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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Much to Ol’ Robbo’s surprise, it would seem that MLB is actually going ahead with a cut-down 60 game season this year after all.

Friends of the decanter might think that I would be happy about this, but to be honest I’m really not, especially as I see (at least according to YahooSportz) that the season is going to include a universal DH rule and some kind of screwy extra-innings-runner-on-second stunt. Feh.  Play the game the way God ordained it to be played or go home.


All I can say is that whatever the results of this mini-season are, they’d better have yuge asterisks stamped all over them in the record books.  And I will look on the biznay as pure exhibition with no permanent repercussions.  (In other words, Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats will remain defending World Champions in his mind regardless of whether they win the Series again or not.)

UPDATE:  Eldest Gel and I were discussing some of the “health” issues.  Would fans even be allowed in the stands? Will players have to wear masks in the dugout?

The Gel pointed out that tagging baserunners is going to be an issue.  “Obviously they’re going to need to use ‘ghost’ runners to avoid any contact,” she said.  She also suggested making the ump sit in the stands and replacing the catcher with a screen: If the ball hits it, it’s a strike.

Yeah, this is going to be dumb.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter, especially those couple of you who have actually met me in meatspace, may be interested to know that Ol’ Robbo crossed the Rubicon today with respect to his plague beard by going over to the devil’s website and investing in an electric trimmer kit.  It’s got to the point where I need either to clean the thing up or to get rid of it, so I decided to go all in.  “YOLO”, as the Boomers like to say.  (They’re more right than they realize, by the bye, only not in the way they think.)

Now it just may be a cowinkidink, or it may be one of those tiny, gossamer threads in the Great Plan, but while I was at said website, I noticed a book served up on my recommendations list: On Faith: Lessons From An American Believer by Antonin Scalia.  I’ve learned to act on these little promptings (or, if you want to put it that way, am easily subject to temptation), so I immediately snapped it up.

Justice Scalia and I attended the same Mass for almost ten years, and while I never spoke to him one on one, I did sometimes hang about in post-Mass circles when he hobnobbed with the Padre.  I’d no idea he’d written a book about it all, but I can’t say I’m particularly surprised.  I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve read it.  (As an aside, I may say here that I find myself dancing with frustration every time the Scalia-Was-Murdered meme bubbles up on the comment boards I follow.  The man was in obviously declining health towards the end and I used to marvel that he still managed to keep himself going when I saw him.)

I notice that the book comes with a forward by Scalia’s son, Fr. Paul Scalia.  He was our parish priest for a while and still subs now and again.  One of my fondest memories is of the time he thoroughly spiked Eldest, who was a middle-schooler (in every vile sense of the word) at the parish academy and thought she saw an opening to get me.  We were talking together (I forget what occasion) when the Gel suddenly blurted out, “Faaaather! My dad says there are Baseball Gods!”

Without missing a beat, Fr. Paul said, “Of course there are Baseball Gods.”

The look on the Gel’s face was priceless.  Heh.

Anyhoo, as I say, I’ll let you know what I think of the book.

UPDATED:  Well, I cancelled the trimmer, as the devil’s website informed me it would take a month to get here and I anticipate returning to the office before then.  I’ll just go pick one up at Tarjay or somewhere.  The book will take a month, too, but I can wait on that.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ah, Friday!  Shall we?

♦  Ol’ Robbo continues to refuse to set his hair on fire and run around in circles over the corona-virus.  Looking around, it would seem I’m almost entirely alone in this.  Wish I’d invested in lighter fluid and track-shoe futures. Sheesh.

♦  Speaking of running, don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend.  With the extra light in the evening, Ol’ Robbo is planning his first grill-out of the season for Sunday.  Eldest Gel came home for spring break last evening, and there is just a chance that Middle Gel might come home tomorrow after having spent this week diving in the Keys (tough life, no?), so it’s possible we’ll have a full house for Sunday dins.  That would be very nice.

♦  Which reminds me that I have a colleague who pronounces forward as “fuwwud”.  She’s the only person I know who does this.  For some reason this makes me smile (in a good way, not a snarky one).

♦  Of course, the time-shift also means I go back to the pitch-black morning commute, which will be made even worse after next week when I have to get up at least an hour earlier due to the start of renovation on my metro line, grumble, grumble.  I’ve been checking to see if I could maybe wangle some extra teleworking due to this pig’s breakfast, but it doesn’t seem likely.  (Perhaps I should tell the office I think I have corona-virus!)

♦  Speaking of the office, every now and again, especially more often since Ol’ Robbo just hit the double nickel, that still, small voice inside has started asking, “So what would you say….ya do here?” It’s most unpleasant.  (I believe this is the point where men of no character try to “find themselves” by buying bright red Lamborghinis and having affairs with twenty-five year olds, but I like to think Ol’ Robbo is made of stronger stuff.  Besides, I can’t afford a Lamborghini.  Think I’ll stick with prayer – Not only is it free, it’s permanent.)

♦  Speaking of unpleasant (but on a far shallower scale), Ol’ Robbo does not think much of the new cap logos introduced this year by his beloved Washington Nationals.  Stick with the Curly-W, guys!

Well, I wouldn’t want to end on a negative note, so I’ll just say that I’ve got a kitteh curled up and purring in my lap at the moment.  This is a Good Thing.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry about the dearth of posties here recently.  I seem to have some kind of mild but slow-rolling bug that’s left me rather fatigued and mush-minded.

(Somebody suggested the other day that it might be “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, but Ol’ Robbo doesn’t do disorders.  Or syndromes.)

So by way of making up, how about some quick thoughts?

♦  Ol’ Robbo did not watch the Oscars last evening.  I just don’t care.  I haven’t seen a single one of this year’s movies and I have no interest in being lectured about today’s “issues” by a pack of self-absorbed tinsel-heads.

♦  Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday.  Now that I’m excited about!  What else is there to say except “GO, NATS!!!

♦  Mrs. R loves the sound of Decanter Dog snoring, as do I.  But when I snore? I get banished.  Does that seem right to you?

♦  I know I’m repeating myself but this happened again on a biznay trip last week.  The problem with eating with vegans is that all they ever talk about is their veganism.  Shut up about it already!

♦  Ditto drivers of hybrid cars who leave their virtue signal on continuously.  (Did you see what I did there?)

♦  It’s getting time to replace my electronic porch thermometer, as the readout control buttons are starting to wear out.  I have the simplest La Crosse Technologies model now, but would like to upgrade to something a little fancier.  (Specifically, I’d like something that shows actual barometric pressure.)  Anybody have any recommendations?

♦  The expression “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” seems to be making the rounds of the innerwebz at the moment.  I’ve seen the term “pony soldier” on the lips of Indians in books and film and simply meaning “U.S. Cavalry”.  What I wonder is whether this is just the stuff of modern writers or is it authentic frontier gibberish.

♦  It occurs to me that I haven’t grilled out in months.  (I had thought of setting up a good lighting system on the porch but never got around to it.)  Happily, it’s just another few weeks until, at least on a clear evening, I ought to be able to get back to it. Exciting.  One simply can’t do justice to a really good steak except over an open flame.

♦  Which reminds me that I must take a machete to the wisteria next weekend.  I have it all over the back fence and the porch pillars.  Ol’ Robbo seeks that classic look of thick, bare trunks with a fine profusion of growth just along the top of the fence.  My wisteria have other ideas.  Gorram hippies!

♦  Finally, regular friends of the decanter will recall that we lost one of the Port Swiller kittehs to heart disease Christmas morning.  I’ve been watching the other one very carefully since for signs of excessive grief or loneliness.  Fortunately, it appears I need not worry.  She seems quite content with the new dynamic.  Which is just as well, because I’m convinced Decanter Dog would absolutely not tolerate the introduction of another kitteh into the house.  She accepted all of the current occupants when she herself was a newcomer, but now? NYET!!

Well, there you go…..





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Not that the question is liable to enter your mind, but no, Ol’ Robbo does not plan to watch the Game this year.  I don’t have any tie whatsoever to or even knowledge of either team, and all those woke commercials I’ve heard tell will be airing would just spike my blood pressure.

I reckon I’ll pass.

UPDATE:  Well, I see from the headlines that the Chiefs came from behind to beat the 49ers.  Ol’ Robbo is pleased by this, since I’m still smarting from the Dolphins’ Super Bowl loss to the 49ers back in 1985.  At the time, I figured that was just going to be the first of many SB appearances by Dan Marino, but as the years rolled on and the ‘Fins never made it back, I got increasingly bitter.

Probably why I largely dropped pro ball when Marino retired.

And first commenter to say “Laces out, Dan!” spends a night in the box.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It occurred to Ol’ Robbo whilst watching teevee and its inevitable commercial advertising this evening to ask:  Is there really a market of consumers who think, “Oh! The Sooper Bowl is coming up! My screen isn’t nearly big enough! I must upgrade to accommodate!!”

If so, I weep.  Fools and money, yadda, yadda, yadda.



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In case you’re interested, Dave Barry’s “2019 Year In Review” is up on the innerwebz and is, as usual, worth a read and a couple chuckles.  (I won’t link it here because I just had about a 45 minute fight with the Miami Herald’s webpage in which it kept trying to force-feed me cookies and froze up my laptop something fierce.)

I mention the article mostly as an excuse to note that I’ve always liked Barry’s humor, and also to express my admiration for the fact that he seems to have managed to maintain a light-hearted, balanced approach here, even in the face of the current uber-poisonous politickal atmosphere.  (In fact, said atmosphere is the butt of most of his jokes this time around.)

Indeed, my only real complaint about this latest installment of his annual summation is that he makes no mention of Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nationals’ win of the World Series.  But then again, Barry is a Marlins fan, so no doubt has simply blotted any thoughts of baseball whatever from his conscious mind.  I’ll allow it.

Oh, one thing I won’t allow:  As we all know, Wednesday is January 1, 2020.  2020 is not the first year of the next decade.  It is, instead, the last year of this decade.  Those failing to recognize this will be set upon by rabid honey-badgers.

Anyhoo, Ol’ Robbo will be pretty tied up over the next 48 hours, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Happy New Year!!

I’ll see you on the other side.

UPDATE:  Here’s the Barry column from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which doesn’t seem to be as predatory a site.  Because I’m a giver.  Enjoy!

UPDATE DEUX:  Link fixed, not that anybody apparently noticed.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope you all had good Thanksgiving Day celebrations and are now loafing about, recovering from the after-effects.

As usual, the Family Robbo packed up and went to see my brother and his down in North Carolina.  Brother managed to crock his back a few days ago, which meant that we didn’t go for our usual “Black Friday” hike and also that Ol’ Robbo found himself the Official Lifter Of The Heavy Things as far as dinner preparation went, but a good time was had by all.  Just a few observations:

♦  There really not being enough room at my brother’s house for ten adults and a small boy, we stayed at a hotel while down there. It’s a brand-new place, having still been under construction when we went last year.  It is astonishing to observe that, nearly one-fifth of the way through the 21st Century, there are still interior decorators who believe avocado green is a good idea.

♦  What with not hiking yesterday, we instead flopped in front of college football all afternoon.  I really thought Virginia Tech was going to beat the gentlemen of T.J. State, but the Hokies fell apart in the last ten minutes or so and blew it.  Too bad.  (My nephew attends Tech, so the whole family was rooting for them.  Clemson and South Carolina play today and I’ve a niece at each.  The family dynamic over that one is….somewhat more complicated.)

♦  Ol’ Robbo really dislikes those X-mas car commercials in which one spouse surprises the other with a new car with a big bow on top or, even worse, with a his n’ hers matching pair.  I could never, ever contemplate making that kind of financial commitment without consulting Mrs. R first.  (There is also a smarmy-elite feel to those things – $50 grand? Walking around money! – which I would think more likely to generate seething envy in the mind of the average teevee viewer than anything else, but what does Ol’ Robbo know.)

♦  I was cajoled into reading The Monster At The End Of This Book (starring lovable, furry, old Grover) to our youngest guest, my 4 y.o. great-nephew.  It’s been quite some time since I used to read this to the Gels, and I’m not sure the boy is totally clear on who Grover actually is.  But I was pleased to find that I can still do the shrill, hysterical voice, wave my hands around in panic, and generally behave quite silly, and whatever the boy’s Sesame Street-foo, he enjoyed the performance.

♦  Ol’ Robbo wanted to get an early jump on the longish drive back to Port Swiller Manor today, so last evening he said to all the Gels, “Be ready to go by 5:45 AM.”  This morning they were……ready to go by 5:45 AM.  Amazing what a smooth start will do for a trip.  And fortunately, the traffic was really not bad at all, so we got home in very good time.

Well, that was Thanksgiving 2019, that was.  Advent starts tomorrow and once again Ol’ Robbo finds himself having left it late to see whether he has a sufficient supply of purple ribbon and candles.  Better go check on that…..

UPDATE:  Huzzay, huzzah, my fellow port swillers! We found out last night that Youngest has been accepted early decision by Miami of Ohio!!  As regular friends of the decanter may recall, she went out to tour the place last summah and fell in love on first sight, so she put in her E.D. application this fall.  We’ve been on pins and needles ever since.  (She wrote an amazingly quirky and clever personal essay about her education to date which I’m pretty sure is what got her in.)

So far as Ol’ Robbo is concerned, Miami is a perfectly decent school full of perfectly decent people in an absolutely beautiful spot.  (Distinguished alums include Peej O’Rourke, World Champion Nationals’ right-fielder Adam “Mighty Mouse” Eaton, and a cousin of mine from my great-grandmother’s family.)  Ironically, it’s greatest rival is Ohio University, where Robbo’s parents met as undergrads.

So go…..a, lessee…..REDHAWKS!!



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ah, the joy of early nightfall.  Not only do I have to drive home in the dark (which I hate because I don’t see so well at night), I also up my odds of getting kilt by oncoming traffic when fetching the mail upon my arrival at Port Swiller Manor.

Anyhoo, a few odds and ends:

♦  Ol’ Robbo watched his beloved Nationals visit the White House yesterday afternoon (via Yootoob).  What fun everyone seemed to have!  I thought the Marine Corp Band playing “Baby Shark” particularly funny.  As for Kurt Suzuki whipping out a MAGA hat? I understand the Twitter Mob are swallowing their tongues over that.  Had he flipped off the President, of course, they’d have cheered him to the welkin.  Nuts to them and bless him.  (And what a class act Ryan Zimmerman is, too.)

♦  Last evening’s Star Trek: TOS episode was “All Our Yesterdays“.  It featured a young and delicious Mariette Hartley in a skimpy cave-woman outfit.  Ol’ Robbo had quite the crush on Ms. Hartley back in the day. [Ed. – Who the heck didn’t you have a crush on?  Quiet, you.]  She seemed to do an awful lot of “special guest” appearances on teevee shows in the 70’s and 80’s, all of which were quite delightful to my impressionable, er, mind.

♦  For dins this evening, Ol’ Robbo made himself an omelet stuffed with pecorino romano cheese.  Nobody else I know seems to like this idea, but I would strongly recommend you give it a try.  And an added twist?  Mash up a clove of garlic into the eggs before you pour them into the pan.  I would not recommend this for a date night, but in every other circumstance I think you would enjoy it.

♦  Speaking of dins and the dark, this is the time of year when outdoor grilling becomes a problem because my patio is not well-lit.  I need to find some kind of free-standing light that I can park next the grill.  Anyone have any suggestions?

♦  Regular friends of the decanter may recall that Ol’ Robbo’s doc recently put him on blood pressure medicine.  Valsartan, to be exact.  I seem to be suffering most of the side-effects about which the Mayo Clinic and others warn.  Is this really worth it? (I have a follow-up appointment with the doc in a couple weeks and intend to make much of this.)

Well, enough for now.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I’m slapping up this post as a place-holder just as the game is starting.  Honestly, no matter what the outcome tonight, Ol’ Robbo is tremendously proud of his beloved Nats.  Never, even as late as yesterday, did I imagine we’d get this far this year.

Back later.  Going to go watch with Middle Gel, who’s home for a day or two.  In the meantime, what else is there to say exept:

GO, NATS!!!!!!

UPDATE:  Ol’ Robbo hasn’t had a chance to update until now.  I was far too, um, tired squiffy last evening to give any coherent reaction.  So let me just go ahead and get this off my chest:

NATS WIN!!!!!!



What a truly amazing and high-quality series it was, capping off a truly amazing playoff run which came as a complete shock to just about everybody, I think.  And a tip of the cap to the Astros, who played a heck of a series themselves.  This was seven games of almost perfectly matched teams, and we just happened to have done a slight bit better when we needed to.  I know they’re disappointed, but they have no reason to be ashamed.

And a glass of wine with all y’all for your kind words of support.  Old-timers here will know that Ol’ Robbo has been an enthusiastic fan of the Nats since they first came to town in 2005, and I’ve stuck with them through a lot of lean times – the series of 100+ loss seasons, the “Natnals” fiasco, the post-season self-destruction.  It’s good to finally savor going all the way.

Speaking of such things, I noticed a fair number of people walking about Your Nation’s Capital today in Nats gear.  Most of it looked suspiciously new.  I don’t mind Johnny-come-latelies, because everybody has to start somewhere.  I will mind it if they drop off again the next time we hit a flat patch.  (Which, of course, we will.)

By the bye, it was utterly enjoyable to watch the game with Middle Gel, who has become quite the fan herself.  And because we were “bonding”, Mrs. Robbo couldn’t say word one of criticism about us yelling at the teevee.  Ha!

Well.  What else is there to say except:

Pitchers and catchers report in three and a half months!


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July 2020