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Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Boys for Art.

Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Boys for Art.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy Thanksgiving (or “Friendgiving” as the kids are calling it now, whatever the hell that means)!  I hope you all have a blessed and grateful holiday get-together with your family and friends.

Ol’ Robbo will be out of action for the next few days due to holiday logistics.  Meanwhile, I’d just like to register my glee over the latest moonbat meme to come across the innertoobs.  You see, according to said meme, we ought to embrace the wholesale immigration of Syrian refugees because the Native Americans (™) embraced the arrival of the Puritans back in the day.  Hence the holiday.  If you don’t accept this groupthink, so the reasoning goes, you’re a hypocrite.


Are these not the same moonbats who for some years now have told us that the Pilgrims were genocidal invaders hell-bent on wiping out the Indigenous Nations?

Yes, yes I think they are.

And how has that worked out for the “Natives”?

It isn’t hypocrisy, it’s just plain fool triumph of feeling over reason.  As I’ve said before, these people don’t think, they emote. God help them and us all.

Anyhoo, a very happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you later.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Veterans’ Day!  A glass of wine, well a cup of coffee anyway (sun/yardarm and all that), with all of you who serve or have served or who have family or loved ones who do or did.  Looking back, I regret that I never did.

Anyhoo, now that the Gifting Season (that is what I’m going to call it with respect to commercial matters) has set in, the catalogs have started to fill up the Port Swiller mailbox.  One of the ones that came yesterday was from the National Geographic, and I must say that it surprised me:  Since when has Nat Geo gone all Smithsonian in the stuff it flogs?  Books and maps and whatnot, I take for granted.  But fashion? Jewelry? Have I just not noticed this before or is it a new thing?  (Toys, too.  The Little Boy that still lurks within Robbo looked mighty wistfully at the working drone, the magnetic levitating globe and the laser Khet game.)

About that fashion and jewelry:  Almost all of it is “themed” – Irish, Far Eastern, African, etc.  Is this not cultural appropriation at its basest?  Is this not an outrage to our sensibilities?  Is this not a micro-aggression?

Pardon me while I assume the fetal position and let loose a cry-bully primal scream.

/logs off

/logs back on

Ah, that’s better.  I hope you learn a little lesson from this, Nat Geo.

My old grandmother used to give me a yearly subscription to National Geographic magazine when I was a kid and I must say that I really appreciated it.  No, not for the pictures of half-naked African women (at least not mostly), but because I’ve always been a nut for maps and exploration.  (For example, I’m the one driver in ten thousand who appreciates the elevation sign at the top of the pass or the announcement that one is entering or leaving the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  And I confess that Google-maps and all its little functions are like catnip to me.)

We used to get the “bonus gift” that came with the renewed subscription, too – books on the Revolutionary and Civil Wars (I’ve still got them) and several record albums.  (Anyone who doesn’t know what a “record album” is can get off my lawn right now.)  One of the albums was of Revolutionary War era songs, many of which I still sing to myself.  Another was of Mississippi steamboat songs, the only one of which I can recall being Stephen Foster’s “The Glendy Burk“.  (I still sing the first verse and teh chorus.)

I remember that latter album mostly because it had a painting of a big paddle-wheeler on the cover that I used as a model to draw a cover for a 7th grade book report I did on Tom Sawyer.  When Mr. Richter looked at my report – clear plastic binder, elaborate cover art, neat handwriting – I recall him saying, “Now this is a typical Robbo the Swiller effort.”  I’m sure it was part of the reason that he recommended I move up to advanced English in 8th grade.  (Why I had been placed in regular English for 7th, I never learned.)  From there, the rest was history – English major and law school.

Funny how life works out.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

prepThe Cap’n caught ol’ Robbo out in the post below in identifying Lisa Birnbach’s The Official Preppy Handbook as a major influence on my then-15 y.o. life.

Well, what can I say? I wasn’t born an Eastern Blue-blood myself, but I was raised with aspirations to Eastern Blue-blood values and style, so the book was a natural fit for me.  Still have a lot of said values and stylistic goals, although 35 years of experience has, of course, modified my outlook summat.  Isn’t that pretty much what life is about?

Anyhoo, I bring this up because I’m reminded of a curious little scandal associated with this book which came back to me because of teh Cap’n’s remark.  You see, the section of said book dealing with “preppy” colleges makes reference to a number of Virginia private schools – Sweet Briar, Hampden-Sydney, Hollins, etc., –  but there is absolutely no mention of Washington & Lee University (or “Dubyuhnell” as we like to call it).  This puzzled ol’ Robbo, once he became acclimated to the Dubyuhnell ethos as a law student, because he thought the place was exactly what Birnbach ought to have had in mind when putting together her list.

Well.  A couple years later, I heard an explanation for what was going on.  You see, according to my source (a college administration employee in the area), while she was writing the OPH, Birnbach apparently was engaged in a relationship with somebody in the Dubyuhnell administration (in the admissions office, IIRC).  The story goes that they had a very messy break-up, and that Birnbach black-listed Dubyuhnell in her book out of pure spite.

So there you are.  The politickal sometimes can be the personal.  Or the other way round.  Whichever.

Incidentally, I can’t help citing this book without noting Birnbach’s “updated” version which came out a few years ago, True Prep.  I cannot decide whether she is satirizing the New Order or licking its collective boots with this book, but either way, the thing is appalling.  Gone are the old values of tradition, restraint, refinement, and decorum.  In their place are conspicuous consumerism, garish display, rampant narcissism, embracement of “pop culture” and the jettison of traditional morality.  Put it this way, the Obamas are mentioned more than once as role-models.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noticed this article yesterday morning over at the TelegraphBacon, ham and sausages ‘as big a cancer threat as smoking’, WHO to warn.

I joked on FaceBuke that the article had no effect on me except to make me hungry (which was true, by the way) and dismissed it from my mind.  However, I noticed today that the WHO release was “trending”, as the kidz say, and also that NPR was running it breathlessly in their top o’ the hour nooz updates, asserting quite nakedly that the science is now settled (SETTLED you knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers!) and that any points Big Meat makes about the health benefits of meat consumption are completely false and anyway, so what.

This push prompts ol’ Robbo to borrow a line from Bender and invite the WHO to bite his shiny metal ass.

For one thing, I’m a complete carnivore.  Even assuming the “data” underlying this pronouncement is legitimate and I risk knocking some years off my life because of it, I simply don’t care:  I’d rather have fewer quality years in this world than more bland, dismal ones.  (This, by the bye, is one of the benefits of a solid belief in the Life Hereafter – you don’t need to worry yourself so much about stretching out your time on Earth.)  Also, mind your own damned business!

For another, I don’t for an instant believe that said data is legitimate.  (The Telegraph article at least hints that there are correlations with other obviously bad lifestyle choices such as failure to eat any veg and lack of exercise.) The WHO is another of these One World Gub’mint entities, whose first priority is the preservation and expansion of its power through the subjugation of us peons to its will, and whose second priority is to bring about the Earthly Utopia under the guidance of its expertise and wisdom.  As I often tell the gels these days, science plus politicks equals politicks (of course, we see exactly the same thing going on in the whole Glo-bull Worming kerfluffle), and history shows us that whenever such forces are combined (i.e., whenever Communism rears its ugly head), objectivity goes out the window, ideology triumphs, a very large number of people wind up dead, and a very large number of the survivors wish they were so.


Anyhoo, ol’ Robbo ordered bacon on his lunchtime turkey sammich today (which, I might ad, I only picked up after finishing my 3.5 mile walk).  I would have done so anyway, but the thought that I was figuratively snapping my fingers under the WHO’s collective nose made it all the more enjoyable.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Via the Head Ewok (fbuh), ol’ Robbo became aware of an article that makes him laugh and laugh and laugh:  According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the phrase “politically correct” now  is no longer, er, politically correct and is instead categorized as a “micro-aggression”, presumably, subjecting anyone who uses it to the the camps or (soon!) firing squads.

Aye, me.

As some longtime friends of teh decanter may know, Ol’ Robbo first became acquainted with the term “politically correct” during his freshmanperson orientation on the campus of the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT in August, 1983.  Back then, it was presented to us noobies in a non-confrontational, “hah-hah” manner via the frosh special edition of the school newspaper.  (As I recall for example, according to said paper, “politically correct” meant being a supporter of John B. Anderson in the 1980 presidential election.  As Wash would say, “Quaint!”)

However, after a few weeks on campus, I recognized what Thomas Dolby called the iron fist in the glove full of vaseline.  These people weren’t fooling about, they were dead serious.

Fast-forwarding, it is becoming evident to the wider population (and by that I mean (non-snobbishly) people who didn’t go to fringe elite schools back in the day) that this term of “politically correct” is not a benign expression of tolerance and inclusiveness, but is instead the hallmark of dictatorial Leftism.  Hence the mockery and hence the diktat that said mocker amounts to micro-agression.

Let ’em deal with being hoist by their own collective petard, say I.

UPDATE: Speaking of the dear old school, what should show up on a FB feed I follow this morning but this story about the Argus, the school newspaper, stepping on a hornet’s nest by publishing a politically incorrect op-ed about “Black Lives Matter”.  Short version, a student pens a piece suggesting that while BLM has legitimate goals, it doesn’t do anyone any good by stirring up mayhem with its inflammatory rhetoric.  The Argus publishes the piece and the campus has a collective meltdown.  The Argus gets its budget slashed and the author, a 30 y.o. combat vet, now has to walk around campus wearing a paper bag over his head, ringing a bell and holding a sign reading, “Unclean”.

Apparently, the fellah knew what he was getting into when he applied to Wes, but wanted to have his conservative ideas challenged.  I get this because after I realized what I had got myself into (we chose the school solely based on academics – which were still outstanding back then – and didn’t pay attention to campus atmosphere), I also saw the advantages it would present.  Certainly being in such a hard left environment forced me to do the math in figuring out my own positions.  It also honed my debating skills mightily.

But that was 30 years ago and I fear things are very much different now.  Back then, one could actually have a legitimate debate on the substance.  Nowadays, the battles are fought on the basis of emotion and feeling, not reason.  Back then, while I certainly wasn’t the most popular kid on campus,  I could at least draw politickal cartoons for the campus conservative paper without fear, and once in a while get a compliment on my intellectual integrity.  Now? They’d chase me up a tree and set fire to it.  Well, no they wouldn’t because Globull Warmening and stuff.  Instead, they’d all shelter in place in the dining hall and make hissing noises at me until I withdrew.

Tuition, by the bye, is now $65K per year.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. R reminds me that today marks the 15th anniversary of the day the Family Robbo moved into Port Swiller Manor.

This increases the record for length of time ol’ Robbo has lived in any one place.  (The second slot belongs to his boyhood home in San Antonio into which he moved in 1974 and resided until he went away to college in the fall of 1983.)  Barring some unforeseen circumstances, I can’t think of any particular reason why I should not live here for another fifteen or twenty years, unless I’m either nuked at my downtown office or carried out of here in a box, whichever comes sooner.

I gripe here from time to time about various money pit crises such as the flooding basement saga, but overall I take much satisfaction and even comfort in learning and knowing the quirks of the place (which was originally built in the early 70’s and had only one family owners before us).

Of course, we’ve done a great deal of customizing, tinkering and repairing since we moved in.  I remember an incident about three years after the fact when one of the daughters of teh former owners appeared on the doorstep with what I believe to have been her fiancee.  They were passing through the area and she wanted to show him the house in which she had grown up.  Of course, I was quite willing to let her have the run of the place, but I can never forget the look on her face as she clapped eyes on the front hall and took in what we had already done to it, realizing that her home as she remembered it was gone forever.  She declined to come in, and after a very brief stroll around the yard, cleared off.  I felt a bit sad for her but not apologetic.

I suppose it’s true that you really can’t go home again and I sometimes wonder what it will be like if and when my own children come back to see the place once they’ve gone out into the world.  Given current trends around here, once Mrs. R and I are out the place most likely will be bulldozed and a McMansion constructed in it’s stead.   Eh.

Well, given the subject of my musing, what else can I do except to post the obvious musick video:


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on my previous post, it turned out that Mrs. Robbo didn’t really much want to go to the party either, so we pulled a Bunbury.  Instead, Mrs. R went and gave teh pooch a bath while ol’ Robbo toddled downstairs and popped in the DVD of the old Leslie Howard version of “The Scarlet Pimpernel“.   Once you get past the rayther poor early 30’s production qualities, it’s not a’tall a bad flick.  A couple of observations:

– Very early on in the movie, Howard appears disguised as an old crone sneaking out of Paris.  I would be prepared to bet a fair bit of money that Terry Jones had this exact character in mind in some of his Monty Python drag bits.

oberon– Merle Oberon.  Sink me!

– It is wonderfully disturbing, given the awful times in which we live, to watch a movie about hysterical mobs and ruthless authoritarianism.  Mark Twain is supposed to have said that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.**

Anyhoo, having watched the flick, I remembered that Anthony Andrews had done a remake in the 80’s which I seem to recall was pretty good, too.  Fortunately, Netflix carries it, so I shall see.  I also tossed in “Danger:UXB“, another Andrews piece and a prime example of the Golden Age of Brit teevee.  Just for good measure, I also went to the devil’s website and picked up the original novel by Baroness Emma Orczy, having never read it before.  While there, I also compulsively picked up another one of Frank Sheed’s theological gems and the autobiographies of Kit Carson and General John Fremont.

And since I was surfing Netflix anyway, I also tossed “The Last Legion” into the queue.  I did this because I enjoy laughing over the absurdity of Colin Firth trying to play a battle-hardened Roman general.  It has absolutely nothing to do with svelte south-Indian beauties in wet, clingy shirts.  Nope, nothing at all, at all.

This is how ol’ Robbo’s so-called mind works.  Probably explains all the headaches.


** I know this is said to be a false attribution, but even if it isn’t true it ought to be.

Portrait_of_a_Man,_Said_to_be_Christopher_ColumbusGreetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Columbus Day!

Ol’ Robbo can never think of this holiday without recalling to mind a song that the musick teacher at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method used to teach the younglings.  The chorus ran as follows:

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

It was a courageous thing to do,

But someone was already there.

The verses were made up of the names of various indian tribes, most if not all of them North American and none of them having had any actual contact with Columbus.  This used to bother me – historickally speaking – as much as the song’s implication that the Americas were a pristine Eden where the lion lay down with the lamb and all was peace and fellowship among the natives before those nasty Europeans came across and spoiled it all.

Lord knows that ol’ Robbo holds no brief for the way the Spanish treated their conquests in the New World, but that doesn’t excuse pushing a false narrative of the noble savage.

Anyhoo, we mark the day as a historickal milestone, not a matter of triumphalism.  Had it not been Columbus, it would have been somebody else.  Had it not been October, 1492, it would have been some other time.  And we, of course, honor the man himself for his bravery and skill as a navigator, not for his miserable attempts at administering his new-found colonies.

I have written here before that one of the best, most balanced biographies of Columbus is still Samuel Eliot Morison’s Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus.

UPDATE: Well, I see that I already wrote about all of this somewhat more expansively a few years ago.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Thunderstorms over Port Swiller Manor last evening followed by a cool, crisp, breezy, get-all-those-windows-open Saturday.  This is one of the reason ol’ Robbo loves fall so much.

♦   Ol’ Robbo found himself yesterday wandering around the preparations for today’s big rally on the Mall marking the 20th anniversary of the “Million Man March”.  The theme this year is “Justice or Else” so I’m sure a good time will be had by all.  It was quite eerie to hear a muezzeen (sp) chanting out the noon prayers over the P/A system.

♦  On a small historickally-related note, the only protest ol’ Robbo ever attended during his misspent undergrad days at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown CT – where they have protests all the time, buckaroo – was when Louis Farrakhan came to speak on campus.  Pretty sure radical militant Islam is not the answer to race relations in this country.

♦  Speaking of pressing issues, ol’ Robbo notes that the Radical Left seems edging toward an outright call for two things: Gun confiscation and all-powerful, legislation-trumping executive authority.  These are bad, bad things and have absolutely no place in a Constitutional republic.

♦  Speaking of bad, bad things, via the Head Ewok (fbuh), read this article by a northeastern liberal arts college prof about trying to teach the special snowflakes under his charge.  Pathetic.  Ol’ Robbo rails against the special snowflake culchah so much that Mrs. R and teh Gels are sick to death of the expression.  Nonetheless, I feel it is my greatest responsibility as a parent not to let them fall into that trap.  (I think the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way on this, by the bye, as such things as draconian speech codes, “trigger warnings”, and “safe rooms” are coming under increased push-back and mockery.

♦  On a totally different note, Mrs. Robbo fulfilled one of her life’s desires this week by getting a paper shredder.  The study now looks like one of AlGore’s globull warmening speech venues the day he’s supposed to show up.

Well, I suppose that’s enough for the moment.  Middle Gel (who is going to the homecoming dance tonight) wants me to clear off so she can play some X-box.  Time to go see about unclogging the field drains and taking a first swipe at the season’s leaf-disposal.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, it’s been a while since I last trotted out this meme, but it seems apropos here since the question of the moment is: A donde va Señor Wah-Keem?

A few clicks one way, it heads out to sea.

A few clicks t’other, a major pasting for the Port Swiller Manor neighborhood.

Eh.  From a practical standpoint, the only question is whether ol’ Robbo needs to clear the more airborne-potential items off his porch or not.  We shan’t see until Saturday morning, I guess.  Of course, the standard Port Swiller Manor disaster protocols still apply: Chop up the furniture for firewood as needed.  Eat the cats first.  If required, eat the children in descending order of annoyance.

We could hold out a while, if necessary.

Thinking about all this, I was reminded of my few past hurricane encounters.

Ol’ Robbo sat in the Port Swiller Manor library watching Isabel roll through back in ’03.  The main storm hit in teh evening.  What I recall mostly was the fantastic lightning effects:   The cloudbase was very low and most of the lightning within it gave off a diffuse, copper color.  Every now and then, however, there would be a bolt out of the clouds.  These were all of a fantastic, florescent blue, and of an intensity I’ve never seen in ordinary thunderstorms.  Quite dramatic.

I was also in central Connecticut when Gloria rolled through in ’85.  That storm hit us early in the morning.  Being college kids, our response was to huddle out in the dorm halls and party.  Candles and cheap champaign.  I must say, that was the earliest in the day I’ve ever got drunk and you can keep it.

Stretching further back, I have a very vague memory of Celia from my misspent yoot in San Antonio.  As I recall, this was the first time I saw the circular cloud bands associated with this kind of storm.

Of course, I should acknowledge that my brother holds the family record in these matters:  He was in Charleston when Hugo came ashore.  (He was in med school there at the time and was drafted into work at the local hospital.)  Bro told me that he doesn’t remember much in part because he was so busy and in part because everything was boarded up, but still……

Anyhoo, we shall see if we can haz panick….

UPDATE: Well, so much for that.  I’m not even bothering to take the glass or the magazines off the porch.  Fall is definitely here, however….


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