Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This Blog Has Gotten Too Large

Since this blog has grown so large I have begun a new blog at a slightly different address.
To go to my new blog please click on this link:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fluorescent Minerals


This coming Saturday September 2, 2006 there is a mineral show in Brussels, Belgium at Jubelpark in Autoworld.

I’m looking forward to seeing the sights, hopefully some fluorescent minerals, and if I get lucky maybe even some of my friends.

Here is a link to a few of my fluorescent minerals:

paul garland


Wild Giant Mushrooms


It has rained every day for several weeks now.

And there are fungi popping up almost everywhere.



When the thistle blooms it makes me think of Scotland.

And the Jacobites, Bonny Prince Charlie, Culloden, the Druids, and all the magic stone megalithic circles I've seen and touched that are thousands of years old.

And Stirling Castle, the Royal Mile, and Michael Cannon and Rob Roy. And the Druids, and Gleneagles, and Loch Ness.

paul garland

paul garland

Summer Is Almost Over


The days are getting shorter.

In a couple of days more it will be September.

Here in Western Europe the wild blackberries in the hedge rows are starting to ripen up.

paul garland


Monday, August 28, 2006

Snails and Slugs


It has been raining a lot for the last couple of weeks.

It finally stopped for a little while this afternoon, so I went for a walk.

My house is kind of on the top of a little hill. It takes 30 minutes to walk to the bottom of the hill and back, so its a perfect distance.

Today I wasn't the only one out enjoying the sunlight.


Vaseline Glass Candlesticks


I bought this pair of beautiful Victorian uranium glass candlesticks over the weekend.

One was already broken, and the other broke by the time I got home.

I repaired them with contact cement and scotch tape, but I'm sure they would fall apart if you picked them up.

There must be something wrong with the glass formula which makes them extremely brittle.


This is a link to some of my other uranium glass:


High Victorian Era European Oil Lamps

This is a link to some of the other lamps in my collection from the late 1800's to the early 1900's:


Sunday, August 27, 2006

World Equestrian Champion


The Queen's 25 year old grandaughter Zara Philips (the British Queen Elizabeth of course) was competing today at the FEI in Aachen, Germany.

The final event for her and the one she did today was show jumping. I was in Aachen today, but not at the FEI.

Prior to this Zara was most famous as the "wild child" complete with multiple body piercings, topless pictures on beaches, celebrity boy friends, etc.

Zara is now world's champion in Eventing. She won the gold medal in the three-day eventing competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games. Eventing is a difficult all-round equestrian sport which includes all the major horse disciplines: dressage, cross country, and show jumping.

In the past she may have had a reputation in the media as a "party girl" but anyone who has been involved with competitive horse riding knows the incredible amount of hard work and dedication reguired.

Every day mucking out, riding very long hours, caring for the horse when it is sick, and patience when things are not going quite as you would like.

She and her father originally bought her horse named Toytown for less than $800-. She has put many years of hard work into the relationship with the gelding and its training.

She is only the 4th British rider ever to have claimed the world champion title. And at age 25.


Well done Zara.





I finally got around to checking the fuel economy on my Vespa today.

Basically I drive it like a lunatic, like an insane 15 year old punk.

For some reason the throttle seems to only have two settings...either off or on all the way, pedal to the metal.

And with a full windshield it certainly is not in any way aerodynamically clean or slick.

Even so the first time I checked the economy I got 90 miles per gallon on this tank of gasoline!

I've decided to leave the Vespa here in Europe when I move. Its a nice bike and 50cc is almost enough, but not quite. Plus there is also the cost of shipping it and the hassle of getting it licensed in Texas.

When I get back to America I plan to buy a Yamaha Vino 125.


Reno 911!


Reno 911! is a very funny TV series, if you are not afraid of crude humor.

The DVDs of the first few seasons are available from Amazon.


Japanese Quality


After 1/2 a century analysing the subject I have come to the conclusion that in general Japanese products made since WWII have had a very high quality standard. This is despite occasional scandals at Mitsubishi and now even at Toyota.

I am a real fan of Toyotas. And Nikon, and Sony. I really don't know how many Toyotas I've owned...maybe 10 or 15?

I've had four Nissan 4-wheel drive SUVs. And they were sure higher quality and more reliable than that $100,000- Mercedes G500 SUV I had.

I own a Sony Vaio lap top, a big Sony color TV which works on either NTSC or PAL, a Sony 8 megapixel digital camera, a Sony portable DVD player, a Nikon SLR 8 megapixel digital camera, and a Sony p901i GSM cellphone/organizer/mp3 player.

I rate all of them absolutely first class in terms of features, user friendliness, and quality.

Sony has gotten some bad press recently because of their lithium ion batteries which are in Dell and Apple lap tops.

I have Sony lithium batteries in virtually all of my toys and I have been very satisfied indeed. I suspect that there are problems with the Dell and Apple battery chargers. Any rechargable battery will seriously overheat if you try to re-charge it too quickly.


Rathaus Aachen


The city hall of Aachen, Germany has been knocked down in wars, burned, damaged and been rebuilt many times over its 1,200 year history.

Inside there are some wonderful things.

This is a link to the internet web site of the German national tourist office:

And their web site about Aachen:


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Postwagen Restaurant



The postwagen was built in 1657.
This is a link to their German language web site:

This is a GREAT article from back in 2003 in the LA Times about it and Aachen in general.

Just in case this link stops working I have saved the text of this article to this link below:

Charlemagne was the first ruler to unify all of Europe. This map shows the extent of the territory he controlled.

He was known as the father of Europe, even in his own time. Its rather amazing how similar this is to the modern day definition of Western Europe.


Eurogress Aachen


This is the Eurogress in Aachen.


Sea Serpents and Fountains


It rains a lot here in Western Europe.

And the weather is pretty cool. Sort of like in Oregon or Washington state.

But it sure is beautiful too.

These are a couple of the nice things I happened to notice yesterday.

(click on the pictures to enlarge)


Friday, August 25, 2006

German Artist Jörg Immendorff


Jörg Immendorff is one of the best known contemporary German artists.

He was born in 1945 and got in quite a bit of trouble for being involved in anti-war political stuff.

He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 1998. Several years later he was later busted for setting up orgies. Honest.

He is former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroder’s favorite artist. An interesting guy.

There is a large exhibit of his work on display as part of the FEI.

I went and saw it today.

Enjoyed it. This guy is crazy. In a rather nice way.


World Championship Dressage


I watched the Gran Prix special individual dressage finals for the World Championship at the Federation Equestrian International in Aachen, Germany today.

Standing in a light rain next to the amazing complex of buildings that Charlemagne built in 800 A.D. I got to watch Nadine Capellmann and Isabell Werth (on Satchmo) both from Germany, and Anky Van Grunsven from Holland, ride in the FEI competition finals. I've seen each of them ride in person many times, but this was the first time I've ever watched them ride on a giant screen outdoor TV. I was only about 100 feet from the screen. I can report that for sure you can see one hell-of-a-LOT-MORE this way than when you are actually in the dressage arena in person, sitting in the stands. Even if you have really good seats.

Isabell placed first and Anky placed second. These are clearly the best riders in the entire world.

Isabell has been world champion once before. Anky won the Olympic Gold Medal at two summer Olympics in a row.

After Isabell won the world championship the first time she quit competing for a while and went to law school. And her ass got kind of broad. Now that she has been a lawyer for a few years, it is good to see that she is getting back to reality and is riding and competing again.

I’ve seen Anky ride many times, and have met her in person several times. One time I went to her stables just east of Eindhoven. At one time Anky Van Grunsven was ranked as the most popular celebrity in Holland. More popular and more recognizable than even the Dutch queen!

She brought out her own range of clothing under the Anky label. Right afterwards she was in Maastricht at JIM, and we were talking. She was telling me how sexy her boy friend Chef looked in one of the men’s jackets.

It was just the two of us talking. No one else was anywhere near us. She was standing about 2 feet away from me and she was looking at me hard, right in the eye, when she gave me that amazing smile of hers and said, “And I think it would look great on you too.”

Anky is really blonde and is absolutely striking to look at. Need I say that my knees almost turned to jelly? That Anky jacket was not cheap but I still have it. And I still feel sexy as hell every time I wear it.

The father of our beautiful mare Oludine (Lulu - after my father's mother) was Gestion TCN Partout. He belonged to Anky, and he was ranked as the world’s very top dressage horse.



Hippy Sex Fiends & Brutal Machiavelians


This is a great article from a German magazine regarding Chimpanzees and Bonobos:

Two ex-hippie sex fiends:


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

FEI Aachen


I was over in Aachen, Germany today.

Right in the center next to Charlemagne's 1200 year old complex of buildings they have a giant screen TV set up so that hundreds of people can watch the world equestrian games that are going on right now in Aachen.

Lord the traffic and parking are really something down at the CHIO arena!

I sat down at the fountain there in the centrum which has Charlemagne's statue in the middle for about 10 or 15 minutes. I watched a man from Poland and then a lady from Denmark doing dressage to music. Both were just fantastic.

It is such a wonderful sight to see when a rider and his horse are like one, and are dancing to the music.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

German Flea Market


This morning I went to a little flea market over in Germany.

I saw this yellowish newsletter.

It was printed in Berlin on January 7, 1937.

Well since my birthday is Jan 7 I paid the guy $5- for it.

A little bit of history. Really evil history that we don't ever want to forget.

This is a link to some of my pictures of WWII stuff. The first pictures are things from my collection:


Friday, August 18, 2006

Gargoyles from 1200s


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Austin High School Alumni

There is an organization and a web site for Austin Alumni


Great DVD


On a scale of 1 to 10 this is at least a 12.5


Watch it. You won't be disappointed.


Confluences of Integer Latitude and Longitude Lines


Until 1884 the Prime Meridian ran through Paris, not London. This is the Arago or Rose line that is talked about in the Da Vinci Code.

In Aachen, Germany I was looking at an engraved stone obelisque like geographical marker installed at the top of the Salvatorberg, the tallest hill in town. The N-S Latitude carved into the stone was correct, but I noticed that the E-W Longitude was way off.

It really perplexed me until I realized that it was put there in 1877, back when the East-West zero line (the prime meridian) used to run through Paris. Then just seven years later thanks to the outrageous arrogance of Napoleon and the French, it was moved to where it now runs directly through Greenwich England, near London.

There is a group of people who go around with their GPSs finding as many of the places where longitude lines meet latitude lines as possible. This is really a neat way to get to see places you would not have gone to otherwise.

They use the modern definition of longitude with the zero line going through Greenwich England . I have stepped back and forth across this line there just east of London, holding my GPS, watching it change from East to West.

My wife thought this was a clear sign of my mental weakness. And she was probably right. She is now my no. 3 X-wife.

This is a link to the confluence east of Elephant Butte in New Mexico, an area that the Spanish named the march of death, the Jornada del Muerto.

There is a confluence at 51 degrees North, 6 degrees East in Germany which as the crow flies is only 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from my house in The Netherlands.



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Old Timers


An old timers race is being staged from Aachen up into the Ardennes mountains.

The starting point is right in the center of town at Charlemagne's cathedral.

More pictures at:


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I wonder what became of them?


Tom Ledet from El Paso

Donald Alsup from El Paso
(It appears that Don is living in Valley Mills, Texas between Austin and Dallas. I found this out by Googling his call sign WA5DIW)

Kathy Alday from Buffalo

Hunting around on the internet for information about old friends I found out that retired supreme court justice Sandra Day O'Connor graduated from Austin High in El Paso. Never knew that!


Haircuts in the 1950's


This is a picture of Steve Crosno in 1955.

He had what was called appropriately a "Flat Top" haircut.

We all had them. This is what guys looked like back then.

I still have a pair of black plastic glasses like this.

I've turned them into sun glasses like the Blues Brothers.

Of course the only time I would wear them is if I were trying to look like Buddy Holly.