Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, November 13, 2009
Book Report: How to Talk Football by Arthur Pincus (1984, 1995)
After a couple years of watching the game religiously, I think I have enough insight into how it works to talk football. Okay, I don't have enough insight into the muscle memory mechanics of it to instruct how to block or how to turn the hips to fool a cornerback, but enough to talk it. As such, this book is really just a little refresher course on it except for the biographies of great past football players at the end. Red Grange, Jim Brown, et al.. This sort of thing makes the book for me because all the hype for the modern players and all the tipping of the hat to these guys, it's good to learn what they did to make them household names fifty years ago.

Books mentioned in this review:

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wherein Brian Says FU Back To Hollywood
I was treated to this trailer on Veteran's Day when I treated my wife to what turned out to be an anti-Iraq War film Men Who Stare At Goats:

You know, it could have been a good drama. Soldier dies in combat, and his ne'er-do-well brother straightens out and grows up as he sort of steps into the role of father-figure for his nieces and eventually the lover for the widow. Then, the MIA soldier returns. I could see it being chock full of drama as they deal with the emotional situations.


In the trailer, the eventual seduction takes place over a joint and the movie-normal "I'm not too straight to toke" trope. And the soldier returns home apparently an angry, psychotic fellow who cannot relate to his family and wants to hurt them or commit suicide by cop.

Frankly, through the trailer and my own predilections, the Iraq soldier is the most sympathetic character. But he's just an archetype to endanger the pot-smoking, non soldier lovers in the film.

I booed the trailer in the theater.

Instead of a dramatic film with real emotion, I think Lionsgate has gone for the sure Oscar award-winning, Cannes Palm D'or, and Nobel Prize for Cinema route. Which probably won't make any money, but they're making art. All-too-predictable, comfortable-to-the-artists and offensive-to-the-plebes art. Hey, Hollywood: <expletive deleted>.

UPDATE: I originally identified the soldier as serving in Iraq, but I guess it's supposed to be Afghanistan. MfBJN regrets this error and retracts everything. Well, everything except the words including the letters I-R-A-Q.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Book Report: There Are Aligators In Our Sewers & Other American Credos by Paul Dickson & Joseph C. Goulden (1983)
My goodness, if you've ever wanted to read a book composed of 88% bullet points, look no further. I'd hoped this book would be a thoughtful exploration of things Americans believe, but this is no Jan Harold Brunvand book. The authors have modeled it upon a book by H.L. Mencken from the 1920s. It lists, sorted by chapter, a variety of things they say Americans believe ca. 1983. A few of the credos have parenthetical notes to pooh pooh the rubes who believe it, but most are just bullet points of statements such as "That it does not bother a lobster to be boiled alive."

The end of the book has an actual chapter of paragraphs talking about modern fables, i.e., urban legends. It even includes outlines of a couple of them (not in actual outlines, you know, but I could see why you would expect it with this book). Then there's an extensive index to the bullets.

It's a quick read and a good nightstand book with easy places to break off, but seriously, in the 21st century, you get more from and its thousands of pop-under ads.

Books mentioned in this review:

Monday, November 09, 2009
Book Report: Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell (2000)
This book follows the story of the sons of a tribal chief in prehistoric England. The oldest brother is banished; the lame brother hides in the old temples and gets visions. The protagonist middle brother falls in love and gets his tribal scars of manhood. The oldest brother returns and slays the father, assuming tribal leadership and selling the middle brother as a slave. The middle brother's girl is used and then runs off to a rivalling tribe to become the sorceress there. The lame brother gets painfully healed and grows in stature as a religious visionary whose goal is to reunite the Sun and the Moon, banishing winter. To that end, he leads the middle brother into a series of plots and programs to build the great temple--Stonehenge.

It's a long convoluted tale, and the reader does not really get a sense of where they're all going. I found the book close to Warriors of the Way, but without actual divine intervention. Cornwell spends a lot of time going into a lot of detail with the sacrifices, which I could have done without. Also, since it's clear that Cornwell is making it all up, it lacks the historical detail interest that I take from the Sharpe series.

Ultimately, I was disappointed.

Books mentioned in this review:

Sunday, November 08, 2009
Book Report: Murdercon by Richard Purtill (1982)
This book was sold by Doubleday Science Fiction, but really it's a mystery set at a science fiction convention. The book is thus very reminiscient of Murder at the ABA.

In it, a professor who has written some science fiction becomes embroiled in a series of murders that seem to revolve around a rare science fiction pulp magazine.

Not a bad read, ultimately. It's an old science fiction book, though, in its pacing and printing. Do you know what I mean?

Books mentioned in this review:


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