Sunday, April 09, 2006

Yes, Virginia. . .

Until last week, I believed that most info printed was "the truth." Like the story of Virginia O'Hanlon in "The Sun."


"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

(sidenote: I still believe in Santa.)

Oh sure, I know people can write articles with a slant. . .that's why there are editorials. . . but I trusted GOOGLE to be a great source of information. I found out last week that they can also be a great source of misinformation ----- unintentionally. Zheljko put me on to that. Thanks!

You see, I took a photo in front the library where I now work. . . and I asked online if it was a TULIP TREE? The blossoms certainly looked like it and there were no leaves (the leaves come on after the blossoms fall off) and the thick branches looked like photos I found on the internet of Tulip Trees.

Some people on the internet told me it was a Japanese Magnolia tree instead. I said I believed GOOGLE was a good source of information and would call my photo a "Tulip Tree." I talked to the reference librarians after work. They brought out about 6 books. We found out it is a Magnolia Tree after all -- not a Japanese one but a Chinese one. (The library also has a "grounds info book" and it was labeled as the Chinese Magnolia and its scientific name.)

What we decided is that anyone can mis-label something on their website on the internet and GOOGLE picks it up as a graphic and labels it what the mis-label already is. Thus the mystery is solved about why the exact same blossoms I had a photo of could be labeled wrong on the internet in a GOOGLE search.

I love learning new things! That's why I miss teaching. . . I always learned more when I was teaching.

No comments: