Rob's Blog

Tag: Books

June 16th, 2014 – Book: ‘Many Happy Returns: A Bicentennial Salute to SchoolsMany Happy Returns: A Bicentennial Salute to Schools’ by Retired Teachers Association of Florida

by on Jun.16, 2014, under Books

Many Happy Returns: A Bicentennial Salute to SchoolsMany Happy Returns: A Bicentennial Salute to Schools by Retired Teachers Association of Florida

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to know what teaching was like between around 1900 to 1976? Read this collection of recollections of teachers from all over Florida. This book was produced by the Florida Retired Teachers Association and does a fantastic job of collecting so many stories from so many teachers.

Interesting the many references to the less disciplined students of the mid-1970s compared to those taught decades earlier. Really brings home just how awful the classroom has gotten today.

This book should be required reading for upcoming teachers who want to understand the profession. Where it came from and where it is now.

Obviously, the Association was constricted by whoever turned in stories and so there are a few areas missing. Almost nothing mentioned of teaching in the Keys. There’s a section that is almost entirely made up of teachers from Broward County. Considering there are stories from more obscure areas like Pace, Alva, Green Cover Springs, etc., this is a more thorough covering of the state than most are able to accomplish.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. Especially to anyone involved with education.

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May 29th, 2014 – Today on the #drawing board – ‘Oranges in Pine Castle’ painting.

by on May.29, 2014, under Illusration, Swampy's Florida


A few days ago I posted the setup for this watercolor painting. Here’s the finished artwork. It’s for a show of Florida artists at the Pine Castle Women’s Club in south Orange County starting June 1st. This will also be available as a Swampy’s Florida print (#38) soon.

The Pine Castle Women’s Club art show is comprised of Florida artists presenting Florida history in various mediums.

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Announcing Swampy’s Florida Kickstarter program!

by on May.27, 2014, under Cartooning, Florida History!, Florida Outdoors!, Swampy's Florida


Announcing a Swampy’s Florida Kickstarter program to get five Swampy’s Florida books produced! In the past three years I’ve produced 14 Swampy books, 37 prints, 2 DVDs and seven cards. There’s lots more to come! However, I’ve poured a ton of time in all of this and have more than run out of resources to produce more without backing. Funding will ensure more educational and activity books available to help young people know more about the great state of Florida.

Click here to head over to Kickstarter!

There’s a goal to get five funded by June 21st! Lots of goodies! I’ll even try to hand deliver the goodies if the donor falls within my travels this Fall.

The five books are:
–  Historical Women of Florida
– Florida History Puzzles and Games
– A Short History of  trains in Florida
– Birds of Florida
– Fish and Aquatic Life in Florida

All five will be coloring and travel guide books and able to be used in home schooling or just for fun!

There will be constant updates here as I build all five books.

But wait! There’s more!
There are four other books involved that are left over prior to the new arrangement with The Knowledge Exchange. These four will also be completed at the same time:
– Polk County- Titusville
– Dunnellon
– Marion County ABC
The funding will also loosen my time to wrap up these four books.

All will be available by Fall.

I hope you will help me in getting these books out and to beter help educate our young people of Florida’s incredible history, heritage and culture.

Thank you to The Knowledge Exchange, for so much help, and Dave Stewart, who produced the video on the site and gave sage advice, for all their help putting this together. I’ll have to share the video here as the next month goes along.

Thank you to all that donate to this project!
I’ll be posting updates here as this Kickstarter program continues!

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May 19th, 2014 – Today on the #Drawing Board: Swampy’s Florida Cover – Inked!

by on May.19, 2014, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida


Here’s the inked cover of the penciled drawing I showed yesterday. I used my many years with the City of Orlando in the Planning and Engineering Departments to map out a condensed, but doable, community. This is for a give-away during this week’s Florida Parent Educators Association annual convention by The Knowledge Exchange. This is to encourage ravel in Florida and beyond! thus, the mountains in the background….or it could also be a mountain version of the old Florida Festival tent that was once across from Sea World in south Orange County.

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May 15th, 2014 – Today on the #Drawing Board: Sketch Dailies – Alien!

by on May.15, 2014, under Cartooning


Sketch Dailies had H.R. Giger as their subject of the day in honor of his death the day before. Giger was an artist known for his very sexually themed artwork. This included his designs of the alien in the film ‘Alien’. In fact, his sexual designs were meshed throughout the set of the alien’s lair in the original film. As the sequels were tacked on, the alien settings were toned down as was the alien and family members.

Back when the film came out it became a favorite topic amongst my friends Ken Cullota and Steve Gallancy and others. This was back in high school. It was at that time I attempted to work through Junior Achievement to create a humor magazine, much like Mad. Ken Culotta came up with a take off of the film renamed Alias. It was hilarious. Unfortunately, the funding part became pretty unreachable as I’m as incompetent in fiances then as I am now. We had an adviser that was also a publisher, but that didn’t help. It was just too much to pull off. I still have Ken’s script.

I picked up all I could of the film from movie books to Walt Simonson’s incredible graphic novel of the film. Thee best illustrated adaption of any film ever done, in my opinion. I’ve still got most all of it. The one thing I never got was a large Alien “action figure” around at the time.

Back then there was a comic book convention in Orlando that was run by, my friend, Jim Ivey. One of the guest artists was a local fellow, Ken Mitchroney. Mitchroney had a set of copies of his version of Alien that just blew me away! I’ll try to track them down and post them here. Mitchroney is still cartooning, but in California now. He just announced today his arrival at Warner Brothers Studio to work on a film. He’s a great cartoonist who should be better known.

Anyway, the Alien film obviously was a big part of my life after it came out for over a year and I got real good at drawing the critter. It’s been a rare time that I will draw the Alien character these days. When Sketch Dailies posted the opportunity, i grabbed it and tailored a bit of humor to go with it.

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May 8th, 2014: What I am #Drawing: Preview of what happened this past week!

by on May.08, 2014, under Cartooning, What's New?


This week has been full of upheaval. It all started last Friday. I’ll post the story tomorrow.


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May 4th, 2014 – Book: ‘Blood Oath’ by William Johnstone.

by on May.05, 2014, under Books

Blood OathBlood Oath by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is very grotesque book in that the descriptions of what the “bad guy” does is extremely graphic. Especially when realizing this book was written in 1982. I have to wonder why this wasn’t edited more to cut out what is clearly x-rated material. It’s not just one description. The crimes are repeated and the graphic description gets more and more horrid. This book is not for the squeamish. It is definitely not for children.

I need to judge this book’s story and how the above mixes with the plot. With that in mind I find the book to be good. As can be the case of Johnstone novels, the main characters are well drawn or drawn as needed to make the story more interesting or exciting.

This is a book early in Johnstone’s production that has me wondering, based on how it was written, if Johnstone was using ghost writers that early. ‘Blood Oath’ does not read at all like other books of that time with the Johnstone name on it. Similar crimes done in the books at this time, that I’ve read, have none of the extreme detail illustrated in ‘Blood Oath’. I believe he did use a ghost writer.

Something else different about this Johsntone book is that the ending is very well paced and satisfying. The ending is often wrapped very quickly in the Johnstone books I’ve read.

Botom line: I recommend it with the warning that this book is very graphic and not for children.

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April 29th, 2014 – Book: ‘Pursuit of the Mountain Man’ by William Johnstone.

by on Apr.29, 2014, under Books

Pursuit of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #9)Pursuit of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Smoke Jensen series has been uneven as I’ve gone through the series in order. his one is one of he best. It helps a lot if the Smoke Jensen character is already known of, it seems to me. The crowd hot on Jensen’s trail makes far more sense with prior knowledge of the series.

Though, the bad guys are pretty standard bad guys, there are a set of other characters that are great additions. A set of surveyors and other government employees pop up as Jensen makes his way cross country trying to avoid the lynch mob.

As usual, the characters are well written and the story is paced very well. The story is basically a chase story, but well done. No big surprises, which would have been a nice addition.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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April 29th, 2014 – Cover art for upcoming Swampy’s Florida Free Comic Book Day comic.

by on Apr.29, 2014, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida


Here’s the cover art for the upcoming Swampy’s Florida comic book for Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd. This mini-comic is a short story of Swampy and better establishes that he has been around for a loooooong time. This story takes place in 1898 in Tampa. You’ll have to read the story to learn more.

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