June 25th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
What is the underlying difference between conservatives and liberals? The truth of the matter is your average republican has a substantially stronger aversion to ambiguity than democrats do. Nobody likes irresolution and uncertainty but a plethora of controlled studies (I will cite the specific studies if necessary but for our purposes…just google psychology of political affiliation, etc.) have overwhelmingly shown that liberal-minded democrats have a much greater degree of tolerance for contradictory interpretations of complex issues than republicans do – period.
One need only listen to AM radio or watch FOX News to see how easily Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O’Reilly can resolve the most tortuously labyrinthine political problems with such utterly facile, black and white, crude, and non-subtle sweeping generalizations. These conservative media are laughable and I find it hard to believe that any informed citizen can take these folks seriously.
It certainly would be nice if there were such pat solutions for such vexing issues as healthcare, gun control, the economy, foreign affairs, abortion, immigration, role of government etc. but there simply isn’t. Every important issue is prodigiously difficult and complex and no matter what legislation for any given predicament is presented, the bottom line is a whole lot of people are going to get hurt (usually around 50%).
What I would suggest everyone do is conduct a little semi-controlled study yourself and do what I did – just think of all of your friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and even family members and ask yourself: who has a greater tolerance in dealing with huge, messy complicated problems, your liberal friends or conservative ones ? Don’t you think your republican co-workers are quicker to voice their unwavering opinions and thoughts on any given issue? Finally, ask yourself, why do they always have to SHOUT and YELL?
So what do you think ? WhaDaYaThink ? Oh – about the shouting thing – @ lunchtime starting at 12pm EST, today or tomorrow go and listen to Leonard Lopate on NPR for a little while and then switch the dial and tune into Hannity, Limbaugh or O’Reilly and let me know your thoughts.
June 24th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
While bike riding in the nearby Massapequa Preserve yesterday, I came across a glorious sight. Twelve swans floating as one in the creek that’s fed from the large pond a little further upstream. Other people also stopped to observe, one remarking “Six pair”. Everyone knows that where there’s one swan, there are usually two. Thus, multiple swans should turn out in pairs. They mate for life (something we humans can learn from). I spent a few moments drinking in their beauty before continuing on my way.
On my reverse trip, it seems that a Swan Lady had appeared, knee deep in the water, looking magical as the swans surrounded her. Then it became apparent, as the scene tarnished by the fact that she was feeding them along with a smattering of baby ducks. We were always told not to. Had something changed? As if reading my mind, she turned to me and said “It’s actually good for them. It’s wheat bread, not white”, she added in defense, as each swan politely took its turn accepting her offering by hand. I was somewhat skeptical but thought that she might be a swan expert, so certain was she in her conviction . She seemed pleased with herself at saying they had finished off the loaf. She had brought two and immediately began doling out the second one as more people gathered to watch. “Do you have any bread for the birds?” she asked a set of toddler twins. “If you do, then you can feed them too”.
On the other side of the preserve is yet another pond, along with a prominently placed sign facing Merrick Rd. DO NOT FEED THE WATERFOWL. It was posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation listing the reasons:
Concentration At Unnatural Sites
Spread of Disease
Costly Management Efforts
Cumulative Effects (one person feeds them, then another and so on)
Devaluation of the Species
And so, dear people, please leave nature to itself. It’s quite capable of providing for itself without any “help” from us, however well intentioned. It’s done so since the dawn of time. Take the bread home and spread some peanut butter and jelly on it for your kids. There are other ways of teaching your children about nature, beginning with suppressing the urge to feed the birds. They are not starving. They beg for food the same way your dog or cat does but the added distinction lies in the fact that these creatures are wild. So enjoy them at a distance with all the respect that they deserve. Meanwhile, the Swan Lady has prompted me to request another sign from the DEC to be posted at the Swan Lady’s site. It seems that it is she who needs to be re-educated, not I.
June 17th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Suzanne bakes bread
In a crumbling millhouse.
They eat it still warm
Outside on the flagstones.
The scrape of iron chairs
Bringing them closer to table
Under Monet’s vanishing sky.
From the village market
This peasant’s paradise.
There is nothing to be said
In either language
That a wave of the hand
Can more aptly express.
Let silence be
Your perfect French,
By the evening star.
June 15th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
I’ll begin this blog by stating the obvious: Thomas Pynchon is a genius almost beyond words. Anyone who has read anything by Pynchon will be amazed at how much esoteric information is packed into each and every one of his 7 novels. His novels are prodigiously dense and complex, full of allusions and alliterations, word-play, symbolism, irony and just about every other literary technique under the sun. He is considered by many scholars to be perhaps the most brilliant, unique, awe-inspiring postmodernist writer of the past half-century and nobody has seen him in 40 years. Yep, not unlike J.D. Salinger, (recently deceased) Pynchon is a recluse and all we have is a picture of him from his high school yearbook from Oyster Bay, long Island, New York.
Thomas Pynchon writes a little like Vladimir Nabokov (his puns, references, allusions, long sentences, etc.) who not surprisingly was a student of the master of prose, Mr. Nabokov at Cornell University.
I just finished reading The Crying of Lot 49 (published in 1966, but was written when Pynchon was in his early 20’s; how is it possible for him to know so much already? Was he reincarnated?) and I was completely overwhelmed and “blown away” with his brilliant prose style, labyrinthine plot features, and just the wealth of references. Next on my reading list is Gravity’s Rainbow but I’m going to need a little help on this one; I’ve tried to read this about 10 years ago and had to put it down because of the incredibly vast array of references, themes, and allusions to: science & technology (Pynchon worked at Boeing as a technical writer), obscure historical events, punning weird names, believable conspiracies from huge corporations (paranoia is a theme throughout all of Pynchon’s work), hundreds of characters, reams of postmodernist themes and devices, entropy, industrialization, mathematics, literature, religious cults and so much more. I just purchased The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon and I’m a lot smarter now than I was a decade ago. So I’m ready to tackle Pynchon’s exhaustingly monster masterpiece.
Thomas Pynchon is not for everyone. If you’re going to read him you’re going to have to put in a whole lot of work into it yourself. However, I obviously believe the hard work is well-worth it – you’ll be a whole lot smarter, think differently and never look at mundane things, ideas, or objects the same again, and most importantly you will be entertained beyond your wildest dreams.
This can be a huge essay but I’ll stop writing here and allow you to have the pleasure of reading and researching those deliciously esoteric factoids yourself. Enjoy ! So whadayathink ? What do you think ? Do you like Thomas Pynchon ? Do you like to be challenged when you read (to this degree) ?
June 14th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Fracking – The extraction of natural gas from the earth using un-natural methods.
Fracking – The decimation of the land affecting all living things.
Fracking – The polluting of groundwater to the detriment of all.
Fracking – The promise of jobs in exchange for a lesser quality of life.
Fracking – Big business versus the rest of us.
Fracking – An easy fix for an uneasy existence.
Fracking – The means to an end of life as we know it.
Fracking – The lazy man’s solution to alternative energy.
Fracking – Irresponsible measures taken in a grand show of national independence.
Fracking – The invasive drilling of the earth with no regard for the consequences.
Fracking – A dirty word for a dirty business.
Fracking - A bad idea for a good many reasons.
Not in New York. NOT ANYWHERE. For more information and what you can do to stop it, Google “No Fracking” or contact NY Officials directly at amillionfrackingletters.com….
June 1st, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
Nursery rhymes. The charming, innocent, sing-song chantings of a by-gone era. Ah, maybe not so charming, and ever wonder why they’ve disappeared from the lips of modern day children? The answer lies in the verses themselves which dawned on me the other day with something of a shock. Who knows how the mind works, but a childhood rhyme buried, yet still lodged firmly in the recesses of my brain suddenly sprang to life, and when spoken aloud hit me on the head with the proverbial hammer. I began to dredge up other “harmless” rhymes that I found equally as horrifying. Then I did a little research and came up with the following information. See if you recognize some of them that your own unassuming self may have uttered once upon a time. Some of it could be fodder for a creepy horror flick. Others have political connotations of historical interest. All of it is very entertaining…..and not just for kids.
1) The Worms – Folk song originating in the 18th century during the Crimean campaign sung by British soldiers. There are various versions. Here’s one I partially recall:
“Did you ever see a hearse go by and think of the day that you might die. (memory lapse here)….The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, into your stomach and out of your mouth”.
Really??? YUK. I can’t believe I sang that with a sweet little smile on my face. Of course it was accompanied by a rather catchy tune.
2) Ladybug, Ladybug – English origin circa 1744.
“Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children will burn”.
Wow. Who dreamt that one up?
3) Ring Around The Rosie – This one originated as a result of the Bubonic Plague. When the disease was contracted, rose colored sores developed, around which rings would form. Posies (flowers) were carried to ward off the stench of the dead. “Ashes” referred to the burning of the corpses to stop the spread of disease. “We all fall down” was due to the vast number of people that succumbed to the sickness. Here’s the delightful little ditty:
“Ring around the rosie. A pocketful of posie. Ashes, ashes. We all fall down”.
4) London Bridge Is Falling Down – Originated in England circa 1744, referencing the deterioration of the London Bridge built in 1176. “My fair lady” may be tied to Matilda of Scotland who was responsible for building a series of bridges, or perhaps linked with Eleanor of Provence who was in charge of bridge revenues. I remember this game well…..two children held their hands high in order to form the arch of the bridge, while a group of other children walked around them. At a particular point, the arch would drop and one child would get trapped. Nothing scary here, just some good old fashioned fun:
“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady. (Here’s where the arch drops entrapping the one kid who gets swayed back and forth). “Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up. Take the key and lock her up, my fair lady”.
5) Old Mother Hubbard – Exact origin and meaning disputed. English 1805.
“Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. But when she got there, the cupboard was bare and so the poor dog had none”.
Listen Mother Hubbard, if you don’t get your act together and put that dog on a proper diet, we’ll remove him from the premises. And as for you, we’ll get you some Meals On Wheels.
6) Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater – USA 1825.
“Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, had a wife but couldn’t keep her. Put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well”.
Clearly spousal abuse in it’s basest form. I think she should hook up with Cinderella and turn that pumpkin into a luxury coach, turn Peter into a footman.
7) Rock-A-Bye-Baby – English 1765. One theory is that the baby was the son of James VII who was smuggled into the birthing room to provide a Catholic heir.
“Rock-a-bye-baby, on the tree top. When the wind blows the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks the cradle will fall. And down will come baby cradle and all”.
Guess he got found out, huh?
8. The Old Woman In A Shoe – England 1794. One possible reference is to Queen Caroline, the wife of King George II who had eight children.
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth without any bread. Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed”.
She’d never get away with that now.
9) Three Blind Mice – England 1805. An earlier version of this refers to Queen Mary I for blinding and executing three Protestant bishops.
“Three blind mice. Three blind mice. See how they run. See how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three blind mice?”
Again, another one for the animal rights advocates. Oh…….and what about the bishops? Whose advocating for them? Any volunteers?
So……..the next time you hear some kids singing what sounds like just some kids singing, listen closely to the words.