Saturday, 17 September 2011


Many of us like to use locally owned businesses in the belief that in so doing, our dollars are more likely to be multiplied locally rather than in some distant financial megalopolis. That’s why I buy the food for my cats and dog at a locally owned pet store rather than at a supermarket or at one of the national pet supply “chains”.

But ... this locally owned store is not entirely on the ball in terms of customer service. Today, for instance, the young sales clerk was talking to another customer on a mobile ‘phone as he rang up my purchases.  He neither greeted me, nor looked me in the eye.  He uttered a sotto voce “thank you” after our transaction was completed.

In a previous visit to the same store the manager and a store assistant kept up a long conversation even as the manager rang up my purchases.  I felt that I was incidental to them, and that their conversation was more important than my purchases.

I e-mailed the store today, with the gentle suggestion that they would do well to pay greater attention to their customers.

I hope that they will give attention to my e-mail.  If not, I will move my business to another local “independent” afore I succumb to the “chain stores”.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Ecuador again

On September 29th 2010 I flew down from Florida in the U.S.A, to Quito in Ecuador.   I was there to visit with my Cambridge, MA friends Chris and Trish Morck, and especially to be present to Chris when he was ordained as a Priest in the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Central Ecuador.


It was a great visit. I have so many memories arising from this, my first visit to South America, and from my encounters with the tiny Episcopal Church in Ecuador.


Now, almost a year later, most, if not all of the Episcopal Church Bishops are meeting in Quito for the regular annual meeting of what we call “The House of Bishops”. 


(For historical and financial reasons the two Dioceses in Ecuador are part of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.).


How I wish that I could be there to enjoy the beauty and vibrancy of the Ecuadorian culture and countryside!


How I hope that "all them Bishops" will not take themselves too seriously!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

National insecurity

As I walked out this evening with Penne I came across a couple of “sparkies” who were repairing a street light (privately owned and operated) in the next door community.  One was atop a “cherry picker” and the other was standing below. 


They greeted me nicely, They  were clearly “cheery chappies”. 


The electrician who was standing underneath the lamp post asked me “how are you doing?” 


I replied “I am not allowed to tell you, it’s a matter of national security”. 


He caught my humour and pretended to “kowtow” to me.  Then he made a huge fuss of Penne. 


But there was a cynical flavour in my humour. 


There is a widespread obsession with “national security” in these United States.


Our governments (of both the Bush and Obama Presidencies) want us to give up “just a wee bit” of our freedoms of speech and assembly in favour of the illusions of security.  More shame on Pres. Obama who should have know better. 


We “give up a little bit” only to be asked for more - so it has gone in every dictatorship, and so it is going in the U.S.A. today.


I believe that our American national focus on security springs from one source: that we are deeply insecure in these waning days of American imperialism.


In other words –our deeply insecure national psyche is leading us not to honest reflection, but to a “circling of the wagons” in the name of national security.


It is hard for us to understand and believe that our quest for “national security” is more or less equivalent as the quest for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

On a lighter note (6)

Enough already.   (Not quite as funny as my entries yesterday and the day before)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Why I did not go to Church today.

I’m back after taking a week off from making entries to “Povey Prattle”.  That week off was intentional. 

I decided to keep blog silence in the run up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11/01.   


Beginning last Sunday (4th September 2011) reporters, pundits and “John Q Public” of the media: (newspapers, radio, television and social media such as Facebook)  went into overdrive with stories, and re-hashed stories, and opinion and natter about the cruel and ghastly events of 10 years ago.

All that has needed to be said has been said, and said over and over again. And then again.

 I decided that my two cents’ worth was worth exactly 2c, so I shut up.  Whatever I might have said on my blog would have been preachy or platitudinous, and I could well have gone “overboard” in a rant or two. (What, “a rant from jmp”?  How shocking that would be!)  

Even today I did not listen to the radio (I never watch T.V.).  I simply cannot endure the babble.


Nor did I go to Church.  I know that my parish would have dealt with the anniversary with great decorum and decency, and I know that today’s preacher, (retired priest Charles K), would have had just the right words. 

Nor did I attend the sensitively planned inter-faith (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) evening service at Sarasota’s First Presbyterian Church.


Because for today I did not need words, nor would they have helped.  The biblical book of Ecclesiastes says that “there is a time to keep silence”. (Ecclesiastes 3 v 7). 


This week and this day have been the time for my voice to be muted, and for my ears to be open so that I might be enlightened by silence.

 As Catholic Priest Fr. Thomas Keating puts it “Listening to the Spirit in silent prayer is a key to knowing what to do.  Action is most effective when it comes from that place”