SubscribeStar Saturday: Hammer Films II: Universal Horror Films, Part I

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.

Last April I wrote a detailed review (preview) of the Hammer Films Collection.  I’m currently making my way through Volume II of the collection, both of which feature Hammer Studios films that Columbia Pictures distributed.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to complete the second volume in time to review it today, but I will do so in a couple of weeks.  However, Christmas brought a bumper crop of films from the famous Hammer Studios, including a collection of four Dracula films distributed by Warner Brothers and an eight-film compilation of Universal Studios horror flicks.

I’ll be reviewing the first four films on the Universal Studios-distributed collection, The Hammer Horror Series, and reviewing the second four next Saturday. At the time of writing, the collection is only $17.21 on Amazon for the DVD ($34.99 for the Blu-Ray edition); at that price, I’d definitely recommend picking it up to enjoy these flicks yourself.

The collection includes eight films in total:  Brides of DraculaThe Curse of the WerewolfThe Phantom of the OperaParanoiacThe Kiss of the VampireNightmareNight Creatures, and The Evil of Frankenstein.  Today I’ll be reviewing Brides of DraculaThe Curse of the WerewolfThe Phantom of the Opera, and Paranoiac.

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

Doodles for Christmas

Seeing as it’s Christmastime, I’m taking a more light-hearted approach to posts this week, focusing on Christmas and the fun and music surrounding it.  To celebrate Christmas (and Festivus, which is today), I decided to share some of my favorite Sunday Doodles with you.

Normally Sunday Doodles are exclusive for $5 a month and higher SubscribeStar subscribers (and $3/month subs get doodles the first Sunday of the month), so think of this retrospective as a small Christmas present to you, my loyal readers.  If you want the full commentary on each doodle, though, you’ll have to subscribe.

The Very First Sunday Doodles – “Rose-Tinted Glasses” & “Cheeks”

These two doodles were from the first Sunday Doodles, dated 11 November 2019 (Veterans’ Day!).  “Rose-Tinted Glasses” has appeared as the “featured image” on posts before, but the Peter Griffin-esque “Cheeks” is new to the free site.

Sunday Doodles II – “Disco Dracula” and “The Hardcore Monsignor”

You can tell early on I was still going strong with my doodling A-game, as this second Sunday Doodles—from 18 November 2019—suggests..  “Disco Dracula”—who looks like a character from a 70s Blaxploitation film—and “The Hardcore Monsignor”—derivative of Monsignor Martinez from King of the Hill—are both awesome looking dudes.  “The Hardcore Monsignor” has been on the free site before, though I can’t remember the context.  “Disco Dracula” looks particularly spooky—and funky!

Sunday Doodles V – “Sophisticated Baby” & “The Toxic Drooler”

These doodles from the fifth Sunday Doodles (8 December 2019) feature two chunky babies of wildly different backgrounds.  “Sophisticated Baby” cracks me up every time I see it, especially the martini and the cigar.  “The Toxic Drooler” is what happens when I find a green pen on the ground and have time in a faculty meeting.

The Latest Sunday Doodles – #58!

As you can see, dear reader, you’ve missed out on a lot of Sunday DoodlesThe most recent edition, from this past Sunday, 20 December 2020, features some Christmas cheer, so I figured closing out on “Snowman” and “Christmas Tree” would be a fitting end to this post:

There you go—a small taste of the fun you’re missing.  I love a good doodle, and I’d love for you to get more of them every Sunday.

Subscribing is a great Christmas gift to yourself—and to yours portly!  ‘Tis the season, after all.  *Ding!*

Merry Christmas!

—TPP

Sunday Doodles LVIII, 20 December 2020 - Snowman

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The Future of Bandcamp Fridays

[Note–after reviewing my accounting, I realized I double-counted some tip money as also a private lesson payment, so I’ve adjusted numbers down $50.  That caused some minor changes in my calculations.  Those should be updated and correct now.  —TPP, 18 December 2020]

Regular readers will know that since March 2020, Bandcamp has been waiving its commission on sales through its platform on the first Friday of each month.  The company even dedicated a webpage to answering the burning question “Is it Bandcamp Friday?

The promotion has been a real boon for musicians—myself included—who have seen a major reduction in revenue from gigs, lessons, merch sales, and other sources of income.  I just ran the numbers, and I grossed around $4976.18 this year from lessons, gigs (including a play I was in), merchandise sales, streaming payments (only $10.15—and it took five years to accumulate that much!), and Bandcamp sales (around $159.03 after payment processing fees and Bandcamp’s commission from purchases not made on Bandcamp Fridays).  That’s compared to roughly $9099 grossed last year from the same sources, so about 54.69% of the revenue in 2020 vs. 2019.  My lesson revenue fell to 45.34% of its value in 2019, from $7465 to $3385 (but I also only drove 1941 miles for lessons in 2020, versus just over 6000 miles for lessons in 2019).

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The Virus and Live Music: The Story of The Roasting Room Lounge

Christmastime always puts me in a musical mood, as blog posts this week suggest.  Christmas is the perfect season to illustrate the power of music, as so much wonderful music has been written about Christ’s Birth.

In The Before Times, in the Long, Long Ago, before The Age of The Virus, it was also a lucrative season for musicians.  Other than wedding gigs (a market I haven’t managed to crack into yet), nothing pays better than a Christmas party.  They’re fun, full of free food, and they pay well.  The spirit of free-flowing generosity (and the generosity of free-flowing spirits) results in some warm winter paydays.

Of course, this year has been particularly tough for musicians, as I’ve detailed many, many times before.  Revenues from private lessons and gigs seem to be bouncing back (at least for me), and the struggles of The Virus brought forth a burst of generosity.  Bandcamp Fridays really helped inject some much-needed cash into the coffers of independent musicians (myself included).

Musicians have also had to get creative.  That’s why I hosted my annual Spooktacular from my front porch.  Venues are constrained by various local and State laws (and sometimes dictatorial edicts) limiting their capacities, and many eateries have been slow to resume live shows.  That’s created real limitations on venues and artists, but it’s also opened up opportunities.  My Spooktacular was mildly profitable, but it also brought people together for desperately-needed fun and camaraderie (and put a few bucks into the pockets of the musicians involved).  I don’t know if that model will endure once The Virus is defeated, but it’s something for musicians to consider in this strange new world.

But for all I’ve written about the damage The Virus has caused to musicians’ finances, I haven’t looked at the impact on venues at all.  That’s an unfortunate oversight on my part, because a venues’ success or failure can directly impact that of an artist.  Many musically-inclined venues are coffee shops or small restaurants, so they largely cut live music as they went to take-out-only and delivery formats.

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Giving Tuesday

It’s that time of year where every vaguely commercial enterprise capitalizes on the the post-Thanksgiving Christmas season build-up to beg for your hard-earned dollars.  We’ve had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday (is there a “Tithing Sunday” in there, too?).  Now it’s “Giving Tuesday,” the day designated for giving money to this or that charitable organization or dubious non-profit.

Prepare to have your inbox deluged with solicitations from various (and variably worthy) 501(c)(3)s, playing on the cheerfulness and generosity of Christmas in the hopes that you’ll pony up $25 or $50.  They’ll all claim they’re worthy causes—but how do you know?

Instead of running the risk of giving your merry moola to some Left-leaning charity, let me advise you on where to donate.  As much I’d love for you to support my blog (which, of course, I encourage you to do), here are some of bloggers, creators, and institutions that could really use your support:

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TBT: [Censored.TV] Lineup Announced

Other than Roosh V, probably the greatest influence on my deeper red-pilling was Gavin McInnes.  McInnes’s commentary is funny, lively, and fresh.  I have consumed hundreds of hours of his popular podcast, Get Off My Lawn, so I’ve heard a lot of his thoughts on a broad range of topics.  Even when I disagree with his assessment of some event, his perspective is unique and interesting.

Milo is also a part of McInnes’s world, and his sharp, erudite, biting commentary—and excellent journalism—routinely inspire posts on this site, such as Monday’s piece “What is Civilization?

Back in Summer 2019, McInnes—who, like Laura Loomer, has been banned from multiple platforms—launched Censored.TV, which at the time was FreeSpeech.TV (thus the brackets in this post’s title, and in the original post below; the service changed its name after another company threatened a trademark suit against McInnes).  The service, which is just $10 a month or $100 for a year, features about a dozen different personalities and shows, ranging from “Gary’s Mailbag”—a homeless man who wanders around outside the studio and reads letters—to Milo’s raucous “Friday Night’s All Right.”

The main message of the original post was to encourage readers to support content they like (myself included!), especially conservatives.  Platforms like SubscribeStar help give conservatives and dissidents a voice, but those platforms are oases of freedom in a desert of techno-tyranny.

With that, here is 2019’s “FreeSpeech.TV Lineup Announced“:

Thanks to my brother for this nocturnal news update:  Gavin McInnes’s new subscription-based service, [Censored.TV], is ready to launch.  Listeners to the excellent, hilarious Get Off My Lawn podcast know that Gavin has been planning this platform for some time now, so it’s exciting to see the lineup.  The most exciting part of that schedule:  the twice-monthly sit-downs with Milo Yiannopoulos to talk about the news.  Talk about throwing gasoline onto a raging fire of awesomeness.

The service is $10 a month, or $100 a year, which is on par with Steven Crowder’s Mug Club or Ben Shapiro’s subscription.  I just don’t think it comes with a Leftist Tears Hot-or-Cold Tumbler, much less a far superior hand-etched mug.  But with McInnes’s crazy, controversial, humorous observations about life and culture, I can live without a drinking vessel tossed in (although it would be hysterical to drink coffee from a mug made to look like McInnes’s bearded mug).

Because of constant censorship from techno-elites and their ever-shifting “terms of services,” conservative and Dissident Right voices have fewer and fewer options to raise funds.  Some sites, like immigration patriot website VDare.com, can’t even use PayPal anymore.  As such, more and more content creators are turning to alternative or free-speech-friendly services, or undertaking the cost of creating their own infrastructure, so they can continue to get their work to fans.

I am definitely a small fry in this game of commentary, but that’s why I’ve setup a page with SubscribeStar.  My goal isn’t too live off of subscriptions, but just to supplement my income slightly to make blogging more on a daily basis more feasible (and to reinvest some of the funds into maintaining and improving the experience).

For guys like Gavin McInnes, who has been hounded from even supposed safe havens like his old employer, CRTV (now BlazeTV), reliable income streams aren’t a passing lark—they’re absolutely crucial.

In a better timeline, McInnes would be hosting Red Eye.  But he’s a fighter, and I have no doubt his new service will continue to deliver the laughs.

Free speech isn’t free.  Support creators like McInness, Crowder, Shapiro, and Milo to the best of your ability to keep their content alive.

If you’d like to support MY content, consider signing up for a subscription to my SubscribeStar page.  New, exclusive content every Saturday, starting at just $1 a month.

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SubscribeStar and Free Speech

Readers know that I’ve been using SubscribeStar to host subscription-based content—like SubscribeStar Saturdays for $1 a month subscribers, and Five Dollar Fridays and Sunday Doodles for $5 a month subs—for over a year now.  It’s a fairly rudimentary blogging platform, without some of the robustness and customization options of WordPress, but unlike WordPress, it’s leadership is not inherently left-leaning.

In other words, there’s very little chance SubscribeStar is going to shut down a “star“—their term for their content providers—over groundless accusations.  That’s one big reason I signed up for their service:  I had confidence that they wouldn’t shutter my blog posts simply for thinking critically and questioning the prevailing orthodoxy.

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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

Support The Portly Politico

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s been a tough year for musicians.  Fortunately, things are looking up on that end, at least for yours portly.  With school starting back this week, I’m hoping some of my old students will be comfortable with resuming one-on-one lessons, especially after sitting in class all day with other students (and with our new sanitation and safety protocols).  Still, 2020 will be a down year for lessons revenue, and especially for gigs.

In brighter news, The Portly Politico has more followers and subscribers than ever.  Currently, my SubscribeStar page has seven subscribers, three of whom are subscribed at the $5 tier.  Thanks to their support, the blog is bringing in $15.38 a month after SubscribeStar takes its cut.  That may seem like small potatoes, but that support means more than the dollar figure suggests.

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to subscribe$1 a month is an easy lift, and considering the back catalog of posts is growing every week, the value of that investment continues to grow.  If you’re already a $1 a month sub, you may want to consider upgrading to a $5 a month subscription.

I’m also introducing more perks for $5 a month subs.  So far, the $5 tier has been the same as the $1 tier, just with Sunday Doodles tossed in.  Last week, I included some bonus doodles.  I’ll be doing that more frequently—not necessarily weekly, but often enough to make it a fun surprise.  I’m also going to be uploading more music, especially material that can’t currently be found on my Bandcamp page.

During distance learning, I amassed a treasure trove of history and government lectures.  I’ll be uploading some of those for $5 subs, probably starting with the Second World War lectures.

Finally, select Fridays this fall will be “Five Dollar Fridays,” posts that will be largely dedicated to 2020 election coverage and analysis.  As the name suggests, those posts will be exclusive to $5 and up subscribers.

Naturally, I’ll continue to offer free weekly content Sunday through Thursday, and some Fridays.  We’re closing in on 600 days of posts, and two years is about 134 posts away.  Of course, if you’re not subscribed, you’re missing out on 116 posts (as of this writing)!  That’s a ton of content (and doodles).

If you’re interested in a subscription, sign up here or here.  If you know of someone who might be interested in paying a small fee for quality content, please forward this blog post them, or send them here.

One final pot-sweetenerif we hit 10 subscribers—at any level—by the end of August 2020, I’ll upload some special, surprise content for all subscribers.

Thanks again for your support—and your patience with yet another sales pitch.  It is truly appreciated.

God Bless,

TPP