September 24th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
Imagine ordering the following meal:
Two Chicken Fried Steaks Smothered In Gravy With Sliced Onions
A Triple-Meat Bacon Cheeseburger
A Cheese Omelet
A Large Bowl Of Fried Okra With Ketchup
A Pint Of Blue Bell Ice Cream
A Pound Of BBQ With A Half Loaf Of White Bread
A Slab Of Peanut Butter Fudge With Crushed Peanuts
Three Root Beers
Sound like a lot to eat in one sitting? I can assure you, this was not an order of food for a group of people, but for one man who then decided he didn’t want it. Texas inmate, Lawrence Russell Brewer’s last meal was requested Wednesday, September 21st before he was executed by lethal injection for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr in 1998. Brewer was one of three involved in Byrd’s death and the first of two to be executed. John William King remains on death row while Shawn Allen Berry’s involvement as the driver of the vehicle used as the instrument of torture, was sentenced to life behind bars. The three men offered to drive Byrd home but instead he was derailed and taken to a remote country road where he was brutally beaten before being shackled by his ankles to the bumper of a pick-up truck and dragged for three miles. Byrd died after his right arm and head were severed during the drive. They then dumped his body in front of an African American cemetery before attending a BBQ. The next morning authorites found 75 places littered with Byrd’s remains. The crime was racially motivated in that at least two of the killers were known white supremacists.
Why would a man who is sentenced to die for such a heinous act be extended the offer and served a meal of his choice? When hate is comprised of this man’s menu? When, in 13 years, he has suffered no remorse? The day before Brewer was executed, a Houston news station quotes him as saying, “As far as any regrets, no, I have no regrets. No, I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”
Thank you, Senator John Whitmore, for having the common sense to spur the end of the last meal privilege to death row inmates in the state of Texas. If only the rest of the nation will follow this example. Think of it; at a time when this nation is so financially stressed, we are paying to take this guy (and countless others) out to dinner while depriving decent, law abiding, impoverished Americans the money to feed themselves and their families. And why, on God’s good earth, would we pay for dental to have convicted criminals eat their meals in the first place? Many Americans cannot afford the luxury of getting their teeth capped unless they go to prison.
Wake up, America. Don’t you hear the snickering behind your back? No, I believe the rest of the world is laughing outright in our faces. Time for a change. Let’s do away with the Happy Meal.
So……………..whadayathink? Should people be given extra privileges when incarcerated? Where do we draw the line in easing their comfort?
September 21st, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
For me, tattoos had always conjured up images of bikers, sailors and inmates. The occasional female would have been some spaced out hippie chick back in the day. But in recent years it has gained such popularity, transcending the norm and embraced by all age groups and class types. It seems as if everyone and his grandmother has been tattooed. What is it about human beings that we feel inclined to mar ourselves with indelible ink? I can’t help but think of the kid in class writing all over his arm out of sheer boredom whenever I see an over exuberance of self inflicted graffiti. Why are we scribbling on ourselves?
The art (and I call it art because some of it is actually very beautiful) of tattoo is by no means new. Ancient people in many different parts of the world used it for various reasons; to denote a level of importance within a class, as a means of advertising availability for marriage, or even if one is qualified to perform certain functions within a tribe. In the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville, one of the main characters, Ishmael, encounters a heavily tattooed aborigine named Queequeg. In the movie version, Ishmael’s reaction to Queequeg’s bizarre appearance is one of terror, much as if stumbling upon a biker in a darkened alley. Likewise, Robert DeNiro’s depiction of the ex-inmate Max Cady in the movie Cape Fear elicits the same response – “There’s not a whole lot to do in prison but desecrate your flesh”, he drawls . But these are stereotypes.
These days, the tattoo is a form of self expression that holds no distinction between class types. Yet in our quest to individualize ourselves, we become just like everyone else – part of the fad. Some may argue that the tattoo is uniquely their own, as well it may be. A young woman I know had an image of her baby’s handprint tattooed on her back along with his name. A friend of mine has a shooting star tattooed on the cartilage of her ear – it actually looks pretty cool. And an older woman standing on line in front of me somewhere had a pretty bracelet of a flowering vine tattooed around her wrist. These art forms are thoughtful and tasteful. But then there’s the one that goes just a tad overboard. I was at a Stevie Nick’s concert a couple of years ago – 5th row center Orchestra. A young girl in front row center was apparently proclaiming to be Stevie’s number one fan – she was wearing a halter top for the obvious reason to show off her tattoo; a life sized portrait of Stevie encompassing the whole of her back. I knew she just couldn’t wait to show it to her idol. As Stevie shook hands with the entire front row audience at the end of the show, as was her custom, the girl turned her back to Stevie. Her reaction was not one of being flattered but of stunned disbelief. She simply shook hands and quickly moved on to the next person. What would possess someone to idolize another to such an extreme?
I’m glad I never got that butterfly I thought I wanted. I could never decide where it should go and the more I thought about it, the less I thought about going through with it. I began to think of how it would blur over time. Someone I once saw looked like she had a smudge on her leg. As I got closer, I saw. “Oh! It’s a tattoo”.
So……………………whadayathink? Tattoo or not to? What’s your opinion?
September 19th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
I saw on the internet a few weeks back an article of a clinical study, which was conducted, and the findings concluded that attractive people make more money than unattractive and even people with average looks do. I don’t remember the specifics of the control factors and how the study was conducted or how scientifically rigorous it was (for beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but it came as no surprise to me and I’m assuming for anybody else for that matter.
Beautiful people are simply treated differently and when I say different, I mean Better. The article I read about focused only on money, however comely individuals have a significantly easier time when it comes to social interaction and life, really. Even if you’re not interacting with other people, if you look in the mirror and you like what you see, you feel good about yourself. It’s just not fair, is it?
In my earnest opinion, I could think of not a single aspect of life in which being attractive is detrimental. Well, if being stared at in a most favorable way is problematic to you then you have one magnificent life (as long as you have your health). Just to list some of the prodigious advantages : monetarily rewarded, easier time (much) with attracting the opposite sex or same sex if one is gay; furthermore being good-looking allows a person to be a whole lot more selective in terms of selecting a mate and one can more easily end up with a gorgeous partner. Just to add to the aforementioned a guy who looks like Brad Pitt could get the whole package – physically gorgeous woman who is smart, funny, educated, financially-secure, nice, polite, and comes from a solid family. YES, good looks can do that, even if you are only attractive and lacking in some other areas. Depending on the individual, a woman who literally has it all may look for another guy who does too, but maybe not. Besides, a person can work on the other areas, whereas though a person could change his or her looks, one can only do so to a certain degree.
There are so many other facets of life that it’s impossible to cover everything. People even ascertain that one is a nobler human being based solely on appearance (initially at least). Infants warm up and smile to the beautiful. Your good looks may even get you elected as president of the United States. After all Sarah Palin is only popular because she’s pretty. In the presidential election of 1960 between J.F.K. and Nixon, the polls indicated that people who watched one of their debates on TV believed Kennedy won the debate, and the individuals who only listened to the debate, thought Nixon won. How about that!
This could be a much longer blog , but I think you get the picture. I’ll just mention the fact that women have it an awfully lot harder which goes without saying, is enormously unfair. However, as women become more and more liberated the gap between men and women is closing. (Without question, women do not place as much emphasis on looks as men do and I believe that this is a result of evolution – another blog)
So Whadayathink ? If you are attractive, all this is wonderful news! If you are unattractive, this is dreadful and unfair. The only redeeming and equitable equalizer is – “Father Time.” We, both men and women, will lose our looks eventually. Another note is as we age, looks are not as important.
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September 15th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
A couple of months ago when Charlie Sheen was behaving in a manner in which was whimsically bizarre and unprecedented, I blogged about the possibility that his behavior may indeed be a very clever marketing ploy. After all, when one is a celebrated figure and not a lawmaker, the president or some other very important person, there is no such thing as bad press. Charlie sheen is an actor the former star of Two and a Half Men (I personally have never seen the show, but it was indeed a big hit amongst those folks out there who like situation comedies) – not an important person. Charlie Sheen’s job is to get ratings and ratings he got – Big Time. There was not anyone who wasn’t talking about him and tuning into him when he gave an interview.
I am not suggesting that Charlie Sheen is not an alcoholic or a drug addict, but 90% of Hollywood is partying, drinking, and ingesting temporary “feel – good” substances. It seems that every musician, actor, or reality star is either “using” or in rehab. Additionally, we can all acknowledge that there obviously was a falling out with the producers of the hit show but Charlie managed to get off the show (which incidentally he intimated to many people that he was tired of doing the show) and make himself the highest-rated entertainer on the planet.
I saw Mr. Sheen interviewed at the time when he volunteered to go down to Alabama after the devastating tornado (a very noble act indeed) and he was lucid, sincere, funny, and normal. He also just recently granted an interview to Matt Lauer and he was as normal as one could ever expect.
My last thoughts on this whole Charlie Sheen episode is that I don’t know him personally nor do I want to – I’m not a fan (sorry Charlie) and he could very well be a manic depressant and have multiple personalities. However, Charlie Sheen is bigger and hotter than ever! This is akin to when Howard Stern got fired from WNBC and his salary went from 100k (Stern was acting crazy and Stern is anything but insane – he is also a marketing genius) a year to 100 million a year.
Well you be the judge, WHADAYATHINK ? Do you think Sheen really had a nervous breakdown or was this just a publicity stunt? Don’t neglect that other knucklehead, Joaquin Phoenix, people bought his inane “crazy man” act. Lastly, your average tabloid reader loves when celebrities and people they perceive as having an easier life than they lose it and suffer. Nothing like another’s tale of woe, the Germans have a word (leave it to the Germans to come up with a word like this. Note: I’m German too – a little joke). The word is Schadenfreude – if you’re not familiar with the word, look it up and in my humble opinion it is precisely fitting.
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September 14th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
We live in a nice neighborhood. It’s quiet, the people are friendly, and the homes are well kept. Most people like to put their own special touch on their property – give it personality, some character. It might be a pair of classical urns containing topiary and placed on either side of a doorway. Or perhaps something with a bit of whimsey like some oversized metal butterflies staked into the lawn. There’s one particular neighbor who likes to position antiques around his property; an old sewing machine, a beautiful spindleback settee, or a child’s tricycle to serve as planters. Trouble with this is that perfectly fine vintage pieces constructed of wood fall apart over time when left outdoors to weather the elements. It doesn’t seem to bother him though – he just throws them out and gets some more. How often have I imagined knocking on his front door to ask him how much he wants for a piece just so that I won’t have to see it waste away every time I walk past. The pint sized child’s roll top desk was a real treasure but I never got up the nerve to ask. It eventually fell to pieces like everything else. Another neighbor had a rare early 1800′s baby cradle holding begonias. I was angry at the stupidity of having to watch it warp and collapse within the year. However, I’m getting just a tad off the topic. What do I have on my front lawn? Whenever there’s a holiday or some special occasion, my family presents me with a piece of stone statuary. Once I was given a young Dutch couple; a sweet little girl and boy eternally poised in the act of kissing one another. They were two separate pieces, very heavy, and by no means very small. I’d say they were about two feet tall. They were very cute and made their home amongst my perfectly manicured shrubbery. They seemed happy enough. One year some tulips bloomed between them as if planned; symbolic of their undying love and commitment to one another. Yes, life was good for the quaint twosome. Notice I am using the past tense, for I realized just yesterday that they have simply vanished! I couldn’t recall the last time I’d seen them. It could have been days, weeks, or even months ago. Were they hiding beneath the shrubs? Perhaps dozing behind the azalea bush? Could I have forgotten that I’d misplaced them? (I’m certain the crick in my back would have reminded me.) No, they were most decidely gone . I was angered at this discovery; disbelieving that anyone would have the gall to make off with them. (I hesitate to use the word “steal” – it’s too ugly.) Considering their weighty proportions, a person couldn’t just simply walk off with them even if he or she had an accomplice. And as I will not compromise the integrity and good name of my neighbors, it must have been some passerby. Whoever it was would have done the dastardly deed by car, stealthily, by the cover of night. We do not live on a busy thoroughfare, so it might have been the person who delivers the NY Times in the wee hours of the morning. Or perhaps it was a fill-in postal worker gone postal. No. I will not begin to become suspicious of innocent people performing their daily work routine. Let me just say, I am grateful that both were taken and not just one. Can you imagine the heartbreak of one without the other? I don’t think I could bear the constant bawling of the one left behind. Of course, I must explore the possibility that the two have left of their own accord. Therefore, I am resolved to believe that my sweet, young, Dutch couple have eloped and are now enjoying their honeymoon. My neighbor has told me that a friend of hers had her windmill missing some time ago. Have they gone the way of the windmill? Do they now believe themselves to be in Holland vacationing by the Zuiderzee? Perhaps I’ll never know, nor do I wish to for I should hate to see them on someone else’s front lawn. After all, what could I possibly say to them?
So……………………..whadayathink? Was this a classic case of kidnap or did this young couple decide to make their own way in the world? (Remember: What comes around, goes around. We create our own karma.)
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