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The Irony of Stand – Up Comedy

May 9th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

Did you know that 99.9 % of comedians cannot stand (no pun) hearing themselves and worst yet, seeing themselves perform? Initially, I comicwas shocked, but now I can totally understand the psychology of it all and how sensible it is. What kind of crazed narcissist would you have to be to like laughing at your own jokes?
We’re social animals, and the reality is that a stand – up comic needs an audience and some sort of positive feedback in order to really get the joy out of telling jokes. I’m pretty sure that any type of performance artist (actors, talk – show hosts, dancers, musicians … etc) for that matter, doesn’t like to see themselves on tape or whatever. My theory is that, the looser the format so to speak, the less inclined you’re likely to enjoy watching yourself. I suppose if you’re a classical pianist and you nail down Chopin note for note, I guess you can watch yourself and derive some sort of pleasure.
But, anyway, just to stick to comedians here in this blog, is it any wonder that comics are perhaps the saddest and most serious folks on the planet ??? I was informed of this when I was a kid and I used to think it was monumentally ironic, but is it ? Professional comedians ponder the absurd and write about it (the grim existentialist, Albert Camus, spent his entire career ruminating thoroughly and deeply on the absurdity of the human condition).

The oxymoronic “comedy is a serious business” prodigiously resonated with the late great George Carlin who wrote everything down and when he did his act (about an hour long or so) would not change a single word – I repeat, not a word !!! George used to say, once it’s in, it stays.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I’m not a particularly funny person myself, but I’m a HUGE fan of comics and comedy.

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Meditation is Not Just Some New Age Thing

May 8th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

Mindfulness, TM (Transcendental Meditation), Movement meditation like Tai – Chi (I have been practicing Tai – Chi for 3 decades), breath – counting … just to mention a few types (hey it’s essentially the same stuff, I’ll elaborate in just a sec…)of meditation practices that are proven methods for peace of mind and good health.

Most people, especially westerners are prodigiously skeptical of , to which the title alludes, this new age thing called – meditation. But, listen up, the facts are the facts: doctors from this country (U.S.) and rigorous clinical studies have clearly shown that meditation of any kind:

· Normalizes blood pressure (not just lowers, in other words)
· Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke
· Minimizes stress
· Cures insomnia (actually, I don’t mean cure here, but it definitely helps. I’ve suffered from insomnia my whole life and I can honestly attest that I’d be a sleepless zombie if it not were for my meditation practices)
· Reduces anxiety and depression
· And leaves you with a sort of sense of calm throughout the day (calm for me anyway, lol). I am and always have been a “Nervous Nellie”meditation2 . I wish this were not the case, but hyperactivity and nervousness is just part of my temperament and genetic make – up. Before I discovered Tai – Chi and meditation in 1983 I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown – I kid you not.

In a nutshell, meditation (any form) is simply the arduous painstakingly practice of paying attention to the most boring and uninteresting thing a human being can possibly imagine e.g. following and counting your breath – inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale. What this practice does, is simple 1. Train you to be in the moment 2. Improve your concentration and put a halt to extraneous distractions other than the task at hand (counting your breaths for example. Oh, incidentally it’s impossible for your mind not to wander about to other matters, but that is all part of the meditation practice… intrusive thoughts pop into your mind, & now your job is to gently bring your attention back to breath – counting) and 3. Permit you to become the “viewer”, “watcher”, “third person” who uncritically and without judgment allows one’s body to do what it wants to. THAT’S IT !!! There is nothing mystical about it. You don’t have to convert to Buddhism and you certainly don’t need a mantra (as TM suggests).

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I know David Lynch (the surrealist Film director) has been proselytizing about TM over the past couple of years. I’m telling you, once you fully grasp and understand it, it truly becomes a part of your everyday life and you quickly realize that it’s something without which you simply cannot live. YEP, it changes your life forever !!! Check out this YouTube clip of Howard Stern (everyone knows I personally hate Stern, but here he is amazingly articulate, passionate…) and Jerry Seinfeld drinking coffee and having a discussion about a simple but profound practice that has been around formeditation1 at least 6000 years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLn1ZgGxos

 

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Jim Jarmusch’s ‘The Limits of Control’

May 6th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

I still don’t get this film, but I’m nevertheless going to watch it again tonight for the third time. This is a prodigiously slow – movinglimits1limits2 motion picture (I don’t care, because the cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful – filmed mostly in Madrid and Seville, Spain) about a hit man given an assignment. The film is as cryptic and esoteric as it gets. Check out some of this dialogue or should I say monologue:

·        “The universe has no center and no edges”

·        “Reality is arbitrary”

·        “Everything is subjective”

·        “Use your imagination and your skills”

Right from the get – go you see an overhead shot of the “Lone Man” doing Tai – Chi in a stall in a public restroom at an airport. We learn quite quickly that this is not a mainstream movie and it’s going to perhaps require some thought i.e. a lot of thought (like I said, this is viewing #3 and I’m still not sure what’s going on …) Incidentally, the Lone Man (Issach De Bankole) always orders 2 espressos in separate cups. This we find out later is some sort of code along with matchboxes and a query about whether or not he can speak Spanish or not (yep, this is definitely a thought – provoking Jim Jarmusch film).

“As I descended into impassable rivers, I no longer felt guided by the ferryman … “ in other words (I think this is what this means) you are on your own in this world – in this life. This movie is so rich and has so much to offer if one has the patience. Yes, this movie moves at a snail’s pace but what an absolute masterpiece it is if viewed through the right lens.  Incidentally, speaking of lenses, throughout the entire film you see many of the characters wearing sunglasses. What does this mean? I suspect that Mr. Jarmusch is having fun with some dark humor here –right? Of course, secret service men, bodyguards, etc. are always seen wearing sunglasses suggesting secrecy, but in this film, it’s purposefully exaggerated to create a surreal and farcical effect.

I’m not going to do a frame by frame analysis of this film (although I think this would be profoundly interesting and fun) and certainly I don’t think there is such a thing as a “spoiler” when it comes to this movie. What is the plot after all: A taciturn hit man is given a mission from enigmatic men to kill a certain powerful man, about whom we know absolutely nothing and for reasons the picture never reveals. Along the way the protagonist anti – hero meets very interesting and mysterious people who instruct him what to do in code and ultimately the mission is accomplished and the movie ends. Does this sound like a movie for you ?

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I absolutely loved this film and if you are looking for something a little more than just the unfolding of a plot or story, then this is a must – see. I am leaving so much out including the sound production which is just first – rate e.g. the helicopter propeller blades juxtaposed with pigeon wings flapping is deliciously magical.

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Do All Old White Men See The World This Way???

May 4th, 2014 by Michael Tabor

I will answer my own question – you’re damn right they do!!! (Okay, I’ll temper the aforementioned exclamation with – not all, but sadly donald-sterling1most do) Donald Sterling is a despicable white racist who has a penchant for women the age of his GREAT grandchildren and the sad truth is that I have met, known, and even been close to people who share his EXACT sentiments.

This world since I’ve been alive (I’m 50) has changed dramatically in terms of race and sex. The fact that I was raised and taught to believe in certain things and in a certain way is profoundly sad and a worldview of which I’m deeply ashamed. I speak the truth when I tell you that there are old fogies who maintain and continue to hold on to a value system (actually not value at all – it’s disturbing and sad) regarding minorities and the marginalizing of women.
The whole Donald Sterling affair ought to be a wake – up call for all you misogynistic racists out there.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? I think there are at least 2 great lessons at hand 1. People are people whether black, green, white or purple (I hate this expression, but…) and 2. If you’re an elderly man with a lot of cash and you love 20 year olds, look out ‘cuz the love is not mutual. I’m stating the obvious when I say that young attractive women will “GET YA” and ruin your life. What Donald Sterling did was beyond words abhorrent, but the way the young lady fished him into saying these racist things was on some level just as hateful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZh6WGbZUvA

 

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The Redemption Of May

May 3rd, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

Why do you weep?redemption of may
When all the world is bright
With flowers.
And the sun spills
Its golden halo
Round the spoils
Of its feasting.
Why then do you weep?
And fast.
Partaking none
Of the dacadence
That won’t last
But a moment.
Dry your eyes.
Might I not tempt
With the redemption
Of May?
Her wild and wanton ways
Displayed in but one
Of the red lipped tulips
And the hundred and one
Violets
That carpet her floor.
Come weep with me awhile.

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Solar Queen (In the Window)

May 3rd, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

She waves from her podiumsolar queen
Of crystal
Garnished with glass grapes
On sunny days
To all
Or no one.
Fair weather friend
Gloved in finery
Ceases to acknowledge
The postman
Delivering rain.
Solar perplexed-us.
We are not amused.

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Why Do Writers Drink So Much???

May 2nd, 2014 by Michael Tabor

Dylan Thomas succumbed to acute alcoholism and died on November 9, 1953 at the tender age of 39 shortly after consuming 18 straightalc2 whiskies at the famous writers bar in the village – The White Horse. Indeed the great Dylan Thomas had a plethora of health issues but it was ultimately the bottle that did him in.

Truman Capote, O. Henry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler … just to mention some of the big names, all died of complications of alcoholism. Ernest Hemingway committed suicide (alcoholism is actually suicide, except it’s slow, long and brutal beyond comprehension) but he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver just prior to his pulling the trigger.
Not just writers, but artists, musicians, and essentially anyone who happens to be creative… historically seem to have this horribly nagging impulse to self – destruct and resort to drugs and alcohol. Nobody is immune to the disease of substance abuse, but I don’t think that anyone can deny the fact that artists and creative people imbibe more. Sadly, there is also a much higher incidence of suicide (but that’s another blog).
My thoughts are simple: creative and talented people live more intensely than people in other walks of life; his or her skin is thinner than most and hence Kurt Cobain, John Cheever, and Vincent Van Gogh are more in tune with the subtle nuances of the wicked, nasty, bad, ugly, and unspeakable cruelty of the world. But thankfully, artists and writers are also acutely aware of the ineffable kindness, benevolence, and beauty which makes this life livable. Speaking of Vincent Van Gogh, I can’t resist Don McClean’s “Starry Starry Night”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM I know this is not the most masculine thing to say or write, but I literally weep every time I hear this song.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ?

 

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Incarceration: Is That The Answer???

May 1st, 2014 by Michael Tabor

How do we fix an obviously broken system? Frontline, the greatest PBS in-depth documentary television program ever, shared with us jail1the scary truth this week about three facts: 1. It is prodigiously expensive to keep an (alleged) bad guy in jail or prison (wayyyyy more expensive than helping a poor person via welfare for example. It literally costs the state millions of $$’s for each inmate) 2. 90 % of the guys jail2incarcerated are not killers and rapists. In fact, most prisoners have just been dealt a really lousy hand in life. The prisons and jails are full of poor, unskilled, and more often than not – BLACK folks whom society has abandoned and simply tossed away like trash. There are scores of people who would like nothing more than to just blot them out (ummm … whether this is your sentiment or not, the bottom line is that you the taxpayer are paying for their incarceration … an obscene 1 – 2 million dollars per inmate). 3. REHABILITATION is a joke!!! Besides, the majority of our society is more interested in retribution than rehabilitation.
Let me be clear here by stating the obvious: I am an emotional human being who would want nothing less than having anybody who harmed my loved ones, or my cats for that that matter, tarred and feathered & perhaps afterwards burnt at the stake!!! I think most folks are on the same page with me here. This however is not the issue. Most of the people in prison are minorities, incarcerated for drug – related offences, and have had pathetically poor public defenders because they couldn’t afford anyone else. Hence, what you see are two types of justice: one for the rich and one for the poor. Jordan Belfort, the Wall street scoundrel, spent a mere 2 years in a country – club – like prison for stealing 100’s of millions of dollars from hard – working honest businessmen. On the other side of the track, you have poor black or poor white people getting 30 years to life for selling weed or smoking crack. How fair is that??? Incidentally, Jordan Belfort, if you read his memoir, smoked more crack and snorted just as much cocaine as any poor person doing life. The difference is that because Belfort hired the greatest attorneys $$ can buy, he’s now free as a bird, and though he’s been banned from trading securities for life, he basically has most of his money back selling books and giving motivational speeches.
So WhaDaYathink ? What do you think ? I hope you can get this link (Unfortunately, I’m having a problem posting the link. If you have time, just google Frontline and watch the most recent episode called ‘Prison State’)

How can you not weep after seeing this insane injustice??? It’s hard to fathom that these appallingly poor people, with no family structure whatsoever, and years of unimaginable abuse have any sort of chance in this life.

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Kiosk Folks and The Remote Control Helicopter

May 1st, 2014 by Michael Tabor

What is the deal with kiosk booths and the remote control helicopter (who knows, maybe the concept was the progenitor of drones – lol) ??? kiosk1kiosk2Esthtician stock photo shootOr how about the glittery cell phone kiosk5covers, other cheap flying junk & mechanical animals that walk around and make oink – oink sounds. I almost NEVER go to strip malls, but when I do, there they are … those independent booth owners hawking nauseating kitsch. My question is –DOES ANYONE BUY THIS STUFF ???

Sometimes the merchants will sell some sort of secret skin cream that will make you look 20 years younger and remove every wrinkle from your face. How about those inane vibrating chairs that some people sit in thinking that that they’re getting a massage. One of my favorites is the skin burning machine i.e. tanning booth. Sure you might get malignant melanoma, but at least you’ll have a nice tan – … uggh, we’re a strange species, indeed!!!

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Everybody seems impressed with the miniature helicopter flying around the mall, but I personally have never seen a person actually buy one of those things.

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