The Sunday night before Thanksgiving, a musician buddy and his wife came over to watch Bill & Ted Face the Music (which I picked up for $0.40 on RedBox thanks to a generous coupon). It was easily the most enjoyable, wholesome flick I’ve seen in awhile—and it’s not just because my friend brought pizza.
Bill & Ted Face the Music was released earlier this year, during that tantalizingly brief moment when theaters were making a go of it again. It’s a shame it wasn’t released in more auspicious times, because it really is a film worth seeing. Indeed, like the franchise it revives, it’s a rare instance of good-natured, fun, and optimistic storytelling at a time when brooding anti-heroes and even villains are the celebrated norm.
One could certainly point to the idea of reviving Bill & Ted as yet another example of Hollywood’s dearth of new ideas, but it really is the perfect property to bring back with another sequel: the very franchise revels in goofy send-ups of time travel tropes and late-80s popular culture. It does so in a way that is sweet and endearing, even innocent—never mocking, except in the lightest and most loving of ways.
The basic story picks up after the events of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventureand its sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Fans will recall that Bill & Ted’s band, the Wyld Stallions, is destined to unite the world in song and harmony—which is repeated constantly in the movie. The story picks up some thirty years later, and our titular heroes still haven’t managed to write that elusive song, despite multiple failed attempts.
I’m embracing the lazy logic of Thanksgiving Break with more throwback posts than usual this week. After Christmas Break, this little Thanksgiving reprieve is my favorite short break of the year. It combines family, fun, and food, with enough time to enjoy all three.
Last year when I wrote “Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break,” I was growing increasingly burned out and fatigued from my job and my various obligations. Between work, music lessons, and various ensembles, I wasn’t getting home most nights until 9 or even 10 PM. That clearly showed up in my argument here for giving workers the day of Thanksgiving—and at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—off from their toils.
That said, I still believe it. What’s humorous to me, in re-reading this post after a year of lockdowns and shutdowns, is that my call for “[s]hutting down everything but essential services… would be an admirable goal for at least Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as Thanksgiving” came to pass—with deleterious effect—for not three measly days but for months on end. That’s certainly not what I had in mind, but I think workers have had all the breaks they can stand this past year.
Still, in normal times, having a couple of days for Christmas and a day or two for Thanksgiving isn’t going to tank the global economy. Workers could use the break, and the reminder that all that hard work is in service to something greater: family, faith, and God.
I love hard work—indeed, I think it’s one of the keys to happiness and purpose, particularly for men—but there’s hard work, and there’s exhausting yourself for a pittance. Let’s reward the former with some downtime.
Yesterday my school ran its second Live Remote Learning Rehearsal Day. We have actually done really well with keeping cases low—almost non-existent. Nevertheless, our administration is taking a proactive approach by testing out remote learning in various scenarios in the event we need to go fully online.
As such, we need to begin planning and preparing for the worst immediately. Indeed, many Americans have already done so, and I’ve spoken with many conservatives who believe the worst is yet to come.
Aside from stockpiling and gardening—and generally moving towards greater degrees of self-sufficiency—one important aspect to consider is community building. By that I do not mean the kind of Leftist, Obama Era pabulum in which we’re all “community organizers” mobilizing nihilistic welfare queens into a low-information progressive voting bloc. Rather, I mean genuine community building—the formation of those multitudinous, invisible bonds that bind a people together.
Doing so may very well be the most important step Christians, conservatives, and traditionalists can take to survive for the long-term.
Last night I attended a men’s monthly Bible study at a church in Lamar. My neighbors had been inviting me for a couple of months, but when that mythical third Monday would roll around, I’d always have some outstanding obligation (mainly rehearsal for the Spooktacular). Since I’m running for Town Council again in January, I figured it would be good to feed my soul and my political ambitions simultaneously (they also brought sub sandwiches, so I was pretty well-fed holistically by the time I left).
The evening was spiritually, culturally, and politically encouraging. These men were fired up for Jesus, our country, and Trump, in that order. After everybody caught up a bit and after some introductions (I was the new guy at the meeting), the conversation gradually turned to politics, starting (I believe) with the necessity for a border wall, and Biden’s hare-brained pledge to tear it down.
From there, it was a free-ranging discussion, including vigorous airings of grievances; laments for the state of our nation; pledges to resist excessive government mandates; and repeated admonitions to trust in God. Our Scripture reading was Psalm 138. The Psalm is a reminder that God is in control, and will support us in our hour of need. Here’s verse 7, from the New King James Version:
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
It’s another sad casualty in the never-ending pogroms of Big Tech. I am not a regular Conservative Treehouse reader, but it’s fairly standard, non-controversial conservative commentary. CT was big on debunking the Russian conspiracy and Ukrainian hoaxes, and really delved deeply into the weeds of those baseless witch hunts. It’s also been going hard to illuminate the theft of the presidential election.
But that’s enough. In a world in which Twitter posts Orwellian “fact-check” tags to tweets about the election, any questioning of the orthodoxy is a thoughtcrime. CT itself points to the real reason for their deplatforming:
The WordPress company is not explaining the reason for deplatforming because there is no justifiable reason for it. At the same time, they are bold in their position. Perhaps this is the most alarming part; and everyone should pay attention. They don’t care.
Truthful assembly is now the risk. CTH is now too big; with a site reach of 500,000 to a million unique readers each day; and with well over 200,000 subscribers; our assembly is too large, too influential, and presents a risk… we guard the flickering flame.
That’s the key—Conservative Treehouse is effective; ergo, it must be eliminated. I’ve written far spicier posts on this blog, but I’m so small, WordPress doesn’t care (or, more likely, doesn’t notice).
This week I’ve been teaching and learning a great deal about George Frideric Handel, the great German composer who became, over his long life, a great British one. In discussing Handel and other Baroque composers with my students, we also veered into the world of hymns.
Hymns were and are important in Protestant congregations as simple, memorable tunes with theologically rich texts. Hymn melodies are often based on folk tunes or popular compositions. In some cases, such as the lovely Christmas carol “Silent Night,” the text is written first, then set to music (indeed, most hymns, being based on Scripture, evolved this way). Sometimes the tune is written, then an enterprising poet sets the text. Such was the case with Isaac Watts, who set his text for “Joy to the World” to a Handel melody. And, of course, there are hymns written and composed by the same person.
In talking about hymns, I brought to my students a slender little hymnal in my small collection of them, The Cokesbury Worship Hymnal. From what I can gather, my copy was published in or after 1966, when the copyright from 1938 was renewed. There is a stamp on the inside front cover stating that the hymn book once belonged to Carteret Street Methodist Church, which I thought was in Charleston, but appears to be in Beaufort, South Carolina. The hymnal includes 296 hymns, with fifty responsive readings—a good collection, but slim by the standards of a pewback hymnal.
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:
One nugget of wisdom I’ve heard before is “if you want to learn something, teach it.” As a private school educator who taught pretty much every course in the standard high school social studies curriculum and a plethora of music courses, I can attest to the Truth of this statement. I essentially taught myself, for example, the highlights of Western philosophy from teaching a Philosophy course for many years (a course I very much wish the school would revive).
I’m shifting increasingly towards teaching music exclusively (though I’m still teaching a couple of American History survey courses), and teaching a Pre-AP Music Appreciation class has been one of the great joys of that transition. Years ago I created and taught a course called “History of American Popular Music,” which covered the early Tin Pan Alley tunes all the way through blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and beyond. This Pre-AP course is focused on the great works of Western music, going back to the medieval period.
Currently, we’re wrapping up a big unit on Baroque music. The Baroque style—as epitomized by greats like Bach, Monteverde, Corelli, Handel, and others—delights in contrasts. Just as Baroque paintings highlight stark contrasts between light and dark, Baroque music revels in sudden contrasts in dynamics. It also loves to play around with complexity, as any Bach fugue will quickly demonstrate.
The last composer in our unit is George Frideric Handel. Handel, a German-born composer, made a major splash upon his arrival in England in the 1710s, where he sought to introduce Italian opera to sophisticated London crowds. What was meant to be a temporary visit turned into over four decades, and Handel is interred at Westminster Abbey—a huge honor. It’s one of those delightful twists of history that Handel the German became one of the most English composers in history—and one of the greatest composers of all time.