Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 02, 2004
The Next Logical Step Down The Slippery Slope

State Representative Frank Boyle of northern Wisconsin gives insight into the proper role of the citizen:
    Boyle told the board he first met Leggate in 1984 when she was a secretary at City Hall. He said she costs the state $24,000 every year she’s in prison and she needs to get back into the work force and generate tax revenue, especially with the state facing a deficit in its next budget.
This person, a convicted murderer sentenced to life, should return to society so that she can generate tax revenue.

Government seizes private property to whomever it thinks will generate the most tax revenue for it. What logically stops it from next using its citizens in the best, most revenue-enhancing way?

More on the outrage at Boots and Sabers.

Further Tales of Psuedobachelorhood

Courtesy of Spoons.

While the mice are away, the cats will play...with Spoons, who has nothing better to do.

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Error handling by blaming the user and the user's Web browser. Swell, Amazon. Undoubtedly, your developers have convinced your project managers that this is acceptable, when it's clearly not.

Book Review: Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer
by Jerry Kramer / Edited by Dick Schaap

I bought this book for a dollar at the cheap bookstore in Springfield (you know, the one on Glenstone. Come on, people, work with me here; the name's not important, the six for five dollars hardbacks in the very back are). As the football season geared up, I thought this would be a worthy read, and hey, it was. Packers partisanship aside, it's a good book.

The book chronicles the 1967 football season from the point of view of the veteran guard. He kept notes and recorded his thoughts on tape every day from the training camp through the end of season. It reminded me a lot of Blue Fire: A Season Inside the St. Louis Blues which I read last year; however, the two differ in that instead of a sportswriter, the point of view is all player.

So in our daily capsules, we get inside the concerns of a 31 year-old football player, slightly afraid that he's losing a step to the younger players. We're coming fresh off of the Packers second consecutive NFL championship and their win in Super Bowl I. Kramer's got lots of outside investments that he worries over, and he mentions from time to time what's he's reading during the season. But the book does focus on the Packers, playing with Lombardi and with the loss of Paul Hornung to the new New Orleans Saints expansion team.

As I mentioned, the book's told in a diary style, with each day having its paragraphs or pages whether Kramer goes hunting or participates in the Ice Bowl. This makes it easy to read in short chunks, although the pace and voice really make it entertaining enough to read in larger doses.

Since the book chronicles an era before my birth, part of its charm lies in its details about a world I'd never know. Green Bay and Milwaukee described in the late 1960s and no mention of the War in Viet fucking Nam, man. Which differs, strangely, from the football season 2004, where the whole world's talking about that war. One does get a point of contrast between some aspects of the game then and the game today--no agents, limited free agency, and so on. And on the field: well, let's just give this some eighties kid perspective: the Jerry Kramer's biggest concerns in the opponents he needs to block are Father Murphy, Webster's adoptive father George Papadapolis, and Officer Moses Hightower. That's just weird.

Friday, October 01, 2004


The New Soldier


The New War


Don't Do Us Any Favors

Those of you who didn't start watching the debates at 6:30 on CSPAN missed their interview with the University of Miami president and her remarks from the lowered microphone that she'd arranged classes, other acadaemic stuff, and a voter registration drive to get students more involved in the carnival that took place at University of Miami yesterday.

Donna "I Am Not Bowzer" Shalala.

Former Secretary of Health and Human services under William J. Clinton.

Former head of University of Wisconsin (Mad).

Organizing voter registration drives.

Thanks, Shalalala.

With So Many Words, How Could You Pick Just One?

Thomas Eagleton opines in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a piece entitled IRAQ: One word says it all: disaster:
    We do not need to recount yet again the history of the war in Iraq. It will go down as one of the most ill-conceived military undertakings in our history.
It doesn't really get better from there. Instead, the former senator and even more former vice presidential candidate to George McGovern (for crying out loud) pontificates on how history will judge Iraq because Eagleton's got the long range vision. Which he demonstrates by savaging George W. Bush politically and talking about the short term impact of the war.

Beg your pardon, Senator, but I disagree. I see differences between this war and the telewars of this century held up for cheap political points by forgotten (and hopefully, soon-to-be-forgotten) senators.

I expect that history will judge the Iraq war much like it judges the Spanish-American War, The Mexican-American War of 1848, the Mexican incursions in 1910, or more recently the invasion of Panama; a small war remembered by a few historians and unfortunately not many citizens. Or history will judge the Iraq war like the reckless Iwo Jima incursion: a small battle with its own costs in service of a greater war. But history will not, no matter how hard some self-appointed men of history try, judge Iraq as a carbon-copy of Viet Nam.

Opening Fire with the Forward Moonbattery

The Bush administration, which rules the world and all of nature through Haliburton and Enron and Martha Stewart Omnipedia with the full support of the Optimists International and Boy Scouts of America, has decided to distract voters from its horrible environmental policies which are turning the northwest into desert and are strip mining all of the sanity from the northeast by temporarily closing the ozone aperature that its supporters at Coppertone paid for.

It's the only possible explanation!!!1!!!

Yeah, Me Too

Instapundit reports reports over 8,000,000 hits last month and predicts that he'll see a traffic drop after the election.

Hey, this site had 3,000 hits last month, and I think it will drop after the election, too.

Actually, I think it will drop this month without an Instalanche to spur about a third of the total monthly traffic in a single day.

But I don't write for the casual Internet readers. I toss off my insights for my own gratification and for you, the discriminating Internet reader.

Something Stink in Suburbia? The Critics Love It

Has anyone else noticed how metropolitan critics absolutely rave about television shows, novels, movies, and other art that celebrates how suburban life with suburban homes, commutes, and families suck? The San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman gushes over Desperate Housewives.

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Other Live Bloggings of Note

Get old by Internet standards reflections here:



The Spoons Experience


Debablogging: The Wrap

So when the pizza guy brought my pseudobachelor dinner this evening, he pointed to the Bush Cheney sign in the yard and was happy to see it (he explained in with a light Newyorican lilt in his voice). He said Bush was going to bury Kerry tonight. I'm disappointed he didn't.

I think Bush and Kerry did about what we would have expected. Bush was on message, sometimes almost fumblingly so, Kerry was not intolerable. Kerry might have elevated his discourse from flip-flop to paradox, but he didn't speak in French.

Kerry raised himself to nearly human, or perhaps lowered himself to nearly human, but you still get the sense that he's not quite sincere, not quite earnest. Bush is. And I'll still vote for Bush.

Unlike Instapundit, I don't think Kim Jong Il will be nervous if Kerry's elected. He's about sanctions, resolutions, and Bush is about popping you one if you deserve it. Friends, that's a capital fear for other nations to have, particularly those with opposing viewpoints.

This liveblogging experience brought to you without the aid of alcohol, because until I get a fridge in this office, it's a long trip to the kitchen for a refill. This evening's entertainment also brought to you without the skill of touch typing, which is why your content is thinner here than with the pros. But thanks for coming anyay. I should have listened to my beautiful wife and used that Mavis Beacon she bought me when I was but a young man of eight and twenty.

Debablogging 35

Bush's statement:

This is more than the next four years; this is the next hundred years and civilization. No draft. No vetoes over foreign policy. I believe, I believe, and then we, we, mountain metaphor and valley.

Earnest, and he ends it very presidentially. His best performance of the debate, and he trumped Kerry's response.

Debablogging 34

Kerry's statement:

I served in Vietnam. I believe in strong aliances with weak countries. Also, I have many plans. And messages.

Debablogging 33

Didn't Kerry say Saddam wasn't a threat earlier in the debate? Now he says that Saddam was a threat, but that's not the point.

He's just paradoxed the whole debate. Wait, didn't the debate start at 8 pm CDT? Why does my computer clock say 5:34? The space time continuum has ruptured!

Debablogging 32

On Putin, Kerry reminds us he served in Russia, mentions it's important, and then goes back to North Korea.

Bilateral talks with China.

Debablogging 31

The Putin question:

Bush: Centralization in Russia in response to terror is bad, and I've said so publicly. Russia's an ally, though, and Bush invokes Beslan. Calls Vladamir by his first names, and values his personal relationship. A good, even-tempered response. Will Kerry want preemptive invasion to save the Russians and secure the nuclear material?

Debablogging 30

In response to the nuclear proliferation thing, Kerry has plans and messages, but Bush has accomplishments.

And missile defense. Concrete things.

Kerry responds: I am a magician! I will wave my wand and North Korea and Iran will roll over.

Debablogging 28

Kerry's not going to proliferate, and he's going to cut ours.

He didn't say it; just that he's not going to build nuke buster bombs, but considering he's been in favor of nuclear disarmament, he's going to be all over it.

Because it sends a good message.

Of weakness.

Debablogging 27

Kerry never wavers, and he knows what to do. It's a secret, though.

Debablogging 26

Kerry agrees with Bush's kudos to him. And he likes Bush's daughters.

Respects Laura Bush.

He also seems to think certainty is a bad thing.

And stem cells and global warming are bad. Thank you, and good night!

Debablogging 25

Bush: Kerry is a vet, and he's a great dad.

Bush's handling the character question well. He then brings up the changing positions, which adds a coda, but in not deploying another attack, he's not being an attack dog.

Debablogging 24

We're the leading donor to African/Sudan humanitarian efforts. Shouldn't Kerry be against this by rote? Why should America bear 90% of the burden? Cut and run and let the French exchange for a little oil.

Bush mentions the rainy season. Showing some familiarity with the region and considerations above and beyond the headlines.

Debablogging 22

Kerry breaks protocol and answers the previous question, starting to deflect the Darfur question.

More sanctions, sanctions, sanctions. He's fumbling this one.

He says we're overextended. Weakness. Got that, America? We're weak.

This man didn't read his Hobbes nor Machiavelli. But they didn't write in French.

Debablogging 21

When Bush closes when the red light flashes, he raises his voice and makes it sound like a question.

He's got the real story on North Korea!

So the North Koreans just magically built up their program just because Bush didn't sign the Kyoto accords?

Does Kerry want multilateral or bilateral talks? Both.

Debablogging 20

How does Kerry attack Bush's multilateral stance, as he's explaining now, on North Korea?

I can hardly wait. Perhaps it will pivot on the inadequate drug coverage for seniors.

Debablogging 19

Explain the ICC, Mr. Bush. Yes.

Debablogging 18

There you go, Spoons, Kerry said "Eye on the Ball."

Global Warming Treaty. Bush is getting better as he goes; Kerry is getting silly with his excited misspeaking. Kerry's fighting for proliferation?

Debablogging 17

And Kerry says he would have made a better decision than Bush has regarding Iran. I guess Kerry would have invaded instead of using the UN, the EU, sanctions, and resolutions.

Or should we citizens not think it all the way through?

Debablogging 16

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Kerry.

Stop with the outsourcing at Tora Bora crack; Bush was not throwing troops to their deaths and was sensitively tipping his hat to the allies in the region.

Kerry wanted more of the same in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in power, but not more of the same with the current regime.

Discuss in the comments below.

Wait, I don't have comments. Sorry.

Debablogging 15

Bush's answer to another preemptive strike is the most thoughtful of the night; he's touching on his 2000 noninterventionism, his understanding of his duty, and the foresight that an iron fist in the velvet glove is what gives the handshakes in the smiling photoops their shape.

Or something like that.

Debablogging 14

Hold the line.

Yes, sir.

Debablogging 13

Kerry's assuring that we're not going to have a long term presence, all right.

How come he doesn't address that he's not in Congress fighting even now for funding troops while he continues to draw a paycheck to do....something.

Debablogging 12

Man, perhaps Bush would have been doing a better job after a couple drinks like the rest of us.

Debablogging 11

Kerry's not saying Vietnam, but he's making the shadow puppets with those hand gestures and his continual references to combat and that war.

Honoring nobility? It's not about nobility, or honor, it's about winning.

He mentioned some sort of cutting, but he changed his mind.

He's going to hunt and kill the terrorists?

Bush almost calls Kerry on it in the extension, which is that Kerry said who wants to tell someone that their son was the last to die for a mistake, and apparently he would, since the Iraq war was a mistake.

Kerry's Pottery Barn rule invocation? What's his point?

Debablogging 10

Bush is loving the husband of a soldier? Watch for the photoshops on CBS this week!

But he's showing humanity, which is his strength.

He continues to show a long range vision, too, with the continual reference to goals beyond getting elected.

Debablogging 9

Bush was misleading, but *I* was not misleading? Through in a French quote to tell us how smart you are, Senator.

Debablogging 8

What would be a last resort for Kerry? Another smoking ruin? A homeland so irradiated with dirty bombs that all we have left is our aircraft carriers? That's war as a last resort, Senator, and I hope you never get the opportunity to take America to war as a last result.

Debablogging 7

Kerry hitting all placards: No alQaeda connection, no WMDs (which are coming across the border every day, that's not a flip flop-that's a paradox--Kerry has taken it to the next level!!!), no imminent threat that Bush would have gone into Iraq.

Well, if Iraq had been Morocco, we wouldn't have invaded either.

We all know. We all know. Crikey, Kerry, never mind.

Debablogging 6

Perhaps two minutes isn't long enough to get them off of the talking points.

Debablogging 5

Hey, CSPAN has the feed with both candidates on at all times. Rock on.

Debablogging 4

Bush rebutted Kerry well on the last bit, calling Kerry out for his denigration of the America's allies in the war.

Debablogging 3

Kerry's getting a lot of tread out of the things that the blogosphere has already pointed out are bogus. Perhaps a better debate would have been Kerry with Vodkapundit.

Debablogging II

Kerry: They're not dying for a mistake, and if I'm elected, they still won't. I guess his point is a continued Bush administration is a mistake for which they should not die?

Must Debablog....

Okay, here I am. Crikey, I'm a little disappointed in Bush's performance so far, but I hope he'll get better.

A Gift for that Modern Drunkard Who Has Everything

Hey, if there's a thoroughly modern drunkard on your Christmas list, you have plenty of time to order a flask camouflaged as a cellular phone.

And everyone wondered why I started to carry a cell phone.... it's to get people used to seeing one on my belt....

Great Moments in Rhetoric

Jay "Not Eliot Spitzer (Yet)" Nixon, Missouri attorney general, speaking about his crackdown on the evil criminal geniuses scalping Cardinals tickets:
    This may not be the crime of the century, but this may be the team of the century and, by gosh, people ought to have a right to see them.
Keep trying, though, and you'll be just like Eliot Spitzer.

Who's not an office holder in the state of Missouri. That's one parallel I would enjoy, too.

That's a Friendly Error Message

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You know what I did? I used your schnucking product, that's what I did.

Campaign Suggestion

Paul Harvey led off with it this morning, and USA Today has written a story about it, so it's undoubtedly clear that as petroleum prices rise, so will the cost of heating our homes this winter. Unfortunately for those who would use fluctations in any market as campaign fodder, the brunt of the winter will occur after the election, but they can get ahead of the story and frighten voters. Let me explain how:

First, you take a revered older statesman of the party, preferably one with a dynamite Nobel prize to his name.

Then you put him on television, bemoaning the state of the country, and announce that citizens will have to put on sweaters and turn down their thermostats because of the policies of the current administration.

Oh, yeah. That will work.

Please try it, oh please please please.

Campaign Suggestion

Paul Harvey led off with it this morning, and USA Today has written a story about it, so it's undoubtedly clear that as petroleum prices rise, so will the cost of heating our homes this winter. Unfortunately for those who would use fluctations in any market as campaign fodder, the brunt of the winter will occur after the election, but they can get ahead of the story and frighten voters. Let me explain how:

First, you take a revered older statesman of the party, preferably one with a dynamite Nobel prize to his name.

Then you put him on television, bemoaning the state of the country, and announce that citizens will have to put on sweaters and turn down their thermostats because of the policies of the current administration.

Oh, yeah. That will work.

Please try it, oh please please please.

Two Of These Things Are Not Like the Others

From Richard Roeper's column in today's Chicago Sun-Times, entitled Young, untalented celebs coming out of woodwork:
    They're young and they're cute, and they're amazingly unaware of the outside world. They spend their days shopping and lunching and sunbathing topless, and they spend their nights at clubs and private parties. They're always, always talking on their cell phones. And they wear red-string Kabbalah bracelets, because, like, it shows how, like, spiritual they are.

    There's Lindsay Lohan, who just a few short years ago was starring in "The Parent Trap." Now Lohan's a freshly minted 18, and she's busy clubbing, chain-smoking, feuding with Hilary Duff, hooking up with her boyfriend -- Wilmer Valderrama, the 24-year-old fifth banana on "That 70s Show" -- and denying rumors that her breasts have been surgically enhanced. It's a wonder the girl has time to make movies!

    There's Christina Aguilera, a pretty good singer who often looks like she's posing for Skank Monthly. Aguilera, who's been pierced more frequently than a porn star at a biker rally, now says she's going minimalist -- keeping just one special piercing.

    There's the little Hilton knockoff sister, Nicky, 20, who married her 33-year-old boyfriend in Vegas. Big sister Paris and fellow party girl Bijou Phillips were in attendance at the classy affair.

    There's Nicole Richie, she of the pierced nippled ring that triggers metal detectors everywhere.

    Why, there's even Barbara and Jenna Bush -- fine and decent young women, to be sure, but also way more into the party scene than, say, Chelsea Clinton.

    There's Jessica Simpson, with her giant blond head and her giant bronze chest and her giant capacity for playing the ditz.

    There's the rapidly aging Tara Reid, who looks like the third runner-up in the 1997 Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant.

    There's Ally Hilfiger and Jaime Gleicher, the spoiled-brat princesses featured on MTV's "Rich Girls."

    There's Mischa Barton. Seems like only yesterday she was the little ghost girl under the bed in "The Sixth Sense." Now she's all about string bikinis and the oil heir boyfriend and Fashion Week.
I call foul. Speaking of evil, there's Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, Pol Pot, Richard Roeper, Adolf Hitler, Ghengis Khan....

I hereby deem Roeper a Juxtaposeur.

Funny, he fails to mention any Kerry children who are prone to showing up at film premieres with see-through dresses and whatnot. I guess they slipped Roeper's one track mind, or maybe he doesn't want to blow his chances with them the next time he sees all of them at a film premiere.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Tales from Psuedobabblerhood II

The night's second Gary Cooper film, 1931's Fighting Caravans, depicted a young (and by young, I mean a year younger than my present age) Gary Cooper as a young ne'er-do-well scout on the trail from Independence, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, as part of a large wagon train beset by Indians.

Not too many comments, but:
  • Lili Damita is way hotter than Helen Hayes, and I can even forgive the French accent since she wisened up and moved to America. Also, at 5' 3", she seems to have a couple of inches on Ms. Hayes, using the relative Cooper scale for comparison.

  • Like the cantankerous scout Bill Jackson, I too have grown quite fond of a Kickapoo girl.
Still, as I delve more into these older films, I have to admit I prefer color films to black and white, unless they've been lovingly restored by gentle, adulating acolyte hands. But that's a matter of taste.

Also, I hope that I am like Gary Cooper. Although I am a stunning example of manhood in my thirties, I hope to get sexier as I near the midcentury mark and beyond. I'm still hoping to dodge the whole lung cancer thing, though.

When Coloradoans Attack!

Well, well, well. Seems that my post tut-tutting the concept of Colorado as part of the heartland has touched a nerve. First, Jared at Exultate Justi comments, and then one of his readers sends me this enlightened e-mail:
    You ignorant person...

    Dear Brian,
    Read your post "Colorado is not the heartland" (linked from Exultate
    Justi). I would suggest that you watch too much television if you think
    rather small, insignificant places like Aspen and Vail as typical of my
    state. Boulder? Show me a major college town that is not infested by
    leftist wierdoes. Athens? Lawrence? Chapel Hill? Not!

    Skiing? Actually, that 'sport' was developed by us as a tourist trap to
    sucker Texans and Chicagoans into spending their money. They also often
    spend time in our hospitals after this activity, further spending money.
    Sadly, many of these people stayed.

    Not the heartland, indeed! I am sick of all of you lowlanders thinking
    that this is some kind of snow-covered wonderland (we really ought to
    re-name sme of our sports franchises that reflect this misconception).

    Denver? typical nasty yuppie-infested big city. Colorado Springs?
    Imagine Birmingham, Alabama without the humidity. We are just as normal
    as any other place in the USA.
In the interest of reaching out to our poor Colorado brothers and elevating the discourse, I'd like to point out:

Coors beer isn't very good either.

Tales from Psuedobabblerhood

So tonight's first movie is the 1932 rendition of A Farewell to Arms starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. Here are my thoughts:
  • Man, Helen Hayes was kinda cute, but she's like, what, 4 foot tall?

  • Good to see Gary Cooper was as cross-eyed as I am.

  • You want to know a secret about the quality of DVDs you get when you buy a classic double feature for $10? Man, it's authentic. I got every pop and his in the soundtrack in surround sound, baby. If only I had HDTV, undoubtedly it would be as pixelated as playing Doom on an Atari 2600. Which I think was called Gunfight, by the way, but that's neither here nor there.

  • Some people, particularly academics (especially those attending Colorado universities) would say that one could not truncate or chop up a Hemingway novel, but this movie indicates that you can. It's not a bad movie, but it's just a shell of what the book was.

    Of course, some would continue to cast aspersions on Hemingway's novels, instead preferring the continental confuance of James Joyce. When I encounter these people, I prefer to engage them in a rigorous drunken brawl. I know that's what Papa would have wanted.

The Review Reviewed

Over on, the author responds to my review of his novel A Death of Honor.

Tales from Pseudobacherlorhood: Brian Shivs Cary Grant

So I pardon me if I get a little, how do you say it, upset. As some of you know, when my beautiful wife leaves town for business or biking, I take refuge in DVDs to kill the long, lonely hours without the fuego de mi corazon, la luz de vida, and the woman who represents even more foreign language sayings with more italics.

So this evening, when my beautiful wife has gone to a tropical location without me, I watch An Affair to Remember, not because I like chick flicks recommended by the Meg Ryan character in Sleepless in Seattle, but because I am researching the requisites for being a sensitive guy (please don't beat me up, Tap City codrinkers).

Little did I know that the whole point was that the musically-minded, auburn-haired babe was travelling in a tropical location when she encountered a sharpie like Cary Grant, whom she decided that, as a non-practicing painter who could do the cha-cha and who had a grandmother in France with a good spread, was worth more than her faithful man at home. Pardon me if I take some offense.

Mr. Grant (and his sharpie ilk), I have a pen right here with which I have practiced the particular angle that I can use to drive its blue ball point through your Xyphoid Process right into the lower quadrant of your left lung, so if you even dare start circling my wife in a stairwell, prepare for your lower tracheotomy, do you know what I am saying?

Sure, the movie tried to make me forget my point by detouring into some musical sort of bits through the first part of the third act, with all those damn urchins singing, but I remained undeterred. No matter how many times they ran that damn "Affair to Remmeber" song through its various interpretations, I could hear nothing but "The Long Goodbye" playing on the car radio, do you get my drift?

Criminey, this brings to mind several things:
  • I miss my wife.

  • I should lower my caffeine intake.

  • As shidoshi said, practice the upward strike by dropping rear leg and pivoting 45 degrees, blocking with left hand and jamming pen into craw with right hand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Friendly Warning

When you're eating leftover Kentucky Fried Chicken, do not catch up on reading your back issues of Playboy magazine. The grease on your fingertips will leave marks on the pages which you will never explain to anyone's satisfaction.

So I heard.

That's a Distribution System I'll Enjoy

Regarding the new, more-counterfeit looking fifty dollar bill, MSNBC reports:
    The new $50s soon will be showing up at banks, cash registers and wallets.
I'm watching my wallet carefully, awaiting that spontaneous fiftication.

On the other hand, I'm slightly disturbed the government can just beam them right in, but on the other hand, it's fifty bucks (as long as you can convince the cashier it's fifty bucks).

On still another hand, I'm going to use this excuse the next time a scrip of paper that says Brian, Call Me Back, Love Your Bod, Candi falls from my wallet, I'm going to use the excuse that it just showed up at my wallet. Because That's my business contact at xxxxx just won't work when she mentions my bod.

I think I'm out of hands now.

Distilling E. J Dionne

In today's Washington Post, E. J. Dionne writes a column entitled How To Win The Heartland. As a proponent and resident of the heartland, I was rather interested in hearing how a coastal intellectual would have his type of candidate play in drive around, but not out of unless it's necessary country (which is how I characterize it, but I don't care to fly).

But then I realized he's talking about a senatorial candidate in Colorado. Colorado, home to Vail, Aspen, Boulder, and Denver. Sorry, Stephen, but I don't consider Colorardo to be part of the heartland.

But that aside, let me distill Dionne's wisdom in how a Democrat can win even in the "heartland" into the two most salient nuggets:
  • Wear black jeans and cowboy boots, and remember to take your cowboy hat off indoors.

  • Work to extend government benefits to people who aren't currently accepting government benefits, like Republicans.
That just might work in a heart of rich people snow resortland.

Another Dizzying Intellect Heard From

Why do you see so many black Republicans these days? Dave Berkmann of the Shepherd Express sees right through us:
    Why all the showcasing of blacks by the GOP? "The goal," according to University of Chicago political science professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, "is not to increase the [Republicans'] share of African-American votes, but to signal moderate voters that the party is not racist. ... Individuals such as Alan Keyes, Colin Powell and [education secretary] Ron Paige have the effect of reassuring 'soccer moms' and 'NASCAR dads' that they can support the Republican Party without signaling they are racially biased." In other words, another GOP scam.
Hey, he's a former professor who taught the "science" of mass communications. Pardon me while I have someone with a better pedigree do my thinking for me.

In a Second Bush Administration, They Will Draft Dairy Cattle

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, John Kerry explains Bush's diabolical plans for cattle, including the dreaded Haliburton Battle Holstein. Or something.

Monday, September 27, 2004
The Post-Dispatch Explains the Blogosphere

From a news analysis piece on Sunday entitled New media beat old in testing veracity of Bush memos, which describes how bloggers uncovered the memo forgeries broadcast by CBS:
    Hours after "60 Minutes" aired what it said were memos written in 1972 and 1973 by Bush's squadron leader, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, a man using the name Buckhead posted a comment on Free Republic (, a right-wing bulletin board.
That's precious. In an article about how new media checks the old media's facts and calls them on mistakes, the old media mistakenly gives the URL for Power Line Blog when talking about Free Republic.

Remedial Google classes for all Post-Dispatch writers and editors, stat. Not stet, dammit, stat!

Maybe That's Why He's Hoarse

So I opened my mail, even the piece from John Kerry, because hey, you never know what you might get (Ed Gillespie sent me a dollar, which I am keeping, thanks, Ed!). Here's the pitch from John Kerry:

Kerry fundraising letter
Click for full size

All caps? I don't think I have ever gotten a letter written in Internet shouting before. Crikey, these people and their typewriters.

Mail Call

One of these things is not like the others; one of these things does not belong.

Can you spot it?

One of these mails is not like the others
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Do the Math

The greatest Green Bay Packer quarterbacks were named Bart Starr and Brett Favre. That's a B-r-hard consonant ending first name followed by a single syllable last name. Coincidence? Who is to say what divine kismet is involved? However, I would like to point out that Brad Smith fits.

Oh, yeah. Ms. Igert, a Mizzou fan and a Packer fan, is nodding in agreement.

From Our Department of Unintended Consequences Desk

Pack a large number of disparate people in an enclosed area, moving slowly, and what do you have? A tempting target:
    Stepped-up screening procedures at Los Angeles International Airport that were designed to make flying safer have created another potential vulnerability: long lines that are a "tempting target for terrorists," security experts said Friday.
The answer, obviously: Spend more money:
    Rand Corp. researchers recommended in a 47-page report that airlines and federal officials spend $4 million a year to add skycaps, ticket agents and screeners to speed travelers through lines in terminal lobbies and on sidewalks and into the secure gate area — where they would be less vulnerable to attack.
Spend more money ($4 million a year to start), add more procedures, and then herd the people into a more "secure" enclosed space where they'll still be a target.

Man, how can I get paid for bad ideas? I have a million of them! At $10 each, I would be rich!

Sunday, September 26, 2004
I, Robot; Well, Not I, Personally

I got an opportunity this weekend to see I, Robot, the 2004 film starring Will Smith and "suggested by" Isaac Asimov. In between shots designed to remind us that Will Smith has been working out, it wasn't a bad film. Not even a bad story. I don't remember if I've read the book--I remember mistaking it in my memory for Caves of Steel, which means I'm ultimately as reliable of a narrator as anything you'd find in a Philip K. Dick novel, but that's neither here nor there.

Regardless, I thought I might comment upon those people who often unfavorably compare a movie to its source novel or an Alan Dean Foster novel compared to the original movie. Crikey, people, understand that the two are different media, with different ways of presenting a sometimes common story, which might differ in incidents and characters.

I mean, let's face it, when you're arguing about which presentation is best, you're arguing about whose translation of The Iliad is best. Lattimore? Lombardo? Presented with the choice, undoubtedly an ancient Greek would shake his fist at both books and say that either one ruins the story because the dry text removes the storyteller's inflections and ability to alter the content for the audience.

So yeah, although I think the original Battlestar Galactica was a triumph of storytelling and mythmaking, I won't automatically discard the new rendition because Starbuck's a hot chick, and I wasn't prejudiced against I, Robot the movie simply because it wasn't faithful to the Isaac Asimov original.

And I don't want to ruin it for you, but don't remember early, as I did, that Deckard was a replicant.

Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (2003)

I bought this book earlier this year, for full price (minus 30%) from Borders because I didn't think I read enough contemporary fiction, or perhaps genre fiction, or maybe just good fiction. I was right; I read this book in under two days from the previous fiction book I read, which is some number of weeks less than it took me to read the penultimate fiction book. Maybe I shouldn't buy all of my books for under a dollar.

So, onto Odd Thomas. This is the first Koontz I've read, undoubtedly influenced by those strange disembodied voices I heard telling me to read Odd Thomas--that is, the radio commercials for it. So I gave it a whirl, and I liked it. But since this is "horror" fiction, I have to compare Koontz to Stephen King, and I like them both so far, but each has different strengths.

The first person narrator of this book engaged me immediately, and the voice carried me through the book. The book builds a lot of small incidents into a climax of less scope than a King book, but the voice carries the reader. King's books begin with what the dark half in The Dark Half would call the wetwork; third person narration, with each character likeable, but inevitably they start dropping like flies pretty early.

On the other hand, King's foreshadowing is more subtle; although Koontx does the same, it's obvious that the paragraphs he dedicates to foreshadowing are foreshadowing; however, I forgive him that.

The book deals with a 20-year-old fry cook in a desert community in California who sees dead people. When a stranger comes into the diner where he cooks, followed by a number of shadowy harbingers of bloodshed, Odd Thomas knows trouble is coming. And as he badly foreshadows, the trouble will change his life and that of his town, Pico Mundo, forever.

That's a shorter summary than you'll get on the dust jacket, but it will take you not much longer to read the book.

And I don't want to spoil anything for you, but Deckard was a replicant.

Read This Nuance

Over the weekend, I read an article in the Kansas City Star which explained that John Kerry's debate weakness was that he was too cerebral and nuanced. I couldn't find it for my wife, but here's another piece of the same flavor, written by the AP and courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

Lead sentence:
    This fall's presidential debates will pit George W. Bush's folksy manner and big-picture brand of policymaking against John Kerry's more cerebral outlook and nuanced world view.
Kerry's superiority:
    On paper, Kerry would seem to have just the right resume to thwack the president in this type of setting. A high school and college debate champ with two decades of Senate repartee under his belt, Kerry knows intimately the details of policymaking and how to argue any side of an issue.
Bush's "strength":
    The president, by contrast, is rarely accused of offering too much information. He is militantly "on message," often repeating a few set points over and over.

    "Bush debates the way Chris Evert plays tennis - no unforced errors," says Democrat Paul Begala, who played the part of the president in rehearsals with Al Gore for the 2000 debates. "He doesn't get out of his game. He won't try to get into philosophy and nuance and deep thinking."
The debates:
    Kerry, by contrast, "really has no facial expression," says Lakoff. "He just talks. ... I think Kerry's long sentences and lack of intonation and facial expression say, 'Yes, I'm very smart but I'm kind of phoning it in.'"

    Jurgen Streeck, a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that while Kerry is not a very lively communicator, the debates may provide a good setting to showcase him as "a thoughtful speaker."

    Bush, meanwhile, must guard against smugness.

    "He has that kind of smirk," says John Fritch, head of the communications department at the University of Northern Iowa and director of the National Debate Tournament. "Given the issues that we're dealing with, the casualties in Iraq, an inappropriate smile will not go over well."

    Says Begala, "If I were prepping Bush, I would warn him about crossing the line from self-confident to cocky. People like his self-confidence but there are moments, particularly when he's jacked up on adrenaline, when he crosses that line."
Go read the whole article, and you tell me if the point isn't that Kerry's smart, but comes off as too smart, and that Bush is not as smart but more self-assured, almost cocky.

Of course, this is AP, which Powerline has identified as a field office for the Kerry campaign anyway.

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