SubscribeStar Saturday: Family Fun Time

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.

I’ve just gotten back from one final, final hurrah with the family, this time to celebrate my niece’s fifth birthday, which is officially this Sunday.  In The Age of The Virus, it was one of the smaller birthday shindigs, but still a great deal of fun (pizza and wings, along with good company, certainly help).

Earlier in the week, my older brother—the other uncle on my niece and nephews’ dad’s side of the family—took the two older kiddos to Chuck E. Cheese, where—as children of the 1990s will remember—“a kid can be a kid.”  That, too, was an adventure, and a bit different than my own, vanishingly rare childhood visits to the Mecca of Cheese and Arcade Games.

Finally, this post will look at one of the more intriguingly interactive gifts my niece received:  the LEGO Mario playsets.  She received the starter kit and several expansions, all of which the Mario figurine—which syncs with a LEGO Mario app on your cellphone via Bluetooth—can interact with in various ways.  You can build your own courses, fighting enemies and collecting coins along the way to the finishing flagpole.  It’s great fun.

The bulk of this post will be slightly delayed, as I’ve been having so much family fun time, I haven’t been able to write until nearly 9:30 PM!  I’m also quite exhausted from aforementioned family fun time, so writing a one-thousand-word essay isn’t in the cards tonight.

The long-awaited post about my trip to Universal Studios is still in the works.  I just haven’t had an opportunity to get it done.  I will hopefully have it completed soon.  My apologies for the delay.

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

Phone it in Friday XIII: Come on Get Happy

It’s been another wild Friday afternoon of funcling, so I’m resorting to phoning it in once again this evening.  I spent the morning at the doctor’s office for my annual wellness visit, got an end-of-summer-vacation haircut, and finished up my Pre-AP Music Zoom sessions.  Since then, I’ve been knee-deep in babies for the second day in a row.

While I was driving all over the Central Savannah River Area, I tuned in to Z Man’s weekly podcast, which pops Friday mornings.  The show this week is called “Happy Happy Fun Time,” in which Z Man shares a message I promoted a few weeks ago:  despair is a sin, and we have much for which we can give thanks.

Z himself can over a jaundiced, cantankerous perspective on the world, a la H.L. Mencken (whom he clearly admires).  But Z’s argument is straightforward:  if we just focus on politics, all the time, we stop being fun.  Life is for the living, and many folks on the Dissident Right tend to get so bogged down in the seeming hopelessness of the Leftist-dominated culture wars, they cease enjoying life.

NEO at Nebraska Energy Observer attributes a similar nugget of wisdom to one of his regular contributors, Audre Myers.  It’s also the guiding principle of Gavin McInnes (and, to an extent, Milo), who laments how much more fun life used to be before the Leftists sucked all of the joy out of it.  Z points out that the Left wants us to despair because their lives suck.  Their unhappiness is, to some degree, why they are Leftists in the first place.

It’s well worth setting aside an hour to listen to this episode of Z Man’s podcast, The Z Man Power Hour.  So I’m dedicating this post to just that:

Happy Friday!

—TPP

TBT: Painting

This summer was the first in probably seven years that I took off from maintenance work at school.  However, last Friday I received a call from the head of our Buildings & Grounds Department, calling me out of semi-retirement for one final score:  painting classrooms.

It was nice to get back to painting, an activity I’ve always enjoyed.  It’s a bit tedious, but I appreciate the almost immediate gratification:  I can see my progress as I go.  And today’s paints often allow for finishing a job in one coat, maybe with some minor touch-ups.

I put in seventeen hours of painting in three days, and now I’m back to funcling for one more day, this time with my niece and nephews’ other uncle pitching in (a trip to Chuck E. Cheese is in the works) before teachers report back for the new academic year.

Well, back to the kiddos.  Here’s 24 April 2019’s “Painting“:

Tonight’s post is one of those self-indulgent entries that has little bearing on what’s happening in the world today, but it’s germane to why this post is so late to arrive.

I spent the day painting in my brother’s finished basement.  He and his wife have this great living area/playroom for their kids down there, but there was a great deal of trim work that needed painting, as well as baseboards.

I spend many of my summers working maintenance at school, which usually involves painting classrooms.  There’s something about slapping a fresh coat of paint on a room that makes it look like there have been major upgrades or improvements, when really you’ve just changed the color.

Of course, everyone loves that fresh paint smell, and new paint does look good.  A change in color can dramatically change the atmosphere of a room—it’s “feel,” if you will.

This post, however, is more about the process of painting.  While I am thankful I do not have to paint for a living, it is an activity that I enjoy on occasion, usually because I’m getting paid to do it (as was the case today—thanks, bro).  Beyond the financial benefits, the act of painting is akin to driving long distances on the Interstate:  it’s a bit tedious, but it clears the mind wonderfully.  I’ve done some of my deepest thinking done while painting walls.

There’s also a tangible pay-off to painting:  the finished product is very satisfying.  What’s more, the process itself is rewarding, as you watch your progress unfold in real time.  There is little in the way of “busy work” in painting a room.

So many jobs today, especially of the clerical sort, seem to be about spinning wheels in an attempt to appear productive.  I’m convinced that huge sectors of our economy consist of such paper-pushing.  Just look at the excessive credentialing that underpins so many fields, like education, without tangibly improving the quality of the professions.

In painting—as in my blue-collar trades—there is little room for such wheel-spinning.  The job either gets done, or it doesn’t.  Unreliable contractors baffle me for this reason (and they are common in the rural South, as I suspect demand drastically outstrips supply), although the problem there is usually getting the project started.

Regardless, the job must be done.  If it’s not done, it’s noticeable, especially when painting.  A missed spot on the wall is like starting at the pirates’ black spot in your hand.

Of course, painting takes its toll.  My entire body is sore from bending and stretching all day (I was switching between trim on the ceiling and baseboards on the floor, as well as some window trim and door frames).  Anecdotally, I’m told that many professional painters are drunks.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard it from enough different people that there must be some kernel of truth to it.  What’s the connection?  (Apparently, paint fumes, but that’s not a huge problem, I’ve found, with latex paint in well-ventilated areas.)

That said, I will sleep soundly tonight, and enjoy a sense of serene accomplishment.  Painting today was a wonderful way to refocus my mind and to help me calm down after a busy, extended Easter Weekend.

Happy Wednesday!

–TPP

Walkin’

Yesterday morning, longtime Nebraska Energy Observer contributor Audre Myers shared a charming post, “Walking …“—a reflection of the late 1960s and Woodstock.  Regular commenter Scoop posted an achingly nostalgic response that sums up the significance of Woodstock to that cohort of early Boomers—it was the last incandescent burst of rock ‘n’ roll’s triumph before petering out in the 1970s (which, I would argue, is when hard rock got good).

The tug of nostalgia is a strong one.  I’m only thirty-five, and I already feel it from time to time.  Indeed, I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia, which a psychologist might argue is one of the reasons I studied history.  Perhaps.  I also just enjoy learning trivia.

Regardless, Audre’s post caught my attention because I have been contemplating the literal, physical act of walking lately (although I often take metaphorical strolls down memory lane, too).  I’ve put on a bit of weight in The Age of The Virus, so I’ve taken up walking as a way to complement a regimen of calorie counting (which is more of a loose, back-of-the-envelope calorie guesstimate each day).

I’m trying to get in around two miles of focused walking a day, mostly around Lamar.  Although work commitments don’t always make that possible, I do find that simply going about my work results in around two miles of walking in aggregate.  I’m curious to see what my step totals will be once the school year resumes, and I’m dashing about between classes, pacing the rows of students, and striding across the boards as I teach.

I’m not a runner, by any means.  My older brother loves to run, and has the physique to show for it.  More power to him, but I know myself well enough to know it’s not something I want to do.  Runners swear oaths to running’s efficacy and delights, but gasping for breath in 100-degree weather with maximum humidity doesn’t appeal to me.  Walking at a brisk clip in that weather, though, is at least bearable—once I’ve embraced the stickiness and the sweat, I can go for a couple of miles easily, and sometimes three or four.

Read More »

Trump’s One-Two Punch

Trump won in 2016 running on a strong “America First” platform.  A major component of America First-ism is prioritizing the interests and the well-being of American citizens first—before the interests and well-being of foreign-born workers and immigrants, legal or otherwise.  The appeal and the concept aren’t difficult to understand:  a government should, chiefly, operate in the interest of its citizens before anyone else.  We can discuss the best immigration policies as a nation, but those policies should always place American citizens at the forefront.

It’s such a simple and pure political philosophy, it’s a wonder it comes under such fire.  But such is the world of globalists—who want cheap labor and sacrificial offerings to Efficiency—and progressives—who think anyone who is white and cares about having a job is a racist.  Take out the mercenaries (the former group) and the insane (the latter group) and you have reasonable people, those folks that might quibble around the edges of America First doctrine, but can’t disagree with its fundamental premises.

Trump has been better than most of his predecessors on immigration, though his waffling and equivocating—likely the product of Jared Kushner’s influence—have soured his some of his earliest supporters.  His turn on Jeff Sessions and the former Attorney General’s ultimate defeat in the Alabama Republican primary this summer seemed to many Trumpists to be a betrayal of immigration patriotism.  Sessions was, indeed, the leading voice in the United States government, pre-Trump, in denouncing open borders and unlimited immigration.  With Sessions leaving the national scene, immigration patriots and restrictionists have reason to worry.

That said, it bears remembering that Trump won the presidency campaigning on building a wall, prioritizing Americans over foreign workers, and keeping American industries at home.  No one in meaningful national politics (other than Jeff Sessions and Pat Buchanan) was beating that drum prior to Trump.  Trump tapped into a deep well of resentment over the Obama administration’s decade of putting middle-class Americans last, and several decades of neglect and open scorn from national politicians.

I also don’t expect Trump to reverse the postwar consensus overnight, or to get the whole loaf all at once.  I think Trump’s basic instincts are to put Americans first, while weighing the complexities of various interest groups and economic factors.

But Trump is at his best when he cuts the Gordian Knot and drives to the heart of the issues.  If Americans are losing jobs to foreign visa holders, well, make those visas less valuable.  He’s done that with an executive order barring H1B visa holders from working in federal government jobs, and barring the government from using contractors who use H1B visa holders.

Read More »

Baby Sea Turtle

I spent this past weekend at Fripp Island—one last hurrah before reality resumes (while teachers start back at my little school next Monday, with classes resuming on the 20th, I’ve been asked to come in to paint some classrooms, as one of our top Buildings & Grounds workers is in the hospital with meningitis).  It was an amazing weekend for many reasons:  family time, excellent seafood, good swimming, etc.

But something magical happened.  Around 7:45 PM EST on 1 August 2020, my girlfriend and I were taking a walk on the beach and saw this little guy:

Sea Turtle at Fripp Island (Video) - 1 August 2020

Yep.  That’s a baby sea turtle, freshly hatched, waddling his way into the ocean.

Readers who grew up, as I did, with constant sea turtle propaganda in schools and beachside signage will appreciate the majesty of this little turtle struggling to reach the mighty sea.  I never thought I would actually see a sea turtle hatchling in the wild.  It’s the real-world equivalent of seeing a unicorn.

Sure, I’d always supposed it was possible, but incredibly implausible.  My girlfriend—a chemist, not a biologist—positively shrieked with surprised joy.

We figured out the little guy had floated down on a current through a small tide pool, as we realized there weren’t others near him.  After he made it into the ocean, we walked up the beach another hundred feet or so and saw people watching another little guy straining seaward.  The lady picked the turtle up and placed him into the ocean, which (per my years of sea turtle propaganda) is a big no-no.  However, we soon realized it was a team of sea turtle conservationists (they had matching Sea Turtle shirts), so we figured they had the clearance to give Mother Nature a little push.

What a joyful happenstance.  Had we waited even a few moments longer to take our walk, we never would have known what we had missed.  God’s Creation is beautiful and wonderful; I am thankful He gave us the opportunity to see one tiny example of His ultimate Creativity.

Lazy Sunday LXXII: Forgotten Posts, Volume I

I’ve been blogging daily for over a year-and-a-half now, with a smattering of posts going back to 2009 (on the old Blogger version of the site, which I call TPP 1.0).  While I think I have some decent posts—my buddy fridrix of Corporate History International once told me my material was in the top ten percent in terms of quality on the Internet—I’ve written a lot of garbage, too, including placeholder posts for times I can’t really get something fresh posted.

Of course, I’ve written essays that I think are excellent—or, at the very least, very important—that get virtually no hits.  Then I’ll write throwaway posts, like “Tom Steyer’s Belt,” that blow up the view counter.  That one at least made sense—I was one of the first sources to write about his goofy belt, and his ads were so ubiquitous in late 2019, people searching for his belt got my blog.

What’s interesting to me is that forget some of the things I’ve written.  It’s another reason we shouldn’t be so fast to crucify television personalities who posted something incendiary on their blog fifteen years ago.  Views change, although I think sometimes folks in the hot seat exaggerate how much they’ve “evolved” on an issue.  Then again, we’re responsible for what we put out there.

That’s all a long way of saying that I’m doing some deep dives for an indeterminate number of Sundays into some forgotten posts.  These are posts that don’t immediately spring to my mind when I’m referencing my own work.  These posts may or may not have had high or low hit counts; they are just posts that don’t linger strongly in my memory.  They’re the red-headed stepchildren of my churning mind.

To find these posts, I just looked back at months in 2018 and 2019 to see what didn’t leap out to me as familiar.  You’ll notice that February 2019 is heavily-represented here, as that was early in the process of what became my goal of one year of daily posts.

With that, here are some forgotten posts of yesteryear:

  • Reality Breeds Conservatism” – This post isn’t totally forgotten, but it’s one of those keystone essays that, for whatever reason, I don’t link to frequently (unlike “Progressivism and Political Violence,” which I have probably linked to more than another other post).  I also wrote this post before diving into Russell Kirk’s ideas about conservatism, which themselves reflect Edmund Burke’s notions of “ordered liberty” and the organic nature of a healthy society.  It’s a decent, if lengthy post from 2018 (TPP 2.0 era), and it explores the influence of risk upon one’s political affiliations and leanings.
  • Twilight Zone Reviews on Orion’s Cold Fire” – My blogger buddy photog undertook a project in 2019 to watch and review every Twilight Zone episode.  He’d obtained the full box set, I believe, and set about his task, initially with daily reviews, which he then scaled back to a few times a week.  He’s now writing reviews of Shakespeare in Film, which I will confess I have not followed as closely, but is in the same spirit as his TWZ project.
  • The Good Populism” – This post was one in which I mused about running the first iteration of History of Conservative Thought.  The essay explores a post from classicist Victor Davis Hanson entitled “The Good Populism.”  I enthused at the time about how I would “definitely include” this essay in the course.  Oops!  The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, eh?  But it is a great essay, as VDH delivers keen analysis once again.  In an age in which populism has newfound purchase on the American political imagination, it’s worth understanding that not all populism is the wicked machinations of demagogues swaying the rubes.
  • More Good News: Tom Rice on the State of the Economy” – I completely forgot about this short post, which features a YouTube video of my US Represenative, Tom Rice, discussing the good economy.  That was in The Before Times, in the Long Long Ago, before The Age of The Virus, when things just kept getting better and better.  Just can the headlines at Zero Hedge and you’ll see pretty quickly that we’re headed for multiple financial cliffs if we don’t cease with all this shutdown nonsense.  Yikes!

Well, that’s it for this Sunday.  I’m looking forward into further deep dives over the coming weeks.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Fripp Island

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.

This weekend I’m visiting Fripp Island, which is about forty-five minutes past Beaufort, South Carolina on US-21.  If you’ve ever visited Hunting Island State Park, Fripp is the island just past it.  One reason I attended the Yemassee Shrimp Festival last fall is because we always drive through Yemassee on our way to Fripp Island.

Fripp Island is also where I revived this blog in 2016.  I harbor some romantic sentiments about writing (such as writing shirtless in a hot attic, a la every Stephen King protagonist in his earlier novels), and there’s something about being at the beach that brings out the literary side in me.  Perhaps it’s the general sense of escaping from reality—and even from the Internet—for a bit that gets the juices flowing.

Regardless, I have come to realize how spoiled I am:  since about 1988, I have enjoyed—through no effort of my own—mostly ready access to a beach house on relatively uncrowded beaches.  Even now, the one-day beach trip—a summertime ceremony for most Americans—is foreign to me.  Muscling through throngs of dad bods to grab a spot of sand at Myrtle Beach in August is my idea of torture, but that’s the reality for most beach-goers.

As such, my beach-going experience is far more cossetted and luxurious than the average American’s.  I’m very thankful for my grandfather’s business savvy and years of hard work, which have made possible thirty-two years of beachy lethargy.

All that aside, Fripp Island is, truly, one of the most wonderful places on Earth.  Let me tell you about it.

Last week’s post about my trip to Universal Studios is still in the works.  I just haven’t had an opportunity to get it done.  I will hopefully have it completed soon.  My apologies for the delay.

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

Rest in Peace, Herman Cain

Yesterday, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and 2012 Republican presidential primary candidate Herman Cain passed away after a long struggle against The Virus.  Cain was 74.

Breitbart calls Cain a “Conservative firebrand,” which was apparent to anyone following the crowded 2011-2012 Republican presidential primaries.  Like 2016, that was a crowded primary field, with tons of conservative darlings and Establishment types alike jumping into the field.  Back in those days, everybody thought Barack Obama was going to be the next Jimmy Carter—an ineffectual, overly-progressive one-termer.  The economy stunk, Obama seemed out of his depth, and conservatives were united and motivated to get out and vote.

Herman Cain quickly set himself apart from the rest of the crowd, though—he wasn’t a career politician, but a successful businessman (according to John Derbyshire, Cain is also somewhat a mathematical genius).  He put out his bold “9-9-9 Plan“—flat, nine percent national sales, income, and corporate tax rates.  Cain’s reasoning:  “If ten percent is good enough for God, nine percent is good enough for the federal government.”  Yes, it was a bit far-fetched, but it was catchy, and in an era of high corporate and income taxes—both of which undermined American business competitiveness domestically and abroad—it resonated with voters.  The implicit reference to the biblical tithe also let voters know Cain was a devoted Christian, which was a welcome change from the open hostility of the Obama administration to religious liberty.

Read More »