Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Buzzword of the Day: Sanity Check

So I am minding my company's business (since I was on the clock, by terms of the employee licensing agreement I signed when I started, any business conducted on company property is company business, so you won't catch me selling on eBay things and adding to the company's revenue stream, werd), when I heard the most blatant buzzword since a couple of jobs ago when I heard a project manager say face time without a smirk on his face. This time, it was a project manager, too, who probably heard the phrase in a project management seminar or took it from a project management magazine, where it was nestled in between the ads for project management software.

This buzzword:

Sanity check

The context: "We'll perform a sanity check." I think he meant evaluate the position of the project vis-à-vis (Author's note: This use of the italicized French term does not represent a "buzzword"; instead, it's pretension. Please note and appreciate the difference. Thank you.) contractual obligations and customer considerations. However, because it's the first time I ever heard of a "sanity check," I can only guess this is what he meant.

From whence did this asylum-escapee of a buzzword originate? Never mind, perhaps the bedlam of the information technology field needs buzzwords and common cues from the world of psychology.

You want a sanity check? Here's a schnucking sanity check:

Now, take a look at this, tell me what you see, and I can diagnose your particular sickness. What is it you see in this picture?

    I see a leading enterprise-caliber best-in-class solution for....
      Obviously, you're delusional, and you work in sales or marketing.

    I'm not sure; let me call a meeting to discuss with others what I might see.
      Welcome to project management. Worst part is that after the meeting, you'll still be unclear about what you see.

    Whoa, that's a cool new technology/specification that's not mature yet! We should tear down the complete infrastructure and rebuild all applications and server components to use this new design
      You're a developer, and heaven help us all, but an influential or lead developer. Here we go again.

    I see a series of lines and arcs that I can understand and describe in elaborate detail.
      You're apparently in documentation. Don't bother trying to describe the picture for me. By the time you're three-fourths of the way through your description, one of those lead developers described above will shake up the Etch-a-Sketch and you'll have to start over.

    It's a damn mess. A boondoggle. What am I supposed to do with that? There's nothing about that that even resembles a picture. Tell me you're not shipping that out in a frame, for crying out loud.
      Welcome to Quality Assurance. Now please be quiet, we've heard enough from you.

You know the worst part about "sanity check"? Not only is it a buzzword, but it's an inappropriate buzzword because it assumes there's some sanity to check.

Friday, October 10, 2003
Which Member of the Rat Pack Are You?

Modern Drunkard, in conjunction with Quizilla, leads me to this insight:

You can take the quiz here.

(Link seen on VodkaPundit.)

Why Stop There?

A grieving family has taken time from their grieving to sue not the drunk driver who paralyzed their daughter, but also the following parties:
    Besides the NFL [and its commissioner Paul Tagliabue], defendants include Lanzaro, the Giants, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Giants Stadium and Aramark, a company that sells concessions at the stadium.
Seems they missed a few people. I'd like to point out they should also include:
  • Jim Fassel, head coach of the New York Giants, whose inspired leadership that day lead to a Giants' victory that lead to the drunken driver's celebration / lead to a Giants' loss that lead to the drunken driver easing the immortal pain of being a Giants fan with alcohol.

  • The manufacturer of the drunken driver's truck, which did not conduct a sobriety test before allowing him to start the vehicle.

  • The state of New Jersey, for laying a strip of asphalt upon which the drunken driver could drive drunkenly.

  • The Catholic Church, for canonizing Augustine of Hippo, Nicholas of Myra, Saint Luke, Saint Barbara, Saint Medard of Noyon, Saint Adrian, and assorted others who were considered patron saints of beer and legitimized brewed grain consumption.

  • Budweiser, the King of Beers, for not keeping its subjects in line.
(Link seen on Drudge.)

High Drinks Not Yet a Felony

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (literally, after the train has left the station), we have this tale of intoxicated airline woe:
    Amelia Hernandez said she slipped some rum onto a New York-to-Dallas flight just to "calm her nerves." But by the Midwest, she was singing and swearing and scaring the flight crew into an unscheduled landing at St. Louis just to boot her off.

    She capped the day May 5 by thumping a Lambert Field police officer in the head and kicking a window out of a squad car.
Yes, well, that sounds pretty serious. Fortunately, someone in the government had a heart, and she got a plea bargain:
    Hernandez pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a misdemeanor charge of drinking liquor in flight that was not served by a crew member, which many people might not realize is a crime.
With so many laws, it's so easy to miss a few, unless you're a prosecutor.

But to offer a some advice, I offer the following list of things which you might not realize are also against the law regarding air travel:
  • It is against the law to bring your own peanuts onto any domestic or international flight.
  • It is against the law to mentally undress your flight attendant.
  • It is against the law to cross the center white line; this is reckless flying.
  • It is against the law to request lots of money and parachutes and then jump out of the plane over the Pacific Northwest.
Cripes, I was going to try to be funny under the rubric of "If I weren't laughing, I would be crying," but I think I will just weep at the silly micromanaging laws passed by the picadores in the legislatures.

Jim Stingl on Math

Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (literally, the Wisconsinite who defends diaries) offers this lead:
    Fifty percent of American students are terrible at math. The remaining one-third are merely bad.

Thursday, October 09, 2003
The Very Name a Punchline

Orrin Hatch.

Sounds kinda like a crime of a sexual nature for which you would go to prison for many years in a number of states.

Sorry, Unca Orrin, but I kinda like that part of the Constitution. Makes it one generation harder for the Islamacists to get elected to the presidency.

And by the second generation, the damn kids are peircing things and rebelling against their parents. Or else we wouldn't see the honor slaughter going on in England, wot?

(Link seen on Fark. They're the subversive influence, not me.)

Why Does Bush Want Foreign Troops in Iraq?

So President Bush has gone a-crawling to the United Nations, and he's gone a-begging to Turkey and Europe and Japan for money and troops to help stabilize Iraq and to help rotate out some of our troops and give them a chance to rest.

Why, oh why, would he want a rested and ready military force that's not currently committed to patrolling the streets of a nation in the process of regentrification and recivilization?

Because he's chicken, or trying to win an election, or maybe because he wants to be ready for the next target? What a bunch of second-rate hawks. Maybe I am a neoneoconservative. Or just read too much Machiavelli and Sun Tzu in my formative years.

Some Missouri Legislators Find Checks and Balances Too Confining

Our saga so far:
  1. Missouri Legislative Branch passes concealed carry law.
  2. Missouri Executive Branch vetoes concealed carry law.
  3. Missouri Legislative Branch overcomes veto by getting 2/3 majority. Barely, as Carol Daniel pointed out.
What's missing from this picture? Ah, yes, the Judicial Branch. Someone had to sue, but what do you know, it's state legislators.

That's right. They opposed the legislation, but they couldn't vote it down. Then they couldn't prevent its veto from being overridden. So now that their part in the grand scheme that is the American system of government is over, do they lose graciously to the will of the legislative majority? Of course not, they do an end-run around the system and do their part to help unbalance the system so that we have a totalitarian judgeocracy.

Face it, it would be easier to spot if they got together with members of the executive branch to subvert the republican form of government and have a Strong Leader issue fiats and maybe even dissolve that useless legislature anyway. Instead, these legislators want to overturn in the courts something they couldn't stop in the legislature by any possible method.

I wouldn't be so bothered if some citizens group or even HCI or its brethren filed the suit. But that the legislators, who probably would tell us how sad they are that The Children don't understand civics and the working of the government, are doing it twists my leash most of all.

And Speaking of That Executive Branch (I)

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reports that Police are confused and fearful over new gun law.

Hypothetically speaking:
    Suppose St. Louis police stop a car late at night in a high-crime neighborhood for a traffic violation. Suppose there's a 21-year-old in the vehicle, along with three 20-year-olds. And suppose officers find four guns on the floor.

    "What do the police do?" asked Mike Stelzer, an associate city counselor assigned to the St. Louis Police Department who offered the scenario.
I guess they write a ticket, tell the kids to drive safely, and go back to patrolling. I guess that's not the answer they want, or that Mike Stelzer wants.
    He knows what the cops would do today: Confiscate the weapons, arrest the occupants and figure it was a blow struck for public safety.
Well, yes, because that's illegal today, having a gun in the car. Day after tomorrow, it's not illegal. You see, the executive branch enforces the laws. It doesn't make them (although with the all-you-can-charge salad bar on the books now, it can often pick them, can't it?).
    "This is scary stuff," said Stelzer. "A police officer's job is hard enough without something like this. Can we seize those guns? Can we arrest anybody in the car? We don't have the answers yet."
Here's a pointer for you associate counselors, a little tidbit you remember. It might just help you get promoted to full city counselor: Police cannot arrest people for doing legal things. Police cannot just seize lawful property. Police should also avoid discharging their weapons unless their lives are endangered, and should also avoid discharging their clubs unless violently resisted by criminals. Of course, in the city of St. Louis, perhaps these things are not important to city counselors or police.

    Police Chief Joe Mokwa worries about those kinds of details, and the larger question of whether the new law allowing the carrying of concealed weapons - and the automobile provision in particular - will erode progress made into cutting violence on city streets.
:: sigh :: Because once law-abiding citizens are armed, they'll start committing crimes?

The whole gun thing wearies me. I guess that's what our agitators, litiguous legislators, and our guardians, our "betters," want. I am bored of writing about it now.

And Speaking of That Executive Branch (II)

Don't miss Ravenwood's coverage of police who won't enforce the new law, which means they won't process concealed carry applicaitons.

That's such a novel trick.

PSA from Frankie J.

Frank J. has this reminder for liberals:
    There are more conservative than liberals in America. There always have been, and there always will be. And we have guns and you don't. If you want a street fight, it will be very short. This is important for you liberals to know, because we conservatives could easily slaughter you all if we wanted, but, instead, out of the kindness of our hearts, we let you live and tolerate your shrill dissent. You guys need to be more thankful of that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Potemkin Security Through Cameras

Surveillance cameras are getting to be all the rage for security-conscious people. Innumerable school districts and whatnot think it's a good way to preserve security on campus. For more information see this article in the Christian Science Monitor or this recent NewsMax story. Suddenly, manna from the heavens, or at least state and federal governments, needs spending, and if the schools don't buy the shiny new cameras, someone else will get to do something!, meaning spend that money.

But cameras don't offer any security for killing rampages, particularly suicidal killing rampages. A camera will deter someone from tagging a wall because the the little vandal knows that if his image is captured, he'll get a punishment he doesn't want. But a freaking kiddie commando coming into school already knows what he's going to get. Dead. Cameras won't deter him.

Will the cameras help authorities stop crimes in progress? Uh, NO. Perhaps if they did America would have far fewer pretty pictures of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in Columbine High School.

No, cameras offer no preventative measures for the serious crimes that their proponents use to sell us the little red light. A couple trained teachers with pistols, a couple of armed police per school full time, these things can prevent, not just offer compelling evidence for the lawsuits that come after.

So when Gut Rumbler linked to a story about our friends at Boing! building cameras right into the airplanes so that officials on the ground could monitor them at all times. Sounded like a Potemkinly good idea to me at first. Of course, it's not going to prevent hijackings. The pissed-off passengers who've seen that particular inflight movie before might prevent the hijacking, a couple of armed marshalls, perhaps an armed pilot barricaded behind a reinforced door, these might prevent hijackings. But cameras? Not hardly.

Ah, but then I realized it's not to prevent hijackings, you poor expendable air travellers ("F-16?" "BINGO!").

So it's only going to cost the passengers, crew, and bad guys, as well as a brand new Boing! airplane and Boing! air to air missile that will need replacing. As long as it is not a not anti-gun (add the negatives, carry the one...) solution requiring personal action for personal and public safety, I guess the bureaucratocracy will go for it.

Dead or Alive, You're Coming With Me

So I can keep ahead of the curve on those bar bets! keeps track of which obscure stars are alive and which are dead.

Doesn't list Gil Gerard, though, so it's kinda incomplete. Man, I had forgotten all about Sidekicks!


Over at Tech Central Station (what, it's not on my blog roll? Look again!), Arnold Kling identifies discoursive argument types and classifies two:
    Type C arguments are about the consequences of policies. Type M arguments are about the alleged motives of individuals who advocate policies.
He then proceeds to cudgel Paul Krugman in particular, but he's cudgeled the nail right on the head.

The good old fashioned argument from authority. It used to be that to wield this particular logical fallacy, you had to say something was true because someone reputable said it was true. Of course, because many of the people who use the new version are also against authority, they've perverted this standby. It's no longer true because a particular authority says it, it's now untrue because someone said it.

Look on the bright side, though. The ad homenim never goes out of style.

(Link seen on InstaPundit.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Google Search Tip

If you're searching for yourself on Google, remember to enclose your name in quotation marks to make it a phrase search. The results you get will be more relevant, which means that I am really posting about you. For example: Just a thought for you fellows in the printed media who are Googling yourselves to see what people on the Web are saying about you. You know I mean you, Samus Aran naked.

Age / Novel Check

Man, much like the chatrooms of AOL of yore (and maybe present day, but it's been years since I've gone trolling for some conversation, closing in on a decade, werd), maybe those of us in the unprofessional echelon of the blogomockracy should intitute an age/novel check, wherein each person announces his or her age and whether he or she's working on a novel. What, with Venemous Kate, Frank J., and let's face it, if not now, then sometime Michael Williams all crowding the field, it's obvious that all the cool people are doing it.

Brian J: a/n check
Brian J: 31/y
Brian J: its done but those agents are tough nutz to crack, werd

A Science Experiment

James Lileks in New York:
    The waitress just delivered the bill.

    I almost want to stand up and say “do you all know how drunk you all could get for $24 in a Wisconsin tavern? We’re talking seven beers and a personal Tombstone with everything, and change left over for pinball!
Well, not exactly; usually I've had more or less money. But next time I am in La Crosse or Fountain City, Lileks, maybe we can conduct a scientific experiment.

Monday, October 06, 2003

A reader e-mail over at Andrew Sullivan's hits the screw right on the head:
    Let's face it - intelligence is the new morality. For the left there are no long-term historical precidents to cite or follow. They are all rooted in a misogynic and racist western culture. There is no transcendent truth because that demeans the individual and takes away individual liberty. By what standard then do you judge an individual and determine their worthiness? Not by character ... not by integrity ... but by how bright they are. This intelligence of course is demonstrated by embracing the tenets of the left. Personal morality, sound legal judgement and basics such as keeping one's word do not have be followed as long as one is bright enough to to see the world from a left perspective. All other failings are excusable.
Werd, brah. When I was in college, I saw a false dichotomy between intelligence and morality. Most of the bright people I new in college were immoral, or worse, moral relativists. Their intelligence provided them with any number of intellectual hedonistic excuses for whatever whim they wanted to worship at the moment. I liked them well enough, but I couldn't really trust them, for whenever the wind within their wants blew a different direction, I knew they would betray me and think it was the right thing to do. Well, all right, except for maybe Doctor Who, who could have been my alternate universe twin, but who knows what changes those quantum fluctuations wrought?

My closest friends from the time period were fellows I met at work, which was way the heck off campus. These guys don't have college degrees, but they're good guys. And although I don't talk to anyone from Marquette's Writing-Intensive English Department, I still talk to Tulsa and Moose every couple of days and see them when I am in town.

And man, was the romantic outlook bleak. I thought I could choose between a woman who could satisfy my intellect as well as my loins, and a woman moral enough to keep that satisfaction to one set of loins. Of course, you have a good theory and bam, you find the exception. Not that I am complaining.

So there you have it. It can be a bleak world for the isolated intelligent-but-moral twenty-something, or at least it was back in the 1990s. I cannot speak to whether it's improved, or whether any twenty-somethings are intelligent-but-moral in the 21st century, but if you're out there, you're not alone, and intelligence/morality is not a dichotomy from which you have to choose one.

Unless I am mistaking the word dichotomy for something else and it really means two colors. But certainly one of you would have said something before letting me go on this long about it.

Whitney Gould on Marquette University's New Development

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's architecture critic weighs in on the the new buildings that Marquette's putting up. A ho-hum, tinkling endorsement.

I walked through campus late this summer and was taken aback by the new buildings sprouting almost overnight. The campus has changed a lot in the nine years since I was masticated from its undergraduate program, and so much has changed. New buildings everywhere. Exciting, but somehow disappointing as the past continues to steal the present from me and flaunts it from the other side of the street. Neener neener, says the past.

Of course, as you all know, Milwaukee can do no wrong in my eyes, and Marquette's new development fits right into the continuing revitalization. I took some photos to illustrate it when I was on vacation, and as soon as I get them scanned, I'll share some with you. Until then, read Whitney Gould every week. Werd.

Sunday, October 05, 2003
Another Day, Another Myers Brigg

My dear wife tried another Myers Brigg personality test, and at her prompting, I took it too, only to discover:

ISTJ - "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 6% of the total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Well, it's more decisive than the one I took when I started dating this hot conservative chick destined for the bicycle. That test said I was **TJ, the stars meaning I scored even on the first two indicators.

Undoubtedly, tomorrow my percentages will differ with my mood. However, I am always thinking and judging, regardless of where the information comes from and regardless of whether I share it with you all or not.

Another Schwarzenegger Perfidy

Exultate Justi has the scoop on more of Schwarzenegger's devious nature:
    Arnold's position on the morality of kitten-punching is not on record, leading some at The LA Times to speculate that the candidate may indeed have something to hide.

Actually, it's not as easy as it sounds. Those kittens are awfully low to the ground, so it's hard to get in a good punch with your body behind it, pivoting on a foot and following through. I am surprised no entrepreneurs on the Internet have come up with harnesses where you can make kitten speed bags. Bwappata bwappata bwappata meow!

Cripes, Cagey, I hope you enjoyed that image. I am sleeping in the guest room tonight on account of it.

Disqualification for Public Office

There's a lesson to be learned from the short parade of women making accusations against Arnold Schwarzenegger and the solemn judgment cast upon it by Gray Davis, who claims that some of the contact is in fact, criminal and anyone who would vote for Arnold Schwarzengovernor is voting for a potential (in case you missed it, I will bold, italicize, and CAPITALIZE) CRIMINAL. Also, by parade, I mean couple of people walking single file, so a passerby might confuse this parade of aggrieved and traumatized women with a normal bunch walking to lunch. But I digress.

The lesson to learn is that touching the breast of a female who doesn't want her breast touched is criminal and a man who does such is not morally qualified to lead. To put it more succinctly:
    Getting thrown out at second base should bar you from public office.
That's right. Every guy who's kissed a girl in high school and then thought, "Hey, we've been dating a week and a half, maybe I can touch her sweater...." is now a man beast incapable of leading. Because let's face it, in our youth, we men have often tried to encourage persons of the opposite sex into sexual congress with varying styles of unspoken subtle nudging or overt, "Nice shoes, want to, er, fornicate?" and with varying degrees of success, which sometimes ended in unsuccess when male hand met female flesh and the female said no.

So that leaves the following people eligible for office:
  • Heterosexual women.
  • Ricky Martin (or other sexy from a young age celebrities) to whom the women have probably never said no.
  • Guys too dorky to ever consider sex as feasible.
  • Gay men, particularly gay men who were never in the closet in high school and didn't date girls in confusion or as a cover.
  • Catholic priests or other religious or ascetics who have taken, and held, a vow of chastity.
  • Extremely cautious guys who insist upon consent forms signed in front of witnesses and insist upon videotaping the proceedings for evidence. A lot of my dates went fine until that point, let me tell you.
  • Guys who held out resolutely until marriage. I'm not sure we could elect a full Senate from this group.
  • Guys who only frequent prostitutes.
That's a wider list of possible rulers than I thought when I first started compiling the list, and you know, I think you could draw a whole class of Platonic rulers out of there.

And as a rhetorical loaded question smear, I present:
    which of these categories does Gray Davis fit into?
I am going to use that as a clip if I ever get interviewed for a job as a professional journalist.

What About Us, Bruno?

By now, everyone's mentioned the story of Bruce Willis performing in Iraq for the troops. But what about the rest of us, Mr. Willis?

I realize one guy banging pots with wooden spoons does not a clamor make, but it's been sixteen years since The Return of Bruno. I love that album.

Time for the Another Return of Bruno, I say. Loudly, over the clang clang clang.

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