Monday, October 29, 2012


Turmoil in Greece.
Riots in Spain.
The election in America.
All sorts of garbage going on in Brazil that doesn't even get a corner of the world stage.

Writers should be politically engaged, right?
Not me, folks.
Not any more.

I've lived in dictatorships.
I've been arrested by the police.
I've been beat up by cops in the course of demonstrations.

But, ya know what?

Unlike those praiseworthy and couragous men that Jeff wrote about in his last post, I have gotten to the point in my life where


Not on the global scale.
Oh, yeah, sure, I still do a lot to support poor people, orphanages, that sort of thing.
But, as far as participating, actively, in the political process, I have opted out.

I continue to hold an American passport, but I have such grave doubts about my birth-nation's political system, as currently constituted, that I can't even find it within myself to bring up the outrage Tim expressed in his last post.

Truth to tell, I haven't voted in an American election since 1960.

And, in all probability, this is going to be the last post that any of you ever see, signed by me, where I make any reference, whatsoever, to politics.

So, at the risk of offending any of you who are more politically engaged, how about we reflect, today, on something less transitory.

Tropical fruit.

Yeah, tropical fruit.

It's gonna be here long after you, and I, and any of those damned politicians are gone.

Visitors to Brazil are often overwhelmed by the variety we have to offer.

Açai is one you might have heard of.
Regarded as a superfood, it’s rich in antioxidant properties.

But I’d be surprised if you know more than half of the ones depicted below.

Let’s try a little game.
Note down the names of the ones you recognize.

And then compare them with the answers at the end of this post.













Here are the answers, with the Brazilian names first.

  1. Fruta do conde – Sugar apple
  2. Arazá – Amazonian pear
  3. Feijoa – Guavasteen
  4. Maracuja – Yellow passion fruit
  5. Jaboticaba – Brazilian grape
  6. Guanabana – Soursop
  7. Jaca – Jackfruit
  8. Cacao – Chocolate (Some folks like it fresh, as a fruit.)
  9. Pitanga – Brazilian cherry
  10. Acerola – Barbados cherry
  11. Abiu – Yellow star apple
  12. Caju – Cashew fruit (the little double shell at the bottom contains the nut.)

How did you do?

Leighton – Monday


  1. They look wonderful. Politics aside, the fruit looks fantastic.

    I didn't recognize any of them well enough to name them, but I sure wish they were all available right down the block. I would try all of them.

    Yes, and fortunately or unfortunately, I do care about women's health care, pay equity, civil rights, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So I guess I care about the elections.

    However, I am burying my head in much crime fiction these days to try to escape it all -- humorous books at that.

  2. Did not guess any of them. But, did you know at Costco you can buy Acai berries in a smoothie they sell? 1960 hmmm, do you think Brazil is a better example? Perhaps humans are too human and elections bring out the worst in all of us. Friends not speaking to friends, etc.

  3. Aha! That explains our sole difference, Leighton. You see, I spent my youth surrounded by fruits, listening to Joe McCarthy fearing elders saying "avoid politics."

    Yes, my family was--and still is--produce activists. Selling fruits and vegetables for four generations. Obviously, I've rejected my roots and fallen far from the tree, choosing instead to pit myself against demagogues and other seedy sorts.

    But bear in mind, fruits and politicians do share a common reliance on manure...though one feeds on it while the other feeds it around.:)

  4. Jeff, you crack me up. Your comments put things into a fine perspective.

  5. I should have said I was burying my head in pulp fiction, would have fit in with this blog post.

  6. Just wanted to tell all of you that in our wonderful library here in Denver, Koelbel Library
    which has a huge mystery only section, ALL of you are represented, except the writer from Iceland. So for the next few weeks, I'll be spending time in Paris, Athens, London, Bangkok. It must be a thrill to see your books in a library. A great respite from politics here.

  7. Kathy D., I care about all those issues too. It's just that I no longer trust politicians to keep their promises and do something about them.

    LOW, No, unfortunately, Brazil is not a better example. It is, if anything, a worse example, if you can imagine that. Hooray for the Mile High City and the Koelbel Library. And, yes, I admit it is a thrill to see mhy books in such places. Whenever I'm traveling, I always try to drop into a library or two. And I"m always pleased when I find a book from any of my blogmates. Tell 'em to order Yrsa's books. The other library patrons there in Denver will thank you for it.

    Jeff, Aha! So that's it. Your fruit background. Now I know why a certain lady in Reston thought you were so sweet and delicious.

    Stan, Stop encouraging him.

  8. Got a few, about half. I call the first one a custard-apple. The guavasteen is simply guava in Southeast Asia, but there's a quite different fruit called mangosteen, which makes me wonder what the "steen" part means (mangosteen looks nothing like mango). Passionfruit is interesting - got its name because the Spanish managed to identify every single part of the flower with various parts of the story of the Passion.

    What worries me about America right now is that Americans seem to be losing faith in their democracy. Potentially dangerous.

  9. I only knew the first one which was called custard apple where I grew up. We get them ver occasionally in the supermarket in England. And the cacao.
    I can understand withdrawing from politics, after all how much difference did any of us make deomstrating, getting arrested etc but even though I know I have so little power my vote is the only thing left which just could make a difference. Yours could too.

  10. I don't trust politicians either, but feel I must vote to show support for certain policies and programs, and also to oppose the bigotry being espoused by Tea Partiers and others. It's a matter of conscience to me, not faith in politicians.

    After all of the horrific attacks on women's rights in the last six months, I think I must cast a vote to say "NO" to that and "YES" to social programs for the elderly, disabled, poor, retirees, etc.

    But I think it's going to take a lot more than an election to maintain programs and stop regression to the 1950s.