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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.

 

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!

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 hopes that all friends of the decanter had a very good Thanksgiving, that you continue to enjoy your revels over the weekend and that your favorite teams are all winning.  (My nephew tried to explain to me the intricacies of the new college football playoff scheme, but I couldn’t quite take them in.  IMHO, it seems a bad idea.)

The Port Swiller Brother and I spent a very pleasant afternoon yesterday tramping about North Carolina’s Stone Mountain State Park.  The park is named for this particular height:

http://
(Pic thanks to of TripAdvisor
)

It’s a 600 foot granite eminence, the result of a huge subterranean outburst of magma eventually cooling and being exposed through millennia of erosion.  You can get to the top either via a very steep ascent on the left or via a more leisurely path snaking up on the right and behind.  After doing a circuit of lookouts on a lesser hill across the way, we hiked up Stone Mountain by the former and went down by the latter, pausing at the top for a rest, a view and the best apple I’ve ever eaten.

You can see that the top is rayther rounded and curves down a fair bit before finally dropping off sheer.  Because the curve itself is steep (along the lines of a roof-top), the effect of looking down on somebody below you is that they appear far closer to the drop than they actually are.

As we sat admiring the view and catching our breath, some people came out of the trees in front of the more leisurely path, a couple and their teenaged daughter.  The first I was aware of them was when I heard the fellah say, “Don’t go any farther than that bush, now.”  (The bush was about 20 yards down from where we were sitting.)

While the daughter held back, the woman completely ignored him and started walking down the slope.

Don’t go any farther than that bush, I said,” he said.

She kept walking.

The more he told her to hold up, the farther she kept going.

Finally, when she was about 30 yards past the bush and looked from where we sat like she was standing on the very brink, she turned about and started dancing and laughing and taunting him.

The fellah had reluctantly kept moving down himself, finally stopping about 10 yards short.  I didn’t get all they said to each other, except that she kept laughing and at one point I heard him say, “I am, too, adventurous!”

All this time I had been getting rayther nervous myself, especially as it was all I could do to keep my own acrophobia in check.   When I realized what she was playing at, I found myself sympathetically angry on the part of her husband and thought to myself, “Self, if that was my wife playing the fool like that and making me look foolish in public, I’d take her home, put her over my knee and giver her a right good spanking!”

A few seconds later, I suddenly thought, “Oooohhhhhh…….”

 

Well, per my post immediately below, that’s done for today.  About a six hour job altogether.

Mrs. R asks why I don’t just hire somebody to clean up the leaves.  No doubt I will someday when I’m old and feeble, but while I still have my strength I believe this to be one of those things I ought to do myself.  For one thing, there’s the exercise.  For another, there’s the satisfaction of comparing before and after and knowing that I was personally responsible for causing the change.

Besides, today was bright and cool but not cold, the leaves were dry and easy to move, and it was nice to have an excuse to be outside pottering about.  My attitude admittedly might be somewhat different were the weather soggy and frigid, as happens from time to time.

Oh, and I may not have mentioned it before but we had a pretty “meh” foliage season this year.

By the way, as I shlepped up and down the hill with my tarp full of leaves, I found myself continuously mulling over this article I picked up over at the Puppy-Blender’s this morning:  Colleges struggle with protecting students without being accused of victim-blaming.   All I can say is that if we have slid so far into the pit of cultural infantilism that simple common sense is not only abandoned but is considered outright evil, then we’re in a whooooooole heap of trouble.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

There has been an usual amount of lobbying this year among teh Gels to decorate the exterior of Port Swiller Manor with lights and whatnot apropos of the Season (which, this year, seems to have started a couple days after July the 4th)

Fact of the matter is that, as I explained to them yet again,  Ol’ Robbo doesn’t do exterior lights or other fancies.  As far as he’s concerned, when the purple Advent ribbons are switched out on the front door wreaths for the red Christmas ones on Christmas Eve, his outward celebratory sign work is done.

This did not go over well.  Indeed, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To which I replied, “Look, when you are all grown up and have your own homes, you can decorate it for the holidays (or for any other reason) however you wish.  Until then?  Shut it.”

Hey, that’s me – Mr. Sensitivity.

Mrs. Robbo wants to string up some lights around the back porch ceiling this year.  As to that, I’m less inclined to kick, largely because – even though we plan to host one or more holiday shindigs this year, I doubt fairly seriously whether anyone is going to want to venture out there, what with ManBearPig bringing the freeze and all.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has been down the past couple days with a bout of the ‘flu.  This has become a sort of annual drama here at Port Swiller Manor.  First, Mrs. R badgers me about getting a flu shot.  I resist because I don’t like shots.  Then, when I get the ‘flu, instead of nursing me back to health she badgers me even more about why I didn’t listen to her in the first place.

Heigh-ho.

Well, it may or may not be because of the ‘flu, but ol’ Robbo had one of his extremely rare dream-within-a-dream specials last night.  (I can only recall having maybe two or three of these before.)  In the first part, I dreamt we had some additions built on to Port Swiller Manor.  When we came to view the work, we discovered that the contractor had gone far, far beyond what we were expecting.  I found myself standing in a vast room of cherry wood floors, enormous bookcases, a ceiling far overheard, deep windows and a marble fireplace at one end.  Mrs. R and I were both pleased and puzzled and took the attitude that, so long as we weren’t actually paying more money than we had agreed to, then we wouldn’t complain about the result.

Then I “woke up” and found myself in what I thought was my real house.  It was cramped and low and made of plywood and bare sheetrock.  As I looked about, I saw the shoddiness of the “real” job the contractors did:  Everything out of plumb, cracks and crevasses everywhere and an ominous bowing in the floor.  Indeed, even as I watched, a sofa suddenly collapsed down through said floor, punching another hole in the floor immediately beneath and eventually crashing into the basement.

And with that, I finally really woke up.

Then I dreamt that I found out the Middle Gel was dating a 20 y.o. guy.  When I confronted her about it, she tried to talk me round, showing me a picture of him on her cell phone.  He looked a total brute.  I told her to break it off immediately and she went away in tears.  Somehow or other, I then became aware that she had snuck off with said fellah to some kind of SciFy convention.  I hurried there and found myself running in endless circles between a large auditorium and a foyer crammed with people in weird costumes milling about, standing in long lines and interviewing each other, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.

What do you think?  Too much Nyquil?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I draw your attention to a very good article by Jonah Goldberg from yesterday on the transformation of the idea of “integrity” from the pursuit of Objective Good to the pursuit of Whatever Floats Yer Boat.  Money graff:

Such saccharine codswallop overturns millennia of moral teaching. It takes the idea that we must apply reason to nature and our consciences in order to discover what is moral and replaces it with the idea that if it feels right, just do it, baby. Which, by the by, is exactly how Lex Luthor sees the world. Übermenschy passion is now everyone’s lodestar. As Reese Witherspoon says in Legally Blonde, “On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise professor quoted Aristotle: ‘The law is reason free from passion.’ Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life.” Well, that solves that. Nietzsche-Witherspoon 1, Aristotle 0.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

The G-Man talks a lot about Nietzsche, and undoubtedly the latter is one of the main culprits (along with Freud) to provide  ersatz intellectual cover for this attitude, but the Storm Troopers who actually took it out of the faculty lounges and imposed it on the culture at large in practical form were the goddam Baby Boomers, who for the last forty years have held the high ground in academia, politicks and popular media.  As a matter of fact, the “Newseum” in Dee Cee currently is running a self-congradulatory exhibition of portraits entitled “The Boomer List”, consisting of nineteen photos of prominent Boomers, one from each year of the era.  With the exception of 1959’s Ronnie Lott, who so far as I know is a blameless and decent man who was an excellent football player, the lot of them fill me with contempt. (Yes, yes, I know that some of you are of that generation – I only missed it by less than a month myself.  But I’m guessing that most friends of the decanter constitute the exception to the rule.)

When I look about me at the level of rot and debasement to which these people have brought us, all in pursuit of their own selfish, hedonistic ends, I begin to twitch and foam at the mouth.  (It’s everywhere, but Goldberg illustrates his point primarily through cable teevee series.  He mentions “Dexter”, the gratuitous slasher show about a homicidal maniac who’s actually okay because, get this, he only kills other homicidal maniacs, do you see?  Mrs. Robbo started watching that series early on, but after a few episodes I asked her – as a personal favor to me – to stop.  She did.)

See, this is the thing:  If these people acted the way they do in an isolation chamber, I’d be much more inclined simply to dismiss them.  Perhaps sorrowfully, if I thought about it, but still – I’d probably chuckle in the same way that I do while perusing The Darwin Awards.  However, it’s the effect they have had and are having on the world in which my children and their children will have to live that so enrages me.  (I have taken to using the adjective “soul-destroying” recently to describe things and ideas I want them to stay away from.  List seems to be getting longer all the time.)  Furthermore, not only are teh gels finding and having to deal with the fact that the traditional morality they’ve been taught at home all these years doesn’t seem to jibe with what they find on the Outside, where they are considered weirdos or even Haters, there’s also the fact that this Übermenschy worldview, when put in practice, simply is unsustainable as a whole over more than a few years.  Here’s some more from Jonah:

How’s this new morality going to work out for us all? I’m reminded of the time when an entrepreneur announced he was going to release a new line of beer laced with Viagra. Some wag immediately quipped, “What could possibly go wrong?” Which is pretty much where we are today. It’s impossible to predict what Integrity 2.0 will yield — because no society in the history of Western civilization has so energetically and deliberately torn down its classical ideal and replaced it with do-it-yourself morality. But a betting man would probably wager that this won’t end well.

I suspect that before long we’ll be pining for the good old days, when, no matter how often people failed to uphold the standards of integrity, those standards actually meant something.

Yep.   God help us all.

RaceAnd nicely apropos, I just became aware of a new book by one of my favorite authors, John Zmirak (along with Jason Scott Jones) entitled The Race to Save Our Century:  Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom and a Culture of Life.  Sayeth the ad copy:

In The Race to Save Our Century, human rights activist Jason Jones and political/economic scholar John Zmirak, combine to issue a stark warning to the West, and to call on readers to embrace and promote five core principles of a Culture of Life: . The innate dignity of every human person, regardless of race, age, or handicap. . The existence of a transcendent moral order, by which we judge the justice of all laws and policies. The need for a humane economy that embraces freedom in a context of social responsibility. . The crucial importance of decentralized, responsive government that preserves civil society and freedom. . The need for solidarity, for a sense of fellow feeling and common obligation toward each and every member of the human race.

I’ve just now ordered a copy from the devil’s website and will let you know what I think of it.

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