What would ushering in the holiday season be without The Dropkick Murphys?
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Department Of Halloween Highlights
Dateline: Tuesday eve, 8 pm ish. I hadn’t been in the mood for trick or treaters, for mostly logistical reasons,  and MH did most of the doorbell-answering/treat-dispensing duties. Then, when I did take a turn, a lone trick or treater made my evening.
He wore a really cool/handmade dinosaur-ish costume, appeared to be about ten years old, and was delighted when I guessed that he was Godzilla. After he took his candy he thanked me, lingered on the porch for a moment, then, his eyes sparkling at me through his costume’s eye slits, asked, “Can I give you a high-five?”
My heart soared like a hawk.
But wait – there’s more. Today is…can you guess?
( On November 3, 1954 director Ishirō Honda and special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya’s vision for movie monsters changed cinema forever as Godzilla opened in theaters. On November 3, 2023, we join our fellow fans and proud partners in recognizing the indomitable 69-year influence of the King of the Monsters with the biggest Godzilla Day yet.” From Everything You Need To Know To Celebrate Godzilla Day )
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Department Of I Wouldn’t Have Believed It If I’d Seen It With My Own Eyes…
Except that I did see it.
There it was, in my mailbox. The new (to moiself ) Signals gift catalog.
Gifts that inform, enlighten and entertain?
I had trouble with the catalog’s name as preceded by the description of their gifts. Then, my Devious Little Mind ® went to work:
Ah…Signals as in, virtue signaling?
Alas, my DLM worked for naught, for when moiself skimmed through the catalog I found saw no mention of how these gifts are ethically sourced, etc.
The Signals title apparently also does not – cannot, IMO – refer to how the gift recipients will think you’re so cool for selecting presents for them from this catalog. Moiself saw nothing outstanding in that department, nothing different from the five bajillion gift catalogs which’ll clog mailboxes around the country in the next couple of months.
So, neither coolness nor virtue is being signaled by buying any of this catalog’s jumble merchandise, unless you mistakenly think that giving a *you’re an amazing woman* mug to a friend/relative/neighbor/coworker is somehow informing, entertaining, enlightening, rather than what it actually is: an opportunity for them to practice their Present Face. ®
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Department Of Lions…And Sirens And Dudes, Oh My
“So now we’ll have a world series between a couple of 2nd place also-rans that nobody outside of Dallas and Arizona will care about.
I predict record setting low ratings. Happy MLB?”
(Comment from a FB friend, after the Game 7 of the Philadelphia-Arizona National League Championship Series )
Was it only a year ago, when moiself was excited about having the opportunity to attend a MLB playoff game? Apparently, as per these excerpts from my post of 10-21-22:
Early last week daughter Belle messaged me, wondering if she should get a ticket to Game 4 of the Seattle Mariners-Houston Astros American League Division series playoff game. The division playoffs are a best-of-five series; Belle’s company, Schilling Cider, is a Mariners sponsor, and was guaranteed a certain number of tickets to purchase for playoff game 4. Belle checked to see how many tickets her company would be allotted, and found out there would be enough so that she could get one for moiself as well…and would I be interested?
It warmed the cockles of my heart, to hear that Belle was interested in going. How Belle’s grandparents would have liked that, I told her.
Chet and Marion Parnell were longtime baseball fans. They once told me they’d always wanted to go to a playoff game but never had the opportunity. I grew up going to LA Dodgers and Anaheim Angels games, then in the 80s I lost – or rather deliberately misplaced – my interest in the sport. I don’t remember the exact year; it was when there was yet another player/management strike. Free agents had become the thing; it seems like you didn’t know the players anymore (“Wait…he was a Dodger and now he’s a Yankee?”), there was no team loyalty or team identity on either side of the management/players…it used to be you could follow the career of a player, having come up through the farm system….
Then came the latest the player/manager/owner strike. I remembered thinking,
“Hmmm, which group of multi-millionaires do I feel sorry for?”
And that was that.
I became a fair weather fan – one who would watch The Big Games ®, particularly if there’s a team I had an interest in (rooting for California or West Coast teams, and against CHEATERS like the Houston Astros…or just arrogant asshats like the Yankees).
As it turned out, there was no playoff game for Belle and I to attend. While I was stuck on the train (a presidential visit and the usual, non-unusual-for-Portland shenanigans, including some dude who was “laying across the tracks,” delayed the train’s departure for *hours*) after we finally got moving, the Mariners lost the longest 1-0 playoff game in MLB history. 
As I’d mentioned in that year-old post, the lack of any team loyalty/permanence re their player roster was a factor in limiting my interest in baseball, along with the gradual and interminable lengthening of the games. But this year, with a new pitch clock and other rules changes, my *potential* interest perked up a wee bit…until the playoffs. It used to be the Boys of Summer became the Men of October, and now, what with the various divisions and wild card series and league series championships, the World Series won’t be finished until November. Who set this up – Oprah? “You get into a playoff series! And you! Every team gets into a playoff series!”
My tends-to-be-sensible husband was befuddled by the endless playoffs, and voiced his opinion on the matter: After such a long season, there will likely be one team in each league with the best record, and why don’t those two teams play each other in the World Series? Okay, maybe you need at least one playoff series, so the top two teams in each league – never mind which division they are in – face each other, then the winners go to the series. Isn’t a team’s record over the *ONE HUNDRED SIXTY TWO* game season more indicative of talent than the random/bad luck any team might have during a five or seven game series?
Oh, honey, you’re so cute when you’re trying to make something make sense. Sports and rationality…they just don’t mix, silly boy. Moiself gently reminded MH about the enormous amount of $$$ from broadcasting revenues and merchandising, etc., to be made from playoff games.
Once again, I digress.
After I read my friend’s FB comment, here was my response to him:
“My daughter and I were discussing (texting- text cussing?) this last night. I echoed your sentiment, and she replied,
‘Everyone not in the southwest should just refuse to watch the World Series. Make it have the lowest viewership numbers in decades.
We will cyberbully them into submission.
It’s kindergarten tactics – like we’re convincing all the other kids in class not to go to their birthday party.’ “
What I didn’t share with him was the content of Belle’s and my textcussion during the latter innings of the Phillies – Diamondbacks game, during which Belle and moiself traded some important observations about baseball…uh…strategy. Her closing comment had me giggling so loud MH had to ask what was going on:
Moiself (circa inning 5):
Alex Bohm of the Philadelphia Phillies is adorable.
I bet Yeti  would love to snuggle in his hair
Another cute Philly just knocked in the go ahead run.
The Phillies definitely have the most interesting hair. So, they got that.
I haven’t been watching, had to run some errands after work and now I’m cooking dinner.
Is the game over?
No, still on…now sixth inning…now I think Arizona’s leading 3 to 2.
Me and L___ at work came up with a theory about baseball: players will always fall into one of two categories.
(1) Ridiculously handsome, essentially a male siren
(2) “Yeah that’s just a dude.”
I’ve never seen the theory proved wrong yet.
There could be a third category…arguably, it could be a subcategory of the second one: the chunky uncle, who could be wearing a MAGA hat, instead of a baseball hat.
That’s still 2 main categories though!
I think you and L___ need to submit that categorization to major league baseball. They can work it into the rules somehow.
A new stat. They mention which category every player is in, in the commentary.
When he’s at bat, along with his average.
“And coming up to bat is Dan Smith, career 321 hitter, falls into the siren category as well!
Do you think his looks will distract the pitcher?”
I think Belle’s grandparents would have been proud.
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Department Of A Modest Proposal 
Dateline; last Friday. The link for my yoga streaming class never came through, so moiself did an online class instead, the link to which I discovered a couple of years ago. It’s a fun, covers-most-of-the-bases, 60m vinyasa class, it’s become one of my favorites. Except for this one part where the teacher tells her students, after an intense series of postures, that “It’s OK to smile; it’s not that serious.”
Now, the teacher was joking to her class, which included both men and women. But it reminded me of a recent outing where I heard someone else (a man) advising some woman to smile. Yep, we’re almost to 2024, and many dudes still haven’t read the memo.
But if this holiday season is like all the others before it, ’twill not only be men who will be the transgressors in this matter. Here come the requests for family and extended family group photos, and say cheese and hold still and we’ll have to do this again- Uncle Aeneus had his eyes closed…”
This can be annoying for everyone (and particularly for scophphobes such as moiself ). And there’s always the adolescent who just really isn’t in the mood to smile, as everyone turns to look at them with their you’re-ruining-it-for-everyone-else glares….while the tween wonders aloud why people can’t just have their normal face on display for a photo.
And so, my modest proposal for keeping the peace during the holidays (my pipe dream is to extend this year-round):
How about if we all agree, no matter the circumstances, to stop telling other people
what *we* think they should do with *their* faces?
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Department of Employee Of The Month
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
“I’ve been told by professional drug users that if I did the drugs, I would like the Dead. It seems like the most effective PSA against drugs could just play some Dead jams and say, ‘If you do drugs, you will like this kind of music.’ What other deterrent would one need?”
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May your gift-giving inform, enlighten and entertain your giftees;
May you be in charge of your own face during photo shoots;
May you never pass up the opportunity to high-five Godzilla;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Doing some major house remodeling which means our usual spaces are compromised and we’d be running up and down the stairs to answer the doorbell.
 18 innings, 1-0. Sounded to me like a soccer score.
 Belle’s Bengal cat.
 Several years ago, MH received a particularly glowing performance review from his workplace. As happy as I was for him when he shared the news, it left me with a certain melancholy I couldn’t quite peg. Until I did.
One of the many “things” about being a writer (or any occupation working freelance at/from home) is that although you avoid the petty bureaucratic policies, bungling bosses, mean girls’ and boys’ cliques, office politics and other irritations inherent in going to a workplace, you also lack the camaraderie and other social perks that come with being surrounded by your fellow homo sapiens. No one praises me for fixing the paper jam in the copy machine, or thanks me for staying late and helping the new guy with a special project, or otherwise says, Good on you, sister. Once I realized the source of the left-out feelings, I came up with a small way to lighten them.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org