Chris Zammarelli

I'm not really foreign, you know.

Paul’s Boutique Lyrics That Can Double As Librarian Twitter Bios

And if you don’t believe us you should question your belief, Keith.
(“Shake Your Rump”)

Humpty Dumpty was a big fat egg.

Cash flow getting low so I had to pull a job.
(“High Plains Drifter”)

Expanding the horizons and expanding the parameters.
(“Sounds of Science”)

I’ve been dropping the new science and kicking the new knowledge.
(“Sounds of Science”)

If your life needs correction don’t follow my direction.
(“3 Minute Rule”)

While I’m reading On the Road by my man Jack Kerouac.
(“3 Minute Rule”)

The dirty thoughts for dirty minds we contribute to.

If I had a penny for my thoughts I’d be a millionaire.

I mix business with pleasure way too much.

I’ve got money like Charles Dickens.

One half science and the other half soul.
(“B-Boy Bouillabaisse: Get On The Mic”)

Speak my knowledge to the crowd and the ed is special.
(“B-Boy Bouillabaisse: Year and a Day”)


CurrywurstCurrywurst has been a staple in Germany since 1949. According to the book Culinaria Germany, a Berlin imbiss owner named Herta Heuwer came up with currywurst while experimenting with spicy food on a rainy day. Her recipe for what she called Chillup sauce is still a secret, but her success soon led to imitators with their own variations. Until fairly recently, currywurst was the most popular fast food in Germany.

When Germany hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, my wife and I decided to include currywurst on the menu for our viewing party.  I could have gone to German Gourmet and purchased a packaged sauce, but where’s the fun in that? I found a recipe at The German Kitchen that was to my liking and had at it.

I’ve made currywurst quite a few times since then. I definitely like a strong curry flavor and a thick sauce, so I’ve cut back the amount of tomato sauce and maximized the amount of curry from the original recipe .

Currywurst is traditionally served on french fries. But last winter, my wife had the idea of serving it on leftover spätzle. She warmed it up with some butter, then tossed it with the currywurst. You guys, you need to learn how to make spätzle so you can put currywurst on it. I’m serious. I like it better this way than on fries.

Here is our recipe, based on the Berliner Currywurst recipe in The German Kitchen. I recommend trying it their way first.

For four servings:


  • 5 hot dogs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 12 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons of curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then saute the hot dogs until they are warmed through.

Pour in the tomato sauce and all of the seasonings and stir until everything is well-incorporated.

Turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you adjust the seasoning, add a little extra time to the end of the recipe to make sure it is cooked through.

Serve on french fries if you’re a traditionalist, on buttered spätzle if you are or married to an Austrian-American, or on buttered elbow pasta if you are quite mad.

New Old Job

Card CatalogFive years ago, I took a contract job as a Cataloging and Metadata Specialist at an office in the State Department. The job was created to help launch a virtual library, and the description in the original statement of work was very specifically describing a cataloger position.

But before I started cataloging, we had to set up a website to provide access to the resources we licensed, then we had to set up the discovery layer, then we had to build a user account management system, then suddenly it was time to renew the licenses to the databases and also the discovery layer had some issues to work out and the site needed a redesign and…

You get the idea. At first, I thought all of these tasks were distractions from my main job, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that all the distractions were my main job. This was a new position on a new project and no one could have anticipated that a cataloger was not really what the project needed.

As the original task order that supported my contract position came to end, the office had an opportunity to create a statement of work that better described what it is that I do for living. Today, I restart my old job with a new title: Applied Technology and Information Resource Contractor.  It’s a bit of a mouthful, but at least I don’t have to explain where the metadata part fits into my job description anymore

I’m keeping the domain, though. Old career skills die hard.

Two Ways to Teach Tech

Aldea entranceI was in Mexico City for work recently, and I had a chance to explore two very different takes on teaching technology.

First, I went to Aldea Digital, a huge technology expo set up in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square. (Yes, I finally made it to the Zócalo.) At first glance, I thought it was a kind of trade show, but it aspires more to showing Mexico’s citizens how technology can transform their lives in even the simplest of ways. The backbone of Aldea Digital is made up of the learning sessions: You could take a class on getting started with email, learning how to use social media, or introducing children to computers. Our guides told us that the most popular session showed how to use smart devices for more than just phone calls and photos. After the expo was over, participants could register for continuing education online through Khan Academy.

Dali impersonatorDespite the practical content, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the glitz of it all. Aldea Digital’s centerpiece was the server powering the expo, which generated 100 gbps to power the 1200 computer stations and all of the sessions and exhibit booths. The lily was gilded by things like F1 race cars and art on loan from Museo Soumaya and a Salvador Dalí impersonator to talk about said art.

The person behind Aldea Digital is Carlos Slim, the Mexican business magnate who currently ranks second on the list of richest people in the world between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Like Gates and Buffett, Slim has been allocating a large part of his wealth to philanthropic causes through his Fundación Carlos Slim Helú. (The Foundation also funds Museo Soumaya, which Slim founded.) Aldea Digital is as much a celebration of Slim’s generosity as it is a tech expo: it was hard to escape the Foundation’s signature logo when roaming the tents,  so you were always aware who had financed it all.

HacedoresOne block away from the Zócalo was Hacedores, a makerspace operating on an upper floor of a shopping plaza called Pasaje Catedral. The people at Hacedores are trying to bring the American/European maker movement to Mexico, and in the four months since they set up this shop, they have created a Willy Wonka Inventing Room for makerspace activities. There are stations for a whole variety of maker projects, from 3D printing and laser drilling to DIY microscopes and wearable technology.

Hacedores offers classes, but also leases space to makers to work on projects. They are branching out to include makers classes for tourists, giving visitors a chance to learn about Mexico through makers projects. materialsThey use as many open source resources as possible, but they court corporate sponsors as well. Intel and Stanley are two of their biggest supporters. They also work with smaller companies like 3D printer makers Proyectil and biology maker kit makers They are looking for sponsors for additional stations to extend their wearable capabilities (so if you are a sewing machine manufacturer looking to sponsor the maker community, give them a call).

I was impressed by both places; Aldea Digital was definitely dressed to impress, but Hacedores was just as dazzling. Aldea Digital was glamorous, yet practical: you could go to a session to learn how to use apps to improve your health. Hacedores was humble, yet forward thinking: you could learn to make a bag with solar panels sewn into it to charge your iPhone. Frankly, I preferred the more down-to-earth Hacedores, but both offered endless possibilities and enough substance to back those possibilities up.


Marillenknödel Marillenknödel is an apricot dumpling, and it is one of my favorite Austrian dishes. It’s sweet enough to be a dessert, but hearty enough to be served as a main course.

So far as I can tell, the dough for the dumplings can be made either with potatoes or with a curd cheese. Personally, I prefer them with a potato dough, which give the dumplings a certain heft that make them suitable as a main course.

We found the recipe below on a website called Sherie’s Kitchen. It’s now defunct, so we’re reprinting it here with some slight adjustments.

Important note: You need to make the dough with floury potatoes, such as Russett potatoes. Waxy potatoes don’t have enough starch to make a proper dough.

Additional note: The recipe calls for cinnamon, but you can substitute that with ¼ teaspoon of Dutch process cocoa. (Or use both. It could be fun!)

Serving size: 2 dumplings

  • 500 grams of floury potatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon of table salt
  • 150 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 500 grams of fresh apricots (roughly 10 apricots)
  • Small sugar cubes
  • 50 grams of plain bread crumbs
  • 7 grams of unsalted butter (roughly half a tablespoon)
  • 25 grams of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Boil the potatoes in their skins, then peel them while they’re hot. (It hurts, but it’s worth the pain.) Mash the potaotes in a large bowl, then knead in the salt and the flour to form a dough. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Apricots and sugar cubesSlice a slit along the seam of the apricot and remove the pits. Place a sugar cube where the pit was.

Form a patty of dough with your hands less than a centimeter thick. Wrap an apricot with dough and seal the seams. Pinch off excess dough as needed. After forming all the dumpings, cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Stir the water from time to time to keep the dumpings from sticking to the pan.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs. Brown them slightly for about two minutes, then stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Turn the heat to very low and keep the bread crumb mix warm until the dumplings are finished cooking. Stir occasionally.

Remove the dumplings from the water. Roll each dumpling in the bread crumbs until lightly coated, then serve.


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