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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Because his beloved Nationals were early on obviously on the way to defeat this evening, ol’ Robbo popped in his latest Netflix serving, the movie version of The A-Team.

I used to enjoy the original series very much in my misspent yoot.  And as much as I hate reboots as a general rule, I also like the more recent movie enough to have seen it multiple times.

smith leesonAs I was watching said movie, teh Eldest wandered into the room.  In answer to her questions, I said more or less what I have just written.  However, I also pointed out that I’ve never quite got used to the idea of Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith.

“Wait, what? Why?” she said.

“Well, I don’t know,” I answered, “He just doesn’t seem…tough enough to me.”

“Liam Neeson?” she said, “Are you crazy?  Why not?”

“Oh, I dunno, ” I said, “He just seems too…Sensative-Irish to me and only fake-tough, if you know what I mean.”

“No,” she replied, “I don’t.  I think Liam is teh awesome.”

smith peppard“Fine,” I said, “But let me tell you two things.  First, Liam Neeson is no Aslan.  Second, George Peppard could have beaten the living bayjaysus out of Neeson without even putting out his cigar.  So there.”

She walked off, shaking her head and muttering.

I don’t care.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s “Independence Day” weekend this year was capped off by an impromptu BBQ at Port Swiller Manor yesterday afternoon.  As I laid out the ingredients of said BBQ – which consisted of dogs and burgers – teh Eldest Gel ( a confirmed carnivore, much to my satisfaction) asked, “Dad! Why can’t you cook a hotdog wrapped in bacon?”

Why, indeed.  This wants looking into….

More generally, said Gel is passionately fond of ribs.  I often have thought of doing some up for her (the raw materials can be obtained easily enough from teh butcher shop at the local Gourmet Giant – pronounced “Ger-may Gee-yaunt”), but I am mostly a steak and burger guy and don’t know jack about smoking, much less baby-back sauce prep.  Any suggestions/comments/pointers would be accepted most gratefully.

US_flag_13_stars_–_Betsy_Ross

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo will be away tomorrow retrieving the younger gels from camp and probably will not have much time for posting over the holiday weekend, so let me go ahead and wish you all a happy 4th of July here and now.

Unfortunately, I must say that I cannot recall another 4th in my half century on this earth when I did not feel more anger, disgust, and fear about the state and direction of our country than I do now.  We’re despised by our allies and laughed at by our enemies.  At home, we’ve slipped into what amounts to soft fascism and rampant social libertinism, all the while floating our “lifestyle” with money that doesn’t actually exist.  21st Century bread and circuses, indeed.

Of course it can’t go on because both math and the gods of teh copybook headings are hard.  My only hope is that when the crisis comes on (and it will), we remember what we came from and will rebuild accordingly.

In the meantime, fire up your grills, grab your favorite adult beverages, pop a few (real) fireworks, and salute the flag, not for what it represents now but for what it has stood for and can stand for again.

UPDATE:  Sorry to be such a grump, especially after I had counseled my own brother (a Ditto-Head of long standing) against despair.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I mentioned the monsoon that struck the Port Swiller Manor neighborhood the other day?  Well, turns out it flooded Eldest Gel’s room down the basement fairly thoroughly.  It also got into the main room of the basement, buckling a section of floor near the teevee.

Sigh.  Regular friends of the decanter may recall that exactly the same damned thing happened last summah, and that ol’ Robbo spent considerable time and money getting the basement redone, including what was supposed to be a thorough waterproofing of the walls.  (Pro tip:  Do not put in Pergo where there is any danger of water seepage.  Once the moisture gets under it, you’re doomed. I should have considered this, but I was so confidently informed by the contractor that the basement had been completely sealed that I ignored the danger.)

Well, as Ray Davies sang, here we go round again.  The contractors were back out today ripping up the ruined Pergo and starting to dig holes in the walls to find the leaks.

This time we’re looking at putting in wood-like porcelain tile (something I did not even know existed) on the theory that even if it does get wet, it doesn’t matter very much. I believe this stuff is somewhat more expensive than Pergo, which leads to a delicate point:  Clearly the latest damage was caused by the contractor not doing a proper job last summah, and I don’t think they’re going to squawk too much about covering the repairs.  However, if we are effectively upgrading, who covers that additional cost?

It is here that I shamelessly turn the whole thing over to Mrs. R.  Despite the fact that I’m a lawyer, I really hate to dicker about personal matters.  Mrs. R, on the other hand, seems to enjoy it.  That’s why I have come to leave all such matters – buying cars, negotiating home projects, etc. – in her capable hands.

UPDATE:  Good news, every Juan!  Turns out that the gel’s bedroom leak was the result of an overlooked pipe and easily fixable.  The other leak was caused by a genuine new crack, but is fixable by a little judicious landscaping and drainage modification.  Given this, we’ve decided to stick with the Pergo.  Whole biznay much cheaper than I first feared.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry, I don’t at the moment have anything particularly weighty to say after the recent seismic upheavals in the Body Politick other than “Dum spiro, spero“.  Perhaps I will venture on some more substantive musings in the near future, perhaps not.  I can tell you this:  Teh Eldest Gel, who has become a keen follower of current events, noted earlier this evening that progressives don’t argue, they have temper tantrums.  “It’s like they’re a bunch of goddam toddlers!” she said.   Yep.

In the meantime, since his beloved Nationals aren’t playing this evening, ol’ Robbo is going to settle in for an “Arrested Development” festival.  As I have said here before and, no doubt, will say again, it is my considered opinion that this was the single funniest program ever put on television.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Re an item in the post immediately below, no fencing for Port Swiller Manor today after all:  It’s been raining steadily since last night, sometimes quite heavily.  (In fact, looking at the radar, it appears the last big burst of the storm is going to hit us in a little while.)

I had been thinking before today’s monsoon struck that this might have been a good weekend to cut back the forsythia.  Some years ago, I would have sallied forth to do so regardless of the weather.  More recently, I would have refrained but fumed about it all day.  Now?  I simply said meh and have spent most of the day reading Evelyn Waugh.

Progress, I like to think.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. Robbo left this morning to go visit her parents for a couple days, teh younger gels are off at summah camp and I hardly ever see the eldest anymore, so this weekend is effectively just your host and his menagerie.  Woo Hoo!

♦   Thanks to what was a pretty strong consensus here, I ordered a new set of headphones for my musickal evenings this morning.  Thankee muchly for your recommendations.  It only took me two months to get around to it.  Procrastinate we much?

♦    Speaking of electronics, I find myself hating smartphones more and more.   I especially despise the zombie-like way everyone seems to stare at them, oblivious to their surroundings.

♦    I see where Phil Austin, who played Nick Danger for Firesign Theater, died this week.  My college roommate first put me on to these guys and I wound up buying a couple of their albums.  True, it’s dirty hippy stream-of-consciousness drug humor, but it was still pretty durn funny.  (I say “was” because I had cassette tapes, now long gone, and it must be close to twenty years since I last listened to them.)

♦  I also see where the Vegas odds-makers are betting Robbo’s beloved Nationals are going to win it all this year.   I dunno, but since we just got done sweeping both the Bucs and the Braves, I’m starting to get excited.  [Insert obligatory “Great kid, but don’t get cocky” here.]  We’re supposed to start a series against the despicable Phillies this evening, but I don’t know if the weather is going to cooperate.

♦  Fence guy is coming tomorrow to slap up some wire on the fence in the Port Swiller backyard, thereby allowing us to literally let Daisy off the leash on occasion (under supervision, of course, in case she proves a digger).  We decided against the whole Invisible Fence thing because of the price and the complexity and because I’m unwilling to try training her on it when she’s already so skittish around me.  The squirrels and the woodchucks are in for a nasty surprise.

♦   Speaking of the back yard, ol’ Robbo demonstrated his apparent genius for stumbling across yellow jacket nests yet again the other evening.  I was throwing up a tarp against a corner of the house where we think water is getting into the basement again and thumped down a paving stone literally within two inches of one of their burrows.  Fortunately, a storm was rolling in and it was already quite dark, so even though I disturbed them, they only came out sluggishly and I got away without being stung this time.

Well, also speaking of the back yard, time to go mow it before the rain rolls in.  Whatever terrible nooz comes out today, I’m not going to let it ruin things for me.  Don’t you let it, either.

UPDATE: Done and done.  Everything’s mown, trimmed and blown so it can rain now ’til its eyes bubble for all I care.  And, Eldest Gel, who has been working all week at her church’s vacation bible school, is bringing me home an egg, cheese and bagel sammich.  FTW!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This evening, ol’ Robbo popped over to the devil’s website and bought himself the 7oth Anniversary Edition of “Gone With The Wind”.  Why? Because he fears that, if some people have their way, the movie will be disappeared from public view as suddenly have been all Confederate-relatated symbols at National Park gift stores, major retailers and on-line game producers, and as some hope will be at various national memorials, statues and monuments.

Not that I hold any particular brief for displaying the Confederate Battle Flag.  I certainly wouldn’t want one.  After all, my people were Scots Presbyterian Abolitionists who ran a stop on the Underground Railroad in southern Ohio, and my great, great grandfather was a Union artillery officer who fought in the Atlanta Campaign.  But I tolerate the right of others to display the CBF much as I’m asked to tolerate things like crucifixes in jars of wee-wee or Illinois Nazis (I hate Illinois Nazis) or Che or Mao t-shirts, and I fear and detest this kind of digital Jacobin airbrushing.

Anyhoo, this allows me to trot out a story I’m sure I’ve told here before:  Mrs. R had a classmate in college whose grandmother knew Margaret Mitchell back in the day and who attended the world premier of GWTW in Atlanta.   A year or two after we were married, we dropped in on this classmate for a visit and got taken to meet her grandmother at brunch.  As I recall, teh woman was aged and petite but ramrod-straight.

When the classmate introduced us to her grandmother, the woman’s first question was, “Wheyah are you from?”

“Well, we live just outside Dee Cee in teh Virginia suburbs,” I answered.

“No, no,” she said, “Wheyah are yor people from?”

“Erm…,” I replied, “Well, my family has roots in Ohio and Upstate New York, and Mrs. R is from Long Island.”

“Oh,” she sniffed, and I could tell exactly what she was thinking: “Dayum Yankees!

UPDATE:  Whoops! Catching up on the comments to posts below, I see that I, in fact, told this same story within the past 48 hours.  Sorry about that.  Know what else I’ve done two days straight?  Accidentally left my wallet at the office.

I thought I had a few years before Alzheimers’s set in.  Guess not.

UPDATE DEUX: Prof. Mondo has thoughts on the vainglory and moral preening behind the airbrush movement.

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Fathers’ Day!

Ironically enough, what with Mrs. R taking teh younger gels to camp today and teh eldest jaunting down to King’s Dominion, after Mass ol’ Robbo spent most of the day more or less just mooching around Port Swiller Manor on his own.   One can argue that a break from teenagers can be a rayther nice Fathers’ Day gift in and of itself, but it also wears pretty thin pretty fast.

Anyhoo, somebody recently asked me, “Tom, how go things with teh new doggeh?”

Well,  she certainly doesn’t avoid me anymore but at the same time she does not seem to have gained complete trust and confidence in me as she has the female members of the Port Swiller family.  Indeed, she reminds me at this point very much of Ben Bolt’s Alice:

DON’T you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,—
Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown,
Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,
And trembled with fear at your frown?

She likes it when I pet her (indeed, she seeks it out), but she mostly still goes stock-still when I do so.  Also, if I so much as look at her squiggle-eyed, she…well, what the poem says.

It’s a shame, really, and makes me wonder what kind of Alpha Male she had to deal with in her earlier life.   Sooner or later, I’m sure she’ll come round.

 

ba475a518dc890f443adffe0a9606972Greetings, my fellow port swillers and OH, HELLZ YEAH!!!

Sweet Briar College will stay open next academic year under a mediation agreement announced today by the state attorney general’s office.

Sweet Briar’s embattled current president will resign as will at least 13 members of the college’s current board of directors under the agreement, which will be presented Monday to Bedford County Circuit Judge James Updike for approval.

The agreement requires Saving Sweet Briar Inc., the alumnae group that filed suit with the Amherst County attorney to block the closing, to deliver $12 million in donations to keep the college open. The first $2.5 million must be delivered by July 2.

Attorney General Mark Herring will agree to release restrictions on $16 million from the college’s endowment to support ongoing operations, according to the agreement.

The agreement represents a significant victory for Saving Sweet Briar and County Attorney Ellen Bowyer – at least 18 new members will be elected to a newly reconstituted board of directors from a list of candidates nominated by the group. The new directors would constitute a majority and control the board.

The new board will appoint Phillip Stone, the former president of Bridgewater College, to replace the college’s current president, James Jones. The change in leadership will occur seven business days after the court approves the settlement.

This is amazingly good news!  We had heard yesterday that something big was about to come out, but I wasn’t expecting something quite this big…..

We’re still digesting the initial reports, but the important part is that the deal seems to neutralize the bad players in all this mess and allows Saving Sweet Briar a fighting chance to get the school back on the right track.

It’s still an uphill struggle, but I’ve every confidence that the Vixens can do it.

As you might imagine, both Mrs. Robbo, who as an alum has put in countless hours fighting for the Resistance this spring, as well as the Eldest Gel, who was planning to apply for early admission this fall, are ecstatic.

Bumpers all ’round, ladies and gentlemen, gunn’ls under and no heel taps!  Here’s to Sweet Briar with three times three!  Holla! Holla! Holla!

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