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Happy Birthday, Franz Schubert, born this day in 1797.

Schubert will never be my favorite composer, but I do nonetheless still like listening to him, especially his chamber works and keyboard pieces.  (I’ve never heard them, but I’m told his lieder are outstanding, too.)

I’ve never tried to play any Schubert myself.  Someday, however, perhaps when I’m retired, I’d like to take a whack at this, which I really do enjoy:

And because it’s his birthday, I can’t resist repeating here the Mothe’s longstanding joke about Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C-major, known as “the Great”.  She’d take on a mock-Irish accent and say, “Da Great, is it now?  Weel, I dunno about dat.  But it saretently is Da Large!”

Cracks me up still.

(Because the piece is so very long and repetitive, d’you see.  Well, I think it’s funny…)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I see in the gnus today an article that the Cleveland Indians are phasing out their beloved mascot, Chief Wahoo.

Fortunately, I already own a DVD copy of Major League, so at least that image can’t be completely disappeared from history.  I also own a hat from a game I went to when I was in town doing depositions back in 2009.  (I also have a Travis Hafner bobble-head from that game.)

I’d insert here a paragraph about mascots as sources of pride, not derision,  and the standard “What about the drunken leprechaun of Notre Dame or the Boston Celtics or the San Diego Padres, etc,, etc.”, but I’ll save my pixels because of course this whole biznay has nothing to do with actual grievances and everything to do with Cultural Marxist mau-mau politicks.  (I gather MLB put the hurt on Cleveland because it’s hosting the 2019 All Star Game and, wull, it’s be a shame if somefin happened to their franchise to prevent that, woodnit?


Curiously enough, the first little league softball team Ol’ Robbo managed when the gels were coming up was given Cleveland as their MLB “affiliate”.  We got Indians’ hats and color-coordinated uniforms.  The team took to it to the extent of spreading war paint on their faces and yelling war whoops every time they took the field.  I did nothing to discourage this and, indeed, promoted it as an instrument of team unity.

I suppose this means that, when Ol’ Robbo is sent to the Reeducation Camps, his chocolate ration will be increased from 20 grams to 15 grams.

Double Feh.

Chief Wahoo! Live free! Die well!

UPDATE:  Oh, my prophetic soul! Via the Puppy-Blender, we’re down to this: ESPN Host: Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish Mascot Is Offensive, Needs to Change.  I didn’t actually click over and read the article, because I don’t have to.   The mau-mau script never changes.

However, if, indeed, begun the Mascot Wars have, I want to go ahead and nominate this guy for the top of the proscription list:

Mr. “Met”

I mean, he triggers me nine ways to Sunday.  Look at him.  Big, complacent, white face just screams out “non-woke”.  And the arms raised up in classic rapey, hegemonic fashion?  C’mon!  Plus, I hear he likes to abuse small, furry animals….right out there on the 1st Base line.  (Well, okay, I suppose that last bit probably wouldn’t bother the SJW crowd, but I still think it’s icky.)

Plus, he’s not going to have much to cheer about this year anyway, since Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats are going to beat the rest of the NL East with the Pain Stick all season. (Woo, hoo, hoo!  *Ducks*)



Get a little action in!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Rayther than clogging up the post below with additional updates (which see – and you’ll need to for this post to make any sense), I’ll start a new one this evening to state that the other, other operation – thanks to additional negotiations between Mrs. R and his mother – is now for Middle Gel’s friend to catch an Uber ride to the airport tomorrow morning.  All I have to do is make sure he’s up in time.

Yes, this means I don’t have to drive an hour and a half round-trip in the rain, but at the same time I find it highly irritating.

First, a bit of background: Mrs. R has been away in Flarduh for some time tending to her dying grandmother and is scheduled to arrive home tomorrow.  In the meantime, Eldest, although home from school, is hanging out this evening with her best friend from high school.  Middle Gel and her visitor friend are down in the basement playing Mario Cart and watching trashy superhero movies.  Youngest, who dumped her boyfriend yesterday, says she vants to be alooone, but I can nonetheless hear her in her room yackiting on the phone with her friends.

So earlier this evening, banished from his accustomed haunts and deprived of any companionship except Daisy, the Special Needs Dog and the occasional cat or three, Ol’ Robbo settled down in his bedroom with his laptop, a Dave Barry book, and a glass of wine.  And he had just been laughing himself silly over Hitler Rants parodies on Yootube and Dave’s take on cyberspace when Mrs. R and Middle Gel dropped the bombshell about Ol’ Robbo having to take her friend to BWI at Oh Dark Thirty.  (Again, which see update below.)

After fuming for a few minutes, I said to myself, “Self? Fine! We’ll do it.  Quit whining, suck it up, and prepare.”

And frankly, that should have been that.  I issued general instructions to those involved and then started getting ready for an early bedtime.

Then the phone rang.

It was Mrs. Robbo.  As I say above, she’d been talking with friend’s mother and there was now a change of plan:  He’s taking an Uber tomorrow so I don’t have to drive him.

Now you would think that Ol’ Robbo would be happy in that he is no longer saddled with having to do the drive and you’d be correct to an extent.  At the same time, though, this kind of chopping and changing and last minute dithering drives me absolutely batty.   As far as I’m concerned, pick a plan and, as long as it remains viable, stick to it.  Even if it means that I have to do the heavy lifting.  After all, that’s what I’m here for.

Perhaps this is a Guy Thing.  (Are we still allowed to say “Guy Thing”?  Or is that part of the Patriarchy that must be smashed by the Cultural Marxists? Bad, baaaaad, Robbo! You are nekulturny! Get your coat – we are going for a ride.)

On the other hand, perhaps it’s just me.

Long and the short of it, I simply want the friend to be gone (much as I like him), Mrs. Robbo to be home, and the general routine reestablished.  Is that too much to ask?

UPDATE: Well.  Sorry for that.  All better now.  Friend has gone home, Mrs. Robbo is back, the whaddayacallit is on the wing and the thingumby is on the thorn.  And because I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since making that “I vant to be alooone” crack, here’s a little fun for you:

(I know, I know – Swanson, not Garbo.  But still.  We used to watch this show all the time when I was a kid.  To this day, I cannot see the name Max without wanting to pronounce it “Mex“.)



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel is back home this weekend because she left off getting her eyes checked until too late over Winter Break and had to come back to get her new contacts.  I am also personally accompanying her to make sure she gets her oil changed while she’s here (something else she didn’t get around to over all those weeks).

They grow up, but at the same time they don’t.

UPDATE: Of course, I was the perfectly mature, completely responsible adult when I was a college sophomore….not.

Mulling on this brought back to mind a perfect example of my own ridiculous behavior back in the day.  I was coming home from college at the end of my sophomore year in 1985, flying from Hartford to San Antonio.  I had not bothered much about shipping things ahead of time, which meant that I showed up at the airport with three perfectly enormous stuffed duffles.  The counterperson took one look at them and said, “Honey, you’re gonna have to write me a big ol’ check for those.”  (I didn’t have a credit card at the time.)

Now I had a local checking account, but I knew that I only had a balance of about 63 cents in it.  However, I was perfectly willing to write a dud check just to get myself and my stuff home.  I figured it could all be sorted out later on.  However, when I pulled out my checkbook, I discovered…..there were no checks left in it.


Somehow or other, I talked the counterperson into holding my duffles for me.  I then flew home, explained things to the Old Gentleman when he met me at the airport, and had him deal with the counterpersons there, paying the baggage fee and having them contact the people in Hartford.  The bags appeared at home the next day.

Why my parents didn’t kill me then and there, I’ll never know.  Except I suppose I do know.  Now.

UPDATE DEUX:  Well, it’s now nine o’clock Saturday Evening.  Funny how I was reminiscing about idiot kid travel arrangements earlier, because I just now learned that I’m going to have to drive Middle Gel’s friend, who was down from Boston for the weekend, to BWI airport at 5:30 ack emma tomorrow.  In the rain.  This is me trying not to twitch and failing – ((((((())))))))


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, it’s been quite a week at Port Swiller Manor.  The Younger Gels got involved in a fender-bender Tuesday morning (not their fault, just a squished rear bumper, no injuries), and then Mrs. Robbo’s 94 y.o. grandmother passed away earlier today.  As Mrs. R has been in Flarduh for nearly a week tending said grandmother, Ol’ Robbo has been handling all the fall-out of both events this end by himself.

Nonetheless, in between bouts of having to do Grown Up stuff, I’ve managed to squeeze in four movies since last weekend, none of which I’ve actually seen before.  So a few quick thoughts on each:

Cheyenne Autumn (1964).  John Ford’s last western.  A band of Cheyenne on a reservation in Oklahoma, tired of being shafted by the Gubmint, decides to go home to Wyoming.  The Army, naturally, pursues them.  This isn’t your usual frontier struggle set-up.  Instead, it’s a look at very shabby treatment of a beaten people, and could have been a very good movie due to its thought-provoking themes and its excellent cavalry scenes,  but for a couple of things.  First, there is a middle part in which the good citizens of Dodge City, Kansas, led by Jimmah Stewart as Wyatt Earp, panic because they think the Cheyennes are coming for them.  The bit is something near Olde West parody and really ruins the tone.  Second, although the action is supposed to take place in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming, a lot of the film was shot in Monument Valley which, although beautiful in its own right, looks nothing like any of those locations.  Very annoying to me.  Ricardo Montalban is the Cheyenne war chief.  Richard Widmark is the sympathetic cavalry officer who has to chase him.  Karl Malden, sporting a German accent, is another army officer in on the hunt. Edward G. Robinson, with no trace of gangster about him, is the sympathetic Secretary of the Interior.  And a lovely young Carrol Baker plays a Quaker missionary at the reservation. (I find, upon looking her up, that she played the mother of the psychopath in Kindergarten Cop.)  I’d give it two and a half out of five glasses – definitely worth seeing, but probably not a repeater.

Flight of the Phoenix (1965).  This movie had sat in my Netflix back-order queue for years, but TCM ran it the other night.  A cargo plane, piloted by Jimmah Stewart and Dickie Attenborough and carrying a dozen or so soldiers and oil-field employees, goes down in the Sahara.  There’s minimal food and water, and no hope of being spotted, so the survivors have to think of a way to get themselves out.  It’s basically one of your disparate personalities meets impossible situation dramas.  I must say, without spoilers, that I thought their Kobyashi Maru solution to be a bit…far-fetched, but, hey, this is the movies.  Ernest Borgnine and George Kennedy are among the crew.  I’ll go three out of five glasses on this one, too.  I’m taking it out of my Netflix queue, but this is the sort of movie that I’d watch any time it happened to come up on cable.

Cromwell (1970).  No, I really hadn’t seen it before.  This is an excellent film.  I mean, Richard Harris (as Cromwell) and Alec Guinness (as Charles I), for crying out loud.  The battle scenes between Roundheads and Cavaliers were really outstanding, I thought, courtesy, as I understand it, of the Spanish Army extras.  Historickally speaking, I thought the film somewhat more sympathetic to Cromwell than it could have been, although since it cuts out before he assumes dictatorial control, a lot of his, ah, heavy-handedness is excluded.  Timothy Dalton, of all people, plays Prince Rupert, which makes you realize just how long he’s been around the films.  Five glasses on this one – I’ll toss it back in the queue again for future viewing.

Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954).  Insert your “Joey, do you like movies about……?” snark here.  This is actually a sequel to the movie, The Robe, in which moody, broody Richard Burton’s Roman officer comes into possession of Christ’s robe after the Crucifixion.  In that film, Burton moodily, broodily is transformed by said Robe and all that it represents, and then is moodily, broodily sent off to his martyrdom for his new-found Faith.  D and the G picks it up at this point.  As Burton moodily, broodily marches off to his death, he gives the Robe to St. Peter, who apparently has no trouble standing about in Caligula’s audience chamber.  Peter then has to leave town on business, so he entrusts the Robe to Victor Mature’s Demetrius.  Demetrius subsequently gets in trouble with the Law and is hauled off to gladiator school.  Meanwhile, Caligula gets it in his head that the Robe has some magical power of divinity and sets out to find it.  At the same time, Messalina (played by yummy Susan Heyward) gets the hots for Demetrius.  Crises of Faith and pagan debauchery ensue, and only come to a close when St. Peter reappears to snap Demetrius back in line and Caligula is assassinated.  The Julio-Claudian history is…..loosely presented, at best.  Eh, I’ll give this one two glasses out of five.  For all the Christian themes at work, it really is just a movie about gladiators.

UPDATE:  Add Comanche Station (1960).  Randolph Scott rescues a comely young woman from the Comanch and then has to battle both Indians and Claude Akins to get her back to her husband.  (The young lady seems to fall into a suspicious number of creeks, ponds, and water troughs.  Just saying.)

The whole time, I kept thinking of this:

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are on the first Monday morning of Chuck E. Fargin’ Schumer’s Shutdown Staycation, and since Ol’ Robbo’s O-fficial employment status is “Nearly Invisible”, I find myself sitting around Port Swiller Manor in my jammies and listening to the dog bark at everything that moves.

I actually hope this one doesn’t last very long, simply because I have quite a bit of work to do down the office at the moment and I don’t like to see it stack up.  You would think, what with everyone else out of the house and being freed of endless “meetings” and phone calls, that now would be a perfect time for me to curl up with my laptop and do some serious reading.  I don’t care if I’m on the clock or not, it’s stuff that needs doing.  But nope, nope, nopety-nope, nope, nope.  The Powers That Be are adamant that such things don’t happen.  And I don’t want Bob from NSA tapping into my computer and finding me being naughty.

So here I sit, loafing.

As I say, I hope (and also believe) this will be a short hiatus.  But just in case it turns into a protracted siege, I’ve also come up with a list of things with which to keep myself occupied:


10.  Learn to juggle.

9.   Build model of Chartres Cathedral from popsicle sticks.

8.   Solve for pi.

7.   Move entire house three feet to left to get better sun on front bushes.

6.   Finally re-read Paradise Lost as I’ve vowed to do ever since college.

5.   400-lap Beltway Rally!

4.   Teach the cats to sing the old “Meow-Mix” theme song.

3.   “Cool-Hand Luke” egg-eating challenge.

2.   Vacuum up all the pet fur.  (Naw, there’s never enough time to do that!)

1. Bathtub full of sangria and a “Gilligan’s Island” marathon!

UPDATE: Well, never mind: Chuckie caved.  I rather thought he would.

By the bye, thank you for bearing with the little assay in humor above.  It’s taken nearly six months, but I really feel like I’m finally coming out from under the cloud that descended on me when I lost the Mothe and am ready to start dealing with the world again (largely by laughing at it, of course).  As you can see, though, I’m pretty badly out of practice.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and welcome to Day One of Ol’ Robbo’s Chuckie Schumer Shutdown Staycation!

Kind of a pity it’s Saturday and all.

Well, we shall see what happens.

Aaaaanyway, I have increasing reason to believe that Daisy, the Port Swiller special-needs pooch, is in love.

With a fox.

There’s a big fellow who’s been hanging about the neighborhood for the past couple weeks.  I’ve seen him gliding around from time to time, including several trips through the Port Swiller back yard.  Indeed, the other day I watched him for a good ten minutes as he tracked back and forth across the lawn, obviously sniffing along Daisy’s scent.

She, meanwhile, every time she goes out now – and she’s always wanting to go out, tracks his scent up, down, and around, as well.  Furthermore, she’s taken to sitting herself down in the middle of the yard, looking about expectantly, and barking.  And although I don’t necessarily speak fluent dog language, I’ve been around them long enough to know the difference between, “Hey, get out of here!” and “Hell-O, Sailor!”

Are these things even possible?  I know that coyotes sometimes mate with domestic dogs, but do foxes as well?  And would a middle-aged lady who was fixed eons ago still feel her heart start to go pitter-patter at the scent of a hunky male in her territory?  Science might say no, but I see what I see.

Ol’ Robbo always assumed he’d have the Gels’ boy troubles to deal with, but I must admit I never imagined something like this.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo drove Mrs. R to the airport in his pajamas this morning.  (How she got in my pajamas, I….oh, never mind.)

No, really. She had a very early flight and I didn’t feel like getting dressed, so I just threw on my robe and a coat over it.  It was only after we were under way that I realized just how ridiculous a position I’d be in if I got pulled over or in a fender-bender.  (Ol’ Robbo’s 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt not make a fool of thyself in public.”)

Of course, I say this now.  Give it another couple years I’ll probably be turning up at the supermarket in such a rig. (Not that I haven’t done so before, but it’s different when it’s 3 ack emma and you’re only there because the baby needs some Pedialyte.)

Once the rush hour traffic dies down, I have to go over to the DMV and get my license renewed.  For some reason, I’m just a bit spooked about the eye exam.  I dunno why they ever bother, since paying attention to what’s going on around you on the road seems to be strictly optional these days.  Still, it would be mighty embarrassing to get dinged for that.  (Which see 11th Commandment above.)

And speaking of getting older (which is really what the eye biznay is about, I suppose), here’s a jaw-dropper for you:  It just occurred to me this week that Eldest Gel is now the same age Mrs. Robbo was when she and I met. (January 27, 1990, as a matter of fact.) Gah!  (The Gel landed a gig as assistant stage manager for her school spring theatre production this week, by the bye. They’re doing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. She wasn’t too interested in getting a part this time and decided to concentrate on the tech side.  The production is being directed by the head of the Theatre Department, who just so happened to be Mrs. R’s major advisor 25 years ago.  (Her spring show her sophomore year was The Dining Room.) Double Gah!

UPDATE:  Three hours of mostly sitting about and twiddling my thumbs later, renewal successfully completed. Eye exam turned out not to be a problem a tall.  I’m almost fifty-three years young, dammit!

I have other day-off things too do – haircut, oil change, etc., but I’ve had about enough for now.  Anyway, as things look at the moment, I may have some unexpected free time on my hands next week, so I can take care of that sort of stuff then.  (Although how anyone could possibly imagine “We care more about illegals than about you pond scum” constitutes a winning political message is quite beyond me.)

Going to go walk the dog instead.  (It’s the first really nice day around her in the last week and a half.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening Ol’ Robbo caught most of Chimes at Midnight over on TCM, which I’ve never seen before.  Orson Welles basically lifts all the Prince Hal/Sir John Falstaff bits out of Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2.  It’s actually a pretty good film, even though the sound quality was such that half the lines were less than intelligible.  Welles makes quite the credible Falstaff, although since he’s playing a drunken old letch, it really wasn’t much of a stretch for him.  John Gielgud, who I’d watch in anything, was satisfying as Henry IV.  And there were plenty of familiar faces among the secondary characters.  Perhaps my very favorite geek moment was realizing that Andrew Faulds, who played Westmorland, was the Roman officer who brought back the runaway Pseudolus to the house of Senex early on in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.  “Citizens! We caught your runaway slave, and now he dares challenge our right to execute him!”  (When I watch movies, I like to point these sorts of things out.  Mrs. R cannot stand this practice. We don’t watch many movies together anymore.)

I may have to toss this one in the Nexflix queue and take another look.

And speaking of said queue, up this evening is The Return of the Pink Panther, which I haven’t seen in years.  Another of those movies that couldn’t possibly be made today. (“CATO!”)  Be back later……

UPDATE: What fun! I don’t think I’d seen it since I was a teenager, but somehow I remembered all the sight-gags and prat-falls perfectly.  And Herbert Lom really should have been arrested for being that slyly funny.

You know one thing I dislike about The Pink Panther? The theme musick.  And I’ll tell you why: That theme is a favorite of piano teachers to use on beginner students, especially the youngest.  I suppose the reasoning is that it is an easily-recognizable and popular tune, and that this will encourage the little darlin’s to practice.  In any event, I’ve been forced to endure it many, many times at recitals.  And every time, the kiddies make the same damned mistake – they go blazing through the first line of the melody and then crash and burn on the first chord progression in the left hand.

Every. Damn. Time.

After awhile, it’s enough to make you start twitching like Chief Inspector Dreyfus.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Here’s a proposition for you: the terms “[fill-in-the-blank]-phobe”, “[whatever]-ist” and “hater” are to today’s cultural Marxism what the terms “wrecker”, “horder”, and “saboteur” were to the economic Marxists of Stalinist Russia, in terms of philosophical goals, tactical semantics, and intended targets, as well as their utter, willful  disassociation  from reality.

Hardly an original thought, I daresay, but it wandered into my braims this week when I was reading some article or other about the latest diatribes of the Socialist Juicebox Wankers against the nekulturny,  and I’ve been delighting (in a historickal geeky way, of course) in the parallels.

If and when the Cultural Revolution actually takes place and Ol’ Robbo gets hauled off to the camps (or, more realistically because of his age and uselessness, the bullet in the back of his head in the police station basement), I’m sure I will have on at least some part of my mind that tag attributed (apparently wrongly) to Mark Twain to the effect that history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.


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January 2018