Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Instinctive Response
Confronted by Obama nation voter registration creators drivers at the grocery store, my wife's instinctive response, apparently:

McCain fries

Buy some McCain fries, whether we like them or not.

Book Hunting: July 5, 2008
Well, there were a few garage sales around, so we did about six, and all I got was a book and a cassette:

A book, a cassette, a buck

I'd be making progress on my thousands-of-volumes reading backlog if I wasn't spending weeks reading a book these days.

Thursday, July 03, 2008
A Secret Shakespearean Fantasy
Back when I was a shipping/receiving clerk for a local art supply store, I always wanted to recite the Porter scene from MacBeth whenever a delivery driver rang the bell on the loading dock:

    Macbeth, Act II, Scene III

     Knocking within. Enter a Porter 
    Porter:Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of Beelzebub? Here's a farmer, that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty: come in time; have napkins enow about you; here you'll sweat for't. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock! Who's there, in th'other devil's name? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock, knock! Who's there? Faith, here's an English tailor come hither, for stealing out of a French hose: come in, tailor; here you may roast your goose. [Knocking within.] Knock, knock; never at quiet! What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I'll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire. [Knocking within.] Anon, anon! I pray you, remember the porter. [Opens the gate.]
Of course, by the time I would have gotten that out, the truck driver would have come in the front door looking for me and swearing. Also, it would have weirded out a commercial sales guy if he was in the warehouse pulling and order or prepping it for the courier, but that would have been a bonus.

Unfortunately, those were busy days. It wasn't until I was a printer, operating a two color offset printing press for hours on end, that I got the chance to spend days memorizing pieces, like "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". My recitation of which (or the appreciation of my recitation of which by an English teacher mother-in-law-to-be) and a timely hard drive replacement secured me permission to marry my beautiful wife. The porter scene might have worked in that situation, too, but I'm glad I didn't take the chance.

If You Want To Be Catholic
Some big news here in St. Louis this weekend: Archbishop Burke, the recent and short-term leader of the Catholic church in St. Louis, was told to take a new position in Rome. The paper and pseudo-Catholics in the region rejoiced, calmly, and the paper helpfully illustrated the things it ran full color spreads on during Burke's tenure in the story Burke's tenure here was never dull:
  • Archbishop Burke excommunicated a couple of women who started calling themselves Catholic priests and offering mass in a synagogue where they could get space. The paper runs their picture with the story about Burke to give a human face to his totalitarian enforcement of actual, you know, Catholic teaching and doctrine.

  • Archbishop Burke reallocated assets of the church, including a Polish parish named for St. Stanislaus. The lay board of the church said no thanks and brought in a rogue priest to run the church. The lay board was shocked to then discover that a priest who would defy the archbishop would also start doing other non-Catholic things, such as recognizing women priests.

  • Burke took actions in support of Catholic anti-abortion, anti-embryonic stem cell research teachings, shocking the "enlightened" society of St. Louis.
In other words, he followed the theological mandates of his church and its hierarchy.

However, some "Catholics" and the anti-churching amongst the journalistic set like to run pieces on the authoritarianism and the non-do-your-own-thing vibe of the Catholic church. They want to pick their beliefs and their attitudes from the salad bar of modern day life and still call themselves members of the group, no matter how few characteristics they share with the group. Or, I suppose, they want to tear down something greater than themselves to prove their own power.

You want the mass without the international heirarchy? Become a Lutheran. You want to control your own church and its funds? Join or start a storefront Baptist church. You want women ministers? Become a Unitarian or a Methodist or any of the other sects that have them. You want to worship by having sex with a priestess of Mother Gaia on Tuesday afternoons? Become governor of New York (or some other political office holder) and pay full price same as in town. But do not think that your inclinations are just as Catholic as John Paul II.

I'm not even Catholic, and the media stories offend me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Another Country Blonde
All right, all right, GAC and CMT: Julianne Hough is attractive:
You're only playing her once an hour, so I get the point.

She's also a young one, like Taylor Swift. What the heck is going on with country music turning into pop music with its focus on young stars? I wrote back in 2003 about how the charts were skewing younger, which meant that as I grew older, I couldn't connect with the music since I was no longer 20 and in love for the first time.

Fortunately, country and western hasn't gone that far yet. For every Hough and Swift, we still get some Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, or oldsters like LeeAnn Rimes.

Hopefully, though, success will allow Hough to buy something to eat. She's got blue eyes, blonde hair, pretty skin, and functional bones, but it looks like her man will have to do a lot of gratuitous lifting in their relationship.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The Movie So Bad The Critics Forgot It
In a review of Hancock, St. Louis Post-Dispatch cinema critic Calvin Wilson tosses in this aside critical not of the movie, but of plebes who go to films for their own pleasure and not for edification through serious cinema:
    That probably won't bother the film's core audience, which is happy to see Smith in just about anything except "Ali."
Dude, they didn't exactly clamor for The Legend of Bagger Vance either, ainna?

No Accident Unpunished
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch performs its simple hard-hitting journalism in sounding an unnecessary klaxon calling for more government oversight and regulation. This time, again, a tragic accidental death of a child should lead (in a perfect Post-Dispatch world) to more government regulation and intrusion. The accident:
    A year ago last Thursday the Blechas' second son, Nathan, died at age 4 months in a portable crib in Lutz's home, after being placed on his abdomen for a nap. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner's office ruled the cause of death "re-breath," the breathing in of carbon dioxide exhaled by the baby, who was too young to turn his head away from a wrinkle in the mattress.

    The next day, Lutz shut the day care for good.
Here's what we glean from the bits:
  • The death was an accident.

  • The caregiver, riven by guilt, left the profession the next day.

  • The paper is not reporting on an accident; instead, one year later, it's reporting on the parents of the dead child and their crusade to Make Sure Their Child's Death Was Not In Vain.
The call to government control:
    According to state records, Lutz had obtained a license to cut hair and one to practice massage, but when it came to child care, she never applied to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' Child Care Regulation section. That's the unit that inspects day cares and issues licenses for people routinely caring for more than four unrelated children.

    Nathan's parents say they have been waiting "for the system to kick in." But nothing has happened: no criminal charges, no fines, no outrage and no reform of a child-care oversight system that the Blechas feel did little to prevent or recognize Nathan's death.

    Steve Blecha said he called the Jefferson County sheriff's office early this year and was told the death had been ruled accidental.

    He also learned that the most Lutz could be fined for operating without a license was $200 — a fine so small that Blecha said it didn't matter that prosecutors didn't pursue it.
Of course, the article goes into detail about how the government can only fine unlicensed day care facilities and cannot bring down the wrath of the gods upon them. I suppose the "journalists" and certainly the tragically affected parents would like MURDER ONE charges or something to make the people who've thought twice THINK TWICE about having accidents, but jeez.

A license probably won't prevent every accident. It will, however, raise the cost of doing business as a baby sitter/day care, which in turn will drive out conscientious people who won't pay the money. Then, when the people who cannot afford au pairs need to drop their kids off while they work, they will turn to less conscientious family members, and further accidents will occur.

I hate it when children die, but I also hate it when their deaths lead to knee-jerk statist action that will have unintended consequences worse than the initial accident precipitating the knee-jerk reaction.

But the papers? Man, they love standing up for the outlier since the little guys have already been accommodated.

Party Hardy is only those who half know a thing that write about it. Those who know it thoroughly don't take the trouble.

           Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes

It does, however, keep the blogosphere humming along.

Monday, June 30, 2008
Greetings from Snobopia
The lack of culture is showing:
    At a recent ‘launch’ of the out-of-this world project, Edwards showed up in a space suit, complete with Moonrise Hotel flag and the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyessey blaring in the background.
If only that theme had a name and additional relevance besides inclusion in a late 20th century film.

Ah, who am I kidding? American cinema is the pinnacle of artistic expression and cultural significance.

Fla. vandals tag 60 cars with anti-Obama messages:
    Police on Sunday were investigating vandals' spray-painting of dozens of city vehicles here, some with disparaging messages about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Sounds like those racist Republicans, probably on purpose. But:
    They even left business cards on the vehicles that disparage both the Illinois senator and his rival, Republican John McCain. The cards voice support for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's former opponent.
Fortunately, AP had one of its mysteriously present stringers on the scene:
    Mike Lowe, a videographer working for The Associated Press, first told police about the damage. He saw three cars with anti-Obama messages, while the others were just heavily painted.
Wait, I thought the headline said sixty cars were tagged with anti-Obamaisms. Truth is, it's only 3?

Can't anyone report the events without "hedging" the language into utter falsehood?

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Don't You Hate It When That Happens?
Ever find yourself wandering down the street, unable to name the three members of Exposé?

I mean, I got Gioia and Jeanette Jurado, but I forgot Ann Curless's last name. For Pete's sake, I used to have a poster of them on my wall, and I bought the special cassette single version of "What You Don't Know" just for that poster.

I must be getting senile.

I'll leave it to you to determine whether my lapse in memory is evidence or the fact that I freaking care 20 years later.

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