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180px-Francis_ParkmanBorn this day in 1823, Parkman is to me surely as he is to anyone else even remotely interested in the colonial history of North America: a 19th Century combination of Herodotus and Thucydides.   His descriptions of the early French Jesuit efforts to colonize and convert Canada are fair and admiring, and his perceptions of the differing mentalities between French and British colonizers of North America – and their differing relationships with the Home Countries as well – are absolutely fundamental toward understanding not only America’s colonial history, but her Revolution as well.  ( As with most historickal events, 1776 was not quite so simple as School-House Rock would paint it.)

My fellow port-swillers, I tell you truly that I have passed some kind of major threshold in my life in that I received my first pair of bifocals this afternoon.  And the punchline? I love them.

As regular swillers will recall, I finally went to the optho opætho opthlathhpppttthhhh, oh hell, eye doctor a couple weeks ago after a lapse of six or more years, in order to update the ol’ contacts and glasses prescriptions.  I duly received the contacts a week or so ago, and while I greatly appreciated the support the new set provided in overcoming the nearsightedness and astigmatism that have plagued me since third grade, I was somewhat appalled that they also showed up just how farsighted I also have become recently.  Indeed, I think the bloody things have made it even more difficult for me to stare at a computer screen all day, which is, in fact, the bread and butter of my existence.

So imagine my delight when the bifocals turned up this afternoon.  Finally, I can see not only at a distance, but up close and personal, too.  But Robbo, you might be wondering, didn’t you also get a prescription for a pair of reading glasses to go with your contacts in order to deal with just this situation?  Well, yes I did.  But the truth is that I suffered so much sticker-shock ordering the bifocals that I point-blank refused to also order a pair of prescription reading glasses.  I’ll be damned if I pay a thou’  and better just to avoid squinting.  

I reckon that my choices now are either to wear my glasses all the time or else to plunk down 20 bucks or so get a pair of generic CVS reading specs to use with the ol’ contacts. 

In the meantime, where does one go to get an AARP membership application?

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