Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Earthlink Parties Like Its 1997
Wow, sending free CDs for a dial-up Internet service:

Earthlink still send out CDs

Dude, when someone comes to you with a marketing plan exhumed from a time capsule, it's for historical perspective, not implementation.

Friday, February 09, 2007
The Wrong Use For A Parachute
Golden parachute cradles Harrah's CEO

Some people, even "professionals" can hurt themselves with metaphors.

Waiting For the Mail
Sometime in my younger days, when I was living with relatives in St. Charles, Missouri, I got it in my head that receiving mail was a grown up thing, and that it was prestigious to get something in the mailbox with my name on it. Particularly if it said "Mr. Brian Noggle" on it. My Uncle Jim got stuff all the time like that, and I hoped he was impressed when I did. Hey, I was twelve years old, and it was seemed like a good idea at the time.

I managed to mail away for some anti-abortion arm bands that Jerry Falwell was sending out, and once you're on Jerry's list, you can plan on being Jerry's list for a long time. I also found a religious magazine, the Plain Truth, that mailed out free booklets on request, so I got a good helping of those sorts of things. For a while, I was reading quite a bit of religious material. Strange, when you look at my general lackadaisical religious attitude these days, that I was quite a conservative little guy, almost, at one time.

Well, through my various machinations and an abortive flirtation with subsidy publishers (I was going to send in my first volume of poetry by December 1984, I seem to recall--I was still twelve years old, but ambitious), I managed to get myself onto a number of mailing lists. Hopefully my uncle was impressed, but then I moved out of his house and my love of receiving mail followed me to Murphy, Missouri. I was still getting stuff from The Moral Majority, but eventually they realized I was broke and/or disinterested so their trickle ceased altogether. Somewhere along this time, I sent my first short story, "Cricket: A Dog's Life" to McCall's magazine, or maybe it was "A Walk in the Park" to Hitchcock's, but the transition began.

Soon the only things coming in the mail were the usual money-bearing cards from relatives for holidays, but when I started to send my works into magazines, there started a new flow of --well, rejection slips for the most part, but with each article in the mail, there is always the hopes of publication, and those self-addressed stamped envelopes could be the bearer of wonderful news. The beauty of this, I suppose, is that the possibility of money from heaven (or at least the Postal Service) all year round, but then it is based on my ability and not the duty of relatives--and so far, the return has been so nil that I often question my ability. But, with each new piece and each new mailing, there is new hope, so I continue on.

There is a half hour to go until today's delivery. What could it bring? Well, it is the end of the month, so at least there won't be any bills--which, as a full adult, I have come to recognize as a majority of modern mailings. I even look forward to bills, probably for some deep philosophical reason that they affirm my objective existence or something. I could, in theory, get an acceptance letter from a magazine--I currently have several submissions on the wing, er, on the postman's back. More likely than not I shall receive at least four rejection slips, which would be fine, too. I only have a rejection slip from one of the five magazines, and the other four would be wonderful additions to my rejection slip collection.

I could, in theory, get a letter from one of my friends or my brother in Hawaii, but I just visited Missouri in June of 1993, and so no one would be writing me this soon. The possibility exists, though, and anticipation is tickling my stomach.

I could also get some little catalogue of something strange and wonderful- -such as the Firebird Arts and Music Catalog that I get every season even though I have not actually purchased anything from them in five years or one of the computer catalogues that have discovered me. Probably, though, if I get anything, it will be a notification of the urgency of a sweepstakes entry or the application for an American Express card--if there is one constant through life, it is junk mail. It has lost its relevance in my life, but it keeps on coming.

But, I must say, it makes me feel like a grown up, and an objectively existent one at that.

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Althouse Embraces The Marabel Morgan Lifestyle
Maybe not, but I read her post yesterday that invoked Marabel Morgan's The Total Woman, and I recalled my book review.

Who knew I would be that far ahead of the curve in its defense?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Name That Muzak
Heart, "Alone", Bad Animals, uh, Capitol Records, 1987. No, I don't think years of working in the retail industry has changed me at all. I mean, I have come up with maybe a few, A-ha, "The Sun Always Shines on TV", Hunting High and Low, 1984, Warner Brothers, character tics.

Like playing Name That Muzak. I realize it might not be the sanest thing in the world, but I like it anyway. To relieve those long hours of tedious, repetitive hours of labor on a sales floor (unless, of course, my bosses are reading in which it was challenging and intellectually satisfying, of course), a couple of associates and myself might have taken to playing guess the song that's piped in to the store.

Our store doesn't have the variety with, "Passionate Kisses", Mary Chapin Carpenter, lyrics, so it always poses just that little bit of mental work that gets us through the day. There's nothing like hearing some strange thing done on a piccolo and determining it to be, "These Eyes", The Guess Who, it's on These Eyes, a re-release I own, a song you know. It impresses your friends anyhow.

The rules are simple. Just take, Denise Williams, "Let's Hear it for the Boy", Footloose soundtrack, the next song that comes onto the Muzak wherever you have to suffer through Muzak. It's always better if there's someone with you so that you don't go babbling off titles to yourself in a crowd of strangers, though. Try and place the melody and name it.

The points are scored for naming the song, the artist, an, "Three Time Loser", Dan Seal, album the song appears on, the year it was released, the record label, and any covers of the song since then. Points are also given on how well you lie if you don't know any of the answers, but can quickly spiel off an answer that might really be it. Easy tips for this are to pick the song title or the artist's name as the album title, and hitting one of the big players for the label. That way, "Life in the Fast Lane", the Eagles, Hotel California, 1976, Asylum, you can get points and not even need to be right. A knowledge of music helps, but is not essential.

No points are scored during the Christmas season, however, because there are only so many Christmas songs to go around. Points can be scored, too, if you can name the artist that is doing the Muzakal rendition, but if I come across anyone that does, I won't play. I can't stand losing to people who are either that big into Muzak or who can lie that much better than me.

Contrary to popular belief, "You Belong to the City", Glenn Frey, Miami Vice Soundtrack, this innocent pastime does not become a compulsion, and you will not find yourself blurting out random titles and singers in restaurants, elevators, malls, or other public places. Even if, "Don't Fear the Reaper", Blue Oyster Cult, it does, they can't put you away for it.

Putting Too Fine A Point On It
Robert Isenberg writes a piece called Private Eyes Exposed wherein he looks at some of the plucky and adorable gumshoes of television private eyes. Here's his list:
  • Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote)
  • Columbo (Columbo)
  • Monk (Monk
  • [Hercule] Poirot (Poirot)
  • Cagney and Lacey (Cagney and Lacey)
  • Matlock (Matlock)
  • Dr. Mark Sloan (Diagnosis Murder)
  • Perry Mason (Perry Mason)
Come on, doesn't everyone see the problem here? A list of private eyes from television, and we've got:
  • Author
  • Police detective
  • Police consultant
  • Detective
  • Police detectives
  • Attorney
  • Medical doctor
  • Attorney
Even at our most giving, only two of these characters can be considered true private detectives.

What about:
  • Cody Allen, Nick Ryder, and the Boz (Riptide)
  • Spenser (Spenser: For Hire)
  • Sonny Spoon (Sonny Spoon)
  • James Rockford (The Rockford Files)
  • Thomas Magnum (Magnum, P.I.)
  • Rick and A.J. Simon (Simon and Simon)
  • Laura Holt and Remington Steele (Remington Steele)
  • Maddie Hayes and David Addison (Moonlighting)
  • Mike Hammer (Mike Hammer)
Now those were some television private eyes. I guess it's also apparent the decade in which I did most of my television watching.

What about you? What are your favorite television private eyes that were actual, you know, private invesigators?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Book Report: Mortal Prey by John Sandford (2002)
So here's a book about an elite assassin named Rinker coming to St. Louis to settle some old scores. I can relate to that.

So this is the second book in a row featuring a female assassin out to avenge the loss of her family (see also Dirty Work). In this case, it's a woman whose boyfriend and the father of her child are killed in an apparent hit in Mexico. As he belonged to a crime family, the common knowledge is that he was the target, but the woman bolts and returns to America. She, an elite assassin, was the target. Now that she's lost the baby and her lover, she wants to end the war her way.

So she makes her way to St. Louis, where she had been a hired gun for some organized crime figures. Since she had once danced with Lucas Davenport (in an earlier book, no doubt), he comes to St. Louis to help the FBI track her.

She goes on a pretty good tear, shooting her enemies and hanging out in my current environs, but then she kills an FBI agent, and they turn serious.

Come on, I was reading the book not so much for the plot at that point, but to see how well Sandford did with St. Louis. He spent some time here, that's for certain, because he gets most of the details right. Th better he did, though, the more the game became to spot the inaccuracies. Like when Davenport talks about the town of Ladue, as though the municipality were anything but a suburb. Or when he continually capitalizes the C in Laclede's Landing. Or, most egregiously, when someone rushing out of Soulard gets onto I-44 instead of I-55. Silly Minnesotan!

So it was more fun than playing pin-the-fakery-on-the-Randisi.

So I liked the book enough; as you know, gentle reader, I'm becoming a minor Sandford fan. However, like the aforementioned Dirty Work, the book ends somewhat poorly. There's a murder at the Botanical Gardens, an improbable escape and recovery, and then even more of an improbable final act that ends in the death of the elite female assassin. But it won't stop me from reading further Sandfords, which is fortunate; this book represents the earliest of the three or four my beautiful wife gave me for Christmas, and I have to read what's on the shelves.

Books mentioned in this review:


Home Depot Tries Jedi Mind Tricks On Its Customers
I caught the headline of the pad of entry forms as I stood in line to buy nine volt batteries, and I didn't think it was legal, but closer examination told me that the Home Depot had it covered:

Home Depot Spend $100 and Enter Form

Spend $100 and Enter, No Purchase Necessary

Maybe that's more Subliminal Man from Saturday Night Live. I don't know. I do know, though, that Home Depot was hoping to push those $95 spenders into buying an additional hardback book or bunch of candy to make up for it. I feel bad for those taken in by it, particularly on the day I was in the Home Depot and saw the forms. February 4. Over a week after the contest ended.

Okay, That IS Creepy
Embedded within a story entitled Coroner kept man's heart after autopsy -- mom wasn't told, we learn about a family's victorious litigation that forced health officials to turn over the heart of the young man. And what the family did with it:
    The couple keeps his heart in a polished, inlaid wooden box in their bedroom.
Imagine that burglar's surprise when he goes for the jewelry.

Making Like Yin and Yang
Dominique and Tristan:

Yin and Yang
Click for full size

Well, It Was Only A Derringer
Come on, like you've not accidentally let a small pistol slip through:
    Lambert Field police never found what appeared to be a pistol that slipped through an X-ray screening machine Friday night at the airport.

    Five flights were delayed and a sixth bound for Toronto was diverted to Detroit so that officials could re-screen the hundreds of passengers who had filed through Concourse A to the flights.

    The incident began about 6:30 p.m. when a Transportation Security Administration screener reported what was believed to be a double-barreled derringer handgun on an X-ray monitor.

    Airport police arrived within two minutes, said Chief Paul Mason. But the suspicious item and the man who brought it through security had left the area. Investigators reviewed surveillance video of the area but could not identify the man who may have been carrying a the weapon.
I'd expect it wasn't really a two-shot derringer, but the fact that they could not immediately identify it, where they saw it, or the person whose luggage in which they saw it troubles me a great deal.

No doubt more inconvenience and government employees would help avert this situation in the future.

Into the Memory Hole
Man was arming for 'war,' FBI says:
    A St. Charles man obtained fully automatic weapons and tried to buy as many explosives as possible in preparation for what an associate called "war," the FBI says in court documents.

    He bought three rifles and a Claymore anti-personnel mine and negotiated for a case of hand grenades, documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch show.
His name wasn't Devlin, otherwise we would have heard about it for three weeks.

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