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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had to go to the Vigil Mass this evening, not being able to attend tomorrow for reasons that will become evident in a future post.

I swam the Tiber about eleven years ago now, and in all that time I’ve been to maybe half a dozen Vigils (apart from the Easter Vigil, which is in a class by itself).  Somehow or other, it always seems a bit like cheating to me.  You know, get yer Mass obligation out of the way at 5pm on Saturday so you can sleep in Sunday morning and then go to brunch.

Nonsense, I know, and probably more of a bugaboo for a convert than for an old hand, but still……

On another note, re the ongoing sex scandal within HMC, I give you Bishop Robert C. Morlino.  What he said.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Have I mentioned here before that iced coffee is the nectar of the gods? I have? Well, I’m a-gonna go right on mentioning it, because it is the Good News and should be spread to all the four corners of the earth.

And it is especially nectarful as I lie in the ol’ hammock, all showered up, after my usual Saturday morning’s laboring in the yard.

Today I decided that I really needed to prune a couple of the maples out back.  Perhaps because we’ve got so much rain this summah, perhaps because I just haven’t done it in a while, I noticed that they had really started pushing branches out and down and that the increased shade was having a negative effect on the groundlings around and behind them.

Ol’ Robbo has always been reluctant to prune.  I really don’t know why this is – it’s neither sloth nor fear – but I just like to leave things be as much as possible.  On the other hand, once I get a pair of clippers in my hands? Attila ain’t in it.  I go into a kind of berserker mode and start laying about me for all I’m worth.

So there I was.

My rule of thumb about these trees is to whack them back as far as I can reach from my stepladder, btw.  This lets in a good bit more light underneath, but I know I really ought to get a pro in to give them a professional cut.  We’ve been in Port Swiller Manor 18 years now and I’ve never done that, so they’ve all got rather…..large.

I probably should be attentive for signs of old age, too.  Better to take one down under controlled conditions than have it topple over all on its own.  (Our neighbors took out a big maple between us a couple weeks ago.  This is the only reason I can think of for why he did so.  Oddly, it seems as if he’s going to leave the stump where it is.)

Having a tree fall on the house isn’t exactly very high up on my list of worries, but it’s on the list nonetheless.

(BTW, I also hacked back the climbing rose out front.  It general loses a lot of leaves this time of year and when I don’t cut it back, Middle Gel starts making snide remarks about early Halloween decorations.  Whippersnapper!)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t dipped much into politickal posting here of late, but once in a while things get so crazy that even I feel compelled to remark on them.  Quite the week, I think friends of the decanter will agree?

♦ Chelsea Clinton spouts off on the economic “benefits” of abortion.  Hey, Chelsea – You might not be interested in Moloch, but Moloch is always interested in you!

♦  Andrew Cuomo trashes America and then digs deeper by trying to deny the plain meaning of his own words. “Bitch set me up!”

♦  Three hundred-odd newspaper editors collude to trash the President because he accuses them of colluding to trash him.  ‘Kay.

♦  Big Tech has decided that it has a duty to protect us all from ungood wrong think.  This is a big reason why I never fooled with Twitter and don’t bother much with FacePlant anymore.  (I just hope that they don’t decide to come and take my little WordPress soapbox away from me, too.)

You can say whatever else you like about this Administration, but it has produced one very positive effect anyway: The masks are all coming off.

These people hate you.  They really hate you.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, as Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats are about to lose a series against the Cards even as I type, it is plainly evident that this season is now O-ficially over.


What a disappointment! I wasn’t quite fool enough to believe the pre-season hype that this was Our Year to Win It All as a matter of Destiny.  I always thought that it would be a fight that we might win or lose in the end.  But at least it would be exciting and down to the wire, given our recent history and current talent.

But I never dreamed that this year’s team would be a struggling, mediocre, fading non-entity in mid-August.

The “agony of defeat” I can endure.

The “agony of not even getting in the game”? Not so much.


UPDATE: I didn’t realize it was a four game series when I posted this.  Watched Game 3 this evening.  Now we’ve lost the series.  Why on earth did I do so?  I think it was Chesterton who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Well, what else is there to do except say:


UPDATE DEUX:  Well, I guess I needed that vent, but yes, I’m still watching the games.  (We’ve won two in a row, now.)  I’m even willing to half-believe the notion that there’s a possibility the young Braves and Phillies clubs might choke under late-season pressure.  This is a conscious choice:  If somehow we do manage to come back and win it, I could never call myself a fan with any degree of self-respect if I had completely abandoned them beforehand.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

One of Ol’ Robbo’s greatest domestic pet peeves is the Gels’ collective cavalier attitude toward cleaning up their damned dishes.  Time after time I seem to come home to a sink full of plates, bowls, cutlery, and glassware, much of it still caked with the remains of whatever meal it had held.  (This is when the dishes actually make it to the sink.  Eldest, in particular, has a horrid habit of collecting them in her room.)  And when they do manage to put their things in the dishwasher, they rarely rinse them off and, further, seem to pay no attention whatever to arranging them properly, instead tossing them in any old way. (And yes, there is a science to proper dishwasher loading, dammit.)  Sometimes I stamp and curse and call them out to clean up their mess.  Sometimes, out of pure moral exhaustion, I just do the bloody things myself.

Similarly, the two Elder Gels, when it comes to maintaining their rooms, are, to put it clinically, complete slobs.  (Youngest, curiously, always keeps hers in a state of Spartan neatness that would pass any inspection.  I’ve no idea why, but I’m not complaining.)

I was thinking about this in light of the fact that the two Elder Gels are off to college this weekend.  The Mothe used to say that the best cure for the slovenly habits of one’s misspent yoot was the ire of one’s college roommates, and I’m inclined to agree.**

Eldest will be in a four-girl suite.  As befits her upper-classman status, she’ll have her own bedroom, but will share a kitchen and living room with the other three.

Middle, as a fresher, will be packed into a five-gel double.  She and her roommate will share one bedroom, while three other gels will share the other.  All five will share a common bathroom.

In both cases, there will be very little room for domestic slothiness.  My hope is that where paternal authority has come up short, peer-pressure will do the trick.  Indeed, I wish I could be a fly on the wall – just as a matter of schadenfreude – when one of them gets called out by her roommates, as I’m sure will happen at some point.

Serves ’em right, too.


**I first experienced this myself when I sublet a room in an apartment with some friends the summah of my junior year at The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown.  Words…were spoken about certain of Ol’ Robbo’s then kitchen and bathroom usages.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

We had a terrific Mass of Thanksgiving in the Extraordinary Form today, complete with three priests, a congratulatory message and marching orders straight from the Vatican, the “Asperges Me” and a “Te Deum“, together with one of Palestrina’s longer settings.  The normal Traditional Latin Mass in my parish runs about an hour and a half.  This one went well over two hours.  I didn’t even notice the difference until it was over and I happened to glance at my watch in the parking lot.

The occasion was a celebration of the ordination ten days ago of a fellah from our parish as a new Canon to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

While the Mass itself was celebrated by our home boy, the homily was given by another priest, who I gathered was somebody higher up in the Institute who had been involved with our man’s education and ordination.  At any rate, he worked into his homily some references to our man’s experiences during seminary in Italy.

And you know what? This chilled me slightly.  Why? Because of this whole damned (in the literal sense) “Uncle Teddy” McCarrick scandal. 

I’m not accusing the homilist – of whom I know nothing – of anything at all, at all.  Nor was I really worried specifically about our new ordinate, who I’d watched as alter server in various functions over the years. No, it was just a more general association.  Allusions to and jokes about seminary life, however innocently meant, under the recent revelations just left a bad taste in my mouth.

As I thought about this more later on, I started to get angry.  Damn these men who have sullied Holy Mother Church.  Damn them for putting these vile thoughts into my head even in the midst of what should have been an unadulterated glory. Damn them, damn them, damn them!

We need radical surgery here.  We need intense investigation, not just by the clergy but also by lay members as well.  We need very public disclosure of exactly who did what, who knew what, and all the details of where, when, and how.  We need absolutely clear and cold denunciation, and absolutely clear and cold disgrace and punishment.

This is not a time for “coming together” or for “easing our pain through the healing process”.  Nor is it a time for simply sweeping things under the rug.  (You’ll notice the story has completely vanished from the MSM.)  No, this is a time for taking names and kicking asses.

We shall see what actually happens……


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Not directly related to gardening, but Ol’ Robbo spotted the hen hummingbird at the feeder today for the first time since much earlier in the summah, when I had seen quite a bit of her.  This makes me wonder if Port Swiller Manor is possibly just a way-station for her on her migrations there and back again.  (I am assuming here that this is the same bird, which I’m pretty sure it is. I’m also assuming that if she were around more often, I’d have spotted her, of which I’m also pretty sure.)

And speaking of birds, I was over to the local hardware store this afternoon picking up more seed for my local flock.  I buy it in twenty-pound bags.  When I got up to pay, the young thing behind the register asked me if I needed any help getting it out to my car.


I haven’t shaved this week and it’s true that my beard comes in mostly white, but I don’t think I look quite that feeble.

(The owner of this store hires only pretty young gels to work the registers, by the bye, the perv. A couple weeks ago, one of them recognized my name from my credit card – it turns out she and Youngest Gel had gone to middle school together.)

UPDATE: Turns out there are two hummers – I saw them squabbling with each other at the feeder this morning.  Doesn’t necessarily invalidate my assumptions, but makes the question a bit more interesting.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I suppose this is the last day of Ol’ Robbo’s bachelor stay-at-home week, as the ladies of the house start returning to Port Swiller Manor tomorrow.  Some odds and ends, then:

♦  I really wanted to devote this week to getting back into some serious exercise, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been good about it. I’ve been alternating daily between an hour’s routine on the treadmill that involves hand-weights as well, and a half-hour on the rowing machine.  Not only have I felt an immediate effect in muscle-tone, I’m also rediscovering the sweet, sweet rush known to endorphin junkies.  The big challenge will be maintaining this once I go back to work. (It’s tough to keep motivated after an hour’s hot commute home in the evening.)

♦  Related, I suppose, I finally broke down and bought some new khakis and dress shirts for the office.  I really dislike clothes-shopping for some reason and generally wear my old things until they disintegrate or else Mrs. R gets disgusted and throws them away behind my back.  (This what I might call “disgust event horizon” has been a topic of some occasional controversy between us over the years.)

♦  I’ve also spent a good bit of time this week reading.  Currently I am a little over half way through Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire by Hugh Thomas, kindly sent to me by long-time friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory.  It goes far deeper into the Spanish conquests in the Americas (and elsewhere) than Ol’ Robbo has previously studied, discussing in considerable (I should at times say too much) detail not just the voyages of people like Columbus and Magellan, and the routes of the conquistadores such as Balboa, Ponce de Leon, and Cortez, but also the treatment of the natives, the bureaucracy of Caribbean colonization, its relationship to Old Spain, and the historickal context of the whole shebang.  (Fun fact: Mrs. Robbo’s father’s family were Sephardic Jews who were chucked out of Spain during the Inquisition.) And much to his credit, although Thomas is a modern author, he lays it all out pretty objectively: There is very, very little 21st Century virtue-signaling.

And that’s about it for this week, apart from watching movies and ballgames (and, of course, ministering to attention-craving cats and dog).  Next weekend the Elder Gels are off to college, so Ol’ Robbo really wanted nothing more than to relax and take a deep, long breath, so to speak, before that happens.

Oh, I should add that I have paid almost no attention to the nooz this week, not even to most of my go-to blogs like Ace and Insty. It’s been mighty refreshing!



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Through the delightful randomness of the way I toss DVD’s into my Netflix queue and things get mixed up through delays and whatnot, I had an interesting pairing of new-to-me films this week.

First up was “Joan of Arc” (1948).  I am reasonably certain that the historickal St. Joan looked absolutely nothing like Ingrid Bergman.  But as the Pirate King from “Penzance” says of his band’s objection to having major generals as fathers-in-law, “We waive this point; we do not press it; we look over it.”  Heh. And Jose Ferrer was delightfully weak and weasel-like as the Dauphin.  The politickal machinations were well spelled out, and the battle scenes were quite exciting.  Altogether a pretty good film.

Next was “Wonder Woman” (2017).  I’m sorry, but this one left me absolutely cold. (I had tossed it in the queue simply out of curiosity.)  Gal Gadot, although no Lynda Carter, is certainly lovely and talented, but about the story I found myself giving not a single toss.  I also disliked extremely the feeling that I was being manipulated in advance to buy into the inevitable sequels.  Some people, including members of my family, like the modern era of comic book movies.  I guess I just don’t.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening, Ol’ Robbo watched an early ’80’s Beeb production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

This particular version – and I’ve never seen a good one on screen although I’ve seen several good stage productions – is pretty meh.   The Beeb’s attempts at Ye Faerie Lande sound and light effects are distracting without being effective, and there’s a wee bit too much grabby-hands going on between Oberon and Puck.  On the other hand, the Rude Mechanicals are pretty amusing, and it does feature the shmokin’ young Helen Mirren as Titania, so by law cannot be a complete loss.

Anyhoo, I found myself chuckling with delight over a passage I had not fully appreciated before.   As you recall, Helena, in the story, is besotted with Demetrius, who himself doesn’t care much for her one way or the other.  In throwing herself at him as he tries to elude her, at one point she pleads:

And even for that [Demetrius’s scorn] do I love you the more. I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel—spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love—

As it happened, the Port Swiller family spaniel was right beside me on the sofa when Helena spoke this line, even then eagerly seeking attention at any price her own self.

Hence my amusement.

Ours is the first spaniel I’ve ever really known.  Her passive-aggressive fawning is a standing family joke.  (As is her limited intelligence – the cats are far smarter than she is.) Evidently she’s not unique to her breed in this, or Ol’ Will never would have gone with the metaphor.  I appreciate it all the more now from my own experiences.




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