Monday, December 10, 2007

Movin' Blues

The very first thing that happened in the new office was that I flushed my keys down the highly efficient toilet. They are already in Lake Champlain I have been informed.

Lost: Honda key, Kryptonite lock key (recently replaced due to recall), and new UHC door key. These are all replaceable.

Update: . The folks at Kryptonite have a replacement program for lost keys. You tell them the number, and they send you a duplicate key. It doesn't always work. Although these two keys have the same number, their configuration is different.
FAHC got me a replacement office key right away.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Straw Market Rediscovered

Saul sent me a link to notes from the world premiere of The Straw Market, a play by William Jay Smith, the Writer in Residence at Hollins College in Roanoke, where I was pursuing a masters' degree in psychology.

The award winning poet Henry Taylor was a grad student in the creative writing program. He wrote the program notes.

David Jacobowitz, from Psychology, grew astonishingly from his initial uncertainty—“I don’t think I sing very well,” he said at an early meeting with Bill Smith—to the great energy with which he sold the songs he sang.

Saul & Eli will remember these lyrics:

Florence in the spring
Is such a lovely thing
It makes you want to sing—
Florence in the spring:

This is a great find. I'm going to play with it.
Bridges on the Arno—
In all the world there are no
Other rivers like the Arno!
Florence in the spring!

The play begins with the Cowboy singing a voice-over before the curtain opens. On opening night the microphone failed. I had to sing the introductory song way too loud for the mood.
If I had known that Stephen Spender and Catherine Ann Porter were in the audience I would have plotzed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Moving Back to UHC

Another full circle is about to come around.

When I came to UVM in 1989, we were housed on the 6th floor of the Arnold Wing of the UHC campus.

Then we moved to the Trinity College campus after Trinity closed. We lived in the basement of Mann Hall, just below where Linda had had her office for years. We were there on 9/11/2001.

When UVM purchased Trinity in (date), we were moved to Delehanty Hall.

When we were moving in, the University decided that the asbestos deeply embedded in the floors needed to be removed. We think illegal aliens working for a Massachusetts company were responsible for cutting through a heating pipe and spilling propylene glycol on the floor above us. It ran down and ruined a couple of computers, including ones in our server room.

The most recent move was in February of 2004, to 80 Colchester Ave.

Now we are moving back to UHC, this time to the Joseph Wing of Degoesbriand on the third floor. On Friday we packed up everything and I went home.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Toddy Remembered

Paula Zelda Jacobowitz Rosenstein -- (1916 - 2007)

I spoke with Beth again today about how she and Judy were doing a week after their mom died.

Beth said they were completely busy with family stuff and projects that they had put off while taking care of Toddy. She had wanted to be with George ever since he died 12 years before:

I wanted to get information for my genealogy records. And I wanted to keep scanning in the photos in the unorganized box. Beth has three boxes. Let's get scanning.

I think this is Buddy, Toddy, and Norman at our wedding in 1976 in Burlington.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Full Circle at Burlington College

Linda's music group held its second CD release party of the season, this time at Burlington College.

I took some pictures. Here's a slide show.

This is the second Full Circle's CD .

I posted a few cuts for your pleasure.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Horace Grenell

About a year ago I got an email from David Bonner. He was writing a book about Young People's Records, the Children's Record Guild and the history of Horace Grenell, the genius behind the notion that you could sell chidren's records on the model of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Bonner had found Norman Jacobowitz among the names in Horace Grenell's world. He Googled the name and found my web page. He wrote to me to ask if I was related to Norman. I knew that Horace had been a partner with Norm in producing and pressing YPR records. We had many of them to take home. Grenell was a character. I remembered the phrase he used a lot, "One Swell Foop." He was charismatic and a charmer.

They later had a falling out. Norm was bitter that when Horace testified before HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) he 'took the Fifth' when asked to say whether Norm had been a member of the Communist Party, as Horace had been. Young People's Records was accused of being a Communist front, and it probably was. Bonner explained to me that it probably wasn't personal. If Grenell had said that Norm had not been a party member but had taken the Fifth on other names, that would have been damning for them. I didn't understand the dynamic until Bonner explained it; I just took Norm's interpretation.

The book release announcement is at Scarecrow Press.
Bonner offered me a copy, which I have started (Feb 2008). It is a well-written and detailed history of the recording industry, children's records, and vinyl. "Anyone with a press can produce a record." And they did.

I got a book about the Revolution in Children's Records. It is about Horace Grenell, a musician/teacher/entrepreneur who put together the first book-club style record clb for kids. They recorded folk music and other stuff that was not sweet Disney pablum. The progressive
movement hoped to treat kids as people and give them interesting music to engage with. Grenell taught at Sarah Lawrence in the 1940s and was a partner with your Grandpa Norman in the record pressing business until he bought out Abbey Records when Norm sold and bought Sound
Plastics and B&C Records on Long Island. David Bonner, the guy who wrote the book called me last year to ask if I was related to Norman Jacobowitz and if I remembered Horace. I did remember that he used the phrase "One Swell Foop." There was also this lingering bad taste. Norm
has been pissed at Horace because Horace did not take the 5th when he was asked by HUAC whether Norm had been a member of the Communist Party. He hadn't been, but Horace didn't confirm it. Bonner explained to me that had Horace answered for Norm but taken the 5th for everybody else, it would have been the 'kiss of death' for the others. I never appreciated that point
of view until recently.

I Googled Horace Grenell and found this at Hollins:
This bears investigation. Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight
It all connects at the Bank Street School, where Judith Sidorsky taught, influenced Horace, and later married him. There is this fascinating history of progressive education, social work, and
children's music. Bard is connected with the Bank Street School. I think there was a healthy exchange of faculty and students through the 50s and 60s.

Of course, Bard was Columbia's experiment in progressive college education. Before I was there, it was governed by a Community Council, made up of students, faculty, and administration. It didn't work to have the students with such a strong say. By my time, the Council no longer had any real power.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sump Pump Blues

Last evening Linda noticed a hum that was too loud and didn't quit. We traced it to the basement where the sump pump was running but not pumping anything useful. I unplugged it. Took it out and looked for a clogged filter. But the water was still not leaving the hole. It had rained for the past two days, but yesterday it snowed and stayed colder. Maybe the basement wouldn't flood before we got help.

Today I called the plumber. The receptionist said that, well, they couldn't get over until tomorrow, maybe not until Monday. Have you tried whacking it with a broomstick?

Well, I had unplugged it and reset it, but no, I haven't tried the broom trick.

So, this afternoon, after I got some fuel wood and a backup pump, I took the current pump out and knocked it on the cellar floor and plugged it back in. Whoopee, it pumps.

No more flood worries. Now to worry about getting the whole house deferred maintenance dealt with. I ran into Eric, Kim D's boyfriend, at Home Depot. That reminded me that we had talked about him doing some of the house repairs.

This is the kind of journal reporting I enjoyed doing when I wrote notes to Ted Rodd to send with the monthly Honda payments. Now that he is gone, I miss this, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Garlic. We Knew All Along

The New York Times reports that garlic is indeed good for you.
Hydrogen sulfide seems to be the clue.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clifton Park for Thanksgiving

Carl & Les came in from San Francisco to spend a couple of days with us in Vermont before we all drove down to Clifton Park for Thanksgiving and Corinne's first birthday.

Ken & Donna flew in early because they had to get back for events at Donna's work.

Carolyn & Terry and Micolle were up and Eli, Natalie and Saul also showed up. Saul got a ride from a buddy at work who dropped him off at a ramp in a sleazy part of town. Terry and Ken waited in their parked car with the dome light on -- hoping that the police would check them out for a drug deal, and be surprized at how straight they were.

Saul's friend Dana passed away after suffering with a brain tumor. Aunt Toddy died on Thursday night after 12 years wanting to follow her husband George Rosenstein.

I found out that Andrea's mom, Sheila, tells dirty standup. She regaled us and embarrassed her children.

Everybody took pictures. I put some here:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family History & Genealogy

Jay had remembered a speech that Norm might have ghostwritten for Ferdinand Marcos to deliver at the UN General Assembly. We asked Natalie's mother Sylvia, who works at the UN, to see if the archive had anything like that. She found a speech from Wednesday, 21 September 2966. The style is too flowery and slick to be Norm. Perhaps he was asked to review it or do some fact checking. He worked for Daniel Yankelovich in the San Francisco area while he lived in Tiburon and other places in California.

Eli wondered just how many jobs and interests his grandfather Norman had. I remembered law, engineering, consulting, a contract bridge advice column, sports car racing and pursuit of the land speed record in the under-1500 cc category in 1960.

So I decided to start a Wiki with information about the many occupations of Norman B Jacobowitz:

Judy Rosenstein added her memories of how her dad, George Rosenstein, met Norm in law school and how that led to his meeting Toddy, Norm's sister.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eli, The Early Sessions

We found some cassette tapes of Eli, David, Linda, and Saul that we had made to send to Norm and Laura in California. The sound wasn't that great, and when I rewound tape one, I broke it.

Still, the interaction was great. Eli was singing and spelling (things he still does). So I decided to try to copy the tape to computer file and send it to him.

This involved fixing the tape. (Splicers are no longer for sale at Radio Shack.)
I needed to get some software to convert the tape to a file. Eli suggested Audacity for the Mac.
It took a while to find it, download the software, install it, and configure it to create a project. Saving the file to MP3 involves a LAME driver. I am not adept at Mac software, so after I downloaded the recommended driver install package, I couldn't figure out how to tell Audacity to use it. The file that I thought was the driver was greyed-out.

I could export to a WAV file, which was huge. I uploaded the WAV files to my zoo account at UVM. It took an hour and a half per tape, but I could work with PC software which is more familiar to me. I got dBpoweramp Music Converter to convert to MP3.

Then I sent the file to Eli for his birthday today. Listen - the first bit is just quiet:

Happy Birthday, Eli.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Charlie Birger, Illinois Mobster

Bryan Lawrence called for tech support. His organization serves Franklin-and "Bloody" Williamson County, Illinois. I had read Ted Rodd's copy of Bloody Williamson, the story of mine strikebreakers and their murders in Herrin near Marion.

Bryan told me about Charlie Birger, a liquor mobster during prohibition and the last man to be hanged in Illinois. His tale led me to "... born Shachna Itzik Birger in Russia between 1880 and 1883." He was my grandmother's age.

The gang wars involved what may have been the first aerial bombing in the US.
"... Shelton Gang unsuccessfully bombed Shady Rest from the air..." The gangs combined to battle the Ku Klux Klan, who opposed liquor on grounds that it involved foreigners like Birger.

Shady Rest was Birger's rendezvous point for transshipment of bootleg from the south to Chicago and St. Louis. Click the pic for more photos.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nikola Tesla BioPics

I was searching for the Tesla Roadster (sounds like TestaRosa) when I found this 14-minute bio sketch of Nicola Tesla.

Eli & Saul decided to drive through the night on a vacation trip. They woke us in the parking lot at Niagara Falls before dawn. They had decided finally to visit this classic. There was a memorial to Tesla, not as well-known as he should be. It was drizzling and the spray from the falls made it even damper.

View directly at YouTube.

There also is this four-part documentary on Tesla's life and genius.

Linda's New Office at Champlain College

Ralph and I rode over to Champlain College at noon today to see Linda's new office.

Now she is in the thick of things and can see colleagues easily.

Trip to Marion, IL

Linda and I took some time to drive out to Marion to help put Linda's dad's ashes in the grave with her mom, Norma. Ted died before Christmas and was cremated. After Norma died, I told Ted that my dad was cremated and I missed having a place where my dad was buried. Ted said that he was planning to be cremated. That was a surprise. What I didn't figure was that we could bury the ashes and have a place to visit.

So we visited Norma's grave to have some more opportunity to tell stories and talk about them and the family.

Ken & Donna, who have been at the center of organizing Ted's end of life, came down from DeKalb, and Carolyn and Terry came up from Jacksonville (and would then visit Terry's dad in Arizona). Carl and Les couldn't make it, but cousins Tim Rodd and Pam Baker and her daughter Jackie and husband, Bob, came over to visit.

Pam had a great collection of family photos, many of which we hadn't seen. There was one of Grandma Lela Rodd smiling and holding baby Lenora (we think).

I documented the trip:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We awoke to a lovely Paris morning.

First, a walk up the hill with breakfast an a street-side shop. Then to the Pantheon and the Sorbonne (don't we have photos?). And then over to the Luxemburg Gardens.

We both just love tree-lined walks.

Linda was taken by this Italianate pool and sculpture garden. One of the Borgia queens had this erected to remind her of her roots.

We walked to the Louvre

and around with all the other tourists.

Tourism is a very old pursuit. People have travelled to the Holy Land, to new worlds, to China, to see what they could see. We embrace our inner outer tourist.

The Picasso Museum held wonderful treats:

We saw the bicycle seat/handlebar that looks like a bull's head. I'm sorry. No photo.

In the evening we got on the Metro and rode to Champs du Mars to view the sunset with le Tour Eifel. At first it looked like it was being underlit by the setting sun, but then we realized that spotlights were helping the illusion. Pretty nice even so.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today is our 31st Anniversary. We wanted to get married on Bastille Day (the 14th) but that was in the middle of the week in July, 1976, so we went for the weekend before. Eli & Saul gave us a gift of this trip.

Here is a slide show of the highlights:

Last evening we arrived in Paris via the EuroStar. This fast train departs from London Waterloo Station and moves at 239 kph once it leaves the Chunnel to get to Gare du Nord in 2.5 hours. Whew.

We frenched our way through getting tickets to the Metro. When we got off at our stop, just over on the Left Bank, we emerged to see Notre Dame de Paris:

Actually, this shot is from the next evening when we had our 'dinner' on the bank of the Seine. The boat offers a magic show. We didn't go.

We stayed at the Hotel du Commerce. It was recommended in the Rough Guide as an affordable place.

The entrance is below the street,

which is on Rue St Genevieve, which climbs up to the Pantheon and the Sorbonne.

Here's the view up the hill:

down, toward the river.

A lady asked us to take her picture with her dogs on the Pont des Arts and she took ours. Natalie told us she used to cross this bridge every day on her way to school.

We saw Thomas Jefferson:

And these two typical Parisians:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Toward leTour de France

An early step was to learn how to pack the Bike Friday in its case. I wanted to document this process so I could reproduce it in France.
From Bikes

(Blogs seem to be designed so that you can put your current thoughts up and the posts appear in reverse chronological order, newest on top. Perhaps the blog is not the best format for posting a history of a vacation adventure. Can I reverse the order?)

It turned out that I repacked the bike on a cliff in Normandy with no WiFi, so I couldn't look at the original even if I had it.

We left Vermont on July 9th, 2007, and drove Linda's wounded Honda to the Pierre Trudeau Airport in Dorval, PQ. We had the Bike Friday neatly stowed in the heavy luggage, which had to be treated as oversize. We put the car in long-term parking and moseyed through the airport procedures. We watched a guy eat "poutine," which seems to be fried potatoes smothered in gravy. Eventually we got on the plane looking forward to an overnight flight that would put us in England in the morning:

We got to Gatwick around 8 am, got some pounds from a machine, and bought tickets on a train that was supposed to take us to Victoria Station. The train was delayed because a lorry hit one of the supports for a bridge on the way. Calm Britons took this in stride. In a half an hour we were under way again.

We got out at Victoria and found ourselves in downtown London. Signs on the streets said "Look Right." I guess they get plenty of people who drive on the right and look left when crossing.

We hauled the suitcase and backpack over to Buckingham Palace and saw the end of the changing of the guard.

Then we found a lovely alley of trees for Linda to pose under.

Friday, August 3, 2007

How to blog photos

Before I put up maps and stories, I want to master posting photos to illustrate them.

I found that I couldn't easily link to photos on my iGoogle Photos page, but rather had to download an image and upload it before it would appear in the blog.

There is an album with the right title. "Dave & Linda's Tour de France" in my Picasa space, but I can't seem to copy photos to it through the Picasa interface.

But only an empty frame appeared. What's up?

Well, it says that I can insert the URL of the image I want. Here is one of Graham at Olde Spokes Home preparing the Bike Friday for the great adventure.
OK. Now I think I get it. Thanks to Eli.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Posting Pictures

I tried to load some pictures from my Picassa set, but only a frame showed up.

This one is from the album I downloaded in preparing to put a select set on a CD.

Breakfast in Savonnières, Loire valley, before visiting Villandry:

Monks planted these in contrasting colors. I think the tourists have to support this work now.