TBT: Touring the Solar System in Rural Maine

I’ve been on an outer space kick lately, especially with all my posts about Saturn.  As such, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to look back at this little post from 2019—one of my favorites!

Surprisingly, I’d never bothered to reblog this one in the nearly four years since it was first published.  It’s about a model Solar System in the State of Maine, The Maine Solar System Model (the website for which has gotten a facelift since 2019).  It’s been on my traveling “to do list” ever since I learned about it on Quora.

With that, here is 24 September 2019’s “Touring the Solar System in Rural Maine“:

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Lazy Sunday CCV: Myersvision, Part VII

As much as I love to beat a dead horse—or, in this case, a dead Bigfoot—this Lazy Sunday retrospective of the Myersvision series will be the last for awhile.  It’s a testament to Audre Myers‘s impressive output that I’ve spent seven Sundays looking back at her contributions to the blog.

Of course, there will be more Lazy Sundays featuring her work if she revs up the ol’ Commodore 64 and sends me some more juicy submissions.  Lazy Sunday typically comes in threes, and I have one additional post for the eighth installment of this retrospective.  That means Audre just needs to submit two more pieces, and we’ll hit eight!

Of course, there were only Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Perhaps Audre’s writing is the Eighth:

  • Myersvision: A Very Good Discussion” – This title is quintessentially Audrean in nature.  The discussion in question is in a YouTube video shared in the post, but the real meat of the post are Audre’s theories about Bigfoot, based on what are likely hundreds of hours of research.
  • Myersvision: A Possible Language” – Apparently, Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) have a language, “Samari.”  Bigfoot enthusiasts picked that name because the alleged Sasquatchian language sounds like a bad overdub of an old samurai or kung-fu film.  That lack of seriousness and overabundance of hokiness tells you everything you need to know about Bigfoot enthusiasts (Audre being the exception here).
  • Myersvision: Consider if You Will…” – A video of what appears to be a bipedal ape creature rampaging through a snow-covered parking lot.  Gasp!

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Beethoven’s Routine

I’m on the cusp—in a calendrical sense, quite literally—of Summer Break 2023.  Going into summer vacation is like heading into the weekend at that magical moment around 4 or 5 PM on a Friday afternoon, except the “weekend” is two months:  endless possibilities spread out before me.

Of course, every summer I say, “I’m not going to squander this one,” and proceed to squander it.  Then it’s back to the grind in August.  But I’m sure this year will be different—right?

Yours portly actually does make the most of his summer.  I kick off June with a couple of weeks of Minecraft Camp, and I teach lessons all throughout summer.  My roster of summertime lessons is looking fairly healthy at the moment, so that should buoy my finances during the relatively lean summer months.

The key to success, it seems, is keeping a good routine.  I’m not always the strongest in this regard, but when I do keep a routine, I find it does make the rest of the day easier.  No less a genius than Beethoven adhered to a fairly regimented routine, and his was pretty awesome, full of strong coffee, long walks, and composing.

With that, here is 25 May 2022’s “Beethoven’s Routine“:

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Lazy Sunday CCIV: Myersvision, Part VI

When it comes to Lazy Sunday, I really put emphasis on the “Lazy” part of that title.  When I find something good, I milk it dry, which is probably what will happen to Bigfoot if we ever get the big lug into captivity.  Imagine drinking “Squatch Juice”—the sweet, slightly gamey, milk of the female Bigfoot (Bigfemme?), packed full of anti-oxidants and invisibility serum.

Uh, ahem… I digress.  Right now I’m only milking Bigfoot metaphorically in the form of Audre Myers‘s excellent Bigfoot-related posts.  March inadvertently became “Bigfoot March Madness” at The Portly Politico, to the point that even Audre expressed concern that she was doing irreparable damage to this site’s reputation, to which I responded (again, metaphorically), “What reputation?”

And so I digress yet again.  Here are three editions of Myersvision from 8, 15, and 22 March 2023, all about our favorite, elusive, hairy cryptid:

  • Myersvision: The Books” – Audre offers up a short bibliography of Bigfoot books, including some by Jeff Meldrum, a Full Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University.
  • Myersvision: Other Sources” – Here Audre offers up some other Bigfoot sources, including an interview with Jane Goodall (who herself falsified some of the wild findings she made concerning apes).
  • Myersvision: Structures” – Bigfoot is a builder (perhaps he should sign up for my Minecraft Camp).  There are apparently eerily similar structures that are attributed to Bigfoot, which suggests a certain degree of intelligence in our mystery pal.

That’s it for this latest retrospective into Myersvision.  There’s more milk to come!

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Zelda Game & Watch

Last year I picked up a nifty little from Nintendo with both of the classic NES Legend of Zelda titles, as well as the Gameboy LoZ game.  I proceeded to spend a good chunk of the summer playing through and beating all of the games, and tried to avoid guides as much as possible in an attempt to replicate the feel of playing these games at the time of their release.

At that time, you could only get tips from three sources:  an expensive 1-900 hotline (not a realistic option); friends on the schoolyard or at church; or Nintendo Power.  That last one was worth its weight in video gaming gold.

When it came time to play through Zelda II, I broke down and used a guide to navigate the final temple.  I remember my brothers painstakingly mapping it out on graph paper one summer, but there are limits to nostalgia.  The Internet exists for a reason.

I haven’t picked up the old ZG&W much since beating all the games, but it might be time to dive back into it.  With the newest Zelda game out on Switch, it’s a great time to revisit the classics.

With that, here is 31 May 2022’s “Zelda Game & Watch“:

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Lazy Sunday CCIII: Myersvision, Part V

After four retrospective installments of Myersvision, we’re finally getting into Audre Myers‘s pet (no pun intended) project:  Bigfoot.  Audre would never dream of keeping a Bigfoot as a pet—she has too much respect for the creatures—but she loves to scrutinize the myriad sources about him.

Brace yourself for more Bigfoot in the Lazy Sundays to come.  We’re through Audre’s looking glass here:

  • Myersvision: Iceman (1984)” – The non-cryptozoology piece this weekend, here is Audre’s review of 1984’s Iceman.  This film is a forgotten gem—or, perhaps, ice crystal.
  • Myersvision: My Very Large Friend” – No, Audre didn’t write this piece about yours portly.  It’s about Bigfoot, and about some of the sightings of the “big lug,” as I call him, around the world.
  • Myersvision: Project Bigfoot” – Audre breaks down a video containing multiple parts, giving her quick analysis and hot takes of each section.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT^2: Disincentives to Work

The Great Resignation rolls on, with an ever-shrinking number of competent people shouldering an ever-growing load of the work to be done.  If you’ve noticed that everything seems a little less generous or efficient than it used to be, it’s because fewer and fewer people are willing to work for abysmal wages, long hours, and dehumanizing treatment.

What I can’t figure out is why employers have not woken up to the reality of this situation:  if you’re facing massive labor shortages, the only solution is to offer more money and/or benefits to employees.  Granted, some employers have caught on, and are offering higher hourly wages and more flexibility.  I also recognize that some employers, especially smaller companies, simply can’t afford to pay more than they already are.

Still, I can’t help but notice employers are obstinately trying to get one over on their few remaining employees, trapped in thickets of corporate bureaucracy and New Speak that refuses to acknowledge the shifting tides of the labor market.  Often their stringent leave policies stay on the books but go unenforced.

For example, a friend of mine works at a big box hardware store in a tony suburb of Charleston, South Carolina.  She informs me that the store’s policy is that missing work without notice twice is grounds for immediate dismissal, but the policy is no longer enforced because the story is already so short-staffed, they can’t afford to fire employees for playing hooky.

The problem is that the employees who do show up to work bear the strain of their absent colleagues, and the corporate management shrugs its shoulders.

It may be that we’re entering a phase where large retailers and other companies will simply have to stop providing all services to all people.  My same friend told me how the store stays open until 10 PM, but there are virtually no employees at that hour.  I suspect the thinking is, “we have to be accessible to customers for as long possible; if we don’t our competitors will.”  Yet the same store doesn’t open up its pro contractor’s desk on Saturdays or after 5 PM on weekdays, so that doesn’t necessarily track.

Large companies aren’t exactly known for their logical consistency, but it seems that many workers are getting fed up with the lack of it.  Of course, employees aren’t off the hook, either:  we have all encountered plenty of braindead or discourteous store employees that turn shopping for a wing nut into a baffling ordeal.

Regardless, our attitudes about work are certainly changing, in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse.  It’s probably good that we’re not ceaseless strivers competing against Bill from Accounting for The Big Promotion.  But we need to reiterate the idea that work is ennobling for its own sake—and hiring managers and their ilk need to treat their employees as human beings.

With that, here is 26 May 2022’s “TBT: Disincentives to Work“:

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Lazy Sunday CCII: Myersvision, Part IV

The retrospective of our favorite senior correspondent Audre Myers continues with three more editions of her Myersvision posts.  Surprisingly, none of these posts have anything to do with Bigfoot, although one of them is, perhaps, the most controversial hot take Audrey’s ever committed to digital paper:

  • Myersvision: Million Pound Menu” – Audre’s review of Million Pound Menu, a show in which small-time investors preview hopeful restauranteurs looking for a few quid.  The “Pound” referred to is the English pound sterling, not the weight, so there’s no excessive eating in this show (d’oh!).
  • Myersvision: Shaun of the Dead (2004)” – Audre’s review of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead is perhaps the most Boomery of Boomer hot takes to what is, objectively, one of the best films ever made.  Well, at least, it’s pretty good, but Audre disagrees.  As I did at the time, I’m chalking her distaste for the film up to a difference in generations and genders, although Ponty was a bit more vigorous in his disagreement.
  • Myersvision: Theme Music” – All about great television theme songs, with plenty of clips.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT^2: SimEarth

The school year is grinding down at an agonizingly slow pace, which means my mind increasingly is turning away from serious matters and towards video games.

As a grown man with too many responsibilities and not enough time, I don’t indulge in video games much anymore.  I’ve always been more of a casual gamer in the sense that I play in short spurts for fun of it, not necessarily “beating” (finishing) a game, but enjoying playing with its mechanics or discovering some bit of its story.  I play games that would be considered “serious” among gamers, but I don’t do so with the intensity of those more committed gamers.

Increasingly, though, my gaming habits have turned towards more casual games—puzzle games and the like.  I don’t do a ton of gaming on my phone, but there are a few that I enjoy.

One of those is TerraGenesis, a game in which you take on the terraforming of a planet.  The game starts you with Mars, and by the time you read this post, I should have completed my first successful terraforming of the red planet.  The game draws heavily from the style of the board game Terraforming Mars, which is one of my favorites in the “make-this-planet-habitable-for-humans” genre.

Playing that got me thinking about the granddaddy of all terraforming games, SimEarth.  I wrote a loving tribute to this DOS classic a few years ago, and it seemed like a good time to give it another look.

With that, here is “TBT: SimEarth“:

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