Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, November 28, 2003
You Say Neh-Vaa-Dah, I Say Nay-Vah-Dah

A non-story: Bush mispronounces Nevada in first presidential visit. But thanks for trying, guys.

Let's face it, most Americans pronounce their place names incorrectly. I live in a suburb of St. Louis. Since the canonized Louis was French, we should pronounce it St. Louie. And who knows how one should authentically pronounce Missouri. Residents get into fist fights over it yet, but generations-long blood feuds over long I versus schwa are petering out.

Back to the point: Nevada, from el Español, should be pronounced nayVAHdah. Not:
    To properly pronounce Nevada, the middle syllable should rhyme with gamble.
(Does anyone beat the reporter about the head and shoulders for the whole middle syllable should rhyme thing? Rhyme means all syllables sound similar but for initial consonants. Don't you damn kid free versers start up with me.)

So Bush's pronunciation was a little closer to the original than the current bastardization favored by both native Nevada residents. In two hundred years, after the next great vowel shift, Bush will read like Shakespeare reads to us, no matter how stoopid his critics try to make him sound. You know what the real twist of the box cutter is? People will read Bush's speeches in 200 years. No one will read his opponents' press releases.

Book Review: The Joy of Work by Scott Adams (1998)

This is a Dilbert book, but not a collection of cartoons. Not exclusively, anyway; Adams manages to illustrate his Dilbertal points with some cartoons, though.

The book is schizophrenic. The majority of the book is the kind of humor you would expect from Adams, a wry look at working in the white collar world. It details how you can derive joy from your daily drudgery in pranking your co-workers, avoiding real work, and gaming the discordant system. It features chapters on managing your boss, reverse telecommuting, annoying your co-workers, and surviving meetings. Pretty standard Dilbert stuff.

However, about sixty percent of the way through the book, it veers more into personal. Sort of self-helping. Adams describes creativity, as filtered through how a cartoonist works. He describes where creativity comes from, how to manage creativity, and how to be funny. He then talks a bit about criticism, works in an unrelated (but amusing) story about the time he pranked exectuives by pretending to be a corporate image consultant. He finishes the book up with a short peek into his daily writing life and then a short memorial piece to his (or his girlfriend's) cat.

The book probably would have been better as two books. Still, it's a quick read. Worth a couple bucks. It affirms and reinforces all my personal bad habits, which is all a "working" man needs sometimes.

The Amazon Wish List

Due to popular demand (my blog, so to win the popularity contest, a candidate only needs one vote), I have created an Amazon Wish List so all three of my readers can shower me with material goods.

Remember, it's better to give than to receive.

To make it convenient, I have added a comment link to the template. Any time I move you enough to want to comment, it's a sign that I have done well, and should be rewarded; hence, it takes you directly to the wish list. The best way to comment. With your wallet.

Thursday, November 27, 2003
Mark of the Beast?

Applied Digital has announced a new service to allow consumers to pay for merchandise using microchips implanted under their skins. Shidoshi, you might ask, should I worry about the implications of this for my own personal paranoia?

No, student, this is a false alarm. Applied Digital is a corporation in its last throes of death, but it yet retains a marketing department or a piece of software that generates press releases on a regular basis. Because the company features a chip that goes under the skin, its press releases receive a lot of play in the trades when they want to shock or titilate the public.

Implanting payment methods or identification will never become prevalent.

You should worry, instead, about the reasons why the powers that want to be won't need you to undergo elective surgery to track you.

Meditate on't, child.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Join In

Even James Earl Jones and all the All-Star sales pitching in the world won't help when you come up with business decisions like this: Verizon will charge double expected fees over new rules.

Punish previous customers' disloyalty by destroying goodwill among current customers. Buy that man an MBA!

Richard Roeper Pushes My Buttons

Richard Roeper, accused of living in the Midwest by one of his coastal friends, invents the Middle Coast to refute that fatal accusation:
    Not long ago, I was at dinner with a group of entertainment industry professionals, including a Los Angeles native and resident. Nice woman. After talking movies, we got into the "Where do you live?" and "Where did you grow up?" stuff -- and when she learned I had spent practically my whole life in the Chicago area, she talked about how much she loves our great city. We have the Cubs (does anyone from out of town ever say the White Sox?), the architecture, the food, the lake, the blues, the shopping, the Oprah, etc., etc.

    Not to mention the wonderful people of Chicago -- the "down-to-earth" types with "good solid values," as we're often labeled.

    And then this nice woman used the term that almost always makes me cringe. The label is favored by East and West Coast types who use it like a pat on the head to tell us how quaint we are, how charming we are -- and what rubes we are.

    "I just love that whole Midwestern thing," she said.

    I can't precisely recall the specific wording of what she said next, but there were a few more "down-to-earth" references, and something about how we're so much more "real" than Los Angelenos and New Yorkers, and how it's so refreshing that we're not embarrassed about our love for Wal-Mart and Celine Dion and Krispy Kreme.

    Then, she mentioned that her husband attended school in the Midwest, and he has family in the Midwest, and she knows a lot of other people from the Midwest, including her college roommate who was from the Midwest -- and at that point I had to cut her off and explain something.

    Chicago ain't the Midwest.
He pushes one of my buttons and then keeps pushing it to make the elevator come faster.

Dude, just move to LA so you can hang out with your movie sophisticates or move to New York so you can hang out with your Esquire cosmopolitans.

Is it Friday yet? When's the next Neil Steinberg column due?

Share the Love

Another one falls to commentitis! The Meatriarchy guy now features comments on his blog. Go tell him what you really think about him.

Monday, November 24, 2003
Supplemental Reading

Read Roger Simon. He's a blogger. He writes mystery novels. He wears a hat.

There's nothing about this man not to like!

Apology In Advance

Honey, I just want to apologize in advance for the coming time when the Department of Homeland Security kicks in our doors with drawn weapons, when they put a couple of nine millimeter slugs into our nine pound tabby because they feared for their safety, they haul off our myriad computers, and interrogate us for hours on end to prompt us to admit our non-existent guilt or plead guilty to unspecified charges because of what I did today. I didn't mean for it to turn out this way.

You see, honey, I went to the opthamologist's office today, and when they called me by my name, I followed the technician into an examination room. She hit me with the requisite salvo of eye drops that rendered me a nocturnal creature in the middle of the afternoon, and then she input my information directly into a workstation. Wow! What an advanced place! A workstation in every exam room! Then the technician told me that the doctor would be in shortly, and then she left the room. Without locking the workstation.

After the doctor saw me and assured me I would not need an eyepatch just yet, he asked if there was anything else. So of course I told him the lax security his enterprise offered, leaving patients alone with access to his computer network and his patient records was a very bad thing. He said that restarting the computer would take too long, and he'd have to cut the number of patients he saw in half--not explicitly stating his perceived dilemma of patient information security versus his bank account. He also said that sooner or later you have to trust people, and he trusts his patients wouldn't do anything like that. Hell, I trust people, but we lock the doors here in la casa Noggle even when we're home.

So I am sorry, baby. Because when some hacker, cracker, or whatever the bad man terms himself finds himself sitting in that chair while the doctor politely answers all of another patient's questions, this bad man will see what he can do. And if the bad man's not careful, someone will know that someone's been hacking the good doctor's computers, and the good doctor will remember one name was concerned with his security: Noggle.

So this will be the thanks I get for trying to spread a little cheerful-but-relevant paranoia into the non-technology fields. Maybe I'll get the lucky double whammy of having my personal information stolen, too. Of course, it's not clear what a bad man would do with my cornea thickness, and I surely didn't share my SSN with anyone unless I'm getting money from them.

Honey, I hope you can forgive me. And remember to do some off-site backup of your critical documents because we won't see those PCs again.

Christmas Ruined Already

104.1 WMLL "The Mall" in St. Louis has become the first all-Christmas carol radio station. They're touting it, of course, as the first, which should imply the best, but really just means the station whose regular format (greatest hits of the 1980s and 1990s) is most expendable (least profitable) in the stable and spectrums of radio stations owned by the megabroadcaster in this market. Regardless of the bigger implications, I have listened to it somewhat this weekend.

I was a little disappointed. They ran more "contemporary" Christmas carols, with electric guitars screeching out "Walking in a Winter Wonderland". Annie Lennox doing Christmas songs? Christmas carols are not the contemporary, they're timeless. They're more croon than synth. Bing Crosby, not Natalie Merchant.

I could tolerate the McKenzie Brothers' "Twelve Days of Christmas". It's a light-hearted diversion, and since it's almost thirty years old, I guess it's almost a classic in its own right.

I don't quite understand why they played Jewel's "Angel Standing By". I guess it mentions angels, but it's not a Christmas song. At all.

But I have banished it from my radio dial not for these lapses, which are really flaws and not transgressions. But banished it I have; I was looking to jumpstart my Christmas spirit through musical transfusion, to enjoy the sounds of the seasons since I am not likely to see snow for Christmas again. But this station's more involved in having its management wink-wink-nudge-nudge that Christmas doesn't have to be traditional, that it can be hip and smirky. That's not why I listen to Christmas music when I bother to listen to Christmas music. So enough already.

The transgression? I could have happily gone through my entire life without learning Cheech and Chong did a Christmas song.

Sunday, November 23, 2003
Media To Try, Try Again

It's not's Somalia!
    The frenzy recalled the October 1993 scene in Somalia, when locals dragged the bodies of Marines killed in fighting with warlords through the streets.
Perhaps they just need to change the pitch of their klaxon to get it through to the tone deaf American citizens that Americans. Are. Dying. in a war zone.

We know. But we're resolute.

I hope.

(Link seen on Drudge Report, a little-known news aggregator. Click through, he can use the exposure.)

Update: No, on second though, tell us it's just like Somalia. Which was a debacle because the United States cut and ran too early. That should stiffen our upper lips.

A Sentiment I Share

At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein calls this mantra aummed from the mouth of a London attorney the "quote of the day":
    You will never change the hearts and minds of terrorists by bombing them.
I disagree. I prefer Bernsteins rejoinder:
    That's OK, I'll settle for their death. I don't think we changed the hearts and minds of too many Nazis during World War II, either.

Today's Simile Paradox

Courtesy of Foreigner:
    Feels like the first time
    Like it never did before
Mull that over a while, and try to determine if Foreigner really meant to warp reality, or if they were just looking for a good end rhyme for door.

Google Search of the Day

This blog is the 130th result for the search stash safes.

A tip of the forty to the nutbar who is so interested in hiding drugs that he or she went through 13 pages of results to find this site.

And an extra tip, gratis. Tommy Chong has shown the error of selling drug paraphernelia on the Internet. You're barking up the wrong trees, moondog.

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