You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Is This Thing On?’ category.
As I mentioned in one of the posts below, this past weekend Mrs. R and I went down the Washington National Cathedral to hear its combined choirs (including the Middle Gel, in her first year as a senior chorister) and orchestra serve up Handel’s Messiah. Oddly enough, although I have heard the piece many, many times in various recordings and have seen live performances of parts of it, this was the first time I’d seen it live all the way through.
Well, it was glorious. No other word. Canon Michael McCarthy, who helmed the thing, is a veteran of John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir and of The Sixteen and knows his period performance stuff from soup to nuts, and it definitely showed in the snappy tempi, the crisp sound and the subtlety and intimacy that can be found even in such a big piece. (My introduction to Messiah was an old record of a performance from some time in the early 60’s by some big Irish orchestra and choir that the Old Gentleman would play for us every Christmas season. It was a super-sized dirge compared to this and other more recent historically-informed recordings and performances.) Of the professional soloists, I didn’t care all that much for the soprano but the other three were quite solid. And the professional men – who take the counter-tenor, tenor and bass parts of the choruses – were as reliable as they always are. (They regularly sing with the girls for Sunday services and weekday Evensong.)
But the focus for me, of course, was on the boys and girls who handled the soprano part of the choruses and on the Middle Gel in particular.
We sat four rows back from the stage and on the Gel’s side, so I could see her quite clearly behind the bassist. And I was enchanted.
I had already noticed this fall that, after a couple years’ experience at the Cathedral, the Gel was really beginning to step up, to transition from just getting through without audibly screwing up to really beginning to make her presence felt. Her performance here did nothing but confirm this impression to me. She positively radiated confidence and engagement, and I could distinctly pick out her voice more than once. And on top of all that, she was obviously enjoying herself. Indeed, at the end of many of the choruses, our eyes would lock, I would nod and she would grin.
All in all, a wonderful thing.
On a somewhat unexpectedly bittersweet note, from time to time during the performance I found myself regretting that the Old Gentleman didn’t live long enough to see his grand-daughter blossoming in this way. (Friends from the old Llama days** may recall that he commented there under the tag “O.F.” and that he had much to say on musickal topics.) I get most of my own musickal talent from him and I’m sure that a substantial part of that flowed down to the Gel. I’m sure he would have been beside himself with pride in her, as was I.
Oh, and to give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it? The performance ran about three hours altogether. To me, it felt more like around twenty minutes. That’s how much.
* I hope that friends of the decanter know ol’ Robbo well enough to understand that this post has nothing to do with pretentious, inside-the-Imperial-Beltway-Bubble sticking on side, but is solely concerned with musick in general and teh Gel’s achievements therein in particular. Pretentious? Moi?
** I see that Pixy has returned the old Llama Butchers Moo Knew site to the primordial ooze and therefore that all that was written there is gone. Same deal with the earlier Blogsplat version. Pity. I had often thought of printing out each entry and all its attached comments for the sake of posterity.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Sorry to leave you lot hanging about with what I will admit you probably thought a dreadfully obscure and boring post for a couple days, but the box which brings Verizon’s bundle of communication services into Port Swiller Manor decided to commit suicide Tuesday evening and we only just now got it replaced.
For me this was just a minor annoyance, but for others in the family it had a much greater impact. More and more these days, teh gels are being given web-based school assignments and requirements to file things with their teachers electronically. So when the system goes down, you can imagine the consternation.
We managed to limit the disruption somewhat thanks to our neighbor who graciously allowed us to borrow his Wi-Fi signal, but it was still pretty chaotic for a while.
Old and Busted: “The dog ate my homework.”
The New Hotness: “The server crashed my homework.”
Anyhoo, back to biznay now.
(BTW, as I was typing this post teh Middle Gel came wandering in to crow a bit about her new, autographed, Piano Guys CD and, being incurably nosy, started reading it over my shoulder. She attests to the troof of my observation.)
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
I may have mentioned that one of the casualties of the Great Port Swiller Basement Flood of a couple weeks ago was our old printer, which had sat on the floor and did not react a-tall well to sitting in several inches of water.
Well, what with today being the kick-off of the new school year and knowing that all three gels were going to need to start printing things instanter, Mrs. Robbo brought home a replacement this afternoon, an Epson Expression XP-410. One of the advantages the thing has over our old one is that it can use WiFi to hook up not only with the home iWhatevz, but also with the gels’ laptops.
“Oh,” she said casually, “Can you set it up for me?”
In the words of Professor Farnsworth,
It may come as no surprise to friends of the decanter that, although a generally clever and able fellow, I have very little understanding of all this computer gadgetry and these innertoob connector thingies. (On the other hand, I at least have enough sense not to take nekked pictures of myself and launch them into cyberspace.) So when Mrs. R tasked me with this task, I was taken aback.
Whelp, the good news is that after about an hour of trying to download software, punching in invisible-to-my-failing-eyes passwords and swearing at the little Verizon router box thingy, I actually got the contraption to work. This marks the very outer bounds of ol’ Robbo’s computer tech savvy, and the whole experience left me feeling drained.
I believe such a success calls for splicing the mainbrace. (And having stumbled across this link for this post, if you think I’m not going to order this set of flags for the porch, you’ve got another thing coming!) So bumpers all round, gunn’ls under, and no heel taps!
Ol’ Robbo is jumping the gun by a couple hours but to modify a common truism, it’s midnight somewhere. Therefore, allow me to note that July 30, 2008 was the birthday of this blog and that it turns six today.
Three cheers and a tiger for me!
Of course, things aren’t what they were back then in terms of freedom of expression, and prudence has dictated that I curtail a good deal of what I would like to say concerning our sinking civilization, so discussions over the decanter have centered on the realm of the arcane, the trivial and the unobjectionable, but still, here I am.
And here you are. Or at least those of you who are still here. “Not near as many as there where a while ago,” as that song about the Battle of New Orleans would put it, but still very much welcome and appreciated. (Besides, there’s more port, Stilton and chestnuts for us what’s left, right?)
And so, if I may, I ask that you all charge your glasses, gunn’ls under. Here’s to TPSAYE with three times three and no heel-taps! (And don’t forget to tip the dancer!)
UPDATE: Mayun, I didn’t just jump the gun when I first put this post up, I got a hundred yards downrange and then took a bullet right between the shoulder blades! Calendars. What can you do? Personally, I blame the Patriarchy.
Anyhoo, I’m now reposting to reflect the correct date of our little anniversary. Any of you still in a more or less upright position should feel free to recharge your glasses and toast it again.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Last evening ol’ Robbo popped in the latest new-to-me Netflix DVD, “In A World“.
The film is a quirky story about the fight to replace Hollywood legend Don Lafontaine as the top dog among movie preview voiceover specialists. The story pits its protagonist, a hipster-doofus underachieving voice-coach gal, against her second-fiddle father and his smarmy, disgusting, hot-shot protege. The secondary plot involves the protagonist’s sister and her husband, in a walking-dead marriage, suddenly having to deal with a terrible misunderstanding.
My opinion? Meh.
The film seemed somewhat thin. Well, very thin, actually. It didn’t go into much detail in terms of character development and left me with a fair number of questions about motives. Also, the whole business with the surreptitious recordings was pretty contrived and unconvincing, and the near-rape “encounter” between the protagonist and the smarmy rival left me appalled my its amorality.
If you want a meaty story that combines a rich plot-line with the technical arcana of theatrical vocals, stick with “The King’s Speech“.
One out of five bumpers.
Next up, safe bet “The Guns of Navarone“.
And speaking of which, check out this video – via the Puppy Blender – of a firework display taken from inside by a drone-mounted camera. My first reaction was to think that watching this would cause any veteran combat pilot to go into conniptions. My second was to reaffirm my dislike of the hyper-intrusive nature of drone technology. On the other hand, I must confess that the film is both beautiful and fascinating. Enjoy!
As fellow parents are no doubt well aware, the last weeks of May and the first weeks of June are times of seemingly endless brouhaha. Recently ol’ Robbo has found himself attending all kinds of end-of-school-year activities, including awards ceremonies, picnics, talent shows and the like. Plus, teh Middle Gel was confirmed into TEC on Sunday. With all this going on, opportunities and energy for any kind of substantive posting have been correspondingly curtailed.
In teh midst of all these alarums and excursions, ol’ Robbo discovered that he had been nominated by long time friend of the decanter Zoopraxiscopean Don for the highly coveted Liebster Award this year. A glass of wine with you, sir! And subsequently, during the time this post has half-finishedly hung fire, I also seem to have got tapped by our Maximum Leader. A glass of wine with you, sir! (And note to self: Extra aspirin tablet before bed, since we still have work in the morning.)
Anyhoo, ol’ Robbo’s been blogging for nearly eleven years now altogether and it seems to me that I haven’t seen a meme like this one floating around the ‘toobs for some time now. Takes me back to the Earlies, it does, when every new meme was fresh red meat. (Indeed, I’ve a vague recollection that we might have done this one back at Llama Central.)
So, obligatory “You love me! You really love me!” acceptance speech aside, here we go. First off, the instructions:
The Quasi-Official Rules of the Liebster Award
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
PART THE FIRST, QUESTIONS TO ME:
Eleven questions. Don was here first, but the wise minion does not provoke our Maximum Leader to acts of villainous retribution via needless snubs. Therefore, I’ll take six of Don’s questions and five of Maxy’s:
1. Cameras on every single portable electronic device. Blessing or bane? Pfft. Portable electronic devices are a bane themselves. I love disconcerting people by sitting in quiet, self-contained contemplation in, say, an airport gate while they furiously fumble with their i-Whatevahs.
2. Who should direct the movie version [of your biography]? Terry Gilliam. I’m more Walter Mitty than Baron Munchausen, but his knack for cinematic dancing back and forth between reality and fantasy seems to match my thought patterns better than anyone else I can think of off hand, not that I pay any real attention to cinematic directors.
3. Who should do the musical score for the movie? Hrrrrmmm…..I would prefer a compilation of classickal works, involving at least one chase scene set to one of the more intense minor-key concertos by Vivaldi.
4. Please tell a favorite joke (keep it tasteful, thank you). Well, I heard a good one recently: It seems that a father up ta’ rural Maine questioned his son one morning about whether the son had anything to do with the family out-house having been tipped over the night before. The son, after a moment’s hesitation, decided to come clean and admit that he had been the perpetrator. The father then proceeded to chastise the son. When he was done, the son said, “But Dad, when George Washington’s father asked if George had been the one to cut down the cherry tree and George had told the truth, HE wasn’t punished.” “Maybe,” replied the father, “But I doubt his father was sitting in the cherry tree at the time George cut it down.”
5. Assume that everyone has an ability that they could call their “superpower” what would yours be? The ability not to draw attention to myself. You may call it “Stealth” if you like.
6. What is the earliest memory you have? Playing with some toy army trucks. This would have been in Rochester NY when I was no more than 3 y.o. I also have a very vague memory of being in a car crossing a long bridge. This would have been when we crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis on our way from Rochester to set up in South Texas when I was about 3 1/2.
7. Do you have a battle song, i.e., a tune that you hum, sing or stomp your feet to while on the way to a difficult day at work or an unpleasant appointment? Well, nothing in particular for the office itself. However, I still use the Star Wars scene of the Millennium Falcon’s escape from Mos Eisley for airplane takeoffs. Indeed, when the pilot first hits the throttle and we start rolling, I always mutter to myself in a clipped British accent, “Oh, dear. I’d forgotten how much I hate space travel!”
8. What fictional character do you particularly identify with? Not one in particular, but I love Evelyn Waugh’s stable of anti-heroes: Paul Pennyfeather, poor old Tony Last, William Boot and Guy Crouchback. All of them are decent, traditionally-minded men caught up in the absurd and appalling whirligig of the Modern World, tossed about and, with the exception of Last, eventually set back down on their feet, somewhat dizzy but still intact. (Please note that Basil Seal, Charles Ryder and Dennis Barlow are not included in this group.)
9. Tell me about one deeply held belief of yours that has evolved or changed over time. Well, regular friends of the decanter will already know that this is a gimme and involves ol’ Robbo’s swimming of the Tiber back in ’08. Indeed, that was probably the principle reason I set up this blog in the first place.
10. What neglected writer, composer or performer deserves rediscovery? Well, I’ll go with a painter: N.C. Wyeth. Yes, he was really an “illustrator” in the same sense that Norman Rockwell was, and yes, the sorts of stories he illustrated – which centered around subjects like pirates and swashbucklers, Indians and frontiersmen – are considered nekulturny under the current ethos. But I think his use of color and shadow and his sense of dramatic groupings and action were superb.
11. Your favorite word? “Defenestration”, of course. In actual practice, we could use a bit more of it these days, don’t you think?
PART THE SECOND, TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT OL’ ROBBO:
1. I am punctual to the point of obsession and absolutely cannot stand being late for anything. On the other hand, I am the titular head of a household of wimminz to whom this is a completely alien concept.
2. We had a pet raccoon when I was a boy, an orphaned cub (or is it pup?) who we eventually had to let go when he grew up and got too wild and rough. I was about eight at the time. A year or two later, I stumbled across Sterling North’s classic novel of boyhood, “Rascal”. It was the story of exactly the same scenario: Boy finds cub. Boy raises cub. Boy has to release cub because Call of the Wild. I used to read that book over and over and the ending made me tear up every single time.
3. I dislike bivalves (clams, oysters, etc.) but like crustaceans (lobster, shrimp, crab).
4. I played cello in elementary school and took private lessons for a year or so afterwards but eventually dropped it because I had got as far as I could as a soloist and was too afraid to join the middle school orchestra out of shyness. Now the youngest is going to start middle school this fall….learning cello for her school orchestra.
5. The farthest west I’ve been is Dillingham, Alaska, on Bristol Bay. (It’s also the only place at which I’ve ever landed in a commercial jet on a gravel strip.) The farthest north I’ve been is Anchorage. The farthest south is Brownsville, Texas. The farthest east is Richborough Castle (ancient Roman fortification) in Sandwich, England.
6. When I was a kid, my brother and I used to chase armadillos in the Texas Hill Country. Once they got into their burrows, their tails always stayed within hand’s reach but it was no good trying to pull them out because they had very strong claws that dug tenaciously into the ground and proved too strong an anchor.
7. I once unwittingly insulted Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Jr., by ranting at length to a law school classmate about fence-sitter, swing-vote justices without realizing that Powell was standing directly behind me. (Powell was an alum of my law school and frequently visited for guest lectures and the like.) On the other hand, I have more than once almost been run down in the parking lot of my church by Justice Antonine Scalia (who is a member of my parish and often attends the Tridentine Mass at which I am a regular).
8. Bill Cosby was my college commencement speaker. Tom Wolfe was my law school commencement speaker. Both of them were excellent.
9. I have a talent for picking up local accents and, without consciously trying, adapting to them. Although I spent most of my misspent yoot in South Texas and arrived at college in Connecticut with a subtle but noticeable twang, by the end of my senior year somebody once said to me, “Oh! I always assumed you were from Boston.”
10. I have no sweet-tooth whatsoever. Candy, donuts, cake, anything sugary – their siren song falls on deaf ears. Indeed, I find them quite repulsive. On the other hand, salt is practically a food group to me.
11. I once made it from the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac (on the Dee Cee Beltway) to the end of teh Mass Pike in Boston in seven and a half hours. The Need for Speed, baybee!
12. BONUS! I hate Apple and its freakin’ iMac platform. I could have had this post done in 1/8th the time it’s taking me to drag and click and copy and paste and whatnot. And every time I twitch the mouse the wrong way, the screen goes all a-hooey and I have no idea how to get it back to where it was. How the hell am I supposed to quaff from the true, the blushful Hippocrene when goddam Apple keeps slipping me a dribble glass? GRRRRRRRR……..
PART THE THIRD, PASSING THE TORCH:
M’kay. First, a selection of victims (in which I pass up all those friends of the decanter who appear to have been tapped already by someone else):
Mr. Nightfly – Because I can guarantee hockey will be involved.
Mr. Obscurorama – because we’ve traded memes back in the day. And, no doubt, will do so again.
Second, a list of very random questions for them. Are you ready? Here we go:
1. Let’s play Desert Island Disks. Singles or albums. Pick your five and explain.
2. Who shot first? (Understand that the wrong answer here will doom you straight to the appropriate circle of hell.)
3. In baseball, what is your opinion of the DH rule and the introduction this year of the replay review challenge rule? (See above.)
4. When the light turns green and the fellah sitting in front of you obviously fails to notice it, how do you remind him? (Please include horn technique, appropriately-censored vocabulary and body language.)
5. Are you better off than you were six years ago?
6. Name a historically significant point in your life and tell us how it affected you personally. (I ask this because, owing to an assignment in her history class in which teh eldest gel has been asked to broach the same question to some member of her family, I learned that Mrs. R’s grandmother (who is still with us and is visiting this weekend) was so upset by the news of the death of FDR that she went into labor several weeks prematurely and bore Robbo’s MIL the next day. I reckon teh gel is going to get some extra points for that story.)
7. Brush with Greatness. Go.
8. Cats or dogs and why? (See Nos. 2 and 3 above re incorrect responses.)
9. If you had to pick an historickal epoch in Western History with which you have the most sympathy, which would you choose? Why? If you don’t identify with any given period, why not?
10. Charcoal or gas? Why? (See Nos. 2, 3 and 7 above.)
11. How has the experience of blogging influenced you over the course of your time dabbling in the innertoobs. Best positive? Worst negative? How has your approach/attitude towards blogging changed as you’ve gained experience and as your personal circumstances have changed. Tell us about the crossing of the streams between your bloggy life and your real-world existence. (Okay, I’m cramming a bunch of questions into one, but they’re all interrelated.)
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Sorry for the lack of posts over the past day or two. Ol’ Robbo got tagged for one of those old-fashioned bloggy meme thingies and it’s taking me much longer to hammer out a response than I imagined it would. Sooner or later, I’ll get the thing up.
In the meantime, word comes to me that with the recent arrival at Port Swiller Manor of Clash of the Titans and Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (yes, I denounce myself), ol’ Robbo’s Netflix queue is out of ammo. Any suggestions for my reloads?
Regular friends of the decanter have some idea of what floats Robbo’s’ boat. Newbies are invited to fire blind.
Go. And thankee.
UPDATE: Again, thankee for your responses! This is one of the best things about blogging and commenting – I’d never heard of some of these suggestions and forgot about others. Well, here is ol’ Robbo’s Netflix queue for the foreseeable future:
Once Upon A Time In The West – Okay, this was one of my own ideas. Henry Fonda as a stone killer is truly horrifying.
Coriolanus – I’ve never read this play of the Bard’s although I know its general outline. I like Beethoven’s overture of the same name.
Joss Whedon’s version of Much Ado About Nothing – I actually got this once before but sent it back unwatched. Can’t remember why. I’ve mentioned here before that Whedon and I were classmates in college, haven’t I?
Grand Budapest Hotel – Only available for saving at this point. Between the Wars crossroads.
The World’s End – Pub crawl of epic proportions. Did I ever mention that the only time I was thrown out of a bar was in London in 1988?
Shaun of the Dead - D’you know, I’ve never seen this but always meant to. Loser vs. Zombies, isn’t it?
The Guns of Navarone – Classic WWII flick, which of course I’ve seen before. I also tossed in Force Ten from Navarone. Y’all know that the senior Nazi officer in that film who goes up against Harrison Ford is the same actor – playing another Nazi baddie – who confronts him in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, right?
Tampopo – “Noodle” Western. Heh.
Persepolis – How ya gonna’ keep them in a hijab after they’ve seen gay Paree?
Hope and Glory - London in the Blitz from a boy’s perspective. Always meant to see this.
Winged Migration – Flappy Birds meet Marlin Perkins.
The Gods Must Be Crazy – This one I saw once, albeit about thirty years ago. At the time I thought it okay but couldn’t understand why everyone raved about it. It’s currently available only as a “save” at Netflix. Given the fashionable sensibilities, I’m surprised it hasn’t been disappeared.
Also off my own bat, I tossed in the following. I share them with you in return for your suggestions:
Danger UXB – If you haven’t seen this 1979 series starring Anthony Andrews as an officer of the Royal Engineers tasked with disarming unexploded bombs during the Blitz, you’re missing a real treat.
Brideshead Revisited – The 1981 series, again with Andrews and with Jeremy Irons. Because I just reread the novel and because the last time I saw the series was when Mawsterpiece Theatre aired it in the mid-80’s, a time when I had no frame of reference against which to judge it.
Band of Brothers – Why I don’t just go ahead and buy this set, I really don’t know. Too bad it’s recent Pacific Theater counterpart was such a dud.
300 – Spar-TAAAAANS!!!!!
Enemy At The Gates – Saving Private Ivan.
Also, I couldn’t find it but what is the name of that Restoration period piece that (I think) features Sam Neill as Charles II and also features a creepy fake statue guy who haunts the grounds of a country house? Or am I conflating two films?
Finally, I chose not to accept two of your suggestions:
Gallipoli – All the metrics say I should like this film, but it really doesn’t hold me. Somehow, the battle scenes seemed a little too made-for-teevee for me.
Sherlock – No. Sorry, no. Write your own damned story with your own damned characters and don’t go poaching on teh classics. Besides, it was the first thing Netflix tried to push on me when I dialed in this evening and that makes me just a bit uncomfortable. (Glances up to make sure tape still covers iMac camera lenz thingie.)
Since I typically watch three or four of my beloved Nats’ games per week during the summah, I’m guessing this list will last me well until about Halloween.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Regular friends of teh decanter will get the title, knowing ol’ Robbo’s opinion that Tuesday is the emptiest day of all. With that, how about a few, well, empty thoughts?
♦ Ol’ Robbo teh English major is something of a
hide-bound reactionary traditionalist when it comes to matters of language and grammar, but even I must acknowledge the text-driven power of the modern acronym to encapsulate profound meaning in minimal expression. As an example, consider the following: SOTU? STFU!
No, I did not watch tonight’s State of the Union address. Nonetheless, I think I can condense however many minutes of verbiage it lasted into two words: We’re humped.
♦ This past Sunday happened to be Robbo’s 49th birthday. This one came and went with very, very little fanfare or festivity, in part because I’ve ceased to care that much and in part because I was so busy with church (early Mass for me, followed by shepherding teh Middle Gel down the Cathedral for both the 11:30 eucharist and 4:00 evensong), that by the time I got home, all I wanted was a glass of wine and some solitude.
♦ Speaking of gels, teh eldest had her key snap in the garage door at Port Swiller Manor this afternoon as she came home from school and tried to get in out of teh 18° cold. Not panicking, she called Mrs. R at work and went up on to the porch to grab a blanket from one of the chairs to keep herself warm. Mrs. R arranged for a neighbor to rescue said eldest. I am very proud that she did not panic.
Obviously, we’re going to need a back-up entry method. Any hackers out there? Don’t look under teh garden gnome!
Nonetheless, if she tries to pull a “Oh, Father! I’ve caught a chill and can’t go to school today” tomorrow as a result: I will do such things,–
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth!
♦ Ab über-random thought: I much prefer the ’86 re-recording of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police to the original. I think the broody, nightmarish quality of the latter version to be much more effective.
♦ Oops. I just finished posting a longish random tidbit trying to link Brother Anastase Douay, the only surviving witness of the murder by some of his own men of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1687 in East Texas, with the great Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible. (We’ve reached the depth of post where, on teh Mac, I can’t figure out how to linky. If you are interested, I suggest google.) Alas, there seems to be no direct connection. Cliff Clavins of the world unite in weepage.
♦ Those friends of teh decanter who spotted teh quote from King Lear just above (Act 2, Scene IV) may be interested to know that ol’ Robbo saw Anthony Hopkins offer up those lines on teh stage in London in 1987. It’s been a great many years now, but I can still say with confidence: Tony completely blew it. I dunno whether it was his idea or his director’s, but his interpretation was an utter fail.
Well, on that note, I suppose I will pack it in so that I can get myself reading for Hump Day.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Regular friends of the decanter will know that ol’ Robbo is something of a Luddite when it comes to all these newfangled electronic gadgets being foisted on the market. For example, I have often (perhaps too often) opined to Mrs. R that her GPS thingy, to which she is utterly beholden to get from Point A to Point B, is actually controlled by Skynet and that when Judgement Day comes, Skynet will steer her straight into an ambush and serves her right. She can’t say that she wasn’t warned.
However, I must admit my own personal delight with Google Maps, both in its overhead capacity and in its street-view function. I think I have posted often enough here about geography to explain the former. The latter has had some real value in my job, since I often must travel to cities and towns unknown to me and scoping them out ahead of time has saved me a lot of bother.
Anyhoo, the point of this post is to draw attention to a particular feature of the street-view function. I had read (and checked out) an article a few months back describing how said function had been expanded to include not just highways and byways, but also panoramic views from the summits of some select mountains. I forget which ones they were, but at the time I thought the ones I visited were, well, o-kay, but not all that special.
This week, however, I found myself checking out Google Maps’ street-view of Mt. Fuji. I had not known this, but there’s a trail all the way round the lip of the crater, and some enterprising Google employee had hiked all the way up from the base and around said trail.
I have seen some impressive views before. The Google street-map view of Pike’s Peak is pretty impressive. Similarly the various views available when one wanders around the Italian and Austrian Alps. But this one takes the cake. Mt. Fuji is 12K-plus feet in altitude and there’s nothing immediately around it. The view is both breath-taking and, if you have a fear of heights like me, palm-sweat inducing.
(Yes, sitting at my computer in the basement of Port Swiller Manor, staring at a computer screen, I can still get scared looking at images depicting great height. That’s how much of an acrophobe I am.)
Anyhoo, if you haven’t done so, I heartily recommend that you check this thing out.
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!