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Friday, April 22, 2016

Freak week.

I told you yesterday about the roof. Now the internet is down. No, not the WHOLE internet ... OUR internet, dumbass! And that electricity you tapped from the house next door? Well ... that's run dry as well. Damned squathouses!

Okay, so these are not the easiest days around the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, and we of the Big Green collective are having to think our way through some truly daunting problems. This is pretty basic stuff, right? Keeping the rain out when it rains. (Right now, our roof only keeps the rain out when it's sunny.) Surfing the internet in your socks. Plugging the electric can opener in and having it do what it's made to do, not sit there like a paperweight. Stuff that any band should expect to be able to do, even when they're squatting in an abandoned hammer factory. But noooooo ... not us.

No, Marvin! For chrissake. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) heard what I just told you and took it into his little tin head that he should try to open a can with a paperweight. That's just so wrong. It's emblematic of the type of help we get around here. Sure, we have our own robot, but he doesn't know how to do anything useful. Sure, we have a mad science advisor, but he spends all of his time in a makeshift lab in the basement, burning isotopes into larger ... I don't know .... isotopes? (Or does burning them make them smaller?) Why the hell couldn't we have made friends with either a carpenter or a handyman? Why wasn't I born a carpenter?

Looks like another bad roof day.Speaking of the Carpenters, Matt and I have been tracking some backing vocals for the next crop of songs - about eight of them, to appear in the next installment of THIS IS BIG GREEN, embedded within the new Ned Trek episode. When will that be ready? Well, it depends on when it stops raining in the studio. It's a little difficult recording vocals under a painter's tarp. Ends up sounding muffled, like someone threw a blanket over you. Which, of course, they did. There's a reason for everything in music.

So ... we soldier on. Now if we only had some soldiers. Or some solderers. They could fix our broken patch cords.

Voices not heard.

The New York primary is history, and I am not alone, I'm sure, in feeling somewhat disappointed, if not surprised. Sure, we all knew that the Empire State would be an uphill battle for Bernie Sanders, but when you get all these texts and phone calls from volunteers, and you are visited at home not once but TWICE by canvassers, one group of whom told me (accurately) where my polling place was, you start to imagine a better outcome. Those kids did pretty good upstate, actually - Sanders won my home county along with almost every other county north of Westchester. I hope they draw some encouragement from that.

Prpblematic in New York, too.What is kind of discouraging, however, is the mess that New York State elections often turn out to be. We actually have fairly restrictive voter laws. No early voting, no same day registration, excuse-only absentee balloting, and a lot of weird business, like all of those voters shut out in Brooklyn this time around. I'm not claiming any conspiracy. It's just a kind of studied incompetence that I see in my own district. (For instance, my first presidential election as a voter was 1980 - I was away from home, at SUNY New Paltz, had applied for an absentee ballot, and they sent it to my parents' house up in the Utica area. Stuff like that.)

Another issue is independent voters. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that any taxpayer supported election should be open to whoever wants to participate. Even if you want to maintain some party integrity (i.e. not letting Republicans decide who the Democratic candidate will be), you can still let independents vote - just let them choose which ballot they want. And the requirement that you register with a party by sometime in October for a primary the following April is plainly absurd. New York's system just seems like it's the product of an ossified political culture full of time-serving hacks who seek only to protect their patch and who are careful not to smash the other guy's rice bowl, as Alan Chartock used to say. (Perhaps he still does!)

So, we move on. Bernie Sanders still has some work to do, plainly. He may never be president, but he's a great organizer, and we need that skill to push forward an agenda for change that even the Clintons can't ignore.

luv u,

jp