As the New Year begins at least some of your goals should be like the
Prehistoric Cave girls drawn by Robert Crumb…Big, Hairy and Audacious
Studies have found that those who have written goals are at least four
times more successful than those who just drift through life aimlessly.
Sadly I must admit that up till now I’ve been a drifter and I have all
the lack of results to prove it.
As we go into a new year it’s an appropriate time to pause and
reflect on the year that was and,more importantly, a time to envision
what we want to achieve in the future.
In making our resolutions or goals we should tap into our passions.
Find projects we will be motivated and happy to complete and stay
committed to the process of achieving them. It’s essential to write the
goals down. Also they should be very specific, not vague.The clearer the
goal is in your mind, and then on paper, the more likely that one day
it will be realized.
Those who understand themselves well can easily create a Life
Mission but for most it requires some serious soul searching and
imagination. Having a clear Mission makes it easier to see if a goal
really fits you or not.
Think of your own funeral or if that’s too morbid then imagine your
hundredth brthday party. Now that most of your life goals would
hopefully have been completed what would people say about you ? What
would you want people to say about you ? Are you working towards
achieving that ?
Another, somewhat morbid, exercise that can help clarify your purpose, and
thereby assist in setting good goals, is to imagine what you’d do if you
knew you only had a week or a month left to live. Clarifying your
deeper value systems, by doing exercises like this,will help you set
really meaningful goals.
Most people don’t set goals. They know it would help them be more
succesful but although it’s easy to do,it’s also very easy not to do,as Jim
Rohn said. You must fight procrastination, don’t put off setting your
goals, there is nothing more likely to aid your future success.
Another mistake people often make is to set really easy goals or goals
that don’t reach for much. They set safe targets that will not take
them out of their comfort zone. Although these goals are generally achieved they
don’t bring much happiness or change the world.
Some experts believe that the best goals are those that are so
outrageous your friends would laugh at you if you told them about it.
Other experts advise that you include friends and family in your most
meaningful goals. I think it depends on the goal and also on the type
of friends you have.
In general though it’s good if you have the support of Family and
Friends and a strong faith to help you make it through challenging
times. Whether this means you share the details of all your wildest
dreams with them is a matter of personal choice.
Remember to balance both professional and personal goals and have a
mixture of each type. Use methods effective in one arena in the other
as well. If you use elaborate spreadsheets to monitor your business
finances why not balance your personal credit card expenses that way
Many goals,especially the Big Hairy Audacious types,will be long
term. It’s not hard for the more meaningful ones to require over five
years to accomplish so the next step is critical.
Break down the Major goals into daily steps. Take your Big, Hairy
and Audacious Goal, Something crazy, something so ambitious that people
would laugh if they knew you wanted to achieve it. Then work backwards
and determine the timeline of likely steps to achieve it and when
they’d have to occur.
From this timeline you can create the 5 year goals, the one year
goals, the monthly goals and the weekly and finally daily goals.
Eat the Elephant one bite at a Time.
Many self made success stories have emphasized that it’s the
achievement of daily goals which are most meaningful as they forge the
habits you really need for lasting success.
Disciplined success habits must be honed each day until they become
Be undaunted in the pursuit of your Happiness. Follow your Bliss.
Keep evaluating your progress.With focus and determination and creative flexibility
your success is guaranteed.
There was a man similar to Usain Bolt, Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, Vybz Kartel and even Michael Jackson.
This man was once a speed record holder, he was one of the richest men in the World and he had famous love affairs with several Hollywood starlets. He had a slew of critics too, they said the art he created was too Sexy and too Violent and he later became a crazy recluse.
He was Howard Hughes.
Ok, so it’s true that Hughes didn’t run on a track, like Bolt does and Howard Hughes used airplanes to set all his speed records and yes it’s true that Hughes didn’t sing Dancehall songs, like Vybz Kartel, instead his art form was Big Budget Movies, but I think it’s still clear that Howard Hughes lived a legendary life.
Bolt often says in interviews that he wants to become a Legend, I hope he will avoid all the pitfalls that Hughes fell into. In fact I think we could all learn a lot from the Howard Hughes life story.
Nowadays though few people want to read long books so perhaps you can just watch some movies inspired by Howard Hughes instead.
It is, understandably, nearly impossible to capture such a multi-dimensional character fully in one film but the Martin Scorcese film, “The Aviator”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, was quite excellent. Every detail was just perfect from the Acting straight down to the musical score and costuming.
I also recently discovered that Howard Hughes is one of the inspirations behind the famous Marvel comic character “Iron Man”, (or more precisely his alter ego Tony Starks) who, despite being brilliant, has severe personal flaws. The comic-based movie “Rocketeer” also has a Hughes-inspired character.
Two other movies “Melvin and Howard” and “The Hoax” also detail aspects of the bizarre incidents that often surrounded Hughes.
The first is about the so-called “Mormon Will”, that surfaced after Hughes death, and the second is about a false biography, that someone wrote about Howard Hughes while he was alive, that forced the hermit magnate to defend himself with legal action.
As good as all those movies were though I enjoyed most of all the documentary about Hughes in the Modern Marvels series shown on History Channel. It showed the brilliant side of this incredible man. His company is still at the forefront of aviation technology and also critical in the development of the satellite television broadcasting that has made our world smaller. It showed how even when Hughes was in hospital for severe burns from a plane crash he designed a better hospital bed that is still in use today.
Howard Hughes, the inventor, the legend, we Salute you.
My wife finally got the movie she’d been talking about all week and was gleefully bragging about it. I was less than excited though because invariably her taste seemed diametrically opposed to mine.
Where I liked mythical and unrealistic, fantasy type shows, ( like Matrix or Star Wars ), she loved realistic people in realistic settings. Where I loved action and perhaps a dry comedy, she would go more for drama and the occasional slapstick.
The only consistent common ground was perhaps movies with Denzel Washington, but while I watched those for the interesting plots and great stories, I couldn’t help thinking, she was watching them because of Denzel’s smile.
We were beginning to at least understand each other’s tastes though and respectfully agreed to disagree while respecting each other’s choices.
“What’s the name of that movie you got again ?” I asked just to make conversation, not with any real interest in the answer.
“It’s called The Emperor’s Club. Have you heard of it ?” she asked, all smiles and bubbly.
Emperor’s Club. I immediately began to be more interested, Emperor’s Club, wasn’t that the name of some high class international prostitution ring that had caused a recent political scandal ? I wondered to myself.
“Nope never heard of it what’s it about ?”, I asked while trying to look bored. Maybe this was a test to see if I was interested in Prostitutes, or something, I didn’t want to seem too keen.
“It’s about a teacher at a boys school. I researched it on the net, just like you do. Based on the shows I like, the IMDB website recommended this one.”, she beamed, trying to show me she could beat me at my own game.
You see, I always use sites like Flixster, the same way avid book buyers use Amazon, to tell me movies I’d probably enjoy, based on the movies I already like. It generally works out very, very well and obviously my wife thought it was a great idea too.
There are hardly any women in this story, a marked departure from the usual Hollywood fare. It’s about a male teacher at an all boys school, there’s not a prostitute in sight. Yet I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has something that is rare yet always welcome. It has a thought provoking premise and a well scripted story that is excellently acted even by minor characters.
The basic theme of the story seems to be that to truly be considered great you must not just achieve for your own selfish aims but should contribute something to the greater good.
The movie conveys it’s theme by focusing on a troubled youth who doesn’t seem to care about fitting in although he is also obviously very brilliant. This youth, new to the strict school, causes immediate conflicts with his classmates and also the teacher (excellently portrayed by Kevin Kline) Mr. Hunterd.
I think one of the strengths of this type of movie is that we can all relate to the school environment and through such stories we get to reflect more on our own learning experiences and favourite teachers and subjects of our past. We easily compare those we know to those of the movie even when they pale in comparison or excel those in the story.
Basically the teacher begins to realize that the troubled youth is similar to himself, in many ways, and Hunterd goes the extra mile trying to make the boy get motivated and improve in his school work.
The teacher even visits the boy’s father who lives many miles away in the city. The father is a powerful man, a politician, who tries to negotiate and bargain with everyone but absolutely resists the thought of anyone else molding his son’s ideas.
The boy eventually, like many of his classmates, achieves much in life. He flies Hunterd in to his mansion by helicopter to remember the past and in fact relive it somewhat. A school reunion including a contest.
It seems the men have not been able to shake off the past and their boyhood foibles remain.
Without dwelling on the dramatic points of the film (don’t want to spoil your viewing experience) I’ll simply say that the events at the close of the film leave an older wiser Hunterd, and the viewer, asking whether the students really learned the most important lesson of all.
As for me I was quick to realise that this film, based on a short story (entitled “The Palace Thief”, by Ethan Canin, was a true classic, worthy of deeper study.
I praised my wife for her excellent choice and she smiled proudly and offered to make me a little sandwhich and a drink.
As I sat watching the closing credits and sipping on the cold drink which her loving hands had made for me I smiled, feeling like a King, in my Palace.
I was now a member of “The Real Emperor’s Club”. It feels so much better than “The Dead Poets Society”.
I know you think I’m just another album in an old record store but I’m not. After all how many albums talk to you like this ? Huh ? How many ?
I see you come in here, looking at all of us, the old eighties music Albums and I know what you’re thinking. Rick Astley and the Purple Symbol, over there, couldn’t care less about you, but I’m different.
They want you to just forget but I need you to remember.
I’d like to rip some silly thoughts out of your head right now. Get Envy out of there. I’d like you to stop envying people, you see on tv and read about in magazines, and those you hear on the radio. I’d like you to realize that nothing ever comes easy and whatever a man achieves in Life he’ll have to answer for on his own.
Who says he’s a success anyhow ? Suppose he never got to be the war hero he was destined to be. Do you even know the truth ? Suppose instead of fighting the war he’s addicted to drugs with names you can’t even pronounce. Suppose the singer with the movie star looks and all those top Billboard hits never got a chance to raise his own child.
Imagine if the Star had a son, who cried daily , just hoping to talk to his Dad.
Dad was busy, busy making music and well…just Imagine. His son told the other kid’s at school he was the son of a Star but they never believed because the son never even had the Star’s last name. Do you still envy him ? It’s sad man but it has to stop.
So, I’m gonna steal your brain. Too much envy in you, it needs to stop.
Like your friend from the old neighborhood who you were envying the other day and saying to yourself “He’s so lucky. He has the perfect marraige and a great business”. Would you still envy him if you knew he had AIDS or even just plain old Diabetes ?
Work with what you have to get what you want. Start right where you are. Right here and right now.
You little punk. You want the glory and can’t handle the pain. It’s a package deal, you all signed the contract before you were even born. You little weasel face, it’s too late now. I think you’re going to remember, most people forget conversations like this. Just don’t envy anyone for their contracts that’s what makes me angry.
Fulfill your purpose. No time for envy. Don’t make me angry.
You think you’re tough ? You think you can handle it ? I’m gonna rip out your brain.
You can’t walk a day in his shoes and you don’t even want to.
I want to rip your brain wide open. Yeah and first thing I’m gonna take out is that Envy.
Yeah that stupid envy , that stupid belief that you can claim another man’s glory without feeling that man’s pain.
If you want glory go get your own. Blood, Sweat and tears. Experience the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Do it for yourself.
I want to Brainjack you. You can’t stop me. But I’ll see how you do with your contract first. Stop being a punk and be a Real Man or else I’ll be back and I’ll tear your Brain wide open. Live your own Life or I will Shake you Down.
Jamaica’s leading DJs have sparked an international feud over which is better Gaza or Gully.
The battle has even reached to the real Gaza and various parts of Africa but this is certainly not the first or even the biggest lyrical battle ever.
I’m old school. I remember rap back in the days before Lil Kim, before Salt_N-Pepa and even before Queen Latifah. In those early days of Rap music there was really only one woman worth mentioning and her name was Roxanne. She was so pretty and talented in fact that you called her name twice and the song about her called “Roxanne, Roxanne” by UTFO was a smash hit. It spoke of a lady who was refusing their advances.
Roxanne Shante’ (birthname Lolita Gooden) made what we’d call the “counter action” song “Roxanne’s Revenge” which also became a hit for the teenage singing sensation.The single was released in late 1984, taking the original beats from an instrumental version of “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It was very confrontational and vulgar, but was an instant hit that sold over 250,000 copies in the New York area alone. Legal action followed, and it was re-released in early 1985 with new beats and the obscenities removed.
A series of Roxanne songs then came out in fact it may be the longest running series of Answer records in history according to Wikipedia. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roxanne_Wars
for a list of the various songs in the Roxanne Wars.
There was even another woman who did a song calling herself “The Real Roxanne”.
However for Roxanne Shante’ after two albums she became disillusioned by the cut throat music business and as a teen age mom she felt swindled.
When she was around 19 she suddenly remembered a “throwaway clause” in her contract had said that the company that signed her would fund her education for life.
Amazingly the teenage mom who had felt tricked and cheated turned the tables on the whole music game and earned her PhD. in Psychology and made the label foot the bill.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Shante is now a shining role model for the rap community. “Dr. Shante’s life is inspiring,” Simmons said. “She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible.”
Shante, 38, is now active in the community. She offers $5,000 college scholarships each semester to female rappers through the nonprofit Hip Hop Association.
This blog is partly based on the story Rapper behind ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D by Walter Dawkins please read it.
Dora the Explorer, the famous Nickelodeon cartoon character, is growing up, and while many fear this is happening too quickly, I think it’s inevitable.
Dora the Teen will be able to impart life lessons to those at the very impressionable and important Teen Age stage of their lives.
But will the trend to grow this booming Dora Industry really stop there ?
Dora is praised for being very educational for kids but we adults can also learn a few lessons from her cartoons.
Dora for Adults will no doubt contain the following lessons;
Always walk with your Boots.
Boots is Dora’s best friend in fact Dora is never seen without Boots.
Swiper, No Swiping
For those parents who buy every new Dora product please take heed, the second lesson, from Dora for Adults, is that when using a Credit card, on a low paying salary, it’s best to follow the catch phrase “Swiper, No Swiping”. Use cash to stay within your means or better yet just teach your kids that “No means No”.
This lesson and catch phrase will also come in handy as Dora grows up and begins to face the unwanted attentions of peers and even sick depraved adults.
“No means No”
No matter how far they push the dress code in these cartoons let’s just hope that viewers get the key message and remember always that “No means No”.
Some people think you should always spend Valentine’s Day with a beautiful mistress, and I guess I must agree, for that’s exactly what I did, this year, and it was great fun.
My mistress is a real Goddess known simply as Caissa.
Let me explain before my wife gets too angry. Caissa is the “patron goddess” of chess players.
She was created in a poem called Caïssa written in 1763 by English poet and philologist Sir William Jones.
In the poem, the god Mars falls in love with the goddess Caissa, portrayed as a Thracian dryad. Caissa rebuffs his advances and suggests he take solace in the company of the god Euphron—the god of sport. After hearing Mars’ laments, Euphron
…fram’d a tablet of celestial mold,
Inlay’d with squares of silver and of gold;
Then of two metals form’d the warlike band,
That here compact in show of battle stand;
He taught the rules that guide the pensive game,
And call’d it Caissa from the dryad’s name:
(Whence Albion’s sons, who most its praise confess,
Approv’d the play, and nam’d it thoughtful Chess.)
Mars then presents the game of chess to Caissa in an attempt to win her affection.
So for die hard chess players, Caissa is often invoked as a source of inspiration or luck, they often say things like “Caissa was with me in that game.”
So, in other words, I spent the whole day,all of Valentine’s, just playing chess.
It gets worse too, I wasn’t even playing chess with anyone else. I was really just fiddling around with this new computer program I got which plays at the level of a real Grand Master.
I learned a whole lot of new stuff about how I can use computers to benefit my strategies on the board. Stuff which is totally boring to those who don’t realize that Chess is the best game ever invented.
Poker does have a lot of strategy too, but Chess is the Ultimate game. Both games are perfect for the internet era.
Anyhow I was totally excited to see how far things have come in the world of computer chess. I’m not a racing car fan, but I do like to think Laterally, so let me try to give an analogy of what’s happening.
Basically chess players now have real live Grandmasters sitting right on our desktops. This has happened because the computer programs are built like Formula 1 cars now.
The outer shell of the car is what the computer program calls the GUI or graphical user interface. Its the nice board and all the features you use to play the game. The eye candy if you will.
Two popular GUIs nowadays for chess are Arena and Fritz 11.
The real power comes from the Engine, so of course they’re called Chess Engines, that’s where the calculations are done and the evaluations of positions that makes the computers of today Grandmasters in rating level. The best engine around now is Rybka, which apparently means ‘little fish” in Czech.
The power of the engine also depends what type of hardware configuration it’s running on and how the resources of the computer are organized. Things like Hash tables, etc, (way beyond the scope of this intro) come into play here but suffice it to say the bigger the computer, (more memory, greater speed), is usually the better the result of the lines it calculates.
Deep Blue, the computer that beat a reigning world champion in a match, was a mainframe, but now an average desktop computer packs more than enough strength to beat a Grandmaster.
What really intrigued me though was that the human component is still way, way from being obsolete. Each of the top programs also uses what are called “Opening Books”. These electronic “books” are really huge trees of variations that the program will play. The strategies it will use in the beginning of the game. The basic approach to victory if you will.
What amazed me is that these books are critical to the success of the whole Program and they are made by Humans, by a laborious process like distilling wine. Men like Kevin Frayer, Dagh Nielsen and Sedat Canbaz are famous for producing high quality books to guide the chess machines like a Formula 1 Driver.
Humans must direct the brute force of the machine, for best effect, even though its admittedly more powerful than us in raw calculation. It’s like riding a horse, I guess. Where the “computer horse” and man work as a team,really closely connected, its a “Centaur”.
There are even tournaments where they have what are known as “Centaur” matches. Centaur is where a human using a computer plays chess. Usually of course using a computer is strictly prohibited for a tournament but now its becoming popular. I guess it’s like when the pocket calculator was first invented and banned from most Maths exams.
Learning all this from my Mistress was really fascinating to me. Just goes to show that I need a life, I’m a nerd or something but I was really totally happy all day long.
Wifey didn’t miss the roses either because she claims that she’s Jehovah’s Witness and they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.
“Chess is a beautiful mistress to whom we keep coming back, no matter how many times she rejects us”. –Bent Larsen.
Happy Valentine’s !!
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