Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Earthquake Drill
It's better to be safe than sorry, so Tristan practices what he would do in the event of an earthquake:

Earthquake Drill

When the other cats are flying through the air like extras on the bridge of the Enterprise, won't he be laughing?

Until the gas line goes, I suppose.

Thursday, January 04, 2007
American Dream Alive And Well In Florida
This American Dream?
    Briny Breezes is a down-market relic of old Florida, surrounded by glamorous multimillion-dollar homes and splashy high-rise condos.

    The Briny Breezes brochure calls it a "self-governed mobile home community of kindred souls." Residents of the Palm Beach County town cruise the narrow streets on golf carts, passing palm trees and tiny, neatly manicured yards. They wave to each other and chat about the next neighborhood outing — water aerobics at the community pool, shuffleboard near the clubhouse, bowling night.
An idyllic place where a hundred thousand dollars or so buys you a trailer on the ocean in paradise, where you can live almost inexpensively through your golden years (whenever you make them)?

That's so 1959. This American Dream:
    Briny Breezes' board recently approved the sale for $510 million. The owners of the 488 trailers have until Jan. 10 to ratify or reject the deal. A two-thirds majority is needed to sell. The amount each person would get depends on how many shares the resident owns. Each share is worth roughly $32,000 under the developer's offer. Owners would not get any money — and wouldn't have to move out — until 2009.

    Kevin Dwyer, 47, is all for the deal. Dwyer, who paid $37,500 for his trailer nine years ago, would make about $800,000.

    "See these pockets? They're empty," Dwyer said, a stack of unpaid bills sitting on a table in his single-wide trailer less than 100 yards from the ocean. "I've nickeled and dimed my whole life. I hit the lottery."
The American Dream of 2007, shared by many individuals and their elected officials, where you can get rich through a small investment and the forced relocation of your neighbors.

Suddenly, I don't think we've learned so much as a nation since the founding days.

Noggle: 2007 May Be Worst Smelling Year Ever
Scientists predict 2007 May Be Warmest Yet. Well, in that spirit, I'd like to say a few things about 2007:
  • It may be the worst smelling year ever if everyone forgets to shower and the dogs run amok and defecate everywhere, leading people to track it into buildings.

  • It may be the coldest year ever if El Padre locks El Nino in his room for not doing his homework.

  • It may be the worst hurricane season ever, or the best, or somewhere in between.

  • It may be the year Prince Charles ascends the throne and orders an invasion of the United States and Canada to restore them to British hands, if he goes completely mad.
I mean, come on, they're scientists. They make predictions that may come true, but they're working off of slightly less incomplete sets of data than Pat Robertson. How come these fellows get a headline more sympathetic than scientists who say man might have actually lived concurrently with dinosaurs? How about those who say the natural world has a greater tolerance than mankind could overcome even if it tried?

Because one might move public policy in a more progressive direction, you think?

Good News: Iraq Is No Worse Than Oakland
The Bush administration and its Iraqi policy gets a boost from an Oakland resident, who realizes that the violence in Iraq is no worse than that of a typical American city:
    "There have been three drive-by shootings in the past two months on my street," said Miltiades Mandros, whose North Oakland neighborhood was the scene of a feud between rival drug dealers in 2006. "There are bullet holes all over my building from automatic weapons. It looks like it's Baghdad or Beirut."

Book Report: Home Improvement: 52 Weekend Projects by Dan Ramsey (1989)
This oversized book offers 52 individual projects that it claims you can do over a weekend and groups them by season. The difficulty of the projects ranges just about from sweeping your basement to building a summer cottage, but they all run about 3-5 pages, some with illustrations. Most of the projects offer only a high level overview, really, of what you'd do, and most offer pointers to others in the series (also by Dan Ramsey) for further details.

Still, this book is supposed to be an inspirer; you're supposed to get ideas about what's possible and then either try something or get a more detailed set of instructions and then try something. Although I didn't find any projects that fit for my house, the very brevity of the chapters reminds one that it's not that hard to do most of these things. It takes a bit of planning and a bit of time, but it's not surgery.

Recommend the book? If you can pick it up for a couple of silver pieces at a book sale, sure, or if you can borrow it from the library. I don't know that it's worth the shipping and handling for an Internet buy, though, but in case you feel differently, here's a handy link to Amazon:
Books mentioned in this review:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Red on Red
Missouri school districts going to court for more state money:
    In a massive case that could put hundreds of millions of state tax dollars on the line, about half of the state's 524 school districts will go to court this week demanding more state education money.

    The school districts will attempt to establish that the more than $2.7 billion Missouri spends on its public schools is inadequate to give children a chance at a decent education.
You know, I briefly considered getting an education degree. I'm sure that turning to English and Philosophy instead has left me with inadequate steeping in the esoteric knowledge that transmutes squandering the people's tax money on suing to get more of the people's tax money into a positive value.

But fortunately, I have unelected bureaucrats with more knowledge than me to squander my tax money trying to get more tax money. Heck, I play the lottery; why shouldn't my betters in the government?

Microsoft Offers Assistance
Clicking through a link on my MSN Messager, I got the following helpful error message:

MSN Error

Note Microsoft's tips:
  1. In your browser, click refresh. But the URL is for a unique landing page, toobusy.html. So refreshing will only reload the error page.

  2. In your browser, click Back, and try again. But since I reached this page without navigation in the browser, the Back button is not enabled.

  3. Wait a few minutes and try again. Bingo.
The screen offers me three options, only one of which I can actually try. In that case, the screen should only offer me a single option.

Such things lead a user to believe that maybe the application, or at least the copywriters behind the interface, are out of touch or incorrect sometimes. That blows a user's trust in an application, or it should.

But me, I am in QA; I don't trust my watch without checking it against my cell phone, the clock on the computer, and the clock on the phone.

Monday, January 01, 2007
The Controversy That Wasn't
Instapundit links to a post at NewsBusters about ABC News's use of [sic] that might indicate media bias or lack of belief in an afterlife.

NewsBusters says:
    Adding religious insult to mortal injury in its coverage of the 3000th US service-person to die in Iraq, ABC seemed to suggest that there was something odd or erroneous in the expression of a traditional belief in the afterlife.
The quote to which ABC News applied the [sic] is:
    "You were one of my best friends and I'll never forget you. All my prayers go to your family and I'll see you again." (sic)
Come on, people. There is a grammar error in the sentence, so use of [sic] is appropriate. The second sentence is a compound sentence, which means there should be a comma before the conjunction between the clauses. It should be: All my prayers go to your family, and I'll see you again. Here's a story on that uses the comma appropriately:
    Rumsfeld was supposed to be an honorary pall bearer at Saturday night's ceremony, but bad weather in New Mexico apparently prevented him from making the earlier service.
See? ABC News was noting that the comma was missing in the source material. Not that it's a bunch of godless heathen mocking Christians.

People ought to save their outrage for outrageous things, not inventions based on faulty understanding of grammar.

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