Saturday, 26 September 2009

Learning not to hate Florida

I return to my first visit to Florida with my pal Joe. The Epcot Center and Daytona Beach “turned me off”. And ‘though it was great to see Al and Doris Williams in Leesburg, I did not think highly of their Town.

Nonetheless there were bright moments.

1. Al and Doris drove Joe and I to a neat restaurant which was either by the sea, or by a river. As I check my maps I suppose that they took us to Crystal Rover, or to Homassa – each place being some 40 – 50 miles west of Leesburg. I seem to remember that it was a rainy day, and also that our lunch place was “cool”.

2. When Joe and I returned to Leesburg after our trip to Sea World we ate dinner at an independent Fried Chicken joint. (We’d asked Doris and Al not to prepare dinner for us so that we would not be bound by the clock).

In memory I think that we ate the best Fried Chicken ever - so good indeed that I cannot eat KFC, nor bear to smell it.

3. On leaving the Fried Chicken joint, we discovered a flat tire/tyre on my Mazda 323. Joe and I took the wheel off, replacing it with one of those old “donut” spares. We were due to drive back to Massachusetts the next day, and I knew that we should not attempt such a drive on a donut wheel. I began to fret.

But within minutes of driving towards Al and Doris’s home we passed a “24 Hour” tire/tyre business. We U-turned into the tire/tyre shop, and within minutes the man on duty found and installed a “used” tire/tyre – sufficient for our drive home.

That was so great, but “get this”: the man on duty had only one hand. His other arm ended in a handless stump. This man earned his bread by changing wheels and tires/tyres.

As I watched this man at his work, I swore that I would never again complain about my lot in life.

But of course I have whined many times since then.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Second of two for today. I hate Florida

I take up where I left off , before I was so rudely interrupted by last evening’s storm.

The storm reminded me that I miss technology. (By the way, do you remember the good old days when we did not have mobile ‘phones, therefore we never lost them!)

Up until to about four years ago if a person mentioned Florida I would immediately respond “I hate Florida”.

That “hatred” arose out of two visits.

I got thinking about the first visit when I was cut-off from Facebook for about 36 hours.

The technology in my first visit was at the Epcot Center.

More about that in a bit.


Some 20 or more years ago, my friend Joe and I drove away from Pittsfield, MA in my trusty Mazda 323, bound for Florida. We drove down Interstate 95, but I cannot for the life of me remember where we stayed en route. My guess is that we had one night with the Haulers, Don and Barbara, who then lived in Mclean, VA.

I do remember that when we crossed the GA/FL line I thought “we are here now”, little knowing that Florida is very long north to south

Joe and I were bound for Daytona Beach. Lord knows why, but it may have had something to do with the intrigue of the Daytona 500! .

Daytona Beach was a great disappointment. Our beach front hotel had had “Spring Break” students the week before, and it was not in good shape. The main drag in Daytona was supremely tacky, and I wondered why the heck we were there.

Joe and I were there for a couple of nights. One day we rented an old Bass boat so that we could explore the intra-coastal waterway. I remember two things about that boat trip. First, we saw a Pelican perched on a wooden pole, and I flipped out with excitement. Second, our rented boat broke down and we had to be towed home by some friendly folks who noticed our distress.

From Daytona we took the back roads towards Leesburg, FL, there to stay with my good friends Al and Doris Williams (both now with God). Al and Doris had been parishioners of mine in Fitchburg MA. They, like me hailed from Bristol, U.K. They were the salt of the earth, and I treasure their memory.

Joe and I took a couple of trips out of Leesburg. One was to Sea World which I liked then, but would despise now. (I do not believe that animals should be our playthings.)

The other was to Epcot. My dislike of this place was palpable. The endless rows of bedding plants in unyielding straight lines, each plant at the exact same height seemed to be to be in defiance of nature. The Disney “mantra” that science would solve all of our problems seemed puerile. (Not that I am anti-science – far from it).
Joe was anxious to stay for the closing laser show at Epcot, and so we did. When it ended he asked me “what do you think?” “It was alright” was my reply. Joe was “gob-smacked”. “You got all excited about a pelican on a pole”, he said, “but you cannot get excited about this laser show!”

Where does this all hang together?

1. 20 years ago I hated the Epcot technology, but today I cheerfully depend on the technology of Facebook and of my mobile ‘phone.

2. 20 years ago I rejoiced in “nature” when I saw a Pelican on a pole. Last night I also rejoiced in magnificent thunderstorm.

3. Friends such as Al and Doris Williams, and Joe are at the heart of my being.

4. Life is so wonderfully complex, that technology, nature and friendship are probably but 3 degrees in the full orb of 360.

P.S. Now that I live here, I no longer hate Florida. (But injustice still pisses me off!)

First of two for today


James 5.1-12

5Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


A terrific and wondrous storm just passed through.

Thunder, lightning and rain in super-abundance.

It was great.

But it also knocked out all the great and wise words I had written for tonight.

So I'll simply say:

Thank goodness for wonderful storms

Thank goodness for food, shelter, and my good pets

And I will try to be wise tomorrow.


(P.S. no promises!)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Facbook problems today


1. I have not been able to log on to Facebook for 24 hours. The Fb folks have been unable to help so far.

2. If I have not responded to your Facebook postings, it is because the
“system” has failed, and I cannot connect with Fb.

3. Even though you may be able to read this on Facebook, I cannot so do!

4. If you can read this, please let me know at poveconect65 –at- Then at least I will know if my notes are reaching Fb

5. I am working with Fb to resolve this - wish me luck please.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS - you can read my musings at


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

September/Fall/Auumn (antipodean Spring)

This morning, a radio announcer here in the USA announced “today is the first day of autumn”. The he added that the equinox was at (Daylight Savings Time) 5:18 p.m. in our eastern time zone.

It was not until later in the day that it occurred to me that he had said “autumn” and not “fall”, the usual North American word.

Both words have good and ancient pedigrees. “Autumn” comes via older French languages, and “Fall” via older Germanic languages.

My heritage leads me to prefer autumn. I hear it as a softer and gentler word than fall.

Had I lived before the 16th/17th centuries in England, I would have called the season “Harvest”. The great migration in that era from the countryside to the town/city led to the abandonment of “Harvest” for “Autumn”.

You’d never have guessed today that we had entered autumn if you lived in my neck of the woods. It maxed out at 100F !

And for friends such as Andrew McGowan in Melbourne, Australia, today began the first day of spring.

As they say in the real estate and retail businesses: “location, location, location”.

Here is an autumnal poem written in north America. My good friend Jeanette Roosevelt forwarded it to me

September Meditation

I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and nights by which we count time remember their own passing.

I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.

I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall's gathering or if the bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.

I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers the moon.

I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.

Perhaps that is the reason for our births -- to be the memory for creation.

Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.

Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:

"What can you tell me about September?"

Burton D. Carley

Monday, 21 September 2009

A meeting of Bishops described

"they squawked in very direction. a flock of jackdaws combining together, a rabble of adolescents, a gang of youth, a whirlwind raising dust under the pressure of air currents,

people whom nobody who was mature enough either in the fear of God or in years would pay any attention,

they splutter confused stuff or like wasps rush directly at what is in front of their heads".

Gregory of Nazianzus ( A.D. 329 - 390 )

as quoted in Charles Freeman's "The Closing of the Western Mind" (Knopf 2003)


(Would also describe many modern Church Committee meetings; the proceedings of the U.K. House of Commons; or the activities of the U.S. Congress - jmp)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Liberals are the most faithful to the American heritage

Some folks on the conservative right in America (Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians/ Libertarians/ Constitutional Party Members/ NeoCon Republicans etc) are asserting that no one has the “right” to Health care.

I’ll suppose at one level that they are correct. Life is certainly as much a matter of responsibility as of rights.

Maybe no human being has even the “right” to food and water, let alone health care.

Perhaps our world will do best if we accept the thesis of the “survival of the fittest”.

(Not to be snide, but it’s strange that Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians would buy into an evolutionary world view).

Religion and Politics apart, here are some quotations from the Declaration of Independence, and the Preamble to the Constitution.

From the Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the U.S.A. Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Maybe I am na├»ve. But I suggest that the “right” to life and to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence could include the right to decent health care. (How much life and pursuit of happiness do those Americans without decent health care enjoy?)

And, if there is a “right” to life and the pursuit of happiness as expressed in the Declaration, ought not the peoples’ Senators and Representatives-in-Congress have these rights as a priority in their deliberations?

Briefly, lest I bore you, Does or does not the desire to form a “more perfect Union” as written in the Preamble to the Constitution include the words “ to promote the general Welfare”?” (Well it does)

And might not, I pray you, the “general Welfare” include the best possible, AND most accessible Health Care system?

We have always believed that the Federal Government has been the best agency to ensure our “common defence” (our Armed Forces) as part of a “more perfect union”.

Let’s suppose that that same Federal Government could also be the best agency to ensure the “general welfare” in the pursuit of “life” as expressed in the Declaration, and as experieced in decent and afforable health care for all