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“I’m Your Huckleberry…”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

Have you slapped an Arian yet today?  No? Well there’s still plenty of time.

Actually, if the good Bishop of Myra were here today, he’d have so many different slap-worthy heretical targets, his arm probably would fall off.  Indeed, I’d pay good money to see what he would have made of the first hipster-doofus he came across who said, “Well, like, Jesus was just this really enlightened guy, you know? And I’m sure he’d be a Democratic Socialist now….”

Might be easier of course, just to release the Krampus.

Actually, Ol’ Robbo saw a very nice thing in keeping with St. Nicholas’s more charitable side today:  I was standing in line at my usual sammich shop when I noticed a decrepit old woman, who had been loitering around out front, slowly make her way in the door.  (She was hunched over, had a cast on one leg and a cane, and was mumbling to herself continually.)  In so doing, she hung up a young fellah who was coming in behind her.  Rayther than going around her and pretending she wasn’t there, he very patiently waited until she was through the door.  Then he sat her down at the nearest table, explained the menu to her (which I’m sure she could neither see nor read up on the wall), and then went and bought her some lunch.

Bless you, dude.  You did good.

UPDATE:  Same sammich shop today, different decrepit old man, and I was the one coming up to the door behind him.  Since he asked me to help him to a meal and not for money, I took him in and set him up with a sammich and chips.

Ol’ Robbo is not very good at this kind of face-to-face thing.  I do most of my charity through donations to food banks, Goodwill, and the like.  Some years ago I tried to make an effort on the more personal lines, and was amazed at how many times I got snarled at for offering food or drink but not money.  So I don’t do it any more.

So today, another customer in line offered me five bucks to, as he put it, “help defray” this guy’s meal.  I politely turned him down and he seemed surprised and even a little offended.  Was this wrong of me?


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are in December already, and with it, Advent.  The purple-bowed wreaths go up on the front door of Port Swiller Manor this afternoon.

In the meantime, some this and that:

♦  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Middle Gel’s madrigals group is doing their big Renaissance Feaste this weekend.  Earlier this week, Mrs. R said, in passing, “Oh, there’s a production managers’ meeting Thursday evening.”

“Oh,” I said.  “So?”

“So you need to go.”

I do? Why?”

“Because you’re a manager.”

“Uh, when did that happen?”

“I signed you up.  You said you wanted to volunteer this year.”

“What I said was meant only in the most general, speculative, and above-all non-binding sense.  I wasn’t anywhere near a firm commitment at that point.”

“Well, I signed you up anyway, so you’re going.”

So I went.  And last evening I managed the production, at least to the extent of standing in the wings and shooshing kids until it was their turn to go on.  (However, I did make the command decision to kybosh an artificial tree at the last second which was threatening to topple over on to the stage.)  Tonight, as Middle Gel is a senior, I get to be a guest instead, although I’m also committed to helping strike the set when they’re all done.

♦  Some interesting mail this week.  First, I got a cold-call letter from a real estate firm in Maine purporting to console me for the loss of my mother but also offering to take care of unloading any property fast.  (They had obviously spotted the estate notice printed in the local fishwrapper.)  I’ve worked in a small firm in my time and know what it’s like to try and drum up biznay, but I still find this sort of thing off-putting, and question it’s effectiveness.  Meanwhile, in the We’re The Feds And We Never Make Mistakes Dept., I keep getting letters to the Mothe from Medicare asking her to complete a customer-satisfaction survey.  I suppose it’s a sign that I’m coming out of my grief that a large number of malicious responses occur to me.  Probably get arrested for fraud if I gave in to them, tho’.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, somehow Mrs. R got a solicitation from Planned Parenthood yesterday.  It says, “Stand With Us”.  On that one, I’m tempted to scribble, “No, thanks.  We don’t want to go to Hell.”  I might give in to that temptation.

♦  As it’s December, once again the dreaded office “holiday” party looms on the horizon.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to go this year, as I can’t think of a reasonable excuse to duck it, and people noticed that I ducked last year.  I do draw the line at running the karioki machine, however, as somebody casually tried to get me to commit to this week.

And speaking of that, somebody had the idea of having an “office door decorations” contest this year.  I was discussing this with a colleague yesterday and she was actually astonished when I said I didn’t intend to participate.  “But…why not?” she said.

My first impulse was to reply, “Because I’m an adult” but I refrained, instead settling on the all-purpose, “It’s just not my speed.”

Ol’ Robbo is known as something of a diplomatist around the workplace, but really, they have no idea…..

♦  Finally, and now for something completely different, I borrowed a book from my brother over Thanksgiving called Monty Python Speaks.  It’s a series of interviews with the team in which they talk about the origins and development of the show and all its offshoots.  Interesting, with a few nice nuggets of trivia thrown in, but overall, although I will always love much of Python itself, I came away liking individual members of the team even less than before.  Especially Gilliam and Idle.

UPDATE: Oh, by the bye, we had an earthquake the other day.  4.1 and centered in Delaware, but Ol’ Robbo definitely felt a bit of a tremor at his desk.  Not nearly like the one we had a few years back that was positively sick-making, but noticeable nonetheless.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Owing to the road closures associated with today’s lighting of the White House Christmas Tree, ol’ Robbo had to take the metro in for the first time in quite a while.


In the end it didn’t prove to be too bad an ordeal, actually, but it got me thinking again about a looming future conundrum:  My office is moving to a new building some time in 2019.  It’s about two miles farther away from home than my present digs, and in a less-desirable section of Your Nation’s Capital.  At this point, I’ve no idea what I’m going to do about the new commute.  Assuming I’ll even have access to a decent parking lot, the extra travel along DC’s downtown streets is going to be a major pain.  On the other hand, getting there by metro would involve changing trains in addition to all the other drawbacks to mass transit, and will be of an equally major pain.

(Well, I do know one thing: When we make the big jump I’m finally going to sign up for our telework option, which would allow me to go in only three days a week instead of five.  I’ve avoided it so far because of all the bureaucratic hoops one has to jump through in terms of set up and terms of use, but I think the move will finally make such jumping worthwhile.)

Speaking of the Metro, I see where the Archdiocese of Washington is taking a slap at it over Metro’s refusal to carry their holiday-season ad campaign.  Apparently, Metro now has guidelines rejecting “advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice, or belief”.  This is sort of funny, because Ol’ Robbo recalls that in the not-too-distant past, the Militant Atheists would run their own yearly ad campaign in the system round about now.  I expect the current policy is the WMATA’s way of saying “leave us the hell out of all this”.  (I also assume that the Atheists would get turned down if they tried to place such ads this year, too.)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Know what’s beginning to really get on my nerves these days?  The use and overuse of the word “passion”.

I don’t mean in the Biblical sense (as in the Passion of the Christ) or in the romantic sense.  I mean when people claim to have a “passion” for their causes or their jobs or whatever consumer product they may be flogging.  The word seems to be everywhere these days.

In part, it’s simply stupid virtue-signaling, designed to give the speaker the moral high ground.  “I have a passion for Social Justice! How dare you question my policies or proposals,  or my condemnation of you and your backwards, knuckle-dragging ways!”

In part, it’s also a tell that the speaker is coming at something more through their feelz than through their head, and that suggests instability.

To counter-act this, I have a little card up on my bulletin board quoting Alec Guinness’s Prince Feisal from Lawrence of Arabia: “For Lawrence, mercy is a passion.  For me, it is simply good manners.  You may judge which is the more reliable motive.”


Anyway, I wish people would cut it out.

UPDATE:  Speaking of “P” words, it seems the MSM have their knickers in a bunch this evening because, during a White House reception for some WWII Navajo Wind-Talkers today, the Donald referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” due to her years of trading on her unproven Native American ancestry in her climbs through the ranks of Academia and Big Gubmint.

For once, Ol’ ‘Robbo agrees with the MSM.  Get your memes right, Mr. President! The correct usage is “Fauxcahontas”, with “Liawatha” as an acceptable substitute.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo didn’t get the chance to do so in advance, but post-facto I hope all you friends of the decanter were able to get together with family and friends for Thanksgiving Day, that you stuffed yourselves silly on turkey and all the traditional fixin’s, that you avoided the malls like the plague on Black Friday, that your favorite college team won its football game, and that you are not now nor will be stuck in horrendous traffick trying to get home.

Ol’ Robbo’s Black Friday Madness

As for myself, I don’t think I’ve ever known a smoother nor a more harmonious Turkey Day.  The Port Swiller family went down to my brother’s house in North Carolina as per usual on Wednesday, only this time the Eldest Gel insisted on taking her own wheels so that she could have greater flexibility in her comings and goings.  Whelp, after initial strenuous objection on Ol’ Robbo’s part, I was eventually beaten down to grudging consent, and the Gel convoyed on down with me.  As it proved, the arrangement worked perfectly.  Eldest, Mrs. R and I stayed at a hotel, while the Younger Gels bunked in with their cousins.  The freedom of movement really paid off.

Thanksgiving Day proved its usual self, with Brother and Ol’ Robbo standing around the barbeque and fiddling with the coals to make sure the turkey was properly roasted.  This was less to ensure the quality of the bird (if you leave it in long enough, it’s pretty hard to screw up a turkey), as to have an excuse to stand around in private with an adult beverage and jaw.

Friday, the Gels were insane enough to actually go to the malls.  I was shocked, shocked to learn on their return that it had been like being caught in a school of starving piranhas.  Meanwhile, Brother and I slipped off and did about seven miles’ worth of hiking up down and around Stone Mountain State Park.  (I’m still stiff and sore.)

We hit the road early this morning, encountered minimal holiday traffic (I’d been dreading Charlottesville in particular because of the UVA/Tech game, but it turns out that was played last evening), and got home early enough that I can spend the shank of the day today (AND tomorrow!) unwinding.

As I say, good times, good times.  Nobody fought, the Gels have got very close with their cousins recently and had a blast, and we’re home safe and sound.

UPDATE:  Looking it over again, Ol’ Robbo fears that this post sounds a leetle too like one of those awful Family Nooz Letters that people put out this time of year.  “Dear [Address Field 2], the Port Swiller Family had a fabulous 2017!  Allow me to share some of our superlative moments….”   In fact, it was written in the first flush of homecoming after Mrs. R and I shared a look of dizzy incredulity that things had gone so smoothly in comparison to many a prior holiday trek, and also what Might Have Been this year.  Indeed, last Wednesday morning, prior to our setting out, Ol’ Robbo was full of portents of doom.  They simply didn’t come true.  Go figure.

On the other hand, I would like to puff just a bit, in that the pic here is indeed of Ol’ Robbo’s legs and boots.  I finally figured out humbled myself and asked Mrs. R how to transfer photos from my phone-thingy to my laptop.





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s latest cinematic treat this week was “The General” (1926), the classic Buster Keaton silent film in which he plays a Southern train engineer during the Civil War.   When Yankee spies slip into Georgia and steal a train with which they plan to cause mayhem behind the lines in support of a Union advance, Keaton’s patriotic character (actually named Johnnie Gray), although previously rejected by the Confederate Army (and his girl) because of the importance of his civilian work, nonetheless single-handedly takes off in pursuit with another locomotive and thwarts the Yankee plot.  Of course, I’m probably violating all sorts of Socialist Juicebox Wanker taboos just watching a film that has a sympathetic Southerner as its hero, much less commenting on it.

Without looking it up because I’m being lazy and because I couldn’t link it anyway due to WordPress’s continued cussedness, I’ve an idea that this film is loosely based on an actual Great Locomotive Chase that occurred during the War, although I can’t now recall which side did the original stealing, who chased whom, or what the eventual outcome was.  For some reason, I believe the locomotive involved in that one was called the “Texas”. UPDATE:  The lovely and talented Diane looked it up.  So did I.  She is correct that the stolen locomotive was, in fact, called The “General”, and that the Yankees were the thiefs.  The “Texas” was one of the locomotives the Confederates used in the chase.  Indeed, she was on the southbound tracks and the Rebs ran her backwards in pursuit.  Somewhere or other, Ol’ Robbo still has an old National Geographic book on the War that includes a painting of this backward pursuit.  That’s what was lurking in the recesses of my braims when I wrote this paragraph.

Anyhoo, I haven’t seen this film since I was about thirteen, when the Mothe took me to see it at the old Olmos Theatre in San Antonio as part of a “classics” series that also featured such greats as the Marx Brothers, the “Pink Panther” movies, Hitchcock, and others.  Of course here, Keaton is the film, and the pleasure comes in watching the combination of his deadpan face and the facility with which he did all his own stunts. (His very last film, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” (1966), is a huge favorite of Ol’ Robbo’s, in no small part because his character of Erronius – “a befuddled old man” – is really a loving tribute to Keaton’s skills.)

Alas, the version of “The General” owned by Netflix is seriously marred by the soundtrack that accompanies it, which is nothing more than a series of standard orchestral pieces by such composers as Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, and Glazunov strung together one after another and having absolutely no relationship whatsoever to what is happening on the screen.  I may as well have been listening to the damned radio.  After a while, I hit the mute button out of pure, distracted frustration, but of course that creates its own problems:  Not only is a completely silent film  jarring in and of itself, one is also left listening to all those ambient background noises that one started watching the film to escape in the first place:  skirmishing cats; the dog barking at her own shadow; Youngest Gel on the phone in her room two floors above, yacking with her friends at the top of her very considerable voice.  Grrr…..

The film’s mismatched soundtrack also reminded me of an experience I had with an airing of “Nosferatu” on PBS a few years ago.  Friends of the decanter of a certain age may remember an electronics toy of some years back.  It consisted of a battery-powered board on which were embedded various circuits, transistors, diodes, and other do-hickeys.  With the provided wires, you linked them up by various schematic diagrams in the book accompanying the toy, thereby creating a variety of audio and visual devices.  Well, this “Nosferatu” was accompanied by a score which sounded like nothing so much as a kid messing about with this toy – a random series of pings, grunts, clicks, and wah-wahs that again had absolutely nothing to do with the picture. Infuriating.

(By the bye, Eldest watched “Nosferatu” for the first time recently as part of an English class she’s taking on literary monsters.  She simply couldn’t believe it when I told her that there were numerous instances, among its original audiences, of viewers fainting and having hysterics because they were so frightened.)

Anyway, there you are.  Next time, I might just hit the mute button again, steal Middle Gel’s electronic keyboard, and accompany the damned thing myself.

And speaking of silent, next up on Robbo’s movie list is the 1925 version of “Ben Hur”, which I’ve never seen before.  The blurb on the Netflix envelope says that it is accompanied by a score from Hollywood composer Carl Davis, so hopefully this time there will be a little more sympathy between audio and visual.  I’ll let you know.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

On the way home to Port Swiller Manor this evening, Ol’ Robbo swears he found himself stuck behind someone who was watching teevee while he was driving.  Seriously – I could see his iThingy up on his dashboard with what looked like some guy doing stand-up on the screen.  We were stopping and starting, and this doofus driver kept letting large gaps open up in front of him before he’d notice and then scurry to catch up.


Have people really gone that absolutely bat-shite insane? Have they really become so completely self-absorbed that their personal entertainment trumps all other considerations? Have they become so utterly beholden to their little rectangular electronic gods that they can’t tear themselves away from adoration even for a moment?  (Don’t answer – these are rhetorical questions.  Of course they have.)

It’s almost superfluous to add that the car had Murrland plates on it.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I would imagine that some friends of the decanter (especially those who are still here from the old “meaty, woolly, snippy” Llama Days), particularly after reading a goofy, aimless post like the one immediately below, sometimes ask themselves, “Self? Whatever happened to the old Robbo who was so caustic about the continual cultural and politickal slide into the slime?”

(And as an aside, how was that for a Hardyesque cracker of a sentence?)

Well, I suppose there are a couple of reasons for my steering away from that sort of thing these days.

The first is prudential.  As you know I work in The Swamp.  My first obligation is to support the Port Swiller Family, and it doesn’t seem particularly responsible to endanger my career and their livelihood so that I can indulge in unfettered gratuitous ranting here.  (Not that I would expect a genuine friend of the decanter to rat me out, but what happens if some random Socialist Juicebox Wanker stumbles in here and decides to come after me?  Better wait until I’m retired to say what I really think.)

The second is simple time and energy.  While I keep up with the individual waypoints of this slide – the current Hollywood unmaskings, the NFL debacle, the Roy Moore witch-hunt, etc., – very keenly, frankly, by the end of the day (when I have time to post), there’s nothing much left to say that somebody like Ace or Insty hasn’t already said.  Plus, to be honest, I’m bloody sick and tired of it.  It’s only where I think I have some specific, first-hand knowledge or insight that I feel the urge to put in my two cents.  But then,  see point one.

Most importantly, although, as I say, I keep up with it all, I find myself increasingly detached from the whole awful biznay because I recognize its ultimate meaninglessness in relation to, ah, Higher Priorities.   So you can imagine with what resonance and empathy Ol’ Robbo savored part of yesterday’s reading at Mass from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

– Philippians 3:17-21  (Yes, I quote the KJV here.  Got a problem with that?)

I can’t think of a plainer or more accurate description of the people who dominate the headlines these days than those “whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”

And I want nothing to do with it.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, cold, dark, early nights mean moar movies for ol’ Robbo, so here are some thumbnail sketches of what has floated across the Port Swiller screen this week.  (None of these are part of my Hollywood History of the World project, by the bye, just mostly what was already in the ol’ Netflix queue.)

Oh, and once again I apologize because my WordPress linky button still doesn’t seem to be working.  Go figure.

Nonetheless, here we go:

Operation Petticoat” (1959) – In 1941, a damaged American submarine has to clear out of the Philippines ahead of the oncoming Japanese invasion.  In the course of her scramble, she picks up a set of a half-dozen female nurses.  Hy-larity ensues, up to and including the need  to paint the sub pink.  A perfectly harmless comedy.  Cary Grant, as the sub commander, would be entertaining just sitting on an empty stage reading names out of a phone book.  On the other hand, Tony Curtis plays his XO.  Ol’ Robbo has never understood the appeal of Tony Curtis, especially when he tries to play pretty-boy sophisticates.  (Here, he is a REMF whose experience to date has been nothing but vamping officers’ wives.)  I think it was Mark Steyn who somewhere mocked Curtis’s ridiculous accent in such roles by quoting, from what I don’t know,  “Yonduh is duh castle of muh fadduh, duh Emperuh.”  All I know is that I howl with laughter at his line from “Spartacus” where he tells Olivier, “I also teach duh Classics.” (BTW, IMDB tells me he also had a bit part in “Winchester ’73“, one of Ol’ Robbo’s favorites.  I’ve never noticed before. I’ll have to look next time.)

I’d never seen this film before, but it brought back to mind the fact that back in my misspent yoot I had watched the teevee series (1977-79) based on it, starring John “I’ll do anything” Astin as the skipper and, ironically, Jamie Lee Curtis as one of the lady crew.  I also immediately recognized, because of the kind of flotsam and jetsam strewed across the Robbo braims, that the series had simply borrowed a good bit of stock footage from the film.  (I’m thinking particularly of the torpedo that hits the truck on the beach, which I think was in the teevee show opening credits.)

Objective, Burma!” (1945) – Another new-to-me film.  A special paratrooper corps jumps into Burma to take out a large Japanese radar installation, but has to hack its way out on foot when air support can’t extricate it.  Errol Flynn – fifteen years older and about fifteen pounds heavier than in his early 30’s swashbuckling days – leads the troops.  Eh, it was okay, if a highly romanticized version of the actual conditions of ground combat in Burma as relayed by George MacDonald Fraser, who was a sniper-scout in the British XIV Army there, in his autobiographical Quartered Safe Out Here.

I think I actually have this one in my queue as part of my Hollywood History project, but in fact I  watched it on Turner Classic Movies this week as part of their Rehabilitating Communism series marking the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.  One of the writers of the film, Lester Cole, was part of the “Hollywood Ten” and was black-listed.  The fellah who MC’s the TCM films these days noted this, and was quick to explain that the Red Scare was nothing more than the gratuitous lashings out of a bunch of close-minded, knuckle-dragging, Bible-thumping, sister-loving, Unpeople of Jesusland and totally without merit.  In this day and age, after all we’ve learned about Hollywood, the Media, Academia, and the Deep State, ol’ Robbo is gob-smacked that these people still have the chutzpah to push that line.

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense” (1984) – What, you think Ol’ Robbo can’t be hip? (Stop laughing.) I watch this concert film every now and again just because I happen to like the Talking Heads (I am sure I’ve told the story here before about the time I listened to their album “More Songs About Buildings And Food” for nearly seven straight hours because it was the only tape I had in my car)  and because I enjoy the pure energy here.  This time, I found myself wondering idly how many calories David Byrne, ah, burned every time he did that show.

Live And Let Die” (1973) – The first of the Roger Moore Bond films, of course.  I hadn’t seen it in years, and was immediately struck, in terms of pacing and story, at how much more like the old Connery films had been, as opposed to the more, eh, frivolous and gimmicky direction the later Moore editions took.  Of course, I was also struck by the lovely and talented Jane Seymour, who I believe debuted here.  My stars, though, I’ll bet the Socialist Juicebox Wankers scream “Raaaaaayciiiiiist!!!!” over this one at the top of their Pajama-Boy voices these days.

So there you have it.  Feel free to add your own opinions, observations, comments, reflections, recommendations, etc.

In the meantime, I’m off to watch “Damn the Defiant” (1962) – Alec Guinness plays the captain of one of His Majesty’s Ships during the Napoleonic Wars trying to keep his sadistic Number One, played by Dirk Bogarde, from driving his crew to mutiny.  I’ve only seen this movie once before and retain a generally positive memory, but we will see what a return viewing produces.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Must be an awfully slow nooz cycle this afternoon, because at the 6 P.M. top o’ the hour break on the local classickal station, Nihilist Propoganda Radio devoted a portion of its precious three minutes to getting it’s knickers in a wad over the Wisconsin State Senate eliminating the minimum hunting age.  [Sorry, no linky at the moment because WordPress is acting up this evening.]

The piece was mostly about “critics'” concerns that the woods would now be filled with unsupervised shotgun-toting toddlers spraying Death left, right, and center, and How Could Any Responsible Government Allow This?

It was only at the very end the reporter admitted that, in fact, 34 other states have no minimum hunting age.

I laughed out loud at that.

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t been hunting in nearly thirty years, nor has he passed on to the Gels any of his remaining knowledge of it.  Mrs. Robbo has a strong Bambi Complex, and said sport was never important enough to me to be worth picking a fight with her over it.

Nonetheless, the nooz does provoke some fond memories.

I must have been about five or six when I first started tramping around after the Old Gentleman as he went quail hunting in South Texas.  On certain special occasions, I was rewarded for my pains by being allowed to fire off his shotgun at a piece of wood floating in a stock tank.  At least once, the thing knocked me down.

When I was seven, I started learning how to shoot in earnest, firing a little .22 at tin cans set up on fence posts in our back yard.  (There was no one living behind us, only empty scrub.)

The next year, I graduated up to a Remington .222, and put in some earnest time at the local rifle range.  During hunting season that year, I bagged a white-tail buck and a big tom turkey (which we had for Christmas dinner – delicious!).

When I was about twelve or thirteen, in addition to my rifle work, I started learning to use a shotgun, shooting skeet in the summah and hunting duck in the winter.  By the time I was a senior in high school, I was actually a pretty decent wing-shot.

And that was it.  I went off to college and don’t recall ever deer hunting again.  The aforementioned Last Hunt (dove hunting with the Old Gentleman in the South Carolina Low Country) was over Christmas Break of either my first or second year of law school, and my eyes were so damn bad by then that I couldn’t even see the bloody birds, much less knock them down.

So that was that.

Still, as I say, I’m fond of the memories.

Now, so long as I’m on the topic of guns, I will also say that the one thing I dearly wish to happen is that the Gels all learn to arm and defend themselves.  Alas, I can’t put them any knowledge myself, because I’ve never actually fired a handgun in my life.  The signs, however, are hopeful:

For one thing, even though Mrs. R still loathes hunting (because Bambi), she is gradually shaking off her belief that guns are evil and icky and likely to jump up and shoot you all by themselves.  I’ve almost convinced her to let me bring a weapon into Port Swiller Manor for home defense.  (Which reminds me:  My brother still has his Remington 12-guage given to him by the Old Gentleman for Christmas one year.  What the hell ever happened to mine?)  And she does not flat-out object to the idea of the Gels arming up, either.

For another, one of Eldest Gel’s profs teaches an off-campus shooting course from time to time, and she’s said more than once that she’s going to sign up the next time it’s available.  She’s also said she plans to buy a gun as soon as she’s old enough.

For a third, Middle Gel recently went out to a local range with a Young Gentleman friend of hers (and his family), and had a ball blazing away at the targets with a variety of hardware.  (I’m especially concerned about her because she’s such a petite thing.)

Fourth, Youngest is keen to give it a try as well, although based on her learner’s permit driving woes (she struck out on the test for a third time), I’m not sure she has the necessary focus yet.

So there’s that.





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