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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the local classickal station is at it again with their semi-annual pledge drive.  Each time this comes around, Ol’ Robbo finds himself cringing just a little bit more.  Why?  Because every single time, not only do they use exactly the same format, they also use exactly the same language: the same scripted hooey about “community” and “the Arts” and “therapy”; the same pre-recorded plugs for promotional gift CD’s; even the same listener commentary (most of which is inane).   You’d think that after years and years of this they might try something different, especially as they’re always on about not making this or that pledge goal.

To be absolutely fair, Ol’ Robbo tried to think up some alternative fundraiser ideas himself, but really didn’t get much further than a model based on Python’s Blackmail Sketch.  Yes, it would be mighty effective, especially here in the Swamp, but somehow I don’t think the station’s board would be much interested.

By the bye, I’ve been slipping them some coin for years and years.  If I find out that some of this is leaking over to their teevee operations, especially as PBS is going full-on SJW with the kidz, I may have to rethink that very hard.  (Not saying they can’t do it, just saying I won’t voluntarily pay for it.)

And speaking of musick and money, Ol’ Robbo learned this week from comments over at AoSHQ that there exists a director’s cut of the movie “Amadeus” that contains a scene in which Constanze offers to prostitute herself to Salieri in order to get some badly-needed readies for the Mozarts.  I never much liked the movie anyway since it plays so very fast and loose with the actual facts of Mozart’s life, but this is positively obscene.

One fellow Moron said yes, the movie is inaccurate, but it’s telling the story from Salieri’s point of view and he was lying and delusional.  First, that’s a slander on Salieri.  Second, I don’t think it comes across that way from the screenplay, since there are many scene outside of Salieri’s scope of vision.  And third, for a large chunk of the audience, the movie is the reality, as it’s the only source of biographical information about Wolfgang to which they’ve likely ever been exposed or will be.

Another said well the fact was that Mozart was a true genius and wound up in a pauper’s grave and that wasn’t right.  Well, it wasn’t lack of appreciation that put Wolfgang in a pauper’s grave, but his wife who, as a new widow with two small sons and almost no assets, had to be as thrifty as possible.  (Besides, this practice was quite common in Vienna at the time.)  And why hadn’t his musickal genius brought the family greater fortune while Wolfgang was still alive?  Because as a businessman and professional, he was an absolute idiot, with neither the patience nor the foresight to put down roots, pay his dues, bide his time, build up a body of goodwill, or seize real opportunities when they presented themselves.  (Ol’ Robbo often wonders what might have happened had Mozart gone to London along with Papa Haydn, as Peter Salomon so wanted him to do.)  That’s why.

Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

[Ed. – I didn’t get a “Harumph!’ from that guy over there.]

UPDATE: Oh, by the bye, in my younger days, I’d have finished this post with the YooToob of “Rock Me, Amadeus”.  I like to think I’ve outgrown that now.  Instead, I direct your attention over to Friend of the Decanter Zoopraxiscope Don, who reports that tomorrow is World Fiddle Day and provides some toe-tapping samples to get us in the mood.  A glass of wine with you!

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As the more lynx-eyed Friends of the Decanter may recollect, Ol’ Robbo’s employment unit is upping stakes and moving to a brand new building in just about two months now.

This week saw the selection of individual offices within our new space.  We’re up on a higher floor in our new digs, and there are only a certain number of window offices available, not nearly enough for our entire attorney crew.

The selection lottery was based on service seniority.  Ol’ Robbo was mildly surprised to see that I came second in the entire bunch.  I guess I have been around for a while!  (In fact, some day I’ll tell you all about it, one way or another.  I’m thinking along the lines of John Mortimer’s Rumpole as a model.)

I couldn’t participate in the selection process myself, owing to a bout of Bechuana Tummy***, so I asked my immediate supervisor to make my choice for me.  “Oh, a window office for sure, please, and on the west side of the building,” I said.

Why the west?  Well, because that’s where the weather comes from.  And Ol’ Robbo loves to watch the weather coming in.

Not that I’ll really see that much since we’ve got another equally tall building right across the courtyard on that side, but I reckon I’ll be able to see enough overhead and round the corners.  Plus, I understand I get to graduate up to two computer screens now, so I’ll always be able to keep a Doppler loop radar open in a corner of one of them to coordinate with my observations.

If all this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

 

**Even though I may or may not be dressed as one.  Spot the *almost* quote.  Hint: It involves wood.

***Spot the reference.  I actually picked up a nasty chill/fever on Monday and there’s something going about, but I couldn’t resist plugging it in because I enjoy it so much.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As I’m sure all of you already heard, today saw the passing, at the age of 85, of the great comic Tim Conway.

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t have much to say about it that others probably have said already and better, except that I always enjoyed his deadpan humor and also that from everything I’ve ever heard or read, he was a truly decent man.

Curiously, whenever I think of Conway, I automatically think of my grandmother:  Back in my misspent yoot, my first introductions to the Carol Burnett Show (and to Johnny Carson, for that matter) came when I got to have sleepovers at Grandma’s, she being much more indulgent about teevee and staying up late than my parents were.  Childhood impressions being what they are, I never completely outgrew that association.

Incidentally, the linkie above is to Ace’s post on Conway’s passing, which contains an embedded YooToob of Tim absolutely spiking the rest of the cast of the Burnett Show, and I’d heartily recommend going on over and having a dekko.   I have long maintained that there is nothing so funny in this world as watching somebody else trying not to laugh, and Conway was an utter genius at pushing his co-actors up to and over the brink.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How about a quarter of unconnected thoughts to start the week?

Firstest:  Despite the fact that it was cold and rainy in Your Nation’s Capital today, Ol’ Robbo went out for his usual lunchtime walk round the National Mall.  And as I trudged along, I was accosted by a nice-looking young woman -evidently from her accent a tourist from either the Caribbean or Africa – who wanted to know where the “Mall” was.  When I swept my arms around and said, “This is it”, she got a dumbfounded look on her face which I immediately knew meant she had been expecting a shopping mall.  This very same thing happened to me a year or two ago and at that time I was too surprised to respond tactfully.  This time, however, I kept my wits and said, “No, there aren’t any regular stores, but all the museums have nice gift shops.”  She seemed pleased.

Also, as I rounded the reflecting pool in front of the Grant Memorial, I noticed the air was full of swallows buzzing back and forth over the water in search of flying yummies.  I always love seeing this, as I also do the new hatches of Mallard chicks paddling to and fro across the pool’s surface.  Alas, this is my last spring to indulge this before my office moves away.  Gonna miss it.

Segundo:  Ol’ Robbo is very pleased that the two Elder Gels have gainful and interesting employment this summah.  Eldest started today working at Wolf Trap – she’s helping with set-up at first and will work concessions once the season starts –  and seems quite excited.  This sort of thing is right up her alley, combining the Arts with Hospitality (to which she’s always been drawn), and the more I ponder it, the more I wonder if this summah might not lay the ground-work for a future employment track.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, MIddle Gel is in the midst of an intense May-mester stats course, but when she’s done she intends to stay down in the Tidewater working for a dive-outfitter.  (She fell in love with scuba this year.  Also, boyfriend is down there.)  She’ll get paid to work in the store, but she also has a three-year internship for which she doesn’t get paid, but gets her dive-certification fees (which are hefty, so I gather) waived.  (As part of this, she’ll be going down to the Keys at some point this summah to help the outfitter conduct a dive for some clients.)  When she’s done, as I understand it, she will have gained her professional dive certificate, which she plans to parlay into graduate work and an eventual career possibly in marine biology.  (This is not a far-fetched idea at all.  Sistah’s hubby is in the field and is very enthusiastic about the opportunities for bright young ladies coming up.)

We’re not requiring Youngest to get a steady job this year, as she’s got a month’s worth of Bible Thumper Camp plus the college tour.  She herself said just yesterday, however, that she really needs to earn some money.  Musick to Ol’ Robbo’s ears.  I suggested she go with babysitting: Not only is it flexible, a responsible kid in these parts can make a killing in sweet, sweet, non-reportable cash payments.

Trois:  Regular Friends of the Decanter may recall Ol’ Robbo’s mention of his genealogy-obsessed cousin who regularly offers up new and intriguing bits of family lore?  (I believe the last time I mentioned her here was in connection with her news that one branch of the Family had been present on the Virginny Frontier in Colonial times and had suffered losses in Shawnee attacks on Kerr’s Creek in 1759 and 1763.)  Well, she’s at it again.  While in town this past weekend to go out with Mrs. Robbo, she informed me that she had definitely established our direct family tree in the neighborhood of Carlisle, PA, then very much the frontier, in 1763.  “Gawd,” I said, “I hope they weren’t mixed up with the Paxton Boys!” She’s enough of a history nerd that she laughed at the reference.  But I’m not so sure it wasn’t a possibility.

The Fourth Thing:  Well, Ol’ Robbo is off to watch “Bend of the River” which turned up today in his Netflix queue.  It’s not the best of the Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart westerns:  “Winchester ’73” takes that honor.  And why?  Because in the latter, Jimmah is driven by righteous anger to hunt down the no-good brother who murdered their father.  That I can accept completely.  But in the former, Jimmah plays an ex-Border Raider under Quantrill seeking redemption for his past wickedness by doing right.  Jimmah? A cut-throat hooligan? G’wan with ya!  I just don’t buy it.  But I like the film anyway.

Oh, and a Bonus:  At least Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats can’t lose today, seeing as they aren’t playing.  Sheesh. 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As most of you Friends of the Decanter probably already know, a new movie about J.R.R. Tolkien opened this weekend.  Ol’ Robbo inadvertently saw an ad for it yesterday (no thanks to Microsoft, which makes me look at ads when I want to play Free Cell on my laptop).  It looked…strange.

The movie is supposed to be all about the real-life inspirations for Tolkien’s great fantasy world.  However, the buzz Ol’ Robbo has been hearing in the corners of the Innertoobs  he haunts is that there is almost no mention whatsoever of a dominant factor in his life, namely his religion.  Tolkien, as I’m sure you all know, was a devout Catholic.  And while the story of Middle Earth isn’t allegory, it is most definitely shaped in many different ways by his Christianity.  How any purported ” inspirational biography” can ignore that is quite beyond me.

And even if you just shake your head and mutter something about Godless Hollywood and airbrushing history,  from a pure financial perspective the thing doesn’t make much sense to me either.  Ol’ Robbo may be just a simple country doctor, but I can’t help thinking that a movie like this, which is not at all the same thing as one of Peter Jackson’s LOTR extravaganzas, likely would appeal mostly to an audience who are already Tolkien Nerds to begin with., a laShadowlands” and the C.S. Lewis crowd.  And as Tolkien Nerds, they’re likely already pretty familiar with his biography.  And familiar with that biography, they’d be mighty put out by such a glaring omission and would sit on their hands.

But heck, what do I know?

Not that I ever do go to the movies anyway, but I’m not planning to bother with this one.  Of course, if any of you see it, feel free to drop a comment.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

No doubt such a group as you friends of the decanter will be heartened by this story: Beer, Wine, and Chocolate Are Key to Living a Long Life, Study Says.

Working with more than 68,000 participants, [Warsaw University’s Professor Joanna] Kaluza and a team of scientists found that those with diets rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as beer, wine, and chocolate, which have anti-inflammatory properties, were up to 20 percent less likely to die prematurely [of heart disease and cancer] than those who ate a lot of red meat, sugary sodas, and processed foods.

“It is known that fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, red wine, beer, and chocolate are rich in antioxidants,” Kaluza told Metro.

What would we do without studies?

As a matter of fact, Ol’ Robbo’s own diet cuts almost perfectly at right angles across these statements.  Coffee and wine are basically the alpha and omega of my dietary day.  On the other hand, I’m not really a beer drinker (it makes me feel bloaty), and I have no sweet-tooth whatsoever (so avoid both chocolate and soda).  Meanwhile, I am a dedicated carnivore, am mildly indifferent to fruits (except pineapple, which I loathe), and am very picky about vegetables (read: nothing beyond a green salad and an artichoke every now and again).  I dunno what “processed foods” actually means, but I suppose I eat some of them, too.   Result? So far into my now firmly middle age, neither my waistline nor my weight have changed very much since my college days, and although my doc has tsk-tsk’d at me about these dietary confessions, she’s never yet been able to pin specific medical consequences to them.   So there.

Indeed, Ol’ Robbo has long suspected that the real allocation of overall health and longevity is, in fact, genetically-based.  Diet, exercise, mental well-being – in fact the whole concept embodied in the old tag mens sana in corpore sano – are important, of course, and can’t be ignored, but I suspect that their impact (beyond outright abusive behavior) is mostly at what one might call the margins:  If you’re pre-programmed to last somewhere between 75 and 85 years, attention to these things may land you at the top of that range, but it won’t really help you hit your century.  For contra-examples, consider these stories that turn up every now and again of somebody who smokes cigars prodigiously, knocks back whiskey every day, and lives to be 115.

Go figure.

At any rate, a glass of wine with the Puppy-Blender, from whom I lifted this story, although I actually find objectionable his oft-repeated enthusiasm for the notion of extending human life through Science!  Where he sees good in technological breakthroughs that could extend the average lifespan to 150 years or even preserve each of our “essences” indefinitely, all I see is the devil shouting at God, “Non serviam!”   We all die to this life, whether we like it or not.  Properly centered in Faith, we shouldn’t mind it.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo should clarify re that last bit that I am neither talking smack because I happen to be in good health at the moment nor am I suggesting cancers and other illnesses should not be fought vigorously.  God alone knows how I’ll react if and when I get that call from the doc’s assistant telling me I need to come in for a “talk”.  Instead, I’m objecting to the broader notion of significantly changing our natural parameters, or even outrunning Death altogether, through science and technology.  This includes everything from artificially growing “spare” parts to downloading our consciousness into some sort of computer bank to sticking our heads in jars a la “Futurama”.

Also, I meant to mention that J.R.R. Tolkien thought this idea important enough to touch on it in his writings.  In The Simarillion, Man’s natural death originally was called “the Gift of Eru ” but Morgoth, through lies and whispers, convinced Men it was an evil thing, so it became know as “the Curse of Eru”.  This served to diminish Men’s character and to estrange them from both Eru Himself and from the apparently immortal Elves.  Both the Kings of Numenor and then later (in the back story to The Lord of the Rings) those of Gondor became so obsessed with escaping it that they caused their own ruin.  Of course, Middle Earth, as Tolkien insisted, is not an allegory, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t weave his own worldview into it both in theme (as here) and specific actions. (It’s no coincidence, for example, that the Ring goes into the Fire on March 25.)

And speaking of Ol’ J.R.R., I understand there’s a new biopic coming out about him, but I also understand (at least from FacePlant sources) that it contains virtually no reference whatsoever to his deeply-held Catholic Faith.  How anyone could expect to truly understand his character formation and development without exploring that aspect of it, I simply can’t imagine.  Of course, the keyword in that sentence is “truly”, so there you go.  Unless somebody convinces me otherwise, I do not plan to see it.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

With the arrival of spring and its legions of tourons in Your Nation’s Capital also has come the reappearance of the ice cream truck fleet.  For whatever reason, it seems to Ol’ Robbo that there are more of them parked around town this year than previously.  (Actually,  more food trucks in general.  I dunno if this is due to a relaxation in regulations or a booming market or some combination of both.)

I know several of them within my immediate vicinity and can follow their movements from one spot to another by their signature tunes blaring out over their loudspeakers, much the way I follow birds from the porch of Port Swiller Manor.  There’s one that plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.  Another seems to be trying to corner the high-brow market with a selection from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.  A third offers up an old song called “Red Wing” which I happen to know only because The Dook and Lee Marvin give a drunken (and historickally impossible) rendition of it in “The Comancheros“, a favorite movie of mine.  And then there’s the one that plays  a portion of Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, which frankly makes me grind my teeth in memory of every kiddie piano recital in which I was made to participate during my misspent yoot.  (I never learned it myself – the Joplin piece I studied was the “Maple Leaf Rag” – but some other kid always, always played it. And poorly, too.)

I hear all of these (and others) both during my lunchtime walks and also as I slog out of the City during my afternoon commute.  And what I can’t help wondering is this:  Even a few moments of listening to the same ten second loop of blaring, metallic, synthesized musick over and over and over and over again makes me start to twitch.  How the heck do the fellahs who run these trucks stand hours of it without flipping out?

I suppose they just manage to blot it all out, somehow.  (What are the pot laws in Dee Cee these days? Pretty lax if I’m not mistaken.)  Pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through my first day without suddenly seizing an ice-cream scoop and running amok up and down the Mall, laying into everyone I could reach.

UPDATE: Speaking of ice cream brings to the surface an amusing (to me, at any rate) recollection from my time at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT.  I had the same roommate my junior and senior years.  In many respects, we could not have been more opposite.  I was a conservative, Christian, traditionalist jock from South Texas.  He was a 90-pound Jewish liberal from Jersey.  (Our arguments over Jim Morrison, for example, were epic.  Roommate: “He was a visionary genius!”  Self: “He was a goddam hippy punk!”)

What made it work was the fact that we had very, very similar senses of humor.  He put me on to Firesign Theatre, for example, which I find quite clever and amusing even if it is hippy stream-of-consciousness drug humor. In return, I broadened his Monty Python exposure.  One of our favorite practices was to buy the Weekly World News and to cut up and rearrange the headlines, thus making them even stranger than the originals.  These we would tape to our hall door for the benefit of our hallmates.  (I lived on a very radical leftist hall.  They never could quite decide what to make of me, in large part because of things like this.)

More to the point, the only class we ever took together was a basic Macro Econ class.  It was taught by a native-Polish prof who studied in Britain.  Where other econ profs used the word “widgets” to describe a basic unit of production, this prof used “ice cream”, I suppose in an effort to engage our fleeting attention.  In order to get around the problem of breaking that commodity down into individual units, he would say “ice creams“.   My roommate and I both noticed this and both found it funny, especially as served up in a plummy Brit accent.  It got to the point that if we accidentally made eye-contact in class when the prof offered it up, we’d both break down in helpless giggles.

Ah, yoot.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and an ambiguously happy Palm Sunday! **

First off, let me finish off an item that I raised in the post immediately below but that I don’t want to get buried: Last evening, I watched “The Case for Christ”.  Frankly, I didn’t much like it, and not just because it’s set in the horror that was the late Carter Era.  The theology and scientific overlap are, as somebody here said, solid.  But the film itself is pure Hallmark Pablum.  Your results may vary, but if somebody was trying to bring me in to Christianity and showed it to me? I’d get the willies.  (On a more microcosmic level, this same thing happened when I was swimming the Tiber and somebody gave me some Scott Hahn to read.  Better to get a sober grounding first, then to turn to the enthusiasts.  Otherwise, the “flight” instinct might kick in.)  Nonetheless, I was moved enough to order Lee Strobel’s book.  Hopefully, it probes the thing a bit deeper than the film.

That out of the way, Ol’ Robbo has had what, at least to me, seems to have been a very good Lent this year, both cleansing and enlightening.  I’ll tell you about it some time if you’re really interested, but for now I’ll just say that I truly hope, in the words of Alfred, Lord Tennis Court, that after all that work and introspection I will be able to rise on the stepping stones of my dead self to higher things instead of (as usual) going splat some time shortly after Easter.

In any event, Holy Week is now upon us, and I intend to do the whole cycle this year: Tenebrae on Wednesday, the Mass of the Last Supper on Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.  (I always attend the Vigil in order to cheer on fellow converts coming in to Holy Mother Church.  This will be the 11th anniversary of my own swim across the Tiber.) Sunday itself is reserved for riding herd on my somewhat Christianity-and-water family.  (And I talk about enthusiasts! Physician, heal thyself.)

Anyhoo, as I think I mentioned previously, I’ll be going dark here for the week and will be back after it’s all over and done.  Feel free to keep commenting on this and all the more recent posts, as I’ll still be keeping track and am very, very grateful for all your input.

In the meantime, God bless you all!

 

** Because it is, isn’t it?  The mob showered Jesus with praise and adoration because they thought when He entered Jerusalem that He was going to turn Pilate into a pumpkin and the Roman garrison into a bunch of white mice.  Quite wrong, of course.  How do we deal with this?

UPDATE:  Bumpers all round, Ladies and Gentlemen, because Ol’ Robbo has finally achieved a long-time dream! I give you my first and second ever successful palm frond crosses:

Nobody ever taught me how to do one and I always felt a twinge of regret watching some seven year old folding them up in nothing flat.  So this afternoon I dug up this how-to YooToob video (actually and coincidentally put out by my own diocese), and hey presto!

Yes, it may be silly, but it actually means quite a bit to me.  Huzzay, huzzah!

MORE:  I just did a bunch of them for practice and left one on each of the Gels’ pillows (Mrs. R included) for when they come home for Easter.  Heh.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on my previous post, Ol’ Robbo spent a large chunk of last evening and this morning watching all the nearly four hours of “Ben-Hur“.  Although I recollect bits and pieces of it from various teevee airings in the past, I do believe this was the first time I sat down and watched the whole thing right the way through.  Is it wrong that I got pretty choked up during the Good Friday finale?

Next on my Netflix DVD list is a movie called “The Case for Christ” (2017).  I can’t tell if it’s a comedy, a drama or a documentary: the blurb says its the story of an investigative reporter who sets out to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to spike his wife for converting (charming fellah), and finds some surprising results.  I’ve no recollection where I read or heard about this film, but I doubt I’d have tossed it in my queue if I thought it was going to be bad.  I’ll let you know.

Then there’s “Unplanned“.  I’m torn about this one:  I don’t need to see it because I hardly need convincing of its message, and I don’t want to because, well, I’m squeamish.  But should I buy a ticket in support and then just not use it?  On the other hand, I hear it’s playing to packed theatres: Would occupying a seat in absentia, as it were, keep that seat from somebody else for whom it might be more beneficial?  I just don’t know.

OFF-TOPIC UPDATE:  Okay, this is really getting out of hand:  After dropping off Mrs. R and Youngest at the airport for their trip to Flahrduh to visit Mrs. R’s parents this morning, and before sitting down to watch B-H, Ol’ Robbo got out in the yard and reseeded several bald patches in the lawn with some Scott’s Turf-Builder I bought a couple weeks back.  I was just now over at Insty’s place and the sidebar ad was for….Scott’s Turf-BuilderStop it, Surveillance State! Go away! Go away!!

UPDATE DEUX:  Thankee for all the input on “The Case for Christ”.  I looked it up on IMDB and noticed Faye Dunaway, of all people, is in the cast, which probably should have been a tell.  (I didn’t even know she was still alive.)

BUMPED UPDATE TROIS:  RJB’s comment about economic warfare re “Unplanned” is well-taken.  I went ahead and ordered two tickets for a showing this afternoon at a fairly empty theatre in darkest-blue Bethesda. (Bwahaha…..)  It was all the easier because my Bishop’s Lenten Appeal invoice came in the mail today so I had my credit card out and the innertoobs activated already.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Pray let us raise our glasses in honor of Lew Wallace, born this day in 1827.  I bring this up for a felicitous reason I’ll get to in a moment.

Wallace had quite the life.  Starting out as a lawyer, he enrolled in the U.S. Army and served in the Mexican War.  In the Civil War, he served primarily in the Western Theater as a brigadier general.  He did well at the Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson, but owing to garbled communications, was out of position at a critical moment on the first day of Shiloh, thereby invoking the wrath of Grant, who thought it was Wallace’s fault.  (It wasn’t, and Grant rather grudgingly admitted the error later in his Memoirs.)

For this black mark, Wallace was banished to second line command positions, where he eventually wound up in charge of a small force along the Monocacy River outside Frederick, Murrland that, in 1864, suddenly found itself the only organized military unit between Washington D.C. and a flank move by Jubal Early out of the Shenandoah Valley.  Hopelessly out-gunned, Wallace nonetheless deployed his small force, which deployment delayed Early’s move by a day and bought enough time for re-enforcements to be rushed to the Washington defenses.

As Wiki notes, Wallace also served on the military commission for the trials of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, and presided over the trial of Henry Wirz, the Confederate commandant of the Andersonville prison camp (who I believe was the only Confederate war criminal ever hanged by the Union).

Later, Wallace became governor of the New Mexico territory and personally met Billy the Kid.

But what makes today’s birthday especially apropos are the facts a) that Wallace became a writer in later life and was the author of Ben-Hur, which was an insanely popular novel in its day, and b) that Netflix just delivered the 2-DVD set of the Heston movie version of the book, which I plan to watch over the weekend, as Mrs. R and Youngest Gel will be out of town visiting her parents and I’ll have Port Swiller Manor to myself.

I’ve never read the novel, although I am tempted to check it out.  However, reviews I’ve seen suggest it is somewhat overwrought and ponderous in style, and I’m a little hesitant to tackle it even for historickal purposes until I get some better feedback.

As for the movie, it’s been ages, and I think the last time I watched it I dozed off somewhere around Heston’s visit to the leper colony.  Fortunately, as I say, it came in two disks this time, so I have a natural way by which to split up my labors.

Anyhoo, with the coincidence of Wallace’s birthday and the arrival of the flick, why not celebrate?

 

**Obligatory, because that’s exactly what’s popped into your head, isn’t it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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