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Friday, January 16, 2015

20 questions.

No, the moon is NOT a planet, nor a star. And you may THINK you just saw an ankylosaurus, but they died out 65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous. Don't you know anything?

Christ on a bike, what the hell am I, anyway, a grade school teacher? How is it that people (and robots ... and sentient oversized vegetables) can reach adulthood without knowing all this stuff? We may live in a very sheltered environment here in the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill (and I use the word "sheltered" very, very loosely here), but some light does peek in through the crack in the wall, and a bit of the real world does seep into our isolation. Once in a while. Happened last year, as a matter of fact.

You know what it's like when it's the dead of winter and you spend a stretch of days indoors - nothing but you, your personal robot assistant, and a man-sized tuber. Idle minds run in neutral. Ends up being a long game of 20 questions, for chrissake. But you have to keep the kids entertained, right? Otherwise, they start busting the place up. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) might try his hand at plumbing. That's all anybody needs. (If that happened, I'd have to get the ankylosaurus after him.)

It's probably just a big dog, MarvinIt's not all fun and games, you understand. Matt and I have been hard at work on another crop of songs that will be featured in the next episode of Ned Trek, the Star Trek parody we include in our THIS IS BIG GREEN podcast. We're talking maybe five or six new songs, not sure exactly. It's a bit like baking for the holidays. Some things come out right, others go into the compost heap. For Big Green, when a song goes flat in the middle of tracking it, we chop it up and put it into the mansized tuber's flower pot. There's usually enough nitrates in there to perk him up for a few hours. Waste not want not.

So, yes ... Keep your eyes peeled. Not for stray late-Cretaceous throwbacks ... for the next episode of our podcast. Should be coming through any ... week, month ... whatever.

Extremism.

It's just like old times. Terrorism "experts" fanned out across all networks. Threats of new terror attacks every morning. Television commentators hypothesizing about what might be wrong with Islam that it makes its adherents resort to violence. Oh yeah, so reminiscent of the good old days of late 2001. Except that we are already embroiled in endless wars overseas, so it's hard to see how we could react the same way as we did back then. Invade them again!

Free speech rogues' galleryAmazingly, much of what people talked about on television this week was the fact that the Obama Administration did not send anyone to the enormous march in Paris. All I can say about this is, man, this administration really screws up on the simple stuff. I mean, after going through the time trouble to pass a national health care plan (substandard as it was), they couldn't manage to build an e-commerce web site, right? You have to wonder .... why couldn't they just send someone to walk arm and arm with all those great champions of liberty? Hell, Obama could have been dubbed King of the Hypocrites, there with Cameron and Merkel and Netanyahu and reps from Saudi Arabia, Gabon, UAE, Egypt, Russia, and other blatant free speech and human rights abusers. They might have chanted La Marseillaise and praised our shared values as Chelsea Manning rots in the brig and another drone flies in Pakistan or Yemen.

The Paris attack was against a controversial publication, so it can be termed as an assault on free speech. I can't vehemently criticize Charlie Ebdo because I engage in much the same brand of borderline offensive, often childish humor myself. But there is no question that this publication is not the only motivating factor in these waves of attacks. We get this clearly from the attackers themselves. They were initially motivated, as many of their compatriots were, by America's war in Iraq. This is blowback, pure and simple. Welcome to the future, my friends. We were warned that we were breeding a new generation of jihadists back in the early 2000s, and now they have come to age.

This is why you don't go around blowing people up practically at random. It's like setting your neighbor's house on fire.

luv u,

jp