Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Sound of Silence

It was probably back in 2004 or 2005 that I took two groups of young adults at St. James's, Cambridge, MA out to dinner in Boston's North End.

The young adults were those who were graduating from High School that year, and those who were already away at College but were home for the summer break.

I ate with  two groups on two separate evenings to accommodate the various schedules of these fabulous young adults.  

As it happened, at the first dinner I was seated next to graduating High School Senior Joe H at the first dinner.  If Calvin Coolidge was "silent Cal", Joe H was "silent, silent Joe".

In due course Joe H spoke to me.  He said "I bet you wish that you were not sitting next to me, because I rarely talk".

I responded with  "I am so happy to be seated next to you, for you have the gift of listening unlike people like I who are always talking".

I meant it.  As a talker I am in awe of the listeners.


Oh yes I am a talker!

It was probably in the same year that I drove from Cambridge, MA to  Granby, MA  to spend some time with my friends Joe and Dee.

We sat on a poolside deck, sipping lemonade.

After about 35 minutes I said  "I think that I am a talker".
Dee responded  "Yes indeed Michael, you have been talking non stop for two and a half hours".

Dee was right!


Oh yes,  I am a talker especially in a group of two, three, or four others.

Oh yes, I am a talker when I on a podium, platform or pulpit.


But Oh yes,  I am not a talker when I am a large social gathering, or at a Church coffee hour.  In those places I become incredibly shy and lonely, and I haven't a clue as to what I should talk about.


It has been a  non-talking day.  My only conversations have been with the clerks/assistants at my local Supermarket and at "Holistic for Pets";  plus a wee chat with a Librarian at the Sarasota County "North Library".


Thus I have been in a listening mode.  I have heard two "voices".

One, from deep within, has said "jmp you are a worthless piece of merde" .

Another, from deep without, has said "that may or may not be true, but you are loved eternally by the Eternal Lover"



Friday, 4 October 2013

Darn! Dash! how very embarrassing

So, my old HP  desktop having been consigned to the computer re-cycling centre, I was in the market for something new.

I settled on a T-shiba lap-top at B-st B-y.  The price was right, and Gracie the employee  who attended to me knew her onions (or her megabytes).

Darn it all, I know nothing about the Horse Power of this T-shiba "Satellite" - but it is incredibly fast.

 I've had to adjust to a new Micr-soft system (designed by the Gates of Hell to be very confusing) - but that's part of the fun, and "sorting things out" keeps me out of trouble.

I had to provide a wealth of personal information to Micr-soft before the machine would open. 

This did not include my inside leg measurement -  but for those of you who worry about such things, it is 29".   (and it's almost impossible to buy pants/trousers in that size) --- but I digress.

Micr-soft also made me create a new password in order to boot up this new machine.  Their instructions were clear and non-negotiable (just like the Tea Party)  viz, Two upper case letters, two lower case letters, two numerals, and two symbols.

I rose to the challenge after deep and profound prayer (oh yeah?) and created a unique and impenetrable password  - writing down  every upper case and lower case letter, every numeral, and every symbol.  Good job Pove! 

Later in the day I tried to log on using the password which I had so carefully written down.  In fact I tried eighty seven and a half times, with no success.

So I set off  to B-st B-y -   breathing threats and slaughtering.  I was already to demand that I be up-graded to a far superior touch screen lap-top (free of charge)  since they had clearly sold me a piece of merde.

The young man at the Geek Squad desk (yes, he was young enough to be my grand-son) listened patiently as I described the problem.

He tried 42 times ( pardon my slight exaggeration) to log on, using the password that I had so carefully written down -  all to no avail.

So he came up with his trump card, saying "we can restore this computer to the factory settings in 48 hours"

Even as my lower lip trembled I agreed to this restoration.

But on the cusp of leaving my new child in B-st B-y hands I had a new thought. "What" I wondered "if I have developed late onset dyslexia?' 

I offered this theory to the young geek.  "Try" I said "entering LMml  instead of MLlm".  (These are not the actual letters).

Goodness gracious it worked like a charm.  Yes indeed I had reversed the letters.

The young geek was utterly delighted that the problem had been solved.

I walked out of B-st B-y with my tail between my legs.

I am a certifiable old duffer



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Fine Dining: Steak and Kidney Pie. Kippers.

I've had a couple of cans/tins of "Fray Bentos" brand Steak and Kidney Pie in my pantry for  "I forget how many" years.

The "use by" date on the cans/tins has never bothered me because I believe the cans are made to survive for centuries  -  in fact I was planning to keep them for the end of the world.

Since we are in yet another "end of the world" crisis in these United States I decided that today was the day to crack open one of them.

Can opened, lid discarded, pie cooked at  450f for 35 minutes on a baking tray in the oven.

Then an utterly delicious lunch Steak and Kidney Pie with Collard Greens.

Anyone care to join me for leftovers?

P.S.  I had kippers for supper, with Five Bean Salad (courtesy "Sam's Club) , and sliced tomatoes.

The kippers also come in a can/tin.  They are smoked by "Bar Harbor Foods"  in the town of Whiting, Maine. 

A great day for British ethnic food.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bye Bye dear old H.P.

My malfunctioning  old HP  desktop computer has been in a repair shop since Sept 20th.

At first the repair shop folks and I thought that we were dealing  with little more than a faulty power supply.

Now the repair  shop  folks, (having installed a new power supply system) tell  me that there are also  problems with the motherboard and the hard-drive

I have no reasons to disbelieve them:

First they did not lure me into buying expensive replacement parts.

Second they will carefully recycle the component parts.

So this sad blog comes to you via my cheap and slow and simple Gateway Notebook.
And I'll have to wander around various stores  on  Thursday 3rd as I search for an inexpensive replacement for my dead HP desktop.  It will most likely be a laptop,


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

To my good friends who are Republicans

Hi Republican Friends:

We know each other.  We respect each other. We care for each other.

We enjoy  these gifts of gracious relationships despite our political differences.  That's so good!

I am of the opinion that the governmental shut down is un-necessary.  I am grateful for all the good things which come my way via the USA government.

Perchance you disagree!  That's fine   -  we can still be friends.

Nevertheless I beg you to think about the ordinary people   the "hoi polloi"  who serve our beloved United States in various governmental offices.  They are folks just like you and me.

But their economic and social welfare is at risk.

Without a regular pay check they may well have to choose between food on the table and the mortgage/rent payment.

Do you as faithful Republican and Christian believers  think that this is a  good and equal choice?

I beg you my compatriot and Republican  Christian sisters and brothers  to do all that you can to change this matter, especially  by contacting your local Republican Rep.  and asking him/her to vote in favor of the continuing budget resolution, in order that the last and the least (who work so hard in governmental service)  will  be paid  in an honest and faithful way.

As you do so please move from political theory into everyday life  and remember   my friends Tom Benson (a government lawyer) and Meghan Benson (together with their two  young children) whose income will be decimated because of republican/tea party orthodoxies,

Monday, 30 September 2013

From Miss Pollyanna Ostrich: It's all very dismal and exhausting...

What is dismal and exhausting is the way in which the American  Government has lurched from crisis to crisis since 2008.

Maybe the U.S.A. has become as ungovernable as Greece, or Italy, or Iraq, or Somalia,  Who'd have thunk that?

But there are worlds beyond Washington D.C.  or Wall Street.  After all  I am Miss Pollyanna Ostrich  (maybe!)

  In my world  -  the world of religion/faith/belief (whatever?)  I see stuff which the Congress and Wall Street are too blinded by their  pride to see. 


1.  The exhausted old women and men who will not allow the Diocese  to close down their declining Church,  because it has a food pantry and a day care centre for wee children.

2.  The stubborn Nuns who insist that rapists and murderers on death row are children of God.

3. The tough women who care for 15 year old girls who are pregnant AND terrified.

4.  The republican minded business men who spend their spare time building homes with "Habitat for Humanity"

5.  The strong men who mentor young boys who have never known a father.

6. The coalitions of Jews, Muslims and Christian who work for justice

7. The volunteers who serve hungry and homeless people, respecting their human dignity and pride.

The list goes on (you will  have your own ) and it's never enough but Miss Pollyanna Ostrich is choosing to start this day with a word of hope.