Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Decennial Census

I've been working part-time at the US Census. This is a bootstrap operation. A few old hands have hired staff to test, hire, and train new staff, who will prepare for Census Day: 1 April 2010.
There are addresses to check. To do this, the Census hires local people; so each applicant gets a geocode that indicates the census sector where they live. These sectors have numbers that show the state and county and then seem to be unsystematic at the next level. There are tighter breakdowns for cities, but in Vermont it may be sufficient to specify just the sector.

Questionnaires are mailed out a couple of weeks before C Day. Eventually 'Enumerators' will go out to collect information from people who didn't return this questionnaire. We don't know how many enumerators until we see the mail-back. Actually UPS handles these questionnaires. (There is a separate Community Survey, which asks more detail from a relatively small sample of the population. The results of the current survey just came out.)

I've been doing phone duty. I call a public office like a local Department of Labor office, a school, or municipal office or library and schedule a testing session. When applicants reply to ads they call a global number. They are asked to key in their zip code, and the call is transferred to the appropriate state or area. In our case our office in Williston, which is called Burlington, but covers all of Vermont. I tell them the time and place of a nearby testing and write down their name and phone on the appropriate list. The RAs (Recruiting Assistants) take these lists with them along with the paperwork and 4 forms of the non-supervisory test. Testing packets have to be put together ahead of time in order to make the testing go smoothly. We avoid scheduling these sessions in police stations or the military or any place that might seem scary if they had personal information about the ultimate respondents. We tell the applicants to bring two forms of ID, and there are forms on which to record this information. There are forms for everything. The Census people have been doing this for a long time.

I put together some notes to help applicants find their way to the testing sites. These can be attached as links to the spreadsheet where the basic information about the site is displayed. I thought a link to a Google Map would also be helpful, so I spent some time in Google Maps finding the locations. Kind of interesting. Some of the DOL managers say thing like, "It's next to the Fire Station. Everyone knows where that is."

I got a call from a lady who had called the Bennington DOL (Dept of Labor) to confirm the time of testing. It was different from the time I had on the schedule, so I told her my time. It turned out that Bennington was right. I wanted to call the lady back, but she had her phone ID blocked and I neglected to ask her phone number. I called Bennington to see if they knew who she was. They did, but I still couldn't find her phone number to call and give her the correct time.

The supervisors said not to worry about it. She would show up and either go home or wait, depending on how much she wanted the job. I felt terrible. There are protections so that no PII (personally identifiable information) is made available. Papers are to be shredded and they will be once we get a shredder.

The person responsible for the recruitment process is a helicopter pilot who is married to a policeman. She is very good at what she does.

Later the supervisors were telling stories about workers who had attitudes, wouldn't follow the Census procedures, or worse, made up the data. You could tell they were cheating when you saw that all the families they reported had the same configuration. This operation flushes a lot of staff through itself. You have to recruit 9-10 people to fill one slot. It is part-time part-time work.

I'm pretty good on the phone, so I may wind up doing tech support for the HHCs (hand-held computers). Everything has an acronym. ADN = Acronym-Driven Nomenclature.

Monday, December 1, 2008

the picture in question

Mark Hammerschlag's Bar Mitzvah photo. I wasn't there but I asked Renae in Houston about who was and we wrote the names on the back of the photo. The list is also on Saul's Flickr page.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama Light

Our neighbor was an early supporter of Barack Obama. Now that the season is changing she has decorated her front bush.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saul drove Helga down the east coast, couch surfing. The inspired creation:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anneke Jans Scam

I've been doing a little work in genealogy.

Charlie Hollander worked up Linda's genealogy, tracing her ancestry back to one Anneke Jans, the focus of a scam that was perpetrated around the turn of the 20th century. Anneke supposedly was heir to vast tracts in Manhattan, on which Trinity Church is now sited. Charlie is also related to Anneke Jans, and so is a 12th cousin to Linda.

Since there are so many relatives (350,000 ~~) the scam had lots of potential marks.

Here is some material related to the business:

(MetaFilter has nothing to say about Anneke Jans.)

Some discussion on RootsWeb: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nozell/GEN-NYS-L/archives/1997/04/0044.html

Even the photo that I copied from another genealogist is probably a fraud:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hinesburg Jerusalem Bristol Monkton Ridge Vermont Ride

On Sunday I went on a lovely fall bike ride with Bunky, Carol, and Brian. New to me were Steve and Vicky. It turns out Vicky went to Bowdoin with Mark Wanner.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

VBPC Annual Ride, Fairlee, 12 September 2008, 25 Mile Route

Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition Annual Ride -- 25 Mile Option, Fairlee, Vermont, September 13, 2008. --- Bikely version. Kathy Davidow has added a loop around the lake (not shown) to make it 30 miles.

Elevation Profile:

Map My Route Version

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I invited Jessamyn to ride her Photo Bike on the Burlington Bike Path.

I wonder if she can get a series of images that can be strung together to produce a 'movie' like this one


Source: http://www.ccmpo.org/BikePed/

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saul's Video from digital camera has been removed. I should post a link when he gets it back up. DJ

Monday, August 11, 2008

Visit to Prince Edward Island with Charlie, Janet, and Saul

We rented the Dunphy House cottage on Lobster Road in Souris West (pronounced /surrey/) in Kings County, PEI.
Although it rained several days we were there, Saul and I rode our bikes on the Confederation Trail and we got to hang out on the porch
My whole set of photos may be found here.

Saul took some photos, too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Edison's Legacy

Not only did Thomas Edison electrocute stray dogs (bought for 25 cents from locals), he also didn't make the first voice recording. The New York Times reports.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Abbey, Sound Plastics Tax Lawsuit

In 1951 Norm was a member of the Audio Engineers Society:
JACOBOWITZ. NORMAN B. (M). Chief Engineer. Abbey
Record Corp., 70 Fleet St., Jersey City 6. N. J..
DIgby 9-1392; 278 Van Nostrand Ave., Englewood. N.J.,
ENglewood 3-0180


Ira reflects:
I barely remember Sound Plastics, but have a clear recollection of the tax dispute and Norm's anger over what F&G were pulling. The case angered him in a way I had never seen, although it was still Norm's mild mannered reaction. He said it cost him $50k to prove he didn't owe the taxes.
He had a lawyer, but I can't remember his name - you might. It was the tax dispute that soured Norm on continuing to own Oak Street, and property in general. He sold the Tenafly home as a result of his monetary losses, moved to Tiburon, and didn't buy again until they moved to Pacifica. It's quite revealing to see Norm was completely right in his assessment and encouraging to know he was vindicated.

Google Search:

  • 352 F2d 466 Foxman v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue ...


    Sidney L. Cramoy, New York City, for Norman and Laura Jacobowitz. ... was then trading under the name of Abbey Record Manufacturing Company, hereinafter  ...
  • 352 F.2d 466


    Sidney L. Cramoy, New York City, for Norman and Laura Jacobowitz. ... was then trading under the name of Abbey Record Manufacturing Company, hereinafter  ...
  • FOXMAN v. COMMISSIONER | Leagle.com


    Prior to 1954, Abbey Record Manufacturing Co. was a partnership composed ... day of May 1957, between NORMAN B. JACOBOWITZ, hereinafter referred to as  ...
  • [PDF]

  • http://davelindastourdefrance.blogspot.com/2007/12/horace-grennell.html

  • http://www.discogs.com/label/547466-Abbey-Record-Manufacturing-Co-Inc
    Early in 1954 the partners agreed to enter the business of manufacturing 12-inch long playing records, known as LPs. A related venture commenced by Jacobowitz, Foxman, and Grenell (Horace Grenell), individually, was represented by Sound Plastics, Inc., a corporation in which each owned one-third of the stock; it was engaged in the business of manufacturing "biscuits" or vinyl forms used in the making of records.

    Abbey Record Manufacturing Co., Inc.

    Defunct pressing plant located in New Jersey. Pressed for labels such as: ElektraAmerican Recording SocietyMusic Treasures Of The WorldPrestige etc.
    Founded 1948.
    Abbey Record Manufacturing Co. was a partnership composed of Norman B. and Laura Jacobowitz and two associates, engaged in the business of custom manufacturing of phonograph records. Prior to 1954 the partnership, manufactured primarily 10-inch 78 r.p.m. records on contract for various companies. Early in 1954 the partners agreed to enter the business of manufacturing 12-inch long playing records, known as LPs. A related venture commenced by Jacobowitz, Foxman, and Grenell (Horace Grenell), individually, was represented by Sound Plastics, Inc., a corporation in which each owned one-third of the stock; it was engaged in the business of manufacturing "biscuits" or vinyl forms used in the making of records.More 
    Contact Info:

    1 Central Avenue
    East Newark, NJ

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Novel Based on Nikola Tesla

    UVM graduate, Samantha Hunt, has become an expert on Nikola Tesla.
    She has written The Invention of Everything Else, a novel based on the life of the 'mad genius.'

    Seven Days had a piece on her visit to the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne.

    Hunt was mentioned in a recent New Yorker magazine article about the Hotel New Yorker, where Tesla spent the last years of his long life.

    I didn't get to Hunt's talk, but I did get to pick up a copy of her book later.

    Public Radio's Studio 360 did a show on Tesla. There is a segment with Samantha Hunt reading from her book.

    There is much interesting stuff at the Studio 360 page. For instance, Tesla invented radio well before Marconi built one that worked.

    MetaFilter also has links to Tesla information.

    Here is a transcription of a booklet and autobiography.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    David Bonner's Revolutionizing Children's Music

    I noted earlier that somewhat over a year ago I got an email from David Bonner, who was writing a history of children's records based around Horace Grenell. The book has been published by Scarecrow Press. I got a copy and it is well-written. It fills in a bunch of the details about the record business that I was not really aware of.

    "About the same time (1951-1952), Grenell entered into the pressing plant business. In partnership with David Foxman (affiliated with the New York-based Raleigh pressing plant) and Norman Jacobowitz (engineer at Carnegie Hall Recording), he co-owned and managed the Abbey Record Manufacturing Company. Under the Abbey umbrella, Desto Music, Inc., existed as a music production company, with another Abbey-related company, Arco Music, Inc., operating as the official producer of Desto Records. Located in East Newark, New Jersey (and later moving to nearby Kearney), the plant pressed records for an eclectic assortment of independent labels, including Audio Fidelity, Elektra, Riverside, Roulette, and Westminster. Abbey, along with the RCA Victor Custom Record Division, pressed records also for CRG."
    Bonner, 2007, Page 129

    My memory of Abbey was that it existed in Jersey City well before Grenell got involved. Norm had two partners, Jascha Zayde, a staff pianist with WQXR (who died in 1999), and Joe Brodie, a dentist who did my dental work. I would take the bus into Manhattan to his office on Broadway above 180th. Norm chose the name Abbey because it came early in the alphabet. Someone looking for pressing services would call him first.

    Norm always had playful business names. Sound Plastics was a triple pun -- a sound business on Long Island Sound that made plastic for the sound recording industry.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Martha Jacobowitz

    I was looking for my cousin Martha Jacobowitz.
    So I Googled the name. I got a list of people murdered on Kristallnacht:
    Lots of Jacobowitzes