PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.

Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.

I have a day job. So every word of this is my opinion, not that of my employer. This offer IS void in Wisconsin. Except, of course, that some material in this column comes from incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Sans Serif type font to distinguish it from the (somewhat) original material.


To Pay For This Column Voluntarily
Tales of Teaching 2004
Tales of Teaching 2005

January 31, 2005: P.S. A Column On Things

January 31, 2005 Vol. 7, No. 4

Table of Contents:

General News

  • Behind is Behind
  • Groundhog Day
  • Mindfulness
  • Cleaning Up
  • Marlow in the Netherlands
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Humor

  • Dear Abby

Movies

  • The Choir, House of Flying Daggers

Letters

  • Dan Grobstein File

General News

Behind is Behind

The behinder I get, the behinder I get. I have mostly cleared the two and three week old urgent material off my desk, but at a terrible cost. I am another week behind in my online course--will I finish in time? It does give me a warm feeling to be able to see my desktop. Now if I could just see how to finish Unit Two of the second-term computer course for new teachers...

Mindfulness

As they told me at Mindfulness class, it is a good idea to divide your stress sources into four groups: Important/Can't change, Important/Can Change, Unimportant/Can't change, and Unimportant/Can Change. Work on the Important/Can change first, then the Unimportant/Can change. Forget about the unimportant/can't change. And learn to live with, to reach an accommodation with, important/can't change. Perhaps you can't change the source of such stress, but you can change the way you react to it.

Cleaning Up

For our first visit to clean out the house my mother-in-law lived in for more than 50 years, LA was warm and smoggy. We filled two dumpsters and two bays of the garage, and all we cleaned out was the garage, the studio and Lynne's room.

I photographed all the artwork and the digital camera malfunctioned (I failed to initialize the compact flash card), so I have to shoot it all again. Lynne's charcoal sketches, all from 1935, are amazing!

Groundhog Day (The Movie) and Buddhism

Welcome to another perennial item. I run this one every year in conjunction with Groundhog Day, since the Bill Murray movie of the same name is my favorite movie of all times.

FLASH: The University of California has published a new Groundhog Day book, by Ryan Gilbey.

I went to a showing of Groundhog Day sponsored by the San Francisco Zen Center on Friday, Aug. 10, 2001, held in the Trustees' Auditorium of the Asian Art Museum in Golden Gate Park (relocating in October 2002 to the old SF Main library in the civic center).

I have so much to say about this exciting, exhilarating, eye-opening experience that it is now a subsite entitled Groundhog Day The Movie, Buddhism and Me, which includes a description of that seminal showing, commentary, and links to other sites that deal with the connection. While noticing the connection between this movie and Buddhism is not particularly profound, it was news to me, and the nuances were explored in a particularly exciting fashion during the Zen Center presentation. My set of pages are rapidly gaining ground as the authoritative center for GHD/Buddhism commentary on the web. I brush it up and add new material regularly, so if you haven't been there in a while, take a look.

In the meantime, exciting news about GHD writer Danny Rubin, whose web page has disappeared [if you know where it went, let me know], taking with it his bio, a list of his works in progress (exciting) and a list of his sold films (also exciting), which includes:

Variety July 11, 2001: Revolution Studios has picked up a pitch called "The Hanging Tale" from scribe Danny Rubin ("Groundhog Day") for low six figures to be produced with Jim Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment.

I won't of course, print the entire Variety article, but I did find a reference to it which adds another tantalizing detail:

The film, THE HANGING TALE, is described as being a PRINCESS BRIDE-esque tale about an Old West cowboy who spins yarns about his search for Spanish treasures before his scheduled public hanging.

The other film in the works:

Variety, July 19, 2001: Propaganda Films has optioned the romantic comedy spec "Martian Time" from "Groundhog Day" scribe Danny Rubin.

No word on release dates for these films; I'll keep looking for them. Go Danny!

Marlow in The Netherlands

Marlow is in The Netherlands right now, at Leiden University, working on her degree in International Relations. Here's what's new from her: nothing she wants to talk about.

Political Notes

Much I could write about this week, but I'll limit myself to saying I am sickened and appalled by the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) filed by the Ohio Secretary of State against the attorneys who brought suit against the state for running a fraudulent election. Apparently telling the truth in Ohio is against the law. Among the allegations is that the lawyers who brought the suit slandered the Ohio Secretary of State. In Britain, if a slander is true, that makes it worse. I always thought that, in this country, if what you said is true, it isn't slander--in short, that truth is the perfect defense. Is that no longer the case? Check back here after Wednesday, and if there is news in the stupid court case, I'll post it.

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Google on fire: news just keeps pouring out of the Googleplex. The Times of London says Google is about to launch a VoIP telephone service. They also recently hired a lead Firefox programmer effectively subsidizing his work on Firefox. In the short run this suggests close cooperation between Google and Firefox. In the longer term it may have something to do with the long rumored "Google Browser." Us technogeeks were thrilled that Google raised the number of words in a query to 32 up from 10. Google's "do no evil" credo has lead them to always clearly label what are search results and what are paid ads, yet: Users Confuse Search Results, Ads. Perhaps this week's hottest Cool New Thing was the introduction of Google Video which allows you to search closed captioning in broadcast video and associates occasional still images with the text. I used it the first time Friday morning when I wanted to show my daughter a picture of the slow loris I saw on Thursday's Tonight show. I did this Google Video search for "slow loris" and found the animal mentioned on two TV shows: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and on Maury. Very, very cool. The only problem is that without video, you can't see just how slowly the slow loris moves!

Honeypots and Linux safety: from the Spam Conference at MIT two reports on Linux security, as measured by Project Honey Pot: Linux servers safer than ever and Turning the Tables on Spammers. Slightly related, two items on the accelerating switch from IE to Firefox: Firefox continues gains against IE and Security Concerns Prompt Internet Explorer Defections.

Book review: beyond this weekly techno-mockery, I have now weakly branched out into reviewing books written by my friends.

Technobits: Gillmor to Newspapers: Open Your Archives --- Sri Lankan open source crisis management software --- Jailed for using a nonstandard browser --- Hackers Eavesdrop on Phone Networks to Steal Data --- Academics give lessons on blogs --- Machine learns games 'like a human' --- Gibson CEO unveils digital guitar (has both 1/4 inch phono jack and 10baseT Ethernet port) --- NG3 at E3 (via Slashdot) three next-gen game consoles will be on display at E3 in May: PS3, Xbox Next and maybe Nintendo Revolution. --- who really killed the dinosaurs? --- Asteroid named after Douglas Adams --- pick a color, find images: KrazyDad's Color Chooser --- watch the wiki evolve: Heavy Metal Umlaut: The Movie --- viral VW "ad": see the video and read about the flap in the NYTimes or on the Boing Boing web log. .

Humor

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY,

My husband has a long record of money problems. He runs up huge credit card bills. At the end of the month, if I try to pay them off, he shouts at me, saying I am stealing his money. He says pay the minimum and let our kids worry about the rest, but already we can hardly keep up with the interest.

Also he has been so arrogant and abusive toward our neighbors that most of them no longer speak to us. The few that do are an odd bunch, to whom he has been giving a lot of expensive gifts, running up our bills even more.

Also, he has gotten religious in a big way, although I don't quite understand it. One week he hangs out with Catholics and the next with people who say the Pope is the Anti-Christ. And now he has been going to the gym an awful lot and is into wearing uniforms and cowboy outfits, and I hate to think what that means.

Finally, the last straw. He's demanding that before anyone can be in the same room with him, they must sign a loyalty oath. It's just so horribly creepy!

Can you help?

Signed, Lost in DC

DEAR LOST:

Stop whining, Laura. You can divorce the jerk any time you want. The rest of us are stuck with him for four more years!

Movies

The Chorus, House of Flying Daggers

The Chorus is a film that has taken France by storm. If there is any justice, it will take American by storm too. Moving, tender, terrific, full of interesting ideas on how not to teach, and with a message and a moral too. Can't say enough good things about it. House Of Flying Daggers, on the other hand, has been vastly overhyped. You know what; the world has seen people running around in the tops of bamboo trees. We don't need to see it again, especially if it is in the service of a story that isn't all that interesting in the first place. Clever, yes. Eye-candy, yes. Amusing, certainly. Great? No.

Letters

Dan Grobstein File

Lots of good stuff this week, from Dan and others. Much of it will appear next week. Dan found a good Ted Rall comic that explains everything.

New York Times

There were lots more. Sorry Dan. No Time.

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