Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Geek Humor
Pejman said:
    I see that the Mighty Bear had a logo contest and the winner was a doozy of an entry. Perhaps a logo contest for this site is in order . . .
And I said:
    Crap, I don't know Logo.

    Can't we just use BASIC instead?
Hah! Geek humor! I kill me. And make others want to.

A New Calvin Silhouette Auditions
Hey, Michelle Malkin has a picture of a young Muslim lad urinating on the American flag.

As a person who votes Republican more than 40% of the time (and Democrat about 5% of the time, so don't ostracize me from the cool blogoclique), I saw we should start burning down Indian restaurants in the United States reach a greater understanding between our culture and theirs.

In our culture, some people put a decal of a young man from an old comic strip urinating on some symbol or another into their rear windows of their automobiles to show the owner's contempt for what the symbol represents. In theirs, some people put a decapitation of a young man onto their Web sites to show the people's contempt for the infidels.

Okay, I understand aplenty now.

However, pardon me if I look at the picture and say, hey, it's a kid peeing on a square of cloth that represents free speech. How precocious. If he peed on a Koran amidst all those Muslims, he'd be dead.

Friday, June 10, 2005
They Would Change My Personality All Right
Dangerrrr: cats could alter your personality:
    THEY may look like lovable pets but Britain’s estimated 9m domestic cats are being blamed by scientists for infecting up to half the population with a parasite that can alter people’s personalities.
British scientists think it's a parasite changing people's behaviors? You know, if our housecats were 9m tall (that's 29.5275591 feet American), they'd affect my behavior, parasite or not.

More chicken, sir?

Things That Sound Dirty, But Ain't
    Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis,
    Pumped a lot of 'tane down in New Orleans

Steinberg on Others on Blago, Uh, Illinois' Governor
From Neil Steinberg's Chicago Sun-Times column today:
    Daley isn't the only public servant receiving scrutiny. Our embattled governor, Rod Blagojevich, is on everybody's minds and lips. His name came up in three very different conversations I had with three very different people one day this week. Since I am known as being a negative sort, I will present the bare facts behind the trio of comments without any kind of embroidery: Time: 12 noon. Place: Back room at Gene & Georgetti's. Speaker: a well-respected, longtime Chicago editor:

    "I've been watching politics for 40 years, and he's the worst governor we've ever had, bar none."

    Time: 2:30 p.m. Place: Editorial board room of the Sun-Times. Speaker: a longtime state officeholder:

    "He's missing in action and not paying attention."

    Time: 5:30 p.m. Place: the Metra Milwaukee North Line. Speaker: a lady on a train:

    "He's in over his head. He doesn't know what he's doing. I kinda feel sorry for him."
When Neil Steinberg turns on a Democrat, it's obvious the only principle the Democrat has espoused is Peter.

But you know, gentle reader, how I feel about my governor. I want to draft Matt Blunt 2008.

An Australian and His His Phone Soon Part at High Rate of Speed
Warning over crow attacks:
    Joggers are today being warned about violent crows in London parks after an attack left a man bloodied and needing hospital treatment.
If only New York had issued such a warning earlier this week.

It Takes A Village To Seize a Child
State seizes cancer-stricken girl:
    Child welfare officials seized a 12-year-old cancer patient from her parents, saying they were blocking radiation treatment that doctors say she needs.
State officials even issued an Amber Alert for a the child, who was in the custody of her parents:
    Last week, authorities issued an Amber Alert to gain temporary custody of Katie after receiving an anonymous tip about possible neglect. She was found with her mother at a family ranch, about 80 miles west of Corpus Christi near Freer, on Saturday.
Certainly, the mother must face some charges:
    Michele Wernecke was arrested on charges of interfering with child custody and was released Monday after posting $50,000 bond.
Intefering with the state that wants to take custody of your child.

Illinois? Massachusetts? No. Texas.

Friends, I am not for denying treatment of cancer-stricken kids, but I do fear allowing states to seize children from their parents when experts think the children are not being raised healthy. Because it's a matter of degree and not kind that prevents Departments of Protecting The CHILDREN from seizing children from homes that serve too much soda, and government departments always turn up the heat.

Too Secure
Some security is too secure. For example, I was signing up for something, and the application tried to prevent automated registration by forcing me to type this:


I can take my chances on whether the second and fourth characters are Ks or Xs, but what the dog is that third character? I don't have a futhark keyboard, for cryin' out loud.

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Party Like It's 1983
Am I the only one who thinks the new Ford GT looks like the Cody Coyote from Hardcastle & McCormick?

They might as well just use "Drive" as the music behind the commercial.

(Link seen on MAWB Squad.)

Great Moments in Print Punditry
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times, today:
    So please stop bull-------- us.
He's so authentic and emphatic when he puts faux swearing into his columns.

Once suspects his shift key was broken, or else he would have deployed the @$%#&*# bomb.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Now You Can Accept That Dinner Invitation
The next time Marge and Homer invite you over to dinner, you can find your way to the Simpsons' using this insanely-detailed Map of Springfield.

Phish: The Next Generation
I received an e-mail today, nominally from Sprint, but you never know:
    Dear Valued Sprint Customer,

    At Sprint, our focus is making sure that we always provide you with the highest level of service. Therefore, our policy is to send you emails only with your permission. Click here if you'd like to continue receiving email communications regarding account information, special offers and product updates. Remember that Sprint respects your privacy and will never share, sell, or rent your email address to any third parties.

    Whether your current Sprint Service Plan is for personal or business use, we believe that email is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to communicate with you. If you do not respond to this message, you will no longer receive emails from Sprint (unless you later provide us with your permission). This does not apply to online invoice notifications.

    Thank you,
    Sprint Customer Service
So I think: This is the future of the phish scam. A two-parter. Much like the Nigerian scam seeks a response, the phuture phish will send out opt-in notifications like this, and when the user clicks okay to acknowledge he or she is a customer of the company in question, then sometime in the near future, the "company" comes back with an audit e-mail or the common phish scams.

The scam will target only users who have acknowledged that they have an offline relationship with the company whose logo appears in the scam, and the user will expect legitimate e-mail from the company because he or she has told the company that he or she wants e-mail from the company.

It's slick, it's elegant, and it's coming....

(Added to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Finally, An Election Irregularity The Media Can Cover
Error nets Bush 100 extra votes: Town of Herman's 366 votes for president should have been 266.

Republicans had to replicate this plot in only 34,613 towns nationwide to steal the election for Bush!

To all of those participating in the Tour de Cure this weekend, good luck, and don't do this.

You can support my beautiful wife's attempt to stay on her bike this weekend here. I know you've all got extra money because none of you has hit my tip jar.

Hardly a Scientific Sample
Experts have determined the macho man is dead. Of course, it's not a relevant set of experts:
    "The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned," said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency's managing director.

    Instead today's males are turning more towards "creativity, sensitivity and multiplicity," as seen already in recent seasons on the catwalks of Paris and Milan.
When you want to study a man in his natural environment, you shouldn't go to the catwalks of Paris and Milan. The cathouses, maybe, but never the catwalks.

The Borg Integrating State Government
Zubeck one of nine on bus safety task force.

Apparently, the higher the number, the more attractive the unit.

Arbitrary Enforcement Department
Radley Balko says:
    Pass enough laws, and a pissed-off cop can find something you've done wrong.
Well, you know, gentle reader, how I concur. Balko's piece has another acute example.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Weber and Dolan Are My True Masters
Woohoo! My first Saw Doctors CD arrived in the mail today.

I know, after listening for six years, you would think I would have one by now; however, every time I looked for them in the local music shops, they weren't in stock. I am always so very slow to Amazon one.

Feel free to use that new verb in your sentences from now on: To Amazon (v tr). I Amazon it, you Amazon it, he she or it Amazons it, we Amazon it. Remember, to keep the short o sound, when you add a suffix, it's Amazonned, Amazonning, Amazonner.

Book Report: Felton & Fowler's Best, Worse, and Most Unusual by Bruce Felton and Mark Fowler (1975)
I probably inherited this book from my aunt, and I selected it because I'm a sucker for book of list sorts of things and other capsulated books where I can browse and pick up trivial knowledge. Like who Beethoven thought was the best composer ever, and so on. Of course, I'm not going to tell you the answer. If you want to know, you'll just have to wait for the question to come my way in competition, and hope you're snacking on pretzel rods at my table in trivia night and not sitting across the table from me, rubbing your unused pie pieces like Captain Queeg.

The book crosses into some gauche territory, with its descriptions of how to best butcher and prepare human flesh for consumption, and into some unintentionally tragic territory, such as awarding Worst Office Building Honors to the World Trade Center. But it's a good bit of reading, amusing, and unfortunately not something to take as gospel. For its text describes the worst sport, which the Aztecs of Peru..... Well, never you mind, it still provides authoritative answers to unasked trivia questions which might prove true.

But not the Aztecs of Peru.

Scientists Discover Paradox in Pop Song; Universe Collapses Upon Itself
Vanessa Carlton, "A Thousand Miles":
    Making my way downtown
    Walking fast
    Faces pass
    And I'm homebound
How can she be walking fast downtown if she's homebound? This paradox clearly threatens the universe as we know it, and we can all blame our impending annihilation upon Vanessa Carlton.

UPDATE: A respected correspondent writes and offers proof that this does not mean that the true and the impossible have not collided in the universe due to this song, as the narrator of the song might use the mechanism of astral projection to walk, using a spirit body, downtown. We thank the correspondent for his insight and credit him with the continued presence of existence as we know it.

UPDATE: Another correspondent, albeit one of somewhat less savory character, points out that homebound is actually two words in the text: home bound. This means that she is actually, at the time, tied to a chair in her kitchen/dining room and is still not capable of being home, bound, and walking downtown; however, the astral projection postulate holds, and this second correspondent will be disappointed to learn that he cannot upset the balance of the universe that easily.

Too Little, Too Late
Wait, I have a great nickname idea for Marquette University:

The Marquette Interchange.

Because I think it would be an apt metaphor for a bloated, overpriced re-evaluation and update.

Sunday, June 05, 2005
Admission of Problem the First Step to Recovery
On the day of Atari Party 5.2, I convinced my beautiful wife to come to a couple garage sales. I don't know why she agreed, as we were holding a large party that evening and anyone who cares about others' impressions of her domicile would have been stressed about the "presentation layer" of the home, and she doesn't even like yard sales.

But came she did, and it was wise that she carried the bankroll. Because I encountered a deal. A Commodore 64 C in a refurbisher's box with the Commodore 1541-II disk drive for $25. I looked it over; no software, even though GEOS was supposedly included (for you damn kids, Graphical Environment Operating System was a graphical operating system, a la Mac or Windows, for the C64). At $20, I would have snapped it up, but since it broke the double-sawbuck territory, I couldn't do it.

As we were in somewhat of a hurry (the Atari Party had a scheduled start time, and we did have some interface tweaks to perform on Honormoor, the Noggle estate, before the party), I didn't even pause to offer a single sawbuck. Besides, I already own an original C64 with a working 1541 drive. So I couldn't justify the expense to my wife, although perhaps if I had the cash in my wallet, I could have.

So we got home, and I wanted to hook up a Commodore 64 for party decoration. Sadly, that's all it's become; the party goers don't tolerate the load time on the 1541, we discovered in Atari Party IV, when we connected a Commodore 64 and preloaded Castle Wolfenstein; after the first death and reload, the party members wandered off while the old machine spinned. But I wanted one hooked up for Atari Party 5.2, since we had space for it and we have a monochrome monitor for it. When I opened the cabinet where we keep the Commodore 64, but never the Commodore 64 C we passed up, I realized I might have a problem:

The Commodore 64 hoard

I already own five Commodore 64s, including the one I took to college as my primary computer (a gift from my mother), and three in their original boxes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am an old computer hoarder.

Whenever I find an old computer at a garage sale or an estate sale at a reasonable (or irrational) price, I must buy it. I'm not talking old IBM clones whose processors I've made into geek-amusement magnets, I mean old 1980s computers.

I own:
  • 5 Commodore 64s, including 3 1541 drives.

  • 2 TI 99/4as. I don't have the Dataset, but I do have the Speech Synthesizer module, which I haven't actually tested yet. I don't have a working set of joysticks, yet, which sucks since most of my dozen cartridges are games. Also, note that the two TIs I have now are the latest in my possession; I've owned 4 in my life; the preceding two also came in the 1990s, after the TI was way obsolete.

  • 1 Laser 200, a computer I never heard of until I bought the one which languishes on my closet shelf. It booted, though, and I paid a couple bucks for it.
Most of these machines, not to mention my 4 Nintendo Entertainment Systems and 5 or so Atari 2600s and 2 Sega Geneses, languish on my closet shelves for 364 days a year or, in some cases, for 729 days every two years. I want to own these machines because I don't want other people to throw them away.

I am an old computer hoarder.
Admitting this is the first step in receiving help. I know that now.

So if you know of a Commodore 64 C with 1541-II or Commodore 128 with 1571 that I can buy for under $20, please pass along the information.

Another Entrepreneur Outsources Smart Business to the State
Within a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch entitled "Zippy craft, young riders are making waves" (subtitle: "Missouri has joined Illinois in focusing on boating education certificates for younger boaters."), we find an entrepreneur abdictating his responsibility to the state government, and to the taxpayers.

The business problem:
    Another pair of wrecked Wave Runners. Just the latest.

    One of them - a $3,500 machine that can hit 70 mph - sat with its front end sheared off outside Mike Lynn's rental shop. The two watercraft had crashed in a game of "cat and mouse," although both riders escaped injury.

    Nine of 10 watercraft at Lynn's Bikini Pier Rental, a shop in the shadows of the Grand Glaize Bridge, come back damaged.
Lynn lauds the solution:
    But a new Missouri law effective Jan. 1 is aimed at curbing these accidents, especially among younger drivers, who need to be only 14 to pilot such a craft alone. State residents younger than 21 are now required get a boating safety identification card by passing a boater education course.

    The new card is required to operate all motorized vessels on Missouri lakes, even when renting one. A card costs $15.

    "It's going to help. It's got to help," Lynn said. "I'm all for it."
    [Emphasis added.]
Mr. Lynn favors state registration of young Seadoo riders because he is unwilling to forego renting to riders under 21 because that would cost him revenue. Instead, he wants to spend my money and add layers of government bureaucracy to license young people, which will result in a piece of paper they need to carry, and might reduce the 90% damage to his business's property that is rented to these underage riders. Pardon me while I do the math:
    .9 * (percentage of underage rentals * safer riding because of certification)
So if certification makes underage riders 25% safer, and if Lynn rents 25% of his business to people under 21 with the certification.... Crikey, man, I have a philosophy/English degree, not a degree in something useful like figurin'. Still, it seems like a small impact on Lynn's bottom line.

But it's a free impact since we the Missouri taxpayers are paying for it. Were I a strict entrepreneur, with nothing but the betterment of my business as my highest principle, goal, and directive, I would be all for it, too.

Wrong Theorem
Within the tale of passive/aggressive neighbor conflict entitled "Feud escalates between neighbors in Eureka", the St. Louis Post-Dispatch captures this fallacious theorem:
    According to Virginia-based Community Associations Institute, one in six Americans live in communities governed by indentures, in part because the added layer of governance can assure harmony and stable property values. [Emphasis added.]
Each additional layer of governance provides an extra set of cudgels with which people can bash each other and new arbitrary rules with which to punish the undesirable guilty. But those who trade liberty for property-price security deserve neither, and really deserve a couple of correctional knocks to the side of the head like an old television slightly resistant to an Atari 2600 signal. The same amount of cursing, too.

What, No Schedules?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch runs this story in the Sunday paper: Radioactive waste will roll through area. They include a map with the exact route the trucks carrying radioactive waste will use when driving through the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The free press, to gin up outrage, provides almost all the details the terrorists would need to implement the worst case scenario about which the free press foments its outrage.

I am not advocating censorship, but perhaps a sense of our free press that perhaps it's unseemly to shout "There could be a fire!" in a crowded theater.

Working It Into the Budget
Hopefully, the boss won't catch this line item on the budget and question why QA needs an imposing, slightly sinister Imperial TIE Fighter workstation.

Although perhaps I should hold out for the fully-functional Death Star model.

Professor Bainbridge Presents the False Dilemma
Sharp logicians like your humble blogger here understand this is the false dilemma fallacy.

Dean might be both an idiot and a liar.

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