Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

With the return of heat and humidity this week, Ma Nature reminds Ol’ Robbo once again exactly why summah is his least-favorite season.**  My perennial heat cramp symptoms have reappeared, the air in Your Nation’s Capital is beginning to stink with a combination of stale sweat, urine, rotting trash, and exhaust fumes, and for the second day straight I lost my bid to beat the thunderstorms home this evening and got my left arm soaked because I have to keep the sides off La Wrangler for lack of A/C.

Well, as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

I read the story about the Ag Department’s plans to ship some of its employees away from the Swamp and over to Kansas City with a mix of amusement and something close to a bit of wistfulness, too.  It’s not at all uncommon for Ol’ Robbo, when out about the country on biznay (I was in KC myself just a month or two ago), to imagine the possibilities of relocating, perhaps getting a gig with a local U.S. Attorney’s Office somewhere.  But when I sit down to put any kind of serious thought into it, I simply can’t come up with an alternative location that would justify in my mind pulling nearly 30 years’ worth of life here out by the roots and starting afresh.  If I were a good bit younger, perhaps.  But not now.

So I suppose I’m here for the duration.***   As for another Dee Cee summah?  Just have to guzzle gallons of water, pop a lot of aspirin, and wait for mid-September to get here.


** Ol’ Robbo’s favorite seasons are spring and fall but the tie-breaker goes to fall because it’s followed by winter, which I dislike much less than summah.

*** In fact, my office is relocating, but just from one building to another.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel happens to be a big fan of goofy Nick Cage movies (which, “Leaving Las Vegas” aside, seems to pretty much include all of them).

Nonetheless, I discovered the other day that she hasn’t seen “Con Air”.

This astonished me, especially as she’s also a fan of a lot of the other actors in that movie.

For myself, this is one of those flicks which, if I stumble across it on cable while searching for alternatives to watching the Nats fold up again, I’ll always stop and watch.

The subject came up as I was recharging my Netflix DVD queue t’other day, so I immediately tossed it in the queue toward the top.  It showed up this afternoon, and we’ll watch it together hopefully this evening.

That’s Ol’ Robbo: Always looking out for the cultural betterment of his nearest and dearest.

I’ll let you know what she thinks.

UPDATE: Whelp, Eldest was too worn out from her first day of VBS to want to watch a movie tonight.  She’s also on duty at her paying evening job for most of the rest of this week, so we won’t get to run the bunneh until some time closer to the weekend.  I’ll follow up with a separate post.


Ol’ Robbo’s Fathers’ Day present this year was to unexpectedly have all three Gels home over the weekend.  Now that the elder two are in college and Middle is spending most of her summah down in the Tidewater, this is an increasingly rare occurrence.

I took the opportunity to tell the Gels how very proud of them all I am, not because of resumes chock-a-bloc with awards and achievements, but because they’ve all turned out to be such very good people, with strong moral cores and clear, rational minds.  As such, they are largely immune from the madness into which much of our current culture seems to have plunged, and for that I am terribly grateful.

I know I have plenty of flaws as a father, but I guess I must be doing at least something right.

And speaking of cultural madness, it came out at dinner this evening that Mrs. R had no clue about what the Village People’s “YMCA” is actually about.  Gob status? Smacked.  I blessed her for her innocence, but I mean come on!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Trinity Sunday!

Ol’ Robbo was quite pleased this week to see Notre Dame Cathedral celebrate its first Mass since the fire back in April.  I was particularly delighted, in a way, to see everybody wearing hard hats.  Perseverance in the face of calamity.  The words “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” immediately flashed across my braims.

(I’m also pleased to see that all the “let’s rebuild the Cathedral as an eco-friendly multi-purpose center with lots of glass and light and a minaret” clickbait claptrap has vanished from the innertoobs ever since the French Senate said “Non!”  I have one friend on FacePlant in particular who was practically on the verge of self-immolation, she was so upset at the prospect.)

So Vacation Bible School starts this week over to Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church.  Eldest Gel, who has been involved in the hospitality side of the program for some time, is in charge of the whole thing this year, and has been industriously counting hotdogs and juice boxes to make sure the little darlins’ are adequately fed.  I don’t know why, but she’s always delighted in this sort of thing.  Perhaps a career in culinary or hospitality management is in order?

Looking over, by the bye, I see the theme of VBS this year is “One Family, One Race, One Savior”.  Well, it ain’t exactly the Little Maoist Antifa Boot-Camp, but coupled with the fact that the RFEC  seems to have dubbed next Sunday as “Refugee Sunday”, I’m not sure it’s really all that far off, either.

UPDATE: Oh, and of course Happy Fathers Day to all of you!



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo woke up this morning and said to himself the devil with the yard this week.  Apart from a little watering, there’s nothing that absolutely demands my immediate attention, the lawn will do for now, and the weeds in the garden remain reasonably at bay.

Furthermore, next weekend the annual Port Swiller Family summah cycle kicks in with the transportation of Youngest Gel to Bible-thumper camp.  For the six weeks following that there will be various comings, goings, and projects (including this year a life-altering office move, about which more later), and then hey, presto! suddenly it’ll be time to start getting Gels off to school again.

I reckon a Saturday in the hammock with a tall, cold glass and a good book before taking the plunge is worthwhile.  Even Mrs. R said it was a good idea.

UPDATE:  The cry goes ’round the decanter, “What book, Tom?”

Well, it’s Flash For Freedom today.  Yes, Ol’ Robbo is indulging himself again in George Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman Papers for about the eleventy-billionth time.  I never seem to get tired of them.

Over the years I’ve become convinced that GMF appropriated Flashy from Tom Brown’s School Days and gave him a long career of lying, cheating, stealing, womanizing, and putting a bluff front on his inner cowardice so that he, the author, could indulge himself in Victorian history, particularly Imperial military history.  Flash’s antics are the hook that sells the books, but I think GMF’s real pleasure was indulging in all the research and sneaking history lessons into his stories.

One of Ol’ Robbo’s ambitions is to eventually collect all the original sources cited in the Flashman Papers.  (I’ve already got some of them, including materials on James Brooke’s campaigns against Borneo pirates, and early explorations of the American Southwest.)  Another is to piece together a satisfying story of Flashy’s involvement in the American Civil War: the Papers are strewn with hints and asides about it, but GMF never, alas, put them all together.  (Ol’ Robbo is in a Flashy appreciation group on FacePlant and we like to spit-ball about this every now and again.)

Anyway, ho for the hammock!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

School is officially OUT in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, and the difference in traffic flow sans buses this morning was downright dramatic.  I was tempted to drive round the block a few times for no other reason than Because I Could.

In addition, what a delightful day Ma Nature served up for us: Dry, breezy, temperature in the mid-70’s.  For the middle of June in the Virginny Piedmont, I’ll take that any time.  Ol’ Robbo was planning to watch “The Blues Brothers” after dins this evening, but I might just postpone that (it’s supposed to hot up starting tomorrow) and spend the evening on the porch watching the bats and fireflies.

Speaking of summery things reminds Ol’ Robbo of something that has been on his mind off and on for a while now.  If I ever become Emperor, I think one of my decrees will be to ban the Shift from Major League Baseball.  I understand the strategic rationale for it, but to me seeing three infielders all stacked up on the same side of 2nd Base is Just Wrong.

Granted,  when a batter manages to foil the Shift by getting a hit to the weak side, the result can be highly gratifying in a Nelson Muntz “HA-Ha!” way.

In the end, though, mere gratification must never be the basis for justifying the Wrong.  I mean, just imagine what an entire society based on such standards would look like.

Oh, never mind, that’s where we are now.

Anyhoo, thinking about this brought back a memory from Ol’ Robbo’s misspent yoot.   I usually was among the last picks for teams in middle and high school P.E. because I was rather weedy in those days and wore nerd glasses.  With softball, however, it was a different matter.  I was never one of the first picks there either, but I was usually pretty high up once the recognized jocks had been selected.

This was because I possessed the talent of being able to hit the ball pretty much anywhere I wanted to.  Pull side, opposite field, up the middle, it didn’t matter.  Somehow or other I had discovered the principles of bat control, and could adjust my swing accordingly.

My great trick was to belt a ball down the 3rd Base line my first time up.  Then, when I came up a second time and all the outfielders had shifted over accordingly, I’d put the next one down the 1st Base line.  The jocks on my team would laugh appreciatively.

Another trick involved a particularly annoying jerk who gave me a hard time every now and again.  When he was playing in the outfield, I would lash a line drive in his direction, knowing he couldn’t possibly catch it.  (He was a lousy fielder.)  Then I would trot around the bases laughing while he scurried off chasing the ball deep into tiger country.  (We played on an open patch with no outfield wall to stop the ball.)  The humiliation was schadenfreude-licious.

Good times, good times.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The superb Victor Davis Hanson asks what is behind the revolt of the Western Middle Class (see Tea Party, Trumpism, Brexit, Aussie Conservatives, etc.) and then absolutely nails the answer:

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. New global markets and commerce meant Western nations outsourced, offshored and ignored their own industries and manufacturing (or anything dependent on muscular labor that could be replaced by cheaper workers abroad).

Three, unelected bureaucrats multiplied and vastly increased their power over private citizens. The targeted middle classes lacked the resources to fight back against the royal armies of tenured regulators, planners, auditors, inspectors and adjustors who could not be fired and were never accountable.

Four, the new global media reached billions and indoctrinated rather than reported.

Five, academia became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation rather than focusing on education—while charging more for less learning.

Six, utopian social planning increased housing, energy and transportation costs.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

Go read the rest.  I think this is exactly right.

Ol’ Robbo has been seeing these tensions building up ever since Eddie Chiles ran his “What are you mad about today, Eddie?!” radio ads back in the Carter Years.  While I still think Ross Perot was a crackpot, I have immensely more respect for his anti-globalization positions now than I did back in ’88.  My reassessment of the Bushes pater filiusque has been….significant.  And now that the masks have been ripped off, it’s still somewhat surprising to me that heroes of my past life such as George Will and Peggy Noonan are now, essentially, dead to me.

(Yes, Ol’ Robbo sides with the Middle Class here.  Even though I’ve worked in the Swamp for many years now, while I’m in it, I’m still not of it.  And how do I manage to tap-dance through all the potential pitfalls of working cheek-by-jowl with so many Socialist Juicebox Wankers?  The recently-resurrected Dr. Boli provides the answer.)

A glass of wine with Vodka-Boy hanging out at the Puppy-Blender’s place.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, tomorrow afternoon, Ol’ Robbo and Youngest Gel have to appear for a hearing in Juvenile Court.

I knew it would come to this some day.  If only people had listened to me…….

. . . . . . . . . .

HA! Did I get you for even just a millisecond?

In fact we are going to Juvi, but not because the Gel’s done anything wrong (or at least not been caught), but instead because we’re going to attend a ceremony in which she, together with a batch of her cohorts, will be presented formally with their permanent driver’s licenses.

I doubt this program is unique to our County, but it at least stands out in the vicinity of Your Nation’s Capital.  When the little maniacs complete their driver’s ed courses successfully, they’re issued temporary paper licenses good for six months.  In the meantime, the DMV prints up their permanent ones and ships them not to the kiddos but to the Court.   The Court, in turn, issues them in batches of a couple hundred (maybe) per ceremony.

Ol’ Robbo has been through this drill before with Eldest.  (Mrs. R went with Middle Gel when it was her turn.)  We all assemble in the courtroom and one of the judges comes in and gavels things into session.  She (it was a she at the last one) gives a little speech about the solemnity of the occasion and the responsibility the younglings are about to take on.  Then they are shown a film about the horrors of DUI narrated by some former drunk driver as part of his sentence for killing somebody.  Next, a senior trooper comes in to lecture about the ballistic properties of things not locked down in a vehicle that comes to a sudden stop, to tell what happens when feet on a dashboard meet an expanding airbag, and to relate anecdotes about prying apart twisted wreckage and the bodies within on a dark and rainy road somewhere.  (I will say that at the last such ceremony, I really believed that the fellah’s grief in recounting such experiences was genuine.)

Then, if I remember correctly, the younglings are made to stand and take an oath about being responsible on the road.

Finally, the permanent cards are issued – not to the younglings themselves, but to their parents or guardians, with the clear message that we have both the power and the obligation to take them back if we have reason to believe the kids aren’t living up to their responsibilities.

All in all, Ol’ Robbo thinks this is a pretty nice little arrangement.  And hopefully it gets at least a few of the young idiots to think a bit harder on the fact that they’re now legally being turned loose on the roads at the controls of a couple tons of metal.

UPDATE:  It is done.  No video and I was mistaken about the pledge, but both judge and trooper regaled us with bone-chilling anecdotes and statistics.  I dunno what impact all this had on anybody else, but Youngest rather sheepishly asked me afterward if I wouldn’t mind doing the driving on the way home.  (Which was, in fact, just as well, as the county courthouse is way off the Gel’s beaten path and we got caught in rush hour traffic which, in these parts, is downright horrendous.)

UPDATED DEUX:  Ol’ Robbo knows well that we live in extremely casual, not to say slovenly, times.  But what kind of kid thinks a t-shirt and cut-offs or a backless blouse make appropriate attire to appear in court?  And what kind of parent seems to have no problem with this?  There were not a few such sets on display.

As for us, Youngest wore a modest dress and I put on a suit.  Looking about me, I murmured to the Gel that I seemed to be the only father their so attired.  She murmured back that this was because I was the only Real Man in the room.  Heh.  She could have asked anything of me at that point, even unto half my kingdom.






Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was just about to compose a long diatribe about Netflix’s crumbling DVD service. (My queue just ran out and I’ve spent the last hour or so recharging it.  I’m up to about 70 movies, but it was hard work.***)  Based on my previous experience, the current format makes it damme hard to browse effectively.  Plus, a lot of titles previously available have simply disappeared.  Also, the suspiciously high number of “saved until available” hits I’ve got for what ought to be fairly popular movies seems to indicate that Netflix has  given up on any real effort to replace destroyed copies.  (I can’t get “The World Is Not Enough“? Really?)  Finally, I no longer see any effort to expand their library beyond anything other than “new releases”.

I’ve a sinking feeling that Netflix’ll probably discontinue the whole platform within the foreseeable future and stake everything on their (also) dying streaming service.  Then where will Ol’ Robbo be when it’s not baseball season?

Anyhoo, as I contemplated expanding the previous two paragraphs into many more, Mrs. R came storming into Port Swiller Manor in a high state of disgust.  She’d just been to a meeting of the local philanthropic wimminz group of which she is a member and officer.  Apparently, the town community center which they wish to use as a venue for one of their fundraisers recently had an attack of wokeness and is now only offering its cheapest rates to entities that can demonstrate their own lack of barriers and prejudices.  So in order to get the best rate they could, Mrs. R’s group voted this evening to eliminate all “sexist” language from their bylaws.  They’re still, let us say, the Old Dominion Ladies’ Alternative Junior League, but they’ve replaced all the “she’s” in the bylaws with “he/she’s”, etc.

“What the hell?” Mrs. Robbo asked, in my opinion quite reasonably.

She abstained on the vote itself, but wanted to know if this meant men would be allowed to join the club.  Oh, no, she was assured, it’s just a thing to get the better rate, since we always need to save money.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

I’m not sure if she’s more disgusted at the community center’s new regime, or at the club’s mealy-mouthed efforts to conform with it.

Mrs. Robbo is a very non-political sort of person and wants only to get on with others, and often has rolled her eyes at Ol’ Robbo when he’s got up on his hind legs about some Socialist Juicebox Wanker issue or other.  But something like this just might make her realize the truth of Trotsky’s dictum that “you might not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.”


***Feel free to toss Ol’ Robbo any movie suggestions.  I’ve profited greatly from friend of the decanter tips in the past.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and happy Pentecost!

I saw an article this afternoon penned by Missourah Senator Josh Hawley and concerned with what he sees as a manifestation of heretical Pelagianism in our modern society.

Ol’ Robbo isn’t especially up on the particular shades of historickal heresies (I know just a wee bit about the various false arguments regarding the nature of Christ such as Arianism and Nestorianism), so I can’t vouch one way or the other for Sen. Hawley’s take, but this is about the first time I can recall a politician even trying to make this kind of argument.  It’s refreshing and intriguing.

But whether it’s Pelagianism, Neo-Paganism, something else, or a mix thereof, I think it pretty much reduces to the expression “Non serviam!”

They can count me out.

A glass of wine with Ed Driscoll over at the Puppy-Blender’s place.



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