Friday, 1 August 2008

An enemy invasion

"Night night, sleep tight, mind the bugs don't bite".


When we were young our parents would often say this just before bedtime.


They would also say: "Night night, sleep tight, half the bed and all the clothes".

That was apt in the days when young children shared beds (four to a bed in our home when the "boys" were younger - "two up and two down"); and homes were not heated.


But the bugs? We never saw bed bugs.


They have made a big come back. Thursday night (31st July '08) I paid for a room in a cheap motel for one of the Res. House guests. I met him this morning to drive him over to Res. House. He told me that he'd gotten into one of the beds in his motel room, only to be bitten like mad. So he moved to the other bed.


He showed me the first bed, believing it to be infested with small cockroaches. Not a bit. It was alive with bed bugs. We notified management.


Tomorrow I'll be staying in a "good hotel" in Ft. Myers, FL. But before I move anything into the room I'll check for bed bugs. They are becoming endemic in the USA. (Do a "Google" search for Bedbugs), and always check any hotel room.






Yes, I am off to Ft. Myers for the next three weekends. It's about 85 miles south of here, and I'll be doing "summer supply" at St. Hilary's Church there.


On each of the next three Saturdays (Aug 2nd, 9th, and 16th) I'll take an afternoon drive to Fort Myers, and preach and preside at their three weekend services (Saturday 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.).


St. Hilary's will foot the bill for those three Saturday night hotel stays. (They'll also pay for my car mileage and give me an honorarium!). Retirement ain't bad.


I am happy to keep my hand in, as I was when I visited a St. David's, Englewood parishioner in a Sarasota Nursing Home today.


So there will be no blog on Saturday 2nd, and on Sunday 3rd I'll post my sermon.



Thursday, 31 July 2008

Gratitude is a good attitude

Some years ago I officiated at a wedding at St. James’s in Cambridge.

The groom and bride had planned well, and they especially desired that their guests would be made to feel welcome at the ceremony.

So they eschewed the normal folderol and hired a wonderful string and flute trio to play before, during and after the ceremony.

The Trio played beautifully, and I thanked them in my homily. Immediately after the ceremony the flautist came to my office and said “I have played at many weddings, but never before has the Priest/Minister expressed thanks for the music. Tell me more about this Church”.

Today, that flautist, her husband and four children are devoted worshippers at St. James’s. Their last name is “Pope” and St. James’s boasts that it is the only Church which has six Popes.

I was at “Sam’s Club” the other week to make a purchase. The checkout Clerk could not have been more helpful, and he showed me a way in which I could save some bucks.

I wrote a note about him and placed it in the customer comment box. I also conveyed my appreciation to one of the store Managers.

Two weeks ago he was promoted.

The replacement of the Mansards at Glen Oaks Ridge Villas where I live is proceeding apace. The workers come up from Naples (a two hours drive away), and many of them do not speak English. They are hard working beyond belief, diligent, friendly and efficient.

I tracked down a Vice President of the Company, and e-mailed him with a word of thanks for this work crew.

He wrote back, thanking me for my kind words, and assuring me that the crew and their immediate bosses would be told of my appreciation.

It’s very easy to complain. But it’s so much richer to say “thank you”.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Lazy blog today. Some aphorisms from my friend Pam


1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts

2. Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag
his tail.

3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any
sense at all.

4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.

5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep

6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of
the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?

7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how
many people a company can operate without.

8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone
else looks ?

9. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.

10. No one has more driving ambition than the teenager who wants to buy
a car..

11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.

12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number
at 4 AM. Like this: It could be a right number.

13. No one ever says "It's only a game" when their team is winning.

14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.

15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going
to like it.

16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the
same size bucket.

17. Do you realize that in about 40 years we'll have millions of
old ladies running around with tattoos? (And rap music will be the
Golden Oldies!)

18. Money can't buy happiness but somehow it's more comfortable to cry
in a Corvette than in a Yugo.

19. After 70, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are
probably dead.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Dentist. Plumber, Doctor. Car Dealer, Vet

The Dentist will most likely be genial and/or low keyed. She will be want you to be relaxed, unafraid, and at ease.

But sooner or later the Dentist or her hygienist will let it slip. “You have the worst teeth in all of Christendom, and you will need very expensive treatment”.

The Plumber will arrive late. Sometimes it will be many days late. He (and it’s still mostly he) will be overweight and surly. You will gain the impression that he hates being a plumber, and that he’d rather be a world famous author.

You’ll blubber out the problem. He’ll look at you as if you were speaking in tongues. He’ll take a cursory look. Then will come the sharp intake of breath through his teeth.

At that moment you’ll know that his work will cause you to take out a second mortgage.

You like your Doctor. She listens well as you describe your symptoms. She’ll ask the right questions, and hone in on your problem with amazing guesswork or accuracy. This is fine.

But then you remember what happened two hours previously. Her staff would have resented your entrance into her office since you were interrupting matters more important than a patient’s health. They will have looked at you accusingly, and then made you pay for your impertinence by asking you to sit in a penal waiting room until at least one hour after your scheduled appointment.

Hope will spring as you are called into the examination room. An assistant will take your temperature and blood pressure and assure you “the Doctor will be with you soon”. You wait, and wait and wait. There are no 1978 “Readers’ Digest” magazines in the room. There is nothing in this room but an examining table, an uncomfortable chair, a sink, and some charts of body parts.

And after another hour, the Doctor whom you adore will breeze in with an “I am sorry to have kept you waiting”, and your anger melts as you realise that she has come to you after saving the life of the President of Turkmenistan.

The Car Dealer will be your best friend from the moment you enter the showroom. He is full of wit and bonhomie, and you’ll begin to think “I’d like to have a few brews with this dude”.

It’s a trap, and you know it. But you cannot resist being sucked in by this now “long time friend”. Already you want to be a godparent for his children, and you know that you’ll be asked to give the eulogy at his funeral.

You are but scarcely aware of the dollars being sucked from your wallet as you purchase the car you never wanted or needed. It’s not until three weeks later that you realise that you’ll be in hock for at least four years. And you never, ever, never want to see that Car Dealer again.

If only Veterinarians could take care of your teeth, plumbing, health and automobiles.

For (as happened to me today) as you enter the Vet’s Office you are greeted with “Hello Mr. Povey, and how is Adelaide today?” (She is registered as “Adelaide Povey” which cracks me up!).

The front desk staff, the veterinary technician, and the vet herself will combine to tell you that you are the smartest person this side of Timbuktu, because you had the wisdom to choose this “wonderful, amazing, beautiful, charming, gorgeous cat (or hamster /gecko/ crow/ white rat/ pit bull/ snail/ vulture/python ) as your own dear pet”.

You leave the Vet’s Office knowing that although you may have crooked teeth, faulty plumbing, lumbago, and a horribly designed car, none of this matters since you have the perfect pet.

Monday, 28 July 2008


Bishop Gene Robinson keeps up his good witness at the fringes of the Lambeth Conference. He had an excellent interview which was published in yesterday’s London Sunday Times.


I forwarded it to a few folks, both straight and gay. A couple of the straight folks were those I’d presumed to be also narrow.

Both replied with such affirming words about gay and lesbian people in the Priesthood and Episcopate: they are tired of the hypocrisy of the ultra-conservative Bishops who condemn homosexuality, but are silent about genocide, repression etc. in their home Countries.

Meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Shaw (my Bishop in Massachusetts) reports that the American and Canadian Churches are being “called out” in hearings at the Lambeth Conference.

Apparently (and this is my interpretation, not Bishop Shaw’s) the American and Canadian Anglican Churches are to be blamed for every ill in world-wide Anglicanism.

Res House was crazy today. Our guest count was down considerably, but there was so much tension in the air. The SRQ authorities are clamping down on the homeless with a vengeance, and this makes many folks quite jittery. Here is SRQ you can be arrested for sleeping in a car under the rubric of “unlawful lodging”.

This is a town, as one guest wryly observed, where it is a crime to sleep.


I s’pose that our World cannot exist without “scapegoats”. These days they are gay people, or homeless people, or Muslims.

My bronchitis has flared up again, so I am off to bed afore 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Senator McSame gets it wrong again

John McSame gets it wrong again.

Here is the background, taken from a transcript of an ABC Sunday morning show

The proposed Arizona ballot measure endorsed by McCain reads: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
Here is McCain's exchange with (George) Stephanopoulos:
STEPHANOPOULOS: "Opponents of affirmative action are trying to get a referendum on the ballot here that would do away with affirmative action. Do you support that?"
MCCAIN: "Yes, I do. I do not believe in quotas. But I have not seen the details of some of the proposals. But I've always opposed quotas."
STEPHANOPOULOS: "But the one here in Arizona you support?"
McCAIN: "I support it, yes."

Notice McSame’s response to the question. He says “I do not believe in quotas”.

Why the hell did he bring in “quotas”? That’s a hoary myth about “affirmative action”, started by “believe any anecdote Ronald Reagan”, and perpetuated by every regressive politician.

Affirmative action is not about quotas. Rather, it recognises a fact of human experience. That is that leaders (whether in Church, State, Education or Business) tend to choose other leaders who are similar in background, education, sex, cultural values and race.

Since in the Western world, most leadership is exercised by white straight males, they are most likely to select, recruit and train other leaders who are white straight males.

So they overlook a vast range of skill and talent, which might be female, black, other minority, and gay. Affirmative action states: “I will look outside of my comfort range” and seek leaders, colleagues, associates, friends who are not a bit like me”.

I was proud to be a leader in affirmative action at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, MA. For thereby we were blessed by a whole slew of lay ministers who were not a bit like this white male Rector! And we needed them!

Senator McSame. It’s not about quotas. It’s about humility.