TBT: Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

Earlier this week I was having a conversation with someone on Milo’s rollicking Telegram chat, in which we were trying to figure out the name of a short story involving people living in underground cells, communicating only via the Internet.  I had a feeling I had written about it before, but could not remember the name of the story.

Turns out it was E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909, and I wrote about it in this catch-all post from the early days of The Age of The Virus (so early, in fact, I was not capitalizing the first “the” in that moniker, which I have texted so much, my last phone auto-predicted “The Age of The Virus”).  I compared the story to Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”–a story that apparently is assigned regularly in India, because pageviews for it always seem to coincide with large numbers of site visitors from the subcontinent.

But I digress.  The story sounded eerily like what our elites asked us to do during The Age of The Virus:  stay home, get fat, consume mindless entertainment, and don’t socialize.  Granted, some of us could go outside and plant gardens (I still got fat, though), but the messaging was not “become more self-sufficient so we can mitigate disaster” but “buy more stuff and don’t do anything fun.”  It was depressing to me how many people embraced this line of reasoning, turning government-mandated sloth into some kind of perverted virtue.

I appreciated the break that The Age of The Virus afforded us, but it came with the severe curtailment of liberty—and Americans ate it up!  Instead of people boldly throwing ravers and partying down, laughing at our elites, we instead retreated into our hovels, shuddering in the dark.  When I did through a big Halloween bash, it was a massive success—because, I suppose, people had finally had it.

I guess that’s the silver lining.  With that, here’s 3 April 2020’s “Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus” (perhaps the longest title of any blog post ever):

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Phone it in Friday XVIII: Writing

With the blog closing in on 1000 days of posts (just 162 to go!) and the release of The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard (read reviews here, here, and here), it seemed like a good time to reflect on writing, and to discuss some writing projects I have in the works.

When I revived the blog on WordPress in late 2018, I never intended to write daily.  I’d maintained a Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule on the Blogspot blog, which I shifted over to WordPress on 1 June 2018.  I kept that pace up briefly, but when school resumed I left the blog dormant until late December 2018, and after three days of consecutive posting by happenstance, WordPress informed me I was on a three-day “streak.”

That caught my attention.  At that point, I decided to write daily for the month of January 2019.  It seemed like a fun a challenge, and I figured it would help build an audience and give me something constructive to do during the slowest month of the year.

After that, I thought, “Eh, why not go to fifty?”  From there, 100 didn’t look too difficult.

Once I hit 100, I decided to try for a year.

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Phone it in Friday XVII: Modern Homesteading

The weather is getting warmer—it hit a balmy 77 degrees at least one day this week here in South Carolina—and that means Spring is near.  Spring means gardening, and if I’m going to dive into the deep-end of converting my humble half-acre into a very small-scale farm, I’d probably better get crackin’ now.

As such, it was with great interest that I listened to an interview with Owen Benjamin, the stand-up comedian-turned-survivalist.  Benjamin is a controversial figure, and I don’t agree with some of his views, but, again, I can respect his knowledge in the area of homesteading without endorsing, say, his belief that the Earth is flat.

Regardless, Owen Benjamin’s message is a very Christian onedon’t despair about the wicked craziness of the progressive Left and the materialism of the modern world.  Instead, “crush” it—be your own man (or woman), build something for yourself and your family, and give glory to Christ JesusCreating culture is the way to save it.

With that preamble, I thought I’d share Benjamin’s recent interview with Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.  It’s a little over an hour long, but it’s worth your time.  One thing I learned is that growing some tomatoes and raising a few chickens is very easy, and that the barrier to entry for small-scale homesteading and farming is much lower than I initially thought.

Enjoy!

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Phone it in Friday XVI: Week in Review (5-8 October 2020)

I’m out of town for a few days, so I’m resorting to something I rarely do:  a week in review post.  Some bloggers feature these weekly, such as my blogger buddy Mogadishu Matt.  I sort of did one back with “Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap,” but that was more a review of a week-long series of posts, not a review, per se, of the week itself.

Ah, well.  That’s just nit-picking.  Here’s what I wrote about this past week:

That’s it for this edition of Phone it in Friday.  Here’s hoping I wrote some material good enough that you don’t mind reading it (and reading about it) again.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

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Phone it in Friday XV: Blogger Buddies

It’s been another crazy week, but the rhythms of the school year are beginning to fall into their familiar patterns.  That said, I’ve put in more hours working this week than any in a long time.

Regular readers know what that means:  another edition of Phone it in Friday, now reaching its fifteenth installment.

It’s been a week for shout-outs to other commentators and platforms, so I figured I’d continue with that theme and recommend some of my blogger buddies to you.  I have to give a big hat tip for this idea to one of my best blogger buddies, photog, over at Orion’s Cold Fire.  He wrote a post—“A Word of Thanks to Our Boosters“—highlighting some of those blogs that routinely link to his page or reference his writing, and yours portly made the list.  Thanks, photog!

So on this rainy, overcast Friday, here are some excellent blogs for your consideration:

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Phone it in Friday XIV: TPP Self-Promotion Bonanza

It’s been another busy week for yours portly, and Labor Day Weekend has arrived just in time.  When I’m falling asleep at 8:30 PM after a day of non-stop teaching, it’s time to recuperate.

Also, when I went to check out my school’s football field sound system, the powered amplifier went up in smoke!  I spent all of my planning periods (and most of my lunch) jury-rigging a sound system from an ancient amplifier I found in a back closet.  It’ll get us through the first home game tonight, but it isn’t ideal.

As such, I figured I’d take today to give some blog updates, and to do a bit of shameless self-promotion.  Readers will know that the blog now has the new, spiffy, convenient URL, theportlypolitico.com.  That seems to have helped with traffic and search engine visibility, as I’ve been getting more hits since forking over $52 to WordPress.  On Wednesday evening—for no apparent reason!—I had a massive traffic spike:

2 September 2020 Stats Spike

I’m still planning on doing some “Five-Dollar Friday” posts for $5 and higher subs to my Subscribe Star page.  Those posts will include exclusive election season commentary.  As the 2020 election gets closer, be on the lookout for those posts.  Of course, I’ll continue with $1/month content on Saturdays.

On the music front, today is the first Friday of the month, so Bandcamp is once again waiving their commission on sales.  In other words, if you purchase any of my tunes TODAY (Friday, 4 September 2020), I get the full value of the purchase (minus PayPal’s transaction) fee.

Speaking of PayPal, WordPress has a nifty new PayPal block:

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You can also send donations here, or you can subscribe to my SubscribeStar page.  If you send me a donation, I’ll e-mail you a bunch of my SubscribeStar posts in a PDF (just don’t forget to include an e-mail in the transaction process).

As for the blog, it’s been a blast to maintain lately.  The biggest thing you can do to support it is to share my posts far and wide.  If you read something and like it, please pass it along to someone else.

That’s all for this Friday.  I’ve got to head home, shower off the filth of sound guy troubleshooting, and get ready for tonight’s game.  Be praying for a running clock, as kickoff is at 8 PM (!).

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Phone it in Friday XIII: Come on Get Happy

It’s been another wild Friday afternoon of funcling, so I’m resorting to phoning it in once again this evening.  I spent the morning at the doctor’s office for my annual wellness visit, got an end-of-summer-vacation haircut, and finished up my Pre-AP Music Zoom sessions.  Since then, I’ve been knee-deep in babies for the second day in a row.

While I was driving all over the Central Savannah River Area, I tuned in to Z Man’s weekly podcast, which pops Friday mornings.  The show this week is called “Happy Happy Fun Time,” in which Z Man shares a message I promoted a few weeks ago:  despair is a sin, and we have much for which we can give thanks.

Z himself can over a jaundiced, cantankerous perspective on the world, a la H.L. Mencken (whom he clearly admires).  But Z’s argument is straightforward:  if we just focus on politics, all the time, we stop being fun.  Life is for the living, and many folks on the Dissident Right tend to get so bogged down in the seeming hopelessness of the Leftist-dominated culture wars, they cease enjoying life.

NEO at Nebraska Energy Observer attributes a similar nugget of wisdom to one of his regular contributors, Audre Myers.  It’s also the guiding principle of Gavin McInnes (and, to an extent, Milo), who laments how much more fun life used to be before the Leftists sucked all of the joy out of it.  Z points out that the Left wants us to despair because their lives suck.  Their unhappiness is, to some degree, why they are Leftists in the first place.

It’s well worth setting aside an hour to listen to this episode of Z Man’s podcast, The Z Man Power Hour.  So I’m dedicating this post to just that:

Happy Friday!

—TPP

TBT: Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios

Today I am back at Universal Studios!  I didn’t expect I’d be back so soon, but Universal has lifted their Season Pass blackout dates for Summer 2020 due to The Virus, so my brothers and our significant others and I decided to take advantage of it and come down for a few days.  It’s always fun with the niece and nephews, too.

As my younger brother put it, we’re probably safer strolling around Universal Studios than eating at restaurants (which we’ve all been doing to some extent), as the park is sanitizing everything in hyper drive.  We’re also all masked up, and social distancing is in force—all the usual protocols we’ve come to endure in The Age of The Virus.  Why not enjoy safety and spectacular theming?

This week’s TBT features the first Phone it in Friday to make it to TBT (that I can recall).  I’ve just finished four Sundays of PiiF retrospectives (here, here, here, and here), so readers of “Lazy Sunday LXIX: Phone it in Fridays, Part III” may remember this post about our February 2020 trip to Universal Studios.

With that, here is “Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios“:

As I wrote yesterday, I’m out on a rare vacation (other than ChristmasSpring Break, all summer, and every second- and third-tier holiday that falls on a Monday in the winter).  I’m down in Florida visiting Universal Studios Orlando with my family, and it’s been an amazing, tiring trip.  I tried filing away blog posts for while I was away, but couldn’t get enough done to have every day of my trip covered.

That said, we got back from Day 2 in the park a little while ago, and I’m slamming something out while playing with Mario Kart Hot Wheels with my almost-three-year old nephew.  Here are just some observations from my vacation.

  • I love Universal Studios.  The highlight has been riding rides with my niece and my nephew.  One of the first rides we rode was E.T.  It’s definitely an older ride, but the nostalgia factor and magic really make it an incredible ride.  Riding it with my niece was probably what I was most looking forward to doing on this trip.
  • That and the Pteradon Gliders ride, which adults can only ride if they have a child with them.  It was a bit more intense than I thought it would be for a little kiddie ride, and is super fun.  You also get to see the entire park!
  • As much as I love Universal, I hate crowds.  I was trained from an early age to stay out of the way.  Apparently, no one else was.  I understand people are confused or trying to figure out where to go next, but folks are absolutely oblivious to what is going on around them.  You’d think someone coming at you with a stroller would at least make a little room, rather than dashing out in front of you like a squirrel (or, worse, plodding along in the exact middle of your path.
  • It’s still jarring for me, even in our multicultural age, to hear different languages, even Spanish.  It doesn’t grate me the same way as when I hear it elsewhere, because I realize there are a ton of tourists, but it still makes me realize how—as I heard someone put it recently, citing (I believe) Mark Steyn—the future belongs to those who show up.  In our hemisphere, the people showing up are Latin Americans.

More reflections to come—and a more complete account of the trip—to come.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday LXX: Phone it in Fridays, Part IV

We’re rounding out the month of Phone it in Fridays this week with the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth editions.  I’ve intentionally avoided doing more PiiFs while going through them, although I’ll likely write more in the future (because they’re easy and quick), and there will likely a “Phone it in Fridays, Part V” at some point (because it’s easy and quick).

Like last week’s installment, The Virus cast a long, sickly shadow over these entries.  For a time, that’s pretty much all bloggers and the commentariat were discussing, to the point that it got boring and tiresome.  We also settled into our oppressive new normal like slowly boiling frogs, and now every trip to the grocery store looks like a Japanese subway station.

Here are Phone it in Fridays X, XI, and XII:

  • Phone it in Friday X: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part III: Working from Home” – One of the silver linings of The Age of The Virus was teaching from home.  At least, I quite enjoyed it—virtually all of my colleagues hated it.  I’m fortunate to teach in a field (History) that is easy to port to an online format, and I’ve been teaching online since 2015, so I have a good sense for the kind of feedback and communication necessary to make distance learning smoother for students (and myself).  This post had me musing about the future of work, and my hopes that we’d see more white-collar work done from home.
  • Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus” – One of the more astonishing aspects of the lockdowns, quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, mask ordinances, etc., was the ready compliance of most Americans to shutting down their lives.  I think everyone was copacetic to the “two weeks to flatten the curve” mantra, but that two weeks turned into “indefinite oppression because we said so.”  As cases have shot up in South Carolina, even our more conservative municipalities have put mask ordinances into place, albeit relatively mild, with tons of exemptions.  Had I won my that Town Council election on Tuesday, I would have voted against any such ordinances, on the grounds that a.) law enforcement doesn’t need to waste their time enforcing the unenforceable—and the non-criminal, and b.) mature adults and individual businesses in a free society can make their own best decisions about masks, etc.  Regardless, we all seemed to forget about the Constitution the minute a plague hit—unlike our plague-ridden ancestors.
  • Phone it in Friday XII: Good Reads” – The point of PiiF is to churn out some quick content on Fridays when I’m ready to relax for the weekend.  This PiiF ended up being one of the longest ones yet.  I read a ton of blogs every day, schedule-permitting, so I come across some good stuff from time to time.  This post shared great pieces from Rachel Fulton Brown, Z Man, and photog.

That’s it!  Twelve Fridays in one month of Sundays.  Lots of numbers divisible by 2 and 3 there.  I hope these PiiFs brought some joy to your life.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments: