Saturday, 1 November 2008

This, that - and none of the other.

Ben and I strolled downtown today for the Farmers’ Market, augmented for one day by many wholistic and organic booths.

On a lovely sunny morning it was great amble around. There were many odd booths with this, that and the other solutions for this, that and the other health and diet issues.

I remained aloof - smug in my knowledge that a diet with many vegetables, fruits, beans and grains - together with daily exercise is far superior to “quack” solutions. But I did buy some good scallions!

Later I motored up to “Sam’s Club” - a division of Wal-Mart, to get some of their “Fair Trade” coffee.

The place was mobbed. “What recession?” I wondered.

There were many food samples “for free”, and I came to understand that many folks go to “Sam’s” each Saturday to eat their “free lunch”.

A quick chat with three of the clerks confirmed my hunch.

I am not a great fan of “Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club”, but the prices are right. And Sam’s Club is one of the few places at which I can purchase “Fair Trade” coffee.

I noted also that “Sam’s” is not a bad place for local small businesses to purchase in bulk, for re-sale in their wee corner stores and cafes.

So capitalism works for the common good in the “Sam’s Clubs”; “B.J’s” and “Costco’s” of the United States, and other nations.

Surely it works better than the State socialism which is spending millions of dollars to “bail out” our feckless banks and insurance companies.

Which leads me to conclude that Republican policies are essentially more “socialistic” than are the policies of the Democratic party.


I sent a letter to the Sarasota “Herald-Tribune” after Senator Obama’s rally last Thursday.

It was published today.

Sarasota police were a positive presence at rally

Published: Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 1:00 a.m. .

Kudos to members of the Sarasota Police Department for the good-natured and professional way in which they served members of the public who attended Thursday’s rally for Senator Obama.

Our community gives thanks to these men and women who served us so well today.

J. Michael Povey

Friday, 31 October 2008

Purchasing a shirt

I bought a shirt this week. No big deal, except that it was a clerical shirt.

I’ve owned but two of these since retirement - one long-sleeved (which I never need to wear in sunny Florida) – the other one short-sleeved (it’s seen better days).

Now that I have changed my parish affiliation as a “Retired Priest Associate” to St. Boniface Church, Sarasota, FL from a parish in Englewood FL, I decided that I should look spiffier on Sunday mornings.

I cared deeply for the Rector and people in Englewood, but the 45 minute journey has made it difficult for me to be involved there, except on Sundays.

St. Boniface is much nearer. It is a progressive parish with a fine Rector (Ted Copeland), and an Assistant Rector (Andie [Andrea] Taylor) who was a good friend and colleague of mine in Massachusetts.


A reader of my blog has been seeking photo’s for the web site of a Quaker – photo’s of folks from all over giving the peace sign. I sent in my photo’, together with one of my pal Ben. You can see them at

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Senator Obama in Sarasota, Part 1

‘Twas just last Monday (27th October 2008) that we learned that Senator Barack Obama would be visiting SRQ today (Thursday 30th October 2008) – just five days before the General Election.

I so much wanted to attend, but not alone. So I was pleased to hear that my friends Mike and Charles would attend. We walked together today to the Ed Smith Stadium, just over a mile away from my home.

We arrived at 7:50 a.m. and already there were about 2,000 people in line ahead of us. And they began to arrive, thousands and thousands in the line behind us.

The Stadium gates opened as promised at 9:00 a.m., and the line moved quickly through “security”, staffed by Sarasota Police, (who were incredibly polite, professional, and efficient).

Mike, Charles and I were in our seats by 9:30 a.m. with an hour and a half to wait.

In the crowds streamed, ‘til we totalled nearly 13,000.

The program started on time with “wind-up” speeches by local politicians. A great cheer erupted when we saw the arrival of Senator Obama’s entourage!

Senator Nelson (D) who represents Florida in the (national) Senate, welcomed Senator Obama, who sprinted from the tent where he had been waiting – to the podium. We went wild!

Barack Obama offered his 40 minute stump speech. We had heard it all before on T.V. But today it was electrifying to hear it in person, from the Democratic Party candidate himself.

“WE” were black, white and Hispanic.

“WE” were abled and disabled.

“WE” were folks older than I, down to babes in arms.

“WE” were many College, and very many High School students who had skipped classes for the day.

I was so happy to see so many people under the age of 25 - perhaps one quarter of the crowd.

I have been “pumped” all day.

See my second blog of the day for some photo’s of the event.

Senator Obama in Sarasota, Part 2

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Talking out. Talking to. Talking with.

I am convinced that Church pews are an invention of “the devil”.

There we sit, in uncomfortable seats, arranged in straight rows, awaiting a word from the “experts” on the raised platform (Altar or Pulpit), up front.

Thus we are reduced to passive listeners. Our attention is on the “lecturer”.

How much more healthy would the Church be if, at various services, we were all transformed into active participants.

That’s why I re-arrange the seating when we have our weekly prayer service in the wee Chapel at Resurrection House.

That Chapel has but 8 chairs, arranged in two rows with a central “aisle”, facing the altar. In this arrangement we look at the backs of people ahead of us.

I set the chairs out in a circle so that we see each others’ faces, and thus give attention to each other more than to the leader “up front”.

In rows we are listeners.

In a circle we are participants.

Or so I believe.

In fact, at St. James’s Church in Cambridge we were locked into late Victorian pews. But when I led meetings of any ilk, we sat in a circle. That, I believe is the best way to facilitate conversation.

I also believe that our world needs more conversations and fewer lectures.

I am convinced that Senator Obama is a “conversation man”, and that Senator McCain is a “lecturing man”. That’s why I am for Obama.

The picture above is of some new seats which we installed today in a common area of our Glens Oaks Ridge Condominium community.

They are pretty enough, but facing outwards as they do, they hardly facilitate conversation.

In my naughty mind I imagine ten or so folks talking away as they sit on those seats.

But what they have to say is heard by no-one. For they are each talking “out”, without a chance of talking "with".

Monday, 27 October 2008

Weird. Tripe. Wonderful

My brother Martyn is certain that I am weird or at least quirky. I believe that he is right.

See, for example, the picture above - a record of my autumn planting. Do we not plant bulbs each autumn?

But there is more evidence of my quirkiness.

When I was a kid there was a tripe processing factory within 400 yards of my home.
When the Ford’s tripe works began to process the tripe, the entire area stank.

My mother, on one and only one occasion, cooked tripe and onions. None of my sibs, nor I could stomach it.

It was not so much a matter of the taste of tripe, but its texture was incredibly unpalatable. As was the memory of Ford’s tripe works.

But about three weeks ago I had a “yen” for tripe and onions. I mentioned this to my pal Ben, and he told me how much he liked tripe.

So I made a mess of tripe and onions, (with ham and chorizo) today. Ben and I savoured every mouthful.

Ain’t that weird?

But, before you give up on me, do please view these aerial photo’s of Sarasota’s “Walk for Obama”.

(Enjoy the video even if you do not have sound.)

I am there, somewhere in the midst of the crowd.

And If you are not an Obama supporter, enjoy it for some great views of SRQ.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Justus D Doenecke

Justus D. Doenecke is a noted historian who most recently taught at New College, Sarasota - the Honours College for Florida’s University system.

(see Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention, 1939-1941 for a sample of his work).

Justus is a lector at All Angels by the Sea Parish on Longboat Key, Sarasota.

He is one of the finest lectors I’ve ever heard. He reads the passages from Holy Scripture with clarity, and with obvious knowledge of what they are trying to say.

Justus read at All Angels this morning. I cast down my bulletin with the printed scriptural texts, just for the pleasure of hearing him read.

What a gift! Prof. Doenecke has the gift of being able to read clearly with intelligent understanding.

For that I am entirely grateful.