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Friday, October 21, 2016

Water cooler to Mars.

Look, Mitch ... you don't have to solve every problem with explosions. I know that cuts against the grain a bit, but at least try .... TRY not to dial it up to eleven every time you feel slighted. Thank you! Good day, sir!

Jesus Christ on a bike. If you want anything done around here, you have to talk until you're green in the face. (That's probably how we ended up with the name Big Green, but I digress.) As I mentioned in passing last week, we are contemplating a little trip out into the nether regions of the solar system - not the most desirable area, it's true, but you have to book where they'll have you, right? Isn't that the first lesson of the music trade? Or maybe the second. The first is, play on, no matter what happens. Even if they set your banjo on fire, keep plucking. Then comes the bit about bookings. With me?

Okay, so our plan was to fly out to KIC 8462852 with a brief stop at the as yet undiscovered Dwarf Planet at the edge of our solar system (and perhaps the hidden giant world lurking just beyond). We think we have a line on a spacecraft from the cheap-ass carrier SpaceY, who will lease us a Plywood 9000 rocket ... kind of an interstellar panel van, if you will. Mitch Macaphee, our mad science advisor, has been handling the negotiations. He has also been running some tests on the surface of Mars to see if this might be a good time to try out his patented new gravitational field hyper drive module. The thing looks like a water cooler, in all honesty. Only thing is, Marvin (my personal robot assistant) is the only one among us who can drink out of it safely.

I don't know, Marvin. He looks kind of sullen.Here's the rub. The European space probe Schiaparelli appeared to have crashed during its attempt to land on Mars this past week. I think the truth is, Mitch may have taken it down. They were getting a little too close to his clandestine operation on the red planet, and he didn't want to take the chance of being discovered. I keep telling him it's inappropriate to break things, but the man is a child ... one who plays with killer technologies, no less. He won't 'fess up, but this happens a bit too often to be an accident.

God damn it, if we're going to fly out of here on a Plywood 9000 space probe, I want to be on the right side of the European Space Agency. Unless we intend on doing a tour of continental jails.

Stays in Vegas.

We were treated to the third and final presidential debate this week, moderated by Chris Wallace of FoxNews. I can't decide which I found more annoying - the ridiculous utterances by the candidates themselves or the clueless pundit commentary on what a great moderator Wallace was. Maybe MSNBC is planning on hiring Wallace, I'm not sure - it seems like they were blowing him pretty hard the morning after, even though he apparently cribbed questions from the Peterson Institute and Operation Rescue. "Partial birth abortion," really? And no questions about climate change, of course. What a great news man.

Real sense of proportion.I could sit here an write about the obviously outrageous statements made by Trump over the 90 minute program, but you've probably heard enough of that. Suffice to say that the guy proves his unsuitability for the office of the presidency every time he opens his big yap. No one should need additional convincing, but alas ... this is America. No, what astonishes me is some of what gets discussed (and what doesn't get discussed) in the wake of these debates. That in itself is enough to make you want to rip your own head off. Take Syria. On MSNBC's Morning Joe, it's pretty much a consensus that the Syrian conflict is a failure of the Obama administration on the scale of Bush's Iraq invasion. Scarborough himself regularly refers to the conflict with terms like "holocaust" and "genocide", which is frankly offensive.

I have never been a fan of the Obama administration's foreign policy, but the comparison with Iraq doesn't pass the laugh test. For one thing, more people were killed in the Iraq conflict than thus far in Syria, and that was entirely down to us. Syria is a civil war stoked by extremist remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq (thank you, Bush and Cheney) and other elements covertly supported by the US (thank you, Obama), facing off with an ossified authoritarian regime that knows only one thing: crush dissent. The Morning Joe crew is apparently disappointed that we didn't roll into Syria in 2013 and turn it into an even broader international conflict, which would have resulted in open war with Iran, probably Lebanon, and maybe Russia. Would Scarborough want one of his sons to fight that war? Doubt it.

Nothing out of either candidate last night gave me any confidence that we wouldn't get more deeply involved in this wretched civil war after January 21. It's up to us as a nation to make certain that the war fever we heard last night stays in Vegas and doesn't guide American policy moving forward.

luv u,

jp