Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Spanning the Globe

Just realized my title comes from ABC's Wide World of Sports. This post will have nothing to do with that.

When I was a kid my mom was suckered into buying a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I remember when the salesman came to visit. It was a rainy day and I was playing with our old typewriter in the dining room/office.

I say that my mom was suckered, but the books actually served some useful purposes, mainly cheap entertainment. Yves and I mostly used them to look up random non school-related subjects, such as "rare dog breeds" and "whales." Once my friend had been flipping through it and found some really disgusting pictures of skin diseases. We then spent the whole day looking at pictures and saying, "Ewww!"

Between World Book and Childcraft, we were set.

Until I hit the 5th grade. For some reason they didn't consider World Book to be a real "scholarly" encyclopedia, and we were not allowed to use it as a reference for our reports. Much to my chagrin, I had to start spending time at the library instead of the comfort of my own bedroom. I also had to learn how to use the incredibly complicated Encyclopedia Brittanica, the scholarly book of choice for my school.

What annoyed me the most was the snobby way Mr. Snobby Brittanica decided to classify his snobby encyclodias. None of this simpleton A-C. Oh no no. We had to have Aardvark to Czech and so on. I spent a year avoiding them, because I had no idea that the aforementioned classification was actually a way of saying A-Z.

I learned a lot of stuff the hard way.

In any case, it has been years since I've opened up an encyclopedia, and tonight while in the process of restoring my computer, I happenstanced upon a World Book software program that I didn't know I had.

Pay dirt!

I now have a project for my last month in France. I am going to become the smartest person in the world. Because not only do I have an interactive 3 dimensional globe that will pinpoint any city and distance in the world, I have an array of interesting facts at my fingertips. I also have a wide sampling of music from around the world, including the National Anthems of all our favorite countries, like Bhutan and Brunei Darussalam.

Oh sure, you go ahead and laugh now, but who's going to be the more interesting party guest? And when the band starts to play Druk tsendhen who's going to look smarter when they can sing along? Who?

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