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Royal Ugly Dude

Royal Ugly Dude

As Robbo’s beloved Nationals had an afternoon meeting today (sweeping the Feesh, I may add), this evening’s entertainment consisted of a rerunning of the very excellent 1989 movie, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Although I’ve seen this movie something better than twenty times already, our old VCR gave up the ghost several years back and I only had a tape of it.  So it was because I tossed the DVD into the Netflix queue on a whim recently that I got to see it again tonight.

I must say the movie holds up surprisingly well after all these years.  It’s light-hearted, silly and yet morally sound at the same time.  (The sequel, which took itself waaaaay too seriously, was comparatively rotten.)  It’s also full of most excellent quotes.  Perhaps my favorite exchange is this between Bill and Ted’s little brother, Deacon:

Bill:  You ditched Napoleon?  Deacon! Do you realize you’ve stranded one of Europe’s greatest leaders in San Dimas?

Deacon:  He was a dick!

I love that.

As for the “history” presented in teh film, Robbo was reminded once again of his sole real gripe about it, which you will have to endure here since this is my blog.  And it is this:

Among the historickal periods which Bill and Ted visit was that of 15th Century England, where Bill says, “That must be the castle of King Henry.”  There, he and Ted come across two babe princesses, identified as Joanna and Elizabeth.  Eventually, both of them are whisked away to 1989 San Dimas by Rufus the time-traveler and join Bill and Ted’s band, Wild Stallyons.

Well, okay.  But the only King Henry of 15th Century England was Henry VII.  He had no daughter named Joanna. He did, indeed, have daughters named Margaret and Elizabeth (and also Mary and Katherine), but Margaret died when she was 10 and Elizabeth when she was 3.  Hardly what Ted would call “historickal babes”.

I only bring this up because all of the other historickal characters encountered by Bill and Ted – the aforementioned Napoleon, Socrates, St. Joan of Arc, Billy the Kid, Abe Lincoln, Sigmund Freud and Beethoven- are at least plausible.  It’s always struck me that this vague reference to a medieval “King Henry” and his babe daughters was a piece of sloppy shorthand on the part of the writers.

Oh, and git off my lawn.

By the way, the older this film gets, the more prophetic one of its throwaway lines gets.  I’m speaking, of course, of the oral history report given by “Ox” Robbins in which he tries in his jock way to describe an historickal view of the modern world:

 “Everything is different, but the same… things are more moderner than before… bigger, and yet smaller… it’s computers “

Yep.  What else can one say to this than, “SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!!

 

 

Ol’ Robbo is enjoying the game this evening between his beloved Nationals and the Feesh of Miami.  I don’t want to comment on the game itself while it’s still in progress.  Rayther, I have two more general things on what passes for my mind re the glorious Game of Baseball.

First, Memo to Major League Baseball re this year’s innovation of challenged calls and instant replay:  Kill it.  Kill it dead.  Kill it completely dead.  Now.  Beat it about the head with a tire-iron.  Drown it.  Drive a stake through its heart.  Put several bullets into its brainpan.  Toss it into an industrial turbine.  Let the dingo eat it.  Draw and quarter it.  Chop it up into very small bits and  jump up and down on them with hobnailed boots.  Burn the bits, toss the ashes into acid and then scatter what’s left to the four corners of the Earth.   Do you see where I’m going with this?  Stopping play for review goes against every single particle of Baseball’s DNA.  It’s wrong.  It’s baaaaaad.  It’s eviiiil.

Second, my children have noted that my habit of yelling “SQUIRREL!” at the teevee just before a pop fly lands in an opposing player’s glove has yet to save a Nats batter over all these years.  I simply reply that teh Baseball Gods reward loyalty and consistency and that somehow, some day, my efforts will be answered. Oh, yes.  Yes, they will.

This latter observation reminds me of an incident a couple years ago where my eldest, then in parochial middle school, tried to get me in trouble.  “Hey, Father S,” she said, “My dad believes in Baseball Gods! What do you think of that?”

“Well, of course there are Baseball Gods,” replied the good Father, a well-known Sawx fan.

Update:  Naw, I appreciate the pro-review comments but my objection stands, especially after having sat through another round of it last evening.  Having Big Brother looking over your shoulder changes the whole dynamic of the game, making it more litigious and less personal, and also disrupting the traditional flow of things.  No, thankee.

Nats HatI should mention here my delight in Robbo’s beloved Nationals starting off their 2014 season with a series sweep of the Noo Yawk Mets.  It seemed to me that, after an initial case of the jitters, the team only got stronger and more confident as they progressed.  Indeed, this afternoon’s finale proved to be a smack-down.

Of course, these are the Mets.   No offense, Gary, but, well, you know….*

The real test of the Nats’ mettle will come tomorrow, as they open their first home stand against teh hated Braves.  I think Boz is right in the article I linked above:  If we can pound the small-fry and battle nobly with the Big Dogs, we’ll be just fine.

So, what else is there to say except,

“GO, NATS!!!!”

Oh, incidentally, I had not seen the off-season report that Julie Alexandria was not returning as MASN’s dugout talent this spring, and didn’t even realize that there was a change until I saw Dan Kolko serving up the sideline commentary last evening.  Well, this gives Robbo a sad.  You can brand me any way you wish, but I liked Julie in the same way that I liked her predecessor, Debbi Taylor:  There’s something about the stat-spewing soccer mom type that causes the port-swiller heart to flutter a bit.

Ah, well.

 

*  Gary, for those of you who don’t know, was a long-time fried of the Llamas and actually became one himself in the last year or two.  We used to mix it up about the NL East back in the day.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers, and a happy Opening Day!  (Those of you who say, “WHAT opening day?” shall be cast into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.)  Let’s go to the traditional video, shall we:

Nats Hat

 

Of course, I post this in a semi-cheat of happiness, because ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats  won their season opener this afternoon, taking out teh Mets 9-7 in 10 innings.  (I confess that I kept open an innertoobs window to MLB Gameday to follow teh game while I was at work.  Bad Robbo.  Naughty, unproductive Robbo.  If Zoot and Dingle of Castle Anthrax are available, I guess I’ll just have to take my punishment valiantly.   Because, you know, I’m very valiant.)

Anyhoo, so here we go, and here’s to the next six months of bliss!

UPDATE:  Our Maximum Leader, in comments to another post below, suggests that we need to meet up for a Nats’ game this summah.  I concur completely.   Who, among you local friends of teh decanter are with us?  Let me know, either via comments or teh email (found in the “About” thingy in the upper right).

UPDATED DEUX:  On re-reading the above 24 hours later, I confess that “semi-cheat of happiness” is a rayther bizarre expression.  I think what I meant was that my enthusiasm for the day would have been curtailed somewhat had the Nats managed to blow the game.

I must say that I really don’t give a wet slap about “March Madness” and bracket mania.

I went to very small Division III schools so never developed the almost pro sports allegiance that the bigger ones tend to foster (not that there weren’t some pretty intense rivalries in the NESCAC and ODAC, but it was on a much different scale with almost no bells and whistles compared to the top-tier programs).

Then again, I also find basketball boring.   The only time I found the faintest interest in the sport was when the eldest gel played CYO in middle school.

Of course, people often argue that college ball is a lot different from the NBA and I understand their point, but it’s just not enough to stir my enthusiasm.

Anyhoo, don’t expect anything else from me on the subject.

* * * *

NNats Hatow, baseball, that’s a different story.  Less than ten days until opening day and ol’ Robbo is READY!

I’ve managed to catch a couple spring training games recently on teevee and things look pretty good for my beloved Nationals.  I am, however, somewhat concerned that in the games I’ve seen they’ve stranded an awful lot of runners on the bags and not scored very much.  This awakes a nameless fear in Robbo’s heart, because it was lack of offense that held us back last season as much as anything else.  I saw one stat where whenever we scored 4-plus runs we were virtually unstoppable, but whenever we scored three or fewer, we usually got beat.   (Nonetheless, I’m sticking with my season prediction, especially as Atlanta’s rotation has had a terrible series of injuries this preseason.)

Well, we shall see.  I’m sure better baseball eyes than mine have noticed this and are taking it in hand.  In the meantime, what else is there to say than,

 

GO, NATS!!!!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Long time friend of the decanter Diane dropped a comment linking to a story this week about a recent minor kerfluffle between Robbo’s beloved Nationals and the FAA over the former’s use of unlicensed drones to snap pics of their spring training games.

I’d seen this story myself and I guess my first reaction was bemusement over the Nats’ droll, “Yes, it’s true…This man has no dick” response.

My broader feeling about drone technology is still evolving and is colored primarily by my general distrust of centralized control and oversight.  On the one hand, I can see the immense advantages in a military or defense setting of having such devices spying out enemy positions or going in first to analyze bombs or booby-traps.  On the other, I am troubled by their potential applications in domestic, civilian scenarios.

I suppose my initial attitude with respect to the latter is this:  If people want, on a private basis, to survey their spring training (as in the above case) or their delivery routes or whatever else, well then fine.   However, if teh Gubmint wants to drone someone or something for its own purposes, I want to see that warrant and I want to see it well in advance.

More generally, I want a clear understanding that drones, purposed for whatever use, are fair targets.  If I see one of those things hovering outside the front door of Port Swiller Manor, whether in service of Amazon or the IRS,  I have every right to dash inside, grab a 12-guage, run back out and blast that thing out of the sky.  Period.   Pure assumption of the risk on the part of those who want to employ ‘em.

Heh.  Pre-21st Century:  “Git off’n my lawn!”

21st Century and beyond:  “Git out’n my airspace!”

Nats HatGreetings, my fellow port swillers!’

After he arrived home at Port Swiller Manor and showered up this evening, ol’ Robbo donned his curly-W  jersey and his vintage No. 44 Adam Dunn t-shirt in tribute to the fact that his beloved Nats played their first spring-training game this afternoon.  Without checking, I’d been rayther hoping that the game, which was broadcast live, might be replayed this evening.  (Alas, no such luck.  Instead, MASN is running another “Nationals Classic” rerun.  I’ve found that these are profoundly disappointing.  If I already know who is going to win, what do I care?)

Checking up on the innertoobs, FWIW, I find that the Nats came back and defeated the Mets 5-4.   Who the heck is Michael Taylor?

Anyhoo, because Major League Baseball is now getting in to gear after its long hibernation, and because teh gels are hogging the Port Swiller teevee watching some feel-good movie about a blinded Olympic skater who turns up trumps, I will now take advantage of the moment to offer my prognostication about the Nats’ upcoming season.  And here it is:

Beats me.

You see, we face a real conundrum.   The roster itself, from pitchers to starting line-up to bench to bullpen, is pretty damned solid.  We’ve chucked some glaring mistakes in the off-season (yeah, I’m looking at you, Dan Haren), and got some sweet potential instead (Doug Fister as your fourth guy, anyone?)  Most of these folk have been here a couple years now, and the newbies represent important plugs where we’ve had weaknesses in the past.

To me, the real wild-card is our new skipper, Matt Williams. Although a clutch player himself, this is his first gig as a Major League manager.  His reputation is for being all about organization and intensity.  After all, one of his nicknames is “The Big Marine.”  My fret over the offseason has been about the interconnection between Williams and the prevailing culchah in the Nats’ dugout.   If they mesh, I think the Nats are poised to rock the NL East.  If not, it might get ugly.

Hookay, here we go.

On the basis of nothing but my gut, I will predict this:  Robbo’s beloved Nats win something between 90 and 95 games during the season and take teh NL East championship.   (Suck it, Atlanta!)  We will, by hook and crook, scuff our way through to bagging the NL Championship and will go to the Series.   What we do there?   I just don’t know.  So, there.

What else is there to say, but:

GO, NATS!!

N.C. Wyeth, "Last of the Mohicans" illustration, 1917.

N.C. Wyeth, “Last of the Mohicans” illustration, 1917.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Prompted by catching AMC’s umpteenth re-showing of Braveheart t’other evening, ol’ Robbo started to write a post on the predictability of Mel Gibson movie characters, but after re-reading the draft, I decided that my insights were so bloody obvious that they would insult the collective intelligence of my fellow port swillers.  So consider yourselves spared.

In keeping with the theme of big-budget 90′s historickal beefcake films, however, I will note instead that, following up on my recent re-enjoyment of Francis Parkman’s history of French and British colonial history in North America, I’ve chucked Last of the Mohicans into the ol’ Netflix queue again.

Friends of the decanter might be puzzled by this.  After all,  said movie makes a complete hash of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel – the wrong couples get together, the wrong characters live and die and the movie’s Major Hayward is teleported in from the Bearded-Spock Universe – and we all know what Robbo thinks of movie bowderlizations of cherished books.   (Peter Jackson, for example, is going straight to hell.)

So how can I watch this one?  The key word here is “cherished”.   I’ve never understood why Cooper enjoys the literary status that he does, or anyway did back in the day when more young people still knew how to read.  His books, at least to me, are long-winded, pompous, condescending and heavy-handed.  And, as Mark Twain famously noted, as a limousine liberal of his day, Cooper not only was a poor writer, he also didn’t know what the hell he was talking about when it came to stories of the wild.  Frankly, I struggled through LOTM and I positively gave up on his Wing and Wing after a couple chapters despite the fact that it was a sea-story.  So it simply doesn’t bother me much that his tale of Natty Bumppo is so thoroughly mangled by the film.

Well, there is one part that bothers me:  Col. Munro, the real one, was not killed in the massacre at Fort William-Henry by Magwa or anyone else.  He actually died some months later, apparently from exhaustion.   And I recall that the movie downplays the fact that many of those murdered and carried away by Montcalm’s Indian allies were women and children.

Nonetheless, the movie is gorgeously filmed (although I believe at least some of the scenes were shot in the Blue Ridge near Roanoke instead of the Adirondacks ), there’s plenty of action and a lot of the period (circa 1757) detail is pretty good.   And for some reason, Robbo’s beloved Nationals have adopted its score as the “theme” musick at the beginning of their home games.  Kinda gets to you after  a while.

Oh, may I also note here in reference to the pic above that I absolutely love N.C. Wyeth’s work?  Sure, the man was but an illustrator, but he carried illustration to a sublime level.  I’d take ol’ N.C. over a legion of “abstract” artistes any day.

 

**Spot the reference.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, this afternoon ol’ Robbo and the youngest gel attended the annual little league softball tryouts (indoors, I hasten to add).  She’s hoping – and likely – to be drafted into the majors this spring.  Meanwhile, the eldest gel will be playing in a senior (13-16 y.o.) league  and the middle gel will be playing for her school team.

Aaaaaand in the Show, pitchers and catchers report this week.

Despite the fact that we got a dusting of snow this afternoon with more forecast for the middle of the week, I don’t think it’s too early to get excited, do you?

MiaFollowing up on the ’80′s theme below, ol’ Robbo found himself watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this evening, arguably one of the most iconic flims of teh decade.

Somehow I’d never noticed it before, but this time around when Ferris, Cam and Sloane are at Wrigley Field?  While Ferris and Cam are kvetching about broken thumbs and school attendance, Sloane has got….a scorebook across her lap.  In other words, not only is she shmokin’…..she knows how to keep score.

We.  Are. Not. Worthy.

Just saying.

 

 

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