Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

What with the July 4th holiday (and I hope yours were enjoyable), friends of the decanter will have noticed that Ol’ Robbo didn’t stick to his usual weekend posting habits.

Well, if you’re like me, you probably hate disruption and disorder with the heat of a thousand suns.  So to provide some solace, allow me to offer up a condensed version of what I otherwise would have written:

Saturday Gardening Post – The butterfly bush are starting to open up.  They’ll be the centerpiece of the Port Swiller Manor back garden from here until frost if I don’t let the insidious morning-glory swamp them.  I still haven’t seen all that many butterflies yet, but I expect that will change shortly.  (The sight of fifteen or twenty tiger swallowtails at a time flitting about over the bushes has always been my argument to Mrs. R why we should have them in the first place.)

Sunday Go-To-Meeting Post – Those of you who fear the Church has forgot how to be Militant would have been comforted by our guest-padre yesterday.  He let go a stem-winder of a homily damning and blasting post-modernism (including within the Church herself) as rebellion against the Ten Commandments and the Laws of Nature and referred to those seeking to undermine American fundamentals as “neo-Marxist barbarian gangs”.

Random Commuter Observations – Usually by this time of year Ol’ Robbo is complaining of the chronic heat exhaustion that results from his summah commuting in an A/C-less jeep.  At least the lockdown has kyboshed that for the foreseeable future.  (In fact, I haven’t even filled up my gas tank since early March.)  On the other hand, I finally had to admit today that with this week’s arrival of the hot n’ sticky, I have to move my workspace off the porch and back down into the basement.  Heigh ho.

So there you have it.  Enjoy!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Independence Day!

I suppose it’s the recent noisy outbursts of those now openly advocating the complete destruction of our national identity and its replacement with some sort of Year One Brave New World Order that have caused the mind of Ol’ Robbo to refocus on what the United States of America really is.   And it seems to him that compared with any other society on this or any other continent in the history of the entire planet, the answer is that it is something not far short of a miracle.

Have mistakes been made? Have genuinely evil things been done?  Is there still much room for improvement?  Absolutely.  And we should learn from those mistakes, reject those evils, and always be on the lookout for ways to make ourselves better.  But the perfect must never be made the enemy of the good.  And when you step back and consider that the Founding Fathers, warts and all, nonetheless forged a system of government based on the consent of the governed and protection of the inalienable, God-given rights of the individual, ideas, so far as I am aware, not put into practice anywhere else in the world before, and when you consider the actual good that has come out of this in terms of the raising of millions and millions of people to peace and prosperity, well, as I say, it kinda takes one’s breath away.  (How’s that for a Jamesian sentence structure, by the bye?)

Anyhoo, be of good cheer.  Ol’ Robbo has had to talk one or two people off the ledge in recent weeks.  The times certainly seem crazy, especially if you pay any attention to the MSM or social media, but I don’t think they’re quite as crazy as all that.  And somehow I think America will weather them.

In the meantime, have a Happy 4th!  Have some adult beverages, let loose a few fireworks, and celebrate our collective birthday!

UPDATED:  Mission accomplished!  We went over to some friends’ house, the first time Ol’ Robbo has been social in months and months (not that I am much anyway).  There we had the aforementioned adult beverages, hamburgers, hotdogs, and all good things.  Lots and lots of fireworks were shot off in the neighborhood.  There was a bit more talking-off-the-ledge among the adults, but the kids had a fine old time, with the younger gels playing beer-pong with our friends’ college-aged sons and their chums (all under the benign yet watchful eye of Ol’ Robbo, I can assure you).   Good times, good times.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

My apologies for the lack of posting this week.  Ol’ Robbo has been rayther busy, both in his other on-line alternate reality (that is, at his job) as well as in meatspace.  (Which see below.)  But here we are now.

Yesterday was the start of Ol’ Robbo’s long holiday weekend.  And what better way to begin the celebration of the birth of Our Great Nation than to subject the Port Swiller Manor back porch to its annual scrubbing? Yes!

I’ve got in the habit of leaving this task until after pollen and the spring rainy season are well over, reserving it for a good hot, sunny, dry weekend.  I looked it up, and it happens that this fell on May 24 last year.  That it got pushed back all the way to the beginning of July this time around is some kind of testament to the cold, wet, late spring we’ve had in these parts.  Glowbull Enwarmening, indeed.

Anyhoo, having shoved all the porch furniture to one side, Ol’ Robbo duly dug his powah-washer out of the depths of the garage.  After dragging it round back and up the stairs, and untangling power cords and hoses, I flipped the thing on.  It sputtered once and then died.


So I had to resort to Plan B, which was the hose, a sponge-mop, and a bucket of Mr. Clean.  I scrubbed the floor, first one side and then the other.  I scrubbed the ceiling.  I scrubbed the rails.  I scrubbed each piece of wicker (a dozen altogether).  I scrubbed the dining table and chairs.  I laundered the dog bed and the table cloth, and Windex’d all the glass and metal.  (We have lots of candles and picture-frames and whatnot.)  I even mopped the stairs going down to the patio.

And you know what?  The results were perfectly fine.  As to the floor, the test is whether I can put the area rug back in the same place based on the prior grunge outline.  As I simply couldn’t see it, I wound up moving the rug a couple feet over, and with it all the furniture, which lines up around it.  This was immediately pointed out to me by each of my wimminfolk as they came out to view the results of my labor later in the day.  It’s nice to be appreciated.

So that’s that for another year.  As to the power-washer, I’ve no idea why it died but I don’t think I’m going to go to the bother and expense of either repairing or replacing it.  It was a royal pain in the neck to get the thing up on the porch anyway, and if I ever need one in teh future (the patio needs doing every now and again), it seems simpler just to rent one.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Our next-door neighbor teenagers had an outdoor birthday party in their back yard this afternoon.  There were about a dozen kids.  They rigged up a slip n’ slide, shot sooper-soakers at each other, and also played volleyball and badminton.

I was working out on my porch, as usual in nice weather, and found that the laughing, shouting, and splashing bothered me not in the least at my job.  (They did not blast any music, fortunately.)  As a matter of fact, it almost made me sleepy, as I associate such a combination of noise with napping in a long chair by a pool.

Very nice.

The Port Swiller Manor generator suddenly kicking in for half an hour a mere 20 feet from my ears?  That was a different matter.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Wish Ol’ Robbo joy! I finally got back to real live Mass today for the first time since the middle of March.

Things are still not all the way back to normal, of course.  No holy water in the fonts, for instance.  Half the pews closed off.  And the Host tasted suspiciously of Father’s Purell.  (I say nothing of the mask requirement because only about a quarter of the congregation bothered wearing them.)  But still, it felt like coming home.

Getting somewhat back into the routine for the first time in months seems to have prompted a curious secondary sensation:  Just now I found myself for an instant wondering what I should talk about with the Mothe this afternoon.  For years that had been our practice.  I’d get home around two, have a snack, and then give her a call at three and talk for an hour or so.  Funny how some part of my braim assumed that the re-establishment of the one practice would automatically mean the re-establishment of the other.

(It’ll be three years in early August since she passed.  I suppose that’s on my mind again, too.  Probably explains why I had a dream about getting dementia last night as well.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Because Ol’ Robbo always strives to make sure you friends of the decanter get what you pay for, he thought he’d slap up just a few pre-weekend thoughts:

♦  After three-plus months of working from home and no end of it in the foreseeable future, I’m thinking of investing in a real home office chair.  Surprisingly, Mrs. R agrees.  One of her friends suggested a bungee chair, of which I’d never heard.  I dunno, it seems to me such a chair might stretch out prematurely.  Any thoughts?

♦  Glancing at the latest Brave Stroke Against Amerikkka headlines, I hadn’t even realized the Dixie Chicks were still together.

♦   On the local wildlife front, Ol’ Robbo was delighted to see what I believe to be two fairly mature fox kits horsing around near the vixen’s den yesterday morning.  (I now keep a pair of binoculars at my back porch work station.)

♦   Ol’ Robbo has been on a George MacDonald Fraser jag (again) as of late, to the extent that I even watched “Octopussy” last evening. GMF wrote the screenplay.  Once one knows that and knows his work, one can see GMF’s fingerprints all over it.  (He relates that when he first pitched putting Bond in a gorilla costume to Cubby Broccoli, Broccoli almost died from conniptions.)  Oh, and that airplane fight at the end always makes me queasy.

♦   On a more serious artistic note, Ol’ Robbo was introduced this week to a new-to-me period-instrument orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, under the direction of Riccardo Minasi.  The local classickal station has been showcasing their recording of Mozart’s final three symphonies, and I must say that the performances are brilliant.  Go check ’em out.

♦   Third time around, I am deliberately staying off the parents’ FacePlant page for Youngest’s college class.  From what Mrs. R relates, the place is a fever-swamp of paranoia about whether and how the school is going to operate this fall.  We’ve come round to a simple philosophy:  We’re paying the full out-of-state ride.  If we don’t get full service in return, we’re gone.

So there you have it.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Much to Ol’ Robbo’s surprise, it would seem that MLB is actually going ahead with a cut-down 60 game season this year after all.

Friends of the decanter might think that I would be happy about this, but to be honest I’m really not, especially as I see (at least according to YahooSportz) that the season is going to include a universal DH rule and some kind of screwy extra-innings-runner-on-second stunt. Feh.  Play the game the way God ordained it to be played or go home.


All I can say is that whatever the results of this mini-season are, they’d better have yuge asterisks stamped all over them in the record books.  And I will look on the biznay as pure exhibition with no permanent repercussions.  (In other words, Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats will remain defending World Champions in his mind regardless of whether they win the Series again or not.)

UPDATE:  Eldest Gel and I were discussing some of the “health” issues.  Would fans even be allowed in the stands? Will players have to wear masks in the dugout?

The Gel pointed out that tagging baserunners is going to be an issue.  “Obviously they’re going to need to use ‘ghost’ runners to avoid any contact,” she said.  She also suggested making the ump sit in the stands and replacing the catcher with a screen: If the ball hits it, it’s a strike.

Yeah, this is going to be dumb.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yeah, Ol’ Robbo prolly shoulda cut the grass this weekend after all.  But I’d swear it saved up all its growth until last night.  I hate when it does that.


Gratuitous Tuesday Morning UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo has been worried that he hasn’t seen the resident vixen the past week or so and the other day observed buzzards lurking near her den.  I had feared the worst.  But this morning she ran down along my fence and into the woods, so all is well.  Also, there’s a brand new fawn in the neighborhood.  Adorable.  (As long as I’m compelled to telecommute, I work on my back porch as much as possible.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Fathers’ Day!

Firstly, for those of you interested, Ol’ Robbo is pleased to report that he seems to have shrugged off the stomach bug and is feeling so much better that he anticipates getting back on the exercise horse tomorrow. (And just to prove it wasn’t the dreaded Corona bogeyman, Middle Gel, who had the same thing, actually got herself tested.  Result? Nyet!)

Second, Ol’ Robbo can’t remember a Fathers’ Day on which he has felt so, well,….grateful.  Grateful that Almighty God and my parents between them successfully knocked into me the values and skills I would need, in turn, to bring up the Gels the right way.  (Our Padre harped on the theme of strong fatherhood on both the celestial and the earthly level in his homily today, which is perhaps why I was particularly thinking about it.)

While each of them in her own way remains a work in progress, of course, thinking on the matter I was reminded once again of what a solid foundation they all have, a foundation of faith, common sense, and acceptance of objective reality, and with it a corresponding absence of need to “fulfill” themselves with crackpot politicks, pharmaceutical release, or sexual depravity.  It’s not sticking on side to mention my own contribution to this, in part because each of them from time to time has thanked me for it herself, and in part because my gratitude is based solely on my wish to see them wholesomely happy.  Ol’ Robbo is not looking for brownie points here, only his children’s well-being.

What with the Current Unpleasantness, it seems this armor suddenly has become all the more critical.  A torrent of pernicious – dare I say diabolical? – nonsense is coming to the fore now (whether because the Marxist Left is desperate or confident, I can’t say), and much of it seems to be aimed particularly at those yoot with holes in their souls due to the absence of both God and stern, old-fashioned sticks like me.  I fear the allure is strong for many.  I don’t fear it will get to the Gels.  (They may suffer for their character, of course, but I don’t believe they’ll surrender.  l’m confident – well, hopeful, anyhoo – that even Youngest, who heads off to college sooner than I like to think, won’t sail off into the deep end when she gets there.)

When I clumsily tried to say all this at dins on the porch tonight, Eldest, with her tongue fully in her cheek, replied, “Wrong!  You brainwashed us….Dad!  But the other side’s got a better deal now:  ‘Come join our cult – We’ve got cookies!‘”

I burst into a laughter that must have been heard all round the neighborhood.

That’s my Gels!

St. Joseph, ora pro nobis!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Possibly resulting from the chill I mentioned the other day, Ol’ Robbo seems to have picked up some kind of stomach bug.  (No, it’s not the dreaded “C-word”!)

Nothing kills my compositional powers nor my desire to communicate more than an attack of the collywobbles, so don’t expect too much here until I shake the blasted thing.

Feel free to help yourselves to some more port and walnuts until I get back.


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July 2020