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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo must hit the road bright and early tomorrow morning for a quick biznay trip that will get him back to Port Swiller Manor very late Thursday evening.

I haven’t decided yet whether I will bother bringing along my personal laptop.  If I don’t, this post is meant to explain my silence for the next few days.

Here’s something to ponder in the meanwhile:  Friends of the decanter may have come to sense over the years that Ol’ Robbo is something of a nut about planning and punctuality.  True enough.  (In this, I highly approved of Middle Gel’s former high school choir director’s iron rule that if you’re early, you’re on time; If you’re on time, you’re late; If you’re late, don’t bother showing up.  My college crew coach held the identical view.)

Yet for all that, I have never been able to bring myself to pack for an early morning trip the evening before, but instead typically fill up the ol’ suitcase in a fog and haze at Oh Dark Thirty.  I almost always find myself scrambling to beat the clock in my packing so that I can make it to the airport the obligatory two hours before my flight leaves.

I suppose part of this is sheer laziness, part evidence of a reluctance to leave.  Also, I admit getting a certain kick, after all the kerfluffle, of sitting about in the departure lounge and kicking my heals because I’m always way early.

Yes, I’m weird.

Anyhoo, back later.  Unless I check in sooner.  We’ll see.

FLYING THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES UPDATE:  Brought the laptop after all.  Which is just as well because Ol’ Robbo can now kvetch about his flight out this morning.

Not only did it prove to be one of the most beastly, choppy, turbulent flights of my experience.  (Three hours, about two thirds of it with the seatbelt sign lit and the stewardesses sitting down.  At one point, I swear the pilot rammed the throttle wide open just to try and get through the next patch of very bad sky as quickly as possible.)

Not only was I worried that the very large man in the seat in front of me was going to cause it to collapse into my lap by all his heaving around in it.

No, the cherry on top of the ice cream was that I was seated next to a young mother who had both an infant who couldn’t have been more than a month or two old and a toddler somewhere in the 2 y.o. range.  When the infant wasn’t being nursed (at least the mother brought along a covering for that), he screamed his bloody head off.  When the toddler didn’t feel she was getting all the attention she deserved, she screamed her bloody head off.

Part of me thought the mother quite brave for juggling this pair and all their accoutrements all by herself in a (for the most part) calm manner.  The other part of me heartily wished she were being brave somewhere else.

Of course, listening to all this rather took my mind off the plane being tossed about so much, but in the end, even when two such irritants cancel each other out to some extent, it’s still a mighty exhausting time.

 

 

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Robbo’s Potential Son-In-Law?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the Decanter may recall Ol’ Robbo mentioning the other day that Middle Gel was going through rush this weekend?  Well, mission accomplished:  She was accepted into Delta Gamma this afternoon.  The chapter at her school seems to be very big on charitable works, which is just nuts to her, so it seems like a good fit.

There was a “Bid Day” to-do earlier this evening in which all the sororities lined up around one end of the gym.  The newbies appeared at the other end in squads, and on cue sprinted across to join up with their respective houses.  In one of those only-possible-in-the-21st-Century twists, the whole thing was broadcast on the campus teevee station, and Mrs. R and I watched via Facebook.  There was much screaming and cheering, but we did at least get a glimpse of Middle Gel being taken in by her new sisters.

Back when Ol’ Robbo was in law school at Dubyanell, I recall that the DG motto was “Catch the Wave”.  Fortunately, they seem to have dropped that, as the local wags used to parody it rather brutally.  (Yes, even worse than what was said of Delta Delta Delta:  “Can’t get a date by Eight? Tri-Delt!”)

By the bye, did I ever mention here that I was kinda, sorta in a frat in my misspent undergrad days at The People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT?  Yes, indeedy:  Alpha Delta Phi.

I say “kinda, sorta” because while I was inducted right enough, the chapter there was in a state of open rebellion against the national HQ in that it, along with four others, had arbitrarily gone co-ed.  At the time, Ol’ Robbo was, if not exactly sympathetic, at least intrigued by the question from a sort of states’ rights versus federalism standpoint.  (Also, the house itself was pretty awesome.  And the parties?  Those files, my friends, are sealed.)

I didn’t keep up with things after I graduated, but I b’lieve the chapter’s charter eventually was revoked.  Certainly the old Alpha Delt house on campus is now designated as an eating club.  So I honestly don’t know if I’m technically a member anymore or not.  (I’ve never received a single piece of mail asking me to pony up some coin in all these years, so I’m guessing the answer is “not”.)

Not that it matters all that much.  Besides, while I gave my pin to Mrs. R when we got to dating seriously, she promptly lost it somewhere on the grounds of Sweet Briar College.

Heigh-ho.  But I hope the Gel has lots of fun and builds up some good long-term relationships.

(The pic of Belushi ties into all this, incidentally, because I believe “Animal House” actually was based on the Alpha Delt house at Dartmouth.  Mrs. R’s grandfather was a “Drunken DKE” there back in the day, but that’s another story.)

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Like John Valuk, Ol’ Robbo’s iPhone is dead.  It fell on its head. ***

Mrs. R duly took the remains into the Verizon store a couple days ago.  “Want a new one? 500 jimmy o’ goblins.”

So she went to the Apple store a couple spots down in the mall.  “Oh, the battery’s gone all ‘spoldy.  50 bucks to replace and we’ll give you a new phone to go round it.”

I’m not complaining, but I simply do not understand these things.

And speaking of incomprehension, my phone was Mrs. R’s old hand-me-down iPhone 7  (UPDATE: Actually, I’m told it’s a 5), which the family forced on me when they took away my old Motorola flip-phone.****  Admittedly, over the years I’ve got used to using it for checking emails, texting, and taking the odd photograph.  When Mrs. R explained to the Verizon guy that I just wanted a replacement, not an upgrade, he was positively gob-smacked.

 

** Classical reference in the headline.

*** If you don’t get this, you’ll never be a Hong Kong Cavalier.

**** Which remains a great mystery to me, considering that most of my incoming calls and now texts over the years have been from Mrs. R during my evening commute and have had to do with the picking up of various items from the store or various childs from this or that outing.  Between a stick-shift and my need for reading glasses, while I could easily answer my flip-phone en route, dealing with the iPhone is out of the question until I come to rest.  To this day, I don’t think she gets this.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy New Year!

We wound up having rather a larger New Year’s Eve to-do at Port Swiller Manor than Ol’ Robbo had been expecting, Mrs. R slyly waiting until the last minute to mention all the people she had invited over.  Fortunately, we rang in the new year on Greenwich Mean Time, meaning we popped the corks at 7:00 pm local.  As mentioned below, Ol’ Robbo has been in the clutches of a really nasty cold he picked up last week, and in bed throughout the weekend, but I was nonetheless able to clean myself up, put on something of a smile, and hobnob for a few hours in the early evening.  Then I went back to bed.  Yee Haw.

And so we enter 2019.  I won’t make any specific predictions about it, but I’m guessing in general that it’s going to be even more insane than 2018 was.  And following on that, my chief resolution is not to let the insanity get to me, but to treat it with the cheerful contempt that it deserves.  (My iPhone committed suicide the other day, so I haven’t even really been looking at headlines.  It’s been heavenly.)  UPDATE:  I am speaking here about the World In General, of course.  Closer to home, I’ve had no real complaints and some true gratification.  Hopefully, that trend will continue, too.

Meanwhile, today is the first day that Ol’ Robbo was supposed to be back down the office after his Christmas hols.  I’ve no idea how long Uncle will continue to dispense with my services, but at least it will be a while before I need to start considering Domino’s pizza delivery routes.  In the meantime, I couldn’t help noticing that Mrs. R has put together what amounts to a furlough “honey-do” list.  I’m sure I’ll have more on that because one of the tasks involves reorganizing my library and initial skirmishing indicates that Mrs. R and I have very different views on what that actually entails.

And speaking of insanity, Mrs. Robbo’s EZPass stopped working some weeks back, meaning we were running tollbooths without paying.  Recently, we received a polite letter from the toll authority telling us that they’d been charging our account manually, but to cut it out.  When Mrs. R called them and explained the circumstances, they said that the transponder had failed and that they would ship another one.  They also told us that when we throw the old one away send the old one back (no doubt so they can keep a Permanent Record on our travels) we should be sure to wrap it in tinfoil first.  I am never going to make a joke about tinfoil hats ever again, because this advice convinces me that people who wear them may be on to something.

Anyhoo, here we go round again.

**One of the very few Kinks songs I actually know, but I’ve always liked it.

UPDATE DEUX: Speaking of the “honey-do” list, my first task for tomorrow just now dropped down on me:  Youngest’s new computer desk just arrived at the front door.  (It was her main Christmas present by request.)  Now comes plainly back to my mind my airy assertion that I could assemble it myself when Mrs. R was ordering it a couple weeks back.  I peeked into the box just now and there are many, many bits and pieces.  Better brew an extra-large pot of kawfee in the morning because this thing is going to take a while.

UPDATE TROIS:  Ol’ Robbo went to move the desk box this morning and immediately broke into a dizzy sweat.  Mercifully, Mrs. R suggested that since I’ve not got my strength back yet, I should leave it for now. “Instead,” she said, “You can hang up a couple of pictures in the basement stairwell.  I’ve left them out for you.  You can choose where to put them because you’re so good at that sort of thing.”

This is what’s known as the Great Trap.  If I could hang them once and be done with it, I wouldn’t mind.  But I’m certain sure that wherever I put them, Mrs. R will want them moved.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, it seems The Weekly Standard has slid beneath the waves.

Lynx-eyed friends of the decanter may have noticed that Ol’ Robbo threw TWS off his blogroll (along with NRO, The Telegraph, and several other nooz and opinion sites) some time ago.

If the election of OrangeManBad has done nothing else, it has ripped the masks completely off the Establishment “Conservatives”, revealing them for the uniparty corporate globalists that they really are, with their allegiance pledged to the power structure instead of to the people on whom it is imposed.

Feh.  I’ve got a goodish number of books from back in the day by Beltway types such as George Will, Peggy Noonan, Jonah Goldberg, and TWS’s own Matt LaBash. I used to look up to such people as champions against Leviathan, but the past two years have really opened my eyes.

(Not that I’ll toss their books, since Ol’ Robbo cannot abide tossing books, but at least I’ll banish them to my “Not likely to read again” shelves.)

Anyhoo, good riddance.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over at Ace’s place this morning,**** one of the Moron Horde, in response to a link put up by Sefton in his Morning Report about some whizz-bang new piece of technology, commented, “I would say anything prefixed with the word ‘smart’ is bad news for individual liberty.”

I was impressed enough with this comment to scribble it down (in good, old-fashioned ink on a good, old-fashioned note pad), in part because I think there is much in it, and in part because it reminded me of a funny thing that happened just yesterday.

As far as the general validity of the comment goes, Ol’ Robbo is routinely horrified by “smart” technology such as Alexi and the various GPS driver-direction aids.******  (Self-driving cars are right out.)  I haven’t seen it myself because I don’t watch much teevee, but I read just recently about an Alexi ad in which I gather some new Dad asks Alexi for baby-care tips and at the end Alexi is complimented as being the “best” parent.  Hello?  And regular friends of the decanter will know Ol’ Robbo has long held the view that when Skynet goes active, one of its first moves will be to steer every GPS-dependent yo-yo driver straight into an ambush.  On a more serious note, I am continually conscious that every time I interact with “smart” technology and give it some piece of personal data, that data – however small – is being collected by whoever is behind said technology.  And you may make all the tinfoil hat jokes you want, but I don’t like it.

As to the funny thing, Ol’ Robbo got trapped in a meeting yesterday morning with half a dozen of his work colleagues.  Before we got down to the (completely useless) agenda, talk circled round to the new building currently under construction into which we will be moving some time next year.  (It’s going to be hell.  The offices, so I understand, are half the size of our current ones, my daily lunchtime walks will be at an end,  and I’m going to have to go back to using the Metro because its location will entail simply too much damned downtown driving.  On the other hand, the move will be enough to finally prod Ol’ Robbo into signing up for teleworking twice a week, so at least it’s got that going for it.)

Anyhoo, there was much cooing amongst my colleagues about all the sooper-smart whistles and bells with which the new digs will be equipped, especially the “eco-friendly” ones.  “Did you know?” said one of them, “The lighting in the new office will automatically brighten or dim….based on the amount of sunshine coming in through the windows?”

Oooooh…aaaaahh!” enthused the others (all wymminz) in that smug, self-satisfied, virtue-signaling tone that Ol’ Robbo can’t stand.

“That’s all well and good,” I replied, “But I hope the system has manual overrides.  I don’t mind considering suggestions from the technology around me, but I’ll be damned if I take orders from it.  I’m not quite ready to surrender my autonomy to robots or their overlords, however benevolent their alleged intent.”

It suddenly got awfully quiet.  As if Ol’ Robbo had farted in church.

“Well,” one of them eventually said, “You can always bring in a lamp if you think you need to.”

Lor’ lumme, stone the crows.

 

** Spot the reference.  Hint: “Blood…..blood…..”

**** I can’t linky to Ace’s place in the body of a post, although it’s in my blogroll and I hope all of you are regulars there.  The last couple times I’ve gone over there on my laptop, I’ve gotten this weird pop-up, complete with very loud audio, claiming to be from Microsoft.  The pitch is that there is something deathly wrong with my software, and that I need to call them right away with my credit card in hand so that they can fix it.  (The scam doesn’t affect my phone or work computer, perhaps because I only use them to read.)

****** Dumb technology, on the other hand, appeals deeply to Ol’ Robbo.  For instance, recently I’ve been thinking that it would be a really cool idea to come up with a tire that has a brightly-colored layer of rubber embedded in the tread.  When you start to see that color coming through, you know it’s time to buy new tires.  (They already do this with toothbrushes, so why not?)  I’ve been thinking about this again since the Elder Gels left for school and I can’t eyeball the tires on their cars anymore.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t dipped much into politickal posting here of late, but once in a while things get so crazy that even I feel compelled to remark on them.  Quite the week, I think friends of the decanter will agree?

♦ Chelsea Clinton spouts off on the economic “benefits” of abortion.  Hey, Chelsea – You might not be interested in Moloch, but Moloch is always interested in you!

♦  Andrew Cuomo trashes America and then digs deeper by trying to deny the plain meaning of his own words. “Bitch set me up!”

♦  Three hundred-odd newspaper editors collude to trash the President because he accuses them of colluding to trash him.  ‘Kay.

♦  Big Tech has decided that it has a duty to protect us all from ungood wrong think.  This is a big reason why I never fooled with Twitter and don’t bother much with FacePlant anymore.  (I just hope that they don’t decide to come and take my little WordPress soapbox away from me, too.)

You can say whatever else you like about this Administration, but it has produced one very positive effect anyway: The masks are all coming off.

These people hate you.  They really hate you.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo found an odd spam comment in his filter this morning that read, in part, “Janice rolled her eyes and groaned, fought to regulate her temper then stabbed her forefinger at Musica.”

By a remarkable coincidence, I had just been groaning, fighting to regulate my temper, and stabbing my finger, too, although I was stabbing it at my checkbook as I completed putting together amended tax returns for 2016.  (It turns out somebody had muffed a withholding on a payout, and Uncle spotted the discrepancy.)

Anyhoo, once the returns were sealed up, I toddled over to our local branch post office to mail them out.  It features one of those touch-screen do-it-yourself scale and stamp-generator contraptions, and when I had finished weighing things and buying the postage, its screen lit up with the words, “Thank you.  It has been a pleasure serving you today.”

Who knew the USPO had contracted with the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?  (I wouldn’t have been the least surprised if it had murmured “Share and Enjoy” as it spit out my stamps.)  At least it didn’t try to serve me a small plastic cup containing a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Still irked at having Uncle dip his hand into the Robbo pockets again, I said, “Go stick your head in a pig.”

The fellah in line behind me looked…..distinctly alarmed.

“Haaaappy BLOG-day! Missster….Robbo…(tee-hee, *hic*)”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I would invite all of you to fill your glasses, gunn’ls under, and raise a toast with three times three and no heeltaps, because today is the tenth anniversary of Ol’ Robbo’s pulling of the cork here at The Port Stands At Your Elbow.  Huzzay! Huzzay! Huzzah!!

As a matter of fact, I can’t really believe it myself.  On the one hand, it seems I’ve been slogging along forever.  On the other, seems like just yesterday that I decided I needed my very own bloggy platform away from the Llamabutchers.

I was musing on this blog-framed decade last evening.  What’s the same now? Well, Mrs. R and I are, of course, still manacled together. (A joke, people.  A joke!)  I swam the Tiber the Easter before I started here, and still consider that to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I still live at Port Swiller Manor, although we’ve done a lot to it in that time.  I still have the same job, which I really enjoy, and which would be a positive gold mine for posting material if I didn’t care about losing it.  (Oh, the ridiculous stories I could tell.  Think John Mortimer.  Perhaps if I’m still blogging when I retire……)

What’s changed? Well, the Gels are pretty much all grown up now.  We’ve had various family losses. Friends have come and gone, both on the Innertoobs and in Meatspace.  Society has become downright psychotic.

In other words, Life has gone on….

So, what about this place?

First, I know perfectly well that there aren’t all that many of you ’round the table, but I truly appreciate those of you who drop in for a dram, either regularly or even only now and again.  You have all certainly had an impact over the years on me, and I like to think that I have had at least some small impact on some of you.  Cheers!

Second, I feel I should apologize again for the feebleness of my posting, especially lately.  As I said in the gardening post below, it’s been a rough year for me, and sometimes I have slapped things up here knowing perfectly well I was only phoning it in.  Also, I have been loathe to get too deep into some subjects near and dear to my heart due to the toxic politickal climate that has existed for some time now.  Curiously, even as it seems to be reaching a point of frenzy, I actually feel less concerned about the consequences of saying exactly what I think.  Perhaps I’m finding a second wind to get back into the Culchah Wars.  Perhaps I’m just getting too old to care much anymore about potential fallout.

Which leads me to Thirdly.  It’s my hope to start putting out better quality posts going into this second decade – more in depth, more substantive, more thought-out ahead of time instead of served on the half-volley, more topical.  And more organized.  Alert friends of the decanter may have noted that Ol’ Robbo recently has got into the habit of throwing up a regular Saturday Gardening Post.  I find this regimen really helps me focus and concentrate, and very shortly I hope to start doing the same thing on Sundays with regular posts on Matters Religious.  On the other hand, I’m not yet at the point of trying to assign out specific themes for other days of the week since I don’t want to give up spontaneity completely and I also find that the traffic rate really doesn’t warrant more than one post a day.

Finally, who knows what we’re going to see going forward in terms of the future of blogging in general.  I doubt that we’ll ever quite get back to the Golden Age of the early 2000’s in terms of ubiquity and interconnectivity, but I do like to think that the general disillusion with other social media platforms like FacePlant and Twooter (I almost never post on the former anymore, and have never had an account on the latter) might push people back towards the good ol’ Blogsphere, at least enough folks so as to re-establish some of those nifty little circles that were such a joy back in the day.  Whether this pans out or not, I plan to be around at any rate.

So once again, pray raise your glasses!  Here’s to the next ten years!  Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzay!!

 

(**NOTE: About the pic, just in case you were wondering, Ol’ Robbo wouldn’t have had anything to do with Marilyn if you’d served her up to him on a plate with watercress round her.  Never, ever understood the appeal.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before heading out on his anniversary trip, Ol’ Robbo tried to pre-post a couple of entries here apropos to marriage, in order to cover his extended silence.  (You know, so that the three or four of you who actually pay attention to this blog wouldn’t come and sack Port Swiller Manor in my absence.)

Evidently, I did or did not do something I was supposed to under the harsh bloggy strictures of WordPress, because none of said pre-paid posts ever turned up on the main page.

Oh, well.

Anyhoo, I’ll resurrect the meat of just one, a very short Python sketch over which I have laughed immoderately ever since I first saw it.  (Sorry about the subtitles.)

 

Incidentally, “Well you can’t change your bloody wife!!” is not a bad line to consider when you’re going through some of the darker patches.  Trust me on this.

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