Saturday, 5 June 2010


I used to believe that the fastest animal in the world was a domestic cat when she/he heard the sound of an opening tin(can) of tuna.

I was wrong. Domestic cats run even faster when they hear the sound of a packet of cat treats (e.g. “Temptations”) being opened.  As soon as I have taken such a packet into my hands, let alone opened it, my cats Adelaide (blue collar) and Ada (red collar) race into my kitchen.

I suspect that these cat treats are the feline equivalent of the human snack called “Doritos”.  Both “Temptations” and “Doritos” are all but irresistible!   That is why I do not purchase “Doritos”.  I cannot eat a simple handful since my body craves and cries “more, more, and more”.

No Doritos for me, but I do allow some cat treats for Ada and Adelaide every afternoon at about 4:00.  I know that they are grateful!  It’s just as well that they do not crave beer or wine!

I believe that my cats are not merely grateful, but that they are also beautiful

They sleep all night on my dining room table, and are bright eyed and at the ready when they “know” that breakfast time is near.

We are very beautiful and we know it!

We are also patient

But sometimes we have to wait so long for breakfast

Friday, 4 June 2010

Being picky is not a bad thing

I went to the Movies/Pictures yesterday to see “The Ghost Writer”

It is a slow, and rather dreary “thriller”.

My critique is "tres pickie"  Here it is:

At one point in the movie, the “hero” decides to purchase a car ferry ticket between Nantucket (or Martha’s Vineyard) and the Cape Cod mainland.

In the movie the ticket agent asked “single or return?”

No ticket agent in the U.S.A. would ever ask such a question.

She or he would ask “one way, or round trip?”

I love being so “picky, picky, picky”!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dubious hopes versus better lives

Tom D is an old acquaintance from Pittsfield, MA. I knew him as one of the group of Roman Catholic Christians who would attend St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in that town, at Christmas and Easter.

(They became “Easter and Christmas” Episcopalians” because they thought that the music and preaching in the Episcopal Church was a few notches better than that in their R.C. parishes. I’ll not quarrel with that!)

So Tom D was in Sarasota last week to enjoy a condo which had been bequeathed to him in the will of the late Gill F.

Tom joined me for lunch on Friday 28th.May together with our dear ex-Pittsfield friends, Barbara and Kay.

It was lovely enough to see Tom and cool that he’d remembered my birthday.

He handed me a card at lunch:- a card which included five Florida Lottery “Scratch” tickets as a birthday gift.

I looked at these “Scratch” tickets a few days later. I saw that if each of them turned out to be a winner, I’d be better off by $130,000. I began to visualize a renovated kitchen, and a trip to the Fjords in Norway.

Tickets 1 - 4 yielded not a cent.

I began to get excited as ticket 5 looked promising. It was more than promising - it was a ten dollar ($10) winner.

Thus it was that I “won” ten dollars ($10) from the five scratch cards which had cost Tom twenty five dollars ($25).

I appreciate Tom’s kindness.

My “winning” of ten bucks was cool.

But as I scratched the tickets I also began to understand that the lotteries are all about dreams. They have nothing with financial wisdom or prudence. And I know that the least well off are the primary targets as our governments peddle their lotteries.

The state (USA) or national (UK) governments should not be in the business of encouraging citizens to waste money on false hopes and foolish dreams.

It makes me sad and angry that very many poor people are seduced, via governmental sponsorship of lotteries, into these foolish dreams.

Would to G-d that our USA and UK governments would find and promote ways through which the poorest citizens could invest in better lives rather than into dubious hopes

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Out and about

As I walked with Penne this morning she pulled me towards “something” which engaged her in the shade of a tree.  It turned out that it was a snapping turtle. She appeared to be laying some eggs. First photo

Later in the day I could see the indentation she’d made, but alas sans eggs. Perhaps she did not lay any eggs, or perhaps the local crows ate them.

There is pond at Glen Oaks Manor, the neighbouring community. I walk around it at least five times each day. This “Manor” pond  is a fair bit shallower than our pond at Glen Oaks Ridge. 

Because of a great deal of condensation, and a marked lack of rain, the Glen Oaks Manor Pond is overwhelmed with algae.  The stink is not good.  I hope that there will not be a “fish-kill” in that pond due to the lack of oxygen.  If that happens, the stink will be unbearable. Second photo;

Also at Glen Oaks Manor - a company called “Verizon” is laying Fibre Optic Cables for its FIOS internet, telephone and television service.  Verizon has to negotiate a multitude of other underground utilities. These include cables for electricity and cable T.V, and pipes for water and sewage.  The existing underground installations are all marked out with brightly coloured flags.  Third and fourth photo's

I live under the flight path to and from Sarasota’s Airport.    I see and hear not a few planes as they ascend and descend each day.  I find a descending plane to be very beautiful.  The one in the photo’ is an AirTran flight arriving from Chicago at 5:45 p.m. June 2nd. Fifth photo'

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Classic insults, as reported by my New York (Staten Island) cousin Kippy.

A Member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” - Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”  Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” - Moses Hadas

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” - Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” - Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend … if you have one.” - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second … if there is one.” - Winston Churchill, in response.

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” - Stephen Bishop


“I’ve just learned about his illness.  Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” - Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” - Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” - Paul Keating

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” - Charles, Count Talleyrand

Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” - Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” - Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” - Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts … for support rather than illumination.” - Andrew Lang (1844 – 1912)

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” - Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening.  But this wasn’t it.” - Groucho Marx

Monday, 31 May 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Today, May 31st 2010 was observed as “Memorial Day” in these United States.

By coincidence in this year, the day was also a holiday in the U.K. - known there as Spring Bank Holiday Monday. (In the “olden days” the U.K. holiday was observed on the Monday after Whitsun, ( a.k.a. “The Day of Pentecost” in the Christian calendar), and was called Whit Monday.

Here is a bit of the history of the American “Memorial Day”

With that history in mind I took myself to Main Street in Sarasota for our Memorial Day Parade. It was not very grand!

The “stars” were members of the junior ROTC Corps from Riverview High School, and Booker High School, together with the band from Sarasota High School (whose moniker is the “Sarasota Sailors”)

Junior ROTC strands for the (Junior) “Reserve Officers Training Corps”.

The “Rotsee” (R.O.T.C.) students from Booker and Riverview High Schools marched with great precision and discipline. They put to shame the students from our Charter School - the “Sarasota Military Academy” - whose participation in the parade was lackluster and desultory.

As we used to say in Great Britain “one volunteer is better than ten pressed-men”.

The Rotsee students are volunteers. The Sarasota Military Academy students are “pressed-men”.

ABOVE ALL ELSE to thine own self be true!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Fitchburg, MA (2)

My body and my voice (I sang with the choir) were at St. Boniface Church here on Siesta Key this a.m. My mind was elsewhere.

The Rector, Ted Copland preached a very brief sermon, but I haven’t a clue as to what he said.  My mind was elsewhere.

My mind was with the congregation at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Fitchburg, MA as they worshipped together for the final time in that time honoured building on Wachusett St. in West Fitchburg. Those good folks will be folded as of next Sunday into the larger Christ Church on Main St. in Fitchburg.

They have made a wise decision. Time and tide wait for no-one and it became clear that the small congregation could no longer sustain the expenses of a Priest’s stipend, plus the maintenance of an ageing building.

It will be very hard for many folks to say adieu to a building in which they were baptized, confirmed or married; a building in which they prayed the final prayers for their Moms and Dads, or Gramps and Grandmas who had died.

It will be very hard for many folks to say adieu to a building in which their own children were baptized and confirmed and married.

Have no doubt about it – buildings are treasure houses of memories, good or bad.  I wager that each of my 8 siblings can within a trice remember the smell and feel of the house in which we were raised.  I can!

And I can remember the smell and feel of the Church of the Good Shepherd on Wachusett Street.  It was that smell and feel which took over my mind and senses this morning. I wanted to be there to weep with the remnant who was saying good-bye to a building, and to a particular identity. They will not be the same people when they worship at Christ Church.  This will be sad for them.  It could and should also be a blessing.

Yesterday I wrote about three liturgies at Good Shepherd which are forever imprinted on my mind.

My good brother Martyn made a comment on yesterday’s blog. It was about the liturgy in December 2001 when, at Good Shepherd, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my ordination to the priest-hood.  He was there, and I take his point well!

On a Sunday afternoon in 2001 we gathered at the Church of the Good Shepherd to give thanks for the grace of God which had sustained my ministry for 25 years.

By my choice we did not celebrate Communion – the “usual thing to do” for such anniversaries.

Instead we had a hymn sing.  We sang eight hymns. There were two of the favourites from each of the four congregations in which I had served.  I linked the hymns together with some “patter” about why they were important.  The little Church was filled, and these Massachusetts folks sang with enthusiasm and glee.

The congregation included people from Fitchburg, Pittsfield and Cambridge –  three of the four cities in which I had served.  Sadly there were no people from Chicopee, where I’d served from 1980-84.

December 2001 “feels” as if it were a very long time ago.  In truth it was less than nine years ago,

Be it nine, ninety, or nine hundred years ago – I bless all that is mysterious and holy (a.k.a. ”God” ) for the people of Good Shepherd who helped to hone my ministry.