Another Monday Morning Appeal

This post is a shameless but sincere appeal for support.  If you would like to support my work, consider subscribing to my SubscribeStar page.  Your subscription of $1/month or more grants you access to exclusive content every Saturday, including annual #MAGAWeek posts during the July Fourth week.  For just $5/month, you also get access to Sunday Doodles, my collection of bizarre, fun, and humorous doodles, as well as other surprise content.

If you’ve received any value from my scribblings, I would very much appreciate your support.  Belts are tightening with the rise of The Virus, so independent creators need your support now more than ever.  Thank you to those of you who are current subscribers.  If you’ve enjoyed your subscription, please share this post or my SubscribeStar page with other interested readers.

A little over six months ago, I wrote a “Monday Morning Appeal,” asking readers to pitch in a buck or two to help with the site.  As of this morning, I’m up to six subscribers to my SubscribeStar page, four at $1/month the level, and two at $5/month the level.

The blog is entering its sixty-fifth week of daily posts (I believe this morning’s appeal will mark the 456th consecutive daily entry).  I’m hoping to continue to with that daily pace, and to increase the amount of exclusive content on my SubscribeStar page.

As my school has transitioned to distance learning, I’m churning out video lectures at an astonishing rate.  I will soon begin uploading lectures of interest for $5/month subscribers.  That will include my survey-style overview of the Second World War, which includes five lectures and nearly three hours of content.  I also have two lectures on the New Deal.

The value of your subscription increases each week, as more content gets added.  This transition has also forced me to figure out how to record video and audio more efficiently, so the long-planned, never-delivered Portly Podcast could be in the works soon.

We may be looking at tough times ahead, and every dollar counts.  I appreciate every subscriber.  For the price of a large pizza over the course of a year ($12), you can support my work with $1/month.  Buy one fewer Cokes at the gas station each month, and you’re covered!

For the price of a synthetic oil change ($60), you can support the blog with $5/month.  Drop one visit to the People’s Republic of Starbucks and every month, and you can support quality content from a true American patriot.

If you’re feeling really generous, you can subscribe at the $10/month level, or the truly ludicrous $50/month level.  At this point, I’m still dreaming up perks for those levels, but if you’re just looking to be super generous, hey, I’ll take it.

Again, thank you to all of my readers, subscribers and non-subscribers alike, for your support.  Your comments and feedback are always welcome.  Keep sharing my stuff!

Happy Monday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday LV: Animals

Coronavirus dominates the news, which makes the news both frightening and boring.  Reporting on The Virus is all over the map.  The media can’t even cut President Trump some slack during a national emergency, such as their egregious misreporting on the efficacy of hydroxichloroquine.

Yes, yes, we know that there haven’t been clinical trials, but hydroxichloroquine is a safe, well-established drugs.  It also bears remembering that most medical doctors are, essentially, high-functioning autists:  they can’t help but sacrifice the good to the perfect.  Thus, their reasoning is, “Yes, it seems to be working very well, but we can’t know for sure scientifically without years of testing.”  Meanwhile, people are suffering, but the anti-malaria drug has proven—anecdotally—to be hugely successful.

We’re Americans:  if it works, it works, even if it’s not the theoretically ideal solution.  That seems to be the divide between our elites, who exist in a world of abstractions (because they can afford to indulge in those abstractions) and the rest of us, who live in the earthiness of Reality.

But I digress.  With the persistent incantations of “social distancing” and “flattening the curve,” I’ve been casting about for some interesting blogging material.  This last week I kept going to animals, for some reason, so why not do the truly lazy thing and just feature the posts about them?

I am no great lover of animals, but I don’t dislike them, as long as they aren’t in my house.  I’ve grown more fond of cats and dogs as I’ve gotten older, though, and I’ve always liked fish, lizards, frogs, and the like.  I even wrote an entire digital EP about unicorns.  I even commissioned one of my former students—a true lover of animals—to do the artwork (I think I paid her $20—too little for the quality) for each song (here, here, here, and here), and my “tour” in 2019 I dubbed “The Year of the Panther.”

All that said, here are some primal posts for your enjoyment:

  • New Mustang is a Sign of the Times” – This post isn’t about animals, per se, but the name of this iconic American vehicle is animalistic.  I’m stretching here, so just roll with it.  The occasion for this post (and last week’s TBT) was Ford’s disastrous plans to make a muscle car into an electric hatchback.  I love hatchbacks and fuel efficiency, but let’s stop taking one thing and making them into another.  It’s like when they make James Bond into a black demiqueer woman.  I don’t care if creators make some interesting new character with those racial and gender qualities, but don’t take James Bond—who I think is supposed to be Scottish—and make him something he isn’t.  Imagine if we made Othello into a white woman.  Come now.
  • Albino Giraffes Poached” – This story is truly sad, as it involves the cold-blooded murder (presumably; maybe some tribal had to eat to survive) of two albino giraffes.  I make some wild accusations against the Chinese, so it’s got everything—beautiful creatures, poaching, and casting broad aspersions against an entire group of people.
  • Tarantulas and the Hygge” – My general philosophy towards spiders is live and let live, with the caveat—“you live as long as you stay away from me.”  I don’t mind a little spider hanging out in some dusty corner of my house, eating up whatever lower-order insects shouldn’t be around.  I don’t mind them hanging around outside (that’s even better!), gobbling up all the nasty things.  But when I look at spiders, I have to imagine they are a form of extraterrestrial life—few of God’s creatures appears and acts more alien than do arachnids.

    That said, this post looked at the piece “Tarantulas: Masters of the Art of Hygge,” from the website Tarantula Heaven.  I’ve learned a lot about tarantulas over the past couple of weeks, and they are truly remarkable creatures.  I’m not going to get one, to be sure, but I have a greater appreciation for them and their various arachnid cousins than I once did.

That’s it for this Lazy Sunday.  Be sure to have your pets spayed and neutered—and don’t let your tarantula out of its tank.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Reflections on Distance Learning, Day One

The first day of distance learning is officially in the books.  I promise that this topic will not be the only one I write about for the next two weeks, but I am going to give updates periodically.

Being the first day, it was certainly the busiest.  Yesterday students came to school in the morning to collect whatever materials they may need for the next two week, and teachers spent the day buzzing away at recorded lectures, digital lesson plans, etc., so we’d be ready to hit the ground running at eight o’clock this morning.

A great deal of teaching is staying one or two days ahead of the students, especially when you’re first starting out.  I had a bit of that sensation—the first-year teacher drowning under a Herculean load of preps—yesterday and today, but where I’ve been lecturing on US History and Government for so long, I can riff almost effortlessly with just a few cues from my well-worn lecture slides.

Prepping for Music, ironically, has been the most difficult.  We’re using Google Meet to livestream and record lessons, which makes it pretty easy to record audio while also sharing slides with students.  With my two Music classes, though, I had to get a little creative.

Read More »

State of the Blog 2020

It’s been a great week for conservatives and populists.  Brexit, the Democrats’ disastrous Iowa caucuses, Trump’s incredible SOTU, Trump’s acquittal in the Senate:  it’s almost too much winning, just as Trump promised when he was running for office.

With so much goodness—and more to come—it’s hard to dream up something to write about today.  So, in the spirit of the SOTU, here’s a brief update on the State of the Blog here in 2020:

  • I’ve continued with daily posts, though I’m beginning to make them a bit shorter.  That’s mainly due to time constraints—the lazy, cold weeks of January have melted into the increased tempo of February.  Things are picking up at work, and will only get busier from here on out.
  • I’m still sitting steady at five subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.  I’m up to fifty-six posts over there (it’ll be fifty-eight by the end of this weekend), with most of those available at the $1 level.  The Sunday Doodles seem to be eliciting big laughs from the $5 subscribers, and I’m looking to expand offerings at that tier.  I’m trying to devote more time overall to making the Saturday essays more in-depth than the daily posts here.  Regardless, it’s a huge value—tons of content for just a buck.
  • I’ve made no progress on the long-discussed Portly Podcast.  That’s a whole world that I just haven’t had a chance to explore, and when I finally do it, I want to do it right.  It’s also a matter of time.  I’m considering a half-hour weekly format, one that would largely review pieces from the week, with some additional commentary.  That might become a SubscribeStar exclusive.
  • Similarly, the many eBook ideas I’ve had have not been fleshed out at all.  The daily blog here tends to take up the one free hour I have every day to get a bit of writing done, and I’m typically wiped out in the evenings when I finally get home.  Mentally, I’m a morning person—that’s when I write the best material, and my mind is the most lucid (especially after a couple of cups of coffee).  I’m looking to spend most of this summer writing, so be on the lookout for more updates then.
  • In the meantime, I’m really looking to expand my SubscribeStar page subscriber base.  If you know of someone who wouldn’t mind pitching in a buck a month, please forward them this linkhttps://www.subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico/subscribe?tier_id=6854.  I struggled just to get my own family members—who wanted to subscribe and were motivated to do so—to take a few minutes to sign up.  I’m not complaining—I appreciate the support, y’all—I’m just pointing out how difficult it is to get even motivated buyers to pull the trigger.  One reason I keep pitching the subscriptions is because folks forget it’s out there.

That’s about it for now.  It’s been fun keeping up with the blog.  I’m just hoping to monetize this sucker a bit more.  Any support you can offer is always welcomed, and much appreciated.

Thanks again for your support!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday XLIV: SubscribeStar Posts, Part II – The Search for More Money

Well, after a successful opening night and two other excellent performances, the play is in the books!  My girlfriend and I celebrated with a trip to Columbia to hear the South Carolina Philharmonic (more on that tomorrow), and I’m finally back home.  It’s been an exhausting, but artistically fulfilling, few weeks.

This week’s Lazy Sunday features some recent SubscribeStar Saturday exclusives.  To read the full posts, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

There’s not much to link these together thematically, other than they all will cost you a buck to read (not each, though—that just covers the subscription, and then you can binge them all for $1 total).  But they are some of my better SubscribeStar posts.

  • The Tedium of (Teaching) Slavery” – Teaching about slavery is a tedious slog, not because the topic isn’t interesting or worthy of discussion, but because it devolves into a set of magical incantations to ward against the curse of “racism.”  Political correctness deals historical education another blow.
  • End-of-the-Decade Reflections; Age and Class” – Some reflections about the long decade of the Teens, as well as an examination of the difficult financial environment in which Millennials, et. al., endure.
  • The Twenties” – Some historical writing, looking back to the 1920s, and drawing some comparisons between that turbulent, raucous decade and our own times.

Well, that’s it.  Apologies for the late posting, but here’s hoping you enjoyed a wonderful—and lazy!—Saturday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Performing

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.

Last night was opening night for Catching Icarus (get tickets to today’s matinee, or tonight’s performance).  It was a sold-out show before doors even opened.  I was incredibly keyed up in the build-up to the performance, but experienced an odd sense of calm as curtains approached.

Without giving too much away, the play really “opens” as the audience enters the theatre.  I am already on stage, eating a waffle, drinking coffee, and reading a book.  You’d think it would be weird eating breakfast in front of 100 people shuffling into their seats—some of them a mere ten feet away—but if there’s one thing I do well, it’s eat.

By the time I actually complete this post, I will have gotten through today’s performances (most likely).  But I will write, briefly, that performing is difficult, taxing, draining—and exhilarating.

Note to subscribers:  due to a heavy performance schedule today, this post may not be completed until later this evening or tomorrow morning.  Thank you for your patience.

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

Opening Night

Tonight I will appear in the first of three performances (get tickets to tonight’s performance, the Saturday matinee, or the Saturday night performance) of Catching Icarus, a play one of my former students wrote.  It’s a two-act play that takes place in a Waffle House in Dillon, South Carolina.  It’s a cast of four characters.  I play “Brett,” the father of a young man who is struggling with addiction and loss.

It’s quite gripping.  It’s also been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

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One Year in the Books: Looking Back

Thanks for a great 2019, dear readers.  If you’d like to support the blog, please subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  Or just leave a comment and share my posts with your friends and families.  Thank you!

Today’s post marks the 365th day of consecutive posts.  On December 31, 2018, I wrote “2018’s Top Ten Posts” to look back at the year (I downsized a bit this year, only looking at “2019’s Top Five Posts“).

At the time, I was enjoying—as I am presently—the glory of Christmas Break.  The blog had largely been dormant following a blitz of posting during the Summer of 2018, with only occasional posts here and there, such as transcriptions of my various “Historical Moments” mini-talks.  Over the Christmas season, I was trying to get back into writing.  I wasn’t in the custom of churning out 600+ words on a daily basis, so it took a bit more effort to sit down and write a post.

I never intended to keep a 365-day streak going.  At first, I didn’t even realize WordPress tracked such activity.  But I noticed (probably with this moderately popular post) that I had a three-day “steak,” as WordPress calls it.

So I decided to try to write something everyday for the month of January 2019.  January tends to be a slow month in the school year, with everyone groggily easing back into intellectual activity during the grayest month of the year.  I also find the cold intellectually stimulating—the bracing bite of mid-winter always seems to get the creative juices flowing.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Kabuki Theatre

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.

This coming January, two theatrical events will occur:  I’m playing the role of “Brett,” the father of a drug-addicted son, in a play one of my former students wrote called Catching Icarus (the hook:  both acts take place in a Waffle House in South Carolina); and the Senate trial against President Trump will (allegedly) begin.

From the rehearsals I’ve been to so far, I can say that acting is difficult—and I get to spend most of the first act in a booth drinking coffee.  It takes a special kind of conviction (or delusion) to invest in a role, to become another person.

For congressional Democrats, they sure seem right at home on the political stage.  They are masters of the kabuki theatre of outrage.

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