Phone it in Friday XXVIII: Christmas Concert

Today is the day of our big Christmas Concert at school.  It’s both my favorite and least favorite day of the year, because while the concert is incredibly fun, it’s also incredibly stressful.  It’s worth it, though, to see the kids singing and playing and having a good time.

As I’ve grown older, fatter, and achier, I’ve scaled back a bit of the theatricality and bombast of the Christmas Concert to something a bit more manageable.  Gone are the days of singing while standing on a piano (I did that once, years ago).  I also strive to make the concert focused on the kids (well, and Jesus).

Still, it’s a lot to pull together, with not only my two classes (the middle and high school ensembles) but also two choirs, three dance classes, and six Foreign Language classes.  I’ve completely eliminated solos (outside of soloists on songs within these classes) to streamline it as much as possible.

I’ll be doing a full write-up one Saturday (possibly tomorrow) covering it, but for today, just pray for yours portly.  I’m confident it will be a good concert, I just gotsta get through it!

Merry Christmas!

—TPP

TBT^2: Climate Hysteria Robs Us of Joy

Talk about a forgotten post:  I wrote this post way back in 2019, then reblogged it in 2020, and haven’t thought about it since.

When you’ve written and/or edited blog posts for going on 1430 consecutive days, it’s easy to forget some of the pieces you’ve written.  It’s one reason why it’s so foolish to crucify public intellectuals and other personalities for misguided tweets or ancient blog posts.  The nature of the medium is to produce, produce, produce—a constant churning of content.  That doesn’t mean we should be irresponsible with our words, but that it’s easy to forget old posts and arguments.

What brought this post to mind was a comment from the Quora contributor whose answer to a question inspired this post.  He commented over Thanksgiving and asked that I remove his name from the post, which I did.

Here was his comment in full:

I’m the one you’re quoting in this piece, and the connection you’re trying to make is utter nonsense. If you’d like me to explain the difference between trying to drink the ocean and altering the CO2 content of the atmosphere, I’d be happy to do so, but given the utter lack of scientific understanding displayed here, I’m guessing you wouldn’t care.

As a scientist, I’m offended that you’re peddling this kind of misinformation, and using my name to do it. As a Christian, I’m offended that you’re invoking the name of deity (and a diametrically wrong reading of scripture), to argue in favor of ignorance and lack of responsibility.

If you’re going to sell this kind of garbage, kindly leave my name out of it.

I respectfully disagree.  I think the poster missed the point of my piece.  Obviously, drinking from the ocean is not perfectly analogous to pumping carbon dioxide into the atrmosphere, but the two do seem related:  if we meaningfully affect sea levels by taking a collective drink from the ocean, it seems unlikely that we can meaningfully affect the ozone layer.

But the comment proves my point:  here’s a man so enslaved to the dogmatism of scientific materialism, he’s spending his Thanksgiving calling people stupid online.

I mean, I’m no scientist, and I probably am stupid about a lot of things, but I also didn’t shut down the global economy and civil society for two years and demand people trust my authority because I wear a lab coat.  My whole life I’ve heard that “science is our religion now” (probably true) and that “scientists are the new high priests of society.”

Well, they’re doing a pretty lousy job of it.  I wonder how many Westerners will freeze to death this winter because our priestly caste demands we bow obsequiously to Mother Gaia?  If questioning their dogmatic faith is “misinformation,” then I am proud spreader of the same.

With that, here is “TBT: Climate Hysteria Robs Us of Joy“:

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Myersvision: The Walking Dead

What happens when you consume the same piece of pop culture so many times, you peel back the layers of rotted flesh to discover hidden depths that, on first glance, you missed?

This piece by our dear Audre Myers is a beautiful illustration of that phenomenon.  That said, the series she’s reviewing—yes, as entire, decade-plus-long series—is arguably something more than mere pop culture.  It may represent a work of television art.

The late aughts and early teens of this century saw a golden age of television as an art form.  Outside the confines of a film’s ninety-or-so-minute runtime, television series have the luxury of developing characters across hundreds of hours of screen time and multiple seasons.  Narratives can explore deeper complexity.  Themes can be examined in all their glorious nuance.

I don’t want to give away Audre’s key insight about this show, but I’ll note that I think she is correct.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

With that, here is Audre’s series retrospective of The Walking Dead:

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You’ll Get Everything and Not Like It

Being one of three brothers who came of age in the 1990s—the golden age of watching ribald, edited-for-television comedies on basic cable—I was constantly exposed to humorous quips and one-liners from hilarious movies.  One perennial favorite was the raunchy (again, edited for television) comedy classic Caddyshack (1980), about a bunch of blue-collar kids working at a tony country club’s golf course (and Bill Murray trying to blow up a gopher).

My brothers and I still reference one brief but oft-quoted scene:

Judge Smails irate handling of his ingrate nephew is a classic, and something I have probably said to a student.  My older brother loves saying it to my younger brother’s kids, who, while not rotten, and definitely spoiled (a good bit by their Uncle Portly).

My older nephew, is nearly six, likes to invert the phrase, shouting at his other uncle, “You’ll get everything and not like it.”  It’s one of his many (unintentionally?) Zen utterances.

I was contemplating this amusing bit of familial banter on the way to work yesterday.  My sweet little nephew is right—we Westerners do have everything—and we’re miserable!

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #5: Back to the Future (1985)

A recent installment of Open Mic Adventures inspired this pick, which I knew would show up on my list somewhere.  I’m not sure where I intended to put it, but I knew it would be in the top five; indeed, it should probably be higher, but it’s fresh on my mind, so I’m putting it at #5.

The film is one of the enduring classics of the 1980s.  It hit theaters on my half-birthday—3 July 1985—and was ever-present during my childhood on VHS (recorded from television broadcasts, of course).  The film franchise even inspired the name of my old brass quintet, Brass to the Future.

The flick, of course, is Robert Zemeckis’s science-fiction classic Back to the Future (1985).

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Lazy Sunday CLXXIV: Solo Cover EP, Part I

It’s a musical time of year, with my school’s big, fun, and stressful Christmas concert coming up this Friday, 9 December 2022 (pray for me).  Naturally, I have music on the brain even more so than usual, so I thought I’d look back at some past installments of Open Mic Adventures, specifically the ones where I’m playing solo (no worries—I’ll do a retrospective of OMA‘s featuring duets with John eventually).

Here are three of my favorite solo covers:

Happy Sunday—and Happy Listening!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Christmas Mayhem

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 Christmastime, which means a mad dash of yuletide craziness for yours portly, followed by a stately glide into New Year’s.  Right now I’m riding the wave of insanity, hoping I don’t wipe out along the way to the crest.

Years ago, I worked for a municipal performing arts center as the Cultural Coordinator—a cool title for a stressful job.  The venue was a beautiful opera house of the kind that graced many mid-sized Southern towns in the late nineteenth century.  We did not host an opera company (as far as I can recall, not a single note of opera was performed in the venue while I was there), so the name is a bit of a misnomer, but we did feature a number of different performances, both those we booked ourselves through the city, and those put on by enterprising residents who rented out our facilities.

The month of December was brutal.  In addition to our own events, we were also slammed with rentals.  Friday and Saturday nights saw me splitting my time between an outdoor musical event and whoever happened to be in the opera house that weekend.  One Christmas, I was so stressed out I starting losing weight without even realizing it, leading to my 2011 weight loss odyssey.

Unfortunately, I was so busy and stressed, I started loathing Christmas—a holiday I love!

Fortunately, while I’m still pretty busy at the holidays, I no longer dread their approach.  That said, I have had quite a week, and have another major one ahead of me.

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

December 2022 Bandcamp Friday

Ah, yes, December—Christmastime.  A time for merriment with friends, families—and Bandcamp Friday!

The first Friday of December 2022 (today, if you’re reading this on Friday, 2 December 2022) witnesses the return of this pro-indie music observance, a day on which Bandcamp waives its usual 15% commission on sales.

In other words, when you buy my music, almost 100% of it goes to me, instead of almost 85%.

While I haven’t released any new music lately, I managed to release two short collections of music in AprilPéchés d’âge moyen II: One Week in March and The Lo-Fi Hymnal II.  All of my releases are just a buck each, though you’re welcome to pay more if you’d like to help out yours portly.

Currently, my entire discography of ten releases is $6.50, a savings of 35%, which is not bad for ten releases.  That’s $0.65 per release—not too shabby!  To purchase the full discography, click on any release, and you’ll see the option to purchase all of them.

I’m also selling all of my paintings for $10, with free shipping in the United States, regardless of how many you purchase.  They’re one of kind, so once a painting is purchased, it’s gone.

Finally, my book The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot is $10 in paperback, and just $5 on Kindle.

And the paperback version is the perfect gift!  Why give someone a boring, predictable gift, when you can give them a collection of unsolvable, absurdist noir detective stories to read around the yule log?  Enjoy egg nog-enriched guffaws as your friends read mystifying tales of hyper-sleuthing.

Give the Gift of Weird this Christmas!

Well, that’s it for this month’s sales pitch.  There’s been a lot of them lately.  Thanks again for your support!

Happy Friday!

—TPP

TBT^2: The Morning After

I’ve been pretty salty—in the parlance of the kiddos these days—about the midterm election results, a level of disappointment I haven’t experienced since the 2020 presidential election.

It brought me back to this post, in which I opine about Trump’s loss and the stolen election.  My hope was that the Republican Party would embrace the working-class voters that helped Trump win in 2016, lest they simply “return to being the party of agreeable losers.”

Looks like—ironically—the “agreeable losers” won, and have made losers of us all.

With that, here is 4 November 2021’s “TBT: The Morning After“:

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