Monday, February 13, 2017

HOW TO POLISH A PERSONALITY

MY SECOND SPEECH TO THE UNITARIANS OF YUMA.

I began by reminding them that Buddha once did a complete sermon by simply handing an object to one of his disciples. No one but that disciple got the message however.  Perhaps I could have better luck.

I placed these 8 rocks on a table and invited the whole congregation up for a view---telling them that the heart of my message was illustrated here.
Before continuing, see if you can get the message I want to convey.

Row by row they all came up, had a look, and returned to their seats.

Then I asked what was the message I wanted to convey. Keep in mind that the title of my speech:
HYPER UNITARIANISM was printed in the order of service.
So how, I asked, do these 8 rocks communicate that message.

One person quickly got my point.  She said :  four of the rocks were much more beautiful than the others and they got that way by tumbling together..  I said "BINGO" 
ant then elaborated: 

4 OF THESE ROCKS HAVE BEEN THROUGH A PROCESS---THEY HAVE TUMBLED WITH OTHER ROCKS.
Note that they have not lost their essential form--only their roughness.
They feel good to the touch--and if you found one of these it's likely you would take it home.

PEOPLE LIKEWISE ARE POLISHED BY "TUMBLING" --RELATING WITH ONE ANOTHER.
But not just any type of relating will polish a personality.  
In fact, some relating, as in prisons, will coarsen a personality.

ONE MUST RELATE WITH AUTHENTICITY.
When people engage with one another, they do so in one of 4 levels:
1. RITUAL:  (hello, how are you--etc)
2. PASTIME: (gossip, current events, car talk, sports etc)
3. WORK. (data exchange--non personal stuff)
4. INTIMACY:  (sharing what you really THINK, WANT, FEEL, HAVE DONE) aka AUTHENTICITY

HOW POLISH HAPPENS
When you engage others with authenticity, you will, from time to time, note a difference  from yourself.
Some of these differences you will admire.
Quietly, often unconsciously, you will absorb that quality--adding it to your personality.

IT'S JUST THAT EASY --THAT'S HOW ROCKS AND PERSONALITIES BECOME BEAUTIFUL.

HYPER UNITARIANISM IS THE SPECIAL POSSIBILITIES OF ENGAGING WITH UNITARIANS.
IMAGINE---TUMBLING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE--FOR THE MOST PART--RID THEMSELVES OF SUPERSTITION AND DOCTRINE.
Believing in doctrine is like having mud on your shoes in the dance of life.

WHAT IS UNITARIANISM?
Simply put ---it is Christianity without doctrines.
Doctrines like the trinity (that was the first one we got rid of) origional sin, Hell, The divinity of Jesus, The virgin birth, resurrection of Jesus, infallibility of the bible etc.
Beginning in Transylvania and Poland in the 1600's and spreading around the world--over a period of 300 years, our courageous little denomination dropped all these doctrines, one by one,  Till what was 
left was a fellowship of courageous friends focused on VALUES. 
Most importantly--we had each other to "dance" with--without the mud.

HERE IS A HAMMERBLOW AGAINST DOCTRINES delivered by commedian Ricky Gervais on the Late Show to Stephen Colbert:  If humanity were to start all over again, the religions that emerged  would be very different  BUT THE SCIENCE THAT EMERGED WOULD BE THE SAME.

WHAT IS HYPER UNITARIANISM?
It is the super fun and super experiences we can have when "tumbling" with authenticity.
In the 1980's for example, a group of us in Tampa Fla began a weekly "tumble" session--a discussion group.  We engaged with authenticity, sharing all sorts of information.  Eventually we decided to do a project---something that had not been done before--to hold a UNITARIAN REVIVAL.  (a revival is a week-long series of services that conventional churches hold occasionally to intensify their commitment, recruit new members and celebrate their fellowship.  usually done for a week or so)
So we held the very first ever Unitarian Revival!
For 5 nights running we packed the church and celebrated Unitarianism and our happy fellowship.
Yours truly was the featured speaker--delivering Unitarian sermons in the style of  a Baptist evangelists.
IT WAS MORE THAN A HIT---LOCAL NEWSPAPERS DID A FULL PAGE SPREAD AND OUR DENOMINATIONAL PAPER PUT US ON THE FRONT PAGE. LATER WE TOOK THE SHOW ON THE ROAD--DOING IT AROUND THE NATION.  NOTE THE HEADLINE.


The circled paragraph says: The revival meetings were inspired by Dome President Joyce Glauser and sparked by Dome "Evangelist"  and program director Randy Vining who led most of the meetings.  
Joyce Glauser was and is my most important  LIFE MENTOR--still supporting and advising me.
She is the Author of Amazon book:  I'LL BE SEEING YOU.  She wrote the endorsement  on the back of my book: Forty years a nomad.


I HAVE SINCE DONE THAT FIERCE SPEECH: BELIEVE AND BE DAMNED more than a hundred times nationwide.  AND IF I GET ENOUGH REQUEST I WILL PRINT IT OUT ON THIS BLOG
WAIT! WAIT!--I'VE ALREADY DONE THAT IN 5 BITE SIZED BITS: CLICK BELOW.


RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I BELIEVE THAT ANYWHERE--ANYTIME PEOPLE ENGAGE WITH AUTHENTICITY AND ALIGN THEIR ENERGIES THEY BECOME A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. "ISOLATION IS A DEAD END--THE SELF IS FULFILLED IN COMMUNITY. "  Teilard De Chardin



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

WHAT IF YOU HAD AN AUDIENCE?

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?


Twice in the last month I've been asked to speak to this group--the Unitarian Universalist of Yuma, Az--a terrific honor because these are the best and brightest minds of Yuma.  If you doubt it, consider the quality of these Unitarians from history: 
Isiac Newton
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams 
John Quincy Adams
William Howard Taft 
Louisa May Alcott
Susan B Anthony
Buckminster Fuller
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Charles Dickins
Albert Schweitzer
Herman Melville
Daniel Webster
Joseph Priestly
Pete Seeger
Rod Serling
Paul Newman

So what could the Mobile Kodger possibly offer to this brainy group?

I ASKED THEM AN HONEST QUESTION:
(An honest question is one that you honestly would like an answer to)

WOULD OUR LIVES BE RICHER WITHOUT  RELIGION?

About 6 of the 7 billion people on earth hold some sort of  religious belief in their head.
(Religious beliefs---all of them--are theories and guesses about the WHY of life)
(Science, by contrast, is concerned with explaining the HOW of life)
Science has done the better job--so far, providing us with evidence-based explanations of how we came to be

HERE , IN SUMMARY IS WHAT SCIENCE HAS REVEALED ABOUT OUR ORIGIN:
1.Beginning with a big bang (that's as far back as we can go) pure energy condensed into matter.
2. Matter aggragated itself into giant balls with such huge pressures inside that fusion took place.
3. Fusion releases  energy contained in matter,lighting up stars by the billions
4. Fusion also complexifies matter from simple to more complex: from simple hydrogen to helium; from helium to lithium, from lithium to beryllium----to boron--to carbon--nitrogen--oxygen and so on up the list of elements. (but interestingly no further than iron--which does not fuse inside a star)
(all heavier elements require the force of an exploding star)
5. When stars explode they thrust their accumulated, more complex matter, out into huge clouds.
6. The clouds eventually becomes a large spiraling disc with spherical lumps of this enriched matter
circling a larger lump in the middle---which lights up as a second generation star--blowing away the cloud--leaving planets circling it--creating a solar system.
7.Just the right mix of elements in just the right circumstance on just the right distanced planet caused life to spring into being.
8. Life evolved, in time, to become ever more intricate and humans appeared.

THIS IS THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR KNOWLEDGE.  We do not know the WHY of our existence.
BUT OUR BIG BRAIN HUNGERS FOR A WHY.

SO PEOPLE SPECULATE--AND THEORIZE---AND PROCLAIM--AND PROPHECY--CREATING GREAT BODIES OF BELIEF---WHICH OFTEN CLASH WITH ONE ANOTHER.

SO MY QUESTION TO THIS BRIGHT AUDIENCE WAS WHETHER WE WOULD, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY, BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THE BELIEF SYSTEMS--MERELY STICKING WITH THE HOW?

IS THE HOW -THE SCIENCE STORY THAT WE HAVE EVIDENCE FOR--IS IT  WONDEROUS ENOUGH,  INSPIRING ENOUGH--AND SOLID ENOUGH TO 0BUILD OUR PERSONAL LIVES, OUR ETHICAL SYSTEMS AND OUR NATIONS  UPON?

I threw the question to the audience.  Their response: I estimate about 50/50 YES AND NO.

(My personal recommendation is to build our theories on top of  the science story: speculate away, theorize away--build great movements if you will---BUT BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE SPECULATING AND THEORIZING.   AND FOR (GOD'S) SAKE KEEP TWEAKING YOUR THEORIES AS NEW FACTS ROLL IN.

Believing that you have certainty or access to certainty will eventually turn you into a cruel jerk.

When I get a chance I will summarize my second speech.






Friday, January 20, 2017

RUBBER TRAMP RENDEZVOUS 2017

500 "RUBBER TRAMPS" AND WANNABEES GATHERED IN THE DESERT NEAR QUARTZSITE ARIZONA TO CELEBRATE OUR LIFESTYLE AND SHARE INFORMATION.
Can you see through my front window how rigs are scattered across the rocky scrublands.
I estimate the space we occupy is a half mile long and a half mile wide.

Every day at ten oclock we  gather for a seminar on some subject relevant to our lifestyle/
Here's the schedule and if you can't read it, the subjects are:
1. orientation to Quartzsite 2. safety seminar 3. Favorite gadgets show and tell 4. Solar power seminar.
5. Tin can seminar (anonymous questions are drawn from a tin can and addressed by the group. 6. State residence issues, mail, drivers license, health insurance. 7. Cooking methods show and tell. 8. Travel to Algodones and Baja. 9. Workcamping seminar. 10. Boondocking Seminar.

Quartzsite has great sunsets.

more and more came---like they did at woodstock--from across the nation.

This rig likely came from Oklahoma?

People let you peer into their homes" . This one engineered into the back of a cargo truck.

This one into the back of a car.  Yes he has an adequate bed up front.
Two of my special friends: Laurie and Lisa with their tent.
Travis--a most remarkable guy.  In his thirties--has won his freedom--is super intelligent and road smart.

Lots of glass in this rig.


On day 6 I led the tin can seminar, proving to one and all that the group is wiser than ony one individual.

The questions are drawn one at a time from that can.  Most unusual question was written on a hundred dollar bill.  It asked: "Why is it so hard to find a girlfriend.' (lots of clever answers given.  The money was given to someone who needed it.)
Documentary makers asked me for an interview--came to my rig and "miked"me

for an hour long question and answer session to be shown on the AARP youtube channel.
My message in a nutshell:  "Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams"(Thoreau)
You can do this---you can afford this--a million of you could hit the road like I did--or respond to your particular fascinations.

Here is the brains and the host of this splendid gathering---Bob Wells.--a man who once lived in his van on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska because he could not afford rent.  He saved his money ,won his freedom--wrote a book--began to share his ideas in a blog: (check it out here ) 
Now he has an audience of perhaps a million--and has the credibility to issue a nationwide invitation to "rubber trampers" to assemble in Quartzsite, Arizona.  A movie has been made starring him: (check it out here ) He is truly a philosopher who wants to make a better world by inspiring people to follow their personal dreams.





Friday, December 02, 2016

SO WHATCHA BEEN DOING?

HOW DOES THIS VAGABOND SPEND HIS TIME?  Here's a reasonable sample of my activities for the past two months.

The road toward Show Low, Az--these high meadows are about 8000 ft elevation.


My companion and I agreed to meet waaay over there in this belly-up would-be subdivision from the 30's called Show Low Pines.  You can buy a  big lot here for about $4000--or get it almost free by paying the back taxes.


We have a friend here-- who lets us camp on his lot.  We stayed two nights.

Then we split---He went to Texas and I to Cottonwood, Az , one of my favorite places.  You can camp free here indefinitely if you'll move every two weeks.

Another of my favorite places FR525.  Almost every day visitors drop in from the sky.
Spent happy days at the Library and Cottonwood Recreation center.

One day I took a friend on this lovely hike along Oak Creek Canyon.

She's quite a photographer--got some good shots.

The guy playing the flute is Richard--a man after my own heart.  He plays Piano for high end restaurants--lives in his car quite comfortably---preserves his freedom by living simply.  The couple in the truck is Jessica and Abram.  They built this splendid wooden trailer.
One night Kat and I went dancing.  She is the wisest and most dedicated citizen I've ever met.
And a great dancer!
Then I went to Prescott for a night then on to Yarnell, Az. Along the way was struck by this brilliant white steel fence.  I estimate it ran for 10 miles.  A huge overkill for fencing--made no sense to me.  So I quizzed the locals and learned that a very rich man just likes the look of  it defining his property--pays   A full time crew to keep it this way.

Stopped in the next town--Yarnell to browse in an antique shop.  Look what I found:  The biography of a guy from my hometown:  Sam Wyly--who really made good.  How good? Well he and his brother are both billionairs---and we all owe him a big debt of thanks----because it was his bright idea to dot America with cell towers.  I am now using his bright idea to send this out to you.

Then I went to Quartzsite, Az--one of my favorite places--settling in at the freebie campground named Hi Jolly

One day I walked by this trailer and the guy suddenly said to me: "I got this idea from you." 
Meet another Randy.  He explained that he read my blog and borrowed the idea of living in a cargo trailer..

Showed me the interior---nicely done.  He has so much solar power and battery power that he can operate an air conditioner.


and even a washing machine.  See it sitting there on the left?

And then one day who should appear but Hollywood Bob, Who made those terrific movies of me quoting my poems. Check them out here. We sieze the opportunity to make another one right here in Quartzsite.
"HI Jolly Returns to Quartzsite"
I'm not happy with it--He promised to revise it.

Nearby is the grave of Hi Jolly--the most visited grave in AZ.  He was a camel driver who engaged in that 1858 experiment to test the viability of camel transport in the Southwest.

And then I went to Phoenix---determined to find a camping place near downtown for easy access to the VA hospital.  I succeeded---here I am parked at the downtown American Legion.

This is an iffy area, I discovered as I walked around my neighborhood.  This sad lady shuffled along on a dreary Sunday Morning.  I followed her discretely till I found her lair.

Turns out she lives in a nearby park.

This crude mural celebrates the defeat of the notorious sheriff Joe Arpaio in the recent election.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I don't know if this life that I lead means anything at all.  I know that I love it.  Perhaps that is enough.




















Tuesday, November 22, 2016

WONDERFUL NEWS----I HAVE A DAUGHTER--25 YEARS OLD

THAT I DID NOT KNOW EXISTED---UNTIL A FEW DAYS AGO.

SHE'S BEAUTIFUL---AND WONDERFUL---AND SMART.

Somewhat like Eppie in the novel Silas Marner she appeared in my life.
With the help of her mother and the internet she found me.  Words won't describe how happy this makes me.
Have a look: https://www.facebook.com/christine.j.santos.37
A poem in my book written 10 years ago- about another situation--is eeriely prophetic:

WILD OATS

He never knew he'd fathered a daughter
Till she was fully grown,
when she sought and found her mysterious dad
and claimed him as her own.

Wild oats often return to the sower;
Mostly they bite and stress us.
But now and then, fate with a grin
returns our oats to bless us.

What a terrific opportunity!  I pledge to her that I will use all my wit and will to make this a good thing.

Monday, October 31, 2016

ROUTE 60---A GREAT AMERICAN HIGHWAY

From Socorro, NM into the depths of Arizona--it will lift you into high country, cool you with its breezes,  show you the real meaning of SPACE--let you see the wide prairies as the indians saw them---show you the stars as you've not seen them before.
AND THEN KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF WITH THE PERFORMANCE AND PROMISE OF THE WORLDS BIGGEST RADIO TELESCOPE.

Some do not like lonely roads like this one and the famous hwy 50 across Nevada---but I do. 

 One of the great paradoxes of life is that a seeming NOTHINGNESS can be a well of creativity.      (Perhaps the entire universe came from nothing.)

This highland plateau grassland between mountain ranges is an historic 200 mile cattle trail from the alpine grazing country of Arizona to the bustling railhead town of Magdelina up ahead.  What a gift from the Gods these cool grasslands must have seemed to the cowboys driving their vast herds. With lots of cattle feed underfoot, all they had to do was dig strategic wells to water them along the way.
 A string of these wells remains to this day.
 Notice on the right the remains of the railroad that took the cows to the eastern market.

The town the Cowboys aimed for was Magdalena.--This charming Lady runs the information center there.  She has historic photos to illuminate the story. I found her personal story so enchanting that I wrote her a poem and gave her one of my books.  She traveled the world then chose this spot to settle; explaining that she fell in love with SPACE. She has worked on several of the huge ranches in the area--each the size of an empire and "got hooked" on the glory of openess.

Her house (shop) was filled with antiques.

NOW BRACE YOURSELVES SWEET PEOPLE
I'm about to show you a magical valley---only 20 miles beyond Magdalena,

on the other side of those mountains.  

It is called "the plains of  San Augustine--and during the day you might see this.

And at night---this.

Image result for photos of vla nm
And from the air--these 27 whopping telescopes.  each dish is more than 80 feet across.  Each works 24 hours a day and all of them are aimed at precisely the same spot.  The "pictures" they reveal are added together with giant computers to reveal.....

Image result for pictures taken by the vla
things like this quasar in a galaxy far far away

I pose to show their size.  They will let you visit this one.  Up close you will be impressed at how "busy" they are---moving every few minutes---all 27 of them precisely coordinated.  The mind blowing news is that in the last few decades giant computers have enhanced their powers about a million times---so that now we can see back into time and perhaps to the edge of the cosmos.

Furthermore they can now coordinate its "pictures" with hundreds of other telescopes to make ever-clearer the deep secrets of the heavens.  Click here  and  have a look.

In Datil I took a walk and took this pict for my friend Laurie--who is looking for a rig.

I camped for the night at a campground nearby and got intrigued with the couple camping in this old vw.  Try as I may I could not engage them.  When I approached they would retreat inside and close their door.

Outside their car were these two mysterious objects.  Anyone imagine what they might be? 

Moving on to Pie town.  Much TV hoopla has been made of it---Charles Kuralt did a piece on it some years back.  The cowboys of yesteryear stopped here for a piece of pie---and the tradition continues.

Nearby is a rare business---a windmill store.  These devices are underappreciated by everyone
except  ranchers.  They know that this invention along with barbed wire made ranching possible. Windmills pump water---and later they generated electricity to charge batteries. 
Inside the pie store--there they are--- a spectrum of pies: $6 a slice---$27 for a whole pie. 

As we ate---two familiar people entered the cafe: Pish and Barbara.  What are the odds of crossing paths in this remote place.  My friend Wayne would likely believe it was a whispered message from the universe. (synchronicity)
And Glory be--sitting nearby was a genuine astronomer and a genuine anthropologist---I asked both of them lots of questions.

CB and I moved on to Springerville--a big time rancher town---stopping for the night at this "waterhole.".  A friend of mine: Architect Joseph Smyth designed this structure in classic western storefront style. Read about him here. (A man with a plan to save the world)

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  So what have we learned?  I think it's this:  EVERYTHING IS INTERESTING--when looked at closely.   And EVERYTHING IS RELEVANT--even an anthill is an integral part of the whole.  Bored people are those whose curiosity is asleep.  My last remaining
boondocker companion stayed 2 more days with me then departed for an eastern adventure.  I will now drift alone for awhile and report my findings to you.