Author Archives: hobo hippie

About hobo hippie

Hi I am an old hippie and a "beat" poet and writer. I have 40 book of poetry, and have had 3 tours of U.S. and Europe. My work has been taught in colleges in the U.S and Soviet Georgia. I was co editor and publisher of "Alpha Beat Press" alpha beat soup, bouillabaisse and cokefish and cokefishing in alpha beat soup magazines with my late husband Dave Christy. I am passionate about writing, My novel "eeenie meenie minee moe is for sale on amazon books. I also write short stories and create collages. Do check out my other blogs http://museaholic.com all about #art. and http://beatnikhiway.com about #hippies and #beatniks, #counterculture, #america, and #cool people and tilliespuncturedromance.wordpress.com about #trends, #humor and the #weird. The blog is named after a Charlie Chaplin movie.

COOL PEOPLE- ONE LINERS FROM GROUCHO MARX

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Groucho Marx – 30 great one-liners

Groucho Marx in 1933

Groucho Marx (1890-1977):

‘I never forget a face, but in your case I’d be glad to make an exception.’

Your Top 40s Songs of the Sixties Decade

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Your Top 40s Songs of the Sixties Decade 

according to your vote

  60s decade Top 40 Music CountdownThe votes are in and your votes have been counted. Which song is the number one song of the decade according to your vote? Did your songs you voted on make these top 40? You can now listen to the most popular songs that our visitors enjoy the most. Where were you when these songs were being played on the radio for the very first time? What are your memories when that special song or songs are played? Well now is the time to grab your favorite beverage and your favorite partner and listen as we once again go back to the 60s to listen to the greatest music ever recorded. Neal Stevens plays these songs you voted as your favorites from the 60s decade. Enjoy listening to this great music excursion back to the 60s as they are counted down according to how you voted.

Click Here to play the greatest music ever recorded.

Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson: A compare-and-contrast thing

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Originally posted on Acid Heroes: the Legends of LSD:

It’s interesting to compare Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson.  They have a lot of similarities as well as differences.

Both came into prominence through the ’60s counterculture press.  Bukowski writing a column for the Los Angeles underground newspaper Open City in the late ’60s.  And Thompson writing for Rolling Stone magazine in San Francisco a couple years later.

Both would become just as famous (and notorious) for their larger-than-life personas, as they would for their writing.  Both were kind of self-styled “outlaws.”  Both were famous for their chemically-altered states:  Bukowski, mostly on booze; Thompson on booze and a wide variety of drugs.  Both were macho kind of “man’s man” writers, reveling in booze, broads and barroom brawls.  Both had an affinity for violent sports: Bukowski as a boxing aficionado, and Thompson with his love of football.

Both were wildly admired by Hollywood actors.  Johnny Depp became close friends with Thompson…

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The Hippie Culture 1960’s

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Hippie Culture

Hallie Israel and Molly Clark

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Overview
Hippies represent the counterculture of the 1960’s. Their lifestyle is usually associated with rock music, hallucinogenic drugs, and long, flowy hair and clothing. They were seen by some as disrespectful and dirty and a disgrace to society, but to many they are a reminder of a more peaceful, carefree part of America’s history. Hippies were strongly against violence and supported liberal policies and freedom of personal expression, their lifestyles centering around the concepts of peace, freedom, and harmony for all people.

Generally, counterculture is used to describe the culture of a group of people whose morals, values, core ideals, and lifestyle differs, contradicts, or is polar to those of mainstream society at the time. Culturally, it is often described as a social equivalent to extremely liberal politics and radicalism.
Who
The hippies of the 1960’s were the teenagers of the baby boom generation, so they were found in large numbers. They were generally Caucasian, middle-class, white teenagers between the ages of 15-25 who were tired of the restrictions put on them by society and their conservative parents. Most lived in urban areas or came from an urban background. They were tired of conforming and began to express themselves in a radical way. Hippies didn’t care about money and worked as little as possible. Instead, many of them shared what they had and lived together in large communes, while others simply lived in poverty by choice. They had very liberal political views and strongly protested the government and the war. The lifestyle of a hippie centered around non-conformity, because hippie culture is all about embracing who you really are and rejecting the need to conform to their society or authorities. Some of the main external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRdDJjB3t0ePnLaH4oj-aySwHvv-XP-d_rPMgZkh61Nzhbu6E5vIQideas of hippie culture are listed below:
-Do not conform to society.
-Materialism is wrong.
-Technology is unnecessary and oftentimes dehumanizing.
-Be your own person, not who anyone else wants you to be.
Although each hippie embraced his or her own ideals as a part of their new culture, the stereotypical hippie:
-Used hallucinogenic drugs.
-Practiced or were interested in Eastern Religions
-Had very liberal political views.
-Peace and love instead of hate and war.
-Expressed extreme tolerance and on the subject of sexuality and sex.
-Live life to the fullest
-Embrace the peace and love expressed by music, as well as the unification it creates among people, usually rock and roll.

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What
The culture of hippies was unlike anything the people of the United States had ever seen before. They focused their lives around the ideas of peace, love, freedom, and living life to the fullest. To heighten their experiences spiritually and physically, many hippies used hallucinogenic drugs, like LSD. They listened to rock music and encouraged artistic expression in all different mediums. They lived peaceful lives and believed that living together in harmony was possible and necessary. Because of this, they strongly opposed violence, in particular, the Vietnam War. They believed that the government was the root of this and many other evils in society at the time. Due to this belief in particular, many officials and authorities at the time felt threatened by the prescence and radical ideas expressed by hippie culture and saw them as a danger to society, instead of a peaceful force who disagreed with their way of life. Still however, many authorities at the time felt threatened by the presence and radical ideas expressed by hippie culture.
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The hippie movement originated in the United States and was seen throughout the country, later spreading through other parts of the world. The main epicenters of it, however, were in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco and in the East Village of New York City, which were home to two of the largest hippie communities that ever existed. As the 1960’s progressed, the trend spread to Canada and eventually to many large cities in Western Europe, especially London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Rome.Although counterculture was often found in urban areas and large cities because of its ability to spread quickly through these densely-populated areas, many also argue that the hippie movement began on college campuses, with liberal students who rejected the social privilege they had been born with because they didn’t agree with the conservative values and political ideals which accompanied it. The hippie movement also spread through cafes and bars, which increasingly became centers of social gathering at the time.

When
The hippie movement first became popular in the 1960’s, with a recognizable decline in the hippie counterculture movement occurring in the late 1970’s due to the aging of the hippie population as well as the end of the Vietnam War.

Why
The hippie counterculture was a social movement caused by many issues and changes going on in the United States during the 1960’s. One important cause was the Vietnam War. These young men and women had friends and brothers being drafted and killed in Vietnam and were looking to make their anti-war views heard, hoping that they could bring peace and harmony to the world in a time of such great violence and atrocity. Another factor influencing hippie counterculture was the increasing popularity of rock and roll music. Rock and roll was a groundbreaking new type of art that encouraged peaceful expression, while also bringing people together and uniting them. The unity of rock music connected many hippies and allowed them to identify and relate with one another through a means that they could all relate to, share, and understand. Many hippies shared their culture through musical concerts and gathering, the most famous of which are Woodstock and the Summer of Love. Also influencing the liberal ideas of hippie culture was a greater access to birth control, which allowed for a women to control whether or not she wanted to get pregnant. This freedom contributed to the liberal sexual ideas of the time, because it eliminated a major consequence of sex and enabled women to attain greater control over their lives without necessarily embracing the safety of conservative values.
Additionally, hippies also had access to mind-altering drugs (hallucinogens) at the time, which greatly contributed to their lifestyle as use of the drugs became more accepted and a part of mainstream culture. Underground newspapers, new types of art (such as op art), rock music, and movies helped to define hippie counterculture and communicate the ideas of these non-conforming liberals.
In the 1960’s hippie counterculture began as the natural reaction for liberals who opposed the culture and conservative society of the 1950’s, the principles of the Cold War, and the violence of the Vietnam War. This rebelliousness of older, conservative lifestyles and values led to the hippie movement in the 60’s as people tried to oppose societal restrictions and ideals forced onto them by the previous generation. Hippie counterculture was a way for these liberals to express their views for peace, freedom, and non-conformity, creating a new culture of own in order to live life by their own ideals and have their voices heard and opinions respected as a group.

see the video below

 http://youtu.be/TC3LryTjYqw

Later in the 60’s factors influencing counterculture were tensions between the average citizen and all symbols of authority. There were also many tensions on key issues such as civil rights, womens’ rights, abortion, gay rights, and more. An issue which affected hippie culture was also the atrocities of the Vietnam War, which hippies strongly opposed. Hippies especially opposed the draft into the Vietnam War, believing that the war was wrong and that innocent Americans shouldn’t be forced to fight if doing so was against their moral principles. The liberal work of activists such as Martin Luther King Junior also spurred the hippie movement because it inspired people to stand up for what they believed in and be free to speak their mind and be themselves. Additionally, many also say that the hippie movement was influenced by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a popular president whose tragic death fueled the political and social unrest of the time.

Legacy
The hippie movement and counterculture began to decline in the late 70’s, especially after the hippie generation grew older and US involvement in the Vietnam War ended, as well as the draft. However, the spirit of hippie culture has largely influenced the world and society today, because of the new ideas it brought to the world and the freedoms it encouraged.

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Works CitedTina Loo “hippies” The Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Ed. Gerald Hallowell. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Infohio – NOACSC. 16 May 2011″youth movement (1960s).” American History. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.”Hippies and the Counterculture, 1960-1969 (Overview).” American History.
ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.”Hippies and the Counterculture, 1960-1969 (Activity).” American History.
ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 13 May 2011.Goodwin, Susan and Becky Bradley . “1960-1969.” American Cultural History. Lone Star
College-Kingwood Library, 1999. Web. 7 Feb. 2011Redmond, Derek. Two Hippies at the Woodstock Festival. Aug. 1969. Wikipedia.
N.p., 31 July 2005. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File:Woodstock_redmond_hair.JPG>.Hippie couple. N.d. Worldwide Hippies. N.p., 18 Jan. 2010. Web. 19 May 2011.
<http://www.worldwidehippies.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/hippies1.jpg>.Epinosa, Eden. Hippie Life. YouTube.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 19 May 2011.
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC3LryTjYqw>. Published to the web by
the YouTube user lovechild909.

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Parrot Missing For 4 Years Comes Home Speaking Spanish

Posted: 10/13/2014 3:00 pm EDT Updated: 10/13/2014 3:00 pm EDT
 giphy (10)

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A pet parrot that spoke with a British accent when it disappeared from its home four years ago has been reunited with its owner — and the bird now speaks Spanish.

The Daily Breeze reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1qU5dU3) the reunion was brought about by a Southern California veterinarian who mistook the African gray parrot for her own missing bird.

Teresa Micco tracked Nigel’s microchip to Darren Chick, a Brit who lives in Torrance.

Little is known about Nigel’s whereabouts the past four years, but Chick says the bird’s British accent is gone and it now speaks Spanish.

It’s the fifth parrot reunion facilitated by Micco, who has been running ads for her own missing bird for nine months.

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Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com

COOL PEOPLE- UMA THURMAN

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Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman – uma’s story

http://youtu.be/RNYSdIwt8UE

Uma Thurman Biography

Film Actress (1970–)

 QUICK FACTS
NAME
Uma Thurman
OCCUPATION
Film Actress
BIRTH DATE
April 29, 1970 (age 44)
PLACE OF BIRTH
Boston, Massachusetts
FULL NAME
Uma Karuna Thurman
ZODIAC SIGN
Taurus
Uma Thurman is an actress known for roles in such films as Kill Bill and its sequel and Pulp Fiction.
After appearing in a number of marginally successful Hollywood movies, Uma Thurman appeared in Pulp Fiction (1994). For her performance as a underworld moll, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. After starring in such films as The Avengers and Batman and Robin, in 2003, she starred in Tarantino’s two-volume epic Kill Bill as a vengeful sword-slashing assassin.

Early Life and Career

Actress Uma Thurman was born on April 29, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts. Named for a Hindu deity, Thurman made her film debut in Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987), a low budget thriller. Her first well-known role was as Venus in Terry Gilliams’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Wearing only hair extensions in her brief performance as the Roman goddess of love, the alluring young actress went on to take a number of sexually charged roles over the next few years.

At age 18, she bared all in Dangerous Liasons (1988), a big-budget period piece starring John Malkovich and Glenn Close, and in 1989 starred in Henry and June, the first film to be released with an NC-17 (No Children Under 17) rating.Big Break

After appearing in a number of marginally successful Hollywood movies, she stepped off the beaten track to appear in Pulp Fiction (1994), the second movie by acclaimed independent director Quentin Tarantino. For her nuanced performance as a glamorous underworld moll, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.Thurman capitalized on the popular success of Pulp Fiction by appearing in a series of big-budget productions including Gattaca (1997), Batman and Robin(1997), Les Miserables (1998) and The Avengers (1998).

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FILM CAREER

After a series of big budget projects, Thurman took a more “independent” tack, favoring a series of riskier projects including Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown(1999), a Merchant/Ivory production of Henry James’ The Golden Bowl (2000) and Chelsea Walls (2001), directed by then-husband Ethan Hawke.

In 2003, she starred in Quentin Tarantino’s two-volume epic Kill Bill as a vengeful sword slashing assassin. The actress will also starred with Ben Affleck in the sci-fi thriller Paycheck. With 2005’s The Producers, Thurman took on musical comedy with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

But her humor missed its mark with My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), which proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment. Directed by Griffin Dunne, 2008’s The Accidental Husband also explored love and revenge. It featured Thurman as a radio talk show host who convinces a woman to break up with her boyfriend.

In recent years, Thurman has taken on a variety of roles, from playing a mythic monster in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief(2010) to a powerful Parisian woman in Bel Ami (2012). In Bel Ami, Thurman plays one of Robert Patterson’s love interests. She also had a recurring television role around this time, appearing on the musical drama Smash.

Personal Life

Thurman married British actor Gary Oldman in 1990. They divorced in 1992. In 1998, she married Gattaca co-star Ethan Hawke, and in the same year they welcomed their first child, Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke. In 2001, the couple had a son, Roan. Thurman and Hawke split up two years later and divorced in 2004. Thurman and boyfriend Arpad Busson welcomed a daughter on July 15, 2012.

a California farmer has the pumpkin for you

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If buying a pumpkin, cutting it open and carving it into a jack o’lantern is too much work — or if your best efforts are scary for all the wrong reasons — then a California farmer has the pumpkin for you.

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Pumpkinstein is already the perfect Halloween pumpkin because you don’t have to do a thing to it. Each one is grown in a mold to take the shape of Frankenstein’s head.

 

People never believe it’s real the first time they see it; they all want to touch it to make sure,” Tony Dighera of Cinagro Farms in Fillmore, Calif., told The New York Times.

Dighera told the Tri-Valley Dispatch that it took four years and $500,000 to develop the technique and find the perfect pumpkin for the job.

“When you try something for four years of your life, people really start to think you’re wacko,” he told the Times.

What some people may find “wacko,” however, is the price. Dighera is selling Pumpkinsteins for about $75 wholesale, with retailers marking them up to $100 and even $125.

For a pumpkin. A very cool pumpkin that looks like Frankenstein, but still a pumpkin.

At least it’s organic.

 

Dighera is not finished with his pumpkin tinkering. He told the Los Angeles Daily News that next year, the pumpkins will be grown with eyeballs made of marbles. He’s also developing a second type of pumpkin grown to look like a skull.

The suburb that changed the world

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The suburb that changed the world

In the 1980s, Silicon Valley was populated by lefties and hippies who dreamed of a computer revoluti

 

In Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film of the life of Marie Antoinette, there is a scene where an entourage of palace jeunes filles sweeps through a ball at which the set and costumes are period, but the music and manners are straight out of a modern dance club. The proposition seems to be that an elite few were able to put a toe into the future to experience what is ordinary today.

Something like that went on in the Silicon Valley I knew in the 1980s. The debates and dilemmas that occupy a generation today appeared in miniature before there was an internet. We took our anticipation of the internet deadly seriously, to the point where it seemed already real. Thus I have experienced the internet age twice.

Experiencing the internet in reality is different – and even bizarre, because although it seemed reasonable to expect the thing to come about, it is still uncanny that the reasoning was right. It feels as though we got away with something we shouldn’t have done.

The internet arrived from two directions, one top-down and the other bottom-up. Initially computers and computer networking were both developed in military and government labs. The way you experienced computation from the 1960s often reflected this point of origin, with early computer companies such as IBM exuding a grey, regimented stoniness in order to appear seductive to their patrons.

In the 1970s, a small market emerged for hobbyist computers. You could build your own little box with blinking lights that you could program by flipping lines of switches on the front panel. That’s all you could do at first, but oh, the ecstasy to be able to touch your own computer, if you had an inkling of where it all could lead.

A culture grew up around these hobbyist machines centred in Silicon Valley, and spawned the personal computer market – with Microsoft launching in 1975 and Apple in 1976. The centre of gravity split: the stony grey opposite delirious hippies and faux revolutionaries.

The turbulent confluence between top-down and bottom-up continues to this day. Internet start-ups sprout like garage bands. Most die, but a few explode into national-scale empires, as in the case of Facebook. Dreary top-down institutions such as wireless carriers maintain their lofty entitlements, though occasionally they drain away, like the old music business. I used to be partisan, favouring the bottom-up approach, but now I appreciate the balance of tides, because all kinds of power should be checked.

My first encounter with Silicon Valley was at the end of my teens, which was also the end of the 1970s. The world seemed carved into zones according to the degree of magic available. The highest magic was found in nexuses of hippie exuberance such as the beach town of Santa Cruz, California, where pearlescent rainbows covered everything and even the most mediocre musicians could effortlessly invent melodies superior to almost anything heard since. Young, creative people with any sense of ambition tended to be drawn to these places like weight to gravity, but by the time I arrived the magic was receding.

The overwhelming explanation we held of our time and place was that we had been born too late to experience the one true orgasm of meaning, the 1960s. Young people who felt jilted by life because of a slight error in timing found solace in a twisted calculus of punk humour. An alternative to the Santa Cruz-type El Dorados of bohemia were the zones of brazen, barren reality: remote and violent desert towns, impoverished villages in Mexico, or tenements in New York City.

The most deficient places – condemned by hippies and punks alike – were the suburbs, the places of the conventional parent: an artificial world ruled by Disney and McDonald’s.

I did not arrive at this suspect ontology naturally, having grown up in a way that was both gritty and bohemian. My father and I couldn’t afford a home at one point, when I was 11, so we lived in tents on cheap land while building a crazed, geometric, spaceship-like house in a rough corner of southern New Mexico. I adapted to the flight from the suburbs because this seemed the ticket into the social world of my peers in that era. I well remember how my heart sank when I later realised that eco­nomic circumstances left me no choice but to force my old jalopy over the mountain pass that insulated dewy, arousing Santa Cruz from soul-killing, blandifying Silicon Valley, which was situated in, of all places, a suburb.

The mountain ridge that separates Silicon Valley and the town of Palo Alto from the ocean keeps out the famed fog of northern California in the summer. This has always made it an elite getaway from San Francisco, but to me Silicon Valley’s light looked incomplete and made me feel remote and depressed – so close to the ocean, but without its full light.

I despaired at the time that I had failed to earn enough to be able to remain at the fulcrum of hippie truth, but I was to learn, slowly, that I was moving from one narcissistic category war to another. Instead of hippies v suburbs, I enlisted in the turf war between nerds and – well, the opposite doesn’t have a name. A sort of muggle: the fool who doesn’t realise that he lives in a cocoon and serves only as a battery to power the action; a person who fails to understand that the world is an information system, and that life is programming.

Having moved from one kind of nonsense to another eventually helped me learn to be sceptical of both.

Palo Alto was nicknamed “Shallow Alto” by the hippie hackers, who felt that living there was a sell-out, a sign of failure. And yet, one by one, we gave in and entered an alternate, infinitely better-funded elite club. The place was much more than a suburb, naturally. A little more than a century earlier, there had been a Native American culture there, but it was murdered and erased, so little more can be said. Layers of mutually indifferent histories were then overlaid on to this, awaiting the final washout by Silicon Valley culture.

A trace of the Spanish colonial period remained in the odd old adobe mansion; evidence of black immigration from earlier in the 20th century lay in the shocking, violent twin to Palo Alto, East Palo Alto; fruit orchards swept to the horizon in some directions and utilitarian grids of simple wooden buildings testified to the well-ordered conception of railroad towns and military bases.

But the hackers would take over. What a strange society nerds make. In 1996 Oliver Sacks published a book called The Island of the Colour-blind, about a place where so many people cannot see colour that it becomes the norm. In the same way, the society of computer nerds is nerdy not in comparison to a centre, but as a centre. Our nerdy world, which from an outsider’s perspective might seem slightly askew, even tilted a touch into Asperger’s syndrome, was and is our centre. The rest of the world seemed hysterical, irrational and confused by the surface aesthetics of things, somehow failing to grasp the numerical, causal, core truth underpinning events and the problem-solving purpose of reality.

I kept my concerns about the light of Palo Alto to myself and “passed”, which was, happily, not hard for me. Certain kinds of math and programming come on strongest when you’re young, and I could program the hell out of a computer in those days. Then and now, technical credibility is the ultimate membership card in Silicon Valley, and it is one of the reasons I still love the place. The billionaire company starters – and I won’t name names because it’s all of them – still get a little insecure and feel a need to preen when they’re around top hackers.

The overlap between the late stages of hippie bohemia and the early incarnations of Silicon Valley was often endearing. There was a sense of justice in the way that males who had been at the bottom of the social ladder in high school were on track to run the world. Greasy cottages with futons on the floor, with dustings of pot and cookie crumbles rubbed into cheap oriental rugs, a carnage of forgotten dirty clothes in the corner, empty refrigerators and tangles of thick grey cables leading to the huge computer monitors and the hot metal cabinets where the silicon chips crunched. Asymmetrical, patchy beards, shirts part tucked, prescriptions for glasses powerful enough to find life on a distant planet. This was the new model of hippie nerd, supplanting the ascetic fellow with the pocket protector.

There were precious few girl nerds at the time. There was one who programmed a hit arcade game called Centipede for the first video game company, Atari, and a few others. There were, however, extraordinary female figures who served as the impresarios of social networking before there was an internet. It still seems wrong to name them, because it isn’t clear if I would be talking about their private lives or their public contributions: I don’t know how to draw a line.

These irresistible creatures would sometimes date alpha nerds, but mostly brought the act of socialising into a society where it probably would not have occurred otherwise. A handful of them had an extraordinary, often unpaid degree of influence over what research was done, which companies came to be, who worked at them and what products were developed.

That they are usually undescribed in histories of Silicon Valley is just another instance of what a fiction history can be. The advent of social networking software and oceans of digital memories of bits exchanged between people has only shifted the type of fiction we accept, not the degree of infidelity.

In retrospect, I cringe to think how naive and messianic the tech scene became amid all the post-1960s idealism. The two poles of San Francisco Bay Area 1960s culture – psychedelic hippies and leftist revolutionaries – became the poles of early computer culture.

In 1974, the philosopher Ted Nelson, the first person to propose and describe the programming of something like the web, published a large-format book composed of montages of nearly indecipherable small-print snippets flung in all directions, called Computer Lib/Dream Machines. If you turned the book one way, it was what Che Guevara would have been reading in the jungle if he had been a computer nerd. Flip it upside down, and you had a hippie-wow book with visions of crazy, far-out computation.

In fact, the very first description of the internet in any detail was probably E M Forster’s The Machine Stops from 1909, decades before computers existed: “People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.” It might still be the most accurate description. How Forster did it remains a mystery. Later, in the 1940s, the engineer Vannevar Bush wrote “As We May Think”, an essay imagining a utilitarian experience with a computer and internet of the future. Bush’s essay is often cited as a point of origin, and he even delved a little into how it might work, using such pre-digital components as microfilm.

But Ted Nelson was the first person, to my knowledge, to describe how you could implement new kinds of media in digital form, share them and collaborate. Ted was working so early – from 1960 onwards – that he couldn’t invoke basic notions such as storing images, and not just text, because computer graphics had not been described yet. (The computer scientist Ivan Sutherland saw to that shortly.)

Ted was a talker, a character, a Kerouac. He was more writer than hacker, and didn’t always fit into the nerd milieu. Thin, lanky, with a sharp chin and always a smile, he looked good. He came from Hollywood parents and was determined to be an outsider because, in the ethics of the times, only the outsiders were “where it’s at”. He succeeded tragically, in that he is not as well known as he ought to be, and it’s a great shame he was not better able to influence digital architecture directly. He lives today on a houseboat in Sausalito, California, one of the other luminous, numinous nodes of Bay Area geo-mythology.

The hippest thing in the late 1970s and early 1980s was to form a commune, or even a cult. I remember one around the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood of San Francisco which fashioned itself as the Free Print Shop. Members printed lovely posters for “movement” events in the spectral, inebriated, neo-Victorian visual style of the time. (How strange it was to hear someone recommended as “part of the movement”. This honorary title meant nothing beyond aesthetic sympathy, but there was an infantile gravity to the word “movement”, as though our conspiracies were consequential. They never were, except when computers were involved, in which case they were more consequential than almost any others in history.)

The Free Print Shop made money doing odd jobs, it included women and it enacted a formal process for members to request sex with one another through intermediaries. This was the sort of thing that seemed the way of the future and beckoned to computer nerds: an algorithm leading reliably to sex! I remember how reverently dignitaries from the Free Print Shop were welcomed at a meeting of the Homebrew Club at Stanford and other such venues where computer hobbyists shared their creations.

Ted had a band of followers or collaborators; it would have been uncool to specify what they were. They sometimes lived in a house here or there, or vagabonded about. They broke up and reconciled repeatedly, and were perpetually on the verge of presenting the ultimate software project, Xanadu, in some formulation that would have been remembered as the first implementation of the internet. Xanadu was a manifesto that never quite manifested.

If my tone has not been consistently reverent, please know that I am not cynical when it comes to my praise of Ted Nelson’s ideas. As the first person on the scene, he benefited from an uncluttered view. Our huge collective task in finding the best future for the internet will probably turn out to be like finding our way back to where Ted was at the start.

In his conception, each person would be a free agent in a universal online market. Instead of separate stores of the kind run by Apple or Amazon, there would be one universal store, and everyone would be a first-class citizen, both buyer and seller. You wouldn’t have to keep separate passwords or accounts for different online stores. That’s a pain, and it guarantees that there can’t be too many stores, thereby re-creating the kind of centralisation that shouldn’t be inherited from physical reality.

This is an example of how thinking in terms of a network can strain intuition. It might seem as though having only one store would reduce diversity, yet it would increase it. When culture is privatised, as has happened recently online, you end up with a few giant players – the Googles and Amazons. It’s better to put up with the rancour and pain of a single community, of some form of democracy, than to live in a world overseen by a few forces you hope will be benevolent. The stress of accommodation opens cracks from which brilliance emerges.

Ah, there it is – my idealism, still in your face after all these years. Silicon Valley remains idealistic, if sometimes narcissistic. We refer to uprisings in the Middle East as “Facebook revolutions” as if it’s all about us. And yet, look. We code and scheme through the night, and then genuinely change the whole world within a few short years, over and over again. What other bunch of oddballs can say that?

Much has changed. Silicon Valley now belongs to the world. In a typical nerd cabal you will find recently arrived Indians, Chinese, Brits, Israelis and Russians. What is strangest in the recent waves of young arrivals in Silicon Valley is that they tend no longer to be downtrodden geniuses rejected in the playing of social status games, but sterling alpha males. Legions of perfect specimens seem to have grown up in manicured childhoods, nothing scrappy about them. When children started to be raised perfectly in the 1990s, chauffeured from one play date to the next, I wondered what world they would want as adults. Socialism? Facebook and similar designs seem to me continuations of the artificial order we gave children during the boom years.

Now we are entering a period of diminishing middle classes and economic dimming. What will Silicon make of this? Poorly conceived computer networks played central roles in many of our more recent troubles, particularly the 2008 financial crisis. Such tactics as high-frequency trading just pluck money out of the system using pure computation and without giving anything back.

Can we adjust the world, make it happier, merely by reprogramming computers? Perhaps. We continue to twiddle with human patterns from our weird suburb. Maybe, if we are able to echo the ancient idealism of those early days, we will do some good as the software grows.

Jaron Lanier is the author of “You Are Not a Gadget: a Manifesto” (Penguin, £9.99)

The father of our country, George Washington, who is rumored to have said “I cannot tell a lie,” was a proud supporter of the hemp seed

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Hemp Bio-fuel

Hemp Bio-fuel

The father of our country, George Washington, who is rumored to have said “I cannot tell a lie,” was a proud supporter of the hemp seed. Of course, the only thing more suppressed in this country than an honest politician is hemp, which is often mistakenly for marijuana and therefore unfairly maligned. Governmental roadblocks, meanwhile, prevent hemp from becoming the leader in extracting ethanol, allowing environmentally damaging sources like corn to take over the ethanol industry. Despite the fact that it requires fewer chemicals, less water and less processing to do the same job, hemp has never caught on. Experts also lay the blame at the feet of (who else?) Presidential candidates, who kiss up to Iowa corn growers for votes.