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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself watching “The Legend of Bagger Vance” on one of the golf channels this evening.  Will Smith (who I’ve often argued could have been the modern day Cary Grant) and MATT DAMON!

So far, it’s pretty lame.  And totally predictable.

But what amuses me are the commercials in between.  Is there any sport out there that has a more direct connection with hustling merchandise to its audience?  I mean the NFL and MLB push things like jerseys on pure spectators.  Big Golf pushes merchandise on legions of wannabe competitors.  Clubs, balls, practice aids, shoes, apparel – you name it.  (And now that I think about it, I suppose Big Tennis does the same thing.)

I don’t note this out of mockery.  Ol’ Robbo actually likes the game a good bit.  I learned it initially from my old father, who eventually became about an 8 handicap.  The summah before I went off to law school I spent working as a bagboy at a club.  One of the perks was free lessons with the club pro, a woman who had a real gift for teaching.  I never got so far as establishing a handicap myself, but I did gain a fundamental appreciation of the game.

I haven’t had much time at all since then to do anything about it, much to my regret, but it’s always been a plan of mine to include a return to golf among the Four Things I plan to do in my retirement (the other three being serious writing, the piano, and gardening).  I’ve still got the Old Gentleman’s last set of clubs, which I don’t think he ever actually used.  It’s sitting out in my garage, gathering dust.  Some day I’ll dust them off and take them for a ride.  But I’m sure by then, if the bug bites me good and hard, I’ll find myself taken in by whatever up-to-the-moment technology Big Golf is flogging at that point.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Since I already lobbed a substantive religious rant at you two days ago, I’ll just remark here that this afternoon – already a week late – I finally put together my Advent table wreath.

The pines at the entrance to our neighborhood which I usually raid for materials got trimmed some time this past fall, so I decided not to cut more off them until they get shaggy again.  Instead, I used some evergreens out of the Port Swiller Manor yard itself, mostly holly and laurel (the hollies have lots of berries this year, no doubt because of all the rain we got).  It looks pretty decent, I suppose, but I doubt it’s going to last all that long since bigger, flatter leaves dry up a lot more quickly than pine needles.  Still, it’ll do until I can go buy a couple feet of roping.

The purple-bowed wreaths went up on the front door in a timely manner, at least.  We got them at Costco this year, by the bye.  Very nicely made and quite inexpensive.  I just hope they’ll make it until Twelfth Night.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Tomorrow being the Feast of St. Nicholas, today the Krampus is supposed to earn his paycheck by carting off all the bad, misbehaving, disrespectful children** and doing all sorts of thoroughly unpleasant things to them.

Seems to me the guy’s been slacking off for some time now, given all the spoiled-brat, whiney, snowflakes I see about me, who are no longer even deemed bad by the so-called “culture” but have come to shape it in their own wretched image so thoroughly.

C’mon, scary Middle European anti-masque-y demonic being, get off your goat’s duff and clean house for a change!

** “Children” here I think should be defined based on mental maturity, not on actual count of years.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, I noted in the post below my bout of flu and my intention to spend all of Saturday just reading in front of the fire.

Of course it didn’t work out that way.

By midday I was feeling so much better that I decided to take the dog for a long walk.  But I failed to accurately judge when the weather was going to close in.  While we were at the far end of our circuit, it started to rain.  By the time we got back, I was soaked and freezing.

As you might imagine, it was back to bed for another 48 hours for Ol’ Robbo.  We’ll try getting back on track tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I took advantage of my enforced idleness to watch some new-to-me programming in the form of two movies and a Nat Geo teevee show.

The first movie was “The Mouse That Roared“, a 1959 comedy flick in which Peter Sellers plays multiple roles.  I had tossed it into my Netflix queue and forgot about it.  Basically, a small European Duchy that depends on wine exports for its economic life gets cheated out of the market by a California cabal.  So it decides to declare war on the United States, knowing that it will lose, but expecting that we will give it lots of economic aid because we’re such magnanimous winners.  Owing to a secondary plot involving the secret development of a new Super Bomb, however, the Duchy winds up winning.  Hylarity ensues.

It was all right, I suppose, although I am no fan of Sellers’ America-bashing, especially where nukes are involved. (This is why I don’t really care for “Dr. Strangelove”.)  Pete, baby, we get it! Nukes are scary and awful! And ‘Muricans are knuckle-dragging, bombastic, Bible-thumping hypocrites!  Clang! Clang! Clang! 

Matter of fact, probably the most entertaining thing about the film was the Duchy’s military, which consisted of nothing but a company rigged out as 14th Century longbowmen, marching about 1950’s Noo Yawk.

I don’t think I’ll bother with it again.

The other movie was “The Outlaw“, a 1943 telling of the Billy the Kid story.  This was on TCM, I think.  I came in a bit late, but it seemed to be one of the more romantic portrayals of the Kid, in which he has a Code of Honor that just sometimes doesn’t mesh with the corruption and cheating of the “Real” world.  Walter Huston plays a rather inexplicable Doc Holliday, who is Billy’s partner here.  (Wyatt Earp called to say “Whut?”)  One of my favorite character actors from the time, Thomas Mitchell, plays Pat Garrett, who in the end fakes Billy’s death so that Billy can ride off into the sunset with the love interest of the story played by a very young Jane Russell (her first role, I believe).

Now Ol’ Robbo isn’t going to say that Jane Russell is the main attraction of this film, but they do manage to insert a gratuitous scene in which she falls into a stream and emerges with her dress clinging pretty tightly to her…assets.

Yes, I’d probably watch it again.

Finally, Robbo noticed last evening that one of the Nat Geo channels was running a documentary in which Michael Palin goes to tour North Korea.

I thought I’d give it a try.

I lasted about ten minutes.

During that time, Palin, shadowed very carefully by two Party monitors, goes to the DMZ and talks to a Nork lieutenant.  At one point, the lieutenant notes that it was the Americans who started the Korean War.  “Oh,” says Palin (and this is paraphrased from memory). “Well, um, it’s funny because when I was very small we were all taught that it was the Koreans…..I guess everyone has their own interpretations…”

Then the lieutenant says that of course all he wants is World Peace.  “Gosh, me too,” says Palin.  “Maybe when two people like you and me can just get together and talk, better things could happen!”

That was about all I could take.

I don’t know whether Palin was being diplomatic because he knew one wrong word would land him in the gulag, or else whether he was being idiotically naïve.  I do know how it came across…….



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Although in the New Calendar this is Christ the King Sunday in the Catholic Church, in the Old Calendar which we follow at our Traditional Latin Mass, it’s simply the final Sunday after Pentecost.  (In the Old Calendar, Christ the King is the last Sunday in October.) In either case, today marks the end of the Liturgical Year and we’re now squared away to begin a new one with the start of Advent next Sunday.

Our Padre today was talking about the end of the fiscal year in the biznay world, a time at which the accountants crunch the numbers to determine profits and losses, and to see just how the biznay “did” over the prior year.  He suggested a parallel examination of our own personal faith – what did we do over the year that brought us closer to God? What did we do that pushed us farther away? What changes are we going to make this coming year to improve our balance sheet?

Pretty good food for thought.  And, at least in my case, a pretty good argument for corporate austerity going into the New Year.

Since it’s Sunday, Ol’ Robbo will use the opportunity to wish you all a belated happy St. Cecilia’s Day.  (Her Feast is actually November 22, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day this year.)

Because Ol’ Robbo is so fond of musick, St. Cecilia (patroness thereof) is probably my favorite of the lot, and certainly has the most workaday role in my life: I keep a Donatello relief of her on top of my piano, and when I start using bad language in frustration over my feeble playing, I turn to her for aid in asking pardon.  I also thank her for her assistance on those rare occasions when I feel I’ve done justice to a particular piece.

And speaking of musick, I am here to tell you that as of today, Sunday, November 25, 2018, Ol’ Robbo is already sick to death of the X-Mas musick playing in the grocery stores, in teevee commercials, and already on the Local Classickal Station.  For those of you requesting an extra side of curmudgeonry in Ol’ Robbo’s “holiday season” posting this year, your order is ready for pick-up.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is going to take a couple days away from the laptop in order to rest his eyes some and also to do a bit of meatspace holiday reveling.

If it’s content you want, here’s a link to the question I asked a couple of years ago (and which is a matter of war to the knife for some people): Which was really the “First” Thanksgiving?

Knock yourselves out.  I’ll see you on the other side.

And in the meantime, drive careful and make sure you eat and drink too much!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo recently noticed that Verizon had added a couple of new local stations (one of which seems to be based in Winchester, VA Hagerstown, MD – see below) to its cable package.

I suppose in order to gin up an audience base, these stations are running “Star Trek” four-packs each evening: TOS, NG, DS9, and V.  I’ve started re-watching TOS just for the heck of it.

They’re running the “modified” version of the series that came out a few years ago in which the vast majority of the original external space shots have been replaced with CGI updates.  I have to say that as much as I liked some of the cheesy old effects, I actually approve of this do-over because it’s respectful of the original, doesn’t draw undue attention to itself, and doesn’t seek to muck about any plot points.  (Nowhere, nowhere is there any suggestion of the equivalent of Han not shooting first.)

I can’t help thinking again that Lucas coulda learned a thing or two from this.  (Of course, that assumes that he respected his own original, didn’t want to draw undue attention to himself, and didn’t seek to muck about any plot points.  And as they say, never assume because it makes an “ass” of “u” and “me”.)

And no, I’m not a sci-fi geek.

UPDATE: The new cable channel is the H & I Network.  Its programming seems to be largely old-school reruns, with which I have no problem at all.  (Not that I watch much teevee anyway.)  They seem to have taken over WDCA in Dee Cee, and also have a station WDVM in Hagerstown.  The latter is currently running an ad for a bottom-feeding car dealership that features an astonishingly good voice impersonation of Marisa Tormei in “My Cousin Vinny”.

Oh, and to illustrate my main point above, last evening’s episode was “The Squire of Gothos“.  At one point, the Enterprise is trying to escape and the super-powered alien uses the planet Gothos itself to box her in.  The original sequence was, if I recall correctly, meh.  The new one is pretty cool without being all about itself.

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.

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!

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.)








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