Tuesday, May 31, 2016

acrostic of the absurd

As a schoolboy, summer was my favorite time of year. Always. And my topmost favorite long moment was the walk home from the last day of school until September. Exhilaration. Time. Freedom. One with William, for the lucky enough to have known, or been, Richmal Crompton’s boy William. 

But this predawn’s 77F 93% would not have bothered me in those days before air conditioning with the attic fan droningly pulling damp outside air into the open window and across my bed. 

Coming upon the news, some who Text & Drive will be among the righteous indignant outraged that a gorilla was killed to rescue a four year old boy. Same mentality of decades-unborn second-guessers who beat the breast about Hiroshima and Nagasaki that saved a generation of 18 and 19 year old Americans from Operation Downfall in Pearl Harbor's karma. My loving patience with the righteous indignant is nonexistent. Lingering Memorial Day afterbitter? OK. I remember, as they cannot.

Discipline of Bible Seminar this morning, last and final one. Thinking to leave with acrostics, ancient Hebrew demanding imagination and forced but not laureate poetry. 

Every day counts at this age.

Flashing red channel marker just off my starboard porch. Haze. Promise: hot summer, warm ocean, active hurricanes. Final red flash with daylight at exactly 201605310528 CDT: missed it by a split second.

Guess I miss a lot of things, opportunities, chances. Pelicans. Flashing lights, red and green. Stuff of life.

Just don't care
Know what I mean?
Let me know
Maybe today
Not too early
Only a word or two
Possibly three
Quite short keep it
Right now
Zilch and zed.


Monday, May 30, 2016

pint o' bitter

Memorial Day here at my Bay window where binocular shows many boats at Shell Island, more heading across. I’m all chair & view over salt, surf, sun & sand. Tomorrow, final Bible Seminar, something new come September, life brings change and surprise, doesn’t it, and at the concert yesterday Captain Jack reminded me I can be whatever I want to. Truth, I can look around at life and confirm: four-score years that has been so. Same for most anyone: be what you will.

Election year, at long last Ordinary Americans protest the in-crowd. If Ordinary Americans were serious, instead of just shouting Bernie and The Donald they would be voting out of office the McConnells and Reids and every other son of a leach whose sole interest is making a political career on our taxes and padding their retirement on the income of our great-greatgrandchildren. I still like my constitutional amendment: one term, we shake your hand and gift you a one-way bus ticket home. Two terms, you walk up the gallows steps to a different free sendoff. 

That’s no way to talk, is it.

What’s happening here for the good? Spring Break seems history, thanks to PCB citizens who voiced, voted and prevailed over insatiable greed. 

Memorial Day. My heroes are named on The Wall, one by one. 

Taste of asperity? Touch of fingers and tip of tongue. 


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thou shalt ...

Thou shalt do no murder

Hercule Poirot dead of heart failure, I can hardly believe it. The walk. Mustache. The astonishing mental precision. Finally, the twisting, weaving of morals and ethics to deal with legal impossibilities, while clinging to the rosary. 

Having been there, the implausibility was Poirot with his angina lifting the villain’s sleeping body from chair to wheelchair and wheelchair to bed. But I learned that I do like television after all. English mysteries. Miss Marple. Father Brown. Poirot. And there’s another priest isn’t there, an English vicar. But with Poirot's death, humanity’s loss of such fiery synapses; see, they all stop in Time, a light turned off, a candle snuffed. 

As for the Sixth Commandment, how deontological shall we be with Hercule standing in for Yhwh? Or may we rule in partnership with? We should judge, eh, in our age in which rules of warfare, death and killing have so changed.

Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.  


Saturday, May 28, 2016

ἀγαπή to φιλέω

ἀγαπή to φιλέω:
finally ὁράω the difference

What to say when so stunned you don’t know what to say, if anything. Or whether perhaps good, better, best keep your mouth shut lest you showcase the fool yet one more time again. One name, how many blanks are on the board for the Weller Scholar award that was inaugurated last night at the Holy Nativity Episcopal School middle school graduation? Congratulations, Ivy! and will they really continue it, and that long? How long does an honor last, how long does honor itself last? How long does ἀγαπή last? What if and when they discover and realize others were first and before and far more to be honored? Because there were, and are, and I can name them.

Even refusing to start a paragraph with “I” I cannot believe this happened, ἀγαπή you loved me, us, by surprise. ἀγαπή - - no, more than ἀγαπή — even φιλέω: we got affectioned, cherished last night.

That’s all I can say. 

Sometime this morning I’m going out and tell Bill about this - -

My history with this school I so dearly love begins September 1941


Friday, May 27, 2016

Lord, I am not worthy ...

An interesting story, all three versions of which (Luke 7, Matthew 8, John 4) the ill one is in Capernaum and Jesus heals him from afar at the request of an anxious Gentile who believes in Jesus. Each evangelist tells differently. In Luke the patient is a slave who is ill and dying and the centurion sends Jewish elders to Jesus. Matthew has a servant (different Greek word) who is paralyzed and the centurion himself comes to Jesus. In John a royal official (we aren’t told his rank) whose son is dying comes to Jesus in Cana, a distance away. Some scholars have Luke and Matthew using Sayings Gospel Q as source, John the Signs Gospel (both hypothetical documents) and this is the Second Sign; or maybe Luke condensing Matthew. Maybe we’ll look at it in Sunday School. For sure, we won’t be talking about the presidential election.

Gospel for Sunday, May 29, 2016
Luke 7:1-10

1 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’ 6And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ 9When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ 10When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Pic: ship leaving Port of Panama City about half an hour ago, six o'clock or so this morning, early sun on her bridge.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

... and timely.

It’s the clouds, I think, that make it, the sky, sunset, sunrise, whatever goes on between. And reverse, the day and today’s thought from Bob Dylan, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” That’s where I am, in retirement a success at last, doing what I DWP. That’s where it matters though, as we find out soon enough. Inevitable regrets, but important not to be ashamed when we get here. 

It’s the moon too. Waning and a rising - -

Barbara Crafton’s piece this morning, a re-run from 2009, calls goodbyes to mind. Some vivid, some a stretch to remember, some tender. Some with tears stretching into the years, some requiring a long morning alone in a riverside park composing to face the rest of life and wondering whether that’s going to be possible. 

Boat speeds by on a Bay so flat the boat had to have been on wheels. Or hovering, leaving not even the mark of wake. 

7H is good enough for me who doesn't need to graduate to anything higher. 

Anu Garg’s word this morning is tromometer, sounding out a favorite poet, Tomas Transtromer. Somewhere around here I have one of his books, except that it doesn’t seem to have made it in our relocation six blocks down the shoreline from house to heaven. Swedish, here are two English translations of one of his poems that stirs nostalgia. Poem is “The Couple” - -

First translation by Robert Bly.

The Couple
They turn the light off, and its white globe glows
an instant and then dissolves, like a tablet
in a glass of darkness. Then a rising.
The hotel walls shoot up into heaven’s darkness.
Their movements have grown softer, and they sleep,
but their most secret thoughts begin to meet
like two colors that meet and run together
on the wet paper in a schoolboy’s painting.
It is dark and silent. The city however has come nearer
tonight. With its windows turned off. Houses have come.
They stand packed and waiting very near,
a mob of people with blank faces.

Second translation is by Robin Fulton.

The Couple
They switch off the light and its white shade
glimmers for a moment before dissolving
like a tablet in a glass of darkness. Then up.
The hotel walls rise into the black sky.
The movements of love have settled, and they sleep
but their most secret thoughts meet as when
two colours meet and flow into each other
on the wet paper of a schoolboy’s painting.
It is dark and silent. But the town has pulled closer
tonight. With quenched windows. The houses have approached.
They stand close up in a throng, waiting,
a crowd whose faces have no expressions.

What would I do if starting over. Where would I be. Or would I be - - 

Transtromer died last year, 83. Seems right, and good, ...


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What? Will no one ...

Morning photo that excites nobody but me, including a seagull flew by just as I snapped it, missed the bird and hand movement gave a bit of fuzzy. So’s the mind this late-rising Tuesday with our next-to-final Bible Seminar. This term we finished Luke and Revelation, today in fuzzy mind, two obscure books, we’ll see how’t goes, eh?

Waker-upper this morning was a somewhat scientific article that makes me think I should have been daily eating yogurt these years, to have been a nice person instead of this grouchy old crab sticking my head up out of a garbage can now and then.

NFL withdraws their $16 million contribution to NIH lest a physician on a study conclude there’s a link between football and brain injury; nothing like integrity. SCOTUS getting along better with eight justices than nine. One minute vigorous workout in the gym downstairs equals my Mon/Fri walk? Hmmm. Major presidential candidate knows the American mentality is keener on somebody else’s scandal than on his own unquals to press the red button: if, a la Henry II, I say what should happen to this man who offers nothing but greed, selfishness and hatred to a hurting world, Secret Service will kick my door down within forty five seconds, so keeping mouth shut. Coffee, chocolate, yogurt; hamburger for breakfast. 

Tuesday: a beautiful day.


Monday, May 23, 2016

not byob

Nine o’clock last evening, rounds the hairpin turn a small ship enroute to Port Panama City under the light of a full moon ascending over downtown, my green channel marker light over to the far right. 

Couple minutes later she passed our porch with confident speed, no tug waiting.

Monday: park behind the Beloved School and walk in the Cove, seems a perfect morning for it, back home for shower and breakfast before staff meeting. Yesterday was a near-perfect Trinity Sunday, I think there were active acolytes behind me in church at the ten-thirty service, but never bothersome unless one is swinging a cincture rope behind me during the Eucharistic Prayer. “Perfect” was only “near” though because leaving a home Communion site later, I spotted my keys on the seat inside my locked car and so walked home to get the extra keys; lesson learned that I’ll have to sort out as the dark chocolate and black coffee take effect.

Thoughts running through the mind this morning, not going there with most of them, not blogging any of them, MYOB.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

from 7H

Mars and the Moon from 7H

The United Methodist Church had their quadrennial churchwide conference, just concluded, facing among other things the sexuality issues that other denominations deal with. They have the same difficulties as other folks in coming to agreed decisions, referring the same-sex issue to committee for further study, in lieu of determinative votes that would have led to schism; so, pushing the matter down the road. Despising the rages of entrenched certainty that other churches, including ours, have experienced, and the breakups, I sort of admire the Methodists for what they did this time. It isn’t that they’ve agreed to disagree and remain together, they’ve backed off for the moment. 

The Episcopal Church has dealt with the issue and predictably split for it. That was not pleasant for a Christian body, especially in that the two sides seem generally, with exceptions, to have ended up with ongoing enmity, hostility, mistrust. Unfortunate and sad. This morning I read through the ELCA decision statement, about forty pages, which seems to agree that they don’t agree among themselves, and I couldn’t find anything definitive, maybe I missed it.

The UMC statement I read this morning says they have full communion with the Moravian Church, as does our Episcopal Church. However, neither grammatical (predicate nominative) nor mathematical (if a=b and b=c then a=c) principals apply in that the UMC action does not mean that the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church are in full communion with each other. 

If the American political scene is a contemptible circus and the world scene is a self-destroying nightmare, I am nevertheless glad to be living when American churches are trying to live into the Summary of the Law, or at least are discussing, exploring and considering. And sometimes referring to committee to allow Time for tempers to cool and certainties to temper.

Trinity Sunday today. One of my favorites.

Jeremy's shot. That's Mars off to the right of the full moon last evening.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

free will: illusion of Truth

In the late 1970s early 1980s when I was traveling and away from home 75 to 80 percent of the time, driving a lot but also an enormous amount of flying here and there, I liked having reading material with me, and two favorite carry alongs were The Atlantic magazine and The New Yorker. New Yorker was usually available free in the magazine rack in the front of the airliner cabin, and though I had favorite contributors, buying it every week could get pricey. Atlantic I had no choice but to buy, and in the late seventies and early eighties was upset if missed a James Fallows article, this morning I don’t remember why, it has been that long ago. 

Because of that history enjoying The Atlantic, recently -- some months ago -- I came upon and subscribed to a free online daily The Atlantic: THE EDGE, “A daily roundup of ideas and events in American politics.” In The Edge I find interesting stuff. 

Yesterday, reading at my Bay window on a rainy afternoon while waiting for TJCC to arrive from Tallahassee, I came across an Atlantic article on free will. Now, as well as philosophical, psychological, psychiatric, social, ethics and other disciplines, free will is a religious and theological concept, so I read. 

The heading reads, “There’s No Such Thing As Free Will, But we’re better off believing in it anyway.” An interesting notion that a similar case could be made for other things, including religious and theological matters wherein for example Friedrich Schleiermacher wrote that certain presumably absolute tenets of the faith are beyond human knowing but orthodox so say it regardless, to wit, Nicene Creed and its assertions against Arianism. But back to free will, a good article by Stephen Cave, some of whose other writings I’ve enjoyed. Yet disturbing, and so I recommend not reading it; in fact, let whoever reads it be anathema. Couple of quotations nevertheless:  

“… there is ... agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams. …”

“Smilansky says he realizes that there is something drastic, even terrible, about this idea—but if the choice is between the true and the good, then for the sake of society, the true must go.”

Second quotation flies in the face of my oft-quoted proverb from the lentel over the library door at one of my theological seminaries: Seek The Truth, Come Whence It May, Cost What It Will. But Hey! suppose, as the article alludes, knowledge of Truth may put society and even civilization itself at risk: should Truth be suppressed, or sought anyway? Should Truth be outed and civilization's house of cards be allowed to tumble? Or should such questing be censored and knowledge of Truth be restricted to the Intellectual Elite, the general population indoctrinated for the public good, Free Will made a mandatory article of faith? Care to nominate the Elite? In the history of human arrogance, it's been done before, and still and always.

What is Truth? Remember? Just because you believe it, that don't make it so --

Romans 7:15 makes sense after all. An acceptable new legal defense: the devil made me do it. 

There's nothing new in all this, but it surfaced with me Friday.

Seaboard Valparaiso 525 LOA x 90. Arriving from Kingston with general cargo, next port, Houston.


Friday, May 20, 2016


Little could be more exciting than wake up as the leading edge of a “severe t-storm” rages across StAndrewsBay and through town. My only surpassing such was at HighHeaven, 15th floor, I looked it up: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, storm seemingly as violent as standing inside a tornado. HighHeaven sold us on 7H, and here we are. 

In his program years ago 25? a lawyer in our Rotary Club at Apalachicola briefed us on the progressively tyrannical administrative federalism enslaving Americans. No political radical, I’d never thought of it until that moment, but have never stopped noticing it since. No p.c. radical either, neither way, left nor right, I nevertheless notice and increasingly hate (yep) the vigorous little dictatorships in Washington going after the Redskins, use of restrooms in public schools, lying Justice Department lawyers; and incomprehensibly extreme stupidity during the Bush era, tour guides in some national parks forbidden to discuss the geologic age of park features because the earth is actually only five thousand years old. It isn't just the Blues or the Reds, it’s wherever there is human power and whoever has it. Sadly, I wonder if in twenty years one will fear speaking against the President-for-Life, males wearing a DonaldT-Cut lest there come a knock on the door. All the symptoms are the same, populist politician taking advantage of popular disenchantment and anger. Yet at the same time, I fear a continuation of the sickeningly hesitant war strategy of the opposition. Whoever is elected in November, I'm moving to the moon for the next eight years.

But then I’m a holy man, not a rabble-rouser, n.v?

We don’t walk during t-storms, so breakfast on my 7H porch. Still raining, cool breeze, eggs over-medium on dry, thin wheat toast. Eggs cooked in an old-fashioned black iron skillet. Before moving in here, we changed two features of the condo: new, chair-height toilets; and replace all kitchen appliances, old range with a new to us induction range: the frying pan is instantly hot, but magnetism-based induction technology requires iron pots and pans, no stainless, aluminum, copper. And as ever, the old ways are best: mama’s black cast iron skillets. 

Exciting here. TJCC coming this evening. One of them doesn’t realize that 44 years old, she’s still and always Daddy’s girl. 

Small container vessel arriving from Progresso in light rain as I type. Larger ship in last night after sunset, superstructure and bridge at the bow. Thunder still, not so distant, to the south and east of me.

Pelicans flying home last evening, a single row of them, just above the water. Linda counted 39 birds in the string. 

In my next life I may be a pelican. I sure as hell won’t be a human again, but if I am I will be Anthony Bourdain.


Thursday, May 19, 2016


potpourri of the incongruous

Another plane missing. Overwhelming sadness, a devastating age in which to live out life that seemed so good becomes hatred and indiscriminate senselessness. Kyrie eleison, but of course Kyrie does not eleison. Or maybe Kyrie is eleisoning and we don’t get it: Obadiah Redivivus and we are not mom’s pet as we imagined but the hairy red beast.

How to resume a dream and capture the escapee this time round?

Wednesday evening at my church is the event of the week, overrun with eager children and young parents; the Episcopal Church should live so long, but it has. Try free cheeseburgers, all you can eat. Try agápē. 

Love that centers on how you treat others.

In the second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade that follows, experience is no longer reality but history. If experience is in the mind, and a dream is in the mind, does predicate nominative make a dream reality, is the question.

Closing hymn last evening:

Heal me, hands of Jesus, and search out all my pain: restore my hope, remove my fear and bring me peace again.

Cleanse me, blood of jesus, take bitterness away; let me forgive as one forgiven and bring me peace today.

Know me, mind of Jesus, and show me all my sin; dispel the memories of guilt, and bring me peace within.

Fill me, joy of Jesus, anxiety shall cease and heaven’s serenity be mine, for Jesus brings me peace!

I’ve felt preached at before, but never felt sung at until last night.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Sometimes smoke from the papermill melds into clouds above to resemble a tornado. Other than that, the morning turns out not so photogenic except maybe as a picture of clinical depression. Gray tinged with streaks of lighter gray, light almost white, 

underscored by the silver Bay. I cropped most of the Bay to cut the docks intruding into the pax, but it’s there. Truth, I’m a happy person, but can’t help loving these drear days that include light but not the sun, and at eighty with bits and pieces of the mind still functioning, every day is a beautiful day and a blessing.

Because the flowers were gone, faded out, apparently removed by a family member who had brightened up everyone else’s marker, it was bothering me there was no sign of love. A few weeks go I asked Linda to select red, orange, yellow, maybe flame colors and, no flower arranger, I took them.

What took me down Tuesday afternoon was finding out a cure is at hand. Down, way, way down. But blessings for future generations, so that’s hope and happiness, isn’t it, like the polio vaccine, smallpox shot, coronary artery bypass graft, the bovine valve, all these pills that my grandmother didn’t have. Remember the horror of polio killing kids in the 1940s? I remember it well. A cure for polio, now a cure for glioblastoma. 

Supper at church tonight: what?

What brought on that dream last night. Yes, technicolor, parts of the conversation are etched, anxiety about being caught. What didn’t make sense was taking two cats on leashes for a long walk and intentionally leaving me behind. At the house in the Cove where I grew up. And all that mud.

And yes, we finished Revelation yesterday. Two more Bible Seminar sessions left in the Spring 2016 term. What? Maybe something from the scriptural outback. What? Maybe something different each time. What?