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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, as I’m sure you all heard this afternoon, Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies for 13 years and $330 million.  Of course the news broke about 45 minutes after I teased a colleague in Philly that it looked like he was going to the West Coast instead.  The Baseball Gods are sadists.

Whelp, it’s over and done with and good luck to him.  Of course, Ol’ Robbo would have been mighty happy if the Giants had been able to sneak in and grab him, but there it is.

Frankly, I think Philly paid way too much and that the contract is too long.  (He’ll be, what, pushing 40 when it expires).

When Harps is hot, he’s very hot, but he’s also very streaky and capable of going into long slumps.  His fielding really isn’t all that, either.  (Cut off man? What cut off man?)  Finally, he’s something of a diva in the clubhouse, or so I hear.  I suppose the Phils figure they can cure him on the field and tame him off it.  We’ll see.

I’ll be very interested to see what kind of reception Harps gets from his new fan base, too.  Are they excited? Skeptical? Indifferent?  I’m sure of one thing: If he underperforms the way he can sometimes they will not hesitate for an instant to turn on him and release the Boo Birds. For a city of “Brotherly Love”, that place is pretty damned unforgiving.

As to us Nats fans? I’d say it was an amicable breakup.  (I certainly don’t feel any particular pang because I don’t think we’re really going to suffer at all for his loss, and also because I never really did warm up to him the way I did with, say, Zimm or Anthony “Tony Two-Bags” Rendon.)  I’d be very surprised if he got the raspberry on his first reappearance here.  It’s just too bad, as I say, that we’re going to have to see him so often.

UPDATE: On the other hand, it is said that a smile is a frown turned upside down.  Have I mentioned that we’re getting a fabulous new on-field sportscaster babe this year? Yes, yes we are!

Anyhoo, that’s that.  What else is there to say except



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This evening, Ol’ Robbo watched “The Time Machine” again, mostly because I enjoy the coo-el CGI effects plus the depravity of Jeremy Irons.

It got me thinking, though, that I reeeeally ought to go back to H.G. Wells’s original, which I’ve never actually read.

Ditto his “War of the Worlds“, which I read eons ago but don’t much remember and probably couldn’t properly understand back then.

Buh-lieve me, Ol’ Robbo is perfectly cognizant of the intellectual and spiritual dispute between, on the one side, Champions of the Faith such as Chesterton and Belloc, and on the other such persons as Wells and G.B. Shaw.  Rest assured that I can appreciate Shaw for his wit without compromising my faith in the God of GKC and Belloc.  I’m equally confident I can dip into the sci-fi wonderings of HGW without corrupting myself.

Here, though, I’m mostly prompted by a curiosity as to whether the film has any real connection with the book, a source of perpetual grievance to Ol’ Robbo.  (Off the top of my head, I’ll guess that the metrosexual, smart-ass, holographic library attendant of the film  prolly is an add-on.)

I’ll let you know what I think, although I’ll bet there are friends of the decanter who already know the answers to my questions.  Feel free to fire away……






Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo found himself sitting behind a bright red, immaculately-maintained Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe this morning.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually seen one before.  I’m really not much of a car guy, but even I was deeply impressed with the way it had “high-performance” etched into every line and curve.  (Whether it measures up under the hood, I wouldn’t know.)

So was the older gentleman behind the wheel putting her through her paces?  Was he at least keeping up with surrounding traffic?

No.  He was futzing down the parkway at about 25 mph and erratically swerving to avoid pot-holes.  Took me ages to finally find a way to swing round him.

Guy! If you’re not going to drive the car the way she deserves to be driven, what exactly is the point in even having her?

Yes, I expect you dropped a good bit of coin on her and want to protect your investment, but if you’re that scared of dings, take her home, hide the keys, and build a museum around her like Cam’s dad did in “Ferris Bueller”.  If you keep up the way you were going this morning, not only will you continue to look ridiculous, you’re also just begging somebody to clip you in their impatience to get past.

Just saying.

You know who you should emulate?  Some years ago (I forget how many and am too lazy to search the webz for the story), a single bottle of some fantastic vintage wine was auctioned off at Christie’s and set a record purchase price (somewhere in the high six or possibly even seven figures, I believe).  The fellah who won was asked what he planned to do with it.  Why drink it, of course, he said.  There was much tut-tutting and looking down noses by the Establishment, but I remember thinking there was a frood who really knew where his towel was.

Don’t worry, be hoopy!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

No, Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to post about the Oscars.  (I didn’t watch them, know nothing about any of this year’s movies, and care even less.)

Instead, I re-watched “Sahara“, a nifty little 1943 propaganda piece about an American tank retreating across the North African desert after the fall of Tobruk in 1942.  Humphrey Bogart (who I believe couldn’t enlist in the actual military because of some kind of health issue) is the Sergeant/Commander.  His two-man crew consists of Bruce Bennett (who was with Bogie in “Treasures of the Sierra Madre”) and Dan Duryea (who played Waco Johnny Dean in “Winchester ’73”, which Ol’ Robbo considers to be Jimmy Stewart’s best western).  On their way, they pick up an RAMC officer and four Tommies (including a very young Lloyd Bridges), a Sudanese Defense Force rifleman and his Italian prisoner, and a Luftwaffe pilot (after they knock down his ME-109).  The race is to find water and send for re-enforcements while also holding off an advancing German column.  It’s all nicely done.

As you might garner from this Ol’ Robbo loves him his old movies, especially war movies and westerns (although I’m partial to other genres like romantic comedies, too).  Which is why I’m disgusted to see that the Neo-Jacobins are now trying to disappear the Dook himself from history for some un-p.c. comments he made in an interview back in the early 70’s.  Professor Mondo has the story, the links, and suitable commentary.

Disgusted, as I say, but not particularly concerned just yet.  I doubt seriously whether an SJW twitter-tantrum is going to cause Netflix to flush its entire John Wayne library, and even if they did I’m sure I could snap up the important ones elsewhere if I had to.

And you’d better believe Ol’ Robbo’s going to keep watching Dook movies, pilgrim!

The larger issue, of course, is the retroactive application of current puritanical standards to remarks made by a long-dead actor when Ol’ Robbo was still in 1st Grade.  Or rather, why the Dook gets dinged for this and Justice Kavanaugh gets savaged for alleged high school boozing, while, for example, the top three members of Virginny’s government now look like getting a complete pass on past documented episodes of black-face and alleged instances of sexual assault.  Selectivity much?

We talked about this at dinner last evening, and Youngest found herself striving mighty hard to find some rhyme or reason to it.

“You’re wasting your time,” I said, “There is no rhyme or reason.  This is all about the will to power, which is all any Leftist** cares about.  If it’s handy to him on Monday to insist 2+2 = 4, he’ll do so.  If it’s handier to him on Tuesday to insist 2+2 = 5, he’ll do that without batting an eye.  Trotsky was a hero one day, a traitor the next.  The Lefty doesn’t care about logical inconsistency or objective standards of morality, all he cares about is grinding you down.”

It’s true, y’know.


**N.B., to me Leftist and Liberal are two different things.  I generally agree with Liberals (if there are any actually left) in their goals: fair play, the dignity of the individual, spreading the wealth.  It’s the means of achieving these things over which we have our disputes.  Leftists, on the other hand, care for nothing except domination.  (In theory, at least, this is so that they can completely wipe out the current, evil System and construct a Utopia on the ashes.  Somehow, historically-speaking it never quite gets that far but a lot of people wind up dead anyway.)  These people are not debate opponents: They’re the enemy.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As I mentioned last week, in light of the current sex scandal rocking Holy Mother Church, my padre recommended reading St. Peter Damien’s The Book of Gomorrah, which railed against the same sort of goings on back in the 11th Century.  Per Father’s suggestion, I ordered it this week and read it this afternoon.

All I can say is that’ll bring your post-Mass bagel and cream-cheese back up in a hurry.  (It’s short, to the point, and quite graphic.  On the other hand, it is very clear in its spirit of hating the sin but loving the sinner.)

Yes, as Mark Twain apparently did not say, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes.

Unfortunately, Peter D addressed his complaint to Pope St. Leo IX, who brought the hammer down forthwith.  I somehow don’t think Papa Frankie has the same backswing and follow-through.

On the other hand, my old friend Father M reminded me the other day of an old adage that “a fat Pope follows a thin Pope.”  That is, the College of Cardinals, when selecting a successor, will seek to compensate for a perceived deficiency in the predecessor.  I think it’s pretty well established by now that Frankie is more interested in mucking about with Liberation Theology and trendy environmentalism than in pushing the “Smite” button when it comes to cleaning out Vatican corruption and vice.

So when it comes to his successor? Cardinal Sarah for the win!!

Ol’ Robbo is a happy camper this rainy Saturday afternoon because I finally got around to getting a new pair of contact lenses and ran over to pick them up this morning.  My old ones were about two and a half years old and beginning to be something of a strain.  (I still stand by hard, gas-permeables.  Tried the disposables and just don’t like ’em.)

Further, the right one of my old set for some reason doesn’t have the little black dot demarking it as such, and over the past few weeks I’ve been increasingly paranoid that I might have mixed up which one goes in which eye.  (Try standing on a street corner some time and staring off into the distance first through one eye and then through the other, and see what kind of looks it gets you from people passing by.)  Fortunately, the new one is properly marked, so that’s one less thing Ol’ Robbo needs worry about.

(Yes, this is not exactly scintillating blog material, but when you’re as blind as I am, these things are of immense importance.)

I always go to a Visionworks handily located about 15 minutes from Port Swiller Manor.  I don’t know if it’s corporate policy or just personality, but the manager there is very, very aggressive about sales.  He sits like an old spider in the corner and is constantly reminding his staff not to forget to try and get people to buy an extra set of frames or this or that special kind of lens.  My prescription has changed only slightly since my last eye exam and I really only wear my glasses for an hour or two in the evening, so I didn’t bother getting a new pair this time.  When I politely declined multiple offers, the fellah looked downright offended.

Speaking of eye exam, I did that thing where they take digital pictures of your cornea (for things like glaucoma, I believe).  The doc was quite pleased with the results.  “Your eyes are in great shape,” he said. “Your only problem is you can’t see.”

Gee, thanks.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest Gel was successful in her tryouts this week for the JV softball team.  She essentially hadn’t picked up a glove since little league, but she did a camp earlier this year and found that she still has her skilz. I don’t see any good reason why she shouldn’t make varsity next year if she sticks to it.  Not a bad way to finish high school, I think.

Ol’ Robbo is going to enjoy going to the games and doing the whole “team parent” thing again.  Every time I drive past the gels’ old little league field, I always get a little wistful for the days when I was coaching them myself.

Truth be told, I’m also rather glad she got tired of swimming, as swim meets are deadly dull affairs if you’re not actually competing yourself.  (You sit for what seems like hours on end between heats that last just a few seconds.  And half the time you can’t even recognize your own kid because they’re all capped and goggled up.)

Play ball!




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over at the Puppy-Blender’s place, Stephen Green quotes at length an article by Arthur Chrenkoff that is well worth cut-and-paste emphasis here:

The Millennials can’t remember very much – and they don’t learn very much either. It’s easy being hot for socialism or communism when you actually have a very little idea of what it is and what it did throughout the 20th century. And the Ys have that ignorance in spades; one third of them think that George W Bush killed more people than Stalin and 42 per cent have never heard of Mao – but over 70 per cent agree with Bernie Sanders. Some research suggests that only 15 per cent actually have a correct understanding of socialism. It’s not just politics; the Millennials are the most woefully undereducated and miseducated generation in a very long time. To be fair, that’s not strictly their fault; that attaches itself again to their Boomer grandparents who have been in charge of our failing education systems during this time. Combine the modern indoctrination-cum-dumbification taking place in schools and universities with the attention span-killing impact of information technology and social media, and you have a barely literate cohort, which is simply not equipped with the necessary mental tools to learn about the real world even if they wanted to.

Yep.  Ol’ Robbo would only add that this is no accident, but a deliberate campaign by Leftists in Academia to turn the next generation into mindless, easily-manipulated zombies.  And no, I don’t need any tinfoil, thank you.  I know all about the Frankfurt School and the Gramscian Long March through the Institutions.

To think that I was naïve enough at one point to believe that when the Soviet Union collapsed, our troubles would be over.

It has been my number one mission in life to save my own children from this brainwashing, and I like to think I have been somewhat successful at ensuring they are both analytically sound thinkers as well as knowledgeable about actual history.  To give an example, they’ve all got the figures of the slaughters caused by the “great” 20th Century despots – Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. – at their fingertips.  And they all recognize that Bernie Sanders (or Wilson or FDR, for that matter) – style “Progressivism” is just another variant of collectivist authoritarianism sprung from the same root as the “-Isms” championed by these monsters.

Indeed, Ol’ Robbo is chuckling to himself because Eldest told me yesterday that she got into a dust-up with her religion professor over whether the Nazis were socialists. “What part of ‘National Socialist Workers’ Party’ did she not understand?” the Gel exclaimed indignantly.  She gets that there are subtle variations among the different collectivist creeds, but she also gets the modern meme of Hitler = Fascist = Right-Wing = Republican, and rejects it whole-heartedly.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ah, that Ma Nature, here she come again!

Youngest’s school already announced this afternoon that they’ll be closed tomorrow.  The County has been extraordinarily skittish about this sort of thing since they blew a call a few years back and stayed open when they really shouldn’t have.  (Icey, untreated roads, as I recall.) Some of the kidz tracked down the Superintendent’s social media page and hammered him mercilessly.

I expect Uncle will go to “liberal leave” status, too, which Ol’ Robbo probably will take since it seems the worst of the storm is going to hit during the morning commute and I’ve a check up scheduled for the middle of the afternoon out in the burbs anyway.

They’re still fiddling with accumulation predictions – 2 to 5 inches followed by sleet and freezing rain in the immediate area is the latest I heard – but I’ve noticed that they’ve lowballed all of their predictions this year and we’ve wound up actually getting more, so who knows.

The odd thing about this storm is I didn’t even realize it was coming until this morning.  As of yesterday, I was under the impression we were going to have a generally sunny and not too cold week.

For all tomorrow promises to be a nastygram of a day, however, we’re supposed to by up into the 60’s on Sunday.  We’re entering that time of year in the Great Commonwealth of Virginny when Ma goes into her cray-cray mode.  Must be that “climate weirding” that Alexandria Donkey-Chompers and her friends say means we have to kill all the cows, ground commercial aviation, eliminate the internal combustion engine, nationalize all private property, and tax ourselves back to the Stone Age to prevent. .


UPDATE:  Nope, ‘Nunky actually told us to stay home today: The Robbo abides.

OPM, which is essentially the god of the bureaucracy, is a strange creature.  Over the many years I’ve been in and around Dee Cee, it seems to shift from time to time in attitude toward weather-related closure, but these shifts do not appear to line up with changes in control of either Congress or the White House.  There have been stretches where nothing short of Gotterdammerung would cause OPM to close, while there have been others where it has jumped firmly on the “Eek! A snowflake!” bandwagon.  Of late, it seems to have been fairly loose.

For all that, it’s coming down pretty hard as I update, and I wouldn’t go out in this one way or the other.  (FWIW, it looks like the weather folks might have lowballed it again.)  I’m chucking my doc appointment, too.  Kawfee and idleness for the win!

UPDATE DEUX: Maaaybe a lean four inches altogether here before it turned briefly to sleet/freezing rain before going totally drizzle.  Mrs. Robbo was completely fogged as to why I wanted to dash out and heave the snow off the driveway while the rain was coming down but now I know I’m all set for tomorrow morning’s commute.  Aaand, I don’t have to break into my stock of de-icing pellets.

Incidentally, while I was up at the top of the drive, a snowplow came bombing up the road: He caught me good and hard with his wash.  Ouch.  I think he was just mad because with me standing there he couldn’t take out my mailbox undetected.  Bastard.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo took advantage of his day off today to get the ol’ garden cleaned up and ready to go for the new year (read: raze everything to stumps and clear out all the deadwood).  I’m sure Mr. Washington will understand, given that he was a man of the soil, too.

As I went out this morning, I heard Mrs. Robbo grumbling under her breath.  Mrs. R has never liked Robbo’s garden, occasionally suggesting we should sod it over or even install a tennis court.  Even though I vehemently protest against these ideas every time she floats them, I can’t say that I don’t understand her attitude:  In all the years we’ve lived at Port Swiller Manor, I’ve never yet worked it up to anything near what I want it to be.  At its best in high summah, with all the butterfly bushes in full bloom and the place covered with tiger swallowtails, a few monarchs, various bees, and the odd hummingbird, it has a definite sort of shabby, dryad loveliness.  The rest of the year?  Not so much.

Robbo’s Ideal

In fact, I know exactly what I want to do with the thing. I want to re-survey the central path and put a border of side-by-side bricks around it.  I want to pull out most of what’s in it right now and put in a series of raised beds, although I plan to leave butterfly bushes interspersed between them.  Then I want to build up the soil in each bed to specific levels of acidity or alkalinity to correspond with whatever flowers I decide to put in.  Then the whole thing has to be heavily critter-proofed. (The deer don’t come in the yard anymore because of the dog, but Mr. Bunny Foo-Foo sometimes does and the groundhogs are a real menace.)  This will involve a lot of fencing that I might even electrify. (Sistah does this to keep the foxes out of her chicken yard.)



Something Closer to Robbo’s Reality

All this, of course, will involve both time and money.  I don’t mind about the time so much, since I’d hire somebody to do the basics for me.  (One of the benefits of having reached my mid-50’s is not feeling I have to prove anything by trying to do it all myself.) The money, on the other hand?  Well, what with the kids still on our coattails for at least the next few years (even as I type this, Mrs. R is on the phone haggling with a dealer over a possible car for Youngest), it’s just too much of a stretch.  Just for laughs, a year or two ago I got an estimate on just some of the more basic first steps.  Even that I found to be unconscionable.

Ah, well.  I’m perfectly content to wait, even if Mrs. R isn’t.  In the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novel The Ionian Mission, the British Admiral commanding the blockade of Toulon, who is very old and sick, longs for nothing more than for the French to come out and fight before he dies or is sent home.  He refers to the waters between the inner and outer squadrons of the British Fleet as the “Sea of Hopes Deferred”.   I’m beginning to think of my garden as a “Hope Deferred”, too, but with any luck I won’t have to wait quite so long for its realization.

Incidentally, that “Ideal” photo comes from this site, which looks to have some pretty good ideas….

UPDATE:  You may be asking yourself, “Self? Why doesn’t Ol’ Robbo go for a gradual transformation….like, say, one new bed per season?”  Well, that idea has been slowly creeping into my braims, too.  There may well be much in it.


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February 2019