Fort Lauderdale, May 2009

After April

May 1-8, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009 (May Day) *

This is my Hitchcock moment. I think I bought this at Disney during one of the Lawsig trips. Right, Paul?

* Though it's a holiday in the former Communist countries it also used to be a fairly wimpy event in America during the '40s and earlier. I think the chief activity of the Day was to dance around a May Pole. Flowers and strings were attached to the pole making it a really Gay thing.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Found one:

Hid one:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

David and Carmella just arrived from Brazil and are now enjoying one of Watcharee's signature dishes.

My friend, Don Bull, showed me his finished plate which is located hundreds of miles away. But, he ate at signature place settings.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Over the years I have collected (in some cases stolen) * airline memorabilia such as playing cards, slippers, pajamas and amenity kits. Occasionally an airline will actually give a passenger something unusual. I don't know how long ago I received this item from Lufthansa but from the very nature of the beast I am sure it was in the pre-Concorde days; maybe even from the time when the first 747s rolled down the tarmac. Read the "suggestion" label close to the tip.

* A complete set of Concorde flatware and a Concorde butter dish.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

David and Carmella take the world famous Jungle cruise.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"And America votes!!!!"

PS: Local priest makes good!

Celebrity priest punished after being caught with woman


The Rev. Alberto Cutié, a national figure with movie star looks, was removed from his Miami Beach church Tuesday after photographs appeared in a magazine showing him frolicking with a woman in the sand on a Florida beach.

A wildly popular Catholic priest, newspaper columnist and radio and television personality, Cutié will no longer run operations or say Sunday Mass at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

Word of Cutié's punishment came during a brief news conference in front of a small gathering of reporters at the Archdiocese of Miami headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami Shores.

"The vow of celibacy is part of the ordination," said spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta. "A man who is a priest is able to totally focus on the church."

Earlier in the day, Cutié spoke with Archbishop John C. Favalora, who said that the pictures of Cutié and the woman saddened him.

"Father Cutié's actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest," Favalora said in a statement. "I ask for everyone's prayers at this time."

Cutié also released a brief one-paragraph note, thanking those who support him and asking for the "forgiveness of those who may be hurt or saddened by my actions."

Local reaction to Cutié's removal and the 25 pictures that surfaced this week in the Mexican celebrity magazine TVnotas, was strong -- and varied. While some church leaders say Cutié violated a vow of chastity, churchgoers and the public at large were more forgiving.

"He's a human. So he can make mistakes," said St. Francis parishioner Karla Unda. "I know he shouldn't do that. I know it's against the policies of the church. But it's OK. He's a human being."

At WACC Radio Paz, where Cutié hosted a show until he was removed by the Church on Tuesday, listeners visited and prayed at the station chapel. Most callers to an afternoon show focusing on Cutié were supportive and forgiving.

An elderly woman told WWFE La Poderosa host Eddie Calderon that Cutié was very handsome, and that, "If I were a young woman, I would go to church every day just to look at him."

And at WOCN Union Radio, a man told host Ricardo Brown that Cutié's misdeed was inevitable. "He was surrounded by too much temptation," the man said.

The words were more harsh from inside the church.

"A commitment is a commitment," said the Rev. James Murphy, pastor at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Miami Lakes. "To me, it's similar to a vow a person takes in marriage to be faithful to one person. A priest takes a commitment to be faithful to the church."

This week's cover of TVnotas shows Cutié, 40, laying on his back in blue shorts with an unidentified, long-brown-haired woman in a dark bathing suit wrapping her legs around him.

The other 24 pictures, which TVnotas says were taken over a three-day period in March, include one with Cutié's hand inside the woman's bathing suit touching her posterior. Still another shows the couple kissing at an unidentified terrace bar.

The photos came to light about six weeks after paparazzi tried to peddle them locally, but were turned away.

Isabel Bucaram-Montana, spokeswoman for Spanish Broadcasting System's Mega TV, said the station was offered the pictures for more than $100,000, but said no.

"We did not feel two or three days worth of ratings were worth it," she said.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

First, the "Ye Olde Barber Shope". (*)

(*) This is THOCBDCs third photo visit to Kim's Hair-Em, a 60's and 70's era hair salon for men. The place is SO cool ... well, at least for me.

Second, the beginning of the great pool watch. Losing water at about 40 mm per day where will it all end?

Third, my friend Dan Sun from Shanghai and Taipei shows us how it is done.

PS: What is the big deal? THOCBDC has been importing snake wine for years.


Name your poison: 'Snake wine' seized at airport

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — Everyone has heard of the worm at the bottom of the bottle, but what customs officials in Miami found kicked that up a few notches.

United States Customs and Border Protection officers conducting a routine inspection on Wednesday seized a cobra and other poisonous snakes in a bottle believed to be "snake wine."

Customs officials said the snakes, mixed in a glass container containing some form of alcohol, were inside an express mail package from Thailand.

Jose Castellano, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the agency discovered the bizarre beverage during the course of what otherwise would have been an ordinary search.

As strange as the tale might seem, Castellano said it was just another day at the office.

"We're not just at airports checking passports," said Castellano, whose officers also confiscated cocaine hidden in a diaper the same day they found the snake wine. "We check mail, boats and planes to make sure that anything that can be harmful or illegal does not enter the United States," he said.

"Based on a risk management system, we decide what packages we look at, depending on where they are from, and a lot of different characteristics that would cause us to look into something," Castellano said.

The investigation into the unusual cocktail is being handled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Importing cobras into the United States is illegal because they are an endangered species.

"It is wildlife that was not declared," said Eddie McKissick, a spokesman. "The issue is that this species of snake is protected by the convention on international trade in endangered species. It applies to live and dead animals."

"We see this all the time," he added. "Not just the cobras, sometimes it's turtles and even dried sea horses."

Customs officials said the practice of producing an alcoholic beverage that includes a whole venomous snake in the bottle originated in Vietnam and is popular in Southeast Asia.

Officials said the entire snake is submerged in the alcohol, often with insects or other animals such as turtles.

The snakes, preferably venomous, are not usually preserved for their meat, but to have the snake poison dissolved in the liquor, which is then used for medicinal purposes, officials said.

Federal officials said the package was shipped from Thailand to an address in the southeastern United States. Authorities declined to reveal where or to whom the package was destined.

"We're still gathering facts and haven't determined a course of action," McKissick said.

The package, like all international mail, was inspected when it reached the regional Customs inspection site in the area for which it is destined. Once inspected, mail is turned over to the U.S. Postal system.

McKissick said importation of endangered species into the United States requires a permit and proper procedures have to be followed.

"If you have a demand for a wildlife species, someone has to go out and kill that species, so the regulations apply," he said. "These species require an export permit that they did not have."

PPS: My friend, Don Bull, was only two hand shakes (?) away from this Roman Catholic Bishop.

Don writes:

"Back in 1992 Annie Murphy was our receptionist at Goodway (*) when the story broke. We were inundated with telephone calls and visiting news media. See:"

(*) Don's corporation: the business that allowed him to make millions in corkscrews.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Do you remember when Americans were forbidden by their own government from visiting China, Cuba, North Vietnam and North Korea? That was back in the '60s. By the time the 70's rolled around our courts had told our government to stuff it on this issue. Still, the government kept grumbling about Cuba, North Vietnam and North Korea with couched permission demands. Now there are no printed "no-no's" on any passports. But, still the only way to fly to Cuba is via some 3rd country.

Speaking of passports, when we moved to England in the 1969 young kids could share a single passport. My three oldest were on one passport and the two smallest ones also shared a single passport. BTW, there is one real advantage of traveling with a bunch of small kids: Customs, particularly US Customs, wants you to pass through as quickly as possible (especially if you, the parent, has prompted the kids to cry and make a fuss while in line).

More on our pool: the water is going, going, going ...

PS: How will the Pope gfaw on this trip to the Middle East? And, which group(s) will he offend this time around? And, how many costume changes must his hosts suffer through? And, what's with the eye shadow ... it's so creepy ... it scares kids (but, maybe that is a good thing).

Next: Part II

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