Monthly Archives: August 2012

Republicans Admit They’re Going To Lie During Campaign

Mitt Romney’s campaign said on Tuesday that its ads attacking President Obama’s waiver policy on welfare have been its most effective to date. And while the spots have been roundly criticized as lacking any factual basis, the campaign said it didn’t really care. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News. This is a different standard than the one Romney himself has held up for the election-season ad wars. Reacting to attacks by a pro-Obama super PAC, Romney recently told a radio station that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” The presumptive nominee’s top communications hand, Eric Ferhnstrom, was quick to make the case that the two instances were not comparable. (Source: Huffington Post)

At least they’re honest about being dishonest…

And for those of you who object to my putting political posts on MY blog then I advise you to come back after the election in November.

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Everyone Has A Dream

Mine is to have a mental illness named after me.

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Strict Interpretation of the Constitution

Most  21st century conservatives (including Supreme Court Justices Alito and Thomas) believe that all laws should rely on the strict interpretation of, and the original intent of, the framers of the Constitution that was written in 1787.

After careful consideration, and in light of the recent slaughter or innocents by automatic weaponry in the past few weeks, and the fact that there are over 30,000 (that’s right, folks, THIRTY THOUSAND!!!) homicides by firearms annually in the U.S., I believe those people are right and that a strict interpretation and the original intent of the Second Amendment to the Constitution should be made mandatory.

That’s what they had in mind, NOT this…

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Panamanians Bearing Gifts

There’s no need to beware of them.

It’s no secret that I love my neighbors here in Boquerón, and I feel their love in return. They’re always bringing me things to eat. I’ve had some fantastic homemade tamales that can’t be beat. During mango season I was deluged with the things, and there was a bumper crop this year. Nearly every day when the avocados were in season one or another of my neighbors would bring me some. I got guacamoled out. Recently I wrote about the pibá. Today I was given a large “pipa” (pea pah). That’s a young coconut filled with delicious, refreshing and healthy coconut water.

There’s a coconut palm in my back yard that has a lot of nuts growing but they’re not ready to be picked yet. Just on the other side of the front fence, in my neighbor’s yard is a huge palm…

It’s at least 60 feet tall. (I measured it by visualizing the 65′ Hatteras I used to run in New Orleans standing on end against the tree) From time to time while sitting out on the front porch puffing one of my stogies I hear a loud thump as one of the nuts falls to the ground.

Yesterday my neighbor brought me one. It was filled with enough water to fill a large glass. The water is not only refreshing, but it’s loaded with potassium and antioxidants. With the water transferred to the glass my neighbor cut the nut open reveling the soft, sweet “pudding” inside.

According to Wikipedia, unless the coconut has been damaged the water is sterile and it has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid in some developing countries where medical saline was unavailable.

While Boquete is touted by many publications as one of the best places outside of the U.S. in which to retire, I try to avoid what many of the locals call “Gringolandia” and which I refer to as the “Gringo Ghetto” preferring to live among the natives, like a native. Living as I do certainly has its advantages. I can’t imagine the gringos in Boquete receiving the treats I get from the locals, though I may be wrong in some instances.

I love it here.

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Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, Living in Panama, panama, Retirement Abroad

My Kindle Died

A couple of weeks ago my Kindle died.

It wasn’t resting, like the parrot in the Monty Python skit. It was dead! Kaput! Finished!

This was really a tragedy for me since I read a LOT! It’s my entertainment since I don’t have a television here in Boquerón, and finding English-language books here in Panama is close to impossible. There were over 100 books on the Kindle. Now I had nothing.

I called the Kindle customer service people on Skype. While they tried to be helpful, nothing they suggested worked. They wanted me to send it to them but couldn’t grasp what a hassle that would be down here in Panama. So,I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy myself a “tablet.” I spent several hours on line checking various tablet out. I wasn’t going to get an iPad since I have a PC and didn’t want something that wasn’t compatible with it. What I finally bought was this:

I chose it for several reasons, among which is that it has a USB slot that will accept the keyboard I’m writing this on and will also link the tablet to the computer.

So, here are my impressions of the tablet vs the Kindle.

The Kindle is smaller and lighter. I always slipped it in my backpack when I was going into David so I could read on the bus. The table is bigger (10″ screen) and heavier. Not as bus-friendly as the Kindle.

The tablet is back-lit like a computer screen where the Kindle is not. That means I can read more comfortably at night. But during the daytime, sitting outside, the tablet has glare and reflection. The Kindle did not.

It takes some time to get used to reading on a Kindle. It’s like you’re reading only the right-hand page of a book, but after a short time it just seems natural. Depending on how you hold the tablet you can get a single page on the screen like the Kindle when you hold it vertically…

But if you hold it horizontally you get two columns on the screen so it’s more like reading an actual book…


To really waste some time you can download games to the tablet which you can’t do with the Kindle…

I had a cover for the Kindle to protect it, especially the screen. Of course, I bought a cover for tablet. It’s reversible.

While the Kindle just lists the titles of the books in your “library,” the tablet shows you the covers of the books you’ve downloaded…

Tap on the book cover and the book appears on your screen.

If there’s one area where the tablet just can’t compete with the Kindle it’s battery life. I only needed to recharge the Kindle battery once a week or every 10 days. The tablet will run for about 8 hours before it needs to be juiced up.

Looking at the two side-by-side, the Kindle is more convenient for traveling than the tablet. The Kindle beats the tablet hands down on battery life. If I’m near a wifi hot spot I can get my emails or surf the web on the tablet, something you can’t do with a Kindle. The tablet is better for reading books at night, the Kindle is better in bright light.

All things considered, the tablet is a better, though more expensive, device allowing me to do much more than I could with the Kindle. I’m happy with it.


Filed under digital books, ebook, Living Abroad, Living in Panama

Why No Posts Lately?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. Lots of bloggers post every day. I did when I first started this project several years ago. Others post every other day, and some, like my cyber-friend Linda at who writes finely-crafted posts and puts up one a week.

Me? Well, none of my posts are finely-crafted. They’re essentially first drafts, quickly written and carelessly checked for misspellings. I post them when I feel like it.

Recently I’ve been negligent about posting anything. There are several reasons. 1) Life gets in the way and other things that take precedence. 2) Nothing noteworthy has been going on and 3) Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Number 3 has been my excuse lately.

It’s not like I’ve been comatose since the last post, so I’ll give you a few updates over the next couple of days.

As my regulars know, I bought myself a motorcycle for my 70th birthday.

I call it the “Orange Arrow.”

As luck would have it I threw out my back a week after I got the bike. I was in severe pain for the first week afterwards. In so much pain I was THIS close to going to see a doctor. But it’s getting better now and I only get a twinge every now and then.

But another problem came up. I found out that my Panamanian driver’s license isn’t good for motorcycles and if I get caught riding without an endorsement I’m going to get a ticket. What are the odds of getting caught? Excellent. There are traffic cops all over the place daily setting up road blocks everywhere and checking people’s licenses.

I went to the license bureau last week to see what I need to do to get the endorsement. It was pretty discouraging. It seems that I have to go to a driving school which will cost me a couple of hundred bucks. Then I have to take a written test (in Spanish) and pass a practical test. Then I have to go through the whole licensing rigamarole all over again…photo, eye test, hearing test, another $40 fee.

The worst part is that now that I’ve turned 70 I have to go to a gerontologist or an internist and get a letter saying that I’m physically and mentally fit to drive a motorcycle. I could probably pass the physical part okay, but isn’t there something suspect about a septuagenarian’s mental health if they have gone and bought a motorcycle?

Oh, well, we’ll see.


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Filed under adventure, Living Abroad, Living in Panama, panama, Retirement, Retirement Abroad

Olympic Speeds

Okay, the 2012 Summer Games are over. I didn’t get to watch any of them since I don’t have a television here. Sure, I could sign up for a service that would bring 200 channels into the house and there’d still be nothing to watch.

Like everyone else I have a morning “to read” list of sites while I’m having my eye-opener mug of Finca Ruiz coffee. After checking my emails one of the first places I go is A fine place with lots of neat stuff about small, mostly home-made boats.

One of the regular contributors is a guy named Jim Michalak. He designs some pretty neat boats. In fact I bought a couple of his plans though I doubt they’ll ever get built by me. In his most recent newsletter he made some observations about the speeds attained by athletes in various sports. Did you know that a sprinter who runs the 100 meter dash in 9 seconds is hitting a speed of…well, go to his newsletter and find out for yourself.


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