Archive for May, 2011

Synergy!

May 31, 2011

As we begin the new work week, here is a wonderful demotivator from despair dot com.  So, as we go forth to work, let’s focus on our cooperative synergies or collaborations and not the exploitative ones (as depicted in this demotivator).  When it comes to workday songs, “Heigh-Ho” is one of my favorites (at least the refrain).  This song is from Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, written by Frank Churchill (music) and Larry Morey (lyrics).  Of course, “Whistle While You Work” (from the same movie) is not a bad one either.

Heigh Ho lyrics:

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
In a mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
Is what we like to do

It ain’t no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick
In a mine, in a mine, in a mine, in a mine
Where a million diamonds shine

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
From early morn till night
We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
Up everything in sight

We dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies sometimes more
But we don’t know what we dig em for
We dig dig dig-a-dig dig

Heigh ho
Heigh ho
Heigh ho
Heigh ho
Heigh ho

Heigh ho, heigh ho
It’s off to work we go
Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho

Heigh ho, heigh ho
It’s off to work we go
Heigh ho, heigh ho

Heigh ho, heigh ho
Heigh ho, heigh ho
Heigh ho, heigh ho
Heigh ho, hum

Heigh ho, heigh ho
It’s off to work we go
Heigh ho, heigh ho heigh ho

Heigh ho, heigh ho
It’s off to work we go
Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho

Heigh ho, heigh ho
It’s off to work we go
Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho

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Happy Memorial Day!

May 30, 2011

According to http://www.snopes.com, traditional flag etiquette prescribes that before an American flag is stored or presented, its handlers should twice fold it in half lengthwise; then make a triangular fold (on the opposite end from the blue field) and continue making triangular folds until the other end is reached.  The end result is a triangular “pillow” with only the blue star field showing on the outside.  (It takes thirteen folds to produce: two lengthwise folds, and eleven triangular folds.)  It is NOT folded in this manner because each of the folds has a specific symbolic meaning, but rather because it provides a dignified ceremonial touch and results in a visually pleasing and easy to handle shape.  This thirteen fold procedure was a common practice long before specific “meanings” were assigned (and now widely accepted) to each fold (as represented below).  Even though these “meanings” were not the original intent, I like the idea of a symbolic meaning behind each fold.

 

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

 

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

 

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

 

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

 

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”

 

The 6th fold is for where people’s hearts lie.  It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

 The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers.  For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

 The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their Nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

Send Me A Signal!

May 29, 2011

With the help of technology, our methods for communicating across vast distances have certainly evolved tremendously.  But there was a time (and there probably still are a few places) where easy communications continue to be a challenge despite the advances of modern technology.  I’m currently re-reading a novel (The Far Pavilions, by M.M. Kaye) set against the backdrop of India during the British occupancy in the mid- to late-1800s, where creative solutions were found to assist in communicating . . . enter the semaphore and the heliograph!

semaphore

\semuh-fohr\, noun;
1. an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, as a light whose position may be changed.
2. any of various devices for signaling by changing the position of a light, flag, etc.
3. a system of signaling, especially a system by which a special flag is held in each hand and various positions of the arms indicate specific letters, numbers, etc.

heliograph

\hee-lee-uh-graf\, noun;
1. a device for signaling by means of a movable mirror that reflects beams of light, especially sunlight, to a distance.
2. Astronomy: photoheliograph.
3. Meteorology: an instrument for recording the duration and intensity of sunshine.

Robots in the Library, Part Two!

May 28, 2011

To follow up on an earlier post about robots in libraries, I’ve discovered that the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago already has and uses a robotic automated system for book storage and retrieval.  The system is a bit cost-prohibitive ($81 million), so, I doubt this idea will spread too quickly, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

Have Your Cake, and Eat It Too!

May 27, 2011

Here is a really whimsical retirement cake for librarians created by Merritt’s Bakery.   These are some books that you can really sink your teeth into . . . but don’t dawdle, I would hazard to guess that they probably have a very short shelf life (yes, groaning is permitted).  Happy Friday and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Writers and Writing!

May 26, 2011

Or, bloggers and blogging?  While many of us don’t consider ourselves “writers” (and by this I mean we don’t consider writing our profession), we find ourselves writing all the time.  We write or compose everyday: reports, letters, emails, text messages, blogs, etc.  But what about those days when you lack inspiration or ideas?  Those days when you can’t seem to form a coherent sentence?  Does writer’s block strike us all at some point in time?  Or is it reserved strictly for those creative writiers who consider writing their profession?   I’m convinced that it hits us all at some point and I even found a quotation in support of this notion. 

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” (Joseph Heller)

And, while we’re on the topic, here are some other humerous quotations (definitions) from my Cynic’s Dictionary on writers and writing.

Writer
“Someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” (Thomas Mann)
“Someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.” (Karl Kraus)
“Someone a little below a clown, and a little above a trained seal.” (John Steinbeck)
“A frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.” (Rod Sterling)

Writing
“Busy idleness.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
“The hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting.” (Pete Hamill)
“The only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” (Jules Renard)
“The process of starting at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” (Gene Fowler)
“Not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness.” (Georges Simenon)

Tasty Variation!

May 25, 2011

A couple of years ago I posted a wonderful recipe for gingerbread.  Well, tonight I decided to take liberties with this recipe and altered it slightly.  Instead of using the greased and floured 9″ x 9″ pan, I used paper-lined muffin cups to create individually sized cupcakes.  Then instead of using either the Apricot-Cream Topping or the Honey-Ginger Fluff, I futher altered the recipe by whipping up a wonderful vanilla buttercream frosting into which I mixed chopped crystallized ginger.   I must say, the end result was simply delicious.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting with Ginger
16 ounces powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Beat the sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended and smooth. (If the mixture becomes too thick, you can always add a little more milk until you reach the desired consistency for spreading.) Stir in ginger. Spread on the tops of the cupcakes and enjoy!

May I See Some Identification?

May 24, 2011

Having a driver’s license or some other form of identification is essential for survival in today’s world.  We are constantly having to verify our identities.  Here’s a political cartoon by Gary Varvel (of the Indianapolis Star) that puts a humorous spin on the whole issue of having to “produce ID.”

Marvel-ous Monday!

May 23, 2011

An engineering marvel, indeed!  For the next several weeks (on Monday), I will be highlighting a different engin-eering or archi-tectural “marvel.”  An excellent way to start the week (in my humble opinion).  This week, the Henderson Waves.  At 12 stories high, Henderson Waves is the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It snakes across Henderson Road, connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. The bridge, which opened in 2008, is made of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within.   This pedestrian bridge is part of the Southern Ridges, a 9-kilometre (5.6 mi) trail that connects parks along the southern ridge of Singapore.

Distance: 0.3 km
Difficulty level: easy
Walking Time: 5 mins

Be Gentle!

May 22, 2011

The following word comes from the Latin mansuetus, which means tamed or made gentle.  And, while not entirely obsolete, this word is rare (it is listed as archaic in most dictionaries) and its use would be strictly literary.

mansuetude

\MAN-swi-tood\, noun;

1. Mildness; gentleness.