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Raphael – Resurrection of Christ

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is going to be busy for the next few days and unlikely to get time for gratuitous dallying over the decanter, so I thought I would go ahead and wish you all a very happy Easter now.  Yes, it’s Holy Thursday as I type this, but transporting forward, He is risen, indeed!  Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Frankly, however, Holy Week has turned out to be something of a dud for Ol’ Robbo.  I’d had all sorts of plans to really go in for the Triduum, especially as Mrs. R and the Gels are in Flariduh for spring break, but when push came to shove, I found I only really have the energy to manage purely obligatory church attendance this year.  (I’m not even planning to go to the Vigil Mass Saturday night, which I’ve always done in memory of the fact that I was received into HMC at that Mass ten years ago.)

Similarly, we are hosting Easter Dinner, which will involve my brother and his family plus my elderly cousin.  Originally, I was looking forward to concocting a combination of rack of lamb and interesting accompaniments (which I still haven’t nailed down, apart from grilled asparagus).  Now, I’m rayther dreading it all.

Why is this, you may ask?  Well, I think it all goes back to still grieving over the loss of the Mothe in August.   The same dragging enervation, which had gradually dried up last fall, suddenly reappeared around Christmas and flattened me.  (I couldn’t manage Midnight Mass, as much as I adore it.)  It wore away again as the new year progressed, but caught me again a couple weeks ago when I was reflecting on the 11th anniversary of the Old Gentleman’s death.  Now, seemingly, here we are again.

When the blue devils got to me at Christmas, I consulted my parish Padre about them.  He basically said yeah, the first year after you lose Mom is rough; that the feeling will bubble up again on holidays and important dates like birthdays; and that it’s all perfectly natural so don’t worry about it.

I’m telling myself that again now.

Basta!  The melancholy may drain me at the more surface-y levels, but I’m also grateful for the profound strength of Faith that is buoying me deeper down.  So I say again to all of you:  Happy Easter!  He is risen, indeed! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!




“Affability” – James Gillray, 1795

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo spent a pleasant Saturday morning trimming up the wisteria which abounds at Port Swiller Manor and otherwise cleaning up round the yard in impatient anticipation that warmer weather may finally arrive here soon.  Looking about me, I sense that the local flora and fauna share my impatience and at the first sign that Spring actually is here to stay will take off with a whoop and a holler.

It’s too bad that the cold is hanging around so long this year.  We’re hosting Easter Dinner next Sunday and will have about a dozen people for it.  I can’t fit that many into my dining room comfortably, but I could have had us all out on the porch together if only it were warm enough.  Barring something unforeseen this week, doesn’t look like we’re going to quite make it, so the kids will have to be banished to their own table in the kitchen.  (Which is a real pity, because they’re all old enough to be enjoyable table companions now.)

Oh, and on the subject of yard work, it looks like Ol’ Robbo finally is going to have to swallow his pride and invest in one of those abdomen braces.  I’ve noticed recently that my lower back gets awfully sore when I drag or carry heavy things about in the yard.  My old neighbor wore one habitually, even for the lightest gardening tasks.  In my youthful arrogance, I used to chuckle about it, but now it looks like the laugh is on me.  (And yes, you can get off my lawn.)

UPDATE:  For Tubbs.  I couldn’t find a fellah in a truss, but how about Farmer George?  (History of the cartoon, including the caption, here.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hadn’t realized until today that this weekend is the big “Tide-Pod Kidz Against Icky Guns” rally in Your Nation’s Capital.  And it only hit me personally when I left the office this afternoon and discovered that crews were out and about setting up crowd-control barriers and whatnot and, in the process, blocking several intersections key to my commute.

Rush hour traffick in the Swamp is bad enough, especially when the crowds of tourons reappear in the spring.  When this sort of thing happens, however, one finds oneself feeling like Frodo and his friends trying to get out of the Old Forest but being dragged back in by Old Man Willow.  (At one point, I started to make an illegal left turn to get clear, but there happened to be a cop sitting on my right rear bumper.  He started blatting his horn at me menacingly, so I quickly abandoned my escape attempt.)  It is extremely wearing and grrrrr-making.

So perhaps I’m even more prejudiced against this stunt than I might otherwise have been, but I don’t really think so.  I’m disgusted with the Kidz, of course – snot-nosed little narcissists who think virtue-signaling about their feelz trumps Reality.  But I’m actually enraged by the Authoritarian Left machine that’s exploiting these idiots to push disarmament of law-abiding citizens and strip me of my right to defend myself and my family.  (And no, I don’t think Ol’ Robbo is wandering into tinfoil-hat territory here.  There’s Soros Money in them thar protests.)

Anyhoo, all this kerfluffle has been having the opposite of its intended effect – at least with me – in that I’m motivated to finally get off the Port Swiller backside and start doing some serious research and pricing, especially now that Mrs. R has given me the green light.  I may have mentioned here before that I’ve never actually fired a handgun, so I know very little about them and will need to get proper training, advice, practice, and so on.  However, I used to do a good bit of bird and skeet shooting as a teenager, using, among others, a Remington Model 1100 12-guage.  It seems to me that one of these would be a good first step since I’m already familiar with it.  (And, after all, isn’t this what Joey the Plugs “Choo-Choo” Biden recommended?)

In the meantime, these Kidz can get the hell off my lawn and go back to their Tide-Pod eating.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Middle Gel is the usual babysitter for Mrs. Robbo’s 5 y.o. God-son.  However, because the Gel and her school choir left this morning on a spring break trip to Noo Yawk City and therefor was unavailable, Mrs. R stepped up to take care of the boy in her place so that his parents could go out and catch a concert this evening.

Although Ol’ Robbo was generally successful in avoiding having to join in on such caretaking, he did manage to stumble into the library just as Mrs. R was pulling out one of the books the boy had brought along with him, The Monster At The End Of This Book It features the lovably cowardly Grover from Sesame Street, who becomes increasingly frantic at the turn of every page as he contemplates having to face said Monster.  Only at the end does he realize that it is, in fact, his own self.  Har, har.

Ol’ Robbo read this book many, many times to the Gels back in the day.  One of my (alas, unprofitable) talents is the ability to mimic voices.  And if I may say so, I do a pretty durn good Grover.  Unfortunately, however, it involves a kind of shrieking trill high up in the throat that, after a bit, gets pretty painful.   For a while there, I came to positively dread having to do it, especially when all of them were young enough that I would sometimes have to read it three times in one evening.

“Oh,” said Mrs. R tonight,  “Let’s get Uncle Robbo to read this to you.  He does it so very well!”

Well, what could I do but dust off the vocal chords and have at it.  This is what happens when you get a reputation.

Frankly, I think the boy was a bit alarumed by my histrionic shrieking at first, but after a few minutes he began to enjoy himself, and toward the end of the book was positively demanding that I “turn the page” just to see Grover’s next level of panic.

So I suppose I’ve still got it.

Nice to know, since I realize that the prospect of reading this same damned book to grandchildren is, if not immanent (God forbid),  at least on the  horizon.

On the other hand, my throat distinctly hurts again.  Nothing for it but an extra (purely medicinal, of course) glass of wine, eh?






Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noted this comment from the Puppy-Blender in the light of all the Face Book privacy violation crap that’s suddenly (yet not surprisingly) surfacing:

I hope a lot of people will move back to blogs and away from big corporate platforms. As I wrote a while back: “I think that the old blogosphere was superior to ‘social media’ like Twitter and Facebook for a number of reasons. First, as a loosely-coupled system, instead of the tightly-coupled systems built by retweets and shares, it was less prone to cascading failure in the form of waves of hysteria. Second, because there was no central point of control, there was no way to ban people. And you didn’t need one, since bloggers had only the audience that deliberately chose to visit their blogs.”

Maybe I should start featuring people who move back to blogs.

Yeah, that would be really nice.  (And can I just note that I’ve been blogging for fifteen years now and although the old Llama Butchers got Insta-lanched a couple times, none of them were actually my posts?  Can ya’ help a retro-buddy out?  Just saying…….)

I still remember those days and the great satisfaction I derived in putting together (well, helping to at any rate) a decent blog and then gradually building up our own unique network of friends and gunnegshuns.  Back then, it felt more like a spirited conversation, free from any sense of restraint by The Man.

Now, I feel I’m more or less mumbling at the clouds, largely because most of the old bloggers I knew have either dropped out of social media altogether or else have gone over to Face Book.

(I’ve got an FB account myself, but I try to keep what I say there rigidly separated from my meanderings here.  And at least on my “personal” page, I’m pretty much reduced to “liking” things like my niece’s prom photos.  The only response I dare there to outbursts of SJW nonsense is to quietly “mute” whoever puts up the post.)

Here’s hoping the exposure of the ugly face of Big Social Media brings about a return to those better times.

___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___

Totally off-topic, I was out a little while ago inspecting the Port Swiller Manor driveway to gage what kind of icing I’m likely to have to deal with tomorrow morning when this puddle image caught my eye:

Single candles, don’t you know.  I thought it was neat enough to capture on my phone and share.  Enjoy!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, it looks like Ma Nature is displaying her morbid sense of humor by sending the first significant snowfall in over two years to the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor on the first full day of Spring.

At this point, predictions still seem all over the place, ranging anywhere from a couple inches to a foot and a half.  How do you prepare for that?

At least I had the foresight to stock up on wine and coffee before the thing hit.

Updates as events unfold.

UPDATE:  Greetings again, my fellow port swillers!  When Ol’ Robbo got up around six ack emma this morning to check if his office was going to be closed (it is), it didn’t seem like there was much going on outside and I wondered if the forecasters had just got a leetle too enthusiastic.  By nine-o’clock, when I got up against, however, there was a pukka snowfall coming down, which kept up until mid-afternoon.

Altogether (it’s more or less stopped now), I’d say we got a solid three inches – maaaaybe four if you’re generous about rounding up.  Enough, in any event, to look pretty and for the dog to enjoy, not so much that shoveling it off the driveway this afternoon was much of a chore.

All in all, I’d say we probably didn’t really need to shut down the Imperial City, except for the fact that we haven’t had a real snowfall since January 2016 and everybody is out of what little practice they had in dealing with the stuff.  (Evidently, as I found when I made a quick trip to the store, just about all of them forgot that you’re supposed to clean the snow off the roof of your car before driving out, too.   Eedjits.)


“Fighting Joe” Hooker

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you all perchance see this article over the weekend via the Puppy-Blender?

Sign Referencing Civil War Hero Is Sexual Harassment, Says Massachusetts Lawmaker: Rep. Michelle DuBois wants to remove a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” because it is an affront to “women’s dignity”.


She has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity.”

“Female staffers don’t use that entrance because the sign is offensive to them,” DuBois told WBZ-TV this week.

If you’re trying to do the math to reconcile No-Different-Than-Men Grrrrrrlz with this kind of fainting-couch nonsense, don’t bother.  This is pure mau-mauing and is all about the Will to Power.  Logic and consistency – and even Real World consequences – have nothing to do with it.

Oh, my actual favorite part of the article?

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that Hooker had famously defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee in battle, when it’s really the other way around. (We should have paid more attention to those Ken Burns documentaries after all.) The opening paragraph has been edited to remove this reference.

Yeah, not so much.  Hooker was a good, steady corps commander.  He fought well and bravely in the Peninsula Campaign, at Fredericksburg, and at Antietam, and swept the Confederate left flank away at Lookout Mountain during the Battle of Chattanooga.  Kinda got his clock cleaned when he went toe to toe with Lee, however.

Nonetheless, Ol’ Robbo is of the school that Hooker’s strategy as commander of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville to pull a sneak flank move on Lee was positively brilliant, and even once that was exposed – and despite Jackson’s own flank attack – he could have carried the day had he not been wounded (concussed) when a shell hit his HQ.  The man became disoriented and lost his nerve, and should have been relieved.  (Meade, Reynolds, and Hancock, all still held in reserve at that point, were screaming to be let loose at the Confederates.  It would have made all the difference.)   In this, I would strongly recommend Stephen Sears’ Chancellorsville for a lucid and fascinating description of the campaign.  (Ken Burns? Feh.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Motivated by all the buzz I’ve read about it in the corners of the innerwebs where I lurk, Ol’ Robbo recently went out and bought himself a copy of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote To Chaos.  Curiously enough, without either of us knowing it, at exactly the same time that I was picking up my hardback copy from the devil’s website, Mrs. R was downloading a copy onto her iThingy.  Go figure.

Not that I usually read this sort of thing, of course.  And I certainly wouldn’t bother with a “Rules for Life” book by somebody like, say, Oprah, or Joel Osteen, or Phil Donahue.  But the word I got was that Peterson is sharp, articulate, and causing all the right Lefty heads to explode, so I decided to check him out.  (The back of the book contains blurbs of praise from Camille Paglia, Howard Bloom, and National Review.)


The “Rules” themselves are what I would have considered to be simple common sense:  Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.  Respect yourself.  Respect others.  Respect tradition. (Here he restates the principle of Chesterton’s Fence without apparently realizing it).  Discipline the kids when they need it.  Do your damn laundry.  That sort of thing.  I guess what Peterson brings to the table is his unpacking of these things and getting at their roots.  In this, he covers a lot of intersecting topics such as behavioral evolution (I’ll never look at a lobster the same way again), clinical psychology, the biological differences between male and female, personal biography, and social development – on both the individual and societal levels.

Another big topic which dances in and out of his discussion is religion, and specifically Christianity.  (He also discusses the Old Testament and refers here and there to parallels within Buddhism, Taoism, and Ancient Egyptian mythology.  There is no mention whatever of Islam.)  Here, I have to admit that he puzzles me a bit, because for all of his praise of the Christian ethic (and there is a tremendous amount here), I can’t quite figure out if he actually, you know, is one.

For one thing, he makes some odd assertions.  He quotes the “Gospel” of Thomas.  He makes a gratuitous reference to Christ’s “androgyny” that seems immaterial.  He talks about the 19th Century Church’s “belief” in faith without works, which I’m pretty sure was isolated to a few Calvinist sects.  (At least it was never part of HMC’s teachings so far as I know.)

For another, he consistently refers to Christ as an “Archetype”.  That’s mythology-speak.  He also discusses Christianity largely in terms of psychological constructs, instead of terms of the relationship between us and a separate, independent God who exists whether we believe in Him or not.  (Nietzsche can go piss up a rope.)  Also, when he writes of the (false) dichotomy between Faith and Science, I can’t tell if he’s merely reporting it, or falls somewhat into the trap himself.

On the other hand, his description of the Logos, the Word of God, is fantastic, as are his thoughts on suffering, sacrifice and what some people call “servant leadership”.  Also, Bishop Robert Barron has been enthusing about him.  So maybe I’m just missing something here.

Another thing Peterson is absolutely fantastic on is the problem of Evil.  He calls it “denial of Being”, which is another way of describing Satan’s “Non serviam!”  It amounts to the complete and utter rejection of nothing less than Creation itself.  In his discussion, he quotes not only Milton’s Lucifer, but also those psychopaths who shot up Sandy Hook and Columbine.  I thank God that I simply cannot fathom that level of depravity.

Anyway, I like what I’ve read, even though I must confess that I rather galloped through it (which may explain some of my questions).  It’s well worth going back and reading more slowly on a chapter by chapter basis.  Unfortunately, and for Heaven’s sake don’t take this the wrong way, as much as I like the book, I’m fairly certain that it won’t get that much play with those who need it more than I do.  My soul is far, far from perfect, but I’m reasonably sure I’m at least headed in the right general direction.  The question is, how do you get the lazy, the shiftless, the narcissistic, or the outright psychotic to sit down and both read and absorb this wisdom?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, Youngest Gel finally got her learner’s permit yesterday.  I think it was her fourth try.

The other two Gels have turned out to be fine drivers, but I worry a bit about this one.  She is somewhat more susceptible to squirrels and shiny things than either of her sisters, and I don’t fancy the idea of her getting distracted behind the wheel.  In fact, she even said something one time about having “poor situational awareness skills”.  I think she was just being flippant, but I laid into her about how she’d better get such skills if she ever expects to drive nonetheless.

I think Eldest must feel the same way because when she got word of the permit she called me and started fussing.  I gently suggested that a) Mom and Dad probably know what they’re doing, and b) she should mind her own business.  The Gel was not mollified.

Anyway, here we go again……

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was chatting with one of his supervisors today about home life (our kids are around the same age) when she said perkily, “So, did your girls do the anti-gun walk outs yesterday?”

“No,” I replied, as flatly as I dared.  Just that, and then I moved on to some other topic.

My boss looked genuinely surprised, and I think was within an ace of asking, “Why not?” when she caught herself.  It was just as well, because Ol’ Robbo has a very firm rule about not discussing politicks down to the shop, and while I wouldn’t have got into the merits of the thing, I would have had to explain this rule, which would be just as awkward in its own way.

Of course, the actual answer is that, like their old father, the Gels believe these Koncerned Kidz protests to be ill-informed, misguided, and simply pawns being deliberately manipulated by the forces of authoritarianism that seek every opportunity to try and disarm law-abiding citizens instead of dealing with the actual root issues such as, in this case, the complete and utter failure of every level of society and government to deal with a homicidal maniac before the bullets started flying, plus its additional failure to deal with him once the shooting actually started.  That’s what the Kidz ought to be protesting.

Stupid Kidz.


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March 2018