PS... A Column
By Paul E. Schindler Jr. Vol. 2 No. 34
Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.
October 4, 1999
It's Marlow's Week.
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:
Rae Leigh Schindler was born on Oct. 5, 1984 (Orwell's year) at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, Calif. I was there and videotaped the scheduled C-section operation. We left at 5:30 in the morning. Rae was born around 7:30. It was much less stressful than the "emergency" C-Section that produced Marlow; when Rae was born, everyone was better rested.
Anyway, those of you who know her (or those who just wish they did) can feel free to send birthday greetings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Secrets of the SAT on Frontline
Many of you have already seen this in a special edition of the e-mail newsletter, but for those who missed it (and for Marlow, who thought I had the names in the wrong order):
The "Secrets of the SAT" episode of the PBS documentary series Frontline, in which Marlow, Vicki, and Paul Schindler appear, airs at 10 pm local time on Tuesday October 5.
Marlow in the CC Times
This story appeared on the front page of the Contra Costa Times on Saturday, Oct. 2: These are excerpts--click on the headline for the complete article.
Examining the exam for college
"I want to hear from someone who has seen it to make sure I don't look stupid," said Marlow during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. "Maybe I'll just watch it by myself."
Marlow, who scored 1,500 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT, is one of four East Bay residents who let "Frontline" crews document her path through the grueling and unpredictable college admissions process.
The PBS show airs Tuesday, four days before students across the nation sharpen their No. 2 pencils for the latest round of the multiple-choice SAT.
In Marlow's absence, Paul Schindler; his wife, Vicki Marlow;; and daughter Rae, 14, attended the screening with orders to phone Columbia with a thumbs up or thumbs down report.
Although Marlow wasn't one of the audience's underdog favorites, acknowledged her father, the film gave a fairly accurate reflection of the college application process.
"She came out fine," he said, adding that he would recommend she watch the show with friends. "But she better warn them there's not a whole lot of footage of her."
©1999 Contra Costa Newspapers, Inc.
Rae, our younger daughter is a freshman in high school. She had her first public speaking tournament this week, and participated in an event called Congress. She did very well for a first timer. Parents serve as volunteer judges (but not, of course, in the rooms where their own children are participating). I listened to 3-90 minute sessions, and my fear for the future of America was substantially lessened. These kids are good.
Jon Carroll Cat Column
The world's coolest columnist wrote about cats on Sept. 29 in the San Francisco Chronicle. Here are excerpts
Sluts! Sluts! My Eyes Are Open!
Damn Fake Mail
This will appear soon at Byte.com and Winmag.com. But you get to read it here first! Unedited! Unfiltered!
Back in the Pleistocene era, when I was young, the U.S. Post Office (as it was then styled) used to run a public service announcement regarding mail fraud, in which the announcer intoned, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Something similar can be said for numerous e-mail messages whose ability to survive suggests DNA from cockroaches. In my opinion, cockroaches, at the very least write them.
I am sure it seemed like a funny idea at the time when the virus-writing hacker sat down and said "Instead of code, I'll write a text message so compelling it will circulate forever. Something that will raise anxiety among concerned netizens. Best of all, I can make them into my accomplices by asking them to forward the message to everyone they know."
Well, that stinks. It stinks as bad as a binary virus.
All this is brought to mind by a particularly insidious message that I have received three copies of in the last few weeks, all from well-meaning people who had, in turn, received in from other trusted, well-meaning people. I am not going to give the authors the satisfaction of reproducing any part of it here. Suffice it to say that it suggests there is a bill in Congress to allow the Postal service to charge for email. THIS IS A HOAX! If you receive this e-mail do not forward it to all of your friends. It began as a rumor last year about Canada Post, and crossed over to the United States this spring.
By the way, in 99 cases out of 100, any e-mail which says "forward this to everyone you know" is just an insidious effort to enlist your assistance in a malign scheme to jam up the world's email inboxes. In fact, this is a felony: the authors of these emails are stealing your time.
The first time I got the currently popular Post Office hoax, I wrote back to a friend and said, "If this were real, we would have heard about it from the legitimate media." Then I got two more copies. So I sat down and discovered that there is no Rep. Tony Schmell, there is no law firm of Stepp and Stepp in Vienna, Va., and there is no Kate Turner. Also, House Bills don't have suffixes.
The people who produce these evil emails may be reasonably clever writers, but they aren't too bright. It only took me 10 minutes to find out the Congressman was fake, the law firm was fake and the bill number was fake. I also found the U.S. Postal Service press release denying the hoax.
What I'm concerned about is the next time, when a slightly brighter but equally malicious hacker picks a real congressman and a real law firm, and uses their names to add verisimilitude to their phony scare mail.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem, and it's something each of us can do. Don't. Don't believe these emails, don't forward them. Folks, there are no deep dark conspiracies that big. Legitimate, brand-name media will cover these events if they're true. Just Say No. If it sounds too scary to be true, it probably isn't. Don't play into hackers hands. If you must forward it, take five minutes to do some checking.
I'm Chris White, owner and moderator of The Top 5 List.
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The Top 12 Demands of the Cartoon Characters Union
Marlow wrote and asked me to send her a pea coat and sweats. I mentioned this to New York native Joe Brancatelli, whose response was,
Cold? Are you kidding? It's been spectacularly beautiful here! It doesn't get cold until late November!!!! Boy, does she have a shock coming!
Well, dear, you've been officially warned…
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