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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all had a joyful and stuff-a-licious Thanksgiving holiday! Certainly the Family Robbo did: As per usual, we went down to visit my brother’s family in North Carolina.  (He and his wife have a son and two daughters, all of whom are roughly of age with Robbo’s three gels.  The Boy, for example, is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, while Brother’s gels are in high school.)  Much merriment was had by all.  The cousins get on very well among themselves, Bro and I found much reason to stand guard over the outdoor grill while the turkey was cooking (constant monitoring of the thermometer is crucial, you understand, and adult beverages only aid in concentration), the wimmynfolk confab’d to their hearts’ desires up in the kitchen,  and all in all, everything was hunky-dory.

Robbo’s older cousin was there as well.  As regular friends of the decanter may recall, said cousin has a passion for genealogy.  This time, she trapped ol’ Robbo in an extended monologue on our ancestors of seven or eight generations back – Scots-Irish Presbyterian stock with names such as Gilmore and Paxton – who had settled the upper Shenandoah Valley in the 1730’s.  Curiously, given that I went to law school at Dubyanell, several of my ancestors of those generations were killed, kidnapped and/or enslaved in Indian raids in 1759 and 1763 during the French and Indian War not more than a couple miles from where I lived and studied.  Small world, ain’t it?

On the one hand, the inner history geek in me loves this sort of thing.  On the other? Well, is Thanksgiving Dinner really the time to spread out reproductions of 1734 land-grant maps and superimpose current Rand-McNally counterparts in order to assess streambed shifts in the Maury River and Kerr’s Creek for purposes of locating precise boundary lines?

We Didn't Go There

We Didn’t Go There

And speaking of my cousin, it has become her custom to challenge us to bring Virginia wines to each of our regular meet-ups (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter), there to compare and contrast the many labels available (all of which are complete dreck, if you ask me).  This year, the Devil whispered into ol’ Robbo’s ear that Trump Wine might be appropriate, both since it is bottled at Monticello and also since said Cousin is a proud Lefty.

I showed my brother said bottle ahead of time and asked his advice.  His opinion? Nyet!

On reflection, I concluded he was right and hid the bottle until our cousin left.   (We drank it later.  Truth be told, it wasn’t awful, but I wouldn’t buy it again.)

The only other things to say about the holiday are travel-related:

Downbound, Ol’ Robbo found himself in the lee of the smoke of several forest fires blowing across Nelson and Amherst Counties.  It’s corny to say, but it really did feel like twilight at noon as we made our way through, thus seriously messing about with Ol’ Robbo’s internal clock.  Coming home, everything seemed to have cleared up to a great extent, thank goodness.

Upbound, just south of Altavista, Virginia on Highway 29, Ol’ Robbo suddenly spotted a dog on the median: It was a young bloodhound (or some sort of hound, anyway) lying curled up in the grass and looking around in a confused way.  There was no place to stop just there, the formulation of what I had seen took a couple minutes to congeal in my braims, and what the hell could we have done with another dog anyway?  Anyhoo, after a couple minutes, I told Mrs. R what I had seen.  Being the far more practical and hands-on of us, she immediately called teh local animal control dispatcher and related to them what I had spotted.

I dunno if there was any follow-up.

One thing Mrs. R and I agree on: People who dump dogs (or other animals) at the side of the road ought to be shot.

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo completely forgot to relate an aspect of this trip that is sure to add many, many demerits to his Man Card.  You see, barring unforeseen complications, it is no more than a 5 1/2 to 5 3/4 hours’ journey from Port Swiller Manor to my brother’s house.  Not exactly a short hop, but hardly an all day excursion either.

Nonetheless, Ol’ Robbo allowed himself to be cajoled into stopping on this trip no fewer than three times – in each direction!  The most infuriating stop was the last one: 45 minutes out from home, the Youngest – who had been sleeping most of the way – woke up and announced that she needed a pit stop.   And like the sap that I am, rayther than telling her to cross her legs and suck it up, I shamefully pulled over at the next convenience store/gas station.

What can I say?  Mea culpa.

Man Rules, of course, clearly dictate that stops on long drives are determined solely by fuel needs.  Everything else – water, snacks, meals, potty breaks – are supposed to key on that determination, and that determination alone.  You know you’re not stopping again for another three or four hours? Plan accordingly!

Deviate from this plan and you’ll be stopping every freakin’ 20 minutes for one reason or another.

The Family Robbo may need to take a very considerably longer ride some time in the next few months, and I have already made clear to Mrs. R (and directed that she inform our offspring) that I will not display such weakness again.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

My name is Robbo and I’m an eeedjit.

It is a custom at Port Swiller Manor that ol’ Robbo cooks the family dinners on weekends, in part because I enjoy doing it, in part because of the unspoken understanding that I am a better cook than Mrs. R.  This is not boasting or belittling, merely a product of circumstances:  Both of my parents cooked (the Mothe is a superb chef and the Old Gentleman could hold his own) while neither of Mrs. R’s does (heating up pre-made meals from Stew Leonard’s does not count).  As a result, I picked up a basic understanding of kitcheny things in my misspent yoot and she simply didn’t.  (And let me say here that I am somewhat Sam Gamgee-like in my knowledge: Within my own 20 mile geographical equivalent limited range, I am very competent, but I cheerfully acknowledge that I am ignorant of almost everything beyond it.)

Anyhoo, in honor of Eldest’s return from college, this evening I was cooking up a shrimp and prosciutto pasta dish to which she is much addicted, but which we rarely have, given that it comes out to about eleventy-billion calories per forkful and leaves one wreaking of garlic and shallots for about 48 hours.

Because Mrs. R has professed to vegetarianism since the last time we had this dish, I decided to sauté the prosciutto separately from the other ingredients in order that everyone could enjoy it one way or another.  To this end, I set out a separate pan of olive oil on one of the back burners to heat up.

What with my family’s infuriating habit of vanishing in the hour before din-dins, leaving me to deal with things by myself, ol’ Robbo once again gave his usual impression of Basil Fawlty, simultaneously trying to cook the main dish, prep the salad, set the table, set out appropriate condiments, and get drinks.  As I scrambled about, I lost track of the need to do up the proshute.

Suddenly remembering that the oil was more than hot and that the pasta and main sauce were about ready to go, I grabbed the bowl of cut up proshute and flung it into the pan.

That, as they say, tore it.

The proshute hit the pan, the pan splash hot oil onto the gas burner, and up she went with a most impressive shwoooosh!  

The pan was on one of the back burners, by the bye, which means it was directly in front of the splashboard and directly under the cabinet overhang.  They were rayther quickly engulfed in flame.

It’s an interesting thing:  Ol’ Robbo has never really stopped to think about whether he is brave or not.  The number of times I’ve had to face a real instantaneous crisis decision in my life, I’m happy to say, has been really rayther small.  Well, for what it’s worth, in this instance (without thinking but not without some pretty lurid language) I immediately reached into the fireball and bare-handedly snatched the pan away from the burner.

The fire quickly went down and out, the remaining oil in the pan sloshed about a bit over the range and adjoining counter.  I didn’t even get singed.

Crisis averted.  Laus Deo.

Of course, I had a mess on my hands: olive oil everywhere and a blackened backsplash and cabinet door.  Windex (that Wonder Product)  seems to have done the job for the vast majority of the discoloration.  To the extent that Mrs. R chooses to quibble about the remaining scorching, it is my intent to argue that such things give a kitchen real character (as opposed to those pristine ones featured in the snootier real-estate magazines in which you know to the very depth of your being that nobody, nobody, has ever really cooked anything).

Oh, for what it’s worth, everyone seemed to like the meal.

UPDATE:  “Reeking of garlic and shallots” of course, not “wreaking”.  You know, like the famous scene in “Casablanca” where Peter Lorre is nailed by Captain Renault’s men and screams at Bogart, “Reek! Help me! Reeeeeeeeeeek!!!

Yeesh.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had breakfast for din-dins this evening – eggs, sausage, and hash browns.   Yum.  My main motivation was a desire to finish up the last of the sausage in the Port Swiller Manor fridge before the Eldest Gel arrives home from school for Thanksgiving break tomorrow and noms the lot behind my back.  You’ve got to move fast with these kids.

Speaking of the rapid approach of Thanksgiving, twice today I saw mention of something called “Friendsgiving” – once on a flyer in my office lobby and once on an ad for Starbucks or something like it.

Friendsgiving?

Maybe I’ve seen this before, but so many terrible perversions of tradition have come down the pipeline in recent years that I simply do not recollect it.  Was this yet another assault? The word Thanksgiving implies, after all, a) that one has something for which thanks should be given, and b) there is Someone who must necessarily be the recipient of said thanks.  Was this new spin some kind of hipster attempt to subtly bypass those implications?  To yet again deny the existence of God and our dependency on His love? To make it All About Meeeeee?

According to the Urban Dictionary, “Friendsgiving” is:

The celebration of Thanksgiving dinner with your friends. This usually occurs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, since Thanksgiving is usually reserved for family gatherings. “Hey guys, bring over your family leftovers to my house on the Friday after Thanksgiving to celebrate Friendsgiving!”

Weell…………

This explanation of the word seems fairly innocuous on its face, I suppose.  Cutesy-Stupid rayther than sinister.  And there’s nothing inherently wrong with the implied hospitality, practicality,  and friendship. On the other hand, though, a quick perusal of Google hits about it reveals a whole mess of articles along the lines of “Family sux because they’re all so problematic and they’re such a pain to get to, so this holiday is much better because it’s totes easier and you spend it with your friends instead.”

So, yes, after all: shallow, self-centered, hedonistic, subversive, and stupid.  In other words, perfectly emblematic of these wretched times.

Speaking of which, another story of the Eldest’s collegiate debut.  (It’s the gift that keeps on giving.)  Today in her history class, the prof turned the discussion on to last week’s election results.  Apparently, there are a trio of SJW types in the class who always Say The Loud Things during discussions.  This time, the Gel tells me, they were in high dudgeon:  How could Any Woman vote for Trump?  How could Any Minority vote for Trump?  How could Any Gay Person vote for Trump?  How? HOW?

Finally, the Gel said, “Why don’t you actually ask one?  After all, they’re individuals, not statistics.  You might just learn something about the complexities of other people’s outlooks and worldviews, and you certainly need to learn to deal with them.”

Heh.

After class, apparently, another student sidled up to the Gel and thanked her for speaking out.  The prof did the same when the Gel dropped by her office later to gripe about the meme that  Shrillary’s loss was somehow a message to girls that they couldn’t become President.  “Where does that come from?” the Gel demanded.  “What am I supposed to be, a sheep?  I can do whatever I damn well want, including becoming President or staying home and raising a family, and nobody can tell me otherwise.  Modern Feminism can go to hell.”

The Gel despises identity politicks, in case you hadn’t noticed.  So do the Middle and (to a growing extent as she becomes more aware) the Youngest.  I may or may not have had something to do with that.

Double Heh.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A conversation from this morning:

Self:  What on earth are you doing up at 6:30 am on a Saturday?

Youngest Gel:  Dad, it’s Friday.

Dang extended weekends.  I’m getting old and confused.

Anyhoo, the big nooz last evening was that Youngest made her school swim team.  She just made the cut time and apparently the coach likes her attitude and enthusiasm.

I must say that I’m quite proud, particularly because I had nothing to do with this.  The Gel had swum for our pool club team for a number of years but then dropped out this past summah.  A couple months ago, however, she decided that she really wanted to get on the school team, so she started training again  (she’d worked with this program in the past, but stopped after swimming head-first into the wall and suffering a concussion), and now here we are, all because of her own efforts.

Think she’s pleased?  She spent all last evening walking around saying, “That’s right….Youngest Port Swiller, varsity athlete – believe it, baybee!”  (There’s no freshman or jayvee team at her school.  You’re either in the Show or you’re not.)

I expect a major outlay in purchases of sweatshirts, t-shirts, window decals, and the like, but so what.  If she’s on the team, working hard, and pulling her weight, let her have her fun.  (Ain’t ol’ Robbo getting indulgent in his old age?)

She also mentioned the benefits to her resume.  “Do you think I could wind up swimming for UVA?” she asked me.

“Well,” I said, “competition to get into UVA from around here is wicked fierce.  Yes, you almost absolutely need a varsity sport, so this is an excellent start.  But you also need a GPA of about eleventy-billion and a Nobel Prize in astro-physics, so get cracking on those books, too.”

I think that gave her some food for thought.

Since the gel’s only a freshman and is at the tail of the team, I don’t know how many meets she might actually make this year.  Frankly, the fewer the better, at least from my standpoint:  Swim meets are amongst the dreariest and most boring of all sports events, at least from the parental point of view – hours of sitting around on cold, hard benches just to see your kid in the drink for about 30 seconds at a go.  (That is, of course, unless your wife has secretly volunteered you to man a shift at the snack bar.  Then it’s even worse.)

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel was telling me more of the post-election atmosphere on campus last evening.

First, her English prof came to class with his dog yesterday.  “I thought after what happened last night, we could all use some therapy,” he said.  Then he looked over at the Gel and said, “Except you, of course.”

The Gel, to her credit, burst out laughing.  “Figured me out, have you?” she said.

“It wasn’t that difficult,” he replied.

That’s my gel!

Her History prof took a different tack.  “You all know my political views, of course,” she said, “I’m as liberal as you can get.  But know this, too:  I believe in the 1st Amendment more than anything else.  If you voted for Hillary, fine.  If you voted for Trump, fine.  If you voted for somebody else, fine.  What’s important is that none of you, no matter who you voted for, should ever be afraid to say so in my classroom.  Nor should you feel afraid to give your opinion about anything else, no matter what it is.”

Of course, since it’s a private college, there really isn’t any 1st Amendment issue here.  Nonetheless,  I really like this woman’s attitude.  The Gel likes her, too.  When we chatted, I told her that her prof was an example of Principled Liberalism, an increasingly rare specimen these days.  This, as opposed to Leftism, which is nothing more than the Will to Power and has no principles whatsoever.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, now.

Ol’ Robbo had no intention of watching the election returns last evening.  I have learned through long and bitter experience that such things are both repugnant and stressful to me, repugnant because of the yammering of the Talking Heads, stressful because of the suspense and potential for disaster.  So I had planned to watch a movie instead.  (“The Hunt For Red October”, in case you were wondering.)

Unfortunately, Mrs. R got at the teevee before I did, and before I knew it, had flipped on the election coverage.  Perversely, because I hate it so much, I find that once I’ve clapped eyeballs on said coverage, I cannot tear myself away until the issues presented are resolved.  As they say, Keep Calm and Don’t Blink.

So there I was, hopelessly trapped.  And I stayed that way from about 8:30 pm all the way through to The Donald’s victory speech at around 3:30 ack emma.  And I admit that there was some drink taken.

Up again at six this morning, you can imagine how productive a day I actually had.

Not that I was alone: most of the rest of the people in my office also appear to have held out to the bitter end, and while I was just bleary and jaded, they were in full Gotterdammerung meltdown, crying, cursing, and group-hugging.

(Okay, I have to admit that their tears tasted….delicious.)

Eldest Gel reported that very similar things were going on at her school, and that the administration had designated certain “safe spaces” for any student needing some place in which to work out her feelings.  As the Gel so eloquently put it, “What the hell is wrong with these people?”

What, indeed.

Anyhoo, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what actually happened.  I won’t pretend that the Donald is the second coming of the Gipper, but I will note the old tag attributed to Sam Clemens to the effect that history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.  And here you have it:  Populist revolt against moribund, rudderless, top-heavy, smothering, progressivist regime.

The Gel used to gripe that ol’ Robbo got to grow up during the Reagan years.  I’m not so sure that she isn’t about to experience a different version of the same ride.  I hope so.  I hope so.

For myself, after much consideration I arrived at the conclusion that the most important thing in this election was keeping She Who Must Not Be Named’s claws off the Supreme Court, and so I voted accordingly.  You may imagine, then, how I feel about the results.

And, obligatory:

 

(Yes, as of yesterday I am not quite so worried about being sent off to the camps or having a bullet put in the back of my head.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was so discombobulated by the time change last night, he woke up this morning thinking it was Monday.  As I rattle around ahead of getting ready for Mass, a few odds and ends:

♦  Did my first leaf-raking pass yesterday.  (I also mowed the lawn again.  Needless to say, it was a long day.)  The foliage this year has turned out to be a complete dud, starting then stoping then starting again, very dull and washed out colors, and most of the remainders now going straight to brown.  I’ve heard all kinds of different explanations for why colors are sometimes good and sometimes bad, most of them having to do with some combination of rainfall and temperature.  I don’t know what the ideal is supposed to be, but we certainly didn’t get it this year.

In fact, we’ve had very little rain really since about the beginning of July, and certainly of late.  The advantage of this? Dry leaves are a heckuva lot easier to deal with than sodden wet ones.

♦  Picked up fresh bags of bird food at the hardware store yesterday.  When the clerk rang them up, I rolled my eyes and said, “They damn well better appreciate this!”  The clerk laughed and told me somebody else had said the same thing to her earlier in the day.   That stuff gets expensive, and at this time of year both of my feeders are cleaned out within less than 48 hours.  I have had to harden my heart and resist the temptation to fill them up mid-week.

♦  Speaking of the birds, I hadn’t seen a Carolina wren all year but spotted one under the back deck just this week.  Also speaking of birds, I cannot understand the complete absence this year of the Northern juncos.  We used to have dozens of them.  Globull Warmening, I suppose.

♦  And speaking of Globull Warmening, it has continued quite pleasant enough for ol’ Robbo to travel hither and yon in La Wrangler with the top down.  Alas, with the time change I’m going to have to go ahead and put it back up later this afternoon.  We are now entering what I call the Time of the Mole People and commuting back and forth in the dark with the top down just isn’t the same thing.

♦  Yes, I am avoiding all mention of the elections.

♦   In Gel News, it looks as if the Eldest is now heading in the direction of a History Major/Theatre Minor.  She had a nice chat with her current History prof this week.  The prof is a lefty but not a rigidly dogmatic one and said that she appreciates the Eldest’s skepticism and willingness to challenge things in class.  The Gel is taking another course with this prof next semester on Tudor and Stuart England.  She’s also taking a class on Hitler and Stalin with another prof who has a reputation for eccentric conservatism.  (One of his assignments for this class is for the students to plan their own genocides.)  She’s already laughing at the thought of the contrast.  (The two profs are good friends, btw.)

♦  Meanwhile, we’ve entered the hunt to try and figure out where on earth to send Middle Gel.  She’s off to a college fair downtown this afternoon with Mrs. Robbo, who will be working the Sweet Briar booth.  (No, Middle Gel has absolutely no interest in SBC, saying that she’s already had plenty of single-sex education, thank you very much.)  We shall see.

♦  Finally, Youngest Gel is trying out for the high school swim team this week.  She hadn’t swum competitively for a year or two, but has been training reasonably hard for the past couple months and really pulled her best times down considerably.  Fingers crossed!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel called ol’ Robbo this afternoon to crow a bit about the draft staging of “Romeo and Juliet” she’s been working on for her Lit class.

The assignment was to come up with a creative way to re-stage the play in a form that modern audiences (and here, read “ignorant cretans”) could better appreciate.

The Gel really rather despises “R&J”, considering it to be an over-hyped story about a couple of idiot teenagers whose hormones cause them to get tangled in a ridiculous Rube Goldberg-esque  elopement plan concocted by a crackpot friar which only succeeds in getting a lot of people killed.  (She may or may not have formed this opinion from listening to ol’ Robbo, but I deny any and all responsibility.)  Apparently, she’s been sparring with the prof over this for the past week or two because he thinks the play is dreamy.  (He also, apparently, thinks “Shakespeare In Love” is a wonderful film, if that gives you any indication.)

Anyhoo, to express her opinion, the Gel decided to rework the dialogue and add stage directions to put the whole thing in an Evil Clown context.

For example, the encounter between the rival gangs of bully-boys in Act 1, Scene I, in her version, now reads:

GREGORY
‘Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou
hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool! here comes
two of the house of the Montagues.
SAMPSON
My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee.
GREGORY
How! turn thy back and run?
SAMPSON
Fear me not.
GREGORY
No, marry; I fear thee!
SAMPSON
Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
GREGORY
I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as
they list.
SAMPSON
Nay, as they dare. I will honk my nose at them;
which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR

ABRAHAM
Do you honk your nose at us, sir?
SAMPSON
I do honk my nose, sir.
ABRAHAM
Do you honk your nose at us, sir?
SAMPSON
[Aside to GREGORY] Is the law of our side, if I say
“Whacka-whacka”?
GREGORY
No.
SAMPSON
No, sir, I do not honk my nose at you, sir, but I
honk my nose, sir. [Honks]
GREGORY
Do you quarrel, sir?
ABRAHAM
Quarrel sir! no, sir. [Honks]
SAMPSON
If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.
ABRAHAM
No better.
SAMPSON
Well, sir.
GREGORY
Say ‘better:’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.
SAMPSON
Yes, better, sir. [Honks]
ABRAHAM
You lie! [Blows party favor]
SAMPSON
Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

They fight with balloon swords, beating each other about the head, and with seltzer bottles.

And in the scene in Act 3 where Romeo pinks Tybalt, the Gel envisions, Tybalt wearing one of those flower-squirt contraptions.  As he falls, blood comes streaming out of it.  She also speaks of cream pies, clown-car entrances and Romeo expiring to the sound of a slide-whistle.

I have to confess that when she told me, I laughed out loud.

Part of the assignment was to submit a paragraph or so explaining why the treatment is relevant.  My young smart-ass got round that by citing the recent outbreak of evil clown sightings which seems to be sweeping the country.

Anyhoo, she got her rough draft back from the prof today.  He actually thought it very clever and funny and was good enough, after all the grief she’s given him, to say so in his written comments/suggestions.

Heh.  Apples and trees, I suppose.  Back in high school, ol’ Robbo wrote a short parody of “Macbeth” called “The Drunk of Dunsinane”.  It was a reworking of the porter’s monologue from Act 2.  While the porter is gassing on, Macbeth, himself several fathoms under, is trying to sneak back into the castle after an evening out with the boys.  He finally tears himself away from the porter, only to find Lady M standing on the stairs with a frying pan and a cold glare.   My English teacher thought it pretty damn funny.  (Wish I’d saved a copy.)

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swiller and Happy Halloween! (Ol’ Robbo is posting this a day early because tomorrow night he plans to ignore the doorbell, hide in the basement, and watch “Young Frankenstein”.

Jack-O, the semi-inebriated, good-enough-for-gub'mint-work Official Port Swiller Lantern for 2016

Jack-O, the semi-inebriated, good-enough-for-gub’mint-work Official Port Swiller Lantern for 2016

Meet Jack-O.  As ol’ Robbo has mentioned here many times before, he is rigidly orthodox when it comes to carving pun’kins.  Triangles for eyes and nose.  Period.  Mouth? Well, the number of teeth Jack-O winds up with is pretty much a function of my patience.  The Mothe wanted me to do fangs this year, but I settled on blunts.  On the other hand, I put in rayther more than I usually do, so there’s that.  (Pro Tip: a flathead screwdriver does very nicely in small areas if you can’t find your Exacto knife.)  These fancy-shmancy carving “kits”?  Feh.

Now, want to see something really scary, huh kids?  Via the College Fix comes the University of Texas’ 29-point checklist on offensive costumes.  I know this is a trend in many schools around the country this year, but I picked UT in part because Mrs. Robbo brought this particular article to my attention, and in part because this is Texas fer cryin’ out loud!

You can go read the pamphlet itself, but the CF article summarizes the general idea:

“Have we consulted with ‘experts?’ Is it educational?” the guide advises students in the event they decide to portray a culture. Such “experts” include “community leaders or faculty.”

Students should also be careful to avoid “utilizing generic store-bought costumes” that may not be fully “authentic” if the theme is cultural, the guide says. It suggests hosting a “non-social event” if students want to “educate” each other about a culture.

It lists 11 separate “harmful” themes, including any “generalized representation” of Asian culture or “Indigenous” cultures, such as “Cowboys and Indians,” as well as “tropical” or “fiesta.”

The guide provides mixed messages when it comes to cultures associated with white people. “Harmful” themes include “Golf Pros & Tennis Hoes,” “Trailer Trash” and “Chicks and Hicks,” but the guide approvingly cites “Catalina Yacht Mixer or ‘Preppy’” in a section on suggested themes that also includes “Rep Your Favorite Team” and “Alphabet Theme.”

(Ya know, by any traditional meaning of the term, ol’ Robbo is a “Preppy”.  Just who the hell do these people think they are, encouraging my personal subculture to be appropriated?)

By the time you get finished tap-dancing through this minefield, what the hell is the point anymore?  And if some Socialist Juicebox Wanker decides they want to come gunning for you anyway, they’ll find some source of outrage, even if you’re just standing there in a bedsheet with a couple eyes cut out of it.

What a stupid, stupid time to be alive.

(Twenty-mumble years ago when I was in law school, I went to three different Halloween parties.  The first year, I went as Judge Learned Hand, my costume being a black robe and a cardboard hand cutout on my head.  (That’s a 1L geek joke, btw.)  Third year, Mrs. Robbo and I went as the Miser Brothers.  (Won Best Couples Costume, IIRC.)  Second year? I went in a costume that would guarantee me a one-way ticket to the camps if I wore it today.  Nobody back then said a single thing other than, “Who is that?”)

"Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"

“Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”

UPDATE:  As of about 9:30 pm, ol’ Robbo is about to go out and extinguish Jack’s candle and call it an evening.  So far as I heard, we only had one trick-or-treater tonight.  Geographically speaking, we’re a neighborhood outlier (or, as I like to put it, on the wrong side of the tracks), and nobody has ever bothered to come round here who doesn’t actually live on our street.  Over the past couple years, most of the kids in our immediate vicinity have, like our own brood, got too old for door-to-door Halloween, and our sole visitor was a little girl who just moved in a couple months ago.  Just as well, as our idiot dog Daisy the Derp, easily the most stupid dog I have ever owned, has become increasingly cranky about unauthorized people, animals, and noises, and it took me about 20 minutes to calm her down after this one encounter.

UPDATE DEUX:  I mentioned above my plan to watch “Young Frankenstein” this evening.  Didn’t actually happen.  Instead, I found myself catching bits of  “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horrors” marathon on FFX.  Eh.  The episodes I watched were from fairly recent seasons.  Fact of the matter is that the franchise isn’t nearly as funny as it was, oh, 15 years ago.  Nonetheless, it can still produce a quality zinger every now and again.

Anyhoo, I bring this up because one of the skits was a tribute to Hitchcock and used what is easily my favorite theme from all of his movies, the one to “North By Northwest”.  Enjoy!

 

UPDATE TROIS:  Okay, as long as I’m at it, a gratuitous foundation to my “Really scary, huh kids?” reference above.  Either you know SCTV or you don’t:

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A couple of weeks ago, following our first cool snap, the leaves duly began to change around Port Swiller Manor.

Then, we had a sudden heat wave which took us right back up to late summah conditions.

We’ve gone cool again, but looking about it seems that the leaves had started…changing back.  The ones that had got past a certain point had fallen off the trees, but I would swear that others re-greened themselves.

Is this even possible?

Very strange.

(Personally, I think it must be the work of ManBearPig.)

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