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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

No doubt such a group as you friends of the decanter will be heartened by this story: Beer, Wine, and Chocolate Are Key to Living a Long Life, Study Says.

Working with more than 68,000 participants, [Warsaw University’s Professor Joanna] Kaluza and a team of scientists found that those with diets rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as beer, wine, and chocolate, which have anti-inflammatory properties, were up to 20 percent less likely to die prematurely [of heart disease and cancer] than those who ate a lot of red meat, sugary sodas, and processed foods.

“It is known that fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, red wine, beer, and chocolate are rich in antioxidants,” Kaluza told Metro.

What would we do without studies?

As a matter of fact, Ol’ Robbo’s own diet cuts almost perfectly at right angles across these statements.  Coffee and wine are basically the alpha and omega of my dietary day.  On the other hand, I’m not really a beer drinker (it makes me feel bloaty), and I have no sweet-tooth whatsoever (so avoid both chocolate and soda).  Meanwhile, I am a dedicated carnivore, am mildly indifferent to fruits (except pineapple, which I loathe), and am very picky about vegetables (read: nothing beyond a green salad and an artichoke every now and again).  I dunno what “processed foods” actually means, but I suppose I eat some of them, too.   Result? So far into my now firmly middle age, neither my waistline nor my weight have changed very much since my college days, and although my doc has tsk-tsk’d at me about these dietary confessions, she’s never yet been able to pin specific medical consequences to them.   So there.

Indeed, Ol’ Robbo has long suspected that the real allocation of overall health and longevity is, in fact, genetically-based.  Diet, exercise, mental well-being – in fact the whole concept embodied in the old tag mens sana in corpore sano – are important, of course, and can’t be ignored, but I suspect that their impact (beyond outright abusive behavior) is mostly at what one might call the margins:  If you’re pre-programmed to last somewhere between 75 and 85 years, attention to these things may land you at the top of that range, but it won’t really help you hit your century.  For contra-examples, consider these stories that turn up every now and again of somebody who smokes cigars prodigiously, knocks back whiskey every day, and lives to be 115.

Go figure.

At any rate, a glass of wine with the Puppy-Blender, from whom I lifted this story, although I actually find objectionable his oft-repeated enthusiasm for the notion of extending human life through Science!  Where he sees good in technological breakthroughs that could extend the average lifespan to 150 years or even preserve each of our “essences” indefinitely, all I see is the devil shouting at God, “Non serviam!”   We all die to this life, whether we like it or not.  Properly centered in Faith, we shouldn’t mind it.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo should clarify re that last bit that I am neither talking smack because I happen to be in good health at the moment nor am I suggesting cancers and other illnesses should not be fought vigorously.  God alone knows how I’ll react if and when I get that call from the doc’s assistant telling me I need to come in for a “talk”.  Instead, I’m objecting to the broader notion of significantly changing our natural parameters, or even outrunning Death altogether, through science and technology.  This includes everything from artificially growing “spare” parts to downloading our consciousness into some sort of computer bank to sticking our heads in jars a la “Futurama”.

Also, I meant to mention that J.R.R. Tolkien thought this idea important enough to touch on it in his writings.  In The Simarillion, Man’s natural death originally was called “the Gift of Eru ” but Morgoth, through lies and whispers, convinced Men it was an evil thing, so it became know as “the Curse of Eru”.  This served to diminish Men’s character and to estrange them from both Eru Himself and from the apparently immortal Elves.  Both the Kings of Numenor and then later (in the back story to The Lord of the Rings) those of Gondor became so obsessed with escaping it that they caused their own ruin.  Of course, Middle Earth, as Tolkien insisted, is not an allegory, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t weave his own worldview into it both in theme (as here) and specific actions. (It’s no coincidence, for example, that the Ring goes into the Fire on March 25.)

And speaking of Ol’ J.R.R., I understand there’s a new biopic coming out about him, but I also understand (at least from FacePlant sources) that it contains virtually no reference whatsoever to his deeply-held Catholic Faith.  How anyone could expect to truly understand his character formation and development without exploring that aspect of it, I simply can’t imagine.  Of course, the keyword in that sentence is “truly”, so there you go.  Unless somebody convinces me otherwise, I do not plan to see it.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

With the arrival of spring and its legions of tourons in Your Nation’s Capital also has come the reappearance of the ice cream truck fleet.  For whatever reason, it seems to Ol’ Robbo that there are more of them parked around town this year than previously.  (Actually,  more food trucks in general.  I dunno if this is due to a relaxation in regulations or a booming market or some combination of both.)

I know several of them within my immediate vicinity and can follow their movements from one spot to another by their signature tunes blaring out over their loudspeakers, much the way I follow birds from the porch of Port Swiller Manor.  There’s one that plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.  Another seems to be trying to corner the high-brow market with a selection from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.  A third offers up an old song called “Red Wing” which I happen to know only because The Dook and Lee Marvin give a drunken (and historickally impossible) rendition of it in “The Comancheros“, a favorite movie of mine.  And then there’s the one that plays  a portion of Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, which frankly makes me grind my teeth in memory of every kiddie piano recital in which I was made to participate during my misspent yoot.  (I never learned it myself – the Joplin piece I studied was the “Maple Leaf Rag” – but some other kid always, always played it. And poorly, too.)

I hear all of these (and others) both during my lunchtime walks and also as I slog out of the City during my afternoon commute.  And what I can’t help wondering is this:  Even a few moments of listening to the same ten second loop of blaring, metallic, synthesized musick over and over and over and over again makes me start to twitch.  How the heck do the fellahs who run these trucks stand hours of it without flipping out?

I suppose they just manage to blot it all out, somehow.  (What are the pot laws in Dee Cee these days? Pretty lax if I’m not mistaken.)  Pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through my first day without suddenly seizing an ice-cream scoop and running amok up and down the Mall, laying into everyone I could reach.

UPDATE: Speaking of ice cream brings to the surface an amusing (to me, at any rate) recollection from my time at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT.  I had the same roommate my junior and senior years.  In many respects, we could not have been more opposite.  I was a conservative, Christian, traditionalist jock from South Texas.  He was a 90-pound Jewish liberal from Jersey.  (Our arguments over Jim Morrison, for example, were epic.  Roommate: “He was a visionary genius!”  Self: “He was a goddam hippy punk!”)

What made it work was the fact that we had very, very similar senses of humor.  He put me on to Firesign Theatre, for example, which I find quite clever and amusing even if it is hippy stream-of-consciousness drug humor. In return, I broadened his Monty Python exposure.  One of our favorite practices was to buy the Weekly World News and to cut up and rearrange the headlines, thus making them even stranger than the originals.  These we would tape to our hall door for the benefit of our hallmates.  (I lived on a very radical leftist hall.  They never could quite decide what to make of me, in large part because of things like this.)

More to the point, the only class we ever took together was a basic Macro Econ class.  It was taught by a native-Polish prof who studied in Britain.  Where other econ profs used the word “widgets” to describe a basic unit of production, this prof used “ice cream”, I suppose in an effort to engage our fleeting attention.  In order to get around the problem of breaking that commodity down into individual units, he would say “ice creams“.   My roommate and I both noticed this and both found it funny, especially as served up in a plummy Brit accent.  It got to the point that if we accidentally made eye-contact in class when the prof offered it up, we’d both break down in helpless giggles.

Ah, yoot.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and happy Quasimodo Sunday!

Ol’ Robbo was particularly touched by today’s Collect (Old Calendar):

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui paschalia festa peregimus; haec, te largiente, moribus et vita teneamus.

(Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who have celebrated the Paschal Feast, may, by Thy bounty, retain its fruits in our daily habits, and behavior.)

I had been thinking again about such things just this morning.  By the end of Lent and a rather heavy lode of fasts and abstinences he took on, Ol’ Robbo felt that he was getting the Holy Ghost’s signal quite a bit more clearly than he has for some time now. I fear that slipping back into my old routines (and I have to slip somewhat because I couldn’t keep that up indefinitely), it’ll start getting fuzzier again like the signal from my clock-radio, which you have to adjust just so if you expect to hear anything coherent, and which keeps going out of alignment all by itself.

Not that I’m expecting Bose-quality clarity, of course, but I don’t want to eat static.

And as it’s also Divine Mercy Sunday, the Padre gave a very good homily about the importance to Christian Faith of forgiving others which I wish I could get my siblings to hear.  It also hit home because they had a falling out when the Mothe died and haven’t spoken to each other since, and my understanding of the situation is that neither one is willing to budge until the other first admits that They Were Wrong.  I find the whole biznay to be petty and vindictive, not to mention anguishing, especially given that the Mothe’s will contained a codicil which specifically said “Don’t Fight!”  But so far nobody is paying much attention to my efforts at peace-making.  (Just have to keep trying, I suppose.)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A crisp, clear, blustery day today at Port Swiller Manor, which for some mysterious reason feels more like September than April – a patent absurdity when you consider the tons of pollen and legions of maple seed pods I had to clear off the driveway this morning.

Another patent absurdity is the tornado warning which Youngest tells me was inflicted on her school yesterday afternoon when the thundershowers came through.  According to her, they were all hustled into the halls and made to sit there for about 45 minutes.  What nonsense: None of the cells Ol’ Robbo saw (and the school is within about five miles of here) looked anything like severe as they came over.  Prudence is one thing, pusillanimity another.

And speaking of pusillanimity, Ol’ Robbo stumbled across a grass snake as he was messing about in the garden, the first he’s seen in several years.  In fact, I nearly stepped on it. The rational part of my mind said, “Perfectly harmless, good for pest control, more afraid of you than you are of it, etc…..”  The irrational (and majority) part said, “AIIIEE!!! Snake! Run awaaaayyy!!”  No doubt a Freudian psychiatrist would tell me I’ve got unresolved daddy issues, while a Modernist would tell me I’m a homophobe.  I don’t care, I just really hate snakes.  Brrrrr……

Odd that I should have seen it today and right out in the open, because Easter Monday found me deep in tiger country, hacking back the forsythias to within about a foot of the ground, and there was no sign of it then.  I also lavished them with a heavy feeding of phosphate-rich fertilizer.  We’ll see if that has any measurable effect on their bloom next spring.

Meanwhile, the peonies are all heavy in bud (complete with those little ants that like to swarm all over them) and ought to be opening in the next week or two.  Perhaps I’ll post some pics.  When they broke ground this year, several of the plants came up in perfect circles of stems with bald spots in the center, a clear indicator that I’m finally going to have to dig the damn things up and separate out their root masses this fall, a task I’ve been putting off for years.

I’m still fretting about the jasmine, which don’t look outright dead exactly, but which sure don’t look all that enthusiastic about joining in the spring spirit.  I know from experience that they get going late, especially on the edge of growing territory where we are, but still I fret.

On the other hand, Mrs. R has been putting in yeoman’s work tending to the pachysandra bed out in the front ditch, and I see that we actually lost quite a lot fewer of them than I had originally feared.  (All the casualties were within a couple of feet of the street itself and I’m guessing the winter’s road salt was probably too much for them.) We only planted them late last summah so they’re still pretty widely spread out, but hopefully they’ll start to fill in this year.  My general impression of packy is that once it gets itself established, it’s practically indestructible.

And speaking of such, I’m seeing a lot of Virginia creeper spreading around this year.  I don’t understand some people’s objection to this vine.  It’s fast-growing, produces beautiful five-bladed leaves that turn a smashing red in the fall, and doesn’t tear into cement like ivy does.  I encourage it to grow wherever it isn’t going to interfere with something else.

I put the hummingbird feeder up this week, not that I expect any immediate visitors but more by way of an advanced invitation.  I am reasonably certain that we’ve had the same hen come in for several years now, and last year two others appeared as well.  (They spent most of the summah squabbling with each other.  Hummers are very territorial.)

Well, Ol’ Robbo must be off to do some makeshift repair on his Weber.  One of the brackets holding up the grill has rusted out and fallen off so I’m going to try and jury-rig a bit of coat-hanger by way of replacement.  Fortunately, this is something that Mrs. Robbo would not notice in a million years, so there’s no danger that she’ll fuss at me about it.  (I am of the use-it-up/wear-it-out school of thought, she much less so.  You should hear some of the disagreements we have over the state of some of my clothes, for example.)

UPDATE:  The jury-rig worked out perfectly, especially as I was using an extra-heavy piece of hanger. (Not a word to the Missus, please!)  Also, our landscaper guy dropped by for a visit.  We’re getting him to do a little rock work for us, but it’s always a slippery slope to stroll around the yard and say, “And how much do you think it would run to do this project, or this project, or this project……”  We’re actually pretty good about staying within a realistic budget for the yard, but at least it’s fun to stare at the estimates he comes up with for our more lavish fancies and drool a little bit.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is patting himself on the back this morning because he actually made the effort to go out and cut the Port Swiller Manor grass last evening after work ahead of today’s forecast showers and thunderstorms.  So Ma Nature is free to throw her weight around all she likes this afternoon as far as I’m concerned.  (Not that she will now, of course, the fickle hussy.  I’ve heard exactly one clap of thunder this entire spring so far.)  Also, as we’re still in the Octave of Easter, today is a Bacon Friday for me.  So Ol’ Robbo is in a pretty durn good mood overall.  With that in mind, how about a bit o’ random?

♦  Not that I touch on politicks much here, but I must say I’m a bit surprised that Creepy Uncle Joe Biden decided to throw his hat in the ring for the Donks’ ’20 nom.  I suppose the Establishment figured he’s their best hope, as She Who Must Not Be Named will shortly be radioactive and there’s not much else available on the bench.  I’d be even more surprised if he actually gets it, as the Jacobins seem to have completely hijacked the Party and will eat him alive.  (My guess at this point would be an eventual ticket composed of some combination of Crazy Uncle Bernie and Kamala [nickname not repeatable on a family blog] Harris. In sane times, we’d be looking at another McGovern/Mondale-level blow out, but I’m not so sanguine about that just yet.)

♦  Speaking of benches, Ol’ Robbo is bitterly disappointed that his beloved Nationals are finishing up April as a .500 club.  This is troubling both because the NL East is so competitive this year that every game is probably going to count come September, and also because we seem to be picking right back up with the same mediocrity we displayed all of last year.  Is it too early to set my hair on fire and call for the sacking of Dave Martinez?

♦ How are the Gels, you may ask? Doing well, thankee.  Middle Gel is in the thick of freshman finals right now, and later will be going back for “May-mester” to take statistics, a task I do not envy her.  Eldest is just finishing up junior year classes and will be coming home next week to drop off a load of junk before heading back for her own exams.  As for Youngest, the college search is ramping up this spring.  We’re mostly looking in-state, but we’ve also got our eye on Miami of Ohio.  Want some fun facts about the place? My great-grandmother’s family lived in the area of Oxford, Ohio from about 1800 until the mid-1950’s.  In fact, a couple of them were alums of the school, I believe.  They had a house in town that was eventually bough and torn down by the University as part of its expansion.  They also owned a mill outside of town along Four-Mile Creek that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad until the end of the War.  (They were stout Scots-Presbyterian Abolitionists, the lot of them.)  The Mothe always insisted that Great-Granma ‘Rilla was crazy as a loon and that it was her family’s blood which gave all of us descendants our own peculiar taint, but the history is pretty neat nonetheless.

♦  Speaking of gels, did you see the article about the Scottish Maritime Museum being bullied by vandals into ceasing to refer to ships as “she”?  That reminds me of one of my very favorite lines from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, where Spock says simply and elegantly as the Enterprise clears moorings, “Take her out, Mr. Saavik.”  Oh, and I suppose you also heard about Kate Smith being unpersoned by the Yankees?  If Ol’ Robbo ever found himself in Yankee Stadium – not that I’m likely to – I’d be belting out “God Bless America” at the top of my lungs during the 7th Inning Stretch, and be damned to these thugs and bullies.  Oh, and while I’m at it, a trio of Murrland Congress-critters is now trying to get rid of the statue of Robert E. Lee at Antietam.  Ol’ Robbo is old enough to remember when airbrushing people out of history was the study of Kremlinologists and was considered a Bad Thing.  I’m also old enough to remember when Orwell’s “1984” was considered a cautionary tale and not a how-to manual.

Anyhoo, enough of that.  As I say, I’m in a good mood today, so how is it that three out of my four bits of random are so cranky?  Well, you’ve got to keep your eyes open and your wits about you these days, but at the same time, illegitimi non carborundum.  (They hate that, by the way, bless their hearts!)

And now I’m off to go see about some of that bacon.  Sweet, sweet, delicious bacon……………

UPDATE:  Well, Ma is coming through, it would seem.  The first of the afternoon t-showers just rolled through and it looks like another one will be here in just a few minutes.  So I’m about up to seven claps of thunder on the year so far.  Now if Ma really likes us, she might just rain out Youngest’s softball game tonight, not because I don’t want to see her play, but because I’m so comfy where I am right now….





Give It A Ride

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is too lazy to track it down now, but I recall somewhere in the last month or two posting about the prospect of reading (for the first time) Mr. H.G. Wells’s novella** “The Time Machine“.

I was spurred to do so largely out of curiosity as to whether the fairly recent movie treatment, which I’ve seen a few times and which has some pretty nifty CGI effects, bears any real resemblance to the original book.

Well, I actually bestirred myself to order the book from the devil’s website, and the other afternoon I sat down and read it.  (**I call it a novella because it’s surprisingly short and can be finished in a couple hours.)

The answer to my query regarding the movie’s similarity to the book so far as the plot and characterization goes, which I could have guessed anyway, is “very little”.  To give but one example:  In the movie, the Eloi are a sort of New Age wise hippies.  In the book, they’re childish cattle.  Similarly, in the movie the Morlocks are basically orcs on steroids.  In the book, they’re more a mob of evil lemurs.  And there’s no place in the book for Jeremy Irons’ debauched, perverted Morlock Overlord.


But as for the book itself, I was really quite pleased.  Wells was evidently a story-teller of some giftedness.  His plot is clean, his narration crisp, and his imagination quite vivid.  And so far as he may have been trying to push a class-struggle socialist theme (re the evolution of the Eloi and Morlocks from the Haves and Have-Nots of “capitalism”***), it bothered me not in the least, as he seems more or less forced to admit that socio-economic constructs may channel human nature, but they’ll never change it, as that idiot Marx seemed to think possible.  (*** I put “capitalism” in quotes because that’s a Marxist term.  I prefer “free-market economics” myself.)  In this, I think both God and Darwin smile.  And G.K. Chesterton.

Anyhoo, a highly-entertaining story and one worthy for a place on my Adventures shelf, albeit in the extremely slim scifi section.  My next project may be to push that back some and try a little Jules Verne.  As far as I can recollect, I believe I’ve never actually read one of his.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy Easter to all of you (He is Risen, Indeed!), especially you Easter-Worshippers out there!  (Talk about obtuseness in avoiding yucky names.  How the heck do you worship Easter, anyway?  And is the Bunny its Prophet?)

Well, what a Holy Week, eh?  Bookended by the Notre Dame fire and the Sri Lanka terror bombings.  I ran into longtime friend of the decanter NOVA Curmudgeon Sunday morning and remarked that I wasn’t sure whether it was a good or a bad thing that I chose to give up posting during the period.

Anyhoo, I’m back at my laptop, although not yet quite back in the saddle.  (Also, my dins is just about ready.) So to get things rolling here again, just two quick observations:

As to Notre Dame, the only reason I’ve come to think it might not have been terrorist arson is that nobody has come forward with a legitimate claim yet.  It’s certainly not because the French government and the press have denied such cause.  As for the future? No, I don’t think the place will be converted into a “community center” or a mosque.  In fact part of me, the foolish dreamer maybe, still holds out hope that this horrid disaster actually will spur something of a Revival in France.  Hey, a fellah can dream, can’t he?

As mentioned in the post below, after watching the movie “The Case for Christ”, which I found Hallmark-y and not very satisfying, I went and got Lee Strobel’s book on which it was based.  Much more along the lines of what I’d been looking for in the first place: A straight-forward, lucid account of his methodical working through the various forms of evidence to establish the claims concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It seems it would be a very good read especially for someone just starting out with no more knowledge than what they can glean from popular (and hostile) culture.   I only have two gripes with the book.  First, Sobel has the bad habit of batting around adjectives like “prestigious”, “well-respected”, “expert”, and the like, which I don’t care for.  Second, he refers numerous times to James, the “brother” of Jesus.  I’m sorry, but I just don’t accept that.  There are arguments against it based on textual translation and Gospel narrative, but to me the clincher is this:  God (in the person of the Holy Ghost) and Mary simply did not have a one-night stand.  That might be good enough for Zeus and the various mortal women on whom he fathered all those bastard demi-gods, but it’s not good enough for Him or for Her.  So there.

I’ll have more to say about things in general as I get back into the swing of them.





Greetings, my fellow port swillers and an ambiguously happy Palm Sunday! **

First off, let me finish off an item that I raised in the post immediately below but that I don’t want to get buried: Last evening, I watched “The Case for Christ”.  Frankly, I didn’t much like it, and not just because it’s set in the horror that was the late Carter Era.  The theology and scientific overlap are, as somebody here said, solid.  But the film itself is pure Hallmark Pablum.  Your results may vary, but if somebody was trying to bring me in to Christianity and showed it to me? I’d get the willies.  (On a more microcosmic level, this same thing happened when I was swimming the Tiber and somebody gave me some Scott Hahn to read.  Better to get a sober grounding first, then to turn to the enthusiasts.  Otherwise, the “flight” instinct might kick in.)  Nonetheless, I was moved enough to order Lee Strobel’s book.  Hopefully, it probes the thing a bit deeper than the film.

That out of the way, Ol’ Robbo has had what, at least to me, seems to have been a very good Lent this year, both cleansing and enlightening.  I’ll tell you about it some time if you’re really interested, but for now I’ll just say that I truly hope, in the words of Alfred, Lord Tennis Court, that after all that work and introspection I will be able to rise on the stepping stones of my dead self to higher things instead of (as usual) going splat some time shortly after Easter.

In any event, Holy Week is now upon us, and I intend to do the whole cycle this year: Tenebrae on Wednesday, the Mass of the Last Supper on Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.  (I always attend the Vigil in order to cheer on fellow converts coming in to Holy Mother Church.  This will be the 11th anniversary of my own swim across the Tiber.) Sunday itself is reserved for riding herd on my somewhat Christianity-and-water family.  (And I talk about enthusiasts! Physician, heal thyself.)

Anyhoo, as I think I mentioned previously, I’ll be going dark here for the week and will be back after it’s all over and done.  Feel free to keep commenting on this and all the more recent posts, as I’ll still be keeping track and am very, very grateful for all your input.

In the meantime, God bless you all!


** Because it is, isn’t it?  The mob showered Jesus with praise and adoration because they thought when He entered Jerusalem that He was going to turn Pilate into a pumpkin and the Roman garrison into a bunch of white mice.  Quite wrong, of course.  How do we deal with this?

UPDATE:  Bumpers all round, Ladies and Gentlemen, because Ol’ Robbo has finally achieved a long-time dream! I give you my first and second ever successful palm frond crosses:

Nobody ever taught me how to do one and I always felt a twinge of regret watching some seven year old folding them up in nothing flat.  So this afternoon I dug up this how-to YooToob video (actually and coincidentally put out by my own diocese), and hey presto!

Yes, it may be silly, but it actually means quite a bit to me.  Huzzay, huzzah!

MORE:  I just did a bunch of them for practice and left one on each of the Gels’ pillows (Mrs. R included) for when they come home for Easter.  Heh.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on my previous post, Ol’ Robbo spent a large chunk of last evening and this morning watching all the nearly four hours of “Ben-Hur“.  Although I recollect bits and pieces of it from various teevee airings in the past, I do believe this was the first time I sat down and watched the whole thing right the way through.  Is it wrong that I got pretty choked up during the Good Friday finale?

Next on my Netflix DVD list is a movie called “The Case for Christ” (2017).  I can’t tell if it’s a comedy, a drama or a documentary: the blurb says its the story of an investigative reporter who sets out to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to spike his wife for converting (charming fellah), and finds some surprising results.  I’ve no recollection where I read or heard about this film, but I doubt I’d have tossed it in my queue if I thought it was going to be bad.  I’ll let you know.

Then there’s “Unplanned“.  I’m torn about this one:  I don’t need to see it because I hardly need convincing of its message, and I don’t want to because, well, I’m squeamish.  But should I buy a ticket in support and then just not use it?  On the other hand, I hear it’s playing to packed theatres: Would occupying a seat in absentia, as it were, keep that seat from somebody else for whom it might be more beneficial?  I just don’t know.

OFF-TOPIC UPDATE:  Okay, this is really getting out of hand:  After dropping off Mrs. R and Youngest at the airport for their trip to Flahrduh to visit Mrs. R’s parents this morning, and before sitting down to watch B-H, Ol’ Robbo got out in the yard and reseeded several bald patches in the lawn with some Scott’s Turf-Builder I bought a couple weeks back.  I was just now over at Insty’s place and the sidebar ad was for….Scott’s Turf-BuilderStop it, Surveillance State! Go away! Go away!!

UPDATE DEUX:  Thankee for all the input on “The Case for Christ”.  I looked it up on IMDB and noticed Faye Dunaway, of all people, is in the cast, which probably should have been a tell.  (I didn’t even know she was still alive.)

BUMPED UPDATE TROIS:  RJB’s comment about economic warfare re “Unplanned” is well-taken.  I went ahead and ordered two tickets for a showing this afternoon at a fairly empty theatre in darkest-blue Bethesda. (Bwahaha…..)  It was all the easier because my Bishop’s Lenten Appeal invoice came in the mail today so I had my credit card out and the innertoobs activated already.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A soggy Saturday morning here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor after a night of steady, and at times heavy, rain.  Despite that, Ol’ Robbo heard not a single clap of the thunder my phone “app” had been promising all day.  (And believe me, I would have heard it:  I’ve been sleeping terribly these past few weeks.)  In this, I am quite disappointed.  Back in the days of his misspent yoot, Ol’ Robbo used to be quite frightened of thunder and lightning, but now I revel in them, and get excited whenever they turn up in the forecast.  (And no, unlike G. Gordon Liddy, I didn’t need to lash myself to a tree to overcome my fears.  It just happened.)


I gather we get to try again tomorrow but I’m not getting my hopes up too high.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of last night’s said rain,  Ol’ Robbo was out yesterday with his new spreader reseeding some of the sketchier patches in the Port Swiller lawn.  I am not by any means one of those suburbanite warriors who slaves away over each individual blade of grass in perpetuation of an unacknowledged but nonetheless vicious neighborhood struggle for status and prestige.  (This isn’t just a hipster, bourgeoisie-hating urbanite meme, by the bye. My old next-door neighbor was one of those fellahs and kept his lawn immaculate.)  But there reaches a certain point where the creeping bare patches and weed to grass ratio demand that I do more than just mow every week or two.  I determined I’d crossed that threshold this spring, so steps are now being taken.  We shall see what happens.  Truth be told, I fear I’ve already left it too late for my feeble amateur ministrations and that professional help is going to be needed, but I’m just not ready to start spending coin on that just yet.



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April 2019