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While ol’ Robbo is off having his gastrointestinal workings examined, friends of the decanter may, instead of contemplating that image, instead feast their eyes on one of my favorite bits of ancient Roman art work in celebration of the first day of Spring.

Oh, and if any of you had made plans to attend any of the Centennial Nat’nal Cherry Blossom Festival events scheduled for next month, I hope you like strolling in the leafy shade because the blooms are peaking now (already) and will be long gone  in another couple weeks.


Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

When ol’ Robbo first swam the Tiber, he picked St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas as his patrons, the former because of his own conversion story, the latter because of his blazing intellectual defense of the Faith.

I have found, however, that these two play the same general role in my life as does the good china – splendid for taking out on special occasions, but not so much for the biznay of day to day living.  There, instead, I have found great comfort in contemplating good old St. Joe, who quietly and stolidly worked away at guarding and guiding his Family.   That’s the kind of hands-on support that I need the most.

And now that I have decoyed you with stained glass and a ha’penny’s worth of religious noodling, I am now going to ambush you with apropos domestic updates!

♦   Mrs. R has been elected to the vestry at RFEC, a fait I knew would be accompli the instant I heard she had been nominated.  Evidently my own black-sheep status there was no obstacle.   I have been getting a quiet chuckle out of the thing.

♦  Yesterday was the eldest gel’s 14th birthday, an occasion marked by my preparation of her favorite dish of pasta with prosciutto, shrimp, basil, garlic and shallots.  Fourteen is, to me, one of those Parental Yikes!© Ages, and I have found myself increasing the flow of sage oratory on the subject of how Things Are Going To Start Counting On Your Permanent Record.   These days, when the gel knows that Mrs. R and I are right about something but doesn’t want to come out and actually admit it, she has developed the habit of muttering, “Yessss, master.”   I’ve been getting “Yes, master-ed” a lot, which I take to be a Good Thing.

♦  Regular friends of the decanter will know that I’ve probably already overdone the Proud Papa posting in re the middle gel and her recent educational and musickal coup, so I won’t further burden them about her just now.

♦  Lately, Mrs. R and I have been having a running dispute with the youngest gel (now 10) on the subject of her reading efforts – or, rayther, the lack thereof .  Well, it turns out that what I (perhaps uncharitably) had been ascribing to laziness has been diagnosed instead as a matter of poor eyesight.   Yes, the gel (no doubt due to the genetic contributions of her blind-as-a-bat father) needs reading glasses.   Knowing her, ah, eclectic personal decorative proclivities, I shudder to think of what kind of frames she might pick out.  (My only caveat to Mrs. R on the subject was that they had better be durable.)

♦  Finally, and I will leave to you to determine yourselves whether there is a gunnegshun to all this, regular port swillers may recall that ol’ Robbo was scheduled to have an endoscopy done back in January to check on a suspected ulcer, an appointment I bone-headedly managed to sleep right through and therefore miss.  Well, we’re going to have another go at it tomorrow, and I don’t think the executive machinery of the port swiller residence is going to allow me to duck this one.   So I probably will be away from teh blogs tomorrow.   However, perhaps if they find something interesting – some old bottle caps or maybe a beat up license plate – in there, I can post the pics on line.

So there you have it.  Day in the life.  St. Joseph, ora pro nobis!



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all had a pleasant weekend.  For myself, it seemed as if the phone never stopped ringing at the port-swiller residence, as – at least according to Caller I.D.¹ – one damned polling company after another called up, eager, I suppose, to hear all about ol’ Robbo’s opinions of current events.

I say “I suppose” because on principle I never ever answer such calls.

In the first place, my opinions, which are mine, are my own.  I may choose to hand them out.  Indeed, there are plenty of times when ol’ Robbo’s nearest and dearest (not to mention friends of the decanter) would really rayther that he put a cork in it.  But I’m only going to do so at the time and place and to the audience of my own choosing.  I’m certainly not going to do so when some perfect stranger calls out of the blue and starts questioning me.  Damned impertinence.

It occurs to me to wonder, particularly given the heightened tensions that seem to fill the air these days, just how many other people share the same or similar sentiment.  (Who is that at the other end of the line, after all? What’s their motive? How much do they know about you?  Is somebody keeping tabs and correlating all the inflammatory opinions of that guy at 555-1234, perhaps making arrangements to reserve a bunk for him at the local reeducation camp?)

It also occurs to me to wonder how many people who do actually answer such surveys and polls actually do so dishonestly – giving responses that seem safe, for example, or just messing about with the pollsters’ minds.  At what point does such polling become not just useless, but, in fact, detrimental insofar as it generates false results?

I dunno, but I’m not playing along.

Er, what do you think?

¹ One of the top three greatest inventions in the history of Western Civilization.  Not that I answer the phone much anyway, but it gives ol’ Robbo a certain perverse pleasure to always know who it is he’s ignoring.


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March 2012