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Saturday, December 30, 2006

2300 Miles in a Rental Van - The Christmas Grand Tour

Nancy and I decided at the last minute to make a trip north for Christmas. We had celebrated Christmas 2 weeks early when the 3 kids came to Florida halfway between Thanksgiving and New Years. We thought that would satisfy our holiday cravings - but it didn't.

So since we had 15 bins full of Keith's stuff in our barn - we decided to drive them north to his new Washington apartment. We decided we could do 2 things at once - deliver his goods - and visit our friends and family back north. We were tempted to load all the stuff in our Ford Truck - but wiser heads decided to rent a 2006 Chrysler Van with Stow and Go seats instead.

On the first day - we drove from Tallahassee to Emporia VA. We used our GPS to land a nice hotel. Next day - we drove to the Washington Hilton - near Keith's apartment. We spent 1 night there - and the next day drove to Wilmington DE to visit my sister Judy and her family. Judy is a triple grandmother now - Sharon and Vaughn had Luke this year - and Kenny and Tara had Joey. It was the first time we have seen the new boys - here is a picture of Nancy with the latest "Everharts."

Next - Nancy, Keith, and I drove to Allentown to see Aunt Ethel and Cousin Ruthann. Ruthann is Nancy's favorite. They exchange gifts every year and this year was no exception.

Then - off to Tamaqua for two days. In Tamaqua - we got to have lunch in the Tamaqua Train Station with our good friends - The Taylors. After that we visited Nancy and Bussy Jones - Nancy's high school friends. Notice the picture of Nancy's sister Lori - Lori's Daughter Dana - and Lori's dog Bootsy.

We spent Chirstmas Day with Betty - Lori - Tyler - Dana - and partied with Uncle Boyle and Delores. Also - Keith and I visited a cemetery in Barnesville I had read about. We found the grave of my greatgrandfather - Nathan Brouse - and my greatgrandmother. There were about 8 Brouses in all buried there. Nathan Brouse would be the father of Mammy (my grandmother) and Dad's Mom. Nathan Brouse would also be Carl Zimmerman's greatgrandfather. It was pouring rain and 32 degrees as Keith and I took pictures of the tombstones. Imagine - I lived less than 5 miles from these family graves for 55 years and did not know about them. Secrets of the Internet.

After that we drove to Balitmore and spent a day with Drew and Robin at Robin's Dad's house. We had lunch with Bob - Lisa - Charlotte - Travis and Jay. Then it was back to DC and 2 nights in the Marriot. Nancy landed this fine hotel for free using some travel points - long story. While in Washington - we helped Keith settle into his apartment and we shopped for a few pieces of furniture.

We watch Florida State beat UCLA in Keith's apartment - although I spent a lot of the game listening to Nancy and Keith snoring.

Next morning Nancy and I decided to drive nonstop from DC to Tallahassee - 850 miles - 14 hours. The Chrysler van was great for cruising - quiet - smooth - and it got 24 miles per gallon - pretty good for a luxury van. We arrived home at 11 PM.

We packed a lot of fun and a little work into 8 days. We got to see so many people we love. We saw new family members - and Keith's new home and workplace.

We had planned to go to Tampa for the Penn State game on Monday - but did not want to spend another 8 hours in a car. We wanted to see Carl and Marylou in Tampa - but that will just have to wait.

So we had a busy and joyous Christmas.

Next big trip is Seattle and Vancouver in January.

Florida State Pounds "Big East" Providence - 92-62

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Jason Rich scored 17 points and Isaiah Swann added 14 as Florida State tuned up for the start of its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with a 92-62 win over Providence on Friday night.

Al Thornton scored 11 for the Seminoles (12-2), who will take an eight-game winning streak into their ACC opener against Clemson on Jan. 3.

Providence (9-3) missed 15 of 20 shots from the field in the second half and shot 36 percent overall.

With Thornton riding the bench for 16 minutes because of foul trouble, the Seminoles overcame an early 13-2 deficit and led by as many as 13 before settling for a 45-34 halftime advantage.

Rich made 6 of 7 shots in the opening half, then Swann scored 10 during the 21-4 run Florida State put together in the first eight minutes of the second half to build the lead to 66-38. Providence was limited to one field goal during the stretch.

Dwain Williams led Providence with 15 points. Geoffrey McDermott and Herbert Hill finished with 11 apiece.

Florida State's eight-game winning streak, which began with a home victory over defending national champion Florida, matches the Seminoles' second longest since 1988 - two shy of 10 straight victories to open the 2003-04 season.

It's the third time in the past four years that coach Leonard Hamilton has his team off to a 12-2 start, although it hardly ensures the Seminoles will reach the NCAA tournament. They finished 18-14 in 2004 and 20-10 in 2006 and appeared in the NIT both seasons.

Two of Providence's three losses have come on trips to the Sunshine State. The Friars lost 85-67 at Florida on Dec. 6.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Internet Money Scam Hits Tamaqua Lady

A Tamaqua woman is now more than $4,000 in debt after falling for an internet scam.

Evelyn Roberts of 450 Biddle St., Tamaqua, had been corresponding online with someone who claimed to be in Great Britain. After several emails were exchanged, Roberts agreed to help her "friend" by cashing a check in the United States, then sending the bulk of the money back to England. She was to keep several hundred dollars for her efforts.

Roberts received a check for $4,000, cashed it, then moneygramed most of the funds to her correspondent. A short time later, she was notified that the original check had bounced and the bank was looking to get the cash back. Costs of sending the moneygram are also Roberts' responsibility, bringing her debt to more than the original $4,000.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas To Almost Everyone

We are spending a beautiful Christmas back in the hills of Pennsylvania. The weather here is really nice for this time of the year - overcast and 40s - no sign of snow - unless you count the frost on the van's windshield.

While we are enjoying this wonderful holiday safely with loved ones - take time to think about fellas like my student Chuck Shuck. Chuck is spending his third tour of duty in Iraq. This picture is Chuck with his bomb sniffing pal - Gabe. Chuck is a very professional soldier with a positive attitude. He loves serving his country.

Chuck will not like me saying this - but he is fighting to protect my right to say it. I am shamed of the mess that President Bush got our country in over in Iraq. I can't understand why Americans allow this to go on. We are wasting 1000s of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars - for nothing, I want our brave soldiers home now! I want Bush to stop wasting our lives and money for nothing.

Let's hope that next Christmas brings peace on earth.

Merry Christmas to everyone - especially Chuck. I hope George Bush is happy with his stocking full of oil.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

FSU Fan Favorite - Andrew Wilson - Now An Asst Coach For Bobby Cremins

Article published Dec 20, 2006
Different style for Wilson
By Jack Corcoran
After playing 129 games over parts of six seasons with the Florida State men's basketball team, Andrew Wilson wasn't sure how he would react when he finally had the opportunity to check out the Seminoles on TV.

"I found myself jumping up and down and really getting into the game," Wilson said.

FSU's upset of defending NCAA champion Florida on Dec. 3 was Wilson's first chance to watch his former teammates. He doesn't have much leisure time in his first season as an assistant coach under Bobby Cremins at the College of Charleston.

"I'm still adjusting to not being a player," Wilson said. "Six months ago I was still playing, trying to get into the NCAA tournament. And now all of a sudden, I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm really learning a lot."

Wilson was recruited to play at Georgia Tech by Cremins but signed with Steve Robinson and Florida State. His injury-plagued career with the Seminoles included four seasons with Leonard Hamilton, whose play-the-percentages style differs greatly from the approach Cremins used to become the Yellow Jackets' all-time wins leader.

"Exactly the opposite," Wilson said. "Coach Cremins is not a guy to play the percentages and play the odds. He's a guy that likes to take chances. That's the way he's been successful through the years. Everybody has their own way."

Cremins went 354-237 at Georgia Tech from 1982-2000. He left broadcasting to get back into coaching, taking over the Cougars on July 3. Wilson, who earned a master's degree in sport administration at FSU, was hired in August.

The College of Charleston improved to 5-6 on Monday with a 70-49 victory over Coastal Carolina (4-5), which visits FSU (9-2) on Thursday.

Season-ending knee and wrist injuries were frustrating at the time but allowed Wilson, 24, to stay so long at FSU. His luck sure has turned around.

"Trust me, I realize how fortunate I am right now to land a job like this at such a young age," Wilson said. "I realize there aren't a whole lot of guys around the country who get done playing and immediately are thrown into full-time assistant jobs."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Drew and Robin Enjoy VIP Seats at Syracuse/Baylor Game

When Drew and Robin found out that Baylor was coming to the Carrier Dome for a basketball game - Robin's grandfather who went to Baylor and was a member of the Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Team said there would be tickets waiting for them as a little gift. It appears that Jack is still a well-respected man at Baylor. Drew sent a picture from last night's game. You can see Drew right by the referee's elbow. That is Robin next to him taking a picture. They were in row BB - right behind the coach. Click picture to enlarge,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Class President Hacks Computer and Changes Grades

The president of the senior class at Cooper City High School was arrested Tuesday on charges that he used passwords he found to break into the school district computer system and change grades.

Ryan Shrouder, 18, faces two counts of a computer crime with intent to defraud, a second-degree felony after his arrest at school. He was released from the Broward County Jail after posting $5,000 bond. Each count is punishable by five years in prison.

The Broward School District suspended Shrouder for 10 days and is recommending his expulsion.

Shrouder gave himself and 19 classmates better grades, according to the arrest affidavit from the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said he made the changes with his laptop, which was issued to him by the school district for his role as an alternate student advisor to the Broward School Board. Shrouder found a list of district log-ons, user names and passwords on the desk of a school computer technology specialist in October, according to the BSO report.

He allegedly created additional sign-ons after that.

Acting Superintendent Jim Notter said student advisors are only given access to the districtwide e-mail communications system. But after Shrouder was given his computer on Sept. 20, the district's student records system was installed on his machine.

Shrouder's attorney said Tuesday he was disappointed at the school district's handling of the case. Officials could have punished Shrouder without an arrest, he said.

''This is a kid with a real future. I'm not excusing changing grades,'' attorney Jim Lewis said. ``It ain't a good thing. It ain't something where I think a kid should lose his whole future.''

Neither Shrouder, nor Cooper City High Principal Wendy Doll could be reached for comment late Tuesday. A district spokesman said other students may be disciplined.

Lewis said Shrouder was a good student.

''He had good grades on his own without changing any,'' Lewis said.

According to BSO, a classmate saw Shrouder change grades on Oct. 30 in a custodian's office and later that day in the school's student government affairs room.

School surveillance cameras recorded Shrouder with his laptop walking to the custodian's office that day. Then later, the video shows him coming out of the hallway where the student government office is, according to the arrest affidavit.

The video coincides with the time of grade changes recorded by the district's computer system.

Within hours, a guidance counselor preparing report cards for some of the school's 2,400 students noticed some students grades had jumped.


The next day, on Halloween, Shrouder went to the school office and asked about some grades that were changed.

''On this date and time, only four people in the entire staff of the school were aware that any grades had been changed, thus Shrouder was obviously aware of the grade change before it became public knowledge."

From the Miami Herald'

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Greg Machay Died

One of my best childhood buddies died on December 9th. His name was Greg Machay. He was only 58. Click on the title for his obituary.

Greg lived in the "new houses" on the top of Lombard Street in Tamaqua. He was a golden boy - he could draw - he could play baseball - but man could he play the electric guitar. Everybody liked Greg. The guys loved his talent and grace on the baseball diamond - and girls loved his cute smile and the way he performed on stage. It seems he could pick up any guitar riff after hearing it only once or twice.

Greg played lead guitar for The Chevelles and sometimes Angie and the Strangers. But one of the greatest nights of his life and mine was the night in 1964 when he opened for The Beach Boys in the Lakewood Ballroom. Through some sort of snafu in marketing - only 300 people showed up to see the nation's number one rock and roll band. I was lucky enough to have a seat on the edge of the stage to watch my buddy play. Greg was angelic and was given great praise by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. He said Greg and Angie were impossible acts to follow. That night lives in my memory like it happened minutes ago - not 42 years ago. One bright shining moment.

Every day in the summer at the Bungalow - the neighborhood gang would gather up and pick sides for baseball games that went on forever. Seldom was there a time when Greg wasn't picked first. Greg introduced me to the "hook slide" during one of our heated games. Greg was stretching a line drive to right field into a triple. He could round the bases like a greyhound. I was taking the throw at third base and the ball was there with time to spare. I had the ball in glove right in front of the bag - Greg was had - or so I thought. All of a suddden I could not believe my one good eye - I braced for Greg's slide only to have him do a perfect pirohet on the ground and approach the bag from the back. I was had - and to this day I never admitted he was safe.

We would "sleep out" at night and build "huts" in the day. I was always Rocky Colavito of the Kansas City A's and Greg was Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I am sure Greg's mom didn't like him around me - because I was a bad influence - but he didn't care - we were buddies.

When we were in 8th grade - the third member of our trio died from a brain tumor. Greg and I cried together over little Marty. Now I cry alone.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Came Early at Our House

Robin - Drew - and Keith - flew in late Thursday night to spend an early 4 day Christmas Holiday with us in Tallahassee. Nancy was able to arrange their trips so that they could all arrive and leave on the same plane from Tallahassee - a pretty neat feat when they live in Syracuse and Washington DC.

We all went Christmas shopping - visited Oven Park to see the Christmas Lights - had our customary holiday dinners of lobster and turkey - watched a lot of games on the TV - had breakfast at George and Joel's - opened presents - and ended the visit by watching the Seminole beat SE Louisiana in basketball at the Civic Center. Tallahassee had an unusual cold snap with temperatures reaching into the 30s on Friday and Saturday nights - but it warmed up into the 60s for a nice walk in SouthWood on Sunday morning. The frigid nights were a good test to see if the guest house could take the cold weather.
So for some of us - Christmas is over. Santa was good to us - brought us lots of nice presents - but the best one of all was having our three kids together with us to enjoy the holiday spirit together.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas is Officially Here

Nancy is just getting ready to settle down to teach her Thursday night 6:00 to 8:00 class. Robin - Drew - and Keith are getting on their airplanes to fly down to visit for a 4 day weekend - and Nancy is done making her Christmas cookies.

Christmas came early for the Seminoles - with a basketball win over the National Champion Gators. Note Nancy's Snowmen and stockings.

Seminole Tribe Buying All Hard Rock Cafes

Click on headline to see full story.

Drew Got a Neat Present - The SlingBox

Drew got this really neat device called a Slingbox.

Slingbox is a computer device that you attach to your Tivo or any other video device with your router. Then when you are away from home - you can watch your home TV or video source over the internet. It is hard to explain how neat this is.

Drew gave me a demonstration. He lives in Syracuse NY. He uses a Directivo at home to watch and record TV programs. So the Slingbox is hooked directly to the Directivo via the red-white-yellow inputs. He then called me and asked me to go to the Slingbox page and download a piece of software. Then he gave me a password to type in to get directly to his TV system over the net.

Like magic - his TV program appeared on my computer. Better yet -- the remote control also appeared on my screen - and I could change channels - select programs he recorded on his Tivo - I could also set his tivo to record other programs with the remote. There is an exact graphic of his Tivo Remote - just press buttons on the screen.

The picture quality is excellent - better than regular cable. You can buy an HDTV version also. There is no fee to use this. You get excellent TV picture and sound for free as long as you are hooked to the internet.

You could also use it to monitor a security service from afar or maybe monitoring your office from home. The uses are endless. Anything that transfers video via the red-white-yellow inputs is fair game.

My son got his box for $102 on the internet. They are available for $150 to $250 at stores. The $250 model has a regular cable input so you could directly connect it to your TV cable at home.

Imagine sitting in your hotel room in Hong Kong and watching the local Tallahassee news or you favorite TV show.

I know what Santa is going to get me/her for Christmas. My wife travels a lot in her job. she would love watching her soaps and other favorite channels - also the Tallahassee news.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gators May Be National Champs - But For One Night the Seminoles are State Champs

At about 7:00 - Nancy said "Let's go to the game." Harry said, "But Nancy's it is going to be on HDTV on Fox." Nancy prevailed.

We drove the scooter over to the Civic Center. It was a sellout crowd - but there were quite a few tickets for sale in the $40 to $45 range - for tickets that were marked $18 face value. So at 7:15 we split up agreeing that if we didn't get tickets for $10 each - we would go home and watch it on TV. I must have looked like a pathetic old fan in Drew's Seminole jacket - my Seminole shirt - and my fingers up. By 7:20 - I had two single seat tickets. Nancy and I entered the arena and went to our seats agreeing to call each other up if there were seats around us. My seat was right behind the FSU bench and there were tons of empty ones there. I was sitting with the players' parents. Nancy called to say her seats were right on the center court line in row 12. So I went ot sit with her.

After the game - the students stormed the court - on national TV. It was funny because after the court was completely covered with students - the security staff linked arms around the court - like they were going to keep the students there - what a joke!

So FSU won by 4. We were ahead the whole game by as much at 12. But frankly - everyone seemed to be holding their breath waiting for the Gators to explode. UF made one run at the end but FSU held them off. For just one night - FSU basketball was king. State Champs were crowned tonight.

Florida Governor's Mansion Open for Christmas Tours

Nancy and I went to see Governor Bush Friday. Unfortunately we did not arrive between 10 and 12 - so we will have to go back again Monday morning. The Governor's Mansion is on the end of Adams Street in Tallahassee. Adams Street is a brick street downtown that connects the mansion to the Capitol. Along most of the way it is lined with shops - restaurants - and the offices of lobbyists.

We visited it once before during the Christmas Season in 1988 when it was occupied by Governor Martinez.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pictures of Schlorf Home on Fire

Here are some pictures of my friend George Schlorf's home. It caught on fire this week forcing George and his son Derrick to flee for their lives.

This home is on Lehigh Street across from my childhood home in Tamaqua PA. As a kid I spent many days and hours playing in this home. George's brother Charles - "Chugsey" we called him - went to school with me. The Sclorf's had 6 kids and this house was a busy place when I was growing up. They added a bar to it around 1960 - and I remember many big parties going on there.

The only news in a small town is house fires and car wrecks - we are all happy that no one was hurt. If you are like me - you are often looking for a really good cause for a donation - here is one where 100% of what you donate will go to the victims. George Schlorf - Lehigh Street - Tamaqua PA 18252

FSU Soccer Ends Up Third Best in Nation - Loses to Notre Dame 2-1

Cary, NC - The fifth-ranked FSU soccer team returned to the College Cup for the third time in four years and vowed to make this trip different. After suffering shutout losses in both previous trips, the 2006 Seminoles lived up to their word but fell just short of advancing to the school's first ever National Championship game. Notre Dame (25-0-1) ran out to a 2-0 lead on Florida State (18-4-4) and then held on during a furious second half attack for a 2-1 victory.