Note from the Editor

I have decide that as our fiscal year end approaches this would be a good time to bring on a new editor for our newsletter. For me it has been a rewarding experience to try to make our newsletter a bit light, a bit probative, a bit controversial, and a bit informative. At the very least I think we have got to know some of our members better. Who knew that Nancy worked in space? Or that cheating in poker could lead to marriage?

But it also true that a new newsletter could be more like the UUA World and possibly more in line with our covenant. The new editor, and the team who will be assisting with reviewing editorial content, can offer that direction.

Would you like to work with one or two other people to put together our new newsletter? Is it possible that searching for interesting stories and timely articles is just the way you would like to help our Fellowship? Or do you have an interest in photography and might like to help by providing photos of some of our events? Do you like to gab? And what UU doesn’t? Maybe you could do the monthly interviews.

If any of those opportunities sound like they may interest you please contact me and we’ll put a team together.

Fred Parmenter

Now, let’s get on with this month’s newsletter!

Nominating Committee

This is a busy time of year for the Nominating Committee. This closed (elected) committee is tasked with providing a slate of candidates to fill the various vacancies in our Fellowship’s leadership positions. The UUFCC membership votes on these nominees at the Annual Meeting, on March 27.

Snowbirds are not necessarily excluded from candidacy.

This year we are seeking candidates for the following positions:

  • President
  • VP
  • Treasurer
  • Trustee(s)
  • Nominating Committee Members
  • 3 delegates to the UUA General Assembly, as voting representatives of UUFCC

If you would like to discuss any of these positions please contact Lynn Ritchie or John Lee, cochairs, Nominating Committee.

Auction Time!

Our auction this year will be online and it will be held Feb 19 at 6:30PM. There will be two auctions, a live auction and a silent auction. Don’t do it now, but after reading the newsletter you can donate to either auction by going to our new Auction Web site by clicking here.

Similarly, after reading the newsletter, if you want to see some screen shots demoing how to donate an item, click here.

Another Side Of Alan Searle

Most of us are familiar with Alan from his interest in our climate via the many articles he has authored for us on climate. But did you also know he is an accomplished writer? As a teaser here’s a bit about how he got going:

The first of the current three “Beaton” series books includes a story which interested me from the seventies. I was living in Abergavenny, Wales at the time and went for breakfast at a friend’s house. She had married an Estonian and he still had family back in the ‘old country’. Their place was a mess and in the years I knew them other houses they lived in were also complete messes. That morning she moved dirty pans and plates away so that I had a place to eat. Among the rest of the debris on the table was a dirty milk jug. I moved it away and under the dry milk veneer I noticed it was made of metal. In fact, it was gold and they told me the story about it.

Want to hear the story? Check out his books and plays on Amazon.

Patient Advocacy Committee (PAC)

Patient advocacy? What’s that? You say we have a Patient Advocacy Committee at UUFCC? I didn’t know that. Well, allow me to inform you, or perhaps refresh your memories.

Several years ago it was decided to undertake patient advocacy in UUFCC. Its function was to assist for those with medical concerns. No, absolutely no medical advice. Leave that to the docs and nurses. But just suppose you need a ride to an appointment. Or an extra pair of eyes or ears to lend clarity at an appointment. Or a regular visitor at a hospital, rehab center or nursing home. Or help with billing. Or so much more.

What? You say that’s what your spouse, or neighbor or best friend are for? Well sure, but what to do if you can’t get in touch with those folks? That’s what the Patient Advocacy Committee is for.

To learn more click here. This will take you to several pages of good information about what PAC can do for you, and also what you can do for us.

Think you’ll never need the Patient Advocacy Committee? Or maybe you’d like to help? Well, just in case, give it a read. Much better safe than sorry.

Herb Levin Chair, PAC

The Friday Night Dance

I was thinking about Susan at the Friday night dance,
Skirtin’ and flirtin’ with their dreams of romance,
And of all of those men who were there that night
With all of their hopes and hardly a chance.

I was thinking about them in their quite dismal plight,
With their showers of cold water running all night,
And of her spin’ round to the rhythms of sound,
Rockin’ and sockin’ and, who knows? She might…

I was thinking about myself and these feelings re-found,
And of a sparkling blue dress that loosed them unbound,
And of the last time when I too took a chance
At a place as friendly as the Friday night dance.

Fred Parmenter

Black History Month

February is Black History Month not only in The United States but in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the Netherlands. The recognition of the contribution of people of African descent began in the U.S during the summer of 1915 in Chicago. There was a celebration of the Emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Carter G. Woodson, black historian, attended along with thousands of African Americans to view exhibits depicting progress of our people made since the end of slavery.

Woodson and friends formed the Association for The Study of Negro Life and History. Findings were published in the Journal of Negro History which he founded in 1916. By 1920 Woodson had reached out to Black civic organizations and fraternities / sororities to take up the cause of recognizing the contributions of the descendants from Africa. In 1926 Woodson sent out a press release announcing National Negro History Week. The month of February was the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Beginning with President Gerald Ford, during the bicentennial in 1976, a proclamation has been made annually recognizing February as Black History Month .

Black History Month was first celebrated in London in 1987 as part of African Jubilee Year . It is celebrated in October and is a way of remembering the African diaspora and the role played in the colonization of a continent.

Nova Scotia Canada was the end of the underground railroad. In 1978 the Ontario Black Historical Society petitioned the city of Toronto to proclaim Black History Month. Nova Scotia was the first to acknowledge the contributions of people of African descent in 1988. In 2008, the first black Senator Donald Oliver, introduced a motion which was passed to recognize Country wide February as Black History month.

In Ireland 2010, a Nigerian ,Zeph Okechi Ikeh researching black history in that country discovered a visit by Frederick Douglas to Cork County and the speech he made for the abolition of slavery. Yes, Africans were present and used as slaves.

In the Netherlands, Anton De Kom , an African, published “We Slaves of Suriname “ in 1934. It was the first history of Dutch colonization in Africa while he was exiled to the Netherlands. The Black Lives Matters protests of 2020 renewed interest in the history of Dutch colonization in South Africa which began in 1607.

People of African decent are found world-wide. Our DNA, economic, cultural, scientific and historical contributions cannot be ignored. Our lives matter.

Stephanie Garrett
Black and Proud UU

Bylaws Update

Next month we will have our annual congregational meeting and we will vote on folks to lead us, how much money we should need…some of the important but usual matters.

In addition, we will also vote on a new (and improved?) set of bylaws which are the agreed-upon rules of the fellowship.

In March 2020 UUFCC Board of Trustees formed a Bylaws Committee to amend UUFCC Bylaws initially created 20 years ago. Since then, numerous minor amendments here and there have been made, most recently in 2017.

The Bylaws Committee formed in 2020 was tasked by the Board of Trustees with reviewing and updating UUFCC Bylaws Amended 2017 in their entirety. Led by MaryLou Proudfoot Kennedy, this committee met monthly and carefully reviewed the UUFCC Bylaws. We found that the bylaws were in places, confusing. We have tried to clarify. The bylaws had inconsistencies. We have tried to be consistent. Some of the information was redundant or unnecessary. We have tried to include only what is necessary. Some descriptions and requirements were outdated. We have tried to include more current and accurate descriptions and requirements. This group reviewed, discussed, amended, edited, and rewrote sections of the bylaws.

These changes, large and small will be provided to all of us soon (the board is reviewing now). Look for announcements of several town hall meetings to be held soon for a chance to ask questions, receive answers and even suggest changes.

Respectfully submitted,
Your UUFCC Bylaws Committee,
Laura Anderson (PPM Chair)
Lorrie Douglas (Board Chair and ex officio member)
Stephanie Garrett (Former UUFCC President)
Herb Levin (BOT Secretary)
MaryLou Proudfoot Kennedy (Committee Chair)
Nancy Weaver (BOT Treasurer)

Bocca Lupo – A Review by Lisa Roberts

If you are looking for a nice place to eat outside, due to Covid, try Bocca Lupo at 1900 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte.

The large pizza is scrumptious. We love the taste of the cheese and the consistency of the melt-in-your-mouth, New York style pizza. We always order a small Greek salad to go with the pizza. It is safe to say that the small salad feeds at least four! The caprese and Caesar salads are also tasty.

Our friends split a meatball sub and were very happy with it. The portion was large enough for two people and the waitress didn’t seem to mind them sharing.

We have found take-out to be a little inconsistent, sometimes getting overdone (burnt) dough and crust.

Another perk is that you can ask your server to have someone turn on the outdoor heaters. They will warm you up and give you some ambiance!


How did you meet?

This month we continue with a new column about how some of our friends met. This month it is Lisa and Al Roberts:

Out & About

In the middle of Manasota Key, not far from the public access at Blind Pass is the Hermitage. The Hermitage is part of a coalition of organizations supporting the arts in Sarasota County. Artists are invited to come to the artist and given the gift of space and time to work on their creative works.

You may have seen articles in the newspaper about them. In the past few years, they have actively sought collaboration with and received grants from many individuals and non-profit art organizations locally and nationally. Cool idea? Definitely.

But it gets better.

Part of the deal of being a Hermitage Fellow is to interact with the locals and that is why I am sharing this with you. In the past two years, I have been to many creative performances on the beach – all socially distanced, masked encouraged. I have heard poetry and excerpts from novels, listened to all sorts of types of music, watched live theater, and heard about the creative process.

Every single performance is unique and every single performance gives me a path to new ideas of my own. I am exposed to pure art and pure creativity at every single event. It gets even better.

The performances are on the beach – at sunset.

There are new events scheduled often so I would
recommend checking their website – and opting in to their
mailings. On February 18, Matthew Evan Taylor will play
selections from his concert, Say Their Names, inspired by
the fight against anti-Black racism and police brutality.

Matthew Evan Taylor is Assistant Professor of Music at
Middlebury College in Vermont and has had his music
performed by orchestras and symphonies in the US and
Europe by all sorts of groups you have heard of. He also has performed with noted musicians, visual
artists, and dancers.

Laura Anderson

The Light Touch

This month we get two treats from John Lee:

Past issues

You may access past issues of the UUFCC’s newsletters by clicking on the month of interest. The following issues highlighted in purple were created by Ginger during her tenure as editor, and the others highlighted in green were created by Fred during his tenure as editor:

2012 Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep Oct Nov
2013 Jan Feb Mar May/Jun Jul/Aug Oct Nov
2014 Jan Mar May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep Oct Nov
2015 Jan Feb Mar Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 Jan Feb Mar Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Oct Nov Dec
2017 Feb Jul/Aug Oct Nov Dec
2018 Jan Feb Mar Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep Nov Dec
2019 Jan Feb Mar Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2020 Jan Feb Mar May Jun/Jul Aug/Sep Oct Nov Dec
2021 Jan Feb Mar Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Thesbian Thoughts

Hello all. I had the pleasure of a night of entertainment. Ain’t Misbehaving, showing at Venise Theater Jan 14th until Feb 6th.
This performance is based on the songs by Fats Waller. American jazz pianist, organist, violinist, singer and comedic entertainer. This is a high energy program with a 5 member versital cast.
As they strut, strum and sing the songs that Waller made famous.

Fats Waller (1904 – 1943) created Harlem Stride Style that laid the ground work for modern day jazz. Two of his most
famous songs are Ain’t Misbehavin and Honeysuckle Rose, both inducted into the Music Hall of Fame.
The Fats Waller musical show was the winner of a Tony Award for the best musical show of 1978.
Please look up the current covid restrictions on the Venice Theater website for information concerning masking, etc.
Venice Theater is on top of the current status of covid in the community for your safety.

Best to you all until we meet again.

“All you beautiful people in the dark” (Sunset Boulevard)
Patrick Eaton

The Japanese art of Kintsugi

I was completely inspired by Reverend Kathy’s sermon last Thanksgiving. What I took away was that stories we’ve been taught and beliefs we’ve had, at some point in our life, crack and fall apart. I loved the analogy of keeping what pieces we could and rebuilding a new understanding rather than discarding absolutely everything.

Credit is given to Reverend Kathy, who made the comparison to the Japanese art of Kintsugi (which according to our friends at Wikipedia involves, repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.[

What hit me was that this NEED/DRIVE to REPAIR represented many of us who come to UUFCC. In a way, it is what holds us together, even though what we think is broken, and how we go about with reparations varies vastly.

I would like to invite you to let this concept marinate within you. What just didn’t or doesn’t “hold water” for you any more? What does the broken vase symbolize in your past or now? A broken heart? A lost faith? Our community’s losses? Being “held captive by a life you don’t want” (a friend of mine’s term)? A damaged ecosystem? An unjust world? A body that won’t behave? Someone in your life who won’t behave? The ways you don’t behave? Or maybe just a bad day! Endless human possibilities!

On the other side, what did or will it take to reconcile and rebuild the pieces? Contemplation? Creativity? Dedication? Focus? Hard work? Forgiveness? Patience? Time? And courage?

And when it’s done, if it ever is, must you simply endure the imperfect scarring or do you find peace, purpose and a new-found beauty in this undisguised history of yours?

Laura Liermann

iWatch Reflections

Have you ever purchased a device that becomes more fascinating and compelling over time? I have purchased many devices over the years that have captivated my imagination.  My first technological attachment came in the form of a programmable Texas Instrument calculator, which I used to write routines to solve math equations.  I remember feeling elation after I successfully programmed the calculator to solve a quadratic equation. I also recall similar experiences where I built and tested a computer, created programs run on a mainframe computer, utilized software applications, played video games, etc. My latest attachment is with the Apple watch.

My Apple watch is my life coach. It keeps track of my physical and mental activities. Throughout the day, the watch tells me to stand up, walk, strenuously exercise, and engage in mindfulness activities.  The Apple watch sets physical activity goals, and it celebrates my achievements with a special fireworks display.  

The watch keeps track of my heart rate and charts my activity over time.  I can see my peak, low and resting data. 

The watch can sense the type of physical activity my body is experiencing.  If I am walking or cycling, the watch will ask me if I want to record the activity.

The Apple Watch allows me to receive telephone calls, send and receive messages, and read emails and headline news. The watch can even track my sleep patterns.

I am delighted with the capabilities of the Apple Watch, but I have concerns.

Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli public intellectual, historian and a professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and author of many popular books about the history and the future of humankind, posits that we have entered an era where the technology and algorithms have made humans hackable. The machine algorithms can collect and analyze an impressive amount of biometric, behavioral, and psychological data.  The technology knows what excites, depresses, bores, and motivates you to do things.  All these biological data points can be used to examine your emotions and manipulated you.

By allowing the Apple watch to collect all these data I am assuming that the application developers are benevolent and altruistic. But why would Apple want to collect these data about me without a subscription fee?  Am I the subject of a data mining operation? How will my data be monetarized? Is it a smart move for me to put so much trust in a corporation whose purpose is to maximize the return on investment to shareholders? What were the terms and conditions in the user agreement?

Hilary Achauer, in the Washington Post article entitled, “Is it time to stop using your fitness tracker?”, reported that some people have formed an unhealthy obsession with their trackers.  The pressure to keep up with the algorithm’s expectations and the guilt associated with missing the goals can degrade one’s mental well-being.  Performance anxiety can diminish the sheer pleasure of being outdoors and the physical pleasure of exercising. According to Achauer, some experts say the tracker can actually hinder fitness.

Achauer reported, “Fitness trackers can start to become unhealthy if there are no boundaries attached to their use, warns Daryl Appleton, a psychotherapist and performance coach in East Greenwich, R.I. “If you are constantly checking your app or steps and measuring your worth by it or have found that tracking your fitness and caloric intake is impeding your everyday personal and professional life, you could be priming yourself for certain mental health disorders.”

When I provide access to my biological and behavioral data, I am taking a risk that I may be surveilled and manipulated.  But if the algorithms contain the wisdom of 10,000 health care and exercise science professionals, aren’t I better off?  I do not know for certain if ultimately I will be better off, but I am willing to take the chance that I will.

Joseph Fenty

It seemed like a good idea at the time

In last month’s newsletter I tried something rather different which, I have since learned, fell completely flat. I ask Tom Deuley if he would create a drawing of two people, in high back chairs, looking expressionless at each other. He complied and sent in:

Just exactly what I wanted for a quote I had recently read in Wired magazine. The quote was “To have great pain is to have certainty; to hear about pain is to have doubt.”

The quote was taken from from Elaine Searry’s 1985 book The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.

It was my attempt to begin a conversation about pain and how experiencing it is totally different from listening to it being described.

But still I thank Tom for his contribution, and Elaine for her insight.

Fred Parmenter