My younger brother got me onto a kick of listening to YouTube videos from Turkey Tom. Tom makes video documentaries covering the deep lore of various Internet fandoms and communities, with an encyclopedic depth of knowledge of the various controversies, nontroversies, and schisms that dominate the lives of the terminally online.
In the wake of the Spring Jam, which saw all sorts of young people and adults come together to make and enjoy music on my front porch, one of his videos really hit me. It’s an example of cancel culture and AntiFa run amok, and how despite the cowardice of event organizers, plucky youngsters staged a fun, peaceful concert in the park.
In keeping with the vacation vibes of Memorial Day Weekend, it’s going to be a pretty short edition of Open Mic Adventures this week. The good news is that very soon I’ll be back to showcasing footage from actual open mics, and not just me noodling on the piano in my school’s tiny music room.
That said, I hastily recorded a video of a very basic piano piece I wrote for one of my students, whose name is Chase. It was a very quick sightreading exercise for him, and an opportunity for me to write some more student-focused material.
I suppose the “Dilemma” in the title refers to the presence of an F# accidental, as well as the necessity to move the right hand from C to D position and back again. The left hand is a simple ascending line with that playful F# tossed in the mix.
In time-honored TPP tradition, I take Memorial Day off from writing movie reviews. Memorial Day marks the last day off from work until summer break, which literally starts in about three days for yours portly. It makes the day off somewhat superfluous, but, really, the next two or three days of work will be largely superfluous, too. We’ll finalize grades for our classes by department, and by the time you’re reading this brief post, I should be done with report card comments (all 100 of them, exactly!).
I prefer to think of it another way: it’s a celebration of everything for which those men died. Hot dogs, pool parties, family, good music, good times; in essence, freedom, the kind of freedom that Americans savor.
That freedom was bought with a heavy price—and it’s been bought over and over again. Indeed, the fight continues here at home.
Don’t take these freedoms for granted. Take a moment—between bites of hot dog—and give thanks to those men for our liberty, and to God that we live in the United States of America.
That pretty much sums it up. Here’s to hot dogs—and liberty!
When it comes to Lazy Sunday, I really put emphasis on the “Lazy” part of that title. When I find something good, I milk it dry, which is probably what will happen to Bigfoot if we ever get the big lug into captivity. Imagine drinking “Squatch Juice”—the sweet, slightly gamey, milk of the female Bigfoot (Bigfemme?), packed full of anti-oxidants and invisibility serum.
Uh, ahem… I digress. Right now I’m only milking Bigfoot metaphorically in the form of Audre Myers‘s excellent Bigfoot-related posts. March inadvertently became “Bigfoot March Madness” at The Portly Politico, to the point that even Audre expressed concern that she was doing irreparable damage to this site’s reputation, to which I responded (again, metaphorically), “What reputation?”
And so I digress yet again. Here are three editions of Myersvision from 8, 15, and 22 March 2023, all about our favorite, elusive, hairy cryptid:
“Myersvision: The Books” – Audre offers up a short bibliography of Bigfoot books, including some by Jeff Meldrum, a Full Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University.
“Myersvision: Structures” – Bigfoot is a builder (perhaps he should sign up for my Minecraft Camp). There are apparently eerily similar structures that are attributed to Bigfoot, which suggests a certain degree of intelligence in our mystery pal.
That’s it for this latest retrospective into Myersvision. There’s more milk to come!
Another graduation ceremony is upon us, signaling the end of the school year and the beginning of another summer vacation. The grand cycle of the academic calendar continues, coming to a stately close after a hectic few months.
I never anticipated being asked to speak at graduation, and I long doubted I ever would. I still have not—lest the last sentence come across as misleading—but after delivering the baccalaureate sermon this past Sunday, I suspect the odds of being asked to speak at commencement at some future date has increased, even if only slightly. What was hovering at around 1% might be up to 5% right now, but I possess no special insights into the vagaries of my administrations hive mind.
Regardless, if I did get to speak before our graduating seniors, I’d offer up some of my dubious wisdom, such as it is. The first time I wrote on this topic I offered mostly financial advice; last year, after experiencing the effects of The Age of The Virus, I revised my wisdom to include more spiritual concerns.
This year, my advice is a grab-bag of plainspoken wisdom—take it or leave it.
This year marks the third Spring Jam, which has become a popular event with my private music students. These front porch concerts started out as a way for my buddy John and me to play gigs during The Age of The Virus, when nobody was open for live music. I realized that if I wanted to play in front of a live audience, I’d have to circumvent the hysteria and become the venue and talent.
Gradually, the concept morphed from a self-indulgent concert into a recital for my private music students. The Lord has really blessed me—far beyond what I deserve—with a large clientele of private music students (around twenty-two at the time of writing, working out in practice to anywhere from twenty-to-twenty-four lessons a week), so it made sense to offer a couple of recital opportunities a year for them.
Last year I picked up a nifty little from Nintendo with both of the classic NES Legend of Zelda titles, as well as the Gameboy LoZ game. I proceeded to spend a good chunk of the summer playing through and beating all of the games, and tried to avoid guides as much as possible in an attempt to replicate the feel of playing these games at the time of their release.
At that time, you could only get tips from three sources: an expensive 1-900 hotline (not a realistic option); friends on the schoolyard or at church; or Nintendo Power. That last one was worth its weight in video gaming gold.
When it came time to play through Zelda II, I broke down and used a guide to navigate the final temple. I remember my brothers painstakingly mapping it out on graph paper one summer, but there are limits to nostalgia. The Internet exists for a reason.
I haven’t picked up the old ZG&W much since beating all the games, but it might be time to dive back into it. With the newest Zelda game out on Switch, it’s a great time to revisit the classics.
What’s the opposite of Bigfoot, a hairy loner that lives in the woods and avoids people (but loves grainy, out-of-focus trail cams)? Probably not pathological hoarders, but maybe that’s close: they can’t get away from their meddling relations and the government, which imperiously demands their children not live in homes covered in old Chinese newspapers and rat feces. The gall!
Unlike our elusive, hirsute woodland friend, these folks have the opportunity to bask in the limelight—of shame. If reality television serves any useful social function (debatable), it’s that it occasionally shames mentally-scarred weirdos, making the rest of feel better about ourselves in the process.
At least, I always suspected that was the point of shows with hoarders and morbidly obese people (I wonder how big—no pun intended—of an overlap there is between those disorders?) was for us to shake our heads and thank God we aren’t as screwed up as those people. As Audre Myers gently implies here, we’re all screwed up (true), and but for the Grace of God, we’d be holding onto broken baseball bats and takeout flyers.
I also can’t criticize Hoarding Americans too much, as my natural inclinations towards packrattery and a weird holdover Depression/Recession Era mentality make me loathe to waste anything—or to let too much go. I’m especially that way with books, so when I successfully donated a massive cardboard box of old books to the local library, I took it as a good sign that I am not a hoarder, just a slob. Shew!
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all need grace and compassion—even the hoarders.
With that, here is Audre’s review of the A&E series Hoarders:
I found myself with a rare bit of free time last Thursday, 18 May 2023. It was Field Day at school that afternoon, and while the kids were frolicking in the rain (yep, it was raining steadily yesterday), I slipped inside for a few quiet moments. I found myself at the piano and, staring down a blank sheet of manuscript paper in my music journal, I decided to compose.
While I didn’t name it right away, the result was “Spore Song (Mushroom Dance).” I’d been wanting to compose a piece named “Spore Song” after reading Stacey C. Johnson‘s post “Spore Song” at her blog Breadcrumbs.
The more I listened to this airy, atmospheric piece, the more I realized that this was “Spore Song.” Because it’s mostly in 3/4 time (with two brief measures in 4/4), I added the parenthetical title “Mushroom Dance.”