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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Prompted by catching AMC’s umpteenth re-showing of Braveheart t’other evening, ol’ Robbo started to write a post on the predictability of Mel Gibson movie characters, but after re-reading the draft, I decided that my insights were so bloody obvious that they would insult the collective intelligence of my fellow port swillers. So consider yourselves spared.
In keeping with the theme of big-budget 90′s historickal beefcake films, however, I will note instead that, following up on my recent re-enjoyment of Francis Parkman’s history of French and British colonial history in North America, I’ve chucked Last of the Mohicans into the ol’ Netflix queue again.
Friends of the decanter might be puzzled by this. After all, said movie makes a complete hash of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel – the wrong couples get together, the wrong characters live and die and the movie’s Major Hayward is teleported in from the Bearded-Spock Universe – and we all know what Robbo thinks of movie bowderlizations of cherished books. (Peter Jackson, for example, is going straight to hell.)
So how can I watch this one? The key word here is “cherished”. I’ve never understood why Cooper enjoys the literary status that he does, or anyway did back in the day when more young people still knew how to read. His books, at least to me, are long-winded, pompous, condescending and heavy-handed. And, as Mark Twain famously noted, as a limousine liberal of his day, Cooper not only was a poor writer, he also didn’t know what the hell he was talking about when it came to stories of the wild. Frankly, I struggled through LOTM and I positively gave up on his Wing and Wing after a couple chapters despite the fact that it was a sea-story. So it simply doesn’t bother me much that his tale of Natty Bumppo is so thoroughly mangled by the film.
Well, there is one part that bothers me: Col. Munro, the real one, was not killed in the massacre at Fort William-Henry by Magwa or anyone else. He actually died some months later, apparently from exhaustion. And I recall that the movie downplays the fact that many of those murdered and carried away by Montcalm’s Indian allies were women and children.
Nonetheless, the movie is gorgeously filmed (although I believe at least some of the scenes were shot in the Blue Ridge near Roanoke instead of the Adirondacks ), there’s plenty of action and a lot of the period (circa 1757) detail is pretty good. And for some reason, Robbo’s beloved Nationals have adopted its score as the “theme” musick at the beginning of their home games. Kinda gets to you after a while.
Oh, may I also note here in reference to the pic above that I absolutely love N.C. Wyeth’s work? Sure, the man was but an illustrator, but he carried illustration to a sublime level. I’d take ol’ N.C. over a legion of “abstract” artistes any day.
**Spot the reference.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Well, this afternoon ol’ Robbo and the youngest gel attended the annual little league softball tryouts (indoors, I hasten to add). She’s hoping – and likely – to be drafted into the majors this spring. Meanwhile, the eldest gel will be playing in a senior (13-16 y.o.) league and the middle gel will be playing for her school team.
Aaaaaand in the Show, pitchers and catchers report this week.
Despite the fact that we got a dusting of snow this afternoon with more forecast for the middle of the week, I don’t think it’s too early to get excited, do you?
Somehow I’d never noticed it before, but this time around when Ferris, Cam and Sloane are at Wrigley Field? While Ferris and Cam are kvetching about broken thumbs and school attendance, Sloane has got….a scorebook across her lap. In other words, not only is she shmokin’…..she knows how to keep score.
We. Are. Not. Worthy.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
I think Mrs. Robbo has some vague notion that to commemorate Dr. King’s birth, I’m going to spend the afternoon painting the upstairs hall. Silly Mrs. R!
Just got home from teh grocery store. We’re expecting maybe half a foot of snow tomorrow, so the place was mobbed with panicky shoppers stocking up on T.P., batteries, bottled water and candles. Ol’ Robbo drifted up and down the aisles with a gentle smile on his face: I love this local tradition. Indeed, it was in honor of it that I originally coined the phrase “Storm of the Century of the Week”.
The gels, even while enjoying today off from school, are, needless to say, already calculating the odds of bagging a snow day tomorrow. Lazy slugs. This is why we’re losing the Republic. In case the power goes out, the Port Swiller Manor larder is stocked with plenty of cans of Spaghetti-O’s, ravioli and other range-top provisions. When the Middle Gel informed me this morning that she has “issues” with products like these, I simply replied that she could look forward to a slow and agonizing death by starvation then.
Not that I much follow pro football anymore, but it gladdened my heart to see New England eliminated yesterday. I have long noticed that Bahston sports fans don’t handle success very well. When the Sawx or the Pats are down, said fans are suitably humble and respectful. Give them victory, however, and they turn into super king kamaya-maya Massholes. Same thing with the teams themselves. And I especially think that Tom Brady is an arrogant prick.
Anyhoo, it is a tradition watch the actual Sooper Bowl at Port Swiller Manor. I suppose I’ll be rooting for the Broncos, in part because I like Peyton Manning, in part because I dislike the Seahawks. And why do I dislike them, you may ask? Well, I will tell you: In January 2000, when Robbo was still following the Dolphins, they played their hearts out to come from behind and beat Seattle in the wildcard. The next week, they were still so exhausted by the effort that they got absolutely thrashed by Jacksonville by a score of 62-7. That thrashing was the great Dan Marino’s last ball game before he retired and I’ve always been saddened that he should end his career on such a down note. I lay the blame at the feet of the Seahawks.
Well, teh gels are off to see “Frozen” again this afternoon, so ol’ Robbo is going to make himself a cup of tea and settle down to read about the Jesuit martyrs in Canada. Speaking of movies, I am proud to say that I have not seen a single one on the list of Oscar nominees this year and have no interest in doing so. Indeed, I’ve never even heard of half of them. My contempt for so-called “popular culchah” grows ever deeper as I get older.
But then again, if you’re a regular friend of teh decanter, you already knew that. Cheers!
Ol’ Robbo was delighted to see this afternoon that his beloved Nationals had signed five key players to short-term deals, thereby avoiding arbitration. This leaves only two others – pitchers Fister and Clippard – who need to be taken care of, and I’ll bet that happens very soon. (We just picked up Fister from the Tigers – a brilliant move, and Clip is invaluable in the 7th inning. The Nats would be idiots to let either go.)
With just under a month before pitchers and catchers report, it is, of course, waaaaay too early to prognosticate about the 2014 season, but I have to admit that I can feel teh excitement rising already. The core of last year’s team is returning intact, we’ve made some major upgrades to our rotation, bullpen and bench, and nobody else in the Division looks to be on the same trajectory as us. (Teh Braves have, I think, reached maximum altitude and will fade. Phils, Mets and Marlins? Feh.)
Of course, we still need some moar bench depth and bullpen firepower and to sort out the fifth pitcher’s spot. Also, things always “happen” during Spring Training. So as I say, predictions are premature. But the main wildcard in Robbo’s mind at this point is the fact that we have a new manager this year, Matt Williams. Not only is he a new manager to us, this is in fact his first job skippering in the Majors. How will he handle it? How will he mesh with the guys and with the Lerners?
Given these unknowns, from what little I know about the biznay of baseball it strikes me that this raft of short-term deals makes even more sense. Why tie anyone down long-term until you know what the chemistry is going to be?
Anyhoo, we shall see what we shall see. I confess that I didn’t attend a single game in person last season (although I watched the majority of them on teevee), but I intend to rectify that dearth this year. In the meantime, what can I say except
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.
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!
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!
Yep, your host finds himself still kicking his heels this Monday morning, waiting for Uncle to unlock the doors and switch the lights back on. I hope things get resolved sooner than later. Among other reasons, Mrs. R is starting to get that honey-do look in her eyes when she catches me lounging in the hammock.
So a few odds and ends to while away the time:
♦ Ol’ Robbo got into an almost-fender-bender this morning coming home from dropping off teh elder gels at school. A doofus (with, naturally, Murr’land plates) stuck in the left lane behind a bus waiting to turn, decided to go around him to the right, cutting over just as I was coming up past him. Fortunately, I spotted him just in time and was able to jam on my brakes and get over toward teh curb. The result was that his front bumper just grazed my driver-side door. I leaned out and inspected the contact, looked up and gave the guy a very poisonous look while mouthing “Thank you, ya jack-wagon”, and drove away. Somebody told me that driving in Dee Cee results in an average of one accident every four years. Perhaps this was mine for the foreseeable future.
♦ I am convinced that my wisteria are related to Tolkien’s Huorns. They have reached out their tendrils and snagged the throttle control on my lawnmower so many times that it must be deliberate. They also delight in tangling my weed-whacker.
♦ Speaking of the garden, every year about midsummer, I say to myself, “Self, you really need to dig up and divide the peonies this fall.” And every year come fall, I say to myself, “Aw, the heck with it. Maybe next year.”
♦ At least this year I have some plausible excuse. What an odd October weather-wise it’s been in the environs of Port Swiller Manor. After a very cool August and September, the temperatures this past week have been right up near 90. It’s all changing today, however, as a front blows through, bringing heavy rain and more seasonal air.
♦ There is still a good deal of enmity between our elder cat and the two new kittehs. In general, they all try to avoid each other, Bella spending most of her days in the basement and the younglings playing about upstairs. When they do meet, they keep a weather eye on each other. We are down to about one or two screeching dustups per day, which usually come when Bella stumbles across one of teh kittehs unexpectedly.
♦ I notice that I have not said anything about my beloved Nationals since their season ended. The bad news, of course, is that we didn’t live up to the pre-season “World Series or Bust” hype (including my own hype) this year. The good news is that, despite all the heartache, we did win only twelve fewer games this year than last. We’ll get ‘em next time.
♦ Speaking of such things, the eldest gel is playing in a senior girl’s softball league this fall and ol’ Robbo is acting again as one of the coaches. The girls in this league range between 13 and 16, and some of the pitchers can deliver the ball very, very hard. T’other day I got tagged to help our ace warm up. Without any kind of padding or protection other than a strategically-placed knee, I found myself catching bullets. It was quite unnerving.
♦ Oh, and today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, fought in 1571. Make sure and sink one of the Sultan’s galleys today by way of commemoration.
Ol’ Robbo is posting this evening right on the heals of a glorious double-header sweep today by his beloved Nationals of the cursed and politically incorrect Atlanta Braves.
As of this moment, although the numbers are not likely to hold, the Nats are only four games behind the Reds for the second NL wild card spot, with (I believe) eleven games to go. Eh, although I have no doubts whatsoever that these last two weeks are going to be about as impossible as hitting a small, ray-shielded exhaust port right above the main port, I’m still all in for the attack run, repeatedly chanting to myself, “Use the Force, Davy! Use the Force!” (I decline to provide the allusion-explaining link here. Some of you will get it. Others will not. I. Am not. A Geek.)
I will say this: Robbo’s beloved Nats, although sputtering through much of the first two thirds of the season, have come on some kind of strong lately. And even if the Imperial post-season race math defeats them in the end, so far as I’m concerned, they have nothing to be ashamed of this season. Well, except starting out so slowly.
Anyhoo, whatever happens, happens. I didn’t mean this to be a Nats booster post per se (although it certainly can count for that).
No, what I really wanted to do was to restate one of Robbo’s Iron Rules: Anyone who thinks baseball is a boring game is, to quote Jimmy Rabbitte, a fookin’ eedjit.
Thus and no farther. It’s too late in the evening to elaborate in any way that will do justice. All I know is that every single pitch by both teams in these games, plus the 3-D chess offensive and defensive strategies of both clubs associated with them, causes ol’ Robbo’s stomach ulcer to get just a leetle bit bigger.
It’s painful, but it’s deliciously painful.
Oh, and while I’m baseball blogging, what other way can I round things off than by saying,