Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, June 27, 2003
Now, For the Irony of Flood Plain Development

The formerly blue-haired guy links to a story about how our illustrious leaders in the varied municipalities in the St. Louis area are rushing to build megavelopments on areas that were under ten feet of water ten years ago this month.

I've shopped at the Sam's Club out in Atlantis Valley myself, so I cannot claim too much superiority.

However, the farmers out there have every right to sell to stoopid developers who would buy that land, and I cannot blame those farmers. After all, if they didn't sell, the municipality of Atlantis Valley would eminent domain the land anyway, since St. Louis area municipalities think that it's perfectly acceptable to strip a person of his or her property rights if the municipality could get buckets of sales tax from the eventual beneficiaries of the confiscation. Buit that's another of my stock rants.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that Atlantis Valley will probably spend its newly-minted tax revenues on amenities for its remaining residents (both of the families whose houses were not in the way of Progress).

Amenities like water parks.

Vacation Ideas

Business 2.0 lists some interesting industrialist and capitalist tours available.

The piece lists some cool factories that offer public tours, but don't expect free samples like you get in brewery tours from companies like Boeing.

Poor Form, Peter

Slate today featured a round-up of previous stories about Strom Thurmond, who died last night.

The link that led to this index page off of the Slate home page read Good Riddance to Strom:

Poor form, fellows. I would say "I hope the writers of your obituary show greater respect whether they agree with your principles and politics." I would say that, but I am not that high-minded. I hope someone urinates on your grave, or worse, that no one notices you're not around anymore.

I Am A Prime Mover In The Blogomockracy

Tim Blair is crediting me with the idea of the Jake Ryan Beer Fund.

I had no idea I was so influential.

I'm also a contributor, too, so I recommend you stop by Tim's site, see what the fund's about, and contribute.

Thursday, June 26, 2003
Making the Personal Songs Political

On Tuesday, over on Politiblog, Jared M. enumerated the ways Fred "Wimp Biscuit" Durst (whose personal site is not as you might expect) and Johnny "Boy Named Goo" Rzeznik schnucked up the Pink Floyd classic "Wish You Were Here" (scroll down--I linked to the lyrics for the whole album Wish You Were Here so you could get the feel for the whole album) for a tribute concert of some sort.

Here's what I said in the comments for the post on Politblog:
    The easiest way to wreck a good Pink Floyd song, or any song, is to make the personal political.

    The best Pink Floyd songs conveyed personal experience. Think Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (which, of course, contains "Wish You Were Here", and The Wall.

    Other, more self-consciously Save-The-World-By-Espousing-My-Whack-Job-Ideology work, notably The Final Cut, didn't resonate because those works preached.

    You can follow the trend in Roger Waters' own work, where The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking tells a personal story of love loss and redemption, but Radio KAOS is some unlistenable parable and Amused to Death explains why the West, particularly America and Great Britain, are militaristic punks (don't get me started on the contradictions in its messages).

    David Gilmour, on the other hand, has his moments of protest, but his solo work and his Momentary Lapse of Reason and beyond Pink Floyd show that he knows that people connect best to personal messages within the music, not politics and preaching, and especially not hectoring.

    So Durst and Goo have shown their tone-deafness to the reason "Wish You Were Here" resonated with listeners in the first place: it was a song from a narrator to a friend, not a manifesto.

    Their update pays homage to a recognized and revered old song, but they've entirely missed why it's recognized and reverered. They've tried to ride the coattails of the song, and the song just shrugged the jacket off, leaving them standing there with neither recognition nor reverence.
I just wanted to repost it here because:
  1. It's a long post, almost an essay.
  2. I am too lazy to write essays on my own site tonight.
  3. I figured some of my fans (one or two of the three or four) might have listened to Pink Floyd once or twice.
Consider it a manifesto to songwriters and poets everywhere. Get your message across by singing individual experiences to individuals, not by thumping your bleedin-heart-containin' chest.

New Streams of Revenue

The New York Daily News rounds up the ways that New York's finest are enforcing all the laws on the books and citing everything to make up for the city's revenue shortfall through fines.

My favorite: The driver who got into a car accident and then got a ticket for having a broken headlight three days in a row. The law in question states:
    The law says it is illegal to operate, drive or park a vehicle not equipped with headlamps that are in good working conditions.
You cannot drive it. You cannot park it. The only answer is to destroy the car immediately when a headlight goes out. I would expect that sort of law in Detroit, not New York.

Sharpen your outrage, friends. I know this is confined to New York now, but rest assured your municipal officials are watching and learning. Soon, you'll be paying for the upkeep of water parks and other flotsam from rich revenues with fines for grass that's too tall for your particular suburb.

How Cute!

To highlight the fact that St. Louis now features several consecutive blocks of buildings in its downtown that are not crumbling, it's throwing a "Summerfest" on Washington Avenue. How cute!

That's not a summerfest. This is a Summerfest.


The Milwaukee Chauvinist Club.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Now They've Gone Too Far

Editorial in today's Washington Post shows exactly how bad things have gotten in Pakistan:
    Over the past few years, extremist Islamic groups in Pakistan have mounted a unilateral terror campaign. But Americans and Christians have not been the only victims. Women, secular advocates and even Muslims -- Ahmadis, dissenting Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims -- have also come under attack. [Emphasis mine.]
Oh, my. So it's not just Americans and Christians dying, which is okay; now it's other minority groups, which is somehow worse than just Americans and Christians.

Now that protected groups are getting it, perhaps we should start protecting them. Am I reading this op-ed piece right?

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Buy the Guy a Beer

A survivor of the Bali terrorist bombing recently expressed the sentiments we all share when the admitted terrorist shouted "Allah Ackbar!" in the courtroom.

Jake Ryan, a survivor of the bombing who had bone shrapnel of other victims removed from his body, arose and loudly explained:
    "You're a f . . king dog, mate, you are going to die, you f . . k."
Tim Blair has started a fund to buy Mr. Ryan some beer to toast his eloquence. I have contributed. You should, too.

Il Dick

So Representative Gephardt, in his Look at me! campaign for the Democrat nomination for president, briefly made his voice heard above the dim din of the other candidates by saying:
    "When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day," Gephardt said.
Rachel Lucas was the first to go off on him, followed later by Professor Volokh, Andrew Sullivan, Professor Reynolds, and even ScrappleFace, leading to the normal blogomockratic firestorm.

Okay, so Il Dick would knock out at least one competing branch of government if he were elected president. I have good news, though, he won't! He's such a longshot candidate that he's firing all of his guns at once and imploding in his space, or something along those lines.

Unlike Ms. Lucas, Prof. Volokh, Mr. Sullivan, Prof. Reynolds, and Mr. Face, I have had the privilege of voting against Dick Gephardt. When I lived in Attempted Casinoport, Missouri, that unincorporated area known colloquially as "Lemay," I was in his district. Every two years, I got to vote for whatever Don QuiGOP candidate tilted at the Speaker of the House. The best protest votes I ever cast.

But I digress. When prompted to explain the statement by ABC's The Note, Gephardt's office said:
    We asked the Gephardt campaign for a response. "The fact that this question comes from libertarian law professors should speak for itself," spokesman Erik Smith wrote in an e-mail. "Dick Gephardt knows the law. The president can not overturn a Supreme Court decision. That's not what he said. He was simply expressing his commitment to diversity and his willingness to use the tools of his office to promote affirmative action programs to the fullest extent possible. It's important to remember that Harry Truman used an executive order to integrate the military." [Emphasis mine]
So the response is that libertarians are whack jobs! Ad homenim! Of course, they'd hate to practice the politics of personal destruction, but since some people have begun taking the representative at his word, there will be hell to pay!

Fortunately, Dick Gephardt will return to citizen life soon, and by "citizen life" I mean "highly paid lobbyist life."

Okay, Hijinks Now A Felony

Back in May, I wrote about a young man here in Missouri who got caught videotaping the girls locker room. Lucky thing for him, he didn't do it in New York, where Gov Pattycakes just signed a law making video voyeurism a felony.

Not only that, but if you record a someone unclothed in a bedroom against her (let's be honest, it's always gonna be a her) will, you get added to the state's registry of sex offenders as though you were a serial molester of Webelos.

Ask me sometime and I will go on at length about the legislative insanity that assigns felony to minor offenses that cause no physical harm or threat. It's easy to do something! about a perceived problem by getting tough, but it's another thing entirely to continue to warehouse non-violent offenders for years on end.

Monday, June 23, 2003
Five Out of Five Cats Agree

Researchers once again provide a handy rationalization for me: napping is good for you.

My crack feline team, particularly Dominique and Aurora, has often acted as an experiment group by sleeping upon my lap as I spend an hour in the afternoon reclined and, er, working on my astral projection abilities. Typically, I close my eyes and project myself an hour into the future, refreshed and ready for a night of chores or blogging.

Now that napping, too, has proven good for me, I am proud to add it to my daily regimen of healthy vices. Two cups of coffee, two drinks of alcohol, and a nap, and I will live forever.

How Many Can You Name?

According to a recent survey (alluded to by Fark), two thirds of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court Justice.

I could, off the top of my head (and without using the Internet) could name 6: Rehnquist, O'Connor, Ginsberg, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas. Smarter-than-thou colleague Adam could name seven, but he missed Stevens and Kennedy. Neener neener neener!

Which reminded me of a set of questions with which I would strike out at coworkers and associates back when I was a young man. The one that particularly flummoxed fellow English majors who attended the same Jesuit university I did was Name six morals.. Crikey, the biblical book of Exodus quite famously contains ten. I wasn't even asking for moral to which the answerer adhered. Just give me six. Many could not.

The other great fun one was "When was the Civil War fought?" Ikes, the years I received as an answer. 1910 was the best (worse) answer I got. Seven years before World War I. Of course, the respondent wouldn't have known that, either.

Undoubtedly you, gentle blog reader, are better steeped in civics than printers (those who run printing presses), so I expect you could name at least six Supreme Court Justices (because this very entry names seven). However, feel free to challenge your pub mates, and to name their senators and congressional representative, as well as governor, state assembly rep, state senator, mayor, and alderman.

Perhaps if we can shame them through pub bets it will increase their civics knowledge. Or at least get us free delicious Guinness Draughts when we win the bet.

V: The Next Generation

Mapchic likes V and V: The Final Battle.

This news, about a new movie that carries on where the others, and presumably V: The Series, left off, should cheer her.

Robert Englund recently said that he'd be remembered forever as Freddy, but we'll always remember you as Willie, the vegetarian visitor, Robert. You're a geek icon.

Fame, Fortune, and Chicks with Geek Speak

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reprinting a Knight Ridder Newspapers syndication about how to enter the IT world by learning a little geek speak.

Words like PEBKAC? Nagware? OS? LAN? Intranet? Firewall?

Drop those in your job interview, you little punk, and we'll know your certs were vaporware. Get back to AOL where it's safe. Before you do, please confirm your credit card number below.

Norquist Bows Out of Milwaukee

He might have been a Democrat. He worked a little too closely with a female member of his staff. But Mayor John Norquist did wonders for the city of Milwaukee, singlehandedly revitalizing the downtown with his New Urbanist zeal. His time in office is ending.

I remember Milwaukee being pretty dead downtown when I started college in 1990, about two years into his first term as mayor. Now, when I go back, people live downtown, and not just the homeless. The city's nightlife has spread southward from the East Side so that nightclubs are open in the heart of downtown. Condos are going up by the lake. Apartment complexes have sprouted on Wisconsin Avenue. And there are people.

Kind of a shame that St. Louis, a city whose metropolitan area boasts a larger population than Milwaukee, continues its corrupt morass and stunted revitalization efforts. If Norquist wanted to come down and run for mayor of St. Louis, I'd vote for him.

What, you say, but Brian J., you live in Casinoport. How can you vote for the mayor of St. Louis?

Well, being a living, breathing resident of St. Louis is not exactly required to vote in St. Louis.

Kaplan Weighs In With His Aeronautics Experience

Fred Kaplan, of Slate, elucidates on the MDA's recent missile test. He says it's laughable that the interceptor could have missed and the test succeeded. His ignorance shows, but professional writers, and by professional writers I mean "all other professional writers except me," don't have to know much about the real world to pund.

I've gone on about this missile test before, and I am too bored to go over it again. I'll let John J. Miller handle Kaplan.

Florida Law Enforcement Officials Punish Preventive Detention

Less than a week after a Florida boy is killed by an alligator, a Florida man is fined for possession of an alligator because he lassoed it and detained it as it approached a woman and two small children.

The guy, who was driving, stopped and lassoed the reptile as it approached the potential victims. He then dragged it away from the wimmen and chillen and waited for the authorities to show up. When they did, they promptly wrote him a citation, made him cut the rope, and then called a trapper to come catch the animal.

Jeb, what is going on in your state?

Sunday, June 22, 2003
Jewel and Firearms

Since I know I am The Formerly Blue Haired Guy's source for Jewel information, I must point him to a revealing admission about her affinity for the long guns on Instapundit.

Easy, honey! I am doing it for Hans!

Stop That Racoon!

Quick! Someone stop that racoon, it's stolen Cyndi Lauper's song "I Drove All Night"!

Wait a minute! That's not a racoon! It's Celine Dion in her Vegas eye makeup!

Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that song belongs to Cyndi Lauper.

Put down the song, Celine, and raise your five-octave voice out of the range of human hearing.

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