Shortages

Everyone reading this post has noticed their grocery and gas bills shoot up over the past few months.  These are not the result of the war in The Ukraine, despite the mewling protestations of the Biden Administration to the contrary.  In part, they are the result of extended lockdowns during The Age of The Virus, and the subsequent disruption to the world’s “just-in-time” production model.  Shutting everything down immediately probably didn’t do much to stop the spread of The Virus, but it definitely stopped the spread of goods, and the production thereof.

But these shortages seemed largely academic until recently.  Sure, you’d hear about them here and there, and it was impossible to buy toilet paper for awhile, but other than a few panic-induced shortages, you could pretty much get what you needed, even if you had to pay double for it.

Now, for the first time since the very early days of The Age of The Virus, I’m getting seriously concerned about looming shortages—and not just a few missing luxury items from store shelves (not that toilet paper is a luxury item, but there are always substitutes for that), but the basic necessities of life.

Read More »

TBT: Egged Off

Shortly over a year ago I wrote a piece about officious bureaucrats shutting down two little girls selling chicken eggs in Texas.  The girls were trying to help people out and make a few bucks after the crazy ice storm massively disrupted Texan supply lines.

Since then, I’ve obtained a source to bring farm fresh eggs to my home on an as-needed basis; it’s one of many small blessings for which I am thankful.  With food prices even higher than they were a year ago, free eggs is a huge boon.

I ended this post with the admonishment “The time to start growing and raising our own food is now.”  But even yours portly has largely ignored his own advice.

Let’s work on changing that in 2022.

With that, here is 30 April 2021’s “Egged Off“:

Read More »

Lazy Sunday CLIX: Scrambie Eggs

The title for this weekend’s Lazy Sunday comes from the breakfast scene in The Cable Guy (1996), in which Jim Carrey’s deranged character opines, “But I made us scrambie eggs!”  It was also the weekend of the Lamar Egg Scramble, and a good friend has been bringing me farm fresh eggs, of which I have been scrambling up quite a few on the weekends.

  • Egg Scramble Scrambled” – The last Lamar Egg Scramble before yesterday’s event ended in fisticuffs, and law enforcement shut it down early.  That was the first time since 1983, so honestly not a bad track record for an event that essentially quadruples the population of the town.
  • Lamar’s Sesquicentennial Celebration” – On a brighter note, Lamar is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, with a ton of celebrations to mark 150 years of being a town.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: The Egg Scramble Returns” – The 2022 Egg Scramble “Over Easy” was a fun event.  It was the first Scramble I’ve managed to attend, and I was blown away by the size of crowd.  John and I played a few tunes, and it was a fun afternoon.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Egg Scramble Returns

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.

Today marks the return of the Lamar Egg Scramble, which organizers have dubbed the “Egg Scramble Over Easy,” as it’s a scaled-down version of the event.  It’s part of this year’s sesquicentennial celebration, featuring months of celebrations and observances to commemorate the town’s origins (as Lisbon) in 1872.

Believe it or not, it will also be the first time I will actually get to attend the Scramble.  Indeed, my buddy John and I will be playing at it later in the day.

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

Lamar’s Sesquicentennial Celebration

My little adopted hometown of Lamar turns 150-years old this year, and we’re celebrating!  The town is planning a full slate of events over the next nine months, kicking off with the return of the famous Egg Scramble Jamboree and a community worship service the first weekend in April.  The Egg Scramble usually lasts the entire weekend, but as it’s the first since The Age of The Virus, the committee behind the event is doing a one-day event, dubbed “The Egg Scramble: Over Easy.”

That cracks me up every time.

Longtime readers know that I love festivals and small-town boosterism.  It’s no surprise, then, that I am super excited for all of these events.

Read More »

TBT^2: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony

One of the many benefits of teaching music is (re)discovering beloved favorite works.  During last week’s round of distance learning, I had to pull out some of the classics.  If we’re going to sit on a Google Meet call, let’s listen to some music, not just talk about it.

I really love programmatic music—instrumental music that tells a story, often accompanied by program notes explaining (usually very briefly) what the listener is supposed to hear in the musical “story.”  Students often like to imagine their own stories when listening to instrumental music, which is great, but I find that programmatic works give students (and myself!) some guideposts to follow.

Fortunately, Ludwig von Beethoven provided some handy ones for us in his Sixth Symphony, quite possibly my favorite symphony, and certainly my favorite of Beethoven’s.  It’s the so-called “Pastoral” symphony, as it depicts a pleasant trip to the country (besides the roiling thunderstorm in the fourth movement).

It’s also unusual in two respects:  instead of the standard four movements of the classical symphony (a fast opening movement, a slow second movement, a dancelike third movement, and a fast fourth movement), Beethoven includes five; and the third, fourth, and fifth movements all flow seamlessly into one another, without the customary pause between each.

It is also long, especially by the standards of the classical symphony (the Romantics, however, would have easily matched Beethoven for runtime), clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes (the typical classical symphony averages around twenty-five-to-thirty minutes, but forty-five would have been the upper limit for the time).  But that length is in service to Beethoven’s vision, and he fully explores every theme in this symphony.

Here is a particularly excellent performance—the one I showed, in part, to my classes last week—by the Berlin Philharmonic, under the direction of Bernard Haitnik:

With that, here is 4 February 2021’s “TBT: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony“:

Read More »

Weekend in the Woods

As noted in Saturday’s post, I spent the weekend in the woods.  Specifically, my girlfriend, her friend, her friend’s husband, and I went camping at Watson Mill Bridge State Park outside of Comer, Georgia.

It was a rejuvenating experience.  Last week was borderline hellacious, and by the end of it I was pretty much done with everything (’tis the season; thank goodness for Thanksgiving!).  Spending two nights in the forest really cleansed my mind and soul.  My body got a good workout on some vigorous woodland trails, though I also polluted it with plenty of s’mores and campfire hot dogs.

We stayed at one of the park’s three “pioneer” campsites, designed for primitive camping—camping without water or electricity (although I discovered a water spigot about one hundred feet from our camp, which I used to keep the dogs hydrated).  Everything we cooked was over a fire, and the other couple was kitted out with all the necessities.  The wife (you’ll see her in a picture below of me cooking over the fire) has been camping for years, and it is apparently one of her favorite activities, so she had all the gear necessary to cook and live outdoors (at least for a weekend).

Even at the primitive camp, and with a more experienced couple to help out, it was “easy mode” camping:  we pulled our cars right up to the campsite, and it was a short walk to restrooms and showers in the main part of the camp.  Still, I ended up going without a shower until we got out of the woods Sunday, but surprisingly did not smell like Bigfoot (even if I looked like him a bit).

Regardless, we definitely “roughed it,” as they say.  We slept in very cold weather in our tents and sleeping bags (my sleeping bag was very warm), and even with some padding from an air mattress and yoga mats, I could definitely tell I was on the ground.  The cold weather was glorious, though—there’s something invigorating about temperatures below fifty degrees Fahrenheit that gets the blood flowing.  I woke up before everyone else Sunday morning and managed to get quite a bit of grading done at a picnic table, but not before taking a short walk around the park, during which I saw a white-tail deer prancing in the foliage (during the night, we heard coyotes in the distance; I was thankful not to see any of those).

Read More »

Lamar Candidates Forum

Last night my little town of Lamar, South Carolina, hosted a candidates forum to give voters an opportunity to learn more about the candidates for Town Council and the Mayor’s race.  Our Town employees did an excellent job organizing the event, which was held in the Fire Department’s fire truck bay.  I brought some sound equipment and setup a very basic sound system for the candidates.

There are two Council seats up for election, which Councilwoman Mary Mack and myself currently occupy.  We’re both running for re-election, so we are officially running unopposed.  Residents will have two votes to cast in the Town Council race, one for each position.

As such, Councilwoman Mack and I were invited to tell voters a bit about ourselves and our visions for the town.  The main event was the mayoral forum, which was structured in a series of questions (nine or ten) posed to each candidate.  The mayoral candidates received their questions in advance, and the audience was not allowed to ask questions (although I think several people did after the forum formally adjourned).

Both candidates acquitted themselves nicely, differing mainly in the margins.  Councilwoman Inez Lee focused on cleaning up the town, literally and metaphorically, frequently invoking Franklin Roosevelt’s “First Hundred Days”:  we have a number of dilapidated buildings on Main Street that are eyesores.  James Howell, a local landscaper, focused on improving the town’s infrastructure and zoning to make the town more attractive to businesses.

All candidates for all offices touted the need to fix Lamar’s water system, so we sell our own water again.  We are currently purchasing around four million gallons of water each month from the Darlington County Water and Sewage Authority, paying rates that are onerously high for residents.

Read More »

Walkin’ II: Early Morning Strolls

I’m currently cutting back on my calories and have so far dropped around ten pounds in the past two weeks.  I’d let myself get comfortable and complacent after a long, lazy summer.  Sure, I’ll loosen up a bit—both my calorie restrictions and my pants—for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but I’ve been doing pretty well regulating my daily intake.  It had grown, quite frankly, massive.

I mentioned this latest of my various weight loss odysseys to my neighbor, the man who takes Murphy out for me and—more germane to this post—who is the Zone Captain for our Neighborhood Watch.  My adventures in dropping unsightly pounds and inches inspired him to propose the Lamar Neighborhood Watch establish small walking groups, and yesterday morning, he and I met shortly after 6 AM to walk a short circuit downtown.

Read More »