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

September 27, 2004: P.S. A Column On Things

September 27, 2004 Vol. 6, No. 38

Table of Contents:

General News

  • Whoops! Is No News Good News?
  • Marlow In The Netherlands
  • Political Notes

Computer Industry News

  • Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs


  • The Top 16 Signs Your Truck Is TOO DAMN BIG (Part II)


  • Sky Captain
  • Wimbledon


  • Dan Grobstein File

General News

Whoops! Is No News Good News?

Nothing memorable happened this week. But I mean, nothing even reminded me of anything. I just struggle from day to day to avoid seeing, hearing or reading campaign news, as it does nothing to inform me and everything to raise my blood pressure.

Marlow in The Netherlands

Marlow is in The Netherlands right now, at Leiden University, working on her degree in International Relations. Here's what's new from her:

Its raining really hard and i am at the computer lab of the student center with my laptop getting ready to print out my first Dutch college assignment, a five hundred word essay on the different categorization systems used in political science. I don't really want to go outside again, but I have to drop the paper off by five, and then I'm going to go coat shopping and have some tea. I fear I may be catching a cold. I've lived places with rain before, but never had to bike in them.

Here's a long rambling email I started last night rather than go to sleep at a reasonable time. It probably makes me sound obsessive.

Political Notes

A must-read from London's Guardian newspaper:
Humiliated and impotent, every Iraqi is a hostage now


Keep an eye on the only vote that really counts; the electoral college.


From Craig Reynolds: warning: Bush-bashing, religiously irreverent humor ahead. He and Dan Grobstein also sent me this link: If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?, which suggests to me it is tearing up the blogsphere. Allow me to add a few hundred more clicks.


At last, an honest story in a major newspaper: Thursday, September 23, 2004 (SF Chronicle): NEWS ANALYSIS/Flip-flopping charge unsupported by facts/Kerry always pushed global cooperation, war as last resort


Double meaning in diplomatic language? Kofi Annan at the U.N. about 30 minutes before Bush on 9/21/04:

Annan: "Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it.

Upon reflection the Secretary General's remarks don't just apply to obtaining Security Council approval before using military force; they are equally applicable to the U.S. 2000 election and certain events thereafter. One wonders if this ever dawned on Bush One nomination for Truthful Peace-Seeking Sly Remark of the year to Annan who has been asked to send (and apparently will send) international inspectors to oversee U.S. elections in November.


According to the website "Catch," it seems the faithless fiduciary Richard Perle was very surprised on Sept. 22, 2004.

Richard "Swine Before" Perle said this at an American Enterprise Institute conference on September 22, 2003: "A year from now I'd be surprised if there's not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush."

Here's the full transcript of the event held at the radical right wing non-think tank American Enterprise Institute. Faithless fiduciary Richard Perle continued his long running effort at deception of the American people and the world (in addition to the foregoing, note the endorsement of convicted felon and now alleged anti-US spy Ahmed Chalabi).


Nasty editorial cartoon at MSNBC. And another cartoon from Milwaukee. Sen. Chafee, R-RI, may not vote for Bush. Michael Moore is going on tour to convince people to vote--preferably not for Bush or Nader.


Frank Rich has an interesting article on the debasement, degradation, diminution, deactivation, and desuetude of electronic and print journalists and journalism (This Time Bill O'Reilly Got It Just Right in The New York Times)


Christian Science Monitor: A strident minority: anti-Bush US troops in Iraq. Though military personnel lean conservative, some vocally support Kerry - or at least a strategy for swift withdrawal.


Computer Industry News

Craig Reynolds' Technobriefs

This section is so good every week. If you haven't tried a few links, try some!

E-vote events: concern about the impact of e-voting in this e-lection is focusing in the critical battleground states: E-Vote Fears Soar in Swing States. New criticism has been leveled at the comically incompetent design of Diebold Election Systems' products Electronic-Vote Critics Urge Changes to System, Activists Show Alleged Vote Machine Flaws and Activists Find More E-Vote Flaws which ends with these thoughts from e-vote security expert David Jefferson:

...Rather than creating a system that relies on the "perfect execution of (poll worker) procedures," Jefferson said, Diebold should have designed the system to better prevent fraud. "You don't want to make up for poor design by adding more burden to beleaguered poll workers and election officials who don't understand the reasons for all of the rules that they have to obey and (are therefore) likely to cut corners," Jefferson said. As for why Diebold would have designed such a poor system, Jefferson thinks the company simply didn't know how to do it any better. "There are a lot of reasons why you might want parallel tables of vote totals," Jefferson said. "But there are better designs that avoid (these vulnerabilities) entirely. If you are not a world-class designer, if you're making it up as you go along and not deeply educated in data management, this is the kind of design you might come up with. "I think the designers of the Diebold system never seriously understood what it would take to prevent vote manipulation by insiders," Jefferson said. "I consider that to be inexcusable."

Google browser? Looks like its on the horizon: Google Picks Gates' Brains and More evidence of a Google browser.

Microsoft and insecurity: Good news! After two and a half years of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Initiative it seems like they have solved all the problems! Symantec says Viruses Aimed at Microsoft Rise Sharply and 30,000 zombie PCs are recruited each day. The NYT critiques SP2: Making Windows More Secure. And finally "...Victor Wheatman, Gartner security the IT Security Summit in London...attacked the popular misconception that "software has to have flaws". Wheatman said this is true only if enterprises continue to buy flawed software, and he singled Microsoft out for particular criticism:" Windows is the 'biggest beta test in history'.

Sony news: its Sony v. Sony as Sony Electronics moves toward offering what its customers want: playback of open MP3 files on its portable music players. Opposed are Sony-BMG and the rest of the music industry who want DRM to prevent their customers from freely using the product they have purchased: Sony Considers MP3 Support to Silence iPod Fans and Sony on collision course with music majors over mp3 format. While yet another unit of Sony (the one I work for) announced a new look for PlayStation 2 (aka "PS2 Mini", aka "PStwo"), a peek at PSP Software and confirmed that PS-Next to use Blu-ray.

Technobits: Overseas Voter Website Censored by U.S. Government and Pentagon may lift voting site blockade --- Automakers Give Biodiesel a Boost --- BMW bivalent hydrogen race car: BMW, Reuters (image) --- Morphine occurs naturally in the human brain --- opponents warned that bio-engineered (GM) life forms would spread rapidly through the ecosystem and they were right --- Kahle v. Ashcroft --- Securities analysts urge Senate for expensing of stock options --- The Secret Behind the iPod's Scrollwheel --- cool music from a three note sample: Remixing to Protest Sample Ruling --- the interactive Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now online --- electro-mechanical Pong!


The Top 16 Signs Your Truck Is TOO DAMN BIG (Part II)

A six-way tie for 9th, but hey, you miss all the shots you don't take.

September 24, 2004

16> You're always crushing objects too small to be seen from inside -- like Ford Excursions and the Washington Monument.

15> No need to worry about one-way streets -- for you, *every* street is a one-way street.

14> As a result of the vehicle size/penis size inverse ratio, you now have an "innie."

13> The hood ornament is a Yugo.

12> McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing are bidding for your next tire rotation.

11> The Guinness Book of World Records has certified your back window screen as the world's largest Confederate flag.

10> Your spinning rims have started altering weather patterns.

9> Your monthly Texaco bill comes with a lovely gift basket and a personally signed thank-you note from the emir of Kuwait.

8> You let your kids eat in the truck -- as long as they stay in the dining room.

7> You keep finding chunks of SUV in your front grille.

6> Whenever you fill it up, Dick Cheney's grin gets a little wider.

5> The turn signals are labeled "port" and "starboard."

4> Four times this month you've crushed the garbage truck while backing out of the driveway.

3> Greenies have to stand on a stepladder to key the paint job.

2> The passenger side is 2 feet lower because that's where your wife parks her Camry.

and's Number 1 Sign Your Truck Is TOO DAMN BIG...

1> Every time you gun the engine, you can feel the earth get a teensy bit warmer.

[ The Top 5 List ]
[ Copyright 2004 by Chris White ]

Selected from 173 submissions from 64 contributors.
Today's Top 5 List authors are:
Bill Muse, Seattle, WA -- 1, 15 (64th #1/Hall of Famer)

Pat Sajak, Los Angeles, CA -- 5
Dawson Rambo, Santa Rosa, CA -- 6
Jennifer Ford, Fort Wayne, IN -- 4, 9
Curt Cutting, Santa Monica, CA -- 7, 9
Curtis Stoddard, Milwaukie, OR -- 7, 9
John J. Brassil, Nashville, TN -- 9, 14
Mark Schmidt, Paris, France -- 9 (Hall of Famer)
Paul Schindler, Orinda, CA -- 9


Sky Captain

Like Neal Vitale said here last week: great big special effects, little tiny story. OK if you just want to stare at the backgrounds. Also, remember to look for Laurence Olivier, whose performance is pieced out of movies he appeared in while alive. I forgot to look; I think I know who he is in the film.


God, the Europeans know how to make a movie. In the hands of any American director, this film would have been swill: male tennis star on his way down meets female tennis star on her way up, and then the fun begins. They meet cute, they court cute, and they have a cute happy ending.

Well, Canadian Adam (French Kiss, Practical Magic) Brooks did the rewrite of the original screenplay by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin (a married writing team). They provided the material which, in the hands of director and Englishman Richard (The Missionary--one of the finest films ever made) Loncraine made for a light, lovely, very funny, very touching little film. Of course the stars make the film, with fantastic, funny and touching performances by Paul (Master and Commander, A Beautiful Mind) Bettany and Kirsten (everything) Dunst. Terrific character work in the supporting cast, most especially Jon Favreau as Bettany's agent.


Dan Grobstein File

  • Look at the links in this Washington Monthly article and see what the State Dept. was saying about Al-Qaeda ties in 2001.
  • Dan found this:

Supposedly under attack by Islamic Extremists, our country under George W. Bush has managed to catch ... Cat Stevens. Supposedly under attack by terrorists who "hate our way of life," the administration of George W. Bush has tirelessly worked to change our way of life, making us less free, less democratic, more theocratic, less wealthy and surrounded on all sides by new enemies. In a time that called for serious, responsible leadership at home and most certainly abroad, George W. Bush has given us double-talk, incompetence, fraud and the reckless, heartless abuse of the world's greatest military, a military made up of volunteer soldiers who trusted that after Vietnam they would never again be dumped to die in some distant land for no reason at all.

  • Dan notes:

Some "Mr. Security" our unelected leader is. His whole life has been spent imitating his dad and failing. (Andover, Yale, fly, run for Congress, various business ventures, run for president. The only thing that he can do to that his dad didn't is get re-elected. If he isn't re-elected he'll go back to Crawford...

New York Times

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