Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 25, 2003
One More Charge To Use Against Suicide Bombers

A county in Florida has made public suicide illegal.

It's about time.

(Link seen on Fark.)

Red versus Blue Missouri

The Sophorist posts several maps that indicate which regions in Missouri consistently favor concealed carry and which do not.

Rule the cities, rule the country.

A Forthright eBay Auction

As a recovering amateur eBay seller, I can appreciate this seller's forthright listing:

    Let me begin by explaining some very important details, this way I do not get 100's of silly emails asking me to photograph the hind end of some stuffed animals. I DO NOT KNOW crap about these things. This belonged to my ex-wife who had about a 1000 of these Beanie Babies and when she moved, this one box of these got left behind, and now I am selling the goofy little things. Whatever money I make from them will be spent at the local Home Depot on tools and other cool stuff. I do not know which of these babies is retired or new, or whatever. I will list them in no particular order. I will tell you what its name is on the tag, if it has a plastic box or something. All these critter have been stored indoors, and are from a non-smoking home. Again, please do not send me emails asking me to photograp this or that. I am starting the auction at $10.00 and at that price I figure you all can take a chance. I understand from a friends wife that people are afraid to get fakes. FAKES? Fake plush toys? I was amazed. I thought people forged money, not childrens toys. Well I can only say, that 99% of these goofy toys were bought with my money, from eiter the local Hallmark Store, or one of the dozen or so Southern Craft/ collectibles stores I had to go to on a weekly basis buying these ridiculos toys years ago. Happy Bidding! Please take these critters from me so I can buy tools.

    Final Notice and Disclaimer: I know nothing about these stuffed Beanie Babies. I offer no proof of anything. It is a stuffed animal, get over it! I don't think my ex-wife was in the Black Market Beanie Trade..but then again, I didn't know she was having an affair either! Thus no gauruntees! All have theior little Heart Shaped tags on their ears.

    Ants - Armidillo
    Almond - Bear
    Knuckles - Pig
    Humphrey - Camel
    Tiptoe - Rat (I must have picked this one) Pig - Zodiac Pic (huh?)
    Chipper- Chipmunk or Squirrel (Not Sure)
    Neon - Sea Horse or Sea Serpent
    Goatee- Goat
    Prickles - Hedge Hog
    Steg - Dinosaur (Stegasaurus I guess)
    Manny - Mannatee
    Paul - Walrus (Hey I get that joke..koo-koo-ka-choo)
    Rabbit- Rabbit (Zodiac Critter)
    Sheets - Ghost
    Rainbow - Lizard (cameleon?)
    Batty- Bat
    Peanut - Elephant (comes in a plastic see-thru box)
    Britannia - Bear with British Flag
    Germania - Bear with German Flag
    Eucalyptus - Koala Bear
    Web - Spider (I must have picked all the ugly ones!)
    Beak - Kiwi Bird?
    Scaly - Komodo Dragon or other lizard..not sure!
    Mystic - Unicorn
    Nuts - Squirrel
    (Not Pictured) Mickey Mouse in Hockey Uniform


    On Sep-19-03 at 12:47:48 PDT, seller added the following information:

    A very kind Ebayer wrote me an email and said the following:

    The valuable beanies here are Steg (dinosaur), Humphrey(camel), web (spider) and peanut (elephant). They are worth considerably more if they have the red heart hang tags and if the tags are in good shape - no creases or tears. If you wouldn't mind giving me more info on those. Also, if you added more info to the auction I'm sure you could get more $$ for your tools!

    To answer her question: I looked and to the best of my looking at them all. None of the ones she mentioned have any torn tags or creased tags. In fact NONE of the little critters have messed up tags. People have been telling me these critters are worth alot of money. I know nothing about them, and told you everything you need to know up in the description. I make no claims on value, and to be honest. I am amazed anyine pays more then a dollar a piece for these things. What happened to collecting STAMPS? Pay what you want for them! IT ALL GOES TO HOMEDEPOT !!!!!! and BEER!

    On Sep-21-03 at 12:21:32 PDT, seller added the following information:

    Okay all you people with nothing better to do! ENOUGH WITH THE EMAILS! I thought I was clear with all that. Here is an Email that I just got from some lady who felt she will try to save my sould or something! Read Below:

    Very clever listing; however it is very likely you have some fakes (counterfeits) among the listing and I suggest you pull them from the auctions until you have them authenticated. Humphrey the camel is an example. It is a requirement of eBay as well as unde the provisions of the U.S. Criminal Cpode that a seller know the authenticity of a trademarked item s/he is selling. Also, an authenticated rare beanie will bring lots of money on the auctions. I'll let you know the others that are likely fakes, and further it is very unlikely your ex would have left behind these rare ones. If she had 1000 beanies, she knew what she had and their value. To sell counterfeits of a trademarked item wold make you a common criminal. Are you being honest? If so, cancel the auction, relist the common beanies, and send the rest for authentication. It would be well worth it financially and would make you honest. Taisha

    WELL TAISHA! I don't CARE! I told everyone in the begining everything I know and don't know about these STUPID animals! I ahve an idea for all people that are so worried about this.....DON't BID! I dont care! I am so upset that this clown of a woman figured out my SUPER PLAN TO SCAM MILLIONS FROM THE UNKNOWING BEANIE WORLD! I FIGURED I WOULD RETIRE FROM THIS RUSE! What a dolt she is! I have blocked her from my bidder list, that way she can cry about it. Some people are UNREAL! GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winning bid was $860. Better than I ever did, even any single auction in the great Playboy Job of 2000.

(Link seen on Pejmanesque.)

Friday, October 24, 2003
Thank Guinness

Kelley, from Suburban Blight, has led me to the following realization:

Guinness. My goodness my guinness. You are dark and
mysterious. There is something people just
can't describe about you, besides that you love
head. You are a good one, but can only be
handled by a small percentage of the population
(unless you're in Ireland).

Which Beer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Was there any doubt?

Another State With Concealed Carry

My home state, Wisconsin, has passed concealed carry legislation. Boots and Sabers has the complete rundown.

Good luck, guys. I hope your state constitution says "Guns are good if the legislature says so." Anything else, we're learning in Missouri, means the State Supreme Court gets to make the law of the land.

A New Blog Argument Style Is Born

Anger Management gives to you:

The Fusking.

That Sums It Up Nicely

The last line of this story, about a principal at a charter school who uses RFID in the student IDs to keep track of the children, really sums it up properly. To address the concerns of the critics who think this might be problematic and invade the privacy of the students, he says:
    "It's as private as anything else can be when your information is stored on a server," he said.
Anyone here who would accept that as a valid answer, please send me an e-mail with the reasons why that's okay. Be sure to add your social security number and mother's maiden name for validation purposes. Thank you.

(Link seen on /..)

Michael Kinsley Says, "Because I Said So"

In an editorial in the Washington Post, Michael Kinsley's latest piece bears the headline "One Reason Not to Like Bush" and he starts with a lead of:
    Conservatives wonder why so many liberals don't just disagree with President Bush's policies, but seem to dislike him personally. The story of stem cell research may help to explain.
He offer some blah blah blah about Bush opposing fetus stem cell research and how Bush pretends to think it's immoral, but:
    None of this matters if you believe that a microscopic embryo is a human being with the same human rights as you and me. George W. Bush claims to believe that, and you have to believe something like that to justify your opposition to stem cell research. But Bush cannot possibly believe that embryos are full human beings, or he would surely oppose modern fertility procedures that create and destroy many embryos for each baby they bring into the world. Bush does not oppose modern fertility treatments. He even praised them in his anti-stem cell speech.
Got that? Kinsley starts putting beliefs into Bush's head to make his point. Lookie der, lookie der, Bush cannot adhere to his principles because he has not specifically addressed this particular permutation! HYPOCRITE!

Finally, after some blah blah blah about Bush being a hypocrite and moral poser and not a very good one at that (undoubtedly, Kinsley would probably intimate, like you and me, wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more!), Kinsley finishes with:
    This is not a policy disagreement. Or rather, it is not only a policy disagreement. If the president is not a complete moron -- and he probably is not -- he is a hardened cynic, staging moral anguish he does not feel, pandering to people he cannot possibly agree with and sacrificing the future of many American citizens for short-term political advantage.

    Is that a good enough reason to dislike him personally?
Actually, if I were falling for the straw man Kinsley's hung in effigy, I might still think it was a policy disagreement if I left out every impure motive he so applied so dilligently to the policy discussion.

As it stands, I can only summon forth a "Poor form, Peter" and continue to disregard Michael Kinsley as a serious thinker. Is it good enough reason to dislike him personally? But, Mr. Toohey, I don't think of you.

Thursday, October 23, 2003
Light Blogging 2-Nite!

Sorry, not much posting tonight.

I realized I am going nowhere fast, so I decided to slow down and enjoy the scenery on my trip.

You Might Be A Blue Stater If

Porphyrohenitus provides a litmus test you can use to determine if you're liberal (acidic, I presume) or conservative (basic).

I am a Member of the Dreaded NeoCon Cabal. Do we have magic in a cabal, or is that a coven?

Darn. At the next cabal committee meeting, I am going to move we reorganize into a NeoConCov.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Chutzpah, as Defined by Shjon Podein

In John Buccigross's column on hockey this week, Shjon Podein, the former Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues winger, defines chutzpah as only a hockey player can:
    "So, I'm in my rookie year in Edmonton and it's my birthday. We had just come home from one of our infamous 15-20 day road trips and my family is there to celebrate. So, the family and I go out to have some dinner and drinks. We're just relaxing when one of my brothers gives me a four-foot high, inflatable tyrannosaurus rex for a birthday present. My other brother gives me a sombrero.

    We get back to the hotel and get mom back in her room. As we're leaving mom's room, my brothers jump me and rip my suit off in the hotel hallway, leaving me with just my boxers, a sombrero and my 4 foot high inflatable tyrannosaurus rex.

    So I'm wandering the hallways of the hotel trying to find where my room is. We'd been on the road for 15-20 days, it's late, and I can't remember my room number. I stick my room key in a number of doors, hoping to find the right one. All of a sudden, I look up and there is one of Canada's finest security guards.

    I go, "Hey, what's going on!"

    The security guard says, 'We've had a complaint that some guy is walking down the hall in his boxers, wearing a sombrero, with a bottle of Bud in one hand and an inflatable dinosaur in the other, making too much noise.'

    I looked at him and said, "You've got the WRONG GUY, brotha."

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating

The TSA strikes again, as in "swing and a miss!"

You think they'll go after the harmless woman who brought a knife onto the plane to cut her apple snack? Perhaps it's also against the law to eat an apple that's not provided by flight staff on a plane, too. If not, maybe it should be.

(Link seen via Drudge.)

Richard Roeper Crosses the Line

In his column today for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper discusses the marketing creation "metrosexual." He's spot on when he says nobody but people who are selling something to men who want to be "metrosexuals" every really uses the term "metrosexual."

However, he goes over the line with his clincher paragraph:
    Uh, I don't think so. And after I finish my Guinness tonight, moisturize and then read a few pages of The Devil Wears Prada before I watch "SportsCenter," I'll sleep well, knowing this whole metrosexual thing is just media-fueled nonsense. Hell, I don't think I even know any metrosexuals.
Dammit, were I in Chicago, I might feel the need to defend my manliness by having a slap fight with him or downing a Budweiser just to prove I could. As it were, I shall finish my Guinness, read a chapter of The Dive from Clausen's Pier, and ....

Uh oh.

Looks like there might be some awkward conversations at Thanksgiving when I come out of the walk-in closet.

Oh, wait, my beautiful wife dresses me, so I guess I am not a metrosexual after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
The Perfect Radio Station

I cannot praise 88.7 WSIE enough. It is the perfect radio station.

I mean, it only interrupts the jazz music to play St. Louis Blues hockey games.

One less reason for me to leave Musings Central here.

Know The Enemy: The Box Cutter

With all the handwringing about Nathaniel Heatwole and his "hide the box cutter" stunt which has left him facing ten years in Federal prison for pointing out the folly that is the TSA and its passenger searches, I think it's time to inject a little perspective into the anti-box cutter hysteria. I understand they were used in the hijackings on September 11, 2001, but it was a different world then. People expected that hijackers wanted to fly to Cuba, or wanted some political hostages released, or some ransom money. People did not know then that doing what a hijacker wanted was certain death, too.

Otherwise, no one would be hijacked by someone wielding one of these:

A box cutter compared to a 6" ruler.

Not exactly a machete, now, is it? This is your garden variety box cutter favored by retail stockers and warehousemen everywhere. Note the less-than-shiny razor blade with almost a whole half inch of cutting surface exposed. This is not a piercing or stabbing weapon, folks. This is a little slasher, and it's got far less than an inch of penetration power. No bad man is going to stick you in the heart or lungs with it, and it's probably not enough to cut through your stomach wall if you've done any extra situps recently or have been eating a lot of fast food. Keep it away from your neck and you should be okay if someone pulls one in a fight. Granted, I'd rather be the guy with a case cutter if one of the two of us in the fight has one, but it's not instant death, and it's not even that intimidating.

Even if the bad guy pulls the razor out, he's only exposing 1.5 inches of slashing blade, and it's a hell of a lot harder to hold:

A box cutter disassembled, with razor out.

Of course, maybe when the press describes box cutter it means a utility knife. Utility knives come in all shapes and sizes, but they're all designed to have a small, sharp cutting surface but also to be safe for people to handle. As a result, they don't make that effective of a weapon, especially if you're a terrorist with a plane full of resisting people.

So we, the people, know that the measures that strip grandmothers of their pinking shears and businessmen of their nail clippers are mostly cosmetic. That the TSA is making a show of security all the while telling us to please be quiet so that the TSA can fool the bad men into thinking the planes are secure. By taking away some of the most effective makeshift weapons available. This effort inconveniences air travellers and probably doesn't even phase the bad men. It also could lead to prosecution of innocent people who make a small mistake.

When I was working in retail, the box cutter just became a part of the gear I carry in my jeans pockets. After each work day, I dumped it onto the dresser with my wallet, keys, and change. Every morning, including some upon which I did not work, I picked the gear up and put it into my pockets. If I were to do that today, on a day whereupon I was to catch a plane, don't doubt the TSA would make an example of me.

So let this be a series of lessons to you. Our TSA is creating, for its own benefit, an illusion of security by isolating innocuous items and hoping against all hope that the terrorists continue to use things TSA screeners are looking for and that the terrorists are foolish enough to get caught with them. The TSA will ruin countless innocent American (not that Heatwole's innocent, mind you) lives to make its point, which is not worth much.

Down the Creek Without a Paddle, Go To Jail!

Apparently, going over Niagara Falls without a barrel is illegal, according to this story:
    It was a stunt -- not a suicide attempt -- that sent a Michigan man over the brink of Niagara Falls yesterday. That's according to Canadian police, who say they will charge 40-year-old Kirk Jones of Canton, Michigan with illegally performing a stunt.
I'm not sure which stunts are legal in Canada, but just in case, it's probably a good idea to not leap through any flaming hoops when visiting our nothern neighbor.

No word from our legal counsel yet whether wearing clown shoes violates Ontario ordinance.

Criminalization of Stupid Things? You Don't Say! (II)

Tyler Cowan of The Volokh Conspiracy expounds on the overcriminalization of economic conduct.

He quotes:
    "Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. The American Bar Association reported in 1998 that there were in excess of 3,300 separate criminal offenses. More than 40 percent of these laws have been enacted in just the past 30 years, as part of the growth of the regulatory state. And these laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are "[n]early 10,000.""
Makes it hard to keep them all straight in your head, doesn't it?

Monday, October 20, 2003
Mad Props to a Homie

A fellow from Wisconsin shot a hole-in-one and bowled a 300 game in single day.

Fark's got the link and asks, in comments, how he could complete the trifecta. Unironically, the previous story linked on Fark is Ten ways to make hockey better. Add your eleventh (voting enabled).

Sometimes the most obvious solutions are the hardest to see.

She Wolf or She Male? Which Sub Place Tonight?

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune contrasts the current commercials of submarine sandwich chains (registration required).

    The commercial starts off with two guys holding toasted subs.

    "One guy asks, `What? You don't like it? Were you raised by wolves?'

    "The other guy has a far-away look in his eyes. Then there's a flashback, and he's in business attire, suckling at a grown she-wolf, fighting off other wolf cubs, the only thing is, he's not a wolf. He's a guy, in business attire, suckling on a wolf."

    We stood there, silently pondering the image, trying to figure out why wolf milk might inspire a guy to buy a sub.
    This one involves a tense fellow who dresses in a cheerleader outfit, and swishes his pompoms in the middle of his driveway, with the neighbors watching, including the neighbor with the video camera.

    In the commercial, the cross-dresser tells his terrified daughter not to worry, that although he's "been bad," he had the special sandwich. He's absolved himself with a sub.
Makes me want to order pizza, too.

Veterinarian Explains Hunter Pathological Psychology

After treating a black Lab for an arrow wound, a veterinarian took a moment to plomb the deep recesses of the dark soul of hunters:
    A lot of hunters take the hunt as seriously as a religion, and anything that gets in their way is going to get blasted to kingdom come," Jones said. "Of course the dog probably ran around in this woods all year round. The hunters were probably there illegally."
Spurious assertions made to split hunters from the mainstream, where they yet remain in the suburbanifying northern Jefferson County region of Missouri? Back off, man, he's a scientist armed with a D.V.M. degree, so he can explain the lizard-brain-mentality which undoubtedly comes from an excess of blood and not enough phlegm in some sects of the population.

If you're going to say a lot of hunters are murderous skybusters (or ground-level busters), you can just as easily assert that quite a few black Labs exhibit suicidal impulses or innumerable veterinarians are nitwits. However, I cannot comfortably assert spuriously based on personal anecdotes. Our veterinarian is not a nitwit and the most avid hunter I know hasn't yet blasted everything in his way to kingdom come, I'd have to think that spurious assertions only serve to make good newspaper copy, and to be a Jedi mind trick for weak minded legislators fools.

Poor Word Choice, Peter

The New York Daily News, writing about another suicide at New York University, characterizes the incident thusly:
    A 19-year-old New York University student plunged from a friend's sixth-floor window in Manhattan last night in an apparent suicide, cops said.

    The incident marked the third reported suicide by an NYU student this fall.
Ouch. Might I recommend you share my pretentious reference to this season as autumn to avert these situations?

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