Showing posts from 2019

An End Of The Year Message From J. Michael Persnickety.

Despite what you may have read, said, seen on T.V., heard on the Radio, or believed  this is not the end of a decade.

The decade began in January  2011 and will end in December 2020.

Think about it.   We count from 1-10, not from 0-9.

The Gregorian Calendar  (Pope Gregory XIII) was introduced in 1587.  It revised the Julian Calendar (Julius Caesar 45 BC), a noble work which had small errors in the calculation of the Earth's annual journey around the Sun.

The Gregorian calendar ( now the international calendar for trade, diplomacy and travel) corrected most of the errors of the Julian.

Pope Gregory, for good or for ill, decided that the first year of  Our Lord (the birth of  Jesus)  would be A.D. 1 ;  prior years were designated B.C,  (before Christ).

Thus the first decade, in the Calendar we all use,  began in January A.D. 1, and ended in A.D. 10.

So  it is that our current decade began in Jan 2011 and will end in Dec 2020, not in Dec 2019.

These things are important  to old coots such as…

If I'd had better eyesight I'd have seen this New Year coming.


I Have The Chief Ingredients

I'll cook them on 31st December 2019.

Once  cooked in vegetable stock, with celery, green onion and diced tomatoes,  I plan to enjoy the finished meal on 1st January 2020.

Wish you could be here.

The Good And The Ghastly

The Good

So much prime rib with the fixings left over from Christmas Day!

Enough to give me re-heated Christmas dinners on December 26th and 27th.

Even then I had a huge chunk of leftover meat.  "Waste not, want not";  so it went into pretty decent Beef Curry.

The Ghastly

Bought a baguette at the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market this morning (29th Dec) from a so called French Bakery.

What a fail!

You can see that the crust is under cooked.  Beneath the crust the bread was horribly chewy (as chewy as Alligator meat - which itself  is similar to  munching on slightly salty rubber bands). 

What a disappointment.

Never Mind.

Life is not perfect.   
The Beef Curry was great. 
The Baguette will be redeemed when it is  toasted for breakfast.

St. John's College, Nottingham U.K -My Theological College (Seminary) is closing

St. John's College, Nottingham, U.K.  my theological  Alma Mater, and dear to my heart in many ways will close in September 2020.    I trained there for ordained ministry between 1972 and 1976.

St. John's had a life span of 135 years,  It flourished in the olden days when the typical path to ordination in the C of E  was for men
who had completed high school; had taken a Bachelors Degree at Oxford, Cambridge  or some lesser University!; and almost immediately (at age about 23), had entered a Theological College.

Even by my time that pattern had begun to unravel.  I was 28 years old when I enrolled at St. John's, sans any prior degree,

My way was paid by a generous grant from the County Council of Oxfordshire  - in which County I was living at the time,

Those County grants have all but dried up. 

The typical seminarian is now more likely to be female than male; and/or in her or his thirties or even forties. For such there are  no Government grants.

The dough is no longer there.

So …

Savour the Season

The Christmas Season for Christians begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th.  

Jan 6th is known as "The Feast of the Epiphany" for some Christians; or as  "Little Christmas" for others.)

I anticipate and savour the twelve day  season by not opening and enjoying my Christmas Cards until December 25th.

I got behind this year, so I did not open my Cards until December 26th (Boxing Day, or St. Stephen's Day.)

Not to worry.  December 26th is still in the Christmas Season.

I enjoyed the slow process of opening each and every one; savouring the love and care which each card offers.

(And I use  a paper knife which my brother Martyn and his wife Wendy gave me for my 65th birthday.  I  reserve it  for use only in the Christmas Season).

A Belly Laugh On Christmas Day

Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas.

As a matter of fact, neither did the earliest Christians.

On Christmas Day 2019 two middle+ aged J.W's (a woman and a man)  were making their quiet witness in Arlington Park.  They sat quietly on a bench opposite the dog park, with an easel which announced their presence, waiting with patience in the event that some person would care to hear their witness.  

As I walked by the woman made a wee fuss of Zion, and the three of us said hallo,

Then, knowing that J.W's do not observe Christmas, and with  twinkle in my eye I said  "Happy Wednesday"

The man caught my humour and burst into a great belly laugh.  He knew that I was not being unkind.

"You caught my humour" I said,   "Oh yes" he replied, and this time the woman joining him, we all laughed again.

Christmas Feast 2019

Bone in prime rib roast.

A rare treat(as it should be).

Delicious of course(seasoned with an appropriate amount of  liberal guilt, and  a modicum of self justification)

O Holy Night -- Nat King Cole Nails It

I post this every year at Christmastide.  Nat King Cole sings "O Holy Night" .  I love his voice, and I admire his diction .


For more about this song; the prejudice which almost damned it; and the faith which renewed it, read on:-

The History of "O Holy Night" The following is not my writing.  I "lifted it" from the WWW

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 bu…

Christmas Greetings From Florida.

There is a town of Florida in Massachusetts.  Photo' via my friend Bill T.


Massachusetts also has the town of Peru.

Hospital / Clinic Humour

Via Dave M

With apologies to Lewis Carroll

'Twas Borigg, and the slithy tories.

FOOD!! (Yum time)

My breakfast today, Friday 20th Dec 2019

 Smoked trout, heirloom tomato, and toast.   So good!

The toast was made with  the French Batard which I bought at the LWR Farmers' Market last Sunday. The toast  is crunchy and crispy, in the English style;  not like the warmed up and soggy bread which passes for toast in American breakfast joints. So there!

I call it Batard Pain grillĂ© a les Anglais. Ain't that fancy!


And I made a healthy snack food today.

Curried Chick Peas.

I'd heard of them, and I created my own recipe.

Place 1 can/tin of chick peas, into a saucepan with the juices from the can/tin, or preferably with vegetable stock - enough to cover a chick peas by at least half an inch.

Add one or one and a half teaspoons full of curry powder and stir well. Curry snobs will disdain the use of store bought curry powder. So what - I am not James Beard!

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer and …

Humour for dark days

From my friend Rick F.(I had to sing the song before I got this!)


From my friend Dave M.

So tired

18th December 2019, 8:10 p.m.
Nothing smart, wise, or funny from me this evening.

I am utterly tired.

So it's off to bed I go.

Night night!

There was no merit in this - and I MUST NOT be praised.

This afternoon I wanted to turn east from a north side shopping plaza onto 17th St. Sarasota.

There was an almost non stop parade of west bound traffic, so it was easier to turn west, and then use a frontage road in front of the Butchers Block shop to effect an U-turn.  

I entered the frintage. She raced over and blocked my way.  "Surely", I thought, "she has come to admire Zion", whose head was hanging out of the driver's side back window.

Not a chance!

"Could you", she said "buy me a gallon of  gas?"  I need to get back to Clark Rd.  (There is a gas station about 200 yards from where we were.)

In such circumstances I'd normally fish for a couple of dollar bills and some loose change, enough for a gallon of gas.

But all I had in my bill fold was a Ten Dollar bill which I handed to her, (without much graciousness on my part),

She "God blessed" me, and we went our separate ways.

Did she need money for gas?  I'll never know.  It'…

Light Headed

via David La D.

At The Lakewood Ranch (FL) Farmers' Market Today.

My friend Ashley (Chrisman) Lloyd took me there.

I liked it more than the Saturday downtown market in Sarasota which is often over crowded and noisy.

The seasonal Lakewood Ranch market takes place in the parking lot of the local hospital,  so there is more than adequate parking space;  and a spacious market area.

There is so much truly locally sourced food -  grown or made in the  locality. 

My eyes and my nose were almost  more seductive than my budget allowed.

 I settled for this:

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

I met one of these handsome dogs at the Park this afternoon.  Such beauty.

His owner told me that he is a fierce and determined watch dog.  Out of his territory he was a gentle sweetheart,

I fussed with him for a bit, then turned to talk to his owner.  He pawed me for more!

I told her  (the owner)  that I will think of him as a Turkish Delight!

A Slogan And An Enemy


He did not need a programme, a manifesto or a vision. All that Donald Trump needed as he ran for the Presidency of the United States was a slogan, and an enemy.

He successfully demonised Hillary Clinton. She, he said, "lies like crazy about everything".  He called her "crooked Hillary".  His supporters lapped it up.   Who can forget the crowds chanting "lock her up, lock her up", led of all people, by a retired Army General.

The programme, the plan, was summed up in four words Make America Great Again.  He did not have to define the greatness that supposedly had been lost; he did not have to say what a renewed greatness would look like; he did not have to set out a plan to "renew" that greatness.

He did not need to do any of those things - his devoted supporters, perhaps 20,000 of them in a gathering place, all wearing MAGA hats kn…

What made the cut this week.

On the left as you look at the photo' Zion's Wednesday incision.

On the right  Dr. Bogart's Friday incision.  


Incisive comments are welcome, but please, no cutting remarks.

Prince Zion of Sarasota (the perfect dog) bit me

Or maybe he didn't.

Last evening, 11th Dec 2019 I was having my usual good night snuggle with Zion.

He, quite out of character, barked in the midst of our love fest.

And I, to my great surprise, suffered a Zion bite to my forehead.

Oh my dear, precious and wonderful Zion.

I know that you did not mean to bite me;  but as you barked, your teeth and my forehead came into connection. 


Of course I did not scold Zion.  He did not growl or snarl,he simply "woofed".

What I suppose is that as I cuddled with Zion some outside noise spooked him, so he barked, and hit my forehead by mistake.

He always  lets out just one deep throat-ed bark when ever a person or dog is close to my front door.  That's good.

Indeed, if a passing butterfly farts, Z. lets out a strong bark

U.K. General Election

The voting is today.  

We will not know the full result until Friday 'cause the Brits  (thank goodness) still use paper ballots, to be counted by hand. In some constituencies the count will not begin until Friday morning.

Whatever the result, know this

Boris Johnson is a lying weasel.

Do you know this place?


Music for the time of the year: The wild and wonderful; and the deep and peaceful. Good for believers and non-believers one and allli

The wild and wonderful - fabulous for the Christian season of Advent; utterly wonderful for all.

(thank you Mark D for the head tip on this link)

John the Baptist   (as you have never seen him before) in London


The deep and the peaceful from Ireland;  set to gorgeous music by John Rutter and sung by Libera


Cafe Baci nails it (truth in humour)

As well as having a deserved reputation for excellent Italian food, Sarasota's Cafe Baci is also known for its corny or funny signs.

Today's took the biscuit.  I couldn't stop to take a photo' 'cause of heavy traffic.  But here is what it said:

If you are paying $5 for a bottle of smart water then it isn't working.

(Tee and Hee from Mee)

The Human Costs Of Urban Environmental Degradation..

A vitally important paper by my friend Derrick Z Jackson.

Why do I keep this stuff?

When I moved from the U.K. to the U.S.A. in 1976 I packed a large wooden crate with all manner of items I thought I'd like to have in my new home.

The crate was shipped and in due course I picked it up in Boston Harbour.  It just about fit into the back of a large station wagon I'd borrowed for the purpose.

Lord knows why, but I included files with every essay I had written in my four year seminary stint.   I never re-read them.  They joined Pittsfield's paper recycling programme in 2000, together with every Christmas and birthday card I had received between 1976 and 2000.   

(I had thought that I would revisit the cards  in my dotage, but after looking at a few signed (for instance)  "blessings Harry" or "love Helen" it occurred to me that I hadn't the faintest idea about  which Helen or which Harry had sent me the card!)  Out the cards went.

And there was a cross I had bought in Obersdorf,  Germany in about 1971  (I still have it); some items I bought…