PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 3 No. 30

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

August 14, 2000

At Last, The People's Turn!

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

  • Miss Marlow Goes To Los Angeles
  • Paul Gets A New PC
  • Lieberman's first zinger

Computer Industry News

  • None this week

Web Site of the Week

  • Jumping The Shark


  • New York Joke
  • The Lost Coast


  • But I'm A Cheerleader!
  • Cecil B. Demented
  • Coyote Ugly


  • Political Analysis, Bottled Water, Misc.

General News

Miss Marlow Goes To Los Angeles

Saturday night I drove Marlow to Oakland airport to begin one of the biggest adventures of her life--her first political convention.

Those of you who have been paying attention realize that Marlow has been interning for Senator Diane Feinstein this summer, and getting real substantive work to do (drafting constituent letters, researching position papers, advancing a speech in Oakland).

She missed her chance to be an intern at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, but she's gone as a volunteer, and will be a "floater" in "external affairs," whatever that means. She's been cleared by the Secret Service for access to the convention center. She's sleeping on the floor of a friend's grandmother's house. She promised to keep a convention journal. Let's hope she does.

I attended three Democratic conventions, the 1976 and 1980 conventions in New York (when I still had enough UPI connections to get in that way) and 1984 in San Francisco (courtesy of Edwin Diamond). In 1976, Ella Grasso, then governor of Connecticut, greeted me on the convention floor--I'd been covering her for six months. In 1980, no one knew me and I knew no one. In 1984, I was standing on the floor when Ted Kennedy gave his excellent speech in support of Mondale's losing cause.

There is nothing like being on the floor of a national political convention. Nothing. I am thrilled past description that Marlow's getting a full dose of this experience. I hope she catches a couple of good speeches.

At least she's at a convention where the diversity on the floor will reflect the diversity on the stage.

Paul Gets A New PC

For the first time since the end of the last Bush administration, my employer has supplied me a new personal computer. I am a home office worker (have been since 1979), and up until 1992, I supplied my own computer. Then I got one from the company, a 133 MHz pentium machine that was hot stuff for its time.

Because of my job, I have a lot of non-standard software that isn't included in the standard corporate hard-disk "image." And there's a lot of standard corporate software in that image I don't use. I have had to do enough hard-disk recoveries, and have moved program data from desktop to portable often enough to realize how extraordinarily and gratuitously difficult it can be to move a complex Windows installation from one machine to another. Believe me, it isn't just a simple matter of moving your data files. I wish. You basically have to reinstall all of your programs. P.U.

And you always forget something (I found two files just today, my custom Word for Windows toolbar and my custom dictionary) that I had to recover from a backup disk.

As I put it in a note to my colleagues:

Please join me in congratulating myself on what appears to be, on the surface, a successful move of my files to a new machine. It should be hours, if not days, months or years, until I discover the missing irreplaceable file that cripples a critical application or the wiped data that spoils a major deal.

So far, they've been replaceable.

Lieberman's First Zinger

Credit to Phil Gill for spotting this:

Here's Joe Leiberman's response to George W.'s claim that their views and positions are the same:
``With all due respect, I think that's like saying the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either way you get your dog back,'' Lieberman said.

I'm so glad I'll have a chance this week to watch a convention whose delegates don't spend most of their time worrying about their country club dues, or where their next white belt is coming from.

Computer Industry News

None This Week

Web Site of the Week

Jumping The Shark

Why do other people find so many more interesting things on the net than I do? This week, it's my long-time friend and associate Tom LaSusa: (by the way, I agree with those who say The Simpsons hasn't yet jumped the shark).

For your column...don't know if you've seen this already...but I think it's damned funny. A site all about TV shows and the precise moment when they should have ended their run (and probably didn't). The name is based upon the episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumped a shark tank on his motorcycle.


New York Joke

Stephanie Salter, A columnist in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner notes that when she lived in New York during the 80s, there was a joke about tourists. After a few days in the city, a tourist would walk up to a native and ask, "Can you tell me how to find the Empire State Building, or should I just bleep myself now." Salter's point was that things have changed and New York isn't like that anymore--that in fact, SF is now less polite than New York. I'm not so sure…

The Lost Coast

Regular correspondent Richard Dalton has a nephew, Hugh, who is trying to sell a comic strip. Check out The Lost Coast, then insist your local paper carry it.


But I'm A Cheerleader!

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

Marlow and I found this hysterical Your reaction will probably depend on how you feel about lesbians, and efforts by well-meaning parents and friends to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is suspected of being lesbian (hates kissing, is a vegetarian, has a Melissa Ethridge poster in her room) and is sent to a camp (True Directions) to "cure" her. The actress Mink Stole and Bud Cort (yes, of Harold and Maude) play her well-meaning parents. Cathy Moriarty leaves no scenery unchewed as the camp director, Mary, and RuPaul, without the drag, plays one of the counselors. Well, of course she discovers she is a lesbian, falls in love, is rejected… if this were about straights it would be trite. But director Jamie Babbit has done a wonderful job with difficult material.

Adult themes, adult language, one soft-core lovemaking scene. Be warned.

Cecil B. Demented

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

The description from the IMDB site: "A lunatic indie-film director (Stephen Dorff) and his renegade group of teenage filmmakers kidnap an A-list Hollywood actress (Melanie Griffith) and force her to star in their underground film."

Well, if you know John Waters, you know that the old Hollywood cliché, "and then the fun begins" is never truer. The movie is violent, foul-mouthed, smutty (without being pornographic) and utterly careless of civility, human decency or basic values. Cinematically, tight as you could ask. In other words, classic Waters. Marlow and I loved it. Thumbs up. If you like Waters, you'll love this film. I've been taking Marlow and Rae to see his films since Hairspray, and we've always enjoyed them.

Waters clearly gets a lot off his chest in this film, including every nasty thought he's ever had about mainstream Hollywood, A list movie stars and state film commissions. For a Maryland native, he commits sacrilege with a scene about crabcakes. And insults the audience too, by grossly stereotyping viewers of family movies, action films and porno flicks--well, OK, he probably isn't far off with the porno audience. And he has Patty Hearst in this film, which, considering its theme of "kidnapped rich girl makes common cause with her captors" shows she's either a really good sport or wasn't shown the whole script.

Coyote Ugly

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

Another nominee for "most deceptive advertising campaign." You've seen the trailer, the print ads, the TV ads, right? And you couldn't figure out what this film was about, could you? I know I couldn't. It appeared to be about a bar full of beautiful women dancing in front of drunken men, possibly fully clothed. And it features Tyra Banks among others, right? WRONGO!

It's about Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) escaping a dead-end life in South Amboy, N.J. to become a songwriter in New York City. Banks is on screen for a total of five minutes, and you couldn't tell from this film whether her decision to give up modeling for acting was a good one, because you can't tell yet if she knows how to act.

Spoiler Ahead

Guess what--she overcomes her stage fright, gets together with the good boyfriend and becomes a successful songrwriter. Now you don't have to waste your time like I did.


Political Analysis, Bottled Water, Misc.

Political analysis from Anonymous (and I don't mean Joe Klein of the New Yorker either):

Given the 12 Amendment requirement that electors (with their two votes, one for President, one for VP) can only vote for one inhabitant of their state and that Bush and Cheney both probably are inhabitants of Texas (notwithstanding a switch in voter registration by Cheney), will we have a Bush-Lieberman or Gore-Cheney administration? Which federal court is going to enjoin the Texas Republican electors (if the Republicans win the Texas popular vote) from their clearly intended unconstitutional actions in casting both votes for Bush-Cheney? FYI, interesting op-ed piece to this effect in NYT shortly after Cheney selection.

I remember Richard Dalton snickering when we had our first drink together in the fall of 1979 after an interview. I ordered Calistoga. He's been dubious about my bottled water habits ever since. Here's his latest shot:

British experts, tasting an array of EXPENSIVE BOTTLED WATERS for a consumer magazine, awarded top marks to a humble sample of tap water from Thames Water, a less-than-fashionable utility. Some of the water sampled costs more than 1 pounds ($1.5) a litre; Thames Water will fill a medium-sized bath for around 12 pence.

To which I might only add that British taste buds have obviously been ruined by years of eating British food.

One of my correspondents wrote me this without clearly indicating it was OK to use his name; good stuff, so I print it here. I'll replace this graf with a credit if you give me the OK.

Just wondering if you saw the article "A Court of No Appeal -- How One Obscure Sentence Upset the New York Times" by Renata Adler in the August Harper's. I remember seeing the fuss in the Times and this very interestingly explains it. I've just bought a copy of Judge Sirica's autobiography on Ebay so that I can check it myself.

Harpers recently (December 2001) posted the article. A search at the site (you have to pay to read the full text) turns up the first piece in the Times, the editorial it spawned and the July followup which was based on the Harper's article. If you like teapot tempests, follow these links.

The other is -- I remember a while back you wrote that you had seen Princess Mononoke and didn't like it. I was wondering if you have ever seen another animated feature by the same director entitled "Kiki's Delivery Service". It was dubbed and put out direct to tape by Disney. The Japanese language version is much better in my opinion (better voices and sound effects) but even the dubbed version is a very sweet movie.

I'm going to look for it. In the meantime, anyone else see Kiki?

I, too, read the article in the New Yorker about the destruction of newspaper archives and was shocked. Did you ever find an address of the people who are trying to save old newspapers? I wouldn't mind sending in a donation.

Never found the address. Does anyone else know?

Years ago (maybe 20 or 25) I was at the Englishtown auction (a flea market in New Jersey). A dealer had a double table piled high with old newspapers. I only had a few dollars with me and I bought a New York Times from the 1880s and a New York Post of approximately the same vintage.

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