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.

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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.

Lazy Sunday LXXI: Road Trips

Well, we’re headed back from Universal Studios after a fun-filled visit (I’m assuming as such; I’m actually writing this post before the trip, so it may very well have been a disaster, but I prefer to be optimistic).  It seemed like a good time to review some of my road trip posts.

Back in Fall 2019—in The Before Times, in The Long, Long Ago, before The Age of The Virus—I was on a festival kick.  Every small town has some obscure but beloved festival (here in Lamar it’s the Egg Scramble), usually dedicated to some local foodstuff or cultural group.  Most of my recent road-tripping has been on those kinds of excursions.

As such, this edition of Lazy Sunday will have a good bit of overlap with “Lazy Sunday XXXII: Festivals“—I mean, it is Lazy Sunday, after all.

  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Aiken Amblings” – This post is about the annual Aiken’s Makin’ crafts festival, which my hometown hosts every September.  It’s a huge draw, bringing tons of vendors and visitors to downtown Aiken’s parkways.  I have many fond childhood memories of running around at the festival, though it’s shifted its location (to its detriment, I think) and its spot in the calendar (because it’s earlier in September, it’s hotter).  It’s still a great deal of fun, and I always manage to find some fun gifts for my train-loving nephew.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Yemassee Shrimp Festival 2019” – Since I was a young boy, I’ve been riding through Yemassee and past Old Sheldon Church on my way to Fripp Island, which is out past Beaufort, South Carolina.  Yemassee is an old railroad town that straddles the line between Hampton and Beaufort Counties.  The Shrimp Festival is fun, sweltering festival with—you guessed it—lots of friend shrimp (and fried everything, for that matter).  I highly recommend making a day of it for reasons stated in the full post.
  • Road Trip!” – This post is about heading down to Orlando (a nice bookend to today’s post, while I’m heading back) and some of my meager backroad explorations around rural South Carolina.  There are a lot of hidden gems if you’re willing to get off the Interstates and look around.

That’s it!  I should probably stop typing while driving (just kidding, just kidding).  This return marks the beginning of the end of summer vacation—the tempo of back-to-school preparation will just pick up from here.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Island Living

Hippies are annoying and filthy creatures, but you’ve got to hand it to them:  behind all the patchouli and Grateful Dead bootlegs, they’re a resourceful lot.

A Canadian couple in British Columbia, Catherine King and Wayne Adams, have been living for nearly three decades on a floating, man-made island off the western coast of Vancouver.  Like good hippies, they built the island—which weighs over one million pounds—from recycled materials, mostly lumber.  In a particularly Boomer hippie detail, Adams would trade artwork to fishermen for scraps of lumber and other cast-offs.

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Special Election Day 2020

Last November, my little town held town council electionsNeither of the people I voted for won, and the two incumbents won reelection (there were two separate seats up, so we got to vote for two separate candidates).

In March, one of the Town Councillors resigned for reasons still unknown to me, which triggered a special election. I filed to run for Town Council on Friday, 13 March 2020—the Friday before all the schools in South Carolina shut down and went to distance learning.

With The Virus hitting, the special election was moved from its original date on Tuesday, 12 May to today, Tuesday, 14 July 2020.  My plan was to keep it simple, just talking to people and maybe going door-to-door, but quarantining—as well as a good bit of time on the road this summer—prevented that.  It also didn’t help that I was cooped up inside for two weeks with a gnarly virus (fortunately, I tested negative for The Virus, but I’m skeptical as to the accuracy of that test).

But that’s mostly me making excuses for myself.  I could have done more.  I did talk to my neighbor and a few other folks.  One older man approached me while I was loading my car up one morning and complained about a house with caged pit bulls in the backyard; he wanted me to introduce an ordinance banning pit bulls “when you get elected.”  I’ve actually given that a great deal of thought, and might explain my thinking on that proposal in a future post.  It will certainly become more relevant if I get elected.

As for the campaign, I resolved to spend $0 campaigning.  I didn’t do any fundraising, or even funded anything myself (other than spending $31 for the filing fee).  There’s no need to spend scads of money in a local election in a town of approximately 950 people.  Public office should be attainable to anyone, especially at the local level, and I want to see if that’s doable.

I did, however, create a small (free!) Facebook page eight days ago.  I wrote a short post explaining my vision for the town:

My basic pitch:  Lamar is centrally-located in a rapidly growing part of South Carolina.  Working families, especially young ones just starting out, are finding it more difficult to buy homes in the larger neighboring municipalities.  Lamar is well-positioned to welcome those young families with friendliness, affordable real estate, low taxes, and proximity to the three large towns in the area (not to mention two Interstates).

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SimEarth

Yesterday I wrote about SimRefinery, the oil refinery software lost to time (I’m praying it’s sitting on a long-forgotten floppy disk somewhere).  What I didn’t tell you was that I had succumbed to a mild but annoying stomach virus, so I was essentially useless for the rest of the day.

Of course, what better way to spend one’s time when sick than with video games?  After writing about SimEarth and doing some nostalgic reading about the world-building simulator, I tracked down a playable DOS version.  A helpful commenter also linked to the game’s 200-plus-page manual, which is necessary for accessing the game.  Anyone familiar with 1990s-era computer technology will recall that, in order to prevent piracy, games would often ask users to look up some piece of information buried in the manual, the theory being that if you owned the game legally, you’d have the manual.

During this sickly walk down memory lane, I realized how much I had forgotten about SimEarth.  The game is more complicated than I remember.  It’s not that deep, but what makes it difficult is balancing all the different inputs to your planet—the amount of sunlight, how much of that sunlight is reflected by the clouds and the surface, how much cloud cover to have, how quickly animals mutate and reproduce, how frequently meteors strike the surface, etc., etc.

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TBT: 250th Day Update

Yesterday marked the 500th consecutive post on The Portly Politico—a substantial milestone, I will argue, at the risk of tooting my own proverbial horn.  Making it to that mark—when I only intended to write for the thirty-one days of January 2019—has me looking back at the course the blog has taken in those 500 days.

As such, today I wanted to look back at the now-halfway mark—to the “250th Day Update“—for TBT.  It’s another exercise in girly self-indulgence.  I promise, the blog will have some more manly substance for you tomorrow.

One reward of blogging is that it’s interesting to look back and see what has changed—and what has stayed the same.  This post came near the beginning of the academic year, that point where teachers (and most students) are still full of optimism and vigor.  Appropriately, this look back is coming at the end of that long, unusually arduous academic year.

It is interesting to note that it’s been 251 days since an Internet outage from my incredibly unreliable ISP.  Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it.

Well, enough of that navel-gazing.  Let’s look back to the navel-gazing of days passed with “250th Day Update“:

Today’s post marks 250 days of consecutive posting.  That’s a major milestone in my ongoing project to blog daily, which I last commemorated in a substantial way at Day 101.  With this post, I’m a mere 115 days away from reaching a year of daily posts.  So close, and yet—so far.

I tried to find a word that meant “250 days” in the way that bicentennial means “200 years,” or sesquicentennial means “150 years” (from those words, I reason that 250 years would be a “sesquibicentennial”).  My search proved fruitless, though I did learn that 250 is the number of men that rebelled against Moses in Numbers 26:10 (thank you, Wikipedia).

It’s a slow season with politics; outside of the trade war and the Democratic clown show, there’s not a great deal happening.  That’s why I wrote about Saturn on Wednesday: it was the most interesting topic I could find.  Now that Labor Day has come and gone, and with the first of the primaries mere months away, the political news should start heating up.

It’s partially my own fault.  Rather than listening to talk radio and keeping up with the news, I’ve been reading for pleasure, and listening to a book on tape.  I’ll be writing a couple of reviews soon based on that reading, one of Spotted Toad’s book on education, the other on Milo’s book Middle Rages, which is a collection of essays about the SJWs’ struggle to control Medieval Studies (and, thereby, the heart and soul of our interpretation of Western Civilization).

Eastern South and North Carolina endured Hurricane Dorian yesterday, which largely—and thankfully—brushed the coast with some buffeting winds and persistent rains, but it was no worse than a blustery, rain-swept day any other time of the year, perhaps with a bit more melodrama.  The Bahamas weren’t so lucky; here, the worst was a day out of school.  With my Internet downyet again—I was somewhat stymied in my quest to avoid grading, but I eventually got around to grading a large stack of AP United States History quizzes that I’d been delaying—just in time for a new stack of forty-nine fresh quizzes to come in today.  Yikes!

This weekend my real hometown (not my adopted one) hosts Aiken’s Makin’, a large craft fair.  After a late night of prep school football action—I’ll be debuting behind the “golden mic” (we spray-painted a microphone gold in homage to Rush Limbaugh) as announcer for the varsity team tonight, moving up from, though continuing with, my duties as the junior varsity announcer—I’ll be heading to Aiken to enjoy the quaint woodworking and funnel cakes.

So, all in all, life is going well—an important reminder as we opine about civil war and social instability.  I’m finally—finally—over my lengthy respiratory malady, and seem capable of both singing and teaching properly again.  If I can ever escape the ever-multiplying football schedule, I’ll book some gigs soon.

That’s enough navel-gazing for now.  Thank you for all of your support these last 250 days; here’s to (at least!) another 115!

—TPP

SubscribeStar Saturday: Making Music

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.  NEW TIER: $3 a month gets one edition of Sunday Doodles every month!

The past few days I’ve really been pushing my music (see here and here), mainly because Bandcamp waived the commission it takes on sales of musicians’ work yesterday (1 May 2020).  They’re foregoing their cut again the first Friday of June 2020, so I’ll likely be pimping out my electronic ditties again in a month (although, of course, feel free to pick up tunes any time).

I’ve maintained that Bandcamp site the better part of a decade, and until this week, I hadn’t made a single sale.  Perhaps the poor-mouthing about the impact of The Virus on musicians opened hearts and wallets.  To those of you that did purchase my work—I sold seven copies of my full discography (seven releases available now for $15.75), with many buyers paying more than the minimum—I offer a big and hearty THANK YOU.  Seriously, you have no idea what a morale boost it is to have your support.

As for the poor-mouthing, one of the lessons I’ve learned about music is that fans aren’t buying the music, per se, although that does have to be good; rather, they’re buying you and your story.  It’s a frustration for many artistic types that they labor over their art, putting all of their heart, soul, sweat, and blood into it, only to see people more interested in their personal lives than their music.

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