Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Well, It's Not Passive Voice

Check out the cover of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

St. Louis Post Dispatch Cover November 27 2004

Note the headline: GIRL DIES AFTER FINDING GUN LEFT AT HOME. Although on the surface, it sounds like the headline's telling the story, but it's offering enough editorial comment about how the St. Louis Post-Dispatch feels about guns in the home, especially homes with children.

Drill down into the story, which is entitled Girl, 5, is shot to death at home online:
    A 5-year-old East St. Louis girl died from a gunshot wound to her face Friday afternoon after she or her 9-year-old brother found a gun that belonged to their mother's boyfriend, police said.

    It is not yet known whether the girl shot herself or if her brother shot her.

    Police said the children's mother had left the girl and her brother with the mother's boyfriend at the family's townhouse in the 1800 block of North 43rd Street while she went to a grocery Friday afternoon.

    The boyfriend, who police said had left his .40-caliber handgun loaded in the house, was on the second floor of the townhouse at the time of the shooting. Downstairs, police said, one of the children found the handgun. The girl was shot in the living room.

    "He said he didn't hear a shot," Deputy Police Chief Rudy McIntosh said. "He didn't even know what happened until the boy went upstairs and told him."
Okay, let's run down the list of details:
  • East St. Louis, a city whose best neighborhood is merely a bad neighborhood.

  • Mother's boyfriend is watching the kids from upstairs, where he doesn't hear a forty caliber pistol discharge.

  • This particular handgun was in Illinois, where it's not the easiest thing to have or hold a handgun.

  • The gun was not stored upstairs, but downstairs, and was apparently not secured in any case.
Perhaps I'm overly suspicious, but before Illinois legislators propose outlawing guns in homes with or near homes with children, perhaps we better wait for more details. Of course, if this turns out to be a drug house or something, we won't get further details. Just a poorly written headline intended to add to the torrent of anti-gun messages designed to further limit law-abiding gun owners without doing anything to prevent tragedies that occur with gun owners who are irresponsible or unlawful.

Bonus Snark:

Here's how I immediately reacted to the headline:
  • She just found it and had a heart attack!

  • Look, honey, the Post-Dispatch is now in favor of concealed carry so you can take your gun with you!
Both make light of the headline, but ultimately, it's not funny because some kid is still dead.

Friday, November 26, 2004
Book Review: A Key to the Suite by John D. MacDonald (1962)

I piad $1.95 for this book at Downtown Books in Milwaukee last month. As some of you will recall, I read Judge Me Not and On the Run in the last month. My affinity for John D. MacDonald and my respect for his talent and his range continue to grow.

A Key to the Suite represents less of a crime novel than a fictional anthropological study of a lifestyle in which a crime happens to occur--much like One More Sunday or Condominium, where a hurricane plays the part of the crime. MacDonald examines corporate politics and dirty dealings that happen as part of a convention in a Florida hotel. Floyd Hubbard, a hatchet man, has come to the convention to put together a confidential report on an executive about to get fired. However, the executive fires back with a scheme involving a prostitute whose affection will impugn Hubbard's reputation and report.

The book's fairly brutal and bleak in its resolution, but MacDonald really creates a sense of place. I can almost imagine the scene in the burgeoning Florida resort scene as a post World War II company man would have seen it.

I got to be more like this guy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Non Sequitur of the Day

From an entertainment story at CNN entitled Lisa Kudrow set for 'Comeback'. Lead paragraphs:
    Lisa Kudrow isn't waiting for "Friends" to become a distant memory -- she's already signed on for a new sitcom that sounds tailor made for her.

    Kudrow will star in and executive produce "The Comeback," which has received a 14-episode order from HBO, the premium cable channel said Tuesday.

    She plays a former sitcom star trying to revive her career. Kudrow co-wrote the pilot episode with Michael Patrick King, who also is serving as an executive producer. An air date was not announced.
The pretty non sequitur comes at the end:
    Kudrow played ditsy Phoebe Buffay in NBC's hit sitcom "Friends," which ended in May after 10 years. Her film roles include "Analyze This," its sequel "Analyze That" and "The Opposite of Sex."

    Former stars of "Seinfeld" have mostly found that success hard to top. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander each had a flop after the show ended. Alexander is trying again with the freshman series "Listen Up" on CBS.
No idea why Seinfeld was important to note, since Kudrow didn't star in it, nor did the article mention anything about Seinfeld cast members before that. Perhaps it's a product tie-in with the new Seinfeld DVDs. Who knows? Who cares? I have four and a half discs of Buck Rogers to go.

Stand By, Forward Moonbattery

Search visit of the day: chai vang conspiracy.

Top Mispronunciations of Milla Jovavich's Name

Since Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom is in Utah, I am cutting into his turf with a short humor post like what he does. So I hereby present, sympathetically, the ways that people have certainly mangled poor Milla Jovavich's name to her face, probably when she was arguing with the maitre'd at a second tier restaurant in L.A.:
  • Milla Javovavich.

  • Milla Brace Jovanovich.

  • Mylil Jehovahwitness.

  • Mille Bornes.

  • Thoroughly Modern Milla.

  • Miles Jovavich.

  • Milla Jovavavoom.

  • Milla Javovavovich.

Dang, that list of humorous items is harder than it looks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Okauchee Light

Wandering into the dark kitchen, I saw that a neighbor had left its back porch light on, and it reminded me of a poem I had written when I was younger:
    Okauchee Light

    Across the dark Okauchee lake, a light,
    the marker for the end of someone's dock,
    is strangely lit at nearly twelve o'clock
    and breaks the solid black that is the night.
    From here, across the chilling April lake,
    through busy bar room glass I see that glow,
    but life or rooms beyond I'll never know.
    One light does not a utopia make.
    Quite like your smile, that single man-made star:
    Up there, on stage, you flash a smile at me,
    and crinkle eyes to give the gesture weight,
    but like the dock-end light, you are too far;
    your glow is there for someone else to see,
    and now, for me at least, it is too late.
I wrote about the keyboardist in the band my friends and I followed around Milwaukee as they played the fairs and bars. Acourse, as an English major, I felt damn proud to mirror The Great Gatsby with the whole bit. Man, I was the little sonnet slut then, casting off fourteen liners at the slightest provocation.

Remember, friends, this piece is copyright 1991(?) Brian J. Noggle, and you've got to click that little Contact link below and beg offer me scads of money ask for permission to repost.

Demographically, It Makes Sense

The headline, Report: Birth Rates for Older Women Rising, really just makes sense, especially when you consider the gist of the story:
    U.S. women in their 30s and early 40s had higher birth rates in 2003, while births among teenagers fell for the 12th straight year, federal health officials said on Tuesday.
Well, of course they're having higher birthrates. Come on, hasn't anyone else noticed that women in their 30s and 40s have become smoking hotter in the last ten or fifteen years? I mean, when I was a young man, they looked okay, but now, dayumm. They look mighty appetizing for procreative activities and all drills thereof.

The fact that I am in my 30s or 40s is merely coincidental.

More Useless Than an English Degree

Important quote from this article about the author of Fast Food Nation's week performance at University of Wisconsin:
    "I was looking for more of a venue for action," said Kirsten Jordan, a UW-Madison student majoring in geography.
A major in geography? Ha-ha! That will prepare you for anything for any number of years until the Bush administration rewrites world maps and alters world climate. Also, clear-cuts and strip mines to alter topography. So in the next four years, about the time this kid is graduating, all that book-learning will be useless.

Hope she's smart, like me, and picked up a useful second major like philosophy.

(Link seen on Ann Althouse. Well, not on Ann Althouse, but on her blog.)

Monday, November 22, 2004
Open Sourcers Hate Technical Writers

There, I've said it: those whack job developers in the open source movement absolutely hate technical writers and seek, in their passive aggressive ways, to make communications professionals look stupid. My proof? Recursive abbreviations.

Look, when a technical writer puts an abbreviation into a document, he or she should spell it out the first time, like this: Java Server Pages (JSP).

But these damn silly recursive abbreviations look really silly when presented this way: PHP Hypertext Protocol (PHP) or GNUs Not UNIX (GNU).

It's designed so that technical writers cannot sound intelligent while trying to explain the esoteric and eldritch secrets of the divine open-source technology technotheocracy and so that the rabble--that is, the users, cannot fathom the depths of their geniuses.

Pathetic, that's what it is. And I call it.

Non-Iraqis Voting Against Election

In a move that reminds me of extranationals talking about the American election this month, apparently ministers from other Arabic states are squawking about the Iraqi elections due this January:
    Violence and boycotts could yet stop promised Iraqi elections going ahead on time, Arab ministers said, despite Baghdad's confident assertion the landmark vote would be held on January 30.

    Iraq had somewhat upstaged a major international conference in Egypt on its future by announcing the date for the first post-Saddam Hussein elections a day before the meeting opened.

    But not everyone was impressed by its confidence.
So let's run down the list. Doubters include:
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit
  • Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki
  • an Arab delegate to the conference, speaking on condition of anonymity
  • Jordanian government spokeswoman Asma Khodr
Hey, here's a hearty cup of butt the hell out for those representatives of undemocratic societies who have sound bites about sacred democracy. You know what happens if the Sunnis boycott? They don't vote. Choosing not to participate does not render the decision of the participants invalid. It just means you have to wait until the next election to choose again whether or not to participate.

James Lileks Goes Too Far!!!!

In today's Bleat, he begins:
    I watched the first episode of Battlestar Galactica’s new season. Not something I ever thought I would look forward to, given how much I loathed the original.
And then follows up a few paragraphs later with:
    I can only hope that the people behind the 80s version of “Buck Rogers” watch it and soil themselves in shame. If Twiki ever went up against Jar-Jar I’d root for the Binks. Which says a lot. To be exact, it says “bidi bidi bidi.” Meesa hate that.
The man knows no shame and his little "We in the Blue States are soooo much more sophisticated than those silly red staters" division schtick makes me want to cede Minnesota to Canada to spite him.

Also, the Vikings in the CFL would be good for the Packers. But I digress.

Everybody Needs A

Crikey, one femibar, and suddenly I'm drinking coffee from a Holly Hobbie mug:

Everyone needs a Holly Hobbie
(Click for full size)

Thank goodness for that one remaining Buck Rogers costume, or I could have had to have been Holly Hobbie.


I suffered a mid-morning hunger pang, so I grabbed one of Heather's femibars. You know, a Luna bar, the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, strong enough for a man, Ph balanced to empower a woman, blah blah blah.

So I opened the package and started on it before I noticed the flavor. Toasted Nuts and Berries.

Has a food item ever given you a stern sense of You don't belong?

No Pit Bull Xs for Us

As some of you know, we have several rules in our house when it comes to selecting a dog:
  1. No Pit Bull mixes.
  2. No Rottweiler mixes.
  3. No Chow mixes.
  4. Should leave most of our cat corps intact.
This story in Slate examines how the animal rights movement and extreme rescue measures are causing an increase in dog attacksDog Bites Man: Not a story—a national crisis.

(Link seen on Professor Bainbridge.)

If only people would adhere to my arbitrary rules.

Thank Goodness, a Mass Shooting

In Wisconsin, a nutbar in the woods, instead of hunting deer, shot five other hunters in whose tree stand he was trespassing. Story.

Uh oh, and wouldn't you know it, he had an assault rifle:
    Five deer hunters were shot to death and three were wounded Sunday by a man who was hunting from someone else's tree stand in northern Wisconsin, authorities said.

    Chai Soua Vang, 36, of St. Paul, Minn., was arrested by a Department of Natural Resources warden just before dark.

    The bizarre attack happened on private land in this Sawyer County town about noon on the second day of the gun deer season, a time when hundreds of thousands of deer hunters are in the woods throughout Wisconsin.

    Sawyer County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle said Chai Soua Vang, 36, of St. Paul, Minn., was arrested by a Department of Natural Resources warden just before dark about 4 p.m. on a road about one mile from the scene, just across the Sawyer County border in Rusk County.

    Vang was armed with an SKS semiautomatic assault rifle, a weapon that's similar to a 30.06 but seldom used by deer hunters, Zeigle said.
Let the call for a renewed ban begin! Oh, wait, somewhere out there it already has.

Personally, I think there's more to the story--like the relationship between the shooter and the dead and wounded--that will not be included in follow-up stories after the nationwide gun banning crowd crows about the dangers of guns.

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