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

Port Swiller Manor after the  Initial Driveway Cleanup

Port Swiller Manor after the Initial Driveway Cleanup

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, the Family Robbo survived Snowzilla intact.  Indeed, we didn’t even lose power this time around, owing to the lightness and dryness of the snow. Deo gratias.

Dulles recorded 29″ while they got 22″ downtown.  I think we probably split the baby here.

In any case, I’ve spent the last three days heaving snow off the Port Swiller driveway and my arms and shoulders ache something fierce as a result. (I also think I pulled something in my abs today.)  But the real story of the cleanup was the Eldest Gel.  I had mentioned casually to her a couple days before the storm that I expected her to help shovel out, given that her own car was involved in the matter.  Nonetheless, I had envisioned that when push came to shove she would balk, finding some excuse for weaseling out and leaving the whole job to ol’ Robbo (who, quite frankly, is getting a bit old to deal with this sort of thing all by his lonesome.)

Well, was I pleasantly surprised.  Both yesterday and today, the gel was actually on station and shoveling away even before I even got out of bed.  Plus, not a single word of complaint the entire time, indeed, the closest she came was to say, “I hate this, but I know it needs to be done.”  Instead, we chatted and listened to her iThingy playlist of classic rock.

Musick to ol’ Robbo’s ears.  That the gel is thinking like a responsible adult is something I’ve been praying for, for a very long time indeed.  Also, although I suppose we could have hired somebody to come and dig us out, ol’ Robbo was brought up with the idea that hard work (including manual labor) is important to character development.  The gel felt damned proud of herself for pitching in, and so she should have.  (And get this: She also asked if she could borrow my copy of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, as she has felt the need recently to shore up the underpinnings of her faith in the face of all the hostility she gets about it from some of the kids at her school.)

Oh, speaking of musick, at one point I was at the top of the drive while she was working closer to the garage.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” turned up on her phone, and even though I was some distance from her, at the appropriate point I went into “Wayne’s World” head-banger mode.  The gel laughed and laughed.

Good times.  Good times.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, ol’ Robbo is still around, although I confess that I have yet to finish the bottle of port I got in for the Christmas festivities.  (Some reveler I am.)

Anyhoo, I may have missed some regime change, but why will Safari and iMac suddenly not let me copy and paste Innernet links or YooToob videos?  (I was going to do a retrospective on the late David Bowie’s song “Changes” and ol’ Robbo’s varsity crew winter training at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT back in the day, but the ability to insert links suddenly seems to have disappeared from my screen.)

What gives?

UPDATE: Oh, I think I see.  Whereas previously the link to a specific page at, say, Amazon automatically appeared in the, er, linkie bar, now it just says “amazon.com” and you have to click again to get the specific page address.  Or something.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I warned in the post below that New Year’s additions might be sparse, but it turned out more complicated than I had thought.  You see, one of Mrs. R’s aunts died – suddenly but not unexpectedly – over the weekend, so there was more knee-bent running around advancing behavior than even I had anticipated.

Anyhoo, the upshot was that while Mrs. R went up to Lon Guyland to see to her aunt’s remembrances, teh Gels and I traveled to the vast but secure land holdings of the Former Llama Military Correspondent, there to participate in our joint families’ twenty-first Noo Year celebration together.

Because ol’ Robbo’s Wrangler won’t hold four adults and luggage, we took teh Eldest Gel’s Honda CRV.  Because it was her ride, I respected her choice of musick and asked no questions about the 180-odd tunes she synched up on her iWhatever for the trip.

Teh Eldest is, shall we say, eccentric.  As I’ve said before, she believes Freddy Mercury was the greatest musickal genius ever to have lived.  Thus, her playlist was chockabloc with Queen.  What I hadn’t realized is that she has been pushing out in her taste for Classic Rock.  As we cruised down the highway, I got a hefty sampling of ’60’s, 70’s and 80’s icons:  Aerosmith, Rush, Huey Lewis, Elton John, the Beatles, the guys who sang “Sister Christian”,  Rockwell.  She also threw in some Sinatra.

One of teh Gel’s tunes was “Tainted Love”, the Soft Cell cover.  Foolishly, ol’ Robbo noted that he actually bought that album back in the day in the hope of impressing the “cool” kids with which he was trying to hang out.

Teh Gel nearly put the car into the ditch laughing over that one.

“Wait, wait, ” she gasped, “Were you trying to get in with the band geeks?”

“Well…..yes,” I admitted.

“Oh, ha ha haaah.  I knew it! ” she said.

Shut up.  And get off my lawn.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The Eldest Gel reminds ol’ Robbo that today is the centennial of the birth of Frank Sinatra.  While she continues to believe Queen and Freddy Mercury to be the greatest musick evah, she also likes her some Ol’ Blue Eyes.

I’ve got no problem with that.

Speaking of the Eldest, she went out the other day all on her own and bought Ben Shapiro’s book Bullies.  Turns out that for some time now she’s been reading Shapiro and that Milos Whatshisname fellah over at Breitbart.  She also has become an ardent fan of “South Park”.

I guess that apple didn’t fall all that far away from the tree after all.

(OTOH, this is the same whippersnapper who, when confronted with the fact that once again she had left her dishes piled in the sink, said, “I deliberately leave them for you to do, Dad.  I read where that kind of task is good for slowing the onset of dementia in old people and am just trying to help.”)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As regular friends of the decanter may be aware, ol’ Robbo drives a soft-top ’03 Jeep Wrangler.  As more closely observant friends may know, I keep the side and back panels off/open in all possible seasons.  One of several reasons for this is that I like to hear what’s going on around me as well as seeing it.

Whelp, recently I can’t help noticing a surge in some kind of mechanical innovation in the more la-dee-dah cars on the road.  Seems that at stop signs and red lights, their engines cut out, either altogether or else sliding into some kind of sleep mode.  In either case, when they need to engage again, there is some kind of mini-starter motor.  When activated, it makes a distinct gervoosh sort of noise.

This irritates ol’ Robbo on two distinct grounds.

First, simple mechanical noises can play the part of “ear-worm” just as readily as any bad musick.  (Ol’ Robbo would never throw out examples here like “Su-Sudio” or “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy“.  You can thank me later.) Said gervooshing is getting on my nerves for its own sake.

Second, there is something repugnant to me about the idea of gratuitously flipping the on/off switch back and forth.  Somewhere in my education, it was impressed upon me that such needless mechanical tap-dancing simply wears out the parts more quickly.  I’m sure somebody has a reasoned, justified response in this instance, but I don’t care:  It still seems wrong to me.

ceciliaGreetings (again), my fellow port swillers!  Although it’s been a tumultuous day or two here, I just wanted to wish you all a very happy Feast of St. Cecilia!

St. Cecilia is, for obscure reasons, the patron saint of musick, so I’m sure you can understand why she is very special to Ol’ Robbo.  Indeed, she is more or less an unofficial patron for me and I have a frieze of her by Botticelli perched atop my piano.  I’m little more than a sight-reading hack these days, and while I do very much enjoy making musick, I am also keenly aware of my shortcomings in that respect, and also of my tendency to employ rayther a lot of bad language when banging on the keys.  I look to her to aid me in fighting these shortcomings and making my efforts more pleasing to God.

A great task, I admit, but a worthy one.

St. Cecilia, ora pro nobis.

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

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

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

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

/logs off

/logs back on

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

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

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

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

Funny how life works out.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

It was a courageous thing to do,

But someone was already there.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

AlbrechtsbergerThe setting of the Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form today at ol’ Robbo’s church was by Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809).  I’d never heard any of his musick before, but I found myself smiling in recognition of the name because Albrechtsberger was one of three of Beethoven’s teachers with whom Lucy attempts to spike Schroeder in a “Peanuts” strip I remember from my misspent yoot.  (Salieri was another.  I can’t recall the third for certain but it might have been Franz Anton Hoffmeister.)

This just goes to show that there’s no such thing as “useless” trivia and that one never knows when some obscure factoid lodged in one’s braims at random might not come back to serve a purpose some day.

The setting itself (in D Major) was perfectly fine, by the bye, although I do not recall a Gloria in which the text was run through so very quickly.

Recent Comments

Robbo on Gratuitous Friday Random
rbj1 on Gratuitous Friday Random
Old Dominion Tory on Gratuitous Friday Random
Old Dominion Tory on On Boots On The Ground
rbj1 on On Sick Leave

Blog Stats

  • 421,680 hits
February 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.