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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I believe that after all these years (almost 14 by my count) of blogging, today marks an historick first, insofar as I am posting today for the very first time from the immense comfort of my hammock on the back porch of Port Swiller Manor.

I must say, I could seriously get used to this.   (Indeed, one of the Four Things which Ol’ Robbo hopes to do when and if he is ever able to retire is to turn his attention to more serious writing.  If I’m not mistaken, none other than William Makepeace Thackeray is said to have done his very best work while similarly lounging in his hammock, so you never know!)

And what are the Four Things, you ask? Well, as I say, one of them is serious writing.  Another is to reform my garden from a butterfly-bush wilderness into an orderly, civilized set of flower beds.  The third is to actually sit down and work up some piano musick to performance level, instead of forever sight-reading.  Finally, I want to take up golf again, which I haven’t seriously played in 25 years.

So there you are.

Anyhoo, a few odds and ends for you:

♦  We had a very cool and wet spring in the neighborhood this year, with a resultant lushness that I haven’t seen in quite some time.  Indeed, so much so that the hedge of hollies which we planted along the sidewalk out front some years ago have positively exploded.  T’other day, Ol’ Robbo came home to find a piece of paper taped to his mailbox.  Its gist was that the hollies were sticking branches out over the sidewalk and could we please cut them back.  It was signed, “Your friendly neighbors.”

I’ll give them that the trees needed pruning (which I did yesterday), but there is something about the passive-aggressive nature of this “friendly” notice that really irritates Ol’ Robbo.  Indeed, I was half-tempted to scrawl “Balls to you!” on the thing and just leave it there.

Ah, well, at least it was a tad better than the little snirp who, once or twice over the years, has actually hacked down some of my branches and simply left them lying all over the sidewalk.  I caught him at it once, and it was only the gray hairs on his head that kept me from taking a horsewhip to him.

♦  Speaking of horsewhips, Ol’ Robbo realizes more and more what a bye he got with the Eldest Gel not being at all interested in dating when she was in high school.  Suddenly it seems both of the younger Gels have romantic irons in the fire, and Ol’ Robbo’s stomach muscles are tightening accordingly.  (Actually, the Youngest’s is a very polite and sensible young man, who I think I like.  She’s so besotted with him that she’s actually going to try and take honors chemistry next year because he is.  Gawd!)

♦  And speaking of the Younger Gels, it’s off to Bible-Thumper Camp tomorrow morning.  This will be Middle Gel’s tenth year and Youngest’s eighth.  (Right now, all of Robbo’s wymminz are in the kitchen, squabbling over a trip to Tarzhay to pick up last-second supplies.  Why does everything have to be so complicated?  Ol’ Robbo is feigning deafness.)

♦  Oh, and have I said it lately?

LET’S GO, NATS!!!

Whelp, that’s about it for now.  Another advantage of hammock-blogging, now that the Gels have left on their equipment-run, is that I can simply hit the power button, close my laptop, and go nappy-byes.

As I say, I could get used to this.  Zzzzzzz………

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!!

A whirlwind visit out west this week for biznay, but I’m back home at Port Swiller Manor with my feet up today.  This is one of those times that I regret blogging anonymously, because the results of said visit were pretty durn satisfying and I wish I could happy dance about them just a little bit.

Heigh, ho.

Anyhoo, the perpetually smart-assed Eldest Gel pointed me to this little article this morning:  Psychopaths Drink Their Coffee Black, Study Finds.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Innsbruck, found that a preference for bitter flavours was linked to psychopathic behaviour. 

The closest association was between bitter foods and “everyday sadism” – that is to say, enjoyment of inflicting moderate levels of pain on others. 

She suggested I might want to ponder this.

I suggested she go to hell.

I didn’t dig down into the “study” itself, but I did get wondering a bit what it would consider to be “psychopathic behavior”.  No doubt Ol’ Robbo’s strict adherence to old-fashioned values of morality and etiquette (including, as demonstrated by this little dialogue, the Fourth Commandment) now make him ripe for such labelling and therefore a prime candidate for commitment to the Happy Fun Re-Education Camps the Authoritarian Left so dearly wishes to establish. (Although now that I’m getting a bit older, they might consider a bullet in the jolly old brainpan to be more efficient.)

Speaking of the Eldest, she’s suddenly become an Authority on the Proper Raising of Children, laying down the law about how strict parents ought to be and what a travesty it is to let the younglings spoil and run to seed.

I’ve learned to quickly put down any beverage I might be holding (including my cup o’ joe – black, thank you very much) when she starts to rant about this, in order to avoid the chance of a painful nasal emetic.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had one of his patent weird dreams last night.

In this one, I was helping home an elephant who had gone one over the eight.

Not only was it drunk, it was up on its hind legs, stalking along slowly but shakily. I found myself leaning up against it on one side, steadying it as it swayed along.

Then I realized that this was no ordinary elephant, but that it was dressed up to the nines with spats, cravat, tail-coat, and top hat.  Also, that we were in a very fancy-shmancy urban neighborhood, something like Louisburg Square in Bahston.

Eventually, we reached a very well-to-do-looking townhouse, which I understood to be the elephant’s own.  For some reason, they wouldn’t let us in, so I steered the elephant to the next house over.  It proved to be equally sumptuous, and the door was opened by a very well turned out older lady.

As I maneuvered the elephant inside and helped him collapse on a convenient sofa, I apologized to the matron for our unseemly intrusion.

“Oh,” she said, “that’s quite all right.  We’re used to him.”

And then, as they say, I woke up.

I hadn’t the remotest idea what all this was supposed to mean.  Thinking it over, my best guess is that I have been rereading George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman Papers for the umpteenth time recently, and just finished Flashman and the Redskins.  In it, Fraser uses the Victorian slang about “seeing the elephant” at one point.  I can only suppose that this expression stuck with me for some reason.

Why I “saw the elephant” in that particular condition, however, remains a mystery.

** If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

UPDATE: Oh, all right.  Enjoy!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is out on the porch this pleasant Saturday evening, lap-top in, er, lap, glass of wine at his elbow, watching the sunlight gradually withdraw from the sky.

A few idle thoughts for you:

♦   Eldest Gel called me at work yesterday morning, positively fuming.  “DAD!” she said, “I just got my latest paycheck and…..WHAT THE HELL IS IT WITH ALL THESE DAMNED TAXES?!!!”

Because I am what I am, I immediately remembered that line from one of the first episodes of “Friends” when Jennifer Aniston’s spoiled-rich-girl-tossed-into-street character gets her first coffee shop paycheck: “Who is this FICA guy? And why does he get my money?”

Also because I am who I am, I responded by quoting the paycheck gal from “Raising Arizona”: “The gubmint do take a bite, don’t she!”

This wasn’t exactly a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus thing for her, as she’s already deeply suspicious of the State, but her long-standing theories are now being backed up by experience.

♦ Middle Gel and I caught the end of our beloved Nationals’ third straight win against the hapless Mets earlier this evening.  The team were wearing these weird, sky-blue hats and socks and whatnot.  The Mets, and the umps for that matter, also had various sky-blue accessories.  Everyone seemed to be wearing ribbons, too. Puzzled, the Gel looked it up on the innertoobs: apparently this is some sort of Fathers’ Day Weekend tribute.

Ol’ Robbo dearly wishes the MLB would just cut this sort of thing out.  This is baseball, for Pete’s sake, not the Virtue Signalers’ Club.  Furthermore, some of these stunts go well into subject matters on which, shall we say, not everyone actually agrees, even though it’s politically incorrect to say so.   Knock off the ribbon-bullying and stick to the game, says I!

(Oh, and while Ol’ Robbo is handing down directives, get rid of the damned DH rule, too!)

UPDATE:  Gratuitous on-point first attempt at posting YooToob clip from my laptop:

 

 

♦  Finally, Youngest Gel, some time this past wintah, bought tickets to go see her favorite band, 21 Pilots, play a concert in Columbus, Ohio this week.

The problem? Said Gel didn’t bother to coordinate with anyone about a) whether she was actually allowed to go, or b) if she was, how she was actually going to get there.  In typical Youngest Child mentality, she figured she’d present the concert as a fait accompli, and rely on our scrambling to find a way to make it happen.

Gel is now having a sadz because she finally realizes that we’re not going to accommodate her.  (Sorry, no.  I wouldn’t let Eldest Gel drive you that far even if she wanted to, which she doesn’t.)

Next battle? When year-long insufficient GPA warning meets passionate desire to get learner’s permit.

The tears.  They’re……delicious.

Am I a very bad man?  I think so.  I think so.

UPDATE DEUX:  Sun now long gone, I see the fireflies are out this evening.  First time I’ve seem them this year.  Ol’ Robbo dearly loves him some fireflies.  They’re so….shiny.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I know I posted a couple weeks ago about Eldest Gel’s return home after her freshman year in college, but I’m pretty sure I’ve not yet mentioned that she, in fact, made the Dean’s List for her spring semester.  Ol’ Robbo is mighty proud of that.  So is she.

What I’m finding equally gratifying is the education she’s getting this summah slinging smoothies down to the local shop.  She comes home with all sorts of stories – about menial jobs such as cleaning out the restroom; about lazy or incompetent co-workers; about penny-ante criticism from managers; about rude and obnoxious customers.

“You really have to swallow your feelings and wear a mask to get on with people at your job, don’t you?” she observed to me today.

“Yes.  Yes, you do,” I replied.

“Sigh,” she said.

“Hey,” I replied, borrowing one of the Old Gentleman’s sayings, “If it was fun, nobody would pay you to do it.”

She smiled at that.  The Gel does like her monies, after all.

Another thing I said after she griped about some customer who gave her a hard time about something: “Hopefully, you’ll remember this the next time you’re on the other side of the counter.”

“Oh,” she answered, “I have so much more respect for people who work jobs like this.  I’ll never forget that.”

That’s my Gel!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For reasons completely unfathomable to Ol’ Robbo, the Youngest Gel absolutely hates riding in my Wrangler with the side panels off.

Hates it. As in crying and pleading hates it.

What kind of attitude is that for a healthy, American 15 year old?

Anyhoo, I got tagged with giving her a ride over to her Young Man’s house yesterday afternoon. (Yes, she’s got her first boyfriend. Good kid, too. He shook hands when we met and calls me “Sir”.) I didn’t especially want to drive her, because I was rayther tired, so I was in no mood for her baulk when got into the garage.

“Dad! The sides are off! Can we put them on? Please? Can we just put on my side? Why not? You KNOW how I feel! (Sobs.) Pleeease? DAAAaad!”

“Look,” I said, “Do you want a ride?”

“Yes,” she said meekly.

I pointed.

“THAT’S the ride. Take it or leave it.”

She took it.

I will say that once we were on the road she didn’t squawk at all and even chatted about other things, but yeesh!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, it’s official: Eldest Gel appeared last Thursday with a car full of dirty laundry and dorm junk, and this afternoon she turned in the last of her take-home finals.  How in the heck do I have a rising college sophomore?

The Gel did very well her first year, by the way.  Good grades, tapped into the theatre club, and a reputation as a thorough and uncompromising skeptic of all things P.C.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this afternoon we got a notice from the U.S. Postal Service stating that the Gel’s O-fficial mailing address has now changed from her school P.O. Box to Port Swiller Manor, and will remain so through mid-August.

Granted that it’s been thirty-mumble years since Ol’ Robbo was an undergrad, but I have no recollection whatsoever of anything like this happening with me.  (Perhaps my parents never told me.). And I lived off-campus most of my law school days and certainly do not recall sending any change-of-address forms in to the post office.

Strange.

By the bye, the Gel’s plan for next year involves becoming more social.  (She wanted to concentrate on getting herself into college academic mode this year.)  If any friends if the decanter know a nice young man at VMI or Hampden-Sydney, well, let me know.

 

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!

Sorry (again) for the dearth of posts, but Ol’ Robbo has been crazy busy down the office these past couple weeks and is rayther short on both time and creative energy.

However, I’m getting a bit of a break today before a weekend of “the felicity of unbridled domesticity” followed by a brutal two work weeks (and then Holy Week!), so I’ll give you friends of the decanter three items of observation on which to ponder:

Firsto, Ol’ Robbo got dragooned into a catered “Vegan” work lunch yesterday. I am reasonably certain that nobody in the history of the world has ever said, “I’m a Vegan because the food is just so tasty!” I managed to find a fennel pita sammich, which to me seemed the least repugnant thing on the menu, but even there the veggies were cooked out of all meaningful flavor and the bread tasted like cardboard. I ate a few bites just to be polite and smiled thinly as everyone else sat about virtue-signaling over their meals. Feh. As the late, great, Phillip Seymour Hoffman said in “Twister”, “Red meat! We crave sustenance!”

Segundo, I was watching some late cable movie one night this week when an ad came on for some lady’s razor. It featured a dad teaching his teenaged daughter how to shave her legs by shaving his own as an example. (It was unclear from the voice-over whether Mom was dead or they’d split the dishes.) You may call Ol’ Robbo a dinosaur (and if you’ve done so before, you may do it again), but I thought this was pretty damned creepy. (I begin to believe those theories about the deliberate cultural pogram against masculinity.) Also, granted that Ol’ Robbo checked completely out of the feminine hygiene field the instant the Gels hit potty-training, is leg-shaving even a teaching thing? I’ve a vague notion the Gels all more or less figured it out for themselves. (I certainly did when I learned to shave, and faces are a lot trickier than legs.) Yuk.

Thirdiest, if you ever think of visiting the Imperial City for the cherry blossoms, don’t bother about it THIS year. A freak late-winter warm spell followed by a freak early spring arctic cold snap meant that the buds came out and then got crushed. Same for the magnolias, the forsythia, and even my clematis. Damn you, ManBearPig! Damn you to hell! (Also, what with the crazy weather patterns, I haven’t been able to do a thing in the yard this year. And because of the work I mentioned, I won’t get a chance to start until after Easter. Gonna be one serious mess this year.)

UPDATE:  I just got thinking: Since Ma Nature put such a kybosh on the winter/spring transition this year, is it unrealistic of me to hope this also means that pollen levels and insect swarms will also be down?  Silver linings and all that…..

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