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Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer reverie.

Say, do you remember when we took that bicycle trip up the side of Mt. McKinley? Nope, neither do I. Well, now I'm guessing it never happened. Another false flag operation in brainville.

Oh, hello, reader. I'm afraid you've caught me in the midst of an early summer reverie. I don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm going to spend the entire season looking backward, but I will admit that I put my tee-shirt on backwards this morning. Harbinger of things to come? Of course not. Nevertheless, when you've got an abandoned hammer mill full of accumulated junk from more than a decade of habitation, every day is a bit like an archival bin dive.

Does that sound like a summer project to you? Well, it does to me ... sort of. I told you about the demo video from 1993 that I've been resuscitating these last couple of weeks. Last weekend I remastered the audio and I'll do some editing over the next few days. My summer report will be about resurrecting our YouTube channel, which is, essentially, my personal YouTube channel rather than an official Big Green video hub. Right now it kind of resembles the Cheney Hammer Mill - a big pile of unrelated videos about music, politics, linguistics, philosophy of mind .... whatever the hell I spend my free time watching and (mostly) listening to. Hey ... my phone is my entertainment center, okay? That's how you know I'm American. (Want a candy bar? Cigarettes? There's a bodego across the street.)

This could take a while.Just the other day (don't ask me which day) I stumbled upon some old promo shots of Matt and me back in our Big Green duo days, in the late 80s. (I can tell when it was because I was wearing a sports jacket with the arms rolled up. Hey ... it was comfortable, like the fuzzy slippers.) I think it was right after Ned Danison left the group and I moved back to the Utica area. In a couple of shots we were consciously trying to lampoon a Rolling Stone magazine spread about U2's current album at the time, Joshua Tree. (They had a shot of U2's drummer looking admiringly at Bono from about five paces away. I think there was a cactus in the photo somewhere.)

What's next ... the handlebars of my first tricycle? Never fear ... we will get back to making new things rather than digging up old ones. Just give us a little interval. Ah yes.

The hobby lobby.

The sickening, sickening massacre in Orlando last weekend has had a range of effects on America's national, multi-layered electronic conversation, from some truly inspiring expressions of love, sympathy, and defiance among the survivors to the sorry spectacle my gun-nut Facebook friends setting their hair on fire over the dim possibility of some Congressional action on arm sale restrictions.

Liability issues.God, I'm sick of this grisly movie, running over and over again - innocents cut down in large numbers by some psycho bastard with an easily obtainable assault rifle. The graves are not even filled in before AR-15s start flying off the shelves, hastily purchased by paranoid hobbyists who see black helicopters everywhere. One dealer in California, I believe, claimed that while he normally sells 15 of these death machines a day (!), that rose to 15 an hour after Orlando. Bonanza, in more ways than one.

Gun enthusiasts always speak to their constitutional rights, but what is this if not a hobby, really? None of these fuckers need a machine gun for self-defense - they just like to play with the thing, fire it off at targets, tote it around like a real soldier, fantasize over it five ways from Friday. It's the industry (manufacturing and retail) that plays up the self-defense angle, most ardently through their lobbying group, the NRA. It's a dangerous world! they warn. You have to protect your family, tough guy. (Of course, the manufacturers also emphasize the macho war-fighter image that an automatic weapon confers onto its purchaser.) All bullshit, of course, with respect to their core market. So ... why do the rest of us - the vast majority of the country - have to pay such a high price to protect their hobby?

The short answer is, they have a good lobby. Very effective advocates, the NRA, and they can hold Congress's feet to the fire like almost no one else. The fact is, it looks like legal action may be the only way to undermine the power of this industry. The families of victims need to sue the manufacturers. We need to find a way to make the manufacture, sale, and possession of assault weapons a prohibitively costly liability. Once the profit goes out of it, however that may be achieved, the air will go out of this tire. And maybe we'll be able to get through a whole year without another Orlando.

Here's hoping.

luv u,

j