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What is This Thing Called Life and is There a Purpose or Meaning?

March 30th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Exactly thirty years ago today Ronald Reagan, as it turned out, would survive an assassination attempt – the perpetrator being a deranged and delusional psychotic whose sole motive was to get the attention of celebrity/actress Jodie Foster – and go on and become a seminal GOP icon with forever consequential, life-changing and remarkable events unfolding on his watch. The most obvious event that transpired was the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War; whether or not the Reagan administration was instrumental with the aforementioned will be debated and discussed in perpetuity.

Before writing this Op-ed blog, I researched and read a lot about Ronald Reagan the man, the radio and film star. I delved into his divorce to Jane Wyman (only president to have divorced) and his ensuing marriage to Nancy (Davis) Reagan; their relationship was nothing short of remarkable, an enduring love and respect for each other over  which many gallons of ink can be spilled. He had leadership duties before becoming President of the United States – SAG president and eminent spokesperson for GE. I read and perused his political surge from Governor of California, his presidential bid in 1968 and 1976 to his most prominent staple as Republican President of the United States 1981 – 1989.

There is so much more about this man and I have written so much thus far that you are probably wondering why the title of this piece is not ‘a short biography of Ronald Reagan.’

No I selected Reagan because here is a man, if there ever was one, who lived life so completely and fully and was so driven to succeed that it appears has though it was a life lived with a legacy in mind.

I, myself, could not care less about my legacy. When I say legacy I am referring to who I was, what people thought of me as a man or my reputation, essentially when I am no longer alive. (When legacy is mentioned, it often conjures up thoughts of what I leave behind in terms of money for loved ones, etc. I am not talking about that at all – I just want to be crystal clear). If I am no longer conscious and I cease to exist why should I care about the thoughts and concerns of a world of which I am no longer apart? (It may sound selfish but the point is missed if it does).

I am paraphrasing here because I cannot find the exact quote, but Woody Allen stated that he would rather live one extra day and be thought of as a horrible, terrible man after death rather than shorten his life by one day and be considered a national treasure until the end of time. That is what I am talking about PRECISELY.

This is what I am alluding to in the title of this Op-ed about purpose and meaning. When I am alive, I am just as concerned about my reputation and how other people view me but the bottom line is I just want to live well (another blog). Let me also point out that perhaps the reason I and others who concur with me is because we do not believe in some sort of afterlife. This is probably the reason for this type of thinking, as a matter of fact I’m convinced of it.

As an agnostic – not an atheist – I do find life to be meaningful and purposeful while I am alive and do not find it to be either of the previously mentioned when I am dead. That is not so bad, is it?  The only awful part is when one dies and the people who loved this person must live on; it is excruciatingly painful to think about never ever seeing that person again. This is one of the plethora of reasons why religion is here and necessary for man.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK ? Does God make life meaningful? Do you think one can find purpose in a life when he or she is cognizant of the fact that, this is it? Does believing in an all-powerful God that will judge the life you’ve lived scare you or pacify you? This is a thought-provoking Op-ed blog that if everyone reads this and responds – well let’s hope we get some good comments and great dialogue.

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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Rhett & Oracle

March 29th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

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The Treasured Nest

March 28th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

They share in the building

Bit by bit,

Odd twig, pine needle,

Straw and stick.

Rabbit fur

Plucked from the hutch,

Yarn that strayed,

Whiffs of fluff.

The thievery

That airs about,

The gypsy wind

That bends the bough,

The stolen tinsel

From the tree

All intertwine

In melody.

Lullaby the fragile form

Bare to nature’s

Wrath and scorn,

Fracturing

The eggshell blue,

Undeterred

The song stays true.

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“I am a deeply religious nonbeliever”

March 26th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

“Science without religion is lame”, “Religion without science is blind” and “God does not play dice with the universe.” The title and the three quotes chosen to start today’s Op-ed blog came from the man who although dead for more than half a century is more relevant, talked about, debated over and referred and alluded to perhaps more now than when he was alive. The quotes resonate deeply with me and articulate my very own worldview except in terms of word choice, I would supplant “spirituality” (religion conjures up a self-promoting organized belief system) for “religion” though I think it is obvious Einstein meant the same thing.

I want to write about the two most important disciplines and branches of knowledge one can possibly study and analyze and arguably the only (if one considers the W’s – who are we, what are we, where did we come from and where are we going to the most important question of all – what is the meaning of life ? )fields of study worth pursuing – science and religion.

Everyone alive including you are here by accident. (Religious fundamentalists will argue that your existence is preordained.) Perhaps one of the most enjoyable and utterly jaw-dropping summation of the odds of YOU – I mean you being here alive today on Sat. 3/26/2011 or anytime thereof is as unfathomable and even inexpressible that it can only possibly be conveyed metaphorically. Bill Bryson does just that in his introduction of his brilliant and enormously enjoyable popular science book – ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’.  It’s about 8 pages in length and I strongly urge everyone of my readers to read this; you needn’t even purchase it or read the whole book, just  take it off the bookshelf at your local Borders (they better not go out of business – Ch. 11 – I love Borders) and read the introduction. I know it left me with a completely new perspective on the likelihood of being here – alive now – in a nutshell everything, I mean everything to the tiniest most imperceptible occurrence, happening or event had to be just the way it happened or there would be no you. I am going too long on this I will not re-iterate this great writing – just read it!

Moving on to the meat of the text, I believe and would like to think that religion and science are not incompatible and that the incredible advances of man in terms of understanding consciousness, the cosmos and multiple universes and viewing certain aspects within this terrain with a certain ineffable metaphysical lens can lead to perhaps more similarities than differences.

I think the key here is having an open mind and be willing to tolerate other people’s belief system without attacking it. Though I agree with everything Richard Dawkins has to say and in my view the Christian apologists embarrassingly fall short in those inane evolutionary/creationist debates, I question not whether Mr. Dawkins is triumphant but why he is so adamant about utterly diminishing the Christian faith to nothing more than a fairy tale or a Santa Claus for adults.

We do not have the answers – theologian or scientist. But I think they ought not be enemies – I think it’s been more than amply proven that these so- called holy texts – The Bible, Koran, etc. – were written by man to help  man understand his world. Science can easily decimate the argument for a 7000 year old earth or an ark that held two of every species, etc. but I personally still hold onto that mysterious and spooky  universe that Einstein embraced.

So now it is your turn WHADAWETHINK ? Eastern religion or philosophy welcomes the advances of science whereas the monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam seem to view science as somewhat as a threat , do you see this as being the case ? Do you see religion and science becoming more at odds with each other or perhaps maybe working together and the only real difference being the fact that the world is looked at through a different lens? Please open this up and present your opinion; this is obviously an area in which the greatest thinkers of the world have been pondering since time immemorial.  

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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Elizabeth Taylor – 2/27/1932 – 3/23/2011 RIP

March 24th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

It is so unfathomable to look and actually digest the fact that Elizabeth Taylor, American icon if there ever was one, has finally succumbed to the inevitable end – 3/23/2011. There was absolutely no stone unturned with regard to the coverage (internet, print, TV, radio, blogs and every other conceivable medium) of Taylor’s life, career, multiple marriages, addiction problems, her very admirable role as an AIDS activist and her friendship with Michael Jackson. The extensive newsgathering even scooped out the fact that Elizabeth was blessed with the mutation (mutations are usually curses) of having two rows of eyelashes; as a word of note a 10 year old Elizabeth was asked to remove her erroneously assumed false eyelashes during the filming of ‘Lassie come Home.’

I have for decades been waiting on line at the local supermarket and have been peering at the impossible to avoid glaring headlines from the inane tabloids about the imminent demise of Elizabeth Taylor from drug abuse, cancer and every other affliction under the sun.; and yesterday, March 23, 2011, Elizabeth Taylor did die for real this time.

Whadawethink covers news breaking stories and the death of famous people is certainly something we will always spill ink on, however there are more than a million so called “standard obituary pieces” some better than others and whether one is superior really depends on the style and writing of the author. I think everyone knows everything there is to know about Elizabeth Taylor (including perhaps the double rowed eyelash mutation – I personally did not so it was nice little piece of trivia to insert here.) Therefore, an obituary really is a rehash of things we already know and it is more a less something one would see on the Biography channel but we are respectfully saying goodbye to an extraordinary person and the marvelous and eclectic life the person led.

I read an article stating that Elizabeth Taylor was the last of the real movie stars and I think that says it all. Who of the golden era of Hollywood when movie stars were looked upon as gods is left? The only thing Elizabeth Taylor failed to do was die young. The larger than life icons who die young and still are in his or her prime live on forever and their names and images will be plastered all over the tabloids until the end of time. No, Elizabeth Taylor will fall short of the immortals Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis Presley (even though Elvis got fat and was losing it he still was on top.)

To illustrate my point further, Elizabeth Taylor was in her prime before my time (I am 47) and a friend said to me very sincerely that Taylor was not really ever beautiful (obviously not a fan of old Hollywood movies). I corrected my ill-in-formed buddy and declared that not only was she beautiful beyond words in her prime, but she was even perhaps the most breathtakingly, elegant and Pulchritudinous woman who ever lived. God bless Elizabeth Taylor and may she forever rest in peace!

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK? Were you a fan of Elizabeth Taylor? What did you like about her? What didn’t you like? Do you these old stars and starlets are prodigiously eccentric (Brando, Bettie Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.) & if so why? Please open this up, gallons of ink can be spilled on this extraordinary woman.

Take a look at the widget and our ad we have posted. Note you certainly do not have to buy the item we have on display. You may purchase whatever you want and believe me Amazon has EVERYTHING and Whadawethink  gets credit. Simply hover over the widget and click and this will automatically bring you straight to Amazon. It will be just like any other transaction you may have had in the past but because you simply clicked on the widget from here whadawethink gets a little credit. Keep coming back, that’s what’s most important, make a purchase only when you are ready.

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Rhett & Oracle

March 22nd, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

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The Insanity of War

March 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor

How can we as a species even conceive of ourselves as a civilized animal when there is a thing that still exists and in which we partake called warfare?  George Carlin summed it up best when he stated, “we Homo sapiens like to think of ourselves as civilized, yet we’re barely out of the jungle folks (the primordial side of humans still triumphs) all we are is animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.”

War has always been with us (even when we were ape-like toolmakers some 2.5 million years ago to the 1st so-called civilization, the Sumerians 8000 years ago to the Civil War (Carlin has a funny bit re: the term civil – “Pardon me sir please allow me to  – boom ! you’re dead; to the front page of the New York Times today 3/21/2011.

Even when it seems perhaps we are  more than amply justified when for example today, we see the allies intensifying air assaults in Libya as we attempt to depose the brutal dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi who has been brutalizing and killing his own civilians for decades. There just seems something wrong with resolving something unspeakably horrible by dropping bombs. I was struck by the incisive remarks made by the former chairman of the Arab league, Amr Moussa, when he said we’re trying to protect the civilians of Libya by dropping more bombs on parts of Libya where we think Qaddafi is and in the process killing more civilians. Just think of the absolute insanity of this!

As I am writing this, I’m glancing at the front page of The New York Times (the so snobby and refined paper that only prints the news that’s fit to print) with a an image of a massive fireball in color, covering half of the front page. It’s such a harrowing picture that I can practically smell the gasoline and the corpses of civilians and soldiers burning flesh. Furthermore, does it really matter anyway in terms of human life – a human being is a human being; so it makes it okay to burn to a crisp a young man who happens to be wearing a military uniform and who happens to be on the wrong side. I also cringe at the armchair generals who declare that we are only targeting the military and we are careful not to put civilians in harm’s way but collateral damage (nice euphemism for innocent men, women, and children) is a sad fact of war.

I know that war is unavoidable because there are very bad people in the world who are sadistic and have an unquenchable thirst for power. They take advantage of a weak nation or a country in trouble (like Hitler did after WWI; the 2nd world war was partially our fault because of the Treaty of Versailles – another blog) they rise to power and wreak havoc.

I would hope that someday we would, I am not going to be Pollyannaish, and say someday there will be no war, but just pray that we resort to military action only if necessary and only if all other non-military tactics and negotiations have failed.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK ? There is military conflict all over the world – we are ensnared in two wars, the Middle East and Africa are always killing each other and it is a hive for dictators. What are your thoughts on the wars we’re fighting (the U.S.)? Is there a way out? In fact, we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than we fought in Vietnam – astounding but true. Hey George Carlin I love you, I miss you and yes you were right – we are animals with computers, machine guns and baseball caps.

I am interested in what people have to say about this Op-ed blog. I hate war and it’s the sickest thing we humans do. Open this up and create substantive dialogue.

Now I am asking you to hover over the Amazon widget and make a purchase if you wish. Sure, it takes resources to run this blog but I actually enjoy more when people read the blog and contribute with thoughtful comments. Keep in mind, if you make a purchase at Amazon from here, you can buy whatever you want, and WHADAWETHINK still gets credit. Enjoy and Keep coming back.

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Cat’s Eye

March 20th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

What worlds are contained

Within its forty shades of green?

She watches me

From a faroff corner

As if unseen

But I must deem

I didn’t know

For the first forty seconds

Or so.

Her eyes, marbleized

Take me in.

Of what origin

This mistress of mischief

Deigns to feign innocence?

Ignoring my plea,

Forgotten me.

With a swish of the tail

I’m dismissed.

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I Hate Facebook – Revision

March 18th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

On the 25th of February, 2011 I blogged about my hating Facebook, though I did clarify and rectify some of my initial assertions in the comment section, I now feel compelled to write a complete blog about my thoughts on FB.

To begin with I must admit I was a bit hasty with my assessment of FB, though I had been a member, I rarely used it; if someone asked to be friends I would usually say yes and then simply just continue on with what I may had been doing at the time.

What I knew about FB was probably as much as any other informed person who knew of Facebook but never used it –i.e. that a young intellectually gifted college kid from Harvard had created a social networking site not unlike MySpace but much better and perhaps more invasive. The site had grown so expeditiously and prodigiously that there was already a hugely profitable movie distributed by the giant Columbia pictures; and directed by a respectable, good, and mainstream director (David Fincher). Mark Zuckerberg, the site’s founder and creator, had been leveled with charges against him regarding the stealing of other, at the time, working colleague’s ideas relative to the site, and other questionable, complicit and unscrupulous conduct.     

Furthermore, when I happened to passively glance at the site, it usually was not much more than pictures of family members or friends from their most recent vacation or some other uninteresting gathering (how boring is that?) In addition, what I also saw were college-aged kids partying or on the other hand parents showing off his or her snot-nosed kid (oops this was supposed to be an apology of sort, but I can’t help it) throwing a baseball or cheerleading their schoolmates to victory. It seemed like that same old rivalry of whose kid is cuter than mine is. Sure, if you happened to be related to someone, it’s somewhat obligatory to look at their kids pictures when you visit them, but does it have to plastered all over the web for the world to see ?

Well let me elaborate here on my (I would not say change of opinion) but perhaps new perspective I have about Facebook. Unlike Classsmates.com (which is a rip-off), one can look up old schoolmates free. You can also look up anyone for that matter with whom you have lost contact. It is absolutely the best in this regard and I cannot express the unadulterated joy it has provided for me. Reaching out and connecting  with old friends – it elicits a bitter-sweet, happy/sad and warm and nostalgic (at least for me it does) impression that yes time is passing by ever so quickly but how wonderful and kind so many people have flourished  into.

Having stated the aforementioned Facebook CAN (the optimum word is can) be exploitative and if not careful, especially with youngsters, one may purposefully or inadvertently reveal very private and too much information.

The major peeve and concern I have with FB and all the other social networking sites is the prodigious invasion of privacy. There are other sites which are a whole lot worse than FB in terms of privacy issues but I won’t  bother to mention these distasteful sites.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK? Do we have to be connected to everyone at all times? Will FB and the like supplant nostalgic yearning or perhaps enhance it? Are you a fan of Facebook or were you like me before? Open this up – Facebook, whether we like it or not is something one just can’t dismiss. To date there are a ½ billion regular members – that’s a lot of people.

Now for the awful part of the job but necessary; at least it is just advertising and you get what you want and believe me – if you can think of it, Amazon has it. I only use Amazon because I truly believe it to be the best in terms of online shopping. Just click on the widget shown here and shop just like always except I will get a tiny percentage. Note we’re not interested in your money  – we want you ! Have fun and keep coming back. Also be aware that once you click on the widget, you don’t have to purchase what I have advertised, you can shop away and buy what you want.
 

 

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Verdant Vale

March 17th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

Verdant vale

Cottage held to its breast.

Emptied of the nest

Its jewels.

And of the day undone

When it flung not one

But a myriad of stones

To the clinging frigid sea,

Prevails, she,

Silent as the harp

Unstrung.

Featureless

As a Face

Behind some Irish lace

It hung,

Celtic cross

Tied at the waist.

Magdalena Tabor

My wife as been writing poetry for 4 decades and began writing when she was just a small and imaginative little girl (I won’t reveal her age lol). I have an ad displyed but as I say everytime I finish a piece of writing, buy only if you can afford and want to shop and if you do, just hover over the little widget and I will get credit. Note : This brings you straight to Amazon and you can purchase whatever you wish. It will be not unlike any other transaction you may have had with Amazon and the Amazon page will look no different , accept because you clicked onto the widget, whadawethink gets credit.  Thanks for your support. Keep coming back !

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