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Heroes.

We all have heroes. The question is as to whether they shape our personalities or we are attracted to them because they reflect our personalities. I suspect they reinforce what is already there.

My heroes are not the superheroes of comics but real people who lived real lives. They are mainly creative people whose work moved me and touched my spirit. They lit up my mind, caused a surge of wonder or made me stop and think. They opened new windows onto the universe.

My Heroes include:

Writers

Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, John Steinbeck, D.H. Lawrence, Ken Kesey, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Anne Frank, Maya Angelou

Artists

Magritte, Dali, Picasso, Bosch, Edward Burra, Van Gogh, Miro, Gaugin, Renoir, Turner, Monet, Klee

Songwriters

Woody Guthrie, Roy Harper, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs, Don Van Vliet, Frank Zappa, John Lennon, Jello Biafra, Mark E Smith, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Buffy St Marie, Chuck Berry,

Poets

Allen Ginsberg, Wilfred Owen, John Keats, Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, T.S Elliott

Philosophers

Noam Chomsky, Bertrand Russell

Sci-Fi writers 

Arthur C Clarke, Robert Sheckley, Iain Banks, Philip K Dick, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, James Blish, Ursula Le Guinn, Jack Vance

Comedians

The Goons, Spike Milligan, Monty Python, Marty Feldman, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Harpo Marx

Film makers

Ken Loach, Stanley Kubrick

Native Americans

Black Elk, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud

Politicians

Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mujica

Musicians

Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Stones, Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart, Stiff Little Fingers, Kinks, Love, Doors, Country Joe, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Son House, Otis Redding, Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Downliners Sect, Pretty Things, Cream, Free, Patti Smith

Scientists

Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Desmond Morris, Richard Dawkins, Galileo, Leonardo De Vinci, Rosalind Franklin

Environmentalists

Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Chico Mendes, Richard Attenborough, Gordon Rattray Taylor, Gerald Durrell, Dian Fossey, Robert Hunter, Dick McTaggart

Sportsmen

George Best, Muhammad Ali, Ian Botham

 

They all explode in my head, enrich my life and surround me with their genius.

These guys are the tip of a very big rainbow iceberg.

 

Buenos Aires Argentina

Buenos Aires Argentina

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After two days more at sea in the sunshine, basking in the Jacuzzi, reading, eating and writing, it was on to Buenos Aires. There was a little trepidation regarding our welcome in Argentina. After the Falklands war there was a possibility that we might not be so popular.

Our on-board lecture was very good. It painted the political and social scene very. We could expect a city that would seem very orderly and European after the colourful muddle of Brazil. There were not the same slums and poverty. Neither was there the ethnic diversity. This was explained by the facts that the Argentinians had not been involved with the slave trade and had wiped out their indigenous Indian population in the early years. One of those seemed a good thing and the other reprehensible. I’m not a big fan of genocide.

 

We walked through the city of Buenos Aires and felt safe and at home. All the Argentinian people we met were friendly and there was none of the shabby dilapidation of Brazil. Argentina was less colourful and vibrant but there did not seem to be the poverty and its resultant religious frenzy. It was not as vibrant but it felt safe and homely – like the section of Europe transported to the tropics we had been promised.

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We walked through the green parks with their parakeets and exotic trees in flower. The roads were broad and the parks were plentiful. It had an open feel to it. The sun shone. We stopped for a coffee and a beer. It felt relaxed and friendly.

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The thing I noticed about Argentina was its love of bronze statues. Everyone who had ever done anything was rewarded with a statue. The parks and squares were littered with them.

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First port of call was Eva Peron’s balcony where she’d made her famous address to the masses from the pink palace. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Peron’s. I applauded the stance they’d taken for the workers and women’s rights. It seemed to be right in line with the whole principle of fairness, justice and equality that I espoused. Evita was standing up for the ordinary man and woman against the establishment and their controlling elite. I could agree with that whole-heartedly. I wasn’t so sure when it came to their support of Hitler, Mussolini and the whole fascist principles. It seemed confusing. Anyway they were overthrown by one of those inevitable military coups that re-established tyrannical rule and ensconced the elite in luxury while torturing the population into submission – the recurring theme of South America.

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We stood in the 25th May square and marvelled at the way South American countries had a habit of naming things after significant historical dates of historical events. There were a series of bridges and squares known just by a date. The May Square celebrated the 25th May 1810 revolution that gained the country its independence from Spain.

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It was still a seat of demonstration and we walked among the huge protest camp with its posters, signs and silhouettes of dead soldiers protesting about the treatment of veterans from the Falklands/Malvinas war.

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We walked along through the city with its classical architecture, green parks, obelisks and statues and sampled the beers.

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After that there was nothing for it but to head for the cemetery. This was renowned for its lavish tombs with Eva Peron (Evita) having pride of place.

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In the park there was an enterprising couple who were busking by doing a Tango for the tourists. It was an appetiser. That evening Liz, being a dancer, wanted to sample the delights of the most erotic dance on the planet – straight out of the Argentinian brothels into the ballrooms of the world.

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Then it was back to the ship for another prolonged sunset as we flowed out of Buenos Aires harbour leaving the city encased in an orange glow. It seemed appropriate.

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If you enjoy my poems or anecdotes why not purchase a paperback of anecdotes for £7.25 or a kindle version for free.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anecdotes-Weird-Science-Writing-Ramblings/dp/1519675631/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457515636&sr=1-3&keywords=opher+goodwin

Or a book of poetry and comment:

Rhyme and Reason – just £3.98 for the paperback or free on Kindle

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My other books are here:

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Poetry – What is a tree? – a peon to anthropomorphism and consciousness.

We are incredibly thoughtless when dealing with living organisms.

Opher's World

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What is a tree?

This was part two of I like Rock; I like Trees.

People are so anthropomorphic that they measure all other living things by their similarity to us. Those that have more human attributes are obviously more important – higher species.

Plants bring up the rear.

We give all creatures a worth based on intelligence and anatomical similarity; the most important factor being the size of the brain. We rate our brains and intelligence very highly.

Except how would we know?

The fact that a plant cannot speak, yell or run away, doesn’t produce weapons, technology and space travel does not mean it is not sentient, conscious and even intelligent.

Our intelligence comes from the ‘electrical’ activity of the nerve-net in our cerebrum.

The evidence is that the whole of a plant communicates in a similar ‘electrical’ manner.

Maybe …. Just maybe ….. they are aware.


What…

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Do Plants live? Think? And Dream?

Plants live. Plants think. Plants dream.

 

We have a tendency to anthropomorphize. We imbue creatures that are most like us with feelings but creatures that are less like us are not gifted with such characteristics. We greatly value brains. The brain is the peak of evolution in our eyes. Creatures with big brains are seen as of more importance.

I suggest that this is a false premise.

Plants, being very unlike us, not being able to move or even visibly react, and not being endowed with a brain, are not afforded any great gifts. We accept that they are alive but we do not afford them intelligence, nor even consciousness. They merely exist and we can chop them up, cut them back and ill-treat them with impunity.

Science is beginning to demonstrate that this view is false. The more we find about plants the more it becomes apparent that plants are conscious, they have memories and they communicate. They are aware of their environment and react when things happen around them. They register people approaching. They react when attacked by insects or diseases. They can even count and hear.

They hear water moving underground and move towards it. They respond to stimuli and communicate through chemicals. Their language is nuanced. They pass on information about the approach of animals or attack from diseases or insect pests. They respond dramatically with electrical shrieks when they are damaged.

How is this possible?

We do not yet know.

Brain cells communicate via electrochemical transmissions through a huge interconnecting network of cells. Plants cells interact in the same way. Perhaps the whole plant operates as one huge brain?

Plants like in communities and families and support one another. But we isolate them from their communities. We chop them down and treat them as inanimate objects.

What if trees are indeed conscious, wise and sensitive? What if all plants are conscious and really do feel pain every bit as much as us but are unable to show us that they are feeling pain? Do plants fear us? Do they dream? Are we their greatest nightmare?

Think of the implications for how we treat them?

Mowing the grass takes on a whole new dimension. Cutting down a tree is of a far greater significance.

Would you be quite so comfortable eating a salad?

The day of the Albatrosses – a day of wonder.

A wonderful day that will stick in my memory for ever.

Opher's World

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The wondrous day of the albatrosses was a day to remember for ever. As we travelled north and the days cooled the wild-life changed. We lost the boobies but we gained Giant Petrels. With their seven foot wingspan they were impressive birds but I wanted to see the fabled albatross. The desire was like a weight around my neck. I ached to get a single good photo of a real albatross. They were like fabled beasts.

We saw a number of them in the distance, gliding on the wind and then a few settled on the water looking like overgrown gulls, but never one close up. I was beginning to think it would never happen. But then the most incredible event occurred.

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I had my breakfast and went out of deck to find there were five or six great southern albatrosses riding the strong breeze alongside the ship. My wish…

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The Voyage Part 9 – Wild-life

It was fabulous to see the last vestiges of these wonderful creatures. They once used to be common but now are a rarity. At least I got to see them before they are all gone.

Opher's World

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On the crossing we were joined by large birds which seemed to hang or glide in the air around us. They were boobies. First there was a single brown booby and then a number began to appear. They swept along the side of the boat sometimes hanging in the air feet away from me seeming to be studying me with their astute beady eyes.

There were three types of boobies – the brown booby, the spectacled booby and the red legged booby. They were all magnificent but I was particularly fond of the red legged variety with its yellow tail feathers and blue beak.

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The boobies would soar over the waves seeking food. They feasted on the flying fish that scudded away in large numbers, escaping the huge predator that was our ship. As our boat cut through the water the bow-wave would eject flying fish and the boobies would…

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May – complete loss of credibility! Please go!

This obnoxious, destructive, extreme right-wing government has reached a new low. May has pulled out of a vote she knew she had no chance of winning.

All her bribes (peerages and ministerial positions) have fallen on deaf ears.

All her threats (demotions) have come to nothing.

To save her hide she has pulled the vote.

After years of austerity and decimation of our public services the vultures are finally coming home to roost. They’ll pick over the corpse of this heinous bunch of extremists.

What now?

She is only putting off the evil hour!

She went to her cabinet and they said no.

She went to her party and they said no.

She went to the public and they said no.

She has now gone back to the EU and they are saying no.

She’s afraid to go to parliament because she knows what the answer will be!

She’s running scared, doing everything she can to hang on to power! And that is what it is all about – power! The good of the country has never been the slightest consideration!

They are lining up to knife her!

Good riddance is what I say!! I have not the slightest bit of pity for her! She has presided over the most callous government we have ever had. For ideological reasons they have hammered the poor and destroyed public services. Everything is in crisis. The economy limps along! It is as disastrous as you could get!

She went in with the right-wing extremists in order to gain power. They are a vicious bunch. Now the rabid wolves she ran with will rip her to pieces!

Let’s hope the end is quick!

The only way this is going to be resolved is with a new government and a people’s vote!

Come on Corbyn! Step up to the plate!

ProBrexit demonstration dwarfed by counter demonstration!!

We are constantly being told that to have a democratic People’s Vote would result in a huge breakdown of law and order! Bollocks!!

The fear is that the right-wing bootboys will take to the streets and rampage. The reality is that these fascists are a tiny minority and the population have had enough of their violent tactics and intolerant, racist rhetoric.

Tommy Robinson’s rally was vastly overshadowed by people who are sick to death with this rise of fascism. We fought a war against it. To be British is to be tolerant and outgoing. We have always welcomed refugees!! We are not going to allow these intolerant racists, fascists, Islamophobes and xenophobes to set the agenda. We want our compassionate country back!

The British people have spoken with their feet and actions!! They neither want right-wing stridency nor Brexit!!

We want to be an outgoing, pleasant country!

Here’s to the People’s Vote!!

The Voyage Part 23 – Madeira – a tropical jewel of an island.

I enjoy travelling, writing and photography. This combines all three.

Opher's World

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We had two days chugging through the sea a long way off the coast of Africa. There was a distinct feeling that I was leaving all the exotic stuff behind. We only had two stops ahead and they were both easily accessible from home and distinctly European. They did not have quite the same cache as Brazil or the Falklands. But I was determined to squeeze every last drop out of the experience.

I was making the most of the sun. It was cooler and had lost that tropical rawness but there were still plenty of UV rays to transform into Vitamin D. Sunlight is very bad for the skin but it does have a way of lifting the spirit. To get up, thrown on a T-shirt and shorts and step out into the warmth is a pleasant experience. In another week I would be disembarking into the winter chill…

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The Teaching of White Eagle – from my Grandfather Lewis Forsyth

My Grandfather was a spiritualist medium and healer. He recited teaching from the Native American Chief White Eagle while in a trance.

This small book is the collection of those surviving teachings.

Words of wisdom from the spirit world.

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/179097867X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1544432238&sr=1-3&keywords=Lewis+Forsyth+White

In the USA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/179097867X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1544432131&sr=1-1&keywords=lewis+Forsyth+White