1

Can We Smoke the Chronic?

Thanks for making this a memorable book release week. I’ll be doing a Zoom at 5pm PST with Peter Coyote and Phil Bronstein. We'll be live right here.

Chronic pain. While many will wince at those words, others will roll their eyes, not understanding the relentless hammering of unending and often unexplainable pain; and doctors will sometimes just want sufferers out of their office, because no one likes a puzzle they can't solve. But science is finally starting to get some clues and they point to a set of nervous system cells called glia. David Dobbs in the NYT (Gift Article): The Quiet Scientific Revolution That May Solve Chronic Pain. "If you're hearing this for the first time and you're one of the billion-plus people on Earth who suffer from chronic pain (meaning pain lasting beyond three to six months that has no apparent cause or has become independent of the injury or illness that caused it), you might be tempted to say that your glia are botching their pain-management job. And you'd be right. For in chronic pain, researchers now believe, glia drive a healthy pain network into a dysregulated state, sending false and destructive pain signals that never end. Pain then becomes not a warning of harm, but a source of it; not a symptom, but, as Stanford pain researcher Elliot Krane puts it, 'its own disease.'" The pain cycle is real. It's not "in your mind." And we're might find it.

2

Welcome Back, Otter

There will be a lot of blame to go around when the remarkably long Cop26 conference comes to a completion and inevitably falls short of setting aggressive enough goals. But don't blame otters. They've been kicking climate and taking names all along. The Furriest, Cleverest, and Hands-Down Cutest Way to Fight Climate Change.

+ $350 million of Biden's Invest in America Act isn't for people. It's for wildlife that needs help crossing the road. Animals need infrastructure, too.

3

Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Yes, it's true that the reviews for the return of Dexter haven't been that great. But these days I'm nostalgic for anything pre-insurrection, even a rusty serial killer coming out of retirement to the chagrin of his ghost sister.

+ What to Stream: Tom Petty was a hit machine. In this new, free doc on YouTube, we get a glimpse into the creative process as he recorded Wildflowers. Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free.

4

Rue the Deja Vu

"It's deja vu, yet again. The pandemic first hit Europe in March 2020, and Americans were in denial, thinking it wouldn't happen here. Then, later in the year, the Alpha variant wave took hold in the United Kingdom and the United States was unprepared. This recurred with Delta in the summer of 2021. Now, in the fall of 2021, Europe is the outlier continent on the rise with Covid." Covid cases are surging in Europe. And when it comes to Covid, where Europe leads, America has followed.

5

Toy Story

Inc: The Incredible Tale of the Greatest Toy Man You've Never Known. "For more than 40 years, Kahn has been one of the world's great toy impresarios--founding and losing empires, making and losing fortunes. You surely do not know his name, but you likely owe part of your childhood happiness to him." (This is why I had an unhappy childhood. I don't like owing anything to anybody.)

6

Reading the NFT Leaves

"At these events, hedge fund managers mingled with start-up wunderkinds making six figures. One thing they had in common: they love trading in pictures of apes and ducks." At a Four-Day NFT Conference in New York, Start-Up Wunderkinds and Art-World Elite Mingle. It's pretty funny that a digital art event needs to be held in person.

7

Contempt Fate

"Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is facing a criminal referral to the justice department for contempt of Congress after he failed to appear for an immediate deposition on Friday morning before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack." Lucky for Meadows, when it comes to Jan 6, laws no longer seem to apply.

8

Narciss R Us

"Collective narcissism is not simply tribalism. Humans are inherently tribal, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Having a healthy social identity can have an immensely positive impact on well-being. Collective narcissists, though, are often more focused on out-group prejudice than in-group loyalty. In its most extreme form, group narcissism can fuel political radicalism and potentially even violence." The Atlantic: What Collective Narcissism Does to Society. (I'd never share my narcissism because no one does it better than I do.)

9

Pinch Me, I Hope I’m Dreaming

I figured we'd wait until the end of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial to take a look at the complete experience. But here's a quick look at how the sausage is made (pinched, zoomed, and flabbergasted). There have also been tears.

10

Feel Good Friday

"I remember we were coming home from one of his doctor appointments and he said, 'Mom, I thought about it, and I really want to feed the homeless,' Abraham's mom, Miriam Olagbegi, told CBS News. 'I said, 'Are you sure Abraham? You could do a lot ... You sure you don't want a PlayStation?'" 13-year-old boy granted a Make-A-Wish uses it to feed the homeless every month for a year.

+ "It was supposed to be a simple student council service project. But when 12-year-old Caleb Konopka learned the eight blankets he'd crafted for a donation to Primary Children's Hospital wasn't nearly what was needed, he grew even more determined to meet the demand."

+ China and the US announce plan to work together on cutting emissions.

+ Steelers' Najee Harris Helps Renovate Homeless Shelter Where His Family Once Lived.

+ Teddy bear lost in Glacier park returned to 6-year-old girl.