Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The latest Storm of the Century of the Week left a dusting of snow at Port Swiller Manor this morning, with more supposedly coming later on this afternoon.

It’s a very curious thing:  Decanter Dog positively loathes rain, and will almost literally cross her legs and hold herself in all day rather than going out into the wet.  But with snow?  She reverts to pure puppydom and demands to be let out every ten minutes just to run about in it.  Having had all my previous dog-ownership experience in the South Texas of my misspent yoot,  I’ve no idea if this is a kink particular to her or if it is a more general doggeh thing.

In anticipation of the snow, I filled up the bird feeders yesterday.  As I look out the window now, I count among others eight, that’s eight, pairs of cardinals.  “Let’s all go round to Robbo’s” is the catch-phrase of the local avian population.  Especially during winter, I have to fight myself sometimes about rationing the feed and sticking to my rule about only filling the feeders once a week.  If I caved in, the little welfare-cheats would bankrupt me.

On the vegetation front, I also notice buds on the camellia immediately outside the window, as well as buds on the maple nearest the house.  And the daffodils are already starting to come up. Too bad, I guess.  We haven’t really had any extended cold spells yet this year but we’re about to enter our first.

And it’s funny.  As I say, we haven’t had anything like a hard winter yet, but I can’t remember ever being this impatient this early in the year to get the whole damn thing over with and get on with spring.  That feeling doesn’t usually hit until some time toward the end of February.  (Now that I think on it, this might be because this is the first winter at my new office.  It’s a longer commute, which means I’m spending more time travelling in the dark.)

Oh, well.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, the dog wants to be let out again……

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A four-day weekend for Ol’ Robbo, and a mostly-bachelor one at that:   Mrs. R went down to Flahrdah yesterday to visit her parents; the Elder Gels are both back at school; and Youngest spends most of her time at home asleep these days.

So after waiting on Decanter Dog to finish up her biznay out in the yard early this morning I simply went back to bed….because I could.

Ha, ha, ha.

My plan, apart from attending to a few chores about Port Swiller Manor, is simply to take my mind off the hook for a few days.  I’ve started my umpteenth circumnavigation of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels.  I’ve got “It Happened One Night” and “The Dirty Dozen” from Netflix.  My sight-reading at the keyboard is on one of its periodic upticks.  I am largely set for food and drink.  And I’ve got puppeh and kitteh to loaf with me.

So let the Impeachment Circus churn on.  Let my villainous Governor try to provoke a shoot-out in Richmond in order to justify even more draconian anti-2nd Amendment measures.  Let the line between the insanity of current events and the Babylon Bee’s satire grow ever hazier.  It’ll all still be there next Tuesday.  For now, I don’t care.


For you musick-loving friends of the decanter, this short video (I assume it’s an excerpt from a longer program) turned up in my yootoob feed a day or two ago:

Right at the end of the clip Johann Sebastian is hugged by a younger man who I’m pretty sure is meant to be his son, C.P.E. Bach, who was one of Frederick’s court composers.  It has long been my understanding that the theme which Frederick gives Old Bach in this bit, a pretty fiendish one, was most likely concocted by C.P.E., and that the whole thing was meant to be an elaborate practical joke to put the Old Man on the spot and spike him.  This is one of those little pieces of trivia which Ol’ Robbo chooses to believe whether it has any actual basis in fact or not.

(Old Bach, of course, eventually turned it into The Musical Offering, which frankly interests me more from an intellectual standpoint than an aesthetic one.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo apologizes for the dearth of posts this week.  There seems to be some kind of connectivity issue between his laptop and the innnertoobs.  Sometimes I get right in, sometimes it acts as if there is no such place.  Being a Luddite, I don’t have the faintest idea where the problem lies.  And I’ve been tired enough the past couple evenings not to have the patience to keep retrying.


I haven’t really had anything to say anyway, so maybe it’s just as well I haven’t had a reliable platform on which not to say it.

If that makes sense.

Anyhoo, I assume whoever is in charge of such things will eventually find teh gremlins fouling up the system and expunge them.  Hopefully by then I’ll have a speech worthy of my little electronic stump.

In the meantime, the port stands by your elbow, so fill up again and pass it to the left.  Cheers!




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo just got done taking down the Christmas tree.  It’s a pity there’s no market for “professional ornament storage organizer” because I’m really rayther good at it.  I pack up all the decorations in separate boxes based on type and breakability, and then pack all the boxes into an old footlocker of mine in such a way that there is no slipping or sliding around.  In all these years, I cannot recall ever having an ornament break after I put it away, and that includes both multiple bits of glass and a pair of sand-dollars some friends gave us our first year together.

The tree itself was, how you say, completely dead.  I’ll be finding pine needles till Labor Day.

While taking down the wreaths from the Port Swiller Manor front door, I also surreptitiously chalked up our Epiphany blessing.  This will last only until Mrs. R notices it.  She still has an aversion to what she considers some of the more hocus-pocus-y aspects of my religious practices.  But no mind – I’ve probably got a couple weeks before she spots it.  And the blessing itself is good for the year.


Greetings my fellow port swillers!

The Elder Gels head back to kollij these next two days after winter breaks lasting roughly a month.

Of course this meant that both of them left it till today to go get their oil changed.  And of course both of them insisted that Ol’ Dad go along to ensure that they did not get rooked by Jiffy Lube into buying needless and expensive extra services.   (Actually, this was charitable, considering Ol’ Dad himself is footing the bill.)  And of course they couldn’t both go at the same time because reasons.

So guess where Ol’ Robbo spent a large chunk of his day today.

Good times.  Good times.

Not.  Jiffy Lube seems to have developed their own teevee network much like that featured at many gas station pumps these days.  Like GSTV, it’s absolutely filled with the most God-awful pablum.  And like GSTV, there appears to be no way to turn it off.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The query flies round the decanter:  What does Ol’ Robbo think of the apparent semi-abdication from royal responsibilities of Prince Harry and his “wife” Meghan Markle that seems to be dominating the innertoobs this week?


Understand that while it certainly wouldn’t do here in the United States, with respect to the UK Ol’ Robbo has always been a thorough-going royalist.  And even though the monarchy has been stripped of any real politickal power there since the Glorious Revolution, there still is a legitimate argument to be made that its symbolic position as the living manifestation of the spirit of the United Kingdom is an important one.

However, when the royals stray away from this substantive charge and instead embrace mere celebrity, all bets are off.

I was initially dubious about Prince William and his middle-class bride Kate back in the day, but I have been vastly encouraged since then.  They get it.

I was even more dubious about Prince Harry and his Hollywood bride.  Those doubts have proved more than justified.  They don’t get it.

Bottom line?  He’s an idiot.  She’s trash.

And the beclowning of the House of Windsor at the hands of these two is only going to get worse, much to the detriment of the Kingdom.

And God save poor old Queen Elizabeth.  She deserves better than this.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is quietly chuckling over this story:  National Park Replaces Signs Predicting Disappearance of Glaciers By 2020.

Apparently, Glacier National Park put up signs ten years ago warning that the glaciers there would vanish by this year because of, well, people like you and me.

Surprise, surprise, the glaciers are still there.

Reality: 1

Irresponsible Scaremongering In Aid of Authoritarianism: 0

Heh, indeed.

(However, I see from the article that the NPS has learned its lesson about keeping its threats vague:  The new signs will still say that the glaciers are still doomed without we surrender our liberties, but they won’t provide a date-certain.)

Remember, kids, Glowbull Enwarmening is not about science.  Instead, it’s all about politicks.  That’s all you really need to know.

I’m super cereal.


***Classic reference in title.








Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As at least some friends of the decanter are aware from personal knowledge, Your Nation’s Capital and surrounding metro area had one of its signature panic attacks over the appearance of a few snowflakes this afternoon.  (I refer to the meteorological variety, not the lefty politickal kind.)   This morning, our school district blared out its decision to close early, and a couple hours later Uncle told all the help to go home, too. 

The result?  The usual evening rush combined with the usual afternoon school bus run.  In what turned out to be the heaviest of the snowfall.  Good times.  Good times.


We got just about an inch altogether, which is what the forecasts had predicted.  I didn’t even have to bother with my driveway because none of it stuck to the pavement.

Double Geesh!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A friend and I were chatting before Mass today about the subject of keeping up Christmas decorations through the entire season, something our Diocese encourages.  Here’s a discussion of HMC’s Ordinary and Extraordinary Form seasonal calculations.  My friend and I both follow the EF, so my decorations will stay up until next Sunday, January 13, which is the Baptism of the Lord, although this year I’m going to try and keep my creche out until Candlemas, which is February 2nd.

I think my Christmas tree will juuuuust make it to next Sunday.

I bring all this up because my friend related to me something she had heard just recently from another friend.  This friend claims that, after a fresh cut, if you water your tree with either boiling or very hot water, this will extend its longevity.  Evidently, it has something to do with preventing the resins from hardening over on the cut and blocking the intake of water.  The friend also claims that every time you water your tree in this manner, it will emit a fresh burst of firry scent.

I’ve no idea whether this piece of wisdom is true or not, but it at least seems plausible.  Anyone ever heard of it before?  If it’s legitimate, I must remember to try it out next year.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is a bit late with his condolences, but nonetheless wanted to raise a glass in tribute to Neil Innes, who died the other day at the age of 75.  Rest in peace.

The article I link here refers to Innes as the “Seventh” (Monty) Python.  I’m not sure I’d agree with that.  Terry Gilliam was obviously the sixth, but Carol Cleveland is, to me, the seventh.  Innes, depending on your scoring criteria, probably has a claim for the eighth spot, although I think Connie Booth also has a legitimate argument for that position.  In the end, of course, it’s all meaningless, but the exercise in trotting out comparative contributions is a pleasant one.

On the other hand, Innes is the absolute co-captain, along with Eric Idle, of the Rutles, the mockumentary/parody of the Beatles that reached something mighty close to pure genius.  Put it this way: I still sing the Rutles send-ups.  I don’t much sing the Beatles originals.  (“Walkie-Talkie Man says ‘allo, allo, allo’/ With his ballerina boots you can tell he’s always on his toes…..”)

Anyhoo, the news gives Ol’ Robbo an excuse to repost a yootoob of one of my very favorite Innes bits, the closing credits background from my absolute favorite Python episode.  I love everything about this bit – the grainy texture of the film, the cheesy period song, the disconnect of the singer’s sentiment with the obviously bored WAAF, and, of course, the totally cool Hawkers Hurricane sitting behind them.  Enjoy!



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