Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

What’s the point of being able to wallow in an unlimited hotel hot shower when the water pressure isn’t worth bupkiss?

Also, I just discovered a slice of pizza in the microwave in my room that pre-dates my check-in.  (I’m not touching it, but I am leaving the door open as a hint to the cleaning staff.)

Thank Heaven I’m headed home now……


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those friends of the decanter who have been around long enough know of Ol’ Robbo’s irrational fear of flying.

Well I’m here to tell you that nothing is more likely to deepen that aversion than landing in the middle of a thunderstorm and having to listen throughout the descent to the ten year old kid across the aisle repeatedly chirp in a high, penetrating voice, “Well, that’s it! Ladies and gentlemen, we’re all gonna die!”

Had I not been hanging on to my armrests with the grip of a drowning man, I undoubtedly would have reached across and strangled the little tick.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was chatting with Youngest Gel as he drove her over to swim practice this evening.  “So,” I said, “How was school today? Do anything productive?”

“Nah,” she replied, “Just the usual.  You know: skipped class, smoked some weed, got it on with a guy out behind the trailers.”

Were I not driving, I’d have smacked her one.  Young smart-ass.

She was also ranting about some “spontaneous” student walk-out that’s supposed to happen on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  Because guns bad, or something.  “Be damned if I’m going to do that,” she said, “Those people are idiots.”

That’s my gel!

By the bye, what is it with the Kidz these days and their “Dilly, Dilly!”  I first heard this being said some time early last December and it seems to have spread.  I assume it’s some sort of positive interjection, but where on earth did it come from?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the new trailer for The Incredibles 2 floated across Ol’ Robbo’s FB page yesterday.  It seems to me outright silly to waste too much psychic energy on a mere movie, but I have to confess that I have felt a keen sense of apprehension about this one ever since rumors of it first surfaced some years ago.

This is because the original is by far Ol’ Robbo’s favorite Pixar movie, and is indeed one of his favorite movies full stop. Technically – story, dialogue, animation, music, etc. -it’s so very well done and sets such an incredibly (ha!) high bar, that I just don’t see how that can be repeated, much less surpassed.

My other, deeper, worry concerns what might be called the general tone of the thing.  The first movie was pretty solidly conservative and took a lot of swings (some subtle, some blunt) at political correctness.  That was fourteen years ago, and “P.C.” has morphed since then into the much more radical and poisonous “SJW”.  Will the new one have the courage to maintain the spirit of its predecessor?  Or will it crumble?  (I gather that the plot has something to do with Mr. Incredible becoming a stay-at-home dad while Elastigirl fights crime with Grrrrrl-power.  There may turn out to be a perfectly good plot reason for this, but on the surface it sure as heck looks like possible pandering to me.)

I do not trust Disney any farther than I could throw a dead Rodent of Unusual Size.

We shall see, I suppose.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had to drive Youngest Gel to school this morning, Mrs. R being out of town with Middle Gel for a few days.  On the way, we got talking about the latest mass-murder.  This was a Good Thing, or so I’m told by the Experts.  Our Young People need Comfort and Support and Reassurance in the face of this latest National Tragedy, and since the Professionals can’t be absolutely everywhere at the same time, getting it from parents is at least better than nothing.

What the Gel said (and I swear I’m not making this up):

“You know, all I hear is ‘More gun control! More gun control!‘  But it seems to me that more guns might be the answer.  If somebody – the principal, teachers, guards, even students – had been armed, maybe they could have shot the bastard when he first cooked off and saved some lives.”

Ol’ Robbo would be lying if he said the Gel didn’t drive him absolutely batty at times, but all the same, I’m mighty proud of her.  Despite all the brainwashing of the current miserable Culture in which we find ourselves, she gets it.

We agreed that the only people actually affected by “Common Sense Gun Control” are ordinary, sane, law-abiding citizens, and therefore that this constitutes a surrender of liberty that has little or no connection with what is claimed to be its purpose.  (And just as an aside, I saw a tweet by Sen. Kamala Harris of California in which she calls for said control to stop the “killing of our babies”.  The woman is stridently pro-abortion.  What kind of a moral monster can carry these two ideas at the same time?)

We also talked about the alternative of Common Sense Loony Control.  After all, as is the case with pretty much every other non-terror related mass shooting (and maybe some of them, too), the gunman here is obviously a crack-pot.  Everyone around him knew he’s a crack-pot.  Everyone around him expected that he was going to snap sooner or later.  Some people even apparently tried to warn the Authorities that he was going to go ballistic.  Yet nothing was done.

Ol’ Robbo believes (and I told the Gel this) that the current rules about involuntary commitment of the mentally unbalanced are far too strict and should be revisited.  (I believe they’re based on a Supreme Court decision from somewhere in the mid-70’s.)  I’ve seen drugged out, drunken bums lying in pools of their own piss in the gutter and howling at the moon, surrounded by cops and EMT who couldn’t lay a finger on them because they wouldn’t consent to it.  On the other hand, I worry that there’s a very slippery slope here.  What, exactly, is the definition of “certifiable” that would allow involuntary commitment to a psych ward, and perhaps more importantly, who gets to decide that definition? I told the Gel about the various authoritarian regimes that use alleged mental illness as an excuse to jail political dissidents.  “Hell,” I said, “There are plenty of SJW’s in my own workplace who think that I, as a white, male, Catholic conservative, ought to be locked up for ‘reeducation’.”

So in the end, we agreed that perhaps the best defense – against both psychotic murderers and creeping authoritarianism – is self-defense.  In fact, we agreed that this is such an important concept that it ought to be enshrined somewhere in a major governing code of law.

Oh, yeah………

Almost as if those Founder fellahs knew what they were talking about.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This week saw the beginning of the latest Port Swiller Manor home improvement project, namely refurbishing the hardwood floors in the library, the living room, and the dining room.

The house is about forty-five years old now, and over the course of time, these floors naturally have come in for a goodish bit of punishment.  They’re faded, scratched, and, in the case of the corners in the dining room, stained with cat pee (this last a present of our old Jennyanydots in her senile decrepitude).  So it’s about time something was done about them. (Eventually, we’ll get to the upstairs as well.)

Rayther than blowing extravagant amounts of coin on ripping the old wood out and replacing it, however, we decided to go with said refurbishing.  A good sanding down followed by a couple coats of stain and a clear finish, and the dining room floor (the first one we’re doing in rotation and now near completion) looks really, really nice.

Unfortunately, the whole house reeks now of turpentine (or whatever it is that they put in stains), and I must admit that I’ve been feeling a bit like I used to back in my misspent yoot when I spent so many, many hours gluing and painting plastic airplane models.  Whoa.  (It’s nice enough to have the doors and windows open this evening, so the fug’s not so bad, but it’s supposed to be snowing again by Saturday night.  If I go to light a fire in the fireplace, is the entire atmosphere going to spontaneously combust?)

As I say, we’re doing the rooms in rotation, emptying all the furniture out of one room at a time and then shifting it as we proceed forward.  Ol’ Robbo simply couldn’t bear the idea (to say nothing of the cost) of hauling everything off to storage so as to do the whole project at one time.  Fortunately, our guy also has agreed to charge us for each stage of the project as it comes to completion, not the whole tamale all at once.

I only hope we get this biznay finished up and the house properly aired out before Easter, because guess who’s hosting dinner this year.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Mardi Gras!  Shall we get right to it?

Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, Ol’ Robbo felt it would be weird to bring home Valentine’s flowers for Mrs. R then, so I stopped and picked some up this evening.  Evidently, a fairly large number of fellahs feel the same way, as the florist counter was doing a very brisk biznay. 

[Obligator unreadable yellow insert]

Mrs. Robbo had the same idea: She came home this evening with Valentine’s chocolate bags for the gels, saying “it just didn’t seem right” to wait till tomorrow.  Smiling, I pointed at said flowers (which she hadn’t seen yet).  Winning!

The flowers, by the bye, were quite a delightful surprise to the Missus, as I rarely bring them home and almost never for Valentine’s, what with the jacked up prices the “holiday” inevitably brings.  (Before you get sniffy, this is in large part due to Mrs. R’s own furious reaction to the dozen roses I gave her one year when we were first manacled together and had very little coin for such indulgences.) 

[Second obligatory unreadable yellow insert]

Youngest Gel happened to be loitering about when I presented them and said, in her snippy, 16 y.o. voice. “Wow – Dad actually likes likes Mom!”  I was thiiiiis close to saying, “Hey, where do you suppose you came from?”  Whipper-snapper!

Anyhoo, here we are.  So far as any kind of Mardi Gras “celebration” goes,  I had a din-dins of Andouille sausage, brown rice, and beans by way of marking the day sorta, kinda Noo Orleenz style.  I already know that I’m going to pay for this dearly when I get up for early Mass tomorrow.

[Mardi Gras colors off]

Speaking of which, it continually amazes me that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the American Catholic Church.  (The fasting and abstinence requirements do apply, however.)

As for the imposition of ashes, given how much more polarized and venomous Cultural Marxist group-think has become in the past year, it will be interesting to see if Ol’ Robbo draws any hard-Left snide comments for wearing them on his brow down the office tomorrow.  (Sinfully to say, I hope so.  I hope so.) UPDATE:  Nope.  A couple of brief stares and one polite inquiry as to the day’s fasting and abstinence requirements.

And as for Lent in general, just so you can plan your blog surfing accordingly, Ol’ Robbo will not be officially signing off here this year, nor will he be likely to deviate much in general tone or subject matter, at least until Holy Week.  (I will be attempting, again, to give up dial back the gargle, so if I sound a mite peevish over the next few weeks, you’ll understand why.)




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How nice it is that we’re getting back to the time of year when the sun is actually up before I get to the office and not quite down before I leave.

As I observe every year at about this time, it gives one juuuust enough hope to keep on pushing through the rest of February.  For some reason, however, as a harbinger of Spring I cherish it even more this year than usual.

Oh, and what do we make of the fact that Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and Pitchers and Catchers reporting….all fall on the same date this year?

Walking out of Mass yesterday, a friend of mine mentioned this to me.

“Cosmic,” I replied, “Real cosmic, man!”

‘Cos it’s true.

UPDATE:  Of course, the downside of this time of year is that you get many more idjits cruising about in the dusk with their headlights off.  Why is it that a statistically-improbable subset of said idjits always seem to drive black, grey, and other dark-colored cars?  And so far as I know, there is no universally-acknowledged hand-signal that translates to, “Turn your bloody lights on, ya idjit!”



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo may already have mentioned the unlikeliness of his bothering with the Winter Olympics this year.  From what I have read here and there already, it seems that I have chosen wisely, for the Games (or at least the media coverage thereof) apparently are being dominated by SJW snowflake-snits and virtue-signaling, and the teevee ads are just as bad.  (Did I really read correctly that one ad involves a boy who wants a doll being compared to a handicapped person learning to walk?)  Feh! I’ve better things to do with my time.  [Ed. – You mean like yelling at clouds via WordPress?  Quiet, you.]

I got thinking about what kind of coverage I’d arrange if I were King of the World.  First, I’d make it a subscription-based or pay-per-view service, and eliminate all commercials.  Second, I would run it on the C-SPAN principle: straight audio and visual feed of the events, including the local public address system;  simple block-letter intros identifying each event;  a scroll at the bottom of the screen giving results and perhaps medal counts; an occasional cut to the schedule of upcoming events.  That’s it.  No “analysis”, no “human interest” stories, no Bob Costas, none of that.

It would be good to be the King.

The other thing I’d do is move back to the old practice of holding the Summer and Winter games the same year.  Back in the days of Robbo’s misspent yoot, having to wait for every fourth year made the Games a Really Big Deal.  These two year cycles just seem to make it all somehow ordinary and everyday.

Yes, it would be really good to be the King.

UPDATE:  And now the sister of one of the most savage dictators on the planet suddenly becomes an SJW darling?

I’m Robbo the Port Swiller and I approve this painting.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter no doubt read the story this week about the kerfluffle over the Manchester Art Gallery temporarily removing John William Waterhouse’s “Hylas and the Nymphs” from display?  (Apparently, it’s back up now.)

It is a painting that shows pubescent, naked nymphs tempting a handsome young man to his doom, but is it an erotic Victorian fantasy too far, and one which, in the current climate, is unsuitable and offensive to modern audiences?

Manchester Art Gallery has asked the question after removing John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs, one of the most recognisable of the pre-Raphaelite paintings, from its walls. Postcards of the painting will be removed from sale in the shop.

The painting was taken down on Friday and replaced with a notice explaining that a temporary space had been left “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection”.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!  I thought that the purpose of art nowadays is to be “unsuitable and offensive”! I thought such untouchable examples of artistic expression such as the “Piss Christ”, that Madonna made of elephant dung, and the photography of Robert Maplethorpe were supposed to shake us stuffy, close-minded bourgeois mouth-breathers out of our comfort zones.   Double-standard we much?

But then, of course, consistency is not a hobgoblin with which Cultural Marxism concerns itself very much.  Power first.  Principles later.

The article is from the Guardian,  which seems to take the line that summarily disappearing a piece of art is not censorship, because in a museum, for example, things get switched in and out all the time for a lot of different reasons.  Well that may be true, but if you’re saying you’re removing it because it might be too offensive, then yeah, you’re censoring it.  (Speaking of which, I see where a school district in Minnesota is yanking Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird from its reading list because of badspeak.  What the heck happened to the principled liberals like Nat Hentoff who used to speak out against this sort of nonsense? Off the top of my head, Camille Paglia is about the only one who still puts up a fight.)

By the bye, in Ol’ Robbo’s experience, language such as “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artwork”  when used by Leftists invariably translates into “shut up and get in line, kulak”.

Of course, if the Manchester Gallery decide in good conscience that they simply can’t keep this Waterhouse, Ol’ Robbo would be perfectly happy to take it off their hands.

UPDATE:  The lovely and talented Mary Katharine Ham takes many of Ol’ Robbo’s points about both the Manchester flap and the Minnesota book-banning, and turns them into a battle-cry.  Mmmmm…..MKH mentioned the old Llama Butchers by name in a video back in the day (which I couldn’t possibly find now).  Nice that she’s evidently paying attention to Ol’ Robbo even after all this time.  A glass of Madeira, M’dear?

Her greater point, which I think is an important one, is that when people actually push back against this web of unreality, it buckles, since it is built on a web of fantasy and lies.

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