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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over the last couple weeks, teh gels have been descending on teh local malls, ammo’d up with their baby-sitting earnings, allowances and birthday monies, to seek new fall school clothes.  Because they are all their mother’s daughters, Ol’ Robbo has found himself treated to numerous narrations of the details, one might say the painful details, of many of their purchases.

On the one hand, I’m delighted that they seem to be internalizing the basic concepts of math and self interest:   “Dad! This sweater from Macy’s was originally $100! But there was a 70% standing discount, plus a 10% special discount, plus another  get-it-the-hell-out-of-here discount.  I only paid ten bucks for it!”

On the other, I’m rayther appalled at the evident desperation among the retailers on which teh gels are feasting.   How can such things be when Our Betters assure us that the economy is doing just fine and dandy?

The world wonders.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo, on his daily commute in and out of Your Nation’s Capital, can’t help noticing that the bumper stickers reading “Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism” and “Question Authority” that were so very popular ’round here, oooh, about six years ago, seem to have vanished completely from the back bumpers of teh Volvos, Priuses (Priii?) and weirdo-box abominations that they formerly had graced with such, ah, liberality.

Funny, that.

Go figure.

Just saying.

UPDATE:  Speaking of bumper stickers, I find this one pretty damned funny:


I’m considering putting it on my own bumper, and why not?  I haven’t yet had my tires shot out for sporting a Vatican flag, so how could this be any worse?


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The latest “Weird” Al Yankovich bit-o’-silly is making its way around the Innertoobs.  I repost it here for those of you (yes, Mothe, I’m looking at you) who haven’t seen it elsewhere already.  Enjoy!


I gather this is a parody of some other song (as most of Big Weird Al’s stuff is), but I don’t know the other song so that part is lost on me.   Nonetheless,  I find the piece amusing because by today’s sub-sea level standards of literacy ol’ Robbo is considered something of a Grammar Nazi and it is, if you will, musick to my ears.

It’s really rayther horrifying when you think about it.  The basic rules touched on by Al are the sort of thing one was expected to master in grammar school just a generation ago.  (Personally, I adored sentence diagrams.)  These days?  Cor lumme, stone the crows!  I work with other lawyers, holders of graduate degrees who depend on their literacy for their livelihoods.  Nevertheless, again and again and again I find myself having to detangle badly-written documents – everything from emails to court pleadings to peer-reviewed academic studies.  Indeed, I’ve actually developed an informal office consulting practice, as several of my colleagues routinely send me drafts of their work product and ask me to look them over.

Well, that’s “Progress” for you.

Oh, and speaking of past generations and grammatical education for the masses, let me just point out that many, many of the grammar ditties from the Schoolhouse Rock series aired on Saturday mornings during Robbo’s misspent yoot are still tattooed to his brain.  Let’s jump in the Wayback Machine and enjoy one of Robbo’s favorites, shall we?



UPDATE:   Thinking further on on the subject of SHR, I’m reminded of a different, non-grammar-themed one that I don’t actually recall ever seeing when I was a kid, but which certainly seems apropos today:


UPDATE DEUX:  Oh, I forgot to mention this bit o’vanity.  The fellah in the “Conjunction Junction” song pronounces “either” and “neither” as “ee-ther” and “nee-ther“.  One of my affectations developed a long time ago was to adopt the Hanovarian pronunciations of “eye-ther” and “nye-ther“.   Pretentious? Moi?




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has finally had enough.  He has tried for a long time to stifle his sensibilities, to bite his tongue, to be tolerant and to otherwise keep his head down and not rock the boat, but he simply can’t stand to see such decadence, debauchery and moral anarchy anymore:

Yes, I’m talking about marzipan. The word is NOT pronounced, “MAR-ZEE-pan“, dammit.  It’s “MAR-zə-pan“.

Oh, I know that as soon as I hit the “publish” button I’m going to be inundated with insults, threats and howls of outrage from the tiny but very vocal “Pro-Zee” crowd.  There’ll be Facebook rants, boycotts, petitions for my banning from these Innertoobs and, probably, even hate-crime prosecution.  I’ll become a hissing and a byword, just one more example of the eeeeevil, reactionary haters that must be expunged from Society before the Brave New World can properly get down to business.

But you know what?  Truth is Truth and even where Right becomes unfashionable, it’s still Right.  If I must needs go to the gallows or the wall for it, I will.

Vive le Schwa! 

seven elevenGreetings, my fellow port swillers!  And happy Feast of the Overpriced Convenience Store!

Sorry about the dearth of posties this week – it may be that ol’ Robbo’s brain has passed into the doldrums as it so often does this time of year.  At any rate, here are a few odds and ends to make up for it.

♦  I took advantage of a day off from work today to get an early start on my weekend yard work, my main task being to slap a coat of wood sealant on the inside surfaces of the porch posts.  (The outer surfaces are faced by some kind of weatherproof poly stuff but the other three are bare PTL.  They’ve been up for almost a year now and are nice and seasoned.)  For about 30 seconds or so I flirted with the idea of maybe staining them, but at the last regained my sanity and went with a clear sealant with a light gloss instead.   It turned out to be a much easier and faster job than I had originally feared, as I found I could easily get around the railing and other edges without all that tedious taping up biznay.

♦   While I was going about my task, I noticed something I had not known before:  A woodchuck will climb a chicken wire fence if it’s feeling greedy enough.

♦  The middle gel sang at a funeral down the Cathedral this morning for a woman whose son had himself been a chorister there many years ago and thought it would be a fitting thing for her, if any of the current crop were available and interested.  About a week ago, therefore, a request for volunteers went out and the gel, being the kind of gel she is, stepped up along with two or three others.  They sang Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire.  I thought the gesture was really very, very sweet.

♦  One of Mrs. Robbo’s nieces is flying down from Baahston on Monday to spend a week with us and see the sights.  Yesterday, Mrs. R’s sistah sent her a copy of the gel’s plane ticket, on which Mrs. R noticed that her sistah had paid for two checked bags.  Mrs. R immediately got on the phone and said, “Look, I don’t do checked bags.  We’ve got a washing machine and, in an emergency, the gel can borrow whatever she might need from my lot.  Carry-on only.”  I thought that very amusing.

♦  Speaking of gels, within the past month or two, I have heard several very different women in very different geographical locations using the phrase, “get her big girl pants on” or “get her big girl britches on”.  Is this a thing?  It must have some common source, but I work so hard to disassociate myself from pop “culchah” that I just don’t know what this might be.

♦  And speaking of hearing things, one of the most chilling things I’ve heard in recent memory was a colleague of mine down the office this week using the expression “Brave New World” without irony.   Telephone call for Gods of the Copybook Headings.  Will the Gods of the Copybook Headings please pick up the white courtesy phone.  Thank you.

♦  Finally, speaking of Kipling, I am deep into P.C. Wren’s Beau Geste for the very first time.  I won’t review it here since I’m not done but I will say that I’m enjoying it very, very much.

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!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As ol’ Robbo made his way into the heart of Your Nation’s Capital this morning, he couldn’t help noticing that the security measures for this year’s Fourth of July celebrations had already started to be put in place.  The National Mall was absolutely swathed in chain-link fences and concrete barriers.

It struck me as ironic that the celebration of a holiday purported to be dedicated to the spirit of freedom and independence should involve turning the heart of Your Nation’s Capital into an open-air detention center.  Of course, what I saw was simply the hardware.  I can’t imagine the effect of these positions being fully manned by armed personnel, because I have no intention of being within miles of the place during the actual festivities.

If you detect a whiff of cynicism here, you aren’t far wrong because, mulling on the metaphoric value of this observation, it further struck me to wonder why on earth, given the current state of things, we even bother to celebrate the holiday any longer.   Sure, the fireworks and the cannon and the Sousa musick are all swell, but we seem to have forgotten the underlying values that they are supposed to be celebrating.



world endGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening, per the recommendation of one of you lot, ol’ Robbo sat down to watch The World’s End.

Somehow or other it had completely escaped me that this film was made by Edgar Wright, the same fellah who did Shaun of the Dead (which is also in my Netflix queue).  So I really didn’t know what to expect.

The set-up was fairly straightforward:  20 years after their graduation from school,  Gary King (Earth’s nearest equivalent to Zaphod Beeblebrox) reassembles his now respectable and prosperous mates to re-attempt an epic pub-crawl that they had failed to finish in their yoot in the sleepy little English town where they went to school.

Somehow or other, I thought this was just going to be a British buddy-romp, with lots of hijinks and the obligatory re-bonding/closure of long-supressed issues thrown in.

Which it was – and enjoyably so, I might add – until it suddenly – or as the MSM likes to say of bad economic news these days, unexpectedly – turned into Westworld, or perhaps The Stepford Hipsters.  Anyway, there were robots.  Lots of ‘em.  Not that these other themes  disappeared, mind you.  Rayther, they continued to work themselves out while at the same time the protagonists were getting chased about by alien-crafted robots in a lead up to the Apocalypse.  Or something.

I think that if I were about twenty or thirty years younger than I am, this genre probably would appeal to me a lot more than it does.  ( I hit the big 5-0 in January.)   Fact of the matter is that while I find I can remain loyal to teh SciFy of my misspent yoot (which see the gratuitous Zaphod reference above),  I really can’t find much enthusiasm for things I’m seeing for the first time now that I’m older. (The single exception to this is Firefly, which I only got into about four years ago, but is really more of a space western than anything else.)

So I thank whoever recommended this film.  I still intend to watch Shaun, and maybe it will be different because I already know it involves zombies.  But I have to say that The End of the World didn’t really rock mine.

Call it two bumpers out of five, but remember that I’m rapidly becoming that grumpy old coot telling the kids to git off’n my lawn.

Next up (although not tonight, because I’m going to watch my beloved Nats WITH the return of Bryce Harper), In A World, the story of a girl trying to break into the movie-trailer voice-over racket in the shadow of her highly-successful father.   I hope it doesn’t get too Gawd-help-us.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s memory may be a bit fuzzy, of course, but I simply don’t recall this much ballyhoo in the MSM during the last World Cup.  Of course I understand that it’s long been a pipe dream of the Sports-Industrial Complex and its hangers-on to get soccer really well established in this country and the Cup represents a fresh opportunity to make it a Thing.  But I also can’t help wondering if there isn’t a certain amount of “SQUIRREL!” attached to this year’s pitch:  Yeah, the Middle East is in flames, the Russian Bear is on the loose, the economy is flat-lining, the border is being tsunami’d and the Constitution is being used as t-paper by Certain Persons, but how ’bout them gutsy Americans making it to the knock-out round? GOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!!!

Per my post below, call it “Starbucks and Fútbol”.

As regular friends of the decanter know, ol’ Robbo does not care to be hustled by the so-called popular cultchah.  He tends to flat his ears back and dig in his heels.  Whelp, I’m a-flatten’ and a-diggin’ on this one.

Anyhoo, I’ve always found the sport, except when it was being played by teh gels, to be excruciatingly dull.   (True, I enjoy George MacDonald Fraser’s descriptions of fit’bah matches in the McAuslan stories, but  that’s because of the way he tells them.  The man could describe paint drying and make it seem hy-larious.)   Yes, I’m well aware that there’s a tremendous amount of skill and strategy that go into it, but, well, it still bores me.  So there.

Also, now that it’s being enthused over by hipster-doofus Euro-weenie wannabies of the kind who also love electric cars, free-range veggies, the United Nations and post-Christian social mores?  I dislike it even more.

Indeed, there’s only one match that ever really made a significant impression on the so-called braim of Robbo:


N’yar, Jim-lad!

So that’s that.  Now if you will excuse me, ol’ Robbo is off to watch a Real American Game, hoping his beloved Nationals will thrash the Cubbies this evening up to Wrigley.

* A riff on a long-standing entry in the Port Swiller Family lexicon.  Go here for the original.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, after the Washington Redskins kerfluffle that made the nooz last week, I wasn’t especially surprised to see this headline this afternoon:  Native American group planning $9 billion lawsuit against the [Cleveland] Indians.  According to the article, an outfit called “People Not Mascots” objects both to the “Indians” name as well as to the team mascot, Chief Wahoo.  “We’re going to be asking for $9 billion and we’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” [group leader Robert] Roche told WEWS-TV. “It’s been offensive since day one. We are not mascots.  My children are not mascots.  We are people.”  


All I can say is that if we are now going to subject our sports teams’ mascots to a general purge based on offensensitivity, can we make sure and include this one?  It gives me an unhappy:

Phanaticus Delenda Est

Phanaticus Delenda Est














Of course, this sort of thing is making headlines at the moment because Lefty bullying is in fashion and because the MSM is in full “SQUIRREL!!” mode trying to attract Low Information Voter attention away from the truly appalling foreign, domestic and, yes dammit, Constitutional crises in which we find ourselves.  (I was trying the other evening to find an apropos equivalent to “Bread and Circuses”. The best I could come up with was “Smoothies and Kardashians”.  You might have better luck.)

In the end, though, I doubt if much comes out of any of it.  (The threatened suit, I mean.)  The Press will spot some other squirrel and the matter will be quietly dropped.  Either that or we will be fighting each other over $1000 loaves of bread or fleeing “dirty” bomb terrorist attacks and won’t have time to think about it.

Nonetheless, just to hedge my bet, I nipped over to the devil’s website and bought a copy of “Major League” this evening.  You know, just in case the film is suddenly disappeared.


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