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joe-garagiolaGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

R.I.P., Joe Garagiola, who died today at age 90.

Perhaps I date myself, but ol’ Robbo remembers very fondly the major league ball games Joe called for NBC back in the late 70’s along with color man Tony Kubek.  I’d played a couple years of little league before that, but listening to Garagiola and Kubek on those lazy summah Saturday afternoons definitely was the primary source of that still, small voice in the back of my head that said, “Ya know? There’s something to this whole baseball ethos…”

Thank Heaven, I’ve never lost it.

God bless, Joe.  “Hit ’em where they ain’t.”*

 

* Spot the quote.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, today is a big milestone around Port Swiller Manor in that the Eldest Gel hits the big 1-8.  Very hard to believe.  To celebrate, she and Mrs. Robbo are off to some spa for a couple nights to do whatever it is teh wimmins do at spas.

I am amazed at how quickly, after a somewhat stormy adolescence, the Gel is coming together as a “young adult”.  Getting her driver’s license and having to deal with the rollercoaster of admission to a college that, at one point, seemed like it wasn’t going to exist anymore certainly gave her means by which to hone her sense of responsibility.  Also, I’ve noticed that our acquisition of teh doggeh last summah really helped her to learn not to be so self-centered, but to instead be more sympathetic and outward looking.  Frankly, I used to worry about her a great deal.  Not so much anymore.

Of course, the Gel was born ornery and cantankerous, and I’ve an idea she’s always going to be that way.  This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing.  Indeed, it makes her largely immune to the herd mentality and P.C. brainwashing so prevalent in the so-called “culture” at the moment.  She’s never going to be Miss Popularity, but then again, she’s never going to be anybody’s fool, either.

We were chatting this afternoon and she mentioned that they’re taking up the study of Existentialism in her English class.  Her comment on it? “What a bunch of long-haired hippy crap!” (Eric Cartman couldn’t have put it better himself.)  Sounds about right to me.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

My apologies to those two or three of you who still linger over the decanter and the Stilton for my lack of posting this past week.  Mostly, it’s been a matter of lack of opportunity because of real life logistics.  Also, to be perfectly frank, many of the thoughts that have wandered across my braims regarding the current State of Things in the last few days probably would not be prudent fodder for broadcast on these here innertoobs, given my current employment status.   After all, Daddy still needs his paycheck IYKWIMAITYD.

Suffice to say, SMOD, where art thou?

Anyhoo, a completely unrelated question:

I’ve watched Die Hard 3 numerous times now.  It’s my favorite of the series, largely because of the chemistry between Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson.  (I also like the depraved villainy of Jeremy Irons.)  But here’s the thing: To this day, I cannot understand the trick involving the 3 and 5 gallon jugs of water used to defuse the bomb in the park.  I like to think I’m a reasonably logical fellah, but I have viewed that scene again and again and paid close attention to the dialogue, and I still Do. Not. Get. It.

Any Friends of the Decanter care to ‘splain this thing to me?

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was saddened this week by the news of the death of Nikolaus Harnoncourt at age 86.

Who, you may ask?

Well, said Nick was the godfather or, if you prefer, teh grand daddy of the “period instrument” or the “historickally informed” performance movement, the idea that (especially) 17th and 18th Century musick ought to be performed  the way the composers of said times intended, in terms of instrumentation, phrasing, tone and all the rest, and not in conformity with 20th Century values.

My old father had a great number of recordings of baroque musick from the 50’s and 60’s that intrigued me in my misspent yoot, but never moved me because they seemed so mechanical and over-instrumented.  When I first heard the Harnoncourt-inspired revisions of said pieces? It was like looking at the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel after all teh gunk had been removed.

Despite a great deal of blowback from the Establishment, Harnoncourt persisted.  As I recall, he began to make waves in teh 60’s and 70’s but really hit his stride in the 80’s.  His first three followers were Christopher Hogwood (who died fairly recently), John Eliot Gardiner, and Trevor Pinnock, all of whom came to prominence (and to Robbo’s attention) at about the same time. Since this most excellent trio,  the movement has expanded exponentially, to the point that I cannot keep up with all of them.

Bully, says I.  As I say, the movement gave new and justly-deserved life to a collection of musick far and away better, IMHO, than anything that has been produced since.

UPDATE: My apologies for such a sloppy, disjointed post.  (I’ve tried to clean it up a bit.)  Pollen has become a thing again in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor and my, ah, self-medication for my sinus headaches, while effective, sometimes hamper my compositional style.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was frowsting over a cup of coffee in his favorite chair in the Port Swiller library early Saturday morning when he noticed that the goldfinches at the thistle feeder directly outside the window were beginning to show the first faint signs of their yellow summah plumage.  With gardener’s logic, I realized that my plans to spend the day doing nothing suddenly were kaput, and that I had to get out and chop back the butterfly bush which so dominates the Port Swiller garden.  (Very long time friends of the decanter will recall that I refer to these bushes as Kong and the Konglings.  For those of you who don’t recall, the original Kong was a very, very small and frail seedling that I cultivated in the Port Swiller basement something like thirteen years ago.  Somehow or other, it survived not only its incubation, but its transplanting into the garden.  Since then, when all my other original cultivational experiments have withered away, it not only has thrived, but has multiplied copiously.)

A couple hours of hacking and hauling later, I stood looking at the results.  I can’t put it any better than did the Eldest Gel who, shouting over from the rope swing, said, “Hey, Dad! It looks like a forest fire swept over your garden! Haw, haw!”

Everybody’s a comedian these days.

Give it another couple months, the jungle will close right back in and will be filled with birds and butterflies, as has been my intent the past few years.  I am mulling over some plans to make the whole thing somewhat more formal, but not yet.  Not yet.

Speaking of which, remember the Great Panic over the imminent dooooom of the Monarch Butterflies because Globull Warmeninzs? Well, maybe not so much.  Funny, it’s almost as if Nature has the capacity to sort things out for herself or something.

On a different note, last evening Ol’ Robbo watched Radio Days for, I’m fairly certain, the first time.  A pleasant little tribute by Woody Allen to his WWII-era yoot in Rockaway, Lon Gyland.  In fact, Robbo’s father-in-law grew up somewhere in Brooklyn a few years later himself, so there was a lot about this movie that I definitely got.  The biggest thing, though, was the epiphany that this was Julie Kavner.  Marge Simpson before she was Marge Simpson, although the voice and the humor were plainly there already.  Very zaftig, if you know what I mean.  (‘Course, the movie came out in ’87, the year I graduated from college, which is a damned sobering idea.)

On another note, I also read Cary Elwes’s book As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.  If you’re a Princess Bride fan (and if you’re not, what the hell’s wrong with you?), it’s a moderately interesting read:  A goodish bit of behind-the-scenes backstory and trivia, but in my opinion somewhat too much, er, glad-handing.  Were I Emperor, the Superlative  Abuses Squad would have been down on Elwes with billy clubs and handcuffs before he got half way through his first paragraph.

But….You don’t pen a 30th anniversary book in order to trash the thing that’s keeping you in royalties, so who am I to second guess?

One legit sour note to the book: Elwes, in speaking of fan enthusiasm, relates the story of some young thing who had recently had “As You Wish” tattooed on the back of her neck and asked Elwes to autograph below the tattoo with a sharpie.  I ask you, friends, just how pathetic an image is that?  And what do you do if you’re in the position of being asked to sign, and therefore approve, such a thing?

Well.  All I can say is that I am very thankful I have not pledged my personal worth in this world on the altar of celebrity.

On a more positive note, in keeping with the whole Princess Bride theme, ol’ Robbo just got a new coffee cup with bears the legend: “Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya.  You drank my coffee.  Prepare to die.”

Now that, my friends, is teh funny.  Except I’m not kidding…….

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I didn’t get the chance yesterday to mention that the Eldest Gel marched down to our local polling place and cast her very first electoral vote as part of this cycle’s Sooper Tuesday brouhaha.  She doesn’t actually turn 18 for another couple weeks, but because she’ll be old enough for the general, the local rules allowed her to also vote in the primary.

Somehow this makes me feel even older than did her getting her driver’s license or her college acceptance, I don’t know why.

The gel is immensely pleased with herself, as she rightly should be, and is tremendously keen on keeping up with all the campaigns and trying to prognosticate the eventual outcome.  Based on my own bitter experience, I keep warning her that there’s a hell of a time to go until November and that if she doesn’t watch herself she’ll burn out on it all long before then.

And speaking of burn out, I am just about through with the nonsense I keep seeing posted on nooz and opinion sites, usually trustworthy blogs, and FaceBook, even by people who I would have thought knew better than that.  To borrow a line from Mal Reynolds, the days of my not taking social media seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

 

 

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