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Those friends of the decanter eager for an update on ol’ Robbo’s bronchitis as it enters its third week may be interested to know that, while it has definitely abated somewhat, I feel like I’ve pulled every muscle in my abdomen and broken several ribs.  Coughing is extremely painful.

In addition, the stuff I’m bringing up now seems to be especially goopy and keeps blocking my windpipe, causing me to gag most unpleasantly.  Any suggestions for cleaning out the pipes would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE:  The suggestions of citrus and adult beverages makes me think that what I really need is a great big jug of Royal Navy grog.

This is Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon (b. 1684), who introduced grog into the Royal Navy in 1740.  Vernon was nicknamed Old Grog because he wore a coat of grogram cloth, and the name stuck to the drink.  I must finds me a recipe for said concoction, although it’s really not any more complicated than rum, water, lime juice and maybe some cinnamon, and give it a whirl.

After which, properly medicated, perhaps I will settle down to learn the lyrics of “Spanish Ladies”:

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we’ve received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.
We will rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.
We hove our ship to with the wind from sou’west, boys
We hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
‘Twas forty-five fathoms, with a white sandy bottom,
So we squared our main yard and up channel did make.
The first land we sighted was call-ed the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover, 
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light. 
Then the signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
Let go your shank painter, let go your cat stopper 
Haul up your clewgarnets, let tacks and sheets fly!
Now let ev’ry man drink off his full bumper,
And let ev’ry man drink off his full glass;
We’ll drink and be jolly and drown melancholy,
And here’s to the health of each true-hearted lass.

At what point, when one is stuck behind a large gaggle of cyclists who refuse to get out of the way even where there is a bike lane, may one properly abandon patiently dawdling along behind them and go to ramming speed?

I would really like to know.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

If this blog is about anything these days, it is about perfectly delicious and utterly useless pieces of trivia.  (It’s an interesting question whether the uselessness enhances the deliciousness.  I think so.  I think so.  I suppose it’s part of my own little private rebellion against the absurdity of the world.  You can’t take the sky from me.)

At any rate, as the youngest gel and I watched our beloved Nats take down the Mets (again) last evening, we learned a humdinger: On June 6, 1892, Benjamin Harrison became the first sitting United States President to attend a major league baseball game.  He saw the Cincinnati Reds defeat the Washington Senators 7-4 in eleven innings.  Thus, he was also the first President to see an extra-innings game.

How sweet is that?

This reminder of what one might call the historickal connectivity of baseball immediately prompted ol’ Robbo to flash out a pair of additional bits of trivia for the edumacational betterment of the gel.

The first was a recollection of reading somewhere (George Will, I believe) that on June 25, 1876, the day Custer and his 7th Cavalry command were wiped out at Little Big Horn, the Chicago Cubbies beat Cincinnati 3-2.

The second was that William Howard Taft invented the seventh inning stretch at a Washington Senators game in 1910.  (This story is disputed, by the bye, but to me it goes in that special category of even-if-it-isn’t-true-it-ought-to-be-and-therefore-is.)

The gel didn’t seem all that interested in Little Big Horn, or in my description of the general political and military situation on the frontier in the 1870’s.  (I can’t possibly imagine why not!)  However, she was all over Taft.

“He did?  Daddy, did you know he was so fat he once got stuck in a bathtub?”

“Yes, indeed.  In fact, I seem to remember seeing a picture of a tub made specially for him – maybe afterwards? – with four regular sized men sitting in it.”

“Cool! Can we look it up?”

That’s my gel!

Oh, and here you go.  One could practically swim laps in the thing:


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June 2012