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Friday, January 13, 2017

Natural history.

How old is the Moon? That is totally the wrong question, man. What you really want to know is, how much does the Moon weigh? Or if you want to be more sensitive about it, ask it how young it feels.

Just reacting to the news this week about those Apollo 14 rocks. Man, those suckers took a long time coming back from the processing lab. Like my entire adult life ... and then some. (Editor's note: I was 12 when Apollo 14 landed on the Moon, so I was probably in the second year of building my four-foot-tall detailed Revel model kit of the Saturn V rocket. Now, of course, I am in my 47th year. Those damn engine cowlings!) News about the Moon always gets some attention around the mill, particularly in the dead of winter when there's precious little else to think about.

Any upstate New York musician knows this better than his/her own name. January and February have been the traditional dead zone for performing musicians in this area of the country. Of course, we don't really perform any more, so it doesn't affect us much, but I well remember my years as an itinerant musician, both in and out of Big Green, scratching out a living from a scattering of gigs, struggling to keep the wolf away from the door (though wolves can be very nice ... unless they wipe out whole villages), and pondering the age of the Moon. January/February were the months that hung me up the most, man. Big fat nothing.

Huh. You don't look it.Hey ... that's what you get for living in a backwater. No disrespect, my local friends - I freaking love it here. But staying busy as a musician, an artist, a writer ... anything creative has always been a struggle. It may be a bit easier now than it was twenty or thirty years ago, now that there are more local indie music venues and a whole "thing" that has grown up around that "scene", man. Yeah, man. So you have to store your nuts in the fall and hope you have enough to tide you over until the sun returns. Or at least until the moon returns.

And since we're on the topic of how old the moon .... how high the moon?

Herr Mr. Hair.

Okay, a lot happened this week. It's been a bit like drinking from a fire hose, but then I suppose that's what we should expect for the next four years - these clown-like Trump people tossing flak at us left and right, doing their cheap-ass parlor tricks, trying to cloud the most salient issues. It is, of course, a collusion between the Republican clasleadership in the House and Senate and Herr Mr. Hair. That's why you can see them scheduling five confirmation hearings on a single day, as well as Trump's first press conference in six months on that same day. They want to keep your eye off of the most important issues, like their efforts to scuttle the Affordable Care Act and throw millions off of their health insurance.

This. man. is. cracked.That last issue got a boost from the Senate over the past few days, setting up the budgetary framework for pulling the whole thing down. The end of the ACA will of course mean an enormous tax break for top earners, particularly the top tenth of one percent, whose tax benefit will be in the six figures. That's the real reason why Paul Ryan is smiling - nothing makes him happier than forcing people off of the kind of assistance his family needed when he was young. (A psychologist might have an explanation for that.) Trump, of course, blew some smoke at his presser, saying that the ACA would be simultaneously replaced by something better, details yet to follow. Just be patient, folks .... he's gonna change!

The press conference was weird and disturbing. Again, a display of cheap props, such as the stacks of manila folders (which the London Independent is reporting contained blank sheets of paper - shocker!). It reminded me of nothing more than that scene in the BBC series I, Claudius when Caligula does his first meet and greet with senators, consuls, etc. - an obvious rambling mad man now vested with almost unlimited power. Pretty sobering, particularly the parts when he attacked members of the press.

The confirmation hearings have been no more encouraging, unless of course you're Joe Scarborough or someone on his panel of "experts". Tillerson is a disgusting moral relativist who spent 30 years at the apex of a company that has done more to hasten climate change than any other. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions gave what I consider to be a cowardly performance, hiding from his record and backing away from pretty much every position he has taken over the last few decades. (He seems to view the opiate crisis as principally a law enforcement issue.) I could go on.

I will spend more time on cabinet appointments in the coming weeks. For right now, color me disgusted.

luv u,

jp