Monday, March 31, 2008

Name this...

“Puedo hablar con Sr. Lopez?” I asked.

“Su nombre, por favor…quien me habla?” She asked…wanting to know who I was. I gave her my name. It’s not an easy name for anyone to understand…it’s a bit unusual. As I found out living in Paris and in the Dominican Republic, it’s a tongue twister for many Americans, but impossible for others.

Que? She asked.

I gave it again. To no avail.

“Habla espanol?” She asked.

Well, I was speaking Spanish at the time, so I answered, “Si.”

“Cual es su nombre en espanol?”

Friday, March 28, 2008

Home for Sale...

This spectacular custom-built masterpiece was created by acclaimed builders as the builder’s personal masterpiece. Inspired by a custom designed home in the Hamptons that was commissioned by the Guggenheim family, this incredible house combines French Eclectic Styled architecture with an array of special materials bought at Home Depot.

An extraordinary floor plan encompasses over 1600 finished square feet features both embassy-sized (if you are in Albania) formal rooms and warm informal rooms. Highlights include an exceptional living room with floors, a gourmet chef’s kitchen with running water, and a dramatic master bedroom suite with a ceiling and luxurious "his" and "her" baths, as long as they don’t mind sharing.

The exceptional lower level (crawl space) boasts spiders, bugs and the occasional snake. There is a spa/treatment (water pik shower head) area, exercise facilities (mostly walking outside), and fabulous electricity. A private fenced-in rear yard is enhanced by trees, a wood pile and gravel driveway.

Well, we like it. Actually, it’s nice. Go to

Ask for the “friends of Cayenne Lemonade” discount….

Thursday, March 27, 2008

From Dubai to Des Moines...

This ethanol thing is wonderful. Using corn to produce fuel will solve all our problems.


Last I heard, you could use corn for FOOD. Have we solved world hunger yet? Send THEM the corn, if we’ve got so much of it. You want to go tell a kid in Africa he can’t have lunch because someone’s SUV needs to have their tank filled?

Also, what else can you use petroleum for? You can’t eat it. So, I say, use the food for food and the fuel for fuel.

The ethanol scam is an attempt to transfer wealth from Arabs to people who own land in Iowa. I’m not necessarily against that, but don’t tell me you are growing corn to make ethanol to save the environment…you’re doing it to make money.

Pretty soon, we’ll be talking about the price of a barrel of flour.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NASCAR culture...

As a kid, you stood in line a lot. Single file usually.

In the grocery store, I’m usually the guy afraid to go over to the candy aisle (if someone is behind me in line) to get a Snickers bar, for fear of losing my place. It seems fair if you leave the line, you lost your place. That’s what they said at Lincoln Elementary School.

At Lincoln, you couldn’t just let someone cut in line, with the permission of the people behind you. And you couldn’t “save” a place, it just wasn’t fair to the others. There was a code.

(you often did the “double cut”…you let them in front of you, then they do the same…it was a way around the “no back cuts” rule that some kids made…a lawyerish move)

In Latin America, there is no code. In the grocery store and in the street it’s every man for himself and there is no line to stand in, just a mass of people trying to fit through a small space. It's a culture of bullies and con men.

At the grocery store yesterday, I saw a 80ish year old woman elbow a kid in the ribs to get a plantain out of a basket before he could. There were probably 500 plantains in the basket. But she wanted to get there first…she did.

At checkout, you have to make sure there aren’t items in the cart in front of you, even if there are no people…people regularly put their cart in line, go and get more things, then reclaim their spot in line, saying, “I was here first.” Or they put a friend or beleaguered husband in line with a few items while they fill up their shopping basket and then cut in line in front of you.

The only rule seems to be “whatever you can get away with.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What I did last Thursday...

The sticks crackled under my feet as I walked under a tree next to the 13th hole. I had tried to hook it around the Tea Olive that guarded the front left of the green, but I quit on it and pushed it right. The sea-salted wind blew off the ocean like a hair dryer set on high.

EVEN IF I LOSE THIS HOLE, I’ll still be okay, I tell myself.

I knew differently. I had to get this one up and down. A three-up lead might not be enough, with all that was going on in my head. My opponent played poorly early, but now was mounting a charge. It had started to wear on me on the 12th, when my tee shot found the bunker. I flicked it on to the green and made par, but my hands were shaking the entire time. My golf swing had stopped working.

STAY IN THE PRESENT, I tell myself. Don’t think about anything but THIS shot.

The club championship was open to everyone. I won it last year, but the boss didn’t play. He hadn’t had a tough match, crushing his first four opponents. I had had nothing but difficulty, coming from two back with five to play in the second round and winning the last hole in the quarterfinals to advance.

And I needed to beat this guy to make it to the final to play the boss. STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT, I tell myself.

I decided to try to lob it up over the grassy patch that lay in front of me. If I hit it crisp, I could make it sit like it had a parachute attached to it. Anything else, I’d lose the hole. And maybe the match. Simple as that.

Panic was taking over my body. My pulse quickened as I made a couple of hurried practice stokes. CALM DOWN, I tell myself…CALM DOWN.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Somebody tell Bill Gates...

I have a rather simple cell phone, I’m told.

New phones now have all sorts of stuff added to them.

But, I’m not shelling out any cash until they get EVERYTHING in there.

People send emails from them, have music, GPS, web browsing, games, calculator, camera, and I’m sure some things I don’t know about. But I’m not biting yet. I’m holding out for:

- Universal remote for my TV and my stereo.
- Garage door opener.
- Keyless remote for my automobile.
- Baby monitor.
- Meat thermometer.

Just one remote for everything…I could do everything with this one “phone.”

Until I lose it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The delicate balance of a healthy lifestyle...part one

When I first moved to the Dominican Republic, I played tennis a couple of days a week. I bought a racket and was really enjoying it. But, the friend I played with most of the time hurt his knee and we stopped playing for a bit, then we kind of forgot about it.

A couple of years later, I wasn’t playing tennis anymore, but I played basketball on Monday nights…just two of us, one on one for about an hour and a half. This was almost killing me…usually I was just happy to be alive afterward.

I played football (soccer) with the guys from the school a few times. I remember staring alot at the ground, trying to catch my breath.

I play a lot of golf, but that doesn’t count. The few times I have walked doesn’t count either. We play when we can and we are usually somewhat pressed for time. So we take a cart.

Last year, we started playing poker on Monday nights. No more basketball. No more tennis. Just drinking and gambling. Our poker host usually makes brautwurst or something equally unhealthy. The only exercise I get at poker is getting up to fix a drink or the calories I burn while sweating out a bluff.

And I never bluff…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

If it were two weeks long, I'd want a piece of pumpkin pie...

It’s Holy Week here at Casa de Campo, which means we have extra security and the sane people are afraid to leave the house after dark, before lunch, during breakfast, or at any other time of the week.

There is no school, no work and no restraint. There is no law.

We went to the grocery store yesterday and won’t go again. Grace and John will not go for walks. We have to hide our golf cart in the backyard, if it is in the driveway someone will steal it.

People pay to play golf, then steal the cart for the week. Many of the stolen carts end up in the Caribbean Sea.

They steal range balls, clubs, trash cans, and anything else not nailed down.

They drive carts, SUV’s, four-wheelers, motor scooters, and motorcycles at break-neck speeds everywhere on the resort, including on the golf course. There will be tire tracks on a half dozen greens before the week is over. There will probably be a couple of self-induced speed-related deaths, if the average of the last four years holds true.

And to add to the chaos, I just got an email message that said the countries' pumpkin supply is tainted.

Halloween is more “holy” than this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do you have a minute?

My cell phone ran out of power yesterday while I was on the golf course and it kept beeping to signify a low battery.

This seems to hasten the running down of the battery, which it is warning me against. Seems counter-productive.

My computer does the same thing.

For life expectancy...we don't have this kind of warning...but if we did...

Pro: I’d know how much to save and spend (I’ve always thought those guys who died “penniless” must have known something) and I would be able to pro-rate the Lifetime Warranty on my Sears Craftsmen Tools to see if it was worth the extra cost.

You could spend your last days playing golf or fishing (well, not me) instead of doing your taxes or mowing the lawn.

Con: People would start asking you for your stuff and that would be a pain. You’d have to probably plan your own going away party and having people in your house would be a hassle and you’d know you couldn’t go trash their house or drink all their booze to get even.

So let’s skip the whole thing. Sorry to have wasted whatever time you have left reading this.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Things they don't tell you in college...

I retired from listening to new music around 1991. I just stopped being on the cutting edge, trying anything new. I’ve bought stuff produced later than that, but it is of the style consistent with what I already liked.

Before that, I listened to everything. Well, except country. I’ve begun to realize the irony in this.

(I’ve been listening to it to get ready for my career change. I’m up to thirty minutes at a stretch before I break down and cry. The one about the guy’s wife leaving him while their trailer was being repossessed during the tornado really gets to me. Today I'm going to try for 35 minutes.)

Anyway, one of the groups I liked in college was Erasure. I just liked the sound they produced, fast paced, and fun.

So last summer when they booked a concert here I got some tickets and we went.

Now either these gentlemen are very in touch with their feminine side or they are flaming homosexuals. I don’t care either way. The reason I say this is that one of them wore a pink jacket with a huge Marylin Monroe head on it. I guess that was what he grabbed from his closet when he came out of it. The other guy's attire was equally fancy.

And the music was not very good. They played none of the old stuff that I liked…in fact, through nine songs they hadn’t played anything I had ever heard in my life. It was like Frank Sinatra not singing “My Way” or “New York, New York” while wearing a Seguin gown and pearls on stage.

Well, kind of.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Roulette in the skies...

A few of us are planning a trip to the northern part of the island, to a place called Playa Grande. (I guess it’s a big beach.)

Anyway, my friend told me that is was a five hour drive. In this country, that’s a long way. And apparently the roads are a bit tough for the last hour or so. When someone here says the roads are tough…you may need AAA. And there is no AAA.

There are other options. There is an airline that flies around the island (here to Punta Cana and here to Playa Grande) for $25 per trip. The plane seats about 10 people and luggage. There is no beverage service or in-flight movie. It’s just some guy with a plane.

Now I love a bargain, but this is a bit too cheap. For $25, I can’t imagine something like a leaky valve or a missing wing would cause them to cancel the trip. And if the plane did go into a tailspin and everyone was screaming because we were about to crash, I can just imagine the pilot turning to the passengers and saying…

“What did you expect for $25?”

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm more than just a pretty face...

A friend of mine has a blog called Stupid Scholar. It is anything but. It varies from funny to extremely deep. Many times it’s over my head or my attention span.

(If you’ve decided I’m not intellectual enough, here is the link to his blog so you can save yourself the trouble of reading the rest of this:

We read each other’s stuff every day. He posted one of my entries a few weeks ago. He has linked me to his blog under, “Blogs I Read.”

I appreciate this, almost. He has a few categories for his “Blogs I Read” but I think I’m worthy of a more prominent position in the blog roll. As is it, I feel I've been typecast.

1. He has a “Reformed” Category…I’m a reformed thinker. I’m a Calvinist. Who knew? (if you have to ask who knew…you’re NOT a Calvinist)
2. He has a “Catholic” Category… I hate Notre Dame Football. I want them to lose every game they play for the next 100 years. That still wouldn’t be enough. This eliminates me from the Catholic section.
3. He has “Other Christian Blogs”…I’m a Christian. Why can’t I be there? Is this because I used the word “dumbass” to describe myself in a post? Also, I guess these Christians aren’t Calvinists…to whom I ask…what is God NOT in charge of? Can you surprise God? (This oversimplified explanation of Calvinism may explain why I’m not in the Reformed category…)
4. He has “News and Political” Category…I definitely qualify for this. I talk about politics every once in a while. And if you haven’t caught any of the political posts, I can sum it up by saying the thought “Hillary for President in 2008” makes me want to puke. And not because she’s a woman…it’s because she’s a Clinton.
5. And finally, my category…”Fun and Interesting Blogs”…Is this all I am? Have I no intellectual qualities that might put me in a higher profile area? I’m glad to qualify for fun and interesting, but the category is the last one on his page, hard to find and seemingly an afterthought.

I’m laboring in obscurity. He allows comments on his site. Go over there and complain.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

And the breakfast was terrible...

A friend of mine mentioned the other day that he “backpacked” across Europe the year after he graduated from high school.

I was impressed that he would strap on a pack and hike all over Europe, sleeping outdoors and probably hunting for and cooking his own food and I told him so.

He replied he had a Eurorail Pass (unlimited train service) and stayed in Youth Hostels.

I stayed in a Youth Hostel for about two weeks in Paris. I could write ten blog entries on the things that happened. It ranged from hillarious to frightening.

(it actually made you hostile...maybe that's where the name comes from)

Anyway, I was impressed with his Hostel endurance, but don’t understand how he could call it “backpacking.”

Since when do we use our luggage or carrying devices to describe our actions?

“Last August we ‘samsonited’ to the outer banks of North Carolina….”

“I’m ‘walleting’ over to Wal-Mart, but I’ll be back in a few minutes...”

Don’t tell me you “backpacked” around Europe. You road the train, you stayed in hostels, and you ate in restaurants. It’s called TRAVELING.

I’d write more but Holli needs to “purse” over to the grocery store. I’m “money-clipping” along.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The second time, the dog finished third...

The liberal arts school I attended had student government. The President and Vice-President were elected by popular vote as a team ticket, just like the United States election for President.

The best thing I can say about it is that it was useless. They got nothing done and they had no power.

My first year there, a local dog won (these things weren’t taken very seriously) as a write-in vote, necessitating a “do-over.”

At lunch one day, a group of us began to talk about two of our friends running as a team. The Taco Bar had just made its debut in the cafeteria, so our ambitions were understandably high as to what could be accomplished with proper leadership.

Amy was in a sorority and Bill was in a fraternity and we reasoned that would get two of the nine Greek houses on campus to support their ticket.

Amy was white and so was Bill. However, there were only two black people (and no Hispanics) on campus. There was one Jewish guy, but he was Amy’s boyfriend, so we had another demographic sewed up. The gays were still “in the closet,” so that didn’t matter. Bill was left-handed, from the Northeast and an alcoholic. Amy was overweight. We practically had the thing won. The Dream Ticket.

But we had forgotten one thing…who would be the President and who would be the Vice-President?

And that’s where the idea died. As they argued, I remember thinking that these two were almost as idiotic as the process they wanted to enter into…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A plea for help...

I ran a golf tournament for a cigar company Sunday. They were nice enough to give me a gift pack of cigars, a lighter, a certificate for throat cancer screening and a hat.

About six months before I moved to the Dominican Republic, I tried smoking cigars. I really liked them. I bought a humidor and everything. Holli bought me a really cool lighter, which was confiscated by airport security in Miami.

I wasn’t smoking every day, maybe one per week, with some brandy to wash it down.

Then, reality hit. Every night I smoked would be followed by a morning of dizziness, dry mouth, headache and a cough. This went on for a while until it hit me that the cigars were responsible for me feeling like I had aged 47 years every time I indulged. I needed two days to recover from one cigar. So I quit. I still like the smell though.

I’ll keep trying, but I can’t seem to find a bad habit that I like. I drink beer and other spirits, but I can’t find a hard liquor that really tastes good enough to drink large quantities of. I don’t like the consequences of drunkenness the morning after. I don't even like "during" much either .

Drugs never appealed to me, because being high AND in jail didn’t sound like much fun.

I like to play poker (for low stakes), but calling a bookie to put $400 down on the Super Bowl (or any other sporting event) isn’t tempting. And I would need 10 million dollars just laying around before I'd pony up $10,000 to play in the World Series of Poker. I'll play golf for a couple of dollars, but it doesn't make it more fun.

I’ve never liked cigarettes enough to get addicted and I don’t eat much chocolate or other things with sugar in them.

Am I forgetting something? Can someone please give me some ideas?

Monday, March 10, 2008

It was like the Godfather...with fewer italians...

The last movie I saw (in a movie theatre) was Return of the King.

Some friends of mine invited me to the midnight premier of the final movie of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which nowadays would be busted up into a thirty-five volume series and milked for about fifteen years. I had these books as a kid, but I don’t remember reading them.

Anyway, we got there and the theatre was packed. Mostly kids and some adults that must have played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons back in the 80’s.

After about 3 hours of the thing, I was looking for an exit. I just wanted the forces of Mordor to crush these pathetic hobbits so I could go home and get some sleep.

Maybe that's why I haven't been back.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"I didn't do anything!" exclaimed Rosalynn....

I heard Hillary Clinton say she was responsible for peace in Northern Ireland.

This must mean that:

1. Bess Truman dropped the bomb that ended WW II.
2. Mary Todd Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation.
3. Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the Cold War.
4. Mrs. Oswald shot JFK, but she was aiming for Jackie-O.
5. Martha Washington was the Father of Our Country. Well, maybe…you seen a photo of her?

I have to wonder how Bill feels about this. Maybe he hopes Hillary will take credit also for:

1. Lying to a Grand Jury and getting disbarred
2. Horribly failing in trying to Socialize Health Care (oh..wait…)
3. Letting terrorists run free for eight years, bombing the World Trade Center, the USS Cole and preparing for 9/11.
4. Firing everyone in the Travel Office (oh…wait…)
5. Janet Reno
6. Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey…and a cast of thousands…

Note to Hillary: It was all timing…NO ONE could have brokered peace in Northern Ireland in 1974…NO ONE could have stopped the Cold War in 1963….it’s a matter of leadership displayed when events present themselves. And it wasn’t YOU anyway. It's hard enough to believe Bill was there.

Which bring me to Jimmy Carter…

Friday, March 7, 2008

Press Conference Transcript...

Cayenne Lemonade HQ
March 7, 2008
10:01 A.M. EST

PRESS SECRETARY: Good morning. I appreciate your attendance and will be addressing a question brought regarding turning on the feature for readers (if there are any) to be able to comment on blog postings on Cayenne Lemonade. Mr. ___________ will make a statement and there will be opportunities for questions.

CAYENNE LEMONADE: Good morning. The question of turning on the comments is a tough one, but we have elected to continue as is, without the comments turned on. We do this for the following reasons.

1. I remain anonymous as the author of this blog. While it is very likely you already know who I am, until I “go public” the comments will remain off.
2. If you wish to opine, you probably have my email address. Send me anything you like. It’s been great for getting back in touch with many of you and letting you know I haven’t changed much (unfortunately for family and people living within 50 miles of me) in the last 20 or so years.
3. I have received email responses that would not have worked as comments. Subjects such as my lack of intelligence, manliness, and poor judgment have been breached. As I do not wish to be told I am a dumbass (or gay – not that this anything wrong with that…) in front of anyone with access to the internet, I shall leave the comments off.

I’ll now be happy to take your questions. We’ll start over here in New York.

Q: You seem rather smug, and I think it would be a great way for all the readers to reply and be smug together.

CAYENNE LEMONADE: If you would all like to gather and be smug at my expense, you will have to wait for my funeral or perhaps my Friars Club Roast. I’m not sure I want a bunch of people I’ve known over the years to be able to out-smug me on my own blog.

In the back, Washington, D.C?

Q: Your blog is turning in to a LoveFest. First it's all about the family; which is great but I usually have to be drunk to express myself like that (or at least been away from them for a while). Now it's about latentman-love expressions you have thrown at random strangers!!! However, please do not tarnish my unblemished record of heterosexuality; my office IT department checks for gay blogs in our internet usage.

CAYENNE LEMONADE: We reserve the right to write about anything we want. My boyfriend didn’t have any problem with it. So there.

Last question...Dominican Republic…

Q: In response to your post of February 5. Are you really that brave?

CAYENNE LEMONADE: Again, this is why it's anonymously written. Thank you for participating. I love your comments as sent to me in private, but as far as making me a fool with my own blog…I’ll take care of that.

The Origins of Sport Series...Part I

I happened to catch a game of Rugby on the “telly” the other day and I was rather surprised that people would play more than one game of it per lifetime. Most of the uniforms were covered with blood and that was only during the warm-ups. I couldn’t figure out the rules except that it seemed wise to throw the ball to someone else whenever possible and to run from it when you didn’t have it.

Curious, I went to the internet to find the origin of the game. It wasn’t very interesting, so I made up my own.

It seems the citizens of the “town near the sea in Scotland” were mad at the people of the “town near the hill in Scotland.” And vice-versa. Mad enough to go to war, or at least get into a fistfight.

Knowing that the authorities would no doubt arrest and jail the people for a brawl, one of the citizens involved in the dispute invented the game of Rugby to settle it.

“Weel bring a bol, an no’un weel be the wiser!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

The winner got a fifth of Whiskey and the rights to the most beautiful girl in Scotland, whose marriage to the most beautiful man in the town of the winning team would be used to create a race of good looking people to populate the countryside.

There is no evidence of who won.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Starting over...

I had a friend lose his job about two weeks ago.

He was great at it. The best I ever knew.

Things got complicated and he felt the best thing to do was to resign. From all I can tell, it got pretty ugly in the boardroom. He knows better than I, but I wish he had stayed.

I just worry about his heart. What do you do when you gave all you had and it didn’t work?

The customers were (and a few still are) outraged and dismayed. The company is still trying to explain it, and so far, they haven’t done a great job of it. It’s hard to explain why a successful operation would lose its’ most valuable asset, besides the product they promote.

But it’s a great product, and the next guy will do a good job, but it won’t be the same. People will come and go and the venture will continue. But again, it won’t be the same. He’d say that it shouldn’t be the same, things change. Ok, I can see that. But I don’t have to like it.

I just wish he were still there. I liked the way he presented the goods and made me feel good about giving my support. I knew I was backing a winner.

And, as good as he was at his job, he was (and is) a better friend. That’s why I’m not worried about him. He’ll be taken care of. The next company he works for will benefit greatly.

I wish him peace in the meantime.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To whom it may concern...what I did yesterday instead of a blog post...

I’ve always been a letter writer.

I’ve written friends, enemies (at the time), public utilities, crooked dentists, church officials, people attempting to collect a debt that wasn’t ours, and the Roman Catholic Church, just to name a few (something about indulgences...oh wait, that wasn't me).

I’m not bad at it. I get to the point, am rather direct, and occasionally say things that may lack tact, but make up for it in truth.

It doesn’t always work out so well, but I can walk away in peace, usually.

I’ve gotten horrid responses, inappropriate responses and the occasional no response.

But I’ll keep writing.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Plagarizing Myself...

I wrote this for and they posted it...

It sounds made up...

Where were her parents? The story never says. I guess it was more interesting that she was possibly an orphan being raised by her Aunt and Uncle, but it seems like too much. She already lived in Kansas in a shack, why pile it on? I’m surprised he didn’t give Toto rabies to make it even more pathetic.

Then we have this whole traveling in the tornado thing and landing on the wicked witch. Ridiculous. If your house goes up in the air during a twister, odds are it will shatter like a clay pot when it hits the ground, not rectify a grave injustice done to a land of oppressed little people.

And if this idiot Good Witch of the North had any thing on the ball, she wouldn’t have sent them walking through the hills of Oz in search of the Emerald City. She’d have just beamed them there or given them something to get there a little quicker… and in style, like a ragtop ’68 Mustang to navigate the old yellow brick road. As it was, she sent a girl in brand new shoes and a little dog on a three-day walk though the countryside. In the real world, Dorothy wouldn’t have gotten two blocks before she ducked into a Starbucks.

But the cake-taker was the Emerald City fiasco. They get there (miraculously) with their little band of misfits but the Wizard won’t help them unless they get the broomstick from the other Wicked Witch. This seems like a tough assignment for a little girl, her dog, a man made of straw, a Tin Man and a Lion wearing eye liner that made him look like a drag queen. If you’re the Wizard, act like it. Get off your fat can and go get it yourself.

But anyway, in the end the Wizard is found to be a fraud. Duh…knew that when the guy had to answer his own door.