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Jack-O, the semi-inebriated, good-enough-for-gub’mint-work Official Port Swiller Lantern for 2016

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

By the time when, well, anybody reads this post, it will probably already be October 31st, so let me go ahead an wish you all a happy Halloween!

Ol’ Robbo carved this year’s Jack-O on Sunday afternoon since I won’t get home till after dark tomorrow.  I didn’t bother to take a picture of it and simply repost this one from two years ago….because they look pretty much the same.  As I have stated before, Ol’ Robbo is a positive reactionary when it comes to jack-o-lanterns.  If it ain’t triangles, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t want to see it.  And I consider “pumpkin art” to be ridiculous.

In the meantime, I’ve seen several articles this year, some in jest and some in earnest, about the pitfalls of any kind of costume that at all appropriates “somebody else’s culture” or otherwise allegedly maligns some interest group or other.  Perhaps the most goofy kerfluffle I’ve seen has to do with the Sexy Handmaid’s Tale costume.  Funny how the SJW mob has no apparent problem with long-standing Sexy Nun costumes.  That’s different.  Because reasons.  Shut up, haters!

(Speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo is reminded of a Catholic children’s costume he saw years ago depicting the early Jesuit missionaries to Canada.  Some wag had written as a caption to the photo, “Just add Hurons!”  Ol’ Robbo still laughs and laughs at that.)

Of course, the costume flaps have nothing to do with offended sensibilities or respect for other cultures, and everything to do with bullying and control of us kulaks.  (But I suspect friends of the decanter know that already.)  I shudder to think what would be made of some of the costumes I donned over the years in this Neo-Jacobin atmosphere.  Thank Heaven I feel no desire whatever to suit up these days!  (If I did have to dress up, I think I’d go as Count Floyd. Surely they couldn’t get me for that, probably because they’d have no idea who he was. Really scary, huh, keeds? Awoooooooo!!)

Speaking of which, I learn that Eldest went Halloween Frat-Party hopping this past weekend dressed as Rosie the Riveter.  She told me she did this not to make any kind of Grrrrl-power statement, but largely because it allowed her to keep warm (overalls, denim shirt, and a head-scarf, you know) and that she laughed quietly to herself when her friends dressed in much skimpier outfits complained of being cold.  Heh.

I don’t know if Middle Gel is dressing up, but I learned of a neat thing they do at her school: All the freshman dorms have a hall-decorating contest, the winning hall being treated to pizza.  Then, faculty and staff bring their kiddies ’round to trick-or-treat in the halls, where the freshmen hand out goodies.  As I say, I think this is really neat.

As to Youngest, she’s not trick-or-treating at all this year, but is instead going to a Twenty One Pilots concert and dragging Mrs. Robbo along with her.  You will pardon me for taking a certain malign pleasure in the fact that Mrs. R has to go and I get to stay home.

As for myself, Ol’ Robbo plans, as per usual, to set out a bowl of candy on the front steps, light up Jack-O, and then go and hide in the basement to watch “Young Frankenstein“, easily the best Mel Brooks-produced movie evah because it was written by Gene Wilder and not by Mel himself.   No offense to Mr. Brooks, but while he can put together individual gags superbly, I never felt he could as successfully string them together to produce a satisfying movie-length narrative.

At any rate, Ol’ Robbo will see you on the other side on All Saints Day, probably my very favorite Feast of the entire liturgical year.  I like to think that on November 1st, the adults are back in charge.

UPDATE: To my knowledge, we had exactly two parties of trick-or-treaters, the kidz from next door and a younger bunch from down the street.  (Anybody want a Kit-Kat bar? We’ve got something of a surplus.)  We’re on the outer edge of our neighborhood – or the wrong side of the tracks as I sometimes say – and there’s no natural loop to get to our house.

Youngest found a friend to go to the concert with her, so for Mrs. R it was strictly Click and Clack’s Russian chauffer, Pickup Andropov. I am happy to say that even though the Gel got back extremely late, she went to school without a fuss this morning and got an A on a history test.

Oh, and the other thing? You realize Society has problems when you encounter people downtown and at the office on Halloween and you can’t be sure whether they are in costume or not.





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those of you who had this past weekend for the appearance of X-Mas supplies and décor in Robbo’s local supermarket, please go to the window and collect your winnings.

I’m not absolutely certain, but this feels like a new record to me.

Feh.  I’m sick of it already and we haven’t even got past Halloween yet.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Prayers up to the people of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Ol’ Robbo has actually, from time to time, thought about what he would do if some animal broke into his church during Mass and started shooting or assaulted the priest or tried to desecrate the Host.  Since I’m one of the more able-bodied men and don’t have anyone with me who would need shielding, my general thought is that it would be my obligation to at least try to do Something.

What that Something would be, I don’t really know.  Our church is (sadly) of in-the-round construction and has six different entrances spread around its circumference, so there are a great many possible scenarios.  Although I don’t let it distract me, I do generally try to keep aware of people moving in and out (which they tend to do throughout the service).

One thing I’ve thought of, at least.  The St. Michael Hymnal that we use is hardbacked.  If I ever found myself in a position in which I had to rush an attacker, I’d certainly grab a few of them for throwing on my way in. I’m perfectly serious about this:  At the very least, they’d provide a useful distraction.

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle…..

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Cold and rainy at Port Swiller Manor this morning, and Ol’ Robbo has absolutely no good reason to go outside.  (I’ll be pulling the ferns and hostas off the porch for the winter later, but that can wait.)

Instead, I’m wallowing in a little nostalgia.

Remember the Golden Years of the Blogsphere when somebody would get hold of a meme, play it, and then flip it around to a bunch of other folks who would play in turn, everybody linking and commenting together?

Good times.  Good times.

Well, even thought those days are over (I often feel like I’m only talking to myself here), Ol’ Robbo is going to indulge himself in a little fun by playing with this Merriam-Webster gizmo (found at the Puppy-Blender’s) that shows what words were “introduced” the year one was born.

Some examples from Anno Domini 1965:

Alley-oop – This surprised me until I read farther that M-W only dates the word here in the context of basketball.

Chill factor – M-W seems to relate this to the concept of “wind chill”. I’m pretty sure its slang use is of much more recent vintage.

Domino Theory – A nice historickal reference, given that we already had a military presence in Vietnam at that point, but I’m a little surprised it didn’t go back to Korea.  Often sneered at, but to my mind a credible fear.

Hippie – Gorram hippies.  My uncle was one.  Long hair, tie-dye, the works.  To him, the Brave New World was all about free pot and free sex, and I still remember the yelling matches between him and my parents back in the early 70’s over that sumbitch Nixon.  He broke off contact with the Old Gentleman after my grandmother died in the mid-90’s, and the last I heard of him he was a part-time bartender and sleeping on a buddy’s sofa.

Lava lamp – See above.  I think my uncle had one.  (I know he had a water bed.)  Duuuuude…….

Postfeminist – This surprises me a bit, given that the concept of “feminism” goes back at least to the 19th Century.  You’d think somebody would have come up with a “post-” theory earlier than the 60’s.  (Fun fact: My Gels look at the current state of “feminism” with horror and revulsion.)

Unawesome – I have never heard anyone use this word and don’t believe it actually exists.

White Hat – I don’t believe this one.  The “White Hat” was a device used in Westerns going back much earlier than that.  Somebody must have been using the term then, too.

Yorkie-poo – Yorkie-poo?  Ol’ Robbo hates Yorkies and dislikes poodles, too, so this is really the worst of both worlds.

So there you are.  Lots of others, mostly of a technical or corporate-speak variety.  G’wan over and play yourselves, and in the meantime feel free to get off my lawn.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is off from work tomorrow, so tonight is my early Friday Night.  What say you to opening the sluice-gates of my alleged mind and see what comes pouring out?

♦   How about just a little politicks first? Robbo’s prediction: The ‘Pubs hold the House and gain in the Senate. (And yes, both the Elder Gels have mailed in their absentee ballots.) Blue Wave? Naw.  Red Tsunami.

♦  Related, today was “Patriotism Day” at Youngest’s high school. (It’s “Theme Week” leading up to Homecoming this weekend.  Teh kidz were supposed to dress up appropriately.  Youngest wore Stars & Stripes pants and a “Trump 2020” shirt.  Heh, indeed.

♦  Okay, how about we turn to the Arts? Yesterday evening on the drive home, Ol’ Robbo heard the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony on the local classickal station.  The DJ started off by reading some wankstein’s musings about how this piece was ol’ Pyotr Ilyich’s musickal musing on the subject of Destiny, and the ambiguity of whether the final movement represented a Triumph over Fate or a resigned acceptance of it.

Cor lumme, stone the crows.  This is exactly why I loathe Romanticism in all its manifestation.  I don’t give a damn about Tchaikovsky’s views on predestination, I only care about whether the musick is well-crafted or not.  (Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.”)

♦  Oh, and I hadn’t realized it until I researched this a bit, but Cole Porter stole the main theme from this movement for his song “Farewell, Amanda” from the Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn move “Adam’s Rib”, one of my old favorites.  Been a while since I’ve seen it…..Must look to Netflix queue…….

♦  By the bye, I  despise the whole concept of predestination and fatalism, too.  Ol’ Robbo would not have made a good Calvinist.

♦  Any Charles Portis fans among you?

♦  Today is the Feast of St. Chrysanthus, an early martyr. I had hoped that there might be some association with chrysanthemums, since they are so closely associated with this season and many flower names do, in fact, have Christian origins, but apparently not.  (I don’t really care much for mums anyway.  Too garish for me.)

♦  I suppose I had ought to say something about the World Series here, but really, Ol’ Robbo has no dog in this fight.  I’m pretty sure the Sawx are going to win it all.  I am absolutely sure there’s nothing quite so obnoxious as a triumphant Bahston sports fan.

♦  Speaking of athletics, Ol’ Robbo has got back into working out on his rowing erg.  I realized recently that I had made a big mistake last year (when I first bought it) of trying to do long, steady, power rows (30 minutes, for instance) right off the bat.  I quickly got discouraged with that (being not a 19 y.o. varsity athlete but a 53 y.o. desk-jockey), and so stopped using the thing.  But recently it occurred to me to do some research on recommended workouts and I came across a whole packet of programs of interval training.  Makes all the difference in teh world.  I’ve been at it now for about two weeks and haven’t felt this good in a long time.

♦  By the bye, when I was rowing crew in college back in the day, I had a t-shirt that read “Put an erg on the water and it sinks…”  I still think that’s the right attitude.  (Who knows? Perhaps one day Ol’ Robbo will invest in a scull and take up plashing about on the Potomac.)

Well, enough.  Tomorrow morning, Ol’ Robbo probably will try to get out and give the yard one final mow for the year, ahead of the nor’easter which is supposed to blow in later in the day.  Porch plants probably come inside this weekend, too, and I’m getting ready to slap the rear side-panels back on La Wrangler in anticipation of the colder weather.  (And wetter.  I understand we may get an El Nino this year, which means much precipitation on the East Coast.)







Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s movie choice from Netflix this evening is “Die Hard With A Vengeance“.

For my money, this is the best of the Die Hard series, although I recognize that this is not a commonly-held opinion.  Probably what makes it best to me is the chemistry between Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson.  (And a show of hands for those of you who spotted the riff on the subway telephone scene in “The Incredibles“.  Hint: It involves a water-cooler.)

Well, popcorn’s ready, so I’m off.  Feel free to toast my taste or to throw walnuts as you see fit.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I may have mentioned the other day that Mrs. R was after me about getting a flu shot.

In the past, Ol’ Robbo has been able to dispose of this annual nuisance with a mumbled “Yes, Dear” or two, after which she drops it and I go on my merry, non-pierced way.

This year is different, however.  She hasn’t dropped the matter yet, but is actually ramping it up to the point of it becoming real “Carthago delenda est” time.  Had a downright fit when I wouldn’t stop by the pharmacy when we were at the store together yesterday.  She’s even gone so far as to try and enlist my brother and his wife as allies in the Cause, they being medical people, and is hinting at the Lysistrata Treatment if I don’t get in line.

If this situation keeps up much longer, I’m thinking about getting a band-aid and slapping it on my shoulder myself, just to get some peace back.  (And don’t any of you dare tell her I said so!)

Why the vehement insistence this year, I really couldn’t say.  My best guess is that I was down a good bit last winter and she thinks it could happen again.  (For some reason, she either can’t or won’t believe that I was sick so much last year because of grief over the Mothe’s passing.  That won’t be a factor this year.)

You may be asking yourself, “Self, why doesn’t he just get the dumb shot and humor her?”  Well, first off, I really hate needles.  Second, I hate being nagged and there’s a certain principle about this at stake here.  Third, I’ve never put much faith in the efficacy of these flu shots to begin with: What with the way the virus mutates, it’s a crap-shoot at best whether the strain is going to be right.  Finally, if it can help, I’d rather some little old lady got the dose than I did.

So, there.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Now that the cooler weather has settled in firmly, Ol’ Robbo can return to his practice of reusing the shirt he wears to Mass Sunday afternoon for the office on Monday.  I enjoy this because I can still smell the incense the next day.

There are a number of different incensings during the course of the Traditional Latin Mass:  The incensing of the altar before the Introit; the incensing of the Missal before the reading of the Gospel; the incensing of the Offerings, the priest, the other servers and the congregation; and at the Consecration itself.  Given a good-sized thurible and some snappy wrist action,  the atmosphere can get pretty saturated by the time things are done.

Good old smells and bells.  Gotta love ’em.

UPDATE: Speaking of things Traddie, Ol’ Robbo’s eye was caught a week or two ago by a small item (at the Puppy-blender’s, I think) concerning one Brian M. McCall, an Associate Dean and Professor at Oklahoma Law.  In 2014, Dr. McCall published To Build The City of God:  Living as Catholics in a Secular Age. It is, so I gather, a Rad-Trad guide to navigating our current, ghastly, so-called “culture”.  Apparently, it includes some rayther stark assessments and opinions.  (For example, it condemns “same-sex marriage” and states that women shouldn’t wear pants out of modesty.)

Evidently, somebody recently read this book and Was Not Amused.  A campaign was started against Dr. McCall, not because he’d every been found to have discriminated against, harassed, or even treated anybody without respect, but simply because he had committed wrongthink in putting these ideas to paper.  The nooz item I saw was the reported that he’s now been hounded out of his administrative position with the school because of it.

I went ahead and bought the book.  Even though Ol’ Robbo is a Traddie of sorts himself, I’ll wager there are some things in it with which I will disagree.  Fine.  But I felt it my obligation to make at least some small protest against this kind of Orwellian bullying.  (Show of hands, by the bye, for those who believe McCall would have received the same treatment had he reached these conclusions from the perspective of Islamic fundamentalism.  Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?)

I’ll let you know what I think of it. (The book itself, that is. You can gather what I think of the situation already.)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, time to cut back the peonies, I guess.  Every single year I tell myself, “Self, we ought to dig these puppies up, divide the root balls, and plant them out.  We could easily have three times as many shrubs as we do now.”

And every year I respond, “Eh…maybe next year.”

I also need to cut back the ferns hanging on the porch in preparation for bringing them inside for the winter.  To actually bring them in today would be to concede a kind of seasonal defeat.

UPDATE:  Done and done. Ol’ Robbo also had to make a hardware store run.  Somehow my reading glasses slipped off my collar without my noticing as I walked out to the mailbox beforehand.  I then squashed them flat while backing out of the garage.  That made me feel old. On the other hand, the gal running the register at the store flirted with me.  That made me feel young.  Until I reflected that she was probably the same age as my own Youngest.  That made me feel old again, plus a little bit creeped out.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As regular friends of the decanter know, Ol’ Robbo tends to stay off politickal observations here.  It’s generally too tarsome, and these days so very poisonous, plus in the end it only occupies a very small part of my worldview.

Every now and then, however, I feel the urge to speak out.  This is one of those times.

And what I have to say is this:  If the GOP has any intelligence whatsoever, it will take the theme “Jobs, Not Mobs” and absolutely hammer it for the next few weeks.

It’s simple, elegant, and right to the point.  It nicely contrasts the productive with the destructive, the positive with the negative, the normal with the unhinged.  And in one word, it encapsulates every aspect and action of the “Antifa” street thugs and their soiboi NPC social media fellow-travelers.

So go for it GOP.  I think you’ll be glad you did.



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October 2018