PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 4 No. 43

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

November 12, 2001

Oregon's Future

I no longer have a day job, so every word of this is my opinion, and if you don't like it, lump it. This offer is NOT void in Wisconsin.

Except, of course, that some material in this column comes from incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Sans Serif type font to distinguish it from the (somewhat) original material

Family photos 1, 2, 3

Table of Contents:

General News:

    • Oregon's Future
    • RIP Dawson Bernard Leonard
    • Rare Meteor Shower

Computer Industry News:

    • The Phantom Edit
    • Microsoft Deal Commentary

Web Site of the Week:

    • Odd Todd


    • The Top 12 Signs Your Co-Worker Takes Science Fiction WAY Too Seriously
    • Clinton and Bush In The Barber Shop
    • The Top 15 Rejected Slogans for Microsoft Windows XP



    • Safire Interviews The Late RN, Ross Snyder on Leadership, Replacing Nathan Lane


General News

Oregon's Future

Every once in a while, my natal state does something that makes me proud of it. This came to me from Richard Dalton, who got it from some friends of his in Oregon who say one of the gubernatorial candidates there next year will base her campaign on it.

Dear Friends,
Thursday morning's Oregonian brought a wonderful 28-page tabloid insert called "Looking for Oregon's Future: What Is Sustainability?" published by the Extension Service at Oregon State University.
This is the full report.
It's so heartening to see this coming out of the university extension service! They've done a great job and set just the right tone for the beginnings of more public discussion and exploration. As you'll recall, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed an Executive Order in May 2000 calling for a step-by-step public-private effort that will help the state "meet the goal of sustainability within one generation -- by 2025."

RIP Dawson Bernard Leonard

I am not in the habit of running obituaries in this column, but I don't often lose a good friend. Dawson Bernard Leonard (1938-2001) was a friend and musical colleague. His daughter, Erika, babysat Marlow from the age of 1. He and I played tennis, and we played together in the Contra Costa Wind Symphony. Dawson was a much better musician than I; he played in the bands at El Cerrito (California) High and the University of California, Berkeley. He played briefly in the Del Courtney Band (once heard on the NBC Blue radio network). But he had to make a living, which music does not generally allow, so he became first a public defender, then a workman's compensation lawyer. He took early retirement from the law, and had a number of exciting retirement plans that were cut short by lung cancer.

Dawson was awesome. I know he was a tremendous father because I know his daughter, and she's terrific. I know he was funny, intelligent, well read and fun to be with because of the time I spent with him on the tennis court and at band rehearsal.

As is so often the case when a good person dies, there's a giant gap in the lives of his wife and children, and a smaller, but still significant gap, in the lives of those around him. The flaming liberal population of Orinda has been cut in half with his untimely death. I will miss him.

Rare Meteor Shower

Kevin Sullivan sends word of a rare meteor shower, best viewed between 4-6am EST (1-3am PST) on Nov 18.

How big is it?

The United States can look forward to the most spectacular meteor show since 1966 -- and it might be another 98 years before anything so sensational will be seen again.

Geek Test

My credentials as a geek are in serious danger. Rae told me this joke, and I don't get it.

All the equations are at a party, really enjoying themselves. Linear equations, quadratic equations, the whole bunch. But E to the X is in the corner moping. Two to the X comes over and says, "join the party." To which E to the X replies, "It doesn't matter."
I assume this is a relative of the bad philosopher joke in which Decartes, offered a chance to have his pants pressed for free, says, "I think not" and disappears.

Why would that the E to the X line be funny?

My two best MIT friends have yet to figure it out, but Harrison Klein responded with this geek knee-slapper:

Do you know why mathematicians often confuse last Wednesday with Christmas? Because Oct 31 = Dec 25.

The only thing I like better than puns is geek humor. Come to think of it, puns are geek humor, aren't they?

Computer Industry News

The Phantom Edit

Craig Reynolds Writes:

A fan produced a re-edit of "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" primarily by eliminating material from the original. Many think the new one is better than the original: "[the editor brought] out what he saw as the `real' film, buried within Lucas' edit." Apparently there have been some re-re-edits too. I recall hearing predictions that cheap digital video technology would lead to this sort of democratization of the editing process, but I'd never seen it happen on such a grad scale.
Article in "The Phantom Edit"

Microsoft Deal Commentary

A link from Craig Reynolds that was sent on Nov. 7:

In the proposed settlement, DOJ seems to be telling Microsoft: if you reduce the degree to which you illegally abuse your monopoly power we will drop the case. This is along the lines of releasing a serial murder who has promised to bludgeon rather than shoot future victims. Its clear what Microsoft got of the deal. Dave Winer speculates on what the government got.

He then wrote again on Nov. 10:

Today I read Cringely's column
Caught in a .NET
the first half of which is about the DOJ/MS deal. He makes an analogy to a murder promising to merely stab rather than shoot future victims. I hope I sent my email before 11-8 when the Cringely column came out! I'd hate to sound derivative.

Yes, you did Craig.

There was an excellent story in the Wall Street Journal on Friday Nov. 9, but you have to pay to view it on line, I believe.

Web Site of the Week

Odd Todd

Just when I thought I was going to go another week with no web site of the week, Harrison Klein rides to my rescue:

You may have heard of Odd Todd by now, but if not, it's worth a look, particularly for you guys that can't seem to hold a job. Big Flash download (~2.5 meg) but not a problem for the lucky ones with high-speed service.


The Top 12 Signs Your Co-Worker Takes Science Fiction WAY Too Seriously

Either Wheel of Fortune is on hiatus, or Pat Sajak is on a hot streak. He's back at No. 12. Meantime, I'm No. 3!

November 7, 2001
12> His cell phone rings the theme from "Close Encounters."
11> Constantly musing, "What would Vader do?"
10> Insists he's groping you because he's trying to perform a "Vulcan slut meld."
9> "Only two more auditing sessions and I'll finally be clear!"
8> Gave his children names even he cannot pronounce.
7> Always mutters something about probes and Uranus every time you walk by. It damn well better be science fiction.
6> Can you really "set the fax machine on stun?" I don't think so.
5> He's the only one jockeying to take off the Klingon holidays.
4> No longer able to engage in Kirk vs. Picard debates due to restraining order.
3> Says, "He's Dead, Jim" when he cuts into the prime rib at lunch.
2> Camps outside his cubicle 48 hours before the latest "Star Wars" trailer is released online.
and's Number 1 Sign Your Co-Worker Takes Science Fiction Way Too Seriously...
1> Enters elevator, strikes a pose, and yells "Energize!" as the doors close.
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2001 by Chris White ]
Selected from 84 submissions from 32 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Dave Goudsward, Boynton Beach, FL -- 1, 7 (8th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 3
Pat Sajak, Los Angeles, CA -- 12

Bush and Clinton At The Barber Shop

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton somehow ended up at the same barbershop.
As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear it would turn to politics.
As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Clinton in his chair reached for the aftershave. Clinton was quick to stop him saying, "No thanks, my wife Hillary will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse."
The second barber turned to Bush and said, "How about you?" Bush replied, "Go ahead. My wife Laura doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like."

The Top 15 Rejected Slogans for Microsoft Windows XP

Lucky No. 13... I love No. 6, since Microsoft president Steve Ballmer is famous for telling his employees to bend over and grease up when Redmond was kowtowing to IBM in the mid-80s. He generally used the acronym, BOGU.

November 9, 2001
The newest version of the Windows operating system is in stores (and all over your TV) now.
15> Who's Your Daddy, Geekboy?
14> Ooh, Look! It's *Shiny!*
13> Does a Little More, Sucks a Little Less
12> Now with Tailfins!
11> It's XP-alidocious!
10> All Profits Go to Charity... PYSCH!
9> Anti-Trust-Free Since 2001
8> "Screens of Death" in All the Colors of the Rainbow!
7> Look, Lemmings -- a Cliff!
6> Where Do You Want Your KY Today?
5> We're Microsoft -- Stay on Our Good Side
4> Goes Down Even Less Than Your Husband!
3> Invest in America! Purchase a Completely Unnecessary Upgrade Now! It'll Drive the Taliban NUTS!
2> Think Similar
and's Number 1 Rejected Slogan for Microsoft Windows XP...
1> What Else Ya Gonna Do, Buy a Mac, You Artsy-Fartsy Little Weenie?
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2001 by Chris White ]
Selected from 125 submissions from 46 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Peter Bauer, Rochester, NY -- 1 (19th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 13




You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database



Safire Interviews The Late RN, Ross Snyder on Leadership, Replacing Nathan Lane

Dan Grobstein spotted this in the New York Times (you may have to register to read it):

The Turkey Card
November 5, 2001
Reached by cell phone in purgatory, Richard Nixon agreed to
an interview with his former speechwriter.

Harry Shearer has a regular segment on his PBS program, Le Show featuring Nixon in Heaven. The interesting thing is that the Nixon of Shearer, the comedian, sounds just like the Nixon of Safire, the ex-Nixon speechwriter.

Ross Snyder, on our current national dilemma:

Ninety percent popularity notwithstanding, the cheerleader has me worried his team doesn't understand the problem and may, without intending it, be shadow-boxing.

Fran Strykowski walks with Vicki and me every weekend. Last weekend, she and I fell to speculating on who could replace Nathan Lane when his contract ran out next March for the Broadway show The Producers. We decided John Goodman would be perfect for the role, with Robin Williams a close second. For Matthew Broderick, the man originally considered for the role, Martin Short, would be great.

The next day I got an e-mail from my mother, noting that Lane had been forced out of the show prematurely by a polyp on his vocal chords (less than a week after we saw him bring down the house--thank goodness we saw it while he was still in it).

Anyway, I mentioned John Goodman to my mother, who dismissed him out of hand (she hasn't seen Monsters Inc yet), as not sufficiently flamboyant. She had a great idea: Peter Boyle, who has worked with Producers creator Mel Brooks before (he was Frankenstein's monster in Young Frankenstein.) would be great as Max Bialystock. Of course, his role in the TV hit Everybody Loves Raymond might preclude his appearance in the show, but he would be good, wouldn't he?


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