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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo watched his first extra-innings game last evening since returning to MLB and was disgusted to see that they’ve kept that stupid “start the 10th with a runner at second” nonsense.

“Innovation” is bad, m’kay?

The night before last I watched the Nats blow a game on a double throwing error which immediately put me in mind of the “Nat’nals” teams of the late 00’s. We’re going to lose 100+ games this year, aren’t we.

I understood it back then – new team, growing pains, etc., etc. But we won the Series three years ago, for Heaven’s sake! I still do not understand the math of wiping out what it took years to build and starting all over again. (Thank yew, Lerner Family! Who rumor says are looking to sell the team and don’t give a damn anymore.)


**All facts verified by the DHS Department of Truth and Reconciliation

UPDATE: Which reminds me: Why am I seeing the umpires checking the pitchers’ hands after every half-inning now? Is this something I just hadn’t noticed before, or is it new?

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo wanted to raise a glass to Rich Strike, the 80-1 nobody who came flying out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby Saturday evening. Very well done, indeed.

I’m hardly of the horsey set. Indeed, apart from following the magnificent Secretariat back in the day, I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, nor can I remember the last time I actually watched a running of the Derby. But we were invited to a party for it this year, held by one of Mrs. R’s wimminz clubs, so I had no real choice in the matter.

Ol’ Robbo has come to the sad conclusion that it’s about time I look into some kind of hearing-aid. Probably the biggest reason I dislike parties so much is that I can’t understand a single thing anybody is saying to me. And simply nodding brightly but vacantly and saying “uh-huh!” repeatedly gets to be quite tedious after a while.

I had my first mint julip in something better than thirty years and thought it quite vile. Sugar has no place in an adult beverage.

The race itself, as I say, was genuinely exciting at the end, and the party crowd quite genuinely pleased. I believe there was a betting pool, but I don’t think anybody had Rich Strike to win. (The friends we went with plunged on a horse that wound up coming third. I refrained altogether because gambling has never had the slightest appeal to me. I state this simply as fact: there’s no virtue when there’s no temptation.)

That said, we actually won the big door prize, a $150 gift card to some restaurant I’ve not heard of. In my suave and diplomatic way, I remarked to a knot of Beltway Beautiful People, “Well, with the economy being what it is, I suppose this’ll probably about cover the appetizers!” For some mysterious reason, they didn’t seem to think that was s’damn funny.

All in all, though, a good time was had.

** Did you see what I did there?

“Pretentious? Moi?” – UPDATE – This is why Ol’ Robbo never talks to people anymore. At a meeting today I casually asked somebody if they’d watched the race and got a reply of “Agshully, I’m uncomfortable with the whole idea of horse racing because I’m concerned about their health and safety.”


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Yes, a lowering, overcast morning here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor. Ol’ Robbo doesn’t mind that so much because we haven’t really had much rain lately, but still it’s Tuesday and Tuesday always casts a pall over everything. So, what’s going on?


I see that the Nats didn’t lose yesterday, so at least I’ve got that going for me. [Narrator: In fact, the Nats didn’t play yesterday.] Of course it’s ridiculous to panic or write a team off completely eighteen games into a season, but my sense that there’s something just not right with this roster is deepening daily.


A recent conversation:

Self (to coffee-grinder, which has been giving me trouble lately): “C’mon, baby, what’s the matter?”

Mrs. R (off-stage): “Hey, you never call me baby!”

Self: “You don’t make me coffee.”


Ol’ Robbo is still chuckling over the whole Musk/Twooter story and the heads it’s causing to explode. For all that, I hope folks are paying close attention to what some are being prompted to blurt out about their contempt for the idea of free expression. There are stupid and evil people in the world, and they want to rule you.


Well, enough. On a happier note, our neighbors down the street have a lab puppy who they walk past my front window daily. He’s reached the stage where he looks bigger every single time I see him. That always makes me smile.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo has mentioned Decanter Kitten here from time to time. She’s actually two, now, so not really much of a kitten anymore. Plus, as she’s a Maine coon, she’s got big.

Teh Kitten has developed the habit of finding me in the evening and hopping into my lap, whereupon she rolls over and demands that I rub her tummy. I’ve never known a cat so enthusiastic about this form of attention, most of them in my experience going to tooth and claw if you get too near their undersides.

As much as teh kitty enjoys lolling under my gentle touch, however, she is also the most skittery animal I’ve ever known. Her head is on a constant swivel, and the least odd noise or sudden movement will turn her into an instant orange comet as she streaks off for shelter.

Now when Ol’ Robbo is reading a book or watching an old movie, at least she doesn’t have to fear upheavals immediately under her. However, as I’ve noted here recently, I’ve started watching the Nationals play ball again. And while I am generally known for being quiet and undemonstrative to the point of being called a “Vulcan” more than once, I tend to get rayther worked up while watching baseball, with much cheering or yelling (depending on the situation), heaving around in my seat, and arm-flailing.

This has come as a…..surprise to teh Kitten, she not having experienced it before due to my boycott of the last two MLB seasons. Suffice to say she burned a lot of calories last evening as Ol’ Robbo gave vent to his emotions over the Nats getting out of a sticky situation to take a double-header off the D-Backs.

Will she adjust, like a sailor finding his sea-legs? Or will she pursue attentions in other, calmer venues? (Good luck trying to get at Mrs. R, who has Decanter Dog glued to her constantly.) Who knows.

(By the bye, Ol’ Robbo was disgusted by the teevee announcers last evening when they started singing the praises of the DH rule. It’s one thing to quietly endure a piece of arbitrary totalitarianism. It’s another to pretend it’s a Good Thing. Quislings.)

Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers!

Well, here we are on the cusp of Holy Week. Ol’ Robbo plans to get in a final garden post tomorrow and maybe something for Palm Sunday, but after that he plans to down tools here until after Easter. So in the meantime, how about a little of this n’ that.

Yes, Ol’ Robbo watched the Nats drop their season opener to the Mets last evening. April Baseball is a chill, rigid thing, rayther like first stumbling out of bed on a cold morning. Everything is stiff, disorienting, and slightly forlorn, and makes me long all the more for those days to come when we really wake up in the warm, bright sunlight and drowse comfortably in the long, warm twilight. (And no, I’m not just saying that because we happened to lose.)

I don’t watch all that much teevee anymore so this was a first for me, but I couldn’t help noticing that all the new car ads were inviting me not to buy one but to “reserve” one. Let’s go, Brandon!

Speaking of lavish expenditures, I’ve mentioned here once or twice that Youngest Gel is going abroad next semester. Because upperclassman housing moves fast in her college town, she’d already signed a year’s lease on a studio apartment in the High Street. Fortunately, the lease allows for subletting, and even more fortunately, this week we officially got it taken off our hands for the semester. Whoo-Hoo! (And lest you think we’re being too overly-lavish about all this, I’d point out that due to the perversities of how out-of-state tuition rates are applied, it’s actually less expensive for us to send the Gel Down Under this fall than for us to keep her on campus. Go figure.)

And speaking of school, it’s not much more than a month now until Middle Gel graduates, a fact around which Ol’ Robbo is still trying to wrap his poor brain. (This’ll be our first actual college graduation ceremony, Eldest’s having been kybosh by the Covidiocy.) I laugh, ever so gently, because while a lot of kids sail through their last undergrad semester in a gentle (often alcoholic) haze, she’s got a bear of a class that’s keeping her perpetually on the hop right up until the end. (She knows not to whinge too much at me about it because she knows I’ll just say it’s character-building.)

And speaking of laughing, Ol’ Robbo finds himself amused by this week’s story of the rabid fox running amok on Capitol Hill.*** (“Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.” – Nehemiah 4:3.) I keed! I keed! Very painful and all that, but heh. As a matter of fact, Ol’ Robbo has seen a lot of vulpine activity behind his own back fence this year and looks forward to the emergence of the kits later in the spring.

Well, that’s enough to get going. Perhaps I’ll add a bit more later.

***You may thank your lucky stars that Ol’ Robbo did not add a link here to the earworm generated by this story that has not left his head for days now.

Going for the Green UPDATE: Well stap my vitals! Who says there’s no rest for the wicked? Spring Break starts for St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method this afternoon, so Mrs. R and Eldest are headed out tomorrow to visit Middle Gel and friends, meaning Ol’ Robbo is batching it for the weekend. And it just occurred to me that the Masters is going on. As much as he enjoys the game, Ol’ Robbo hasn’t actually sat down to watch a golf tournament unimpeded in Lord-knows how many years. (Fifteen or twenty, anyway.) If you think I’m not tuning in for the Final Round Sunday, you have something else coming! (This despite the fact that when I checked the Leader Board just now, I hadn’t the faintest idea who the vast majority of the players are.)


Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers!

Ol’ Robbo settled in to watch his first Nationals’ spring-training game last evening (actually their last, as Opening Day is tomorrow). It was a delightful couple hours of Florida sunshine by proxy and “Who? Who? Who’s that? Wuh?” You might think this is because the starting lineup is set and aside from some open pitching questions, most of these guys were the back end of the prospects train, and you’d be right. However, it would have been the same no matter what: looking over the anticipated Opening Day line-up, Ol’ Robbo sees exactly two position players left over from the 2019 World Series roster on the kawfee cup next to his keyboard, plus a remnant of that year’s pitching staff. (2020 didn’t count, and I boycotted last year, so I had no idea of the extent of the carnage until I started refocusing a few weeks ago.)

For what it’s worth, Ol’ Robbo expects little or nothing out of this season. The Nats will be, as they say diplomatically, “rebuilding”. That said, I plan to enjoy myself and even try to get to a few games.

But that’s really not what I wanted to carry on about here. Instead, my attention was drawn during the commercial breaks to the fact that the team is going to be wearing special “cherry blossom” uniforms this weekend to “celebrate” well, the blossoms, as well as some vaguely-defined Dee Cee “spirit”. Somebody told me there’s also a pro basketball team in the District, and I gather they’re doing the same thing.

Ol’ Robbo cannot tell you how much he detests gimmick uniforms, even, I’m sorry to say, the military-tribute ones. At best, they’re exercises in pure money-grubbing. (Marketing 101: “A _______ and his _________ soon are ____________.”) At worst, they sometimes increasingly dance into hot-button politickal issues, thereby violating the fundamental premise of spectator sports as a forum in which to, you know, get away from all that garbage. (I turn off the teevee on such occasions. I certainly wouldn’t set foot in the park for them.) Oh, and these particular uniforms are, how does one say it, uninspiring. Indeed, they look like nothing so much as ladies’ jammies.

When Ol’ Robbo becomes Emperor of the World, my first decree will be to permanently abolish the DH rule, but my second will be to outlaw this kind of sartorial stunt.

Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers and happy April 1st!

Ol’ Robbo was just thinking this morning how incredibly frustrating it must be these days to be a Babylon Bee writer. You get a brilliant idea for a satiric piece, write it up, and dash optimistically down to the editor’s office, only to be informed it’s NBG because current events have already out-parodied it.

Very sad.

We had our first o-fficial Tornado Warning of the year last evening here in teh neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor. Ol’ Robbo happened to be sitting out on the porch watching the lightning in the distance when suddenly seemingly every electronic device in the house started cooking off. (I half-fancied even the coffee-maker was yelling at me to get under cover.) The cell itself was in the wrong direction, never got anywhere near us, and actually fizzled out after about five minutes, so I didn’t bother to bestir myself. I can’t really say I have anything against an alert system per se, but I do insist on treating it as strictly advisory in nature and relying on my own commonsense assessment of the situation before scurrying for shelter. I suppose in the Brave New World that our Betters are currently foisting on us, it will soon be mandatory to go huddle in the basement when the sirens sound. Attendance will be taken and unexcused absence will be punished. (This will be made much easier, of course, when we’re all forced to give up our homes and move into inner city stack-a-prole apartment towers in the name of “Sustainability”.)

(Attention Bee Writers: Use this before it comes true!)

I see where my probationary-beloved Nats got shellacked in a spring-training game against teh Cards 29-8 (that is not a typo). Yeah, spring training and all, but yikes? I’m going to dismiss this as an early April Fool’s joke and let it go.

Well, Ol’ Robbo tried to come up with a humorous take on what’s going on in the skools these days, but I just can’t even. Thank Heaven my own kids are full-grown and also (**frantically knocks on wood**) that I don’t expect to see grandlings starting to appear for another three to five years, by which time I hope the current horror will have collapsed in on itself and the devil driven out. (Who’s the fool now, eh?)

To end on a much happier and more optimistic note, let us celebrate the 290th Birthday of Franz Joseph Haydn, born this day (maybe) in 1732!


There is a good deal of question about whether Haydn was actually born on March 31 or April 1 (the records are incomplete). I think most scholars now assume it was the former. Haydn himself, in characteristic humble but tongue-in-cheek form, said something to the effect that if it wasn’t the latter, it should have been, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Happy Birthday, Papa!

** Spot the lyric.

UPDATE: STL answer here, in case you’re interested.

UPDATE DEUX: Heh. According to my sitemeter, there must be some fellow Diamond Rio appreciators out there. Nothing wrong with that.

Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers and Happy Hump Day.

Yes, the Lenten grind goes on and is becoming more and more of a grind. Fortunate, Friday, March 25, is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, and therefore qualifies for what’s known round here as “Bacon Friday”.

Endeavor to persevere.

So what’s going on? Lessee….

Ol’ Robbo is happy to report that Middle Gel will not be taking that summah job at Nationals Park I mentioned the other week, because she’s been offered the one she really wanted with the Virginny Parks Department, where she’ll spend six weeks overseeing yoot conservationists cleaning and refurbishing various state park facilities at sites TBD. It’s the sort of thing out of which she wants to make a career and why she’s headed off for her master’s this fall. I tease her about becoming a Green Nazi but she insists she’s much more interested in practical issues like cleaning up the Chesapeake than she is in a Brave New World powered by rainbows and unicorn farts. We shall see.

Speaking of the Nats, Ol’ Robbo, in his (guarded and provisional) return to MLB was looking over their spring-training roster and likely position players. I haven’t the faintest idea who most of these guys are anymore, other than a handful of vets and one or two names I recognize from the minors. I must admit, I never saw the logic of putting together a World Series-winning team in 2019 and then immediately gutting it, but then again I don’t own a ball club. On the other hand, if you are going to spend time in the cellar “rebuilding”, 2020 and 2021 certainly were likely years to do so. Is it possible the Lerners knew what was coming? (Okay, even Ol’ Robbo doesn’t possess enough tinfoil to cover that theory!)

Speaking of entertainment, for some reason Eldest has had a long-standing grudge over the fact that Ol’ Robbo has never seen “The Lion King”. “I’ve studied Hamlet,” I say, “Bill had a way with words and action, ya know? Why should I watch a cartoon version with a singing warthog?” Finally, in a moment of weakness, I gave in recently. (She pulled the “I’m-leaving-home-soon-and-then-you’ll-be-sorry!” card.) But I insisted that in exchange she has to watch a Duke Wayne picture with me. She immediately suggested “Liberty Valance” but I know she’s seen that one already. I’ve pretty much got it narrowed down to either “Hondo” or “The Cowboys” now because of their heavy paternal themes.

Speaking of which, thank Heaven I have no small kids at the moment. The monsters aren’t even pretending anymore. That is all.

On the “They’ll Do It Every Time” front, it’s been a while since we’ve had any major appliance trouble, so the oven has decided to mix things up a bit by causing its own “off” button to break. Jab at it all you want and nothing happens now. Indeed, the only way to turn the damn thing off is to go down in the basement and throw the circuit-breaker for 10 seconds or so. (That was a trick an electrician taught us some years ago to combat the entire panel freezing up when the stove-top gas burners flare in a particular way on being lit. He didn’t even charge us for the advice. We liked that guy.) We’ll see how long I can tolerate this before biting the bullet and calling somebody to fix it.

And on that front, Ol’ Robbo has been noticing a quiet drip sounding in the wall nowhere near any pipes. I suppose this means I’m going to have to take a flashlight and go look at the roof in the attic. I really don’t want to see what I fully expect to see. (Damned squirrels!)

Finally, in the Weirdo Dreams Dept., I swear that last night in the midst of other highly strange sights and sounds I became aware of a string band performing a Baroque setting of Olivia Newton-John’s “Please, Mister, Please”. But then a trumpet broke in doing a jazz riff and the whole thing ground to a halt. (Heck, I don’t know!)

Time for more kawfee.

Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers!

Ol’ Robbo sees this morning that the MLB negotiations have hit another snag and that Opening Day is once more postponed. The Commissioner’s statement this morning is of the “look, we’ve tried and we can only hope the players see sense” variety. Name-calling comes next, I think. The season looks increasingly doomed.

Relatedly, I learned yesterday that Middle Gel is interviewing for a part-time summah job working the team store at Nats Park. (I was somewhat surprised they are even hiring, but I suppose they need to be ready for all contingencies.) At first, along with her, I thought the idea was pretty neat in itself, getting to hang around the stadium and all, to say nothing of the possibilities of employee discounts on merchandise or maybe even tickets.

But as I thought about it later, a vision flashed into my head of teh Gel leaving the stadium way late one night after closing down the store and I shuddered. The area around Nats Park has changed a good bit since it first opened, but it hasn’t changed that much, and the idea of teh Gel trying to get to her car and then navigate out in the wee hours summoned all the Dad Instinct in me front and center. I intend to use what little residual authority and whatever persuasive powers I have to convince her this is probably a bad idea after all.

UPDATE: Well, no doubt due to Ol’ Robbo’s magic-touch predictions, the Season is on. (This is why I never became a bookie.)

Meanwhile, Gel had an interview and reports the job is hers if she wants it. She’s waiting to hear from her main preference, a sweet gig with the Virginia Parks Department, so we’ll see what happens.

Greetings, my fellow coffee-chuggers!

Yes, time to gird up those Lenten loins again. I hope you all had a pleasant First Sunday of standing down from your fasts. As to that steak I mentioned in the post below? Zermergerd, it was good! Ol’ Robbo will repeat here that the one and only way to do either a ribeye or a strip justice is to get a cut at least an inch thick, season it with garlic salt, stoke up a charcoal fire to the highest possible heat, and flame that thing for just a couple minutes on each side. That. Is. All.

Also below I compared the clear-cutting project across the street to Saruman’s Brute Squad (there’s a crossing of the streams!) let loose in the Shire, but on reflection, I think I used the wrong metaphor. It’s really closer to the N.I.C.E. tearing up Edgestow. They were at it again yesterday, saws shrilling, dumpsters clanging and banging, and trucks rolling well into the evening. I get the project itself. What I don’t understand is the apparent urgency to get it done so fast. I mean, Sunday? And Sunday night? (I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest Merlin’s tomb isn’t buried over there. I hope there isn’t some equally diabolical motive.)

Speaking of diabolical, Ol’ Robbo spent 60 bucks filling up La Wrangler’s tank this weekend. And that was going into town to get the gas at $4.05, not paying north of $4.50 at the station down the street from me. Let’s go, Brandon! (And yes, I spotted one of those “I did that!” stickers on the pump. Heh.)

UPDATE: Mrs. R sends along this –


She gets it. This isn’t about market forces or international affairs or even regime incompetency. It’s deliberate. You’ll drive an EV whether you like it or not. Can’t afford one? They’re actually impractical? Take the bus, peon. (And no tinfoil was required in the making of this observation.)

It would seem the odds of having a baseball season this year are growing increasingly slim, if I skimmed the sports nooz correctly. Meh. The money means little or nothing to Ol’ Robbo, but I now see that MLB also wants to ban the infield shift and have larger bases. Frankly, I think the shift is pretty….tacky, myself, but if a team wants to play that way then why not? As for the bases, I’m immediately reminded of the little league practice of having two 1st bases side by side, one for the runner and the other for the fielder. I suppose that’s next at the pro level. Babies.

A real possibility for the first thundershower of the year in these parts today. At the very least, it’s warm enough to open up a window or two at Port Swiller Manor and start airing the place out. This makes Ol’ Robbo very, very happy.

Well, that’s it for now. Endeavor to persevere!


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May 2022