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My Lenten fast this year (at least the one that stuck) is to refrain from listening to musick.

I am not yet at that level of religious purity that I can compel myself, by not listening to musick, to stop thinking about it.   The past week, a particular piece has fastened itself on my brain, so this evening I am indulging in it.   And so, my fellow friends of the decanter, I give you Georg Frideric Handel’s Concerto Grosso, Opus 3, No. 1 in B-flat major:

The first movement, and ol’ George’s use of those arpeggios in particular, has been on my mind all week.  I don’t especially know why, but there is a good-natured air to the movement that somehow gives me strength and vitality.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo had another of his trademark bizzaro dreams last night.  I record these here not only for your amusement but also a) as source material in case I ever decide to start writing fantasy fiction, and b) as diagnostic aides when the nice men in white coats come to put me in a padded cell.

Anyhoo, in this one I found myself serving as an acolyte to a royal coronation/wedding.  The first thing I remember is bustling about a cathedral making sure things were in their proper places.  Among other people doing the same thing, I spotted the rector from my old Palie church.  Somehow I knew that I was attached to his “squad”, which was one among several.

However, as I acolyted about, the place began filling up with guests and on-lookers.  The former were what you would expect at such an event and were dressed to the nines in various uniforms and formal kit.  The latter, however, were ordinary busloads of tourons.   It got so crowded that I could barely move, and I became increasingly worried that the proceedings were going to start before I could get in my proper place.

Eventually, I managed to push my way out a side door.  By this time I had gathered that my job in the doings was to attend to the queen-consort/bride, along with the rest of my squad.  However, I could see no sign of any of them.   I began running about the grounds, looking high and low.  At one point, a jogger passed me.  I yelled, “Have you seen the Queen?”  He laughed as he ran by and answered something I couldn’t understand.

I was pushing through a thick belt of trees and brush when I found myself at the top of a long slope.  Looking down, I spotted a procession coming along a road which I recognized as the queen and my squad.  (And to anyone who claims people can’t dream in color, I say bosh.  Our uniform was a green vestment with a blue and red device on it.)   Brushing off all the pine needles and leaves that had collected on my person, I scuttled down the slope and went to meet them.  I recall that the bride herself was a middle-aged woman with a rather hard look about her riding in an open carriage.  There didn’t seem to be anything in particular for me to do, so I slid in at the back of the line and tried to look pious.  One of the other acolytes winked at me.

Eventually we came to a footbridge over a small stream.  On the other side of it were boxes of presents laid out in a line, which I understood to be thank you gifts from the queen to our squad.   I found mine, addressed to both Mrs. R and me but with both names dreadfully misspelled.   (I actually felt relieved by this gift, as it dispelled a sneaking doubt about whether I was really supposed to be there at all.)  Inside the box were a large check and several novelties including, so far as I remember, a bizarrely-shaped pair of sunglasses, a joke book titled, “How To Insult Every Virginia Hometown” and a jack-ass alarm clock that was supposed to bray when it went off.   I gathered that the gifts to the other members of her train were of a similar nature.

The next thing I knew, we were all in a house, apparently waiting for the first part of the ceremony to finish before moving on to teh cathedral.  As we waited and waited, vague reports of cock-ups and missteps kept floating in.  I also got the feeling that the prospective queen/bride was not especially popular and that her family were somehow involved in manufacturing.  As the time spun out, I put on my weird sunglasses and tried to get the jack-ass alarm clock to work.  It didn’t.  Eventually, I found myself wandering into the kitchen looking for something to drink and feeling that the whole thing had been a gigantic letdown.

And then, as they say, I woke up.


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March 2014