is not completely nothing. So, what precisely is nothing?

– Can only sensible, non-deluded people have meaning in their lives?

9. The tourists in Graeme’s Bike Buff group said they were happy to listen to a speech, provided the speech was short. Mr B generously obliged with a brief, two word speech.

10. Our Facebook page is now one of the top two billion Facebook pages. Check it out now. However, our archives site is getting fewer visitors than Ivan Milat.