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Blogger’s Dilemma

February 28th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I love writing! I love reading and I love learning – my whole life centers around higher education. The blogger’s dilemma is that I must be concise so people will take the time out of his or her busy day to read what I write. 

If I had my druthers, I would spill more ink – MUCH more ink on any given topic; but if I wrote a 10,000 word blog I guarantee nobody except for perhaps a few scholars (and then I would have to cite my sources, footnotes, etc and hence it would no longer be a blog) who had the time to read it and who happened to be interested in or in the process of researching the very subject I’m writing about. Incidentally, I put my heart and soul into every word I write and a tremendous amount of research is conducted in order to be factual and correct. I.e. if I were writing about stem cell research I would diligently and systematically gather as much pertinent information so that even though I’m a layperson, a scientist just may get something out of what I write. Every writer will tell you that they learn just as much and probably more than the reader does (because of all the research that is involved.)  

Believe it or not some people (thankfully the minority) think my blogs are too long. Too long? My blog is typically between 750 and 1000 words per article; the average blog is 350 and 550 words – including the #1 blog in the world Huffington post. I tend to think that my blog is more of an online op-ed (FYI, most people believe that op-ed means opinion – editorial when in fact the abbreviation merely stands for opposite the editorial – I was just informed of this today; which illustrates my point that writers learn when they write.) and surely one can pigeonhole my blog as opinion journalism but that simply means I’m maintaining my objectivity, providing useful information as well as giving my opinion and asking for yours WHADAWETHINK ? 

My blog (or online op-ed – I think I’m going with this because my articles are not going to be abridged; I will not compromise integrity as a writer.) is very open and covers a lot of ground; it actually covers everything !(as you regular readers know , we even have poetry and cartoons. It should be no secret that we love New Yorker Magazine and we would like to see ourselves as miniature New Yorker online – & we are going to continue to grow.) If it’s interesting, thought provoking, trending and newsworthy we will write about it. 

Just to re-iterate our mission statement– “If it’s worth spilling ink, then it’s whada We Think” We know people are busy (sadly too busy) and no one is reading Tolstoy’s – ‘War and Peace’ anymore so we attempt to provide reams of information along with subtle commentary that’s fun, thought-provoking, sometimes controversial and educational. We want to make learning SEXY! 

Update: Our long term goal is to have at least one writer covering each category cited on the home page (not unlike Huffington Post but of course better) we are also adding 2 new niche websites which will be linked to this online op-ed. The first site will cover grammar and the site domain is   www.grammarmarks.com  and out our 2nd site will be an online Encyclopedia (not unlike Wikipedia) called www.wethinkpedia.com. We are planning to launch these two sites in late March, early April. 

So now it’s your turn WHADAWERTHINK ? I hate “selling soap” but obviously it takes money to create quality websites and we hate Ads – so we don’t use Adsense. We currently use one Advertiser – Amazon (thanks to my very talented Web Designer – the Amazon ads are very unobtrusive), so instead of blatantly asking for contributions like Wikipedia does, we ask that you click on the widget shown here and make a purchase from Amazon. You don’t have to buy what is displayed in the ad, but you do have to click onto the Amazon widget here and buy whatever you want. We get a small commission from each sale. And if things  are tight in terms of money that’s OK too. We’re not interested in making money – so  just visit and comment – it’s fun and educational

Thank you and we hope you have as much fun with this site, as we do.

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The Wounded

February 28th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

He wanted to go to the country

Where the thing that loomed over him

Wouldn’t follow.

He didn’t suppose it could thrive

In the dead of Winter

With nothing to feed on.

The icy pond with the fish

Waiting below the surface

Belied its existence.

He would occupy his time

With other things,

Let his mind wander

Where his body would not let him,

Trace the crimson spots in the snow

To where the arrow struck its heart,

Piercing the wound to the bone.

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I Hate Facebook!

February 25th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Facebook is nothing more than the premium version of MySpace – it’s faster, more invasive and has more features. As a matter of fact, the guru himself, Mark Zuckerberg (who looks like he’s in the middle of puberty – imagine that boy a billionaire) even alluded to this in the movie about Facebook – ‘The Social Network’. (Whether or not Zuckerberg actually said this, is another matter – after all it was just a movie.) 

Here’s a coincidence; Zuckerberg was born in 1984 – George Orwell’s classic book is entitled ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ which is a work of literature about surveillance and invasion of privacy which is exactly what Facebook is – spooky! 

There is nothing wrong with networking and perhaps connecting up with long lost friends but Facebook is nothing short of EXPLOITATION and invasion of privacy! And how shallow is this site? Let’s face it; the people who regularly go on Facebook (who are over 25) are dumber than a box of rocks. Again, I understand if grandma wants to see a picture of her granddaughter then that’s fine, but as for me personally I don’t want to see pictures of someone else’s kids. It’s tantamount to going over some friend’s house and having to sit through a video of his or her last vacation. I don’t want to see your dopey kid standing next to Donald Duck at Disneyland. 

I’m just now using Facebook to promote my blog (hey I’m honest) and as a matter of fact, in the course of doing so I managed to connect with a few old friends; I just got off the phone with him and it was an absolute pleasure to hear from him after 25 years. But please – I’m begging you keep the photos away – Name and contact information is enough (and when I say contact information I mean name and e-mail only – no pictures!) 

The only legitimate social networking site is Linked-in, and I must say I have been prodigiously remiss in terms of utilizing the incredible networking potential of this site. Linked-in is for intelligent, mature individuals who are interested in interacting with other bright folks. 

So if you are here and reading this now that’s good. My goal is to get all 500 million of you Facebook people over here (and clicking on the Amazon widget and purchasing something – anything at all would help WHADAWETHINK – LoL) I think by doing this I would be providing a service – collectively raising the intelligence of the American Public. 

Update: I know that oppressed people in the Middle East (Libya and Egypt) have been using Facebook to organize protests against despotic regimes; Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak have to go. They have been ruling over their people for 42 and 30 years respectively. 

So now it’s your turn. WHADAWETHINK ? I know I have ruffled a few feathers by criticizing you FaceBook-loving people but I am just telling you the truth. Let me know your thoughts.

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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List of My Favorite Ten Great Works of Literature – Part 3

February 25th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Thus far I have listed:

  1. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – J.D. Salinger
  2. All of Shakespeare’s Works
  3. ‘The New York Trilogy’ – Paul Auster
  4. ‘Lolita’- Vladimir Nabokov
  5. ‘Lord of the Flies’ – William Golding 

Incidentally I have not read James Joyce’s – ‘Ulysses’, Miguel de Cervantes’ – ‘Don Quixote’ and a plethora of other very lengthy classics; I have however read Herman Melville’s unabridged – ‘Moby Dick’ and honestly it did nothing for me – so there you go, everyone has different tastes. The list continues: 

6.‘The Metamorphosis’ – Franz Kafka, 1915 – This is one of only two novellas which was published during his lifetime. This is a story of a man who wakes up only to find he has metamorphosed into a cockroach. This is quintessentially “Kafkaesque” and is obviously a metaphor of Kafka’s grim philosophy – nightmarish and surreal. This is not for everyone but I personally loved it; and if you enjoyed this, I strongly suggest you read is other works as well which are equally “Kafkaesque” if not more so.

7.‘Gulliver’s Travels’– Jonathon Swift, 1726 – I actually read this later in life so I didn’t take Gulliver’s Travels literally. Everyone should read this, it’s classic political satire plus I love the way the protagonist adroitly puts out a fire in the land of Lilliput.

8.‘Enduring Love’ – Ian McEwan, 1997 – The protagonist and is wife are having a picnic which gets interrupted when something catastrophic happens. I love the way McEwan writes and this is some story he weaves; they also made a movie with the same title which is also worth viewing.

9.‘Rabbit Run’ – John Updike, 1960 – John Updike was prolific to say the least and was also very much a ‘renaissance man’ – he was a novelist, art critic, literary critic, poet and so much more. I read the whole Rabbit series and loved them all equally – ‘Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is rich and finally Rabbit at Rest. John Updike, himself was sadly put to rest in 2009. I will never again hear about another new John Updike novel.

10.‘Affliction’ – Russell Banks, 1989 – I’m not sure if this would be categorized as literature but it’s certainly well-written and a great read. Wade Whitehouse is a violent, blue collar, alcoholic loser just like his father. Read the book and see the movie as well (same title) they’re both great.  

Well these are my arbitrary 10 and now it’s your turn – WHADAWETHINK? What are your favorite works of literature? Do you like my list? Open this up, this is a lot of fun; so much to talk about. I am always clamoring that people aren’t reading anything worthwhile anymore – prove me wrong!

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

 

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List of My Favorite Ten Great Works of Literature – Part 2

February 24th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I have 100s of favorite great works of literature, however to go through each and every one of them would require that I write a book of at least 1000 pages (+ the fact that I have yet to seal a contract with Penquin Putnam or some other major book publisher – not yet anyway; perhaps some bigwig will read my blog and offer me a lucrative deal, but until then…) I am forced to list just 10. 

A very astute reader of this blog mentioned the fact that our taste changes over the years and furthermore it’s quite impossible to make a list of one’s favorite books because we as individuals change; what’s more important is the impact and impression the book had on you when you read it. When I read Salinger’s – ‘Catcher in the Rye’, I was blown away, however I read it when I was in high school and have no interest in reading it again; but what an impression it made on me !  So I think I should include it. 

I’ll put it to you this way, here are 8 more works of literature and I’ll be mindful of two things – what type of impression the book made on me at the time I read it and also I’ll try to pick great literature that can be read over and over and still elicit a strong response though it maybe prodigiously different from the first time I read it. 

3. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – J.D. Salinger, 1951 – This was probably the first serious piece of literature I’ve ever read, though it’s a very simple read; it’s written in a colloquial style. One views the world from the eyes of a disillusioned teenager, Holden Caulfield, as he jabs at all the phoniness of adulthood; especially affluent middle-class folks.

4. ‘All of Shakespeare’s Works’ – One should not go through life without reading all of Shakespeare’s works. Enough said.

5.  ‘New York Trilogy’ – Paul Auster, 1986 – How about some contemporary literature; Mr. Auster is still alive and I actually met him in person at Bryant Park in New York City. Believe it or not I happened to be reading one of his other books when I saw him and he was kind enough to autograph it for me. This is an absolute must-read for everyone. I actually found out about him by accident; I was in the literature section and I was going to purchase a Jane Austin novel for my wife and alphabetically after Austin comes Auster. So I picked up a copy, thumbed through it and found it to be quite interesting – & luckily it was ‘New York Trilogy’ – his first and by far his best work. ‘New York Trilogy’ is actually 3 separate novellas but they’re all connected. The only way to describe this book is that it’s a very post-modernist detective story which relies heavily on seemingly innocuous coincidence and chance and which ultimately has major implications and invariably ends up impacting all of the characters involved. I have read and re-read this book and I still find it to be endlessly fascinating.  

Well, this blog forum is definitely too short for something this important. I will have a part 3 tomorrow and perhaps I can get through the other 5 books. 

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK? Who are your favorite authors? Do you prefer non-fiction over fiction? Studies have been done and it seems that many more women prefer fiction over non-fiction. Why is this?  There is no question about the fact that fiction is much more important than non-fiction and if it becomes a classic, it will remain with us forever. Please contribute.

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

 

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List of my favorite Ten Great Works of Literature

February 23rd, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I am a voracious reader and have read perhaps 500 + novels or pieces of literature in my lifetime and perhaps even more works of non-fiction. Unfortunately, I actually find myself reading more and more non-fiction for reasons I’m not quite sure.

In my opinion Literature is far more important than Non-fiction because unlike the latter there is an artistic quality that speaks to us beautifully regardless, even if the subject matter is ugly. Literature speaks to us in a voice that can never be duplicated in non-fiction; the themes are universal and literature is abundant in eternal truths and it enriches us with a feeling that never leaves us. Once you have read ‘Moby Dick’ or ‘Tom Sawyer’ one can never be the same. 

And finally, and most obviously unlike almost all non-fiction, Literature passes the test of time. I am reading a half dozen books on non fiction right now and I can assure you that most of the stuff I’m reading will be obsolete or not relevant in ten years or so, however ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ will remain a classic forever and never become outdated.  

To list just 10 of my favorites is more or less arbitrary because I have hundreds of favorites but nevertheless here they are and please note they are not in any particular order: 

  1. Lolita’- Vladimir Nabokov, 1955 –Really every one of Nabokov’s novels is a masterpiece. Nabakov’s native tongue was Russian but was fluent in French and obviously a master craftsman in English. As a matter of fact I believe he was the greatest English writing stylist of the 20th Century. What makes Lolita so fascinating is that it is a combination of art of the highest order mixed with taboo and utter revulsion – in pedophilia. Yet the Master manages to pull it off; every single page is teeming with allusions and metaphor. My suggestion is to read the ‘Annotated Lolita’.
  2. ‘Lord of the Flies’- William Golding, 1954 – I read this when I was a teenager and re-read it in my thirties. If you haven’t read it or don’t know the (they also made 2 films – one good; the older one and the newer version one unwatchable.) story it’s about a group of young schoolboys trapped on an island after surviving a plane crash. This is an incredibly profound book- Golding explores good and evil, survival of the fittest, chaos and order, law and anarchy, civilization and anarchy. After reading this you will invariably ask yourself – is man innately evil? Is man born with an incredible thirst for power? Does man implement structure in order to control masses of people? Great book !  

This is turning out to be a longer blog than I expected. Honestly I can write 10 blogs just on a single book. I will attempt to summarize the next eight books over the next coulple of blogs and I urge you to join in and give me your thoughts. 

WHADAWETHINK ? What are your favorite works of literature? Do you prefer literature or novels over non-fiction? I read a lot of novels when I was young and am very interested in current events, I’m assuming that’s why I read more non-fiction now – What do you think? What book has changed your life forever ?

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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Cell Phones, The Social Networks and the Need to be Connected at All Times is Making Our Kids Dumb.

February 22nd, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Remember the quote from Jerry Rubin, the American social activist during 1960s and 70s – “Never trust anyone over 30”? That was a very different time back then; and my research shows although he didn’t coin the phrase, he certainly made plenty use of it during the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (he was arrested and was part of the notorious Chicago Eight)  

It’s 2011 and it’s now time for a new phrase – “Don’t trust anyone under 30!” Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a young person; say someone under 30? It’s very difficult, isn’t it? This generation doesn’t seem to be totally there – not present; his or her mind is somewhere else. 

They don’t read anymore either. They’re too busy texting their friends and butchering the English language with inane acronyms like – “btw dude, I am BTD, LOL”; or worse yet, he or she is talking too loudly on his cell about nothing to some other clueless under 30 individual. I must admit however, the rudely talking too loudly on the cell phone in public places is not a new phenomenon. This has been going on and has been a problem ever since the inception of the cell phone; however the cell phone today has more features to annoy you – the phone talks to you, takes pictures and other disruptive things. 

I Live on Long Island and I used to use public transportation (Long Island Rail Road) to get to work in the morning; the commute to New York City was an hour and a half each way. The commute for me was the best part of work because I could read – I read the New York Times in the morning and before cell phones came along it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. People were either reading like me or sleeping and perhaps maybe there would be a couple of people quietly talking in a non-disruptive way (if they chattered too loudly they would be politely shushed.) 

The commute home was a little more boisterous inasmuch as people were getting out of work and going home – everyone was in a better mood; but still certainly one was able to read. Usually for the commute home, I would read the ‘New Yorker’, a novel and perhaps some non-fiction. I can honestly say that I learned more than I ever would have dreamt and perhaps got a better education on the train than all the years I spent in college. 

Now doesn’t the aforementioned sound great? Isn’t reading more relaxing than texting or talking on the cell phone? Does a person have to be connected to another person who is not present? Don’t they need some downtime from interacting with other people? And if you want to talk to someone, why not have a conversation with the person sitting next to you. It’s as if they have to continually be somewhere else – anywhere but right here. 

Then when the under 30 folks are home what do they do? They go on the internet and go right to Facebook and the other stupid social Networks. The younger generation has to be continuously connected; whether it’s the cell, text gossiping or sending pictures of each other back and forth on Facebook.

Now It’s your turn. WHADAWETHINK? Is technology making us dumber? Why do we have to communicate with somebody who is elsewhere?  Is the internet shortening our attention spans? Are we too connected?

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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Bejeweled

February 21st, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
Bequeathe to me
Bejeweled skies,
The Milky Aqua
When it dies,
The Rose Gold Rim
Of sleeping eye,
The star upon its head.
The Smokey Quartz
Of quarried creek,
The opalescence
Of its cheek,
None more precious
Need I seek,
The crown it wears to bed.

 

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Instant Gratification Takes Too Long !

February 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Have you seen Carrie Fisher lately, the stunningly beautiful Princess Leia from the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy? Carrie is 54 and is only 7 years older than I and yet she sadly looks more like my mother than someone very close to my own age (I’m sorry that’s not a nice thing to say, but….) – father time has not been very kind to her at all; perhaps the colossal amount of drugs and alcohol she has ingested over the years  has  aged her prematurely. 

This blog, nonetheless, is not about how drugs age a person but rather I mention her because she was once quoted as saying “Instant gratification takes too long.” Ms. Fisher was referring to how it felt when she was addicted to cocaine. This quote is certainly apropos when it comes to drug addiction but it’s also a very fitting statement if one were to assess and take a good long hard look at our “I want everything now without working for it” society. 

We have become a very impatient society and it is seemingly getting worse by the minute. The ‘culprits’ for this new way of life I believe are (I’ll just mention two) the internet and TV; isn’t it amusing observing people  become noticeably irritated because his or her computer takes more than 30 seconds to boot up. And how about the constant complaining about how slow one’s computer is and the multi-billion $$ ISP industry (promoting speed and efficiency) as a result of this lack of patience; isn’t that sad? 

How dangerous is driving today? It’s the Indianapolis 500 out there on every major highway in the United States; turning and weaving in and out of traffic in a hurry to get somewhere – but where? Is every speeding, reckless driver out there a physician en-route to the hospital to perform emergency surgery? 

We Americans are always in a hurry; you ever hear the person behind you at your local shopping center huffing and puffing full of irritation because you’re taking longer than the allotted time to complete your shopping transaction (i.e – paying  exact change takes a little longer because one has to count out the coinage – very annoying to impatient people.) Why is everyone in such a hurry? I often wonder what exactly the rush is. I fantasize about following these restless people just to see what they’re up to and where they’re going.   

I blame the internet (& really technology itself, smart phones, etc,) for a lot of this horrible behavior. The Internet is full of empty promises about getting rich quick without hard work. And people surf the net the same way they watch TV; Actually they’re using both  the mouse and the remote at the same time – yes TV and the computer – millions of restless, irritable and discontent individuals multitasking (multitasking is another blog) and filling their barren brains with superficial nonsense. 

When was the last time you heard  someone say they were reading Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ again or James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Some people have stated that my blogs are too long. If that is in fact the case, I might as well look for a new forum to express myself. So for those of you who have read this whole blog, I sincerely thank you. Thank you for having the patience. 

So now it’s your turn. WHADAWETHINK? What is this obsession with instant gratification? Jon Kabat-Zinn (Zen Master) says patience and paying close attention to everything you do all the time no matter how banal the task may be is essential to achieving true happiness and living completely and fully. (He calls this mindfulness.) ‘ Wherever you go there you are’ Why is everyone in such a hurry?

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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Theologian’s Dilemma

February 19th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

For those of you here reading this now and who believe in God please see if you can resolve what I call – The Theologian’s dilemma.

In order to arrive at any sort of logical conclusion or proof one must have a basic structure which include premises to support any given conclusion.

I am 47 years old and I have yet to hear anyone come forth with a strong argument to resolve the Theologian’s Dilemma. The argument goes as follows:

Premise Theologian’s response

  1. God is all powerful –                                  Yes
  2. God is all knowing and omniscient –               Yes
  3. God is all that is good –                             Yes

Now here’s the zinger:

4.  Do bad things happen?                The obvious answer is YES – but it can’t be

If you answered yes to all 3 of the above premises then your answer cannot be yes to the 4th question – do bad things happen. One of the premises must be removed in order make sense. If an all powerful, all knowing benevolent God was aware of an imminent deadly Tsunami which would kill tens of thousands of people, an all-powerful God who was also all good would certainly use (his/her/gender-free) power to stop it. If he (we’ll just stick with male gender) didn’t have the power to stop it then God is not all powerful!

No one can satisfactorily answer the Theologian’s Dilemma. Some folks will proclaim it’s because of freewill. God has given us freewill, so he can’t possibly intervene. Well, if that’s indeed the case then God is not all good. Try this one out on your self (and you’re not even God) – if you were walking along a path and you took notice of someone strangling a child and you had the power to stop it, would you? Or would you say to yourself – no I couldn’t possibly intervene; the killer is merely exercising his freewill.

So now it’s your turn. WHADAWETHINK? This is quite a thorny dilemma, isn’t it ? Can you resolve this ? Do you believe in an all-powerful, omniscient and benevolent God ? How can one reconcile the Theologian’s Dilemma ?

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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