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Site Feedback - We'd Like To Hear From You!

Since we started this family website in 2000, we've received quite a bit of interesting feedback (mostly positive, some negative or bizarre) from visitors. We thought that it might be helpful and educational to share some of these comments. Of course, we'd love to get your feedback on our website as well - we just have a short feedback form that we'd like to ask you to complete. Or, please click here to send us email if you need an immediate response.

Barely Edited Site Feedback from 2004

This page holds some of the best feedback, including some of the more provocative sorts, that we received in 2004 - the fifth year of our family website. We also have separate pages for the best comments that we've received each year.

bulletFeedback and comments in 2006
bulletFeedback and comments in 2005
bulletFeedback and comments in 2004
bulletFeedback and comments in 2003
bulletFeedback and comments in 2002
bulletFeedback and comments in 2001


Congratulations! Your digital camera photo entitled: "Misty Mountain Air", and submitted Saturday, December 25, 2004 has been selected as Photo of the Day in the Landscape and Nature category for Monday, December 27, 2004. It can be viewed today through this link


I am the grandson of one of the founders of Teta stores in Prague. My family emigrated to Colombia first in 1939 and 1940 where they founded Tia stores, the first one in Bogotá in 1940, currently 16 are open here. Part of the family went on to Argentina where it also existed under this name until it was sold in 1999, if I recall correctly. It existed in Peru until it was sold about twenty years ago and in Ecuador where it thrives today. Under Tata it exists in Uruguay. Back to history... My grandmother on my father's side owned the original Teta building in Prague and asked for restitution in 1992 when she was 95 years old. She died in 1995. A couple of weeks ago, we (her five grandchildren) were awarded the building, although the city (the current owner) has appealed. We have recently been searching for records as we seem to recall there were 2 or 3 stores in Roumania, one at least in Bucharest. Also Tata had more than one in Yugoslavia and we think there were 5 in the former Czechoslovakia. We think there may have been 2 in Prague, 1 in Brno, 1 in Bratislava and 1 in Plzen?? Would you by any chance have any information at all on the subject?

[Our reply: According to my grandfather's papers, he left his friend Gibian's office machine firm Adrema in 1937, recruited by R. Taussig to join Beck & Co., owners of the TE-TA chain. Taussig told him he would replace the General Manager of the combined companies, who was expected to retire soon. In fact, he did not retire so my father spent most of the next two years in “political negotiations” to soften the legal limitations on store chains that Czech small business had succeeded in imposing on them through its political clout. In December, 1938, Taussig gave him TE-TA’s “golden handshake” in case he would have to leave the country but most of which he couldn’t take with him. The compensation agreement was formally declared null and void by the Nazi trustees of TE-TA in December, 1939. The GM finally died in 1939, just before we escaped from Czechoslovakia in May of 1939. I have no further info about his relations with Teta.]


I just wanted to thank you, for your great pictures. Yesterday morning about 7am as I was pulling into the parking lot at my work in Mountain Lakes, NJ I saw this big bird in one of the trees just sitting there. Taken back by how big and beautiful it was I had to back up my car to just look at him. Not sure what kind of bird he was and couldn't ask anyone because it was so early, I just sat there for about five minutes looking at him. Later I told some people at work about this beautiful bird and one said that it was a turkey hawk, so this morning on to the internet I went to see if I could find some pictures of this bird. And I came across your site. And sure enough there he was, one of you new photos of one just sitting there. But again no one is here as of yet for me to show them this unbelievable bird. I don't know if this is a common bird for this area. I just wish I had a camera with me.


In anyone's knowledge is there any bird that, under the right lighting (dense undergrowth), might look like a pterodactyl? I went on a trip to New Hampshire a couple of years ago, and passed by Medway where I grew up, on the Charles River. I got out of my car at a bridge to take a whiz, when all of a sudden this huge bird (around waste-high for a 6 foot guy) screeched, like hell at me (I must have gotten to within 5 feet from it, and I nearly jumped out of my shorts). It jumped toward the river and flew away up the river. It was dark brown, and I kid you not, at the time I thought it looked like a Pterodactyl. I guess that when I was growing up around the river, it was so polluted that most birds kind of stood clear of it, and now they must have cleaned it up some (it did look cleaner than when I remembered it from when I was a kid) and birds started to use it again. Its wing-span looked to be around 5 feet. Could it have been a heron?


I happened onto your website several years ago, while researching Mary Ann "Polly" Routen Eoff. At that time, I believe you suggested I try to find a copy of the book "Fifty Years in Oregon". I did receive a copy of the book two years later, from a rare books dealer. Contained in that book is a hand written note (in pencil) from T.T. Geer himself, and it appears he and his wife were giving the book as a gift to a young woman as a wedding present. Also in the book were yellowed newspaper clippings containing Mr. Geer's obituaries from the Morning Oregonian. What an unexpected bonanza!


I am a fifth grader at Harrison St. Elementary in Sunbury, OH. Thank you for allowing the use of your orca pictures. I used them for a poster board collage of orca whales to go along with my report. Hopefully one day I will be able to see an orca whale in person.


I am Ph.D student at Eindhoven University, the Netherlands. I am interested in Radio Free Europe and I just found your site. I would like more information on the two years of Frank Munk at RFE. I would like to know more about his function at RFE and, if after he left, it was somebody else named in the function as advisor on intellectual cooperation.

[Our reply: On your specific question about who succeeded Frank Munk in the "Intellectual Cooperation" shop, his correspondence suggests it was his friend Julius Firt briefly and then George R. Urban. But I understand that IC was downgraded within the organization and became a subsection of the Evaluation and Analysis dept headed by Paul Collins. Firt returned to the Czech desk and Mr. Urban's main assignment was on the Hungarian desk so I gather IC was left to gradually wither away.]


I was born in Prague and currently, I live in Los Angeles. In my search for the Gestapo records of my grandfather Vasil Skrach, I came across your The Road To Munich, Chapter 10 reference. My grandfather was Masaryk's personal secretary and the Director of Masaryk's Institute. After deciding to stay in Prague, instead of immigrating to London when Hitler rolled in, he was active in Czech resistance movement. In 1940, he was arrested and after being dragged through different concentration camps, in 1942 he was decapitated in Berlin-Plotzensee. My mom was only six years old when it happened, so she knows almost nothing about his sad story. Only recently she was notified about the decapitation and the place of his death by German authorities. The house my grandfather built for his family after he started working for Masaryk was taken from them first by nazis and then communists. To this day the injustice needs to be fixed. But the communist despotism created its own laws. I'd like to find out about Vasil as much as possible. I think Mr.Munk must have known him and hopefully mentioned him in his work.

[Our reply: I believe that my late father's memoirs would have mentioned your grandfather if he had known him well or was aware of his role in the Czech resistance. In his papers there are some inquiries from US authorities during WW2 asking for personal information about Czech resistance figures as well as Czech collaborators -- and I have not seen Mr. Skrach's name on those lists. The closest connection may have been with my mother, who as you found, was Alice Masaryk's secretary but she did not leave any papers about that experience... I am a special admirer of the Czech resistance, in which several members of our family participated. My uncle Vladimir's memoirs described the 1943 arrest and execution of one of his comrades]


I read your touching family Lithuania trip article, and cannot state, without a bit of teary eyes, how it impressed me. I live in California, and am getting ready to plan a trip to Kaunas, and the shtetl of Silale, where my great-great grandparents, and generations back, were from. Your story inspired me to hurry along with my plans and go sooner than I originally thought.


I typed "Sveti Stefan" into Google and found your site. I was looking for Sveti Stefan because my husband and I discovered it by accident in 1973. We were driving down the beautiful Dalmatian coast and saw Sveti Stefan and the palace from the road high above. We were intrigued by its beauty and drove down to see it. We realized the hotel/palace (just north of the island) was pretty ritzy, so we, in the back of our VW van, changed into our bathing suits (me into my Hawaiian bikini) and decided to walk through the grounds of the palace towards the beach, looking like we owned the place, and nobody asked us any questions! I remember an incredible swim in the clear water, with a pebbly beach. Somehow we found out the hotel was a former summer palace of the king of Montenegro. I enjoyed reading the story of the your fascinating Yugoslavian family history. What a country of extreme contrasts! We drove over those mountains and ended up in hell, otherwise known as Titograd. We had a hair-raising experience as our van broke down in the mountains and we ended up trying to get it repaired in Kosova Mitrovika, with no luck. We ended up getting it fixed in Skopje, Macedona, which is another long hilarious story. I enjoyed reading your site.


We live in Toronto and found your site after my son wanted to see a photo of what a red fox looked like. I had been telling him about the foxes that had came up from the ravine behind us many years ago, and a search yielded your site. In the last two years, we have traveled to Tofino (whale watching) and Pender Island (and fell in love with it). Now, our son has first hand knowledge of bald eagles, seals, sea lions, and gray whales plus more. We have bookmarked your site that, as a family, we frequently look at. As a person who enjoys taking photos of wild life, I enjoy your work on another level.


I noticed a significant spike in visitors to my site from a website I'd never heard of. On checking it out, I discovered what looked to be one of my pictures without the copyright. On checking with the site owner, I got this reply:

I am the moderator of the room where said drawing of the seal was submitted. I can assure you that it is not your photograph; it really is a drawing made by our user violent_hayes who used your photograph as a reference for her drawing. On our site, it is impossible to submit any kind of photographs, pictures or drawings that have not been made with the oekakiBBS, the paintBBS or the ShiPainter programs which are available on the site. Only by drawing in those programs, users are able to submit their art to the site. Copy and paste doesn't work in the program, so she can't have used the real photograph. Our site offers the registered users the possibility to view an animation, which shows exactly how the artist made the drawing.

I also got this note from the artist who did the animation:

I'm also glad you liked it, in fact I was so attracted to the picture, I just had the urge to draw it! Drawing is my passion. I'm currently studying realism and I'm 15 years old. Oekaking is my only way of practicing while getting constructive criticism from other points of views. I feel like I fulfilled my deed when you mentioned you couldn't tell them apart. Of course once you get down to details, you will certainly notice the water's a little messy (it was a lot of hard work; in the animation you can see my struggles), and other things...


I wish that I had stumbled on your website last year! Last spring, I terraced our backyard in Bellevue and planted about twenty pinot noir (Dijon clone), Muller Thurgau and Madeline Angevine vines. Your notes would have been very helpful. Anyway, I’ve had some success and many failures so far. Last summer was so warm that my plants (third year vines from Cloud Mountain Farm in Bellingham and my brother’s yard in Fall City) actually produced some grapes. Not enough to make wine, but enough to take readings. I’m obviously not as patient as you, so I had to get third year plants. The MA ripened in late September - about three weeks earlier than the rest. The MT and the PN ripened about the same time (mid-October) with the MT and the PN at about 19 Brix. They looked great, but did not grow very much in the last couple months. I’m pretty sure I under-watered them most of the summer because there was a lot of brown and yellow leaf issues and the leaf/vine growth did not really take off until I started vigorously watering them at mid-summer. I stopped watering vigorously after the first rain in September, but I think the dry weather in October hurt the plants because I was under-watering them again. This year, I plan to plant another section of the yard with PN and water vigorously all summer. I won’t bother you with any more details. Suffice to say, I’ve got your site bookmarked now. Keep up the great note taking. Very helpful!


I stumbled across your website the other day whilst looking for information about Eduard Benes and the Czechoslovak government in exile that he eventually set up in England. Most history sources tell that this government in exile was based in London, but at the height of the blitz they were actually moved to a couple of small villages in the English countryside called Aston Abbotts and Wingrave, and this is where my interest comes from. I am going to reference one whole paragraph at least from my website. I was wondering if you could give me a quick explanation of who your grandfather was please. [Note: is on our website in its entirety.] It is interesting for me as it shows that Eduard Benes was in America before coming to London, and also shows his thoughts at that time, especially those about the Soviets winning the day in WW2.

[After we replied...]

I guess I should have read all of your grandfather's autobiography before I wrote to you, as it would have answered my question of who your grandfather was. I had just read 5 or so pages at the time and I think I was pretty tired. The addendum that you mention is posted on your website too and I have read that thanks. Today I traveled with two Czech au pere friends and another Englishman to talk to some of the local people in Wingrave and Aston Abbotts about the Czech government in exile. I think it is fascinating that there is so little information published about this piece of history. One of the areas I am& interested in is Benes' arrival in America and also of his departure for London. Interestingly, we are going to go to London tomorrow to visit the house at 26 Gwendolen Avenue in Putney which is where Benes lived for one year before being moved to Aston Abbotts at the height of the blitz for safety reasons. We understand that the house was hit by a German bomb only a few days after his move to Buckinghamshire and that there is now a 'Blue Plaque' on the house in Putney commemorating his stay.


Hi, I came across your family page. Because my parents are from Crna Gora (Montenegro) and my grandmother was born Radenovic, I think that I have some interesting informations for you. Because Crna Gora has only about 600,000 citizens, with about 100 characteristic surnames and I never heard one like Ragenovic, I suppose that your great-great-grandfather was Radenovic, and that mistake came as a 'Lapsus Calami', Latin phrase for spelling error, because our letter 'd' looks like Latinic 'g'. Until I read about your investigations, I knew nothing about the branch of our family living near the seaside, then I asked grandmother and she said that she knows of them, but never actually met them. Our branch of the family, which is probably older, partially came to Serbia 50 years ago, and the rest of them stayed home in Gusinje, northern Crna Gora. In Serbia they founded a village named Gusinci. I suppose that our branch of the family is older, because who would go from the seaside up to rocky mountains of northern Crna Gora. As a big family, we have a couple of well-known people. My grandmother alone had eight brothers: two died young, three are professors at Belgrade University, and three were highly ranked officers. Best wishes from Belgrade!

In order to ensure that this page loads quickly, we have moved some of the older comments we've received to a few other pages. Check them out and thanks for visiting!


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Books - Climbing and Outdoor Books
Books - Recommended Book Lists
Family History - Geer Family
Family History - Munk Family
Family History - Ragen Family
Photography - Bald Eagles
Photography - Orca Whales
Photography - Other Wildlife
Reunion Planning
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