Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Extend Your Vocabulary

Brainsaver: When you close your eyes and see the game upon which you've spent too much time over the last couple of days.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Tis the Season

For a holiday special:
    Ayn Rand's A Selfish Christmas (1951)

    In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike. The special ends with the entropic collapse of the civilization of takers and the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services, acknowledging at last that his genius makes the gifts -- and therefore Christmas -- possible. Prior to broadcast, Mutual Broadcast System executives raised objections to the radio play, noting that 56 minutes of the hour-long broadcast went to a philosophical manifesto by the elf and of the four remaining minutes, three went to a love scene between Santa and the cold, practical Mrs. Claus that was rendered into radio through the use of grunts and the shattering of several dozen whiskey tumblers. In later letters, Rand sneeringly described these executives as "anti-life."

The Drug is a Brand

That's what I make of this capitalization from this story about a drug bust in Wisconsin:
    Along with the arrests, police seized powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy, seven handguns and ammunition, seven vehicles and $25,000 in cash. Police refused to give details.
However, if that's the case, shouldn't it be:
    Along with the arrests, police seized powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy® 3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, seven handguns and ammunition, seven vehicles and $25,000 in cash. Police refused to give details.
Ecstasy has been in the mainstream 20 years now. How long until we drop the capital E. (I mean that in the grammatical way, not as a slang for actually, you know, doing ecstasy.) No one calls white lady Heroin any more.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Bill Clinton: Truthteller

Those Bosnian peacekeepers will be home before Christmas.

Seasonal Safety Reminder

Bobtails are not bobcat tails. Management cannot be held responsible if you try to affix bells to the latter.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
The Unspoken Clue

This article about the serial killer in Kansas known as Blind, Torture, Kill, gives numerous details about the killer that he's revealed about himself in new missives:
    According to police, BTK claims to have been born in 1939, making the killer either 64 or 65 years old. The statement did not say where he was born or where he lived, but that his family moved frequently and always lived near railroad tracks.

    BTK's communications indicate a lifelong fascination with trains, police said.


    Among other details provided by police:

    BTK's father was killed in World War II, and he was raised by his mother, with his grandparents caring for him while she was at work. When he was about 11, his mother began dating a railroad detective.

    His grandfather played the fiddle and died of lung disease.

    BTK's communications include accounts of a cousin named Susan who moved to Missouri, and of a woman he knew named Petra who had a younger sister named Tina.
Unstated, but obvious to anyone who reads too much detective fiction and dabbles sometimes in the composition of same, is this unspoken but apparent klew:

The BTK suspect is terminally ill.

Since he's only now opening up to the police after apparently going without killing anyone for 18 years and he's in his middle sixties and he's got a history of lung disease in the family.

His final mockery comes as he reveals himself on his deathbed when we cannot punish him.

Stick Your Yellow Ribbons

Blackfive speaks about ribbon magnets for your car and suggests you put that money somewhere where it will actually help troops. I concur.

A Canadian Capitalist

The Meatriarchy guy defends Wal-Mart:
    Most of the criticisms I see leveled towards Wal-Mart are not only applicable to them. But to any other store in the retail sector.
He refutes a lot of things anti-Wal-Mart forces marshal as arguments to why capitalism, or at least the concrete capitalism practiced specifically by Wal-Mart, is bad.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Book Review: Journey into Fear edited by Richard Peyton (1990)

I bought this hardback book from Hooked on Books in Springfield (Missouri) for 33 cents (part of 3 for $1). Hey, it was worth it.

I don't read a lot of horror because it really doesn't scare me, but I bought this book because I figured it was worth the price. It was. It's a collection of short stories dealing with ghosts and whatnot around trains. The fiction within the book splits its time between the United States and England, with most of the pieces appropriately enough set in the late part of the ninteenth century or the early twentieth. In between the stories, the editor recounts several real alleged hauntings near rails that might have inspired the stories.

A fairly even collection, with some highs and some lows (Algernon Blackwood, unfortunately). Stories by Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others.

Worth a look if you're into that sort of thing.

Pot to Kettle: Does This Hypocrisy Make My Butt Look Big?

In the December issue of Playboy in the Republibashing Forum section immediately following advice on how to get your wife to agree to a threesome, Patricia Schroder writes:
    The Patriot Act was rammed through Congress six weeks after the 9/11 attacks. In the three years since, we have learned that before the vote few members of Congress had read the bill, much less given thought to its provisions and implications.
Obviously, much like adults put away the silly habits of childhood, Ms. Schroeder has learned that a little legislation is a dangerous thing. Of course, one must believe that Ms. Schroeder read every single omnibus spending bill thoroughly during her six terms as member of the House of Representatives, or one would have to think that Ms. Schroeder not only deplores the Patriot Act but the way our elected officials rush to ill-advised action on many, of not most, bills that they pass without reading, deliberating, or comprehending.

Or one might read the whole thing (not available online, but guys, tell your wives you wanted the article by Pat Schroeder and not the Denise Richards pix) and understand the context of the Playboy Forum and conclude that Patricia Schroeder wants to cudgel the Bush administration.

Packer Flag Protocol Exception

As you all know, the Packer Flag Protocol is as follows:
  • Upon a day in which the Packers play, the flag shall be raised at sunrise;

  • If the Packers should lose the game, the flag will be lowered to half staff and shall be lowered, sadly, at sunset unless the game ends after sunset, in which case the flag shall be lowered immediately following the loss;

  • But when the Packers win the game, the flag shall fly through the night and shall be lowered at sunset of the following day.*

    * Unless the Packers defeat the hated mercenary Rams, in which case the flag shall for a week until the result of the next Packer game becomes known.

Monday, November 29, 2004
Twice Read

Hugh Hewitt started it when he said:
    A modern novel worth reading twice is very hard to come by, at least for a reader like me, pressed for time and inclined to history and current events. I have been through Joseph Epstein's two volumes of short stories twice --Golden Boys and Fabulous Small Jews-- but that's the limit on my short story rereading as well. (All of the collections of Epstein's familiar essays are read and reread and reread by me and thousands of others.)


    James Webb's new book, Born Fighting, Elizabeth Kauffman Bush's The First Frogman and The Lileks' Interior Desecrations are my trio of recommendations from among the "just published," but I hope to get some guidance from the blogosphere on modern novels worth reading twice that I haven't yet even read once.
Well, I can enumerate several novels I've read more than once, but I'm not sure how modern or applicable they are to what Hugh had in mind. Here are some:
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Three times? Four times? I forget. It's back on my to-read shelf, though, since it's been five years.

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Once or twice fewer than The Fountainhead, but still two or three times.

  • Anthem by Ayn Rand. Twice, which is odd since it's the shortest.

  • The Spenser novels, including The Godwulf Manuscript, by Robert B. Parker. Many times each (except for the latest, of course).

  • The Philip Marlowe novels, including The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. At least twice, once in high school and once when I got the complete collection in 1997.

  • The Travis McGee novels, including The Empty Copper Sea, by John D. MacDonald. Most, if not all, at least twice: once in high school, and once when I acquired them.

  • The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything by John D. MacDonald. A cool fantasy that I own and read in paperback and that I own and read as part of a collection. Remember that this became a TV movie with Robert Hays? I remember it running several times in the 1980s, but I never saw it; just the promos for it.

  • The Lew Archer novels, including The Zebra-Striped Hearse, by Ross MacDonald. Same as John D. MacDonald, I read these in high school and reread them as I acquired them.

  • The 87th Precinct novels, including Kiss, by Ed McBain. I've read a number of these books twice and will continue to do so as I acquire them.

Wow, I guess that says a lot about what I like. Modern? Hmm, probably not, and certainly not high literary in the most self-important sense of the word.

Here's what Powerline's Deacon has read twice.

Unfair Treatment

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch expresses its continuing sympathy for illegal aliens with this story: Latvian family faces deportation threat:
    Ofelia Boudaguian says she hoped for fair treatment when she and her family came to the United States in 1995, after years of suffering discrimination and violence in Latvia.

    After nearly a decade in the St. Louis area, though, Boudaguian says she feels let down by the American legal system, which has denied the family political asylum and now threatens them with deportation at any moment.

    "We live now day by day. It's so scary," she said. A knock on the door might mean that she and her husband, Vitalik Boudaguian, and their two children must gather their belongings, submit to arrest and go to a detention facility to await deportation.

    Their one-year tourist visas expired May 18, 1996.
Because starting deportation precedings after these people overstayed their visa by nine years and exhausted all recourse through the system is just unfair!

The system is only fair when it does what I want it to do, regardless of the existing rules. Natch.

Not Just For Nutjobs Any More

Headline on St. Louis Post-Dispatch story: Home schooling is attracting mainstream families.

No comment.


Belatedly, I have to admit that the Manitoba Moose beat the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday, right after I talked smack. Here's the story: Manitoba’s Kesler beats the clock, Admirals.

The Admirals got revenge on Sunday, though: Admirals hold off Moose.

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