Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Good Book Hunting: April 20, 2007
The Kirkwood Friends of the Library holds its annual book fair this weekend, and last year, it proved to be the biggest event for us. Sure, the Greater St. Louis Book Fair occurs on the same weekend, but I'm not fond of the big one. It's held in a parking garage in West County Mall, it's ill-lit, it's crowded, it has just too many books to contemplate, and the parking is awful. So I prefer the Kirkwood one.

The Kirkwood book fair is held again this year in empty retail space on the bottom floor of one of those mixed use developments of which municipalities are so fond; the fact that this is the second year running that the expensive retail space has not been pouring the prophesied sales tax revenue into Kirkwood's coffers will not discourage other municipalities from doing the ousting families to provide cavernous locations available for charity events.

The book fair itself offers a good number of books, just about at the edge of my limit; if a book fair has too many books, I know I won't get to see them all, so I will go much faster and will browse more quickly. I started in the old/rare books section, but the selection favored children's books and Civil War treatises. By the time I got through Fiction section, I had set two stacks of books at the counter to wait for me. Heather finished up earlier than I did and entertained the counterspeople while I quickly worked the nonfiction section. Because frankly there's just not many travel books I need.

Here's the damage:

Kirkwood Book Fair haul

That's 37 books; 22 for me, 15 for Heather.

A couple things I picked up:
  • First British printing of Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger.
  • A Danish rendition of Ridley Pearson's The Seizing of Yankee Green Mall.
  • A number of plays, including Sight Unseen, one of the best plays I've ever seen.
  • A hardback without a dustjacket called 24 Girls in 7 Days. I liked the title and actually read the first couple of pages.
  • Another Harry Turtledove book because a former co-worker raves about him; Ruled Britannia was okay enough to warrant another buck or two to try substantiate the praise.
The book fair also included a number of advance copies of books, but nothing that I recognized or would bother trying to collect.

This book fair runs today and tomorrow still at the empty retail space on South Kirkwood Road if you're interested; it's close to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair if you want to make a day of it.

Friday, April 20, 2007
It's Called a Bag of Holding
How else do you bring a mace to school when you want to show a teacher some clerical attitude adjusting?
    "It's heavy, and it's metal, and it's sharp," Detective Sgt. Darlene Breitenstein said of the weapon. The girl, who is being held at the Lake County (Ind.) Juvenile Justice Center on battery charges, told police she brought the weapon to school because she was "tired of getting picked on." "I took the weapon to the detention center for the judge to see," Breitenstein said. Charmella Greer of the Gary Community School Corp. said the school system plans to take disciplinary action against the freshman. She said she did not know how the girl managed to smuggle the large weapon past school metal detectors.
She swung on the teacher and missed, but sometimes they even try when their THAC0s are 20.

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007
Certainty in a Headline
Finally, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch drops all mincing words and qualifiers and boldly asserts something without a doubt:

'Doomsday vault' near North Pole will keep species safe from war, disaster

A highly speculative science fiction story that has so far only received some funding gets the solid verb tense. But deal with something that happened, and the Post-Dispatch will append ",(common noun) say" to the end.

Book Report: Night Prey by John Sandford (1994)
This book follows Winter Prey, so it's obvious that I'm getting these books all out of order. Davenport's in love with Winter, and they've moved in together. Meanwhile, an invisible man--that's what the book flap calls him--is picking up women in art galleries and bookstores and is killing them.

It's a fairly standard plot, well handled. However, the twist is reminiscent of Broken Prey, and frankly, I am probably reading these Davenport novels too quickly to remain absolutely glowing about each. But I like them and will hit the others on my shelf sometime in the near future.

Books mentioned in this review:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Deja Snark
I heard this story on the radio today, and I was going to make fun of it: Illinois mother sues utility over son's fall from electric tower.

But I already did.

Not quite, but in California, the bad guys stopped a train and pulled its engineer off for a beating:
    The engineer of an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train was seriously injured Monday night in West Sacramento after a group of people forced the train to stop, dragged the engineer from the train and assaulted him with rocks and bottles, according to Capitol Corridor officials.
Quick, let's use this isolated incident to expand the Federal bureaucracy, to fund reinforced engine doors, to expand the rail marshal program, and to make taking a train as onerous as riding in a plane.

Someone's Taking Note
As the recent pet food recall expands again, do you think anyone is noting how a tainted raw food material can spread death throughout North America after being processed locally?

I mean, if this were a Tom Clancy novel, first, the foreign power would kill all the bees to limit continental agriculture and force food producers to buy from abroad, and then the foreign power would poison a root agricultural product that would be distributed to a number of plants for processing into a number of different food products. Because the raw ingredient would be made into a number of different things, investigators would have trouble identifying a single cause when people started dying. When thousands were dead, civil order would break down and the main portion of the novel would commence.

Which is why I wanted to be a writer. To channel my paranoia into profitable pursuits.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Book Report: Terminator 3: Terminator Dreams by Aaron Allston (2003)
I bought this book at a book fair because I was binging. Probably the Carondolet YMCA last time. I mean, it's an ex-library book, a movie tie-in, and I paid a buck for it. But you know what? It wasn't bad.

The book relies on the narrative set in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Instead of the past trying to change the future through action, which is the core of the movies, this book involves John Connor ca 2039 finding that one of the people on his team was a software developer programming on the Terminator project and that this software developer can communicate with his past self through his dreams. The developer, though, cannot remember anything beyond Judgement Day.

A good quick read, although I'd be interested to see how the series would turn if it didn't rely so much on the cross-time thing, if it weren't so important to have something happening in the present day. Apparently this author has another book based on Terminator 3 out, so that might be worth reading if it comes to my attention at one of the various book fairs coming up.

Books mentioned in this review:

After the RPGs, RPGs
Ziggurat Con - The World's First War Zone Game Convention?:
    When President Bush ordered troops to Iraq, he probably never imagined that he would be ultimately be responsible for what very well could be the very first D&D convention/game day ever held in a war zone. Ziggurat Con, being held June 9 from 1200 to 2100 hours at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, is open to all allied military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq.
If you've got a closet full of old books you're not using, the guys are accepting donations.

No Twilight: 2000, though; we don't need arguments arising about game rules versus actual experience with the weapons listed.

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ. More here.)

It's Just Like Appropriating A Car
You know the classic movie scene where the cop runs out, flashes his badge, and tells a driver that he has to appropriate the automobile to pursue a subject? Apparently, using World Series tickets taken from scalpers:
    Eight city police officers were wrong to use World Series tickets seized from scalpers, but they did nothing illegal, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said Monday in revealing there will be no charges.

    She acknowledged public outrage but said she could not find any way to construe their actions as a violation of Missouri statutes given the available evidence.
You see, it served the public good having more cops at the World Series.

Meanwhile, respect for law and order just took another drubbing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007
More Imus Fallout
Offensively named Don Ho fired from life.

UPDATE! MfBJN: Less classy than Rocket Jones!

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