PS... A Column

on Things

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:

General News

  • Rae's Birthday
  • Secrets of the SAT on Frontline
  • Marlow in the CC Times
  • Public Speaking
  • Jon Carroll Cat Column

Computer Industry News

  • Damn Fake Mail

Web Site of the Week

  • Club Top 5


  • The Top 12 Demands of the Cartoon Characters Union
  • The Top 13 Signs The Millennium Hype Has Gone Too Far


  • Didn't Write Any Up


  • Cold?

General News

Rae's Birthday

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

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.

You need to know that total screen time for Marlow, Vicki and Paul is less than six minutes in this 60-minute documentary. After you've seen Marlow receive her Harvard rejection letter and Paul's reaction, they don't reappear.

Apparently most PBS stations clear Frontline at the national broadcast time. I have checked the major Schindler-family-friend markets to make sure. All these stations will be running the show Tuesday Oct. 5 at 10:

KQED, Channel 9, San Francisco
WNET, Channel 13, New York
KCTS, Seattle
KOAP, Channel 10, Portland, Oregon

Check your local PBS station to make sure, but chances are, this show will be airing at 10pm (maybe 9 central time).

The web site is here.

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
East Bay students are cast in a PBS documentary on the expectations and stress of taking the SAT test
By Lisa Shafer

Marlow Schindler, a 1999 graduate of Miramonte High in Orinda, wasn't sure she wanted to advertise to her new Columbia University classmates her role in the upcoming documentary "Secrets of the SAT."

"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.

Public Speaking

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!

EVERY CAT OWNER believes that he or she has a special bond with his or her cat. Every cat owner believes that the cat shares this bond, cherishes this bond, thinks of this bond with fondness as it stretches in the sun.
And every cat owner also knows, in that private place deep in the reptile brain, that he or she is utterly deluded. But mostly cat owners believe the lie, because the lie is useful. We tell ourselves lies in order to live -- didn't someone say that once?

BUCKET COMING UPSTAIRS to visit us happens about as frequently as a visit from the pope. Indeed, all of Bucket's appearances have a distinctively pontifical air, assuming that the pope eats from a bowl on the floor. Bucket arrives; Bucket dines; Bucket bestows a benediction; Bucket gets on the plane for Bangladesh.

With Jane, Bucket all of a sudden turned into Heidi Fleiss. Gone were the vestments of holy office; out of the closet came the black net stockings and the cheap perfume. I mean, what about the bond? And Archie! Of course Archie would be friendly, but after a decent interval of mourning, yes? Probably we hadn't even gotten to the airport before Archie was all over Jane like white on rice.

Computer Industry News

Damn Fake Mail

This will appear soon at and 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.

Web Site of the Week

Club Top 5

And now for something completely different...

I'm Chris White, owner and moderator of The Top 5 List.
ClubTop5 is officially open for business.
  • Just what exactly *IS* ClubTop5?

    ClubTop5 is our new paid subscription service. We'll still be doing our regular free version of the list, but ClubTop5 is geared toward the true Top5 fan, and is better, cooler, funnier *and* louder.

    Why should you pay for Top5?
    Let me answer that with a list...
    • No advertisements
    • You get to submit topics
    • You get extras:
* Runners Up list submissions
* Extra Ruminations not published anywhere else
* The Bad Rumination of the Day
* Our pick for The Blazing Hot Site of the Day
* Who knows what else? Send us your ideas!
    • You can read our occasional "Certified Filthy!" lists.
    • You're helping to support an internet institution which has brought laughter to millions of people since 1994.
So how much does all this cost? A paltry $12 a year!!

To sign up, go to our
website and click on the big ClubTop5 logo.


The Top 12 Demands of the Cartoon Characters Union
September 22, 1999

6> Enough with the freakin' anvils already!!

5> Popeye demands Olive Oyl is replaced by "more seaworthy" Lara Croft.

4> Improved medical plan to cover "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" dementia and IIAS (Impact-Induced Accordion Syndrome).

3> One word: Pants

2> Dismissal of all sexual harassment charges pending against Pepe LePew.

and's Number 1 Demand of the Cartoon Characters Union...

1> No more keynote speeches by Porky Pig.
[ The Top 5 List ]

[ Copyright 1999 by Chris White ]

Selected from 115 submissions from 41 contributors.

Today's Top 5 List authors include:
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 6
October 1, 1999

The Top 13 Signs The Millennium Hype Has Gone Too Far

13> "2001 Dalmatians" just seems like overkill.
3> Tired of talking about Y2K, the press begins to freak everyone out about the upcoming "Groundhog Day Bug."

2> You evicted your roommate so you'd have more space to store Vienna sausages.

and's Number 1 Sign The Millennium Hype Has Gone Too Far..

1> Freeze-dried meals? Check.
Bottled water? Check.
Guns and ammo? Check.
Frozen sperm for re-populating the world with my seed?
Still working on it.

Selected from 92 submissions from 38 contributors.

Today's Top 5 List authors include:
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 13


Didn't write any up.

If I had, the facts would be (courtesy of the Internet Movie Database).

I saw American Beauty and For Love of the Game, but you'll have to wait until next column to see my review.



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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