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Reflecting Pools

September 11th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
This is hallowed ground.
Where souls connect.
Where pools reflect
The clear September sky.
Etched into walls
Are the names of people
Silenced.
Names spoken aloud.
Or whispered
Like prayers.
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9/11 – A City Silenced

September 9th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. We had been living in our new home for

just a year. Taking the Long Island Railroad into Manhattan each day was still

a relatively new experience for me. Prior to then, I spent years riding the

subway into work. I guess you can say I’m a seasoned New Yorker. September

11th, 2001. It was the most beautiful September day. Noticeably so. I know it

sounds like a cliche but it was the kind of day that made you feel alive.

People still talk about how beautiful the day was. Picture the perfect day.

That was it.

 

 

I was sitting at my desk working (or about to. God, it was early) when I
got a phone call from my husband Michael. He said a plane had just crashed into

the World Trade Center. My initial

assumption was that a pilot of a small aircraft lost his bearings, making a

grave miscalculation in altitude. This was no accident, Michael replied. Call

it a gut feeling. Leave work, he said. Leave now. I didn’t. My office is in

midtown Manhattan. A few of us opened a window and if you leaned ever so

slightly in the direction of downtown, you could see it. A big gaping hole in

the tower. I remember thinking, “How are they ever going to fix

that?” Crowds began to gather outside. We walked up to the corner where a

clear cut view offered a broader perspective on the damage. There was billowing

smoke emanating from the hole. By the time we got back to the office, a second

plane had hit the other tower. By this time we knew the horror of it. We were

under attack. The city shut down. There was no way in. No way out. It was then

I realized that Manhattan is actually an island – that I was trapped – cut off

from the rest of the world. And all I wanted to do was get home. If only for

the last time.

 

 

One by one the towers collapsed. One minute they were there. We saw them.

Then they were gone. It seemed inconceivable. How could this happen? This was

the United States of America. New York City. Dangerous as it may seem at times,

things like this just didn’t happen. Oddly enough, I had always felt safe and

secure nestled within the cluster of tall buildings. Like familiar friends. My

home away from home. On the whole, New Yorkers are a tough bunch. You

inevitably become so. It’s fast paced. You need to keep up. But that day was

different. What struck me most about that day was experiencing the city as

never before. The city emptied its people out of every building, spilling them

out into the street. People everywhere, just standing. Enveloped in a kind of

shell shock. We were not so much individual persons, but a single living

organism brought together in solidarity. Were we scared? Very much so. Yet not

a syllable was spoken. What was heard was only the sound of sirens; scores of

fire trucks and police cars racing down 7th Avenue toward doom. Racing to their

deaths. I was witnessing their final frantic moments.

 

 

I made my way out of the city that day; several of us piling into a

co-worker’s brand new car. How he B&M’d (bitched and moaned) about it until

we all threatened to buy dripping ice cream cones. Finding levity even in the

face of disaster. A kind of balm. An equilibrium on our sanity. His was our

Army Jeep. Our ticket out. Intent on leaving war torn Manhattan behind.

Seemingly, incredibly, ours was the first vehicle to enter and leave the

Midtown Tunnel. There was absolutely no one on the road. Just us. Like

Armageddon. I turned to look back at the skyline behind us. At the empty sky

where the towers stood. There was billowing black smoke. Smoke that used to be

people. In the foreground was a huge billboard. The word P E A C E

spelled out in big block letters. That, the word “peace”, and the

eerie aftermath of silence, is most prevalent in my mind. That, and the empty

September sky.

 

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Pascal’s Wager

September 6th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Blaise Pascal was brilliant and had as good a mind as any human being to have ever existed (1623 -1662). He was a mathematician, philosopher, physicist, writer, inventor, and one of the world’s greatest thinkers of all time.
If you’re not familiar with Pascal’s Wager, in a nutshell, the theory suggests that it is most prudent to believe in God (a Christian god of course) lest if you don’t and there is a God and one doesn’t believe, one is DOOMED to eternal fiery hell. It’s monumentally incredible because if you do any research at all on how he arrived at this conclusion, you can see that he actually worked out a mathematical formula such as if there is X1 and X2 and x1= a3 – X4, blah, blah, blah and some other nonsense you have the existence of a god. Or, to spell out his theory correctly again he breaks down believing a god to a Las Vegas bet.
I will not elaborate any further on this because I think Richard Dawkins does a superlative job at addressing this when a Liberty U college student asks Mr. Dawkins – What if you are wrong? Watch this video it’s a classic.
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New Jersey Set to Implement Toughest Anti – Bullying Law.

September 3rd, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Wow, where was this law when I was a little, scrawny middle and high school kid. I survived, we all survived, we had to, and we had no other choice. Unfortunately, there is a new type of torment, which is called Cyber bullying, and it is so intense and much more prevalent that it may surpass an old-school yard whooping by Mr. Bully. (Wrestling, boxing & fighting is part of being a boy, as long as no one gets seriously hurt, but the bully is a bully because he selectively chooses weaker prey. If you want to prove you are an alpha-male to be popular and impress the girls, fight someone your own size, do not pick on the math nerd.)
When one is 8 – 17 years old (even older), and attending school, that child should be concerned about academics and academics only. Sadly, especially if you are a child attending a public school, any public school, but especially an inner-city public school (I know bullying and cliquish behavior is present in private schools as well.) it’s the child’s reputation and sometimes, thankfully rarely, a child’s life.  Kids and especially teenagers are the meanest and nastiest human beings on the planet. We have all witnessed and perhaps experienced this behavior, either as victim or as victimizer. A 13-year-old child believes that being cool and accepted by one’s peers is prodigiously more important than getting an ‘A’ in Chemistry.
Boys typically Value strength and athletic ability (virility) and girls place a high value on looks, being stylish and popular with the cute boys. Every single individual has gone through this and the irony is that typically childhood and very young adulthood is so brief, that usually the nerds in high school end up very often being the most “successful” in later life. I don’t think Bill Gates was the handsome quarterback of his high school football team, nor do I think the cheerleaders were scribbling his name in their textbooks or whatever……
I am a male and have been the victim of bullying and I cannot speak a whole lot about what it is like to be an awkward, teenage girl with braces. Therefore, I will elaborate a bit about my personal experience as a boy who was picked on and talk a bit about the repercussions and how today, now being parents ourselves with the social media, how much worse things are today with our kids and the awareness of “bullying” and the resulting legislation.
I was small, shy, a late-bloomer ( I am now 6’2’’ 240lbs and since Royce Gracie introduced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed- Martial  Arts in 1993, fighting has never been an issue  – besides we’re adults, we grew up, fighting is for boys.) Maybe when I was a little kid, I got picked on –beat up, no big deal. Now with social network technology, a kid is picked on and bullied, 24-7 and there is no escape.
The State of New Jersey has adopted a law to stop bullying. Kids are kids and the message we want to send to our children is bullying is not cool. There is also the problem with being a tattletale (I am laughing to myself but for some kids a tattletale is like being a rat in prison) but there can be calls and e-mails sent that provide anonymity. Let us make our schools for learning and as for Alpha- males, myself  included, that is what organized sports are for.  Let me just leave this for everyone – Georges St. Pierre was picked on daily by bullies when he was growing up in Canada. GSP is now pound for pound the toughest human being alive and is currently Welterweight UFC Champion and hasn’t lost a fight in years.
So Whadayouthink ? Is it possible to legislate bullying or is it just a part of growing up?
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Souvenirs

September 1st, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
Accumulated on shelves
Where they must remain,
To collect the dust
That is their right.
The souvenirs of vacations
(lest we forget) –
The trinkets from Troy.
Baubles from Bombay.
Knick-knacks from Narnia.
Tchotchkes from Chile.
Of little or no sentimental value,
We clear the air of the clutter
And say “Ahem –
This is where I’ve been”.
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