You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 11, 2012.

I see where Click and Clack have announced that they’re not recording any more “Car Talk” episodes.

I used to be a great fan of “Car Talk”.  If memory serves, I first came across it in law school, and continued listening faithfully long after I’d got out and about in the world.  Their trademark “Aw, Jeez” has long been a part of the port swiller family lexicon.

But you know?  I actually stopped listening maybe seven or eight years ago.  And the reason I did was that Tom and Ray, who had generally held themselves above trendy political causes to that point, suddenly started hectoring on the eeeeeeevils of driving an SUV.   I seem to recall finding it particularly grating because this was right about at the time of maximum gummint-mandated child car seating in our family and we had the very devil of a time jamming three kids, three big car seats and all their attendant junk into anything but an SUV.  Exactly the wrong time to be telling me I really ought to be driving, say, a Dodge Dartra instead.  In any event, once they started up, the irritant quickly became sufficiently aggravating to cause me to hit the off button in protest.

So I suppose the nooz doesn’t really affect me one way or the other.

Just out of curiosity, however, I went over to their website recently and looked up what they had to say about Jeep Wranglers.  The results, one shouldn’t be surprised, were hysterically funny and accurate:

All in all, it must be said that there is a novelty factor in driving such a deliberately unrefined vehicle — particularly for us, who hoisted our derrieres out of this Jeep and then into a $90,000 Jaguar that was loaned us. But there’s a novelty factor to a Turkish jail, too, and a question about how quickly the novelty would wear off. However, there are certain people who absolutely love Jeep Wranglers, and no discussion of reliability or comfort will dissuade them. And, you may be one of them.

The fact is, there’s not much else being made in the world today that’s like the Wrangler. For sheer off-road capability, there’s the Land Rover Discovery, but that’s another $15,000. The Geo Tracker, now Chevrolet Tracker, used to be a Jeep clone, but it’s gotten bigger and heavier and now comes as a four-door, steel-roofed SUV.

The Wrangler is no bargain at $19,000-plus, in our humble opinion.  But, if you must have a Jeep — and you know who you are — there just aren’t any comparable alternatives. If you live out at the end of a logging road in the deepest part of the forest, the Jeep Wrangler may just be the perfect vehicle for you. Think of it as a Conestoga wagon with a windshield, and you won’t be that far off.

Read the rest.  I don’t live at the end of a logging road, but yes, I am one of those people immune to discussions of comfort.  And I’m tickled that Tom and Ray spotted that quirk in us Jeep owners.

So tomorrow is the big graduation ceremony at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.   As she and her fellow sixth graders will actually be leaving the school and going on to other things next year, the Middle Gel gets to give a short speech reflecting on her time and (of course) giving appropriate thank-yous.  (There are only three kiddies in her graduating group, so this will not be so lengthy a process as it might sound.)

Yesterday I sat helping the gel noodle out what she was going to say.  As we talked about the various high and low points in her career, her face started to take on a solemn and almost alarmed expression.  “You know, Dad,” she said, “I’ve been at SMBEM for ten years.  I’ve never gone to school anywhere else.  It’s always seemed like it was going to last forever, and now it’ll be all over in a few days.  I’m a little scared.”

Well, I certainly feel her pain.  Ol’ Robbo has always craved permanence and stability, and while he has managed to get over life’s various transitory hurdles without coming a cropper (so far), and even to enjoy the new situation once things have settled down, he’s always hated that feeling of hurtling uncontrollably over a  cliff that one gets just ahead of time.

I assured her I knew exactly what she meant and that the same thing had happened to me many times.  I also said that, as I knew what kind of gel she is, I also knew that she’d be right back on her feet before she knew it and that she was going to love her new life.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I know that I’m getting rayther tarsome on the subject, but ol’ Robbo’s bronchial troubles proceed apace.  In addition to the goop that I’m still gagging on, I seem to have pulled just about every muscle in my abdomen through my violent hacking.  And I’m here to tell you that all that wrenching doesn’t make one’s hiatal hernia feel any better, either.  I was so sore this morning that I literally couldn’t sit up in bed, but had to roll sideways to get out.   Bummah.

On a happier note, fellow mackerel snappers may be interested to know that Robbo’s parish really put the knobs on for the Feast of Corpus Christi:  Three priests serving, extra bits added to the full Latin Mass, Palestrina from the schola, a couple visitors who looked like Knights of Malta and a looooong Eucharistic procession round the grounds.  (Fortunately, somebody had thought to set out lots of water bottles, as it was hot as blazes.)  Afterwards, all I could say to Father S (with whom I’m starting to get chummy) was “Wow.  Thank you.”

Speaking of happy, I cooked up some of my breaded rosemary chicken for dins last evening, always a big hit at Port Swiller Manor.  I suppose that I really use too much butter, but I just don’t care.

After dinner, we watched Clash of the Titans.  Regular friends of the decanter will know how Robbo feels in general about remakes, but in this case the original was so pathetically awful that I have no allegiance to it whatsoever.  And the new version proved to be good, solid cheese.   Of course, the inexplicable inclusion of Io (in non-heifer form) as one of Perseus’s sidekicks and the reduction of Andromeda to a strictly ornamental role provoked a storm of protest among my little brood of mythology snobs, but never mind.

Also speaking of happy, although I am not a fan of inter-league play as a rule, especially at American League parks where the purity of the sport is contaminated by the heresy of the designated hitter rule, I must say that I was mighty pleased to see my beloved Nats sweep the Sawx at Fenway.  It is difficult for me to gauge how much genuine respect the Nats are getting these days from the rest of the league, but I at least know that nobody is laughing at us anymore.

Rereading the Flashman Chronicles, I think I’ve finally got George MacDonald Fraser figured out.  All the naughty bits he puts in the stories are mere gratuity designed to get you to buy the books.  (I’ve got to the point where I simply sail right past them, barely skimming.)  What he’s really up to is indulging in an unabashed admiration of the Victorian Era.  What was it Bill Cosby used to say at the beginning of “Fat Albert”?  “If you’re not careful, you just might learn something.”  That seems to me to be the real heart of the matter.  Shabash, huzoor!




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June 2012