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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are again and I still haven’t got much. This coming week is crunch time down to the virtual office, after which I hope to ease off a bit and then actually take a much-needed vaycay.

As a matter of fact, we were planning to go on up ta Maine this year. Ol’ Robbo hasn’t been back there in four years now due to one thing and another and thought it would be very relaxing to revisit the old haunts. But you know? The logistics started getting complicated and the expenses started getting more expensive and it suddenly occurred to me that I was just too tired to do that much work in order to relax. So we cancelled. (There were no hard feelings amongst the wimminfolk, since the trip was primarily for my benefit anyway.) I will probably just potter about the house and maybe do a few day trips. Tubing on the Shenandoah has been mentioned already.

Speaking of such things, Mrs. R and the Younger Gels return from Wyoming this evening (which see below). I learned last night that Middle Gel isn’t even staying over, but must immediately hop in her car and head back to school because she has work tomorrow morning. I was a bit staggered by this and had to remind myself that I was 21 once upon a time, too.

It’s just as well that Mrs. R’s coming home because Decanter Dog has been missing her mommy and is on something close to a hunger strike. As much as she likes the rest of us, DD absolutely clings to Mrs. R. I’m told this is often the case with rescue dogs, that they’ll latch on to one person in particular. In Mommy’s absence, DD has spent the last few days doing nothing but sighing heavily and giving me the reproachful stink-eye.

Speaking of hunger, Ol’ Robbo paid a visit to the grocery store yesterday to pick himself up a nice steak for din-dins. Good golly almighty! Inflation? What inflation?

I went for a walk yesterday but hadn’t got far before a pack of wild Delta Variants came boiling around the corner, howling and slavering. I had to turn and run for it, feeling like a serf being pursued across the Russian Steppe by starving wolves. True story.

I keed, of course, but the renewed panic has got us concerned about Youngest. As much as we and she like her school, we’re not paying through the nose for another year of “virtual” learning. If they decide to pull that stunt again, she’ll probably wind up transferring to saner pastures. So far there hasn’t been any noise made, but we’re watching the situation somewhat apprehensively.

Whelp, that’s enough for now, I b’leive. Oh, one other completely unrelated item (because it’s my blog and I’ll bore if I want to). I recently got my Criterion Collection copy of “Red River”, the great John Wayne/Howard Hawks western. It’s always been a favorite of mine, but there’s one thing that bugs me every time I watch it: Montgomery Clift and John Ireland play the two slick, young gunslingers working for the Duke on the great cattle-drive. Toward the beginning of the film it’s foreshadowed (hell, Walter Brennan even says it) that eventually they’ll have to go against each other, just to see who’s the best. But it never happens. There’s even a place for it when the two become interested in the same girl, but it never happens. You just don’t tee up something like this and then not follow through on it – that’s just bad writing. So sayeth Robbo.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

First, how about a spot of color?

This is my prairie cup-flower. Cheery thing, isn’t it?

They’re native to central and western Missourah and other parts of the Plains. However, this one was a present from Mrs. R’s brother-in-law, a cutting from one he spotted it in a roadside ditch in the Boston area, dug up, and put in his own garden. (How it got to Eastern Massachusetts I can’t imagine, but I bet its arms were tired!) It’s been happy enough here in Virginny over the years but even at about 6 1/2 feet it seems somewhat short this season, prolly because of the lack of rain.

And yes, it continues quite dry here. So much so, in fact, that I even made a start at trying to grub out some of the moss that plagues my front yard. The stuff comes out, but even dead and dry it’s a mug’s game to try and remove. Plus I can’t help thinking I’m only spreading spores all over the place anyway. I gave up after about twenty minutes. (Even as I type this, however, the sky is starting to turn somewhat ominous. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll catch a break. UPDATE: In fact, we got about a forty-five minute downpour out of it. Not as beneficial as a good, slow soaker, but every little helps, right?)

I’ve mentioned here from time to time my next-door neighbors’ adventure in putting in a vegetable garden this year. Well yesterday Mrs. Neighbor appeared at our front door bearing a bowl full of cucumbers and tomaters from said garden. It was a lovely thing to do. We got chatting and I asked her about Little Bunny Foo-Foo and his pals that I often see cavorting near their crop. She said the rabbits weren’t a problem, but the woodchucks have been playing merry hell. They’ve recently had to strengthen their defensive fortifications so much that the plots resemble not so much gardens as redoubts. I confessed that was why I pretty much confine myself to flower species the critters don’t much care about.

On a completely different subject, I see where teh Cleveland sports-ball team has announced it’s renaming itself after a leftist British newspaper. (I confess I don’t much see the connection.) Ol’ Robbo is old enough to remember being reassured when Chief Wahoo was disappeared that this was as far as the club planned to go. Good thing I already have my “Wild Thing” edition DVD of “Major League”. Mayhaps I’ll watch it this evening just because.

Finally, a forewarning that blogging may be pretty light round here the next week or two, as a looming court hearing for work likely will kybosh already is kyboshing Ol’ Robbo’s leisure time and turning him into Busy Bee. And not Commodus from “Gladiator” murmuring “busy…little…bees”, but instead Hamilton Swan from “Best In Show” shouting, “Where is Busy Bee? Where is Busy BEE!! Whaddaya mean it’s not here?!! You go find Busy Bee RIGHT NOW!!!”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The schadenfreude Ol’ Robbo is seeing (and, admittedly, enjoying) on the innerwebz over the U.S. wimminz soccer team unexpectedly getting hammered by the Swedes yesterday*** reminds me that there are, in fact, Olympic Games going on.

Meh.

Although keenly excited by the Games when I was a younker, I gave up on them when NBC took over the coverage in the mid-80’s and switched from actually, you know, showing the competition to wall-to-wall “human interest” stories. Bag that.****

My favorite “coverage” moment was the Miracle On Ice at Lake Placid in 1980. For reasons which I do not recollect, ABC tape-delayed showing the Game itself, but was carrying on with live coverage beforehand. The announcers were attempting to be poker-faced, but people in the background were running about in joyous frenzy, so no matter how hard the network tried to maintain the suspense, we already knew Something Big had happened.

Good times.

***I actually don’t doubt that they’ll come back and take the Gold because that’s the Narrative.

****I’m sure there are alternate sources where I could find more pristine competition coverage, but the fact of the matter is that I don’t care enough to bother looking for them.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I believe I have mentioned here before a droll little joke that has stuck with me since I read it somewhere in my misspent yoot:

He: I’ve got a code.

She: A secret code?

He: No, a code ib my nose.

Ol’ Robbo seems to have that code now. Still dragging from the weekend’s over-exertion, I woke up today with a thoroughly clogged head and streaming eyes.

Bleh.

Summah codes are the worst codes.

Unless…….Unless……..maybe it’s no cold at all but instead is the DELTA VARIANT!!

REEEEEEE!!!!

**sets hair on fire – runs away**

UPDATE: What a coincidence. I just got word that my sistah passed her Boards and is now o-fficially an RN. Between her and my brother the doctor, I’m pretty well covered in case I get the You-Know-What.

Funnily, while she is of the if-it-moves-jab-it school, he is much more inclined to share my skepticism.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As those of you who keep up with such things are no doubt already aware, Pope Francis, in his infinite wisdom and contra Pope St. John Paul II and dear Papa Bennie, issued a letter Friday severely curtailing the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

So far as Ol’ Robbo can tell, the sole justification for this is that he believes those who love the TLM are seditionist poopy-heads who need to be disbursed and stamped out.

I have largely restrained myself from Frankie-bashing here over the years, trying to remember that one salutes the rank, not the man. But this feels like a personal assault.

When I swam the Tiber nearly fifteen years ago, it was in pursuit of orthodoxy. And the fact that my parish was at the forefront of the TLM movement at the time was a major aid and comfort in my coming across. To my mind, any church that would put that much effort into reverence of form is that much more likely to put such effort into reverence of substance as well. Over the years, I’ve been proven right.***

What I don’t understand is what Frankie thinks he’s going to gain by picking this fight. Are millions of non-believers suddenly going to say, “Fellows! The Pope just put the hurt on the Rad-Trads! Where do I sign up now?” Does he believe Traditionalists are going to simply roll over?

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t consider himself a seditionist. But stunts like this…….well.

Fortunately, I am a member of one of the strongest Diocese in the country. Funny enough, when I started attending all those years ago, my parish was the only one in the entire region to offer the TLM on a regular basis. It was standing-room-only. The congregation has shrunk somewhat since then not due to lack of interest, but because so many other parishes have since started it. My Padre has been hinting around that Frankie was going to do this but, at least for the last few weeks, has been sending the message that we’ll probably be okay. We’ll see if he has any new information today.

(***By the bye, this is not to bash any of my Novus Ordo friends out there. As I say, I’m just responding to what I feel like is an attack on me, not seeking to attack anyone else.)

UPDATE: Well, no O-fficial pronouncement that I can find, but from what Father let fall today, I’d say Bullet Status: Dodged. He reminded us that our Bishop is one of the Good Guys, that he’s already getting trolled for standing pat, and that we shouldn’t be returning troll fire but instead be praying for the more questionable shepherds and their flocks. I suppose this post is kinda, sorta trolling, so I’ll say no more.

By the way, a lot of folks there today and many faces I haven’t seen before. Looks like we’re taking in refugees again.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo describing his ride out to summah camp with Youngest Gel at the wheel two weeks ago.

Well, today I went to fetch her back.

Owing to the fact that the Gel was there as a rookie counselor instead of a camper this time, she had to stick around for a longish staff debriefing after their charges had all gone away. This left Ol’ Robbo a goodish bit of time on his hands, so I decided just to park myself and contemplate the goodness of God’s creation.

It was wonderfully refreshing.

By the bye, even though the covidz broke out in the Gel’s cabin mid-term and she reports they were treated like a bunch of lepers for the balance, she really, really enjoyed her two weeks as a counselor-in-training and is already eagerly looking forward to doing the entire summah there next year.

And even as I type this, it suddenly occurs to me that today may very well have been my last visit to the place, as the Gel will take herself there next year and who knows if I’ll be around long enough to see grandkids attend. Funny, that. Thirteen or fourteen years of making the drive twice a summah and suddenly zhoom – it’ gone.

Glad I got a good, long opportunity to soak it all up one last time.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yeppers.

Ol’ Robbo thought he was going to get some relief from the doldrums yesterday afternoon. The sky went black to the west, thunder started coming down the wind, the air started to smell of rain, and then…..nothing. The storm lifted its skirts and slid by to the south of Port Swiller Manor.

Grrrrr……

I’m not saying we’re in a drought just yet, but this summah has definitely been warmer and drier than the last few we’ve had in these parts. The trees and shrubbery are starting to get cranky about it.

Also getting cranky is my work computer. I had a time of it yesterday getting thrown off both the work network and my wifi connection. But when I unplugged the laptop from its docking station, it seemed to work just fine. Ol’ Robbo knows nothing of these things. There’s never been an issue before. Is this change significant? And what is the root cause, the office, Verizon, or, as Eldest assures me, Mrs. R’s recent efforts to upgrade her wireless teevee viewing?

Speaking of Mrs. R, she’s normally in charge of distributing treats to Decanter Dog. In her absence, I’m pretty sure I’m being hustled. (It’s funny how I am impervious to the cats’ attempts to pry treats out of me but I can’t resist DD’s big eyes. Alas, she knows it.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yep, the continued string of hot, sticky days here has got Ol’ Robbo firmly in its grip. I recognize the signs.

Mrs. R has gone off up to Connect-ti-cutt to visit her folks for a few days. She messaged me, “Got here safely – only one near-miss in the Bronx!” That’ll wake you up in a hurry.

(We’ve always taken the GW Bridge and teh Cross-Bronx when headed north. The Tappen-Zee may be safer and easer but I just can’t stand the idea of going all the way up and around like that.)

I mentioned cable yesterday. Apart from the odd TCM offering and AccuWeather, the only two channels I watch at all are H&I for “Star Trek” reruns and INSP for old westerns. I noticed that these channels seem to run an inordinate number of commercials for hair-restorers, testosterone boosters, and hearing aids. “Heh,” I said to myself, “Just what sort of person do they imagine is watching…….Hey! Wait a minute!!

Oh, I suppose it’s Bastille Day. Those who wish to wipe out the past and start over at Year One should keep in mind how that little drama eventually played out.

I dunno whether the falling of the big maple in our back yard has anything to do with it, perhaps shifting territories or something, but I now have a problem with pileated woodpeckers attacking the porch supports. I confess I don’t yet know quite what to do about this.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got at the moment.

UPDATE: Ol’ Robbo used to be able to put his head down and just power through when he didn’t have time to eat all day. I find I really just can’t do that anymore.

Also, I would like to find the person who invented “Track Changes” and cause them some harm.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t have that much to say. Again. It’s getting to be that time of year. [Ed. – When has that ever stopped you before?] Quiet, you.

I gather Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is to be played this evening. Ol’ Robbo hasn’t watched a game since the Nats won the Series back in 2019. Last year I was disgusted with the COVID response and “experimental” rules changes. This year I’m disgusted with MBL’s decision to get fully involved in politicks. I haven’t gone so far as to chuck all my Nats’ team gear, but I look on it all now as a memento of the Before Times instead of active boosterism.

Sometimes our cable actually pays for itself. Last evening I caught “The Most Dangerous Game” (1932) on TCM. It’s a short, tight thriller about a crazed Russian nobleman (who for Flashman fans could easily have been Count Ignatieff’s grandson) who hunts shipwrecked castaways on his South Pacific island for sport. In this case, it’s Joel McRae and Fay Wray whom he pursues through the jungle, the latter in an ever-increasingly tattered and damp gown. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Is there nothing it can’t do? Coffee consumption linked to lower risk of COVID-19 infection. Ol’ Robbo otter be downright bulletproof.

Oh, and utterly random observation: I’d never owned a long-haired cat until we got Decanter Kitten last year. I’m amazed at how much fur she sheds in this hot weather. Her tail is about a third the thickness it was over the winter. (And somehow, we’re managing to vacuum up more fur than ever could possibly have been on her in the first place.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are again.

Over the weekend we got word that a couple cases of everybody’s favorite plague have broken out at Youngest’s summah camp, including one case in the cabin of 9-year-olds she’s counseling. Fortunately, the camp’s response wasn’t to disburse all the campers into the hills and burn the place to the ground, as it might have been last year. Instead, they sent home the sickies and have stepped up testing on anyone likely to have been exposed to them. But the notice we got also contains the following:

“Because the remaining campers in [the affected cabins] were exposed, we have created an even-more-separated camp experience for those cabins moving forward. Meals for these cabins are being served in the barn, and all activities will take place at an even-greater distance from the rest of camp.”

In other words, they’ve been banished to Siberia.

Youngest felt so bad for her little flock that she went to the nearest Party Barn on her day off and seemingly bought the place out. (Good on her.)

Meanwhile, Ol’ Robbo received a poll in the mail from some outfit called the “Institute on Voter Attitudes & Public Policy”. Ha, ha, ha. As I’ve explained to countless hipster-doofuses with clipboards who have accosted me on the streets of Your Nation’s Capital over the years, the three things Ol’ Robbo does NOT give to strangers are his name, his money, and his opinions.

Nonetheless, I glanced over the survey. It’s the usual stuff – presidential approval, immigration, guns, abortion, public education, etc. But one question stood out:

“There is considerable debate in Congress over various plans to balance the budget. What do you believe is the best way to balance the budget?”

This actually made Ol’ Robbo laugh. The 1990’s called and want their debate back. When was the last time anybody in Congress seriously talked of “balancing” the budget? Heck, when was the last time we even had a budget, much less a balanced one? Get real. (The responses offered were the usual raise taxes, lower spending, or both. If I were to return the survey, I’d have scribbled in “In this bizarro world into which we’ve descended, what difference does it make now?”)

**Goes back to assembling his James Bond Sooper-Villain Hideout Lego kit**

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