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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Since I already lobbed a substantive religious rant at you two days ago, I’ll just remark here that this afternoon – already a week late – I finally put together my Advent table wreath.

The pines at the entrance to our neighborhood which I usually raid for materials got trimmed some time this past fall, so I decided not to cut more off them until they get shaggy again.  Instead, I used some evergreens out of the Port Swiller Manor yard itself, mostly holly and laurel (the hollies have lots of berries this year, no doubt because of all the rain we got).  It looks pretty decent, I suppose, but I doubt it’s going to last all that long since bigger, flatter leaves dry up a lot more quickly than pine needles.  Still, it’ll do until I can go buy a couple feet of roping.

The purple-bowed wreaths went up on the front door in a timely manner, at least.  We got them at Costco this year, by the bye.  Very nicely made and quite inexpensive.  I just hope they’ll make it until Twelfth Night.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A reminder to my fellow mackerel-snappers out there that tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Get ye to Mass!

And bang on cue comes this story about some academic who is claiming that the Virgin Mary was #MeToo’d: “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario.”

Get that? We’ve come to “God is a rapist”.

Evidently from the article this fellah also amuses himself by hanging satanic ornaments on his “holiday” tree.

I don’t know whether this is just attention-monger trolling or else another example of the effort on the Left to turn Christianity into a “hate” crime.  (I should probably embrace the power of “and” here.) But what this fellah doesn’t seem to understand is that he’s messing with things that are very Real, in fact very much more so than what he believes to be the “real world” physically around  him.  I mentioned this to Eldest Gel this morning and her remark was, “Well, I guess he’ll find out the hard way.”

As They Might Be Giants once sang, “Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Tomorrow being the Feast of St. Nicholas, today the Krampus is supposed to earn his paycheck by carting off all the bad, misbehaving, disrespectful children** and doing all sorts of thoroughly unpleasant things to them.

Seems to me the guy’s been slacking off for some time now, given all the spoiled-brat, whiney, snowflakes I see about me, who are no longer even deemed bad by the so-called “culture” but have come to shape it in their own wretched image so thoroughly.

C’mon, scary Middle European anti-masque-y demonic being, get off your goat’s duff and clean house for a change!

** “Children” here I think should be defined based on mental maturity, not on actual count of years.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I noted in the post below my bout of flu and my intention to spend all of Saturday just reading in front of the fire.

Of course it didn’t work out that way.

By midday I was feeling so much better that I decided to take the dog for a long walk.  But I failed to accurately judge when the weather was going to close in.  While we were at the far end of our circuit, it started to rain.  By the time we got back, I was soaked and freezing.

As you might imagine, it was back to bed for another 48 hours for Ol’ Robbo.  We’ll try getting back on track tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I took advantage of my enforced idleness to watch some new-to-me programming in the form of two movies and a Nat Geo teevee show.

The first movie was “The Mouse That Roared“, a 1959 comedy flick in which Peter Sellers plays multiple roles.  I had tossed it into my Netflix queue and forgot about it.  Basically, a small European Duchy that depends on wine exports for its economic life gets cheated out of the market by a California cabal.  So it decides to declare war on the United States, knowing that it will lose, but expecting that we will give it lots of economic aid because we’re such magnanimous winners.  Owing to a secondary plot involving the secret development of a new Super Bomb, however, the Duchy winds up winning.  Hylarity ensues.

It was all right, I suppose, although I am no fan of Sellers’ America-bashing, especially where nukes are involved. (This is why I don’t really care for “Dr. Strangelove”.)  Pete, baby, we get it! Nukes are scary and awful! And ‘Muricans are knuckle-dragging, bombastic, Bible-thumping hypocrites!  Clang! Clang! Clang! 

Matter of fact, probably the most entertaining thing about the film was the Duchy’s military, which consisted of nothing but a company rigged out as 14th Century longbowmen, marching about 1950’s Noo Yawk.

I don’t think I’ll bother with it again.

The other movie was “The Outlaw“, a 1943 telling of the Billy the Kid story.  This was on TCM, I think.  I came in a bit late, but it seemed to be one of the more romantic portrayals of the Kid, in which he has a Code of Honor that just sometimes doesn’t mesh with the corruption and cheating of the “Real” world.  Walter Huston plays a rather inexplicable Doc Holliday, who is Billy’s partner here.  (Wyatt Earp called to say “Whut?”)  One of my favorite character actors from the time, Thomas Mitchell, plays Pat Garrett, who in the end fakes Billy’s death so that Billy can ride off into the sunset with the love interest of the story played by a very young Jane Russell (her first role, I believe).

Now Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to say that Jane Russell is the main attraction of this film, but they do manage to insert a gratuitous scene in which she falls into a stream and emerges with her dress clinging pretty tightly to her…assets.

Yes, I’d probably watch it again.

Finally, Robbo noticed last evening that one of the Nat Geo channels was running a documentary in which Michael Palin goes to tour North Korea.

I thought I’d give it a try.

I lasted about ten minutes.

During that time, Palin, shadowed very carefully by two Party monitors, goes to the DMZ and talks to a Nork lieutenant.  At one point, the lieutenant notes that it was the Americans who started the Korean War.  “Oh,” says Palin (and this is paraphrased from memory). “Well, um, it’s funny because when I was very small we were all taught that it was the Koreans…..I guess everyone has their own interpretations…”

Then the lieutenant says that of course all he wants is World Peace.  “Gosh, me too,” says Palin.  “Maybe when two people like you and me can just get together and talk, better things could happen!”

That was about all I could take.

I don’t know whether Palin was being diplomatic because he knew one wrong word would land him in the gulag, or else whether he was being idiotically naïve.  I do know how it came across…….



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Remember that all-important flu shot, the stonewalling of which precipitated such a domestic crisis at Port Swiller Manor a month ago?

Yeah, well after all the sturm und drang THAT magick pinprick really worked out well.  Ol’ Robbo wound up having a pretty decent bout of it this week after all, even missing a couple days of work.

I’m on the back side of it now, thankfully.  The fever and blinding headache are all gone, but I’ve still got the nose of W.C. Fields, the cough of a three-pack-a-day guy, and the voice of Sam Elliot.

Couple that with the fact that it’s a bachelor weekend for me and that it’s supposed to rain all afternoon and I’m sure all you friends of the decanter will agree that there’s nothing for it but to make this a robe and jammies day and say to hell with the yard.

Not that there’s much to do – a little mulching here, a few sticks to pick up there – but that can wait until next weekend.  The bottomless cup of coffee, the large stack of books, and the fireplace are the thing for me today.

(By the bye, I am not going to hesitate for a second faking the flu shot the next time Mrs. R gets after me about it.)

UPDATE:  Since this is basically a content-free post, I invite you all to nip over to this thoughtful article on Science and Religion at Yard Sale of the Mind.  It discusses at length the brainwashing of the yoots these days through crypto-Marxist academic pandering to “Muh Feelz”, a subject of keen interest to Ol’ Robbo.  One line particularly caught my attention on a personal level:

I love adolescence. Having had 4 of our kids pass from childhood to adulthood, and having one 14 year old now, I can say that one of my greatest joys as a dad has been witnessing the intellects of my own children awaken.

Bumpers all around and three times three!  I thank God Almighty that I seem to have been able to steer my own Gels through this passage successfully.  This came to mind yesterday when I was chatting with Eldest.  Apparently she finally got fed up with some snowflake in her history class who was virtue-signaling about Cortez’s treatment of the Aztecs and said loudly and coldly that our own feelings about it didn’t matter a damn and that the only way to interpret the Conquistadores historickally was in the context of late 15th and early 16th Century Spanish politicks, including the Reconquista, the Inquisition, and the developing imperial economy.  “How the hell do you think they’d treat the Aztecs?” she said.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Although in the New Calendar this is Christ the King Sunday in the Catholic Church, in the Old Calendar which we follow at our Traditional Latin Mass, it’s simply the final Sunday after Pentecost.  (In the Old Calendar, Christ the King is the last Sunday in October.) In either case, today marks the end of the Liturgical Year and we’re now squared away to begin a new one with the start of Advent next Sunday.

Our Padre today was talking about the end of the fiscal year in the biznay world, a time at which the accountants crunch the numbers to determine profits and losses, and to see just how the biznay “did” over the prior year.  He suggested a parallel examination of our own personal faith – what did we do over the year that brought us closer to God? What did we do that pushed us farther away? What changes are we going to make this coming year to improve our balance sheet?

Pretty good food for thought.  And, at least in my case, a pretty good argument for corporate austerity going into the New Year.

Since it’s Sunday, Ol’ Robbo will use the opportunity to wish you all a belated happy St. Cecilia’s Day.  (Her Feast is actually November 22, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day this year.)

Because Ol’ Robbo is so fond of musick, St. Cecilia (patroness thereof) is probably my favorite of the lot, and certainly has the most workaday role in my life: I keep a Donatello relief of her on top of my piano, and when I start using bad language in frustration over my feeble playing, I turn to her for aid in asking pardon.  I also thank her for her assistance on those rare occasions when I feel I’ve done justice to a particular piece.

And speaking of musick, I am here to tell you that as of today, Sunday, November 25, 2018, Ol’ Robbo is already sick to death of the X-Mas musick playing in the grocery stores, in teevee commercials, and already on the Local Classickal Station.  For those of you requesting an extra side of curmudgeonry in Ol’ Robbo’s “holiday season” posting this year, your order is ready for pick-up.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope all you friends of the decanter had a happy – or at least an uninteresting in the Chinese curse sense –  Thanksgiving.  I can certainly say that the Family Robbo’s was one of the best I can remember: Thirteen of us sat down to dinner on Thursday, and it was a positive joy to see the Gels, along with my nephew and two elder nieces, really taking their places as the next adult generation of the family.  No harsh words, since every single one of us except my elder cousin and my four-year-old grand-nephew (it’s a long story) are more or less of the same socio-politickal frame of mind.  Instead, lots of rapid-fire banter and general jollity.  Plus, they all ate like wolves.

A few odds and ends:

♦  As they have for many years now, Robbo’s brother and SiL hosted.  Brother likes to roast his turkey on the grill, so we two always wind up spending several hours outside on T-Day afternoon, fiddling with the coals, adding wood chips now and again, worrying about whether the thermometer is giving accurate readings, and generally kibitzing.  (The adult beverages, of course, may be taken as a given.)  This year he did such a good job of it that Ol’ Robbo is beginning to think about doing his Christmas roast beef the same way.

♦ I notice that hotels seem to take great liberty with the use of the word “suites” in their names.  To me, a two bed double is a two bed double, whether it has a small reception area attached to it or not.  “Suite” means separate bedrooms.  I had to share with Mrs. R and the two Younger Gels this year.  (Eldest goes to school nearby and just stayed in her dorm.)  They’re all slobs.

♦  Another tradition Brother and I have is to go hiking on the Friday after T-Day, in part to work off our overindulgences of the day before, in part to flee the madness that is “Black Friday”.  This year, however, it was much colder and danker than we had anticipated.  We took one look at the sky, said, “Nah, Brah”, and instead spent all afternoon watching college football.  First was the Texas-Kansas game, about which we cared not much except for a residual fondness for the Longhorns from our misspent yoots in Texas.  Second was the Virginia Tech-UVA game, about which we cared a great deal since my nephew is a junior at Tech.  Woah, what a game.

And all the Hoos in Hooville went boo-hoo-hoo!

♦  Speaking of traditions, the other day Ol’ Robbo had seen a clip for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special featuring the Peanuts gang all around the table and said to himself, “Self, I see that Franklin is sitting all alone on one side.  Perhaps somebody will yell RAAAAAYCIIISSS!!!”  I was only joking, but evidently in the Brave New Dystopia, nothing is funny.

Sigh.  On the drive home this morning, Mrs. R was rattling off talking points about how Charles Shultz was, in fact, quite enlightened about race relations for his time, how he insisted on having Franklin in the show despite others’ objections, and how one has to look at these things in context.

“You’re wasting your time, you know,” I said.  “For the people screeching, this is about the will to power.  You can’t reason or argue with it.  It consists totally of ego and emotion and has no goal other than destroying absolutely everything outside of itself.”

♦  Actually, the character I’d hate getting stuck next to is Pigpen.  Blech.

♦  And speaking of the drive home, it simply poured all the way from west-central North Carolina to Northern Virginia.  Middle Gel had driven herself to the Feast from the Tidewater area on Wednesday, and the whole way home today I was thanking Heaven that at least all this muck is supposed to blow out overnight and that the Gel would have a nice day to get herself back to school tomorrow.  It was only a short while ago that I learned the stinker had herself lit out this morning to go stay with her roommate (who lives near campus) overnight and thereby save herself the slog tomorrow when traffic gets bad.  So what am I gonna do with all this pent up worry?

Anyhoo, a good time was had by all, everyone is back where they ought to be, and Ol’ Robbo has the indulgence of another full week before I need to get myself in an Advent frame of mind.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is going to take a couple days away from the laptop in order to rest his eyes some and also to do a bit of meatspace holiday reveling.

If it’s content you want, here’s a link to the question I asked a couple of years ago (and which is a matter of war to the knife for some people): Which was really the “First” Thanksgiving?

Knock yourselves out.  I’ll see you on the other side.

And in the meantime, drive careful and make sure you eat and drink too much!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo recently noticed that Verizon had added a couple of new local stations (one of which seems to be based in Winchester, VA Hagerstown, MD – see below) to its cable package.

I suppose in order to gin up an audience base, these stations are running “Star Trek” four-packs each evening: TOS, NG, DS9, and V.  I’ve started re-watching TOS just for the heck of it.

They’re running the “modified” version of the series that came out a few years ago in which the vast majority of the original external space shots have been replaced with CGI updates.  I have to say that as much as I liked some of the cheesy old effects, I actually approve of this do-over because it’s respectful of the original, doesn’t draw undue attention to itself, and doesn’t seek to muck about any plot points.  (Nowhere, nowhere is there any suggestion of the equivalent of Han not shooting first.)

I can’t help thinking again that Lucas coulda learned a thing or two from this.  (Of course, that assumes that he respected his own original, didn’t want to draw undue attention to himself, and didn’t seek to muck about any plot points.  And as they say, never assume because it makes an “ass” of “u” and “me”.)

And no, I’m not a sci-fi geek.

UPDATE: The new cable channel is the H & I Network.  Its programming seems to be largely old-school reruns, with which I have no problem at all.  (Not that I watch much teevee anyway.)  They seem to have taken over WDCA in Dee Cee, and also have a station WDVM in Hagerstown.  The latter is currently running an ad for a bottom-feeding car dealership that features an astonishingly good voice impersonation of Marisa Tormei in “My Cousin Vinny”.

Oh, and to illustrate my main point above, last evening’s episode was “The Squire of Gothos“.  At one point, the Enterprise is trying to escape and the super-powered alien uses the planet Gothos itself to box her in.  The original sequence was, if I recall correctly, meh.  The new one is pretty cool without being all about itself.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I don’t usually link to or comment on stories over at AoSHQ simply because I believe anybody who drops in here is probably already a member in good standing of the Moron Horde.

I did want to highlight this post, however, because it’s been making me laugh all afternoon: [Stormy] Daniels: Trump Destroyed My “Career” of “Writing” and “Directing” “Movies” of People Having Sex.

Yes, she’s claiming that Trump ruined her career….as a pron star!

Furthermore, she did so while speaking…. at the Oxford Union Debating Society!

As Dave Barry likes to say, I swear I’m not making this up.

Ol’ Robbo immediately thought of one of his favorite exchanges from the eminently-quotable “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum“:

Pseudolus: In love? You? Who is she?

Hero: Sometimes you can see her in that window!

Pseudolus [disgusted]: A common courtesan in the house of Lycus?

Hero: Is that bad?

Pseudolus: Well, there’s no way to make it look like an achievement……

If I recall correctly, the whole Stormy Daniels thing originally was splashed across the front pages in an effort to peel conservative Christians away from Orange Man Bad.  It didn’t work, obviously, and now from the wreckage it seems Mizz Daniels is going for the martyr angle.

I’m going to guess that won’t work much either.

(In fact, I do rayther feel sorry for her, but probably not in the way she wants me to.)


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