Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Whatever Happened To....?
Remember that Stupid as Kryptonite (or some such) guy? In the old days, apparently people linked to him and he got an early paid blogging job for a left-leaning consortium or something? You ever wonder what happened to him?

Me, either; I didn't think about him until he sent me an e-mail trying to sell me counterfeit software:

Like Kryptonite to High Software License Prices!

Oh, how the mitey have fallen.

(Sure, it could be a random combination of names built by a spambot. But which narrative would you prefer to perfect your reality?)

Friday, May 16, 2008
Where There's A Headline, There's A Way (To Prosecute)
Finally, after the initial furor has died down, some creative prosecutor has found a way to bring charges in the Child Commits Suicide In Response To Online Taunting case:
    The incident prompted an international cry for action, but Missouri and federal prosecutors here in St. Louis examined the circumstances shortly after Megan’s death, and passed on trying to build a criminal case. No law, they said, applied.

    Then, in January, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles began issuing grand jury subpoenas, signaling a new interest in the case.

    MySpace is based in Santa Monica.

    Prosecutors are said to be seeking a felony fraud indictment under the legal theory that Lori Drew defrauded MySpace of computer time and resources by supplying false information.

    In December, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Banas said that the circumstances surrounding Megan's death defied a simple placement of blame.
After local and localized federal prosecutors decided no laws were broken, another, more ambitious headline-hungry creative prosecutor has found a way to advance his career get his name in the national papers serve justice.

In twenty-first century America, forget double jeopardy. You're not safe from prosecution or persecution until everyone in government service has a crack at you.

(Yes, I know that double jeopardy applies to actual prosecution. However, it's enough now that any act brings the possibility of numerous charges in multiple jurisdictions that make it clear that the principles behind double jeopardy, that the government and its individual executors shall not continuously hound a private citizen, are violated de facto but not de jure.)

I Blame Bush, Inadvertently
Huh, who knew I was suffering from the effects of the Bush economy and endorsing a Democrat challenger in this year's presidential election?
    With the skyrocketing costs of fuel and food, people cite sticker shock as the catalyst pushing them into the garden.

    "It's crazy that we're spending so much oil, time and money on food," Staley said. "If we can do it in the backyard, why not?"

    Concerns over food safety and the environment are among other factors prompting people to get their hands dirty. And, of course, the bragging rights that come with serving a homegrown tomato.
I mean, if the journalist is going to ignore other reasons for the draw of gardening--that is, of exerting control over the nearby environment and tying down that Gaia wench and making her do what you want for a change, the nesting instinct, the desire to have a food source when the centralized government falls and disorder reigns, or having free seeds come in the mail--and if the journalist is instead going to impute the failing environment story, why not just go right out and say that gardeners are voting for Obama this year?

When Corporate Training Fails
Brazen robber shot Overland store clerk:
    Overland Police Chief James Herron said a surveillance camera showed police what happened next:

    The robber pulled a small-caliber semiautomatic handgun and demanded money. The clerk did everthing right, Herron said. He obliged -- opening the cash register drawer and stepping back, just as management had taught him to do.

    But the robber fired anyway. He shot the clerk once in the shoulder, then reached into the register to grab the money. The robber then jumped onto the counter and tried to fire several more times, but the gun malfunctioned. He ran out the door and down the street. Two customers on the lot saw him. They found the clerk on the floor behind the counter and called police.
Fortunately, corporate training didn't include the advanced techniques, dying to prevent corporate liability for accidental employee-inflicted wounds during self-defense.

Similar story related at Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks. Perhaps a wave of similar incidents will change corporate policies in this regard, but I'm not hopeful that corporations will ever value their individual employees rights to life and self-defense over their own legal liabilities.

Also, memo to the city of Florissant and to all similar (soon to be simply "all") cities who lust for surveillance cameras to prevent crime: discounting the British example, wouldn't common sense indicate that cameras haven't eliminated bank robberies or gas station hold ups and won't particularly impact street crime?

Not, I suppose, if budget is on the line. A higher principle than anything stated by government officials.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Book Report: Rooster Cogburn by Martin Julien (1975)
Given my love for books that were made into movies or movie novelizations, of course I picked up this book at a book fair. I didn't look too closely, though, as it's neither. It is the tie-in to the movie, but in this case, it is a forward by the producer, an introduction that includes interviewish fan magazine style pieces on the stars (John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn), and then the script for the movie.

As such, it's an even quicker read than a novel would have been.

The movie is a sequel to True Grit, and I've not seen either of the films, so I had no preconceived notions about it. However, I've read books that include the script of a film I liked (particularly Casablanca, and I'm always struck with how thin the scripts seem compared to the actual film. As a writer, of course I'd like to think that the words are paramount; however, the actors and cinematographers add something. Don't get me wrong, a movie with poor choices of words makes a bad film as easily or maybe more easily, but the other factors add a richness to the experience that the script itself cannot.

That being said, it's a decent Western story, sort of a stock bit but serviceable.

Now, of course, I'll have to see the film to see if I'm correct in my thesis. I'd add it to my wish list on Amazon, but none of you googleheads looking for free book reports to turn in as your own bother to read this far, much less click my wish list. At least, I hope you're smart enough to read enough to turn in something else. None of these book reports has particular scholarly merit. But in case you don't, I'd like to add HEY TEACHER/PROFESSOR, YOU SUX!

Books mentioned in this review:

Odd Trivium About Me
I have no problem drinking a warm glass of water. Not even a lukewarm glass; I can drink a relatively hot glass of water. Which comes in handy here, because the tap in our kitchen has some sort of taste running through the cold water when you first turn it on. So when I'm thirsty, I don't have to wait for the cold line to clear. I'll just drink a glass of hot water if we've just been washing dishes or whatnot.

Some people, like my beautiful wife, cannot abide by anything but the coldest of water. I don't know if that makes me odd, or her.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
You Only Hurt The Ones Who Are Loyal Customers
In an era of shrinking newspaper circulation, it's good to see that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks so little of its loyal readers and its delivered circulation, which helps with its ad rates donchaknow, that it's taken to helping part them with some extra money because they can. Notice the cutesy line at the bottom of this subscription card?

Shipping and handling extra
Click for full size

The line is: Subscribers may pick up the newspaper to avoid delivery costs. That would seem to indicate that the Post-Dispatch adds shipping and handling to its home subscribers who make up the bulk of its audience. Does it really?

Here's a bill:

Shipping and handling exhorbitant
Click for full size

Fifteen cents on a daily delivery and forty cents for Sunday? That's 30% markup over the daily cover price of 50 cents and 27% over the Sunday cover price. But if you want to avoid that surcharge, you can subscribe so the paper gets its recurring revenue and circulation numbers and then you can drive every morning to a place where you can pick it up.

Or, I suppose, you can do like the subscriber noted above and cancel your subscription, picking up a paper once in a while at the grocery. Or not at all.

Well-played, circulation department. Your earnest pursuit of zero subscriber base is noteworthy and efficient.

Sunday, May 11, 2008
That's All I Have To Say About That
Born. Good. Good.

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