Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Me and Andrew Sullivan
I removed Andrew Sullivan from my blogroll a couple years ago, probably about the time he was advocating that the Federal government overtax the rubes in the big states who need gas to travel between points on the vast maps, unlike our betters on the East Coast who trip on a coffee table leg in Connecticut and their elbows strike the floor in New York.

However, the intern in charge of putting together the Kansas City Star's Blog Bits section has us together in Friday's edition.

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here Come Rubber Roads, Guard Rails
Girl falls off bike while riding in the road, parents sue road builders:
    The mother of a girl severely injured in a bicycle crash in 2005 is suing the people who designed and built the road where she was injured, saying her medical expenses are likely to exceed $25 million.
Only fitting because:
    a combination of a road that was too steep, and dangerous wooden posts
Combined with, I don't know, an accident.

The face that an attorney has found a large number of defendants (6) for the maximum number of out of court settlements is now matter of course. It's not even sad on its own any more, just one more pixel in a sad portrait of personal irresponsibility in modern America.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Book Report: Hoaxes! Dupes, Dodges & Other Dastardly Deceptions by Gordon Stein and Marie J. MacNee (1995)
This book is what one would expect. Culled from a larger work (Encyclopedia of Hoaxes), this book presents a Reader's Digest kind of sumamry of a selection of hoaxes from history. It is what it is, which is shorter and more whitespaced than an actual Reader's Digest anthology, but worth a couple bits if you can find it cheaply.

I don't know that I gleaned any real new knowledge from this, but it certainly reinforced some trivia I knew. Well, maybe the story of Dupont's painting will make it into a historical essay one day.

Books mentioned in this review:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Book Report: Vienna Days by Kim du Toit (2005)
When I imagined this book report, I was going to make some cracks about how Mr. du Toit once called me a wanker, way back in the old days. I thought perhaps I would make a comment about how polite the book reports are when you know that the author is better armed than you are. But a funny thing happened on the way to that facile line celebrating my own cleverness: I liked the book too much to fall into the normal patter.

The man has an admitted fetish for Thomas Hardy, and it's easy to see the influence of the English writer and the sweep and scope of old literature in this book, and as it clocks in at 300 pages of modern English, it's a better read.

It's set in 1890ish Vienna and deals with a lawyer-turned-artist who has it all: a beautiful fiancee, a promising career, and all the trappings of youth and wealth. But he's not happy because he's an artist at heart, an existentialist one who sees beneath the veneer of bourgeous sentiments to the rotting core of humanity. So he loses the job, loses the fiancee, and pursues a detached, unreachable woman. He then ascends to a cartoonist career, gets the girl, and throws it all away.

I have a lot of sympathy for the character, but he's a complete cad who wastes what he's given and then wastes what he earns. He's got a sort of intellectual hubris common of artists and intellectuals: that he and a few others can see the true meaning of the human condition, which is squalor. Whereas some of the insight into the artifice of interhuman contact is correct, ultimately it sees beyond to nothingness which doesn't offer a much better alternative.

So I liked the book, and I am considering buying du Toit's other book, Family Fortunes as well.

Books mentioned in this review:

Vienna Days
Vienna Days

Sunday, October 21, 2007
Your Grandfather's Kajira
Funny, I don't see any of your grandparents' Sioux-City-Suean lifestyles banned (unlike Gor-simulation lifestyles) from Web hosting services, but this song from 1945 is not unlike the Kajira:
    'Cause I come from Nebraska to find Sioux City Sue
    I'm gonna rope and tie her up, I'll use my old lasso
    I'm gonna put my brand on my sweet Sioux City Sue
Dudes, that's Gene Autry singing the most maligned elements of John Norman's books right there.

Well, If You Save Money On Cheap Funeral Arrangements, Maybe
I have to wonder if perhaps the adjective realistic is applied incorrectly in this advertisement:

Realistic tombstones?

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