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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A bit too soggy in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor to do anything useful in the yard this Saturday, so Ol’ Robbo won’t even bother.  Instead, how about a little of this and that?

♦  Middle Gel (and Mrs. R) went to an overnight freshman orientation program this week.  I believe it was when she returned armed with her first semester schedule that I finally realized yes, she’s a college kid now.  Most….discombobulating.  It’s a very different feel from when Eldest went off, perhaps because then one was so caught up in the groundbreaking aspect but now the tempus fugit theme seems more present.  God know what it will be like when Youngest goes……

♦  While Mrs. Robbo and Self were away on holiday, I of course paid no attention whatsoever to any form of “news”.  Catching up upon my return, I was both interested and delighted to see the “OhMuhGawdTrumpHitlerIsTearingInnocentMigrantBabiesFromTheirMothersArms!!” meme launch, soar, and crash in flames, all in about 72 hours or so.  Surely there is doctoral thesis-level material there regarding the insanity of the modern nooz propaganda cycle.

♦ Oh, and if you’re interested, Ol’ Robbo is of the opinion that any “blame” that attaches in this matter lies squarely on the parents who drag their children into such a horrible situation in the first place.  Regardless of what Nancy Pelosi or the USCCB may say to the contrary, it is not a sin to refuse to aid, abet, or encourage this kind of child abuse.  So there.

♦ And one other politickal observation?  There will be no “Blue Wave” this fall.

♦ Ol’ Robbo saw quite a bit of “ink” on the beach this week.  I don’t mean a discreet little doo-dah on an ankle here or there, I mean elaborate designs all up and down legs, arms, and backs.  Call me what you will, but I simply fail to see what somebody could possibly be thinking in going for such a look.  Especially (yes, I’ll say it) a woman.

♦ Has any friend of the decanter seen the new Incredibles movie? Frankly, I’m afraid to.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Fingers crossed that thunderstorms don’t thwart my grilling plans later: what with various comings and goings (Eldest gets home from visiting grandparents this afternoon and both the younger gels are away tomorrow to separate summah camps/retreats), this evening is the only time in the next couple weeks when all five of us will actually be home together for dinner.

UPDATE:  Long-time friend of the decanter Sleepy Beth has a review of The Incredibles 2 which gives Ol’ Robbo much hope.  Go check it out.

 

 

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It fell on Ol’ Robbo to take Youngest Gel to swim practice this morning.  It’s in the low 70’s and raining on-again/off-again.

Gel: “OhMyGod, it is so freezing! I can’t believe they’re making us swim in this!”

Self: “You know…”

Gel: “I mean, the last time it was like this? My ears were ringing, it was so cold!”

Self: “You know, when….”

Gel: “I am so serious! I mean, it’s practically snowing!”

Self: “You know, when I…”

Gel: “And the pool isn’t even heated!”

Self: “You know, when I was a kid….”

Gel: “Wait…is this when you were in college?”

Self: “Yes, but…”

Gel: “And you were rowing crew?”

Self: “Yes, but…”

Gel: “And there was ice on the river?”

Self: “Yes, but…”

Gel:  “And you had to wade in up to your thighs barefoot?”

Self: “Yes, but…”

Gel: “And there was ice in your hair?”

Self: “Yes, but…”

Gel:  “I’ve heard it before.”

Self:  “Well, it’s true, you know. That’s cold, so you can just suck it up, buttercup.”

Dang kids!  Now they’re taking my Life Lessons right out of my mouth before I can even tell ’em!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before heading out on his anniversary trip, Ol’ Robbo tried to pre-post a couple of entries here apropos to marriage, in order to cover his extended silence.  (You know, so that the three or four of you who actually pay attention to this blog wouldn’t come and sack Port Swiller Manor in my absence.)

Evidently, I did or did not do something I was supposed to under the harsh bloggy strictures of WordPress, because none of said pre-paid posts ever turned up on the main page.

Oh, well.

Anyhoo, I’ll resurrect the meat of just one, a very short Python sketch over which I have laughed immoderately ever since I first saw it.  (Sorry about the subtitles.)

 

Incidentally, “Well you can’t change your bloody wife!!” is not a bad line to consider when you’re going through some of the darker patches.  Trust me on this.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo and the Missus just got home from celebrating our 25th anniversary in Bermuda.  My friends, all I can say is that it is a delightful, delightful place.

Friends of the decanter will remember that Ol’ Robbo asked some time last week about things to do and see in the place.  In the end, however, by enthusiastic mutual consent, we wound up simply loafing about for three days.  Uncle Robbo did remember to bring back a few snaps for your entertainment, however.  On reviewing them, I believe you will concur that our decision was a wise one.

We stayed at a private club at Coral Beach, located on the south side of the island at roughly the midpoint.  Here is the view from our balcony:

Room With A View

We ate breakfast here each morning, and by the time we left had collected quite the following of sparrows and kiskadees (a bird Ol’ Robbo had not seen before) through tossing breadcrumbs out on to the floor.  With a full pot of java and that kind of view, why wouldn’t I linger over it?

At night, we left the double-doors open (but not the screens) so as to catch the sound of the waves crashing and the wind rustling in the palms.  The other thing we heard all night was about a bajillion tree frogs, many of which had a call that sounded like a high-pitched sonar “ping”.  Frankly, Ol’ Robbo slept very badly all three nights, but that’s because I always do so when away from home.  I could have taped this particular cacophony and made bank selling it as a soporific.

Eventually, though, we’d toddle down to the beach.  The first thing I must say is that I have never seen sea water quite like this – so clear and so luminously blue.  The second is that for all the talk of “pink” Bermudian sand (and our beach is supposed to be one of the pinkest), you’ve really got to catch it at the right time of day and without a lot of footprints and tiretracks churning it up in order to get this notion.

Life’s A Beach

Anyhoo, as I say, we’d toddle down to the beach after brekkers.  Each day, we’d set up shop under an umbrella and alternate between reading, dozing, plunging into the water (where we saw numerous schools of young Jack Permit fish fooling about), walking laps (the entire beach is about half a mile or so from end to end), and getting the nice man at the bar to bring us G&T’s and Pimm’s Cup.  Tough life.  Tough life.  (Yes, we talked about marriage stuff, too, but I won’t bore you with what is, after all, confidential.)

Actually, it was truly tough in one respect:  Ol’ Robbo, even as he types, is suffering from being thoroughly cooked by the sun.  I tried spraying on sunblock, but evidently my skills are suboptimal, because I’ve come out looking piebald, like Ransom in Perelandra.

By the bye, and still keeping on the topic of the beach, the whole time we were there, we got to watch pairs and groups of the iconic Bermuda Longtail fly up and down the shore.  An intensely beautiful tropicbird that I, of course, have not seen before. I can well see why so much of the local artwork incorporates images of this bird.

The place we were staying is set at the top of a forty foot cliff overlooking the ocean.  (Right at the top are the restored remains of an English gun emplacement from the earliest colonial times.  Idiot Robbo had forgot all about the fact that Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by Jamestown colonists under George Somers after their ship was driven ashore during a hurricane.)  During the day, as I say, we were able to get refreshments down on the beach.  In the evenings, we dined up at the top of the escarpment.

All in all, as I say, delightful.

A few random additional thoughts and observations:

♦  The Bermudians, as a rule, at least so far as I observed, seem to be friendly without fawning.  They were all of them cordial, but one was always aware of a polite but firm barrier.  I’ve no problem with that.

♦  The place is very cramped, and space is at a premium.  The roads are narrow, shoulderless, and wound about, and it’s small wonder that the island-wide speed limit is only 25 mph.  Between that and driving on the left side, Ol’ Robbo would have quickly gone insane behind the wheel had he attempted it.

♦  The place also is as expensive as hell, largely because everything has to be imported.  I’m still gulping a bit about the total damage done from our trip (not that it wasn’t completely worth it).

♦ I had not realized that the only substantial water supply on the island is rainfall, so that each resident is responsible for catching and storing as much said rain as possible via roofs and tanks.

♦  Somebody remarked here previously that landing at Bermuda was like landing on an aircraft carrier.  I dunno about that, since I don’t look out the window until the rubber meets the tarmac, but I can tell you that because of that comment, and because the flight out was rather bumpy, Ol’ Robbo found himself repeatedly muttering under his breath, “Next time, Jack, write a goddam memo!” **

** A nifty-gifty of a spotable quote.

Anyhoo, long story short, we had a lovely time and will definitely go back if and when we can.

UPDATE: My apologies if any friend of the decanter feels this post is a bit too Robin Leach-ish.  Ol’ Robbo did not in any way wish to appear as if sticking on dog about “Champaign wishes and caviar dreams” here.  This was the first vacay Mrs. R and I spent together alone and in some style in God-knows how many years and we worked like dammit to plan, save, and wangle so that we could enjoy it without worry.

By the bye and speaking of which, my favorite Robin Leach quote? “There was one room in her house that was always kept locked.  It was….the garage.”  Anybody spot the quote?

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Flag Day!  (The Stars and Stripes fly at Port Swiller Manor 24/7/365, by the bye,  and have done so since 9/11.)

On his daily walk down the National Mall today, Ol’ Robbo saw a sight that made him smile.  It was a young man in camo and a MAGA hat. He had both a large United States flag and a large President Trump flag on a pole.  He was trotting along, weaving in and out of various groups of people, and politely and quietly saying, “Happy Flag Day! God bless the USA! Happy Birthday, President Trump! Happy Birthday, United States Army!”  I also heard him tell somebody that his plan was to loop back and forth between the White House and the Capital for as long as he could.  He did not look crazy, only cheerfully enthusiastic.  From what I could see, the people were generally happy to see him and responded in kind – several got him to pose for pictures with them.  It was very refreshing, indeed.

On a completely different note, I also noticed that construction has begun on the infrastructure for this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and that the two feature “folk” lands this year are Armenia and Catalonia.

I know virtually nothing about Armenia except that the Church is very ancient there and the Ottomans tried to wipe them all out during WWI but we’re not supposed to talk about that because reasons.

As for Catalonia, the region has been a thorn of separatist trouble in the side of Madrid ever since Ferdinand and Isabella cobbled the kingdom together after the Reconquesta, but again I don’t know very much about the culchah other than what I’ve gleaned from Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels.

I wondered if there was some particular reason for picking these two places, some “preservation of autonomy in the face of outside pressure” kind of thing, so I ambled over to the Festival website but couldn’t find any statement explaining it.   So for all I know, the organizers may just have thrown darts at a map on the wall.

And speaking of such things, I gather the World Cup soccer tournament has started up.  Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to bother following it.  Soccer, as a sport, does not interest me in the least.  And as to the WC in particular, I associate it very closely (and perhaps, I admit, unjustly) with people who enthuse over the idea of One World global governance (as well as the metric system and Esperanto), which I loathe and despise.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Believe it or not, this month marks the 25th anniversary of the day on which Ol’ Robbo and Mrs. R were first manacled together.

In celebration, we are going to spend three nights in Bermuda, to which island neither of us has been before.

There’s a particular reason for this choice of destination: We had wanted to go to Bermuda for our honeymoon.  Only in those days, just out of law school in the midst of a legal market collapse, Ol’ Robbo couldn’t possibly afford it.  Plus, my phobia about flying back then was so bad that I really didn’t think it would be a good basis on which to start our life journey together.  So we made other plans.

Things are much different now, twenty-five years later.  We have the readies, and although I’ll never actually enjoy flying, I’ve got my fears sufficiently under control through experience that we’ll be fine on the plane.

So we’re looking on this jaunt as a sort of deferred gratification.

Anyhoo, if any friend of the decanter has inside information on things to do and see in Bermuda, I’d be grateful for the information.  We’re absolutely solid for accommodations, but suggestions regarding food and drink, together with touristy activities, would be most appreciated.

Of course, I’ll tell you all about it (mostly) when we get back.

UPDATE: Thankee, friends, for the well-wishes and pro-tips.  Curiously enough, when I asked Mrs. R this evening what she thought she might like to do while we’re there, she said that she’s so worn out that she really just wants to spend a lot of time loafing on the beach. (We’re staying right on it.  I believe you might even be able to get drinks brought to you on the sand.)  Indeed, she even talked about what books she might like to bring with her.

Twist. My. Arm.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Back in the day Ol’ Robbo had a standing joke with one of his chums of lampooning Jacques Cousteau. In outrageous accents which sounded more like John Cleese’s French K-niggit from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, one of us would suddenly say, “Zah seas!  Ze are die-EEEENG!

To which the other would reply, “But not fast EE-NOOF!!

Oh, we were real cards.

This bit of flotsam recently rose to the surface of Ol’ Robbo’s braim because for the past several days I have been passing an odd protest/exhibition display during my lunchtime walkies, the Ocean Plastics Lab sponsored by our friends at NOAA.  It’s a set of about half a dozen open-sided metal cargo containers full of displays of facts and figures on the amount of junk floating about in the world’s oceans and the harm it is supposedly doing to sea-life.  (Birds and fish getting hung up in plastic bags, dolphins swallowing water bottles, octopi stealing shopping carts – that sort of thing.)

This sea-garbage biznay seems to have become a Thing with the Greenies over the past few months, or at least they’ve started beating the drum about it more vigorously in that time.  On the one hand, I’ve no problem with it.  Unlike airy-fairy Globull Enwarmening theory, this is something that at least has a tangible and measurable cause-and-effect relationship between human action and resultant Bad Things.  If so inclined, you can go look at the damn stuff yourself (and presumably all the marine corpses floating about in it as well).

On the other, I’m pretty sure that I saw a piece within the past couple weeks that points out this is really a Third World problem:  The junk tossed into five specific rivers in Africa and Southern Asia is supposed to account for some gigantic portion of the total oceanic pollution.  So why are busloads of teenaged tourists from Indiana and your humble host being scolded about it down on the National Mall?  Why isn’t NOAA setting up its displays in, say, Chittagong, or gently hectoring the good people of the Congo?

I think the answer to both questions probably lies in the trailer marked “Solutions”.  I haven’t looked in, but I don’t need to be Carnac the Magnificent (boy, am I dating myself!)  to know that what it boils down to is this:  Gimme a dollar, America.

You’ll forgive Ol’ Robbo for his cynicism, but Wealth-Transfer-As-Solution-For-Third-World-Problems hasn’t exactly got a stellar track record.  (The problems tend to remain, while the wealth is only transferred as far as the coffers of the people demanding it.)  So I will politely refuse to get involved so far as sticking my hand in my pocket is concerned.

On the other hand, I will take a step similar to what I did in response to the bombardment of solicitations I was receiving at one point from the Save the Whales people.  After the umpteenth appeal from them, I  wrote back on the pledge card something along the lines of, “Thank you so much for bringing to my attention the heart-wrenching travesty of whale hunting.  Because of your informed concern, I hereby pledge going forward never to personally kill a whale.  You have my promise.”

I never heard from them again.

Likewise, I hereby pledge never to throw any non-biodegradable garbage into the oceans.  Who’s with me on this?

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry for the lack of posting the past few days (and maybe the next few, too).  It’s High School Graduation Week here at Port Swiller Manor and unlike her elder sister, who shunned as much of the hoopla as possible, Middle Gel is intent on taking in as many of the activities as she can.  So we had an academic achievement awards ceremony yesterday, I think there’s a parents’ breakfast tomorrow (which I am missing because work), the Big Shoo is Thursday, the school choir has its own awards picnic Friday, and Mrs. R and I are co-hosting the Gel’s  graduation party with another couple on Saturday (not at our house, thank God).

Plus, the Port Swiller In-Laws rolled into town Sunday and are staying for the week.  So there’s that.

Busy times.

Anyhoo, all that aside, I just wanted to note that I saw my first firefly of the season last evening.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here more than once how fond I am of fireflies and of watching them fool about on the edge of the woods on these warm and humid spring evenings.    Sometimes, when it’s very still, I even fancy I can hear a faint *phah* every time one of them lights off.

Always makes me happy.

Ace was talking about “news fatigue” this afternoon, the 24/7 bombardment of outraged shrieking by politickal pundits and talking heads and how so many people are increasingly sick and tired of it all.  He asks the Moron Horde how they cope with it in their various ways.

Me? Well, one method is to sit on the porch in the evening and look for the fireflies.  Another is to watch the clouds (we may get a thundershower this evening).  A third is to contemplate the trees in their yearly cycles.  A fourth is to read a piece of fiction or listen to some musick.  And of course, all of these involve not watching or listening to the MSM.

See how easy that is?  And I haven’t even got to God or Family yet.

One specific act of defiance:  The local classickal station runs three-minute NPR nooz updates at the top of the hour.  Although I listen to the station all day down the office, I’ve got into the habit of shutting it off for those three minutes, just to preserve my blood-pressure.

That, too, is pretty easy.

Really, they can only get you in the end if you let them.

Or perhaps I should say, “[They] can’t take the sky from me.” **

 

** I hope footnotes are not required for the references.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those friends of the decanter who have a taste for Royal Navy history will of course remember that today is the anniversary of the Glorious First of June.  Confusion to the Jacobins!

In token, Ol’ Robbo decided to dial up a performance of this favorite shanty of Nelson’s Navy:

If you care to follow along, the lyrics:

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies, (alt: “…to Spanish ladies”)
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain; (alt: “…to ladies of Spain;”)
     For we have received orders (alt: “…’re under orders”)
     For to sail to old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again. (alt: “And we may ne’er see you fair ladies again.”)

(Chorus)
We’ll rant and we’ll roar, like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar across the salt seas; (alt: “We’ll range and we’ll roam all on the salt seas;”)
     Until we strike soundings
     In the Channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly ’tis thirty-five leagues. (alt: “34” or “45”.)

Then we hove our ship to, with the wind at the sou’west, my boys, (alt: “We hove our ship to, with the wind from sou’west, boys,”)
Then we hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear; (alt: “…deep soundings to take;” “…for to make soundings clear;”)
     Then we filled the main topsail (alt: “‘Twas 45 (or 55) fathoms with a white sandy bottom”)
     And bore right away, my boys, (alt: “So we squared our main yard”)
And straight up the Channel of old England did steer. (alt: “And up channel did make.” or “…did steer”)

So the first land we made, it is called the Deadman, (alt: “The first land we sighted was callèd the Dodman”)
Next Ram Head, off Plymouth, Start, Portland, and the Wight; (alt: “Next Rame Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland, and Wight;”)
     We sailèd by Beachy, (alt: “We sailed by Beachy / by Fairlight and Dover”)
     By Fairly and Dungeness,
And then bore away for the South Foreland light. (alt: “Until we brought to for…” or “And then we bore up for…”)

Now the signal it was made for the grand fleet to anchor (alt: “Then the signal was made…”)
All in the Downs that night for to meet; (alt: “…that night for to lie;”)
     Then stand by your stoppers, (alt: “Let go your shank painter, / Let go your cat stopper”)
     See clear your shank painters,
Hawl all your clew garnets, stick out tacks and sheets. (alt: “Haul up your clewgarnets, let tack and sheets fly”)

Now let every man take off his full bumper, (alt: “Now let ev’ry man drink off his full bumper,”)
Let every man take off his full bowl; (alt: “And let ev’ry man drink off his full glass;”)
     For we will be jolly (alt: “We’ll drink and be jolly”)
     And drown melancholy,
With a health to each jovial and true hearted soul. (alt: “And here’s to the health of each true-hearted lass.”)

Ol’ Robbo loves the nautical jargon, but I get an especial nerdy delight from the litany of geographical points as the ship sails up the Channel.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

From the Beeb:  Have we reached peak prosecco?

Ol’ Robbo didn’t even realize it was a “thing”.

Curiously enough, Mrs. R has become something of a prosecco fan recently, going so far as to sample various labels.  She says she much prefers it to champagne, as I believe it is generally sweeter. (The Mothe was something of a fan as well.)

Myself, I dislike the sparkling stuff.  Gives me quite the headache (as do most whites) and I also feel all bloated.  I’ll stick to my reds and leave zee bubbly to the Missus.

A glass of wine with the Puppy-Blender!

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