Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Eminent Domain Abuse on 60 Minutes

Reason magazine's Hit and Run reports that the television news magazine 60 Minutes is going to run a piece about eminent domain abuse.

Reason also ran a story called " Wrecking Property Rights: How cities use eminent domain to seize property for private developers".

As some of you know, eminent domain abuse is one of the particular pet peeves of mine. So go read these pieces and arm yourselves for when your municipality comes for your house for a strip mall.

Maintaining Proper Tequila Quality Assurance

Tightly Wound / Big Arm Woman discusses the United States / Mexico trade dispute over tequila, and she correctly describes tequila:
    It is designed to be drunk as quickly as possible, and to have its taste completely obscured by combinations of salt and lime. Tequila is anti-freeze with a twist.
Perhaps a twist would improve Mexican beer. Perhaps a twist of habanero could cover it up.

Heather's Conversion Progresses

I suckered my beautiful wife into going to Borders today so I could acquire a copy of Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style (and hey, look, it's right next to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone, I'll take one of those, too!).

Where what to my wondering-if-I-can-snag-another-book-before-Heather-finds-me eyes appear, but Heather (which meant I could not snag another book that I needed to put on my to-read shelves until 2012 or thereabout). And she's carrying Laura Ingraham's Shut Up and Sing.

"You've got a book by Laura Ingraham!" I said.

"Who's she?" Heather asked. I could not explain to her that we conservatarian men have a special Hot Conservative Chick Sense that tingles to identify attractive women who think right. I mean, sure, sometimes we get false positives (like Ann Coulter--someone feed that woman, I think she's going mad from hunger), but for the most part, we're dead on.

Or maybe I heard her Ingraham's radio show once.

Still, Heather bought a conservative screed on her own!

I Link To Wesley Crusher

Wil Wheaton tells a beer joke.

(Link also seen on Fark.)

Now You Know, But Do You Understand?

This is Devon answers a burning question:


Underneath the scientific terminology, essentially the answer is because Guinness is so yummy.

(Link seen on Fark.)

Friday, September 26, 2003
More Corporate Tax Breaks to Help Ease Those Pesky Budget Surpluses

Some group called the Multistate Tax Commission has issued a report saying that Internet Service Providers should shed some of their tax burden. Hey, I'm all for lower taxes, but I'm a little worried when they start given little perks to some industries, because then the next one wants one, and suddenly my sales tax is at 20% and my property taxes are about 10% annually. Flat tax the corporations on their profits, but let's not have our governments play favorites.

More troubling, though, is this from the mouths of the aristocracy:
    "State and local governments understand that consumers need to get Internet access," Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Loren Chumley said in a telephone news conference announcing the study. "The bill that was passed goes far beyond that. It has the potential to wipe out all telecommunications-related tax levies." [Emphasis mine.]
Any time our Illuminated Leaders start babbling on about what luxuries consumers need, I tremble, for I see the future growth of the Great Society, paid for by....the taxed consumers!

Let no Child be without Broadband!

Rubbish! Now get back to work.

Spherewide Short Story Symposium

Go read some short fiction. It's good for you.

Even More Signs You're Getting Old

If you're a newspaper columnist like Neil Steinberg, you muse on how long you have been married, had children, and have lived in the suburbs.

If you're a newspaper columnist's fan, you think, has it been three years already since he moved out of Chicago?

I need to start measuring my life in more meaningful units. Like meaningful relationships between characters in Friends. Oops, too late.

Old School Geeks Rejoice

Dr. Who is really coming back this time.

You damn Matrix-loving, Zelda-playing (instead of Dungeons and Dragons on the kitchen table as the geek gods intended) kids don't even know what I am talking about. Go write your Java, your .Net, and play command line guru on Linux, and leave the heavy duty geekin' to your betters.

Colin Baker rox. I'll lick any man who says Tom Baker was better.

(Link seen on Samizdata, whose location in Britain has saved them from a lickin'.)

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Anarchy is Hiring

Halfway down the page, we've got this important bulletin:
    Police seek public help in stabbing, robbery
Not really my skill set, but when there's an opening in the shooting or vandalism, I'll send in a resume.

Andrew Sullivan Is A Bigger Man Than I

This morning, he excerpts some blather from Harper's magazine.

Thanks for taking one for the team, Andrew, and performing vital reconnaissance into what Lewey Lapnut's found to print this month. Everyone knows I don't have the stomach for it any more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Detroit Was Last Night

Want to get away?

Sorry, recycling old Southwest Airlines commercials for you. Really, it couldn't happen to a nicer psychotic North American than Alanis Morrisette, who's apparently reduced to playing the Andean circuit these days.

The Noggle Library

I indicated in a previous post, one of the next things we'll need for Honormoor's replacement (that's the name of the Noggle manor, donchaknow?) is a library. Why, you ask? Let's take a look.

Brian's Main Library
These three bookcases are double-stacked with hardbacks and trade paperbacks. I'll be honest, though, the bookcase on the right contains the unread portion of my library. Unfortunately, it contains a lot of scholarly work, like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simon De Beaviour, Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, and other assorted literary figures (as well as Tolkien, sorry) and a pile of nonfiction. Whenever I get a new genre piece, I tend to read it before these masterworks, which would explain why some of these things have gone unread for a decade. But I am working on it.

The left bookcase contains what used to be my altar for the authors Robert B. Parker and Ayn Rand, but the space crunch has led me to start double stacking before even them.

Also, please note that these are my books, not Heather's. I consider each book I have read a trophy, so I get agitated whenever she puts a book on my shelves and dilutes my pride.
Brian's Reference Library
These two bookshelves have my reference library, which includes books on computers, electronics, home repair, and writing. The bookshelves are in my office, which wouldn't seem to make sense--until you realize that's where I go to hide when there's any work to be done.
Brian's Nightstand
I've started these books, but haven't finished them, yet. Watch for a book review of that book on the origins of the English civil war coming soon, though.

Is that a book by Victor David Hanson under the complete works of Shakespeare? Yes. And I'll probably finish it before the Shakespeare, too. Expect the reviews by 2010.
Our Mass-Market Paperbacks
Here's the closest Heather's and my books come to conmingling. The shelf on the right is mass market paperbacks I have read, and the one on the left is Heather's.

Of course, this is the total except for the two or three boxes we've not opened since we moved into Honormoor three years ago. One more reason for a library: we're running out of room for bookshelves in our existing domicile.
Heather's Hardbacks
Heather's got her own collection of hardbacks, but she's only got a single bookshelf. I attribute this to the fact that her boyfriend/fiance was not kind enough to give her a new set of bookshelves for Christmas each year of their relationship.

Hey, check out the rare quadraped Jawa without the cloak. Obviously, this cohabitant of the household could never count as a cat in the Casinoport accounting.
Heather's Kitchen Stash
Heather has a bookshelf in the kitchen dedicated to:
  • Cookbooks.
  • Rhetoric textbooks (for mastering dinner conversation, of course)
  • Cat care books (not because we eat cats, but hopefully so we can learn their psychology and keep them off the table when we're trying to converse at dinner.
The Piano
Atop the piano, Heather stores a number of:
  • Music books.
  • Hymnals.
  • Cat care books.
  • Exercise books.
  • Library books which are months overdue.

So there you have it. Our motley collection of bookshelves aren't as cool as built-in shelves like Mr. or Mrs. du Toit got, but they ain't too shabby.

Noggle's Spurious Law IX

All right, kids, you want to know how you tell the sign of a good company when you're interviewing? Forget what any of the books tell you about how to judge a company during a job interview. Of course, it's easy for me to say, since I have never read a book about job interviews, but if I had, this wouldn't be a spurious law, would it?

To gauge what a company's employees think of it and the environment there, ask, no demand that one of the interview platoon take you to see the cafeteria or kitchenette or the little alcove where they have the coffeemaker. Of course, if they don't have a coffeepot, leave right away (unless you're Heather, of course).

The best places I have ever worked, at least in a white collar fashion, had clean breakrooms. Best job I ever had, the breakroom was spotless, but that's because my duty was to clean it, werd. But six dollars an hour doesn't support five four cats.

Coffee stains or dirty dishes on the counter can indicate a number of things, all of which are bad news for you, the new guy (or gal):
  • The saps working here are jacked up all the time and are too busy to wipe up after themselves. That means the company has too few resources for what it does, and you better not have any plans on Saturday.

  • The employees here delegate the cleaning up after themselves to, or worse yet assume it will be done by, underlings, ultimately the poor schmuck with only a community college degree who works afternoons to wipe out the bathrooms. If he's busy, buddy (or buddiette), guess who's going to be cleaning up after himself (herself) after he (she) brings the coffee to the important people? So, how long have you been here?

A clean kitchen indicates that the other employees are adults who can handle their own mistakes and spills, and that they're concerned with giving a good first impression to the venture capitalists, board members, vendors, customers, or other employees who might wander in after them. This is good.

Of course, it could mean they've read this entry and are attempting to subvert NogSub Law IX, but the odds are definitely with the former.

When is A not A?

I have received mail about my post yesterday about the high school sophomores in St. Peters who got busted for do-it-yourself porn. As of this posting, three boys have been charged with felonies; the girls, of course, get none.

Let me point out, hopefully more succinctly, the absurdity of the charges. Follow me here:
  1. Child porn laws touted as necessary protections for The Children who are not Smart Enough Or Responsible Enough (SEORE) to make their own decisions regarding sex and posing for photography therein. Never mind that The Children in this case are fifteen years old, three years short of the sudden burst from the maturity gland which will make them eligible to pose naked for anything they want.

  2. Although these "children" cannot make their own reasoned decisions about posing naked and being photographed, the law will now prosecute them as though they are smart enough and responsible enough to make their own decisions regarding sex and posing for photography therein.

Do you have that moebius strip of logic firmly grasped yet? They are being prosecuted as adults for doing something from which they are being being protected from doing something they cannot decide to do because they're not adults.

It's all a part of the ride on the official United States Eight Ten Year Adolescence. Face it, between the years of 13 and 21 23, children begin to phase into adulthood, and society and its occasional-lackey-and-sometimes-master government are pretty slow to dole out the adult privileges and responsibilities, and when they do, they stagger the ages and make it as drawn out as possible.

  • At 14 years old, if you shoot a person, you're tried as an adult
  • At 18 years old, if you get shot, you're statistically "A Child" for those who collect statistics to promote gun control.

  • Before you're 16 years old, you can get a job and start paying your taxes to support The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers in their pursuit of pharmaceutical immortality.
  • However, you have to wait until you're 18 years old to enter contracts.

  • At 16 years old, you're responsible enough to get a driver's license and should know enough not to pile a bunch of your friends into your dad's car, and go roaring around the streets until you collide with a retired schoolteacher on her way from the grocery and kill her and her nephew.
  • Glass of wine at dinner? Not for 5 more years, you irresponsible welp.

  • At 18 years old, you're responsible enough to handle explosives and automatic weapons.
  • However, concealed weapons will have to wait if you're from Missouri until the Eddie Eagle Epihany hits you on your 23rd birthday and you can then safely carry concealed weapons.
What's my proposed solution? At the 13th birthday, send each child into the Cave of the Mother Snake, where it must spend the night alone, without a Gameboy. In the morning, when the child emerges, it is an Adult. Drink responsibly, young man or young woman, and remember to use the booster seat when you're driving.

Also, vote for me.

Thank you.

Brutal Murder in Florida

The Onion has the exclusive: Idaville Detective 'Encyclopedia' Brown Found Dead in Library Dumpster.

    "The bitter irony is that Brown would have easily cracked a case like this one," Kimball-Brown said. "I just can't help but wonder: WHAT DID ENCYCLOPEDIA KNOW THAT WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM SOLVE HIS OWN MURDER?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
A Nice Place To Keep Sodas

While perusing America's Second Freedom, I've often encountered an ad from Browning touting its gun safes. How does it do so? By presenting the testimonial of Inmate #8390027, a.k.a. "Sledge": "When I get out, I'm getting a Browning safe."

Text of the ad indicates:
    Sledge is currently serving a seven to 15-year [sic] sentence for his fifth conviction for breaking and entering an occupied dwelling (he has plea bargained away over 20 other "B & Es" and admits that he has done more than he could count in his 13-year criminal career). In a letter to Browning written from his cell, Sledge freely admits, "My partner and I broke into hundreds of houses, many with so-called gun safes, and after we tried to get into a Browning gun safe, it was the last thing we ever wanted to see."

    In his letter, Sledge cites a previous advertisement for Browning gun safes under the headline, "The Competition Hates Our Guts." He responds, "Now that I see what goes into your safe, I see why I could never open one. The competition isn't the only one who hates your guts!" Sledge can't stay locked away forever. Isn't it nice to know your valuables can?
While I see Browning's goal with this article, which is to say a convicted burglar/home invader knows a Browning gun safe is a good gun safe, but let's reiterate the eye-catching headline:


Class, discuss the reasons that Mr. Sledge would own a gun safe. Would it be:
  • A safe place in which he, a convicted felon, could store weapons that he possessed illegally since he is prohibited from owning guns.

  • A good way to practice breaking into Browning gun safes.

  • A cool, dry place to store sodas.
Apparently Browning must think it was the last option.

Protecting The Children from, Well, The Children

In a story certain to not shock anyone with the faintest memory of being young and hormonal and not suffering from the slightest repressed-guilt-turned-into-outrage, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
    A group of 15-year-olds from a St. Peters high school who made a video showing two girls kissing and a naked girl being touched by two boys are facing child pornography charges.
All consensual among the fifteen year olds, but guess what? They're facing child pornography charges! Of course. They'd be safe from statutatory rape charges if they'd limited themselves to copulation, but record it and wham! It's a crime.

So they're doing what curious and, let's face it, unconstrained (whether by parents or morals) digital kids do, which is namely a little I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours, with the optional "see-like-a-blind-person" rule in effect.

    Three have been referrred to juvenile court on charges of promoting child pornography, furnishing pornographic materials to a minor and promoting a sexual performance by a child. The other four are still underinvestigation and may be charged, police say.

    "They did the act, they knew what they were doing, and they knew it was wrong," said St. Peters Sgt. David Kuppler. "You can't film a 15-year-old child nude no matter what age you are. It's the same standard we would hold an adult to, it's just the juvenile justice standard."
Now the system's going to brand them as sexual offenders, put their names on the Internet for the rest of their lives, and some suburban prosecutor will be one heroic step closer to governorship. That will protect and serve no one but... well, the government and its bit players hoping for named roles (instead of Municipal Assistant District Attorney #2, I will be David Justice, Avenger of the Oppressed!).

The kids all need a good swatting, without the cameras rolling, thank you. A good talking to, and a maybe bit of "Hold on for three years and you'll be a Vivid superstar, but from here out, you're wearing burlap." But jail time (reform school time, I mean, not as bad as jail except it is)?

It's a continuing shame that parents cannot discipline and their children and hence cannot trust other parents to discipline or train their own children. As part of this abdictation, the only alternative lazy or immoral parents can turn to is the heavy hand of Government, whose spanking hand is numb and unfeeling from overuse and whom the punishment is not hurting as much as it is hurting us.

More Signs You're Getting Old

Here's a list of more signs you're getting old.

I have to wonder the real age of the person who wrote this, though, because it seems hollow, as though it was compiled by a damn kid writing for us old people. Some points:
  • Your computer's ready-mode was a black screen with a single curser.
    There's still just a single curser sitting at my computer. Me. Actually, my first computer's ready screen was blue and grey. Viva la Commodore!

  • And you thought it [the Pong arcade game] had the most advanced graphics imaginable.
    Look here, boy, Pong did have the most advanced graphics.

  • AOL was just another start-up online service that could easily have lost out to rivals called Compuserve and Prodigy.
    Son, back in the day, we had Quantum Link, Delphi, and bulletin boards. AOL is a 1990s late bloomer.

  • A 1-gig hard drive seemed as big as a warehouse. (Today, most are 40-times that.)
    Back in the day, the Lt. Kernal 1 Meg hard drive cost $1000, werd. I never had one.

  • Even though there are plenty of LPs in antiques stores, you still have 400 in your attic, because deep down, you still think the format will come back.
    Dude, you cannot sell records for any decent money. Last time I tried to sell an LP or 45 was in the early 1990s, and the used music shop wouldn't take them off my hands. So they're up there because they're worth more for the memories than the money. And who knows, one of these days we might find a working record player again, and when we do, it's gonna be a party!. Albeit a party where one has to pause the beer-drinking every couple of minutes to change or flip the record.
Now get offa my lawn!

Paranoia Shidoshi Recommends

Go read this post at Samizdata: A law-abiding person has nothing to hide?
    I was just thinking up a few scenarios in answer to the assertion that "a law abiding person has nothing to fear from ID cards, in-car tracking systems or surveillance cameras". These are some wholly or mostly law-abiding persons who do have something to fear:
You'll have to go to the source for the list.

Monday, September 22, 2003
Aren't They Cute?

Mrs. du Toit has put up a picture of she and Mr. du Toit's "children."

Sweet. Perhaps I'll have to interrupt my too-frequent, too-boring book reviewing schedule to put up a couple of photos of my double-stacked bookshelves for you all to ooh and ah over.

Three things the next house must have:
  • A library
  • A bar / video game room
  • A weight room
Living rooms and bedrooms? Optional!

Update: For means of comparison.

The Kangaroo Has A Master Plan At Work

The wise Tim Blair says:
    Kangaroos are friendly. Not like wombats; a wombat will leave you for dead every time.
Of course, he's linking to a story about a kangaroo tugging the Lassie grift and drawing attention to a farmer who'd been knocked senseless. The kangaroo might just have saved the farmer's life.

However, we here at RooWatch Central have covered this ground already. Beware the kangaroos.

Obviously, this Lulu character is up to something. Now Lulu is being lauded by Australians. Suddenly, she starts amassing wealth and then uses her popularity as a springboard for replacing John Howard, and suddenly, it's just like On The Beach (well, in that it's the end of the world, and it's set in Australia).

Someone better take care of Lulu before she gets access to Australia's nuclear arsenal or the Collingwood Magpies is all I am saying. Once she has the Bomb or a standing army, there will be no stopping her.

A Politician or a Leader?

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune knows the difference (but he'll only share it with you if you register, which you should):
    So the best thing the president could have done, politically, would have been to leave it all to the United Nations, to walk away while loudly declaring victory. That would have been the shrewd move.
You, Heather, and El Guapo, Cagey, and the Meatriarchy guy, go read the whole thing.

Show the Chicago Tribune Web servers what a musingtrickle feels like!

Sunday, September 21, 2003
Dr. Guapo and Dr. Noggle to Emergency, Please

Drudge links to a story wherein Germany faces its breweries getting sold to multinationals who promise to retain the good German name even if they water down the contents to bolster multinational profit.

Hey, I am from Milwaukee. I know how that feels.

The article also says that German beer consumption is declining. Emergency, El Guapo! We must redouble our efforts to support the industry! Only Harfestivus can save them now!

Although I must admit I find most German beers to salty for my taste. I will, however, continue to prop up American, Irish, British, and Canadian brewers to the best of my ability.

You have my word on that.

I Feel Pretty. And Mysterious.

Suburban Blight has led me to some introspection, where I learn that not only am I beautiful in my strength, I am also:


?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

I notice a trend developing here.

Thank You for the Head's Up

Alert reader "Martin Simmons" (I assume he's a reader, since I got this message in my Hotmail box which I make available for you, gentle readers) sends me this warning:
    From : "Martin Simmons"
    To :
    Subject : Stlbrian j - Porn found on YOUR computer! Date : Sun, 21 Sep 2003 03:43:36

    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Received: from ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.5600); Sun, 21 Sep 2003 03:38:39 -0700
    X-Message-Info: JGTYoYF78jEmAVs0XODqK3fTx/8P7QHe
    X-Message-Info: ALYqAGt3oIELxgQxtYO3XDTcnoQ7gxpN1lk7V
    X-Message-Info: lcOMLY2qAGOtx3wIEXLgQ5tcYa3DTnQ5gzpl1A5
    Message-Id: <20030921433636.hD5lb9HMWuZjMe@>
    X-OriginalArrivalTime: 21 Sep 2003 10:38:39.0772 (UTC) FILETIME=[852CADC0:01C3802C]

    zvEach web site you SEE is STORED ON YOUR COMPUTER!pgsgt
    mchkvCleaning Cache or History DOES NOT stop snooping!snx
Thanks for the warning, buddy. I'm sorry I didn't reproduce your link for my readers, where undoubtedly they could click to replace their porn with your Trojan Horse, but you'll probably get enough zombies out of your mailing to make it worth your time without any of us.

Also, please note that I don't want to get rid of the porn on my computer. It's taken me a long time to collect what I have, and it's schnucking hard to find good hot girl-dressed-as-a-clown-on-cypress photos anyway. Who knows when I would get a chance to replace them?

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