Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Movie Preview
The Sentinel: Okay, Kiefer Sutherland as a shouting government agent, we can accept, but President Sledge Hammer!? Not so much.

The split second shot (no pun intended) of David Rasche along with the words "the President" were enough to pitch my wife and I into gales of laughter during the preview.

Book Report: Peking Duck by Roger L. Simon (1979)
On my second attempt, I made it through this book by blogger Roger L. Simon. Of course, the book was written in 1979, before blogs. As some of you long-time readers know, I bought a number of the Moses Wine iBooks reissues in November 2004 and I read the two books (The Big Fix and The Lost Coast) in the first week I owned them. Then I tried Peking Duck. And it took me over a year to try it again.

The book centers on a trip Moses Wine takes to China. A liberal by philosophy, Wine has some sympathy and reverence for the Chinese Communists and their noble ideals. As he's belonged to a Chinese friendship society to please his aunt, he's invited on her tour of China. While in China, a crime occurs, and he's the one who has to solve the mystery and set the things aright, to make the world safe for Chinese communism.

One of my complaints with this book is the same as with The Big Fix: We get a complete enumeration of names and professions for the people on the trip with Moses Wine, but for the most part, they remain names and professions, and I couldn't keep many of them straight. Which wasn't too important, as they're just scenery. The book goes at length to describe the trip to China, the Chinese cities, and the Chinese line on communism in the late 1970s. As a matter of fact, it reads more like a fictional, sympathetically political travelogue. On page 120 or so, the crime finally occurs, and I knew who did it immediately.

So the book didn't really hold me in any suspense, nor did I really enjoy it all that much. However, I did make it through it this time. Roger L. Simon was nominated for an Academy Award for a screen play, and I think his strength must lie in that medium.

Movie Not Ruled Out
James Frey, author of the fictional A Million Little Pieces, says:
    "I think writing a book about this experience would be trying to capitalize on it in some way and that's not something I want to do at all."
This does not, however, rule out a movie a la Shattered Glass.

There Ought To Be A Law - Amusing Cartoon, Bad Governing Philosophy
Back in the old days, the Milwaukee Journal ran a cartoon in its Green Sheet called "There Ought to Be a Law", whose rejoinder/punchline "TOBAL." followed annoying day to day situations. One would suspect that many the current generation of revered legislators steeped themselves in this comic strip instead of the Constitution, the Federalist papers, or even the watered-down civics books that public schools offer. For behold, the stupidest St. Louis aldermanic idea since peeing in a trash can: Big stereo could cost you your car
    City police would be able to seize cars blasting loud music under an ordinance passed Friday by the Board of Aldermen.

    The ordinance, which would take effect once signed by Mayor Francis Slay, prohibits the use and even installation of some enhanced speakers.
Hell, you only own your home at the leisure of the leisurely ruling class. Why not your cars, too? Instead of ticketing you, they'll take your car. And what will they do with that seized car? Sell it at auction, no doubt.

Book Report: The Olympics' Most Wanted by Floyd Conner (2001)
Like the Lupica book, I bought this book at Barnes and Noble (Ladue) off of its clearance table for $1.00. I mean, if I don't burn those points off of the card, the card management company will gladly do so for a certain number of cents every ten days until such time as they have to garnish my wages for the overage. So it's desperation, coupled with the twin desires of acquiring trivia knowledge and preparing for a historical perspective when the Torino Olympics start, I dove into the book.

It's a series of top ten lists which include different athletes and incidents within the past Olympics, sliced and diced by topic. Unfortunately, that's led to some repetition in the records. Also. as I read, I found that the trivia infusion only re-inforced the information I'd experienced. That Zola Budd was responsible for Decker's loss in some track event in 1984....Man, the number of times I retyped the decade digit indicates how powerful that bit of trivia is, so I better not indicate that I know how South African Zola Budd got to compete anyway, or else I'll be in jeopardy the next time the North Side Mind Flayers step into a St. Louis Trivia night.

The book's major flaw is that it repeats anecdotes in different sections as the author tried to leverage limited material into more pages. For example, we read about the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding incident in two chapters. One anecdote focuses on Kerrigan and one on Harding. This retreading of material gives one the idea that the author was indeed stretching to make his limited sources pay off. Hey, as a writer, I can't knock it, but as a reader, I can sure mock it.

Friday, January 27, 2006
Movie Preview
16 Blocks: Because The Gauntlet would have been much better without Sondra Locke.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
McGehee Gets the Silent Treatment
As some of you know, I have a disagreement with McGehee of Yuppie-Ki-Yay, a blog written from an aesthete cokehead's midtown Manhattan apartment. Just so you know, I am punishing him by giving him the silent treatment, which is apparently effective.

Mostly because tonight's photo manipulation historical research hasn't proven effective.

If Chuck Norris Fought Jack Bauer, The Universe Would End
Facts about Jack Bauer, from television's 24.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Kevin McGehee Has No Geek Cred
Some of you readers might know that I have this thing about Kevin McGehee of Yippee-Ki-Yay!.

"Why?" Some of you ask. "After all, McGehee is cool; he's got a Web log."

That's not enough.

Kevin McGehee Lacks Geek Cred

Signs include:
  • First of all, let's address this.
    • Dude, where's the mad Photoshopping skillz? I mean, come on, Microsoft Paint comes with your computer; put your back into it!

    • Of all the characters in an obscure 30-year-old movie, you're comparing me to Riff Raff? Dude, the only character only arguably better in the movie is Eddie. I'm not suffering here.

  • Word on the street is that Kevin McGehee actually welcomed the Second Edition Rules. I'm just sayin'.

  • Kevin McGehee: DC. Me: Marvel.

  • In the great debate of Microsoft versus Linux, Kevin McGehee answers, "Paper inside plastic."

  • Kevin McGehee claims his first computer was a "386-16MHz PC with a 40MB hard drive and 4MB of RAM, and with Windows 3.0 installed." Brother, if your first computer didn't have a brand like Commodore, Apple, Texas Instruments, Tandy/TRS, or Timex, much less had a freaking hard drive, get out of town.

  • Kevin McGehee doesn't know the difference between Florida DOT S1 Mixes and Wisconsin SuperPave PG 58-28 mixes. (Okay, so that's a bullet point that indicates that McGehee lacks street cred; however, I'll include it here because I need to flesh out this list.
Friends, I have met geeks in my life, and Kevin McGehee is nothing but a potential Commie cyborg from the past pretending to be a geek to win your confidence.

One Good Discharge Leads to Another
Some people were just born to work in fast food:
    Then everyone's attention turned to a woman in line - the one with a shredded sequined purse on the tile floor near her feet.

    "She picked up her purse like it was some kind of disease," explained Shelley White, the store manager on duty.

    "I ain't got no gun," was the only thing the stranger told the crowd in the restaurant before gathering her purse and teenage daughter from a nearby booth and running out of the place about 1 p.m. Friday.

    But she did have a gun, investigators said, apparently a low-quality one that discharged by accident when she dropped her purse.

    She had a secret too, one that she might have kept had White not rushed to the window and called out the license number for a customer to jot down. The fleeing woman was an off-duty St. Louis police officer.
After the woman inadvertantly discharged a firearm, fled the scene, and threw the firearm out of her window on the interstate before she was caught, she resigned when the internal affairs department of her police department opened an investigation.

As someone who travels into the city almost daily, I would hope the city of St. Louis would weed these people out before they're actually, you know, cops.

Monday, January 23, 2006
Warrantless Searches in Waukesha
Waukesha County gives cash for trash: Selected homeowners given $100 for recycling:
    Diane Penosky was tinkering in her garage when she heard someone - or something - picking through the family's recycling bin outside.

    Bruce and Diane Penosky of Summit carry cardboard and plastic bags to their vehicle to take to the recycling center. The couple were chosen as winners of a $100 cash reward as part of Waukesha County’s recycling program.

    It turned out the intruder was neither a thief nor a critter, but a Waukesha County employee who was sizing up Penosky for a reward for being a good recycler: $100.

    Waukesha County is believed to be the first government agency in southeastern Wisconsin to distribute a friendly bribe as a way of encouraging homeowners to recycle.
The government of Waukesha County has employees whose job entails rifling through your recycling to make sure you're doing it properly:
    Who gets Waukesha County's cash rewards is a matter of luck.

    Moving from community to community, county officials pick a street by throwing a dart at a map. Then they head to that street on curbside recycling day and make a winner of the first homeowner whose bin is found filled correctly.
It's good that Waukesha County officials and employees have handled all of the city's other business, eliminated crime, and has reduced taxes as much as possible to cover all the minimums. It's just unfortunate that it spends all of its remaining effort and energy not on private enterprises of the individuals in the government, but on freaking going through citizens' recycling by hand.

Because that would never be abused once citizens become accustomed to it.

Guest Editorial
An editorial that could be coming soon from our legislators:

Meth Cooks Don't Support Our New Bill, Either

And Although It Will Inconvenience You, Citizen, You Won't Complain....Or Do You Have Something To Hide?

Meth cooks in America cannot be pleased about new legislation recently introduced in the Congress. They now know we have a new, better, more comprehensive plan to further cripple their ability to produce meth and to give law enforcement more tools, a workbench, and a buddy-who's-handy-and-will-waste-his-whole-weekend-at-your-house-for-a-sixer-of-beer to bring them to justice.

I've held 16 photo opportunities around the state to discuss Missouri's meth problem. Law enforcement agents of all stripes and also occasionally with spots, some with as many as 30 years' experience, have told me this drug is the worst threat they have confronted in their careers since smack, PCP, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, whip-its, or if after March 2006, insert latest drug scourge here. It is by far the worst drug I have seen in my nearly 20 years in public life, but, as a Republican,I don't get invited to the good parties.

Meth is highly addictive, highly destructive, highly high-making, highly toxic, and has high brand recognition amongst the news-consuming populace, which makes it more dangerous than other drugs because it gets the television coverage as dangerous. During the past decade, while law enforcement officers, in Promethean efforts, continue to bust record numbers of clandestine labs, meth use in communities has increased by as much as 300 percent. Unfortunately, this might lead some to believe that draconian laws aren't effective; however, some would legislate that those laws are not draconian enough.

Incorporating the needs of our law enforcement community, I've introduced the Combat Meth Act II (Combat Mether) with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California. Sen. Feinstein and I have the distinction of representing the legislature that leads the country in methamphetamine legislation production.

One of the most important features of our bill would make fire, an important ingredient to make meth, more inaccessible. Because fire is as a product or by-product of many appliances or other devices found in the household, meth cooks can purchase or ignite the ingredient in large enough quantities to make the drug. Our bill says that fire and fire-producing devices must be kept behind a store counter so that users cannot steal them without actually confronting a shopkeeper with a gun and perhaps leaving him in a pool of his own blood and that shopkeepers only sell fire-producing devices such as gas cook stoves, gas log fireplaces, automobiles with internal combustion engines, disposable or refillable cigarette lighters, kitchen or safety matches, magnifying glasses, or pairs of sticks to persons licensed to create fire.

After completing a fire safety course, passing a background check, and paying a nominal registration fee, licensed buyers can purchase up to 1 fire-building device within a 30 day period. Consumers would be required to present proof of identification and sign for the satellite RFID-equipped device upon purchase. This is without doubt a small burden for consumers, but law enforcement agents have told me it is the only way we can stop the meth cooks from poisoning our communities with this deadly drug. A couple of photogenic or at least camera-worthy Missourians know someone who has been hurt as a result of the meth epidemic. Keeping fire out of the hands of the common rabble will keep it out of our schools and neighborhoods.

Our bill is based on an Oklahoma law passed last year limiting the use of fire by the hoi-polloi. Since the law’s inception, meth lab seizures in Oklahoma have declined by about 80 percent, smoking declined 90 percent, arsons are down 70 percent, but salmonella and other undercooked meat illnesses are up substantially. Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt is also pushing legislation in the state legislature that is based on the Oklahoma law.

In order to ensure that rural communities without licensing bureau access are not negatively impacted, our legislation provides for the Director of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration to authorize others to act as Federally-Authorized Fire-Bringers so long as they follow the same procedure.

The Combat Meth Act Club Remix Edition also provides critical resources to local law enforcement, including an additional $30,000,000 under the ZEUS program to train state and local law enforcement to investigate and chain fire users to Mount Aetna so a giant eagle can pick at their livers. It also expands the methamphetamine "hot spots" program to include administrators, consultants, and meetings for enforcement, prosecution, and environmental clean-up, with actual funding for people who do things left to the next legislative session.

We also enhance the ability of local prosecutors to enlarge their fiefdoms by providing $5,000,000 to hire additional federal prosecutors, assistant prosecutors, and administrative staff to lobby for additional funds to hire additional federal prosecutors, assistant prosecutors, and administrative staff to lobby for additional funds to hire....well, you get the idea. The bill cross-designates local prosecutors who undergo this training as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, allowing them to enhance their resumes for future political careers, such as United States Senator.

The legislation provides $5,000,000 in grant funding to fund studies and staff to study and staff studies on how to spend money to help children affected by the spread of fire and other bedwetters. The funding would go to heavily-armed Drug Endangered Children rapid response teams to promote collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies to assist, educate, or arrest children affected by the production of methamphetamine or the use of unauthorized fire.

To help unauthorized fire users who want help, our bill authorizes the creation of a Fire Denial Research, Training, and Technical Assistance Center which will help people improve their self-esteem while they grow accustomed to the cold, the darkness, and a diet of raw vegetables.

Within days of its introduction, 17 senators co-sponsored the bill and Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.

The expansion of methamphetamine production continues to put a severe strain on federal and local entities as law enforcement officials have more laws to enforce and limited budgets are spent on an ever-expanding list of programs. But let's not get into that now. Fighting meth requires a comprehensive restrictive approach, where anything that anyone can do during the production of meth must be outlawed. The Combat Meth Reloaded Act is the most comprehensive anti-meth bill ever considered by Congress so far, but wait until next year.

After all, Senator Jim Talent, "R." MO, wrote this one, didn't he?

Whither Osama?
A lot of thoughtful, or perhaps only mostly thoughtful, people turn the discussion of the latest Osama bin Laden tape into an indictment of the impotence of the American military or allude to a possible conspiracy involving either the capture of bin Laden or allowing bin Laden to remain free to serve as a boogie man to justify the overreach of a warmongering neoconservative president. Why can't the greatest military on the planet find one man?

I have two words to rebut any conspiracy theory: Eric Robert Rudolph.

For those of you who don't remember, Eric Robert Rudolph is the fellow who bombed the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Law enforcement identified Eric Robert Rudolph as a suspect in an Alabama abortion clinic bombing on February 14, 1998. Rudolph went on the run and hid out on the fringes of a mountain town in North Carolina and was finally arrested on May 31, 2003.

Let's dwell on that for a moment: From the time Rudolph was named as a suspect and the search began in earnest, 5 years, 3 months, and 17 days passed. The FBI was conducting its manhunts through the woods and mountains of North Carolina and the southeast, using local guides and local law enforcement when possible, to comb and canvas the area with vigor. An area within the boundaries of the United States, peopled with Americans.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, at which point Osama bin Laden beat his retreat to Pakistan or wherever. Between then and now, 4 years and 3 months have elapsed, and the American military has not found him. For those paying any attention and trying to gain any perspective, bin Laden is rumored to be hiding on Pakistani soil. That is, he is not on ground controlled by American soldiers; indeed, the remote region where he's supposed to be hiding (or have hidden until his death) is populated with people who don't like Americans and wouldn't help if they could (some, though, would say the same about Murphy, North Carolina, but it's futile to try to talk with someone likes equate Christian fundamentalists with tribal Muslims in Pakistan).

The American military, and American law enforcement, are not omnipotent, no matter how loud the civil libertarians shriek about any advance in data-gathering or surveillance technology. Unfortunately, the American psyche believes them to be so. I think of it as the Star Trek effect: When we're confronted with fictional representations (like 24 or Tom Clancy) of the military's climactic successes, we tend to adjust our expectations to meet them. (I call it the Star Trek effect because science fiction has sometimes lulled us into not remembering how dangerous space flight really is currently.) If the military cannot pull bin Laden out of a cave after 42 minutes of prime time television, it's failing....or it's a cliffhanger leading to a suspenseful twist about the mole in the agency at the highest levels who is thwarting the effort or is misleading the American people.

We're not so far from the world where Nazi fugitives hid for decades at the edges of the civilized world, and we're not far at all from a world where a lone bomber in America can hide in the woods overlooking town for half a decade before a lucky break lands him in jail. Wherever Osama bin Laden is, if he's alive, he's still on the run, and if the American military and world law enforcement remains vigilant, we'll catch him eating out of a Save-a-Lot dumpster sooner or later.

McGehee: Commie Cyborg from the Past?
Recent discoveries lead me to believe that McGehee, of Yippee-Ki-Yay, might be a commie cyborg sent from the past. For instance, the following photograph, faxed to a Killian, Texas, Kinko's in 1948 would support this hypothesis:

McGehee: Commie Cyborg

Apparently, the Reds knew their way of life was doomed after World War II. Using a time machine, they sent a cyborg into the future to.... Well, let's not dwell on the finer lines of the plot. However, let's look at the evidence that McGehee might very well be that cyborg:
  1. Is it any coincidence he settled down in Georgia?

  2. Obviously, his cover name was supposed to be McGee, but the translation from the Cyrillic alphabet led to the misspelling.

  3. He's blogging at Yippee-Ki-Yay, the call of the American individualist. He's obviously covering something.

Keep in mind, this is just a theory. Why, some would even say the photograph is faked, to which I would respond....perhaps the Russkies did that on purpose for disinformation. We'll never know.

A Plea For Mercy
Private communique from McGehee, in my e-mail box today:
    From the looks of the traffic I'm getting from your faithful supporters, I know I'm beaten. Can we please enjoy a little who'd-nah so that I can rally my supporters and channel money from international sympathizers?
In a word: No.

There will be no quarter, McGehee.

Sunday, January 22, 2006
McGehee's Latest Salvo Falls Short
McGehee, in his ongoing futile resistance to my one-sided blog yee-hawd against him, says:
    Bring it on, buddy. I’ve got a cupboard full of pickles and a freezer full of ice cream. We’ll see how your chosen method of attack works out.
So be it. You know what? He's a lot like Pajamas Media. How?

Top Ways McGehee Is Like Pajamas Media

  1. Both have advertisements.

  2. McGehee Zone/web log has five syllables. Pajamas Media has five syllables (if you sort of slur the end of media.

  3. Neither can pick a name and stick to it. Blogosferics became Yippie-Ki-Yay. Pajamas Media became Open Source Media briefly, but it's back to Pajamas Media.

  4. Chuck Norris doesn't know either of them even exists.
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg in McGehee's perfidy.

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