PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 3 No. 41

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

November 13, 2000

Late Election News!

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

  • Florida Fraud
  • Short Column

Computer Industry News

  • Appliance Communication

Web Site of the Week

  • Bush Set to Fight An Electoral College Loss


  • None this week


  • "B" Movies, Get It?


  • Principals vs. Principles, Letter from New York

General News

Florida Fraud

If you're still interested in the election and didn't read it when I sent out the bulletin, here's my election coverage, including:

* Barry Surman's analysis of the Nader effect

* Dan Grobstein's analysis that suggests that Republicans win states that send more money to Washington than they get back

* A URL for the Palm Beach Ballot from Craig Reynolds

* Daniel Dern's forwarded message from the Red Rock Eater News Service. It is a very long narrative on Florida voting which points to a number of web pages where you can view the Palm Beach ballot and, among other things, get a rundown of the history of voter fraud in Florida--by which I mean, not suspected fraud, but actual fraud.

My anonymous correspondent, as usual, has some cogent remarks:

After spending the better part of the week decrying and deploring any resort to the courts and urging all Presidential candidates to act in a statesmanlike and responsible manner by avoiding the use of the courts to resolve the issues, if any, remaining to be resolved in connection with the selection of members of the Electoral College, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale Division) on Saturday, November 11, 2000. As an independent observer, one can only wonder why the typically skillful Bush-Cheney public relations machine chose to portray Al Gore and Joe Lieberman as responsible statesmen while establishing the Republican ticket as a pair of irresponsible politicians salivating at the prospect of selecting members of the next Administration.
After putting all manner of documents and statements (from the mundane to the ridiculous) on their campaign website over time, the Republicans sowed additional confusion and cause for wonder by failing to put the text of their complaint in federal court and a supporting legal brief on their website. This leaves one wondering if they are confused, unable to run a mere website (calling into question their ability to run an entire government), or lacking in pride in their effort to thwart and obstruct as accurate a determination as possible of the actual vote. Listening to Jim Baker (a man who had, and presumably still has, such severe conflicts of interest with the interests of the United States of America that President George H. W. Bush thought it necessary to grant Baker (then Secretary of State) a waiver on August 8, 1990, of Baker's conflicts of interest so Baker could participate in decision-making concerning the Gulf War) explain about the allegedly infallible nature of vote counting machines at least some were left to wonder if either Baker or Bush had any understanding that the machines were created and programmed by human beings who had to be able to do the job at least as well as (although not necessarily as fast as) and probably better than the machines, or else they could not have built and programmed the machines in the first instance.
The best foreign comment may have been from Russia where the humorists said one Vladimir Putin reportedly said he could work with either Bush or Gore if the United States ever decided who actually won.

Jerry Pournelle notes:

We have the sons of consuls as the candidates this time. Have you read your Seutonius lately?

I think perusal of Hayes V. Tilden might be more informative.

Short Column

Heading for NYC this weekend, for work on Friday and to see Marlow, my older daughter, up at Columbia. I am going with my daughter Rae and my mother Mari, and so can't do a full column this week.

Computer Industry News

Appliance Communication

Another stunningly brilliant column by David Strom. You can read the whole thing here. I wish I wrote this well, about subjects this interesting.

When your coffeepot starts sending you email reminders that it needs servicing (or just a new supply of grounds), then you know that things have gone to a new level of connectedness.
No, I am not making this up. Introduced this week at Interop Paris, you can read all about it here.

He goes on to say that he may be getting a few more email reminders than he needs. I like email reminders, especially the ones from Amazon, which are perfect, perfectly targeted, direct and to the point.

Web Site of the Week

Bush Set to Fight An Electoral College Loss

Of all the many articles on the close race, I found this the most interesting, so I made it the web site of the week. This was forwarded to me by Daniel Dern, but the "My" is, presumably, Phil Agre, who appears to have sent it to Daniel.

My conservative friends are telling me what a pissy loser Al Gore is for contesting this problematic vote in Florida. So it's worth noting that the Bush campaign was quite prepared to contest an election if (as widely predicted) he won the popular vote but not the electoral.


There was a typo in the website of the week last week; if you went early and couldn't find the site, thank Carole Leita:

will take you to the history of computers in the movies


None This Week


B Movies, Get It?

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

Last week, I reviewed Billy Elliot, Bedazzled, and Best of Show. Kent Peterman pointed out they all started with B and asked me if I was now reviewing alphabetically. I just told him I felt like seeing a few B movies. <laughs>


If you read the column each week right after the announcement is distributed, you saw a mistake in my Billy Elliot review. The catch came from my friend and colleague Eddie Frager:

Quick correction -- Pam and I just got back from Billy Eliot like 20 minutes ago -- the family was from the northwest or east of England -- not Ireland.

And, of course, he was right.


Principals vs. Principles, Letter from New York

Barry Surman caught this error in last week's column (seems to have been a lot of that going around):

> ... But at least their principals are intact.

Amazingly, I know better, but it slipped past me, the grammar checker and the spelling checker. Surman, formerly the press spokesman for presidential candidate and Illinois Senator Paul Simon

I was sad to learn recently of the (not-so-recent) death of Russell Davidson, the clever and talented principal of John Page Junior High School in Madison Heights, Mich., who encouraged my earliest journalistic and satirical endeavors. He was the first adult I ever met who loved Monty Python as much as I did.
But I don't think that's what you had in mind when you wrote that Carol Marin and Hank Price left WBBM-TV in Chicago with "their principals ... intact." It seems that misused homonyms may mar our "impeccable" journalism and writing credentials from The Tech!
All of which reminds me of an amusing and very useful book I've been meaning to recommend to you and your readers, Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print -- and How to Avoid Them. It is written by Bill Walsh, business copy desk chief of the Washington Post, founder and webmaster of "The Slot: A Spot for Copy Editors" and a fellow editor of Page One, the monthly newspaper of the aforementioned junior high school. That's where, longer ago than I care to admit, he and I began to apply the principles of journalism and writing, encouraged by our wacky principal.

Marlow has not written about her life and travels much lately, so I am pleased to present excerpts from her trip to Ohio to see Stacey Gerson at Oberlin.

It was really very fun. My plane ran late, but that turned out to be a good thing because Stacey was running late and forgot to bring my flight information to Cleveland with her. On her way to pick me up she backed into a dumpster, which wouldn't have been so bad, except that there was a pole sticking out of the dumpster that went right through her rear windshield, completely shattering it. Luckily Emily was with her and Emily has her own car, so she drove Stacey to the airport where she apparently ran around for an hour before I got there trying to figure out where the hell I was. She found the right gate number just as I arrived. She was still rather wound up but she managed to relax after we had dinner at the Macaroni Grill (not as bad as it sounds, really) and got back to Oberlin.
…All of the dorms seem to be pretty close together. The campus is a lot more horizontal than Columbia, but it still wasn't all that big since they only have about 3,000 students (small enough where you recognize almost everyone, but big enough that you can avoid people you don't want to see, in Stacey's words).
…The day we went it was tofu and pasta, I think I've been too harsh on tofu. I've had some very good tofu of late. When it is cooked properly it can have something like taste...
…Stacey says I have to come back so she can show me more of Ohio than just the campus that we were basically restricted to by a lack of car. When we got back on campus I got the royal tour. It is really a pretty campus with a lot of interesting architecture. I don't know if it was really that outstanding or if I just had low expectations because it was in Ohio.
…After dinner we went to the lab for Stacey's Shakespeare in Film class. We watched the Orson Wells film "The Chimes at Midnight." It was terrible. Only about a quarter of it was even vaguely intelligible. We both fell asleep.
Sunday I went with Stacey to her bowling class. She bowled 100, I bowled 114. I really hope I get to take bowling here, it was fun. Stacey says that class centers her for the rest of the day. When she takes the second part of the class next semester she'll get a ball drilled specially for her. The instructor was a big dork, but I mean that in a good way. He's bowled several perfect games, he gave me some pointers that seemed to actually help.
We went out to lunch with Emily and then Stacey showed me the Oberlin Museum. It's quite impressive. They have Lichtenstein, Monet, Warhol, and other artists including a wide collection of prints and Asian art and an area for travelling exhibits.
It was just a very nice, chill trip. I really liked Oberlin…
…Everyone there is very liberal. The campus debates were over Gore/Nader; Bush didn't even enter into the equation. The whole experience was very much anti-Columbia. No city, no people wearing make-up to class, a lot more the sense of a community since people don't have the same options to leave campus for entertainment or internships, etc. Not that I don't love Columbia, but I think I really needed this break.

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