PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 4 No. 24

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

July 2, 2001

The Glorious Fourth!

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:

General News:

  • The Glorious Fourth
  • Aida
  • Freelancers' Rights

Computer Industry News:

  • The SMART Newsletter

Web Site of the Week:

  • The Office Newsletter


  • The Top 14 Country & Western Horror Movies (P. I)
  • The Top 14 Country & Western Horror Movies (Part II)


  • Tomb Raider Trashed


  • Stephen Coquet on Generations

General News

The Glorious Fourth

I continue to be on vacation, but what with making the Top 5 list twice last week, I felt the need to put out a newsletter. I am doing well on the weight-loss program, thanks for asking, but will spare you the details so as to avoid jinxing it. Spent the weekend in Oregon with my parents and my younger daughter Rae while Vicki visited her mother in LA; a nice break for everyone (nothing beats leaving home for real vacation). On Wednesday, I play in two bands for the Fourth; the Orinda one-day-a-year amateur pickup band in the morning and the Contra Costa Wind Symphony's two-hour concert at Moraga Commons at 2 in the afternoon, followed by Moraga's fireworks at sunset. Thursday, I fly to LA for the day and try out for the new Card Sharks and Friday, if I'm lucky, I go fishing with Jim Forbes. That's a lot to do for a vacation week.


Normally I don't let other people tell me what to write about in this column, but Rae, who really wanted to see the SF Opera production of Aida said, "I'll bet you won't even write about it in your column," which meant, of course, that I had to write about it.

Regular readers know that Vicki and I have had season tickets to the SF Ballet since before we were married (1978), and that before that I went to the ballet in Hartford, Conn., where I discovered the art form in 1977.

I saw the Boston Symphony a few times while I lived in Boston, and the Pops as well (once on the Boston Commons on the Fourth, complete with real cannons for the 1812 overture, once during MIT Commencement), but never really developed a taste for the symphony.

Now, I know this is going to disappoint a few of my readers, but after watching the SF Opera do several modern operas and two Wagners, after seeing Pavoratti as well as one or two other mega-tenors, I have to render my judgment: I just don't like opera. The ballet is better at the ballet, the music is better at the symphony and the singing, well, to be honest, leaves me cold. Not everyone can like everything.

That said, the SF Opera Aida was almost as good as it could be (the lack of a live element in the big victory celebration was disappointing). I meant, the sets were terrific, as they always are in professional opera (and often aren't in professional ballet), the costumes sumptuous, the singing superb (for its style), and you certainly get your money's worth (3.5 hours). The best seats we could afford were the last row of the dress circle, but with binoculars you could see everything you wanted to. Still, let me say before Rae does, that I rested my eyes frequently during the third act.

Vicki and I went because Rae was really interested in seeing the Opera. I don't see us becoming regulars.

Freelancers' Rights

Rich Levin says this is something to celebrate. I'm not so sure. As someone who both creates and uses information, I am going to miss all the stories that will no longer be available online.

Free-lancers win Supreme Court case
Media companies need permission to publish work online
WASHINGTON, June 25 - The Supreme Court said Monday that free-lance writers may control whether articles they sold for print in a regular newspaper or magazine may be reproduced in electronic form. The court ruled 7-2 that compilation in an electronic database is different from other kinds of archival or library storage of material that once appeared in print.
The publishers had said if they lost, they'd probably remove a lot of material from electronic view rather than fight with writers over permission and fees.

Computer Industry News

The SMART Newsletter

Richard Dalton passes on his recommendation:

I don't recall if anyone has suggested David Isen's SMART Letter before but, if not, we should have. Isenberg is an ex-AT&T outlaw who is sometimes prone to outrageous views, but more often provides insights to the telecom business that are informed and provocative.
He used to be one of the attendees when AT&T's was a member of the Institute for the Future's Outlook program. I always enjoyed his contrarian views at member exchanges. Now I'm delighted to maintain the link through his SMART Letter. It's required reading in my office
The means of getting SMART Letter shows Isen's non-Listbot mindset:
There are two ways to join the SMART List, which gets you the SMART Letter by email, weeks before it goes up on the web site. The preferred method is to go to the subscription page and supply the info as indicated. The alternative method is to send a brief, personal statement to (put "SMART" in the Subject field) saying who you are, what you do, maybe who you work for, maybe how you see your work connecting to mine, and why you are interested in joining the SMART List.

Web Site of the Week

The Office Letter

My friend and colleague James Powell has started an office newsletter. If you use Microsoft Office, you should be reading this newsletter. He has a free edition; I strongly suggest the premium edition. It is worth the small extra fee, and it will keep Jim producing this first-class source of information on what is, for many of us, a vital daily tool. Highly Recommended


The Top 14 Country & Western Horror Movies (Part I)

Hanging on by the skin of my teeth, but still having a good month, at No. 14.

June 26, 2001
14> Achy, Breaky Tell-Tale Heart
13> Nightmare on Rural Route One, Up Past That There Silo
12> Ah Seen What Y'all Done Last Summer
11> The Creature From Clint Black's Spittoon
10> Don't Tell Me You Love Me if You're Gnawing Off My Leg
9> Night of the Homosekshual, BMW-Drivin', Neiman Marcus Suit-Wearin' Zombies
8> Jurassic Trailer Park
7> Something Twangy This Way Comes
6> Psychoklahoma
5> The Hounddog of the Baskervilles
4> All My Axes are in My Exes
3> Throw Momma from Shania Twain
2> The Expectorist
and's Number 1 Country & Western Horror Movie...
1> She Broke My Heart and Then She Ate It

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2001 by Chris White ]
Selected from 168 submissions from 63 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Michael Sheinbaum, King of Prussia, PA -- 1, 7 (5th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 14

The Top 14 Country & Western Horror Movies (Part II)

In a two-part list, I got a two-fer: this time, No. 9.

June 27, 2001
14> Texas Chainsaw Massacre 'n' Barbecue
13> Dawn of the Dead Sumbitch Who Stole My Pickup
12> The Shania-ing
11> Night of the Living Dog, Truck and Wife
10> Godzilla Versus Reba's Hair
9> You Done Me Wrong, and Now I'm Blue -- and Also Decomposing
8> Last Beer in the Fridge!
7> Silence of the Beans
6> Little Bait Shop of Horrors
5> Mama, Don't Let Rosemary's Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
4> The Amityville Fixer-Upper
3> Friday the Eleventeenth
2> Chuck Norris in Concert
and's Number 1 Country & Western Horror Movie...
1> Chaws
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2001 by Chris White ]
Selected from 168 submissions from 63 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Michael Sheinbaum, King of Prussia, PA -- 1 (6th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 9


Tomb Raider Trashed

You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database

Liz Smith quoted a review by Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post to show how wrong he was about Tomb Raiders because he didn't like it and it did well at the box office. Since when is BO the measure of a movie's worth? I love the way Stephen started his review:

Here's Lara's theme: The sounds of silence and emptiness. Awesomely vacant, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," stars Angelina Jolie's lips and breasts and, in a much smaller role, the actual Angelina Jolie herself. It is the perfect modern product: loud, banal, empty, frenzied, plasticized, flavorless, drab, violent in a bloodless way and sexy in a sexless way.



Stephen Coquet on Generations

In Re: The Greatest Generation, Stephen C.Coquet writes:

Kent State happened about the time I was drafted. I was surprised at how strongly the cadre reacted. They were shamed and angered. Yeah, that's right. They were deeply hurt that someone wearing their uniform would intentionally murder Americans. And make no mistake; no one thought even then that there was anything accidental or spontaneous about it. Many of these guys were career men.
The generation that seems to lack a certain -- drive? direction? je ne sais quoi? -- is about thirty to thirty-five now. I am amazed at how many people in this age group I know or know of who: have small time criminal records or can't hold a job, or have had multiple divorces, and/or can simply not hold it together. Admittedly, I have a small and possibly skewed statistical sampling. Every generation has its heroes and losers. Still, that's my take.

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