Aporetic. Apophatic. Agnostic.
Hello Peter,I don’t want to diss Gus but he’s disgusting. He reminds me of a rat! : ) Maybe you could call him “Musty” (Mustelid). Did you know ferret means “little thief"? We had a weasel killing ducks in our neighborhood last summer.My name choice is the Hebrew word for third (as in third pet?) I like the orange and white cat. Would you like another cat...my crazy one, Sabrina? She is more like a monkey or dog than a cat. Might be the result of my neighbor’s crossbreeding experiments with Bengals. She displays the distinctive Bengal mascara.Word for today from your narrow-minded friend....Matisyahu’s “message in a bottle”.......If its roots are cut off, how we gonna feed this flowerMight look pretty temporary but rotten within the hourDisconnected from its source with no footsteps to followChasing death disguised as life, world's a bridge that's narrowPat’s testimony is now posted at my blog. Readers can click on my name to get there. Then click on Ponderings.
Peter,If I didn't know any better from all the hookah pictures and the ferret naming, I'd have thought to say that you must have gone kind of crazy.
Hooked on Hookah? There is a myth that hookah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes because the hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled. But recent studies have found that hookah smokers actually inhale more nicotine than do cigarette smokers because of the massive volume of smoke they inhale.Although many believe that the water in the hookah filters out all the "bad stuff" in the tobacco smoke, this isn't true. According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) advisory, a typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. Even after passing through the water, the tobacco smoke produced still contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). Hookah smoking also delivers significant levels of nicotine — the very addictive substance in tobacco.The trend of hookah smoking has doctors and public health experts concerned because — despite the claim of many users — smoking from a hookah is just as dangerous as smoking a cigarette.One of the dangers of hookah smoking is the mixture of hydrocarbon gases in the smoke from the burning coal. Coal releases hydrocarbons and even poisonous metals into the smoke. Charcoal, which is a traditional favorite, can release these hydrocarbons in much higher proportions. Also, hookah smoke is not irritating at the onset. As it is also masked with artificial and natural fruit essences, men, women as well as children enjoy smoking the hookah. This gives rise to longer sessions with the hookah. This is a very dangerous situation, as it makes the body more vulnerable to nicotine infections."There's no such thing as a safe tobacco product," says Samira Asma, associate director for global tobacco programs at the National Centers for Disease Control. "Tobacco by nature is genotoxic - a deadly product. Ingested or inhaled in the human body, it is harmful."Hookah smoking can cause mouth cancer, as well as lung disease and stomach and esophagus cancer, Asma says, adding that women face even more "alarming" dangers.Studies from the Middle East and India show young women who smoked water pipes during their pregnancies are at risk for low-birthweight babies and increased carbon dioxide blood levels, Asma says. Their babies are also more susceptible to asthma and bronchitis.Apparently [hookah] is a boon for periodontists: Gum disease has been found to be five times as prevalent among hookah smokers as among cigarette smokers, according to an online report in the July 2007 British Medical Journal.Gathered from a variety of online sources.
Tandi,They don't care. The whole hookah smoking thing on their part appears more of a statement of "we really, really think the [often barbaric, violence initiating] Palestinians are better than the [ubiquitously hated by the Arab world, militarily attacked, and forced to bargain with a tiny sliver of infertile land] Israelis" than anything else.Have a good Shabat, btw.
Andrew,I do not appreciate racism on my blog. You are welcome to discuss any stereotype you might entertain with logic and consistency, but outright racism is unnecessary and counterproductive.
Peter,I don't see Andrew's comment as a racist statement, more of a non-sequitur.
Many of the pictures you post of you and Sara are provocative and offensive, Peter. They boast of your lifestyle of carnal indulgence and pro-Islamic sentiments. It is your blog, and you are free to post what you want. I realize you are not living to please me, your mother, your friends, or anyone except you and Sara. Yet you profess benevolence. Just know that your friends are here because they deeply care about you, not because we share your newfound values and beliefs. Your provocations could result in driving us away. Maybe that is your objective? Are we annoying you too much of late? You are being pulled from every direction: Sara/Islamic; Andrew/Jewish; Jamie/Atheist; Me/Christian...........No wonder you call yourself an Agnostic. Confusion reigns. Eventually you will have to choose your allegiance. My hope is that you would team up with your friend Dan and help rediscover and restore the True Faith.
Peter,You have only posted very few photos, but they are indeed provocative and offensive. Have you showed naked photos of you and Sara getting it on in crazy "Furry" costumes? No. Have you slipped her tongue? No. Hell, have you even arm-wrestled. No. Your offensive because you smoke, and not in the good ol' fashioned all-American toke-on-a-butt way, but by an anti-American, pro-terrorist hooka way! Did you know that Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Adolf Hitler all smoked the hooka? Did you know they smoked it all together on the eve of Ramadan while coming up with their dastardly plans? It's true! Don't be a terrorist, Peter!I realize you are not living to please me, your mother, your friends, or anyone except you and Sara. Yet you profess benevolence. Just know that your friends are here because they deeply care about you, not because we share your newfound values and beliefs. Your provocations could result in driving us away. Maybe that is your objective? Are we annoying you too much of late? You are being pulled from every direction: Sara/Islamic; Andrew/Jewish; me/Atheist; Tandi/Christian...........No wonder you call yourself an Agnostic. Confusion reigns. Eventually you will have to choose your allegiance. My hope is that you would team up with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to spread the gospel of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.
Jamie,thank you for the laugh.....Yes, it just so happens that some ignorant people associate hooka with terrorism. Such a non sequitur association shows more of the ignorance of the person making the association than anything. These pictures were taken two weeks ago when we had about fifteen foreign adult students over. Yes, they came specifically to celebrate our terrorist abmitions in favor of Israeli car bombs (note Israel's use of car bombing this week--no trial, just a bomb). Hooka is a very popular social activity in Chicago and other metropolitan areas. It does not carry an immediate association with Arabs or Palestinians. it is common to Israeli's, Chicagoans, and people in Aregentinia. My social smoking of hooka is a fun practice. I guess that I would get less flack if I smoked "good 'ole American" smokes. I guess that I am too good for that.
Dunno Jamie, but I think that you almost won me over to Dawkins with this...
Tandi,Quick note...Sara is not influencing me toward Islam, she never has. The only influence toward Islam in our relationship has come from me. Sara exerts more of a pull toward Christianity than Islam or Judaism.I am not confused. I know Judaism. I know Christianity. I know the Bible. I know the Quran. I see clearly. You are hiding your view, maybe that is why you perceive confusion.
Hello Andrew,Yes, I must seem a bit off kilter with my sudden proliferation of ferret pictures and with my new hooka pictures. Your observation made me laugh. I am spilling a bit more personal information than I have in the past with my pictures, and I guess that the poll would fall into the same vein. I would like to prompt you to think a bit about your comment about the "often barbaic, violence initiating (sic) Palestinians." A continuing stronghold of racism in Western culture is orientalism. Orientalism in this sense entails the pervasive occidental superiority complex that our culture expresses with regard to Middle-Eastern peoples. Consider this from an affective angle. If I had stated something to the effect that blacks are "barbaic" and "violence initiating," I would be accused of racism. If I had said this about Jews, I would be accused of antisemitism (I prefer the term miso-judaism). However, it is still okay to speak in this manner about Arabs and Palestinian Arabs. This "allowance" in our culture is part of the legacy of orientalism. Yes, Palestinians have committed unjustified acts of violence. Though this is not my point at the moment, Israeli Jews have done worse. However, to stereotype an ethos with damaging negativities is racism. In discussing race relations such as those between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews, it is wise to avoid such jargon. I have been doing a lot of reading on this subject, and I hope to develop my observations and findings on my blog. I encourage discussion, but I discourage racist comments. I would enjoy your feedback from your perspective, especially considering your formal studies related to politics and religion.
Hello Peter,With all due respect, I must ask what is the element of racism in anything I've said?Is it racist to believe that the members of one group, by and large, have beliefs and ethos that hold moral superiority over those of the other group? Is it racist to point out that one group, whose population and land value is massive, have fought extremely offensively and without concession, whereas the other group, whose numbers and land area is tiny, have fought overwhelmingly defensively and made various concessions that went unappreciated (and yet have managed to make massive advancements with their fickle resources)? No, none of these things constitute racism.Racism, properly defined, is the belief that people have moral justification based on their racial background. I will have nothing to do with such beliefs, in fact that would fly against the overwhelming evidence that the genetic differences between the different human races are wholly insignificant.
Hello Andrew,The group whose "population and land value is massive" and have fought offensively without concession are the Israelis. The Israeli Jew is the majority population of Israel and Israel's largest minority, the Palestinian Arabs, is the group that has been forced to make massive concessions while yet possessing the least productive and god-forsaken land grants while also being disenfranchised of democratic rights and dues.Israel holds the upper hand. It is untrue that Israel is under risk of extermination from her Arab neighbors. It would be even more untrue that such a risk existed if she would simply grant its largest minority basic human rights. I am completing a number of research studies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I hope to post some of my reflections on this soon. In the mean time, I not apt to discuss this conflict more than on a superficial level...unless provoked.
Hello Peter,Your quibbling about establishing a "democratic socialist state" is something the early Zionists would have agreed with lockstep. The old-school Zionists were socialist secularists and violently enforced these tendencies on Arab and religious Jew alike, committing crimes that rival even the Palestinians. In this, they differed from the less extreme "Reform" secularists who believed that Manhattan is the new Zion. Only a distinctly evil person would gladly identify with such a legacy, someone as evil as a member of the PLO for example.Am I a Zionist? In the sense that I believe the Israelis should maintain their land, their cultural heritage, their ethnic identity, and withdraw from their ultimate adversary to that end, the U.N., yes I am. But the Arabs have no less of a right to the very same.Do not make a mockery of Israel's delicate position and save us the pettiness. Their numbers are in the single digit millions. Their country's total land area is smaller than most of the New England states. The Palestinians are sanctioned by the entire Arab world, Muslim and Christian, which comprises hundreds of millions of people and a vast land area. Do not disregard all of the suicide bombings, the daily missile strikes, the image-burning, the "death to America" choruses, all of the land (including the whole west bank and half of Jerusalem) that Israel has offered to concede to reach an armistice, and which the PLO has always rejected. Stop playing politics. And the PLO STILL wants every Jew in Israel eradicated and to turn Jerusalem into their monolithic capital of Al-Quds, whereas 99% of the Israeli population rejects the converse.Now, the Israelis have certainly committed their fair share of atrocities (mostly in cahoots with big oppressive government, whose lifeblood is democracy, which I reject), often related to demolishing private property and in doing so forcing the owners to evacuate the Rhode Island sized portion of land that Israel claims. The IDF forces are trigger happy. And the background checking is motivated by some level of paranoia. But the Palestinians are of a paleolithic mindset, and Israel's ethos logical, modern, and Western. In this, they are victors and morally superior.You've only peddled the left-wing notion that the Palestinians can do practically no wrong, whereas the Israelis can do no right. The extreme Zionist faction in Israel and their Evangelical beneficiaries merely believe the reverse. And neither position is in touch with reality.
Hello Andrew,I appreciate your willingness to view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict critically. You are willing to countenance criticism against both sides. This suggests to me that you will eventually come over to the Dark Side because you are too open minded to stay entrenched by the Force.I am also a Zionist. I believe that the Jewish people have a right to a state in the Levant; however, I am critical of the manner in which they deal with the Arab residents and citizenry of the Jewish state. In contrast to what you have just expressed, I do not accept the notion that Israel's existence is under threat of extermination. First, I do not believe that the mainstream majority of Arab organizations, governments, or individuals desire to see a second Shoah resulting in an end to the state of Israel. Second, Israel is militarily vastly superior to all of her Arab neighbors, largely due to the fact that she is the largest recipient of America's foreign tax dollars (more than all other recipients combined) and American's private donations). Though Israel's population is small and her land is small relative to land allotments and the populations of her Arab neighbors, she is not in desperate risk of being pushed into the sea. I am for an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, it is because the Israel polity receives so much unconditioned support while the Palestinians are so under represented that I may be perceived as siding too heavily for the Palestinians. My position, thus, is one of representing the under dog who is more like a bad case of flea infestation in the eyes of her host canine and her canine's master who hold the flea's fate in their hands. Though, I do not buy into the notion that the Palestinian is the parasite and Israel the host as the Palestinians do have first-nation rights that the Israeli's do not.As I have been mentioning in my last replies, I am finishing some research on these matters. I will be sharing more in a formal matters. I may just have to let you give the last word on this because I will be typing formal posts about this. I do not know, yet, if I will make these into reflections or research presentations.
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