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Confucius of teh Gormogons relays a suggestion by friend of the decanter the Nightfly, ripped so to speak from the headlines, that the city of Aleppo might have been the basis for C.S. Lewis’ Tashbaan, capitol of the land of Calormen in The Horse and his Boy.

This sort of thing always grabs Robbo’s attention, so he did all of five minutes’ quick intertoob research.  At least according to this article, Syria is indeed the model for Calormen, but Tashbaan itself is a blend of Damascus and the offshore island of Arwad.  (Lewis had visited the region with his brother and was quite impressed.)

Speaking of Damascus, I can never think of the name without being reminded of that scene from Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence asks his Bedouin bodyguard where his army is going and the guard, with a huge grin and glittering eye, says, “Dah-mash-coos, ‘Orrenz!”   I’ve got in the habit of pronouncing it “Dahmashcoos” myself.

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No, no, no, not like that.  (Apart from the moral issues and the fact that I’m already up to my eyeballs in females, I often wonder who the heck has the time or the energy for that sort of thing.)

Instead, I’m alluding to the fact that the vets, a pair of extremely aggressive ladies, came out to Port Swiller Manor to give teh kittehs their annual checkup yesterday.   Mrs. R reports that there was much hissing and twirling of metaphorickal mustaches because she politely but firmly refused to let the docs do anything other than give rabies boosters and confirm that the cats are comfortable (which they are).   Had the docs had their own way, it would have been blood work and teeth cleaning and insulin shots and probably hip-replacement surgery to boot, leaving the Family Robbo beggared.

In other words, “No, Kitty! This is my pot pie!”

(Yes, I say that to ours all the time in my best Cartman voice.  Extremely juvenile, I know, but I’ve got a pretty eclectic sense of humor.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter will know that on occasion ol’ Robbo will jot down a postie on a dream he has had.  In this,  TPSAYE serves not so much in its function as a forum for publick entertainment, but more so in its róle  as convenient diary.  Years from now, I’m sure that my biographer case-worker will appreciate the navigational hints these entries offer for penetrating the murky backwaters of my braims.

So t’other night, as part of a cycle of unusually vivid and bizarre dreams,  I had one featuring the pater.   It’s better than five years since the old gentleman handed in his dinner pail, and I don’t think I’ve dreamed about him more than a couple times in the interim.  So when I do,  it’s that much easier to remember.

Anyhoo, in the dream, we were in an ordinary suburban kitchen, fishing.  Yes, fishing.  I recall the rods and reels (spinners) quite clearly, as well as the tiled floor.  I believe that the kitchen was, in fact, the one in South Texas where I spent the majority of my misspent yoot.

At some point the old gentleman said, “The big ones are always right under the counter.”  At this, for some reason I reached over and took hold of his line, perhaps to move it to said spot.  The next thing I knew, his hook was firmly implanted in the ball of my palm just below my thumb.

I recall turning my hand over and seeing the entire thing – barb, shank and eye, outlined just below the skin.  It didn’t hurt at all.  I then held up my hand and looked away, and could feel the old gentleman winkling the hook and hear him muttering under his breath.  Again, it didn’t hurt.  A few seconds later, the hook was out.

I looked back at my hand.  There was just a tiny mark where the hook had been, but from that point an unusual amount of blood started flowing out.  I dabbed at it with something, but the blood kept flowing, not in a torrent, but steadily.  I flapped my hand and the drops started spattering all about.

My overriding concern was not that I was bleeding, but that I was making a hell of a mess.  In particular, I remember being worried that the blood would somehow get all over the rug out in the hall and that it would be the very devil to get it out again.

And then, as they say, I woke up.

You may make of this what you will.

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