Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, June 30, 2006
A Dig A Day Keeps Ehrenreich Away
Jane Galt digs at Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickeled and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America:
    I read "Nickeled and Dimed", and was impressed by its detailed description of life at the bottom . . . and completely unimpressed by its economic illiteracy, paternalistic snobbery about the people she worked with, disdain for her customers, bizarre fantasies about the motives of middle-class consumers, and her complete and total lack of even a vestigial sense of humour.
I don't even think I was impressed with its detailed description of life at the bottom because, as I recall, it didn't have a palette that extended beyond grey and dark grey.

A couple of years ago, I promised my wife I would write a detailed, scathing review of the book myself, but I've not yet gotten to it. I'll have to reread it before I can do so, but at least Ehrenreich won't get more pennies out of me for rereading a book I already own. But I bought the paperback edition I own new, dammit, so I bought Ehrenreich a couple milligrams of a doobie.

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Book Report: Sinbad's Guide to Life (Because I Know Everything) by Sinbad with David Ritz (1997)
I've read Chris Rock's Rock This, I've read Bill Cosby's Time Flies and Love and Marriage, Rita Rudner's Naked Beneath My Clothes, Judy Tenuta's The Power of Judyism, and more recently, Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be A Redneck If.... So I've read my share of the comics' attempts to cash in on their fleeting fame with a book deal. So I picked up Sinbad's Sinbad's Guide to Life (Because I Know Everything) from the St. Charles Book Fair for $2.00. Because I read these things habitually.

Honestly, I probably have seen some of Sinbad's stand-up routines, but I know him mostly from Necessary Roughness. I didn't have expectations of his style of comedy. After reading the book, I still don't. I'm sure he's a pretty good comic, but he's not that good of a writer. Even with help, the substance of this book is hard-pressed to actually fill out the book. Part memoir, part humor, I guess Sinbad wanted to pass on some of the lessons he learned the hard way.

But it's tricky to translate comic success to hardbound books. Cosby did it, but that's because his humor is topical and bound in storytelling, so he's got a head start on people who simply fire off zingers. Rock's biting topical commentary offers some humor and some laughs. Even Rudners musings are amusing at times. And the Foxworthy book was a picture book of one liners. So rating these books, I'd put Sinbad a step above Tenuta; her schtick doesn't translate well to the printed word, and maybe Sinbad's would have, but it really didn't make me laugh, educate me, or teach me anything.

It's not a bad book, it's simply a book hardly worthy of any adjectives. Probably not $2.00 either, but what else could I do? I have a library to fill.

Books mentioned in this review:

Bush Charisma Works On Bush Supporters, Hard Core Republicans
St. Louis Post-Dispatch dramatic headline: Bush rallies crowd to back war. However, the story indicates this might be an understatement:
    President George W. Bush used his visit to St. Louis on Wednesday to make his case to local soldiers and supporters that the nation must persevere in Iraq and Afghanistan to safeguard America's security.

    His approach, he declared, is "not based on political polls or focus groups," but on the belief that "we must stay on the offense in order to protect America."

    "The American people expect the government to protect them," Bush told an enthusiastic crowd of 500 at a fundraising dinner for U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton.
    [Emphasis mine]
Yeah, this was more Henry V at Harfleur than Mark Antony at The Forum.

RIAA Already Preparing Subpoena For Swedish Honeypot
Sure, insurance against RIAA lawsuits sounds good, until you realize that the RIAA could just subpoena the insurance company and sue all of its customers on the presumption of guilt. Who would buy this insurance besides those who need it?

(Link also seen on Dustbury.)

Scored Like a True Libertarian
Via Dustbury, we get this little bit of reflection:


The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on

Although, to be honest, I am disappointed with my Pride and Greed scores and will work harder on them.

Supreme Court Urges Military To Take No Prisoners
Let me, prognosticator of unintended consequences, tell you what this Supreme Court decision means:
    The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

    The ruling, a strong rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.
If the executive branch and the military must apply United States constitutional protections to enemies captured on the battlefields of foreign wars, it will capture fewer enemies.

The Supreme Court has sentenced those who would have been captured to death.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Self-Googling Diligence Award for Today
Congratulations to Ty Burr of the Boston Globe who found this book report even though it was listed on page 19 (191-200) of the Google search results.

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Burr.

Had He Been An Emu in Carbondale, The Subject Would Have Been Dead
From the dramatic story entitled "Suspect steals county patrol car in Berkeley; suspect, officer injured", we have this suspenseful episode:
    The suspect drove the stolen police car for some time while surrounding police agencies attempted to stop him. The police car stopped for a short time at Suburban and Mueller streets in Ferguson. Then the suspect suddenly put the car in reverse and rammed a Cool Valley police car. At that moment officers from more than one police agencies fire shots at the suspect, all missing.[sic]
Fortunately, the suspect was acting aggressively and elusively with anyone he met, but he could not run 35 mile per hour, and both of these criteria must be met for instant execution.

The Only Good Scientist Is A Doubtful Scientist
New Surgeon General’s Report Focuses on the Effects of Secondhand Smoke:
    "The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than we previously thought," said Surgeon General Carmona, vice admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service. "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults." Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals, and is itself a known human carcinogen. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke inhale many of the same toxins as smokers. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increases risk for heart disease and lung cancer, the report says.
To quote Dean Yeager, "Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!"

Science is the most pragmatic of human endeavors, in that one only believes something is true because even if overwhelming evidence is in favor of a conclusion, science should only be 99% sure, reserving that 1% in recognition of human fallability. I've not seen all the data nor all the studies--like many, I've only seen the big exclamations from the studies which support the claim about second hand smoke and the vital italicizations of studies that dispute it which were funded by Big Tobacco!

But one thing I'm sure of: I doubt the "scientist" who says he has indisputable proof or an inarguable conclusion because that sort of scientist has mounted a bank and is trying to sell something.

(As some of you know, my beautiful wife vigorously disagrees with me, and I might be sleeping on the couch for the foreseeable future.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006
For Those Thinking of Voting Democrat
I remind you, gentle reader, if you're dissatisfied with your current Republican leaders in Congress and are considering voting for that conservative Democrat this year, please catch that candidate speaking on to an audience that is not conservative, because that's how your Democrat will sound once he or she is in Washington and is speaking through national media.

For example, I just caught a snippet of an interview on KMJM - Today's Jams and the Best Old School with Claire McCaskill, and I learned that requiring an ID to vote is a plan for them [Republicans] to disenfranchise voters legitimate without IDs who don't tend to vote Republican. Well played to the audience, Claire. I would have stomached you as governor, but I don't look forward to six years of you as my senator.

I'm not voting for Jim Talent, either, as I've made clear. I'll have to cast my ballot for Frank Gilmour, the libertarian. Although I don't agree with the Libertarians on foreign policy, I do think its the one party that would probably hold the line on spending if it accidentally found itself in power.

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