Friday, 20 July 2018

Family resemblance

Two photo's from a mass gathering of Golden Retrievers in Scotland on 20th July 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of their development.

The 150th anniversary of the founding of the golden retriever has been celebrated at the breed's ancestral home in the Highlands.

The breed was created at Tomich near Glen Affric in the 1800s by landowner Dudley Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth.

Scotland 1

Scotland 2


Two photo's  of my beloved Zion

The day I adopted him

With Jacob T, the son of Andi T (former Associate Rector at St. Boniface, Siesta Key, FL) and of Jonathan T.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County pegged Zion as a spaniel.  But I am willing to bet that he also has a fair bit of Golden Retriever in his family tree.


My friend Mary C said of the Goldens in Scotland  "and they are all smiling".

The same has been said of Zion.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The First Emancipator a story unknown to most Americans.

Random House 2005

I've just finished reading this book  (hint, hint - my copy is going back to the Sarasota County Library system on Friday 20th).

It's a remarkable account of Robert Carter III an extremely wealthy northern Virginia plantation and slave owner in the latter days of the colonial era, and the early days of the new American republic,  who in 1791 by Deed of Gift freed almost 500 slaves.

Carter was by no means an idealist, and his journey from being a member of the Colonial era aristocracy to becoming a great emancipator was a tortuous voyage which took forty years.  He wrestled with his inheritance, his education, his family and his religious convictions, and his soul. Indeed he was a tortured soul.

He left the Latitudinarian Church of England and became a Baptist, in the days when Baptists were new to Virginia. The elites regarded them as being outside the bounds of respectable society

He loved the egalitarian impulses of those early Baptists where slave and free, back and white worshiped together, prayed together and received Communion together. 

But as the white members of his Baptist Church attained greater social respectability the leaders sought every excuse to excommunicate slaves.

Carter left them, and flirted with The Church of the New Jerusalem  (Swedenborgians) when he left Virginia and moved to his late wife's birthplace in Baltimore.  But his soul was ever restless.

Robert Carter never had a Damascus Road experience.  His conversion took more than forty years.

But thanks to Andrew Levy's great  (and extensively researched) book we are introduced to a Founding Father who has been ignored or written out by most historians of the emergence of the United States from the thirteen British Colonies. 


Here is a better review of the book than I could ever write.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Antiques Road Show

I've had these pliers for oh so many years.  Indeed I used them two days ago to push an errant lens on my sunglasses back into the frame.  "Necessity is the mother of invention"?

As I took a closer look I noted two words which my suggest that my pliers are an antique.

Japan.  Who remembers when our markets were flooded with all manner of Japanese made artifacts?   It was the end of the world as we knew it, and we did not feel fine.

Now the operative word would be CHINA.

Sears.  Who remembers when the catalogues and stores of Sears, Roebuck & Co. were "the place to go"  for well made and reasonably priced items, everything from a pin to an anchor?

Who now automatically thinks of Sears when needing a car repair, a washing machine and drier, a new dress, a new suit, bedding, underwear, towels etc?

The changing patterns of retail shopping (and poor management) mean that Sears is now but a shadow of its former self.

But I'll hang on to my Sears/Japan pliers in the hope that my grand children will treasure them as an antique.

Ooops!  I'm not married and it's now too late to beget children and grandchildren. 😄

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Red Light

No, I did not run a red traffic light.  (About five years ago I ran an orange/amber light  on the way to Church.   I was caught.  The camera did not lie.  I paid a fine of $158.)   So I am utterly cautious at traffic lights.

No, heaven forfend, I have not been in a Red Light District.  I am sometimes bad and sometimes stupid -  but not that bad or that stupid!


On Monday 16th I asked my trusty barber Patrick to cut my hair as short as he could.

This was to get me ready for  my Dermatological Surgeon's Red Light treatment today.

I have a squamous cell carcinoma on my pate which has resisted liquid nitrogen treatments, the use of the noxious "Carac" cream, and scraping.

The surgeon has been loath to treat it with MOHS surgery 'cause it's quite large  (1" x 3/4" )  so she recommended the Red Light treatment,  in order to shrink the carcinoma to a manageable size before MOHS

I was at her office at 10:00 this morning in order to have  a chemical agent applied to the spot.  ( The picture above is what I looked like after the chemical application).

Then, after the chemical had brooded for three and a half hours,  I was back at the office so that the treated area could be subjected to intense and burning red light. It hurt quite a bit, but the P.A. spritzed my pate with cold water to minimize the burning heat.

I'll have to avoid bright sun from reaching my pate for a day or two, and then wait to see if the carcinoma has indeed shrunk, and made it ready for a bit of MOHS.

All this may seem to be small beer,  except that a dear friend of mine ignored his squamous cell carcinomas, and then ignored the more dangerous basal cell carcinomas which metathesized to his whole body,  and led to his early death.


Has my brain been fried?  Only you can tell!!

Making my voice heard in Congress




I did what I had to do and called Florida's two Senators, and the Congressman for my district to express my utter dismay and deep alarm about President Trump's recent press conference with President Putin.

To place Putin on a level playing field with the Intelligence services of the United States on the matter of Russian interference in the 2016 election is surely a betrayal of our national interests, a betrayal which should be unequivocally condemned and repudiated in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

I asked the Senators and the Congressman to address this with boldness, and with loyalty to the U.S. Constitution.

For Florida voters

Senator Nelson (D)  202 224 5274
Senator Rubio (R) 202 224 3041
Representative Buchanan 202 225 5015 (I am in his District but I think that south Sarasota County is represented  by Rep Pat Toomey)

I got voice mail for Nelson and Rubio, I spoke to a living human being for Buchanan.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Roosevelt/Stalin Trump/Putin

Remember when Joseph Stalin was familiarly known as "Uncle Joe" in the chief western allies  (the  United Kingdom and the United States).  Uncle Joe was on our side in the battle to defeat the Third Reich.  

Few will remember that the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic's military forces were supplied with huge amounts of American military materials for the fight.

Uncle Joe was on our side, but Joseph Stalin had grimmer and more devious plans for a   "Soviet Empire"  which in due course led to the economic and political slavery of such countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia etc, from 1945 - 1991.

Uncle Joe was wily.  Churchill and Roosevelt were naive. 

Churchill had an over abundance of confidence in his skills as a military strategist and a political negotiator.

Roosevelt was physically exhausted and weary.  By February 1945 he was close to death.

There were two major war time conferences between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt in the WW 2 era.

Tehran 1943 at which Churchill agreed to open a western front in the fight against Hitler leading to "Operation Overlord" in 1944.  The Russians invented a Nazi plot to assassinate  Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt in Tehran and persuaded FDR to move into their Embassy -  just where they could spy in him!)

Yalta Feb 1945 (ironically Yalta is in Crimea), where the sick and weary Roosevelt and the over confident and brash Churchill agreed to the post war division of Europe.  

Later in 1945 there was the Potsdam Conference. Stalin was the ever present Svengali .  Roosevelt had died, Harry Truman was now the USA President.  The U.K. was at first represented by Churchill bur following his defeat in the 1945 General Election his place was taken by the new U.K. Premier, Clement Attlee.  

Postdam led to the ultimate western betrayal of Poland (and that's a story in its own right).  Uncle Joe won.


Dear readers I am not a historian nor have I had advanced studies in history.   

Bear that in mind as I ask: "if Roosevelt and Churchill were so mistaken in their beliefs that a charm offensive would tame Uncle Joe what would lead us to believe that the willfully ill prepared Donald Trump will charm Putin in their one on one in Helsinki?"

If President Trump passively or actively accedes to the Russian annexation of the Crimea then the leaders of the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will have abundant reason to fear the Russian Bear.

Yalta 1945

Yalta revividus?

Here are some quotations from Wikipedia re Yalta etc

(1)       Roosevelt conceded that, in the words of Admiral William D. Leahy, the language of Yalta was so vague that the Soviets would be able to "stretch it all the way from Yalta to Washington without ever technically breaking it."

(2)       By March 21, Roosevelt's Ambassador to the USSR Averell Harriman cabled Roosevelt that "we must come clearly to realize that the Soviet program is the establishment of totalitarianism, ending personal liberty and democracy as we know it."[21] Two days later, Roosevelt began to admit that his view of Stalin had been excessively optimistic and that "Averell is right."

(3)       Roosevelt had brushed off warnings of a potential domination by a Stalin dictatorship in part of Europe. He explained that "I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man" and reasoned, "I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, 'noblesse oblige', he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.