Another summer day

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.”
Eldridge Cleaver (Soul on Ice)

1. It was around 38º celsius today (320º centigrade) or for our American friends, 167º Fahrenheit or -67º Kelvin.) Thankfully we had the shade of a colossal Morton Bay Fig tree to be under, and the day was still pleasant.


2. Mr B tentatively put forth the idea that we should change the voting system so that a party could only win government if it won in a landslide. (The incumbent government would stay if they didn’t lose by a landslide.) Currently, political parties are so fearful of losing the next election that they’re afraid to implement controversial policies. They just ‘tread water’. But with this new system, they can focus on getting things done.

Mark the Grinner suggested an even better idea: anyone can go for the job as premier, knowing that at the end of their term they will be put to death if the public isn’t happy with their effort. That way, only those who know their stuff, and who are determined to implement their ideas for the betterment of the state/country, will apply for the job.

Such thinking is sure to interest quality think tanks.

3. We heard four poems today. ‘Aunt Jane’ was read by Peter the Younger, Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, ‘Jabberwocky’ was read by Uncle Pete, Billy Collins’ ‘Forgetfulness’ was read by Mr B, and Pia recited the following, to the initial consternation of the audience (click to enlarge):


Pia received a hearty laugh when she concluded.

Mr B says there will be another poetry reading this coming Sunday, but he suspects that his grasshoppers are running out of favourite poems to recite.
How about you? Do you have a poem you can bring along and read?

Below is a drawing of the Jubjub Bird, one of the characters found in the poem, ‘Jabberwocky’.


4. We examined Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ and that went well enough, but Mr B tells me there won’t be another poem this coming Sunday. He figures his grasshoppers might like a break from studying a poem.

5. Mr B tried four improvisation theatre-games with his grasshoppers, and a few brave souls stepped forward and had a go. They did an excellent job. The games were:
(i) Three people speaking in one voice had to answer questions put to them. It turns out they were a biochemist who could sing their catchy advertising jingle!
(ii) A scene for three in jail, in which two of the cast members could only speak two lines. Click here to see an example.
(iii) Questions only. When you speak it must be a question.
(iv) Opera. The actors act a scene, and when the director says so, they start singing.

6. We had two extra speakers today. Philip Feinstein, from the musicforrefugees website, got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge and gave us snippets of his recent trip to Christmas Island. However, he had signed a confidentiality agreement, and to his credit he stuck to it: he refused to speak about his experiences in the refugee detainee centre on the island. But we did learn a little about the crabs there. Philip was, as usual, interesting.

And, ‘Mark the Grinner’ also got up. He began his talk by explaining that he had attended 28 schools as a youth. (Thankfully, no one unkindly suggested that it was his 28 attempts to pass 1st grade.) Mark soon ventured into the topic of self-esteem, and along the way took a few cracks at former Prime Minister, John Howard. Mark is an entertaining speaker and we hope to hear more of him too.


7. With today’s technology, scientists can measure distances shorter than a billionth of a millimetre, and incredibly short periods of time. So, this scribe likes to think that there is technology out there, with similar sensitivity, that could measure the disappointment felt by Mr B’s grasshoppers when they learned there was no time left for this week’s assertiveness tip.

It was after 5pm, and it was time to hear from Helmut.

8. Other subjects discussed:
– the non-existent sex life of some married couples. It was suggested that it may be not uncommon.

– Today we had a visitor, Nina, from the Radio Station 2SER. Nina recorded Steve Maxwell speaking about free speech, and then recorded Mr B’s grasshoppers’ views on the subject. Stay tuned.


9. Don’t read all this again here. Instead, go to our Facebook page and read it all again there.