Sunday, November 20, 2011

Web hacking by Derek

Derek provided in house IT support to configure Blogger to match the look and feel of the SmugMug site.   I say hacked because he decided that none of the previously published tutorials on this subject were worthy.  So, he literally reverse engineered the formatting and styles from both websites until he converged on a working solution.  When we had the logos and menu bar almost lined up - he handed the keyboard back to me and said "it is close enough, you can keep working on it if you want."  The end result is very close to a match.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Day - Originally posted 4/28/2008

The holiday soundtrack at our Thanksgiving dinner is a modified version of Frankie Valli’s Big Girls Don’t Cry. Just as the Turkey is about to be served, Joel and I would bust out into our version of the song called “Dead Birds Don’t Fly”. The chorus is easy, making up new lyrics for the rest of the song is the challenge for each year.

A holiday tradition is an edible art project where we make turkeys out of apples, marshmallows, raisins, and toothpicks. Extreme care is required when selected an apple with the appropriate turkey physique, and the mark of a good craftsman can be identified by the quality of the turkeys plumage and tail. Of course there is always the elusive self standing turkey, and the delicate balance to decorate the turkey without making it so heavy the legs get pushed into little stubs.

My mother was an Art teacher and would often come up with holiday themed craft projects. This tradition was reinvigorated in recent years with the grandchildren going to Bubbies for Thanksgiving. Someday soon, my boys will build turkeys that can stand. Somebody please tell Jacob that oranges are not approved fruits for this project.

When in Doubt

The cootie catcher was a somewhat lower tech version of the awe inspiring magic 8 ball. My friend Jeff had a magic 8 ball, and this omnipotent device was about as accurate as the elementary school threat that if you step on the white, you are married tonight. Of course my school had a black and white checkered tile floor in the bathroom, making it quite a test of dexterity if I could use the lavatory without having to tie the knot that evening.

WWW DOT DEREK’S WORLD - Original 4/19/2008

A distorted picture of a thumb, fictitious video game titles, and some very creative spelling. For the past few weeks, ever since Derek became more interested in using the Mac than the PC, he started creating his own website. Complete with pictures and sounds, Derek’s World is quite a demonstration how kids embrace technology. Jacob was at home on a computer at the age of 2.5 years, mousing around children’s websites as naturally as he would flip through a picture book. While Jacob continues to consume all forms of content, from books and magazines, to websites, movies and video games, Derek is more about how things work and how to create them himself.

Derek’s website is a work in progress. This morning his fixation was to learn more about the HTML insertion option on iWeb. “Daddy”, he asked, “When can you teach me HTML?” Of course there was no particular problem that needed to embed HTML for functionality not directly supported by iWeb, but the opportunity to do something new and more sophisticated drives him to try it. Inventor? Engineer? Scientist? We’ll just have to stay tuned to Derek’s word to see what develops. Now most people are satisfied with using an editor that generates HTML, but I can see that Derek has the need to do this part himself. “Soon, Derek, Very Soon.”

Honk if you love golfers

It was about 1985 and I was riding along one of the back roads in Framingham with my father in his relatively new car. Like many roads in New England, this one was likely first carved out by horses, and was full of blind turns. Once particular turn opened up to a few hundred yards of straight road that traced the backside of a community golf course. As we come out of the turn we hear a loud banging sound, and then we see a few golfers with clubs in hand looking at our car.

The roof of the car was struck by a golf ball. The car that was in pristine condition now had it’s first blemish - a nice dent on the roof just before the windshield. The roof was not repaired for about a year, but in the interim by dad vowed never to let this happen again while driving past a golf course. What was one to do? If we could only alert golfers that we were coming and they should suspend their next swing.

The solution was quite simple. Every car is equipped with a horn, so why not use it. Now a quick “chirp, chip” might have done the trick, but we opted for the knock out punch by going for one long honk as we would drive up to a golf course. I have not made any new golfer friends, but I have yet to experience getting hit by a golf ball ever since.


There are Noogies for the rest of the world, but the Rosenzweig’s have the feared Force 10 Cranial Noogie. It will usually start with the basic questions, “Hey, do you need a noogie?” The astute potential victim will reach for the nearest football helmet or start running before the second syllable in the word noogie is uttered.

Now the definition of a true Force 10 Cranial Noogie prescribes the Noogie knuckle to breach the skull. While there are no documented cases of a successful application of a Force 10 Cranial Noogie, the threat of such a Noogie is as effective as weapons of mass destruction were in the cold war.

The Dukes

The Dukes of Hazzard was a weekly event. There was something about Rosco and Boss Hog that just compelled me to watch as Bo and Luke Duke made a mockery of the local and corrupt authorities. Okay, the flying General Lee and Daisy Duke provided additional motivation to watch, but come on, Boss Hog riding around in a white Caddilac with bull horns as the hood ornament? How could anyone miss it. I didn’t realize until much later in life that there must have been an entire fleet of General Lee automobiles. I thought Cooter was just a great mechanic.

Fast forward about 20 years when I find myself at Fry’s electronics in Wilsonville, OR on one of my only trips in recent years back to Oregon. This was probably at about the time there was a Dukes of Hazzard movie, and Fry’s had a special on the Duke’s of Hazzard Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. Watching season one as an adult was a little disappointing. Maybe it was the campy southern 80s style television, but it just seemed something special was missing from the whole Dukes nostalgia I remembered from my childhood. Clearly we needed our own interpretation of the Dukes.

I now lived in Middlesex County, and the Dukes were from Hazzard County, so it was completely logical that we should have the Dukes of Middlesex. My boys adopted the Duke lingo, and pretty soon started calling my wife Ma Duke. She loves that...Now I’m not sure when Jodie realized this lineage of this honorable name, but Ma Duke caught on as a nickname which was occasionally abbreviated as simply Duke. On any particular day you can hear one of the boys asking, “Where’s Duke?”, and they are simply searching for mom and not the disks from season 1 and 2.

A Little Rosenzweig Family History - originally posted 4/12/2008

And so it begins...

Joel and I were talking tonight about documenting some of the inside jokes from our childhood so that our children would someday know what it is that we periodically find ourselves laughing at when it would seem to the casual observer that there is absolutely nothing obviously funny happening. So here we go, attempting to list phrases we used, expressions we misused, and jokes we have abused. Included are some comments we have turned into family rules, and stories from family members that have evolved into family folklore.


Nathan’s hot dogs are world famous in the Rosenzweig household. My father grew up in Brooklyn and sold ice cream from a carry around cooler on the beach at Coney Island in the 1950s. He grew up with Nathans - and so it was written. Now my kids love Nathan’s, although they possibly like the attached arcade more than the hot dogs and fries. You just have to love the little red fork.

A Jewish Goodbye

“Are they still leaving? We said goodbye at least three times and I could swear I watched them walk out the door.” Is there really a jewish goodbye? If you were to attend a Homefield gathering you just might come to the conclusion that Shalom does not in fact mean Hello, Goodbye, and Peace, but instead means Hello, Hello Again, and Hello in case I didn’t already said Hello. The problem is that there is always just one more thing than needs to be done, such as locating missing car keys, wrapping up some leftovers in an oversized pyrex, or recounting just one more story. Now that my brother an I have our own children there in a new dimension of items to be misplaced in the milliseconds prior to getting into the car when we leave Bubbie’s house. Did I already tell you that one? Don’t answer, I’m going to tell it again anyway. Non-Jews may leave and not say goodbye, but Jews typically say goodbye and then ever leave. Buh Bye.

A Jewish Sandwich

My parents hosted Joel’s bar-Mitzvah at our home. My Bar-Mitzvah celebration was at a long gone restaurant called Finally Michael's, very fitting. Having a December birthday, my Bar-Mitzvah was scheduled in January, in Boston. Do I need to mention we had a blizzard? Shocking, I know. Joel’s Bar-Mitzvah was in October, so short of a freak hurricane, the weather was not going to threaten this event because we were prepared with tents on our front lawn. My cousin Bryan was inside the house at the buffet, selecting a collection of corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, and turkey to decorate his bagel. As he was building his masterpiece, along comes my father’s college buddy Paul, to provide some apparently much needed critique on my cousins sandwich making skills. Now to put things in perspective, Bryan was about to turn 16, and was almost as tall as my 6’4 uncle Steve, only Steve had the physique of a basketball player and Bryan was the formidable guy on the high school track team who threw the shot put about 50 feet. Point being, Bryan was no stranger to making a decent sandwich, but clearly he was committing an atrocity in front of Paul. Paul, like my father was a New Yorker, and you would get no argument from a group of linebackers that Paul was a large man. “Kid, that is not a Jewish sandwich”, announced Paul as he then grabbed what could easily have been another 1/2 lb of deli meat and stacked it on Bryan’s sandwich, “now that is a Jewish Sandwich!”

What year are you in?

It just seems that all the really wise guy comments are just begging to be released when you are a teenager at one of your parents parties. It is 1984 and I’m a sophomore in high school when my mother’s friend walks over to strike up a conversation with me and innocently asks “What year are you in?” Now this was the equivalent of Manny Ramirez getting a tip from the catcher that Mariano Rivera is going to throw a change up right into his power zone. Does Manny take a cut and bust some car windows on Lansdowne street? I think he does, and in my case, I took my swing. “What year am I in? I’m in 1984, what year are you in?”


F’d up by a Rosenzweig. Everyone else will claim this is F’d up beyond all recognition (or repair), but let me assume you that if it is screwed up by a Rosenzweig, it will still fit the original definition of the term.

Flipped a Bit

A person acting illogical or crazy, much like a computer would behave if there were an internal memory error such as an unexpected change in state of one bit in the system memory. Joel and I both worked as Software Engineers at Intel so we were fortunate to have coworkers who appreciated computer geek humor. Redo from start? I don’ think so.

The Salad Makes the Meal

It was a get together with the cousins and my uncle Steve took us out with him to pick up pizza to feed the troops. I loved pizza, and salad only inhibited my ability to consume more slices of pizza. My uncle insisted that we order a large salad to go with the pizza because “Salad Makes the Meal!” Probably good advice for a healthier lifestyle to consume salad with every meal, but at the time we found the comment really funny. Every time I’m with my brother at a meal and we see a large salad, which is fairly frequent since we’ve been working at the same company for the past 8 years, we will glance over at each other and say “salad makes the meal”, no matter how nasty the meal.

Private Cortez

As my dad tells this joke, an Army sergeant receives a telegram that the father of one of the privates has passed away. The sergeant calls the platoon outside and has them line up. He calls out, “Private Cortez, take one step forward, your father has passed away.” The private is crushed and sinks his head in sorrow. A captain witnessing this approaches the sergeant and tells him that this was the most insensitive display he has even seen, and that he better be more sensitive the next time there is such devastating news. About a month later, the sergeant receives a second telegram stating that Private Cortez’s mother has passed away. Remembering the warning from the Captain, the sergeant calls the entire platoon outside and has them line up single file as they did the last time. “Men”, he announces, “I have a telegram here with some very important news. Would everyone who’s mother is still alive please take one step forward.” The majority of the platoon starts to step forward when the sergeant yells out, “No so fast Cortez!” Let’s just say we’ve utilized this expression when it is apparent someone is jumping to an honest, but incorrect assumption about something where we just happen to have information that would drastically change their conclusion.

Flying Lox Box

Why can’t you keep jews in jail? Because they eat lox. Growing up in Massachusetts offered a limited selection of bagels and lox for breakfast on Sunday mornings. Limited of course relative to the selection of lox and bagels on Long Island. Instead of visiting a local bagel shop, we could often pick up bagels and lox at the supermarket. I’m sure this frustrated my parents to no end, both New Yorkers, to not get fresh hot bagels and hand sliced lox, but hey, it is still lox and bagels. At the supermarket, lox was not hand slices and packed with folded wax paper, but instead packaged in a vacuum sealed plastic wrapper and then placed in a cardboard box. The box of course when tossed in the air from the kitchen counter to the refrigerator was instantly transformed into a flying lox box. One of my first projects while working for Intel was the development and adaptation of an operation system called SPOX for the Intel Architecture - called IA SPOX. Toward the end of the project I received a shrink wrap copy of the product, and would you know it, the software was packaged in a box. I tossed the box over the cubicle wall to my buddy Roger and announced “here comes a flying SPOX box”. I’m sure he had no idea why I found this so funny.

Hey Sidonda

My grandfather Kenny had a long list of stories and expressions. Most were completely inappropriate for children, and a good portion were not appropriate for adults. His advice before I started my undergraduate studies, “Don’t let college get in the way of your education”. Prior to visiting new York City, he told me not to look up while walking around the city. “I don’t want to look like a tourist, right?”, “No, don’t look up or a bird could sh*t in your eye.” OK, good advice, I guess. “Hey Sidonda!”, he would yell in a crowded stadium. “Hey Sidonda, Hey Sidonda”. Kenny grew up in Philadelphia and raised the family in Brooklyn. He was yelling, “Hey sit down there! You are blocking the view”. Now of course I can call out “Hey Sidonda” and people think I must be calling to someone in the front row.

Prescription Drugs

How do you keep kids on the right track in life and teach them to stay away from drugs? My father had a rule about drugs, don’t take drugs unless they are prescribed by a Dr. My brother and I suggested a list of potential doctors. He vetoed the following from the list: Dr. No, Dr. Demento, Dr Jeckle, Dr. Pepper, and Dr. J.

1st Prize

How much did my parents love New York? They once told me about a radio contest. The grand prize was an all expense paid trip for 1 week in New York. And the prize for the runner up? Two weeks in New York. Every trip into the city is memorable and sometimes overwhelming. As Kenny would say, I spent a week in new York one day. Yes, that would sum it up for me. Beep Beep!