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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has seen an ad on teevee a couple times this week for a “senior” internet dating site. It features a woman round about my own age who says something like, “I was married over twenty years, the kids are all grown up, and I just wanted to get ‘out there’ again”

There’s nothing in the copy to suggest this person is a widow, or anything like that. The tone seems to be simply that she was tired of her old life and decided to chuck it.

Am I wrong to be completely appalled by this?

Rod Dreher has a new book out arguing that the Culture Wars have, in fact, been lost, and that we traditionalists no longer have much choice other than to retreat to a new Benedictine-ism and go hide in the hills. I sometimes think he’s just about right.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I won’t bother explaining the dearth of posts here again- just scroll down and you’ll see the pattern. Second verse? Same as the first! And it looks as if things will stay this way at least until August. Heigh, ho.

So anyway:

– First of all, Happy Easter! He is risen, indeed!

– Ol’ Robbo practices Friday abstinence as a general rule, but since we’re still in the Octave of Easter, today We. Have. The MEATS!

– Got to enjoy my first thunder shower of the year last evening. More coming tonight and over the weekend, which means the lawn will have assumed a savannah-like appearance by the time I get to it next weekend. I shrug.

– Had several young persons address me as “Sir” this past week. Are they all blind? Or is the grey on the side of my head getting that much more noticeable?

– Eldest Gel finishes her first year of college next week. I find this to be absolutely incredible. Where on earth does the time go? (She’s done quite well, too. AND she’s got my sister’s old dorm room for next year. How weird is that?)

– On top of that, we start the whole college boogaloo for Middle Gel this spring, and the Youngest will be getting her learner’s permit.

– Yikes, indeed.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

No, I’m not dead. Just busy with meat-space life.

Happy Palm Sunday, by the bye! Ol’ Robbo hasn’t been very diligent in his Lenten observances this year (which see explanation above), so I am going to try and make up for it by an especially intensive Holy Week. I’ll see those two or three of you who still come together here on the other side of Easter.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope that you all are adjusting to your seasonal fasts. Ol’ Robbo is almost there himself, although the giving up of the grape is always something of a wrench. This year I have found real solice in repeating to myself “Offer it up!”

Somewhat relatedly, the signs have all pointed me to really concentrate my readings and meditations this year on the subject of love, particularly love as selflessness. I’ve long known that if one is asking the question “What’s in it for me?”, one is doing it wrong, but some recent epiphanies and observations have convinced me to try and probe much deeper into the matter.

After all, all you need is love.

(“John Lennon. Smart man! Shot in the back. Very sad.”)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is hugely enjoying his last evening before Lent with a large glass of wine and watching his beloved Nats in a spring training game against the Astros.

I will be giving up the grape for Lent, but not baseball.

Pity tonight’s broadcast is a rerun of this afternoon and I already know how it ends, but ST is more about studying the talent, right? Just damned good to be back. (I used to get the same feeling in spring training when I coached the Gels in softball.)

BTW, not to invoke the wrath of the Baseball Gods, but Ol’ Robbo’s got a goooooood feeling about his beloved Nats this year.

You read it here first.

GO, NATS!!!!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself on the back porch of Port Swiller Manor this morning, drinking a cup o’ Joe and continuing to enjoy the ridiculously lovely weather we’ve been having in these parts of late.  Alas, it’s all supposed to end later today, with showers/storms this afternoon and plunging temperatures tonight.

Heigh, ho.  At least one advantage is that a more seasonal late winter will help Ol’ Robbo get his head straight for Lent, which starts Wednesday.  Awfully hard to get into the spirit of the season when it’s so damn nice out.

Anyhoo, last weekend I spent some time hauling sticks and branches and generally cleaning up the yard.  In the process, I seem to have pulled something in my back, and it’s still bugging me.  Have I really reached the point where I’m going to have to so stretches and put on a protective brace before doing yard work?

That’s sobering prospect.

Not Robbo's Usual Christmas Eve View

Not Robbo’s Usual Christmas Eve View

Greetings, my fellow Port Swillers!

Yes, it can be revealed now that ol’ Robbo is safe and sound back at Port Swiller Manor:  We drove to Florida (pronounced “Flahr-duh” by the snowbird transplants) for Christmas this year, chiefly to spend time with Mrs. R’s grandmother, who is confined to a rehab facility with health issues.  We arrived there just before lunch time on Christmas Eve and just in time to listen to a gaggle of kids come in and serenade the inmates with appropriate holiday songs.  Seeing said grandmother surrounded by great-grand-daughters and listening with evident delight was quite touching.

And yes, ol’ Robbo got himself to Mass on Christmas morning.  The padre had such a thick Brooklyn accent, I couldn’t understand him at first.  Alas, I was able to pick up on it in time for his homily, which (despite its perfectly orthodox message about God’s presence) was mostly one-liners and Oprah-like Inspirational Stories.  The congregation applauded.  I glared.

All in all, however, a nice trip.

Except for this driving biznay.  Two thousand miles there and back exactly, according to my odometer.  And yesterday, because I couldn’t bear the thought of another night mewed up in a hotel room with the gels, we decided to make the return home non-stop.  (We had split the down-trip over three days, in part so the gels could have an afternoon and evening at Universal Studios as a present from the grandparents.)  Fourteen and a half hours (or near enough) on the road – a personal record for me – nearly all of it on I-95 which, south of Dee Cee, is at once both terrifying and grindingly dull.  (And yes, I did all the driving.)

This morning, I still can’t feel my left thumb or forefinger for all that compulsive clutching at the wheel.

This was our third road trip to Flahrduh in about ten years.  Mrs. R and I decided that it was also our last:  Next time, we fly.

 

"The Nativity" - Botticelli

“The Nativity” – Botticelli

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, what with commitments too complicated to get into here, it looks as if Ol’ Robbo will not be able to find the time to get at the Port Swiller keyboard again soon.  So let me go ahead and wish you all here and now a very, very Merry Christmas!  (And yes, I’ve been saying that instead of “Happy Holidays” all over the place the past couple days.  Snooks to them!)

Through prayer and concentration over the last few years, I am happy to say that I believe I have just about battle-proofed myself against the pernicious effects of the modern, secular X-mas spirit, and can instead focus on the True Meaning relatively (albeit not completely) free of such distractions.

And in that vein, let us again savor Luke’s description (and yes, even though I’m now a Catholic, I can’t let go of the beauty of the King James Version):

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

– Luke 2: 1-20

I don’t know why it is, but every time I read or hear this passage – particular verses 13 and 14 – I get the chills.  (Well, I guess I do know why, actually.  Alas, I’d love to be able to convey the feeling – in word, paint, or note – but unfortunately haven’t anything like the skill to do so.)

Anyhoo, as I say, have a merry, joyous Christmas for all the right reasons!  (And try to behave yourselves.)  I’ll see you all on the other side and, having topped off my glass of port and heaved an enormous sigh, may perhaps give you some highlights of my own.  (As I say, it’s all going to be very complicated.)

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s office “holiday” party was held today.  Ol’ Robbo  cut it completely dead.

Honestly, I can think of very few things more boring, yet at the same time more dangerous, than one of these office shindigs.  Boring because, in my misanthropic opinion, all parties are boring.  (Karaoke? Seriously? How old are you?) Dangerous because, well…., let’s just say that Ol’ Robbo’s general world-view is not exactly aligned with the majority sentiment in his place of employment.  And one would not want the odd casual observation to cry Hater! and let slip the dogs of politickal correctness against oneself, now, would one?

So I quietly stuck to my desk.  Call it a Bartleby-style revolt against the Modern Age and all it stands for.

Of course, this was hardly spontaneous.  Not that anyone asked yet, but I was completely teed up with both the “I had some kind of stomach thing the other day and I don’t want to infect anyone” and the “Gosh, I’d love to come, but I’ve got to read through this depo transcript” excuses.  (Both true, as a matter of fact.)  Then there’s the “quiet, keeps to himself” persona I’ve been nurturing for many years.  They want to roll their eyes and shake their heads?  Let ’em!

At any event,  I think I’m covered.

Bah, humbug indeed.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry for the lack of heads up before hand, but Ol’ Robbo has been away from Port Swiller Manor on biznay since last Sunday afternoon.  I’m writing out a draft of this post in longhand as I wing my way home Thursday morning, and (God willing) will have got back safe and sound and able to read my own scrawlings by the time it appears in pixel form here. (UPDATE:  I did, as you probably have figured out already.)

A beastly-rotten flight to Denver last Sunday – very late, over-booked, and horrid headwinds and cross-currents the entire way as that Arctic storm came sweeping into the west.  My two colleagues – seasoned fliers and not white-knuckled cowards like Ol’ Robbo – both said it was the worst flight they’d ever been on.  I came through surprisingly well, however, in part because I had reached a point of nervous exhaustion where I simply didn’t give a damn anymore, in part because I was highly amused by the early-middle-aged gal in the seat in front of me who got quite flown in drink and spent most of the flight hitting on the hunky young guy next to her.  (I noticed other people around us also rolling their eyes at each other and smiling.)

In contrast, this flight is shaping up to be fast, smooth, and uneventful.  So far, the only entertainment has been the big, snoring fellah next to me getting knee-capped by the hipster-doofus steward with the drinks cart.  The H-D didn’t even apologize.  (UPDATE:  Later on, the older woman sitting next to me invited me to look out the window at something or other on the ground as we came across the Appalachians.  I shamefully had to decline because of my fear of hights.  She seemed quite surprised.) Read the rest of this entry »

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