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: December 8, 2003

December 8, 2003 Vol. 5, No. 48

Table of Contents:

General News

  • A REALLY Quiet Week

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs


  • The Top 16 Unreleased Disney Movies


  • An interesting Oscar preview


  • Great Seal Correction, Bulging Dan Grobstein File

General News

A REALLY Quiet Week

Not much to say. Went to a wonderful annual carol-singing Christmas party Saturday night at a good friend's house. Ate too much. Stayed up too late. Did all kinds of Christmas stuff on Sunday, and now I really shouldn't be doing my column, I should be getting ready for school this week. I am the most not ready I have been so far. Thank god Winter Break starts on the 19th. It can't come soon enough for me.

By the way, the Robin Williams peace plan that's all over the Internet? Robin Williams has nothing to do with it (except the line at the end about the Stature of Liberty). I just though you'd like to know.

News From Marlow

This is just a tiny fraction of Marlow's Thailand trip.

The first morning we did a canal tour of Bangkok. We were supposed to start with a floating market, and although we saw a couple boats in the canal, the real floating market is somewhere outside Bangkok where the river is bigger and less polluted. So they just kind of stopped at some point at a warehouse and told us to shop for awhile. Next the canal tour took us to the snake farm which also had a zoo. We saw the snake show which involved milking the poisonous venom out of a viper and teasing a huge boa constrictor by tossing it around the stage. The snakes definitely seemed scary, and there was very little between them and the audience, but the handlers were very nonchalant in dealing with them, even bringing them into the audience to be petted (not slimy, dad). The zoo was interesting because all the cages were so small and packed together that you could see a lot of animals in short stay, but for the same reason of course, it was kind of sad for the animals. The monkeys were all very domesticated, when it came to feeding time you could pass them corn through the cage if you wanted. I saw some big black thing I'd never seen before, looked kind of like a cross between a dog and a badger. There were a lot of birds, some crocodiles, of course a bunch of snakes, a huge turtle, two black Asian bears, and even a cage full of rabbits and guinea pigs (which I assume were actually just snake food). After the snake farm they ran us through a handicraft store and a gem store. This is a common ploy on all these tours--they take you to stores where the guides get commission for anything bought. Since in the group I was travelling with Marcy and I were the only white people, we always got the hardest targeting on these stops while C and G could waltz through at their own pace. We went to lunch at a mall near our new hotel and got some Thai-like food, I actually had some Thai-Taiwanese-style shaved ice for dessert. The choices were different in Taiwan so it was a different kind of experience, but still mostly good, except for the tarot that was unsweetened. I had a good Thai iced tea though which made up the difference. We went back to the hotel for a nap, and then in the evening we went to a two-part show. The first part was a "cabaret" which meant that "lady boys" (transgenders or transvestites) did a show lip-syncing to various Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and English songs. The costumes were all over the top. There were some male dancers as well, but they all looked like they might be in training to someday be lady boys themselves. Y actually got pulled up on stage for one song by the ugliest Asian transvestites you ever saw. In general though they were very, very convincing. I can see why they are famous the world over. After that show we moved to a different theater for traditional Thai dancing with a live Thai band and a Thai dinner. Much of the classical dancing had some back-story about fights between princes and demons, but the woman doing the announcing had such a thick accent that the non-native English speakers couldn't understand anything, and I normally just caught a dozen words myself. After the show we went to the night market in Bangkok. It was great because I'd never been anywhere where you could bargain before. I had a lot of fun haggling over silks and t-shirts alike. We ran into A and S at the night market and ended the night with Traditional Thai massage. We were all in the same big room on the fourth floor of the massage place. I really felt great and very loose afterwards. They make everything in your body crack, and they use their whole bodies in the process. When I stood up I was surprised at how much bigger I was than my masseuse.

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

Taking a week off.


The Top 16 Unreleased Disney Movies

Who-hoo! No. 2!

December 1, 2003

16> Herpes the Love Bug Rises Again

15> Pocket Monsters, Inc.

14> In Search of the Castaways' Remains

13> The Inedible-Due-to-Harbor-Pollution Mister Limpet

12> Babes in Neverland

11> Kilo and Snitch

10> The Skanky Dog

9> Bedknobs and Handcuffs

8> Pocahotass

7> Lady and the Cramps

6> Brother, Bare

5> 101 Inflammations

4> DumbHo

3> The Lizzie McGuire/Paris Hilton Movie

2> That Darn Clap

and's Number 1 Unreleased Disney Movie...

1> Darby O'Gill and the Village People

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2003 by Chris White ]

Selected from 120 submissions from 35 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Pam Wylder, Bloomington, IL -- 1, 14 (4th #1)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 2


Check out the Self-Made Crtitic's Oscar Preview (thanks Rae!).


Great Seal Correction, Bulging Dan Grobstein File

In the parody Great Seal of California I posted last week, Richard Dalton pointed out a bit of unfair commentary I overlooked:

The governator is an obvious topic for satire. I do object to the misspelling of California, however, on the otherwise amusing seal. Arnold's earned the right to a lot of jabs (including Doonesbury's) but using his accent as the butt of a joke is below the belt in a country made up largely of immigrants.

Even the Native Americans came from somewhere else, if you go back far enough. My ancestors were Irish and Swiss, and only two generations back on my dad's side. So, while I still find it amusing, I must agree that the spelling part of the seal is a low blow. Which is why I posted a new version of the seal, with California spelled correctly.

The Dan Grobstein File

  • Doonesbury was about the Green Zone this week, the otherworldly HQ of the Iraqi administrators. This is what the British Independent newspaper says about the Green Zone:

As for the banks of TV sets, if they are not tuned to American football then they will be showing the neo-conservative, war-mad Fox News. This is channel of choice for the entire US military, as it is for the CPA's Republican-appointed civilian press officers - who, say sources, consider the BBC to be anti-American and often refuse to talk to its staff.

Should we be surprised? Not really. After all, what would you expect from a place that is as remote from its Iraqi surroundings as it is from the Moon?

If there's one thing that brings out Arnold Schwarzenegger's action-hero instinct, it's California's so-called balance-of-payments deficit with the federal government. According to the California Institute for Federal Policy, for every $1 in taxes paid to the federal government, California receives 77 cents back. Citing these figures in October, the then-governor-elect promised action: "By the time I'm through with this whole thing, I will not be known as the Terminator; I will be known as the Collectinator!"

Washington Post:

  • That turkey in Baghdad (the cooked one) you may have seen in some pictures of Bush? Fake.

President Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Iraq was a generous and bold-hearted gesture of support to American troops. What made it such a success, however, was that it managed to severely limit an otherwise unavoidable aspect of travel: contact with foreigners. When Bush has had to go beyond U.S. Army bases in recent weeks, the tours have not gone so well.

New York Times:

  • The Times has overcome its decades-old objection to having an Ombudsman, in fact if not in title. It now has a readers' representative.

Everything we know suggests that Mr. Bush's people have given as little thought to running America after the election as they gave to running Iraq after the fall of Baghdad. And they will have no idea what to do when things fall apart.

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