PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 2 No. 4

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

February 2, 1999

America Held Hostage

I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.

Table of Contents:

General News

  • Senate GOP: Terrorist Group
  • PC Runs Amuck, Morons Run Government

Computer Industry News

  • A Refund from Microsoft?
  • Getting Your Money Back for Windows

Web Site of the Week

  • US Postal Service


  • Joke Correction
  • Y2K Humor
  • A Great Bi-Lingual Typo


  • The letter drought continues

I'm much better thank you. I hated taking a week off, but I literally couldn't sit upright at the keyboard long enough to complete the column. This year's flu is a doozy. I wouldn't be surprised if it is a relative of the 1918 Influenza epidemic, as everyone says. That flu, as you may recall, was particularly virulent among the young and healthy, as opposed to a normal flu, which strikes the young, the old and the weak.

General News

Senate GOP: Terrorist Group

Two weeks ago, I wrote that there are no Profiles in Courage in the U.S. Senate of 1999. Time has only proven how right I was. In fact, America is being held hostage by a gang of terrorists: the Christian Conservative Southern White Men who dominate the Republican party in congress.

The trial is over. The votes aren't there. They are simply dragging out the process, praying for a Hail Mary play, an Alexander Butterfield who will come along and suddenly make their puny, inadequate case into something worth removing a President from office.

Ain't gonna happen, boys. That dog won't hunt. Put away your hats, we know you don't have any cattle.

Any lingering doubts that this is a partisan witch hunt should have been removed by the virtually straight-line party votes in the Senate. If there were something to these charges other than GOP bile, someone (other than Russ Feingold) on either side would have demonstrated independent judgment. Instead, party affiliation was a 99% effective predictor of which way a Senator would vote. They ripped the thin veneer of bipartisanship to shreds and showed this process for what it really is: a GOP vendetta.

I knew the good ol' boys who run the GOP were dumber than mud, but I didn't know they couldn't count. You don't have 66 votes, boys. Put your guns back in the rack and drive on home.

And count the days until Election Day, 2000. Be sure to say a prayer every day that the American people are as dumb as you think they are. I won't bet against you, but I can always hope.

One of the more gaseous pieces of crap to regularly emerge from the House Persecutors... I mean Managers... has been that we must set an example for the children. I saw someone, in an attempt at humor, point out that most baby boomers grew up with Nixon in the White House for seven years. I am sure he was a hero and a role model to the GOP haters now ramming impeachment down the unwilling throats of the American public in an attempt to pull a slow-motion overthrow of the government. Nixon as a role model. That explains a lot.

Got some clear thinking on this from Joe Brancatelli:

See, I don't think the facts are in doubt. Now whether you want to remove the president over this, well, that's the judgment call!

Exactly Joe. I have exercised my judgment. They don't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

And Ross Snyder had this to say:

I did love Bumpers -- exactly the right approach to get the teetering, on both sides, off the hook, while preserving self-righteousness.

I loved him too, Ross.

PC Runs Amuck; Morons Run Government

In case you missed this story, I feel obliged to bring it to your attention.

It is not a pretty picture and does not require a single word of comment from me. File it under, "What the hell is the world coming to?

D.C. mayor's aide quits
after word is taken as racial slur

January 27, 1999, Web posted at: 3:46 a.m. EST (0846 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An aide to the District of Columbia's mayor resigned Tuesday citing pressure from controversy over his use of the word "niggardly," which some deemed a racial slur.

But even as he stepped down, David Howard, who is white, said the word does not have any racial connotation.

"Mr. Howard's resignation was prompted by reports that he made an inappropriate racial comment," newly-elected Mayor Anthony Williams, who is black, said in a statement Tuesday night.

In a separate statement, Howard identified the word he used as "niggardly" in a staff meeting and said he was referring to a fund he administers. Howard said it means "miserly."

Webster's Tenth Edition concurs, defining it as "grudgingly mean about spending or granting." The dictionary dates its use to the late 16th century.

Williams told reporters Tuesday that holding a senior public office required good judgment, adding, "I don't think that the use of this term showed the kind of judgment that I like to see in our top management."

Because the word sounds like a racial epithet, Howard said, he realized other members of the mayor's staff present when he made the remark were offended. He said he quickly apologized.

But he said that since he made the remark on January 15, he has received many angry phone calls from people who thought he made a racist remark. About two-thirds of the capital city's half million population is black.

"I would never think of making a racist remark," said Howard, whose job was to hear the concerns of district residents and bring them to the attention of the mayor and his staff.

"I realize that this rumor has severely compromised my effectiveness as the district's public advocate and, in the best interest of my office, I resigned," he said.

In accepting Howard's resignation, Williams said he is "committed to representing all of the people of our city and making sure my administration truly reflects the city's diversity."

Williams said the issue reflects a "hurt" and "great divide" within the city and that race relations must be talked about openly in the nation's capital.

Computer Industry News

Refunds from Microsoft?

I hate to admit it when someone from Ziff Davis has a good idea, but this is a good idea.

What if all computer users who aren’t using their preloaded Windows copies tried to get their money back from Microsoft Corp. — all on the same day? This experiment in exploiting a little-known loophole in Microsoft’s End User License Agreement may come to pass on Feb. 15, if a self-appointed "Windows Refund"group has its way.

Read the whole story.

Getting Your Money Back For Windows

If you've ever read the shrink-wrap license for Windows, you'll be amused by this luridly detailed story of one man's attempt to get his money back for the copy of Windows he didn't want and didn't use on his computer. Thanks Daniel P. Dern, for leading me to this.

Web Site of the Week

US Postal Service

Pretty utilitarian, I know, but if you really want to find a Zip+4 code fast, or order postage by mail, or just generally interface with the world's most lethargic non-communist bureaucracy, this is the place to do it. If you haven't been here, give it a look..


Joke Correction

It isn't often I get a correction for a joke. Last week, I ran a Chattanooga Choo-Choo joke from Kent Peterman, with the punch line

is that the cat who ate your new shoes?"

Kevin Sullivan then wrote in to point out:

I believe you would get considerably more bang for your laughter buck if you put the line back to the way it was originally:

"is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?"

By the way, I am still looking for more such jokes.

Software Warning Memo

Mildly sexist, and this is just one of a thousand versions, but I found it amusing so I am reprinting it here:

RE: Computer Software Warning
Last year a friend of mine upgraded GirlFriend 1.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little system resources for other applications. He is only now noticing that Wife 1.0 also is spawning Child-Processes which are further consuming valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomenon was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application. Not only that, Wife 1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization where it can monitor all other system activity. He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 8.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before).
At installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-ins such as Mother-in-Law 55.8, and Brother-in-Law Beta release. Also system performance seems to diminish with each passing day.
Some features he'd like to see in the upcoming Wife 2.0. - A "Don't remind me again" button - Minimize button - An install shield feature that allows Wife 2.0 to be installed with the option to uninstall at anytime without the loss of cache and other system resources. - An option to run the network driver in promiscuous mode that would allow the systems hardware probe feature to be much more useful.
I myself decided to avoid all the headaches associated with Wife 1.0 by sticking with Girlfriend 2.0. Even here, however, I found many problems. Apparently you cannot install GirlFriend 2.0 on top of GirFriend 1.0. You must uninstall GirlFriend 1.0 first. Other users say this is a long-standing bug that I should have been aware of.
Apparently the versions of GirlFriend have conflicts over shared use of the I/O port. You think they would have fixed such a stupid bug by now.
To make matters worse, the uninstall program for GirlFriend 1.0 doesn't work very well leaving undesirable traces of the application in the system.
Another thing that sucks - all versions of GirlFriend continually pop up little annoying messages about the advantages of upgrading to Wife 1.0.
**************BUG WARNING****************
Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will delete MSMoney files before doing the uninstall itself. Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming insufficient resources.

A Couple of Y2K Memos

First, a memo that technically deals with Y0K:

Message from: Rome

January 18, 1 B.C.
Dear Cassius,
Are you still working on the Y zero K problem? This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left. I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong way around. Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards. You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort out at the last minute.
I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in the consulting astrologers, but they simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work. As usual, the consultants charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards.
We have heard that there are 3 wise guys in the east working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive till it's all over. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway we are continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem and I will send you a parchment if anything further develops.

And a Y2K memo. You don't think someone is going to get one like this next year? I certainly do.

Re: Vacation
Dear Valued Employee:
Our records indicate that you have not used any vacation time over the past 102 year(s). As I'm sure you are aware, employees are granted 3 weeks of paid leave per year or pay in lieu of time off.
One additional week is granted for every 5 years of service. Please either take 9,430 days off work or notify our office and your next paycheck will reflect payment of $8,277,432.22 that will include all pay and interest for the past 1,224 months.
Payroll Department

A Great Bi-Lingual Typo

I am in a newsgroup of former UPI employees, from which I present this great item (along with the commentary attached to it)

A correction published in last Monday's Houston Chronicle failed to tell the entire story.

A story in Sunday's Chronicle on the Tuesday inauguration of Gov. George W. Bush contained a typographical error in the Spanish translation of the ceremony's theme. The inauguration's theme is 'Together We can--Juntos Podemos.'"

What the Chronicle editors failed to tell readers was that the typo in the Sunday story read, "Juntos Pedemos," which loosely translated is "Together, Let us Fart." Considering the vapid speeches given, maybe they were right the first time.


A few of you wrote in to encourage me to keep writing my column. Thanks!


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