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: June 23, 2003

June 23, 2003 Vol. 5, No.26

Table of Contents:

General News

  • The Girls To Europe
  • Get Outta Town
  • High Crimes... I Was Right!
  • Mary Elizabeth Gilmore

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Web Site of the Week

  • None


  • The Top 15 Other Grave Mistakes Martha Stewart Has Made


  • Spellbound


  • Grobstein's Picks, Dern Checks In, Dalton on Government Malfeasance, Another Urban Legend

General News

High Crimes... I Was Right!

Hoist by one's own petard: caught by the very device one had contrived to hurt another

Webster's college dictionary, Random House 1995.

The petards are being hoisted in Washington even as we speak, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of people: the House Republicans. Just as I predicted in 1998--when you lower the bar and cheapen the process of impeachment, you run the risk of virtually every president facing an impeachment threat. Bush, the man elected president on a 5-4 vote, now faces just such a threat over his lies about intelligence to goad us into war.

I don't know about you, but I think lying about weapons of mass destruction, and telling a lie that results in the death of American troops, is way more significant than lying about sex with an intern. And if every Republican member of the house weren't a hypocrite of the first water, they'd have to concede that point.

Of course, the House GOP members are also rabid political partisans, and we all know Clinton's impeachment had nothing to do with his actions and everything to do with his being a Democrat. The contortions they will go through in the next six months will render each and every one of them worthy of lifetime employment in the circus.

Only if the American people demand it will impeachment take place. And the American people cannot be trusted to consistently demand anything from their politicians but lower taxes, more services and pious hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, I, for one, plan to be vastly entertained and amused by the three-ring circus that is shaping up in our nation's capital. At least, I hope, it will be as distracting for the GOP as it was for the Democrats, so that it will prevent them from moving forward on their un-American, un-patriotic, unfair political agenda. The Constitution may be saved!

And I still contend that the GOP decision to politicize the impeachment process, to make every political dispute into a legal dispute, will come back to bite them and every American president from now on. Nice work Newt! Your legacy is safe. I am disgusted, the American political system lies in ruins, but Newt got what he wanted: Clinton in the dock. Hope it was worth it, Newt! Meanwhile, hoist those petards high, and let's begin anew the debate over high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Girls To Europe

Rae left for New York on Tuesday, where she joined Marlow for a bittersweet celebration of Marlow's last-ever night as a resident of Manhattan. Then the two of them climbed onto a plane for London's Heathrow. A week in London, then a week bicycling on a guided tour through Ireland, then back home for an unstructured summer. The only activity I know for sure they will indulge in while in London is to view a matinee of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. I know this because I bought the tickets for them. Rae's interest stems from having directed a performance of the play at Miramonte. Marlow's stems from watching several of her friends perform the work four years earlier. They're both excited.

If they allow me, I'll print excerpts from their trip e-mails. If not, I'll summarize, as if they were private letters J.D. Salinger prohibited me from quoting directly. (obscure literary reference)

Get Outta Town

Well, imagine my surprise when Vicki suggested I take a couple of days at the coast this weekend. She'll take her time off later in the summer. As a result of blowing this popcorn stand on Friday morning, I escaped too soon for Craig Reynolds to submit Technobriefs, and I may well miss other, unexpected submissions. Sorry about that folks, but my batteries could use a good, stiff recharge.

Mary Elizabeth Gilmore

It's a long story. My old high school radio station, KBPS, has fallen on hard times as the Portland Public Schools fall apart (you've seen it all in Doonesbury). I am ashamed of the people of my natal state, but then Oregonians have always been a parsimonious lot. They'll cut off their nose to spite their face. Example: no sales tax. Which means all those hordes of Californians (whom Oregonians hate) sail through each summer without contributing so much as a dime to the state's coffers. Pfeh. The only sure things are death and the certain conviction of the average American that they are overtaxed.

Well, KBPS was the most important institution in my youth. I served as Chief of Staff in the 1969-70 school year (ably assisted by Hal Hill, and succeeded by radio giant Bruce Murdock) under long-time station supervisor Dr. Patricia L. Swenson, to whom I owe my entire professional career and whose grace I can only hope to emulate, but never fully repay. In any case, the second most important institution in my life was Benson Polytechnic School, which has operated KBPS since 1923. While I had many excellent teachers there (Carlton Bryson and Harold Arendt spring immediately to mind), I have to say that Mary Elizabeth Gilmore, my junior social studies teacher, was the best by a micro-thin margin. She was a fantastic teacher; I learned so much from her. She taught the subject, but like all good teachers, she also taught by example. She was calm, rational, and never played favorites. Also, I'll never forget that she taught a nine-week labor history unit that ended the day the state AFL-CIO held its annual scholarship competition (multiple choice and essay, as I recall). Now that's good timing, and not an accident; she did the same thing every year.

The connection? In 1947, exactly 20 years before I became her student, Mrs. Gilmore ended her six-year career as manager of KBPS, to be succeeded by Dr. Swenson. There was bad blood there--Mrs. Gilmore says she never set foot in the station again. Regardless, there was that distant connection between my best teacher and the institution that shaped my life.

I don't know if Mrs. Gilmore is still alive; I can find neither an obit nor any mention of her anywhere on the Internet. She could be as young as 83. If anyone finds this and knows how to find her, I'd like to say thanks directly. If not, I've launched her name into cyberspace with my endorsement. [ed. note: on July 23, 2004 I was informed she was born in 1908 and died in 1991. RIP, Mrs. Gilmore; you were one of the greats.]

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Craig Reynolds surfs the net for you. My snap out of town trip shortened this week's contribution.

Songwriter, terrorist or pirate?: There was a bizarre incident in Congress this week, Senate Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah wasn't satisfied with the namby-pamby anti-counterfeiting measures industry is developing. He began foaming at the mouth, advocating remotely destroying the computers of music downloaders. This prompted one blogger to label him a terrorist, while another netizen produced pretty convincing evidence he is at least a software pirate. O what brave new world that has such irony in it. [Ed. Note: Daniel Dern also spotted this story]

SCO v. Linux: there were conflicting reports from the experts invited to inspect source code for possible Unix-to-Linux source migration, see reports from NewsFactor, vnunet and Forbes. This uncanny prediction was found by a Slashdot contributor. Open source advocate fires back at SCO.

Technobits: police can't hack: evidence for a criminal case, obtained via hacking, was barred as unreasonable search --- PBS NewsHour forum Copyright Conundrum --- last week I mentioned Raibert's one-legged hopping robot but negelected the requisite link (see also its lab-mates) --- flash mobs --- cool interactive historical timelines.

Web Site of the Week



The Top 15 Other Grave Mistakes Martha Stewart Has Made

I believe this is the first time I've been No. 5.

June 16, 2003


You might have heard that doily diva Martha Stewart is in a bit of trouble, due to her having taken part in some stock trading that the SEC claims was illegal.

You can learn more on Martha's plight by going here:

What most people don't realize is that this isn't the first time Martha's been in hot water...

15> Put out a plate of Girl Scout cookies at her 11th birthday party, then told everyone she'd spent all morning baking.

14> Failed to have her people whack Cybill Shepherd before she could star in that terrible NBC biopic.

13> Dressed a 7-Eleven hot dog with Grey Poupon and mango salsa.

12> Didn't use the melon baller on her weaselly little stockbroker when she had the chance.

11> Tarragon in bouillabaisse? ARE YOU MAD, WOMAN?!?

10> On one occasion, in a momentary lapse, allowed her cold stare to rise to above 32 degrees.

9> Dedicated an entire show to sphincter-tightening exercises.

8> The Danvers Opening was expected, but then attempting to transform it into a Gunderam Attack was just suicide!

7> Sent a congratulatory case of champagne to Sammy Sosa when he hit his 500th home run.

6> Once disciplined staff with a white garotte after Labor Day.

5> Forgot that it's red wine with illegal stock trading, white wine with accounting fraud.

4> Giant floral centerpiece on her dining room table is made entirely of old, unpaid parking citations.

3> Accidentally voted for Buchanan in '00.

2> Spent many wasted years pining away for Richard Chamberlain.

and's Number 1 Other Grave Mistake Martha Stewart Has Made...

1> Wore a camouflage dress to her high school prom.

[ The Top 5 List ]
Copyright 2003 by Chris White ]
Selected from 75 submissions from 40 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Dave Wesley, Pleasant Hill, CA -- 1 (25th #1/Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 5



You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database

I'll be brief. Funny, clever, well-edited, and it has you on the edge of your seat. The story of a half-dozen contestants in the National Spelling Bee. How they prepare. How they feel about it. Climaxing, of course, with the spelling bee itself.

Once again, a filmmaker has discovered one of those alternate universes that exist alongside ours, that you've (probably) never seen, or barely knew existed, and made it come alive. I don't know about you, but I sat there, trying to outspell the contestants. I couldn't spell distractible either, by the way (and I notice my spellchecker caught it). You'd think spellcheckers would have killed off spelling bees. Oh no! Don't miss the appearance by the winner of the first been, in 1925. His clips are great!

By the way, if any of you have spelling bee experiences to share, be my guest.

Five stars. As good as Bowling for Columbine, but without the agenda. You'll laugh. You'll cry. Really. Rated G. Worth a special trip. Rae loved it.


Grobstein's Picks, Dern Checks In, Dalton on Government Malfeasance, Another Urban Legend

The Dan Grobstein File:

* Remember that ambassador who resigned and blasted Bush foreign policy? Now a National Security Council aide has resigned and joined the Kerry campaign: Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror (Washington Post)

* As the legal counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush, Alberto R. Gonzales-now the White House counsel, and widely regarded as a likely future Supreme Court nominee-prepared fifty-seven confidential death-penalty memoranda for Bush's review. Never before discussed publicly, the memoranda suggest that Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise Bush of some of the most salient issues in the cases at hand. The Texas Clemency Memos (The Atlantic Monthly).

* The biggest technical transition in motion picture history: digital projection (New York Times).

Daniel Dern noticed my quotation, "Well, as Henry Ford II used to say, never complain, never explain." His comment:

Or, as Dern sez, e.g. when doing magic shows (at science fiction conventions, schools, et c.), "Remember, I'm an amateur, which means 'No refunds.'"

At some schools, I get to first look expectantly at the students, after the word "amateur," and say "From the Latin..." and sometimes do get the right answer.

Our government, yours and mine, the one we pay for with out taxes, is destroying the lives of innocent people in its ill-considered, hasty war that doesn't quite fight terrorism. That's the only possible conclusion you can reach after reading this New York Times story posted at Yahoo News and forwarded by Richard Dalton.

If you get "How To Survive A Heart Attack Alone," don't you believe it. It's an urban legend.

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