46. The gender pay gap.

“To a worm in a horseradish the world is horseradish.”

1. Most of the Domain was fenced off for Sydney’s beer festival, though no customers were there at the time. That meant the passers-by had to get drunk on knowledge instead of on beer. (That doesn’t always end well either.)

The white-haired, sharp-brained Steve Maxwell talked about (and I quote) “politics and cattle-ticks.” His precise points are not known to this scribe, but his battle with Mirko sure drew our attention. Today Mirko was a bigger pest than usual, and grumpy. (An unpleasant combination.) Was there a lunar eclipse affecting him? (That’s when the sun passes between the Earth and the moon.) Whatever it was, we’re all hoping that Mirko is tolerable next week.

2. It is nearly Halloween and in superlative fashion none of the speakers talked about it. However, three spooky Halloween jokes were told, one coming from a grasshopper, thank you.

Too quickly for this scribe’s liking the conversation degenerated into stories about beastiality. Mr B was asked if he would have sex with a donkey and with dignity he said it would have to buy him dinner first.

Here’s a Halloween monster we weren’t expecting:

3. Mr B felt the need to question the supposed gender pay gap between television personality Lisa Wilkinson and her male offsider, Stan. In the process we learned that the AFL Footy Show would fold without the well paid Sam Newman. And, we learned that of the Abbott and Costello U.S. comedy team, the straight man was paid more than the funny guy. Why? Because “comics are a dime a dozen, but a good straight man is hard to find.”

The discussion moved to the U.S. Lingerie Gridiron League. Holy Moly. The participants are skilled athletes, but to get financial support and media coverage the women have to dress to show off their bodies! When told about the league, Mr B said he was embarrassed to be male.

We then discussed gender pay disparity in other careers, and the possible reasons why women are not yet well represented in male dominated professions or tiers.

Madame Curie, one of only four people to win two Nobel Prizes: one for physics and one for chemistry. A role model for women.

4. Two weeks ago a mysterious woman politely asked if she could step onto the Ladder of Knowledge. She spoke about technology and artificial intelligence.

Like a cool breeze on a warm day she appeared again. This time, Kate spoke about the direct impact of technology upon our brains. She used poker machine technology as an example of what video games and social media technology could be doing to our brain. She didn’t bat questions away; instead, she answered them.

Thank you, Kate!

5. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.

6. This week the High Court ruled ineligible five members of parliament who had entered politics with dual citizenship. Mr B said the High Court should have applied commonsense instead of the letter of the law, but rather than criticise the High Court, he criticised all of us for letting the Court get away with it! He said we should be up in arms protesting, and added that when we let our judicial institutions settle matters by the letter of the law, we let our own moral compass atrophy, and we infantilise ourselves. And, as a result, we continue our slow march towards self-destruction.

A few grasshoppers rightly disagreed.

6. Last week Mark the Grinner discussed how Aborigines are faring in the Northern Territory. During the week Mr B watched the video of his talk, and today questioned Mark about his claims. Mark willingly answered all questions.  Yes, Mr B got testy and became defensive on behalf of whiteys, but Mark held his ground and kept his poise, and the resultant group discussion had to be one of the highlights of the year.

Well done, Mark!

At one point, Mr B said there might be evidence to suggest that before whites colonised the continent, some Aboriginal cultures included regular domestic violence against women. A grasshopper asked for a reference, and Mr B has supplied it: https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/bennelong-papers/2013/05/the-long-bloody-history-of-aboriginal-violence/

Mark would make a good full time speaker. He has the knowledge, he has the ideas, he has the temperament, he has the gab.

Mark the Grinner at Speakers’ Corner.

7. Yes, Mark would make a good speaker. But here is a tip for anyone wanting to speak at Speakers’ Corner: first, fill your mouth with marbles for an entire day. That way, every time you speak you will be forced to use all the muscles in your jaw and lips, and you will learn to articulate well. Each day, remove a marble. When you have lost all your marbles you are ready to be a soapbox speaker.

8. We also discussed the likelhood of human beings surviving the next few thousand years. And there was talk of an “imminent” magnetic pole reversal and the possible consequences. Would we modern, technologically canny people survive? Or would the survivors be the resilient, adaptable hunter-gatherers? Opinion was divided.

9. Please note: our Facebook page is for sale. All genuine offers considered.

Our Archives site is not yet ready for sale. We will keep you “posted”.