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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp,  tomorrow is the annual “holiday” party down the office and ol’ Robbo is dreading it.

Real Life Robbo dislikes parties in general, in part because I’m a quiet, keep to myself kind of fellah, and also in part because I have that hearing condition that makes it very hard for me to pick out what is being said by whomever I’m speaking with amid the general din of merry-making.

I dislike these parties in particular because most of my colleagues have, shall we say, somewhat wildly different outlooks on the world than your humble host, and are furthermore equipped with extremely sensitive outrage tripwires.  This means that, unless I want to get myself in serious trouble through some casual non-PC remark, I’m reduced to the most banal of small-talk, something which bores me to tears.

Thus, when I can’t find an excuse for being out of the office altogether on the day of the party, I almost always confine myself to a quick ten minutes at it, making sure that the Important People see me.  Then I slink back to my room, shut the door and try to stay as quiet as possible.  If somebody discovers me skulking, I usually say that I’m waiting for a very important phone call and that I’ll try to come join them later.

Wish me luck, my friends.

UPDATE:  Bueller?……Bueller?…….

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was flipping idly through the assortment of “holiday” cards that have piled up on the side table by the front door of Port Swiller Manor this evening when he realized that, out of about thirty or so such cards we’ve received so far, only one of them took as its theme the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Most of the rest feature montages of family photos.  My favorite is one that came in the shape of a Christmas tree ornament, complete with ribbon for hanging on a convenient branch  – to honor, I suppose – our closeness.*   Its computer-generated mailing label spelled the Robbo family name wrong.

I throw this out as observation, not condemnation.  Truth of the matter is that, as Port Swiller Communications Director, Mrs. Robbo took the same route with our own cards (although she prided herself on actually hand-addressing the envelopes).   When I raised some mild concern, she replied that I was perfectly at liberty to send “real” Christmas cards to anybody I like, including my imaginary internet friends, and good luck.  Until I stepped up and started writing, however, I could stuff it.

Yes, Dear.

To give you an idea of my “stepping up” is such matters, I’ve still barely made a dent in the set of Madonna and Child cards I bought a couple years ago.

Yes, I denounce myself.

* True story:  The female of this couple was a classmate of Mrs. R in college and she and I went out on a blind date literally the evening before I met Mrs. R.  Said date was a first-class disaster and I believe said classmate actually doesn’t even remember it.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo may have mentioned here that the Youngest Gel started middle school this fall?  If I did, I probably also noted that she had tested into the G/T (or as they now call it, the AAP) program in the local public system.

big-broAnyhoo, recently her English class was assigned Orwell’s 1984, and, quite frankly, she’s been floundering a bit with it.

Now,  Robbo certainly has spilled a great many pixels over the years lamenting the sorry state of our so-called public education system and its low, snow-ball standards of indoctrination education.   But even to me it seems that this particular novel probably is not appropriate material for a bunch of 7th graders, however gifted n’ talented they might be.   (Indeed, I don’t recall reading the novel myself until my brief flirtation with libertarianism my senior year of high school.)

Aside from the difficulty of wrapping their tender brains around the prose and the dystopian gub’mint concepts which it seeks to describe, other wags already have pointed out that there are certain, em, “benefits” of the Brave New World decreed by Big Brother therein which would have any modern adolescent boy asking, “Where do I sign up?”  IF you know what I mean and I think you do.

At any rate, the whole biznay just doesn’t sit well with me.

OTOH, I spent a very pleasant time this evening going over the gel’s history homework about the Progressive Movement in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, craftily inserting poison pills into the Accepted Narrative.  Give me another week or two and I hope to have her convinced that Woodrow Wilson was a first class bastard (which he was).  And God help her teacher if the name Margaret Sanger comes up…..

Speaking of such things, what say friends of the decanter to Saira Blair, the 18 y.o. who recently won a seat in the West Virginia legislature on a platform of Pro-Life, Pro-2nd Amendment and Pro-Constitution?  The elder two gels are definitely, nay emphatically, right there with her, and, while they are still badly outnumbered amongst their peers,  I still think this may be the Next Big Wave.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

♦  Well, ol’ Robbo was finally forced to break down and go get the Tree yesterday afternoon, checkmated by the Port Swiller Family schedule for the next two weeks which precludes decorating the thing any other time than this afternoon.  UPDATE: Done and done.  As per usual, Ol’ Robbo strung the lights and the gels put up all the gewgaws.    Made a good job of it, too.

♦   One of my many casual neuroses is a fear that the tree is going to slide off the roof of the ol’ Jeep as I bring it home.  Every year I look dubiously at the thin strands of twine being strung across the thing higgldy-piggldy by mere kids and wish I’d brought along a set of bungee cords.  Every year I creep along the five or six miles from my church to Port Swiller Manor at the pace of a Florida retiree in a Cadillac on I-95.  And every year my fear is proved misplaced except the one year when I forgot and did my usual bootlegger turn into the driveway.  Dang tree practically took off, sliding down the windshield right in front of me and trying to roll overboard.

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention that when the kid was loading the tree on top of La Wrangler, he asked me how I liked driving her.  I replied enthusiastically, after which he said, “I dunno, it just looks so bad-ass.”

Get that?  What have I been saying all this time?  Robbo is a Bad Boy!

 

♦  Speaking of driving at this time of year, when ol’ Robbo is installed as Emperor, putting a wreath on the grill of your car is gonna cost you a hefty fine.  Putting antlers and a red nose on it is going to constitute a flogging offense.  Just so you know.

♦  I have to admit that this made me violate the No Hot Beverages rule, to my loss.  You’ve been warned.

♦   On a more serious note, here it is Gaudete Sunday already and I don’t feel the slightest bit prepared.   I’d had big plans for this Advent in terms of readings and meditations, but work busyness and a series of domestic fires to put out totally threw them out.  Oh, well.  I’d better get going.

 

Teh Drudge this evening is blaring a headline about Obama complaining of acid reflux:

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama, who had medical tests on Saturday after complaining of a sore throat, is suffering from acid reflux, the president’s physician said.

“The president’s symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly,” Obama’s doctor, Captain Ronny Jackson, said in a statement.

Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach contents flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing such symptoms as heartburn and sore throat.

Obama, 53, went to Walter Reed military hospital for a fiber optic exam of his throat and since swelling was detected, doctors decided to perform a CT scan as well, Jackson said.

“The CT scan was conducted this afternoon purely as a matter of convenience for the President’s schedule. The CT scan was normal,” Jackson added.

Jackson said he recommended Obama go to Walter Reed for the tests after the president complained of suffering from a sore throat over the past couple of weeks.

Jackson did not give any cause for Obama’s case of the illness. There are many risk factors for acid reflux, including smoking, use of alcohol and hiatal hernia, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Most people respond to lifestyle changes and medicines, although many patients need to continue on medication to control their symptoms.

Ol’ Robbo has his very own hiatal hernia and, for the last few years and (presumably) going forward until he croaks, has had to deal with said reflux himself.  My advice? Stick to the Prilosec and otherwise suck it up, because it ain’t going away.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I think I might have seen this one before, but it still makes me laugh:

st nick

I love these memes.  Why not use the tools available to wrestle back images co-opted by the popular culture?

And speaking of the holidays, Mrs. Robbo and I are off later today to the Cathedral to hear the Middle Gel and her mates sing Handel’s Messiah.  Watch this space for my review.

UPDATE:  Sigh…..Have I mentioned lately what it is like to live in a house with three teenaged daughters, especially for someone like ol’ Robbo who values peace, calm and order very highly?

Yes, it’s an open question whether my liver is going to last until we can get them all packed off to college.  And after breaking up an apocalyptic cat-fight over a pair of shoes a while ago (shoes, for all love!), my thought on this Feast of St. Nicholas was RELEASE THE KRAMPUS!

krampus and NicholasWho?

In Germanic countries, St. Nicholas is accompanied by Krampus, an evil spirit or little devil, usually dressed in fur or black with a long tail, and carries a rattling chain, birch branches and a big black bag. In Holland Sinterklass or Sinterklaus leaves from Spain on a boat, accompanied by Black Peter (Piet), his Moor servant. Peter wears animal skins or the traditional medieval Moorish colorful clothing. M December 5, St. Nicholas Eve, is known in some rural areas of Austria as “Krampus Day.” Children and adults go to the village square to throw snowballs and try to chase off Krampus. Other Krampuses lie in wait, rattling their chains and threatening to carry off naughty children in their black bags, or to punish them with their birch branches. All this is done in fun; Krampus’ main purpose is remind the children to be good.

Yes, carrot and stick.  But of course, by today’s standards of raising the precious little snowflakes, it’s almost a hate crime to even hint to them that their bad behavior might have, well, bad consequences.

Grrrrr….

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In case you missed it, here is an example of this year’s War on Christmas from our atheist friends, appearing on billboards in several southern cities:

dear santa

 

Says American Atheists, the group sponsoring the campaign, the billboards are aimed at “in-the-closet atheists who are pressured to observe religious traditions during the holidays.”

Uh, huh.  And why shouldn’t they observe said religious traditions?

“Even children know churches spew absurdity, which is why they don’t want to attend services,” American Atheists President David Silverman said in a statement. “Today’s adults have no obligation to pretend to believe the lies their parents believed. It’s OK to admit that your parents were wrong about God, and it’s definitely OK to tell your children the truth.”

Good! Goooooood! Feel the hate flowing through you!

I don’t think it’s just a product of my imagination that the atheist movement seems to be getting shriller and more punitive over the past few years.  They used to run with the line that, hey, they could be loving and ethical, too, even without all that God stuff.   Now they seem to be ramping up, not just refusing to believe, but calling anybody who does believe a liar and an idiot and downright evil.

In a way, I suppose I can understand them.  As a believer, I am sure and certain in my Faith, but if I am somehow wrong, well, what will happen?  After (hopefully) having led a decent existence in devotion to my Imaginary Friend, I will crumble back into the primordial dust completely ignorant of my error.  So what?

On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that deep within even the most strident of atheists lurks a little, tiny voice that asks what if I’m wrong and God does exist?

That must be terrifying, a tiny yet bitter foretaste of what would be in store for them.  And fear is a huge motivator for lashing out.

Eh, it’s a theory.  (As a matter of fact, many of them probably have felt this way for a long time.  It’s only with the current Progressivist blitz on the culchah that they feel they can come out and actually say so this brazenly.)

As for the billboard itself, two things strike me:

If the little girl is too old for fairy tales, um, why is she writing Santa? (Unless, of course, she’s doing so in edgy, hipster-doofus irony.)

Also, do these folks know that Santa is the “fairy tale” version of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, whose Feast Day is, in fact, tomorrow?  And that not only was St. Nicholas famous for his tremendous generosity, but also a fierce defender of Orthodoxy?  If some smart-assed post-modern kid were to say something like this to the real Nicholas, they’d probably get a worse beat-down than he gave Arius.

Anyhoo, I’ve reached the point in my own development where this sort of thing fills me not so much with anger as with sadness at the pathos.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

My apologies for the thin posting of late, both in number and substance.  I’ve got about half a dozen draft posts queued up, but my Muse seems to have taken a powder and nothing worth reading is coming together.  Heigh, ho.  It’ll pass.

In the meantime, I give you a meme the Eldest Gel showed me this evening that made me laugh quite a bit:

jesus bear

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

And so it begins.  Every year come the day after Thanksgiving,  the local classickal station begins firing up its rotation of Christmas “holiday” musick.

They start mildly enough, slipping the odd carol or tune in just before the top or bottom of the hour nooz blurb from Nihilist Propaganda Radio, but in short order the mix becomes more and more “seasonally” oriented.  By Christmas Eve itself, the theme has taken over completely.  Of course by then, when, you know, Christmas actually starts, one is utterly sick of the stuff.

Along those lines, Ol’ Robbo likes to play a masochistic little game with himself this time of year, seeing just how long he can go on listening to endless repetitions of “Deck the Halls” and “The Holly and The Ivy” plus pure abominations like “If Bach Had Written ‘Jingle Bells'” before he starts frantically clawing through his drawer for a screwdriver with which to puncture his own eardrums.

I usually hold out until about a week before Christmas itself.  At that point, unable to stand any more “I Wonder As I Wander” and “The Dreidel Song”, I start listening exclusively to CDs until it’s all over.

Which it is, with the suddenness of the Last Trump.  Come December 26, again, the second day of the actual twelve day celebration, not a single note of “holiday” musick will you hear on the station.

Which in a way is a relief, but is infuriating because of why it’s such a relief.

Sigh.

Speaking of which, this year I am going to try more than ever to use the word “X-mas” whenever I am discussing the warped, secularized, bowdlerized, hyper-consumerist “holiday” that most people “celebrate” these days and reserve the word “Christmas” for its proper place.  I’m sure lots of folks won’t understand me but I don’t care.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo always has been appalled at the concept of “Black Friday”, the notion that on the day after Thanksgiving  we should “cry ‘Havoc!’ and release the dogs of X-mas shopping!!”

This year, however, it seems to him that things are much worse, in that major chains are advertising that their “Black Friday” sales are going to start on Thanksgiving Day itself.  Is this a thing that’s been going on for a while, or is it new?  (I watch very little commercial teevee so don’t often come in contact with this sort of thing, but I happen to be watching the Ravens/Saints game this evening.  Also saw an Obamacare ad for the first time.  J’eh, right!)

Apart from anything else, do any of these outfits pause to consider what kind of impact such ploys have on their own employees?  Do they stop to consider the poor shlubs  who will have to give up their Thanksgivings in order to go pull a shift?  Do they care?  (Okay, I know the answer to that last one….)

Disgusting.

But then again, that word seems to apply to so much of what passes for the culture these days.

As for myself, I can assure friends of the decanter that I will spend Thanksgiving itself in pure family revelry and  “Black Friday” loafing about in post-revely recovery.  No. Shopping.

 

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