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
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P.S. A Column On Things: March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003 Vol. 5, No.14

Table of Contents:

General News

  • Another Teaching Assignment Ends
  • Coalition Enlargement

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Web Site of the Week

  • War Blog: Phil Carter's Intel Dump


  • Pest Control
  • The Top 15 Signs You're at a Dog Brothel
  • Blonde Joke


  • None


  • Wolfe on the Fish, Grobstein on Thumbs Up, Rosenbaum on Math Teaching, His Column

General News

Another Teaching Assignment Ends

After nine weeks, I have finished my second student teaching assignment. I still have to spend 20 hours observing in a school of lower socio-economic status. I have my pick of them, and many not far away from here. It is a state requirement before I can get my teaching certificate.

In the meantime, my master teacher asked me how I felt about giving up the class. It will be an odd ending, because she's returning late from spring break, so I am substituting for her for three days next week. Thus, last Friday wasn't really my last day, and I didn't say goodbye, per se, because I don't want to confuse the students. But while I felt a few pangs when leaving my two high school classes, I feel much closer to the 48 middle schoolers I have been teaching for the last nine weeks. I don't know if I'll cry (my master teacher cries at the end of school each year), but it is possible. These 8th graders really tug at your heartstrings much more firmly than the high school sophomores do--when they aren't repulsing you (rare, but not unheard of). With every passing year, I think, more potential hardens into accomplishment or lack thereof. Good grief, next think you know, I'll be getting my multi-subject credential and teaching the wee ones. Not bloody likely, that. But then, really, how likely am I to get any job in the terrible job market for California teachers?

On a related note, I was discussing classroom management with my ex-teacher mother, and was particularly interested in her feelings on whether it is better to be loved or respected.

Remember, respect and love - in equal doses! As opposed to respect and hate, respect and fear, respect and loathing. And when you confront a student acting out - be firm but don't embarrass him/her in front of peers. Tell them in a firm and unsmiling tone to see you after class. Call them up when the bell rings, and don't allow them back in class unless they do see you. In case of total defiance, arrange in advance to send them to the counselors' office at the beginning of the next period - tell the councilor that the student must speak to you outside of class if they wish to stay in your class. When talking to the student, tell them clearly what is unacceptable about their behavior- being careful not to assault their personality or character (no matter how deserved) only talk about the behavior, and why you will not tolerate it.

Coalition Enlargement

From J.P. Trostle, by way of Eric Alterman by way of Dan Grobstein, a political parody of the ubiquitous penile enlargement spam, which begins like this:


Want a big international COALITION? Tired of getting spurned by hot European girls because of your "unilateralism"?

Now, YOU can experience the COALITION ENLARGEMENT you've always wanted with a MASSIVE accounting breakthrough!! 100 GUARANTEED!!!


With the help of our GUARANTEED plan you too will go from being a little bush to a THICK, MIGHTY LOG in no time! Best yet, our plan has NO Painful and Hard-To-Use international pumps like the UN, and NO annoying allies who might actually try and assert themselves!

With our plan, you can GROW that HUGE THROBBING COALITION in just THREE EASY STEPS!!!

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Craig Reynolds surfs the net for you.

War hacking: it has been a tough week for the web presence of Al-Jazeera and its recently announced site in English. Some trace the troubles to Al-Jazeera's broadcast of video of coalition POWs. This appears to be a broad attack by many hackers using various techniques, such as distributed denial of service attacks, break-in and defacement, redirection of web traffic (to pornographic and (US) patriotic sites), and reregistration of the domain address. On Tuesday I could access albeit slowly, but since then its been either unavailable or at one time I was redirected to one of those default pages provided by ISP that say "our newly registered domain is still under construction." See coverage by AP, UPI and The Guardian.

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: news from Robodex 2003. Sony's SDR-4X II is featured by Wired as a cool product looking for a market. Toshiba introduced a new personal robot called ApriAlpha. Meanwhile, Honda's Asimo robot is touring North America.

Techno-mobile: on a personal note, this week I became the owner of a new Honda Civic Hybrid. This is a true geek's car. It has even more stuff than normal crammed under the hood for a secondary electrical propulsion system. It features a continuously variable transmission. It is also rather green: 50 MPG highway. All this tech is "behind the UI", besides a fancier control panel, the car is essentially identical to the traditional Civic.

Technobits: Senator Wyden wants cyber hazard warning for copy-protected media --- an anti-spam bill passed the California Senate, it lets consumers sue spammers --- Big Brother's little brother --- E-mail reveals real leaders --- ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC): NYT article and more links --- REVOLUTION OS, the definitive documentary about the Open Source movement is now out on DVD, I've already ordered mine --- Oscars: TiVo viewing patterns

Web Site of the Week

War Blog: Phil Carter's Intel Dump

This from Dan Grobstein:

Phil Carter's Intel Dump tries to explain what is behind various military actions and decisions. Judging from the list of blogs on the left of the screen (at least the ones that I'm familiar with, he's on the righthand side of the spectrum). So far he's been very interesting.


Pest Control

A woman was having a passionate affair with an inspector from a pest-control company. One afternoon they were carrying on in the bedroom together when her husband arrived home unexpectedly.

"Quick," said the woman to her lover," into the closet!", and she pushed him in the closet, stark naked.

The husband, however, became suspicious and after a search of the bedroom discovered the man in the closet.

"Who are you?" he asked him.

"I'm an inspector from Bugs-B-Gone," said the exterminator.

"What are you doing in there?" the husband asked.

"I'm investigating a complaint about an infestation of moths," the man replied.

"And where are your clothes?" asked the husband.

The man looked down at himself and said,........ "Those little bastards."

Top 15 Signs You're At a Dog Brothel

A double-header, including my 12th number one. Some of the entries on this list were a bit over the top, so I'm just giving you the top and the bottom.

March 25, 2003
A German artist has applied for a license to open a brothel in Berlin for sexually frustrated dogs. The establishment would offer patrons a variety of carefully vetted "employees" of both sexes, rooms for private encounters and even a "bar" where customers could sniff out their preferred partners.

15> The waiting room is filled with Frisbees and tennis balls.
14> Your "date" insists that you take a pre-encounter flea dip.
13> When you tell the madam you only have fifty bucks, she offers to let you hump her leg.
3> When their time is up, customers get the hose.
2> Your date has quite a nice pair. Heck, she has several nice pairs.
and's Number 1 Sign You're at a Dog Brothel...
1> More tail than you can shake a stick at. In fact, shaking a stick is a bad idea.
[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2003 by Chris White ]
Selected from 93 submissions from 35 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 1, 2 (12th #1)
Michael Cunningham, Woodridge, IL -- 3
Chun Ho, Honolulu, HI -- 3

Blonde Joke

A blind man enters a bar. He finds his way to a barstool and orders a drink. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the bartender, "Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?" The bar immediately falls absolutely quiet.

In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says,

"Before you tell that joke, sir, you should know five things...

The bartender is a blonde girl.

The bouncer is a blonde gal.

I'm a 6 feet tall, 200-pound blonde woman with a black belt in karate.

The woman sitting next to me is blonde and is a professional weightlifter.

The lady to your right is a blonde and is a professional wrestler.

Now think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still want to tell that joke?

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and declares, "Nah...Not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."



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


Wolfe on the Fish, Grobstein on Thumbs Up, Rosenbaum on Math Teaching, His Column

Marjorie Wolfe, apropos last week's Yiddish-talking fish item:

A Hebrew-talking fish? Sounds like a "bobbeh meisseh" (Yiddish for a grandmother's story). If the 20-lb. carp said anything, it woud have been as follows:

"Carpe Diem" doesn't mean "fish of the day."

"Carpe Carp" - Seize the fish.

Craig Reynolds found a very interesting Washington Monthly article on What Bush Really Wants In The Middle East.

Dan Grobstein, meanwhile, found a Slate article which asks how American soldiers should interpret a thumbs up sign from Iraqis.

Dan Rosenbaum found an AP article at CNN that indicates that New Math Was Right, you really do perform better if you understand the concepts of math and not just the how-to. Speaking of Dan, catch any of these topics at his blog, Over the Edge: A Spirited And Wide-Ranging Discussion about War Coverage and News Models, Regime Change at CNN,Women's Service Mags from Saddam Hussein, Marching Anarchists, Doubletalk from The Apple Store and,That's Some Set of Rabbit Ears.

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