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Friday, July 8, 2016

Old continent, new name.

A little higher. Little more. That's it. Right, now ... slowly lower the winch. That's got it. Okay, a little too fast. Too fast. I said TOO FAST! Oh, Jesus. Right ... order another banner. No wonder I never get anything done.

Oh, hello. Forgive me if I always seem surprised when you come along. I'm inclined to forget about the blogging version of the "fourth wall" and the fact that others can see what the hell I'm doing (or not doing). Today you've caught me and Marvin (my personal robot assistant) in the midst of constructing Big Green's new YouTube Channel, hot off the presses. You see, for the longest time we've been pointing our listeners/readers/browsers, whatever, to my personal YouTube channel, which has over the last few years become choked with political content, obscure linguistics and philosophy of mind lectures, comedic bullshit, and so on. It finally dawned on my dim little brain that the band needed its own space for video content, and hey presto - a summer project was born.

Why not, indeed?

The timing of our YouTube launch is not entirely an accident. As I mentioned in previous posts, I have been trawling through old tapes, discs, etc., listening to and watching recordings of performances from our terrestrial live performance days back in the 1990s. Over the past few weeks, I cut up a video demo we recorded back in March of 1993 with the guitarist we worked with at that time, the amazing Jeremy Shaw. The video is standard def, 4:3, and a little strange. We taped these performances in a practice room somewhere in Utica - as I recall it was a loft-like space within a couple of blocks of the Police Department headquarters. (Could explain why we look so polite.)

There are some cheesy visual effects inserted at the time of the recording - basically presets in the camera our videographer was using. (The videographer was a dude named Angel whom we met through a mutual friend.) They add a certain trippyness to the whole business, but no matter. Hilariously, the rehearsal space was a typical rock band man-cave environment circa 1993, with cheesecake posters on the walls and overstuffed ashtrays. (Just behind my illustrious brother you'll notice the incongruous sight of some babe posing for the camera.)

Week to forget.

Another one of those weeks when it's hard to know what to focus on. So many disasters and revelations in such a short time, I'm guessing that many of the media folks who took this week off (and you all know who you are) are chomping at the bit to get back. I, for one, am disgusted by what's happened this week, and frankly I can't find anything positive to say about it.

It keeps on giving.It was a week that started with the obscene bombing in Baghdad, the death toll for which has exceeded 250. As has long been the case, this provoked some small response in American culture because of the magnitude of the crime, but the degree of "hair-on-fire" apoplexy about terrorism has been relatively minimal due to the cultural distance between Iraq and the United States. As these attacks move closer culturally to the U.S., our politicians get more worked up. Forget this export we call "freedom" - that bombing is our gift to the Iraqi people and it just keeps on giving.

Decisions were handed down on Hillary Clinton's damn email and Tony Blair's god-awful warmongering. Guess which one got more coverage in the U.S. It gives you some notion of what's important to our great leaders. They lose their minds over some freaking private email server, but news about the enormous case against Blair and Bush over the Iraq invasion - the act that spawned the bombing I spoke of earlier - is met with a collective yawn.

What really disgusted me, beyond the sickening loss of life in Baghdad, Turkey, and Bangladesh, are the domestic shootings that made their way into the news cycle this week. The senseless killing of Philando Castile, caught on his girlfriend's smartphone, is just sickening, as was the point-blank shooting of Alton Sterling - both incidents illustrating that there is no way for African Americans to feel safe.

Cap that off with the vicious, calculated assassination of five police officers in Dallas (six other officers wounded, as well as one civilian) during what was otherwise a very peaceful, very positive protest march, and it's clear that we have some serious challenges before us. By all accounts, the police in Dallas behaved very well during the protest, which makes this last piece all the more painful. My hope is that the entire Dallas community can come together and show the rest of us how to overcome violence with compassion.

So yes, you can have this week, totally. I'm out.

luv u,

jp