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"Semper vigilo"

“Semper vigilo”

Whelp, here we go.  Regular friends of the decanter will recall that we adopted Daisy the English Cocker Spaniel earlier this summah.  She’s the first dog Mrs. Robbo ever dreamed of dealing with and the two of them have bonded famously, much to my delight.

When we took her in, Daisy had a bump on her chest that the vet dismissed at the time as a heat sore.  Yesterday, however, during her checkup, the same vet admitted that, yeah, it was a growth.

This afternoon we were told that the biopsy had come back and yes, it’s cancerous.

Daisy’s going back in to the vet tomorrow for blood work, etc., and we’ll get a consultation early in the week about Options.  I’m hoping and praying that this is just an isolated thing that can be clipped off.  If it’s already metastasized, there’s going to be a world of hurt.  I’m hardened enough to accept that these things happen with pets, but Mrs. R would be devastated and I doubt she’d ever get up the courage to have another dog in the house again.

Prayers would be appreciated.

UPDATE: Labs came back clean.  Looks like she’s gonna be fine after they clip the growth off tomorrow.  (Whether she has to wear the cone of shame remains to be seen.)


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

My apologies for the recent lack of posties.  Veeeeery busy down the office this week.  Also, past few evenings have seen a slew of hour and a half homeward commutes.  (Port Swiller Manor is only about 14 miles from the office.  Back in my college day I could have done it quicker on foot.)  The combination of these influences has left me somewhat slack-jawed and uninterested, or at least incapable of summoning up the energy to say anything intelligent.

Instead, I’ve been giving myself over to passive entertainment.  Ran through “Band of Brothers” the past three nights, but tonight I’m going with “The Italian Job”.

(Yes, I like Mahky Mahk.  Are we going to have a problem here?)

Moar content over the weekend, hopefully.


bootsGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo spent the morning taking another slap at the leaves round Port Swiller Manor until the unexpectedly continuous rain  caused him to finally give it up.

As I laced the ol’ Bean boots for the first time this season, it occurred to me that I have owned them longer than any other single piece of clothing in my collection.  I recall that we got them in preparation for my going off to Connecticut for college in the summah of ’83, along with some turtlenecks and several Norwegian sweaters that I lost a few years ago when Mrs. R jihaded the wardrobe after we had the closet and bathroom redone.  Mrs. R claims it was an accident, but I have my doubts.

Anyhoo, the ol’ boots have never let me down.  Are they still a thing, or is this another of my anachronisms?

The jeans north of the boots in this pic are another matter altogether.  I know I’ve written about it before, albeit a very long time ago, but it is one of Robbo’s little idiosyncrasies to only own one pair of jeans at a time, and to wear them until they literally come apart at the seams before buying another pair.  The current incumbents are on their last legs, with frayed seams all around and holes under the back pockets which would be of a lot more concern were I not a boxer man.  As it is, I won’t wear them in public at all and will only venture out into the yard in them with a jacket or shirt tail strategically positioned over the Port Swiller posterior.



For those friends of the decanter who don’t know already, allow me to pass on the good news that Eldest Gel was accepted early decision into Sweet Briar College this week for the Class of 2020.  We are all very, very happy, indeed.  (I pulled this vixen pic off of Mrs. Robbo’s FB page.  I don’t know where she got it, but I think it suits our mood perfectly, especially since the Vixen is the school mascot.  Also, did you know that the school colors of pink and green were the basis of the whole preppy fad thing back in the 80’s?  True.)

The gel has been getting all kinds of FB and email congratulations from alumnae, many of whom she’s never even heard of.  This only reenforces the lessons she’s learned about loyalty to the place, a loyalty I think she’s going to develop to a very deep degree herself.

A glass of wine with all of you!

"'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.'  And squirrels.  Pretty sure there are squirrels."

“‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’ And squirrels. Pretty sure there are squirrels.”

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A cloudy, cool, quiet, mid-autumn day in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor today.  The Eldest Gel and I were discussing the weather not too long ago and agreed that the very best time of the year in these parts is from about the middle of October on up until around Thanksgiving.

So ol’ Robbo spent the morning pottering around the yard doing autumnal things.  I mowed the grass for what will probably be the last time this year.  I cut back the peonies and brought their stands in.  I took down the hummingbird feeder.  And I had a bash at the current crop of fallen leaves, some with the mower and some with rake and tarp.  We’ve had very little rain recently, so they’re all nice and crisp and quickly break up into mulch, rayther than smothering everything under them in a dank blanket.  (They’re also easier to haul out into the woods for dumping.)

Finishing up around noon, I thought I could spend the bulk of the afternoon loafing but suddenly got one of those infernal phone calls:  Mrs. Robbo was down at the Post Office with the Middle Gel getting the latter her passport and I needed to haul myself thither because it turns out it’s necessary for both parents to witness a youngling’s application or else provide suitable documentation why only one has legal custody.  (I think this has to do with people trying to sneak their kids out of the country without their ex’s knowledge or approval, but I’m not sure.  Thankfully, I know almost nothing about custody battles and most likely never will.)

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Mrs. R and the Gel had been sitting around and waiting since around 10 A.M.  I got there around 12:30 and spent another two hours listening to babies squeal and limited-English types having their application errors explained to them.  (Middle Gel remarked that it was worse than the DMV.)  Fortunately, the pace of processing rayther picked up toward the end, as it seems a lot of people simply gave up waiting, so our turn came faster.

Oh, and there were a couple of teenagers with clipboards out front shilling for Bernie Sanders.  Idjits.

Fortunately, it’s all over and done now and din-din supplies have been got from the store, so I can now make myself a cup o’ tea and get down to that loafing.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Via the Head Ewok (fbuh), ol’ Robbo became aware of an article that makes him laugh and laugh and laugh:  According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the phrase “politically correct” now  is no longer, er, politically correct and is instead categorized as a “micro-aggression”, presumably, subjecting anyone who uses it to the the camps or (soon!) firing squads.

Aye, me.

As some longtime friends of teh decanter may know, Ol’ Robbo first became acquainted with the term “politically correct” during his freshmanperson orientation on the campus of the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT in August, 1983.  Back then, it was presented to us noobies in a non-confrontational, “hah-hah” manner via the frosh special edition of the school newspaper.  (As I recall for example, according to said paper, “politically correct” meant being a supporter of John B. Anderson in the 1980 presidential election.  As Wash would say, “Quaint!”)

However, after a few weeks on campus, I recognized what Thomas Dolby called the iron fist in the glove full of vaseline.  These people weren’t fooling about, they were dead serious.

Fast-forwarding, it is becoming evident to the wider population (and by that I mean (non-snobbishly) people who didn’t go to fringe elite schools back in the day) that this term of “politically correct” is not a benign expression of tolerance and inclusiveness, but is instead the hallmark of dictatorial Leftism.  Hence the mockery and hence the diktat that said mocker amounts to micro-agression.

Let ’em deal with being hoist by their own collective petard, say I.

UPDATE: Speaking of the dear old school, what should show up on a FB feed I follow this morning but this story about the Argus, the school newspaper, stepping on a hornet’s nest by publishing a politically incorrect op-ed about “Black Lives Matter”.  Short version, a student pens a piece suggesting that while BLM has legitimate goals, it doesn’t do anyone any good by stirring up mayhem with its inflammatory rhetoric.  The Argus publishes the piece and the campus has a collective meltdown.  The Argus gets its budget slashed and the author, a 30 y.o. combat vet, now has to walk around campus wearing a paper bag over his head, ringing a bell and holding a sign reading, “Unclean”.

Apparently, the fellah knew what he was getting into when he applied to Wes, but wanted to have his conservative ideas challenged.  I get this because after I realized what I had got myself into (we chose the school solely based on academics – which were still outstanding back then – and didn’t pay attention to campus atmosphere), I also saw the advantages it would present.  Certainly being in such a hard left environment forced me to do the math in figuring out my own positions.  It also honed my debating skills mightily.

But that was 30 years ago and I fear things are very much different now.  Back then, one could actually have a legitimate debate on the substance.  Nowadays, the battles are fought on the basis of emotion and feeling, not reason.  Back then, while I certainly wasn’t the most popular kid on campus,  I could at least draw politickal cartoons for the campus conservative paper without fear, and once in a while get a compliment on my intellectual integrity.  Now? They’d chase me up a tree and set fire to it.  Well, no they wouldn’t because Globull Warmening and stuff.  Instead, they’d all shelter in place in the dining hall and make hissing noises at me until I withdrew.

Tuition, by the bye, is now $65K per year.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. R reminds me that today marks the 15th anniversary of the day the Family Robbo moved into Port Swiller Manor.

This increases the record for length of time ol’ Robbo has lived in any one place.  (The second slot belongs to his boyhood home in San Antonio into which he moved in 1974 and resided until he went away to college in the fall of 1983.)  Barring some unforeseen circumstances, I can’t think of any particular reason why I should not live here for another fifteen or twenty years, unless I’m either nuked at my downtown office or carried out of here in a box, whichever comes sooner.

I gripe here from time to time about various money pit crises such as the flooding basement saga, but overall I take much satisfaction and even comfort in learning and knowing the quirks of the place (which was originally built in the early 70’s and had only one family owners before us).

Of course, we’ve done a great deal of customizing, tinkering and repairing since we moved in.  I remember an incident about three years after the fact when one of the daughters of teh former owners appeared on the doorstep with what I believe to have been her fiancee.  They were passing through the area and she wanted to show him the house in which she had grown up.  Of course, I was quite willing to let her have the run of the place, but I can never forget the look on her face as she clapped eyes on the front hall and took in what we had already done to it, realizing that her home as she remembered it was gone forever.  She declined to come in, and after a very brief stroll around the yard, cleared off.  I felt a bit sad for her but not apologetic.

I suppose it’s true that you really can’t go home again and I sometimes wonder what it will be like if and when my own children come back to see the place once they’ve gone out into the world.  Given current trends around here, once Mrs. R and I are out the place most likely will be bulldozed and a McMansion constructed in it’s stead.   Eh.

Well, given the subject of my musing, what else can I do except to post the obvious musick video:


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Following up on my previous post, it turned out that Mrs. Robbo didn’t really much want to go to the party either, so we pulled a Bunbury.  Instead, Mrs. R went and gave teh pooch a bath while ol’ Robbo toddled downstairs and popped in the DVD of the old Leslie Howard version of “The Scarlet Pimpernel“.   Once you get past the rayther poor early 30’s production qualities, it’s not a’tall a bad flick.  A couple of observations:

– Very early on in the movie, Howard appears disguised as an old crone sneaking out of Paris.  I would be prepared to bet a fair bit of money that Terry Jones had this exact character in mind in some of his Monty Python drag bits.

oberon– Merle Oberon.  Sink me!

– It is wonderfully disturbing, given the awful times in which we live, to watch a movie about hysterical mobs and ruthless authoritarianism.  Mark Twain is supposed to have said that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.**

Anyhoo, having watched the flick, I remembered that Anthony Andrews had done a remake in the 80’s which I seem to recall was pretty good, too.  Fortunately, Netflix carries it, so I shall see.  I also tossed in “Danger:UXB“, another Andrews piece and a prime example of the Golden Age of Brit teevee.  Just for good measure, I also went to the devil’s website and picked up the original novel by Baroness Emma Orczy, having never read it before.  While there, I also compulsively picked up another one of Frank Sheed’s theological gems and the autobiographies of Kit Carson and General John Fremont.

And since I was surfing Netflix anyway, I also tossed “The Last Legion” into the queue.  I did this because I enjoy laughing over the absurdity of Colin Firth trying to play a battle-hardened Roman general.  It has absolutely nothing to do with svelte south-Indian beauties in wet, clingy shirts.  Nope, nothing at all, at all.

This is how ol’ Robbo’s so-called mind works.  Probably explains all the headaches.


** I know this is said to be a false attribution, but even if it isn’t true it ought to be.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has never figured out why it seems that weeks with a Monday holiday actually feel longer than normal weeks, but they do.  Strange.

♦   Well, in a sign o’ the times, the Eldest has decided to drop her political science/current events elective because she feels the atmosphere is too poisonous and that she’ll get in trouble for saying the wrong thing.  (She’s going to go work in the attendance office during that period instead.)  It won’t have any effect on her GPA or her college prospects so we’re not fighting her about it, but this is really a damned shame.

♦   Speaking of politicks, I see where the Jebster is spending money like a sailor on shore leave with apparent nil effect.  Last weekend I found myself having drinks with one of his GOPe money-men.  The fellah started out bragging about how much dosh the campaign had and how much time there was until the nomination, but he ended up sounding really rayther dubious.  I kept a diplomatic face, of course, but inside I was rejoicing.

♦     To borrow Mr. FLG’s celebrity sightings shtick, I saw Justice Scalia stop by the local auto parts store on his way home from work the other day.  This “regular guy” thing filled me with simple delight, although it didn’t quite top the time I saw him at the grocery store in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

♦    On the pet front, the dog rolled in something pretty nasty yesterday and now smells like low tide.  Any recommendations for some good quality shampoo?  Also, one of the cats has started pooping and peeing in the basement.  I know this is sometimes a signal of the approaching end, as it was with poor old Jenny (who lasted until age 19) but I think in this case it’s just out of jealousy and spite.  Any recommendations for good quality odor suppression and/or behavioral modification?  (Alas, getting rid of the cat is not an option.)

♦    Cubs versus Mets should be a pretty durn good NLCS.  Frankly, I’m surprised either one made it this far, let alone both.  Ol’ Robbo is o-fficially backing the Cubs to take it all now, if for no other reason than the fulfillment of the “Back to the Future” prophesy.

♦   Finally, I simply cannot let the week go without reposting one of the most awesome nooz ledes evah:  LONDON — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Whelp, that’s it for now.  Wish me luck:  Ol’ Robbo is being dragged to a “harvest gathering” put on by his Former Episcopal Church this evening and is not looking forward to it.

Just spend a delightful time freeing open the Middle Gel’s windows, which had been painted shut when we had her room done over a few months back.  We have a box-cutter which I see lying around all the time and which would have been perfect for the job but of course I couldn’t find it.  Fortunately, I discovered the gel herself possesses a Swiss army-type knife, so the day was saved.

Mrs. R and I have one of those Sleep Number adjustable dual air mattress beds.  I cannot recommend these things if you happen to own cats.  There are persistent slow leaks on both sides of ours and I have a pretty durn good idea how they got there.

I used to think that Caller ID was the greatest technological innovation evah, but I just recently replaced the Port Swiller Manor landline that not only supports said Caller ID, it also tells you the number of the caller via an electronic voice.  Now I don’t even need to get up and go look at the display in order screen my calls.  Magic!

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