Saturday, 30 June 2018

Separating Immigrant Families: THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE American history you have probably missed.

There have been rallies coast to coast today to witness against the cruel and unusual punishments which are being visited upon would be immigrants by the Trump/Sessions regime.

Pictured above is the Boston Rally which was addressed by the always magnificent Senator Elizabeth Warren  (D. MA.)

I am not certain that the rallies will change the (closed) minds of any of the leaders of the current administration in the White House, and in the Congress.   

But they will strengthen the resolve of patriotic citizens in the streets and in the Congress who are calling Americans to their better angels.

Some of these wise and worthy patriots hold banners which read "This is not who we are" in reference to the current immigration policies and directives.

SORRY  but this a a part of who we have always been,  since the chilling descriptions of native American  in the Declaration of Independence as "merciless Indian Savages"; and the fudge on slavery in the Constitutional settlement.


You all know the history of slavery, of the trail of tears, of the Civil War, of the post-reconstruction Jim Crow laws and lynchings, of the Civil Rights era.

How many know about the evil ethnic cleansing of Mexicans in the U.S.A. (many of them U.S. Citizens) between 1929 and 1936.  

Up to 1.8 million U.S. residents of Mexican descent  (many were U.S. citizens) were "repatriated"  (there's a fancy euphemism for you")  to Mexico.

You can read about this here

Or you can do your own research on the 1929/36 Mexican Repatriation.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Make up your mind PLEASE

Posters in an elevator at Anchin Pavilion, Sarasota.

Zion and I were at Anchin for our dog therapy visits.  Here are the five posters on the walls of the elevator.

Should I tell them that it is Iced Tea?

Who knew that June could be so busy day.

I am rooting for National Accordion Month on the basis that there is only one more full day in June 2018.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The number 83 'bus.

I grew up on Devon Road in the Whitehall district of Bristol, U.K. 

It was by no means a major thoroughfare, but as a youngster I thought it to be a very important road, 'cause it was on a 'bus route.

The route was number 83.  It was served by Bristol built single decker buses, very much like the 1938 model portrayed here.

I remember taking the number 83 into "town" with my mother. (To this day the shopping area in the centre of Bristol is referred to as "town",  e.g.  "I went into town"). 

My  particular memory  was probably from  1949/50/51 but  there was something different about this especial  'bus.  

The seats were not upholstered.  Nor were they plastic (which had not been created).

Rather,  they were wooden slat seats, rather like a park bench.  I asked Mum about this.  "Oh", she said "it's a utility 'bus.".

"Utility"   that was the name attached to furniture, clothing etc which was made in the U.K. during WW II.  By Government fiat such items were made to strict specifications in order save and preserve limited resources.  For instance men's trousers were to be made without turn-ups (uk) cuffs (usa) in order to save a few inches of precious fabric.

Back to the 83 bus:

We got off in Carey's Lane with its "Tatler" and "Empire" Theatres, and nearby Redcross St and Elbroad St.

We wandered through to Castle St, the premier shopping street before WW II.  Most of it had been flattened by the bombs which had missed their indended targets -  the Bristol City Docks.

I could see the door way paving stones,  (undestroyed by the bombs),  to the various stores (Boots the Chemist;  Freeman, Hardy and Willis etc.), but the only buildings left intact were the Bristol Cooperative Society  Departmental store, and a branch of the British Home Stores.

Mum would tell me of the pre-war shopping expeditions to Castle St. on Saturday nights when the stores stayed open late.  I could hardy believe her.  All I saw were ruins.

Oh yes, there was also a News Theatre -  a cinema which only showed newsreels.  Mum dragged me in to watch some footage about the British Royal Family.  I was bored.

Just around the corner on Union St. there was a "British Restaurant", one of the few WWII and later 1940's cafes which were sanctioned by the government throughout the U.K. in rationing days,  and served dreadful food!

Urban renewal came along in the 1960's.  As a youth of that era I thought that it was great.   I was happy that the old was being torn down in favour of the new, modern, and automobile-centric world.

As an old fart I am not so sure.  Our cities are being choked to death by cars.

In urban renewal Carey's Lane vanished and was absorbed by a faster?  urban road.  Elbroad St vanished.  Castle Street became an urban park.  

A new shopping centre was built in an area known as Broadmead,  (was it once a broad meadow?).   Milk Street, Old King Street and Philadelphia St  (Bristolians always called it  Philly-i- fi Street) disappeared.

Broadmead was greeted as the latest greatest thing when it was developed in the 1960's.    But it has never been well loved despite efforts to improve it, e.g.  The Galleries and Cabot Circus.  It totters along even as patterns of retail shopping change.

It's never been well loved because  (I think)  it was a planners' dream which was imposed on parts of the City Centre.

Cities used to grow organically.  With higgly-piggly narrow streets and two story buildings they were human friendly.

Planned developments (especially in retail)  are soulless.  They are designed  to sell merchandise, but not to nurture human social intercourse.

I rant on!  

Give me a day or two and I'll rant again, this time  about the abominable and horribly named "University Town Center" a retail scourge in north east Sarasota County FL  and south east Manatee County FL. 

It has nothing to do with a University; it is not a Town; and it is the Center of nothing!.

Here are some pics of Bristol U.K  both pre and post World War 2. 

I (born in 1944) remember some but not all of these places.

The  Castle St which my Dad and Mum knew before WWII

Castle St after the bombing, Mum would take us to the Co-op Departmental Store, one of two or three buildings which survived the Blitz.

The Tatler Cinema on Carey's Lane. It was renowned for showing  X rated films.  There I saw my first Nudie films in which buxom young women played Volley ball, with the camera always above the waist!

The late great Empire Theatre also on Carey's Lane and  owned in my time by the BBC.  There I went aged 10 or 11  to record a Junior School Choir performance  for the BEEB. . I had to piddle  and encountered a male urinal for the very first time.  My Dad explained it later  when I got home.

A few ancient buildings in Broadmead escaped both the bombs and urban renewal.. This one bears the odd name of "Quakers Friars". Once upon a time it was a Friary.  Much later it was a Quaker Meeting House (I think). For many years it was a City  Office at which Civil Weddings took place.  Now it is an "event centre".

Bristol was one of the hubs and hearts of John Wesley's preaching.  It was here that he built a "New Room" in the Horsefair, a place where he could lodge and teach.  He was clear that it was not a new Church (he claimed to be  a loyal Anglican)., but a Meeting Room.

His New Room survived the bombs and the urban planners.   I try to visit it whenever I am in Bristol.

Last but not least the post war planners  of Broadmead sustained the Lower Arcade,  which had survived the bombs.  It's not as grand as the Arcade in Milan (Italy), but it is better than nothing that  than it has survived  Urban renewal  fanaticism 


And I miss the wonderful # 83 bus of my childhood.

It was my 'bus, not yours!

My ear worm du jour.

From where in my memory did this early 20th Century song come?

My Old Man is a music hall song written in 1919[1] by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins, made popular by Marie Lloyd.
The song, although humorous, also reflects some of the hardships of working class life in London at the beginning of the 20th century. It joined a music hall tradition of dealing with life in a determinedly upbeat fashion. In the song a couple are obliged to move house, after dark, because they cannot pay their rent. At the time the song was written, most London houses were rented, so moving in a hurry – a moonlight flit – was common when the husband lost his job or there was insufficient money to pay the rent.
The couple rush to fill up the van, and its tailboard, with their possessions, in case the landlord appears. When the van is packed up, however, there is no room left for the wife. The husband therefore instructs her to follow the van, which she does, carrying the pet bird. Unfortunately, en route, the wife loses her way after stopping at a pub for a drink. Thereafter, she reflects that it would be ill-advised to approach one of the volunteer policemen (a "special"), as they are less trustworthy than a regular police constable (a "copper") and might take advantage of her inebriation. Alternatively (according to the physical gestures accompanying the song) they may simply be less qualified to give dependable street directions.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


MOHS surgery today with my Dermatological Surgeon.

Please resist  the temptation  to send this photo'  to G.Q. Magazine.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Heart sound (yeah) and other matters.

I had a follow up today at Heart Specialists of Sarasota following my cardiac procedure last year.

The news was good.  My heart rate is perfect, as is my blood pressure.  My next follow up is not for a year.

I like the Heart Specialists practice.  Every member of staff is friendly and amenable, and the appointments are always on time.

My surgeon is one Dr. Frederick Yturralde.  He is extremely skilled.  His "bedside manner" is so great that I want to greet him by saying "Hallo Fred"!.

Since my follow up was uncomplicated we had time to chat about other matters.

We pondered about the importance of good information and "facts".

We agreed that information and facts have a very limited range when it comes to behaviour.


The Diabetic will nod her/his head in assent in the Doctor's Office when given information about diet,  but continue to cheat on dietary  restrictions.

The Cardiac patient will receive sound information, but continue to smoke.

The Alcoholic will promise to quit when told about her/his liver disease, and stop for a Six Pack on the way home.


The good Doctor and I prattled on a bit. I mentioned the recent Starbuck's Coffee trainings of their staff about unconscious racial bias.  

It was a noble, but ultimately futile effort.

For at the end of such training the good Baristas will have good information about unconscious bias:- information which will be  useful in a utilitarian sense ("I must remember this at work"), but which will not necessarily change his/her way of life in the neighborhood, at the local bar, or at the polling station.


Of course the facts are important.   But facts alone will not change beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

For that we need encounter.  Face to face encounter.  Every dime which Starbuck's has expended on staff training is wasted unless their  Baristas encounter people who are not a bit like them,  as colleagues, middle managers, and upper level managers.


Here are the facts:  so say people of the left and of the right in the U.K and in the U.S.A. in these days of utterly polarised and divisive politics.

" Here are the facts":  -  'tis a useless  way to change minds and behaviours. 

Information and facts have their place, but they are of dubious value with regard to discussing and amending  attitudes in the U.K. Brexit debate; and in the American immigration disagreements.

We can choose to lob our right or left factual grenades  into the thin air of Facebook ( purposefully designed by Facebook to make each "side" feel good,  whether left or right).  That's all to easy.

The harder way is by  encounter, learning, and careful listening to those who are not a bit like us.

That encounter, learning,  and careful listening will never happen in cyber-space, and is doomed to failure on Facebook.

Good try, but ultimate failure by Mark Zuckerberg. 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Brexit Humour

On Saturday 23rd June 2018  some 100,000 remainers ( people who believe that the U.K should remain in the European Union) marched through the streets of London.  Some of their posters/banners were very funny.  

Four of the most obnoxious remainers:  Tory  M.P.'s Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove, right wing gadfly Nigel Farage, and Tory M.P. Boris Johnson.


Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.


As they might say in Massachusetts  "Wicked Funny".


Speaks for itself


Inept Prime Minister Theresa May, and Indecisive Leader of the (Parliamentary) Opposition Jeremy Corbyn (in her handbag) prepare to jump off the white cliffs of Dover.


As for the Brexit plan and negotiations with the E.U. It's a mess. As my friend Bishop Barbara Harris would say  "it's like trying to put pantyhose on an Octopus"