TBT: The Creation of Culture

The theme of this Spring Break Week is short stories, but more deeply it’s that of culture generally.  Indeed, The Portly Politico has dedicated itself increasingly towards cultural, filmic, musical, and literary matters far more over the past few months than ever before, for a reason:  creating culture is far more powerful and interesting than largely meaningless squabbles over minute points of policy.  That’s not to say that politics aren’t important—at the local level it’s very important—but there’s not much we can do in a practical sense to sway the indifferent national government at this point.

Culture, on the other hand, is something we can proactively create and promulgate.  A major push on the traditional Right as of late has been to do just that:  create a compelling (counter?)culture to the prevailing popular culture of nihilism and materialism.  Rachel Fulton Brown’s Centrism Games: A Modern Dunciad, the product of her excellent Telegram chatroom Dragon Common Room, is one exquisite effort at creating (and reviving) a rich literary culture on the Right.  The collaborative nature of the work—RFB is the editor, with sections of the epic poem composed by different members of the chat—further highlights the proactive act of creation among like-minded individuals, each mixing their unique voices into a scathingly satirical blend.

My own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is my own meager contribution to this new culture—a work so honestly reflective of my teenaged self, I didn’t even fix some of my collegiate typos!  It’s a bit postmodern and absurdist, but it at least gives a glimpse into the gradual transformation of one young creator (in this case, me!).

My music, too, is a humble contribution to cultural creation.  I’ve always thought of The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, in particular, as an eschatological statement of sorts.  At the very least, it attempts, musically, to reflect a civilization‘s fall into decadence and nihilism, before the cycle repeats.

But I digress.  For this week’s edition of TBT, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before:  bring a post from my SubscribeStar page out from behind the paywall.

The occasion for writing this post—“The Creation of Culture“—was the release of my friend Jeremy Miles‘s collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights.  Jeremy is no Right-wing traditionalist, but his collection is the result of a year of attending open mic nights and performing his (very entertaining) poems.  In essence, he created culture out of a vibrant community of artists and musicians, both chronicling and enhancing the performances that took place at a local coffee shop’s open mic night over the course of 2019.

But I’ve gone long enough in this rambling preamble (a “preramble?”).  Here is 25 January 2020’s “The Creation of Culture” (on SubscribeStar):

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Here We Go Again: Yet Another Bandcamp Friday

Happy Good Friday, readers!  Not only is it the day Christ gave His Life for our sins, it’s also—say it with me now—yet another Bandcamp Friday.

I’m not going to belabor all the statistics about the hard times musicians have endured in The Age of The Virus; you can read all about that in last month’s Bandcamp Friday appeal.  Instead, I’ll cut to the chase and let you know all the great ways you can support the blog, my music, my book (now on Kindle), or even just me.

For one, I have some intriguing merch available.  I’m currently offering two completely original doodles, “Bird of Paradise” and “Bleeding Heart,” for just $10 each.  There are no other physical copies in existence, so you’d own these lovingly doodled marker pictures—and no one else.  They make great “bathroom art”—the kind of thing that would look good in a guest bathroom, or maybe a tacky beach house.

I’m also clearing out the last few remainingFlamin’t-shirts for $15 (plus $5 shipping).  These shirts are rare and I won’t be making any more of them.

Most obviously, because it’s Bandcamp Friday, Bandcamp is waiving the commission it takes on sales of musicians’ work TODAY, Friday, 2 April 2021.  You can pick up my entire discography for $19.98 (or more, if you feel so inclined), a full 35% off the price of buying each album individuallyTo purchase the full discographyseven releases in total—you can view any of my albums (like Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse) and find a button/link that reads “Buy Digital Discography” (unfortunately, there’s no way to supply that link directly).

You can also purchase albums individually, either at their listed price or higher.  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

TBT^2: April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective

The Kindle version of The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot goes live today!  If you pre-ordered the book, it should pop up in your Kindle app today.  At $5, it’s a very easy lift, as is the paperback at $15.

It’s April Fool’s Day, a holiday for mirth and merriment, but one I dedicate to remembering the day twelve years ago when I faced unemployment during the worst job market since the Great Depression.

In rereading last year’s TBT and the original “April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective,” I’m reminded how good God has been to me.  Last year I’d lost most of my private lesson students due to The Virus; now, I’m back up to seven students (six weekly, one twice a month), and I’ve just released a book (the Kindle version goes live today!).  Gigging still hasn’t really picked back up, but Bandcamp sales have been decent (and another Bandcamp Friday is tomorrow!), and my front porch Spooktacular was a blast.

I’m still hustlin’, but I’m also taking more time to appreciate life.  Perhaps the hard slog of my twenties has finally paid off here in my mid-thirties.

With that, here are “April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective” and “TBT: April Fool’s Day: A Retrospective“:

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Lazy Sunday CV: Grab Bag II

Here we are, another Sunday, which means it’s time for another Lazy Sunday.  I’m feeling particularly lazy this weekend, so instead of searching out a particular theme, I’m offering up another grab bag of miscellaneous posts.  I tried to pick three posts from the past year—one from March 2020, one from March 2021, and another random post.  For that random post I went to October 2020, because I love all the spooky stuff I write in October.

So, here they are—your second Lazy Sunday grab bag:

  • The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973” – It’s amazing how everyone was losing their heads a year ago over toilet paper.  I still see signs in stores warning customers they are only allowed one package of toilet paper per visit.  I had (thankfully) purchased fresh toilet paper about a week before The Age of The Virus began, not out of special forethought or insights into what was to come, but because I was running.  Thank God for that.  This post details another toilet paper shortage in 1973, fueled by the reckless comments of a Wisconsin Congressman.
  • Monsters” – This post dealt with an issue of The Hedgehog Review about monsters.  As a fan of horror movies, I enjoy speculation about monsters, and am particularly interested in “cryptids” and cryptozoology—the study of presumably mythical and/or undiscovered species.  Who knows what wonders are still out there to discover—maybe the Lizard Man of Lee County?
  • The Joy of Romantic Music IV: Claude Debussy” – A more recent post, this piece is the fourth installment in my ever-growing The Joy of Romantic Music series.  I’m a real sucker for French Romantic composers, and Debussy’s beautiful, painterly Impressionism is quite lovely.

That’s it for another Sunday.  Enjoy this smattering of posts—and have a wonderful week!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico:  Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

Lazy Sunday CIV: Time

Today we’re back onto Daylight Saving Time, so we’ve lost an hour of sleep and can enjoy a more hours of sunlight.  I tend to enjoy nighttime, but going off of Daylight Saving Time is horrible—there are days when, like an Alaskan in January, I don’t see the sun.

Whilst working the SAT yesterday morning, colleagues were discussing the time change, with all the usual remarks:  “we should stay on it forever!” or “we can’t control time.”  I fellow teacher said, “Time is a manmade concept,” to which I replied, “Yep—that’s why I only date twenty-one-year olds.”  That elicited some amused laughter, even though that joke is (for better or for worse) not true.

In thinking about time—our most valuable commodity, as we all run out of it and don’t know how much of it we have—I looked back at some posts loosely related to the concept.  In honor of our arbitrary shifting of the clock one hour into the future, allow me to present them to you this abbreviated Sunday:

  • Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time” – I don’t like meetings, which is funny, because I ran for a position that literally requires me to attend one once a month.  But I find most meetings are merely an opportunity for administrative grandstanding, and to prove that the bureaucracy serves a purpose.  Of course, they accomplish the exact opposite.  Good, thirty-minute meetings are useful for coordinating a team each week, but otherwise, let people get on with their day and get their work done.
  • Ocarina of Time Soundtrack Review” – This post about the legendary Ocarina of Time soundtrack doesn’t have much to do with time as a concept, but it music is all about the placement of beautiful notes—harmonies and melodies—against the canvas of time.  Pretty poetic, eh?
  • New Mustang is a Sign of the Times” (and “TBT: New Mustang is a Sign of the Times“) – No Mustang should ever be an electric vehicle.  That’s pretty much the gist of this piece, and the concept that everything is awesome is in decline.  I hope I’m wrong, but, c’mon—don’t make a Mustang into an electric car.
  • Five Dollar Friday: The Elites and a Giant Clock” – I’ll be honest, this was a post where I was really grasping for some content.  I’m intrigued by the gigantic, ten-thousand year clock Bezos is funding in the desert, though, and what it says about our elites.

Well, that’s it.  Take some time—giggity—to relax today.  Enjoy the sunshine!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico:  Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

***NOTEThis link is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL:   https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico***

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Art of Concert Programming

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.

Subscriberslast week’s SSS about Myrtle Beach is up, as is last week’s edition of Sunday Doodles.  My apologies for the delay.  —TPP

Every spring my school sponsors a big fine arts festival, a weekend dedicated to celebrating and showcasing our talented students.  The weekend includes two nights of our drama students performing whatever play or musical they’re presenting that season, as well as an exhibit of student artwork.

The first night, however, is the big Spring Concert.  After the dance students share some pieces, my student-musicians take the stage for their one big night of the semester.

The Spring Concert is like the Super Bowl for these kids:  it’s the biggest stage most of them will take during the academic year (though several of my students gig with bands and ensembles outside of school), and the one time they really get to soak up the spotlight.  The goal of my music classes is to put on good performances, not to seek fame, but the kids deserve some accolades and kudos.  Besides, a big part of music is being able to share it with other people.

With the Spring Concert about six weeks away, my students and I sat down this week to begin programming the concert.  Programming a concert is part science, but also an art; it requires a certain “feel” for the pieces, and how those disparate pieces link together to create a cohesive, exciting whole.

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

The Joy of Romantic Music IV: Claude Debussy

The big news this week is that Milo Yiannopoulos is now “Ex-Gay,” which I intended to write about today.  However, that topic is so huge—much like the personality of the formerly loafer-whitened gadfly—that it deserves a more thorough treatment than I’m capable of producing at present.  Suffice it to say that, based on reading hundreds of his Telegram posts and listening to Milo’s commentary and analysis for years, I think he’s sincerely turning his life over to God completely, and through Christ is cleansing himself of his homosexual proclivities.  It’s a bit of celebratory news akin to Roosh V’s dramatic conversion to Christianity two years ago.

So instead of covering a flamboyant man’s dedication to Christ and consecration to St. Joseph, I’m dedicating today’s post to the flamboyant music of a Frenchman:  Claude Debussy.

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More Hustlin’: Another Bandcamp Friday

It’s another Bandcamp Friday, which means if you buy my music today, Bandcamp doesn’t take their cut, which means I’m dedicating yet another post to pitching you my tunes and my merch (and my SubscribeStar page).

I make this appeal once a month or so, so I don’t want to sound like a broken record (no pun intended), but The Virus has really hit musicians hard over the last year.  My royalty payments from ASCAP in 2021 (based on performances in 2020) will be virtually non-existent (I usually bring in around $200-300 in performance royalties annually from my writer and publishing accounts—not much, but it helps), because there were virtually no performances last year.  Besides lost royalty payments, there’s the lost revenue from gigs, tips, and music lessons (the last of which is, thankfully, picking back up considerably—praise the Lord!).

Last May readers responded to the call and bought my tunes (you can pick up the entire discography for $19.98—a 35% discount, my biggest discount yet).  If you’d like to support independent musicians, today is a great day to do it, as I’ll take home (nearly) 100% of the purchase.

I also have some interesting merch available.  I’m currently offering two completely original doodles, “Bird of Paradise” and “Bleeding Heart,” for just $10 each.  There are no other physical copies in existence, so you’d own these lovingly doodled marker pictures—and no one else.  They make great “bathroom art”—the kind of thing that would look good in a guest bathroom, or maybe a tacky beach house.

I’m also clearing out the last few remaining “Flamin’” t-shirts for $15 (plus $5 shipping; the featured image for this post is on the shirt).  These shirts are rare and I won’t be making any more of them.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Of course, you can always take the plunge and subscribe to my SubscribeStar page.  It’s very affordable and grants you access to exclusive posts on Saturdays (and bonus content for $5 and up subscribers).  It’s also the easiest way to support the site on a recurring basis.

Finally, you can send a one-time tip as well; thank you to those of you who have done so.

If you can’t afford to support the site, no worries!  I’m thankful to have you here.  You can always share my posts with friends, family, and other like-minded folks.  And I always love comments and words of encouragement—as well as suggestions about the kinds of content you’d like to see.

Thank you again, as always, for your support.

Happy Listening!

—TPP