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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!

WHO put the “bop” in the bop-she-bop-she-bop?

WHO put the “ram” in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong?

The world wonders.

Ol’ Robbo apologizes.  As mentioned below, I’ve a trial coming up eftsoons.  We’re scheduled to go on up to Maine on hols almost immediately afterwards, in large part to visit the Mothe, whose health has declined rather significantly this year, but there is some small but hideous chance that said trial will interfere with said trip.

I find myself…somewhat stressed by the possibilities of both legal combat and familial disruption, and thus prone to such apparently inane lines of thought.

UPDATE:  As I typed, Middle Gel got home from an evening out with a gentleman friend seeing the latest Spider-Man reboot and going out to dinner.  She mentioned that she had wasabi, which immediately brought to Ol’ Robbo’s mind a Budweiser advertising meme that flared and died before she was even born.  Those of you old enough will recall it, I’m sure:

The rest of you? Lawn. Off.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last fall (I believe), the Family Robbo won a set of primo tickets to a Nationals game from an auction at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method – about seven or eight rows right behind the Nats’ dugout and a parking pass.  Ol’ Robbo was looking mighty forward to going to the game.

Whelp, that game was today.  And it was a sweet, sweet win.

Alas, Ol’ Robbo didn’t wind up going after all.  Because he is head honcho on one side in a trial coming up in a couple weeks with a wicked pre-trial schedule in front of it, he instead found himself spending most of the day moodily pouring over deposition transcripts and other legal falderal.  (And if you don’t hear much from me between now and August, now you know why.)

At least it was a genuinely pleasant day in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor – warm, but not too hot, quite dry, and comfortable enough that I could sit out and do my work on the porch.  Also, Middle Gel (who did go to the game, along with Mrs. R and a couple of family friends),  was sweet enough to give me the Nats tee-shirt she snagged when they were being thrown into the stands.

So I got that going for me….

Anyhoo,  a few things:

♦ One break I took was to go to Mass, of course.  We had a guest priest today, a padre from somewhere else in the Diocese.  He mentioned that he had a brother who is a Brother at Clear Creak Abbey out in the Diocese of Tulsa.  Co-incidentally, ever since I swam the Tiber, I have bought rosaries, books, CDs, and calendars from this abbey, but I don’t recall that I have ever explicitly plugged it here.  For those of you who are interested, consider it plugged now.

♦ Another, somewhat more earthy break was to fool with the Port Swiller Manor clothes-dryer, which after 17 years of service suddenly is producing no heat whatsoever, although it still tumbles and blows air.  My suspicion is that we have been less than diligent about clearing out the overflow from the lint trap and that some accumulation of same has probably shorted out the heating element.  (Mrs. R is going to see if we can get this replaced before we go plunking down dosh on a new dryer.)  Anyhoo, this afternoon found Ol’ Robbo digging around in the space below the lint trap slot with an old coat-hanger (surely there’s a better way to do this?), and dredging up all kinds of things.  In addition to the accumulated lint, I discovered a $5 bill, another $5 in loose change, several hair twisties, a couple lost earrings, innumerable old “Hi, My Name Is…” nametags, and a pair of miniature keys to what I believe was an old locket.  I would not have been the least surprised to find the bones of Piltdown Man in there, too. UPDATE: Mrs. R had a repair guy out today. It was just the thermostat.  He replaced it and cleaned the whole thing out.  MUCH cheaper than plunking for a new one.  Ol’ Robbo is happy.

♦  Regular friends of the decanter will recall that Ol’ Robbo had a duff steering damper replaced on La Wrangler a couple weeks ago in order to alleviate a bad case of the “death wobble”.  Whelp, as I feared, the fix appears to be more of a Band-Aid than anything else.  The wobble is gone, to be sure, but I can still feel the front wheels fighting with each other.  Also, in the past couple days, the right front has begun making an ominous howling noise that is definitely linked to rotation velocity.  I believe an alignment check is in order, but I now fear that the fellah who recommended the damper replacement may not have actually checked the rest of the steering mechanism.  I don’t want a ball-joint going as I swing down the G-Dub some fine morning, thereby flipping me into the Potomac.

♦  In re culchah-related matters, I’ve been on a bit of a John Wayne toot this weekend, watching back-to-back, “Hondo” and “The Comancheros“, two of my favorites.  (I confess that I also have “The High and the Mighty” at home.  It’s pure cheese, but I like to think that Robert Stack was gamely parodying his performance in it years later when he did “Airplane!“.)

Whelp, that’s about all that occurs to me at the moment and is suitable for discussion over the Stilton and walnuts.

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!

A little grace-note for your consideration this evening:

This week, Eldest Gel has been helping out with Vacation Bible School at Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church.  This year, as in the previous two or three, she has been in charge of hospitality – essentially making sure the kiddies get their daily snacks and organizing an ice-breaker potluck suppah at the beginning.  She really seems to enjoy this sort of thing, and to enjoy even more being put in charge of it.

Anyhoo, this evening she showed me a thank-you card one of the campers had made for her, apparently all on his own.  It was just a piece of construction paper folded in half and scrawled with a few words saying how much fun he had and thanking her for being part of it, but I could tell she was genuinely moved.

So was I.

That’s all.   It was just a very nice little gesture.  Good for the kid.  And good for the Gel, too.

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!

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