Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, January 14, 2005
Best Headline of the Day

TechDirt's Bezos Innnnnn Spaaaaaaaaace!

I laughed because I got the allusion. And I'm not explaining it to you damn kids.

Hint for Poets

Abu Ghraib rhymes with astrolabe.

Just in case you need it for your next sonnet.

Does That Mean What I Think It Means?

From an article entitled "Police: Coroner Confesses To Stealing From Dead - El Paso County Deputy Coroner Says He Sold Stolen Drugs":
    Deputy coroners' jobs include removing bodies from homes, hospitals and other locations and collecting prescriptions of those who died.

    Coroners use the medicine to make sure the victim was taking the prescribed dosage and didn't die because of an overdose.
The journalist could have phrased that better, ainna?

Good Column by Steinberg

I spend a lot of time and blog inches disagreeing with him, but Neil Steinberg's column today contains nothing with which I disagree and several things with which I agree.

Just thought I would mention it.

The Problem with Preventing Crime

Does anyone see the paradox in this? Pilot arrested in cockpit after screener smells alcohol:

The charge:
    An armed AirTran Airways pilot was charged with operating an aircraft under the influence after a federal screener at McCarran International Airport smelled alcohol, authorities said Thursday.
The problem:
    "The captain neither took command of the aircraft nor was the aircraft operated in any manner," the airline said.
Authorities, operating under the assertion of the precogs, have charged this fellow with a crime he was about to commit but had not yet committed. He's not charged with conspiracy. He is being charged with the actus reus, friends, and if it sticks, it's precedent.

Keep that in mind the next time you've had a couple of beers and go to get something out of the cabin of your car.


Surprisingly, a commentary columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't like Fox News or conservatives in the media:
    "A PBS Mind in a Fox News World." I saw that slogan on a bumper sticker, and it resonated with me. I consider many news programs on the Fox network unabashedly partisan and ultraconservative. The idea that millions rely on it for news and information makes me wince.
You know, the thought that anyone gets news or insight from the Post-Dispatch would make me grimace, but I just can't make that leap of disbelief. The funny pages, yes, because for the Post-Dispatch, they start on page one. But by unleashing this common broadside of a normal newspaper commentariat who thinks airborne conservative communitariat are vain and whiny, I have to wonder what point the columnist is trying to make, and to whom he has targeted the piece. Does he want to draw the publicity ire of conservatives who will drive readers to him if only to mock him? Is he having a bit of fun with his small circle of readers who are reality-based in a real world?

Also, why do I care? But that's enough questions for now.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Elite Gamer Report

Amid an evening spent installing the latest in strategy and first person shooter games, well, if you extend "latest" to include Unreal Tournament 2003, I would like to announce that I have won my first game of Minesweeper in almost a decade.

Not because I suck, mind you, but more because for the first time in ten years I have bought a computer instead of a sack of parts, which means also for the first time in ten years I have had Minesweeper installed.

But I take some small pride in winning nevertheless.

Some of the Best Bloggers Are, and Then There's Sullivan

Contrary to what Google might imply and some Google user might suspect, I have never had sex with Chris Pronger.

Thank you, that is all.

But I Don't Have a MUPP

Since I don't have a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy, of course it strikes me as senseless and tragically humorous that portions of St. Louis County are using eminent domain to turn residential area into retail area, and that portions of the City of St. Louis are turning retail area into residential area.

I will think it equally amusing in twenty or thirty years when the roles reverse, because St. Louis County municipalities' sales tax diminishes because there are no citizens left to shop in the retail areas and the city determines it can get more in sales tax revenue than in income tax and other revenues from actual citizens.

Had I that precious degree, I would think it very serious indeed.

Thinking Inside the Box

St. Louis Union Station, the city's old train station, remodeled as a mall, isn't doing so well:
    Randy Knight set a new record at his Union Station kiosk, and it wasn't a good one. He had a day, earlier this month, when the crystal figurine and tchotchke stand where he works made just one sale: $15.

    At the rental rate of $1,600 a month, it may not be long before his brother-in-law, who owns the kiosk, becomes another failed businessman at the converted train station.

    Business is slow at Union Station and seems to be getting slower, shopkeepers say. It doesn't help that the St. Louis Blues aren't playing this winter at the nearby Savvis Center. Krieger's Sports Grill, which opened just a year ago, shut its operation after New Year's Eve.

    Union Station, beautifully restored 20 years ago with a soaring, glass-enclosed shopping area adjoining the former train depot, recently was taken over by a new management company, Jones Lang LaSalle, one of the nation's largest managers of shopping centers. General Manager Byron Marshall and Marketing Manager Frances Percich have been on the job for less than two months.

    "We're going to come up with a plan," Marshall said. "We're very optimistic we can come up with change, some positive change."
Meanwhile, even though train tracks continue to butt up against the mall so that people who can afford it can ride a to eat and drink well while enjoying the vistas of the junkyards of East St. Louis, rail travellers in St. Louis will visit a new temporary rail station since Amtrak is replacing the previous 25-year-old temporary structure (the Amshack).

So when faced with no shopper traffic in a "revitalized" former train station chock full of shops and kiosks that sell t-shirts and St. Louis souvenirs but very few necessities of life (unless you subsist on coffee and fudge), undoubtedly the obvious answer demands that you turn some of the empty shop space into condominiums.

Ten Year Plan

Oh, boy, here comes trouble: Homeless no more: Plan seeks to end chronic homelessness in 10 years:
    If you can imagine Downtown without any homeless, you can imagine success for a regional plan to end chronic homelessness within 10 years.
I cannot imagine, but then again, I am a taxpayer, not a tax spender. Apparently, their imaginations are better.
    The 10-year plan for the city and county will identify the needs and then say what services and housing facilities will be used to end chronic homelessness.
I just bet I can guess what sorts of programs those will include, and how effective the plan will turn out.

Hollywood Sense Tingling

Does anyone else wonder what this implies?
    ABC is teaming with veteran TV movie producer Robert Halmi Sr. for "The Ten Commandments," a four-hour miniseries that will retell the classic biblical tale of Moses.

    Halmi was quick to point out that the miniseries will not be a remake of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 movie starring Charlton Heston, but will rely on extensive biblical and historical research for a realistic, truthful presentation of Moses and the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt and their travel to Mt. Sinai, where, according to the Old Testament, God descended to deliver the Ten Commandments.

    "I felt that (the Ten Commandments) is the first written document of law, morality and order for the human race, and we completely ignore it," said Halmi, whose myriad credits include "Legend of Earthsea," "Dinotopia" and "The 10th Kingdom."
Story: ABC to make new 'Ten Commandments'

That sounds swell. Recasting a biblical "tale" by the fellow who produced The 10th Kingdom (A father and daughter are caught in a parallel universe where the great queens Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood have had their kingdoms fragmented by warring trolls, giants and goblins.) and The Legend of Earthsea (A reckless youth is destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical land of Earthsea has ever known.).

Does anyone see the potential for offense-giving in this? Let the prelash begin.

Book Report: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King (2002)

I paid several dollars for a remaindered copy of this book, so you can guess I like Stephen King enough to part with green instead of silver for his books. That's my disclaimer for bias you'll find in this book report.

The book chronicles, in a series of flashbacks told as part of a narrative, how a troop of Pennsylvania State Police deal with a portal to some strange world and its occasional tendency to disappear state troopers or disgorge aliens. After the SC (sergeant commander) of the troop recounts the story to the son of a recently-killed trooper, the situation comes to a head in the now as the young man decides --probably under the influence of the alien force -- to destroy --or empower--the Buick 8.

The narrative shifts among different speakers both in the present and in the flashbacks, so the narration is somewhat disjointed and not particularly effective. A couple of times in the book, I wanted the action to move a little more quickly, but I made it through. It helped that the book runs only 350 pages, a mere short story for King. Also, he resorts to trickery in the epilogue, poor form, Stephen.

Still, it's always interesting and inspirational to read a Stephen King book to examine his style and his voices and how he can turn a simple plot into a readable and enjoyable novel.

Wrong Focus

In this generic Terminally-Ill-Child-Meets-Sports-Hero story, entitled Terminally ill child has a new friend in Favre, the writer focuses on Favre, but the real hero of the story is the private citizen who made it happen:
    When Packers fan Tripp Hardin first read Christine’s letter on Jan. 4, he was instantly moved, but he knew that to get them to the game, he had to act quickly.

    He knew that Favre occasionally looked at the message board and answered questions. But the game was less than a week away, and he figured the chances of Favre seeing the letter were “slim to none, with slim walking out the door.”

    The Packers frequently allow visits from terminally ill children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said Cathy Dworak, the team’s manager of community relations. But Christopher’s case was a direct appeal to Favre, so this was his call, not the Packers’.

    “Brett decided he wanted to do it,” Dworak said.

    Hardin, 45, a financial adviser in Kenosha, is a season ticket holder, and he gave his playoff tickets to the Foppianos. After a busy two days of phone calls to Christine, the Packers’ front office, and his father - who donated his frequent flier miles - Hardin had pulled it off.
This John Q gave up his own tickets and sprung for the flight for the kid and his mother from Texas to Green Bay. Favre? He just showed up and patted the kid on the head.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Paying My Hockey Dues

As bound by the terms of my participation in the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree, I must post the

logo because the Houston Aeros defeated the Milwaukee Admirals for the second time this season last night.

Worse, the Admirals have fallen to second in their division to a team from Chicago. Come on, a team from Chicago. Chicago sports teams should only be in first when they're alone in a division, for crying out loud. The Chicago division, specially created so the rest of the country can escape their giant Charybdis, mythical-class sucking.

Application for Medical Insurance

6. Health Information

D) Do you, or any family member listed in Section 5, take any medicine(s), drugs, pills or herbs, or require shots? X Yes _ No

If you checked any itesm in Question C or answered "yes" to Question D, please complete the following (use additional application form, if necessary):

Name of Person Condition Dates Diagnosed
and Treated
Type of Treatment/
Names of Medications
Current or Further Treatment?
Brian J.     Basil  
Brian J.     Sage  

Well, they asked what herbs I was on.

Soundtrack to the Work Day

Interesting. KMJM is playing the song that runs through the strip club scene in Beverly Hills Cop. I think this makes my home office a hostile workplace. I might just sue myself.

On the other hand, I wonder what the title is, not that anyone would know it. It's the Beverly Hills Cop Strip Club Song.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Noggle Predicted, Congressman Delivers

In my last post yesterday, I made fun of baby boomers who didn't care about Social Security because they'll die while it's solvent. I mocked, but a Congressman says:
    "Why stir up a political hornet's nest .... when there is no urgency?" said Rep. Rob Simmons (Conn.), who represents a competitive district. "When does the program go belly up? 2042. I will be dead by then."
Your candor impresses me, you confiscatory eater of the young. Unfortunately, the candor from a politician indicates that he thinks it's a safe sentiment to express, like cursing Bosnians in south St. Louis. You're among friends and you all think the same way, ainna?

Monday, January 10, 2005
The Noggle Edit

Another ad in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from yesterday, with my markup in red for your approval:

Social Security

If we feel like gambling,

Let's not turn Social Security into Social Insecurity. While the program needs to be strengthened eradicated, private accounts that take money out of Social Security are not the answer on Jeopardy! since you have to answer with a question and will hurt all our generations, the only one with any real hope of dying while Social Security is solvent. There are places in your retirement planning for risk, but Social Security isn't one of them, and you can take our word for it since we're wise enough to rely on continued government largesse and taxpayer benevolence for our retirement instead of, you know, intelligence of any sort. Call your legislators at 1-800-307-8525 and urge them to oppose private accounts that put Social Security at risk.

AARP The power to make it better ourselves richer at the expense of those damn kids, many of whom are in their thirties by now.

I would tell you what I think about the AARP, but the language might get me banned by some filters, and I wouldn't even know about it to cash in on the persecutional publicity. Let me say that I respect my elders and I respect any other human until such time as he, she, or it tries to violate me, my family, or my property. Which is really what the AARP wants, my earnings to fund its members' continuing and unplanned for existence.

The Noggle Addendum

Advertisement, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, January 9, 2005:
    January, 2005

    Dear Missouri Legislators and Honorable Governor Blunt,

    We send our best wishes as you prepare for the upcoming legislative session. We look forward to opening a dialogue that will build consensus about the direction in which our state is moving.

    Many of our coalition members have been involved in the creation and support of state programs that help children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and working people of Missouri. We want to join in your efforts to improve state services and inform the public about the vital role of the state in promoting a healthy, productive workforce and strong families.

    Our government has the capacity and the ability to serve Missouri residents efficiently and fairly. The foundation of a responsible, compassionate society is that all citizens have access to basic human services such as education and health care.

    Our goal is to work with you on proposed changes to state programs and to ensure that government delivers the high standards of service you have promised Missouri residents.

    Governor Blunt, the coalition especially appreciates the commitment you have made to keep Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program intact and to fully fund education. On behalf of those who need health care and cannot afford it--and on behalf of our children who deserve quality public schools--we promise to work with you to uphold your commitment to the well-being of all Missourians.

    Missouri Budget Program (
    Missouri Coalition for Budget & Policy Priorities
Scrawled on the bottom, in crayon, the Noggle addendum:

And get me a jelly sandwich 'cause I'm hungry, and it's your duty to ensure continuous homeostasis for all beings, whether human or otherwise (except for some flora).

And you, productive members of society, business owners, and corporations: put on the fezzes and dance for me! Dance while I chew the lotus blossoms provided by Mother Socialism until I giggle myself to contented sleep and stupidity. Because I wanna, and there's a lot of coalitions who want me to!

Headline for the Day

Blunt promises new direction

Because north, south, east, and west are so cliché.

A special kudo to whomever at the St. Louis Post Dispatch or its online arm that filed this story in the Metro East section. Because Jefferson City is east of....well, Kansas City, anyway.

Monday Morning Pop Quiz

My score:

I am nerdier than 70% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Sunday, January 09, 2005
Belson Writes a Book

Hey, look, everybody: Sergeant Frank Belson wrote a book.

News story in USA Today: 'Memory' triumphs over publisher apathy:
    Ron McLarty is one of those busy character actors who is recognized but not famous.

    He has played a sex therapist on
    Sex and the City, a judge on Law & Order and is the baritone voice of Papa Bear on the cartoon version of The Berenstain Bears.

    At 57, McLarty says he's not used to being interviewed: "Reporters want to talk to the stars. Not me."
Not to mention he was Sgt. Belson in the television show Spenser: For Hire, which is probably the highest achievement in his career since it let him portray a character from Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels.

Hey, I might have to check out the book, The Memory of Running, because he's related somewhat to the Spenser universe and because it sounds like the plot of a long poem I started sometime after 1987.

Word for the Day

Today's word for the day sounds like it's related to swearing, but it's not:


Used in context: That ineffable nutbar in the Durango just cut me off!

She's Not From Wisconsin, But Nobody's Perfect

Michele Catalano explains why she's a Packers fan even though she lives in New York.

Meanwhile, Brian calculates that if the Packers win today and both Philadelphia and Atlanta lose next weekend, his dream of a Packers-Rams NFC championship game would take place at Lambeau Field in the first week of February. Ah, that would be most excellent.

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