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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Before taking the deep plunge into the NLCS (*smacks lips, repeats*), how about a few odds and ends?

♦  Going back to the Metro after about an eight year hiatus, I notice that the number of people milling about the platforms with their noses buried in their iThingies has increased exponentially.  We hates that. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

♦  Speaking of which, I saw a young lady in my rear-view mirror last evening.  In one hand she held her iThingy.  In the other, a snack.  How the heck was she steering?

♦   Speaking of young ladies, Ol’ Robbo takes satisfaction in the fact that St. Greta of the How DARE You did not cop the Nobel Peace Prize this year.  Not that the NPP actually means anything, but still.  We take these little victories against the Madness whenever we can.

♦  Speaking of madness, I saw an amusing headline over to YahooNooz this morning (not linking because Yahoo has gone insane) that some WNBA player was angry at the lack of respect being shown to their finals.  Ol’ Robbo frequently forgets that the WNBA even exists.  As for the NBA, pretty alarming how beholden they turn out to be to the ChiComs, no?  Thank Heaven pro baseball has largely avoided politization, at least so far.  I’ve never cared about basketball anyway, but it would be a real blow to have to give up MLB.

♦  Speaking of living the Counter-Culture Life, Ol’ Robbo caught Apocalypto on the cables last evening.  (I think somebody was doing a little Columbus Day trolling.)  Eldest had recommended it to me and I found it quite fascinating, the ending quite shiver-making.  I’ve no idea how accurately it portrays the pre-Columbian Maya and this is Mel Gibson after all, but from what I do know I would guess it isn’t far off.  Noble Savages they were not.

♦  And speaking of movies, Ol’ Robbo has been on a Shakespeare kick recently.  I’ve been reworking my way through the old Age of Kings series (how can one not like Sean Connery as Hotspur facing off against Robert Hardy’s Prince Hal?), and the other day watched the late-70’s Beeb production of As You Like It featuring the young Helen Mirren.  (Not quite the shmokin’ hot Excalibur Helen Mirren of a couple years later, but this is Shakespeare, not shlock.)  Those late 70’s/early 80’s Beeb productions tend to be hit or miss, but this is one of the better ones.

Whelp, that’s enough for now.  A four day weekend for Ol’ Robbo.  I need to run some errands this morning and get in nacho supplies for tonight’s NLCS opener (*smacks lips again*).  Tomorrow will be a genuine fall yardwork day.  And I believe Middle Gel is coming home for a visit Sunday.  Good times.

 

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Youngest recently informed me that she has a crush on Christian Slater.

M’kay……….

Is this just another manifestation of her eccentricity, or are there others in this camp, too?  As the Mothe used to say, I don’t have the genes to appreciate this sort of thing myself.

(I will admit that I enjoy watching “Broken Arrow” every now and again.  Travolta’s psycho is very entertaining.)

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Rumors have started circulating that Gary Larson may be about to bring “The Far Side” cartoons out of retirement.

Ol’ Robbo was a great fan of TFS back in the day, but I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this.  Way back when, Larson was an absurdist, plain and simple.  But that was before the culture turned into the wretched, polarized, hyper-politicized, Jacobin hate-fest that it is these days.  Can Larson return with a wit enjoyable to a vast and variegated audience?  (So far as Ol’ Robbo recalls, he rarely, if ever, got mixed up in politicks.)  Would he even want to?  Or will he swallow the virtue-signaling Kool-Aid?  (And if you think the latter can’t happen, I’ve got two words for you:  Berke. Breathed.)

We shall see, I guess.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

What with one thing and another, Ol’ Robbo had never seen “3:10 To Yuma” before last evening.  (The 1957 original, that is, not the Russell Crowe remake.)  And do you know, aside from the completely hokey theme song, I really, really liked this film.  The plot is a kind of psychological thriller of the “High Noon” school, where one honest man tries to stick to what’s Right in the face of betrayal, bribery, threat, temptation, and danger.  Van Heflin is perfect as the shlub farmer who finds himself deputized and alone.  And Glenn Ford is alarmingly scary as the murderer Heflin guards while waiting for a train to take him away, being alternately menacing, reasonable, charming, and more menacing.  But I also loved the way the whole thing was put together.  I simply don’t know the vocabulary of cinematography, but I could somehow see and understand how and why the various shots and sequences were framed the way they were and how it all built on itself.  Very well done, indeed.

The other night I also happened to watch “Broken Arrow“.  (The 1950 western, that is, not the 1996 John Travolta/Christian Slater action flick which is fun in itself.)  In this one, Juh-Juh-Jimmy Stewart is a scout on the southwest frontier in the 1870’s who finds and saves a wounded Apache boy.  This leads to a meeting with the great chief Cochise and gets Jimmuh to wondering whether a peace couldn’t be worked out between the Apaches and the whites, since they are all men in the end.  General O.O. Howard agrees with Jimmuh, so he undertakes to open negotiations.  During the course of events, Jimmy meets Sonsee-array, Cochise’s daughter.  They fall in love, but of course things aren’t going to be all that easy.  It’s an okay film, I suppose, known for being one of the first to take a far more sympathetic view of the Indians, but I think the Noble Savage bit was probably a bit overdone.

And one extremely pedantic historickal point:  The real Sonsee-array was not the daughter of Cochise, but of Mangus Colorado.  In fact, Cochise married another of Mangus’s daughters, making Sonsee-array his sister-in-law.  Just thought I’d clear that up in case you ever find yourself in a bar-bet on the matter.

UPDATE: Long-time friend of the decanter Sleepy Beth checks in with her own review of “Jupiter Ascending”, a movie Ol’ Robbo has not seen and now probably won’t.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sometimes the days are random.  Sometimes they’re really random.  I think today goes in the latter class.

♦  Holla! Holla! Watch – Eldest Gel went back to Sweet Briar to start her senior year this morning.  Mrs. R went as well, in part to carry overflow junk in a second car, in part because both of them have been invited to take part in a legacy-recruitment project and the dean of students wanted to have dinner with them.  I think the Gel’s going to have a most-productive year.  And here’s a fun fact for you:  With her move-in today, Eldest is now rooming on the same side of the same hallway of the same dorm as did both Mrs. Robbo and my Sistah (albeit, not at the same time).  I think that’s pretty neat.

♦  Meanwhile, Ol’ Robbo had to take Youngest to an oral surgeon for a consultation about having all her wisdom teeth yanked.  We sat in that office for a total of something close to two hours, while the consultation itself took all of five minutes (and was pretty durn expensive, too).  The coming en-yankening is not something I envy her.

♦  Speaking of Youngest, I was surprised to learn today (when it was delivered) that she’d gone out and bought herself a Study Bible.  Apparently, her recent return to our Christian Sports Camp (where she’s applying to be a counselor-in-training next year) really had an effect on her, as she told me today she’s never felt so close to God before.  She plans on doing Young Life at school this year, too.  Go figure.

Not that I’m complaining at all, at all, mind.

♦  And speaking of deliveries, we got a notice today from our homeowner’s insurance carrier that they’re dropping our coverage in a couple months.  They explained that it’s nothing we’ve done, they’re just getting out of the private residential market.  Very strange.  So I suppose I’ll need to shop around now.  We’ve carried our cars with USAA for forever, and I’ve often mused about consolidating homeowner’s coverage with them as well.  This may prove an opportunity.  Of course, any tips or recommendations would be appreciated.

Well, that’s enough.  I suppose I should go see about some din-dins, and then make up my mind whether I want to watch “Casablanca” or “The Brothers Grimm” (which I’ve never seen) this evening.  (Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats are playing the Bucs, but there are so many storms in the area this evening the game is likely to get spooled out over many hours and I need my beauty rest.)  “Grimm” was recommended to me by Eldest because she knows of my fondness for Terry Gilliam movies and ones with Jonathan Pryce in them in particular.  If I watch it, I’ll let you know what I think.

 

Greetings, fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has been out of town the past couple Sundays, so hadn’t been to his home parish for a few weeks.  Thus, I was greatly surprised yesterday when I pulled up to discover the vestibule all boarded over and fenced off.

It seems the Powers have decided to modify and expand the vestibule.  On the one hand, this is very welcome, as the current one can be a real log-jam.  On the other, it also signals that Ol’ Robbo’s fond dream that they knock the whole building down and start over is even less likely to happen now than before.

Robbo’s church is truly ugly, I’m afraid, and there’s no getting around it.  For one thing, it’s in the style of what might be called ’50’s Modernsky, – all inward-leaning columns, exposed brick and tacky stained glass, and a weird wrought-iron steeple- the kind of thing that James Lileks likes to ape in his Bad Nostalgia books.  For another, it’s in the round, a thing I loathe.  There’s a cupola set dead-center in the ceiling (which rises from all around the walls).  It used to have a sort of spider-web fretwork at its base.  They got rid of that a few years back, opening up the inside.  This was painted deep blue with stars and a dove at the very top.  It’s nice to gaze at, but doesn’t save the rest of the building.

A third thing which irks me is that the altar is oriented not east but south-southeast.  So Mass is celebrated Ad Orientem sort of.  I don’t know why this is.  The old church, which is now the parish office, is both solidly four-square and properly aligned.

You’ll tell me that what goes on inside is far more important than the physical setting and of course you’ll be correct.  And in fact, I’ve got so used to things that I don’t pay any attention to my surroundings while worshipping.  I bring up my old grumble here simply because the new development reminds me of it and because it is (after all) useful blog material.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A delightful evening here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, especially considering that we’re sitting dead red in the center of August.  Loafing out on the porch, Ol’ Robbo thought he might provide you a few dainties on which to nibble as the sun goes down:

♦  Today was Ol’ Robbo’s second telework day of the new regime.  I think I can get used to this.  And yes, I’m finding it to actually be quite productive.  The question no doubt flies around the decanter, “So, was he wearing pants?”  Well, if you ask the Magic 8-Ball, you’ll only get the answer, “Reply hazy, ask again later“.

♦  I’m sorry, but as dearly as I love both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, “Bringing Up Baby” is just not a funny movie.  “Holiday” is funny.  “Adam’s Rib” is funny.  But “Baby”? Just too manic and cutesy.  I don’t care what anybody else says. (I tried to re-watch it the other evening and couldn’t stick more than about half an hour.)

♦  Ol’ Robbo was excited to try out his brand new pair of running shoes this afternoon.  My previous pair was so old that I can’t even remember when I bought them.  They were so worn out that the heels were literally crumbling, causing my ankles and knees to corkscrew when I walked on the treadmill in them.  Not good.  I try not to fling my gold about more than necessary on personal items, but this purchase seemed to me quite justified.

♦  The consolation of having to go back to the Metro to commute to my new office is that I get a little extra reading time in.  Obviously, in such conditions one can’t get into anything too heavy or profound, so I’ve circled back round to my shelf of adventure stories.  At the moment, I’m revisiting H. Rider Haggard, specifically King Solomon’s Mines.  (I plan to read the rest of the Quartermain stories in turn.)  I half-hope that some SJW witnit will spot it and give me grief for my un-wokeness, but I’m not terribly optimistic.  These people are just too pathetically ignorant.

♦  Some fascinating conversations with Eldest Gel this week.  The other day we discussed God’s omniscience and existence outside of Time as it relates to Fatalism and Free Will. “Look,” she said in her direct way, “God knows what you’re going to do, of course.  But you’re still the one who makes up your mind to do it! Otherwise, you’re just a slave or a robot!”  Today, it was Schrödinger’s Cat.  I tried to suggest this was just a thought experiment, but she was having none of it. “The damned cat is either alive or it isn’t!” she said.  “It doesn’t matter at all whether you know it or not!  It’s like that tree in the forest – of course it makes a noise when it falls!”  It seems to me that a Gel who can avoid both the Scylla of Calvinism (and Islam) and the Charybdis of hipster quantum-theory navel gazing ought to go far.  Heh.

And yet this same Gel can’t seem to put her blasted dishes in the gorram dishwasher, no matter how much I rant.  Go figure.

Whelp, that’s about enough “filling up the corners” for now.***  Think I’ll toddle downstairs and see how my Beloved Nationals are doing.

See you in the Gardening Thread tomorrow.

 

***Spot the quote.  This ought to be an easy one.

UPDATE:  Ugh. Blown save.  Ol’ Robbo hates blown saves.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How about a little this and that?

♦  Ol’ Robbo is quite disappointed he wasn’t invited to Google Camp to discuss the impending Doom of the World with the High and the Mighty.  Not.  As the Puppy-Blender likes to say, I don’t want to hear another goddam thing about my carbon footprint.  When the people who keep telling me there’s a crisis start acting like there’s a crisis, then maybe I’ll listen.  Until then, they can STFD and STFU.  (You will, I hope, pardon my French.)

♦  And while we’re on politicks (which I seldom visit here), how much of an idiot do you have to be to allow yourself to be maneuvered into defending Al Sharpton, or denying that Baltimore is a hell on earth?  I mean, come on!

♦  Well, it’s getting on toward that time of the year again.  Middle Gel (now a sophomore) went back to campus yesterday (she’s there early because she got a job as a front desk monitor in one of the dorms this year), and Eldest (a senior) toodles off in (I think) two weeks. Meanwhile, Youngest spent a goodish time over the summah checking out various schools, and has decided she really, really wants to go to Miami of Ohio.  Fingers crossed.  At least it’s a terrific motivator for her to go flat out this semester.

♦  As I mentioned previously, my place of employment moved to a brand-new building this past week. (More on that as I settle in.)  I used to have samples of the Gels’ collective art work taped up all over my office walls at the old place, but that was from ten to fifteen years ago.  Somehow, it seemed appropriate not to repost it in my new digs, but simply to put it all in a file in my drawer.  I suppose it’ll be wedding and grandchildren pics soon.  (And they’d better be in that order, dammit!)

♦  I grow increasingly dissatisfied with Nexflix and its evident decision not to put any real effort into maintaining in its DVD library anything more than about five years old.

♦  I also mentioned the other day that I’m currently reading some John Buchan.  Several friends of the decanter have been urging me to do this for years, and I duly raise my glass to them.  Specifically, I’m working on the Leithen Stories, which might best be described as Old-School Tory adventures.  Crisply and cleanly written, and exciting on a small scale.  (I particularly like “John Macnab” which is all about poaching in the Scottish Highlands.)

Whelp, that’s about it.  Port Swiller Manor has been teased the past couple days by some very strong thunderstorms that just didn’t quite make it all the way here.  I’m hoping we finally get a piece of that action this afternoon.  (Happily, it’s my day off, so I won’t get stuck trying to commute in it.)

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo notes that today is this blog’s 11th anniversary.

Maybe the thing to celebrate is not that it thrives but that it survives at all.   Twenty “hits” and one or two comments is a good day for me.  I can’t even remember the last time somebody actually “linked” me.   The retirees on my blogroll far outnumber those who are still active.

But you know? So what.  As long as I still enjoy hauling out the ol’ laptop and posting whatever runs across my braims, I’ll keep doing it.  Even if it means I’m essentially just typing to myself.

In the meantime, I do feel tremendous gratitude for those of you who stick around here and take those posts in.  And if there aren’t that many here?  It just means there’s more port and Stilton for the rest of us!

So charge your glasses, pray, gunn’ls under, and here’s to 11 Years with three times three and no heel taps!

MULTI-SUBJECT UPDATE:  Thankee, friends!  Thankee muchly!   I say that I do this simply because I enjoy writing, but any blogger who claims that is, in fact, a liar.  The knowledge of making any kind of difference (hopefully for the better) in somebody else’s life and experience with my blatherings far outweighs mere pixilated wanking.

Now for a couple of things.

First, a glass of wine with Melissa Kean who writes over at Rice History Corner and may be a first time commenter here. (At the very least, an infrequent one.)  Welcome!  For what it’s worth as a small historickal nugget, back in the days of my misspent high school yoot in San Antonio in the early 80’s,  Rice was considered the in-state choice for brainiacs and eggheads, a kind of “Texas Ivy”.  I dunno if that perception still holds true.  (For myself, in a class of around 660, I believe I was one of fewer than ten who went out of state.  But then, I was both a Yankee carpet-bagger and a weirdo.)  Oh, and I recall that their marching band was famous for its unconventional performances.  Is that still the case?

Several of you mention the aging factor.  I’d thought about that as well, but the truth is I still think of this place as fairly newish because I first started blogging with the formation of the Llamas back in November, 2003.  That’s ancient history!  Ol’ Robbo still yearns for a bloggy renaissance.  Those first heady days back in the earlies were such fun and so free-spirited.  Of course, the times are considerably different now, but I had hopes that the poisonous and censorious atmospheres of platforms like Twatter and FacePlant would convince folk to come back to the Blogsphere.  (WordPress, bless ’em, have never given me any flak whatsoever for the stuff I put up here.)

Browndog mentions a discussion in the morning thread over at the Ewok’s Place today about John Boorman’s original plan to do a Lord of the Rings movie back in the late 70’s which got kyboshed because of costs.  He wound up doing “Excalibur” instead.  Yes, I did see that, although I didn’t open up the linkies because work.  It’s not unreasonable to believe that had Boorman done LOTR, Peter Jackson maybe would not have.  And long-time friends of the decanter know all about what Ol’ Robbo thinks of Peter Jackson.  On the other hand, if Boorman had carried on through with the project and “Excalibur” hadn’t been made, would we have still got a young, nekked Helen Mirren?  I think not. Just sayin’.

Finally, did somebody say….Mélissa Theauriau??!!

Yes, indeedilly-didilly! ***

 

*** Another Llama blast-from-the-past.  And yes, I need to get to Confession anyway……

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This weekend Ol’ Robbo watched a new-to-him movie courtesy of Netflix, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2006)

I have no recollection whatsoever how this flick wound up in the ol’ queue, but there it was.

The movie is billed as a “mockumentary” of an attempt to film the impossible-to-film mid-1700’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, at least parts of which Ol’ Robbo has managed to read with some enjoyment.  (It’s very hard work.  The thing wraps itself in layers which continue to fold, spin, and mutilate, and very, very careful attention is necessary.)

Well.

Ol’ Robbo generally enjoys mockumentaries, but frankly this one couldn’t hold a candle to the great Christopher Guest and his quintet of beauties.  There seemed to be no real plot arc, one idea being picked up and then tossed in favor of another, and in the end it just sort of stopped without any kind of conclusion.  (I watched it twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing something.)  There were bits and pieces of funny here and there certainly, but it it just didn’t really seem to sustain itself all the way through.

On the other hand, the film’s about a 1700’s costume piece, so at least it had me there.

All in all, I think I’d give it two glasses out of five and probably wouldn’t bother again.

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