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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was pleased to stumble across the Miami of Ohio – Ohio University football game on ESPN last evening. It’s very rarely, indeed, that any school with which I have any sort of gunnegshun makes it to national teevee, most of my contacts being Division III and/or girls’ schools. (My brother’s kids, on the other hand, all go or went to SEC or ACC schools, so they get the Big Time treatment on a regular basis.)

And funny enough, I had not one but two such gunnegshuns here because while Youngest is at Miami, both my parents went to Ohio U.

Youngest was at a club meeting of some sort where they couldn’t get the signal on their screen, so I texted her updates for a while.

Alas, Miami lost. Oh, well. (The students and alumni there will very quickly tell you that hockey is their forte sport. And there is a running joke on campus about a game they played against Ohio State a few years back in which they actually led for about ten minutes.)

Anyhoo, it was nice to lie back and watch some truly amateur ball.

By the bye, Ol’ Robbo never watches network teevee these days, and only offbeat cable channels. Most of the commercials on them are for things like prescription meds, hearing-aids, and Medicare enrollment. The stuff on ESPN? Well, it’s a very, very different world.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A cold, wet, and windy day here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor as a small nor’easter works its way up the coast.

The only remarkable thing about this particular storm is that my iPhone forecast “app”** thingy was predicting a 100% chance of rain today five or six days ago. A bold strategy, Cotton, and I guess it paid off.++

Once again Ol’ Robbo dutifully cleaned the leaves and whatnot off the driveway in an effort to preempt the storm blocking the drains and flooding the basement. At least since this will be a daytime “weather event”** I can keep an eye on the situation and dash out to clear clutter as needed. UPDATE: Checked the driveway at first light. I’ll take “What is a futile gesture?” for $500, Alex.

I’m supposed to go get my second jab today. Eldest counsels that I ought to stick with the plan, as the weather is likely to keep the lines shorter. I admit that her thinking has merit.

On the other hand, I also just remembered that the top is still down on my Jeep and it’ll be a pain in the neck to put it back up. (Cold canvas is a nuisance to work with.) There’s a voice whispering in my head just to blow the whole thing off and stay in my metaphorical robe and jammies all day. ^^

We’ll see,

** Words and phrases that will be eliminated from the English language if Robbo ever becomes Emperor.

++ Spot the reference.

^^ I say metaphorical because I cannot stand actually doing so once I’m up and out of bed. It’s always been a thing with me.

Mid-Battle UPDATE: Defenses holding so far. I’ve only had to clear the drains twice. The leaves are getting so water-logged now that only a very heavy deluge will move them.

And second vax status? Blown off.

And for those of you who have absolutely no interest whatever in such domestic reporting, laugh along with Ol’ Robbo at PETA’s recent announcement that the MLB should rename bullpens to “arm barnsbecause the former is insensitive to cows. Really!

UPDATE DEUX: Ma Nature says “Hold my beer and watch this!” It hadn’t got too far into the garage before I spotted it, but I don’t doubt that the dulcet “BWAAAM!!” of the basement pump will start soon enough.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For those of you keeping track, Ol’ Robbo is happy to report that he is on the backside of whatever seasonal bug it was Eldest brought home the other day. (Just in time to get my second forced jab this weekend, with God-only-knows what kind of effects. Yee-haw.)

(Speaking of which, thank Heaven Ol’ Robbo has no young kids or grandkids to worry about at the moment. Geesh.)

We had our first nor’easter of the season over the past two days. (I think we get another one on Friday.) Lots of ka-boom! followed later by lots of whoooooosh!! Of course, the show greatly accelerates the leaf-fall already in progress, thereby overwhelming my drains and causing my basement to flood, so as much as I enjoy these storms, they also include lots of grrrrrr!!

I mentioned below that I was binge-reading Charles Portis during my down time. He wrote five novels altogether. Want to know the mark of a good author? I couldn’t tell you which of them is my favorite except to say it’s the one I happen to be reading at the moment.

And I am now definitely on the edge of starting my latest Evelyn Waugh binge, having picked up Decline and Fall last evening. (I do have specific favorites among his works along with some I don’t much like.) UPDATE: Okay, okay. Since you ask, I find Vile Bodies (aka Bright Young Things) to be too relentless in its bleak hammering. And I’ve never cared for Brideshead Revisited’s pure melodrama.

I have been boycotting Major League Baseball this year because it decided to get itself involved in politicks. But I am slightly tempted to watch the Series since the teams playing in it are from Texas and Georgia. Karma can be a beyotch sometimes.

(And no, I never had any interest in the NBA in teh first place, and I haven’t watched pro football since Dan Marino retired. As for the NHL, I grew up in South Texas back when hockey was a foreign country. If Ol’ Robbo ever becomes Emperor, I will decree that it not be played in any city south of Mason-Dixon. Some of the venues these days are beyond ridiculous.)

UPDATE DEUX: I learn that today apparently is National Black Cat Day. Who knew?

Ol’ Robbo has only ever had one black cat, back in the days of my yoot. The Mothe named her Bathsheba, which in retrospect might be in somewhat questionable taste, but we all just called her “Bash” anyway.

Smart cat and friendly up to a clearly-defined point. She once killed a coral snake and brought it to our back door.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing holiday.

Ol’ Robbo’s plans to work in his garden segued into spending the day loafing in his hammock so smoothly that he barely even noticed. Sorry, not sorry.

Brats on the grill for dins in the evening, as it was cool enough out to make them enjoyable. (Bratwurst, like Guinness stout, is too heavy for hot weather in my humble opinion.)

I was delighted to read yesterday of Christopher Newport University’s last minute come-from-behind touchdown drive to beat Dubyanell in its first game of the season. Apart from having a Gel at CNU, I’ve come to believe that the transmogrification of my old school into the People’s Glorious Soviet of Lexington, VA is both unstoppable and almost complete, and I begin to take keen pleasure in these little setbacks.

Whelp, time to put away the seersucker and white shoes and get on with autumn……. (I speak metaphorically. Ol’ Robbo does not own a seersucker suit. I’ve always felt that one must have a certain kind of physical presence to pull off wearing such a suit successfully, a presence which I’m keenly aware I do not have. Give Ol’ Robbo his blazer and khakis anonymity.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

First, how about a spot of color?

This is my prairie cup-flower. Cheery thing, isn’t it?

They’re native to central and western Missourah and other parts of the Plains. However, this one was a present from Mrs. R’s brother-in-law, a cutting from one he spotted it in a roadside ditch in the Boston area, dug up, and put in his own garden. (How it got to Eastern Massachusetts I can’t imagine, but I bet its arms were tired!) It’s been happy enough here in Virginny over the years but even at about 6 1/2 feet it seems somewhat short this season, prolly because of the lack of rain.

And yes, it continues quite dry here. So much so, in fact, that I even made a start at trying to grub out some of the moss that plagues my front yard. The stuff comes out, but even dead and dry it’s a mug’s game to try and remove. Plus I can’t help thinking I’m only spreading spores all over the place anyway. I gave up after about twenty minutes. (Even as I type this, however, the sky is starting to turn somewhat ominous. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll catch a break. UPDATE: In fact, we got about a forty-five minute downpour out of it. Not as beneficial as a good, slow soaker, but every little helps, right?)

I’ve mentioned here from time to time my next-door neighbors’ adventure in putting in a vegetable garden this year. Well yesterday Mrs. Neighbor appeared at our front door bearing a bowl full of cucumbers and tomaters from said garden. It was a lovely thing to do. We got chatting and I asked her about Little Bunny Foo-Foo and his pals that I often see cavorting near their crop. She said the rabbits weren’t a problem, but the woodchucks have been playing merry hell. They’ve recently had to strengthen their defensive fortifications so much that the plots resemble not so much gardens as redoubts. I confessed that was why I pretty much confine myself to flower species the critters don’t much care about.

On a completely different subject, I see where teh Cleveland sports-ball team has announced it’s renaming itself after a leftist British newspaper. (I confess I don’t much see the connection.) Ol’ Robbo is old enough to remember being reassured when Chief Wahoo was disappeared that this was as far as the club planned to go. Good thing I already have my “Wild Thing” edition DVD of “Major League”. Mayhaps I’ll watch it this evening just because.

Finally, a forewarning that blogging may be pretty light round here the next week or two, as a looming court hearing for work likely will kybosh already is kyboshing Ol’ Robbo’s leisure time and turning him into Busy Bee. And not Commodus from “Gladiator” murmuring “busy…little…bees”, but instead Hamilton Swan from “Best In Show” shouting, “Where is Busy Bee? Where is Busy BEE!! Whaddaya mean it’s not here?!! You go find Busy Bee RIGHT NOW!!!”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The schadenfreude Ol’ Robbo is seeing (and, admittedly, enjoying) on the innerwebz over the U.S. wimminz soccer team unexpectedly getting hammered by the Swedes yesterday*** reminds me that there are, in fact, Olympic Games going on.


Although keenly excited by the Games when I was a younker, I gave up on them when NBC took over the coverage in the mid-80’s and switched from actually, you know, showing the competition to wall-to-wall “human interest” stories. Bag that.****

My favorite “coverage” moment was the Miracle On Ice at Lake Placid in 1980. For reasons which I do not recollect, ABC tape-delayed showing the Game itself, but was carrying on with live coverage beforehand. The announcers were attempting to be poker-faced, but people in the background were running about in joyous frenzy, so no matter how hard the network tried to maintain the suspense, we already knew Something Big had happened.

Good times.

***I actually don’t doubt that they’ll come back and take the Gold because that’s the Narrative.

****I’m sure there are alternate sources where I could find more pristine competition coverage, but the fact of the matter is that I don’t care enough to bother looking for them.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t have that much to say. Again. It’s getting to be that time of year. [Ed. – When has that ever stopped you before?] Quiet, you.

I gather Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is to be played this evening. Ol’ Robbo hasn’t watched a game since the Nats won the Series back in 2019. Last year I was disgusted with the COVID response and “experimental” rules changes. This year I’m disgusted with MBL’s decision to get fully involved in politicks. I haven’t gone so far as to chuck all my Nats’ team gear, but I look on it all now as a memento of the Before Times instead of active boosterism.

Sometimes our cable actually pays for itself. Last evening I caught “The Most Dangerous Game” (1932) on TCM. It’s a short, tight thriller about a crazed Russian nobleman (who for Flashman fans could easily have been Count Ignatieff’s grandson) who hunts shipwrecked castaways on his South Pacific island for sport. In this case, it’s Joel McRae and Fay Wray whom he pursues through the jungle, the latter in an ever-increasingly tattered and damp gown. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Is there nothing it can’t do? Coffee consumption linked to lower risk of COVID-19 infection. Ol’ Robbo otter be downright bulletproof.

Oh, and utterly random observation: I’d never owned a long-haired cat until we got Decanter Kitten last year. I’m amazed at how much fur she sheds in this hot weather. Her tail is about a third the thickness it was over the winter. (And somehow, we’re managing to vacuum up more fur than ever could possibly have been on her in the first place.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo may or may not have mentioned here before that Youngest Gel had joined her school’s sailing club this past year. She’s enjoyed it immensely. For one thing, she has a bit of experience already, having sailed Sunfish at her summah camp for years and years, so she’s quickly picked up on the skills and technique. For another, it seems to be quite the genial and lively group, and exactly the sort of people she was hoping to meet by getting off the East Coast. They even have a club softball team on which teh Gel plays.

Anyhoo, it’s a legit group. Not only do they sail out of their own boathouse, they also go round the regional regatta circuit. Yesterday, the Gel received the schedule for September and October and I found myself glancing idly at the various named meets. Most of them were pretty bland: Ohio State has the “Buckeye Invite” while Illinois has the “U of I Regatta”. However, looking down the list, I saw that Indiana University will be proudly hosting the “Hoosier Mama”.

That joke and its variants are probably as old as the State itself but I’d not been expecting it and laughed heartily.

By the bye, from what the Gel tells me, these meets seem pretty true to the tradition of Jack Tar ashore. Apparently, the form is for all the teams to get together the night before and party like maniacs, sailing the next day in, shall we say, a somewhat subdued condition. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me but then again it’s been a looooong time since I was a kollege kid myself. (In fact, rowing crew we weren’t allowed to drink at all during race season but I couldn’t imagine even wanting to the night before a regatta. We had plenty of reasons to lose our lunches already.) Nonetheless, a good time seems to be had by all.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Congratulations to Hideki Matsuyama for winning this year’s Masters Tournament.

I have no idea who he is.

In fact, scanning the final results, I have no idea who the vast majority of the players are. Phil Mickelson, Freddy Couples, maybe one or two others. That’s about it.

I used to watch professional golf quite a bit back in the day, but it’s an immensely time-consuming practice and, well, my time hasn’t really been that much my own for some years now. Hopefully somewhere in the not so distant future I will again have the opportunity to spend a long, lazy afternoon watching a tournament.

Or play myself. One of my retirement goals has always been to pick the game back up. I smacked a ball around the course a bit in my yoot but it must be fifteen years anyway since the last time I picked up a club.

UPDATE: Golly, this post went over like a lead balloon!

I suppose it’s just proof that, unless you have some connection with the game yourself, watching pro golf on the teevee is excruciatingly dull.

I’m the same way with tennis. I don’t play, so have no interest whatever in catching any of the tournaments. Mrs. R, on the other hand, who has been a keen player all her life, gobbles them up.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

On a sudden whim, Ol’ Robbo popped in his DVD of “Major League” last evening. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this movie over the years, but it remains perennially fresh. (Although these days I tend to fast-forward through the Tom Berenger/Rene Russo bits.)

It occurred to me this morning that this whim might have been sparked by the fact that, at least in the Sane Years, pitchers and catchers would be reporting to camp right about now. I don’t know about this year because I haven’t followed things at all. I’ve no idea who is or isn’t on the Nationals’ roster, what the schedule is, what “experimental” tinkerings with last fake season’s rules are carrying forward to this year (DH’s in the National League are the work of the devil), what chance of actually seeing a game live, none of it. Nor do I especially care. So long as the game is plagued by fashionable politickal posturing and bogus pandemic restrictions, I will stay away from it. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever again be what it once was.

But back to the moovie. Now that the Cleveland Baseball Team has un-personed Chief Wahoo, I am especially happy that I have this film firmly preserved in DVD form, lest it be purged for wrongthink. This is one of the main reasons I stay firmly away from all streaming services, e-books, and other electronic platform entertainment and information systems. The only way they’ll physically be able to take my copy (or my other incorrect books and movies) away is when the goons ransack Port Swiller Manor while Ol’ Robbo is being subjected to his struggle session by the neighborhood Block Captain.

And speaking of baseball, since Mrs. R and I both have the day off today, we decided to take Decanter Dog over to the river for a ramble along the bluffs and cliffs. As the park is a national one subject to fed’rul regulations, the signs were up all over the place insisting that masks be worn at all times. The connection is that the only extra mask Mrs. R had in her car that I could use was a Nats one. In view of my opinions above, I put it on….reluctantly. That, and the fact of the pure ridiculousness of the requirement in the first place. It’s a chilly day here and the place was practically empty, the fresh, healthy air in abundance. But who are we mere peons to question the wisdom of our Betters? (As a matter of fact, especially since the damn thing kept fogging up my glasses, I mostly kept it on my chin, only pulling it up when we came near somebody who looked like they’d cause a stink about it.)

Despite all that, we had a nice ramble. Some of the trails along the cliffs overlooking the rapids and waterfalls are quite steep and rocky, but Decanter Dog seems to have a real talent for picking her way along them. (Sort of like Sam Gamgee’s pony, Poor Bill.) But she also displays a distinct desire to get as close to the edge as possible. I can handle her well enough, but I sometimes worry that one of these days she’s suddenly going to throw herself and one of my wimmin-folk into the watery depths.

Why D-Dog seems so fascinated with the wet mystifies me, by the bye, because she absolutely hates a bath, which is what she got as soon as we came home, given all the mud she splashed her way through. And it can’t be just the swirling currents of the river that hold such an attraction. She does exactly the same thing when we walk around the little pond in our neighborhood. If left to her own will, she’d stare into it for hours. But that’s a dog’s braim for you: dense, dark, inexplicable.

Almost, if not quite, as bad as the braims of our Betters.


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December 2021