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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo mentioned recently that Eldest Gel has decided to minor in musickal theatre.  (She’s been bitten hard by the acting bug and has loved every minute of the four stage productions she’s been involved with so far.  How this has happened with a girl of such Cromwellian sensibilities is quite beyond me.)

To this end, the Gel’s taking a course this semester about the history of musickals, in which the prep work seems to be watching a classick movie version and being ready to come to class and talk about it.  (Rest assured: for her history major she’s taking plenty of traditional classes, including a seminar this semester on various medieval legal codes.  I don’t begrudge her the occasional “fun” class like this one in the least.)

Anyhoo, this evening she called me up:

“Dad!  I’m supposed to watch Jesus Christ Superstar tonight for my class.  Have you seen it?”

“No, but I know what it is.”


“The ‘Long-Haired Hippy Crap’ Gospel.”

“Aw, man!  Is it blasphemous?”

“It’s from about 1970 and it’s hippies.  So yes, very probably.”

“Aw, maaaaan!  Well, I suppose I’d better watch it, if for no other reason than to argue what’s wrong with it to the idiots in my class.”

That’s the spirit! You go get ’em!”

And that’s my Gel!

UPDATE:  Talked to her again post-viewing.

“So…what did you think?”

“Man, I was all set to hate it but the music.  I mean, 70’s rock! That’s my thing!  I really liked it.  Wish the words were different, though.”

She went on to complain about Jesus being a wimp and Judas being too reasonable and sympathetic.

“And what’s the deal with Mary Magdalene?  You’d think she and Jesus were lovers or something.”

The name Dan Brown popped into my head, but I damped it back down.  It would have taken an hour to explain things and I was supposed to be working.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Wonderful news was waiting for Ol’ Robbo on his return to Port Swiller Manor this evening as he learned that Middle Gel has just been accepted to Christopher Newport University for this coming fall, where she will start out in the school’s musick program, having successfully auditioned into that last weekend.

Bumpers all round and no heel taps, please!

CNU is a fast-rising school you’ve probably never heard of.  It’s in the Virginny state system, has about 5000 kids, and is located down in the Tidewater.  The President is an old Hampster-Squidny/Dubyunell alum who spent a lot of time in Republican politicks before coming to the place in 1996.  He was determined to import to it a lot of the traditions and character of HSC and W&L, and apparently has been quite successful.  And the place has suddenly got very popular – I’m told applications this year were up 600 over last year, and last year was a record-setter.  Since the school is as big as it wants to get, they’ve got quite a bit more selective about who they let in.

We really think this is going to be a great fit for the Gel.  The student body seems to be a lot like her: rather conservative with a strong religious presence, and at the same time quietly eccentric.  (The Gel was poking around on a list of accepted students and already spotted a girl she went to Bible-thumper camp with.)  Furthermore, the SJW goons do not appear to have hijacked the place at all, and there’s a pretty high expectation in terms of traditional academic requirements.  And the school goes out of its way to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, either academically or socially.

Oh, and who the heck is Christopher Newport? Well, he was an Elizabethan sea-captain, starting his career as a privateer against the Spanish.  He was also the commander of the fleet that brought the original Jamestown colonists to Virginny in 1609 and made several subsequent supply runs to the colony.  Thus, the CNU mascot is “The Captains”, which also explains the title of this post.  (Nothing to do with Walt Whitman, who gives me the willies.)

Ol’ Robbo is a Very Proud Dad this evening.

UPDATE:  Oh, a couple other points I wanted to make:

First, both Mrs. R and I are grateful for the genuine delight the Middle Gel’s sisters expressed when the news broke.  They tend to snipe at each other over petty things, but it’s nice to see them come together in unaffected good will over the larger ones.

Second, Ol’ Robbo knows perfectly well that CNU is not an “elite” school, and that a certain number of people – including people within my own circle – will look down their noses at this.  Well, you know what? I don’t care.  Indeed, I look on its non-elite status as a good thing in this current, wretched, culture.  After all, what is an “elite” education these days, anyway?  You drop a quarter-mil or more Jimmy O’ Goblins on four years of Cultural Marxist brainwashing.  (Youngest, in a moment of contemplation brought on, perhaps, by this news, said to me this evening that she was even thinking about The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, my old stomping ground.  Never mind whether she could get in with her current GPA (she couldn’t), I just smiled and said I sure as hell wouldn’t pay for it.) Suff on that.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As you might gather from the posts immediately below, Ol’ Robbo was hither and yon on biznay this week.  A remarkably stressful trip, given that it was only two nights and the work itself was relatively straight-forward.  For one thing, the stormy weather seemed to chase me all over the place, especially while I was in the air.  For another, owing to various factors including my inability to eat while flying and a counted-on lunch break that never happened, between Tuesday evening and this morning I managed to get only two full meals.

I am now quite wiped out.  Ol’ Robbo ain’t as young as he used to be.

Anyhoo, just a few things:

♦  Ol’ Robbo is fascinated by this Florida shootings biznay.  Not the horror of the massacre itself so much, but the meta-issue behind it regarding the relationship between the governed and governing in a representational democracy in which sovereignty is derived from the consent of the People.  If the Government for whatever reason either can’t or won’t uphold its duty (in this case) to ensure domestic tranquility – and it appears from what I’ve seen that there was a complete top-to-bottom failure to both prevent and limit the scope of the killings – at what point does it become not only the People’s right (which is inherent) but its responsibility to say “Enough is enough.  Your services are no longer required and your authority is revoked.  We’ll do it ourselves.”

♦  Or, if I may borrow a favorite expression from our long-haired hippie friends, “Power to the People, man!”  (Depends on who’s ox is being gored and who’s doing the goring, don’t it?)

♦  Oh, and as long as I’m at it, the gun-grabbers on the Left and their establishment media buddies can take their fake Children’s Crusade and stuff it.

♦  There! If all that doesn’t get me a bullet in the back of my head when the Socialist Justice Wanker Revolution comes, I don’t know what will!

♦  And finally on that note, I’d also mention that after many years of opposition due to a vague fear of firearms, Mrs. Robbo has now come around and said that she thinks it actually would be a good idea if I saw to arming up Port Swiller Manor.

♦  On a completely different note, to which the title of this post is tied, it’s a warmish and foggy day here at Port Swiller Manor, not much in keeping with late February weather round these parts.  I noticed this morning that the maples are already starting to blossom and the daffodils are coming up.  I seem to recall a similar “False Spring” last year, after which it turned cold again  (although I believe it was a bit later).  Barring a late-season nor’easter, looks like we’re going to be spared any serious snowfall again this year, too.  Somehow, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t mind very much.

♦  This weekend is the spring theatre production down to Eldest Gel’s school.  As I may have mentioned before, they’re doing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Eldest is serving as an assistant stage manager.  She’s enjoyed doing the work, but in her opinion the play itself is not half so clever or funny as it thinks it is.  I’ve never seen it on stage although I have seen the movie, and I rather tend to agree with her.  (Pretentious? Moi?)

Well, that’s enough for now.  Ol’ Robbo’s off to get some more kawfeh and then settle down in his favorite chair to watch the bird feeders for a while.  Very restful occupation when one needs to recharge.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

What’s the point of being able to wallow in an unlimited hotel hot shower when the water pressure isn’t worth bupkiss?

Also, I just discovered a slice of pizza in the microwave in my room that pre-dates my check-in.  (I’m not touching it, but I am leaving the door open as a hint to the cleaning staff.)

Thank Heaven I’m headed home now……

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those friends of the decanter who have been around long enough know of Ol’ Robbo’s irrational fear of flying.

Well I’m here to tell you that nothing is more likely to deepen that aversion than landing in the middle of a thunderstorm and having to listen throughout the descent to the ten year old kid across the aisle repeatedly chirp in a high, penetrating voice, “Well, that’s it! Ladies and gentlemen, we’re all gonna die!”

Had I not been hanging on to my armrests with the grip of a drowning man, I undoubtedly would have reached across and strangled the little tick.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was chatting with Youngest Gel as he drove her over to swim practice this evening.  “So,” I said, “How was school today? Do anything productive?”

“Nah,” she replied, “Just the usual.  You know: skipped class, smoked some weed, got it on with a guy out behind the trailers.”

Were I not driving, I’d have smacked her one.  Young smart-ass.

She was also ranting about some “spontaneous” student walk-out that’s supposed to happen on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  Because guns bad, or something.  “Be damned if I’m going to do that,” she said, “Those people are idiots.”

That’s my gel!

By the bye, what is it with the Kidz these days and their “Dilly, Dilly!”  I first heard this being said some time early last December and it seems to have spread.  I assume it’s some sort of positive interjection, but where on earth did it come from?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the new trailer for The Incredibles 2 floated across Ol’ Robbo’s FB page yesterday.  It seems to me outright silly to waste too much psychic energy on a mere movie, but I have to confess that I have felt a keen sense of apprehension about this one ever since rumors of it first surfaced some years ago.

This is because the original is by far Ol’ Robbo’s favorite Pixar movie, and is indeed one of his favorite movies full stop. Technically – story, dialogue, animation, music, etc. -it’s so very well done and sets such an incredibly (ha!) high bar, that I just don’t see how that can be repeated, much less surpassed.

My other, deeper, worry concerns what might be called the general tone of the thing.  The first movie was pretty solidly conservative and took a lot of swings (some subtle, some blunt) at political correctness.  That was fourteen years ago, and “P.C.” has morphed since then into the much more radical and poisonous “SJW”.  Will the new one have the courage to maintain the spirit of its predecessor?  Or will it crumble?  (I gather that the plot has something to do with Mr. Incredible becoming a stay-at-home dad while Elastigirl fights crime with Grrrrrl-power.  There may turn out to be a perfectly good plot reason for this, but on the surface it sure as heck looks like possible pandering to me.)

I do not trust Disney any farther than I could throw a dead Rodent of Unusual Size.

We shall see, I suppose.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had to drive Youngest Gel to school this morning, Mrs. R being out of town with Middle Gel for a few days.  On the way, we got talking about the latest mass-murder.  This was a Good Thing, or so I’m told by the Experts.  Our Young People need Comfort and Support and Reassurance in the face of this latest National Tragedy, and since the Professionals can’t be absolutely everywhere at the same time, getting it from parents is at least better than nothing.

What the Gel said (and I swear I’m not making this up):

“You know, all I hear is ‘More gun control! More gun control!‘  But it seems to me that more guns might be the answer.  If somebody – the principal, teachers, guards, even students – had been armed, maybe they could have shot the bastard when he first cooked off and saved some lives.”

Ol’ Robbo would be lying if he said the Gel didn’t drive him absolutely batty at times, but all the same, I’m mighty proud of her.  Despite all the brainwashing of the current miserable Culture in which we find ourselves, she gets it.

We agreed that the only people actually affected by “Common Sense Gun Control” are ordinary, sane, law-abiding citizens, and therefore that this constitutes a surrender of liberty that has little or no connection with what is claimed to be its purpose.  (And just as an aside, I saw a tweet by Sen. Kamala Harris of California in which she calls for said control to stop the “killing of our babies”.  The woman is stridently pro-abortion.  What kind of a moral monster can carry these two ideas at the same time?)

We also talked about the alternative of Common Sense Loony Control.  After all, as is the case with pretty much every other non-terror related mass shooting (and maybe some of them, too), the gunman here is obviously a crack-pot.  Everyone around him knew he’s a crack-pot.  Everyone around him expected that he was going to snap sooner or later.  Some people even apparently tried to warn the Authorities that he was going to go ballistic.  Yet nothing was done.

Ol’ Robbo believes (and I told the Gel this) that the current rules about involuntary commitment of the mentally unbalanced are far too strict and should be revisited.  (I believe they’re based on a Supreme Court decision from somewhere in the mid-70’s.)  I’ve seen drugged out, drunken bums lying in pools of their own piss in the gutter and howling at the moon, surrounded by cops and EMT who couldn’t lay a finger on them because they wouldn’t consent to it.  On the other hand, I worry that there’s a very slippery slope here.  What, exactly, is the definition of “certifiable” that would allow involuntary commitment to a psych ward, and perhaps more importantly, who gets to decide that definition? I told the Gel about the various authoritarian regimes that use alleged mental illness as an excuse to jail political dissidents.  “Hell,” I said, “There are plenty of SJW’s in my own workplace who think that I, as a white, male, Catholic conservative, ought to be locked up for ‘reeducation’.”

So in the end, we agreed that perhaps the best defense – against both psychotic murderers and creeping authoritarianism – is self-defense.  In fact, we agreed that this is such an important concept that it ought to be enshrined somewhere in a major governing code of law.

Oh, yeah………

Almost as if those Founder fellahs knew what they were talking about.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This week saw the beginning of the latest Port Swiller Manor home improvement project, namely refurbishing the hardwood floors in the library, the living room, and the dining room.

The house is about forty-five years old now, and over the course of time, these floors naturally have come in for a goodish bit of punishment.  They’re faded, scratched, and, in the case of the corners in the dining room, stained with cat pee (this last a present of our old Jennyanydots in her senile decrepitude).  So it’s about time something was done about them. (Eventually, we’ll get to the upstairs as well.)

Rayther than blowing extravagant amounts of coin on ripping the old wood out and replacing it, however, we decided to go with said refurbishing.  A good sanding down followed by a couple coats of stain and a clear finish, and the dining room floor (the first one we’re doing in rotation and now near completion) looks really, really nice.

Unfortunately, the whole house reeks now of turpentine (or whatever it is that they put in stains), and I must admit that I’ve been feeling a bit like I used to back in my misspent yoot when I spent so many, many hours gluing and painting plastic airplane models.  Whoa.  (It’s nice enough to have the doors and windows open this evening, so the fug’s not so bad, but it’s supposed to be snowing again by Saturday night.  If I go to light a fire in the fireplace, is the entire atmosphere going to spontaneously combust?)

As I say, we’re doing the rooms in rotation, emptying all the furniture out of one room at a time and then shifting it as we proceed forward.  Ol’ Robbo simply couldn’t bear the idea (to say nothing of the cost) of hauling everything off to storage so as to do the whole project at one time.  Fortunately, our guy also has agreed to charge us for each stage of the project as it comes to completion, not the whole tamale all at once.

I only hope we get this biznay finished up and the house properly aired out before Easter, because guess who’s hosting dinner this year.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Mardi Gras!  Shall we get right to it?

Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, Ol’ Robbo felt it would be weird to bring home Valentine’s flowers for Mrs. R then, so I stopped and picked some up this evening.  Evidently, a fairly large number of fellahs feel the same way, as the florist counter was doing a very brisk biznay. 

[Obligator unreadable yellow insert]

Mrs. Robbo had the same idea: She came home this evening with Valentine’s chocolate bags for the gels, saying “it just didn’t seem right” to wait till tomorrow.  Smiling, I pointed at said flowers (which she hadn’t seen yet).  Winning!

The flowers, by the bye, were quite a delightful surprise to the Missus, as I rarely bring them home and almost never for Valentine’s, what with the jacked up prices the “holiday” inevitably brings.  (Before you get sniffy, this is in large part due to Mrs. R’s own furious reaction to the dozen roses I gave her one year when we were first manacled together and had very little coin for such indulgences.) 

[Second obligatory unreadable yellow insert]

Youngest Gel happened to be loitering about when I presented them and said, in her snippy, 16 y.o. voice. “Wow – Dad actually likes likes Mom!”  I was thiiiiis close to saying, “Hey, where do you suppose you came from?”  Whipper-snapper!

Anyhoo, here we are.  So far as any kind of Mardi Gras “celebration” goes,  I had a din-dins of Andouille sausage, brown rice, and beans by way of marking the day sorta, kinda Noo Orleenz style.  I already know that I’m going to pay for this dearly when I get up for early Mass tomorrow.

[Mardi Gras colors off]

Speaking of which, it continually amazes me that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the American Catholic Church.  (The fasting and abstinence requirements do apply, however.)

As for the imposition of ashes, given how much more polarized and venomous Cultural Marxist group-think has become in the past year, it will be interesting to see if Ol’ Robbo draws any hard-Left snide comments for wearing them on his brow down the office tomorrow.  (Sinfully to say, I hope so.  I hope so.) UPDATE:  Nope.  A couple of brief stares and one polite inquiry as to the day’s fasting and abstinence requirements.

And as for Lent in general, just so you can plan your blog surfing accordingly, Ol’ Robbo will not be officially signing off here this year, nor will he be likely to deviate much in general tone or subject matter, at least until Holy Week.  (I will be attempting, again, to give up dial back the gargle, so if I sound a mite peevish over the next few weeks, you’ll understand why.)





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February 2018