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Friday, November 25, 2016

Cleanout.

Hey, got any old concert DVDs or VHS's? No? Okay, well ... that makes one of us. In fact, I have stacks of them in the forge room. That is, unless Mitch melted them down into something useful.

Oh, hello. You just caught us in the middle of doing our year-end inventory, housecleaning, etc. I know, I know - that seems like a strange choice, given our recent preparations for an interstellar tour, but this is the sort of thing we do every year at this time, whether we need it or not. We sort of turn the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill upside-down and shake it a few times. Whatever drops out of the east-side windows goes into the junk heap. Then it's the DPW's problem.

Some stuff is easy to get rid of. That cardboard carton our electric roll-out radiator came in? Probably don't need that anymore. Molded styrofoam from a shipping container? Fair game for the dumpster. Video tapes and DVDs, though .... that's another story. You never know when you'll want to watch the Concert at Big Sur movie (or what I euphemistically refer to as the anti-Woodstock) again, particularly that part when Steven Stills gets into a suburban grade school-level fight with some grizzled looking guy complaining about the high ticket price, then, after being led away by his bandmates, offers a lame little speech about how "everything's going to turn out however it's gonna," before playing 4 and 20. Or when Joan Baez was having trouble keeping the stoned rhythm section together. That was awesome.

Yeah, baby, yeah. (Squx)Other gems from the junk pile? Well, there's Marvin (my personal robot assistant)'s favorite: Rainbow Bridge! A "concert" movie that features about 15 or 20 minutes of Jimi Hendrix playing a set interspersed with about an hour-long montage of stoned hippies running up and down hillsides, being totally free. Why Marvin likes this so much I can only guess, though you can tell he's been watching it when you see him rolling pointlessly around the mill with his claws up in the air. I might get him a headband for Christmas this year ... or maybe some feathers and bells, and a book of Indian lore. (Apologies to Zappa.)

So, which is it going to be ... fly off to the stars in our Plywood 9000 rocket or watch old concert tapes? Tough choices.

Best behavior.

By all accounts, what we're seeing now is Trump being nice. If that's the case, it's going to be a very long four years. The last week has been very similar to the closing weeks of the campaign - very staid public appearances, not a tremendous amount of exposure to the press, but quite a lot of drunk tweeting. The somewhat restrained dressing down of VP-elect Mike Pence (who my wife and I keep calling Bike Pants) at the musical Hamilton drew a flurry of outrage from @RealDonaldTrump mostly centered on how "unfair" the cast members were being. This man is so fucking thin-skinned, it's kind of terrifying. What the hell is he going to do when foreign leaders start trash-talking him?

He gets the last word?Let me see if I can guess: whatever his last advisor told him to do. Unfortunately, the two corner offices of the White House will be occupied by two of the most unstable people in his entourage - former Breitbart editor (and man who looks like he spent the last two months sleeping under a bridge) Steve Bannon, who helped buoy the now famous alt-right movement, and General Michael Flynn, who feigns a pretty good imitation of General Jack Ripper from Dr. Strangelove. This makes the Trump White House what may be described as an attractive nuisance, in a way. It seems likely that terror groups will be even more emboldened to mount a spectacular attack on the United States, since they know these people are far more likely than Obama to overreact. Violent overreaction is just what they want from us. Just ask them.

The other thing they want is a war between the United States and all Muslims. Here again, Flynn and Bannon will prove invaluable. Some of Flynn's comments have placed Muslims of all stripes under suspicion, presenting them as something Americans should be afraid of - presumably, Americans who are not Muslims. This, coupled with the blood libel Trump engaged in during the campaign (namely the bogus story about thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks back in 2001), have driven xenophobic sentiment to the point where some mild discouragement from the president-elect feels like window-dressing. People who voted for Trump on the strength of his bigoted appeal will insist that he act to remove, say, Somalis from their whitebread towns. Again, this kind of stupidity I'm sure warms the cold hearts of ISIS.

One can only hope that Trump's new advisor - Joe Scarborough - can talk him out of this ... at least when Joe's not pretending to be an independent-minded talk show host. (I almost wrote "journalist", but then you would have just laughed at me.)

luv u,

jp