Monday, 30 May 2011
Here's how I see the situation and what I recommend: We all wake up in the middle of a mystery---not really knowing any ultimate answers about ORIGIN or DESTINY. ( How the universe began and what is our place in it.)
Adults feed us their "take" on these two questions and most of us "buy into" their story. (or occasionally some other prevalent story.) And we then live our lives more or less within that version of reality.
I SAY IT IS A DISHONORABLE WASTE OF LIFE TO LIVE IT IN SERVICE TO ANY LOCAL MYTH. ( as inappropriate as grown-up birds still feeding on the regurgitation of their parents.) Here's my idea of a joyful alternative:
1. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION. You can get the gist of it in minutes by googling the origin of religion. It becomes clear how it evolved from magic, superstition, animism, totems, traditional tales and finally into full blown metaphysical theories.
2. WAKE UP TO THE FACT THAT WE LIVE IN A MYSTERY. (Re:origin and destiny)
3. EMBRACE THE MYSTERY. Consider that it may have been designed that way--mysterious--as an intentional, possibly pleasurable, adventurous, growth producing, loving--gift to us. Get comfortable with not knowing any ultimate answers---develop an heroic tolerance for ambiguity.
4. USE EINSTEIN'S TECHNIQUE---THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS---to explore some possibilities. (he imagined himself riding a light beam and discovered a new "take" on physics.)
5. IMAGINE NEW POSSIBILITIES regarding our origin and destiny:
a. What if----God disappeared itself INTO THE UNIVERSE---condensing itself into matter--becoming galaxies, stars, planets, people---just for the grand adventure of slowly evolving matter back into spirit. Creation/evolution. (Hinduism? Pantheism?) Imagine your place in that scheme. (e.g., help push evolution forward)
b. Imagine that God bypasses Prophets and Holy books to personally guide each of us in our journey. (a subtle small voice within us) (Wayne's take on the matter?)
c. Imagine that there are not one but two primary forces at work in the world---at war with each other---each vying for your soul. (Zoroastrianism---my friend Gr?)
d. Imagine that there is no God---no human destiny. How would you spend your time?
e. Imagine that there is a God but he doesn't intervene in the world--no messages--no miracles--just watches the drama unfold. (Deism?)
EXPERIMENT WITH YOURSELF. Imagine a theory that appeals to you and try it on for size. Live for a time "as if" that theory were true. Does it feel right? Does it work for you? Does it need a bit of tweaking? Tweak it. If it doesn't feel "right" try another. Try living as if there were no God---How does that feel.
TWEET YOUR RESULTS: Share your experiences with your friends--with the world. Someone might have useful suggestions.
CONCLUSION: Believing is a cowardly cop out from the challenge of engaging mystery. The Joyful alternative to (conventional religion) is to create your own religion/philosophy. Join the rest of us freethinking/experimenters as we do for religion what wikipedia has done for data. We all join in the process of improving (or abandoning perhaps) metaphysics.
We have all been victimized by bad metaphysical/religious theories. Preachers, Prophets and Priest have lied to us with pretensions of certainty and "revealed" ethics. I say we can take these matters of ultimate concern into our own hands; that obedience to "Gods Will" is not as interesting a life as creative responsiveness to this dazzling mystery.
Monday, 23 May 2011
BELIEVING THERE IS A GOD---IS NOT THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM. Even sensible people sometimes suspect or hope there may be intent---even purpose --in the universe---AND NO HARM IS DONE.
BELIEVING THAT GOD SENDS "MESSAGES"----THAT IS THE PROBLEM!
Almost all religions believe that GOD SENDS MESSAGES: In the form of "Holy Books" or Prophets or other "revelations".
THESE "MESSAGES" OFTEN CONFLICT---generating wars, social tension, imposing cruelty, irrationality, racism, and restraining social and scientific progress.
Do I need to prove this to you? (Islam: 4 wives permitted/ Christianity: Only one--at a time)
(Judiaism: God gave Palestine to the Jews//Islam: God gave palestine to Islamist!)
(Islam: Believing that Jesus is God is idolatry---punishable by hell )
(Christianity: not believing that Jesus is God----punishable by hell )
IT IS POSSIBLE TO BELIEVE IN GOD WITHOUT BELIEVING IN "MESSAGES" FROM GOD----It is called DEISM---Its what lots of people believe---Thomas Jefferson for example. (the notion that God created the world and endowed humanity with the wisdom to guide itself.)
BELIEVING THAT GOD SENDS " MESSAGES"--FREEZES/IMPEDES ETHICAL EVOLUTION--Can you see why?--- If God sends books or prophets with messages (and rules)about how we should live---then they are eternally valid, absolute and unchangable. Yet human history proves that ethics slowly evolves--and needs to--as situations change--and as our moral sympathy grows. In just one lifetime we have seen our notions of right and wrong change. ( womens right to vote, sex before marriage, divorce, homosexuality etc)
Over and over---religious believers have to be dragged into the new ethical understanding. (The Mormons having to be "dragged" away from polygamy and racism. The Southern Baptist dragged away from supporting slavery. Catholics being dragged toward birth control--divorce etc. (Today in Malta--the people are voting whether Divorce will be legal---only they and the Philipines still forbid by law) Every religion eventually arrives at a fork in the road where its REVEALED ETHICS is in conflict with good sense and the current FABRIC OF AGREEMENT.
I say it loud and clear: ETHICS IS NOT REVEALED---IT IS MADE-UP/CREATED BY HUMANS--IT GROWS OUT OF OUR RELATIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER--AND IT SLOWLY EVOLVES. ---usually for the better---we are today far more sensitive to the rights and feelings of others than in the past. Holy book ethics---"REVEALED" ETHICS IS A CRUEL OBSTRUCTIVE FORCE. Nowhere is this clearer than in Islamic societies: How long will the civilized world allow fanatical sons-o-bitches to opress women.
RANDY EXPLAINS: There are about 27 major "Holy Books" purporting to tell us--among other things---what is right and wrong---and how best to live our lives. They are all a lie and a trap:
They lie about their authority---people wrote them all---out of their own imagination--and what they tell and prescribe is no more or less valid than human imagination. They have no divine authority!
They trap millions--even billions--into ridiculous belief systems that---inhibit progress--foster cruelties--waste time and resources---clash with each other---distract us from more joyful, interesting lives. Oh please sweet people---read THE END OF FAITH by Sam Harris. It is a work of Genius.
I close (for today) with a list and a promise: A list of some of the "Holy Books"--claiming divine inspiration---and a Promise to complete this essay with my notion of a joyful alternative to believing this---stuff.
The Bible, The Koran, The Bagavad Gita, The Talmud, The Upanishads, The Vedas, The Book Of Mormon, The Urantia Book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, The Avestas of Zarathustra, Kitab-I-Aqdas, Adi-Granth, A Course in Miracles, etc.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Now she says she has found him but graciously consented to answer a few pivotal questions for us. I will share that exchange with you after I have set it up.
She's 50, twice divorced, 2 kids and had no lovers while she raised them, never enjoyed sex with her husbands----but resolved to wake up her sensuality after reading the book: THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO BAD GIRL SEX.
With the kids grown she began to enjoy on line connections with men. Patterns began to emerge and the mental side of sex became increasingly clear. And then one day she discovered that her special body exercises had yielded a pleasant surprise: She was multi-orgasmic. Almost at will she could climax herself. Then by phone and internet she began to exchange pleasures with men. She developed the skill of intuitive listening--especially for the hidden hungers buried inside men. Given the right "space" a guy will reveal his quirks. (we all have quirks) "Space giving" is trusted, non judgemental listening. Mix with this-- some playful, "scenario catalyzing" and ecstasy looms into view.
But wait!----there is more-- She also discovered by accident that men who suspect that their partner is not exclusive with them---- will experience an odd blend of powerful emotions---anxiety and super arousal. She learned how to skillfully "play this card" for maximum effect.
(google cuckold fantasy for a fuller explanation)(further research will explain how this wierd bit of evolutionary wiring into males makes sense from the genes point of view--their only desire is to replicate themselves)
With these --"pleasure powers" at her command--she could aim at almost any man and "have" him. And for a time she just enjoyed herself--pointing her pleasure beam at a lucky handful of men. (And yes--she bestowed the pleasure gift on me) (Ah, the things I do for my readers)
Then she turned her attention to mate finding--and apparantly succeeded.
One more thing before the interview: I say she's a hypersexual as a compliment---In the same sense that I would call a Navy Seal a hypersailor.
Q. Do you think that being Multi-orgasmic is just a lucky break--genetically speaking or did you train your body?
A. Not a lucky break. After all the years of celibacy, in 2010 I decided to do research on dating. During that research I found information that I could put to use---and trained my body to respond. I had the ability all the time---just wasn't aware.
Q. Do you think many other women could "liberate" themselves physically and mentally?
A It's not impossible for any woman to do the same thing. However, they have to be willing to make changes and have an open mind----And make the changes for themselves---not for the opposite sex. I don't believe I'm any more "highly sensual" than other women---but am receptive: know how to apply and use the knowledge.
Q. On balance, are your special skills a plus or a minus?
A. A plus--If you are open minded and know how to use them.
Q. Why did you tell your guys that they must share you? And did it surprise you when it had the effect of "turbo charging" sex talk.
A. My reason for saying that, was to find out exactly what I wanted, find out what type of men were available, not tie anyone down to a relationship, and not hurt anyone in the process. I also found, many men are jealous and possessive and looking for one woman (and I was looking for one man).
Q.Are you ready now for monogamy? Do you think you could be enduringly satisfied with one guy?
A. Monogamy was always my goal. But I cannot deal with male insecurity (in long term relationship), jealousy, or possessiveness. I've found the man I've been looking for. A woman who is 'turbo-sexed' realizes that every minute of her day does not have to revolve around sexual intimacy. It can be a touch, a smile across a room full of people at a party, arm around your waist, even just a touch of two hands. The right person will cause that shiver of pleasure, and he will know...as she will.
Q. Do you think you've learned things that might be useful to other women in turbo charging their sex lives?
A. My favorite book and the one that got me started was...Good Girls Guide to Bad Girl Sex. Don't have name right now of author - Anyone can do what I did...but you have to have a different mind set, morals, and open to change.
RANDY COMMENTS: Kudos to this brave woman and friend for rising from celibacy to joyful sensuality----for breaking shackles of outmoded moral notions---blazing trail to new pleasures.
Monday, 16 May 2011
This shot is from a 2009 lecture/tour Charlie gave to a group of about 40. Behind him is the famous insulated container he had shipped from the coast and in which he lived for a long time.
Sunday, 15 May 2011
Google's Chromebook vision is seductive: sleek and simple net-connected notebook computers, backed by the world's biggest web company, replace the bloated, unstable Windows PCs that dominate the desks and laps of the computing world. Google painted that picture at its IO developer conference last week, and it tantalized a lot of people:
"Google...might have just changed the industry." -Engadget (link)
"Microsoft could lose billions in sales to Google's Chromebook." -Beta News (link)
"Google Chromebooks will likely seduce businesses." -Tech Republic (link)
"Chromebooks may just be the next best solution for small to medium-sized businesses looking to untether from Microsoft Office." -PC World (link)
I wish it were true. Windows deserves to be replaced. It's just plain old, weighted down with decades of compromises and tweaks. The OS steadily degrades as you use it, and the security software companies will tell you privately that it's impossible to fully protect it from hostile software. I'm sure that with a clean start we could do better.
So I love Google's idea. Unfortunately, the Chromebook as currently defined is woefully unready to take on Windows. It may capture some niches and verticals, but it won't have a major effect on the industry unless Google makes major changes to it. And some of the biggest barriers to its success are inside Google itself.
In case you're a new reader to my blog, I should give you a brief background on myself, so you'll know where I'm coming from on this issue. I worked at Apple for a decade, where I was a front-line soldier in the Mac vs. PC war. I was part of Apple's competitive analysis team and later managed it, and I was in charge of the main Mac vs. Windows marketing team. Throughout that time, my co-workers and I spent a huge amount of time studying platform transitions -- how computing platforms were displaced in the past, and how could we apply those lessons to defeating "Wintel."
What we found was daunting. Once a computing platform is established, it's not enough to make a product that's better overall. You have to duplicate the core benefits of the current product, and be so much better in some areas that you overcome the users' natural resistance to change. Even when Mac had a graphical interface and the PC was still stuck with DOS, we could convert only a small fraction of the PC installed base. Users were too attached to their PC programs and all the arcane keyboard commands they had memorized to use them. Most people moved to graphical interfaces only after Microsoft offered Windows on the PC, which allowed them to keep access to their old software while they gradually came up to speed on Windows.
So when Google brags about the advantages of Chromebooks, I'm completely unimpressed because they are more than wiped out by the enormous sacrifices in basic compatibility and productivity that most people would have to make in order to move off Windows. The most fundamental problem is Google Docs.
There's no way to put this politely: As a replacement for Microsoft Office, Google Docs stinks. Its word processor is adequate but limited, its spreadsheet is rudimentary, and its presentation program is so awkward and inflexible that it makes me want to throw something. In terms of usability and features, Google Docs is about where Macintosh software was in 1987.
In fairness, there are some things Google Docs is great at. It's fantastic for collaborative editing; using Docs plus a Skype session can be a thing of beauty for brainstorming and working through a list of action items. But as a replacement for Office, the apps are so limited that using them is like watching a Jerry Lewis movie: you keep asking yourself, "why is this happening?" I tried very hard to use Google Docs as the productivity software for my startup, and eventually I gave up when it became clear that it was actually destroying my productivity.
If I sound frustrated, it's because I am. I remember back in 2005 when a startup called Upstartle created Writely, an online competitor to Microsoft Word. The product was evolving quickly, and as I wrote at the time, I thought it had a good chance of eventually growing into a real challenger to Word (link). Then Google bought Writely and bundled it into Docs, and I thought "that's even better, now development will really accelerate."
Instead, the evolution of the product has been snail-like. Six years after the acquisition, the word processor component of Google Docs is improved, but still very primitive compared to Word. The official Google Docs blog lists lots of new features the team is adding (link), but there are even more missing. For example, only last month did they add pagination to the word processor. Part of the problem is that the team is spending a lot of time adding features that have nothing to do with competing with Office. I sat through a session at Google IO last week on Google Docs, and the main theme was that they are transforming Docs into an online storage system like Dropbox or Box.Net. The team has added semi-random features like the ability to store videos, do OCR on photos, and sync between devices. Meanwhile, their presentation module can't even do transitions between slides.
Rather than doing the unglamorous work of competing with Office, the Docs team seems to be chasing after the latest shiny new startup category. Google says those sexy features were high-priority requests from Docs users, but if so that just shows what's wrong with Google's development process. The people it should be trying to please are current Office users, not the unusual people who were willing to give up Office for the current mediocre version of Docs. Get a roomful of Office users and ask them if they'd rather have OCR of photos or a printing architecture that works in most browsers. As Mom used to say, "you can't have dessert until you finish your peas." It looks like no one at Google is telling the Docs team to finish its peas.
The limitations of Google Docs are going to be unacceptable to most Office users. The problem is not that most people create slides with transitions, but they don't want to be cut off from that sort of advanced feature if they ever need it. The loss of potential future productivity is what keeps people away.
I know, I fought this battle extensively at Apple. There's a reason why apps have long feature lists -- the feature count drives sales.
Even if a user could come to terms with the limited features of Google Docs, good luck if you need to share your work with the majority of computer users who are still on Office. Moving documents back and forth between Office and Google Docs routinely mangles some of the features of Office documents. Now you're not just limiting your own productivity, you are annoying your business partners and coworkers.
Since Google does not seem to be focused on fixing Docs, it's theoretically possible that some other app developer could create an online replacement for Office that really works, and offer it on Chromebooks. But who would want to invest in that area when Google Docs is there as a competitor? Docs is just good enough to hinder innovation, but not good enough to take out Office.
Besides, Google did a couple of sessions at IO comparing web app development to native app development. They all concluded that web app development was better for content-playing applications, and that for productivity apps you need native software. And native software is exactly what Chromebooks won't run.
It makes you wonder if the app guys at Google ever talk to the Chrome guys.
So Google can say all it wants about long battery life, instant on, support costs, and invulnerability to viruses. Those are all problems that PC users put up with because they are unwilling to give up the advantages of Office and the rest of the PC apps base (think about it, if those issues really motivated people, Macintosh would have 80% share in PCs). I could picture an IT manager looking at the lower costs of Chrome and wanting to force users off Windows, but that will just produce a user revolt. I know very few IT departments that are willing to take on that sort of battle. Maybe some very cost-conscious schools and businesses might force users to switch to Chrome, but for the vast majority, as long as Office is not challenged, neither is Windows.
Ironically, if Google really wanted to replace Windows, Android would probably be a better OS for the job. It has more momentum, and you can write native software for it. But that's blocked by Google's own internal politics, which has assigned Android to phones and tablets and Chrome to PCs.
I like the Chromebook vision, and some day I'm sure something will replace Windows. But Google is utterly unready for the hard, unglamorous work needed to make Chromebook succeed, both in terms of its products and in terms of its internal organization. Unless Google makes major changes, Chromebook will probably be yet another failed Google initiative that will have us asking "what happened?" a couple of years from now.
Kind of like the way we talk about Jerry Lewis.
Three steps to fix Docs
If Google truly wants to replace Windows, it needs to focus Docs on that task. Stop the sexy but esoteric stuff like automatic translation of street signs in photos (something that most people don't really need their word processor to do), and make sure the basics like printing work properly. Here are my top three priorities:
1. Make it look like an application. The user interface in Docs is primitive, an awkward mix of web page and application. It is extremely intimidating to a normal user. Here's the window I get when I edit a word processing document in Google Docs:
You're looking at two inches of stacked-up interface cruft, including three separate menu bars and 58 different clickable items. Hey Google, aren't you embarrassed by this? I didn't think anyone could make the Office ribbon toolbar look efficient, but you managed to do it.
You might be saying to yourself, "well, that's just what happens when you run an app in a browser." That's no excuse. If you can't make a browser-based app easy to use, you should give up the pretense that you'll ever replace Windows.
2. Take full advantage of HTML 5. Google gave a great pitch at IO on all the wonderful new graphical features in HTML 5 and its associated technologies: groovy things like 3D transforms, text bound to a curve, animation, and huge numbers of fonts. Very little of this graphical power has shown up in Docs. Google should make Docs (and especially its presentation module) a showcase for the great things you can do with HTML 5.
3. Make Docs extensible. No matter how well Google focuses its development, it won't be able to quickly match all of the features in Office. That's why Docs desperately needs a plug-in architecture. One of the reasons WordPress became a leading weblog tool is because it enabled developers to easily extend it with a blizzard of widgets and add-on modules. Google should do the same with Docs. Then rather than Google being responsible for covering all the features of Office, the development community could share the burden. I bet that with the right plug-in architecture, and a widgets store built into Docs, Google could have a more complete office suite than Windows within 24 months. That would make Chromebooks a truly potent competitor to Windows, and a product worthy of Google's enormous skill and ambition.
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Monday, 9 May 2011
1. INTERVIEW WITH A HYPERSEXUAL--- An exhilerating experience sure to disturb the moralist.
2. MY STORY IN A NUTSHELL---how I got to be this way.
3. PRECISELY WHY RELIGION IS SUCH AN EVIL.
4. THE MEANING OF LIFE-----MY BEST GUESS.
5. WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO RELIGION?
6. DOWN ON THE BORDER---PART 4
7. NEW MEXICO BLAZES TRAIL TO A NEW LIFESTYLE.
Friday, 6 May 2011
Then I went to a nursing home----walked around---looked---talked--and came out quietly enraged.
PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT THEY BECOME. We all have a shot at becoming a well rounded personality--77 years on average--- to learn life's lessons---become---smart--alert--funny--wise---into our nineties and beyond. Buckminster Fuller, Frank Lloyd Wright for example and you probably know old people who have not lost their mind or their health or their dignity.
ADDENDUM: RANDY'S SUGGESTIONS FOR DEALING WITH DISABLED ELDERLY: