Teddy Bear Hospital and Frankfurt Auto Show

Monday, September 24, 2007

Teddy Bear Hospital

Sunday we were at a street festival in Trebur. We ran into several people that we knew and hadn't seen in a while. We met up with our former neighbors, Ruth and Dianna at the center stage. The Red Cross had a Teddy Bear Hospital. There was an admission desk, where the kids were asked what was wrong with their stuffed animal. Sarah's little squeak dog (which we had just bought from one of the stands there) had chicken pox. Anna borrowed what looked like a hamster (we forgot to bring stuffed animals)
and it had a broken leg. Sarah's animal had an EKG done, while Anna's hamster went right to x-ray. Then Anna took the hamster to get bandaged. Of course all the animals had to go to the pharmacy for prescriptions (m&ms, naturally). At the end they took a picture of every kid with their patient. It was pretty neat.

The Frankfurt Autoshow

I went to the Frankfurt Autoshow, commonly know as IAA, on Friday. Before moving to Germany I had attended several autoshows in Detroit with my friend Kurt. This was the second time that I went to the IAA. I went with the Alex, father of one of the girls that my daughters to to kindergarten with. We took the train from a nearby village into Frankfurt. One of the first things that we did was to do an off-road test drive. I wanted to go in the Hummer but the line was pretty long so we ended up riding in a Hunydai Tuscon. It was interesting going up and down the dirt hills at grades and angles most of us wouldn't normally attempt.

I have loaded all my pictures at my Photobucket account and have included a couple of them here including the 2009 Chevy Camaro Concept and an old Chrysler 300. On the smaller side there were the Chevy Beat, Groove, and Trax concepts. There was a Hummer all decked out for rescue. Citroen had its Cactus Concept. Mercedes had a very elaborate display, with a light show and you could tell that they spent some money on it. Some of the more popular exhibits were harder to get to (i.e. Ferrari) but I did have a good time. It is too bad that the IAA is only every other year.

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Anna's New Glasses

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last week Anna received her new glasses. We found out a few weeks ago that she needed glasses and she got to pick them out. Since Christine and I both wear glasses, it guess it isn't too surprising that she needed glasses. The doctor said that it could be that she wears them for a few months and then might now need them any longer. Anna was excited about getting glasses and said that she wanted to have glasses, even if she didn't really need them.

I took the girls to a police open house in a nearby village last Sunday. Since the girls had spent the previous night at with Oma, I picked them up from Oma's house and we arrive about 30 minutes before it was to close. Unfortunately, they had started to tear down most of the things that were set up. I did manage to get a couple of pictures of her on a police motorcycle.

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September Eleventh 6 Years Later

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Here it is upon us, September Eleventh, six years later. While most of us have certainly heard and seen a lot about this day, it is a day that has and will forever changed the world. There have certainly been some other significant disasters and tragedies since the big events of that day Huricane Katrina the Tsuanami of 2004 come to mind, however the events of that fateful day continue to effect us. This was one of those days that the world was united, we could all feel the sadness and the outrage at the loss of human life. For a while we were all connected. So many of us were in disbelief that something so awful could be done by men to men. I have to think about the families that lost a loved one to the events ot this day. I feel a special connection to those families and to this day, because as the second plane hit the World Trade Center, miles and miles away, my mother passed away, losing a battle to cancer. Because this date is mentioned so often, I think of her often.

To the families that lost loved ones because of the events of this day, I just want to say that my heart goes out to you all. Thinking about the young children that lost one of their parents and will never get a chance to know them really makes you sad. The victims on this day were firefighters, policemen, flight crews, passengers on the planes, people working in and visitors to the World Trade Center, and any other group that I might have forgoten. People that work in high risk jobs such as firefighters and policemen kind of know that something could happen to them everytime that they go to work, certainly none of those firefighers and policemen had any idea that they were getting into this! For the people on the planes as well as those working and visiting the World Trade Center, they had no idea of what was about to come. Everyone of these people had a story, who they were and why they were where they were at the moment. Here is a guide to website tributes, this is not by any means an all inclusive list, but there are some tributes by families of the vicitms as well as those that felt compelled to comment with some ssort of tribute. The Writers Voice is another site of tributes. Wikipedia created a memorial wiki it is now read-only. Project 2996 was set up in honor of the fifth anniversary in 2005, the idea was that people could select one of the victims, do some research on them, and write about them. Here is a statistical look at Septmember 11th by numbers. From the New York Times comes this demographic info of WTC. Here are various victims lists from CNN. From the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui at Wikipedia comes this image of the victims photos put together. Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization of the victims' families, I must warn you that they are political, so keep this in mind if you check this site out.

A lot is written about firefighers, policemen, and the kinship that these two groups have. What boy doesn't pretend and dream about being a firefighter or policemen at some point in their childhood? Watching to work that these groups of people did, you couldn't help but be proud of them, they both brought a lot of respect and admiration to their professions. Here is the Wikipedia entry on FDNY. Here is the Official FDNY website. FDNY Firezone is an unoffical firefighter website as well as this unofficial FDNY tribute. FDNY Tribute is a nice slideshow with commentary (note I could only get this to work with Internet Explorer). The Bravest sells various merchandise from the FDNY. NY NJ Port Authority Police Deparment and Remembering the Heros are two sites dedicated remembering the policmen that have died.

I'm sure that many of you have wanted to known what happened on this day. Here is the 911 FAQ, it answers some questions and provides some interesting links. The 9-11 commision report is the "official account". From Wikipedia, here are some consipiracy theories of September 11th, these are certainly not all of them and you find a lot of sites dedicated to these theories if you look around. Here is the Wikipedia entry on the September 11, 2001 Attacks. Here is the BBC site on September 11th. This is from National Geographic, This is from PBS. From the New York Times here is a graphic on WTC structure (I needed to use Internet Explorer for this to work). Here is an animation showing the flight path taken by the two planes hitting the Twin Towers. This animation shows the flight path of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. The Washington Post has provided this info on the Pentagon attack.

There has certainly been a lot of discussion about rebuilding. Here is an interesting site about rebuilding from the New York Times (I needed Internet Explorer for it to work). From the New York times, this site provides virtual tours for different proposals (I needed Internet Explorer for it to work). Also from the New York Times, this site provides plans for improving downtown transporation (I needed Internet Explorer for it to work). From the Washington Post, here is some information about rebuilding the Petagon.

Here are some other sites about September 11th that I have gathered...
Ground Zero Memoirs
CNN tribute
September 11th victims
theCat Gallery
memorial from the Library of Congress

If you feel compelled to do something maybe you could...

  • Let your loved ones know that you care about them
  • Live the Golden Rule and treat others the way that you would like to be treated
  • If you personally know a family member of one of the victims, you could reach out to them
  • Make a new friend
  • Reach out to someone today show your support to someone that needs it (longer term would be better still)
  • Help to show the world that mankind is good.
  • Check out some of the links that I have provided
  • Give your time and money to charity
  • Here is the site for the United Way NYC

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Lady Di Ten Years Later

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

August 31st marks ten years since Lady Di died and much of the world is looking back and remembering upon this occasion. In honor of this event I thought that I would write a blog entry a little bit different than my normal format. As our internet connection had been down for a few days, I hope that I'll be able to put this online soon and that it will still seem timely.

JFK's Assasination, 911, and Lady Di's Death are all definitive moments that people remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. As the years go by, people seem more and more disjointed from the rest of mankind and it is these moments that connect people from the far flung corners of the world (and your neighbors as well). People from all over the world watched television and listened to radio coverage of these events. These are events that weren't just experienced by British and Americans but most of the world. These events were all sad but they brought us together, maybe people that might not have ordinarily talked to each other were able to share these moments, these were uniting moments, in times where there is so much that divides us. While I wasn't born at the time of JFK's assination but I have heard and read it discussed enough to know that this is one of the biggest events in lives of Baby Boomers and the other older generations. With such definitive moments, you may not have liked or known that much about the people involved, its impact was of a large enough and memorable scale that you remember where you were when you got the news.

With the definitive moments that I have mentioned, there are no shortage of conspiracy theories. Was there a lone gun man? While I can't say who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory, a great many of us do seem to enjoy discussing them and speculating on what happened and what caused the event? Part of human nature is to question why things happen and with such definitivee moments a conspiracy theory can help us make sense of what happened. It is some how comforting to believe that these events weren't just random and that there was in fact some conspiracy behind them. From the BBC show the Conspiracy Files here are the questions that are often asked about Diana's death. Also from the BBC is an interesting article about the nature of conspiracy theroy. Here is a timeline of events from Diana's death. LondonNet took at look at three of the major theories behind her death and assigned a likelihood to the plausibility of it actually happening. The theories discussed included that her death was faked, that the MI6 Killed her, and that Dodi was targeted by enemies of his father and himself.

Lady Di was many thing to many people, but whatever you might want to say about her (good or bad) she was a lighting rod to the Royals (British and others) and most anything that she did in her life after becoming Princess of Wales. While most English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh people have definite opinions and feelings about the monarchy, prior to Lady Di, most people elsewhere didn't really think too much about the Royals. She seemed to bring a celebrity status to the Royals and there are those people that would say that this wasn't a good thing and that she was in the spotlight too much. There is a famous expression in public relations, which is that there is no such thing as bad publicity since even that gets a buzz going and people talking.

A few weeks back I rented The Queen on dvd. The movie focused on the events leading up to the memorial service for Diana. While I don't wish to give away too much of the movie to those that haven't seen it, the movie shows the Queen struggling to deal with the death of Lady Di and the unexpected public reaction. As Tony Blair just recently stepped down as British Prime Minister, it was interesting to see his character at work in the movie. I would have liked to see more about the relationship between the Queen and Diana. The Tabloids spent a lot of ink proclaiming that all wasn't well in this area, but many people would like to know what it was really like. I remember thinking when Princess Charles and Princess Diana got divorced that Royalty was now in modern times and that Henry VIII had been married six times but in the past there really wasn't divorce and some terrible fates were met by queens that fell out of favor with their kings.

While it is expected that Royals don't have just ordinary bloodlines, those that marry into royalty usually have some sort of notable pedigree and Lady Di was no disappointment here. On her father's side she was related to King Charles II of England through 4 illegitimate sons. She was also related to King James II of England through an illegitimate daughter. Other famous ancestors include Robert I (the Bruce), Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Boleyn, Lady Catherine Grey. Through Henry Paget, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, she is related to Sir Winston Churchill. Through William Anne Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarie, she is related to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Through William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, she is related to Charles, Prince of Wales (yes, Prince Charles). She is also related to Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford and regarded at the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Other notable relatives include actor Oliver Platt (a second cousin), as well as cousins Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and Rainier III. She is also the first cousin six times removed to American Revolutionay War hero Nathan Hale.The New England Genealogical Society published The Ancestry of by Diana, Princess of Wales for Twelve Generations by Richard K. Evans in August 1997 goes into exhaustive detail about most of her notable relatives.

Lady Di was well known for her charitable work. She was one of the first high profile celebrities to get behind the AIDS cause. She was also concerned with landmines and especially the injuries that they cause long after the conflict that put them there was over. Included as beneficiaries at the Concert for Diana website are The National AIDS Trust and The Leprosy Mission among others.

Most everyone has heard the Elton John song "Candle in the Wind 1997" or maybe better known now as "Goodbye English Rose". The song was originally recorded in honor of Marilyn Monroe, now you have to wonder if the newer version will eclipse the original. As the song goes "Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will." So here is the memory of Lady Di.

Here are some web sites that I found when putting together my post...
http://www.geocities.com/tuareg69/diana_e.html There are some nice pictures here.

In other news...
I posted two new videos at our YouTube Channel. One is about the girls and bikes (as promised a while back, in honor of Anna learning to ride her bike without training wheels). The other is of Anna's sixth birthday.

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