Tired head

June 28, 2006

Back from New Orleans and slowly catching up on all the blogging I didn’t do on Sub-Sub Librarian. In short, a memorable time was had by all. Seeing the city simultaneously bravely fighting back and still in tatters left its mark. And I’m fired up about this librarian gig. We are some cool folks, and we are not afraid of open source software… oh wait.
Tonight I think I should officially change my name to the Liz Formerly Known in Some Circles as Smart. Any pretension to smartness ended when my brain hit this:

“The recommended method of invoking the httpd executable is to use the apachectl control script. This script sets certain environment variables that are necessary for httpd to function correctly under some operating systems, and then invokes the httpd binary. apachectl will pass through any command line arguments, so any httpd options may also be used with apachectl. You may also directly edit the apachectl script by changing the HTTPD variable near the top to specify the correct location of the httpd binary and any command-line arguments that you wish to be always present.”

Brought to you by Apache, the great free software for SMART PEOPLE ONLY.

Okay, I’ve got a ways to go before I am going to be running my Greenstone Digital Library open source software. (Why can’t all this stuff just be as easy as WordPress already? I like my technology easy.)


Questions of Travel

June 24, 2006

Just one for now:

What is conditioning shampoo and why has every hotel on the planet decided to offer it in lieu of a) a little bottle of shampoo and a little bottle of conditioner or b) a bottle of shampoo and condition ala Pert Plus?

Just curious.  Conditioning shampoo notwithstanding, New Orleans is beginning to work its charms on me.   Details to follow.

Too many events, too little sleep. Here is a list of things that would be a blog entry if I could write such a thing and may be blog entries in the future. Each item begins with an implied "I am…"

1) So depressed about Ghana-2, US-1. So depressed.

2) In New Orleans. For the American Library Association annual conference. See library blog.
3) Needing to provide a new installment of Kenyon Alumni Bulletin: The Saga– Mr. DD writes back.
4) Knowing that there is one unwatched episode of Veronica Mars on the netflix dvd at home.

6) Tabulating my current New Orleans culinary score. Gumbo-0, Overpriced Salad-1. Powerbar anyone?

Last Thursday I popped open my narrow aluminium mail slot to find the latest Kenyon Alumni Bulletin. Since I'm feeling a bit nostalgic these days, when I had a few spare minutes on Friday afternoon I sat down to read it lovingly from cover to cover. I didn't get very far before the following letter to the editor caught my eye:

Kerry at Commencement

I believe the selection of Senator John F. Kerry as Kenyon's Commencement speaker was inappropriate and disrespectful to the Kenyon community. There is no doubt that Mr. Kerry has had a long career of service to the country, but he is at this moment, like George W. Bush, a highly controversial and polarizing figure.

For its lectures throughout the academic year, the College should seek to bring such figures, including and perhaps especially those with whom it disagrees intensely. A Commencement address is not, however, an ordinary lecture. It is the last taste an entire graduating class will have of its alma mater and, as such, an improper occasion for reinforcing the political beliefs of some students and denigrating those of others.

Kenyon's Commencement addresses should be tributes to everything for which it stands and to what makes it distinct from mess halls, manufacturing plants, and town squares. They should be free both of the platitudinous cheerleading of members of presidential cabinets and the self-interested sanctimony of politicians who'd like to replace them.

Kenyon is not a campaign stop, nor a place to launch new political initiatives. It is an institution of higher learning, a village unmarked by the vitriolic character of much national debate, an extraordinary place that should conjure up vastly more than partisan associations in the minds of people who know nothing else of it.
D—- D—- '03

Since I'm not sure what the value of naming names in this case is, I've edited most of it it out, but if you are '04 like me you can probably get it in three guesses. Basically, reading this got me hopping mad. Maybe if I hadn't known this person, and known they are pretty much as Republican as they come, I would have bought the whiny affected sympathy. **Sidebar: May I also point out that I have it from a reliable source that Mr. DD was one of 25 alums who requested and was selected to meet Sen. Kerry personally before commencement. Apparently it's okay for Mr. DD to use Kenyon's commencement as opportunity to increase his seven degrees from George W. ranking but not okay for Sen. Kerry to speak at said commencement. I believe the word for that is spelled h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-i-c-a-l.** But I did know this person and I know his issues with Kerry have nothing to do with the fact he spoke at commencement. I figured a little letter writing of my own was in order. The send button has been pressed and the following missives await reply (although I am not holding my breath).

Question from a fellow Kenyon alum

Dear D—-,

You might remember me– I think we worked on Student Lectureships together while our paths crossed at Kenyon. I recently read your letter to the editor published in the Kenyon Alumni Bulletin concerning Sen. Kerry's speech at commencement. I am curious to know if you wrote an equally outraged letter on behalf of my own class of 2004 after then-Secretary of the Treasury John Snow addressed us at our commencement. His remarks were considerably less personalized to the Kenyon community than Sen. Kerry's were (and considerably briefer, although none of us were complaining) and he left immediately after speaking rather than respectfully waiting until the ceremony had ended. He represented an administration that you admit is as polarizing as Sen. Kerry's views, and he spoke in a presidential election year. In your letter, you allude to a figure that might be Snow, but you do not name him as you name Sen. Kerry. My point in asking you this is to ascertain if the concern you expressed that Kenyon might become an election whistle stop is genuinely on behalf of students or if it is a thinly disguised partisan complaint. While I might appreciate the former, I suspect the latter and object to your use of the alumni bulletin to forward the polarizing agenda you pretend to deplore. I will, of course, stand corrected if you did indeed write such a letter concerning Mr. Snow.

Best wishes in your current endeavors,

re: Kerry at Commencement
Dear Editor,

I am disappointed with the Bulletin's decision to publish the letter submitted by D—- D—- '03 disparaging the College's choice of commencement speaker for the class of 2006. Anyone who is familiar with Mr. D—–'s Kenyon career will recall that he is far from nonpartisan. He was a leader of the Kenyon Republicans group and instrumental in bringing the indisputably extreme Republican Alan Keyes as a speaker to Kenyon's campus through the Student Lectureships Committee. As well, I understand that Mr. D—- was part of a group of 25 selected to meet with Kerry personally before the ceremony. If he disagreed so strongly with Kerry's invitation, he might have given someone else the opportunity to meet him. Instead of taking issue with Mr. Kerry's politics, he pretends to be outraged that a "polarizing figure" was invited to speak at commencement when his track record suggests that this more likely a partisan complaint. Instead of being honest about his objections, he disguises them with fabricated sympathies.

I will, of course, stand corrected if Mr. D— wrote an equally eloquent letter of outrage after my own class of 2004 was addressed by John Snow, then a representative of an administration which he admits is equally controversial. I have read Mr. Kerry's remarks, and unlike Mr. Snow's they demonstrated that he had taken time to get to know Kenyon and the class of 2006. I have also learned from faculty members that Mr. Kerry remained at commencement until every student had received his or her diploma. This stands in sharp contrast to Mr. Snow's preprogrammed and fortunately brief remarks that preceded his hasty retreat from a campus full of soon-to-be graduates who, after completing the Kenyon education both Mr. D—- and I profess to respect, could see right through him.

Me, '04


If replies from either party are forthcoming, I'll fill you in.

After ten pages on folksonomic metadata in 7 hours, my brain is tired. Still, it doesn't take much a brain to know which way to call it when Thierry Henry scores France's first World Cup goal since 1998:


Our deuxiéme hottie oficiel!

Thierry, I'm married, but if I weren't, you could break my dry spell any day.

Okay, there are plenty of other places to read about the horror that is Jorge Larrionda so I won't go into any more detail than this:


Today was a wild, wonderful, and often traumatic day of World Cup action in Group E. Now that my blood pressure has started to return to normal I can look back over the past few hours and rejoice that my country has, if not exactly triumphed, earned its berth in a group that promised great contests. When the original draw was done, things looked pretty bleak for us but we could take comfort in the fact that many looked to the grouping of Italy, the Czech Republic, Ghana, and the US as the toughest bracket to play in. That's a small sign of respect in a world where few would give it to us.

After the first matches, it looked like rumors of the Group of Death had been greatly exaggerated. Favorites Czech Republic and Italy won handily, with the US showing against the Czechs particularly miserable. Back to reality. Back to toiling in obscurity for four more years to earn another chance to get laughed off the international stage.

Today, all that changed. The US and Ghana were expected to lose again and the Czech Republic and Italy were expected to seal the deal on advancing to the second round.  In both cases, denied! Ghana started the day off right with smart, efficient and enthusastic play that generated lots of opportunities at goal and thwarted the efforts of the Czech Republic.  If they didn't have to play my countrymen next, I'd be cheering for them after a performance like that. Then, the US took the field and used their guts and every last calorie they had carbo loaded to hold Italy to a 1-1 draw while playing a man down for the entire second half. I loved watching them dig and dig and keep their chins up and shots headed at the Italian net. So a group that looked like a done deal became a group where literally anything can still happen.  Any of these teams could still advance. If that's not the definition of the group of death… well, I might not what is anyway, seeing as this is only my second World Cup as an impassioned fan. 

My advice for my countrymen is inspired by this heart-warming NYT article about a class full of immigrant kids putting on a production of the Wizard of Oz: go to the Wizard!  Get some extra heart, brains, legs, players without red cards, whatever it takes! Just get it!  Play the game I and all the other American fans know you can play on Thursday! I'll be cheering, with pride. 

The Czech Republic = ugly all day long. Case in point Pavel Nedved:


This guy looks like what would happen if Bjorn Borg's and Owen Wilson's faces got into a car accident with each other. Sorry Neddy, two not hot's do not make a hot. And not even your supposedly legendary footwork could keep your team from getting the 2-nil drubbing you so richly deserved. Go Ghana… just don't beat the US.

Also, Ramen of the Iranian team is off the All-World Hotties team. One of his teammates kicked Figo in the face. Thuggish behavior with spikes gets a big not hot from yours truly.