Friday, October 9, 2015

Inside October.

The morning came up like thunder today. That was something. It poured so hard it felt like it was raining in my bedroom. Which, in fact, it was - the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill roof has some issues, as you've probably heard. Hey - over a century old, abandoned by its owners, neglected for decades ... you'd have a leaky roof too.

So I'm sitting here at my superannuated mixing console, laptop open and running, Marvin (my personal robot assistant) holding an umbrella over me as I type. What better time is there to give a rundown of the recently posted October installment of THIS IS BIG GREEN, our podcast. Here's what's on deck for October:

Ned Trek 25: Not the Children One, Please! - Based on the original Star Trek episode, "And the Children Shall Lead" (one of the most annoying episodes ever), the Ned Trek version features the current crop of demon spawn circling the drain that is the modern presidency. Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz appear as the children, all poorly impersonated along with the voices of their fathers, Ron, George, and ... uh ... Ted's dad, respectively. The evil angel ringleader is played by Judge Robert Bork. Lots of singing, chanting, dancing, and fist pumping. You know ... kid stuff.

Song: Johnny Got His Gun - A selection from our 2008 album International House. We included this one as a nod to the Oregon shooting. Our version of Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, in a sense, written around a subject that seemingly never goes away.

Put The Phone Down - Matt and I wheel through a variety of topics, from a discussion of the ridiculousness of the movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, to one about my brief childhood excursion through the Catholic religious instruction process (a.k.a. Voyage to the Bottom of the Holy See), to random talk about Matt's primitive diet and the ongoing atrocities in Syria. Basically, our mouths move and sound comes out - that's all I know.

That's great, Marvin. Thanks.Song: It Should've Been Me - The closer on our 2013 album Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick. Something in the way of a tribute to cousin Rick Perry, who ended his 2016 presidential bid this past month. (NOW what will we do?)

Song: Enter The Mind - Another selection from International House, this one about enhanced interrogations and the mindset that promotes them.

Song: Why Not Call It George - This is an unreleased recording of a song Matt wrote decades ago, recorded on 4-track cassette, I believe, with Johnny White on drums and a positively volcanic guitar solo by the amazing Jeremy Shaw, who played with us in the early 1990s. One of Matt's songs about geoscience (I think there were others) and plate tectonics, with a dash of mad science. It's a particular favorite of our mad science adviser Mitch Macaphee, who would name a reconstituted Pangea "Mitch," I suspect.

Next up.

I can't decide whether the Syrian conflict is becoming more like the Afghan war of the 1980s or the Lebanon civil war (1975-90). It certainly has elements of both. Great and regional power proxies. A U.S. ally that is also a conduit for extremists (Pakistan in the 1980s Afghan war; Turkey in today's Syria). Multiple armies running up against one another in a relatively small space (Lebanon when the Israelis, Syrians, and U.S. were all operating there at once). Rich Saudis bankrolling fanatical foreign fighters (Afghanistan). Now Syria has the misfortune of having drawn the interest of two great powers, one the global hegemon (us), the other its former and increasingly current rival (Russia).

When THEY do it, it's wrong. Got that?It is a bit maddening to see Defense Secretary Ash Carter denounce the Russians for being the gang that can't shoot straight (which they apparently are) when only days ago our forces in Afghanistan blew up a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital - an accident, of course (we seem to have a lot of them). While we're railing against Putin, we might pause to remember that we have been in Afghanistan for fourteen years, and that the place is still ungovernable. We've been in Iraq for 12 years at some level or another, and large swaths of it are under the control of a group we profess to hate - ISIS or ISIL, nurtured in the government-free zone we carved out in the cradle of civilization, supported by Saudi and Turkey. (I guess the friends of our friends are somehow our enemies. And the enemies of our enemies ... also our enemies. Have we no friends?)

When you invade countries without cause or a thought to the consequences, you shouldn't expect to make any friends. When you pursue policies that undermine the stability of an entire region, you shouldn't be surprised when the whole place starts caving in. I've said it before but it bears repeating - sometimes things are broken so badly that they cannot be put back together. As Americans, we can't get our heads around that concept. We always think there's something we can do. Basically, the one thing we can do right now is to stop actively making things worse. Once that's pursued, other solutions may present themselves.

Speakerstakes. Speaking of ungovernable, there will be no Speaker McCarthy and, hell, maybe no speaker anybody for a while. The bug-fuck-nuts conference in the House must be high-fiving one another over yet another victory. Word to the wise: when you put government haters in charge of government, bad things will happen.

luv u, j