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Cancer: The Master of All Maladies – Is it Possible to Find a Universal Cure ???

January 22nd, 2013 by Michael Tabor
After being diagnosed with cancer, one feels horrifyingly frightened and unspeakably alone and alienated; imagine the milli – second before the big bang occurred type of loneliness or if you happen to have a monotheistic worldview, dwell on the utterly terrifying concept of being GOD – you know the Christian God – barrenly and existentially alone.
Today I read an article from the science journal ‘Nature Chemistry’ which stated in a nutshell that scientists have discovered a “quadruple helix” which may suggest a clue as to the root cause of how and why cancer cells proliferate so prodigiously. Since cancer is “viral – like” in terms of our body and white blood cells not recognizing a foreign invader and the fact that every cancer is different, many oncologists are skeptical about whether or not they will ever find a universal cure. Just think of cancer as a terrorist type of beast that hijacks your normally – functioning cells and tells your DNA in essence to “follow my orders – I’m your new captain” , then grows wildly(resulting in sickening tumors) and ultimately the satanic beast sucks every last bit of life, to the marrow and until it kills you – the host. But, today’s announcement has given us some hope.

Cancer in this country and around the world is so widespread, that the saying “If you live long enough, eventually you will get some form of malignancy” holds a lot of weight once you look at the statistics. 600,000 Americans will die of cancer this year and more than 7 million people around the world will succumb to this most deadly disease. We have made tremendous strides and have come a remarkably long way in terms of 1. Diagnosing the disease (get your annual checkup) and 2.Treating cancer, the 3 major ways: a. surgery b. chemotherapy or c. radiation or a combination of all three, if you catch it early enough.
One of the nastiest types of cancer is acute leukemia, which is really cancer of the white blood cells (the very cells that are in normal situations, supposed to protect you from illness) – one nurse I can recall her saying that “when a patient has acute leukemia, you are always on super alert, because being a blood malignancy, even a paper cut is an emergency. I bring this up, because many years ago in the ‘90s, a good friend and colleague of mine lost his daughter to Leukemia and even though I have not heard from nor seen Ed L. (the father) in a long time, tears well up and I have to immediately distract myself so I won’t become profoundly depressed.

This is a short essay so I can’t elaborate on anything other than the fact that this discovery of a “quadruple – helix” is incredibly exciting stuff. Without getting into medical jargon (+ I’m not an oncologist) this makes me feel quite optimistic, because just think – what makes cancer such a Goddamn formidable disease is that we CAN’T isolate the healthy cells from the malignant ones so whatever form of treatment (if you get it in time) you choose you invariably are going to kill healthy tissue as well (collateral damage is a useful metaphor).

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? There isn’t a person alive today, who hasn’t personally been affected or who hasn’t known someone who has died of cancer. I know it’s unpleasant, but the obvious full medical exam is in order and when you’re my age (almost 50) i.e. the finger in the butt or colonoscopy and for women – please don’t put off mammograms and pap smears. Have a long, happy, and healthy life everyone.


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We, The American People, Have Put to Death Scores of Innocent People

October 8th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

I’ll begin by saying that I am vehemently an advocate for killing really bad people like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy; these individuals are monsters, analogous to CANCER who must be eliminated ASAP. However, to dive right into what I want to say – we sadly have killed 1000s of truly innocent people. Saturday night I saw a documentary titled ‘Deadline’ about the story of why Governor of Illinois, George Ryan (R) granted clemency to all 156 inmates on Illinois’ death row.
This chilling documentary upset (understatement – I cried), appalled, and literally rattled the very core of my being when I heard that SEVENTEEN (17) Inmates on the state’s death row were through DNA and careful reexamination of the evidence, exonerated. Many of whom had spent more than a decade in a 6 by 8 cage doing time for a crime they didn’t commit. How did this happen ? Can you imagine being incarcerated for something you didn’t do? Doesn’t that just want to make you scream? Guess who these people were? Yep, you guessed it – the poor, uneducated, and mostly black (90%). The other 10% comprised Hispanic (couldn’t speak English and thereby defend themselves adequately) and a couple of rootless white guys.
True, most of the inmates were GUILTY and had committed the most heinous crimes imaginable and deserved to be there, however nearly 11% were found to be INNOCENT! That is outrageous, I thought the death penalty was supposed to be reserved for the real monsters about whom there was absolutely Zero doubt. I think that if the state makes a mistake and even ONE innocent person is imprisoned for 2 decades and finally murdered, then the death penalty ought to be abolished, period.
I strongly recommend that everyone “Netflix” ‘Deadline – it covers in great detail everything I’ve written about thus far. But, in the interim let me explain in a nutshell what is going on and why we’re killing innocent people. Obviously, this is the greatest country in the world (however, prodigiously flawed) and we want to get the bad guy. Nevertheless, when there is a high – profile case (not nationally but locally) there is a tremendous amount of pressure from the public to find and jail the perpetrator as soon as possible. Hence, law enforcement works 24/7 to accomplish the aforementioned, which is good and bad, mostly bad – here’s why: When the police have a suspect, and some evidence on him, they want so badly to get an indictment that the interrogators literally BEAT a confession out of them. Cleverly, they ensure that no marks are left; blunt instruments are used to club the suspects over the head (no blood) or to the stomach, so externally there’s no evidence of a beating. There are also a plethora of other techniques – sleep deprivation, loud music, even medieval methods such as a makeshift rack wherein a person’s limbs (both arms & legs) are stretched out (very often dislocating the person’s extremities out of the socket) to an extreme degree causing intense pain. The next problem is the poor, inarticulate suspect with no money is stuck with a public defender who more often than not, is a lousy lawyer or is someone green right out of law school. Additionally this PD is going up against the state, which has all the money and resources in the world. Next problem is once there is an indictment and then conviction, the prosecution does not want to go back, redress the whole trial and ADMIT they were wrong (this is sickening! Many prosecutors know the guy is innocent, but their career and reputation is more important than killing an innocent person). Next – the politicians know that the public LOVES the death penalty and if you’re going to be elected, you “gotta” be tough on crime and no one wants to hear about their elected official commuting a sentence. Lastly, the saddest group, the victim’s loved ones. When you set someone free, obviously someone got away with murder, you didn’t get the right guy, there was no justice rendered, not to mention the fact, the family has to relive the horror.
So WhaDaYaThink, What do you think? This essay is a little longer than I intended, and I made a promise to daily readers of this blog, that I was going to elaborate on how George W. Bush, former Governor of Texas and the worst president in the history of this country refused to reexamine questionable cases. Texas, when he was governor, was the leader in putting people to death. There is no question in anyone’s mind that some of those people he gave the green light to kill were INNOCENT ! George W. Bush is a monster and a hypocrite, and truth be told, he, himself ought to be on death row for war crimes, lying to the American public, subverting the Constitution of the United states and starting an illegal war. This however is gist for our ever-grinding mill of lively blogs to come.

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Woody Allen, The Quintessential Auteur

August 13th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

If you are a Woody Allen fan like me, there’s a relatively new documentary available to see on Netflix called –‘Woody Allen: A Documentary’, 2011, and it’s an absolutely must-see. It’s about 4 hours long (2 parts and there’s not a dull moment) and it’s the most comprehensive, in-depth profile of this unique, prodigiously talented filmmaker/actor/writer/musician to date. Mr. Allen is such an elusive private man and I was shocked to find how probing and personal it was. It was a completely no-holds barred portrait of this man’s astonishing body of work and his personal life and beliefs.
Whether you’re a Woody Allen fan or not, you cannot deny the fact that Woody Allen is an American National Treasure. Think about this: Woody Allen has been making films and has been RELEVENT for more than 40 years. This is simply unheard of in show business; if you’re relevant for 10 or even 5, it’s amazing! What I also got out of the documentary, was what a nice, unpretentious, likable guy Woody Allen is. The only real hitch in his personal life was the whole, over-blown coverage of his affair with Soon-YI, Mia Farrow’s adopted child (not Allen’s). As far as I’m concerned, Woody did nothing illegal, nor did he do anything really wrong. Listen, was it a little strange? yes . But the truth of the matter is: 1. He wasn’t married to Mia Farrow. 2. Soon-Yi was 20 when they started the affair and 3. As I mentioned in the previous sentence, it was not Allen’s adopted child. It wasn’t planned, and as we all know, love is irrational plus he’s still with her, so leave him alone. What was great was Allen’s response to the whole fiasco, he said, “Jeez, I was shocked by all the coverage; I didn’t know I was that popular.”
Enough of the nonsense, I’ve already spilled too much ink on Woody and Soon-Yi. Let’s talk about his professional life which is nothing short of masterful. I won’t go through his whole career, see the documentary, which is impressively exhaustive. Woody started as a writer, writing 50 jokes a day for $25 a week. He later became a stand-up comedian which he hated because he’s shy and hated performing before a crowd. Then he became what he really wanted  – a filmmaker with free rein to do whatever he wanted to do – which is simply unheard of with the big studios and major financial backers. What makes this even more unbelievable is that Woody had this incredible independence from day one. What a lucky man!
Of the 40 films Mr. Allen has made, I would say that I liked about 30 of them, he did make a few clunkers, but Woody would have you believe that just about all of his films were awful (again that monumental modesty). He also doesn’t care what the critics think; ironically, his favorite films are the ones the critics panned. Allen’s thoughts are that if he is able to reproduce what was in his mind (or as close to it, it’s impossible to be exact) then the film is a success.
Let me conclude with some personal thoughts about Woody Allen. One of the major reasons I like Allen , is he truly thinks like I do. I am somewhat of an insecure nervous nellie and I’ve always been obsessed with death. Woody Allen has essentially made a career out of talking about death but without the gloom, he always throws humor in. My favorite part of the documentary is when he says, “when I was 5 or 6 I realized that we all die, and he goes on to say, you mean this doesn’t go on forever, we have to die ? Doesn’t that ruin everything?”
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? Are you a Woody Allen fan? What is your favorite Woody Allen film?

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Human Life is Precious

May 7th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

How many times have I heard people say something to the effect i.e. “If there is no God, then life is meaningless. “This assertion has always left me scratching my head and utterly perplexed. “Why bother raising a family if they’re all going to perish and die someday… ” This sort of illogical thinking has reinforced my belief that man is a strange species indeed; smarter yes, but stranger than any other primate is. I hear this time and time again from Christian fundamentalists who make the claim that if we don’t live for eternity and there is no afterlife then life ceases to matter. One might argue that since our time is limited, then  life ought to be all the more important.
I’ve written  before about how living forever would be a Kafkaesque nightmare, and I now want to just touch upon how foolishly inane this notion of thinking that a life that goes on and on and on and on – forever and ever without end is the only existence that would render life important and meaningful. This is just nonsense. The fact that we will one day no longer exist should not nullify or marginalize our life one iota, no matter how long or short of a time we live.
I must admit that I have been guilty of this sort of wrong-headed thinking when I was in college after a friend of mine had died at a young age. That semester and the semester after that , my grades dropped precipitously. “What is the point of studying and getting good grades if we’re going to die someday?” I suppose the fact that my friend’s death was unexpected and premature – he died way too young; was really the cause of my angst. The real issue at hand was that anyone of us can die at any time, but since I was 20 years old, wasn’t diagnosed with a terminal disease, and dying from an accident or mishap was remote, my emotional response was inappropriate. There are no guarantees as to when and how long we live but the fact that we are going to die doesn’t make life meaningless. Having stated the aforementioned, I personally think that most people do however die too soon; life is so ineffably rich and beautiful (often – it can be awful and ugly too)that I can envision myself living for centuries (this is science fiction here but ..) even thousands of years without getting bored, as long as my body held up.
But, even if I died tomorrow, and there was no afterlife,etc. I would still be full of gratitude and would consider myself an incredibly lucky person to be born and had had a life at all.
I’m going to conclude this blog with a little something that Shelly Kagan from Yale put together to illustrate and put into perspective how mind-bogglingly amazing it is that you and I are here alive. Here we go – If there are 5 billion people in the world today and roughly  2.5 billion are men and 2.5 billion are women the potential birth algorithm would be calculated as follows: 2.5 billion women x 30 years of childbearing years x 12 eggs x 2.5 billion men x 50 sperm producing years x the unbelievable average of 40 million spermatozoa per ejaculation the number you end up with is 1.5 million, billion, billion, billion potential births and after this generation gives birth you would then end up with more potential people than all the particles in the known universe.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Just think if your great, great, great, great grandmother had a headache and perhaps had sex 5 minutes later, you would not be here.

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Life after Death: Is it possible?

December 29th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Before responding to this question kindly view the video below (if you haven’t seen it already – the video has gone viral) in which you will see via flash card a boy with a fatal heart condition explain in heart wrenching detail his near-death experiences.
http://gma.yahoo.com/video/news-26797925/sick-teen-s-videos-go-viral-after-death-27729605.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fnews-26797925%252Fsick-teen-s-videos-go-viral-after-death-27729605.html
What makes the video all the more poignant is the fact that the youngster died on Christmas day this year shortly after he made this tape.
There have been numerous documented cases in which a person, who right before he or she dies, has the very same experience: sees a very bright light (sometimes a tunnel), witnesses a flashback of one’s life, and has an intense euphoric feeling. Steve Jobs said aloud, “oh wow, oh wow, oh wow’” and then died.
A person who believes in life after death will boldly pronounce that the individual is going to heaven or something of that sort. On the other hand, a secularist will provide an elaborate explanation of what typically happens to human beings shortly before death, e.g. the part of the brain responsible for vision is stimulated which accounts for the bright lights; and mercifully, human nature has an innate mechanism which discharges massive amounts of “feel good” neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, GABA, etc . which is why a dying human being feels a sense of peace and euphoria.
So WhadaYaThink ? What do you think? I’m not sure where I stand on this. I would be assured of an afterlife if Abraham Lincoln, George Carlin, and Steve jobs all came back from the dead and proclaimed to the world that there’s more to come. Personally, I don’t think it really matters once the person is dead. Death which is not even a state of being (obviously) is not intrinsically bad and if there is something after this (this actually scares me more – what if the life after this is bad – ahh I don’t believe in a “hell” from a spiritual or scientific standpoint. A benevolent God doesn’t like pain and a painful existence serves no purpose or utilitarian function for a neutral universe ) so be it.
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