The Tyranny of Experts

A couple of years ago, the bees were dying.  Readers may recall the alarmist news coverage:  soon, we were told, the mass extinction of our buzzy little pollinators would destroy agriculture globally, resulting in widespread famines.  We must save the bees!

Meanwhile, I can’t walk to my car without fat, furry bees hovering around, ensuring the giant Sasquatch before them is just getting into his sensible subcompact hatchback, and not coming for their precious hive.  My yard is a dream for bees (especially before I got the winter weeds mowed up)—they particularly love the azalea bushes—and they seem to be doing fine.

The point is, had you listened to the expert apiarists, you’d think that civilization itself rested on the gossamer wings of black-and-yellow insects.  Sure, there probably is a problem with bee populations declining due to exposure to advance insecticides.  But the intense focus of apiarists in their field blinded them to other considerations.  They saw bee populations declining, and nothing else.

Experts know their fields so well, at times they can’t see the hive for the bees.  The dire prophecies of global bee deaths and the resulting famines never came, and we didn’t declare a national emergency over the decline in bee populations because there are a million other priorities.  We didn’t shut down industrial-scale agriculture to save the bees from insecticide, because to do so would result in millions of lost human lives.  The bees would have to figure it out on their own (indeed, as bee populations fell, beekeepers turned a tidy profit renting their hives to farmers, and that incentive encouraged the cultivation of more bees).

You can see where I’m going with this extended bee metaphor.  In the current coronavirus pandemic, we’ve leaned so heavily on the advice of medical professionals, we’re not considering the broader trade-offs.  The old expression “the cure is worse than the disease” is particularly apt here:  while social distancing and government-sanctioned “shelter-in-place” orders will surely slow the spread of infection and save lives, they will also result in massive economic destruction.

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Yet Another Monday Morning Appeal

If you don’t want to read all of this post and just want to get the point where you give me your money via my SubscribeStar Page, here is the TL;DR pre-summary of the post below:

  • For $1/month, you get exclusive posts every Saturday.
  • For $3/month, you get the exclusive Saturday posts, and one edition of Sunday Doodles each month.
  • For $5/month, you get exclusive Saturday posts and Sunday Doodles every Sunday, as well as random exclusive content.
  • You can also subscribe at $10/month or, if you’re just looking to give me money, $50/month.  I’ll probably come wash your car (or call you and talk politics and culture) for that much.  Yeesh!

Last week I made another appeal for subscribers to my SubscribeStar Page.  Not wanting to write about the coronavirusagain—I decided to break my self-imposed “once-every-six-months” rule to bring you another shameless appeal for your support, because it didn’t work last week.

To sweeten the pot, I’m going to include some of the whimsical doodles that, up to this point, only $5 or higher subscribers can view.  These are my Sunday Doodle posts, of which there are currently twenty-two editions.

Here is a sample of the instantly classic artwork you’re missing:

To make it even more compelling, I’ve introduced a new $3 tier, “Fried Bologna.”  At that level, you’ll get all the great SubscribeStar Saturday posts of the $1 level, plus one monthly edition of Sunday Doodles (along with the $5 subscribers).

To recap:

  • For $1/month, you get exclusive posts every Saturday.
  • For $3/month, you get the exclusive Saturday posts, and one edition of Sunday Doodles each month.
  • For $5/month, you get exclusive Saturday posts and Sunday Doodles every Sunday, as well as random exclusive content.
  • You can also subscribe at $10/month or, if you’re just looking to give me money, $50/month.

These are tough times, so any support you can muster is appreciated.  If you are already a subscriber, thank you so much, and please send forward this post to friends and family that might be interested.  If not, please consider subscribing—even $1/month helps immensely.

Thank you again, and have a wonderful Monday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday LVI: Movies

If you want to find these flicks on RedBox, use my referral link; you get some bonus points, and so do I!  Link is here:  https://www.redbox.com/refersignup?referrer=50892857667272)

As I wrote in the lengthy preamble to yesterday’s SubscribeStar Saturday post, in The Age of The Virus, we’re all being asked to make a sacrifice befitting our decadent age:  stay home and watch movies.  With that in mind, I thought this Sunday’s Lazy Sunday should look back at some of my movie reviews, which are fairly thin on the ground.

I’m not a professional movie critic—I like what I like—so take these reviews with a grain of salt.  My dad has a system for finding movies he enjoys:  if the average rating is around three stars (out of five), it’s going to be good.  After all, what critics look for in films is often quite different than what the average movie-goer looks for, which explains why you’ve often never heard of the annual Oscar Winner for Best Picture.

With that, here are my posts (at least, the ones that I could find) about movies:

  • TBT: Transformers 2: Conservatives in Disguise?” – I wrote this review way back in the TPP 1.0 era, when the blog first began on Blogger/Blogspot.  The Transformers series now is a sell-out to Chinese audiences, but the plot of this second Transformers film highlighted the inefficiency of government bureaucracy, filled as it is with bean-counting busybodies who miss the big picture.  My preamble in the TBT version from last March draws a parallel to the EPA official in Ghostbusters (probably my favorite movie of all time, by the way), whose smarmy, toadying officiousness results in an apocalyptic outbreak of spooky apparitions in Manhattan.
  • Slammed Holy Saturday: Captain Marvel” – It’s apostasy in conservative circles to say so now, but I actually enjoyed Captain Marvel when I saw it last year (also, with The Virus shutting everything down, I pretty much forgot that today is Palm Sunday—that’s the real apostasy).  Of course, what I didn’t like was the pandering “you go GRRRRRRLLLLLL!”-ism of the film, which went so far as to make the alleged titular hero into an unlikable feminist.  Even the other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t like her!  But it was still a fun distraction, which is really what these superhero flicks are supposed to be.  It’s a shame they stained it with a bunch of SJW clap-trap.
  • They Live: Analysis and Review” – I love John Carpenter.  I love the range of his films, and I love that he writes synthy, electric guitar-driven soundtracks.  This flick in particular has become a bit of a meme for the Dissident Right, as the main character finds a pair of sunglasses that expose that huge chunks of the population are actually aliens, and that humans are in cahoots with these would-be invaders.  It’s a sharp critique of mindless consumerism, globalism, and the elites who push both.  WATCH IT!
  • Milo on Generation Joker” – If I love John Carpenter, I adore Milo Yiannopoulos, the cheeky, flamboyant British Greek with a penchant for mischief.  Little wonder, then, that Milo loved The Joker.  For a super villain movie, it paints a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of its subject, with parallels to the frustration of young men in our society today.  It’s another must-see; the They Live of the 2020s.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Hammer Films” – Yesterday’s SubscribeStar Saturday post, in which I offer up brief summaries and review of five films from Hammer Films, the famous British film company known for reviving classic horror characters from nineteenth-century literature.  Hammer movies are iconic for their gratuitous subject matter and bright, vivid colors (a bit idiosyncratic for horror flicks, but it works).  These movies won’t scare you, probably, but they are great fun.

That’s it for this Lazy Sunday!  Do your civic duty and cuddle up with a bucket of popcorn and these movies (I’m sure you can stream most of them on RedBox).

Enjoy!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Hammer Films

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

The Age of the Virus has demanded a unique sacrifice of all us, one that is fitting for our reduced age.  Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers stormed the beaches of Normandy and fought in the jungles of Iwo Jima.  They and their parents endured the Great Depression (we may be facing a similar struggle).  They sacrificed in blood, sweat, and toil.

All The Virus demands of us—the great sacrifice we all must make, of which we will tell our grandchildren, when they ask about the plague—is that we stay at home and watch movies.

It’s amusing.  Commentators will often quip that Americans today couldn’t make the sacrifices of the so-called “Greatest Generation.”  God surely has a sense of humor, for the sacrifices we’re asked to make are ones in which Americans are well-trained:  sit around, eat junk food, don’t visit other people, and veg out in front of the tube.

To that end, I’ve been engaged in my civic duty this week, as I’ve watched nine films.  Four are from the Boris Karloff & Bela Lugosi 4-Movie Horror Collection, which I will write about in more detail another time (it’s only $10, and I highly recommend picking it up for The Black Cat alone—and the other films on it are good, too).

But the focus of this SubscribeStar Saturday will be another collection of B-horror flicks:  the Hammer Films Collection.  No, it’s not the Ultimate Hammer Collection, which I thought I didn’t know existed, but it turns out it’s on my Amazon wish list!).  But it does have five excellent, macabre films (I also didn’t realize that my Hammer Films Collection is merely the first volume; Volume II is now on my Amazon wish list for future purchase).

So, prepare yourself for my review of The Two Faces of Dr. JekyllStop Me Before I Kill!Scream of Fear!The Gorgon, and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

The Age of The Virus is unprecedented.  Well, not entirely—major plagues and pandemics have swept the world before.  What’s unprecedented this time is the wholesale closure of the most commerce, along with rigid governmental and social admonitions to “social distance” and “shelter-in-place.”  Tin-pot municipal tyrants and State governors are engaged in a virtue-signalling race to see who can curtail liberties more rapidly and completely.

Pointing out this reality opens one to social scorn.  It’s amusing—and a bit frightening—to see the earnestness with which some Americans cling to their new mantras, the articles of faith handed down from the CDC and various government apparatchiks.  Even as our knowledge of The Virus seems to change daily, these public health acolytes cling to the every pronouncement from so-called “experts.”

Please don’t misunderstand me.  Yes, we should be vigilant about washing our hands and avoiding the accidental infection of one another, especially the elderly.

What concerns me is how quickly so many of us have been willing to accept greater degrees of control over our lives in the name of combating an invisible threat.  But now it feels like we’re living in the episode of Sliders called “Fever,” in which a totalitarian CDC cracks down on Los Angeles because, in that universe, penicillin was never discovered.

We’re not at Sliders levels—yet—but with that acquiescence has come an expansion of government power at nearly every level. I am not a libertarian, and I fully expect a robust federal response to a difficult international situation (remember, The Virus came from CHI-NA).  But that doesn’t mean local, State, or even federal authorities can simply hand-wave away the Constitution.

The Framers surely knew disease and death in their time.  When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, there was no capability for directing society with relative efficiency; even if there were, though, they would not have wanted to use it to suspend liberties.  The Framers surely knew there would be plagues and sickness in the United States, yet they included no clause such as “in the event of widespread sickness, these Articles contained heretofore in are, and of right to be, suspended until such time as the Congress shall deem suitable for public safety and the common welfare.”

Yet we see officials at the lowest levels of government telling people not just to stay home, but threatening to shut down churches and other assemblies.  Doesn’t that violate the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion and freedom of assembly?  Again, the prudent approach is for churches to accommodate the health of their congregants with remote services or other workarounds, but shouldn’t they be allowed to hold traditional services if they so choose?

The critics and medical scolds by now are howling with rage.  “What do these gossamer rights mean when we’re dead?”  Is that all anyone cares about?  What happened to Patrick Henry’s fiery cry of “Give me liberty, or give me death?”  What’s worse:  death from worshiping the Lord, or life in a soulless, gutless, freedom-less world?

I’m not alone in my assessment here.  Bill Whittle ripped into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week, arguing that His Dishonor’s promise to shut down churches that continue to congregate would represent a high-handed assault on the First Amendment.  Even Whittle’s colleague Scott Ott thought Whittle’s defense of the Constitution was a bit rich, basically arguing that the Constitution can take a break during this outbreak.

I’m perceiving similarly expedient arguments among others on the Right.  It’s disgusting how many folks on our side are running like slavering dogs to lap up the crumbs of authoritarianism.  Whittle in the video above makes the compelling point that the Constitution functionally means nothing if any government official at any level can simply ignore its protections.  He also correctly points out that these rights are God-given, part of our very human nature.  No government can legitimately deprive us of them.

Another one of the saner voices is RazörFist, who also sees a great deal of big government chicanery in this pandemic (warning, Razör’s videos often contain strong language):

Z Man has also expressed skepticism about The Virus—or, at least, our draconian responses to it—and has received his share of scorn and dismissal.  But in his post Wednesday, “Fermi’s Paradox,” he made an interesting allusion to E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909.  That short story (which I highly recommend you read—it has the same chilling effect as Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”) details a world in which humanity exists in a state of mindless, perpetual comfort, its every need attended to by The Machine.

In the story, humans have become so accustomed to cloistering in their little cells that they abhor face-to-face interaction, instead communicating via blue discs across great distances.  They are so dependent upon The Machine, they come to worship it (an interesting development, as their society has “advanced” beyond the “superstition” of religious belief—another subtle point from Forster).  They only travel on rare occasions, and avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

Eventually, The Machine deteriorates, with disastrous results; I will likely write about the story in more detail next week.  For our purposes, it sounds eerily like our current society:  shelter-in-place, “Stay at Home” (as digital signs on the Interstate tell me, implicitly scolding me for being on the highway), watch Netflix, #AloneTogether, etc., etc.—we’re told to be comfortable and to crave safety and comfort above all else.  They are the highest goods.

We’re through the looking glass here.  I’ve been pessimistic that we’re even living under the Constitution anymore, especially after the intelligence agencies attempted to overthrow a sitting President.  Vestiges and scraps of it still reign, but they seem to be the exception.  And most Americans don’t seem to care, so long as they can watch TV, the WiFi is working, and there is pizza.

We’re no longer the Roman Republic, but we’re not the Roman Empire in the 5th century, either.  We’re more like the Roman Empire in the 2nd or 3rd centuries:  coasting along on the remnants of a functioning system, with a play-acting Congress shadowing the motions of republicanism.

I hope I’m wrong.  Regardless, wash your hands.

TBT: April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective

Last year marked the tenth anniversary of my unceremonious lay-off/non-renewal of my teaching contract.  It was the height of the Great Recession, and jobs were lean on the ground.  “Entry-level” positions called four a four-year degree and two-year’s (minimum) experience, yet holding an advanced degree was considered “overeducated” and could potentially disqualify an applicant for work.

It was the worst of all situations for a young man barely out of graduate school and just one year into his teaching career.  I was lucky, though, to have a good dad with a background in human resources and local government, who helped me find a decent job with the City of Sumter.  I was only out of work maybe three months, and had parents who were able and willing to support me during that period.

Even then, I was anxious to get out on my own again, not because I was chafing under my parents, but because I was keenly aware I was not being a man.  Instead of earning my own way in the world at twenty-four, I was living off the generosity of my parents.  That’s one of the myriad ways in which an economic downturn can take a spiritual toll on a young man.

Now it appears we’re on the precipice of another major economic catastrophe, this time thanks to the coronavirus and the stringent public health measures taken to slow its inexorable spread.  Things were really started to rev up again.  Even though the economic recovery began even as early as 2009, it didn’t feel like we were in a recovery until around 2017.  Trump’s election didn’t just buoy the stock market; it brought a sense of renewal, hope, and optimism to the United States.

Americans, especially younger Americans, don’t remember how bad the Great Recession was.  I feel for young college students who are just about to enter the workforce—I was there, too, not long ago.  I wish you could have enjoyed at least a few years of the good life.

On the plus side, we will get through this downturn, although I suspect it’s going to be far worse than the Great Recession.  We’ve never tried shutting off the entire economy before, then plugging it back in two weeks—or maybe a month, or three months—later.  Two weeks we may have seen things roaring back; maybe we will after a month.

But I can’t conceive of a rapid return to normality if it stretches much longer than that.  Small businesses are going to go under once they burn through their cash reserves.  The restaurant industry, along with the hundreds of thousands of waiters, cooks, busboys, hostesses, etc., it employs, is going to be changed for a long time.  That’s just one example among many.

I’m already feeling the effects on my private lesson business, which was booming before The Virus (although it was down a bit from its 2019 peak).  Right before The Virus hit, I had six consistent students at $30 per lesson, per week.  That’s not bad for supplemental income (at my peak, I had ten students, one for a $45 lesson, though I was only charging $25/lesson at that point).  Most of those cancellations are for the duration of The Virus, but once the plague has passed, the damaged economy will remain.  Some of those students will resume, but belt-tightening budgets are going to eliminate piano lessons fairly quickly, if I had to guess.

That said, I am blessed to have a steady job now, and will hopefully avoid any repeats of 1 April 2019.  The Great Recession left a mark on me, and it’s made me more prepared for this next downturn.

With that, here is 2019’s “April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective“:

Today is April 1, 2019, popularly known as April Fool’s Day.  It’s a day for good-natured pranking and mirthful fun, a bit like a poor man’s Halloween.

This April Fool’s Day holds a particular resonance for me, however.  It was ten years ago today that, in the midst of the Great Recession, I lost my job.

Technically, my teaching contract was not renewed.  I still had an obligation to finish out the year, which I did as best I could, but I would not be coming back.

I remember it vividly:  my school’s former headmaster told me he wanted to speak with me.  I went into his office, and he told me a few things:  the school was consolidating my classes into fewer sections; the school desperately needed money (the enrollment was around ninety-five kids, and things were so tight they needed the $28,000 going towards my salary); and the economy was not conducive to private school fundraising and tuition.

He told me that, as I’d studied history (he, too, was a history teacher), I knew how these kinds of economic downturns went.  I thought he was mentioning this as a bit of cold comfort, a sort of, “don’t worry, it won’t last long, a[nd] you’ll be okay.”  Instead, he continued, saying, “this thing could last an entire decade!”  Yikes!  Way to kick a man when he’s down.

I knew (or, at least, I hoped—the day isn’t over yet!) that I’d never have the opportunity, grim as it was, again, so I said, “Wait a minute—this isn’t just some elaborate April Fool’s joke, is it?”  He said, stone-faced, “I wish it were.”

So, there I was, facing imminent unemployment in the worst job market since the Great Depression, with only one year of teaching under my belt and a Master’s degree in United States Trivia.

We forget, living in the wonderful Trump economy, how hard it was back then.  Jobs were not to be found.  Remember going to gas stations, and people would start polishing your hubcaps against your will so they could sell you the cleaner?  That’s how bad it was—people were hawking hubcap polisher at rural gas stations to try to make ends meet.  “Entry level” jobs required two years of experience, at minimum, which no one fresh out of college plausibly had (unless they’d wisely done some kind of internship or work study).

Fortunately, with some help and coaching from my dad, I landed a job at the City of Sumter, after only three months of formal joblessness.  I was quite fortunate.  I managed the Sumter Opera House, where I learned to run live lights and sound.  I also met some interesting people, including the comedian Gallagher (that used to be an impressive anecdote, but now few people under thirty know who Gallagher is; it’s a shame).  He was an odd bird, which isn’t that surprising, given he made a career out of smashing fruits with a sledgehammer.

That job turned into a grind—remember, if you had a job, you had to do pretty much anything your employer demanded, lest you face termination—but I learned a great deal, and it landed me back at my old teaching gig, under a new headmaster, in 2011.

That experience—being jobless in the Great Recession—left an enduring mark on me.  My first year teaching, I definitely phoned it in.  I worked hard on lectures, of course, but beyond a little club for musicians, I didn’t do much extra.

My first year back in the classroom, in 2011, was completely different.  I was teaching World History, Government, Economics, History of American Popular Music (a course I created), and AP US History.  I had to do prep for all of them.

I was astonished how much American history I’d forgotten since high school and college (a pro-tip:  studying American history in graduate school is more about reading overly-detailed monographs about obscure bits of the story of America; when I took my exams to finish my Master’s, I essentially used information I learned in my eleventh-grade AP US History class).  I would spend hours on Sunday afternoons at the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina writing up lesson plans.

Then, I became the de facto sound guy for school events after a talented tech kid graduated (I named an award after him, which I give to students who assist with our concerts and plays on the tech end).  It’s the ultimate in job security—no one else knows how to do it—but it’s also a major obligation—no one else knows how to do it.

Since then, I’ve grown a decent side hustle teaching private music lessons.  I also teach courses at a local technical college, mostly online, but some face-to-face.  In 2014, I taught Monday-Wednesday evenings, first from 6-7:15, then from 9-10:15 PM.  I’d come home, exhausted, and fall asleep in my recliner.  Thursdays felt like Saturdays because, even though I still had two days at the high school, it was the longest possible point before a grueling sixteen hour Monday rolled around.

I save constantly for retirement—I make the legal annual maximum contributions to my IRA, 403(b), and HSA—and spend very little money.  I still drive the same Dodge Caravan that I’ve had since 2006.  I will occasionally splurge and buy digital piano, but my saxophones are falling apart (literally—my pawn shop alto sax has a key falling off).  I occasionally worry that, on that glorious day when I do retire, I won’t know what to do with myself if I’m not working.

All that said, I have done everything possible to position myself against another recession, bad labor market, etc.  April 1, 2009, seems now like a distant memory, but it could all come back.  I’m reminded of The Simpsons episode where some repo men are repossessing property from a failed Dot Com start-up.  One of them says, “It’s a golden age for the repo business—one which will never end!” as he lights a cigar with a $100 bill.

It’s easy to fall into that mindset.  I’m optimistic for the future, but I’ll never take prosperity or security for granted again.  Constant hustling—booking new gigs, picking up more students, getting more classes, working maintenance on the weekends, leading summer camps, collecting songwriter and publishing royalties—is what it takes.

Richard Weaver in the Age of The Virus

In the Age of The Virus, we’re beginning to reevaluate the way we live.  I’ve written quite a bit about distance learning, and photog has a piece up on his blog predicting a larger shift to remote work.  That transition would threaten micromanaging middle managers everywhere, though, and one doesn’t become a micromanaging middle manager without a knack of occupational self-preservation.

I’ve also been interested in the potential cultural impact.  Already there seems to be a minor revival in interest in gardening.  Part of that is prudent:  we need to have some food to fall back on should the supply chains face further disruption.

But I also suspect some of it is spiritual.  Modern man has become divorced from his roots in the soil—in Creation.  Modernity has liberated us from the constant fear of want, but that liberation came with a price:  we traded the liberty of the soil for the chains of comfort.  Growing a little vegetable garden, however meager, is a way to reconnect with the land, and with the beauty of God’s Creation.

Read More »

The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973

Yesterday morning over at the blog Nebraska Energy Observer, NEO’s in-house guest writer, Audre Meyers, wrote a short, fun piece about prepping, “The Neo made me do it!,” in which she extolled the virtues of preparing ahead of time for disasters, rather then getting caught up in the frenzied mobs of panicked shoppers.  She wrote about some various and sundry items she needed to top off, including the increasingly-precious toilet paper, because “there are some things I simply refuse to do without!”

In reply, commenter “Scoop” referenced a similar toilet paper shortage in 1973 (and provided a handy link to a piece about the scare in a follow-up comment).  There’s even a documentary about it!

With the obligatory hat-tips squared away, let’s dive into this early 1970s TP shortage—one that mirrors our own mania for clean bums.  What is it about toilet paper—and the threat that it will disappear—that drives Americans to hysterics?

Read More »

Another Monday Morning Appeal

This post is a shameless but sincere appeal for support.  If you would like to support my work, consider subscribing to my SubscribeStar page.  Your subscription of $1/month or more grants you access to exclusive content every Saturday, including annual #MAGAWeek posts during the July Fourth week.  For just $5/month, you also get access to Sunday Doodles, my collection of bizarre, fun, and humorous doodles, as well as other surprise content.

If you’ve received any value from my scribblings, I would very much appreciate your support.  Belts are tightening with the rise of The Virus, so independent creators need your support now more than ever.  Thank you to those of you who are current subscribers.  If you’ve enjoyed your subscription, please share this post or my SubscribeStar page with other interested readers.

A little over six months ago, I wrote a “Monday Morning Appeal,” asking readers to pitch in a buck or two to help with the site.  As of this morning, I’m up to six subscribers to my SubscribeStar page, four at $1/month the level, and two at $5/month the level.

The blog is entering its sixty-fifth week of daily posts (I believe this morning’s appeal will mark the 456th consecutive daily entry).  I’m hoping to continue to with that daily pace, and to increase the amount of exclusive content on my SubscribeStar page.

As my school has transitioned to distance learning, I’m churning out video lectures at an astonishing rate.  I will soon begin uploading lectures of interest for $5/month subscribers.  That will include my survey-style overview of the Second World War, which includes five lectures and nearly three hours of content.  I also have two lectures on the New Deal.

The value of your subscription increases each week, as more content gets added.  This transition has also forced me to figure out how to record video and audio more efficiently, so the long-planned, never-delivered Portly Podcast could be in the works soon.

We may be looking at tough times ahead, and every dollar counts.  I appreciate every subscriber.  For the price of a large pizza over the course of a year ($12), you can support my work with $1/month.  Buy one fewer Cokes at the gas station each month, and you’re covered!

For the price of a synthetic oil change ($60), you can support the blog with $5/month.  Drop one visit to the People’s Republic of Starbucks and every month, and you can support quality content from a true American patriot.

If you’re feeling really generous, you can subscribe at the $10/month level, or the truly ludicrous $50/month level.  At this point, I’m still dreaming up perks for those levels, but if you’re just looking to be super generous, hey, I’ll take it.

Again, thank you to all of my readers, subscribers and non-subscribers alike, for your support.  Your comments and feedback are always welcome.  Keep sharing my stuff!

Happy Monday!

—TPP