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Planetary heroes


Introduction

These are just a few of the good people on the planet. I like to review this list whenever I despair about humanity.
Woody Allen Al Gore Ralph Nader
Julie Andrews Tenzin Gyatso Roy Nikijuluw
Julian Assange Steve Jobs Briony Penn
Sir David Attenborough Ken Keyes Jr. Christopher Reeve
Johann Sebastian Bach Martin Luther King Tom Robbins
Joan Baez Ray Kurzweil Spider Robinson
Gautama Buddha Jack Lemmon Svend Robinson
Dana Carvey Dr. John Cunningham Lilly Gene Roddenberry
Noam Chomsky Bill Maher Carl Sagan
Arthur C. Clarke Nelson Mandela Bernie Siegel
Leonard Cohen Bradley Manning Rick Steves
Judy Collins Bertrand Meyer Martha Stewart
Jacques Cousteau Jonathan Miller Dr. David Suzuki
Gwynne Dyer Edgar Mitchell Bernie C. Till
Roberta Flack Dr. Julio Montaner Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Stephen Gaskin Chuck Moore Gore Vidal
Mahatma Gandhi Bill Moyers Voltaire
Mikhail Gorbachev Eddie Murphy Oprah Winfrey

Woody Allen

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Woody Allen (born:1935-12-01 age:81) is a film-maker. My favourites are Sleeper, Hanna and Her Sisters and Radio Days. He makes me nostalgic for times I never experienced. Sleeper is up there with Some Like It Hot as one of the funniest movies ever made.

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews

(born:1935-10-01 age:81) Her clear voice brings sunshine to even the darkest day. She is probably best known as Mary Poppins and as Maria in Sound of Music. Just thinking about her singing Edelweiss brings tears to my eyes. People forget her rôle as Jerusha in Hawaii where she and the Alii Nui Queen Malama teach her Scrooge-like fundamentalist husband Abner the meaning of love and acceptance. She lost her voice following a botched throat operation, but gamely went on stage without it, discovering how much her fans still love her whether she can sing or not. I ask you to join with me in performing a minor quantum miracle for Julie — restoring her voice.

My personal connection? I touched someone who had touched the magic bag in Mary Poppins. I like to sing along.

Julian Assange

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Julian Assange (born:1971 age:45) is the founder of WikiLeaks.org. He helped publish the biggest leak of military documents in history, documents that exposed American lies about the Afghan war using their own documents. There are even more documents coming. Given that the Americans admit they torture prisoners and keep them indefinitely in secret dungeons and spit on the international court, Australian Assange is exceedingly brave. He does not even have American constitutional guarantees to protect him. He is far braver than any soldier. After the publicity dies down, the US could easily kill him or secretly capture him and treat him as a terrorist. Various Republicans have called for his assassination or execution. He is a similar character to Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon papers and the New York time who outed wrongdoing in the Nixon administration from leaks.

The Americans are fighting back. They took away his domain name wikileaks.org. He got a new one wikileaks.ch. Paypal has cut him off. It would be nice to boycott PayPal. Now he has wikileaks.org back again, but no money to run it. It denial of free speech. They have charged him with rape, which probably is just a smeer and used that as an excuse to put out an all-country Interpol search for him. It is the way American black ops work. Sweden tried to extradite him for questioning so they could hand him over the to American for torture, like Bradley Manning. Extradition is for serious crimes, not simply to question. Sweden is lying. As of 2012-06-20 he is in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Sir David Attenborough

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Sir David Attenborough (born:1926-05-08 age:90) makes nature documentaries that are completely fascinating.

The Truth About Climate Change

Johann Sebastian Bach

photo click to listen

Bach (born:1685-03-31 died:1750-07-28 at age:65) was a baroque era composer. He is incomparable.

Joan Baez

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Joan Baez (born:1941-01-09 age:75) was one of the first people to protest the Viet Nam War. She put up with huge amounts of abuse from the right to do it. Even after America woke up and saw the foolishness of the war, ordinary citizens continued to revile her. She came to speak at UBC (University of British Columbia). I went to see her. She wanted to talk politics. People wanted her to sing. She refused. I admired her gumption.

Gautama Buddha

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Gautama (born:563 BC died:483 BC at age:80) founded a religion that has lasted thousands of years. What is more remarkable is that his followers have been remarkably tolerant of adherents of other religions. Thailand, the land of smiles, is a Buddhist country.

Buddhagroove

Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey (born:1955-06-02 age:61) is the funniest comedian alive today. His impersonations are so on and so strange at the same time.

Noam Chomsky

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Noam Chomsky (born:1927-12-07 age:88) is an independent intelligent mind.

dvd cover recommend DVD⇒Manufacturing Consent — Noam Chomsky and the Media (1993)to dvd home
DVD
byMark Achbar, Peter Wintonick
asinB00005Y726
upc795975101332
Classic documentary where Chomsky holds forth.
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dvd cover recommend DVD⇒Noam Chomsky — Distorted Morality: America’s War on Terror? (2002)to dvd home
DVD
byNoam Chomsky
birth1928-12-07 age:87
asinB00008AOW1
upc045778667192
Documentary where Chomsky holds forth.
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dvd cover recommend DVD⇒Power and Terror — Noam Chomsky in Our Times (2002)to dvd home
DVD
byJohn Junkerman
birth1952 age:64
asinB00008XS1C
upc720229910576
Documentary where Chomsky holds forth.
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book cover recommend book⇒Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistanceto book home
by Noam Chomsky 978-0-87286-537-2 paperback
birth 1928-12-07 age:87 978-0-241-14510-4 hardcover
publisher City Lights 978-0-87286-559-4 eBook
published 2012-03-13 B007JNU35I kindle
Not yet published, but you can pre-order it. Chomsky takes on a wide range of hot-button issues including the ongoing financial crisis, Obama’s presidency, the limits of the two-party system, nuclear Iran, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, corporate power and the future of American politics. To get a flavor of what the book is like, read his essay Hegemony and Its Dilemmas.
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book cover recommend book⇒Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominanceto book home
by Noam Chomsky 978-0-8050-7688-2 paperback
birth 1928-12-07 age:87 978-0-8050-7400-0 hardcover
publisher Holt Paperbacks 978-1-4299-0021-8 eBook
published 2004-08-12 978-1-55927-941-3 audio
  B000QXCZUY kindle
This is about hypocrisy, primarily American, over the decades, pretending to be acting out of humanitarian motives while mass butchering for relatively minor self interests. It is a bit a shock how the USA bullies the world quite shamelessly. It is also a bit of a shock how ridiculously paranoid the American administration is. The USA often retaliates, not out of threat, but merely to punish lack of sufficient subservience. It is a book you have to read in small bits so not to get too depressed. Consider though, that the world of international relations has always been thus. All you are doing is seeing it with the cloak of respectability removed. Nothing has actually changed — just your understanding. Also available in audio CD, eBook and audio download.
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book cover recommend book⇒Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracyto book home
by Noam Chomsky 978-0-8050-8284-5 paperback
birth 1928-12-07 age:87 978-0-8050-7912-8 hardcover
publisher Metropolitan 978-1-4299-0640-1 eBook
published 2006-04-04 978-1-59397-939-3 audio
  B000Q9IU7U kindle
The three characteristics of a failed state are:
  1. An inability to protect its citizens.
  2. The belief that it is above the law.
  3. A lack of democracy.
The USA has repeatedly asserted is right to intervene militarily against failed states, yet ironically the USA itself is well on its way to becoming a failed state. The book also details the many war crimes of the USA in Iraq and explains that by law this means those who ordered them could receive the death penalty. It discusses the incredible hypocrisy of the US government, reaching as far back as Roosevelt. Every time the administration claims to be fighting to create democracy, they are actually installing brutal dictators. Find out the name of Bush’s friend in Uzbekistan who, according to a British diplomat, likes to boil people to death. It explains how bogus fear of the Soviet union and fear of terrorists has been used to sell all manner of unbelievably foul deeds to force other countries to the American will, all for economic motives. Also available in audio form on 10 CDs.
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book cover recommend book⇒Ten Reasons Against War with Iraqto book home
by Milan Rai, With Noam Chomsky 978-1-85984-501-1 paperback
publisher Norton
published 2002-11
War Plan Iraq brings together the arguments that can shake George W. Bush and Prime Minister Blair’s determination to start an illegal war with Iraq. Despite Washington’s claims that the only options are inaction or invasion and that inaction is not an option, War Plan Iraq demonstrates that inspection is an option and that inspection and monitoring are the only way to ensure real disarmament in Iraq. For the Bush Administration, UN weapons inspectors are an obstacle to war; they are part of the problem, not part of the solution. War Plan Iraq uncovers Washington’s hidden rôle in the collapse of the first UN weapons inspection agency, UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission) and the paralysis of UNSCOM’s successor. Based on the popular ARROW (Active Resistance to the Roots of War) Anti-War briefings, War Plan Iraq rigorously dissects official propaganda and exposes government lies. Milan Rai demonstrates that Bush’s claims to change the regime in Iraq, despite intentions to impose another Sunni general to replace Saddam Hussein, are not in fact a regime change, but a leadership change. He also shows that the war would be in violation of international law; that there is no hard evidence that Iraq possesses any weapons of mass destruction; that there is no substantiated connection between the government of Iraq, September 11th and the al Qaeda network; that the proposed war carries a high risk of triggering a humanitarian disaster in Iraq, especially for the Kurds of northern Iraq; and that the war could precipitate a world recession with dire consequences for the world’s poor. Iraq’s neighbors, the ones most at risk from Iraq’s weapons, are against the proposed war, as are top military professionals in Britain and the US, many international organizations and countries around the world and a great majority of people in the US and the UK.
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book cover recommend book⇒Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World [American Empire Project]to book home
by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian 978-0-8050-7967-8 paperback
birth 1928-12-07 age:87 978-0-241-14333-9 hardcover
publisher Metropolitan 978-1-4299-8081-4 eBook
published 2005-09-15 978-1-59397-793-1 audio
  B003E4CYEY kindle
As usual this book has the right spitting angry, spouting ad hominems, but not a word to counter a thing Chomsky says. It covers American imperialism from Kosovo to Iraq.
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Arthur C. Clarke

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(born:1917-12-16 died:2008-03-19 at age:90) He wrote sci if novels that describe, with wonder, beautiful possible futures. They don’t rely on cowboy soap opera plots to hold your attention.

Leonard Cohen

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Leonard (born:1934-09-21 died:2016-11-10 at age:82) is a poet and singer I have loved since my teens. His songs reflect the strangeness, beauty, torment and mystery of existence. Leonard sent my sister Daphne a card.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins

(born:1939-05-01 age:77) In 1970, she released Farewell to Tarwathie where she sang a cappella with whales on the Whales and Nightingales album.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

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Cousteau’s (born:1910-06-11 died:1997-06-25 at age:87) early movies of marine life set my life path wanting to protect it. He was no one-shot wonder. Year after year he did something amazing to astound the public with the beauty of the underwater world. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was finally getting to a coral reef, in Bali, but being too sick to go snorkeling.

Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer (born:1943-04-17 age:73) is a Canadian historian and filmmaker. He tackles grim subjects like war and terrorism with a dry humour that helps you think clearly about them.

book cover recommend book⇒War: original versionto book home
by Gwynne Dyer 978-0-7867-1771-2 paperback
birth 1943-04-17 age:73 978-0-517-55615-3 hardcover
publisher Random House B001T4YWDC kindle
published 1987-12-09
Also a miniseries documentary.
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book cover recommend book⇒Future: Tense, The Coming World Orderto book home
by Gwynne Dyer 978-0-7710-2978-3 paperback
birth 1943-04-17 age:73
publisher McClelland & Stewart
published 2004-11-02
Understanding what Bush is up to with his Iraq war. Also an overview of the economic collapse of America.
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book cover recommend book⇒The Defence of Canada, Volume Ito book home
by Gwynne Dyer 978-0-7710-2975-2 paperback
birth 1943-04-17 age:73 978-0-7710-2975-2 hardcover
publisher McClelland & Stewart
published 1990
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book cover recommend book⇒Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraqto book home
by Gwynne Dyer 978-0-7710-2977-6 paperback
birth 1943-04-17 age:73
publisher McClelland & Stewart
published 2003-03-05
Dyer’s first book on the Iraq war.
And here we are as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and fight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
~ Matthew ArnoldDover Beach
Written just prior to the Iraq war. He argues why the war is a foolish idea. He explains the motivations of the various players, Bush, Saddam, Israel, bin Laden.
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Roberta Flack

album_cover

Roberta Flack (born:1937-02-10 age:79) is a singer. I especially like her early work in First Take. I don’t let myself listen too often. Her voice makes my heart raw.

Stephen Gaskin

Stephen Gaskin
book cover recommend book⇒This Season’s Peopleto book home
by Stephen Gaskin 978-0-913990-05-6 paperback
birth 1935-02-16 died:2014-07-01 at age:79
publisher Book
published 1976
It is a beautifully ethical book and reassuring to anyone terrified by these strange experiences. I’ve met Stephen several times. I am quite convinced he lives in a slightly different reality from most of us, where little miracles happen. My copy of this book has totally fallen to pieces I have read it so often. Stephen is a hippie guru. He argues strenuously for both inner and outer honesty and taking responsibility for the care of the entire planet. I have read my copy of This Season’s People so many times it has literally fallen apart. He founded a community called The Farm in Tennessee. He ran for US president in 2000. I met him several times when he came to visit Vancouver. Reality bends a little in his presence.
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Lead a hippie cult called The Farm. (born:1935-02-16 age:81) He is one of the few spiritual people who speaks from first hand experience and who is not actively evil.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Gandhi (born:1869-10-02 died:1948-01-30 at age:78) made non-violence work. Gandhi’s godson let me into his private museum of Gandhi memorabilia. Boy did that man write a lot of letters! See my collection of quotations.

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev

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The fact we are still here we owe primarily to Gorbachev (born:1931-03-02 age:85) whose loyalty to his planet was greater than his loyalty to his country. He swallowed his pride to end the cold war.

Al Gore

Al Gore

Al Gore (born:1948-03-31 age:68) Clinton’s Vice President, has made two enormous lifetime contributions to the planet:

  1. Al Gore tirelessly promoted the information superhighway. Without the funding he acquired, there never would have been what we now call the Internet. The computer scientists who created the low level Internet protocols acknowledge Gore is indeed he the father of the Internet. He put up with years of abuse being labelled a crank. He did what was best for his country and the planet, not what was politically expedient.
  2. He was one of the first American politicians to get on board with global warming and the Kyoto protocol, even when that stand cost him big time politically as big oil smeared him as a crank. Even after he had his presidency stolen from under him, he kept plugging. Even though he had no skills as a filmmaker, he saw the need to produce a global warming film. He set to work and produced a powerful slick film, An Inconvenient Truth to explain the problem to the average American.
This guy is a can-do leader who does what needs to be done for the good of the planet, not what panders to the ignorant. I can’t think of any American politician whom I would more trust with the presidency. He bases his decisions on science, not religious superstition. He thinks decades ahead of everyone else. You need like someone like that to guide a whole country to a sustainable future. A country has so much inertia, the leader must plan his moves way ahead, like steering a massive ocean liner.

Tenzin Gyatso

Tenzin Gyatso

Tenzin Gyatso (born:1935-07-06 age:81) is also known as the 14th Dalai Lama. I like him primarily because he fights fair. He has plenty of reason to be resentful about the Chinese takeover of Tibet, but he combats them with dignity, respect and non-violence. I’m not sure it would be Good Thing™ Tibet were a theocracy instead of a democracy, but I imagine if he ran for president, he would have no trouble winning.

I saw a documentary about the Dalai Lama. He was involved in a ceremony handing out bits of grass that as I recall symbolised the grass in the Buddha’s pillow. It was in some way supposed to aid the process of enlightenment. People were shoving, grabbing and hitting each other to get the strands of grass. Some of the Dalai Lama’s aids tried to persuade the cameramen to stop filming. They were so ashamed of this unenlightened behaviour in seeking enlightenment. However, he just laughed. It takes eons, eons he said.

I went to see him on two occasions when he came to Vancouver. The first time we had to sit through many windbags before he got to speak. He was patient, but through his body language let us know he sympathised with our boredom. We made eye contact for a short while, which felt significant, as if we were passing some secret acknowledgement to each other. At the time I was troubled that the goal of spiritual growth was callousness and high indifference. In his homily he assured us that good old-fashioned kindness was still important. I cried with relief.

The second time I went to see him was in a giant hall. He gave a very complicated lecture way over my head. I was amazed that anyone could understand it, but everyone at least appeared to be giving rapt attention. It was reassuring that the people in charge of spiritual matters likely knew more about what they were doing that I did.

book cover recommend book⇒The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spiritualityto book home
by Dalai Lama, XIV 978-0-7679-2081-0 paperback
birth 1935-07-06 age:81 978-0-7679-2066-7 hardcover
publisher Broadway 978-0-7679-2291-3 eBook
published 2005-09-13 978-0-7393-2265-9 audio
  B000FCKCZQ kindle
The Dalai Lama brings a very interesting perspective to the consciousness debate. He gets himself invited to all kinds of scientific conferences and most of the great scientists of the world are happy to spend a few days acting as his tutor. At the same time he represents an ancient contemplative tradition. He is the exact opposite of dogmatic. Amusingly, he chides the religious fervour and certaintly often masqueranding as scientific objecitivity. He does not want debate prematurely closed on any issue. One of his most delightful characteristics is his complete honesty about what he knows and does not. It is so odd a person of his stature being so down to earth.
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Steve Jobs

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Jobs (born:1955-02-24 age:61), unlike his rival Gates, appreciated technical beauty. He was the genius behind three great machines:

  1. Apple ][, the first personal computer that you could use without a soldering iron.
  2. The Mac, the first user-friendly personal computer.
  3. NeXT, chock full of great ideas, including an object-oriented operating system.
He too made a fair chunk of money and spent some of it in grand style ensuring maximal fun for the maximum number. John Lilly gave me Steve Jobs’ home phone number, but I was too embarrassed to call. I had no idea what I was supposed to tell him.

Ken Keyes Jr.

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Ken (born:1921-01-19 died:1995-12-20 at age:74) helped me more than any other put my life back together. I went to see him every Christmas right up to his death.

Martin Luther King Jr.

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(born:1929-01-15 died:1968-04-04 at age:39) Not only could he speak in a way that still stirs hearts decades after his death, he was courageous. He did what had to be done even though it cost him his life.

Ray Kurzweil

Kurzweil was a child prodigy who invented the Kurzweil synthesiser. But the reason I admire him most is his books on the future. He does not just wildly speculate, he looks for mathematical trends that go way back in history.

book cover recommend book⇒The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligenceto book home
by Ray Kurzweil 978-0-14-028202-3 paperback
birth 1948-02-12 age:68 978-0-670-88217-5 hardcover
publisher Penguin 978-1-101-07788-7 eBook
published 2000-01-01 978-0-14-086888-3 audio
  B002CIY8JW kindle
A fascinating book giving the evidence why computers exceeding human intelligence are imminent.
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book cover recommend book⇒The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biologyto book home
by Ray Kurzweil 978-0-14-303788-0 paperback
birth 1948-02-12 age:68 978-0-670-03384-3 hardcover
publisher Viking 978-1-101-21888-4 eBook
published 2005-09-22 978-1-4526-3183-7 audio
  B000QCSA7C kindle
A follow on book to Spiritual Machines. Not as interesting.
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book cover recommend book⇒How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealedto book home
by Ray Kurzweil 978-0-14-312404-7 paperback
birth 1948-02-12 age:68 978-0-670-02529-9 hardcover
publisher Viking Adult 978-1-101-60110-5 eBook
published 2012-11-13 978-1-4692-0386-7 audio
  B007V65UUG kindle
If you have ever wondered about how your mind works, read this book. Kurzweil’s insights reveal key secrets underlying human thought and our ability to recreate it. This is an eloquent and thought-provoking work.
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Jack Lemmon

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Jack Lemmon (born:1925-02-08 died:2001-06-27 at age:76) was an actor who died 2001-06. He did two rôle s that astound me. One was in Some Like It Hot. I laugh myself silly every time I see that movie. The other movie was The China Syndrome. He was so believable as the plant manager. That movie likely saved us from having to experience such a disaster in real life.

Dr. John Cunningham Lilly

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In the province of the mind what one believes to be true, either is true or becomes true within certain limits. These limits are to be found experimentally and experientially. When so found these limits turn out to be further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind there are no limits.
~ Dr. John Cunningham Lilly (born:1915-01-06 died:2001-09-30 at age:86)
I read hundreds of books trying to make sense of my weird experiences. Dr. John Cunningham Lilly (born:1915-01-06 died:2001-09-30 at age:86) seemed to have some understanding, though his experiences were mostly drug induced and he seemed to take as cosmic absolutes what appeared to me to be some very arbitrary classification schemes. We shared an interest in dolphins and floatation tanks. I went to see him and his wife Toni at Esalen and later went to work on his project Janus communication with dolphins project in 1979.

Dr. John Cunningham Lilly Links

From Here to Alternity and Beyond : A Biography of John Lilly
photograph for media use
Samahdi Tank Company

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Bill Maher (born:1956-01-20 age:60) was the host of Politically Incorrect. He is one of the few voices of common sense on television. He seem unafraid to offend advertisers, Christians, or Republicans. He is also wickedly funny. He has a new show Real Time with Bill Maher broadcast live every Friday night at 11:30 on HBO (Home Box Office). I often disagree with him, but I admire his blunt honesty.

book cover recommend book⇒Spin This!to book home
by Bill Press and Bill Maher 978-0-7434-4268-8 paperback
birth 1940 age:76 978-0-7434-4267-1 hardcover
publisher Atria 978-0-7434-4458-3 eBook
published 2001-10-30 B000FC0UOY kindle
How to translate the spin and bullshit politicians sling.
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Nelson Mandela

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(born:1918-07-18 died:2013-12-05 at age:95) Even after years of imprisonment, he swallowed his bitterness and avoided ping pong retribution against the Afrikaners who had oppressed the blacks of South Africa.

Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning is the bravest soldier in US History. He leaked information about US war crimes that embarrassed the administration and the military. He did not endanger anyone. He was never tried. He has been tortured continuously with solitary confinement since 2010-05. He has been broken. He sacrificed his life for truth and to save the lives of people all over the world. Not even the North Koreans resorted to endless solitary confinement to get abject propaganda confessions from their POWs (Prisoner Of Wars). This is an eternal shame on every American citizen. Read more about him at source and source.

According to a biography, Manning was 5’ 2”, gay and highly opposed to the Iraq war. However, when his father threw him out of the street he decided to enlist, possibly to curry favour with his father. This was a selfish and stupid thing to do, but, of course, it lead to the greatest leak in history.

He has been sentented to jail for 35 years for exposing the crimes of his accusers.

Read about his incarceration.

On 2013-08-23 he announced he would like to undergo sex change therapy. His new name would be Chelsea. He has not even undergone hormone therapy yet. The US Military said it would deny him such treatment.

Bertrand Meyer

Bertrand Meyer

Meyer (born:1950 age:66) is the author of Design By Contract and Object-Oriented Software Construction. Meyer is to software what Dr. W. (William) Edwards Deming is to manufacturing. He has pressed the industry for decades to get serious about writing quality bug-free software and he has shown them how to do it. You might say he in the antonym of Bill Gates, the guru of slovenly software. He invented Eiffel as a language based on design-by-contract.

book cover recommend book⇒Object-Oriented Software Constructionto book home
by Bertrand Meyer 978-0-13-629155-8 paperback
birth 1950 age:66 978-0-13-629049-0 hardcover
publisher Prentice Hall
published 2000-03-21
This is the classic text on object-oriented programming. This is the best-written computer textbook on any subject I have yet encountered. If you ever plan to write a book, look at this to see how it should be done. He uses the Eiffel language for his examples. This could be confusing if you don’t already have little Java under your belt. This is not a book on coding, but rather on the general object-oriented principles behind the languages.
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Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

I have encountered Jonathan Miller (born:1934-07-31 age:82) in three contexts. He came to Vancouver when I was a teen as part of the British Comedy group, Beyond the Fringe. Later he hosted a documentary series on the body called The Body in Question. Most recently he hosted a documentary series called the History of Disbelief. He strikes me as one of the kindest, most civilised people that ever lived. He is a renaissance man with a rampant curiosity about everything. He is a voracious reader. Perhaps that what has made him so open-minded.

Edgar Mitchell

Edgar Mitchell

Edgar Mitchell (born:1930-09-17 died:2016-02-04 at age:85) was the sixth astronaut to walk on the moon. What makes him interesting is a cosmic consciousness experience he has on his return flight to earth. What also makes him interesting is he straddles the world between hard science and the flakes, irritating both sides. I figure the best research pickings have to be in places where people have been too embarrassed to look.

I saw him in 2001-08. I had a brief CC-like experience, or more accurately, a feeling of reaching out internally and touching something alien, distant and beautiful, as he described his experience in the spacecraft. I publicly asked him if his experience was a one shot thing and if there was any way to induce it other than becoming an astronaut. He said that he had learned to induce it pretty well at will using meditation. He also repeated the phrase: Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. which I think was his hint to me that he now considered himself enlightened and possibly a personal hint to me not to become too much of a space cadet. I caught him once deliberately exaggerating the meaning of Bell’s theorem to some flakes claiming it would allow faster than light communications. Then I later caught him corralling some flakes back into hard science.

Dr. Julio Montaner

Dr. Julio Montaner

If were not for Dr. Montaner, (born:1959 age:57) and many of my friends would not be alive. He came up with the idea of the HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) cocktail, combining multiple HIV drugs to make it harder for the HIV to develop immunity. He concocted my first cocktail. You might think this was an obvious idea. But consider when he championed this idea, Christians like Reagan and Vander Zalm were pulling off their sly genocide by withholding information about HIV from gay people in the hopes it would wipe them all out. Further, governments were unwilling to provide any drugs, much less multiple ones. He is a fatherly, gentle man with kind eyes and a reassuring warm Argentinian accent. His office is modest. Everyone demands his time and somehow he finds time to help everyone. He tells it like it is, not what his employers want to hear.

The gays of BC owe their lives to Dr. Julio Montaner of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. His policies have been the most successful in Canada for stopping the AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) epidemic. He personally concocted the cocktails of drugs that have kept me alive since I contracted HIV back in 1985. HIV mutates rapidly and quickly develops immunity to any drug. Montaner pioneered the idea of using a cocktail of three drugs. It is much harder for HIV to develop immunity to three drugs simultaneously. He has reassured pretty well everyone in BC with HIV with his gentle Argentinian accent in his tiny unpretentious office.

Montaner has spoken out against draconian laws to punish people with HIV who have sex with others without telling them. There are a number of reasons why these Harperian laws are counter-productive and silly.

Chuck Moore

chuck moore

I like Chuck Moore (born:1938 age:78), aka Charles Havice Moore, because he invented Forth which let me both communicate with dolphins and create Abundance. I met him and his wife in 1991. I told people in my Computer Paper column that they should all turn out to see him, just so they could tell their grandkids they had seen Charles Moore. It was something they should not pass up, like getting so see Einstein, even if they thought they would not understand his lecture. I spent the weekend talking with him and his friends. It was an exhilarating time talking with someone with such an eye for Spartan beauty and totally new ways of looking at problems. I took notes and lost them. I never did write up my experiences with him and the guilt about it has nagged me to this day.

Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers

Moyers (born:1934-06-05 age:82) is a television journalist who has a mild manner. He speaks to middle America in a measured voice. He did a PBS (Public Broadcasting System) documentary called Earth On Edge that in a quiet way makes the case for an ecologically sustainable future.

I could see the power of his understated approach. People are so used to hearing screams of alarm, they just feel overwhelmed and react the way ostriches do. They have to be coaxed to gently explore these global problems rationally.

Eddie Murphy

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Eddie (born:1961-04-03 age:55) is an under-rated comic genius. His Coming To America makes me laugh years after seeing it when I recall scenes like the waterlogged petal throwers in the barber shop.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader (born:1934-01-27 age:82) has been a tireless consumer and safety advocate since I was a kid. He tackles all manner of issues from Microsoft’s monopoly, to air pollution to world trade. When you feel discouraged and ask What can one person do? have a look at Ralph Nader.

Roy Nikijuluw

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Roy (born:1962-09-19 age:54) is an Indonesian singer now living in the Netherlands. His singing Wind Beneath My Wings is one of the high points of my life. He was my lover for about a year.

Briony Penn

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Briony Penn (born:1960-10-16 age:56) is a local Victoria resident, energetic environmentalist. She manages to put out a weekly newspaper column, a weekly TV show, Environmental and raise two kids. She is funny and upbeat, not in the least fitting the stereotype of a tree hugger. She ran federally for the Liberals, but was sadly defeated by the arch-antienvironmentalist Gary Lunn.

Christopher Reeve

Chris Reeve

Christopher Reeve (born:1952-09-25 died:2004-10-10 at age:52) was the actor who played Superman. Later he broke his neck in a horse-riding accident and became paralysed from the neck down. His reputedly magnificent penis still worked, but he could not feel anything. He said that he still treated his penis kindly and allowed it to have sex with his wife. He did not treat it as an alien thing, just because he could no longer feel it or control it. He is an inspiration to everyone with some ghastly condition to bear because he both enjoys the present moment and hangs on to hopes for a brighter future. He needed medical research to allow him to walk again. I ask everyone to co-operate, blocking only those experiments which are excessively cruel.

What is my personal connection? When I was a little boy, my grandmother dyed me a red cape on her woodstove and I ran around her yard with it flowing out behind me. Chris signed an Ending Hunger declaration card when he was here in Canada. I touched it. Finally, when Jimmy dumped Leslie, I took her to see the first Superman movie. Neither of us had seen it before. We were so blown away. It took us out of our troubles on a wave of exhilaration. I watched the Barbara Walters interview where he was unusually candid about his predicament. He died 2004-10-04 just before the US presidential election.

One of the reasons I hate George Bush so much is that Bush, out of utter ignorance, blocked the stem cell research that might have saved Chris’s life.

Tom Robbins

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book cover recommend book⇒Even Cowgirls Get The Bluesto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-34949-8 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-395-24305-3 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89789-0 eBook
published 1990-04-01 978-1-59777-096-5 audio
  B000FBFNVA kindle
Raunchy and fun.
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book cover recommend book⇒Jitterbug Perfumeto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-34898-9 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-553-05068-4 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89792-0 eBook
published 1990-04-01 B000FBFNWO kindle
My favourite.
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book cover recommend book⇒Skinny Legs And Allto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-37788-0 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-553-05775-1 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89793-7 eBook
published 1995-11-01 B000FBFNW4 kindle
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book cover recommend book⇒Still Life With Woodpeckerto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-34897-2 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-553-01260-6 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89794-4 eBook
published 1990-04-01 B000FBFNXS kindle
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book cover recommend book⇒Another Roadside Attractionto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-34948-1 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-491-00804-4 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89788-3 eBook
published 1990-04-01 B000FBFNWE kindle
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book cover recommend book⇒Half Asleep In Frog Pajamasto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-37787-3 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-553-07625-7 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89791-3 eBook
published 1995-11-01 978-1-59040-207-8 audio
  B000FBFNY2 kindle
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book cover recommend book⇒Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climatesto book home
by Tom Robbins 978-0-553-37933-4 paperback
birth 1936-07-22 age:80 978-0-553-10775-3 hardcover
publisher Bantam 978-0-553-89790-6 eBook
published 2001-05-29 978-0-553-52732-2 audio
  B000FC2OJI kindle
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I first encountered Tom Robbins’ (born:1936-07-22 age:80) bizarre sense of humour when my lover Donny gave me a copy of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. I later had great fun reading his Jitterbug Perfume but he really punched into my life in 2001-08 when I went to hear him speak. He valued my time. He told me things so succinctly. He told me only things that were very important, that I could not find out from others and only things I did not know already. He reminds me of Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. He is deadly serious, so he plays the rôle of Coyote Trickster so as not to scare you.

Spider Robinson

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book cover recommend book⇒User Friendlyto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-671-87864-1 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68
publisher Baen
published 1998-01-01
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book cover recommend book⇒Star Dancersto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-671-87802-3 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68
publisher Baen
published 1997-08-01
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book cover recommend book⇒Lifehouseto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-671-87777-4 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68
publisher Baen
published 1997-03-01
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book cover recommend book⇒Death Killerto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-671-87722-4 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68
publisher Baen
published 1996-05-01
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book cover recommend book⇒Lady Slings the Boozeto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-441-46929-1 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-0-441-46928-4 hardcover
publisher Ace B00APAH7EM kindle
published 1993-12
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book cover recommend book⇒Calahan’s Crosstime Saloonto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-8125-7227-8 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-0-89490-014-3 hardcover
publisher Tor B004IK94VY kindle
published 1999-12-15
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book cover recommend book⇒The Callahan Touchto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-441-00133-0 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-0-441-09075-4 hardcover
publisher Ace B0051PYMLC kindle
published 1995-01-01
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book cover recommend book⇒Off the Wall At Callahan’sto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-312-85661-8 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 B004IPPIV4 kindle
publisher Tor
published 1994-02
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book cover recommend book⇒Callahan’s Legacyto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-8125-5035-1 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-0-312-85776-9 hardcover
publisher Tor 978-0-7861-7616-8 audio
published 1997-09-15 B004Q3RUBY kindle
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book cover recommend book⇒The Callahan Chroniclesto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-8125-3937-0 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-1-4417-1794-8 audio
publisher Tor
published 1997-10-15
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book cover recommend book⇒Callahan’s Keyto book home
by Spider Robinson 978-0-553-58060-0 paperback
birth 1948-11-24 age:68 978-0-553-11163-7 hardcover
publisher Spectra 978-0-7861-8870-3 audio
published 2000-07-05 B01CH4R8HE kindle
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Spider (born:1948-11-24 age:68) is a science fiction author who lives in Vancouver. In his books, such as Callahan’s Cross Time Saloon everyone does his part to help a being in trouble. He keeps the liberal spirit alive. You can buy any of those books by clicking on the corresponding online bookstore logo. He gave me permission to set up a Callahan’s newsgroup on BIX (Byte Information Exchange).

Svend Robinson

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Svend (born:1952-03-04 age:64) was the gay member of parliament for Vancouver Burnaby for many years. He vigorously champions left-wing causes when everyone else seems to have lost their steam. I want him to become Prime Minister of Canada. He tabled a Humanist Association petition asking to have irrelevant references to God taken out of the Canadian constitution. That got him in a lot of hot water with the Christian loonies and, to my disgust, with the NDP (New Democratic Party) party. My Mom and Svend talked often. He phoned me once. I am leaving my personal copy of A Guide For The Naïve Homosexual to him in my will.

Gene Roddenberry

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(born:1921-08-19 died:1991-10-14 at age:70) His Star Trek Next Generation series has greatly helped liberalise the attitudes of the young by showing a utopian future world where the sexual equality is taken for granted and money is no longer needed. Even the most scary monsters turn out to be much like us once we understand them.

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

(born:1934-11-09 died:1996-12-20 at age:62) Astronomer who wrote books and created videos to introduce the public to the cosmos. The closest I ever feel to religious awe is listening to him. What an astounding universe we inhabit! I am overwhelmed with sadness every time I see him on video knowing he died so young and there has been no one to step into his place advocating space exploration. His death affected me more than the death of any other person.

Bernie Siegel

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book cover recommend book⇒Love Medicine and Miracles: Surgeon’s Experience With Exceptional Patientsto book home
by Bernie Segel 978-0-06-091983-2 paperback
birth 1932-10-14 age:84 978-0-06-015496-7 hardcover
publisher Harper 978-0-06-211673-4 eBook
published 1990-05-04 978-0-89845-767-4 audio
  B005AJQKBO kindle
Bernie has written numerous books especially this one. He demystifies and de-terrifies the process of dying, at the same time showing you how to soldier through a major illness.
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Rick Steves

Rick Steves

Rick Steves (born:1955 age:61) is best known for his documentaries and books about travel, especially to Europe. The reason I include him as a planetary hero is he did a documentary on Iran at a time when American pro-war hysteria considered this treason. Very few Americans stood up to this McCarthy-esque pro-war insanity. His low key documentary will make it much harder to kill Iranians as if they were cockroaches.

Martha Stewart Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart photo

I admire Martha Stewart (born:1941-08-03 age:75) for many reasons. She amazes me because she gets more done per day than probably anyone else on earth. She exposes people to the beautiful domestic arts of our past and present. She does everything with such perfection and care. I have coined the term martha in her honour. I do find it funny how she is so like her namesake in the Bible. I think she was far too severely punished for selling shares after she heard they were about to lose value. Other white collar criminals committed crimes thousands of times more serious, and never saw a day of jail time.

Dr. David Suzuki

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Dr. David Suzuki (born:1936-03-24 age:80) has tirelessly and successfully presented the case for environmentalism for decades. He married Tara Cullis, a girl I palled around with in high school. He is Canada’s best known scientist from his years hosting the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) ’s The Nature of Things. He is the author of dozens of books. His books are listed at The David Suzuki Foundation.

Bernie C. Till

Bernie Till is the most intelligent human I have met so far. Chuck Moore and his wife introduced me to him. I fell in love with his brilliance, charm and good looks. I did not know his sexual preference, so I kept my infatuation to myself. For his master’s thesis he did a computer simulation of a nematode worm, that had some number, under 200, (47 as I recall) neurons. The astounding thing was this model did all the things real nematodes do. I was astounded at the efficiency of the programming of such a computer with so few components. Bernie vainly tried to explain the S curves that were the secret behind it all. He sent me a turquoise bound copy of his thesis. I read it but still could not understand it. I suspect it is profoundly important.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau

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The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
~ Pierre Elliott Trudeau (born:1919-10-18 died:2000-09-28 at age:80) Canada’s 15th Prime Minister
My admiration for Trudeau is based on what he did as federal justice minister before he became the fifteenth Prime Minister of Canada. Long before gay people had even poked their noses above ground to protest, he made sexual acts between consenting adults in private legal. It was an extremely bold move for 1969. If he had not done that, I’m not sure I would have had the nerve to start my own gay lib activities in 1970. The other thing he did was effectively fight the petty-minded separatists who are foolishly intent in destroying our country.

See his biography.

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

There are several reasons why I admire Vidal (born:1925-10-03 died:2012-07-30 at age:86) First, he was way ahead of his time tackling gay issues long before anyone else had the courage to tackle them. Second he writes so well and precisely. Third, he hates Bush with the same passion I do.

book cover recommend book⇒Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Juntato book home
by Gore Vidal 978-1-56025-502-4 paperback
birth 1925-10-03 died:2012-07-30 at age:86 978-0-7867-5030-6 eBook
publisher Nation B002A7W8N8 kindle
published 2002-12-16
Gore Vidal is a man of letters, historian and novelist. This is where Vidal alleges that Bush Inc. were planning to invade Afghanistan long before 9/11, to topple the Taliban and hence expedite the Unocal pipeline.
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book cover recommend book⇒Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesiato book home
by Gore Vidal 978-1-56025-744-8 paperback
birth 1925-10-03 died:2012-07-30 at age:86 978-1-56025-585-7 hardcover
publisher Nation 978-0-7867-3826-7 eBook
published 2004-05-10 B001T4ZKBK kindle
A collection of essays about America’s various misadventures in imperialism.
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book cover recommend book⇒Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hatedto book home
by Gore Vidal 978-1-56025-405-8 paperback
birth 1925-10-03 died:2012-07-30 at age:86 978-1-56858-653-3 eBook
publisher Nation B003B0W1US kindle
published 2002-03-10
Gore Vidal is a man of letters, historian and novelist. Mostly about 9/11. Michael Moore recommends this book.
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Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

François Marie d’Arouet Voltaire (born:1694-11-21 died:1778-05-30 at age:83), better ranks among my heroes because he was brave enough to keep attacking the evils of the church even when he was repeatedly imprisoned and banished. He had such pluck.

Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah (born:1954-01-29 age:62) has made a lot of money and has spent it to help blacks and women. I like her because of her warmth and common sense. Someone once said that if God decided to incarnate again, He would appear as a black woman. Oprah would not be that bad a model. She gets better looking with every year she ages. I want to emulate her. She has proved herself a skilled negotiator, leader and organiser. She would be great as president of the USA. The fact that she endorsed Barack Obama is cause for great optimism now he will be running the country. She is a bit naïve, and gets taken in by various snake oil salesmen, but I think she is just honestly too trusting.

People I do not like

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