Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, September 16, 2006
That's One Inept Conspiracy
Bush administration distances itself from ailing U.S. automakers:
    Please call back after the election.

    That's the message from President George W. Bush's business-friendly administration to executives of the ailing U.S. auto industry.

    Twice this spring, Bush postponed a summit with the chief executives of Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit and General Motors Corp., citing scheduling problems.

    In a Sept. 8 phone call to Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., Bush said he wanted to wait until after the Nov. 7 midterm elections to keep partisan politics from intruding on the event.
I mean, if the Bush administration is wholly owned by Big Oil, what the hell is it doing by not pandering to Big Auto, one of the best mechanisms through which citizens consume Big Oil's products? I guess the two choices are:
  • The Bush administration isn't wholly owned by Big Oil.

  • The Bush administration is incompetent in the service of its master, Big Oil.
Many people in the blogosphere will just expect it's option 2.

Friday, September 15, 2006
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Headline Writer Again Focuses Wrongly
Here's the headline: Teen student shot by officer is charged with two felonies.

Note how the teen student's major role in this headline is to be shot by the officer, and then passive-voicedly charged with two felonies. What, pray tell could those felonies be? Illegal Larceny of Government Rounds By Secreting Them Upon One's Person Or In One's Body? Failure to Be Dead From Government Shooting? Here's the handy lead to shed some light on it:
    A Westminster Christian Academy student who was shot in the leg by police during a confrontation at his school Wednesday has been charged with two felonies.
Well, a confrontation. Perhaps the young man exchanged words with the policeman. Perhaps he tried to speak truth to power or to enlighten the policeman to the policeman's oppressive role in the existing order.

I guess the Post-Dispatch does get to the point eventually:
    The officer fired at Vincent - first grazing his leg and then striking it - as the student sat on a curb on the campus with a .410-gauge shotgun, according to Creve Coeur police Capt. Bob Kayser.

    Witnesses said Vincent, who had not been in school that day, was pointing the shotgun toward his head and that he had earlier sent a text message to another student, saying he was planning to kill himself.

    After police arrived, they began talking to the teen, who threatened to kill himself, Kayser said. At one point, Vincent lowered the shotgun and pointed it at the officers, who told him to drop it, Kayser said. An officer shot him when he did not.
So, this isn't just the teen student shot by police; this is the teen student who brought a gun to school to commit violence upon himself or others.

(More fun with the Post-Dispatch and its love of passive voice here, here, here, and here. More coming to a newstand near you tomorrow.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Stop, Spot! The Alligator Is Not Your Friend!
What kind of messages are our children's books sending with pages like these?

Spot and Friend

I mean, come on, green or not, the alligator is not the puppy's friend. The alligator is a carnivore known to come out of Floridian canals to take puppies for a little death roll and snack. They do not sit on the sides of the canals and make garlands like a shepherd and his love.

So you'll pardon me if I censor my offspring's literature to provide common sense adages like The grass is green. Oh, crap, it's an alligator. I knew we shouldn't have come to Florida for vacation. Cover your ears, Spot, Daddy has to shoot the primordial enemy of man.

Call me insensitive and, yea, prejudiced for not liking things of other colors which would eat me if given the opportunity.

Book Report: Small Felonies by Bill Pronzini (1988)
As you might remember, gentle reader, I read Bill Pronzini's Blowback in May. I thought well enough of it that when I found this particular book at the Carondolet YMCA book fair this month, I picked it up for a dollar. I'd already broken through the buy/not buy barrier and the bottom of a stroller makes it easy to forget how much you've already selected. Not that there was a baby in the stroller, mind you; babies take up room better left to books.

This book collects fifty short short stories in the mystery genre. These stories run under 2000 words for the most part--three or four book pages. They don't offer a great deal of character development, layered nuance, or other such hallmarks of immortal literary fiction that won't survive the decade. They do, however, have plots, crimes, and sometimes a twist of an ending. Sure, they're obvious sometimes and are fairly simple in structure, but they're all good short shorts.

And they're easy and not very intimidating to start reading because they're so short, but it's hard to stop because the next one won't take long, either.

I enjoyed the book, and I'll have to start watching out for short short collections. Also, this book doesn't diminish my view of Pronzini; I think I'll move him a little higher in my unofficial pantheon and start looking for more of his works. For when I start buying books again, which hopefully will be sometime after I've run through my backlog of thousands.

Books mentioned in this review:


Wednesday, September 13, 2006
At Least Some Good Came Of It
Bears' Shutout Means Free Furniture:
    Kendall County furniture store owner and "huge Bears fan" Randy Gonigam got tired of players bragging about their defense, so he decided to put his money where their mouths are. Over Labor Day weekend, Gonigam's World Furniture Mall in Plano offered customers free furniture - up to $10,000 - if the Bears shut out the Green Bay Packers in their season opener. Four quarters, 206 customers and about $300,000 later, Gonigam is still a little shell-shocked.
Let the conspiracy rumors begin: Mike McCarthy threw the game for a nice bedroom set.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
After the Civic Failed
Accord averts teachers' strike in Alton schools

Saddam Hussein Becomes Farce, Moreso, Again
Now he's apparently channelling the Kids in the Hall:
    Hussein later lashed out at "agents of Iran and Zionism" in the courtroom and vowed to "crush your heads."
For intelligence into how this is possible, I refer you to the following documents:

Monday, September 11, 2006
Kevin's Notes
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Kevin Horrigan, former sports columnist and now Editorial Page staff reporting to former television columnist and now Editorial Page Editor Eric Mink, proves that not only can you get promoted if you try hard enough and if ownership roils enough on your paper that you're the only guy left, but also writes an attempted satirical column depicting a Bush book report on Camus' The Stranger:
    Some lessons in this book: One, if this is a French masterpiece, then I don't want to hear the French whine about anything any more. Two, don't go sleeping around. Three, what'd I tell you about the Arabs? Four, capital punishment is a good thing, because it not only put this guy, Meursault, out of his misery but it put the rest of us out of our misery, too.
Now, that's hardly satire; as a matter of fact, that and the preceding paragraphs pretty accurately sum up the book. But Horrigan loves his own wit, and has to turn an enlightening summation of the book into an imagined indictment of Bush:
    Five, the war in Iraq made us all safer. Six, keep your expectations low. And finally, anyone who believes I actually read this book probably still believes Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
Well, now. Honestly, I think Bush probably read the book--it's skinny enough and it's not Entangled Existentialism like Being and Nothingness. Also, I think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and may or may not still have undiscovered caches thereof, but I wouldn't expect the newly reconstituted Iraq defense forces to have a WMD program already.

Secondly, I was going to apologize for my ad homenim funning above about Kevin Horrigan's pedigree. But, on the other hand, that sort of rhetorical goofballery is the kind of thing that can get you on the editorial page of the Post-Dispatch, and I just want them to know I am available, and fond of my own biting wit.

(In a bit of Brian lore, when I checked The Stranger out from the Marquette University library, I also checked out another slender volume called The Outsider by Camus. As soon as I polished off the 120 pages of The Stranger, I opened The Outsider and found it to be a strangely familiar, yet laden with Existential meaning, experience. As you probably know, well-educated reader, The Outsider is the British translation of L'Etranger. Imagine my chagrin.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006
Good News for Packer Fans
The Green Bay Packers aren't peaking too early.

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