PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.

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

I have a day job. So every word of this is my opinion, not that of my employer. This offer IS 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.

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P.S. A Column On Things: November 4, 2002

November 4, 2002 Vol. 4, No. 44

Table of Contents:

General News

  • Stephanie's Visit
  • Student Teaching Starts
  • Washington Whispers
  • The West Wing

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Web Site of the Week

  • NotSoSuperFriends, Dern On Wrath, Nilsson On Fark


  • The Top 12 Least-Loved Peanuts TV Specials (Part II)
  • The Top 15 Things You'll Never Hear a Zombie Say


  • None


  • Hanzel On Saints, Grobstein On Bras, Pitt And Pomegranates, Dern On A Legobot, Dialects and Halloween, Dalton Finds Good News On The War Front

General News

Stephanie's Visit

My beautiful niece Stephanie came down from Seattle for a weekend visit, and brought her fiancé Daniel with her so we could get to know him. He is a delight, a big quiet Minister's son who works as a construction diver. I predict a long and happy marriage.

It all seems to be one big blur, from the takeout Chinese on Friday night, through the day in San Francisco on Saturday (spent largely at Pier 39, it included the Alcatraz tour--which, remarkably, I had never taken before--as well as clam chowder in a sourdough bowl and a visit to the wax musem) down to the waffles for breakfast Sunday morning. We rented the very unusual French film, "Brotherhood of the Wolf" on Daniel's suggestion and watched in Saturday night. We learned that DVD's can skip as badly as records, especially if they have been rented by a bunch of careless people. Stephanie is very allergic to our two cats, which made her visit interesting. She soldiered on though, because that's the kind of girl she is. Vicki and Rae took our visitors to Berkeley on Sunday before they returned to the verdant Pacific Northwest.

Student Teaching Starts

Although my mother's stint as a student teacher was a few years back, her advice has been spot on. I start my actual student teaching Monday. Her written advice was:

The district is damn lucky to have you and if they don't know it - screw em. Don't even consider that you are being judged on any level - you are simply leaping one of the damn hurdles they put up - consider it a form of hazing and get on with your life

Funny, I used to tell my daughters they had to put up with high school because it was a form of hazing.

Washington Whispers

Federal securities laws and regulations prohibit false or misleading statements of material fact and the withholding of material information in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

Thus, in connection with the withholding from Congress of current information about North Korea's nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles until after one day after the vote on the Iraqi resolution one might say: If George Bush sold securities the way he sold the Iraq resolution he should go to jail.

In connection with SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt's withholding of information from the other SEC Commissioners about William Webster's service to a company which may have engaged in securities fraud one might say: If Harvey Pitt sold securities the way he sold Webster for head of the Accounting Board, Pitt should go to jail.

One might also wonder why the Democrats generally appear not to have raised these issues during the 2002 campaign.

The West Wing

Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing is the best show on television. I love it. Never miss it if I can help it, despite an increasingly hectic schedule. Thanks to Daniel Dern for making sure I knew about the show. Sorkin also did SportsNight, which Daniel and I also both enjoyed. As Daniel notes:

Rob Lowe is bound to get the Senator's seat in California, giving him a graceful exit from the show. Beats having him killed on-screen, that's my opinion.

My comment on the long-awaited presidential debate within the show? Boy howdie, the debate really was something. A liberal's wet dream of the way the 2000 debates should have gone. L'esprit Descalier (sp?) I think; literally, the spirit of the stairwell, figuratively, the experience, "damn, I wish I'd said that instead..."

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Craig Reynolds cruises the net for you:

Late last Friday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved the sweetheart settlement reached between Microsoft and the Bush DOJ. This is great news for monopolists, bad news for free marketeers. See also IDG's Legal experts say Microsoft got off easy and Dan Gillmor's Competition, innovation take a hit.

[My comment: John Ashcroft's Nov. 1, 2002, press conference after the district judge found that it was in the public interest for Microsoft to continue unimpeded with its illegal predatory innovation thwarting and anti-competitive conduct came 18 years too late. It was straight out of 1984.]

OpenReal: RealNetworks has decided to go Open Source, providing the source code to their media player. Not only does this endear RealNetworks to the Open Source community, but it allows the player to easily be ported to other operating system (like Linux and Palm), and provides a huge pool of free bug fixers and feature adders. (More coverage in Wired and DigitalMass.)

Reuters sued by Intentia for Intentia's own errors: this is amazing. Intentia's actions would be as if a bank decided that instead of using the vault, they thought it would be sufficient to leave the deposits in a large cardboard box in the lobby marked "Money -- do not open". Intentia should be apologizing to their stock holders rather than suing Reuters. (More at: ZDNet,, IDG)

Weird science: two items: (1) the journal Science has officially retracted eight papers by Hendrik Schon of Lucent, who was recently found to have falsified experimental data in several published research papers. And (2) dueling hoaxes? In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal famously hoaxed the field of postmodern cultural analysis, now it seems a hoax has been perpetrated on abstract physics. See this overview in The Register or its source, a web page by Arkadiusz Jadczyk: Physics bitten by reverse Alan Sokal hoax?

Technobits: the Wharton School of UPenn says downloading music is free advertising --- Wired on "VintageTech a consultancy specializing in obsolete computers" --- 101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot --- Vista: a prototype of the "outlook Killer" mentioned here last week --- CNN was wowed by Grokker from Groxis --- two face tricks: stereotypes and evil clown generator.


Web Site of the Week

NotSoSuperFriends, Dern On Wrath, Nilsson On Fark

If you haven't been to NotSoSuperFriends yet, why not?

Daniel Dern notes that the flash game Wrath can be amusing.

Bob Nilsson checks in with this:

Have you ever heard of It is a site that constantly posts links to "odd" news. If you can get by the postings that are "not safe for work (NSFW)", they have lots of interesting and timely items. I came across it because they have been hosting a "contest" to come up with a better slogan for Massachusetts than the new "Massachusetts...Make it yours".

One of the links at is to Pravda. There was also a link to a page purportedly belonging to the Chechen rebels holding the Moscow theater ( I can only find a cached version of that site, though. That site has a link to Taliban Online (survey question: Do you believe the Taliban will defeat Army of disbelievers by the Grace of Mighty Allah ? (Yes, No, Don't Know). By the way, the vote was close when I checked.

No, Bob, I haven't heard of it.


The Top 12 Least-Loved Peanuts TV Specials (Part II)

No. 4, but not rising...

October 29, 2002

12> Five Bucks Says She's Not a Real Redhead, Charlie Brown

11> It's Adult Acne, Charlie Brown

10> That's Ten Bucks for a Dime Bag, Charlie Brown

9> It's Thanksgiving Dinner, Charlie Brown. Hey, Where's Woodstock?

8> You're a Premature Ejaculator, Charlie Brown

7> You've Contracted Intestinal Parasites, Charlie Brown

6> Don't Touch the Unclean Thing, Charlie Brown!

5> I'ma Bust a Cap in Yo' Ass, MC Blockhead!

4> It's Just Business, Charlie Brown

3> It's the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Charlie Brown

2> Earth to Lucy: Schroeder's Gay!

and's Number 1 Least-Loved Peanuts TV Special...

1> Good Grief! Another War in Iraq, Charlie Bush?

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 113 submissions from 41 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Greg Preece, Toronto, Canada -- 1, 3 (Woohoo! 1st #1!)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 4

The Top 15 Things You'll Never Hear a Zombie Say

Is 13 unlucky? You bet the judge. Get a load of the traffic jam down there.

November 1, 2002

15> "Just a salad for me -- I'm trying to lower my cholesterol."

14> "Let's ask that guy with the shotgun for directions."

13> "Do these tattered, moldy rags and rotting limbs make my butt look big?"

12> "Hey, these new meatless brains don't taste half bad."

11> "Do you have it in teal?"

10> "Stalking humans and eating their brains can wait, Honey. IKEA has a sale like this only once a year!"

9> "OOOH! OOOH! That's the new Justin Timberlake! Turn it up, man!"

8> "Shoot, I've got this guy's brains all ready to eat, and damned if I didn't forget my Beano."

7> "I've broken it off with Anna Nicole."

6> "Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me... you can't get fooled again!"

5> "Guys, guys! We're never going to catch them ambling along like this! What say we break into a little jog?"

4> "You know what they call a brain in Paris? A 'Cerveau with Cheese.'"

3> "Something stinks! Oh, please don't let it be me. Please, please, please. [*sniff*] Arrrrgh! It's ME!"

2> "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Matter Poupon?"

and's Number 1 Thing You'll Never Hear a Zombie Say...

1> "Hey, Susan, do you feel fresh?"


[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 121 submissions from 43 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Joseph Prisco, Ithaca, NY -- 1 (2nd #1)
Mark Levine, Los Angeles, CA -- 5, 13
Slick Sharkey, Miami, FL -- 12, 13 (Hall of Famer)
Ann Bartow, Bartow, FL -- 13, 15 (Hall of Famer)
Peter Bauer, Rochester, NY -- 13 (Hall of Famer)
Ed Brooksbank, Sacramento, CA -- 13
Dave Henry, Slidell, LA -- 13 (Hall of Famer)
Allen Lindsey, Cincinnati, OH -- 13
George T. MacMillan, Shillington, PA -- 13
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 13



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


Hanzel On Saints, Grobstein On Bras, Pitt And Pomegranates, Dern On A Legobot, Dialects and Halloween, Dalton Finds Good News On The War Front

John Hanzel notes the Roman Catholic Church has saints for lawyers, journalists and photographers, among many others.

Dan Grobstein wants to share a Paul Krugman column from New York Times on justifiably embattled and arguably incompetent SEC chairman Harvey Pitt, as well as that paper's lengthy feature story on pomegranates and its feature on bra technology.

Daniel Dern heard of a Lego robot that solves Rubik's cube, sends word of a dialect map and survey and found a site about Halloween Computing, which I bring to you a little too late.

Richard Dalton found "Some good news for a change on the war-mongering issue.

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