Friday, July 31, 2015

Pluto did it.

They say that Pluto is a big surprise. That may be true for most people, even rocket scientists, but not for the interstellar collective known as Big Green. Ha, ha!

I mean, that stuff about surface features suggesting frozen bodies of methane - um, we knew that. What the hell, you don't even have to GO to Pluto to know that much. All you need is Mitch Macaphee's trans-dimensional light-enhancement planetometer. He showed me the gizmo just this past weekend. It looks strangely like that old oscillator we picked up at a garage sale. I guess he probably hollowed it out and filled it with some of that mad science technology. Now it flashes on and off like a ... uh ... like a flashy thing.

Well, Mitch can tell a lot about distant, frozen planets just by looking at those little lights go on and off. When I tell him about NASA's revelations, he just rolls his eyes, then mouths the word "NASA" while he makes a face. I know, you probably think he's still sore over the fact that the agency rejected him when he applied as a teenager, but I think he almost has to be more mature than that. How would he get through the day if he obsessed over every little slight? Such an attitude would have turned him into a deeply bitter, paranoid wreck of a man. Which, of course ... um ... he is. So that thing I just said ... strike that.

Cold, eh? I knew that. We're thinking about stopping over to Pluto for a brief engagement, maybe four or five shows, back to back. Which sounds shorter than it is. See, if we play consecutive days, it will take something like a month, because each Plutonian day is worth more than 6 Earth days. (See ... Mitch told me that, too. HE knows all aBOUT Pluto.) We're going to try out a few of our Ned Trek songs and see if the Plutonians start throwing frozen methane at us. (Not much more to put your hands on out there, frankly.)

Well, be that as it may. We're posting a new, old episode of Ned Trek. That's my news.

Thoughts on prospects.

Yeah, so I did get around to writing. Partly because I'm in a ghastly New Jersey hotel room at 6:30 a.m. with nothing to do for the next two hours, and partly because I've got the usual head-full of notions.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't travel a lot these days. My wife Kory and I take day trips on occasion, but that's about it. That's a big change from back in the day, to be sure. Kory traveled all over the country for her film work and lived in Manhattan for about 15 years. Of course, I did the same in pursuit of a meager living as an itinerant musician and as a low-rent roadie, tag-along in my very very early years.

Different, but not enough.Living in a tiny little burg in upstate New York as we do, you tend to intellectualize big problems like climate change. Nothing makes it more concrete than an afternoon on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike. Millions of vehicles in a mad crush, turning the road into a massive parking lot around the major exits, everyone struggling to get just one car length ahead of the next fucker. At one point in a particularly slow-moving traffic jam on a railroad overpass I was flanked by a tractor trailer carrying fuel while beneath us passed one of those amazingly long tanker trains. When no one's moving, there's little to do but think, and it's moments like that when I start thinking ... we have a little problem.

So ... how do we turn the supertanker around? That's the challenge of our age. We need somehow to get to a more sustainable way of living. It's silly to deny that we have made some marginal progress over the years; those millions of cars are substantially cleaner and more fuel-efficient than previous generations of vehicles. And there are other factors, like the energy industry, that are major contributors in climate change. But this isn't a problem that will be solved on the margins. We need to work out a different way of doing things - one that doesn't involve burning all these hydrocarbons.

Those folks hanging from ropes in front of that icebreaker in Oregon had the right idea. Next time maybe they (or rather, we) should do it in the Capitol rotunda. Or in the main portico of the White House. Because that's where you stop the drilling.

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