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I may or may not have mentioned here the fact that we lost the peach tree that stood on the southeast side of the port-swiller residence during the heavy rains and wind we had a couple of weeks ago. (The poor tree had been gradually taking on a list these past couple years and it was only a matter of time before it came down.)

Well, the tree is still there on its side, blocking the gate into the back yard.   Given this, one thing is perfectly obvious to ol’ Robbo:  It’s time to purchase a chainsaw.

Now it just so happens that I’ve never actually owned a chainsaw before, largely because I have never had sufficient justification to get such a purchase cleared by the Port Family CFO.   So I really don’t know what I ought to be looking for in terms of power.  This particular tree, which needs to be turned into firewood, has a diameter no larger than maybe eight or ten inches at the most.  None of the other saw-related jobs around the grounds that spring to mind would really involve anything much bigger.  (If one of the old maples came down, I would no doubt bring in the pros to deal with it.)  So I ask those with such knowledge:  Which is the best model for light to medium jobs?

I should say, by the way, that the local mom & pop hardware store carries the Stihl brand, so I’m sure I’ll be going with that.

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Regular port-swillers will recall that the middle gel attended a Model U.N. convention in Noo Yawk last spring, where she and her senior classmates from St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method represented the Netherlands, their signature legislation having to do with the treatment of displaced persons (apparently, “refugee” is no longer a politically correct term).

Anyhoo, the gel was speaking of this year’s trip late last week.  Eyes alight with the flame of ambition, she was hoping that this year the class would bag one of the Big Five permanent Security Council seats, from which she could set about establishing the Gel World Order.  (And she’d do it, too, by pure charm.)

Well, the class learned yesterday who they are getting to represent.  And no, it will not be one of the heavyweights.  Owing to some incomprehensible formula involving class size, program seniority and order of registration, it appears that they have the choice between……The Cape Verde Islands and Guinea.

The gel is, shall we say, less than enthusiastic.

I pointed out to her that this could actually be a lot of fun.  Representing a third-world backwater means not having to assume any responsibility, so they could throw all sorts of bomb-shell resolutions such as a demand for an immediate turning over of one half of the world’s material wealth to Africa, or the adoption of greenhouse-gas caps that would bring the Industrial West to its collective knees.  I’m sure that with a little creative thought, they could make quite a splash.

The gel seemed dubious, but I’m hoping that I might have planted the seed of something.  That’s ol’ Robbo – always trying to help.

UPDATE:  If the class decides to go Cape Verde, Mr. James Delingpole has a great idea…….

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter may recall my decision to keep the youngest gel at AA softball this fall, much to her indignation.  My feeling was that, as one of the older, more experienced gels on her team, she would benefit by being put in a leadership role for a change.  It’s tough always being at the tail end of things.

Well, it’s just possible that ol’ Robbo’s subtle manipulations are paying off.  You see, Saturday afternoon the gel started her game playing catcher.  Two or three pitches into the top of the first inning, one of her shin guards slipped down.  She didn’t think to stand up or back away, but instead tried to fiddle with it whilst squatting down.  Neither the umpire nor the opposing coach manning the pitching machine (we use these in the first couple innings) noticed that she wasn’t ready.  The result?  A 40 mph ball smack on the knee-cap.  Yeeowtch.

Of course, the gel had to be assisted off the field in tears, and eventually we deposited her on the bench with an icepack.   Last year, or even last spring, such an injury would have meant the end of the game as far as she was concerned, and probably demands for emergency x-rays and the like.  But this time, after she had calmed down and had some water, I was muchly gratified when she suddenly said, “Dad?  I still get to bat, don’t I?”

Well, the upshot is that she got right back in the game.  Not only did she go three for four at the plate, scoring three runs, she also spent a good deal of time encouraging her teammates with word and gesture.  And although she hobbled a bit as she hustled about the field, I didn’t hear any more complaints about her war wound.  Indeed, the gel was actually being a leader.

I love it when a plan comes together.

(And speaking of wounds, it was a whole lot cooler and damper Saturday than I had expected, and spending the heart of the day at the softball fields in shorts and no socks, I got thoroughly chilled.  Then, the Family Robbo went to see our beloved Nationals in what turned out to be a 13 inning grudge match against the Fish that evening, at which, although I was more warmly dressed, I spent a great deal of time yelling and cheering.  The result?  Robbo’s first cold of the season. Bleh.)

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