Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, December 24, 2005
The Ghost of Christmas Postings Past: Top Five Christmas Movies
Originally posted Christmas Eve 2003:
  1. Die Hard
  2. Lethal Weapon
  3. Die Hard 2
  4. Gremlins
  5. Invasion USA

Friday, December 23, 2005
Spoken Like a True Trekker
Professor Bainbridge: The Patriot Act: What Would Kirk Do?

Oh, wait, he means some legal eagle named Russell Kirk. Oh, well.

Video Game Question
Could someone please send me the cheat code for Civilization IV that makes Leonard Nimoy sing "Proud Mary"?

Thursday, December 22, 2005
NATHAN GEORGENSON e-mail me at the net time you Google yourself.

Thank you, carry on.

Book Report: Floodgate by Alistair MacLean (1983)
This book is the third MacLean novel I've read this year (see also Caravan to Vaccares, Partisans); ergo, you can assume that I like the author. Enough to pick up his books at the local library for a quarter when the local library needs to cycle out extra books for more space for Internet connections. I shouldn't complain, as I get something for my buck (cheap thrillers remembered from my youth) while the library gets something (room, pennies on the dollar for books) and other users get something (free Internet connections, although I'm not sure how many people in Casinoport and its satellite communities need free Internet connections).

But I digress. This novel, one of MacLean's later works, suffers from the excessive dialogishness one could ascribe to many of his works. A Dutch policeman must work against a terrorist organization that will bomb The Netherlands' dikes if its demands go unmet.

There you have it. The policeman must infiltrate the group, and that's it. No real plot twists, and perhaps a gaffe that one cannot explain. MacLean might have been radio telephoning it in as he transplanted his tales to the modern (1980s) era, but they still read quick and linear, drawing one along to the inevitable conclusion--and a short conclusion at that. So if you're looking for something similar to Clive Cussler, but clocking in at only 200 pages, I'd recommend any MacLean. But if you've a high school or small community library ca 1986 with numerous volumes of MacLean, perhaps you ought to start with Where Eagles Dare.

On further review of that last sentence, I realize this might be my first exposure to this particular novel (unlike the others I've read this year, which I reocgnized by their covers). In my youthful (1986-1990) reading of MacLean, I probably didn't encounter this novel, as it was so new. Weird reflection upon my library, and my reading: my library and my collection really begins at about 1990, when I went to college. All the Agatha Christie novels I borrowed from my high school library and all of the sundry novels I tore through at the rate of 1 per day in high school. If they're not on the shelves, I have no record of their reading; hence, I must read them again! For all intents and purposes, my literary life began but 16 years ago. I pity you, gentle reader, who suffers through these book reports and only but now know what you're in for.

Answering a Question With a Question
Instapundit asks: I counter:
    ARE BLOGGERS a fertile lot?
  • The Patriette:
      It will be the first time we've seen each other since I found out that I was pregnant back in September!

  • VodkaPundit:
      One last thing. Assuming I can get online from the hospital, I'll be liveblogging the birth sometime in the next four-to-14 days. That is, assuming Melissa doesn't break all my fingers in the process.

  • My beautiful wife:
      I'm still alive and well. Though not always feeling 100% of late, but that's ok. There's a little Noggle due to arrive on June 30, 2006.

  • Sarah K.
      ok, so we’re on the Disney Magic, having a magical time. we’ve just arrived back in our room after dinner at Palo, the super-fancy restaurant on the ship....
    (give them time, they're just married....)
Sickly, but fertile? Or is the blogosphere just a large Tarot card dataset from which you can derive data to support any conclusion?

Eminent Domain By Any Other Name
The helpful city of St. Louis wants to relocate a corporate citizen:
    After a raging fire destroyed the Praxair Inc. plant on Chouteau Avenue in June, St. Louis officials pledged to help the firm find a new location.
Pledge to help, of course, is a synonym for not renewing permits and, through regulatory rigamarole, preventing the corporation from repairing and reopening the facility in its present location. Because of an industrial accident that scared people, but ultimately didn't hurt or kill anyone.

Fortunately, though, the city had some choice property on its hands that it could unload offer to the ungrateful company:
    On Wednesday, the company said thanks, but no thanks. It said the site proposed is contaminated by remnants of the Manhattan Project.

    "Praxair is not interested in building a new facility on a floodplain within a Superfund site where, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated, there may be risks of radiological exposure," Praxair Distribution President Wayne Yakich said in a statement.
So, as a result of this helpful assistance from the city of St. Louis, it will drive a private business from its municipality along with the employment and tax revenue that come from private businesses employing people. As a result, the city of St. Louis will break ground on another entertainment destination with a half life of 18 months to provide, briefly, low-paying service jobs or the city of St. Louis will offer tax breaks, incentives, and other regulatory foolery to draw some other business which has not caught fire recently to the city.

All in a day's work for your city officials, who get a headline two-fer for driving out the evil, stand-alone corporations and bringing in the parasitic crony capitalist corporations.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Finds the Jews
Kudos to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its investigative journalists for finding the Jews in the woodpile:
    One of the hottest musical offerings of this holiday season may be a catchy radio jingle for a New Jersey-based vehicle donation program:

    "1-877-KARS4KIDS. . . K-A-R-S, cars for kids . . . 1-877-KARS4KIDS. . . Donate your car today."

    The advertising spots, which have been airing on KMOX since before Thanksgiving, offer few details on the vehicle donation program. They tell listeners the program is a "recognized charity" and donors will receive a "maximum deduction" from the Internal Revenue Service for their vehicles. The ad also says donors will receive a "free vacation voucher" good for a three-day, two-night stay.

    What is left unsaid, and what also is conspicuously absent from the charity's Web site, is that almost all money raised through the Kars4Kids charity goes to a Lakewood, N. J.-based program set up to pay for private schooling and other educational programs. It aims to bring Jewish schoolchildren and adults closer to their heritage.
Curse those Hebes and their desire to teach Jewish children about Jewish culture!

How very investigatory of the Post-Dispatch to wade through a world full of Muslim charities collecting money to blow up innocents, Irish charities collecting money to fund the IRA, and Chinese Taoist charities collecting American defense secrets to sniff out the Zionists.

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
True Internet History Fact
In 789, a band of raiders from a tribe in what would later become Holland crossed the English Channel and looked for easy prey and pillage. They eventually rounded the south of England and landed in Wales. For the next two years, they sacked and pillaged, and by 791 had completely stripped Wales of its vowels. Returning the their homeland, these proto-Dutch used the stolen vowels to garrishly adorn every name and many words in their native tongue.

It's true: you read it on the Internet.

Wherein Brian Muses, Loses Daddy Cred
Reflection upon viewing a swirling mass of light and dark on the computer screen:
    A fetus? A nebula in galaxy MRS-252? No, wait, nebulas don't squirm like that, it must be a fetus.
Say aloud to the extremely proud mama-to-be at your own peril.

Monday, December 19, 2005
Remember the Olden Christmas Tales
Like this one I posted last year:

Die Hard MDCXCII: Die Really, Really, REALLY Hard

Holiday Tip
Going down to the international port and trying to hang a shining star upon the highest bow is an excellent way to spend a cheery evening with local DHS officials.

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Book Report: A Specter Is Haunting Texas by Fritz Leiber (1968)
I bought this book as part of the much-vaunted by-and-sell-on-eBay thing I had going on in the early part of the century. I didn't sell it, and I didn't mark it a quarter in my own family yard sale; instead, I've read it. As you know, I'm on a neo-classic science fiction kick these last couple of weeks (see also my report on Man Plus by Frederik Pohl).

The book has the double-effect thing I enjoy so much. As a piece written in the late 1960s, it captures something of its time and the state of the science fiction of the era; however, its setting is hundreds of years hence. After colonizing the near solar system, the world fell into atomic warfare with which the colonists wanted nothing to do; as a result they evolved for life in free-fall. Meanwhile, the east and west coasts of America endure massive nuclear strikes which leave the fascist Texans safe to emerge as the rules who conquer the Americas and continue the struggle against the Chinese and the Russkies.

Oddly enough, although someone from the twenty-first century could look upon this and see blatant politicization-as a blogger, it's my sacred duty--this book doesn't contain any; the setting is simply the setting. Also, the author doesn't have much to laud about the others in the book, whether the oppressed workers nor the Russian socialists. Instead, it's all part of the setting, and it is what it is.

A thespian from the Sack--a free-fall colony near the moon--comes to Texas (as the whole Western hemisphere, give or take a couple hippie republics, is called) to stake a claim on an old family mine. As he's unused to gravity, he wears an exoskeleton to function, and finds himself playing the role of the foretold leader of the revolution--or at least the figurehead as he plays the leader to earn his passage to his mining claim.

The voice fits the thespian from off the planet well, and the book is rather enjoyable. If you're not too caught up on the latest science fiction, and if you can find a copy, it's worth checking out.

Carnival Entry
Given my recent posting schedule, I'll be a regular contributor to the new Carnival of Nothing.

Of course, if you're thinking it's a round-up of Sartre or Heidegger commentary, you'd be right, after a fashion.

Memo from the Academy
It's supposed to be an op-ed about gender feminism run amok, but Lionel Tiger (seriously) proffers the following metaphor which reflects ill on its creator:
    Into this acrimonious climate has whispered a breath of spring air in winter--an extraordinary document that may have surprising impact because of its severe countercultural implications and its almost sweet innocence of purpose. In early November, the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men issued its first report ( The commission was proposed in a 1999 bill by state Rep. David Bickford. The House passed the bill, awarding a budget of $69,561. But months later, the state Senate stripped away funding. The commission was finally established in 2002. According to its report, the Senate's effort to defund it reflects "the inaction of good people who apparently have been led to believe that legislative activity designed to primarily benefit men is somehow not appropriate politically, financially, or otherwise."

    To the contrary, the commission's report frontally accepts that there are intrinsic differences in how men and women cope with health, education, responsibility and violence. It concludes that social policies must not begin by denying differences. If you're running a zoo, know the real nature of your guests. This applies nationally, not only in New Hampshire.
Social policymakers, probably the government and its intelligentsia friends, are running the zoo. That makes you, gentle citizen, an animal for them to cage in Byzantine programs and Gordian knots of regulation.

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