What would ushering in the holiday season be without The Dropkick Murphys?
Speaking of holidays, since 2008 I’ve kept track of how many greedy candy mongers trick-or-treaters have graced our porch. The numbers range from a low of 25  to a high of 63, with an average of 45. This year we had 26.
Only twenty-six? MH and I were speculating about the downswing (last year’s count was 60). Combination of a school night and the (at times heavy) rain? It couldn’t be the latter…oh, c’mon, kids (and parents), this is Oregon.
Last year we gave out full-sized  candy bars. This year (before moiself knew what would be the lame turnout) I wanted to do something different. I walked up and down supermarket aisles, looking for inspiration. And found plenty.
Here are the things I wanted to give out to trick or treaters: Small jars/cans of pimentos or black olives or cornichons or sweet corn or Liquid Smoke or soy sauce or…Beanee Weenees! Of course, if word got out that we were distributing the latter, the kiddies would leave skidmarks from our neighbors’ porches to our own.
Here are the things we *did* give out to trick or treaters:
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Department Of The Perspective That Could Save Us 
From the podcast Unexplainable, The Gray Area: “On the first episode of Vox’s new podcast, The Gray Area, host Sean Illing talks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about the limits of both politics and science.” What caught my attention was NDT’s assertion that taking a “cosmic perspective” is the most rational and helpful– and arguably the only– thing that can solve our myriad of social, political and environmental challenges. This is an excerpt from their discussion:
What’s the most intelligent species there ever was on earth?
Oh…you’re setting me up. Um, since you’re asking me, it can’t be people…
No, it *is* people; it’s not a trick question. So now I ask, who declared that humans are the smartest animals there ever were? Humans did.
Whereas a cosmic perspective would say, imagine a lifeform smarter than we are: Is there anything we have done in the history of civilization that (this smarter-than-us lifeform) would judge to be clever?
This was a great 1980s, one-woman play (written by Jane Wagner and starring Lily Tomlin), which was being revived in early 2022, starring Cecily Strong.
It’s a simple thought experiment, when we compare ourselves to chimpanzees, our closest genetic relative. We have 98, 99% identical DNA to a chimp. Now, if you’re really into homo sapiens you say, What a difference that 2% makes! We have philosophy and the Hubble telescope and art and civilization! And all the chimp can do is maybe extract termites from a mound, and the smartest of them will stack boxes to reach hanging bananas from the ceiling.
But I pose you the question: suppose the intelligence difference between chimps and humans was actually as small as that 2% might indicate. What would we look like to some other species that’s 2% beyond us in intelligence – just the 2% that we are beyond the chimps?
Continue on that line. The smartest chimps can do what our toddlers can do. By that analogy, the smartest humans would do what the toddlers of this species can do.
Putting all that in context, all I’m saying is that for you to say we’re pretty clever… another species 2% beyond us, there’s nothing we could do that would impress them.
So, that species visiting earth on the rumor that intelligent life had surfaced, after seeing our rampant irrationalities – the wars we fight against our own species, because you live on a different line in the sand, because resources are unequally distributed on the land and in the ocean, because you worship a different god, because you sleep with different people – and we slaughter each other and enslave people…. Those aliens will run home and say, “There is no sign of intelligent life on earth.”
It’s a cosmic perspective, offered for your consideration.
This …is (your) central plea…that we take a more cosmic perspective on things…
…on everything, and achieve some clarity about what really matters and what doesn’t, and how stupid so many of the things that we *think* are important really are…
I wouldn’t say stupid so much as just kind of irrelevant. You think it’s important and it’s actually not. That’s a more significant value of a cosmic perspective: it forces you to rebalance your portfolios of concerns in the world.
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Department Of A Cosmic Perspective Is Definitely Needed Here
The LA Times is one of four (online) newspapers moiself subscribes to, and I’ve been watching (as in, reading about) the following scandal unfold for…yikes, is it weeks, now? The machinations of local/Los Angeles politics may be way off most people’s current events radar; however, even those with no interest in such, even those with their heads under the proverbial rock when it comes to west coast politics, by now have likely heard of the LA City Council recording scandal.
The scandal in a nutshell:  An anonymously leaked recording of a private conversation among LA City Council members and a labor leader making racist and classist remarks and political scheming regarding redistricting has prompted a state investigation, and led to the resignation of the LA City Council president and said labor leader.
“Behind closed doors, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez made openly racist remarks, derided some of her council colleagues and spoke in unusually crass terms about how the city should be carved up politically….
Martinez and the other Latino leaders present during the taped conversation were seemingly unaware they were being recorded as Martinez said a councilmember handled his young Black son as though he were an “accessory” and described the boy as “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey.”…
Martinez also mocked Oaxacans, and said “F— that guy … He’s with the Blacks” while speaking about Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón.
( “Racist remarks in leaked audio of L.A. council members spark outrage, disgust,”
LA Times 10-9-22)
Moiself listened to excerpts of the recorded audio tape…as much as I could stand, before switching to reading the key moments of the transcripts.  In private conversations among three council members and an LA Labor leader – all Latino and all Democrats – Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo scheme with LA county labor dude Ron Herrera re redistricting plans; Martinez disparages Oaxacans as “little short dark people” and “so ugly” and refers to a (white, gay) councilmember’s Black son as a monkey who, in her opinion, needs a “beatdown.” Re LA County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, Martinez said, “Fuck that guy. … He’s with the Blacks.” None of the others present and participating in the conversation disputed or called out Martinezon her remarks – which also included crass and bigoted comments about Jews, Armenians, and other groups….
I felt a little bit left out at some point. Martinez insulted just about everyone but middle aged white ex-Californians who moved to Oregon.
When reading about the scandal, I was reminded so much about what I think is a fact being overlooked here. Nury Martinez was caught acting out one of our collective human traits on steroids: she was revealing her tribalism.
Picture from 4-2-12 Newsweek article by biologist E.O. Wilson,
“Why Humans, Like Ants, Need a Tribe.
We home sapiens are a tribal species. It’s too bad that the whole concept of race has entered human consciousness, as we are not different “races,” whatever that means. We are not racial – that term is a misnomer invented by European naturalists and anthropologists in the early 18th century. 
“More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. He spoke out against the idea of ‘white’ and ‘black’ as discrete groups, claiming that these distinctions ignored the scope of human diversity.
Science would favor Du Bois. Today, the mainstream belief among scientists is that race is a social construct without biological meaning.”
( Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue,” Scientific American 2-5-16)
“(The tape’s) comments about Black and Indigenous people displayed a prejudice against darker skin that, while not ubiquitous, still runs deep in the community and is rooted in the colonial eras of Mexico and Central America.
‘This is not just four bad apples,’ said Alejandra Valles, chief of staff of SEIU United Service Workers West.
‘We have to use this opportunity as reflection and honesty about the anti-Blackness, the anti-Indigenous colorism and racism in the Latino community. Because that’s happening.’ ”
(“ L.A. Latinos grapple with familiar colorism against Black and Indigenous people in racist tape,” Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, 10-17-22)
Interesting, to me, that comment about the bad apples. Because that’s it – that’s the dang the thing about “race.” We are all from the same apple tree, and yet we pick at each other.
Race. It’s an unfortunate entry in our Lexicon of Life. We are not racial, but we are definitely tribal at our core…maybe I’m just quibbling re semantics. However we define “we,” we spend our lives scrambling like roaches across the floors of an old San Francisco apartment kitchen, trying to make sure we get (what we perceive to be) our share but wanting to hide our maneuverings when the light comes on.
We have obsessive concerns, so majorly illuminated in the LA Council tapes, of alliances between our various tribes and the tribes within the tribes – woe to anyone naive enough to think that, for example, all White or Latino or Black politicians are a monolithic bloc. Read the transcripts; listen to the tape and hear the concern over alliances, over who is from where. Listen as the entrenched Mexican-American politician spews (and thus reveals) the colorism of her ancestral roots as she derides the “short ugly” Oaxacans (who are so irritating as to also want political power  ) and that DA who, although he has a Hispanic surname, “Fuck him, he’s with the Blacks.”
Who is in power; who wants power; who can we trust to share the power? Who is one of us; who could be one of us, but “us” doesn’t really want “them” included.
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Department Of This Needs Repeating
The cosmic perspective flows from fundamental knowledge. But it’s more than just what you know. It’s also about having the wisdom and insight to apply that knowledge to assessing our place in the universe. And its attributes are clear:
* The cosmic perspective comes from the frontiers of science, yet it’s not solely the province of the scientist. The cosmic perspective belongs to everyone.
* The cosmic perspective is humble.
* The cosmic perspective is spiritual—even redemptive—but not religious.
* The cosmic perspective enables us to grasp, in the same thought, the large and the small.
* The cosmic perspective opens our minds to extraordinary ideas but does not leave them so open that our brains spill out, making us susceptible to believing anything we’re told.
* The cosmic perspective opens our eyes to the universe, not as a benevolent cradle designed to nurture life but as a cold, lonely, hazardous place.
* The cosmic perspective shows Earth to be a mote, but a precious mote and, for the moment, the only home we have.
* The cosmic perspective finds beauty in the images of planets, moons, stars, and nebulae but also celebrates the laws of physics that shape them.
* The cosmic perspective enables us to see beyond our circumstances, allowing us to transcend the primal search for food, shelter, and sex.
* The cosmic perspective reminds us that in space, where there is no air, a flag will not wave—an indication that perhaps flag waving and space exploration do not mix.
* The cosmic perspective not only embraces our genetic kinship with all life on Earth but also values our chemical kinship with any yet-to-be discovered life in the universe, as well as our atomic kinship with the universe itself.
(“The Cosmic Perspective” By Neil deGrasse Tyson
Natural History Magazine, April 2007, The 100th essay in the “Universe” series.)
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Department Of Regarding Next Week’s Elections,
This, Unfortunately, Says It All 
“Liz Cheney and I are not brave. We are just surrounded by cowards.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger ( R ) Illinois
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Punz For The Day
Political Tribes Edition
I don’t approve of political jokes; I’ve seen too many of them get elected.
Republicans should build their border walls with Hillary’s emails
because nobody can get over them.
I knew Communism was doomed from the beginning – too many red flags.
What’s the difference between Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green and a flying pig?
The letter F.
What do you call a Russian procrastinator?
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May a cosmic perspective help you to rebalance your portfolios of concerns in the world;
May you be cognizant of your own tribalisms;
May you value your atomic kinship with the universe itself;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Did not do in 2020. Hmm, I wonder what was happening then?
 Not the “fun” size featured in most stores, as Halloween staples. For kids, since when does fun = smaller?
 An appropriate container…if nuts were the size of 747s.
 As of this writing I think investigators still have no idea who did the recording, and who “released” it.
 Marked by the publication of the book Systema naturae in 1735, in which the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus proposed a classification of humankind into four distinct races. (“Race and History: Comments from an Epistemological Point of View” National Library of Medicine, )
 Indigenous Oaxacans expressed frustration and anger at Martinez’s comments referring to them as “little short dark people” — a racist stereotype often used to demean Indigenous communities. “I was like, I don’t know where these people are from, I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here,” Martinez said, before adding “Tan feos” — “They’re ugly.” (“For Oaxacans in L.A., City Council members’ racist remarks cut deep,” LA Times, 10-11-22)
 And I hope, after next week’s election results, we won’t still be saying it.