Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 08, 2005
A Long Winter Indeed
The St. Louis Make Dos continue their tear through the NHL, going up by two goals twice on the San Jose Sharks before succumbing to a 6-7 loss in regulation. By the rules of the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree, I am required to post the logo of the victor here, as Rocket Ted himself believes in the inevitable domination of his beloved:
San Jose Sharks logo

Trash talking is encouraged, huh? Best I can say is that our goalie was better than their goalie; if Nabakov had seen as many shots as that guy currently occupying Freddie Braithwaite's number for the St. Louis Blues, statistically speaking the Blues would have won by a score of 12-7.

Taxation Litigation
More fun with government units suing each other to prevent funding cuts, with a twist: this time it's the courts themselves threatening to sue:
    Chief Judge Kitty Brennan is telling Milwaukee County supervisors that they could face a lawsuit on court funding unless they restore judicial and court staffing that County Executive Scott Walker has pegged for elimination in 2006.
Perhaps I'm not really up on the Wisconsin constitution, but the way I thought it was supposed to work is the legislature raises and allocates funds with some discretion to the executive branch.

But I'm not a power-grabbing judge.

My First Trip to New York, Short Version, Chapter 3
Carnegie Hall

Old joke:

Young man: Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?

Older man: Well, if you're coming from downtown, you should take Madison Avenue up to 57th and hang a left. Oh, you could take Fifth, but it bogs down in the thirties and forties. If you're coming from the Upper West Side, you can take Broadway down to 57th if you're comfortable with Columbus Circle, or you can take Ninth Avenue down if you want a stoplight....

You know, even now that I've been to New York City, I still don't get the joke.

The Great Magic Marker Felony
Magic Marker used in commission of felony:
    Students at Kirkwood High School provided information to police that helped lead to the arrests of four teenagers in the scrawlings of a racial slur and a swastika at two schools, police said Friday.

    Kirkwood Police Chief Jack Plummer said officers picked up the teenagers, one of whom is a juvenile, on Thursday and Friday on suspicion of vandalism and a hate crime, a felony. Plummer said officers sought one more suspect.

    The slurs were discovered Aug. 29 near the south entrance of Kirkwood High and at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Des Peres. Officers said the scrawlings, made in permanent marker, were a curse word, a racial slur and a swastika at Kirkwood, and a swastika at St. Paul's. The scrawlings included the phrase "the kings," a reference to a band the suspects like.
Well, then, it was permanent marker, so lock them all up for five years!

The magic hate crime designation multiplies every crime, no matter how trivial, into a felony. Say nigger, and it's free speech. Say kike while throwing a gum wrapper on the ground as you pass a synagogue, and you're penitentiary-eligible.

Judicial Activism in Family Courts
Owen at Boots and Sabers has the story of an Appleton judge who assigns custody of a minor to an inappropriate institution.

Book Report: What's It All About, Charlie Brown? by Jeffrey H. Loria (1968)
I bought this book at a garage sale some aeons ago, and it languished in my eleven boxes of eBayable books that I'd held in reserve in case I accidentally opened a book store. As I prepared to divest myself of these investments, I picked over the collection one final time for books I might want to read, and I settled upon this book and probably several dozen others. Because at my pace, I am scheduled to run out of reading material on my shelves sometime in 2009, and we can't have that.

Whenever I go on vacation, I fill up the bag with quick read paperbacks. When we went to NYC last weekend, I packed this one, and it didn't disappoint. Short chapters filled with Peanuts cartoons make for a quick but interesting read.

The book contrasts the Peanuts gang with the kids today--from 1968, remember--and finds the kids today lacking. The Peanuts kids respect their elders, go to church, recognize the value of education, and love their families; kids today just want to get high and paint their bodies in San Francisco parks. So I thought I was looking into a book describing the epistemology of Peanuts, and I end up with a pre-Hannity conservative tome. Not that I am complaining; it's an interesting historical document for starters, and also an accessible book that relates art to philosophy in a non-scholarly way.

Perhaps the book proved more accessible to me than it would to someone of today's generation; I had a Snoopy electric toothbrush and remember wwatching seasonal animated television specials featuring Charlie Brown. Have newspaper comics faded in the contemporary age? Dilbert remains popular, The Boondocks remains controversial (but popular? Hmm...), and Day by Day gets blog attention, but who even reads the comics in the newspapers today? Pardon me while I project.

Also, the book sharpened some dulling trivia about the Peanuts gang. I mean, I'd forgotten Violet, but she was an important foil to Charlie Brown. And I know the ages of the kids--five years old or thereabouts. Any book that provides useful trivia is a good book, especially when it costs a quarter or less and takes a little more than a three hour flight to read.

Declaration of Manhood

No necesito huevos de tortuga!

(enabled by Ace of Spades, the Robert Bly of our age.)

Friday, October 07, 2005
Conan the Barbarian Special Governor's Cut
Mongol General: "What is best in life?"

Conan: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, to hear the lamentations of their women, and to protect their children from video games that depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel."

Thursday, October 06, 2005
Sure, Tell Me I Am The Only One
Look me in the eye when you say that you have never taken a hazardous chemical cleaning or lubricating agent that you cannot pour down the drain and have to pay for disposal to an acquaintance's house and tucked it under their sink or set it on a shelf in his garage when he wasn't looking.

I guess El Guapo knows where he got that orange juice bottle full of olive-colored automotive coolant now.

Book Report: All These Condemned by John D. MacDonald (1954)
All These Condemned is very similar to A Man of Affairs; both deal with business affairs and backstabbing that go on in luxurious locations and someone ends up dead. In this case, it's a wealthy cosmetic company diva who enjoys toying with and manipulating her friends and employees.

MacDonald did something a little different with this book, wherein each chapter comprises the action leading up to or following the murder as seen through the eyes of one of the people at the lake resort of Wilma Ferris. With no single voice and the recursive nature of the storytelling--as each person retells a portion of it--the book becomes a cipher, hard to get into and almost plodding in its slow build-up to the climax.

Still, it's interesting to see MacDonald riffing with characters, timeline, and whatnot. But I don't recommend the book highly.

ESPN Columnist Does Not See Shadow, Predicts Early Spring
At least for me:
    9. The 0-4 Green Bay Packers will win the NFC North.

    OK, the division might be the worst in the history of the league, but I envision the Packers going 8-4 or 9-3 the rest of the season. The Packers are not as bad as their winless record.

    Had the Packers huddled and taken their time before their final fourth-down play against the Carolina Panthers, Brett Favre and the Packers would've finished off their rally and upset the Panthers on Monday night.

    The Packers will win their next three -- vs. Saints, at Vikings, at Bengals -- and finish the season on a five-game winning streak -- at Bears, vs. Lions, at Ravens, vs. Bears and vs. Seahawks. In between those strings of victories, they'll grab a win on "MNF" against the Vikings.

    Will the Packers still fire Mike Sherman after he leads them to a division crown? Probably.
Me, I will be happy if they just beat the Bears and will fall into ecstatic shock if they beat the Vikings. Anything else is gravy.

Long Winter Redux
According to the bylaws of the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree, I have to put up the logo of the Detroit Red Wings because Quality Weenie has that team in the Jamboree, and the St. Louis Who?s lost this evening, 3-4, at The Arena Whose Corporate Sponsor Bailed, So It Has No Name Like Its Hockey Team Has No Ownership And Little Talent.

I really wanted to pick the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL again, but none of the other hockey jamboree participants picked AHL teams, and I wanted to fit in. This is the price I pay.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005
World Trade Center Graffiti
Remember, Jesus loves the people you hate

Good to see the people behind the International Freedom Center had alternate plans.

You can find this particular gem of wisdom on a dark Post No Bills temporary construction wall just north of the former site of the World Trade Center. In case the author of this simplistic moralism--a member of the reality hemp-based community--should find through Googlism his or her words immortalized here, allow me to point out some finer flaws with the point he or she is trying to make:
  • It's Jesus's job to love everyone, not mine.

  • I don't hate the people of the individuals who destroyed the World Trade Center, et al. However:

  • If someone wants to kill me or my people for some abstract reason, or even for an acute reason, I'd prefer that person be incapacitated or killed. No hatred involved.
But nice try. Now go back to work; I don't want my tax-funded State Department employees slacking off.

It's Going To Be A Long Winter
According to the bylaws of the Hockey Whoopass Jamboree, I have to put up the logo of the Detroit Red Wings because Quality Weenie has that team in the Jamboree, and the St. Louis Who?s lost this evening, 1-5, at Joe Louis Arena.

There you go. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment.

Development Will Occur Whether Unelected Officials Want It Or Not
Manchester mayor expects retail center will happen:
    In a tie vote, the Manchester Tax Increment Financing Commission declined Tuesday to recommend that the city approve the Manchester Highlands shopping center project - and the tax increment financing plan that would go with it.

    The six members of the commission appointed by city officials favored the Pace Properties Inc. project. The six members appointed by other jurisdictions, mainly St. Louis County and the Parkway School District, opposed the proposal.

    Aldermen are expected to consider the commission's action at a meeting Nov. 7. Mayor Larry Miles said he expected the project to move forward anyway.
This isn't taxation without representation at all. It's reduction of taxation without representation, and although it does place a larger tax burden on the non-Elect amongst us who don't have the juice to impress municipal officials, it completely adheres to the founding philosophy of our nation. Also:
    Some city-appointed commission members urged Pace to avoid using eminent domain to get land for Manchester Highlands. Doug Huff, vice president of Pace, said his company generally avoided its use.
As a mere citizen of a former representative democracy, where governments exercised emininent domain and other rights ceded to governments by its citizens, I supplicantly plead that Pace also not raise an army and compel me to shop at its little principalities scattered among the formerly free city-states that comprise what was the United States of America.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Stopping Bob Greene Cheap Shots the Hard Way
Columnist charged with domestic battery:
    Chicago Sun-Times columnist and editorial board member Neil Steinberg was arrested at his home late Wednesday and charged with striking his wife during an argument.

    Steinberg was charged with domestic battery and interfering with the reporting of domestic battery, both misdemeanors, Northbrook Police Sgt. Tony Matheny said.
I've enjoyed Steinberg's column for years, but one thing I've disliked is when he's made cheap shots on Bob Greene, former columnist for the Chicago Tribune for a slightly sordid but legal adulterous dalliance with a teenager. Now he's got his own troubles and material for cheap shots from people who disagree with him.

There's a lesson to be learned from this, gentle reader. Unfortunately, it kinda eludes me, and I expect I, too, will continue to be snarky until my own wife beating comes to light.

Please, gentle reader, send me flowers when my beautiful wife puts me in the hospital.

Democrat Two Step
  1. Declare something a fundamental right:

      San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who became internationally known for his campaign a year ago to legalize gay marriage, said on Monday he considered wireless Internet access a fundamental right of all citizens.

      Newsom told a news conference that he was bracing for a battle with telephone and cable interests, along with state and U.S. regulators, whom he said were looking to derail a campaign by cities to offer free or low-cost municipal Wi-Fi services.

      Wi-Fi is a short-range wireless technology that is now built into most laptop computers and is increasingly offered on handheld computers and certain mobile phones. Local officials are mulling plans to blanket every nook and cranny of this hilly city of 750,000 residents with Wi-Fi access.

      "This is inevitable -- Wi-Fi. It is long overdue," Newsom told a news conference at San Francisco's City Hall. "It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information," he said.

  2. Fund it with tax dollars--or do you want to roll back all civil rights and repeal the right to vote for blacks???!

Up Hill Both Ways
Back when I was a young man, we didn't have CDs or the Internet. If we wanted to play video games, we spent all night typing the programs in from magazines.

Book Report: The Night Spider by John Lutz (2003)

I inherited this book from my aunt; she paid fifty cents for it at a yard sale, probably to resell on eBay. She would have gotten a pretty good deal on a common thriller had she been inclined to read it. Hey, I liked it well enough. As some of you know, John Lutz is a St. Louis writer who sets his Thomas Horn novels in New York City. I thought it would be a fitting read for a St. Louis writer visiting New York City.

Thomas Horn has to come back to the force to investigate a serial killer who kills young, attractive, single women in high rise apartments by coming in through their windows. That's the plot, and it's a serviceable book. But I not only read this book for the enjoyment, but also the do nots I can apply to my own writing, and I picked up a big set from this book:
  • Do not spend a lot of time, or start the book, with an intimate profile of victims. Their problems and frustrations will ultimately prove meaningless as they're killed imaginatively. Now, I have a lot of problems and frustrations, and I don't need the perspective that they're all meaningless because I might be killed imaginatively. Also, I think the trick wastes space and the reader's time.

  • Avoid describing characters by saying they look like celebrities. That's a cheap shortcut. Who cares if the problematic and frustrated by (allegedly) attractive young woman looks like Helen Hunt? In a couple of pages she'll be deader than Helen Hunt's career.

  • The psycho super Special Forces/black ops antagonist. Come on, that's been low-hanging fruit since World War I or World War II and accelerated by Viet Nam. How about a couple psycho super special vegans for once?

  • Grafting on a Part II as an afterthought so to involve the rest of a special forces team who murder to cover for the psycho? Don't do it.
Even with those lessons, it's a decent enough book. If you're into suspense or St. Louis authors, you could do worse.

Monday, October 03, 2005
My First Trip to New York, Short Version, Chapter 2
Wherein Heather channels Homer:
mmm, De Beers

Mmm, De Beers

Sunday, October 02, 2005
My First Trip to New York, Short Version.
It's all fun until your hotel catches fire.

Hilton New York's Rooms Advertised Incorrectly As Non-Smoking

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