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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Father took a short detour in his homily today to make mention of tomorrow’s big solar eclipse (which will reach about 82% coverage in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor).

“Now there’s no particular issue of Divine Intervention regarding tomorrow’s eclipse,” he said.  “It’s just the moon’s shadow crossing Earth in the ordinary course of celestial dynamics, easily predictable, and without any mystery.

Of course, if the eclipse doesn’t happen…then, perhaps, we’ll need to go back and reassess this.”

I chuckled.

UPDATE:  Watched the yclpse.  Fortunately, Middle Gel, off her own bat, had procured a set of glasses from Lunt Solar Systems to allow the Family Robbo to check out the Moon’s wanderings across the face of Sol without burning out our collective corneae.  I was bemused to note that the glasses – she paid 30 bucks for five sets that couldn’t have cost more than a few pennies each to produce – contained the solemn printed assurance that said glasses “Meet the 2015 Transmission Safety Requirements of ISO 12312-2 for Direct Solar Viewing”.

Who knew Big Brother cared so much?  You see? If you knuckle-dragging cretins would just stand down, relax, and allow the Experts to run your miserable, pathetic lives, why, all would be just ducky, now, wouldn’t it?

Anyhoo, when viewed through said glasses, the sun looked like a glowing, peach-colored pea.  And the moon tracking across it was certainly interesting, as was the semi-shadow effect created in the middle of the afternoon.   But the truth of the matter is that, for shear natural theatricality,  Ol’ Robbo actually appreciated the thundershower we got here on the heals of the thing much more.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is home from his hols up tah Maine.  Normally in this apres-vacatione post, I’d go on about the relaxing time I had and various quirky incidences thereto, but I feel compelled this year to go straight to a more somber note.  You see, my mother died last Saturday, and if the hols weren’t exactly overwhelmed by this, they were certainly affected.  Private burial on Wednesday, Memorial service on Thursday, and of course, the general topic of discussion in between.

Yes, although “only” 81, she contracted Lewy body dementia some time last winter – a condition my brother (the doctor) tells me is 100% fatal and also incurable.  I knew something was wrong earlier this year (and perhaps began bracing myself) when she started repeating herself during our weekly phone conversations and then later seemed increasingly disoriented about various basic facts.  What I didn’t know is that her motor skills were also cutting out and that she was taking tosses.  The last one, two weeks ago, resulted in her landing on her head.  They rushed her to the ER, but she never really regained consciousness.

The good news is that all our family were planning to congregate for the hols anyway, and that we all got up tah Maine in time to see her before she went, even though she was unconscious throughout.  The grandkids all spent time in her room Saturday morning, talking to her and to each other.  My sistah, brothah, and I eventually shooed them and our spouses out, and spent the last hour or two quietly talking to her and each other.  I’m pretty morally certain that she waited to hear all our voices before slipping away.

Requiescat In Pace.

Anyone who has hung around here over the years will remember that she used to comment regularly under the handle of “The Mothe”.  She was the strongest person I’ve ever known, and grounded me in everything I’ve learned about life, humanity, religion, and civilization.

For some reason or other, an anecdote about her keeps popping into my braims, perhaps because it is so illustrative of her character:

Some time in my misspent yoot, early on in my Awakening to the Outer World, I said something to Mom about how unfair “sex discrimination” in employment was.  I don’t remember exactly how I teed it up, but I vividly remember her explosive response:

“The first woman to get her medical degree in this country, Elizabeth Blackwell, did so in 1849.  Since then, no woman who really wants to be a doctor has had any excuse not to, dammit!”

Yet for that, she often used to say that she’d gladly give up her right to vote if it meant no other woman could do so.

I guess you had to be there.

A remarkable woman.  And that’s about all – in the end – I’ve really got to say.

UPDATE:  Thankee very much for your kind words, my friends.  I truly appreciate them.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I mentioned below my philosophy that politics is a false god.  Fortunately, it’s also a fairly stupid one, so if you’re at least half awake and paying attention, you can generally avoid the snares it sets for the credulous.  To wit:

It seems that “researchers” have discovered yet another aspect of your miserable, planet-killing, bourgeois lifestyle, Mr. & Mrs. Un-People of Jesus-land.  That’s right, it’s your pets’ farts:

Pet ownership in the United States creates about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, UCLA researchers found. That’s the equivalent of driving 13.6 million cars for a year. The problem lies with the meat-filled diets of kitties and pooches, according to the study by UCLA geography professor Gregory Okin.

Dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the impacts of meat production in the United States, said Orkin. Compared to a plant-based diet, meat production “requires more energy, land and water and has greater environmental consequences in terms of erosion, pesticides and waste,” the study found.

And what goes in, must come out. In terms of waste, Okin noted, feeding pets also leads to about 5.1 million tons of feces every year, roughly equivalent to the total trash production of Massachusetts.

[Ed. – So let’s get rid of Massachusetts, no?]

Well, Ol’ Robbo certainly doesn’t enjoy cleaning up after the dog and three cats that make up the Port Swiller Manor menagerie, but I’m certainly not going to send them off to the liquidation camps because of this.  Especially when, right on cue, with the inevitability of a blizzard at a global warming event, yes,  AlGore the Slayer of ManBearPig is in the news again:

Al Gore has been accused of hypocrisy by a conservative think-tank claiming his estate uses ’21 times more energy’ than the average American home.

The climate change expert and former vice president is accused of ‘guzzling more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years’ in a new report published by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The center – a self-described ‘conservative, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution think-tank’ – claims the former vice president consumed 230,889 kilowatt hours at his lavish, 20-room, 10,070 square-foot mansion in Nashville.

The Energy Information Administration states the ‘average annual electricity consumption for a US residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatt hours, an average of 901 kWh per month.’

And that’s just his mansion in Tennessee.  Don’t forget that he’s got numerous other residences, a ginormous yacht, and a fleet of SUV’s, and that he jet-sets all over the world to castigate us miserable knuckle-draggers for our wasteful ways.  I know that Big Meat is already among his numerous talking points, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Spot and Kitteh now work their way into his stump speeches.

Hypocrisy? Why, no, there’s no hypocrisy.  Why? Because shut up, that’s why.

As the folks over at Insty’s place like to say, I don’t want to hear another goddam word about my carbon footprint.

(Oh, speaking of footprints, I don’t believe I’m going to have access to the Innerwebs while on hols, so I’m not going to bother bringing along my laptop.  I’m sure you’ll all manage to do just fine without me for a week or so.)





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

On the eve of his last day of work before a very much needed summah hols, Ol’ Robbo finds himself mulling this and that:

♦  Long time friend of the decanter Diane asks:

– How did it get to be August? Seriously, I feel as if July just poked her head in the door to say hello, then disappeared. I realized this morning that in another week, maybe two, I’ll be driving to work in the dark again. Oy.

Ain’t it da troot?  At least  for myself, I have a ready explanation:  In the past six weeks, I’ve had to make three trips out west for work, including the two-week trial-prep/trial one I just finished up.  Still scary to contemplate how quickly it goes by.

And now we’re rolling into another interesting Fall of Things: Eldest Gel starts her sophomore year in college; Middle Gel is doing the college application thing (with her sights set on early admission at one place in particular which I will go into at another time); and Youngest starts her sophomore year in high school….well, staying out of trouble and hopefully realizing now that if she hopes to get good grades, she’s actually going to have to, you know, earn them herself.

Diane also goes on to note:

– Something is up at my elderly neighbor’s. When I came home Monday, they had a trailer backed in to their parking bay, and a van pulled up in the center. One of their sons and his wife were loading things up, and I overheard bits of “Goodwill or toss?” conversations. As of today, the parking bay, which had been a sort of extra storage spot for the couple, is pretty much bare. Not sure if this is just a huge purge, a purge because they plan to move, or something else. Have never met the son and wife, so didn’t want to pry.

I’m guessing I know exactly what is going on there.  I won’t get into details in this post, but I expect that part of my upcoming hols is going to be devoted to the very same scenario.  The Mothe is not at all well.

♦  Well, okaaaay, then!

♦  Ol’ Robbo has come to a very succinct formulation of a belief that applies to his interpretation of much of what is occupying the headlines these days:  Government is a necessary evil, and politics is a false god.

Kinda covers the bases, don’t you think?  Aaand discounts most of them.

What’s that, comrade? Get my coat, we are going for a ride? Very well, but……..

♦  In the Department of Complete Random, yes, yes I just did indulge myself by purchasing a Sam Grant bobblehead.  Got a problem with that?  I pass his Memorial every day on my lunch-time walkies, and never fail to ruminate on what a decent, modest, but firm and clear-headed fellah he was.

♦  We just destroyed our first yellow-jacket nest of the year.  (Well, we had an exterminator do it for us.)  What would summah around Port Swiller Manor be without a yellow-jacket nest manifesting itself somewhere in the grounds?  At least this year I didn’t discover it by walking straight in to it and getting numerous stings as a result.

♦  Gimme.  No, I am not kidding….

Okay, that’s probably enough for now.

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