3/30/2008

Meeting The Orthodox Archbishop of Tirana and All-Albania, +Anastasi.

His Eminence +Anastasi
By Uncle Monty
+
At Kisha Katedrale Evangjelizmoit
(Ungjillezimit) or the National Cathedral
of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox
Church at Tirana, I was indeed privileged
to meet with the Archbishop of Tirana and
All-Albania, +Anastasi, after the Sunday
morning's elaborate and fascinating
Orthodox Service, which I attended
as an informal Anglican observer.
+
Bishop Anthony at the Cathedral arranged
for me to meet with, and to take photographs
of, His Eminence immediately at the service
that was packed with the Orthodox faithful
of at least a 1,000 worshipers. On meeting
His Eminence, he was so friendly and he had
met just recently with England's Archbishop
of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The
worldwide Anglican Communion not only
recognises the head of the Albanian Church
to which Patriarch-Metropoltian +Anastasi
heads and presides, but it also actively sup-
ports interfaith communion with Tirana's
Orthodox Episcopacy. And, wisely so.
+
Speaking softly and clearly in English, the
Albanian Archbishop couldn't have been
nicer toward me and he was well aware of
Anglicanism and he was delighted to meet
me and for me to take a set of photographs
of him for my blog. I have for now uploaded
one of the five images that includes His Em-
inence with I and one of his young acolytes
who was encouraged to be part of the pic-
ture taking session as it unfolded inside the
Cathedral that is located on Rruga e Kavajes
at the heart of downtown Tirana with its
population of almost one million. This is my
fourth day inside of Albania, which I am
enjoying considerably and especially after
my personal encounter with His Eminence
and his faithful clergy here.
+
As for the Sunday service, all I can say
is that it was visually stunning with the
Patriarch in all his episcopal vestment,
and his Bishops, Archimandrites, Priests,
and Archmonks all partaking in the pro-
found and extremely colourful and moving
Orthodox liturgy that lasted for almost three
hours with its 24-member mixed choir sing-
ing anthems and praise throughout the
solemn Eucharist. Many folks stood for the
whole service, while others sat contentedly
in prayer or silence. Unlike other orthodox
churches, I noticed there was no separation
between male and female church members
of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox
rite and rituals. Parishioners, unlike in the
English and American Churches, are not
given hymn books to sing from or to
collectively sing in unison with the choir.
Rather it is the sole role of the choir to sing
throughtout the service and not the con-
gregration.
+
Two other things that struck me this morning
were seeing the neatly lined beggars at the
Cathedral gate with little toddlers and very
elderly women sitting on the ground and
seeking alms and gifts from the arriving
and departing parishioners. I was more
than glad to give something to at least a
couple of the 10 to 15 truly poor folkz
gathered there. We have a moral and
spiritual_obligation to give something of
what we have to others who are in greater
need of help than us. "We do not live by
bread alone,"-so we are taught biblically
as Christians. We degrade not only those
who we do not give to when we can, but
we also degrade ourselves as humanbe-
ings, I believe, if we fail or refuse to help
others when we can. The saying, "Where
there is room in the heart, there is room
in the house," is also true of giving.
+
The other thing that struck me inside
the cathedral itself was upon seeing the
faithful there take their hand to the
ground and make signs of the cross with
their finger(s) before also doing the same
across their chest or near their chin. I
had never before seen worshipers do that
in any other religion that I'd witnessed
outside of my own Anglican faith. In-
deed, Anglicanism looks to be very
plain and uncolourful and quite un-
ritualistic, which of course it is, com-
pared to those of Albanian Orthodoxy.
With the magnificent icons of religious
iconology everywhere at the Tirana Or-
thodox Cathedral, it would be hard to
ignore the richness and pageantry I wit-
nessed and absorbed like a cleansing and
uplifting spirit as a plain and simple Anglican.
I am greatly attracted to the beauty and
solemnity I see in Orthodox Christianity. If
I were ever to convert from Anglicanism,
I would turn to Eastern or Western
Orthodoxy.
+
I will have alot more to write about my
fascinating stay here at Albania's capital
and elsewhere at Elbasanit and Dajti.
+
Please Note:
My domain thebiggerissue.org ex-
pired while here in Tirana. I'm pleased
to say it is now back online after more
than 9 days being down due to my domain
being accidentally unrenewed. So with the
many e-mails wondering irately what had
happened to me and my domain and not then
being able to access my blog, all seems now
thankfully back to normal. You can
always access my blog, too, thru:
+
Greeting to you all from sunny
and hot Albania, Uncle Monty.
+Low Sunday, 2oo8.

3/26/2008

Once This Was King Zog's Country. By Uncle Monty.

Once This Was King Zog's Country
By Uncle Monty
*
Safely arrived now at Albania’s capital of Tirana
or at what was once King Zog’s Shqiperia country.
This is now my first 2oo8 short haul trip
aboard of only a mere few thousand miles.
*
I have all sorts of plans while here and hope also to
meet with, among others, the Orthodox Archbishop
of Tirana and All Albania, His Beatitude Anastasios.
I shall report from time to time of what I can with
whatever spare time I may have to write more fully
of my first visit to this former communist bloc country
that was then under the iron fist rule of Enver Hoxha.
In 1967, he also declared the country as the
world’s first official Atheist State.
*
Since then, times have changed and things have
changed alot for the recent better so I am told.
I’ll soon find out here, if such is truly true …
This is a country, too, that is no longer closed to
foreign visitors like me or you. I’m staying near
Skanderberg Square at the heart of Tirana. The
city, however, is simply known as “Alban” to all
the locals … Must sign off for now as I get my
walking cameras out to photograph and to
explore all over inside Albania.
From Truly Tirana, Uncle Monty.
+Easter Wednesday, 2oo8.
*
This posting is now my 100th-post for
my blog herein called thebiggerissue.org
*

3/25/2008

The "Beggars of St. Mungo's." By Uncle Monty.

The "Beggars of St. Mungo's."
By Uncle Monty
+
St. Mungo’s at Covent Garden’s Endell Street
is set to reopen for the homeless after a major
£3.2 million refurbishment of the men’s hostel,
which was plagued with community opposition
due to drug addicts and beggars that they say
have been harboured there in the past.
+
Some irate community residents still publicly
claim the so-called “Beggars of St. Mungo’s”
make a 100 quid in no time. While some of the
homeless themselves have bitterly complained
that to spend over £3 million on redoing the hostel
could have been spent better in permanently re-housing
them elsewhere in the open community rather than in an
institutionalized shelter for such buggers and beggars.
+
For over 25 years, St. Mungo’s – under the patronage
of The Church of England – has been at Covent Garden.
Its location has been a mecca for those seeking shelter
and help from their problems of homelessness and
social rejection in Central London. Many have been
helped and have gone on to do better and bigger
things, but there is always going to be those who
bring infamy on a good thing.
+
Crack and heroin are madness and “trying to rehabil-
itate 17 year old homeless kids in the middle of London
is madness,” too, says Jo Weir, chairperson, Covent
Garden Community Association (CGCA). Then the
word “madness” is used yet again by the St. Mungo’s
resident Edwin Hilliard, 48, who says: “It’s madness
to say homeless people should not be in central
London.” Next steps in Richard Burdett, editor of
the homeless magazine The Pavement. He’s quoted
elsewhere as saying: “We can’t get ourselves into a
situation where we segregate the homeless into
ghettoes.” Well, well, just look a nearby Parker
House on Parker Street and if that is not a
homeless ghetto already and segregated from
the non-homeless, then I don’t know what is. The
homeless are by nature ghettoised by the system
and treated collectively in any kind of hostel no
matter if its called St. Mungo’s or Parker House or
something else and no matter whatever its good
aims and intentions are publicly stated to be.
+
When I last stood outside of St. Mungo’s some
three years ago or more, I was too apprehensive
to go inside after I’d encountered a volley of
obscenities and urination as I stood there with
some of the troubled hostel residents, who directed
their anger at the passing public although not di-
rectly at me. I was there to enquire about staying
at St. Mungo’s myself as then an unhoused
homeless man.
+
To be frank, I fled from there and have never
set eyes on the place again. Hopefully, the new
changes are now substantially better than the
past. But the £3.2 cosmetics of the building are
only skin deep. Like all cosmetic treatment
it is liable to easily fade in short order if the
treatment isn’t carefully updated regularly
to keep the cosmetic glow. The homeless
resident must feel they have a stake in the
ongoing success of St. Mungo’s at Endell
Street. That’s if it is to withstand the bick-
ering and complaints of Covent Garden
homesteaders and the local businesses
and the professionally-working people
of the area.
+
I’ve yet to hear of any homeless hostel any-
where that engenders for the homeless a stake
in the place itself and to help it to grow for the
future homeless that will come after them.
Without a community stake, the homeless stay
homeless much longer than they should.
+
And next time I’m down on Endell Street,
I’ll look to see if The “Beggars of St. Mungo’s”
have now re-appeared and are counting
their phantom “hundred quids” yet again …
+Monk Justin of Connecticut, 2oo8.

3/24/2008

For Me, No Easter Sunrise On Holy Island.


Story and Photos By Uncle Monty
+
So off I went on Good Friday to The Holy Island of
Lisdisfarne so that I could witness the Easter Morning
Sunrise around me, but I never got to get there due
to circumstances beyond my personal control of
transportation mishaps and the island's tidal
waves. Instead, I found myself at Ecosse's
Edinburgh and Scottish Borderlands for
my Eastertide.
+
Swarms of Asians I now saw upon my unplanned
Easter arrival at Scotland's Edinburgh, which I'd not
seen for forty years or more since I lived there very
briefly at Fountainbridge and just doors away from
actor Sean Connery's mom who came with her baked
jam tarts for me and my fellow Edinburgh University
students at the turn of the 1960's.
+
At first I thought Edinburgh looked quite unchanged
from my days there, but once I saw the swarms of
Asian youthz racing down the streets I knew, then
and there, it wasn't the same city I once knew of so
many years ago ... Even though I was back in Edin-
burgh, I distinctly felt I was still in England with all
its foreignized and ghettoised communities that I
cannot avoid no matter where I go in London and
elsewhere all over the UK. It seems the whole
country is now a minefield of foreign towns and
cities at where if one is not a foreigner you feel you
are almost unwelcomed and unwanted in your own
British country that has been subjugated by every-
thing that is so foreign and so unEnglish. The political
curse of mass immigration has robbed us of our own
country. And Scotland seems to be no exception,
if to a milder degree, from what I can see.
+
Edinburgh also seemed so Anglicized -now, compared
to my days when everything Scottish was so proudly
rendered before you. I saw more Union Jacks flying
here than I did of the St. Andrew flag of Scotland. And,
brand name retailers at the hideous shopping centres
have now taken a hold here, too. I saw only one small
local shop with taylored tartan kilts for sale in its neat
little shop window set against the brash and ever-
commercial stores of the well-known brands.
+
Snowflakes came somewhat hapharzardly as I
bumped into the first begger of the day on Easter
Saturday. I was moving rapidly along Princes Street
at about 8:00am to keep myself warm from the free-
zing tempertures that hit me badly and the begger
I soon photographed. Then it was the Romanian
girl I saw next who was too scared to be photo-
graphed full-faced, but I told her to pull her
hood more over her face and to stand to her
side so that I could photograph her as a street
vendor of The Big Issue. I bought my first
Scottish edition of the mag from her at her
pitch near St. James Shopping Centre. She
spoken only pigeon English at just age 20.
She spoke more English than I can speak
Romanian for sure ... Forty years or more
ago there were no Romanians to be seen
on the streets of Edinburgh nor The Big
Issue. Such had never been heard of then
and perhaps in the next forty years or more
such will have long disappeared, too.
==
The Romanian girl (above) called hereself "Nicole."
That's hardly a Romanian girl's name, I suspect.
Her name of "Nicole" sounds so American to me.
She seemed quite happy to be here in Edinburgh,
but I wasn't frankly. I'd prefer to remember the
city has it once was to me, not what it has become
today. The problem with sentimentality is that it
always shatters one's memory and emotion when
it faces today's new reality of what one once rem-
embered of things from all those past yesterdays.
And so, my fond memory of Edinburgh has now
been permanently shattered here by coming
back after forty years or more. I wish I'd never
come back, like I did today. I simply hate all the
new reality being a deep sentimentalist at heart.
As a Capricorn, I am more comfortable with
things of the past than with new-fangled things
that seem so shallow and so empty at best and at
worst a most unwelcomed and forced reality.
+
And, Now To The Borderlands.
+
The Borderlands of England and Scotland
are best understood from The Walled City of
Berwick-upon-Tweed, which was once Scotland's
richest city until the English conquered it and
claimed it as their own. I include a couple of
my pictures of my visit to Berwick that is
a major jumping-off stage to go on to The
Holy Island of Lindisfarne, that's if the tides
are low and if not then you're stranded to stay
at Berwick like I did for Easter Day. Being so
near to Holy Island and yet so far was so
frustrating to me especially after travelling
almost 400 miles to get there and then another
400 miles to return to home base after being
unfulfilled in my purpose for wanting to go there
for Easter Sunrise as a devout and affirming
Anglican that I always try to be ...
+
My selected pictures of Berwick-upon-Tweed
show the city 1, from a panoramic view; 2, the
perimeters of the historic walled city; and 3,
the lovely memorial to Lady Annie Jerningham
with her beloved dogz of 1902. Her husband,
Sir Hubert, was the local M.P. at the time of her
death. Here, too, is Britain's oldest infantry barr-
acks that I tried to visit but it was too tough for
me to climb at its long and very steep incline at
the high elevation of the walled city. I saw plenty
of young military recruits though going up and
down the steep incline with perfect ease. And,
Berwick, like Edinburgh, was too wintery cold
for everybody even on this Easter weekend ...
+
+
+
+
Here's are a couple of other photos of the full-
time beggar and the unbadged street vendor
there that I encountered while on the streets
of Ecosse's Edinburgh:
+
I wouldn't take a word of what he said
with two grains of salt. Clearly, he was a
"professional" beggar. Look how clean he
looks with a nice clean colorful blanket
and new dark blue bag and a nice, clean red
bowl and not to mention his carefully crafted
beggar's sign so carefully place in front of him.
His sign declared: "I Am Hungry And Homeless.
A. Please Can You Spare A Little Bit (of)
Change. Thank You. B. I Have Got Learning
Disabilities."
+
You sure have buddy!! Your only "disability" it
seems to me is you DON'T want to earn a living
by working, at age 26, instead of professionally-
bumming on the streets of Edinburgh to get money
from suckers such as me and others!! Right, mate?
Get off your smelly ass and do something with your
life and don't panhandle it away until you're so old
they'll bang you away in some care home for old
men of wasted lives like your's will eventually be ...
+
See no Big Issue badge on this street guy,
do you? For those who might like to see it,
I add my photo of the front cover of the
Scottish edition of this week's Big Issue.
=

As for my fancy Berwick dinner at the King's
Arms Hotel restaurant called Il Porto di Mare,
I got what I paid for I pretty well think.
Here's what I got for almost $20.00 or
£9.75 in local money: Organic Grilled Tweed
Salmon with crispy Bacon masked with Suffron;
white wine and chive sauce and Duchess cream
potates. Followed by Raspberry Pavlova mer-
ingue Shell-filled with Chantilly cream and
Raspberries Coulis, costing me another $9.00 or
£4.50. And, a nice big pot of tea at only $3.00
or £1.50. It was better to sit comfy and dine
warmly inside, no matter the cost, than to stand
and wait in the freezing cold and the on and off
sleet for my final 400-mile or so ride back to
London just before midnight.
+
What I saw of Berwick's so-called "nightlife"
was the common scene of British hot-to-trot
nights of boozing and screaming at the local
Golden Square by the native yobz and loutz
with girlz half-dressed (or half-naked, if you
wish!) like local slutz despite the bitter cold of
the night. I saw one black fella drunk as a newt
and he skipped and hopped from one side of the
street to the other. He then charged like a black
bull in a bull ring and crashed his head right into
a blank, brick wall. But he seemed unfazed as he
then carried on to wherever he planned to rest his
bloodied face and his drunkened head. Just minutes
earlier, two young woman copz had stood watch but
they seemed clearly outnumbered by the public fray.
A couple of more other copz came by later show-
ing their tallness and maleness to those who would
just dare challenge them. They'd missed the black
bull, of course!
+
So finally, I got my long ride back to home base.
For me, then, no Easter Sunrise on Holy Island as
I journeyed through the English night and after
my visit back to Ecosse's Edinburgh and my first
visit to The Borderlands of Scotland and England
with a touch of Easter just for me at The Walled
City of Berwick-upon-Tweed ...
+
Britons Still Believe In Christ's Resurrection
+
And now, HAPPY and BLESSED EASTER
to you all. Faithfully, Uncle Monty.
Easter Day, 2oo8.
+
A Letter from America ...
Howdy Uncle, Keep pumping out those stories of your own
style. They're readable plus honest. What happened to you hap-
pened to my family when we could not get across to Holy Island
when the low tides came. We stayed in Berwick for the night. As
for the night life, we were so tired we saw none of it. What you
wrote about the night life there was shocking plus revealin'.
You're truly a marvellous feature writer. You write a big range
of subjects I see from your blog. Plus, those photographs you
take are well taken. Take good care, good Uncle Monty.
Keep writing more for us all. Chio.
Casey Dahl, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA.

3/23/2008

They Spoke Christ's Message At Jerusalem's Eastertide.

They Spoke Christ's Message
At Jerusalem's Eastertide.
Edited By Uncle Monty.
+
"In Situations of Death We Demonstrate That
We Are the Apostles of the Resurrection"
+
"In the evening of the first day of the week, Jesus
came and stood among them. He said to them,
"Peace be with you" and showed them his hands
and his side. The disciples were filled with joy
when they saw the Lord and again he said to them
"Peace be with you." St. John ch.20 vv 19-21.
+
Dear Sisters and Brothers, Christ is risen:
Many people limit their thoughts on Easter to the
empty tomb. How important then, for us to concent-
rate on the first manifestation which our Lord made
to his disciples. There is considerable encouragement
to be gained from the fact that the living Christ is
greeting his living Church. We do not under estimate
the burden of so many of our faithful today from the
continuing violence and acts of terrorism that surround
them, and of which we all are victims, in the West
Bank, in Gaza and in the Israeli society. Nevertheless,
the Risen Lord reminds us and tells us that we have
a role and we have to change the present situation,
through the power and strength which He gives us.
+
On that first Easter evening it seems obvious that the
disciples were full of fear mingled no doubt with doubt
and perplexity. So much had happened to make them un-
certain of the future and consequently they were afraid.
However, in their moment of greatest need Jesus came
and stood amongst them. At least they believed that
he suddenly appeared to them. Because, since they saw
him die on the Cross, they believed that everything
had ended and the Master has abandoned them. But,
fear, weakness and locked doors could not keep
Jesus from his disciples ... then or now !
+
He appeared to them glorious and renewed their
faith. In giving the disciples the conventional greet-
ing "Peace be with you" Jesus is seeking to quieten
the hearts of his anxious and troubled disciples.
He shows them his hands and his side to convince
them of his identity as the one recently crucified.
So their fear and doubt are replaced by joy.
+
Today we too, we live in fear and perplexity. We too
need to see the Risen Lord, in order to take away
perplexity and fear because of all that is happening
around us and in us, so to replace our fear and
anxiety with peace and joy. However the message
of Easter does not end there. The new joy is a
mission which the apostles have to bring to the
world. Jesus sent them to the troubled world as a
whole in order to bring to every one its joy and peace.
+
So Jesus says: "As my Father has sent me,
even so send I you." In this way Jesus reveals that
his Church is to be the instrument through which
his saving power is to be made known to the world
as the lives of men and women are challenged to
submit to the claims of his Kingdom. More is re-
vealed as Jesus tells the disciples of the spiritual
power which will be given them to enable them to
fulfill their task which he has given them. "He brea-
thed on them and said Receive the Holy Spirit."
+
In that instance he is preparing them for the
forthcoming Pentecost. He also shows them the
intimate relationship between himself and the
Holy Spirit, sometimes described in the Early
Church as "the Spirit of Christ".
Having told the disciples of the spiritual power
He is giving them Jesus then makes it clear that the
Church has a specific function in the world to explain
and convince people that men and women have a
responsibility to confess their sins. If they truly
repent and relieve then their sins are forgiven.
+
It is very normal that we bring the same message
to our Land. Similarly we have to take away the
many burdens on people's lives caused by
Occupation, bloodshed, violence and killings and
mutual hatred, as well as the wrong ways followed
so far to reach security. In all these situations of
death we demonstrate that we are the apostles of
the resurrection, with its joy and hope. We have to
tell the people that the present situation in which
we are living is part of the world's sin, but it must
also be part of the new power given to us by the
Risen Lord. Hence we invite them to make
penitence, to admit their involvement in the sin
of the world, to be forgiven and to become able to
see the right ways that lead to security and peace.
We say this to our Leaders in Palestine and Israel.
+
The ways used until today to reach security must
be changed. If not, we will remain in the same
positions in a permanent cycle of violence. For you,
Leaders of this Land, we ask that God give you
light and strength to take away from it death and
fear so as to restore in it peace with security.
So, as we greet all of you this Eastertide we urge
all concerned to demonstrate their faith in more
positive terms not least showing their personal belief
lin a Risen and Glorified Jesus. Moreover, our Jesus
is no figure of history but rather the One to teach
us and guide us along the path of peace and new life.
+
To our friends across the world we wish the peace
and joy of the Risen Lord. Thank you for your
prayerful support but please we would ask that you
recall that your faith in Christ has its origin in this
Holy Land. You have to assume your responsibilities
here. You too are responsible with us for restoring in
it the joy of the Resurrection so as to lift the burdens
of death, hatred, Occupation, Security Walls and the
fear of taking the risk of peace. Do whatever you can
and please involve your Governments too to assume
their responsibilities for the peace of this Land.
+
Pray for us as well as for a just and comprehensive
peace in this Land ; pray that fear, the main obstacle
for peace, will disappear. Pray that people recognize
and accept each other, so that the right ways be open
before the glory of the Resurrection so that this Land
of the resurrection may enjoy the new life to
which God has called it.
Christ is risen.
Happy and Holy Easter.
+
Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem:
Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch
Michel Sabbah, Roman Catholic Latin Patriarch Torkom
I Manoogian, Armenian Orthodox Fr. Pierbattista
Pizzaballa, OFM; Custos of the Holy Land Archbishop
Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Swerios
Malki Murad, Syrian-Orthodox Archbishop Abouna
Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop Paul Sayyah,
Maronite Bishop Suhail Dawani, Anglican Bishop Mounib
Younan, Lutheran Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian-Catholic
Archimandrite Joseph Saghbini, Fr. Rafael Minassian,
Armenian Holy Patriarchate.
+
JERUSALEM, MARCH 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).

3/21/2008

Barred From The US of A For Being Different ...

By Uncle Monty
***
Sebastian Horsley stopped by at my Big Issue
pitch a few months ago to buy six copies of the mag
that he was written up in and so Sebastian and I
chatted happily and I also took some photographs
of him, too. Thus, I include the above caption photo
here that I took of him at my pitch.
+++
So when I read this morning’s major news story at
Reuters that he’d been barred visa entrance to the
the US of A, I wasn’t particularly surprised knowing
how the US has now become a kind of “Fortess America”
since the 9/11 fallout and in which almost anybody who
thinks and acts differently to the average American Joe
can expect the good old US of A to do its very best at
barring those who it feels threatens them and their
rather closed and horse-blinked view of the world
outside of Stateside.
***
So, anybody who says or believes that “America is
the land of the free” needs to read why such isn’t
so after reading the stupid reasons why they barred
such British folkz as Sebastian Horsley and Cat Stevens
from first entering the country … In the case of
Cat
Stevens, they even diverted a whole plane full of people
so that they could bar him as a so-called “terrorist
threat” to the US of A. Cat Stevens was and is no
more a terrorist threat than a skinned cat …
+++
As for Sebastion Horsley, eccentricity isn't cherished in
deculturalized America and is viewed as almost a "crime"
by some members of Yankee officialdom, especially
if you’re a “funny” foreigner with a Blighty
accent like Sebastian Horsley.
+++
Here then is the full unedited news story about him from
Reuters news staffers Belinda Goldsmith and Todd Eastham:
***
:: U.S. denies entry to British
sex and drugs memoir writer ::
*
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Controversial British
author Sebastian Horsley was denied en-
trance into the United States as he arrived
to promote his memoir of drug addiction, sex
and his dysfunctional family, his publisher
said on Wednesday. Seale Ballenger, spokesman
for HarperCollins Publishers, said Horsley
was stopped by immigration officials at New
York's Newark airport after flying in from
London on Tuesday to promote his latest book
"Dandy in the Underworld." He said the
flamboyant writer, wearing a top hat, three-
piece suit and painted finger nails, was
accused of "moral turpitude" in connection
with his former drug use, pro-prostitution
stance and controversial self-
crucifixion in the Philippines in 2000.
+++
Horsley, 45, claims to have slept with more
than 1,000 prostitutes, worked as a male
escort and been in and out of rehab to treat
drug addiction, with video interviews of
him talking about his drug use and sex
life posted on the Internet.
"He is very honest about his life.
That is who Sebastian is," Ballenger
told Reuters from a party in New York
that was meant to be the U.S. launch
for the book but ended up being a
rally for support to bring the
author back to the United States.
Ballenger said after several hours of
questioning by immigration officials,
Horsley was put on a plane and returned
to London. No one from the New York
office of United States Customs and Border
Protection was immediately available to
comment. The New York Times quoted a customs
spokeswoman, Lucille Cirillo, as saying
she could not comment on individual cases.
But in an e-mail to the newspaper she
explained that under a waiver program that
allows British citizens to enter the
United States without a visa,"travelers
who have been convicted of a crime involving
moral turpitude (which includes controlled-
substance violations) or admit to previously
having a drug addiction are not admissible."
***
Publisher Carrie Kania, from the
HarperCollins' unit Harper Perennial that
published the book in the United States,
said she found it hard to understand why
Horsley would be denied entrance into the
U.S. for "his notoriety." "It is un-
fortunate that his voice, in person, is
being stifled," she said in a statement.
"Sebastian has written a cautionary tale
of a life lived vividly ... an unapolo-
getic, honest, funny and torturous book.
Sebastian's memoir is about choice, some
conventional, some unconventional."
Horsley's memoir was published last
September in Britain with reviewers
calling it both amusing and revolting.
(News copy by Belinda Goldsmith,
***
Just hours later, this neat response:
said... As much as we'd like to have them leave the
US, the UK should retaliate by inexplicably refusing
to admit the next jingoistic cowboy-hatted country
singer or fundamentalist bible-waving TV evangelist
who lands at Heathrow. trueblueliberal.org
***

3/20/2008

My Little Penny Day. By Uncle Monty.

=
“My heart goes out for all the poor hooooooooomeless,”
she declared with her tad of snooty, upper class accent
and nasal inflexion. For a moment, I also thought she was a
talking giraffe looming over me as she opened her non-stop
mouth to bare her gleaming white teeth for us all to see.
The more her mouth opened, the more I was convinced she
thrived on benignity despite her tall neck swinging and
turning with the propensity of a lady giraffe as she talked
her talk to me. There was, however, nothing gibberish in
her heartfelt voice other than I wasn’t sure if she was also
a modern day Florence Nightingale dressed in disguise
in her expensive, if not rural, Genappe. Her gewgaw
jewellery also made me giddy as she laid on her heartfelt
sorry, thick and thin, upon me like some kind of moral
pulpiteer. She was indeed caught-up in the rhetoric,
but not the reality of homelessness. I’d never met
a talking giraffe before, until I met her!!
“You see, I do read The Guardian and read all about those
poooooooor people we call the homeless. It makes my

heart pulsate just thinking about such a dreadfuuuuuuuuul
situation for them. Mind you, I know I would faint at being
one of them …” I wasn’t sure now if I would need next to
dial 999 for an emergency ambulance to help resuscitate
her and pick-up her fallen out dentures off the sidewalk
or pavement as she laid helplessly with her quivering
mouth now gasping at her last panting … Plus, her spread
legs showing her pressed and spotless pinky knickers …
I had no doubt, however, her heart was in the right place,
but I wasn’t so sure about her non-stop mouth and her
pink undies. Pink isn’t my favourite colour. What I did

discover most was that certain giraffes can certainly
talk the talk. Not to mention, I was the closest

ever to a lady giraffe.
I want to help!!,” she suddenly burst forth with her given
nasal proficiency and promptly ordered me to open my

hand so that she could then make a donation. “Don’t look!!,”
she further ordered me as I then turned my head away
with my open hand and arm now stretched out toward her.
She fumbled abit as she tried to put in my hand whatever
donation she wanted to give me. Finally, she took my
fingers and closed them together after she’d done what
she thought was her good deed of the day. I then looked
at her and she was beaming at me like a royal giraffe on
her day off from the zoo. “I do hope it will help … it’s just
a little help for you. As you know, my heart goes out for
aaaaaalllllllll the homeless. Poooooor devils, aren’t they?
So God Bless and perhaps I will see you next time when
you’re no looooooooger in such a plight …
Goooooooood
bye! Bye … bye …” And so off she went with her head up
so high it would have made any other humble giraffe

feel entirely too short and too shy.
After she’d gone, I slowly opened my hand with great
expectations! I then looked at what I had in the palm of my
hand and guess what I got? AN OLD DENTED PENNY!!!
That’s what I got, one old and dented penny! I didn’t quite
know whether I should simply laugh or cry or go bonkers …
Whatever, I choked slightly and chuckled alot to myself at
the thought of what I thought I was going to get from the
high class lady … Her rhetoric was now my sore reality. One
lousy penny, yet I still chuckled at what had transpired so
comically at my Big Issue pitch. I vowed then that if I ever
saw the said lady again, I would stop her and say: “Excuse
me, my dear! My heart goes out for you, too! So please
accept my heartfelt gift to you of TWO OLD DENTED
PENNIES …” And, that would be the end of that!
A few hours later, however, a youngish bloke came from
out of the blue and stopped at my pitch and asked me:
"Are you Monty?” I said, yes! I have a question for you:
“Do you collect pennies?” Pennnnnies? “Yes, pennnnnnies.”
I was still choking and chuckling on the thought of that old
dented penny in my hand. So I hesitated and said something
to the bloke that I really wasn’t sure if to answer yes or no
to his question. Nor was I sure if it was a big joke or not be-
ing pulled on me. “Make up your mind, Monty. You either
collect pennies or you don’t,” he remonstrated to me as
he started to walk away, impatiently … “Yes, I do. I do!
After all, most millionaires started off with pennies …
didn’t they?” And, he approved of my sudden declaration.
“I’ll be back when I can this afternoon,” stated the never
before seen burly bloke. I thought then that was
the end of him, too.
But, I was in for one hell of a surprise … There he was
again, an hour or so later, crossing the street towards me
with a large and heavy bag of guess what? PENNIES!!! Yes,
PENNIES!! And, lots of them!! Along with other coins inside
the double plastic carrier bag of 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s. The bag
weighed like a figure of obesity much like the rough but an-
gelic bloke who gave me the bag of hundreds of pennies,
some new, some old, and even some dented!! I then soon
christened the day as “My Little Penny Day.” And, nothing
less … So from the lady giraffe to the burly bag man I’d
gone all within a few odd hours that bordered now on
some kind of script from a sloppy daytime soap opera.
It was all so unreal.
When folkz later stopped by at my pitch to visit, I asked
them to pick-up the bag and take a good guess of how much
money was inside. From Janis Vella, I got an estimate of 25
quid. From Alex Parish, I got 32 quid. From Mark Errington,
I got 18 quid. From David Greener he thought the bag con-
tained about 45 quid. From Dawn Young, I got an estimate
of 30 pounds. While Samantha Whitmore was convinced
the bag weighed heavy enough to be 65 quid in change.
But nobody came near to the actual amount, although
Samantha was the closest but still way off. I carefully took
the bag on the Bendy and was worried the double plastic
bag might split open due to its weight. So before I left my
pitch for the day, I got Lisa and Phil, I think, to give me an
extra plastic bag to ensure it wouldn’t split open and all the
change go scattering all over the Bendy. I could imagine what
would have happened with the bus passengers all scrambling
to pick-up all the change. I was very worried, too, that some
folkz might think it was a bomb on the Bendy with the ungain-
ly shape of the bag and looking so odd and heavy with only
dayz after we’d endured the fatal 21/7 horror in London. I
also didn’t want to become the next Charles de Menezes
with armed British anti-terror cops ready to
blow my brains out!!!
Finally at the end of the day, I got to count all the pennies
and all the other change in the bag at my sheltered home of
what I call “my-hole-in-the-wall.” At final count, I got exactly
NINTY-TWO POUNDS and NINTY-TWO PENCE in
change!! Woooooooooooooow. No wonder I still
remember and relish “My Little Penny Day.”
~~~
Perhaps I should now offer at least three old dented pennies
instead of two to that talking lady giraffe … for my heart goes
out to all such looming ladies… And, moreover, to the money
bag bloke please remember no matter how heavy the bag I’m
more than happy to collect pennies no matter how many from
1 to 100,001. My Big Issue pitch can always handle an extra
penny or two … most gratefully and most graciously …
So ta-ta for now, everybody … And oh! “My heart goes out
for all the poor hoooooomeless,” remember that’s what
she said!! Thankz for that old dented penny. But you know
what? I think you brought me gooooooooooood luck. I
still have that old dented penny somewhere under lock and
key to be sure my luck doesn’t run out on the streets …
But above all, I still thank my Good Anglican Lord for
“My Little Penny Day.” He always works in the
mysterious way, doesn’t He? Bravo!! Bravo!!!
My above story "My Little Penny Day"
first appeared in The Vendors View,
January 1-31, 2oo8. Vol. 1, No. 6.

3/19/2008

Maundy or Green or Sheer Thursday Before Easter.

+
Maundy Thursday has been the traditional
English name for the Thursday preceding
Easter, derived from the first antiphon of
the ceremony of the washing of the feet,
‘manadatum novum’ (Jn. 13. 34). Its special
celebration in the commemoration of our Lord’s
Institution of the Eucharist on that day is attested
already for the 4th cent. by the Council of Hippo
(393). Two other traditional liturgical features are
The Blessing of the Holy Oils and the Reconcilia-
tion of Penitents, though the latter has long been
obsolete. Two or even three Masses were celeb-
rated on the day (of Maundy Thursday) in the
early centuries (of The Church), but the
Gregorian Sacramentary and the oldest
Ordines Romani allow only one.
+
In the Western Church peculiarities of the
Maundy Thursday Mass are the solemn ringing,
at the ‘Gloria in excelsis’ of all the bells, hence-
forward silent until the Easter Vigil; the con-
secration of a second Host for the Mass of the
Presanctified on Good Friday, which is carried
in procession to the Altar of Repose after the
Mass; the omission of the Kiss of Peace in
commemoration of the kiss of Judas; and
the general communion of clergy.
+
In cathedral churches the Holy Oils are
blessed during the Mass. After Vespers the
Altars are stripped and the holy water stoups
emptied. In some churches the altars are then
ceremonially washed. The Maundy Thursday
ceremonies conclude with the Pedilavium
(or washing of the feet), which is performed
by bishops in their cathedrals, by abbots in
their monasteries, and formerly also by cer-
tain sovereigns, of which the ‘Maundy
Ceremony’ at Westminster Abbey
is an abbreviated survival.
+
:: GREEN THURSDAY ::
[Lat. dies viridium; Germ.
Grundonnerstag].
+
The usual name in Germany, also occasionally
found elsewhere, for Maundy Thursday. Its
origin is perhaps connected with the custom of
providing penitents, who made their confession
on Ash Wednesday, with green branches on that
day as tokens that their penance was completed
and that they were thereby received back into
full ecclesiastical communion.
+
:: SHEER THURSDAY ::
+
An old name for Maundy Thursday,
perhaps from ‘skere’ or ‘sheer’ (= ‘clean,’
‘free from guilt’), with reference to the
practice of receiving absolution or (alter-
natively) of ceremonially washing the
altars of the church on that day.
+
:: Source ::
The Oxford Dictionary Of The Christian Church
Maundy, pp. 876 + 877. Green, p. 582. Sheer, p. 1250
By Dr. F. L. Cross,
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and
Oxford Anglican Canon of Christ Church.
Oxford University Press, 1961.
Blog Edited by Uncle Monty
+Eve of Maundy Thursday, 2oo8.