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Every now and again ol’ Robbo repairs to the Au Bon Pain (French for “The Good Pain”) across the street from his cubicle in order to procure himself some lunch.

This place has been struggling for years to come up with a layout  of  its sammich counter, chips and bakery racks, drinks cooler and cash registers that keeps the line moving and avoids customer logjams.   A week or two ago, it introduced possibly the most incompetently-planned one yet.

Imagine a square.  Now imagine having to get to all four corners of said square in order to assemble all of your lunch items and then pay for them.  Also imagine that you can’t cut directly across because of the central pillars supporting the roof and because of a cat’s cradle of rope lines.  Now imagine about fifty to sixty people trying to do the same thing as you all at once.

If there’s a such thing as a sammich shop franchise Darwin Award, this place ought to get it.

The other thing they’ve taken to is asking one’s name so they can scribble it on one’s order ticket.  (They used to use a perfectly sound automated numbering of receipts.  Go figure why they changed it.)  Now, ol’ Robbo, being the open and bonhomous bird that he is, when asked by a perfect stranger what his name might be, has to resist mightily the temptation to reply, “None of your damned business.”

Of course, I realize that this is unlikely to aid me in getting my order.   So instead, I have taken to doing what I always do in coffee shops, which is to state that my name is Psmith.

It’s just part of my private little guerrilla action against the Machine.

Those friends of the decanter who keep up with either Robbo’s beloved Nats or the Tampa Bay Rays will know that they currently are playing a set here in town.  (The rubber game is tonight.)

Because the Rays are an American League team, I naturally do not pay much attention to them.  So last evening as I watched the game, I was surprised, and frankly disgusted, by something I had not noticed before.

You see, I knew that Tampa Bay had dropped their original mascot of “Devil Rays” in favor of just “Rays” at some point.  I thought this a ridiculous thing when I learned of it, figuring it was no doubt demanded by some P.C. Police unit that believed use of the word “devil” in the name would propel hordes of young people toward Satan worship.   But if I understood correctly, the team wasn’t getting rid of the fish mascot itself.   It at least would still be the same genus Mobula, right?  Right?

Well, as I watched the game last evening, something about the Rays’ logo grabbed my attention:

What the heck is that pointy yellow light thingy, I asked myself.  Wait a minute……that’s no stylized depiction of some bat-winged swimmer of the deep, that’s a depiction of a ray of light.

When did this happen?  When did Tampa Bay decide to abandon a mascot that was perfectly suited to its geographical location and overall aura and instead substitute what looks like a car’s turn signal?

To quote Syndrome, “Lame! Lame! Lame!”

Oh, and snooks to you, Joe Maddon!




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are, deep in the first par-boiler of the season:  High in the upper 90’s, humidity you can scoop out of the air with a bucket, Code Orange conditions playing hob with Robbo’s on-going chest thingy.

[Ed. – Moan. Moan. Moan.]

Yes, I know.  But I absolutely loathe this kind of weather.  Loathe it, I say!

Anyhoo, because it’s the first full day of summah, I’m going to go ahead and reiterate the same three things I harp on every year at about this time.

First, I must once again remind myself that, although we’re in the midst of a nasty couple days, at least we can look forward to it breaking in the not-too-distant future.  (Storms tomorrow, back in the mid 80’s by the weekend.)  In the South Texas of my misspent yoot, it got this way round about the middle of March and stayed this way well into November.  Every. Damn. Day.  So I ought to be grateful I don’t still have to live with that.

Then again, I didn’t have to slog back and forth on the metro back in the day, especially one jammed with sweaty, clueless tourons and extremely crabby fellow commuters.  To that end, I am once again proposing the establishment of a Summah Capitol somewhere aways up north.  I believe that in the past I have suggested the annexation of the Canadian Maritime Provinces specifically for this purpose.  Money is tight, of course, so perhaps we could just buy Prince Edward Island?

Third, there is the annual Seersucker Dilemma.   Friends of the decanter will know that I have absolutely nothing against seersucker, but that I firmly believe one must have either the strength of character or else extreme good looks in order to pull it off.  Otherwise, one ends up looking like a first class dork.  Robbo’s Eleventh Commandment is Thou Shalt Not Make A Fool Of Thyself In Publick, and on reflection, I find I still can’t muster up the nerve to try it.   You may call me a coward if you wish, but I will stick with the blazer and khakis.

So there you have it.


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June 2012