You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘O! Tempora and So-Forth’ category.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Second and final day of ol’ Robbo’s employment “retreat” and it was about what I had expected, maybe even worse.  (I won’t go into details, lest I find myself posted to the happy fun reeducation camps quam celereme.  Let’s just say that, according to several speakers at least, I am a very, very bad person.)

Anyhoo, what else is there to do but come home and flush it all out with some serious sound:

I’ve read various bits and pieces on the Great 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, the upshot of which is that by the time they got to this song, Benny and the Boys were in the Zone and just going flat out.  Certainly, none of the studio versions of it I’ve heard are quite the same.

By the bye, no offense to drummer Gene Krupa, but I like to imagine Animal on the skins here.  I may have mentioned it here before, but Mrs. R and I got married at Sweet Briar College, the service being in the school chapel and the reception in the campus center.  For the reception, we hired out a 13 piece big band run by one of the Science Department professors of the day, and the place absolutely jumped.   I ardently tried to get them to finish up with “Sing, Sing, Sing”, but they wouldn’t do it.  Possibly this was because they didn’t know the song.  Alternatively, it might have been because I kept requesting it in Animal Voice.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Has ol’ Robbo mentioned here before his firmly-held belief that Tuesday is the worst day of the week?  Well it is, simply due to the fact that it has absolutely nothing going for it.  Monday, for all its awfulness, is at least a bridgehead.  Wednesday is, of course, Hump…DAAAAAAY.  Thursday is down hill and Friday speaks for itself.  Tuesday is nothing more than a freakin’ hole in the week.

Anyhoo, to fill that hole, a few stray thoughts:

♦  Before I forget it, and in connection with the Wednesday link above, I have to say that ol’ Robbo is continually impressed with the consistent brilliance of Geico’s teevee advertising (which I see through watching my beloved Nats play on MASN).  Campaign after campaign after campaign – from cavemen to geckos to bad ideas – whoever comes up with this stuff is truly gifted.  It’s one thing to get an occasional home run, but these people hit for the freakin’ cycle.   And speaking of which, for some reason ol’ Robbo finds their latest amusing enough to repost here:

(Full disclosure, by the bye, ol’ Robbo is not a Geico customer or paid shill.  We’re USAA through the Old Gentleman’s military stint and quite content with it.)

♦  And speaking of ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats, they just dropped their fourth straight to an out-of-it NL East team playing for nothing but pride tonight.  I know the odds of us not clinching the pennant at this point are in the SMOD 2016 range, but come on, guys!

♦   Speaking of sports, last Sunday ol’ Robbo was asked by one of his Mass buddies who doesn’t pay much attention to the current so-called “culture” to explain the whole NFL national anthem kerfluffle.  Whelp, I was able to give her a brief description just based on what I see on the Innertoobs, but the fact of the matter is that ol’ Robbo really hasn’t watched pro football at all since Dan Marino retired in 1999.  This was partly because the ‘Fins were the only team I ever followed and they have gone to hell since then, and partly because NFL Sunday afternoon advertising is raunchy enough that I didn’t want the gels seeing it.  Overall, I don’t think I’ve really missed very much.

♦   It would be extremely foolish of ol’ Robbo to comment on the state of the Presidential race at this point, at least so far as endorsements go.  But one thing strikes me as peculiar:  Normally, my corner of NoVA and my commuter route into the Imperial City are, by this point, wall-to-wall with yard signs and bumper stickers.  This year?  Almost nada.  Just about the only signs I see in the immediate neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor are for the local incumbent House member.  Make of that what you will.

♦   Good thoughts would be appreciated:  The next two days ol’ Robbo is being forced to go on “retreat” with his office colleagues.   Usually, I’m pretty good at being able to dodge work-related functions, but I gather there’s no getting out of this one barring accidental amputation of a limb or kidnapping by Boko Haram.  Sigh.  In my experience, “retreats” are both boring and dangerous, and the only thing to do is to keep one’s head down, one’s mouth shut, and one’s most political smile firmly nailed to one’s face.

♦  Speaking of face, ol’ Robbo is trying out a new prescription set of gas-permiable hard contact lenses this week.  (My venture into disposable soft lenses proved an abject failure.)  They seem to work reasonably well for my near-sightedness.  The trouble is that they also bring my far-sightedness into, er, very sharp focus: wearing them, I can’t make out much within a four or five foot radius without a pair of store-bought 2X reading glasses.  I’m having trouble here understanding why I go to the bother of contacts in the first place.

♦  Relatedly, while getting fitted for the new contacts, I also got a prescription for a new pair of glasses.  My current pair is about four years old and I’ve had nothing but grief about them (in terms of aesthetics) from Mrs. R.  This time, I got the Missus to come down to the Hour-Eyes with me.  “Here,” I said, “You pick out the frames!”  And she did.  Despicable pre-emptive surrender? Or ingenious seizure of the high ground?  Your answer may very well depend on your marital status. (Hint: “Yes, dear” can be a double-edged weapon.)

Whelp, I suppose that’s enough hole-in-the-week plugging for now.  Pass the port to the left as you take it in, if you please.

UPDATE:  Day One of Robbo’s retreat featured the predictable “team-building challenges” and a lot of middle-management level blether from an HR consultant (what a racket that is!) about effective communications with different personality types.   Forehead? Meet table!  As a colleague of mine put it sotto voce, “Here’s an idea: You’re all grownups…Act like it.”

UPDATE DEUX: Nats’ Magic Number now down to, er, deux.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, now that we are well on into September and sunrise and sunset are more exactly correlating with ol’ Robbo’s commute-time, a perennial phenomenon which drives me absolutely batty is once again raising its ugly head.

I’m talking about people who, driving directly into the sun, suddenly notice that their windshields are dirty and, without thinking about it, hit the cleaner spray.

What said people never seem to realize is that doing this while they’re still driving straight into the light has the effect of rendering them absolutely blind to what’s in front of them for several seconds, what with all the fluid splattered and smeared all over their windshields and being back-lit by sun rays coming in horizontally.  They also don’t seem to give a hoot that their own spray inevitably spews backwards and hits the windshield of the car immediately behind them.  That would be me, by the bye.)

Is it so difficult to wait until one hits a shady patch?  That’s what ol’ Robbo does.  (Much of my commute is along a parkway with ample tree-cover in spots.  It’s not like we’re out on the Overseas Highway.)

It may not seem like a big point, but when you’re stuck in 70 mph bumper-to-bumper gridlock, those several seconds can make all the difference in the world.

Grrrrrrrr…….

Ah, well.  Give it a couple months and ol’ Robbo will be having to deal with those people (probably the same ones) who don’t clear all the snow off the tops of their cars before setting out.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It's Dead, Jim

It’s Dead, Jim

Ol’ Robbo may be in for a baaaaad day today if his attempt to grind up his coffee beans a while ago is any indication of things to come:

Yes, my at least 17 y.o. Krups simply blew up on me.  As you can see (and which I hadn’t noticed), the wires had become frayed where they pass into the base and I guess it was finally just a cut too far.  I plugged in, there was a resounding POP!, sparks flew everywhere, and now…..Die Krups ist kaput!

Guess it’s off to the devil’s website to see about getting a replacement.  I hope I can refrain from slaughtering my family in the meantime.  Twitch! Twitch!

Speaking of coffee, it has long been my policy to refuse to order for Mrs. Robbo when we hit a Starbucks on one of our road trips because she’s the sort who pimps her cup with all those extra frills and special instructions.  I do so partly because I think this is heresy, partly because I can never remember all the things she wants, and partly because I feel embarrassed reeling off such a litany to some snot-nosed barista.

Well last evening I mentioned that I was going to stop at Chopt on the way home from work to pick up a salad for dinner and did Mrs. R want anything?  “Oh, yes,” she replied, “I’ll text you my order.”  A few moments later, ol’ Robbo’s iPhone (yes, I was finally forced to get one) received the single-most complicated salad order I’ve ever seen – a dozen different ingredients (one or two of which I couldn’t even pronounce properly), instructions on how chopped up she wanted it, and three different dressings.   I actually had to read it all off my phone to the counter guy after making abundantly clear that this was the missus’ idea and that all I wanted was a plain Caesar myself.

Won’t be doing that again any time soon, I can tell you.

I suppose I had better clean up and nip on over to the local not-Starbucks coffee shop and get an emergency fix before the withdrawal sets in and I begin slitting throats……

UPDATE:  Done and done (the new grinder, I mean, not the slaying).  I’m going with the fancier-shmantzier “burr” grinder, which I’m told gives a better quality than the old rotor-blade model.

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Labor Day!  (Ol’ Robbo celebrated in his traditional manner by spending the day in the ol’ hammock.  Marxist/Collectivist class-warfare “holidays” give me the pip.  Besides, today was the last day of my summah hols.)

Anyhoo, this morning I learned that the Middle Gel had got a gig with a friend of hers today helping out as chaperones/baby-sitters at a 6 y.o.’s birthday party here in our part of the suburbs of Your Imperial City.

She got back four hours later to announce that not only had the family brought in a giant water slide (which caused several injuries, apparently), but that they had also hired out a petting zoo for the celebration.

A petting zoo.  Hired out.  At your own home.

Any friends of the decanter hear of this sort of kiddy birthday entertainment before?

I just googled “petting zoo parties at home” and got something north of 2 million hits so it must be a thing, but such an entertainment option is certainly news to me.  Back in the day we had a few magicians and one-man-bands drop by Port Swiller Manor for various Gel birthdays, but it simply never occurred to me to put a couple cages of rabbits and chickens, plus a staked goat and sheep or two, out on the grounds.

I’m reminded by all this of a friend of my misspent yoot back in South Texas.  His father was a veterinarian and he was big in 4-H.  Their suburban lot was basically a farm yard, with flocks of sheep, herds of goats, and hutches full of rabbits.  (I think he even had a calf at one point.)  My friend would often come to school with long, hideous scratches down his forearms from where the rabbits had got him and big, ugly bruises on his legs from kicks and butts by the goats.   I know he’d been hard at work tending these various beasts since he was a small lad and, although he appreciated them from an animal husbandry standpoint, had no illusions whatsoever about their cuteness or cuddliness.

Wonder what my old friend would make of this kind of entertainment?

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A day late, I know, but R.I.P. Gene Wilder, dead at 83.  Wilder was a superb comic actor and, from every account I’ve ever read, a thoroughly good man.

“Young Frankenstein” is one of my very favorite movies and certainly my most favorite Mel Brooks movie.  This is primarily due to the writing, in which I believe Wilder had a significant hand.  (Well, okay, the outstanding cast, too.)  The trouble with most Brooks comedies is that they tend to start wandering, devolving into sledge-hammer slapstick or getting too cutesy.  (The latter is my main problem with “Blazing Saddles”.  Of course, it has a lot of good material in it, but it can’t stay in character, and by the end has gone completely haywire.)  Not so with Y.F. – even with all the silly little asides, it holds true to the genre it parodies right the way through.  As I say, I believe Wilder should be given credit for this.

It also occurred to me that I haven’t seen “Willie Wonka” in quite a long time, so I tossed that into the ol’ Netflix queue just now.  I’ve often wondered how that film compares to the Roald Dahl book.  (On principle, I’ve never seen the Johnny Depp remake bye the by.)  Certainly it is old-fashioned in its rayther strict morality and quite out of date.  The kidz are all Mike TeeVees and Veruca Salts now, and any suggestion that parents are responsible for such spoiled rotten brats would probably get one sent to the Camps.

(Mention of Wonka reminds me of a little throwaway bit in the movie of interest to musick-lovers.  At one point, Wonka plays a little tune on a “musical lock” in order to open a door (into the fizzy-lifting water room, I believe).  Mrs. TeeVee leans over to Grampa Joe and smugly mutters “Rachmaninoff”.   Of course, the tune is nothing of the sort but is instead the opening couple of bars from the overture to Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”.  Wonka gives Mrs. TeeVee the smallest part of a condescending glance before moving on.   I’ve often wondered what percentage of the audience the writers expected to get that bit.  Significantly higher back when the movie came out than now, I’d bet.)

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Finally, finally, for the first time since about mid-May, ol’ Robbo is once again posting over the family Mac in the comfort and convenience of his basement lair.

The power! THE POWER!! THE POOOOWERRRR!!!!

Mwahahahaha…..

So just a small sample of this and that to get back into the feel of things:

♦   Regular friends of the decanter may be wondering how the Eldest is doing her first week of college?  Well, as to be expected, the barometer has swung pretty wildly between “Stormy” and “Set Fair” as she begins to internalize just what she’s got herself into.  She reports that she took her first road trip over to Hamster-Squidney Friday evening and hated it. “Nothing but beer and pot,” was her dismissive summary.  (Scots Presbyterian roots run deep.)  Somehow or other, this rejection doesn’t bother ol’ Robbo very much.

♦  Do you know what a “tiguan” is?  Neither did ol’ Robbo.  Neither did the Volkswagen salesman from whom we bought a used one yesterday for the Middle Gel, who will be a high school junior this year.  He thought it had something to do with wind.  Turns out that it was just the idea of some German marketing-wallah who thought it would be hip to blend together the words “tiger” and “iguana”.  I’ve no idea why.

♦  In case you missed it, Tom Wolfe has a new book coming out entitled The Kingdom of Speech.  From the ad copy over at the devil’s website, it doesn’t sound like another one of his sledge-hammer social satires, but instead something of a more academic nature:

Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey that is sure to arouse widespread debate. THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech–not evolution–is responsible for humanity’s complex societies and achievements.

From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in the Kingdom of Speech.

Whatever you want to call it, I plan to pick up a copy.

Well, that’s enough to start.  As I mentioned below, ol’ Robbo is starting his summah hols, and since I’m not planning on going anywhere, I’ll probably spend a fair bit of time flittering about on the innertoobs, catching up with a bunch of blogs I haven’t been able to conveniently get too in my forced exile.

In the meantime, I’m off to Netflix to charge up the ol’ queue, which has been dry as a bone for about a month.  See you soon!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As of this afternoon, Ol’ Robbo finally got to start his summah vacation.

Two (three?) weeks ago, I had planned to join the family, along with the family of the Former Llama Military Correspondent, at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake in Ol’ Virginny, but was compelled instead to fly out to a court hearing in the Mountain West.

So much for that.

I also considered taking last week off, but again got kyboshed by court biznay.

Grrrrr..,.

Finally, though, I drew the line. I’m taking next week off, dammit, and that’s that. Perhaps it was the crazed look in my eye, but nobody down the office objected.

I’ve known I was worn out this past month, but I perhaps didn’t realize just how much until I came home early to Port Swiller Manor this afternoon and immediately fell asleep.

So what does Ol’ Robbo plan to do with himself until after Labor Day? Oh, the fun never ends! Monday, I finally get my contacts updated. (The eye-strain lately has been something fierce.  Probably should not be driving.). I also plan to whack back the forsythia to encourage better blooms next spring. And if I’m REALLY feeling wild, there’s probably an oil change in the near future.

Woo. Hoo.

As for posting, the long saga of the Port Swiller man cave floor ended this morning, so Ol’ Robbo will be re-connecting the House iMac tomorrow and can finally say goodbye to this iPhone thumb-blogging nonsense. Expect….blather.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo thought he’d take a break from gratuitous college freshman posting (the Gel has got the home-sickness, so it would be tedious anyway) to vent about something else:

One of the small consolations of commuting to and from the Imperial City is the fact that the place usually turns into a ghost town in the dead of August. Ordinarily, what is normally an hour-plus trip each way for me is cut in half during the Dog Days.

Not so much this year.

Yes, traffic is down summat, but nowhere near as much as usual. And that’s pretty hard cheese on a fellah who has no A/C in his car.

I assume it’s all due to the massive disruptions in Your Nation’s Capital’s metro system service necessitated by the fact that said system has been allowed to go completely to hell and the new administrators realized they had no choice but an emergency series of closures and reduced schedules.

Meh.

The good news is that Ol’ Robbo FINALLY gets his twice-work-related-delayed summah hols next week.

The bad news is that the logjam is going to get a lot worse when all the drones are back in town after Labor Day.

Heigh-ho.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Talked to the Eldest Gel this evening for the first time since we left her at college Friday.

All is well, except she was griping about some intervention/indoctrination film the class was made to watch. It seemed to have had something to do with keeping an eye out for other wymens at frat parties, in order to protect them from marauding sexual predators.

From what she told me, her post-film conversation with her advisor went something like this:

Gel: “So the point of this film was that if you see your drunk classmate getting dragged away by some frat boy so he can ravage her, here are the steps to take to break it all up?”

Advisor: “Well, yes, that’s right.”

Gel: “Fair enough. So where is the film telling us girls not to be idiots and get drunk at frat parties in the first place?”

Advisor: “Well, um, that’s not part of this training…..”

Gel: “Well, why not? Shouldn’t that be the starting point?”

Advisor: “You’re pretty independent-minded, aren’t you?”

As Admiral Greer said to Ryan in “The Hunt For Red October” , “I said to speak your mind, Jack, but Jesus!”

We shall see what happens.

Blog Stats

  • 428,603 hits
September 2016
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930