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Friday, February 23, 2018

Inside February (again)

Jesus, Marvin. When I told you to release the podcast, I didn't mean put it on the end of a stick and hold it over your head. I meant "release it" in a more modern, technical sense. Are you sure you're a robot? Oh, okay. That's news to you. Whoops.

Well, it appears that Marvin (my personal robot assistant) has learned where his last name came from. Red letter day for him, at least. Me? I have to walk you through a podcast you probably haven't heard because my mechanical friend thinks the act of dropping an episode is something akin to playing lacrosse. No matter - push on!

Here's what we have in this month's THIS IS BIG GREEN podcast:

Ned Trek 36: Grope in the Fold - This installment of our now long-running Ned Trek series (a parody mashup of classic Star Trek, Mr. Ed, and that thing they call the Republican party) commandeers a second-season (1967) script entitled "Wolf in the Fold". Action includes some first-rate screaming, a gripping courtroom scene, and numerous instances of Mr. Ned telling Perle to shut up. Simply can't be missed.

Marvin blew it, man.Put The Phone Down - Matt and I sit down for our usual rangy discussion of whatever floats into either of our tiny brains. This month's random topics include a recap of the Ned Trek episode you just heard; a brief riff on a local meat market and its longstanding sausage-based slogan; Matt's recollection of a backstage fight between actors playing Buffalo Bill and Jesus Christ in a locally-produced musical back in 1978 or so; Our thoughts on the unusual, perhaps singular, playing style of our late friend and one-time guitarist Tim Walsh; Some news of beavers and sweet potatoes .... and so on.

Song: Two Lines - A Ned Trek / Sulu song from a couple of years ago; one of my personal favorites. Sulu sings of the anguish of only having two lines in any given episode. Chorus features common two-line speeches from Sulu's role in classic Star Trek.

Song: Silent as a Stone - Deep archive pick. This song long predates our Big Green moniker, but it's still us. Recorded in the long departed Music Workshop studio in Utica, NY (producer: Bill Scranton) back in 1981, this very weird little number features some of that insane Tim Walsh guitar work Matt and talked about. Head scratcher, but that's how we sounded in 1981.

Song: It Should've Been Me - Closer on our 2013 album Cowboy Scat: Songs in the Key of Rick. Just because.

Song: Don't Tell Rick - A song we produced after Cowboy Scat. It's basically a plea to our audience of five not to tell Rick Perry about the album; particularly about the lyric in "It Should've Been Me" about playing with his dong. Still working on the video.

Song: Slipping and Sliding - Our cover of a Little Richard number. (Don't tell Rick!) This is another deep archive pick, from our very first recording as Big Green - a demo tracked at Ned Danison's brother's garage studio back in 1986 or so. One of the songs we did in those days.

Peace out.

Recoil.

As I mentioned briefly last week, it has happened again. Another deranged shooter with a military-style weapon and a mountain of ammunition. This time the target was a high school campus in Florida; last time it was somewhere else that didn't expect it. The young people who emerged in one piece from that atrocity have demonstrated an emotional and intellectual maturity, an eloquence, and a remarkable facility for organizing that puts us all to shame. When I see them, I hang my head - we, the older generations, simply are not good. Let them take the reins.

Our cheese-headed president had some of them over on Wednesday, along with survivors of other mass shootings, for a "listening session". What has Trump taken away from this heinous remake of previous atrocities? Well, he is telling Beauregard to look into banning bump stocks, again. That is something the Justice Department has been working on for months, since the Las Vegas massacre. The problem is that the administration is probably barred from doing so without action by the Congress, so Trump's NRA patrons can rest easy. He also suggested arming teachers, janitorial staff, and, I believe, students, claiming that that Gym teacher could have ended the whole shooting rampage if he had had a gun.

Trump's notion of the ideal school resource officer.Okay, well ... I may be the only American to remember this (I hope not), but back in the seventies, this latter suggestion was put forward as a joke on All In The Family - the right-wing caricature Archie Bunker was invited to do a guest editorial on television, and he advocated stopping airline hijackers by arming all the passengers. What was a joke in 1972 is now consider a serious policy proposal. That's how far we've come, people. And this is how far political leaders will go to avoid dealing with an issue. The money is all on one side, and our kids are on the other. If we leave the decision to our current crop of politicians, the kids don't stand a chance.

Sure, there are something like 10 to 15 million AR-15 style weapons in the United States. That doesn't mean we can't do something about this. First thing is to stop selling them. Second, in my opinion, you should be required to register military assault-style weapons and handle it in an appropriate way (i.e. lock it up at appropriate times). If you don't register it, you can't keep it. They are simply too destructive to treat like a 30-30 hunting rifle. Third: extensive background checks for all gun purchases (since Trump loves the concept of "extreme vetting," this shouldn't be a problem for him). Fourth, no more high-capacity clips and new limits on ammunition sales.

That's where we need to go if we're serious about protecting kids. Up to us, people. Elect a Congress and a president that will do it.

luv u,

jp