Thursday, August 15, 2013


I haven't made a habit of sharing other blogs on this one, but I am compelled to do so today as I think this post, by one of my favorite blog writers, Seth Godin, is profound on a subject that concerns all of us avid book readers and authors.
The End of Books

After reading Seth's post, I started reflecting on the nostalgia that emerges when I think about books, realizing that these were my first true love as a young child. My mother taught me to read at the age of three, which led to my exasperating many early teachers. 

My two most exhilarating early experiences were going to Leary's Bookstore just off Market Street on 9th (riding the 11th Street trolley, which stopped on my corner), and walking to my closest public library, four blocks from my South Philly home on Broad Street. 

Leary's lasted 119 years from 1850 to 1969, and I was struck by a sentence in this article from Philadelphia's own Saturday Evening Post, "If you love books themselves, you may have chosen the wrong century to live in."  Leary's Book Store   

One amazing thing I remember vividly about Leary's was that it was wedged in between two sections of the giant Gimbel Brother's Department Store. The story was that the owners of Leary's refused to sell and Gimbel's had to build around it. I remember buying used hardcover copies of the Tom Swift, Hardy Boys, and Oz books for 35 cents each. Every trip to Leary's was a joy that makes me a bit sad for today's generation missing out on that kind of adventure.

At the library, a milestone for me was reaching the age of twelve, for that meant I could have an adult library card and take out twelve books at a time. I carried a large shopping bag to accomplish this and walked on air the four blocks back home in anticipation of spreading the books out on the living room carpet and deciding which one to begin reading first. That milestone was more important by far to me than hitting sixteen and getting my driver's license. 

Books were not only my first true love, but are the main reason I am so grateful that I was born in the last century instead of this one. This despite the fact that I do love my Kindle and all the access the Internet provides to new reading formats like blogs.

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The Moneylove Blog

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I recently posted a comment on Facebook and this new term just popped out, as often happens. What I said was:
I do seem to have run into a bad batch of contacts recently who don't follow my minimum standard of saying what they're going to do and then doing it. These disappointing folks are in the U.S. and Panama and a few other countries. But as I reflect on the meaning of it all, I have come to the realization that this is good news as it leaves me open to new people and new adventures. If all those rotten apples did follow through with their promises, I would hardly have room to breath--so it's really a form of natural selection. In my case, survival of the funnest. Oops, another new term--this may require a blog post.

As often happens when I think I have invented a new word or phrase, Google humbled me fast. Survival of the Funnest is the name of a video game, and grammarians have been arguing for some time about whether "funnest" is a real word. Actually, I am told on good authority that it is the regular superlative of the adjective form of "fun."
It was notably used when Steve Jobs employed it to describe the iPod upon its introduction to the world.

I do note, getting back to my original point, that friends who are in my life for the long haul seem to be the people I've had the most fun with. I don't know if anyone else has made or researched the connection between dependability and fun-ability. But I have observed that people who seem to have difficulty delivering on their promises, difficulty doing what they say they are going to do, are the more serious types. These are often Type A workaholics who fill their lives with so much activity, they can hardly keep up with their own intentions or promises.

I just learned a new word, which describes a fairly recently diagnosed mental disorder (we do seem to have more of those today than at any time in human history)--Cherophobia. It means the fear of happiness and fun. Perhaps it's a stretch, but I wonder if those people who can't follow through on what they say they will do are afraid that doing so will bring them too much happiness. 

And back to "survival of the funnest," I remember that when I was researching and writing my book, Psychological Immortality, many of the people who went far beyond normal lifespan expectations were those who had a lot of fun in their lives, in both their personal and business lives.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013


As this photo taken a hours ago from the street in front of my apartment shows, I live very close to The Veneto Hotel and Casino, which is now gaining worldwide attention because of its indirect connection to a top celebrity.
Here's one story from the NY Post

I posted this reaction yesterday on the Panama Forum Yahoo Group:
Obviously the reporters writing all the stories about the Veneto now that it famously is featured in reports about its co-owner being the husband whose wife Simon Cowell got pregnant, haven't been to the hotel or Panama itself. A colorful tourist attraction in its own right, the parade of prostitutes at the casino bar, and interspersed throughout the slot machines on any given night, is a huge draw for the hotel. A large majority of its guests are American men who come specifically because of the Columbian hookers (hardly any other nationalities       are represented). 

No one knows how many men have the Veneto as their main Rest and Recreation destination, but it is a significant and highly profitable number--both for the hotel and the "working girls." And sex is not the only commodity readily available--many men, visitors and expats and locals, enjoy just chatting with the women, who are friendly, never obnoxiously hustling, and often movie star gorgeous. The Veneto is the premiere destination in the world for men who want to fulfill their Sofia Vergara fantasies.
Despite all the references to the many breast and butt enhanced hookers hanging out at The Veneto in newspapers around the world, I couldn't find any photos of the subjects. Perhaps this is because, like most casinos in the world, The Veneto frowns on picture-taking on the premises. However, not being known for obeying rules, I managed a couple of candid shots on the casino floor.
 I must confess here that I thoroughly enjoy the nightly Parade of Professionals at The Veneto. I haven't personally partaken of the goods for sale, but friends have. 

These men tell me that their experiences are always relaxed and respectful, and they get the feeling that the Colombianas really like pleasing them, in all sorts of ways. Perhaps we should assume that all Colombian girls are raised to be superb actresses, little mini-Sofia Vergaras, with warmth and a great sense of humor. But back in California, a young Colombian friend of mine told me that she and all girls in Colombia are trained from an early age to serve men--that this is the way to true happiness. 

We could get into a long discussion about whether this is sexist and just plain wrong, but we have to first deal with the reality that adult Colombian women are not going to change this deeply imbedded cultural attitude. My own observations have informed me that these "working girls," (and it also seems to be true for many Colombianas with normal jobs, termed "civilians" by the hookers)  look and sound and seem happier than a lot of women I know in the U.S. who are independent and consider that every relationship has to be an equal partnership. 

I'm not recommending this outlook and approach to any woman anywhere. My own preference is to be with a strong-willed woman who is completely in charge of her own life and is not here to take care of me. This way of life, however, doesn't always lead to happiness. In fact, I have personally found that the happiest connections I have with a woman come about when I am committed to, and willing to, give her everything she wants. 

It certainly is not just about sex, though one very successful frequent visitor from the U.S., a charmingly pleasant man who has three ex-wives, recently told me he frequents the women at the Veneto for the simple and stress-free reason that, "They always say 'Yes!'" 

As a seminar leader and self-help author, I can't help thinking that these "working girls," which is their favorite way to describe themselves, have a lot to teach us. Maybe a seminar and/or a book with a title something like, The Wisdom of Panama's Hookers. They have a lot of information not available to most men and women living in more sophisticated societies. But this will take a great deal more Spanish proficiency on my part to discover. What a nice incentive to begin to hablo espanol.  

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the scenery at The Veneto. My title for this post comes from the fact that I see it as a collection of beautiful and colorful flowers. And like any great botanical garden, you don't have to pluck a flower and take it home to enjoy the experience.      Jerry

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