Monday, August 29, 2011


My camera has just returned from an extended vacation on Long Island. I was almost entirely unable to blog without it, so I'm very glad it's back. I hope it had a good time, but it's hard to tell what its expressions mean. All it ever really does is wink.

There are two photos my camera was holding hostage in its absence, that I wanted to post when I was posting about Vermont:

1. This is Henry VIII, formerly Hildegarde. Evidently chicks look gender-neutral for quite some time.

I'm Henery the eighth, I am.

2. These are three of Henry VIII's six cohabiting hens.

Something fascinating is happening stage left.

Henrygarde and the hens live at my cousin's house in Vermont, where they huddle in a quite spacious shelter, get their food delivered for free, and have access to excellent constellations. I am a bit jealous. The chickens have it better than I do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Fish in Question

This is the original fish that I was thinking of in the previous post. If I have never posted this picture before, I will be shocked, because this remains one of my most favorite pictures ever. It's a terribly old flattened fish, you guys! You can thank my sister for telling me to take this picture. Or she might have taken it herself with my camera. All I remember is that she was there and she is responsible.

Microsoft Office 2010 Adds Unique Feature For Your Dead-Fish-Themed Design Needs

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Sometimes academic databases are extremely picky about your search terms. For example, in the MLA International Bibiliography, you can search for "Doyle, Arthur Conan" and get zero results, even though MLA is all about literature, and Arthur Conan Doyle is an incredibly well-known writer. You know he's in there, you just can't get at him.

Fortunately, MLA provides a "thesaurus" that allows you to look up the correct way to enter your search term. Arthur Conan Doyle, apparently, should be listed as "Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur." GOOD GRIEF.

It seems a lot of people are frustrated by this system, and here is how you can tell: MLA gives you access to a list of all the search terms that other people have used. The idea is that you can use this to double-check that you're spelling things right, or see if someone else has figured out a better search term for your topic. But the side effect is that it also captures the deranged ravings of frustrated researchers for all posterity. If you just type in "A," you are provided with this nice selection of anguished cries from English majors:

Finding things like this is one of the hidden joys of working with databases. (One of about about two.)