Showing posts from December 8, 2013

Gifts by and for the idle rich

In Great Britain we write "pyjamas".

In the U.S.A. it is "pajamas".

The spelling is probably not important  (except that the British are correct (lol).

The word has its roots in Persia.  Wikipedia will tell you all about this.

Who wears pyjamas these days? Not many.  In fact when I moved to SRQ and spent a few nights with my pals Ben and Bruce I emerged one morning wearing them.  Ben stated that he had once seen such garments in a museum!

Ben and I apart there must be a market for pajamas in these United States.  At this time of gift giving I often hear radio advertisements from the Pajamagram Company which offers matching pajamas for all the family.

Horrors!  Who could imagine sitting down for Christmas Day breakfast with Grandma and Grampa, and Mum and Dad, and older sister, and younger brother each wearing matching jammies.

That would put me off my bacon!

What is worse is that Pajamagram company also offers matching p.j's for our cats and dogs.  See:


Winston Churchill and false memories

From Benjamin Shwarz's review in the New York Times of  the book "The Roar of the Lion.  The untold story of Churchill's World War II speeches",  written by Richard Toye and  published by  Oxford University Press)

"The one unassailable aspect of Churchill's career up to now has been the series of speeches in the darkest days of the war,,,,,

Hisorians and commentators have long declared that these speeches (recognizable in a few key phrases - "blood, toil, tears and sweat" "their finest hour" "so much owed to so many by so few") inspired the British to hold on despite disaster and the threat of invasion, and are therefore of  world-historical significance.......

But, as Richard Toye points out in "The Roar of the Lion" nearly all the evidence supporting the speeches' decisive impact on British morale is derived from retrospective accounts   -  ( i.e " in the post war period  jmp ] and people's memories of  the…

Massachusetts or Florida?

I lived, worked, and voted in Massachusetts for thirty years.

1976 to 1984 as a green card holder,

Since 1984 as a U.S. citizen.

As an expatriate English liberal I liked the generous and mildly progressive government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

As a human being I rejoiced in the physical beauty of my adopted State, especially in the sixteen years in which I lived in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts.


In 2006 I retired and moved to Sarasota in Florida.

As a human being I rejoice in our gorgeous (Lido and Siesta Key) beaches.

As a human being I am grateful for Sarasota's Opera, Ballet, Symphony and Theatre.  We are a cultural mecca.

As an expatriate English liberal I am pissed off by the retrograde and harsh "anti-poor" policies of  the Republican party dominated legislature in Tallahassee.



Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican U.S. Representative from Florida) gets it horribly wrong.

President Barack Obama, in South African for the funeral of President Nelson Mandela, encountered the President of Cuba -  Raul Castro. The two men shook hands.
The Cuban-American Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had this to say"Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of  a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant". (Sarasota Herald-Tribune 11th Dec 2013).

For goodness sake shove it Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. Nelson Mandela's funeral was not staged to allow President Obama to snub Raul Castro.  Nor was it arranged so that Pres. Castro could score a propaganda coup.

The funeral was to honour the life and legacy of a man who shook the hands of many enemies, some of whom would have gladly murdered him or had him killed.

Amongst many other things his memorial service was an appropriate venue for simple and common courtesy. 

The American President and the Cuban President demonstrated…

My dentist, and some humour.

My Sarasota Dentist is great. His name is Dr.Timothy Mercer. His affect is very low key. His skill is of the highest order.

In recent weeks two women have asked me for recommendations for local Dentists. In each case I encouraged them to contact Dr. Mercer.

One of these women is the one who has taken up habitation in  the Condo next to mine.

The owner of that Condo is very sick.  She has been in and out of various hospitals all this year.

The woman who is living there is a friend of the owner.  It's hard to tell whether or not her residence next door is one the up and up, or whether it has dubious elements.  That's not my concern. Family members of the owner know that she is there.

But this woman is (let's say) unfocused, strange, odd, or even flaky.

The other women is my dear Betty M  the octogenarian ex-Marine of whom I have written in previous blog entries.

Betty M is feisty, funny and fit. She shares my wicked sense of humour.

We meet almost every day when I walk Penne.


My coffee this morning with the Archbishop

I enjoyed coffee this morning with Lord and Lady Carey who have been visiting Sarasota from their home in Newbury, U.K.

Lord Carey is also known as the Most Reverend George L Carey.  He was the Archbishop of Canterbury between 1991 and 2002.

I know the Careys better as George and Eileen.  George was one of the Tutors (professors in American parlance) at St. John's Theological College in Nottingham U.K. where I was student between 1972 and 1976.

George went on from St. John's to be the Vicar of St. Nicholas Church in Durham, U.K. , then Principal of Trinity Theological College in my home City of Bristol, then Bishop of Bath and Wells, and finally what we call the ABC  - the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I last saw the Careys in 1999 when I happened to be in England and was able to attend a student and staff reunion in Nottingham.

The Archbishop and his wife have been in the area for a series of events and some preaching at the Church of the Redeemer, a High Church (and thriving) pa…

Knitted Knativity --- Nitted Nativity

Life size knitting  (truly)  from my home City, Bristol, U.K.