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Friday, June 5, 2015

Mail bag returns.

Mail's in!Well, it's been a while. Time to open the Big Green mail bag again, at long last. It's easy to forget this stuff with all that's been on our plate the last couple of years. You know, production, minor building repairs, breathing (lots of breathing), and the like. But no matter - we'll just take a moment away from all of that, wave away the moths, and pull the first missive from its tattered envelope.

Here's one from Castleton-on-Hudson, NY:
Dear Big Green ... Are you the same ne'er-do-wells that used to live in that broken down house on Green Avenue? You know ... the one that looks like it tumbled halfway down the gorge and landed on its roof? Because it that WAS you guys, you friggin owe me money. -- Baldric McPlumber
Hey, Baldric ... thanks for writing in! Yes, that was us, back in an earlier incarnation (or since we're talking about rural New York, maybe it should be "inTARnation"). We lived in that broken down house in 1984-5, and next door to it in 1981, so if you have any outstanding bills, just hand them to the people currently occupying those structures. Cheers!

Here's a note from someone in Madagascar:
Dear Big Green ... Your last episode of Ned Trek featured a Mormon dentist by the name of Jillian Mustard. Do you know if she's accepting any new patients? I've got a loose filling in one of my molars, lower left. -- Kranis Frackus
Hiya, Kranis ... hope all is well in Madagascar! Nope, I don't think Jillian is accepting any new patients. She is what we call a "fictional" character, cooked up in the sick, sick mind of my illustrious brother. Any resemblance to actual human beings, living or dead, is completely coincidental. (Unless the resemblance is way too close ... in which case, you know who you are.)

One more ... this one from San Antonio:
Howdy, partners! I see you posted a whole mess of songs about Rick Perry on your YouTube Channel. It's almost as if you KNEW Rick was going to run for president again. What manner of beast are you that you can see things that haven't happened yet? -- T-Bone Pickens

Well now, T-Bone. That there is what we New Yorkers call a "coincidence". You see, not everything in this highly complex world is connected to every other thing. It's just a happy accident that I got my lazy ass in gear and posted those songs just weeks before Rick made his fateful decision to throw his ten-gallon hat into the ring. Those songs offer a great backgrounder on the candidate. Don't underestimate him!

There's more, but then ... you have a life.

What does it.

As Americans, we crave the simple solution. Just give us that one thing we can do to make a problem go away. There has to be an answer, right? Anything can be fixed. The trouble is, the actual world is more complicated than that. Most of our problems will not yield to easy answers. In fact, very often, if a solution to a serious problem is even possible, it is likely to be a very complex, multifaceted, and inconvenient one. That's the last thing we want to hear.

What California used to call a riverAnd yet, here we are, faced with enormous challenges, decades - even centuries - in the making. Problems like climate change, a matter so enormous most of us just turn away. For those of us who believe the overwhelming scientific consensus there is a human role in climate change, far too many feel that this is something that can be solved by driving a Prius and screwing in a few LED light bulbs. Those are good things, but this is not the type of challenge that is going to yield to small-bore actions carried out at a personal level. This will take a major reshaping of our economy, our use of resources, our entire approach to the Earth. Half measures won't do it.

Same thing with regard to the rash of police killings of unarmed black men. It's easy to lay it on the cops, and sure, police practices nationwide need reform, but this problem runs much deeper than law enforcement. Issues of race and racial exclusion on a profound level, reflected in government policy at the local, state, and national level, have brought us to where we are today. The practice of criminalizing black life goes back to slavery, to be sure, but so does shutting black families out of certain neighborhoods and effectively confining them to others. This is a case wherein justice delayed is truly justice denied - keeping these families out of home purchases in the years following World War II denied them the ability to build equity, increase their wealth, and move into the middle class. Employment discrimination contributed to this, of course. New rules for the police won't undo that sad, sick history.

No quick fixes, people. We need to find solutions that match the scale and depth of the problems we're attacking. Easy just won't do it.

luv u,

jp