Donny's Ramblings


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Podcast: Thoughts on the Debate

Last week Craig showed me how to use GarageBand on my MacBook Pro to record my own podcast. This is the first I’ve recorded on my own. If you plan to watch the debate on Nightline this coming Thursday evening please listen to this first. By warning you, I’m just easing my conscience a little, I guess. 🙂 This recording sounds slightly “static-y” for some reason… I’ll have to learn how to fix that next time.

If you have 7 free minutes, listen (click the arrow):

I messed with GarageBand for hours while sitting at Starbucks today. There are many nifty things I’ll be able to do with that program just as soon as I figure out how to use it right.

Another fun way I amused myself was by playing with a program called Photo Booth, using it to take “self portraits”. Click to enlarge:

More Starbucks/Photo Booth Fun

Messing with Photo Booth at Starbucks

On the Plane


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Does My Heart Well: "Porn and Pancakes" and "Uncle" Ron Jeremy

Yesterday I was in Los Angeles for a Porn and Pancakes event at the Oasis Christian Center. When I arrived I was picked up at the Los Angeles Airport by Jeff Borkoski, an Oasis LA Associate Pastor. Jeff took me to my amazing room at the Orlando near Beverly Center.

Prior to arriving in LA, I’d received an email from Michelle (nice song playing on your profile right now Michelle – I like it), who handles all bookings and arrangements for XXXChurch. Michelle passed along a question from Oasis. Since I flew in Friday afternoon, what did I want to do Friday night? What a nice gesture! I haven’t been asked that question before.

Such thoughtfulness continued the entire time I was in Los Angeles. When I reached that VERY nice room I mentioned at the Orlando, on the desk was an impressive gift basket filled with so much food I couldn’t possibly eat all of it, which is why several items from it currently sit in front of me, here at home between my keyboard and my iMac, even as I type this blog entry.

While at the church I had a “shadow”, which was another staff pastor who kept me company and made sure I didn’t need anything. The church was amazingly beautiful and the men who attended P&P were some of the most friendly, down to earth people I’ve ever met. And very diverse. It really did my heart very well to be a part of this event this weekend.

Classy. Classy. Classy.

As for the event itself: I’ve been told lots of conversations have been going on afterward. I know I spoke with dozens of men and had some great conversations of my own. God really moves through these events!

—–

After the event, Craig Gross and his wife and two beautiful children headed off to Ron Jeremy‘s house to meet his turtle and go to lunch. Ron, who has two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in education, is called “Uncle Ron” by Craig’s kids.

I wish I could put into words how this makes me feel. Craig and his family have made Ron part of theirs. While some may question such a thing, I think it is a perfect example of Christians who are being Jesus in skin and loving without judgment. Shouldn’t that be how all of us act? Loving those who may not believe as we do, and may in fact be involved in activities we greatly dislike?

This… this is a type of Christianity I can dedicate my life to…

—–

Filling Up
After breakfast, the men begin filling up the main sanctuary at Oasis LA. Click to enlarge.


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Does My Heart Well: “Porn and Pancakes” and “Uncle” Ron Jeremy

Yesterday I was in Los Angeles for a Porn and Pancakes event at the Oasis Christian Center. When I arrived I was picked up at the Los Angeles Airport by Jeff Borkoski, an Oasis LA Associate Pastor. Jeff took me to my amazing room at the Orlando near Beverly Center.

Prior to arriving in LA, I’d received an email from Michelle (nice song playing on your profile right now Michelle – I like it), who handles all bookings and arrangements for XXXChurch. Michelle passed along a question from Oasis. Since I flew in Friday afternoon, what did I want to do Friday night? What a nice gesture! I haven’t been asked that question before.

Such thoughtfulness continued the entire time I was in Los Angeles. When I reached that VERY nice room I mentioned at the Orlando, on the desk was an impressive gift basket filled with so much food I couldn’t possibly eat all of it, which is why several items from it currently sit in front of me, here at home between my keyboard and my iMac, even as I type this blog entry.

While at the church I had a “shadow”, which was another staff pastor who kept me company and made sure I didn’t need anything. The church was amazingly beautiful and the men who attended P&P were some of the most friendly, down to earth people I’ve ever met. And very diverse. It really did my heart very well to be a part of this event this weekend.

Classy. Classy. Classy.

As for the event itself: I’ve been told lots of conversations have been going on afterward. I know I spoke with dozens of men and had some great conversations of my own. God really moves through these events!

—–

After the event, Craig Gross and his wife and two beautiful children headed off to Ron Jeremy‘s house to meet his turtle and go to lunch. Ron, who has two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in education, is called “Uncle Ron” by Craig’s kids.

I wish I could put into words how this makes me feel. Craig and his family have made Ron part of theirs. While some may question such a thing, I think it is a perfect example of Christians who are being Jesus in skin and loving without judgment. Shouldn’t that be how all of us act? Loving those who may not believe as we do, and may in fact be involved in activities we greatly dislike?

This… this is a type of Christianity I can dedicate my life to…

—–

Filling Up
After breakfast, the men begin filling up the main sanctuary at Oasis LA. Click to enlarge.


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Disappointed: Debate Postponed Due to "Breaking News"

I just received this email from the producer of Nightline:

Due to breaking news. It’s tentatively scheduled to air next Thursday 2/28/08. I hope you guys understand and thanks.

What the breaking news is, I don’t know. A “behind the scenes” preview of the show is online here and here (see videos on the right side of that second link).

Disappointing.

😦


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Disappointed: Debate Postponed Due to “Breaking News”

I just received this email from the producer of Nightline:

Due to breaking news. It’s tentatively scheduled to air next Thursday 2/28/08. I hope you guys understand and thanks.

What the breaking news is, I don’t know. A “behind the scenes” preview of the show is online here and here (see videos on the right side of that second link).

Disappointing.

😦


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DEBATE AIR DATE CHANGED!!!

I just received an email from Nightline’s producer. The air date has moved to THURSDAY instead of Friday. So this THURSDAY the 21st is the air date.

I’ve got lots of people to inform. Please spread the word.

Also, ABCNews has updated the story I linked to earlier to include new information from after the filming of the debate, including feedback from Yale students. Click here to re-read that article.

And finally, I’ve posted some snapshots of Yale University. What a gorgeous place! Click here for photos of the campus.


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My Thoughts on the Debate

I’m sitting in Starbucks in downtown Chico listening to a live version of Damien Rice singing The Blower’s Daughter. I love that song. I wanted to purchase Damien’s version of it several months ago, but iTunes didn’t have it available at the time. A few days ago I checked again, and the live version was for sale. YES! It’s actually quite good live. A video of Damien singing the song is available on YouTube here, free of charge.

I mention that song because it has a subduing power over me. When I listen to it, I’m taken to a place of sadness. I am pretty sure that’s because I first heard the song on the movie Closer, which was one of the most heart wrenching human drama stories I’ve ever seen… a story of love and loss, and humans being hurtful to each other. I watched that movie once, in 2004 when it came out, yet it still sticks with me.

Why would I want to take myself to that state of mind, you ask? I don’t know if I can really explain the answer to that question, but I will tell you this: yesterday morning, the morning after the debate, I woke up in a mood very similar to the one The Blower’s Daughter takes me to: sadness… a sense of loss… a feeling of love that almost seems useless to have.

Don’t get me wrong, the debate was a blast. The experience was one I will remember for the rest of my life. But I was also reminded of the slave I used to be as I spoke with two people still in that same bondage: Ron Jeremy and Monique Alexander.

Ron… I can’t help but love that guy to pieces. There is just something about him in person that just makes you want to squeeze him like a Teddy Bear. He can be a bit vulgar at times, and still I can’t help wanting to put my arm around his shoulder. Monique Alexander is a beautiful 25 year old porn star that has been in the business for 7 years. She, too, is very likable. My heart breaks for both of them because I know what it feels like to be in their shoes when the lights go off and the crowds go away.

I don’t want to go too deep, because I think you’ll do better to wait until the debate airs and experience for yourself what I’m talking about. But I do want to warn you: DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT watch it with children. I’m sure Nightline will bleep out certain words, but very frank porn terms will no doubt make their way into the finished product. Porn realities were discussed with no holds barred. Some adults may even want to consider whether or not they REALLY want to know what they’ll hear from that debate. Personally, I think the story needs to be heard, but if I tell you all this you can’t come to me later and say I didn’t warn you.

I prayed before the debate that God would guide what I said and let His words be heard. I prayed the same for Craig Gross as well. I sure hope that’s what happened.

The debate airs this coming Thursday night (February 21st) at 11:35 pm on Nightline ABC. The time should be the same no matter where you live. An hour and a half of discussion will be edited to about 20 minutes, but I’m told the Nightline ABC website will have the full debate beginning on Wednesday and concluding Thursday.

It will be a… learning experience… should you choose to watch.

Click here for photos of the Yale University Campus


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A Very Brief Update

Last night’s debate went great! I’ll tell you all more about it later. Last night I didn’t get back to my room until after 1am and was too tired to write. This morning I’ve gotta back and head back to New York City to catch my flight home. Here are the 4 “Great Debators” along with Martin Bashir from Nightline ABC, who was our moderator. That’ll have to hold ya over until I can tell ya more about it.

Monique Alexander, Ron Jeremy, Martin Bashir, Craig Gross, Donny Pauling

I’ve got a lot of photos to share, both of the debate and of Yale University. The campus is breathtakingly beautiful!

Ron Jeremy, Monique Alexander, Martin Bashir, Donny Pauling, Craig Gross

Caught with my eyes closed and a good dose of “double chin”, here we are on stage during the debate itself. The camera crew was changing tapes, and we had to pause discussion for a moment.

Until later,

Donny


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Sex Week at Yale University: Debating Ron Jeremy and Monique Alexander

Added 12 Feb, 2008: ABCNews Coverage of this event has begun. Click here.

On February 15th, the day after Valentine’s Day, Craig Gross and I will be debating Ron Jeremy and Monique Alexander at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (click here and scroll down to Feb 15th). This debate caps off “Sex Week at Yale” (if you’re wondering exactly what “Sex Week” is, click that link).

Martin Bashir from ABC’s Nightline will be the host of this debate. This debate was originally scheduled to have been filmed back in November at Ohio State University (click here and here for blog entries I made about it previously), but Nightline was called off at the last minute on another story. The debate went on, just without ABC’s camera crew or Martin Bashir as the moderator.

To be honest, I’m more excited about speaking at an Ivy League University than I am about being on Nightline debating Ron Jeremy.

Since Nightline pulled out last time I wanted to be sure this event is indeed moving forward before telling you about it. My contact at ABC called today to finalize travel and hotel arrangements.

It’s on!


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Porn Debate (and talking about Jesus with Nina Hartley)

The Debate went great. Craig Gross and Ron Jeremy were introduced by the moderator. Craig gave an opening statement of 10-15 minutes, followed by Ron rebutting what he’d said. Both men made the crowd laugh a lot. Craig then introduced me, and Ron introduced Nina Hartley. After the introductions it was my turn to speak.

I told the crowd right up front that I firmly believe in the free will and freedom of speech of all people and that as such I’m opposed to legislation against pornography. Education, not legislation, is the key to changing hearts. I spoke about some of the realities of porn, sharing behind the scenes information as well as the personal costs of porn in the lives of some of the models who worked for me. I challenged them to make a decision to consider all costs before choosing to participate in the “supply and demand circle” of porn, because all of us in that circle have made our contribution to the broken lives I’d discussed. Perhaps at some point I’ll share more of what I said.

After my speech, Porn star Nina Hartley was then given an opportunity to rebut what I’d said. Since we’ve never debated each other before, she could only assume that since I’m a Christian I’d be the type who wanted to tell her “what she should do with her body and what she should do in her sex life” (my fellow Christians, now is the time I’d like to ask: why do so many of us try to take away the God given free will of others by attempting to pass legislation that denies them just that?). Although I’d taken away that argument by asserting my belief in free will, Nina already had her speech prepared and rolled with it anyway.

Following Nina’s speech, the crowd was given a chance to ask any question they wished to ask. I loved that part. Someone would ask a question, and those of us on stage would debate each other on our thoughts and opinions on the topic raised. I’d love to share some of the discussions that resulted but I think I’ll save that for a future blog entry, because what I think you’ll find most interesting had more to do with Ron and Nina than with the debate.

Ron Jeremy, my friends, is a really soft hearted man. He loves people. I can tell he has a big heart. Despite being told that security would whisk him away from the autograph table 30 minutes after the debate so that he’d have a chance to get something to eat, Ron wanted to make sure every last person had the chance to talk to him. Craig says it’s always that way. And throughout the night, I didn’t hear a negative word towards anyone escape Ron’s lips. If you ask me, I really think there is a call on Ron’s life to help people. To love people. To be used by God to do a lot of good in the world. I believe Ron is in the process of changing his life dramatically, and he may not even realize it yet.

Not much is open after 11pm, so after the debate the 4 of us had a very late dinner at a place called Moe’s, one of the few eating establishments still open near the campus. The food was pretty good. Ron patiently spoke with anyone walking by who happened to recognize him, including a homeless man on the sidewalk asking for spare change.

One of the event’s organizers drove Nina Hartley and I back to our hotels. Along the way I was able to listen to Nina share her thoughts on Jesus. It’s very apparent she firmly believes in what a great man he was. She told the driver all about him. She was right-on in everything she said. Had I not just heard her speaking about her thoughts on porn and polyamorous bi-sexual relationships I’d have sworn she was a very non-judgmental Christian. She understands grace. She understands Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind. She spoke fondly about the wonderful things he did for people, and she never once questioned his existence. I have no idea whether or not she believes he is God’s son, but I know she is well aware of what he did for mankind.

Does that surprise you?

The point I’d like to make with this blog article is that people we call “lost” are really not too far removed from any of us. Like many of those I know from the world of pornography, Ron and Nina are very transparent with their lives. They don’t feel a need to hide their “dark side”. I’m not sure about Ron, but from the conversations we had I know Nina is very much put off by judgmental, hypocritical people who have given her a hard time over the years. Whether it should be this way or not, I firmly believe her own relationship with God has been negatively influenced by the people who claim to know him best: Christians. She commented frequently on the attitudes towards people Craig and I both share: that we love everyone because Jesus loves everyone. There is nothing any human could ever do to make God love him or her any less. Nothing. Nina found that non-judgmental outlook refreshing.

During the debate, a question was raised to Ron asking him when he was going to start a “ministry” to show Christians the error and ignorance of their ways. Ron responded that he would never wish to take away a person’s religious beliefs. Comments on that question were opened up to the rest of us, and I told the audience that while I agreed with the person posing the question that church sucks, I hoped he’d separate God from those who claim to represent Him, because God, my friend, doesn’t suck. The crowd applauded. I also told them that as I’ve been traveling and speaking with Christians at churches all across the country, I’ve been very encouraged to see that many people are also working to put away judgmental attitudes and behave more like Jesus. I know that trend is going to continue. For anyone who is serious about doing what Jesus asked each of us to do, there is no other option.

Because God doesn‘t suck.

—–

After the Debate