Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Wherein Brian Realizes Trivial Pursuit Is Going to be Harder in a Decade For Him
The Online Film Critics Society releases its list of the Top Overlooked Films of the 1990s. I guess I scored highly on this test, since I overlooked 97 of the 100. Here they are, with the ones I've seen in bold: I expect anyone reading this blog to have scored lower.

Friday, March 17, 2006
The Caribou Have Pissed George W. Bush Off For The Last Time
Those damn infidel caribou on the ANWAR preserve are really gonna get it now when the drilling begins: White House Plans Smallpox Drill

That should teach them to stand in the way of American oil exploration.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Tall Tales Not Yet a Felony
In Illinois, they're going to make it illegal to embellish your past:
    People who pretend to have earned some of the nation's most prestigious military medals, including the Purple Heart, the Medal of Honor and others, could pay a fine of up to $200 under a bill being considered today by the state Senate.
Jumping merry jesophat, I think it's odious, but criminal?

Sure it starts with pretending about having served with distinction in the military, but there's nothing different, really, about lying about military service, lying about playing sports in high school, or lying about your sexual conquests.

    "For one in our society to falsely represent themselves as having received that very, very important recognition, I think is a serious offense not only in law but to our morality," said Rep. Dan Burke, D-Chicago, the bill's sponsor.
I tell you what, Representative, let's expand that bill a bit more to extend to embellishments or insincere promises made by politicians because I think that's a series offense not only in law but to our morality.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
If A Child Dies Nearby, It's a Felony
The solution:
    Federal prosecutors say the use and manufacture of methamphetamine by a Jefferson County man contributed to the death of his infant daughter in 2003. If a judge agrees, 28-year-old James G. Hayes could spend 30 years behind bars.
The problem?
    The death of 4-week-old Jersie N. Hayes was reported to authorities on Jan. 21, 2003 by Hayes' girlfriend, Kristy Toczylowski, who is the mother of four children with Hayes. The child was found in bed at the couple's home on Treeview Lane, south of Fenton.

    [redacted by blogger] even though an autopsy on the child proved inconclusive.
The missing ingredient, the magical summation that this blogger withheld to demonstrate the absurdity of the charge?
    Prosecutors believe the dangerous chemicals use to make meth contributed to Jersie's death, even though an autopsy on the child proved inconclusive.
Holy crimoly, I hope that the freaking toxicology and pathology classes that they teach in law school to students with political science undergraduate degrees include actual autopsies so that the ADAs can get diggin' in the morgue to overcome what the actual coroner says.

Because I'd hate to think our legal system relies upon creative higher-office seekers and the various incarnations of television's CSI for this illumination.

I Wonder How I Voted In 2004 In Milwaukee
City drops 105,000 names from voter registration rolls:
    The City of Milwaukee has dropped about 105,000 names from its voter rolls after completing the first purge since 2001, city officials said Tuesday.

    That represents about 23% of the 450,000 names that had been on the rolls. Officials had said they were unsure if a purge of the rolls had been conducted after the 2000 election.
As Weber and Dolan pointed out today, 450,000 registered voters represents over 80% of Milwaukee's population. Men, women, and children.

So I apologize to my family members in St. Louis who might be disappointed to discover that I voted for Kerry in 2004 even though:
  • I haven't lived in the city of Milwaukee for 12 years.

  • I didn't actually ever register to vote in Milwaukee, since I did all my voting absentee in Missouri during my college years.
Hopefully, with this diligence on the part of the City of Milwaukee, though, I won't vote for Chelsea Clinton in 2020.

Something to Remember When Next Fundraiser Letter Arrives
Dear Marquette University:

Don't bother sending me letters encouraging me to send $25 when you pay the basketball coach $1,650,000 a year.

Although your fundraising pitches are printed upon recyclable paper, I insist upon shredding anything with my name upon it. Also, the lost printing and postage has probably cost you enough to buy one minute of Tom Crean's time next year.

Thank you, that is all.

Creeping Federal Nanny-Statism Warning, Unheeded (As Usual)
Wisconsin has passed the legislation to make it illegal to convey an urchin in a car without a booster seat unless the child is 8 years old, or 80 pounds, or 4'9" tall. I'm subject to plenty of PSAs when I listen to WISN every day, pointing at this government site promoting it.

Come on, peoples. This is the lesser Federal agency M.O.: Promote educationally, and then withhold Federal funds until your state legislatures make them law.

Now, parents, you will have to buy extra gear to keep your children safe until such time as the Federally-encourage state legislature determines that the law of diminishing returns no longer applies to your child. One assumes that if the Department of Transportation determines your child is safer when packed in Styrofoam peanuts in your back seat until the age of 18, your state legislatures will inconvenience you, under penalty of law, with damn sure packing them in peanuts as long as your state gets its two million dollars in highway funding.

Ace Savages Roeper
So I don't have to: This Just In: Richard Roeper Is A Blantatly Dishonest Leftist Apologist

Frankly, I read this Roeper Chicago Sun-Times column defending V for Vendetta and didn't think it was much of a threat to our way of life and that it was a fair argument a movie. A movie I didn't want to see because of its subject matter. The column didn't change my mind in any fashion, but I didn't care to comment on it.

Ace does, though, and he delivers a savaging that sways my opinion against Roeper plenty good.

(By the way, congratulations to Richard Roeper for getting the negative blogosphere attention he's probably craved for some time now. Unfortunately, the big dogs of the blogosphere don't normally find source material in the Milwaukee, Chicago, or St. Louis papers. Way to go, Richard!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Vice President Cheney's Office Continues Pattern of Stonewalling
    A minor league hockey team plans to spoof Vice President Dick Cheney's recent hunting mishap by handing out orange hunting vests with the words, "Don't Shoot, I'm Human."
However, note again how the Cheney responded by not responding:
    Cheney's office in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment.

It's a Trap
Two researchers at MIT have created a man-control mechanism given the chickly name "loving cups" designed to control males:
    Researchers have come up with a novel way to keep long-distance lovers in touch -- high-tech wine glasses that glow warmly however far apart the pining couple are.

    When either person picks up a glass, red light-emitting diodes glow on their partner's glass. When one puts a glass to their lips, the other glass glows brightly.
Guys, they have couched this into some touchy-feely chick experience of shared love, communal libation, or what have you, but that's just the hook. The real purpose of the contraption is to provide her with an alarm that alerts her to how much you drink. Sure, it's a wineglass now, but soon it will no doubt be embedded in your favorite fraternity mug.

All I got to say is that these things should have an epilepsy warning associated with them, particularly if they're going to blink every time I take a drink.

(Link seen on Electric Venom.)

Monday, March 13, 2006
Breaking News, ca 1985
Is it that time again to discover that the game of Assassination is being played upon city streets?

I guess so:
    A large-scale combination of "Hide and Seek" and murder is being played on the streets of major U.S. cities with water pistols.

    "StreetWars: Killer" allows grownups to play out fantasies of being assassins, the Los Angeles Times says. The game began in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that one of the founders, Franz Aliquo, "could use some psychiatric help."
Party like it's 1985!

UPDATE: UPI has also learned that some young people play games with paper and dice around kitchen tables while drinking copious amounts of Mountain Dew. Unconfirmed reports indicate that these people worship the devil!

New York Times Blames eBay
In an article entitled "Some Finding Perils in Online Real Estate, the New York Times finds innumerable ways to blame eBay for unscrupulous sellers who will unload crap properties on "investors" who will buy properties unseen and then will pay contractors recommended by the sellers thousands of dollars for repairs. For example, the New York Times offers this bit:
    Sam Hoyt, a Democratic state assemblyman and co-chairman of the Buffalo mayor's task force on real estate flipping, whose aim is to educate consumers on the destructive effects of the practice, blames eBay, saying it enables dishonest flippers to lure buyers.

    Mr. Hoyt said he had repeatedly appealed to eBay officials, asking the company to make specific changes, like informing sellers that they must comply with New York State disclosure laws and requiring a copy of written sales contracts. But Mr. Hoyt said he had received little cooperation from the company.

    "What eBay is doing, in my opinion, is immoral," he said. "They have a responsibility to not facilitate activity like this."
I mean, Buffalo has a task force on the problem of capitalists trying to turn a profit with property, and this publicly-funded entity has determined that eBay is immoral for posting real estate listings.

No doubt the New York Times has issued a retraction for all of the overly-optimistic classified ads it has run in its history.

But hey, the NYT is "even-handed," as we can see from the "opposing viewpoint"
    Representatives of eBay say the company has few legal obligations to buyers of real estate on the site. "The people responsible for house flipping," an eBay spokesman, Hani Durzy, said, "are the people selling these houses and the people buying them sight unseen. How these sellers and buyers are connecting is not as important as the fact that the buyers are not doing the proper due diligence when buying a property."
eBay pretty much understands the physics of the situation: fools share the same negative electrical charge as their money, and the fools will inevitably cast off their excess dollars.

The paper, on the other hand, only understands that somehow, somewhere, something is not regulated or legislated, and its heroes, the legislatures and regulatory agencies of government, should do something.

We at MfBJN, on the other hand, turn to the sublime koans of Master Kuni, who meditated: "You took the box? Let's see what's in the box! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You're so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!"

Because instead of trying to outlawing stupidity, we prefer that it remain a personal choice, punishable by mockery.

Book Report: Where is Janice Gantry? by John D. MacDonald (1961)
I bought this book for $2.00 at Hooked on Books in Springfield late last month; it represents the second John D. MacDonald fiction book I've read in the last two weeks, and I need to pace myself. If I read too many of them close together, I find myself nitpicking them by comparing them to one another; if I read them interspersed with other fiction, their quality stands in stark contrast to most books.

This book details the story of Sam Brice, an insurance adjustor with a dark past who shelters for a night an escaped convict he knows. When the escaped convict calls upon Brice's ex-flame for help in some plot, Brice wants to follow along, but a local deputy with a love of his own blackjack knocks Brice out just long enough for the plot to progress. Brice's lover, Janice Gantry, disappears. And Brice wants to find her and to find out what made his associate into a convict and what that strange, brutal, reclusive couple in the large beachfront house have to hide.

The boko contains the trademark MacDonald hero, the pulpesque-but-evolving heroine, brutal and disbelieving police, and the like. Unfortunately, it slides slightly into purple prose, kinda making it into the masculine equivalent of the romance novel, but it's still worth a read. Looks like you can get this book more cheaply than I did if you click the link below. If so, more the power to you and more the loot to me. Mmmm, loot.

Books mentioned in this review:

Sunday, March 12, 2006
Director of Real Estate for Dierbergs Says Lie Back and Enjoy It
In Missouri, some retail developers have mechanisms for levying surcharges on purchases within their developments. They can then use this money for things such as keeping up their developments, leaving the rent they charge the retailers available for more important things, such as their salaries and profit.

But the state is starting to look at this practice since, you know, these transportation development districts allow for the levying of taxes without accountability. The schizophrenic St. Louis Post-Dispatch cluck clucks the practice, which is odd since the paper lauds unelected boards pushing for taxes and conferring tax breaks for airports, sports teams, and myriad other things--so long as it's not businesses who wield this ripe-for-abuse power, it's okay with the Post-Dispatch.

But we here at MfBJN applaud Jerry Ebest, director of real estate for Dierbergs grocery stores, who tells the public it should just lie back and enjoy it:
    "If you're a consumer and you live very close to anybody's store that is in your municipality, would you take time out of your schedule to drive to another city with a lower tax rate?" he asked. "My suspicion is you would not."
Thank you, Mr. Ebest, for explaining how rising tax rates lift all boats.

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