PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 3 No. 26

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

July 17, 2000

Busy Busy Busy

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

  • Old Cape Cod
  • Paul Comes To Visit

Computer Industry News

  • Doonesbury Mocks Microsoft
  • Some Cool Stuff

Web Site of the Week

  • Modern Humorist


  • The Top 14 Dennis Miller Monday Night Football Quotes (Part II)


  • None This Week


  • Whew! That Aphorism!

General News

Busy, Busy, Busy

Senior management at my web site decided to get together this week at the Wequasett Inn at Chatham on Cape Cod. I mean, it's a nice enough place, but it's still a very long airplane flight from San Francisco to Boston (followed by a short one to Hyannis). Apologies to all the Boston people I didn't look up, but this really was a quick in and out. The only Massachusetts friend I saw was Richard Dalton, one of my best friends in SF for 20 years, who moved to Falmouth, if you can believe it--two weeks ago!

I had some lovely walks on the beach and some lively conversations. I can't tell if the people who said "Don't you dare put me in your column" were serious or not, so I won't. You know who you were. There was much late-night drinking (mostly Perrier and hot tea--separately) and many cool stories were told. I was in bed by 10 both nights…

Paul Comes To Visit

There is another Paul Schindler, my brother's son, Paul S. Schindler, who lives in Sacramento with his mother, long-divorced from my brother Steve. Paul came by train to Orinda this week to spend a few days with us. He's a great kid, smart and fun to be with.

He saw the Camel Races and the California Shakespeare Festival performance of Hamlet in the Bruns Ampitheater--which was the first play of any type he had ever seen anywhere. Quite an introduction. He also went with my daughters to see the X-Men movie. And Sunday night I showed him the best movie ever made: Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Computer Industry News

Doonesbury Mocks Microsoft

Craig Reynolds scores two-thirds of a hat trick this week. I saw this Doonesbury strip in the paper on Sunday, but Craig was smart enough to dig up the URL. For the comics impaired, it is a lovely dig at Microsoft.

Some Cool Stuff

Jason Levine showed this to Jeanette Hafke who sent it to me: Psychic Pigs Tech Support Hotline. I swear, Flash is the most amazing damn thing.

Speaking of amazing damn things, you REALLY have to check out this three minute movie, preferably on a high speed link at the office. It's called 405 and it will blow you away. Craig Reynolds, a veteran of the computer-generated effects industry (he worked on Tron) brought it to my attention.

Web Site of the Week

Modern Humorist

It's a pretty good humor site. Also, Lauren Kirchner, the daughter of my former editor and long-time buddy, Jake Kirchner, is an intern there. Backs scratched here.


The Top 14 Dennis Miller Monday Night Football Quotes (Part II)

July 11, 2000

14> "Big deal, so he scored. The last time I saw someone dance like that I had to pay her $20 and have my pants dry cleaned the next day."

13> "That receiver was as wide open as Annabel Chong."

12> "With Browns' ticket prices what they are, you just know that all those dads who brought the entire family to sit in the 'dog pound' are secretly calculating how much blood they're going to have to sell next week to put groceries on the table."

11> "Ray Lewis knifed through those offensive linemen like a sucker-punch switchblade slicing between the ribs of some inebriated trash-talking punk outside a sports bar."

10> "I've seen better coverage at an Alan Keyes press conference."

9> "The Cowboy's defense has more holes in it than Ronny Milsapp and Jose Feliciano after a game of lawn darts."

8> "The punt returner got smacked like Nancy Kerrigan's knee on souvenir pipe night."

7> "That secondary provides worse coverage than a Guatemalan HMO."

6> "Concussion? How the hell can they tell? They're *football* players, for chrissakes!"

5> "Is it just me, or are the 49ers doing an awful lot of ass-patting today?"

4> "Their offense is shakier than Katherine Hepburn after an all-night espresso bender at Starbucks."

3> "Check out the helmet hair on Randy Moss, babe! He look s like some freakish anti-Mr. T after a long evening sleeping through 'Aida.'"

2> "That kid's got an arm like Uncle Fester at an exhibition of Pre-Colombian... um, Christ, I lost it. I was going for something thick. So what's with the beard, Grizzly Fouts?"

and's Number 1 Dennis Miller Monday Night Football Quote...

1> "Ouch! And Marino goes down quicker than his Boonesfarm-infused sister in the back of my '68 Cutlass on our first date after watching 'Love Story' at the drive-in."

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2000 by Chris White ]

Selected from 139 submissions from 48 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Lev L. Spiro, Los Angeles, CA -- 1 (28th #1 / Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 6
Chris White, New York, NY -- List owner/editor


None this week

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


Whew, That Aphorism!

I got this email two weeks ago on the UPI mailing list:

In the phrasing of a Hollywood type: "You can lead a whore to knowledge, but you can't make her think."

I just thought it was cute. Of course it should have set off bells in my head--I had heard the original in my youth, and something was a little off about this version. Anyway, I printed it in my column last week.

In any case, it just proves once more the law of unintended consequences, sometimes rendered as "no good deed goes unpunished," or, in this case, it's almost never the big things that you devote a lot of thought to that come back and bite you in the ass. It is almost always the little, throw-away things, the short item you add at the last minute, the extra sentence you add to a story that has been carefully vetted by the attorneys or the flippant headline you write because you think it is cute.

First out of the block, less than an hour after the column went up Monday night was my friend and colleague Jerry Pournelle, twitting me:

It's you can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think…that's chauvinist because why is a whore necessarily "her" anyway...

He made it clear he was joshing me. Then, a few minutes later, this arrived from Larry King in London, and I felt a fool, or at least a twit:

The aphorism you quote should be attributed to Dorothy Parker and slightly rearranged. She allegedly coined it during a word game the Algonquin set were fond of, in which words had to be used in sentences in some fashion other than their dictionary meaning. Challenged to use the word ``horticulture,'' she replied, ``You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think.'' I say ``allegedly'' because, like many historic witticisms, this smells a little contrived to me, as if it were dreamt up beforehand and whoever fed her ``horticulture'' was in on the joke.

Now you see, I knew that. In fact, like Larry, I have always been suspicious of spontaneous wit. For example, the British politicians remark about "depends on whether I embrace your principals or your mistress," and the remarks Oscar Wilde is reputed to have made to the Prince of Wales (memorably parodied by Monty Python). Plus, in the garbled version I got from the UPI alumni wire, the joke disappears; whore to knowledge is not funny. Whore to culture is. Then, to top it all off, I get this from Richard Dalton, freshly planted in Falmouth, Mass on old Cape Cod:

How soon you forget San Francisco's Margot St. James and her COYOTE organization (Come Off Your Old Tired Ethics) and her courageous efforts to get women out of the abusive, drug-ridden prostitution racket. Prostitutes not only think but they feel, too.

We went to a concert recently, organized to benefit Safe House, a San Francisco facility maintained by an ecumenical group of clergy dedicated to offering women an avenue out of prostitution and drugs. It was publicized (and attended) by Stephanie Salter, the SF Examiner columnist I know you respect. It was one of the kinds of things we will miss most about San Francisco.

Richard, I will never forget Margot St. James, although I did slip up in the case. As you would have no way of knowing, she was the very first person I interviewed as a professional journalist.

It was May 1973. I was a summer intern at the now-defunct Oregon Journal, Portland's afternoon daily newspaper. Peter Thompson, the city editor, dropped a UPI story on my desk from San Francisco (wicked, whacky San Francisco) about Ms. St. James, and her then-new efforts to win some respect and safety for the world's oldest profession.

After some effort, I found her by telephone and interviewed her. It probably wasn't my finest hour. I was a 20-year-old smart aleck, and Peter's suggestion that I "find a local angle for this story" led me to a series of dumb questions. To make a long story short, after I finished the article, the city desk decided it wasn't fit for a family newspaper and it was never published.

I am on Cape Cod as I write this; I have the full text of the the story in Orinda--maybe I'll put it in the column next week. Hopefully it won't have unforseen consequences.

Oh yes, Daniel Dern weighed in on the subject as well:

Let's not forget the classic song, "I'm a Vulture (For Horticulture)" which I have done by Jimmy Durante (and a more recent (70s or early 80s) by some obscure jug band in my vinyl pile).

A quick search via using "lead a horticulture" turns up an odd set of results, btw. Dorothy Parker gets her licks in, but I dunno why the first two results are there.

BTW, the ad I saw (heard) for "Scary Movie" explicitly called it the "gross-out movie of the year" or something like that, so there's no doubt what you're in for if you go.

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