Showing posts from 2014

A joyful song for the New Year

It's been good to receive so many lovely cards and letters for Christmas-tide.  I return your greetings with a song for the New Year.

It's the fabulous "One more step along the road I go", by Sidney Carter.  The song has been on my mind all day.  We used to sing this at St. James's, Cambridge, MA at this time of year.  It's too bad that in many places it has been designated as a song for children.  It's for all of us!

The video is from the B.B.C. and features two schools, the Edinburgh Academy in Scotland -  doing Carter's song proud, and the Ysgol Pen Barras in Ruthun, Wales  - with a great rendition of "Sing Hosanna"

The music comes in at about 2:36  (the intro itself is fascinating) One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:
And it's from the old I travel to …

Hoppin' John, (and when my mother fractured my leg).

I am getting ready to make "Hoppin' John" for  1st January 2015.

(I'll be using ham hocks).

Some readers (especially those outside the U.S.A.) may be asking "what is "Hoppin' John".  (Other readers will merely yawn!).

Here is an article from Wikipedia'_John

But be warned, there are as many theories about the origin of Hoppin' John as there will be black eyed peas in my dish.

My guess is that it was no more than a mid-winter dish for poor people in the southern United States, with dried peas and smoked ham hock being more or less available.

There are scores and scores of on-line recipes for Hoppin' John.

Here is the one which I will (more or less) use:


My full name is John Michael Povey.  I am known to my family as John (or Uncle John). Others know me as Michae…


Fracquaintance  (n)a person you see often enough that she/he is more than an acquaintance, but not  often enough to be called a friend.

Frintimate  (n)   (alternate sp. frientimate)  a person with whom you share your greatest joys, deepest sorrows, and darkest secrets.  (Never used for family members, counselors, pastors etc.)

Frolerate (v)  Passive behavior in the presence of a person you do not like who is a friend of one of your friends.

SOURCE   jmp Dec 2014

Captain Jack: Two great vocations.

One of the good pleasures in retirement is that of making new friends. This has been part of the joy of my retirement (to a new City).  High on the list of such new friends are Jack and Donna Chrisman.  I met them at St. Boniface Church in SRQ.  They have become very dear to me, and to my brother Martyn from Bristol U.K.,  who has met them on two visits to SRQ. Jack, from Charlotte N.C. has enjoyed two wonderful careers. He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.  His service in the Navy led him to the rank of Captain.  He commanded three naval ships. When posted to Athens, Greece  as the Naval Attaché  (I think) at the U.S. Embassy. Whilst in Athens,  Jack, raised a Presbyterian, became an Anglican  because of the ministry of the Church of England congregation in that City.  That experience of Anglican life led Jack to a second career, as an Anglican Priest. Under the tutelage of the Bishop of the C of E's Diocese in Europe Jack trained for Holy Orders at Westcot…

"Mr. Be Of Good Cheer"

I have been visiting Bill D at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Bill (86) is a former U.S. Navy Captain, and a current parishioner at St. Boniface Church here in SRQ.

He had a fall a couple of weeks ago as a result of which he is in the hospital, because that fall resulted in a broken hip.

Despite this  Bill D is unfailingly cheerful. The word "whine" is not in his vocabulary.

I saw him today (with his utterly fabulous wife Emily D.)  

I told them that I have re-named Bill.

Henceforth I will refer to him as "Mr. Be Of Good Cheer".

Such a powerful example.

Good food (Christmas Day) AND SOME SILLINESS!

CHRISTMAS DAY After eating nothing but toast for seven consecutive meals  (I'd been under the weather and had lost my appetite), I was ready for a good Christmas Feast. My good friends Fred and Diana Emrich invited me to join them for a buffet in the Country Club Ballroom at the Longboat Key Club.  I was careful not to over-eat, but "darn it all", the food was good. I began with oysters on a half-shell, poached salmon, some shrimp, and a token salad. This was followed by small portions of delicious braised chicken,  slices of baked ham and roasted turkey, and a small slice of the best prime rib you could hope to meet.  I was good - so I also had a generous helping of green beans - cooked to perfection. I resisted the rich variety of desserts in favour of some good cheeses and sliced cantaloupe. Fred and Diana had three other guests. Two of them had been stewardesses (as they were then called), and had worked with Diana for Pan Am, and then Delta. It all made for delight…

You have been warned, or just in case you have been wondering.

A 2014 Christmas gift from my friend Ben

Christmas Eve 2014: such a pleasant day

We're busy doin' nothin' Workin' the whole day through Tryin' to find lots of things not to do We're busy goin' nowhere Isn't it just a crime We'd like to be unhappy, but We never do have the time (Sung by Bing Cosby and others in the film "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) Well, not quite busy doing nothing, but I could not be unhappy, for I never did have the time. I cleared the furniture from one half of my 29' long  Lanai (really a screened in porch) so that I could vacuum clean and wet mop the tiles in that area.  I intended to "do" the other half later in the morning. That was not smart, since on this very humid day the tiles had not dried seven hours after my labours.  I'll take care of the other half on Boxing day. In the meantime the "other half" of the Lanai is filled with furniture, much to the confusion of my pets. Penne and I had some good walks. Taking advantage of inexpensive calls via Sk…

The irrational season

My trusted and beloved colleague, the Revd. Andrea S (Andi) Taylor preached a superb sermon last Sunday (Dec 21st 2014) at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota FL As she preached I wondered "does she know the Madeline L'Engle irrational season quote?" Not only did Andi know it,  within a few moments of my wondering she quoted it. "This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild! Had Mary been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child"     (Madeline L'Engle).

French Carol - Abolitionist anthem

I post the following just about every year in December.  I am not the author of the following ( jmp)

Stories Behind the Music: "O Holy Night"

"O Holy Night" remains one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols, with uplifting lyrics and melody.

The lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), a resident of Roquemaure, France (located a few miles north of the historic city of Avignon). Cappeau was a wine merchant and mayor of the town, as well as an occasional writer of poetry.

 Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Cappeau when his parish priest, shortly before Cappeau embarked on a business trip, asked him to pen a poem for Christmas mass.

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France's capital city, Cappeau considered the priest's request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him.…

Catalan Carol yesterday. French carol today

Back in the day when John Cheney was the music director at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, he chose the French carol " Ilestné le petit enfant"  as one of the songs for the choir at "Midnight Mass".  John was wise enough to have it sung in French. It so happened that a young Frenchman (an exchange student) was in the congregation with his host family.  He had never before been in an Episcopal Church. Can you begin to imagine how much he felt "at home" when he heard a French carol sung in his native tongue in an American congregation.   (He said after the service that the pronunciation had been perfect). " Ilestné " has had a warm place in my heart ever since that Christmas. Here are two versions, each lovely in different ways. And here are the lyrics in French and in English. ,Ilestné le divin Enfant Words: Traditional French Lyrics Music: Traditional French Chorus:Il e…

Catalan Carol

I get a bit jaded with all the old traditional carols, those which are trotted out each year, as if there was not a world wide repertoire of Christmas music. So here is a variant for our tired ears   -  it's a Catalan Carol  --- "Fum, Fum, Fum"

Lunch al fresco in South West Florida, 19th December 2014

Of course I would not create envy, nor would I want to "rub it in" for friends and family members in colder winter climes (ahem!), but I knew that you'd like to know that I enjoyed lunch out of doors today.

I was at the Dry Dock Water Front Grill on the intra-coastal side of Longboat Key, FL  see

I ate "Fish and Chips"  (for the first time since I was in the U.K. last May/June).

The fish (haddock?) was entirely delicious, cooked as it was in a light batter.

The coleslaw was no more than "O.K.".  (I find that most restaurant coleslaws have too much mayonnaise, and not enough seasoning. This was the case today. -  I prefer my home-made 'slaw).

The chips  -  well what to say about the chips?

Chips  (french fries) should be crispy and brown on the outside, and fluffy in the middle.  I know that, 'cause my Mum's chips were the best ever. Maybe it was because she deep fried them in lard.

The chips at the Dry…

Stupid Inc., (or Stupid Plc). John Michael Povey, C.E.O.

My nonagenarian friend Betty M has not been well for about three weeks.  She's had intense abdominal pain, with an accompanying lack of appetite.  Her primary care physician, (a good, competent, and caring man), has been unable to find the reason for her malady.

With no relief in sight, and at the urging of Betty's neighbour (Linda), Betty went to the E.R. yesterday. 

Betty called me from the E.R.  to tell me about this, and to let me know that she had been admitted to the hospital.

So, of course, I visited her today.

Today the "Front Desk" people at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital told me at first that that Betty was not in their data base; and then they said that she had had been discharged. This seemed to be very unlikely, so I  'phoned Betty.

She assured me that she had not been discharged, and that she was in Room 413.

I relayed this to the front desk staff member who checked the computer records again, and told me that Betty was indeed in Room 413.

I trudge…

Episcopal Relief and Development trolled my blog.

Yesterday my blog was critical of E.R.D. and Amnesty International, and grateful for Sarasota's All Faiths Food Bank, and our local Cat Depot.


Earlier this  year I wrote a blog about  my modest investment account, (sponsored by the Church Pension Fund and administered by  Fidelity Investments).

I stated that  F.I.  had confused me with another investor  (remember Mary Gilligan?), and that F.I. seemed unable to correct their own mistake

You may remember that the Church Pension Fund computer system had trolled my blog entry, (because I had mentioned CPF in the title), and had contacted me by e-mail to offer their assistance in "righting the wrong".

You will also remember that I had mixed feelings about CPF's trolling of my blog.


Now I have discovered that Episcop…

Episcopal Relief and Development fails (charitable giving)

A few months ago I sent money  to Episcopal Relief and Development (an agency of the American Episcopal Church).  My gift was designated for the rebuilding of the Anglican Hospital in Gaza, Palestine.

I made it clear that this was a one time gift, and that I did not wish to be on ERD's mailing list.

FAT CHANCE    I have since received four mailings from ERD despite the fact that I have requested (in writing and by mail)  to be removed from their list.

A few years ago I joined Amnesty International.  I think that they do good and essential work. 

When I joined I stated  "I do not wish to be on your mailing list.   If you send me multiple mailings I will not renew my membership next year".

Guess what?   They sent me multiple mailings.

Guess what again?   I did not renew my membership the next year.


Au contraire  - earlier this year  I mailed donations to Sarasota's "ALL FAITHS FOOD…

Oh excrement! (Are we 90% poo?)

I am reading an article in the 1st Dec 2014 edition of the New Yorker about the promising research regarding a new  therapy for persons with Crohn's disease.

Odd as it may seem, this can involve the injection of another person's stool into the colon of a Crohn's sufferer, (fecal transplants, or "fecal microbiota transplantation").

You'll probably be able to find the article on line: "The Excrement Experiment" by Emily Eakin.

This passage caught my attention:

"Science writers love to cite the freakish fact that for every one of our cells we are hosts to ten microbial ones, and nowhere are there as many as in our digestive tracts, which house about a hundred billion bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other tiny creatures. (As one gastroenterologist put it to me, (the author) with only mild exaggeration, 'We are ten percent human and ninety percent poo'"

Humbling ain't it!

(1) Retired/Un-retired/Retired again/Un-retired again. (2) OR to amuse Kim Hardy. (3) OR "My week"

(1) I retired in 2006.  'Twas one of the best decisions of my life.

In 2007 I un-retired, and began to share in ministries at St. David's, Englewood FL; All Angels by the Sea on Longboat Key, FL; and St Boniface on Siesta Key FL.

In 2011 I retiredagain, feeling weary and dispirited, and ready to kick it all in.

I recovered (!), un-retired,  and came back to engage in some shared ministries at St. Boniface in October 2012.

(2) Kim Hardy should be amused by this, 'cause back in 2011 she wondered how long it would be before I was "back in the saddle".

(3)  My week:  back in the saddle I am!

WEDNESDAY 10th    Prayer Service at Resurrection House, Sarasota's day shelter for homeless people.

THURSDAY 11th  Presided and preached at the St. Boniface Thursday morning Eucharist.

FRIDAY 12th  Visited and prayed with Edythe T at a Nursing Home in South Venice, FL (15 miles away)

SATURDAY 13th  Visited and prayed with Bob H and his partner Frank P at the Blake Hospital in Brad…

Sunrise, Rice Pudding, and the dog.

On my second walk with Penne this morning I noticed and enjoyed the glorious sunrise, with the fabulous rippled clouds. I did not have my camera with me.  But my Facebook and Church friend  Susan R enjoyed the same sunrise -  and this is her picture. In the meantime my blessed and glorious dog Penne decided to take a gander at what I was concocting in the kitchen.

Cats and politics

My cats have been fighting all day.  Fur has been flying. Adelaide (l) has been the teaser. Ada (r) has been the aggressor. At the end of the day, weary of their fights, they share a pillow on my dining room table. Politics? Lord above we are in a mess.  Our Representatives, Senators, and President are sending us down the river with a ghastly Finance bill which panders to the oligarchical "special interests" at the expense of "We The People". I did not expect anything better from the Republican Representatives and Senators. I have come to understand that the Democratic Senators and Representatives are no more than "Republicans with a smile". And President Obama, instead of being the Great Reconciler has become the Great Compromiser. What has this to do with cats? Not a thing.  But most of my Blog and Facebook followers seem to be more interested in "cute" (damn how I hate that word) dogs and cats than in the perilous state of my beloved Nations: -…

Behind the Senate's torture report


By Andrew J. Bacevich  December 09, 2014
The just-released Senate report on CIA interrogation practices since 9/11 contains nothing that would have surprised the journalist and critic Randolph Bourne. Back in 1918, in an essay left unfinished at the time of his death later that year, Bourne had warned that “war is the health of the state.”
And so it is. War thrusts power into the hands of those who covet it. Only the perpetuation of war, whether under the guise of “keeping us safe” or “spreading freedom,” can satisfy the appetite of those for whom the exercise of power is its own reward. Only war will perpetuate their prerogatives and shield them from accountability.
What prompted Bourne’s pungent observation was US intervention into the disastrous European war that began a century ago this summer. In 1917, Congress had acceded to President Woodrow Wilson’s request to enter that stalemated conflict, Wilson promising a world made safe for democracy and vowing to end …

So few responded, so I post it again

Senator John McCain's noble speech to the U.S. Senate yesterday.
Work Mobile:941 330 4948 Send an eCardGet a map or directions (N.B.  McCain was a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, and was himself tortured) “Mr. President, I rise in support of the release – the long-delayed release – of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summarized, unclassified review of the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that were employed by the previous administration to extract information from captured terrorists. It is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose – to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies – but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world. “I believe the American people have a right – indeed, a responsibility – to know what was done in their name; how these practices did or did not serve our interests; and how they comported…