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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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The Man Who Loved Film Dies (1942 – 2013)

April 5th, 2013 by Michael Tabor
Roger Ebert was a powerhouse within the universe of film; he was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and was even given his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  The New York Times called him the critic for the common man because he made film criticism accessible to everyone with his thumbs up – or – down TV approach with Gene Siskel and then later with Richard Roeper.

What I really loved most about Roger was the fact that not only was he a great writer who had a unique style of personalizing every film he reviewed but furthermore he always seemed to bring that special “magic” to the movies – his passion for moving pictures was second to none whether one agreed with him or not. I faithfully purchased his yearbooks (which were basically a collection of his reviews he had written in his syndicated column for that particular year) and because his writing was so good and interesting, I usually read the reference book straight through like a novel. Not only did he review all of the expected mainstream films but he would also dip into some of the off the charts bizarre indies such as ‘Sick: The Life& Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist’ 1997.  Mr. Ebert wrote with his signature personal flair,
“This is one of the most agonizing films I have ever seen. It tells the story of a man who was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that fills the lungs with thick, sticky mucus, so that breathing is hard and painful, and an early death is the prognosis. He was in pain all his life, and in a gesture of defiance he fought pain with more pain. With Sheree Rose as his partner, he became a performance artist, using his own body as a canvas for museum shows, gallery exhibits, lectures, and performances. He was the literal embodiment of the joke about the man who liked to hit himself with a hammer because it felt so good when he stopped.” Weird, compelling, and impossible to stop reading – that was Roger Ebert.


Ebert lived his life through the movies; he was a cast character in all of the movies he saw. Sadly, as we all know Roger suffered terribly with thyroid , salivary glands and chin cancer; he even lost the ability to speak and even eat and drink (he was fed through a tube, can you imagine ?) However, Roger never lost his passion for the medium he was made for. Anthony Hopkins’s ‘Slipstream’ was considered a complete disaster and panned by everyone except for Roger Ebert; having been ill himself, of course Ebert could identify completely with Anthony Hopkins’s sick character. In fact I personally hated the film the first time I saw it and after reading Ebert’s review and watching ‘Slipstream’ again, I got it – I saw what Ebert saw.

I didn’t like all the movies Roger enjoyed but thanks to his unique writing style I always understood why Roger Ebert loved a movie. I also want to note that not unlike Ebert, I, too think there are very few movies that are absolutely flawless in every regard from beginning to end; however this doesn’t suggest that you shouldn’t see a film if this is in fact the case. There may be something about a particular film which makes it worth seeing, or perhaps that have moments (for me what immediately comes to mind is ‘Full Metal Jacket’ in which the first half was absolutely classic Stanley Kubrick and yet the second half of the movie was almost unwatchable) So here’s a thumbs up to ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Casablanca’ – Roger Ebert’s 2 favorite movies of all time. So, WhaDaYaThink ? What Do You Think ?

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Alvin Lee – Gone Home

March 8th, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor
By now I’m sure you’ve heard, another rock legend has joined the band of angels. The great blues/rock guitarist, Alvin Lee, died yesterday  (March 6th) at the age of 68 in Spain while undergoing some routine surgery.
What I knew about Alvin Lee is probably what most people knew him for; his American debut at the Woodstock festival with an 11 minute performance of I’m Going Home and some of the most incredible guitar playing anyone had ever heard, earning him the title The Fastest Guitar in the West. And of course, his contribution to the band Ten Years After. But what I didn’t know before today are some noteworthy facts such as, he was just 13 years old when he picked up the guitar and a short 2 years later founded the crux of what would become Ten Years After. His love of music came from his parents who collected blues and jazz records and although he went on to become a rock hero, it wasn’t what he wanted. Alvin Lee simply wanted to be a “working musician” who preferred small venues with that of large stadiums which is ultimately where he had to perform once fame took possession. And he thought of his other most recognized big hit “I’d Love To Change The World” as pop, refusing to ever play it live. Through it all, he tried to stay true to his roots. In doing so, he gave us, the baby boomer generation of rock, our roots. We, never realizing what we believed to be a new British sound, is something he borrowed from American blues artists, and he said so. You might say Alvin showed us where we came from, no small gift in exchange for wanting to change the world. I think he succeeded in changing ours, encapsulating it in a very intimate way….
It’s 1971. I’m in my room back home listening to WNEW. Alison Steele, The Nightbird, spins a new record. Its melancholy bluesiness  rides the airwaves and puts me in another world beyond the boundaries of my postered walls, with no inkling of what lay ahead, the twists and turns of my life’s travels obscured by teenage bliss. The power of a rock superhero is as limitless as the imagination. If I heard that song this minute, that’s where that sound would place me. Right back there in my old room with a grin on my face, because all my old friends, the ones that are gone now, are still there. So, you did it Alvin. You changed my world while I still get to keep it the way I remember it.
Sadly, his April 7th Paris gig with rock legend Johnny Winter will never be. It seems he had a prior engagement with a certain Beatle. If there’s a Ten Years Afterlife, there are two guitars gently weeping with joy. Well, maybe not so gently.
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Mike Wallace, “Forgive me …” (1918-2012)

April 12th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

Yes, “forgive me “were the two words the quintessential iconic investigative journalist would say just before he would clobber you with his boldly, searing question[s]. I am a fan of ‘60 minutes’ and in the past 6 months, we’ve lost 2 national treasures from the show – Andy Rooney and now Mike Wallace.
If you were scheduled to be interviewed by Mike Wallace, all I could honestly say is that you had better be ready and if you were not squeaky clean – look out! Mr. Wallace would summarily expose your evil machinations, force you to confess that you are a con man bilking millions from the innocent public, or just basically make you look foolish if front of millions of viewers but only if you were a bad man. Moreover, he would so diplomatically unload on you by uttering the ever so innocuous “Forgive me… how much money did you embezzle? ”
Mike Wallace was a great journalist and a great interviewer – he didn’t know what a puff question was. In his later years he actually felt guilty about hurting all those individuals. (I say why? they were all hiding some misdeed and Mike just yanked it out of them.) Mike had had some tragedy in his life i.e he lost his son Peter in a mountain climbing accident that galvanized his drive to become the serious investigative journalist he became. Later in 1982, Mr. Wallace became the defendant in a 120 million dollar libel suit filed by General Westmoreland at which time he had a nervous breakdown. Wallace never fully recovered from that incident and would have to stay on anti-depressants for the rest of his life.
There have been several obituaries covering his entire career this week and I don’t think it’s necessary to rehash his whole career. I would just like to reiterate that I will miss Mike Wallace and never forget “Forgive me….” RIP Mike Wallace (1918-2012)
So Whadayathink ? What do you think? Did you like Mike Wallace? Did you think that some of his tactics or really ’60 minutes” crossed the line when they set up phony clinics to set up corrupt doctors or when he represented himself as someone he wasn’t, etc.

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Edward Louis Tabor – August 21, 1928 to February 24, 2012

February 26th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
On Friday, February 24th  2012 , Michael’s father, Edward Tabor, passed from this life. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. (We will miss you, Dad).
The rock crumbles
As the roots take hold.
It’s layers revealed
Like the rings within a tree.
Count them
One by one.
Each a sunset.
Each a storm.
So the year encircles
The life.
So the life enriches
The soul.
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“We’re Here To Put A Dent In The Universe.” – Steven Jobs, 1955 – 2011

October 6th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
To finish the quote from this blog: “We’re here… universe. Otherwise, why else even be here? “This is a quote from Steve Jobs who is credited with having originated this; however there is evidence that Socrates said it first just in different words; Whether or not this is the case is irrelevant because Mr. Jobs had always proudly and openly admitted that Socrates influenced his whole life. Steve went as far as to say that he would trade all his technological knowledge he acquired throughout his life, just to spend an afternoon with Socrates.

This blog is going to have many quotes by virtue of the fact that that Steve Jobs was a genius, an entrepreneur, a man who studied Socrates, an obvious visionary, and a huge mover and Shaker who made a lot of money. People who possess the aforementioned attributes are listened to, taken seriously, and are often quoted – Why? Because in a nutshell we want what they have and what Steve had (not the pancreatic cancer, of course) and by studying him and memorizing  his quotes we will be taken seriously and who knows perhaps if one is a good student , we ourselves may acquire some of the great things Jobs had. “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.” A twitter user quoted. (Not only is Jobs quoted but even the people who talk about him are quoted.)
Let’s  take a look at some of the things Steven Jobs accomplished:

As a child:

The founder of Hewlett-Packard, William Hewlett, was so impressed with the obviously gifted young Steve Jobs that he personally hired him to work at Hewlett-Packard when he was just 13 years old.

This is an offbeat accomplishment: Steven discovered that the whistle that came in the cereal box of Captain Crunch was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long distance calls by blowing the whistle in a certain way into the phone. Wow!

As an Adult:
He made the personal computer easier to use by designing and developing the Macintosh computer.(Note: his 1979 visit to Xerox’s research center in Palo Alto was without question, the key moment for the development of Jobs’ Macintosh computer; he took note of the graphic video display and the mouse pointing device. Wow! The mouse-pointing device – that’s it! So easy and user-friendly, a 90 year-old great grandpa could figure this out with ease.  No technology experience needed, as simple as seeing what you want, pointing, and clicking.)

He developed and brought to market the i-Pod, the i-Phone, and the iPad.

He was a friend of George Lucas, the famous Star Wars film writer, producer, and director, and consequently started a company called Pixar Animation Studios. This company founded by Jobs had such an impact on the world, that computer-animated film became a mainstream art enjoyed by children and adults worldwide. The first film Pixar worked on was the blockbuster – “Toy Story.”

There is so much more he accomplished and I can go into so much more detail but this is a blog. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do….” Said Steve;. All successful people know this truism – if you love it you do it with care and as a result you do it well.
Steve was not your suit and tie business guy, though there are pictures of him with a tie, as soon as he had the power he shed the corporate look and supplanted that wardrobe with jeans, sneakers and a casual shirt. He sometimes would walk around the office barefooted. Mr. Jobs was after all a hippie at heart and a true San Franciscan – and yes he was a practicing Buddhist and indeed he experimented with LSD which he boldly went on to say that the experience of altering consciousness with this drug forever changed his life for the better. He even proclaimed that ingesting LSD was actually two or three of the most important things he had ever done with his life. (Experimenting with hallucinogenics, such as LSD and mescaline, was not uncommon amongst intellectuals and visionaries. The great Aldous Huxley, author of” Brave New World” (1932), consumed mescaline and had written an incredibly thought-provoking book about the experience – “The Doors of Perception” (1954).
“Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination.” Steve was as innovative and visionary as they come. He was very interested in the look of his products – not only did his products have to be efficacious but they also needed to look good and have style; Jobs was prodigiously interested in taste. “There is no shortcut to excellence.’ Steve perhaps was stating the obvious, but this is a hugely important quote because I think it’s what young people of the United States suffer from today – instant gratification isn’t quick enough. I want it now! I’m not  going to medical school, it’s 12 years of my life and I won’t make a dime until I’m 30. Well, I think we all should try to be more patient and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day; we ought to practice delayed gratification and view it as a profound virtue. (I know, I could die tomorrow and what’s the point of going to school and not reaping the benefits. True, nothing in life is guaranteed and people die before they even have a chance. But when you’re dead you are dead and what if you don’t die?)
I’m paraphrasing here but Jobs stated that we, as Americans are always taking things – the food we eat is not grown by ourselves, we speak a language that other people already developed, almost everything we possess comes from the blood, sweat, and tears of others. (I mean we pay for these things if we’re not criminals, but you know what I mean.) He went on to say that creating something new and adding it to the pool of already existing human experience and knowledge is the greatest feeling in the world. And, I personally think he unveiled the secret of happiness and a good life. Giving, helping others, and making a difference. As the title of the blog says: We’re here to put a dent in the universe.
Oh, there is so much more to write about this incredible man who was only alive on this planet for 56 years. The tears are starting to come and I just want to say, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had Steve around for another 20 or 30 years.
Finally WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? I will end this Op-ed obituary and blog with a statement from Steven Jobs and Apple’s archrival, Microsoft’s Bill gates when he heard that Steve passed away at the age of 56. “For those of us lucky enough to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” God bless Steven Jobs, R.I.P.

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Fred Imus Dead at Age 69

August 10th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

I used to be a Howard Stern fan when I was in my twenties and early thirties and then after hearing the same show repeatedly, (Stern is nearly 60 years old and still has strippers on parading around in his studio. Obviously a man who never grew up – blah, blah blah – such a bore), I turned the dial and started listening to Don Imus.
I wasn’t a huge Don Imus fan, however one part of the show I enjoyed immensely was when he would chat on air with a very minor celebrity – his brother, Fred Imus. I was shocked to hear that Fred was only 69 years old. The public has always been and still is very critical of how Don Imus looks so much older than his years (71 now) but Fred looked even older and he was the younger brother.
I read on the web just today that Fred Imus died peacefully (I hate when journalists use the adverb “peacefully” whenever people die in their sleep; there is a whole lot of brain activity going on when one sleeps, so not to be grim, I doubt very much that it is peaceful; leave out your subjective feelings when writing an obituary)on Sat., 8/6/2011 in his trailer in Tucson, Arizona.
Fred was more like a caller than a guest. His humor was dry, crass at times (any ex-Stern fans would find it very tame), matter-of-fact and wise. For me personally, I listened to The Imus show for news with a little bit of humor and for the Fred Imus call-in. I would not say that Fred was the funniest man in the world nor did I even think of him much after the show was over. What surprised me was that the brothers, Don and Fred, were very close their entire lives. This may be apocryphal, but Fred was instrumental in referring Don’s material to a particular radio station. Don was immediately hired in 1969 and fired a short time afterward for saying “hell.” Moreover, as we all know the rest is history for Don Imus – he’s been hired and subsequently fired for some controversial reason his whole entire career.
What I loved most about Fred, aside from his gruff, down-to-earth take on current events but his absolutely sincere lack of interest in celebrity (he lived in a trailer) and his genuine desire to have his older brother Don, be successful and have just a great show. Fred did not begrudge Don one smidgeon of fame and fortune and Don never forgot his younger brother. The brothers swiped at each other’s flaws and shortcomings relentlessly but they nevertheless had such a connection that they would fearlessly and unabashedly say after every call that they loved each other. .
R.I.P. – Fred Imus.
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I Would Rather Die Than Go to Rehab

July 23rd, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Poor Amy Winehouse wasn’t kidding when she sang out the lyrics “I don’t want to go to rehab….”. I knew her inevitable death would happen and happen soon if, she, Amy Winehouse did not get the help she so desperately needed.  She was only 27 years old and she looked like she was 77 (I am not exaggerating one bit as I sadly write this – go ahead and google images of her over the past month or so and you will see the result of a woman poisoning herself to an early death.)
I liked her. I liked her music, I thought the critically acclaimed, and commercially successful hit song “Rehab” was as good as it gets – original and catchy. However, sadly the song was for Amy – too close to home.
Everyone knew Amy was in trouble over the past few months (she was falling down and forgetting lyrics to songs) and her people even cancelled the rest of the tour dates in a fierce attempt to save her life by concentrating on nothing but getting Amy sober. I am no stranger to addiction and getting sober is perhaps one of the most difficult struggles a person will ever face. However, an addict or alcoholic is lucky to have a choice about whether or not to drink (regardless of how difficult it is) a person with terminal cancer does not have this luxury of choice.
Unless a person is an alcoholic or drug addict himself/herself, it is impossible to understand, empathize, or even fathom how agonizing getting sober is. Even though Amy Winehouse had a choice, she was unable to stop just like so many others in her position. So sad.
R.I.P. – Amy Winehouse.
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Marathon Champion, Record-Holder and Beloved Role Model Dies Too Young

April 21st, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Cancer has ended the life of the almost super-human, Norwegian marathon champion, Grete Waitz at the age of 57 on Tuesday, April 18. I say super- human because she won nine (9) New York City Marathons (26.2 miles) and four of which were in record time. Grete also ran other marathons  – she won the London Marathon twice and the Stockholm once (It’s hard for me to even fathom finishing a grueling  26.2 mile marathon, never mind win on a consistent basis.) One has to wonder how many miles she has actually been clocked running in her lifetime in preparation for and in the sheer number of races in which she had participated. (I don’t know the official number of races in which she ran – there were so many- but she took part in 10 mile, 10 kilo., 15 kilo and more.)
Grete Waitz was often called the graceful champion for her modesty and athleticism. She never boasted about her accomplishments and was actually embarrassed by all the adulation that was bestowed upon her.  Whether or not she would acknowledge this fact, she was a role model for not only female runners but for all; and not just for running races. Grete was also a schoolteacher and taught geography in the Oslo school system.
Ms. Waitz was diagnosed with cancer (she never publically revealed what kind) in 2005. It must have been an absolute shock when you consider the fact that she spent her whole life exercising. I’m certain she had a robust cardiovascular system but cancer does not discriminate. Athletes and couch potatoes alike get cancer.
It’s only natural to ponder over this killer – cancer – for which we will never find a cure. (cure is an unsophisticated word for a disease which takes on 1000s of different forms. Every Physician will talk about how cancer manifests itself differently with every single individual diagnosed with the dreadful disease.)
I personally felt a sense of helplessness in terms of thinking about controlling the number of days of life each individual is allotted. No one worked harder at staying healthy than Grete Waitz. Smokers and alcoholics may live to 80 and she dies at the age of 57. God bless Grete Waitz and may she rest in peace.
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