Florida, July 2007
Part III

After Part II

July 17-23, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don Bull sent me this Mercedes-Benz corkscrew. When not in functional use it might double as hanging-from-the-rearview-mirror crucifix. But, maybe not; as there isn't a little man tacked on it.

Perhaps I was 'protected' after all ... the cops did not ticket me for parking in a "NO PARKING" zone.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Annie looks good here.

PS: Guess when and where.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yes, food again!

But, this is the very first time that we've been back to Coco since we have been in Florida. And, Coco is one of our favorite local Thai restaurants.

OK, we'll take a drive along the beach before we eat.

PS: Sandra was the first to guess the correct answer to the question in yesterday's post:


Hi! Is your picture the dedication of the school in Nepal?

PPS: To read more about Havildar Lachhiman Gurung VC (to whom the school is dedicated) go to:


Friday, July 20, 2007

This 'bumper strip' means what? Fill in the blanks: W______ T_______ F______

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Navy is in port. Well, at least a huge aircraft carrier is anchored just east of the Las Olas beach. (Hey, why aren't they in the Persian Gulf as part of the "surge"?)

Anyway, that vast hunk of naval steel has acted like a super magnet on our local beach bunnies. Here they can be seen gazing offshore in wet anticipation of the forthcoming shore-leave. Alright ... I can hear you ... no, the July wench quality is admittedly not up to Spring Break standards; summers here are pretty tame as most out of state coeds are either in Europe or waiting tables in their home towns. And the better local coeds are in North Carolina or on an Asian cruise or seeing South America.

But, all this is still better than a photo of our last night's sashimi dinner. Right?

Sunday, July 22, 2007 (Pre-journal)

Looks like The Almighty was so moved by this pilgrimage that he gave these pilgrims a bus trip straight to heaven.

24 Die After Bus Plunges Off Mountain

Posted: 2007-07-22 11:30:13

GRENOBLE, France (July 22) — A bus carrying Polish pilgrims from a holy site in the French Alps plunged off a steep mountain road, crashed into a river bed and burst into flames Sunday, killing 24 people, authorities said.

The destroyed bus sits next to the La Romanche River in the French village of Vizille Sunday. Twenty-four passengers were killed after the bus plunged about 65 feet onto the river banks. It missed a 90-degree bend in the mountain road.

Another 20 people were seriously injured in the wreck, which occurred at about 9:30 a.m. near the village of Vizille, not far from Grenoble, officials said.

Firefighters said the bus had 51 people on board, including the driver, and plowed through a barrier before it plunged about 65 feet onto the banks of the La Romanche River, firefighters said.

Residents of Notre-Dame-de-Mesage, a town near the site, said the bus missed a 90-degree bend in the steep mountain road. They said the bus burst into flames and was destroyed in the blaze.

Buses have been prohibited from using the 5-mile stretch of road -- which has a 7 percent grade -- without a special permit since a similar accident in the 1970s, also involving pilgrims.

The bus involved in Sunday's crash pilgrims had no such permit, firefighters said.

News footage showed the charred remains of the bus, with wreckage strewn across the river bank.

Victims were evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Grenoble. Others with light injuries were being treated in a field nearby.

A handful of missing passengers may have been thrown out of the bus and into the river, firefighters said. Crews were searching the river by helicopter and boat.

The pilgrims were returning from the shrine of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, about 25 miles south of Grenoble.

The prefecture of the Isere region in southeastern France said 49 passengers, a driver and another person — likely a second driver — had been on board the bus.

Marcin Szklarski, president of the trip's organizer, Orlando Travel, told Poland's TVN24 television that the pilgrims, aged 40-60, were from Szczecin and surrounding towns in the northwest of the country.

The group left Poland on July 10 on a two-week visit to famous sanctuaries in France, Spain, and Portugal, including shrines in Lourdes, France and Fatima, Portugal, Szklarski said.

The bus, a 2000 Skania, passed safety inspection checks three weeks ago in Germany, Szlarski said.

Szlarski said 50 people were on the bus: 47 pilgrims, two drivers and a guide.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his condolences to his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, in a letter Sunday.

"During this ordeal, you have the solidarity of the French people," Sarkozy said.

Though it rained heavily on Saturday night, weather in the region was warm and sunny on Sunday and the road was dry.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon was to visit the crash site later Sunday.

Nestled between Alpine peaks, the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is about 5905 feet above sea level. The complex was built on the site two local boys claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them in 1846. It has since become an important pilgrimage site, drawing Catholics from around the world.

PS ... Jumping direct from the Pre:

When my kids were young and we were flying routinely from London to the USA and back, our pediatrician regularly prescribed Kiddy Valium for our kids. Hey, it worked! We slept, the kids slept ... so did the neighbors.

I feel sorry for the flight attendant who had to deal with the "Bye, bye plane" brat.

This from AP:

I'm starting to think there's a backlash against traveling families.

First there was the nursing mother who was told to get off the plane. Then there was the mother who was stopped because her toddler had a sippy cup full of water as they went through security. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's against the rules.) Now the mother of a 19-month-old boy says she and her son were kicked off a plane by a flight attendant who didn't like the child saying "Bye, bye plane!"

Monday, July 23, 2007 (Pre-journal)


Press Releases

God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers

President George W Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

The series charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from President Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999/2000 to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last August.

Norma Percy, series producer of The 50 Years War (1998) returns, with producers Mark Anderson and Dan Edge, to tell the inside story of another seven years of crisis.

Presidents and Prime Ministers, their generals and ministers tell what happened behind closed doors as peace talks failed and the intifada exploded.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Last night we were invited to a shared birthday party at Sushi Thai Cafe on Atlantic Boulevard. This restaurant is owned by Nong (shown singing solo) and it is where Ta works as a waitress. Anyway, Bill and Ta were celebrating their birthdays. Bill is married to Khaw (not shown). Ta is married to Jon (not shown).

You'll recognize some faces in these photos: Namfon (in her traditional Thai dance costume), Watcharee, Kig, Rick, Anthony, Dang, Pen, Tom, Ta and Pim. Actually Pim, Pen and Tom are today making their first appearance in THOCBDC. Pim is the hot looking girl in the short skirt. Tom is Namfon's father (singing a duet). Pen is the girl you only see from the back (with very long beautiful hair and sitting to the left of a beer bottle).

The party started at 2 PM and ended nine hours later.

Next: Part IV

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