You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Historickal Musings’ category.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you see this article about the “student protest” at a Duke alumni event that went (if you’ll pardon the expression) radically wrong?

I won’t quote from it because there are articles within the article, but the basic gist is this:

  1. Student “activists” hijack an alum gathering.
  2. The alums, rather than kowtowing, respond by turning their backs, booing, and heckling.
  3. The “activists” are surprised at the alums’ reaction and “disappointed” that the administration doesn’t step in on the students’ side.
  4. The “activists” are now concerned that any punishment they receive for their stunt will upset their “mental health”.

This story illustrates nicely a fatal flaw in the Left’s plan to raise up a new Red Guard to implement its authoritarian regime: The kidz their indoctrination factories are turning out are insane, stupid, barely-functioning snowflakes who collapse at the first sign of actual pushback.  You’re going to send these people to break down my door in the middle of the night, confiscate my guns, and haul me off to the camps?  As Ferris Bueller said of the snooty maitre’d,  “If I’m going to get busted, it’s not going to be by a guy like that!”

I’m reminded of an incident during the dear old days at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown.  A group of students blocked a CIA recruiting event.  The administration, after whatever disciplinary hearing was held, sentenced them collectively to something like 400 hours of community service for violating school policies.  The campus went ballistic and the protesters quickly became martyrs.

At one point, I remember somebody saying to me, “400 hours! Can you believe it? That’s totally outrageous!”

“Yeah, I agree,” I replied.  “If it were up to me, the whole lot of them would have been expelled immediately!”

I think the administration eventually blinked, alas.

By the bye, Ol’ Robbo’s customary lunchtime walk took him near the local high school kiddies out protesting the Columbine school shooting which took place before most of them were even born and also skipping school on a beautiful day, but mostly skipping school on a beautiful day.   For what it’s worth, at least when I passed by there were not really very many of them, and the conversations I overheard seemed to have little to do with guns and much to do with the usual stupid teenager drama (which, I admit, is a redundancy).

Oh, but for some good news?  Middle Gel received her voter registration card this week.  It would be…..unwise for any candidate on the Left to count on her (or her elder sister’s) support come the midterms this fall.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sad news today about Queen Elizabeth’s loss over the weekend:

The Queen has reportedly been hit “extremely hard” by the loss of her Royal corgi Willow who died on Sunday – ending Her Majesty’s close association with the breed dating back eight decades.

The dog, which was 14th generation and descended from the Queen’s first dog Susan, was suffering from a cancer-related illness.

Any pet owner knows what it’s like to grieve over the loss of one (yes, even a cat).  In fact, who among you can claim with a straight face that there aren’t relatives you’d sooner lose than pets?  But this seems triply-worse, insofar as Willow’s pedigree is so closely-linked with Her Majesty’s reign, and also because Her Majesty herself is so old and therefore more vulnerable under such circumstances.  (Hit “extremely hard”, indeed.  I remember a few years back when the Mothe had to put down her beloved fox-terrier because she was getting too frail to deal with him and couldn’t find another home.  I don’t think she ever quite recovered from that.)

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be some kind of eerie foreshadowing.  Apart from my dread of the utter be-clowning of the Throne that a newly-installed Charles III would entail, I’m really quite fond of Her Majesty.  As they say at in the Philosophy Department of the University of Willamalane, “She’s a good Sheila, Bruce, and not a-tall stuck up!”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As I sat down to the ol’ laptop just now, I saw the breaking news that Former First Lady Barbara Bush has died at age 92.

I’m not going to get into the weeds of Bush family politicks here, a subject of some vitriolic debate among people to whom I pay attention, and about which my own opinion has shifted considerably over time.  Instead, I’ll relate a very fond memory about Mrs. Bush.

This memory involves watching NBC’s coverage of the Inaugural Parade after Bush ’41 won the election in 1988.  As I recall, George H.W. and Babs had got out of their car and were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.  Willard Scott was doing the on-the-route coverage, and as the First Couple passed him, he yelled something across the street like “We love you, Babs!”

Well, ol’ Barbara heard Willard, even from the far side of the street.  And what did she do? She came straight over and planted a kiss on his cheek before striding off.   And Willard could do absolutely nothing but turn to the camera and giggle helplessly.

The feed then turned back to the in-studio panel – Bryant Gumbel and whoever the hell else.  They, too, for a minute or so, could do nothing but sit and stare.

Good times.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel is taking a 300-level seminar on Medieval Law this semester.  The other day, she called me up cackling with glee over a research paper she’s going to be doing to basically finish out the next couple weeks.  I’m not altogether completely clear on what the general parameters of the paper are supposed to be, but they have something to do with selecting and examining an instance of the treatment of women under one or more legal codes of the period.

Why was the gel so gleeful?  Well, apparently all the other students in her class immediately zoomed in on examples of Muh Oppression.  The Gel can’t stand this sort of thing, so she decided to spike the lot of them by exploring a period of Papal Succession (previously unknown to me) in the middle of the 10th Century known as the Saeculum Obscurumor the “Rule of the Harlots”.  Per Wiki:

The saeculum obscurum was first named and identified as a period of papal immorality by the Italian cardinal and historian Caesar Baronius in his Annales Ecclesiastici in the sixteenth century.  Baronius’ primary source for his history of this period was a contemporary writer, Bishop Liutprand of Cremona. Baronius himself was writing during the Counter-Reformation, a period of heightened sensitivity to clerical corruption. His characterisation of the early 10th-century papacy was perpetuated by Protestant authors. The terms Pornocracy (German: Pornokratie, from Greek pornokratiā, “rule of prostitutes”), Hetaerocracy (“government of mistresses”) and the Rule of the Harlots (German: Hurenregiment) were coined by Protestant German theologians in the nineteenth century.

What it amounted to, so I gather, was that several extremely powerful women of the Theophylacti family of Rome used a combination of, eh, feminine wiles and legal arcanae to appoint and control a number of 10th Century Popes.

I should make clear that the Gel’s delight does not arise from the light in which it places Holy Mother Church during that period, but rayther because this is an example of actual history that goes against the Current Narrative.  She’s just like that.  (Can’t imagine where she got it.)

Speaking of which, I suppose I can announce here that the Gel is actually transferring schools at the end of this semester.  As much as she found Sweet Briar to be an excellent incubator as she got her academic feet under her, she decided that it is just too small, socially speaking, and that she wanted someplace bigger and (so I gather) with boys.  So she’s moving over to High Point University this fall as a Junior.

I must say that I’m extremely proud of the Gel.  She told me a couple months ago that she wanted a change and I didn’t fight her on it. “However,” I said, “This is your pigeon.  You’re 20 years old.  You want it to happen? You make it happen.  You deal with the consequences.”  And she did.  She did all the application essays and paperwork herself, looked up an old high school friend of hers who goes to HPU to get the lay of the land and insider-baseball tips, and then arranged and drove down on her own to do an on-campus interview and tour.  She’s also done all the subsequent stuff regarding acceptance, housing, and so-forth.

And what of High Point?  Whelp, it’s a private school of about 5000 kids, located half an hour from my brother’s house.  The President is a self-made immigrant gazillionaire who seems bent on combining a traditional liberal arts curriculum with courses on character and dealing with the Real World.   I’ve done a good bit of poking around on-line about the place, and there seems to be a definite split in opinion – people either love it or hate it, although the “hate” seems to center mainly around the unorthodox methods in which the President manages to raise and pour money into the place.  Curiously, we’ve come across one stat that suggests the place is attractive to kids who also look at CNU, where Middle Gel starts in the fall.  Of those who get into both, there seems to be about a 50-50 split.  They both, from what I can tell, seem to be part of the up-and-coming wave of schools snapping up good kids put off by the outrageous expense and Cultural Marxism offered by the so-called elite academies these days.

We shall see.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

One of the regular morons over at Ace’s place drew Ol’ Robbo’s attention to this story this morning:  Disney World – Pirates of the Caribbean reopens with new auction scene.   Per the story:

The popular Magic Kingdom attraction was closed for several weeks while changes were made.

The classic “bride auction” scene has been removed.

In the new scene, the pirate auctioneer oversees the sale of the townspeople’s goods. And the familiar redhead animatronic is now a pirate named Redd.

Redd—who now totes a rifle—has been given a few lines to say, unlike her predecessor.

“Hey, send them hens to Davy Jones,” she says. “It’s the rum they want. Drink up me hearties. Yo ho!”

(Just for the record, Ol’ Robbo did the Pirates ride once – back in ’05 – and, frankly, doesn’t remember the “classic” bride auction.  But by the time we got on that ride it was the third day of our visit and I was pretty browned off so not paying much attention.)

Another article from the SF Chronicle (which I can’t find at the moment) praises this move because of its “wokeness”.

So, let me see…

It’s “woke” that the auctioned bride has been transmogrified from chattel of the Patriarchy into a Grrrrl-power buccaneer herself.  Because we need to destroy any symbol (however historickally accurate) that is Double-Plus Un Good.

But it’s still totes okay to promote plunder and pillage, guns, alcoholism, and animal cruelty (drowning chickens?) because that’s just silly, pretend, Disney “pirate” stuff.  “Yo ho!”

Do I have that right?

As somebody said, what a stupid, stupid time to be alive.

By the bye, this brought back to mind Disney’s attempt back in the early 90’s to build a park in Northern Virginia that either abutted or actually encroached (I can’t recall which) on the Manassas National Battlefield, an attempt that ultimately failed when the NIMBY crowd got together and pushed back.  Disney had said that it was going to be “historickally-themed”, touching on both the Revolution and the Civil War.  In retrospect, I really think they dodged a bullet on that one.  Can you imagine how much airbrushing and disappearing they’d have to do at such a place these days?




Greetings, my fellow port swillers and again, Happy Easter!

Sorry about the moroseness of the post below.  For what it’s worth, I’m already feeling better.

Anyhoo, we had a very pleasant Easter Weekend at Port Swiller Manor which featured a visit by my brother and most of his family.  At dinner yesterday, the bro mentioned a story he had read about recently reporting that amateur divers had discovered the remains of a WWII German U-Boat at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

I was amazed by this piece of news.  How the heck could a Nazi sub sneak all the way up the St. Lawrence and into the Lake without being spotted or running aground in the tortuous stretches past Montreal?  And even if it managed to do so, to what possible end?  It couldn’t go attacking, simply because it would quickly run out of fish and also be bottled up once the Canadians were on the alert.  So what would be its mission?  Landing sabotage teams? Spying? Something else?

It was a truly fascinating topic of, admittedly, somewhat vino-fueled discussion.  Sounded like a couple of First Lords of the Admiralty, we did.

Alas…..I finally got around to looking up the matter on the Whirled Why Dweb this evening and discovered…..the story is apparently a hoax from a couple years back.

Oh, well.  It was fun playing Churchill while it lasted.

The premise would make a pretty good historick thriller though, wouldn’t it.

“Fighting Joe” Hooker

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you all perchance see this article over the weekend via the Puppy-Blender?

Sign Referencing Civil War Hero Is Sexual Harassment, Says Massachusetts Lawmaker: Rep. Michelle DuBois wants to remove a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” because it is an affront to “women’s dignity”.


She has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity.”

“Female staffers don’t use that entrance because the sign is offensive to them,” DuBois told WBZ-TV this week.

If you’re trying to do the math to reconcile No-Different-Than-Men Grrrrrrlz with this kind of fainting-couch nonsense, don’t bother.  This is pure mau-mauing and is all about the Will to Power.  Logic and consistency – and even Real World consequences – have nothing to do with it.

Oh, my actual favorite part of the article?

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that Hooker had famously defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee in battle, when it’s really the other way around. (We should have paid more attention to those Ken Burns documentaries after all.) The opening paragraph has been edited to remove this reference.

Yeah, not so much.  Hooker was a good, steady corps commander.  He fought well and bravely in the Peninsula Campaign, at Fredericksburg, and at Antietam, and swept the Confederate left flank away at Lookout Mountain during the Battle of Chattanooga.  Kinda got his clock cleaned when he went toe to toe with Lee, however.

Nonetheless, Ol’ Robbo is of the school that Hooker’s strategy as commander of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville to pull a sneak flank move on Lee was positively brilliant, and even once that was exposed – and despite Jackson’s own flank attack – he could have carried the day had he not been wounded (concussed) when a shell hit his HQ.  The man became disoriented and lost his nerve, and should have been relieved.  (Meade, Reynolds, and Hancock, all still held in reserve at that point, were screaming to be let loose at the Confederates.  It would have made all the difference.)   In this, I would strongly recommend Stephen Sears’ Chancellorsville for a lucid and fascinating description of the campaign.  (Ken Burns? Feh.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Without looking it up, I believe it was Chesterton who said something to the effect that insanity could be defined as repeatedly doing exactly the same thing but expecting different results.  Ol’ Robbo found himself thinking about this as he watched “Red Tails” on cable last evening.  It’s one of those movies I’ll generally stop on if I’m flipping through the teevee channels and can’t find anything else.

Somehow, each time I find myself hoping it’s better than I remember it being.  After all, the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen in WWII are a noble and uplifting subject.  And yet, every time I’m  disappointed anew.  The movie is just plain bad: cardboard characters, completely predictable and clichéd dialogue, and CGI Mustangs doing unpossible things.

A pity.

But maybe…just maybe….next time…….

Anyhoo a few notes on some other historickal movies that have come through my Netflix queue of late:

Drums Along the Mohawk” (1939)- Upstate New York settlers fighting off the Iroquois during the Revolutionary War.  It’s funny: I’ve seen this film probably three or four times, but couldn’t remember a single thing about it from previous viewings.  This time around I decided I really don’t care for it very much, despite the presence of the lovely and talented Claudette Colbert.  Too much “Ye Olde” about it, I guess.  Also, I’ve decided once and for all that the only costume genre Henry Fonda had any business being in was Westerns.  (I was reminded of his role as Pierre in that bizarre adaptation of “War and Peace“.  In speaking of Napoleon’s armies, even all dolled up as a Russian noble, he may as well have been talking of the Comanche.)

The Howards of Virginia” (1940) – Now this one was new to me and I actually quite liked it.  Another Revolutionary War film in which young up-and-coming frontiersman Cary Grant plucks Martha Scott out of Tidewater Society (under her brother Cedric Hardwicke’s nose) and builds her an estate out in the Shenandoah.  As the political situation collapses, trouble ensues.  It seemed Grant couldn’t decide whether to stick with an Irish accent or not, but otherwise I thought it a good story well acted.  (A lot of the exteriors were filmed at Colonial Williamsburg not long after it had been rescued and refurbished.)

Beau Geste” (1939)- With Gary Cooper in the title role.  I’ve been wanting to see this for years, and it was well worth it.  P.C. Wren’s convoluted story-lines and rich dialogue could never be completely replicated on the screen, but I thought the movie did a fine job in presenting the story.  (And on that front, I’ve now really got to track down “The Desert Song” and watch it.)

Ivanhoe” (1952)- The tale of knightly strife between Saxons and Normans under Wicked King John.  A pretty good  chain-mail story (although I confess I haven’t read Scott in years and years).  And how’d you like to be Robert Taylor  with a young Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine fighting over you!  Tough life, eh?  This film reminded me that I want to go back and have a look at the Anthony Andrews tee-vee version, which I haven’t seen in 35-odd years but have a vague recollection was pretty well done, too.

Caesar and Cleopatra” (1945) – I’ll tell you truly, friends – Ol’ Robbo could watch Claude Rains all day and every day.  And even though Vivian Leigh was quite off her rocker, she’s still mighty easy on the eyes.  (OTOH, I am now firmly convinced that Stewart Granger was nothing more than beefcake.  Even when playing the large-living Apollodorus, he couldn’t really act that much.)  Finally, while there are many things about Mr. G.B. Shaw which Ol’ Robbo finds objectionable, I will give it to the man that he wielded a mighty witty pen.

Oh, I’m also reminded that yesterday was the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.  Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t noticed either of the major screen treatments running on cable this week.  (Perhaps they did when we were without power over the weekend.)  I haven’t seen the John Wayne version in years and need to toss it in the queue.  Of course, that was mostly the Dook being the Dook, but is that such a bad thing?  Some time fairly recently I also actually tried the 2004 version and was pleasantly surprised in that it wasn’t half as awful as I dreaded: I doubt seriously whether there was much room for Billy Bob Thornton’s ironic self-awareness on the frontier in 1836, but otherwise I thought it was a reasonably fair treatment.  (And yes, the real Col. Travis was something of a preening twit.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you all see this charming item?

South Africa’s parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country’s Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against.

God-damned Communists.  Every. Single. Time.

When Ol’ Robbo was an undergrad at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown CT back in the mid-80’s, “Divest” was all the rage among the Kulturni.  There were rallies and protests and boycotts and Board meeting disruptions and a mock “shanty” town out on the lawn, and all the rest of it.

I drew politickal cartoons for the school’s small conservative newspaper, and in one of them I tried to illustrate the idea that South Africa was a lot more problematic than these people seemed to realize (or really care, for that matter).  I certainly held no brief for Apartheid, but I argued that capital flight would likely bring down the government and create a power vacuum which would quickly be filled by Communists within the ANC with Soviet backing.  (Can you imagine how happy Ivan would have been to get a naval base at the Cape, to say nothing of all those minerals?)  My main point was that under such a new regime, the lot of the typical black South African would probably have been much worse than it already was.

As I found out, this is not an easy concept to illustrate with pictographic metaphors.  Nonetheless, I must have at least partially succeeded because the cartoon I came up with probably garnered more blow-back (including several threats) than any other one I did.

Even though the Soviets collapsed and Mandela proved to be a better force for good than I feared, my point still stands:

“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice,” Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament.

Oh, and if you think this is strictly a Black/White thing, I’d ask you to think again:  As history has proved amply, Marxist “justice” ain’t exactly discriminating, if you know what I mean.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Wonderful news was waiting for Ol’ Robbo on his return to Port Swiller Manor this evening as he learned that Middle Gel has just been accepted to Christopher Newport University for this coming fall, where she will start out in the school’s musick program, having successfully auditioned into that last weekend.

Bumpers all round and no heel taps, please!

CNU is a fast-rising school you’ve probably never heard of.  It’s in the Virginny state system, has about 5000 kids, and is located down in the Tidewater.  The President is an old Hampster-Squidny/Dubyunell alum who spent a lot of time in Republican politicks before coming to the place in 1996.  He was determined to import to it a lot of the traditions and character of HSC and W&L, and apparently has been quite successful.  And the place has suddenly got very popular – I’m told applications this year were up 600 over last year, and last year was a record-setter.  Since the school is as big as it wants to get, they’ve got quite a bit more selective about who they let in.

We really think this is going to be a great fit for the Gel.  The student body seems to be a lot like her: rather conservative with a strong religious presence, and at the same time quietly eccentric.  (The Gel was poking around on a list of accepted students and already spotted a girl she went to Bible-thumper camp with.)  Furthermore, the SJW goons do not appear to have hijacked the place at all, and there’s a pretty high expectation in terms of traditional academic requirements.  And the school goes out of its way to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, either academically or socially.

Oh, and who the heck is Christopher Newport? Well, he was an Elizabethan sea-captain, starting his career as a privateer against the Spanish.  He was also the commander of the fleet that brought the original Jamestown colonists to Virginny in 1609 and made several subsequent supply runs to the colony.  Thus, the CNU mascot is “The Captains”, which also explains the title of this post.  (Nothing to do with Walt Whitman, who gives me the willies.)

Ol’ Robbo is a Very Proud Dad this evening.

UPDATE:  Oh, a couple other points I wanted to make:

First, both Mrs. R and I are grateful for the genuine delight the Middle Gel’s sisters expressed when the news broke.  They tend to snipe at each other over petty things, but it’s nice to see them come together in unaffected good will over the larger ones.

Second, Ol’ Robbo knows perfectly well that CNU is not an “elite” school, and that a certain number of people – including people within my own circle – will look down their noses at this.  Well, you know what? I don’t care.  Indeed, I look on its non-elite status as a good thing in this current, wretched, culture.  After all, what is an “elite” education these days, anyway?  You drop a quarter-mil or more Jimmy O’ Goblins on four years of Cultural Marxist brainwashing.  (Youngest, in a moment of contemplation brought on, perhaps, by this news, said to me this evening that she was even thinking about The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, my old stomping ground.  Never mind whether she could get in with her current GPA (she couldn’t), I just smiled and said I sure as hell wouldn’t pay for it.) Suff on that.


Blog Stats

  • 445,071 hits
April 2018
« Mar