Is this really my last blog post of 2020?
Moiself is torn between Say it ain’t so and Good riddance. 
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Department Of Partridge Of The Week
This week’s Partridge in our pear tree:
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Department of Who Is This “We” Who Were Thinking This?
A recent podcast of Curiosity Daily, “Early Female Hunters Were More Common Than We Thought,” features a story on recent archaeological findings which have changed the assumptions scientists made about hunters of the early Americas. It turns out that female hunters were “…more common than we thought,” yet another discovery indicating that anthropological and archaeological interpretation of the lives and behavior patterns of early peoples have been interpreted through contemporary (read: patriarchal and male dominance) lenses.
Episode summary: anthropologists have long taught that life in hunter-gather societies was fairly unambiguous: the tribe’s strong, brave men hunted the animals and the patient, passive women gathered berries and roots and other necessities. Recent archeological finds showed that the man-equals-hunter hypothesis was off the mark. The archaeological find of a female hunter buried with her hunting accoutrements was “so unexpected” (by male archeologists) that researchers decided to cast a wide net and see if this finding was a “one-off,” or if there might be evidence of other female hunters in graves that had already been excavated and cataloged.
Researchers looked at records of burial sites in North and South American which were more than 7000 years old. A small percentage of those sites were found with artifacts which suggests that the graves/tombs belonged to hunters, and of that group, more than 40% were female. That was a surprise – to the researchers, but not to the “…ton of indigenous communities which already knew this.”
The bigger, or perhaps ultimate story here, IMHO, involves, as the podcast host put it:
“…what counts as knowledge, or *whose* knowledge counts as ‘real’ knowledge? These findings are a big deal to the western scientists and archeologists who have been wrong about this, for centuries. The researchers point to a couple of reasons for this big mistake. One might be that men *seem* to do most of the hunting in contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, which may have led archaeologists to assume that this was always the case. They also point out that many researchers’ interpretations may have been colored by their own preconceived notions about males and females and the division of labor.”
Researchers and scientists have preconceived notions about males and females? Shocking.
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Department Of Little Things I Missed This Year
The big picture of pandemic and worldwide economic upheaval, along with the twin holyshit revelations of how many of our citizens are clueless (and/or in denial) re the realities of science and of our history of systemic racism, is enough to boggle any mind and frost any fanny.
Moiself, of course, wants all of these problems solved – or at the very least, acknowledged. No, mere acknowledgement won’t do. I want it all fixed. And more.
On a personal scale, I look forward to regaining some simple pleasures.
I want to be able to hug people. I want to laugh uproariously (not from more than 6 feet apart, or behind a mask, or via a computer monitor) at someone’s outrageously great (or stupendously lame) joke, while nudging their arm in appreciation.
I want to watch a movie in a theatre, and turn to the side (or glance behind me) to catch the eyes of fellow movie-goers, strangers in the dark, laughing and gasping together, united briefly by our mutual, “Can you believe that ?!?!?” reactions to what we have just seen onscreen.
I’d like to greet fellow hikers on a trail without crawling up the hillside to give them enough space to safely pass by.
In February I bought some nice clothes.  I’d like to have somewhere and/or some occasion – other than a funeral – to wear them.
Considering what so many people have had to deal with during this dumpster fire of a year, these are small grievances, I realize.
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Department Of Mascot For The Year
Which one gets your vote? 
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Department Of Things I Am Thankful For:
Friends Like SDH, Who Persist
This past year, and particularly before/during/after the election, my offspring and moiself had some interesting IM discussions triggered by all of us having come across certain social media postings. These postings led my offspring to voice their despair when they saw friends and relatives falling down the rabbit holes – i.e., either personally expressing conspiratorial/anti-science sentiments or posting links which indicated they agreed with such views.
“Leave them alone/they aren’t really listening anyway/nothing you can say will be helpful/don’t get dragged down to that level by even engaging….”
I know these and other arguments for maintain a modicum of sanity: DO NOT RESPOND.
I also know that if everyone else refuses to engage with such people re such matters, then the only voices they will hear are of those fellow inhabitants of the rabbit holes. And I also also *also* know personally, and have read about, other folks who have escaped from rabbit-hole viewpoints. These escapees attribute their being able to attain emotional and intellectual freedom to the patient, persistent, rational voices of a friend or family member – voices they discounted or even mocked at the time, yet which kept returning to them, and eventually got them to thinking,
“Wait a minute, how do I *really* know what I think I know?”
“Why am I trusting those sources, and not these?”
“Who benefits from me believing what I believe,
and who stands to lose – and lose what? – If I change my mind?”
I have pretty much given up on people who think doctors and researchers and scientists are lying to them but somehow find trustworthy the bullying rhetoric of a documented, serial liar/reality TV show host. Meanwhile, those who study human behavior tell us it’s rare for someone to change a deeply held opinion. That’s probably spot-on; still, I struggle with my responsibilities as a Good Citizen ® to countermand the crap that’s out there, particularly because moiself has changed my mind on many issues over the years. These changes were due to moiself encountering new or obtaining additional information on the issues at hand – and never, to my recollection, because someone insulted me or told me that my opinions were crap.
People rarely change their minds because someone calls them stupid or ignorant. A calm, persistent interest in their opinions, a respectful questioning of how their opinions were formed and where they get their “facts,” seems to be the only thing that “works,” even if the odds seem to be against that (or any) approach.
Thus, here’s to those who persist, despite the odds.
Over the years I have watched many such tenacious souls in action, both in person and via the one social media site I frequent. SDH in particular, whom I have known since junior high school journalism days, is quite amazing. He is a long-time professional journalist, and the investigative, analytical, and *people* skills he has honed over the years have served him, his profession, and our society,  quite well.
It’s not that SDH calls people out on their bullshit, it’s that, like the savvy reporter he is, he hangs in there. He will not be misdirected; he patiently and persistently asks questions (Where did you get that? What are your sources?) while deftly deflecting ad hominem attacks. He responds with facts, facts, and more facts – always trying to bring the argument back to reality.
I haven’t the stomach for it; I “lurk” on the sidelines, reading with awe as SDH takes on cretinous blathering face-palming misinformation spewing, often from friends/acquaintances/family – people he has known for decades.  I admire this quality of SDH’s more than I can say, but since I’m a lousy artist (stick figures dancing in exultation is likely the best tribute I could draw), the “saying” will have to do.
And in the “saying,” I’m going to out him. It is my policy in this blog to initialize or alias-ize the names of non-public people, but as a journalist, with decades of bylines, SDH is already out there…. Besides, I want him to bask in his well-deserved glory:
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Pun For The Day
Not to brag, but I already have a date for New Year’s Eve.
It’s December 31st.
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Department Of Whatever You Celebrate
Happy Boxing Day!
Happy New Year’s….! 
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May you not need an archaeological find to make you examine your preconceived notions;
May 2021 bring a return to your favorite, simple pleasures;
May we all persist, despite the odds;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 The latter sentiment would refer to 2020, not my blog.
 Perspective check: “nice” as in relative to moiself’s wardrobe. In other words, not tee-shirts or tie-dye.
 Absentee ballots, vote by mail – we’ll count them all!
 Really – I do think it is *that*mportant.
 And thus, there is an inherent, personal risk for him in doing so, in breaching such relationships.
 There should be no less than six footnotes per post, don’t you agree?