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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Motivated by all the buzz I’ve read about it in the corners of the innerwebs where I lurk, Ol’ Robbo recently went out and bought himself a copy of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life, An Antidote To Chaos.  Curiously enough, without either of us knowing it, at exactly the same time that I was picking up my hardback copy from the devil’s website, Mrs. R was downloading a copy onto her iThingy.  Go figure.

Not that I usually read this sort of thing, of course.  And I certainly wouldn’t bother with a “Rules for Life” book by somebody like, say, Oprah, or Joel Osteen, or Phil Donahue.  But the word I got was that Peterson is sharp, articulate, and causing all the right Lefty heads to explode, so I decided to check him out.  (The back of the book contains blurbs of praise from Camille Paglia, Howard Bloom, and National Review.)


The “Rules” themselves are what I would have considered to be simple common sense:  Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.  Respect yourself.  Respect others.  Respect tradition. (Here he restates the principle of Chesterton’s Fence without apparently realizing it).  Discipline the kids when they need it.  Do your damn laundry.  That sort of thing.  I guess what Peterson brings to the table is his unpacking of these things and getting at their roots.  In this, he covers a lot of intersecting topics such as behavioral evolution (I’ll never look at a lobster the same way again), clinical psychology, the biological differences between male and female, personal biography, and social development – on both the individual and societal levels.

Another big topic which dances in and out of his discussion is religion, and specifically Christianity.  (He also discusses the Old Testament and refers here and there to parallels within Buddhism, Taoism, and Ancient Egyptian mythology.  There is no mention whatever of Islam.)  Here, I have to admit that he puzzles me a bit, because for all of his praise of the Christian ethic (and there is a tremendous amount here), I can’t quite figure out if he actually, you know, is one.

For one thing, he makes some odd assertions.  He quotes the “Gospel” of Thomas.  He makes a gratuitous reference to Christ’s “androgyny” that seems immaterial.  He talks about the 19th Century Church’s “belief” in faith without works, which I’m pretty sure was isolated to a few Calvinist sects.  (At least it was never part of HMC’s teachings so far as I know.)

For another, he consistently refers to Christ as an “Archetype”.  That’s mythology-speak.  He also discusses Christianity largely in terms of psychological constructs, instead of terms of the relationship between us and a separate, independent God who exists whether we believe in Him or not.  (Nietzsche can go piss up a rope.)  Also, when he writes of the (false) dichotomy between Faith and Science, I can’t tell if he’s merely reporting it, or falls somewhat into the trap himself.

On the other hand, his description of the Logos, the Word of God, is fantastic, as are his thoughts on suffering, sacrifice and what some people call “servant leadership”.  Also, Bishop Robert Barron has been enthusing about him.  So maybe I’m just missing something here.

Another thing Peterson is absolutely fantastic on is the problem of Evil.  He calls it “denial of Being”, which is another way of describing Satan’s “Non serviam!”  It amounts to the complete and utter rejection of nothing less than Creation itself.  In his discussion, he quotes not only Milton’s Lucifer, but also those psychopaths who shot up Sandy Hook and Columbine.  I thank God that I simply cannot fathom that level of depravity.

Anyway, I like what I’ve read, even though I must confess that I rather galloped through it (which may explain some of my questions).  It’s well worth going back and reading more slowly on a chapter by chapter basis.  Unfortunately, and for Heaven’s sake don’t take this the wrong way, as much as I like the book, I’m fairly certain that it won’t get that much play with those who need it more than I do.  My soul is far, far from perfect, but I’m reasonably sure I’m at least headed in the right general direction.  The question is, how do you get the lazy, the shiftless, the narcissistic, or the outright psychotic to sit down and both read and absorb this wisdom?


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo mentioned recently that Eldest Gel has decided to minor in musickal theatre.  (She’s been bitten hard by the acting bug and has loved every minute of the four stage productions she’s been involved with so far.  How this has happened with a girl of such Cromwellian sensibilities is quite beyond me.)

To this end, the Gel’s taking a course this semester about the history of musickals, in which the prep work seems to be watching a classick movie version and being ready to come to class and talk about it.  (Rest assured: for her history major she’s taking plenty of traditional classes, including a seminar this semester on various medieval legal codes.  I don’t begrudge her the occasional “fun” class like this one in the least.)

Anyhoo, this evening she called me up:

“Dad!  I’m supposed to watch Jesus Christ Superstar tonight for my class.  Have you seen it?”

“No, but I know what it is.”


“The ‘Long-Haired Hippy Crap’ Gospel.”

“Aw, man!  Is it blasphemous?”

“It’s from about 1970 and it’s hippies.  So yes, very probably.”

“Aw, maaaaan!  Well, I suppose I’d better watch it, if for no other reason than to argue what’s wrong with it to the idiots in my class.”

That’s the spirit! You go get ’em!”

And that’s my Gel!

UPDATE:  Talked to her again post-viewing.

“So…what did you think?”

“Man, I was all set to hate it but the music.  I mean, 70’s rock! That’s my thing!  I really liked it.  Wish the words were different, though.”

She went on to complain about Jesus being a wimp and Judas being too reasonable and sympathetic.

“And what’s the deal with Mary Magdalene?  You’d think she and Jesus were lovers or something.”

The name Dan Brown popped into my head, but I damped it back down.  It would have taken an hour to explain things and I was supposed to be working.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had to drive Youngest Gel to school this morning, Mrs. R being out of town with Middle Gel for a few days.  On the way, we got talking about the latest mass-murder.  This was a Good Thing, or so I’m told by the Experts.  Our Young People need Comfort and Support and Reassurance in the face of this latest National Tragedy, and since the Professionals can’t be absolutely everywhere at the same time, getting it from parents is at least better than nothing.

What the Gel said (and I swear I’m not making this up):

“You know, all I hear is ‘More gun control! More gun control!‘  But it seems to me that more guns might be the answer.  If somebody – the principal, teachers, guards, even students – had been armed, maybe they could have shot the bastard when he first cooked off and saved some lives.”

Ol’ Robbo would be lying if he said the Gel didn’t drive him absolutely batty at times, but all the same, I’m mighty proud of her.  Despite all the brainwashing of the current miserable Culture in which we find ourselves, she gets it.

We agreed that the only people actually affected by “Common Sense Gun Control” are ordinary, sane, law-abiding citizens, and therefore that this constitutes a surrender of liberty that has little or no connection with what is claimed to be its purpose.  (And just as an aside, I saw a tweet by Sen. Kamala Harris of California in which she calls for said control to stop the “killing of our babies”.  The woman is stridently pro-abortion.  What kind of a moral monster can carry these two ideas at the same time?)

We also talked about the alternative of Common Sense Loony Control.  After all, as is the case with pretty much every other non-terror related mass shooting (and maybe some of them, too), the gunman here is obviously a crack-pot.  Everyone around him knew he’s a crack-pot.  Everyone around him expected that he was going to snap sooner or later.  Some people even apparently tried to warn the Authorities that he was going to go ballistic.  Yet nothing was done.

Ol’ Robbo believes (and I told the Gel this) that the current rules about involuntary commitment of the mentally unbalanced are far too strict and should be revisited.  (I believe they’re based on a Supreme Court decision from somewhere in the mid-70’s.)  I’ve seen drugged out, drunken bums lying in pools of their own piss in the gutter and howling at the moon, surrounded by cops and EMT who couldn’t lay a finger on them because they wouldn’t consent to it.  On the other hand, I worry that there’s a very slippery slope here.  What, exactly, is the definition of “certifiable” that would allow involuntary commitment to a psych ward, and perhaps more importantly, who gets to decide that definition? I told the Gel about the various authoritarian regimes that use alleged mental illness as an excuse to jail political dissidents.  “Hell,” I said, “There are plenty of SJW’s in my own workplace who think that I, as a white, male, Catholic conservative, ought to be locked up for ‘reeducation’.”

So in the end, we agreed that perhaps the best defense – against both psychotic murderers and creeping authoritarianism – is self-defense.  In fact, we agreed that this is such an important concept that it ought to be enshrined somewhere in a major governing code of law.

Oh, yeah………

Almost as if those Founder fellahs knew what they were talking about.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Mardi Gras!  Shall we get right to it?

Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, Ol’ Robbo felt it would be weird to bring home Valentine’s flowers for Mrs. R then, so I stopped and picked some up this evening.  Evidently, a fairly large number of fellahs feel the same way, as the florist counter was doing a very brisk biznay. 

[Obligator unreadable yellow insert]

Mrs. Robbo had the same idea: She came home this evening with Valentine’s chocolate bags for the gels, saying “it just didn’t seem right” to wait till tomorrow.  Smiling, I pointed at said flowers (which she hadn’t seen yet).  Winning!

The flowers, by the bye, were quite a delightful surprise to the Missus, as I rarely bring them home and almost never for Valentine’s, what with the jacked up prices the “holiday” inevitably brings.  (Before you get sniffy, this is in large part due to Mrs. R’s own furious reaction to the dozen roses I gave her one year when we were first manacled together and had very little coin for such indulgences.) 

[Second obligatory unreadable yellow insert]

Youngest Gel happened to be loitering about when I presented them and said, in her snippy, 16 y.o. voice. “Wow – Dad actually likes likes Mom!”  I was thiiiiis close to saying, “Hey, where do you suppose you came from?”  Whipper-snapper!

Anyhoo, here we are.  So far as any kind of Mardi Gras “celebration” goes,  I had a din-dins of Andouille sausage, brown rice, and beans by way of marking the day sorta, kinda Noo Orleenz style.  I already know that I’m going to pay for this dearly when I get up for early Mass tomorrow.

[Mardi Gras colors off]

Speaking of which, it continually amazes me that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the American Catholic Church.  (The fasting and abstinence requirements do apply, however.)

As for the imposition of ashes, given how much more polarized and venomous Cultural Marxist group-think has become in the past year, it will be interesting to see if Ol’ Robbo draws any hard-Left snide comments for wearing them on his brow down the office tomorrow.  (Sinfully to say, I hope so.  I hope so.) UPDATE:  Nope.  A couple of brief stares and one polite inquiry as to the day’s fasting and abstinence requirements.

And as for Lent in general, just so you can plan your blog surfing accordingly, Ol’ Robbo will not be officially signing off here this year, nor will he be likely to deviate much in general tone or subject matter, at least until Holy Week.  (I will be attempting, again, to give up dial back the gargle, so if I sound a mite peevish over the next few weeks, you’ll understand why.)




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How nice it is that we’re getting back to the time of year when the sun is actually up before I get to the office and not quite down before I leave.

As I observe every year at about this time, it gives one juuuust enough hope to keep on pushing through the rest of February.  For some reason, however, as a harbinger of Spring I cherish it even more this year than usual.

Oh, and what do we make of the fact that Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and Pitchers and Catchers reporting….all fall on the same date this year?

Walking out of Mass yesterday, a friend of mine mentioned this to me.

“Cosmic,” I replied, “Real cosmic, man!”

‘Cos it’s true.

UPDATE:  Of course, the downside of this time of year is that you get many more idjits cruising about in the dusk with their headlights off.  Why is it that a statistically-improbable subset of said idjits always seem to drive black, grey, and other dark-colored cars?  And so far as I know, there is no universally-acknowledged hand-signal that translates to, “Turn your bloody lights on, ya idjit!”



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Several alert friends of the decanter have sent Ol’ Robbo this article: U.S. Episcopal diocese votes to stop using masculine pronouns for God.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Episcopal church in the Diocese of Washington, D.C., passed a resolution last week to stop using masculine pronouns for God in future updates to its Book of Common Prayer. 

The resolution to stop using “gendered language for God” was passed quickly by delegates to the Diocese’s 123rd Convention.  

“If revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God,” the resolution stated. 

“Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt,” the drafters of the resolution stated. The drafters said that referring to God using masculine pronouns is to “limit our understanding of God.” 

“By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God,” they stated.

More accurate version:  “By expanding our language for God, we will reshape ‘God’ in our own approved image.”

Well, bless their hearts.

Ol’ Robbo had occasion to come into contact with the Palie Diocese of Washington during the three years Middle Gel sang down to the National Cathedral.  Those people might best be summarized as Unitarian In All But Label.  They’re bug-nuts Progressivists, all of them, and it amazes me that they even bother to keep up the pretense of worshipping anything even remotely like the Christian God.

As a matter of fact, this “resolution” appears to be nothing more than a piece of posturing.  So far as I know, the BCP is the BCP, last revised in 1979.  At least on a formal basis, individual diocese do not have their own versions, nor do they have the authority to muck about with its language.

Informally, even Ol’ Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church started doing this sort of thing a few years ago.  So, for instance, where the text says, “It is right to give Him thanks and praise”, the smarmier of the inmates there (including the Clergypersons) will say “It is right to give God thanks and praise”.  On the rare occasion when I attend services with the Port Swiller family, I always make it a point to push back against this in a loudish voice.

Mark my words: Tinkering with pronouns is only the first step.  I simply don’t see how, if you accept this mentality, you can continue to refer to God as “the Father” as well, even though Jesus Himself did.  Stand by for the push to get this changed to “Creator” or “Being” or some other such drivel.

(And I’ll spare you my feeble efforts to explain them, but there are, in fact, multiple theological arguments that do, indeed, show parallels between the relationship of God to His Creation and traditional understandings of human sexuality – the key words being transcendence and immanence – that warrant paternal labeling.  These take absolutely nothing away from the feminine and non-binary  – whatever the hell that means – imagery also present in Scripture and tradition, because (get this) they’re not “imagery”, they’re Reality. Understanding all this requires reason, maturity, and sophistication, however, so it is utterly thrown away on these, ah, arrested adolescents, who of course are more concerned about their feelz than they are about Truth.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are in February already, and it’s living up to its reputation this year.  (As it happens, the sky is clear today but it’s too damn cold to do much outside.)

Because the mind of Ol’ Robbo works the way it does, whenever I come to contemplate the fact of February, I always think of the scene in Act 2 of the Pirates of Penzance where the Pirate King explains to young Frederick the paradox of his (Frederick) having been born on February 29 in a Leap Year:

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don’t know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight

days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine-and-twenty.
Through some singular coincidence — I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing

to the agency of an ill-natured fairy —
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year,

on the twenty-ninth of February.
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover,
That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you’re
only five and a little bit over !

(Is this a leap year, by the bye? I haven’t looked it up.)

Anyhoo, I find myself in the Port Swiller library, laptop on lap, cat on arm of chair, thinking of this and that.

♦  I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about FISA-gate.  I won’t say anything about it here even though I’ve been following the whole biznay quite intently.  What’s that lyric from the Sting song? “At the stillpoint of destruction/ At the center of the fury/ All the angels, all the devils/  (Something, something) can’t you see?” A leetle too close for comfort.  I will just reiterate in general my philosophy that, even though I work in it, I consider government to be a necessary evil, not a religion.  This sort of thing is what happens when others feel differently.

♦   Speaking of religion, as Candlemas was yesterday, I took down and put away the last of the Christmas decorations this morning – specifically the crèche in the front hall and the wreaths on the front doors.  Mrs. Robbo managed to restrain herself from making cracks about how tired she was of looking at them until just the other day.  I think this is a compromise I can live with.

♦   In the Absurdity Department, I learn that Daisy, the Port Swiller Special Needs Dog, has been banned from the groomers.  They say she shakes and gibbers so much that it takes them far too long to finish with her.  So we’re investing in an electric trimmer and will have a go at doing it ourselves.  Anybody know anything about how to cut a dog’s hair?

♦   I am slowly – very slowly – working up the energy to finally getting around to reorganizing my library, which is presently quite a-jumble. Ol’ Robbo simply can’t bear the idea of actually getting rid of books – even those he has no intention of ever reading again – but it recently occurred to me that there is room in the basement where I can, as it were, circular-file them, leaving the library shelves upstairs free for repacking (and adding to).  So, once I summon enough energy, downstairs will go such volumes as the histories of commie-bastard Eric Hobsbawm (left over from college) and fellow-travelers Will and Ariel Durant (picked up at a garage sale when I was young and didn’t know any better); the novels of Hemingway and Steinbeck; the Dee Cee “Insider” books by people like Ken Starr and David Bois that the Old Gentleman continually sent me but I never read, and the like.  The choice of what to retire will be delicious.

♦   Oh, there is one book I’m throwing away:  Lisa Birnbach’s True Prep. Her original Preppy Handbook from back in the early 80’s was amusing (I still have it), but this updated version, capturing as it does the depth of narcissism into which the current so-called “Elite” have slid since then, is horrifying.

♦   And finally, speaking of narcissism, Ol’ Robbo has no intention of watching the Sooper Bowl this year.  Not that I’ve paid very much attention to pro ball since Marino retired, but I usually still tune into the SB for the sheer spectacle.  Not this time.  (Besides, I think a Pats win is pretty much a foregone conclusion.)  No matter:  Only eleven more days until pitchers and catchers report!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo got detoured by the po-po as he made his way home this evening and had to navigate through several neighborhoods to get back to a main artery.

I may be completely delusional in this, but it seems to me that many more people are keeping their outdoor Christmas (excuse me, Holiday) light displays out later this year.  I’d like to think it has something to do with a heightened spirit of the season, but the skeptic in me suggests that it probably has more to do with the deep freeze that blanketed the area for the past couple weeks keeping folks indoors.

Heigh ho.

Speaking of such things, Ol’ Robbo took down the Port Swiller Christmas tree last weekend after Epiphany.  I’m happy to report that there were no successful ornament suicides this year, although I caught several of them lurking deep within the bows round back, just waiting for the opportunity to hurl themselves to the floor.

As is my wont, once I had stripped it, I hauled the tree round back and tossed it on the brush heap within the verges of the wood outside my back gate.  Interesting observation: It seems to take a fir about two years to fully decompose.  I tossed this one next to the brown and needleless hulk from last year.  The one from the year prior to that has completely vanished.

So long as it doesn’t go up too early, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t really care that much when the Christmas tree comes down.  On the other hand, I am delighted that this year Mrs. Robbo has agreed to let me keep my wreaths (front door and dining room table) and my new crèche out until Candlemas, (February 2nd).

(Also, although she doesn’t know it, I chalked the front door of Port Swiller Manor with Epiphany chalk this year.  20 + C + M + B + 18.  One of Ol’ Robbo’s goals this year is to quietly insert more and more of these little sacramentals into the daily routine of Port Swiller Manor.  I figure it will soften the blow when I eventually pull down on Mrs. R and start advocating for a Crucifix in the front hall.)

Oh, and continuing with this general line of thought, a glass of wine with staunch friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory, who recently sent Ol’ Robbo a couple of CD’s of Medieval Christmas Musick.  Since I’m going hard-core this year, they’re still perfectly seasonal and appropriate for the next few weeks!

“Nativity at Night” – Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490

Greetings my fellow port swillers!  Allow me to quote:

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

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.

– Luke 2:8-14

You know how Ol’ Robbo knew he was a religious man even in his misspent yoot?  The fact that he tears up every time he reads or hears this passage.  (I have a very, very definite, albeit completely inarticulable, vision in my head of the appearance of the heavenly host.)

Anyway, I hope that each and every one of you who drop in here from time to time have a very joyous Christmas!


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those of you who bet on Tuesday, December 19 as this year’s date by which Ol’ Robbo could no longer stand listening to the endless stream of Christmas musick on the local classickal station may now go to the window and collect your winnings.

Apart from the fact that it’s still Advent and not Christmas, there simply is a limit to the number of different arrangements of “The Holly and the Ivy”, “Oh, Holy Night”, and the Schubert “Ave, Maria” that Ol’ Robbo can stand listening to before he is overwhelmed with the urge to find a sharpened screwdriver and puncture his own eardrums.

I am also again deeply embittered by the foreknowledge that, come midnight on December 25, the Christmas playlist will stop dead.  Christmas will be dead and gone. It’s won’t be pinin’ for the fjords! It’ll be passed on! This sacred holiday will be no more! It will have ceased to be! It’ll have expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! It’ll be a stiff! Bereft of life, restin’ in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘it to the metaphorical perch ‘it’d be pushing up the daisies! It’s metabolic processes will be ‘istory! It’ll be off the twig! It’ll have kicked the bucket, It’ll have shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS WILL BE AN EX-HOLIDAY!!

**Quickly takes a swig of port**

I know, I know….I should be grateful that a publick radio station even plays such blatantly Christian musick in the first place and that it dares to acknowledge such a triggering hate concept as “the Christmas Spirit”.

But still.

I usually leave the radio on all day down to the office.  Today, there was only silence.  Tomorrow I must remember to toss a fist-full of CD’s into my briefcase before heading out.

By the bye, I see on their website that the station is doing one of those What Classical Composer Are You quiz things.  I got Mozart:

You are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You epitomize the work hard-play hard philosophy. You excel in your chosen field through a combination of exceptional talent and crazy hard work. (People have probably had to force you to take a vacation more than once.) Yet, you’re also the life of the party wherever you go – you’ve got a great sense of humor and a distinct sense of style. While this means you can occasionally come off as a bit stuck-up or irresponsible, pretty much everyone wants to be your friend.

I must say, quite frankly, that this is completely and utterly wrong.  I am none of these things (apart from the coming off as a bit stuck-up bit).  And I can’t quite figure out from the questions and responses posed how it came up with the suggestion that I am.

But what do I know?  If it’s on the innertoobs,  it must be true, amirite?

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