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Nats HatGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

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

GO, NATS!!!

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

 

joe-garagiolaGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

Thank Heaven, I’ve never lost it.

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

 

* Spot the quote.

 

 

 

 

Jayson Is In The House!

Jayson Is In The House!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

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

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

GO, NATS!!!

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

Probably a sign of age.

Nonetheless, bring it on.

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

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

Yeeks.

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

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

“Yeah,” she said, “maybe.”

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

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

Kitteh and Rose

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington-Nationals1Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I suppose it’s not all that surprising to Ol’ Robbo that, after they blew what was anticipated to be a World Series season in fairly feeble style, his beloved Nats sacked second-year manager Matt Williams today.  I guess I am suprised a bit surprised that the entire coaching staff was taken out as well.  So far as I could tell, there was some good meat on those bones.

Surgeon’s knife, I guess.

As to the future? One rumor that has been swirling around is that Cal Ripken, Jr. might take the helm.

On the one hand, how totes awesome would it be to have somebody of Cal’s status helming the team?

On the other, I dunno that he’s been doing much other than sponsoring little league kids the past few years, so how well would he adjust to the Show so long after having left it?

*Shrugs*

Well, hell.  As to this year’s post-season, I am O-fficially latching on to the “Back To The Future II” meme of backing the Cubbies to win it all.  Failing that, I at least expect the Mets to get crushed by the Dodgers in the first round, which will satisfy my seasonal bloodlust.

As to the big picture, which involves some major changes in player personnel for next year that we can discuss later, what else can one say except:

GO, NATS!!!

 

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, ol’ Robbo finds himself knocking about Port Swiller Manor for the third day, quietly waiting for Pope Francis to wrap things up downtown and head north.

♦   Frankly, I’ve not paid the least attention to the coverage of events so far.  For one thing, I absolutely refuse to let the media (mainstream OR social) tell me what I ought to make of it all.  For another, I just don’t cotton to anything that smacks of celebrity hype.  (Of course, to be perfectly honest with myself I acknowledge that I might be singing a different tune if this were St. John Paul II or Benedict and not Francis.)  For a third, as an ordinary every-Sunday foot soldier, I get the same feeling about the outpouring of enthusiasm associated with the visit as I do about the crowds who show up only for Christmas and Easter services.

♦   Fingers crossed, please:  Eldest Gel fired off her early-decision application to Sweet Briar College last evening.  We should get a yea or nay within two weeks or so.  I don’t know why they wouldn’t accept her (good ACT’s, steadily rising high school GPA and a legacy several times over, plus the school really needs to grow its student body again so it’s a buyer’s market), but the process is unnerving just the same.

♦   Watching the con-trails of jets cruising overhead this morning, I got wondering about calculating their distances from my porch.  If I assume a plane is at an altitude of, say, six miles and accurately measure the angle of the hypotenuse from my point of observation, using right triangle geometry trig I ought to be able to calculate the length of that hypotenuse, yes?  Or no?

♦   Well, at six and a half games behind with only about ten days left in the season, I just don’t think my beloved Nats are going to catch the Mets.  Ah, well.  Is it possible that the “Back To The Future, Part 2” prophesy will be fulfilled by the Cubbies taking it all this year?  If they make the post-season, I will certainly root for them.

Anyhoo, time for moar coffee.

UPDATE:  A glass of wine with Don for putting me some stuff-you-should-have-remembered-from-school knowledge in response to the cruising jet question.  All I can say is that it’s been a very long time since I did any trig.

Anyhoo, out of curiosity, I ran a couple calculations, assuming a jet to be cruising at an altitude of 37,000 ft, or 7 miles just to make it simpler.  An observed angle of 35 degrees produces a line between my eye and the plane of just over 12 1/4 miles.  An observed angle of 20 degrees gives a distance of just over 20 1/2 miles.

The thing is, these results are mighty near what I would have guessed just eyeballing it.  Pretty cool.

(And yes, you can see a jet at 20 miles.  Or rather, at certain times of day around dawn and dusk, you can see sunlight reflecting off of them sometimes.)

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