Wiki Wednesday #31

31 10 2007

Paper Ticket
From my sickbed, here’s this week’s WW.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.


e-Booking is a shortened form of the phrase ‘Electronic Booking’, and is in common use in Healthcare settings for the use of Information Technology systems to enable hospital appointments to be booked electronically.

It usually refers to the booking of an appointment into one service from another, e.g., from a Primary Care physician to a hospital. It replaces archaic methods of referral which can take a considerable length of time, and offer limited choice to patients.

This is a pretty poor article, and, unfortunately, Wikipedia still has its share of those. It’s entirely unclear, for instance, why the article suggests that e-booking is primarily done in the medical business. The original author of the article appears to be British, though, so maybe e-booking has that particular connotation there. In the States, of course, e-booking probably first came to prominence in the travel industry. (I felt naked the first time I went to the airport with an e-ticket, and I bet you did, too. Naked. Heh.) Anyway, the article on e-booking only mentions travel e-booking as an aside, near the end.

Wait, there’s more. Wikipedia currently contains a different article on eBooking—the kind that occurs without the hyphen, I guess. According to that article, eBooking is “an electronic transaction between a citizen and a government service.” Government services hate hyphens, you know? So there are two articles on this, er, concept, and they’re both overly specific.

For four months, by the way, these two articles have been tagged with a message suggesting that Wikipedia editors consider merging the content. There’s very little interest in that discussion, though. In fairness, it’s hard to imagine who’d be passionate enough about the topic to make it her very own special project.

I’m going back to bed now.


Wike Wednesday #30

24 10 2007

Despite the quiet here, I’m alive. I’m just being overwhelmed at work. In fact, I’m so overworked that I’m fantasizing about giving up all the glamor and fame to open up a miniature golf course somewhere in the Ozarks. That sounds nice and peaceful.

In the meantime, though, it’s time for the WW.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.


Oranżada is a Polish soft drink. It dates to 18th century, and came to Poland from France. Its main ingredients were water, sugar or syrup, and orange juice. In 19th and 20th century an industrial variant of the drink was created, based on powdered juice, and other artificial ingredients. Powdered oranżada was also created in 20th century. The drink is imported and marketed in the United States by United World Imports. It is called the “Original Formula” on the bottle. The standard bottle size is 20 fl. oz (592 ml) and it has the Polish Coat of Arms on the front.

Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Oranżada. I’ve also never had the pleasure of putting a diacritical mark above a ‘z’ before…. I can’t even figure out how to use an alt code to get a ż to print out. Thanks goodness for cutting and pasting.

This must be the website for Oranżada.

Just a few weeks ago, in a different WW, I confessed to having mixed feelings about Poland. The WW apparently wants me to think about Polish things.

Wiki Wednesday #29

17 10 2007

It’s been too long since I mentioned that The Long Cut, one of my favorite blogs, turned me onto the WW….

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Sorakichi Matsuda

Sorakichi Matsuda (1859 – August 16, 1891) was a professional wrestler. He is recognized as the first Japanese-born Western-style professional wrestler, though he was unsuccessful in bringing the sport to his homeland.

According to the rest of the Wikipedia article, Matsuda was a sumo wrestler who came to the United States in 1883.  Matsuda must have been among the earliest wave of Japanese immigrants to the United States.

Have I ever mentioned here that I follow sumo wrestling?  Well, I do.  Fairly closely.  (Is it any wonder I’m still single?!)  That doesn’t have much to do with Matsuda, I know, but the WW often consists of my near-random ruminations on things.  So you’re not surprised by my lack of focus, I’m guessing….

The Wikipedia piece ends with the saddest note: On August 16, 1891, [Matsuda] died in New York City at age 32, of an illness, without money and friends.

Without money and friends?  I was already feeling a little lonely and, well, blah tonight.  Dang, that’s depressing.

Wiki Wednesday #28

10 10 2007

Obviously, I haven’t done much blogging lately. Sorry about that! Last week, I was feeling more than a little run-down, and I just didn’t seem to have the energy to blog. Just when I was feeling a little better, I impulsively decided to spend the long weekend (my office was closed for Columbus Day [sorry, American Indians!]) in D.C. I enjoyed myself there. But when I got back to Philly on Monday, I found myself in the doldrums—a little bit, anyway. The sweep of the Phillies by the Rockies didn’t help. All over again, I didn’t feel much like blogging. Ugh.

But I have a duty tonight, and that’s the Wiki Wednesday! I’m here to do my duty.

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Hopwood Park services

Hopwood Park services is a motorway service station in Worcestershire, England situated off Junction 2 of the M42 motorway on the A441 road to Redditch south of Birmingham. It opened in August 1999. There are many services at the large BP petrol station on the site, such as toilets and retail facilities. The cashpoint machine on-site charges for cash withdrawals.

It is operated by Welcome Break. It has a retail watch shop, coffee lounge, Burger King and a KFC which opened in May 2006.

The independant [sic] Motorway Services Online has Hopwood Park down as the most popular service station, with visitors giving it an average rating of five stars (as of 2007).

Bizarre—it’s an entry for a service stop (er, motorway service area, I guess) on a highway! I’ve included the entire entry here, so we even know what brand of gas we’ll get, that there’s an ATM (thank goodness!), and that we’ll have to make due with a Whopper or some Original Recipe.

Ordinarily, I’d have to ask whether this kind of information is really, well, just too much. After all, the topic of the entry doesn’t seem very noteworthy. But, of course, those crazy, obsessive, thorough, building-their-own-culture Wikipedians have already considered whether these motorway stops are worthy of their own entries, and the answer—after an obsessive, thorough, highly democratic process—was yes. Wow.

Sadly, the service plazas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike don’t seem to have their own separate entries. Some Wikipedian should get to work on that….

P.S. I’ll try to get my act together and blog about my trip to D.C.

Free Burma

4 10 2007

Free Burma!

Wiki Wednesday #27

4 10 2007

1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Flint Rasmussen

Flint Rasmussen is perhaps the most famous “rodeo clown” or “rodeo barrelman” in the sport of bullriding.

Long associated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Rasmussen earned the title of PRCA Clown of the Year for eight consecutive years and won the Coors Man in the Can honors seven times.

Hey, this is someone I know. Well, not personally. But I’ve seen him in the flesh. And if I’d wanted to, I’m sure I could’ve shaken his hand or gotten his autograph. Hmm, why didn’t I? Suddenly, for probably the first time, I sort of regret not being an autograph hound….

Anyway, as you may know, I’m a rodeo fan. Each December, I head off to Las Vegas for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association‘s National Finals Rodeo. And that’s where I’ve seen Rasmussen (you can find his official website here). Now, as I understand it, Rasmussen works Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events instead, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him at some off-the-field event in Vegas this December.

Actually—and, yes, I’m getting a little far afield now—I don’t think the PBR has been particularly good for rodeo. The PBR fetishizes its single event, bull riding, at the expense of the seven other cool rodeo events. (Random “fun” fact: Steer wrestling, a/k/a bulldogging, is my favorite rodeo event.) It may be good for bull riding, but I don’t think it’s good for rodeo.

I also just don’t think all that bull riding provides particularly good spectating. I probably haven’t mentioned this, but about 20 years ago, and for about 20 minutes, I did some sports writing. During that time, I covered a pre-PBR event that consisted solely of bull riding, and there just wasn’t enough variety to sustain my interest. It was a long night (actually two long nights), punctuated only the briefest of moments—seconds, literally—of excitement. I yearned for some variety.

You get variety at an actual rodeo. You get bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, calf roping (euphemistically known these days as “tie-down roping,” so you’ll forget a calf’s involved), barrel racing, and bull riding. (And maybe steer roping, too.) That’s a night of entertainment.

But, um, back to Rasmussen. He’s one of the premier rodeo clowns. In modern rodeo, that means he entertains the audience from the barrel (that only occasionally gets used to interfere with a grumpy bull). It’s the bullfighters who typically do more of the nasty business of getting between bulls and the cowboys who find themselves in the dirt.

Wiki Wednesday #26

3 10 2007

During last week’s travels, I forgot to do the WW. Did you miss it? Hmm. Well, to catch up, you’re getting two doses today.

As always, I go to Wikipedia, click on “random article,” and report on the outcome.


TraderTalk is the language used by the cultural group Traders in Tamora Pierce’s fantasy world Emlan [sic] (Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens ).

Huh? Gosh, I feel so out of it. Since the Wikipedia entry is so spare, this required some research to understand.

Tamora Pierce, it seems, is a fantasy author who set a couple of her series in Emelan (not Emlan, as the Wikipedia entry for TraderTalk indicates). Traders are apparently an unpopular race of, um, beings. TraderTalk, anyway, is their language. There are a few TraderTalk words in the entry (lugsha means artisan, for instance), but I don’t think you’ll learn very much from the list.

Perhaps Probably more interesting than any of this is the warning that a Wikipedia editor slapped (in May 2007) on the entry for TraderTalk:

The subject of this article may not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. If you are familiar with the subject matter, please expand or rewrite the article to establish its notability. The best way to address this concern is to reference published, third-party sources about the subject. If notability cannot be established, the article is more likely to be considered for deletion, per Wikipedia:Guide to deletion.

Basically, the “notability guideline” asks whether a Wikipedia entry is worthy of notice. With all due respect, I tend to think TraderTalk probably doesn’t merit the attention of even a comprehensive online encyclopedia.

But, hey, I’m not saying that Pierce (you can find her official website here) and her work—which is apparently for young readers—aren’t worthy of mention in Wikipedia. By itself, though, TraderTalk seems pretty darn obscure.

I’ve never heard of Pierce, but that doesn’t mean much. Does anyone out there follow her work?