Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

No, ol’ Robbo has not given up blogging for Lent this year, as it’s simply a much more limited part of my time these days and I don’t feel the need to curtail it.  Instead, my silence this week has been due to my having other matters to attend to.  My apologies.

♦   I hope those of you practicing had a happy Ash Wednesday.  Of course, “happy” is not really the appropriate term, is it?  Everyone says it automatically anyway.  For myself, I toddled round to the church near my office at lunchtime.  The place was packed to the rafters.  The Mass was conducted by the priest that I privately think of as Father Shecky, who couldn’t resist making a crack about how happy he was to see the usual weekday crowd.   Buh-DUMP-dah!   Perhaps I’m a bit of an old fuddy-dud (oh, shut up!) but it didn’t strike me that such a rimshot was particularly appropriate to the day, so I confined myself to a thin smile.

♦   Anyhoo,  I wore the ashes all afternoon, much to the obvious discomfort of a number of my progressivista colleagues, and made a point of being especially cheerful and courteous.  This year, more than any other I can recall, I was really filled with the spirit of silent witness.   I’m sure it bumped me up a couple places on the list of those to be sent to the camps, but I like to believe that perhaps I might have got at least somebody to think about things a little.

♦    Speaking of thinking about things a little, the Dalai Llama is speaking down the Cathedral today, which made dropping off the Middle Gel for choir practice a royal pain, what with police cordons and crowds of New Age types wandering about.   Personally, I’ve nothing against the Dalai Llama, nor against Buddhism for that matter, which from what I gather is not really a religion but more of a system of ethics.   What irks me is the sort of people who buy “Free Tibet” vanity license plates and fawn all over the Llama because he’s cute, nonthreatening and mystical, perfect for the type who likes to say, “I’m spiritual, just not religious.”

♦   And speaking of school runs, getting around the local streets these days makes me feel like Han Solo in the asteroid field, what with all the potholes.  Show of hands for all of those wishing Algore’s Globull Warminz would come back?  Yeah, me too.   I’ve also noticed a great many new cracks between moldings and walls in Port Swiller Manor, no doubt put there by the excessive cold we’ve experienced.  (The other possible explanation is that the house is getting ready to collapse on itself due to the collective pounding of the gels’ feet.  I don’t care to dwell on that possibility.)

♦   Speaking of the cold, despite the fact that the grounds of PSM are still covered in snow, I nonetheless feel that I must start spring gardening this weekend with the annual cutting back of the butterfly bushes known to regular friends of the decanter as Kong and the Konglings.    Perhaps I’ll have a go at the wisteria, too.  March is a schizophrenic month in these here parts and despite the fact that it’s only in the 30’s now, there’s no knowing when we might suddenly find ourselves up in the mid-70’s.   (Typing this entry reminds me that if I want to but any spring plantings online, I damn well better do it today if it’s not already too late.  UPDATE:  Found some Confederate Jasmine vines at a nursery down in Georgia that I’m going to try on a trellis fronting the new porch.  The innertoobs swear it’s hearty to Zone 7, which is us.  We shall see.)

♦   And finally, speaking of local things, I was flipping through the local fish-wrapper this morning when my eye fell on this editorial paragraph:

Ukraine is not the only place where civil war threatened to erupt last week.  In Fairfax County, Loudoun County and the City of Falls Church, there are battles raging between School Boards and the elected bodies (Boards of Supervisors and City Council) that hold ultimate responsibility for allocating taxpayer money.

Okay, ol’ Robbo is throwing a flag on that statement.  Unsportsmanlike conduct:  Unnecessarily hyperbolic metaphor.  Fifteen yard penalty and loss of down.

Well, that’s it for now.   Ol’ Robbo is off to scan the headlines before getting about his biznay.  What fresh hell awaits us today?

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