Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, April 29, 2019


Quotes are from notes I take when reading. I give credit for a few of them. Others, I either do not remember or have lost them in my often illegible hand writing. I write them for your entertainment and thought. -RWC

Money and Politics

The more you get, the more you have.
The more you give away, the more you are.

I don’t want more money. I want reassurance that I won’t run out of it.

Money has worth only if there is not enough for everybody.

US is a dysfunctional plutocracy.   (Paul Beatty)

I am a Palestinian.  (RWC)

Just don’t let them get you to hate them.

The global move to divest from South Africa is what brought down the apartheid regime.

I’d rather be judged by twelve than be carried by six.

I forget who I am supposed to hate. – Irish saying.

He was a warm compassionate fellow who never stopped feeling sorry for himself.  J.Heller

It is useless to vigil for peace, go to church and demonstrate. It is witness.

“Just about all I could find in favor of war was that it paid well, and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.” -Joseph Heller

Peaceful madmen are ahead of the future. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Why I hate the Olympics

Great skills-yes.
Professional amateurs – come on.
Commercials interrupted by events
The lie of perfectionism-No such thing.
You gotta win. Why?
Competition sucks

Death and Dying

Losing a friend is a terrible thing, the memories it shakes loose.  (Peter Robinson)

Choose the death you want.

Mr. R. died last year, he fell off an Alp.

The wrinkled flow of grief.

T.S. Eliot wrote

We die with the dying
See, they depart and we go
With them
We are born with the dead
See they return and bring us with them.

-Little Gidding

I don’t think my life will last forever. But I don’t want it to end.  -rwc

Undertaker’s Vocation

Hope for the living
Hope for the dead.
To serve the living
By caring for the dead.  
(Thomas Lynch, poet and undertaker)

Gladness gleams all the way to the grave. M.O.

I am doomed but life is a magical and mystical gift.

Nobody gets to heaven without a reference letter from the poor.

The church is a community that takes death seriously.

I hope to die gracefully.  -Jerry Garcia

Who died in 1965?
More worthy of honor
Other than Lark, the cow
Who gave to mankind
165,000 liters of milk?


Sacred, beauty and mystery,
Holy and infinite
Mysterium tremens
Eternal and honor

Love yourself and then forget it and love the rest of the world.

What is God saying who loves?
It means nothing except love and lust
Love and love.
We all love, so what?

Christ the Redeemer Billiard Parlor.

Recognize untruth as a condition of life is placed beyond good and evil.

The temptation to be less than human is yearning for certainty.

People who came to Jesus did not find a spiritual drill Sargent.

To choose what is difficult
All one’s day
As if it were easy
That is faith

WH Auden

To discover how to be human
Is why we follow the star (WHA)

Jesus – an alternate life.

We are pre-approved. Nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you.

God shows us a way out of no way.

Meek – Charlie Chaplin’s little tramp. Beaten up but moving on with dignity.

Preaching to bishops is like farting too skunks.

A smart mouth Atheist spouts, “There is no God.” Proper answer is “You are not smart enough to be an atheist.”

She is a fundamentalist atheist.

Charlotte Reinemann prays for people by finding a suitable hymn from the hymnal
And playing it on her piano.

The slick mountain of love breaths on us.

The truth is that we know we lie.

A person is a person through other people.

The Church has a preferential option for the poor.

Prophecy is not predicting the future. Prophecy is speaking the true nature of things.

God has skills, plays and grace adequate enough to bring light into darkness.  – Lamott

Faith means we are out of control.

How I hate the shakedown sermons. A. Lamott

Man is born broken. He lives by mending, and the grace of God is the glues. E. O’Niel

The birth of Jesus was the ingress of love.  -Auden

The infinite is made finite.  -Auden

We have mosaic chips of forgiveness.

Looking like someone facing a firing squad while facing a party.

My daughter has a vocabulary of 200 words, 100 of them are awesome.

I hate the book I am reading for the book club. I chose it.

Parents think that raging at their children or their teachers will change what they got in the delivery room.

The drug stores and the banks were anodyne excrescences from huge chains.

She did not finish Silas Marner and couldn’t even finish the cliff notes.

“Her arms spoke too elegantly of the gym.” Bet

“Clergy blessed the debutantes as they blessed the foxhounds in the fall”

“They were shaped by what they had forgotten.” -Beth

Salvation Armani

Growing up means the death of many talents.

I thought I’d go to an Alcohol support group and went to a bar on Third Avenue.

Think About These

An older, not elder, said, “You know what the worst thing about getting older is?”

“Feeling invisible. Olders in community do not feel invisible.

Unhappy people dread ageing

Favorite Eccentric – Who is yours?

She was a human tsunami.

Beauty is to excite the viewer to sublime thought.

Someone’s face whom you love will be as a star, both intimate and vulnerable and you will be both heart shaken and respectful.

He casts his seed into my indignity.
The plumb line in further.

Fucking is a gift of pure comfort as humans do
to each other when they offer themselves to each other.

I am waiting on YOUR hand and foot.

The whole kit and kaboozle.

If you think you are enlightened, go spend a week with your family.

The spectacles we wear and the spectacles we make of our selves.

Marriage is often a matter of dexterity.

“Doesn’t a day like today make you glad to be alive?”
Samuel Becket said, “I would not be so glad as to say that?”

A friend calls his mother: Our Lady of Sorrows.

Odd Ends

I wonder if I have forgiving Lillian for not forgiving me?   Rwc

He was briary.

She undulates into the chair. You are what they see.  – M. Attwood
None of us are young as we were. So What?
Friendship never ages.   -Auden

The more I write, the more I read, the more I write well. -rwc

It is not love that sustains marriage. It is marriage that sustains love.

From The Loved Oneby Evelyn Waugh
About Americans:
They don’t expect you to listen
They talk only for their pleasure
Nothing they say is designed to be heard.
There are many titles in Hollywood. And
Some of them are authentic

It is my combination of melancholy with an English accent, says Waugh.


Hand Job

Cute name for a manicure and pedicure salon in the Castro is Hand Job. It is at the corner of 18thand Hartford Streets in San Francisco. I went in to the clean warmly lit space. There was a brown leather or Naugahyde couch and two like armchairs. They were deep and comfortable. 

A quite pretty Japanese young woman invited me to sit in one of the chairs. She was in the twenties, perfect skin, black hair and brown eyes. She wore tight jeans and a T-shirt with yellow and red splashes of color. I sat and rested my cane and hat nearby. She gave me a pillow for my lap. I placed my right hand on the pillow as she seated herself on a small red chair at my feet.

She opened a fresh pack of what appeared to be sterilized scissors and nail files. That was impressive. Where I usually go for a manicure, the implements are just sitting there from one customer to the other. I don’t think they are sterilized after each use.

The manicurist worked quickly, cutting and filing and soon finished the nails on my right hand. She then got a bowl of warm water to soak the nails. I noticed something in the bottom of the little bowl. It was a bright yellow lemon slice. Classy, I thought.

Then two men came in. They were seated at each end of the couch. They came prepared for a pedicure as they wore shorts so it was easy to get at their feet. Suddenly, two young black-haired Japanese men placed large bowls of water in front of their customers and sat crossed legged on the floor beside the bowls. They placed the men’s feet into the water and began to gently wash their  feet and proceed to give them pedicures. I left before they might have stayed for manicures.

Meanwhile my manicurist finished cutting and filing my left hand’s fingers. She then placed my left hand into the lemon water, while she buffed and oiled the nails on my right hand. She removed the warm water and gently and firmly massaged my hands and forearms. I closed my eyes and just enjoyed the touch and movement.

Hand Job Salon provided a number of firsts. I had never seen male manicurists before. I loved the lemon. The sterile implements were delightful. The music was quiet probably, Japanese meditation music. 

Cost? $25.00 plus a $5.00 tip. It was twice as much as I paid at High Class Nails and worth it. I am sure to return.




Friday 4/5

The ceiling was red, the sheets white and rumpled. I clutched my knee, the pain thickening and swelling increased. My heart pounded and my breath sibilant through my teeth. I realized I could not stand up nor walk. Six feet, four inches, two hundred pounds, wide awake and helpless. I used my iPhone to call Ann, our neighbor Dora but no one was available to help me.

Strangely, I looked around the room at the huge brown bookcases stuffed with books with red, yellow and blue bindings. The row of photos atop the bookcases of my daughters, my brother and Pamela and several of Ann and our wedding photo. I felt collected and ready to do something else. Out the window, I saw puffy white clouds floating through the blue. Slips of Palm green also.

I did not want to call 911 for emergency help. I could not move enough to let them into our flat. I could not get to the silver lighted buzzer on top of the stairs. Oh, the hell with it I thought, surely, they knew how to break into the front door twenty-five steps below our third story flat.

911 answered almost immediately. The friendly but direct woman took my story. She asked if I had heart problems, fever, headache, vomiting, bleeding or perspiring. She sent the emergency people who arrived in fifteen minutes. They were slower than usual since I was no having a heart attack or bleeding.

I heard some scratching at my front door and in three minutes, I was besieged by five burly blue clad firefighters and two ambulance attendants. They all showed concern and sympathy. They put me in a small wheel chair, got me to the top of the stairs and plunked me into the stair lift. I had a lot of howling and pain while they hoisted me about. I am not the silent type. Down the stairs I went and into a stretcher, hurled into the ambulance.

Then a brute shoved a needle in my arm to give me some medication. While wincing, I got calls from. Ann, Sarah, Leigh and Jessica. I chatted briefly with all lying on my back on the gurney, looking at the shiny white ceiling in the rumbling along chariot. I watched green trees, blue and white buildings trolley wires that I have seen hundreds of time driving by in my car. They seem new and strange even exotic as I look up at them from on my back glancing at them through the small ambulance windows. We glided into the Emergency Care section of the brand-new California Pacific Medical Center on Van Ness Avenue (CPMC). We go into the Franklin Street entrance.

 It must have been a slow day, as I had a nurse receive me into a private ER room and within minutes Dr. Rooke was examining me. Nurse Emily entered my body into one of those blue and white back-tied hospital gowns. We had a brief chuckle about modesty. (I noticed the sexism, he is Doctor Rooke, she is Emily) (To continue the sexism, Emily was far prettier than Rooke.)

Rooke said he would stick a needle in my knee and draw out the offending liquid that was causing my knee to swell and hurt. He slid away saying he’d be back after seeing X-rays and blood work. A technician wheeled in an X-ray machine and took shots of my knee. Then Emily drew blood and I was alone again for an hour. I looked around at the clean, newly painted white wall, gray floor and tan curtain, which was draw to close off my room from the hallway.

Ann joined me to await the procedure

PS: Dr. Rooke needled 140ccs of blood out of the knee and sent us home.

Monday 4/8 -Went back to the ER. Ann and I waited six hours for Dr. McDermott to needle another bit more out of my knee.
Tuesday 4/9 Going to Orthopedist Dr. Cox at 10 AM.
Result; No amputation. It'll heal by itself from now on. Take two aspirin and come back in two weeks, he said.



Capitalism, Socialism and Christianity

Capitalism, Socialism and Christianity


Capitalism raises money. 

Socialism raises the social order. 

The wealthy donate money to individual worthy causes. Food, Feeding programs, hospitals, curing diseases and education.

Socialism seeks to end hunger, homelessness, medical help, education, strengthen worker’s unions and farming by government through taxes.

Capitalism leaves many in poverty.

Socialism seeks to provide more wealth equality.

Capitalism focuses on individual Ingenuity

Socialism emphasizes cooperative enterprise  

Capitalism thrives on war and armaments, guns and weapons. 

Socialism seeks international peace

Capitalism profits from oil, coal, gas and environmental pollution

Socialism calls for environmental conservation.

Socialism endured significantly “in Progressive era reforms in the New Deal and in Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society: in the decades since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, many of those reforms have been undone, monopolies have risen again and income inequality has spiked back up…”

 Christians, or more accurately, followers of Jesus, continually connect the gospels to the personal, social and political life of our listeners. Jesus calls us to feed the hungry, heal the sick and fight for justice for all. 

The “I” of the spiritual life must become the “we” of the gospel's community life.

Socialism is the best social and political system for the expression of the values of Jesus.

It probably won’t catch on in the U.S. However, Bernie Sanders bravely uses the word socialism as part of his 2010 agenda in his bid for the presidency.

In the summer of 2018, a Gallup Poll found that more Democrats view Socialism more favorably than view Capitalism favorably.












Remembering Nina
October 16, 1935-April 8, 2019

Nina Zimpel was her name when I met her in 1962 in the Good Samaritan Community Center where she ran a nursery school. She came to meet me as I was in charge of the building. She wanted to make sure the relationship between the school and the center was in good shape. It was. We found out we each had grown up in New York City and now lived in San Francisco.

We met in my office overlooking busy Potrero Avenue. The room was light and airy overlooking a green garden and a yard full of toys and slides for the children. Nina was tall 5 foot ten perhaps. She wore a long thick braid that went down her back. She had a bright merry eyes and solid build olive skin and a wide, open face. We got the school business over with and then chatted for another hour or more about New York, our families and education. She went to the University of Minneapolis, met Lloyd her husband and came west. She had three boys and Lloyd was a writer. She was a solid liberal, secular Jew and dedicated to nursery school children and public schools.

Jessica, our youngest, did not like her nursery school at St. Luke’s Church so we moved her to Nina’s school where she flourished. Nina and Lillian became good friends. Our families exchanged visits to our homes. We went on picnics together. Nina was a fine photographer and took some fine picture of Leigh, Sarah and Jessica which hang in our hallway to this day.

Nina was proud that her parents were Communists and that her father edited a Yiddish Communist newspaper in New York City. Her values of equal rights for African Americans, women and gays and lesbians came from her heritage. She was for peace, pro-union, for financial equality and for health care for all.

She was always smiling, good natured warm and loving. She loved and nurture young children. She spent her whole long working life running and teaching nursery schools. She even didn’t mind changing diapers when needed.

An artist, photographer, quilt maker and also made a coffee table. My daughters remembered the table inlaid with marbles and glass pieces in the Zimpel home. She attended the New York Cristo Central Park Installation. Nina was friends with hundreds of parents and grown children that she had had in nursery school. She always had a place to stay wherever she travelled.

After divorcing Lloyd Zimpel, she took her maiden name Youkelson 

She had some trouble with at least one of her teen sons. He later had teen sons of his own and apologized to Nina for all the trouble he had caused her when he was that age. 

I often saw Nina doing water aerobics at the University of San Francisco pool when I went there to swim. She attended my 80thbirthday party at Harris Restaurant in 2011.

She and I would often meet each other on 24thStreet in San Francisco, stop and chat and catch up with our families. She would always say my daughters were larger than life. We never talked long before one of her former students or a parent would chime in to our conversation.

She was smart, wise, insightful and witty. Apparently she was ill for a year or so before she died.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Climate Change Sermon
By The Rev. Robert Warren Cromey
March 16, 2019

Jesus is going to die, be crucified because he stood against the principalities and powers of his day. He called the Roman King Herod “that fox…” Jesus criticized the oppression of the Roman powers. Jesus criticized the religious leaders of his time. Jesus spoke especially against the government. We followers of Jesus also are called to question and criticize our government. We have plenty to rail on about – the wall, mistreatment of immigrants, the racism of our president and worship of wealth and armaments.

Today, I want to look at a life-threatening situation. Polar bears. In Churchill, Alaska carnivorous Polar bears are regular visitors to this small town. The bears are hungry, they are threatening the people and animals of Churchill. Citizen’s keep their car doors unlocked so people can jump in cars, if suddenly are attacked by the starving bears.

The Polar bears thrive on fish, which the they catch standing on glaciers and icy shores. Because of global warming the Arctic ice is melting, fish are scarce, fishing is dangerous and the bears are hungry. The bears invade towns in the far north of Alaska and even in Russian Siberia.  I saw a nature film recently with a dirty, skinny polar bear standing on a skateboard size ice patch. She was tired and hungry. She soon would weaken, fall off the ice flow and drown.

We see children in Yemen and other African countries, withering and starving because global warming is drying up the soil and blowing it away so no crops are being grown. Birds and animals, necessary for the crops and natural growth, are killed or chased away by fires.

We see here in California wild fires decimating and completely destroying Paradise, CA and other whole towns and suburbs. We see unprecedented flooding wasting farm lands and towns.  Hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis are becoming more intense and violent. 

The Scientists say Global warming will

1.    Reduce our ability to breath fresh air if Carbon Dioxide is radically reduced. Have you witnessed the tortuous death of someone who can’t breathe? I have.
2.    I saw my friend Michael Woodsmith die of a lung disease that slowly destroyed his ability to breath. He died months latter after much oxygen treatment with tubes and tanks and finally died not able to breathe.
3.    Global temperatures are rising and are the hottest on record.
4.    Glaciers are melting in the Arctic and in the Asian mountain chain with serious consequences for 2 billion people.
5.    Oceans are warming at a great rate killing fish, coral and fish habitats.

We are stewards of the planet, which God has given us. We are to take care of this great gift. Our best minds warn us that we are failing and are on a road to destruction

Our grandchildren

You and I will not live long enough to feel the worst of the devastation to come.  I have grandchildren, they will have children some day. I hope to live to see my grandchildren. I have held babies in my arms, my own, my grandchildren. I know how beautiful tender and helpless they are. I know those feelings of love and warmth, of a passionate desire to protect them. Can we look at those babies and children knowing they face hunger, bad air, a heated planet and no water?

You and I will not long enough to feel the pain, ravages of hunger and extreme heat, but our grandchildren and great grandchildren will.

Our children will suffer from unbreathable air or extreme heat.

Our children will suffer from violence and revolution but we won’t.

It is up to us to start now to prevent the desolation of fire, floods and tornadoes, but we won’t.

The government-Green New Deal-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio – Cortez is quoted as saying, “Genesis 1: God looked down on the world and called it good not once, not twice but seven times. Genesis 2: God commands all people to serve and protect creation.”

What we can do:

JOIIN THE CHILDREN in Europe calling for a green earth. Listen to our own school children who took a day off from school to protest to our legislators to lead on Climate control.

Urge congress to create a Green New Deal to safe guard the planet

Do all we can to fight climate warming and the destruction of the earth that God has given us.

Go out of this church and pressure our legislators

Go out of this church determined to fight global and climate warming

Go out of this church and write the letters, send the emails

Go out of this church to change our life styles to prevent waste and pollution of the air

Go out of this church to prevent the pollution of our water and oceans

Go out of this church thanking God for all the blessings of this life

Go out of this church putting pressure on government and business to save our planet earth our island home.

Some Ways to help Climate change.
These come from members and friends of St. John’s and mine.

Take public transit.
Combine errands into one trip for autos.
Avoid plastic packaging and single use plates and utensils.
Buy local produce and preferably in season fruits and vegetables.
When traveling choose eco-friendly lodging.
Don't eat at fast food restaurants - too much packaging and waste.

- I recycle everything I can
- I buy paper goods made from recycled paper as often as possible
- I donate to Friends of the Urban Forest, for them to plant more trees
- I offer to car pool for events with friends
- I turn off electric lights as much as possible (our power still comes from dirty sources in some cases)

Join Citizens Climate Lobby and work toward Bi-Partisan climate legislation.  There is a San Francisco Chapter.  H.R. 763 is only nominally bi-partisan at this point since Francis Rooney (R-FL 19) is the only Republican currently sponsoring the bill.  Nevertheless, Citizen's Climate Lobby is dedicated to bi-partisan.  In my opinion, Christians ought to be working to bridge political differences, not aggravating them and if ever there was a topic we should all be working together on, it would be climate change.  

.  Another advocacy that includes environmental concerns is Credo Action, . It sends email notices to participants to sign petitions to government legislators and executives to make favorable policy changes. There is more than enough writing and talking and meetings, etc., about environmental concerns. Action is wanted, and the essential action is to work to change government policy and laws by influencing legislators and administrative executives.

 I know that it is not politically correct to say this, but wouldn’t more vasectomies help dealing with the problem?   

1. Sign up at Climate Change advocacy web sites to receive email alerts with petitions to government agencies and legislators to change government policy and regulations.
2. Sign up with your federal and state legislators to receive notices of their newsletters and respond with policy requests.
3. Join the Sierra Club and other groups working to preserve the environment and participate in their advocacy.
4. Participate in public events protesting public and private activities that degrade the environment.
5. Practice conservation measures in one’s own life; consume less.

My recommended tactic is: Boycott the Stock Market!!!
The corporate oligarchs are not only largely responsible for the current crisis, they are doing everything they can to block attempts to fix it. The only thing they care about is preserving their wealth and power. Only if this wealth becomes threatened, will they ever be induced to change their behavior. For a good model, consider South Africa.
I recommend the works of Bill McKibben at the website.
Our church offers resources at: 

Maybe you could focus on plastics. Here's a list of practical things we can do to help reduce plastic waste.  The good thing about it being so long is that there has to be a few things that each of us can do.

This list includes very concrete steps that a person/household can take.