I’ve been pretty salty—in the parlance of the kiddos these days—about the midterm election results, a level of disappointment I haven’t experienced since the 2020 presidential election.
It brought me back to this post, in which I opine about Trump’s loss and the stolen election. My hope was that the Republican Party would embrace the working-class voters that helped Trump win in 2016, lest they simply “return to being the party of agreeable losers.”
Looks like—ironically—the “agreeable losers” won, and have made losers of us all.
I’m continuing the time-honored tradition of Thanksgivings past (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017) with the annual reblogging of “It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!” I wrote the original post (on the old blog) back in 2017, just a few days after I fell from a ladder and broke my wrist. It was my lowest point in a number of ways, but I was grateful to be alive.
I’m thankful this year, too, although I am similarly in a bit a slump personally. No matter—I’ve got a good family, a good house, a good dog, and lots of private lessons to tide over my insatiable lust for frozen pizza and LEGO sets.
My pastor has been working painstakingly through Philippians for some time now, and has been hammering home the idea of finding joy amid our situations, no matter how difficult they might be. If the Apostle Paul could rejoice in a Roman prison, we can rejoice in the far less trying times of our daily lives.
Good stuff, even if it’s hard to live out. At least today I’ll get to eat some turkey.
I’ve been on a YouTube history kick lately, listening to long historical biography videos while doing things around the house. If you’re a history nerd like me, listening to the intrigues of medieval kings gets you hankering for a piece of the action, albeit a sanitized simulacrum of the real thing.
Yes, that means I have been playing a great deal of Civilization VI. I was a bit sick this past weekend, so I had hours in bed conquering the world as Poland. If your fantasy is a world in which an Eastern Orthodox Poland controls all of Europe, Asia, and most of Africa, as well as large swaths of North and South America, then you’d have loved that game.
With turn-based strategy still fresh on my mind, I’d thought I’d look back to this review of a far more primitive game in the legendary Civilization series: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution on the Nintendo DS Lite.
It’s still hot and humid here in South Carolina, but we’re tantalizingly close to the cozy season—the “hygge,” as our Danish friends call it. In anticipation of autumnal coziness to come, I decided to look back some of the coziest posts TPP has to offer:
Autumn is here, and it’s a time for music! There is something about the fall that makes music even better. Sure, summertime is for outdoor concerts and music festivals, but I find music sounds better in the fall.
There is some science behind this feeling: sound waves travel farther in colder weather. It has something to do with air particles being further apart in the cold, so sound waves can keep going. I’m sure I’m explaining it incorrectly, and I’m too lazy to look it up, but just trust me on this one.
Unfortunately, I am no longer teaching the Pre-AP Music Appreciation course that saw me steeped in the best that medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, classical, Romantic, and modern composers had to offer. That doesn’t mean I have to stop enjoying these composers, though!
One of my all-time faves—and a composer who is quintessentially English, even if he’s German—is George Frideric Handel. His works are among the finest from the Baroque period.
They’re all creatures of the night: bloodsucking, blood-curdling, blood-soaked.
Or they’re adorable, CGI critters that work in a factory, according to Pixar.
Of course, if you’re Stephen King, the real monsters are us—humans. Have you read ‘Salem’s Lot? A woman beats her own baby (and that baby becomes an infant vampire—yikes)!
That’s all a very weak, very contrived introduction for this week’s edition of TBT, which looks back at a couple of years’ posts and related commentary on monsters. Whatever they are, whatever their intentions, monsters are always one thing: interesting.
Ah, yes—ghost stories. They are perhaps my favorite variation on the short story form. I always find it fascinating that the Victorians liked their ghost stories at Christmastime, but it makes sense—what else are you going to do on those long, dark, cold nights? Best to huddle around the fire and spin some yuletide yarns.
Every culture has its ghosts, spooks, haunts, haints, devils, and the like. As I’m writing this post, I’m reading about the boo hags of the Gullah culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Apparently, homes in the Charleston still feature porch ceilings painted “haint blue” to ward off evil spirits.
Looks I’ll be heading to the hardware store for some Behr Premium Ultra Lowcountry Haint Blue.
It’s the so-called “spooky season” again, which naturally turns my mind to things not seen. Lately, I’ve been pondering the pre-modern mind, and how differently pre-moderns saw the world. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around it. What must it have been like to fear God—naturally (as in, without the scientistic arrogance we moderns seem inculcated into at an early age)? To suspect mercurial forces at play in every tree or lonely bog?
There’s so much we don’t know; so much we can’t see (even if it’s caught on video). Ironically, for all of our assuredness about how the world works, we find ourselves in an age of constant epistemological confusion, one in which we seem incapable of knowing what is True or not.
Heady contemplations, indeed. The possible existence of Bigfoot or any other number of odd creatures, corporeal or otherwise, is not insignificant: if supernatural beings exist, God Exists (or, more probably, because God Exists, there are all manner of spirits and angels and the like at work, just beyond our perception).
We’re getting into the time of year when my personal creativity seems to spark. I should be way more productive creatively in the summer, when I enjoy loads of unstructured time, but I find that I work better in the constrains and confines of a busy schedule. For whatever reason, that extra pressure helps me to eke out, if not diamonds, then at least some lesser gems.
One well from which I have drawn some considerable inspiration the last couple of years was my Pre-AP Music Appreciation class. It was a broad survey of Western music from the medieval period to the present, with a strong emphasis on the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods. Due to a combination of scheduling difficulties and lower enrollment last year, the class did not run this year.
On the one hand, I’m thankful—it’s given me more time to focus on other endeavors. On the other, I do miss the almost-daily baptism in the works of some of the greatest composers in the Western canon.
One element of the course that was particularly intriguing was learning about the lives and creative processes of the composers. Many of them lived quite tragic lives; others (rarer, it seems, among composers) lived quite contentedly.
Gustav Mahler seemed to have developed a nice little work routine, as detailed in this post from October 2021. I like the idea of having a stripped-down cottage by the sea, with a healthy breakfast brought to me as I work. Sounds like the good life!