Friday, 18 September 2015

Donald Trump's ghastly fail.

Presidential hopeful Mr. Donald Trump registered a total fail at his recent Town Hall meeting in Rochester, N.H.
His first questioner asserted that  President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, that the President is Muslim, and that Muslims have "training camps" (for what?) in  the United States.
If Mr. Trump is a "Statesman"  ( as the Sarasota County FL Republican Club has twice asserted) he would have replied in words such as these.
1, "It is beyond doubt that the President was born on the U.S.A.  His birth certificate makes this clear".
2. "Our President is a baptised Christian".
3. "If you have information about Muslim Training Camps which are a potential  threat to national security, please report them to the F.B.I."
Instead Mr. Trump evaded the questioner by saying that  "we are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things." 
Thus Mr. Donald Trump pandered to the the all-American tradition of Nativists, "Know  Nothings"; Anti-Catholics; Anti-Semites, and Anti-Immigrants. 
This all-American tradition  is deeply embedded  in our D.N.A 

Lest you should be tempted  to not believe ( and in some cases discount)  my words, because I am  proud Liberal, please read the following from Republican Senator Lindsey  Graham.   (Taken from NBC)
"Trump remains under fire for his response to a questioner at a town hall on Thursday night, who suggested to Trump that President Barack Obama is Muslim and was not born in the United States. The man also complained of Muslim "training camps" and asked "When can we get rid of them?"
Trump told the man "we are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things." Trump's campaign clarified after that "that" meant the training camps, but many, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, attacked Trump for not standing up to the premise of the man's question.
"You had a chance here to show who you were," Graham told NBC's Andrea Mitchell. "You have to push back. We are trying to be the leader of a nation here."

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Humour 17. Refugees 7.

I posted a silly bit of humour ("Boneless Bananas")  and got seventeen likes.

I posted a heartfelt and urgent word about the shortfall in funding for the World Food Programme, and got seven likes.

Humour 17.   Refugees 7.


Here's the "nasty" about the desperate straights of the WPF


That's why I urge you to write to your Senators and Representatives in the U.S.A,, and to your Members of Parliament in the U.K.  

The U.S.A. and the U.K. can well afford to be more than generous in making grants to the WFP.


You and I can also play a part.

We are required as decent human beings to send some money to the WFP.

We are required as self-interested human beings  to do the same,

AFTER ALL we Brits and Americans have taken so much from the world's wealth.

Now it is our time to GIVE BACK


Individual gifts to the WFP  can be made at

I will send $100 per month until further notice,

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Refugees in danger of starvation: My letter to Florida Senators Nelson and Rubio, and to Rep Buchanan.

Here is the letter I wrote today  to my Florida Senators, Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R); and to my Congressman,  Vern Buchanan (R),

If you live in Florida I encourage you to send a similar message to these two Senators, and to your local Representative in Congress.

Friends in other States might wish to write in similar vein to their Senators, and to their local Congressman/Congresswomen.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Here  is my model letter.

3901 Glen Oaks Drive East, Sarasota, FL 34232   941 330 4948

16th September 2015

Dear (Senator or Representative)

As we know, the refugee crisis in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and in western European countries such as Greece, Italy and Germany, gets worse every day. 
We also know that this crisis will be exacerbated in the future, with no solution in sight.

Furthermore, there is no sentiment in the United States for anything other than a token resettlement program here.

In the meantime the World Food Program of the United Nations, and the U.N. High Commission for Refugees endure enormous financial stresses. In fact the W.F.P. will shortly be cutting rations for desperate human beings in refugee camps.

Please therefore work with your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the U.S. Government not only lives up to its “pledges” to these bodies, but also increases their funding way and above what has been promised.

Please also, as a matter of urgency, encourage the Department of State to exercise strong pressure on the wealthy countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council; urging those Nations  to live up to their responsibilities as members of the U.N. – and make generous grants to the WFP and the UNHCR. 

Since those Nations are unwilling to resettle refugees, they surely have a duty to fund the organizations such as WPF and UNHCR which provide essential and life-saving services to millions of displaced, hungry and desperate refugees.

Yours sincerely,

J. Michael Povey.


PLEASE, if you will,  copy and/or amend my letter and send it to your Senators and Representatives in Congress.

PLEASE if you can or should, make your own monetary contributions to the World Food Program, or to the UNHCR

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

This, that, the other (and Wherries)


I asked my neighbour "B" if she had heard from a former neighbour "E", who recently moved to a new home.

"Oh yes" she said, "we seen him last week".

I bit my tongue, lest I should correct her use of English grammar.

It did not help that "B" has a Brooklyn accent.  (I can be such a snob.)


The other day an announcer on our local Public Radio station was pitching some of the programmes which could be seen later in the day on Public Television.

He was touting some travel shows, and said "then you can see a travel programme about a town in Italy called Umbria.

Umbria a town?   I think not.



In the olden days the soles of shoes were stitched to the uppers.  These days they are glued.

Stitches are better than glue.

I have gone through three pairs of walking shoes during the past year.  (I walk with my dog for about three miles every day).

I've been wearing "New Balance" walking shoes.  "New Balance" is a supposedly reputable brand. Their shoes are not cheap,

Their shoes seem to be well made, but for one thing: the soles separate from the uppers long before the soles  are worn out.

That happened this week with a pair of "New Balance" shoes which I bought last June.

I attempted to re-glue the soles to the uppers, and even placed the shoes under the back wheels of my car (overnight),  to secure the bond.  That "bonding" was good for about ten minutes as  I walked early this morning.

Damitt all, surely the New Balance Company could seek a manufacturer (in China?) which crafted a better product.


Wherry. Wherries.

Why did those words come into my mind mid-afternoon today.

"Out of the blue"  I remembered that my Mum, from East Anglia, would talk about the Norfolk Wherries.

Ain't memories strange?

So here is a bit about Wherries; in East Anglia, on the River Thames, and in New England.

Norfolk Wherry on the River Bure.

Monday, 14 September 2015

A tale of two gentlemen.

Most weeks I visit two gentlemen  at a local skilled nursing facility.

Both are in their seventies.

Both have chronic illnesses that restrict their mobility and freedom.

Both are devoted Christians.

Both have family members who visit them often.


One is graciously resigned to his illness.  He, in a gentle  and uncomplaining  way,  has accepted his physical limitations.

He doesn't say much, so I try to regale him with stores of my recent activities, in an attempt to bring the world into his room.

I shared communion with him this morning, then with a cup of iced coffee in his hands, I wheeled him outside for a bit, to enjoy today's gorgeous weather.


The other hates his illness.  He is utterly frustrated by his condition.  He is angry because he can no longer make decisions about the shape and journey of his life. He is no longer "in control":  others make decisions for him, and that's tough.

I share communion with him too, and we chat about this, that and the other.  He is quick on the uptake, and "gets" even the slightest inferences in what I say.  We have lively conversations.


And I,  how will I be when a nursing home becomes my residence?

I will hate it, 'cause I love my independence and autonomy.

I wager that there will be a lot of inner grumbling and complaining on my part, if and when I become physically incapacitated,

But there'll be another side of me.

When I was a mid-teenager I kept up a respectful friendship with the woman who had been the Head Mistress of my first school, Miss Lucy Fenlon.  She told me that her earliest memories of me as a first and second grader was that I was so anxious to please others.

So I  bet that no nursing home staff will ever know that I am deeply pissed off.

I shall revert to being a first grader - and become utterly anxious to please.

Thus I will avoid the nursing home equivalent of  "John Povey, you stand in the corner until you can learn how to behave".

(Not that that ever happened to me in my school-days!).

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Good grief

He is one of my colleagues, a retired Priest at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key FL.  His beloved wife of fifty three years died some 27 months ago.

He and I were outside the Church Office last week, chatting together after a parish meeting.  I said  "it's still so hard isn't it?"

He knew what I meant. His grief is ever present.

I listened as he talked about that grief.


She lives in our neighbourhood.  I see her most mornings before daybreak, as she takes her long morning walk, and I walk with Penne my dog for the first of our five daily (1/2 mile) walks.

We encountered each other a few days ago.  Lord knows why, but I said "you must still grieve for  C." (her husband who died some eighteen months ago).

"Oh yes" she said, "and it doesn't get any better".  "And it's harder than that, I also miss our son who was killed in a road accident when he was twenty-two years old".

I'd never known about this son.  I knew that she was missing her husband, her son, and the grandchildren she never had.

I let her talk.  My job was to listen.


 "E" and I   were never close friends when  he came to be the Assistant Rector at the "big and wealthy" middle class parish in downtown Fitchburg MA, and I was the Rector at the small, poor, and decidedly blue-collar parish  in West Fitchburg,

But I liked what he wrote, and I like what he said.

He moved to a parish in Worcester MA, and I moved to a parish in  Chicopee MA. We would meet at various and sundry events for Episcopal Church clerics in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and although we never became close friends, we respected and liked each other.

I will never forget the day when, at one of those god-awful and dreary "Clergy Days" we were divided into small groups to discuss (get this) our "Philosophy of Ministry".

We looked at our feet in embarrassed silence.  What the hell were we supposed to say?

He nailed it by saying:  "My philosophy of ministry is this:  I am farting around hopefully."

Damn!  Ain't that the truth!

 "E" moved to West Virginia and I moved to Pittsfield, MA.

But, good Lord above, we re-connected when I moved to become the Rector at  St. James's Church Cambridge, MA in 2000.

"E" was now retired, and  lived in Bath, ME.   He and his wife had divorced.

 He would often drive down from Maine to worship God at the Cambridge church.

As  did a devoted Christian named "G"   whom  I'd known "at a distance" in my Fitchburg days, and who was by then was also divorced from his wife,

"G"   liked the Cambridge congregation so much that  every Sunday he would drive the 40 or so miles from Fitchburg to be there,

The long and the short of this is that  (E)  and   (G) and I  became re-united when I became the Cambridge Rector in 2000,  These two "Fitchburg-connection" men were same-sex partners, in a delightful union.

Their commitment   was so delightful that I presided at a Eucharist of Celebration for their holy union, (immediately following their civil marriage),  at St. James's Cambridge, back in 2006..

But dammit all, (G)  aged only 60, died in his sleep about four  weeks ago.

The love of his life (E) is understandably devastated, Who would not be so?

So I called (E)  the other day, not to offer counsel, but simply to listen to his grief,

What else (more or less)  should I have done?


LISTENING  is the clue.

Whether the griefs we encounter be one, three, or thirty years old, the best gift that we can offer to our grieving friends is not good advice, but a listening ear,