Wednesday, September 30, 2020

D.D. and the debate

I won't give you more than his initials--D.D.

He was the bully who plagued me through grade school and until the 7th grade.

Then one day he told me he was going to beat me up at the underpass that passed under the train tracks at the bottom of the hill from our school.

I got down there first and got two rocks in my hands from the stream there and waited for him to come.

When he saw the rocks in my fists, he kept walking and never bothered me again.

Bullies only bully until you stand up to them, then they back down, being weak under all their bluster.

The President reminded me of D.D. in last night's debate, talking over both Biden and Wallace, always interrupting, never letting other people complete a sentence, lying and threatening, being as un-presidential as anyone could be.

I was sorry I watched it, but the Yankees, who I thought would keep me watching, blew out the Indians and I happened to click over and was hooked.

After that display of not playing by the rules, complaining about everything, telling falsehood after falsehood, I truly can't imagine how people still support him (except White Supremacists, who he wouldn't disavow). It was so bad that the Presidential Debate Committee have announced they'll be adding more restrictions to have a clear and respectful debate.

A sad, tragic and painful moment for our democracy--the way our president acted in front of the world. (People from 200 countries were watching--what do you think they think of us now.)

Pick up some rocks in your fists and vote.

(all opinions here are mine and mine only)



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lord, I wish it would rain!

 CT is in a bad drought. 

It's threatened to rain all day, but hasn't. A few misty, moisty moments, but no real rain.

Thunderstorms are forecast for tonight.

But we don't need storms.

We need three or four days of gentle, steady rain.

Lord, I wish it would rain.

Several communities around the state have put severe restrictions on water usage.

Not like with Noah, of course, but a week of rainy days would help a lot.

(all opinions here are mine and mine alone)



Monday, September 28, 2020

I think about dying

 What the pandemic has one to me is make me think about dying.

Not just because I'm over 70 and have had asthma and have both a cardiologist and a cancer doctor, but because I think about dying occasionally anyway.

Scientists have said, recently, that people who die know they are dead for a few minuets before their brain shuts down.

I don't know how I feel about that.

I'm not sure I want to know I'm dead for some moments before I'm really dead.

I want to be cremated. And I was looking at my feet and legs beneath my shorts a few minutes ago, imagining them turning into ashes.

Bleak thoughts, I know, but they are my thoughts and I must be honest about them.

If the president wins re-election, dying wouldn't be the worst thing.

That's how strongly I believe that Biden/Harris must win.


Death would not be the worst thing compared to four more years of this....

(all opinions here are mine and mine alone.)



Sunday, September 27, 2020

My sports teams

OK, I'll admit it. I root for the New York Yankees, the L.A. Lakers and the Chicago Bears.

It's the Yankees because when my father was in New York, waiting to ship out to WWII, someone gave him a ticket to a Dodgers/Yankees world series game and he decided to root for whichever team won the game.

That was the Yankees. So I grew up in southern West Virginia being a Yankee fan.

I love the Lakers because Jerry West, from East Bank, WV who led the WVU Mountaineers to their only trip to the NCAA finals, played his entire pro career with the Lakers and became part of the management after that.

I love the Bears because as a kid I admired their uniforms--Black helmets and jerseys and white pants at home; Black helmets, white jerseys and black pants on the road.

 Anyway, all my teams are doing great!

The Bears were behind to the Falcons 27-10 going into the 4th quarter today and I stopped watching. I shouldn't have. They scored three touchdowns in the 4th to win 31-27!

The Yankees are in the MLB playoffs, not as high ranked as I wish, but they had lots of injuries and all those guys are back for the post-season.

The Lakers won the Western Division 4-1 and will play either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics in the finals. I hoped it would be the Celtics for old time's sake, but they're down in the Eastern Division and might not make it.

For those of you with no interest in sports, I apologize for this post....



The name of this blog

Ever so often I feel called to remind people who may be new to this blog, what the name means.

Read the book of Jonah--my favorite book of the Bible, except maybe for Luke's Gospel. I love Jonah because his journey is a lot like mine and because, of all Biblical texts, it ends un-resolved, with Jonah just sitting on a hillside pondering his life.

Like the whale that swallowed Jonah, my whale was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to divinity school. It took me away from a Ph.d. at the University of Virginia or a place in the graduate writing program in Iowa.

It also saved me from being drafted for Viet Nam. The only deferment in 1969 was to study in Seminary.

I was eventually spit up--as Jonah was spit up in Nineveh--on the Episcopal priesthood...somewhere I never wanted to be. 

Jonah, in God's name, saves the people of Nineveh. But when that's over, he sits on a hillside asking God why he brought him half-way around the world to save a city God could have saved on God's own.

God causes a Castor Oil Tree to grow over Jonah to give him shade, then sends a worm the next day to kill the tree.

Jonah is outraged about God killing his tree.

But God tells him, "Jonah, you are upset about a tree you did not create, but not about all the people of Nineveh that would have died if you hadn't come to save them?"

And it ends with Jonah, still angry, pondering that.

I ponder still. I've loved my life as a priest, but I never wanted to live it.

Just like Jonah, I sit and ponder things.

That's why my pondering is called "Under the Castor Oil Tree".

Me and Jonah, pondering on....


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Amy Coney Barret

You want her as your Supreme Court Justice?

Good luck if you want the affordable care act and its inclusion of preexisting conditions.

Good luck if you want Roe V. Wade to protect women's right to choose.

Good luck if you believe in clean air and clean water and all Environmental issues.

Good luck if you GLBTQ protection under the law.

Good luck if you expect the High Court to continue to provide for racial and gender equality.

Good luck if you want anything to get better in the next decade.

Good luck if you thought Republicans would honor their pledges not to appoint a Supreme Court Justice in an election year.

Good luck if you honored Ruth Baden Ginsberg's term in any way.

Good luck.

You're welcome to her. 

(all opinions here are mine and mine alone.)


Friday, September 25, 2020

OK, like it not, here it is....

The president (who will not be named here) is trying to undermine the election.

His constant criticism of mail-in-ballots (though he votes by mail) is meant to undermine voter confidence. The truth is this: there is no 'fraud' that has been found in voting by mail ever, anywhere.

His constant echoing of 'rigged', referring to the election is to set the stage for his not accepting a peaceful transfer of power should Biden win. Which he has said out loud and in public!

News out of the White House reveals he will ask legislators in Red States to 'rig' the electors should he lose those states.

All this is unprecedented in American history and strikes at the basis of our constitution and democracy.

Nothing like this has ever happened.

It is beyond disgrace. Beyond imagining.

His rush to fill RGB's seat on the Supreme court is to hopefully make the court agree with him that the election was faulty should he lose.

No person in this country, no citizen of this democracy should not be outraged by what he's doing.


We must end this nightmare.

Too much is at stake.

link to my online blog. All opinions here are mine and mine alone.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

What's up with me today

 Lots of things are up with me today.

RBG's lying in state in the Supreme Court.

(Where does the term 'lying in state' come from? I'll google it later.)

Chief Justice Roberts' loving remarks. The woman rabbi who did prayers. The thousand of people--most of all mothers' with their daughters--who came to mourn an icon of feminism.

The nonsense in Washington about replacing her before the election. And the lack of Republican Senators to remember what they said nine months before the 2016 election about Obama's election year appointment--9 months, not 45 days.

No Supreme court appointment after July was ever approved. Between January and July, 8 were nominated, only Merick Garland was not approved!!!

Mark Kelly's campaign for Senate in Arizona, where he could be in place on November 4 since Martha McSally was 'appointed' to John McClain's job.

McClain's wife endorsing Biden.

Waiting for my Biden/Harris bumper stickers. (We got a yard sign, but got a letter telling us the bumper stickers were delayed! How hard can it be to print bumper stickers?)

Wearing a mask has become normal to me.

A NetFlix show called "Away" about a trip to Mars, is amazing. I've watched 3 episodes--all of them great.

I'm almost finished with a thousand page novel about Cormoran Strike called Troubled Blood, it, like "Away" is incredible. It's written, under a pen name, by J.K. Rowling, who wrote all the Hogwarts novels. She's been in some controversy about transgendered people--but the woman CAN WRITE!!!

I'm still mourning RBG and not yet ready to truly attack the president and Senate.

But I will. 

I will.

link to my youtube blog. All opinions here are mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Here's something I wrote 10 years ago

   Requim in Pache

Robin Roberts died this week.
He was a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.
When I was but a child.
He won at least 20 games 7 times.
He completed over half the games he started.
(Unheard of in the pitch count crazy present.)
He's in the Hall of Fame.
And now he's dead.
I can still remember, 
four decades later,
his baseball card.
A beefy, smiling man with a great fastball.
When I went away to college,
for reasons I'll never know,
my mother threw away
the two shoe boxes full
of baseball cards.
"I didn't think you'd mind,"
she said.
Mourning Robin Roberts
and my baseball cards
seems vain, even to me.
Mourning childhood gone through....
Well, that makes perfect sense.


Monday, September 21, 2020

This last thing

This final thing


       The older I get, the fewer things I find I have to believe. I think I've got it down

to the basics of my 'creed'.

          These are the things I still need to believe:

          *God loves me (us) unconditionally. Everyone, no matter how twisted or even 'evil' is a child of God.

          *Treat others as you want to be treated.

          *Welcome the stranger always, even if the stranger means you harm.

          *Give to those in need.

          *Be thankful always, for everything.

          That may be enough for me. I'll ponder it, but right now I can't think of anything else I need. That will be quite enough I think, to carry around. “Travel lightly” has become my motto as I've moved into Medicare years.

          There's lots more I could write about—events and people...oh, so many people that made my life as an Episcopal priest, though I never wanted to do it, the best life ever. Really. I can't imagine, looking back, being  more joyful or more fulfilled or more complete in any other calling. (I actually teach at the University of Connecticut in Waterbury every other semester or so in a program for those over 50. So, I've gotten to be a 'professor', though when I think it through, that's what I've been all along—a professor—one who professes, just about God rather than Hemingway and Fitzgerald.)

          I do miss having not written the Great American Novel—though I've written a couple of novels...three in fact: one straight fiction, one mystery and one fantasy...just the kind of books I love to read. The novel is titled The Igloo Factory, with the sub-title “a romance of the 60's”; the mystery is Murder on the Block, about a crime on Block Island, RI; the fantasy is called The Princess and the Sailor. If you want to read any of them, get in touch and I'll send them to you. My son, the lawyer, is frustrated that I've never got them published. He doesn't understand that the 'writing' is the gift to me. The business of trying to get them published is just too complicated for my aging mind. Maybe he'll get them published after I die. Good for him! That's the only way I could pay for his 3 daughters' college education....



It's really not time

 I'm really not ready to pounce on the president and republican senators for trying to fill RBG's seat on the Supreme court.

Oh, I will. But it's really not time.

We need mourn for her and let her public services happen before getting too political.

She was one of the most influential Supreme Court justices of all time.

Her tireless, dogged work for equal rights bettered life, not just for women and minorities, but for all of us.

We have a more just system that would have had without her. There is lots more to do, but she plowed the field so others can plant freedom and democracy to a greater level.

My daughter texted to say, "I wish I could sleep until 2022!"

In another text she said it wasn't her life, but the loss of Ginsberg and the grave uncertainties in our country she wishes she could sleep through.

Lots of us probably feel the same.

2020 has been a brutal year.

link to my video blog. All opinions in this blog are mine and mine alone.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

I won the bet!

I won the bet!

Already the president and Mitch the b**** are salivating about replacing RBG on the supreme court.

That, even though Mitch wouldn't have a vote on Merrick Garland, Obama's appointment--NINE MONTHS BEFORE THE ELECTION!!!

With only 45 days before the election the pres and mitch are scrambling to nominate and get a vote.

Two Republican senators have already said 'no' to this move. Come on Mitt--make it three!

The political two-faced hypocrisy of this move is beyond imagination.

And it might just backfire on Mitch and the President. The overwhelming opinion, not just among democrats, is that the 'next' president should fill the seat.

If you bet against me, pay up!


link to my youtube blog. All opinions here are mine and mine alone.


Friday, September 18, 2020

A contrast of opposites

(ok, very political, if you want to avoid that)

Both the president and Joe Biden held town hall meetings this week. The president was in a hall in Philly and Joe was at a drive-in movie theater in Scranton.

That wasn't the only contrast.

George Stephandopilis (if I could spell his name) hosted the president and was fact checking him all the way through the 2 hours or so. Anderson Cooper didn't have to fact check Joe at all. He told the truth.

The president contradicted things he had said about the pandemic and health care and George called him on it.

Joe spoke with compassion and care to everyone, even the Republicans who asked him questions. There was genuine concern for the people asking him the questions. The president just tried to make political points.

Joe pointed out things he disagreed with the president about while the president downgraded Joe several times.

The president has made a big mistake in calling Joe names and labeling him 'slow' and 'not smart'. It lowers the bar for Joe so he'll sound brilliant in the debates if he merely makes sense!

Such a contrast between two men and two opponents.

(Just found out)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died today.

Want to make a bet the the president and Mitch will try to replace her even if the president loses in 45 days?

I bet they will.

She was a champion of the Constitution and human rights. She will be missed.

all opinions here, under the castor oil tree, are mine and mine alone


Thursday, September 17, 2020


What is this nonsense about not wearing masks because it violates your constitutional rights?

I watched a video today of dozens of people storming a Walmart without masks, shouting and singing, spreading whatever germs they have around the store for those there and those to come later.

I may always wear a mask when I go out in public.

Experts say the flu season won't be as bad this year because people are wearing masks.

People in hospitals have always worn masks to protect themselves and those they go home to.

Put on a mask you idiots!

It's not about you, it's about the people you love.

It's about me and everyone else.

Our constitution says we are all created equal.

So put on a mask to protect your equals.

Just do it. It's not hard. I'm used to it now and actually feel uncomfortable without one, just walking down our street.

Save lives. Wear a mask. Socially distance. Wash you hands more than usual.

It's common sense--and common sense is what created our constitution.  link to my video blog. All opinions here are mine and mine alone.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I have nothing much to write

I have nothing much to write tonight.

I want, at all costs, not to mention the president or the race for president.

The Yankees (my team since childhood) have hit six home runs in two straight games--a record for even a team called the 'Bronx Bombers'.

The day was so cool I have on jeans and a light sweater. 

Brigit is completely well from her sickness. Not only does she eat breakfast and dinner all down, she wants treats and stuff from our meals. It's so good to have her back. We love her so.

I thought today was Thursday so that I tried to get on a zoom that IS for Thursday.

Life is so weird I forget which day it is from time to time. Nothing is regular.

Pinot Ggrigio is what I drink, though my spell check doesn't recognize that wine.

I miss Josh and Cathy and the three Bradley girls so much. We haven't seen them since Christmas.

We have seen Mimi and Tim and Eleanor 3 times since then, but they're in upstate New York and can come to CT. You can't go from Maryland to CT or the other way around yet because of the virus.

See, I got through this without being political at all.

But wait for tomorrow's post! (my video blog)

I shouldn't have to say all opinions here are mine and mine alone for this post.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Climate change

 It was cloudy in CT. The weather gurus told us over and again it was smoke from California and Oregon and Washington state's forest fires.

3000 miles the smoke has traveled!

How bad must it be out on the West Coast?

And hurricane Sally is flooding areas from Florida to Alabama and Mississippi. 

The 7th hurricane of the season. Three more storms are lining up across the Atlantic. Six is the average number of hurricanes a year until now. A month and a half left in hurricane season. It gets longer each year, just as forest fire season gets longer each year in the west.

Biden is proposing massive Climate Change legislation that would create millions of jobs.

And the President, just a day or two ago, meeting with the governor and scientists is California, denied climate change by saying, it will get 'cooler', believe me, it will.

I have four granddaughters. I want to give them a world that is safe.

If this president is re-elected, the world will grow more frightening.

Do what you need to do. Vote for Biden/Harris in November.

Only that will make my granddaughters world livable.

All opinions here are mine and mine alone.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The part I don't like--but need to do

There is so much about being an Episcopal priest that I love--the community, the love, the fun, the relationships, the conversations, the communion (both liturgical and personal).

But there is a part I don't like--but need to do.

The priest at St. John's in Waterbury, where I was for 21 years, called me yesterday. He's on vacation in Maine, and asked me for a pastoral favor.

A couple I married 20 some years ago, were at Waterbury hospital with their 19 year old son on life support. 

Of course I did the favor. This is the part of being a priest that I don't like--but need to do. All the good stuff is to build relationships for moments like these. This is what I need to be to be a priest.

I called them and met them at the hospital half-an-hour later. I'd never seen a patient on so many machines and I've been in Intensive Care a lot.

Masked, I hugged his mom and dad. And then anointed him and prayed for him, holding his hand and touching his face.

Then I asked, "I know this is a hard question, but do you want me to give him last rites?"

They sadly, but earnestly, shook their heads 'yes'.

So, I did.

I'm not sure I've given last rites to a person I baptized as a baby before. But I've baptized lots of babies and given lots of last rites.

I left with more hugs and not a few tears.

I hardly slept at all last night.

He died at 3:18 a.m. this morning.

What a tragedy.

I enjoy the good parts, the joyous parts of being a priest.

But these are the things I was called by God to priesthood to do.

I don't like them--but I need to do them.

These are the times I was chosen to live.

I blame God and thank God at the same time for the pain and privilege to be there for those times.

Those times are why I am a priest.



Emma and Morgan

Today on zoom, we talked to our twin granddaughters. Emma and Morgan Bradley on their birthday. They are 14, turning into young women.

We were in NYC the day they were born and saw them, along with their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Chen, because the nurse stopped at our floor and let us look at them in the elevator.

They didn't look much alike that day--Emma had black hair and Morgan had brown hair, for one thing.

They are far from identical twins. If you saw them in a group of young women, you might even not think that they could be sisters.

Emma has her mother's Asian hair but very American looks. Morgan's face is slightly Asian, but her hair is American brown.

Tegan, three years younger was on the zoom call as well. She really doesn't look much like either of them.

Granddaughter--4 of them, the Bradley girls and Eleanor McCarthy--are our gift to the world.

We love them so.

They are so perfect, so fine, so lovable.

We are blessed by them.


Saturday, September 12, 2020

An autumn day

It was crisp and cool all day.

 Autumn in New England is wondrous!

Soon, all the leaves will be falling and cool nights will prevail.

I love the autumn.

Darkness comes sooner every day and missing the light is one of the precious things about autumn.

Air-conditioners will be off and out soon. Long sleeves will be the rule.

I wore jeans today instead of shorts for the first time in months.

We didn't get to go on vacation at Oak Island, North Carolina. We would have left today to fly to Myrtle Beach and drive north.

I missed that. Tim and Mimi and Eleanor would have been with us--and Jack and Sherry and John. It would have been great. But not in this pandemic. Not at all.

I don't like winter--and autumn means it is coming. But for a few months I'll relish the chill and the vanishing light and the pray for Spring.

Always pray for spring....



Friday, September 11, 2020


Something for this day.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9/11 sermon

9/11/16 Sermon (St. Andrew’s, Northford)
        Fifteen years ago today, I was brushing my 
teeth, listening to Imus in the Morning on my clock
 radio. (I know, I know…I’m not an Imus kind of
guy…I’m a Public Radio kind of guy…but he was,
 from time to time, dreadfully amusing--accent on
        Imus said something about a plane flying into the World Trade Center, so I went to our TV room, upstairs, and turned it on.
        Bern had left early for a dental appointment, so I was alone when the second plane hit the second tower. I had my toothbrush in my mouth and couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Suddenly I heard Bern’s pickup truck skid into the driveway outside in a way I’d never heard before. I listened to her tear open the front door and run up the steps calling my name as I watched, stunned and numb, as two skyscrapers burned.
        Bern ran into the TV room and said, horrified and breathless: “The kids…the kids!!!)
        Suddenly it occurred to me that both our children lived in Brooklyn, just across the river from the World Trade Center and I should be worried and terrified, not stunned and numb.
        It took a couple of hours to reach both Josh and Mimi. Mimi came up out of a subway near 890 Broadway and saw smoke in the sky. It was her first day of work at the American Ballet Theatre. We would talk with her as she walked back to Brooklyn.
        Josh was a law student living with a classmate who is now our daughter in law and mother of three of our granddaughters. He could see the twin towers from the street where they lived. Cathy Chen, his love, had taken a subway to Manhattan just a half-hour before. He was frantic. He couldn’t call her on her cell phone. Her train would have stopped at the World Trade Center exit.
        Josh stayed outside most of the day. Cathy got in touch as she walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and Josh called us. Mimi and Tim, her boyfriend and now husband and parents of our fourth granddaughter, found each other walking home over the Williamsburg Bridge.
        They were all safe. Praise God. But thousands weren’t.
        I went to St. John’s in Waterbury because I expected people might want to talk to someone about all this that was happening. Harriet and Sue, our office folks, and I were watching the news on Harriet’s computer—still total confusion and terror. We watched the buildings fall.
        My assistant at the time wasn’t watching with us. She was doing busy work and calling people about other things. I asked if she would come and watch with us.
        She told me this: “it’s just the chickens coming home to roost.”
        I let out a gasp and said, “you can’t say that Right Now. Maybe, years from now you can connect what our nation has done to this. But not now, not for years. Thousands are dead and dying. You can’t say that!”
        She ignored me and left a short time after. Our friendship and working relationship was over. She left St. John’s a few months later.
        But losing a friend and a colleague is nothing at all compared to the sons/daughters, wives/husbands/lovers, fathers/mothers, sisters/brothers lost that awful day. Nothing at all to that pain. Nothing at all.
        The pain of 9/11 is beyond calculation. It continues still, 15 years later. And it will never be healed. It may be ‘moved beyond’, but never ‘healed’. Never. Not ever.
        But we must not forget this: the lost sheep, the lost coin in today's gospel. We must not lose them.
        A great deal of irrational hatred was spawned by 9/11—hatred of good people, good Muslims, good Americans.
        In 2001, there was a mosque that met in the parish hall of St. John’s in Waterbury. We had shared much with them. We knew them well. We stood by them—they were the lost sheep, isolated by the hatred around them. They were the lost coin, branded because some, claiming to be of their faith, had created terror.
        Here is what I believe (and this is ‘just me talkin’) this painful anniversary calls upon you and me to do. We must love, not hate. We must embrace the stranger, not reject them. We must know the value of the ‘lost’ in our midst. We must never let pain turn to hate, fear turn to anger.
        All Americans were attacked that day, not just some of us.
        That is how we give honor to those who died, by refusing to be divided and set against each other.
        We must seek out and save those ‘lost’ because of irrational hatred. We must sweep the floor of those who would polarize and divide us.
        We must remember that we all arrived on these shores lost and rejected and celebrate how diverse we are as a people: racially, ethnically, culturally and spiritually.
        To truly move on from that awful day 15 years ago, we must embrace the diversity that truly makes us strong…that truly makes us One.
        To do less than that is to dishonor those who died that tragic day.


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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.