Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Compare/Contrast Paper Assignment

Class, compare and contrast the following essays/columns:

  • Kim du Toit's The Pussification Of The Western Male, which details how the modern American male is shackled and coddled by the State and society into a "civilized" passive consumer.

  • Val MacQueen's Tech Central Station column A New Stockholm Syndrome, which explores how Swedish society has become so passive that citizens stand idly by while a leading political figure is stabbed to death in a mall.
As long as the number of points of contrast outnumber the comparisons, we're okay. But I suspect the gap is shrinking.

Memo to Kerry Campaign: Fire Riverfront Media/GMMB & SDD

Andrew Sullivan links to a gushing review of a John Kerry ad that attempts to turn George W. Bush's carrier landing into a slam against the president. Here's how the blank Slaters describe the ad and infer its meaning:
    The second shot is Bush, in the infamous shot after he landed on the deck of the carrier, dressed in an olive-drab flight suit (military garb and straps were in last season) with a helmet tucked under his arm. The ad suggests that this was a phony costume to go with the false label on the big ship. Bush had no right to wear military garb, because he never served in the real military, only in the Texas Air National Guard, which kept him far from Vietnam. This juxtaposition is a page out of the Bush family's own political playbook: It's Michael Dukakis playing soldier in a tank.

The National Guard is not the real military?

A damn fine sentiment to express when National Guardsmen are dying the same as "real" military men in Iraq.

I blame the yahoos at Slate (Jacob Weisberg wrote the particular assertion) first, but damn Senator Kerry, too, and anyone, active military or not, for casting aspertions on anyone who served.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
You're Forgetting One Thing, Goldraker

MGM's releasing three DVDs containing 20 James Bond Films, and look how they're marketing it:

James Bond advertisement

You're forgetting one thing, Goldraker: It cannot be the entire James Bond collection without Never Say Never Again!

But you don't own that movie, do you, and it's a stain on your ego to this day!

I'd also advise against your henchmen visiting Web sites while on the clock. They might find them to be exceptional time wasters, and we don't want them to get the short haircut for disobedience, do we?

I Feel Pretty

At The Patriette's counsel, I looked inward, and discovered who I truly am:

You're Perfect ^^
-Perfect- You're the perfect girlfriend. Which
means you're rare or that you cheated :P You're
the kind of chick that can hang out with your
boyfriend's friends and be silly. You don't
care about presents or about going to fancy
placed. Hell, just hang out. You're just happy
being around your boyfriend.

What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Have a Nice Day

Yes, the FDA will approve the immortality pill. The year after you die.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Book Review: Paths to Otherwhere by James P. Hogan (1996)

So when I was last in Milwaukee, trolling for cheap sci fi to sate my genrelust, I came across a couple of James P. Hogan books: the previously reviewed The Multiplex Man, priced at $5.95, and a softbound Paths to Otherwhere, priced at $2.95. I took them both, obviously, and it was only when I got back to my hotel room and was choosing which to read first that I noticed Paths to Otherwhere had a blank back cover. And the title page said something about the new blockbuster, Paths to Otherwhere, coming out in 1996. Holy carp! I thought to myself. I paid $3 for a James P. Hogan advanced copy! That's almost as big of a deal as the time I found a May 1984 issue of Gallery there after pawing through Hustler, Penthouse, Playboy, Oui, and Swinging Japanese Schoolgirls for an hour, blushing the whole time undoubtedly (but undeterredly).

So this particular edition was a bargain, but what about the content?

This particular novel takes place in a slightly darker shade of the present, once again where the government and the military nefarious oppressors of common man. Within this dark future-present, a group of scientists discover a way to send their consciousnesses into counterparts in alternate universes. The military wants to use the technology to get an edge over its rivals as the final war for the West is coming. The scientists, on the other hand, want to explore for the mere love of science.

The scientists strike upon a distant universe where WWI ended peaceably in 1916 and it truly was a war to end all wars. As a result, the world is a libertarian paradise with Virginia Posterel-approved aesthetics. But the Powers-That-Be-With-Guns in their universe want to prevent the scientists from escaping to that Otherwhere.

Hey, it's a decent sci-fi bit. It's not Inherit the Earth, but it's okay. The early portions of the book set the foreshadowing for a more climactic and higher-stakes ending than the book offered. At 405 pages, the book's a bit overlong, too, but it's readable, and its musings on the possibility of alternate universes and mirror images of people will ensure that my story "Extra Life at $1,000,000"--previously written, I assure you--appears to be a pale copy of this original. Curse you, James P. Hogan!

Recommend it? Sure, especially if you can find a low price version of it somewhere. It's no longer in print, so eBay and other auction sites, as well as garage sales, might offer it to you cheaply. Worth $2.95 for the collector's item I got anyway.

Mine Was "What Is John Galt?"

Objectivist Pickup Lines.

(Link seen on The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Take Your Medicine

Guinness prevents heart attacks.

Rybarczyk on Football

I quote from his column today:
    Baseball just can't match the intensity of football. When the Cards trot out Pedro Borbon in a tie game, you can turn off the tube and say to yourself that they'll get 'em tomorrow, because even the Yankees lost 61 games this year.

    But when Arlen Harris misses yet another blitz pickup and Marc Bulger gets hit so hard you expect him to wind up looking like the cat at the end of an "Itchy & Scratchy" cartoon, you want to have your dog soil Arlen's lawn, because you know every loss in football is huge.
He's got a point there. I will wake up in the middle of the night and think about a Packers loss, whereas I don't do the same for the Blues, and I am a much bigger hockey fan.

Folksy Saying of the Day

You can't vacuum clam chowder.

Use it whenever you're asked to do something preposterous.

I just made it up, but I am releasing it to the public, without licensing. Call it open-source silliness, if you will.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Tapple the Bongo Slowly

Ravenwood has a post which features an incredulous exchange between Paula "Zipppppppp" Zahn and Tucker Carlson wherein they discuss why people under thirty don't think the Iraq invasion and occupation are a bad thing. Carlson zooms in with this insight:
    It does surprise me. I mean, I think the theme throughout all of these numbers is hopefulness. People under 30 just are much more optimistic about America's future. They feel more secure in the job market with the economy. They think things are getting better. They think Iraq is going better than people over 30 do.
How can that be? Don't they realize it's Vietnam!

Pardon me while I shake the doughnuts off of my cluebat.

Note to big thoughtless media players out there: Vietnam is not an apt or immediate metaphor for anyone under forty. I was born in 1972, and I was 3 when Saigon fell. I don't remember any of it. Someone who's forty today will have some preteen memories of it, but thirty year olds were born in 1973 and don't remember the Miracle on Ice, either.

You might as well compare the Iraq invasion to the Crimean War. Your average thirty year old has the same immediate access to each. In a book. So just hitch your trousers a little higher, show us some more of those sexxxy black socks under your sandals, and go back to your regular poor Boomer behavior of worrying that you'll have a single, non-Federally funded financial responsibility between the end of your career and the end of your retirement.

Thank you. That is all.

Artist Capitalist Talons Come Out

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, a new theatre venue opening up is causing problems.

Because those same proponents who want the citygoers to "support the arts" by giving graciously to their particular theatre are suddenly threatened by the competition that a new theatre will bring.

Hey, I got an idea. How about tickets that cost ten to thirty dollars, huh? Make a play a comparable value to a movie (not to mention far cheaper than a sporting event, and certainly a better value than a Brewer's game). How about you just put out a better product more cheaply than the other guy and then win, huh?

I guess lowering prices would (sniff!) let the proles in, but don't forget those very same common men stood at the base of the Globe stage and saw Shakespeare in the original Middle English and they got the jokes without the footnotes, werd.

Why Return the Money in the Wallet?

Headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Criticism of Inner Belt project angers Olivette! Anything but that!

What's the beef?

Les Sterman, the executive director of the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council and professional funding teat-sucker, said that the federal government really doesn't need to spend $24 million dollars on an interchange where I-170 meets Olive because it doesn't have as much traffic as previously predicted. This, of course, upset the professional funding teat-suckers in Olivette, where the $24 million dollar interchange would have been added.
    "Show me a community that doesn't want $24 million in federal funding and I will show you Olivette, because that is the only one," said [Larry] Gerstein [director of the Olivette Community Connection].

    While Gerstein acknowledges Sterman has no financial stake in whether the interchange is built, he insists Sterman should not be using his position to evaluate the merits of the interchange, which is a topic of local debate.
Because, obviously, the taxpayers in Mississippi and Wyoming should alleviate non-existent (sorry, light) traffic congestion in a relatively affluent suburb of St. Louis.

Show me a community that would let the pork return to its source and I'll show you Olivette, who is not one.

Sunday, November 09, 2003
A Dean Voter in the Making

Trey Givens recommended counseling, wherein I learned I am:

Redneck Bear
Redneck Bear

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Well, I do drive a pick-em-up truck.

Paranoia Shidoshi Say: Wreck Your Own Credit

Finally, the credit reporting agencies are putting your credit information directly into the hands of third world workers unbound by United States laws. That's efficiency in identity theft.

Your paranoia shidoshi recommends you open as many credit cards as you can in the next three weeks, max them out, buy a new Porsche, get a mortgage, and have a ball. Remember Brewster's Millions. Whatever you can consume, creditors cannot seize. So buy a couple cases of good wine, some exceptional chocolate, charter a jet, and fly a couple dozen friends to the Bunny Ranch. But don't pay the bills!

You see, once you've reached a point that no one will give you change much less a credit card, no one will give someone who steals your identity a credit card, either!

Sometimes, the easy answers elude us, but that's why I am the shidoshi, and you are the student.

There is liberation in the limitation of paying cash.

Paranormal Columnists Read Reagan's Mind

Although this column by Leonard "The" Pitts, Jr., deserves a full fusking, I'll only fusk the chewy bits:
    Now, this is ``Must-See TV.''

    I mean, I had no intention of watching CBS' Ronald Reagan miniseries. But given the furor raised by the Republican party and assorted conservative pundits over what they perceive as a hatchet job on the former president, I don't see how I can afford to miss it.

    This week, CBS gave in to the pressure and announced that it had pulled The Reagans from its November schedule. The movie has instead been shipped off to the Showtime cable network, which is expected to run it next year.

    The Republican faithful are counting that as only a partial victory. They're pleased the show won't be run on a major broadcast network. They'd prefer it not be run at all.

    Mind you, they haven't actually seen the movie. Their antipathy is based on a number of other factors, including the fact that Reagan is portrayed by James Brolin, husband of the ├╝ber-liberal herself, Barbra Streisand. Then there are the script excerpts published by The New York Times, particularly one that portrays Reagan as lacking in compassion for gay people dying from a then-new disease called AIDS.

    Yet as everyone knows, the Reagan administration stood silent on the sidelines in the early years of that plague. Reagan may never have said the words the script reportedly puts into his mouth -- ''They that live in sin shall die in sin'' -- but the sentiment was certainly there. That's an unalterable element of his legacy.

Oh, for crying out loud, Lenny, enough with the deduction of the interiors of men, huh? I understand that to a certain segment of the population, it's the heart and not the actual words or deeds of men that matter. I even suspect that when Leonard Pitts, Jr., Googles himself and this site comes up, Lenny would reject any argument that intuition is a good source of premises for argument. Because it probably feels right to him. You like it, Lenny? I just know what you're thinking!

    Which is ultimately what this argument is about, the battle for Reagan's legacy.
Legacy, truth, they're all a part of the great pastiche of grey that comprises relativism in all its beatuiful monochrome.

Words of Encouragement

Brought to you by Harvey of Bad Money:
    Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

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