Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Thursday, June 05, 2003
Count Your Syllables, Honey

My dear esteemed spouse asserts that Jewel rhymes with fool and drool. Of course, she's referring to my NOE (near obsession experience) with the newly techno-confected songstress Jewel Kilcher.

However, I must point out (in a "I am superior, but I am not acting superior" tone of writing) that jewel has two syllables. It rhymes with crewel and, well, cruel, but not fool or drool, or for that matter, joule.

Of course (:: sniff!::), as a former practitioner of "free verse" poetry, you're not as aware of these subtle distinctions as a writer of real poetry.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003
The Perfect Charge For Hoaxes!

Fark provides a link to a story in the Washington Post about some artists who, metaphorically, paraded around looking like nutjobs in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Buried in the story is this nugget:
    Although the objects under the duct tape turned out to be harmless, Olaniyi and Patel have been charged with interstate transportation of an explosive device, a charge that can be used in a hoax.
And, apparently, in situations where no explosive devices exist. Unless, of course, the explosive device in question is their van.

Luckily for the kids in Casinoport, they didn't cross any lines with their chickens-in-a-box devices.

Parks Are Not For the People, Parks Are For the Park Officials

/. points to a story about how Minnesota parks are cracking down on the esoteric hobby of geocaching. Buried within the article, we get this nugget:
    They worry that hundreds of people tramping through their woods will damage plants and habitat.
Dang! I thought parks were to give people the opportunity to tramp through plants and habitat. This quote would seem to assert that parks are really designed to keep park officials employed or to maintain habitats for flora and fauna.

Until such time as the flora, fauna, and park officials pay to preserve these parks, instead of gigging my paycheck for it, I say, "Honey, have you seen my tramping shoes?"

Hijinks Not Yet A Felony

Here in Casinoport, four high school students are getting the pamphlet thrown at them for a senior prank. Ill-advised youngsters ran into their high school cafeteria while wearing masks and carrying boxes with chickens in them to release said chickens. They're getting misdemeanor disturbing the peace (or maybe "Disturbing the 10-Piece Bucket") charges. What an outrage!

You mean it's not yet a felony to wear masks in public or carry chickens in boxes? Legislators, take note! We need to make an example of these young men, assuring that they're stigmatized for life and that they forever have to tell this particular story when checking that little "Yes, I have been convicted" box on job applications. And if they're convicted felons, they can't vote against you! Win/win!

Remember, when have senses of humor are outlawed, only outlaws will have a sense of humor. And in case it's a law exempt from ex post facto, allow me to assert "I am serious."

You Can Quote Me On That

Thought for the day:
    "Being a marionette is worse, because at least a puppet gets the warm personal contact of a hand up its, ah, bum."

Tuesday, June 03, 2003
I Won't Scream For Newcastle Brown Ale Ice Cream

It's old news by now, but a UK firm has started making beer-flavored ice cream.

All of the calories, none of the buzz? Do they think I like the stationary bike, or what?

Kirk Built a Gun From Sulphur, a Tube, and His, uh, Urine and Vinegar

Fark (and other sources) are reporting about the New Zealand guy who's building a cruise missile in his garage from parts he bought, essentially, in electronics catalogs from around the world, and get this, New Zealand Customs didn't stop the legal parts trafficking!

Let the uproar begin. So this yahoo fancies himself Tom Swift or the modern equivalent, who instead of building a time machine or rocket to get to Saturn, builds a cruise missile or a Ptomekin-class nuclear submarine. It ain't easy to do on one's own, and if he can do it, more power to him. However, the Hysterics-That-Be will undoubtedly want to clamp down on mail order now and maybe even curiosity among the civilian populace.

Remember, Captain James T. Kirk once built a gun out of the surrounding environment (while nearly shirtless, no less). But in the end he didn't kill the guy in the awkward lizard costume out of civilized behavior.

Perhaps society and its emissaries (of which government is but one, and a subserviant one at that) should work on promoting civilization and not worry so much about taking away our individual pointy objects. Civilized people don't use them on one another without good reason. Or reason, anyway.

"More Than Words" Is Different From "More Than Words Can Say"

All right, for the last time, let's get this straight. Although it's easy to confuse them, Extreme did the song "More Than Words", which does, in fact, differ from the Alias song "More Than Words Can Say".

Of course, anyone can confuse two sweet-sounding power ballads from late 80s hair bands. And Alias and Extreme, or was it Extreme and Alias? But remember, although Alias was truly a one-hit wonder, Extreme was a two-hit wonder. They also charted with "Hole Hearted" off of the same album (Extreme II: Pornograffitti) and made a valiant attempt to follow that album up with III Sides to Every Story (how clever!), but to no avail. "Hole Hearted" is the better of their two hits, in my opinion.

So keep it straight from now on. I don't want to have to discuss this with you again.

Monday, June 02, 2003
Tomorrow Bejeweled

The new album, 0304, from Jewel comes out tomorrow, June 3, 2003. I have a wallet with $16 in it all ready.

The first single, "Intuition", sports a more techno sound than her previous works, but it's still her sweet, breathy vocals. Innocent, playful, and yet suh-exy.

I have been a fan since Pieces Of You, which I gained after leading a friend on a trip to numerous record stores to find it on a winter evening. Finally, we found it, and we listened to it several times consecutively. I ordained myself Paladin of Jewel and have had to defend her honor, or at least her vocal talent, on many occasions. Of course, since she's no Sarah Brightman (or Sarah McLachlan, for that matter), so it's been easier to resort to righteous violence than to offer evidence to her vocal prowess, so I have had to smite many a man, woman, and schoolchild to preserve her rightful head of the pantheon of pop.

Here's CNN's take on her album: "Jewel: Sexy dance diva?" I hope I can sleep tonight, and that the anticipation will not keep me tossing, turning, and upsetting nestling cats.

And for those of you wondering, Jewel's official score is MOT-MCBDFHM (Much of That, Minus a Couple Bags of Doritos For Her Munchies).

The Educated Wine Palate vs John Kass and Me

John Kass (registration required) and I don't drink el vino but we do drink the brews. So we can only wonder at people who improve their brains and their palates to tell the difference between wines.

The Brian Wine Chart includes these continua:
  • Taste: From sweet (1) to not sweet (10).
  • Buzz: From good (1) to very good (10).
  • Price: From cheep (1) to "I'll never taste it" and beyond (10).
For instance, I give St. James Velvet Red scores a 3.5.3. Les Bourgeois Riverboat Red scores a 1.6.3.

Only Guinness Draught scores better, 1.1.1. What, you say, it's not wine? Well, it's not cheap either, but it's the contender to beat!

Didn't Get the Rent-A-Negro Point?

Didn't get the point of the Web site that I mentioned? In the Chicago Tribune, Clarence Page explains it (registration required).

He makes some points about blackness-as-phenomenon I am not sure I would agree with, though.

Of course, I am not <insert thing I am not here>, so I couldn't understand.

Someone Stop Heather Before Tragedy Strikes

Looks like Madonna has fallen from her bicycle.

Heather, it could happen to you!

Well, not exactly, since you don't drink coffee while riding. I guess you're safe.

(I saw it on Fark first.)

Sunday, June 01, 2003
Musings on the Matrix, Part XXIV

It had to be done. What Matrix Persona Are You?


You are Morpheus-
You are Morpheus, from "The Matrix." You
have strong faith in yourself and those around
you. A true leader, you are relentless in your

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

(Link from Suburban Blight.)

One Impression To Rule Them


Some geeks can do an impression of Agent Smith from The Matrix.

Some geeks can do an impression of Gollum from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

But I have perfected my impression of Agent Gollum. Ask me sometime, and I shall do it for you. You might be asked to provide a token Guinness Draught or two beforehand, and please do not ask me to do it in front of my esteemed spouse.

I am the king geek, and I will creep out any challenger for the title!

(P.S. It's probably almost as good as the "Dying Tauntaun.")

Unemployment Does Not Count Many, Say Experts Who Want Funding

According to the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, unemployment is undercounted because:
    It does not count the substantial number of Americans who have gone back to school because they can't find a job or those who have taken a part-time job for much less pay. It does not include people who, unable to find work, have set themselves up in businesses, many as home-based consultants.
That's right, the official unemployment numbers do not include students or people who are employed.

Also not represented in the numbers, experts (in technical writing, and by "experts" I mean I) also point out that official unemployment does not include homemakers who know raising children is a full-time job, thousands of registered and active Chicago voters who happen to be deceased, dozens of fetuses, dogs and cats who have obtained credit cards, illegal migrant farm workers who have returned to their points of origin, and Canadians.

By the time you add it up, the number actually exceeds the population of the United States. That's right, unemployment has skyrocketed to 135%. We need block grants, stat! Please send the government checks to Brian J. Noggle, care of this Web site.

Surprise Larry Ellison This Christmas

What do you get the billionaire who has everything, including a fighter jet and a special disposition to land planes at his rural airport at night? How about his own aircraft carrier?

He'll probably drop the $4.5 million on this WWII-era (but in use until recently by the Brazillian Navy) carrier. He'll expense it, of course, as part of his long term rearming so that Oracle can retake its rightful position as database market leader, by force if necessary, from IBM.

(Thanks to /. for the pointer.)

My Jaw's Better, Thanks

Now that I am well on the way to recovery from the bruises on my chin suffered when I was astonished by Harley Soandso's column about Chris Hedges on (seven prepositional phrases in a clause! A new blog personal best!), I can reason out what bothered me about this assertion:
    Yet the Rockford incident had a chilling aspect to it. As described in the press, it could well have been a scene out of the recent miniseries on the rise of Hitler to power in Nazi Germany.

    The difference between the many incidents at Berkeley and the Rockford incident is that, at Berkeley, it's usually the rabble against an Establishment spokesperson. At Rockford, it was just the opposite; the incident had the feel of a government protest against an outsider.
America has been called the Republic of Many Mansions (based on the biblical quote from John 14:2). The Carmody text (The Republic of Many Mansions) posits that America has a lot of (mostly Christian) strains in its religious thought. Different denominations and whatnot. The paragraph represents a long, albeit annotated, description of how I decided to frame my thesis for this posting, which is:

America is a republic of many establishments, and hence a lot of wide-eyed innocent strugglers against the oppressive established regime (or jackbooted hooligans, if you're in the establishment being assailed at the immediate time of assailing).

For instance, from Sorensen's perspective, Chris Hedges and his points of view, shared by his colleagues at many established dailies and chic alternative weeklies, represent the Wide-Eyed Innocent (or perhaps slightly jaundiced and worldly) Struggler Against the Oppressive Regime (WEISAOR for not-very-short). The Rockford College graduates and their families represent Tools of The Man (ToTM). Because, you see, Hedges was speaking against an Establishment, namely the 3-year-old presidential administration and the recent Republican-controlled Congress, a decisive foreign policy, and whatever handy straw men he could set up regarding these. (Certainly, he was not speaking against the republican form of government itself, where the hoi polloi pick the leaders whom the rabble think will best represent it.)

However, to some with a different point of view, Chris Hedges represents an Establishment of a different sort. The Established Coastal Media, which postures to represent the People and wants to dictate how The People thinks. Not by force, of course, but because ECM thinking is right and dissenters will be mocked and looked down upon. However, to some, ECM represents the Oppressive Established Regime (OER), or at least a bunch of out-of-touch twits. So sometimes, the local (or imported) WEISAOR makes a little noise.

America offers a good number of institutions against which anyone can play David. The Church (which cam be any of a handful of small Christian denominations or the Catholics), The Military Industrial Complex, the Gummint, Congress, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, Corporations, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the Automakers, the Unions, and so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee.

So dividing the country into Establishment/Rebel fails because Establishments and their Oppressive Regimes are too prevalent to be noteworthy, and so is rebellion. Rebellion has always been a part of growing up. The adolescent differentiates from the parents through rebellion. Pop culture latched onto this particular part of growing up and has idolized it, super-sized it, and apothesized it (probably because teething is such an individual agony, and not good cinema). Once the new rebels got the parents out of the way, they decided to take on The Man, and they keep finding another The Man to take on. Even I define myself in opposition to some things, rebelling against the oppressive regime who thinks I should mow my back lawn before it goes to seed. Join me this afternoon for a protest against it.

So Sorensen's gone off into victimics when shrilling about his WEISAORs representing "the rabble against an Establishment spokesperson" while the opposing WEISORs represent "a government protest against an outsider." We're all outsiders in the establishment.

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