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Jason Holliston
Wednesday, March 23, 2005  
MIDI Clementine

Sometimes adventures on the Internet can lead you to the most unexpected places. You see the title of this post, MIDI Clementine, and you probably wonder how I found something like this. Well.

A new tech(ish) blog I've been reading somewhat daily is Lifehacker. One of the interesting features it'll have periodically is HOWTO roundups. Today, one of the HOWTO's was how to change your name legally (no, I'm not considering changing my name, but I was curious). Clicked on that link, which brought me to an Ask Yahoo page answering the question. At the bottom of the answer, the author made a funny: "Otherwise, you're free to be John Smith, John Doe, or John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, if you want."

Here's where it gets weird. The link for John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt brings you to a site with tons of MIDI songs and lyrics. Who runs the site? Noneother than the The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. They have tons of information, activities, and yes, songs for kids. Some quick research reveals this:

The NIEHS Kids' Pages is a government (non-profit) educational website authorized by a 1997 Presidential Memorandum. It is designed to:

* teach children about the connections between their health and the environment;
* encourage children to pursue careers in health, science, and the environment;
* explain the mission of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and
* assist children in learning to read and master challenging mathematics and science.

The NIEHS Kids' Pages include a wide variety of fun activities designed to attract children to this website where they can learn about the impact of the environment on human health, the NIEHS mission, and possible careers in health, medicine, science, mathematics, and the environment.

I won't want to use the word waste in this particular instance. I'm sure it's helped a lot of kids in it's time on the web. Instead, I'll just call it -- redundant. I mean, "assist children in learning to read and master challenging mathematics and science."? Can you think of any other government program that might fill that need? Really, the best explanation for this site is simply bored bureaucrats, trying their damnest to look useful and worth their salary.

Oh, and back to the title of this post -- Clementine. I've never read all the lyrics to this song. Pretty strange song, and definitely a product of a different time:

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.


How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Quite the uplifting song! The Scout's version is even better: sing it out loud for the full experience!

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