Cromey Online

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

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, November 27, 2017


I watched a DVD of The Dead based on a sort story by James Joyce. Reflecting on the film, everyone in the story is dead, dead to life, emotion and intimacy. The dancing is stilted and evenly measured. The pianist races through her piece with precision and no feeling. The older woman sings a song of love and sadness with no apparent awareness of the emotions of the words. The drunk drinks to avoid his harridan of a mother. He compliments the singer with blatant lies about how wonderful she is. The observations about opera are clichés. The conversation about religion at dinner is stupid, without knowledge or insight. The monks lie in their bed-coffins to take away the sins of the people. Jesus had already done that in the Christian religion. The communal meal is pro forma. The tenor is the Christ figure. He brings love, tenderness and intimacy in the beautiful song he sings. The wife is so touched that she realizes she has no intimacy with her husband. She tells him that she once loved a boy who loved her so much that he died when she went away. The husband realizes that he has never loved anyone in the deep way the long dead young man felt toward his beloved.

The movie shows how alcohol, good manners and traditions can make people dead. Music and love bring new life.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 23, 2017

A vegan friend is going to the country to pet a turkey today. I put this line on my FB page.

I know there is cruelty to animals when they are slaughtered or butchered in order that I may eat meat, beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey. Cruelty, torture and anything that causes pain are abhorrent to me. Yet my mind and heart are not affected to the process that provides the food I choose too eat. I won’t go fishing because I can’t stand the thought of the pain inflicted on a hooked fish and then see them flounder out of the water unable to breathe, yet I love to eat fish.

I am thankful for the meat, fowl and fish that I eat and enjoy so very much. Yet my heart is a lump of coal then it comes to feelings about the death of the animals.

The reason why is usually a lie or t least a rationalization. Why eat animal and fish flesh? I am conditioned as I have always eaten them, from childhood on. Human beings have always done so. Whatever suffering animals face is far away from my experience. In fact if I were ever to visit an animal slaughterhouse, see the cattle bashed, bleeding, moaning and crashing about, I might give up meat.

In the summer of 1945, I worked on a farm in Oneida, New York, run by Mr. and Mrs. Putman. I helped harvest string beans, helped with the milking and doing whatever chores to which I was assigned. One day Put said he and his neighbors were going to butcher a pig. I used the word slaughter, the men laughed and told me one slaughtered cattle but butchered pigs. (I wonder what word they used for chickens, turkeys, sheep and fish?)

The men dragged the pig outside and strung him upside down. Someone slit the pig throat, blood squirted out and the pig squealed and wriggled as gravity help drain the blood and like out of the pig. It took at least an hour for the pig to die. I hated to watch but I stuck it out. The pig was taken to a butcher who cut it up and froze the parts.

I felt afraid, disgusted and horrified. The other people stood around, laughed, gossiped and joked easily and in a relaxed fashion. I suspect they had done pig-sticking lots of times. I was the virgin to the activity.

There are stories I have read where male and female cooks go out to the chicken coop, grab a fowl bird, grasp it neck and twirl it around until the animal suffocates. The variation on this is the bird is grabbed and the cook slits the throat of the bird. Kosher killing of chicken is similar but the butcher stuns the fowl before cutting the throat and bleeding the chicken.

Many regard industrialized killing of chicken using cold water and electricity as cruel and painful to the animal. The U.S. has not standardized methods for killing chickens.

I will eat meat, fowl and fish. It is nutritious and delicious when prepared well. It is a choice I make knowing that I have closed myself off from the cruelty of killing animals. That is yet another example of the ambiguity of moral choice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017



The turkey is an ugly bird. The small wattled head pink and white. The feathers are gray and back and white and quite lovely and must protect the bird from rain, cold and heat. They are reputed to be rather dumb. The few I have seen alive seem slow and laconic. I understand from reading that they can run very fast when they need to.

At Safeway and Costco I saw hundreds of turkeys minus heads wrapped in plastic bags frozen stiff. Some were thawed. The 12-15 pound ones frozen were very heavy for me to lift. I asked the butcher to help me lift one up for perusal. I saw no turkey just a plastic bulk. I take it on faith that there was a turkey wrapped inside.

I have eaten my share of turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. I often wanted the leg until I discovered it was overcooked, full of tendons and difficult to eat and having little good meat.  The white meat is usually cooked dry. I like the dark juicy meat best. Frankly, I think turkey is highly overrated as a good dish. From childhood on I managed to eat far too much food on TG day. The bird, stuffing, vegetables, root vegetable, gravy, corn bread, cranberry sauce piled high was consumed with glee and then some regret.

A family I heard of, immediately after dinner, was sent out to the lawn to rake leaves to work off the stuffed feeling. I suspect the servants did the dishes.

At 86 and ½ and for some years previous, I take small portions of some of the many items to eat. I fill up quickly and sat back rather self righteously watch others stuff themselves. Although I have noticed in the last few years people are a bit more abstemious about the portions they eat.

Turkey left overs for meals; sandwiches and soup are very popular. OK, I’ll go one day but no more. I tire quickly of quaint.

Big family meals are supposed to be wonderful. There is something joyous and heart felt about being together with family. My trouble is that I miss talking with more people. At table we chat with those nearest. I seldom get to chat much with the people at the other end of the table.

I don’t want to end without mentioning pies. I like apple best. Pumpkin and mince are high up on the list. One friend loved to bake pies and produced at least five homemade pies for every Thanksgiving feast he hosted.

PS – From Wkipedia. “ In 1620 the Mayflower brought the Pilgrims to Massachusetts. They made their new home in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, 380 km northeast of what is now New York.
Many of the Pilgrims died during their first winter in North America. They were cold and did not have enough food. The following year, though, the Native Americans, who were from the Wampanoag tribe, helped them grow crops. At harvest time in the winter of 1621, they were very thankful that they had a good crop of food to eat during the coming winter. They thanked God and the Native Americans for teaching them how to grow the local foods.
They invited three of the Wampanoags who had helped them to their feast. They were SquantoSamoset, and Chief Massasoit. The Wampanoags brought their families. This was over 90 people. There were so many people that the Pilgrims did not have enough food to make the meal, so the Wampanoags brought along their own food for the feast.

The Wampanoags brought turkey, duck, fish, deer, berries, squash, and cornbread. They also brought vegetables that they had farmed and shown the Pilgrims how to care for.”

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Sexual harassment of women is a terrible activity. The present allegations against Rose, Moore Franken and the rest must be taken seriously. They should be punished to the full extent of he law. I also believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. That is the American way.

It took courageous action for women to reveal that they have been harassed. Many women have suffered physical, emotional, extreme pain and los of employment.

Punishing politicians is slow. Media moguls immediately fire actors, broadcasters and thus entire casts of programs. This fascist behavior is irresponsible.

Allegations whether true or false will drag harassment behavior to the shining light of public knowledge and will produce a change in illegal and disgusting behavior.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


I am glad that ex-Mormon Rep. Jared Huffman has come out of the closet as a non-believer. So much blatant stupidity and Biblical manipulation by members of Congress disgusts me as a serious, left wing Christian. Huffman’s integrity as a non-believer pitted against 91 per cent of so-called Christians in Congress is refreshing. Many of these followers of Jesus, the healer, vote against health care for all. These Christians favor a selfish capitalist system that leaves a huge percent of Americans without food and homes. These Christians put money and profits before caring for the sick and the hungry. Getting more non-believers in government is probably healthy for us.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Here are two quips from the Sunday’s NY Times.

“I want to dance…or (hear) an indecent story….The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.” –Virginia Wolfe)(Times  Book Review 11/12/72 back page.)

Betty Tompkins, an artist says  “I became an overnight success at 72.”  (NY Times Style Section 11/12/17,  p.112)