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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Delayed Lazy Sunday

As I noted yesterday, I’m still on vacation, so today’s Lazy Sunday will be delayed as well.  I will hopefully have it written tonight.

Subscribers, I’ll post the $1 SubscribeStar Saturday post later in the week.  Sunday Doodles should get up this evening, as that’s pretty easy to slam out, even when I’m running on fumes.

Yesterday my pedometer app reported I walked just over 20,000 steps.  We made a full day of it, as Universal City was open until 9 PM.  We didn’t quite make it that long, but we certainly got the most of our season passes.

It’s another long day today, so hopefully I won’t collapse into bed like I did last night and will have something of substance for you.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Baby Sea Turtle

I spent this past weekend at Fripp Island—one last hurrah before reality resumes (while teachers start back at my little school next Monday, with classes resuming on the 20th, I’ve been asked to come in to paint some classrooms, as one of our top Buildings & Grounds workers is in the hospital with meningitis).  It was an amazing weekend for many reasons:  family time, excellent seafood, good swimming, etc.

But something magical happened.  Around 7:45 PM EST on 1 August 2020, my girlfriend and I were taking a walk on the beach and saw this little guy:

Sea Turtle at Fripp Island (Video) - 1 August 2020

Yep.  That’s a baby sea turtle, freshly hatched, waddling his way into the ocean.

Readers who grew up, as I did, with constant sea turtle propaganda in schools and beachside signage will appreciate the majesty of this little turtle struggling to reach the mighty sea.  I never thought I would actually see a sea turtle hatchling in the wild.  It’s the real-world equivalent of seeing a unicorn.

Sure, I’d always supposed it was possible, but incredibly implausible.  My girlfriend—a chemist, not a biologist—positively shrieked with surprised joy.

We figured out the little guy had floated down on a current through a small tide pool, as we realized there weren’t others near him.  After he made it into the ocean, we walked up the beach another hundred feet or so and saw people watching another little guy straining seaward.  The lady picked the turtle up and placed him into the ocean, which (per my years of sea turtle propaganda) is a big no-no.  However, we soon realized it was a team of sea turtle conservationists (they had matching Sea Turtle shirts), so we figured they had the clearance to give Mother Nature a little push.

What a joyful happenstance.  Had we waited even a few moments longer to take our walk, we never would have known what we had missed.  God’s Creation is beautiful and wonderful; I am thankful He gave us the opportunity to see one tiny example of His ultimate Creativity.

SubscribeStar Saturday: Fripp Island

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This weekend I’m visiting Fripp Island, which is about forty-five minutes past Beaufort, South Carolina on US-21.  If you’ve ever visited Hunting Island State Park, Fripp is the island just past it.  One reason I attended the Yemassee Shrimp Festival last fall is because we always drive through Yemassee on our way to Fripp Island.

Fripp Island is also where I revived this blog in 2016.  I harbor some romantic sentiments about writing (such as writing shirtless in a hot attic, a la every Stephen King protagonist in his earlier novels), and there’s something about being at the beach that brings out the literary side in me.  Perhaps it’s the general sense of escaping from reality—and even from the Internet—for a bit that gets the juices flowing.

Regardless, I have come to realize how spoiled I am:  since about 1988, I have enjoyed—through no effort of my own—mostly ready access to a beach house on relatively uncrowded beaches.  Even now, the one-day beach trip—a summertime ceremony for most Americans—is foreign to me.  Muscling through throngs of dad bods to grab a spot of sand at Myrtle Beach in August is my idea of torture, but that’s the reality for most beach-goers.

As such, my beach-going experience is far more cossetted and luxurious than the average American’s.  I’m very thankful for my grandfather’s business savvy and years of hard work, which have made possible thirty-two years of beachy lethargy.

All that aside, Fripp Island is, truly, one of the most wonderful places on Earth.  Let me tell you about it.

Last week’s post about my trip to Universal Studios is still in the works.  I just haven’t had an opportunity to get it done.  I will hopefully have it completed soon.  My apologies for the delay.

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TBT: Phone it in Friday VI: Universal Studios

Today I am back at Universal Studios!  I didn’t expect I’d be back so soon, but Universal has lifted their Season Pass blackout dates for Summer 2020 due to The Virus, so my brothers and our significant others and I decided to take advantage of it and come down for a few days.  It’s always fun with the niece and nephews, too.

As my younger brother put it, we’re probably safer strolling around Universal Studios than eating at restaurants (which we’ve all been doing to some extent), as the park is sanitizing everything in hyper drive.  We’re also all masked up, and social distancing is in force—all the usual protocols we’ve come to endure in The Age of The Virus.  Why not enjoy safety and spectacular theming?

This week’s TBT features the first Phone it in Friday to make it to TBT (that I can recall).  I’ve just finished four Sundays of PiiF retrospectives (here, here, here, and here), so readers of “Lazy Sunday LXIX: Phone it in Fridays, Part III” may remember this post about our February 2020 trip to Universal Studios.

With that, here is “Phone it in Friday VI: Universal Studios“:

As I wrote yesterday, I’m out on a rare vacation (other than ChristmasSpring Break, all summer, and every second- and third-tier holiday that falls on a Monday in the winter).  I’m down in Florida visiting Universal Studios Orlando with my family, and it’s been an amazing, tiring trip.  I tried filing away blog posts for while I was away, but couldn’t get enough done to have every day of my trip covered.

That said, we got back from Day 2 in the park a little while ago, and I’m slamming something out while playing with Mario Kart Hot Wheels with my almost-three-year old nephew.  Here are just some observations from my vacation.

  • I love Universal Studios.  The highlight has been riding rides with my niece and my nephew.  One of the first rides we rode was E.T.  It’s definitely an older ride, but the nostalgia factor and magic really make it an incredible ride.  Riding it with my niece was probably what I was most looking forward to doing on this trip.
  • That and the Pteradon Gliders ride, which adults can only ride if they have a child with them.  It was a bit more intense than I thought it would be for a little kiddie ride, and is super fun.  You also get to see the entire park!
  • As much as I love Universal, I hate crowds.  I was trained from an early age to stay out of the way.  Apparently, no one else was.  I understand people are confused or trying to figure out where to go next, but folks are absolutely oblivious to what is going on around them.  You’d think someone coming at you with a stroller would at least make a little room, rather than dashing out in front of you like a squirrel (or, worse, plodding along in the exact middle of your path.
  • It’s still jarring for me, even in our multicultural age, to hear different languages, even Spanish.  It doesn’t grate me the same way as when I hear it elsewhere, because I realize there are a ton of tourists, but it still makes me realize how—as I heard someone put it recently, citing (I believe) Mark Steyn—the future belongs to those who show up.  In our hemisphere, the people showing up are Latin Americans.

More reflections to come—and a more complete account of the trip—to come.

Happy Friday!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday LXIX: Phone it in Fridays, Part III

We’ve celebrated another #MAGAWeek with the #MAGAWeek2020 posts (here, here, here, and here).  Now we’re on the long march toward the 2020 election, which will hopefully be a triumphant landslide for GEOTUS Donaldus Magnus.

For now, it’s time to continue our month-long review of past Phone it in Friday posts.  This week makes for an odd trio:  the first post, “Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios,” looks back to a family trip to the Florida theme park at the end of February, on the eve of The Age of The Virus.  Only dimly did I realize at the time that we were living in the twilight days of The Before Times.

The next two posts both deal with The Virus, which dominated blog discussion in those early, fretful days of The Age of The Virus.  If we’re basing the quality of the posts on the lightheartedness and fun of the posts, then these match up nicely with their counterparts in the new Star Wars trilogy:  one good, fun movie (because it’s basically The New Hope) followed by two dreadful SJW escapades.

You can decide (especially you purple-haired schoolmarm star fleet captains out there):

  • Phone it in Friday VII: Universal Studios” – This post is the ultimate example of a “Phone it in Friday” post, as I slammed it out on my tiny netbook computer while babies were screaming (probably) in the hotel room.  It regales readers with some highlights from my family’s trip to Universal Studios, a rare during-the-school-year vacation.  It was worth burning through my three annual personal days, that’s for sure.  My brothers and our significant others and/or children will be heading back there later in the month, in fact.
  • Phone it in Friday VIII: Coronavirus Conundrum” – I wrote this a week after the Universal Studios post, when everything was still up in the air regarding The Virus, at least here in South Carolina.  We’d had very few cases by that point in SC, but the Pacific Northwest was getting hammered.  Ten days later, we transitioned to distance learning.  At the time, we didn’t know much about The Virus, other than it was China’s fault; as I wrote at the time, “My hope is that after all is done, China will be a pariah, no longer vaunted as a power on the rise, but maligned as a malicious, mendacious regime.”  We’ll see.
  • Phone it in Friday IX: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part II: Attack of The Virus” – The title of this post actually drew from the second episode of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones.  That afternoon, we had a huge, emergency faculty meeting to figure out distance learning.  Two days later, on Sunday, 15 March 2020, Governor McMaster announced that schools were shutting down through the end of March, and they ended up staying shut for the rest of the year (with distance learning, of course).  I also filed that day to run in Lamar’s Town Council election, which was supposed to be 12 May 2020, but will now be this Tuesday, 14 July 2020.  Wish me luck!

That’s it!  I would like to note that today’s post marks eighty weeks of consecutive posts, and the sixty-ninth edition of Lazy Sunday.  Wooooot!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday LXVIII: Phone it in Fridays, Part II

A quick note:  tomorrow marks the beginning of #MAGAWeek2020, a week-long celebration of people, places, concepts, innovations, etc., that MADE AMERICA GREAT (AGAIN).  #MAGAWeek posts are SubscribeStar exclusives, so you need a subscription of $1 or higher to gain full access to these extended posts.  You can check out #MAGAWeek2018 and #MAGAWeek2019 Lazy Sunday posts to get a better idea of the kind of content you’ll see this week.  God Bless America!

We’re continuing our review of Phone it in Friday posts with editions IV, V, and VI.  Hopefully they’re as good as the original Star Wars trilogy.  At the very least, they can’t be as bad as the prequels, or as woke as the new trilogy.  ¡Dios Mio!

  • Phone it in Friday IV: Conferencing” – I hate meetings.  I’ve been in enough of them to know that they are typically a soul-sucking waste of time, and their agendas are often way overstuffed, usually with information that could be explained easily enough in an e-mail.  That said, I love conferences.  This post was a review of a private school association’s annual teachers’ conference, which our faculty had not attended in some years due to various conflicts.  I find that, unlike meetings, conferences are full of opportunities to learn and to network.  There’s an air of sociable conviviality at a good conference—and cheese Danishes.
  • Phone it in Friday V: Ode to Friday Evenings (and Weekends)” – This post was truly a phoned-in edition of Phone it in Friday—it was late, I’d had a long week, and I needed to slam out some content to appease the WordPress Daily Post counter.  I explain that magical period “from about 3:30 in the afternoon until around about bedtime Friday night” when everything is alive with possibilities for the weekend ahead, and when you’re at the furthest possible point from official responsibilities.  Now that I’m on summer vacation and was doing distance teaching for two months prior to that, everyday is Friday, essentially (except for Wednesdays, when History of Conservative Thought meets).  I’m trying to enjoy unlimited Fridays while I can!
  • Phone it in Friday VI: Valentine’s Day” – This post wasn’t really about Valentine’s Day, per se, but it did include Z Man‘s excellent “The Lovecast” episode of his weekly podcast, as well as photog’s post about bringing back matchmakers.  I also reflected on some positive signs during a trip to a rural Hardee’s, which was remodeling:  “It was also heartening to see a Hardee’s in rural Lugoff, South Carolina spending the money to remodel.  Times are good.”

Well, that’s it for this classic trilogy of Phone it in Friday posts.  The fun continues next Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020

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It’s that time of year again:  summer!  That means we’re due for The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020!

I’m actually a bit overdue for this list.  I typically publish it in early June, to give those of you blessed to enjoy summer vacation a chance to look them up.  But my long illness for the first couple of weeks of the month waylaid a number of plans, and last weekend I was occupied with family festivities, so the list is a few weeks later than I like.

But, like Sunday Doodles—a perk for $5 a month subscribers—my philosophy is “better late than never!”  And with the Independence Day holiday approaching, it’s a great time to do some reading.

For new readers, my criteria is pretty straightforward.  To quote myself from the 2016 list:

The books listed here are among some of my favorites.  I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!

Pretty vague, I know.  Additionally, I usually feature three books, plus an “Honorable Mention” that’s usually worth a read, too.

For those interested, here are the prior two installments:

But that’s enough yackin’.  Here’s The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020:

1.) Richard Weaver, edited by George M. Curtis, III and James J. Thompson, Jr., The Southern Essays of Richard M. Weaver (1999) – Regular readers know I love Richard Weaver, and I featured his masterpiece Ideas Have Consequences on the 2016 list.  The Southern Essays feature a collection of Weaver’s writings on the South.

Weaver was a literary critic and English professor at the University of Chicago, but his roots were in Asheville, North Carolina.  He possessed a deep and abiding love of and respect for Dixie, particularly its writers.  Weaver’s background in literature and poetry is evident in these essays, in which he ruminates on the abundance of prolific Southern literary types.  He also brings some nuance to the question of the American Civil War and the South’s role therein.  I believe it was in this collection that I first learned of John Randolph of Roanoke, the great, ornery Virginian who resisted federal overreach in the early nineteenth century.

Weaver’s writing can be a bit dense, but once you get used to his mid-century style, his ideas are easy enough to absorb.  I highly, highly recommend you pick up this collection.

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(Belated) SubscribeStar Saturday: Universal Studios Trip

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Today is Super Tuesday, and the Democrats are circling the wagons around Biden in an attempt to stymie Sanders.  Tonight will tell us a great deal:  will Bernie prevail, as polling suggests, over Biden?  Will—as I predict—Biden hang tough, scooping up the black vote and, by extension, the Southern States?  Will Bloomberg’s untested strategy of just focusing on these fifteen jurisdictions pay off, or (as I also predict) he flame out spectacularly, effectively blowing those ad dollars (a la my good friend Tom Steyer)?

We’ll know more tonight.  In the meantime, here is my account of my recent trip to the happiest place on Earth, Universal Studios.

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