Friday, March 31, 2006


In my senior year of high school, my Dad got transferred to England. As you can imagine, I was not real happy, seeing as I had gone to school with some of my classmates since kindergarden! However, I soon learned to love living in England, and was glad we went. After spending the first few days in a hotel, we moved to a flat (apartment) just off Sloane Square on a street called Sloane Gardens. It was at the top of Kings Road, which had all sorts of neat stores and clubs. It was also the location of the 'Chelsea Drugstore' from the Rolling Stones' song, which was not a drugstore, but sold records (and I believe you could buy illegal drugs there). Actually bought Spirit's "The Twelve Dreams Of Dr Sardonicus' there. From Sloane Square, it was a short walk to where I went to school at the American Community School in Knightsbridge, which is no longer there. Across the street from the school was a house where Eva Braun (Hitler's mistress) once lived.

Anyway, the place we lived in looked like the pic below, which was actually taken at Sloane Gardens. Our flat actually was on 3 or 4 floors, with lots of stairs. I believe these buildings were once large homes of wealthy people that were eventually divided up into smaller houses & flats.
Eventually, we moved out into the country, in a town called Esher, where George Harrison once owned a house. On the map below, we lived on Lakeside Drive, just above the 'S' in Lakeside. The property was once part of a manor house, which you could see up the hill. Now, I've seen photos of the area, and there's a lot more housing than when we lived there. Our house was right on the lake, and we had a little boat to paddle around in. I used to go across the lake before there were any houses there, and pick wild black raspberries. Mmmmmm...good!
The house we lived in looked like this one, except the glass wall faced onto the lake; this house was built across the lake from ours, and recently sold for over $500,000. Too bad Mom & Dad still didn't live there, eh?
In the lake lived a swan, and let me tell you, they're very greedy eaters. We used to feed the swan, named Henrietta (originally Henry until someone discovered it was a girl), and she would go through a loaf of bread and still want more! She would hiss at you when she got pissed off, and swans have nasty little teeth, so I imagine it would hurt if she bit you. She almost bit me once, I was reading in the back yard, and she came up out of the water and almost bit my toe before I noticed. I had to chase her with a lawn chair to get her back in the water.
When I was in school, we used to go to lunch at a pub just around the corner (or up the street a bit). It was called 'The Australian', and I remember they used to have good bangers & mash (sausage & mashed potato), which went very well with a pint of bitter. I used to drink Watney's Red Barrel, which I don't think is made anymore. It was my introduction to beer served at cellar temperature rather than refrigerated, and was tasty once you got used to it.

Apparently, they're still there, since this picture and the sign above I got from a listing of London pubs off the internet.
If I ever win the lotto (L&LOL), I'd love to go back to England, and visit the places I used to go to, among them the pub.

And many other pubs I visited when I lived there of course...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Is this cool or what! A photo of a creepy fire spirit from a ghost website.
Is it real...who knows? But I sure wouldn't want to see that in my fireplace
on a cold winter's night (If I had a fireplace and lived somewhere cold)

Monday, March 27, 2006


And `No Child Left Behind' is rapidly becoming `Most Children Left Behind'.

Soon, the children of the U.S.A. will become the dumbest children not living
in a third world country. Now schools are dropping other curriculum in
order to teach more Math & English in order for the students to pass
FCAT and other tests like it in other States. Why??? Haven't the politicians
figured out that if they let the teachers do their jobs, and hold back children
who don't deserve to pass to the next grade, that the ones who finally
graduate will have a good education? Why force children who don't want
to learn stay in school. The world will always need ditch diggers, fruit
pickers, and McDonalds employees. Why force teachers to spend their
valuable time teaching the unteachable? Isn't it better to graduate 65% of
all children, and have most of them go on to college, than graduate 95%
of the children, and not have them know enough to get into college?

It's a damn shame that the ones who really want to learn have to be dragged
down to the level of the ones who don't. And someday, if we don't wake up
to that fact, we'll wake up to find that we are a cultural & scientific third world
And cutting edge breakthroughs in science & medicine
may be coming from the Czech Republic...

Thursday, March 23, 2006


...before I get old & senile (my wife says I already am)...
I was born in the town shown above, Offenbach Germany, a suburb of Frankfurt am Main in 1953. At birth I was named Robert Helmut Siebert; Siebert being my mother's last name.

Then I was put in an orphanage in Frankfurt. Interesting picture below of zeppelin flying over Frankfurt, apparently there were quite a few of them back in the 30s (way before my time). Perhaps that's why one of my favorite bands is Led Zeppelin - hahaha.
Photo below of an old (late 1800s) orphanage in Frankfurt. Mine? Don't know, really; I remember nothing about being there.
However, my very first memory - and Mom & Dad back me up that this is true - involves a flock of geese. When they were working on adopting me (at the age of 3), they used to come to the orphanage to spend time with me. Apparently, we used to take a walk down a dirt road near the orphanage, and one time, there was a flock of geese coming the other way. I distinctly remember being frightened of the geese (who can act quite hostile if they feel like it), and cowering behind Mom & Dad until they had passed by. And I'm guessing we really bonded right about then.
And the funny thing is, even as I grew older, I always remembered the geese, but not that I had been adopted...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


A little bit of info for those who may no know:This is what the original Stanley Cup looked like.

On this date in 1894 the Montreal AAA beat the Ottawa Generals
3-1 in the first Stanley Cup playoff game. This is a photo of an actual 1894 hockey team - the whole team!!

This is Dave Andreychuck of Tampa Bay after winning the cup in 2004.

Too bad it doesn't look like they're going to win it this year...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


On today's date in 1617 she died in England at the age of (about) 22. At the age of
19 she had converted to Christianity and married John Rolfe in
England. Her name had been changed to Rebecca at that time.

But did you know...

At the time she saved John Smith (a legend apparently started by John Smith) and had
the love affair (as in the Disney movie) she would have been about 12 years old, a fact
that Disney conveniently changed...

And the villain from the Disney movie, Sir John Ratliffe?
In real life he was nailed to a tree and skinned alive...

Monday, March 20, 2006


1) Goldmine Classic Rock Digest (25 Years Of Rock & Roll): Interviews, collecting articles, and
other stuff from the pages of Goldmine Magazine with the likes of Ringo,John Fogerty,Ray Davies,& Chuck Berry. Always interesting.

2) Knight Of Shadows by Roger Zelazny: The continuing adventures of Merlin,son of Corwin, from the original Amber series. Interesting, but not as good as the original.

3) Mary Mary by James Patterson: The latest Alex Cross mystery, and more confusion in
his personal life. Interesting twist to the killer in this one.

4) Dragon Tears by Dean Koontz: Another thriller/chiller - this one stands out for the
'seeing the world through a dog's eyes(and nose) sequences.

5) Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jim Derogatis: The subtitle says it all - 'Psychedelic Music
From the 1960s to the 1990s'

6) Horrible Beginnings by Steven Silver & Martin H Greenberg, ed.: First stories by
horror writers, hence the title. Best one is about Dracula on the Titanic.

So, a good selection this time around. No disappointments in this lot, though the 'Amber'
concepts are wearing thin for me.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Did you know...The first St Patrick's Day parade was held in
New York City in 1762. The marchers were Irish soldiers
in the British Army. Betcha they didn't have green beer, though.

And, an Irish toast for St Paddy's Day:
"May the leprechauns be near you to spread luck along
you way. And may all the Irish angels smile upon you
on St Patrick's Day"

Now go out and get shit-faced!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


3/11/06...And another one bites the dust...

But, who is he, you may ask??
He, my friends, for you not of the hockey persuasion,
was the originator of the slap shot. When he played with
the Montreal Canadiens in the 50s & 60s, he would bring
his stick back over his head and let fly, bringing more
speed and power to the puck than the standard wrist shot.
And the 'Boom Boom'
That was the sound of the stick hitting the puck
and then puck hitting the boards.

So welcome to the All-Star team of the great hockey rink
in the sky,Bernie.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


80 years ago…
March 11, 1926 – The Hillsborough County Board of Public Instruction unanimously votes to exonerate the principal of George Washington Junior High for whipping a 15-year old boy with undue severity, criticizing only that he waited too long in administering the punishment.
Courtesy of the Tampa Bay History Center.

Found this on Tommy's Sticks Of Fire blog...thought it was pretty funny...

On the other hand...maybe we need to go back there...

Monday, March 13, 2006


Today in 1781 Uranus was discovered by British
astronomer William Herschel.

No, not your anus, Uranus...geez,
get your mind outta the gutter will ya!!

See, I knew that would be the first thing you'd think of...


Remember back when you turned 30? Somewhere around there anyway is when
we start feeling old. My age was 31,actually. But if you want to really
feel old, go celebrate your daughter's birthday when she turns 30!!
Crystal did Saturday.

Now that'll make you feel old...

Friday, March 10, 2006


After writing yesterday's post, and leaving work early to celebrate
our anniversary, Phyl & I went to lunch at a Chinese Restaurant.
After the meal, came the ubiquitous fortune cookies.
Mine read:

"Your love life will soon be happy and harmonious"

Pretty soon...any day now...after 32 years...hahahahahaha...

Well, maybe you had to be there...

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Yes, this would be it. And why? Because, once again, my wedding anniversary rolls around.
32 years of marital bliss...and I mean that. Sure, Phyl & I have had our highs and lows, but here
we still are, pretty much against the odds. Let me tell you a story...

Back in 1973, after having dropped out from the Univ.of Conn., I was living in the Y.M.C.A. in Norwalk CT (yes, you used to be able to rent rooms there). My best friend Larry & I used
to go to a bar/club in Westport (Fore N Aft - what a great place - live bands and alcohol). Well, when he went back to school (he was the smart one), I used to hitch-hike (back when that was relatively safe for both driver & hitcher) to the bar, since I had nothing else to do at night. Well,
one Saturday night (it was Sept.22,1973) I met a friend of Larry's at the bar & we sat and had a drink, then he wandered off, leaving his jacket on the barstool. A few minutes later this pretty
girl with long brown hair came over and asked if the seat was taken. I dropped the guy's jacket on the floor and told her "Not now", and bought her a drink. Well, we ended up finding a table
and spending the evening chatting & drinking. At the end of the night she kindly drove
me back to the 'Y'. I asked her out for the next Saturday, and she agreed. Well, I had bought
a used VW Beetle (the real one) which I was picking up that next weekend (back in the old days, the dealers used to take a week to 'prep' your car, you rarely got to drive one right off the lot).
So I was able to pick her up at her house, and we went for pizza, and then back to the Fore N
Aft. That night at the bar I said "So, will you marry me", and she said "Sure". I told her I
was serious, and she said she was also. So, I guess there really is such a thing as love at first
sight. At least for us. So we told her parents on Halloween, and got married on March 9,1974.
Larry was the best man, and he thought I was kidding when I called and told him, since I had
been going out with someone else when I met Phyllis. In fact, he thought I was marrying her
when I first called to tell him. And, of course, my Mom & Dad were quite shocked!

So, pretty much everyone was surprised we got married, and even more surprised as time
went on and we were still married.

Love at first sight?...yep!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Working backwards:

1999: Baseball great Joe DiMaggio died at age 84.

1965: 4000 U.S.Marines landed in South Vietnam.

1917: Strikes & riots in St.Petersburg marked the start
of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution.

1913: The Internal Revenue Service began to levy & collect income tax.
(And that's the suckiest of all.)


Why is it you can sign up for e-mail listings and be signed up in 5 seconds...


when you try to unsubscribe to any e-mail list it takes
2-3 days up to 2-3 weeks?

What's up with that??

Shouldn't e-mail (spam or otherwise) listings be required to delete
you from the list as fast as they put you on it??

Go ahead, write your congressman (as if he really cares.)

Monday, March 06, 2006


When dogfood or catfood has a new meatier taste, who checked that out?

Why do we put up yellow ribbons to support the troops when we call cowards 'yellow'?

Is the Constitution constitutional?

Can Democracy be created democratically?

If you are free to do anything; you are free to do anything stupid.

Alfred Nobel (of Peace Prize fame) made his fortune making dynamite.

If a vegetarian eats animal crackers...does that make him a hypocrite?

You don't have to kill a person for killing a person who killed a person to
teach them that killing people is wrong. (Or do you?)

Is a psychic a sidekick to a psycho?

It's OK to be a responsible member of society as long as you
know what you're going to be held responsible for.

And finally...

Are you thinking...or are you just thinking that you're thinking??

Friday, March 03, 2006


1) Trojan Odyssey by Clive Cussler: Morea adventures with Dirk Pitt & co on and beneath the high seas. This one tied to the Trojan War and Homer's Odyssey.

2) A Leap To Arms by Jack C Dierks: The story of the Spanish-American War of 1898. Which was mostly won, not by the charge of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders up San Juan Hill, but by
the sea battle of Santiago, and some really incompetent use of Spanish troops by their commander.

3) The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly: Being a lawyer who uses his car as his office. What if the client you thought actually was innocent, told you he was guilty? This is the second book I've read by this guy, he writes interesting stuff, not all lawyers,but also detectives. Gonna read some more.

4) Meeting With Medusa by Arthur C Clarke: Short novel by the master. Space exploration of
Jupiter, and meeting the first alien life. Interesting and logically done (of course - that's why he's the master)

5) Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson: Mountain climbing the 27km high Olympus Mons on Mars.

6) A Sinful Safari by Michael Kilian: Something different. Murder in 1920s Kenya. Safaris, Britishers, natives, hunters, & the Prince Of Wales! With supporting roles by Karen Blixen (Isaak Dinesen) & Beryl Markham along with lesser known historical figures. One of a series of 'Jazz Age Mysteries'

So that's it `til next time...see ya later

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Okay, here's the scoop. Fire extinguisher training the other day at work. So the Dept. of Public Safety folks came by (Polk Cty Fire Dept.) to show us how to use them. Which was interesting and useful. However, the nice lady giving the talk stressed using 911 before trying to fight a fire - and indeed, in any emergency. Which makes sense, it's what we're always told (in the U.S. anyway. However, they handed out a pamphlet called Fire Safety On The Job with useful
info about what to do if there's a fire at work. However, one of the accompanying photos in the pamphlet clearly shows a man at his desk using a phone with an emergency sticker affixed
to it. What does the sticker say? And I quote..."Emergency Dial 222". What in the hell is
that supposed to mean? We dial 222 so that nothing happens (I've tried it) and all die in the fire
while trying to call the Fire Dept?

That's just not right...and very misleading. Check your N.F.P.A. pamphlets and start bitching to the N.F.P.A.
(But don't complain to the fire dept, you wouldn't want to piss them off!!)