Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s mention the other day that Youngest Gel was starting her Driver’s Ed road work?

Well, she passed.  She gets her license tomorrow and it goes into effect Saturday.

Ol’ Robbo is pretty sure he’s not quite ready for this…..


** The album cover seemed particularly appropriate.  She makes that face a lot.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself watching “The Legend of Bagger Vance” on one of the golf channels this evening.  Will Smith (who I’ve often argued could have been the modern day Cary Grant) and MATT DAMON!

So far, it’s pretty lame.  And totally predictable.

But what amuses me are the commercials in between.  Is there any sport out there that has a more direct connection with hustling merchandise to its audience?  I mean the NFL and MLB push things like jerseys on pure spectators.  Big Golf pushes merchandise on legions of wannabe competitors.  Clubs, balls, practice aids, shoes, apparel – you name it.  (And now that I think about it, I suppose Big Tennis does the same thing.)

I don’t note this out of mockery.  Ol’ Robbo actually likes the game a good bit.  I learned it initially from my old father, who eventually became about an 8 handicap.  The summah before I went off to law school I spent working as a bagboy at a club.  One of the perks was free lessons with the club pro, a woman who had a real gift for teaching.  I never got so far as establishing a handicap myself, but I did gain a fundamental appreciation of the game.

I haven’t had much time at all since then to do anything about it, much to my regret, but it’s always been a plan of mine to include a return to golf among the Four Things I plan to do in my retirement (the other three being serious writing, the piano, and gardening).  I’ve still got the Old Gentleman’s last set of clubs, which I don’t think he ever actually used.  It’s sitting out in my garage, gathering dust.  Some day I’ll dust them off and take them for a ride.  But I’m sure by then, if the bug bites me good and hard, I’ll find myself taken in by whatever up-to-the-moment technology Big Golf is flogging at that point.

Greetings again, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo generally likes to spend his Sunday evenings watching an old movie or listening to some musick in order to recharge himself for the return of the work week.  Unfortunately, late this afternoon Youngest Gel announced that she was inviting a young man of hers over for dinner and sociability.  Since we have an absolutely ironclad rule at Port Swiller Manor that boys are not allowed upstairs unless related to the family by ties of blood or marriage, and since it’s too damn cold to boot them out on to the porch, this means that post-dinner she and her friend currently are down in the basement watching some scary movie or other, thus cutting Ol’ Robbo off from his entertainment facilities.  (I’m in the library on the floor above, one ear cocked for any indications of oompus-boompus.)

I can’t throw said young man out in good faith for another hour or so.  Thank Heaven it’s a school night, at least!

Ol’ Robbo treasures both his alone time and his routine, and these disruptions always harsh his mellow, as the kidz like to say.  I wrestle with the question of whether this is just selfishness on my part, or a legitimate reaction.

I didn’t cause a stink about it at all, so at least I’ve got that going for me.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  Right?





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Since I already lobbed a substantive religious rant at you two days ago, I’ll just remark here that this afternoon – already a week late – I finally put together my Advent table wreath.

The pines at the entrance to our neighborhood which I usually raid for materials got trimmed some time this past fall, so I decided not to cut more off them until they get shaggy again.  Instead, I used some evergreens out of the Port Swiller Manor yard itself, mostly holly and laurel (the hollies have lots of berries this year, no doubt because of all the rain we got).  It looks pretty decent, I suppose, but I doubt it’s going to last all that long since bigger, flatter leaves dry up a lot more quickly than pine needles.  Still, it’ll do until I can go buy a couple feet of roping.

The purple-bowed wreaths went up on the front door in a timely manner, at least.  We got them at Costco this year, by the bye.  Very nicely made and quite inexpensive.  I just hope they’ll make it until Twelfth Night.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, we’ve reached that point in the year where the feeder activity goes into overdrive.  I keep two feeders year round, a main one for the general population and a thistle seed one primarily for the goldfinches.  The local flock can clean out the main one in two days.

This always produces a conundrum for Ol’ Robbo:  Do I stick to my rigid once-a-week ration filling?  Or do I give in and compensate for the increased demand?  If the former, I avoid bankruptcy (seed ain’t cheap).  If the latter, I avoid the feeling that the birds are secretly blaming me for depriving them.

As usual, I probably will wobble back and forth.

Storm of the Century of the Week UPDATE:  Those of you monitoring the big blizzard heading across the Carolinas and Virginny may be amused by this.  As of now, the thing is taunting the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor with maybe a total inch accumulation.  As Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) once said, “Getting an inch of snow is like winning ten cents in the lottery.”

On the other hand, Eldest’s campus down in North Carolina is expected to get anything up to a foot this weekend.  Her last class of the semester was to have been this coming Monday, but the prof cancelled it a couple days ago and so Eldest came home for winter break last evening.  Ol’ Robbo is mighty pleased about that.

Oh, and here is as good a place to mention it as any:  Some months back, Verizon dumped The Weather Channel from its cable line-up, and instead now hosts AccuWeather.  AccuWeather is what TWC used to be back in the day – straight up current conditions, radar, and forecasts, all without Jim “Mimbo” Cantore braving the elements and lecturing us about how Mother Gaia is dying and it’s all our fault!  With this return to the Old School, Ol’ Robbo finds himself becoming a weather nerd once again.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A reminder to my fellow mackerel-snappers out there that tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Get ye to Mass!

And bang on cue comes this story about some academic who is claiming that the Virgin Mary was #MeToo’d: “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario.”

Get that? We’ve come to “God is a rapist”.

Evidently from the article this fellah also amuses himself by hanging satanic ornaments on his “holiday” tree.

I don’t know whether this is just attention-monger trolling or else another example of the effort on the Left to turn Christianity into a “hate” crime.  (I should probably embrace the power of “and” here.) But what this fellah doesn’t seem to understand is that he’s messing with things that are very Real, in fact very much more so than what he believes to be the “real world” physically around  him.  I mentioned this to Eldest Gel this morning and her remark was, “Well, I guess he’ll find out the hard way.”

As They Might Be Giants once sang, “Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

When I first saw this the other day I thought it was a parody, but evidently not: PETA Wants You To Stop Saying “Bring Home The Bacon” and Other Anti-Animal Phrases. 

Yes, yes they really do.

“Words matter,” PETA tweeted Tuesday. “And as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

The animal rights organization then included a color-coded chart with what they view as offensive phrases on the left in red and what they view as acceptable substitutions on the right in green.

In lieu of “kill two birds with one stone,” how about saying “feed two birds with one scone”? Instead of “bring home the bacon,” try “bring home the bagels.”

Bless their hearts.

Two thoughts come immediately to mind.

First?  Ol’ Robbo lerves him the history of the English language in all of its manifestations, including both etymology and these sorts of idioms.  PETA’s scolding simply makes me roll about in such history even more.  (God send the atheists don’t get the parallel idea of scrubbing all Biblical references and idioms out of the language.  Do you have any idea how many there are? I’ll give you a hint: A lot.)

Second? Bacon.  Mmmmmm……..Bacon.  Crispy.  Flavorful.  Bacon.  Mmmmmm………

You’ll have to go to the tweet link to see the chart itself because I’ve not the blog-fu to transport it over here, but from the article you get the general idea.

So should “a murder of crows” be changed to “an indaba of crows”?

And what says PETA to Benedick’s musing on the power of musick in Much Ado About Nothing: “Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?”

Finally, show of hands, please, among PETA members who support this toddler-grade Orwellian Doublethink and who also support unlimited abortion.  All of you? I suspected as much.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo’s braim just doesn’t want to let go of this one.

Here at Port Swiller Manor, logistics for what one would think even the simplest of forays very often quickly become insanely complicated.  (Because women.  There, I said it.)  I refer to such scenarios – much to my family’s ire – as “dog and pony” shows.  Guess I have to stop that now.  (Not.)

Tennyson’s line about Nature being “red in tooth and claw” should now read “Nature is colorful”.

“Dog in the manger” should now read “Veggie-dog”.

“Let the cat out of the bag” should read “Don’t put a cat in a bag in the first place, you hater!

“Horse-trading” equals slavery, so that’s right out.

The Cowardly Lion will now be the Differently-Couraged Lion.

Similarly, the Horse of a Different Color becomes Rainbow Horse.

And of course, the great Groucho Marx joke will be slightly modified: “Last night I shot** an elephant in my pajamas.  How it got in my pajamas I’ll never know, but I respect its choice.”  (Hooray for Captain Spaulding! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!)

** With a camera, you monsters!





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Tomorrow being the Feast of St. Nicholas, today the Krampus is supposed to earn his paycheck by carting off all the bad, misbehaving, disrespectful children** and doing all sorts of thoroughly unpleasant things to them.

Seems to me the guy’s been slacking off for some time now, given all the spoiled-brat, whiney, snowflakes I see about me, who are no longer even deemed bad by the so-called “culture” but have come to shape it in their own wretched image so thoroughly.

C’mon, scary Middle European anti-masque-y demonic being, get off your goat’s duff and clean house for a change!

** “Children” here I think should be defined based on mental maturity, not on actual count of years.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, another one of those milestones in the life of Port Swiller Manor is now being passed:  Youngest Gel started her official behind-the-wheel road training yesterday.  If she doesn’t foozle the course, she’s scheduled to get her provisional driver’s license on the 15th.

She’s already got her first solo run planned out to the second.


Ol’ Robbo finds himself somewhat more of a doo-dah about this one than about her elder sisters.  Part of it, I’m sure, is that she’s the baby of the family.  How can she have got so old so fast? And what does that say about my own approaching mortality?

Part of it, frankly, is that she’s always displayed more of an “Oh, look! Squirrel!” character than the other two.  Such flightiness of attention is not necessarily commensurate with good driving discipline.  Ol’ Robbo has been rayther belaboring this point to the Gel for some time now.  Hopefully, she’s taking it in.

She’ll certainly need to for the next week and a half anyway.  Both of the Elder Gels did their training courses in the spring or summah months and took the first shift which basically started right after school.  I remember picking Middle Gel up afterwards while it was still very much light out, as well as quite warm.  Somehow, this lunatic signed up the second shift in December, which means not only that it’s pitch dark during the entire hour and a half drive time, but also that she’s doing it at the height of the evening rush, an intensely nasty thing in these parts.

I asked her how it went this evening.

“Boring,” she replied languidly.

Double Gah.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I noted in the post below my bout of flu and my intention to spend all of Saturday just reading in front of the fire.

Of course it didn’t work out that way.

By midday I was feeling so much better that I decided to take the dog for a long walk.  But I failed to accurately judge when the weather was going to close in.  While we were at the far end of our circuit, it started to rain.  By the time we got back, I was soaked and freezing.

As you might imagine, it was back to bed for another 48 hours for Ol’ Robbo.  We’ll try getting back on track tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I took advantage of my enforced idleness to watch some new-to-me programming in the form of two movies and a Nat Geo teevee show.

The first movie was “The Mouse That Roared“, a 1959 comedy flick in which Peter Sellers plays multiple roles.  I had tossed it into my Netflix queue and forgot about it.  Basically, a small European Duchy that depends on wine exports for its economic life gets cheated out of the market by a California cabal.  So it decides to declare war on the United States, knowing that it will lose, but expecting that we will give it lots of economic aid because we’re such magnanimous winners.  Owing to a secondary plot involving the secret development of a new Super Bomb, however, the Duchy winds up winning.  Hylarity ensues.

It was all right, I suppose, although I am no fan of Sellers’ America-bashing, especially where nukes are involved. (This is why I don’t really care for “Dr. Strangelove”.)  Pete, baby, we get it! Nukes are scary and awful! And ‘Muricans are knuckle-dragging, bombastic, Bible-thumping hypocrites!  Clang! Clang! Clang! 

Matter of fact, probably the most entertaining thing about the film was the Duchy’s military, which consisted of nothing but a company rigged out as 14th Century longbowmen, marching about 1950’s Noo Yawk.

I don’t think I’ll bother with it again.

The other movie was “The Outlaw“, a 1943 telling of the Billy the Kid story.  This was on TCM, I think.  I came in a bit late, but it seemed to be one of the more romantic portrayals of the Kid, in which he has a Code of Honor that just sometimes doesn’t mesh with the corruption and cheating of the “Real” world.  Walter Huston plays a rather inexplicable Doc Holliday, who is Billy’s partner here.  (Wyatt Earp called to say “Whut?”)  One of my favorite character actors from the time, Thomas Mitchell, plays Pat Garrett, who in the end fakes Billy’s death so that Billy can ride off into the sunset with the love interest of the story played by a very young Jane Russell (her first role, I believe).

Now Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to say that Jane Russell is the main attraction of this film, but they do manage to insert a gratuitous scene in which she falls into a stream and emerges with her dress clinging pretty tightly to her…assets.

Yes, I’d probably watch it again.

Finally, Robbo noticed last evening that one of the Nat Geo channels was running a documentary in which Michael Palin goes to tour North Korea.

I thought I’d give it a try.

I lasted about ten minutes.

During that time, Palin, shadowed very carefully by two Party monitors, goes to the DMZ and talks to a Nork lieutenant.  At one point, the lieutenant notes that it was the Americans who started the Korean War.  “Oh,” says Palin (and this is paraphrased from memory). “Well, um, it’s funny because when I was very small we were all taught that it was the Koreans…..I guess everyone has their own interpretations…”

Then the lieutenant says that of course all he wants is World Peace.  “Gosh, me too,” says Palin.  “Maybe when two people like you and me can just get together and talk, better things could happen!”

That was about all I could take.

I don’t know whether Palin was being diplomatic because he knew one wrong word would land him in the gulag, or else whether he was being idiotically naïve.  I do know how it came across…….




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