The celebration of friendship rolls on (read Part I and Part II), this week heavily featuring blogger buddies. One of the real joys of blogging is the opportunity to read other bloggers’ writing, and to build up a community of like-minded writers. These three writers definitely fit the bill:
“Supporting Friends Friday: Mogadishu Matt” – Mogadishu Matt at Free Matt Podcast writes some of the more interesting “slice of life” commentary I’ve ever read. He’s particularly humorous when writing his own, hard-boiled responses to letters sent to advice columnists. He’s a man who has lived a rich—if not always easy—life, and he’s learned and grown from those experiences. That really comes across in his writing.
“Supporting Friends Friday: photog” – Good old photog is the proprietor of Orion’s Cold Fire. I consider photog my closest blogging ally, and some of my writing for his blog got the juices flowing again for my blog. He writes on everything from politics to photography (thus the nom de plume) to Star Trek. Check him out!
“Supporting Friends Friday: Audre Myers” – Audre is a fun-loving, child-like, but wise writer who frequently posts for Nebraska Energy Observer, Neo’s blog (which features far more stuff about English and American history than it does about running electrical lines in rural Nebraska). Writing this tribute to Audre proved to be a turning point for my own blog: Audre has tons of fans in Great Britain, and now traffic to my site has increased five-to-ten-fold on a daily basis, thanks simply to Audre’s friends and well-wishers commenting on the blog. I’ve never had such lively comment sections, and that also means more comments from Audre herself!
Well, that’s another Sunday in the books. Enjoy your day and support your writers!
The friendship rolls on this Sunday, as I continue to look back at past editions of Supporting Friends Friday (read last week’s here). Introducing the (nearly) weekly feature has been a real joy, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite of my regularly recurring series.
“Supporting Friends Friday: The Music of John Pickett” – John is a great friend of mine, and we’re beginning rehearsals for the 2021 Spooktacular this week. This post also offers up a brief history of the local open mic scene in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina over the last ten years, which should be of interest to musical types.
Well, that’s it for another Lazy Sunday. Thank you for being a friend!
The big “hit” piece (that is, the successful, well-liked post, not a piece attacking some famous personality) this week seems to have been my post about driving to and from Athens, Georgia. In the spirit of forward motion and scenic trips, I thought I’d dust off this chestnut from 5 August 2020, right before the previous academic year began.
I’d just gotten into walking right before school resumed, and was hoping to get in a couple of miles every day. That goal sure fell part quickly, and I realized I did not walk nearly as much as I thought I would at work. It turns out that 10,000 steps a day is actually a lot of steps.
That said, I did manage to get in over 30,000 steps in a single day once in the past year: when I spent an eighteen-hour day at Universal Studios. Needless to say, I slept until nearly noon the next day.
But that outlier aside, I did not come close to achieving that dream. When I dog-sat my girlfriend’s German Shepherd, we took some lengthy, sweaty walks. I was hoping that Murphy and I would do the same, but the old girl doesn’t go much beyond the yard before she is ready to turn back for another round of water, snacks, and naps, so my dreams of long, energetic dog walks have been smashed on the arthritic knees of my ancient dog.
Or I’m just making a bunch of excuses for myself. With that, here is 5 August 2020’s “Walkin’“:
Well, it’s another Labor Day here in the States, and I couldn’t be happier. Last week was a slog, but a productive one—I managed to get caught up on all grading and even get a good bit of writing done, even though I was suffering from a gnarly head cold. Hopefully by the time you read this I am on the mend. I’ll have spent the weekend enjoying some rest and relaxation in Athens, Georgia, with my girlfriend and our dogs.
It being Labor Day, I’m going to observe the holiday in the spirit intended, and keep enjoying the rest. That means some glorious reblogging today, looking back past Labor Day posts.
Labor Day has always been a pleasant holiday early in the academic year—the symbolic end of summer, and a chance to catch one’s breath before the mad dash to Thanksgiving. It also seems to usher in the “spooky” season building up to Halloween.
As a child, we used to attend a massive Labor Day picnic my childhood church hosted every year at a campground in a rural portion of Aiken County. I loved that picnic, especially the opportunity to explore the woods with a fried chicken leg in my hand. It was a chance to play at being an adventurer, while still indulging in my beloved childhood obesity.
Despite my griping about South Carolina weather in yesterday’s post, the first day of September was surprisingly cool and overcast, giving the slightest taste of the crisp autumnality to come. This time of year always gets me thinking about Halloween and spooky stuff, especially as everything feels more magical.
Our modern minds have diminished and dismissed the supernatural as mere superstition, often accompanied with attempts to explain away supernatural phenomena with explanations that themselves require faith to believe. That “faith” is in scientism, a counterfeit “religion” built purely on a material understanding of the world.
We see but through a glass darkly. There is more to our world than meets the eye—more to it than what we can observe. God tells us much of what is there—at least, what we need to know—and Scripture seems to suggest we shouldn’t go looking for things beyond Him and His Son.
My newfound English readers—thanks to Audre for bring them over—have really enlivened the comment section of the blog. One commenter, 39 Pontiac Dreamer, submitted some photographs of England in the autumn and the spring, as well as his local church; a country lane; and the local.
Here is 39PD’s e-mail to me, with accompanying pictures:
Here are the pictures promised. The first taken in the Autumn, the second in Spring.
I’ve added a picture of our local church, St John the Baptist, the 4th is the country lane that takes us to our local, the 5th picture.
I’ve been meaning to take some more pictures of the village but the weather hasn’t been good of late. Hopefully, it’ll pick up again soon and I can pop out with the camera.
Civilization seems to be taking it on the chin lately, with anti-civilizational forces in various forms scoring victories against the civilized world. The Taliban’s rapid reconquista of Afghanistan following America’s hasty, disorganized withdrawal suggests that a group of motivated cavemen can topple a well-trained, well-equipped, but artificial regime in a brisk weekend.
Within the gates of the civilized world, we’re going in a decidedly Babylonian route, indulging in wildly hedonistic displays of decadence, while ignoring the fundamentals that keep civilization going. Even the gates are largely symbolic, as we’re allowing in every paleontological throwback, handing them government bennies and free housing in the process.
All that said, I think civilization is worth preserving. I’ll write about that in a future post. For now, here are some of my past scribblings on the topic for this mildly gloomy edition of Lazy Sunday:
“Civilization is Worth It” – Here is my initial case for civilization. I think this line sums it up best: “Ultimately, I’d much rather live in a world that produced J.S. Bach than a Stone Age pit full of atonal grunting. It says something about the state of our civilization that the atonal grunts are back in vogue.”
“What is Civilization” – This post was based on a discussion between Milo Yiannopoulos and “groypers” Steven Franssen and Vincent James. The groypers argued that folks should abandon the cities and head to the country. Milo argued that cities are the heart of civilization, and should be defended. Both sides make compelling points, though I tend to side with Franssen and James on this one.
The new year school year is back into full swing, with this week being the first full week of classes. Needless to say, yours portly is tired, but very much enjoying the academic year so far.
I’m teaching Pre-AP Music Appreciation again this year, so I’m excited to dive back into some of the works we discussed last year—and some new ones! Of course, we’ve kicked the year off with a listening to “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” a favorite for introducing orchestral instruments.
My Pre-AP Music class this year is quite small—just five students—which makes for a more relaxed classroom environment. We’re able to explore tangents as they arise (and, based on my frequent use of em dashes and parentheses, you can imagine I go off on them frequently), and generally take the time to enjoy the music, which the students seem to be doing.
I don’t have much more to add that I didn’t write a year ago. Britten ingeniously weaves a whopping thirteen variations on a Henry Purcell theme, featuring nearly every instrument in the orchestra—including the percussion section!—in solo or soli. Even the neglected double basses get some love with a melody of their own.
Thanks to Audre Myers of Nebraska Energy Observer I have a new commenter on the blog, 39 Pontiac Dream, a proper English gent of the old school (or so I gather). He very kindly shared some links with me from The Conservative Woman (or TWC as it is styled on its website), a site both Audre and Neo have recommended to me many times. One of those links was to an intriguing piece by Stuart Wavell, “The next civilisation.”
Our culture has an obsession with apocalyptic scenarios: massive plagues (a bit too relevant at the moment); zombie uprisings (always a popular one); massive meteor impacts (a bit retro—a favorite of the 1990s). Perhaps it’s a sign of a moribund and decadent culture that we fantasize about most of human life ending and starting the whole thing over from scratch.
When we indulge in these celluloid and literary fantasies, I suspect the inherent assumption is similar to those who want to restore absolute monarchies: we assume that we will survive the collapse, just as the would-be monarchists assume they will be king (or at least some important member of the nobility).
Chances are, most of us (yours portly included) would die quite quickly, either from the cataclysm itself, or from the bands of marauding raiders that would inevitably rise up in the wake of such a collapse. If those didn’t get us, it would be starvation, disease, or our own inability to assess danger that would do us in.
Wavell makes a similar point, with an interesting caveat: while those of us softened and doughy by the abundance of civilization would find ourselves in the pickle brine, the isolated, self-sufficient hunter-gatherers of the world—and they are still out there!—would be just fine, as they have been for millennia.