October 22, 2009

I Feel The Need For Speed! Littorally!

USS Independence.jpg

How coo-el is this?

BATH, Maine – The Navy's need for speed is being answered by a pair of warships that have reached freeway speeds during testing at sea.

Independence, a 418-foot warship built in Alabama, boasts a top speed in excess of 45 knots, or about 52 mph, and sustained 44 knots for four hours during builder trials that wrapped up this month off the Gulf Coast. The 378-foot Freedom, a ship built in Wisconsin by a competing defense contractor, has put up similar numbers.

Both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship use powerful diesel engines, as well as gas turbines for extra speed. They use steerable waterjets instead of propellers and rudders and have shallower drafts than conventional warships, letting them zoom close to shore.

The ships, better able to chase down pirates, have been fast-tracked because the Navy wants vessels that can operate in coastal, or littoral, waters. Freedom is due to be deployed next year, two years ahead of schedule.

Independence is an aluminum, tri-hulled warship built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The lead contractor is Maine's Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics.


By the way, I love the word "littoral" and have long felt it isn't used enough in ordinary conversation. As a noun, it's essentially the beach or rocks up to the high water mark: the one-foot-on-shore-one-foot-in-sea nebulousness of it has always appealed to me. (I'm not quite sure that one can speak of "littoral waters" but I recognize that the definition is as fuzzy as everything else about the word and am willing to let it go. Ain't I a reasonable guy?)

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October 21, 2009

Gratuitous NLCS Observation

It's late and I'm posting this before the end of the potentially series-clinching game, but even if the Dodgers pull it out, my message to the Phillies is still the same:

Screw you guys, I'm going home!

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England Expects Every Man Will HA-Ha!

lord nelson muntz.gif

Yes, today is the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. No, I don't have anything original or even especially intelligent to say about it this year. (Go bow down before our Maximum Leader if that's what you're looking for.) Yes, I AM in somewhat of a silly mood today. Why do you ask?

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Gratuitous ALCS Observation

Goddam Yankees.

On the other hand, if anyone can beat the Phils (and I'm more or less resigned to the notion that the Dodgers aren't going to tonight), it'll be Noo Yawk.

So at least that's something.

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Robbo, Check This Out

Looks like the Vatican is set to establish an Anglican rite. Via the local rag and First Things.

Yips! from Robbo: All over it, as you might imagine. In the word of Ted "Theodore" Logan, "Whoa!"

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October 20, 2009

The Tidy Bowl Follies

Man stabs son over clogged toilet.

I'm not saying I approve of this fellah's behavior, necessarily, but at the same time I'm not completely unsympathetic either.

Once we got clear of the diaper stage with the Llama-ettes, I believed that I was finally free of a thoroughly disgusting business.

What a fool I was.

I still don't completely understand what it is they do in there, but I would estimate that I am called upon to unclog the potties at Orgle Manor at least a couple times a week, a task that gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Mrs. Robbo, rushing to the gels' defense, claims that there's a defect in the plumbing, but this is nonsense: In all my time here, I have never once caused a jam myself.

I lecture the gels. I plead with them. I berate them. I even offer tutorials on proper flushing technique. And yet, all to little avail. It is still quite common that after a long day at the office and a beastly commute home, I walk in the door to the cry of "Daaaaaa-aad! The potty's jammed again!"

Whereupon I turn green and start swelling out of my clothes. HULK! PLUNGE!!!

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October 19, 2009

House That, Again?

Here at Orgle Manor, we have a saying: To pull "a Homer and the light-socket".

This means to repeat the same stupid mistake over and over again despite its obvious stupidity, a la Homer Simpson. Whenever we use it, we also accompany it with the line, "Zzzzzzzt, D'Oh!.....Zzzzzzzzt, D'Oh!......Zzzzzzzt, D'Oh! "

I got thinking of that when I read this article:

The Obama administration is unveiling a new program to provide support to state and local housing agencies to provide help to thousands of home buyers and renters.

The administration said the new program would help to support low mortgage rates and expand resources for low and middle income borrowers who want to buy or rent a home.

The program will feature two parts — a new bond purchase program to support new lending by housing finance agencies and a temporary credit and liquidity program to improve access by housing agencies to credit sources for their existing bonds.

The new program will operate under a law that Congress passed in 2008 to bolster the housing industry, which has been battered by the worst slump in decades, a downturn that saw home sales and home prices plunge and mortgage defaults soar to record levels.

The government said the new effort was designed to provide hundreds of thousands of affordable mortgages for working families and enable the development and rehabilitation of tens of thousands of affordable rental properties.

Um, not to be all don't-stick-your-finger-in-the-light-socket-again about it, but wasn't the whole housing mess caused in the first place in large part by the guv'mint hustling people into buying property they couldn't afford?


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That's My Gel, Dammit

The eldest Llama-ette crocked her finger playing basketball at school and, as a result, is currently visiting the doc to have it checked out. This is the actual text of an email exchange between us just now:

She: Hi dad. I'm about to be x rayed

Me: Break a leg. (Ha Ha Ha!)

She: That isn't funny. That only means good luck in stage terms.

Jeesh! Talk about your tough crowd!

My response? Loosen up, you goose!

Know what she really needs? A dose of this:

UPDATE: Turns out it's a tiny hair-line fracture. Nonetheless, the doc clamped on a cast the size of the Hindenburg.

UPDATE DEUX: I switched out the re-filmed version of the sketch from And Now For Something Completely Different (which I had tossed in because I was in a hurry) and put in the original version from Season 1 of Flying Circus, which I think much better. (The eldest gel often reminds me of John Cleese's Gestapo officer from this piece: "Dot's! Not! VUNNY!")

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October 18, 2009

"Take Me Out To The Black And Tell The World I Ain't Coming Back . . ."

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Maoist In The White House

Roger Kimball's take is here. Nary a peep from the legacy media. One can only imagine the reaction if a White House staffer of any sort in the last Administration expressed admiration for Francisco Franco, Augusto Pinochet, etc.

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October 17, 2009

Gratuitous Local Politicks Observation


In my little corner of Northern Virginny, a fight is brewing for the local House O' Delegates seat between incumbent Donk Margie Vanderhye and her challenger Barbara Comstock.

This is an interesting situation. I happen to know Margie (although she doesn't know me) because she attends Robbo's Former Episcopal Church and because her husband is Principal of the eldest Llama-ette's former public elementary school. (Indeed, she's also heavily involved in RFEC's delegation to the Episcopal Diocese O' Virginny, and an ardent Progressive. I became Catholic almost two years ago. You do the math.)

On the other hand, Babs and I wouldn't recognize each other if we mutually tripped over ourselves in a parking lot. (Of course, I don't know this. It seems to me that such trippage needs to take place - under laboratory conditions, of course - in order to analyze my hypothosis. Hey - Science is a harsh mistress.)

All in all, as shallow as it may seem, I feel I must support Comstock, not only because of her politics, but also because of her serious babeage, something of which the Virginny House O' Delegates is in serious need.

Hey, you think I'm being unreasonable? Go read Lysistrata. Give peace a chance, man!

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Via Hot Air

Because this is good for you:

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You Know You Are A Lot Closer

to the end of your Reserve career than the beginning when there are not many familiar faces from way back when. I graduated from college and was commissioned in 1985. Most of the junior officers who started out with me served their initial tours of duty and left the Army as lieutenants or captains to pursue civilian careers although a few (like me) left active duty and continued on in the Guard or Reserve. A few more took early-outs during the reductions in force in the mid-nineties. The few who remained became eligible to retire from their active duty or Reserve careers starting four or five years ago, depending upon when they started duty. There are only a handful of us left, but it hard to think of my peers as having been around long enough to retire. The usual reaction I get when receiving notice of a retirement of someone I have not seen in a long time is: "How can so-and-so be retiring? He is only 24!", before realizing the man in question is my age and thus 46.

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Gratuitous NLCS Posting

Mink Monica dropped a little trash-talk haiku off in the Tasty-Bits (TM) Mail Sack yesterday:

Phillies win Eight-Six
Mink Monica rejoices
Robbo bellows, "Khaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

In point of fact, I was in a hotel room out in the Midwest Thursday night watching the game and that is exactly what I did.

We can't have a Phils-Yanks Series. We just can't! I'd be like watching Hitler fight Stalin - who the hell are you going to cheer?


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Shameless Plug for

Keep America Safe. Check this out:

Via Allahpundit at Hot Air. It seems I overlooked one of Dick Cheney's greatest contributions to this country, his daughter Liz. The Lefties hate her for the same reason they hate Sarah Palin--because she is a danger to them.

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True Blood

The season one marathon continues thanks to the good folks at Netflix. The enduring theme--the taste of everyone in this series seems to tend toward the deviant. I am not sure why Anna Paquin wanted or needed to do this series but she does a decent job --

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--but Rutina Wesley steals the show:

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October 14, 2009

The Tie That Binds

I just got off the phone with Mrs. Robbo. She had returned home from work to discover that the contractor, when finished messing about with the kitchen this morning, managed to lock us out of Orgle Manor. (I won't explain our system of keys and deadbolts - it's too complicated. Suffice to say, Mrs. R was locked out.)

Fortunately, when Mrs. R called to tell me of this dilemma, I was able to give her the sooper-sekret instructions about which window could be successfully jimmied. Following my advice, she was able to get in after all.

This coming January 27 will be the twentieth anniversary of the night Mrs. Robbo and I met. (Lest you think I don't pay attention to such things.) The highlight of that date was my having to jimmy a window to get us into my apartment, having absent-mindedly locked myself out. It proved to be great entertainment to Mrs. Robbo, as well as proving to her my resourcefulness in a pinch. I like to think that was what got the old relationship-ball rolling.

Who knew that house-breaking would prove such a bond over all these years?

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Apropo of nothing. . .

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October 12, 2009

Gratuitous Baseball Observation

Goddam Phillies.

If it turns out to be a Phils-Yanks Series, what on earth am I going to do?

Catch up on Everybody Loves Raymond reruns, I suppose......

Go Dodgers!!!

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Right Back At 'Cha

From the vast real estate holdings which comprise Fort LMC comes this, courtesy of the fine folks who contribute to YouTubie:

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Respect My Authoritah!

The active duty roster at the vast and secure holdings of Fort LMC includes what is easily the fattest cat I know of.

When the Llama-ettes returned to Orgle Manor yesterday from their visit there, their talk was of little other than this full-bodied feline, who apparently made her presence felt in no uncertain terms overnight. We started joking around about her, and Hy-larity quickly ensued, the gels literally falling off the furniture at some of the images they conjured up.

Needless to say, the combination of cats and corpulence has had this running around my head all day:

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HBO's latest excursion into the bizarre. See for yourself.

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Doing What I Can . . .

to bust the curve on telephone polls. The latest was a push-poll from the Dems seeking to drum up support for their candidate for governor of Virginia, Creigh Deeds. This one was of the "press 1 if you are a ___, if not, press 2." I answered the ten questions with the most extreme answers I could think of, so the computer recorded me as a liberal Democrat Hispanic woman between the ages of 18 and 29 who thinks that Deeds is going to support vouchers for private schools and cut education spending.

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Gratuitous Baseball Observation

Goddam Yankees.

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October 11, 2009

I'm Robbo The Llama And I'm Going To Hell

Why? Because I'm posting the linky to the 101 Hottest Slave Princess Leia Photos, that's why.

What, you want a sample? No chance - I'm in hock enough already. Go check it out yourselves. But watch that first step on the road of good intentions - it's a doozy!

Yips! to the fellow-damned Ace.

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October 10, 2009

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

This morning, Mrs. Robbo, together with the Llama-ettes, set off for the vast, secure compound of Fort LMC. The point of their visit was to come and see the baaaay-bee.

I, too, was to be part of the mission, but when I awoke I found that I had a distinct touch of bronchitis and other symptoms of the bug that has been hovering around Orgle Manor for the past week or so. Thus, in order not spread the infection, I elected to stay home. Mrs. Robbo, I believe, was deeply suspicious of my ailment, but there it is. Cough. Cough. (Also. starting next week I have a positive bear of a remainder of the month, with multiple out of town depositions to deal with, and I need to rest up before taking the plunge.)

Anyhoo, there is still some question as to whether this is going to be a one or two night visit. Before she left, Mrs. Robbo was wondering out loud just how long she could stick the rich mixture of a not-sleeping-through-the-night-yet newborn, the Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient, his little sister the Princess and our crew of Llama-ette howler monkeys, and whether Mrs. LMC would understand if she cut short her stay.

"You know," I said, "Mrs. LMC is probably having exactly the same reservations as you and may end up wanting to throw you out as much as you want to leave."

I have a feeling there will be an amicable meeting of the minds on this point.

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Babes of Stargate Universe

First up, Ming-Na:

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Very not bad, and shmoking' at 45.

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Bonfire of The One's Vanity

The only way to explain this year's Nobel Prize for Peace and the recipient's reaction. If the award were actually for accomplishment, awardees over the years would include Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II for their roles in bringing down Soviet Communism without firing a shot. I wonder what Alfred Nobel, the inventer of dynamite, would think of yesterday's decision.

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October 08, 2009

It's Never Too Early To Be Thinking About Christmas

And if any of Robbo's family are stuck for an idea of what he might like to find in his stocking, well, this would be pretty durn cool:

The only surviving Union Jack to have been flown by the Royal Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar has been discovered in a drawer. The flag was flown from the jackstaff of HMS Spartiate, one of Nelson’s warships, as the battle against the French navy raged 204 years ago this month.

After the defeat of the French, the flag was presented by a grateful crew to Lieutenant James Clephan, one of the most popular officers in the Royal Navy and one of the few to have risen from the ranks. After Trafalgar, Clephan was promoted to captain and went on to command his own ship.

The 11ft x 7ft (3.5m x 2.1m) Union Jack was made by the Spartiate’s crew from 31 bunting panels and is riddled with holes made by shot and shell splinters during the battle. It has been in the captain’s family since the battle but is now being sold at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £15,000.

Charles Miller, who is selling the flag in London on Trafalgar Day, October 21, said: “We believe it is the only existing flag that flew at Trafalgar. It is one of the most important historical items any collector could expect to handle. The damage is probably from bullet holes or splinter fragments, but despite this it is in amazing condition.”

(I know I stand about the same chance of getting this as I did of getting a pony when I was young, but it's still nice to dream about it.....)

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Random NPR Noozbreak Observation

Current projected cost of the Baucus healthcare bill is "only" $829 billion over ten years?

Whew! That's a relief! Here I was thinking it was going to be expensive!

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Four Queens

A conversation this morning:

The nine year old, draped in towels: "Look! I'm royalty!"

Self: "Yes, I really think you must believe that sometimes."


Posted by Robert at 07:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 07, 2009

Le N'Yar Fin

HA-ha! Somali pirates get a dose of French taunting:

In the darkness of the Indian Ocean, a bulky French re-fuelling vessel looked like easy pickings for two boatloads of Somali pirates as they drew alongside early today.

The men started their usual pre-boarding drill, letting loose with Kalashnikov assault rifles, when they noticed the 40 millimetre cannon and missiles on the deck above them. Their fat merchant ship was in reality La Somme, the 18,000 tonne flagship of the French navy's operations against Somali pirates.

"They understood their mistake too late," said Admiral Christophe Prazuck a navy spokesman, who recounted the second misguided assault on a French warship by bungling pirates in six months.

The attackers turned tail and the Somme, a refuelling ship and command vessel, steamed after them at its maximum 20 knots.

She caught up with one of the two boats after an hour and the five were captured without a struggle. The other boat got away. The French seamen found no weapons, water or food as the pirates had thrown all of their boat's contents overboard, said Admiral Prazuck.

How does one say "Run awaaaaaaay!!!" in Maxaa Tiri?

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Random Travel Observation (TM)

Wandering about the streets of Newark yesterday, I suddenly realized: There are no tourists here.

A "Well, duh!" inducing moment, I know, but when you're used to being waist-deep in them, it's quite the novelty.

UPDATE: I should also note that after thinking it over and from something I saw let fall on teh blogs today, I am just about positive that I was on the same northbound train as Jonah Goldberg. In fact, I almost asked, but Real Life Robbo's Eleventh Commandment is Thou Shalt Not Make A Fool Of Thyself In Public, and I didn't want to risk an error.

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October 06, 2009

Gratuitous Football Posting

I hadn't watched a ball game yet this season until last night. And the only reason I watched that one was to see whether the Packers would beat the tar out of Brett Favre.

Oh, well.

Posted by Robert at 08:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 05, 2009

Donde Esta El Jeffe Steve-O?

Groovy Vic flags a Llama-sighting.

Steve-O had given it out that he was headed for the Andes. But according to the linky, he's actually at Pike's Peak.

As the wabbit says, I knew he shoulda taken that left toiyn at Albuquerque!

Yip! Yip! Yip!

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A good article by Eric Felton in the WSJ about Starbucks' introduction of a line of instant coffee:

It's a tricky dance, but not exactly a new one for Starbucks. The company has always been a strange hybrid—a corner coffee boutique with a crunchy-alternative vibe that also happens to be a massive multinational corporation; a brand devoted to an authentic, slow-food experience that, for the most part, cranks out fast-food volumes of coffee for customers cranky from standing in lines worthy of Disneyland. Starbucks has always been in the oxymoronic business of affordable luxury. Its magic ability to elide these contradictions relied on our willing suspension of disbelief as to what could be considered luxe. But alas, no definition of swanky is elastic enough to include instant coffee.

Which doesn't mean Starbucks instant coffee tastes bad. It's very good, as far as instant coffee goes, and not terrible when compared with a regular cup of brewed coffee. Just drink it fast, while it's super hot. Warmish Via has a slightly pasty quality. I doubt the stuff will ever overcome its connotation as the choice of the unsophisticated, of coffee know-nothings. Not because it offends the palate but because it has no romance, it requires none of the effort that demonstrates enthusiasm and passion. Someone may someday contrive a microwaveable hamburger that tastes, miraculously, like something right off the Weber. I don't want it. The pleasure in a hamburger is in more than just the eating. It is in the lighting of the charcoal, the tending of the fire, the smoke in your eyes, and the ever-present risk that, without vigilant attention, the patties will be ruined. Without going all Walden Pond, I would suggest that even good instant coffee is bad for the soul.

Hear, hear.

I've seen the stuff the past couple days but have not tried a sample. Don't think I will, either. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right.

It'll be interesting to see how this project goes. I believe I read that Starbuck hasn't exactly bet the farm on it, but has sunk a fair wodge of dosh on the hope of success. My gut feeling is that it probably won't do that well. I don't think we're talking about epic fail on the lines of New Coke, but I wouldn't be surprised if sales don't justify the outlay.

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Dark Side Gardening

I've never heard of Monty Don before, but I like his new take on gardening:

Garden writer and television presenter Monty Don has called on gardeners to stop their diligent digging and weeding in favour of letting nature take its course.

The 53-year-old former presenter of Gardeners' World claims his epiphany was brought about by a stroke in spring last year which stopped him from tending to his Herefordshire garden.

Before long, the expanse he and his wife Sarah had spent months transforming into a traditional British garden in the style of horticulturalists such as Vita Sackville-West had run riot.

Instead of despairing, Don decided to change tack. From now on, he has announced, his intention is to create "land art", altering the wild landscape as little as possible to create a more natural garden with paths winding through long grass and hedges left to grow bushy rather than being clipped.

“Fighting nature is a losing battle, whether you are growing wheat or wisteria,” he said.

Regular readers will know that the vast gardens of Orgle Manor got completely out of control this year, primarily thanks to the doings of Kong the Butterfly Bush and its progeny. I had resolved to dig the whole damned thing up and start over again and, since the weather has cooled down, have been trying the summon the energy (and find the time!) to get started.

Have to admit that an article like this - which advocates honorable surrender instead - presents a huge temptation to abandon my scheme.

Posted by Robert at 11:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2009

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - Who's The MAN? Division


How about six in a row, Natstown?

Sure, we've got the worst record in baseball, and have even lost one more game than we did last year. Sure, we've got nothing, Nothing, left to play for. Sure, we're the laughingstock of the league, and ought to go quietly into the night.

BUT....the Mets were middling in our division and we just swept 'em. The Braves were in wildcard contention, but when they found out they were eliminated just before starting their series with us, they started sulking in their tents like Achilles, and the result is that we've taken three of four off them (with the season ender to take place tomorrow).

You tell me who has the more class.....

Friends, I tell you truly despite your guffaws: the Nats have some serious talent and some serious drive. All it's going to take is a few tweeks here and there (which I think are being made) and you lot of Judge Reinholds are going to wake up some fine morning to discover that we are some kind of serious contenders.

Damn, I love this game!

GO, NATS!!!!!!!!!!

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The Four Stages of Late Night Feedings

Stage 1: Denial. No, that could not have been the baby. Or, maybe she is just being fussy and will fall back asleep. Persistent, full-throated wailing makes short work of Stage 1.

Stage 2: Bargaining. Maybe Mrs. LMC will jump on this one, maybe if I play possum long enough . . . The weight of my bride's stare even in the dark eventually erodes this stage away, so we move to--

Stage 3: Depression. No question about it, it is my turn and no turn of fate will deliver me from thirty to forty-five minutes of diaper-changing, feeding, burping, wiping up spit-up, etc.

Stage 4: Acceptance. The male of the species rolls out of bed and gets to it.

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Nineties Babes Retro Reunion-Small Screen Edition

The local rag reports today is Neve Campbell's day:

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I am not aware of her doing anything much since Party of Five, with the notable exception of Wild Things which included a pool scene with Denise Richards engaging in activity Dr. Rusty would not oppose:

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October 02, 2009

Your Double Plus Friday Helping of "Heh"

The No Hot Beverages Rule will be strictly enforced:

Yips! to Jonah and Debby the Odd-Link Girl.

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Gratuitous Buyer's Remorse Observation

Blueberry-flavored coffee. Big mistake.

UPDATE: I should clarify that I wasn't actually looking for flavored coffee. What with mulling other matters as I wandered 'round the store, I just didn't grasp that a bag labeled "blueberry cobbler" was going to turn out like that.

So chalk this up to absent-mindedness rayther than bad taste. Robbo is starting to get senile.

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Taking One For The Team

Regular readers will know that ol' Robbo is coaching softball again this fall.

I still have a great many things to learn in terms of coaching skills, but one motivational technique has turned out to be pure gold: the promise that when taking batting practice in the cages, if one of the gels hits a line-drive back through the net that hits Coach R, he'll buy her an ice-cream. (I reserve the right to try and duck, but even then if they hit it hard enough I can't always get out of the way in time.)

You should see the way their faces light up, the greedy little brutes. Nonetheless, it certainly makes them focus on smacking the ball. I've already been popped a couple times, once by a gel who was none to sure of her batting skills going in.

What's a bruise or two if you can get results like that?

(BTW, the other night as I was trying to organize my little herd of cats just prior to game time, I muttered "Good thing they're paying me so much for this." A couple parents in the bleachers overheard me and practically fell off their seats laughing.)

Posted by Robert at 09:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Nats Posting - Finishing In Style Division

Nats Hat.jpg

Nice to see the Nats have got a bit of a streak going, having won their last four now. True, the Braves found out about half an hour before last night's game that they were out of teh wildcard race, so there might have been a certain who-gives-a-damn feeling (there certainly was among the Atlanta crowd, which looked even smaller than the average Nats draw), but still.

It would be nice if we could take a couple more of these last three games.


Posted by Robert at 09:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2009

We're BAAAAAA-aaaaaack!!

Sorry about the freeze out, folks. As near as we can tell, Steve-O was playing his Billy and the Boingers Wii-rock star game too close to the Moo-Knew servers again and blew them out. Or sumpin'.

Anyhoo, a few quick thoughts to get back into the swing of things:

- October is easily my favorite month of the year. So cool, so crisp. At long last, Robbo begins to emerge from his summah torpor.

- This weekend begins the Great Kitchen Refurbishment at Orgle Manor, with the arrival of the cabinets and a new fridge. I don't even have much to do with the hands-on side of this project, but already the mere thought of the disruption that is going to occur makes me tired.

- The Nats finished up their home season with a sweep of the Mets. Not only that, they won the last one with a walk-off grand slam. Suck on that, Gary!

Posted by Robert at 07:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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