Open Mic Adventures VI: Journey’s “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'”

Is there any band more universally beloved than Journey?  The arena rockers have enjoyed a staying power and universal appeal that not many other bands have.  Sure, The Rolling Stones have been around forever with an intact lineup, but how often do you hear someone singing lustily along to one of their tunes?  Put on “Don’t Stop Believin’” and everyone and their mother and her pet poodle will start crooning along.

So I dipped into the Great American Journey Songbook back on 23 August 2022 to give my rendition (in A major) of Journey’s classic tale of two-timin’, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’“:

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Phone it in Friday XXII: Malmsteenian Excess

This morning I’m recovering from a late night of rockin’ out to the neoclassical metal strains of Yngwie Malmsteen.  At least, I’m assuming I’m recovering—I’m filing this post a day before the concert.

As such, a complete review of the post will be coming next week at some point.  I can only assume the concert was incredible, and that Yngwie showed up on stage, on time.  It’s not the 1980s anymore, so I doubt he pulled any Guns N’ Roses antics and showed up on stage two hours late, but who knows?  If so, you’ll know more next week!

Yngwie Malmsteen championed neoclassical metal back in the 1980s with his band Rising Force.  He revived Baroque and classical works and played them on electric guitar, which is pretty awesome if you just think about it for a second.

Naturally, his sheer technical brilliance gave him a huge head, and that ego was only slightly deflated when he suffered injuries in a car accident that made it difficult for him to play.  To his immense credit—and to our musical delight—he relearned to play, building back the strength and dexterity necessary to ascend to the level of guitar god.

So, since I’m writing this before the concert, I thought I’d share some clips of Malmsteen rockin’ out in his distinctively technical way.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Revive Culture!

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Last weekend I wrote a post encouraging readers to “Make Culture!”  YouTuber RazörFist/The Rageaholic inspired the post with his video “Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.”  His premise—which I riffed on for a few hundred words—is simple:  go out and make your own culture (books, comic books, movies, stories, art, etc.), rather than complaining about the debased culture we have.

I ended that (shamefully short, for a paid post) piece arguing that “Razör is right.  We need to be out there creating stuff.  If you can’t create, support those who do (thanks, y’all!).”  Even after one week—plenty of time for a man to lose his mettle and totally reverse course—I stand by that statement.

But as I’ve mulled over the matter of culture creature a bit more, I’ve come to realize that in order to make good culture—even an alternative culture to the worldliness of Western culture today—we need to revive culture, or at least interest in culture.  Whether we like it or not, anything we create is going to draw some of its sap from the current, withering plant of mainstream Western culture.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all of it has to derive from that source.  The Ultimate Source of Culture for the West should be—and historically has been—the Bible.  The Bible is the Inspired Word of God; it’s also a rich text full of history, drama, poetry, metaphor (and that’s coming from a Biblical literalist!), rhetoric, literature, songs, and on and on.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Make Culture!

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

One week ago RazörFist/The Rageaholic uploaded an excellent video called “Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.”  It’s really good (warning:  Razör uses some strong language):

Razör goes after the gatekeepers—in comics, movies, publishing, etc., etc.—while also challenging us to go out and create—to make and market our own stuff, instead of asking permission from progressive-controlled institutions and companies to do so.

It’s wisdom that’s so simple, so obvious, we somehow missed it.

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Deposing Bib Fortuna… with LEGO

Remember Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hutt’s oily Twi’lek consigliere with the tentacles coming out of his head?  Thanks to the power of imagination and LEGOs, you can now roleplay his downfall!

Like any self-respecting man-child, I’d been lusting after set #75326, Boba Fett’s Throne Room, for some time.  To me, it’s Jabba the Hutt’s iconic throne room, just without the lovably disgusting, sluggish crime lord.

Unfortunately, this bad boy MSRPs for a whopping $100.  Fortunately, my brother found it at Costco in an example of mercantile serendipity—he didn’t even know I wanted it—for $60.  Finding any new LEGO set for 40% off is like, well, finding forty bucks on the ground—it doesn’t really happen.

I finally got around to building this bad boy over the weekend, and it was a pretty fun build.  It wasn’t as deeply satisfying as some other sets I’ve done, but it also didn’t become tedious.  All in all, it was pretty fun to put together, and I love the variety of mini-figures—especially the porcine Gamorrean Guard and the aquatic Quarren.

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Phone it in Friday XVII: Modern Homesteading

The weather is getting warmer—it hit a balmy 77 degrees at least one day this week here in South Carolina—and that means Spring is near.  Spring means gardening, and if I’m going to dive into the deep-end of converting my humble half-acre into a very small-scale farm, I’d probably better get crackin’ now.

As such, it was with great interest that I listened to an interview with Owen Benjamin, the stand-up comedian-turned-survivalist.  Benjamin is a controversial figure, and I don’t agree with some of his views, but, again, I can respect his knowledge in the area of homesteading without endorsing, say, his belief that the Earth is flat.

Regardless, Owen Benjamin’s message is a very Christian onedon’t despair about the wicked craziness of the progressive Left and the materialism of the modern world.  Instead, “crush” it—be your own man (or woman), build something for yourself and your family, and give glory to Christ JesusCreating culture is the way to save it.

With that preamble, I thought I’d share Benjamin’s recent interview with Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.  It’s a little over an hour long, but it’s worth your time.  One thing I learned is that growing some tomatoes and raising a few chickens is very easy, and that the barrier to entry for small-scale homesteading and farming is much lower than I initially thought.

Enjoy!

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TBT: Warrior for Life

South Carolina has a reputation for orneriness—we were the first State to secede from the Union in 1860, after all, and threatened to do it nearly thirty years earlier, during the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33—and it seems our Catholic priests are particularly prone to use their pulpits to prescribe some red-pillsPriest Jeffrey Kirby delivered a fiery homily warning that with Biden’s election, the Church faces real persecution in the days ahead, and scolded parishioners who cast their votes for Biden as betraying their Catholic faith:

Priests and preachers usually shy away from overtly political sermons, but we’re overdue for some Truth.  We’re not discussing Democrats versus Republicans anymore; we’re talking about electing Evil—those that flaunt their desire to slay the unborn—and even the recently born!—and celebrate every opportunity they can force us to accept another progressive indignity.  Trannies reading storybooks to four-year olds isn’t a “blessing of liberty,” per wincing, politically-correct, noodle-wristed, mainstream Evangelical David French—it’s an assault on our values and our culture.  If they can make us accept something so ridiculous and patently unnatural—wicked!—then it puts that wedge in the door to pry it open to all manner of government-sanctioned evil.

Father Kirby’s bold sermon reminded me of another great warrior for Christ—and for Life:  Father Robert “Bob” Morey.  Father Bob is less bombastic in his denunciation of evil, but he is nonetheless a true warrior for his Faith.  In October 2019, Father Bob declined to give Joe Biden Holy Communion due to Biden’s pro-abortion—pro-infanticide, I should write—stance.

As such, I thought it would be a good time to look at Father Bob’s bold stance for life in this week’s TBT.  Here is October 2019’s “Warrior for Life“:

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TBT: Tarantulas and the Hygge

The weather in the mountains this past weekend was delightfully chilly, and it seems the cold up on Mount Mitchell has blown down into South Carolina.  In short, the weather is perfect—warm afternoons, and crisp, autumnal mornings.  I’ve been taking a cup of half-caff coffee in the afternoons after getting home from work and watering the garden, and it’s been glorious sitting on the porch and enjoying the coolness of the evening.

That first nip in the air is a sign that the hygge—the Danish concept of contented, warm coziness—is near.  It’s a time for bundling up and staying warm in old quilts with good books—and good company!  Food tastes better, coffee seems more satisfying, and my mind feels more alert and alive this time of year.

There’s also college football, which is nice, too—and Halloween!

So it seemed like a good time to look back to a post from March of this year, during South Carolina’s unusually cool—and longspring.  This post, “Tarantulas and the Hygge,” explored what I called “the weird side of the Internet,” traveling “down one of those byways of oddity.”

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RNC Night 1 Highlight: Tim Scott

The 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off last night, and I missed all of it.  However, while drifting off to sleep after a long day of mind-molding, my younger brother and dad were blowing up my phone about Senator Tim Scott’s speech.

Tim Scott is South Carolina’s junior Senator, and enjoys immense support here in the Palmetto State.  His story is inspiring:  the product of a single-parent household, he overcame bad grades and learned the value of hard work while working at Chick-Fil-A.  He came to understand that profits don’t hurt people, but create jobs and build communities.  He’s also the first black Republican Senator from the South since Reconstruction.

While I sometimes think Senator Scott is a bit hasty to take sides against law enforcement amid ginned up race controversies, his overall instincts are solidly conservative.  He’s affable and easy-going, as well as eloquent and measured.  It’s little wonder that he’s a rising star in the Republican Party.

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