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The Central Park Five – What A Sorrowful Tragedy !!!

May 30th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

Ed Koch was mayor of New York back in 1989 and the city was an absolute mess – dirty, dangerous, peak of the crack epidemic and brimming with racism; there used to be a saying back then that a young black male in N.Y.C. was among the most endangered species in America.

Remember how scary and disgusting the city was in the ‘80’s? And, how about the hatred, racism and crime ? (Wow how much ink was spilled on the Bernard Goetz case – sadly most white people didn’t blame Goetz for blasting away the would – be perpetrators and quite frankly, well … do you blame him ???)  It was a time for the insanely haves (on Wall St.) and the sickeningly poverty – stricken have – not’s, i.e. black people in Harlem and the outer boroughs who had no other way to survive other than to steal, rob, sell crack, etc. to survive (we’re talking human beings here folks … the super, lilly – white rich I don’t think even to this day understand that you can’t dump on people and expect there not to be repercussions and consequences).

Anyway, the film/documentary to see is Ken and his daughter Sarah Burns’ The Central Park Five – just a first – rate, 5 star film about the grossly unjust indictment and conviction of 5 innocent poor black youths (ages 14 – 16) who were convicted of raping a 28 year old white investment banker jogging in Central park, only to be later found that the thing was a sham. Yes, the white woman was sadly raped and beaten by one man (a serial rapist) but the 5 black youths had absolutely nothing to do with it, yet they were convicted and all of them served out their full sentence without a shred of physical evidence except for coerced testimony illegally eked out by the despicable New York homicide unit who lied, fabricated, and whose mission was to ameliorate the savage racist climate which existed in the ‘80’s. Remember the big Donald Trump posting a full page ad in the New York Times clamoring for the death penalty for theses innocent kids – DISGRACE and SHAME to you Mr. Trump !!! (Do you think Trump would have given a rat’s ass if the victim was a poor black woman???)

Well, WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Also shame on the prosecutor, Elizabeth Lederer, who knew damn well that there was no evidence at all on these poor, black kids but proceeded anyway only to further her career.

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“Let’s Swim to the Moon”

May 29th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

“Before I slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to have another kiss … ” Jim Morrison was obsessed with death and talked, sang, and wrote about it his whole short life right up until he met his very own end on July 3, 1971 in Paris – he was only 27. Jim died peacefully in the bathtub they say of – excess, alcoholism, pneumonia, a heroin overdose (though Jim didn’t like the drug) a heart attack … nobody knows for sure. There are conspiracy theories galore and they’re all over the web including the possibility that his death was a fake (another Elvis thing) but sadly Jim Morrison did in fact die and the sad truth is that those who knew him well were not in the least bit surprised; Jim was coughing and throwing  up blood months before and why there was no autopsy and more importantly why his loved ones didn’t help him get some sort of medical attention is a mystery. Nevertheless, Jim and the Doors died in 1971 despite 2 of the remaining band members – Ray Manzarek  (Magdalena wrote an obit. A couple of weeks ago regarding his death) and Robby Krieger tried to revive The Doors with Stewart Copeland as drummer and well …that’s another story.
Since Magdalena’s blog about the death of the amazing keyboardist/bassist Ray Manzarek, I’ve not been able to pull myself away from listening, reading , and researching all about this incredibly original rock band who not only were way before their time but explored death, chaos, edge, uncertainty, revolution, etc. like no other group before – as some people would say, they were the Yang of Yin, the Beatles talked and sang about love and The Doors threw in our face Vietnam and darkness.

Certainly for me, at the age of 49, there are better, more educated writers who can quench my existential thirst, but The Doors were special – no doubt about it. The members of the band were educated and thoughtful; they actually named the group after Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors Of Perception’ and were heavily influenced by the poet William Blake and the beat writers: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, etc. and Jim read all of Nietzsche’s work. I liked what critic, Henry Collins, had to say about the singing of Jim Morrison – his voice was controlled, rich, masculine, almost balladeer (believe it or not, Jim loved the crooners i.e. Frank Sinatra) and then that tenderness would morph into this wild, feral and ferocious animal!!!
The band really began with a chance encounter with Ray Mancerek and Jim Morrison meeting at UCLA film school – both were never really that serious about EVER becoming rock stars (Jim always wanted to be a poet and Ray contemplated practicing law) but as we all know… the rest is history.
Well, WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Are/were you a Doors fan? What I enjoyed the most was Morrison’s improvisational style; you never knew what he would do next, he was a dangerous, scary, exciting Adonis. The band was also not your three chord, typical boogie back then, the music was jazzy, bluesy and simultaneously beautiful and very odd.

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When A Door Closes: Ray Manzarek 1939 – 2013

May 22nd, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
If, as many say, there would have been no Doors without Jim Morrison, the same can be said of Ray Manzarek. He co-founded the band along with Jim and brought in the two remaining members. With Jim as the exceedingly intriguing and controversial frontman, it was Ray’s keyboards that would weave like pipesmoke through Jim’s unusual lyrics giving the music its unmistakable sound. A sound that would transcend time.
I can’t seem to remember a time when there were no Doors, a staple throughout my adolescent foibles, and later what would become the hallmark of what it was to identify with “cool” and undoubtably thoroughly American, right alongside Mom’s spiked apple pie and our irreverant Bible of verses.
When Jim died, the Doors didn’t. Ray saw to that but he didn’t have to. They commanded the airwaves for years to come, time receding and yet remaining as though (almost) nothing ever happened. We refused to bury our Mojo. After all, rumor had it, he could well be alive in Paris. If this is true, then poor Ray plays alone and somehow I just can’t fathom that.
Ray Manzarek had a tale or two to tell. But the real story is in the music. I hear the opening strains of a familiar tune. You know the one. The keyboards are like the Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending with time eternal. They say when a door closes, another one opens. Ray closed the door and Jim just opened one for him. You know they couldn’t get much higher. Ya hear that Mr. Sullivan?
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Church Of Saint Ann

May 19th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
Unceremoniously entering
By her side door,
Stopping to catch my breath
Hushed in awe.
More chapel than church.
Diminutive.
No less Divine.
Without flaw.

Drenched in palest
Aqua Blue,
Watered in sea green glass.
Immersed in saintly aura
One could be devoted.
One could hope to ask.

Even you could not resist
The gaze of the Madonna
And stayed,
Lit the candle for your father
Where they left the wedding bouquet.

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Grief

May 15th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

Not without grief
Will there be acceptance.
The memory
Stands out in relief,
Tactile.
Redundant.

No solace
In remembrance,
Flowered in fragrant
Afterthought.
The dried petals
Pasted to your likeness,
Dissimilar
To the hazy image
Blurred between the lashes.

Surrender
To the infliction.
Indifferent to the pain.
Life in slow motion sickness.
The coldness freeze framed.

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My Mother’s Hands

May 11th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

My mother is 85 years old. She drives her own car, does her own shopping, gardens, knits, feeds the birds, tends to the chickens (upstate), cooks and cleans, bakes like nobody’s business, and a multitude of other things too numerous to mention that would put most people half her age to shame. She not only does all these things, but she does them all well. She’s an expert in her craft. She is selfless.
Recently, I was at a low point in my life. I’m still struggling but recovering and know that when I emerge from my gray state, I will never be what I once was. I will be changed. A different type of butterfly, muted in color, but I will still carry my damaged wings with certainty and an element of grace.  Wish me luck on my journey from here to there, for indeed, I will be on the move if not in the physical sense, most decidely in the spiritual.
My mother, sensing my profound loss, drove herself the 40 minutes to my house armed with her ammunition of flowering plants to detonate in my then empty garden. I helped of course, half heartedly, but before too long I was actually smiling and feeling better. Nothing like a mother’s love to set things to right. Nature possesses a balm that brings us back to ourselves. She knows this.
When we had finished, we sat in the middle of our private sanctuary enjoying the afternoon sun. She looked down at her wrinkled hands, splotched with age and remarked on their ugliness. I was taken aback and said nothing. I thought about it after she’d gone home. Hers are the hands that had just performed a miracle. Not merely in the finesse she had just distributed throughout my garden, but in her selfless act to replant the something missing in my heart.
Hers are the hands that are never without expression.  She can make something out of nothing. She will take something that you gave her and give it back to you a year later ten times more beautiful. When she arrives, her hands are never empty bringing armloads of groceries you didn’t know you needed. Hers are the hands that lay folded in her lap listening to your every word. The hands that pray when you need it most.
Sometimes, after she’s left, I find a folded bill her hands tucked somewhere where I could find it. I smile and shake my head. She’s something else.
There are hands that are smooth, young, and unblemished by life’s troubles but none are more beautiful than my mother’s hands. She wears the ring of angels. Her touch is golden.

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Get Rid Of Major League Baseball

May 11th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

The Cleveland Indians have won 9 out of their last 10 games, they have an incredibly talented, exciting (I’m speaking in terms of relativity, for nothing visually is exciting about baseball; mentally – yes, but that’s not what we’re talking about here) and yet they can’t draw a crowd. Why? Why NOT ?
 
Let me begin by saying that I love[d] baseball and I still maintain that there is nothing better than seeing a child field his first ground ball, catch that seemingly scary skyscraper – high fly ball, and ultimately put wood into fair play; Little League Baseball is ideal for kids. But, let’s face it, baseball for adults on a professional level is DEAD !! The last time I went to a major league baseball game I had to drown myself in beer (when I drank – lol) just to get through the tedious spitting and ball (testicle) – scratching 9 innings.
 
Baseball was never an action – packed sport, in fact I think it’s only 20% of the time that the players are actually playing the sport, the remaining time like I said is spent scratching and spitting. A decade ago I would have been appalled at such commentary and probably would have said something akin to “You don’t understand the chess match !!!” The problem is, I’m not going to drive to a ballpark, pay exorbitant parking fees, and even with free tickets (yes the Cleveland Indians are doling out free tickets) watch over – paid, spoiled athletes play a game that no longer means anything anymore. Baseball used to be all about tradition and records (the steroid generation sadly ruined it for us baseball geeks) and we wouldn’t mind waiting for the hitter taking his time to step into the batter’s box, after all we were trying to figure out what Mickey Rivers’ batting average would be if he sliced a single into left field.
 
Baseball is a boring sport and not unlike golf, I’d rather watch it on TV; but if the stadiums need to be filled in order for the sport to survive, then screw it, let the sport die. The days of Howard Cosell and Monday Night Baseball, baseball cards, never – to – be broken records are over.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I think the three hot sports today are Football, College basketball, and finally the greatest sport of all – MMA – Mixed Martial Arts.

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Okay Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ Is A Gem And A Must – Read, However …

May 8th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
The hoopla about Ms. Flynn’s latest novel (not even deemed popular fiction but rather “literature” by some super – heavyweight reputable sources such as the New Yorker ) prompted me to finally get around to reading it. It started out slow, not very interesting, even ponderous and I thought  – wow, what an over – rated piece of rubbish but once the real Amy (female protagonist) came out, the novel took off, and it was impossible to put down; I polished off the 419 pages in two days.
There are no spoilers here, so it’s safe to read this, but do read the book, it’s a lot of fun and saying that there are prodigiously clever moments in ‘Gone Girl’ is an understatement. What I merely want to point out in this blog is some of the problems I had with the work– namely that I don’t think  Gillian Flynn has a real understanding of who men are and what their interests are; granted Nick, the male protagonist was intended to epitomize the worst of the worst in the male species and the lowest common denominator but having said that, a writer wants the reader to empathize and sympathize with even the most despicable man at some level at some point in the novel but that didn’t work for me. So it isn’t perfect but it’s close. A couple of notes:
How can I be delicate about this ? Okay, non vaginal intercourse. I find the act to be vile, nauseating, and revolting and I know I’m not alone here. All of my friends, acquaintances, and males I know in general concur. Mike Tyson on the Howard Stern show said that anal sex was utterly disgusting – yes Mike Tyson & Howard Stern. Yes, Nick is a twisted slime ball but Amy is Satan – incarnate and one would think that you would want to kinda of root for Nick a little bit but how can you ? Sure, I think the lesson is that they’re  both trash and they deserve each other but….


Threesomes ??? No guy wants that – yes making love to a beautiful woman other than your wife, one @ a time is understandable for men who cheat on their wife but @ the same time – nonsense.

Well as you know, the novel is Triple XXX with a capital T. The author, Gillian Flynn is an intelligent, beautiful, educated woman (like Amy, the protagonist – lol) and I earnestly believe she lowered herself by using certain language and describing ad nauseam the aberrant sexual behavior of her protagonists. (What does her real – life husband say about this, not to mention Ms. Flynn’s toddler child who will obviously eventually read her book.

So Whadayathink ? What do you think ? Aside from too much pornography, the book is absolutely brilliant. Two of my favorite authors, John Updike and Paul Auster appealed to voyeuristic appetites of some of their fans without compromising the overall integrity of their masterpieces.


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Mankind’s Nemesis – Religion!!!

May 6th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

It’s 2013, the Human Genome Project was completed a decade ago in 2003 – the entire genetic make – up of a human being (which incidentally was initially estimated would take a century or so to sequence. It took 13 years. We neglected to factor in that science and technology moves exponentially not linearly), the internet as we know it is 20 + years old, and via stem cell research and cutting – edge biotechnology we ARE going to be able to manufacture vital organs, cure cancer, and have answers and solutions for a plethora of other dreadful diseases. Someday we may even understand what consciousness is or the very thing that makes you – you. Just imagine the possibilities!!! Immortality (I personally wouldn’t want to live forever but I don’t think I’d mind a couple of hundred more years or so).

Well if there’s any hope in living longer and enjoying better lives, one thing must go – The inane yet insidious fairy tale – religion. Okay my mother believes in Jesus/Christianity, etc and many other people I love cling to the myths – fine…. But the fanaticism must go, and one religion must go completely and that is Islam.
This killer kid, Dzhoklar Tsarnnaev, who incidentally I’m sick to death of reading and hearing about, could have had it all, but he threw it all away for make – believe stories that happen to be vicious violent nonsensical rubbish taken literally from the outlandishly, spectacularly, achingly and almost hilariously tome, the koran. Daniel Dennett, one of the greatest scientific minds of today calls religion cravenness. I love this word. The OED defines it as cowardly, contemptibly timid, and pusillanimous. That’s it – the fear of the fact that everything, and I mean everything including the great universe itself lives and will someday die. Why does that upset people???
So WhaDaYaThink ??? What do you think ? How do we become progressive and ultimately eradicate ignorance? I’m not overly concerned about folks who like Proverbs and the teachings of Jesus as long as it’s held in check. I mean DO NOT interfere with stem cell research, accept that evolution is a fact, and lets work together to make better lives for ourselves and our children.

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To Understand All Is To Forgive All

May 2nd, 2013 by Michael Tabor

To understand all is to forgive all. Do you believe in this? I think only an omniscient benevolent god-like entity can truly both completely understand and ultimately forgive absolutely everything for example – a child murderer. This is an adage I very often have trouble wrapping my mind around but it is something to which I must cling with all my heart in order to move on and carry on in the face of abject evil.
Everything happens for a reason is another optimistic way to think about the world in which we live. This is almost impossible to swallow when tragedy and unspeakable horror happens but I do absolutely believe in cause and effect even if we don’t understand it. In fact from a strictly speaking scientific perspective everything as an antecedent however as a side note what happened before the big bang???
All life is precious. Well I guess you would have to say – it depends. A pernicious carcinoma is alive albeit the fact that it will have viciously hijacked your DNA and continue to suck the life out of you until you die. Hence what we mean by “all life” we’re referring to humans, mammals, and some invertebrate.

So Whadayathink ? What do you think ? We all have our little terse sayings and general truths that we carry along with us throughout our lives. What are some of yours?

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