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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo, as is his wont, was watching the AccuWeather network last evening before toddling off to bed. The storm team were in full doom mode over Storm Elsa, emphasizing the large blotches of “potential impact” on the maps while deemphasizing the fact that such blotches mostly indicate “marginal” effects at worst.***

And of course, the Glowbull Enwarmening theme played in the background throughout.

AccuWeather hasn’t yet reached The Weather Channel’s standard of hyperbolic, tongue-swallowing sensationalism, but since I started watching it a few years ago it seems to be creeping in that direction. (Had it been TWC, I’m sure they would have shoehorned in some reference to everybody’s favorite plague as well. “Elsa is disrupting vaccination efforts! Yer all gonna DIIIEEEE!!!”)


Anyhoo, the thing that bugs Ol’ Robbo about this particular storm is its name. Ever since Elsapalooza started, I’ve had that damned “Let It Go” song lodged firmly in my ear. Did nobody stop to think of this? Or is somebody having a cruel joke? You decide.

***As a matter of fact, my brother and his family were vacationing in Barbados when the thing hit and got stuck there until it blew over.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yesterday, Mrs. R approached me at my desk and asked if I could drop her and her friends off at the airport this morning.

“Airport?” I said, “Er, are you going somewhere?”

“Yes, the Cape. Remember?”

“I thought I remembered you decided not to go.”

“Well, I changed my mind again.”


So I duly donned my chauffer cap, collected the henfest, and ran them out. Mrs. R’s suitcase was twice as big and heavy as the other two’s were. Only the fact that Decanter Dog is, in fact, asleep on the sofa near me allays my suspicion that Mrs. R was trying to smuggle her on to the trip. Lawd knows what she’s actually got in there – you wouldn’t think four or five days’ worth of clothes would weigh that much.

I’m not sure what the policy is now for air travel but there were still plenty of sheeple masked up at the drop-off. My theory that mask-wearing cuts off oxygen to the brain and makes people stupider was buttressed by the unusually idiotic behavior of the traffic pulling up to and away from the curb. I know this is a pretty high bar anyway, but it suddenly seemed as if everybody there was a Murrland driver.

We took Mrs. R’s Honda Juggernaut. The Sirius happened to be tuned to the 80’s channel. On the way home, I heard “Rock Me, Amadeus” for the first time in I don’t know how long. Gawd.

So here we are. I’m still adjusting my braim to this unforeseen change in circumstance, although the reality is that it probably won’t have that much impact on my plans: That fallen tree in the yard (which see below) isn’t going to trim itself up, and most evenings I just read or watch old movies anyway.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy early weekend!

We’re forecast to have a sunny and hot one here, which is why Ol’ Robbo resolved last evening that it’s time for the annual porch cleaning. The only way to do a really thorough job is to shove everything to one side, scrub the other, let it dry, move everything over again (pausing first to scrub down the furniture), and repeat. And I don’t have a power-washer available so have to rely on hose, mop, and a bucket of suds. It’s a tedious job but very satisfying. (I’ve actually been having dreams about finally getting all the caked up pollen off the screens.)

Suds in the Bucket” is a great Sara Evans song, by the bye. And along those lines, I understand that this weekend is the six-month “anniversary”*** of Middle Gel’s walking out with her Young Man. (All together now: “Aaaw…….”) She asked me not long ago why I don’t post more about them here. The fact is that I really don’t know the boyfriend that well, having only met him the once when they were here for Easter Dinner. Also, as I told her, it’s one thing to write about the adorable episodes of one’s small children, but it’s something altogether different to write about the private biznay of a grown woman and I’m not really comfortable with it. That said, the fellah seems grounded, intelligent, and respectful of the Gel and doesn’t appear to be a politickal loon, plus it’s evident that the two are coo-coo-for-coco-puffs fond of each other, so at this point that’s good enough for me.

*** The pedantic fiend rises within Ol’ Robbo when the word “anniversary” is so casually applied to a period of months.

Speaking of politicks, the last time my Establishment Lib cousin visited us, she couldn’t resist signaling her virtue by proclaiming loudly that there was “nobody in the world” she trusted more than Dr. Fauci. Now that the depths of his perfidy in the whole Wuhan Lab fiasco are starting to leak out even in the Mainstream Media, I am sorely tempted to ask her innocently if she’d care to modify that position. (I know what she’d say: “Oh, I knew it all along!”) Aggshully, Ol’ Robbo did know it all along, the bio-weapon nature of the research, the backdoor U.S. funding, the cover-up, all of it. (And for what it’s worth, while I still believe the release from the lab was an accident, I also believe that its potential usefulness by the Powers was quickly recognized and seized upon. What was it ol’ Rahm Emmanuel once said about never letting a crisis go to waste?) But when the information first became available (well over a year ago), it was dismissed by my Betters as the stuff of tinfoil-hat right-wing fantasy. Mmmm-hmmm….

Skepticism of worldly things is merely experience put into practice. I don’t understand why so many people have such a problem grasping this.

Well, enough of all that. Ol’ Robbo is pleased that his new copy of John Wayne’s “The Cowboys” (1972) has arrived and he plans to watch it this evening. I honestly don’t care that much for most of the Duke’s later movies, as they tend to suffer from the same trends that were contaminating the movie industry as a whole in the later Sixties and early Seventies, but this one manages largely to get around all that and is a solid and satisfying adventure story. (And it always amuses me to think that Robert Carradine, who plays the oldest of the “cowboys” eventually wound up becoming Lewis. “NERDS!!“)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. Robbo and I were chatting this evening of this and that past experience when we suddenly realized (or possibly re-realized) that we had both seen David Cassidy star in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Royal Theater, Broadway, in 1983. There’s no good reason to believe that we were both at the same actual performance, but then again there’s no good reason to believe we were not. (It ran from March to September. I must have been there in June. Mrs. R can’t recall when she was.)

This nugget might not mean all that much in and of itself until you know that at the time I was a high school senior in the South Texas of my misspent yoot. My Latin club was headed to the national competitions held that year in Rochester, NY, and had stopped off in the City on the way to do a little sightseeing. Mrs. R was a young middle-schooler living in Connecticut and frequently coming in to town with her parents on weekends. It would be another seven years before we actually met…….in Virginny.

Factor all that in and the odds go up a bit.

Funny old thing, Life, innit.

UPDATE: Speaking of Latin, I see where Princeton is removing the requirement to take Latin or Greek from its Classics Major. (Sorry, no linky.) If ancient languages are now considered hateful and hurtful, why not abolish the entire Classics Department itself? I suppose that’s next. Ah, Modern Academia: $100K a year to argue how many grievances can dance on the head of a pin.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo dialed in last evening to watch Middle Gel’s school chorale put on their spring concert.

The piece they performed was Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. Honestly, it’s sonorous enough but not really Ol’ Robbo’s cup of tea. The Gel, however, really likes it, and as she is infinitely more schooled in choral musick than Self, I will conceded that I may just be being a knuckle-dragging Philistine here.

I’ll also concede that I really couldn’t give it a fair hearing: Between everyone being masked up and the sound equipment seemingly inadequate to compensate, even with my volume turned all the way up to eleven, I could barely hear it.

Still, the fact that they were even able to perform at all, and even in front of a live audience at that, was gratifying and I was hoping that they’d take the approach of “Keep Calm and Carry On Singing”.

Alas, no such luck.

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! When the director came out, he started in on a little spiel which would have made one think the Black Plague is ravaging the lands and there’s a guy out front with a cart yelling, “Bring out yer dead!” And even worse, between each section of the piece there was imposed on the superscript screen a question like “How did you feel at first?” or “Who did you turn to?” Followed by individual choristers silently putting on masks with answers written on them. I know my skepticism is somewhat out of tune with many people (did you see what I did there?) but I found the display both distracting and irritating and tap-danced with increasing impatience as the piece proceeded. (I don’t remember what the Gel’s question was and couldn’t read the response on her mask anyway.)

Ol’ Robbo finds it deeply depressing and frustrating that so many people have allowed themselves to be hoorawed into cowering in place and giving up their individual liberties without question simply because Our Betters claim it’s for the Greater Good. (Chorus: “The Greater Gooood!“) I could understand it for the first week or two when nobody really knew what was going on, but over a year later? Shouldn’t we be be reassessing what is now obviously our massively unnecessary over-response? Given their track record, shouldn’t we be seriously questioning everything coming out of Our Betters’ mouths now? Shouldn’t we be alarmed (and frankly furious) at the facility and eagerness with which tinpot tyrants have moved to centralize and expand their power under the cover of “Science”?

I bring this up with Mrs. R every now and then. She believes people are sick and tired of it all and also that they won’t be fooled again. I believe the first part but not so much the second. A hundred quatloos says “Climate Emergency” is going to be the next bogus crisis used to justify keeping us sheep under lock and key, and it’s coming sooner rather than later.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

**Looking out the window, the maple pollen strings are coming down like heavy snow flurries. Ugh. There are times when Ol’ Robbo wishes that he, like the dog in the old joke, had no nose. (Of course, I would smell terrible.)

**But at least I don’t have to pay my taxes today, so I got that going for me. True, the bite is only deferred, not cancelled, but still. Frankly, given that Uncle is printing trillions and trillions in phony Monopoly money anyway these days, I no longer see why I should have to chip in at all.

**Speaking of such, where does one even begin with the headlines these days? When the Babylon Bee has the most honest and level-headed take on things, you know we’re in a world of hurt.

**Of the burgeoning collusion between gubmint and big biznay to bully and hustle people into getting the Vaccine in order to be allowed out and about, we’ve developed a new game here at Port Swiller Manor. Whenever somebody comes into the room, somebody else says, “Your papers, pliz” in a thick German accent.

**And finally circling back to missing body parts, last night’s Star Trek: TOS was “Spock’s Brain”. The iconic line “Brain and brain! What is brain??!” never fails to make Ol’ Robbo chuckle. There are some who argue this was the worst episode of the series but I don’t agree. IMHO, the very worst episode was Season One’s “Shore Leave”.

UPDATE: The local classickal station is doing another one of its pledge-drives this week and Ol’ Robbo was in no mood to listen to solicitations so he took (for him) the unusual step of going out into the innerwebs to see if he could hunt up an alternative. Whelp, with but a few clicks I stumbled across Your Classical. It has not one but fourteen different streams from which to select. I’ve been listening most of the day and so far the selections are pretty well balanced and the commentary not unintelligent. I’ll probably check out the other streams, too. Heck, since I recently cut my sustaining donation to the LCS (I decided the money was better spent on St. Jude’s Research Hospital), I might not even bother going back at all!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How is it that even in these fever times nobody objects to the wholesale appropriation and cheap, caricaturish debasement of Irish Catholic culture? Huh? Huh??

I mean, any other ethnic-themed celebration these days instantly unleashes the wrath of the Cancelistas. But if I put on a silly green hat, grab a glass of Guinness and staaart speakin’ in a silly Oirish brogue, it’s totes cool.

(My question is purely rhetorical. I know the answer already.)

Anyhoo, how about a wee bit o’ Irish random?

– Ol’ Robbo cannot abide either corned beef OR cabbage.

– I know absolutely nothing about Irish whiskey. To the extent I touch the hard stuff anymore, I remain a single-malt scotch man (Laphroig by preference). Not that I’m unwilling to learn, of course.

– On the other hand, I DO know a thing or two about stout. Mostly, that it should not be quaffed when the outside temperature is anything over about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Today would have been an excellent day for it in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, had I had any about me.

– “The Commitments”, the story of one man’s attempt to bring soul music to Dublin, remains one of my very favorite movies. Fookin’ deadly! (Perhaps I shall pop it in this evening.)

– Leprechauns. The non-Disney ones, that is. They’re not cute and cuddly, they won’t enhance your breakfast cereal experience, and God help you if you ever do somehow stumble across one of their treasure hordes. One of my favorite short stories encapsulating the actual terror associated with “Thim People” is “The Happy Despatch” by Patrick O’Brian. (Yes, THAT Patrick O’Brian.) You’ll find it in his collection The Rendezvous and Other Stories.)

– Speaking of which, allow Ol’ Robbo to once again plug one of my favorite collections of short stories, The Irish R.M. by E. O. Somerville and Martin Ross, a pair of Anglo-Irish ladies writing in the early 20th Century. (But don’t get me going about the teevee series based on it. A gallant try but an ultimate failure, in my humble opinion.)

— A little musickal fun fact? The Irish, in fact, invented the bagpipes in the 11th Century, and promptly gave them to the Scots. The Scots still haven’t caught on to the joke.

— Another bit of semi-related musickal humor: Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C-major is known as “The Great” C-major symphony in order to distinguish it from his Symphony No. 6 in C, known as “The Little” C-major. For the period, it is a monstrously long work. The Mothe, whenever this piece was mentioned in our conversations, for reasons known only to herself (but possibly as a dig at Mr. G.B. Shaw), always would adopt a thick Irish brogue and remark, “Ta Great, is it now? Well, I dunno about dat. But it serr-tently is ta Large!”

— Well I think that’s funny.

— Finally, let me just say that Our Maximum Leader is a truly benevolent monarch.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Idly scrolling through teh Wiki this morning as is my wont, I noticed that today is the anniversary of the birth in 1912 of Rudolf Firkušný.

Who, you might ask? He was a great pianist of the last age, a contemporary of such figures as Vladimir Horowitz.

I mention this simply because I happen to have met the man when I was a yonker. (The ‘rents hosted a reception for him when he came to town on tour.) In fact, I still have his autograph on a book of Mozart four-hand works.

A very nice fellah, as I recall.

Non-Musickal UPDATE: For those of you keeping track at home, the latest Storm of the Century of the Week has, in fact, turned out to be a dud. And in other news, it seems Ol’ Robbo has picked up a sinus infection. Good times.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s muse seems to have stepped out again, leaving me wanting for bloggy inspiration. So here’s just a little filler.

This is our first week of having both Younger Gels away at school and Eldest, although living at home, working full time. Mrs. R and I have started calling ourselves semi-empty nesters. It’s an odd sensation.

Speaking of Eldest working, Ol’ Robbo was actually pleased that last night’s Storm of the Century of the Week proved such a flop, as I didn’t need to get up and go clear off the driveway for her. So I got that going for me.

(If and when Mrs. R and I actually go back to our respective workplaces on a regular basis, I wonder how Decanter Dog and the kittehs will react? They’ve got awful used to having us around all the time.)

I’m not much of a film noir guy, but I found myself watching “Criss Cross” (1949) last evening and enjoying it muchly. Burt Lancaster always strikes me as a rougher, more earthy version of Charlton Heston. And Yvonne de Carlo? Say no more! The only strange part was seeing Dan Duryea as the mobster bad guy. I know him mostly as Waco Johnny Dean from “Winchester ’73”, so transposing him from the Desert Southwest to Los Angeleeze took a bit of doing.

Well, there you have it. Better than nothing. Or is it?

Video et Taceo

Actual Substantive UPDATE: Was chatting with Middle Gel this evening. She’s just been appointed leader of her soprano section in her school’s concert choir for this semester. Regular friends of the decanter will recall that Ol’ Robbo used to post fairly often about the Gel’s singing. I think she kind of got burned out on it her first year of college when she was considering it as a major. I’m happy to report that she seems to have struck just the right level where she can now thoroughly enjoy it without all the stress and strain.

Anyhoo, she mentioned that they were going to be singing some Morten Lauridsen this semester. Who, you might ask? Well, that’s what I said, too. The Gel tells me his O Magna Mysterium is her very favorite piece.

Check it out for yourselves. It’s certainly lovely, in my opinion, however I’m more partial to the intricacies and sharpness of the Renaissance and Baroque. On the other hand, the Gel knows a hell of a lot more about these matters than I do, so maybe Ol’ Robbo is talking through his musickal hat here.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and a continued Merry Christmas!

Ol’ Robbo is on hols this week, and although I’m not actually doing much of anything, I am at least trying to stay away from the keyboard, so just a few posts here and there for now.

Christmas Day turned out to be just lovely this year: The Spirit was almost visibly flowing out of Father at Mass, Ol’ Robbo absolutely nailed his dinner preparation,*** dinner itself was festive and good natured with all the Gels home and no quarreling or squabbling. We even got a few flakes of snow! After last year’s unmitigated disaster, it was most gratifying to simply bask in the joy this time around.

As mentioned previously, we also “celebrated” an early New Year’s Eve with the Former Llama Military Correspondent and family this weekend. As is usually the case, this consisted mostly of us sitting about imbibing adult beverages while the LMC and I griped about the state of the world in general, and about how nobody else in our respective families seems to understand how to properly load a dishwasher in particular, while our Brides gently mocked us and made “get off my lawn” jokes. Good times. Good times.

I learn this morning that Youngest wants to have some kind of shindig at Port Swiller Manor on the actual turn of the calendar. I can’t say that I’m overly pleased at the prospect, not so much because I think she and her friends are going to get particularly rowdy, but because the older I get the more I hate having my routine broken up, something having a group of college kids in the house, however small, will very much do.

Ol’ Robbo actually has two New Year’s resolutions this year.

First, Illegitimati non carborundum. Make no mistake, friends of the decanter, it’s going to be bad out there going forward. With the (presumable) change in Administrations, all those forces from the global corporatists to the fauxdemic tyrants to the culture cancilists to the Jacobin street thugs that have been held in some check for the past four years are going to dial it all the way up to eleven. And guess who their targets will be? But I will strive to stay above all of that and, however awful it gets, to remind myself constantly that in the end it doesn’t matter that much and that my allegiance is to a Higher Power. (And speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo is delighted that the White House chose to issue a statement today on the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Thomas à Becket. Gonna miss this sort of thing.)

Second, on a somewhat different level, I am finally going to get over my fear of Flannery O’Connor and start reading her. I’ve put it off all these years for the very foolish reason that I am simply intimidated by her reputation for richness and insight, and have an irrational dislike of the notion of her, at some higher level, impatiently tapping her foot at my denseness and blunderings. Finally, I said to myself, “Self, just dive in! So you don’t “get it” the first time you read a story. Read it again! And again! And once you start getting familiar with it, then settle down to analysis and exploration of deeper meanings. After all, isn’t that what you always recommend to people interested in dipping into classickal musick for the first time?”

So we’ll see how that goes.

Anyhoo, I may or may not be in here once or twice for the rest of the week, but probably only if something post-worthy falls straight into my lap, rayther than my having to go out and look for it.

***Traditional roast beef with popovers and two veg, preceded by bacon and water chestnuts. I found myself delighted not so much because I did such a good job preparing it but because it was so evident that everyone else enjoyed it so much. There were barely any left-overs, but lots of cleaned plates. Truly gratifying.

I had mentioned here earlier that I was going to try a homemade Hollandaise sauce. It proved the simplest thing in the world. Allow me to share the recipe:

  • 3 egg yolks. (You need to separate out the whites.)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 stick of cold butter cut into 8 pieces
  • Paprika and salt to taste

(I actually doubled the above portions and it worked out just fine.)

Whisk the egg yolks, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan until blended.

Cook over low heat until it starts to bubble round the edges.

Stir in the butter one piece at a time (allowing each piece to melt before adding the next) until the sauce thickens

Add the spices. (This is optional. I’d probably use the paprika in Eggs Benedict but didn’t think it appropriate for steamed asparagus.)

Serve immediately.

Easy, delicious, and you can put it on practically anything.



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July 2021