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Monday, December 11 2017 @ 02:20 AM EST
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Never Wrestle with an Alligator: A Response to a 'Frazzled Floridian'

Paradise Pondering

'Charmed' would be a good word to describe how I felt when I moved to the small community of Cape Coral! Leaving behind the glitter and glitz of Miami, I, also, found myself and family an affordable home in this quiet southwest corner of Florida. It seemed nearly ideal given the numerous parks, waterways and less-than-outrageous traffic coupled with a relatively small population. After looking at some homes and exploring the community, I knew I'd found the right place to call home! Having been offered a full-time opportunity with the local TV station, I was getting excited about my Cape Coral relocation.

During my initial visit, I found a local print publication on the newstand by the name of 'The Shopper'. As I glanced momentarily at the publication, I noticed the headline piece was an editorial commentary entitled; "Hot Flashes: Confessions of a Frazzled Floridian" by Debby Wood. As I continued to read her coulmn, I found it rather vague and filled with generalities! After becoming a bit annoyed, I researched Ms. Wood a bit and discovered that (not only was her column syndicated) SHE WASN'T EVEN A FLORIDIAN! She was an Atlanta, Georgia resident! That really bothered me!

 

How could anyone who wasn't living in Florida describe what life here is (actually) like?

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'Tis the Season

Paradise Pondering

Fall in southwest Florida signifies many things. Residents know that following Halloween, an influx of tourists will soon commence that will continue through Christmas and the New Year. Fall also indicates that, despite several close bouts with heat stroke, temperatures akin to those found in a sauna will be returning! Of course, the most obvious and significant difference that SWFL residents can expect is for the local traffic to go from "not bad at all" to "you've got to be kidding". Local business organizations of every type gear up for that influx of people. Many of these businesses only see significant earnings during this time of year, so expanded hours of operation, as well as additional marketing efforts, are not uncommon.

One type of organization here in SWFL relies heavily upon this influx. Those businesses are charitable organizations. These not-for-profit, tax-exempt businesses are more than prolific in our area. Their numbers are mind numbing! Given the fact that southwest Florida is known as being a smaller, middle-class, largely blue-collar working community, it warrants the question; "Why are they here?" Why do these innumerable charities headquarter themselves in a less affluent area as opposed to a wealthier community? If you answered because of a lack of formal education, governmental oversight, state regulation and a nearly blind willingness on the part of many residents to support charities, you would be correct! If a vast majority of our local charities operated in a reputable fashion, that would be different! The sad truth is that they do not. Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of these entities actually 'give' less than ten percent of the money they collect to persons in need. Put succinctly, highway robbery at gunpoint would be a more honest form of theft!


Charities attempt to provoke a sense of obligation within individuals
 

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What Spring Brings

Paradise Pondering

 

The coming of spring reminds us all that life is cyclical in nature. It can be something as simple as the blooming of a magnolia tree, or the flowering of the honeysuckle telling us all that nature is awakening from her winter sleep. Southwest Florida certainly has some very unique signs letting us know what is, most likely, approaching. And while each season is, of course, unique in so many ways, there are some very predictable aspects to the arrival of spring and, ultimately, summer in our corner of the world.

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A Warm Welcome Back

Paradise Pondering

Recently, here in southwest Florida, we've been enjoying blasts of cooler air coming from the north. Sometimes we don't get any cool weather until after Christmas, but this year we were lucky! Its really like having the best of both worlds! We can go to bed one evening, leaving our windows open for the cool night air, and awaken to 80 plus degrees. Day and night cycles like these are what really attracts our seasonal residents and snowbirds. Southwest Florida's numerous attractions, from awesome, eco-tourism excursions to world-class sport fishing and fantastic golf and sandy beaches, really offer something for everyone's tastes.

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Yeah, Right?

Paradise Pondering

Americans like their televisions. There isn't much argument about it. I will admit to enjoying my share of television programming. However, the one aspect of watching TV that I, often, find offensive is the advertising. Modern network television commercials are so carefully crafted, produced and voiced-over, that they can be quite impressive!

 

Exactly what I find most annoying about commercials is that they are, usually, cleverly worded, subliminally seductive, sugar-frosted lies!

 

Yes, I know that companies have to market! But, honestly, I believe that the vast majority of claims and statistical data that Americans hear in commercials are (at best) speculative or largely untrue! As America closes in on the 2012 Presidential election, a different breed of television commercial has begun littering the TV airwaves. Re-enter the paid political advertisement. 
 


 

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My Return to Paradise - A Remembrance

Paradise Pondering

This past week, I visited my homeland...Florida...the sands from which I arose on this planet, not too long ago. I was very blessed to visit almost all of my very best friends that I made while living in Fort Myers, including the esteemed prestidigitator of this Web site. Southwest Florida holds a very dear place in my heart. It certainly felt like a homecoming! My travels have taken me away from southwest Florida, but only physically, I noticed.

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Spring Comes In Like A Lion...

Paradise Pondering

Southwest Florida has never been known to have four, distinctive seasons. It has almost always been lauded as one of the hottest locations in Florida. While the rest of our country was enjoying their mild winter, southwest Florida's winter never actually happened. I mean, in all honesty, it didn't really get cold here at all! Sure we had a few days of cooler temperatures, but nothing that resembled freezing cold temperatures. For those of us who are year-round residents, we like this warmer weather. Each year, when the Arctic blasts chill the midwest and eastern seaboard, the snowbirds start arriving here in droves. 

 

Foggy, Southwest Florida Spring morning

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What's Become of Accountability?

Paradise Pondering

 Far too often, I see instances of individuals, businesses, corporations and, even, countries failing to be accountable for their actions. Nearly every day, I will read about something (usually negative) having transpired and then hear about those responsible declining to address, act or comment about the responsibility they bear in relation to the event. As a nation, we are proud of our freedoms and quick to defend them, yet not so quick to account for our shortcomings. If something positive takes place, it seems nearly certain that credit and praise will be lauded accordingly. So, why is it that, as a nation, we lack so much in the way of humility? Maybe it‛s just become the American Way to dodge responsibility, place blame or guild the truth in an effort to maintain a pleasing and positive appearance?

 

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Mainline Florida

Paradise Pondering

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, although it is fair to say that it might also be known by numerous other fitting monikers. Because a vast majority of Florida's residents hail from other parts of the nation, it is also referred to as the transient state. In all fairness, Florida offers a beautiful and sunny destination for so many Americans who live in land-locked parts of our nation. Unfortunately, Florida has more recently become known by another nickname; The Pill Mill Capitol of the Nation. Many of the persons travelling to Florida these days are not arriving for vacation. They are coming to take advantage of this state's lax regulations regarding pain management clinics and shop for doctors who are willing and ready to prescribe and dispense opiate-based pain pills.

Pain management clinic

 

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America's Political Future: Death of the Duopoly

Paradise Pondering

As the political climate in America continues to heat up, most Americans are aware that the Republican Party is busily trying to locate a viable candidate to nominate for the 2012 Presidential election. Given the influences of moderates, the newly formed Tea Party and party loyalists, no single, prospective candidate seems to be garnering a lion's share of support. Newt Gingerich never had a chance, Tim Pawlenty withdrew after the Iowa Straw Poll and Texas Governor Rick Perry seems nearly indiscernible from the former President George W. Bush. Mitt Romney seems to be hanging in, but is not a clear favorite. Meanwhile, President Obama seems to be taking time to campaign amid wrestling with his own popularity. Despite the wearing of a brave face, neither party has garnered any new waves of supporters. But why is it that Americans are not showing a significant party leaning as election year approaches? The reality that Americans have become disenfranchised with their divisive legislators is one that will not disappear. Clearly, the death of the two-party system is approaching.


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