Saturday, 7 January 2012

Sarasota Newspapers

In Sarasota we have a weekly “freebie” newspaper which is published in four editions: Sarasota, East County, Longboat Key and Siesta Key.  It is distributed on racks in various stores, and in our local libraries.  Thus I do not get to read it every week  - it all depends whether I happen to be in a store or the library towards the end of each week.

The editorial policy of the paper is drearily predictable.  It has a manifestly libertarian slant.
I read the December 29th edition on 5th January – the day on which I picked it up at a health food store.

The editorial had a “Wish List” for 2012 which included the following;

 That the right candidate is elected to lead the country and reverse the destructive, anti-American agenda of the present administration. 

That pissed me off.  So here is what I wrote to the editor.(I have masked the name of the paper since I have no desire to give it any free publicity).  Locals will know!

Dear Editor

I was unable to retrieve a copy of the December 29th 2011 S------- O------- until Thursday 5th January 2012, so this letter will probably arrive too late to be considered for publication.

Nonetheless I take issue with the part of your "Wish List" which refers to ".....the destructive, anti-American agenda of the present administration".

This may have been a "one liner" designed to appeal to those who support the radical agenda of the Tea Party and sundry Libertarians.  It may well provide grist for the mill for assorted "birthers" and "Obama is a secret Muslim" conspiracy theorists.  But it flies in the face of the facts.

The administration has continued the Bush-era policies of supporting American banks and other financial bodies - thus helping to avert what could have been a total melt-down of our capitalist system.

The administration enabled timely financial resources to "all-American" companies such as General Motors - thus helping to prevent what would have otherwise been disastrous bankruptcies.

The administration has announced a new defense policy, which as one conservative commentator described as "right out of the Donald Rumsfeld playbook".

The administration is enabling albeit slow growth in the American economy, and, to be sure an all too slow growth in jobs. This in itself is remarkable in the face of what is an international recession, and a nay-saying House of Representatives.

Only the most convoluted and obscurantist logic could describe any of this as anti-American.

We are fortunate to live in this beloved Country where differences of opinion are to be valued inasmuch as they often shed light on complicated or difficult matters.  But to slate this Administration as anti-American sheds no light. In fact it creates heat.  It is worthy of the "school of Joseph McCarthy type innuendo", but it is hard for me to recognise it as responsible journalism.  That leads me to wonder if the O-------  Group is so irresponsible in its editorial policy, can it be trusted to be responsible in its news gathering.

Yours faithfully,

J. Michael Povey

Friday, 6 January 2012

Parlez-Vous Français?

Just ahead of me at the check-out in my local Winn-Dixie were an older couple -  he rather gaunt and skinny, she quite short and needing to use a walking stick.

I soon sussed that they were French Canadians, with but a smattering of the English language. 

Their transaction took a long time as they tried to figure out how many American dollars were needed.  The shop clerk stood impassive, with not a hint of expression on her face.

The older woman dropped her walking stick.  I retrieved it. 

The shop manager had inadvertently removed their cart, so the old man walked slowly to get another one. 

They began their walk out of the store.

The woman, wearied by all of this sat down to rest a while on a bench near the store front.

As I walked passed them I summoned my limited French language, and uttered a cheery “au revoir, bon chance”.

That will not secure my nomination to L'Académie française, but it did evoke warm smiles from these Canadian shoppers.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

This, that, and none of the other

If you have checked out the photo’s of my trip to Australia on Flickr, do hit the tab which reads “details”.  There you will discover that each photo’ is identified, and that here and now I have added comments which describe the context.

My diet is fairly strict. It includes lots of fruit, vegetables, grains and beans. I eat mostly white meat. I restrict my intake of dairy products – though I have a soft spot for cheese.  Once in a while I break out.  For lunch today I ate eggs and bacon with toasted Ciabatta bread.  It was “heavenly”!

Why is it that people with right wing political convictions are all against regulations until they are elected to condominium/housing association boards?   Then they become the strictest enforcers of rules and regulations.

My neighbour across the street is Betty.  She is unfailingly cheerful.  She is always filled with good will and gracious thoughts.  I am glad that we are neighbours.

I have a splendid Primary Care Physician.  She is second to none in her professional skill, and in her “bedside manner”. But she always runs late.  Yesterday I had not been “called” some 25 minutes after my scheduled appointment. So I walked out.  Today I penned her very gentle letter, reminding her that my time is as valuable as her time.  I acknowledged that she is “caught up” in the ghastly bureaucratic of the dysfunctional American Health care system.  We the consumers must keep up our protests until the health care system is re-designed in favour of the patient.

Speaking of which.  There is no such thing as “Obama-care”.  Whatever the impact is, or will be, of recent health care reforms, do remember that they were voted in by majorities in the House and in the Senate. It was only after those votes that the President signed the bill and made it law.

My check/cheque book balance was out of synch with the bank statement.  As I attempted to reconcile the two I discovered that I had written a check/cheque for $360:00, but had entered into my cheque/check book register as $36:00. Wow – a $324 :00  difference against me.  It will be beans and rice for the rest of the month (only joking!)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

In simpler times

I suppose that as we get older a number of things happen:

1.     We are reunited with memories from earlier days.

2.     Those memories seem to be very tender/precious/valuable.

3.     We remember that our parents’ memories from their earlier days used to bore us, but now we wish that our Mums and Dads were still with us so that we could hear their memories all over again.

4.     We know that the oral tradition is as valuable as is that which is written. So it is that we know that story-telling is a powerful way of linking generation to generation.  (For instance, I treasure the memory of the stories from my paternal grand-mother Sarah – [Sally] - Bennett Povey. a.k.a. “Nanny”. Her father was a coal miner in the open cast pits in Easton.  She, as a school-girl, saw Queen Victoria. Can you imagine that!)  

 Now in 2012 I remember Queen Victoria as if I (not my “Nanny”) had seen her.

My latent memories from sixty or so years ago have been re-ignited as a result of my re-connection with a friend from my boyhood and youth, Jeffrey Davies. He was my best pal.

Our e-mails have been so very pleasant and pleasurable.  They have taken me back to times which I had almost forgotten – the times when we visited his Auntie May - she was his father’s sister, not his grand-mother’s sister as I indicated in my entry yesterday. Auntie May lived with her husband George (Lancaster) on a farm near Devizes in Wiltshire.

On that farm we collected eggs, watched the cows as they were milked, romped around in the hay barn, and wandered the fields and meadows.

On that farm we were engulfed with the generous love of Jeff’s Auntie May and Uncle George.

It was a simpler time: with no T.V., Internet, or Mobile ‘phones.  It was not necessarily better than these days.  But it was indeed simpler.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A picture is worth......

As a result of the marvels of the internet I have been cyberly reunited with my earliest “best  friend” Jeff Davies.  

He and I hung around together for many years, starting when I was six years old (1950) and he was five, and continuing until we were in our early twenties. 

We never fell apart, we simply drifted apart.

In recent months Jeff and I have indulged in a veritable orgy of our memories of the “good old days”, (just to say that makes me feel very old!).

Jeff came across a photo’ which he had taken in about 1957/58.  The scene is Marsh Farm, near Devizes, Wiltshire, UK.  There lived his father’s Aunt May (sister to Jeff’s grandmother), with her husband Uncle George.  It was one of those old fashioned small, and mostly dairy farms which were the backbone of British agriculture until the more recent days of agribusiness.

Jeff and I went out to Marsh Farm and stayed there on not a few occasions.

We remember collecting eggs which had been laid by the free-range hens, “larking around” in the hay-barn, exploring field and meadows at will, and eating old fashioned farmstead food,

We also remember that both Auntie May and Uncle George were pious and loving members of an “Exclusive Brethren” Assembly. Their piety was narrow, but their generous love was broad.

You’ll see me in this picture (at aged about 13/14) with a lot of hair, and a “kiss curl”.  On the back row left is Leslie, the farm hand. In the middle is the fabulous Auntie May. Next to her (with a cigar in his hand) is Jeff’s dad, Albert Davies.

A picture is worth a thousand memories!



Monday, 2 January 2012

My photo's of Australia on Flickr

I had such a good visit.  I am even dreaming some nights that I am back in Australia.

Adelaide was my favourite City.  

I enjoyed being in Melbourne as I have friends there, (and the City has great trams!)

And everyone, but everyone has to visit Sydney.

I've applied most of my photo's to my flickr page.  They are in three sets, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

Each set can be easily watched as a slide show.



Love and blessings,

Michael