August in Florida, Part III

After Part II

August 14-23, 2005

Sunday, August 14, 2005

With partial thanks to the folks at

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Googling for "impaled on an umbrella" did not bring up too many relevant sites so I took a stroll to the beach. Being a school-day Monday with six months to go before the next Spring Break there was naturally very little umbrella action to be seen. Yes, a bit of a barren beach as far as THOCBDC's standards are concerned. But, noticeably better than monochrome rhymes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

'Frozen' baby comes back to life

The baby is recovering in intensive care
The baby is recovering in intensive care

Doctors in Canada are wondering how a toddler has survived despite being exposed for several hours in a bitterly cold winter night wearing only her nappy.

The 13-month old girl, who has not been identified, is now acting like any normal child of her age, although she was clinically dead when her mother called paramedics on Saturday morning after finding her curled up in the snow.

"She's very much aware of what's going on around her, she's making eye contact, she knows what is happening around her," said Dr Allan De Caen, the Stollery, Edmonton intensive care paediatrician who treated the infant.

Thermometer showing sub-zero temperature in Stollery
Temperatures have plunged in recent days

Apparently, the baby had crawled unnoticed out of her mother's bed during the night and wandered out onto a neighbour's backyard.

To see her come back as rapidly and as intact and normal as she appears to be is incredible
Dr Allan De Caen

She was nearly "frozen solid" after her night out in the open at minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit). Paramedics were unable to insert a breathing tube into her mouth because it was frozen shut.

There is still a risk of frostbite and plastic surgeons will have to determine if some of the baby's fingers or toes will need to be amputated, Dr De Caen said.

Heart stopped

It is thought that the girl's heart had stopped beating for about two hours, but it started again by itself after doctors wrapped her in a special blanket to increase her body temperature back from the 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) to which it had dropped.

"To see her come back as rapidly and as intact and normal as she appears to be at this point in time is incredible," Dr De Caen said.

Doctors theorised that the sudden massive drop in temperature could have saved her life, because young children tend to cool so quickly that their organs and their blood are preserved.

Yard where miracle baby was found
Footprints in the snow show where the child was found

"As you cool down, you decrease the rate of using oxygen and energy so that cells within the body do not become either oxygen or energy depleted," said Dr Peter Cox of the Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto.

It is depletion of oxygen or energy that causes damage to the brain, he said.

Mother in shock

After coming off a breathing machine, the infant was taken to the pediatric intensive care unit at Stollery Children's Hospital.

Staff said she was interacting "much as you would expect a normal one year old child to do in that kind of environment".

As the daughter's physical condition improved, her 26-year-old mother was recovering of the mental trauma of the ordeal.

Police said they were treating the incident as an accident and there were no plans to file criminal charges.

See also: Woman dumped in Fridge (October 2000).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

From the Campus News at the University of Connecticut:

Ice skating on Mirror Lake is a fun way to spend your night. However, there are many precautions to take when skating outdoors on frozen lakes and ponds.

Precaution #1: Make sure you are not skating on an abyss of toxic waste.

The toxic chemicals may react in such a way that affects the composition of the ice and therefore decreases the safety of the lake. Mirror Lake may be categorized as such, yet I would say it is still worthy enough to be used as a skating area. So you must then shovel off a section of the lake during the day to find out if it is suitable to skate on.

Precaution #2: Determine the thickness of the ice.

Many parts are visible enough so you can see the water below the ice, then determine the thickness, as well as the toxic chemical discolorations of the water below. You must look at both the quality of the ice and the thickness. A newly-formed 4-inch thickness of ice should support an adult skater. If, however, the ice has been re-thawed at least once, the ice is not as safe, and extra attention should be given.

You also want to make a skating area large enough so you can skate laps around at high speeds, hold races and such. However, as you move farther out into the center of the lake, check to see how thick the ice is, because it becomes thinner toward the center of the lake.

Since you are putting pressure on the ice, it may make a variety of sounds and cracks that seem like the ice is about to drop in a matter of seconds, but don't worry; it is all part of the process.

Precaution #3: If any cracks form spontaneously, fill them in with urine, seriously.

The chemicals in urine speed the process of freezing, so it is a quick way to prevent any accidents on the ice. The yellow spots even create a visual effect similar to that of the red and blue lines of a hockey rink.

Precaution #4: Of course, there is always the possibility of falling through the ice.

Wear a life jacket to stay afloat after falling in the water. Obviously, hypothermia will kick in right away, drop your body temperature, cause you to shiver furiously, trigger dizziness and disorientation, force your body heat to be concentrated around the vital organs, which subsequently shuts down blood flow to the arms and legs, decrease heart rate, widen blood vessels, cause unconsciousness and ultimately stop the heart. Nonetheless, the life jacket will keep you afloat so someone may see you and call for help, which brings me to the next precaution.

Precaution #5: Always go with friends, and make sure someone has a cell phone on him or her.

Therefore, when you do fall through the ice, someone can call for help. Yet, if the person with the cell phone is the one who falls in the water, the cell phone will become inoperable, and then you are in trouble. Finally, you must be aware of the wind chill factors. The temperature outside will be very low considering the water of the pond is frozen, so dress appropriately.

Precaution #6: Dress in layers and cover as much of your body as possible to avoid wind burn and frost bite.

Again, we return to the possibility of falling through the water; the many layers of clothing will soak up plenty of water, which will in turn cause many problems later on when the EMT has to strip you down and try to raise your body temperature.

Outdoor ice skating on frozen ponds or lakes can be very dangerous. It is never 100 percent safe, so be careful. At the same time don't let stories like these keep you from having fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2005 (pre-journal)

Susan Cassone (remember her?) sent me this fabulous email:

Can you believe this? And I always pride myself on my spelling.

This is fascinating ... you can actually read this!


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The indicreble and phnmaoneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aocrcdnig to a rscarheech sudty at Cmabirgde Uinervtisy, it deson't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers! in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was so ipmorantt.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

This afternoon we drove to Kig's house; she lives about an hour north of us ... in Delray Beach. She invited Watcharee and three of her other Thai lady friends up for a regional Thai lunch.

In the group photo (from left to right) the cast of characters is as follows: Angoon, Yod, Pen, Marco (Pen's son), Watcharee, Anthony (Kig's son) and Kig. Most of you already know Kig; she has laced her way into many of THOCBDC's pages over the past couple of years (*).

The balance of the photos are of Watcharee and Anthony together, a couple of food (very Thai) (**) shots and a lone shot of the back of Kig in her spacious living room.

(*) Kig's sister is Sa. You have probably seen her in our Bangkok home.

(**) I am going to enjoy the leftovers for dinner. I didn't stay at Kig's place for the lunch. While they were chatting and eating I went to the huge Town Mall in Boca Raton and picked up some iPod stuff for our two Bangkok based cars. The 'Belkin TuneBase FM' allows me to turn my Bose onboard sound system into an extension of my iPod.

PS: We can't forget the "Ruthless Rhymes":

Friday, August 19, 2005

A simple meal at home.

Plus, the Ruthless Rhymes ... part 'God only knows which one':


The following is adapted from "Wasp Stings," Bee and Pest Notes, Publication 7449, February 1998, produced by IPM Education and Publications, UC Statewide IPM Project, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8620.

Nearly everyone has been stung by an insect at one time or another. It is an unpleasant experience that people hope not to repeat, but for most people the damage inflicted is only temporary pain. Only a very limited portion of the population (one or two people out of 1,000) is allergic or hypersensitive to bee or wasp stings. The information that follows also pertains to stings from fire ants.

Stinging insects are limited to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, bees, and ants. The stinger is a modified egg-laying apparatus; so, only females can sting.

Most hymenopterans live solitary lives, and their behavior is more likely to be flight than fight. Social hymenopterans, including yellowjackets, bumble bees, honey bees, and fire ants, have individuals in the colony whose task it is to defend the nest. If the nest is disturbed, these individuals will defend it vigorously. In addition, foraging members of the colony will also sting if they are disturbed or injured as they go about their activities. Some, such as the yellowjackets, are much more liable to attack than are others.

The Africanized ["killer"] honey bee is closely related to the European honey bee, which is used in agriculture for crop pollination and honey production. The two types of bees look the same, and their behavior is similar in many respects. Neither is likely to sting when gathering nectar and pollen from flowers, but both will sting in defense if provoked.

An individual Africanized bee can sting only once and has the same venom as the European honey bee. However, Africanized honey bees are less predictable and more defensive than European honey bees. They are more likely to defend a greater area around their nest, and they respond faster and in greater numbers than the European honey bee.

Single stings

Stingers are effective weapons because they deliver a venom that causes pain when injected into the skin. The major chemical responsible for the pain of a honey bee sting is called melittin; it stimulates the nerve endings of pain receptors in the skin. The result is a very painful sensation, which begins as a sharp pain that lasts a few minutes and then becomes a dull ache. Even up to a few days later, the tissue may still be sensitive to the touch.

The body responds to stings by liberating fluid from the blood to flush venom components from the area. This causes redness and swelling at the sting site. If this is not the first time that the person has been stung by that species of insect, it is likely that the immune system will recognize the venom and enhance the disposal procedure. This can lead to very large swelling around the sting site or in a whole portion of the body. The area is quite likely to itch. Oral and topical antihistamines should help prevent or reduce the itching and swelling. Try not to rub or scratch the sting site because microbes from the surface of the skin could be introduced into the wound and result in an infection.

When the sting is caused by a honey bee, the stinger usually remains in the skin when the insect leaves because the stinger is barbed. Remove the stinger as quickly as possible, because venom continues to enter the skin from the stinger for 45 to 60 seconds following a sting. Much has been written about the proper way to remove a bee stinger, but new information indicates that it doesn't matter how you get it out as long as it is removed as soon as possible. If removed within 15 seconds of the sting, the severity of the sting is reduced.

After the stinger is removed, wash the wound and treat it.

Several over-the-counter products or a simple cold compress can be used to alleviate the pain of a sting. Aerosol or cream antihistamine preparations that contain a skin coolant can also help. If the sting is followed by severe symptoms, or if it occurs on the neck or mouth, seek medical attention immediately because swelling in these areas of the body can cause suffocation.

Anaphylaxis: A small percentage of the population is allergic to wasp or bee stings. If you suspect that you or a family member might be allergic or is developing an allergy, go to a physician or allergist for testing. Allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings can develop anywhere on the body and may include non-life-threatening reactions, such as hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and headaches. Life-threatening reactions, such as shock, dizziness, unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing, and laryngeal blockage resulting from swelling in the throat, require immediate medical care. Symptoms can begin immediately following the sting or up to 30 minutes later and might last for hours.

In allergic persons, venom components circulating in the body combine with antibodies that are associated with mast cells resting on vital organs. The mast cells release histamine and other biologically active substances. This results in a leakage of fluid out of the blood and into the body tissues. Blood pressure drops dangerously low and fluid builds up in the lungs. If this response is not reversed within a short time, the patient could die of anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylaxis, if treated in time, usually can be reversed by the effects of epinephrine (adrenaline) injected into the body. Individuals who are aware that they are allergic to stings should carry epinephrine in either a normal syringe (sting kit) or an auto-injector (Epi-Pen) whenever they think they might encounter stinging insects. Epinephrine is obtainable only by prescription from a physician.

Antihistamines potentially have value in combating non-life threatening reactions but should be used according to a physician's instructions.

Another method of combating anaphylaxis is desensitization. In this approach, the patient is subjected to injections of the venom to which he or she is allergic in increasing doses over a period of time. Like hay fever shots, the tactic is to build up a protective concentration of antibodies in the blood that will intercept and tie up the venom components before they can reach the antibodies on the mast cells. Desensitization with pure venom works about 95% of the time.

Multiple stings

Mass envenomation: Occasionally, a person is stung many times before being able to flee from the nesting site. Depending on the number of stings, the person may just hurt a lot, feel a little sick, or feel very sick. Humans can be killed if stung enough times in a single incident. With honey bees the toxic dose (LD50) of the venom is estimated to be 8.6 stings per pound of body weight. Obviously, children are at a greater risk than are adults. In fact, an otherwise healthy adult would have to be stung over 1,000 times to be in risk of death. Most deaths caused by multiple stings have occurred in men in their 70s or 80s who were known to have poor cardiopulmonary functioning.

Renal insufficiency: A second, potentially life-threatening result of multiple stings occurs days after the incident. Proteins in the venom act as enzymes: one dissolves the cement that holds body cells together, while another perforates the walls of cells. This damage liberates tiny tissue debris that would normally be eliminated through the kidneys. If too much debris accumulates too quickly, the kidneys become clogged and the patient is in danger of dying from kidney failure. It is important for persons who have received many stings at one time to discuss this secondary effect with their doctors. (Wasp stings are as potent in this respect as bee stings.) Patients should be monitored for a week or two following an incident involving multiple stings to be certain that no secondary health problems arise.

Avoiding stings

Bees and wasps can be attracted to, or may react to, odors in the environment. It is best not to use perfume, cologne, or scented soaps if you are going into an area of bee and/or wasp activity. Unless someone accidentally collides quite hard with or swats at a bee or wasp, it is not likely to sting.

Avoid going barefoot in vegetation, especially clover and blooming ground covers. Also avoid wearing brightly colored or patterned clothing. If you remain calm when a bee or wasp lands on your skin to inspect a smell or to get water if you are sweating heavily, the insect will eventually leave of its own accord. If you don't want to wait for it to leave, gently and slowly brush it away with a piece of paper. When swimming in pools, watch out for bees or wasps trapped on the surface of the water. If you find bees or wasps in the water, it is best to remove them to avoid being stung.

Stinging incidents often occur when nesting areas of social insects are disturbed. Be observant of the area around you. If you see insects flying to and from a particular place, avoid it.

If you are going to be in an area where disturbing a nest is likely, wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. It might be a good idea to carry a military surplus, collapsible mosquito/gnat veil with you. Stinging insects often fly around the top of their targets. Because stings in the face can be disorienting, put on the veil, or pull a portion of your shirt over your head, and run away. Be sure that you can see where you are going! Insect repellent applied to your skin or clothing will deter these stinging insects.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Only two or three people will recognize this place.

PS: "Alf, why are you taking a picture of that building?"

PPS: More rhymes.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

OK, it's not the Bangkok car wash ... but it is better than those 'minute-wash' places in Fort Lauderdale.

When I bought my 500SL it took fully three years before our 'marriage' reached the point where I didn't fret about her rolling under the spinning brushes, being slapped by the soapy rubber paddles and finally (at the end of the long line) being blown off by huge indifferent industrial fans.

But with our two Bangkok cars I had no hesitancy about taking them to the working pros for their very first hand jobs. You can see why.

With the 55SL I am again the protective mate. How long will this last? Until the next model change?

Or, until I tire of Mr. Clean's new innovative home car wash. The three nozzle system spews a powerful stream of raw tap water for an initial soak; then, with a flip of a knob the nozzle follows up with a special soapy solution (patented by Mr. Clean). Then some sponge work by me with no helping hand from Mr. Clean. But, the bald man chirps in at the end with his third nozzle, one that delivers a fine knife-sharp final rinse of 100% filtered water (another patent) that guarantees no water spots.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Returning to THOCBDC's roots we have the curious case of a Columbus (*) look-a-like Thalidomidic corkscrew without its ring: (1) Were its arms [the split frame] welded together because it lost its ring? (2) But how did it lose its ring? (3) Or, was it just born without a ring [a production error]? (4) Finally, why did someone bother to weld the arms together ... why not just throw the thing away ... after all it was just a cheap corkscrew?

(*) The classic Columbus was easy to use (**):

In 1893, Eduard Becker of Solingen, Germany, invented a corkscrew with a split frame to facilitate removal of the extracted cork from the worm. To use it:

1. Secure the frame by sliding the ring to the bottom.
2. Place collar over bottle neck.
3. Turn worm into cork until the cork is lifted into the frame.
4. Invert the corkscrew. The ring will drop to the stops on the arms which will open.
5. Remove the cork.

(**) These details come from Don Bull's THE ULTIMATE CORKSCREW BOOK ... a bible for corkscrew collectors.

"Just filling space, Alf?"

PS: No, I always had this in my bag!

About the Cemetery

The West London and Westminster Cemetery Company, as it was known, was established in 1836.

Designed by Benjamin Baud, the cemetery has a formal layout with listed buildings, monuments of great historic interest and a chapel, based on St Peter's Basilica in Rome, situated in the middle.

After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, London became the world's commercial capital. Its population increased from one million in 1800 to over 2.6 million by 1850. Consequently the inadequate sanitary conditions led to endemic disease and the existing burial grounds were unable to cope. Parliament authorised the establishment of seven commercial cemeteries around London, of which Brompton is an outstanding example. It was known as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery.

Opening hours:
The park is open from 8am to 8pm in the summer and 8am to 4pm in the winter.

Getting there:
South Gate off Fulham Rd. North Gate off Old Brompton Rd.

West Brompton - District Line (Wimbledon branch)

Bus: 14, 74, 190, 211, 328, 414, 430, C1, C3 all operate near Brompton Cemetery.

Parking available on site for grave grant holders only.

A Cemetery guide book is available for £4.99 from the Chapel Office, on weekdays (excluding Bank Holidays).

Contact: The Royal Parks, Chapel Office, Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, London. SW10 9UG
T. +44 (0)20 7352 1201
F. +44 (0)20 7352 1201

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Don Bull sent me this mini-movie [2.5MB] of the world's best wine opener. Trust me ... take a look. You will not be disappointed.

PS: This was the most relevant find in a GOOGLE search for "upper bunk Peru":

Peru Bunk Bed  
Peru Bunk Bed
Product ID:322
Price comparison High St. Price Our Price
Bunks with deep quilted mattresses £ 419.99 £ 299.99
Bunks with flat topped mattresses £ 335.99 £ 239.99
Bunks with light quilted mattresses £ 391.99 £ 279.99
Product information

Children delight in climbing up to their very own sleeping quarters at the top of the world! Parents can also relax knowing that this substantial solid wood bunk bed features thick guard rails and a well built ladder which complies with the most stringent UK safety standards. The bunk bed can also be separated creating two single beds offering greater flexibility. Whether you have two children sharing a room or want an extra bed for sleepovers the Peru is a great space-saving solution. There'll never be a problem getting the kids to bed again!  

PPS: This came today from a fan of the Rhymes:

My love and I did slowly row across the lake,
lillies bobbing gently in our wake.
The breeze was fine, plenty of sunshine.

I drew a flower from the pond,
and bid her sample a smell of which I am fond.
Only a muffled cursing noise did she make.

The verdant green of the surrounding woodlands ...
was lost on her I'm afraid.
Every bit a lady, her demeanor properly staid.

Her favorite dress she had on,
beautiful white crinoline, her shoulders silk chiffon.
A sun hat framed the halo of her angelic appearance.

In time we gained the middle,
as we slowed my love began to fiddle.
The ropes were chafing it seems.

Nary a splash did she make
as she slipped overboard into our wake.
Although the anchor did bang about somewhat.

As I rowed for the shore,
I believe I loved her even more.
The picnic hamper held my favorite.

PPPS: Andy P's response after viewing the cork pulling 'movie':

"That's how you learn to speak proper English ... Reading Shakespeare out loud with a cork between your teeth."

Next: Part IV

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