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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t watched “The Simpsons” in ages and ages, but it still nonetheless irks me that the character of Apu apparently is going to be disappeared because of protests about stereotyping.

Middle Gel probably had the best comment on this: “They’re taking out Apu because he’s a stereotype? All the characters on that show are stereotypes!”

Yep, yep, and yep.  But it’s okay to poke fun at, say, redneck trailer-trash or corrupt Kennedy-esque Boston-Irish politicians or Cosby-like black professionals or Bible-thumpers because reasons and shut up.

And lest you think Ol’ Robbo is heartlessly indifferent because he’s not the subject of any such treatment, I may tell you here that every time Sideshow Bob comes on, I shed a small tear due to the pain.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Veterans’ Day!

A glass of wine with all those who have served (which I suspect includes a few friends of the decanter and/or their relations).

Of course, this is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.  I must say that I don’t care much for all that “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” stuff.  To me, it’s too much like Sam Elliot’s line in “Gettysburg” about “men in tall hats and gold watch-fobs thumping their chests and saying what a brave charge it was”.

The fact of the matter is that the War could have ended a lot earlier if anyone had paid any attention to poor, dear Blessed Karl of Austria who, upon his accession to the throne, frantically tried to bring about a peace.  Alas, that rat-bastard Woodrow Wilson and his hard-liner pals wouldn’t take anything less than total annihilation of the Central Powers, the War dragged on another year of slaughter, the Bolsheviks seized control in Russia, and Germany was left ripe for the rise of Nazism.  All so that rat-bastard Wilson (I just love typing that) could indulge his progressivist authoritarian pipe-dream of bringing about the Brave New World both in Europe and at home.

And of course, we’re still very much paying for it.  Feh.

I mentioned the other day that I was reading Stephen Sears’ Chancellorsville.  From there, I went on to reread Glenn Tucker’s High Tide at Gettysburg.  As with the Sears book, it’s been a few years since I last dipped into this, and I’d forgotten how much like a bravura college lecture it reads – matter of fact narrative punctured with florid atmospheric word-paintings and asides about personalities.  Tucker doesn’t take sides but is sympathetic to both, which probably means he’d be guilty of wrong think these days.

From there, I set myself to revisit a task which I feel honor-bound to complete even though it’s very difficult, that is to finally finish reading James Longstreet’s From Manassas to Appomattox.  Old Pete may have been many things, but a good writer was definitely not one of them.  This book is amazingly dull and plodding, and seems uplifted by some nugget of opinion or observation only every ten pages or so.  But it is Old Pete, a man who was there.  Also, I dislike intensely the idea of not finishing a book once I’ve picked it up.

So that’s that.  A cold, gray day today, perfect for a blanket, a pot of coffee, and plodding.

UPDATE: Okay, I just finished the chapters devoted to Gettysburg, and things are actually starting to get good.  Particularly in the last one, Old Pete goes into a tirade against those critics who claimed or inferred that he lost the battle, and goes on to argue that it was, in fact, all Lee’s fault for not listening to his suggestion that the Rebs wheel round to the right.  Heh, indeed.

UPDATE DEUX:  Well, we’re in full self-justification territory now.  After departing Lee post-Gettysburg, he’s gone on to kick Braxton Bragg in the nuts over Chickamauga  and Chattanooga (which, if you’re a Southern sympathizer, is probably warranted), and to argue that his fart-assing about the wilds of East Tennessee over the winter of 1863-64 was the Single Most Important Strategic Thing for the Confederacy, if only Richmond had been paying attention.  (He doesn’t help his case by reprinting a number of communications from Sam Grant that basically say, “Yeah, Longstreet’s in East Tennessee. He’s harmless. I’m headed for Georgia.”)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

You know what Ol’ Robbo dislikes?  Well, let me narrow that down a bit: You know one of the things Ol’ Robbo dislikes?

Guys who get themselves a muscle car or roadster – something with a big, loud engine, lots of chrome, and various other whistles and bells – and then putter around like a South Florida grandma.

I mean really, if you’re going to go to the trouble and expense of getting yourself a serious set of wheels like that, at least show the car some damn respect and drive like you mean it.

It’s something like these people who build themselves a yuge gourmet kitchen and then eat nothing but heat n’ serve meals picked up at the grocery store.

At least I don’t often get stuck behind a kitchen on my way to the office.


(I probably shouldn’t post these sentiments, since Middle Gel is a regular reader and also an impatient speed-demon on the road and it sets a bad example.  But still.  Grrrrrr…….)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo voted today.  And I hope you did, too.

Among myself, Mrs. R, and the two Elder Gels, especially as ours is a very tight House District this year, it’s gratifying to know that the Por Swiller household delivered up four votes.  Who knows? We might actually make a difference this time!

I’m resolved, however, this go round not to fall into the trap of staying up all hours, anxiously awaiting the results. Some reading, “Ocean’s Twelve” and then an early night for me and I’ll check them in the morning.

By the bye, I stopped by the polls on the way to work, and yes, I wore my little “I Voted” sticker all day, just to twit the moonbats in my office (i.e., just about everyone else).  They suspect me of being a Deplorable, but since I’ve never uttered a single politickal word in all my time there, they can’t actually be sure.  So they have no choice but to smile with faux cheer and mutter polite nothings.  If the pogroms ever start in earnest, of course, I’ll probably be hustled down to the basement for a bullet to the back of my head, but in the meantime, civility shields me.  Heh.  (I do the same thing wearing the ashes on Ash Wednesday, but of course that is much more obvious.  They still can’t do or say anything about it.)

UPDATE: Well, that was interesting.  (Our Rep lost, by the bye.  By a lot.)  And all the stuff going on today? Wheeeee!!!!




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This being All Saints Sunday in the Palie Church, I absolutely knew what I was in store for when I tagged along with the Family Robbo this morning: Hymn No. 293, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God“.  At Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church, they sing this every All Saints Sunday.  And I cringe every time I hear it.

The words, by Lesbia Scott, are downright gooshy. (“You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea….”).  The setting, Grand Isle by John Henry Hopkins, starts out curiously similar to Arthur Sullivan’s “A British Tar is a soaring soul” before going off on its own gee-whiz, happy-clappy way.

One of the poorer choices for inclusion in the 1982 Palie Hymnal, in my humble opinion, but then Modernism (it was published in 1929) will let you down every time.

As a matter of fact, the Mothe and I used to mock this particular hymn back in the day by feigning over-enthusiasm when we sang it.  We’d sway and stick out our elbows and roll our eyes at each other.  And for the line “And I’m going to be one, too”, we always deliberately changed “going to” to “gonna”.

It’s just that kind of piece.

(Don’t judge us too harshly:  William Byrd, J.S. Bach, and Samuel Wesley, to name just a few, would have reacted exactly the same way!)

Jack-O, the semi-inebriated, good-enough-for-gub’mint-work Official Port Swiller Lantern for 2016

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

By the time when, well, anybody reads this post, it will probably already be October 31st, so let me go ahead an wish you all a happy Halloween!

Ol’ Robbo carved this year’s Jack-O on Sunday afternoon since I won’t get home till after dark tomorrow.  I didn’t bother to take a picture of it and simply repost this one from two years ago….because they look pretty much the same.  As I have stated before, Ol’ Robbo is a positive reactionary when it comes to jack-o-lanterns.  If it ain’t triangles, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t want to see it.  And I consider “pumpkin art” to be ridiculous.

In the meantime, I’ve seen several articles this year, some in jest and some in earnest, about the pitfalls of any kind of costume that at all appropriates “somebody else’s culture” or otherwise allegedly maligns some interest group or other.  Perhaps the most goofy kerfluffle I’ve seen has to do with the Sexy Handmaid’s Tale costume.  Funny how the SJW mob has no apparent problem with long-standing Sexy Nun costumes.  That’s different.  Because reasons.  Shut up, haters!

(Speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo is reminded of a Catholic children’s costume he saw years ago depicting the early Jesuit missionaries to Canada.  Some wag had written as a caption to the photo, “Just add Hurons!”  Ol’ Robbo still laughs and laughs at that.)

Of course, the costume flaps have nothing to do with offended sensibilities or respect for other cultures, and everything to do with bullying and control of us kulaks.  (But I suspect friends of the decanter know that already.)  I shudder to think what would be made of some of the costumes I donned over the years in this Neo-Jacobin atmosphere.  Thank Heaven I feel no desire whatever to suit up these days!  (If I did have to dress up, I think I’d go as Count Floyd. Surely they couldn’t get me for that, probably because they’d have no idea who he was. Really scary, huh, keeds? Awoooooooo!!)

Speaking of which, I learn that Eldest went Halloween Frat-Party hopping this past weekend dressed as Rosie the Riveter.  She told me she did this not to make any kind of Grrrrl-power statement, but largely because it allowed her to keep warm (overalls, denim shirt, and a head-scarf, you know) and that she laughed quietly to herself when her friends dressed in much skimpier outfits complained of being cold.  Heh.

I don’t know if Middle Gel is dressing up, but I learned of a neat thing they do at her school: All the freshman dorms have a hall-decorating contest, the winning hall being treated to pizza.  Then, faculty and staff bring their kiddies ’round to trick-or-treat in the halls, where the freshmen hand out goodies.  As I say, I think this is really neat.

As to Youngest, she’s not trick-or-treating at all this year, but is instead going to a Twenty One Pilots concert and dragging Mrs. Robbo along with her.  You will pardon me for taking a certain malign pleasure in the fact that Mrs. R has to go and I get to stay home.

As for myself, Ol’ Robbo plans, as per usual, to set out a bowl of candy on the front steps, light up Jack-O, and then go and hide in the basement to watch “Young Frankenstein“, easily the best Mel Brooks-produced movie evah because it was written by Gene Wilder and not by Mel himself.   No offense to Mr. Brooks, but while he can put together individual gags superbly, I never felt he could as successfully string them together to produce a satisfying movie-length narrative.

At any rate, Ol’ Robbo will see you on the other side on All Saints Day, probably my very favorite Feast of the entire liturgical year.  I like to think that on November 1st, the adults are back in charge.

UPDATE: To my knowledge, we had exactly two parties of trick-or-treaters, the kidz from next door and a younger bunch from down the street.  (Anybody want a Kit-Kat bar? We’ve got something of a surplus.)  We’re on the outer edge of our neighborhood – or the wrong side of the tracks as I sometimes say – and there’s no natural loop to get to our house.

Youngest found a friend to go to the concert with her, so for Mrs. R it was strictly Click and Clack’s Russian chauffer, Pickup Andropov. I am happy to say that even though the Gel got back extremely late, she went to school without a fuss this morning and got an A on a history test.

Oh, and the other thing? You realize Society has problems when you encounter people downtown and at the office on Halloween and you can’t be sure whether they are in costume or not.





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those of you who had this past weekend for the appearance of X-Mas supplies and décor in Robbo’s local supermarket, please go to the window and collect your winnings.

I’m not absolutely certain, but this feels like a new record to me.

Feh.  I’m sick of it already and we haven’t even got past Halloween yet.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Prayers up to the people of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Ol’ Robbo has actually, from time to time, thought about what he would do if some animal broke into his church during Mass and started shooting or assaulted the priest or tried to desecrate the Host.  Since I’m one of the more able-bodied men and don’t have anyone with me who would need shielding, my general thought is that it would be my obligation to at least try to do Something.

What that Something would be, I don’t really know.  Our church is (sadly) of in-the-round construction and has six different entrances spread around its circumference, so there are a great many possible scenarios.  Although I don’t let it distract me, I do generally try to keep aware of people moving in and out (which they tend to do throughout the service).

One thing I’ve thought of, at least.  The St. Michael Hymnal that we use is hardbacked.  If I ever found myself in a position in which I had to rush an attacker, I’d certainly grab a few of them for throwing on my way in. I’m perfectly serious about this:  At the very least, they’d provide a useful distraction.

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle…..

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is off from work tomorrow, so tonight is my early Friday Night.  What say you to opening the sluice-gates of my alleged mind and see what comes pouring out?

♦   How about just a little politicks first? Robbo’s prediction: The ‘Pubs hold the House and gain in the Senate. (And yes, both the Elder Gels have mailed in their absentee ballots.) Blue Wave? Naw.  Red Tsunami.

♦  Related, today was “Patriotism Day” at Youngest’s high school. (It’s “Theme Week” leading up to Homecoming this weekend.  Teh kidz were supposed to dress up appropriately.  Youngest wore Stars & Stripes pants and a “Trump 2020” shirt.  Heh, indeed.

♦  Okay, how about we turn to the Arts? Yesterday evening on the drive home, Ol’ Robbo heard the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony on the local classickal station.  The DJ started off by reading some wankstein’s musings about how this piece was ol’ Pyotr Ilyich’s musickal musing on the subject of Destiny, and the ambiguity of whether the final movement represented a Triumph over Fate or a resigned acceptance of it.

Cor lumme, stone the crows.  This is exactly why I loathe Romanticism in all its manifestation.  I don’t give a damn about Tchaikovsky’s views on predestination, I only care about whether the musick is well-crafted or not.  (Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.”)

♦  Oh, and I hadn’t realized it until I researched this a bit, but Cole Porter stole the main theme from this movement for his song “Farewell, Amanda” from the Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn move “Adam’s Rib”, one of my old favorites.  Been a while since I’ve seen it…..Must look to Netflix queue…….

♦  By the bye, I  despise the whole concept of predestination and fatalism, too.  Ol’ Robbo would not have made a good Calvinist.

♦  Any Charles Portis fans among you?

♦  Today is the Feast of St. Chrysanthus, an early martyr. I had hoped that there might be some association with chrysanthemums, since they are so closely associated with this season and many flower names do, in fact, have Christian origins, but apparently not.  (I don’t really care much for mums anyway.  Too garish for me.)

♦  I suppose I had ought to say something about the World Series here, but really, Ol’ Robbo has no dog in this fight.  I’m pretty sure the Sawx are going to win it all.  I am absolutely sure there’s nothing quite so obnoxious as a triumphant Bahston sports fan.

♦  Speaking of athletics, Ol’ Robbo has got back into working out on his rowing erg.  I realized recently that I had made a big mistake last year (when I first bought it) of trying to do long, steady, power rows (30 minutes, for instance) right off the bat.  I quickly got discouraged with that (being not a 19 y.o. varsity athlete but a 53 y.o. desk-jockey), and so stopped using the thing.  But recently it occurred to me to do some research on recommended workouts and I came across a whole packet of programs of interval training.  Makes all the difference in teh world.  I’ve been at it now for about two weeks and haven’t felt this good in a long time.

♦  By the bye, when I was rowing crew in college back in the day, I had a t-shirt that read “Put an erg on the water and it sinks…”  I still think that’s the right attitude.  (Who knows? Perhaps one day Ol’ Robbo will invest in a scull and take up plashing about on the Potomac.)

Well, enough.  Tomorrow morning, Ol’ Robbo probably will try to get out and give the yard one final mow for the year, ahead of the nor’easter which is supposed to blow in later in the day.  Porch plants probably come inside this weekend, too, and I’m getting ready to slap the rear side-panels back on La Wrangler in anticipation of the colder weather.  (And wetter.  I understand we may get an El Nino this year, which means much precipitation on the East Coast.)







Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Now that the cooler weather has settled in firmly, Ol’ Robbo can return to his practice of reusing the shirt he wears to Mass Sunday afternoon for the office on Monday.  I enjoy this because I can still smell the incense the next day.

There are a number of different incensings during the course of the Traditional Latin Mass:  The incensing of the altar before the Introit; the incensing of the Missal before the reading of the Gospel; the incensing of the Offerings, the priest, the other servers and the congregation; and at the Consecration itself.  Given a good-sized thurible and some snappy wrist action,  the atmosphere can get pretty saturated by the time things are done.

Good old smells and bells.  Gotta love ’em.

UPDATE: Speaking of things Traddie, Ol’ Robbo’s eye was caught a week or two ago by a small item (at the Puppy-blender’s, I think) concerning one Brian M. McCall, an Associate Dean and Professor at Oklahoma Law.  In 2014, Dr. McCall published To Build The City of God:  Living as Catholics in a Secular Age. It is, so I gather, a Rad-Trad guide to navigating our current, ghastly, so-called “culture”.  Apparently, it includes some rayther stark assessments and opinions.  (For example, it condemns “same-sex marriage” and states that women shouldn’t wear pants out of modesty.)

Evidently, somebody recently read this book and Was Not Amused.  A campaign was started against Dr. McCall, not because he’d every been found to have discriminated against, harassed, or even treated anybody without respect, but simply because he had committed wrongthink in putting these ideas to paper.  The nooz item I saw was the reported that he’s now been hounded out of his administrative position with the school because of it.

I went ahead and bought the book.  Even though Ol’ Robbo is a Traddie of sorts himself, I’ll wager there are some things in it with which I will disagree.  Fine.  But I felt it my obligation to make at least some small protest against this kind of Orwellian bullying.  (Show of hands, by the bye, for those who believe McCall would have received the same treatment had he reached these conclusions from the perspective of Islamic fundamentalism.  Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?)

I’ll let you know what I think of it. (The book itself, that is. You can gather what I think of the situation already.)



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