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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It’s been rayther a long time since ol’ Robbo has reported one of his signature bizzarro dreams here.  Well, guess what? That drought is over.

It seems I found myself in a long, long procession or pilgrimage of people, a surprising number of whom I actually know in real life or via the innertoobs.   They seemed to be searching for The Way or The Light or some sort of Answer.  It became clear to me after a time, however, that there was nothing holy about what I was seeing, and that it was, in fact, some kind of cult of personality presided over by an evil spirit.  (The people themselves, however, were not evil, just deluded.  Don’t ask me how I knew these things.  I just did.)

It seemed that every now and then a dissenter would be singled out in a kind of cat-and-mouse game played by the forces of evil.  The dissenter would be put to an impromptu show trial and then carted off to the executioner for torture and/or beheading.

It also seemed that there was some kind of underground movement that sought to save such dissenters.  Apparently, it was very good at getting them away from the captors but didn’t really have a clue as to what to do with them afterwards, and the freed dissenters typically were re-caught.

At some point in my dream, the scene shifted from a broad, rolling upland to the interior of an impossibly large railroad car.  As I stood in the crowd, I suddenly realized that people were quietly slipping away from my sides and that all at once I was quite alone.  I found myself facing a woman lounging on a sofa.  I don’t think she was the actual guiding force of the cult, but believed she was one of the senior lieutenants.  I don’t remember what she or I said specifically, but the upshot was that I was accused of Crimes Against The Body and sentenced to death.

I then found myself in a field, apparently awaiting execution.  There was a group of people near me who seemed to be praying.  I asked them if I could borrow a Bible.  One of the group immediately handed me what turned out to be a missal instead of a Bible.  But he also (accidentally, I think) handed me a wallet, which I immediately turned over the wrong way, spilling out all the contents.  I hastily tried to gather up a large number of credit cards, paper receipts and cash, and was much distressed that I couldn’t seem to get them all back into the wallet.  I don’t recall how the affair ended.

Next, I found it was Time.  A group of people gathered around me and started hustling me off to the place of execution.  Some of them were taunting me, but others slipped in close and muttered things like, “We’ll get you out,” “We haven’t got a plan yet, but we’re working on it,” “Just keep your eyes open and watch for opportunities,”  and the like.  Curiously, I found I had no faith that they could spring me, but also was not greatly distressed about it.  My overall feeling was of calm resignation.

I arrived at the execution spot, where I understood I was to have my head chopped off.  It was just an open place in the field with a square marked off in yellow paint.  Apparently, somebody had forgotten to build a proper platform, so there was going to be another delay while they sorted things out.  Meanwhile, a major league umpire was standing nearby, kicking his heals as he waited to officiate.  For some reason, St. Thomas More suddenly wandered into my braims, so I sidled up to the ump and said, “I understand this axe-man is a seasoned pro.  Well, I’m just rookie meat.  So will you please be generous with the strike zone?”

And then, as they say, I woke up.

(The only part of this dream I can explain in absolutely concrete terms is the presence of the fuming ump.  The Family Robbo went to see our beloved Nationals play last evening and there was an almost two hour rain delay before the game began.  The rest seems to be a bad mash-up of Msrg. Robert Hugh Benson’s The Lord of the World and Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil“.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Has ol’ Robbo mentioned here before his firmly-held belief that Tuesday is the worst day of the week?  Well it is, simply due to the fact that it has absolutely nothing going for it.  Monday, for all its awfulness, is at least a bridgehead.  Wednesday is, of course, Hump…DAAAAAAY.  Thursday is down hill and Friday speaks for itself.  Tuesday is nothing more than a freakin’ hole in the week.

Anyhoo, to fill that hole, a few stray thoughts:

♦  Before I forget it, and in connection with the Wednesday link above, I have to say that ol’ Robbo is continually impressed with the consistent brilliance of Geico’s teevee advertising (which I see through watching my beloved Nats play on MASN).  Campaign after campaign after campaign – from cavemen to geckos to bad ideas – whoever comes up with this stuff is truly gifted.  It’s one thing to get an occasional home run, but these people hit for the freakin’ cycle.   And speaking of which, for some reason ol’ Robbo finds their latest amusing enough to repost here:

(Full disclosure, by the bye, ol’ Robbo is not a Geico customer or paid shill.  We’re USAA through the Old Gentleman’s military stint and quite content with it.)

♦  And speaking of ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats, they just dropped their fourth straight to an out-of-it NL East team playing for nothing but pride tonight.  I know the odds of us not clinching the pennant at this point are in the SMOD 2016 range, but come on, guys!

♦   Speaking of sports, last Sunday ol’ Robbo was asked by one of his Mass buddies who doesn’t pay much attention to the current so-called “culture” to explain the whole NFL national anthem kerfluffle.  Whelp, I was able to give her a brief description just based on what I see on the Innertoobs, but the fact of the matter is that ol’ Robbo really hasn’t watched pro football at all since Dan Marino retired in 1999.  This was partly because the ‘Fins were the only team I ever followed and they have gone to hell since then, and partly because NFL Sunday afternoon advertising is raunchy enough that I didn’t want the gels seeing it.  Overall, I don’t think I’ve really missed very much.

♦   It would be extremely foolish of ol’ Robbo to comment on the state of the Presidential race at this point, at least so far as endorsements go.  But one thing strikes me as peculiar:  Normally, my corner of NoVA and my commuter route into the Imperial City are, by this point, wall-to-wall with yard signs and bumper stickers.  This year?  Almost nada.  Just about the only signs I see in the immediate neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor are for the local incumbent House member.  Make of that what you will.

♦   Good thoughts would be appreciated:  The next two days ol’ Robbo is being forced to go on “retreat” with his office colleagues.   Usually, I’m pretty good at being able to dodge work-related functions, but I gather there’s no getting out of this one barring accidental amputation of a limb or kidnapping by Boko Haram.  Sigh.  In my experience, “retreats” are both boring and dangerous, and the only thing to do is to keep one’s head down, one’s mouth shut, and one’s most political smile firmly nailed to one’s face.

♦  Speaking of face, ol’ Robbo is trying out a new prescription set of gas-permiable hard contact lenses this week.  (My venture into disposable soft lenses proved an abject failure.)  They seem to work reasonably well for my near-sightedness.  The trouble is that they also bring my far-sightedness into, er, very sharp focus: wearing them, I can’t make out much within a four or five foot radius without a pair of store-bought 2X reading glasses.  I’m having trouble here understanding why I go to the bother of contacts in the first place.

♦  Relatedly, while getting fitted for the new contacts, I also got a prescription for a new pair of glasses.  My current pair is about four years old and I’ve had nothing but grief about them (in terms of aesthetics) from Mrs. R.  This time, I got the Missus to come down to the Hour-Eyes with me.  “Here,” I said, “You pick out the frames!”  And she did.  Despicable pre-emptive surrender? Or ingenious seizure of the high ground?  Your answer may very well depend on your marital status. (Hint: “Yes, dear” can be a double-edged weapon.)

Whelp, I suppose that’s enough hole-in-the-week plugging for now.  Pass the port to the left as you take it in, if you please.

UPDATE:  Day One of Robbo’s retreat featured the predictable “team-building challenges” and a lot of middle-management level blether from an HR consultant (what a racket that is!) about effective communications with different personality types.   Forehead? Meet table!  As a colleague of mine put it sotto voce, “Here’s an idea: You’re all grownups…Act like it.”

UPDATE DEUX: Nats’ Magic Number now down to, er, deux.

 

Nats HatGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo cannot help but note that his beloved Nats advanced to a an early season record of 11-3 this evening.  Life is good.  Yes, I know that we’ve been feasting on other NL East teams so far, teams that range from the mediocre to the appallingly bad, but that’s what the best do, isn’t it?

I didn’t make my usual preseason predictions this year because, frankly, I hadn’t the faintest idea what would happen, what with all the turnovers and changes.  However, up to this point, I am quite pleased with all aspects of our game: offense, defense, starting rotation, and bullpen.  Based on an admittedly meager record, I’m beginning to feel we will win the NL East again.  What we do against the Cubbies in the playoffs, I can’t even begin to contemplate.

Post-season fantasy aside, my biggest reservation so far is with new manager Dusty Baker and his damned toothpicks.  I don’t mind that he perpetually chews on one, but it bugs the hell out of me that he from time to time sucks it all the way into his mouth.  Every time he does so, I find myself cringing and thinking, “Buddy boy, sooner or later that thing is going to get lodged in your wind pipe.  Then where the hell do you think you’ll be?

Eh, Dusty’s been around a long time.  I can only assume he knows what he’s about.  In the meantime, what else is there to say other than

GO, NATS!!!

UPDATE: Make that 14-4 after we swept the hapless Twins.  (We may need moar brooms.)  Nonetheless, NOVA-C speaks sooth in his comment.  We have one more home series against the Phils this week (ol’ Robbo and the family are going to Thursday’s game – skybox tix, if you please) before a brutal road trip against the Cards, Royals, and Cubbies, all of whom are teh goods at the moment  We shall see what we shall see.

 

joe-garagiolaGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

R.I.P., Joe Garagiola, who died today at age 90.

Perhaps I date myself, but ol’ Robbo remembers very fondly the major league ball games Joe called for NBC back in the late 70’s along with color man Tony Kubek.  I’d played a couple years of little league before that, but listening to Garagiola and Kubek on those lazy summah Saturday afternoons definitely was the primary source of that still, small voice in the back of my head that said, “Ya know? There’s something to this whole baseball ethos…”

Thank Heaven, I’ve never lost it.

God bless, Joe.  “Hit ’em where they ain’t.”*

 

* Spot the quote.

 

 

 

 

Jayson Is In The House!

Jayson Is In The House!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, spring training 2016 is now officially underway and ol’ Robbo is starting to get seriously excited about Opening Day, which, for his beloved Nationals, is set for April 4 on the road in Atlanta.

While in past years I have made fearless predictions regarding the Nats’ prospects for the season, this time I find myself shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head in ambivalent silence.  There are so many unknown and unknowable variables in the mix – new manager, some new position players, new starter rotation, new bullpen combinations – that I simply haven’t the faintest idea what’s going to happen over the summah.

Most of the prognostications I’ve read so far predict that the Mets are going to take the division again, with the Nats hovering somewhere just behind them.  I’m not so sure about that because I think the Mets’ reputation is somewhat overblown.  Yes, they made the Series last fall.  But they played well above themselves last year, especially at the end of the season, in what I still think was something of an adrenaline-fueled fluke.  I’m not a’tall sure they can repeat that.  Also, the Nats beat themselves last season, what with injuries, bad managing and general malaise, playing below themselves.  If the team gets itself together, it’ll roll all over the Mets. (And the rest of the div.  Get outa here, Miami!)

Of course, as I mention above, that’s a mighty big “if”.

I shrug my shoulders once again.  What else can one say except

GO, NATS!!!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo was able to get out for his accustomed lunch time walk today after being denied such pleasure earlier this week due to snow and rain.  As I hoofed along, it seemed to me that there was a faint but real hint that spring might not be all that far off.  You know how round about the second half of August you suddenly realize that the light has changed and that how ever awful summah still is, it is definitely coming to an end?  Well, I think I saw the same thing in reverse today.  Also, I noticed that people seemed to be moving about with a bit more jauntiness in their step.

Of course, ol’ Robbo is in the Mid-Atlantic.  Your mileage may vary depending on where you are, but sooner or later the same sort of thing happens even way up tah Maine.  (Mid-June, in fact, according to the Mothe.)

Anyhoo, it was a good feeling.  Snowzilla apart, we really haven’t had anything like a nasty winter round here this year, but I can’t remember one I’ve been more eager to get behind me.

Probably a sign of age.

Nonetheless, bring it on.

Oh, and pitchers and catchers report tomorrow.  How sweet is that?

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sat with Eldest Gel as she registered on line to vote this evening.  She wanted to get in early enough to participate in the Ol’ Virginny primaries next month.

Yeeks.

“Dad”, she said, “I’m confused.  I’ve read a lot recently by some sensible people calling themselves “classical liberals”, but they don’t sound very much like the other “liberals” I read about. What gives?”

“Oh,” I replied, “You’re absolutely right.  The two are completely different.  In fact, I consider myself to be a “classical liberal”.  I’m not much of a teacher, but read Adam Smith.  Read Edmund Burke.  Read Friedrich Hayek.  They will tell you what it means.”

“Yeah,” she said, “maybe.”

I hope she does, although I doubt it (at least in the immediate future).  Sad, this may be.  On the other hand, given her proclivities, had she been an avid reader at this age, she would by now have stumbled across and embraced Ayn Rand.  I’m really rayther happy that this hasn’t happened.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, ol’ Robbo watched the Sooper Bowl this evening, only the second pro football game he’s caught this season.  Some observations:

  • Good game.  Ol’ Robbo prefers a good defensive struggle to an offensive blow-out.  I’m the same way about baseball, with which I am far more concerned.  I recall a banner on the wall in my own high school locker room:  “If they never score, we never lose.  Defense wins championships.”
  • (I can’t make this dot go away(
  • Peyton Manning.  I’ve enjoyed seeing the guy thwarted from time to time over the years because of his, in my humble opinion, outsized ego.  But his final game? Nice to see him get another ring.
  • (ditto)
  • I heard (did not see) that “Lady Gaga” sang the National Anthem straight down the middle, concentrating on the anthem and not on herself (indeed, making a point of it).  If so, good on her.  For that, at least.
  • (ditto)
  • Ol’ Robbo flees  as far away from “pop” culture as he can on a regular basis, confining his ordinary teevee viewing to old movies, baseball,  and cable retro series like “Star Trek: TNG” and “Frasier”.  It’s only in such incidences as the Sooper Bowl that he comes in direct contact with what might be called the here and now.  My impression?  God help us all – it’s worse than I thought.
Kitteh and Rose

Kitteh and Rose

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo finds himself standing around and kicking his heels today while waiting for the construction guy to show up.  For those of you who have followed the saga of the Port Swiller Manor renovations, the basement (specifically, the Eldest’s bedroom) is flooding again owing to the melt from Snowzilla, so once more the fellah needs to come out and find the leak.  This is his third or fourth attempt.  So far, he’s tried to fix it from the outside but I think he’s probably going to have to face the fact this time that he’s got to re-excavate part of the inside wall.  I know he’s trying to save himself labor and supply costs (I have no intention of paying for this repair), but enough is enough.

Anyhoo, I noticed this rayther aesthetically pleasing scene of kitteh and rose so I thought I would share it over the decanter.  The kitteh is Fiona, a very quiet and self-contained animal but quite friendly in her own way and capable of some very crazy fits.  The rose is the double-knockout that usually lives at the top of the porch stairs out back.  That’s probably the sunniest window in the house during winter, but as you can see, the plant has got quite gangly trying to soak up the rays.  Better than freezing to death outside like the last one, however.

By the way, who do you guys like for “L”?  Personally, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of watching Manning miss it by thaaaat much over the years, but as this is his last game and I kinda like the Broncs anyway, I’m going with them.  Anyway, my brother in North Carolina would rightly tag me as a band-wagoner if I suddenly started rooting for the Panthers, plus that Cam Newton guy, undoubtedly a very gifted young QB, has been making jackass comments lately.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has never figured out why it seems that weeks with a Monday holiday actually feel longer than normal weeks, but they do.  Strange.

♦   Well, in a sign o’ the times, the Eldest has decided to drop her political science/current events elective because she feels the atmosphere is too poisonous and that she’ll get in trouble for saying the wrong thing.  (She’s going to go work in the attendance office during that period instead.)  It won’t have any effect on her GPA or her college prospects so we’re not fighting her about it, but this is really a damned shame.

♦   Speaking of politicks, I see where the Jebster is spending money like a sailor on shore leave with apparent nil effect.  Last weekend I found myself having drinks with one of his GOPe money-men.  The fellah started out bragging about how much dosh the campaign had and how much time there was until the nomination, but he ended up sounding really rayther dubious.  I kept a diplomatic face, of course, but inside I was rejoicing.

♦     To borrow Mr. FLG’s celebrity sightings shtick, I saw Justice Scalia stop by the local auto parts store on his way home from work the other day.  This “regular guy” thing filled me with simple delight, although it didn’t quite top the time I saw him at the grocery store in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

♦    On the pet front, the dog rolled in something pretty nasty yesterday and now smells like low tide.  Any recommendations for some good quality shampoo?  Also, one of the cats has started pooping and peeing in the basement.  I know this is sometimes a signal of the approaching end, as it was with poor old Jenny (who lasted until age 19) but I think in this case it’s just out of jealousy and spite.  Any recommendations for good quality odor suppression and/or behavioral modification?  (Alas, getting rid of the cat is not an option.)

♦    Cubs versus Mets should be a pretty durn good NLCS.  Frankly, I’m surprised either one made it this far, let alone both.  Ol’ Robbo is o-fficially backing the Cubs to take it all now, if for no other reason than the fulfillment of the “Back to the Future” prophesy.

♦   Finally, I simply cannot let the week go without reposting one of the most awesome nooz ledes evah:  LONDON — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Whelp, that’s it for now.  Wish me luck:  Ol’ Robbo is being dragged to a “harvest gathering” put on by his Former Episcopal Church this evening and is not looking forward to it.

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