35.01/ Week thirty-five, March 13-19 2021, begins here. Last week's thread is below.
35.02/ An accurate thread of Ashkenazi culture on #Passover. [Hint: we rabbis haven't forbade potatoes yet. But don't provoke us]
35.03/ Thread about #PiDay, Albert Einstein and the movie IQ. Because, of course
35.04/ Update about #WandaVision. Finally got to the episode where they lampshade the points I made about erasing her Sokovian heritage. At least they respect the audience more than I first gave them credit for.

See longer thread.
35.05a/ Twas the last Sat. Movie Night of the season and I was finally able to show the kids The Wizard of Oz.
They'd refused before b/c they read the 14 book series & felt the movie violated the source material, a common problem.
35.05b/ But IMO the cultural impact of the film is so large that it exists separate of the books. There are SO MANY parodies, references, etc of davka the film (not the books) that it's needed for cultural literacy

BTW, I'd forgotten how tight the film was. Almost no wasted time
35.05c/ I was having fun mocking the ham-handed one-to-one allegorical interpretations people make about the characters. The kids got into it so they'd ask about every new person:
"Glinda? She's the Unicameral Nebraska legislature. Flying monkeys? England"
35.06/ March 14 2021 was Shabbat. By that time we'd all been infected by COVID, my wife had a moderate fever, & I was begging the shuls/schools to start tracking data of who was sick, shut-in, needs groceries etc. Sadly, not much success. I knew it would've been critical info.
35.07/ Hard to explain why, but yes, this comic came up in conversation and I'm glad someone was able to post it.

Also available here: readallcomics.com/the-bloom-coun…
& here: gocomics.com/bloomcounty/20…
But thanks rao2z
35.08/ When I see the GOP or major media acting terribly, thinking that the #TrumpCrisis hasn't ended, I remind myself that (a) it hasn't ended b/c (b) the perpetrators & profiteers haven't been punished for the behavior that plunged us into the crisis. Simple sociology at play.
35.09/ This thirsty goofus is getting rightly ratioed & while I'd like to add to the mass-dunk, I also don't want to give these NYT trolls rage-clicks. But I do get that asking POTUS a question in a bona-fide press conference is the only currency in his strained & stupid world. Screenshot of this tweet: h...
35.10/ My man Luis Guillorme @lguillorme13 had an epic 22 pitch walk - which started 0-2! - and yet he agrees the bat-catch topped it.

Both are amazing, but for sheer coolness, the bat-catch was other-worldly! See below:
35.11/ I'm reconstituting my old threads & I'm reminded of my WW2 metaphor for the #TrumpCrisis.

We've passed the Bulge and are still racing to take Berlin.

We're not yet at the point where the fascists are smashed, that's why we still feel at war.
35.12/ BD"E, Yaphet Kotto passed away. Not in the NYTimes & casually mentioned in Wikipedia is that Kotto a'h was Jewish.


But the Times of Israel is on it.

FYI, "yaphet" is aka Japhet, son of Noah.

35.13a/ This is a really excellent thread about what it means to be #GenX. I'd only add that my generation were kids during the "Reagan is a demented pretend-cowboy who could press the nuclear button at any moment" era

35.13b/ The daily terror of nuclear annihilation under the first unserious GOP POTUS incompetent since Hoover, while under the cultural strangulation of the hated Boomers, created our legendary #GenX generational resilience.

And also, this was perfect:
35.14/ Just got back from the now quotidian miracle at the meadowlands at 1:52pm. Just as cold as the last time I was there (Steelers at Jets, 2019) but a much more satisfying result.

35.16/ I'm catching up on my commentary and from the last day of #BlackHistoryMonth are these two amazing videos made from Fredrick Douglass' pictures.

Hey, the tech exists so might as well put it to virtuous use.

35.17/ This is darkly funny b/c the current filibuster rules are a no-cost way for him to do just this!

"McConnell threatens to hold up Democratic legislative agenda if filibuster rules are changed"

Just credulous nonsense from the MSM. Or bad faith.

screenshot: "McConnell...
35.18/ I got this wrong. He didn't try to exit early b/c he needed to cling to power by any crazy means available, and I still didn't get that part. This is where 'ninja fighting ninja' is better than me: I can't predict evil despite my hatred of it.
35.19/ These before/after pictures are heartbreaking for the loss of life and society. Fascism is based on many underlying abusive ideas, chief is the toxic male glorification of war. But the reality of war is hell
35.20a/ Just want to send my fellow #GenX PBS watchers, NY division, a nostalgia infusion this rough afternoon.

Here's an intro that always brought me joy, from our friends at The Bureau of Mass Communications: NY State Education Department
35.20b/ Why did I find that clip? Because I was looking for the intro to a show that I didn't get to see often, but whose intro song is one of my favorites.

My kids know, b/c I play them often, I'm an avid aficionado of TV Themes. It's prob. another #GenX thing.

35.21/ This is an excellent point, and something I remember learning from my mentor Prof. Peter Brown, to infer from laws and other documents what's missing from what's revealed
35.22/ This is a specific example of my newly acquired philosophy that "no public figure is naïve"

35.23/ What the heck is happening in the #NYR game? Mind you, I'm not complaining, but this is almost science fiction
35.23b/ And we just scored again. I've never SEEN 9-0... in the second period... #NYR
35.24/ To all #Tottenham fans, I apologize. I had no idea that when I started rooting for the 'Spurs that I would give you my #NYM style mazal. Nor would the team get bounced from the playoffs like the #Steelers did this year. This is kinda on me. My bad.

35.25/ I so admire this position. Any show that centers a criminal has to walk a fine line to justify so much sordid focus on terrible actions. But as a hero? No. Way.

35.26/ I'm trying to read up as much as possible about the horrible spree killing of this week in Atlanta. This thread & article about "entitled shame" really struck me.


35.27/ Excellent. Just excellent. Yes, white supremacy is nearly everywhere. That's what we mean by "structural" - you will be hurt by it, or benefit from it, just by being in the system.
35.28/ Need to remember this quip and use it judiciously: "as useless as dairy dark chocolate" #Pesach #KosherJoke
35.29/ This feels like a slippery slope. I mean that I've punched the wax face so much it feels just like a slippery slope

35.30/ Thread of high quality history humor
35.31/ I identify with this so much and what a perfect gif choice.

35.32/ This mini-thread strikes me as correct. Basically, the only way US culture will accept a task is if it's couched as a 'war' and where we basically destroy something (hence mask-wearing/containment failed but vaccines are a success)
35.33/ Did astrophysics change since I was in college or did I change? Because I found physics difficult but bananas are my wheelhouse

35.34/ I need to invent phrases for two different types of scholars:

(1) Always chooses the best topics but deals with them terribly.

(2) Chooses good topics, analyzes well & brings good sources, but whose conclusions are always wrong.
35.35/ Every few days there's a new joke template on Twitter (gives support for the "Q: how were jokes invented? A: the army & prison" thesis) and this is one of my favorite examples of the recent one, re: the "$1400, me" structure

35.36/ Yes. That's the type of pun I like. Make me work for it.
35.37/ A number of big news stories have passed me by this week but I want to acknowledge the confirmation of a Native American woman to run the Dept. of Interior. These things matter because "nothing about us without us" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_A…

See too:
35.38/ I sent this out earlier in the week but putting it in the main thread now. It's mind-blowing, but the flying cars still haven't materialized (thank goodness, BTW).

And if they had them wearing masks, I'd assume Doc Brown was involved

35.40/ Oh, Tuesday will be the semi-annual Israeli Elections! Evidently they hold elections to remind people to sell your chametz #IsraElex4

35.41/ Important context for the whiny "Biden needs a press conference" yawps: the networks don't carry the actual daily press conference. Which means the yawp is about their own clout/jollies & not a desire to inform

35.42/ What I like about this is (a) I've added so many trans community voices that I know who he's referring to & (b) the person is J*ss* S*ng*l & all I knew of him is being a bigot & NOTHING ELSE. So not only do I feel informed, I feel properly prepped
35.43/ This was me with the original 1984 Blue Box reading any pink question.
35.44/ A thread with some valuable things I've seen/read this week about the latest white supremacist atrocity in the USA. #StopAsianHate

35.45/ Oh boy, the #Pesach 5781 Edition of the HaMizrachi magazine is online. Many good articles/authors. See here for the current issue & archives
& a direct link:
35.46/ #ShabbatShalom everyone. Brachot for preparing for #Pesach amidst all of this. Brachot for getting vaccinated; BE"H the end is in sight.

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More from @JoshuaCypess

19 Sep
62.01/ Week sixty-two, Sept. 18-25, 2021, thread begins there.

Week 61 below
62.02/ A custom on #YomKippur is to wear a kittel, an all white garment that has ambivalent symbolism: men wear one under their wedding canopy and they are also buried in it. I mentioned to a physician friend that it can also be seen as "Jewish scrubs."
62.03/ "But life is ironic" is just boss-level shade. I mean, I have my theological differences with the pontiff, but I can imagine we see eye-to-eye about anti-vaxxers.(h.t. @dick_nixon)

Read 41 tweets
17 Sep
1/ Nearly every Shabbat & Yom Tov since I left the pulpit I've prepared a drasha & shiur that I know I won't be able to deliver. I've described that for many artists the need to produce the art overwhelms an actual audience. The art compels them.
2/ I define art broadly to encompass every creative faculty that arises from the multiple intelligences, talents & perceptions in human capability. We know singers or painters are artists, but so is a teacher or philosopher. IMO society doesn't define an art, humanity does.
3/ Not everyone who has artistic talent or drive or vocation needs to have a feeling of compulsion. My chiddush (intellectual innovation) is to say everyone with that need to create has the soul of an artist whether they are recognized or not.
Read 26 tweets
17 Sep
1/ Since the beginning of the #TrumpCrisis, I've had ever increasingly difficult #YomKippur davening because of the burden I feel to act as a 'sanegor' (defender) for my community and for the Jewish world at large.

(This is in addition to the vast ways I need to improve myself)
2/ I'm not a gadol, a posek, or anything close to a tzadik. But after seeing so many rebbeim & gedolim openly support Trump (ym'sh), erase women from Jewish life, and encourage anti-vax shtuyot, I considered the tenuous possibility that I would need to act as a communal sanegor.
3/ With the established leadership descending into avoda-zara (DJT), shefichat-damim (COVID denial) & arayot (dehumanizing women), I needed to step up - out of safek-nefashot - and use all of my halakhic, rhetorical & philosophical ability to devise kappara for the Am Kadosh.
Read 17 tweets
15 Sep
1/ One more #NFL thing before the Day of Atonement. Last night's #MNF was very satisfying as a #Steelers fan. The ending of the game was nuts and I want to reproduce the nutty live-texts I sent to my sleeping son, not expecting it to become a saga of silliness.
2/ [11:31 PM] 55 yard FG to send it into overtime!

{Little did I know that this would be the least surprising thing of overtime. I should also add that many people expected BAL to go to the Superbowl and the Raiders to get a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft} Screencap from the ESPN app, score 27-27.
3/ [11:40 PM]: RAIDERS WIN
[11:41 PM]: wait hold up
[11:42 PM]: CORRECTION. will be at the half yard-line

{It was so exciting to think LV would get the ball and then just drive down the field and score. Of course, it couldn't be that simple. TD taken back.} ESPN screencap. 7:22 in OT, score still 27-27, LV in red zon
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
1/ MacDonald died? Oh man.

First of all, I wish there was a website to find out if I'm allowed to publicly like a dead guy. Like a list of crimes so I know how to calibrate the right mix of sad, or happy, that he's dead.

[Please do that in Norm's voice]
2/ Certain people who're called "an [artist]'s artist" usually are extremists in that craft, and often unrecognized by all but a niche audience. In comedy, one of my areas of expertise, that doesn't always yield someone I personally enjoy.
3/ E.g. I detest Andy Kaufman's comedy because, for me, the barely disguised intend was cruelty. Other comedians work for "their time" like Lenny Bruce who I wish I found funnier than I do.

MacDonald was in that category.

(and this comment is great)
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
1/ My son, new freshman at his high school, got the cover article in the weekly Torah journal, which was an awesome piece of nachas over #RoshHashanah

A few comments I feel I should make (and download available at this BE"H static link):
2/ I did not help him directly in any way. Despite my eager offer to discuss and/or proofread, he successfully shielded himself from my relentless, avid desire to help him with a D'var Torah.

I say this because (1) it's a really good piece & (2) all the language is his.
3/ However, as a gift to me, he did say that he learned "tautological" from our many conversations (yes!) and from my meta-perspective, I see he followed the advice I give to all my homiletics students based on my decades of speeches, articles, classes & other media.
Read 9 tweets

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