Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Good Book Hunting: July 19, 2008
Well, the one church that ran its classified ad last week actually had its rummage sale (not the northern terminology) this week, and that was the centerpiece of our trip this week. This will probably be our last weekend excursion, friends, as the pickings are so slim and the stage management so onerous as to render the weekly scheduled trips less than pleasant. Worry not, though; from time to time, I'll sneak into an estate sale and come up with some books, so I won't starve. Also, my to-read shelves are several thousand volumes, and there's always the library for historical nonfiction.

Regardless, here's what we got:

More books
Click for full size

I got:
  • The Middle Ages Volume III, a Books, Inc., publication about the Middle Ages, which in a couple thousand years will no longer be the middle. Hopefully.

  • The Renaissance Volume IV, a Books, Inc., publication about the Renaissance. In Art, maybe. Perhaps I bought two parts of a series here. I don't know.

  • Aristotle's Selections, a Books, Inc., publication. Selections of Aristotle, or a volume entitled Selections by Aristotle? Hey, they were a quarter each and matched, so I bought them without knowing.

  • The Travels of Marco Polo, a Books, Inc., publication about the Marco Polo, I hope.

  • Pure Drivel by Steve Martin. Comedy or a novella? I don't yet have it, so I bought it.

  • The Practical Handbook of Electrical Repairs and The Practical Handbook of Plumbing and Heating. A series of books detailing easy repairs from the 1960s. I haven't actually finished the one about television repair in a time where you could replace the tubes yourself and run down to the drug store to test them if you didn't know. So I won't jump right into reading them probably.

  • How Things Work In Your Home (and what to do when they don't). I have the How Electronic Things Work book, which looks like a distant relation. I think I'll run through this book for some basics so I can continue to impress my wife with my mad repair skillz. Actually, impress isn't the word; she just assumes that I know or can do it. That assumption is more gratifying than her being impressed every time. Also, it's more pressure. But I have these books!
Also, I got some cassettes of some easy listening stuff and a couple of, get this, design your garden computer program CDs. BECAUSE THEY WERE CHEAP! But you know what would be the killer app? Combining these design your level programs with a first person shooter where you can go in and execute, with a variety of weapons, those damn squirrels who have completely picked your tomato plants clean. Like a 21st century Centipede. I'd pay more than a quarter for that.

Oh, yeah, the wife got some books and cassettes and the Js got some books, but this is my blog, so no loving detail for those acquisitions.

Friday, July 18, 2008
Book Report: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (1953, 1986)
I last read this book, I think, about 14 years ago when I got the New American Library complete novels of Chandler set. I've seen the movie since, although it took me two years to get through it after hanging up on the extended dance remix argument about impotence between the Wades. The film version took certain, erm, liberties with the story, I could tell based on basic WWRCD instinct. Now that I've refreshed my reading, I'm ready to go back to try the film again to set in concrete the reasons why it's inferior.

A later novel in the Philip Marlowe pantheon, this book deals with Marlowe striking up a friendship with a veteran. When the veteran flees after his wife is murdered, Marlowe helps him out and is drawn into the circle of his friend's neighbors and their moneyed misdeeds. It's a typical Chandler sort of plot, for what that's worth: a little convoluted, perhaps, but at least all the corpses are accounted for this time around.

But the texture of the language. There's something to it, of course, something that differentiates it from the other pulp writers and other purveyors of paperback sensibilities. MacDonald and McBain dabble in it, but Chandler mastered it. Parker touched it before writing for the talkies ruined him.

Reminds me why I wanted to write this sort of thing.

Books mentioned in this review:

Thursday, July 17, 2008
Dr. Obama Reports To The Operating Room
Dr. Obama plans to spay the economy

When Obama says fix the economy, I expect he means neuter.

PS, Time-Warner: I sort of accidentally resubscribed to Fortune, and your love of promoting service to Mother Gaia and pimping politicians in a "business" magazine reminds me that when this year-for-ten-bucks subscription ends, I ought to go with Forbes.

Hulshof Leads In Corrupting Influence
The Post-Dispatch headline is Steelman lags behind Hulshof. What, in votes? No. Projected votes based on a few people reached by phone? No.
    GOP gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof rode a wave of endorsements to fundraising success this quarter, outpacing his primary opponent, Sarah Steelman, by more than a 4-1 ratio.
That is, he's raised more money than she has. But! Citizen, money is a corrupting influence in politics, which is why (the rationale goes) it must be limited by the government.

But the papers, who cheerlead the limitations because they like all government intervention, especially the ones that increase their influence, report on this as though it's indicative of anything more than who's got the friends with the deepest pockets.

We could expect it to be Hulshof, the Washington, D.C., resident running for the job. I'm for Steelman, of course, because I think going to Washington, D.C., is sort of like a British man going to WWI. Dudes, I'm Mrs. Dalloway in this scenario, and I just want to have a little party here without damaged veterans of foreign wars or DC "politics" (self- and party-enrichment) ruining it.

What's my point, other than I saw the movie of the Woolf novel? Oh, yeah, go Steelman.

Helping Deb With The Christmas Shopping
Deb of Boondoggled recently became a grandmother, which means this will be her first Christmas picking out gifts for a grandchild. As she lacks experience at this, we at MfBJN thought we'd share a little advice.

Anything on this list would be perfect.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
An Introduction to Brian J.'s Circuit Training Regimen
Courtesy of Life Magazine. Unfortunately, the article is entitled "The 10 Machines You Must Avoid at Your Gym".

(Link seen on Master of None.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Book Report: A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1873, 1986)
It took me three weeks to read this book, which means that it's probably weaned me off of classical literature for the near future, at least until I can get back to reading a couple of hours each night.

That said, this is certainly my current favorite Hardy book, but all I've read is Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I was young (at the university) and Under a Greenwood Tree last year. Therefore, it's currently one of three.

The book details the affairs of the daughter of a rector in West England, Elfride by name. When a young architect comes to draw up plans for the work on the rectory, she falls for him and he for her; he idealizes her and looks up to her after a fashion. They almost elope, as her father discovers that he is of low birth and refuses to approve the match. The young man goes to India to make his fortune. Meanwhile, his educated mentor meets the woman and she falls for him, too. He, on the other hand, does not look up to her, but celebrates her purity and the fact that he's first in her heart. When her past attachment is uncovered, the scholar breaks off their engagement.

It's a simple enough structure, but by presenting the two types of man and how she relates to them, the book delves into male-female relationships well. I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out, though, but the book is still a heck of a read. The language slows one a bit, but not too much off of the pace you get with current dialogue-laden scripts-with-paragraphs.

The book I read was the Penguin classics edition, though, and it came with a horrid, long introductory essay that I was smart enough not to read before I read the book. I mean, it's a discussion about the themes within the book and has no place ahead of the material it talks about. Also, the introduction did reassure me that I made the right decision in not pursuing a job in academia. It actually has the sentence, "The drama of the plot of A Pair of Blue Eyes is patriarchal," and although it does not use the word phallic, it does use bourgeous. Oh, for Pete's sake. It's a good story with interesting dwellings on the human condition, and the academics sap that power from the narrative through their readings for their own chestnut points. I squirm when I realize these people have moved out of English programs and into government.

Get yourself a good Barnes and Noble edition or a Walter J. Black printing from somewhere and ignore the pretentious pontifications about it and enjoy the story. As Hardy would have wanted it.

Books mentioned in this review:

Sunday, July 13, 2008
Some Book Hunting: July 12, 2008
We hit a couple of garage sales this weekend, in a stunning turn of events. We tried to hit a big church rummage sale, but it was in the paper a week early, so we had to settle for a string of smaller affairs. As I'm learning, the number of books available at these yard sales is growing slimmer and slimmer. Heck, even the estate sales offer fewer pickings, which probably indicates how few readers are left. Soon, we readers will actually have to fight and steal from each other to get secondhand books until one of us has all of them. And you know whom I am betting on.

At any rate, I got:

A few books for the middle of July
Click for full size

I got:
  • A three volume biography of George Washington because I didn't have one.

  • A copy of Mutiny on the Bounty in case I don't already have one.

  • Two taste-free comedies, Deuce Bigelow and BASEketball, because they were only fifty cents each for the VHS cassettes and I hadn't seen them since they were in the theaters.

  • A couple of cassettes because they were cheap.
As I said, slim pickings. But I like to think of this as resting up for the Carondolet Y book fair this year, which will not be at the Carondolet Y.

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