When Something Is Too Long

Today I wage war against diacritics and France!

Right. So one of the projects I’m working on today is Word clean-up because Word does not play nice with anybody. Every month, one of the Librarians sends out a little e-mail to all the profs saying “Look! These are our cool new books!” The profs then can have a little look see at all our cool new books because the e-mail includes all the bibliographic data plus a link to the online catalog. However, it doesn’t even come close to starting out all pretty and readable like because of Word. You know, I do believe Word will be the scapegoat for today. Coffee spilled? Blame Word. Didn’t get a raise? Totally because of Word. I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you tonight because I’ve got Word. See? Easy.

Anyway, when the Librarian pulls all the relevant info from the catalog database and pops it into Word, good old Word shits the bed. Word has its own funky view of how things should be formatted and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty what it does to the info it gets from the catalog database. So, I get to spend a good deal of time deleting extra return lines and funky breaks in the middle of the entries and doing diacritic disaster recovery. Word just will not deal with them.

Man, I hate diacritics, no offense to you people who have them. My stance is either make them all universal so everybody has to use every one (and wouldn’t THAT be a hoot? We’d look like we were all speaking 1337) or get rid of the whole lot. I want it so that I have one keyboard with all my options right there and readily accessible rather than having to CTR-ALT-PLUS SIGN-TILDE-CAPITAL A-RIGHT PARENTHESIS to get a Q hat character. Don’t even talk to me about the insert symbol function. Until Word can get its ass together and put ALL THE DAMN LETTERS TOGETHER that are being wonked with, the symbol insert is dead to me. Really, why can’t all the Es be in one place? Have you ever looked at the symbol insert field? It’s got three or maybe four alphabets in a row with different letter hats. I hate scrolling through the alphabet twice looking for little e up hat, why cant there be one run of E with everything you possibly can do to an E in any language?

Arrrgh!

Where was I before I went off on my diacritic rant? OH! Word. Anyway, I was tooling thorough the new list and came across this title:

ACTES DU COLLOQUE SUR LES STATIONS SPATIALES HABIT�ES–ASPECTS JURIDIQUES : PARIS 7-8 NOVEMBRE 1989 = PROCEEDINGS OF THE COLLOQUIUM ON MANNED SPACE STATIONS–LEGAL ISSUES / ORGANIS� PAR LE GROUPE DE TRAVAIL SUR LE DROIT DE L’ESPACE [ET] INSTITUT DE DROIT COMPAR�, UNIVERSIT� PARIS II [ET] CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE (CNRS), AVEC LE CONCOURS DE L’AGENCE SPATIALE EUROP�ENNE (ESA) ET DU CENTRE NATIONAL D’�TUDES SPATIALES (CNES) ; RESPONSABLE DE L’�DITION, DUC UYENNE.

That’s eight lines of text in a standard 1 inch margin formatted Word document. EIGHT LINES! And it’s not even German (where it would only be a four word title and still eight lines long), it’s French. Silly French. Eight lines of text for a title seems a little excessive to me. Then again, if you can remember the whole title (and booyaw to you if you can!), the chances of you getting an erroneous hit in a catalog database search is virtually nil.

Oh say, speaking of bazillion letter long German words, here’s a helpful hint for figuring them out: The Germans refuse to create new words and are awfully fond of the compound word. Words. The Germans invented compound words, actually. And that’s the thing; most hideously long German words are a bunch of tiny words stuck together in a codependent descriptive string. They also -ixes the beejeebus out of their tiny words so once you learn what the -ixes are, you can basically ignore them. Really, all the -ixes do is change the word slightly. Like Schnitt (noun: cut). Add an ab- to the front of it and it now means amputation. Stick an -er at the end and it’s an amputee. Stuff a -chen after than and it’s a tiny amputee. Maybe only a finger or something.

OK, kidding. Sort of. But next time you happen to run into a word like Pers�nlichkeitsrechtsverletzungen, you can face it with the knowledge that eventually you will be able to distil it down into ‘violation of personal rights’. Yeah. The Germans have a single word to describe the notion of violation of personal rights. Is anyone else wondering if German is the Romanized way of writing Chinese characters? No? Well alright then.


Last year at the booniverse: For cripes sake, I’ve seen Citizen Kane about a bazillion times in bits and fragments I’VE PAID MY DUES!!!!.


Last year at the booniverse: I wonder how many posts I write that begin “I’m in a foul-assed cranky mood, damnit!”


The year before at the booniverse: Annie was a good dog and we all loved her. Head scritchies for you, little pup wherever you are.

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