Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Just When You Think You Know A Place
So I'm out in the backyard the other day, and I come across a strange sight that almost indicated I was suddenly in an alternate universe. I've lived in this house for over two years and have mowed the back yard at least twice in addition to various child play activities, gardening bits, and whatnot. So how come I never noticed this six foot strand of wire sticking up before?

Where did that come from?
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Fortunately, it was not live, since I do have kids wandering around back there. But,seriously, where did that come from?

The back corner of the yard used to have a garage or workshop at one time; there's still a bit of a gas pipe sticking up from heat or whatnot and I'm always digging stuff out of the ground nearby. But I can't have not seen this six foot strip of wire in two years, can I?

The one end of it was firmly buried, and the other was kind of bent up and hanging out; it wasn't there last Saturday when I mowed the lawn, and the sod is not chewed up as though it had recently been dug up. I mow it short, too, so I would have seen it if it was lying on the ground for two years.

So how does six feet of wire spout out of a hole in the ground all at once? Is it like a volcanic thing? Or was it really not an electric wire leading to the old garage, but a phone line, and if I'd hooked in a phone, I would have been the first to communicate with the great Underworld Land Of The Eternal Sun?

'Cause, brother, these things mess with you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Mystery of the Teleporting Terrorists
They might have fooled everyone else, but they have not fooled Senator Obama:
    "These are the same guys who helped to engineer the distraction of the war in Iraq at a time when we could have pinned down the people who actually committed 9/11," the presumed nominee told reporters aboard his campaign plane.
Funny, I thought the guys who actually committed it died in the plane crashes with their victims. But if Senator Obama's foreign policy comic book indicates that the people who actually committed 9/11 somehow escaped through evil science or magic, he's right that the United States better ramp up on that technique, stat.

Monday, June 16, 2008
Pairings Are Important
What chardonnay goes with a Charter Arms Pink Lady? Now you don't have to guess!

Just head on over to the NRA Wine Club and find out! Every wine purchase helps fund the NRA and helps to protect the second amendment.

I, on the other hand, will pass, thank you very much. I'm holding out for the NRA Whiskey Club.

Book Report: Sweet Savage Heathcliff by Geo Gately (1982)
You know, Garfield gets all the attention these days, but back in the old days, Heathcliff was the cat. Of course, his cartoon was a single panel, not a strip, so his humor had to get to the point, and it did. Instead of lazy, Heathcliff was a helion. Instead of liking lasagna, he eats the remnants from trash cans. In other words, he's a scrapper where Garfield is a dilettante. No wonder I liked Heathcliff more when I was younger. Also, the daily we got had Heathcliff, but not Garfield, which could explain it. Heathcliff even had a cartoon before Garfield did.

This book collects a number of strips, mostly around the motif of Heathcliff's love for Sonja. Given that, though, the book really identifies how Geo Gately used a limited number of ideas for a lot of cartoons. Another cat looks at Sonja, and Heathcliff does something to him; Heathcliff steals the fish; Sonja's woman owner asks the man why he doesn't do for her what Heathcliff does for Sonja; and so on. I hope that over the run of the series, the cartoonist spread these repeated bits out a little more than you can within a book limited by this theme.

Ultimately, I guess this might explain why Garfield would ultimately eclipse Heathcliff.

And although there's no Heathcliff without Heathcliff blog (unlike Garfield, there is the Heathcliff Explained blog which echoes sentiments expressed above with some profanity and daily cartoons.

Can't anyone else in the 21st century just enjoy the cartoons, or just look at them?

Books mentioned in this review:

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Good Book Hunting: June 14-15, 2008
Saturday: The St. Charles Book Fair

Saturday represented our third year in a row at the St. Charles Book Fair and our first attempt at a book fair with two strollers of children. This particular trip was disappointing because the combination of the crowd and keeping a grabby nigh-two-year-old from the books left me unable to effectively browse. Unless I'm in the right mood, I don't go wild, and the factors didn't put me in that gluttonous mood. As a result, the book purchases were far lower than I expected:

St. Charles Book Fair 2008
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I got:
  • LA Secret Police, some sort of nonfiction bit that will fit right into my paranoia.

  • The Frumionous Bandersnatch by Ed McBain, a later 87th precinct book that I might not have already.

  • Shadows over Baker Street, a collection premised on a combination of Sherlock Holmes with H.P. Lovecraft. How could that go wrong?

  • 50 Great Horror Stories, a collection, obviously, of horror, obviously.

  • Arson Detection and Investigation, a nonfiction book about police techniques regarding arson. The typeface indicates this manual might be out of date, so I expect it includes pyromancy or something.

  • K-Pax, the book that inspired the movie. Because I get those books, as you know.

  • Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. Now that I am looking for Reader's Digest editions of these books, they're unavailable at book sales. The only other volume they had was Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which I almost finished at the time. Now that I have actually finished it, you'll get the book report.

  • Homecoming by Bob Greene, which I probably already own.

  • The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh. First thing when I hit the first table, a volunteer asks me what I like. When I said McBain, he asked me if I'd read Wambaugh. Of course, the only Wambaugh I'd read was The New Centurions when I was in high school, and I said as much, so the volunteer pushed this book onto me. I don't know what it was about this trip and the gabby volunteers or if a small child overcomes my normal prickly look, but I got into a lot of conversations (2) with the volunteers. The other started when I told my charge on wheels that the Romanian-English dictionary was almost tempting because I don't own one; the volunteer stepped in to tell me about the languages her kids were taking for fun, and she not only tried to get me to buy the dictionary, but encouraged me to take on a couple of language on tape courses available with the audio goods. I declined both, but I got the Wambaugh. It was the first book I picked up, but it didn't trigger the normal frenzy.

  • Something by John Stossel, which will be worth the read.

  • Great Books. I think I already have this one, too.
The other stack of books and the crazy number of cassettes (and 2 albums) were Mrs. Noggle's purchases. Not depicted: the three board books I picked up to distract J1 while we browsed. One he ripped at the fair and another is one of his favorites today.

Sunday: Antiquarian inheritance from my aunt

On Sunday, I lamented about not buying many books, and my sainted mother took pity on me and gave me a stack of antiquarian books from my aunt, whose inheritance to me includes a number of titles already reviewed upon this blog.

My aunt bought these books, like so many of the others, at garage sales and was going to sell them online. Ergo, she bought them because they were old, not because of their subject matter.

Here they are:

Antiquarian donations
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They include:
  • Abridged Treasury of Prayers (unknown), which includes a postcard, a photograph, and a letter within as well as an inscription.

  • William Zorach: American Artists Group Monograph Number 15 (1945). Signed by the artist. Includes a newspaper clipping on the artist's death in 1966.

  • The Science of Human Life or Eugenics (1920). The original textbook on it. As I said, my aunt bought this book because it is old, and I have this book because it was my aunt's. So if you come to see it on my shelves, please understand why it's there.

  • Gainsborough Masterpieces in Colour (unknown). A collection of works by the artist.

  • The Lilac Lady by Ruth Alberta Brown (1914).

  • We Came In Peace: The Story of Man In Space (1969).
Will I read them? Most of them, probably, maybe. They're going on the to-read shelves anyway.

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