Archive for September 19th, 2010

September 19, 2010

Religious Search Engines

by Vince

Here are three for three different religions. NPR reports:

Some Jews, Muslims and Christians are abandoning Yahoo and Google and turning to search engines with results that meet their religious standards.

Shea Houdmann runs SeekFind, a Colorado Springs-based Christian search engine that only returns results from websites that are consistent with the Bible. He says SeekFind is designed “to promote what we believe to be biblical truth” and excludes sites that don’t meet that standard.

Houdmann says a search on his site would not turn up pornography. If you search “gay marriage,” you would get results that argue against gay marriage. And if you type in “Democratic Party,” your first search result is a site on Marxism.

This sounds good, in some ways, for kids. But unless you want to be a fundamentalist, I wouldn’t suggest the Christian one.

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September 19, 2010

Don’t Call It a Comeback

by Vince

One of my favorite songs and opening lines to a song.

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September 19, 2010

An Extreme Journey

by Vince

To lose 120 lbs in one year is insane. The feats he completed were impressive. I hope he stays happy no matter how heavy he is.

September 19, 2010

Scrap Pennies

by Vince
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September 19, 2010

Pro Sports: Its Political Before Its Economic

by Vince

Bill O’Reilly decries contemporary spin yet spins a lackluster football op-ed in an elitist (or more so a non-populist, therefore not of Fox News) direction:

We are living in a time of incredible spin and gross dishonesty in the public arena. Propagandists are everywhere and they’re spitting out so much bilge it is sometimes hard to even breathe. Football is an honest game. The toughest, smartest team usually wins. There is something pure in it.

At the end of his “praise-complain” piece, Bill finally brings into this equation the word money. Sure, he mentions that watching football is free, which is economical and involving money. But to mention absurd ticket prices in the final paragraph and to leave out the industries outrageous salaries in a piece attempting to relate the flimsy economy to foosball is sad.

As I Googled around, I came across this article. I assume that the sports industry is not hurting that much. I would have to dig even more to see a comparison between a CEO and a working level worker’s financial losses over the past few years. Richard Sandomir describes the hurting sports industry: “In the past year, five of the nine major professional sports teams in the United States that were sold or are being sold were saddled with substantial debt or operating losses. Another dozen in the four biggest leagues, which have a total of 122 teams, may soon change hands.” Even though these teams are making big bucks, they for the most part have been losing money over the past few decades.

I see Bill O’Reilly as more enjoyable to watch on the Factor, in small portions, than in writing. Bill still writes this article up in his own style: highly political and somewhat pious while unable to level with those not making millions off of their “no spin zone’ TV show.

September 19, 2010

Is Pornography Adultery?

by Vince

Ross Douthat’s real thoughts come out at the end of his 2008 article.

Porn may be an evil, this argument goes, but it’s the least of several evils. The man who uses porn is cheating sexually, but he isn’t involving himself in an emotional relationship. He’s cheating in a way that carries none of the risks of intercourse, from pregnancy to venereal disease. And he’s cheating with women who may be trading sex for money, but are doing so in vastly safer situations than streetwalkers or even high-end escorts.

Indeed, in a significant sense, the porn industry looks like what advocates of legalized prostitution hope to achieve for “sex workers.” There are no bullying pimps and no police officers demanding sex in return for not putting the prostitutes in jail. There are regular tests for STDs, at least in the higher-end sectors of the industry. The performers are safely separated from their johns. And freelancers aren’t wandering downtown intersections on their own; they’re filming from the friendly confines of their homes.

If we would just accept Dan Savage’s advice, then, and get over it, everyone would gain something. Weiss and his pals could have their “boys’ night out” online and enjoy sexual experiences that their marriages deny them. The majority of wives could rest secure in the knowledge that worse forms of infidelity are being averted; some women could get into the act themselves, either solo or with their spouse, experiencing the thrill of a threesome or a ’70s key party with fewer of the consequences. The porn industry’s sex workers could earn a steady paycheck without worrying about pimps, police, or HIV. Every society lives with infidelity in one form or another, whether openly or hypocritically. Why shouldn’t we learn to live with porn?

A lot is packed in this whole article and the above three paragraphs.

Ross writes off the emotional aspect of pornography but doesn’t hint at the mental connection. Physical action with one self or with another breed an emotional connection. The kicker is that these “transactions” if you will are carried by the mind. The capability of our minds to obsess, connect, and not let things go reveals the tip of the iceberg that is our mental capability. You can’t have many women out there who feel more connected,  more intimate, or more emotionally loved by their husband after he uses porn. I have met girls who have written off their boyfriends use of porn as “just what guys do”. In most cases, the use of porn for these relationships is again only the tip of the iceberg in disconnection between the guy and girl.

As for the new and improved “safety” for the female smut stars, they still roll a toxic dice per say every time they take part in their drug infested industry. What makes you think that street pimps are vastly different than porn execs? Both are in it for money, pleasure, and for any other dirty rationalization stored up in their mind. Both still have control over womans body via money, all for the voyeurs pleasure, all the whole you never know if these “moral beings” from internet sites wield guns or not (similar to street pimps). Furthermore, the online smut industry must be heckled a bit by the police for their models whose ages being legal or illegal are greatly and intentionally blurred. And we still don’t know if these “at home freelancer” girls are real life prostitutes or not as well as if they are tested for STDs after each “show”.

Ross’s attempt to push this gloating industry as safer for everyone, including the “till death do us part” spouses and “e-safe girls”, is a sad plea for wanting to look decent. And as Ross says, everyone is doing it so why is our filthy behavior any worse than theirs? His stance doesn’t call Atlantic readers to a higher way of being. You don’t have to be zealously religious to think that way. Alas, Ross sells his soul at the end for the sake of flesh and a fleeting sense of “sophistication”: “All we have to give up to get there is our sense of decency.”

September 19, 2010

A Poem for Sunday

by Vince

“I Studied Love” by Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000) translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld first appeared in The Atlantic in July of 1998:

I studied love in my childhood in my childhood synagogue

in the women’s section with the help of the women

behind the partition

that locked up my mother with all the other women

and girls.

But the partition that locked them up locked me up

on the other side. They were free in their love while I

remained

locked up with all the men and boys in my love, my longing.

I wanted to be over there with them and to know their

secrets

and say with them, “Blessed be He who has made me

according to his will.” And the partition

a lace curtain white and soft as summer dresses, and

that curtain

swaying to and fro with its rings and its loops,

lu-lu-lu loops, Lulu, lullings of love in the locked room.

And the faces of women like the face of the moon behind

the clouds

or the full moon when the curtain parts: an enchanted

cosmic order. At night we said the blessing

over the moon outside, and I

thought about the women.

(Photo: An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man looks at a Palestinian shop owner reading the Muslim holy Koran outside his shop near the Ibrahimi Mosque, or Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the divided West Bank city of Hebron on September 15, 2010. By Hazem Bader /AFP/ Getty Images)

H/T: TDD