Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Good Book Hunting: Return to the Book of the Month Club
I've been so down about not finding much at garage sales lately that I fell prey to the Six for the Price Of One Book of the Month Club offer. I got these:

Book of the Month Club selections
Click for full size

They include:
  • The fourth Dean Koontz Odd Thomas book, Odd Hours. I haven't read Brother Odd yet, but I'll find that at a book fair soon. The new copy was only twenty cents plus $4.00 shipping and handling. Note that it's in shrink wrap with a note. The note says, "We're sorry, there's a typo on the last page. It should say, 'Stormy was there to greet me. "Don't feel bad, Oddie," she said, "You did the best you could and that's all anyone could ask."' We hope this doesn't impede your enjoyment of the book. As if revealing the ending on the front cover would do such a thing.

  • Bonk, a book about sex.

  • Phantom Prey, a new Lucas Davenport novel by John Sandford and something I'll read right away to wash out the taste of No Witnesses.

  • Resolution, Robert B. Parker's sequel to Appaloosa. Notice I'm not buying Robert B. Parker novels at full price the minute they come out these days?

  • A Carl Hiaasen nonfiction book about golf.

  • Duma Key, a new Stephen King novel.

Wait, you only count five instead of six? Well, I don't remember what I ordered as the sixth book, but it certainly wasn't the nutritional science outrage book they shipped. Fortunately, though, one of Heather's reading interests is that sort of thing, so she wanted it. Keeps me from having to throw a pissy fit over getting shipped a random overstock book.

But, geez, the printing quality on these books has really diminished over the years. The paper is almost newsprint, word. I'm glad I didn't get any chick lit because my tears would make the ink run. It's hard to see me sticking with the club after my obligated One At Full Price escape clause.

Still, they're relatively recent novels, a year before I could get them on the book fair tables for a buck. To make it worthwhile, I have to read them all within the next year I guess.

Book Report: No Witnesses by Ridley Pearson (1994)
Ugh. Ultimately, I sort of dreaded reading a Pearson book because he lives part time in the next suburb over, so he's the author I'm most likely to run into at the local coffeeshop or used bookstore and the one who could most easily show up on my front doorstep to taunt me that he's a published and successful author and my blog isn't even as well read as his book reviews.

Because, brother, this book sucked.

It sort of serves me right, I suppose, that I swore off classics because they take so long and then I start a 470 page mass market paperback that I have to endure over the course of two weeks or so. You know what? Maybe I'll go back to the classics. Sometimes, they're good enough that I enjoy them even if they're slow reading.

This piece is the third, I guess, in a police detective series featuring a detective and a police psychologist. Perhaps its presence in the series explains a bit how the characters are sort of thin--I suppose they get that way in even the middle of McBain's books or John Sandford's books. But the descriptions are paragraph-long (or more) adjective dumps, and we get bunches of them even for minor characters. Then, they're moved through a series of convoluted, contrived, and melodramatic chapter scenes where individual characters, mostly the female police detective, face artificial peril. Then we get to a semi-climax whose very setup relies on poor police procedure that imperils innocent children based on a prosecutor's (wait, second prosecutor: first was eliminated in a contrived subplot) desire for better charges.

It was so bad that the night before I finished, I went into my wife's office after reading it and banged my head into her wall just so I could sum up why I stuck with the book: the punchline "Because it feels so good when I stop."

Maybe this is an outlier on the bottom end of Pearson's books. I think I've got at least one more in English here somewhere to read (in addition to the one I have in a Scandinavian language that I cannot read), so perhaps eventually I'll give him another shot. I won't buy any more, though. I have enough else to read.

Special memo to Mr. Pearson when he Googles himself: Hey, no offense, and congratulations on making a living doing what I'd rather. I cannot even get agents to review the complete manuscript of my last novel.

Books mentioned in this review:

It Would Shock You If You Didn't Expect It
Terry Teachout on Raymond Chandler's speaking voice:
    Only one recording of Raymond Chandler's speaking voice survives, a BBC interview conducted with Chandler in 1958 by none other than Ian Fleming. You can listen to it by going here. If you do so, you'll be staggered to learn that the creator of Philip Marlowe sounds...well, wimpy.
Not if you've read any of his letters or his biography. Fellow was a total anglophile prone to wearing gloves and not shaking hands because he thought it was barbaric. That he sounds more Capote than Hemingway is not surprising at all.

She's Tired Of It Now
My wife is tired of my all-purpose punchline/rejoinder If President Obama lets us..

If she's tired of it now, just think how she will feel once it's our (and everyone else's) lifestyle.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll have to switch to If it makes Reid money in an obscure land deal or If its good for the Pelosi canneries.

Great Moments in Police Professionalism
Wellston police scuffle; guns drawn:
    A brawl between the newly chosen city police chief and his ousted predecessor resulted in guns being drawn on Friday and the mayor requiring medical attention for trying to intercede, police said.

    The new police chief was named about four days ago, said Pine Lawn Police Chief Rickey Collins, whose department is investigating at the request of the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney's office.

    The two men began pushing and shoving each other about 3 p.m in a meeting room inside Wellston's City Hall. Collins said he did not know what they argued about, though he said the former police chief recently had been demoted to assistant chief.

    Guns were pulled during the scuffle, but no shots were fired, Collins said.
Respect for law and order takes another hit.

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Good Book Hunting: July 30, 2008
Yesterday (yes, Wednesday), my beautiful wife and I sneaked off to a church rummage sale alone together, so we had some prime browse time and a chance to pick up some books. Here they are:

Pile of books from a church rummage sale
Click for full size

Among my purchases, you'll find:
  • The Battle of Midway Island, a paperback history of the World War II battle.

  • Nine To Five, the paperbackization of the movie. I saw that movie within the last two years, I think. Maybe three.

  • A Russian/English/English/Russian dictionary. True story, in the middle 1980s, while in middle school, I tinkered with teaching myself Russian. Just in case they invaded, I wanted to have wisecracks they'd understand as I partook in the street to street fighting in my trailer park. This was before my physics class that would teach me that street to street fighting in a trailer park would not leave much time for the scrappy Wolverinesish middle schoolers to make cracks. Still, I got one now because I didn't yet have one.

  • Wisconsin: Off the Beaten Path just so I can see where I've been and where I should go.

  • Cotswold Mistress a novel about something. It was a fifty cents, that's my excuse. Also, I've been jonesing for some acquisitions, I guess.

  • See, I Told You So, another copy of Rush Limbaugh's second book, ca. the middle nineties. Funny that he hasn't written more, but I guess book royalties might not be a good return on his investment vis-a-vis other things he can do.

  • Buckley: The Right Word, a vocabulary builder, I think, based on the work of William F. Buckley, Jr.

  • Complete Works by William Shakespeare in the Walter J. Black Classics Club edition. Note that I paid fifty cents for it. You Google searchers who inherited a pile from your predecessors and want me to tell you they're worth a lot of money, take note that you can get them for fifty cents each or a dollar each at garage sales and book fairs and about five bucks at used book stores that bother to stock them. They're not old, they're not rare. Get a job.

  • Excessive Joy Injures the Heart. I think it's one of those chick novels. It had a cool title and it was a ha'buck.

  • Bruges and Its Beauties, a guidebook to some city somewhere. I'd better set a bit from a suspense novel I write in it sometime, or I will have wasted this quarter.

  • Several Sunset paperbacks about fixing up your home. I got something about decks, something about wiring, and something about painting and wallpapering.

  • The Great Lakes and Florida, two photographic journey coffeetable books because I've been to both places and because I can probably browse them during baseball games.

  • Five CDs of artwork, including 2 Renaissance collections, 1 Impressionism collection, and the Vatican's collection. I think they might be art history things. They were like a buck each, so probably worth it.

So there I have them. A bunch more books to read when I'm done with 600 page academic history library books.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Crossing Over, With Brian J.
As some of you might be surprised to learn, I have crossed over from time to time when it comes to voting, particularly for state races. Actually, "crossing over" is a bit of a misnomer; I tend to vote for Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans based on a strange algorithm that only I understand.

This year, I cannot cross over to vote for Al Liese (Dem.) for state representative just so I can see which member of the family runs next time when Liese, who replaced his son using very similar signage for his run, gets term limited out. I thought it was a neat trick, but I was a neophyte in that scam even though I saw The Distinguished Gentleman. Now, though, I realize that Missouri politics is a full employment program for the Carnahan family as well as the other microdynasties-they-hope in the Blunt, Loudon, McNary, et al families.

Still, if Katherine Bruckner (her "blog") somehow gets nominated for state rep, I'd vote for her in a heartbeat. I mean, she's a Democrat proud she's got her concealed carry license? That's tougher than the Republicans vying for the spot on the ballot, word.

Additionally, I'm kicking around voting for Jay Nixon for governor if Kenny Hulshof is elected. I have a new motto: I trust a Missouri Democrat more than a Washington Republican. The difference, of course, lies in that anyone elected to or running for a national office is now a national servant, not the servant of the Missouri people. The money for the race comes from the outlying states, and suddenly the candidate espouses the national party's opinions. It's why I could have tolerated a Governor McCaskill but am not too pleased with Senator McCaskill.

Of course, once I start seeing the Jay Nixon ads and he starts making me sick of him, I might end up going Hulshof after all. Reluctantly.

Can You Take Your Children's Privacy Too Far?
You forget to whose blog you've come.

Shredding the coloring
Of course not.

Monday, July 28, 2008
Leftist Thugs On Wheels
Another month, another Critical Mass event includes beating a four wheeler, this time in Seattle:
    According to Jamieson, as the Critical Mass group moved down the street, blocking traffic, some riders got in the way of the Subaru and prevented it from leaving. Some bikers sat on the car and were banging on it, he said.

    "The driver was pretty fearful that he was about to be assaulted by the bicyclists," Jamieson said.

    The man tried to back up, but bumped into a biker. "This enraged the group," Jamieson said.

    Several of the bikers bashed up the Subaru, shattering the windshield and rear window, Jamieson said.

    The driver tried to drive away, but hit another bicyclist, Jamieson said. Still, he drove about a block, to the corner of Aloha and 15th Avenue East, before the Critical Mass riders cornered the car again and started spitting on it and banging against it.

    One bicyclist punched the driver through his open window, and another used a knife to slash the Subaru's tires, Jamieson said.

    The driver got out of his car, and was hit in the back of the head, opening a large gash.
Wow, just like San Fransisco.

You know, if they keep at it and this spreads, eventually cities will ban these events. More oppression for the poor, poor bike lovers everywhere, especially the leftist thugs who like any excuse to damage the straights with "cause."

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

Conscious Colors for Interpretive Metrics
In case you didn't know it, Missouri is almost on par with the third world, or so this dynamic and purposefully frighteningly colored map would have you think.

food insecurity--the new made up scourge

What is food insecurity? Probably something less than distended bellies and dead children in the streets. But it's a interpretive metric, so those who want more government money in programs designed to combat bad feelings will always have just cause to spend more money. Except, sometimes, I suspect that it's just 'cause that they have.

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