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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I see where former Marine Gunny Sergeant and actor R. Lee Ermey has been buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  Evidently, he died last April of pneumonia, but I seem to have missed that.

I bring this up because by sheer coincidence the recent all-out assault on masculinity by the SJW shrills has had a certain commercial featuring Gunny running through the Robbo braims that past day or two, a commercial which now probably qualifies as a hate crime.  Let’s go to the videotape:



I still laugh and laugh at this.

Rest in Peace.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was watching “Star Trek: TOS” on the teevee last evening (it was the Tholian Web episode) when a commercial came on for some kind of telephone plan aimed at the middle-aged and seniors.  The basic theme was “I’ve reached an age where I know what I like and I don’t need to change!”

Thank Heaven my wallet wasn’t anywhere within reach, because with a message like that I’d have bought nearly anything they were flogging!

Oh, and speaking of change, Ol’ Robbo is chuckling this morning over a story that the SJW shrills are demanding that a black actress play Cleopatra in a retread of the Taylor/Burton movie.  Well, it’s all Greek to me but I understand the Ptolemies called and want their identity back.  Heh.

Ooh, speaking of Cleopatra, today is Roman Empire Day, as on this date in 27 B.C., Octavian, having squashed all his political rivals once and for all, was granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, thereby establishing the Empire.  Hail, Caesar!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The dog doesn’t seem much interested in her lunchtime walkies today, so Ol’ Robbo has some time on his hands before he needs to go pick up Youngest from school.  How about a little of this and that?

♦  Youngest actually turns seventeen this week.  Seven. Teen.  It seems like just yesterday that she was sitting in her highchair, covering her face and hair with spaghetti sauce and banana.  (In those days, food was as much a fashion statement as a form of nourishment to her.  Used to drive me bonkers.  Curiously, she is now far and away the neatest of the three.  Go figure.)  As she’s the back marker, we find that each of these milestones seems to put a little more fugit in the tempus.

♦  Eldest went back to school yesterday.  I think this must have been the return weekend for a lot of kids because she and I went over to Jiffy Lube Friday afternoon and it seemed to be “Get Your College Kid’s Oil Changed” Day.

♦   Since Ol’ Robbo is in the midst of growing out his experimental furlough beard, it looks like Gillette picked absolutely the wrong time to tell me that my masculinity is evil. There seems to be something of an uptick in this sort of thing of late, at least within the fever swamp that is social media.  The shrills claim they’re protesting against “toxic” masculinity, whatever that is, but it seems to me that what they really mean is all masculinity, and that the goal is to reduce us guys to pajama boys or what C.S. Lewis called “men without chests”.  Well, they are invited to stuff it.  Alan Alda might still be interested in buying their razors, but I won’t.

♦  Speaking of stuffing it, there’s a certain element on the Right which is taking the line that they’re happy about the federal furlough because all we employees of Uncle somehow “deserve” it.  Eldest tells me Coulter was saying that the other day, and I’ve also seen it among some of the commenters and co-bloggers over at Ace’s place.  I wish they’d cut it out, as it’s both tin-eared and untrue.  Yes, there’s plenty of civil service deadwood.  There are also lefty zealots who try to use the law as a Trojan Horse to push their post-modernist agenda.  But there are also those of us who work hard, who believe the law is to be enforced as it’s written not as we wish it, and who see gub’mint as a necessary evil and not as a cult of worship.  Just saying.

♦  I plan tomorrow to finally getting around to reorganizing my library.  It’s become thoroughly ahoo mostly due to Mrs. R, who has an infuriating habit of putting books back just anywhere and also moving things around so she can shove more photos and doodads on the shelves.  I’ve decided that the first thing to do is to cull my collection somewhat, removing a bunch of outdated 80’s and 90’s socio-politickal analysis plus the Dee Cee “insider” books the Old Gentleman used to send me but I never read for lack of interest.  I simply cannot abide ever throwing a book away because you just never know when you might want to read it, but I can at least banish them to the bookcases in the basement.  With the extra room, I can then reorder things as they ought to be while at the same time preserving Mrs. R’s treasured space.  (We were talking about this the other evening and she actually suggested that from now on every time I buy a new book I should remove an old one.  I just squinted at her.)

Well, teh dog is now giving me “The Look”, so I suppose I should harness her up and head her out.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Looks like three to six inches of winter is on its way to Port Swiller Manor tonight and tomorrow.  We can haz panix now?  Ol’ Robbo is all set to break up the furniture for firewood and skin the cats for food if needs be.  OR we might just get the opportunity to finally get some use out of the incredibly expensive generator we put in last spring which has sat idle ever since (other than its weekly 5 minute exercise on Saturday afternoons).

Actually, up to half a foot is, in Ol’ Robbo’s opinion, a perfect amount of snowfall.  It’s more than enough to look lovely, but it’s also not so much that I have to kill myself digging out. (AND it won’t stop Eldest from heading back to college Monday morning.  It’s been lovely having her home, of course, but she really needs to get back into the campus environment.)

And then there’s the dog.  How is it that a dog can absolutely detest being out in the rain yet absolutely lurves bounding about in the snow?  (Ours isn’t the only one like this, I know.)

I notice that VDOT isn’t taking any chances with this one, not after it failed to treat the streets before the last storm we got in November, leaving them as slick as if smeared with Vaseline.  The anti-ice stuff was already down on our road yesterday morning.

Nonetheless, I expect everything will come to a screeching halt for the next 48 hours or so, including a softball camp Youngest was supposed to start tomorrow over to one of the local universities.  (She’s decided to go out for the JV team this spring, and since she hasn’t played since little league she wants to brush up on her skills.)  I confess that I actually won’t mind this too much, since taking her (the camp lasts for the next three Sundays) means having to go to early Mass and missing my cherished Extraordinary Form.

Speaking of screeching halts, a week or two back I was praising AccuWeather for being what the Weather Channel used to be before it went politickally correct.  Alas, as I was watching last evening, AW ran a filler about how, what with the gubmint shutdown and all, non-inspected foods are starting to invade the grocery shelves, the Hubble Telescope is about to fall out of the sky, and cats and dogs are living together, all because Orange Man Bad.  Sigh….You just can’t get away from this nonsense, can you?

UPDATE:  For those of you keeping score at home, Ol’ Robbo glanced out the window just now and noticed that he’s up to five pairs of cardinals hanging about his feeder (in addition to the various other birds).  I picked up an extra bag of seed yesterday in anticipation that traffic will be pretty heavy over the next few days.

UPDATE DEUX:  Make that seven pairs.  Extraordinary.  I don’t recall ever seeing such a high concentration of cardinals here.  Why, I could practically elect a new Pope! (Hey, a fellah can dream….)

SUNDAY APRES-SNOW UPDATE:  Yes, about six inches altogether, with enough moisture in it that I kept having to bang the accumulated slush off the shovel as I cleared the drive.  Perfectly respectable for these parts and, as I say, quite pretty.  And yes, dog has been frolicking duly on and off today.  UPDATE TO UPDATE:  Whoa, not so fast there, monkey-boy!  It’s coming down heavily again after I thought it was all over and done.  Add another three inches at least to that total and yes, I’m going to have to shovel again, dammit.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo is still kicking his heals and spinning his wheels as the Furlough Life continues.  I missed the President’s address last evening, having become engrossed in a Florence King story and losing track of time, but from the synopsis given me by Eldest Gel, it was calm and dignified, and he neither swallowed his tongue, set his hair on fire, nor declared dictatorial powers as many of his enemies were hoping.  So there’s that.

Meanwhile, how about a little random?

♦  Yes, Eldest is still home on break.  Her semester starts next week.  At the moment we’re trying to decide the best day for her to head back to North Carolina, as it looks like a snow storm is rolling in.  (Ironically, she got out of NC just before that pre-Christmas blizzard hit there.)  I was fussing a bit over her seeming cavalier attitude to a reading assignment for her first day of class when she suddenly said, “Dad, I’m a Dean’s List student.  I get things done on time, okay?”  Okay.

♦  Meanwhile, Middle Gel went back last weekend.  She starts rush tomorrow.  It’s a very short, low-key affair at her school.  Indeed, Greek Life as a whole is nothing like some of the big university horror stories of which I’ve heard.  Nonetheless, we’ve pushed it pretty hard for the sake of the networking.  The Mothe’s old sorority has a good house on campus and it would be nice for sentimental reasons if the Gel joins it.

♦  Flipping from Venus to Mars, I saw recently where the American Psychology Association has decided that masculinity is, get this, bad.  I suppose my reaction is that I don’t give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys what the APA thinks.  Whatever these credentialed groups might have been worth in the past, they’ve long been infiltrated by the cultural Marxists and permanently poisoned.  (Indeed, Ol’ Robbo himself was only a member of the ABA for about six months after passing the bar before he got so disgusted with its abortion politicks that he quit.  Waste of six months’ dues.)

♦  Speaking of masculinity, I’ve recently reread the memoirs of five Civil War commanders:  Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Longstreet, and Custer (although he wrote about post-War Indian campaigns only).  I think this was just my second reading of Sherman – I’d forgotten how lucid and articulate he is.  I’d also forgotten how feistily he slammed those who’d claimed he lost his mind at one point, and how he never forgave Secretary of War Stanton for trying to throw him under the political bus for a misunderstanding about the terms of surrender of Joe Johnston’s Army.  As for the others, Sam Grant is modest and matter of fact.  Sheridan’s work is really just a vanity piece.  Longstreet is plodding and full of recrimination.  Custer, of course, is just a romantic loon.  Pity ol’ Bobby Lee never published – that would have been fascinating.

♦   And speaking of fascination and the art of war, Youngest Gel and her partner are busily putting the finishing touches on their physics class project of constructing a working catapult (actually something more like a scorpio, I believe).  I haven’t seen the thing yet, but I hope I can be around for its field-testing.  I smile about this project because I still remember walking around the neighborhood with the two Elder Gels on Halloween shortly after we first moved into Port Swiller Manor eighteen years ago, the one being towed in a Red Flyer wagon, the other harnessed in her Baby Bjorn.  As we passed one house, a high school girl and her dad were out on their driveway putting the finishing touches on her catapult for the same physics class Youngest is now taking.  I never imagined then that I would see things come full circle.

♦  Did I mention, by the bye, that Middle Gel turns 19 this week, Youngest turns 17 next week, and Eldest turns 21 in March?  Time sure does march by quickly, don’t she?




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo determined to use his enforced time off** today to wrap up all the outstanding Christmastide matters that needed attending to.

The first job was tackling Youngest’s new computer desk (her main Christmas present).  She had picked it out from South Shore Furniture, which I’d never heard of before but turns out to be basically a Canadian IKEA.  The quality of the piece is comparable, as are the assembly plan and hardware.  As also with IKEA, there were a few steps in the instructions that did not appear to be all that clear, and over which I had to sweep more or less by intuition.  Mission accomplished, however, and in rather less time than I had anticipated, although my hips and knees ache something fierce now from all that squatting, kneeling, and sitting on the hard floor.

The second job was taking down all the Christmas deccos, including the tree.  I’m happy to report that no ornament committed suicide during this year’s de-festooning, although I did catch one trying to hide as I lugged the tree outside.  I keep all the deccos in various boxes which I store in a footlocker I’ve owned since my freshman year in college.  Putting the boxes away is something closely akin to the task of a load-master packing military cargo into a Lockheed Starlifter. Each box has to be loaded correctly (e.g., separation of breakable and unbreakable, heavier ornaments to the bottom, sufficient insulation around glass ornaments), and then they all have to be placed in the locker in such a way that they neither shift around nor squash one another.  Ol’ Robbo always takes on this responsibility himself, since I frankly really don’t trust anyone else to do it properly.

When we’re done with it, I always haul the tree out back and toss it on our brush pile at the edge of the woods behind the fence.  Typically, it takes about two years for them to completely decompose, but I noticed this time that last year’s is gone.  I suppose all the rain we’ve had this year has sped up the process, as I also noticed the pile as a whole is much lower than it had been.

Of course, I also took the wreaths off the front door and put away the bows.  I dunno why, but this always feels like a more definitive symbolic end of the season than does taking down the tree itself.  Frankly, I think I’ve reached the point where I could really do without a tree altogether, but the gels still like them so I go along with it.

** As you might gather, Ol’ Robbo is not yet taking the gub’mint shutdown too seriously.  I doubt it lasts more than a couple weeks, and we can manage to get by for a while if needs be.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has never had any interest whatsoever in all this DC/Marvel Universe movie stuff.  In this, I’m not being a snob, it’s just not my thing.

Nonetheless, I pass on to you Eldest’s take on “Aquaman”.  She says it’s basically “The Lord of the Rings Under the Sea” and is so stupidly fun that she’s seen it twice already.  If a movie of this sort is supposed to be pure escapism, then I suppose this means it’s good.

(I have also heard several of my female associates (including Eldest) making yummy sounds about the guy playing the title role, so I guess it’s got that going for it, too.)

Back in the days of his misspent yoot, Ol’ Robbo used to watch the old Super Friends cartoons on Saturday mornings pretty regularly.  Aquaman was always somewhat problematic for me in that he didn’t seem to actually do anything except talk to the fishes, making them put in all the grunt work.  Indeed, even when he travelled he always had to get a lift in Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.  To my mind, this was pretty lame.

Speaking of the Super Friends, Eldest was convulsing herself in laughter over the idea that somebody eventually is going to do a Wonder Twins movie.

Soon, I’ll bet.

UPDATE:  Speaking of movies I’ll never, never see, what impossible series of events caused “Holmes and Watson” to ever see the light of day? (And I’m not just asking because I dislike Will Ferrell’s hammer-handed comedic style.)  So. Much. Wrongness.

UPDATE DEUX:  Eldest and I returned to this topic at dinner this evening.  She was so enthusiastic about the glorious silliness of “Aquaman” – it seems now to be a twist on the Arthurian legend in which Mordred is now a surfer dude who somehow gets Excalibur – that the upshot is she and I and Middle Gel are going to go see the thing tomorrow.  Prayers would be appreciated.

Then I made a serious mistake.  “Tell me,” I said, “about this whole DC/Marvel Universe thing.”

Cor lumme, stone the crows.

The Gel immediately went off on a 20 minute art school thesis defense.  Not only did she describe the arc of character development of each set of supers, she also commented extensively and pitilessly on the actors, the directors, the plots, tone, color, even the freakin’ camera techniques.  (If I understood it correctly, her summation was that Marvel did well and DC to date has flopped.  “Aquaman” seems to be some kind of New Hope for the latter franchise.)  Furthermore, she presented a staggeringly clear summary of the financials involved.

I was at once blown away by her grasp of all of these things, and at the same time a bit deflated that she should devote so much energy and analysis to, well, comic book characters.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Ol’ Robbo is off to catch this evening’s installment of “Star Trek: TOS”.  ; )

UPDATE TROIS:  Last evening’s episode of ST:TOS was “Bread and Circuses” about the alternate Earth in which Rome never fell.  A detail I’d never noticed before was that one of the ways the slaves were mollified was the provision by the government of universal health care and pensions.  Food for thought, no?


Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy New Year!

We wound up having rather a larger New Year’s Eve to-do at Port Swiller Manor than Ol’ Robbo had been expecting, Mrs. R slyly waiting until the last minute to mention all the people she had invited over.  Fortunately, we rang in the new year on Greenwich Mean Time, meaning we popped the corks at 7:00 pm local.  As mentioned below, Ol’ Robbo has been in the clutches of a really nasty cold he picked up last week, and in bed throughout the weekend, but I was nonetheless able to clean myself up, put on something of a smile, and hobnob for a few hours in the early evening.  Then I went back to bed.  Yee Haw.

And so we enter 2019.  I won’t make any specific predictions about it, but I’m guessing in general that it’s going to be even more insane than 2018 was.  And following on that, my chief resolution is not to let the insanity get to me, but to treat it with the cheerful contempt that it deserves.  (My iPhone committed suicide the other day, so I haven’t even really been looking at headlines.  It’s been heavenly.)  UPDATE:  I am speaking here about the World In General, of course.  Closer to home, I’ve had no real complaints and some true gratification.  Hopefully, that trend will continue, too.

Meanwhile, today is the first day that Ol’ Robbo was supposed to be back down the office after his Christmas hols.  I’ve no idea how long Uncle will continue to dispense with my services, but at least it will be a while before I need to start considering Domino’s pizza delivery routes.  In the meantime, I couldn’t help noticing that Mrs. R has put together what amounts to a furlough “honey-do” list.  I’m sure I’ll have more on that because one of the tasks involves reorganizing my library and initial skirmishing indicates that Mrs. R and I have very different views on what that actually entails.

And speaking of insanity, Mrs. Robbo’s EZPass stopped working some weeks back, meaning we were running tollbooths without paying.  Recently, we received a polite letter from the toll authority telling us that they’d been charging our account manually, but to cut it out.  When Mrs. R called them and explained the circumstances, they said that the transponder had failed and that they would ship another one.  They also told us that when we throw the old one away send the old one back (no doubt so they can keep a Permanent Record on our travels) we should be sure to wrap it in tinfoil first.  I am never going to make a joke about tinfoil hats ever again, because this advice convinces me that people who wear them may be on to something.

Anyhoo, here we go round again.

**One of the very few Kinks songs I actually know, but I’ve always liked it.

UPDATE DEUX: Speaking of the “honey-do” list, my first task for tomorrow just now dropped down on me:  Youngest’s new computer desk just arrived at the front door.  (It was her main Christmas present by request.)  Now comes plainly back to my mind my airy assertion that I could assemble it myself when Mrs. R was ordering it a couple weeks back.  I peeked into the box just now and there are many, many bits and pieces.  Better brew an extra-large pot of kawfee in the morning because this thing is going to take a while.

UPDATE TROIS:  Ol’ Robbo went to move the desk box this morning and immediately broke into a dizzy sweat.  Mercifully, Mrs. R suggested that since I’ve not got my strength back yet, I should leave it for now. “Instead,” she said, “You can hang up a couple of pictures in the basement stairwell.  I’ve left them out for you.  You can choose where to put them because you’re so good at that sort of thing.”

This is what’s known as the Great Trap.  If I could hang them once and be done with it, I wouldn’t mind.  But I’m certain sure that wherever I put them, Mrs. R will want them moved.





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all continue to have a joyful and prayerful Christmastide.  Don’t forget that it doesn’t actually end until The Epiphany, January 6.  Ol’ Robbo will be checking up to see if anyone is sneakily taking down ornaments prematurely.

As for Christmas Eve/Day itself, things around Port Swiller Manor proved to be quiet.  It’s nice having all the Gels home for a bit, and was especially nice to see them all in church together on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, Ol’ Robbo found he didn’t have the energy to stay up for Midnight Mass this year, so I crawled out of bed early on Christmas Morning to hit the early Mass.  I then scuttled home thinking I would be met with impatience and censorious looks plus itchy fingers on bows and ribbons only to discover that all the Gels were….still asleep!  My, have the times changed.

Christmas Dinner was the usual roast beef and Yorkshire pud plus two veg, except that when I went to the store Christmas Eve I discovered they had not a single stalk of asparagus in the place.  We had to give peas a chance instead.  We were joined as usual by my cousin, an elderly widow who lives out in the Shenandoah.  As usual, being a member of the Enlightened Secular Progressivist Brigade in good standing, she was both puzzled and somewhat alarmed by some of the traditionalist views thrown out by the Gels on various subjects, but happily we did not descend into actual politickal debate, heated or otherwise.

We then packed up the Honda Juggernaut and drove down to Wintergreen to meet up with by brother and his family for a couple nights.  We rented a big house with a nice view not in the resort itself but a little farther along the ridge line.  Since Ol’ Robbo hasn’t been on skis since high school, and since the weather was pretty dank, I forbore from any actual snow-related activities, although one afternoon my brother and I hiked up a pretty steep hill on the Appalachian Trail in order to take in the view and pat ourselves on the backs that we didn’t give up until we reached the summit.  Otherwise, I watched a lot of college football.  Also, although I’m not really a beer guy myself, I can heartily recommend a visit to the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company if you ever find yourself in the area.  (The link only goes to the Wiki entry.  Sorry, but I can’t seem to raise the homepage at the moment.)

And speaking of hiking, I came away from our relatively high-up jaunt hacking like a three-pack-a-day guy, with a clogged throat and burning lungs.  Two days later and I’m still at it.  In fact, they were the same damned symptoms with which I came down after physically exerting myself on the High Prairie out in Wyoming a year or two ago, symptoms so bad that I drew a mild, humorous rebuke from a federal judge because I couldn’t keep them under control in his courtroom. Evidently, there is some gunnegshun between high-altitude workouts and this kind of respiratory ailment.  Bleh.

As for the rest, we’ll take it easy the next day or two and then start preparing for some light entertaining for New Year’s.  The Former Llama Military Correspondent and his family will be staying over, as usual, plus we have a few other guests tentatively scheduled to drop by for “London New Year”, meaning we can get rid of them relatively early on in the evening.

After that?  Well, that rather depends on what Uncle does about his budget reconciliation.  This coming week may see the long-meditated grand reorganization of Ol’ Robbo’s library if I find I have sufficient time on my hands.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you see the coverage over at Ace’s place the other day about the SJW snowflake who doesn’t want to be wished “Merry Christmas” because it’s a reminder that the holiday -whatever it’s become in this post-modernist nightmare world – is still rooted in Christianity and that’s doubleplus ungood wrongthink triggering to her?

We get closer to Christianity as Hate Crime every single day.

As a matter of fact, Ol’ Robbo pointedly says “Merry Christmas” whenever such seasonal exchange occurs.  Yes, it is Christmas.  It’s a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, which is exactly the reason for being merry in the first place.  The person to whom I wish it is free to take it or leave it as they see fit, but I am not about to lose my identity just to humor them.

That’s in part why I always wear the ashes on Ash Wednesday, too.


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