TBT^256: Happy Birthday, America!

On Monday, America celebrated its 246th birthday.  I don’t know what the word is for “250th” (bisesquicentennial?), but that will be fun when it arrives in 2026.  I’m still hoping to make it to the tricentennial in 2076, but I’m not holding my breath—I’ll be ninety-one-and-a-half (maybe I’ll blog about it—ha!)!  I also imagine the United States of that time will be as unrecognizable to us as the United States of today is unrecognizable to someone at the bicentennial, much less the centennial observance.

America is not in the best of times, but victories abound nonetheless.  Sure, prices are through the rough and shortages seem to be increasingly commonplace.  But babies have a chance at life now, and our most basic constitutional rights continue—for the time being—to be upheld, albeit imperfectly (we have what are essentially political prisoners wasting away in jail without a trial because they were invited to walk around the US Capitol Building).

Regardless, I’m proud to be an American, and I’m thankful to live in this country.  It’s not perfect, but it’s home.

With that, here is “TBT^16: Happy Birthday, America!“:

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TBT^2: Leftism in a Nutshell

When I first wrote about the “degrowth movement” three years ago, it seemed like another kooky Leftist spin to cover for an economy that would inevitably decline under a Democratic president.  When I revisited that post last summer, it was after five months of Biden the Usurper’s economic misery and malaise, and after a year of shutdowns thanks to The Virus.

In other words, we’d tried involuntary degrowth, and it’s made us poorer.

A year on, the economy has gotten even worse.  We’re all quite aware that gas prices are through the roof.  Food prices have skyrocketed as well.  One reason I’m dieting this summer (besides the fact that I need to return to my lean, pantheric form) and skipping breakfast is because it saves a few bucks (and because I need my massive spaghetti ration to last a lot longer—I can down a pound of spaghetti with shocking rapidity).  Groceries are too expensive for binge eating.

The most recent print issue of Backwoods Home Magazine (Issue #189, July/August/September 2022) features a cover story entitled “The Return of Victory Gardens.”  That piece discusses not just the high prices of groceries, but the scarcity of items on shelves.

For years, I’ve boasted about how cheap food is.  Just a few years ago, you could pick up a loaf of bread from Dollar General for eighty-eight cents.  Granted, it wasn’t good bread, but it got the job done.  Eggs were cheap.  Butter was maybe a dollar for four sticks.  Pretty much everything you could need was easily affordable, even if it wouldn’t make for the most exciting meals.

Now, none of those items are particularly cheap.  The lowest price for a loaf of crummy (and crumbly) white bread I can find locally is around $1.49 a loaf.  I have a hook-up for eggs, so I’m covered there.  But my egg supplier tells me that I should start canning butter, because the price of that is about to go way up.

And forget about eating meat.  It looks like the grand dream of the globohomo super elites—that we’ll all be eating cricket burgers, safely isolated and subdued in our living pods—is getting closer and closer to reality.

It became a BoomerCon cliché to point to Venezuela as an example of what happens when socialism runs amok.  But the BoomerCons were right.  Unless we want to be eating pet rabbits and zoo animals, we’d better do something to shore up our food stores and increase our independence from the supply chains stat.

With that, here’s “TBT: Leftism in a Nutshell“:

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TBT: Fighting Back Against Critical Race Theory

We observed Juneteenth, the new Independence Day for black Americans, here in the United States this week.  The “national” holiday is an extremely regional celebration that dates back to 1866 in Texas.

To state the obvious but controversial:  the only reason we have Juneteenth is because of a summer of racial violence two years ago.  Apparently, our entire political system and culture has to bend over backwards to accommodate a handful of disgruntled race-baiters.

But all of that traces back to Critical Race Theory (CRT), which I described last year as an odious blend of “identity politics, Foucaultean power dynamics, Cultural Marxism, and Nineties-style corporate diversity training.”

Race-baiting isn’t anything new in America, but now it’s taken on a quasi-systematic, pseudo-intellectual, cult-like quality that has major corporations and government entities at all levels cowed.

But appeasement clearly doesn’t work.  Indeed, I’d argue it undermines CRT’s alleged goal of racial reconciliation.

I said as much in 16 June 2021’s “Fighting Back Against Critical Race Theory“:

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TBT^2: Hungry Like the Wolf

Seeing as yesterday was my dog’s birthday, I figured I’d throw back to a piece that I seem to come back to each June, “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Tech magazine Gizmodo ran a piece some years ago that poses the question (in its title) “What Happens to Wolves When They’re Raised Like Dogs?

My thinking on dogs has done nearly a 180-degree turn—maybe a 150-degree turn?—over the past few years.  I’ve always liked dogs (so I was already thirty degrees in their favor), but I disliked dog people.  I still would not classify myself in that way, though I do serenade my dog, so maybe I’m just in denial.

Regardless, what chapped me was the way people would use dogs as surrogate children, or would invest huge amounts of their personal identity in their dog.  Again, perhaps I’m in denial, or blind to reality, but as much as I love my dog, I’d like to think I’m not pouring misdirected paternalism into her.

But dogs do provide wonderful companionship, and can be a great deal of fun.  Murphy does something comical or amusing just about every day.  And her adenoidal snoring and “talking” crack me up.  I actually sleep better when Murphy is snoring her brains out—she’s like a living white-noise machine.

Pretty crazy these chunky furballs used to be wolves, eh?

Here’s 24 June 2021’s “TBT: Hungry Like the Wolf“:

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TBT: Summertime Schedule Begins

As of about 8 PM EST last Thursday, I’ve been living the Summer Break Lifestyle.  Other than camp and lessons, I’ve been enjoying a much more leisurely pace of living.

Summer is already filling up fast.  While the first week of Minecraft Camp is in the books, I have another session next week.  I’m attempting to run my Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for the second year, but as of the time of writing, it looks like I might just have one student, so that may get axed.

Nevertheless, it’s a good time to knock out some projects, especially when I wrap up camps.  I’m hoping to get back—finally!—to wrapping up the first volume of my Sunday Doodles book, which will go through the first fifty editions of the feature (over at my SubscribeStar page).  Indeed, I may do the first 100 editions, as I am currently at 144.  That will require more editing, but will make for a beefier book.

It’s also time to get cracking on some short stories.  I’ve been sitting on one story about a guy who eats an undercooked frozen pizza with bizarre consequences; now I need to write it!

With that, here is 8 June 2021’s “Summertime Schedule Begins“:

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TBT: Reclaim the Rainbow

Well, here we are—that time of year when every corporation changes its logo into a rainbow format to avoid the persecution of people who define their entire identities based on which body part they want to stick into which hole.  God have mercy on us all.

Wouldn’t it be great if corporations pretended to love Christianity, like in the good old days?  Better yet, they could actually be Christian.  I guess Hobby Lobby, My Pillow, and Chick-Fil-A will have to do.

One casualty of our fascination with buggery—besides the kids groomed into “alternative” lifestyles and exposed to men in dresses reading them children’s books—is the rainbow, a symbol of God’s Promise never to flood the Earth again.

Rainbows are beautiful, but like everything the Left touches, they’ve been appropriated to represent something odious and sinful.

It’s time to “Reclaim the Rainbow“:

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TBT: Disincentives to Work

I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom this week, but it sure feels like things are falling apart all around us:  food shortages, rising unemployment, riots.  I think we’re in for a really nasty summer, but I hope I’m wrong.

We’ve been muddling through longer than we realize.  While gas prices have only shot up in the past five months, people have been dropping out of the workforce for a good while now.  Back in the Obama years, conservatives used to mock (rightly) the government’s unemployment figures for leaving out the labor force participation rate, which was pretty paltry back then (something like only 60-70% of working aged people were actually actively looking for work; the unemployment rate was based off that portion, rather than all working aged adults).

Now we’re in the midst of what the mainstream media is calling “The Great Resignation,” with millions of Americans quitting their jobs.  That’s due in part, I believe, to the generous government largesse during The Age of The Virus.  We’ve all gotten a taste of easy money—inflation be damned!—and now we want the gravy train to keep on rollin’.

But I think it goes deeper than that.  My generation in particular—prone to wokery, alas—legitimately has gotten the short end of the economic stick, entering the workforce during a recession, saddled with billions in student loans and overcredentialed.  Granted, some of those problems were our fault—we fell for the siren song of expensive degrees—but we were largely following the advice that had worked for our parents’ generation.

Understandably, many of my peers did not want to go back to waiting tables and pouring coffee for strangers—or going back to other thankless jobs.  Not all of those folks are deadbeats or mooches—some of them are just worn out.

Regardless, the government’s sticky hands are in all of this mess (for example, college tuition is so astronomically high because the government will keep extending loans to anybody to get them to go to college, even if that person isn’t going to earn much with his degree).  Work is annoying, stressful, and demanding—but doing it makes us better people.

With that, here is 26 May 2021’s “Disincentives to Work“:

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TBT: SimEarth

I’ve been on a video game kick lately, diving back into the Civilization games and listening to a lot of the Gaming Historian on YouTube.  As such, it seemed like a good time to look back at another video game post, one about the planet simulator SimEarth.

SimEarth was one of those games that I found instantly appealing—a massive simulator of an entire planet, going through all its geological, biological, and civilizational phases.  Even growing up in a household that rejected the theory of Darwinian evolution (a theory I still don’t accept, although I acknowledge that adaptation and mutation are both possible and happen frequently), the prevailing scientific understanding of our world made for a fun video game.

The possibilities were endless.  Want to be a Deistic god and let the world run on its own?  Go for it.  Want to interfere frequently in your planet’s development?  Do it!  Want to make starfish or Venus fly traps sentient beings capable of forging an advanced civilization?  Why not!

I used to be able to make pretty compelling planets in this game, with rich histories and multiple species in succession rising to sentience, before heading off an intergalactic journey of the stars.  Apparently, I lost any skills I had, as my last game a couple of years ago (detailed below) ended in nuclear winter.  Oops.

With that, here is 27 May 2020’s “SimEarth“:

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TBT: Heavy is the Head

Over at her blog Words on the Word, Audre Myers posted a piece yesterday entitled, simply, “Life.”  It’s a succinct and effective little piece about how Life often disrupts our, well, lives, and how our best-laid plans are often thrown out the minute Life demands our immediate attention.

The past several weeks have been full of Life for yours portly; indeed, this school year—which seems to be dragging endlessly onward—has been one of the toughest of my career.  It got me thinking about this post from last May about the difficulties and joys of responsibility.

We all find ourselves busy at times, and I imagine many of us dream of shirking our responsibilities.  The sad fact is, many Americans do—the moment anything becomes inconvenient, or no longer offers the fun thrill it initially did, we move on to something else new and exciting.  There’s an inherent restlesness in that lifestyle, a lifestyle of constant pacing and chasing.

That’s the child’s response to responsibility and difficulty.  As adults, we should adapt to difficulties, and bear our responsibilities cheerfully, even when they are more burdensome than usually—perhaps especially so at those times.

As I noted last year, most of our perceived problems either dissipate into mootness or are otherwise resolved before they truly become problems that need addressing.  Case in point:  I was slated to teach an online class this summer.  That’s not a problem so much as an opportunity, but it was going to require a good bit of legwork this week to get the course ready to launch Monday.

I got home Tuesday evening to take a look at the course, and realized it had either been purged (due to low enrollment) or given to another instructor (likely a full-timer who needed to make his hours).  While I’m a tad disappointed about losing out on some relatively easy money, it’s also “solved” a problem for me—finding the time to put that course together during yet another busy week.

Again, another problem resolved before requiring any real effort on my part—perhaps not on anyone’s.

With that, here is 5 May 2021’s “Heavy is the Head“:

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