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Tyler Talks Raining Cats and Dogs

October 19th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

tylerThe other day one of the Beans excitedly announced, “It’s raining cats and dogs!” For the life of me (and I have nine) I couldn’t imagine what they were talking about. I ran to the window. Indeed it was raining but there wasn’t a cat or a mongrel in sight. I must have missed them.

I pondered on this phenomena. What could have caused this? How did they manage to reach that elevation and then simultaneously jump down to earth and why? Was this some sort of mass cult suicide attempt? Or were they members of a unique sky divers club equipped with their paratrooper’s gear? Where did they all go when they touched ground? Why wasn’t it reported on the news? And most importantly, how can I get in on the action?

The next day was a cloudy one. I took my usual place at the window and waited. There was  a rumble. I attributed this to a dog’s snarl, a harbinger of the event to come. The wind whipped up. Must have been the jet propellers ready to drop the thrill seekers at any given moment. A few drops of water trickled down the glass. Surely the sweat from their brows. They’re getting cold feet, I thought. Too scared to jump. And then……nothing happened. I did spot one cat running down the street but never saw him land. He must have been the only one to brave the dive. Good for you! I cheered him on! He turned to look back at me with a puzzled look on his face. Must be the delirium from all the excitement, poor guy. And then he vanished out of sight. I wondered there was no reception or welcoming committee.

I soon fell asleep when all at once there was a great roar. It was pouring rain and along with it hundreds of dogs and cats hanging on to umbrellas filling the sky and landing on the street and on the lawn. Someone was yelling “It’s raining cats and dogs! It’s raining cats and dogs!” I suddenly awoke to the sound of my own voice screaming the phrase over and over. I looked out the window. Everything was as it should be. Not a drop of rain or a dog or cat in sight. Whew!

I decided to Google the expression. The Greek cata doxa meaning “contrary to experience or belief”, so if it’s raining unusually or unbelievably hard…..It’s raining cats and dogs. Now isn’t that a wild stretch of the imagination? I think the Greeks had better stick to souvlaki. That reminds me, where’s my dinner?

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Tyler Talks Vo-Cat-ulary

August 4th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

tylerIt’s astonishing how many words in the English language begin with the letters C-A-T. This is no accident and although the Human Beans acredit themselves with this distinction, the simple truth is, cats are the ones responsible. Isn’t it obvious? Felines consider this misnomer cat-a-strophic! Here is just a sampling of some of the words and how they originated.

Catechism:

Cats are very spiritual and founded the first known retreat at the base of a chasm in (where else?) Katmandu. It was called Katachasm but over the course of time the Beans changed the spelling to suit their own needs. I’m not sure why nor is it of any real significance.

Catatonic:

In times of illness a special elixer or tonic was prepared rendering the feline immobile assuming a trancelike state. The original recipe may have included too much gin. Needless to say, cats have abandoned the practice altogether and leave it to the Beans to continue this bizarre behavior.

Catacomb:

This word is attributed to the long haired feline variety such as Persians and Angoras who require a special grooming device called a comb. These tools were originally discovered during an archeological dig uncovering an ancient crypt in Egypt where cats of royalty were entombed. In the years following, the Beans adopted the burial procedure but many of them were bald. The name “catacomb” however remains the same with or without the hair.

Catalog:

How many cats can perform feats of acrobatics balanced on a log? The answer is in our archives. The contest was first held in the jungles of Africa by our forefathers. Every year since, the names of the contestants and the winners have been filed for posterity. This filing system is still used by some old timer Beans today but the dawn of technology has rendered the filing cabinet obsolete.

Catamaran:

Oddly enough, this word was born as a direct result of the cat-a-log contests. The leftover logs were used to create rafts for a flotilla honoring the winners. Much like a ticker tape parade but without the ticks. It was called Catamaran for no particular reason. It just sounded cool.

Cathartic:

A derivitive of the word Cat-artic, the first feline explorer of the region staked his flag to inform all new comers they were trespassing into a “no ice fishing” zone.  It was a good way to purge himself of all the grief it took to get there and stake a claim into territory he would probably never set paw in again. Writing his memoirs was very cathartic. The Beans inserted the H to make it more “human”.

So……………whadayathink? Becha never knew cats were responsible for some of the most interesting words in the language of Beans. I learned all of this from my grandfather who was a great spinner of yarn. They said he had a tall tail.

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Bloody Awful !

June 22nd, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

This morning while reading cnn news on the train, I was struck by an interesting article, “Car Crash Leaves Australian Woman With French Accent”. Apparently the bumps and bruises suffered eight years ago have long since healed but what’s hurting her the most is an accent  acquired for a language she doesn’t even speak and is unable to retrieve her original Aussie accent.

I am not making this up. Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare condition resulting from a brain injury, the first of which was reported in 1941 when a Norwegian woman was injured by shrapnel during a German raid. She began speaking with a German accent and was shunned by her native Norwegian people. Ach du lieber!

What’s supposed to be a serious condition is, c’mon guys, too FUNNY for words! I found myself laughing out loud, trying to suppress my laughter on a public train. I’m certain my fellow passenger sitting opposite was wondering what was so hilarious after I read about the British woman whose migraine left her with a Chinese accent. I was in stitches by her following statement, “To think I am stuck with this Chinese accent is getting me down. My voice has started to annoy me now”. Stop! I am DYING! Willing myself to act normal before I begin rolling in the aisle with uncontrollable GUFFAWS!

If you Google Foreign Accent Syndrome, you’ll be presented with numerous accounts of this baffling (and I’m sorry, LOL) condition. How does one go through life if this mysterious ailment doesn’t correct itslef, as it oftentimes does not? People whose paths you cross will inevitably ask about your background, curious to know why an American or a European with typical features posseses an accent of Oriental origin. Might it be best to assume sign language when in public? And your family, what must they think? “You’re putting me on, right?” or ” Come off it, Harry. Always the clown.”

And what about ordering Chinese food? They’ll think you’re mimicking them and a heated argument will develop over the Won Ton soup. You won’t even get any fortune cookies with your order. You might even get the meal with the unidentifiable meat.

What about the Woody Allen type? The psychosymatic who conjures every affliction known to mankind? This bizarre disease will give him one more to worry about. He’ll start speaking in tongues. A variation of all languages culminating in an assorted stream of accents in the breath of a single sentence. It can become exhausting, impossible to carry on a conversation with the constant distraction of the mottled mangling of words.

Whatever happens, watch that bump to the cranium. I’d hate to have to listen to a Brooklyn accent for the rest of my life. FAH-GEDDA-BOUD-ID. Pass me the BUD-DAH.

So…………….whadayathink? What accent would your brain retrieve from its recesses? Could you live with it?crayon

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Hiccup or Hiccough

January 12th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

My wife said she had the hiccups before when in fact she had the hiccoughs – yep, everyone misspells it & mispronounces it including me – lol. Actually both are accepted – that’s the way the English language works, if enough people say it a certain way for a period of time, it morphs and evolves into generally accepted use.

 

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The Life Of Riley

January 5th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
It occurred to me the other day that while many are living the good life and so many others do without, the once oft use phrase “The life of Riley” is rarely, if ever, heard these days. Serendipitously, as is so often the case, it was suddenly mentioned while watching (what else) PBS in which the woman was heard to mutter, “Life of Riley”.  I wondered who this Riley character was and what popularized him and his idyllic lifestyle. What research I came up with sums up the fact that since no direct reference is made to any one particular Riley, the name was chosen merely as a generic one.
The first mention of the phrase appeared in a 1911 Hartford, Connecticut newspaper announcing, “Bullet Ends Life Of Famous Wild Cow”. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a wild cow. In my ignorance I assumed they were all domestic. The cow, it seems, had been living “the life of Riley” after ravaging the fields of farmers the whole year, much to their chagrin as they could not get the animal under control. The fact that Riley is associated with a cow makes perfect sense to me. Think of it. Doesn’t the fact that your boss arrives considerably late each morning, spends the remainder of the day with the door to his private office closed (which causes me to believe he is not working), has his lunch delivered by one of the office staff, who then leaves early and doesn’t bother to come in on fridays (are we done yet), make you think, “Why, he’s living the life of Riley, the cow“. And this is just the working (term used loosely) class. What about the priveleged few?
In the popular PBS series Downton Abbey, cousin Matthew, the newest member of the stinkingly rich Crawley clan, stands to inherit the family fortune. But he’s just a regular guy who came from nothing (don’t let the English accent fool you). At the expansive length of the dining table, he mentions something about his weekend. Elderly aristocratic cousin Violet asks in all innocence,  “What’s a week END?” To go a step further, Violet’s response to another family member’s grumbling to her lot in life is to say, “Don’t do that. It’s so middle class”. So be it. I will grumble because I’m not even living the life of Riley’s long lost third step cousin twice removed three times around the block.
So there you have it (or don’t), the life of Riley in a nutshell with the 18K gold nutcracker.
So…………………whadayathink? Are you living the life of Riley? Is your pasture greener than the one on the far side of the hill? When, not if (I’m cautiously optimistic) I win Mega MIllions, I’m changing my name to (you guessed it) “Riley”.  Somehow “The life of Tabor” just doesn’t have the same zing to it. Although, we could start a whole new trend and put that Riley guy to shame.
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Some More George Carlin – Variations and Spin-offs of “The Seven Dirty Words”

October 14th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
I literally almost laughed myself into unconsciousness; I had almost forgotten how fumy and silly “The Seven Dirty Words” were. This morning I spent some time listening to the variations of “The Seven Dirty Words” and several of the spin-offs on YouTube. We here at WhadaWeThink do not generally use profanity unless in quotes; it is not that we are opposed to the use of such words per se, but we just do not feel the need to use them in our journalistic prose. We are not trying to be elitist here, after all Shakespeare is replete with vulgarisms and the very Bible itself has its share of profanity. The use of dirty words is very effective and serves a greater purpose when there is dialogue or interaction as in a play or screenplay. This is the subject and topic for many more blogs to come. Right now, just prepare to laugh as you have never laughed before. I’ve gathered and collected some of the best and funniest bits and spin-offs of the “Seven Dirty Words” (George wrote and performed the original  “Seven Dirty Words” in 1972. Just amazing! Almost 40 years later and it has not lost an iota of its freshness.)
Click onto the links and enjoy!
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Update: We are adding a new website to our Op-Ed blog

March 9th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

 We will be launching a new web site in addition to Whadawethink. It will tie in nicely with this Op Ed blog and we plan to get it off the ground sometime in May. When I tell you what it is you will probably cry out – how boring! GRAMMAR! Believe me, we’ve been planning this for years and we’re going to make grammar fun and believe it or not “Sexy!” I know for a fact that many employers (I used to be a Recruiter) will dismiss a viable candidate from consideration for a job just because his or her grammar is less than perfect. Grammar is MUCH more important than simply having a broad vocabulary.The domain is grammarmarks.com  however don’t visit it just yet – it’s under construction; the closer we get to the opening day, the more details I will divulge. English is difficult and everyone makes grammatical errors even the so-called experts in grammar – grammarians do; but there are some tricks and secrets to make learning perfect grammar not quite so Exasperating!

Keep reading whadawethink – unique, genuine and fresh material everyday !

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List of my favorite Ten Great Works of Literature

February 23rd, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I am a voracious reader and have read perhaps 500 + novels or pieces of literature in my lifetime and perhaps even more works of non-fiction. Unfortunately, I actually find myself reading more and more non-fiction for reasons I’m not quite sure.

In my opinion Literature is far more important than Non-fiction because unlike the latter there is an artistic quality that speaks to us beautifully regardless, even if the subject matter is ugly. Literature speaks to us in a voice that can never be duplicated in non-fiction; the themes are universal and literature is abundant in eternal truths and it enriches us with a feeling that never leaves us. Once you have read ‘Moby Dick’ or ‘Tom Sawyer’ one can never be the same. 

And finally, and most obviously unlike almost all non-fiction, Literature passes the test of time. I am reading a half dozen books on non fiction right now and I can assure you that most of the stuff I’m reading will be obsolete or not relevant in ten years or so, however ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ will remain a classic forever and never become outdated.  

To list just 10 of my favorites is more or less arbitrary because I have hundreds of favorites but nevertheless here they are and please note they are not in any particular order: 

  1. Lolita’- Vladimir Nabokov, 1955 –Really every one of Nabokov’s novels is a masterpiece. Nabakov’s native tongue was Russian but was fluent in French and obviously a master craftsman in English. As a matter of fact I believe he was the greatest English writing stylist of the 20th Century. What makes Lolita so fascinating is that it is a combination of art of the highest order mixed with taboo and utter revulsion – in pedophilia. Yet the Master manages to pull it off; every single page is teeming with allusions and metaphor. My suggestion is to read the ‘Annotated Lolita’.
  2. ‘Lord of the Flies’- William Golding, 1954 – I read this when I was a teenager and re-read it in my thirties. If you haven’t read it or don’t know the (they also made 2 films – one good; the older one and the newer version one unwatchable.) story it’s about a group of young schoolboys trapped on an island after surviving a plane crash. This is an incredibly profound book- Golding explores good and evil, survival of the fittest, chaos and order, law and anarchy, civilization and anarchy. After reading this you will invariably ask yourself – is man innately evil? Is man born with an incredible thirst for power? Does man implement structure in order to control masses of people? Great book !  

This is turning out to be a longer blog than I expected. Honestly I can write 10 blogs just on a single book. I will attempt to summarize the next eight books over the next coulple of blogs and I urge you to join in and give me your thoughts. 

WHADAWETHINK ? What are your favorite works of literature? Do you prefer literature or novels over non-fiction? I read a lot of novels when I was young and am very interested in current events, I’m assuming that’s why I read more non-fiction now – What do you think? What book has changed your life forever ?

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Theologian’s Dilemma

February 19th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

For those of you here reading this now and who believe in God please see if you can resolve what I call – The Theologian’s dilemma.

In order to arrive at any sort of logical conclusion or proof one must have a basic structure which include premises to support any given conclusion.

I am 47 years old and I have yet to hear anyone come forth with a strong argument to resolve the Theologian’s Dilemma. The argument goes as follows:

Premise Theologian’s response

  1. God is all powerful –                                  Yes
  2. God is all knowing and omniscient –               Yes
  3. God is all that is good –                             Yes

Now here’s the zinger:

4.  Do bad things happen?                The obvious answer is YES – but it can’t be

If you answered yes to all 3 of the above premises then your answer cannot be yes to the 4th question – do bad things happen. One of the premises must be removed in order make sense. If an all powerful, all knowing benevolent God was aware of an imminent deadly Tsunami which would kill tens of thousands of people, an all-powerful God who was also all good would certainly use (his/her/gender-free) power to stop it. If he (we’ll just stick with male gender) didn’t have the power to stop it then God is not all powerful!

No one can satisfactorily answer the Theologian’s Dilemma. Some folks will proclaim it’s because of freewill. God has given us freewill, so he can’t possibly intervene. Well, if that’s indeed the case then God is not all good. Try this one out on your self (and you’re not even God) – if you were walking along a path and you took notice of someone strangling a child and you had the power to stop it, would you? Or would you say to yourself – no I couldn’t possibly intervene; the killer is merely exercising his freewill.

So now it’s your turn. WHADAWETHINK? This is quite a thorny dilemma, isn’t it ? Can you resolve this ? Do you believe in an all-powerful, omniscient and benevolent God ? How can one reconcile the Theologian’s Dilemma ?

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

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What Exactly Does “A Nice Guy” mean?

January 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor

How many times do we hear the statement “he’s a nice guy” or more frequently “he’s a really nice guy?” Everyday several times each day, right? But, what exactly does a nice guy mean – exactly? I imagine that everybody at sometime has been referred to by someone as a nice guy at one time or another even if he or she (I’ll be using the masculine he and guy throughout the rest of the blog, though I’m referring to both sexes, i.e. “really nice woman”) may not be a “nice guy”.

Let’s begin by attempting to define this much generalized, ambiguous, non-informational, non-specific, trite phrase, shall we? When we look up the word nice in the dictionary there’s a plethora of definitions but I think the best way to go about defining this word is eliminating what were not referring to when we utter nice guy and see what we’re left with. I think we can all agree that we’re not referring to a refined (a very refined, anal retentive and pedantic individual can be perhaps be the most incredibly annoying and disagreeable personage one is apt to encounter) person, nor a subtle, fussy, finicky and fastidious person. No, what we’re really saying when we say he’s a nice guy is – this person is temperamentally pleasing, agreeable, non-confrontational, kind, amiably pleasant, perhaps mellow, easygoing and laid-back (but not necessarily), non-threatening, well – nice guy.

Not only is the phrase difficult to define in terms of laser beaming the definition with a few words or perhaps a sentence; but a nice guy is also very relative. One person’s idea of a nice guy can be another’s worst nightmare. Prison guards, prisoners, MMA fighters, bounty hunters, members of the mafia, cops, border patrolmen and Howard Stern have all been called a “nice guy” at one time or another by someone.

Not only is nice guy difficult to specifically define and an ambiguous relative idiom, the parameters are boundless. What do we call Mother Teresa? And furthermore the intensifying superlatives are limited to very, real, really and maybe super; so I guess you can call Mother Theresa a super duper, really, very real “nice” woman.

So WHADAWETHINK ?      Shouldn’t we be more specific with our use of language? Shouldn’t we call Mother Teresa a world renowned internationally famed humanitarian? Or Bill Gates (somebody has called him a nice guy) a soft-spoken, Philanthropic billionaire? Oh and very often anyone who is highly-motivated, ambitious and competitive is more infrequently called a nice guy than someone who lies on the couch all day eating ice cream, living off someone’s inheritance and watching Oprah – a loafer.

So in addition to all the aforementioned I might add is being called a “nice guy” even a compliment?  I invite everyone to comment and open this up.

If you like this site and you want to support WHADAWETHINK – click onto the widget shown here and shop at Amazon. Note: Any purchase at all will help WHADAWETHINK, so you don’t have to purchase the exact product displayed in the ad. Thanks and keep coming back.

 

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