Thursday, March 31, 2011

I don't have bladder cancer

I'm not sure if I shared this with you, and I'm too lazy to go look at past blogs, but I don't have bladder cancer.

The biopsy came back negative. The thing in my bladder (It's late at you know what's in your bladder?) that I've described as looking like a peony (PE-o-nee in this part of creation, pe-OWN-ne where I come from) is still there, I suppose, but my urologist tells me 'not to worry'. So I won't.

I only knew one person who died of bladder cancer. His name was John Martin and he was a funeral director. It was, it seems to me, a terrible way to die--as if there were a good way--and I pray for the repose of John's soul as I give thanks the biopsy coming back negative.

Speaking of souls: tomorrow in my class on the Gospel of Mary of Magdala at UConn I'm going to try to deal with the world view in 1st century Israel as a way of getting to the fertile soil that gave birth to Christianity in all it's myriad forms. The question I'm going to ask, since I'm going to try to discuss all the heresies of the pre-Nicene church is this: do you believe in the immortality of the soul? I'm betting half or more of the class will say 'yes' and I'm going to tell them, truthfully, that they are heretics. Orthodox Christians, according to the Nicene Creed, believe in the "resurrection of the dead", not 'the immortality of the soul'. That was one of the things the Creed was written to make heretical. (The purpose of creeds in general is to make sure we DON'T believe certain things rather than telling us what to believe.) The whole 'God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made" piece was because lots of early Christians didn't believe Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. The beginning of the Creed "I/we believe in ONE GOD" was because lots of early Christians believed there was the God of Creation, the Jewish God, the Demiurge and then there was the 'good god' who was Jesus' father. The Old Testament God, for lots of early Christians, didn't map or match up with the message of, the Creator must have been some different god than the God and Father of Jesus. Think about it. Not crazy....but heretical. (The victors write the history--just as in Christianity, the stream of the faith that became the 'authorized religion' of the Roman Empire was the winner--that Nicene Church wrote the history of the faith.)

But the discovery at Nag Hammadi, in Egypt less than a century ago, of a treasure of so called Gnostic Christian writings, including the Gospel of Mary Madelene, through the scholars of the early church into a tizzy. It's not what we learned in Sunday school.

Had the so called Gnostic Christians prevailed, believing in the immortality of the soul would be orthodox Christian belief. But they didn't win...though most Christians today would agree with them that we have a soul and it is immortal, heretics that we are....

I'll let you know if my prediction of over 50% heretics is accurate.

You might be one as well....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

an assortment of things

Someone told me this morning I hadn't put anything on my blog for a week. Well, she was off by a day or so, but anyway, this one is for D. Love it or leave it.

I know that I've mentioned before that I see myself as the 'norm' of human life. I am the one who is in the center of the road. I am the one whose opinions and thoughts are the opinions and thoughts of the multitudes. That's one way I see myself.

I also know that I am so far to the left both politically and theologically that I often scare myself.

How those two thoughts can reside in one brain I will leave you to ponder. But it is the truth: I am so liberal it makes even me crazy AND I think I'm the medium and the mean--the norm in this culture.

When Obama was elected I was elated, beside myself with joy, at peace with my normative existence. I was in the majority, as I always knew I was....But then, after the initial joy, I got nervous. I'm not used to being in the 'majority'. I don't know how to 'win gracefully' since most of the time I'm on the losing side. That's the problem with thinking you are the norm and knowing you are so far to the left on most things that an interment camp would be a blessing if Sarah Palin was President...most likely, I'd be eliminated ultimately.

*Would Mexico take Texas back if we offered? The legislature down there in the Evil Empire is considering a bill that would deny citizenship to children born of non--citizens. What in the hell are they thinking? Also, a bill that would not allow a child to come to school if they couldn't prove their citizenship. Let's take down the statue of Liberty and let it sink in the ocean. Texas is my recommendation for, if we ever do it, a 'surgical nuke'. 'Huddled masses longing to be free' don't bother considering Texas....

*It's Trash Day in my part of Cheshire. I love, absolutely love, Trash Day. All is well. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. (I had to correct my typing. I wrote "Todd is in his heaven..." I'm not sure I've ever known anyone named Todd. But if I did, I'd recommend him for deity duty.

Trash Day gives order to the chaotic universe. I take out the trash and the recycle stuff and put it carefully on the edge of the front yard. When I walk the dog on Trash Day, he sniffs everyone's trash on our block. It makes us a community in a way. We all have trash. I actually notice who has more trash than recycle stuff. Trash Day gives us a chance to either be humble (more trash than recycle) or be mistakenly proud. Either way there is something to ponder.

A friend of mine today told me about a recent bowel movement. I thought we were in the nursing home, sharing elimination stories. I recently had a bladder biopsy--negative, I'm thankful to say--but it made me terribly aware of elimination.

Two old guys are sitting in wheel chairs in the lobby of the nursing home.

One says to the other, "I wish I could remember how old I am."

The other guy says, "stand up and drop your pants and I'll tell you."

So the first guy, wondering how old he is, stands up and drops his pants making the aides and visitors and residents freak out.

After he's re-dressed and in his chair, the other guy says, "You're 87."

The man who exposed himself asks, "how could you know?"

The other guy says, "you told me yesterday...."

Sometimes you are the one who drops your pants in public, in a metaphorical way, of course. And sometimes you are the one who makes another expose themselves for no real purpose. (Another metaphor, of course.) We might be well served pondering those moment in our lives from both directions. Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More subtle and yet more kind

I was just out on our back deck, looking through our back yard to the brick house 100 yards away or so. It might have been that the neighbor's red mini-van was parked in the driveway that caused me to notice that the bricks on the side of the house appeared to be a full face view of GHW Bush--the good Dad of the wayward son, W. I'd never noticed that before but it was unmistakable to me. I decided to make sure I see it again before I show it to my wife and ask her if she sees it too.

Good thing it looked like the first President Bush rather than Jesus. Jesus has this eerie way of showing up on buildings and pancakes and tuna sandwiches. Then people start showing up with their rosaries waiting for the apparition to bleed from the forehead. Jesus' mother shows up like this more often than her good son. I know you've all read about such things--the BVM outlined by a grease stain or rust from a gutter or the burned spots on a grilled bun. Places like that. I've even seen and wish I had ordered, little presses of Jesus and Mary that you can use to put their likenesses on sandwiches of your own.

Those appearances always seem to make the news and a quickly disappear from the public's consciousness. It would be kind of neat, I think, if we had a God that used bricks and rust and burnt bread to give us views of Mary and Jesus. But, in the end, I don't think we have that kind of God. That seems a little show-offish for God to be involved with. God, it seems to me at any rate, is more subtle than to be revealed in tea leaves at the bottom of your cup.

My friend, Dan Kiger, and I used to play gin rummy in his room in Divinity Hall at Harvard several afternoons a week. I always sat in the same chair, facing the wall where Dan had what I saw as a stylized Asian print made up of black dots on white paper. I looked at it every day but never asked why he had it. Then one day, another student came in to borrow typing paper or something and said, "Neat picture of Jesus" while pointing to the print.

When he was gone I strained my eyes but all I saw were dots.

"Jesus?" I asked Dan, pointing to the dots.

He stood up and put his finger on one particular dot. "That's his right eye," he said, and in less than a nano-second, there was Jesus leaping out from the dots at me. I could never NOT see him again. The print just wouldn't revert to random black dots.

Like I said, more subtle than we might imagine.

The pseudo-prophetic poppycock of some religious leaders recently about God's being engaged in punishing people through natural disasters is even more disturbing than finding the Virgin Mary in the frosting on your honey bun. The logical extension of believing the earthquake hit Haiti as God's judgment on Voo-doo (the opinion expressed by Pat Robertson and others) is the Constitutionally protected rights of those idiots--check that, "evil idiots" from Kansas to demonstrate at military funerals and claim dead soldiers are God's judgment on the US for homosexuality. I keep waiting for the explanation for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as God's vengeance for some sin or another.

That is a totally un-subtle kind of Deity, wiping out infidels for affronts to Holy Law of some kind or another. It may be helpful to remember that a real OT prophet encountered God not in earthquake or storm or fire, but in a 'still small voice'--or, as that could reasonably be translated, I'm told: "total silence".

Hearing God in the 'total silence', now there's a fine bit of subtlety.

And whenever I heard talk of some obviously vengeful God I realize that God is not only very subtle but kinder than subtle. Bad stuff happens--not because God causes it to happen--but, in fact, because God chose to allow natural law and free will to be part of the Creation. God's reaction to horrible stuff, I believe, is profound mourning, holy sorrow, eternal tears.

The fact that Pat Robertson and his ilk aren't blown to smithereens for outlandish assumptions about God (something I for one would find refreshing!) demonstrates the extent of God's kindness. God, it seems to me, doesn't hate stupid and evil people the way I do. I suppose, in fact, that God's compassion for them is greater than they imagine...or can imagine....

natural disasters etc and tv evangelists
more suble and more kind

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pulled Pork

I had that feeling you get, that something is under your fingernail. So I pulled it out with my bottom teeth--I used to be a nail biter but no more--and said, "Hum, that's tasty...."

It tasted good in spite of the slight taste of soap. I had washed my hands after I pulled the pork from the leftovers of a pork tenderloin to make barbecue .

Pork barbecue is a comfort food for me. I grew up north of the 'Barbecue Belt'--which is not unlike the 'Bible Belt'--from Southern Virginia, the Carolina's and every thing south and south west of that, including, unfortunately, Texas. (Could we, do you think, give Texas back to Mexico? Not only would we be rid of one of the most annoying states, we'd send the Dallas Cowboys and the San Antonio Spurs out of the country. Besides Notre Dame, those are the two sports teams I hate the most.)

When we are on Oak Island, NC every September, there is a place called The Barbecue Shack where our daughter Mimi and her companion, Tim, go a couple of times. They bring home both chopped and pulled pork, slaw and sauces--a vinegar based sauce, a tomato based sauce (what we call "Barbecue Sauce") and a mustard based sauce. The pork is naked and pure, either pulled or chopped. You add the sauce.

I actually like the vinegar sauce the best. And the slaw is outstanding. (Cultural difference alert: where I come from and all places south of there, chopped cabbage and whatever else is in it, is called 'slaw'. In New England, to be understood, I have to say 'cole slaw'. For the longest time I thought I had to say "cold slaw" though I couldn't imagine for a moment why anyone would eat 'hot slaw' or even room temperature slaw. And the first time I asked someone at a hotdog place to give me a dog with chili and slaw they stared at me like I spoke Slovakian. I finally got what I wanted, but they gave me the slaw in a little cup, somehow it offended their sense of dignity to put the slaw on the hot dog--on top of the chili, in case your wondering. Where I come from, the most common hot dog has chili and slaw on it. How have I lived so long in such an alien land?)

I prefer pulled pork, others prefer chopped. Who knows? It's BBQ after all.

Comfort food is necessary because I have a procedure tomorrow which involves putting a camera, a light, a water source and a tiny tweezers into my bladder.

I'll wait a moment for any men who read this to realize what that means.....Yes, it is that horrible.

I, mercifully, won't be awake and will be fine a few hours later. But the very thought of what will be done to me tomorrow makes me weak in the knees and want to empty my bowels....

I'll let you know how it was.

Pulled pork overcomes a multitude of fears....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I just went out on my back porch to smoke a cigarette--I know, I know, I shouldn't!--but before I did, I turned on the light on the back porch.

Lord knows, you don't have to see to smoke, but I don't know if it is possible for me not to automatically turn on a light wherever space I go into.

Electricity is a drug. And we are all addicted.

The unthinkable horror that is Japan today has been deflected from the horrific loss of life and made into a debate over nuclear energy because of the damage to the nuclear plant in the northeastern part of that wondrous country.

I listened to a radio clip from Glen Beck tonight where he said "I'm not saying it was God that caused the earthquake...but I'm not NOT saying that either...." So, in case you haven't been paying attention, Glen Beck has out-Pat Robertson Pat Robertson (he who said the earthquake in Haiti was God's judgment on Voodoo.)

I also watched a video clip where an economic analyst said something about the astonishing tragedy of Japan like "at this point the human loss is greater than the loss to the stock market and we can be thankful for that."

So, if I weigh in on this subject there is little chance that I can say something that can be worse than those two comments.

First of all, the death toll in Japan, I expect, will rival Hiroshima. There are tens of thousands of people who are missing, whole villages gone, the island moved several feet on the face of the earth, the axis of the planet shifted by the force. This will be, I think, the worst natural disaster in recorded history. Pray for the people of Japan.

Since nuclear energy got dragged into this, I will probably shock both my liberal and conservative friends by saying I believe we should build nuclear power plants as fast as we can.

Unless they are built somewhere that will have an 8,9 Ricther scale earthquake and a subsequent sunami, it is by far the most fesable way to produce the drug of electricity we are so addicted to.

Remember this: until the end of the 19th century, most of the world was lit by fire. A lot of the world still is. But as soon as any part of the world experiences the rush of electricity, they are hooked on that drug forever.

Coal, natural gas and oil are horrible ways to produce the drug we all need. Greenhouse and Global Climate Change are the trade offs. Solar and Wind are available but prohibitatively expensive at this point.

Nuclear power plants make a huge mess when something goes wrong. But the technology is there to build them safely--or as safe as is possible absent astonishingly powerful earthquakes and 25 foot walls of water.

The problem with nuclear plants is they must be built near large bodies of water to provide the cooling necessary. No C02 is released by the process but the water is warmed that is used for the cooling. Build some on the New England shoreline, the water is always too cold to swim in for me.

Granted, everything I know about nuclear energy I've learned from Public Radio--which is far and wide considered a voice for the left wing and the Democratic Party. But I ask, what's the problem with that???

Let's bracket the 'energy conversation' and concentrate on the human loss in Japan. That's what really matters, not our addiction to electricity.

(Plus, don't tell a boy from the coal fields that 'producing energy' is ever without danger and the loss of life. We need some EA groups--Electricity Addicts--12 step groups....)

How time flies....

I just noticed I haven't written here for over a week.

I don't have anything much to say of great interest--but since when has that stopped me?--but thought I should write something, even if it is a random selection of stuff....

*Kismet (which is a noun meaning 'fate' or 'destiny'. Comes from the Persian through Turkish...qismah, meaning "division, portion, lot, fate"
Back when I was Rector of St. John's, Waterbury (It's been 10 months: in some ways it feels like others, a different lifetime) Harriet, the Parish Administrator and I used to send each other emails with STUFF in the message line. Always lots of 'stuff' in the day-to-day, season-to-season running of a parish church. Well, Ian, my bishop, recommended me to the Middlesex Cluster Ministry (4 small churches in places with strange sounding names: Killingworth, Higganum, Northford, Westbrook) as the part-time interim since their Missioner has retired. I've been working in the clergy rotation for a couple of months now and was interested. But I wanted it to be something the Cluster churches could 'own' and not be a fiat from the Bishop, so I've met with two of the congregations after church and have two more set up. Plus, I'm meeting with the other three 'presbyters' (what the Cluster calls their priests to make the point that they are primarily 'liturgical functionaries' and not the minister around which a congregation is gathered. The Cluster--30 odd years old now--was modeled on what is called 'Total Common Ministry" which is not 'anti-clerical' by any means, but just asks the ordained to 'know their place'! It's a remarkable model and one I'd like to be a part of for a while. Plus the contrast of church with 20-45 people with St. John's 3 Sunday services that sometimes boardered on 300 total--Easter 700+--is refreshing to me.
So, why this is "kismet"--I got an email the other day from Bea, the Cluster Administrator, titled 'Stuff'.
Fate, I'd suggest....

*Hedgesville which is a small town near Martinsburg, WV, in the eastern panhandle of the state.
(just as an aside, WV is the only state, I believe, that has two panhandles--the Northern one that is further north than Pittsburgh and the Eastern one that is within an hour drive of D.C. and Baltimore. Texas has only one panhandle, so there!)
I was out walking the dog the other day and a woman passed me and then turned back to say, "we vacation in West Virginia". Initially I thought she was a soothsayer, but then realized I was wearing my West Virginia University jacket that someone from the soup kitchen gave me, swearing he bought it for me on sale at Burlington Coat Factory, but I actually believe he stole it, but I don't care. It is the warmest jacket I've ever owned.
She asked me if I knew when Hedgesville was and I told her, as I told you, 'near Martinsburg'.
"That's where we go for groceries," she said.
We talked for a long time about the astonishing natural beauty of the state of my birth--the emptiness of it all, the 'bad rap' it gets.
Example of the bad rap: the joke goes like this, "The first question on the West Virginia Bar Exam is If a man and woman get divorced, are they still cousins?
She and her husband, life-long Nutmegers--really plan to retire to WV. Go figure. When people heard I was retiring they often asked, "Are you going home?" I answered, "Yes, home is Cheshire."
But I would encourage folks to look into retirement possibilities in WV. Lord knows the state needs some new revenue. And property is cheaper than you could imagine. And it is, I promise you, stunningly beautiful....

*Daylight Savings time
I'm not as young as I used to be. It takes me about a week to adjust. One hour doesn't seem like much 1/24th of the day and all, but it wipes me out. I don't have to set the clock's alarm most days, but 9 a.m. now is a lot different that 9 a.m. last Friday. And I'm yawning at 8 p.m. I do like the light being saved...but wouldn't that happen anyway as the earth tips back on it's axis-though I did hear the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan tilted the earth a bit. Ponder that....

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today I got an email from Dave, the salesman I bought my car from, wishing me 'happy anniversary' on the second anniversary of the day I bought my car. (That seems odd to me but I'm sure the dealership has some software that does it automatically.)

Which means, I bought my car the day before I wrote the first post on this blog. (I didn't mention the car in my blog and if you had asked me how long I'd had the car I wouldn't have had a clue. But now I know--two years today.

There's a wonderful man who is one of the founder's of Integrity--GLBT Episcopalians and their friends--who sends me a happy anniversary wish every year on our Marriage Anniversary and another on the anniversary of my ordination. His name is Louie Crews and I only imagine he must send those to a lot of Episcopal priest, though how you get the list together for that I can't comprehend.

So, since March 8, 2009 was my first post, I thought I'd send it to you again. (Mostly, I just wanted to remind myself about what I said I'd do here and see if I'm still trying to do that.) But it does explain the name--many people think I take castor oil then write....Which says something about their evaluation of the substance of these musings....

Sitting under the Castor Oil Tree (3/8/09)

The character in the Bible I have always been drawn to is Jonah. I identify with his story. Like Jonah, I have experienced being taken where I didn't want to go by God and I've been disgruntled with the way things went. The belly of a big old fish isn't a pleasant means of travel either....

The story ends (in case you don't remember) with Jonah upset and complaining on a hillside above the city of Nineveh, which God has saved through Jonah. Jonah didn't want to go there to start with--hence the ride in the fish's stomach--and predicted that God would save the city though it should have been destroyed for its wickedness. "You dragged me half-way around the world," he tells God, "and then didn't destroy the city. ...I knew it would turn out this way. I'm angry, so angry I could die!"

God causes a tree to grow to shade Jonah from the sun (scholars think it might have been a castor oil tree--the implications are astonishing!) Then God sends a worm to kill the tree. Well, that sets Jonah off anew: "How dare you kill my tree?" he challenges the Creator. "I'm so angry I could die!"

God simply reminds him that his is upset at the death of a tree he didn't plant or nurture and yet doesn't see the value of saving all the people of the great city Nineveh...along with their cattle and beasts.

And the story ends. No resolution. Jonah simply left to ponder all that. There's no sequel either--no "Jonah II" or "Jonah: the Next Chapter", nothing like that. It's just Jonah, sitting under the bare branches of the dead tree, pondering.

What I want to do is use this blog to do simply that, ponder about things. I've been an Episcopal priest for over 30 years. I'm approaching a time to retire and I've got a lot of pondering left to do--about God, about the Church, about religion, about life and death and everything involved in that. Before the big fish swallowed me up and carried me to my own Nineveh (ordination in the Episcopal Church) I had intended a vastly different life. I was going to write "the Great American Novel" for starters and get a Ph.d. in American Literature and disappear into some small liberal arts college, most likely in the Mid-Atlantic states and teach people like me--rural people, Appalachians and southerners, simple people, deep thinkers though slow talkers...lovely for all that--to love words and write words themselves.

God (I suppose, though I ponder even that...) had other ideas and I ended up spending the lion's share of my priesthood in the wilds of two cities in Connecticut (of all places) among tribes so foreign to me I scarcely understood their language and whose customs confounded me. And I found myself often among people (the Episcopal Cult) who made me anxious by their very being. Which is why I stuck to urban churches, I suppose--being a priest in Greenwich would have sent me into some form of I would have driven them to hypertension at the least.

I am one who 'ponders' quite a bit and hoped this might be a way to 'ponder in print' for anyone else who might be leaning in that direction.

Ever so often, someone calls my bluff when I go into my 'I'm just a boy from the mountains of West Virginia' persona. And I know they are right. I've lived too long among the heathens of New England to be able to avoid absorbing some of their alien customs and ways of thinking. Plus, I've been involved in too much education to pretend to be a rube from the hills. But I do, from time to time, miss that boy who grew up in a part of the world as foreign as Albania to most people, where the lush and endless mountains pressed down so majestically that there were few places, where I lived, that were flat in an area wider than a football field. That boy knew secrets I am only beginning, having entered my sixth decade of the journey toward the Lover of Souls, to remember and cherish.

My maternal grandmother, who had as much influence on me as anyone I know, used to say--"Jimmy, don't get above your raisin'." I probably have done that, in more ways than I'm able to recognize, but I ponder that part of me--buried deeply below layer after layer of living (as the mountains were layer after layer of long-ago life).

Sometimes I get a fleeting glimpse of him, running madly into the woods that surround him on all sides, spending hours seeking paths through the deep tangles of forest, climbing upward, ever upward until he found a place to sit and look down on the little town where he lived--spread out like a toy village beneath him--so he could ponder, alone and undisturbed, for a while.

When I was in high school, I wrote a regular column for the school newspaper called "The Outsider". As I ponder my life, I realize that has been a constant. I've always felt just beyond the fringe wherever I was. I've watched much more than I've participated. And I've pondered many things.

So, what I've decided to do is sit here on the hillside for a while, beneath the ruins of the Castor Oil Tree and ponder some more. And, if you wish, I'll share my ponderings with you--whoever you are out there in cyber-land.

Two caveats: I'm pretty much a Luddite when it comes to technology--probably smart enough to learn about it but never very interested, so this blog is an adventure for me. My friend Sandy is helping me so it shouldn't be too much of a mess. Secondly, I've realized this: that there is no spell check on this blog. Either I can get a dictionary or ask your forgiveness for my spelling. I'm a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa ENGLISH major (for God's sake) who never could conquer spelling all the words I longed to write.

I suppose I'll just ask your tolerance.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

eating large in Baltimore

We spent 3 days in Baltimore this week with Josh and Cathy and our three granddaughters who are 3 of the four most beautiful, smartest and funniest granddaughters on the planet (I made if 3 of 4 to make it possible for you to fit your granddaughter into the mix....) I should write about them and probably will soon, but what I want to write about is Saturday's breakfast.

We almost always go out to breakfast on Saturday when we're in Baltimore. Usually, we go to a diner and it is pretty good diner food. Lots of cops and construction workers eat there, so that is a vote of confidence.

But this Saturday we went to a new place Josh and Cathy found. It's called Miss Shirley's Cafe, a Baltimore based two Cafe chain. One is in the Inner Harbor and the one we went to is in a section of town called Roland Park, near John Hopkins undergraduate campus and the Episcopal Cathedral. You can look it up at It was one of the memorable breakfasts of my life. And I'm a breakfast guy. There is nothing about breakfast I don't like. I especially like breakfast in the south--and Baltimore, though above the Mason-Dixon line, is a very southern city. But Miss Shirleys is 'southern' on steroids, southern mixed with Top Chef, a selection of food such as I have never experienced.

OK, let me tell you what the twins had: they had french toast. Morgan had scrapple (from up in PA, you'd never want to know what part of the pig they put in it, but it's great. She scraped the garnish off the top. Emma bacon.

Bern had Coconut Cream Stuffed French Toast. The menu (which I took) describes it this way: "Cream cheese, Mascarpone Cheese, Flaked Coconut, Bruleed Bananas, Dipped in an almond scented egg mix, garnished with diced strawberries and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon." The bread was challah and was crisp and hot while the stuffing tasted like coconut cream pie and was cold. Figure out how they did that....

Cathy had "What Came First?" one benne seed fried boneless breast of chicken on a biscuit and one poached egg on a biscuit, smothered in peppery ground beef and sausage gravy. Come on, chicken and egg? They also have Chicken and waffles. And anything smothered in gravy...what else can you want.

Josh had Sunrise Benedict: Poached eggs and House-mad slow roasted Carolina Pulled Pork on corn bread rounds with collard greens made with tasso ham and Cajun Hollandaise sauce. Any similarity to Canadian Bacon on and English Muffin is not on coincidental, it doesn't even count as a similarity!

Mine--I saved the best for last--was "Gets your grits on". As described in the menu, though the menu does no justice to the mean, "Jumbo Blackened Shrimp on Fried Green Tomatoes, Savory Grits made with Bacon and Roasted Corn Emulsion". Three of my favorite foods: fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits. The tomatoes were among the best I've ever had--fried in corn meal and sturdy and tangy--the shrimp was amazing and each of the three slices of green tomato had two huge shrimp on top of the grits that topped the tomatoes. But the grits--let me tell you this as a grits aficionado --these were, by far, the best I've ever tasted.

Here's how 'savory grits' are described elsewhere in the menu: "Heavy cream, Mascarpone Cheese, chives, Apple-wood smoked bacon and tomatoes." If you like grits, or even if you don't ponder that recipe for a while. Holy-Moley!

And, get this, the food, those complicated things, all arrived before anyone finished their first cup of coffee.

So, if you're ever in Baltimore, check out Miss Shirley's Cafe for breakfast.

It is pricey. "Two eggs any style" with homefries or grits is $10. Most items are in the mid to upper teens. But to eat something you have never eaten before and discover it is not only 'as good as it sounded' but better than you could have imagined--we all agreed on that....well, what's money for but to bring pleasure and do good....?

Hope I made you hungry.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There is a God

And the robes of God are, oh, let me think, colored Old Gold and Blue.

In case you don't follow college basketball and, in particular, UConn college basketball, you need to be told that, oh, let me think, West Virginia University defeated UConn tonight, not in 'convincing fashion', which would mean by 20 points or so, but adequately, 10 points or more. And all is well in God's country this night--West Virginia, in case you don't know, is definitely God's country.

But a little piece of God's Country is embedded in the soul of every Mountaineer.

I've had a lot of problems living in CT, the worst of which is that I hate UConn athletic teams because they play in the Big East Conference with WVU.

People used to ask me, "who's you favorite football team?" and I'd say, "WVU and which ever team is playing Notre Dame this week.

I want every Big East team, in whatever sport, to lose so that WVU will move up in whatever standings they are.

By the way, WVU has won the rifle competition in the NCCA for something going on 20 years. I'm not sure which other Big East schools have rifle teams, but don't, whatever you do, mess with West Virginia.

So, taking a big breath, remembering how John Flowers blocked Kimba Walker's shot, how Dennis Kolichia, the 'big Turk' dunked over the big African who is 5 inches taller, how Joe Massula hit more 3 point shots against UConn that he had all year long, how UConn kept fouling 'Truck' Bryant down the stretch and he kept making the shots, how Huggie Bear ((what we call coach Bob Huggins) just shook Jim Calhoun's hand, rather than hugging him and whispering in his ear like he does with every other coach....well, I'm in hog heaven....the dawn will be bright and God is in heaven and all is right with the world.

Let's go Mountaineers!

Montani Semper Liberi--Mountaineers are always free...and, tonight, at any rate, better than UConn in basketball.


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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.