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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is loitering around over an extra cuppa coffeve this morning because he really doesn’t much feel like mowing the lawn. I think it has something to do with watching his beloved Nat’nals blow several perfectly good opportunities to win against the Cubbies last evening and turn the game into a humiliating blowout defeat.  I’m getting close to panic-mode with this team. I really am.

And speaking of panic, did you see where the UK Guardian has decided it needs to turn the volume up to eleven on its “climate change” reporting rhetoric?

The Guardian has updated its official style guide to more “accurately” address the seriousness of climate change, the British publication announced Friday.

In an article explaining the decision to readers, environment editor Damian Carrington said Guardian reporters will hereby be advised to use “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” instead of “climate change,” “global heating” instead of “global warming,” and people who used to be described as “climate skeptics” will now be branded “climate science deniers.”

“We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner said in a statement. “The phrase ‘climate change,’ for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.

Orwell smiles.  Control the language and you control the debate.  Note particularly how skepticism, which is supposed to be the bedrock principle of scientific inquiry, is mutated into anti-science wrong-think.

Well, call Ol’ Robbo a knuckle-dragging troglodyte, but I’m sticking with my skepticism.  The simple fact of the matter is that nothing about the Earth is static and Ma Nature has been fiddling with the thermostat herself for time immemorial.  (Could Mankind have some kind of impact on all this? Maybe.  But I’m willing to bet it’s most likely round the margins.)  The other simple fact is that the “climate science” at issue here appears to be absolutely full of holes: bad data (the sets are too small and I’ve read horror stories about some of the collection methods), inconsistencies, frauds, hidden calculations, and (it’s all modelling anyway) failure to conform with actual events.

As I’ve said many times before, this whole biznay is about politicks, not science, and specifically globalist authoritarian politicks.  The devil with Mizz Viner and her  catastrophes for humanity.

Whelp, enough grumbling.  The cold, hard fact is that Ol’ Robbo’s lawn ain’t gonna mow itself, so I better get myself in gear and git her done.

UPDATE: Done and done.  And because we’re having our first real hot stretch of the year, Ol’ Robbo flipped on the porch ceiling fans and is relaxing with a tall glass of iced coffee.  Nectar of the Gods, as I’ve said here many times before.  The fastest way to Ol’ Robbo’s heart may be a glass of wine, but a glass of iced coffee on a hot, summah-like day will get you mighty far, too.

Oh, and as I was standing about on the driveway waiting for Mrs. R to stop fiddling with her phone and pull out so I could finish clearing off the clippings, I got to say in my best Duke voice, “Get goin’, sister!  We’re burnin’ daylight!”  She didn’t think it was s’damn funny, but my day is more or less complete now.

 

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the local classickal station is at it again with their semi-annual pledge drive.  Each time this comes around, Ol’ Robbo finds himself cringing just a little bit more.  Why?  Because every single time, not only do they use exactly the same format, they also use exactly the same language: the same scripted hooey about “community” and “the Arts” and “therapy”; the same pre-recorded plugs for promotional gift CD’s; even the same listener commentary (most of which is inane).   You’d think that after years and years of this they might try something different, especially as they’re always on about not making this or that pledge goal.

To be absolutely fair, Ol’ Robbo tried to think up some alternative fundraiser ideas himself, but really didn’t get much further than a model based on Python’s Blackmail Sketch.  Yes, it would be mighty effective, especially here in the Swamp, but somehow I don’t think the station’s board would be much interested.

By the bye, I’ve been slipping them some coin for years and years.  If I find out that some of this is leaking over to their teevee operations, especially as PBS is going full-on SJW with the kidz, I may have to rethink that very hard.  (Not saying they can’t do it, just saying I won’t voluntarily pay for it.)

And speaking of musick and money, Ol’ Robbo learned this week from comments over at AoSHQ that there exists a director’s cut of the movie “Amadeus” that contains a scene in which Constanze offers to prostitute herself to Salieri in order to get some badly-needed readies for the Mozarts.  I never much liked the movie anyway since it plays so very fast and loose with the actual facts of Mozart’s life, but this is positively obscene.

One fellow Moron said yes, the movie is inaccurate, but it’s telling the story from Salieri’s point of view and he was lying and delusional.  First, that’s a slander on Salieri.  Second, I don’t think it comes across that way from the screenplay, since there are many scene outside of Salieri’s scope of vision.  And third, for a large chunk of the audience, the movie is the reality, as it’s the only source of biographical information about Wolfgang to which they’ve likely ever been exposed or will be.

Another said well the fact was that Mozart was a true genius and wound up in a pauper’s grave and that wasn’t right.  Well, it wasn’t lack of appreciation that put Wolfgang in a pauper’s grave, but his wife who, as a new widow with two small sons and almost no assets, had to be as thrifty as possible.  (Besides, this practice was quite common in Vienna at the time.)  And why hadn’t his musickal genius brought the family greater fortune while Wolfgang was still alive?  Because as a businessman and professional, he was an absolute idiot, with neither the patience nor the foresight to put down roots, pay his dues, bide his time, build up a body of goodwill, or seize real opportunities when they presented themselves.  (Ol’ Robbo often wonders what might have happened had Mozart gone to London along with Papa Haydn, as Peter Salomon so wanted him to do.)  That’s why.

Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

[Ed. – I didn’t get a “Harumph!’ from that guy over there.]

UPDATE: Oh, by the bye, in my younger days, I’d have finished this post with the YooToob of “Rock Me, Amadeus”.  I like to think I’ve outgrown that now.  Instead, I direct your attention over to Friend of the Decanter Zoopraxiscope Don, who reports that tomorrow is World Fiddle Day and provides some toe-tapping samples to get us in the mood.  A glass of wine with you!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As the more lynx-eyed Friends of the Decanter may recollect, Ol’ Robbo’s employment unit is upping stakes and moving to a brand new building in just about two months now.

This week saw the selection of individual offices within our new space.  We’re up on a higher floor in our new digs, and there are only a certain number of window offices available, not nearly enough for our entire attorney crew.

The selection lottery was based on service seniority.  Ol’ Robbo was mildly surprised to see that I came second in the entire bunch.  I guess I have been around for a while!  (In fact, some day I’ll tell you all about it, one way or another.  I’m thinking along the lines of John Mortimer’s Rumpole as a model.)

I couldn’t participate in the selection process myself, owing to a bout of Bechuana Tummy***, so I asked my immediate supervisor to make my choice for me.  “Oh, a window office for sure, please, and on the west side of the building,” I said.

Why the west?  Well, because that’s where the weather comes from.  And Ol’ Robbo loves to watch the weather coming in.

Not that I’ll really see that much since we’ve got another equally tall building right across the courtyard on that side, but I reckon I’ll be able to see enough overhead and round the corners.  Plus, I understand I get to graduate up to two computer screens now, so I’ll always be able to keep a Doppler loop radar open in a corner of one of them to coordinate with my observations.

If all this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

 

**Even though I may or may not be dressed as one.  Spot the *almost* quote.  Hint: It involves wood.

***Spot the reference.  I actually picked up a nasty chill/fever on Monday and there’s something going about, but I couldn’t resist plugging it in because I enjoy it so much.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As I’m sure all of you already heard, today saw the passing, at the age of 85, of the great comic Tim Conway.

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t have much to say about it that others probably have said already and better, except that I always enjoyed his deadpan humor and also that from everything I’ve ever heard or read, he was a truly decent man.

Curiously, whenever I think of Conway, I automatically think of my grandmother:  Back in my misspent yoot, my first introductions to the Carol Burnett Show (and to Johnny Carson, for that matter) came when I got to have sleepovers at Grandma’s, she being much more indulgent about teevee and staying up late than my parents were.  Childhood impressions being what they are, I never completely outgrew that association.

Incidentally, the linkie above is to Ace’s post on Conway’s passing, which contains an embedded YooToob of Tim absolutely spiking the rest of the cast of the Burnett Show, and I’d heartily recommend going on over and having a dekko.   I have long maintained that there is nothing so funny in this world as watching somebody else trying not to laugh, and Conway was an utter genius at pushing his co-actors up to and over the brink.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How about a quarter of unconnected thoughts to start the week?

Firstest:  Despite the fact that it was cold and rainy in Your Nation’s Capital today, Ol’ Robbo went out for his usual lunchtime walk round the National Mall.  And as I trudged along, I was accosted by a nice-looking young woman -evidently from her accent a tourist from either the Caribbean or Africa – who wanted to know where the “Mall” was.  When I swept my arms around and said, “This is it”, she got a dumbfounded look on her face which I immediately knew meant she had been expecting a shopping mall.  This very same thing happened to me a year or two ago and at that time I was too surprised to respond tactfully.  This time, however, I kept my wits and said, “No, there aren’t any regular stores, but all the museums have nice gift shops.”  She seemed pleased.

Also, as I rounded the reflecting pool in front of the Grant Memorial, I noticed the air was full of swallows buzzing back and forth over the water in search of flying yummies.  I always love seeing this, as I also do the new hatches of Mallard chicks paddling to and fro across the pool’s surface.  Alas, this is my last spring to indulge this before my office moves away.  Gonna miss it.

Segundo:  Ol’ Robbo is very pleased that the two Elder Gels have gainful and interesting employment this summah.  Eldest started today working at Wolf Trap – she’s helping with set-up at first and will work concessions once the season starts –  and seems quite excited.  This sort of thing is right up her alley, combining the Arts with Hospitality (to which she’s always been drawn), and the more I ponder it, the more I wonder if this summah might not lay the ground-work for a future employment track.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, MIddle Gel is in the midst of an intense May-mester stats course, but when she’s done she intends to stay down in the Tidewater working for a dive-outfitter.  (She fell in love with scuba this year.  Also, boyfriend is down there.)  She’ll get paid to work in the store, but she also has a three-year internship for which she doesn’t get paid, but gets her dive-certification fees (which are hefty, so I gather) waived.  (As part of this, she’ll be going down to the Keys at some point this summah to help the outfitter conduct a dive for some clients.)  When she’s done, as I understand it, she will have gained her professional dive certificate, which she plans to parlay into graduate work and an eventual career possibly in marine biology.  (This is not a far-fetched idea at all.  Sistah’s hubby is in the field and is very enthusiastic about the opportunities for bright young ladies coming up.)

We’re not requiring Youngest to get a steady job this year, as she’s got a month’s worth of Bible Thumper Camp plus the college tour.  She herself said just yesterday, however, that she really needs to earn some money.  Musick to Ol’ Robbo’s ears.  I suggested she go with babysitting: Not only is it flexible, a responsible kid in these parts can make a killing in sweet, sweet, non-reportable cash payments.

Trois:  Regular Friends of the Decanter may recall Ol’ Robbo’s mention of his genealogy-obsessed cousin who regularly offers up new and intriguing bits of family lore?  (I believe the last time I mentioned her here was in connection with her news that one branch of the Family had been present on the Virginny Frontier in Colonial times and had suffered losses in Shawnee attacks on Kerr’s Creek in 1759 and 1763.)  Well, she’s at it again.  While in town this past weekend to go out with Mrs. Robbo, she informed me that she had definitely established our direct family tree in the neighborhood of Carlisle, PA, then very much the frontier, in 1763.  “Gawd,” I said, “I hope they weren’t mixed up with the Paxton Boys!” She’s enough of a history nerd that she laughed at the reference.  But I’m not so sure it wasn’t a possibility.

The Fourth Thing:  Well, Ol’ Robbo is off to watch “Bend of the River” which turned up today in his Netflix queue.  It’s not the best of the Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart westerns:  “Winchester ’73” takes that honor.  And why?  Because in the latter, Jimmah is driven by righteous anger to hunt down the no-good brother who murdered their father.  That I can accept completely.  But in the former, Jimmah plays an ex-Border Raider under Quantrill seeking redemption for his past wickedness by doing right.  Jimmah? A cut-throat hooligan? G’wan with ya!  I just don’t buy it.  But I like the film anyway.

Oh, and a Bonus:  At least Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats can’t lose today, seeing as they aren’t playing.  Sheesh. 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As most of you Friends of the Decanter probably already know, a new movie about J.R.R. Tolkien opened this weekend.  Ol’ Robbo inadvertently saw an ad for it yesterday (no thanks to Microsoft, which makes me look at ads when I want to play Free Cell on my laptop).  It looked…strange.

The movie is supposed to be all about the real-life inspirations for Tolkien’s great fantasy world.  However, the buzz Ol’ Robbo has been hearing in the corners of the Innertoobs  he haunts is that there is almost no mention whatsoever of a dominant factor in his life, namely his religion.  Tolkien, as I’m sure you all know, was a devout Catholic.  And while the story of Middle Earth isn’t allegory, it is most definitely shaped in many different ways by his Christianity.  How any purported ” inspirational biography” can ignore that is quite beyond me.

And even if you just shake your head and mutter something about Godless Hollywood and airbrushing history,  from a pure financial perspective the thing doesn’t make much sense to me either.  Ol’ Robbo may be just a simple country doctor, but I can’t help thinking that a movie like this, which is not at all the same thing as one of Peter Jackson’s LOTR extravaganzas, likely would appeal mostly to an audience who are already Tolkien Nerds to begin with., a laShadowlands” and the C.S. Lewis crowd.  And as Tolkien Nerds, they’re likely already pretty familiar with his biography.  And familiar with that biography, they’d be mighty put out by such a glaring omission and would sit on their hands.

But heck, what do I know?

Not that I ever do go to the movies anyway, but I’m not planning to bother with this one.  Of course, if any of you see it, feel free to drop a comment.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, it’s actually still Friday, but it’s also Ol’ Robbo’s day off.  So rather than frowsting all morning, I decided to haul my carcass out of bed early and go take care of mowing and trimming the stately grounds of Port Swiller Manor before this weekend’s expected rains set in.  Mission accomplished.

(Speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo recently saw an article proclaiming that Lawns Are Eeeeevil and Must Die! Die! Die!  What the author actually means, of course, is that middle-class suburbanites are evil and must die, die, die, only xhe’s going about it incrementally here.  Sod off, Swampy.)

So does this mean that Robbo gets to sleep in tomorrow morning? Oh, ha, ha, ha!! Think that raspberry bed is going to clean and weed itself? Not bloody likely!

In the meantime, lynx-eyed Friends of the Decanter may recall two weeks ago that I mentioned possibly posting some pictures when my peonies started blooming?  Well, I do.  And so as I made my way round the yard today, I took my phone camera along with me:

Peonies first.  I bought a number of specimens years ago from some local hippy nursery via the Innertoobs.  I can’t remember the name of the nursery, nor was I clever enough to save the varietal information about my purchases (I was young and foolish in those days), so I can only show them to you and not offer any meaningful identification.

Here’s one.  Of the various strains of peony, Ol’ Robbo much prefers the “single-flower” type as being the cleanest and most elegant.

Here’s another, perhaps my favorite because it’s so very, very delicate-looking.  Somehow it always makes me think of the Moon:

Here’s a third.  Note this variety has the sort of pom-pom thing in the middle.  I believe this is an example of what’s either a semi-double or a bomb flower.

I’ve another couple of specimens that were originally a single plant which I discovered hiding in the raspberries when we first moved in, dug up, and separated.  They’ll open in the next few days and are a deep rich pink double-flower.  Rather too showy for me, but if you float a couple of them in a glass bowl full of water, it makes a very nice table centerpiece.

As I mentioned previously, it is, in fact, high time that I dug up all of these plants and separated out their roots.  Come next year, I’m going to have a heck of a lot of specimens.  Anybody in the neighborhood want one? I’d be happy to share!

Also, while at it, I snapped a couple of roses.  This first came from my parents’ place up ta Maine.  (Again, I’ve lost the varietal information.)  I brought it down years ago.  It gets cranky in the hot Virginny summah, but is happy enough at this time of year.

Second, this is the Double-Knockout that I transferred from porch pot to garden bed two falls ago.  It’ll go on doing this all summah with very, very little maintenance, which is why I like it so much.

I have a second D-K from last year which is just a bit behind this one, plus two other unknown specimens also from Maine that haven’t opened yet.

And while I’m at it, here’s this year’s D-K installment (it’s become my accustomed Mother’s Day present to Mrs. R) nestled into its pot at the top of the porch stairs under the wisteria.  (I don’t even take it out of the container it came in, just stick it on in.)  Again, it’ll keep serving up buds all summah long.

So there you have it.

The next likely bloom arrivals will be a climbing tea-rose I have out front and various clematis scattered about.  I’d be happy to post pics of them, too, if anybody’s interested.

UPDATE:  Raspberry Bed Status: Reformed.  That I even got around to cleaning it out at all this year means that I’m way ahead of the game.  Which is a nice feeling, especially as I don’t get it very often.

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Unlike Arthur Dent, Ol’ Robbo generally is quite fond of Thursdays.  (If Douglas Adams had set the demolition of Earth on a Tuesday instead, I would have been much more in sympathy.)

Today proved an exception, however, as I got caught good and hard in the backup from an accident on the Gee-Dub, and literally wound up taking two and a half hours to  make the trip from Port Swiller Manor to my office this morning.  The bulk of this involved standing absolutely stock-still on the Parkway for about an hour and a half.

Fortunately, Ol’ Robbo is blessed with a keen sense of humor and a quick eye for the absurd.  As time wore on, I amused myself in part by noting the steadily-increasing stream of guys who got out of their cars and scuttling into the woods for a quick pit-stop.  (How the ladies afflicted with the same urge coped, I can’t imagine.  In this, we fellahs definitely have the advantage.  A “biological conspiracy” as I saw somebody put it once.)

Perhaps more fortunately, Ol’ Robbo typically doesn’t have his first cup of cofevve until after he gets to work, so I was able view the scene in relative serenity.  I readily admit that, had I been in the same boat, I doubt if I’d have found it s’damn funny.  (I wouldn’t have jumped out myself.  Not because I have any objections to a bit of au natural relief, but because of the neurotic fear that traffic would have broken up while I was away and everyone would have honked and yelled at me until I got moving again.)

It turned out, by the bye, that some yo-yo had careened off the road and slammed into a tree, why I do not know.  The car was gone by the time I passed the accident site, but you could see the spot fairly high up the trunk where the car had hit, and the whole area was blackened because it had also caught fire.  The only nooz report I can find claims that no injuries were reported, but that doesn’t quite mesh with the fact that no fewer than three ambulances picked their way through the backup and passed me as we sat there.  (Obviously, my observations were irrelevant.  If the Press tells us there were no injuries, then there were no injuries!)

Anyhoo, enough to throw anybody’s day out of kilter, I think.

Ah, well.  As I’ve said before, if you’re going to get stuck somewhere on your commute, at least the Gee-Dub is a pretty place.  It’s now just under six weeks before Ol’ Robbo’s office moves from its present downtown Dee Cee location to somewhere deep in tiger country northeast of Union Station and I have to go back to riding the Metro.  Ask me if I’m going to enjoy that.  [Narrator: He isn’t.]

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel arrived home earlier this evening after taking her last exams this morning.  As Middle Gel pointed out this afternoon while we were chatting, and as I hadn’t really thought about until then, this means Eldest is now a rising college senior.

Jumpin’ J. Jehospaphat!  How on earth could that possibly have happened?  Seems like just yesterday she was still in high school!

Middle Gel immediately asked me if this made me feel older.  At the moment I suppose I was still in shock because I said no.  Now that I’ve had time to think on it, however, yeah, yeah it does.

By the bye, I suppose this is as good a time as any to note for those of you who follow these things that Eldest is going back to Sweet Briar to finish up in the fall.  Long time friends of the decanter may recall that she transferred from there over to High Point this year.  I won’t go into all the whys and wherefores of her decision to return to SBC, but I’m awfully glad of it, as the standards of education are higher (as she herself admits), and the alumnae network is absolutely unbeatable in helping her in her next steps, whatever they turn out to be.   She’ll finish as a history major with a musical theatre minor.

I think she’s going to have a very, very good senior year.  God send that it doesn’t go by too quickly!

But of course it will.

Next spring, we’ll actually have not one but two graduations to deal with, as Youngest will be finishing up high school as well.  As I told Middle, that’s the one that really is going to make me feel the flow of time because she’s the back marker.  Heck, it seems like just yesterday that she was sitting in her high chair, smearing spaghetti sauce all over her face!

Oh, and speaking of the flow of time, the Puppy-Blender posted a FacePlant flashback featuring a remoulade recipe from Karl Bock, aka “Chef Mojo”.  I never met Chef in person, although he was a regular commenter over at the old Llama Butchers and sometimes also in the earlies here before his health went south.  But his mother and I are long-time friends in meat space.  It was nice to see this reminder turn up.

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry, but my Muse is absolutely, stonily silent this evening.  Several ideas have popped into the Robbo braims, including thoughts on radical environmentalist headlines this week and their relationship to Gnosticism; the end last evening of Youngest’s school softball season; and today’s birthday anniversary of Johannes Brahms.  Try as I might to woo her assistance, however, she’s just not having anything to do with translating them into coherent posts.  (Hell, it’s taken me twenty minutes to suss out just this paragraph!)

Blame pollen, I guess.

I suppose I’ll go and see what new ways my beloved Nationals can find to lose ball games.  That’ll free up my tongue, probably, although not in ways suitable to a family blog.

Later.

 

 

 

 

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