SubscribeStar Saturday: Revive Culture!

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Last weekend I wrote a post encouraging readers to “Make Culture!”  YouTuber RazörFist/The Rageaholic inspired the post with his video “Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.”  His premise—which I riffed on for a few hundred words—is simple:  go out and make your own culture (books, comic books, movies, stories, art, etc.), rather than complaining about the debased culture we have.

I ended that (shamefully short, for a paid post) piece arguing that “Razör is right.  We need to be out there creating stuff.  If you can’t create, support those who do (thanks, y’all!).”  Even after one week—plenty of time for a man to lose his mettle and totally reverse course—I stand by that statement.

But as I’ve mulled over the matter of culture creature a bit more, I’ve come to realize that in order to make good culture—even an alternative culture to the worldliness of Western culture today—we need to revive culture, or at least interest in culture.  Whether we like it or not, anything we create is going to draw some of its sap from the current, withering plant of mainstream Western culture.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all of it has to derive from that source.  The Ultimate Source of Culture for the West should be—and historically has been—the Bible.  The Bible is the Inspired Word of God; it’s also a rich text full of history, drama, poetry, metaphor (and that’s coming from a Biblical literalist!), rhetoric, literature, songs, and on and on.

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

SubscribeStar Saturday: Make Culture!

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

One week ago RazörFist/The Rageaholic uploaded an excellent video called “Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.”  It’s really good (warning:  Razör uses some strong language):

Razör goes after the gatekeepers—in comics, movies, publishing, etc., etc.—while also challenging us to go out and create—to make and market our own stuff, instead of asking permission from progressive-controlled institutions and companies to do so.

It’s wisdom that’s so simple, so obvious, we somehow missed it.

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

TBT: Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind

I flew to and from Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend (as readers are wearily familiar by now), and it gave me another opportunity to interact with that most loathsome of institutions, the American airline.

Honestly, I was blessed with two easy, uneventful flights—no delays, no missed connections, no overly officious airport functionaries.  I even got two Coke Zeroes on my flight up.

One jarring element of flying was the abundance of mask propaganda at the airport.  Living in South Carolina—free territory—I seldom have to wear a mask anywhere anymore, so wearing one on the plane was a bit shocking.  A friend reminded me that I would need one, and that gaiters are not allowed, so I begrudgingly took a pack along.

In the Charlotte, North Carolina airport, one guy asked me, as I got into the security line, if I had a mask.  I started fumbling for it in my pocket, and he said, “You’re good.”  Apparently, he just wanted to ask make sure I had one so they wouldn’t boot me off the plane.  I did put it on before passing through security (where you have to pull it down so they can check your face against your ID), but ripped it off again as soon as possible.

I’m still blown away by how many folks wear them, but especially at the airport.  Out of the hundreds of people I saw, I was probably one of five people in the entire Charlotte airport not wearing a mask.  In the Indianapolis airport, there were even fewer facial nudists.

Regardless, it seems like a lot of the mask hysteria has died down.  Yeah, there was tons of mask propaganda plastered all over the Charlotte airport, and the flight attendants made a big deal about it rhetorically on the flights (especially the one from Indianapolis back to Charlotte), but I got the impression that if I wanted to sit maskless for the entire flight, no one would bother me about it.

The airline industry is probably the worst of all about treating human beings like cattle to be herded mindlessly on board flying metal tubes.  Probably only credit agencies are worse, and at least on a plane you get some pretzels (thanks to the peanut allergy folks for ruining something else for us).  I don’t think TransUnion is going to send me any treats anytime soon.

So if airlines are cooling on the mask hysteria, we might finally—finally—putting that absurdity behind us.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on a mask rant, but here we are.

With that, here is “Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind“:

Read More »

Christmas Concert Preparations

My apologies to readers who are used to waking up to a fresh Portly post in their inboxes, ready to enjoy over a hot cup of coffee at 6:30 AM.  Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been working pretty much nonstop.  Since probably 2009, when I started my two-year stint as the Cultural Coordinator at the Sumter Opera House in Sumter, South Carolina, the first half of December has been a brutal yuletide slog for yours portly.

Christmas 2010 was particularly grueling, with an event at the Opera House every night for the first two weeks of the month, including outdoor music on weekends for the City’s Festival of Lights.  I was so stressed that I developed a painful sore on the roof of my mouth, which made it unpleasant to eat anything but the softest of foods.  That was an unintentional blessing, as it kicked off my 2011 Weight Loss Odyssey, a journey during which I shed a whopping 110 pounds in about eleven months.  Even in extreme stress, there are hidden blessings.

Regardless, my Christmastimes for the past decade have been jam-packed with events.  That’s not always a bad thing:  I like keeping busy, and Christmas gigs can be very lucrative (about four years ago I played a bank Christmas party while suffering from a gnarly head cold, but a steady supply of cough drops and water got me through to the $300 reward on the other side).  There is one event that looms over all others this time every year, though, one that I paradoxically love and dread:  the annual school Christmas concert.

Read More »

The Interstate

I made it back from my latest trip to Universal Studios after a long, tedious drive that took up the better part of Sunday.  I’d intended to hammer out a belated Lazy Sunday upon my return, but I was so wiped from the drive, I just watched television instead.

With all the driving on I-4, I-95, I-26, I-77, and I-20, I had ample time to think about the pros and cons of the Interstate Highway System.  I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Interstate.  On the love side of the equation, I appreciate the convenience of being able to drive vast distances in reasonable times.  The trip that took us around seven hours to complete yesterday (and that was with terrible traffic and inclement weather) would have taken, according to Google Maps, between nine and ten hours.  In reality, that would have been closer to eleven or twelve hours with stops, traffic, etc.

As an engine for economic growth, the Interstate is probably the best investment the federal government ever made.  It was pitched to Congress as a national security project—we needed broad, interstate boulevards for our tanks to deploy swiftly against a Soviet invasion—an approach that John C. Calhoun attempted as Secretary of War in 1817 (under the strict constructionist Democratic-Republican James Madison, Calhoun’s Bonus Bill faced a swift veto).  But the real benefit of the Interstate Highway System is its ability to move people and goods swiftly, cutting down on shipping and transportation costs, and making longer commutes feasible.

Granted, there were downsides:  the small towns and tourist traps alongside old federal highways and State roads.  Just as the old railroad towns withered up when the trains stopped running—or repurposed into some other form—many small towns died out when the Interstate diverted traffic away from them.  Of course, the converse is true:  many towns boomed when the Interstate weaved their way.

So, one could surmise I appreciate the Interstate for its convenience and beneficial qualities.  So, where is the hate?

Read More »

TBT: Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time

It’s no secret—I do not like meetings.  It’s somewhat humorous, then, that I ran for an office that pretty much requires me to attend at least one meeting a month.  But at least in a Town Council meeting we cover relevant information necessary to the functioning of the town, and occasionally discuss or debate useful topics pertaining to the interests of our residents.

But in professional settings, I typically find anything longer than an occasional half-hour meeting to be a tedious waste of time.  I can never shake the sensation that most meetings are opportunities for Karens and busybodies to peacock, fanning their feathers to signal their virtue.

This piece, which is actually one of my favorites I’ve ever written, details that we waste 11.8 hours a week in meetings—over 25% of our workweek.  I wonder if remote working has increased or decreased the amount of time spent in meetings; my hope is that it is the latter.  At least with Zoom meetings, you can always switch off your camera and do something productive while the social justice commissars in your human resources department drone on about their latest fad.

Well, let’s hope your week is wrapping up without any more tedious meetings on the horizon.  Here is 25 January 2019’s “Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time“:

Read More »

Wayback Wednesday: Airlines; Back to the Grind

I’m doing more retrospective/throwback posts here at the end of the year.  The end of the year is always a good time for reflections, but I’m also on the move in these last, dying days of 2020, so I’m trying to log posts in advance.

Indeed, today I’m hopping a flight to Mobile, Alabama, with my ultimate destination being a small town in George County, Mississippi.  My girlfriend and I are going to spend a few days with her folks before driving back to South Carolina after the New Year.

She might not appreciate this fact, but it’s reminiscent of a summer trip to New Jersey with my last girlfriend (although it went in reverse:  she and I drove up to New Jersey together, and I flew back solo).  I can never seem to date anyone whose parents live twenty minutes away—or even within easy driving distance.  New Jersey, now Mississippi—where next?  Here’s hoping I never date anyone from Alaska (although that would be cool); really, let’s hope I never have to hit the ruthless dating market again!

I don’t like flying.  I’m not scared of it, it’s just a pain—you can’t take shampoo and fingernail clippers with you because some Muslim jerks destroyed the Twin Towers.  I might be a jerk sometimes, but c’mon—do I look like someone who is going to hijack a plane with nose-hair tweezers?  Let’s apply a little discriminatory common sense here.

But here I am, yet again hopping a couple of flights to distant, sleepy locales.  With that, here is Summer 2019’s “Airlines; Back to the Grind“:

Read More »

Stop Amending the Classics, Bring Back Melody

This time of year, this blog focuses big time on Christmas carolstheir histories, the theory behind them, their compositions, etc.  One of the great joys in my life is playing and singing these carols.  They are sweet but powerful musical retellings of the Birth of Jesus.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that churches have taken these classics and, in an attempt to check the “contemporary Christian music” box, added unnecessary and musically-boring codas to them.  This past Sunday, my parents’ church’s praise team was leading the congregation in a stirring singing of “O Come, All Ye Faithful“—and then tacked on a needless extra chorus written in a modern style.  The additional chorus was okay, but it paled in comparison to the majesty and tunefulness of the carol it amended.  The church went from a lusty chorus of socially-distanced congregants to a few people mumbling along to the tuneless new chorus.

Read More »

Dentists

Today is the first day of my cushy Thanksgiving Break.  After a long Tuesday of teaching, playing piano, and driving, I made it to my hometown to head to the dentist.  The dentist is my cousin, so I get a marginal discount.

As a child and teenager, I had extensive dental work performed.  I had a gnarly tooth, which I dubbed “The Monster Tooth,” that grew in the wrong way.  My orthodontist spent years slowly dragging the tooth into place, only to have the enamel completely absorb the root, making the tooth nonviable.  At that point, bone from my wisdom teeth was used to create a foundation in which a metal implant—a small screw, of sorts—was installed into my mouth.  I walked around with a small metal rod in place of a tooth for some months, and then a crown was placed atop the implant.

Needless to say, I’ve become accustomed to dental work, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy going.

Read More »