Wednesday, November 30th, 2022


Would I Lie To You?

Billy Joel famously explained, Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. But some people are more untrue than others, which brings us to the unusual case of Christopher Massimine, who lies and lies and lies. Some of his lies are big. Most are small. Many are pointless. "He told friends he had ascended Mount Everest from Tibet (he was actually in a hotel room in Cambodia) and attended Burning Man (on closer examination, his photographs proved to have been taken in Queens). He told journalists he was born in Italy. (New Jersey.) He told school friends his birthday was in September. (May.) He told his wife he was having an affair with Kourtney Kardashian. (Not true.)" Is it a bad habit or a mental illness? That depends on what you want to believe. NYT (Gift Article): Can This Man Stop Lying? (I swear, this story is not set in Mar-a-Lago...)

+ If you missed it yesterday, I had a few quick thoughts on the mainstreaming of antisemitism. Don't Look Away.


Friend Request

"It's a moral injury. It's trauma from witnessing something that goes against our values." So said Travis Peterson, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant. In this short, moving video from the NYT (Gift Article), Peterson and others talk about their obsession with helping their Afghan allies who were left behind when America pulled out. It's a job they all say they shouldn't have to do. The Text Messages from Desperate Afghans Left Behind: 'Show
This to the People of America


Life Goals

For many Americans, soccer is a sport that only comes to mind during World Cups and Ted Lasso episodes. But in other parts of the world, "Football is life." After the stressful, fun, crazy win by the US over Iran, more of us are starting to relate. Rosecrans Baldwin was introduced to broader meaning of the beautiful game by a friend. GQ: Life, Death, and Total Football. "Holland has a unique place in soccer history. In the late 1960s and '70s, the country developed perhaps the most radical brand of football ever played. It was intensely cerebral. It was unconsciously artistic. You read about fans achieving a kind of orgasmic death-rebirth, high on football, just by watching the system work. It was called 'total football' and it imbued the Dutch with an outsider identity. A version of it infused Lars's life at an early age. And what he taught me about it, years later, helped me grasp soccer much better. Moreso, three years after his passing, I can honestly say it helps me understand my work better, my relationships better, even death. Maybe call it 'total life' instead."

+ Here's a touching postgame moment that tells the story of what was, for personal, athletic, and political reasons, a remarkably emotional game. Meanwhile, "a man is reported to have been killed by security forces in northern Iran, as anti-government protesters publicly celebrated the national football team's elimination from the World Cup."

+ The protests in Qatar have been muted, which makes the small gestures all the more loud. England and Wales players take a knee in World Cup match.


Space Jam

"To faithfully re-create low-gravity workouts, we would need to run straight up a wall, like the cartoon Roadrunner, and weight train in bed." According to experts, long hours of sitting are not dissimilar, physiologically, to floating in space. That explains why some people think the astronaut workout is out of this world. WaPo (Gift Article): To counter the effect of sitting too much, try the astronaut workout. (This sort of takes the fun out of getting high.)


Extra, Extra

All Rhodes Lead to Rome: "Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn President Joe Biden's election." A good step. Keep moving up the chain. And from BBC, a personal side of this story. Stewart Rhodes' son: ‘How I escaped my father's militia.' "Dakota grew up 'absolutely believing' in his father's view of the world - what he described as a 'vision of a shadowy, malicious communist conspiracy seeking to institute a New World Order… aiming to seize total power and institute a one world government that would intentionally sow chaos.' It took until his teenage years for his faith in the coming government-backed apocalypse to be shaken, and until his early adulthood to finally escape."

+ Ring Masters: "The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court's 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide." WaPo: How a bipartisan group of senators got same-sex marriage protections passed.

+ Team Hakeem: While Kevin McCarthy is still rounding of the votes for his speakership, Dems united behind Hakeem Jeffries who was just "elected to be the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress."

+ Memorable Moment: We need more studies. We don't know enough about side-effects and longterm safety. But there's been a breakthrough in an area where we've been desperate for one. Alzheimer's drug lecanemab hailed as momentous breakthrough.

+ Mall-E: After raucous meeting, San Francisco approves plan for lethal police robots.

+ Ad Nausea: "When you search for a product on Amazon, you may not realize that most of what you see at first is advertising." It's not always clearly marked. And there's a lot of it. In WaPo (Gift Article), Geoffrey A. Fowler provides an illustrated guide. It's not your imagination: Shopping on Amazon has gotten worse. It's enough to give you ad a.d.d.


Bottom of the News

"Every music fan has their own personal dream festival, but most would never be able to see every one of their favorite bands in the big (then medium-sized, then tiny) fonts on a flyer. But thanks to 20-year-old University of Southern California computer science student Anshay Saboo, you can make make those festival dreams a reality — on the internet at least." Go ahead and give it shot!

+ In an unexpected twist, Pretzels are having a moment.

+ 'Pong' is now half a century old. Oddly, my game still needs work.