Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Pssst....Wanna Know What I Said About Ted Nugent?

Hey, if you're coming in from Google and want to see the complete Ted Nugent transcript from KRFX, sorry I don't have it (but if you do find it, I would love to see it. I did talk about the "controversy" on Wedneday, May 7, and you can read the two posts here.

Google's searches only bring you to the main page here, and not the actual post for which you were looking. But rest assured, the Doc-U-Matic 3000 is here to serve you! Don't forget to drop me a line and say thanks.

Four Year Old Kindergartens Teach Legislative Math

In Wisconsin, a special study by the "Legislative Fiscal Group" has determined that cutting a program, that is, not spending state tax money on it, would really cost the state money! Shocker! The "Legislative Fiscal Group" urges the state to spendspendspend its way into savings. The story appears in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. By the way, do many journals really need guardians? What sort of dumb combined name is that?

The program costs $72 million dollars. By cutting this $72 million dollar program, the state will lose $8.4 million dollars in federal money that it receives to fund the operation. That's the "cost" described in the hyperlink on the main JSOnline site and in the "Eliminating 4-year-old kindergarten will cost state, study says" subhead. That's legislative math.

Legislative math uses proven Deadbeat Cousin Accounting. You know the accounting I am talking about. Cousin Ned, who has his get-rich-quick schemes and buys pseudo-muscle cars past the point of cost effective maintenance, who works a part-time job around his fiscally imprudent efforts, and who occasionally pops up to "borrow" money (the occasion he needs it). He could get a real job and start behaving like a grown up, but if he did, it would cost him that free money.

Our state and municipal governments might as well call themselves Cousin Ned. They buy a round of drinks and take people out to dinner when the economy's going well or they win $80 on lottery scratch-off tickets, but when that $80 is gone, they still want to spend it, and that's where you come in, dear cousin taxpayer.

Friday, May 16, 2003
Closing Time Revisited

The Shepherd Express discusses the possibility of eliminating last call at taverns and pubs, or at least allowing them to stay open a while after they've stopped serving liquor. Although this article examines regulations far off lands where even sober people talk funny, like England and Minnesota, I thought I would add my two shots.

It would be a good idea to eliminate last call and deregulate alcohol serving totally.

After all, two o'clock closing times merely throw a bunch of inebriated and partially-inebriated people into the streets at once. A number of people to bicker, to continue partying, and sometimes to drive home at the same time. The mandated closing time concentrates the goofiness into a single period of time arbitrarily assigned by the municipal or state government. Heaven knows the problems the neighborhoods in Milwaukee alone have suffered because of the throngs. Denny's restaurants in Milwaukee close before the bars do to avoid the rush of post-tavern patrons, for crying out loud.

By eliminating the bars' closing time, municipalities would spread out the impact of partying people and whatever infractions they might perform, hereby diminishing the overall disquiet created in neighborhoods, allowing bar patrons to trickle out until the next day. With the end-all, drink-all crowd evacuating at a single time, we're assuming the cops can be everywhere at once to catch all of the drunk drivers who would kill short-order cooks getting off at one o'clock in the morning and all the gun-, knife-, and fist-bearing disagreeable people.

Of course, opponents might say that eliminating the bar closing time would make people likely to drink more, but that's not necessarily the case of Miller High Life. People can drink as much as they want outside of taverns and clubs. It just means people would drink in places where restaurant keepers could profit from it.

Guinness: Breakfast of Champions

Look, ma, Guinness beer is good for you!

(Pointer from Fark.)

Bringing Pop-Under Ads Into the Real World

I hate junk mail that looks like invoices for something I have ordered. Cripes, this very day I got three from the wonderful Domain Registry of America, warning me that unless I paid right now my domain names would expire!. In August. Send your check now! Of course, they're not my domain registrar and they've never gotten dime one out of me. As a matter of fact, considering they have sent me this triplicate postal spam four times, I have cost them 12n, where n is the cost of your general presort postage.

It's not just these desperate, fly-by-day two-bit-and-you-get-change operations doing it. Time Warner's been onto the ploy before they wed "A Disk A Minute" AOL. Time and Sports Illustrated offers started looking like past due bills a long time ago. I no longer subscribe to any Time Warner magazines. I have a long memory.

I have no respect for a company that would hope to trick me out of my money. These guys send their "invoices" out the same way as GAINPRO PENIS ENLARGERS (excuse the keyword spamming) pinheads send e-mail. The number of people who are too busy, too unintelligent, or too inattentive and simply cut a check to Time Warner, Domain Registrars of America, or whatever, obviously rewards them enough to keep them doing it. But they won't get my money, and in the case of legitimate and large corporations, I mean any of it.

So is legislation the answer? Hardly. But individuals should be careful with such "invoices," and we in the blog-o-mockracy and in the consumer world should stand up and let the companies know we see what they're doing, and we disapprove.

All Better. <EOM>

Good Morning, Where Am I?

Why is my blog returning an empty html document this morning?

Thursday, May 15, 2003
How To Find This Site

The list of referrers that brings you, gentle readers, to this site contains some interesting Google and other Web searches that rate the Doc-U-Matic 3000 Word Generator highly. To whit: Thank you to all my confused search engine visitors, and to the people who are going to be arriving in the next couple of days to see what I have to say about GAINPRO VIAGRA PENIS LACI PETERSEN (spelled incorrectly to get those poor speller hitz) LASIK EYE SURGERY RIAA.

The answer is, nothing, but I get paid for clicks, not sticks. Well, actually, I don't get paid, and all I get is to laugh at your search string. Thanks for playing, and don't forget to try "BRIAN J. NOGGLE IS A CHEESEHEAD"

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Six Flags As You'll Never See It, Piker

Before Six Flags over Mid America, in Eureka, Missouri (a suburb, now, of St. Louis) opens, the firefighters and emergency workers have their day. It's not like they get short lines to the roller coasters, though; Six Flags lets them use the Thunder River ride to practice rescuing people from flash floods and rapids. How cool is that?

Story, courtesy of the Suburban Journals (a wholly owned subsidiary of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch designed to make you think there's real "competition" or that they contain "news"), here.

Who Eats Cats?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Mosquitoes, or French Scientists, Cash In on X2 Craze

How convenient. French scientists have determined that the mosquitoes that carry West Nile are mutants. Just at the same time that X-Men 2: X-Men United is atop the box office again. Sure, these scientists claim this is based on scientific evidence and the announcement is designed to further the understanding of the West Nile epidemic.

Furthermore, the scientists explain their trademarking of the "MassKillto" super villain suitable for t-shirts was inadvertent, and that they meant to send the comic-book style graphic to the magazine Nature.

Now, Jennifer, This Doesn't Change Things

Listen, Garner, I love Heather.

A Program For America

The Opinion Journal yesterday included a column that explained that Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus. Or, as the article says, Democrats want to build (presumably Utopia) while Republicans want to defend civilization, whatever its flaws, from the alternatives.

This conforms to an idea I had while I was growing up, in the Reagan/Bush years, that the Republicans made good presidents, but Democrats made a good legislature. Republicans believe in law enforcement and strong militaries, which conform to what the executive branch does, whereas Democrats embrace the social freedoms in the bill of rights, or seemed to, and would provide a good body of legislators for a shambling and mostly gridlocked Congress. A balance of thought, a balance of focus, and the balance of power. What could be better?

But I am older and wiser now. I realize politics is sports for old fat men and women who cannot compete on the field and are afraid to try it in the honest business world (and I do mean honest, not the inbred business-lobbyist-executivocomplex). It's not about making good laws, it's about making a leaping reverse stuff law that says a lot but does whatever someone eventually interprets it to do. It's about scoring votes and trash talking and excessive celebration after every small victory and one side winning and the other being humiliated. Since I have grown up, I have seen how they haven't.

Making Your Unlivable Life Worse

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (second item) that a man in a suburb of St. Louis became suicidal and armed himself with a sword. However, lacking a good instruction manual for killing oneself with a sword, this gentleman drew the attention of neighbors, friends, family members, or the local busybody. Said other, non-suicidal person called police, who arrived and shot the suicidal man when he brandished said sword at them.

No, they didn't kill him. Now he's going to prison for attempting to kill a police officer. That should fix him right up.

Monday, May 12, 2003
When We Outlaw Buying Oreos, Only Outlaws Will Buy Oreos

The San Fransisco Chronicle reports about an ambulance proceeding lawyer who's suing Nabisco for selling Oreos which are not good for children. His goal, other than getting his name in the paper so he can be the Erin Brokovich of food lawsuits (man breasts probably included), is to keep tran fat out of the hands of children.

Listen, bub, here's a lesson for you. When Milwaukee started getting decorated by the young graffitos in the local youth crime organizations who used brightly-colored, aerosol-propelled paint in their unauthorized, yet profoundly authentic, murals, Milwaukee banned the sale of spray paint to people under eighteen. You had to go to the counter and show some ID for your Krylon. No kidding. This meant, of course, that those young, impassioned artistes driven to speak out in the only subversive, non-violent fashion they could needed to hang out outside the local True Value waiting for someone they could bribe to come along, or they could improvise. And many did, which meant that most of the gangland glyphs were done in permanent marker. Now, Milwaukee had to make marker possession by minors into a felony....

What's my point? Aside from using the blogomockracy to make fun of this frivolous lawsuit? I guess none. Of course, without sugary things that are bad for you to put into their mouths, we'll return to the dark ages of eating Elmer's Paste and papier-mache. Is that the bright future we want for our children? I think not. Let Them Eat Tran Fatty Cake!

Thank you, that is all.

And Six For My Pal, El Guapo

Fark pointed me to a story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle about an economist's study of how alcohol legislation and taxation impacts consumption and drunk driving laws. The answer is, of course, not like the legislators hoped, but they'll take the tax money anyway.

Interesting factoid from the article:

    Think of it this way, Young said: If the United States' population totaled 10 people and they had 10 beers to split among them, three people would not drink beer at all, five people would share two beers, one person would have two beers, and one would drink six beers. Most alcohol-related problems occur with that last person.
Sorry, El Guapo, but if I have six, and you have six, you're the last person, but do not worry, for we have thrown the math off.

Still, it might prove interesting to study the relationship between government's applied regulation through taxation and not-outright banning of "vices" because this contrasts outright bans (drug use, prostitution, and the rest of the Libertarian Party platform's emancipation list), recently-reduced bans (gambling), bans by judicial awards (smoking). This study might prove to be the third good thing ever to come out of Montana State.

A toast to Montana, then, guardians of liberty and our northern border.

Sunday, May 11, 2003
Jennifer Garner: Some of That, Hold the Chips

As I passed through the den on my way to do battle with the ominous Dark Load of Sith in the laundry room, I passed my beautiful wife stretched out upon the sofa, whereupon she was soaking up some primetime television. "Doesn't she have a great body?" she asked. By she, she meant Jennifer Garner, and by she, I mean my esteemed spouse, or at least we did until the pronouns began straying from their antecedents.

I cast the slightest glance at the television set, and she (Jennifer Garner she, star of television's Alias, not Heather she) was slinking, sashaying, and I think I caught a glimpse of some provocative undulation across a room in an expensive strapless dress.

As a student of some famous tacticians, from Sun Tzu to Machiavelli, I immediately hearkened back to the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar of the Calamari, who once said, "It's a trap!" For although we men, and by "we men" I mean some men who are not happily married like we are, honey, we men sometimes have been known to appraise the aesthetic value of women and occasionally might even think about sitting on rocks and listening to birds singing madrigals with one (and dismiss it out of hand, of course), it's always bad to be called on it, immediately, and out of any context we can use as a defense in future discussions (not arguments, of course). I might even have frozen for a second or two, speechless, while Jennifer Garner wiggled across the screen into some clandestine meeting with either a really good guy or a really bad guy.

Unfortunately, I was not so much leering as running an algorithm to sort appropriate responses. "She's okay," I offered, unsure what question my wife had really asked. Of course, within every object-oriented male, when running the examineChick(object chick) method (sorry, but within Existentialist object-oriented males, all parameters are of type object), compares a woman to a static set of attributes, and the method returns a static value. For Jennifer Garner, I got back a SOME_OF_THAT response. (Contrast with my wife, who returns ALL_OF_THAT+BAG_OF_CHIPS+MEDIUM_DRINK+SMALL_SUNDAE.) Perhaps it's the coastal body type, perhaps it's the way the eyes crinkle, but some attributes within Jennifer Garner did not meet the specification. Sorry, Garner, now stop calling and hanging up without leaving a message.

"Look at those shoulders," she (Heather she, not Jennifer Garner she) said. Of course, she (Heather she, not Jennifer Garner she) was comparing her (Heather her, not Jennifer Garner her) shoulders to those in the white strapless dress. Both women have subtly muscular, but distinctly feminine, shoulders. All Heather wanted was for me to appraise Jennifer Garner's shoulders.

Unfortunately, as I indicated, guys don't throw out a Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) document to indicate the nature of the methods available; the methods are by nature private. If only she had known she could ask if I like Jennifer Garner's shoulders, I could have answered more quickly, without worrying about the ramifications or consquences or the dreaded marriage crash.

"They're okay," I repeated since it didn't seem to get me into any trouble the last time. And before I could get into trouble, I fled into the comfortable confines of the laundry room.

Good Hangover Reading

And let's not forget the how-to manual for serious conneseurs, connisoer, uh, people who like to drink: Modern Drunkard Magazine.

As seen at Tim Blair.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."