Guest Contribution: Audre Myers’s Review of Stranger Things

I can now proudly attest that the esteemed Audre Myers, perhaps the one figure at the epicenter of my personal blogosphere, has contributed her first piece to The Portly Politico.  What a treat!  Even the way that Audre contacted me about her contribution is quintessential Audre:  she framed it as giving me a day off from the blog.  Very sweet!

I’m happy to give a day—or weeks!—over to Audre’s writing.  Her own blog, Words on the Word, is a lovely daily devotional; I recommend it highly.

Audre also shares my love of the spooky, the weird, the unexplained.  One of the first ways I became acquainted with Audre’s interests were her posts about Bigfoot over at Nebraska Energy Observer.  Here was someone writing with depth and seriousness—not conspiratorial goofiness—about Sasquatch!

That love of spooky weirdness is perfect for Audre’s contribution this week:  her broad review of the series Stranger Things, one of my personal favorite series as well.  The fourth season has just hit Netflix, so Audre offers up her take on the series as a whole—without giving away any of the fun plot points!

So, for the four of you out there that still haven’t seen Stranger Things, here’s Audre’s excellent review of and recommendation for the series:

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Tuesday Morning Television Series Review: Sasquatch (2021)

Thanks to Audre Myers at Nebraska Energy Observer and the documentary Missing 411, I’ve become interested in Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, etc., etc.—cryptid humanoid megafauna of various stripes.  I’m not sure if they exist, but I’m open to the possibility.  Indeed, I want to believe they are out there, wandering in the deepest forests of North America, living their secretive, hairy lives.

So I was quite interested to watch the Hulu series Sasquatch, a three-part true-crime documentary about an alleged Bigfoot attack in Northern California in 1993.  The attack left three Mexican migrants dead on a pot farm, with their murders unsolved to this day.  Indeed, it seems (from the documentary) that the murders were never actually reported to the authorities.

Let me say up front:  while the documentary was quite good, it was incredibly disappointing:  an egregious example of bait-and-switch.

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My Musical Philosophy in Song: “Delilah”

On Sunday (my first day back playing piano in church!—everyone else was in their cars listening over a short-range broadcast)—I posted a video to my Facebook artist page of Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson singing Tom Jones’s 1968 classic “Delilah”:

I’ve received a handful queries about my statement that “this video sums up my entire musical philosophy.”  Naturally, there’s a bit of cheek in that statement.  My short answer is similar to the jazz musician’s (Louis Armstrong? Dizzy Gillespie?) when a lady asked him how to swing:  “if you have to ask, you’ll never know.”  The video should speak for itself:

But I began digging into this video a bit more.  What is this bizarre game show?  When was it aired?  How did Bruce Dickinson end up singing “Delilah”?  It reminds me another video that “sums up my entire musical philosophy”—Jack Black’s appearance on American Idol singing Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”:

Fortunately, there are some scant details out there.  The show was Last Chance Lotter with Patrick Kielty, an Irish game show that ran for ten episodes in 1997.  The gimmick was that the show took losers from other game shows, gave them a lottery ticket, and anyone who had a ticket worth ten pounds or more could compete in the main game.  Some of the money won would go into a pot for one random audience member to win.

I haven’t quite worked out how the musical numbers figured in, but the musical guest would essentially sing a song to add even more cash to the pot by spinning a wheel (that was transparently rigged—the audience knew the wheel was controlled, from what I can gather).  That’s why Bruce Dickinson was on the show, and his performance of “Delilah” is one of the most spectacular musical renditions I’ve ever heard:  mariachi horns, bouncing bassists, leopard-print suits, and Dickinson’s soaring vocals.

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Reacting to Hysterical Reactions: Peloton Ad

While driving home from work, I heard a little news bulletin on the radio about controversy surrounding a recent Peloton ad.  Peloton is some kind of high-end exercise bike that features videos of instructors shouting at you in that obnoxious, oddly stentorian way that hyper-motivational athletic types use when coaching quasi-sports for middle-aged women.  You know the kind of voice I mean.

Apparently, the ad is “cringeworthy” because it features a woman working out, and then thanking her husband for the gift (presumably on the Christmas following the one where she received the bike).  Also, the woman is attractive and already thin; never mind that we’re supposed to be “healthy at any size” (a concept, as my girlfriend explained to me, that does not mean we pretend 400-pound land monsters gobbling dozens of Quarter Pounders a day are “healthy,” but that a person can pursue a healthy lifestyle even if he’s morbidly obese).

The shrill feminists denouncing the ad are saying that the husband is shaming his wife into becoming even thinner—never mind that maybe she wanted an easy way to workout at home (skinny people can be unhealthy in their habits, too).  Throughout the commercial, the wife records her progress, and critics are pointing out the anxious look on her face, suggesting she’s pleading for her husband’s affection.

Give me a break.

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Tom Steyer’s Belt

When I was in college, I formed this ridiculous pseudo-band with a suitemate of mine (who has, apparently, now gone down some dark roads) called Blasphemy’s Belt, which my bio on another band’s website refers to as an “electro-pop humor duo.”  I can’t remember how we came up with the name—our music wasn’t particularly or purposefully blasphemous (or good), and while we wore belts, they weren’t outrageous (just to keep our pants up)—but it was apparently catchy enough that people picked up on it.

The Belt never performed live, other than for an annoyed roommate, and a highly grating pop-up concert (at least, that’s what hipsters would call it nowadays) on our floor’s study room, but we generated enough buzz to get people to vote for us in a “Best of Columbia” survey in The Free Times.  We didn’t win anything, but it was an object lesson in how enough hype can make people believe you have substance when you really don’t.

That’s my self-indulgent way to introduce some literal navel-gazing—at Democratic hopeful and wealthy scold Tom Steyer‘s virtue-signalling, sanctimonious belt.

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You Can’t Cuck the Tuck

Tucker Carlson is amazing.  He says the true things on national, primetime television that the folks on the Dissident Right can only whisper on blogs.

As I alluded to Monday, Carlson made some cheeky remarks over a decade ago on a call-in shock jock radio show, Bubba the Love Sponge Show.  The Left-wing website Media Matters compiled his most controversial statements into an audio compilation, in which Carlson made rhetorically-bombastic-but-mostly-accurate observations about all kinds of hot-button social and gender topics.

Rather than issue a grovelling apology, Carlson challenged anyone who took issue with his comments to come onto his show and debate him—what we used to do in the United States when we disagreed with someone.

Last night, Carlson opened his hit show on Fox News with a blistering monologue, calling out Media Matters and its tawdry relationship with other mainstream media outlets and the Democratic Party.  Carlson called CNN anchor Brian Stelter the “house eunuch at CNN.”

It just goes to show that you can’t cuck the Tuck.  Hopefully Fox News backs up their host.  It’s also interesting seeing how based Tucker Carlson was as far back as 2006, which suggests he’s sincere in his populist peccadilloes.

Best SOTU Ever

I was wrong, as were most conservative (and some progressive) commentators:  President Trump was right to hold out for a real State of the Union Address, rather than reviving the Jeffersonian tradition of the written address.

The president’s State of the Union speech was a tour de force:  he spoke eloquently of America’s role in advancing civil and human rights; the sanctity of human life, born and unborn; the economic development of the United States in the last two years; and the crisis at the border.

It was an address that was optimistic and accurate.  Unlike most SOTU addresses, which tend to be tedious attempts to inflate small bits of good news beyond all reasonable proportions, Trump’s 2019 address described, in detail, just how great America is, and how far we’ve come in two short years.

It’s little wonder Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wanted to cancel the speech:  how do Democrats respond to that?  The first part of the speech was full of positive economic news, news that can’t be ignored or denied.  The president detailed explosive wage and job growth, including the lowest unemployment rates for black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans in history.

Beyond the economic good news—and the vow that the United States will never be a socialist country—it was a fun speech (well, it was a bit long, and dragged a smidge, but not much).  Even Democrats started getting up and dancing around at one point!  Congress sang “Happy Birthday” to a Holocaust survivor.  President Trump cut some jokes, and was clearly having a blast.  As any performer knows, if you’re having fun on stage, the people in the audience will have fun, too.

If you missed the speech, go to YouTube, shut the office door, and fire that baby up while you file TPS reports.  You won’t regret it.

Twilight Zone Reviews on Orion’s Cold Fire

Remember The Twilight Zone, those short, weird vignettes from the early days of television?  Every episode featured some bizarre, last-minute twist, usually delivered with plenty of over-acting and frantic hysterics.

Blogger photog at Orion’s Cold Fire has embarked on a lengthy mission:  to watch and review every episode of The Twilight Zone.  Put another way:  he watches so you don’t have to.

It’s great fun.  You can start reading the reviews here (as he uploads more, you may need to move back a page or two to get to the first one).  His review of the first episode is here.

There are 156 episodes (according to Wikipedia), and photog posts one review every evening (seven days a week, it appears), so he’ll be working on this well into 2019.