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.

To Pay For This Column Voluntarily
Tales of Teaching 2004
Tales of Teaching 2005

P.S. A Column On Things: January 20, 2003

January 20, 2003 Vol. 5, No. 3

Table of Contents:

General News

  • How Many Times Does It Hurt?
  • Student Teaching Part I Ends
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Web Site of the Week

  • Googlism And Big Heads


  • The Top 17 Slogans for Hooters Air
  • The Top 13 Signs the Internet Is No Longer a Teenager
  • Frank Lingua


  • About Schmidt


  • Neal Vitale on Documentaries, Plug For My J-Movie Site, Links from Sullivan, Grobstein and Reynolds

General News

How Many Times Does It Hurt?

By the way, the Monty Python marathon didn't work out, even at the 10-hour level Marlow and I had hoped; we watched five hours of Python movies together. Oh well.

Marlow left for Columbia on Friday. As she is a senior, this is almost certainly the last time she will get a month off to spend at home over Christmas.

Which leads me to the question: how many times can the same event hurt the same amount? I mean, you know it is going to hurt when your daughter goes off to college, as Marlow did in September 1999. That hurt a lot. Then you get the little hurt each Christmas, when she comes home for a few weeks, re-enters your life and your heart, then leaves again. This year, we got some bonuses: spring break and some time in August.

But then you get almost a month in her senior year; Dec. 22-Jan. 17, and you have riotous good times, on the road and at home, day after day, until suddenly, as her return draws nigh, you realize this is probably the last time in her life she'll have a month free to spend with you. Oh, she might move back in at some point (Vicki did, I did), but she won't be free (probably), she'll be working. And we'll still see her at Christmas most years, I suspect, but for a day or two, or a week tops. And so the sadness you feel at her departure is compounded by anticipatory sadness. Another phase of her life--and mine--has conclusively ended.

How many times can it hurt this much? According to my mother, as many times as it happens. Also, as many times as you think about it. How do you survive? You try not to think about it. Live in the moment, cherish the time you get, look forward to the time you hope for, ask for more time when you think it is appropriate and possible. Meditate on the fact that this separation is the end result of a good parenting process. Intellectually it is what you want, even if emotionally it tears you apart.

We'll all see her again, for sure, in May when she graduates. I'm swelling with pride already.

Student Teaching Part I Ends

Speaking of life phases concluding, last week also marked the conclusion of my first student teaching gig: nine weeks teaching sophomore English at the local high school.

Now I'm off to a nearby middle school for my second stint, teaching US History to 8th graders with Mrs. FS, a very old and dear friend. We start with Lewis and Clark the first week of April. I'll let you know how things go with the Corps of Discovery. Both history and middle school will be quite a change from high school and English.

All this angst, and I was only teaching 41 students in two classes a day. What kind of shape will I be in when I have 150 students in 5 classes (worst case) or 90 in three classes (the best I can hope for if I start next year)? Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. That's what I say.

Political Notes

Check out The Washington Post, December 26, 2002, page A1, "U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations" 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used On Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities" by Dana Priest and Barton Gellman. Seems as if Mr. Bush and a few others are condoning or engaging in war crimes for which jurisdiction lies in the court of any country. Wonder which U.S. Attorney will be the first to prosecute George and Dick and those under their control engaging in war crimes.

An interesting discussion of how the so-called decision to attack Iraq was made is in The Washington Post, January 12, 2003, by Glenn Kessler on page A1 and titled "U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past." The short version: as early as September 11, 2001, George apparently decided he wanted to attack.

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Craig Reynolds surfs the net for you.

The Supreme Court ruled in Eldred v. Ashcroft, saying the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was indeed constitutional. They rejected the argument, by Stanford's Lawrence Lessig, that repeated extensions of copyright terms (secured with congressional campaign contributions by copyright holders) are a violation of the constitutional requirement that copyright terms be "limited". This is seen by many as a sign that copyrights are now effectively permanent, and no more copyrighted works will ever enter the public domain. Mickey Mouse will forever remain in copyright jail he laments. Wired declares the Court Deaf to Public-Domain Pleas and with the subtlety and deference that endears him to us copyright radicals, Dan Gillmor says Supreme Court Endorses Copyright Theft.

The music industry (RIAA) and a consortium of computer hardware and software corporations (Microsoft, Apple IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Adobe Systems) reached a "landmark" accord on DRM/copyright issues. To them the chief benefits were to avoid government regulation of technology and costly court fights between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. The only ones left out of the deal were the consumers. I am one of those who look forward to "government intervention," for example to affirm our fair use rights to freely use the products we buy as we see fit: Consumers: RIAA still not thinking of us, Downside to Digital Rights Pact?

California report: Microsoft settled a class-action antitrust case by agreeing to pay $1.1 billion in rebates to consumers and schools. While California Says Hewlett-Packard Misled Officials and California Pressing Ahead with Probe Into Oracle Deal.

When Apple announced its fast, lightweight Safari web browser, there was some surprise in the open source community that Apple had rejected the (in my opinion, fabulous) Mozilla browser in favor of the Konqueror browser from KDE, as the basis for Safari. But as one Slashdot reader put it competition is good for everyone.

You may have heard of John Gilmore's freedom to travel constitutional challenge to the TSA requirement of ID for travel. While I admire the strength of his convictions, his position is quite extreme and perhaps untenable in the face of the undeniable threat of terrorism. For a more light hearted example of passive resistance to TSA intrusions, read what happened to Penn, ("the taller, louder half" of Penn&Teller) at the Las Vagas airport. As Lessig commented about this incident: "Don't try this if you aren't famous." E.G.

Technobits: IAO TIA hits snag on Hill --- Unintended Consequences: Four Years under the DMCA --- What lawyers can learn from comic books --- old disks as security risk --- anti-P2P tactics --- Microsoft must carry Java in 120 Days --- Open-Source Windows? Uh, Kinda --- skip-proof TV ads? --- The Advertising Artwork of Dr. Seuss --- D'oh! Groening's Guide to Digital Cartooning

Web Site of the Week

Googlism And Big Heads

Bob Nilsson writes:

Have you seen the Googlism site? It says that:

paul schindler is editor of byte
paul schindler is madonna's attorney
paul schindler is the editor in chief of lgny
paul schindler is a very good pastor

I knew about all those other guys, and I told Bob, who wrote back

I'm disappointed to hear that Madonna's lawyer, et al. are "other" guys. Most of my acquaintances came back with fewer references on Googlism. George W Bush has some interesting ones.

Here is one more interesting site, if you ever spend time driving around the country. I had often wondered about the big statues that spend so much time in the Zippy The Pinhead cartoons.


The Top 17 Slogans for Hooters Air

Making the list, as one of 10 people with the same idea at No. 17:

17> Where Flight Attendants Double as Flotation Devices

16> Relax -- the Engines Are Real

15> When You Fly Hooters, You Fly the Very Breast!

14> Low Fares, Convenient Scheduling and Humongous Fake Breasts (Not Necessarily in That Order)

13> 38-24-747!

12> We Put the T&A in "Trans-Atlantic"

11> Where Every Seat Is a Cockpit

10> Scenic Mountain Views on Every Flight!

9> We Love to Fly in Chilly Cabins -- and It Shows!

8> Full Upright Position? Count on It!

7> We Defy Gravity Every Day!

6> Official Airline of the Baltimore Aureoles

5> Don't Get Any Smart Ideas About That Bagel on Your Tray, Buddy

4> No, They're Not Natural... but Neither Is Flying

3> Pray for Turbulence

2> Boeing! Boeing!

and's Number 1 Slogan for Hooters Air...

1> This Is One Airline Them Al-Qaeda Freaks Ain't Gonna Be Flying

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 136 submissions from 50 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Andrew Thomas, Omaha, NE -- 1 (8th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 17 (in a 10-way tie--obviously not very original)

The Top 13 Signs the Internet Is No Longer a Teenager

OK, a two-way tie for 12th is like kissing your sister. But at least I made the list!

January 14, 2003


The Internet has officially celebrated its 20th birthday.
In January of 1983 the Advanced Research Projects Agency
Network of the US Department of Defense -- the forerunner
of the Internet -- was switched to the TCP/IP protocol.
This enabled millions of computers to go online, unlike
the old protocol which was limited to just 1,000 machines.

13> Fewer cookies; more Spam.

12> Stays up until all hours, then you can't get it up and running
until noon.

11> Has moved up from its adolescent infatuation with Pamela
Anderson to a much more mature and sophisticated
infatuation with Britney Spears.

10> Hollywood has moved on to featuring hotter, younger network

9> Can order beers in cybercafes without resorting to identity

8> Al Gore's new book: "Seems Like I Just Created You Yesterday:
A Parent's Struggle With Letting Go."

7> Formerly seen hanging out in cybercafes, now shows up in high
class hotels.

6> Doesn't even TRY to hide the porn any more.

5> After several trips to the dermatologist, those annoying
pop-ups are starting to clear up.

4> "Yahoo!" changes its name to "That's very nice."

3> Not much has changed: I still initiate awkward,
midlife-crisis-fueled flirtations with the much-younger
girls it brings into my home.

2> Now able to stay connected longer than 30 seconds.

and's Number 1 Sign
the Internet Is No Longer a Teenager...

1> Rather than sullenly responding to your requests like before,
it now just ignores your ass altogether.

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2002 by Chris White ]
Selected from 95 submissions from 39 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Whit Watson, West Hartford, CT -- 1 (7th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 12
Meg Silvern, Wiesbaden, Germany -- 12

Frank Lingua

Last week I plugged Dan Danbom's hysterical interview with Frank Lingua the buzzword expert. I couldn't find the original on Google and assumed the attribution, "Dan Danbom of Business Finance was a fake, since I'd never heard of the publication. What I wrote was:

A big tip of the PSACOT hat to anyone who can tell me who actually wrote this, for money, for what media outlet, in the first place.

The hat tip goes to Bob Nilsson, who wrote:

Regarding the Dan Danbom interview of Frank Lingua, why do you assume it was not written by Dan Danbom for Business Finance as it says in the opening paragraph? The article is posted at their site.

Mystery solved, except for why content at Business Finance isn't Googled. By the way, Bob says my column is now Googled within a week of its posting. Huzzah! I've been striving for that for years. I guess they finally took my advice and moved me to the "spider frequently" list.

A semi tip to Mr. Danbom himself, who wrote:

I'm the guy who wrote the "interview" with Frank Lingua (lingua franca, get it?)

Yes, Mr. Danbom, I did get it. Thanks for writing!


About Schmidt

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

The only way Jack Nicholson can avoid winning an Oscar for this film is if he pulls a Marlon Brando and turns it down. Of course, no one does a movie alone, and we know Nicholson didn't make up the words, so credit to director/writer Alexander Payne and writer Louis Begley for a clever, adult story. Both Nicholson and the script won Golden Globe awards.

Now, when I say adult, I don't mean it in the usual sense of pornography, but rather in the sense of best enjoyed by mature individuals. I was quite surprised when one of my daughters (I don't remember which--they are 18 and 22) declined to see the film on the grounds that their friends found it interminable and boring. After seeing it, I can understand. It deals with themes that simply aren't going to get much traction among a viewer younger than 40. That means it isn't remarkable that it has won critical acclaim, but that it is slightly remarkable that it has found box office acceptance. It is a road movie, a movie of personal discovery, a "what does my life mean" movie about an actuary who retires, and within the space of weeks faces the sudden death of his wife ("who is this old woman I am sleeping next to?") of 42 years and the marriage of his daughter to a man she thinks isn't good enough for her (speaking as a father, and no offense to any of my daughters' present or future boyfriends, it will be hard for them to find a young man who is good enough for them).

Less well-rewarded were the supporting players. Kathy Bates as the mother-in-law was a delight, all tics and acting tricks. Her nude scene in the hot tub was bracing. Jack Nicholson is no prize, but Kathy Bates finally put a naked body on the screen whose body reminds me, in terms of type anyway, of my own. My breasts aren't that big, yet, but I am young yet. It is nice to see Howard Hesseman working; he does an amusing turn as the father-in-law. Hollywood being what it is, it is nice to see any actor above 50 who is still working. Hope Davis plays alternative sugar and spice and daughter from hell, as the script requires, and she does it well. "Since when do you care about me and my life," she says as she ignores her father's advice. It must have been painful for Dermot Mulroney to play a role this unflattering (the mullet haircut, the sleazy personality), but like everyone else in this film, he's a trooper.

Finally, it was set in Omaha, Nebraska, with a fair amount of location work there, in Denver and in the Midwest. As a boy from flyover country, this thrilled me.

A great film. See it with an adult friend. Go for the fascinating Oscar-quality story. Go to see the Oscar-worthy performances.


Vitale on Documentaries, Plug For My J-Movie Site, Links from Sullivan, Grobstein and Reynolds

My friend Neal Vitale checks in:

Two films - off the beaten path - for you to see are Standing in the Shadow of Motown and Dogtown and Z-Boys. The latter is out in DVD/video; the former may still be in theaters near you.

Blogger Howard Owens has plugged my journalism movie site, which, by the way, helped attract a new member this week to the Joe Saltzman's excellent Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture organization. If you're serious about journalism movies, you should join. I am proud to say I'm a lifetime associate!

Kevin Sullivan notes the passing of Richard Crenna, whom I remember most vividly from The Real McCoys, but you may know (depending on your age) as a crack-voiced young man on radio, or Rambo's mentor in the movies. An era ends.

Dan Grobstein checks in with state tax revenues squeezed by a service economy, important scientific research on Peeps (the yellow marshmallow birds), Paul Krugman's piercing analysis of Bush hypocrisy about federal deficits, the fact that Gates (father and son) think the estate tax is a good idea (this also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle), and a clear and damning timeline of Georgie's military "service."

From Craig Reynolds:

I found this interesting NYT Op-Ed piece via Daypop Top 40: The Triumph of Hope Over Self-Interest

It talks about issues like why isn't the electorate outraged over tax cut plans where 95% of the benefit go to the wealthiest 1% of the population? Because 20% of the population think they ARE the richest 1%, and another 20% expect to be there eventually. 40% of the population think they are rich, or at least (as the article puts it) "pre-rich".

John le Carré's view from Britain of the impending war with Iraq: The United States of America has gone mad

The Saudi Push for an Iraqi Coup

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