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Mrs. R and I are still in the midst of noodling about replacing the port swiller family computer, an ancient Dell that has become hopelessly contaminated with some hideous virus.  (We haven’t even turned the thing on in months.)

T’other day, a techie colleague told Mrs. R that Macs are superior to PC’s in that Macs are not susceptible to computer viruses.  This immediately won over Mrs. R and she is now demanding that we look into getting a new Mac of some kind.

Being used to PC’s and detesting change, I immediately poo-pooed the colleague’s assertion, insisting that the thing was manifestly impossible even though I confess I hadn’t the faintest idea what I was talking about.  I hate to discover that I am mistaken, but……am I?

Dear Spammers,

In re your latest.

Yes, it is quite true that ol’ Robbo has three daughters and that he one day hopes to marry them all off successfully.  Therefore, it is also quite true that sooner or later ol’ Robbo is probably going to have to pony up for multiple wedding gowns.  (As an aside, I suppose it would be too much to ask that they all take turns using the same one?  Why not? The Robbo Family Christening Gown has been handed down the generations and has been reused eleven times to date.)

However, even given these facts, I can assure you absolutely that under no circumstances whatever would I buy such gown or gowns over the intertubes at all, at all, even if you were something more than a pack of fly-by-night weblinks that can’t even get simple spelling right.

My advice is to give it a rest.


Robbo the Port Swiller

Contra my griping immediately below, last evening I heard a lovely olde carole on the radio that I honestly do not recall having heard before, although many of you no doubt have.  Entitled “Carol For New Year’s Day”, it goes like this:

The old year now away is fled/the new year now is entered; Then let us now our sins down tread/And joyfully all appear.  Let’s merry be this holiday/And let us run with sport and play/Hang sorrow, let’s cast care away/ God send you a happy new year.

And now, with new years gifts, each friend/Unto each other they do send; God grant we may our lives amend/And that the truth may appear. Now like the snake cast off your skin/Of evil thoughts and wicked sin, And to amend this new year begin/God send us a merry new year.

And now let all the company/In friendly manner all agree/ For we are here welcome all may see/ Unto this jolly good cheer. I think my master and my dame/The which are founders of the same, To eat, to drink now is no shame — God send us a merry new year.

Come lads and lasses, every one/ Jack, Tom, Dick, Bess, Mary and Joan/ Let’s cut the meat unto the bone/For welcome you need not fear.  And here for good liquor we shall not lack/ It will whet my brains and strengthen my back/ This jolly good cheer it must go to wrack/ God send us a merry new year.

Come, give us more liquor when I do call/ I’ll drink to each one in this hall/ I hope so loud I must not bawl/ But unto me lend an ear. Good fortune to my master send/ And to my dame which is our friend/ God bless us all, and so I end— And God send us a happy new year.

I was absolutely enchanted by the delightful Cavalier sentiments of the song (one source dates it from the early 1640’s), and the direct appeal to God at the end of each verse went right to ol’ Robbo’s heart.

Of course, God didn’t send a happy new year, and surely anyone singing this carol in the England of 1642 would know it was unlikely.  Instead, He sent Cromwell and his bloody-minded Puritans to plunge the kingdom into civil war.   But perhaps it’s in such times that these attitudes become most important.  What was it C.S. Lewis said was the true meaning of kingship?  To be first in every charge and last in every retreat, and when the kingdom was suffering from famine to put on one’s brightest clothes and be as merry as possible (or words to that effect).

I have a friend whom I think of as a “bunker Catholic”.  (In fact, he was my sponsor when I was received into the Church.)  He’s convinced that Western Civilization is about to be wiped off the face of the Earth and that the remnants of Christianity will be reduced to something approaching the Early Church, with small bands scurrying about the equivalent of the catacombs, hunted, persecuted, martyred, but all the purer for sticking to their Faith in the face of such adversity.  He takes a grim relish in this prospect, and almost literally rubs his hands in anticipation of the Doom about to drop on the heads of those around him.  Personally, I consider this attitude to be extremely unhealthy as well as uncharitable.   I have my own doubts about the survival of the West from time to time, but even if the worst comes to naught, I don’t think spitting poison -even at deserving enemies – is the proper response.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The Bard once famously observed that when troubles come, they come not as single spies but in battalions.  So it would appear with the port-swiller residence.

First there’s the crumbling chimney to deal with.  We went ahead and called the insurance people and they’re sending an adjuster out to have a look at the damage, but from what I gathered there’s not really much chance that they’ll pony up for the repairs unless they’re satisfied that the cracking is somehow storm-related.  It strikes me this is as likely a contributing factor as anything else, but I just don’t know how one would go about proving it.  I’ve a sinking feeling they’re going to say it was the earthquake and nothing but the earthquake, in which case we’re out in the cold.   Indeed, I’ve begun to imagine Mr. Huph from The Incredibles shouting, “PaaaaaaaaAAAARRRR!!! How are we gonna protect our shareholders from Robbo???”

Then, a week or two ago the oven conked out.  I suspect it’s a fault in the circuitry, because the electronic dashboard is dark as well.  (Don’t suggest it’s the circuit breaker – I’ve flipped the damned thing back and forth fifty times.)  The lower, auxiliary oven still works, but doesn’t have room for anything much taller than french fries or chicken nuggets.  And, as the stove-top is gas, it’s still fine.  However, if we don’t get this sorted out soon, it’ll be no roast beef for Robbo come Christmas Day.  And that’s a Bad Thing.

Now the garage door opener seems to be having some kind of nervous breakdown, taking several attempts to get all the way up or down if one has the patience not to simply disconnect the thing.  The optimist in me says that the gadget is better than ten years old and is probably coming close to the end of its useful life.  The pessimist in me says the door is getting stuck because the garage ceiling is getting ready to cave in and the tracks are coming out of alignment.

Then there’s the sink in the downstairs loo, which has started an incessant drip.  At least I can deal with that one myself.

Sorry to grumble.  Of course, comparatively speaking this is all pretty small potatoes.  Nonetheless, one does get a bit fed.  And the fact that it’s Tuesday doesn’t help much.


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December 2011