Death and Dying – How Human Beings come to terms with one’s inevitable demise

January 24th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Death! This is far and away the absolutely most terrifying and profound inevitable occurrence (surveys say some individuals consider other things like public speaking, imprisonment and other unpleasantries as more frightening but personally I find this quite unbelievable) every single human being must face and we all know it. This is a certainty where there is no equivocation whatsoever from anyone without exception other than perhaps people who are completely out of touch with reality. Death and taxes! But especially death as we all know is an undeniable fact of life and in fact a part of life. This is one way people come to grips with one’s inevitable extinction by acknowledging and  accepting that everyone and indeed everything dies from a plant to a worm, us, our pets, the earth and even the universe is going to one day sadly die.

Death or more specifically the notion of one day dying has for me personally been perhaps a neurotic obsession. A conceptual reality that has shaken me to the core from the time I was old enough to understand what it actually was (for me it was age 12 when a relative died and death became tangible and not something abstract) and nothing and I mean nothing has even come close to death in terms of the profundity, absoluteness, terror and finality of it all.

More ink has been spilled on death and dying than on any other issue or philosophical topic under the sun. I’ve read my share of books from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (spent her whole life studying death and near death experiences – kind of grim, right?) to Ernest Becker (He won the Pulitzer prize for his terrific book entitled ‘Denial of  Death’ in 1974. I’ve read and reread this book and highly recommend it anyone who hasn’t; it’s a prodigiously profound read and as matter of note for you Woody Allen fans out there you can actually clearly see the book when he’s beginning to move in with Annie, Diane Keaton, and she makes a comment on all his literature on death) to several books on Zen which for anyone who doesn’t know what their take on death is that it’s a natural happening and not at all different from birth, eating, breathing, sex and other natural processes, which I alluded to in my 1st paragraph.

Not only have many books been written about death and dying (fiction and non-fiction), but key and influential filmmakers namely the aforementioned Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman have basically made their living on the angst of living with death hovering over us. Allen’s dealing with death is mixed with humor so it’s actually enormously entertaining and one can hardly believe that the subject matter is about death and dying. Bergman on the other hand is very serious, somber and grim with his treatment. He puts your face right into it and one feels has though you are actually breathing your last right along with the dying character on screen. (The death scene of Agnes is so wrenching, real and interminable that it’s not unusual for one to pause and take a breather. It’s that agonizing.) My favorite movie of all time about death is by Woody Allen – It’s great movie to see if you’re having a hard time dealing with the inevitable. I won’t discuss any of the details and ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet but it pulls you out of any “death dwelling funk” one might be in and makes you just want to live.

There is so much to write about on death. This can be a 10,000 page blog and I would just be almost touching the tip of the iceberg. Our society doesn’t like to talk about it and we’re very uncomfortable especially when one is around the bereaved. I dip into many different philosophies for comfort but I must admit I don’t find religion appeasing (it actually makes it worse; religions where there are afterlives and judgmental Gods who may send you to Hell forever and ever; that absolutely does not console me) I view death as natural and the price one pays for life. Just this phrase should put your mind at ease – “Where you are death is not and where death is you are not” and the quote from Schopenhauer “After your death you will be what you were before you were born.”   And if that doesn’t work watch ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’!

I’m certain I will return to this subject. No one has exactly come back from the dead to give us any advice as to how to prepare or what to expect. (I know I’ve read a plethora of stories about the tunnel, the light, seeing loved ones etc. I find this information very sketchy at best. Returning from the dead would be a figure like Abraham Lincoln resurrecting going on live TV and assuring us that everything is fine and everyone gets his and her own harp and free lessons, etc.)

So open this up whadwethink? Are you terrified of dying? Does religion and knowing that perhaps there is an afterlife a consolation? Or when you die your molecules separate and become other things so in essence you never die, could this help? I very often turn to the web and see what others say about death, how about you? If we have this only one life doesn’t that render everything devoid of meaning ?


Sunday Sunset

January 23rd, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Madeira empties
Into the western sky,
Mirrors the embers

Glowing on the hearth.
Light genuflects
At the altar,
Blessed by Bendictine Monks.
Magdalena Tabor


The Top 9 Greatest Guitarists Ever

January 22nd, 2011 by Michael Tabor

This is my first list blog and I must say one cannot go wrong when it comes to lists. Lists are compelling; I love them, everyone loves them. Usually its top 10 (love you Dave Letterman), top 100, there are also book series’ of i.e. top 501 must see locations, etc., and the 1001 books you must read before you die, etc. and a multitude of others. Usually the online lists are an even and clean number like 10 and 100 and the cutesy 501 and 1001 are in book form. I’m assuming most of the online even lists exists because that’s the way we think; we like these even numbered solid digits like 10 (as a word of note, George Carlin, in one of his bits, said The Judeo – Christian religions would have been doomed from the start if they had say the 9 commandments or the 11 commandments – very funny) So I pick 9 perhaps not so pragmatically (because the search engines won’t catch it in title but just in text) but maybe not so bad. I must admit the SEO stuff and the algorithms that are used are beyond me.

So to the list; let me begin by declaring this is my list of  the top 9 greatest guitarists ever(I may have some credibility here too since I’ve been playing the guitar myself for 25 years) and it is subjective, as are all lists of this kind. When it comes to music there is no “better”, it’s a matter of taste. Now there is better when speaking from a strictly technical and level of dexterity standpoint within the same genre of music with the same goals. For example you may fairly compare Eddie Van Halen with Steve Vai because they both play heavy metal and both attempt to play as fast as humanly possible. (hey I love Eddie, he’s on my list as he’s much more than speed; I know see my comments.) Here is the list and note most of guitarists come from the world of Rock n’ Roll and popular music. (I know there are classical guitarists and fingerpickers of whom I don’t know who are extraordinary but ….) Michael Tabor’s top 9 greatest guitarists ever:

  1. Steve Howe – Known mainly for the lead guitarist for Yes. Steve is #1 because there is nothing he can’t do; he has such versatility. And he’s Phenomenal on acoustic and electric in all genres. My favorite song ‘The Clap’ (link may not be visible but it’s here just to the right – hover)-
  2. Alex Lifeson – Alex is right up here for same reasons. Basically nobody does it better than the man from the trio band – Rush. Here is ‘La villa Stangeiato’(hover to hear)
  3. Jimi Hendrix – The blues on steroids. ‘Voodoo Child” (same hover around)  t
  4. Chet Atkins – Nobody does it better – I’m repeating myself but when it comes to fingerpicking…(invisible hyperlink)
  5. Jimmy Page – Amazing blues, the violin bow, Stairway to Heaven, Led zeppelin, need I say more. ‘Heartbreaker” (invisible hyperlink)
  6. Eddie Van Halen – Ok Eddie you were the 1st for better or for worst. Who can play as fast as one can humanly play? How many different sounds can one make on a guitar whether it’s music or not? I think Ed’s greatest contribution was making finger-tapping sound awesome. Van Halen also spawned the new heavy metal, shredding, and the unique sound HM adopted. ‘Eruption’  (same – just hover)
  7. David Gilmore – Has there ever been another Pink Floyd? The main reason is because of Gilmore’s haunting, powerful, mesmerizing sound. Dave has a sound like nobody else ‘Comfortably Numb’ (invisible hyperlink)
  8. Mark Knopfler – unique and original fingerpicking with clean sound ‘Sultans of Swing’ (to the right)
  9. Duane Allman – Wow! Duane showed the world what slide guitar was all about.(listen to right)

Here are 9 immortals and there are hundreds more who belong here too.

So WHADAWETHINK ? Who are your favorite axe men? As I alluded to earlier, is it silly making these lists? This is a lot of fun. Endless conversation about who’s better.

Disclaimer: All of the music videos are or were on youtube at the time of this posting and submitted for the world to view and see, but are clearly the property of those who own them. Whadawethink owns none of the material displayed and is mindful of the fact that any and all of the videos can be taken off whadawethink at anytime and if the proprietary owner does not want any of material to be shown on any other site other than the site for which it was intended, then Whadawethink is respectful of the propritor’s wishes.

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What Exactly Does “A Nice Guy” mean?

January 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor

How many times do we hear the statement “he’s a nice guy” or more frequently “he’s a really nice guy?” Everyday several times each day, right? But, what exactly does a nice guy mean – exactly? I imagine that everybody at sometime has been referred to by someone as a nice guy at one time or another even if he or she (I’ll be using the masculine he and guy throughout the rest of the blog, though I’m referring to both sexes, i.e. “really nice woman”) may not be a “nice guy”.

Let’s begin by attempting to define this much generalized, ambiguous, non-informational, non-specific, trite phrase, shall we? When we look up the word nice in the dictionary there’s a plethora of definitions but I think the best way to go about defining this word is eliminating what were not referring to when we utter nice guy and see what we’re left with. I think we can all agree that we’re not referring to a refined (a very refined, anal retentive and pedantic individual can be perhaps be the most incredibly annoying and disagreeable personage one is apt to encounter) person, nor a subtle, fussy, finicky and fastidious person. No, what we’re really saying when we say he’s a nice guy is – this person is temperamentally pleasing, agreeable, non-confrontational, kind, amiably pleasant, perhaps mellow, easygoing and laid-back (but not necessarily), non-threatening, well – nice guy.

Not only is the phrase difficult to define in terms of laser beaming the definition with a few words or perhaps a sentence; but a nice guy is also very relative. One person’s idea of a nice guy can be another’s worst nightmare. Prison guards, prisoners, MMA fighters, bounty hunters, members of the mafia, cops, border patrolmen and Howard Stern have all been called a “nice guy” at one time or another by someone.

Not only is nice guy difficult to specifically define and an ambiguous relative idiom, the parameters are boundless. What do we call Mother Teresa? And furthermore the intensifying superlatives are limited to very, real, really and maybe super; so I guess you can call Mother Theresa a super duper, really, very real “nice” woman.

So WHADAWETHINK ?      Shouldn’t we be more specific with our use of language? Shouldn’t we call Mother Teresa a world renowned internationally famed humanitarian? Or Bill Gates (somebody has called him a nice guy) a soft-spoken, Philanthropic billionaire? Oh and very often anyone who is highly-motivated, ambitious and competitive is more infrequently called a nice guy than someone who lies on the couch all day eating ice cream, living off someone’s inheritance and watching Oprah – a loafer.

So in addition to all the aforementioned I might add is being called a “nice guy” even a compliment?  I invite everyone to comment and open this up.

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The Orchard

January 20th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
I had an old grey sweater once.
I used to pick the apples in the forgotten orchard
That time left standing.
No matter the sweater had holes
Or the apples weren’t shining specimens.
There was sweetness in the imperfections.
I didn’t know that then,
The day I watched from the window
The gloom gather in the crevice of branches.
You said, “Never mind the rain.
Never mind the rain”.
Now I wonder at the melancholy orchard
Consumed by the all encroaching forest
No longer mine.
No hawthorns to snag at
A sweater too ragged for wear.
Magdalena Tabor

The two News Items I look for First

January 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

The very first thing I do when I wake up is go on the Web and quickly glance at the major news stories. The two headlines I’m looking for and hoping not to find is #1 – has there been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil (like a 9/11) and #2 – what famous person has died?

Sounds pretty grim doesn’t it? However consciously and sub-consciously these two hypothetical but certainly very real calamities are a vivid reality in my mind and I’m assuming on the minds of everyone else’s. This is most definitely a much different world than the one in which I grew up.(I mean everyone dies but living with terrorism is a new reality)

I am fortunate enough to live in a country (U.S.A.) in which we’ve only been militarily attacked on our very land twice; Pearl Harbor and of course the unspeakable attack on 9/11. (Two very different assaults under two very different circumstances, by two very different foes for very different reasons; we all know what the differences were so no need to elaborate.)

When I was a young lad the big fear was nuclear attack and the big enemy was of course Russia. I was born in 1963 so I was oblivious to the Cuban missile crisis and a decade and a half earlier, the shocking revelation that we, the U.S., were not the only one with “bomb”.

To elaborate on my first fear, another terrorist attack on our soil, I have to say that no breaking news story was as earth – shattering as those horrifying attacks. How utterly evil (“the evildoers” dubya) sickening, disturbing, nauseating and terrifying it was to see those gigantic commercial airlines smash into the towers and less than an hour later seeing right before my eyes, live, those buildings crumble to the earth. And it was so real! It was so real it was surreal. When the plane hit the building it was almost like I was watching a Bruce Willis action flick with the most impressive special effects one has ever seen. No, this was real, no movie; unprecedentedly the U.S. was being attacked by whom, no one knew at the point and I thought as many people thought it was the end of the world. I must say that as bad as the Bush administration was, bear in mind there had not been another terrorist attack on his watch and I would have bet the ranch that there certainly would have been if you asked me shortly after 9/11.

My 2nd perusal – dead celebrities. I was too young to have any type of reaction to the assassination of JFK (I was 4 months old), Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy (still only 6 years old) so the first real shock I had was not that of a political figure but an entertainer, the death of the king – Elvis Presley. All day on every station (no 500 channels yet so only only 2, 4 and 7, CBS, NBC and ABC respectively), radio, newspapers the next day – Elvis dead at 42! The biggie for me personally was Thurman Munson (I was a prodigious Yankee fan when I was a child. I didn’t know that my baseball heroes could actually die.) Now it’s crystal clear that everyone is mortal – Princess Diana, Kurt Cobain, the very young Heather O’Rourke (little girl from Poltergeist; heartbreakingly sad), John Belushi, Every band member of the Ramones (Joey went 1st and I think there is maybe one left) and speaking of musicians – John Lennon (that was huge – I was a senior in high school) and more recently Michael Jackson….1000s more.

As I wrap up this blog what just occurred to me is another disturbing phenomenon – mass killing sprees with guns. Initially it was basically confined to Postal workers, then schools (so horrible Columbine) now recently with the Arizona shooting. No one is safe anytime; anywhere from anyone who has guns (don’t hold your breath on tighter gun control laws – guns are here to stay. Thank you NRA!)

A lengthy blog indeed but WHADAWETHINK?  Are you like me and wake up in the morning wondering if there was terrorist attack or a shooting spree? Has your favorite celebrity died? Do live in fear? Do the media want us to be fearful? There are a plethora of questions on this.

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The Great George Carlin and Religion

January 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

It was a very sad day, June 22, 2008,  for me when I heard the news on the radio that George Carlin had died. In my opinion he was a great entertainer, a renaissance man and incidentally my idol for 3 decades and so he passed on to well, as he himself would say didn’t pass on anywhere; he just ceased to exist, was no longer alive and well just dead and no more for ever and ever. (For any of those who care, George Carlin was cremated with no public or obviously religious service whatsoever.)

This was this remarkable man’s greatest pet peeve, grist for his ever- grinding mill, and really just favorite topic of discussion. Ironically (but it always seems to be the case that ex’s are always the most adamant – ex-smokers, ex-drinkers, ex-anything) Carlin was raised steeped in the Roman Catholic faith and was devout (but I’m certain always possessed some skepticism about it) and as he would probably say I just read the Bible, thought about the innumerable contradictions and inconsistencies within the text of the Bible and Christianities’ practices and through very elementary inductive and deductive reasoning, concluded that THERE IS NO GOD. (Carlin was once asked at what age did he become an atheist and he wittily replied “when I reached the age of reason so 2&1/2 years old.) And boy oh boy what great material!

Carlin loved controversy and was as fearless a comedian that ever was. He stated that he was always aware of where the demarcation line of acceptability and outrage was and  would then proceed to cross the latter just a little more. And folks, is there anything more polemical than flat out saying – There is no God, none, no God ever, never was?

George was subtle about his atheism in the early 1970s and then about a decade before his death he just basically came out with it – There is no God (actually was the name of one of his bits.) He had so many: The interview with Jesus Christ (that was actually a routine from the 70’s; he didn’t outright say he was an atheist then), Reducing the 10 commandments to two (absolutely hysterical), a bit on how Catholics behave at funerals and what they – paraphrase;I betya old charlie’s looking down on us right now and laughing at what were saying about him right now. Hahahhah.

What made his stand-up so outstanding was that it was coming from a man who for one was once a practicing Catholic, furthermore, as usual all his material was thoroughly researched and very sound, and so when you have a man who has the best delivery in the world spewing every contradiction, inconsistency and hypocrisy within the Biblical text itself and the behavior exhibited by the parishioners themselves you have George Carlin at his best.

I personally respect everyone’s worldview and am happy that I live in a country and in a time in which we’re free to choose not to have a religious belief and also have the freedom to choose whatever religion makes sense to him or her. The fact that George was an atheist is certainly and obviously not the reason why I loved him. As I indicated at the beginning of the blog he was a renaissance man; His love for language, his great observational comedy, his silliness, goofiness, his ground – breaking black humor, 7 dirty words, etc. I will be blogging about all this in the future. But now

WHADAWETHINK?   So many things to consider here. Can you still be a religious person and like and appreciate George Carlin’s comedy?  Is Carlin’s logic on theology sound? Are his bits powerful and persuasive enough to actually make someone abandon his or her faith?

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WhadaWeThink is going to be Better than Ever !

January 14th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

  I currently have about 10+ blogs for everyone to read and re-read if you like, but I am here to announce that I’ve resigned from my current job and am going to blog full-time beginning Wednesday 1/19/2011. I am going to blog at least once a day about any given thought-provoking topic under the sun. The blog page will have a new face with all the bells and whistles attached and look for it to get better and better everyday !

WHADAWETHINK – spread the word. A newer, fresher and better blog. The most lively and engaging blog one is apt to find in Cyberspace.


The Rich Get Richer and the Poor get Poorer

January 13th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

‘Money by Pink Floyd’

As anyone can clearly see I have just begun my blogging career. This is my 11th blog and everything seems to be going smoothly thus far. Within a month my blog will look completely different from a design perspective, with the aid of my Web designer. I had procrastinated for quite some time, despite the urging of those who were aware of my writing talents (I also majored in Journalism but instead of writing I spent my whole professional career as a recruiter or “headhunter”) because I knew before making the great leap, how difficult, risky and challenging the task would be abandoning my career and forging ahead with the slow, snaillike pace of blogging my way to fame or fortune. (Really I just want to earn a living)

I will get to the gist of the blog shortly, but I just want to mention how incredibly difficult, time – consuming and frightening this whole blogging affair is. Firstly, the learning curve is monumental. I thought I would just write and let everything else take care of itself. I’m pretty good at writing but not so good at Marketing and IT. Secondly, I thought that having published some decent blogs, I thought I might just start making some cash by now. (Boy I have a long way to go) Lastly, I wanted to take a look at my competition. I Googled the top blog in terms of traffic and saw that Huffington Post was #1 and to my great surprise I was taken aback at how prodigious and imposing the site is. She must have a staff of hundreds and here I am all by my lonesome doing everything from the actual writing (she has a plethora of writers), marketing and IT.

From there I did some research on Ms. Huffington and discovered that – now brace yourself here’s a shocking revelation – she married someone who had MONEY and a lot of it to boot. Michael Huffington, oil tycoon, exchanged vows with Arianna in 1986 and though admittedly she was a solid, legitimate journalist writing for the National Review and other conservative publications before she met “rich hubby”, her career really didn’t start to take off until she became financially secure. Allow me to interject some gossip – Michael and Arianna remained married for a decade and then divorced. Apparently there were some infidelities especially had by Mr. Harrington (not all affairs were with individuals of the opposite sex), shortly after the divorce he revealed that he was bisexual. (I have some thoughts about bisexuality; either you’re heterosexual or gay, – another blog).

Here is the point of the whole blog. The single best way to get rich and richer is to be rich. I am poor and life, as other financially challenged people will declare, is a ceaselessly upward struggle. (I am very rich in other ways – good friends, family, knowledge, etc) Wouldn’t it be nice to begin my blogging career with a whole staff of writers, Marketing professionals and IT Specialists and bundles of coinage, ensuring I get the best and the brightest. Quality and quantity. Now I am fortunate enough to be not so destitute that I can’t afford a computer & have the financial wherewithal to absorb the minimal expense to start blogging. But ……

Now there are of course exceptions to the rule – there are no absolute rules; the only absolute rule is that there are exceptions to every rule. I will add a 2nd. Which is The Rich get richer and the poor get poorer!

Now it’s your turn people. WHADAWETHINK ?     I think this is another no-brainer.

P.S. – 2 ways to get rich: 1. come out of the right womb and 2. Marry rich.

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Funniest woman alive !

January 11th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Ladies and gentleman this woman could have given the late George Carlin a run for his money. Watch the video (or cut and paste) and be prepared to laugh. Now you might think oh here’s an old lady and this is going to be corny – something at which my mother would laugh. No my good friends she is not “corny” at all as a matter of fact she is kind of “edgy”. I will not blog at length because the video speaks for itself, I’ll just let you watch and enjoy this VERY funny and charming, sweet, dear older woman give perhaps one of the best dinner speeches ever. Knowing that this woman exists and lived a life warms the heart. It makes you think that just maybe there is a GOD or at the very least  goodness exists in the universe. (DON’T click off the video because it takes about 2 minutes for her to get into her comedy and it’s a little long but trust me on this one it’s perfect and ends so sweetly)