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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sat with Eldest Gel as she registered on line to vote this evening.  She wanted to get in early enough to participate in the Ol’ Virginny primaries next month.

Yeeks.

“Dad”, she said, “I’m confused.  I’ve read a lot recently by some sensible people calling themselves “classical liberals”, but they don’t sound very much like the other “liberals” I read about. What gives?”

“Oh,” I replied, “You’re absolutely right.  The two are completely different.  In fact, I consider myself to be a “classical liberal”.  I’m not much of a teacher, but read Adam Smith.  Read Edmund Burke.  Read Friedrich Hayek.  They will tell you what it means.”

“Yeah,” she said, “maybe.”

I hope she does, although I doubt it (at least in the immediate future).  Sad, this may be.  On the other hand, given her proclivities, had she been an avid reader at this age, she would by now have stumbled across and embraced Ayn Rand.  I’m really rayther happy that this hasn’t happened.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, ol’ Robbo watched the Sooper Bowl this evening, only the second pro football game he’s caught this season.  Some observations:

  • Good game.  Ol’ Robbo prefers a good defensive struggle to an offensive blow-out.  I’m the same way about baseball, with which I am far more concerned.  I recall a banner on the wall in my own high school locker room:  “If they never score, we never lose.  Defense wins championships.”
  • (I can’t make this dot go away(
  • Peyton Manning.  I’ve enjoyed seeing the guy thwarted from time to time over the years because of his, in my humble opinion, outsized ego.  But his final game? Nice to see him get another ring.
  • (ditto)
  • I heard (did not see) that “Lady Gaga” sang the National Anthem straight down the middle, concentrating on the anthem and not on herself (indeed, making a point of it).  If so, good on her.  For that, at least.
  • (ditto)
  • Ol’ Robbo flees  as far away from “pop” culture as he can on a regular basis, confining his ordinary teevee viewing to old movies, baseball,  and cable retro series like “Star Trek: TNG” and “Frasier”.  It’s only in such incidences as the Sooper Bowl that he comes in direct contact with what might be called the here and now.  My impression?  God help us all – it’s worse than I thought.
Kitteh and Rose

Kitteh and Rose

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself standing around and kicking his heels today while waiting for the construction guy to show up.  For those of you who have followed the saga of the Port Swiller Manor renovations, the basement (specifically, the Eldest’s bedroom) is flooding again owing to the melt from Snowzilla, so once more the fellah needs to come out and find the leak.  This is his third or fourth attempt.  So far, he’s tried to fix it from the outside but I think he’s probably going to have to face the fact this time that he’s got to re-excavate part of the inside wall.  I know he’s trying to save himself labor and supply costs (I have no intention of paying for this repair), but enough is enough.

Anyhoo, I noticed this rayther aesthetically pleasing scene of kitteh and rose so I thought I would share it over the decanter.  The kitteh is Fiona, a very quiet and self-contained animal but quite friendly in her own way and capable of some very crazy fits.  The rose is the double-knockout that usually lives at the top of the porch stairs out back.  That’s probably the sunniest window in the house during winter, but as you can see, the plant has got quite gangly trying to soak up the rays.  Better than freezing to death outside like the last one, however.

By the way, who do you guys like for “L”?  Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of watching Manning miss it by thaaaat much over the years, but as this is his last game and I kinda like the Broncs anyway, I’m going with them.  Anyway, my brother in North Carolina would rightly tag me as a band-wagoner if I suddenly started rooting for the Panthers, plus that Cam Newton guy, undoubtedly a very gifted young QB, has been making jackass comments lately.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has never figured out why it seems that weeks with a Monday holiday actually feel longer than normal weeks, but they do.  Strange.

♦   Well, in a sign o’ the times, the Eldest has decided to drop her political science/current events elective because she feels the atmosphere is too poisonous and that she’ll get in trouble for saying the wrong thing.  (She’s going to go work in the attendance office during that period instead.)  It won’t have any effect on her GPA or her college prospects so we’re not fighting her about it, but this is really a damned shame.

♦   Speaking of politicks, I see where the Jebster is spending money like a sailor on shore leave with apparent nil effect.  Last weekend I found myself having drinks with one of his GOPe money-men.  The fellah started out bragging about how much dosh the campaign had and how much time there was until the nomination, but he ended up sounding really rayther dubious.  I kept a diplomatic face, of course, but inside I was rejoicing.

♦     To borrow Mr. FLG’s celebrity sightings shtick, I saw Justice Scalia stop by the local auto parts store on his way home from work the other day.  This “regular guy” thing filled me with simple delight, although it didn’t quite top the time I saw him at the grocery store in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

♦    On the pet front, the dog rolled in something pretty nasty yesterday and now smells like low tide.  Any recommendations for some good quality shampoo?  Also, one of the cats has started pooping and peeing in the basement.  I know this is sometimes a signal of the approaching end, as it was with poor old Jenny (who lasted until age 19) but I think in this case it’s just out of jealousy and spite.  Any recommendations for good quality odor suppression and/or behavioral modification?  (Alas, getting rid of the cat is not an option.)

♦    Cubs versus Mets should be a pretty durn good NLCS.  Frankly, I’m surprised either one made it this far, let alone both.  Ol’ Robbo is o-fficially backing the Cubs to take it all now, if for no other reason than the fulfillment of the “Back to the Future” prophesy.

♦   Finally, I simply cannot let the week go without reposting one of the most awesome nooz ledes evah:  LONDON — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Whelp, that’s it for now.  Wish me luck:  Ol’ Robbo is being dragged to a “harvest gathering” put on by his Former Episcopal Church this evening and is not looking forward to it.

Washington-Nationals1Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I suppose it’s not all that surprising to Ol’ Robbo that, after they blew what was anticipated to be a World Series season in fairly feeble style, his beloved Nats sacked second-year manager Matt Williams today.  I guess I am suprised a bit surprised that the entire coaching staff was taken out as well.  So far as I could tell, there was some good meat on those bones.

Surgeon’s knife, I guess.

As to the future? One rumor that has been swirling around is that Cal Ripken, Jr. might take the helm.

On the one hand, how totes awesome would it be to have somebody of Cal’s status helming the team?

On the other, I dunno that he’s been doing much other than sponsoring little league kids the past few years, so how well would he adjust to the Show so long after having left it?

*Shrugs*

Well, hell.  As to this year’s post-season, I am O-fficially latching on to the “Back To The Future II” meme of backing the Cubbies to win it all.  Failing that, I at least expect the Mets to get crushed by the Dodgers in the first round, which will satisfy my seasonal bloodlust.

As to the big picture, which involves some major changes in player personnel for next year that we can discuss later, what else can one say except:

GO, NATS!!!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, ol’ Robbo finds himself knocking about Port Swiller Manor for the third day, quietly waiting for Pope Francis to wrap things up downtown and head north.

♦   Frankly, I’ve not paid the least attention to the coverage of events so far.  For one thing, I absolutely refuse to let the media (mainstream OR social) tell me what I ought to make of it all.  For another, I just don’t cotton to anything that smacks of celebrity hype.  (Of course, to be perfectly honest with myself I acknowledge that I might be singing a different tune if this were St. John Paul II or Benedict and not Francis.)  For a third, as an ordinary every-Sunday foot soldier, I get the same feeling about the outpouring of enthusiasm associated with the visit as I do about the crowds who show up only for Christmas and Easter services.

♦   Fingers crossed, please:  Eldest Gel fired off her early-decision application to Sweet Briar College last evening.  We should get a yea or nay within two weeks or so.  I don’t know why they wouldn’t accept her (good ACT’s, steadily rising high school GPA and a legacy several times over, plus the school really needs to grow its student body again so it’s a buyer’s market), but the process is unnerving just the same.

♦   Watching the con-trails of jets cruising overhead this morning, I got wondering about calculating their distances from my porch.  If I assume a plane is at an altitude of, say, six miles and accurately measure the angle of the hypotenuse from my point of observation, using right triangle geometry trig I ought to be able to calculate the length of that hypotenuse, yes?  Or no?

♦   Well, at six and a half games behind with only about ten days left in the season, I just don’t think my beloved Nats are going to catch the Mets.  Ah, well.  Is it possible that the “Back To The Future, Part 2” prophesy will be fulfilled by the Cubbies taking it all this year?  If they make the post-season, I will certainly root for them.

Anyhoo, time for moar coffee.

UPDATE:  A glass of wine with Don for putting me some stuff-you-should-have-remembered-from-school knowledge in response to the cruising jet question.  All I can say is that it’s been a very long time since I did any trig.

Anyhoo, out of curiosity, I ran a couple calculations, assuming a jet to be cruising at an altitude of 37,000 ft, or 7 miles just to make it simpler.  An observed angle of 35 degrees produces a line between my eye and the plane of just over 12 1/4 miles.  An observed angle of 20 degrees gives a distance of just over 20 1/2 miles.

The thing is, these results are mighty near what I would have guessed just eyeballing it.  Pretty cool.

(And yes, you can see a jet at 20 miles.  Or rather, at certain times of day around dawn and dusk, you can see sunlight reflecting off of them sometimes.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The first genuine rainy day for a while in the port swiller neighborhood gets ol’ Robbo out of having to mow the lawn this morning, so how about a few idle observations?

♦   The kid at the hardware store this morning asked me if I needed help taking a 20 pound bag of bird food out to my car.  I know he was only trying to do his job but my first instinct was to punch him.  Do I look that decrepit before my morning coffee?

♦  As a matter of fact, I think I am getting kinda decrepit.  I crocked my right elbow kayaking on vacation.  That was the last week of July.  It hurts worse now.  Eh.

♦   Can somebody put me some knowledge about why this “deal” with Iran is so “historic”?  From what I understand, they get pretty much everything they want – self-monitoring, a big wodge of cash, etc., while we as a country are cordially invited to go stick our collective head in a pig.  Meanwhile, I gather all the Important People have little side arrangements of their own attached to the thing.  In the real world, that’s not a deal, it’s a sell-out.

♦  And what’s even more worrisome, the GOP-controlled Congress is in on it.  Most non-political junkies don’t know that the Senate adopted a procedural sleight of hand weeks ago making it near impossible for the actual substance of the deal to be voted on this week.  All you’ve heard about over the past couple days is simply an exercise in what Ace calls “Failure Theatre”.

♦  Oh, and while on the topic, let me just again reiterate that immigration without assimilation is invasion.

♦  And then they wonder why Teh Donald’s popularity is surging.

♦   Speaking of failure theatre,  stick a fork in the Nationals’ season because it’s done.  As is, I think, Matt Williams, whose chief flaw is an apparent inability to properly handle a bullpen.  Curiously, as I watched them drop their fourth straight game in a loss against the Fish last evening, all I felt was numbness.

♦   Speaking of handling things, it’s looking more and more like the Pope’s upcoming visit to Dee Cee is going to cause havoc.  We haven’t been told to go ahead and stay home yet, but they already making noise about telecommuting – something I’m not authorized to do because I don’t have an agreement in place.  Wouldn’t be surprised if unscheduled leave and/or closure don’t come into play.

♦   And no, I’ve no interest in trying to go see the parade.  I simply can’t warm up to Papa Franky.  If he isn’t an actual proponent of liberation theology (which, IMHO is nothing more that Marxism in a dog-collar), he sure sounds like one.

Whelp, time to go throw myself in the hammock and listen to the rain.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo apologizes again for the dearth of meaningful posting here.  I’ve been spending a lot of time away from teh computer lately, either soaking in the first hints of approaching autumn (my favorite season of the year) or else glued to the teevee (in fact, frequently yelling at it much to the annoyance of my family) in anguished suspense, hoping my beloved Nats can catch the Mets.  (We’re only down by four now, having swept the Braves this weekend, and open a home stand against the Mets this afternoon.  It’s gonna be yuuuge.)

In the meanwhile, Robbo is enjoying this Labor Day by pointedly refusing to mow the lawn and also by reveling in de lamentations of de vimmin, as it’s Back to School tomorrow morning for the Gels: Senior, sophomore and 8th grader.  Where does the time get to?

In the meanwhile, a few idle observations:

♦   At long, long last, I have actually started some preliminary work on the idea I have long nourished of trying to compose another entry in the Flashman Papers that covers Flashy’s involvement in the American Civil War.  Granted, so far it’s nothing more than taking notes on references to his adventures there as I read the other novels, but hey, it’s a start, no?  I reckon to be poking at this off and on for the rest of my sentient life.

♦   My big plan for today is to wash La Wrangler.  If you knew how infrequently I actually do this, you would be impressed:  It must be a good three or four years since the last time.  I’ve always felt there was something wrong with the sort of people who are compulsive about keeping their wheels shiny.

♦   Watched “Annie Hall” last evening for the first time in years.  Eh, I can see that it’s well done but, apart from “Sleeper” Allen’s stuff doesn’t age well with me.  (BTW, I hadn’t noticed before that Christopher Walken played Diane Keaton’s little brother.  I had to stifle a comment about more cowbell.)

♦  My poor brother has to have back surgery this week – blew a disc through too much running.  I’m glad that my own shot knees give me the excuse not to have to indulge in such an unhealthy pastime.

♦  Message to GOPe:  Calling conservatives dupes and morons is not going to attract us back into the fold.  Just saying.

Whelp, off to give the car her bath and then settle in for the game.  What else can one say except

GO, NATS!!

schumannOl’ Robbo, having seen the Nats pull back up to within 5 1/2 of the Mets this evening, spent the shank of it on a whim listening to some of the orchestral works of Robert Schumann – the 1st (“Spring”) and 3rd (Rhenish”) symphonies, to be exact.

Oh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby.  I admire your keyboard talent, but wish heartily that when you applied yourself to the symphonic oeuvre, you had had a good editor at your side armed with a large bat.

“No, Robert, we do not do it this way.  No, Robert! We! Do! Not! Do! It! This! Way!

*Wham! Wham! Wham!*

Might have helped.  While there are lots of good ideas there, they really are, structurally speaking, a hot mess.

Actually, my favorite Schumann symphony is his 4th (the revised, 1851 version – I’ve heard the earlier go and it’s an even hotter mess).  I was first introduced to it by the Old Gentleman in my misspent yoot, when he would play his 8-track tape of it in our old Ford Country Squire station wagon on our hunting and fishing road-trips, and it just stuck.

But it’s good to know his others, even if I’m not crazy about them.

Speaking of Romantic Era symphonies, I am in the market for the complete sets of both Mendelssohn and Dvorak.  Anyone have any recommendations?  (With regard to the latter, I know his 7th, 8th and 9th very well but almost nothing about the first six.  In re the former, my favorites are teh “Scottish” and the “Reformation”.)  References to historickally informed performances, especially with regard to ol’ Felix, are especially appreciated.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry for the lack of posting this week.  Ol’ Robbo has been somewhat becalmed, creatively-speaking, no doubt due to dog days of summah fatigue.  It happens.  So here are just a few things:

♦   Pulling into my garage at work this morning, I overheard one of the guards opining to another that “we ought to have free health care and college here like they do over in Europe.” I wanted to leap out, grab the man by the neck and shake him violently.   The pure ignorance of this sentiment becomes more and more critically important the closer the progressivistas push us to Euro-socialism.  Let me repeat then (although I know all of you know this already) a fundamental fact of reality:  Where goods and services are provided, there is no such thing as “free”.  Ever. Period.  Somebody has got to pay for it, otherwise it won’t be produced.  Argh!

UPDATE: And that somebody in the world of rainbows and unicorns, of course, is teh gub’mint.  Allow me to quote Peej O’Rourke’s description from “All The Trouble In The World” of Milton and Rose Friedman’s identification of teh four ways money is spent:

1.  You spend your own money on yourself.  You’re motivated to get the thin you want at the best price.  This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.

2.  You spend your money on other people.  You still want a bargain, but you’re less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse.  This is why children get underwear at Christmas.

3.  You spend other people’s money on yourself.  You get what you want but price no longer matters.  The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.

4.  You spend other people’s money on other people.  And in this case, who gives a shite?

Most gub’mint spending falls in category four.

How does one convey this to the Free Shite Army?  No idea – send ’em to Venezuela for a while, I guess.

♦   I continue to enjoy the phenomenon of Teh Donald, but I am amazed at some of the reactions his advent has caused on the Right among people I never would have thought would shill for the Establishment.  I am particularly puzzled by those who scold that we shouldn’t be “duped” by his hucksterism.   Well, I dunno about anyone else, but this certainly isn’t the case with me.  I know perfectly well exactly how awful he is.  The only reason I am even considering voting for him is nicely summed up in a bumper sticker proposal I read somewhere (slightly sanitized here because family blog): “Trump ’16:  Because Screw You, GOP! That’s Why!”

UPDATE:  Again, I am no “Trumpkin” as his supporters are sneeringly called by some.  I’m not like that woman at the Mobile rally photographed looking like she was meeting Elvis-come-back-to-life.  In fact, my order of preference is probably Jindal, Cruz, Walker.  However, Jindal doesn’t have the national mojo and Walker has been disappointingly quiet.  OTOH, I think Cruz and Trump have some kind of understanding, which could prove very interesting, indeed.  But this is the first election I can see myself voting specifically against something, and that is the corporatist, amnesty-pushing, get-along-go-along RINO squishfest known as the Republican Party.  I’ll simply sit on my hands and watch it all burn before being sold out by them again.

♦   Middle Gel is off with some of her friends to see a Mystics basketball game this evening.  Frankly, I had forgotten they even exist.  How much money does the WNBA actually pull in?  (Oh, and they’re all (the Gel and her friends, not the Mystics) coming back to Port Swiller Manor for a sleepover afterwards.  Groan….) UPDATE: The gels sat courtside and had a good time.  MG tells me the crowd wasn’t all that big, which doesn’t surprise me because the whole WNBA thing has always had a sort of Title IX flavor to it.  I wisely slept in the basement, as Daisy kept barking all night at the noise the gels were making in MG’s room.

♦   Meanwhile, my beloved Nats seemed to be playing with more verve and passion this week, having briefly got back up to full strength, but a new round of injuries is giving me moar ulcers.  The Mets have got to choke sooner or later, haven’t they? Haven’t they?  UPDATE: Whelp, the Mets did lose last night, but so did we.  This is what happens when you load the bases with nobody out and can’t capitalize.

♦   The nice weather round here this week has allowed ol’ Robbo to go back to his lunchtime walkies.  I like to do a loop around the Mall that adds up to about three miles and change, and stick with it at any temperature up to about the mid 80’s.  (I take a particular perverse delight in making my circuit in cold, wet, nasty weather, but I think that’s just my Inner Scot coming through.)  Today I was watching a number of birds feeding out on the grass as I marched by when I suddenly remembered a character out of a book (“Bored of the Rings” possibly?) who amused himself by arranging breadcrumbs in order to get flocks of pigeons to spell out rude words.  I find it makes folks a bit nervous if you’re walking along and suddenly start snickering to yourself.

♦  Finally, speaking of weather, it would be nice if TS Erika (or whatever it is) came on up the East Coast because we could use some of that sweet, sweet rain.  We got a fair amount over the first half of the summah, but it has been pretty dry since mid-July.  I put this down to the fact that we finally got a landscaper to put in some extra drains and retainer walls to deal with the flooding problem we’ve had for years here.  (Port Swiller Manor sits on a hillside and all the runoff was coming straight down the driveway and ponding against the garage and front of the house.  Flooded the basement out a couple years ago.)  Rain stopped almost the exact day they started work.  As an old comic strip I used to love put it, “They’ll do it every time.”  One of the catch-phrases from the strip, “The Urge to Kill”, is still in the family lexicon.  UPDATE: Well, so much for that.

Since I’m still in the fiddling-around stage with my new iPhone, here’s a snap of some of the new anti-flood measures:

Drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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