Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

♦    First, thankee to those of you who are still dropping in even though ol’ Robbo’s flow of quips and quibbles are hardly to be heard in flocks these days, and what he does post tends to be, shall we say, single-tracked.  My site meter and I appreciate the little bumps.

♦     When last I dropped in I mentioned that hive of slimy, drippy hornets setting up shop in my nose?  Well the whole thing blossomed into one of those 48 hour bugs that knocks one absolutely flat on one’s back.  Tuesday morning I managed just enough energy around six ack emma to email into the shop and tell them I wasn’t going to make it to work.  I then rolled over and took what I thought to be a mere fifteen minute power nap.  However, when I looked at the clock again, it was nearly four in the afternoon.   Yes, it was one of those.   Much better now, fortunately.

♦     Anyhoo, today is the first day in which the Chair of St. Peter stands empty.

I confess that I honestly don’t feel the same degree of emotion as some of my friends and colleagues have expressed over this momentous state of affairs.   I don’t think this has anything to do with the depth of either their sincerity of faith or with my own.  Instead, I believe it’s the residual effect of still being a relatively new convert.  While I can fully appreciate things on an intellectual level, my roots just don’t feel quite deep enough yet for me to fully take it in on a more, to keep the metaphor consistent, earthy level.  If that makes any sense.   (The suggestion that ol’ Robbo is, at heart, simply rayther a cold, emotionless fish is, of course, absolute tommyrot.)

Well anyway, there it is.  I am, of course, praying that the Conclave of Cardinals pays close attention to the Holy Ghost in its choice of Benedict’s successor.   He’s certainly going to have his work cut out for him.

♦     On a somewhat related note:  T’other evening I found myself reading the last section of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.  For those of you who might not recall, this is the part of the book where Lewis deals with the pitfalls of trying to get there.   I often think of this part of the book as sort of the inverse of his Screwtape, i.e., a mirror image to  the ease with which we can slide into damnation, and always find it quite as chilling in its own way.

At any rate, later on that evening I had a dream.  In it, the Family Robbo was at what I took to be the Chinese Embassy.  (Well, it was full of Chinese people, anyway.)  We were there, apparently, so that Mrs. R could be honored with some kind of teaching award.  We made our way into a grand banquet room which I recall contained a great many candles.  On the tables there seemed to be a particular emphasis on bread and wine.  Right in the middle of the room was the table of honor designated for us and for what I suppose were the grand pooh-bahs who would be presiding over the award-giving.

As we made our way to our table, the gels and Mrs. R fanned out and duly found their allotted seats.  I, on the other hand, despite furious scanning about, could not find a place-card with my name on it.  Finally, I looked up and noted that there were a few unreserved tables scattered in the corners of the room.  A voice, perhaps Mrs. R’s, said that maybe I should just go sit at one of them.

Instead, I strode out of the room and into the hall in a huff.  Mrs. R followed me out and tried to get me to come back in, but I was determined to skip dinner altogether and have myself a jolly good sulk.

And then, as they say, I woke up.

As the psychiatrist says of Basil Fawlty, “there’s enough material there for an entire conference”.  But you knew that already.  One friend suggested that perhaps it meant the Palies are right after all.  To quote Daffy Duck, “HAR, har.  Hardee-HAR-har.”

♦     So here we are, closing out the second week of Lent.  After some initial flailing about, which I mentioned somewhere below, I think I’ve got my schedule of abstinences down pretty pat.  However, the devil threw me a nasty breaking ball last evening.  One of the things I’ve given up for the season is teevee.  So what was on?  Only the first broadcast spring training game of Robbo’s beloved Nationals, that’s all.  I admit that I had to wrestle with swinging at that one a bit, fighting off all sorts of devious justifications for chasing a bad pitch just this once.   I’m happy to say that I held out.  Not even a check-swing.

In fact, Opening Day is Monday, April 1st, the day after Easter.  I reckon I’ll enjoy watching that game all the more for sticking with my self-imposed discipline now.