PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 3 No. 11

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

March 20, 2000

Nice To See Her, However Briefly

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

  • My Week With Marlow
  • What I Can Learn From My Cats

Computer Industry News

  • Windows 2000 Source Code

Web Site of the Week

  • Federal Election Information


  • The Top 15 Rejected TV Shows for Kids


  • The Whole Nine Yards
  • How Many Movies?


  • Joe Brancatelli on The Truth

General News

My Week With Marlow

We picked Marlow and her friends from Columbia up on Saturday night. It was a joy to see her. Surprisingly, she spent about 45 minutes in our room just before bed, telling us all about her friends, her dorm room, her classes, the restaurants she eats in, and Manhattan. It really is a joy to have that kind of relationship with our college freshman daughter.

Sunday morning, Marlow was preparing to go with her friends to Golden Gate Park. She'd found a map on the Internet, but it was more than a page wide and didn't print our properly. After about a half hour of me searching for a better map on the Internet, Vicki said, "couldn't we just give them our AAA map of San Francisco?" Mr. "everything's better/easier" on the net had to agree. Generously, Marlow took Rae with her.

But after that, she was out until 3:30 or 4am with her friends. I got to have lunch with her alone Wednesday, and dinner with her and her friends. Vicki and I lunched with her Thursday and had breakfast with her Friday (after she came in at 4 am). Rae didn't see much of her at all after Sunday. But realistically, what did we expect?

I sent her this postcard, to arrive at school a few days after she does (don't read this next paragraph, Marlow)

It was really nice to see you, however briefly. I am looking forward to catching a brief glimpse of you in April [when Rae and I will be in NYC]. Not unexpectedly, you turned out to be a delightful young woman, clever & witty & fun to be with. You appear to be enjoying life inside and outside the classroom, and that's really important.
Love, Dad

We took her to the airport very early Saturday morning for he flight back to New York.

What I Can Learn From My Cats

Cartoonist Ruben Bolling named one of his books, All I Ever Really Needed To Know I Learned From My Golf-Playing Cat. It was intended, of course, as a joke.

If I were Jon Carroll, or Adair Lara, or even Dave Barry, I could probably write a clever and touching essay on the lessons my two tabby cats, Champagne and Jagermeister (the boys), have to teach. And I realize one is on a slippery slope when one begins to attribute anthropomorphic characteristics to one's companion animals.

Nevertheless, sleeping 20 or so hours a day and being nonchalant--at the very least, exhibiting a general air of unconcern--the rest of the time is starting to look like a good lifestyle choice. I've never had to take either of the boys to the chiropractor. They seem to have a nearly limitless capacity to absorb pleasure and affection--but of course only on their own terms and in their own time. They are pushed into paroxysms of joy by one-sixth of a can of tuna every morning for breakfast.

And they're both good looking and go well with the furniture and rugs. Plus, they worship Vicki, my wife. All in all, I'm trying to learn to be more like my cats.

Computer Industry News

Windows 2000 Source Code

OK, this really belongs under humor, but I couldn't resist. It's kind of hard-core geeky, but I don't speak any computer language more complex than BASIC, and I still found it amusing.

This from Leapcliffe's UK Cousin.

/* Source Code to Windows 2000 */

#include "win31.h"
#include "win95.h"
#include "win98.h"
#include "workst~1.h"
#include "evenmore.h"
#include "oldstuff.h"
#include "billrulz.h"
#include "monopoly.h"
#define INSTALL = HARD

char make_prog_look_big[1600000];
void main()
if (first_time_installation)


if (still_not_crashed)

if (detect_cache())

if (fast_cpu())
set_mouse(speed, very_slow);
set_mouse(action, jumpy);
set_mouse(reaction, sometimes);

/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.1"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.11"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 95"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 3.0"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 98"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 4.0"); */
printf("Welcome to Windows 2000");

if (system_ok())
system_memory = open("a:\swp0001.swp",O_CREATE);


Web Site of the Week

Federal Election Information

Disintermediation is this idea that you don't need a middleman in either your retail transactions (like a store) or your information transactions (like a newspaper or magazine), but can, instead, deal directly with the source--or at least closer to the source.

Along this line, if you want to understand the election campaign from the perspective of Woodward and Bernstein (that is--follow the money), check out this site, which makes Federal Election Commission contribution information easy to access.


The Top 15 Rejected TV Shows for Kids

This list from March 16, 2000. I made No. 7

15> Sexual Oddities with Larry the Chicken

14> 60 Minutes Sitting Silently in the Corner Thinking About
What You Did

13> Trenchcoat Mafia Ninja Turtles

12> Fat Albert and the Cosby Crips

11> Ritalin Boy and the Overfriendly Gym Teacher

10> Bill Nye the Scientology Guy

9> ABC Afterschool Special -- "Grandpa, I Said NO!"

8> Little Crackhouse in the Projects

7> The Strangers in a Car with Candy Hour

6> Mr. Roger's Neighborhood's Reclusive Cat Lady, Gertie

5> Bob Vila's Workalong Chore Fest

4> Where in the World is My Biological Father?

3> Curious George and His Emotional Rollercoaster

2> Ritalin, the Mellow Clown Who Isn't Any Fun at All

and's Number 1 Rejected TV Show for Kids...

1> Touched by an Anvil -- The CBS Cartoon Hour
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2000 by Chris White ]
Selected from 188 submissions from 66 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Jim Rosenberg, Greensboro, NC -- 1, 8 (17th #1 / Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 7


The Whole Nine Yards

You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database.

OK, if you're one of those people who think I've never met a movie I didn't like, here's one for the record books. Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry in The Whole Nine Yards.

This movie was one of the oddest experiences of my movie-going life. I felt disassociated from the events on the screen from the first moment, so much so that I almost walked out of the film. Eventually, I decided to stay to see just how neatly things would be wrapped up with a bow. As Rae often says, "what did you expect dad? It's an American movie."

There were a few humorous moments--most of which had been in the trailer, and even those were edited with a skill that was missing from the movie itself--but the long stretches of exposition inbetween were just stultifying.

Alas, I can't really put my finger on what it was about this film that left me so uninvolved and uncaring. A better reviewer could tell you. This reviewer can just tell you that the film doesn't live up to its trailer. Bruce Willis has done good comedy and will do good comedy again. Just not here. As for Matthew Perry, his appeal in Friends escapes me, as does his appeal in this film. I mean, he does a good job playing nervous, but I don't generally find nervous comic personae to be amusing.

Amanda Peet, on the other hand, playing the apprentice contract killer, is a very funny young woman, and I predict we'll see a lot more of her in comedies. Rosanna Arquette should buy every copy of this film and burn it. Rarely have I seen so little screen time used so badly.

On the upside, it was only 98 minutes, just about perfect for a comedy.

How Many Movies?

You know, when people ask me how many movies I see, I usually say "about 50 a year," figuring I see just a little less than one a week. I just realized that, for 1999, for the first time in my life, I don't have to guess; I can actually count. I saw 47 motion pictures in theaters last year, according to the PSACOT archives. I have seen 16 so far this year--a torrid pace that would put my butt in the seat for 75 by year's end. I don't know if there will be that many good films shown this year. Or, should I say, films that seem sufficiently unawful that I'm willing to go see them.

According to the MPPA, the average American sees 5 films a year. I'm holding up the fort for at least 10 people who don't go to see any.


About the Truth

Joe Brancatelli passed along this 1st Class piece of writing.

Anthony Lane writing in The New Yorker about the magazine's mission on its 75th anniversary:

We seek the truth, the whole truth, and any unsuitable friends with goatees who are riding in the back of truth's car.


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