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: April 19, 2004

April 19, 2004 Vol. 6, No. 16

Table of Contents:

General News

  • How Cardioversion Went
  • Empty Nest Again
  • My Brief Career
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs


  • None


  • Alamo
  • The Girl Next Door


  • Coquet, Sullivan, Dern, Surman, Dalton and a bulging Dan Grobstein File

General News

How Cardioversion Went

Ross Snyder notes:

I share the affliction and derive confidence from assurance of superb cardio guy that many with it live long, happy, productive lives unconverted, provided they keep their coagulation-time right by faithfully taking the pills and going regularly for measurement. The principal hazard, I'm told, is clots migrating to heart.)

There is an alternative to a lifetime of blood thinners: a lifetime of anti-arythmics.

I am thinking alternatives because the procedure failed; my heart is not back in sync. Four shocks, general anesthesia (although Diprovan--aka Milk of Amnesia--is the coolest sedative in the world, with rare side effects), and a day off from school for nothing but five minutes of conversion. Then my heart went out of sync again. Pheh.

Empty Nest Again

My mother warned me this would happen; your children drop in and out of your life, and it's like being punched in the gut all over again each time. I'm told their re-disappearances don't ever get much easier.

My Brief Career

Long-time friend and one-time editor of mine Joe Brancatelli offered me the chance to keep writing professionally after CMP laid me off. I worked for the site that has evolved into If you travel on business, it is indispensable. I strongly recommend the premium membership. Anyway, Joe continues to host a collection of my columns on the technology issues of business travel. Thank you Joe!

Political Notes

Karl Rove and Dick Cheney have absolutely no right to question John Kerry's patriotism. None. And the White House spokesman who said, "We're challenging his judgment not his patriotism"? He was lying. Just because an advertisement doesn't literally use the word patriotism doesn't mean that's not what it's about. Let's poll 100 voters in the swing states where Chicken Hawks Rove and Cheney (and "I'm President Bush; I approved this ad") are slandering someone who actually served their country. They know what the ads are saying. Sad thing is, they probably believe it's true.


In his column, The Vietnam Analogy, Paul Krugman, (as usual almost alone among journalists), noted the McCarthy-Nixon-Agnew like comment of George W. Bush on April 13, 2004: "On Tuesday George Bush did a meta-Nixon: he declared that anyone who draws analogies between Iraq and Vietnam undermines the soldiers and encourages the enemy."

Also comparing Vietnam and Iraq is a Washington Post columnist:

Radical Theories And Reality
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post

I actually agree with the president that it's good Hussein is gone, that it would be a great thing to bring democracy to Iraq, that it would be a disaster if this venture fails. But if we fail, the fault will not lie with Bush's opponents. It will lie with an administration that thought it could pursue a series of radical theories all at once and not worry about the impact of reality on its plans. If Bush wants his war to succeed, he owes the country more than he offered this week.


I've mentioned this before, but do a Google search on "weapons of mass destruction," in quotes. Funny site.


"President" Bush can't think of any mistakes he's made. Ellen Goodman can. Thank you Glen Speckert.

Anonymous commentary:

"FORT HOOD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush said Sunday that an intelligence memo he read shortly before September 11, 2001, contained no 'actionable intelligence' that would have helped him to try to prevent the 9/11 attacks."

You know, for once I agree with Bush. I have no doubt that he had no actionable intelligence that would have helped him to try to prevent the 9/11 attacks. I don't think Bush as "actionable intelligence" in any respect.


Lots of stories like this one Craig Reynolds found on Reuters: Ashcroft Said Not to See Terrorism as Top Priority. Also from Craig:

Retired general assails U.S. policy on Iraq
Zinni on Rumsfeld: "I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus..."

Trust, Don't Verify
Bush's incredible definition of credibility.
By William Saletan

The Out-of-Towner
While Bush vacationed, 9/11 warnings went unheard.
By Fred Kaplan

Busy week for Craig, who also noted this find:

FYI, in case you had not heard of "Perfectly Legal" by David Cay Johnston (a free chapter)...

It has been mentioned several times recently on NPR, and today Dan Gillmor had an item about taxes which mentioned the book and an in-depth interview with the author.


The British don't pussyfoot; when the Mirror wrote up Bush's news conference, the headline was, The President's Brain Is Missing. Even given the universal newspaper taste for pun headlines, that's harsh.


There will be more stories like this one Richard Dalton found at the Boston Globe site:

Excellent job by Derrick Z. Jackson matching up Bush's Iraq quotes and LBJ's Vietnam quotes. One example:

Bush said: "America's objective in Iraq is limited and it is firm. We seek an independent, free, and secure Iraq."

In 1966 Johnson said: "Our purpose is a limited one, and that is to permit self-determination for the people of South Vietnam."

Shades of LBJ
April 16, 2004

"AT LEAST President Johnson was human enough to tell the press in a 1967 news conference: "I go to bed every night feeling that I have failed that day because I could not end the conflict in Vietnam."

Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

O brave new world where water is not wet and zebras have no stripes...

iPod: good news, bad news, news news: on one hand iPod Helps Apple Beat Wall Street Expectations, they sold more iPods than Macs. On the other hand there are persistent reports of a manufacturing/durability flaw in the new iPod mini (see pictures). On the third hand: RSS on iPod how cool is that?

Gmail repercussions: A Move to Block Gmail Service, Three replies defending Google from the pro-regulatory privacy crowd, Is Google the future of e-mail?, Google Reportedly May Change E-Mail Service. More random Google news: Google Unveils Targeted Localized Ads.

Microsoft shifting gears: Cringely on the end of MS: Now the Only Way Microsoft Can Die is by Suicide. Meanwhile they settle lawsuits with Sun and InterTrust for a cool 2 billion dollars. Analyst Snehal Vashi says "Microsoft is cleaning house. There's been a lot of talk about Microsoft not being focused because of lawsuit distractions - this lets them get on with their business."

New phone tricks: now you can use your cel phone to answer that age-old question what is the name of this song? In the near future you may be able to use it to find out where you are just by snapping a picture.

Copyright versus Art and Commerce: see the new documentary on corporate abuse of copyright Willful Infringement by Jed Horovitz and Greg Hittelman. Via The Killing Fields, via How Copyright Stifles New Art. Support the filmmakers by buying a copy of the DVD.

Technobits: uncensored news via p2p --- annoyed by intrusive "free registration required"? try via the ever-subversive Dan Gillmor --- good news! robot destroyed in Iraq (more) --- Almost Half Of Spam Bugged --- A9 Amazon's new search engine, analysis --- Don't Buy It! --- DoJ to MS: dox sux --- paper-based DVD (or as one wag put it: New Sony disc threatens the paperless office) --- Carbon Fiber G5 Powerbooks? (more) --- Gopher, still digging --- Xerox: plastic semiconductors --- AmEx vs. rec.humor.funny --- This Is Broken (via Open Season) --- Onion-skinned --- exquisite full size Lego Volvo!





A great historical film, kind of long, drags a bit in the middle, will teach something new to all but the most fanatical history buffs. If you're interested in American history, go see it. Sure, there are some mistakes, but they are outweighed by the marvel of the recreation. Definitely worth seeing.

The Girl Next Door

Not as stupid as the trailers (how often have I said that before). Actually, kind of sweet and innocent for a film whose premise is: porn star moves in next door to normal teenage boy. A few scenes of voyeurism and a lot of teasing. Silly, trivial, and not worth walking across the street to see, but as I said, better than you might think.


Coquet, Sullivan, Dern, Surman, Dalton and a bulging Dan Grobstein File

Peggy Coquet finds (via a Mariner baseball team blog, no less) that Michael Crichton feels there is too much speculation in the media; he'd welcome a return to facts.

Kevin Sullivan via Netsurfer (thank you Kevin)

Watch the Transit of Venus in 1882
In 1882, Massachusetts astronomer David Peck Todd took the long trip to California, more specifically to Mt. Hamilton which looms over Netsurfer's very own Silicon Valley headquarters. Todd was there to record the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. He captured 147 glass plates of the event under almost perfect observing conditions. More than 120 years later, astronomers Bill Sheehan and Anthony Misch found Todd's archived plates and assembled them into a short movie that shows Venus moving across the solar disk. This is now the oldest movie in existence - the photos that make up the movie frames were developed before movies were invented. Neat. Sky and Telescope has big and smaller versions of the QuickTime movie.

The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. In a way, that distance may go back to ancient Rome; it surely has to do with the width of two horse's behinds (and I don't mean Bush and Cheney). The Straight Dope column separates fact from fiction in this charming tale of tails.

Only in Britain: Daniel Dern reports word of a televised sperm race.

Barry Surman notes the Perils of Plagiarism, particularly when you're plagiarizing The Onion.

Richard Dalton found a couple of good media pieces in the Boston Globe:

Public's cynicism about media has become a pressing concern
By Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff, 4/14/2004


The Hollywood reporter
Despite recent ethics scandals (or maybe because of them) the entertainment industry continues to find the news business irresistibly amusing
By Don Aucoin, Globe Staff, 4/14/2004

Dalton, along with my daughter Rae, also tipped me to Subservient Chicken. Richard found a Wired story:

Porno Hen Hawks for Burger King
Give Burger King credit. Its attempt to advertise chicken sandwiches on the Web by setting up an ersatz webcam porn studio could have been a cheesy flop. Instead, its Subservient Chicken website is a hit. By Chris Ulbrich.

You can find out everything he'll do.

The Dan Grobstein File:

Free movie scripts. I found several of interest to me; maybe you will too.

New York Times

  • God Bless Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won't give up on health care and wrote about it at length in the Sunday Magazine.
  • TV networks push books from their affiliated publishers, maybe.
  • Paul Krugman finally gets around to calling Bush delusional.
  • Baboon behavior: Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of tuberculosis 20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and most despotic males, setting the stage for a social and behavioral transformation unlike any seen in this notoriously truculent primate.
  • If you love subways like I love subways, check out the 100th anniversary of New York's. Despite what the Times says, however, America's first subway was Boston's.
  • Baseball squeezes more seats for rich people into ballparks

Washington Post

To obtain a reminder when I post my weekly electronic column,
or to offer feedback, advice, praise, or criticism, email me. (pes-at-sign-schindler-dot-org)

New versions of my column are hosted here at Typepad.

Old versions of my column are hosted here at


Paul Schindler Home Page PS...ACOT BACK ISSUE archives
Journalism Movies Journalism Quotes
You COULD Pay For This Column Journalism Books
Archival Larry King: Letters From Europe
Current Larry King: Letters From Lesser Great Britain
Kevin Sullivan on Teaching
My Prarie Home Companion Script Groundhog Day: Best Film Ever
Women in Journalism Movies Larry King: British Journalists
Edwin Diamond: An Appreciation Tales of Teaching

Page forwarding code courtesy of:
BNB: HTML, free CGI Scripts, graphics, tutorials and more- for free!

FavIcon (displayed in browser address box) courtesy of:
Richard Sleegers

Blog-rolling (My Friends' Weblogs):

Jim Forbes' Forbes on Tech

Scot Finnie's Scot's Newsletter

Phil Albinus Blog

Dan Rosebaum's Blog

Mike Elgan's Blog

Fred Langa's Blog

Karen Kenworthy's Power Tools

Dave Methvin's PC Pitstop

You are visitor number

since Oct. 16, 1998.