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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s struggles over the past few days with a recalcitrant air-conditioner? Whelp, the service people were back out this morning and are now diagnosing a shot motor. The good news is that the thing itself is still under warranty.  The bad news is that we are going to have to pay for the labor of switching it out.  The worse news is that we have no A/C at Port Swiller Manor until tomorrow afternoon, and it is plenty hot around these parts.  (Fortunately, it’s still a fairly dry heat. The old saying about humidity may be a trite cliché, but that doesn’t make it untrue.)

Anyhoo, Ol’ Robbo is sitting under the porch fans this evening, patiently waiting for Eldest to quit the basement and go to bed so that he can scurry down to its relatively freezerish precinct, and thought he would kill the time by throwing together a few odds and ends.

♦  I saw an item today wherein an Israeli company has announced it is setting out to put a spacecraft down on the Moon.  This delights Ol’ Robbo on many levels.  Mazel tov! 

♦  That reminds me that Ol’ Robbo donated some money to buy pizzas for the IDF during one of the Intifadas way back in ’03 or ’04.  I’m still getting solicitations from the local Jewish Defense League to this day.

♦ And speaking of transportation technology, if I haven’t said it here before (well, even if I have), I’m going to say it now:  Ol’ Robbo will never, ever, get into a “driverless” car.  Period. Full stop.  End of story.  I don’t mind all the bells and whistles that alert you to traffic in your blind spot or whatnot, but I’ll be damned if I ever let a machine take actual command.

♦  And speaking of cars, Middle Gel called me from the VW dealership this afternoon with the announcement that one of her headlights had been whacked somehow and needed to be replaced at a fairly hefty cost.  I don’t quite get the latter part of the news, because I’ve replaced both headlights on La Wrangler myself for no expense other than the cost of the part and one or two skinned knuckles.  Is there any good reason I couldn’t have got the relevant headlight part for the Gel’s car and done it myself? Or has German engineering successfully eliminated the self-help option?

♦  Also touching on cars, Ol’ Robbo got caught in the traffic-jam caused by Marine One lifting off from the White House lawn this morning, taking President Trump out to Andrews AFB for his trip to Europe.  (They shut down Constitution Avenue between 16th and 17th for such comings and goings.) I’ve had this happen probably half a dozen times over the past few years.  It’s always a pain in the backside, but it’s also pretty cool to see the Presidential party on their way hither and yon.

♦  And speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo usually steers clear of politicks here, but I have to note that I heard a bit on this afternoon’s NPR top o’ the hour nooz digest in which some environmental lobbyist was whinging about The Donald’s pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to take Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court.  The lobbyist had his panties in a twist over the idea that, get this, Kavanaugh believes laws should be made by Congress and not by unaccountable Executive Branch bureaucrats!!

The horror.  THE HORROR!!

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

♦  Touching on the summah heat again, we just would pick this week to start a bed of young pachysandra out front, wouldn’t we? No rain in the forecast for at least another ten days.  (Fortunately, I was able to strategically place a soaker hose uphill from the bed, and find that if I simply leave it on long enough, gravity takes care of spreading the water all about.)

♦  The pachys, by the bye, are part of the new arrangement for diverting rain-water Ol’ Robbo mentioned t’other day.  The landscapers have been busy this week putting in the new rock bed/run-off channels, and I’m happy to say that I am pleased with the results so far.  We shall see, of course, what actually happens the next time we get le deluge.

Whelp, that’s about enough for now.  Ol’ Robbo is headed for the basement now, most probably to see if his Beloved Nats are working themselves farther out of playoff contention.  (What a disappointing year so far.  I mentioned jumping on the Fire Dave Martinez bandwagon the other day? Well, despite their taking three out of four against the Fish this week,  I ‘ve still got my Nike Vertical Leap shoes on just in case.)




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

You may or may not have seen it, what with everything else going on these days, but the Episcopal Church is “considering” revising the Book of Common Prayer to eradicate all masculine references to God.  I put quotes around the word “considering” because I can tell you here and now that this is a done deal.  The Palie clergy and congregations – at least in my experience – have been doing this on the sly for some time, and its official adoption now that the proposal has been put up is only a matter of the paperwork.

And, at least according to one version of the proposal being batted about at this year’s convention, that ain’t the all of it:

Switching to gender-neutral language is the most commonly mentioned reason to make the change, but many stakeholders in the church want other revisions. There are advocates for adding language about  a Christian’s duty to conserve the Earth; for adding a liturgical ceremony to celebrate a transgender person’s adoption of a new name; for adding same-sex marriage ceremonies to the liturgy, since the church has been performing such weddings for years; for updating the calendar of saints to include important figures named as saints since 1979.

Oh, you betcha.  (Actually, I believe there is language about environmental stewardship in the Catholic Catechism already.  And I’ve got no problem with celebrating the Feast Day of St. John Paul the Second (October 22).  The other stuff? Yeah, you betcha.)

The Family Robbo were discussing this item at dinner last evening.  The sense of the meeting was pretty clear that if these things go through, they’re gone.  (The general idea seems to be in favor of seeking out whatever pockets of traditional mainline Protestantism remain (have I mentioned here that my great-grandfather on my father’s side was a Presbyterian minister?), or perhaps venturing among the Evangelicals.  Alas, nobody seems interested in Ol’ Robbo’s open invitation to follow him across the Tiber.  As terribly disappointing as this is, however, I have at least come to understand what a truly enormous thing it is that I’m asking – even if they don’t – and that it might simply be beyond them at this point.  I would not wish them to sign on for something they simply don’t understand.  I will thus just continue my policy of trying to lead by (admittedly feeble) example, and praying for their eventual enlightenment.)

Because of parliamentary procedures within TEC, consummation of this mucking about with the BCP will take some years.  What might make the family bolt much more precipitately is the fact that the longtime Rector of Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church retired a couple weeks ago.  He was as proggy as any of them. (I once heard him in an unguarded moment musing that Leviticus could be read not to prohibit doinking the livestock, but merely to insist on purification afterwards before entering the Temple.)  But he had enough biznay sense to recognize that the parish in general, and the Big Money Boys in particular, are fairly evenly split between Progs and Trads, and that it was in his best interest to keep his public ministry as neutral as possible.  If the Diocese is fool enough to install some hard-charging Lefty in his place, the Family Robbo won’t be the only ones making a bee-line for the exits.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Independence Day!

A very quiet one this year for Ol’ Robbo.  Middle Gel is the only other family member home at the moment.  Our big plan for this afternoon is to go over to Bed, Bath, And Whatevs and buy all her college dorm stuff, which will be a nice little time together.  Afterwards, she may or may not be going with some of her friends to see the big downtown fireworks display.  (As so often seems to be the case with teenagers, the plan at this point is “I have no idea”.)

In the meantime, Ol’ Robbo will be content to sip an adult beverage or two and, if the weather isn’t too beastly, perhaps sit out on the porch and listen to the rumble and bump of neighbors letting fly with their own home displays.

Two completely un-related but apropos thoughts for the day:

First, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t buy into the “Second Civil War” talk I see here and there on the webz these days.  Instead, I see a mirror of the late ’60’s, only this time with twitter.  A small, but very noisy gang of radicals has abandoned their “For the Children” pretense, ripped off their masks, and exposed themselves for what they really are.  Most normal people are, I think, repelled by such things, which is why we got Nixon in ’68 and ’72, Reagan in ’80 and ’84, and Trump in ’16 and (most probably) ’20.  The Hard Left seems to go through these periodic meltdowns, which ironically is probably what has saved us from them these past 100 years or so.

Second, is there a “Fire Dave Martinez” bandwagon yet? Cos’ if there is, I’m feeling the increased urge to jump on board.  This is not where Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats ought to be right now.

Anyhoo, have a safe and pleasant holiday, and God bless America!

UPDATE: A delightful trip to BB&B.  It turns out Ol’ Robbo had never actually been there before and was thinking instead of the local TJMaxx, which is a rather ratty, depressing place.  This, instead, was enormous, well-stocked, and staffed by very friendly people who seemed delighted to be helping the Gel get together her school things.  We tricked her out in sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and the like, but she’s holding off on some of the other more purely decorative things until she can coordinate with her roommate who is bringing what.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you all see the story this week that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name has been removed from a children’s literary award because of double-plus ungood wrong-think?

Yes, the new name of the award will be “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” because that show contained correct views of the 19th Century frontier, including the voice-over in the radio commercials from years back (which Ol’ Robbo is not making up) where the beta-boy says in a sing-song, Mr. Rogers voice., “It’s the wonderful diversity that makes this place so special!”

Just you wait.  It’s only a matter of time before the Kennedy Center disappears its Mark Twain Humor Award on similar grounds. (“How dare they give a prize named after a man who used that word in his writings?”)

UPDATE:  Speaking of frontier writers never likely to have a children’s book award named after them, I’m currently re-reading John C. Cremony’s Life Among the Apaches.  Cremony was part of the 1850 Border Commission sent to sort out the line between the United States and Mexico after the war.  Since he was apparently the only member of the party who could speak Spanish, he became the main mouthpiece between them and the Apaches of New Mexico and Arizona.  He published his observations in 1868.

Cremony is a major source for George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman and the Redskins, since the first part of that story has Flashy in the southwest in 1849/50 and dealing extensively with Mangus Colorado, James Gallatin, and other figures of the time and place.  Through Flashy’s mouth, GMF has this to say about post hoc armchair virtue-signaling:

I know the heathen, and their oppressors, pretty well, you see, and the folly of sitting smug in judgment years after, stuffed with piety and ignorance and book-learned bias.  Humanity is beastly and stupid, aye, and helpless, and there’s an end to it. And that’s as true for Crazy Horse as it was for Custer – and they’re both long gone, thank God.  But I draw the line at the likes of anthropological half-truthers; oh, there’s a deal in what they say, right enough – but it’s only one side of the tale, and when I hear it puffed out with all that righteous certainty, as though every white man was a villain and every redskin a saint, and the fools swallow it and feel suitably guilty…well, it can get my goat, especially when I’ve got a drink in me and my kidneys are creaking.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo wasn’t quick enough to hit the mute button on his radio this evening as he navigated traffic home, so he was forced to listen to the NPR top o’ the hour nooz digest.  Sure enough, at the end of the lead story about that Annapolis newspaper shooting, they just couldn’t help intimating that, despite the fact that the shooter is a psychopath with a long-standing grudge against the paper and crime sheet to match it, it’s all somehow Trump’s fault that the guy finally cooked off.  (Had you seen me exiting on to the G-Dub at this moment, you would have observed Ol’ Robbo gesticulating wildly at his radio in disgust.)

Ol’ Robbo really doesn’t mind so much that the mainstream media are propagandists and agitators (or, as the Puppy-Blender likes to call them, “Democratic operatives with bylines”).  My problem is that they’re so damned dishonest and sanctimonious about it, sputtering in institutional indignation whenever they’re called out and claiming that anyone who does so is a knuckle-dragging idiot who Just Doesn’t Understand, and also a neo-Nazi poopy-head.  (When I first heard that Pravda on the Potomac had changed its motto to “Democracy Dies In Darkness”, I thought the story was a parody.)

Of course, years ago, when they held a monopoly, the MSM could get away with this sort of thing with relative impunity.  But since AlGore invented the Innertoobs, of course, all bets are now off.  I wish they’d just accept that fact and adjust accordingly.

So getting back to the story at hand, if NPR’s Jack Speer had finished up with, “We think Trump is partly to blame for this lunatic, not because we have any evidence but because we really just hate Trump,” I’d actually have a wee bit more respect for him (and would have just shrugged instead of gesticulating).


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo supposes that friends of the decanter are up-to-date on the Red Hen/Sarah Huckaby Sanders story? It caught my especial attention in no small part because I went to law school in Lexington, VA, site of the brouhaha, although that was twenty-mumble years ago now and the Hen wasn’t established until some time after I’d left.**

Nonetheless, I wasn’t altogether surprised that something like this might occur even in what most people would imagine to be deep red rural Virginny.  Even back in my day, Metro-Lex contained a certain number of lefty/liberal types, including both some of the faculty at my school and my landlady.  I understand both the school and the town have pulled even farther left since then.  (For example, the drum-beat to erase Robert E. Lee altogether from Washington & Lee University continues.)  Certainly I wouldn’t dream of sending one of the Gels to my old alma mater now.  And the times, alas, seem ripe for this kind of stunt (i.e., Lefties pretending to principled “fighting Nazis” as cover for their extended toddler-like temper tantrum that they lost the ’16 election).

But the good news? It would appear that there is substantial push-back going on.  News broke today that the owner of the place has been forced to resign from her position with Main Street Lexington, the local biznay organization, and it’s anybody’s guess whether the Hen itself will survive financially.  Further, and to me quite significantly, the kind-hearted, non-politickal Mrs. Robbo, upon reading up on what happened, said, “That’s really disgusting.”

I don’t believe she was the only of her very large and mostly silent ilk to reach that conclusion.  Something to consider with the midterms coming up, which is why Ol’ Robbo predicted below that there will not be a Blue Wave this fall.  (We’re not in “Civil War 2”, contrary to the rhetoric of bloggers like even Ace and the Puppy-Blender.  Instead, we’re witnessing the outraged flailings of the Hard Left as it suffers the consequential backlash to its overreach of the last ten years or so.  Ol’ Robbo is convinced the vast majority of the country is not sympathetic to such flailings.)


** In my day, the only two real options for local dining were The Southern Inn and The Palms.  Lloyd’s of Lexington (since defunct) was a popular hang-out for truly terrible food and video games.  And Ol’ Robbo actually used to spend evenings at the Lee Hi Truck Stop during exam time, where I could grab a corner booth, order a country-fried steak dinner (no IHOP back then), and linger over a bottomless cup o’ coffee while I studied.  Nobody ever bothered me.






Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Is today National Booger Day, or something?  Did Ol’ Robbo just not get the memo?  Because I observed a noteworthy number of both men and women surreptitiously picking their noses (and, er, worse) while behind the wheel this evening.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for the umpteenth time, do not assume that you can’t be seen while driving your car.  Because you can.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Today saw Ol’ Robbo’s annual trek out to the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania, there to make the drop-off at Bible-Thumper camp.

This is Ol’ Robbo’s 11th year making said trip.  Nothing much has changed about the mechanics of there and back again, so I’ll just repost what I wrote about the drive last year and leave it at that.

What’s different this time is that we only took the Youngest Gel.  (It’s her 9th year there.)  Middle Gel could have gone for her 11th and last year, but the Young Life group in which she has become increasingly active the last year or two is going on retreat to a lake somewhere in Upstate New York this week, and after a bit of agonizing over it, she decided to go on that trip instead.  (I dropped her off at the charter bus at 5 ack emma this morning.)  She wants to come with me to pick up Youngest in two weeks and say hello to everybody, and there is some talk of possibly serving as a counselor next summah, but the truth is that chapter in the Family Robbo story is now effectively over.

This ties in with what I was musing on in the post below about milestones and changes:  With the Eldest, the groundbreaking theme is most prominent.  But with Middle Gel coming up over the same ground, I get a much more distinct sense of the Back Marker looming somewhere behind her.  I can’t quite hear him yet, but I already know what he’s muttering:  Memento mori.  I’ve a feeling that by the time Youngest comes through, he’ll be positively shouting at me.

Another startling sensation this time around was sitting with Mrs. Robbo and Youngest at the Ruby Tuesday’s in Somerset, PA where we always stop for lunch and suddenly realizing that, come this fall, this is the Family Home Unit for the next two years.  (And as the eldest of three myself, this changing dynamic is all terra incognita to me.  I actually know very little of the day-to-day dynamics of the home of my own misspent yoot after I went away to college.)

Oh, and related?  The lease runs out on Mrs. R’s Honda Juggernaut some time this fall and we’ve begun to discuss what to do.  Mrs. R has made clear that she doesn’t want another SUV because she’s never been comfortable piloting such a beast.  (The dings on the bumpers pay silent testimony to this.)  The disturbing thing? I find myself agreeing with her….because we don’t really need one anymore.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A bit too soggy in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor to do anything useful in the yard this Saturday, so Ol’ Robbo won’t even bother.  Instead, how about a little of this and that?

♦  Middle Gel (and Mrs. R) went to an overnight freshman orientation program this week.  I believe it was when she returned armed with her first semester schedule that I finally realized yes, she’s a college kid now.  Most….discombobulating.  It’s a very different feel from when Eldest went off, perhaps because then one was so caught up in the groundbreaking aspect but now the tempus fugit theme seems more present.  God know what it will be like when Youngest goes……

♦  While Mrs. Robbo and Self were away on holiday, I of course paid no attention whatsoever to any form of “news”.  Catching up upon my return, I was both interested and delighted to see the “OhMuhGawdTrumpHitlerIsTearingInnocentMigrantBabiesFromTheirMothersArms!!” meme launch, soar, and crash in flames, all in about 72 hours or so.  Surely there is doctoral thesis-level material there regarding the insanity of the modern nooz propaganda cycle.

♦ Oh, and if you’re interested, Ol’ Robbo is of the opinion that any “blame” that attaches in this matter lies squarely on the parents who drag their children into such a horrible situation in the first place.  Regardless of what Nancy Pelosi or the USCCB may say to the contrary, it is not a sin to refuse to aid, abet, or encourage this kind of child abuse.  So there.

♦ And one other politickal observation?  There will be no “Blue Wave” this fall.

♦ Ol’ Robbo saw quite a bit of “ink” on the beach this week.  I don’t mean a discreet little doo-dah on an ankle here or there, I mean elaborate designs all up and down legs, arms, and backs.  Call me what you will, but I simply fail to see what somebody could possibly be thinking in going for such a look.  Especially (yes, I’ll say it) a woman.

♦ Has any friend of the decanter seen the new Incredibles movie? Frankly, I’m afraid to.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Fingers crossed that thunderstorms don’t thwart my grilling plans later: what with various comings and goings (Eldest gets home from visiting grandparents this afternoon and both the younger gels are away tomorrow to separate summah camps/retreats), this evening is the only time in the next couple weeks when all five of us will actually be home together for dinner.

UPDATE:  Long-time friend of the decanter Sleepy Beth has a review of The Incredibles 2 which gives Ol’ Robbo much hope.  Go check it out.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Flag Day!  (The Stars and Stripes fly at Port Swiller Manor 24/7/365, by the bye,  and have done so since 9/11.)

On his daily walk down the National Mall today, Ol’ Robbo saw a sight that made him smile.  It was a young man in camo and a MAGA hat. He had both a large United States flag and a large President Trump flag on a pole.  He was trotting along, weaving in and out of various groups of people, and politely and quietly saying, “Happy Flag Day! God bless the USA! Happy Birthday, President Trump! Happy Birthday, United States Army!”  I also heard him tell somebody that his plan was to loop back and forth between the White House and the Capital for as long as he could.  He did not look crazy, only cheerfully enthusiastic.  From what I could see, the people were generally happy to see him and responded in kind – several got him to pose for pictures with them.  It was very refreshing, indeed.

On a completely different note, I also noticed that construction has begun on the infrastructure for this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and that the two feature “folk” lands this year are Armenia and Catalonia.

I know virtually nothing about Armenia except that the Church is very ancient there and the Ottomans tried to wipe them all out during WWI but we’re not supposed to talk about that because reasons.

As for Catalonia, the region has been a thorn of separatist trouble in the side of Madrid ever since Ferdinand and Isabella cobbled the kingdom together after the Reconquesta, but again I don’t know very much about the culchah other than what I’ve gleaned from Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels.

I wondered if there was some particular reason for picking these two places, some “preservation of autonomy in the face of outside pressure” kind of thing, so I ambled over to the Festival website but couldn’t find any statement explaining it.   So for all I know, the organizers may just have thrown darts at a map on the wall.

And speaking of such things, I gather the World Cup soccer tournament has started up.  Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to bother following it.  Soccer, as a sport, does not interest me in the least.  And as to the WC in particular, I associate it very closely (and perhaps, I admit, unjustly) with people who enthuse over the idea of One World global governance (as well as the metric system and Esperanto), which I loathe and despise.

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