One Southerner's unique, erudite, conservative perspective in a hectic world
Author: The Portly Politico
Tyler James Cook is a singer-songwriter in Lamar, South Carolina. He is formerly of The Lovecrafts and Brass to the Future, and currently performs regularly as a solo artist at local open mic nights. He sings and plays sax, keys, and a little bass. He loves songwriting contests, even if he isn't cool or talented enough to win them. He won the 2012 Artsville Songwriting Contest's People's Choice Prize for his original song "Contest Winner."
He also maintains _The Portly Politico_, a politics and culture blog, at https://theportlypolitico.wordpress.com.
School’s back, baby! We resumed classes Wednesday, 17 August 2022, a full sixteen days after the poor unfortunates in my county’s public schools resumed (they started back on Monday, 1 August 2022; while the school district has transitioned to a “semi-year-round schedule,” as they call it, it still seems borderline criminal to start school that early).
Just like last Friday’s post, I’m actually filing this one early; indeed, I’m writing it the day before school resumes. As such, I can’t comment on how this first, abbreviated week has gone, but I can give some insights into what we’re planning on doing, and how I’ve prepared for the start of this year.
Yours portly is back at school, which always gets me thinking about the future of our civilization. Children are the future, allegedly, and the Bible pretty much says that if you’re a bad teacher who leads kids astray, you’re going to Hell—yikes! In short, there’s a big responsibility to do the job well, and not to screw up the kids, since they’ll be running things in thirty or forty years or so.
Of course, our mode of living is quite different from the hunter-gatherers of yore—and those of today. Their lives are substantially different from our own, to the point they’d likely survive whatever catastrophic event might destroy the rest of us here in the “civilized” world.
Still, for all the problems that come with civilization, I rather like it. Air-conditioning and Hot Pockets are pretty nice luxuries, and I like knowing I can get a pizza in thirty minutes if I really want one. The only hunting I have to do is hunting for a coupon; the only gathering is picking my figs (and my neighbor mostly does that).
Nevertheless, we’d all do well to take a page from the hunter-gatherer’s playbook and appreciate the simple things in life—and maybe work a few less hours each day. Well, maybe.
We’re nearly through the end of the our lengthy countdown of the worst films ever. With Ponty’s #1 pick in the books, there’s just my #1 pick to go on Monday.
Fortunately, Audre Myers is back again with some midweek levity and positivity, moving away from the acerbic wit of negative reviews. The object of her praise this week is 1946’s The Jolson Story, the slightly fictionalized account of the life of Al Jolson and his insatiable appetite for applause. There’s also a poignant love story, one that doesn’t quite turn out as we’d hope.
It’s still summertime, but the first hints of autumn are starting to creep into the air. It’s hard to believe, but Halloween is only about eleven weeks away! All the autumnal fun will be upon us before we know it.
We also enjoyed some unseasonably low humidity in South Carolina this weekend, along with temperatures in the mid-eighties. It’s been quite pleasant this weekend; a pleasant foretaste of fall.
After many grueling months, Ponty and I are nearly done with our Top Ten Worst Films lists. Today marks the end of Ponty’s inglorious run.
I have to applaud Ponty for both conceiving of this “worst of” idea and for his execution. The man has a talent for unbridled hatred, at least when it comes to bad movies (otherwise, he seems like a lovely, gentle spirit). The Bible does teach us to hate that which is evil (it’s in one of the Psalms, I promise), and what could be more evil than big budget flicks that waste money producing tripe? I mean, I guess some gaffers got some work, so that’s good, but, dang!
That said, Ponty’s pick here will be a controversial one for some. I remember 1997’s “Batman & Robin” somewhat fondly… but I was twelve when it hit theaters. I remember watching it at home and, in my pubescent boyhood, thinking Poison Ivy was hot (never mind that Uma Thurman looks like an alien). I also liked Mr. Freeze’s ridiculous ice puns, which I still enjoy saying (“Ice to see you”).
Ah, such innocence. After reading Ponty’s review, I may have to rewatch the flick after twenty-five years to see if my opinion has matured more than I have myself (I’ve heard that director Joel Schumacher is kind of a freak, which might explain all the nipples on the Bat Suit). Of course, the point of this list, in part, is to help readers avoid watching bad movies, so would I be violating the implicit spirit of the worst films lists?
Such heady, philosophical conundrums. Nothing quite like that in Batman & Robin, as I recall.
With that, here is Ponty’s #1 pick, 1997’s Batman & Robin:
Well, the first day of school is coming up on Wednesday, which is appropriate: all of this weekend’s posts are about that halcyon first day (or week!) of school:
“First Day of School in The Age of The Virus” – I was really dreading this school year, and this post might reflect that somewhat. We had to implement a lot of crazy new measures to accommodate The Age of The Virus, most of which have (hopefully) fallen away now. Still, we made it through, for the most part.
Well, as photog declared earlier this week on his blog Orion’s Cold Fire, we’re officially “a banana republic.” The FBI raided President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago… for what? Some documents? Apparently, the President had already turned over some documents to the National Archives. Since when does the National Archives get to send a domestic police force into the homes of former presidents to get McDonald’s receipts?
Just like the arrest of Roger Stone and the ginned up January 6th Committee hearings, we on the Right have always understood that actors on the Left enjoy a different, more lenient standard of justice than those of us on the Right. In the pre-Trump world, there was at least some pretext of blind justice, with the progressives getting a wink and a nod for their malfeasance, with a conservative offered up sacrificially from time to time to appease the mob.
Now entire federal agencies—indeed, the vast majority of the federal government—are beholden to the Left. The apparatus of the state is no longer a mostly-impartial arbiter and guarantor of justice; instead, it’s now the personal army and political secret police of the Democratic Party.
This morning I’m recovering from a late night of rockin’ out to the neoclassical metal strains of Yngwie Malmsteen. At least, I’m assuming I’m recovering—I’m filing this post a day before the concert.
As such, a complete review of the post will be coming next week at some point. I can only assume the concert was incredible, and that Yngwie showed up on stage, on time. It’s not the 1980s anymore, so I doubt he pulled any Guns N’ Roses antics and showed up on stage two hours late, but who knows? If so, you’ll know more next week!
Yngwie Malmsteen championed neoclassical metal back in the 1980s with his band Rising Force. He revived Baroque and classical works and played them on electric guitar, which is pretty awesome if you just think about it for a second.
Naturally, his sheer technical brilliance gave him a huge head, and that ego was only slightly deflated when he suffered injuries in a car accident that made it difficult for him to play. To his immense credit—and to our musical delight—he relearned to play, building back the strength and dexterity necessary to ascend to the level of guitar god.
So, since I’m writing this before the concert, I thought I’d share some clips of Malmsteen rockin’ out in his distinctively technical way.
On Saturday I wrote a bit about an arrangement my neighbor and I have regarding my fig trees and grapevines: I grow them, he picks them—and makes them into delicious preserves. He’s also provided me with heirloom broccoli plants, which I shamefully think have largely died (though two stalks have somehow soldiered on through the hot summer months; I’m surprised they survived the heat!), and he grows an impressive garden himself.
So when casting about for this week’s TBT feature, this post about the Bradford watermelon—a variety thought lost to the world—fit neatly with what was already fresh on my mind.
There is so much variety out there compared to what the supermarkets put on offer. We’d probably all be a lot happier and a good bit healthier if we tried some of these old varieties.