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

March 14, 2005: P.S. A Column On Things

March 14, 2005 Vol. 7, No. 10

Table of Contents:

General News

  • You Like Me, Really
  • Throwing A Bottle
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs (taking a week off)
  • Harvard B School Hacked(?)

Humor

  • None

Movies

  • Bride and Prejudice
  • Komediant

Letters

  • Carroll Cat Column, Jayson Blair, Cronkite Dishes Rather, Kent Peterman finds Wing, Dan Grobstein File

General News

You Like Me, Really

Sometimes, I wonder if there is any point to this column. Of course, the main point is that I love to write and this gives me an outlet where there is, at least, a chance someone else will read it. In fact, according to anonymous statistics gathered by my counter, I get an average of 44 viewers a day (2209 over 50 days; 308 per week). Since I only send out 118 notifications, it may mean that I have a lot of readers I don't know and don't know about. Or, as Jim Forbes pointed out to me once, half my traffic could be spiders.

But last week the level of readership was brought home to me when three of you pointed out two technical errors in the column. Both were down near the middle. Not only are you reading, you are clicking on the links. For this I am grateful, as always. I'll keep turning this out as long as you're willing to keep reading it. Longer, probably.

Throwing A Bottle

There are two items much on my mind this week. They aren't related, except in that I find it impossible to resolve them, and, as a former journalist, this offends me.

Nancy Wilson taught music at Beaumont Elementary School in Portland, Oregon in 1964. I was a student of hers. I couldn't remember her name until I called two of my beloved grade school teachers who are still alive, well and kicking, Chuck Nakvasil and Donnaclaire Taylor. They remembered her name. But the school district says she left in 1965 and isn't drawing a pension from them, so they have no idea where she is. Why am I looking for her? Because I still sing songs from the musicals Oliver and The Music Man, which she taught us to sing. My daughters said that any teacher who had a lifelong impact like that on me deserves a thank you. If I can ever find her, I'll give her one.

The other item is Frank Capra's 1928 silent film Power of the Press. I think it should be released on a DVD. I was privileged to see it at the UCLA Film and Television Archive after reading about it in Joe Saltzman's excellent book Frank Capra and the Image of the Journalist in American Film. The Archive isn't sure who owns the rights, but suggested I contact Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment. I can't get anyone to answer a phone call or a fax over there. Can anyone help? This is a great film, and it should be released. If it's just money, I'll raise the money to get it released. Surely there's some entertainment lawyer among my readers who would run interference for me, pro bono. Or could, at least, tell me which hoops I have to jump through to bring this great film to more than the dozen or so people who've seen it in the last 75 years.

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:

So the flu has been kicking my ass for four or five days. I've kind of lost count. For two whole days I didn't leave my room. E and O offered to get me stuff. Since I wasn't able to make it to E's housewarming this weekend I felt bad asking her to get me stuff, but she ran into O in the market fetching me oranges so she knows I really am sick. I've mainly been eating oranges and bananas and orange juice. I've forced myself to have a little granola or pasta each day too even though food hasn't been so appealing lately. I slept twelve hours almost, each of the last two nights and I do think it has helped, but every time I feel like I'm getting better i do something a little too overzealous.

Yesterday I walked around Leiden with O and thought I was doing fine till we tried to go shopping at Albert Heijn, and Rae knows how loud and crazy it can be there, no central staation, but still, and I just freaked out and had to leave. I don't know if it was the light or heat change or the people but I couldn't think. Later after watching too many six feet under I temporarily lost my ability to focus my eyes.

And after some biking last night I aggravated the cough I thought I'd gotten rid of. Today I need to make up for the academic nothingness that has been my weekend. If I get lightheaded I might just tell my professors in class I was sick.

But I'm looking forward to my Chinese language exchange with my teacher today, so I'm going to at least do that. Actually one of my Chinese housemates brought me oranges last night, six which is a fortuitous number in Chinese, unlike say four, which would have implied he wanted me to die, and I was touched because I had rather wanted someone just to stop by.

Well that's all the adventures from here. Wear layers when it snows.

Political Notes

W. David Jenkins III runs a nice little anti-Bush website, and writes columns for the Project For An Old American Century. On March 6, his column points out that, when it comes to preaching vibrant democracy, it is possible George Bush has a problem with the emperor's clothes thing (Oh George, You Can't Be Serious).

***

Briefs

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Taking a week off for the Game Developers Conference.

Harvard B School Hacked(?)

Bob Nilsson notes that "Apparently the "hack" was simply using a modified URL at the ApplyYourself site. There's a discussion on a Harvard blog.

That is Philip Greenspun, an old MIT AI Lab hand, saying that calling this a case of "hacking" demeans the term "hack". Mostly he rips the incompetence of the grad schools and the service they used to handle online applications.

Humor

None

Movies

Bride and Prejudice

Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham revisits her old familiar ground of culture clash, but in a lovely new form, as she tackles a modern update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As you can imagine, since she sets it in Amritsar, India and LA, she's taken a few liberties with the story. And it's a little jarring to hear Martin Henderson announced as Will Darcy, just because we all know the name. But as usual, the Internet Movie Database sums it up well:

Tagline: Bollywood meets Hollywood... And it's a perfect match

Plot Outline: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice gets a Bollywood treatment.

By the way, Aishwarya Rai asLalita Bakshi, the fiery sister, is beautiful and amazing, even when she's singing some silly and wildly inappropriate song. The musical numbers are colorful, fun to listen to and way too long, not to mention oddly placed and bunched together. Still, since Hollywood won't touch a musical anymore, it's up to India to provide us with this kind of entertainment. Just one more kind of professional work we've outsourced, I guess.

Komediant

This documentary about the Burstein family of Yiddish theater performers is spectacular. Rae and I wanted to see it when it was in theaters (it played a Jewish film festival in Marin and had a brief commercial release in the San Francisco area), but our schedules never quite meshed with the show times, and then it was gone. Well, got bless the DVD and Netflix (I defy you to find this on the shelf at Blockbuster). A skillful mix of interviews and archive footage, it traces the family's career trajectory in New York, Israel and South America. It is touching, moving, clever, witty and downright enjoyable. If you have the slightest interest in Judaica, rent it.

Letters

Carroll Cat Column, Jayson Blair, Cronkite Dishes Rather, Kent Peterman finds Wing, Dan Grobstein File

Is there anything better in this life than a Jon Carroll cat column? I don't think so.

Disgraced former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair will come to speak to you about journalistic ethics if you pay him.

Wolf Blitzer interviews Walter Cronkite, who is still a class act. Thank you, Robert Malchman.

From Kent Peterman:

Wing. This is a goody. Not since the days of Mrs. Miller has there been a singer with such voice, such vibrato.

I have scoured the Internet and no one else has said this yet. Does it occur to anyone that the Wing site may be a joke?

Dan Grobstein File

New York Times

  • TECHNOLOGY | March 7, 2005
    On EBay, E-Mail Phishers Find a Well-Stocked Pond
    By IAN AUSTEN
    EBay's domination of the online auction business and its heavy dependence on e-mail communication make its users particularly vulnerable to online scams.
  • TECHNOLOGY | March 10, 2005
    Another Data Broker Reports a Breach
    By TOM ZELLER Jr.
    The LexisNexis Group, a major compiler of legal and consumer information, said on Wednesday that information on about 30,000 people may have fallen into the hands of thieves.
  • OPINION | March 8, 2005
    Op-Ed Columnist: The Debt-Peonage Society
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    An ideologically driven effort is eroding away government protection from personal misfortune.
  • OPINION | March 8, 2005
    Op-Ed Contributor: I Shopped Them All
    By LETITIA BALDRIDGE
    Sometimes I feel as though my life has been defined by the department stores I have known and loved.

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