Rationing and Abundance

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Thanksgiving and related observations have been a running theme this week.  Thanksgiving reminds us of how much abundance we truly have.  It’s hard not to recognize when there are tables full of fattening, succulent dishes, enough to rival the feasts of medieval kings.

In spite of that marvelous abundance, however, rationing is still very much a reality.  The inescapable fact of economics—indeed, the whole purpose of the field—is that there are only so many resources to go around, and societies struggle to figure out how best to allocate those resources.

This problem is particularly true when it comes to our most valuable resource:  time.

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Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas‘s time—an ever-expanding season that stretches into September—has finally arrived.  Today is Black Friday, the consumerist threshold that formally inaugurates the Christmas (shopping) season.

Black Friday, much like the holiday season it ushers in, has slowly stretched beyond its one-day window.  First, the expansion went into Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday.  Next came Giving Tuesday—a bit of charitable giving to close out the mad dash for savings.  Once you’ve spent all of your money in big box stores on Friday, at the dying mom and pop joint in your town, and everything else on Amazon on Monday, whatever is left goes to the United Way.

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TBT^2: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Dang, it’s been another year already.  Yikes!  Last year I wrote about the updates since the tragic weekend before Thanksgiving 2017.  The year after my fall was eventful, as I detail below (my commentary on the original post from the old website is in italics).

Looking back, 2019 has been pretty solid, too.  I’ve been a bit morose in a few posts lately, but the beauty of Thanksgiving is it helps clarify the mind—we’re told to focus on what we’re thankful for, and it seems to work.

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Giving Thanks (and a Sales Pitch)

Thanksgiving Break starts today!  For those of you that don’t work in education, here’s hoping you can enjoy some time off tomorrow and Friday.

I have some exciting, timely news:  my SubscribeStar page hit five subscribers yesterday!  That’s a huge deal, because SubscribeStar requires their “Stars” to have five subscribers before subscriptions automatically renew on a monthly basis.  So, a BIG “Thank You” to my five plucky subscribers.

For those of you interested in subscribing, here’s my Thanksgiving pitcheach Saturday, I post a fresh post for $1/month and up subscribers.  It’s an insanely good value—the price of a large specialty pizza per year—and I write some juicy stuff that I can’t put on the main site.

If you want to get generous and go for $5/month, I’ve recently launched “Sunday Doodles.”  I throw up a couple of my wacky, absurd, grotesque doodles each Sunday, usually with a brief explanation about when/where I doodled them.  Here’s a sample:

Sunday Doodles III, 24 November 2019 - Thanksgiving!.jpg

The SubscribeStar page includes around thirty-five posts at present, with probably thirty of those being essays.  Like this blog, I use that page to write about all kinds of topics, including:

…and, of course, candy apples.

Also, every Fourth of July week is MAGAWeek, which is a week of exclusives only for subscribers.

Now that I’ve turned giving thanks into a lurid bid for your hard-earned cash, let me close by saying that I am, indeed, truly thankful to all of my readers.  Blogging daily this past year has been a challenge at times, but it’s also been a blast.  I’m incredibly thankful for those of you who read the site, and for the great new blogosphere buddies I’ve met along the way.

Thank you for your support, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

—TPP

Cybertruck

Last week, troubled electric automaker Tesla announced Elon Musk’s latest brainchild, the Cybertruck.  The Cybertruck—the name of which I am sure is meant to evoke the dystopian sci-fi genre cyperpunk—features a rolled steel and titanium exoskeleton that looks like a Nintendo 64 polygonal rendering of an automobile.

It’s unorthodox design aside, I honestly can’t make up my mind on whether or not I like this vehicle.  Last week I lamented the new electric Mustang, not because it is electric, but because it’s a hatchback.  The title of that piece was “New Mustang is a Sign of the Times,” and my point was that everything awesome seems to be deteriorating.

Does the Tesla Cybertruck fit that trend?  Is it a horrible monstrosity?  Or is it a daringly original vehicle?

I’m not sure.

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Thanksgiving Week!

It’s Thanksgiving Week!  November is flying by; Halloween Week (and Halloween!) seem like yesterday.  Yesterday was a crisp, autumnal day, a brief respite of warmth before cold weather returned to South Carolina this morning.

As a teacher, one of my favorite “weeks” of the school year is this one.  I put “weeks” in quotation marks because, from a teaching perspective, this isn’t truly a “week,” or even a “short week” (four days, such as the Labor Day holiday early in the academic year).  Instead, it’s two days of either cramming in tests and material, or of laconically drifting into the glorious Thanksgiving Break.

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Lazy Sunday XXXVII: Best of the Reblogs, Part II

Thanksgiving is almost here!  Regular readers will by now know of my love for Halloween, which is second only to Christmas in my heart.  But Thanksgiving is definitely up there in the Top Five, at least—sandwiched neatly between the former two, a brief taste of the Christmas togetherness and relaxation to come.

This week’s Lazy Sunday continues with some of my favorite reblogged posts.  As I wrote last week, one of the simple joys of blogging is making friends with other bloggers.  Maybe one day we can all meet up at some kind of blogging convention.

This week’s reblogs feature two from Practically Historical, a blog dedicated to historical topics, mostly American History.  The other is from Quintus Curtius, a classicist and world traveler (not to mention a former Marine) who writes beautifully about forgotten chunks of the distant past.  He revives the old tradition of the great antiquarians, much to our benefit.

  • Reblog: Lincoln and Civil Liberties” – This post is an examination of Lincoln’s decision to arrest pro-secessionist legislators in Maryland, in order to prevent the State from seceding from the Union.  He examines John Merryman, for whom the case Ex Parte Merryman is named, and notes Merryman was actively engaged in leading an armed militia in Maryland against federal authority.  Yikes!
  • Reblog: Quintus Curtius, ‘On Living Near the Ocean’” – This essay on the ocean really struck a chord with me.  Quintus Curtius is a strong writer, and his examination of the ways that people respond to living near the water are fascinating.  On the one hand, people enjoy the vigorous health of the salt air and good seafood, but maritime towns tend to be breeding grounds for shabbiness and dingy criminality (see also:  Myrtle Beach).  A worthy read.
  • Reblog: Practically Historical on the Electoral College” – Gordon Sheaffer of Practically Historical delivers again with an excellent examination and defense of the Electoral College.  He has a great takedown for the anti-EC crowd, who argue that individual votes are all that matter:  he argues that we should think of the EC like a series of baseball games.  Yes, the highest score wins individual games, but the wins are what matter.  A team can win ten games by one run each, while another team can win nine games by ten runs each; what matters are the wins, not the overall scoring.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the fleeting glory of your weekend, and enjoy the short workweek!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Shrinkflation

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

When Americans experience a sense that the world we live in is not what it should be, we’re often scolded for not being thankful for all of our material abundance.  Indeed, we are extremely blessed to live in an age with plenty of food, infrastructure, and novelties, and we accordingly enjoy a standard of living beyond the wildest dreams of most of our forebears.

That said, there’s a nagging sense that, for all that abundance, things are amiss.  There’s a strong tug of to that undercurrent among conservatives today.  Material abundance is great, but it hasn’t addressed deeper moral problems or battles in the culture wars, because those problems aren’t materialist in nature—they can’t be.

Even within the plane of the material world, things seem a bit off.  That was the crux of my post about the new Mustang, a redesign so beyond the scope of the name “Mustang” that it’s ludicrous to call it as such.  Everywhere we look, there seems to be disintegration and decay—of value, of standards, even of size.

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Phone it in Friday V: Ode to Friday Evenings (and Weekends)

I don’t know what it is about Fridays that seem to delay my daily posts.  It happens on Saturdays, too, especially if I’m out of town, but it seems I keep getting behind on Fridays.

It’s likely because my Thursdays are usually slammed.  Not only am I teaching a heavy course load at my day job, I also have three private music students about twice a month on Thursdays.  I then head to a local coffee shop for their weekly open mic, an institution for musicians and music-lovers in my region’s scene.  By the time I got home last night, I was worn out, and didn’t have two spare neurons to rub together.

Thus the profusion of “Phone it in Friday” pheatures—er, uh, features—I’ve been writing of late (here’s the original, and II, III, and IV).  But this edition will take on whole new dimensions of self-reference:  it’s a “Phone it in Friday” about Friday itself.

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