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Friday, June 22, 2018

Flutter and wow.

Are two wells better than one? Depends on how thirsty you are. Oh ... you're talking about CASSETTE recorders. Right, well ... I have no position on that. No, wait ... play one tape at a time, that's my position. The Joe has spoken!

Caught me in the middle of a little philosophical discussion with one of Big Green's longest standing advisors, Antimatter Lincoln (or Anti-Lincoln, for short). Why he's been standing so long, I don't know. I think it's because when he was a kid he saw the audio animatronic Lincoln try to sit down and fall on his robot ass. (The other presidents assembled on stage nodded approvingly as the techs carried Abe away.) In any case, we're hashing over the fine points of obsolete technologies, particularly in the audio sphere. (Hey ... there's a band name for you. Audiosphere. No? Okay, then.)

My little summertime project is well underway. As I mentioned some time back, I have set myself to building a digital archive of most if not all of our recordings of original songs dating back to the days of the dinosaurs. (Or the days of Dinah Shore ... whichever comes first.) Anyhow, I am pulling old recordings from our pile of audio cassettes, and it's kind of strange. They range in audio quality from something approaching early wire recordings to cheap basement demos, with a few standouts that have some production values. Taken as a whole, it's a musical taxonomy of the thing called Big Green, which was born the day Matt recorded "Sweet Treason" back in 1984 and has slouched sightlessly toward the horizon ever since.

I THINK it goes a little something like this ...There were songs before Big Green, of course, and I've been digging through those as well. Matt started recording pretty much as soon as he could tell one end of a guitar from the other. Both he and I were always fascinated by tape recorders and other gear. We had a shrimpy little portable monaural reel-to-reel machine when we were kids, about the size of a steno pad, which we would use to record hastily contrived audio plays, jokes, and other bullshit. Matt recorded his first songs on an old SONY stereo reel-to-reel that kind of half worked. I remember working out a method for overdubbing, using a digital delay - you could arm one of the two channels for recording, run the playback of the other channel through the delay, and it would line up pretty closely. Then came the four-track cassette portastudio.

What will the final product of this be? Hell knows. I picture this big online jukebox where you can play any Big Green song you like. It's got flashing lights and an ashtray. That's as far as I've gotten.

Hostage crisis.

It took more than a week of growing pressure, but it appears Trump has blinked on the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border. That hasn't stopped them from using these people as hostages in an effort to pass draconian revisions to the country's immigration laws. More than 2,300 minors, including many under 5 years old, remain in detention facilities across the country, under separate administrative jurisdiction than the entities that are holding their immigrant parents. Very little has changed, in effect, for these families that have been dismembered by this bigoted administration, acting out the fever-dreams of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and would-be school shooter Steven Miller (a.k.a. worst speechwriter in the history of the profession) in an effort to seem "tough" on those dark foreigners their constituents love to hate.

Miller, pictured here after drinking a tall glass of children's tears.As reported by Chris Hayes and commented on by the folks at The Majority Report, more than 90% of the adults with children caught crossing the border are being charged with a federal misdemeanor. So for a "crime" equivalent in the federal government's eyes to transporting water hyacinths (title 18, section 46) or improperly using the image of Smokey the Bear (section 711), you can have your children taken away. That sounds fair, right? Still, to hear many Republican legislators or garden-variety Trump supporters describe it, a substantial number of these people are either (1) human traffickers posing as families, or (2) crisis actors deliberately trying to make Trump look bad. The first one is hilarious. In what world does a human trafficker bring just one kid across the border, let alone in a manner likely to get them arrested? Pretty bad business model for someone trying to profit off of human misery. (Claim #2 is just too ridiculous to comment on.)

My substandard Congressional representative, the fragrant Claudia Tenney, made a statement about this matter that parrots the administration, right down to the invocation of MS13, a Los Angeles-born gang whose terror is forcing many of the people she denounces into refugee status in the first place. No surprises there. For Trump and his GOP allies, like Tenney, this is really just a test of zero-tolerance policy moving forward. If we swallow this, what else can they put on our plates? It doesn't require a lot of imagination to guess where they might go next. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, give or take a few hundred thousand. If Trump and company choose to go "zero-tolerance" on them, we will end up with that "deportation force" he was threatening to establish during the campaign. Very likely, this is just the beginning, particularly as the White House is ranging around for ways to light a fire under their base in advance of the mid-term elections.

Collectively (and individually), we have to decide how much of this thuggish behavior we're willing to tolerate before we ALL stand in the street. Stay tuned.

luv u,

jp