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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A little grace-note for your consideration this evening:

This week, Eldest Gel has been helping out with Vacation Bible School at Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church.  This year, as in the previous two or three, she has been in charge of hospitality – essentially making sure the kiddies get their daily snacks and organizing an ice-breaker potluck suppah at the beginning.  She really seems to enjoy this sort of thing, and to enjoy even more being put in charge of it.

Anyhoo, this evening she showed me a thank-you card one of the campers had made for her, apparently all on his own.  It was just a piece of construction paper folded in half and scrawled with a few words saying how much fun he had and thanking her for being part of it, but I could tell she was genuinely moved.

So was I.

That’s all.   It was just a very nice little gesture.  Good for the kid.  And good for the Gel, too.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As some friends of the decanter may be aware, it is Ol’ Robbo’s habit, when the weather is not too hot, of devoting his weekday lunch hour to a brisk walk ’round the National Mall.  (I generally do a sort of figure-eight between 15th Street and 3rd Street, with an extra loop round the reflecting pool in front of the Grant Memorial.  All told, and counting the distance to and from my office, it’s about 3 1/2 miles.)

In addition to the exercise benefits, Ol’ Robbo frankly enjoys people-watching, and just generally getting a sniff of the air, watching the latest hatches of ducklings grow up, and looking at the clouds and feeling the cycle of the year.

Another benefit is seeing the various seasonal displays and installments come and go.  Right now, the big to-do is the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  This year, the theme is “Circus Arts“.

I suppose I haven’t been paying that much attention, but I’d had no idea that the “Circus” has gained such airs and pretensions in recent years.  From the Smithsonian’s promotional copy:

Circus arts have evolved over time to reflect changing social tastes and values, technological innovations, and performance styles. Immigrants from all over the world continue to contribute their creativity and skills, foods, languages, rituals, and other customs that enrich the circus arts.  Across the country, emerging youth and social circuses and schools provide new opportunities for artistic expression.

Well, la-dee-freakin’-da.

What I actually saw today as I strolled along was a collection of cheap canvas tents and clowns.

I hate clowns.

Not so crazy about cheap canvas, either.

Also, among all the circus-themed attractions this year, there is a singleton pavilion devoted to “On the Move: Migration Across the Ages”.  I gather the “link” is supposed to have to do with the numbers of “immigrants” who traditionally have gone into circuses (Gypsies, anybody?), but it looks to me more like a thinly-disguised stick in the Administration’s eye over clamping down on border security.

Eh.   Whatever.

Oh, what you won’t see?

*No exotic animals will be involved in the program.

But of course.  That’s yer “changing social tastes and values”.  And if said changes have to come via lawfare waged by fanatical interest groups, well shut up, peasants, because we know what’s good for you better than you do.

Indeed, the theme of the Festival is damned ironic, considering  Ringling Bros. had its final show just over a month ago, having been hounded out of biznay by the PETA crowd over its elephants, camels, tigers, and so on.  Ol’ Robbo remembers going to see that show several times in his misspent yoot, and the parade of elephants was always one of his favorites.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo does not mean to set himself up as some kind of Beltway Pundit, but I can’t help noticing that events over the past couple weeks – the assassination attempt against Rep. Scalise and other Republican congresscritters, the flurry of sensible Supreme Court rulings, the collapse of the “Russia! Russia! Russia!” narrative, the beclowning of CNN (“Certainly Not News”) and other mainstream media – seem to have kicked the absolute stuffing out of the “Antifa/Resist!” movement.

Oh, sure, it’ll go on – much the way the “Hanging Chad” and “9/11 Truthers” memes have, but I’ve an idea that going forward, it will continue to have less and less weight, and ultimately will be reduced to a few Pajama Boys blogging at one another in fury from their moms’ basements.

It’s just a feeling.

One solid, albeit anecdotal thing I have noticed?  Those “Resist” bumper stickers I was beginning to see on my daily commute?  They seem to have vanished.

Speaking of which, perhaps I’ve hung around the AoSHQ Moron Horde too long, because I am very seriously considering incorporating one of the standard comment jokes over there into a custom bumper sticker which will read:


[X] Noted        [   ] Not Noted


What do you think?

** I hope, I hope you all know who said this.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is currently making his way for the umpteenth time through the Flashman Papers (yes, I know I should be expanding my horizons elsewhere) and it suddenly occurred to him that he had never heard Flash Harry’s favorite song, “Drink Puppy Drink” by George Whyte-Melville.

Whelp, through the magic of YooToob, to look it up (at least in its regimental version) was the work of an instant.  Probably not much like the single-finger-on-the-keyboard version Flashy performed while enduring the tender embraces of Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar, but I pass it on just in case you’re interested.  Enjoy!

And here, in case you’re further interested, are what this site says are the lyrics to the song:

Now here’s to the fox with his ass beneath the rocks,
Here’s to the line that we follow.
And here’s to every hound with his nose upon the ground,
And a-merrily we whoop and we holloa!

Chorus (after each verse):
So drink, puppy, drink, let ev’ry puppy drink
That’s old enough to lap and to swallow;
For he’ll grow into an hound,
And we’ll pass the bottle ’round,
And merrily we’ll whoop and we’ll holloa.

Now here’s to the horse and the rider too, of course,
Here’s to the rally to the hunt, boys;
And here’s to every friend that can struggle to the end,
And here’s to the tally-ho in front, boys.

Now here’s to the gap and the timber that we rap,
Here’s to the white thorn, and the black, too;
And here’s to the pace that puts life into the chase,
And the fence that gives a moment for the pack, too.

Now the pack is staunch and true, now they come from scent to view,
And it’s worth the risk to life, limb and neck, boys;
To see them drive and stoop until they finish with ‘Whoop’,
Forty minutes on the grass without a check, boys.

A glass of wine, indeed.

Said nobody.  Ever.

(Those of you who have experienced first-hand the joys of I-70 dying a couple hundred yards short of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will know of what Ol’ Robbo types.)

Greetings, my fellow Port Swillers!

As mentioned in the post below, Ol’ Robbo spent the bulk of his Sunday running the two younger gels out to their annual summah camp.  It’s about three hours each way between Port Swiller Manor and the camp’s location in southwestern Pennsylvania, and, as I’ve mentioned over the years, there are many attractions to the drive, historickal, geographical, and geological.

One of the lesser attractions is the gang of idjits and lunatics who seem to enjoy tooling up and down this route.  One sportsman this morning decided that, from a cruising speed of near 80 mph, he was going to come to a near dead stop in the left lane of the Turnpike.  Ol’ Robbo, who was about fifteen cars behind, became interested to see cars suddenly flying off in all directions and laying rubber as they jammed on their brakes.  His own language, as he undertook similar defensive maneuvers, was not of an improving kind.

(I didn’t get to see whether the fellah had Murrland plates, but I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised.  Remember, all Murrland drivers are bat-shite crazy.  Every. Single. One.)

Another lesser attraction is the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel.  I admire it as an engineering achievement, and I love its position as the gateway into the Laurel Highlands, but there’s something about the lighting inside that has a strobe-like effect on Ol’ Robbo’s braims.  All I can do is take a deep breath, focus on the pavement immediately behind the car in front of me, and hope for the best.  One of these days, I’m going to have a seizure going through it.

Anyhoo, the gels are deposited, Mrs. R and I are back home, and all is well.

By the bye: For many, many years, I’ve been referring to the gels’ annual retreat as “Bible-thumper camp”.  I do this because it is, in fact, specifically and aggressively Christian-themed (“God first.  Others second.  I’m third.”), and because it is run by Evangelicals.  So there’s a lot of, well, enthusiasm.  But, really, I’m only teasing, not mocking.  (Obviously, we would not have been sending the gels there for a decade if we thought there was something actually wrong with it.)  All of us Christians are under attack by the Shadow these days, and while I might kid one of the Out Companies* about its funny ways, I mean no disrespect to its devotion to the Cause.


* Spot the gratuitous Tolkien reference

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I believe that after all these years (almost 14 by my count) of blogging, today marks an historick first, insofar as I am posting today for the very first time from the immense comfort of my hammock on the back porch of Port Swiller Manor.

I must say, I could seriously get used to this.   (Indeed, one of the Four Things which Ol’ Robbo hopes to do when and if he is ever able to retire is to turn his attention to more serious writing.  If I’m not mistaken, none other than William Makepeace Thackeray is said to have done his very best work while similarly lounging in his hammock, so you never know!)

And what are the Four Things, you ask? Well, as I say, one of them is serious writing.  Another is to reform my garden from a butterfly-bush wilderness into an orderly, civilized set of flower beds.  The third is to actually sit down and work up some piano musick to performance level, instead of forever sight-reading.  Finally, I want to take up golf again, which I haven’t seriously played in 25 years.

So there you are.

Anyhoo, a few odds and ends for you:

♦  We had a very cool and wet spring in the neighborhood this year, with a resultant lushness that I haven’t seen in quite some time.  Indeed, so much so that the hedge of hollies which we planted along the sidewalk out front some years ago have positively exploded.  T’other day, Ol’ Robbo came home to find a piece of paper taped to his mailbox.  Its gist was that the hollies were sticking branches out over the sidewalk and could we please cut them back.  It was signed, “Your friendly neighbors.”

I’ll give them that the trees needed pruning (which I did yesterday), but there is something about the passive-aggressive nature of this “friendly” notice that really irritates Ol’ Robbo.  Indeed, I was half-tempted to scrawl “Balls to you!” on the thing and just leave it there.

Ah, well, at least it was a tad better than the little snirp who, once or twice over the years, has actually hacked down some of my branches and simply left them lying all over the sidewalk.  I caught him at it once, and it was only the gray hairs on his head that kept me from taking a horsewhip to him.

♦  Speaking of horsewhips, Ol’ Robbo realizes more and more what a bye he got with the Eldest Gel not being at all interested in dating when she was in high school.  Suddenly it seems both of the younger Gels have romantic irons in the fire, and Ol’ Robbo’s stomach muscles are tightening accordingly.  (Actually, the Youngest’s is a very polite and sensible young man, who I think I like.  She’s so besotted with him that she’s actually going to try and take honors chemistry next year because he is.  Gawd!)

♦  And speaking of the Younger Gels, it’s off to Bible-Thumper Camp tomorrow morning.  This will be Middle Gel’s tenth year and Youngest’s eighth.  (Right now, all of Robbo’s wymminz are in the kitchen, squabbling over a trip to Tarzhay to pick up last-second supplies.  Why does everything have to be so complicated?  Ol’ Robbo is feigning deafness.)

♦  Oh, and have I said it lately?


Whelp, that’s about it for now.  Another advantage of hammock-blogging, now that the Gels have left on their equipment-run, is that I can simply hit the power button, close my laptop, and go nappy-byes.

As I say, I could get used to this.  Zzzzzzz………




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!!

A whirlwind visit out west this week for biznay, but I’m back home at Port Swiller Manor with my feet up today.  This is one of those times that I regret blogging anonymously, because the results of said visit were pretty durn satisfying and I wish I could happy dance about them just a little bit.

Heigh, ho.

Anyhoo, the perpetually smart-assed Eldest Gel pointed me to this little article this morning:  Psychopaths Drink Their Coffee Black, Study Finds.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Innsbruck, found that a preference for bitter flavours was linked to psychopathic behaviour. 

The closest association was between bitter foods and “everyday sadism” – that is to say, enjoyment of inflicting moderate levels of pain on others. 

She suggested I might want to ponder this.

I suggested she go to hell.

I didn’t dig down into the “study” itself, but I did get wondering a bit what it would consider to be “psychopathic behavior”.  No doubt Ol’ Robbo’s strict adherence to old-fashioned values of morality and etiquette (including, as demonstrated by this little dialogue, the Fourth Commandment) now make him ripe for such labelling and therefore a prime candidate for commitment to the Happy Fun Re-Education Camps the Authoritarian Left so dearly wishes to establish. (Although now that I’m getting a bit older, they might consider a bullet in the jolly old brainpan to be more efficient.)

Speaking of the Eldest, she’s suddenly become an Authority on the Proper Raising of Children, laying down the law about how strict parents ought to be and what a travesty it is to let the younglings spoil and run to seed.

I’ve learned to quickly put down any beverage I might be holding (including my cup o’ joe – black, thank you very much) when she starts to rant about this, in order to avoid the chance of a painful nasal emetic.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had one of his patent weird dreams last night.

In this one, I was helping home an elephant who had gone one over the eight.

Not only was it drunk, it was up on its hind legs, stalking along slowly but shakily. I found myself leaning up against it on one side, steadying it as it swayed along.

Then I realized that this was no ordinary elephant, but that it was dressed up to the nines with spats, cravat, tail-coat, and top hat.  Also, that we were in a very fancy-shmancy urban neighborhood, something like Louisburg Square in Bahston.

Eventually, we reached a very well-to-do-looking townhouse, which I understood to be the elephant’s own.  For some reason, they wouldn’t let us in, so I steered the elephant to the next house over.  It proved to be equally sumptuous, and the door was opened by a very well turned out older lady.

As I maneuvered the elephant inside and helped him collapse on a convenient sofa, I apologized to the matron for our unseemly intrusion.

“Oh,” she said, “that’s quite all right.  We’re used to him.”

And then, as they say, I woke up.

I hadn’t the remotest idea what all this was supposed to mean.  Thinking it over, my best guess is that I have been rereading George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman Papers for the umpteenth time recently, and just finished Flashman and the Redskins.  In it, Fraser uses the Victorian slang about “seeing the elephant” at one point.  I can only suppose that this expression stuck with me for some reason.

Why I “saw the elephant” in that particular condition, however, remains a mystery.

** If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

UPDATE: Oh, all right.  Enjoy!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is out on the porch this pleasant Saturday evening, lap-top in, er, lap, glass of wine at his elbow, watching the sunlight gradually withdraw from the sky.

A few idle thoughts for you:

♦   Eldest Gel called me at work yesterday morning, positively fuming.  “DAD!” she said, “I just got my latest paycheck and…..WHAT THE HELL IS IT WITH ALL THESE DAMNED TAXES?!!!”

Because I am what I am, I immediately remembered that line from one of the first episodes of “Friends” when Jennifer Aniston’s spoiled-rich-girl-tossed-into-street character gets her first coffee shop paycheck: “Who is this FICA guy? And why does he get my money?”

Also because I am who I am, I responded by quoting the paycheck gal from “Raising Arizona”: “The gubmint do take a bite, don’t she!”

This wasn’t exactly a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus thing for her, as she’s already deeply suspicious of the State, but her long-standing theories are now being backed up by experience.

♦ Middle Gel and I caught the end of our beloved Nationals’ third straight win against the hapless Mets earlier this evening.  The team were wearing these weird, sky-blue hats and socks and whatnot.  The Mets, and the umps for that matter, also had various sky-blue accessories.  Everyone seemed to be wearing ribbons, too. Puzzled, the Gel looked it up on the innertoobs: apparently this is some sort of Fathers’ Day Weekend tribute.

Ol’ Robbo dearly wishes the MLB would just cut this sort of thing out.  This is baseball, for Pete’s sake, not the Virtue Signalers’ Club.  Furthermore, some of these stunts go well into subject matters on which, shall we say, not everyone actually agrees, even though it’s politically incorrect to say so.   Knock off the ribbon-bullying and stick to the game, says I!

(Oh, and while Ol’ Robbo is handing down directives, get rid of the damned DH rule, too!)

UPDATE:  Gratuitous on-point first attempt at posting YooToob clip from my laptop:



♦  Finally, Youngest Gel, some time this past wintah, bought tickets to go see her favorite band, 21 Pilots, play a concert in Columbus, Ohio this week.

The problem? Said Gel didn’t bother to coordinate with anyone about a) whether she was actually allowed to go, or b) if she was, how she was actually going to get there.  In typical Youngest Child mentality, she figured she’d present the concert as a fait accompli, and rely on our scrambling to find a way to make it happen.

Gel is now having a sadz because she finally realizes that we’re not going to accommodate her.  (Sorry, no.  I wouldn’t let Eldest Gel drive you that far even if she wanted to, which she doesn’t.)

Next battle? When year-long insufficient GPA warning meets passionate desire to get learner’s permit.

The tears.  They’re……delicious.

Am I a very bad man?  I think so.  I think so.

UPDATE DEUX:  Sun now long gone, I see the fireflies are out this evening.  First time I’ve seem them this year.  Ol’ Robbo dearly loves him some fireflies.  They’re so….shiny.


Bad, bad biznay today.  Bad, bad biznay.

Of course, this was obviously a lone-wolf shooter, and we may never, ever, know what motivated him.  All we can do now is light candles, wear ribbons, and stand together,  Dee Cee Stwong.

Oh, and moar gun control!

(Oops! Forgot I had that Sarcasm Function turned on.  I’m still getting used to this durn laptop.)

Honestly, though, I have no idea what is going to happen now that Lefty eliminationist rhetoric is bubbling up and out of the innertoobs and starting to actually affect real world actions in such a dramatic fashion.

From what I’ve seen of the chatter today, there are those on that side who are positively delighted, but surely a great many more sensible liberals – including most of the Establishment types – must realize that if this genie is allowed out, it’s going to come for them, too?

For that matter, even the radicals themselves ought to know this.  Somehow, though, they always seem to think they can ride out the Whirlwind. History would suggest, however, that this is a very foolish bet.  (See, e.g., Robespierre, Maximilien, filed and receipted by the Terror he himself had a major hand in starting.)

If there is not an immediate, united condemnation of this sort of thing, it’s going to get very ugly, very quickly, I fear.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to catch the “Trump” version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar up in Noo Yawk.  It’s just art, you know, but ever so deliciously edgy…..

(Actually and for realz, I’m going to go and watch “Duck Soup”.  What Would Rufus T. Firefly Do?  Answer: “He’d stand ’em up against a wall and *POP* goes the weasel!”)




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June 2017