Tag Archives: Philosophy

Put This In Your Memory Bank

I should have known this, but I didn’t. I had the mistaken impression that the boys in PriceSmart, who help put all your purchases in the basket, were paid by PriceSmart. They are not. I knew that all of the boys that do same thing in the super markets worked only for tips. I just thought that PriceSmart was different.

Today, I asked PriceSmart management, because these boys always want to help me take my basket to the car. I had been doing it myself because I didn’t know that they were also working for tips.

I will start letting them assist me. I appreciate them wanting to help their families and jobs in Panama are hard to find. The next time you purchase things in any of the super markets or in PriceSmart, consider giving the boy some change. It may not mean much to you, but it will help them. I would rather help them this way and it could prevent them from resorting to less respectable ways of getting money.

Pick Yourself Up – Dust Yourself Off – Start All Over Again

There was a famous Musical in 1936 staring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. In the movie, Ginger Rodgers tries to teach Fred Astaire to dance. He is clumsy and wants to give up, but he pleads with Ginger Rodgers to teach him. This results in her singing the song, “Pick Yourself Up”. Some of the words to that song follow.

Nothing’s impossible I have found, When my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again.
Don’t lose your confidence if you slip, be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.
Work like a soul inspired, till the battle of the day is won
You may be sick and tired, but to be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men, who had to fall to rise again
So Take a Deep Breath, Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again…

These words are something that I think we all need to remind ourselves every now and then. I know personally that some of the best things that have ever happened to me have occurred following some event that I thought I couldn’t overcome. It is when you look back on those dark hours that you realize that nothing is impossible.

Today, my friend Omar in Panama City, who writes a blog I visit frequently, featured a piece on Steve Jobs. The post contained a Commencement Speech, given by Steve Jobs at the University of Stanford in 1996. While I have always admired Jobs, I never knew much about his past, other than he was responsible for the first computer I ever owned, the Apple II. The speech was very illuminating.
You can listen to the speech by playing the following YouTube video. This is a 14+ minute video, so let it start downloading and relax a bit. If you prefer, here is a URL to the text of the speech.

I thought that was a very inspirational speech and I am going to send a copy to my children and grandchildren. Thanks to my friend Omar for bringing this speech to my attention. The video follows.

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

I know you have heard this as many times as I have. I think I heard it the first time from my mom. After my dad died we struggled a lot, but I never remember being unhappy for the lack of money. When my mom would tell me that, I don’t know if she told me that to teach me something or to convince herself.

What ever the reason, her lesson stuck and I have always enjoyed life independent of how much money I had. I have never required my friendships to based on money or status. I guess that comes from being brought up in a country setting for the first 12 years of my life. Maybe that is why I enjoy living in David, Chiriquí. Life is simple and it is possible to have fun without dropping a bundle of money. Continue reading Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

Have A Little Patience

This is something you have to keep reminding yourself if you live in Panama. In all likelihood, patience is required if you live in any Latin American country. This morning I am telling myself this very thing because my Cable & Wireless Internet performance currently sucketh!In the US when one provider starts neglecting its uptime responsibility, you probably have several other choices to chose from. My other Internet option is Cable Onda and I know enough other users of Cable Onda to know that their performance isn’t perfect all the time either. There is a reasonable chance that my changing to Cable Onda would only bring a new set of challenges.

The same is true with TV providers. Here I have the option of AstroVision (my current provider), Cable Onda and DirecTV. I am not current on all the pricing, but I think that if you can get AstroVision or Cable Onda, that is your most cost effective way to go.

You are going to have to be satisfied with the majority of the programming being in Spanish. Shucks, if you have decided to make the move to Panama, learning a little Spanish is in your best interest anyway. You are also going to have to get used to seeing a lot of English broadcasts with Spanish subtitles. Again, look at it as another way to learn Spanish. Plan on giving up a lot of your US network stations. And the quality of the broadcasts you receive may be poor at times. Look at this as another opportunity to practice having patience. Continue reading Have A Little Patience

Why Am I Here?

Now if you are a regular reader of Chiriquí Chatter, I am sure that you thought from the title that this post has some relevance to my living in Panama. Sorry, but the title and the content of the post have nothing to do with Panama. Nor does this post contain any attempt at humor or any attempts at poetry. It is not political and has nothing to do with computers. I will tell you, that if it affects you as it did me, it will make you think.

Another Yahoo group I belong to recently had a post written because of several discussions that had been occurring within that group. The poster used as material, a video from the University of Washington TV channel he received on Dish Network. Luckily the University of Washington has the TV broadcast on a file that can be watched via the Internet.

The title of the presentation is “When the Sacred Cows of Science and Religion Meet”. The presenter is George Coyne.

If you were a fan of Carl Sagen, you will probably like it. This is what the poster wrote about George Coyne that drew me to spend 85 minutes watching it. Continue reading Why Am I Here?

Optimist, Pessimist or Realist?

On my journey down an obscure path on the Internet today, I came upon this quote by Denis Leary. In your opinion was he an optimist, pessimist or realist?

Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog, you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty-five years and you pay it back and then — one day — you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed, you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then — one day — you step off a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die. Maybe.
– Denis Leary

Interesting Conversation

Today I had an interesting conversation with a resident of the Boquete area. I know I see Boquete pretty infrequently, but it seems that the influx of gringos is not having a positive effect on the area.

From the conversation, I understand that the prices in the Hibiscus restaurant are climbing at an unbelievable rate. When I was there, I thought that the quality and consistency left a little to be desired and with the prices I understood today, I am not missing anything there.

I also learned that if you eat at the Machu Picchu Peruvian restaurant, they include the tip on your bill without identifying that it is there. Besides being deceptive, I think it is illegal. I would think that many visitors from the US might not notice it and leave another tip. I have therefore removed it off my “to try” restaurant list. The next time I go to Mar Del Sur in David, I will have to watch and see if they also are including the tip. If they are, they will no longer be on my restaurant list.

The other disturbing thing I heard is that a lot of the new residents keep using phrases such as “Well, we do it this way in the US.’ Personally, I wish that those that want to come here and turn Panama into pockets of US suburbs would have an accident on one of their trips to or from David.

While Panama is not perfect by any means, trying to force American culture down the Panamanians’ throats is not the answer. I think it is far better to learn more about their culture and accept what is good here. I did not come here to live in an American subculture. The best thing I have found about Panama has been the people. I would not want to do anything to change that part of Panama and I am afraid that a lot of Americans moving here want to do just that.

Life Compared To A Thousand Marbles

I am sure you, like I, receive a ton of what I call friendly Spam. That is something you receive from a friend and is usually humorous, thought provoking and sometime worthy only of discarding. Today, I received one that I would put in one of the first two categories, so I thought I would pass it on. Here is what the email said.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it: Continue reading Life Compared To A Thousand Marbles