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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo does not recall exactly when this biznay of a post-Thankgiving “Giving Tuesday” first manifested itself. All I know is that the drumbeat seems to get louder and louder with each passing year.

Of course, one can hardly argue against the ideas of charity and generosity in and of themselves, but it seems to me that this ever increasing thumpa-thumpa-thumpa – as exemplified by the stream of emails pouring into my various accounts, both work and personal – is transmogrifying “Giving” Tuesday into “Gimme” Tuesday.

That is all.

UPDATE: So far in the email stakes today, the heaviest solicitations have come from my old school, The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT. Out of idle curiosity, I looked up their endowment. $1.5 Billion and record returns this year. Riiiight.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I don’t know about you, but Ol’ Robbo is still trying to shake off the effects of Thanksgiving Weekend, about which I updated below. So just a few things:

Regarding our travels, I don’t know if it was just a function of our departure times, but there was virtually no traffic on the roads either down-bound to North Carolina Thursday morning, nor on the return Saturday. Has anybody put out any figgahs on holiday traffic this year as compared to others? Not that I’m complaining, mind. It was pure bliss to sail through so quietly and I believe I beat my own best time going both ways.

Similarly, Mrs. R and teh Gels, gluttons for punishment, sallied forth to the local malls on “Black Friday” and report the crowds were very small, indeed.

***

And now here we are in Advent. I discovered yesterday, much to my surprise, that I had no candles for my table wreath (I thought I had) so had to make a hasty order. I’m also in a quandary about the greens with which to decorate it. The one fir tree in my yard is now devoid of needled branches within reach from the top of my ladder and I’m getting too old to climb up higher. On the other hand, it’s ridiculous to buy yards of garland or an extra door wreath just to pirate the doings. I’m considering just using laurel and holly cuttings this year, although those dry out pretty fast and have to be replaced continually. Heigh-ho.

***

On a completely different note, Ol’ Robbo has been watching a teevee program recently called “Pivotal Battles of American History” (or something like that), hosted by Kelsey Grammer, of all people. I’ve seen episodes about Brooklyn, Bunker Hill, and Yorktown, and also most recently one about First Bull Run. Generally, although overly-condensed in some places, I find the history to be reasonably good. However, I see that there’s going to be one about Little Big Horn. Ol’ Robbo won’t watch this one on the grounds that it was not a “pivotal battle” and is only in the series to get eyeballs. Little Big Horn was, at best, a heavy skirmish. And although it was very important to the men actually involved and to their families, it played no significant part in the overall course of events, either in the Sioux Campaign specifically or in western history in general. So there. (One of these days I’m going to post on the uncanny similarities between that battle and the British disaster at Isandlwana in 1879.)

***

Well, that’s enough to go on for now. I suppose I’d better get on with digging out all the bumf that stacked up on my desk during my absense.

On behalf of the Roman Catholic Boys for Art,** here’s wishing you all a safe and joyous Thanksgiving Day!

For Ol’ Robbo’s part, I may learn of some potentially exciting news at our celebration but will say no more about it now so as not to fall flat on my face crank up anticipation too much.

I’ll let you know on the other side!

**In accordance with the RCBfA bylaws, the pumpkin (pictured above) is, technically, a fruit. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Well, once again Ol’ Robbo hopes you all had a happy Thanksgiving. We certainly did.

So far as the mystery nooz goes, I am glad I did not speak ahead of myself after all. You see, my nephew and his Young Lady are pretty much certain to get engaged some time soon. What had been spread about was rumor that an actual Announcement was to be made when all of us gathered together. This proved to be groundless. In fact, my nephew was really rayther annoyed when he learned of all the gossip that had been flying around. Heh.

In the meanwhile, all the usual pleasant things happened at the Robbo Family shindig. My brother roasts his bird out on the bar-b every year and this time got it absolutely bang-right. As Gravy Captain, my contribution to the feast was made better directly as a result of his triumph. As for overall tone, everyone was in good spirits and there was plenty of festive jollity.

I suppose the only down side this year was that Ol’ Robbo, in order not to be a spoil-sport, agreed to watch the World Cup match between the U.S. and England yesterday. Other people may genuinely like it but soccer leaves me cold. The fact that after 90 minutes this match ended in a nil-nil tie only deepened the chill for me. On the other hand, it was an excuse to sit about and indulge in more food and drink, so it had that going for it.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Amid all the shouting and tumult of the headlines, Ol’ Robbo noticed this little item: Scientists Confirm You Can Communicate With Your Cat By Blinking Very Slowly. The article goes on to explain how doing so sends signals of calm and relaxation to kitteh.

Well, not to toot his own horn but Ol’ Robbo has known this empirically for years and years. I never thought of myself as a cat person, never wanted to be a cat person. But if my count is right, we’ve had seven of the little brutes (so far) in the course of our married life and so…..I guess I’m a cat person.

And, yes, calmly and slowly squinting at them does seem to have a pleasurable effect. As a matter of fact the current elder Decanter Cat often jumps into my lap and deliberately stares at me in order to get me to do it, upon which she curls up and contentedly dozes off. (Of course, this is invariably when the tide is out in my kawfee cup or wine glass, but that’s a different issue.)

And I’ll throw in a sort of mirror tidbit: The single most effective way I’ve found of making Decanter Dog understand she’s been naughty is to stare straight into her eyes at short range. She hates that.

Anyhoo, as I say this is old nooz. But now that it has earned the coveted “Scientists say” seal of approval, I suppose I’m allowed to legitimately believe it.

A glass of wine with the Puppy-Blender.

UPDATE: Speaking of such things and apropos to the post below, Youngest just got a part-time job as a veterinary assistant at the local animal hospital. You may think this random, but she is still determined to go to vet school some day, so not only will this keep her off the streets till she goes back to school, it’ll look very well on her resume.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, all three Gels made it home to Port Swiller Manor ahead of the Thanksgiving hols safe and sound, albeit not without incident.

I mentioned Youngest’s return last weekend. Academically, she’s done until January, but now she’s shocked, shocked, that we expect her to get a seasonal job in the interim.

Eldest got home on Friday after getting caught in a snowstorm in the mountains of western Murrland. (We actually got half a dozen flakes here that afternoon.)

Middle topped that travelling home on Saturday by getting bitten by a pit bull at a gas station in Washington, PA. Although the station manager called the cops, the dog and its owner had wandered off by the time they got there. So, out of an abundance of caution, the Gel now has to get rabies shots.

I suppose the drama never really goes away, but at least when it’s over the phone it’s somewhat less noisy.

UPDATE: Just so.

Self: “Is there anybody else in this house who knows how to load a dishwasher properly?”

Eldest Gel: “We do it to test you for senility, Dad. We know the day you don’t complain about it is the day we’ve lost you.”

I tell ya, I don’t get no respect!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has had a couple beastly-busy days and had been looking forward to a relaxing evening of teevee and early beddy-byes tonight.

So imagine my *twitch* state of mind when I came downstairs in robe and jammies only to discover that the powder-room loo was spewing all over the place, most of its, em, soiled content making its way down through the floor and into the basement we’ve just spent so much money water-proofing and drying out.

I knew immediately what the problem was: Something’s blocking the discharge line out to the septic, and every time the pump tries to push the wastewater, it washes back.

How does Ol’ Robbo know? I’ve been to this rodeo before. At least twice.

To borrow the H.L. Mencken quote atop another blog’s masthead, “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

And I know who’s throat I’d start with. Youngest just came home a couple days ago. Coincidence? I think not!

Anyhoo, here I am not relaxing, but instead waiting around until who-knows-when the plumber can get here to snake the blasted thing out.

Grrrrrrr………

UPDATE: Well, the who-knows-when turned out to be fairly late yesterday morning, so we wound up going about 18 hours without water. And of course the plumbers confirmed my diagnosis. (Whatever gratification I derived from being right was wiped out by the excessive cost.) And of course my admonishments to the household were met with tearful denials and countercharges of hard-heartedness. And of course guess who gets to clean things up.

Double grrrrrrrr……..

UPDATE DEUX: It is just possible that Youngest’s sua sponte offer to run out to the store this afternoon and buy me more milk (which is critical to my morning kawfee and which she’s been hoovering down since she got home) represents some small act of contrition.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For some months now, Ol’ Robbo’s FacePlant feed has been peppered by ads from the Nelson County, Virginny** Visitor Center inviting me to enjoy a “Dark Skies” vacation there. The ads are meant to trumpet the joys and importance of a pristine night sky, but they feature dimly-lit cabins and make me think mostly of axe-murders.

And just this morning I got an email from the local Park Authority touting its own “Dark Skies” event “to celebrate and learn about the importance of dark skies in our community.” The event promises the “opportunity to participate in hands-on activities.” The imagination boggles.

Look, I get that a dark night sky is aesthetically pleasing and good for nocturnal animals and all the rest of it. But “light pollution” is a cost of civilization and that’s all there is to it. No amount of harumphing about it will change this. Want a really dark sky? Move to North Korea:

They’ve got it figured out.

** Nelson County is the home of the real-life family which became teevee’s “The Waltons” – and here I’ve just dated myself. Ol’ Robbo also heard long ago that in its time it was a bootlegging hotbed. It was said that in Nelson County, when the moon came over the mountain it did so in quart jars. (I snark about these things because the Nelson County cops are vicious about speeding and over the years I have had several very close calls there running up and down U.S. 29.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In the Ordinary of the Mass, immediately after the “Our Father” comes this prayer:

“Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present, and to come; and by the intersession of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of Andrew, and of all the Saints, mercifully grant peace in our days, that through the assistance of Thy mercy we may be always free from sin, and secure from all disturbance.”

Somewhere or other – actually, I’m almost positive my Padre related this during one of his homilies – it was suggested that the name of Andrew was not originally included in this prayer, but was inserted later at the behest of his champions who felt he was getting short shrift in the Liturgy, being overshadowed by Peter, Paul, and John the Beloved, which said champions considered to be hard cheese, given that Andrew was the very first of the Apostles.

I’ve no idea whether this is true or not, but the effect the story has on me is that every time I read this prayer, “and of Andrew!” sounds in my head in a high-pitched voice from off-stage.

I’m probably not doing myself any favors Judgement-wise, but I can’t help the earworm.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those of you looking for Ol’ Robbo’s usual Saturday Garden Posting will just have to delay your gratification this week. I was just going to gripe about gathering up wet leaves anyway, and regular friends of the decanter have heard that song before.

Instead, a funny thing.

I’d considered including in the random thread below a thought on the return of the Gels for the Thanksgiving hols, and specifically of Youngest’s return from her semester abroad in Australia scheduled for a week from Sunday. I decided to dismiss this idea as being a bit premature and to save it up for next weekend.

So imagine Ol’ Robbo’s surprise at wandering into the kitchen earlier this evening and finding Youngest standing there! The rotten stinker had moved up her timetable without telling anybody about it!

On the one hand, the Dad in me, the part that insists on waypoint contact when the Gels are on their travels, rebelled.

On the other, the thought of Youngest pawning Mrs. R was, well, irresistible. Suppressing my initial surprise, I followed her into the living room, where Mrs. R was camped out.

The reaction? Priceless.

Still…rotten kid.

** Spot the reference

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

Ol’ Robbo is not going to comment on the events from earlier this week, in part because this isn’t really a politickal blog, in part because we don’t even actually know for sure what happened, and in part because if I paid any attention to all the spin being furiously spun my neck would snap. We shall see. We shall see.

In the meanwhile, we’re getting a good bit of rain today from what’s left of Hurricane Nicole, soaking all the leaves that are down and guaranteeing that Ol’ Robbo is going to have a bad time cleaning them up tomorrow. (And I need to make major gains tomorrow because starting Sunday the temperature is going to drop right off, making yardwork that much more unpleasant.) Heigh-ho.

Last evening Ol’ Robbo re-watched “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940), the delightful little romantic comedy with Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan, and the Great and Powerful Oz (aka Frank Morgan). I’d only seen it once before and remembered there was something or other about it that I had bookmarked in my brain, but was surprised when Morgan turned up. “Oh, that’s what it was!” I said to myself. Fortunately, I said it internally. I’m one of those people who love to cross-reference actors while watching a movie. (“Oh, yes, he was so-and-so in such-and-such.”) Mrs. R is one of many who can’t stand people like me when it comes to this habit, so I do my best to suppress it when she’s around. It can be hard sometimes.

Well I suppose this turned out to be a pretty random post after all. My apologies. I’ve been wicked busy with work lately and haven’t had much time or energy to focus on anything else.

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