Archive for November, 2002

Zee oozeer dey, I recelled thet vhee I ves a keed, oone-a ooff my fefureete-a segments ooff “Zee Mooppet Shoo” ves zee Svedeesh Cheff. Noo, I hefen’t seee “Zee Mooppet Shoo” in eges, su I deceeded tu see-a vhet zee internet cuoold toorn up in oorder tu teke-a a treep doon memury lune-a. Vhet I fuoond is foorzeer pruuff thet zee internet is joost a geeunt repuseetury ooff useless theengs. Speceefficelly, I fuoond zee Incheffereezer. Thees prugrem, vheech is efeeeleble-a oon a fereeety ooff cumpooteeng pletffurms, veell cunfert Ingleesh text intu Muck Svedeesh sooeeteble-a fur zee Svedeesh Cheff heemselff. I elsu fuoond a seete-a veet leenks tu luts ooff cleeps ooff zee Svedeesh Cheff frum “Zee Mooppet Shoo”. Bork Bork Bork!


The other day, I recalled that when I was a kid, one of my favorite segments of “The Muppet Show” was the Swedish Chef. Now, I haven’t seen “The Muppet Show” in ages, so I decided to see what the internet could turn up in order to take a trip down memory lane. What I found is further proof that the internet is just a giant repository of useless things. Specifically, I found the Encheferizer. This program, which is available on a variety of computing platforms, will convert English text into Mock Swedish suitable for the Swedish Chef himself. I also found a site with links to lots of clips of the Swedish Chef from “The Muppet Show”.

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After class today, I went to Office Depot to pick up some supplies, including some bookends. I found everything I needed and checked out using my credit card. While checking out, however, I noticed that the total seemed a little low. When I checked the receipt, I noticed that the cashier had only charged me for 1 of the 3 pairs of bookends that I had. It was an easy enough mistake. Due to their “L” shape, they stacked together so well that they seemed like one item. I waited for the cashier to finish checking out the next customer, and then I brought the mistake to her attention so that the situation could be rectified. The cashier and the other person in line were very impressed at my honesty. The other person in line suggested that I should get one of the bookend pairs for free. The cashier responded that she wished that she could, and then told me that she hoped that someone would do something nice for me today. I paid for the other two bookend pairs, and left feeling good about having been honest like a good Christian and Boy Scout.

While driving home, however, I realized that the reactions I got to my honesty make a statement about our view of human nature. In a world saturated by sin, we have learned to expect the worst from our fellow man. Many people, if they were to find themselves in the situation I encountered, would have just walked out of the store and counted it their lucky day. I was tempted to do the same. After all, I could have rationalized such an action by noting that I was willing to pay for the other two pairs of bookends. I handed them to the cashier, and she handed me a bag of stuff for which she simply charged me less than I expected. However, such rationalization would be nothing but a vain attempt to placate my conscience. It wouldn’t change the fact that I would have walked out of the store with two pairs of bookends for which I hadn’t paid. Since we’ve become so accustomed to people taking advantage of others in such situations, we’re surprised when people act honestly, and we feel like we ought to reward them for their good deeds. The guy in line thought I should be rewarded with a free pair of bookends. The cashier thought I should be rewarded through some sort of cosmic system of karma.
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Ever since upgrading to Mac OS X (which is Unix at its core), I have been achieving new levels of geekiness. For example, if you had told me 5 years ago that I would be using a command line interface again, I would have laughed at you until I fell into a Serotonin coma. Today, however, I am quite comfortable using the command line.

I’ve used the command line to change file ownership (chown) and permissions (chmod), to edit configuration files (pico httpd.conf), to perform tasks as root (sudo), to play with MySQL, to install binaries, and most recently, to install Perl modules. (Okay, I know I just lost just about everyone who reads this blog, except Jed. However, if you want to love me, then you must put up with the geek in me. Sorry.) Yes, even command sequences like the one below no longer scare me.

perl Makefile.PL
make test
make install

Mmmmm… Unix…

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A couple of weeks ago I had a cold. All things considered, it wasn’t too bad of a cold I suppose. Mildly sore-throat, nasal congestion, a bit of a cough developing later, but my stock of medication took care of most of the symptoms. After a few days I recovered. In fact, this cold was notable because it fizzled out while I was awake. Usually I just wake up one morning and feel better, but this time, I was sitting at my desk one evening and suddenly noticed that my cold was gone.

This past Tuesday, however, the same cold came back with a vengeance. Apparently, it didn’t get enough of a beating by my immune system last time around. After a few days of intense battle, the tide is finally turning back to my favor. I’ll be sure to crush the virus thoroughly this time.

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Okay, usually I’m not one to toot my own proverbial horn, but on this occasion you’ll have to excuse me. I recently remembered this story, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

During spring break of my junior year of college I went with a group of my fellow Fummers1 to Lynchburg, Virginia to participate in Habitat for Humanity. We spent the week working with a bunch of Americorps volunteers on various projects in the area including demolition, completing a foundation, and putting the finishing touches on a remodeling project.

For our last day there, we got together with the Americorps volunteers for a barbecue at a local park, and then that night we went out to a local coffee-house/bar type night-spot for some live music, billiards, and drinks. While we were there waiting for the band to show up, the Americorps volunteers were drinking fairly heavily, as they were apt to do, and they were also giving a bunch of alcohol to the underage F&M people present. After awhile it become apparent that the band wasn’t going to show up, so we all decided it was time to leave. Some of the F&M people wanted to go back to the church where we had been staying all week to call it a night, but the other F&M people and a handful of the Americorps volunteers wanted to go to “the river” to finish off the large quantity of beer that the Americorps volunteers had bought for the barbecue that day. In order to facilitate the desires of both groups, it was decided that we’d pile the 15 F&M students who were there and the handful of Americorps volunteers into our 15 passenger van, drive over to the Americorps house to pick up the beer and a few more people, and then drive to the church to drop off the people who wanted to call it a night.
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