It’s inspirational to see someone on our side do more than just complain. Every concrete thing we do is one step away from the cliff. If you’ve got a moment go over to his site and leave a congrats as a comment.
Tyler Cook of the Portly Politico and I have decided to cross link on our reviews for this movie. We both thought this movie was awful but we thought that readers should see nuanced differences. Actually what you’ll see is our two styles. Tyler is a witty and intelligent writer and I like to rant. So here’s the link to his review and below is mine.
This is a cinematic version of Lovecraft’s story about a meteor that lands in a rural Massachusetts farmyard and infects the soil and the water with an entity that subtly alters the plants and animals and then sucks the vitality and finally the life out of every living thing around it before shooting back into space leaving a dead landscape behind. But let us say the movie takes liberties with this plot.
How do I hate this movie? Let me count the ways.
First off, I despised all the characters in this story. I even despised the seven-year-old who was the youngest kid in the family. They are stereotypical yuppie transplants to the countryside and all of them have extremely annoying personalities. The father is Nicholas Cage and he spends his time milking alpacas and raising heirloom tomatoes. The mother is a financial advisor who has neglected her kids to the point that older son is a useless pothead, the daughter is a bitter Wiccan wannabe and the younger son appears to be a doofus. Tommy Chong is the forest dwelling pot grower who supplies the son with his weed and also seems to be acquainted with alien invasions. Then there is the hydrologist who is taking water samples for a new reservoir that will be covering the property that Nick Cage’s family currently inhabits. He walks around warning everyone about the dangers of meteorites and contaminated water but achieves nothing other than somehow surviving the apocalypse.
Next is the plot. In the original Lovecraft story, the baleful influence of the entity slightly modifies the appearance of plants and animals but its most powerful effect is the sapping of the life force and eventually even the structural integrity of organic materials. By the end of the book the whole farm where the meteor lands, the house, the trees, the animals and people, the wagons and the fences crumble to dust. Only stone and metal remain.
In this version of the story the entity is able to fuse groups of animals together into hideous many-headed monsters. It can disable all communication devices and even alter time, making days and nights shorter as needed. So, they’ve revved up the monster’s power quite a bit. But the use they put this to is horrendous. In one scene the mother and the seven-year-old kid are walking in the dark near the barn when the creature zaps the both of them with its potent “light.” Next, we see that the mother and the little boy have been fused together. His head is attached to her shoulder, their torsos are fused and both of them are writhing in agony. And the older son characterizes what’s happening to them as the younger son being re-absorbed into the mother’s body. Even the thought is horrifying to consider. And later on, the fused creature starts taking on a preying mantis like shape and Nick Cage’s character shoots both of them in the head to end this nightmare. Okay sure, this is a horror movie and it’s no more disgusting than the scenes in John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” but he didn’t use a mother and a little boy as the victims of this abomination. To my mind this is awful.
Finally, the acting. The only cast members I’ve heard of are Nick Cage and Tommy Chong. I’m guessing the rest of the cast is unknown and they should stay that way. They were awful and so were the two better known actors. The script was awful. The plot was tedious and the resolution seemed pointless and annoying. I will say some of the special effects were interesting looking and well done. But not the fused animals and people. Those were hideous and depressing.
I would avoid this movie. Nick Cage has descended indeed from the time when he was a pretty good actor. He should be ashamed that he was in this crap. Seeing this movie has ruined a perfectly good day out of my life. Not recommended.
Full disclosure, Tyler Cook is the proprietor of the website The Portly Politico, a fellow conservative and in my opinion a fine fellow. He and I have shared many an interesting conversation on-line about a number of different topics, political and non-political. He’s a multi-talented fellow and a good guy. So, I wasn’t surprised to find that he has also self-published a book and asked me to review it. And always on the look out for something good to review, I immediately agreed and he was kind enough to send me a review copy.
“The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard” is a short book and is made up of a number of “cases.” The eponymous Inspector is a Sherlock Holmes-like savant who usually solves the case simultaneous with the initial narration of the crime. But the final solution always involves logic that is a complete non sequitur to the clues. That is the joke.
The thing that I noted was that the content of the stories reflect the various ages at which Tyler wrote them. So, the earliest tales are very, very short and have solutions that defy any conventional logic. They are what a teenage kid would find funny. And as the series of stories progresses, they become more complex and the writing adds touches of noir-like characterization and other dramatic effect.
And finally, as the author enters adulthood his writing becomes mature and his story telling powers become developed. The culmination is a story called, “Inspector Gerard and the Dead-End Job Caper.” It is a comical piece that dramatizes Gerard’s ennui and determination to abandon crime-solving and take up a life as a fish-monger. This story has everything. Dramatic tension, character development, local color and timing. Well, maybe not, but it is funny.
So here is the verdict. Tyler Cook is a smart talented writer. I can see that in the output of his blog. “The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard” is a showcase of his earliest fiction writing output. It reflects his sense of humor applied to the mystery genre. It is amusing but very short. I think the takeaway from this selection is that Tyler is going to write a longer and more commercial work in the future.
Tyler has the story on Amazon and I see it’s on kindle unlimited for free I believe. Because of its short length and the ironic nature of much of the work I wouldn’t know if many folks would be happy to pay a lot for the collection. But I encourage readers of the Portly Politico to try it out and then lobby Tyler to spread his wings and write the comic novel that he obviously has in him.
Here is my questionnaire and Tyler’s answers. Anyone who feels like commenting is welcome. I am interested in how other people got to where a lot of us are now. Watching as normal politics completely failed to prevent the progressives from destroying our country has been a powerful object lesson for me and probably many others.
My answers to Tyler’s questionnaire is linked at https://theportlypolitico.com/?p=7094
Tyler, here are five questions I came up with. Feel free to elaborate or even direct the questions in whatever way you think gives you scope to answer them in a way that you think is interesting. Also if any question doesn’t seem appropriate feel free to leave it out. I’m looking for this to be a positive experience.
- How would you describe your political stripe? Libertarian, social conservative, fiscal conservative, civic nationalist? Feel free to elaborate with examples if conventional labels are not precise enough.
I would describe myself as a social conservative. When I was younger, I would have been (essentially) a Christian Libertarian, but then I actually experienced life and realized that pure Libertarianism cannot work; indeed, it can only work with traditional, moral, Christian (inherently or explicitly) values to underpin it. I very much agree with Tucker Carlson’s notion that capitalism is a tool to be used to better our lives, not a god to be worshipped. I would add that the trust necessary to maintain capitalism requires Christian ethics and a high-trust society. A high-trust society can’t work without some moral framework, and the only enduring moral framework must come from God; otherwise, there’s no foundation for morality.
Essentially, live your life as you wish, but remember that you exist in a community, and your actions impact your neighbor. The family, not the individual, is the principle unit for organizing a healthy society. Also, stop killing babies.
- What events or circumstances most impacted your political outlook? If more than one thing was responsible how do you feel they were tied together?
Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences was a transformational moment for me. Reading that book was like reading prophecy that had come true–it was electric. His diagnosis of the pitfalls of modernity really opened my eyes to the shortcomings of our secular worldview, and the soul-crushing nihilism and existential crisis it has wrought.
Trump’s presidency was another galvanizing moment. Trump may have been a flawed vessel, and he was ineffective at times, but he helped drop the scales from the eyes of many conservatives, myself included. Economically I moved much more in a populist and economic nationalist direction thanks to Trump (and Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West–a must-read), questioning for the first time the dogma of unbridled free trade (which, when you talk to free trade absolutists, it really is almost an article of faith–even if America is losing in trade, they argue, it’s worth it because it pleases the god of efficiency).
Trump also made politics fun again. Notice how boring it is now? The Biden-Harris administration is a disaster, but I can barely make myself care.
- What aspect of the progressive attack on our culture do you find the most personally troubling?
The whole normalizing of pedophilia and transgenderism, LBGTQ2+ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ thing makes me scared for my niece and nephews, as well as my hypothetical future children. The whole “let sixteen-year olds vote” project of a couple of years ago served two purposes: overtly, it would have put more immature idiots onto the voter rolls, helping Democrats; covertly, it would make it easier to argue that sexual relationships with minors is acceptable. Essentially, “If a sixteen-year old can vote, she can consent to sex with an adult” (H/T to my younger brother for realizing that first). As we’ve seen with the Left, they’ll keep pushing and pushing until eventually sex with babies will somehow be okay (the argument will be, “well, a child isn’t really a person until the doctors say so, so what’s the harm?”). This sounds insane now, but mark my words: child-diddling is going to be mainstreamed fast.
The other would be the continued insinuation of progressive craziness into every institution. Even at my little country private school, I’m seeing the tentacles of social justice wheedle their way into the curriculum. That’s something incredibly difficult to fight while still maintaining job security. The Boomer admins seem all-too-happy to go along with it, too, I think largely out of cluelessness.
- If one thing could be restored to the way it was in the old days what would you want it to be?
The preservation of the nuclear family. The destruction of the nuclear family is destroying American society. The Great Society went after blacks first, who were starting to do pretty well economically and socially until the government incentivized divorce and single motherhood. Now nearly 50% of children are born out of wedlock to mothers under thirty, regardless of race. Look, there are good single moms out there, but just plain commonsense tells us that being a single parent is harder than being part of a two-parent household. With a mom and a dad, parents can shoulder the load.
I also increasingly believe that pushing women to enter the workforce was a terrible idea. Sure, you have your high performers like Nikki Haley, Margaret Thatcher, Phyllis Schlafly, etc., but those women are, at best, the 5%. The rest–if they were honest with themselves–would much prefer being at home raising children, or maybe working a little part-time gig. But we’ve lured women into the soul-crushing atmosphere of the workforce with vague promises of “fulfillment” and “empowerment,” when really they’re just maintaining some strange man’s schedule (instead of their husband’s) and posting to social media–or, even worse, issuing edicts from the HR department.
I’m not saying we should ban women from working–that’s a bit much–but a healthy society would encourage domesticity and motherhood for the vast majority of women, while still allowing a pathway to the workforce for that alternatively talented 5%.
- Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Why?
On a macro scale, I am always a declinist. Trump was an all-too-brief reprieve, and didn’t accomplish enough–either due to his own lack of effort or due to intense interference from the Deep State (I’m inclined more to the latter–to turn things around long-term. History does suggest that these fevered periods of revolution and upheaval burn themselves out, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do incredible amounts of damage in the meantime. I don’t think we’re the Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D., but we’re definitely the Roman Empire in, say, the 3rd or 4th Century A.D.–the glory days are over, there are more and more problems, but we’re largely coasting on the accomplishments of generations greater than our own. The ultimate collapse might not be for another 100 years, but it’s coming.
On a micro scale, however, I am optimistic. We still enjoy many freedoms. We still have a window of opportunity to learn to grow our own food, to stockpile our weapons and preserves, and to build our own institutions outside of the mainstream. I always rejected Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” as cowardly, but I see some wisdom to it–rather than waste our time trying to fight an unwinnable culture war, let’s build our own culture. I can’t do much about Biden’s senility, but there is much I can do to improve my land, my neighborhood, my town, my county, and even my State.
Ultimately, God is in control. I believe He is, or will soon be, visiting a judgment upon us for our wickedness. Sodom and Gomorrah look like a weekend at a Free Will Baptist Bible college compared to the United States in 2021. Prayer is our greatest weapon, and we need to be on our knees daily praying for some relief.
As I’ve mentioned in a few of my latest posts it’s time to move on from just following the national news and hoping for a savior to appear. I’d like to start reaching out to others in the community to hear what they have to say and find out a little bit about them. I’ve asked the Portly Politico (Tyler Cook) to participate in a little cross platform event. We’ll each come up with some questions for the other and post the answer on our own blogs. I want to see how my experiences and opinions differ from the next guy in our community. I think it will be fun and maybe we’ll both learn something.
I’d also like to expand it out to other folks out there. I am interested in talking to the people in our community. I don’t need any personal information and don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I’ll make the questions very general and feel free to answer them as carefully as you like. But I am interested in knowing whether a lot of people think the way I do or otherwise. And I like stories. I’d like to know how people got here.
And if anyone wants to join in by asking questions I’ll post them and we’ll see how it goes. If I do think any question is too revealing I will intervene by saying so. But in general I want everyone to remember that we are on an open website and all the world can see it.
So I if you are interested leave a comment to that effect here or send me an email at the site (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can discuss what you are interested in.
I think the kind of questions I will ask are things like, “What convinced you that normal Republican politics were no longer going to be enough to keep America free?”
I will post the questions that I asked the Portly Politico tomorrow and the answers Tuesday. He’ll post my answers to his questions on Tuesday on his site.
To put the lie to all this talk of inter-generational warfare my friend at The Portly Politico, Tyler and I have decided to reach across the generational abyss and sponsor an exchange of posts. He has posted an essay here at OCF and I have posted one of my reviews at his site (see link below).
Seriously we thought it would be fun for his readers and mine to get some slightly different material for a change. I think injecting some other points of view on the site is a big plus.
[Update] – I saw what a nice intro Tyler gave to my post over at his site so I decided I should try to follow suit. As part of a cross-posting agreement, Tyler from over at the Portly Politico has kindly agreed to talk about what it’s like for the millennial generation to try to follow in the footsteps of their parents’ lifestyle. I think it will be valuable for Boomers, Xers and Millennials alike. Highly recommended.
By Tyler James Cook, The Portly Politico (https://www.theportlypolitico.com)
When photog proposed swapping blog posts in the comment section of The Fat Man’s “Cityscape at Night,” I was intrigued, and quite enthusiastic. That was before I succumbed to a gnarly head cold and worked a thirteen-hour day. But that sickly plight leads nicely into photog’s suggested topic: what are the major concerns of a young American today?
At thirty-five, I don’t know how “young,” I am, but it’s one of those ages where older people tut-tut when you suggest you’re aging. I suppose their advanced years have taught them otherwise, and that they’d much rather be a slightly creaky thirty-five than a croaky eighty-five.
Surprisingly, I am considered part of that great, reviled generation, the Millennials. I certainly don’t feel like one, what with my love of tradition, Christianity, and President Trump. I was born in a time when Internet usage was limited to college campuses and obscure Bulletin Board Systems, when we weren’t handed a Star Trek communicator with access to all the world’s knowledge—and it’s basest, filthiest indulgences—when we were five.
But we had Nintendo and cable TV, and all manner of luxuries and gadgets our parents could only dream of (although my parents apparently played Pong while dating). Suburbia was kind to my generation—too kind, as we grew up spoiled and allergic to hard work.
That said, not all Millennial whining is unjustified. Our parents—the latter Boomers and the early Gen-Xers—could support a family of four or five on blue-collar salaries. They also didn’t pay a fortune for college, and their college education taught them something useful, rather than Derridaean deconstruction of everything good and decent. That degree was also their ticket to the middle class.
We grew up being assured that if we followed the same path, we’d end up with similar outcomes; indeed, we’d be better off than our parents. For many Millennials, that was true: both of my brothers, for example, make very good livings in academia and the law. Access to the credentialed classes was greater than it had ever been in American history for my generation.
But one of the problems is that we could no long sustain a family on a working man’s family. Indeed, the girls we grew up claimed they didn’t want that. They wanted careers and academic accomplishments; the highest accolades of their chosen fields. Never mind that most of them finished out college with a useless B.A. in Psychology (the go-to degree for girls who don’t know what they want to study) and loads of debt; that just began their long 20s, that period in which they could explore and “find themselves.” Or they got married straight out of college after all.
The problem is that with excessive credentialing, degrees have become increasingly worthless. For example, I hold a B.A. and M.A. in History. That M.A. paid off in that it gained me a small initial boost in my teaching salary, and it made it possible for me to adjunct at a local technical college (never mind that I’m teaching the same material—often at a slower pace—to the college classes than to the high school students; the State wants to see that M.A.). Otherwise, it’s been largely an ornament, something my school can tout in its statistics about faculty qualifications.
I’ve managed to carve out a decent living for myself in rural South Carolina, but it’s required constant hustling and budgeting. To sustain myself (and sock away money for retirement), I work full-time at the high school; adjunct one or two classes online each semester; teach multiple private music lessons after school; organize and book my own shows to bring in revenue (mainly through merch sales); teach summer classes and camps; and, until this summer, work maintenance at school. For all of that effort, I scrape together around $50,000 to $55,000 a year (although I came close to $60,000 one year).
Self-employment taxes eat away at a good chunk of my private lessons business, which The Virus temporarily shattered (along with live gigs). I do fine for myself—I managed to buy a used car with earnings from music lessons in 2019—but if I had a stay-at-home wife and kids, there would be no way we could make it work.
For one, my health insurance would outrageous if I didn’t game the Affordable Care Act. In order to avoid paying $400 a month in premiums for a plan with a $6750 deductible (you read that right), I max out 403(b), traditional IRA, and HSA contributions, which gets deducted, for the purpose of ACA subsidies, from my gross income. That modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI, is low enough that the ACA considers me sufficiently destitute to pay out subsidies, so my $400 a month premium drops to around $1 a month.
Again, for a single man at thirty-five, it’s not a bad deal. I’m in relatively good health (and am dropping some extra fat) and have managed to squirrel away enough in my emergency fund to reach my deductible without touching my HSA contributions (I’m treating my HSA as an investment vehicle, with my contributions invested in various mutual funds). But if I were married with kids, it would be a whole different story.
I’m also blessed to have made it through college and graduate school debt free, and to have never had a car payment. That is a luxury—really, the result of extremely generous gifts from my parents and grandparents—that has enabled me to pursue a life of financial asceticism. If I had student loans and car payments, like many of my peers, it would be far more difficult to save and invest.
As it is, I feel like I work constantly just to provide a good life for Future Portly. The cost in the here and now, though, is palpable. Not only have I sacrificed energy, I’ve sacrificed some of the enjoyment of life. Those are necessary sacrifices to avoid becoming a ward of the State in my dotage, but the price seems very high—and one that it seems I must now bear alone.
To be clear, I don’t mean to complain. I am blessed to live a good life, and to own a house, free-and-clear. I enjoy a degree of financial autonomy that strikes awe in my peers.
But I don’t know if it’s sustainable with a family—what I want more than anything. The debased nature of modern dating—the topic for another guest post, perhaps?—puts a man with a traditional worldview and sound financial sense in a precarious situation. Having built my legacy, I don’t want to squander it on some Tinder harridan with a butterfly tattoo and blue hair. But the inflated nature of the modern dating marketplace makes even the greasiest of girls believe their beauty queens with only redeeming qualities.
Tyler Cook, my friend over at The Portly Politico, is having a sale of his music at his site. Even though I’m a country music guy I think it’s my duty to provide a link to show my solidarity for non-Leftist arts of all kind. If you are a music lover and feel so inclined check out his link and see if it’s your kind of sound
Tyler is a friend of this site and he’s got a story that combines the pro-life movement, Joe Biden and, at last, a positive story about the Catholic Church. A small profile in courage.
Recently I got into a discussion with one of my on-line friends, Tyler (The Portly Politico) about whether the Dissident Right was correct when they said that the only path forward was dividing up the country between the Left and the Right. Now this division could take several directions. The one everyone always mentions is some kind of civil war with armies and battles. But a more likely direction would be some kind of loosening of the ties between states and the federal government to the point where differences on legal and criminal matters end up making them essentially different countries but keeping the parts of the federal government that benefit everyone like the armed forces and interstate highways.
I stated that I thought that something like that was possible but was not necessarily what needed to be done to straighten out the mess we’re in. What would make sense is for the redder states to start asserting themselves on policy issues where the federal government has been pushing their Leftist ideas on the states. A good example would be the abortion laws that some of the southern states have recently passed. Take a stand that you know the Left hates and make them squirm. It’s not enough to pass good legislation. You have weaponize your actions in the same way that the Left does. Another fruitful avenue would be anti-discrimination laws that would allow an employee to take his employer to court for being forced to celebrate something like say, the rainbow coalition that goes against his religious beliefs. Or if the company has openly used diversity as a cover to favor some candidates over others then they could bring this into a state court for adjudication. There’s nothing that a corporation hates more than to have to pay out fines and then have surveillance done on them by government.
An easy one is to go after Leftists in red states. Texas should immediately enact some laws that criminalize the abetting of an illegal alien presence in Texas and then jail all the city politicians in Austin who have made it a sanctuary city. Basically, set up some traps and force them to either follow the illegal immigration laws or go to jail.
If you look at these ideas you can see that they are the mirror image of what the Left does to us in places like California. They pass laws that take some recent court decision and use it as a club to beat any conservatives who happen to live under their jurisdiction. Eventually the Supreme Court might find the law unconstitutional, but in the meantime, they’ve made life hell for their enemies. That’s what our side needs to start doing. Make them pay a price. And with the Supreme Court nominally against them on a lot of these issues, they won’t have any recourse.
These types of actions have several good effects. First off, morale; bad for theirs, good for ours. Secondly, doing things that everyone said was impossible changes opinions, emboldens people who have already given up to give things another chance. Who knows? Maybe we can even flip the Dissident Right back to civic nationalism. And lastly it gives you something to build on. Other states will get the idea and join in. Once you have enough momentum even the Supreme Court might get enough courage to reverse some imaginary constitutional right that a former court made up.
What it’s going to take is some governors and legislators in red states to start coordinating with a Republican President to let some of these types of actions go forward. Sure, the Ninth Circuit Court will scream bloody murder but as long as it’s out side of their jurisdiction they can’t do anything concrete. Hollywood will boycott the states. Good, let them. The states have to start learning to say no to blackmail. This is the perfect time to start. The economy is good and there are plenty of business opportunities that aren’t beholden to leftists. So, if the Chamber of Commerce squawks the Governor can tell them to count their tax blessings that they aren’t in California.
Part of the problem all along is the Republican Presidents have never tried to rein in the Deep State. They are enormously strong but so is the executive power of the presidency. If it can be coordinated with the power that the state legislatures and governors have at their disposal, real progress can be made. And once again we see that all this comes back to having a Republican president who actually is on our side.