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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, the weekend is just about upon us, as is October. (How did that happen so fast?)

Ol’ Robbo is patting himself on the back with some complacence this morning over persuading Mrs. R not to go to South Carolina. The resort where she and her tennis chums were to stay shut down yesterday, having suddenly become the bulls-eye for Hurricane Ian. Those chums who did go and thought they could just ride things out were forced to drive home in a rental car because there were no flights available. Heh. Can I call ’em or what?

Speaking of “calling” them, once again the Pravda of the Potomac is pushing Climate Doom for all its worth, today gassing about the rising number of “Super Storms” and everybody’s favorite culprit behind them. Why “Super Storm”? They’ll give you a lot of song and dance by way of explanation, but it boils down to this: It sounds scarier.


Several times this week Ol’ Robbo has become aware that the teevee in the living room was on. On checking, I’ve discovered Decanter Dog on the sofa with the remote under her paw. You may say this was just an accident resulting from Mrs. R leaving the remote there, but I’m going to take a hard look at the cable bill anyway just to make sure the dog hasn’t been ordering things she shouldn’t.


I can tell you truthfully that I had nothing to do with blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines. (It seems everybody else on the planet is suspected by at least somebody so I thought I would try to reduce the confusion at least a little bit.)


Those of you keeping track of the McMansion being built across the street from Port Swiller Manor will be interested to know that the builders are now crowning the place with a cupola. And not just a simple octagonal protuberance, either. It’s got a sort of ridge running from its base to the front edge of the roof. Because why not. So far as Ol’ Robbo can tell, the place is being built on spec and hasn’t even got a buyer yet. On the other hand, what lunatic would gamble on sticking that thing up there if not specifically asked to?

By the bye, this term “McMansion” came up on a comment thread I was reading the other day. Some of the commenters took its use to mean a sneering derision on the part of la-di-da blue-bloods towards what they consider their inferiors trying to climb into affluence. That’s not what Ol’ Robbo means at all. To me it simply signifies a shoddily-built, ugly, and monstrously expensive house usually far too big for the plot of land on which it’s set, that’s all. The house would be the same no matter who moved into it.


UPDATE: Ol’ Robbo forgot to mention that the Port Swiller email was full of queries overnight as to why I didn’t mention the fact that yesterday was National Coffee Day. Heck, every day is Coffee Day. I see no reason to distinguish any one date in particular.

Whelp, on toward the weekend. Endeavor to persevere.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Good luck and God bless to those dealing with Hurricane Ian down in Flahrduh. (In the First World Problems category, I successfully persuaded Mrs. R to cancel her trip to a tennis retreat on the South Carolina coast today.)

All seriousness aside, Ol’ Robbo observed over teh past couple days that the usual suspects have been right in their happy place. The Weather Channel and its ilk have been swallowing their collective tongues, and the politicos have been spinning faster than the cyclone itself (mostly predicting that Florida was going to disappear beneath the waves thanks to that eeeeevil Gov. DarthSantis).

My favorite contribution, and I wished I’d kept it, was a piece Pravda on the Potomac’s Weather Gang put up on FacePlant a day or two ago. Did you know that Florida takes more hits from major hurricanes than any other state in the Union?

As Elaine Bennis would say, “Get OUT!!

Now why do you suppose this would be?

(**Ponders extensive tropical and subtropical coastline, prevailing winds and currents**)

Ooh! Ooh! Mister Ko-tter! I know! Glowbull enwarmening!!

Ol’ Robbo didn’t actually read the article, but “I’ll bet you credits to navy beans” that slant is in there.***

***If you can spot this quote, you ought to be ashamed of yourself because you’re a complete nerd.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In case you friends of the decanter have not been following, Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats suffered their 100th loss of the season last evening in a mercifully short game against the Braves**. I’m not quite certain, because the rules keep getting loosier and goosier, but I think this mathematically eliminates us from playoff contention this year.


I blame the team’s Lucifer-like plunge from heroes to zeroes over the past two years completely on skin-flint Ownership. Fortunately, it looks like the Lerner family is bailing and we should have a new set of the Big Money Boys going into next year. I hope this lot actually means it.

In the meantime, what else is there to say except


**Speaking of whom, did you see where the White House chose the occasion of the team’s visit to call for it to change its name? I just can’t even….

UPDATE: Oh, in case you’re interested, Ol’ Robbo is likely to be pulling for the Mets in October. I’d like to see Mad Max Scherzer get another Series win, just for old times’ sake.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ah, Fall! Ol’ Robbo got to indulge himself last night by leaving all the Port Swiller Manor windows wide open and the heat turned off, waking under warm blankets to a cool, crisp, refreshing dawn. In this, I suppose I’ll be cut off soon enough, as Mrs. R and I do not see eye to eye on this sort of thing. I’ll enjoy it while I can, however.

In the meantime, the same cool, crisp, refreshing dawn put me in mind of the fact that it’s been several years now since I last reread my Francis Parkman and that it’s just about time to do so again. I don’t know why I necessarily associate the two ideas with each other, but this is always the time of the year when I get the urge to dip back into my French and British colonial history. (Actually, I think I’ll start with his Oregon Trail, as I’m just finishing up a slew of mid-18th Century American Frontier accounts, before jumping back to the 1500’s.) Those of you who drop by regularly may expect more gratuitous historickal posting on this subject in the coming weeks.

Which reminds me that I wonder what I did with my Hannah Duston bobblehead? It sat on a shelf in my office for years but I brought it and all my other bric-a-brac home when we shifted to new digs because there wasn’t any place to put things. Given the politicks of my workplace I was always surprised nobody ever gave me grief over it, until I reminded myself of the general historickal ignorance of this day and age and then wasn’t surprised anymore. Heh.

UPDATE: Ol’ Robbo forgot to mention another pleasure of the changing season – all the doors and windows of Port Swiller Manor that stick during the warmer, sultrier times are suddenly moving freely again.

On the other hand, I was watching the Hokies/Mountaineers game on teevee last evening when I beheld…….my first fake Christmas tree ad of the season. I suppose one has to take the rough with the smooth.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Ma Nature is doing her duty to mark the change in seasons with a notable drop in temperatures on its way into the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, with lows starting to dip down into the upper 40’s this weekend. Bring it, says Ol’ Robbo.

Funny enough,** today marks the beginning of Youngest Gel’s Spring Break Down Under. In the spirit of getting everything she can out of her semester abroad, she and a couple classmates are headed for New Zealand today to knock about for a week or so. (So long as she’s in the neighborhood, after all.) I just hope that super-volcano suddenly in the news there behaves itself while she’s about. Ol’ Robbo did not even realize there is a giant caldera in New Zealand, and apparently a nasty, active one, until this story popped up. ***

Evidently, one of the Gel’s friends is an organization-freak and has got this trip taped out to the last minute and penny. I understand they’ll be staying in a series of hostels and visiting various venues of entertainment. I may have heard the words “sky-diving” in passing, but at this point I’m choosing to believe this was just a misunderstanding. Gawd help us.

** Well, not so funny, I guess, since it’s perfectly logical and natural. But funny to think about.

*** I believe a lot of these World Economic Forum-types have compounds established in NZ. I’ll bet Klaus Schwab has got a secret lair under the volcano.

UPDATE: Youngest arrived safe and sound in Auckland this morning. Meanwhile, the first big cool/cold front arrived here this afternoon. The wind is up and the temperature and humidity are dropping. As former sportscaster Marv Albert used to say, “YUSS!!”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo didn’t say anything about yesterday’s grim anniversary because he didn’t think there was anything to say that hasn’t already been said umpty times.

Besides, what worries me more twenty-odd years on (**adjusts tinfoil hat**) is the domestic security/surveillance network installed in the aftermath. What made sense to my naive self back then seems now (no offense, Bob from NSA!) to be becoming the Frankenstein’s monster a very few critics predicted. And as it continues to metastasize, weaponize, and politicize, the question of “Quis custodiet?” becomes ever more of a concern.

Much more than a handful of thugs with box-cutters.

(Oh, y’all excuse me, there’s somebody at the door. Now why would a fellah be wearing a trench-coat and dark glasses in this weather……..)

Greetings, again, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo put up the post below today long before he saw the news that Queen Elizabeth is seriously ill. It’s mostly rumour at the moment, but things appear to look pretty bad.

Well, what can I say on a goofy little shoot from the hip blog? Elizabeth is about the last vestige of an era long gone, from which the World, and Britain in particular, has slid into much darker times. Things will never be the same again. Of course, she’s watched this happen and been helpless really to do anything about it. That she’s faced these circumstances with such grace and dignity and courage all these years only makes Ol’ Robbo marvel in admiration all the more.

So I’ll pray for the Queen and hope she is in peace and comfort.

UPDATE: Buckingham Palace just announced her death. God rest her soul.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest sent me this during the middle of one of her classes yesterday, which seems to be not so much the Dewey Decimal System, but rayther a group hug in which the social warriors share their vision of the Brave New World:


Yes, I raised her to be profoundly skeptical, but I also taught her to laugh about it.

I suppose it was because of this that I had a dream last evening that I was back at school. It wasn’t one of those it’s-the-end-of-the-semester-and-I-never-studied ones (which, of course, I’ve had), but instead a beginning of the semester chaos scenario. I found myself in a student apartment full of people going in and out. I didn’t know where my keys were, I didn’t know where my mailbox was, in fact I didn’t know anything, and I was getting agitated about it. And when I went outside, I ran straight into a student marching band, getting my hand up just in time to avoid being swatted in the face by a slide-trombone. (The player gave me a look and moved on.)

I’ve a vague idea Eldest was actually in the dream at some point. Which is odd, because I very rarely dream about people I actually know, instead populating them with made-up figures.

(Later, I had a dream I was marching through the Carolina Pine-Barrens with General Sherman, but that one was easily explained by the fact that I’m re-reading his Memoirs.)

No wonder Ol’ Robbo wakes up tired all the time.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. R wondered aloud this morning, as she is wont to do from time to time, just why Ol’ Robbo insists on dressing like a more than ordinarily down at heal scarecrow when he sallies forth to do his weakly outdoor chores. (This is actually a subcategory of her more general complaint over my insistence on hanging on to old clothes until they literally fall apart. Drives her nutty for some reason.)

Well, c’mon – it’s yardwork, after all. Always dirty, usually profusely sweaty, and it’s not as if I’m playing before a gallery or anything. Furthermore, by wearing my ratty old stuff, I’m only saving wear and tear on the newer, right? I should think I’d get credit for this kind of foresight, but it doesn’t seem to wash.

While mowing, I came across a small garden snake. Man, does Ol’ Robbo hate snakes! I’m only grateful that I don’t see them more often round here. Fortunately, this was actually very much an ex-garden snake, being completely dead already, so I took no semi-fascist action to cause a clear and present danger to its “democracy”. (Hi, Bob from NSA!) Instead, I just jumped a little and blurted out, “Argh, snek!”

The Great Forsythia Cutback I had penciled in for Labor Day looks like it will need to be bumped to next weekend owing to work-work impositions. Eh, it happens. (Some day, prolly after I retire, I am going to put up an epic rant here on the subject of drafting court filings by committee.)

In the meantime, Ol’ Robbo suddenly realizes he forgot to refill the bird feeder this morning, as is his usual Saturday practice. No wonder I’m getting the stink-eye from the feathered locals. Better go take care of that before they go all Hitchcock on me.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For those friends of the decanter who may be asking themselves, “Self? How’s construction coming along on that new McMansion across the street from Port Swiller Manor Ol’ Robbo was writing about earlier this year?” – well, it’s coming. Most of it’s framed up now and they’ve started in on the plywood on the walls. It’s going to be pretty hideous, but I knew that before they finished knocking down the old one.

A crew was out this week cutting back some more branches from trees out by the road. This makes Ol’ Robbo happy because it means the mid-winter sun will shine directly down my driveway for an even greater period of time, a phenomenon which will make clearing off ice and snow that much easier less of a pain.

One thing that has interested me watching the work from my desk has been the comings and goings of the various big dump trucks and material-hauling trailers. There isn’t all that much space across the way and I’ve seen some absolute prodigies of driving as the big rigs are backed in from the road. On the other hand, there seems a minority of drivers who won’t even try, simply parking their rigs in the middle of the (busy) street to offload. There have been some might crabby motorists around here as a result.

What I’m dreading now, based on the shape of the thing, is that this is going to be one of those jobs where they slap up a variety of different kinds of siding on the walls – some stone, some brick, some stucco – promiscuous-like. Ol’ Robbo hates that look. Not my circus so not my monkeys, I know, but I still have to look at the thing.


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October 2022