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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As of 5:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, ol’ Robbo’s summah hols officially began.  (I say “officially” because at least in spirit I had already left the office at the beginning of the week, doing nothing much more than sorting things between that which I could ignore until I get back and that which I could ignore full stop.)  Tomorrow we go to meet up with the Former Llama Military Correspondent and his family at a lake house on which we’re going snacks, there to loaf about, perhaps kayak a bit, play some croquet and badminton, and drink large quantities of adult beverages.

We tried this a couple years ago down in the Outer Banks and I can’t say I enjoyed it very much.  The “house” there was actually a condo built right smack in the middle of a zillion other condos.  It was too small for the ten of us and the whole area was far, far too crowded for Robbo’s taste.  This year we’ve got a real house, set on its own on a little point of land with a dock and a small beach, so I’m hoping it will be genuinely relaxing.

“Say, Robbo, don’t you usually go up tah Maine and stare at the bay?” I hear some of you asking.  Well, yes, we did for many years, but I’m afraid that’s about over.  The cottage is crumbling and, not being very efficient slumlords or investment wizards, we just don’t generate the kind of dosh necessary to really fix it up or, better yet, knock it down and start over.  So it’s on the market.  (If any of you are interested, ignore that part about crumbling.)  Also, I just don’t think Mrs. R and the gels really liked it very much – they are of the school of holiday-making that requires stimulation and entertainment, two things you’re just not going to find in Midcoast Maine.  I’m sure gonna miss it, though.

Anyhoo, I probably won’t be around here very much for the next week, so for your consideration I present some few thoughts still idling round my otherwise rapidly stagnating braim:

♦   I must say that I continue to delight in watching Gozer the Gozarian Teh Donald flip the bird at the MSM (or, as the Puppy-Blender likes to call them, “Democratic operatives with bylines”) and cause the GOP Establishment to soil its collective undies.  The GOPe has absolutely nobody to blame for all this than themselves.  While the Donks have gone national socialist, the GOP has gone Vichy despite being elected specifically to stop the drift lurch left.  Teh Donald is simply filling the void where we fools thought the Establishment would stand and fight.  To hell with them.  (Oh, and here’s a pro tip, GOPe:  Don’t call us stupid.)

♦  Speaking of such things, I see where Berke Breathed has resurrected Bloom County.  Good on him and I hope he keeps it up.  I’m curious to see how well he gets on.  Although he’s something of a lefty, B.C. was never of the same self-rightious un-funny smarminess as Doonesbury and Breathed wasn’t afraid to go after twits on his side of the fence from time to time.   However, that was back in the 80’s and 90’s, before the advent of the Social Justice Warrior cadre.  Wonder what will happen the first time he takes a swipe at one of their sacred cows.  (Small point of trivia: Breathed went to college with my high school Latin teacher.)

♦  What can ol’ Robbo say of his beloved Nationals except thank God the rest of the N.L. East is so awful this year.   In case you haven’t been following things, our trouble is injuries: better than half of our starters are out at the moment.  And while the bench guys have been doing as well as anyone could possibly hope, there’s a reason they’re bench guys after all.   During the game last evening, F.P. Santangelo (the Nats’ teevee color guy) said the team reminded him of the Memphis Belle – banged up, shot up, but still leading.  I chuckled appreciatively at that little bit of historickal allusion.

♦  Following up on our bear-sighting of this week, I was out mowing in the little clearing behind the back fence this morning (keeping an eye peeled over my shoulder, you may be sure) when I suddenly stepped in the answer to the rhetorical question about bears and woods.  Yes.  Yes, they do.

♦  The Family Robbo has been obsessed over the past couple weeks with playing a board game called Colorku, which seems to be Sudoku involving colored balls instead of numbers.  Being a crossword snob, I never got into sudoku myself so have no real interest in this game either, but anything that gets the gels off their damned iThingies is just fine with me.

Whelp, I suppose I had ought to go and see about packing.  Or at least thinking about packing.  Or possibly thinking about when it will be time to start thinking about packing.  Or something.   Meanwhile, you all know the drill:  Decanter and walnuts are on the table and the Stilton is on the sideboard.  Swill till your eyes bubble and I’ll be back later.

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention that no, Daisy dog does not accompany us.  Instead, she’s off this afternoon to a sort of free-range kennel we found.  It’s a big farm of so many acres and they basically just let the dogs run around all day and bring ’em inside at night.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers! A rainy Saturday morning at Port Swiller Manor allows me to duck mowing the lawn and instead bore those two or three who still gather over the decanter with my first impressions of the great state of Wyoming, or at least of its south-easternmost parts.  (Ol’ Robbo was taken camping in Yellowstone as a toddler, but that hardly counts.)

This area is pure High Prairie, the westernmost part of teh Great Plains lapping up against the Rockies, and resembles, in large part, nothing so much as the Ocean.  George Armstrong Custer puts it rayther well in the early part of his “My Life on the Plains”:

Starting from almost any point near the central portion of the Plains, and moving in any direction, one seems to encounter a series of undulations at a more or less remote distance from each other, but constantly in view.  Comparing the surface of the country to that of the ocean, a comparison often indulged in by those who have seen both, it does not require a very great stretch of the imagination, when viewing this boundless ocean of beautiful living verdure, to picture these successive undulations as gigantic waves, not wildly chasing each other to or from the shore, but standing silent and immovable, and by their silent immobility adding to the impressive grandeur of the scene.  These undulations, varying in height from fifty to five hundred feet, are sometimes formed of a light, sandy soil, but often of different varieties of rock, producing at a distance the most picturesque effect.

The constant recurrence of these waves, if they may be so termed, is quite puzzling to the inexperienced plainsman.  He imagines, and very naturally, too, judging from appearances, that when he ascends to the crest he can overlook the surrounding country.  After a weary walk or ride of perhaps several miles, which appeared at starting not more than one or two, he finds himself at the desired point, but discovers that directly beyond in the direction he desires to go rises a second wave, but slightly higher than the first, and from the crest of which he must certainly be able to scan the country as far as the eye can reach.  Thither he pursues his course, and after a ride of from five to ten miles, although the distance did not seem half so great before starting, he finds himself on the crest, or, as it is invariably termed, the “divide”, but again only to discover that another and apparently higher divide rises in his front, and at about the same distance.  Hundreds, yes, thousands of miles may be journeyed over, and this same effect witnessed every few hours.

In fact, thanks to modern speed (80 mph speed limit, baybee!), these “gigantic waves” do seem to chase each other wildly.  I’ve been on the Plains before, mostly in Illinois and Iowa.  I’ve driven between Omaha and Lincoln.  Because I flew in and out of Denver on this trip, I got a chunk of Northern Colorado, too.  But it was only once I got into Wyoming, especially north of Cheyenne, that I really got the full effect, most of these other areas being either urbanized or else thoroughly tamed farmland.  It was absolutely humbling – wave after wave after wave of land, all under an enormous sky.  However, it was not all plain sailing, because these hills are also broken up by a succession of creeks and rivers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!  A few odds and ends on this stormy, Nats rained out, evening, for your consideration:

♦  Ol’ Robbo continues to believe that Social Media is the new young god on the political scene these days:  swaying Low Information Voters, stampeding Big Biznay and scaring the absolute shite out of the politicos.  Unfortunately, it’s also a petulant, spoiled, adolescent god with a massive Narcissist complex, an absentee father, a mother driven to bribe it for faux-affection,  and an agenda that amounts to showing them all how wrong they were.

 God (the real one) help us all.

♦  On these lines, I recently looked into purchasing a complete DVD set of The Dukes of Hazzard in protest of the sudden urge to airbrush the Confederate Battle Flag off the top of the General Lee.  250 to 300 bucks? Not bloody likely!

♦  An completely gratuitous note: John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in TDoH:TOS, bought a house in San Antonio originally built by ol’ Robbo’s parents.  Yeah, buddy, I and my brother were the guys who first cleared that 2.5 acres of brush and scrub and established the lawn and gardens.  You’re welcome.

♦  Also, perhaps more importantly, on these general pre-totalitarian lines, I absolutely love this bumper sticker.

♦  Speaking of new things, are other friends of teh decanter slightly creepified by the new Kentucky Fried Chicken ad campaign featuring a zombie Colonel Sanders?  I’m old enough to remember ol’ Harland himself doing said spots.  He was gracious and dignified.  This new fellah? Snarky, flippant, and, for lack of a better term, icky.  Not a good thing.  Is there no one in the Sanders family who could step up and do a legacy thing the way Dave Thomas’s daughter did for Wendy’s?  (Okay, I confess that I thought the “Wendy” Thomas ad campaign was rayther lame and much prefer the current hot ginger, neo-Dana Delany thing, but that’s a different matter.)

♦   Dana Delany.  Be right back.

♦  Modern Times.  I was 13 before I took my first commercial jet flight – a fly-fishing trip to Alaska, accompanied by much ballyhoo and bedlam- and also accompanied and heavily monitored by the Old Gentleman.  This evening I finally caved in to teh youngest gel’s request to hop a flight some time soon with her best friend to Chicago to visit said friend’s father.

♦   Okay, to finish up, I still love this.

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

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!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ace picked up on a story this afternoon about some hipster-doofus preening over his company establishing a “penalty” jar for anyone using the expression “you guys” in the workplace.  Because sexist, non-inclusive micro-aggresion.  Or something.  G’wan over and read it.

For the record:

As most friends of the decanter know, ol’ Robbo is the sole male entity at Port Swiller Manor, his wife, his children, his cats and his dog all being members of what used to be called the Fairer Sex.  I address the various combinations of them as “you guys” all the time.  They, at least the ones who speak English, do the same.  To date, none of them have burst into flames, turned into pillars of salt or otherwise been reduced to quivering jellies of oppressed helplessness by my thoughtless, patriarchal labels.  I get tagged for all kinds of Bad Dad infractions these days, but this ain’t one of them.

And for bonus points?  One of my very best friends (besides Mrs. Robbo, of course) is a woman.  We’ve known each other a quarter century.  We call each other “dude” in homage to our mutual liking of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.  Again, no psychological scarring that I’m aware of.

So I’m going to file this one under “passive-aggressive bullying”.

What I wonder is this:  In part because of my job and in part just because, Ol’ Robbo is pretty up on teh Innertoobs and all the newz and memes and whatnot that get flashed across them, so I’ve got what amounts to bench seats in the current social wars.   Of course I’m going to see things like this.  But how much farther out does it travel?  How far into what one might call, resorting to classical thinking, the res publica does this kind of virus spread?

My hope, when I find myself feeling overwhelmed from time to time by the SJW assault on Civilisation, is that the majority of people simply ignore such things, either intentionally or else simply because they’re too busy focusing on other matters.

Yes, that’s my hope and I’m sticking to it.

Oh, hang on….I just got a message that there’s a “Mr. Odoacer” at the door who wants to have a word.  Be right back.  I’m sure he’s just distributing pamphlets or looking for petition signatures.

In the meantime, speaking of Bill and Ted and “Dude!”, one of my favorite bits from the movie:

 

 

 

royal-navy-flag_10928Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo apologizes for the lack of posting this past week – this and that have imposed themselves upon his limited free time.

However, since the Nats dropped a winnable game to the Yanks rayther early this evening, I at least have a few minutes to get in a little gratuitous Aubrey/Maturin posting now.  (For those of you who know what this means, read on.  For those of you who don’t, pray follow the link, read up on things, and then visit the devil’s website to order up your copy of Master and Commander, the first book of the series.  You won’t regret it.)

Firsto, I should mention that I have been a member of an Aubrey-Maturin Appreciation Society over on teh FaceBooks for some time now, much to my edification and satisfaction.  A few months back, one of my fellow members (who happens to be a professional historickal artist) began offering our crew a bumper sticker.  I have not received permission to post a screen-shot of it, but I can describe it:  Against a background of the Royal Navy flag, it says in bold “AUBREY/MATURIN ’16” with an underlying text of “There’s not a moment to lose, for all love…”  I slapped said sticker on the back of La Wrangler a couple days ago, and the puzzled expressions that I’ve seen in my rear-view mirror since then have been priceless.

Secundo, I should mention that in the summah I generally drive with all the back panels off said (soft top) Wrangler, since she has no A/C.

Anyhoo, yesterday, as I left teh office, a violent thunderstorm was bearing down on my particular corner of Your Nation’s Capital.  In order to get from my garage to teh  route out of town toward Port Swiller Manor, I first have to travel about half a block east before swinging about to pick up the primary westward artery.  I did this just as the main blast of teh storm hit, which meant that for a couple moments solid packets of rain were being blown straight in through the backside of La Wrangler, dousing the dashboard, the inside of the windshield, and the back of my head and arms.

My only response? A shrug and a muttered, “Yes, a right dirty commute, mate.”

Eh, I amuse me.

Speaking of which, another source of amusement that will only make sense to local friends:  That “primary westward artery” of which I speak is Constitution Avenue, which, of course,  eventually empties out on to the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge.  The ramp for the northbound George Washington Parkway (which I need to take) is on the far side of said TR Bridge, but in order to get to it from Constitution, one must merge over to the right several lanes.  This is a major pain at rush hour.  In order to avoid it, I have found it makes sense to break off from Constitution just past the White House on Virginia Avenue, take Virginia up past GWU, hit the I-66 on-ramp just opposite the Watergate, and run in on the TR already in the far-righty lane.

Constitution runs due west to the TR.  So in order to take my alternate route, I literally run northwest and then southwest.  At the critical point where I swing round to pick up the highway over teh bridge, I always say “helm hard over“.

Yes, I amuse me more.  But it’s harmless.

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For those of you who do not follow ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nationals, I should preface this post by noting that the Nats have a lot of new faces in their bullpen this year and, as of the first week of June, are still trying to figure out who are going to be their go-to set up men in the 7th and 8th, ahead of Drew Storen in the 9th.

JanssenAmong the mix of said faces is Casey Janssen, a pitcher with the Blue Jays of Toronto for some years before coming over to Dee Cee this year.  He had some injuries, and has only recently started to appear in our games on a more regular basis.

The few times I’ve seen Janssen whilst watching games on tee-vee, I’ve found myself saying, “Self, who is this guy? Wait! I know! Something to do with heresy…..Arianism? No.  Manichaeism?  No.  Wait! Now I remember! Jansenism!

(I will not even attempt to summarize Jansenism here.  Suffice to say that it is a heresy focused on the fault line between free will and predestination.)

Anyhoo, that’s what I use in order to remember him.  Crossing streams, I know.  However, should he make a good name for himself pitching, that problem goes away.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention this.  After thinking it over, I have self-identifed as Napoleon.  In future, I expect all of you friends of the decanter to address me as “Sire“.  See to it.

UPDATE DEUX:  Most friends of the decanter probably will pick up on the Monty Python riff in the title of this post.  (Well, I hope you will.)  I should note here that I think this sketch was far funnier in record form than it was in the original tee-vee series.  Ol’ Robbo has long-standing opinions on the effectiveness of various Python bits.  Some worked best on film, some worked best in studio, some worked best in audio.  It all had to do with timing,  inflection, and chemistry.  Not sure that I can come up with a grand unification theory to explain all my opinions, but they’re definite nonetheless.  Go ahead and ask me about a given sketch and I’ll give you my analysis.  Go on, I dare you.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, ol’ Robbo hasn’t much postie material to work with this evening.  Historickally speaking, particularly for Royal Navy sharks, this is the anniversary both of the Glorious First of June in 1794 and of the celebrated frigate action between USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon in 1813, but I’ve done those before and am not feeling ready to recycle them.

In re current events, much of today’s nooz cycle was taken up with the Supremes’ decision in the case of the Muslim gel who was denied a job at Abercrombie because of her head-scarf.  Alas, although I have a very deep professional interest in that decision, I can’t possibly talk about it here.  (And my opinion might not be what you think.)

Additionally, the ball game scheduled for this evening between Robbo’s beloved Nats and the Blue Jays of Toronto was postponed due to the monsoon-like conditions that descended on the Dee Cee area this evening and resulted in a right drenching on my commute home.

HOWEVER, for the benefit of those of you stationed about the decanter, now that a dog has joined the strength of the Port Swiller Manor establishment, I have a terrific, automatic fallback whenever I need something about which to write.  I mean, who doesn’t like posts about dogs, amirite?

DaisyAnyhoo, an update about our dear Daisy, who really is a complete sweetheart.

First, she went to the vet this week for a check-up.  The vet thinks she’s actually younger than the seven years we were told by the rescue people.  Perhaps five or six.  Teeth good, ears good, eyes good, heart and lungs good, she’s in fine shape.

Second, she definitely has warmed up to me.  Indeed, I spent much of this evening rereading my McAuslan with Daisy flopped out on my lap.  I don’t know her actual weight but I would guess it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 lbs.  Thus, she’s on the heavy, but still plausible, end of lap-dogdom.  She certainly thinks so at any rate.

Third, from our walks together I have noticed that she has an interest in and  hatred of Jacobin squirrels that would receive the stamp of approval from Jonah Goldberg’s late, lamented Cosmo.  One needs to be careful to keep a firm grip on the leash whenever she gets the idea that these secular-Utopianist tree-rats might be in the immediate area.

Fourth, speaking of walks, in my yoot in the South Texas exurbs, the idea of picking up one’s dog’s, er, output would have been met with howls of derisive laughter.  (Of course, we didn’t really “walk” our dogs.  Our yard was a couple acres and they mostly did their biznay along the tree-line at the edge.  When they dropped closer in, well, you just remembered it and avoided the spot until Ma Nature had disposed of it.)  I have not yet got used to this task.

Fifth, the other morning I had my first dog-walking social encounter, spending ten minute chatting with a complete stranger as our pooches got to know each other.  I can well see why college boys keep dogs when they can.

Sixth, I am delighted at the way Mrs. R and Daisy have come together.  The whole reason I have been without doggy companionship since the early 90’s is that Mrs. Robbo insisted she was not a “dog person”.  Daisy has, I think, been an eye-opener for her.  Granted, starting from scratch with a puppy is a whole different ball-game, but I already can see that this “starter dog” biznay, i.e., dealing with one that has already been broken in, was the right initial step.

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