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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s mention the other day that Youngest Gel was starting her Driver’s Ed road work?

Well, she passed.  She gets her license tomorrow and it goes into effect Saturday.

Ol’ Robbo is pretty sure he’s not quite ready for this…..

 

** The album cover seemed particularly appropriate.  She makes that face a lot.

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

When I first saw this the other day I thought it was a parody, but evidently not: PETA Wants You To Stop Saying “Bring Home The Bacon” and Other Anti-Animal Phrases. 

Yes, yes they really do.

“Words matter,” PETA tweeted Tuesday. “And as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

The animal rights organization then included a color-coded chart with what they view as offensive phrases on the left in red and what they view as acceptable substitutions on the right in green.

In lieu of “kill two birds with one stone,” how about saying “feed two birds with one scone”? Instead of “bring home the bacon,” try “bring home the bagels.”

Bless their hearts.

Two thoughts come immediately to mind.

First?  Ol’ Robbo lerves him the history of the English language in all of its manifestations, including both etymology and these sorts of idioms.  PETA’s scolding simply makes me roll about in such history even more.  (God send the atheists don’t get the parallel idea of scrubbing all Biblical references and idioms out of the language.  Do you have any idea how many there are? I’ll give you a hint: A lot.)

Second? Bacon.  Mmmmmm……..Bacon.  Crispy.  Flavorful.  Bacon.  Mmmmmm………

You’ll have to go to the tweet link to see the chart itself because I’ve not the blog-fu to transport it over here, but from the article you get the general idea.

So should “a murder of crows” be changed to “an indaba of crows”?

And what says PETA to Benedick’s musing on the power of musick in Much Ado About Nothing: “Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?”

Finally, show of hands, please, among PETA members who support this toddler-grade Orwellian Doublethink and who also support unlimited abortion.  All of you? I suspected as much.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo’s braim just doesn’t want to let go of this one.

Here at Port Swiller Manor, logistics for what one would think even the simplest of forays very often quickly become insanely complicated.  (Because women.  There, I said it.)  I refer to such scenarios – much to my family’s ire – as “dog and pony” shows.  Guess I have to stop that now.  (Not.)

Tennyson’s line about Nature being “red in tooth and claw” should now read “Nature is colorful”.

“Dog in the manger” should now read “Veggie-dog”.

“Let the cat out of the bag” should read “Don’t put a cat in a bag in the first place, you hater!

“Horse-trading” equals slavery, so that’s right out.

The Cowardly Lion will now be the Differently-Couraged Lion.

Similarly, the Horse of a Different Color becomes Rainbow Horse.

And of course, the great Groucho Marx joke will be slightly modified: “Last night I shot** an elephant in my pajamas.  How it got in my pajamas I’ll never know, but I respect its choice.”  (Hooray for Captain Spaulding! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!)

** With a camera, you monsters!

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Although in the New Calendar this is Christ the King Sunday in the Catholic Church, in the Old Calendar which we follow at our Traditional Latin Mass, it’s simply the final Sunday after Pentecost.  (In the Old Calendar, Christ the King is the last Sunday in October.) In either case, today marks the end of the Liturgical Year and we’re now squared away to begin a new one with the start of Advent next Sunday.

Our Padre today was talking about the end of the fiscal year in the biznay world, a time at which the accountants crunch the numbers to determine profits and losses, and to see just how the biznay “did” over the prior year.  He suggested a parallel examination of our own personal faith – what did we do over the year that brought us closer to God? What did we do that pushed us farther away? What changes are we going to make this coming year to improve our balance sheet?

Pretty good food for thought.  And, at least in my case, a pretty good argument for corporate austerity going into the New Year.

Since it’s Sunday, Ol’ Robbo will use the opportunity to wish you all a belated happy St. Cecilia’s Day.  (Her Feast is actually November 22, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day this year.)

Because Ol’ Robbo is so fond of musick, St. Cecilia (patroness thereof) is probably my favorite of the lot, and certainly has the most workaday role in my life: I keep a Donatello relief of her on top of my piano, and when I start using bad language in frustration over my feeble playing, I turn to her for aid in asking pardon.  I also thank her for her assistance on those rare occasions when I feel I’ve done justice to a particular piece.

And speaking of musick, I am here to tell you that as of today, Sunday, November 25, 2018, Ol’ Robbo is already sick to death of the X-Mas musick playing in the grocery stores, in teevee commercials, and already on the Local Classickal Station.  For those of you requesting an extra side of curmudgeonry in Ol’ Robbo’s “holiday season” posting this year, your order is ready for pick-up.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo doubts very seriously whether, “Well, I raked some leaves off the driveway this morning” counts as really riveting blog material, but that’s pretty much all I did viz a viz yardwork today.

As a matter of fact, this particular chore is a bit of a fetish for me.  Our driveway goes uphill to what is, especially during rush hour, rayther a busy street.  Leaves, especially wet ones, can be as slippery as ice and the last thing you want to have happen as you’re trying to jackrabbit into an open slot on our road is to have your slicks start to spin, as the Beach Boys might put it.**

(As an aside, the Gargle-Earth street view of Port Swiller Manor was filmed a couple years back during the height of the fall leaf-drop during a time when I was less than diligent about this.  The place looks a mess.  I wish they’d update it.)

Our first freeze warning of the year is up for tonight.  I suppose it’s time to do a little mulching and also to insulate the boxwood planters out on the patio.

** Obligatory (and fun) Beach Boys reference:

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This being All Saints Sunday in the Palie Church, I absolutely knew what I was in store for when I tagged along with the Family Robbo this morning: Hymn No. 293, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God“.  At Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church, they sing this every All Saints Sunday.  And I cringe every time I hear it.

The words, by Lesbia Scott, are downright gooshy. (“You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea….”).  The setting, Grand Isle by John Henry Hopkins, starts out curiously similar to Arthur Sullivan’s “A British Tar is a soaring soul” before going off on its own gee-whiz, happy-clappy way.

One of the poorer choices for inclusion in the 1982 Palie Hymnal, in my humble opinion, but then Modernism (it was published in 1929) will let you down every time.

As a matter of fact, the Mothe and I used to mock this particular hymn back in the day by feigning over-enthusiasm when we sang it.  We’d sway and stick out our elbows and roll our eyes at each other.  And for the line “And I’m going to be one, too”, we always deliberately changed “going to” to “gonna”.

It’s just that kind of piece.

(Don’t judge us too harshly:  William Byrd, J.S. Bach, and Samuel Wesley, to name just a few, would have reacted exactly the same way!)

Jack-O, the semi-inebriated, good-enough-for-gub’mint-work Official Port Swiller Lantern for 2016

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

By the time when, well, anybody reads this post, it will probably already be October 31st, so let me go ahead an wish you all a happy Halloween!

Ol’ Robbo carved this year’s Jack-O on Sunday afternoon since I won’t get home till after dark tomorrow.  I didn’t bother to take a picture of it and simply repost this one from two years ago….because they look pretty much the same.  As I have stated before, Ol’ Robbo is a positive reactionary when it comes to jack-o-lanterns.  If it ain’t triangles, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t want to see it.  And I consider “pumpkin art” to be ridiculous.

In the meantime, I’ve seen several articles this year, some in jest and some in earnest, about the pitfalls of any kind of costume that at all appropriates “somebody else’s culture” or otherwise allegedly maligns some interest group or other.  Perhaps the most goofy kerfluffle I’ve seen has to do with the Sexy Handmaid’s Tale costume.  Funny how the SJW mob has no apparent problem with long-standing Sexy Nun costumes.  That’s different.  Because reasons.  Shut up, haters!

(Speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo is reminded of a Catholic children’s costume he saw years ago depicting the early Jesuit missionaries to Canada.  Some wag had written as a caption to the photo, “Just add Hurons!”  Ol’ Robbo still laughs and laughs at that.)

Of course, the costume flaps have nothing to do with offended sensibilities or respect for other cultures, and everything to do with bullying and control of us kulaks.  (But I suspect friends of the decanter know that already.)  I shudder to think what would be made of some of the costumes I donned over the years in this Neo-Jacobin atmosphere.  Thank Heaven I feel no desire whatever to suit up these days!  (If I did have to dress up, I think I’d go as Count Floyd. Surely they couldn’t get me for that, probably because they’d have no idea who he was. Really scary, huh, keeds? Awoooooooo!!)

Speaking of which, I learn that Eldest went Halloween Frat-Party hopping this past weekend dressed as Rosie the Riveter.  She told me she did this not to make any kind of Grrrrl-power statement, but largely because it allowed her to keep warm (overalls, denim shirt, and a head-scarf, you know) and that she laughed quietly to herself when her friends dressed in much skimpier outfits complained of being cold.  Heh.

I don’t know if Middle Gel is dressing up, but I learned of a neat thing they do at her school: All the freshman dorms have a hall-decorating contest, the winning hall being treated to pizza.  Then, faculty and staff bring their kiddies ’round to trick-or-treat in the halls, where the freshmen hand out goodies.  As I say, I think this is really neat.

As to Youngest, she’s not trick-or-treating at all this year, but is instead going to a Twenty One Pilots concert and dragging Mrs. Robbo along with her.  You will pardon me for taking a certain malign pleasure in the fact that Mrs. R has to go and I get to stay home.

As for myself, Ol’ Robbo plans, as per usual, to set out a bowl of candy on the front steps, light up Jack-O, and then go and hide in the basement to watch “Young Frankenstein“, easily the best Mel Brooks-produced movie evah because it was written by Gene Wilder and not by Mel himself.   No offense to Mr. Brooks, but while he can put together individual gags superbly, I never felt he could as successfully string them together to produce a satisfying movie-length narrative.

At any rate, Ol’ Robbo will see you on the other side on All Saints Day, probably my very favorite Feast of the entire liturgical year.  I like to think that on November 1st, the adults are back in charge.

UPDATE: To my knowledge, we had exactly two parties of trick-or-treaters, the kidz from next door and a younger bunch from down the street.  (Anybody want a Kit-Kat bar? We’ve got something of a surplus.)  We’re on the outer edge of our neighborhood – or the wrong side of the tracks as I sometimes say – and there’s no natural loop to get to our house.

Youngest found a friend to go to the concert with her, so for Mrs. R it was strictly Click and Clack’s Russian chauffer, Pickup Andropov. I am happy to say that even though the Gel got back extremely late, she went to school without a fuss this morning and got an A on a history test.

Oh, and the other thing? You realize Society has problems when you encounter people downtown and at the office on Halloween and you can’t be sure whether they are in costume or not.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is off from work tomorrow, so tonight is my early Friday Night.  What say you to opening the sluice-gates of my alleged mind and see what comes pouring out?

♦   How about just a little politicks first? Robbo’s prediction: The ‘Pubs hold the House and gain in the Senate. (And yes, both the Elder Gels have mailed in their absentee ballots.) Blue Wave? Naw.  Red Tsunami.

♦  Related, today was “Patriotism Day” at Youngest’s high school. (It’s “Theme Week” leading up to Homecoming this weekend.  Teh kidz were supposed to dress up appropriately.  Youngest wore Stars & Stripes pants and a “Trump 2020” shirt.  Heh, indeed.

♦  Okay, how about we turn to the Arts? Yesterday evening on the drive home, Ol’ Robbo heard the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony on the local classickal station.  The DJ started off by reading some wankstein’s musings about how this piece was ol’ Pyotr Ilyich’s musickal musing on the subject of Destiny, and the ambiguity of whether the final movement represented a Triumph over Fate or a resigned acceptance of it.

Cor lumme, stone the crows.  This is exactly why I loathe Romanticism in all its manifestation.  I don’t give a damn about Tchaikovsky’s views on predestination, I only care about whether the musick is well-crafted or not.  (Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.”)

♦  Oh, and I hadn’t realized it until I researched this a bit, but Cole Porter stole the main theme from this movement for his song “Farewell, Amanda” from the Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn move “Adam’s Rib”, one of my old favorites.  Been a while since I’ve seen it…..Must look to Netflix queue…….

♦  By the bye, I  despise the whole concept of predestination and fatalism, too.  Ol’ Robbo would not have made a good Calvinist.

♦  Any Charles Portis fans among you?

♦  Today is the Feast of St. Chrysanthus, an early martyr. I had hoped that there might be some association with chrysanthemums, since they are so closely associated with this season and many flower names do, in fact, have Christian origins, but apparently not.  (I don’t really care much for mums anyway.  Too garish for me.)

♦  I suppose I had ought to say something about the World Series here, but really, Ol’ Robbo has no dog in this fight.  I’m pretty sure the Sawx are going to win it all.  I am absolutely sure there’s nothing quite so obnoxious as a triumphant Bahston sports fan.

♦  Speaking of athletics, Ol’ Robbo has got back into working out on his rowing erg.  I realized recently that I had made a big mistake last year (when I first bought it) of trying to do long, steady, power rows (30 minutes, for instance) right off the bat.  I quickly got discouraged with that (being not a 19 y.o. varsity athlete but a 53 y.o. desk-jockey), and so stopped using the thing.  But recently it occurred to me to do some research on recommended workouts and I came across a whole packet of programs of interval training.  Makes all the difference in teh world.  I’ve been at it now for about two weeks and haven’t felt this good in a long time.

♦  By the bye, when I was rowing crew in college back in the day, I had a t-shirt that read “Put an erg on the water and it sinks…”  I still think that’s the right attitude.  (Who knows? Perhaps one day Ol’ Robbo will invest in a scull and take up plashing about on the Potomac.)

Well, enough.  Tomorrow morning, Ol’ Robbo probably will try to get out and give the yard one final mow for the year, ahead of the nor’easter which is supposed to blow in later in the day.  Porch plants probably come inside this weekend, too, and I’m getting ready to slap the rear side-panels back on La Wrangler in anticipation of the colder weather.  (And wetter.  I understand we may get an El Nino this year, which means much precipitation on the East Coast.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo can’t seem to tape out a fully-formed post on any single subject this evening, so how about a this-n-that fondue?

♦  Start with the fact that I can’t spell “fondue” without looking it up.  And I dislike the whole concept because of some childhood incident, the specifics of which I can no longer recall.

♦  The Local Classickal Station is doing their annual fall pledge drive and I have finally become so sick of hearing the same pitches over and over and over again that I’ve actually turned off my radio until it’s done, a practice I usually reserve for Lent.  (Yes, I do contribute.)

♦  I recently read Robert Graves’ Goodbye To All That again for the nth-time.  With each reading, I find I become even more fascinated by his experiences in the trenches in WWI, but also more repelled by his character.

♦  And on the subject of books, I have a very real feeling that it’s time for me to revisit Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, which I reread every couple years.  I remember a meme some blog-friend posted years ago:  Pamela Flitton or Brenda Last?

♦  Today was the first day of the season that I was able to do my lunchtime walkies without breaking a sweat, something I’m sure my office mates appreciated.  I also was able to keep up a spanking pace – my habit is to leave my building at the same time each day and to wind up near the Grant Memorial at about 12:45 pm.  There’s a nearby bell tower that strikes quarterly, and where I am when it goes off tells me how good my pace is.

♦  Obsessive-compulsive? Moi? Say rather that my mind is quite scattershot, so I need to build as many routines as possible – walking the same route at the same time, parking in the same space every day, keeping my keys, wallet, etc., in the same spot.  Otherwise, I would become disoriented very quickly.

♦  Speaking of the season, the annual Flu Shot Wars have flared up at Port Swiller Manor.  Mrs. R has begun badgering me about getting one and I have already stuck in my heals and balked.  Ol’ Robbo has a deep aversion to needles.  It’s as simple as that.

Whelp, enough for now.  Ol’ Robbo is off to revisit the early-80’s tee-vee version of “Ivanhoe” with Anthony Andrews, who was at his peak star power in those days.  I can’t help thinking that Andrews didn’t really have the brawn to play a medieval knight, not like Robert Taylor. But ne’er mind.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Columbus Day!  Did you know that ol’ Robbo didn’t even realize this was a holiday weekend until last Friday?  The relief I felt when I found I had an extra day after all the silly running about behavior I had to do Saturday and Sunday was immense.

So on to this and that:

♦  In the spirit of the day, I recommend to you once again a trilogy of books by Hugh Thomas, sent to me by long-time friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory.  They are Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan, The Golden Empire: Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America, and World Without End: Spain, Phillip II, and the First Global Empire.  What I really like about these books is the way Thomas sets Spain’s American ventures in the context of its home politicks and culture – the Reconquista, the Inquisition, the relations of Castile and Aragon, and the larger Hapsburg connections between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.  It all wouldn’t make much sense otherwise.

♦  Speaking of which, Eldest is taking a course this semester on pre-Columbian American empires, specifically the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas.  She’s really enjoying it, in part because her prof refuses to paint them as Rousseauian utopias and is careful to include the uglier aspects as well.  (She recently watched “Apocalypto” in connection with the course.  Her review? “It was weird.”)

♦  And speaking of ugly, is Melania Trump really getting flak for wearing a “colonial” pith helmet on her tour of Africa?  Do these fookin’ people honestly have nothing better to do with themselves?  Or is this just aggression-transfer resulting from last week’s Pickett’s Charge effort to sink Justice Kavanaugh?

♦ On a completely different note, our trip to CNU to visit Middle Gel this weekend was very nice.  We saw her perform in a pan-musick department concert Saturday afternoon, and then went to a BBQ picnic out on the lawn.  While we were eating, the marching band came, well, marching by on their way to the football stadium for the evening’s game.  I understand they are the second largest Division III marching band in the country.  They were really strutting their stuff, too.  I dunno why, but Ol’ Robbo has always been a sucker for school marching bands.  I like both the sound and the razzmatazz.  (And no, I was never a Band Geek myself.)

“Ah, Ha, Ha, Haaa…”

♦  Pulling out of the parking garage at the hotel yesterday morning, Ol’ Robbo was able to make a turn in our Honda Juggernaut that missed a neighboring car’s fender by inches but saved me having to back up again.  As I did so, I laughed in the voice of Snake from “The Simpsons”.  Mrs. R looked at me and said, “You are so strange.”  But I was happy.  Is this just a guy thing?

♦  And speaking of happy and driving, friend of the decanter Tubbs remarks in a comment below on the slog that is I-95 and the Dee Cee Beltway.  In fact, we didn’t do too badly coming up I-64 from the Tidewater and then I-95 from Richmond yesterday.  And I have to confess that ever since they’ve completed the EZ-Pass express lanes on the Beltway and dropped them down to around Stafford on I-95, the last 45 minutes or so of my trips home from south of The Swamp have become downright pleasant.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Ol’ Robbo needs to go mow the lawn now and feel appropriately guilty about historickal European destruction of Indigenous Peoples, but mostly go mow the lawn.

UPDATE: Yardwork status? Done.  I forgot to mention earlier that we took Youngest with us on our visit this weekend.  She got very mad at Ol’ Robbo because I point-blank refused to let her practice driving on the interstates.  I did, in fact, let her drive when we were in Newport News, but even then she almost ran a red light because she got distracted by something.  No way is she ready for bumper-to-bumper at 80 MPH.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The swirl of half-baked allegations these past couple weeks surrounding Judge Kavanaugh’s high school and college years puts Ol’ Robbo in mind of this:

Things never really change, do they?  (At least Ol’ Rossini put it to a good tune, though.)

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