SubscribeStar Saturday: Twitter Flies Free

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!  Elon Musk, the whimsical Willy Wonka of our time, has purchased Twitter.

While I have a Twitter account, I don’t really use it that frequently, with the exception of checking out some spicy Tweets on occasion (but even those are gone, thanks to the platform’s arbitrary censorship).  I find the format clunky and unwieldy, especially when trying to read long threads or responses to Tweets.

It’s also a cesspool of Leftist hand-wringing and overwrought, fake stories, in which progressives claim their small children are asking them if Trump is going to kill the trannies or what not.  At its worst, it’s an outrage factory; at its best, it’s an echo chamber for the mainstream media.

There’s a long history of censorship of conservative and populist voices on Twitter.  The rumors (which will be confirmed or otherwise by the time this post goes live) suggest that Twitter’s quarterly report won’t look good, so Musk was able to scoop up the company at the price of $44 billion, or $54.20 per share.  That represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s stock price as of 1 April 2022.

Basically, Twitter went woke—like, MEGA woke—and it’s starting to go broke.

The news of Musk’s purchase of Twitter is heartening, as he describes himself as a free speech absolutist.  Trump has pledged to stay on TRUTH Social, but I still hope Musk restores his account, even if it’s a symbolic gesture.

While Musk’s takeover is promising—let a thousand crazy Tweets bloom!—it does suggest that conservatives are on hard times if we’re hoping the whims of a boyish entrepreneur/government subsidy devourer will restore free speech on a failing, but still important, Big Tech platform.

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Supporting Friends Friday: Nicholas on NEO

I’m running into a bit of a problem here with Supporting Friends Friday—I’m running out of friends to support!  Fortunately, my friends are quite prolific creators, so I can always recycle some old ones, and I’m always encountering new bloggers.  That said, I’m having to get creative to keep this series going.

That’s probably not the most flattering introduction for this Friday’s feature, but I assure you, he’s a great writer, and worth your time.  I know him simply as Nicholas, and he is a semi-regular contributor to Nebraska Energy Observer, Neo‘s excellent, long-running blog.

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TBT: The Joy of Spring

Spring has sprung here in South Carolina, with some gorgeous weather.  It’s actually a bit chilly this morning, but overall there have been some warm—even borderline hot—days, with plenty of bees a-buzzing.  One managed to get into my house, but I was able to capture him in a Tupperware container and release him back to the world, though I flung the container as I opened it and dashed in the other direction—yikes!

Just like two years ago, my flowerbeds are 80% weeds, 20% plants I want growing there, so I’ve got to get on that this weekend.  The relentless growth of dandelions makes it a Sisyphean task, but I must endeavor to do better in my humble flowerbeds this year.

It’s also the downward slope to summer vacation.  At this point, there’s probably another couple of weeks of actual learning to be had, then a leisurely drift into exam review week and exams themselves.  I’m also cooking up the 2022 iteration of the TJC Spring Jam, which I might make into a recital for my students this year.

Two years ago, during The Age of The Virus, we enjoyed an unusually long, mild spring in South Carolina.  Readers who don’t live in the South might not appreciate the significance of that:  we typically get a couple weeks—maybe three—of proper spring weather before summer dominates everything in a veil of humidity and heat, refusing to lift its terrible, sweaty fist until sometime around Thanksgiving.  At a time when every remotely communal activity had to be done outdoors, a mild spring was a Godsend.

Indeed, I think it was a literal one:  I really do think God sent us that cooler weather so we could still be together during that difficult time.

Regardless, hot or cold, I’m glad to be alive, and that The Age of The Virus—at least for now—seems to be an increasingly distant memory.

With that, here is 11 May 2020’s “The Joy of Spring“:

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Midweek Game Review: The Longing (2020)

As I’ve gotten older, I don’t have the opportunity to game nearly as much as I did as a teenager or college student.  I probably ill-spent too much of my youth playing video games, even though some of those games were steeped in lore, exploration, and critical thinking.  Now I actually get paid to play video games with kids a week or two every summer!

Otherwise, I don’t game nearly as much as I used to, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I do enjoy the opportunity to revisit old favorites and try intriguing new games.  My taste in games, like my taste in films, is eclectic, but increasingly inclined towards the experimental and quirky.

Enter The Longing, a 2020 indie game that has you controlling a tiny Shade who, after 400 days of waiting, must awaken the great, slumbering king of the underground.  The king must sleep for 400 days in order to regain his strength, at which time he will “end all longing” forever.

In the meantime, the Shade keeps a lonely vigil—for 400, real-time days.

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Revisiting Walking Across South Carolina

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post entitled “Walkin’,” in which I detailed the pleasures of short walks around town.  In that post, I also mused about long-distance walking, and even about its popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.  One of my readers and subscribers even noted the construction of The Palmetto Trail, a five-hundred-mile trail that cuts diagonally from the Upstate (the northwestern corner of South Carolina) down to the Lowcountry (the southeastern side of our State’s triangle), of which roughly 380 miles are completed.  That trail wends through State parks and towns, offering a variety of landscapes and scenes.

In listening to John Taylor Gatto excessively over Spring Break (and nursing a bad foot-and-ankle sprain), he frequently mentioned stories about famous individuals who completed massive, almost absurd tasks, often with little training.  For example, he frequently told the story of a six-year old Richard Branson walking home in London after his mother drove him around for a few hours, and then asked, “Richard, do you think you can find your way home?”  When the child responded yes, the mother told him to get to it, booted him from the car, and drove home.  Branson (per Gatto) said that after that experience, he was never afraid of anything again, and could face any challenge.

I’m not advocating we drop six-year olds off in the middle of nowhere and make them walk home (my niece is six, and while she is brave and confident, I shudder to think what might become of her if my brother pulled the same stunt).  But there is a real need for adventure in our lives.  There’s also something to be said for the benefits of taking on and conquering—or even just attempting and failing—a large-scale undertaking.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films: #8: Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)

Ponty keeps the train wreck a-rollin’ with his eighth installment of Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films (here are #9 and #10, in case you missed them).   This week, he’s going for one of the big boys:  1984’s Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.

I used to take the contrarian position that I liked The Temple of Doom.  As a kid I loved the whole opening sequence—Short Round, riding an inflatable raft to safety, etc.—and who could forget that quasi-Aztec Indian dude pulling the heart out of people’s chests?

Then I grew up and, as is often the case, the rose-tinted glasses of childhood gave way to the jaded monocle of experience.  While I still don’t think the movie is that bad, the love interest is incredibly obnoxious.  And as Ponty points out, the artifact is quite lame compared to THE HOLY GRAIL and THE ARK OF THE COVENANT!

Of course, how are you going to top those?  Unless it’s a piece of the True Cross or Noah’s Ark, there’s nothing else that really competes.

But don’t let me steal Ponty’s thunder.  I don’t want him ripping my still-beating heart from my chubby chest.

Here is Ponty’s review of his eighth worst film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984):

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Lazy Sunday CLXII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap 2022

Another Spring Break is in the books, and as I look wearily ahead to the final weeks of the school year, let’s look back at the good times—and good stories—of this past week:

Happy Reading!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The State of Education Update II

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

Spring Break is drawing to a close, with a four-week-ish slog to the relative freedom of summer vacation, when I go from being a stressed-out ball of blubber persisting on processed foods and frozen pizza to living like a chubby retiree.  As such, it seemed like an opportune time to look at the state of education in the United States.

As I wrote this morning, lately I’ve been listening to quite a bit of the ideas of “unschooling” advocate John Taylor Gatto.  Some of his views on adolescence (he says there really isn’t one, and that childhood essentially ends around the age seven) are pretty radical, though they aren’t without historical precedent, but for the most part, I find myself in agreement with assessment of the modern educational-industrial complex.

The first JTG video I watched/listened to

In essence, Gatto (should I call him “JTG”?) argues—and supports, with ample primary source research—that the modern system of “warehouse” schooling is not a proper education at all, but rather a massive system for indoctrinating students into compliance and mass conformity.  He argues that little real “education” takes place inside of schools, and that a genuine education comes from within the student himself.  In other words, all of the world is a “classroom” and everyone in it a “teacher” to the open learner.  An elite, private or boarding school education is available to anyone, Gatto contends, for free.

Gatto famously quit after a long, celebrated career in New York City public schools in a letter to The Wall Street Journal entitled “I Quit, I Think” (note that the title has two possible meanings:  the first, obvious one is the note of uncertainty the added “I Think” carries; the second one is the subtle implication that because “I Think,” I (Gatto) must quit).  In short, Gatto came to believe that what he had been doing for years was actually harming students, rather than improving their lives.

Talk about a heavy epiphany.

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SubscribeStar Saturday Coming This Afternoon

Hi TPP Readers,

It’s a big family weekend—and the last weekend of my glorious Spring Break—and after a very long Friday of “funcling,” I’ve fallen behind—yet again—on today’s edition of SubscribeStar Saturday.

I’ll be writing about the current state of education, and looking a bit at the ideas of “unschooling” advocate John Taylor Gatto.

Thank you for your patience, especially to my paying subscribers; you’ve had to endure too many late SSSs lately.

Happy Saturday!