Monday Morning Movie Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

The Sunday night before Thanksgiving, a musician buddy and his wife came over to watch Bill & Ted Face the Music (which I picked up for $0.40 on RedBox thanks to a generous coupon).  It was easily the most enjoyable, wholesome flick I’ve seen in awhile—and it’s not just because my friend brought pizza.

Bill & Ted Face the Music was released earlier this year, during that tantalizingly brief moment when theaters were making a go of it again.  It’s a shame it wasn’t released in more auspicious times, because it really is a film worth seeing.  Indeed, like the franchise it revives, it’s a rare instance of good-natured, fun, and optimistic storytelling at a time when brooding anti-heroes and even villains are the celebrated norm.

One could certainly point to the idea of reviving Bill & Ted as yet another example of Hollywood’s dearth of new ideas, but it really is the perfect property to bring back with another sequel:  the very franchise revels in goofy send-ups of time travel tropes and late-80s popular culture.  It does so in a way that is sweet and endearing, even innocent—never mocking, except in the lightest and most loving of ways.

The basic story picks up after the events of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Fans will recall that Bill & Ted’s band, the Wyld Stallions, is destined to unite the world in song and harmony—which is repeated constantly in the movie.  The story picks up some thirty years later, and our titular heroes still haven’t managed to write that elusive song, despite multiple failed attempts.

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Lazy Sunday XCIV: 100 Week Review

Today marks the 700th consecutive day of posts here at The Portly Politico.  That’s 100 weeks of daily posts, which sounds like a prison sentence for a first-time criminal offender.  Writing the blog daily has occasionally felt like serving a self-imposed prison sentence, but it’s overwhelmingly been a source of joy.  I’ve made a number of great friends, and have accumulated a respectable daily readership, as well as eight faithful subscribers.

According to my WordPress stats, I’ve written 516,512 since 2018.  Those haven’t all been consecutive, but looking at just 2019-2020, it’s still a respectable 459,252 words.  Granted, there are a lot of TBT posts in there, so that pads the stats a bit, but I imagine I’m still safely in the half-million-word mark.

To observe the occasion and still maintain the spirit of Lazy Sunday, here are the Top Three Posts (based on views) since 2018:

  • Tom Steyer’s Belt” – By now it’s predictable, but this single post brought more traffic to my blog than the next seventeen posts combined.  At the time of this writing, it’s had 2997 views—2560 more than the second most popular post.  Most of that traffic is purely organic, meaning I didn’t encourage people to read it beyond my usual sharing to Facebook and on Telegram.  Basically, the post became popular because Tom Steyer blew a ton of cash airing obnoxious television and Internet ads, and mine was one of the few sources to cover his colorful belt.
  • Napoleonic Christmas” – This post—with 437 hits—explored an interesting revisionist take on Napoleon from a PragerU video, as well as the idea that not all non-democratic or non-republican forms of government are bad.  There were, objectively, monarchies and dictatorships that were better off—materially, spiritually, culturally, etc.—than democratic republics, contemporary and present.  That doesn’t mean I endorse those forms of government as somehow preferable to a liberty-loving republic, but I can appreciate the argument that Napoleon was a reform-minded figure, not merely an ingenious brute.
  • Milo on Romantic Music” – One of many things I appreciate about Internet provocateur and author Milo Yiannopoulos is that he is exceptionally erudite.  He might act frivolous and catty—and I suspect he genuinely is—but he’s also deep and interesting.  This post—with 279 views, thanks in large part to Milo sharing it on Telegram—looks at an exchange between Milo and another figure about Romantic music versus Baroque music.  Milo clearly prefers Romantic music overall, (while acknowledging Bach’s essential nature), arguing that it’s “the only proper soundtrack to the trad life.”  Great point!

Well, that’s it—100 weeks!  Thank you again for all of your support.  Keep reading, leaving comments, and subscribing.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Thanksgiving Weekend

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.

It’s been a wonderful Thanksgiving Break for yours portly, full of two of the most important things in life:  family and food.  Indeed, there’s probably been too much of the latter.  The “portly” in this blog’s title is more than just a humorous pun, after all.

This weekend is a big deal for Americans.  It’s the gateway to Christmas, and it’s the first major of holiday of what Americans broadly call “the holiday season” (or “the Christmas season,” as we Christians prefer).  There’s a flurry of social and commercial activities this time of year, but it’s also a time for slowing down.  From Thanksgiving through New Years’, the entire country feels like after lunch on a Friday at a government bureau—no one is answering the phones, because everyone’s taken off for the weekend.

In the spirit of celebrating this slower, more reflective, more generous time of year, here is a rundown of my long Thanksgiving Weekend.

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

Flashback Friday: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break

I’m embracing the lazy logic of Thanksgiving Break with more throwback posts than usual this week.  After Christmas Break, this little Thanksgiving reprieve is my favorite short break of the year.  It combines family, fun, and food, with enough time to enjoy all three.

Last year when I wrote “Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break,” I was growing increasingly burned out and fatigued from my job and my various obligations.  Between work, music lessons, and various ensembles, I wasn’t getting home most nights until 9 or even 10 PM.  That clearly showed up in my argument here for giving workers the day of Thanksgiving—and at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—off from their toils.

That said, I still believe it.  What’s humorous to me, in re-reading this post after a year of lockdowns and shutdowns, is that my call for “[s]hutting down everything but essential services… would be an admirable goal for at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as Thanksgiving” came to pass—with deleterious effect—for not three measly days but for months on end.  That’s certainly not what I had in mind, but I think workers have had all the breaks they can stand this past year.

Still, in normal times, having a couple of days for Christmas and a day or two for Thanksgiving isn’t going to tank the global economy.  Workers could use the break, and the reminder that all that hard work is in service to something greater:  family, faith, and God.

I love hard work—indeed, I think it’s one of the keys to happiness and purpose, particularly for men—but there’s hard work, and there’s exhausting yourself for a pittance.  Let’s reward the former with some downtime.

With that, here is “Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break“:

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TBT^4: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Another year has passed, and another Thanksgiving has rolled around.  In the tradition of this blog going back to 2017, I’m throwing back to past Thanksgiving Day posts.  I’ll alternate between italicized and non-italicized posts so readers can see the layers of commentary and annual updates.

In re-reading “TBT^2: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle,” it’s interesting to reflect on the contrast between 2019 and 2020.  Yes, 2020 has been a rough year universally, but it’s personally been one of my better years.  The Virus really took its toll financially, especially on my private music lessons and gigging empire, but both of those are recovering as folks mellow out about The Virus and the holidays approach.  I’m back to six students now, and have been blessed with some truly God-sent bookings recently.

The Virus brought a silver lining:  it forced me to slow down.  All the shutdowns made me do what I would have been loathe to do voluntarily—give up various extracurricular activities and side gigs.  For the first time in probably seven years, I took the summer off, other than my History of Conservative Thought course and one intrepid piano student (and three days of painting for the school, because they were desperate).  I reluctantly got on some extremely mild anxiety medication, and now I love the stuff—I’m not fretting over insignificant things anymore.

I enjoyed distance learning, too, though I am glad to be back with students (most days).  It provided the opportunity to laser-focus on my teaching, without all the extra little duties and responsibilities that normally come with teaching generally and my position specifically.  I missed putting on a big Spring Concert, but I didn’t miss the stress, the lack of institutional support, and the hours and hours of unwinding and connecting XLR cables.

All in all, it’s been a very good year.  I’m up to eight generous subscribers now to my SubscribeStar page, and many of you have purchased my music on BandcampYour support came when I needed it most, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

—TPP

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Dentists

Today is the first day of my cushy Thanksgiving Break.  After a long Tuesday of teaching, playing piano, and driving, I made it to my hometown to head to the dentist.  The dentist is my cousin, so I get a marginal discount.

As a child and teenager, I had extensive dental work performed.  I had a gnarly tooth, which I dubbed “The Monster Tooth,” that grew in the wrong way.  My orthodontist spent years slowly dragging the tooth into place, only to have the enamel completely absorb the root, making the tooth nonviable.  At that point, bone from my wisdom teeth was used to create a foundation in which a metal implant—a small screw, of sorts—was installed into my mouth.  I walked around with a small metal rod in place of a tooth for some months, and then a crown was placed atop the implant.

Needless to say, I’ve become accustomed to dental work, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy going.

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The Joy of Music

One of the greatest joys in life is music.  Regular readers will know that I love musicplaying it, writing it, singing it, arranging it, analyzing it, launching it into space, etc.  As an art form, I believe music is uniquely suited to communicating ideas and beauty across time, space, and cultures.  It can be intensely nationalistic, yet still universal.

We’re back to distance learning today after a positive case of The Virus, and since it’s the day before Thanksgiving Break—historically the biggest blow-off day of the school year—my administration decided to play it safe and declare today a distance learning day.  As such, I took the assignment derived from The Story of 100 Great Composers and ported it to my high school music classes.  Those classes will share about their composers today.

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Memorable Monday: Thanksgiving Week!

It’s back again—Thanksgiving Week!  For many of us—especially those of us in the cushy racket known as “education”—it’s scarcely a week at all, just two days of relaxed, stately learning before five straight days of loafing and turkey-filled indolence.

I’m kicking off the laziness early with a throwback post to last year’s Thanksgiving Week—a post entitled, appropriately, “Thanksgiving Week!”  It’s a post that celebrates the insanely short week—and opines for it to become scarcely a workweek at all.  I also delved into a discussion about slippery slopes—my favorite logical fallacy that often becomes true—and the necessity for a ten-year moratorium on immigration.

I’ll likely be doing more throwback posts this week as I indulge in some family time and gluttony, but I’ll keep trying to provide top-level italicized commentary for your amusement.  Also, we’re just a few days away from 700 days—that’s 100 weeks!—of consecutive posts.

In all seriousness, there is much to be thankful for this year.  Even in 2020, a number that has taken on a reputation only slightly less horrifying than the Mark of the Beast, there is much God has done for us.  A promising vaccine for The Virus—produced in what must be record time for a vaccine—is surely one such thing for which we should give thanks.

Turn to God in times of trouble, not just when things are going well.  Easy to type, hard to live.  We’d be all better off, though, if we made the effort to adopt gratitude as our default position.

Here’s “Thanksgiving Week!“:

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Lazy Sunday XCIII: Questions, Part III

We’re trucking one with more question-based posts in this third installment of Questions.  This trio of posts is kind of fun (well, except the one about people with the goods on the Clintons ending up conveniently dead).  I was trying to do these in chronological order based on their posting date on the WordPress site, but apparently the Space Force piece slipped through the cracks.

Here it is—with two other questioning posts—for your enjoyment:

  • Why the Hate for Space Force?” (and “TBT: “Why the Hate for Space Force?“) – When President Trump announced the creation of Space Force—an independent branch of the military dedicated to the defense of outer space—I was over the moon (pun intended).  It just makes sense—the next strategic frontier will be space.  We don’t want the ChiComs pointing death lasers at us from low-earth orbit, right (or, more plausibly, disabling our communications satellites)?  So I was surprised to witness the sheer mockery coming from the Left.  Never mind their darling, John F. Kennedy, energized the space race in the 1960s.
  • Clinton Body Count Rising?” – Everyone knows Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.  That so many people of all political persuasions know Epstein was murdered indicates the incredibly low level of trust in our society today.  But it also points to the sinister nature of elites.  The Clintons may be yesterday’s news in the Democratic Party, but their tactics have become the norm.  Evil is infectious, and slippery.
  • Saturn: The Creepiest Planet?” – I’ve written many times before about my love of outer space (see also—the post you’re reading).  But I’ve always possessed a strange fondness for Saturn, that most elegant of the gas giants.  Jupiter might hold the title for most regal, but Saturn is so stately, like a princess of the night sky.  But according to radio signals emitted from the planet, it sounds super creepy—the point of this fun, throwaway post.

That’s it for this week.  Keep watching the stars—and watching out for the Clintons.  Gulp!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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