Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Peru's Extremely Depressing National Anthem

When I stepped out of the shower this morning, I happened to catch the very end of a radio story that said Peru was thinking about changing its national anthem because it's too depressing.

I didn't happen to catch any of the depressing lyrics, so that provided a morning's worth of amusement for Monique and I as we tried to imagine the lyrics of Peru's very depressing national anthem. I imagine something like this:

We Are Peru

O, we are Peru.
We're not as good as you.,
Or even Argentiiiiina!

We all smell like glue,
And guano it is true,
And our national dish is raw fish
Pickled in lemon juice. Eeeew!

Brazil has lots of babes,
And Chile makes great wine,
But all we have are spitting llamas.
(And they're not very nice. Ugh!)

Our land is mostly high desert,
Without much oxygen,
And many of our bauxite mines
Are all mined out. Sigh.

O, we are Peru.
We're not as good as you.
And we're too depressed
To sing this anthem any more.

P.S. Okay, so I got curious enough to go look up the actual lyrics on Wikipedia. Good heavens, my version is full of rose petals and fluffy puppies by comparison:

For a long time the oppressed Peruvian
the ominous chain he dragged
Condemned to a cruel servitude
for a long time, for a long time
for a long time he quietly whimpered...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Truly, the Greatest Story Ever Told

I was setting up a few indexing system rules this afternoon, and testing the setup by randomly linking a test document titled "The Military Establishment" to random indexing terms of different types. The result is below.

The Military Establishment
IDX Adrian, Michigan (Geo)
IDX The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Novel) (Work Hub)
IDX Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 (Statutes)
IDX Apollo 13 (Spacecraft) (Named Things)
IDX Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (Court Cases)
IDX Edsel (Automobile) (Products)
IDX Great Depression, 1929-1934 (Events)
IDX Portia (The Merchant of Venice) (Fictional character) (Named Characters)
IDX United Nations (Organization Hub)
IDX United States. Department of Defense (Organization Hub)
IDX Washington, George (American president) (Person Hub)

The mind boggles at the world-spanning tale told herein!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Easter Beagle

Katie the Beagle
Enjoyed a walk, ham, egg, ham.
More ham. Now she snores.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipe for Intellectual Whiplash

Recipe for intellectual whiplash:

Start with four meetings on widely disparate topics:
--Atlas validation of person-hub UIDs for Biography in Context portals
--Mercury load data for machine-aided indexing of Literature Criticism Online and Something About the Author
--Taxonomy categorization and learning objectives for MindTap
--Keyword supplements for online indexing of 21st Century Novels

Add one pinch of URL spot-checking for Opposing Viewpoints in Context relevance ranking

Write a long e-mail on taxonomy tagging process for videos and transcripts migrating from an old media system to a new server.

Mix vigorously for an afternoon.

Top with a frisson of contracts, invoices, and pre-publishing product capitalization timecards.

... and then, yeah, you'll see why my poor little brain has all it can do to read the paper and watch a baseball game by the time I get home and eat dinner.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Problem, Solution, Happy Anniversary!

Many of my home improvement projects have been a true joy, a genuine improvement in our domestic abode. But every now and then, something falls a wee bit short. Such was the case with one aspect of my HDTV wall mount: the temporary solution I devised for our stereo and TV components. Because our old TV lived in a cabinet with a shelf for the components, I needed to find a new place for all of those boxes and cables when we put the TV up on the wall. While I looked for a permanent solution, I stacked everything on a little shelf made from pegboard. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was not a good idea.

The leaning tower of stereo components.

Oooh, look. Collapsed pegboard! How scenic in our living room!

So, yes, that was not the elegant solution that I really had in mind. Which, I suppose might've been okay for a temporary solution ... except that it had now entered its fourth year. Suffice it to say that Monique thought it fell somewhat short of her aesthetic ideal.

The solution? Well, after failing for several years to find a stereo cabinet that fit the space, I decided to knock together a little wooden box, slap some stain on it, and declare victory. Then I had a smarter idea. Since our 10th anniversary was coming up, this was an excellent excuse to have somebody with genuine skills build a little stereo cabinet for us. And so, thanks to the fine artistry of Phil Gaven and Shininglass Studio, tragedy -- my sad and deficient pegboard shelf -- has been transformed into triumph -- a beautiful custom-built cherry and birdseye maple stereo cabinet. It made for a lovely 10th anniversary gift to ourselves.

It's not just pretty. Not only is it solid cherry and birdseye maple, it also has some nifty features like an adjustable shelf and a hinged back panel. It also goes beautiful with the Shininglass reference book stand that Monique and I gave ourselves for our anniversary a couple of years ago. Astute readers may notice an anniversary pattern emerging, one that bodes well for overall improvements in the level of our wood furnishings for years to come.

After three quick hours of rewiring, all the boxes were installed and happy in their new home. Yeah, three hours sounds like a long time. There were a lot of connections. And not all the wires reached. And I'm pretty sure I pulled a hamstring about halfway through, though that's more an indictment of my general level of fitness than the complexity of getting everything hooked back up correctly.

Voila! The new cabinet in its new home.

As you can see, it fits perfectly between the trunk and the bookshelf. Custom built furniture! Hurrah!

While I'm on the topic of furnishings, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Katie the Beagle received a furnishing upgrade of her own recently. Now that she's an enormous 22 pounds, she doesn't always fit conveniently in her bed. Sometimes her head would flop out of the front opening of her bed at night and lean awkwardly down towards the floor.

So Monique made her a little green pillow all her own, so that she can her head can rest easy.

Katie the Beagle, what do you think of it?

"I'm just glad my pillow isn't made of cherry and birdseye maple!" says Katie.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

At least I didn't bring a boat back with me

Hi everybody! I've arrived safe & sound back in Michigan after a week of travelling about the East Coast.

A truly committed blogger would have photoblogged the trip as he went. A blogger with more gumption than me would at least write up an account of the trip now that he's back home.

But me? I'm just going to swipe this bit of nonsense from a Facebook discussion that followed a post by my sister, paste it up here, and call it a night.

(Hey, it can't all be fabulous photos of tropical islands.)


Susan Magee Riordan hopes her husband was kidding when he asked her to sleep in the driveway so his boat could sleep in the bed. Ha ha ha....kidding, right? Right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Friday at 8:05am

David Shabat
You've never seen the personal ad: "Man seeking woman with boat. Please send picture of boat". Friday at 8:30am

John Magee I believe your mother once had a boat engine in her bathtub for several months. Perhaps the tendency to attract boats in inappropriate rooms is a genetic disorder. Friday at 12:04pm

Susan Magee Riordan Sure John- blame the victim... Friday at 12:17pm

John Magee No blame. You can't help it if you're a victim of Inappropriate Boat-Part Location Permissiveness disorder. Perhaps we should have a telethon. Friday at 1:41pm

David Shabat Holy Crap, I only read stories about IBPLPD! Now, a real, live case! Friday at 1:43pm

John Magee It's sad, really. You think this is the sort of thing that you only see in exotic Discovery Health Channel documentaries late at night, and then you find out that you know a real live case. Friday at 1:46pm

David Shabat Dear God, I heard all the gene therapies have only yielded results such as Auto part permissiveness, and in one case, nothing but cat food cans. I truly hope they find a cure. Friday at 1:48pm

John Magee Won't you please donate to help this vital research? Call 1-800-BUY-JOHN ext. ABOAT. Friday at 2:02pm

Susan Magee Riordan ‎[can't type, laughing too hard] Friday at 2:05pm