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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, school is out for all three Gels as of today, the great summah changeover is in progress, and it’s remarkable how little Ol’ Robbo has to do with it.

True, Eldest is home, but she’s always been pretty self-contained. She wasn’t able to get a masters-related gig (although she’s got an internship lined up for this fall) so she’s looking for something seasonal to make a bit of coin.

Youngest, or at least so I understand it, is due to turn up here tomorrow, but is on a flight next morning at oh-dark thirty to visit a friend and knock about in the Rockies for a bit (one of her life goals being to visit every national park she possibly can) before she takes up her job as a counselor at Bible-Thumper Camp, something she’s long wanted to do. In addition to being a cabin counselor, I understand she’s also been appointed admiral in charge of sailing lessons.

Meanwhile, Middle Gel blew through here last night literally just long enough to change flights on her way to Germany. She’s doing a three-week mini-semester in Augsburg and Bergamo, Italy. I’ve read the syllabus, or tried to anyway, but still couldn’t really tell you what it’s all about – something to do with international governmental co-operation. “Gawd,” I said to her the other day, “Please tell me you’re not turning into one of those WEF/Soros zombie-bots!” She just laughed.

So there you have it. Ol’ Robbo just sits here in his chair while the Gels go whooshing about under their own power. (I’ll be humming “Cat’s in the Cradle” next thing you know.)

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Out To Get You UPDATE: Yikes. I post a snide comment about globalist oligarchy and ten minutes later my PC sua sponte starts three hours of downloading “upgrades”. Coincidence? I think not! (Heaven knows what’s in this thing now!)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t know whether goons patrol the church parking lot writing down license plate numbers while he’s attending Mass, but at this point nothing much would really surprise me. I’m sure I’m on plenty of lists already as it is. I was curious about the beefy, young, clean-cut guy in the t-shirt who walked out prior to the homily and never came back. Paranoid? Me? Why do you say that?

On a different (or maybe the same?) note, the setting today was the Missa Era di Maggio by one Johannes de Fossa (ca. 1540-1603), of whom I’d never heard, but apparently was vice-kapellmeister at the Court of Munich under Orlando di Lasso, of whom I have. Lovely late-Renaissance musick.

It was almost, almost, enough to make up for the old duffer sitting in front of me whose iPhone, programmed with a clown-car horn ringtone, cooked off in the middle of the Canon and which it took him a long time to shut down. (Now that oughta be a federal offense!)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As predicted below, a lovely day in the garden as things are really starting to pop, including the first of Ol’ Robbo’s peonies:

I do wish I could pass on the names of the varieties I have but, alas, twenty-odd years ago when I bought them, my yootful callowness caused me to toss the identity tags. Oh, well.

Meanwhile, the climbing hydrangea I mentioned a couple weeks back arrived on Thursday, so I duly stripped the old arbor of the wild grape entwined in it and planted my new vine. I also slapped a couple coats of white paint on the arbor itself so that it matched the fence. I did so without telling Mrs. R by way of a little surprise. She didn’t actually break into song and dance when she saw it, but on the other hand she didn’t ask me why I wasn’t touching up the fence while I was at it, so I’ll take this as a win. (As a matter of fact, the job took me longer than I expected, although of course I should have known better. I believe I just didn’t think about it lest I not start at all.)

While I was poisoning the remaining grape stumps, I also dealt with a couple more of that evil brood that were showing themselves on the garden fence. Ol’ Robbo is trying to remember the name of an old movie about the Korean War he once saw: the Chicoms were trying to take an important bridge and to do so, they rounded up a bunch of civilians to use as human shields. After agonizing for a moment, the American commander (possibly John Wayne), knew he had no choice and shot the entire mob flat. I feel that way about the grape sometimes when I’m wielding the Round-Up cannon. There’s going to be collateral damage but what else can one do?

Today also featured one of Ol’ Robbo’s least favorite chores, namely cutting back the ivy seeking to wriggle its way under the roof shingles on one corner of Port Swiller Manor. The only way to do this is climb out the window of Youngest Gel’s bedroom onto the garage roof and hack at the stuff with a long pruning tool. Ol’ Robbo dislikes this intensely, partly because of my fear of heights, partly because getting out the window is an awkward scramble that triggered an attack of sciatica the first time I did it a couple years ago. (I still have it and hobble a good bit these days. To quote “Ol’ Man River”, “Body all achin’ and wracked wid pain!”)

Meanwhile, another sign that spring has definitely sprung is that the catbirds are back. Even as I type, I can hear one singing its nonsense song out in the woods. And on that note, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t check the Port Swiller email that much so it was only today I noticed that long-time friend of the decanter NOVA Curmudgeon reported their first hummingbird of the year two weeks ago. Ol’ Robbo has not seen one yet, but mine always seems to show up a bit late, so I’m not concerned.

So that’s that. A bizzy day for Ol’ Robbo, but I’m still experiencing that satisfying feeling of being out in front of things. How long that will last, I don’t know: I thought I saw a prediction the other day that this is going to be an “El Nino” year, which I think means warmer and wetter for us. How that might affect my ability to keep up, I couldn’t say. In the meantime, however, I will savor the satisfaction and will consider the adult beverage which will be mine in about another forty-five minutes to have been well-earned, indeed.

UPDATE: And another….

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, since Ol’ Robbo is not the Tax Man, I should, as Willie Wonka said, strike that and reverse it.

Yes, even as I pixel, a check with far too many digits is wending its way from Port Swiller Manor to the great Fed’rul Maw.

What continues to puzzle Ol’ Robbo is this: Uncle has run up the National Debt to the point of appalling absurdity. He’s also been printing Monopoly Money with abandon and writing himself endless IOUs. None of it will ever be fixed, none of it payed back, none of it balanced. The system will go on until it simply collapses under its own weight. Thus, if gubmint accounting has ceased to have any meaningful connection with Reality, why am I still even paying taxes at all? I can only conclude that at this point the continued exercise is strictly punitive.

Which brings Ol’ Robbo back to the new Sooper-EZ Form 1040 soon to be seen:

Line 1: How much did you make last year?

Line 2: Send it in.

Yes, I know Bob from NSA will send this post to his friend Steve in the IRS Cincinnati Branch Office, but I’ll have my rant anyway.

Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

** I still consider Revolver to be the Beatles’ best album.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those friends of the decanter looking to Ol’ Robbo to comment on some of the appalling headlines that broke this week will be disappointed: I’ve no wish for Bob from the NSA to send a Brute Squad to Port Swiller Manor. But you can probably guess what I am thinking. One can imagine Robert Heinlein scratching his head and muttering, “Man, that’s too crazy even for me!” I will say this of the pending legislation to specifically ban the ChiComs’ Tik-Tok and more generally (the “Respect Act”) to censor online publication: I’m old enough to remember naively thinking the Patriot Act seemed a sensible measure to combat international terrorism. So much for that. It isn’t the Congressional chowder-heads who pass such legislation that one must fear, but the vicious, ideologically-driven, unaccountable bastards who implement and enforce it.

Wait….somebody’s knocking at the door. Is that you, Bob?

Anyhoo, a few gratuitous thoughts for a soggy April 1st.

I suppose a tornado warning in Indiana should be taken somewhat more seriously than one in the Dee Cee region, so I cannot fault the Elder Gels for sheltering in place last evening when one was issued for their area even if a quick look at the radar showed the storm in question was fifteen miles north of them and moving away. Who is Ol’ Robbo not to Trust the Science? Meanwhile, Port Swiller Manor itself was on generator power for a couple hours after a tree was blown down on the nearby power lines. Eh.

Speaking of spring weather, in a mood of wild optimism I put out the hummingbird feeder this morning even if I can’t realistically expect to see one show up in the area for at least another two or three weeks. One just never knows.

And on that subject, Ol’ Robbo would remind anyone putting out a nyjer-seed feeder for the goldfinches that you really should turn over the seed every two or three weeks (dump it back in the bag and swirl it around with the fresher stuff), plus clean the feeder itself, inside and out, when it starts to get grimy. I am told that sunlight reflecting on the oil of the seeds creates a certain visual aura which attracts the birds. While I don’t know if this is true or not, empirically I notice that I get a lot more traffic in my feeder when I take such measures.

And speaking of feeding, I learn this morning that Youngest Gel is bringing not one, but three of her chums home for Easter. Looks like I’m going to need another rack of lamb!

As of this morning, Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nationals are only a game out of first place! Alas, this is probably the very last time this season I can make such a boast unless today’s game gets scratched due to high winds. I was beginning to tell myself toward the end of spring training that I was starting to see the nucleus of the next competitive squad forming. I suppose I still think so, but am reminded that the process is going to take a long time. If we manage to lose fewer than 100 games this year, I will be happy. (What else is there to say except GO NATS!)

Finally, happy birthday to dear old Franz Joseph Haydn, born this day (maybe) in 1732.

Papa is easily my favorite composer as a person: devout, hard-working, loyal to those he served and those who served him, good-natured and witty, but not to be pushed about. (I probably could not select a favorite composer as a composer, but suppose it would be J.S. Bach if I were pushed.) There is a story (which I probably will relate badly) that Haydn once was criticized by somebody in the Church on the grounds that some of his sacred musick was “too light-hearted”. Haydn was supposed to have responded that he couldn’t help himself: When he sat down and contemplated God, he was so filled with joy that it came out in his composition. Typical Haydn repartee – unanswerable, leaving his opponent looking like a fool, and yet perfectly sincere. Bless him.

And speaking of such things, Ol’ Robbo has not yet decided what he is going to do about posting here during Holy Week. I’ve been so distracted and scatter-braimed recently that my Lent has practically been non-existent and I’m rayther dreading my visit to the Box this afternoon. I suppose we will just have to see, but if I do post at all, it won’t be this kind of blithering nonsense.

Saturday Garden Posting UPDATE: Ol’ Robbo spent a lovely morning putting up the new deer netting around the back of his hydrangea hedge. I can think of no nicer weather for pottering about at a job like this than a still warmth with gentle rain falling on and off. Except the last forty-five minutes or so during which the clouds rolled away and the sky was filled with sunshine.

Aesthetics aside, the important practical point is that I got done before the Big Wind gets here. Deer netting is a nuisance to work with as it is, snagging on everything and anything it can reach. Flapping about in a gale would only make it worse.

So the new fencing is up. I admit it’s rayther unsightly, but it’s round the back where nobody will see it, plus it effectively keeps the blighters out, who would otherwise raze my hydrangeas to the ground. They can’t jump over it because they have no place to land, and they generally won’t try to push through it unless they’re really desperately hungry. I suspect that the rents I sometimes find in it in the fall are probably the results of a buck getting his rack tangled up.

Anyhoo, that’s that.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, Ol’ Robbo continues to toddle along. Your kind wishes are appreciated.

I was rayther gob-smacked yesterday to see this article: Scientists Just Discovered 12 New Moons Orbiting Jupiter.

Twelve new moons? When I was a kid, the received wisdom was that Jupiter had twelve moons altogether! (And Saturn, nine.)

The totals now appear to be ninety-two and eighty-three, respectively. I’d known my childhood figgahs were no longer valid already, of course, but I’d no idea things had got this far.

A further scan of the article reveals terms like “moon clusters” and “retrograde orbits” and shows that Ol’ Robbo is way, waaaaaay behind the times, astronomically-speaking.

But it also seems to me that with Jupiter and Saturn between them holding 175 moons in orbit, compared to certain other planets having only one, two, or even no moons, that there’s a certain amount of Gas Giant Privilege at work here. And what about the Asteroids? Confined to a single orbital belt and denied access to all the others? That’s Rockism, that is. Yes, my friends, Critical Planet Theory demands an immediate and equitable redistribution of solar resources!

I keed, of course. Sort of. But neo-Marxist hoohaw is already busily eating away at the hard sciences and we’re already arrogant enough to believe we can regulate Earth’s atmosphere, so how much of a stretch would this kind of “thinking” be for some people, especially if graft and power are attached to it? My guess is not much.


On a completely different level, Ol’ Robbo recently bought himself a new indoor/outdoor weather monitor kit to replace the replacement of the one I’d had forever. (The first replacement proved a complete dud.) This one has amongst its features a moon phase tracker linked to an internal calendar that will go on until long after I die. I find gentle pleasure in glancing at it as I pass through the kitchen and being reminded of just where we are in the lunar cycle, and even more when I look out in the evening (especially toward the full) and check it against the real thing.

You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for.

Oh, and as long as we’re on the topic of celestial bodies, Pluto is a planet, dammit!

Gratuitous Musickal UPDATE: Since the conversation is headed in that direction, Ol’ Robbo will say here that his primary attitude toward Billy Joel is indifference. I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to him, but if he pops up in the rotation on, say, Sirius/XM’s “80’s on the 8”, I won’t go frantically flipping to another channel, either. Unless, of course, it’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, which is the worst sort of pretentious twaddle. Also, “Piano Man”: My old teacher included a stripped-down kiddie version of that in the repertoire for his younger students and years of listening to it being butchered in recital gave me the permanent twitch.

Mrs. R used to be a fangirl back in the days of her misspent yoot and saw him in concert numerous times.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy Candlemas!

Not that Ol’ Robbo will be doing anything especially celebratory: The ‘vidz rolls on, and if I’m not really feeling too much worse, I’m certainly not feeling any better yet. (UPDATE: Just spoke to Eldest Gel and she says my voice sounds more roopy than it did the other day.) I did manage to sleep all the way through last night, though, and Shirley that must be worth something.

But never mind. As to the day, the old Medieval formula goes:

“If Candlemas be warm and bright, winter has another fight. If Candlemas brings cloud and rain, winter will not come again.”

Forget the groundhog. The groundhog is an interloper. Plus, the bastards get into my garden and severely limit what I can grow without them razing it to the ground. Ol’ Robbo does not like the groundhog.

I note for the record, looking out the Port Swiller Manor windows, that it is a cloudy, dank day here. I also note that the tips of the maples are starting to show red. Just saying.


Ol’ Robbo finds that although my appetite has not really gone away, I can nonetheless only contemplate the very plainest of meals. Requesting foodstuff purchases by Mrs. R, I discovered a startling fact: She’s never tasted Cream of Wheat! I’d always assumed the C of W to be one of those fundamental bonds that link all of us together no matter what our race, creed, culture, economic status, or anything else. Whatever the merchants of envy and race/class warfare push on us in order to blast this great country asunder and superimpose their own wretched, totalitarian dystopia, I thought, at least we all still have the Wheat in common. Was I mistaken? Are we truly so fractured as that? Or is Mrs. R just an outlier, the exception that proves the rule? The world wonders.


And now, perhaps because Ol’ Robbo has been running a slight fever the past few days, I have the old Maurice Sendack/Carole King musical “Really Rosie” bouncing around in my braims because one of the songs, “Pierre”, makes mention of Cream of Wheat. I never actually saw a production, but we had the album when I was a kid and I listened to it endlessly, but garsh, that’s near 50 years ago, now. Amazing what sticks over time, isn’t it. (“Alligators All Around” was, fact, my favorite track.)


Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, it wasn’t until yesterday that Ol’ Robbo learned that “moggy” is British slang for a cat, especially a feline mutt. All these years I’ve known a character in a book named Cattermole who had the nickname “Moggy” and I never grokked it before. Well, now I know.



I note with gratification that my sitemeter has been spiking a bit the past day or two since I’ve started this sickbed series. I’ve also felt, despite being ill, that I have got back into something of my old bloggy swing. Certainly the posties have come very easily this week. It occurs to me that this is because, with the ‘vidz, I’ve finally got something to write about.

Back in school, Ol’ Robbo hated nothing more than open-ended writing assignments. We’d spend a week or so analyzing this or that piece of liddershur and then the Prof would say “Write a ten page essay on whatever aspect of the work you want.” Mayun, that drove me nuts! Not only did I consider it a lazy cop-out, it left me without any grounding, without any foundation. Like Gandalf, I need something to work on. I cannot burn snow. So I would get into ridiculous arguments which boiled down to “You pick a topic!” “No, YOU pick a topic!” “No, YOOUU pick a topic!” and so on.

Same thing here, sometimes, I think. Ol’ Robbo admits he’s been drifting somewhat lately because he’s found it hard to come up with topics about which to blather. (Topics, that is, that he hasn’t already beat to death or that won’t have Bob from the NSA paying a visit to Port Swiller Manor.) Thus, despite the personal discomfort involved, I am at least pleased that all this has got my Muse off her backside. (But I promise I’ll stop and find something else before this series gets stale.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hopes all you friends of the decanter had/are continuing to have a joyous Christmastide! Because it is in my nature to do exactly the same thing over and over again each holiday, I have been able over the years to generate qualitative statistics regarding my own celebration. Overall, I’d say this year’s has been average to above-average (so far). Some highlights for your consideration.


Musickal Musings: Early Christmas Eve, I duly went along with the fam to Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church. They had a wind quartet to accompany the choir this year, and a pretty good one at that. During the musick before the service proper began, this quartet played a Canzone by Giovanni Gabrieli which Ol’ Robbo does not recall ever having heard before but is now prepared to swear Aaron Copeland stole lock, stock, and barrel for his “Appalachian Spring”. The theme was unmistakable.

They also played a “La Folia” by Arcangelo Corelli, which I also had not heard before. I know Vivaldi’s Folia pretty well and myself play the very short one Handel worked into one of his keyboard suites. If ever I take to composition in any way, one of my first projects would be to try and do one of my own. Nevertheless, it seemed to me an odd choice to include in a Christmas ceremony.

The difference in opinion regarding the musick of John Rutter between Ol’ Robbo and Middle Gel, while amiable, remains irreconcilable. I can only surmise that there is some pleasure in actually singing it for choristers such as herself that is lost on those of us who only listen.


Worship: Alas, Ol’ Robbo did not make Midnight Mass at his own church this year. I knew this was a foregone conclusion very early on Christmas Eve as my eyes were already swelling shut by 7:30 pm. A major problem with being the only Catholic in my family is that I have no support to help me get to finish lines like this and when I stumble, I fall. Oh, well.


Christmas Morning: Ol’ Robbo was well pleased at the care and consideration the Gels put in this year choosing gifts for each other. Mrs. R and I must have been doing at least something right after all.


Christmas Dinner: You would think that after all these years of getting his roast beef with Yorkshire pud and two veg down pat, Ol’ Robbo might unclench a little bit about the biznay, but you would be wrong. I spent most of last week fussing and fuming and worrying, running over and over again the itinerary of what goes on or in which cooking platform when, repeating it all anew Christmas afternoon convinced that Something was Missing, only to turn out a great performance once again. Because of or in spite of such clenching, I don’t know, but it’s exhausting.

I say “great performance” with all due modesty. A marker was that there really weren’t many leftovers at all.


Company: In addition to my widowed cousin, the past couple years we’ve more or less adopted some friends of ours for holiday dinners. It’s always a bit delicate because He, at any rate, is one of those people who read articles from Slate like “How to Talk to Your Backwards Uncle about Democratic Socialism” or “Ten Worst Climate Crimes of 2022”, and one must take care not to give him an opening to go off on a politickal screed. (I know for a fact that She scolds him heavily beforehand to behave himself, but sometimes he slips his leash anyway.) This year, in spite of our care, he somehow got on the topic of WW2 Japanese interment camps and how they demonstrate that the American Dream is a Big Lie. Ol’ Robbo, despite having consumed a goodish amount of vino, did not take the bait. (Not that I defend the internments themselves, you understand, but his premise was ridiculous.) Instead, at a pause I simply remarked to the table in general that of course our system has its flaws, as does every other human system because all humans are themselves inherently flawed and no power under Heaven will ever change that. Then I abruptly switched the discussion to the dismal prospects of Robbo’s Beloved Nationals, always a safe topic. His look of bafflement at being headed off was most satisfying. Heh.

As I walked my cousin out to her car later, she said, “I’m a Democrat, but that was too far left even for me.”


Apres le Deluge: Psychologists no doubt have a word for it, but Ol’ Robbo takes a very keen enjoyment in cleaning up and locking down from Christmas Dins before going to bed, however late, so that when he wakes up next morning…..everything’s already done. Thus, I spent Boxing Day mostly flat on my back and see how you like it. Last evening, it was Domino’s and “Home Alone 2”, which I’ve never seen before. (Spoiler: It’s exactly the same as the first one, except set in New York City and with twice as many pratfalls.)

And so, another one in the books. We will be hosting the Former Llama Military Correspondent and his family for New Year’s Eve, but that’s a very relaxed, no-worries event and Ol’ Robbo can spend the rest of his vacay this week not having to think too much about it.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself with no particular place to go and nothing in particular to do today, everything being already teed up for the celebrations. Indeed, I could have spent the whole day loafing in robe and jammies. However, I’ve never been able to stand that: At a certain point I must get showered and dressed. Otherwise, I start to get the heebie-jeebies.


The Storm of the Century of the Week blew through the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor this morning, dropping heavy, non-sticking snow for about twenty minutes. The skies are clearing out now but the wind continues to howl and the temperature plummet. It occurs to Ol’ Robbo that he needs to up the birds’ rations today – they look like they could use them.

Middle Gel remarked that she’s happy she’s not out in Indiana today, as the low in Bloomington was -7. Oh, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to experience the joys of a Midwest Wintah soon enough. My personal record low was -17, together with a screaming wind, experienced one morning in Cheyenne. That was the first time I ever felt the cold as an entity that would actually kill me if I gave it half the chance.


Speaking of which, this is the first vacation in which it feels like the Elder Gels are visiting rayther than coming home. Most interesting. As I recall, I felt the same sort of dynamic from the other side, as it were, my first year of grad school. (The first time I felt that the change was coming was Christmas my junior year in college. It hit me one day while I was sitting and talking with the Mothe. I admit I burst into tears.)


Tonight, in the spirit of things, I gather we’re all going to watch “Home Alone” together. Ol’ Robbo confesses he hasn’t actually seen this film since it was in the theatres however many years ago. (Don’t tell me.) Another time maybe I can get them all to watch “Scrooged” with Bill Murray, an inexplicably under-rated movie in my humble opinion. (I mean, it’s got John Houseman, Robert Mitchem, and Bobcat Goldthwaite in it. What more could one ask?)

Also in the spirit, it would seem Mrs. R found a little indoor mini-s’mores making device. Hard pass on that for Ol’ Robbo, who has never liked sweets and grows more and more intolerant of them as the years go by. (Perhaps I’ll break into the Laphroigh instead.)


Speaking of the spirit, somehow Ol’ Robbo managed to come through without getting thoroughly browned off by premature Christmas musick this year. Don’t ask me how, but there it is. (I thought hearing Willie Nelson sing “Holly, Jolly Christmas” right after Thanksgiving was going to get me, but I managed to weather it.)


“I Read the News Today, Oh Boy” Dept. Why has it suddenly become double-plus ungood wrong think to raise questions about Ukrainian President Zelensky, or indeed to treat him as anything other than a Hero?*** Hard pass on that, as well. I know a gal who declared the other day “Zelensky Day” on FacePlant after he spoke to Congress. Of course, this is the same gal who on the day of the January 6th protests felt compelled to inform her FacePlant audience that she and her family were “all safe home and sound”. She lives twenty miles from downtown Dee Cee. Wanker. Do you wonder why Ol’ Robbo grows daily more skeptical of and disgusted with the current state of things?

***Rhetorical question. Ol’ Robbo knows perfectly well why.


“And Robbo Wept, For There Were No More Wu’s to Conquer” Dept. Speaking of such things, I’ve just about finished my latest cycle through the complete works of Mr. Evelyn Waugh, having only his collected correspondence with Nancy Mitford left to go. Each time I read him, I become more firmly convinced that he really is my favorite author of all time.


Well, that should be enough for those two or three of you who gather together here. (I truly hope you enjoy these musings – just as I went to hit “post” the first time I discovered my wifi had cut out on me and only my first sentence had been saved, so I had to retype the whole dang post from memory. D’oh!) I will duly put up a Christmas Card tomorrow here as I decorate the rest of Port Swiller Manor, too.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How in Heaven’s name did it get to be just a week before Christmas already? Ol’ Robbo must motivate himself, especially as we’re entertaining friends to Christmas din-dins this year. Fortunately, my vacay starts on Wednesday so I should have ample time to stock up on the necessaries. (Roast beef and Yorkshire pud, as if you couldn’t guess. I’m also doing Lobster Newburg for those veggie heathens among my little flock.) I believe there will be nine of us this year, so logistics are going to be a challenge.


All the Gels are safe and sound home from school, now. Middle Gel, the last of them, got in late yesterday although she immediately headed out again this morning to go do a Lessons and Carols service at her old high school choir director’s church out of town. (At least she gets paid for it.) I don’t believe I mentioned it earlier, but the Gel brought her cat home with her as well, which of course immediately caused consternation and uproar among the Port Swiller Manor resident menagerie. Decanter Cat especially is not amused, and has made it plain to Ol’ Robbo that she thinks it’s entirely my fault. So our guest cat is currently enjoying internal exile in Middle Gel’s room. And as far as I’m concerned, she can stay there.


Speaking of such things, I may have mentioned Youngest getting a gig as a veterinarian’s assistant over the break. She thought she’d just be working the boarding side but they drafted her right into the hospital side, where she’s already seen some operations and (alas) had to help put down several other animals. It doesn’t seem to phase her. She still talks of becoming a vet herself, so I suppose this is a good sign that she’s amenable to the working conditions.


It’s certainly not a good sign when one’s leaf-blower sets the attached extension cord on fire, is it. But that’s what happened this morning as I worked in the yard. Something shorted between one of the prongs and its socket causing the socket to melt and issue a thick pall of smoke. I’ll certainly need a new cord. I hope I don’t also need a new leaf-blower.


On a completely different note, yesterday happened to be the anniversary of the birth of Beethoven and the local classickal station went positively bananas over it. Look, Robbo likes Ol’ Ludwig Van well enough, but I don’t worship him. That’s one of the things I despise about Romanticism as a whole, that the artist somehow becomes more important than the art itself. And I just wanted to take the opportunity here, because this is my blog which is mine, of saying that his 9th Symphony – especially the Chorale – is vastly overrated. Again, I think this is a matter of worship: At that point in his career, Beethoven could have written variations on “Chop-Sticks” and it would have brought the house down. And would still do. Hmph.


And that’s that. Guest Kitteh is now meowing loudly so I suppose I had ought to go visit with her for a bit. Don’t tell Decanter Cat!


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June 2023