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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Through the delightful randomness of the way I toss DVD’s into my Netflix queue and things get mixed up through delays and whatnot, I had an interesting pairing of new-to-me films this week.

First up was “Joan of Arc” (1948).  I am reasonably certain that the historickal St. Joan looked absolutely nothing like Ingrid Bergman.  But as the Pirate King from “Penzance” says of his band’s objection to having major generals as fathers-in-law, “We waive this point; we do not press it; we look over it.”  Heh. And Jose Ferrer was delightfully weak and weasel-like as the Dauphin.  The politickal machinations were well spelled out, and the battle scenes were quite exciting.  Altogether a pretty good film.

Next was “Wonder Woman” (2017).  I’m sorry, but this one left me absolutely cold. (I had tossed it in the queue simply out of curiosity.)  Gal Gadot, although no Lynda Carter, is certainly lovely and talented, but about the story I found myself giving not a single toss.  I also disliked extremely the feeling that I was being manipulated in advance to buy into the inevitable sequels.  Some people, including members of my family, like the modern era of comic book movies.  I guess I just don’t.

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last evening, Ol’ Robbo watched an early ’80’s Beeb production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

This particular version – and I’ve never seen a good one on screen although I’ve seen several good stage productions – is pretty meh.   The Beeb’s attempts at Ye Faerie Lande sound and light effects are distracting without being effective, and there’s a wee bit too much grabby-hands going on between Oberon and Puck.  On the other hand, the Rude Mechanicals are pretty amusing, and it does feature the shmokin’ young Helen Mirren as Titania, so by law cannot be a complete loss.

Anyhoo, I found myself chuckling with delight over a passage I had not fully appreciated before.   As you recall, Helena, in the story, is besotted with Demetrius, who himself doesn’t care much for her one way or the other.  In throwing herself at him as he tries to elude her, at one point she pleads:

And even for that [Demetrius’s scorn] do I love you the more. I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel—spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love—

As it happened, the Port Swiller family spaniel was right beside me on the sofa when Helena spoke this line, even then eagerly seeking attention at any price her own self.

Hence my amusement.

Ours is the first spaniel I’ve ever really known.  Her passive-aggressive fawning is a standing family joke.  (As is her limited intelligence – the cats are far smarter than she is.) Evidently she’s not unique to her breed in this, or Ol’ Will never would have gone with the metaphor.  I appreciate it all the more now from my own experiences.

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo learned this morning that this week marks the 40th anniversary of the original release of “Animal House“.

I must admit that I’ve never thought it an especially good movie, but of course I love all the iconic lines that have survived the test of time and made their way into the cultural vocabulary.

Well, welcome to 2018 and the Neo-Jacobin attempt to establish the new Reign of Terror.  Legal Insurrection has an article up reporting that the SJW Committee for Public Safety are now gunning for AH.  I can’t cut and paste the excerpts from the articles cited by LI, but the general tone is “OMG, how can anyone watch such blatant celebration of alcoholism, sexism, toxic masculinity, yadda-yadda-yadda, in this day and age?  And what kind of example does it set?  We should all throw this movie in the trash! REEEEEE!!!!

Ol’ Robbo has a modest proposal:  Don’t like it? Don’t watch it.  But leave me the hell alone.  After all, I have never suggested the censoring of your modern homages to pedophilia, rape/bondage fantasies, or pornographic Dungeons and Dragons, as much as they disgust me.

But of course, that assumes a mere difference in artistic sensibilities.  And as I mentioned in the post below about Civil War reenactors, this is really about the biznay of control.  In the end, the SJW’s don’t really give that much of a damn about the underlying substance.  Instead, they’re all about the Will to Power.  And doing away with wrong-think – in this case, juvenile party-hardy wrong-think – is very much a part of that.

Well, as I say, I never thought “Animal House” was all that great a movie.  But when I read this article, I was immediately prompted to skitter over to the Devil’s Website and buy a copy of the DVD.  While I was at it, I also picked up Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles“.  Again, this is a movie that I don’t think is all that great as a whole (it has nothing on “Young Frankenstein“, which is pure Gene Wilder genius), but which contains numerous individual grains of comedy gold.  It’s also another movie that could never be made today, and which is sure to raise the ire of the SJW’s.  I also picked up the series of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries.  These all happen to be gems, but again are likely to run foul of the New Jacobinism.

Better to get the disks in-house before they’re suddenly disappeared in the night.

(A glass of wine with J.J. Sefton manning the Morning Report over at AoSHQ.  Which report, by the bye, has become my go-to morning nooz round-up.  I haven’t looked at Drudge in months and months.)

“Haaaappy BLOG-day! Missster….Robbo…(tee-hee, *hic*)”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I would invite all of you to fill your glasses, gunn’ls under, and raise a toast with three times three and no heeltaps, because today is the tenth anniversary of Ol’ Robbo’s pulling of the cork here at The Port Stands At Your Elbow.  Huzzay! Huzzay! Huzzah!!

As a matter of fact, I can’t really believe it myself.  On the one hand, it seems I’ve been slogging along forever.  On the other, seems like just yesterday that I decided I needed my very own bloggy platform away from the Llamabutchers.

I was musing on this blog-framed decade last evening.  What’s the same now? Well, Mrs. R and I are, of course, still manacled together. (A joke, people.  A joke!)  I swam the Tiber the Easter before I started here, and still consider that to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I still live at Port Swiller Manor, although we’ve done a lot to it in that time.  I still have the same job, which I really enjoy, and which would be a positive gold mine for posting material if I didn’t care about losing it.  (Oh, the ridiculous stories I could tell.  Think John Mortimer.  Perhaps if I’m still blogging when I retire……)

What’s changed? Well, the Gels are pretty much all grown up now.  We’ve had various family losses. Friends have come and gone, both on the Innertoobs and in Meatspace.  Society has become downright psychotic.

In other words, Life has gone on….

So, what about this place?

First, I know perfectly well that there aren’t all that many of you ’round the table, but I truly appreciate those of you who drop in for a dram, either regularly or even only now and again.  You have all certainly had an impact over the years on me, and I like to think that I have had at least some small impact on some of you.  Cheers!

Second, I feel I should apologize again for the feebleness of my posting, especially lately.  As I said in the gardening post below, it’s been a rough year for me, and sometimes I have slapped things up here knowing perfectly well I was only phoning it in.  Also, I have been loathe to get too deep into some subjects near and dear to my heart due to the toxic politickal climate that has existed for some time now.  Curiously, even as it seems to be reaching a point of frenzy, I actually feel less concerned about the consequences of saying exactly what I think.  Perhaps I’m finding a second wind to get back into the Culchah Wars.  Perhaps I’m just getting too old to care much anymore about potential fallout.

Which leads me to Thirdly.  It’s my hope to start putting out better quality posts going into this second decade – more in depth, more substantive, more thought-out ahead of time instead of served on the half-volley, more topical.  And more organized.  Alert friends of the decanter may have noted that Ol’ Robbo recently has got into the habit of throwing up a regular Saturday Gardening Post.  I find this regimen really helps me focus and concentrate, and very shortly I hope to start doing the same thing on Sundays with regular posts on Matters Religious.  On the other hand, I’m not yet at the point of trying to assign out specific themes for other days of the week since I don’t want to give up spontaneity completely and I also find that the traffic rate really doesn’t warrant more than one post a day.

Finally, who knows what we’re going to see going forward in terms of the future of blogging in general.  I doubt that we’ll ever quite get back to the Golden Age of the early 2000’s in terms of ubiquity and interconnectivity, but I do like to think that the general disillusion with other social media platforms like FacePlant and Twooter (I almost never post on the former anymore, and have never had an account on the latter) might push people back towards the good ol’ Blogsphere, at least enough folks so as to re-establish some of those nifty little circles that were such a joy back in the day.  Whether this pans out or not, I plan to be around at any rate.

So once again, pray raise your glasses!  Here’s to the next ten years!  Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzay!!

 

(**NOTE: About the pic, just in case you were wondering, Ol’ Robbo wouldn’t have had anything to do with Marilyn if you’d served her up to him on a plate with watercress round her.  Never, ever understood the appeal.)

Vought F4U Corsair, courtesy of Wiki

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Quite some time ago, perhaps a year or more, Ol’ Robbo tossed the teevee series “Black Sheep Squadron” (1976-78) into his Netflix queue.  My request immediately went to the “Oh, we can’t find that right now” bin, and I reckoned I’d never actually ever see it.

Whelp, surprise surprise, “BSS” suddenly rose to the surface this week, so instead of watching the All Star Game last evening, about which I cared little or nothing per my post below, I instead checked out the, er, pilot episode.

I loved this show when I was a kid (I was 16 when it first aired) and was curious to see if it still had any of the old appeal now that I am so much older and (debatably) wiser.

Well, I think it does based on what I’ve seen so far.  For one thing, I enjoyed hearing the theme musick again, ( I remembered it perfectly even after forty years or so.  This is not a brag, just a thing with me.) For another, I again enjoyed Robert Conrad as the no-nonsense tough-guy Pappy Boyington character. (Show of hands for those who remember Conrad’s later I-dare-you-to-knock-this-battery-off-my-shoulder commercials.) I was further delighted to discover that John Larroquette was one of the squadron regulars. (Back in the day, how was I or anyone else to know who he was?) And while the dynamics and tensions among the flyboys, and between the squadron and the brass, were pretty predictable, even formulaic, the writing seems pretty good, too.

Also, in the past few years Ol’ Robbo has read Pappy Boyington’s autobiography on which the series is based, and I now see (as I couldn’t have back then) how the writers evidently have tried to incorporate his style and tone (which, frankly, are quite rough) into the screenplay.  I appreciate that effort.

But for me, the real enjoyment now is still what it was back then: Watching a bunch of Vought F4U Corsairs being put through their paces.  What a handsome aircraft!  That extra-long cowling and those gull wings just radiate power and force.  I’d argue that the P-51 Mustang was probably the best all-around American fighter plane of WWII, but I still put the Corsair in a class by itself.

Even though I tossed the whole series into my queue, I’m non-committal about sitting through all of it.  But I’ll at least check out the next few episodes that I have in hand, and I’m very glad I was able to circle back and confirm one of the good memories of my misspent yoot.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A bit too soggy in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor to do anything useful in the yard this Saturday, so Ol’ Robbo won’t even bother.  Instead, how about a little of this and that?

♦  Middle Gel (and Mrs. R) went to an overnight freshman orientation program this week.  I believe it was when she returned armed with her first semester schedule that I finally realized yes, she’s a college kid now.  Most….discombobulating.  It’s a very different feel from when Eldest went off, perhaps because then one was so caught up in the groundbreaking aspect but now the tempus fugit theme seems more present.  God know what it will be like when Youngest goes……

♦  While Mrs. Robbo and Self were away on holiday, I of course paid no attention whatsoever to any form of “news”.  Catching up upon my return, I was both interested and delighted to see the “OhMuhGawdTrumpHitlerIsTearingInnocentMigrantBabiesFromTheirMothersArms!!” meme launch, soar, and crash in flames, all in about 72 hours or so.  Surely there is doctoral thesis-level material there regarding the insanity of the modern nooz propaganda cycle.

♦ Oh, and if you’re interested, Ol’ Robbo is of the opinion that any “blame” that attaches in this matter lies squarely on the parents who drag their children into such a horrible situation in the first place.  Regardless of what Nancy Pelosi or the USCCB may say to the contrary, it is not a sin to refuse to aid, abet, or encourage this kind of child abuse.  So there.

♦ And one other politickal observation?  There will be no “Blue Wave” this fall.

♦ Ol’ Robbo saw quite a bit of “ink” on the beach this week.  I don’t mean a discreet little doo-dah on an ankle here or there, I mean elaborate designs all up and down legs, arms, and backs.  Call me what you will, but I simply fail to see what somebody could possibly be thinking in going for such a look.  Especially (yes, I’ll say it) a woman.

♦ Has any friend of the decanter seen the new Incredibles movie? Frankly, I’m afraid to.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Fingers crossed that thunderstorms don’t thwart my grilling plans later: what with various comings and goings (Eldest gets home from visiting grandparents this afternoon and both the younger gels are away tomorrow to separate summah camps/retreats), this evening is the only time in the next couple weeks when all five of us will actually be home together for dinner.

UPDATE:  Long-time friend of the decanter Sleepy Beth has a review of The Incredibles 2 which gives Ol’ Robbo much hope.  Go check it out.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Over the past two days, Ol’ Robbo has attempted to leave comments in responses to posts by long-time lovely and talented friends of the decanter Sleepy Beth and Diane, both of whom use Blogsplat.  In each instance, after foiling the fiendish “I am not a robot” security picture challenge (which reminds me of something out of an Indiana Jones adventure – “But in the Latin, ‘Jehovah‘ starts with an ‘I‘”), I keep coming up against the demand that I identify myself by my “Google User” account.

Well, I haven’t got a “Google User” account. And furthermore, I don’t want one.  (Evidently, Middle Gel does and also has accessed it from Ol’ Robbo’s laptop, because that’s the default to which the thing keeps running back. Rayther than getting caught in that potential quagmire, Ol’ Robbo has simply abandoned said attempted comments.)

Previously, Blogsplat had been perfectly happy to recognize me as a simple, country WordPress blogger.  What the heck is going on now?

UPDATE: Wow! Speaking of Blogsplat brought back to Ol’ Robbo the memory of the old Llamabutchers, with whom I started blogging on said platform way in November, 2003.  I had thought those archives long lost, but just now (on a whim) I punched them up to discover…...they’re still there! (By the way, rereading it after fifteen years, I’m still very proud of my first substantive blogpost, in which I thoroughly trash Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings movie.)

UPDATE DUEX: Additional Wow! I had also thought the Llamabutcher bloviations over at MuKnew, to which we transferred, had also been sent back to the primordial pixel slime (like in “Waterworld”), to be lost forever.  Again, I was wrong!

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo currently is enjoying a lovely Monday evening on the Port Swiller back porch.  The air is still and heady with the fragrance of the wisteria that opened this week (and Ol’ Robbo has a lot of wisteria in his back yard).  The temperature is just right in the mid-70’s. The catbird is riffing away in the nearby branches.  Ol’ Robbo has a nice glass of wine at his elbow.  And since I haven’t yet toddled off to the basement to turn on the Nats game, I have no knowledge of whether or not they’re winning or losing yet, so anything is still possible.  (I call this period of uncertainty before I pick up the game – typically in about the 5th inning – “Schrödinger’s Box-Score”.)

So what better time to set down my thoughts about some of the movies that have recently come through my Netflix queue, right?  Here we go:

Shane“(1953) – Ol’ Robbo has seen this before several times, but each time I seem to have forgotten what a God-Almighty annoying film it is.  “Shane? What are you going to do, Shane? Shane? Can I come with you, Shane? Oh, Shane, do be careful….Shane!”  There are the seeds of an extremely lethal drinking game there.

Also, as much a fan as I am of Jean Arthur, she was a bit too long in the tooth by then to be making goo-goo eyes at Alan Ladd.

Still, it does have Jack Palance as the psychotic gun-slick.  Ol’ Robbo’s first experience of Palance was his guest appearance in one of the very first episodes of “Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century” in 1979, in which he played some sort of Messianic villain.  I recall asking the Mothe about him then and her giving me a rayther dismissive reply, but since then I’ve come to enjoy what I can only call his exuberant eeevil on screen.

Nonetheless, I have made a mental note that I really, really don’t need to see “Shane” again.

One Million Years, B.C.” (1966) – I’ve seen clips of it before, but never the whole thing at once. Yes, I watched it primarily because it features Rachel Welch in a fur bikini.  Shut up.  For what it’s worth, Ol’ Robbo thinks Ms. Welch was one of the single loveliest beauties ever to grace the screen.

Funnily, as I was watching, I couldn’t help recalling the Mothe’s summation of the book Clan of the Cave Bear, which she somehow got roped into reading for one of her book clubs one time: “Woman tames fire, Woman has roll in the hay.  Woman domesticates horse, Woman has roll in the hay.  Woman discovers principles of agriculture, Woman has roll in the hay. Woman founds civilization, Woman has roll in the hay.”

The Prince and the Showgirl” (1957) – See below.  And especially see ODT’s link in the comments. “Here’s to Puh-resident Taft” is another standard line of Ol’ Robbo’s misspent yoot.

The Prince and the Pauper” (1937) – Just exactly how many movies are there altogether in which Errol Flynn goes toe to toe with Claude Rains? (Not that I’m complaining, you understand.)  This one – based on the Sam Clemens story – was okay, I suppose, except that I found the twin boys who played the young Edward VI and the street rat to be rayther annoying.  And damme if that wasn’t Alan Hale, Sr., as the captain of the palace guard.  Have you ever stopped to consider just how much he and his son look alike?  Every time I watch one of these Flynn films (and Hale, Sr. seems to be in just about all of them), I keep expecting to hear the interjection, “GILLIGAN!”

Scaramouche” (1952) – (“Will you do the fandango?” Heh.)  Love and revenge shortly before the French Revolution, a very formulaic (and ultimately dull) swashbuckler.  I’m sorry, but as the Mothe would have said, I just don’t have the genes to think much of Stewart Granger.  Also, I didn’t care for the way the film portrayed Marie Antoinette as a debased social schemer.  And no, the presence of Janet Leigh was not enough to save it for me.  It contains a famous six minute-long swordfight, which I’m glad I saw, but I don’t think I’d bother again.

And sitting in the bowl on the kitchen counter? “The Seven Samurai” (1954). Ol’ Robbo has seen this once before and really enjoyed it, but it’s three and a half freakin’ hours long.  Last time I watched it was on an afternoon back in the earlies before we had kids when I’d pulled an all-nighter at work the day before, it was raining out, and Mrs. R was out of town.  I don’t want to try again unless and until I can block out a similar un-mortgaged period of time (and also one in which I’m not likely to doze off), so I’ve a sneaking feeling already that I’m eventually going to return it without watching.

Whelp, speaking of which, I suppose it’s time to go collapse those uncertainty waves and see how the Nats are actually doing this evening……

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had not realized until today that this weekend will see the “wedding” of Prince Harry to that Megan what’s-her-name person.

I use the quotation marks deliberately. Sorry to be so harsh, but he’s an immature playboy idiot and she’s got “reality tee-vee trash” stamped all over her.  As I mentioned to Mrs. R this evening, I’m astounded HRH is even allowing the biznay to go forward, much less actively participating in it.

Ol’ Robbo happens to be a Constitutional Monarchist at heart:  I can easily see the benefits of a Royal Family, with a King or Queen as the Personification of the Country.  But in order for this to work, the Royals have to live up to a very high standard of behavior.  Her Majesty and Prince Phillip get this.  Charles does not.  (And Diana was too crazy to keep up the pace.)  William and Kate, much to my initial surprise, surely do.  Harry, so far as I can tell, never has.  And I doubt it even enters into what’s-her-name’s mind.

I give the whole thing, which will be the gift that keeps on giving to our tabloid writer friends, a year and half tops.  Mrs. R says she’ll get a baby out of him first.

And with that, I will say no more about it. Except that I hope I am proven completely and utterly wrong.  Not for their sake, but for Britain’s.

UPDATE:  Felicitously enough, my movie for this evening (since the Nats have been rained out again) is The Prince and the Showgirl.  The first half is one of the funniest films out there. (“So amusink, how you vill laff” is a long-time part of the Family Robbo lexicon.)  Alas, the second half turns mushy and maudlin.  At least I can cut the thing off when it grows tarsome.

 

[Ed. – Sorry?]

‘Ooh, ah like a nice tune, ‘yer forced too!

[Ed. – Then you can go on posting?]

Most certainly.  And now, my fellow port swillers, greetings!

Ol’ Robbo didn’t do all that well this past Lent with heightened prayer, meditation, and reading, but he did do a very good job in sacrifice by giving up all musick for the 40 days, apart from an hour or so on Sundays , and sticking to it.

You have to understand that for me, musick is a near-constant presence in my normal life.  I keep the radio on in the car and in my office all day.  I frequently listen to CD’s in the evenings.  I put in a few hours tickling the ivories on the weekends.  Cutting all that out produces a real, well, silence, and is a …SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!

[Ed. – Told you.]

A real but manageable penance.

Now that it’s Easter Week, of course, I’m indulging myself to the fullest and enjoying it all the more so for having abstained these past weeks.

He is risen, indeed, two, three…..

 

(By the bye, the Python sketch on which I’ve been riffing in this post is an excellent example of one they did better on record (the Matching Tie and Handkerchief Album, if I recall correctly) than on tee-vee.  That’s an endlessly fascinating topic of conversation in and of itself – which sketches worked best in which mediums and why.

Well I’m fascinated by it.  And remember, if you enjoy the topic half as much as I do, then I enjoy it twice as much as you.  Ha, ha!

[Ed. – Cue the 16-ton weight!])

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