Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem, a great episode from PBS’s Nature series on this ingenious little Other. In the words of a stupidly popular youtube video, “Honey Badger is badass.”
"What happened to the Neanderthals? From a combination of old and new evidence, it appears that at last we have a satisfactory answer to the age-old question of ‘What Happened to the Neanderthals?’. If the current reasoning is correct, their descendants are still with us, and we call them the Basques."
"In prehistoric times, the elevated Palos Verdes area was covered with grass on the south facing slopes, with a park landscape on the north facing canyons cutting through the high peninsula. The original cover was sage, with some chaparral including scrub oak, chamise, and sumac. The interior portion of the Los Angeles Basin contained gallery forests with willow, sycamore, and poplar. Marshy vegetation was also found along the streams and marsh fringes. Directly below the site to the east was an estuary with a vast expanse of marsh bordering inland areas of willow thickets and a park land with oaks and grasses."
—In Dr. E Gary Stickel, “Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Areas Prehistory and Early History” (1978)
The stoney, equanimous music of “Watch the Lights Fade” (1939) by a true poet of place, Robinson Jeffers.
"Today a vast cityscape covers former Gabrielino land. Most Angelenos have no accurate view of what the original landscape was like and probably picture it as largely lowland plains with only scattered trees and shrubs. The environmental impacts of the American ranching era produced such a landscape. One early traveler to Los Angeles described the ‘thousands of ground squirrels’ on the plains between San Pedro and Los Angeles: ‘…It looked as though I had landed on another planet.’ But this original landscape was destroyed to create cattle ranches. Prior to the arrival of the ranchers, the land, except for clusters of hills, was forested. Impenetrable thickets were interspersed with pools and swamps that the Spanish called cienegas. For instance, Beverly Hills and most of the area to Santa Monica Bay was one vast swamp. Grizzly bears and other abundant game flourished in the jungles of sycamores, willows, alders, bramble bushes, and wild grape vines. Similar denudation has greatly changed the species of plants and animals on Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands, the Gabrielino’s main islands."
—Dr. E. Gary Stickel, “Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Areas Prehistory and Early History” (1978)
Orson Welles’ true masterpiece, “The Chimes at Midnight” (1965).
Speaking of Sons of Coyotes, behold the bard’s greatest personage: fat, errant knight Sir John Falstaff, play incarnate like his animal antecedent. And Shakespeare lavished and abused fat Jack the way mythtellers lavished and abused Coyote.
Whether outwitted by Rabbit, Roadrunner, Beetle, or scorned by moralists like Wildcat or Ground Squirrel, Coyote is the catalyst. They, like Prince Hal, are ever ready to point out Coyote’s inconsistences. But of course the trickster isn’t infallible; he exhibits his “flaws”—gluttony, lethargy, promiscuity—unselfconsciously, and so they can never really hurt him. He is, as Gestalt therapists describe the integrated personality, less desirable but more likeable.
He is not all-seeing but all-embracing (Amor Fati); not all-knowing but all-improvising. Being the latter, he doesnt have to be the former. If procrastination is the psychosomatic early warning against entrapment, Coyote is energetically doing nothing, chasing windmills (making the Man from La Mancha another descendant). There is rarely an instant when Coyote isn’t doing what he pleases. He is antifragile, metabolizing his errors and shocks—like Falstaff, like life itself.*
Coyote is the one character perhaps too big for the world to contain. Harold Bloom says the same of Falstaff: he is the one character that got away from Shakespeare. That is their purpose.*antifragile, but not invincible. Coyote frequently dies, if only to be resurrected, and Falstaff himself dies from a broken heart.
"The everyday physical activities of an isolated group of forager-farmers in central Bolivia are providing valuable information about how industrialization and its associated modern amenities may impact health and wellness."
"Among foraging people, living as our ancestors most likely did (that is, those hunter-gatherers who did not rely on boats or horses), daughters are about as likely to stay near kin when they first marry than they are to leave. Anthropologists Kim Hill and Magdalena Hurtado report that of twenty-one young foraging women among the Ache women of Paraguay, sixteen continued to hang their hammocks within an easy holler of their parents—at least for her first marriage (the average number of marriages in this society is ten). This means that a young woman pregnant for the first time enjoys the support of kin at a time that will prove critical for her continued survival as well as for her lifetime reproductive success. Furthermore, if the marriage does not work out, as is common, parents are on hand to support her.”
—Hrdy, “Mother Nature”