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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As all of baseball fandom knows, one of the biggest questions of this off-season is whether Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats will re-sign Bryce Harper or whether he will go elsewhere.

I’ve been chewing on this question for some time now and have come to this conclusion: I’m perfectly comfortable either way.

If for whatever reason Harper decides he really likes it here and is willing to take less money than he might get somewhere else, fine.  Welcome back.  When Zimm hangs it up, you’ll be the Face of the Franchise (until Juan Soto buries you, that is).

On the other hand, if Harps demands a nosebleed salary? Don’t chase him, let him walk.  Spend the money elsewhere, like yet again reconstituting the bullpen or acquiring another quality starter.  We’ve got an exciting young outfield even without him and I don’t see that his loss would put us in any real hole.

Curiously, I find I really have nothing invested in this question emotionally, not like I did when we lost Desmond, say, or Ramos, or like I would if we lost Rendon, for instance.  For whatever reason, I’ve really just never warmed up to Harps, but view him from a strictly utilitarian standpoint.

The only thing I would hate is if he wound up with another team in the NL East and we had to see him all the time.  I saw a horrifying headline recently suggesting that both he and Mike Trout could move to Philly, but I think that was just some fantasy wanking.

Anyway, I thought I would get this out there before any nooz breaks.

 

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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I hope all you friends of the decanter had a happy – or at least an uninteresting in the Chinese curse sense –  Thanksgiving.  I can certainly say that the Family Robbo’s was one of the best I can remember: Thirteen of us sat down to dinner on Thursday, and it was a positive joy to see the Gels, along with my nephew and two elder nieces, really taking their places as the next adult generation of the family.  No harsh words, since every single one of us except my elder cousin and my four-year-old grand-nephew (it’s a long story) are more or less of the same socio-politickal frame of mind.  Instead, lots of rapid-fire banter and general jollity.  Plus, they all ate like wolves.

A few odds and ends:

♦  As they have for many years now, Robbo’s brother and SiL hosted.  Brother likes to roast his turkey on the grill, so we two always wind up spending several hours outside on T-Day afternoon, fiddling with the coals, adding wood chips now and again, worrying about whether the thermometer is giving accurate readings, and generally kibitzing.  (The adult beverages, of course, may be taken as a given.)  This year he did such a good job of it that Ol’ Robbo is beginning to think about doing his Christmas roast beef the same way.

♦ I notice that hotels seem to take great liberty with the use of the word “suites” in their names.  To me, a two bed double is a two bed double, whether it has a small reception area attached to it or not.  “Suite” means separate bedrooms.  I had to share with Mrs. R and the two Younger Gels this year.  (Eldest goes to school nearby and just stayed in her dorm.)  They’re all slobs.

♦  Another tradition Brother and I have is to go hiking on the Friday after T-Day, in part to work off our overindulgences of the day before, in part to flee the madness that is “Black Friday”.  This year, however, it was much colder and danker than we had anticipated.  We took one look at the sky, said, “Nah, Brah”, and instead spent all afternoon watching college football.  First was the Texas-Kansas game, about which we cared not much except for a residual fondness for the Longhorns from our misspent yoots in Texas.  Second was the Virginia Tech-UVA game, about which we cared a great deal since my nephew is a junior at Tech.  Woah, what a game.

And all the Hoos in Hooville went boo-hoo-hoo!

♦  Speaking of traditions, the other day Ol’ Robbo had seen a clip for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special featuring the Peanuts gang all around the table and said to himself, “Self, I see that Franklin is sitting all alone on one side.  Perhaps somebody will yell RAAAAAYCIIISSS!!!”  I was only joking, but evidently in the Brave New Dystopia, nothing is funny.

Sigh.  On the drive home this morning, Mrs. R was rattling off talking points about how Charles Shultz was, in fact, quite enlightened about race relations for his time, how he insisted on having Franklin in the show despite others’ objections, and how one has to look at these things in context.

“You’re wasting your time, you know,” I said.  “For the people screeching, this is about the will to power.  You can’t reason or argue with it.  It consists totally of ego and emotion and has no goal other than destroying absolutely everything outside of itself.”

♦  Actually, the character I’d hate getting stuck next to is Pigpen.  Blech.

♦  And speaking of the drive home, it simply poured all the way from west-central North Carolina to Northern Virginia.  Middle Gel had driven herself to the Feast from the Tidewater area on Wednesday, and the whole way home today I was thanking Heaven that at least all this muck is supposed to blow out overnight and that the Gel would have a nice day to get herself back to school tomorrow.  It was only a short while ago that I learned the stinker had herself lit out this morning to go stay with her roommate (who lives near campus) overnight and thereby save herself the slog tomorrow when traffic gets bad.  So what am I gonna do with all this pent up worry?

Anyhoo, a good time was had by all, everyone is back where they ought to be, and Ol’ Robbo has the indulgence of another full week before I need to get myself in an Advent frame of mind.

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is off from work tomorrow, so tonight is my early Friday Night.  What say you to opening the sluice-gates of my alleged mind and see what comes pouring out?

♦   How about just a little politicks first? Robbo’s prediction: The ‘Pubs hold the House and gain in the Senate. (And yes, both the Elder Gels have mailed in their absentee ballots.) Blue Wave? Naw.  Red Tsunami.

♦  Related, today was “Patriotism Day” at Youngest’s high school. (It’s “Theme Week” leading up to Homecoming this weekend.  Teh kidz were supposed to dress up appropriately.  Youngest wore Stars & Stripes pants and a “Trump 2020” shirt.  Heh, indeed.

♦  Okay, how about we turn to the Arts? Yesterday evening on the drive home, Ol’ Robbo heard the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony on the local classickal station.  The DJ started off by reading some wankstein’s musings about how this piece was ol’ Pyotr Ilyich’s musickal musing on the subject of Destiny, and the ambiguity of whether the final movement represented a Triumph over Fate or a resigned acceptance of it.

Cor lumme, stone the crows.  This is exactly why I loathe Romanticism in all its manifestation.  I don’t give a damn about Tchaikovsky’s views on predestination, I only care about whether the musick is well-crafted or not.  (Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.”)

♦  Oh, and I hadn’t realized it until I researched this a bit, but Cole Porter stole the main theme from this movement for his song “Farewell, Amanda” from the Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn move “Adam’s Rib”, one of my old favorites.  Been a while since I’ve seen it…..Must look to Netflix queue…….

♦  By the bye, I  despise the whole concept of predestination and fatalism, too.  Ol’ Robbo would not have made a good Calvinist.

♦  Any Charles Portis fans among you?

♦  Today is the Feast of St. Chrysanthus, an early martyr. I had hoped that there might be some association with chrysanthemums, since they are so closely associated with this season and many flower names do, in fact, have Christian origins, but apparently not.  (I don’t really care much for mums anyway.  Too garish for me.)

♦  I suppose I had ought to say something about the World Series here, but really, Ol’ Robbo has no dog in this fight.  I’m pretty sure the Sawx are going to win it all.  I am absolutely sure there’s nothing quite so obnoxious as a triumphant Bahston sports fan.

♦  Speaking of athletics, Ol’ Robbo has got back into working out on his rowing erg.  I realized recently that I had made a big mistake last year (when I first bought it) of trying to do long, steady, power rows (30 minutes, for instance) right off the bat.  I quickly got discouraged with that (being not a 19 y.o. varsity athlete but a 53 y.o. desk-jockey), and so stopped using the thing.  But recently it occurred to me to do some research on recommended workouts and I came across a whole packet of programs of interval training.  Makes all the difference in teh world.  I’ve been at it now for about two weeks and haven’t felt this good in a long time.

♦  By the bye, when I was rowing crew in college back in the day, I had a t-shirt that read “Put an erg on the water and it sinks…”  I still think that’s the right attitude.  (Who knows? Perhaps one day Ol’ Robbo will invest in a scull and take up plashing about on the Potomac.)

Well, enough.  Tomorrow morning, Ol’ Robbo probably will try to get out and give the yard one final mow for the year, ahead of the nor’easter which is supposed to blow in later in the day.  Porch plants probably come inside this weekend, too, and I’m getting ready to slap the rear side-panels back on La Wrangler in anticipation of the colder weather.  (And wetter.  I understand we may get an El Nino this year, which means much precipitation on the East Coast.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Columbus Day!  Did you know that ol’ Robbo didn’t even realize this was a holiday weekend until last Friday?  The relief I felt when I found I had an extra day after all the silly running about behavior I had to do Saturday and Sunday was immense.

So on to this and that:

♦  In the spirit of the day, I recommend to you once again a trilogy of books by Hugh Thomas, sent to me by long-time friend of the decanter Old Dominion Tory.  They are Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan, The Golden Empire: Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America, and World Without End: Spain, Phillip II, and the First Global Empire.  What I really like about these books is the way Thomas sets Spain’s American ventures in the context of its home politicks and culture – the Reconquista, the Inquisition, the relations of Castile and Aragon, and the larger Hapsburg connections between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.  It all wouldn’t make much sense otherwise.

♦  Speaking of which, Eldest is taking a course this semester on pre-Columbian American empires, specifically the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas.  She’s really enjoying it, in part because her prof refuses to paint them as Rousseauian utopias and is careful to include the uglier aspects as well.  (She recently watched “Apocalypto” in connection with the course.  Her review? “It was weird.”)

♦  And speaking of ugly, is Melania Trump really getting flak for wearing a “colonial” pith helmet on her tour of Africa?  Do these fookin’ people honestly have nothing better to do with themselves?  Or is this just aggression-transfer resulting from last week’s Pickett’s Charge effort to sink Justice Kavanaugh?

♦ On a completely different note, our trip to CNU to visit Middle Gel this weekend was very nice.  We saw her perform in a pan-musick department concert Saturday afternoon, and then went to a BBQ picnic out on the lawn.  While we were eating, the marching band came, well, marching by on their way to the football stadium for the evening’s game.  I understand they are the second largest Division III marching band in the country.  They were really strutting their stuff, too.  I dunno why, but Ol’ Robbo has always been a sucker for school marching bands.  I like both the sound and the razzmatazz.  (And no, I was never a Band Geek myself.)

“Ah, Ha, Ha, Haaa…”

♦  Pulling out of the parking garage at the hotel yesterday morning, Ol’ Robbo was able to make a turn in our Honda Juggernaut that missed a neighboring car’s fender by inches but saved me having to back up again.  As I did so, I laughed in the voice of Snake from “The Simpsons”.  Mrs. R looked at me and said, “You are so strange.”  But I was happy.  Is this just a guy thing?

♦  And speaking of happy and driving, friend of the decanter Tubbs remarks in a comment below on the slog that is I-95 and the Dee Cee Beltway.  In fact, we didn’t do too badly coming up I-64 from the Tidewater and then I-95 from Richmond yesterday.  And I have to confess that ever since they’ve completed the EZ-Pass express lanes on the Beltway and dropped them down to around Stafford on I-95, the last 45 minutes or so of my trips home from south of The Swamp have become downright pleasant.

Whelp, that’s about it.  Ol’ Robbo needs to go mow the lawn now and feel appropriately guilty about historickal European destruction of Indigenous Peoples, but mostly go mow the lawn.

UPDATE: Yardwork status? Done.  I forgot to mention earlier that we took Youngest with us on our visit this weekend.  She got very mad at Ol’ Robbo because I point-blank refused to let her practice driving on the interstates.  I did, in fact, let her drive when we were in Newport News, but even then she almost ran a red light because she got distracted by something.  No way is she ready for bumper-to-bumper at 80 MPH.

Ol’ Robbo sees Nike has just announced that Colin Kaepernick will be the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

Uh, huh.

Ol’ Robbo has watched the whole taking-a-knee-for-the-National-Anthem kerfluffle only from the, er, sidelines, since I haven’t paid any real attention to the NFL since the early 2000’s.  This tailing off followed the retirement of Dan Marino in ’99 and the subsequent sinking of the Miami Dolphins, beloved by me since 1970, into perpetual mediocrity.  Also, the Gels were beginning to come along, and as they obtained some level of awareness of their surroundings, I didn’t want to have to spend Sunday afternoons trying to explain to them commercials for beer, Hooters, and erectile-dysfunction treatments.

Also, the very few times I’ve seen a game since then I’ve noticed a change in the whole “feel” of the thing.  I can’t explain it, exactly.  It may have something to do with the tone and pace of the game, or maybe with the quality of the teevee coverage, or some combination thereof, but the fact is that I don’t much care for it.  (In fairness, it may also be because the very few games I’ve seen have tended to be post-season.  I can’t really stand Fox’s post-season MLB broadcasts either.  Not that I’ll see my beloved Nationals playing October ball this year.  Sniff….)

Anyhoo, when the whole “take-a-knee” social justice warrior biznay came up, as put off as I was by pampered entertainer grandstanding, I couldn’t very well boycott the NFL because, as I say, I wasn’t watching it in the first place.

Nike is a different matter, however.  As it happens, I need a new pair of running shoes, as I’ve finally burned my old ones out.  If Nike wants to play SJW politicks they’re free to do so, but they’re not going to get my business now.

#GetWokeGoBroke.

A glass of wine with Ed Driscoll over at the Puppy-Blender’s place.

UPDATE: By the bye, the first one of you wisenheimers who comments “Laces OUT, Dan!” gets a fusillade of walnuts to the noggin.  Just saying.

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, as Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats are about to lose a series against the Cards even as I type, it is plainly evident that this season is now O-ficially over.

Dammit.

What a disappointment! I wasn’t quite fool enough to believe the pre-season hype that this was Our Year to Win It All as a matter of Destiny.  I always thought that it would be a fight that we might win or lose in the end.  But at least it would be exciting and down to the wire, given our recent history and current talent.

But I never dreamed that this year’s team would be a struggling, mediocre, fading non-entity in mid-August.

The “agony of defeat” I can endure.

The “agony of not even getting in the game”? Not so much.

Feh.

UPDATE: I didn’t realize it was a four game series when I posted this.  Watched Game 3 this evening.  Now we’ve lost the series.  Why on earth did I do so?  I think it was Chesterton who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Well, what else is there to do except say:

JUST WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!!

UPDATE DEUX:  Well, I guess I needed that vent, but yes, I’m still watching the games.  (We’ve won two in a row, now.)  I’m even willing to half-believe the notion that there’s a possibility the young Braves and Phillies clubs might choke under late-season pressure.  This is a conscious choice:  If somehow we do manage to come back and win it, I could never call myself a fan with any degree of self-respect if I had completely abandoned them beforehand.

UPDATE TROIS: Nope, never mind.  Even the Lerners are conceding the season.  Murphy and Adams gone today.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, here we are at the All-Star Break, a week of pure media spectacle which has never had any appeal for Ol’ Robbo.  Indeed, even though the festivities are being held this year at Nats Park and Middle Gel had been after me for a long time about getting tickets to the game itself, I simply have/had no desire to go.  Indeed, I probably won’t even bother watching it on the teevee.

In fact, the only really good thing about this week to me is that it gets my beloved Nats off their feet for a few days and maybe gives them the opportunity to figure out just what the hell is going on with their season. With a final win over the Mets this past Sunday, they staggered into the break at 48-48 and in third place – hardly what we were hoping for back in April, when many folk predicted we were finally going to go deep in the playoffs and even had a shot at taking all the marbles.

Yes, we’ve been plagued by a lot of injuries this first half, but that goes with the territory.  From what I’ve seen, we’ve just been sloppy and unfocused, making stupid mistakes, leaving runners stranded all over the bags, and just seemingly not “hungry for it” as my old crew coach used to say.  I think often of the line by that old southern radio announcer in “Bull Durham”: “Ah dunno whut these boys are thinkin’ bout, but it shore ain’t baseball!”

Watching all this has been very, very painful so far this season.

Anyhoo, with 60-something games left and no sign of collapse yet by either the Braves or the Phils, we sure as heck better come screaming out of the gates next week if we hope to have a shot at the division title even a wildcard berth this year.  And if we don’t make it, somebody bring me the head of Dave Martinez!

Grrrr….…

And speaking of “Bull Durham”, obligatory:

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo found himself down to the lanes late this afternoon as part of a little summah intern festivity thrown by our office.  (Actually, I haven’t the faintest idea who any of our interns are, but a friend of mine was in charge of organization and she sweet-talked me into coming along in order to boost the participation numbers.)

Friends of the decanter may be slightly surprised, given my snooty patrician airs here, but the fact of the matter is that Ol’ Robbo was a tolerably competent casual bowler back in the day, consistently scoring in the upper 100’s and now and again breaking 200.  This is largely due to the fact that I ducked a whole six-week Hobbesian high school gym period by signing up for a bowling class when I was a junior, and also because my friends and I back then used to hit the lanes on the weekends fairly consistently.

Alas, that was nearly 40 years ago, and I have only been to the lanes a handful of times since, most recently (so far as I can recall), with the Gels a few years ago.  The result? I only managed a score in the high 80’s today.  As I flubbed first ball after first ball and only managed to save something from the wreckage each frame on the second, I spent most of the time getting angrier and angrier with myself for my feeble performance.  At least I managed to avoid descending into foul-mouthed tirades, which is what usually happens when I reach the frustration stage with my more private dilettante efforts at the keyboard or now and again on the links.  (Just as well, as a burst of temper, especially given that Ol’ Robbo has the reputation around his office as the quiet one who keeps to himself, probably would have landed me in a world of HR hurt.)

Yes, I know the primary purpose of the outing was supposed to be social, not competitive, but I can’t help myself with these things.  If you’re going to do it at all, dammit, then do it well.

 

 

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s struggles over the past few days with a recalcitrant air-conditioner? Whelp, the service people were back out this morning and are now diagnosing a shot motor. The good news is that the thing itself is still under warranty.  The bad news is that we are going to have to pay for the labor of switching it out.  The worse news is that we have no A/C at Port Swiller Manor until tomorrow afternoon, and it is plenty hot around these parts.  (Fortunately, it’s still a fairly dry heat. The old saying about humidity may be a trite cliché, but that doesn’t make it untrue.)

Anyhoo, Ol’ Robbo is sitting under the porch fans this evening, patiently waiting for Eldest to quit the basement and go to bed so that he can scurry down to its relatively freezerish precinct, and thought he would kill the time by throwing together a few odds and ends.

♦  I saw an item today wherein an Israeli company has announced it is setting out to put a spacecraft down on the Moon.  This delights Ol’ Robbo on many levels.  Mazel tov! 

♦  That reminds me that Ol’ Robbo donated some money to buy pizzas for the IDF during one of the Intifadas way back in ’03 or ’04.  I’m still getting solicitations from the local Jewish Defense League to this day.

♦ And speaking of transportation technology, if I haven’t said it here before (well, even if I have), I’m going to say it now:  Ol’ Robbo will never, ever, get into a “driverless” car.  Period. Full stop.  End of story.  I don’t mind all the bells and whistles that alert you to traffic in your blind spot or whatnot, but I’ll be damned if I ever let a machine take actual command.

♦  And speaking of cars, Middle Gel called me from the VW dealership this afternoon with the announcement that one of her headlights had been whacked somehow and needed to be replaced at a fairly hefty cost.  I don’t quite get the latter part of the news, because I’ve replaced both headlights on La Wrangler myself for no expense other than the cost of the part and one or two skinned knuckles.  Is there any good reason I couldn’t have got the relevant headlight part for the Gel’s car and done it myself? Or has German engineering successfully eliminated the self-help option?

♦  Also touching on cars, Ol’ Robbo got caught in the traffic-jam caused by Marine One lifting off from the White House lawn this morning, taking President Trump out to Andrews AFB for his trip to Europe.  (They shut down Constitution Avenue between 16th and 17th for such comings and goings.) I’ve had this happen probably half a dozen times over the past few years.  It’s always a pain in the backside, but it’s also pretty cool to see the Presidential party on their way hither and yon.

♦  And speaking of which, Ol’ Robbo usually steers clear of politicks here, but I have to note that I heard a bit on this afternoon’s NPR top o’ the hour nooz digest in which some environmental lobbyist was whinging about The Donald’s pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to take Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court.  The lobbyist had his panties in a twist over the idea that, get this, Kavanaugh believes laws should be made by Congress and not by unaccountable Executive Branch bureaucrats!!

The horror.  THE HORROR!!

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

♦  Touching on the summah heat again, we just would pick this week to start a bed of young pachysandra out front, wouldn’t we? No rain in the forecast for at least another ten days.  (Fortunately, I was able to strategically place a soaker hose uphill from the bed, and find that if I simply leave it on long enough, gravity takes care of spreading the water all about.)

♦  The pachys, by the bye, are part of the new arrangement for diverting rain-water Ol’ Robbo mentioned t’other day.  The landscapers have been busy this week putting in the new rock bed/run-off channels, and I’m happy to say that I am pleased with the results so far.  We shall see, of course, what actually happens the next time we get le deluge.

Whelp, that’s about enough for now.  Ol’ Robbo is headed for the basement now, most probably to see if his Beloved Nats are working themselves farther out of playoff contention.  (What a disappointing year so far.  I mentioned jumping on the Fire Dave Martinez bandwagon the other day? Well, despite their taking three out of four against the Fish this week,  I ‘ve still got my Nike Vertical Leap shoes on just in case.)

 

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Independence Day!

A very quiet one this year for Ol’ Robbo.  Middle Gel is the only other family member home at the moment.  Our big plan for this afternoon is to go over to Bed, Bath, And Whatevs and buy all her college dorm stuff, which will be a nice little time together.  Afterwards, she may or may not be going with some of her friends to see the big downtown fireworks display.  (As so often seems to be the case with teenagers, the plan at this point is “I have no idea”.)

In the meantime, Ol’ Robbo will be content to sip an adult beverage or two and, if the weather isn’t too beastly, perhaps sit out on the porch and listen to the rumble and bump of neighbors letting fly with their own home displays.

Two completely un-related but apropos thoughts for the day:

First, Ol’ Robbo doesn’t buy into the “Second Civil War” talk I see here and there on the webz these days.  Instead, I see a mirror of the late ’60’s, only this time with twitter.  A small, but very noisy gang of radicals has abandoned their “For the Children” pretense, ripped off their masks, and exposed themselves for what they really are.  Most normal people are, I think, repelled by such things, which is why we got Nixon in ’68 and ’72, Reagan in ’80 and ’84, and Trump in ’16 and (most probably) ’20.  The Hard Left seems to go through these periodic meltdowns, which ironically is probably what has saved us from them these past 100 years or so.

Second, is there a “Fire Dave Martinez” bandwagon yet? Cos’ if there is, I’m feeling the increased urge to jump on board.  This is not where Ol’ Robbo’s beloved Nats ought to be right now.

Anyhoo, have a safe and pleasant holiday, and God bless America!

UPDATE: A delightful trip to BB&B.  It turns out Ol’ Robbo had never actually been there before and was thinking instead of the local TJMaxx, which is a rather ratty, depressing place.  This, instead, was enormous, well-stocked, and staffed by very friendly people who seemed delighted to be helping the Gel get together her school things.  We tricked her out in sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and the like, but she’s holding off on some of the other more purely decorative things until she can coordinate with her roommate who is bringing what.

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