PS... A Column
By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.
April 23, 2001
A Light 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.
Some Material in this column comes from anonymous incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Arial (Sans Serif) type font to distinguish it from the original material
Table of Contents:
The World Can't Wait For Another Climate Treaty
Richard Dalton spotted this from the WorldWatch Institute.
The U.S. administration's decision to abandon America's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol has created the most serious international environmental policy crisis in years, says President of the Worldwatch Institute, Christopher Flavin. Today's development puts at risk a decade of efforts to craft an agreement to protect the world from climate change.
It's been a long time since I heard from Katherine Gray. This item makes it worth the wait. Google will show you a bunch of stories on the topic, most of them dealing with a similar effort in New Zealand.
Here's the story Katherine sent me, and I must say, it was disappointing.
"Star Wars" fans in the United Kingdom hoping to start their own religion were foiled this week. According to CNET, an e-mail circulated suggesting that the upcoming U.K. Census would recognize "Jedi" as a religion if enough people wrote it in the form. The Office of National Statistics has confirmed that the e-mail is false, dashing the hopes of "Star Wars" fanatics attempting to become Jedi Knights. The e-mail was quoted by CNET: "If there are enough people who put down a religion that isn't mentioned on the census form, it becomes a fully recognized and legal religion. Send this on to all your friends and tell them to put down "Jedi" on their census form. And remember...if you are a member of the Jedi religion then you are by default a "Jedi Knight." Unfortunately, according to a representative at the Office of National Statistics, this simply isn't true.
Now That's Good Writing
This from the UPI alumni message wire:
Paul Harral is quoted extensively in the Dallas Observer (an "alternative" paper) onMolly Ivins' leaving the Fort Worth Star- Telegram to become a columnist for Creators Syndicate.
My personal favorite paragraph from the story, however, is chosen not because of Paul's quotes. Here 'tis:
"No, that's not true at all," Harral says. "We get hammered no matter what we do. We publish people all the time who the readership doesn't like. It comes with the territory." In fact, he says, first thing Monday morning, the paper called Creators and renegotiated the rights to continue running her column. Not that the Morning News could have had exclusive rights to run her column, or would have wanted to, or would even have noticed the announcement in Sunday's Star-T that Ivins was leaving. After all, the Morning News, tempting corporate fellatrix that she is, has been quite distracted lately, what with her mouth so tightly wrapped around Boeing's cockpit.
It's a well-written story, but he's right, that's the best graf in it. There's a lot of good writing in alternative newspapers, as there used to be in regular newspapers when they wore their biases on their sleeves.
Computer Industry News
Has Microsoft committed the perfect caper?
Check this out.
FTC:WATCH® No. 564THE aai COLUMN
Robert H. Lande & James Langenfeld
As readers of detective novels know, a "perfect caper" is committed when the perpetrator gets to keep all of its ill-gotten gains and goes unpunished. Even if they are brought to trial, due to a variety of unusual circumstances, they still escape sanctions. This is essentially what some people are arguing about Microsoft (MS). They argue that even if the courts ultimately hold that MS violated the law, it will not be made to account for it, at least not by private plaintiffs. They argue that MS will never have to pay out even a single dollar in an antitrust case.
Makes interesting reading.
Mildly Smutty Joke
Language warning: skip this item if you are sensitive to profanity. Thank you, Steve Wood, for this shaggy dog story (my favorite type of joke).
This is very unusual for me. I'm not generally inclined to pass on unproven financial advice, but yesterday, I heard from a drug rep for Glaxo who told me that they are on the verge of launching a new herbal remedy that they think will take the market by storm. This drug sounds so promising that I want to suggest to my friends and family that they consider buying stock in the company. The drug is called "Ginko Viagra", and its function is to help you remember what the fuck you are doing.
Bridget Jones's Diary
You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database
To paraphrase a Renée Zellweger line from a previous movie, they had me after "97 minutes." Any film-making team that respects the eternal verities, including the fact that comedies should never run over 100 minutes (and 90 is better) is already halfway to winning my heart.
It is hard to know where to start. Renée Zellweger's surprisingly convincing British accent as Bridget Jones? Colin Firth' s astoundingly unsmiling Mark Darcy? Hugh Grant's unredeemably caddish Daniel Cleaver? The snow that is so fake that it is funny just to watch it fall?
Great plot, great dialog, amusing and well-drawn secondary characters, powerful primary characters, a story you're interest in, foreseeable plot twists mixed with unforeseeable plot twists: this movie has it all. When it was over, I had to catch my breath, as I was amused non-stop by this tale of a year in the life of a single woman in the British book-publishing industry. It certainly passes the watch test: I never looked at my watch once.
It is said Zellweger put on weight for the role, although it is hard to tell (Rae, my daughter, asked me if I thought she used a butt double in the firehouse scene; speculation on this subject will gladly be accepted).
This movie deserves its terrific word of mouth, and you should see it if you don't mind the rating and the reasons for it.
Rated R for language and some strong sexuality. Plus liberal use of the F word, as well as the British term wanker.
Missing A Week
My friend Barry Surman wrote in response to my apology for missing a week:
C'mon, buddy: While we, your loyal readers, do hang on your every word like day traders on Alan Greenspan's kitchen garbage, even Bill Safire and Frank Rich deign to take a few off now and then.Al Shanker was the last columnist who never took a break.
My good friend from our days at the Los Angeles Times and on the Tuolumne River, David Cay Johnston, won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize yesterday for his excellent ongoing reporting on (our good friends) at the Internal Revenue Service.His work will piss you off but good.
I hereby promise to apologize less next time.
My anonymous correspondent writes:
Comment 1: Next time be assertive in your use of the company Bell Jet Ranger and instruct the pilot to deliver you at JFK before he delivers your colleagues at Newark and LaGuardia on his way from Manhattan. Should take a lot less than 40 minutes non-stop. Apparently, according to at least one newspaper, his illegititude (currently working 24/7 at the White House; that's 24 hours a month, 7 months a year - the rest of the time he's trying to figure some way to get his brother re-elected as chief disenfranchiser of the blacks in Florida) agrees with the airline that San Francisco and the entire state of California are not in the United States and has already written the state off for 2004. Hope you have your exercise bicycle attached to a generator if you want electricity in California for the next four years.
NFA as to comment 2:
Comment 2: Congratulations to Peggy Noonan for avoiding the cardinal journalistic sin of letting the facts get in the way of a story. In fact, the Miami paper reported that using the Republican approved and requested method of counting only ballots on which the chads were completely disconnected from the ballot and applying the equal protection standard enunciated by the Supreme Court (same standard in all Florida counties) (enunciated after the Court discarded a few hundred years of settled Anglo-American jurisprudence to enable it to take the case on December 9, 2001) the person entitled to Florida's 25 electoral votes and to the Presidency of the United States was Albert Gore (by 3 votes which is 200% greater than the legal requirement of 1 vote). For some reason, the headline on most stories about this count was something other than "Gore's Actual Margin 200% Greater Than Needed To Win"
As long as we're on journalistic support for political parties, I guess the editors at The Wall Street Journal must have cut Peggy's paragraph (which she must have included for balance having learned at Dan's direction) relating how George Will prepared Ronald Reagan for a televised debate with President Jimmy Carter in 1980 (possibly in conjunction with other preparers who, perhaps without Will's knowledge, used a Carter debate briefing book stolen, apparently by a career military officer, from the President and/or his staff; in English, that's a covert intelligence operation) and then, after the debate, appeared as an independent journalist on the ABC network to comment on the debate (without mentioning that he prepared Reagan for the debate). Over 20 years later, Will is still on ABC which, as I'm sure Peggy must have written (even if the liberal editors deleted what she wrote to promote a so-called conservative viewpoint) is clear evidence of iron-clad conservative control (not influence or tendency, control) of at least one journalistic outlet (there are others also so-controlled, starting with the Aaardvark Advocate and ending with the Zzzebulon News).
The UPI email list has become enamored of the phrase, "The aardvark looked confused but aroused," which apparently appeared in a news story somewhere. Is this a great country or what?
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