PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 2 No. 5

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

February 8, 1999

Get It Over With!

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

  • Impeachment: Don't Be Fooled, It's Still A Witch-hunt
  • Even Rocky's Nephew Is Fed Up

Computer Industry News

  • When Is Evidence Not Evidence

Web Site of the Week

  • Directions


  • Coming Up: Mildly Smutty Humor
  • Paul Makes The Top 5 List
  • Spell check poetry
  • What today's young people don't know


  • A Word of Encouragement

Last week's column was dated Tuesday not Monday. That wasn't a plan to change my day of publication; it was an error

General News

Don't Be Fooled, It's Still A Witch Hunt

In the immortal words of the old Saturday Night Live Francisco Franco sketch, the Impeachment trial is still over. It's dead. It just hasn't had the sense to fall down yet.

My prize for the most intelligent statement of the week goes to Douglas Llamas, 48, of Washington, D.C., arrested and facing imprisonment for shouting from the Senate Gallery, "God almighty, take the vote and get it over with." Right on, Douglas.

A thin veneer of bipartisanship was spread over the exit strategy, but don't be fooled. First of all, the very intelligent motion to dismiss was voted down on straight party lines (only wacky Russ Feingold crossed over), showing again what a GOP vendetta the whole process is.

A lot of people want to focus your attention on the 100-0 vote to put the videotape into evidence. Let's look at the other votes. Every Democrat, without exception, voted to keep Monica's live testimony off the floor. It passed only because some Republicans crossed over. That's not bipartisan voting, that's ass-saving. Only two Republicans broke ranks on "Show the whole video on the Senate floor." And the vote to give the White House a chance to defend itself against random snippets selected by the House persecutors drew exactly zero Democratic votes.

Plain and simple. I don't know how many times and in how many ways I have to say this. This is not a fair, bipartisan impeachment over real issues (ala the Nixon impeachment), this is a partisan Witch-hunt (ala Andrew Johnson) by a group of GOP haters who, if there is a God in Heaven and justice on this earth, will pay for the perfidy and bile come Election Day, 2000.

I feel better now.

Even Rocky's Nephew is fed up

Most of the readers of this column are old enough to remember Nelson Rockefeller, the exemplar of a breed that has died out almost entirely, the Liberal Republican. That phrase, of course, is now an oxymoron. But there was a time, children, when the GOP really was a big tent, and welcomed East Coast liberals as well as sun-belt conservatives. Or at least tolerated them. Now, of course, Trent Lott is on a campaign to wipe out the last vestiges of Republican liberalism.

I bring this up, because Ross Snyder forwarded this message to me. It comes from Wes Boyd of I think it is spot-on, so I am sharing it with you.

I've received hundreds of messages from Republicans who are frustrated and angry with the actions of the Republican majority in Congress. They too feel unheard by their representatives, but also by their party. To help give voice to these anti-impeachment Republicans, we are starting a new web page in partnership with Larry Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller is a Republican, an environmental attorney, and nephew of the late Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President under Gerald Ford.

We strongly encourage Republican members of MoveOn to add their statements to
this page.
We will compile and transmit this feedback to key members of Congress and Republican party leadership. Mr. Rockefeller's statement is appended below.

* * * * * * * *

I am Larry Rockefeller, a long-time Republican deeply concerned about our party's unrelenting campaign to remove the President from office. Other Republicans around the country with whom I have spoken share this concern. Many are fed up with what seems like an extreme partisan attempt to undo a national election.

The question is: what should we do next? Our views -- let's face it -- have been ignored by our Republican Senators and Representatives, who have refused to censure and move on.

Some Republicans feel that, on a matter of such fundamental importance to our Constitution and nation, we should leave the Republican party. Others feel that it is better to stay Republican and try to bring our party back into the mainstream.

Do I intend to leave the Party? Actually, I feel like the Republican Party has been leaving me, as it moves ever farther to the right. The party that I grew up associating with Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Nelson Rockefeller has become the party of Tom Delay, Trent Lott, and Ken Starr. My own decision will be informed by this Internet outreach -- learning how other Republicans opposed to impeachment feel about our party and its future.

How do YOU feel?

Larry Rockefeller, New York, NY.

I am particularly intrigued by Mr. Rockefeller's use of the phrase "I didn't leave the party, the party left me." That's what Ronald Reagan used to say about the Democratic Party. Perhaps the pendulum of history has begin its swing.

Computer Industry News

When Is Evidence Not Evidence?

Craig Reynolds message to me on this was titled "Specs, lies and videotape." I liked that. In fact, I used it on TechWeb. Week 14 was the most enjoyable week of the whole trial so far, as one of Microsoft's most stiff-necked, stonewalling, hardball executives was hoist on his own petard multiple times. Jim Allchin was caught with egg on his face on the stand, a sight that was second only to watching spokesman Mike Murray spin like a windmill on the courthouse steps, with William Neukom, Microsoft's chief counsel, performing a slightly more dignified version of the same act.

It was a tactical blunder because showing false evidence in court is never a good idea, especially when you're caught, as Allchin was. More importantly, Microsoft clearly wants to bore the media out of the courtroom by dragging the trial on in endless examination of arcane sub-points. By submitting a false videotape, they created a media circus and insured that the courtroom was jammed and the trial coverage moved from the business pages onto the main pages. Couldn't happen to a more deserving corporation.

In case you missed the hubbub, bub, here's a good summary. By the way, eventually Microsoft retaped the evidence during a late-night session in Washington with DOJ officials (and Microsoft nemesis Prof. Edward Felton) in attendance.

Microsoft Accused of Altering Video
February 2, 1999
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a dramatic courtroom confrontation, the government today accused Microsoft Corp. of falsifying a video demonstration aimed at showing severe performance problems after government attempts to modify its popular Windows 98 software.

``I believe from what I've seen here is, they filmed the wrong system,'' said James Allchin, a senior vice president and top computer scientist at Microsoft. He later added: ``I'm not sure they would do anything like that'' to mislead the judge.

Justice Department lawyer David Boies stopped the video demonstration in midframe to show a subtle inconsistency: a software title bar that suddenly changes in the middle of the test. The video had been played in court Monday.

Boies charged -- and Allchin acknowledged -- the change indicated that the test actually was completed using a version of Windows unaffected by the government's modifications.

``This video you brought in here and showed for the court, that you checked it ... and that's just wrong, right?'' Boies snapped.

``In this particular case, I do not think the (government) program had been run,'' Allchin conceded. But he insisted that performance problems exist: ``I personally tested this, and I know the problem exists.''

Around the courtroom where the government's antitrust suit against the software giant is being heard, Microsoft's lawyers looked crestfallen. A spokesman, Tod Nielsen, rushed into the hallway with a cellular telephone. Boies appeared jubilant as he pressed onward: ``How in the world could your people have run this program? ... You do understand you came in here and swore this was accurate?''

``They probably filmed it, grabbed the wrong screen shot,'' Allchin answered. ``What's on the screen is the truth. Obviously, there were mistakes done there.''

Web Site of the Week


The way I pick the Web Site of the Week is to look at my own Favorites list, and try to share with you the places I go regularly and enjoy. Or, as in the case of the post office last week and Directions this week, the web sites I now wonder how I lived without.

There are several places to get driving directions on the net. This one is simply the best. And if you leave cookies turned on (as I think most rational, non-paranoid people do), when you come back the second time it will remember your home address.

The maps are clear, the instructions are luridly detailed, the driving time estimates are pretty good, and, although there are mistakes now and then, especially in the distance to some points, overall I have found the accuracy and level of detail to be stunning. Give it a try!


Coming Up: Mildly Smutty Humor

I get a fair amount of risqué humor. That sort of thing isn't for everyone, so in a week or two I will gather it all up, and put in a separate file you'll have to click to on purpose. I don't want to offend the faint of heart--as if there's anyone like that reading this column...

Paul Makes Top 5

I made the Top 5 list this week; check out Number 7;

As Seen On "Animal Planet"

February 2, 1999

The Top 13 Surprises in the
Victoria's Secret's New Spring Line

13> New "Victor's Secret" line

12> New catalogue has 25% more pictures of sexy lingerie-clad supermodels, the likes of whom you will never, ever date.

11> Company's efforts to create a more wholesome image results in addition of new Girl Scout lingerie line.

10> Spring Special: Purchase any item from the "Rodman Collection" and get a free tattoo!

9> Almost 10% of the clothing is now made by well-paid adults.

8> All bras are now seductively beer-scented.

7> Every wear you look -- corduroy!

6> The "Joey, What Are You Doing In There So Long With My Victoria's Secret Catalogue?" junior bra and panty set.

5> New "Wedge-o-matic" discreetly un-binds underwear from uncomfortable cracks.

4> Damn near everything in the new "Monica" line is Scotch-Guarded.

3> All Miracle Bras now confirmed and blessed by the Vatican.

2> New Teletubbies bras -- because it's never to early to screw up a young girl's self image.

and's Number 1 Surprise in the Victoria's Secret's New Spring Line...

1> All kinds of interesting lifting and separating going on with that new Cross-Your-Ass Thong.

[ This list copyright 1999 by Chris White ]
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ To forward or repost, please include this section. ]
[ You like to receive credit for your work, and so do we. ]

Selected from 107 submissions from 40 contributors.

Spell Check Poetry

I must have seen 20 versions of this. In fact, I am finding that format imitation is the sincerest form of Internet humor. Anyway, this is a pretty good one:

Spell Checker

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

What Today's Young People Don't Know

I remember thinking recently that Richard Nixon's impeachment is about as remote to my daughters, aged 18 and 14, as World War II was to me when I was their age. Well, someone has taken this a step further, and I want to share it with you. The fact that it applies to both my daughters rocks me back on my heels... except I do think they remember turntables. At least Marlow does.

Each year, the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of that year's incoming freshmen.

Here's this year's list:

1. The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1980.

2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and did not know he had ever been shot.

3. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.

4. Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.

5. There has been only one Pope. They can only really remember one president.

6. They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.

7. They have never feared a nuclear war. "The Day After" is a pill to them, not a movie.

8. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up, and Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.

9. Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

10. They never had a Polio shot, and likely do not know what it is.

11. Bottle caps have not only always been screw off, but have always been plastic. They have no idea what a pull-top can looks like.

12. Atari pre-dates them, as do vinyl albums.

13. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.

14. They have never owned a record player.

15. They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.

16. Star Wars look very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic.

17. There have always been red M&Ms, and blue ones are not new. What do you mean there used to be beige ones?

18. They may have heard of an 8-track, but chances are they probably never have actually seen or heard one.

19. The Compact Disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.

20. As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 32 cents. (Accurate until last week.)

21. They have always had an answering machine.

22. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black-and-white TV.

23. They have always had cable.

24. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA is.

25. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

26. They were born the year that Walkmen were introduced by Sony.

27. Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.

28. The Tonight Show has always been with Jay Leno.

29. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.

30. Popcorn has always been cooked in a microwave.

31. They have never seen Larry Bird play, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a football player.

32. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

33. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII, or even the Civil War.

34. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.

35. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.

36. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

37. They never heard the terms: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "de plane, de plane!"

38. They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. is.

39. The Titanic was found? I thought we always knew where it was.

40. Michael Jackson has always been white.

41. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not groups.

42. McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.

43. There has always been MTV.


A few more of you wrote in to encourage me to keep writing my column. Thanks! Jerry Colonna sent a nice letter that, try as I might, I couldn't edit so it made sense to publish. But thanks, Jerry.

This from Kent Peterman, also encouraged me to go on:

By all means continue to write the column. It is wonderful. I enjoy it and look forward to it weekly. (If it were written weakly instead I wouldn't read it at all.) Too often human nature is such that we write to complain instead of compliment. So consider this a compliment and sail on oh ship of cyberspace!

Have you seen 'Waking Ned Divine'? I'm sure yes, if not I'm sure you would enjoy it.

Yes I have, and yes I did. Have I recommended it to everyone yet? If not, let me do so now. Hysterically funny. Very well acted. Lovely Irish countryside. And a happy ending.

And while we're on the subject (of movies), you can skip Happiness; it may be an art film, but it is a waste of time. I walked out.

Life Is Beautiful deserves all of the praise and none of the pans it has received. It does not make light of the Holocaust; it does celebrate the human spirit. It made me think and then it made me cry.

Thin Red Line is a terrific 90-minute film trapped in the bloated body of a three-hour film.

She's All That is much better than the trailer or the television advertising would lead you to believe, which is to say, it isn't stupid and neither is the protagonist. Touching and realistic (in places) while being fanciful in other places. The choreographed dancing at the prom had Rae and me in stitches. Also, I don't think most high schools, even in LA, have their own Public Address System disc jockey.

God, I wish Hollywood studios could somehow figure out how to market off-beat movies. This year's most egregious example is Stepmom. If you saw the trailer or the TV advertising, you'd be expecting a comedy. It isn't. It's a drama. And all the excerpts used in the trailer come from the first 20 minutes of the movie. Stupid and deceptive. I think people probably would have gone to see it if it had been advertised honestly, but now we'll never know. And Julia Roberts is learning how to act, finally, although putting her in the same film as the mind-bogglingly talented Susan Sarandon makes it clear how far she has to go.

A Simple Story deserves every one of the Oscars it is going to get.


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