Showing posts from January 6, 2008


Are you a counter? Do you count steps or stairs as you ascend them or descend them? Does it drive you crazy?

I’m one. I’m always counting. In Church I count the number in attendance, and I am so programmed to do this that I also count attendances at all manner or meetings and events.

I cannot climb or descend stairs without counting.

I walk each morning for about an hour. I count as I walk. Sometimes I count in eights - don’t ask me why. Other times I count in one hundreds, bending my thumbs and fingers until I reach 1,000. I cannot bend my toes individually, so I can never get to 2,000!

And of course I count the paces from my bedroom to the lanai, or from the kitchen to the front door.

It’s crazy. It’s senseless. It’s annoying. But I cannot stop counting!

(And I have some other obsessions too! Mostly about folding laundry! Tee shirts, or boxer shorts, or socks must all be folded in the same way. Towels have to be folded in threes. Dafty isn’t it!)

Music and memory

When I was a little boy, perhaps aged 8 or 10, a piece of music would make me cry.

To this day I do not know why.

But I cried every time I heard the “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” from Handel’s Oratorio “Solomon”.

I still love that piece, but I no longer cry when I hear it - more’s the pity - tears are good!

Yesterday, when listening to NPR I heard Shubert’s incidental music for the opera “Rosamunde”. That made be very sad. It was one of my Dad’s favourite pieces.

When he was a-dying, Beethoven’s Romances for Violin were being played on the B.B.C. I cannot hear that lovely music without thinking of Dad’s death bed. I get sad, but do not cry.

Many years after Dad’s death Mum re-married. She married a fabulous man, Len Woolcock. Each of us - nine siblings - adored Len. He was a wonderful second husband for Mum, “Stepfather” for us.

Len died unexpectedly some ten years ago. I say “unexpectedly” because he had never had (or shown) a day of sickness.

Mum awoke one n…

Jesus Christ and the American Soldier

A friend sent me an e-mail today. It included a very moving picture of a badly wounded American Marine from the Iraq war, as he was being greeted by a veteran of Pearl Harbour.

It was powerful stuff, pause for thought, pause for admiration and respect.

The picture was followed by this citation:

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you,
Jesus Christ and the American Soldier
One died for your soul;
the other for your freedom.

I found this hard to take.

Is it appropriate to compare the universal meaning of the death (and resurrection) of Jesus, with the nationalistic meaning of the death of a member of the American military?

Is it appropriate to compare the active aggression of an American soldier, with the passive resistance of Jesus?

Did Jesus die only for our souls?

And what is freedom?

Is it the local, parochial, national freedom to get, to acquire, to own, to dominate and to protect?

Or is it the universal freedom to love, to give, and to sacrifice?

These are my questions.�…

Folks I have known: Donald Kirby

I’ve previously mentioned that I worked for the Westminster Bank in the lovely Cotswold town of Chipping Sodbury.

A position was advertised in the Bristol Evening Post, and I took myself by ‘bus for an interview with the branch manager, Donald Kirby.

He scolded me mildly because my shirt was a pale yellow and not the statutory white, but sent me on to the Bank’s Head Office at 41 Lothbury, London. That was a neat adventure. I took the train to London and then the tube to the City. I emerged from the tube in a state of awe, at the Bank of England (the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street) and made my ways to the hallowed Halls of 41 Lothbury, passing hordes of “City Gents” with their mandatory bowler hats and rolled umbrellas.

Having satisfied the Lothbury Pooh Bahs I began work under Don Kirby. The Bank was positively Victorian, and so was he.

We posted ledgers by hand, sitting on high stools at high desks, with the green glass shaded lamps. We weighed coins: ha-pennies, pennies, thrup…

My spin before the New Hampshire results.

If I had my way Dennis Kucinich would be the Democratic Party nominee for the Presidency. He is the “leftie” with whom I most identify. But he has already been written off by “the media”.

Next in line would be the southern populist, John Edwards. His heart, mind and soul is in the right place. Let’s see what happens to him after New Hampshire.

Hilary Clinton is a brilliant and wonderful woman. But the press has loaded her with so much baggage. She, like Mitt Romney seems to be an opportunist. If she is the final candidate I’ll vote for her in a heartbeat. She could become a good President.

And I long for Barak Obama to secure the nomination. His Presidency would mark a sea change in American Politics. It pisses me off that so many of my left/liberal friends forecast that Mr. Obama will be assassinated. What does that say about our nation?

On the right? Rudy Giuliani has no coherent message apart from his self proclaimed leadership after 9/11.

Mitt Romney is a liar, pure and s…

The Bishop of Rochester (UK) and his detestable enormities

First, please read this article from the (English) Sunday Telegraph on Jan 6th.

You may have to cut and paste the link.

Now that you have read it, here is my “take”.

First: I agree with the Bishop that 50 years ago, Brits thought themselves to be part of a Christian (Protestant) nation.

But it was a wafer thin thought. Already the Christian norms were under attack or suspicion. They were seen as the province of the ruling classes.

Second: The first post WWII wave of immigration into Great Britain was from the old Empire, especially from the West Indies. These immigrants were in many ways “more British than the British” But the Churches, and in particular the Church of England failed to greet these immigrants as sisters and brothers. The Church of England (in general) spurned those immigrants that loved her.

Third: Britain opened the doors for Asian immigrants, at first for those who were fleeing …


No blog today (Jan 6th)

Check again tomorrow (Jan 7th)