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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It’s getting on to that time of year now where I can foresee the end of mowing season so I’m only buying gas for the lawnmower a gallon at a time lest I get saddled with leftovers all winter. Just once I’d like to finish the last cut of the season just as the mower runs out of the last of the gas I have left in the can in the garage. “Nail the landing” as it were.

Meanwhile, the proportion of my time spent raking up leaves is gradually increasing. At this point it’s mostly just trying to keep the driveway relatively clear, especially as there’s a front moving through today with a chance of thunderstorms and a layer of wet leaves on an asphalt incline is almost as slippery as ice. A bad biznay when you’re trying to get out into my busy street.

I’ve not seen the hummingbirds for several weeks now so it seems likely they’ve all split for the coast. I’m leaving the feeder up, however, Just In Case.

Ol’ Robbo’s bonus task today was to have to climb out Youngest’s bedroom window onto the garage roof to clip back some ivy that has got a bit too frisky. Let us just say that I have a hobbit-like bad head for heights.

Finally, speaking of Youngest, I added “sundry” to the post title because she’s off sailing in a regatta today at Western Michigan University. Thus, I can truly say today that “I’ve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo“!

(Oh, I slay me.)

UPDATE: The Gel messages “Won one of the races!” Yo, ho!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is happy that Bill Shatner was able to go to the top of the sky and come back safely, but I must confess I don’t think much of this vanity space tourism stuff being pushed by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.

Sooner or later, somebody’s going to die, and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, together with calls to heavily rein in the private space industry. (Can you just imagine the uproar had Captain Kirk been lost?) This, in turn, will imperil Elon Musk’s Space-X program, which seems to Ol’ Robbo to be the only one worth while and to be making real progress in pushing out into the deep.

(That’s just my armchair opinion, of course. No way would you ever get me into any of those contraptions!)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How is it that spousal snoring can be such an irritant while doggy snoring is soothing to the point of inducing narcolepsy?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Decanter Dog in the Land of Nod

UPDATE: I should make clear that I am actually a far worse offender on the snoring front than is Mrs. R. It’s one of the few things about which she gets genuinely angry with me. I merely throw out the above question from purely my own point of view.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo recently purchased himself a (slightly used) box set of “Danger UXB“, the series, like so many other great classics, having vanished from the Netflix DVD library. I ran off the first episode last evening. 40 years on and fresh as ever.

Do you know, I have no stomach for movie suspense. I squeem and squirm and look the other way and mutter “na, na, na, I’m not listening” when the poor fellah starts banging at the bomb fuse with a hammer and chisel. And the ridiculous thing is that I feel this way even when I know perfectly well what’s going to happen next because I’ve seen it before.

Funny enough, I’m the same way with books. I can read, say, The Fellowship of the Ring a hundred times and each time get the creeps when Frodo is hiding behind the tree while the Nazgul sniffs for him on the path nearby.

In each case, there’s always something in the back of my mind that whispers what if it happens differently this time?

You may call this willful suspension of disbelief. You may also call it insanity. Your choice.

(By the bye, a glass of wine in honor of John Hawkesworth, who produced the series. Now there was a fellah who knew how to put together quality teevee.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was out for his customary lunchtime walk round the neighborhood today, my first venture out since getting the jab last Friday. (My arm still aches and I feel a little bit woozy, but the latter might be more rightly attributed to the fact that today is a Monday/Tuesday combo, and to all the ragweed pollen still in the air.)

Anyhoo, evidently this past weekend was a big time to put up Halloween displays. There seem to be a lot more such decorations out this year, both in terms of the number of houses tricked out and in the extent of such tricking. Perhaps it’s a backlash to everybody being confined to quarters last year. I don’t go in for this sort of thing myself. We put a couple pumpkins on the front steps to mark the fall season in general, and Mr. Jack Lantern puts in a one-night-only appearance on the 31st, but that’s it.

The other thing I noticed is after much talk back and forth (which has been cluttering up my home email for years), it would appear the newest speed-abatement measures are being put in on the main road through the neighborhood, a cut-over between two busy thoroughfares.

When, exactly, did speed-bumps become speed-humps? The latter always makes me think there’s material there for a slightly naughty joke.

At any rate, they’re putting in a third such bump (or hump, if you prefer) right smack dab in the middle to compliment the ones toward either end of the street. Not that it will do much good, I expect. If two aren’t sufficient, what difference will a third make? Plus, all the additional warning signs are nothing more than an eyesore. I suppose the new work is mostly to gratify the neighborhood sense that the County is doing something. Eh.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, autumn proceeds apace here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor. As I look about me, the trees are increasingly dappled with patches of yellow, orange, and brown, and it’s cool enough to lounge comfortably in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt.

All the Gels are home now for the long weekend, although I’ve only seen them briefly and not all together at the same time. When the younger two aren’t sleeping, they’ve been visiting with Mrs. R’s parents, who happen to have stopped in this weekend on their migration back to Flardah. (Ol’ Robbo currently is banned from their presence because I’m not fully jabbed yet.) But I get ’em all together for dinner this evening. I b’lieve this is the first time it actually feels out of the ordinary to have a full house again.

I never thought to see an article in praise of Breezewood, PA, but here it is. I get what it says about the place being an important waypoint and praising the folks who have stuck it out there (unlike somebody like Kevin Williamson, I’m really not a snob), but that doesn’t change the fact that the stretch between the traffic light at the end of I-70 and the ramps for the Turnpike is one of the ugliest places I know, both in terms of extended truck-stop architecture and bottleneck traffic. (Is there even a downtown? A community somewhere off the strip? I’ve never looked.) And there is such a sense of relief headed southbound once one gets through it that I’m always overcome by the urge to floor it even though the speed limit is only 55 mph. Many, many other folks feel the same way. (The Pennsylvania State Police have been feasting on them for years and years now.)

Speaking of such, I heard a good one recently: In order to pass the Murrland driver’s license test, you have to cross over into Virginia and cause an accident. (It’s funny because it’s true! And actually, Youngest told it to me. She has learned well.)

On a completely different note, Ol’ Robbo recently got the urge to read Moby Dick. (Technically I should say “reread” because I think I had to do so in high school but don’t remember much.) Specifically, I want to understand why it’s considered a classic of American lit. So far, I’m pleasantly surprised by Melville’s occasional outbursts of very playful language, which make me chuckle, and being such an old paper sea-dog from my many years of reading Patrick O’Brian puts me in good stead to follow the maritime workings easily and enjoyably. But my overarching feeling is that what the fellah really needed was an editor armed with a baseball bat. Jumping about outrageously from first to third-person narrative; inserting almost play-like interludes; impossibly intricate run-on sentences; careering wildly off on tangents; and occasional bouts of existential navel-gazing which I have to admit at least aren’t as bad as Thoreau. As Eldest put it, just tell the damned story! I’ve got the Norton Critical Series edition (hand-annotated at some points by the Mothe for some reason), which is jammed with analyses, criticisms, and commentary (plus some droll footnotes pointing out places where Melville cheated on his research), so I’ll probably plow through all that stuff, too.

And now that I reread that paragraph, I see I’m doing it, too. He tasks me!

Whelp, I suppose that’s enough for now. This is a random, not a rant, so I won’t get into a “Wither History In The Reign Of The Neo-Jacobins” discussion of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea this year.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that what actually put Moby Dick into my tiny little brain was re-watching “Major League” the other evening as a sort of wake for the now-disappeared Cleveland Indians. Those of you familiar with the fillum will recall that Tom Berringer reads a comic-book form of the story in order to try and convince Renee Russo that he’s matured. It was his line, referring to the comic, that “this happen to be a classic of American literature” that got Ol’ Robbo wondering why, exactly, the original is so considered.

I have learned over time to simply run with these free associations when they crop up. Seldom am I disappointed.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Nobody, not even my mother, knew what my father’s personal relationship with God was. But of the Old Gentleman’s opinion of organized religion, there was no doubt. In my younger day, he would go on periodic tears about its backwardness and blindness, and almost invariably end up sneering about theology being nothing more than “sitting around arguing about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.” (In the end, he became a regular attendee at the little Episcopal chapel on the island where he and the Mothe spent their final years, and even served on the vestry. I tweaked him about this once and he just mumbled something about “being social”. Uh, huh.)

Anyhoo, I recall a conversation we had one day in the early 80’s. Pope St. John Paul II had just restated the Church’s stance on what are delicately termed “reproductive freedoms” and was getting savaged for it by the press. After listening to a radio nooz report, the Old Gentleman said, “The Pope needs to get with the times!”

Now Ol’ Robbo was only in high school at the time and was not exactly a regular church-goer, and it would be another 25-odd years before I myself swam the Tiber, but even then I thought this was wrong.

“Surely,” I said, “the Pope’s responsibility is to protect the orthodox teachings of the Church from fads and fashions, and to take a mighty close look at anything calling itself ‘reform’ or ‘transformation’ or ‘going forward’ to make sure that there isn’t a wolf lurking under such sheep’s clothing.” (I didn’t put it exactly in those words, but that was the sense of it.)

The Old Gentleman waived my point away dismissively.

I bring this up in light of this Synody Synod of Synodicious Synoditiness which has just opened up in Rome, because I’m hearing and reading those buzzwords again and cannot dismiss all of it as a simple matter of poor translation or media wish-casting. Too many people whose opinions I respect, including my own Padre, are signaling either openly or otherwise that trouble is coming, possibly really big trouble, and that it’s coming not from outside HMC but from within.

As near as I can tell, the push seems to be to take the Church post-modern, to eliminate as much of the antiquated icky-poo as possible, and to start over at Year One worshiping the “god” inside each of us, meaning ourselves. (Did I get that right?) And even if the Synodic Synod of Synodical Synodipity produces only modest change in and of itself, there are plenty of those who eagerly will run with the “spirit” of the thing to cause all sorts of damage and mischief, much as was done in the case of Vatican II.

I was talking with my old pal Father M (who used to blog over at Pater Paterium), not about this Synodiffic Synod of Synodical Synodapalooza, but about the general direction of things under Father Bergoglio. He counseled patience, saying, “a fat pope is always followed by a thin pope”. (Where do I mail in my vote for Cardinal Sarah?) I also remind myself that Jesus specifically promised to Peter that not even the gates of hell would prevail against the Church.

Since it’s all out of my hands anyway, I suppose all I can do is pray, sit tight, and see what happens.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, today is the day. Later this morning Ol’ Robbo will toddle round to his grocery pharmacy and get the damned shot.

I typed and deleted several thoughts about this but decided to just leave them un-pixeled. You may draw your own conclusions about what those thoughts might be.

Ol’ Robbo will be back later to report on how it went.

Captain Kirk Voice UPDATE: Peace….and tranquility, my friends! Joy…..and contentment! For it is the Will of Landru. And I am now of the Body.

**Places hand over heart and bows**

Well, not totally, yet. I went in planning on the Johnson & Johnson one-and-done and chancing the booster boogaloo, but they were all out. It took so much effort to ratchet myself up just to get there that I couldn’t simply walk away, so I’m doing the Pfizer instead. I go back around Halloween to finish up.

All joking aside, I feel horrible about all of this on so many different levels. But I don’t see what else I can do.

There are many terms and conditions of my employment that can be, shall we say, finessed. But the word has gone out, and I believe it, that they’re dead set this time: Get jabbed or get lost. And I heard recently that any attempt to get an exemption or accommodation, particularly on non-medical grounds, will be fought tooth and claw.

Maybe if it was just Ol’ Robbo himself, I might consider starting something. But I’ve a family to feed, too. When the mandate was announced, I knew this wasn’t the hill I could ask them to die on. So here we are..

I suppose I’ll spend the rest of the day feeling weird and off, and wondering if it’s the side-effect of the jab or just my stress over being strong-armed into going through with it. Bastards.

(Okay, I guess I gave you my thoughts after all!)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest got home from school last evening for the long weekend. (Can you believe it’s fall break already?)

I’d swear the Gel is taller than she was when I last saw her in August. And this after she gained better than an inch last year.

Talk about your late growth spurt. I always thought girls did most of their sprouting early on. Certainly this was the case with the other two. Who knows why Youngest should prove the exception.

Incidentally, it may or may not have been my pondering on this question when she came home from school last spring, but “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” is floating around somewhere in my Netflix queue at the moment.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on a discussion of sammich meats downstream from here, I tossed a can of Spam into the cart when I went grocery shopping this past weekend.

As I mentioned in the comments to the previous post, Spam and Spaghettio’s seemed to be the go-to dinner of my misspent yoot when my parents were going out. Looking back, I assume the ‘rents figured (not unreasonably) that even the most handless of babysitters could serve these up without either poisoning my siblings and me, or else burning the house down.

The other thing I mentioned was the curious fact that while I recalled the fact of eating Spam, I had no memory of the taste of eating Spam. This made me a wee bit apprehensive to try it again after all these years: What if it was really revolting, after all?

Well, I just fried up some slices and clapped them into a sammich with some Kraft American Cheese-Type Processed Food Substance (which I thought fitting – or would Velveeta have been better?), and I can now report that the reason I don’t remember the taste….is that it really doesn’t taste like much of anything at all. Vaguely hammish, vaguely baconny (I cooked it pretty crispy), and a good deal saltier than I recall, but that’s pretty much it.

I suppose that it would make a reasonable sammich foundation if one had a lot of extra condiments to pile on top, but condiments are supposed to enhance the character of the underlying meat, not cover for a lack thereof.

I’ve enough left in the can for another Spammich tomorrow, but having satisfied my curiosity, I don’t feel compelled to buy any more.

Still, there you have it.

**Spot the reference.


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October 2021