Monthly Archives: April 2010

Yellow is the color of Spring

When I worked as a chauffeur for a time, picking up people from the airports in south Florida, one of the questions I’d ask new residents was how they liked it here. Often they’d say they missed the “seasons.” To me it seems that the “seasons” the people missed were for dumb folks who pay little or no attention to their environment. “Look, Martha, there are no leaves on the trees and the ground’s all white. It must be winter.”

There are four distinct seasons in Florida, too, but you have to be aware. You can’t spend all your time in your air conditioned home, move to your air conditioned car that takes you to your air conditioned office or mall. There’s a statement in a song by the jazz poetry group in New Orleans that says, “there’s nothing more southern than air conditioning.”

Sure, Summers here are stiflingly hot and humid, but then one day, if you’re paying attention, the humidity seems to have disappeared overnight, the temperature has dropped a couple of degrees and it’s Fall. Fall slides seamlessly into Winter with the passage of the first cold front and then Spring announces itself with brilliant splashes of color as the various flamboyant trees begin to bloom.

While many people think that the first green buds on the dormant trees in the north signal Spring, I think the true color of Spring is yellow. One of the first to show up is the forsythia This was taken from

My friend Omar who edits had a post today about a brilliant yellow tree in bloom in Panama now called the Guayacan:

It is very similar to a tree that grows here in south Florida though I can’t recall its name at the moment. All I do know is it raises havoc with my nasal cavities and thank whomever it’s only in bloom for a couple of weeks. This one is about two blocks from my home.

A close up of the flowers:

While it’s very similar to the Guayacan I don’t think they’re the same. It seems that Omar’s tree has a smooth bark while the one here in Florida is rough barked.

When I was in Chitre, Panama, last spring I found this yellow tree which no one could identify for me:

Spring on the French Riviera where I lived for nearly three years brings in the mimosa which I loved:

Those two photos were stolen from the blog that I visit daily. I dated a doctor in Menton for a short while and loved walking through the old town there. It’s the last town in France before you enter Italy.


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So, Know We Know

It seems there have been a lot of cataclysmic earthquakes lately. While many believe the quakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates, I always harbored the idea that the pumping of billions of barrels of oil  have somehow destabilized the earth. Hey, why not?

But it seems that both theories are wrong. According to Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior Iranian cleric, women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.

Makes as much sense as anything else, I guess. After all, Eve got mankind kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

Actually, the statement is just another example of why I shy away from religious fanatics of all faiths. Besides, I’m rather fond of promiscuous women.


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Just Couldn’t Resist


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My Sentiments Exactly

Properly displayed.

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Great Working Boat Pictures

There is a whole niche of blogging that I follow and in which I plan to participate when I settle in in Panama. It’s called The Daily Photo. There are a couple of these blogs that I look at every day. On is in Avignon and the other in Menton, France. I’m not going to use any of their photos. Go there and see for yourselves by clicking the town. Only drove through Avignon one time without stopping, but I’m very familiar with Menton and like so many of the towns and villages along the Cote d’Azur I adore the “old towns.”

The Daily Photo main web site is: each day on this home page there are thumbnails of blogs from all around the world. Click on any of the 16 choices on each page (and there are usually around 18 pages per day) and you’ll open that blog.

One I found today has lots of nice pictures of working water craft in Le Guilvnec, France at the top of the Bay of Biscay. Working boats are one of my nautical interests. I’m going to add this link on the sidebar.

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Not A Bad Idea

Yesterday I got an email from a friend who lives in Panama with a link to a site I don’t often visit primarily because the person, Don Winner, who seems, to me, to be a major shill for the real estate interests there. I will give him credit, though, he doesn’t sugar coat a lot about the bad side of Panama reporting on crimes and murder as well.

The link my friend provided led me to this story:

By Rodrigo Campos, AFP Writer- Ciudad de Panamá – Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli signed into law Wednesday a controversial measure requiring all visa applicants to pass a Spanish test before receiving residency documents. The new law, which will go into effect when it is published in the government´s Gaceta Oficial early next week, will likely affect thousands of visa applicants who come from non Spanish speaking countries. The new rules require everyone requesting a new or renovated visa, including those already approved for permanent residency status, to pass a state issued test and demonstrate the grammar and speaking abilities equivalent to that of a 5 year old. The test, which is similar to the aptitude test given to preschool children before admittance into elementary school, will be created and administered by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Immigration office. The test will be half written and half oral, and will cost $30. Under the new law all applicants for non tourist visas, regardless of country of origin, will be required to pass a Spanish test before being issued their residency permits. The law covers nearly all residency statuses, both permanent and temporary, with the lone exemption being given to foreigners living in Panama under refugee status. Those either failing the test or refusing to take it will have their visa status downgraded to the same regulations given to those carrying a tourist visa.

The new rules come at a time where the Central American country is seeing an influx of foreigners who are moving there for retirement and investment. Proponents of the law say that the new requirement will assure that people who decide to move to the country can assimilate with more ease. Opponents say the law can cripple the real estate and investment market, still recovering from the world recession, by discouraging retirees and investors from moving there. For a complete transcript of the entire law translated into English, please visit

Now, I actually think this is a great idea. When I read posts on some of the Yahoo Groups I subscribe to and people are asking where they can hook up with other gringos I always tell them they need to learn Spanish and try and integrate themselves into the culture as much as possible or stay in the States. Lots of gringos there.

I wouldn’t have a problem with having to do what this new law proposes, but I did write to my lawyer in Panama City and asked her if she had heard anything about this.

She wrote back in about an hour and said: “I found the article in a yahoo forum and at the end there’s a link that will take you to the definition of April’s Fool Day? Do you know of this day?”

WHAT A CLASSICALLY GREAT JOKE. And I fell for it hook, line and sinker.


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