SubscribeStar Saturday: Rule of Law Matters

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Also, the delayed Universal Studios post is now available to subscribers:  “Universal Studios Trip No. 3.”

During the recent incarnation of the domestic terror organization Black Lives Matter, a group of BLM organizers in Florence, South Carolina received permission to paint a “Black Lives Matter” mural on a section of street in downtown Florence.  The mural is meant to depict various scenes from African and African-American history, including some Egyptian elements.

The mural itself was a community effort, and took around three or four days to paint.  In all fairness, it was a peaceful project with the full support of the City of Florence, and seemed to be an expressive way for the black community to participate in a project that isn’t overtly destructive.  Creating art—even historically inaccurate, propagandist art—is generally preferable to looting stores.

However, the City of Florence has decided to remove the mural.  Naturally, it’s resulted in a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth from blacks and gentry white liberals in Florence, who are accusing Mayor Wukela—a red-diaper baby and progressive Democrat—of racism, of suppressing black voices, and the usual litany of complaints.

Of course, that has nothing to do with why Florence City Council—which is overwhelming Democratic and heavily African-American—is removing the mural.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Bearwallow Mountain

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Also, last week’s post on my third trip to Universal Studios in 2020 is coming soon—I promise.  This past week consumed far more of my time than I anticipated, so subscribers can expect that soon.

My uncharacteristic year of travel continued this weekend with a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, the hipster capital of the Southeast.  After our family trip to Burnsville, North Carolina, my girlfriend was itching to get back to the mountains, so we decided to come up and spend a day exploring the area.

It’s the first weekend in a few weeks that’s it actually been cold, and we reveled in the cold mountain air.  The high was around 60—perfect autumnal sweater weather.  It also made the hike up Bearwallow Mountain more pleasant and endurable.

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Lazy Sunday LXXXVII: Universal Studios

As I noted yesterday and this morning, I am at Universal Studios once again this year.  This trip marks my third in 2020, which I find inconceivable.  Oddly enough, The Age of The Virus probably made it possible, as Universal eliminated most of their blackout dates for season pass holders.

This trip has been a good one, and because we’ve already been a couple of times this year, there wasn’t the same push to cram everything in during our three-day stay this time.  Indeed, the park was so packed today that we left around lunchtime to lounge in the hotel a bit, and we’ll hopefully head back this evening when crowds thin out a bit.

More on that when I get around to writing this weekend’s SubscribeStar Saturday post.  Here are some past posts related to Universal Studios:

  • Universal Studios Trip” (on my SubscribeStar page) – This post was a rundown of my first trip to Universal Studios earlier this year, right before The Virus really struck big in the United States.  That seems like an entirely different world.  It was very cool in late February for Florida, which really made the trip more enjoyable.  Also, we didn’t have to wear masks, which is a luxury today.
  • Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios” (and “TBT: Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios“) – This hasty post, written during my first visit to Universal this year, detailed some of the highlights of the trip, particularly the old E.T. ride.  That ride is probably my favorite in all of Universal, and I fully take advantage of the child swap loophole to ride it multiple times.
  • Universal Studios Trip No. 2” (on my SubscribeStar page) – This post detailed the second trip to Universal back in July.  That was in the full heat of the Florida summer, and during the apex of the summertime Virus surge.  Universal employees were very particular about mask-wearing at the time.  They still are, but I’ve noticed they’re way more lax this time (they aren’t shouting at you for having it off when you’re off by yourself just trying to breathe free for a few minutes).

Anyway, that’s all for now.  My niece and nephews are starting to run wild in the hotel room, so I’d better get back to uncling before they dump any more snacks on the floor.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday LXXXVI: Education, Part II

The school year is roaring on, and we’re already coming up on the end of our first quarter (an unusually truncated first quarter, as we’ll only have been in school seven weeks by this Friday, plus two days).  I’ve been writing a bit more about education lately, as is common during the school year.  In The Age of The Virus, it makes for slightly more interesting writing than the usual complaints about overstuffed classrooms and understuffed paychecks.

I also haven’t featured education since “Lazy Sunday XXIV: Education,” so it seemed like a good time to revisit the topic that consumes most of my daily life.  Here are some recent posts on that all-consuming topic:

  • Progress Report: Teaching in The Age of The Virus” – I wrote this post just a few weeks ago, when interim/progress reports were coming out at my school.  It was a good opportunity, after nearly a month of teaching, to reflect on the additional challenges and burdens of teaching live to students face-to-face and online simultaneously, and of recording (often with buggy apps) for international students to watch later.  The workload has since taken on a more familiar pattern and rhythm, but those first few weeks consumed huge amounts of time and energy.
  • Teaching in The Age of The Virus: Live Remote Learning Rehearsal Day” – I wrote this post just two days ago, and it was a bit of an update on my “Progress Report.”  This post reviewed our “Live Remote Learning Rehearsal Day,” in which all students stayed home and livestreamed classes via Google Meet, while teachers taught from their respective classrooms.  I was surprised by how challenging it was to maintain the rapport of a classroom setting while having students sitting at home.  Very odd.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Making Music, Part II” – When I wrote this post yesterday, I had forgotten I’d written another SubscribeStar Saturday post of the same name in May!  That was bound to happen eventually, so I hastily added the “Part II” to this one.  Yesterday’s post was a bit of a counterpoint to the frustration and pessimism of Friday’s review of the live remote rehearsal day:  it was a celebration of music education, and the joy of watching student-musicians forming bands, writing lyrics, singing songs, and all that.  Indeed, it’s a reminder why teachers teach—and why music teachers have it the best, even if they work hard.

That’s it for another Lazy Sunday.  Here’s hoping you enjoyed a restful weekend.  It’s finally October, and the weather in South Carolina has been sublime:  warm enough to enjoy a walk in the afternoon, but cold enough to kill most of the bugs.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

fatness

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Making Music, Part II

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This school year I began transitioning from teaching a blend of history and music classes towards focusing almost entirely on music.  While I still teach a couple of sections of American History, my teaching duties these days consist primarily music classes.

One of the real joys of teaching music—besides the fact that it’s just plain fun—is to see students inspired to create their own music.  I have been blessed over the years to witness the musical development of many students, and to hear some of their creations.

During our remote learning rehearsal day earlier this week, I pulled out some old concert footage to show my HS Music Ensemble class, a course that is entirely performance based.  That class does not port well to a fully online format, especially to a livestreamed one, as latency is so intense that it makes ensemble performance impossible.  Indeed, if that class goes to a fully online format, we’ll have to focus more on solo work and and music theory, which is what we did during distance learning earlier in the spring.

In watching that old concert footage, I was reminded of some wonderful moments in my school’s unorthodox music program’s history.  It also reminded me of the power of teaching music to inspire the creation of new works.

To hear my own musical works, visit https://tjcookmusic.bandcamp.com/ or www.tjcookmusic.com.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Supreme Court and Power

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The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg eight days ago has opened up another power struggle in D.C.  Democrats have spent decades perverting the function of the courts from that of constitutional referee into that of constitution interpreter, a role that places the Supreme Court above Congress and the presidency.

The result is rule by nine unelected officials who serve for life.  Congress has gleefully passed the difficulty of legislative activity and the push and pull of debate onto the Supreme Court, trusting it to clarify anything Congress may have forgotten to write into law.  Presidents have passively executed Supreme Court verdicts, and even signed legislation they believed to be unconstitutional, on the premise that the Supreme Court would make the ultimate decision.

Thus, the Court has emerged as the dominant force in American politics—and morality.  Not only does the Court tell us what the Constitution really says—even if the Constitution doesn’t say it at all—it also tells us the moral judgments of the Constitution (thanks to Z Man for that insight).  Thus, every cat lady and box wine auntie in America bemoans the death of RBG, their symbolic stand-in, who endorsed free and easy abortions and gay rights.

Now President Trump has the opportunity to shift the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation.  But will it be enough to reverse judicial supremacy and restore constitutional order?

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Five Dollar Friday: The Elites and a Giant Clock

Today’s post is an exclusive for $5 and higher subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.  Five Dollar Fridays will be a regular feature heading into the 2020 election, with unique analysis of and insights into the presidential and other national, State, and local elections.

America’s cities are aflame, in a more ghoulish, pointless reenactment of the upheavals of 1968.  The organizations behind various protest movements and rioting all parrot the same meaningless platitudes:  “Black Lives Matter,” “Abolish the Suburbs,” “Wake Up Motherf**kers, Wake Up,” etc.  There even seems to be an attempt to normalize pedophilia—the logical, horrifying next step for the LGBTQ2A+ set.

Despite Republicans enjoying official political control of the presidency and the Senate, the Left clearly dominates the culture, the media, academia, Big Tech, and more.  The question is, how much of this dominance was deliberately orchestrated, and how much of it is the result of various organic left-wing movements?

Most conservatives are familiar with the radical Left’s “long march through the institutions,” in which ’60s radicals and former hippies gained cushy sinecures in government and academia, and began dribbling their Marxist dogma into the political and cultural thought of the country.  The anti-war movement and the sense of restlessness among post-war youths offered fertile ground for anti-American ideas, especially when swaddled in terms of “peace” and “love.”

But how much of that was intentional, and how much of it the result of happenstance?  Perhaps an answer rests with a Jeff Bezos-funded, ten-thousand year clock hidden in a Texas mountain.

H/T to photog at Orion’s Cold Fire and Z Man for the idea for this week’s post.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Mountains

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I wasn’t sure if I would get to this post today, and originally I was planning on writing about the political implications of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  But because I’m enjoying some time with the family, I thought I’d focus on something a bit lighter.

My older brother turned forty on Thursday, and to mark that middle-aged milestone, he wanted to spend the weekend in the mountains outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  Most of the clan got up here Thursday evening, but I wasn’t able to make it up until this morning.  High school football dominates my Friday nights, and personal days are a precious commodity.

So, here are some quick reflections about my short trip to the mountains.

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