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May I just point out here that I have been laughing and laughing at regular friend of the decanter Gripping Hand’s word picture of the Port Swiller Manor Kybosh Button in the comments to this post yesterday?  Allow me to highlight it again:

I can just imagine a large red button, about the size of a bicycle wheel, mounted on the wall near the dining room table (or wherever family councils are held) with word Kybosh on it. Robbo would, with great solemnity, stand, walk over to the button, and with a worthy effort, depress said button. The sound effects resulting from said effort are left as an exercise for the reader.

I haven’t yet pinned down the sound effects in my mind because every time I try I start laughing again.  What I have pinned down is my response to any protest offered after the administration of the kybosh, which is a Joe Pesci-like, “Hey! Talk to the Button!”   I was practicing the line on my way home last evening with much satisfaction.  Indeed, it may even replace “Well the Jerk Store called and they’re out of you!” as my favorite bad driver response.

Seriously, I have got to get me one of these.

200px-James_LongstreetI notice that today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1821, of James Longstreet.

Regular friends of the decanter will know that from time to time I make mention of the memoirs of various Civil War leaders here – Grant, Sherman, most recently Little Phil Sheridan – generally with warm approval.

I have a copy of Longstreet’s memoirs, too, but I confess that I’ve never been able to finish them get very far into them at all, and usually find myself face-planting.  Unlike most of the others I’ve sampled, “Old Pete” wrote in a style so plodding, so methodical in its laying out of every. single. detail.  of a campaign (in fact, I’ve never made it past the Seven Days’ Battle), that it’s rayther akin to watching a glacier make its way down a mountain valley.

I don’t know what to say about this except that I find it interesting that his literary style mirrored his military style, which was similarly plodding, methodical and careful.

(I have read elsewhere from those who have managed to make their way through Longstreet’s tome, by the bye, that it is massively defensive and self-justifying, but as I say, I’ve never managed to see this myself.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

We are now at one of the points of the year during which ol’ Robbo’s morning and evening commutes start right before dawn and just at the end of dusk.  As I head east in the morning and west in the evening, and as we’ve been treated to a stretch of fine weather recently, I have been savoring some absolutely lovely skies.  And although I still get up and get home in the dark, I am heartened by this foreshadowing of the end of that part of the commuting year that I refer to as the Time of the Mole People.

Unfortunately, because I tend to read books not of an especially improving nature, the vista has been bringing to mind this poem by Plum Wodehouse:

Caliban at Sunset*

I stood with a man
Watching the sun go down.
The air was full of murmurous summer scents
And a brave breeze sang like a bugle
From a sky that smouldered in the west,
A sky of crimson, amethyst, gold and sepia
And blue as blue were the eyes of Helen
When she sat
Gazing from some high tower in Ilium
Upon the Grecian tents darkling below.

And he,
This man who stood beside me,
Gaped like some dull, half-witted animal
And said,
“I say,
Doesn’t that sunset remind you
Of a slice
Of underdone roast beef?”

*From Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, in which a side-whiskered poetical bloke called Percy Gorringe recites it to Bertie, although I can think of at least two other places off the top of my head where Plum uses the sunset/roast beef gag.   The poem’s title always makes me snicker in particular.


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January 2013