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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yesterday, Ol’ Robbo noted a rumor he’d heard that a Very Bad Thing was coming in his Diocese, specifically the stamping out of the Traditional Latin Mass. However, I heard the rumor from a dear old blog friend of mine who, if she has a fault, tends to get the bit between her teeth when strongly roused (she was already calling for our Bishop’s resignation and alleging his predecessor had a boyfriend), so I thought I’d hold off swallowing my own tongue until I found out what actually was happening.

Turns out that the news was actually about as good as one could hope, given the current situation. Of the 21 parishes in the Diocese that offer the TLM on some schedule, the Bishop in fact pared it back to 8, but fortunately, mine is one of them. In the face of the pressure which is coming down from Rome on this, I think this actually reflects a tremendous amount of effort to defend us.

As Ol’ Robbo has said before, this is perhaps the stupidest, most useless, and petty of pogroms, and I have yet to see any explanation or justification that warrants it. Even Mrs. R, who is not herself Catholic, is appalled by what us TLMers are being subjected to. And for what?

There is happy-clappy talk of the need for “unity”. Well, I feel perfectly united already with my fellow Catholics who prefer the Novus Ordo, thank you very much. Do they think I stand around in front of my church, sneering in disdain at the crowd getting out of the N.O. Mass just ahead of mine? Why should we not enjoy two perfectly valid forms of the same worship?

Then there is the talk about Moving Forward. (Francis called us Latin Sharks “backwardists” just the other day.) I think he imagines that we get together over the coffee and donuts afterward and swap Sedevacantist conspiracy theories or something. Whatever it is certainly seems to strike a nerve, because as I say the vitriol and spite coming out of Rome (and among the more toadying senior clergy here) are truly distressing.

I’ve attended the TLM ever since I first swam the Tiber. I do so because of its beauty, its antiquity, and its reverence, and because I believe those traits have a very positive influence on the quality of my own worship. I see no reason whatsoever why this should cause any kind of harm to anybody else or to HM Church as a whole. And I dearly wish the Powers that Be would simply drop it.

In the meantime, I am grateful for my parish and my bishop.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, fourteen years ago today, Ol’ Robbo decanted the port, set out the Stilton, and invited you all to take a pew. Hard to believe it’s been that long. (Those of you who remember my prior gig at the Llama Butchers will know that place only lasted for about five years, yet it still seems like I blogged longer there than here. Go figure.)

Stumping along behind the lawnmower this morning, to keep my mind off the long, wet grass with which I had to deal due to all the rain we’ve had lately, Ol’ Robbo got noodling about the years this place has seen, and what has changed.

Certainly it’s been witness to the Gels growing up. Back in 2008 we were on the leading edge of the terrible early teen years. Somehow or other, as reported here from time to time, we managed to weather them, and now the Gels are all in their 20’s and on the cusp of starting their next chapters.

On this day in 2008, Ol’ Robbo was still a newbie Catholic, too. I haven’t really blogged about that very much in more recent years, prolly because my Convert Derangement Syndrome has been steadily wearing off and I’ve realized what a crashing bore I must have been. But I got a whiff of a rumor this morning about a potentially Very Bad Thing that will directly impact on my worship, so I may start giving vent to such issues again soon. One thing I will say if I have not made it plain before: I do not care for Pope Francis.

Also on this day in 2008, I expect I still believed that the G.O.P. Establishment had my best interests in mind. Ol’ Robbo was a big fan then of writers such as George Will, Peggy Noonan, and the gangs at National Review and The Weekly Standard. Whelp, that’s gone completely out the window: It’s become crystal clear in recent years that the only thing the GOPe cares about is the GOPe. (Ol’ Robbo has a small collection of books by these authors. Just on principle I can’t bear the idea of throwing them (or any other books) away, but I have moved them to the Shelf of Shame in my basement.)

Finally, Ol’ Robbo was in his early 40’s back then, and of course due to math, is now in his later 50’s. I’m happy to report that I’m still in good shape and about the same weight, but I was somewhat surprised when I started my plague-beard last year just how much white there is in it.

So! What do the next fourteen years hold?

Well, on the domestic front my obvious hope is marriages and grandkids.

As far as Holy Mother Church goes, a priest friend of mine likes to quote an Italian proverb that “after a fat Pope comes a thin one”. Things will change again.

And on the politickal front? I begin to see signs that the pendulum has reached the top of its arc and is starting to swing the other way. For all its self-protective fecklessness, I doubt the GOPe remains relevant very much longer.

Anyhoo, thankee to all of you who have dropped in here over the years, whether on a daily basis or just every now and again! Bumpers all round, ladies and gentlemen, gun’ls under! Here’s three times three and no heal taps! Huzzay! Huzzay! Huzzay!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo paid his Virginny State Bar dues today.

I’ve not actually practiced in the Great Commonwealth in nearly thirty years and have been on inactive status since 2004 because I’d otherwise have to keep up CLE credits and my employer doesn’t cover the cost. (If I ever wanted to go active again, I’m sure I’d probably have to sit the exam all over again. No, thankee.)

So why even keep my membership? Well, for one thing I earned it fair and square. But more importantly, it allows me to maintain the fiction to myself that I have not been wholly assimilated by the Dee Cee Borg.

Dues time reminds me that this is a rayther expensive piece of whimsy, but I’m sticking to it.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest was handed this flyer whilst walking about campus the other day.

Ol’ Robbo has not been on a campus in some while and is only used to Marxism being served up in the real world these days in various camouflaged forms – the “Green Nood Eel”, the “Great Reset”, the campaigns of Bernie Saunders (“It’s not socialism socialism!”), and so on. So I guess I was a bit surprised to see the old bastard’s mug right out in the open like this.

It astounds me that a political-economic philosophy responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th Century alone and incalculable misery for so very many more should still have any kind of appeal to anybody. I mean, never mind the theory, look what actually happens!

But the Gods of the Copybook Headings just called to tell me it shouldn’t. When the burnt fool’s bandaged fingers go wabbling back to the fire this time, they’re gonna get it right!


Eh. Fortunately, teh Gel sent it because she thought it was ridiculous, a curiosity, not because she’s thinking of going Red anytime soon. I b’lieve I’ve raised her to be enough of a skeptic to be immune to that sort of thing.

I certainly hope so.

UPDATE: Of course, I’m not really astounded. The history of famines and purges and general misery are simply glossed over. Or denied. Or blamed on us hoarders, wreckers and counter-revolutionaries.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Long time friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s periodic rantings about the ongoing water issue at Port Swiller Manor: Heavy rain causes the field drains on the driveway to clog, the water backs up into the garage, and, by a still-undiscovered process, makes its way down into the basement.

The study, where it usually collects, now has an imitation-wood ceramic floor, so it’s usually just a case of waiting for it to dry out, but the main room is covered in Pergo.

Well, as I’ve mentioned, it’s been a very rainy summah around here, sooooooo………

Yes, we had a downpour last week that wound up flooding the main room good and proper. The rugs were soaked, the water got under the Pergo and warped up all the edges, and mold started sprouting up everywhere.

No more. Never again. I think this is the second Pergo floor we’ve lost down there, and it has finally sunk in on me that this is a mug’s game. Yesterday, Mrs. R and I simply ripped it all out.

Eventually we’ll finish the main room in the same fake-wood ceramic tile as the study, but in the meantime I’m perfectly content to live with the bare concrete slab. (The good nooz? No visible cracks in it, so at least we’ve got that going for us.)

As far as the leak goes, I still have no real clues. I know which wall the water comes through because of the sediment it leaves, but I still don’t know how it gets there in the first place. All I’ve got is that the flooding starts when the water reaches a certain depth in the garage, but that may just be correlation with it getting high enough somewhere else to get in. I dunno. We’ve had handymen and remodelers have a go at fixing it over the years with no real success. I think we may need to find an engineer at this point.


Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out To Get You UPDATE: So there’s a card in the mail today from some outfit called The Tile Company inviting us to take out one of their credit cards and get 20% off our first purchase! Did Mrs. R’s iPhone thingy tip them off that we were doing tear-down yesterday? Ol’ Robbo would not be at all surprised. *Adjusts tinfoil hat*

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The Great Heat Wave of ’22, as proclaimed by the Climate Doom crowd, has moved into the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor. My porch thermometer – properly placed in the shade and out of the wind – is currently registering 92 degrees. Out in the sun, it’ll be a lot higher. As a result, because I bestirred myself too late to take advantage of the early morning, and because I’m no longer a young fool, Ol’ Robbo decided just to stay inside today. The yard can wait.

D’you know who thoroughly loves this sort of weather? Decanter Cat, that’s who. I’ve never known an animal that takes such obvious pleasure in basking all day in the heat. Funny, that. (Decanter Dog, on the other hand, hates it. Decanter Kitten seems indifferent, which is also funny considering she’s a long-hair and you’d think she’d notice.)

Yesterday I mentioned the absence of butterflies around here to date. Well, perhaps they read this blog because sure enough when I looked out this afternoon, there were eight or ten tiger swallowtails messing about in the garden. I can only suppose that they wait for teh warmest weather before coming out of their cocoons, and it has been relatively mild (and wet**) here up until this past week. (Ol’ Robbo will take Ma Nature waiting until late July to crank up the burners anytime.) Anyhoo, I’m glad they’re back.

** It also occurred to Ol’ Robbo today that I haven’t yet had to pull out my soaker hose to water the pachysandra patch in the front ditch so far this year.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s summah doldrums seem to have snuck up on him this year without his realizing the fact. I’m not feeling brain-dead so much as scattered and diluted. Eh.

I’m in the dog-house at the moment with Mrs. R because I had to cancel a check-up today due to work stuff. It’s true that I’m getting to the age where annual physicals become somewhat more important and that I haven’t had one since well before all the WuFlu nonsense, but still….from Mrs. R’s reaction you’d think I’m playing Russian roulette with an automatic pistol. Funny – she places an almost mystical faith in doctors while I, having grown up in a medical family, have a much more skeptical view of the practice. Anyhoo, I don’t much like my current doc – she’s too prissy about what might be called worldly pleasures and she over-prescribes – and have been thinking of finding another.

Finally – FINALLY – Ol’ Robbo spotted a hummingbird at the feeder yesterday. Let’s hope she wasn’t just passing through but will hang around for a few months. You know what I haven’t seen so far this year? Butterflies. Normally there should be numerous tiger-swallowtails messing about by now, but for some reason they just haven’t turned up. Who knows why.

As long as I’m out in the yard, figuratively speaking, I have on my desk an order form from my weed and feed service for fall liming and aeration. It occurs to me that I can do these things myself and at a substantial savings. (Yes, I could probably weed and feed myself as well, but in that case I rely on their expertise viz what to put on the grass. Here, lime is lime.)

Speaking of savings, I have to shepherd Eldest over to the local Goodyear today to drop off her car. She claims it stutters and hesitates climbing through certain speeds and doesn’t want it dying on her when she heads out to Indiana. I agree with her that it should be checked out but am cringing a bit lest they find something truly, expensively wrong. At least I trust these folks not to fleece me much more than I do a dealership.

Completely off any other topic, Ol’ Robbo caught “Below The Sea” (1933) on TCM last evening. Along side Fay Wray, it features Ralph Bellamy as a tough-guy deep sea diver. I’d only ever seen him before playing nice-guy simpleton parts: The difference was quite remarkable. And on that note, last week I also saw “Tiger Shark” (1932), in which Edward G. Robinson played an Italian deep-sea tuna fisherman. He had an accent on him that I’d swear he lifted from Chico Marx. (Acting! Genius! Thank you! No, thank you! **)

Well, time to be about it. Endeavor to persevere.

*** The Jon Lovitz “Master Thespian” sketch from an ancient incarnation of Saturday Night Live. Curiously, I had to do a cyber-security training recently in which he provided the voice for a cartoon character. Others were played by Tia Carrera and Stacy Keach. I suppose they need the money.

UPDATE: Speaking of driving, hooray (?) that gas is “only” $4.70 a gallon now around here. I otter be filling up every receptacle I can think of including the bathtubs before it spikes again.

G’day, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest sends along this pic from the bridge between her apartment and campus in downtown Brisbane.

Interestingly, she reports that of the 500 international students in her program this semester, only about ten are Americans. She says a lot of them are German and Norwegian. She has five suitemates, from China, New Zealand, and Australia.

She’s reveling in being the “exotic” for once.

She’s also reveling in her first experience of big city living, having spent her entire life in the ‘burbs and her college experience in a very small town. I only hope she can find time to, you know, actually do school work.

Sigh. How are you gonna keep them down on the farm?

Fair Dinkum UPDATE: Long-time friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory posts a bit in the comments featuring Paul Hogan doing Aussie sketch-comedy (I b’lieve from his 1983 teevee moovie, “Paul Hogan’s England”). Ol’ Robbo had no idea Hogan did this sort of thing. Certainly he was “Mr. Australia” for a long time, what with the “Crocodile Dundee” franchises (none of which I ever actually saw), his part in the 1985 WWI feature “Anzacs” and his Foster’s Lager and Subaru commercials. I dunno if Youngest has it in her head to try and meet that kind of Aussie, but the truth is that I rayther doubt they exist anymore: So many years of Leftism have pretty much gelded the population, so far as I can tell. Rule One? That’s not funny!!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, a nasty, steamy Monday here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, kicking off a solid week of the same, but since we’re already more than halfway through July, I suppose I can’t complain much.

Anyhoo, a friend of mine from church, posting over on FacePlant, mentioned in passing that he greatly likes Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”. This got Ol’ Robbo noodling. Myself, I can’t stand the piece. So what do others see in it?

I’m old enough to remember when the thing first hit pop culture with the 1979 movie “10”, but surely by now nobody thinks praising it is going to get them a shot at Bo Derek.

My understanding is that Ravel originally wrote it as a ballet score. I suppose that as background accompaniment to a person or persons prancing about on stage (Ol’ Robbo is not a fan of ballet) it might work, but as a stand-alone thing? It’s boring! It’s downright tedious! It’s the same damme phrase repeated over and over and over again without even a key modulation until the very end.*** What, I ask, is there to like in any of this?

And yet, there it is. My friend is by no means alone.

De gustibus non est disputandem, I suppose.

*** Much the same thing may be said of the Pachelbel “Canon”, of course.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As regular friends of the decanter know, Ol’ Robbo traditionally lets his monarchist flag fly on Bastille Day.

Yes, institutions become bloated, corrupted, and tyrannical (**glances at the current headlines**), but burning them down generally doesn’t work out very well, historickally speaking: Out go the Bourbons, in comes the Terror then Napoleon; Out go the Romanovs, in come the Bolsheviks. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the whole, reform – whether drastic or mild – is better.

So take that, you filthy Jacobins!

UPDATE: If you point to the American Revolution as a counter-example, I will reply that was merely the removal and replacement of the highest rungs of authority, not a revamp of the entire system. If you point to the downfall of the Soviets, I would argue that was a counter-revolution (see Bolsheviks above), and also PUTIN!!


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July 2022