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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SubscribeStarSaturday: Reflections on Local Government

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.

I’ve had my first Lamar Town Council meeting and am slowly learning the ropes of the Town and its needs.  I’ve grown up with local government—my father worked in municipal government for thirty-seven years, doing everything from reading water meters to managing human resources, and now is the town administrator for a small town in his semi-retirement—but I’m learning how little I really knew going into it.

As such, I thought I’d share some of my initial reflections, and what I’ve learned so far.  Note, I won’t go into anything that’s not public information (to my knowledge, I haven’t learned anything confidential as of yet), but just offer up some of my observations as I’m learning the lay of the land.

That all said, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive start, and I’m excited to dig in, learn as much as possible, and help out however I can.

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Friday Rundown (18-22 January 2021)

It’s been an eventful week, so I figured an extra post today running down the posts from the past few days would be worthwhile.  Also, I’m a slave to the WordPress daily streak counter, and when I scheduled this morning’s post on Wednesday, WordPress for some reason immediately e-mailed a preview; ergo, I want to make sure I get the daily post streak.  Gotta keep the streak alive!

 So, here is a quick rundown of this week’s posts:

Enjoy!

—TPP

TBT: Dawn of a Decade

It’s the first Thursday of 2021, so here we are with the first TBT of the year!  Fittingly, I’m looking back to the first post of 2020, “Dawn of Decade.”  As I noted at the time, the decade really began on 1 January 2021, so I suppose this throwback post works even better now.

In looking back at this post, it’s sobering to consider how much difference a year can make.  At the end of this post, I wrote, “Predictions being what they are—extremely unreliable—I’ll make a bold one:  2020 is going to be a great year.”

Yikes!  Talk about missing the mark big time.  Of course, on 1 January 2020, everything was going pretty well, at least for yours portly.  Sure, Trump was facing a sham impeachment, but the economy was swingin’.  I’d just come off my best year financially in terms of musical proceeds—enough to pay cash for my plucky 2017 Nissan Versa Note (a fitting model for a music teacher), and was booking some gigs at fun new venues.

Then, of course, The Virus changed everything, possibly forever.  Despite that, I still had a great year—reconnecting with friends and family; traveling far more extensively than normal; and diving more into my love of music.  It was just a very different year than I anticipated.

At the end of least year’s post, I included a word total for the year 2019 (which now WordPress tells me is slightly higher than I reported originally:  232,348 words total for 2019), so I’ll do the same for 2020.  In 2020, I wrote 253,377 words.  Assuming a page of double-text, size-12, Times New Roman font typing is roughly 300 words per page, that comes out to a whopping 844.59 pages of writing.

Granted, some of that is from TBT posts like this one, but the takeaway for me is that it’s time to compile some essays into ebooks.  Cha-ching!

With that, here is 1 January 2020’s “Dawn of a Decade“:

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Happy New Year 2021!

Well, here it is—the real dawn of a new decade.  As I noted in last year’s New Year’s Day post,

Wags will quip that “[2020]’s not really a new decade—that doesn’t start until next year, in 2021.”  It’s a case where the wags are correct on the facts, but don’t appreciate how appealing that nice, round “0” at the end looks.  Everyone was excited for 2000 AD; 2001 was greeted with shrugs.

I have a feeling 2021 will earn the same shrugs as 2001, with one crucial difference:  everyone was so desperate for 2020 to end, they’re going to treat 2021 as the dawn of a new age.

I wish I could share their optimism.  I am positive about the new year—an opportunity to reset and reflect, and to try to best goals set and/or achieved in 2020.

But the macro view looks bleak:  a questionable, if not outright stolen, presidential election; an enduring Chinese Virus; the draconian lockdowns and fiat edicts flimsily justified as measures against The Virus; the further decline of morality; and on and on.  The future doesn’t seem bright for the West at the moment.

History, however, suggests that it’s always darkest just before the dawn.  The cultural turmoil of the 1960s lead into the long, filthy 70s.  In 1979, America and the West were on the ropes:  the Soviets were invading Afghanistan; Americans were held hostage in Iran; the coal miner’s unions ruled Britain.

Ten years later, the Berlin Wall came down, the hostages were home, and Britain became a financial powerhouse.  It was cool to be conservative, at least for a time.  For a time, things were improving.

Maybe that was a temporary reprieve—as I believe President Trump’s presidency was, in many ways, was a reprieve from Leftist insanity—but it shows how even the darkest situations don’t inevitably lead to decline.  I’m a declinist by inclination, but I have to remember that God is in control, and He will see us through anything if we have faith.

So, here’s hoping that 2021 improves on 2020—which, in retrospect, wasn’t such a bad year after all.

Happy New Year!

—TPP

agriculture barley field beautiful close up

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TBT: The Worst of 2019

Well, 2020 is, after today, in the books, and we can breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Of course, all the problems of 31 December 2020 will still be there tomorrow when we wake up to 1 January 2021, but there is some optimism that an arbitrary flip of the calendar based on the Earth’s rotation around the Sun will set us up for a better calendar year.  With Biden the Usurper assuming the throne in twenty-one days, I don’t share in that optimism, but I’m looking forward to a music- and art-filled 2021 nonetheless.

At the end of 2019, I painstakingly went through the stats to find all the posts I’d written with just one view in 2019—the ultimate reminder to be humble, and to not expect huge pageviews right away.  I imagine that some of these were read in e-mails sent to followers, so I don’t get pageview counts for those, but that means the number of eyeballs reading these posts was depressingly low.

Of course, it being a Thursday, I pretty much have to give myself the easy way out and feature a TBT, so why not look back at the failures of a prior year?  And, in the spirit of yuletide wealth redistribution, maybe we can show these posts some holiday love.

Here is 31 December 2019’s “The Worst of 2019“:

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Lazy Sunday XCIII: 2020’s Top Five Posts

It’s the last Sunday of 2020, so in keeping with last year’s tradition, today’s Lazy Sunday is dedicated to reviewing the Top Five posts (in terms of views) for 2020.

The posts below are not the top five in terms of views all-time.  Instead, I’m featuring the top five published in 2020.  Indeed, there were several posts from 2019 that blew these out of the water (all view totals are at the time of writing, 22 December 2020):  “Tom Steyer’s Belt” (2864 views), “Napoleonic Christmas” (295 views), “Christmas and its Symbols” (212 views), and others.

So, again, these are the Top Five Posts of 2020, published in 2020.  All numbers are as of 22 December 2020, so there could be some shifts:

1.) “The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War” (254 views) – This post was adapted from a lengthy comment I made on a post at Nebraska Energy Observer, “What Do You Think?” by Audre Myers.  The comment sparked some good feedback, so I made it into a post.  Rachel Fulton Brown shared the post on her Telegram chat and her personal Facebook page, which really boosted the numbers.  The post discusses the oft-forgotten cultural and spiritual consequences of the Confederate loss to Yankee materialist imperialism.  I’m no closeted Neo-Confederate, but I tried to offer up a nuanced take on the downside to Union victory, and what was lost when the South fell.

2.) “Thalassocracy” (201 views) – This post really surprised me with its success.  I wrote it mostly as an after-thought—the situation with many posts when I’m churning out daily material—but the topic interested me.  Based on the limited search term information WordPress gives me, it turns out that many people were searching the unusual term for the same reason I was:  the video game Stellaris.  In searching for the meaning of “thalassocracy,” I stumbled upon a lengthy essay on the fragility of thalassocracies—nations and empires that build their fortunes on naval prowess, rather than substantial ground forces.  It’s an interesting (and long) essay, but hopefully my humble post sums it up well enough.

3.) “You Can’t Cuck the Tuck III: Liberty in The Age of The Virus” (87 views) – As you can see from the numbers, the posts begin dropping off a bit in views from here on out, though I consider anything over fifty views pretty solid for this humble blog.  This piece explored the destruction of liberties in The Age of The Virus, something that I find has occurred with shocking ease, and which continues to ever more ludicrous extremes.

4.) “Big Deal” (78 views) – This post was about Joe Rogan’s move to Spotify, and his own implicit sell-out to social justice cuckery.  I can’t account for its mild popularity, other than it was a timely post that touched on a widespread sentiment on the Right.

5.) “The God Pill, Part II” (76 views) – This piece reviewed former pick-up artist Roosh V’s dramatic conversion to Orthodox Christianity (covered in “The God Pill“; read the whole series here), and his decision to unpublish his bestseller, Game.  That decision has really cost him financially—he recently took a gig doing construction work in Alabama for a few weeks, and is apparently back living with his parents in Maryland—but it was the right move spiritually.  Many thought Roosh was converting as a way to reinvent himself to make an extra buck, but he really seems to be putting his faith first.  Kudos to him.

That’s it!  It’s hard to believe another year is in the books.  Thanks to everyone for reading, and for your ongoing support.  It can be difficult to maintain the pace of posting at times, but your feedback and comments really keep me going.

God Bless—and Happy New Year!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: End-of-Year Reflections 2020

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It’s hard to believe that another year is in the books—and what a wild year it was.  In keeping with last year’s “End-of-Decade Reflections” (subscriber link), I decided to reflect again on the swiftly expiring year.

Indeed, technically 2020 is the last year of the long Teens decade, with 2021 marking the beginning of the 2020s, just as 2001, not the year 2000, is the first year of our current century and millennium.  But no one thinks about it that way, so I did end-of-decade reflections last year.  My post this year will take a more humble scope and just focus on the year 2020 itself, not the ten preceding it.

Besides, 2020 has contained a decade’s worth of events inside its twelve months, as every Internet wag and memester has already noted.  There’s enough to consider in this year to fill up a SubscribeStar Saturday post:  distance learning, Universal Studio trips, teaching music, the challenges to indie musicians, running for Town Council, etc.  The world—already a rapidly changing place—has changed substantially in just a few short months.

What to make of those changes is the real challenge going forward.  What happens next?

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Progress Report: Teaching in The Age of The Virus

Progress reports go out to students today at my little school, so I thought it would be a good time to provide an update of my own now that we’re nearly a month into the school year.  I posted about teaching in The Age of The Virus after the first day and the first week, and now I have a much better perspective on how the year is unfolding.

As a refresher, my school is doing mostly face-to-face instruction, but with some students doing distance learning.  Students have the option to go to distance learning pretty much at will (for example, I had one student who stayed home today with a cold, but who tuned into my music appreciation course), and can return to school at any time.  Students engaged in distance learning are required to attend during the scheduled class period.

The caveat to that general rule pertains to international students.  We have a number of students overseas who, because of new restrictions due to The Virus, are stuck in their home countries.  Many of those students’ classes are late at night, or even in the very early morning, after accounting for the time difference.  It’s a long way from South Carolina to Vietnam.

What that means is that we have to teach our regular classes; livestream them; and record those livestreams, making the recordings available after the class.  It sounds easy enough—so long as everything works perfectly.

That’s turning out to be the fly in the pancake batter.  As one of our dedicated science teachers said—the lady who troubleshoots our woeful technological glitches—“I can livestream, or I can record.  The trouble is trying to do both.”  Amen to that.

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