Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, September 12, 2003
Homeowners' Collective Overwhelms an Individual, Again

Drudge linked to this story about a home owner in Florida whose house is being stripped from him because he violated the local home owners' collective by putting up a flag pole. Now that the court wrangling is done, it's time for some house rustling to pay for the bills.

Whereas everyone else seems to be focused on the "damn commies took away his flag!" aspect, it might be worthwhile to note the deeper erosion of human rights, that is, a property rights. To quote the self-satisfied snake from the home owner's collective:
    West Palm Beach attorney Steven Selz, who represents the homeowners association, said the ruling makes sense.

    "There has to be a way to give the association a right to enforce its claims on the property," he said.
Remember, the homeowners' collective only has its freedom to infringe upon a man's land only until the municipality decides your puny property taxes are no match for big box sales taxes, werd, and then you, too, get to ride the slippery slope from the recognition of individual property rights into statist security.

Steinberg on Magen David Adom

Neil Steinberg, with the Chicago Sun-Times, talks to members of Magen David Adam, the Red Star of David. These are the people who respond to minister to the injured whenever a suicide bomber strikes, and they're a multiethnicity, multireligious force who the Intersocialist Red Cross won't let join because they come from Israel.

They have to armor-plate their ambulances. Gentlemen, and ladies, of Magen David Adom, you've got galls as big as church bells, and I salute you.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
Whatever is She Talking About?

I have no idea what my lovely wife is talking about when she says:
    Contrary to the 2600s (not Atari) lying about my house, I'm not part of the hacker culture, and I know little about it - my geekiness is pretty mainstream in the code perspective.
Subversive hacker magazines lying around here? I am shocked, shocked!

Dammit, woman! I paid for those magazines in cash and wore a hat to obscure my features for the hidden cameras to conceal those purchases. Now I shall have to develop a cover story to explain them, perhaps something about "researching a novel...."

A Google Search I Could Do Without

Carp! I am #3 on the Google search for file swapping list. I just knew someday the RIAA would learn about this new-fangled "search engine" technology.

Sorry, honey, but they're coming to take our house for my impudent keyword listing.

Final irony, of course, is the only music I have downloaded is Robynn Ragland's "The People You Know" from her Web site. I don't even let my friends listen to my tapes or CDs for fear of violating my licensing restrictions, and I even forcibly prevent my gym-buffed wife from reading books I purchase for my own private, non-transferable enjoyment.

It's a Pacifica, for Chrysling Out Loud

The very day I see one of these weird Chrysler Pacificas on the road, and I am thinking when did this contraption fall to Earth from the planet Minivania? I'd never heard of it. And do the owners realize that the name comes from the same root word as pacifier?

Then, the very same day, The Professor brings it up. Great minds move in tandem, so they say.

Hamas Hits the Boogeyman Ceiling

After the last Israeli strike (let's not call killing a schnucking cancerous criminal killer an assassination for the umpteenth time--learn your etiomology, broadcasters, so perhaps you can stop making yourself look as ignorant as you think we rabble are that you want to educate), Hamas needed something to come out of its mouth when it foamed, so it had to come up with something. So they said:
    "Targeting homes is violating all red lines," the Hamas military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza City. "So the Zionist enemy from today shoulders the responsibility for the targeting of houses and Zionist towers everywhere in occupied Palestine."
Unfortunately, Hamas has reached the Boogeyman Ceiling. Since Hamas has proven that its capable of killing as many innocent people, especially women and children, as possible and that it likes to do so, it doesn't have any threats to scare people. After three years of regular-looking unhelpful hardware men spraying ballbearings, fasteners, their fetid entrails, and innocent blood, its probably hard to imagine anything worse than the constant threat of sudden painful death. How does Hamas turn it up a notch? It cannot, it's the worst possible boogeyman, and the Israelis have nothing to fear but the worst, which is what they've had for many years now.

Den Beste shares the sentiments, and says it better. If you're not reading his every post, you ought to.

The Tryanny of the Super-Majority

The Missouri Legislature this afternoon voted to override Governor B. Holden's veto of its bill to allow Missourians who aren't fatcats or their defenders to carry firearms for self-defense. Here's the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. Or, as Carol Daniel of KMOX Radio "informed" us during the "news" at four o'clock, the legislature got the bare minimum of the two thirds majority.

That's right, citizens, a scant two thirds of your elected officials have voted to recognize your right to bear arms and to bag your daily goblin limit. These few mouthbreathing outcasts have used due process of law to ram their agenda through the legislature.

But never fear, your self-appointed broadcasters are looking out for you. Just remember to call them next time someone busts through your patio door at three on a Thursday morning. Our phone lines are open!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
No Guns, No Consent, Now Just Governed

The British gave up their weapons. Now, they're going to give up their sovereignty. No vote, just fiat from the prime minister.

The European rulers who ride in their limos, with their entourages, no longer even put on the show of working through the will of their people. Welcome to the 21st century aristocracy, prole, now surrender some of your wages to keep the French elderly cushioned from the horror of their expanding retirement.

(Link seen on Fark. Thanks, Drew, you've ruined my day.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
We Could Be Tycoons, El Guapo!

Check it out: O'Fallon Brewery is doing a stock offering, selling 140,000 shares at $5 each to raise money to expand. You and me, El Guapo, could be like Anheuser and Busch, getting in on this ground floor opportunity. Sorry, bad example. Still, if you want to invest in a small brewery, send them an e-mail for a prospectus and whatnot. You could get the second name that all caballeros have. You will be Don Guapo y Rico!

Or you'll have a cool, $500 wallhanging for your eventual bar, werd.

Hijinks Almost A Felony Now

Here in Casinoport, Missouri, one 15 year old said to a bunch of friends, hey, I just cracked myself over the head with a skateboard and it didn't hurt, I am invincible (or words to that effect). So he asked his friends to help him prove the point, and unfortunately, one of his buddies found an error in the hypothesis by cracking Mr. Invincible's skull and putting him in the hospital with a severe brain injury.

Authorities, of course, have charged boy #2.

He's going to reform school for four years, where they'll eat up a suburban skateboard kid. That'll fix him. For just being a stupid kid. Crimeney, some of the things my brother, Him Jim, Dim Jim, and I did when we were young would undoubtedly be capital crimes now or threats to Homeland Security, which nowadays includes more than blowing stuff up. I'd discuss some anecdotes, but I am still in my mother's will. Too much revelation, and the pets' or vets' organizations get my cut.

Also, our nation will be safer when being a teenage boy is a felony, so I urge our lawmakers to outlaw it immediately.

What Would the Patriette Think (WWtPT)?

The Patriette is an instructional design specialist. I wonder if she, too, thinks Computers and their myriad and non-intuitive interfaces sux.

She hasn't mentioned it specifically, but her blog contains a bunch of what she thinks. You should click that link.

Monday, September 08, 2003
God Bless America

Entire nations have militaries that lack decent night vision gear for nighttime fighting, and here in America we give them to children to play with, for the low price of $9.95 plus shipping and handling.

As Yakov Smirnoff, who does not make vodka you damn kids, often says, "What a country!"

Is This Manual R Rated?

Jeez louise, I was just trying to figure out how to change the oil in a John Deere M655 54" commercial grade lawn mower, and I am confronted with this gratuitous display of violence which only serves to remind me that I have not yet seen Freddy Vs Jason. Isn't that a little graphic, Mr. Deere?

Cripes, I am going to have nightmares.

What Eighties Song Are You?

When Doves Cry
"When Doves Cry" (by Prince)

How could you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world so cold?
Maybe you're just too demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father--too bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother.
She's never satisfied.
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like,
When doves cry.

Which 80's Song Fits You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, September 07, 2003
And TechDirt Is Redeemed

Of course, I might get huffy at times, but TechDirt quickly restores my faith by linking to this important study guide for people who would like to become A+ Certified, like me:

I Needed Help Turning My Computer On

I am an A+ Certified Computer Technician, werd, and when I built my sooper (for the time) PC from a collection of suh-weet parts (dualie, DDR ram, 128 Mb UGP video, the works), I put it all together and flipped the switch on the back, and....

Nothing. Power supply didn't start up or anything. As you techno-savvy people know, computer cases come with no doc whatsoever unless you buy the latest nuclear-plant models, so I kinda thought you flip that on and off switch in the back, wot? Who wouldn't think that?

So I ordered another sooper case and waited a couple days for it to come. When it did, I inadvertently turned on the switch and hit the reset button. Oh, wait, you see, it's got a power toggle switch on the back and a power button on the front! The back is absolute power, like the plug, and the front button turns the thing on when it's been shut off. Intuitive.

So I take a little umbrage when some TechDirty says:
    It appears that plenty of office workers are still quite uncomfortable with their computers. A new study has suggested that one in seven office workers doesn't even know how to turn their computer on. About 20% needed help in saving or printing a document. Companies are spending quite a bit of money employing extra IT staff just to help with these sorts of basic issues. Of course, I do wonder a little about this study. These are all the sorts of tasks that you really only need to be taught once: "You see that button? Good! Now, press it." Also, there's no indication what job functions these people held, so it's tough to determine if this really is a big deal.
I was talking about this with my beautiful wife just yesterday. Our neighbor, an active but elderly man in his 70s, got a hand-me-up computer from his techno-savvy son just so he, my neighbor, could see what computers and the Internet were all about. His son gave him a three minute overview, but after the son had left, our neighbor had to give him a call to learn how to turn the computer off.

You see, you press the button to turn it on, but you select a command from this menu to turn it off. Intuitive.

Makes me want to invite all you computer "designers" (overworked developers and engineers with other priorities in mind, no doubt, when you inflict these iniquities upon the end users) into a conference room with no windows and lock the door behind me so I can counsel you. With a SCSI cable, if necessary.

This, I guess, is what makes me a good tester (I make no assurance of quality except for the testing, thank you). I hate computers. It's like the Ben Kingsley character says to the little kid in the trailer for Searching for Bobby Fischer: "Do you hate your opponents?...They hate you."

Of course, when SkyNet becomes self-aware, I will be first on its list. Johnny C can wait. It's gotta make sure I don't needle the developers into patching its self-awareness first.

What was my point? Oh, yeah. Computers and their myriad and non-intuitive interfaces sux. Werd.

Investigative Reporting At Its Finest

The Dead Ale Wives Watchtower takes you into the inner sanctum of Dungeons and Dragons and shows you how Dungeons and Dragons is leading the children of America deeper and deeper into the occult.

(Link seen on Fark.)

Galls Like Church Bells

Jerry Caesar (Dabney Coleman) said to Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer) in the dubbed-for-television rendition of Dragnet, "You've got galls as big as church bells, reverend." I'd like to amend that to "You've got galls as big as church bells, captain," and say it to Jerry Kittinger of the United States Air Force (undoubtedly retired by now).

In 1960, Captain Kittinger leapt from the Excelsior III, a perfectly good balloon that was 102,800 feet in the air (that's almost 20 miles, and he free-fell for almost 5 minutes at speeds up to almost Mach 1 (the speed of sound), wearing a pressure suit and a parachute. Maybe two parachutes, but what does it matter when you're at the edge of space?

Me, I get a little queasy in the glass-walled elevators of the Milwaukee Hyatt when I'm on the ninth floor and I punch the L button and then I look out the walls and watch the scenery start moving up at the same time the floor seems to give way. Watch the Earth growing and broadening as I fell from the darkness into the light? There's no pressure suit invented that could keep up with what I'd evacuate.

So someone pat down the cashew, because this Kittinger guy is cuffing nuts. And I salute him for it!
    Unrelated note: So the government thought it was a good idea 40 years ago to see if someone could bail out of a space capsule and make it safely down, so why doesn't the space shuttle doesn't carry pressure suit parachutes? I know all you physics geeks are going to point out the differences between the velocities of an orbiter and a balloon, but where there's a backup plan, there're survivors, end of story.

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