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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Motivated by all the buzz I’ve read about it in the corners of the innerwebs where I lurk, Ol’ Robbo recently went out and bought himself a copy of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote To Chaos.  Curiously enough, without either of us knowing it, at exactly the same time that I was picking up my hardback copy from the devil’s website, Mrs. R was downloading a copy onto her iThingy.  Go figure.

Not that I usually read this sort of thing, of course.  And I certainly wouldn’t bother with a “Rules for Life” book by somebody like, say, Oprah, or Joel Osteen, or Phil Donahue.  But the word I got was that Peterson is sharp, articulate, and causing all the right Lefty heads to explode, so I decided to check him out.  (The back of the book contains blurbs of praise from Camille Paglia, Howard Bloom, and National Review.)


The “Rules” themselves are what I would have considered to be simple common sense:  Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.  Respect yourself.  Respect others.  Respect tradition. (Here he restates the principle of Chesterton’s Fence without apparently realizing it).  Discipline the kids when they need it.  Do your damn laundry.  That sort of thing.  I guess what Peterson brings to the table is his unpacking of these things and getting at their roots.  In this, he covers a lot of intersecting topics such as behavioral evolution (I’ll never look at a lobster the same way again), clinical psychology, the biological differences between male and female, personal biography, and social development – on both the individual and societal levels.

Another big topic which dances in and out of his discussion is religion, and specifically Christianity.  (He also discusses the Old Testament and refers here and there to parallels within Buddhism, Taoism, and Ancient Egyptian mythology.  There is no mention whatever of Islam.)  Here, I have to admit that he puzzles me a bit, because for all of his praise of the Christian ethic (and there is a tremendous amount here), I can’t quite figure out if he actually, you know, is one.

For one thing, he makes some odd assertions.  He quotes the “Gospel” of Thomas.  He makes a gratuitous reference to Christ’s “androgyny” that seems immaterial.  He talks about the 19th Century Church’s “belief” in faith without works, which I’m pretty sure was isolated to a few Calvinist sects.  (At least it was never part of HMC’s teachings so far as I know.)

For another, he consistently refers to Christ as an “Archetype”.  That’s mythology-speak.  He also discusses Christianity largely in terms of psychological constructs, instead of terms of the relationship between us and a separate, independent God who exists whether we believe in Him or not.  (Nietzsche can go piss up a rope.)  Also, when he writes of the (false) dichotomy between Faith and Science, I can’t tell if he’s merely reporting it, or falls somewhat into the trap himself.

On the other hand, his description of the Logos, the Word of God, is fantastic, as are his thoughts on suffering, sacrifice and what some people call “servant leadership”.  Also, Bishop Robert Barron has been enthusing about him.  So maybe I’m just missing something here.

Another thing Peterson is absolutely fantastic on is the problem of Evil.  He calls it “denial of Being”, which is another way of describing Satan’s “Non serviam!”  It amounts to the complete and utter rejection of nothing less than Creation itself.  In his discussion, he quotes not only Milton’s Lucifer, but also those psychopaths who shot up Sandy Hook and Columbine.  I thank God that I simply cannot fathom that level of depravity.

Anyway, I like what I’ve read, even though I must confess that I rather galloped through it (which may explain some of my questions).  It’s well worth going back and reading more slowly on a chapter by chapter basis.  Unfortunately, and for Heaven’s sake don’t take this the wrong way, as much as I like the book, I’m fairly certain that it won’t get that much play with those who need it more than I do.  My soul is far, far from perfect, but I’m reasonably sure I’m at least headed in the right general direction.  The question is, how do you get the lazy, the shiftless, the narcissistic, or the outright psychotic to sit down and both read and absorb this wisdom?


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was chatting with one of his supervisors today about home life (our kids are around the same age) when she said perkily, “So, did your girls do the anti-gun walk outs yesterday?”

“No,” I replied, as flatly as I dared.  Just that, and then I moved on to some other topic.

My boss looked genuinely surprised, and I think was within an ace of asking, “Why not?” when she caught herself.  It was just as well, because Ol’ Robbo has a very firm rule about not discussing politicks down to the shop, and while I wouldn’t have got into the merits of the thing, I would have had to explain this rule, which would be just as awkward in its own way.

Of course, the actual answer is that, like their old father, the Gels believe these Koncerned Kidz protests to be ill-informed, misguided, and simply pawns being deliberately manipulated by the forces of authoritarianism that seek every opportunity to try and disarm law-abiding citizens instead of dealing with the actual root issues such as, in this case, the complete and utter failure of every level of society and government to deal with a homicidal maniac before the bullets started flying, plus its additional failure to deal with him once the shooting actually started.  That’s what the Kidz ought to be protesting.

Stupid Kidz.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and happy International Talk Like A Woman Day!

You know, where you talk through your nose? And end every sentence as a question? Up-talking, anyone?

Wait…that can’t be right.  Oh, maybe it’s:

International Preserving The Ability Of Women To Kill Other Unborn Women Day!

Spot on sub-text no doubt, at least in the West, but not much acknowledged outright.  Um, how about:

International Anybody’s A Woman Who *Believes* They’re A Woman Day!

Actually, I’ve read that there’s a real civil war in the fever swamps of the Left over this issue.


So just what the heck is International Women’s Day anyway?  According to Wiki:

March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference to become an “International Woman’s Day.” After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

I think that one paragraph pretty much sums up everything you really need to know.

At any rate, whatever it is, I’ll just take the opportunity to note my gratitude once more that my three daughters have grown up thoroughly despising Cultural Marxism, identity politicks, “Third Wave” feminism, and all the emotionally and psychologically stunted creatures with permanent Daddy-issues who live by such wretched codes, and instead are traditionalists, rational, skeptical, and self-aware.

(Oh, and as I was typing this, one of them came to me and asked me to get a jar open for her because the lid was on too tight.  Heh.)

UPDATE:  RBJ’s mention of Marie Curie in the comments reminded me of an apropos story:  One day, when Ol’ Robbo must have been about 13 or so, I said something to the Mothe to the effect that it didn’t seem fair that many more men went to med school than did women. (I don’t recall what prompted this.)

“Goddamit!” the Mothe snapped, “The first woman to get a medical degree in this country, Elizabeth Blackwell, did it in 1849.  Since then, any woman who’s really wanted to go to med school hasn’t had a single, bloody excuse not to!”

I didn’t pursue the thought any farther.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo likes to believe that he keeps up with things in general, so he was somewhat surprised that his first inkling that a nor’easter was inbound came last Thursday evening when the local schools started making noises about cancelling the next day due to “high wind warnings”.

Without any other source of information, I pretty much poo-pooed the “high wind warning” stuff.  Imagine my surprise, then, to wake up in the middle of the night and hear it blowing like a real summbich.  I also woke up just in time (about 3 ack emma) for the power to go out.

It finally came back on again just about 20 minutes ago (and it’s now about 7 pip emma Monday evening).

We weren’t quite reduced to burning the furniture and eating the cats, but it was not a pleasant weekend.

This is about the third or fourth extended power-outage (meaning more than 24 hours) that I can recall experiencing in our 18 years in Port Swiller Manor.  At least with the summah storm ones, I can hide from the heat in the basement in relative comfort.  In the winter? One really can’t escape the cold.

UPDATE:  Greetings, again, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, friends of the decanter, it’s two posts in one!  Ol’ Robbo had meant to write more last evening when the lights first came back on, but he was so tired he simply slapped up the above and let it go at that.  Therefore, a few more details:

Eldest Gel’s spring break began on Friday, which meant she had to drive home in the teeth of the storm. You can imagine how I felt on having to welcome her back to a house with no power and no heat.  FWIW, she was an awfully good sport about it.

Skimming the nooz articles, I see that, at least in terms of winds and damages, the press are comparing this storm to the great Derecho  of 2012, the summah storm about which I was thinking when I wrote the above.  The big difference is that this time around, the wind blew like hell for a good 48 hours, while the derecho was over and done in about ninety minutes.  (Interesting that the destruction – from what I’ve seen – was more or less the same: Some respectable limbs down in the Port Swiller yard and a healthy number of whole trees elsewhere.)

The lovely and talented Diane mentions the Great Port Swiller Generator Debate in the comments.  Yes, Mrs. R was on the phone getting quotes as early as Saturday afternoon, but I counseled a cooling off period before we think about this investment again.  Honestly, I would be happy if we could find something just powerful enough to keep the HVAC operational, and maybe the fridge.  The rest (lights, laundry, oven, etc.) we can do without until whatever the situation is over.

Speaking of which, at one point over the weekend Youngest Gel said, “This is SO like living in the Middle Ages!”  I replied, “Middle Ages,  hell!  This is the way most people (including most Americans) lived not much more than a hundred years ago.  So stuff it.”  Ain’t I the Greatest Dad?

Situations like this ultimately remind Ol’ Robbo of the sobering fact that in the event of a real catastrophe – say a North Korean EMP burst or the Yellowstone Caldera cooking off – we are, to put it simply, doomed.  I guess I’m just not…passionate enough to go all Prepper and stockpile the basement with five years’ worth of food, supplies, and ammunition.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you all see this charming item?

South Africa’s parliament has voted in favour of a motion that will begin the process of amending the country’s Constitution to allow for the confiscation of white-owned land without compensation.

The motion was brought by Julius Malema, leader of the radical Marxist opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters, and passed overwhelmingly by 241 votes to 83 against.

God-damned Communists.  Every. Single. Time.

When Ol’ Robbo was an undergrad at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown CT back in the mid-80’s, “Divest” was all the rage among the Kulturni.  There were rallies and protests and boycotts and Board meeting disruptions and a mock “shanty” town out on the lawn, and all the rest of it.

I drew politickal cartoons for the school’s small conservative newspaper, and in one of them I tried to illustrate the idea that South Africa was a lot more problematic than these people seemed to realize (or really care, for that matter).  I certainly held no brief for Apartheid, but I argued that capital flight would likely bring down the government and create a power vacuum which would quickly be filled by Communists within the ANC with Soviet backing.  (Can you imagine how happy Ivan would have been to get a naval base at the Cape, to say nothing of all those minerals?)  My main point was that under such a new regime, the lot of the typical black South African would probably have been much worse than it already was.

As I found out, this is not an easy concept to illustrate with pictographic metaphors.  Nonetheless, I must have at least partially succeeded because the cartoon I came up with probably garnered more blow-back (including several threats) than any other one I did.

Even though the Soviets collapsed and Mandela proved to be a better force for good than I feared, my point still stands:

“The time for reconciliation is over. Now is the time for justice,” Malema was quoted by News24 as telling parliament.

Oh, and if you think this is strictly a Black/White thing, I’d ask you to think again:  As history has proved amply, Marxist “justice” ain’t exactly discriminating, if you know what I mean.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo mentioned recently that Eldest Gel has decided to minor in musickal theatre.  (She’s been bitten hard by the acting bug and has loved every minute of the four stage productions she’s been involved with so far.  How this has happened with a girl of such Cromwellian sensibilities is quite beyond me.)

To this end, the Gel’s taking a course this semester about the history of musickals, in which the prep work seems to be watching a classick movie version and being ready to come to class and talk about it.  (Rest assured: for her history major she’s taking plenty of traditional classes, including a seminar this semester on various medieval legal codes.  I don’t begrudge her the occasional “fun” class like this one in the least.)

Anyhoo, this evening she called me up:

“Dad!  I’m supposed to watch Jesus Christ Superstar tonight for my class.  Have you seen it?”

“No, but I know what it is.”


“The ‘Long-Haired Hippy Crap’ Gospel.”

“Aw, man!  Is it blasphemous?”

“It’s from about 1970 and it’s hippies.  So yes, very probably.”

“Aw, maaaaan!  Well, I suppose I’d better watch it, if for no other reason than to argue what’s wrong with it to the idiots in my class.”

That’s the spirit! You go get ’em!”

And that’s my Gel!

UPDATE:  Talked to her again post-viewing.

“So…what did you think?”

“Man, I was all set to hate it but the music.  I mean, 70’s rock! That’s my thing!  I really liked it.  Wish the words were different, though.”

She went on to complain about Jesus being a wimp and Judas being too reasonable and sympathetic.

“And what’s the deal with Mary Magdalene?  You’d think she and Jesus were lovers or something.”

The name Dan Brown popped into my head, but I damped it back down.  It would have taken an hour to explain things and I was supposed to be working.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As you might gather from the posts immediately below, Ol’ Robbo was hither and yon on biznay this week.  A remarkably stressful trip, given that it was only two nights and the work itself was relatively straight-forward.  For one thing, the stormy weather seemed to chase me all over the place, especially while I was in the air.  For another, owing to various factors including my inability to eat while flying and a counted-on lunch break that never happened, between Tuesday evening and this morning I managed to get only two full meals.

I am now quite wiped out.  Ol’ Robbo ain’t as young as he used to be.

Anyhoo, just a few things:

♦  Ol’ Robbo is fascinated by this Florida shootings biznay.  Not the horror of the massacre itself so much, but the meta-issue behind it regarding the relationship between the governed and governing in a representational democracy in which sovereignty is derived from the consent of the People.  If the Government for whatever reason either can’t or won’t uphold its duty (in this case) to ensure domestic tranquility – and it appears from what I’ve seen that there was a complete top-to-bottom failure to both prevent and limit the scope of the killings – at what point does it become not only the People’s right (which is inherent) but its responsibility to say “Enough is enough.  Your services are no longer required and your authority is revoked.  We’ll do it ourselves.”

♦  Or, if I may borrow a favorite expression from our long-haired hippie friends, “Power to the People, man!”  (Depends on who’s ox is being gored and who’s doing the goring, don’t it?)

♦  Oh, and as long as I’m at it, the gun-grabbers on the Left and their establishment media buddies can take their fake Children’s Crusade and stuff it.

♦  There! If all that doesn’t get me a bullet in the back of my head when the Socialist Justice Wanker Revolution comes, I don’t know what will!

♦  And finally on that note, I’d also mention that after many years of opposition due to a vague fear of firearms, Mrs. Robbo has now come around and said that she thinks it actually would be a good idea if I saw to arming up Port Swiller Manor.

♦  On a completely different note, to which the title of this post is tied, it’s a warmish and foggy day here at Port Swiller Manor, not much in keeping with late February weather round these parts.  I noticed this morning that the maples are already starting to blossom and the daffodils are coming up.  I seem to recall a similar “False Spring” last year, after which it turned cold again  (although I believe it was a bit later).  Barring a late-season nor’easter, looks like we’re going to be spared any serious snowfall again this year, too.  Somehow, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t mind very much.

♦  This weekend is the spring theatre production down to Eldest Gel’s school.  As I may have mentioned before, they’re doing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Eldest is serving as an assistant stage manager.  She’s enjoyed doing the work, but in her opinion the play itself is not half so clever or funny as it thinks it is.  I’ve never seen it on stage although I have seen the movie, and I rather tend to agree with her.  (Pretentious? Moi?)

Well, that’s enough for now.  Ol’ Robbo’s off to get some more kawfeh and then settle down in his favorite chair to watch the bird feeders for a while.  Very restful occupation when one needs to recharge.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

What’s the point of being able to wallow in an unlimited hotel hot shower when the water pressure isn’t worth bupkiss?

Also, I just discovered a slice of pizza in the microwave in my room that pre-dates my check-in.  (I’m not touching it, but I am leaving the door open as a hint to the cleaning staff.)

Thank Heaven I’m headed home now……

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those friends of the decanter who have been around long enough know of Ol’ Robbo’s irrational fear of flying.

Well I’m here to tell you that nothing is more likely to deepen that aversion than landing in the middle of a thunderstorm and having to listen throughout the descent to the ten year old kid across the aisle repeatedly chirp in a high, penetrating voice, “Well, that’s it! Ladies and gentlemen, we’re all gonna die!”

Had I not been hanging on to my armrests with the grip of a drowning man, I undoubtedly would have reached across and strangled the little tick.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was chatting with Youngest Gel as he drove her over to swim practice this evening.  “So,” I said, “How was school today? Do anything productive?”

“Nah,” she replied, “Just the usual.  You know: skipped class, smoked some weed, got it on with a guy out behind the trailers.”

Were I not driving, I’d have smacked her one.  Young smart-ass.

She was also ranting about some “spontaneous” student walk-out that’s supposed to happen on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  Because guns bad, or something.  “Be damned if I’m going to do that,” she said, “Those people are idiots.”

That’s my gel!

By the bye, what is it with the Kidz these days and their “Dilly, Dilly!”  I first heard this being said some time early last December and it seems to have spread.  I assume it’s some sort of positive interjection, but where on earth did it come from?

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