Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I see where boxing legend Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta has died at the age of 95.

One of Mrs. Robbo’s cousins married a niece of his.  Ol’ Robbo attended the wedding (which was at a catering hall – a compromise, I suppose, since he is Jewish and she is Catholic) and the reception (which was at the niece’s parents’ house, I think) out on Lawn Gyland.

The two things I remember (this was better than 20 years ago) were a) that copies of the couple’s pre-nup were set out for the guests’ reading pleasure in the loo, and b) the presence of a large number of attendees who looked like extras from “Goodfellas”.

I do not recall that LaMotta himself was there, but then I was trying to stay well in the background the whole time, so I really wouldn’t have known.

The couple are still married, by the bye, so apparently the pre-nup was unnecessary.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Remember that scene in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks takes a near-miss shell hit on the beach on D-Day?  He looks around for a bit, stunned and detached, while everything seems distorted and slowed down.  Then the camera starts jiggling around, there’s an aural sensation of revving up, and suddenly he’s back in the here and now.

I just realized that I have been going through something of the same thing since the Mothe died, carrying on in a state of shock for several weeks and only coming back into the here and now within the past couple days.  (Propelled, I don’t doubt, in part by the medical adventure described below.  Let that one sink in.)  I’m still sad, of course, but now I feel it’s all under control and I can function normally again.

Is this how it’s supposed to work?

Anyhoo, I think I can now say that I’m back.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter may recall Ol’ Robbo posting a couple months ago about going in for an initial consultation for his first colonoscopy?  Whelp, yesterday I actually went through with it.

As Mal Reynolds would say, “Huh.”

As far as the prep work went, it really must have been a lot more awful back in the day because, despite the traditional hype, to me the whole biznay turned out to be a big nothing-burger.  I was expecting vile-tasting concoctions, nausea, cramps, and the like.  But the “EZ-2-GO” kit (no, I’m not making that up) was nothing but tasteless powders easily masked by Gator-Aid.  And while they certainly threw the bilge pumps into overdrive, which after all was the whole point, I suffered no other adverse symptoms.  And on the bright side, confined to the throne most of the afternoon and evening, I got a lot of reading done.

No, the really awful part of the prep to me was the fasting.  Ol’ Robbo found himself starving by mid-afternoon, and so hungry the night before that I could hardly sleep.  And as for the lack of coffee and wine? Just don’t even ask.

(By the bye, I understand that this kind of purging is a Thing among Left Coast and Hollywood types, as they think it provides some kind of physical and spiritual health benefit.  My G/I guy openly sneered at the idea.)

As far as the actual dance went, Ol’ Robbo’s greatest concern going into it, believe it or not, was having to put on the Gown of Shame.  A few years back, I had an endoscopy done at one of the local hospitals.  The ward was something like a stockyard, with G/I patients all over the place and bad moons rising all around.  Being a very modest fellah, I really didn’t want that.

Fortunately, this time I went to a practice that does all its procedures in-house.  They were more than respectful, and had a carefully-choreographed system whereby patients were moved about one at a time and strategic blankets were provided to keep one covered up until the moment the fun began.

And then there was the Nap.  Mmmmmm……the Nap.  Now that’s something that lives up to its hype.  “We go night-night now?” I asked the gas-passer.  “We go night-night now,” she said.  Deep, deep down in an instant, gradually rising to some pleasant but unrecoverable dream and then suddenly finding myself somewhat bewildered in a recovery bay with the G/I guy and gas-passer smiling down at me.

As for the recovery itself, reverting back to my prior hospital experience, I was expecting the “what’s your hurry/here’s your hat” treatment, but again I was pleasantly surprised.  In fact, I snapped out of it pretty quickly, but when I said I was good to go, they actually held me back a bit to be doubly sure.

Oh, and I’m fine.  They snipped out two or three baby polyps that they’re going to check, of course, but the doc seems quite unconcerned.  He says I don’t need to go back for another five years.

And about that gnawing hunger? I demanded that Mrs. R immediately take me to the nearest Chick-Fil-A, where I snarfed down a Hate Sammich, Hate Shake, and large order of Fries of Intolerance in nothing flat.  Mmmmm…..

The one last thing is that the post-recovery instructions said no alcohol for the rest of the day.  “Be damned to that,” I said to myself. “After what you just did, if you’re not going to buy me dinner, at least I’m going to buy myself a drink!”

** Obligatory title.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Was chatting with Eldest Gel today and learned that, as befitting her theatre minor, yesterday she auditioned for and was cast in her school’s fall production, which this year is going to be the musickal “Avenue Q“.  I’ve never seen it, but I gather from what I’ve read that it is a sort of “Sesame Street mugged by Reality”.

As if anyone over the age of about 10 years ought not to be able to figure out that “Sesame Street” isn’t Reality all by themselves.

There are muppets involved, at any rate.

The Gel will play Brian, “an aspiring comedian recently laid off from his day job”.  Not the lead, but a strong supporting character, so she’ll get a solo and a lot of involvement in the ensemble bits.  She’s quite excited about it.

She also made it clear that she does not want Ol’ Robbo to come down to see the show.  Mrs. R? Yes.  Dad? No.

Why? Because the show takes something of a “South Park” tone in both its language and subject matter, even in its “student version”.  The Gel is quite aware of what I think of such things and said she’d feel weird knowing I was in the audience while it was going on.  Eh, bien.  I understand the Gel’s delicacy on the point.  (She’s got a sailor’s mouth, alas, but makes an effort to curb her tongue when she knows I can hear her.)

Despite all that I’d still like to see her perform, because Dad.  However, I believe they’re doing Shakespeare next spring, so I console myself with looking forward to that.

As a matter of fact, however, this embargo actually works out well for us:  It so happens that the performances are going to run the same weekend as Homecoming at Port Swiller High, and we had been racking our braims to figure out a way to ensure that the Youngest Gel in particular abides by her curfew.  Now that Ol’ Dad will be on hand?  Problem solved.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Surfing the innertoobs today, Ol’ Robbo noticed that She Who Must Not Be Named is kicking off her Election 2016 post-mortem book tour.

Because I yams what I yams (and that’s what I yams), this nooz immediately brought to mind this classic scene from “A Mighty Wind“:

Share and enjoy!

UPDATE:  By the bye, if you don’t know this film reference, I heartily recommend that you check it out, along with all the other Christopher Guest “mockumentaries”.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sitting out on the Port Swiller Manor porch on what amounts to a beautiful early October morning, it’s hard to fathom what’s happening or about to happen Down South.  Prayers for all friends of the decanter in Flahrduh, and stay safe!

Ol’ Robbo has a personal interest in this one because most of Mrs. R’s family live in South Flahrduh along the Atlantic coast.  The In-Laws bugged out the other day and are staying up here until it’s over, but they had to leave Mrs. R’s grandmother, who is too frail to move, and several sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins also decided to ride it out.  It’s not that I worry they’ll drown or get crushed by debris.  Instead, I worry about the aftermath – utilities gone, food and water running short, etc., etc.  Fortunately (at least for them), as of this morning it looks like Irma’s track has slid a little farther west and they’re more and more likely to be spared the brunt.  Hard cheese for those on the Gulf side, though.

As I say, hard to fathom from here.

Anyhoo, here’s some inconsequential nonsense:

♦  I am delighted to report the presence of no fewer than three separate hummingbirds at my feeder this year.  Last year I had two, and the year before – when I first hung it out – only the singleton.  They’re all hens (if one can properly use the word “hen” for the females of this particular species) and spend most of the time fighting one another.

♦  Speaking of hen-fights, Ol’ Robbo saw an article this week reporting that somebody was going to film an all-grrrlz version of “Lord of the Flies” and some Socialist Juicebox Wankers are upset because grrrrlz could never possibly treat each other that way.  I mentioned this item to Middle Gel, who only laughed.  “Do these critics even know any girls?” she asked.

♦ Speaking of movies, Ol’ Robbo watched the 1950 version of “King Solomon’s Mines” the other evening.  I try to like this film, I really do, but I always come away from it with a feeling of “meh”.  I think it’s because the story is good but the acting is flat.  Deborah Kerr does nothing for Ol’ Robbo, Stewart Granger (at least in this film) seems pretty wooden, and Richard Carlson’s English accent is ridiculous.  Are any of the other film versions of this story worth a dekko?

♦ And on the same topic, has any friend of the decanter ever read the Rider Haggard book on which the KSM films are based?  Ol’ Robbo has not read any Haggard himself but means to one of these days.  I probably ought to get on to that before they’re banned by the Thought Police.  (Toxic masculinity and British Imperialism, you know.  Can’t have that!)

Well, speaking of getting on, I suppose I had ought to finish my kahfeh and go mow the lawn.

UPDATED:  Done and done.  Do you know how much rain we’ve had in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor this year?  Enough so that I have not once been able to get through mowing the entire yard without stopping to clean the mud and wet clippings out of the blade housing, usually more than once.  That’s how much.

And while I was mowing, I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you just try reading “King Solomon’s Mines” yourself?”  So, as I had other biznay just now over to the devil’s website, I picked up a copy.  While I was at it, I also picked up Hugh Walpole’s “Rogue Herries” for no other reason than that John Cleese mentions it in the “Cheese Shop” sketch and I’ve always been curious.

I’ll let you know what I think.


Greetings. my fellow port swillers!

I hope you are all having a good Labor Day?  A sizable chunk of Ol’ Robbo’s, as I thought it might, wound up devoted to assembling furniture picked up by the Gels this weekend down to Ikea.  Specifically, I had to put together an eight-drawer dresser for the Youngest.

Ol’ Robbo has encountered bed-frames and nightstands from Ikea before, but Jumpin’ Jay Jehoshaphat!, this thing was in a class by itself: four long drawers, four short, and the frame that has to hold them.  Hundreds – hundreds – of screws, dowels, and locking nuts, to say nothing of the wood and all the runners,  Three long, flat boxes in all.

Plus, I had to deal with a 44-step instruction booklet full of extremely ambiguous illustrations. Fortunately, Ol’ Robbo spent a lot of his misspent yoot putting together model airplanes, thereby sharpening his ability to divine what is actually called for by such vague scratchings.   (They laughed and called me a nerd back then, but who’s laughing now, huh?  HUH?)

Nonetheless, the project took me something better than four hours to finish.   It also caused me considerable physical pain – I whacked my left forefinger with the hammer; my right hand is nearly frozen into a claw because I don’t have an electric screwdriver and had to do it all by hand; and I spent so much time bending, leaning, and twisting as I sat on the floor ‘mid my supplies that my back and abdomen feel like I’ve been doing yoga.

Heigh, ho.

Anyhoo, it’s all done now and the Gel was suitably grateful, as indicated by her unprompted, “Thank you, Puh-Parr.”  (That’s what she sometimes calls me.)

UPDATE:  For those of you, like Mr. G. Hand, who may be interested,  I should explain that “Puh-Parr” (accent on the second syllable) is a play on “Papa”, which she also sometimes calls me.  She does the same sort of thing on occasion with “Father”, which she turns into “Fawthuh”.   The Gel is imbued with a very large measure of what I might call vivacious breeziness, and this is one of the ways she amuses herself.   Now and again, this shades over toward outright insolence, but it’s generally so good-natured that I don’t check her until she’s actually crossed the line.  (“Robert” is never acceptable, even in jest.)

I should add that Youngest turns 16 in a few months but it only fairly recently hit me that The Dread Adolescence is running down for the last time (thank Heaven!) and I’ve got yet another young woman on my hands.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A cool, rainy morning here at Port Swiller Manor (my thermometer says 57 degrees at the moment) and ol’ Robbo is very comfortable in a pair of old corduroys and sweater as he sits on the porch with a large cup of kahfeh and a cat trying to climb into his lap. (No, Kitty! That’s mah keyboard!)

And this is Labor Day weekend?

In fact, after a very mild summah here, fall is making its first appearance about a month early.  Even a few of the leaves are starting to change color already.

Not that I mind at all, at all.  Fall has always been my very favorite season for a variety of reasons.  Plus, this sort of weather drives the Globull Enwarmening crowd bonkers, or at least shuts them up for a bit.

Speaking of things early, or rather not, Mrs. R and the Younger Gels are off to Ikea this morning (despite the weather) and I couldn’t help noticing that, in the fine old Family Robbo tradition, their setting out was both delayed and complicated.  I have never, ever, understood this kind of behavior:  When one determines, “We will leave the house at 9:30 am,” then, logically, every member of the party is supposed to plan accordingly, working their preparation timelines backwards so that they will be ready and assembled at the garage door at, say, 9:25 am.

How difficult is this?

And yet every single time I set such an arbitrary step-off, I find myself standing around and fuming as various family members suddenly, for example, discover they can’t find shoes, or need to throw something in the dryer, or all need the bathroom at the same time, or change their mind about what to wear.

It’s exasperating to ol’ Robbo because I have always been fanatical about punctuality.  (Middle Gel once complained about her choir director’s  rule: If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re late, don’t bother coming.  I applauded it.)

Anyhoo, the Gels were less than specific about exactly what it is they “need” from Ikea, but I’ve an idea it’s going to involve one or more heavy boxes full of shelves, backing, metal dowels, and those counter-clockwise anchoring nuts, and it’s also going to involve Ol’ Robbo dragging said box(es) upstairs and digging out my tools.   I had thought of doing some early fall work in the garden, but it’s really rather soggy for that.  Guess I’ll be laboring inside instead.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry about the most recent dearth of posties here – the fact of the matter is that the Mothe’s passing has hit me rather harder – and in more different ways – than I thought it would, and I simply haven’t much been in the mood.

Nonetheless, I feel a bit more inspired this evening, so here are a few bits and pieces for you:

♦ Prayers for the folks along the Gulf Coast suffering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which, I gather, is now coming back for a second landfall.  From what I’ve read, the people there are really coming together to help each other out.

♦  Most of the stories about Harvey have been coming from around the Houston area, but I b’lieve the storm actually made first landfall farther southwest, and am curious about its effects there.  This is because Ol’ Robbo spent a good bit of his misspent yoot fishing and duck hunting out of Port O’Connor, Texas, much of it within sight of the ruins of an old Coast Guard station destroyed by another storm in the late 60’s or early 70’s.  I’ve an idea that Port O’Connor was somewhere near the eye of Harvey, but can’t find any real information about it.

♦  I saw some pictures of the First Couple visiting Corpus Christi this afternoon to view the damage.  Totally off topic, but by God, Melania Trump is a beautiful woman.

♦  Speaking of politicks, Ol’ Robbo has been trying to come up with a label for the leftist goon squads that have been so much in the nooz lately.  I had considered Neo-Jacobins, but regretfully rejected it as being probably too historickally obscure.  But I’ve hit on an even better one for this day and age:  Antifassholes.   (I don’t care if somebody else has also thought of this – I promise I came up with it my very own self.)

♦  And I think…I think…that the whole Antifasshole movement has overreached itself and is not going to be able to mau-mau the country after all.

♦  Anything else?  Well, probably.  But I can’t think of it right now.  Oh, except Ol’ Robbo has been taking a very, very keen pleasure the past two days asking the two Younger Gels and Mrs. R, “And how was school today?”  Most. Wonderful. Time. Of. The. Year.

No, I am not at all a nice man.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, today Eldest Gel headed back to college to start her sophomore year.

What an incredible difference a year makes.  This time last August, it was a convoy of cars, enough clothing and gear to outfit a regiment, various lines for sign-ups and orientations, and a very long, very trying day of Mrs. Robbo and Self getting the Gel settled in, capped off by the teary farewell hugs and the more or less silent, contemplative drive back to Port Swiller Manor.

This year? The Gel loaded only what she needed in her car, said “Well…bye“, and tooled off.

I talked to her after she got back to school and got into her dorm room (which, funny enough, is Sistah’s old room) and she seemed pretty chipper.  I think she’s going to have a good year.

All this got me thinking about young birds and nest-leaving.  I don’t clearly recall a great deal of my own misspent yoot, but one point I remember very, very clearly is the day I suddenly realized that I had, myself, left the nest-  that what all my life I had thought of as “home” was now becoming “my parents’ house”, that I could never, ever go back (well I could, of course, but not in the same relationship), and that one chapter of my life definitely had closed and another was beginning.

It was Christmas break of my own junior year in college.  When the idea hit me, I burst into tears and sank my head on The Mothe’s shoulder.

Ah, yoot.

I don’t think this idea has come anywhere close to crystalizing in the Eldest’s mind, yet.  I’ll be very interested to see what happens when it does.

Meanwhile, the other two are starting their senior and sophomore years in high school next week.  Middle Gel is doing the college boogaloo herself this fall, and Youngest (hopefully) has finally realized that yes, grades matter and yes, if you want good grades you’ll have to actually work for them.

But the best part of all? Mrs. Robbo goes back to work at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method and has to start getting up in the morning again instead of wallowing a-bed while Ol’ Robbo stumbles off to the salt mines at zero-dark-thirty.  Heh, indeed.


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