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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Mrs. Robbo left this morning to go visit her parents for a couple days, teh younger gels are off at summah camp and I hardly ever see the eldest anymore, so this weekend is effectively just your host and his menagerie.  Woo Hoo!

♦   Thanks to what was a pretty strong consensus here, I ordered a new set of headphones for my musickal evenings this morning.  Thankee muchly for your recommendations.  It only took me two months to get around to it.  Procrastinate we much?

♦    Speaking of electronics, I find myself hating smartphones more and more.   I especially despise the zombie-like way everyone seems to stare at them, oblivious to their surroundings.

♦    I see where Phil Austin, who played Nick Danger for Firesign Theater, died this week.  My college roommate first put me on to these guys and I wound up buying a couple of their albums.  True, it’s dirty hippy stream-of-consciousness drug humor, but it was still pretty durn funny.  (I say “was” because I had cassette tapes, now long gone, and it must be close to twenty years since I last listened to them.)

♦  I also see where the Vegas odds-makers are betting Robbo’s beloved Nationals are going to win it all this year.   I dunno, but since we just got done sweeping both the Bucs and the Braves, I’m starting to get excited.  [Insert obligatory “Great kid, but don’t get cocky” here.]  We’re supposed to start a series against the despicable Phillies this evening, but I don’t know if the weather is going to cooperate.

♦  Fence guy is coming tomorrow to slap up some wire on the fence in the Port Swiller backyard, thereby allowing us to literally let Daisy off the leash on occasion (under supervision, of course, in case she proves a digger).  We decided against the whole Invisible Fence thing because of the price and the complexity and because I’m unwilling to try training her on it when she’s already so skittish around me.  The squirrels and the woodchucks are in for a nasty surprise.

♦   Speaking of the back yard, ol’ Robbo demonstrated his apparent genius for stumbling across yellow jacket nests yet again the other evening.  I was throwing up a tarp against a corner of the house where we think water is getting into the basement again and thumped down a paving stone literally within two inches of one of their burrows.  Fortunately, a storm was rolling in and it was already quite dark, so even though I disturbed them, they only came out sluggishly and I got away without being stung this time.

Well, also speaking of the back yard, time to go mow it before the rain rolls in.  Whatever terrible nooz comes out today, I’m not going to let it ruin things for me.  Don’t you let it, either.

UPDATE: Done and done.  Everything’s mown, trimmed and blown so it can rain now ’til its eyes bubble for all I care.  And, Eldest Gel, who has been working all week at her church’s vacation bible school, is bringing me home an egg, cheese and bagel sammich.  FTW!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

For those of you who do not follow ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nationals, I should preface this post by noting that the Nats have a lot of new faces in their bullpen this year and, as of the first week of June, are still trying to figure out who are going to be their go-to set up men in the 7th and 8th, ahead of Drew Storen in the 9th.

JanssenAmong the mix of said faces is Casey Janssen, a pitcher with the Blue Jays of Toronto for some years before coming over to Dee Cee this year.  He had some injuries, and has only recently started to appear in our games on a more regular basis.

The few times I’ve seen Janssen whilst watching games on tee-vee, I’ve found myself saying, “Self, who is this guy? Wait! I know! Something to do with heresy…..Arianism? No.  Manichaeism?  No.  Wait! Now I remember! Jansenism!

(I will not even attempt to summarize Jansenism here.  Suffice to say that it is a heresy focused on the fault line between free will and predestination.)

Anyhoo, that’s what I use in order to remember him.  Crossing streams, I know.  However, should he make a good name for himself pitching, that problem goes away.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention this.  After thinking it over, I have self-identifed as Napoleon.  In future, I expect all of you friends of the decanter to address me as “Sire“.  See to it.

UPDATE DEUX:  Most friends of the decanter probably will pick up on the Monty Python riff in the title of this post.  (Well, I hope you will.)  I should note here that I think this sketch was far funnier in record form than it was in the original tee-vee series.  Ol’ Robbo has long-standing opinions on the effectiveness of various Python bits.  Some worked best on film, some worked best in studio, some worked best in audio.  It all had to do with timing,  inflection, and chemistry.  Not sure that I can come up with a grand unification theory to explain all my opinions, but they’re definite nonetheless.  Go ahead and ask me about a given sketch and I’ll give you my analysis.  Go on, I dare you.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats are off this evening,  so it looks like I’ll be dipping back into the Netflix queue.  Next up is “Bridge on the River Kwai”.  Heck of a long film, but I find that if you fast-forward through the bits where William Holden is standing around looking moody, the thing is more manageable.

In the meantime, I see that there has been some crowing and gnashing of teeth (depending on your point of view) over a Gallup poll out this week that purports to show that the country is shifting left on many moral issues.  The poll has been being conducted annually since 1999 and claims that this year, for the first time, social liberals and social conservatives are “at parity”.

Frankly, I don’t think I buy this.  On the one hand, I believe there’s no question that what I might call Left-libertinism has become more and more fashionable in recent years thanks to the cheerleading from the gub’mint, the academy, the MSM and Hollywood.  On the other, though, I can’t help wondering if the supposed decline in the number of people holding conservative social values isn’t really a decline in willingness to answer pollster questions about such values.  In an interview this week, Marco Rubio said that mainstream Christianity is on the verge of being tagged as “hate speech”.  Whether this is a correct assessment or not (and, FWIW, I think it is), my observation suggests that a good many people believe it and are simply clamming up.

Personally, I never answer polls or surveys, nor do I discuss moral or politickal issues with anyone outside my family or close, trusted friends.  Long-time friends of the decanter will know that, even in more-or-less bloggy anonymity, I have cut back steadily on commentary about such matters here since 2008, and that this place is nothing like the flesh-flying-out-the-windows-inconveniencing-the-passers-by air of the ol’ Llama Central before that.   That’s no accident.  Prudence, i.e., the protection of my family from harassment, calls for it.   On the other hand, I, of course, strive to keep the candle lit and on a candlestick to give light to all within Port Swiller Manor.  Eh, what can you do?

The punch line, to which I turn for comfort repeatedly, is that Truth is Truth no matter what fashion or the law says, and that it will prevail in the end.  You can’t take the sky from me.

Now, off to the movies….

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers! And a blessed Easter to you all – He has risen, indeed!

I would wax more about the Resurrection here, except that it is late and I would not do it justice.  Suffice to say for the moment that ol’ Robbo had a very…substantive Lent and a pretty, well,  satisfying Triduum.  Also, the God-awful nooz of the last few weeks reminds me again of a famous quote from Francis, Cardinal George a couple years ago that has been partially reposted much lately:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

Indeed, it certainly seems more and more likely, given the temporary power surge of what I have come to call the Hipster Brownshirts.  But mark the rest of the quote:

His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization as the church has done so often in human history.”

Yeppers.  In hoc signo vinces!

Anyhoo, more on all that later.  In the meantime, even though Robbo’s beloved Nats dropped their season opener this afternoon, I can’t help but celebrating Opening Day of the single most perfect game in the history of the world with what is now a classic tribute:

Enjoy!  And play ball!

 

 

 

primaveraGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, it’s the first full day of Spring 2015, and ol’ Robbo would love to be out in the grounds this morning doing yard work.  However, it’s still awfully soggy out there from yesterday’s snow and it’s still pretty chilly and Robbo isn’t quite the young man he used to be, so instead I am parked in front of the keyboard with a cup of kawfee.  (I am looking out the window, however.)

♦   Speaking of kawfee, the G-Man has an excellent take on Starbucks’ plan to have its baristas hector their customers over race relations.  (I don’t much go to Starbucks anymore because of the cost.)  As Jonah correctly notes, it’s not the subject matter itself but instead the creeping politicization of every corner of public life, something I have been bewailing for years.  (Who was it who talked about the fundamental right just to be left alone?)  Anyhoo, for all the publicity,  I’m guessing that any actual attempts to indoctrinate caffeine-starved customers at seven ack emma will go…..poorly.

♦   And speaking of indoctrination, when She Who Must Not Be Named starts talking about adult camps – even if she’s joking, even if she says “fun” camps, even if she’s just drunk – I get a cold, cold chill down my spine.

♦  Speaking of spring, I should note again that this is a March Madness-Free Blog®.  I’ve no interest in basketball, whatsoever.  And while I can understand the whole school spirit thing, my education was all at Division III institutions (NESCAC and ODAC) and it just isn’t the same thing.

♦   OTOH, I didn’t realize until the other day that this is the 10th season of Robbo’s Beloved Nats in Dee Cee.  Where does the time go?

♦  Oh, speaking of schools, may I trumpet here the fact that my nephew has just been accepted to Virginia Tech?  I don’t know if he’s going, since it’s damned expensive for out-of-staters and he has another program lined up also, but I’m still pretty proud of him.

♦   And speaking of school,  I have managed to convince the Eldest that Woodrow Wilson was personally responsible for the disastrous end of WWI and the rise of both Lenin and the Communists, and Hitler and the Nazis.   I think my work is done here.

♦  Reread GKC’s The Man Who Was Thursday this week.  This has to be the single craziest adventure story I know.  And I love it.

♦  Speaking of reading, got a subscription plea in the mail this week from “Teen Vogue”.  Gawd.  It was addressed to “Miss To The Port Swiller Family”, came in a violently pink envelope and even promised a student discount.  Thanks, but no.

♦   Also got a solicitation from the local publick teevee station threatening that if I don’t slip it some coin, it won’t be able to bring All New Episodes of Downton Abbey.  Well, I’ve never watched it, nor do I intend to, so this would be no great loss.   Back in my misspent yoot, I used to love period dramas, but what with all of the rampant politicization going on these days (which see above), I simply don’t trust ’em for historickal accuracy anymore.

♦  OH! Speaking of art and history, do not forget that today is the 330th anniversary of the birth of the Greatest Musickal Genius of all time!  Be sure and listen to some of his output today if you can.  (Teh Middle Gel and her cohort are in the middle of rehearsals for a presentation of his St. John Passion down the Cathedral next weekend.)

Well, I hear the stirring of various gels, so I suppose I ought to leave off here and go reassert my paternalistic hegemony.  Or something.

UPDATE:  Mid-afternoon and sunny.  I went out and discovered new growth buds all over the clematis on the side of the garage. (It faces southwest and is sheltered, and thus is always the first thing to get busy in springtime.)  Happy, happy, happy!

Speaking of signs of spring, I see that Scott’s is starting to run their grass-seed/feed ads.  I don’t mind the Scots fellah they use, but it’s too bad they couldn’t have done a deal with Groundskeeper Willie:

UPDATE DEUX:  Looks like all the foundation plants we put in out front last summah after repairs to teh flooded basement also made it.  And my climbing rose by the front door is about ready to explode.  It’s an improved Blaze, and after it was done blooming last summah I cut it back to about four feet or so.  It seemed to like this and I even got a few second-growth flowers.

UPDATE TROIS:  Wow – We have a knockout rose in a bucket inside a large ceramic pot on the upstairs landing to the back porch that I thought was absolute toast this winter, being in such an exposed position.  It’s taken some battle damage, but the thing’s actually got growth buds on it.

UPDATE QUATRE:  Juuust warm enough to have dinner on the porch in celebration of the day.   Very nice.

Washington-Nationals1Those friends of the decanter who are of the better sort are well aware that Spring Training is well underway and that it’s just about a month now until Opening Day.  Ol’ Robbo. Can’t. Wait.

I won’t go into a detailed analysis of my beloved Nationals in this post, except to say that I believe we are fielding a very, very strong team this year and have our best shot yet of making it deep into the post-season, perhaps even going All The Way.  (N.B. to the baseball gods – I said “perhaps”!)  As far as solid predictions go, I will state that I believe we will take 95+ games and win the Division pretty handily, especially as the Braves and the Phils are both in flame-out mode this season, while the Mets and the Fish are still building.

No, the thing I wanted to highlight here was the appearance of Danny Espinosa when he arrived in camp.  Danny is, and always has been, an excellent fielding second baseman but a mediocre (at best) switch-hitting batter.  This year, fighting for a bench position, he has finally agreed to stop trying to hit lefty, and to concentrate on his right-handed swing.  He also pledged to devote a great deal of training time to his swing mechanics.  To mark his resolve, he showed up looking like this:

espinosa stache

All I can say in response is to paraphrase Wash:  “Man walks down the street in that ‘stash, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

Anyhoo, in all seriousness, I wish Danny the best of luck.  For all the heartburn he’s caused me at the plate, I still like him a lot.

And with that, what else is there to say except

GO, NATS!!!

patsYep, not much else to say.  Not that I really pay any attention to professional football anymore (I haven’t watched a single game this year), but Ol’ Robbo still heartily loathes the Pats and plans to watch the Sooper Bowl this evening primarily to see them lose.

UPDATE: Grrrrrrrr…….So close and yet so far.  Perhaps this is a message to me that I should not think in such terms.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

By now, most friends of the decanter (by which I mean everyone except teh Mothe) will know that the New England Patriots professional football team seems to have been caught out illegally deflating footballs during the course of last weekend’s rout of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game, thereby ensuring the Pats’ advancement to the Sooper Bowel a week from Sunday.  (For teh Mothe, a softer ball is easier to catch, especially in the cold.)

For my part, I totally believe the Pats used such subterfuge in order to give themselves any and every advantage they could get.  Why?

First, because ol’ Robbo has been a fan of the Miami Dolphins – who share membership in the AFC East with the Pats – since his misspent yoot¹, and has felt nothing but fury in recent years as the Pats have taken up their dominant position in that division (and been complete A**-holes about it²) and the ‘Fins have hovered somewhere between mediocrity and pathos since Marino retired.

Second, because Bill Belichick, the Pats’ coach, is a fellow alum of Robbo’s of the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT, a radical prog institution on which I spit these days³ and whose alums, with very limited exceptions (i.e., some of those with whom I rowed crew), I would not trust any farther than I can throw.

Anyhoo, there’s been much debate about all this – and what ought to be the fallout – over the past few days, but I was particularly intrigued by The Head Ewok’s take on it this evening:

I’m not a huge moralist when it comes to cheating. I accept that many athletes cheat, such that a dark bit of wisdom has become popular: If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

But here’s the thing: If cheating is a part of sports, so is not getting caught.

By getting caught, the Patriots have failed at cheating — even if you want to credit cheating as “clever play” or “aggressive competitiveness.” Even if you want to cynically count cheating as the Winner’s Edge, The Patriots still failed at it, and should therefore suffer the consequences of failure.

Which is disqualification.

See, ol’ Robbo, being the stuffy moralist that he is, thinks the Pats ought to get the ban hammer because they cheated.  Ace, on the other hand, thinks they ought to get it because they got caught.  In other words, I think he’s applying a Darwin Awards analysis to the situation.

I can’t say that I agree with him completely, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

New England delenda est.

¹ When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I bought and read the book Griese/Csonka: The Miami Dolphins’ One-Two Punch.  Good times.

²  What the hell is it about Boston sports teams?  Back in the day when the Sawx struggled, I had nothing but admiration for the franchise and their die-hard fans.  And I cheered heartily when they came back from the brink of destruction to win the ’04 Series.  Since then, however, they and their fans have been complete jerks.

³ Even though I stuck it out myself and a) through careful course selection earned a very good English major and, b) seriously honed my debating skills and personal values through my immersion in the moon bat left,  I completely refuse to subject teh Gels to the same treatment, especially as the price tag these days is north of $60K per year, all of which would come out of my pocket.

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that apparently Tom Brady, the Pats’ QB, held a press conference over the whole biznay yesterday afternoon (I didn’t see it) and managed to suggest that, what with the world going up in flames (and, I myself might add, the collapse of Judeo-Christian morality and Constitutional republicanism here at home), the MSM really ought to find something better to do than worry about deflated balls.  Yes, but this is deliberate.  Bread, circuses.  Some assembly required.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo dragged himself out of bed and got dressed at the usual zero-dark thirty this morning without first checking for the latest school/gubmint announcements.  Two hour delays all around due to potential icing.  D’OH!

So now that I’ve got some unexpected time on my hands, a few thoughts for your consideration:

♦   While on the weather front, I don’t think there’s any worse winter task than trying to hammer ice off the driveway that’s been driven over multiple times.  I spent about five or six hours the other day clearing up such a mess and the clang! clang! clang! of the shovel is still ringing in my ears.

♦    I also took down the Christmas tree this weekend.  Ol’ Robbo rayther prides himself on his skill both at finding rogue ornaments trying to hide themselves away in the branches and in timing the cut-off of the water supply so that the tree will be nice and light (i.e., dead) when he hoists it out of its base and flings it into teh woods behind the house.

♦   On the other hand, despite having resolved (as I do every year) to coil them up neatly, once again I simply flung all the strings of lights into their bag in one big tangle.  Just as I do every year, I will come to regret this round about the end of Advent.

♦    By the bye, I have also learned over the years to simply resign myself to teh fact that I’m going to keep finding pine needles in the house until, oh, about the 4th of July or so.  Saves a lot of aggravation.   Oooommmmm………

♦    Speaking of over the years, it’s Birthday Season at Port Swiller Manor:  Middle Gel turned 15 last week, Youngest Gel turns 13 this week and yours truly hits the big 5-0 later this month.   (More on the last at the appropriate time.)  How is it that while every school kid knows (or used to know, at any rate) all about the force of acceleration as a body falls toward earth, nobody talks about the force of acceleration as a body falls forward through time?  Ride’s getting wilder.

♦   Anyhoo, Middle Gel had a group of friends over for a party/sleep over this past weekend.  All went well, as they were spirited but polite.  Youngest is having her own little horde in next weekend.  I’m already stockpiling supplies so I can hide out until it all blows over.

♦   Speaking of school kids, part of me has to laugh grimly when I read the headlines these days because they pretty much confirm the arguments I used to make against progressivist utopianism 30 years ago when I was an undergrad at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT.  Of course, back then I figured I was just dealing with a bunch of idiot college kids who, once they were mugged by reality, would change their thinking.  Evidently not.   Or not yet, anyway.

♦    I would not recommend the movie “The Wild Bunch“, despite its fine cast.  Something about the feel of westerns from the late 60’s/early 70’s has always bothered me and it overwhelms this one.  Even the Duke’s later films such as “The Cowboys” and “The Shootist” have that feel about them to some extent (although I like most of them anyway).   I wish I could describe what it is, exactly.  All I know is that I don’t like it.

♦   Whelp, I supposed I had ought to go get a kawfee.  Keep safe this nasty, wintry day and remember:  Pitchers and catchers report in under six weeks.  Woo Hoo!

 

 

Robbo Incognito

Robbo Incognito

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo flew home from Vegas late last night and BOY are his arms tired! (Ba-dump-da!)  Somehow or other he thought he was going to get today to rest and recover from what really was a pretty grueling week, but instead has spent the bulk of the morning and early afternoon attending to all matter of tasks about Port Swiller Manor that seem to have stood still since his departure.  Heigh-ho.

Anyhoo, a few minutes off allows me to jot down some notes from my latest excursion:

*  I don’t have much to say about Vegas itself.  As regular friends of the decanter will hardly be surprised to read, that sort of thing simply isn’t ol’ Robbo’s speed.  We stayed at one of the older hotel/casinos downtown because it was within walking distance of where we needed to go.  It was clean enough and all, and the food was actually quite decent, but it had a definite air of the second-string compared to the flashier places down on the Strip.  The clientele seemed to match:  A mixed bag of the elderly, foreigners and families (who the hell brings an infant, or any child for that matter, to a casino?), most of whom looked decidedly working-class.   (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.  My point is simply that they didn’t exactly look like high-rollers.)

My first morning, just after my flight had got in, I found myself in the elevator with a young sportsman – tatted to the nines and already well advanced in some sort of intoxication despite the earliness of the hour- who decided he was going to show his doormat of a girlfriend what a wag he was by embarrassing her in front of the stuck-up square from Back East.   He started by pressing all the floor buttons and then relapsed into literal “potty” talk, adopting the manner of a four-year-old.

I was so tired that I simply ignored him.  As for teh girlfriend, she was quite embarrassed.  I hope she kicked him in the nuts and left him forever after that.

* Oh, the one other thing.  The city was pretty disgusting, but the desert surrounding it was truly beautiful in its particular, harsh way.  (I felt the same thing a couple years ago when I had to travel to Phoenix and Tucson.)

*  As for the traveling bit, I can honestly say that I am getting better and better about dealing with flying.  I’ll never actually enjoy it, of course, but I no longer feel that the only thing keeping the plane aloft is my clenched stomach muscles.

*  Speaking of the flights, this was the first time I can remember for years and years that the pilots felt compelled to act as tour guides.   Back in the day, they were always noting waypoints and interesting landmarks, but then they seemed to stop some time in the 80’s.  (Which was just as well to me because my reaction whenever they started nattering was, “Shut up and fly the damned plane!”)  On both legs this time, however, there they were on the intercom pointing out Grand Canyons, Castle Rocks and the like.

*  Also speaking of the flight, thank YOU, US Air!  When I asked for some wine on the way home last evening, the steward Johnny pulled out a genuine half-bot of Pinot Noir, something else I hadn’t seen on a plane for years and years.  Yeah, I had to pay 15 bucks for it, but on a 4 hour flight? Totally worth it.

*  Robbo’s usual method of whiling away the time on a flight is to do crosswords.  This time around, I couldn’t help noticing some truly ridiculous clues/entries.  For example, lib politicks had to rear its ugly head in the form of a 3-letter word for “Pro assault weapons org.”  (NRA, of course, being the correct, albeit false, answer.)  For another, the same “B” was used for “Ba’al” going down and “Bar Mitzvah”  going across.  (Did the author have any idea how grotesquely tacky this is?  The clue for Ba’al was “Semitic nature god”.  Never mind that he was actually a devil who demanded child-sacrifice.)  A third clue employed the word “Gringolandia”, which I’d never seen before, to describe the United States.   Racist we much?

Mind you, this wasn’t Pravda on the Hudson, this was a simple Kollector’s Krosswords magazine.  Is there no escape?

* Speaking of escapes, Robbo was delighted to escape the ubiquitous blarings of Airport CNN this time around.  The tee-vees weren’t working when he left National on Monday morning and the Las Vegas airport doesn’t seem to have them at all (most likely because they want you to pay attention to their slot machines instead).

*Finally, speaking of tee vee, ol’ Robbo was able to catch Game 7 of the World Series and stuck it out to the end.  Robbo was rayther disappointed that the Giants won, given that they had offed his beloved Nats in teh first round of the playoffs.   However, he did get a small piece of consolation in the fact that the series-winning RBI came off the (broken) bat of none other than Mike “Beast-mode” Morse, who played for the Nats a couple years ago and was (and is) immensely popular here.  You’re not going to get as much attention as you deserve in the shadow of all the hype over Bumgardner’s pitching, but Well done, Mikey!

Whelp, there you have it for now.  Back to the salt mines!

** A double reference.   I never did get the Bugs Bunny joke, which is the first.  The second will be instantly obvious to fellow Morons and meaningless to anyone else.

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