ESL/EFL Lesson – For the Love of Nerf

For ESL/EFL learners, this audio is a good example of natural Australian English. Try the comprehension questions below. Higher level learners should try to extend their answers as much as possible, and you may even try this as a listening only. Lower level learners should just listen for the main ideas and use the video to help understand the context.

For the Love of Nerf

What is NERF?

How did Alex get into Nerf?

What special skill has he developed with Nerf?
What is his role in the local NERF community?

How does Alex regard the future of his Nerf hobby?

AUSELT BEP Indigo 2013 ESL Mike Smith Teacher Teaching

Outrageous Fools

OK, I’m no Mahatma Ghandi, no Dalai Lama. Our Australian Immigration Minister wants to call “a spade a spade.” Boat arriving asylum seekers are to be called “illegal entries”. This outrageous injustice has definitely disturbed my inner peace.


Let’s have a vocabulary lesson, then. Let’s be forthright and speak the truth. Words are powerful. Let’s call spades, spades.

Let’s look at the word “fool” and its synonyms, firstly via famous quotes, and then in modern context examples.

Famous quotes:

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Shakespeare – As You Like It

“A fool and his money are soon elected.” Will Rogers

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” Henry David Thoreau

“Very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool.” Voltaire

Dictionary definition:

Fool (noun) “a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.”

Modern contexts:

The word “fool” can readily be substituted for its synonyms in the following illustrative examples.

Anyone who ignores evidence of factuality is a fool. For example anyone who, in the face of overwhelming evidence, thinks that:

– seeking asylum is illegal (regardless of arrival method)… is a stooge
– middle-class refugees are less susceptible to oppression and therefore less worthy of seeking asylum… is a moron
– there is some kind of orderly queue that may be joined for seeking asylum in Afghanistan, Iran or Syria… is a sap
– our sovereign borders are under threat by boat arrivals… is a halfwit

– scientific lines-of-research must or can be chosen on the basis of expected financial return… is a dunce
– the climate is not warming… is an ignoramus
– human activity has not and does not significanty contribute to this global warming… is a dimwit
– warmer climate does not mean more bushfires… is a dullard
– underground gas “fracking” near the Artesian Basin may be properly risk-managed… is a loon
– vaccination causes autism… is an imbecile

– privatising fundamental social infrastructure is in the interests of consumers … is a dolt
– a fibre-to-the-node (supposedly) broadband network could be a sufficient and sound investment decision… is a simpleton

– the Earth is 6000 years old… is an oaf
– the church(s) invented the concept of marriage… is a fathead

For those who wish to argue …

Bear in mind, the above are (false) statements – not opinions. These are easily (dis)proven, with evidence readily available. If you disagree, then you’ve missed the point about factuality. I refer you to the meaning of “fool”.

If you feel aggrieved then you are welcome to find illustrate contrary evidence of comparable weight to that readily available.

Good luck with that.

This does not mean cherry-picking convenient parts, whilst ignoring others, in documents and literature such as:

– human rights declarations
– outdated or discredited research
– politically charged technical papers
– particular passages in the Bible

Don’t bother asking me to find evidence for you. I’m not wasting the effort of dragging your head out of the sand.

… now for a cup of tea…

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Small Stone – Soldering Lasagne

What does a soldering iron have in common with …
a frozen lasagne (TV dinner)?

Well, not so much ‘in common’ as ‘so much not in common’.

A soldering iron represents:
– not accepting what is presented off-the-shelf
– fixing what is broken
– do it yourself
– make it how you need and want

A TV dinner represents:
– taking whatever is presented
– avoiding the wash-up
– couldn’t be arsed doing it yourself
– taste (and possibly nutrition) isn’t important

I know which was more satisfying tonight.

Small Stone for:

small stone

Small Stone – A Physical of the Metaphysical

A brief physical on the meta-physical…

Consider the big bang
Genesis, if you will
That seminal plop in the pond
Sending a ripple/wave of matter and energy
Out across the universe (the pond)
Except there was no universe (no pond)
There was nothing at all
That ripple was/is the very universe itself


The galaxies and everything else
That we see, and cannot see but may infer
All rushing ever further apart
Are expanding out, not into the universe
They ARE the (our) universe expanding out …
But out into … what?

We have no word for that

We imagine a plop in a pond sends out
Not just a single ripple
But a series of them
Some larger, some smaller
Some faster, some slower
They reflect and refract around the (what-we-have-no-name-for)
Bouncing its edge
And whatever else it might contain

And as ripple-waves pass over and through each other…
They do so in simple summation – adding or subtracting
Without fuss or bother to each other
As waves of primary and secondary ocean swells
Pass over and through each other
Creating great reinforcements or quiet cancellations

At the ocean’s edge
Sometimes you see breakers, rollers
Or even those odd standing waves
Where water flows yet the structure stays

In a mountain stream you see swirls, eddies, vortices, falls

That is the nature of fluid flow
So … back to the big bang

Each ripple/wave sent out
By the primordial plop

Is an entire universe
Ours being only one of the set
This particular set of waves
From this particular plop
This particular big bang

Can you see the greater picture here?
The what-we-have-no-name-for
May simply be a dripping faucet
Each leaky drip
Another plop/big-bang
Another set of ripples/waves/universes

Our supra-cosmic set of ripple/waves/universes
Of which our universe is only one
Expands, reflects, refracts, swirls, eddies
Around the what-we-have-no-name-for

Sometimes parts of our universe…
Pass through parts of other universes
From our plop/big-bang
Or, perhaps even previous or subsequent plops

If part of our plop
Then those passing-through universes
May be slightly ahead
May be slightly behind
May resemble our universe
May differ slightly
But probably with similar laws of physics
Familiar forms
Perhaps even familiar entities

If part of other plops
Then perhaps completely alien
Totally unrecognisable
Perhaps we may not even be capable of seeing them
Not even able to be aware

But those cousin universes
From our own ripple/wave set
Our own plop
May be like peas of the same pod
Children of the same family
Just ahead – like an older sibling
Just behind – like a younger one
Or just abreast – like a twin
Our current concept of parallel universes

When we brush through them
When our ripples coalesce

We may feel our sibling selves
Our kindred spirits
Who may have died earlier
Or who are yet to live
We may perceive flashes
Of the fleetingly familiar
Puzzling, tantalizing, intriguing
Perhaps frightening, disturbing

Would we not call them ghosts?

And in feeling that which we cannot touch
That, for which we have no name …
Perhaps we might call this
The metaphysical
The spirit world

And so we can sense that all there is
Would be much more than what we know

And that is a very healthy state of mind

Small Stone for:

Science small stone

Small Stone – Friend no longer

Someone, a friend I thought
Has just said, ‘no more.’
It’s been on her mind a while, I think.
But I’ve no clue what I’ve done.
This group has the world’s wisdom
And new, deep friendships for me

Any ideas?

Small Stone for:

small stone

Small Stone – Adolescence

Our second birth

Asks questions long since disregarded
Walks ground long since fallow
Feels, sees, hears that to which the world seems …
Runs the gauntlet between enlightenment and ..

Needs space
Needs help
Needs love

Small stone for:

small stone