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Friday, June 15, 2018

Inside June.

The Show So Far: First there were two guys talking, then we saw some cartoons, then a fully dressed naval officer jumped into the North Sea, then there were more cartoons, then some guy told us about what happened so far, then .... Oh, wait ... that was another show. Sorry.

As some of you may have noticed, we dropped the June 2018 installment of our podcast THIS IS BIG GREEN, which breaks a kind of long hiatus. Still, it's 2-½ hours of stuff, including eight new songs, so hey ... that took some time. We may reside in a hammer mill, but we're not running a factory here, man. Unless you count the robots Mitch Macaphee plugs together in the basement. (He's considering establishing an assembly line. Not sure where that's going, exactly.)

Anywho, if you haven't listened to it yet, here's what to expect:

Ned Trek 37 - Return to The Carl. This ludicrous musical episode of our Star Trek parody Ned Trek is based on the classic Trek episode entitled Return to Tomorrow, which had the Enterprise crew come across a dead civilization whose only survivors concealed themselves in glowing orbs and who talked Kirk, Spock, and some random scientist into letting them use their bodies to build android bodies the space aliens could use permanently. The head alien's name was "Sargon". In our version, it's Sagan. The heavy from the planet's "other side" is played by Edward Teller - he occupies Ned's body, then calls everybody "puny". Silliness ensues. Featured songs include:

Light Thing. A doc song, referring to the glowing orb receptacle that held Sagan's consciousness (as opposed to the bubble gum machine that held Teller's). Put your childish things away.

Sagan's Song. Just what it sounds like - a Broadway-like number sung by Carl Sagan in which he lays out his ambitious plan for making the crew of the Free Enterprise smarter than total lunkheads. (Or, failing that, teaching them better table manners.)

Risk Is Your Business. Romney song based on Kirk's heroic monologue from the Star Trek episode we based this on, only cross-pollinated with what unconsciously approaches a Marxist critique of capitalism. Oh, and sung in a French accent. Don't ask me why.

Congratulations. Sung by the Nixon android, this touches on the usual Nixonian tropes of resentment, bitterness, self-aggrandizement, etc. Sixties-style "na-na-na" singalong thrown in for good measure.

Here's what we got for you, folks!Teller. A literally incendiary musical rant sung in the voice of Edward Teller while in Ned's body. Think of it as a love sonnet to the H-bomb. Super.

The Other Side. Perle sings this perky little number about all the advantages of trading with the other side, whatever side that may be.

Fat Captain. A wrenching Sulu song about how Shatner soaked up the limelight at his expense back in the day. Based on a true story or two.

Blow The Man Down. Show-ender by Sagan, mopping up after the mess made during the preceding 90 minutes of ridiculousness. A song of grateful resignation. And yes, you get to hear Carl Sagan singing "dum dum-de-doo." You're welcome.

Put The Phone Down. Our typical impromptu back-and-forth gab session starts with a rough rendition of "All Saints Come", a song off of our first album, 2000 Years To Christmas. It goes downhill from there. Just give it a listen, you'll see.

Opposite day.

Trump finally did something constructive - met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - and the chorus of protest is deafening. I'm not a deep-state conspiracy theorist, but that broad consensus around our imperial foreign policy does not look favorably upon this development. Readers of this blog may recall that I have occasionally wondered aloud (or in html text) whether there are deeper motivations behind this 70-year-old war that never ends. The U.S. relationship with South Korea is one part alliance and perhaps two parts lord/serf. That second component became more evident when Trump announced that there would be no more "war games" - just the use of that term alone exploded heads throughout the talk-show tele-verse.

Right, but still a total dickAs Bruce Cumings and others have pointed out for many years, the South Korean military is essentially under the command of U.S. generals. That is, in the event of a war, South Korean commanders would take orders directly from our military. Add to that the fact that the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea have technically been in a state of war since 1950, and you have a sense of how this works. Think about it - what does it say about South Korea's sovereignty that they are not in control of their military? Recall, too, that the country was under the rule of generals and assorted dictators into the 1980s, all backed by the U.S. So when a president threatens the sanctity of "military exercises", essentially admitting that they are, in fact, war games and, as such, "provocative," as Trump accurately described them, national security reporters and consultants on every network start spinning like crazy.

In all honesty, Trump is a disaster in practically every respect. But his ideology is simply himself. Absent imperial designs, the Korea problem has always been a relatively easy one to solve, given the right conditions - namely, sane leadership in South Korea like Moon Jae-in. The North has always, always wanted direct talks with the United States. Their nuclear weapons program was obviously an attempt to build a credible deterrent to a preeminent military power that literally laid waste to their country in the 1950s. All Trump had to do was say yes. Would Obama have done the same thing, given the same conditions? Hard to say. Trump's one advantage is that he's not hide-bound by training and knowledge. In other words, it sometimes takes a dunderhead to see the obvious.

Lest this sound like a praise fest, trust me, I have no illusions about this president. With Bolton and Pompeo at his side, he's probably doing this to free us up for a war with Iran. We're already helping Saudi and the UAE pound the living shit out of Yemen. So, eyes open, this is one good thing in a sea of troubles, and we should encourage our compatriots to see both the benefits and the risks. In other words, tell Democrats, liberal talking heads, etc., not to take the other side just because it's Trump. War in Korea would be an unmitigated disaster - anything that ends that threat is a good thing.

luv u,

jp