Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, December 02, 2006
In 360 Degree About Face, Wisconsin Governor Doyle Urges Higher Taxes
The headline: Doyle urges uniform sales tax rules: Governor, top aide say they will push national standards for third time. Sounds good, right? Why, the lead even makes it sound like he wants to level the playing field:
    Gov. Jim Doyle and the top deputy he appointed Friday said Wisconsin must join the list of states that have agreed to uniform national standards for sales tax collections and promised to try a third time to get it through the Legislature.
Level-up the playing field, that is:
    Doyle and Michael Morgan, whom the governor Friday named secretary of the state Department of Administration, said it is unfair that Wisconsin retailers have to charge 5% state sales tax to customers in their stores while those who buy over the Internet rarely have to pay the sales tax.
Wisconsin consumers don't pay a sales tax on Internet purchases, and Doyle thinks that's unfair to Wisconsin retailers.

Right. Doyle thinks that's unfair to the Wisconsin state government which loses out on all that sweet, sweet tax revenue slush.

I mean, those commissions commissioned to recommending higher taxes don't just pay for themselves.

Friday, December 01, 2006
Why Can't All Educational Professionals Emulate This Man?
A man, robbed by a juvenile who snatched his cash as he turned away from an ATM, displays empathy worthy of an educational professional:
    Gallagher laughed. "I'm a substitute teacher," he said. "I deal with these little monsters on a daily basis."
How come no districts have snatched him up as a full time teacher?

The North Shall Rise Again
Obviously, I've chosen my side: Bears-Packers Rivalry Now Classified As "Civil War":
    In a major decision by NBC, the long-standing rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears will now be referred to as a "Civil War".
The Oval G flies over my house.

Heart Attacks in Pleasantville, New York
Leno, other comedians sue over joke books:
    It's no laughing matter to Jay Leno.

    The "Tonight Show" host and NBC Studios have sued humor editor Judy Brown and her publishers in U.S. District Court, claiming that her collection of joke books has profited from material filched from his standup routines.

    Leno and other comics, including Rita Rudner, are seeking unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against Brown's 19 books -- mainly compilations of jokes by comedians including Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld, according to the lawsuit.
The publishers of Readers Digest have all just keeled over, so it will be up to their estates to settle the coming claims against them for the rehashed material served up in the magazine's sundry user-submitted humor features.

Book Report: Ballroom of the Skies by John D. MacDonald (1951, 1968)
I bought this book for $3.00 from Hooked on Books. It's gotten easier to tell, since Hooked on Books has begun marring the inside front covers with large labels attesting to the fact. It's perhaps slightly less risable than stamping the page edges, but not much.

It's one of MacDonald's science fiction efforts (he calls it science fantasy, but it's the same difference). In a world not too far in the future, after the First Atomic War, India has risen into prominence in the world, vying with Irania and Brazil for power. As tensions escalate, a United States diplomat tries to engage calm tensions, but they get to him. His assistant investigates and finds that a dark conspiracy of alien forces with psi powers are fomenting tensions on earth, and he has to discover why.

Which he does. MacDonald's science fantasy books are somewhat less than his crime fiction, and let's be frank, this is an old example anyway. But the book was engaging and moved along fairly well. After working on Emma for a couple weeks, it was nice to run through a book in a couple of nights.

Books mentioned in this review:

Dueling Headlines
Now appearing on the front page of, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch online presence:

Snow shouldn't be a problem for College Cup:
    It figures to be cold for the NCAA College Cup semifinals at Hermann Stadium, but the field should be clear and the games will be on.
NCAA soccer semifinals at SLU postponed:
    The NCAA men's soccer semifinals scheduled for today have been postponed because of the weather and will be played Saturday morning.

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Atari Apostasy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    I do not remember the day I bought the Atari game, but I am absolutely certain that I did not wait in a line all night to get it. I'm sure because I would never have waited in line all night to obtain any toy — except for the firetruck set at Mr. Beavers' store which I never got when I was 8, but it's OK because I'm over it now.

    With the Atari attached to our TV, my then-preschool kids and I could shoot at each other from very crude depictions of jet fighters, or shoot at each other from very crude depictions of tanks, or go bowling with an imaginary ball which seemed indistinguishable from the missiles of jet fighters or the shells of tanks.

    I bored of it in about an hour. The kids, I think, gave up about 30 minutes after that.
It's been 20+ years and I'm not bored, as anyone who's attended our Atari Partys can surmise.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Feds Get Their Man
Kirkwood man charged with impersonating a Marine:
    The FBI has arrested a Kirkwood man accused of impersonating a U.S. Marine and wearing a Navy Cross and other medals he did not earn.

    Michael Gerald Weilbacher, 48, of the 200 block of Horseshoe Drive was arrested by FBI agents last night, the U.S. Attorney's office said today.
So a guy puts on a uniform and goes to a ball to meet the chicks, and suddenly he's in Leavenworth?

Pardon me for being a chickenhawk child of two Marines, brother to only one, but damn, doesn't our federal law enforcement force (and its enabling Congress) have better priorities than to chase down false braggarts?

Well, our society has functionally eliminated shame as a deterrent/retributive factor (Michael Gerald Weilbacher, you're a lying sissy), so some groups think its necessary to protect the sensitive feelings our former soldiers by incarcerating some nitwit.

Pardon me if I suspect that perhaps this stems from some symbolic gesture sop thrown to our veterans in place of actual, you know, respect for those who served.

Everyone Knows Fred Was The Poet
Google search of the day: tiger tiger burning bring in the middle of the night robert blake

You can take that to the bank
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Trade Deficit
The number one grossing Australian entertainment act from last year? It wasn't Beccy Cole. It wasn't Nicole Kidman. It wasn't even AC/DC. Not even close:
    The Wiggles were Australia's top-earning entertainers last year, ahead of No. 2 AC/DC and No. 3 Nicole Kidman. The four men in brightly colored T-shirts, accompanied by a cast of characters including Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog, grossed $39 million last year.
I am in the wrong business.

Always the Last Place You Look
Bodies of 3 family members found in Lemay home:
    The bodies of three members of a Lemay family, missing since last week, have been found in the basement of their home, police sources said today.
Jeez, Louise, what, was it too spooky down there for the police to go down into the basement sometime last week after they shot dead the man who killed these people? This is Lemay, for crying out loud. If you stumble in the basement, you don't fall flat on the floor.

UPDATE: This keeps getting more embarrassing for county cops; apparently, it was a family member who found the bodies.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Book Report: Emma by Jane Austen (1996)
I picked up this book off of the discount rack at a regular book store. I probably paid a couple dollars for it and I am sure I wanted to impress Heather by looking smart and reading it. Some years later, I picked it up.

The edition, the Everyman Library paperback, is not the best edition aesthetically, which figures since it was on the cheap shelf. It's a paperback with lightweight paper and, most appallingly, rife with typographical errors.

Unlike when I read Kafka, I did not read the supporting introductory essay before I delved into the book. I did glance at the timeline of Jane Austen's life, though, to clarify the time period in which she was writing. I also admit that I read the back, which reveals the entirety of the plot as well as any Cliff Notes. It's just as well, though, since I could focus on the characterization and catch hints that I knew would indicate the conclusion.

The book centers on Emma Woodhouse, a 20-year-old daughter of gentry who has recently lost her nanny/confidante to marriage and who decides to help elevate a young lady of unknown origins. Miss Woodhouse decides to make a match (as one would expect in an Austen novel) for Miss Smith. Emma tries to set her up with the vicar, then the local gentleman farmer, and finally the son of her nanny's husband. Emma, the novel lets us know, is not as insightful into the human condition and heart as she thinks she is. She misinterprets signs, feelings, and motivations of almost everyone around her and eventually ends up attached to the local gentleman farmer. This summary is slightly more obscure than the back cover for your non-spoiler pleasure.

When reading historic novels, I often wander into thoughts of who the target audiences for these books would have been in the early 1800s when the book was out initially. Surely, it speaks of the upper class without disdain which is so fashionable in serious fiction now. It focuses on young (late teens or early 20s) people making matches and courting. I guess it was targeted to those markets, or merely whatever literates wandered England at the time. So it meant something different to them 200 years ago than it does now, but I read it just the same.

Well, that's all I got for now. I never really did go back to read the introduction nor the end material, but I have the luxury of reading this because I wanted to (and it was on my To Read shelves). I don't have to put together some sort of coherent paper (obviously) and defend arguments against the patriarchy vigorously enough to pass a class. Which is nice, in a way. In all ways, actually.

Books mentioned in this review:

You Can Buy Anything On Ebay
Matthew Browning bids for alderman position

Book Report: Sons of Sam Spade: The Private Eye Novel in the 70s by David Geherin (1980)
In February, I read Geherin's The American Private Eye: The Image in Fiction, and I mentioned having read Sons of Sam Spade in college. Sometime this summer, I found an ex-library copy at a bok fair, so I picked it up for a re-read. In the intervening fifteen years since I first read this book, Robert B. Parker has put out a number of books, including non-series novels and two new non-Spenser series, that really don't live up to the promise of his beginning four. I've also read several of the Roger L. Simon Moses Wine novels (The Lost Coast, California Roll, The Big Fix, and Peking Duck) and they probably live up to my preconception of them.

I haven't read anything by the third author covered, Andrew Bergman, but his work sounds interesting enough to look for when book fair season begins next summer.

The content of Sons of Sam Spade, like The American Private Eye, offer a nice summary of some of the late entrants (at the time) into the genre and makes a good, short respite from actually reading the genre. It's literary criticism, sort of, and I can enjoy it.

Books mentioned in this review:


Monday, November 27, 2006
A New Nightmare for Noggle
Bookcase 'trap' killed US woman:
    The body of a missing US woman has been found by her family, wedged upside down behind a bookcase in her room.

    Mariesa Weber, 38, is believed to have fallen over and become trapped as she tried to reach behind the bookcase to adjust the plug for a TV set.
Thanks, Ace.

The Cure for the Monday Blues
Johnny Cash singing "Hurt":

Remembering that all of your efforts, your failures, and your successes matter the same in the end really puts your simple little "I Squandered A Four Day Weekend and Am Back At Work" churlishness into perspective, ainna?

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