Tuesday, August 26, 2003

And you thought you were behind schedule . . .

Languagehat reports:
At Deccan College in Pune (Poona) they've been working on a massive Sanskrit-English dictionary since 1948—and are still on the letter A. It's true they don't have computers ("'We’re hoping for computers in one or two years,' said Kshirsagar, not sounding very hopeful"), but that still seems awfully slow, and "political pressure is growing to finish the project."

I love the part about how "political pressure is growing to finish the project." Or at least get to the letter B, maybe?

It reminds me of a story my girlfriend told me about a castle somewhere in Germany that took 500 years to build. I said, "Wow, can you imagine starting a project knowing it would take 500 years to finish?" She said, "No, at first they only thought it would take 100 years." I said, "Even weirder, can you imagine being 400 years behind schedule?"

Villagers: "When will the castle be done?"

Engineer: "Oh, if all goes well, I think it will be ready in another 6 months."

Villagers: "Oh yeah? Well that's what your ancestors told our ancestors 350 years ago, you slacker!"

Engineer: "There have been some delays, yes, but we're working on it. It will be done soon."

Villagers: "Well, we've changed our minds. We don't want a castle any more."

Engineer: "What?!"

Villager 1: "We want a golf course."

Villager 2: "Yeah! With big water hazards, a fountain, and undulating greens!"

Engineer: "Undulat . . . wait, you can't cancel the castle project now, it's almost done! You can't just throw away hundreds of years of work!"

Villager 1: "Castles are so 200-years-ago. They're practically obsolete now."

Engineer: "No, it will still be quite useful, really, and it will a handsome landmark there on the hill. It will bring in tourism which will help the town's economy."

Villagers: [chanting] "Golf course! Golf course!"

Engineer: "OK, look, we'll build a small 9-hole course over there, by the side of the castle, but you have to give us more time for the castle itself . . . at least until spring."

Villager 1: "Sure, whatever. Just make sure there's at least one par 5 with a dogleg."

No comments: