TBT^4: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Another year has passed, and another Thanksgiving has rolled around.  In the tradition of this blog going back to 2017, I’m throwing back to past Thanksgiving Day posts.  I’ll alternate between italicized and non-italicized posts so readers can see the layers of commentary and annual updates.

In re-reading “TBT^2: It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle,” it’s interesting to reflect on the contrast between 2019 and 2020.  Yes, 2020 has been a rough year universally, but it’s personally been one of my better years.  The Virus really took its toll financially, especially on my private music lessons and gigging empire, but both of those are recovering as folks mellow out about The Virus and the holidays approach.  I’m back to six students now, and have been blessed with some truly God-sent bookings recently.

The Virus brought a silver lining:  it forced me to slow down.  All the shutdowns made me do what I would have been loathe to do voluntarily—give up various extracurricular activities and side gigs.  For the first time in probably seven years, I took the summer off, other than my History of Conservative Thought course and one intrepid piano student (and three days of painting for the school, because they were desperate).  I reluctantly got on some extremely mild anxiety medication, and now I love the stuff—I’m not fretting over insignificant things anymore.

I enjoyed distance learning, too, though I am glad to be back with students (most days).  It provided the opportunity to laser-focus on my teaching, without all the extra little duties and responsibilities that normally come with teaching generally and my position specifically.  I missed putting on a big Spring Concert, but I didn’t miss the stress, the lack of institutional support, and the hours and hours of unwinding and connecting XLR cables.

All in all, it’s been a very good year.  I’m up to eight generous subscribers now to my SubscribeStar page, and many of you have purchased my music on BandcampYour support came when I needed it most, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

—TPP

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TBT: Giving Thanks (and a Sales Pitch)

We’re just one week from Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful to live in a State with enough commonsense and decency not to attempt to trample our right to gather with our loved ones on such an important day.  There may be a good bit of uncertainty about the future, but at least we can get together and enjoy some time together (and some turkey, of course).

In casting about for some TBT fodder this week, I came across this blatant sales pitch post from Thanksgiving Week 2019.  I haven’t pimped out my scribbled wares lately, and this season of generosity and giving seemed like a great time to urge everyone to dig deep and subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for a buck a month (or five, for that matter).

Last year at this time I had five subscribers and a piddling thirty-five posts.  As of the time of this writing, I have 144 posts on the page (which will hopefully be 145 by the time you read this TBT, as I owe subscribers for this past Saturday) and eight subscribers.  That includes fifty-three installments of Sunday Doodles, which only $5 subscribers get.  The rest are Saturday posts, with a few Five Dollar Friday posts tossed in for you big spenders.

I would love to get that subscriber count into double digits by Christmas.  If you’ve been hesitating for any reason, or said, “Oh, I need to do that when I have a minute,” make that minute now.  Grab your credit card and swipe that sucker (you actually have to type in the number) and make it happen!  Then you, too, can enjoy a bottomless back catalog of my portly musings.

With that, here is a very commercial, cash-grabby look back at “Giving Thanks (and a Sales Pitch)“:

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TBT: Trump Stands for Us

With the 2020 election still on the ropes, it’s easy to get discouragedWe’ve witnessed Democrats get away with voter fraud for decades, so what makes this election any different?  Add to the mix the moralizing self-rationalization that surely must motivate many of the poll workers perpetuating the fraud (remember, these people think they are saving the country by doing everything possible to remove Trump from office), and the situation seems dire at times.

But we can’t give up on our man.  Donald Trump didn’t give up on us.  Yes, I know he mildly denounced the Proud Boys, but as even Gavin McInnes noted, Trump probably doesn’t even really know who the Proud Boys are.  Maybe he should, but if he knew the PBs, he’d probably applaud their patriotism.

Leave that aside.  President Trump delivered—big time—for his supporters.  Three Supreme Court justices.  Hundreds of lower court judges.  Lower taxes.  No more critical race theory training for federal employees.  Substantial protections for religious liberty.  A roaring economy.  And, quite frankly, common sense.

In looking back to November 2019’s archives, I found this post from 4 November 2019, “Trump Stands for Us.”  It’s a powerful reminder for why we love Trump, and how he’s fought for us.  Now it’s our time to fight for him:

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TBT: The Invasion and Alienation of the South

Sheldon_Church_2

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With the election still in the balance—it may be decided by the time you read this post—and two formerly conservative Southern States up for grabs, I thought it would be timely to revisit this piece, “The Invasion and Alienation of the South,” which looks at Leslie Alexander’s post “Stranger in a Strange Land.”  In that piece, Alexander writes about the hollow, joyless cosmopolitanism of living in Dallas—a stark contrast to the tight-knit cordiality and tradition of her native Louisiana.

While watching the election returns, it occurred to me that Georgia and North Carolina should not be risky toss-ups, and Virginia never should have been lost to hordes of Swamp People.  It’s an irony of history that Washington, D.C., was placed next to Virginia so the ornery planters, suspicious of federal power, could keep a closer eye on the national government.  Now, that bloated national government dominates politics in Virginia through its largess.

Meanwhile, transplants from up North have infested previously conservative States.  Charlotte, North Carolina has become a wretched hive of globalist scum and villainy.  During my online dating days, I would routinely get matched with babes from Charlotte; invariably, they were always from Ohio, or New York, or California—never actually true North Carolinians.

It’s one thing when local blacks vote Democratic.  Fine—we’re at least part of the same(-ish) Southern culture, and we’ll help each other out.  But then gentry white liberals start coming down here, ruining our politics and our cities.

Now, we live in a world in which Joe Biden might win Georgia, and North Carolina—NORTH CAROLINA—has become a nail-biter every four years.

Such is the price of our addiction to economic growth and convenience.  What we’ve gained in luxuries we have lost in heart.  We have paid for them with our souls.

Here is November 2019’s “The Invasion and Alienation of the South“:

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TBT: Happy Halloween!

Halloween is nearly here!  I love Halloween, so I had to dedicate this week’s TBT to last year’s Halloween post.  This Halloween is particularly fun, as I’m hosting my annual Spooktacular this Friday evening (information here).

It’s been a good Halloween season.  My girlfriend and I carved pumpkins this weekend.  It was her first time, but she carved far more elaborate ones than I did.  See for yourself:

Pumpkins 2020

Her’s are the ones on the left—the bat and the drooling pumpkin.  Mine are on the right—the more traditional snaggle-toothed variety.  The one on the bottom right reminds me of King Kong.

We’ve also watched both Halloween and Halloween II, so we’ve pretty much checked off all the boxes.

With that, here’s 31 October 2019’s “Happy Halloween!“:

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TBT: Climate Hysteria Robs Us of Joy

In casting about for a good TBT this week, I stumbled upon this post—which really should have ended up in one of my “Forgotten Posts” editions of Lazy Sunday—about the foolishness of climate hysteria, and the arrogance of thinking we can really have a concrete impact on the environment at the macro-level.

Don’t get me wrong:  I enjoy God’s Creation, and I think stewardship of His Creation is incredibly important.  We shouldn’t go around adopting baby sea turtles.  But driving to work everyday isn’t going to affect the environment or the climate in any discernible way.

In fact, it’s funny—climate change doesn’t even seem like a serious issue anymore (who even remembers Greta Thunberg now?).  As soon as the elites went hard for The Virus hysteria, they immediately had us using disposable plastic crap and Styrofoam containers again.  Even the whole message of The Age of The Virus was “Consume”—stay home, eat takeout, watch trash TV.

That puts the lie to the climate change nonsense.  I’ll repeat my admonition from one year ago today:  “Eat, drink, and be merry—and have lots of babies.”

Here is 22 October 2019’s “Climate Hysteria Robs Us of Joy“:

Growing up, I received my fair share of public school climate indoctrination.  My generation cut its teeth on Captain Planet, the eco-propaganda cartoon that, among other things, scolded Americans for using too many resources and having too many babies.  Fast forward to today, and those arguments are mainstream.

In fact, I remember my dad telling me that Captain Planet was Ted Turner‘s ham-fisted attempt at indoctrinating kids—one of the first times I vividly remember learning that the elites were lying to us.  The finger-wagging, puritanical nagging of environmentalists further pushed me away from eco-hysteria.

Still, we were always taught that the oceans were dying, that fresh water was scarce, etc.  Well, thanks to Quora, some easy math shows us that God’s Creation is abundant enough.

Quora user posed the question (to paraphrase):  if everyone drank a glass of water from the ocean (let’s assume it’s been desalinated), how would it affect the sea level?

Geoffrey Widdison’s answer goes through the math:  if everyone—including babies! (around 7.7 billion people)—took a twelve-ounce glass of water from the ocean simultaneously, “the water level would drop by 0.0000000075 meters, or about 7.5 nanometers. That’s about 1/1000 the size of a red blood cell.”  Another contributor, Vilmos Shepard, writes that this scenario “would lower the ocean by less than a wavelength of light.”

As Widdison writes in his response, “within a day or two, we’d all sweat, breathe and urinate that water back out, and it would eventually end up back in the oceans. The water cycle is a hard thing to beat.”  Indeed.

The more I learn about Creation, the more I appreciate that there’s not much we can do to affect or alter the macro-level environment.  We can make tweaks and marginal improvements—such as improving desalination of sea water, transporting water more efficiently, picking up trash, etc.—but it’s foolish to think we alone can break or fix the environment.  Creation is incredibly abundant and robust.

Barring massive nuclear warfare, our everyday actions are not going to destroy the planet.  I’m not saying we should casually throw our old tires into the river—we should be good stewards of Creation—but it’s wasted effort to agonize over our carbon footprint.  If the enviro-cultists and eco-hipsters really cared, they’d live in the country, instead of cramming themselves into energy-guzzling urban hellscapes.

Eat, drink, and be merry—and have lots of babies.  Don’t curtail your enjoyment of the bounty of God’s Creation just because Ted Turner and Greta Thunberg are insane and deluded.  Yes,  yes—dispose of your old electronics and used motor oil properly (we’re trying have a society here), but we shouldn’t lose sleep over eating a steak.

ocean

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TBT: The Joy of Hymnals

It being October, I tend to focus on the spookiness of the season.  I love Halloween, ghost stories, and scary movies, but it’s important not to get too bogged down in the chills.

So as I was going through posts from October 2019, I stumbled upon one of my old favorites:  “The Joy of Hymnals.”  My small church roped me into playing piano for Sunday morning services maybe two years ago, and it quickly rekindled an old love of hymns and hymnals.

Hymnals are my favorite items to find in old second-hand shops and antique stores (the latter of which often selling them at an egregious markup).  It’s fun to see which hymns do—and, more importantly, don’t—show up in any given hymnal.  I particularly like slender volumes, the kind that were meant for carrying from service to service or camp meeting to camp meeting, and which tend to possess hymns from the canon, if such a thing exists, of hymnody.

I even recorded and released a very lo-fi EP, The Lo-Fi Hymnal, which consists of crude recordings of my Sunday morning playing.  That short collection also includes a PDF version of today’s TBT feature.

Here is “The Joy of Hymnals“:

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TBT: Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap

It’s getting into that spooky time of year, so for this week’s TBT I decided to look back at “Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap.”  I spent most of my Spring Break this year reading horror short stories, writing reviews about and recommendations for some of the better stories I read.

I won’t do much more editorializing than that, as the original post is quite lengthy and detailed.  I will add that love short stories, and find the form chillingly effective for horror.  The brevity and concision of the form encourages horror writers to deliver chills and terror straightaway, and allows for frights to be the focus.

With that, here is “Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap“:

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TBT: On Ghost Stories

Today marks the first day of October, perhaps my favorite month of the year.  We’re already getting that first crisp coolness in the air here in South Carolina, and it’s feeling more and more like autumn every day.

So with Halloween just thirty days away, I thought it would be fun to look back at a post from last “All Hallowe’s Eve Eve,” as I wrote at the time:  one all about ghost stories.

I finally finished slogging my way through The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories, thanks in no small part to quarantine.  It’s an excellent collection, and I stand by my recommendation from last October, but there are a handful of stories that are way too long—or dense.

I’m now reading through a more accessible, far lighter read:  the classic Tar Heel Ghosts by John Harden.  It’s a collection of North Carolina-based ghost stories published in the 1950s, so it has that pleasing sense of implicit patriotism and love of place that is now so sadly missing from our cynical, cosmopolitan writing of today.  Like The Story of Yankee Whaling, it possesses a refreshing innocence about and love for its subject:  no hand-wringing over now-unfashionable ideas, no condemnation of a lack of diversity, no talk of “marginalized” groups being “unrepresented.”

I picked up the book sometime in my childhood on a family trip, but I don’t think I ever finished the collection.  I’m rectifying that all these years later, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  I also plan to reread Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, one of my favorites to pull out this time of year.

Here’s hoping you find some spooky tales of your own to curl up with on these cold, October nights.  Here’s October 2019’s “On Ghost Stories“:

It’s Halloween!  Well, at least it’s All Hallow’s Eve Eve, but that’s close enough for some ghoulishly delicious ghost stories.

I love a good ghost story.  The Victorians did the genre best, but many writers since have honed it further, adding their own unique twists and scares.  Even Russell Kirk, the great conservative philosopher, was a fan of ghost stories.  Indeed, his bestselling book was a ghost story.

For the Victorians, ghost stories were told at Christmastime.  This timing, while peculiar to modern readers, makes sense intuitively—Christmas is a time for remembering the past, in part (perhaps especially) our honored dead (just ask Washington Irvingif he comes by to haunt you).  The “ghosts” of departed loved ones linger closely during those long, frosty nights.  The inherent nostalgia of Christmas and the winter season—and bundling up next to a crackling fire—sets the perfect mood for ghostly tales.

Nevertheless, what other time of year can beat Halloween for a good tale of witches and werewolves; of monsters and mummies; of ghouls, goblins, and ghosts?

As such, I’d encourage readers to check out “Nocturne of All Hallow’s Eve,” a deliciously frightening, blood-soaked tale of the supernatural and the macabre from Irish-American author Greg Patrick.  Alternative fiction website Terror House Magazine posted it back in September, and I’ve been saving it to share on the blog until now.

Patrick’s style conjures the dense verbiage of Edgar Allan Poe.  Indeed, he overdoes it a bit (see his more recently published “The Familiar“).  But his subject matter is pure Halloween—the tenuous space between the natural and the supernatural, the mysterious rituals, and on and on.

If you’re still in search of some ghostly reads, check out The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories.  It’s the collection I’ve been reading since my trip to New Jersey this summer.  It’s a truly spine-tingling collection that covers some of the great—and many of the undeservedly unsung—writers of the genre, the men and women who truly created and molded what makes a good ghost story.

So wherever you find yourself the next couple of nights, curl up with a good book, a warm fire, and a good ghost story (and maybe someone else, if you’re so inclined).  You and the ghosts will be glad you did!

Ghost

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