TBT: Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind

I flew to and from Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend (as readers are wearily familiar by now), and it gave me another opportunity to interact with that most loathsome of institutions, the American airline.

Honestly, I was blessed with two easy, uneventful flights—no delays, no missed connections, no overly officious airport functionaries.  I even got two Coke Zeroes on my flight up.

One jarring element of flying was the abundance of mask propaganda at the airport.  Living in South Carolina—free territory—I seldom have to wear a mask anywhere anymore, so wearing one on the plane was a bit shocking.  A friend reminded me that I would need one, and that gaiters are not allowed, so I begrudgingly took a pack along.

In the Charlotte, North Carolina airport, one guy asked me, as I got into the security line, if I had a mask.  I started fumbling for it in my pocket, and he said, “You’re good.”  Apparently, he just wanted to ask make sure I had one so they wouldn’t boot me off the plane.  I did put it on before passing through security (where you have to pull it down so they can check your face against your ID), but ripped it off again as soon as possible.

I’m still blown away by how many folks wear them, but especially at the airport.  Out of the hundreds of people I saw, I was probably one of five people in the entire Charlotte airport not wearing a mask.  In the Indianapolis airport, there were even fewer facial nudists.

Regardless, it seems like a lot of the mask hysteria has died down.  Yeah, there was tons of mask propaganda plastered all over the Charlotte airport, and the flight attendants made a big deal about it rhetorically on the flights (especially the one from Indianapolis back to Charlotte), but I got the impression that if I wanted to sit maskless for the entire flight, no one would bother me about it.

The airline industry is probably the worst of all about treating human beings like cattle to be herded mindlessly on board flying metal tubes.  Probably only credit agencies are worse, and at least on a plane you get some pretzels (thanks to the peanut allergy folks for ruining something else for us).  I don’t think TransUnion is going to send me any treats anytime soon.

So if airlines are cooling on the mask hysteria, we might finally—finally—putting that absurdity behind us.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on a mask rant, but here we are.

With that, here is “Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind“:

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An Acquired Taste: German Expressionism and Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”

In a move sure to incite riots akin to those that accompanied the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, I’m dedicating today’s post to the bizarre German Expressionist music of Arnold Schoenberg’s atonal vocal work Pierrot Lunaire.

Before my musically conservative readers begin rioting in the comments section, let me hasten to add that, as a rule, I do not like German Expressionism outside of film.  The art movement has its moments, and I appreciate weird absurdity, but the movement is, at its core, nihilistic and anti-Beauty.  It seems to be the bitter wellspring of postmodern art, much of which is meaningless trash.  But at least the German Expressionists had technique; they knew how to make good art, but chose not to, largely as a reaction to the absurdity of the First World War.

I’m also not much of a fan of Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone composing system, and the organized atonality it represents.  I just love a good chord progression too much, and generally think there is more fun (and musicality) to be had tinkering with music inside the limits of traditional tonality, rather than abandoning them entirely.

In spite of all of that, I kind of like Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.

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Indianapolis Interim

As I noted Saturday, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana this weekend for my older brother’s wedding.  The last time I’d been to Indianapolis was twenty years ago, for a Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) Teen Talent competition.

This trip I did not get to see much of the city, as I arrived late in the afternoon Friday and flew back Sunday, and everything in between involved wedding events (and, of course, the wedding itself).

I’m notoriously bad about taking pictures, so I don’t have many of my own to share.  But the wedding was at Laurel Hall, which I’ve been describing to people as “a Gilded Age castle.”  It’s not properly a castle, but it’s certainly a mansion, and was constructed in 1916 as the residence of a wealthy family.  It served many functions, including as a children’s hospital, and a fraternity owns it now.

All that said, it was a very good trip, even if I had to fly to get there.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films: Dead Snow 2 (Død snø 2; 2014)

Good old Ponty is keeping the lights on at this blog with his submissions.  They are welcome at a particularly busy season for yours portly, and especially after traveling to Indiana this past weekend for my older brother’s wedding.

Ponty and I share a love of horror movies, but especially a love of bad movies generally.  I tend to be much more forgiving of bad movies, as many of them possess entertainment value in their own right (a premise so crazy the film is interesting, even if the parts don’t fit together; or a film that is “so-bad-it’s-good”).  I’m also just not that discerning—or, perhaps, I just like trash.

Whatever the case might be, Ponty doesn’t share my ecumenical approach to films.  He calls a spade a spade—and a pile of crap a pile of crap.

As such, he’s submitted the first of a list of ten films he regards as the worst films of all time.  I’m dubbing this gloriously long miniseries Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films.  The tentative plan is to post these alternating Mondays in lieu of the usual Monday Morning Movie Review from yours portly.  The non-Ponty weeks will be my list of the worst films of all time.l

I’ve kept all of Ponty’s colorful commentary intact; I’ve just added in years for the films, and italicized the titles.  I’ve also provided some useful hyperlinks for those looking to learn more about the subject of his ire.

With that, here is Ponty’s review of Dead Snow 2 (Død snø 2, 2014).  I don’t know if this is his tenth worst film or his first worst film; either way, he makes it sound pretty bad:

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Lazy Sunday CLVIII: Ponty’s Posts, Part II

This Lazy Sunday I’m wrapping up a two-Sunday retrospective of the works of Michael Fahey/39 Pontiac Dream/Always a Kid for Today, or “Ponty” for short.  After his early photographic submissions, Ponty branched out into the world of reviews.  This weekend, it’s my pleasure to feature three of them:

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Indianapolis and TPP Update

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’m in Indianapolis this weekend for my older brother’s wedding, which I will likely report about in some detail next week.  As I lacked the time this week to craft a better SubscribeStar Saturday post, I figured I’d give subscribers an update on my various projects.

Blogging at Buca di Beppo

Blogging at Buca di Beppo, Indianapolis, Indiana

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

Supporting Friends Friday: Mariella Hunt’s Serialized Novella

Readers my recall an edition of Supporting Friends Friday dedicated to Mariella Hunt, an Idaho-based author who also dabbles in cute water colors of birds.

Before she started painting birds, Mariella was a writer—a prolific one, at that.  I discovered her first through her paintings, through Andrea the Ilustrator’s blog, but have come to appreciate and enjoy her writing as well.

Mariella is a talented non-fiction writer, but her real passion is fiction.  She tells me that she is hoping to make a living as a freelance writer, and is currently publishing her novella The Sea Rose via Amazon’s Kindle Vella service.

Kindle Vella allows authors to release stories serially, in short little doses or chapters, much the way much of Charles Dickens’s work was published.

I’ve read the first chapter of The Sea Rose, and it’s good—really good.  I am eagerly awaiting the second chapter (which should be available by the time you read this post!).

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TBT^2: Nehemiah and National Renewal

This past Monday, it was my responsibility to lead men’s Bible study for the monthly fellowship I attend.  I would love to say I prayed fervently for The Lord to deliver a message to my heart, but instead I do what bloggers and teachers do frequently:  recycle and reuse.

As such, I went back to the tried and true, Nehemiah 1:1-11, the passage from my hit post “Nehemiah and National Renewal.”  It’s all about Nehemiah crying out to God to order his steps amid the fallen state of Israel.

Also, it’s about rebuilding a wall.  Seems wise, yes?

With that, here is “TBT: Nehemiah and National Renewal“:

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Son of Sonnet: The Sins of Middle Age

My good buddy and regular poetry contributor Son of Sonnet launched his new Locals page last week at https://sonofsonnet.locals.com/.  It’s $10 a month for all sorts of goodies—poems, poetry readings, etc.  And the price per month drops as more users sign up.

As one of the chosen subscribers, I recommended a topic for a poem:  my hilarious little release Péchés d’âge moyen, a short collection of twelve original piano miniatures.  Son—as always—delivered the goods.

To be clear, this wasn’t an easy assignment:  he had to write a poem based on twelve very short piano pieces that were largely written (initially) as part of an inside joke on the Internet.  He consulted me on a few elements of the poem, including the cover art, an original painting of mine called “Apple Picking.”

With that, I give you—reprinted with permission from the poet—“The Sins of Middle Age” (originally published at https://sonofsonnet.locals.com/ on Wednesday, 16 March 2022):

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