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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Just done mowing the yard here at Port Swiller Manor and wondering how many more times this year I’ll need to do so.  Twice at the most, I reckon.  At the moment, there’s a large flock of robins out back going over the trimmings.  We generally have a few hanging around all year, but I think this is probably a migratory bunch on their way from hither to yon.  Certainly the hummingbirds seem to have packed up and left.

Anyhoo, Ol’ Robbo’s lawn-mowing turned out to be a Sunday chore this week because we spent most of yesterday visiting my godparents, who live about an hour away from us.  Uncle and I had a long talk about the Mothe – he’d known her nearly 60 years – and I’ve been feeling a good deal better since.

Meanwhile, on a completely random note, for some mysterious reason the shopping cart I was pushing around the store today in search of this evening’s din-din components kept building up a static charge:  I could feel my hair pringling and got my fingers zapped every time they moved off the plastic bar onto the bare metal.  Very strange.  Perhaps Black Lectroids were trying to contact me?  That would explain the voice in my head that keeps saying, “Hallo! Mah nem is Jon Pahrker!”

In the World of Baseball, congratulations to the Astros for holding off the Yankees in the ALCS.  I don’t think a Yankees/Dodgers series would have appealed to many folks outside their respective markets, but I imagine now the ‘Stros will be the favorites of the rest of the country.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Five o’clock and time for a glass of sherry!

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy autumnal equinox!

Ironically, while the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor received its first blast of fall coolness in mid-August (three or four weeks early, in fact), we’re back up to more summah-like temperatures this weekend.

Go figure.

Speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo was intensely amused this week to see, via Ace, an article from Pravda on the Potomac admitting that the “science” behind Glowball Enwarmening is, well, maybe not quite so “settled” after all:

The new research, thus, seems to potentially empower a critique of climate science that has often been leveled by skeptics, doubters and “lukewarmers” who argue that warming is shaping up to be less than climate models have predicted…
Overall, the dispute raises questions about how widely the carbon-budget concept has proliferated — and just how much we actually understand it.
“It goes to show, this carbon-budget approach is still much more, let’s say, immature scientifically than what we often assume,” [Center for International Climate Research’s Glen] Peters said.

“Immature”?  You misspelled “fraudulent”.  This has never been about science, but always, always, about politics and inventing justifications for centralizing authoritarian power.

The back of my hand to it.

Anyhoo, Mrs. Robbo bought me a power washer this week and I intend to take advantage of the balmy weather tomorrow to use it on, well, anything that comes within range, I suppose.

Including Mrs. Robbo.

[Insert malevolent cackling here]

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sitting out on the Port Swiller Manor porch on what amounts to a beautiful early October morning, it’s hard to fathom what’s happening or about to happen Down South.  Prayers for all friends of the decanter in Flahrduh, and stay safe!

Ol’ Robbo has a personal interest in this one because most of Mrs. R’s family live in South Flahrduh along the Atlantic coast.  The In-Laws bugged out the other day and are staying up here until it’s over, but they had to leave Mrs. R’s grandmother, who is too frail to move, and several sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins also decided to ride it out.  It’s not that I worry they’ll drown or get crushed by debris.  Instead, I worry about the aftermath – utilities gone, food and water running short, etc., etc.  Fortunately (at least for them), as of this morning it looks like Irma’s track has slid a little farther west and they’re more and more likely to be spared the brunt.  Hard cheese for those on the Gulf side, though.

As I say, hard to fathom from here.

Anyhoo, here’s some inconsequential nonsense:

♦  I am delighted to report the presence of no fewer than three separate hummingbirds at my feeder this year.  Last year I had two, and the year before – when I first hung it out – only the singleton.  They’re all hens (if one can properly use the word “hen” for the females of this particular species) and spend most of the time fighting one another.

♦  Speaking of hen-fights, Ol’ Robbo saw an article this week reporting that somebody was going to film an all-grrrlz version of “Lord of the Flies” and some Socialist Juicebox Wankers are upset because grrrrlz could never possibly treat each other that way.  I mentioned this item to Middle Gel, who only laughed.  “Do these critics even know any girls?” she asked.

♦ Speaking of movies, Ol’ Robbo watched the 1950 version of “King Solomon’s Mines” the other evening.  I try to like this film, I really do, but I always come away from it with a feeling of “meh”.  I think it’s because the story is good but the acting is flat.  Deborah Kerr does nothing for Ol’ Robbo, Stewart Granger (at least in this film) seems pretty wooden, and Richard Carlson’s English accent is ridiculous.  Are any of the other film versions of this story worth a dekko?

♦ And on the same topic, has any friend of the decanter ever read the Rider Haggard book on which the KSM films are based?  Ol’ Robbo has not read any Haggard himself but means to one of these days.  I probably ought to get on to that before they’re banned by the Thought Police.  (Toxic masculinity and British Imperialism, you know.  Can’t have that!)

Well, speaking of getting on, I suppose I had ought to finish my kahfeh and go mow the lawn.

UPDATED:  Done and done.  Do you know how much rain we’ve had in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor this year?  Enough so that I have not once been able to get through mowing the entire yard without stopping to clean the mud and wet clippings out of the blade housing, usually more than once.  That’s how much.

And while I was mowing, I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you just try reading “King Solomon’s Mines” yourself?”  So, as I had other biznay just now over to the devil’s website, I picked up a copy.  While I was at it, I also picked up Hugh Walpole’s “Rogue Herries” for no other reason than that John Cleese mentions it in the “Cheese Shop” sketch and I’ve always been curious.

I’ll let you know what I think.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A cool, rainy morning here at Port Swiller Manor (my thermometer says 57 degrees at the moment) and ol’ Robbo is very comfortable in a pair of old corduroys and sweater as he sits on the porch with a large cup of kahfeh and a cat trying to climb into his lap. (No, Kitty! That’s mah keyboard!)

And this is Labor Day weekend?

In fact, after a very mild summah here, fall is making its first appearance about a month early.  Even a few of the leaves are starting to change color already.

Not that I mind at all, at all.  Fall has always been my very favorite season for a variety of reasons.  Plus, this sort of weather drives the Globull Enwarmening crowd bonkers, or at least shuts them up for a bit.

Speaking of things early, or rather not, Mrs. R and the Younger Gels are off to Ikea this morning (despite the weather) and I couldn’t help noticing that, in the fine old Family Robbo tradition, their setting out was both delayed and complicated.  I have never, ever, understood this kind of behavior:  When one determines, “We will leave the house at 9:30 am,” then, logically, every member of the party is supposed to plan accordingly, working their preparation timelines backwards so that they will be ready and assembled at the garage door at, say, 9:25 am.

How difficult is this?

And yet every single time I set such an arbitrary step-off, I find myself standing around and fuming as various family members suddenly, for example, discover they can’t find shoes, or need to throw something in the dryer, or all need the bathroom at the same time, or change their mind about what to wear.

It’s exasperating to ol’ Robbo because I have always been fanatical about punctuality.  (Middle Gel once complained about her choir director’s  rule: If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re late, don’t bother coming.  I applauded it.)

Anyhoo, the Gels were less than specific about exactly what it is they “need” from Ikea, but I’ve an idea it’s going to involve one or more heavy boxes full of shelves, backing, metal dowels, and those counter-clockwise anchoring nuts, and it’s also going to involve Ol’ Robbo dragging said box(es) upstairs and digging out my tools.   I had thought of doing some early fall work in the garden, but it’s really rather soggy for that.  Guess I’ll be laboring inside instead.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

On the eve of his last day of work before a very much needed summah hols, Ol’ Robbo finds himself mulling this and that:

♦  Long time friend of the decanter Diane asks:

– How did it get to be August? Seriously, I feel as if July just poked her head in the door to say hello, then disappeared. I realized this morning that in another week, maybe two, I’ll be driving to work in the dark again. Oy.

Ain’t it da troot?  At least  for myself, I have a ready explanation:  In the past six weeks, I’ve had to make three trips out west for work, including the two-week trial-prep/trial one I just finished up.  Still scary to contemplate how quickly it goes by.

And now we’re rolling into another interesting Fall of Things: Eldest Gel starts her sophomore year in college; Middle Gel is doing the college application thing (with her sights set on early admission at one place in particular which I will go into at another time); and Youngest starts her sophomore year in high school….well, staying out of trouble and hopefully realizing now that if she hopes to get good grades, she’s actually going to have to, you know, earn them herself.

Diane also goes on to note:

– Something is up at my elderly neighbor’s. When I came home Monday, they had a trailer backed in to their parking bay, and a van pulled up in the center. One of their sons and his wife were loading things up, and I overheard bits of “Goodwill or toss?” conversations. As of today, the parking bay, which had been a sort of extra storage spot for the couple, is pretty much bare. Not sure if this is just a huge purge, a purge because they plan to move, or something else. Have never met the son and wife, so didn’t want to pry.

I’m guessing I know exactly what is going on there.  I won’t get into details in this post, but I expect that part of my upcoming hols is going to be devoted to the very same scenario.  The Mothe is not at all well.

♦  Well, okaaaay, then!

♦  Ol’ Robbo has come to a very succinct formulation of a belief that applies to his interpretation of much of what is occupying the headlines these days:  Government is a necessary evil, and politics is a false god.

Kinda covers the bases, don’t you think?  Aaand discounts most of them.

What’s that, comrade? Get my coat, we are going for a ride? Very well, but……..

♦  In the Department of Complete Random, yes, yes I just did indulge myself by purchasing a Sam Grant bobblehead.  Got a problem with that?  I pass his Memorial every day on my lunch-time walkies, and never fail to ruminate on what a decent, modest, but firm and clear-headed fellah he was.

♦  We just destroyed our first yellow-jacket nest of the year.  (Well, we had an exterminator do it for us.)  What would summah around Port Swiller Manor be without a yellow-jacket nest manifesting itself somewhere in the grounds?  At least this year I didn’t discover it by walking straight in to it and getting numerous stings as a result.

♦  Gimme.  No, I am not kidding….

Okay, that’s probably enough for now.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!  Ol’ Robbo finds himself lazing on the back porch of Port Swiller Manor this Sabbath, contemplating the cat sleeping opposite me and getting somewhat sleepy myself as a result.  Just a few thoughts to keep the braims cranking over:

♦  First thought is that, considering it’s already mid-July, Ol’ Robbo is really rather lucky to be able to sit out like this in comfort.  We had dinner on the porch last evening too, and it was quite pleasant.  (I’m sure the Meteorological Community will tell me this is all in my own head, 2017 is in fact shaping up to be the Hottest. Summah. EVAH!, and we all know who’s fault that is.)

♦  On travel this past week, Ol’ Robbo walked into a hotel with two of his biznay colleagues and beheld a sign by the registration desk that read, “Welcome, BLM”.  “Black Lives Matter?” I said, “Why would they want rioters?  Oooh, that must be Bureau of Land Management.”  (This was out West.)

My colleagues were……shocked.  Oopsies!

♦  So it seems that the Beeb announced today the 13th Doctor of the long-lived “Doctor Who” series and it’s……a woman.  Middle Gel, who is the big Whovian of Port Swiller Manor, is less than impressed with what she considers to be a pure casting stunt.  If the Gel is any straw in the wind to go by, this won’t end well.  (And lest you think Ol’ Robbo has some kind of problem with the concept of female Time Lords (or, more properly, Time Ladies) in and of themselves, I’ve got two words for you: Lalla Ward. Mmm, mmm, mmm…..)

♦  We had a handyman out yesterday to finally fix up the breakfast room ceiling, in water-stained tatters for months owing to the umpteenth overflow of the gels’ bathroom potty directly above it.  This was a new guy for us, recommended by a friend, and I’m here to tell you that it was a revelation to me.  I expected him to take most of the day banging and stamping about, but he had the whole job done, painted, and cleaned up in two hours flat.  (And he charged about half what our regular people had quoted us.)  I asked him about his speed. “Yeah,” he said, “We get a lot of calls from people having parties that evening and needing things to be fixed fast, so we just sort of developed this technique.”

Impressive.  Most impressive.

♦  Not so impressive was the way the next door neighbor dealt with a 3 to 4 inch diameter branch that had fallen out of one of the maples out front when he was mowing his yard yesterday:  He simply drove right over the damned thing.  Cut it to match-sticks (as it was quite rotten).  Now, Ol’ Robbo is hardly the kind of fellah who wishes ill on anyone, but by all rights this neighbor should have had his blades bent back about 90 degrees from pulling such a silly move.  (He drives over things all the time with impunity.  Why his mower hasn’t died a thousand deaths already, I simply don’t know.)

Whelp, I suppose I should be be-stirring myself, as it’s almost the cocktail hour and this is my last evening of freedom for the next two or three weeks (during which time I probably will post very little, by the bye).  I’ve organized a little family movie night for later – either “Megamind“, which I’ve seen and like a lot, or “Monsters University“, which I haven’t seen but heard good things about.  (And I recall liking the original.)  I’ll let you know later how it all turns out.

UPDATE: Went with “Megamind”.  A good choice, even though Ol’ Robbo doesn’t think much of the cynical tone of the movie or of most of the vocal talent involved.  It’s still pretty entertaining and a good time was had by all.

Oh, and what was really weird? Saying to the Elder Gels just before putting in the DVD, “Oh, by the way, can one of you pick me up at the Metro tomorrow evening? Thanks!”

Yep, I’ma gettin’ old.

Oh, BTW, I determined this evening that I’m going to bring my personal  laptop along on my biznay trip, so hopefully will keep up the blogging.  Just so you know.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Independence Day!

Ol’ Robbo really has nothing planned to mark the occasion this year.  Indeed, as is sometimes the case, I am bacheloring it this week at Port Swiller Manor, as the Gels are scattered about at camp and visits to grandparents and whatnot.  So right now I’m just sitting out on the porch with the cats, the dog, and muh coffee (covfifi?), enjoying the cool of the morning, and trying to muster up the energy to go spread a couple bags of mulch and zap some weeds before it gets too hot.  Depending on whether or when we catch a thunderstorm later, I’ll grill up a bacon-cheeseburger and some corn for my dins and then sit back out on the porch and listen to the fireworks.

Hey, I’m not known as the World’s Most Exciting Man for nothing.

Anyhoo, a few thoughts:

♦  I see the usual crop of “Whither America?” essays out there today bemoaning the polarized state of politicks and the debasement of our so-called culchah, and wondering How Much Longer We Can Go On As A Nation.  My guess? We’ll probably muddle through somehow.  (And I’d have said the same thing even if She Who Must Not Be Named had been elected.)  I still believe that when push comes to shove and people are shaken out of their complacency, there is still enough of the American Character in the majority of the population to see us through.  (Okay, I admit this sounds trite, but it’s either this or a ten-thousand word essay, and I’ve not nearly enough energy for that this morning.)

♦  Good for The Donald for coming to the defense of poor little Charlie Gard and his family.  (Go on over to the linkie to get Ace’s background and take.)  To me, this whole wretched situation illustrates perfectly the monstrosity of single-payer, State-run “health care”.  When Leviathan is lord and master, you are nothing but a slave and your life is nothing but a statistic.  (Oh, and one cheer, I suppose, for Papa Frankie, who finally voiced his support for the Gards as well, although it took him long enough to do so.)

♦  This article on a proposed global nuclear weapons ban and the high art of virtue-signaling made Ol’ Robbo smile nostalgically because it brought back to mind his time at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT in the mid-80’s when, in response to that crazy summbich Reagan threatening to blow up the world, it became very fashionable for various city councils and campus student governments to pass ordinances and resolutions declaring themselves to be “nuclear-free zones”.  (For some reason, Providence, RI stands out in my mind as an example.)

In response, I drew a cartoon for the conservative paper on campus featuring a handy-dandy, do-it-yourself, “personal” nuclear-free zone:  It featured a hippy with a paper bag over his head.

Curiously, there were those who didn’t think this was s’damn funny. (They were the same crowd who were distraught over the campus health center refusing to stock cyanide capsules to be used in case somebody dropped The Big One.)

(A glass of wine with Vodka Boy over at the Puppy-Blender’s place.)

Whelp, better go spread that mulch……

 

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!

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!

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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