What’s Up!

July 21, 2017. Having almost abandoned this website, I suddenly returned it today after receiving a flurry of e-mail notices about numerous sales of the Kindle edition of my novel The Romanian Connection. I highly recommend this book for people who like realistic spy novels rather than unrealistic spy novels that glorify “high-tech” spy gadgets and have fairy-tale protagonists like James Bond.

As for my daily life, I’m blessed to be living near the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia. I’m surrounded by alligators, wild pigs, bobcats, black bears, coral and rattlesnakes, insect-eating plants, songbirds, hawks, and vultures, and wonderful human beings. I’ll sometimes tell you about my life in and near the Swamp, my travels elsewhere, and stories provided by my friends and other people. When you roam this website, you will discover that I love Romania and that I will encourage you to visit that country and enjoy all that it has to offer. Please, also visit my Facebook page to see some beautiful photographs of birds, palm trees, Romania, and other places in  the world. As for now, enjoy life.  Richard Roche, your Romanian Connection

March 26, 2016. For the Love of RomaniaWith the arrival of Spring many Americans have a wanderlust for far-away places where the days are filled with tours of museums and nature parks and the nights are wild and crazy. Far away over the Atlantic Ocean, over the Swiss Alps, and east of the Dalmatian Coast, a fairytale land awaits them.

According to the website below, that land has beautiful women, delicious cuisine, historical tourist attractions, romantic rural villages, and brilliant scientists. According to me, that country offers you a diverse population of people who will amuse you and a variety of beautiful landscapes that will fill your dreams for the rest of your life. Lads, as for Romanian women, try to dance with them if you can, but do not waste much time with them. Every wise Jamaican man knows that eternal happiness means marrying an ugly woman. If you want to marry one of the world’s most beautiful women and experience unhappiness, then catch yourself a jet plane to California – to Los Angeles County, where most of the beautiful, young women aspiring to become actresses actually become long-term waitresses, hotel receptionists, and retail clerks.

One more note: If you visit a Romanian village, make sure that you have a driver to get you out of that village as soon as you can’t stand it anymore. That shearing sheep and milking-cow stuff gets boring real quick like.


March 8, 2016. Customer Service. I have heard several people complain about poor customer service in Romania. None of these people criticized such service in their own countries. This morning I drove 21 km to get a haircut in a nearby village. When I arrived there at 910, the village’s hair salon was still closed although it was supposed to open at 9 am. I drove another 23 km to the next town where its hair salon was also closed although it was supposed to be open at 9 am. Several few weeks ago a friend and I stopped in a restaurant and ordered some quick meals and a cup of coffee. At first there wasn’t any coffee even though it was on the menu. After 20 minutes my friend wanted to shout, ”Hey, Yo, this is a fast-food restaurant.” The coffee was made available only after the waiter was reminded of the original order. OH, NO, the Germans are not that much better. The days are long gone since you could accurately set your watch based on the the arrival time of a train in Germany. The last time my daughter and I visited Berlin, we stopped in a shoe store where she ordered a pair of shoes. The salesman went to the storeroom to retrieve her size of shoes and he did not promptly return. After 20 minutes I sprawled myself on the floor. Ten minutes later the salesman returned and asked what I was doing there – „Was machen Sie da?” I responded that I had died while I was waiting for customer service. „Ich war gestorben, während ich auf Ihren Kundendienst gewartet habe.” If you are disappointed by slow customer service in Romania while you are there on vacation, change yourself and start trying to enjoy a lifestyle full of more relaxation and less stress. And, please, do not waste your time criticising another country’s inefficiencies when your country has numerous inefficencies itself.

February 24, 2016, Dragobete, Romanian Valentine’s Day. I’ve been busy bird-watching and protecting the tropical palm trees in my yard from sub-freezing temperatures. In spite of the weather, I have not forgotten Dragobete. Nevertheless, it is difficult for me to write about thie importance of this holiday, considering that it is associated with love.

At this time of the year I usually remind my cyberspace friends to reserve love as a special feeling in their lives without acquiring a venereal infection. Indeed, there is a great deal of confusion about what love is. I assume that most Americans think that love is the selfless adoration of one human being for another. Unfortunately having me write about love is like having the Devil provide guidance on how to perform good deeds.

Whatever love is, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about it. I love my wife. I love my daughter. I love my dog. I love my girlfriend. I love my boss. I love apple pie with vanilla ice cream. All of these represent some type of love that may have nothing to do with reality.

Love thy neighbor, but don’t get caught. We can live on love and air alone (a German expression). The greatest love is self love. Love is unconditional. For better or worse, in sickness or in health, with wealth or poverty, we shall always remain in love. All of these statements are obviously false. What does love have to do with it?

I love my work. The only person whom I’ve ever met who really loved his job was a German spray painter who experienced euphoria while working and who got depressed every time he took a vacation. The guy was addicted to the methyl ethyl ketone in his spray paint. Why sniff glue or snort cocaine when you can go to work and experience a chemical-induced out-of-this-world trip? Well, the answer is that I would rather have you infected with love than having you fry your brains with dope.

Physiologically speaking, love is associated with the release of chemicals from the hypothalamus that results in contractions of blood vessels and smooth muscles. Elevated levels of noradrenaline cause the heart rate to increase. Elevated dopamine levels stimulates pleasure centers in the brain, producing feelings of euphoria and increasing sociability. These activities associated with love make us feel good.

It all sounds like drug addiction to me. It is just like the spray painter who loved his work. Why should we not just all take a anti-love pill containing an ideal mixture of chemicals that block noradrenaline and dopamine so that we can cure ourselves of the mental ailment of love? If we are lucky, we might take a drug that will be make us be fixated on rocks rather than unpredictable human beings. As an old man once observed, a young woman marries a man in hope that she can transform him into the man of his dreams, and a young studs marries the sweetheart of his life in hope that she will always remain the perfect woman who she be. Unfortunately young love does not guarantee eternal love.

In this era of history when more adult Americans are single or living in another type of relationship other than marriage, we should not become disillusioned and give up on love. All my married friends claim that they are happy. Apparently some of them became less happy after they divorced. Well, my friends who are still single: If you are dating a loser, you can always get rid of that loser and give another loser a chance at marrying you. Staying away from losers, however, is really the best approach toward marriage. I know that some of you may be attracted to men who are like your father. If so, please go to a psychotherapist and find out what your father was really like. If your father is/was anything like the men in Saudi Arabia, Romania, or the good State of Georgia, he is probably a control freak who subconsciously believes that he owns his “woman” like he owns his cows. And he probably goes to church or the mosque once a week where a local religious guru reinforces his belief that a husband is the master of his wife’s behavior.

Okay, Gals, somewhere in the world there is dream guy for you. A couple of my female friends have married the man who fulfills their dreams. A few others have married ‘dream men’ who have turned out to be nightmares.

Here is some more advice from a former public official (ich) who has conducted epidemiological interviews of married couples infected with sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). If you date a guy and he wants sex, get away from that son-of-a-bitch as soon as possible. If a man truly cares for you, he will only provide you conjugal love when you want it, and you better have a hard time convincing him that you want it! Love takes time is a true saying. Love is also better without a STD.

From Whom the Bell Tolls we know that no man is an island unto himself and that the correlation to this expression is that misery enjoys company. If you think your spouse is bad, compare her/him to others before your spouse gets rid of thee. If you think your new squeeze is a potential no God-damn SOB, get rid of that son before he gets rid of thee.

In conclusion, move on with life, my friends, and consider yourself fortunate if you have a wonderful soul mate with whom to share your dreams and your misery. On the other hand, as one of my Romanian friends wrote: “If you want a perfect and passionate lover, ride a !#@! train out of town and take Hemingway with you!”

Happy Dragobete

February 3, 2016. For the Hate or Love of Muslims. Richard Roche wrote: Thanks, RP. This will be an excellent future Funny Monday supplement. When I was in middle school I read a Readers’ Digest edition of London to Lady Smith, Churchill’s account of his experiences in the Boar War circa 1900. In high school I read The Valiant Years, a 400-page synopsis of his volumes about the history of World War II. Winston was a giant among the human race, and our politicians today are cowards and mental midgets in comparison to him. Perhaps that is why education in the USA seems to more oriented toward dumbing down people rather than developing them into critical thinking citizens.

From: RP, December 28, 2015 10:28 PM, To: Undisclosed Recipients, Subject: Excellent article on one of history’s greatest but imperfect leader’s perspective regarding Islam.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/28/century-donald-trump-churchill-warned-no-stronger-retrograde-force-exists-world-islam /

January 27, 2016. Deep Thinking on a Wednesday Afternoon… Don’t shoot me! I am just the messenger. A friend sent me the following philosophical story:

I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer. The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking.  

When my wife walked by and asked me what I was doing, I said “nothin.” The reason I said that instead of saying “just thinking” is because she would have asked “about what?” At that point I would have had to explain that men are deep thinkers about various topics which would lead to other questions.  

Finally I thought about the age old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts? Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts. Well, after another beer, and some heavy thinking, I came up with the answer to that question.    

Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby; and here is my reasoning. A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, “It might be nice to have another child.” On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, “You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts.” I rest my case. It’s time for another beer.

PS from Roche: When I was Vietnam, I witnessed a woman pop out a baby in the morning, rest some, and then work in a rice field in the afternoon. Okay, now you can shoot me!

January 18, 2016. The tidbits of wisdom below are Romanian jokes sent to me by Transylvanian Saxon “RM.” Of course, I have translated them into English just for you.

Life does not always end with death. Sometimes it ends with a wedding.   

Statistics show that 25% of women take medications for psychiatric disorders.
That is terrible! It means that 75% of women are now living without any treatment!

Statistics show that parents divorce fleeing home are far more numerous than children who run away from home.

The woman who cooks well will always find the man who eats more.

When a wife is silent for a long time, that means she has a lot to say.

I bought my wife a pair of diamond earrings last month, and she has not spoken to me since … (I called a friend.)
“Why not talk?”! he asked me.
“That was the deal,” I answered.

Throwing cigarette butts out the window is a sign of poor education. They might fall on innocent people who are urinating below the window.

Two girls make a snowman.
First – “Now it’s done.”
Second – “I’m going home quickly to bring a carrot!”
First – “Bring two, so we can put them in both nostrils!”

A Moldovan driver was caught by radar in Transylvania driving 224 km/h on a highway. It led to the myth that drinking alcohol and driving in Moldova is not permitted.

Sweetheart! At our first meeting when you told me that you have your own transportation; it did not cross my mind that you were referring to a broom.

Mother to daughter: “Honey, get me five plates.”
”What for?”
“I need to talk with your father.”

I understand now that the fluorescent light has blown out in the bathroom, but do not understand why I my wife reminds me of it every week.

I do not know the secret of success in life, but I know the recipe for failure: Try to please everybody.

Blessed are those who do not smoke and do not drink alcohol; they shall die healthy!

Guys and Gals,

Funny Monday Silver Medalist AB has brought us a special video to wet our pants. I personally think that the driver should have been introduced only at the end of the video, but that is just my worthless opinion. Please, enjoy the video and don’t piss in your pants. If you want excitement, takes a ride with AB, a nice person who remains incognito.

Richard, a wild and crazy race car driver only in his dreams

From AB: I would like to be able to do this to a car salesman.  I created enough excitement when I insisted on taking the Porsche out of the city limits to see how it handled at highway speeds.  The salesman was astonished when I demonstrated my James Bond driving skills. He kept on yelling, “Where is the ejection button!”  I noticed that the front of his pants were wet when he got out of the car.


December 22, 2014. At the end of November I approved the final hard copy proof of Patio Palms: How To Grow Beautiful Palm Trees In Cold Weather Climates. The book is now available at Lulu Publishing Company (www.lulu.com) at a purchase price of $17.40. I am highly satisfied with the quality the book, particularly with the colored photographs in it. I thank botanist Chris Massimino for his technical review of the book and Ryan Brown, Pat Miller, Klaus Mueller, Richard Lyons, and Forest and Kim Starr for their beautiful pictures of some of the palm trees in the book. The vast majority of the book’s pictures, however, are photographs of palm trees in my yard – photographs that prove that palms can indeed be grown in cold weather climates. I need to establish a separate page on this website for my “Palm Book.” I also need to move on in life. I’ll end the year, participating in a Christmas Bird Count in southern Georgia for the Audubon Society and all the while protect my palms from cold weather.

November 24, 2014. I have finally submitted a hard copy of my “Patio Palms” book to Lulu Publishing Company. I chose that company to print the book because it has a reputation for creating books with high-quality colored photographs. I  won’t brag about this book until I have reviewed and approved the first printed copy of it. I should receive that copy from Lulu this weekend. In the interim I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving.

November 9, 2014.  I returned to southern Georgia in October after enjoying a couple months of the good life in California. During the last week of October I traveled to Miami, Florida, and took some good pictures of palm trees for the hard copy of my “Patio Palms” book and my “Patio Palms” Facebook page. I was astonished at how the area south of Miami has become urbanized during the last ten years. The areas once full of farms and plant nurseries have been replaced with housing divisions, outlet malls, and congested highways. In any case, I have no excuse now not to finish a final hard copy draft of Patio Palms: How to Grow Beautiful Palm Trees in Cold Weather Climates. The electronic copy of this book is already available for $1.99 at Amazon.com.

September 13, 2014. I accepted an invitation to work in California two months as an industrial hygienist. I am in Sacramento now, enjoying a city where people love palms, as indicated by the variety of palm trees on the grounds of the State Capitol Building. Sacramento is a nice city with reportedly the most racially and culturally diverse metropolitan population in the USA. Its people are friendly and talkative. I won’t learn much about palm trees here, but I will develop more positive aspects for my character.

July 6, 2014. My “Patio Palms” book is selling well at Amazon.com. Anybody who googles “patio palms” at the Amazon book site should find my Ekindle book on the first page of books listed for this category. As for myself, I’m working ever day in my yard, tending to my palm trees and my yard and, of course, I am also bird watching. I need to return to the Okefenokee Swamp soon to enjoy kayaking.

May 25, 2014. This week Amazon launched the Kindle version of my book, Patio Palms: How to Grow Beautiful Palm Trees in Cold Weather Climates. It includes Forest and Kim Starr’s beautiful picture of a Clumping Fishtail Palm, many other beautiful pictures, and easily understood advice about cultivating palm trees. Check it out by searching for Patio Palms at Amazon Books.

May 15, 2014. I am finally obtaining the last few pictures that I’ll need for my Patio Palms Book. I hope that Starr Environmental will let me publish their beautiful picture of the Clumping Fishtail Palm, Caryota mitis. No matter what, I am going to upload my draft book to Amazon’s Kindle this weekend. The vast majority of the pictures in my palm tree book are mine, but the best ones from the entire world probably will be from others. If you love palm trees, you’ll enjoy my “Patio Palms” book.

May 5. 2014. Life is good. I think that I have completed the final Kindle edition draft of my new book, Patio Palms: How to Grow Beautiful Palm Trees in Cold Weather Climates, with the exception that I need to insert a few additional pictures of beautiful palms into it  I am now preparing a electronic book cover for it. After I finish the cover, I’ll try to upload the entire book onto Amazon. I, like everybody, learn through my mistakes.

March 9, 2014: Last weekend I had a great time in south Florida, watching birds and taking pictures of palm trees for my draft “Patio Palms” book. This week I’ll be gathering additional palm-tree pictures in north Florida. I also need to note that I am always flooded with spam mail that I generally do not post on this website. I just received a post with pictures from Escort Romana. Wow, that escort service does have beautiful women. On the other hand, why anybody would pay for escorts in Romania is beyond me.

January 20, 2014: It’s cold here in Georgia (37 degrees F). Yesterday I visited Jacksonville, Florida, and took some photos of palm trees for my “Patio Palms” book. I’ll eventually need to take a 3-day vacation to southern Florida to get some more beautiful photos for my book.

December 14, 2013: My palms are fine. I’m taking photographs for my “Patio Palms” book. For more information, see me on Facebook. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

November 28, 2013. And yesterday I covered most of my palms outside with tarps and constructed a tent with PVC pipes as an enclosure for the 14-foot high Bismark Palm in my front yard.

November 17, 2013. I have moved my tropical palms into my house to prevent them from being damaged by this week’s first frost.

October 30, 2013. For all purposes I have completed the first draft of “Patio Palms” except for the inclusion of photographs, a glossary, and an index. The book, which has a lot of valuable, practical information in it, describes more than 40 palm tree species that can easily be cultivated to enhance the beauty of people’s houses and yards. Now I have to turn my attention to the arduous task of editing and formatting the book. Although I will first have it published as an e-book, I will first create it a PDF format. In the meantime, I have to build temporary enclosures for my tropical palms to ensure that they survive the winter.

September 10, 2013. I’m making significant progress with “Patio Palms.” During the last two weeks, I have written sections in it about potting, watering, and fertilizing small palm trees and have started describing the various palm trees best for maintaining in pots.

August 25, 2013. This week I wrote about the psychological benefits of having a potted palm tree collection, some simple guidelines for growing palm trees, and the temperature and light tolerances of various palm tree species. I also spent one day in northern Florida and another day in Coffee County, Georgia, watching birds and butterflies and implementing a true writer’s observation that having fun is a good substitute for writing. August 18, 2013. This week I have peddled 48 miles on my bicycle, re-potted four palm trees, and started my “Patio Palms” book including an introduction and sections on selecting palms and the containers for them. Right now I am enjoying a sunny Sunday morning, sitting on my patio with my laptop and a cup of coffee. The glistening water on the grass and nearby hibiscus leaves seem to ignore that a violent lightning storm had occurred here in the middle of night, leaving eight of my 36 potted palm trees knocked on the ground like fallen bowling pins. When asked what do you want to accomplish in life, the vast majority of people never respond, “I want to be happy.” Most ambitious people work hard everyday to achieve happiness sometime in the future. Unfortunately that future often never arrives because life is cut short by an unexpected event or one never learns how to stop working to achieve happiness. With that in mind, let’s start another week, smelling flowers, listening to songbirds, tasting delicious foods, and enjoying life in so many other ways.

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