56.01/ Week fifty-six, Aug. 7-13, 2021, thread begins here.

#ChodeshTov everyone! Happy #Elul, the "deep breath before the plunge" (as Gandalf says).

Week 55 thread is below.
56.02/ Excellent shibboleth action here from Rabbi Ruttenberg, in a benevolent, non-murdery, way, of course.

56.03/ Honored with #haftara yesterday but it had been so long since I last did one that my eyesight has gotten bad enough that I was juggling a mask, fogged glasses, & the too small print of even a full-size Artscroll. And why did Yeshayahu have to make up so many weird words?!
56.04/ Need to write a thread about a way to understand moral choices, especially choosing the lesser of two evils, using the heuristic of "hutra or dechuya" which for now I'll define as "negated or suspended."

Good def. here:
56.05/ Starting following @kmcshane because of the following cartoon. Good art, good mind. Thanks for your work.
56.06/ I know the adage of "offense sells tickets, defense wins championships" and my teams are famous for defense (#Steelers, #Mets, #NYR) but when they have seasons of bad D/good offense I find the games less stressful to watch. #LGM but they're not remotely watchable right now
56.07/ Watching Wheeler tear the #Mets apart, knowing he left us because of the Wilpon-Brodie Clown Show, thus suffering the indignity of being a fan of a team where a revolving door of bad leadership can doom us for years, I especially appreciate the stability of the #Steelers.
56.08/ Success in sports is still largely a black box to me, even taking into account that the best a non-member of a team will know ~30% of what's going on inside, but there comes a point when a team's bad performance feels like a negligent insult to the fans. Hi #Mets!
56.09/ Them: Psalms are so beautiful!
Me: Do you like Psalm 27?
Them: Yes, of course. Wonderful imagery. Why do you ask?
Me: Oh, no reason, I'll check back with you in 50 or so days.

#ChodeshTov #Elul #LDavid #PsalmsOverdoseIsInevitable
56.10/ I assume it's the power of the Ark preserving him in the same way that its power killed the rats in the hold.
56.11/ I started with Anthro (observing the infinite variety of humanity) added philosophy (ideas about best way to live) and ultimately added social science because ideas are cheap, solutions need to be tested.

This is why I reject many asserted utopias: prove they work, please
56.12/ Dr. Mack describes my position precisely. This isn't last year's pandemic, it's Delta, but our hell on earth of 2020 can be used to help us survive 2021

And, again, please stop saying "we had a deal!" about masks/shutdown. Delta is different, worse
56.13/ Didn't think the violent oaf had the guts to resign. Whew. #ByeCuomo
and this will be kinda cool:
56.14/ With the #InfrastructureBill passing the Senate and #Cuomo resigning, all before 1pm, we're getting a little nostalgic taste for what every single day was like during the #TrumpCrisis admin.
56.15/ It is kind of Biblical in its beauty
56.17/ "They've left every single light on: A father's lament" is a well known song I've inherited from my ancestors. Quite similar to the winter classic "Who touched the thermostat?"
56.18/ (1) Perfect description. (2) I'm *so* glad Trea Turner is out of my division #LGM
56.19/ Thread that combines lessons about leadership, Torah, and public health. Also about why self-defined religious people can be the most stubborn about sacrificing for the greater good.

56.20/ This thread is just filled with win. Re: Batman alternative future.

(It also relates to my assertion that the difference between supervillains and superheroes can just be about mood.)

56.21/ A new tool I used for the first time today when writing the thread in 56.19 is @wordhippo and I highly recommend it. It's a dictionary, thesaurus, antonym-aurus, rhyming dictionary, and more. Scrabble & crossword app, too. Thanks, pachydermate!

56.22/ From #MetsTwitter last night, even if you don't correspond the lineup with actual people, it's so accurate.

& this response is even better IMO. #LGM
56.23/ Ah yes, Twitter changed font and inverted the follow-unfollow colors. It's from the Microsoft school of antagonistic updates that make the user hate the product and the leadership team. Guys, some advice: as a company, it's better to be loved than feared. #TwitterFont
56.24/ I feel sad for an adult who has such a zero-sum, toxic, understanding of the parent-child relationship. "Tethered"? Is that how you understand love? Multi-generational families are healthier, stronger, & history's norm. And these are two of the more moral 'conservatives.' Image
56.25/ I'm conflict averse as a matter of survival training (Diaspora Hebrew with kids) but when I read this thread my reflexes for righteous indignation triggered into battle mode. Note, those fights are what've cost me the most. But that's also LIVING.
56.26/ This was an excellent piece vis-a-vis the social-psychology of victims of con-men (which includes cults, a communal con-game). I'm an easy mark, as it were, for Erving Goffman and well-sourced social science in popular magazines.
56.27/ XKCD nailing it again, re: a fallacy experts fall into about familiarity with their interests. Applies to every subject, not just academia. E.g. politics, foreign policy, etc.

56.28/ Good thread about some of the structural forces for why the media/reporters will unquestioningly recycle government PR, even from consistently unreliable sources like PDs.
56.29/ For Parshat #Shofetim, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt'l's essay "The Human and Social Factor in Halakha" (Tradition, 36:1, 2002, pp1-25). Link via @AlHaTorah

56.30/ This is making the rounds, an op-ed in the NYT from 1984 in favor of drunk driving. Just in case you think the 'hot-take' nihilism is new to the internet era.

56.31/ OK this is really fun.

Just last night, I started showing my oldest this Simpsons episode. It's destiny!
56.32/ Solid thread about why the Jewish community has a high vaccination rate (side note: thank God for this Kiddush Hashem). I also wrote about this in my dissertation about "Jewish Medical Culture" (see link in my bio)

56.33/ This looks like a fascinating study about the lived experience of Jews of Color (JOC). I look forward to learning from it. (h/t @lilririah)

56.33b/ As @lilririah says, the results shouldn't be surprising. Yet, IMO, some of the best SOC studies are those that actually confirm conventional wisdom. One purpose of science is to help contextualize our observations to see if they are representative.
56.34/ Next year, 5782, is a shemittah year so I want to remind everyone to distribute your Maaser-Ani to the poor before it's too late. It's a system, all parts need to work together for it to make sense.


56.35a/ Why do antivaxers run to the hospital when they inevitably sicken, maim & kill themselves & a bunch of others? #Literalism. The virus is invisible, the syringe is visible, so anti-vax. 105F fever e.g. is visible, but until then it wasn't so they cannot conceptualize it.
56.35b/ I've been banging the drum about the #Literalist mentality for years because I think it's the root of many of these baffling behaviors. E.g. It's being pro-technology (visible) but anti-science.

Oh, and most are cruel, selfish egotists as well.
56.36/ My mother, Prof. @CypessSM, will be speaking imminently at the Mexican Cultural Institute about La Malinche. Good luck Doctor Mom! ¡Buena suerte!

56.37/ OK, I had no idea that this lyric was a Dune reference. In my defense, it's a weird song (but great video!). Similarly, I had no idea that "They Might Be Giants" was a Don Quixote reference (the band is named for a 1971 movie).

56.38/ When I would accuse gun-nuts of actually enjoying school massacres, I was told I was exaggerating. But the same people are COVID-deniers, and that's proof enough. Anyway, I highly rec. subscribing to Stoehr's site for a whole team of good writers.
56.39/ This thread is all true, re: why chronical ill people - who have real reason to distrust the medical establishment, also ran to get the vaccine.
56.40/ Is there a phrase for when you try to click on a link but then the page reloads at that instant making you click on some random - often painfully tortuous - location? Sorry, let me rephrase, is there an ancient curse I can invoke to punish the designer of these pages?
56.41/ This is a good thread that describes the fascist mentality and why people who I knew to be normal seemed to flip a switch and become sinister and bonkers. I especially appreciate this point:

56.42/ Whoa, this is the time of year when candle lighting drops precipitously week to week. It's nine minutes earlier than last Shabbos. Yipe. Gotta get cracking.
56.43/ Wrapping this up, Shabbos in nigh. Please stay safe everyone. Elul is time of trepidation and introspection. And in 2021 that means vaccination and masks.

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More from @JoshuaCypess

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...
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,...
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
13 Sep
1/ A thread to catalog my stray comments about the NFL yesterday (as part of my academic 'obsessive archiving' heritage).

Overall, the #Steelers had an amazing road win over Buffalo mainly because of a stifling defense, which is fun in retrospect but during the game is stressful
2/ The comment below is actually from my sports-watching partner, my sportsman son, who is wise & savvy beyond his years.

Melvin "Boy Named Sue?" Ingram draws a holding penalty instead of getting a de jure sack but de facto it is one.
3/ BAL & NE are experts in bad-faith rulebook exploitation. Examples abound (see CBS link). 2 most common: the "Flacco Ball" (badly thrown deep pass designed purely to draw DPI) & having the OL hold on every play to DDOS the refs.
Read 11 tweets
12 Sep
61.01/ Week sixty-one, Sept. 11-17, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 60 below
61.02/ I am a fan of the professional sport of American Football and, as a child of Pittsburgh, a particular avid supporter of the #Steelers. I apologize ahead of time for some intemperate comments that may be made during the season which could be non-sequitur for non-NFLers.
61.03/ From last night at the #Mets-Yankees game, a scandal that Fox's cameras lingered on that hateful flag. Ironically it symbolizes the way 9-11 was perverted by corrupt bad-actors from day one.

Read 28 tweets
10 Sep
1/ One of these days I'll learn how to read alt-text in my standard browsing experience on Twitter. One reason why: when I alt an image on my feed I will try to describe the picture but add extra commentary (1000 char>280).

For example, on the gif below:
2/ This is part 1:
Absolutely no idea what the original source of this gif is. I was searching for variations of "smackdown" or "beatdown." This is of a toddler wearing a yellow jumpsuit - satirizing Uma Thurman's suit in "Kill Bill" I assume - fighting a stuffed animal monster.
3/ Part 2 (but all within the original tweet pic):

The toddler displays kung-fu moves and poses and ends the fight by ripping open the stuffing of the violent antagonist and ripping out what I assume is to represent its heart (a pile of fluff)
Read 5 tweets

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