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.