Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Who Says Finance Is Boring?

A couple years ago, I invested in some IBI (Intimate Brands, Incorporated), which was Victoria's Secret. I liked it so much, I bought into the company, werd.

Now it's part of LTD (Limited Brands), but I am still enthusiastic about the company.

I mean, dammit, man, they put pictures of women wearing lingerie into the annual report!

I think there's numbers and stuff in it, too, between the pictures. Some words, too, but hey! Tyra Banks!

Updated: I originally wrote women wearing lingerie into the annual report and have amended it to acknowledge it's really only pictures thereof. Heaven knows, I would have gotten into trouble with the SEC, not to mention my wife, were I to insinuate LTD sends actual models to its stockholders. Thank you, that is all.

Passive Voice as An Art Form

The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which arrived on my driveway:

Post-Dispatch early edition

Man, you have to love the artistry in the headline JOBLESS FATHER IS KILLED AFTER BANK IS ROBBED. When an armed robber menaces bank tellers and guards with a shotgun and then points it at responding police officers, it's important to remove all assignment of blame from the robber and build a morally neutral headline. If anyone is to blame, it's obviously George W. Bush, whose faltering economy and job destruction has led honorable fathers to desperate acts. I guess the editor who concocted this headline was being even handed in not blaring POLICE GUN DOWN JOBLESS FATHER AFTER BANK IS ROBBED.

That, friends, is a work of art in passive voice.

I notice that the online recreation of the front page looks different:

Post-Dispatch later edition

JOBLESS FATHER IS KILLED AFTER ROBBING BANK still runs a little sympathetic for the bank robber. The headline for the online story isn't much better: Robber is killed outside bank, police say, which uses the "authority figures allege" asterisk to show that the crusading headline writers at the Post-Dispatch won't be duped into thinking that a man with a shotgun and a bagful of money coming out of a bank is anything but a victim of oppression by a heartless police force/society/something other than his own bad choices.

Friday, April 30, 2004
Affluent Affleck Afflicts

According to Yahoo! news:
    He is one of Hollywood's best-compensated actors, but matinee idol Ben Affleck (news) came to the US Congress Thursday to lobby for higher pay for some of America's lowest-paid workers.

    Affleck, who earns millions per screen appearance, appeared alongside Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy to urge lawmakers to increase the federal minimum wage from its current five dollars and 15 cents per hour to seven dollars per hour.
Apparently, the pressure was getting to be too much, and Affleck had to open his mouth to let a little pressure out.

Instead of just talking the talk, Affleck could choose to spend his own damn money, of which there is no shortage from my vantage point but about which his fleet of accountants are undoubtedly concerned, to open a series of fast food restaurants and discount groceries wherein he could somehow pay workers $7.00 an hour and still keep in business. That would probably put some of his accountants in the morgue with heart failure, because they know (even if they don't communicate this with their client) that higher labor costs and higher employment tend to work against each other, much like higher labor costs and affordable prices.

Instead of risking his own "earned" capital, Affleck wants to sacrifice that of real entrepreneurs. He chooses to "give at the office" by making other people and corporations pick up the tab for his community ideals, much like people who want to take care of the poor but don't volunteer or donate because they already paid taxes but think the government could do more.

If the country were filled with people like you, Mr. Affleck and like-minded, we'd have a world..... well, much like the screwed-up one we have now.

Who's Your Theologian?

I know I'm a couple hours short of that degree in Theology, but I recognize the problem in Hugh Hewitt's assertion:
    "For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: 'Love your neighbor.' And all of you are yourselves showing courage, because it can be bitter, it is tough. Bigotry, hatred, fear, drive people to do things that are inexplicable, and it is hard in any community to stand up against that, but it is vital."

    John Kerry --connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry's "commandment" as one of the big 10.
Sloppy sentence, Hugh. You know and I know that the Big 10 are found in the book of Exodus, which features the little-known story of the Hebrews fleeing from Egypt. Some of the people in the Anti-Defamation League might have heard that story sometime. So it's not that the members of the Jewish organization won't recognize the ten commandments.

A more nuanced reading indicates that the members of the Anti-Defamation League will not recognize Kerry's "Love your neighbor" edict as one of the ten commandments because it's not in the ten commandments, not because the Jews don't recognize the ten commandments.

Take care with your words, brother, because someone out there will hop on it to paint you as anti-semitic, somehow turning your ill-written assertion into repeating the blood libel.

(Link first seen on Power Line.)

Whose Your Theologian?

Geez, guys, I'm a few hours short of that Bachelor's Degree in Theology from a Jesuit university, but I can see the problem with Hugh Hewitt's assertion:
    "For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: 'Love your neighbor.' And all of you are yourselves showing courage, because it can be bitter, it is tough. Bigotry, hatred, fear, drive people to do things that are inexplicable, and it is hard in any community to stand up against that, but it is vital."

    John Kerry --connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry's "commandment" as one of the big 10.
It sounds as though Hugh's saying the Jews are unfamiliar with the big 10, which would not be the case, since it's in Exodus, which describes the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.

Perhaps a nuanced reading might indicate that his audience will, in fact, recognize that Kerry's "commandment" isn't one of the commandments we know, but a basic teaching from the New Testament. But jeez, looies, Hewitt, be a little more careful that your sentences aren't open to the interpretation that Jewish people don't recognize (or perhaps believe in) the Big Ten Commandments, all right? You're not an anti-semite; don't give anyone the chance to paint you as one.

(Link seen first on Power Line.)

Thursday, April 29, 2004
The Plan

Step 1: Collect undershirts.

Step 3: Profit!

That Will Teach Us

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows the voters the error of our ways:
    Looking to go swimming at a St. Louis County park pool on Memorial Day or Labor Day?

    Forget about it.

    After voters this month narrowly turned down a sales tax increase to support county parks, the parks department is trimming five weeks off the swimming season.
Obviously, not forking over an extra sixteen and a half million dollars of our money every year has forced the county to prioritize its budget and trim some non-essential services. Unfortunately, this will infringe upon the pencilled-in right to swim found in the elaborately customized constitutions owned by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Undoubtedly, this will impact the children, the seniors, and the poor disproportionately, as they don't have swimming pools in their backyards. I guess we'll read that in tomorrow's Post-Dispatch.

Hockey Joke

Four hockey fans are mountain climbing. Each climber happens to be a rabid fan of a different NHL team. One from Chicago, one from St. Louis, one from Detroit and the other from Nashville. As they climbed higher and higher, they argue more and more about which of them is the most loyal to their particular hockey team.

As they reach the summit, the climber from Chicago takes a running leap and throws himself off the mountain yelling " This is for the Chicago Blackhawks!"

Not wanting to be outdone, the climber from Nashville throws himself off the mountain shouting "This is for the Nashville Predators!"

Seeing this, the St. Louis Blues fan walks to the edge and yells, "This is for hockey fans everywhere!". He then pushes the fan from Detroit off the cliff.

(Slightly modified from a joke seen on Hockey Pundits, which involved some Canadian teams or something.)

I Shall Die A Pedestrian

The City of Milwaukee is going to subvert the laws of nature by making Wells and State streets two way.

Wells, located on the Marquette campus, has been one way forever. I never look eastbound when crossing, which means the next time I stagger out of Hegarty's, I am going to get creamed. Thanks, Milwaukee.

Open Season

Anyone posting on the Internet bemoaning his or her absolute poverty should be properly mocked; that is to say, incessantly and loudly.

Thank you, that is all.

I Am Glad I Am Not In College Today

Friends, were I in college today, odds are that I would not graduate.

Instead, I'd probably be in jail for assaulting one or more dishonorable cretins, or be killed by a rabid mob of the same.

As a columnist in the paper in my college days, I mocked many ideals, but never a death.

What Generation Gap?

In the September 2003 issue of Speakeasy, the magazine reports on its survey that sought to examine the differences among the generations in its readership and to determine if one or more generation gaps really exist. A handy table condensed some of the highlights:

Graduated from High School In: 1940s and 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
When you crooned behind your closed bedroom door in high school, which singer did you most often imitate? Elvis Presley Joan Baez
The Motown Sound
Joni Mitchell
Carole King
Paul McCartney
Johnny Cash
Tori Amos
Ani DiFanco

Ani DiFanco? It's just a typo, I know, because a later cell of the table (most important album from high school) spells her name right (while getting the name of her album Little Plastic Castles wrong). But jeez, it sort of proves the generational gap, wot, that they couldn't tell at a glance the misspelling?

Or perhaps I am the only one who straddles the generational gaps like a gymnastically-inclined squid.

To celebrate, I switched from the AM oldies station today and put on some Vag Rock. I'm I am not a pretty girl.... that is not what I do.... I ain't no damsel in distess..... and I don't need to be rescued....


Deploy the DiFranconator!

I know that United States forces in Iraq have played American rock and roll as a form of psychological warfare against the islamofascists. When confronted with taunts of against their manhood and Metallica, many Iraqis charged out like rabid animals and were quickly shot down.

Imagine how much more madder and crazier they would have been if our guys played Ani DiFranco. If the decadence of American rock and roll offended them so, it could only be more effective to have a woman singing to them that she's enthusiastically conflicted about sleeping with copious amounts of men and women.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Reminder to IMAO Judges

Attention, IMAO judges:

Remember, if Heather wins the IMAO T-Shirt Babe contest, there will be plenty of celebratory Guinness to go around.

Remember to vote as though a Daley sent you.

Thank you, that is all.

Wishing What I Got

Today's Google Search: i wish i never won powerball.

Your humble narrator is currently the 36th hit.

Remember, wish for what you have, and you'll be happy. Or content, or perhaps blithe.

His Majesty

Kudos to the Washington Post editor who entitled this op-ed column, which explains why we should not take to heart Kerry's youthful indescretions when considering his fitness for leadership, "Prince Hal vs King Henry".

Message: John Kerry was born to be king!

Who's Not Their English Major? Say It!

From Crescat Sententia we have a rebuttal of sorts to the list included here. Crescat lists its top 99 books/series of all time.

Here's how I fared on its enlightened reading, with the books I have read in bold and those I have on my to-read shelf in italics:
    1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    2. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishigruo
    3. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
    4. The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene
    5. All The King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
    6. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
    7. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
    8. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
    9. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
    10. Syrup, by Max (Maxx) Barry
    11. Emma, by Jane Austen
    12. The Dirk Gently Series, by Douglas Adams
    13. Ada, by Vladimir Nabokov
    14. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
    15. 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    16. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
    17. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
    18. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    19. Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov
    20. Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, &c., by Orson Scott Card
    21. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
    22. Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk
    23. Ana Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
    24. The Three Musketeers Series, by Alexandre Dumas [The Three Musketeers, anyway.]
    25. The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri
    26. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera ["Strip!"]
    27. Tess of D’Urbevilles, by Thomas Hardy
    28. High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby
    29. Howard’s End, by E.M. Forster
    30. Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk
    31. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
    32. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
    33. The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene
    34. Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbon
    35. My Antonia, by Willa Cather
    36. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
    37. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    38. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
    39. Song of Fire and Ice, by George R.R. Martin
    40. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    41. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Doestoevesky
    42. What Maisie Knew, by Henry James
    43. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
    44. Galveston, by Sean Stewart
    45. If On a Winter's Night a Traveller, by Italo Calvino
    46. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    47. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
    48. Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
    49. Youth in Revolt, by C.D. Payne
    50. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
    51. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
    52. Big Trouble, by Dave Barry
    53. Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood
    54. Villette, by Charolotte Bronte
    55. The Last Chronicle of Barset, by Anthony Trollope
    56. Phineas Finn, Phineas Finn Redux, by Anthony Trollope
    57. Darlington’s Fall, by Brad Leithauser
    58. This Real Night, by Rebecca West
    59. The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino
    60. Summer, by Edith Wharton
    61. The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro
    62. Cecilia, by Frances Burney
    63. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
    64. Dangerous Liaisons, by Choderlos de Laclos
    65. Mr. Scarborough’s Family, by Anthony Trollope
    66. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    67. A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
    68. The Duke’s Children, by Anthony Trollope
    69. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote
    70. Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot
    71. The Dumas Club, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
    72. Baudolino, by Umberto Eco
    73. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
    74. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
    75. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
    76. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
    77. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
    78. The Manticore, by Robertson Davies
    79. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammitt
    80. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
    81. Good Morning, Midnight, by Jean Rhys
    82. The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
    83. Sula, by Toni Morrison
    84. The House in Paris, by Elizabeth Bowen
    85. The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt
    86. The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen
    87. Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
    88. The Discworld Saga, by Terry Pratchett
    89. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
    90. The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West
    91. Possession, by A.S. Byatt
    92. The Island of the Day Before, by Umberto Eco
    93. God Knows, by Joseph Heller
    94. The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein
    95. Candide, by Voltaire
    96. The Vagabond, by Colette
    97. Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding
    98. The Fencing Master, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
    99. Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
Not so good, but it's not a list of (sniff!) canon.

Ban Raw Materials, Says Expert "Red" Adabsurdum

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    The debate over Missouri's growing methamphetamine problem took a major turn Wednesday, as police from around the state demanded that some common cold pills used to make the drug be classified as regulated narcotics available only at pharmacies.

    At issue is a chemical called pseudoephedrine. It's an active ingredient in more than 80 over-the-counter remedies that are sold everywhere from gas stations to grocery stores. But pseudoephedrine also is a key ingredient in most recipes for meth, a powerful stimulant often called ice, crystal or crank.

    Missouri last year toughened existing regulations on how much pseudoephedrine a store could sell to an individual customer, and added new restrictions on where those cold pills could be displayed. As a result, meth cooks and their helpers now must shop at dozens of stores to get the thousands of pills needed to make even a few ounces of meth.

    Police at the summit said that without tougher regulations, the explosive increase in small meth labs will continue in Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Although most of the nation's meth is made at a small number of large drug labs in Mexico and California, Missouri and the states it borders accounted for more than half of the meth-lab raids and related seizures last year.
In other news, fire marshals demanded that lighters, matches, and magnifying glasses be sold only over the counter as they can be combined with an accellerant to intentionally start a fire, MADD is protesting against the availabilty of fruits and dandelions to young people, who can then ferment them and drink the contents, and the anti-gun lobby to restrict the sales of steel, lead, and wood.

Legitimate purposes and rights are a threat to security. Just stand in your stall and bleat a little until its your turn, veal.

Budget Crisis in San Francisco Because People Obey Law

The City of San Francisco is running into budget problems because drivers just aren't racking up the fines anticipated, reports the San Francisco Chronicle:
    The Bay Area's sputtering economy has meant good news for San Francisco drivers, who have seen a drop in competition for the city's notoriously scarce on-street parking spaces, but bad news for City Hall's finance wizards who count on fines for illegal parking to help balance the budget.
Unfortunately, building fines and excise taxes into the budget lead to this sort of problem. The government needs people to do proscribed things, or it needs to proscribe more things to keep spooning citizens' money down its sucking maw. People might shriek over a property tax increase, or might vote down a sales tax hike, but who's going to oppose raising a parking ticket fine?

Until your dentist appointment runs over fifteen minutes, or you don't know the lottery-style system of proper side-of-street parking (stay overnight in Milwaukee, eh?) and suddenly you're paying $250.

The silver lining, if you're looking for something positive to say about profligate spending outpacing revenue: The anticipated shortfall is only $4 million dollars in the $352 million dollar deficit San Francisco's running this year.

Monday, April 26, 2004
Hat Blogging

Brock Sides of Signifying Nothing is a hat man. He even mentions Mr. Hats in Memphis, which is oddly enough where I purchased my current preferred black fedora. I've only been to Memphis twice, but the last time I was there--some six years ago (?!) I got my Dobbs. I would have gotten it at Donge's, in Milwaukee, but they closed down seven years ago. A pity; I had gotten my first three fedoras there.

At any rate, here it is, my primary hat, worn outdoors with or without trenchcoat:

The black fedora.

I wear it winter or summer, to work and to play. I've been wearing black fedoras for eleven years, since my years at college. Even today, should I bump into a Marquette alum of the same period, I might be recognized on the hat alone.

(Oh, yeah, and to Arkansas with James Lileks, who said intemperate words about bloggers and fedoras.)

Here's my writing hat of the last few years, a brown Berlesoni I picked up at an estate sale for a couple bucks:

The brown fedora.

It has the former owner's initials in it, WJS. I tend to wear hats while writing (I wore a cheap straw Panama hat for my first novel and this brown fedora for my second novel). Heck, I'm wearing a ball cap now (Sydney Olympics 2000, given to me by a friend who got it from a real, live Australian!).

But the brown fedora faces competition from the new beachcomber's hat I bought in Florida this March:

The beachcomber.

I wear it, and the Sydney ball cap, as I revise novel #2, blog, and open (and close) the various and sundry inchoate essays and novels that allow me to continue my dream of being a writer.

So, what are you wearing?

Off Color Topic

MSN Dating offers this helpful article: 9 romantic gestures that'll knock her socks off.

Note to the relationship expert who titled this piece: Men are not trying to get women's socks off.

Let us men know when you get to more relevant garments.

Thank you, that is all.

You Only Thought They Had Everything

Remember all those times you couldn't think of what to get those special someones on your gift-giving list? You thought they had everything?

You were wrong. Odds are, that special person doesn't have one of these Subversive Cross-Stitch creations.

Until this Christmas, right?

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Google Search of the Day

Hey, I am number 2 for the Google Search "searching for yourself on google".

But who would search for that, using proper query syntax and all?

Attention, journalists: I can be reached via e-mail at

I am going to be FAMOUS now!

Dear Consumer: Just Say No

In another attempt to save the consumer from himself, the Illinois Attorney General is cattle-prodding the Illinois legislature to the rescue. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Typical sob lead:
    When Michael Rogers drove out of a car dealership three years ago in his newly purchased GMC Jimmy, he thought he understood the financing arrangement. The interest rate the dealership gave him on the loan - 20.95 percent - sounded high, but the dealer had explained that Rogers' checkered credit history had required it, and he'd accepted that explanation.

    "I thought it was a good deal for me," said Rogers, 45, a former postal worker in Chicago who is on disability. "I knew I'd had some credit problems ... so, I figured, 'Yeah, my credit must be bad.' I figured this was the punishment."

    After more than two years of paying $409 a month on the car, Rogers learned that he had actually been approved for a 9.25 percent loan from a lender. Unknown to Rogers, the dealership had then added the additional 11.7 percent itself, raising the final cost on the $17,000 car by almost $7,000.
Aw, poor baby. You know, I got socked with a .9 percent financing rate in March, 2001. A year later, rates were 0 percent as car makers tried to ensure continued sales after September 11. So I feel your pain, pinhead.

21% on a car? Jesus H. Gonzalez, but that's a damn high rate to pay. Come to think of it, $17,000 is a lot to pay for a vehicle, especially at 21% interest. It took me almost four years to run my credit cards up to that amount, but that included a night at a "Fantasy Suite" establishment which included an in-room swimming pool, sauna, waterfall, and complimentary bottle of champagne. A lot to spend for one person, but at least it wasn't $17,000. What's my point?

Oh, yeah, you, Joe Stupid Consumer, are an IDIOT to spend that much on a car at that rate of interest and assume it's the best rate without shopping around. Fortunately, the Daley State will come to your aid and will straitjacket business because you, the consumer, are mad.
    Attorney General Lisa Madigan is pushing legislation that would require car dealers to tell customers how much of their car loan interest rate was determined by the lender, and how much the dealer has added on to it.
Thank heavens! The Illinois Government to the rescue!
    The markup system is common in auto financing nationwide, including in Missouri. Lawmakers in Missouri are not considering any legislation to require disclosure of the actual loan rate.
The Post-Dispatch ruefully reports this, because it's on the side of the working man in every contest wherein the reigning champion isn't the newspaper industry.
    One dealer promised to get a car buyer the "best" rate for a loan. The dealer offered the customer a loan at 16.95 percent interest. It turned out that the dealer was secretly paying 14.95 percent interest to a lender and pocketing the difference.

    "I asked the dealer why he was charging my client a higher rate than the one approved for my client," says Mitchell Stoddard, an attorney in St. Louis County. "And he looked me in the eye and said: 'We gotta pay our bills.'"
All right, your crackhead investigative journalism has probably uncovered a dealer offering a deal to a subprime customer, wherein the dealer says the "best" rate, and probably means the "best" in the sense of the best in which the dealer would offer. Come on, PD, you don't hammer advertiser Anheuser Busch in any advertisement wherein it proclaims any superlatives, particularly those including taste--so why come down hard on the poor SOB auto dealer who has bought a corner lot and a couple junkers in a throw at the American Dream?

I have sympathy for the business in this case because 1.) it's someone taking a shot at making money, and 2.) it entered the contract with its eyes open, unlike the less-than-savvy consumers you defend. But the intelligent don't need government, or crusading "journalism," protection. They understand the free, voluntary exchange in any business transaction.

We'd also prefer you not pollute the swimming pool with more legislation and regulation, thanks.

At Least There Were No Casualties This Time

Today's top story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Rams' Little is accused of DWI.

At least he didn't kill anyone this time.

Here's what I wrote when he was sentenced for killing Susan Gutweiler in The Cynic Express(ed) 3.02:
    A St. Louis Court has just this afternoon upheld the precedent that although the law in our nation maintains that everyone is equal before the blind, deaf, and especially dumb Maiden Justice, some animals are more equal than others. Now in our very heartland, much like on this nation’s more enlightened Left Coast, football players can kill innocent women with near impunity.

    Last October, Leonard Little, intoxicated Star Bonecrusher of some sort or another for the St. Louis Rams, ran a red light in his great big new Mercury Decimator sport utility vehicle and, true to his title, rammed a smaller car that was quite lawfully making its way through our downtown St. Louis streets. Susan Gutweiler died from it.

    Gutweiler, a mother from Oakville, a suburb to the southwest of St. Louis improper, died because she was in the right place—crossing an intersection according to all applicable traffic laws—at the wrong time, when a local footballer on the sixth-rate tax abatement and corporate incentive money hole that passes for an NFL team in this town happened out at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong blood alcohol content and at the wrong speed. And she died, as the Post-Dispatch put it, “later of her injuries.” Suffered when two tons of blood alcohol content and metal compacted her proletariat car.

    At least the media have not been silent throughout the debacle. Although Gutweiler’s family will have to go on without a mother and a wife, at least Leonard Little’s story is being told. The St. Louis Rams, when their coach Dick, capital D-I-C-K, Vermeil has taken time to reflect on crime and punishment in the United States, issued a frank and thought provoking statement that the St. Louis Rams are not afraid to embrace all members of their team, even those who get lit and run down actual practicing members of Family Values.

    No, the St. Louis media have emphasized the claims from Little’s attorneys, therapists, and other millennial swamis that Little needs to get back to work making the bountiful dollars that those of us here in the inner ring suburbs can imagine only remotely. It’s part of the healing process for him to get back out onto the field crashing into other felons and earning the adulation of a public which bemoans the collapse of society and the dearth of character in strangers but doesn’t confuse the man’s personal life with the great job he does. No, Leonard Little just wants to move on, find closure, and put it all behind him that she got in front of him. Susan Gutweiler would probably have wanted to move on, too, if she weren’t dead.

    I know, I know, I should probably calm down. After all, the St. Louis court today handed down the punishment for Leonard Little. Ninety days in jail—NINETY DAYS IN JAIL--and four years’ probation. And the conditions of the probation are pretty strict, I’ll admit. No booze, no bars, no intoxicating substances. After all, the Post-Dispatch does emphasize that he faces testing. It’s already obvious that he doesn’t have the decency, self-discipline, or common sense not to drive intoxicated without someone, maybe like a gruff-but-with-a-heart-of-gold coach, on his case(where’s Billy Martin when you need him?). It’s not as though Leonard Little, the Leonard Little who’s the linebacker for the St. Louis Rams, wrote a Word Macro virus which crashed e-mail servers or anything; he just struck someone down dead.

    I don’t want to calm down. After the decision, the only quote from the victim’s family and the only outrage I have heard so far, is that someone should take justice into his or her own hands. That’s it. Just a heated little quote certain to paint the family as unrealistic and possibly vengeance seeking. I couldn’t blame them. After all, the mishmash of judicial and legal wisdom has decided that Susan Gutweiler’s forty-seven years of life are worth ninety days in jail, less than two days per year.

    Maybe I am just cynical. Not nearly as cynical as the buzzing cloud around Leonard Little, the sycophants that tell him and us that it’s not his fault and that somehow it serves the greater good for society that the Little boy can drive about freely and play football, but I’m getting there.
On the other hand, this time Little has not been found guilty of driving while intoxicated; perhaps he wasn't. However, with one decal of a downed car already on his fuselage, I expect the worst from Little.

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