You seem to know quite a bit about electronics Ron, which is the failing of most mechanics.
You are also very correct. Rectifiers are wired in series with the voltage source, while diode regulators are wired in parallel.
A newer and superior way to regulate is the IC regulator which has three connections instead of the diode's two; an input, ground and output. It has the advantage of shutting off instead of burning up in a thermal runaway situation, and will turn itself back on after cooling for a spell. It is also heat sinkable, and can carry more load for longer periods without failing.