Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Saturday Scheming
Let's sue Cracker Barrel for its racially insensitive name. There's got to be some scratch in that, ainna?

Book Report: Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen (1995)
Written in 1995, this book takes a recent current event as a starting point and reimagines it humorously, much like Lucky You. In this case, it's a devastating hurricane (unnamed) that ravages southern Florida and brings together a motley bunch of characters around a crime or two.

The subplots: A woman on her honeymoon begins to doubt the wisdom of her marriage when her husband decides to drive from Disney World to the Miami area so he can take video of the damage and heartbreak; a crazy ex-governor gone native kidnaps him; a pair of unlikely conspirators decide to pose as a homeowning couple to participate in an insurance scam; the son of a woman killed in the storm seeks revenge upon those who sold her a shoddy mobile home; and a crooked former home inspector makes sacrifices to a voodoo god and tries to get some of his grift on.

So there's a crime involved, but it doesn't really carry the story. Hiaasen jump cuts the subplots and the characters interact, but the inevitable climax on a key comes too early, the denouement runs a bit long, and the book lacks some of the rush that his others bring.

So it's somewhere between Lucky You and Nature Girl (which I didn't like so much). Still, it's a readable and enjoyable book, just not one of Hiaasen's best.

Books mentioned in this review:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Book Report: Come to Me in Silence by Rod McKuen (1973)
With each one of these books, his About the Author section gets longer and more full of world-beating achievements. Too bad I'm the only one bothering to read him 35 years later.

But this book is better than Fields of Wonder, probably because it deals with burying people under those fields instead of burying bits of McKuen in women he's known.

Would I recommend it? No.

Books mentioned in this review:

The Lyric I Still Cannot Believe Johnny Cash Sang
    I fly a starship
    Across the universe divide
Come on, you cannot believe it either, even when you hear it in his own voice.

Are You As Smart As A Journal-Sentinel Reporter?
From the quiz Smart, very smart: Test tells if you know what a fifth-grader knows:
    13. "You are as strong as an ox." Is this statement a simile or metaphor?
Oh, yeah.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Brian J.'s Ann Coulter Moments
Sometimes, when I try to reach the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle ( into the address bar of my browser, I transpose the a and the g.

And I am ashamed! Briefly. Before I hit the backspace key and can hide my homophobia from the world.

Monday, March 12, 2007
Brian J. Starts It, Frank J. Ends It
Sure, some might think (if some were like me) that MfBJN started the Fred Thompson bandwagon with this essay from August 2006, but it's doubtless that Frank J. has sealed it with his Frank Facts About Fred Thompson.

Congressional Leaders Thought Corporation Liked Tar, Feathers, and Free Travel by Rail
The exorcists in our government have caused the demon to flee, but now they're complaining about the loss of ritual, offerings to the church that persecuted the demon:
    "Does this mean they are going to quit paying taxes in America?" asked Clinton, a US presidential candidate. "They get a lot of government contracts, is this going to affect the investigations that are going on? Because we have a lot of evidence of misuse of government contracts and how they have cheated the American soldier and cheated the American taxpayer," Clinton, speaking in New York, said of Halliburton.

Book Report: Great True Stories of Crime, Mystery, & Detection by Reader's Digest (1965)
I bought this book at St. Michael's book fair earlier this year; between Great Tales of Mystery & Suspense, my reading pace for the year is shot.

This book runs 574 pages and comes from the pages of Reader's Digest magazine from the first half of the last century. It collects murder mysteries, a couple of ghost stories, and a long piece on the Alger Hiss espionage (starring Congressman Richard Nixon as the hero, which explains why former Vice-President Nixon offered a blurb on the back).

Some of the stories overlap with The World's Most Infamous Crimes and Criminals, but they're told with a punchier (partially digested) style. Also, overall, this book was not as depressing as The World's Most Infamous Crimes and Criminals as it didn't have matter-of-fact accounts of genocide.

Worth the buck, except for the part where it made me spend a week or so reading it. Looks like I'll be reporting on coloring books for the next couple of weeks so I can get my average up.
Books mentioned in this review:

No Refuge
Woman killed in police station:
    A 35-year-old woman was killed inside the Fox Lake Police Department on Sunday afternoon as she frantically tried to flee her husband, authorities said. A pedestrian called 911 around 4:45 p.m. after seeing a man ram his car into the woman's car in the parking lot of the Fox Lake municipal building, according to the Dodge County Sheriff's Department. The woman, whose name was not released by authorities Sunday night, ran from her car and fled into the building as her husband pursued her inside, the department reported. By the time a Fox Lake police officer arrived, the 40-year-old husband was getting back into his car, authorities said. There was no sign of the woman.

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Keynesian Flat Tire
David Nicklaus writes a column on the drastic electricity price increases in Illinois, and finds a common villian: The government.

    The Legislature, after all, passed the deregulation law in 1997 that led to this year's rate increases. Consumers benefited for a decade from a rate cut and then a rate freeze. But the utilities, which no longer own power plants directly, had to buy power on the open market beginning this year and pass the cost on to consumers.
Statinalizing the power companies won't solve the problems that exist when physical suppy and demand collide. Government officials only trade in perceptions.

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