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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s return to Metro commuting means that, on his way to his local station, he now drives up a long hill on one of the principal local arteries.  A couple years back, Capital One built a tall, shiny skyscraper in the neighborhood.  It dominates the horizon as I climb said hill.

Evidently, the exterior lighting of the top four floors of this tower is changeable.  So, for instance, during Robbo’s beloved Nats’ post-season run, they were all picked out in red after our more clutch wins.

This morning, I noticed a scheme which I suppose was a left-over from Veterans’ Day yesterday.  It was an attempt to recreate the American flag.  For some reason, however, the lighting system evidently can’t get all that detailed.  Instead of thirteen red and white stripes, they could only manage four.   So the thing looked far more like the Confederate Stars & Bars.

I must admit I smiled malevolently when I noticed this.  Not out of disrespect for veterans or due to pro-CSA sympathies, of course, but just because I loathe corporate idiocy.

Stupid Capital One.  What’s in my wallet? What’s in your braims!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo won’t bore you with his usual Sunday religious rants.  In his homily today, my pastor came about as close to accusing Papa Frankie of idolatry over this whole pachamama  thing as he could without actually crossing the line.  Afterward, I finished George Wiegel’s latest, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How The Church Rediscovered Itself & Challenged The Modern World To Reform.  Depressing as hell.  His history of the past 150 years of HMC’s relationship to modernism is quite informative, but if he seriously thinks the current postmodern “culture” has any interest whatever in being evangelized, he’s fooling himself.  No, the whole thing has to collapse good and hard, and it’ll be a few isolated Christians who pick up the pieces and start over.

Instead, I’ll take advantage of the extra hour to plug a movie I re-watched the other evening but which doesn’t seem to get much notice these days:  “The Train” (1964).  With the Allies closing in on Paris in 1944, Nazi Paul Scofield attempts to smuggle a train-load of masterpiece paintings to Germany.  Burt Lancaster’s Parisian station master, together with the remnants of his Resistance band, seek to thwart the attempt.  Lots of suspense, action sequences, intrigue, subterfuge, and railway technicalities, it’s a very exciting and entertaining movie.  Lancaster seems to me a rougher and more Byron-esque version of Charlton Heston, and is particularly gripping here.  Highly recommended, and available in DVD from Netflix.  (Unless I’ve got the only copy – I haven’t mailed it back yet.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This weekend’s big – and long anticipated – activity was a trip by Mrs. R and Self down to Sweet Briar College, there to see a staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream“.  Eldest Gel is playing Robin Starveling, the tailor, one of the rude mechanicals bent on putting on a hapless “play-within-the-play” to celebrate the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.   It isn’t a lot of lines, but there’s a good deal of physical humor involved among the bumbling dopes, and Eldest also got to do a good bit of stage biznay when she represented “moonlight” via a lantern, some thorns, and a small toy dog.   She got a number of laughs with her antics, and overall a good time was had by all.

This was the second time this professor had put on MSND in his long tenure at SBC and the first time he has ever repeated a show.  The last time he produced it was in October, 1990.  The part of Starveling the tailor in that production?  None other than Mrs. Robbo.  (And I myself played Lysander.)  We were all able to get together with the director after the show, catch up on things, and have a nice chin-wag about how things work out sometimes.  We were also joined by Eldest and by her friend who played Lysander this time.  The latter apparently had been quite nervous about performing in front of me, but I was able to assure her (truthfully) that she did a great job and brought back many pleasant memories.   As I say, a good time.

UPDATE:  No, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t really see how his beloved Nats are going to manage to take two off the ‘Stros in Houston again.  But you never know…….

UPDATE DEUX:  Ol’ Robbo didn’t actually watch the game last evening because I was too worn out from our lightning trip to SBC and back.  I gather from reading up on it that the Trump family went to the game and were booed by the crowd, most of whom of course were not regular Nats fans but instead the preening elites who can afford World Series tickets.   This may have played well amongst other preening elites, but it seems to have pretty much destroyed any goodwill the Nats had among genuine baseball fans across the country.  Nice going, Sparky.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel was telling me about a dustup she got into with one of her ‘Murican history classmates about Christopher Columbus and how it’s so bad, awful, hurtful, etc., etc., to have a holiday in his honor.

I loosely paraphrase, but after said classmate got through her laundry list of Columbus Bad talking points, the Gel replied, “Look, nobody celebrates Columbus because of slavery, or because of the introduction of European disease, or because of Spanish plunder, and only an idiot would suggest that we do.  We celebrate Columbus because he made First Contact between Europe and the New World, without which contact you and I would not be sitting here fat, happy, safe, and free, and having this argument.  Columbus Day is really America Day.  That’s why we recognize him.”

That’s my gel!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before taking the deep plunge into the NLCS (*smacks lips, repeats*), how about a few odds and ends?

♦  Going back to the Metro after about an eight year hiatus, I notice that the number of people milling about the platforms with their noses buried in their iThingies has increased exponentially.  We hates that. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

♦  Speaking of which, I saw a young lady in my rear-view mirror last evening.  In one hand she held her iThingy.  In the other, a snack.  How the heck was she steering?

♦   Speaking of young ladies, Ol’ Robbo takes satisfaction in the fact that St. Greta of the How DARE You did not cop the Nobel Peace Prize this year.  Not that the NPP actually means anything, but still.  We take these little victories against the Madness whenever we can.

♦  Speaking of madness, I saw an amusing headline over to YahooNooz this morning (not linking because Yahoo has gone insane) that some WNBA player was angry at the lack of respect being shown to their finals.  Ol’ Robbo frequently forgets that the WNBA even exists.  As for the NBA, pretty alarming how beholden they turn out to be to the ChiComs, no?  Thank Heaven pro baseball has largely avoided politization, at least so far.  I’ve never cared about basketball anyway, but it would be a real blow to have to give up MLB.

♦  Speaking of living the Counter-Culture Life, Ol’ Robbo caught Apocalypto on the cables last evening.  (I think somebody was doing a little Columbus Day trolling.)  Eldest had recommended it to me and I found it quite fascinating, the ending quite shiver-making.  I’ve no idea how accurately it portrays the pre-Columbian Maya and this is Mel Gibson after all, but from what I do know I would guess it isn’t far off.  Noble Savages they were not.

♦  And speaking of movies, Ol’ Robbo has been on a Shakespeare kick recently.  I’ve been reworking my way through the old Age of Kings series (how can one not like Sean Connery as Hotspur facing off against Robert Hardy’s Prince Hal?), and the other day watched the late-70’s Beeb production of As You Like It featuring the young Helen Mirren.  (Not quite the shmokin’ hot Excalibur Helen Mirren of a couple years later, but this is Shakespeare, not shlock.)  Those late 70’s/early 80’s Beeb productions tend to be hit or miss, but this is one of the better ones.

Whelp, that’s enough for now.  A four day weekend for Ol’ Robbo.  I need to run some errands this morning and get in nacho supplies for tonight’s NLCS opener (*smacks lips again*).  Tomorrow will be a genuine fall yardwork day.  And I believe Middle Gel is coming home for a visit Sunday.  Good times.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest Gel was telling me this evening about a classmate of hers in government who was having a hissy-fit today because some Congress-Critter referred to our “God-given rights”.

“They can’t say that!” the kid purportedly sputtered.  “That violates separation of Church and State! REEEEEEE!!!!

The Gel basically told her not to be a fool, but I gathered she did so more instinctually than rationally.

So I explained a little bit about the Founders’ understanding of individual rights being inherent to our nature as human beings, based on the Divine spark within us, and their further understanding that government is supposed to serve us, not the other way round.   I explained that the whole purpose of the Constitution is to set up a system of government that is functional in that purpose without undermining those rights.  I explained that once one gives up the idea that rights are both individual and inherent and concedes to a system wherein they are collective and doled out or taken away by the State, one has basically surrendered to tyranny, however dolled up in “The Public Good” rhetoric it might be.

Oh, and I also explained what the Establishment Clause actually means, that there is no “Separation” Clause, and why her friend is, in fact, a fool.

She got all this, and was also able to tie it in to her studies (she showed a real knowledge of the Amendment process, for example, and had intelligent things to say about Federalism), but I could see that I’m going to need to do some more ‘splainin’.  Being able to retail the history and mechanics of the system is all well and good.  But without understanding the underlying “why” of it, even a bright kid like the Gel is always in danger of skidding off into the pit.

On the other hand, being able to articulate a rational, historickally-informed position on these matters these days may be of little practical use to the Gel, since from what I can see the debate on this as well as on just about every other issue seems to be almost exclusively centered on “muh feels”.

Further, according to the New York Times and its “1619 And All That” Project, all of my points are completely illegitimate, the American system is morally null and void, and I am committing wrong think here.  So there is that.

 

** Spot the quote.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Rumors have started circulating that Gary Larson may be about to bring “The Far Side” cartoons out of retirement.

Ol’ Robbo was a great fan of TFS back in the day, but I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this.  Way back when, Larson was an absurdist, plain and simple.  But that was before the culture turned into the wretched, polarized, hyper-politicized, Jacobin hate-fest that it is these days.  Can Larson return with a wit enjoyable to a vast and variegated audience?  (So far as Ol’ Robbo recalls, he rarely, if ever, got mixed up in politicks.)  Would he even want to?  Or will he swallow the virtue-signaling Kool-Aid?  (And if you think the latter can’t happen, I’ve got two words for you:  Berke. Breathed.)

We shall see, I guess.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel is home for the weekend after the conclusion of the opening three-week “mini-mester” at school.  She and Mrs. R are out having coffee at the moment.

Later, Mrs. R will be throwing herself in her car and heading down to Middle Gel’s school, where they’re having Parents Weekend.  Specifically, she’s going because the Gel’s sorority is having some kind of “parent pinning ceremony”.  She’s taking with her goody-bags for MG’s sorority big sister, her roommate, and a couple others.  Earlier this week, she also had cupcakes delivered to an initiation ceremony for the service club Eldest is in at her school.

Frankly, Ol’ Robbo thinks “parent-pinning” is silly.  I also think trying to relive college vicariously through one’s kids is a sure sign of the middle-aged crazies.

When I pointed these things out to Mrs. R, she hit me.

Can’t imagine why……..

UPDATE:  Eldest just sent me this announcement from her school –

God’s Holy Trousers.

Maybe this is just a setup:  List all these lefty talking points to draw attention, and then knock them out of the park one by one during the actual talk.  I certainly hope so.  Because otherwise, just damn.  (The Gel knows enough about Constitutional history to be able to knock them out herself, but there are an awful lot of jellyheads out there who don’t.)

UPDATE DEUX:  Eldest looked this fellah up and tells me he looks pretty conservative.  So it seems more likely that the “myths, misunderstandings, and mistakes” in the title refer to the idiot stuff in the body of the announcement, and that his talk will be an explanation of why.

Sorry to be so paranoid, but given what passes for “higher education” these days, it’s at least understandable.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

(No, Ol’ Robbo is not watching this evening’s edition of the Democratic Clown Car debate:  They all seem to want me dead, or at least silenced, defenseless, and impoverished, so I fail to see why I should vote for any of them.)

Ol’ Robbo just got finished re-reading a delightful set of stories, Dr. Dogbody’s Leg by James Norman Hall.

Dr. Dogbody is a one-legged, semi-retired Royal Navy surgeon of the Napoleonic Era.  In each of the ten stories, he holds forth among a group of regulars at the Cheerful Tortoise, a Portsmouth inn,  telling each time a completely different story of how he lost his leg.  The stories put him at various battles with the French, the Americans, and the Dutch, while one involves the slave trade, another an Australia-bound convict ship, and a third an encounter with Catherine the Great.  There’s no effort to try and reconcile any of them with each other.  Instead, it seems as if each one is true as the Doctor is telling it.

The stories are warm, intelligent, and quite historically accurate.  Hall’s style is not as rich as Patrick O’Brian’s (the Aubrey/Maturin novels), but he’s not as pop culture as C.S. Forester (the Hornblower series), either.  Really somewhere in the middle.  And perhaps more importantly, Hall doesn’t try to sensationalize late 18th/early 19th-Century conditions for the shock-value, as so many historickal novelists are wont to do.  Like O’Brian, he simply takes things as they were and tells his stories within that context.

James Norman Hall, by the way, was an American WWI fighter ace.  He was also co-author of the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy, which I now also very much want to read.

Anyhoo, if you have any interest in sea-stories, I heartily recommend this book.

(Incidentally, the Heart of Oak Sea Classics is an interesting publishing compilation.  In addition to Hall’s novel, there’s a lot of Dudley Pope, whom I like, and Frederick Marryat, whom I’ve not read but believe has a good reputation.  On the other hand, it also contains James Fenimore Cooper’s The Wing-And-Wing.  I can’t abide Cooper, who’s a pompous, pretentious, limousine-liberal wind-bag, and could never understand how on earth his novels attained the popularity that they did.  Sam Clemens’ literary evisceration of Cooper is a pure delight to me.)

UPDATE:  I originally considered mentioning that I re-read this book because I’ve recently gone back to commuting by Metro because my office changed locations and I need suitable light, episodic material for my travels.  I cut that out because it didn’t seem all that important.  But this nooz about the WaPo shutting down its Commuter Express paper caught my eye and prompted me to come back to this topic.

The Express was a free WaPo-light paper handed out by bums at Metro stops.

I never read it  myself, but back in the day numerous other hip denizens of Your Nation’s Capital did.

That was then.  Now?  All of them are buried in their iThingies.  (It’s pathetic when they’re stationary on the trains.  It’s infuriating when they’re walking through the stations, oblivious of people trying to get by around them.)

Because They Care.

As far as Pravda on the Potomac itself goes, I’d say LOLGF.  But what happens to the bum at my station who suddenly no longer is paid to hand out the Express?  The world wonders.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Labor Day!

Ol’ Robbo is marking the day by basically loafing in his hammock.  Because after all,  in this age of Inclusiveness Uber Alles, surely it’s of the utmost importance that those who sit about on their duffs also be celebrated today every bit as much as those who work.  (And if you disagree, you’re a hater!)

As a matter of fact, I view this day simply as a marker of the end of Summah and return of Autumn.  The “Labor” in the title is too closely associated in my mind with Marxist economic theory and the misery its many forms have spread about the world over time.  It’s simply a collectivist monster.  And the “worker” at the root of such theory has no individual meaning, no individual value.  He’s merely a pawn, a cog in a greater machine, cannon-fodder for his political masters and easily eliminated when no longer needed.  Hardly something worth raising a glass about.

No, for a proper celebration of the worth and merit of an individual’s labors, I prefer to celebrate May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

Funny enough, the Mothe’s father was some kind of union organizer back in the 30’s.  (I know no more specifics than that.)  In those days she told me, he swallowed Uncle Joe Stalin’s promise of a glorious worker’s paradise hook, line, and sinker.  However, after the War when the truth began to get out, he swung completely over to the other end of the spectrum.  Supposedly, he named his dog “Harry Truman” so that he could stand out on his front steps and yell, “Truman! Come here, you son of a bitch!”

Yes, Grampa Joe was a little nutz.  I only remember meeting him once, when I was six or seven, and even my tender mind noticed it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some important nothing to do…….

 

** Without looking it up, I’m pretty sure this (or something much like it) is a line from one of Wodehouse’s School Stories.

UPDATE:  Well, Ol’ Robbo was going to cook out this evening, but Ma Nature pawned me.  She sent down one thundershower early to get my attention, and then kept threatening a second one until past the point when I needed to fire up the coals.  In my younger, rasher days, I would have shaken my fist at the sky in defiance and gone all in.  This time?  I blinked and cooked everything on the stove top instead.  Of course, the second t-shower failed to materialize.  Well played, Ma.  Well played.

And speaking of such things, I gather we find out in the next 24 to 48 hours whether Middle Gel is going to be shooed out of the Tidewater because of Hurricane Dorian.  She got the boot this time last year because of Hurricane Florence, so she’d be batting two for two over her college career if she comes home again.

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