You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Historickal Musings’ category.
I will not dip into the perennial debate over what constituted the “real” first Thanksgiving celebrated in the Americas this year, instead letting the Plymouth dog lie. I can’t help noting my intense amusement, however, in learning that Squanto, savior of the Puritan colonists, was in fact a Catholic.
Anyhoo, no posties for the next few days, as the Family Robbo piles into our Honda Juggernaut® at day-break to go visit my brother and his family (together with the Mothe and my widowed cousin). There will be the usual food and drink, grumbling about the God-forsaken state of the world, perhaps some college fu’ball watching (although watching the Longhorns play Tech will never be the same thing as their rivalry with the Aggies), and maybe even a hike up in the Blue Ridge. Good times, good times.
Oh, by the way, we did indeed get snow at Port Swiller Manor today. Not many flakes and they didn’t stick at all, but it definitely was the white stuff. The last time we got snow at Thanksgiving, I believe we got hammered later on when the right season started. Just saying.
So here’s to a very happy and bounteous Thanksgiving Day to you all, with three times three!
UPDATE: D’OH! A month or two back, Mrs. Robbo (while, I believe, practicing bootlegger turns although she denies it) sideswiped a pole in a parking lot, caving in the rim of the right-rear wheel well. The damage seemed cosmetic only and Mrs. R didn’t report any trouble, so I didn’t give it much thought beyond saying kiss-my-hand to the lease deposit. Well this morning, when all five of us plus our luggage piled in (for the first time since Mrs. R’s ding), I quickly discovered that the extra weight meant every time we went over a bump, the rim would scrape against the tire. I tried redistributing the gels to put less of a load on that corner, but it only helped a little bit.
We started out nonetheless, but by the time we got to Haymarket, my nerves were beginning to frazzle at each new “SCCCRNCHH!!” I pulled off the road and had a dekko. Sure enough, the edge of the tread where the rim had been rubbing it was starting to shred. No way in the world was I going to try taking that on a six hour drive across Virginny and North Carolina, so we turned around and limped home.
I suppose we might have rented something, but the closest place I could even imagine being open would have been Dulles. Maybe. And assuming we could find a suitable substitute, by the time we got there, got it, got home and transferred all our gear, it would be way late to set out. Ol’ Robbo has a very low “Oh, to hell with it!” threshold, and that would have been too much for so short a trip.
My sister-in-law suggested I try banging the rim back out with a hammer. I had actually thought about that and even took a few tentative pokes at it. But I don’t know anything about getting a body panel off a car. And I was afraid that if I tried to lever it in situ, I would only manage to tear it, thus putting a shiv directly over the tire. No, thankee.
So no Port Swiller Family Meet-Up this year.
Fortunately, some friends who found out about it immediately invited us to join them for dins this afternoon. So at least there’s that.
UPDATE DEUX: Yeah, about that. In the midst of our frolic the eldest gel was struck down by sharp abdominal pains and had to be taken to teh ER. Kidney stones, apparently. What a day.
Amidst all the lamentation over the 50th anniversary of the death of St. Jack of the Blessed Bay of Pigs FUBAR, I feel it important to note that another man who died, albeit under very different circumstances, on the same day was Clive Staples (“Jack”) Lewis.
Regular friends of the decanter used to ol’ Robbo’s religious pretensions may be surprised to know that, until I was a first year law student way back in the winter of 1988, I’d never even heard of C.S. Lewis. But that Christmas, my then-girlfriend (from a solidly conservative South Texas Catholic family) gave me a copy of The Essential C.S. Lewis.
Well. Flipping through this book, I came across, for the first time, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, after which I immediately had to gobble up the rest of the Narnia series, reading them over and over again because I loved each and every new story. I also read Perelandra, the middle book of Lewis’s sic-fi trilogy, which I thought pretty cool but rather weird. (I still do after many readings of the entire trilogy.) But beyond that? Eh, at first, I didn’t really explore much.
A few years later, even perhaps after Mrs. R and I had tied the knot, something compelled me to fish out this volume and peruse it more deeply. To that end, I found myself sampling some of Lewis’s apologetics. At that point in my misspent young adulthood, I seem to remember a general dissatisfaction with the world as I found it. So shallow, so empty. So upon revisiting Lewis, my reaction (to quote Ted “Theodore” Logan) was an emphatic, “Whoa.”
Here was a fellah for whom Christianity emphatically was not just a matter of being nice to people and going to church on Sundays when one felt like it. This was real meat. This was real Christian substance. This was not the proverbial counting of angels dancing on the head of a pin (which for some reason always especially irritated the Old Gentleman any time the subject of organized religion came up), but instead bloody dispatches from the Front in the perpetual war between Good and Evil. I especially grew to love Lewis’s obvious WWII analogy of Jesus as an agent parachuted into occupied territory in order to prepare and organize the Resistance in advance of the main Allied invasion landing.
I’d had none of that kind of teaching up to this point in my life. What with one thing and another, I grew up with a vague (and sad) sense of Church history as battles fought long ago and far away, but of no real relevance to the here and now, what I have long called the Uncle Owen attitude (“It’s all such a long way from here.”). To me, Lewis said, “No! Not true! The battle goes on, and you’re in it whether you like it or not! To arms! To arms!”
Over the following years, I tried to apply Lewis’s call to arms in the context of my cradle Episcopalianism. Once Mrs. R and I found a Palie church we both liked, I tried to set about fighting the good fight under its banner in the way that Lewis had outlined. It took a few years of denial, apology and explanation, but eventually I could not resist acknowledging the fact that, carrying on the WWII metaphor, the army I had thought myself fighting for on the side of Goodness was, in fact, Vichy.
It was this realization, more than anything else, that prompted me to jump into the Tiber and swim across to the true Resistance.
So I was amused today to read this article over at Aleteia about Lewis being a “gateway drug” to Catholicism. I think the piece makes the same point I do, but I also think
my Lewis’s own imagery is preferable.
So God bless you, Jack, and may you rest in peace.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
So tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. Well, not to speak ill of the dead, but I will tell you plainly that I have no particular sympathy for the hoopla that has been building up to it over the past week or two among teh Elites.
Of course it was an awful tragedy. Of course it was an act of pure evil. Of course it knocked the Nation for six. But all this “The Event That Changed The Course Of History For Evah” stuff? Well, in my humble opinion that’s just Boomer jacking o-……um, hrrmph, well, never mind (you know what I mean), and I am of neither the age nor the temperament to feel any inclination to participate. Next April marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Lincoln, an event which arguably had a greater influence on the course of American history by several orders of magnitude. Let’s see how high the fires of homage are piled by this lot then. My guess? Not so much.
Oh, and the rhetoric being bandied about (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) concerning what a hide-bound, reactionary nest of hate-filled conservative whacko-birds Dallas was at the time? Let’s remember the simple truth of the matter: Oswald, in addition to being a crackpot, was a Communist. A Fellow Traveler with his visa stamps all up to date. A goddam Red. Nuff said.
Oh, and as for the whole “Camelot” thing? I still recall the day I suddenly realized that the imagery had nothing to do with Sir Thomas Malory or Geoffrey of Monmouth, but instead with Lerner and Loewe. At first I was dumbfounded. It had always been bad enough to me to believe that the Arthurian Legend, which I cherish even more now than I did back then, had been so outrageously hijacked by the Kennedy PR machine. But that they were in fact bent on co-opting a modern musickal? Well, that actually began to make sense, albeit in a sad way. Tinsel Age play-acting frippery and all that.
Sorry, but the older I get and the more I see, the greater my loathing for politicks. And tomorrow is all about teh politicks.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Friends of the decanter may not know from the sort of content that ol’ Robbo offers up here these days that, in fact, he is keenly, keenly aware of the great struggle currently being waged for the heart of our Republic and which will determine its future course either into (pace Winston) broad, sunlit uplands or the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
Well, frankly, I’m just a bit too close to the center of things for comfort. If it were just me myself, I’d say damn it all and sing out from the rooftops. But I’ve got a family to think of and must keep in mind what effect a late-night visit from the New NKVD would have on them. So, like Queen Bess, I take the motto video et taceo.
Anyhoo, I begin with this rayther elaborate preface in order to cushion somewhat the frivolity of the following observations:
♦ Last week, I participated in an outreach event with the current third year law class at Dubyanell, my old alma mater. Idly thinking about the math, I suddenly realized it has been twenty-three years since I myself was in their shoes. Good God Almighty, how did that happen?
♦ Something that drives me crazy? When drivers sitting at a long light or in traffic turn off their engines and only turn them on again when things start to move. It’s not so much the start-up time involved, it’s more the knowledge that such practice actually causes more wear and tear on a car’s engine than does patient idling.
♦ This one is really for all of Robbo’s fellow Nats Fans: There are rumors that the Nats are considering dealing Denard Span and/or Anthony Rendon. Jumpin’ Jehosaphat, why? WHY ON EARTH??
♦ I may not have mentioned before that I am once more plowing my way through Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, having decided to go right the way along to “21″ even thought I’ve always felt the series tailed off in quality and spirit after The Wine-Dark Sea. Anyhoo, I pass on for your consideration an observation made by the Mothe: As far as female characters go, she is willing to accept Sophie as plausible. However, she maintains that there is no such real world person as Diana Villiers, and that she is instead the product of male fantasy. I would go further and suggest that Christine Wood is even more so.
♦ Speaking of literary cycles, I have been working my way slowly through the Beeb’s An Age of Kings, the cycle of Shakespeare’s historickal plays running from Richard II to Richard III. All in all, I quite liked it despite the extremely heavy editing. Solid casting all around. Sean Connery made a great Hotspur, Robert Hardy made a Churchillian Henry V and the fellah who played Falstaff was quite good, too. But when I looked at the DVD of all those episodes of Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3…..I just couldn’t do it.
♦ We’ve entered the season of that most dreaded of social gatherings, the Office Holiday Party. How it makes me shudder. More than once I’ve used urgent calls with Time & Temperature to waive off office mates who wonder why I’m not headed to the conference room at the appointed time.
♦ Speaking of seasons, my work garage is no great way from Dee Cees’ Verizon Center, home of the NHL Capitals and NBA Wizards. When either team is playing at home, there is an ugly evening crossover of wage-slaves trying to get out while fans are trying to get in. I have observed that when the Caps are playing, piloting the ol’ Jeep up out of the depths takes on the feeling of being a salmon trying to battle upstream to its mating grounds and being confronted by rapids, hungry grizzlies and occasional mountain-slides. When the Wizards are playing? Not so much.
And finally, because it never gets tired, there’s this. Enjoy!
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Regular friends of the decanter will recall that ol’ Robbo received his legal edumacation back in the day at dear old Dubyanell. Good times. Good times.
In the past year or two, ol’ Robbo’s alma mater has instituted an innovative (indeed, I believe the first in the country) program, in the form of a third year practicum, by which it hopes to prepare its students not so much for the theoretical practice of law, as for the actual practice.
Personally, I think this is a very worthy idea. I came out of school relatively well-trained in knowing how to think like a lawyer and schooled in some basic substantive precedent in various topics, but knowing damn-all about the business of lawyering. Buh-lieve me, friends, there’s a world of difference, no matter where you go with your JD. The goal of the practicum, so far as I understand it, is to at least expose the third years to the chasm between the theoretical and the practical, and brace them for what they may expect once they leave the sheltered, ivy-covered walls of Academe.
Anyhoo, I bring all this up because tomorrow, through a singular combination of circumstances and my own desire to see this program succeed, I will be addressing a class of this year’s current crop of 3L’s on What I Do For A Living.
And I bring it up even more particularly because, as I was mulling over what I would say to these puppies, I realized that there is a 23 year gap between where they are now and where I was in my own third year of law school.
Great God Almighty, how did that happen?
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
The Beeb poses an interesting question: How did ancient Greek musick sound?
Evidently, some clever Johnnies are on the case:
[I]sn’t the music lost beyond recovery? The answer is no. The rhythms – perhaps the most important aspect of music – are preserved in the words themselves, in the patterns of long and short syllables.
Well, hell. I could have told you that myself. I include in my morning prayers from the 1962 Missal a “Jam Lucis” attributed to St. Ambrose. When I first started this practice, I stuck to the English translation in order to get the substance. More recently, I have switched over to the original Latin and pay particular attention to the cadences .
Anyhoo, it seems Science! is going further than mere thump-thumpa:
The instruments are known from descriptions, paintings and archaeological remains, which allow us to establish the timbres and range of pitches they produced.
And now, new revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the Greek words.
The Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals – an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.
The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch: letter A at the top of the scale, for instance, represents a musical note a fifth higher than N halfway down the alphabet. Absolute pitch can be worked out from the vocal ranges required to sing the surviving tunes.
While the documents, found on stone in Greece and papyrus in Egypt, have long been known to classicists – some were published as early as 1581 – in recent decades they have been augmented by new finds. Dating from around 300 BC to 300 AD, these fragments offer us a clearer view than ever before of the music of ancient Greece.
Go read the rest. Teh article suggests that the Ancients had a musick that is more recognizable in modern Middle Eastern practices than elsewhere.
Eh, I’ve no particular reason to doubt this, nor have I any particular reason to endorse it. To ol’ Robbo’s mind, there is simply too long a gap of silence to make any of this more than intelligent guesswork.
I need hardly point out that the foundations of the late 18th Century Classickal movement were based on the same idea, a deliberate imitation of what was thought to be the Ancient way. They thought they were being scientific, too.
A glass of wine with Arts N’ Letters Daily.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
In case you are wondering, as I type the current temperature on the porch at Port Swiller Manor is 41.3 ºF.
I know this because I recently purchased a La Crosse Technology WS-9133U-IT 915 MHz wireless weather station, and since mounting it this weekend I’ve been sort of geeking out over checking the stats whenever I go through the kitchen. I know this model isn’t particularly sophisticated – no actual barometric readings, a very limited forecast function, no wind speed and direction, no relative humidity – but it’s a pleasant gadget nonetheless.
I reckon that in my retirement, I’ll get into something more closely approaching serious weather-watching. Indeed, one of the sure signs that ol’ Robbo is beginning to enter the shoal waters of Mid-Life Crisis is a recent brooding on what on earth I’m going to do with myself when Life throws me on to the beach. In addition to said weather-watching, I’ve come up with some other preliminary ideas, which include:
- Actually reading all those classics I should have done earlier but didn’t get round to (yeah, I’m looking at YOU, War and Peace)
- Various religious devotionals (Eucharistic Adoration in the middle watches, for example)
(This list, so far, does not include travel. Frankly, I’ve no wish to travel. Mrs. Robbo, on the other hand, is passionately fond of the idea. This might cause some problems.)
But anyway, back to the weather station. Friends of the decanter may recall from some posties from way back that when ol’ Robbo was but an elementary school tyke, his great passion was to some day become a meteorologist. As Calvin was to dinosaurs, I was to weather. Indeed, I doubt very much there have been many such kiddies who knew as much as I did about high and low pressure, frontal boundaries and cloud types.
I still recall a story I wrote in second or third grade about various manifestations of the weather, from set fair to stormy. Actually, I don’t remember what the story actually was, but I do remember being sent to the principal’s office about it, where I actually was congratulated on my imagination and knowledge.
I also remember being asked by one of my teachers whether a squall line bearing down on the school one afternoon was anything to be worried about in terms of assuming the cover-up position out in the hall. Armed in my self-assurance, I took a look at the sky and assured her that there was nothing to worry about.
I further remember an educational kit (from NOAA, I suppose) offered by one of the local teevee stations during the annual spring storm season for which I wrote away. It consisted of a large chart of the various kinds of weather, together with a phonograph record. (This was, like, 1973. Shut up.) The record was a dramatic rendering of a guided tour of a meteorological station on a stormy day somewhere (I think) near St. Louis. The narrator, a meteorologist, described the various weather phenomena depicted on the chart. (You see, he was supposed to have the same chart in his office.) The climax of the story was a sudden, direct hit of a tornado on the station. Everyone survived, of course, but the Full Fury of Ma Nature meme was expressed with all the subtlety of, oh, a sudden tornado hit on a weather station.
That record scared the beejeezus out of me. Indeed, I brought the kit into class for a presentation one day and literally had to hide when the voice offstage yelled, “TORNADO!!”
The other thing I remember about that record? The musick accompanying the thing was the overture from Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Ludmila:
To this day I get a little sweaty-palmed when I hear it on teh radio.
Yes, I’m a bit odd. I know that. What I’m not sure of is what happened to my interest. Heck, I could be out-mimboing Jim Cantore right this very instant if I had stuck with it.
Oh, well. Maybe when I retire……
*Spot the slightly-mangled quote
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
I thought I would stir things up a bit here by doing a little Monday randomness, instead of saving it for Friday. You know, because I’m such a wild and crazy guy. (And yes, I know the timestamp says it’s already October 29, but the thing is set on Greenwich Mean Time and I’m too lazy and timid to go messing about with it.)
♦ Today was the first time this year that I got into my place of employment before dawn and didn’t leave until after sunset. This pattern will continue for the next week or two until daylight savings time sets in. Because I very often don’t leave my building during the day even for lunch, and therefore don’t see the sun directly, I have taken to calling this the Time of the Mole People.
♦ I forget why DST kicks in late this year except that it has something to do with politicks. Which means it has virtually nothing to do with plain common sense.
♦ Speaking of politicks, during the course of a ramble about something or other last Sunday, the Rev at Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church let fall a comment about “inclusiveness” being one of the core values of the Founding Fathers. A warm and fuzzy sentiment to many of the RFEC congregation, no doubt, but actually completely at odds with the actual spirit of the Founders, who were in fact devoted to the concept that gubmint (because this is all about gubmint manipulation of teh populace) should just leave people the hell alone to get on as they see fit. My friends, this is an example of why a solid education and eternal vigilance are so very necessary.
♦ I haven’t declared a World Series favorite here yet. Allow me to correct this: I am going with the St. Louis Cardinals. Et cur? you may ask, especially after the Cards did down Robbo’s beloved Nats in the playoffs last year? Simple. Bahston fans do not wear success very well. Back in the day when the Sawx and the Pats were horrid, I admired the way in which their supporters stuck with them no matter how heavy the emotional and psychological toll. But now that the teams have become such winners? Well, these same fans have turned into the most arrogant bunch of jerks on the continent. Massholes, indeed.
♦ Having said that, I can’t say that I am watching teh games very closely. I know that there is a school of thought that enjoys the champeen struggle for its own sake, but I’m not of it: If I don’t have a horse in the race, I’m not all that much interested. Indeed, although I still know that the ‘Fins won the ’72 and ’73 Super Bowls because I was such a fan in those days, for the life of me I simply cannot remember who won it last year. And I don’t think I could tell you any Series winners off the top of my head. First time the Nats pull it off- that I’ll remember. (I say nothing about pro basketball because I hold the sport in contempt. As for hockey, there was none in the South Texas of my misspent yoot, so I never acquired an interest during my formative years.)
♦ And finally, t’other night I was watching Executive Decision. This is one of those movies that, when I’m channel-surfing and stumble across it, I almost automatically settle back to watch. (Okay, confess: You lot have your own favorites and do the same. Confess, I say. Confess!) Anyhoo, it was being shown as part of the series on whatever that military network is that features Lou Diamond Phillips interviewing guests between sections of the film. His guest here was Tom Ridge (first Sec of Homeland Security), and there was a lot of jawing about how we view this movie (which was made during the false peace of the mid-90′s) in the aftermath of 9/11 and the current Global War on Terror. I mention this only because at one point, in a discussion of post-9/11 terror attacks, Ridge actually mentioned the Fort Hood massacre. “Oh, my stars,” I thought. ”Didn’t Ridge get the memo? The Fort Hood shooter was a troubled man with psychiatric issues, not a terrorist for the Religion of Peace. And besides, gun control so shut up!” Honestly, keep up guys!
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
T’other morning on our drive to school, teh eldest gel mentioned that her history class had been made to watch a “history” film showing what a rat-bastard, xenophobic, genocidal, racist shite Columbus really was, and then to debate about whether we really ought to celebrate “Columbus Day” or instead take up the burgeoning “Native Americans Day” anti-masque celebration instead.
Aw, Jeez….It was only the desire to avoid carrying crenelation across my forehead all day that kept me from pounding it against the steering wheel. That and an understandable with to avoid getting into an accident.
Taking a very deep breath, I proceeded to spell out some historickal points:
- That, yes, there were charges laid against Columbus that, as governor of Hispanola, he abused the natives. And yes, some of them might have been true. But those charges were made by politickal enemies specifically intent on getting rid of him so that they and their friends could set themselves up for their own plunder. So the cum grano salis rule is in effect here.
- That yes, the Spanish influx into the New World was, mostly, pretty damned cruel and exploitative. (One must exempt the heroic efforts of the Jesuits in South America.) Indeed, of all the European interactions with the Americas, the French, by modern standards, were perhaps the most consistently humane. (Of course, that is an argument for another time.) Pleas to show me an influx of one human population into another, anywhere in historickal time or place, that wasn’t.
- That yes, although we find the whole interaction of the Old and New Worlds repellant by 21st Century standards, it is only because of said interaction and its developments that we precious snowflakes are able to waste a powerful lot of energy (at least for the moment) twisting our post-modern panties into knots trying to force our current sensibilities on to the actions of peoples living in the late 15th Century.
- Aaaaaand, the fact that the whole Euro-angst line is built on the false, Rousseauian Noble Savage flim-flam line that the New World was some kind of Paradise full of blissful Adams and Eves who had, collectively, never experienced the Fall, but instead lived in natural peace, love and brotherhood…..
“But, Dad,” she said, “How can you say these things when this film we saw said what it did?”
“Because,” I replied, “I pay attention.”
As to the last Edenic point, the gel also mentioned Cortez’s conquest of the Aztecs.
“You know how he managed that?” I asked. ”Because the Aztecs were in the habit of scooping up their neighbors in their thousands in order to supply a constant stream of human sacrifices to the sun. Cut their victims’ living hearts out, they did, on top of their pyramids. Then ate the tasty bits. When Cortez came along and suggested that he could squash the Aztecs, all sorts of neighboring tribes said, ‘Hell, yeah!’”
So much for rapacious dead white males stumbling into Eden on Earth and forever staining it.
Aye, me. To quote The Professor, “What do they teach them at these schools?”
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Yes, as the title implies, ol’ Robbo took the weed-whacker to Da Beard this morning. I didn’t do so because it looked bad or because Mrs. R made me. (Indeed, when I finally got her to comment, she actually gave it her qualified approval.) In the end I suppose I decided that I just wasn’t really that guy looking back at me in the mirror. Regular friends of the decanter will be well aware of Robbo’s aversion to change and his utter lack of interest in novelty for its own sake. Some people might be apt to label this “boring”. I prefer the term “constant”.
Anyhoo, I got a few compliments and had a bit o’ fun, but it was time to come home.
Speaking of change, our Maximum Leader, commenting t’other day on the upcoming statewide elections here in the Great Commonwealth of Virginny, noted his general dissatisfaction with all the candidates on offer this time around. I must say that I’m getting that same vibe from many, many people including Mrs. R, who I always turn to as my non-politickal weathervane. I won’t go into endorsements here except to remark that, as I’m something more of a cultchah warrior than Maxy, the choices are easier for me. I will say that there is at least one state-wide candidate who, in a healthy republic, wouldn’t even be on the ballot but instead would be in jail.
Also speaking of change, may I remark here how much I hate this bloody Apple i-Whateveritis on which I am currently typing, particularly this goddam wireless mouse? In its apparent quest to anticipate what I want it to do, it’s forever suddenly magnifying the page or flipping it into the trash if I even go so far as to sneeze at the wrong moment. Grrrrr…..
Speaking of manipulative technology, the devil’s website got me again yesterday. On a Columbus Day tip from the Puppy-blender, I had sauntered over to pick up Samuel Eliot Morrisson’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus. While on the page, I heard a small voice whisper, “Psst! Hey! Look down a little….You know you can get a copy of Columbus’s own logs and dispatches from his voyages while you’re at it, don’t you? You know you want to, right? It’s sooooo easy. Go ahead!”
My friends, there are some temptations which I am able to avoid quite easily. There are others to which I fall equally easily. (And lest you think this particular one fairly petty, let me assure you that reading books of this sort will be more than enough justification to send me to the reeducation camps, if not the wall, in the upcoming purges.)
One temptation that I wrestle with more or less constantly is to try living the gels’ lives for them. This is a trap the Old Gentleman fell into in my own misspent yoot, and one that I swore scrupulously to avoid when it became my turn to deal with teenagers. My friends, it’s a whole heck of a lot harder than I ever imagined to stop myself from dashing in and trying to micro-manage, and then losing my temper when my efforts are either ignored or resisted. Saint Joseph, ora pro nobis.
Oh, speaking of age….I saw Lee Majors, of all people, on the teevee last evening hawking a “bionic” hearing-aid. For some reason, this made me feel very old. The Six-Million Dollar Man was a fixture of my misspent yoot – I can’t recall whether I actually had a Col. Steve Austin action figure, but I rayther think I did – and to see him badly reading a cue-card in a mumbly voice really hit me.
Well, enough of that. It’s a beautiful mid-October day and I do believe that this will be the last lawn-mowing of the season. Here’s a question for you: The back yard of Port Swiller Manor is enclosed in a white rail fence that, after twelve years or so, could really do with a new coat of paint. Somebody told Mrs. R that we really ought to power-wash it before painting, given that some of the rails are a bit grungy, but I’m inclined not to a) because of the additional work and expense, and b) because I worry that directing a jet of water at some of the boards will cause them to disintegrate. Is this a short-cut to nowhere?