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I can’t say that I’m pleased by Hasbro’s decision to replace the iron game piece in Monopoly with a new cat figgah, nor that it was a particularly wise choice.  If I know anything about cats (and I do), this one will refuse to stay where it’s placed, continually fight with the Scottie, leave a trail of hairballs and pee in the corners when it thinks nobody is looking.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

An amusing kerfluffle has erupted over the decision by sports writer Ken Rosenthal to switch his “twitter avatar”  (whatever that is) from a pic of him with the Philly Phanatic to one in which he’s running with the Nats’ Racing Presidents.   The pure poison spewing out of Philadelphia in response is a delight.  Methinks they doth protest too much.

There is an interesting point raised in some of their rants, however.  As regular friends of teh decanter and baseball fans know, Robbo’s beloved Nationals came out of nowhere last season to win the NL East and get to the playoffs.  Toward the end of the season, crowds at teh Park began to swell and merchandise started flying from the shelves.

This year, many punditistas predict that the Nats will again win the Division and most probably go all the way to the Series.  (Count me in as such a predictor, by the bye.)   And I am sure that they will easily set a season attendance record.

But what happens if they flame out?  (I should say what happens when they flame out, as they inevitably will some day.)   Just how deep is this new-found fan loyalty?  To borrow Jesus’ parable about the fellah sowing seeds, are we talking stony ground or rich soil here?  (The Philly people claim that they have a far more loyal base that weathers whatever happens to the team.  I think this is a load of revisionist balderdash.)

The gels and I were discussing this very topic just the other evening at dins.  We, of course, have been loyal to the team every since they moved here, and will remain so no matter whether we win the Series or slide back into the realm of triple-digit loss records and Nat’nal humiliation.

So in a way, I agree with those Phoul Phillies who mock the sunshine patriots and summah soldiers.  I just wonder how many of them there actually are in the crowd.

A glass of wine with Jason Epstein.

Oh, and

GO, NATS!  PHILADELPHIA DELENDA EST!

Richard IIIRichard ReconWell, the announcement confirming the finding of the bones of Richard III certainly seems to be creating a buzz in the corner of the blogsphere in which ol’ Robbo habitually lurks.  I have known about this biznay for some months now, but I suppose today puts the O-fficial stamp of authenticity on the thing.

Personally, I’m glad his remains have been rediscovered.  And I hope that they will be reinterred with fitting dignity.

Of course, the news reignites the long-standing debate about what sort of person and monarch Richard really was.  Predictably, there are those who cling to Shakespeare’s near-caracature of him as the “not in the giving vein” epitome of naked villainy.  Just as predictably, there are those who insist he was a great man outrageously libeled for political purposes.

Ol’ Robbo, upon reflection, tends to take a middle view of things.  On the one hand, Shakespeare had every reason to turn Richard into the monster with whom we are most familiar today:  During the reign of Elizabeth I, only a complete maniac would pen anything that would even remotely call into question the Tudors’ usurpation of his throne.  On the other hand, one must consider the old adage about smoke and fire.  Richard was the last of the medieval monarchs, standing on the very threshold of the Renaissance.  Politicks wasn’t exactly beanbag in those days.  Or, to quote W.S. Gilbert’s Pirate King, “Many a king on a first class throne/if he wants to call his crown his own/Must manage somehow to get through/more dirty work than ever I’ll do!”

(Don’t, by the way, misunderstand me.  I happen to think that the High Medieval Period was a Very Good Thing and has been greatly maligned by the modernskiis.  William Manchester’s A World Lit Only By Fire is absolute rubbish.)

One thing I seriously do hope is that the press nickname for Richard of “the Carpark King”, bestowed due to the location of his grave, quickly fades away.  Whatever you may think of the man personally, the Crown deserves more respect than that.

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