Is it okay for Ol’ Robbo to start getting excited?  Because I’m starting to get excited.

GO, NATS!!!!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel was telling me about a dustup she got into with one of her ‘Murican history classmates about Christopher Columbus and how it’s so bad, awful, hurtful, etc., etc., to have a holiday in his honor.

I loosely paraphrase, but after said classmate got through her laundry list of Columbus Bad talking points, the Gel replied, “Look, nobody celebrates Columbus because of slavery, or because of the introduction of European disease, or because of Spanish plunder, and only an idiot would suggest that we do.  We celebrate Columbus because he made First Contact between Europe and the New World, without which contact you and I would not be sitting here fat, happy, safe, and free, and having this argument.  Columbus Day is really America Day.  That’s why we recognize him.”

That’s my gel!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is concerned that this Amazon Synod is bringing out a serious case of Francis Derangement Syndrome in some of his acquaintances, characterized by the swallowing of tongues and the screaming from rooftops at each new story of what Frankie allegedly said or did this time.  I don’t find this kind of thing to be particularly healthy for said swallowers and screamers.

Me? I’m largely giving it a pass.  Or at least invoking the 72 hour rule after each sensationalist headline hits the ether.  As far as I’m concerned, Fake Vatican News can be even worse than Fake Regular News, with agendas pushed harder and axes ground sharper, not to mention the perennial translation barriers, the haplessness of Vatican P.R., and the pig-ignorance and outright malice of so many of the so-called “experts”.  (The story I saw the other day was that Francis had denied the divinity of Christ.  Well, no he didn’t.)  I don’t doubt that Francis could get into some mischief, but I’m not going to blow a gasket falling for things like this.

Instead, I’m doing what our local Padre asked us to do, namely praying the Litany of St. Joseph, as well as a “Litany of Patron Saints for Family Life and Authentic Reform of the Clergy” which I think he might have put together himself.  The latter is especially interesting, in that it has introduced me to Saints I’ve never heard of before.  (Who were Ss. Louis and Zelie Martin, for example? Answer: The parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.)

And while we’re on the subject of Saints, St. John Henry Newman, ora pro nobis!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yesterday, Ol’ Robbo dropped by the local hardware store to pick himself up a big bag of Holly-tone, with which to give the Port Swiller Manor shrubbery its annual fall feeding today.

As I hoisted the bag up on to the counter, the check-out lady said, “Oh! This stuff smells so bad!”

“Oh, yes,” I replied, raising an eyebrow, “it certainly does.  But at the same time, it kind of grows on you, doesn’t it?  Sort of ‘so bad, it’s good’?”

She laughed…ever so slightly nervously.  (It’s moments like this, by the bye, when I find myself flirting with middle-aged women, that I realize I’ve become my own father.  You may get off my lawn.)

“It’s okay,” I smiled, “I know I’m a weirdo.”

She laughed again…..ever so slightly nervously.  And I casually strolled out the door.


(I was only half-joking.  I do like the smell, as awful as it is.)

Today’s second task has become another annual ritual.  For the past four or five years now, I’ve bought Mrs. R a double knock-out rose for Mother’s Day.  It spends the spring and summah in a big pot at the top of the porch stairs, and then I plant it out in the fall.  This year I’m doing a little experiment:  All my other roses are in wire cages to keep off the beasties.  I’ve never much liked this, as it gives that particular bed such a Teutonic look.  At the moment, I don’t have the fixin’s to fortify this one, so I’m just going to see what happens.  The deer don’t seem to come into the yard anymore since we got Decanter Dog, but I suspect the resident woodchuck might try and have a go at it.   If so, then more wire.  If not?  I might consider liberating the rest of them.

Finally, Ol’ Robbo recently bought himself a pole trimmer with which to deal with the riotous Virginia creeper on the backside of the house, as well as to tidy up the holly hedge out by the street.  It’s going to take every ounce of self-restraint to keep me from running amok with the thing, clipping everything within reach.  Bwahaha!!



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before taking the deep plunge into the NLCS (*smacks lips, repeats*), how about a few odds and ends?

♦  Going back to the Metro after about an eight year hiatus, I notice that the number of people milling about the platforms with their noses buried in their iThingies has increased exponentially.  We hates that. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

♦  Speaking of which, I saw a young lady in my rear-view mirror last evening.  In one hand she held her iThingy.  In the other, a snack.  How the heck was she steering?

♦   Speaking of young ladies, Ol’ Robbo takes satisfaction in the fact that St. Greta of the How DARE You did not cop the Nobel Peace Prize this year.  Not that the NPP actually means anything, but still.  We take these little victories against the Madness whenever we can.

♦  Speaking of madness, I saw an amusing headline over to YahooNooz this morning (not linking because Yahoo has gone insane) that some WNBA player was angry at the lack of respect being shown to their finals.  Ol’ Robbo frequently forgets that the WNBA even exists.  As for the NBA, pretty alarming how beholden they turn out to be to the ChiComs, no?  Thank Heaven pro baseball has largely avoided politization, at least so far.  I’ve never cared about basketball anyway, but it would be a real blow to have to give up MLB.

♦  Speaking of living the Counter-Culture Life, Ol’ Robbo caught Apocalypto on the cables last evening.  (I think somebody was doing a little Columbus Day trolling.)  Eldest had recommended it to me and I found it quite fascinating, the ending quite shiver-making.  I’ve no idea how accurately it portrays the pre-Columbian Maya and this is Mel Gibson after all, but from what I do know I would guess it isn’t far off.  Noble Savages they were not.

♦  And speaking of movies, Ol’ Robbo has been on a Shakespeare kick recently.  I’ve been reworking my way through the old Age of Kings series (how can one not like Sean Connery as Hotspur facing off against Robert Hardy’s Prince Hal?), and the other day watched the late-70’s Beeb production of As You Like It featuring the young Helen Mirren.  (Not quite the shmokin’ hot Excalibur Helen Mirren of a couple years later, but this is Shakespeare, not shlock.)  Those late 70’s/early 80’s Beeb productions tend to be hit or miss, but this is one of the better ones.

Whelp, that’s enough for now.  A four day weekend for Ol’ Robbo.  I need to run some errands this morning and get in nacho supplies for tonight’s NLCS opener (*smacks lips again*).  Tomorrow will be a genuine fall yardwork day.  And I believe Middle Gel is coming home for a visit Sunday.  Good times.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has been hesitant to say anything about his beloved Nats going up against the Dodgers in the NLDS series.

But now that it goes to Game 5, I will say this:  From here on out, however far we get or we don’t get, my Nats have nailed the flag to the mast.  If they go down Wednesday, or at any point thereafter, they go down with pride and honor.

What else is there to say, except

GO, NATS!!!!


**Which I hate. Bad on the liver. Bad on the marriage.


Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2019 Washington Nationals.  Going to the NLCS for the first time in modern history after a season Ol’ Robbo thought early on to be DOA.  What can one possibly say?

But for all that?  I actually missed the game.  In my defense, lemme explain.  First, Ol’ Robbo was unusually tired last evening.  Second, on days like today when I go into the office, I have to be up by about 5:15 ack emma.  Third, when I checked the score before going to bed, it was the middle innings with the Dodgers up 3-0, and I reckoned I was seeing our doom fast approaching.   So yes, I said “bag it” and toddled off.

My first indication that Something might have happened came when I got up in the wee hours this morning.  Looking at my phone, I saw that Middle Gel – who I knew was going to watch the game – had tried to call me around Midnight.  Summoning up the innertoobs, I quickly got the Glad News.  I’ve been re-watching Howie’s blast off and on all day.

So on we go into uncharted waters.  What might happen I can’t possibly guess.  I will say this:  I’m happier that we’re facing the Cards than I would have been had we gone up against the Braves, who got under our skin toward the end of the regular season.

Anyhoo, Game One tomorrow night, and forget about anything else for the next week or so.  I asked above what can one possibly say? Just this:

GO, NATS!!!!!!





Greetings, my fellow port swillers1

I don’t know about where you are, but fall has definitely arrived at Port Swiller Manor.  45 degrees this morning and in the low 60’s this afternoon.  It’s so nice, I even persuaded Decanter Dog to go for a walk.  (She’s got to the age where she doesn’t want to in hotter weather.)  Since Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats don’t play again until tomorrow night, an evening loitering in front of the fire pit may be very much in order.

Enough leaves are down already that I added a raking session to my morning mow and trim.  Also, I noticed quite a heavy acorn drop from our oak out front.

I didn’t use the “D” work to describe the recent lack of rain ’round here last Saturday, but I’ll go ahead and use it now Dodecahedron.  No, wait, I mean Drought.  The ground is now bone-hard and some of the less hearty foundation plants are beginning to wilt.  Fortunately, we have a rainy week forecast ahead, so hopefully the situation will take care of itself.  No doubt it’s still all my own fault somehow.

On a completely different note, Port Swiller Manor is experiencing a sudden infestation of fruit flies.  Ol’ Robbo detests fruit flies, in part because they’re so annoying, in part because they remind him of the lab work for the genetics class he bombed so badly in college, thus finally putting paid to any notion of med school.  So this morning I took myself over to the hardware store and picked up a couple fruit fly traps.  They’re shaped like large strawberries, and their bait works like a charm.  Further, the designers were thoughtful enough to put little windows in the base so you can see the drowned corpses floating about in the bait reservoir.  What a nice touch!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Pity Robbo’s Youngest, my friends:  She had her wisdom teeth yanked yesterday.  Four of them, all impacted, and one pretty deep and requiring advanced excavation.

She came home in somewhat elevated spirits from the anesthesia, but today her face is so swollen up that she looks, in her own words, like a cartoon of herself.

She’d had plans this weekend to go with her friends to one of those haunted cornfield things, but that’s all off.  “My mouth hurts so much right now, I can’t even think about the idea of trying to scream,” she said.

I think I’m off the hook of having to cook her anything solid for dinner this weekend, too.

Poor kid.

Now that Ol’ Robbo thinks about it, I simply cannot recall whether I had any of my own wisdom teeth out.  (On the other hand, I recall vividly having my upper bicuspids yanked when I was in middle school so that my braces had room to rumble.)  I know I started life with only three to begin with.  I have a dim recollection that one of them may be impacted, but then I draw a blank.  Perhaps we reached the conclusion, finally, that it wasn’t worth messing about with them unless and until they started causing problems.

I sure hope they don’t now, because I’m getting too old for the sort of thing the gel is going through.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest recently informed me that she has a crush on Christian Slater.


Is this just another manifestation of her eccentricity, or are there others in this camp, too?  As the Mothe used to say, I don’t have the genes to appreciate this sort of thing myself.

(I will admit that I enjoy watching “Broken Arrow” every now and again.  Travolta’s psycho is very entertaining.)









Wildcard sudden death tonight against the Brew Crew,  What else is there to say, except

GO, NATS!!!!!


UPDATE: And now…We DANCE!!

UPDATE DEUX:  Aside from the local coverage, all Ol’ Robbo is seeing today is not how the Nats won, but how the Crew lost.  I tell ya, we don’t get no respect!  Look, even if Grisham had fielded that ball cleanly, two runs would have scored, tying the game, and we’d have had runners at 1st and 3rd with two outs.  I’d back my Nats in a tie game in the 8th Inning against anybody at the moment.  We. Won.

Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!  (I didn’t get a ‘Harumph!‘ out of that guy!)

As for the NLDS against the Dodgers?  Well, Ol’ Robbo is so proud of his Nats for overcoming a rough season start and for finally winning a playoff elimination round, that so far as I’m concerned we’re playing with House money now. If we do somehow upset LA, great.  If not, I won’t lose any sleep.


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October 2019
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