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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Looks like three to six inches of winter is on its way to Port Swiller Manor tonight and tomorrow.  We can haz panix now?  Ol’ Robbo is all set to break up the furniture for firewood and skin the cats for food if needs be.  OR we might just get the opportunity to finally get some use out of the incredibly expensive generator we put in last spring which has sat idle ever since (other than its weekly 5 minute exercise on Saturday afternoons).

Actually, up to half a foot is, in Ol’ Robbo’s opinion, a perfect amount of snowfall.  It’s more than enough to look lovely, but it’s also not so much that I have to kill myself digging out. (AND it won’t stop Eldest from heading back to college Monday morning.  It’s been lovely having her home, of course, but she really needs to get back into the campus environment.)

And then there’s the dog.  How is it that a dog can absolutely detest being out in the rain yet absolutely lurves bounding about in the snow?  (Ours isn’t the only one like this, I know.)

I notice that VDOT isn’t taking any chances with this one, not after it failed to treat the streets before the last storm we got in November, leaving them as slick as if smeared with Vaseline.  The anti-ice stuff was already down on our road yesterday morning.

Nonetheless, I expect everything will come to a screeching halt for the next 48 hours or so, including a softball camp Youngest was supposed to start tomorrow over to one of the local universities.  (She’s decided to go out for the JV team this spring, and since she hasn’t played since little league she wants to brush up on her skills.)  I confess that I actually won’t mind this too much, since taking her (the camp lasts for the next three Sundays) means having to go to early Mass and missing my cherished Extraordinary Form.

Speaking of screeching halts, a week or two back I was praising AccuWeather for being what the Weather Channel used to be before it went politickally correct.  Alas, as I was watching last evening, AW ran a filler about how, what with the gubmint shutdown and all, non-inspected foods are starting to invade the grocery shelves, the Hubble Telescope is about to fall out of the sky, and cats and dogs are living together, all because Orange Man Bad.  Sigh….You just can’t get away from this nonsense, can you?

UPDATE:  For those of you keeping score at home, Ol’ Robbo glanced out the window just now and noticed that he’s up to five pairs of cardinals hanging about his feeder (in addition to the various other birds).  I picked up an extra bag of seed yesterday in anticipation that traffic will be pretty heavy over the next few days.

UPDATE DEUX:  Make that seven pairs.  Extraordinary.  I don’t recall ever seeing such a high concentration of cardinals here.  Why, I could practically elect a new Pope! (Hey, a fellah can dream….)

SUNDAY APRES-SNOW UPDATE:  Yes, about six inches altogether, with enough moisture in it that I kept having to bang the accumulated slush off the shovel as I cleared the drive.  Perfectly respectable for these parts and, as I say, quite pretty.  And yes, dog has been frolicking duly on and off today.  UPDATE TO UPDATE:  Whoa, not so fast there, monkey-boy!  It’s coming down heavily again after I thought it was all over and done.  Add another three inches at least to that total and yes, I’m going to have to shovel again, dammit.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Twelfth Night!

Not that Port Swiller Manor indulges in anything like revelry to mark the Eve of the Epiphany, since Ol’ Robbo is really the only one round here who pays much attention to that sort of thing, but I intend to raise a glass or two at any rate.

One custom I have taken to in recent years is the chalking of the door.  I do this on the sly, lest Mrs. Robbo raise objections on grounds of either unsightliness or hocus-pocus.  I can’t pray at her, so to speak, but I can and do certainly pray for her (and the Gels, of course).

Anyhoo, have a merry evening.  But if anybody advises you to wear yellow stockings and crossed garters, YOU. SAY. NO.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all continue to have a joyful and prayerful Christmastide.  Don’t forget that it doesn’t actually end until The Epiphany, January 6.  Ol’ Robbo will be checking up to see if anyone is sneakily taking down ornaments prematurely.

As for Christmas Eve/Day itself, things around Port Swiller Manor proved to be quiet.  It’s nice having all the Gels home for a bit, and was especially nice to see them all in church together on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, Ol’ Robbo found he didn’t have the energy to stay up for Midnight Mass this year, so I crawled out of bed early on Christmas Morning to hit the early Mass.  I then scuttled home thinking I would be met with impatience and censorious looks plus itchy fingers on bows and ribbons only to discover that all the Gels were….still asleep!  My, have the times changed.

Christmas Dinner was the usual roast beef and Yorkshire pud plus two veg, except that when I went to the store Christmas Eve I discovered they had not a single stalk of asparagus in the place.  We had to give peas a chance instead.  We were joined as usual by my cousin, an elderly widow who lives out in the Shenandoah.  As usual, being a member of the Enlightened Secular Progressivist Brigade in good standing, she was both puzzled and somewhat alarmed by some of the traditionalist views thrown out by the Gels on various subjects, but happily we did not descend into actual politickal debate, heated or otherwise.

We then packed up the Honda Juggernaut and drove down to Wintergreen to meet up with by brother and his family for a couple nights.  We rented a big house with a nice view not in the resort itself but a little farther along the ridge line.  Since Ol’ Robbo hasn’t been on skis since high school, and since the weather was pretty dank, I forbore from any actual snow-related activities, although one afternoon my brother and I hiked up a pretty steep hill on the Appalachian Trail in order to take in the view and pat ourselves on the backs that we didn’t give up until we reached the summit.  Otherwise, I watched a lot of college football.  Also, although I’m not really a beer guy myself, I can heartily recommend a visit to the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company if you ever find yourself in the area.  (The link only goes to the Wiki entry.  Sorry, but I can’t seem to raise the homepage at the moment.)

And speaking of hiking, I came away from our relatively high-up jaunt hacking like a three-pack-a-day guy, with a clogged throat and burning lungs.  Two days later and I’m still at it.  In fact, they were the same damned symptoms with which I came down after physically exerting myself on the High Prairie out in Wyoming a year or two ago, symptoms so bad that I drew a mild, humorous rebuke from a federal judge because I couldn’t keep them under control in his courtroom. Evidently, there is some gunnegshun between high-altitude workouts and this kind of respiratory ailment.  Bleh.

As for the rest, we’ll take it easy the next day or two and then start preparing for some light entertaining for New Year’s.  The Former Llama Military Correspondent and his family will be staying over, as usual, plus we have a few other guests tentatively scheduled to drop by for “London New Year”, meaning we can get rid of them relatively early on in the evening.

After that?  Well, that rather depends on what Uncle does about his budget reconciliation.  This coming week may see the long-meditated grand reorganization of Ol’ Robbo’s library if I find I have sufficient time on my hands.


“Adorazione Dei Pastori” – Antonio da Correggio (1530)

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

Isn’t it a curious thing that Ol’ Robbo can’t read this passage without tearing up?

A very merry Christmas to all friends of the decanter!  God bless you all!  Bumpers all round and gunn’ls under! Here’s three times three and no heel taps!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Did you see the coverage over at Ace’s place the other day about the SJW snowflake who doesn’t want to be wished “Merry Christmas” because it’s a reminder that the holiday -whatever it’s become in this post-modernist nightmare world – is still rooted in Christianity and that’s doubleplus ungood wrongthink triggering to her?

We get closer to Christianity as Hate Crime every single day.

As a matter of fact, Ol’ Robbo pointedly says “Merry Christmas” whenever such seasonal exchange occurs.  Yes, it is Christmas.  It’s a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, which is exactly the reason for being merry in the first place.  The person to whom I wish it is free to take it or leave it as they see fit, but I am not about to lose my identity just to humor them.

That’s in part why I always wear the ashes on Ash Wednesday, too.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo sees that Pope Francis is proposing to mess about with the Our Father, retranslating the line “And lead us not into temptation” to “Abandon us not when in temptation”.

The latter, according to this article and others, is linguistically a better fit with the original Greek, and supposedly has been adopted in the French and Spanish.  I wouldn’t know.  The Latin as used in my missal is et ne nos inducas in tentationem, and the current English is a good literal translation of that.

Substantively, I understand the argument to be that since God is the Ultimate Good, He’d never lead us into temptation anyway,  therefore, it’s silly and maybe even bad to ask Him not to.

This may be, but why is the same reasoning not also applicable to the concept of abandonment?  He never turns His back on us (hard as that may be to believe sometimes), we turn ours on Him.

The Douay-Rheims Bible, incidentally, contains this note on the line: Lead us not into temptation”: That is, suffer us not to be overcome by temptation. I like that both because it recognizes that we’re the ones potentially at fault and is also a plea for His help to save us from ourselves.  Stepping in, as it were, instead of turning away.

If he feels compelled to fool with a 500 year old text, why doesn’t Franky just go with that?

UPDATE: Needless to say, I am not a theologian, nor do I play one on teevee, nor have I stayed recently at a Holiday Inn Express.  So what do I know?

Also, sorry about the weird formatting. Cut n’ Paste sometimes is not my friend.



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!

A reminder to my fellow mackerel-snappers out there that tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Get ye to Mass!

And bang on cue comes this story about some academic who is claiming that the Virgin Mary was #MeToo’d: “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario.”

Get that? We’ve come to “God is a rapist”.

Evidently from the article this fellah also amuses himself by hanging satanic ornaments on his “holiday” tree.

I don’t know whether this is just attention-monger trolling or else another example of the effort on the Left to turn Christianity into a “hate” crime.  (I should probably embrace the power of “and” here.) But what this fellah doesn’t seem to understand is that he’s messing with things that are very Real, in fact very much more so than what he believes to be the “real world” physically around  him.  I mentioned this to Eldest Gel this morning and her remark was, “Well, I guess he’ll find out the hard way.”

As They Might Be Giants once sang, “Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

When I first saw this the other day I thought it was a parody, but evidently not: PETA Wants You To Stop Saying “Bring Home The Bacon” and Other Anti-Animal Phrases. 

Yes, yes they really do.

“Words matter,” PETA tweeted Tuesday. “And as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

The animal rights organization then included a color-coded chart with what they view as offensive phrases on the left in red and what they view as acceptable substitutions on the right in green.

In lieu of “kill two birds with one stone,” how about saying “feed two birds with one scone”? Instead of “bring home the bacon,” try “bring home the bagels.”

Bless their hearts.

Two thoughts come immediately to mind.

First?  Ol’ Robbo lerves him the history of the English language in all of its manifestations, including both etymology and these sorts of idioms.  PETA’s scolding simply makes me roll about in such history even more.  (God send the atheists don’t get the parallel idea of scrubbing all Biblical references and idioms out of the language.  Do you have any idea how many there are? I’ll give you a hint: A lot.)

Second? Bacon.  Mmmmmm……..Bacon.  Crispy.  Flavorful.  Bacon.  Mmmmmm………

You’ll have to go to the tweet link to see the chart itself because I’ve not the blog-fu to transport it over here, but from the article you get the general idea.

So should “a murder of crows” be changed to “an indaba of crows”?

And what says PETA to Benedick’s musing on the power of musick in Much Ado About Nothing: “Is it not strange that sheep’s guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?”

Finally, show of hands, please, among PETA members who support this toddler-grade Orwellian Doublethink and who also support unlimited abortion.  All of you? I suspected as much.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo’s braim just doesn’t want to let go of this one.

Here at Port Swiller Manor, logistics for what one would think even the simplest of forays very often quickly become insanely complicated.  (Because women.  There, I said it.)  I refer to such scenarios – much to my family’s ire – as “dog and pony” shows.  Guess I have to stop that now.  (Not.)

Tennyson’s line about Nature being “red in tooth and claw” should now read “Nature is colorful”.

“Dog in the manger” should now read “Veggie-dog”.

“Let the cat out of the bag” should read “Don’t put a cat in a bag in the first place, you hater!

“Horse-trading” equals slavery, so that’s right out.

The Cowardly Lion will now be the Differently-Couraged Lion.

Similarly, the Horse of a Different Color becomes Rainbow Horse.

And of course, the great Groucho Marx joke will be slightly modified: “Last night I shot** an elephant in my pajamas.  How it got in my pajamas I’ll never know, but I respect its choice.”  (Hooray for Captain Spaulding! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!)

** With a camera, you monsters!





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.



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