Faith, Family, and Work

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day last Friday caught my attention:  according to Rasmussen, 49% of voters say their highest loyalty is to their families.  Another 22% identified their faith as their highest loyalty.

That’s certainly encouraging.  In theory, my faith to Christ is my highest priority, although like many Christians, that’s not always the case in practice.  In practice—and in a practical, day-to-day sense—my family is my top priority, even if they’re an hour or two away.

The two, however, seem inextricably tied.  Some years ago I heard someone (probably Dennis Prager) say that the three keys to happiness are faith, family, and work (most likely in that order).  Faith in God gives us purpose (indeed, God gives us our Creation—our very existence).  Family gives us people who love us, those we support and those who support us in turn.  Work gives us a sense of accomplishment—the satisfaction of a job well done.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Young Frankenstein (1974)

I’ve been on a major Hammer Films kick, which means I’ve watched a lot of schlocky, exploitation-style horror films and black-and-white psychodramas over the past few weeks.  I’ve finally worked my way through every Hammer compilation and a collection of William Castle films, but I’m still in the mood for corny horror movies.

So, as I cast about for some appropriate Sunday evening viewing, I decided to watch one of my comedic favorites, Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974).

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Lazy Sunday XCVII: More Movies II: Movie Reviews, Part II

Last weekend I began looking back on some of my many movie reviews.  This Sunday I’m continuing that walk down movie memory lane with some more film reviews.

The flicks this weekend better reflect my cinematic preferences than last week’s crop; although I loved all three of those flicks, brainy sci-fi thrillers, vampire movies, and goofy buddy comedies probably sum up my movie-going Zeitgeist perfectly:

  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Archive (2020)” – This flick was a slow burn, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It’s the only movie I’ve seen (that I can remember) that depicts a robot experiencing jealously, loneliness, and isolation—and ultimately succumbing to her “robo-depression.”  Like any good sci-fi film, Archive explores questions deeper than its slick, futuristic aesthetics suggest.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Interview with the Vampire (1994)” – A modern classic, I believe this review was my 666th post.  *Shudder!*  It’s an appropriately demonic tale of vampires in New Orleans—a must-see flick set in the Anne Rice’s vampire universe.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)” – The new Bill & Ted movie isn’t a great movie, and there’s no consistent logic to the time travel depicted in the film.  But that’s okay—it’s a Bill & Ted movie, after all.  What the movie does offer is tons of warmth and fun.  I really enjoyed this little picture immensely.  It was refreshingly upbeat and wholesome in an age when such films don’t seem to be made anymore.

More movie reviews to come.  Keep on watching!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation. ***NOTE: This box is NOT a subscription to my SubscribeStar Page; it is for a one-time donation/tip via PayPal. To subscribe to my SubscribeStar page, use this URL: https://subscribestar.com/the-portly-politico ***

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Friday Rundown (18-22 January 2021)

It’s been an eventful week, so I figured an extra post today running down the posts from the past few days would be worthwhile.  Also, I’m a slave to the WordPress daily streak counter, and when I scheduled this morning’s post on Wednesday, WordPress for some reason immediately e-mailed a preview; ergo, I want to make sure I get the daily post streak.  Gotta keep the streak alive!

 So, here is a quick rundown of this week’s posts:

Enjoy!

—TPP

The Joy of Romantic Music II: Bedřich Smetana’s “The Moldau”

Last Friday I wrote of the beauty and power—the sheer joy—of Romantic music, a topic I’ve covered once before on this blog.  In writing last week’s post, I noted briefly that Romantic music is nationalistic, which was certainly true in a number of cases.

Europe following the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars was a hotbed of political activity and nationalist sentiment.  The Congress of Vienna (1815) redrew the map of Central Europe, reducing the hundreds of German principalities, bishoprics, duchies, baronies, and the rest into about a dozen political units, hoping these larger Germanic kingdoms would serve as a bulwark against future French aggression.  They did, and more—under the steady Realpolitik of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia gradually grew to unite these new lands into the Second Reich—a unified Germany.

Meanwhile, smaller nations chafed under Austrian or French influence.  Bohemia—now part of the Czech Republic—fought against Austrian political rule and the German language that came with it.  Bohemians championed the revival of their native Czech language, and began revisiting Czech folklore and music as the resting place of the national spirit.

This process was not unique to Bohemia or the Czechs, but today’s featured piece, Czech composer Bedřich Smetana‘s The Moldau, is a prime of example of how nationalist musical ideas can capture beautifully a sense of a place, while also transcending national identity and borders.

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TBT: Gardening

A post on gardening might be a strange pick for TBT in the dead of winter, but my mind has been on the topic more and more lately, both as a beautiful outdoor hobby and as a means of sustenance—even survival.  There’s also a spiritual element to feeling one’s own soil between one’s fingers.  I get a sense of deep satisfaction after pawing through the richness of my own land.

Perhaps I’m being overly Romantic, but planning and planting a garden is a wonderful experience.  I’m not very good at it, mind you (unlike my mother, who can make anything grow in any conditions, it seems), but I enjoy tackling the flower beds (just not enough to keep them free of weeds consistently).

As I noted Tuesday, I’ve become increasingly interested in investing in a solid cultivator and turning some my lawn into beds for vegetables.  A buddy of mine is keen on the idea, and has offered to help with his labor and some funds in exchange for a share of the crops (would that make him a sharecropper, essentially renting my land and giving me some of the fruits of his labor?).  I think it would be a fun, albeit time-consuming, project, but one worthwhile.

Another friend of mine has been slowly turning his postage stamp backyard into a thriving organic garden for years now.  He’s been growing without fertilizer so that the soil can build back up essential nutrients and fertility.  Apparently, fertilizer yields great resorts in the short-term, but it doesn’t help the soil replenish its fertility.  He’s taking the long, slow approach, but he’s gradually turning that Midlands Carolina clay into rich topsoil.

There’s so much I don’t know about this process, but at the same time, my thought is, “dig in.”  I already buried last year’s Jack O’Lanterns and seeds near my grapevines—why not?  Maybe I’ll get lucky and get some pumpkins.  Worst-case, my grapevines get some more nutrients.

Or it could all just be an expensive boondoggle.  We’ll see.  My results this past Labor Day weekend were pretty good, so I’m feeling optimistic.

With that, here is 2019’s “Gardening“:

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Inauguration Day 2021

The day has arrived—the briefly delayed third term of Obama’s presidency.  In the years since Obama left office, the progressive Left has become even more insane.  After a four-year reprieve under Trump, the radical progressives aren’t going to let another opportunity pass to transform the country completely.

Things are going to get worse before they get better, which is why I’m encouraging my fellow conservatives, Christians, and traditionalists to think and act locally in the years to come (H/T to historian Brion McClanahan for that pithy phrase).  Now is the time to attend town/city and county council meetings, to run for local and State offices, and to build up communities.  While we can do some of that online, we’ve got to get out and meet people—join Bible studies, form local clubs, revive forgotten civic organizations, etc.  Heck, even play at an open mic!

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The Last Day of Freedom?

Here we are, 19 January 2021—the last day of basking in liberty before Biden the Usurper assumes the throne.  For all his personal foibles and occasional missed opportunities (while acknowledging, of course, his many achievements), President Trump at least fought to ensure that Americans could enjoy freedom and opportunity.  Under progressive rule, no such guarantees exist.

But rather than look about gloomily at what is to come, I’d like to offer some words of exhortation.  Times will not be easy for conservatives and Christians over the next four years, but I’m trying to embrace this new progressive era with some cautious, small-scale optimism.

For one, I think the whole sordid election fraud, as well as the bipartisan effort to impeach President Trump for—if we’re honest about it—discouraging violence and encouraging peaceful protest—has confirmed for many of us that the elites of both parties are against us.  As such, effecting change at the national level seems increasingly futile.

That might sound discouraging, but consider it from another angle:  if we can’t make much of a dent at the national level, then why waste the energy?  Instead, let’s focus our efforts locally.

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Memorable Monday: Happy MLK Day 2019 – Suggested Reading

It’s another Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the United States, which means another day off for those of us in the cushier fields (in my case, education).  As I wrote in last year’s MLK Day post, it’s a holiday “that feels like an excuse to have a little taste of the recently-departed Christmas holiday.”  I went on in the post to contend that

Contra the whole “make it a day ON” virtue-signalers, [MLK Day] really is the perfect day to crank up the heat, brew some coffee, and enjoy reading with some fried eggs (over medium, please) and toast (and, for us Southerners, a hearty helping of grits).  It’s one of the last taste[s] of the hygge before the warm weather creeps back in (which occurs sometime in late February or early March here in South Carolina).

Here’s to the hygge, my friends.  In the spirit of wintry coziness and relaxation, I decided to look back to my first MLK Day post from 2019, which offered up some suggested reading.  Some of the suggestions I made are a bit dated, like the Conrad Black piece on Brexit, while others are solid perennially (such as photog’s reviews of The Twilight Zone).

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Here is January 2019’s very brief “Happy MLK Day 2019 – Suggested Reading“:

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, TPP readers!  I don’t have a full post today, just this quick message wishing you all a happy and safe day off (for those of you fortunate enough to be off).  Last Monday’s post about race would probably have been better saved for today, so feel free to go back and read it.

If you’re looking for some good reading on your day off, check out my list of favorite writers, or my old 2016 Summer Reading List.  In case you missed it, I’d also recommend this piece on Marxist infiltration in Great Britain.  And blogger photog at Orion’s Cold Fire is reviewing EVERY episode of The Twilight Zone, which is quite entertaining (read the first episode review).

Also in Great Britain/Brexit news:  Conrad Black has an optimistic piece about Brexit that I’ve yet to digest; stay tuned for analysis.

Finally, if you haven’t yet gotten around to it, check out Tucker Carlson’s 3 January 2019 monologue (a nice birthday present for yours truly).

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled bloviating tomorrow.

agriculture barley field beautiful close up

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