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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

So am I to understand correctly that the fellah at the wheel of the Honda Pilot in front of me this afternoon was smart enough to attend UVA, Princeton, and Harvard, but not smart enough to realize that placing their respective college decals on the inside of a tinted rear window renders them nearly invisible? Inquiring minds want to know.

As the days start to draw in a bit, Ol’ Robbo is beginning to encounter again that dawn/dusk twilight phenomenon, the yo-yo who doesn’t think he has to turn on his headlights because he can see well enough without them.  (They come out in the rain and fog, too.)  How is it that such morons inevitably drive gray or dark blue cars?

The return to twilight driving also reminds me that half the dashboard lights in La Wrangler are burned out and that I can’t see my speedometer anymore.  I had the idea of replacing them myself last winter, and even went so far as to buy a new set, but after doing some on-line research, I concluded that this is a task which is probably just a wee bit beyond my limited auto mechanic skillz, and that perhaps I’d be better off just taking the new bulbs down to the corner gas station and asking them to switch them in.  (I don’t dare go to the dealership – Heaven only knows what other major issues they’d “find” if they got La Wrangler in their clutches again.  Last time I had her in to cure the “Death Wobble“, I’m pretty sure they deliberately sabotaged the rear differential, thus requiring me to bring her back and spend beaucoup more bucks to rebuild the damned thing.)

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The Death of Stalin (2017)

Greatings, fellow port swillers!

I had wanted to see this film since the promos first came out last year, but had been unable until Netflx delivered it this weekend.

A solid, solid dark comedy about the ghastliness of the Soviet Union and the in-fighting at the top of the regime that occurred upon the death of “Uncle Joe” Stalin.  Steve Buscemi as Krushchev with Michael Palin as Molotov and Timothy Dalton as Zhukov.  Simon Russell Beale was especially sinister as Beria.

What’s really frightening about the movie is that although there are a number of historickal anomalies, mostly viz who held what position when (although Stalin really did lie comatose in a puddle of his own piss for many hours because everyone was too afraid to touch him – and served the bastard right), very few of its tonal qualities are made up:  Life under Stalin wasn’t worth a ruble; if you got on the wrong side of the regime, even for the most trivial of reasons, you were gone; and, everyone knew it and went about their lives in complete terror.  Indeed, the interactions up and down the chain of command, as well as those between the regime and the poor slaves it ruled, remind me very much of C.S. Lewis’s descriptions of the workings of hell in the Screwtape Letters.

Well worth a look.

But then I made the mistake of looking at the extra features.  In them, one of the actors went with the Trump = Stalin line in order to pitch the movie’s relevance. You know what, buddy? Fook you and the horse you rode in on. 

Do these people have even the remotest sense of actual history? The Soviets under Stalin murdered somewhere between 20 and 40 million of their own people, all in the name of secular utopianism.  Look, I’m as aware of the Donald’s flaws as much as anyone else, and can respect an honest disagreement with his personality and policies, but this kind of hyperbolic comparison is simply grotesque.  Furthermore, it’s an insult to all those who suffered and died under the Real Thing.

And on that note, I read a poll in the last week in which a majority of millennials report they would rather live under a Socialist, Communist, or Fascist state than a free-market one.  Given that collectivist totalitarianism in its various manifestations was responsible for the deaths of north of 100 million people during the 20th Century, plus the enslavement and impoverishment of countless millions more, I have to assume that these numbers are based on pure pig-ignorance of history and a misbegotten belief that the State, if properly worshipped, will hand out to everyone all the rainbows, unicorns, free pot, and free sex they could want, while making somebody else pay for it.  (Said ignorance and beliefs are not accidental, of course, but are the deliberate outcome of a generation of brainwashing at the hands of the education establishment.)

Thank Heaven none of my gels has fallen for it.  (Just the other day, Eldest was carrying on about what an idiot Marx was and how Engels’ whole worldview was dominated by his daddy-issues.)  But what are three against a mob of cultural-Marxist zombies?

Oh, and going back to “Uncle Joe”, I’d give the movie four and a half glasses out of five.  Also, if you’re interested in a much more sober look at the life and death of Stalin, I cannot recommend highly enough Simon Montefiore’s Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

First, I’m happy to report that both Elder Gels made it safely back to school today.  I was especially worried about Eldest since she was by herself and headed for central North Carolina where there’s still plenty of weather to deal with, but she had no trouble.  I don’t know if my invoking St. Christopher had anything to do with it, but it surely didn’t hurt.

A friend with whom I was chatting before Mass today referred to Francis as “a lame-duck Pope”.  I think that’s about right: Especially after he lashed out at those of us genuinely outraged and horror-struck this week, I can’t say that I have any real respect left for him outside that mandated by the rank he holds.  Thank Heaven I live in a really strong diocese with good men and women in charge, and that my own Padre is a truly holy man.

On a different note, you will probably recall the passage in the NT in which Jesus scolds the Pharisees about their hypocrisy, saying any one of them would pull an ox out of a pit if it fell in on the Sabbath?  Well, Ol’ Robbo was thinking of that this afternoon as I scrubbed out my kitchen garbage can that had somehow got covered in both sticky foodstuffs AND ants.  I’m sure He would understand.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As Ol’ Robbo continues to watch the movements of Hurricane Tropical Storm Florence, his eye becomes more and more jaundiced.

In particular, I just love the switch over in the MSM’s narrative from, “OhMuhGod! Cat Five, people, CAT FIIIIIVE!!!” to, “Never mind the Saffir-Simpson Scale, you idiots.  Everyone knows that weaker storms are broader and therefore even mooooore destructive!!”

I further love the taken-for-granted position that “hurricanes are becoming more frequent and powerful because Glowbull Enwarmening”.  I’ve yet to see a nooz report that actually, you know, backs this up with any kind of evidence.

And of course, the MSM has been straining at the leash to release the “Trump’s Katrina” meme.  So far, at least, not even they have mustered the gall to do so, however.

Hence Robbo’s cynicism.

For all that, prayers up for all those in Florence’s path.  We’ll see what we shall see.

As for the Family Robbo, not a drop have we received so far here at Port Swiller Manor.  As it turns out, Middle Gel could have stayed put comfortably, and probably Eldest as well.  It’s been a nice couple days having them home, however, and the lack of rain means I can actually mow the lawn tomorrow, so I’m not complaining.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Old and Busted: Trump colluded with the Russians.

New Hotness: Trump is colluding with Hurricane Florence!

(It must be true, because Pravda on the Potomac says so.)

Feh.

I sincerely hope (and strongly suspect) that the vast majority of normal people who don’t dwell in the Dee Cee/Manhattan fever swamps have got thoroughly tired of this sort of nonsense and are now simply ignoring it.

As for the storm itself, not much else to say at this point.  Looks like we will see little effect here.  God only knows what will happen farther south.

Oh, and both Elder Gels made it home safe and sound.  Ol’ Robbo wasn’t all that crazy about Eldest driving six hours by herself, but it still looks like clearing out of central North Carolina probably was the prudent thing to do.

If You Are Of A Certain Age, You Will Understand This Picture. Otherwise, Get Off My Lawn.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, as you all no doubt know by now Hurricane Florence is teed up to hit somewhere along the Carolina coast later this week.

Port Swiller Manor itself, being north of the main strike zone, is likely to get little more than some unneeded extra rain.  Of more immediate concern to us is the fact that the Elder Gels are in school on or near the storm’s path.

Middle Gel is in the Tidewater, and we are waiting around to see if her school goes ahead and orders an evacuation.  If so, she’s already arranged to give rides to several classmates who live in our area.  (I feel better that she would not be driving home all by herself.)

Eldest is in central North Carolina which, if some of the computer models pan out, may get a serious extended dump of rain – much more than coastal Virginny.  Right now, her school doesn’t seem to be planning to send the kids home.  But that could change, and she’s already making noise about bringing one or more of her roommates with her if she comes home.

Ol’ Robbo could find himself with a very full house indeed next weekend.

UPDATE: Bug out orders issued – mandatory for Middle Gel, voluntary for Eldest.  They’re both on the way home, the former arriving this evening and the latter tomorrow.

The good news is that nobody else will be crashing with us after all.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, according to chatter seen by Father Z this week, Frankie may be gunning for Cardinal Vigano for spilling the beans. (Salute the rank, not the man, Robbo…Salute the rank, not the man…..)

I also see that a number of state AG offices are launching probes into local dioceses here in the States.  I should be pleased about this, but I can’t help fearing that the hacks running these offices may not have the same endgame in mind as I do.

Meanwhile, on a completely different note, today is “Homecoming Sunday” at Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church.  This is basically a parish picnic to kick off fall and to lure people back to church who have “taken the summer off”.  Back in the day, Ol’ Robbo spent a number of years on the committee, setting up chairs and tables, organizing the food, arranging for the moonbounce, etc.

It’s pouring rain today.  It never rains on Homecoming Sunday.  The weather is usually absolutely beautiful.  Indeed, I can remember only one time previously in the twenty-odd years I’ve been here that they moved it inside, and that was only because of a drizzle.

I heard there was going to be some kind of mini-petting zoo this year.  Wonder how that will work out…..

Ol’ Robbo would not want to be on that committee today.  (I say this in ecumenical sympathy, by the bye, not sneeringly.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest Gel, now a high school junior, was signed up to take a class on geosystems this year in order to satisfy her science requirement.  This class is a sort of hodge-podge of environmental studies and sociology and is widely regarded as a joke at her school.

Well, after a week of it she was so completely bored that today she shifted over to physics instead.

I hope she likes the change.  I took physics myself as a HS junior and really enjoyed it – of all the hard sciences, it was the one that made the most intuitive sense to me.

In fact, I’m doubly glad she’s out of geosystems, because this evening I found the textbook for the class that she’d left on the kitchen counter, The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction To Human Geography, AP Edition, by James M. Rubenstein (11th Ed.).  Opening it idly, I came across a section that deals with human action and sustainability.  One subsection is titled “Sustainability’s Critics” and begins:

“Some environmentally oriented critics have argued that it is too late to discuss sustainability. The World Wildlife Fund, for example, claims that the world surpassed its sustainability level around 1980.”

Gawd.  Paul Ehrlich’s population bomb rides again.

To be fair, the next paragraph summarizes the counter-argument that there is no maximum to resource availability because definitions of such change over time with the development of new technologies and shifting priorities.  (Whalebone corset stays, anybody?) Fair enough, but the final paragraph in the section reads:

“Critics and defenders of sustainable development agree that one important recommendation of the UN report [1987’s Our Common Future] has not been implemented – increased international cooperation to reduce the gap between more developed and less developed countries.  Only if resources are distributed in a more equitable manner can poorer countries reduce the gap with richer countries.”

Shorter version: Gimme a dollar.

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t remember agreeing to this proposition.  You want to know how poorer countries can “reduce the gap with richer countries”?  Rule of law, private property rights, and education. That’s how.  Without these basic building blocks, Third World kleptocracies will never be anything other than shite-holes no matter how much the UN tinkers with “equitable distribution of resources”.

A further skimming reveals other sections with titles such as “Sustainability and Inequality in our Global Village” – which seems to discuss the Trail of Tears for some reason, and “Why Is Access to Folk and Popular Culture Unequal?” – which seems to argue that it’s because the First World owns all the teevees.

As I say, I’m mighty glad she dropped all this nonsense and is plunging instead into the real world of matter, energy, and force.

UPDATE: Oh, let me just plug Peej O’ Rourke’s All The Trouble In The World here as an antidote.  In my humble opinion, it was his best book.  Alas, he’s gone quite off his rocker lately, but this analysis of the global economy from the 90’s remains ever fresh.

Anyhoo, back to the Gel, Mrs. Robbo reported that when she got home this afternoon, she found her …….doing her homework at the kitchen table.

Yikes!

“Of course, she just wants a car,” Mrs. R said, “But at this point, I don’t care what motivates her so long as she’s putting in the effort.”

Yup.

Ol’ Robbo sees Nike has just announced that Colin Kaepernick will be the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

Uh, huh.

Ol’ Robbo has watched the whole taking-a-knee-for-the-National-Anthem kerfluffle only from the, er, sidelines, since I haven’t paid any real attention to the NFL since the early 2000’s.  This tailing off followed the retirement of Dan Marino in ’99 and the subsequent sinking of the Miami Dolphins, beloved by me since 1970, into perpetual mediocrity.  Also, the Gels were beginning to come along, and as they obtained some level of awareness of their surroundings, I didn’t want to have to spend Sunday afternoons trying to explain to them commercials for beer, Hooters, and erectile-dysfunction treatments.

Also, the very few times I’ve seen a game since then I’ve noticed a change in the whole “feel” of the thing.  I can’t explain it, exactly.  It may have something to do with the tone and pace of the game, or maybe with the quality of the teevee coverage, or some combination thereof, but the fact is that I don’t much care for it.  (In fairness, it may also be because the very few games I’ve seen have tended to be post-season.  I can’t really stand Fox’s post-season MLB broadcasts either.  Not that I’ll see my beloved Nationals playing October ball this year.  Sniff….)

Anyhoo, when the whole “take-a-knee” social justice warrior biznay came up, as put off as I was by pampered entertainer grandstanding, I couldn’t very well boycott the NFL because, as I say, I wasn’t watching it in the first place.

Nike is a different matter, however.  As it happens, I need a new pair of running shoes, as I’ve finally burned my old ones out.  If Nike wants to play SJW politicks they’re free to do so, but they’re not going to get my business now.

#GetWokeGoBroke.

A glass of wine with Ed Driscoll over at the Puppy-Blender’s place.

UPDATE: By the bye, the first one of you wisenheimers who comments “Laces OUT, Dan!” gets a fusillade of walnuts to the noggin.  Just saying.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo seems inadvertently to have marked Labor Day this year by giving himself a mild case of heat exhaustion.  Ma Nature, perhaps incensed by my premature autumnal musings last week, has been zinging me the last few days with very hot and humid conditions, and I seem to have spent just a little too much time outside earlier today mowing, trimming, weeding, and putting in some new mulch.  Now this afternoon, I’m paying for it.

Just as well we didn’t have any plans this year, because I’d be pretty crabby if I had to be socializing right now. [Ed. – When are you ever not crabby when you have to socialize?]

Speaking of holidays, I noticed yesterday that our local supermarket has already got all its Halloween swag out.  When I rounded into the aisle and spotted it, I literally blurted out, “You have got to be kidding me!”  Caused a few heads to turn.

**Thud**

 

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