Monday, September 29, 2014

5775: Shmita / Sabbatical Year: Matchmaking vs Online Dating Algorithms

Just curious as to wether preregistering with an online dating service is the best approach to finding a mate during the Shmita Year instead of hiring a matchmaker for a make-over. Is this like setting the lights on a timer so they automatically go on and off during Shabbos?

Here are some insights worth considering from American Public Radion's  Marketplace (Playing Matchmaker in Silicon Valley) and There's a lot of effort to expend on the latter ... I don't know if it closes down on Shabbos.

Lots of information about Shmita Year here:

5775: The Shmita (Sabbatical) Year - On Tomatoes and Figs

I was in the garden this morning, trying to encourage my tomato plants to bloom, finally. (I've already tried encouraging them to produce fruit. Perhaps a bit hasty?) They look healthy, strong, green and have the benefit of my being around a lot. Likewise, to no avail, I had hardly a fig on an otherwise well-producing "tree-ish, from-a-finger-width-twig", but only two dried fruit the size of grapes. I was told by one garden expert that I had over fertilized early.  Perhaps the sabbatical year began a bit early for me, just so that I understood what is in store.

During the 7th year, we humans are given the opportunity to let the earth do her thing without prodding. What grows, grows. What lays and produces milk, does so on their own accord, just friendly encouragement. We all get a chance to take a break and smell the roses. (If they choose to bloom.) Regeneration is necessary for all of us.

Will it rain, hopefully. What is "it" that rains? Will there be enough? Just, fortunately.

How to celebrate the harvest / sukkos?

I'm getting ahead of myself, again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blessing in Disguise: Would You Give This Woman a Gun?

I was perplexed to see images of people draped in a full-body burqa on TV "news" noting that ISIL/ISIS is recruiting women for its terrorist activities. Whether they are women or not is unknown from that report given the full black covering everything from head to toe. Shooting rifles is no determination of gender; I tried to see if "her" feet were excessively large for a woman, but, again, that is not a determinant nor the point.

My first impulse was ... "Terrific ... given the horrendous way that fundamentalists treat their women, giving weapons to an anonymous person who happens to be female may be a blessing in disguise. The "government-issued" burqas all look alike because they are.Now she can defend herself and her children against massive testosterone explosions at home and in the souk ... and her anonymity can be preserved."

I decided to do some research about this report and found an article in the UK's Telegraph:

This took me to research "Umm Layth" the nom-de-blog of a female English speaking jihadi in the UK.

If it is still online and you are willing to risk blemishing your here-to-for blue-white-red record for keeping your eyes on corporate media, you will find, of course, basic fundamentalist rhetoric; substitute your name for your god, your paradise, your holy effort, your miserable existence on this plane ... etc.

Here is the call to the emotions ...

"Our claim for Al Wala Wal Bara is fake if we do not externally and internally hate for the sake of Allah the one who tarnishes the image of Islam, the one who takes allies with the Kuffar and denounces the main pillars of Islam including Jihad, even if this very person is the one gave birth to us or just our blood in general. Wallahi in Islam, there is no importance to Blood ties over ties over Din. Being angry for the sake of Allah swt is part of our Islam, part of our Aqeedah [The belief system that is based upon a firm conviction in all the fundamentals of faith and of the Oneness of Allah, i.e. creed], part of our eeman [faith], and part of tassawuf [inner, mystical dimension of Islam]."

As the Telegraph article notes, beyond the fundamentalist rhetoric quoted from sources, including shaiks, the blog also includes "typical" comments by the age group (18 - 24) that could be made by even the most hip socialite or "valley girl" in another culture. For example, there is a post from "anonymous" who requests that a photo on the page, ostensibly of the author, be removed because it belong to "anonymous". Despite the author's willingness to sacrifice "the one who gave birth to us", there's a mother's day tribute.

The blog clearly states that the recruited women aren't mindless and many are very educated. Makes sense ... how can one bend the mind of a mindless being?

Beyond the hate speech, however, is the actual role for which women are being armed: marrying jihadi men. Marginalized into a police force and actually not on the front lines, they are given tasts to keep fundamentalist women in place. It is no different than the kapos recruited by the Nazis in work and death camps from among prisoners to keep the condemned in line. 

Does it make sense to give hidden women a gun during "that time of the month"? Girlfriend ... if you really want to feel powerful ... see who is willing to take out your trash every four weeks.

I certainly hope this posting, and my research, will not make me lose the precious, incidental, TSA preCheck status ... but we don't live in simple times. I am intrigued.

Just because you are/not paranoid doesn't mean that you aren't being followed. Thanks, George Bush!