PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 2 No. 12

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

April 5, 1999

Admission Season Ends

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

  • Admission Season Ends
  • April 30 GasOut

Computer Industry News

  • Linux at

Web Site of the Week

  • Search Engine Search Engine


  • Clearance Sale!
  • The Wrong Magician
  • Saying "You're Dumb"


  • The Matrix
  • Historical Accuracy of Tudor Movies


  • None, Not Even About My Mom

General News

Admission Season Ends

Marlow is going to be a lion. She's accepted admission to Columbia University in Manhattan.

She had hoped to be a Cliffie, an Ely, or a Bear at Harvard, Yale or Brown. But Harvard turned her down and Yale and Brown wait-listed her. She might go to Brown if they admit her off the wait list, but for now, it's full steam ahead for the Blue and White.

PBS Frontline has been filming Marlow since fall for a documentary on the college admissions process. They picked her because she applied to both the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard (Cal, by the way, admitted her). They taped her at home and school. They taped her playing basketball. The crew interviewed Vicki and me. They taped her writing her admission essays, and came to tape her as she opened her admission letters. I wasn't here the day she got admitted to Cal, but I made the long walk down the hill to the mailbox the day she received the thin envelope from Harvard. Her first response was unprintable and probably unairable. Well, at least she was admitted to Columbia the same day; that took a lot of the sting out of the rejection. She was also admitted to UPenn, another Ivy League school, but had always considered that a backup.

Admission season is never easy. Like childbirth, we are blessed with forgetfulness about our own experience. I don't remember being very anxious during my season in the spring of 1970 (MIT and CalTech yes, Stanford no). But then I don't think Marlow was all that anxious either. Her news was a mixed bag, as it is for most ambitious high-school seniors; acceptance from NYU and Tufts, rejection from Stanford, acceptance from UCLA. It's an up and down time.

Fortunately, I know very few people who despised their college experience. It is human nature to make the best we can from circumstances beyond our control. Marlow will have a great four years at college as the prelude to a great life no matter what school she attends.

April 30th Gasout

I got this from my brother, but you've probably gotten it from someone as well. Seems like a good idea, don't you think?

It's time we did something about the price of gasoline in America! We are all sick and tired of high prices when there are literally millions of gallons in storage.
Know what I found out? If there was just ONE day when no one purchased any gasoline, prices would drop drastically. The so-called oil cartel has decided to slow production by some 2 million barrels per day to drive up the price.
I have decided to see how many Americans we can get to NOT BUY ANY GASOLINE on one particular day! Let's have a GAS OUT! Do not buy any gasoline on APRIL 30, 1999!!!!! Buy on Thursday before, or Saturday after.
****Do not buy any gasoline on FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 1999.****
Wanna help? Send this message to everyone you know. Ask them to do the same. All we need is a few million to participate in order to make a difference.

Computer Industry News

Linux At

We did a survey at about what the readers wanted to see more of in the electronic magazine. In a virtual tie for first place with microprocessors was Linux. That's right. The world's most loyal and savvy computer magazine readership wants to read every word it can get on Linux.

There is no question Bill Gates is being disingenuous --at least in his own mind-- when he bleats in public about the threat posed by Linux (and the open source movement it represents). It is a threat nowhere but in the federal courtroom where the antitrust trial is being played out. Today.

But there will come a day when the cries will be those of pain. Gates and his colleagues have apparently forgotten that the bodies you stab on the way up are the same ones you'll be falling past on the way down. Their scorched earth policy, 25 years spent on the razor's edge between ethical behavior and ruthless destruction, have left Microsoft a very tiny well of good will to cushion the fall when the market turns against the company. The fall will be swift and painful. And, given the utter lack of self-awareness evinced in public by Microsoft officials, a total shock to them. It will be a pleasure explaining it to them.

Web Site of the Week


Hey, getting email about search engines is becoming a regular thing for me. Here's another you might find interesting.

Rad Web Designs today announced the official launch of its free integrated search service. The 2Q (QuickQuest) Web site is a free integrated search service that provides easy-to-use access to multiple search engines from one Web site. 2Q directly accesses 200 Internet search resources in 55 subject areas including over 30 general Web index and directory sites and 20 Web metasearch sites. Unlike many other integrated search services, 2Q also offers over 200 links to Web sites with complex search parameters and specialized indexes that don't have search capabilities.


The impeachment has ended.
The results are now known.
The will of the Congress
Has clearly been shown.
So let's all get together,
Let the bitterness pass.
I'll hug your elephant
And you kiss my ass.

Clearance Sale

All humor must go! You know, I try to only print one or two of the best humor mailings from among the many I receive each week. I save a few in case I hit a dry week. Well, this results in quite a backlog. You can find a huge file here. It isn't pretty, or well-formatted, but it is chock full o' humor!

The Wrong Magician

Paul Made the Top 5 List! On March 31, and it looked exactly like this:

The Top 13 Signs You've Hired The Wrong Magician
(Part I)

13> Saws a gummie bear in half, then puts it back together.

12> Insists that his magic won't work if he puts his clothes back on.

11> "The Amazing Kevorkian" is scaring the hell out of Grandma.

10> Makes a bird appear for the kids by simply raising his middle finger.

9> Replaces pulling a rabbit out of his hat with the slightly racier pulling the "big snake" out of his pants.

8> She closes her eyes, then claims to be invisible.

7> His first and only trick: The Amazing Disappearing Bottle of Jagermeister

6> During one trick, screams "Pick a freakin' card already or I swear I'll blow the little birthday boy's head off!"

5> Begins by saying his first trick "relies on the magic of sweet, sweet love."

4> His biggest trick? Converting a sixer of Coors into "liquid gold" -- eventually.

3> Smoke emanating from more than just the fingertips of The Magnificent Flatulo.

2> Before every trick, tells hostess: "For this one I'm going to need to borrow your bra."

and's Number 1 Sign You've Hired The Wrong Magician...

1> Her "magic words" after sawing a volunteer in half? "Ohshitohshitohshit!!"

[ This list copyright 1999 by Chris White ]
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Do not forward, publish, broadcast, or use in any manner ]
[ without crediting "The Top 5 List at" ]

Selected from 136 submissions from 52 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Keith Martin, Atlanta, GA -- 1, 4 (2nd #1)
Brian Auten, Tecumseh, MI -- 1 (2nd #1)
Josh Fruhlinger, Oakland, CA -- 2, 7
David Hyatt, New York, NY -- 3
Patrick Major, Dallas, OR -- 4
Peter Rogers, Boston, MA -- 5
Peter Bauer, Rochester, NY -- 6
Jon Litfin, Columbus, OH -- 7, 12
Jonathan D. Colan, Miami, FL -- 7
Jeff Scherer, Brooklyn, NY -- 7
Josh Robertson, Bronx, NY -- 8
Dave Wesley, Pleasant Hill, CA -- 9
Rachel Blubaugh, Lewisville, TX -- 10
Jim Rosenberg, Greensboro, NC -- 11
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 13
John Voigt, Chicago, IL -- Topic (Hall of Famer)
Alan Smithee, Sugar Land, TX -- Banner Tag
Matt Siske, Dayton, OH -- Runner Up list name
Dave Henry, Slidell, LA -- Honorable Mention list name
Chris White, New York, NY -- List owner/editor
Heart, Seattle, WA -- Ambience

Ways To Say You're Dumb

Politically Correct Ways to say someone is stupid:

1. A few clowns short of a circus.
2. A few fries short of a happy meal.
3. A few beers short of a six-pack.
4. Dumber than a box of hair.
5. A few peas short of a casserole.
6. Doesn't have all his cornflakes in one box.
7. The wheel's spinning, but the hamster's dead.
8. One Fruit Loop shy of a full bowl.
9. One taco short of the combination plate.
10. A few feathers short of a whole duck.
11. Dumber than a pile of rocks.
12. All foam, no beer.
13. The cheese slid off his cracker.
14. Warning: Objects in mirror are dumber than they appear.
15. Couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel.
16. He fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
17. An intellect rivaled only by garden tools.
18. As smart as bait.
19. Chimney's clogged.
20. Doesn't have all his dogs on one leash.
21. Dumb as a stump.
22. Elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor.
23. Forgot to pay his brain bill.
24. Her sewing machine's out of thread.
25. His antenna doesn't pick up all the channels.
26. His belt doesn't go through all the loops.
27. If he had another brain, it would be lonely.
28. No grain in the silo.
29. Proof that evolution CAN go in reverse.
30. Receiver is off the hook.
31. Skylight leaks a little.
32. Slinky's kinked.
33. Surfing in Nebraska.
34. Too much yardage between the goal posts.


The Matrix

This movie has received almost universal terrible reviews, at least in the media I see and hear. Part of it, I think, is an innate prejudice against Keanu Reeves. There are reviewers in this country who made up their minds about him while watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and nothing he can do will ever change their minds.

The Matrix is a special-effects extravaganza, with a decent plot thrown in to boot. At first, it appears to be just another computer hacker film, but it quickly jumps off the tracks. Turns out we're all living in a virtual world, while our bodies sit in tanks and provide the heat energy needed to run the civilization of the aliens who have actually taken over the earth. A few humans have broken free, despite the efforts of the Artificial Intelligence agents who try to prevent such escapes. By the way, I have been waiting for years for someone to make something out of the term agent as used in software and agent as in FBI agents. These agents all wear dark glasses and have those radio earplugs used by secret service agents.

The movie revolves around the question of whether Reeves' character is "the one," the human who will save us all.

Go see this movie for the special effects alone. If you, like me, want to split your sides when Keanu delivers his trademark, "Oh, wow," line, go right ahead. This film proves that a flat, affectless actor can be perfect in some roles. This is one of them. Another is Johnny Mnemonic which opened and closed in about 15 minutes a few years ago. Find it on videotape and rent it. If Reeves is to be typecast, this isn't such a bad type, and there will be lots of demand for it in the future. It beats the hell out of his comedies.

Historical Accuracy of the Tudor Movies

If you've seen Elizabeth or Shakespeare in Love, you've probably wondered, as I did, how accurate the movies were. My friend Fran Strykowski is pretty good on English history, so I already knew the answer was "not very."

Still, I approached with some interest a Saturday morning lecture this week under the auspices of the Friends of the Cal History Department at the Alumni House on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Thomas Barnes, a long-time professor in the department, gave a stirring talk on the historical faux pax of both films, followed by a panel discussion.

He concluded Elizabeth was a failure because she produced no heirs. As a result, the throne passed from her Tudor house, to the Stuarts in the form of James, king of Scotland. That cast the die for English history of the 17th century, and it wasn't a pretty picture. A member of the panel later noted that Elizabeth could not possibly have married without tearing her country apart, and could not possibly have produced an heir without a marriage, not to mention the fact that she would never have given up that much power to a man.

He also mentioned that, while Henry VIII and James documented their personal lives quite thoroughly through their writing and personal correspondence, we have no direct record of Elizabeth--"just her press releases," that is, her public and official statements. It wasn't a question of literacy; she spoke four languages and was quite possibly the most literate woman in England. During he entire life, Elizabeth was the victim of plots and intrigue, and she realized quite early that she must never write anything down lest it be used against her.

Barnes major objection to Elizabeth: it showed her as uncertain, unsure and a victim while a princess and in the early part of her rein. "This is not Elizabeth; she was in charge from the start," he said emphatically.

As for Shakespeare in Love, everyone agreed it had to be judged differently because it made no pretense of historical accuracy. On one issue, the panelists did agree: despite, or perhaps because, of the significant difference in their social class, the affair between Shakespeare and the Gwyneth Paltrow character would have been quite possible.

And, they admitted, Shakespeare himself was no stickler for accuracy in his history plays, so why should drama about his era stick any closer to the facts?


You know, it's one thing when you guys ignore me, but last week you ignored my mother in her debut appearance in this column. I know you're all busy and stuff, but shame on you for not writing (except you, Craig--anyone who has to shut down their web site after a spam attack deserves our empathy).

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