Lazy Sunday CVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021 Recap

Well, it was fun while it lasted—another Spring Break is in the books.  I enjoyed this brief respite, the eye in the middle of the storm that is the Spring Semester.  The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of activity for yours portly, followed by the long, graceful descent into summer vacation.

Like last year, I’ll be recapping the short stories I recommended this past week, and offer up a short ranking of them.  The list will be shorter by two this year, as I dedicated last Monday to a movie review and did not reblog an earlier short story review Thursday.

Oh, well.  Here’s what I did read:

So, how do they fall this year?  You’ve probably figured it out, but it was an easy call: Michael Noonan‘s “The Personality Cult” won the day for me.  Here is my ranking:

1.) “The Personality Cult”
2.) “Black Tancrède”
3.) “Out of the Deep”

There you have it!  Happy Reading—and haunting!  Mwahahahahahaha!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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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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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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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“:

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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***

TBT: Guest Contributor – photog – “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” – A Science Fiction Movie Review

On Tuesday of this week, photog of Orion’s Cold Fire and I interviewed one another for our respective blogs.  That marks our second collaboration with one another; the first was on 16 October 2020, when we guest posted on each other’s blogs.

As such, this week’s edition of TBT was a no-brainer:  bring back photog’s review of the Atomic age film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

With that, here’s 16 October 2020’s “Guest Contributor – photog – ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ – A Science Fiction Movie Review“:

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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***

Lazy Sunday CIII: Begging

In maintaining this blog, I write mostly for the fulfillment and enjoyment of writing.  It helps clarify my thoughts, and the act of writing—especially in the mornings—is calming (oddly, even when I’m writing about something infuriates me).  The blog is not a moneymaking venture (though it has started bringing in a few bucks a month thanks to SubscribeStar).

That said, I often use the blog to push my music and merch—and, often, to straight-up beg for donations and subscriptions.  It seems like I’ve been making more of these appeals lately, so in the spirit of self-indulgent self-promotion, I decided to dedicate this Lazy Sunday to a solipsistic sampling of sales pitches:

So, if those posts don’t convince you to give me your money, well, it’s a lost cause.  But thanks for reading!

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***

TBT: The Boogie Woogie Flu

In looking back at posts from March 2020, it’s wild how many of my posts were about two plagues on humanity:  the Democratic Party primaries and The Virus.  What’s particularly interesting is how those posts—including the one below—still assumed that life would begin returning to normal after two weeks; after all, we were all promised “two weeks to flatten the curve,” and now we’re living under perpetual public health tyranny.

Amidst all of that plague talk, I penned a short post about the Strasbourg “Dancing Plague” of 1518.  After being told to vegetate indoors for a year, I’m beginning to think a mystery plague that causes hysterical dancing might be preferable to the foolishness we’re enduring at present.

But I’ll keep the preamble brief and let the post do the talking.  Here is 23 March 2020’s “The Boogie Woogie Flu“:

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