Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Friday to you all!

Ol’ Robbo is feeling summat drained this morning after a big dose of teh busy this week and would have given a significant sum of money for a half-way decent excuse to roll over and go straight back to sleep.  No dice, of course.  Like young Frederick, I am the slave of duty.

Of course, the big news ’round here is the approach of Hurricane Sandy, now dubbed Frankenstorm.  The latest helping of DOOOOOOOM!! is showing an ever-increasing chance of landfall in Delaware/southern Joisey.  Not to buy into the traditional Dee Cee panic response to adverse weather, but such a strike would actually be pretty bad news for the environs of Port Swiller Manor, especially if the storm hooks hard left.  The last big one to come through was Isabel in 2003, which knocked down a fair number of trees and cut the power for three or four days.  Our meteorologickal friends are starting to tingle over this one in terms of its potential unprecedented low pressure, but it’s still uncertain just how blowsy it’s likely to get and whether it will have lesser or greater impact.

Not that there’s much to do one way or the other except to stock up on the essentials: toilet paper, matches, adult beverages, etc.   I think I’ll probably bring in the bird feeders, flag and hammock tomorrow, too.

The irony is that the past couple days have been absolutely lovely – balmy, hazy, spectacular sunrises and sunsets and a waxing moon hanging in the heavens.  It’s no wonder that back in the day before advanced satellite imagery people used to get so completely bushwhacked by oncoming storms.  If you didn’t know better, you’d never suspect one was inbound.

Changing the subject, Our Maximum Leader had a very nice postie yesterday on the fact that it was both St. Crispen’s Day (and therefore also the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt), and also the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava.   Had he further mentioned that it was the anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he’d have pulled off a nifty hat-trick.   I champion his post because I continue to believe that “kings and battles” history matters.  Sure, it’s both useful and interesting to study general socioeconomic trends and developments, and yes, there is a place for learning so-called “bottom up” history about the day to day life of “the marginalized” (although that seems usually to be used for purposes of grievance-mongering), but when it comes down to it, it is people like Henry V, Lord Raglan and Bull Halsey who have the greatest immediate impact on the course of things.   The young people ought to be learning these things first.  There’s plenty of time for getting into the weeds later on.

So says Robbo the Pedant.

Speaking of which, I was reading this article about “pushy parents” which basically rediscovers the old adage that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.   I think the biggest challenge I’ve had to face as a father is to recognize that self-motivation a) is the only thing that really propels a kid and b) that it’s about a 90% function of nature and only a 10% function of nurture.   The practical upshot is that these days I am content more to encourage than to press (although there is still plenty of that, to be sure), and am better able to resist the temptation to beat myself or them over the head when I don’t feel they’re living up to their potential.

Speaking of “father”, that’s what the youngest gel has taken to calling me in a low drawl when she’s feeling snippy.  I can resist the urge to beat over the head pretty well.  Fingers around throat? Well, sometimes that’s a different matter…..

UPDATE: Oh, I knew what else I wanted to mention.  Regular friends of the decanter may recall my musing a week or two ago that I really needed to start exercising again regularly? Well, touching wood, I’ve somehow managed to fit that into the schedule, developing a regular pattern of 35-45 minute spins on the elliptical.  Unlike in past years, this time around I’m increasing the resistance while slowing down the pace and working to make sure my heart-rate stays within visiting distance of the optimal for my age instead of red-lining it.  The fact that I am getting some real geeky pleasure out of this is convincing proof to me that I am truly starting to age.  I suppose I’ll be saying enthusiastic things about fiber intake before I know it…..

The fact that part of my motivation is seeing all the young honeys out jogging in Rock Creek Park every morning and evening might also say something about my age….

And finally, speaking of saying, it is very frustrating to have to keep my politickal opinions to myself during this election season.  I intend to release them after it’s all over and done with and the dust settles.  All I can say now is that if they sound like a lot of post hoc told-ya-so fabrications, they won’t be anything different from what I’ve been saying in private for some time now.  The Mothe will, I am sure, back me up as a witness on this.