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I want them to sell fireworks. > Daniel P. Beckmann > Official Statement from the Moderator on the instigations of Dr. Yarrum (01-09-05)
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Official Statement from the Moderator on the instigations of Dr. Yarrum

Daniel P. Beckmann, Moderator of Letters
01.09.05-Long Island City, NY will celebrate its three-year anniversary at the end of this month. Throughout all of that time there has been one person who has always wondered what was going on with tomarken, was it going to rise again? Did he see a sputter of activity? You could always trust him to interact with every part of this site-his responses were so many I haven’t even put up half of them yet. I don’t exactly know if it was a generational thing or what happens to people when they get old, but Dr. Yarrum kept track of things, and often wondered why others didn’t do the same.

Dr. Yarrum was not only our Oldest intervalist when he passed away on Saturday night, he was our oldest supporter and many of you may not be aware that he planted the seeds for this community and many others mighty early (his support was garnered long before I drove down to Ft. Lauderdale in Dec of 2001 to enlist his writings in this newly fangled project).

When a philosopher dies there are always so many unanswered questions about their work that the event is almost an anticipated moment of relief because now we don’t have to worry about the actual person coming into our swank and exclusive chattering circle to steal our lunch from us and eat it in front us.

In this sense, Dr. Yarrum was no philosopher… from what I can understand most of what he tried to get at was accessible-straight forward.

Dr. Yarrum was a card-carrying member of the communist party, he didn’t believe in god nor psycho analysis, nor the state of Israel, but he liked the Jewish people. Murray didn’t support the Vietnam War from the beginning but he did support the fine arts. His father was an artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before the hips were considered much more than what one used to mark where their pants to go and it was he that encouraged Murray to engage in the pursuits of the mind.

Dr. Yarrum figured out old-age, as far as I’m concerned. His mind was active and healthy up until his last day and through the use of the internet of which he embraced from its early days when he was in his late 70s whilst others broke their hips on the golf course, his mind almost took a ubiquitous form. He didn’t always have the closest relations with members of his family and as he told me the last time I saw him, that’s all right, you try the best.

BUT, ABOVE ALL ELSE the man was an instigator… he used to go around to parties and look for ways of engaging people to think of things in ways that they aren’t used to. He complained later in life of having to endure conversations of "who’s got the best early-bird" and "where we were going to play bridge and who cheats"-you know, the type of conversations overfed and medicated Americans have about the act of living. He could successfully instigate these everyday people into leaving their healthy conversations, even if just for moment-he would put the effort in to do so in such a way that it seemed people almost appreciated the intrusion. This is something that I aspire to recreate when I’m good, but have found myself failing most times than not.

I could attempt to try to put together the pieces of the story of his life together here below, but a great deal is probably missing, since the entire time I was always focusing in on what happened that could have caused this person to be the type who would bother a five year old with such astronomical questions.

It was dinnertime in December 1985, it was in honor of my sister’s 8th birthday and the event was held at the revolving restaurant at the Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL. There is a culture of old people in South Florida…some refer to it as little Jewish old ladies from New York with hairnets at the swimming pool. The culture I knew of in South Florida scoffed at these people, they scoffed at being old, and they tried their darndest to live their lives with class. Anthropologically speaking, even though these people weren’t the richest folk, many of them were in fact manual labourers their whole lives-the richest among them were once doctors-they were a highly developed, highly intricate relation of peoples that wrote thank you notes for any present given or they weren’t spoken to again, they arrived at the airport two hours early in fashionable clothing and before they went out to dinner there’d be a cocktail hour at the residence before hand where you’d be almost certain to spot a spicy Bloody Mary and some nice cheese.

I didn’t start talking to the man with big glasses, he started talking to me. He asked me about what I thought about the people at the table and about what games I liked to play with my friends. He seemed interested in learning about my interest in the Nickelodoen Kids Television network (a place I would later find from the Walt Disney Company was about tearing apart families through inferring the consumption of their product was about rebelling against their parents-i.e. Nick is for kids).

We hit it off then and my grandmother "grammy" noticed it… and she was the one that sparked our correspondence from that point forward.

Below is the last of our exchanges(he may have the first)-not usual, but particularly long and dramatic one I might add:

B>From: “murray steigman”
Date: December 24, 2004 3:23:24 PM EST
Subject: Re: THE BLIND SPOT:mail confrontation

You sound a lot older than I remember you.
Have you aged that much?
What are your prospects on the job you have?
Creativity may have to take a vacation for a while,
More money is now primary.
Review “how to become a millionaire without even “trying”.
It may take some unethical leapfrogging over some slower competitors, but what can you lose?

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 22:47:51 –0500
Subject: Re: THE BLIND SPOT:mail confrontation
To: murray steigman
No we don’t necessarily need permission to do that since a lot of his mussings in general may be considered the public domain.

On a personal note, its very frustrating to have that feedback. Considering I wasn’t allowed to work on this show out in the open, and had to do my regular 10 hour a day job at the same time, I threw the proverbial “kitchen sink” at this show. I bought the best equipment with all the money I could save and spent every hour on weekends and vacations to put this together. I was driven by the mere whiff of a possibility of maybe finding a place where I could let my creativity run free and all efforts would not be wasted.

IN this corporate atmosphere, any attempt I have tried to better the structure of information gathering has been met with such stiff opposition. I know beyond any reasonable doubt that the new digital technologies we now have at our disposal can make it easier to get more points of view–and I’m not talking left and right… I’m talking everything from more places throughout the world, to different types and sizes of people. You see, there are a large number of people in the ages younger than I that take and edit film as commonly as people older than me know how to type. When these people become of age in the next couple of years, I view them as a strong competitor to all broadcast/cable networks..

Anyway…I have to regroup and figure out what to do next.

Enjoy the New Year-Daniel

Quoting murray steigman

I liked the premise and has wide avenues to explore.
Andy Rooney is always wondering about stuff.
Do you need his cooperation to go into his old broadcasts and follow up some of his musings?

I’m the kinda person who likes to have special meaningful situations every single time. I work, as many people do these days, in places corporations ‘sanitized for our protection’, but I’m afraid that’s not all. It has been drummed here in the past that we must strive to avoid the "zero sum gain", to never plagiarize a situation, to work that for whatever reason the point in time in which on presently stands is of significance because that’s a heck of a lot more interesting than the contrary. Dr. Yarrum/Murray Stiegman not only created those special situations in his life by being an intellectual on top of working as an engineer for a bottling concern, but he accomplished the more important task-he INSPIRED OTHERS TO DO SO AS WELL.

It is in this regard that Dr. Yarrum’s spirit will continue to live in through, but also in the people that his life, work and instigation have inspired.

And at this point I’m at a good place as far as the mind is concerned. I’m a person who’s still very interested in things, such as how water that is bought in a store could ever expire? If that water expires, what will happen to that of our water supply in general? And What exactly then is the shelf life on the great lakes?

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