Saturday, 19 May 2012

Rep. Vernon Buchanan insults the voter's intelligence

U.S. Representative Vernon Buchanan (R) of the 13th District of Florida (where I vote) mails glossy and expensive looking brochures to voters within the District about three times a year.  These brochures are mailed at the taxpayer’s expense.

His brochures often include “tear-off” postcards, with questions to which he asks voters to respond, and mail back to his office (at the voter’s expense)

Of course these questions are worded in a very simplistic way.  They are designed to elicit responses which are favourable to Rep. Buchanan’s point of view.

I am not as unintelligent as Rep. Buchanan would suppose. In fact I find that his questions are “loaded”, and disrespectful of my wisdom and knowledge.

Nonetheless I “fill in” and return his postcards.

On the most recent one (see below) I wrote:this

“These matters are far more complicated that can be answered with YES/NO/UNDECIDED. The questions insult my intelligence”.

Are you listening Congressman Buchanan?

Friday, 18 May 2012

My Biblical ignorance

I followed a small pick-up trunk  down 17th St. here in SRQ.

 It bore a large home-made and printed poster on its tail-gate.

The poster read thus:

“I am an independent, pro-life, Christian gun owner”.

That caused me to ask myself two questions:

1. what part of the bible have I never read?  and /or

2. what part  of the biblr did I read,  but sorely misunderstand?

Just Askin’

Thursday, 17 May 2012

My favourite Bishop

May 17th 2012

17 on the 17th: Virginia Theological Seminary conferred an honorary Doctor in Divinity degree upon Bishop Barbara C. Harris during its commencement ceremony today. It's her 17th

Barbara Harris was the first woman to be ordained as Bishop in the Anglican Communion, way back in 1989.

She served as a  Suffragan (Assistant)  Bishop in the Diocese of Massachusetts until her retirement in 2003.

Bishop Harris came out from Boston  to St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield, MA in 1992.  I was then Rector at St. Stephen’s and we were celebrating the centenary of the consecration of the second St. Stephen’s church building (by the famous Bishop Phillips Brooks) on 19th November 1892.

When I moved to Cambridge, MA in 2000 Barbara Harris became my own Bishop. What an honour!

These days (both retired) we are friends, and we have great ‘phone chats three or four times a year (I brag).  She has a wicked and rib-tickling sense of humour.

I honour her bold proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am in awe of her fearless and unwavering commitment to G-d’s justice as it is known in the old and new testaments

I am angry that this sister in Christ has had to endure so much hateful speech, racism, vitriol and misogyny.

I am inspired by her feisty dignity when she is under fire.

Here is what she said when she was ordained as a Bishop back in 1989.

"I certainly don't want to be one of the boys. I want to offer my peculiar gifts as a black woman...sensitivity and an awareness that comes out of more than a passing acquaintance with 


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Noise and sound.

On Wednesdays the “landscapers” arrive to do their work in my community (Glen Oaks Ridge), and in the adjoining community (Glen Oaks Manor).

This means that Wednesdays are noisy.  My ears are assailed with the sounds of grass mowers the size of tanks (I exaggerate), of edgers, of trimmers, of chain saws, of shrub trimmers, and of those ghastly gas (petrol) fuelled leaf blowers.

The bothersome noise continues from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

It is not very pleasant.

These dreaded noisy Wednesdays annoy me.
But they also remind me of more pleasant landscaping sounds.

Mr. and Mrs. Hurkett lived across the street from our home on Devon Road, Bristol, U.K. Their home was at the intersection of Devon Road and Stepney Road. It was a larger house than ours; with a big back garden which reached all the way back to the L.M.S. railway line.  Mr. Hurkett intrigued and fascinated me because he often told me that he had been a tinker.

He was a keen gardener. He took care of a largish lawn, filled with little daisies.

On summer evenings I would hear the sounds of his mowing with and old fashioned rotary mower.  “Click, Click, Click” and he went forward. “Click, Click, Click” as he drew the mower back. I remember it as a comforting sound.

Mr. Stacey lived two doors away.  He was an Insurance Agent – which meant that he was “pretty important” in our neighbourhood.   He had a little car -  an Austin or a Morris – with a very shiny chromium radiator grill.

He and Mrs. Stacey had a long front yard.  The walkway was flanked with rose bushes and with a privet hedge.   The bushes and the hedge needed to be trimmed.  Mr. Stacey did this with old-fashioned shears.  “Clip, Clip, Clip” was the noise they made.  It sounded so good.

At the risk of being deemed  a Luddite, or of being sentimental, or of basking in inaccurate memories I assert that the   “Click, Click, Click” of Mr. Hurkett’s lawn mower, and the “Clip, Clip, Clip” of Mr. Stacey’s shears were more comforting and gracious than the blaring noises of our local “landscapers”.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An evening meal

The evening meal

In the U.K. it is called “tea” (by working class folks); or supper (by  middle class people).

The “upper classes” are more likely to call it “dinner”.

It’s all very confusing because U.K. people of all classes also have a snack just before bedtime which is also called supper.


In the USA “supper” denotes an informal meal at home, and “dinner” refers to a more formal meal at home or in a restaurant.


I call it food!

This evening (15th May 2012) I was at home alone.

My evening food included some fabulous vegetables:-  sweet potato, carrot, onion, parsnip, green bell pepper, green beans – all gently sautéed in a skillet with a wee  drop of olive oil and some rosemary., then supplemented with a few slivers of  roasted pork loin.

I care not if this evening meal should be called tea, supper or dinner.

Damn!  It was a wonderful evening meal - especially the vegetables.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sarasota FL Physician rocks

I was delighted to open the second section of my daily newspaper (The Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune) today, and see this picture.

Kristen Paulus is known to me as Dr. Kristin Paulus.  She is my primary care physician, and she is “the best”.

Her husband Dr. Kyle Ruffing (see Milo’s last name) is a neurologist with whom I have consulted, and he too is a fabulous physician.

(Photo' and caption from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Kristen Paulus of Sarasota is joined by her son, Milo Ruffing, 10, at the 7th annual Mother's Day Brunch at Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota on Sunday.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sweet potato hash/simple things/ and good company.

Oh the simple things! 

I was at the home of my friends Ron and Charlotte in the Gulf Gate area of Sarasota for lunch today.
Ron’s sister Karen and her husband Dennis were also there.  (Karen and Dennis have recently sold their Massachusetts home and moved to SRQ).  It was a lovely, lovely tiime.

Before lunch we enjoyed a refreshing glass of lemonade out on the Lanai.  Then we shared a simple meal, and some lively and funny conversation.

My beloved dog Penne joined us. She likes Ron and Char,  (who would not like them!)

She became very excited as we entered the Thompson’s driveway, and once inside the house she became a perfect house guest.

The food was so very good, because it was so simple:

Roasted chicken, broccoli and sweet potato hash   - with strawberries and cantaloupe for dessert.

(Why is it that chicken tastes so much better when someone else has cooked it?).

As for the sweet potato hash:   Karen brought it from her home.  I asked her, “is this from the recipe which was in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune earlier in the week?”

Indeed it was, and I recommend it.  Here is the recipe (from our newspaper).


Three Kitcheneers: Sweet Potato Hash
Herald-Tribune / Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sweet potatoes happen to be a “superfood,” meaning they’re nutrient-rich and considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. As far as veggies go, sweet potatoes are downright obnoxious show-offs, packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

On top of all that, these little gems have been shown to satisfy sweet tooths while curbing appetites by stabilizing blood sugar levels. So go on and eat a boatload



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary


In a large sauté pan, heat oil with garlic clove over medium-low heat. Once garlic starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Let cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Add rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Hash (Herald-Tribune photo')