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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo turned on the car radio this morning only to catch the tail end of a nooz story about Baroness Thatcher.  While I didn’t get the lede, from the insistent use of the past tense and key words like “legacy”, he figured that he knew what had happened.  Checking the headlines just now, I see that my surmise was correct.

Since this is my blog (which is mine), I will go ahead and tell my own Margaret Thatcher story even though (for once) I am perfectly cognizant that I have told it here before.  Those of you who remember are invited to fill your glasses and tune out for a while if you like.  I’ll understand.

Anyhoo, I took a year off between college and law school in order to sort things out a bit about just exactly where I wanted to go in life.  (I never did answer that question, by the bye.  And if you’d told me then where I am now, I’d have been gob-smacked.)

Owing to the rayther generous portion of Fool’s Luck which a benevolent Deity seems to have bestowed on me, I found myself in the position shortly before graduation of knowing a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who had a friend who was trying to set up an internship liaison program between my school and Parliament, and somehow managed to wangle for myself the role of inaugural guinea-pig in said program.  The result was that I worked as a research assistant to an MP from June 1987 to June 1988, in the midst of Thatcher’s turn as Prime Minister.  (He was a New Labour man from Yorkshire.  Therein lie several other tales.)

Among the other treats attached to slouching about Westminster (I’m reasonably sure that using O-fficial Parliamentary stationary for the cover letters to my law school applications is what did the trick for getting me in), every now and again I was able to snag a ticket to the visitors’ gallery for Prime Minister’s Question Time and watch the Iron Lady do her stuff.  (Just as an aside, we really ought to have something like that here, forcing the President to come over to Congress every so often to defend himself.  It would be most entertaining.)  I must say that she was every bit as forceful a character as she’s described.   I still recall distinctly one incident in which Neil Kinnock, then leader of the Labour Party, tried to get snide with her about some policy or other.  She took his snark and whipped it right back at him like an assegai, pinning him to his seat.   Almost literally.  The man’s eyes bulged, his jaw dropped and he was rendered utterly speechless.

On the other hand, she passed me in the hall one time (it’s a very small and collegial community) and received my obviously goofy look of goggly admiration with a warm, modest smile.

Rest in peace.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself in a bit of a bloggy quandary.  Over the course of the past (nearly) ten years, his method of postie-composition has been to fire from the hip throughout the day as various random thoughts and observations occur to him.  Or, if you prefer, reversing the metaphor so that the blog itself is a passive conduit instead of an active weapon,  one could almost picture my kind of blogging as a sort of mental lightning rod, a metal pole by which to channel said random thoughts and observations into a harmless ground.  Heck, it keeps the barn from burning down.

Recently, however, certain circumstances have caused the paradigm to shift somewhat.  For the past few weeks, Robbo’s blogging has been confined to the late evening, a time period in which I usually am quite tired and lacking in compositional stamina, to say nothing of coherence, and in which many of the things that occur to me during the course of the day have already evaporated.  (I am pretty confident that this very post itself illustrates the resultant precipitous drop in quality.)  Res, as they say, ipsa loquitur.

The upshot is that I realize that I need to find a way to preserve the blog material inspired by my day-to-day, real-time observations for later delivery to you friends of the decanter over the Stilton and walnuts.  In the end, it might very well come down to what the ancients apparently referred to as “a No. 2 pencil and a legal pad” – whatever that means.

Anyhoo, my apologies to the two or three of you who still come together here, for the recent sparse and content-free efforts.  I forget who the fellah was who talked about the center not holding (perhaps it was T.S. Eliot?), but I intend to prove him wrong.  The decanter-centric still-point will hold, especially as ol’ Robbo is the one who will have to get up all the glass splinters out of the Turkey carpet if it comes to pieces, and I don’t relish such a housecleaning job.

Your continued patience is appreciated….

Nats HatGreetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy Easter Monday!

Ol’ Robbo  played hooky from work today (ut-bay, on’t-day ell-tay e-thay oss-bay) in part to recover from the long Easter weekend and in part to settle down to watch his beloved Nats open their 2013 season.  The game is just over and I feel it was well worth it.   Strasburg pitched seven stellar innings and Bryce Harper got a pair of ‘taters, for a final score of 2-0 against the Fish.  Also, according to the teevee, a record-setting regular season crowd, Teddy and Billy Taft took each other out in the Presidents Race and the crowd sang “Take On Me” during the Seventh Inning Stretch.  (These last two items are insider stuff.  Nats fans will know their significance.)  Magic.  Pure magic.

It occurred to me that, what with Lent falling across Spring Training to such an extent this year, I had not had the opportunity nor the inclination to make my pre-season predictions re the Nats’ prospects.  I’d better do that now, before I turn around and we’re already a couple weeks in.

So here goes:

You can’t see me, of course, but at the moment I have my toes crossed and I’m typing with one hand while throwing salt over my shoulder with the other, these observances designed to placate any wrath that I might generate among the Baseball Gods for appearing brash or cocky.  Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that I think this is The Year.  The team has only got stronger since last fall and, barring injuries, will play as a group better than they have ever done before.  The Phils are aging and the Braves, though still strong, just don’t quite match up.  The Mets and the Fish are nowhere this year.  I see no good reason why the Nats can’t win somewhere between 105 and 110 games this season and clinch the NL East again.

Want some more?  I think they go to the Series.  And win.  Why? Well, part of it is the team as described above.  Part of it also is Manager Davy Johnson.  This is his last year before retirement.  He’s called it already.  He’s one of the Truly Good Guys in MLB and I feel that the Gods will look down on his last hurrah and smile indulgently.

So with today’s season-opening victory, only 109 to go to make Robbo’s prediction come true.  What else can one say but

GO, NATS!!!

UPDATE:

Oh, what the heck.  For those of you who don’t follow Robbo’s beloved Nats, the back-story is that “Take On Me” was the walk-up song of Michael Morse, our left-fielder (and emergency 1st baseman) of the past couple years.  Mikey was much-loved among Nats fans, and the crowds quickly got into singing his signature song at the tops of their voices the past year or two.  Well, owing to the complications of baseball trading, this year’s off-season found the Nats with an outfield and a 1st base covered, with no place for Morse to play on a day-to-day basis.  Heck, that’s the game.  Mikey eventually went back to Seattle, from where Washington had got him to begin with, and from where, so I hear, he’s having an excellent start to his season.

Anyhoo, there’s so much goodwill between Morse and the club that the Nats went with his signature tune during the 7th Inning stretch.  Personally, I thought it a brilliant and lovely idea.  And I hope they (the Nats) keep it up.

And for those of you ’80’s nostalgia types (and God bless the Reagan years), here’s the original vid.  Enjoy!

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