Showing posts from August 3, 2014

Oh silly me - and the Sarasota County Library System.

I recently took out two books from the Sarasota County Library System.

One was "And there was Light" -  the book about the young and blind Frenchman who became an incredible leader in the French Resistance.  (I wrote about this book on my blog).

The other was a novel  by Iris Murdoch titled "Jackson's Dilemma".

Having read it, I took "And there was Light" back to the Library on Aug 6th.

That day I also borrowed "Nothing Less Than War -  a new history of America's entry into World War  I"  -  a fabulous book written by a man I happened to know and like - Justus Doenecke.  Justus is a retired Professor of History at New College, Sarasota, FL - and a faithful worshipper at All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church on Longboat Key, FL

Yesterday I looked at the Library receipt for the Iris Murdoch book (which I had not begun to read).   Lord above, it was due back at the Library on July 29th.

In a trice I became that "anxious to please and…

Bush 43 / Obama 44 / Bush 41

I thought that I was right when I spoke against the invasion  of Iraq under President Dick Cheney -  ooops I meant President George W Bush.

That invasion was based upon manifest lies. It was supported by a supine press which toted the administration's propaganda as if it were the wisdom of the gods.

I still think that I was right.

I thought that I was right when I spoke in favour of President Obama's withdrawal of the American military presence in Iraq.

I know think that I was wrong.


Bush 43's neo-con inspired invasion, together with his arrogant post invasion policies (what's good for America is good for Iraq) led to the utter de-stabilization of Iraq.

Obama 44's premature withdrawal of the military, together with his na├»ve and apparently unconditional support of Nouri al-Maliki (who is "running" the country to the almost exclusive benefit of Shia Muslims), has led…

Gadzooks - NO MORE MORBIER (tears) / FOOLED by a TAZO label

One of my favourite cheeses comes from France.  It is called Morbier (see ). It is usually available at Whole Foods Market. But not any more.  According to the "Cheese Man" at Sarasota's Whole Foods  the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the importation of Morbier Cheese on the grounds that there are too many pathogens on the surface of this cheese. (I liked those pathogens!) But a web search suggests that the makers of Morbier voluntarily recalled their cheeses. "Whatever!"   I  miss my Morbier. Said "Cheese Man" suggested an alternative - a Vermont made un-pasteurized cheese (name unknown) from Springbrook Farm:   see It's a wonderful cheese - and I bought  a fifth of a pound.  That's all I could splurge on a Vermont Cheese which sells for $15.99 per lb. --------------------------------------------------------------…

"And There Was Light" A remarkable book.

"And There Was Light" is the superb auto-memoir of Jacques Lusseyran's short (1924-1971) life.  I happened upon this book at my local Fruitville branch of the Sarasota County Library system, and read it with awe.  (It had been re-printed and re-issued by the New World Library in  March 2014).

Jacques was born to loving and intellectual Parisian parents. He sight was always poor and as a result of a tragic accident in school he was left blind at the age of eight.

This physical blindness led him to an almost mystical inner sight  (insight?) which was profound at spiritual, intellectual, and practical levels.

His book muses on life, on love, on loyalty, and on his sense of  God: all which led him to be an amazing, yeah even great,  leader in the French Resistance. 

It also tells of his betrayal (by  a devious collaborator who had joined the Resistance) and of the hell Lusseyran endured in the Buchenwald Concentration camp.

I am glad that I "happened" upon this m…

70 years on.

How things looked in 1944 and how they look today.  Hard to believe that it has been 70 years. To get this link to work. Left click, hold and drag your mouse gently from right to left on the original photoand it will become the exact same location today. Repeat the motion to take it back to the original.

A fatuous statement at a forum made my blood heat up (but not immediately boil)

Some time ago we were at one of those Church forums at which we heard a report about "life in the parish" - viz the parts of  congregational life which parishioners like and value; and the parts of that congregational life which give pause for thought.

We learned that on the whole roughly 80+% of our congregants value the music, the preaching, the liturgy and the outreach highly or very highly  -  and that they think that we do those things well.

(The pity was that the one hundred or so  parishioners who had  contributed their views had evidently  not been asked why they thought highly about these aspects of parish life. If they had been asked this it was not reported at the Forum).

None of these figures surprised me.  I think that they are typical for most congregations of whatever ilk.

In fact when I was the parish rector in four different congregations I had a theory which went like this:

 "In each of these congregations as many as 90% of the active worshippers would be…

Fear of "The Homeless"


There are no homeless in Sarasota. But we have some homeless people.


I enjoyed a late lunch with good friends on Saturday.  We were in downtown Bradenton FL., alongside the Manatee River.  That part of town has been  renewed thanks to what is known as the River walk.  It's a very pleasant area, with some grand old buildings, good restaurants, and super views of the river.

We (four of us from Sarasota FL) commented favourably not only about the restaurant, but also about the pleasant neighbourhood.

One of our table party (a good friend who lives in Bradenton) said that she no longer visits downtown Sarasota because (in her mind)  it is not safe.

"Why is it not safe?" you may ask. My table friend (I like her very much) told us that on one occasion, after being at a Cinema on Main St. Sarasota,  she had been "pan-handled" by an aggressive vagrant -  therefore in her mind the area was unsafe.

(I held my tongue and forwent the opportunity to remind her…