A relatively unsophisticated article on circumcision showed up on Salon a few days ago. It’s entitled “The Unkindest Cut” and is about the conflict of a Jewish father between his Jewish mother and his non-Jewish wife over the issue of whether to circumcise his newborn son. Although it mentions some of the history of circumcision in the United States, it doesn’t go into nearly enough depth about how strange and barbaric the practice is. A letter that came into Salon from a reader has some good points, however:
This is one of the hottest parenting issues (along with breastfeeding and sleeping). I am not surprised that Salon is already flooded with letters and the emotions are rising high on both sides. I am the mother of a 3-year-old boy. He is uncircumcised and the idea of having him circumcised never even crossed my mind. I am from Europe, therefore circumcision is not part of my culture. My husband is a Hindu from India, so it isn’t part of his culture either. There is more and more evidence that shows that circumcision is an unnecessary procedure. There are more and more organizations and individuals trying to educate the public about this. Two of my favorites are: www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org and www.nocirc.org.
There is lots of very useful information regarding this topic. There are a few points I’d like to make for the sake of argument against it. Some fathers say: I want my son to look like me. So if you had a finger, a hand, or an arm missing from birth or as a result of an accident would you want to chop off your child’s corresponding body part just to make him look like you? (Sorry this is not my own idea but I like it a lot). The other point is my original thought: we, as Western society are outraged by the practice of female circumcision (mostly practiced in Africa and some predominantly Muslim areas elsewhere). What is the difference? That female circumcision is not a tradition in our culture. So it’s O.K. to keep mutilating our boys as long as we leave our girls alone… How hypocritical! And on top of that both traditions originate on the same basis: to reduce sexual pleasure and the desire to masturbate and enjoy sex.
As per some first person accounts from men who grew into adulthood intact and then got circumcised, they tell exactly how much less pleasurable sex is afterwards… Do a search on your favorite search engine for more info on the topic.
So as a parent of a boy I will leave my son’ penis alone and will make sure that everybody else does until he is old enough to make a decision about having his own body part cut off (which I think would only occur if he ends up having problems with having foreskin and sex would be unpleasant or painful).
I am not condemning people who think differently. I simply feel sorry for their baby boys… I hope one day we’ll come to our senses about this painful and inhumane practice.
As for the author, I feel sorry for him too, that he had to go through this emotionally painful experience to come to understand that he made the wrong choice.
I have a lot more to say on this topic (in fact, in college I wrote long research papers on the topic, including some original research into grotesque Victorian age masturbation control techniques, which were the precursors to routine circumcision), but probably won’t get the time to write it up. If you’re wondering about it, drop me a line.
I have to agree with Peter Travers’ review of The Good Shephard. The movie is not a complete failure: it’s beautifully made, and beautifully acted. Unfortunately, it is just not well-written.
We go through three hours of meeting character after character, in different time periods, sometimes the same character appears twice with different names (due to double-agentry), and at the end of it all you feel that the only character who got a bit of development was the leading one, Matt Damon’s, who hardly spoke a word throughout the movie.
I tried hard to like this movie, I really did. But I think it’s a crime to employ this much acting and cinematography talent, and end up with a movie that says little else about life inside the CIA but the spy cliche, “trust no one.” The movie is full of visually memorable scenes, but absolutely no memorable dialogue.
The movie should have been more focused, had less characters, and covered less ground. DeNiro: either you make a seven hour epic, or you make a Hollywood two hour film. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, I’m afraid.
I never knew working all day would be so draining. Don’t get me wrong: I love my work, I love working on software projects with smart people, but I get home and just want to hack around on UNIX, read a book, or watch some Bill Maher and I haven’t even the energy for that.
Tonight I violated my own rule (hence the 2am post), but will probably pay for it tomorrow in coffee during the day.
I need a kick-ass job that’s only part time but pays full time salaries.
p.s. been using the Spring Framework extensively on a project at work. All I can say is, “Wow.” I’m finally enjoying Java development again. The framework truly rocks, but you just need to give it some time. Once it grows on you (I suggest Manning Press’ “Spring in Action”), it becomes like a fungus that permeates the way you think about software design. Really cool.
p.p.s. it fucking rocks, btw, that the Dems won the House and Senate. Bill Moyers 2008?
I got back from Argentina on Thursday. Not enjoying the New York summer, and missing my Buenos Aires lifestyle, but overall, happy to be home. Maybe now I’ll get back to my blog.
I decided I may as well indulge the jokers at MyTravelGuide and post a review for my alleged Italian restaurant. Note the red area, indicating “pros and cons” of the review.
I recently did a vanity search for “Andrew J. Montalenti” on Google, only to find the prestigious travel site “MyTravelGuide.com” had usurped my personal website for the #1 hit. In particular, the developers of this site seem to be convinced that “Andrew J. Montalenti” is an Italian restaurant which happens to have my address and phone number. You can post reviews, photos, whatever you like.
I did think it kind of odd when I started receiving letters in the mail offering me things like ice sculptures at wholesale prices, china with my restaurant logo imprinted on it, and kitchen supplies. Clearly, someone was told that my name was simply the name of a badass italian restaurant in Manhasset, and it’s stuck.
Well, every time someone has posted a profile on my “restaurant,” I’ve requested it be taken down. But the folks at MyTravelGuide.com are basically unresponsive. So, I decided to post a photograph of the restaurant, since I know it better than anyone else.
Does anyone know how to find out what marketing database thinks I am a restaurant, so I can purge this misconception once and for all?
I just recently graduated from NYU, and am taking a much-deserved break from computing. So this blog may not get updates for a few weeks.
On the bright side, I’m going to Argentina for six weeks. See you in Buenos Aires.
My server went down yesterday for a day, due to a switch to a new colocation facility. For anyone else on my server, I apologize for the downage. I wasn’t told the switch would be happening with ample lead time, and so I didn’t have the time to set the refresh/TTL fields in my SOA DNS entries so that the IP switch could be seamless.
(Wow, that’s a lot of acronyms. Computers…)
So I read this post on /. about Nintendo Revolution’s new controller design. Not that I really care about this kind of stuff (I don’t even play console games), but this post caught my eye.
Look, you have to understand. If you want to be a “Halo Killer” (and every single game is a halo killer, these days! Don’t bother judging the game on its own merits. The only question is, does it kill Halo?), you have to match the control scheme that made Halo popular. And that control scheme is: A clumsy replication of PC FPS controls shoehorned into a Dual Shock II workalike format.
After all, everyone knows that what made Halo popular was the radical and unnatural retraining that is required when you take a control scheme that was designed and perfected for a mouse and keyboard, and just jam it unceremoniously underneath two thumb-controlled joysticks and a maze of randomly positioned multicolored buttons. Unless Nintendo can replicate that kind of hand-eye coordination dissonance, they’ll never get anywhere with their Halo killing, I mean console, business. My suggestion: They should duct-tape a cinderblock to the Revolution remote. Then everyone will just eat it right up!
Someone then dumbwittedly replied,
why the hell would retraining yourself to a new control system make a game more popular? people get way too worked up about controllers and how much they think they suck at console FPSes. Trust me, I play enough Counterstrike to count myself as a PC gamer, and I have little-to-no problems dealing with a gamepad. You adapt and you do fine.
He just doesn’t get it. But what I loved is that someone then pointed out this being a classic example of sarchasm. That is, a coined word to mean “the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.” I think I’ll use that in the future.
I’m continuing to struggle with healing from carpal tunnel syndrome. Nonetheless, I am making progress. Through splinting, and visits to the occupational therapist, and icing twice a day, I’ve seen marked improvements to the way my wrist and hand feels. In addition, because the median nerve runs all the way up through the shoulder, I’m feeling relief even in my shoulder and neck area.
More than anything else, what is probably helping is that I’ve been laying off my right hand entirely. Rest is the best form of healing.
About a half-hour ago, I experienced a weird sensation. I was icing my wrist as I usually do, and at a certain point I realized my wrist was really cold. I then performed Tinel’s test and found the pins and needles sensation that I have never felt before. When I tapped on the base of my wrist I could feel pins and needles all the way up into my three primary digits: my thumb, index and middle fingers. I could literally feel exactly where the median nerve was running. I didn’t really know whether this is a bad sign; I’ll ask my doctor tomorrow. I can only get a positive Tinel’s sign result when my wrist is under ice for a long time, like 10 or 15 minutes. What’s the physiological reason for that? I’ll have to find out tomorrow.
Till then, keep your nerves healthy.