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Jack, the Rigidly-Orthodox Port Swiller Pumpkin, On Post And Ready

Jack, the Rigidly-Orthodox Port Swiller Pumpkin, On Post And Ready

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Halloween!

Shot:  In case you missed it, the Energy Department says that jack-o-lanterns cause Globull Warmeninz:

Most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in the trash, says the Energy Department’s website, becoming part of the “more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.”

Municipal solid waste decomposes into methane, “a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide,” Energy says.

The horror! THE HORROR!

As it happens, I still have a fondness for jack-o-lanterns left over from my misspent yoot.  (The traditional ones, mind you – triangle eyes and nose, snaggle-toothed mouth.  None of this fancy-shmancy pumpkin “art” nonsense.)  I love to see them perched on doorsteps, twinkling from afar in the dark.  It’s just a thing.

And if it makes Energy sleep better at night, I will note that we don’t throw Jack in the trash after his gig is over.  Instead, we take him out back and try to throw him across the creek and into the woods.  About half the time he makes it, smashing apart upon impact.  Otherwise, he often hits the face of the bank and rolls down into the creek bed, more often than not ending up looking back up at us with something like reproach on his face.  We call this “giving Jack the cliff”.

Chaser:  Colleges are censoring Halloween costumes in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of precious snowflakes:

“If there’s a gray line, it’s always best to stay away from it,” said Mitchell Chen, 21, a microbiology major and director of diversity efforts at the Associated Students of the University of Washington. The university emailed to all students this week a six-minute video of what not to do for Halloween.

There has already been one major cultural collision this week that fanned the flames: On Thursday, the University of Louisville in Kentucky apologized to the school’s Latinos after its president, James R. Ramsey, was photographed wearing stereotypical Mexican attire at a Halloween party for staff members on Wednesday. In a picture posted online, Mr. Ramsey wore a sombrero and fringed poncho and stood next to university workers who were dressed as members of a mariachi band, with sombreros, maracas and fake mustaches.

What a stupid time to be alive.  Thank you, Mr. Rogers.  Thank you so bloody much.

UPDATE:  Good Godfrey Daniel!  Ol’ Robbo simply hadn’t contemplated the ramifications of Halloween falling on a Saturday this year.  I went in my innocence to Total Bev late in the afternoon to stock up on plonk and the place was an absolute zoo.  Now, you may call me stuffy if you wish (which you probably already do), but I don’t think much of adult Halloween parties, which seem to be becoming more and more popular.  May as well just call them orgies and be done with it.

Jack, Hors De Combat

Jack, Hors De Combat

UPDATE DEUX:  For the benefit of the Captain and others who may be interested:  No, he didn’t make it.  Hit the lip and rolled back into the drink.  In my defense, I re-aggrevated the tendonitis in my elbow yesterday by doing yardwork without a brace and can’t heave as well as I might have done.  Oh, well.




For those friends of the decanter who don’t know already, allow me to pass on the good news that Eldest Gel was accepted early decision into Sweet Briar College this week for the Class of 2020.  We are all very, very happy, indeed.  (I pulled this vixen pic off of Mrs. Robbo’s FB page.  I don’t know where she got it, but I think it suits our mood perfectly, especially since the Vixen is the school mascot.  Also, did you know that the school colors of pink and green were the basis of the whole preppy fad thing back in the 80’s?  True.)

The gel has been getting all kinds of FB and email congratulations from alumnae, many of whom she’s never even heard of.  This only reenforces the lessons she’s learned about loyalty to the place, a loyalty I think she’s going to develop to a very deep degree herself.

A glass of wine with all of you!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A morning off spent doing All The Things:  haircut, oil change, replacing basement lights.  There something very satisfying about taking care of these little jobs.  Tomorrow will be spent dealing mostly with leaves.

This week also marked the annual re-instillation of the rear seat side-windows on ol’ Robbo’s Wrangler.  I always try to keep them off as long as possible (much to the annoyance of the Gels when they have to ride back there) both because I love the flow of air and because they’re a nuisance to zip on and off, especially if they’re cold, but comes that point in mid-fall when I finally decide just to leave them there until spring.  On the other hand, I leave the rear window rolled up all year round, only putting it down for extremely heavy rain or snow.  With the heater going, I find that the cabin remains quite comfortable even in the coldest weather.

Speaking of La Wrangler, who is now better than 12 y.o., I have noticed more and more lately that when I hit a bump or pot-hole at speed, the whole front end judders rayther violently for a few seconds afterwards.   Poking around on the Innertoobs, I discovered that there’s even a name for this: They call it the “Death Wobble“.  This made me laugh up until the point where I realized that it will be exactly the sort of thing the mechanics will wang me for good and hard if I take her into the shop.  Probably have to sooner or later, but the problem isn’t so bad that I feel inclined to do so just yet.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noticed this article yesterday morning over at the TelegraphBacon, ham and sausages ‘as big a cancer threat as smoking’, WHO to warn.

I joked on FaceBuke that the article had no effect on me except to make me hungry (which was true, by the way) and dismissed it from my mind.  However, I noticed today that the WHO release was “trending”, as the kidz say, and also that NPR was running it breathlessly in their top o’ the hour nooz updates, asserting quite nakedly that the science is now settled (SETTLED you knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers!) and that any points Big Meat makes about the health benefits of meat consumption are completely false and anyway, so what.

This push prompts ol’ Robbo to borrow a line from Bender and invite the WHO to bite his shiny metal ass.

For one thing, I’m a complete carnivore.  Even assuming the “data” underlying this pronouncement is legitimate and I risk knocking some years off my life because of it, I simply don’t care:  I’d rather have fewer quality years in this world than more bland, dismal ones.  (This, by the bye, is one of the benefits of a solid belief in the Life Hereafter – you don’t need to worry yourself so much about stretching out your time on Earth.)  Also, mind your own damned business!

For another, I don’t for an instant believe that said data is legitimate.  (The Telegraph article at least hints that there are correlations with other obviously bad lifestyle choices such as failure to eat any veg and lack of exercise.) The WHO is another of these One World Gub’mint entities, whose first priority is the preservation and expansion of its power through the subjugation of us peons to its will, and whose second priority is to bring about the Earthly Utopia under the guidance of its expertise and wisdom.  As I often tell the gels these days, science plus politicks equals politicks (of course, we see exactly the same thing going on in the whole Glo-bull Worming kerfluffle), and history shows us that whenever such forces are combined (i.e., whenever Communism rears its ugly head), objectivity goes out the window, ideology triumphs, a very large number of people wind up dead, and a very large number of the survivors wish they were so.


Anyhoo, ol’ Robbo ordered bacon on his lunchtime turkey sammich today (which, I might ad, I only picked up after finishing my 3.5 mile walk).  I would have done so anyway, but the thought that I was figuratively snapping my fingers under the WHO’s collective nose made it all the more enjoyable.




"'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.'  And squirrels.  Pretty sure there are squirrels."

“‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’ And squirrels. Pretty sure there are squirrels.”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A cloudy, cool, quiet, mid-autumn day in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor today.  The Eldest Gel and I were discussing the weather not too long ago and agreed that the very best time of the year in these parts is from about the middle of October on up until around Thanksgiving.

So ol’ Robbo spent the morning pottering around the yard doing autumnal things.  I mowed the grass for what will probably be the last time this year.  I cut back the peonies and brought their stands in.  I took down the hummingbird feeder.  And I had a bash at the current crop of fallen leaves, some with the mower and some with rake and tarp.  We’ve had very little rain recently, so they’re all nice and crisp and quickly break up into mulch, rayther than smothering everything under them in a dank blanket.  (They’re also easier to haul out into the woods for dumping.)

Finishing up around noon, I thought I could spend the bulk of the afternoon loafing but suddenly got one of those infernal phone calls:  Mrs. Robbo was down at the Post Office with the Middle Gel getting the latter her passport and I needed to haul myself thither because it turns out it’s necessary for both parents to witness a youngling’s application or else provide suitable documentation why only one has legal custody.  (I think this has to do with people trying to sneak their kids out of the country without their ex’s knowledge or approval, but I’m not sure.  Thankfully, I know almost nothing about custody battles and most likely never will.)

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Mrs. R and the Gel had been sitting around and waiting since around 10 A.M.  I got there around 12:30 and spent another two hours listening to babies squeal and limited-English types having their application errors explained to them.  (Middle Gel remarked that it was worse than the DMV.)  Fortunately, the pace of processing rayther picked up toward the end, as it seems a lot of people simply gave up waiting, so our turn came faster.

Oh, and there were a couple of teenagers with clipboards out front shilling for Bernie Sanders.  Idjits.

Fortunately, it’s all over and done now and din-din supplies have been got from the store, so I can now make myself a cup o’ tea and get down to that loafing.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Via the Head Ewok (fbuh), ol’ Robbo became aware of an article that makes him laugh and laugh and laugh:  According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the phrase “politically correct” now  is no longer, er, politically correct and is instead categorized as a “micro-aggression”, presumably, subjecting anyone who uses it to the the camps or (soon!) firing squads.

Aye, me.

As some longtime friends of teh decanter may know, Ol’ Robbo first became acquainted with the term “politically correct” during his freshmanperson orientation on the campus of the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT in August, 1983.  Back then, it was presented to us noobies in a non-confrontational, “hah-hah” manner via the frosh special edition of the school newspaper.  (As I recall for example, according to said paper, “politically correct” meant being a supporter of John B. Anderson in the 1980 presidential election.  As Wash would say, “Quaint!”)

However, after a few weeks on campus, I recognized what Thomas Dolby called the iron fist in the glove full of vaseline.  These people weren’t fooling about, they were dead serious.

Fast-forwarding, it is becoming evident to the wider population (and by that I mean (non-snobbishly) people who didn’t go to fringe elite schools back in the day) that this term of “politically correct” is not a benign expression of tolerance and inclusiveness, but is instead the hallmark of dictatorial Leftism.  Hence the mockery and hence the diktat that said mocker amounts to micro-agression.

Let ’em deal with being hoist by their own collective petard, say I.

UPDATE: Speaking of the dear old school, what should show up on a FB feed I follow this morning but this story about the Argus, the school newspaper, stepping on a hornet’s nest by publishing a politically incorrect op-ed about “Black Lives Matter”.  Short version, a student pens a piece suggesting that while BLM has legitimate goals, it doesn’t do anyone any good by stirring up mayhem with its inflammatory rhetoric.  The Argus publishes the piece and the campus has a collective meltdown.  The Argus gets its budget slashed and the author, a 30 y.o. combat vet, now has to walk around campus wearing a paper bag over his head, ringing a bell and holding a sign reading, “Unclean”.

Apparently, the fellah knew what he was getting into when he applied to Wes, but wanted to have his conservative ideas challenged.  I get this because after I realized what I had got myself into (we chose the school solely based on academics – which were still outstanding back then – and didn’t pay attention to campus atmosphere), I also saw the advantages it would present.  Certainly being in such a hard left environment forced me to do the math in figuring out my own positions.  It also honed my debating skills mightily.

But that was 30 years ago and I fear things are very much different now.  Back then, one could actually have a legitimate debate on the substance.  Nowadays, the battles are fought on the basis of emotion and feeling, not reason.  Back then, while I certainly wasn’t the most popular kid on campus,  I could at least draw politickal cartoons for the campus conservative paper without fear, and once in a while get a compliment on my intellectual integrity.  Now? They’d chase me up a tree and set fire to it.  Well, no they wouldn’t because Globull Warmening and stuff.  Instead, they’d all shelter in place in the dining hall and make hissing noises at me until I withdrew.

Tuition, by the bye, is now $65K per year.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. R reminds me that today marks the 15th anniversary of the day the Family Robbo moved into Port Swiller Manor.

This increases the record for length of time ol’ Robbo has lived in any one place.  (The second slot belongs to his boyhood home in San Antonio into which he moved in 1974 and resided until he went away to college in the fall of 1983.)  Barring some unforeseen circumstances, I can’t think of any particular reason why I should not live here for another fifteen or twenty years, unless I’m either nuked at my downtown office or carried out of here in a box, whichever comes sooner.

I gripe here from time to time about various money pit crises such as the flooding basement saga, but overall I take much satisfaction and even comfort in learning and knowing the quirks of the place (which was originally built in the early 70’s and had only one family owners before us).

Of course, we’ve done a great deal of customizing, tinkering and repairing since we moved in.  I remember an incident about three years after the fact when one of the daughters of teh former owners appeared on the doorstep with what I believe to have been her fiancee.  They were passing through the area and she wanted to show him the house in which she had grown up.  Of course, I was quite willing to let her have the run of the place, but I can never forget the look on her face as she clapped eyes on the front hall and took in what we had already done to it, realizing that her home as she remembered it was gone forever.  She declined to come in, and after a very brief stroll around the yard, cleared off.  I felt a bit sad for her but not apologetic.

I suppose it’s true that you really can’t go home again and I sometimes wonder what it will be like if and when my own children come back to see the place once they’ve gone out into the world.  Given current trends around here, once Mrs. R and I are out the place most likely will be bulldozed and a McMansion constructed in it’s stead.   Eh.

Well, given the subject of my musing, what else can I do except to post the obvious musick video:


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on my previous post, it turned out that Mrs. Robbo didn’t really much want to go to the party either, so we pulled a Bunbury.  Instead, Mrs. R went and gave teh pooch a bath while ol’ Robbo toddled downstairs and popped in the DVD of the old Leslie Howard version of “The Scarlet Pimpernel“.   Once you get past the rayther poor early 30’s production qualities, it’s not a’tall a bad flick.  A couple of observations:

– Very early on in the movie, Howard appears disguised as an old crone sneaking out of Paris.  I would be prepared to bet a fair bit of money that Terry Jones had this exact character in mind in some of his Monty Python drag bits.

oberon– Merle Oberon.  Sink me!

– It is wonderfully disturbing, given the awful times in which we live, to watch a movie about hysterical mobs and ruthless authoritarianism.  Mark Twain is supposed to have said that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.**

Anyhoo, having watched the flick, I remembered that Anthony Andrews had done a remake in the 80’s which I seem to recall was pretty good, too.  Fortunately, Netflix carries it, so I shall see.  I also tossed in “Danger:UXB“, another Andrews piece and a prime example of the Golden Age of Brit teevee.  Just for good measure, I also went to the devil’s website and picked up the original novel by Baroness Emma Orczy, having never read it before.  While there, I also compulsively picked up another one of Frank Sheed’s theological gems and the autobiographies of Kit Carson and General John Fremont.

And since I was surfing Netflix anyway, I also tossed “The Last Legion” into the queue.  I did this because I enjoy laughing over the absurdity of Colin Firth trying to play a battle-hardened Roman general.  It has absolutely nothing to do with svelte south-Indian beauties in wet, clingy shirts.  Nope, nothing at all, at all.

This is how ol’ Robbo’s so-called mind works.  Probably explains all the headaches.


** I know this is said to be a false attribution, but even if it isn’t true it ought to be.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has never figured out why it seems that weeks with a Monday holiday actually feel longer than normal weeks, but they do.  Strange.

♦   Well, in a sign o’ the times, the Eldest has decided to drop her political science/current events elective because she feels the atmosphere is too poisonous and that she’ll get in trouble for saying the wrong thing.  (She’s going to go work in the attendance office during that period instead.)  It won’t have any effect on her GPA or her college prospects so we’re not fighting her about it, but this is really a damned shame.

♦   Speaking of politicks, I see where the Jebster is spending money like a sailor on shore leave with apparent nil effect.  Last weekend I found myself having drinks with one of his GOPe money-men.  The fellah started out bragging about how much dosh the campaign had and how much time there was until the nomination, but he ended up sounding really rayther dubious.  I kept a diplomatic face, of course, but inside I was rejoicing.

♦     To borrow Mr. FLG’s celebrity sightings shtick, I saw Justice Scalia stop by the local auto parts store on his way home from work the other day.  This “regular guy” thing filled me with simple delight, although it didn’t quite top the time I saw him at the grocery store in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

♦    On the pet front, the dog rolled in something pretty nasty yesterday and now smells like low tide.  Any recommendations for some good quality shampoo?  Also, one of the cats has started pooping and peeing in the basement.  I know this is sometimes a signal of the approaching end, as it was with poor old Jenny (who lasted until age 19) but I think in this case it’s just out of jealousy and spite.  Any recommendations for good quality odor suppression and/or behavioral modification?  (Alas, getting rid of the cat is not an option.)

♦    Cubs versus Mets should be a pretty durn good NLCS.  Frankly, I’m surprised either one made it this far, let alone both.  Ol’ Robbo is o-fficially backing the Cubs to take it all now, if for no other reason than the fulfillment of the “Back to the Future” prophesy.

♦   Finally, I simply cannot let the week go without reposting one of the most awesome nooz ledes evah:  LONDON — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Whelp, that’s it for now.  Wish me luck:  Ol’ Robbo is being dragged to a “harvest gathering” put on by his Former Episcopal Church this evening and is not looking forward to it.

Just spend a delightful time freeing open the Middle Gel’s windows, which had been painted shut when we had her room done over a few months back.  We have a box-cutter which I see lying around all the time and which would have been perfect for the job but of course I couldn’t find it.  Fortunately, I discovered the gel herself possesses a Swiss army-type knife, so the day was saved.

Mrs. R and I have one of those Sleep Number adjustable dual air mattress beds.  I cannot recommend these things if you happen to own cats.  There are persistent slow leaks on both sides of ours and I have a pretty durn good idea how they got there.

I used to think that Caller ID was the greatest technological innovation evah, but I just recently replaced the Port Swiller Manor landline that not only supports said Caller ID, it also tells you the number of the caller via an electronic voice.  Now I don’t even need to get up and go look at the display in order screen my calls.  Magic!


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