Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Razors, Meet Wrists
Kate at Electric Venom needs your suggestions for the 50 Most Depressing Songs so she can build a playlist to help her in her NaNoMoWri or whatever that thing is efforts.

Man, I just recollected the old mixed tapes and playlists I created for myself to serve as backdrop music when I bled my passions to the page, and just remembering those depressing songs has kinda bummed me out. Well-played, maestros.

(Oh, yeah, I did list some in her comments, but I'm not going to recreate them for you here, gentle reader, because it would hurt just too much.)

How Many Of These Things Are You Old Enough to Remember?
In a sidebar to an article entitled "Whatever Happened To...." by Rose Madeline Mula, the Saturday Evening Post asks that question. Here's the list, with the ones I remember in bold:
  • Blackjack chewing gum (It and its cousins made a brief comeback in the 1980s.)
  • Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
  • Candy cigarettes
  • Soda-pop machines that dispensed bottles
  • Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes (Come on, some retro places still have these.)
  • Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
  • Party lines (We had them in Jefferson County, Missouri, until 1987 or 1988.)
  • Packards (But I do remember Packard Bells.)
  • P.F. Flyers (But I do remember Radio Flyers. Metal Radio Flyers.)
  • Butch wax
  • Peashooters
  • Howdy Doody
  • S&H Green Stamps (Not Eagle Stamps. See this post from April 2006.)
  • Hi-fi systems
  • Newsreels before the movie
  • 45-RPM records...and 78-RPM records (I still own some 45s.)
  • Telephone numbers with a word prefix (e.g., Olive-6933)
  • Metal ice trays with levers (See this post from March 2006)
  • Mimeograph paper (And the glorious smell of the ink and the warmth of the fresh copies.)
  • Blue flashbulbs
  • Rollerskate keys
  • Cork popguns
  • Drive-in theatres
  • Studebakers
  • Washtub wringers
That makes me 14 of 25, and I am not yet 35. So although this list shouldn't make me feel old since its items are not older than the 1980s in many cases, I think the ery fact that I have a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post should suffice.

Friday, November 03, 2006
Conspiracy Theory Du Jour
The evidence is clear; the Dow Jones average, widely reported in the media as a snapshot financial harbinger or at least simple box score of the nation, is trending downward the week before the election, from a high of almost 12,150 on Monday to about 12,020 at the close of business yesterday. This can mean only one thing:

Billionaire George Soros is manipulating the stock market to affect the election!

Because I understand that these days all portents and augury has something to do with stolen or rigged elections. I thought I would read some guts, too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
An Easy Solution Presents Itself
The problem: Overfishing and pollution are going to end seafood as we know it:
    Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few decades. If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
The MfBJN solution: Raise the earth's temperature a few degrees! The rising temperatures will melt the ice caps, providing more ocean to dilute the pollution and will submerge coastal areas, providing rich new habitats for our tasty waterbound friends.

Now, to get a government grant to turn this pithy blog post into a couple years' worth of easy living and a couple hundred pages of obscure, hesitant prose.

Freelancing for John Kerry
William Squire posted some ghostwritten jokes for John Kerry, who recently bombed with a "botched joke":
    You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.
Whereas I do not think Mr. Squire was entirely ingenuous (or whatever the opposite of disingenuous is), I wholly sincerely offer up my own services as a humorist for Mr. Kerry. Here, then, are my sample jokes:
    Why did the uneducated soldier fiddle with his car radio's FM dial?
    Because it was stuck on 96.7 Z-Rock, and he was looking for some of that hillbilly music they listen to in the Midwest.

    Why did the firemen need the jaws of life for the uneducated soldier who was fiddling with his car radio's FM dial?
    Because he lost control of his vehicle, rolled it down an enbankment, and was stuck in his IROC.

    Why didn't the uneducated, not trying to be smart soldier give Senator Kerry the ascot the Massachussetan asked for?
    The uneducated soldier didn't know it was stuck on the tie rack!
See, I'm marginally more amusing than the senator's current writers.

I'm available for low, low rates!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Book Report: Whodunits by Pocket Puzzlers (2000?)
I know, what's next, book reports on Dell mini mags? But I read this book and it's 96 pages, so it's thicker than some of the tracts I've covered here. It's a tiny little octo or whatever you would call it with a number of crime-related puzzles. You're supposed to figure them out and look up the answer in the back to see if you're right. The book's stories are split between logic puzzles, the kind you're supposed to draw grids for and mark off the inferences from a finite number of statements of fact such as "One of the suspects is a liar," and the more Encyclopedia Brownish spot-the-inconsistencies. I prefered the latter, mainly because I read this in bed often and didn't have pen and paper to do the logic puzzles.

I paid a quarter for it at a book fair (Carondolet 2006? Oh, it's so hard to tell). It's worth it if you can get a cheap copy if you remember Encyclopedia Brown fondly.

Books mentioned in this review:

A Little Inference Never Hurt Nobody
When you're married, sometimes you let a little inference work for you. It's not deception, exactly. For example:
    I said: Should I take the leftover Halloween candy to work?
    She inferred: To share with coworkers.
    I really meant: For lunch.
Everyone's happy. Except maybe my coworkers.

UPDATE: Number of SweeTarts that it takes until you begin to hallucinate: 597.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
What's Better Than A Group of Midgets Dressing Up and Singing Like KISS?
KISSing UP: Small in stature, tribute band lives large in honor of Gene Simmons and company:
    Almost exactly a decade ago, Joey Fatale had the idea for MiniKISS, the "littlest KISS tribute band in the world."

    He was moving and, in the process, going through his vinyl records when he came upon his copy of "Alive!" the 1975 live album that helped make KISS a legend.

    "I thought it would be great to have a band of little people dressed up as KISS," Fatale said. "I threw it together as a fluke."
The only thing that could make it better is realizing it's not the only one:
    MiniKISS clicked with Comedy Central's mock-news program "The Daily Show," which recently did a broad parody involving the "rivalry" between MiniKISS and Tiny Kiss, another KISS tribute band with a little-people lineup. On the MiniKISS Web site, Fatale has more or less foreclosed on commenting on Tiny Kiss, but he's taken marketing precautions.
Isn't this country great?

Monday, October 30, 2006
St. Louis Not Really Most Violent City, Says Mayor SLAY
Slay disputes St. Louis ranking as most dangerous city:
    Mayor Francis Slay makes no bones about it: Morgan Quitno Press is dead wrong to call St. Louis the most dangerous city in the United States.

    "It's bogus," Slay said of the group's annual ranking released Monday. "To suggest that St. Louis is more dangerous than Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago -- it just doesn't make any sense. I will beat anyone who says that to my face within inches of his life, and then I will take his wallet to help fund some sports venue or another." [Emphasis, actual words added]
Police Chief Joseph Makewar concurred.

Defining "Denounce" Up
Apparently, it's getting easier to denounce things. At least in headlines: Voters denounce handling of page scandal by Shimkus, Hastert. Denounced on soapboxes, in rousing speeches, in vehement letters to the editor, or in protests? Not quite.

    When asked whether they approve of how Republican leaders in general — and Hastert in particular — handled the issue, two-thirds of the poll respondents said they disapproved.

    When questioned specifically about Shimkus' decision to privately tell Foley to stop e-mailing pages without taking further action, more than three-quarters of respondents said that wasn't the correct response.
Denounced, expressed disappointment through canned answers to a survey, same difference (if you're disapproving of Republicans).

It's Not Just A Good Idea... Well, Apparently, It Is, If You're The Governor of Illinois
When do you not have to comply with the law? When you are the law:
    Attorney General Lisa Madigan ordered Gov. Blagojevich's administration Thursday to release copies of all subpoenas issued by federal investigators probing corruption under the governor.

    But Blagojevich's office late Thursday indicated it would not abide by Madigan's order, setting up a possible constitutional showdown between two of the state's top Democratic officeholders.

    "We didn't request an opinion on this topic, but we appreciate the attorney general office's advisory input," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.
Well, at least they were polite about continuing in their coverup of potential wrongdoing.

Campaign 2006, Inferred
All radio ads are beginning to sound like this to me:
    Candidate A blends puppies and drinks them as a shake to benefit himself/herself.

    Candidate B: He/She won't blend
    your puppy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Defense Mechanism
The New York Times offers a helpful hint on protecting yourself from vapid people who would call themselves your friends:
    Jim Coffman, 40, a Democrat in Chicago, said he and his wife have not pursued a friendship with another couple whose three children are the same ages as theirs after seeing photographs of President Bush on the other couple’s refrigerator. He said they have discussed with other friends “being so amazed that we could have so much in common, and yet be so diametrically opposed” when it comes to politics.
We have used this mechanism to deter people who use politics as the determining factor for populating their high-school-like clique with other "cool" people so they can look down upon the nerds together. Except in the midlife cliques, the nerds are evil.

So when people come into my home and see the collection of fundraiser photographs, only to determine they don't want to pursue a deeper friendship because I'm obviously evil or stupid by their reckoning, they're doing me a favor.

(Link seen on Althouse.)

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