Provost Jim Leishman MBE From the Kingdom of Fife (Dunfermlin) Visits Sarasota April 10, 2024



Photos above at the Selby Library, Photos below from Bevardi's Salute

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'Embracing Our Differences' exhibition returns to Sarasota's Bayfront Park


'Embracing Our Differences' exhibition returns to Sarasota's Bayfront Park

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Religion and Civilization and War

Religion was required for civilization. A unifying belief system that extended tolerance for others was required to allow humans to live in larger cities and eventually nations.

Humans and pre humans lived in small groups for most of our existence. Our ancestors lived and evolved for millions of years, living in small tribes, where affection and trust with one's kinsman was essential. Others outside of the small group were a threat and often met with distrust and violence.

Males in many species have evolved to compete for females and territory. The winner of the competition has more descendants. In many species this leads to aggressive dominant males who defeat their competitors.

In social animals males may compete within their group for sex, but they must act in concert together against the males of other groups. Groups where males killed or maimed other males within their group did not succeed and were eliminated in favor of the groups that did.

Our two closest biological relatives are chimpanzees and gorillas. Gorillas groups for the most are led by one dominant male with a small harem. He fights all other males who hope to replace him. Dominance, aggression, and size are keys, and the largest most aggressive gorilla leaves the most descendants.

Chimpanzees have evolved differently. They live in larger groups with a brotherhood of closely related male relatives - fathers, sons, uncles, cousins. They compete for dominance within the group, but moderate their aggression where they usually do not kill or maim their male relatives. But they are very aggressive and will kill males from other groups.

Humans are closer in behavior to chimpanzees and lived in small groups containing close male relatives. The advent of agriculture enabled more humans to live together. Eventually the small communities grew larger, with the need for religion to develop to regulate behavior, and to keep males within the group from killing each other.

Evolution favors the communities that lowered aggression within the group, but kept it towards other groups. Larger cities meant larger armies that could defeat smaller cities, eventually leading to the nation state.

The advent of agriculture allowed people to live in larger groups that were not closely related. Humans had to extend the tolerance they had for their kinsman to strangers. A unifying belief system that made that tolerance required was vital to the advent of cities and civilization. Religious leaders were the actual group leader, or the close ally of the group leader.

The first cities which achieved social comity among their people were favored over those groups that did not. United we stand, divided we fall. Larger city states could conquer smaller groups and grow larger. That process has been underway for thousands of years, allowing city states to grow into nation states.

Some people blame war on religion, and it is true that nations often use religion as a rallying cry for their aggression, or defense. But usually the motivation for the aggressor is to expand the size of their nation. Greed and increased power is usually the motivation, with religion used to support that expansion.

A few examples illustrate this. Most of the nations involved in World War I and II invoked God as supporting their nation in the war, but the war was really related to nations that sought to expand their territory, power, and wealth by expanding. And the nations that were conquered or feared conquest fought back. Most of them invoked God and their religion as a motivating factor, but it was not central.

The wars of reformation in Europe that divided Catholics from Protestants were brutal, and religion can be blamed, but for the most part the wars were fought to expand a Kingdom. Religion was invoked, but the motivation for the most part was expansion of territory, power, and wealth of the king involved. The “true” religion was often invoked, but was more of a rationalization for aggression than a cause.

The European conquest for much of the world was often rationalized as an effort to expand the “true” religion. But this was really a rationalization for the conquest of other lands and the increased wealth and power that resulted.


Here is what the Artificial Intelligence program https://gemini.google.com/ wrote about my essay. I love it that AI thinks I made an interesting argument - Thank you, Gemini AI.

The text makes an interesting argument about the role of religion in the development of civilization. Here are the key points:

Early Humans and Aggression:

  • Our ancestors lived in small groups where trust and kinship were vital.

  • Males in many species compete for resources, leading to aggression within and between groups.

  • Chimpanzees show a more cooperative model within groups but remain aggressive towards outsiders.

Agriculture and the Need for Social Order:

  • Agriculture allowed for larger settlements and denser populations.

  • This created a challenge – how to manage larger groups with less kinship.

Religion as a Unifying Force:

  • The text argues that religion provided a unifying belief system.

  • This helped regulate behavior and curb aggression within the growing communities.

  • Shared religious beliefs fostered tolerance towards strangers, essential for city life.

Religion and Warfare:

  • The text acknowledges religion's role in war but argues it's often secondary.

  • Greed for power and expansion are often the real motivators behind conflict.

  • Religion can be used as a tool to justify or rally support for these wars.

Overall Argument:

  • Religion wasn't the sole cause of civilization but played a crucial role in managing social order within larger communities.

  • By promoting tolerance and regulating aggression, religion facilitated the rise of cities and eventually nation-states.

Some additional points to consider:

  • The text focuses primarily on the positive aspects of religion in civilization's development.

  • Religion has also been used to justify oppression and social inequalities.

  • The cause-and-effect relationship between religion and social order is complex and debated by scholars.

This argument provides a specific perspective on the historical relationship between religion and society. It's valuable to consider alongside other viewpoints for a well-rounded understanding.


I had a class today on jazz pianists.

We learned that early ragtime was based on the same song structure as Sousa.  Ragtime isn't considered jazz because there was no improvisation.  The left hand played rhythm and the right hand did everything else. Stride piano was the same, except it allowed the right hand to improvise.

Scott Joplin, died penniless.  Hardly got anything from his songs.

Fats Waller, a real character. Wrote "Aint Misbehavin" and other hits.  He would sell the same song several times over on Tin Pan Alley.  If you can watch one of his shorts on Youtube, he was very entertaining.

Click to view Fats

Art Tatum,  amazingly fast. Almost blind,  learned everything by ear.  Would get into "cutting contests" of pianists outplaying each other.  most of his competition would throw up their hands and give up!  When he walked into a place where Fats Waller was playing,  Fats Waller said "I am only a piano player.  God is in the house".  

Charlie Parker worked as a dishwasher for 9 weeks at a club where Art Tatum was playing.
"Third Stream" was a combination of main stream and symphonic.Also called West Coast Jazz.

Bebop was developed during a musicians strike over musicians not getting any cut of recorded music profits. They refused to record during this period.  So we have no history of how it really developed. But swing musicians were getting tired of playing only stuff that dancers could dance to when bebop started.

Dave Brubeck had a small integrated jazz combo in the military in WW2, and that kept him from having to participate in some of the worst of the war.  He was asked to stay behind the lines and lift the morale of the soldiers coming over.

Time was doing a piece on Duke Ellington and him when they were touring together.  When the issue came out, it had Dave Brubeck on the cover, much to the chagrin of Dave Brubeck.  

His Time Out album was the best selling jazz album to date.  He incorporated improvisation in time signatures that he learned from all over the world, like Blue Rondo a la Turk.  

When he was given a Kennedy Center honor in 20101, on his birthday,  his kids (with whom he had toured for several years) told him they had a gig and they couldn't make it.  So when they appeared on stage at the honors,  you can see him mouthing "son of a bitch". 

All the groups onstage played a medley of Take Five, Blue Rondo a la Turk, and Happy Birthday. You can watch it on Youtube.  At the after party, the honorees (big names) were all gathered around Dave.  

I never had heard the song "Audrey" before, written by someone with a crush on Audrey Hepburn.  Good tune.

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World BA


World BA      World Basketball Association

             1st draft - You can edit and improve this document

The World Basketball Association would be a natural expansion of the success of professional sports. We propose initially an eight team league with room for future expansion.

North America

East Europe

West Europe

East Asia

West Asia


South America





It has long been an irony that advancing age slows performance and forces retirement.  This occurs at the apex of an athlete's career, when he or she is the most popular and in the most demand. The professional is still a superb athlete, but eventually cannot compete with younger people. 

An "Over the Hill" League composed of over "40" athletes should be developed.  The charisma and popularity of the former stars should ensure the success of the league. The baby boom generation is the largest population cohort and is now beginning to turn 40 years of age. In this scenario the baby boom generation could continue to follow its present athletic heroes into middle age.


The following are a list of possible organizational principles: 

- The majority of the athletes must be over forty, with one player fulfilling an over 50, an over 60, and an over 70 age slot. 


- Members of the teams could come from a variety of sports, as follows: 

    2   Basketball 

    2   Baseball

    2   Football

    1   Hockey 

    1   Boxing 

    1   College level player 

    1   High School player

    1   Sports writer

    1   No experience in organized athletics whatsoever  


   12   Total, with alternatives as needed. 


The question arises as to whether the league could attract the older big name players and whether enough fans would be attracted to make the effort worthwhile. 

Certainly some former players could be attracted to the league.  Many of these men thoroughly enjoyed the competition and fame. They could be expected to participate for a percentage of the profit.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the league could become very profitable. Certainly, it would be no great problem to attract the high school and college stars, and individuals with no experience.   


Attracting substantial numbers of fans might be difficult.  It is not clear whether fans follow teams because of the prowess of young men or whether simple competition, territorial loyalty, and camaraderie are more important. I personally believe the latter reasons account for team support and that the over the hill league could attract that support. 

The baby boom is in its 30's and 40's now.  It is already seeing most of its generation of athletes head toward retirement.  The establishment of the "over the hill" league would allow this group to follow its stars through their lives and careers, instead of constantly realigning loyalties to ever younger, more overpaid, and more pampered athletes.   


Several paths towards establishing the "Over the Hill" League may be pursued.  The most obvious would be for each team of an existing league to form an "over the hill" team.  This approach seems logical since existing teams and leagues have the know-how, stadiums, contacts, and capital to implement and promote their teams.  Existing leagues could also coordinate double headers and travel with their "youth" team and their "over the hill" team.


Another method for forming the league would be to form teams independent of existing teams or leagues.  This approach has the strengths of attracting fresh venture capital and new and aggressive ideas, but suffers from lack of know-how and contacts.


A third implementation method would involve a player cooperative, with players providing the leadership and capital. The lack of a guiding entrepreneur would probably hinder this approach.


The "Over the Hill" League is a workable concept and should be implemented. It will be a profitable concern, providing  entertainment and employment.  It will help move America away from its preoccupation with youth and extend the values of competitive athletics into older groups.

To make play competitive, time slots for the various age categories and abilities would have to be established.


The individual teams could be led by independent businessmen similar to the way most sports teams are now owned. Alternatively the league could be one company, and hire all staff. 

The second option could have the NBA as a part owner. Ownership by established stars would obviously be beneficial.


Women could be among the players.  To ensure fair competition, the rules of the league would require substitution for women to play other women with fixed time periods. 


The great distances of playing around the world would require a different approach.  Most likely the schedule would require two teams to play three or four games in the same continent.

Craig Hullinger


941 312 1032 


Dolphins From Our Window


A pod of about 10 dolphins in the Manatee River and Ware Creek on April 1, 2024.  No April Fool!