Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 16, 2004

You know, an olive is really nothing more than a salty little grape, no matter what Athena told the Greeks.

Friday, October 15, 2004
The Only Team America Review That Matters

Damn, that Sarah was hot. For a puppet.

Sounds Like a QA Problem

You know who's to blame for this, don't you?
    NASA's Genesis space capsule crashed in the Utah desert last month because a critical piece of equipment that was supposed to trigger the release of two parachutes apparently was installed backward, space-agency officials said Thursday.
Damn Quality Assurance! They should catch it when the engineers put the switch is put on backwards!

The Most Holy Newspaper Columnist Saith

James Lileks, in his Newhouse News column this week:
    As a young and ambitious man, John Kerry famously asked: How do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake? Good question. Perhaps President Kerry will explain how you ask someone to be the first person to die for a nuisance.

When The Comedian Says, "But Seriously...."

A paid blogger, which is paid less than and is only as believable as a newspaper columnist, named Kevin Drum draws attention to insubstantive issues in the Presidential race:
    Look, I don't think it's a transmitter beaming secret prompts into Bush's ear. But as these pictures from each of the three debates shows, there's very clearly something there. The White House can't just blandly write it off as a weird internet rumor when photos from three separate debates all show it.

    So what's going on? The Bush campaign has denied it's a bulletproof vest but hasn't otherwise commented. Is it a back brace? A medical contraption? A secret security device of some kind? (If so, it's not a secret anymore.) Why hasn't the White House press corps asked Scott McClellan about this and demanded a straight answer? How can they allow themselves to be blown off about something this peculiar?

    Shouldn't someone get a serious answer to this question? He is the president of the United States, after all.
Like a lot of us, Drum confuses earnest with serious, much like academic philosophers confuse authentic with virtuous, real with good, and other concepts that sometimes coincide, but not as often as earnest, authentic, and real people would have you believe.

Unfortunately, although he highlights something and says it's interesting, he really doesn't add anything to the story. Unlike yours truly.

VodkaPundit's "Associate" Will Collier: Heretic

Stephen Green, who rumor has it was banished from St. Louis for making a remark about the Chicago Cubs that could be construed as anything other than an insult, allows a guy to use his blog to utters promulgate more heresy: Green's "associate" has contradicted the blogma that James Lileks is the Most Holy Newspaper Columnist, both regular and extra syndi.

I'd say he should be stoned, but he's already half way there in an airport in Florida even as we speak.

Friends, don't let him plea for mercy with the admission
    I once bought a broken Donkey Kong, Jr. arcade game for $35. It took another $12 and about an hour to fix it (it's since been traded for the sweet Asteroids Deluxe that graces my den). Makes me just chuckle in an evil fashion at anybody who pays two grand for one of these.
Yea, verily, for I have looked in the Most Hallowed Tome of the Revered and have found his name lacking. Of course, mine was, too, but I had been removed during an audit after changing ISPs. What's Green's associate's?

Except he's a witch. Or a heretic. Scroll back up and see; I've been on Killer List of Video Games so long in my "research" that I have forgotten what I was accusing him of.

UPDATE: Someone using the name "Stephen Green" in an e-mail has taken umbrage at this post:
    Will Collier wrote that piece, not me! And we're up two games to nothin'.

Upon further review, I have determined that the post on VodkaPundit has been attributed to this "Will Collier" fellow, but as I replied to my e-mail correspondent, I have never seen Stephen Green and Will Collier in the same place. Of course, I have never seen Will Collier or Stephen Green in person, so perhaps I have seen them together and have not known it. But don't confuse me.

Ergo, I have corrected this piece inline in red.

The rebuttal from the e-mailer claiming to be Stephen Green, and indeed the post itself raise two more scandals:
  • The e-mailer said And we're up two games to nothin'. revealing that he is a Yankees fan or is trying to slander Stephen Green as a Yankees fan. Don't confuse me, I am doing old-fashioned investigative muckraking blogournalism here.

  • If Will Collier has the Asteroids Deluxe, Green is sacrificing some geek cred by not immediately enumerating his video game collection. Sure, he's got a new wet bar we all covet, but that cosmopolitanism cred, and the exchange rate for pure geek creds is low.

Thursday, October 14, 2004
Cardinals Coalition Update

Cardinals lead Houston in NLCS 2-0.

Tonight, the Cardinals won and the Yankees did not. Get used to it, New York.

Finally, Some Optimism from the Democrat Ticket

In this op-ed piece by John Edwards, the vice presidential candidate explains why residents of middle America have reason to be optimistic if they vote Kerry-Edwards.

We Had To Destroy the Republic In Order To Save It

Stephen Green reflects on the Democratic Party's national strategy:
    If Drudge has it right, then the Kerry-Edwards campaign is going to do its damnedest to turn our fine nation into a banana republic.

    To these guys, winning office is more important than the sanctity of elections. Holding power is more important than the Constitution. Much as I despise at least half of what most Republicans stand for, they don't seem nearly as willing to trash the system they're trying to run. Too many Democrats, especially at the national level, just don't care that our system, our nation is far more important than any single election.

    I could mention the Lautenberg Trick in New Jersey. Or Gore's ballot shenanigans in Florida. Or the voter-registration fraud currently going on in Colorado, Nevada, and elsewhere. Or the Democrat's successful call to bring election observers into this country. Bring them in from where, Venezuela? Hey, no big deal sullying the reputation of the world's oldest continuously-functioning democracy, just so long as we can make the Republicans look bad, right?
He forgets to mention Missouri's decision to run a dead Democrat for Senate in 2000. Which, I believe, Al Franken approved of based on his comments in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

In some cases, I think it's beyond a simple lust for power; with naked ambition, there's some calculation. I think that at the base level, some vocal members of the Democratic party and some moonbat fringes of Left thought just must rule the Others in the lesser tribes; the rubes from the middle of the country, the undereducated (which means those who think differently), and those who have that dreaded Christian religion.

Because they're Ubermensch, although undoubtedly there's a nicer term that they use when discussing it amongst themselves.

Classical Education Shifts

From this column by Bryan Burwell in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we find how educated allusions have shifted:
    Who could leave with the Cardinals and Astros engaged in a highly entertaining, emotionally draining contest that had more lead changes and mood swings than Sybil?
Do you think he means the oracle or the Sally Field TV movie?

What? You don't know what either of them means without clicking the links? You damn whelp, go read IMAO or something. Get offa my lawn!

Kerry Admits He's A Crook

-- MfBJN Exclusive -- Must Credit MfBJN --

Here's telling quote from the debate last night:
    KERRY: I want you to notice how the president switched away from jobs and started talking about education principally.

    Let me come back in one moment to that, but I want to speak for a second, if I can, to what the president said about fiscal responsibility.

    Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country.
Help me while I explain the "Interviewed by our WoT allies like Sudan" logic behind this bombshell:
  • The president is fiscally irresponsible, although he really only gets to spend the money given to him by the legislature, which includes the Senate, which contains 98 state representatives who show up to vote on spending bills. But George W. Bush has truly not vetoed any spending, and he has not squeezed the great self-interested bureaucracies that he heads to offer rebates.

  • John Kerry is fiscally irresponsible, at least in the vast volume of public spending and programs and giveaways he'd implement if President. Undoubtedly, he's voted for gratuitous spending as a Senator (even though he's tried to balance the social programs with unequally small cuts in military programs).

  • Tony Soprano, a fictional character, is a criminal.

  • Therefore, when George W. Bush (fiscally irresponsible) lectures John Kerry (fiscally irresponsible) about fiscal responsibility, it's like Tony Soprano (criminal) lecturing John Kerry (?) about law and order.
Irrefutable logic that seems to have fallen and struck its head while taking photographs of a demonstration in Iran.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Cardinals Coalition Update

Cardinals lead Houston in NLCS 1-0.

Come on, Yankees, let's just sweep the respective series and we can start your beating next week. How does that sound?

Wednesday Night Poetry

While you await the much anticipated lottery drawings this evening, stop by American Digest to read a couple of poems by new poet laureate Ted Kooser.

It beats 1700 of Emily Dickinson's collected poems.

Good Software Takes Time

In a piece entitled "Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To It", Joel Spolsky explains how good, robust software needs time:
    To experienced software people, none of this is very surprising. You write the first version of your product, a few people use it, they might like it, but there are too many obvious missing features, performance problems, whatever, so a year later, you've got version 2.0. Everybody argues about which features are going to go into 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, because there are so many important things to do. I remember from the Excel days how many things we had that we just had to do. Pivot Tables. 3-D spreadsheets. VBA. Data access. When you finally shipped a new version to the waiting public, people fell all over themselves to buy it. Remember Windows 3.1? And it positively, absolutely needed long file names, it needed memory protection, it needed plug and play, it needed a zillion important things that we can't imagine living without, but there was no time, so those features had to wait for Windows 95.
I would disagree with the first sentence though; to experienced people working in the software industry, this might come as a surprise, but to many people in the software industry, good software is software that goes out on schedule or satisfies the terms of the contract; quality and usability don't figure in.

(Link seen on American Digest.)

Book Review: Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters by Bill Sammon (2004)

My beautiful wife gave me this book for no particular occasion. THIS JUST IN (since she's watching me type this): she heard Bill Sammon on KMOX radio and thought I would like it, but I repeat it was not for my birthday or Christmas or anything.

And then she read it before I did.

I can only imagine the glee with which the historians of the future will dig into the plethora of primary secondary sources for the politics of our time. Tomes such as Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden, Slander, Treason, Stupid White Men, and other commentary by pundits, comedians, and know-nothings, or the books written by the disgruntled government officials, or whoever wants to make a quick buck off of the suddenly bestselling venomous tome collection.

Future historians will find this book more useful, as it tells the story of the Bush administration, particularly in the run up and execution of the Iraq war, and presents the narrative as the Bush administration would want it written. Sure, it's lightly partisan, particularly in the choice of verbs to connect a quote to a speaker who disagrees with the Bush administration, but it's not invested heavily in name calling or scoring cheap points. The book explores how the straight ahead style of the administration often confounds its self-appointed betters.

It's an encouraging book, and it's inside baseball in some places, but you're a political junkie anyway if you're reading this blog. So read the book if you'd like. Enjoy it while it's relevant, before it becomes just one more book in the stacks in some university library where it will end up.

Pickup Lines That Never Worked For Me

Hey, baby, care for some excessive palpation ? (Link SFW.)

Let's see how many people click over to an almost-unrelated post on Ann Althouse's blog with that lead-in.

Election 2004 Guest Commentary

In an effort to broaden the commentary here on MfBJN, we've sponsored a roundtable-style discussion of Election 2004:

Subcreatures! Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar, the Traveler, has come! Choose and perish!

What do you mean, choose? We don't understand!

Choose! Choose the form of the Destructor!

Whoa! I get it, I get it. Very cute! Whatever we think of - if we think of J. Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover will appear and destroy us, okay? So empty your heads. Empty your heads. Don't think of anything. We've only got one shot at this.

The choice is made! The Traveler has come!

Whoa! Whoa! Nobody choosed anything! Did you choose anything?


Did you?

My mind's totally blank!

I didn't choose anything!

I couldn't help it. It just popped in there!

Enjoy your president, America. He just popped in there.

Your Data Or Your Life

Maybe I'm just a simpleton working in the very self-important IT world, but when I read Charles Cooper's latest column, "Access to Tom Ridge or bust", I found it a little hard to worry that the Department of Homeland Security is spending too little (for the IT industry's taste) of its limited resources on protecting data:
    Industry executives have long complained about the lack of attention given to an issue that rates more important than the occasional photo op.

    There's a pattern here. Both previous cybersecurity czars, Richard Clarke and Howard Schmidt, urged the government to move faster to combat the threat to the nation's information infrastructure. But whatever progress has come has been at a snail's pace.

    You can understand why the administration is not circling the wagons. Unlike Iraq or the economy, the state of the nation's Internet infrastructure won't be on many people's minds when they enter the voting booths Nov. 2. Out of sight, out of mind--unless, of course, the entire kit and caboodle comes crashing down because of an attack.

    Until then, the Bushistas can continue to pursue a policy of benign neglect while pretending to be doing important work. It's great politics, and isn't that what this is really all about?
Oh, spare me. If my bank loses my data and takes a couple of days to restore from backups, I'll be fine. Even if they lose all the money we have in the bank, our Just In Time earning habits ensure we won't lose a lot of fiscal inventory. Uf the supply chain management of gas facilities prevents me from fueling my truck, I have a bike. I can walk. I can understand the four way stop concept if the stoplights go out, and if some stupid utility company put Internet-ready (that is insecure-already) flow controls that will leave me in the dark, I have pressboard to burn.

But if some jihadist cell streeams over the southern border and snipes, nukes, bombs, or otherwise kills me for the greater glory of its own fevered death fetish, I don't have to worry about enduring temporary discomfort, ainna?

Self-appointed technomessiahs need to gain a little perspective and learn the difference between life and their livelihoods before lamenting that not enough chow is put in their federal trough. To blame it on the Bush administration's political concerns is crass.

Read It and Geek

The Book of Ratings grades Dungeons and Dragons monsters. For example, the blink dog:
    These intelligent, teleporting, other-dimensional fox terriers are the natural enemies of displacer beasts. I love that Gygax had this whole magic-spewing ecosystem going on. Of course blink dogs are the natural enemies of displacer beasts! And esophagus monsters feed on the tender leaves of the rare-but-majestic elf ficus! It all fits together! Anyhow, blink dogs are chaotic good, which means that they're one of the few creatures in the Monster Manual that don't exist solely to guard treasure and draw blood. Instead they can aid the party, provide information, and look really surprised when you kill them to search their spleen for emeralds. C-
(Link courtesy Brock Sides at Signifying Nothing.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
I Blame Myself

The Packers have not won a game since I got my jersey.

Astros fans, contact me via the link at the left to find out how you can send me tons of free Cardinals paraphernalia in hopes of transferring the curse to baseball.

Monday, October 11, 2004
Tales from a Red State

From Bill Sammon's book Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters, the "Fly Boy" chapter about Bush's landing on the USS Lincoln (you know, the much maligned Mission Accomplished flight):
    "If it wasn't safe, the president of the United States would not be doing it," Fleischer said. "And I remind you it's done every day, many times a day, by navy pilots whose mission is to fly on an aircraft carrier."

    But not all such landings were successful. Just one month earlier, a Viking skidded off the deck of the
    USS Constellation. The two pilots were rescued and the navy was investigating the cause of the mishap.
I remember the incident. Lt. Matthew Wilder is the son of my insurance agent.

Whom do you know to thank?

Ads I Don't Like

For no other reason than because it's my blog and I wanna, I'm going to lay upon you, gentle reader, three advertisements or advertising campaigns that really get on my nerves.

  • Dry pits win.
    I can't remember what antiperspirant company put out this weird line of print ads (and it serves them right, my proud ignorance). But if you've been reading a men's magazine of any stripe--Playboy, Maxim, or Esquire--for the last year, you've seen this abominations. In a romantic setting such as a nice restaurant, riding on a horse on a beach, or lying on a carpet before a crackling fire, we espy an attractive woman (a different one in each ad, just like in James Bond films) canoodling with what appears to be an armpit with strange, three-toed feet). In each instance, this bizarre creature is seated, so he's bent, and the feet are where the ribcage should be, and where the arm should be we have no head, just a flat spot like the damn thing's not only hairy in the front but decapitated.

    Jesus and mary chain, what the hell kind of bad acid trip in a muddy-field rave inspired this thing? I mean, I can understand a tendency to want to appeal to the average schlub who knows he doesn't look like those eighteen year old pretty boys who pout their way through the pages between the cheesecake on the front cover and the table of contents, but good God, man, who identifies with an anthromorphized armpit? I mean, this set seriously creeps me out.

    I mean, when the armpit has its fun in its one night stand and romps off with the next hot model in the next exotic locale, stranding the heartbroken previous hot model who thought she could tame his untamed but dry armpituous nature alone and unfortunately pregnant because he used the line not only am I dry, but I am sterile, you've got to wonder what will those poor children look like?

  • AAA Insurance.
    You might have heard the radio commercials in the "Why would you pay for insurance you're never going to use" campaign. Lord knows I have. Whomever, whoever, or whatever wrote these ought to be handling a run for office somewhere. "When you have AAA insurance, along with a AAA membership...." you get insurance you can use for free towing, discounts when you show your card, and so on.

    What the wet sprocket? With the purchase of bleach and bread, I can make a sandwich, but I'm not using both for it. How on earth do they expect to convince a rational person to purchase their insurance by hyping the AAA membership, which is $105 a year for the Gold plan last I checked? Who can trust a vendor who tries to sell you the falcoing insurance for a lot of money to give you the separate advertised features thrown in for a little extra?

    Apparently, they're targeting undecided voters, too.

  • GMC Trucks
    Built professional grade, huh? Perhaps you've seen the particular commercial where they tout the individual, 4 inch galvanized steel bolts they use to bolt their truck beds to their frame. They illustrate this by linching a pulley with a single one of these bolts and winching a truck to the ceiling with that pulley while a guy in a lab coat, undoubtedly an underpaid Quality Engineer who should only have faith in the tests and never in the products tested, stands underneath the truck while it's creaking on the line and single bolt.

    Then, with the music coming up but before it cuts to the still featuring the latest financing package, a truck roars into the frame at probably thirty miles an hour and skids to a stop, fishtailing it forty degrees over a very stern Professional Driver. Closed Course. Do Not Attempt caption that does its best textual impression of James Earl Jones warning you about skidding in your automobile. Personally, I've never gotten the whole idea behind using footage of the vehicle out of control to sell a car, but I work for a living.

    Message: Don't try some small fry fancy maneuvers while driving unless you're a professional; however, standing under your truck while it's swinging from the rafters on a single bolt is a perfectly good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Chumbawamba, how many half-gassed suburbanites have to die while trying to impress their hemi-having neighbors before this commercial carries the appropriate number of antilitigatory warnings that if you consume hyberbolic acid, you could have a bad trip?
Thanks. I feel better now, but not much.

I Thought So

Here's what passes for hard-hitting investigative journalism here at MfBJN. Our crackhead staff contacted our sources looking for insight into John F. Kerry's plan:

John Kerry's Plan
Click for full size

I had to get a screencap because I understand that thirty seconds after I click Publish Post, George Soros will go the extra $75 to buy that domain.

You want to know the length I will go for a gag? It's obviously less than a single domain name registration. There you have it.

Cardinals Coalition Update

Red alert

With no apologies to Catalano, the Cardinals nation wants Yankee meat.

Don't wuss out and lose to the Boston Red Sox to avoid your destiny, pinstripers. You have an appointment in Samarra Busch Stadium.

Sunday, October 10, 2004
Fill In Your Own Conspiracy Blanks

From various sources including Associated Press and the New York Times (links courtesy of Boots and Sabers and Little Green Footballs respectively), we get the dramatic fevered imaginings of a few:
    What was that bulge in the back of President Bush's suit jacket at the presidential debate in Miami last week?

    According to rumors racing across the Internet this week, the rectangular bulge visible between Mr. Bush's shoulder blades was a radio receiver, getting answers from an offstage counselor into a hidden presidential earpiece. The prime suspect was Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's powerful political adviser.
In the hopes of elevating this line of thought from the absurd to the....well, there's really nowhere more absurd to go as a serious story. So I will do my best to mock it.

The real reasons for the bulge under Bush's jacket:
  • It's the wind-up key. Because President Bush, unlike other candidates in this particular race, actually shows up for the job for which taxpayers pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, he had to send his wind-up body double to the debate. And it didn't do to badly. It certainly looked less mechanical than, say, Al Gore.

  • Missouri is a right to carry state. Since Bush can't feel the comfort of cold steel in leather in Washington DC, which he frequently visits on the people's business unlike his opponent, Bush wore a piece to the debate. He wore it McClane-style so as to not frighten the undecideds in the audience nor to stir controversy with the press should his jacket fall open to display it. Undoubtedly, they would say he was trying to intimidate Kerry and pander to the NRA.

  • It's where the mechanical arms attach.

    To manipulate oil prices, to violate the civil rights of every man, woman, and child in the world, to start wars just to watch them burn, and to conduct his other maniacal schemes, Dr. Octobush has devised a set of extra chimp arms to help him do all the evil that he does more easily. They attach via a special clip wired directly into his brain.

  • Man, who knew how small devil wings folded up?
Hey, feel free to add your own. We're on the Internet for crying out loud. It's all tRuth.

(Note: Capital R truth does in fact differ from capital T truth, but it's more accommodating to those whose personal feelings differ from the real world, so it's capital E bEtter.)

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