Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Good Book Hunting: October 4, 2008
Oops, I did it again.

We're driving down Elm onto an errand and a couple of garage sales, and my beautiful wife sees the sign at the church up ahead: Book Fair. "It's dollar bag day," I said.

"Do you want to stop?" she asked.

I stopped.

An hour or so later, I ask if they have a box price since I don't want to put the books in bags to price them. $3 a box, we agree on even though my beautiful wife was quite ready to negotiate up.

Here they are:

Lots of books from Annunciation
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  • The Unknown Patton, a biography of that guy Kelsey Grammer plays.

  • Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right by Bernard Goldberg. Polemics were cheap. I bought many.

  • Betrayal by Linda Chavez. As I said.

  • Shadow War, about George W. Bush and the war on terror.

  • Square Foot Gardening. Heather picked this up for me, hoping I'll get more than 20 cherry tomatoes, 6 raspberries, and 3 green beans out of our garden next year.

  • The President, The Pope, and the Prime Minister, a book about Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II and their roles in defeating communism 1.0.

  • Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, a John Stossel Snopes-like debunking of common tropes upon which policy is based. I'm currently reading it in the paperback, but I've upgraded my permanent copy.

  • Hollywood Nation, about how liberals are bad.

  • The Lessons of History by Will and his wife Durant. Hey, I have the story of philosophy, why not get the whole collection.

  • The Year of Decision 1846, a history book about that important year.

  • The Big Ripoff, a book about how crony capitalism will be the death of our economy. Timely, no?

  • Persecution by Limbaugh the Lesser.

  • 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg. My collection of his work is complete and mostly unread.

  • The Best Years 1945-1950, a history book about why those were the best years, apparently.

  • Build It Better Yourself, a book about building things. Good for a President Obama economy.

  • A five volume history of England. I hope it's only five; I got volumes I-V.

  • A Friend Forever, a collection of poems edited by Susan Polis Schultz.

  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy. Must be one of his flash fictions since it's 135 pages. Looking into it, I discover it's a pre-dialogued former university textbook.

  • Dynamic Freedoms: Our Freedom Documents, which collects the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and other selected bits.

  • Spain, a concise history of a great nation. Part of a series.

  • Fix It Yourself Small Appliances and Fix It Yourself Major Appliances, just in case the Democratic quartfecta manages to keep the lights on and the rest of the world does not veto our electricity usage.

  • Architecture: Style, Structure, and Design, an architecture textbook.

  • Near Eastern Mythology, a book about mythology in the near east. I think that's like Ohio and West Virginia.

  • 28 of the hardbound library editions of American Heritage from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Good for ideas, I hope, and burning for heat if the rest of the world doesn't want me to heat my house above 60 degrees in the winter.

  • Almanac of American Letters. I forget what it is.

  • The First Immortal, a science fiction novel.

  • Built from Scratch; given the Home Depot logo on it, you'd think it was about building things. No, it's about the building of the Home Depot company.

  • JOB: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein.

  • The Legend that was Earth by James P. Hogan. Science fiction.

  • The Gunfighter: Man or Myth?, a musing no doubt that tells us that nobody owned guns on the frontier.

  • Grumbles from the Grave by Robert Heinlein, co-authored by Heinlein's estate.

  • Disraeli, a biography of the English PM.

  • Nine Tomorrows, tales by Asimov.

  • Jude the Obscure, a mostly handome edition of Hardy's work. Except for the water damage.

  • You Can't Get There From Here by Ogden Nash. Because I was running low.

  • Tales of Edgar Allan Poe; I already own this book/edition, but this one looks better than the one I remembered here.

  • Danger! Explosive Tales of the Great Outdoors. The first book I picked up.

  • The Civil War. By the time we get to the end of an Obama presidency, perhaps it will be called the "First Civil War."

  • Misery by Stephen King. Didn't own this one yet, and this is not a book club edition. Most of what you find at book fairs is.

  • Shots Fired In Anger, a book about a couple island battles in the Pacific in WWII.

  • The Case for Extinction, a contrarian work that takes on the conservation movement. You can tell it's dated because it talks about conservation.

  • Man and his symbols by Carl Jung. I have so much Jung I haven't read. Certainly that means something.

  • AD&D Second Edition Player's Guide to the Dragonlance Campaign. Brother, if you see a D&D sourcebook at a Catholic church's book fair, take it, for that one is blessed.

  • How to Photograph Cats, Dogs, and Other Animals in case I decide to try harder with the digital camera.

  • Consumer Guide Mustang, a book about the pony car.

  • The Mighty 'MOX, a history book about KMOX radio.

  • The Home and Workshop Guide to Sharpening. This will come in handy in about 2010, after President Obama takes the guns away.

  • Modern Handloading, which will come in handy if a Democrat-controlled Congress only passes microstamping....Ah, forget it, even I'm getting tired of the election-goes-bad humor. If only I'd have bought fewer books, I could have made it through the list.

  • Kohlhoff on Guns by Kohlhoff.

  • The Next 50 Years in Space. Written 40 years ago. Let's see how much we have to make up in the next decade to do this guy proud. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll only expect a couple space stations and trips to the moon by 2018.

  • Four Fugitive Slave Narratives.

  • Wizard by Ozzie Smith. For when I miss baseball, I guess.

  • Fatherhood by Bill Cosby. When I discover I already own it, it will make a good gift to that one guy I know who named his daughter after a Chicago Bears running back.

  • Tales from the Left Coast, another book about bad liberals.

  • Good Intentions by Ogden Nash. Sure, I already own it, but this one is blue.

  • Madame Bovary. Didn't have it previously. I don't think. Heck, I cannot see what I do own in here these days. Maybe I own a first edition in the original French. You know, I used to hate those used book stores with disarrayed piles of books blocking everything. Sadly, I'm patterning my office after that.

  • The World's Progress, a book about man's progress. It's an old book, obviously. If it had been written in the latter half of the 20th century, it would have told of the failures of the world.

  • Communism and the New Left, a 1970 U.S. News and World Report book. Let's see what they predicted for the 21st century based on it, hey?

  • Do As I Say, a book about celebrity liberals who don't walk the walk.

  • Scott's Quentin Dunward, Pope's The Rape of the Lock, and Milton's Comus, Lycidas, Etc., 100-year-old pocket editions of these classics. I think I own the same edition of the Pope book, but not in as good of condition.
The wife notes that she lost in the competition. Honey, it's not competition, it's compulsion.

The boys got a couple of books, too, and obviously, the one with vertical ambulatory capacity cannot wait.

So that's, what, 94 books for me? A year's worth of reading. Fifteen bucks. Good deal, except this means I need a $70,000 library addition on my house for the collection.

Friday, October 03, 2008
Palin Debate Rally After Action Report
Last night, Gimlet, Froggie-Girl, Jack Straw, and a civilian attended the Palin debate watching party and rally at SLU's arena:

Hottest ticket it town

I drove down to the local state senator candidate's office, dragging two reluctant children including one who found a golf ball and decided to show his pitching arm in the office while I filled out personal information on attendees. No one collected the tickets at all.

Unlike the cool kids like Gateway Pundit, we didn't get to sit in the lower bowl or work the rope line. We sat upper deck amongst the plebes.

The Palin crowd
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There are the floor level people gathering before the debate.

The Palin MC
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Here, an MC whose name I didn't catch tries to rally the troops. Me, I remained unrallied, at least to the point of the chanting.

Palin debates on-screen
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We watched the debate on the big screens.
Biden debates
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Biden on the big screen. To be honest, I applauded at some things that Biden said. Unfortunately for Biden, it was when he said things like John McCain clubs baby seals, at which point I clapped loudly because I hate the little carbon emitters myself. On several of the points Biden made and I applauded, a lot of people in my section applauded as well. Others thought I was a Biden plant.

Country and western while we wait
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While we waited for Palin to arrive after the debate, a country and western singer entertained us with "God Bless the USA" and a couple of woman anthems. I set the odds at 3:7 that she'd sing "Gunpowder and Lead" by Miranda Lambert; I lost, but we did get a bit of "Independence Day" by Martina McBride, a different song about killing your man.

Some people say Obama cannot draw a mass crowd without a free concert. I have to admit the same holds true for Palin. I just came to see this singer. Whoever she was. I'm her biggest fan.

Palin arrives
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The Straight Talk Express pulls right into the arena. It looks to be burning oil. Jack Straw asks, "Do you think they pulled it right into the arena?" Oh, yeah. Secret Service preferred it that way.

Palin at the podium
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There she is. She spoke for a couple minutes, using a bit of the same things she said at the debate.

Palin on the rope line
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There she is, working the rope line. Might be shaking Gateway Pundit's hand there or something. Wait, hang on.

Palin on the rope line, highlighted
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That's her.

Final thoughts: Palin did really, really well. It's the largest rally that I've attended, and frankly, it weirds me out to see that many Republicans having fun in one place. Also, the whole political rally was very close to a hockey game atmosphere, although they weren't serving beer. They couldn't have served enough beer to keep up with the Joe Biden drinking game. Also, I have a serious case of camera envy. Jack Straw's camera took pictures such that you can actually see the people in them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Senate To Vote On Higher Health Care Costs
A rising bailout bill raises all boats:
    The Senate substitute now runs over 450 pages. And tucked away in the tax provisions is a landmark health care provision demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses.

    Really a bill onto itself, the mental health parity measure has been a bipartisan priority for top lawmakers in both chambers but has stalled because of disagreements again over how to pay for its estimated $3.8 billion five-year cost. In the current climate, that seems to be no longer a stumbling block, and if the Treasury plan becomes law, it will also.
I'm just spitballing here, but won't imposing new services on insurance companies sort of make the insurance companies raise rates to cover them?

Leading to a din about the higher costs of health care, leading to more shrieks for government to do something, such as national health care plan?

Geez Louise, it's almost like that was "our" legislators' goal or something.

If Vladimir Putin Says You're Controlling The Economy Wrong, Keep Doing It That Way
Vladimir Putin lashes US for economic failures:
    The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States today for what he said was its inability to deal with the financial crisis affecting the global economy.

    In remarks unlikely to go down well in Washington, Mr Putin was especially critical of Congress's rejection of a $700 billion bank bailout – a rejection that hit Russian financial markets particularly hard.

    "Everything that is happening in the economic and financial sphere has started in the United States. This is a real crisis that all of us are facing," the former president told a government meeting in Moscow.

    "And what is really sad is that we see an inability to take appropriate decisions. This is no longer irresponsibility on the part of some individuals, but irresponsibility of the whole system, which as you know had pretensions to (global) leadership."
Sadly, Putin cannot vote for Obama this year.

Ha, just kidding! Thanks to the tireless efforts of ACORN, Mr. Putin will vote for Obama six times in Columbus, Ohio, alone.

(Link seen on The Other Side of Kim.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Read Me, Seymour
Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis:
    Despite the mass media news blackout, a series of books, talk radio and the blogosphere have managed to expose Barack Obama's connections to his radical mentors -- Weather Underground bombers William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis and others. David Horowitz and his Discover the have also contributed a wealth of information and have noted Obama's radical connections since the beginning.

    Yet, no one to my knowledge has yet connected all the dots between Barack Obama and the Radical Left. When seen together, the influences on Obama's life comprise a who's who of the radical leftist movement, and it becomes painfully apparent that not only is Obama a willing participant in that movement, he has spent most of his adult life deeply immersed in it.

    But even this doesn't fully describe the extreme nature of this candidate. He can be tied directly to a malevolent overarching strategy that has motivated many, if not all, of the most destructive radical leftist organizations in the United States since the 1960s.

Good Book Hunting: August 20, 2008
On August 20, 2008, we went to a church rummage sale and lit upon a couple books:

A couple books

I got a book by Marlin Perkins, the Wild Kingdom guy and a story about an American woman who married Prussian nobility in the 19th century.

Uh, that's it, but you're almost up to date.

One Quarter Must Refer To The Coin
Instructions for changing the battery on a heart rate monitor:

When is a quarter a one bit turn?
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The coin-slot starts in the horizontal position; notice that the text says "one quarter turn," but the image is actually a one-eighth turn.

It opens on a one-eighth turn, but it will helpfully turn a full quarter turn in case you're wondering. Which passes the point where the little locking things pass through the gaps. One quarter turn results in locking it again.

Technical writers are cretins.

Book Report: Three Volumes of Poetry by Ogden Nash, T.S. Eliot, and American Greeting Card Corporation
Many Long Years Ago by Ogden Nash (1945)
Reflections on Our Friendship by American Greetings Corporation (1975)
Old Possum's Practical Book of Cats by T.S. Eliot (1939, 1982)

If laddie reckons himself to be a poet, laddie really ought to read diverse styles of poetry and, yes, sometimes even poetry that is not very good. Not that I reckon myself to be a poet these days.

The volume of Nash's represents the longest of the five I bought in 2007 (I hope--it's 330+ pages, which is a lot of one poet in a row). Nash's poems are light and easy to read, but sometimes their rhthyms are way off and the words are stretched and misspelled on purpose to make a rhyme, which can be distracting more than truly humorous. But sometimes, he puts a thought or observation into such stark and clear language you cannot help quoting it.

On the other hand, the American Greetings Corporation book is a collection of meh things full of proper rhymes, fair cadence, and imagery like the ocean that washes away from the beach and whose individual waves you cannot remember after the vacation is over. On the other hand, these poets are in more volumes than I am.

The T.S. Eliot book is light and humorous verse about cats, of course. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is based on it, but I'm not going to run right out and see a musical based on reading this book. Eliot is really good technically, with good cadence and rhyme and use of repetition, but it's only an amusing book about, well, cats, so it didn't yield any insight into the human condition for me. Unlike, say, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".

If you're a novice looking to broaden your horizons, I rank them Eliot, Nash, and American Greetings Corporation, but you could probably skip the last. Although its lack of availability online indicates it's rare, so in my own interest I should say "You should read Reflections on Friendship, or you'll die ignorant and uncultured (available at MfBJN for $299.98." But I'm not doing this for myself, gentle reader; no, I write these book reports for you. TO KNOW HOW MUCH AND WIDELY I READ!

Books mentioned in this review:


Book Report: The Lost City of Zork by Robin W. Bailey (1991)
This book brings back the memories. Memories of text-based games I started, but couldn't actually get through. Or far into, for that matter. We bought a number of titles from Infocom for the Commodore 64 (Zork, Zork II, Zork III, Deadline, and Suspended), but I only completed Deadline because I got the hint book and it showed me the important pivot point required to get to the solution.

This book precedes the games and attempts to recreate the odd flavor of Zork. It doesn't do so well. One can approach the book as a rather lightweight, lighthearted fantasy book and enjoy it a bit, though. Plus, it gives backstory for the Zork world, so if you're an aficionado, you probably ought to read it.

Anyway, the plot: a farm boy banished from his village goes to Bophree to seek his fortune, only to find a tyrant newly in power. He's impressed into the navy, survives a shipwreck, and returns with a sidekick and a sorceror to Bophree to find all the other magicians are missing. They've got to find the conjurors and overthrow the dictator.

The book starts out okay, with some nice backstory, but about halfway through its event-driven plot starts to run things, and then things happen, deus machinate, and coincidences occur to solve the problems. Then it ends.

Eh. It ain't Tolkien, but it won't take you a month to read.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: The Pope of Greenwich Village by Vincent Patrick (1979)
I bought this book a couple years ago at the Kirkwood Book Fair because it was a book upon which a movie was based. Funny, I remember seeing the advertisements in 1984 for the film, but I've never seen the film. I'll have to finagle a copy somewhere now so I can compare the two.

Because this book is pretty good. It's a 70s Mob In New York sort of book. All of the characters, no matter how minor, are evil or are crass and ultimately are not good people, but within the Mob milieu, you start residing in an alternate universe where the most sympathetic bad guy is the protagonist you identify with. Mob/grifter books share this with vampire books, oddly enough. In this particular instance, Charlie is a smalltime grifter who, as his position as restaurant manager, cheats by skimming from the top of the vending machine receipts, guzzling free drinks all night, and sometimes keeping entrees off of the bill for a small gratuity. He needs a small score to get out from under hock and to pay for his divorce from a mobster's daughter. His cousin Paulie comes up with a simple score, and they go for it. An off-duty cop dies, and then Paulie lets on it was a mobster's money they stole.

The plot moves along well. There are enough interesting people working together or at cross purposes, and the author cuts between them effectively. However, the ending was a little letdown. Still, I liked the book.

Books mentioned in this review:

Monday, September 29, 2008
Range Report
To be like all the cool kids, I compelled Jack Straw to take me to the local indoor gun range with an assortment of his armaments. I shot:

Brian J. firing the .22
A Browning BuckMark in .22lr with a C-More Red-dot sight firing CCI subsonic hollowpoints.

Brian J. firing the .45
A Para Ordnance P1445 in .45ACP with open, fixed sights firing Sellier & Bellot 230gr FMJ.

It's my first time firing those new-fangled semi-automatic handguns, or as they're soon to be known in a House bill and set of laudatory news stories, high-powered assault sniper cop-baby-and-puppy-killer automatic machined pistols. Still, for all the hoopla, they don't always fire a bullet when you pull the trigger.
Brian J. not firing the .45

Not depicted: the Glock G36 in OD Green with fixed sights with a LaserMax guide-rod laser (pulsing) firing Sellier & Bellot 230gr FMJ and the Romanian WASR-10 (AK-variant) with Pentax red-dot sight, folding stock, aluminum quad rail fore-end, AK-74-style muzzle compensator, rear pistol grip & forward folding grip, TAPCO single-hook trigger, and Axis Pin Retaining Plate firing Wolf Military Classic Hollow Point, soon to be known after a House bill, Senate Bill, signature by President Obama, and laudatory news stories as illegal.

Also not depicted: the RehabCare logo on the ball cap.

How did I do? You had to ask that, didn't you? Well, I aimed consistently low. Jack Straw tells me my grouping was very good, but let's be honest, if I used my hand instead of a pistol, it would have been called a groping and not a grouping, okay? I dunno what I was doing wrong; we were shooting at little adhesive targets affixed to the paper target, and I missed consistently low and left when I fired at the right side of the target and hit pretty good on the left side of the target.

I blame the change in my dominant eye in the 20 years since I last fired a gun.

Still, I'm pleased to have gone and will have to do so again. Understanding a semi-automatic pistol and firing one tolerably might not be in Heinlein's list of things a man should be able to do, but it's on mine.

Had Enough of What?
A couple of sign have cropped up in the neighborhood here that say "Had Enough?/Vote Democrat". They've often prompted me to wonder, enough of what?

The obvious answer is the drumbeat of ominous news passed through most traditional media outlets. How bad is the news portrayed? Enough that 33% of a recent poll's respondents say the US is in an actual depression.

Get them some Paxil. I think they confuse the economic term with the clinical psychological term.

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

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