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Friday, February 17, 2017

Song farm.

Where's Matt this morning? Where he always is - trudging across the landscape like Ewan McTeagle, writing crazy-ass song poems in his head and putting them to music ... also in his head. And feeding the beavers. Curious fellow!

As we're patching together the next episode of THIS IS BIG GREEN, featuring our holiday (yes, holiday!) installment of Ned Trek, it's beginning to dawn on me just how many Ned Trek songs we have recorded over the last three years. If you piled them up, the resulting stack would be taller than the Empire State Building. (That's assuming, of course, each song is about 1/50th the height of the Empire State Building.) But spacial relationships aside, we've got a big backlog of songs that are just screaming "Put me in an album!" Marvin (my personal robot assistant) tried to be helpful by picking up a photo album down at the corner drug store, but of course, that kind of album is a whole 'nother thing. But semantic considerations aside ...

Yep. About that tall, man.Okay, well ... 50 songs is a lot for an album, even one of ours. Here's where both the spacial and the semantic relationships actually come into play. What the hell is an album, right? It used to be an LP with a limited capacity; then a cassette, same deal; CD, same deal. In the digital music age, those limitations have vanished. No more four-disc box sets, right? It's just a big virtual bag of MP3 or .wav files. So both the semantic and the spacial constraints are history, man. That means the only constraints on what to include in our next album are those pertaining to aesthetics and good judgment. (In our world, that means no freaking constraints at all!)

The truth is, we haven't completed a new album because we've been taken up with writing and recording new songs for the podcast. When we finish a bunch, we start on the next one. And when I say "finish", I mean our typical fast-mixdown .... not finished in any kind of releasable way. That takes time and care, much care. Marvin has to lay down a coat of shellac. Then we get Anti-Lincoln started on the hand-carved details. And that's just for the box it comes in!

Many's the time I've thought, there must be an easier way. But even thinking about that seems way too hard.

The fire this time.

Another banner week for the just-born Trump administration, beset by a growing scandal around purported contacts with Russia, rocked by the forced resignation of anti-Muslim National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, scrambled by contradictory messaging from both surrogates and the President himself, and so on. Trump's truly bizarre Thursday press conference saw him describe his White House as a "running like a fine-tuned machine." Probably seems that way to someone as deluded as he appears to be. I'm not even including the very public situation room they convened at a restaurant table inside Trump's Florida resort - a night that saw some crony posing for a photo with the dude who carries the nuclear football. Eek.

Donald J. DumpsterfireLate in last year' campaign, when the T-man seemed to be burning out of control, I wrote a blog post titled "Burning Man" wherein I suggest that the candidate was like "a crazy-ass Frankenstein’s monster set on fire and spreading his conflagration to everything he touches. Better that he should do it during the campaign than in the oval office, am I right?" It hadn't occurred to me at that time (a) that Trump would likely win under those circumstances and (b) that, if he did win, he would govern in much the same manner. Clearly both (a) and (b) have turned out to be the case. We're going to see four years of this, people. Fasten your seat belts.

What can be done? Well, resist, of course. Join or start an Indivisible group in your area. Call or visit your Congress members and demand action out of them, not just to counter the Trump agenda, but to work against the Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell program that is threatening every corner of American life, from health care to financial security to environmental sustainability and so on. We need to be active in our own communities, working for real change, but we also have to focus a good bit of our efforts on an electoral strategy that will give us some leverage. Democrats stand little chance of winning back the Senate in 2018. The House is uphill as well, but it's likely the only chance we have. That means flipping seats in places like upstate New York.

This will take work, and lots of it. Activism alone won't hold back this tide of bad policy - we need some political gains at the state and federal level, particularly in advance of the next reapportionment fight in 2020. It's a thin straw, but it's the only one we have.

luv u,

jp