Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Who Says Finance Is Boring?
A couple years ago, I invested in some IBI (Intimate Brands, Incorporated), which was Victoria's Secret. I liked it so much, I bought into the company, werd.
Now it's part of LTD (Limited Brands), but I am still enthusiastic about the company.
I mean, dammit, man, they put pictures of women wearing lingerie into the annual report!
I think there's numbers and stuff in it, too, between the pictures. Some words, too, but hey! Tyra Banks!
Updated: I originally wrote women wearing lingerie into the annual report and have amended it to acknowledge it's really only pictures thereof. Heaven knows, I would have gotten into trouble with the SEC, not to mention my wife, were I to insinuate LTD sends actual models to its stockholders. Thank you, that is all.
Passive Voice as An Art Form
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which arrived on my driveway:
Man, you have to love the artistry in the headline JOBLESS FATHER IS KILLED AFTER BANK IS ROBBED. When an armed robber menaces bank tellers and guards with a shotgun and then points it at responding police officers, it's important to remove all assignment of blame from the robber and build a morally neutral headline. If anyone is to blame, it's obviously George W. Bush, whose faltering economy and job destruction has led honorable fathers to desperate acts. I guess the editor who concocted this headline was being even handed in not blaring POLICE GUN DOWN JOBLESS FATHER AFTER BANK IS ROBBED.
That, friends, is a work of art in passive voice.
I notice that the online recreation of the front page looks different:
JOBLESS FATHER IS KILLED AFTER ROBBING BANK still runs a little sympathetic for the bank robber. The headline for the online story isn't much better: Robber is killed outside bank, police say, which uses the "authority figures allege" asterisk to show that the crusading headline writers at the Post-Dispatch won't be duped into thinking that a man with a shotgun and a bagful of money coming out of a bank is anything but a victim of oppression by a heartless police force/society/something other than his own bad choices.
Friday, April 30, 2004
Affluent Affleck Afflicts
According to Yahoo! news:
Affleck, who earns millions per screen appearance, appeared alongside Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy to urge lawmakers to increase the federal minimum wage from its current five dollars and 15 cents per hour to seven dollars per hour.
Instead of just talking the talk, Affleck could choose to spend his own damn money, of which there is no shortage from my vantage point but about which his fleet of accountants are undoubtedly concerned, to open a series of fast food restaurants and discount groceries wherein he could somehow pay workers $7.00 an hour and still keep in business. That would probably put some of his accountants in the morgue with heart failure, because they know (even if they don't communicate this with their client) that higher labor costs and higher employment tend to work against each other, much like higher labor costs and affordable prices.
Instead of risking his own "earned" capital, Affleck wants to sacrifice that of real entrepreneurs. He chooses to "give at the office" by making other people and corporations pick up the tab for his community ideals, much like people who want to take care of the poor but don't volunteer or donate because they already paid taxes but think the government could do more.
If the country were filled with people like you, Mr. Affleck and like-minded, we'd have a world..... well, much like the screwed-up one we have now.
Who's Your Theologian?
I know I'm a couple hours short of that degree in Theology, but I recognize the problem in Hugh Hewitt's assertion:
John Kerry --connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry's "commandment" as one of the big 10.
A more nuanced reading indicates that the members of the Anti-Defamation League will not recognize Kerry's "Love your neighbor" edict as one of the ten commandments because it's not in the ten commandments, not because the Jews don't recognize the ten commandments.
Take care with your words, brother, because someone out there will hop on it to paint you as anti-semitic, somehow turning your ill-written assertion into repeating the blood libel.
(Link first seen on Power Line.)
Whose Your Theologian?
Geez, guys, I'm a few hours short of that Bachelor's Degree in Theology from a Jesuit university, but I can see the problem with Hugh Hewitt's assertion:
John Kerry --connecting again with yet another audience. ADL is a largely Jewish organization, which is not likely to recognize John Kerry's "commandment" as one of the big 10.
Perhaps a nuanced reading might indicate that his audience will, in fact, recognize that Kerry's "commandment" isn't one of the commandments we know, but a basic teaching from the New Testament. But jeez, looies, Hewitt, be a little more careful that your sentences aren't open to the interpretation that Jewish people don't recognize (or perhaps believe in) the Big Ten Commandments, all right? You're not an anti-semite; don't give anyone the chance to paint you as one.
(Link seen first on Power Line.)
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Step 1: Collect undershirts.
Step 3: Profit!
That Will Teach Us
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows the voters the error of our ways:
Forget about it.
After voters this month narrowly turned down a sales tax increase to support county parks, the parks department is trimming five weeks off the swimming season.
Undoubtedly, this will impact the children, the seniors, and the poor disproportionately, as they don't have swimming pools in their backyards. I guess we'll read that in tomorrow's Post-Dispatch.
Four hockey fans are mountain climbing. Each climber happens to be a rabid fan of a different NHL team. One from Chicago, one from St. Louis, one from Detroit and the other from Nashville. As they climbed higher and higher, they argue more and more about which of them is the most loyal to their particular hockey team.
As they reach the summit, the climber from Chicago takes a running leap and throws himself off the mountain yelling " This is for the Chicago Blackhawks!"
Not wanting to be outdone, the climber from Nashville throws himself off the mountain shouting "This is for the Nashville Predators!"
Seeing this, the St. Louis Blues fan walks to the edge and yells, "This is for hockey fans everywhere!". He then pushes the fan from Detroit off the cliff.
(Slightly modified from a joke seen on Hockey Pundits, which involved some Canadian teams or something.)
I Shall Die A Pedestrian
The City of Milwaukee is going to subvert the laws of nature by making Wells and State streets two way.
Wells, located on the Marquette campus, has been one way forever. I never look eastbound when crossing, which means the next time I stagger out of Hegarty's, I am going to get creamed. Thanks, Milwaukee.
Anyone posting on the Internet bemoaning his or her absolute poverty should be properly mocked; that is to say, incessantly and loudly.
Thank you, that is all.
I Am Glad I Am Not In College Today
Friends, were I in college today, odds are that I would not graduate.
Instead, I'd probably be in jail for assaulting one or more dishonorable cretins, or be killed by a rabid mob of the same.
As a columnist in the paper in my college days, I mocked many ideals, but never a death.
What Generation Gap?
In the September 2003 issue of Speakeasy, the magazine reports on its survey that sought to examine the differences among the generations in its readership and to determine if one or more generation gaps really exist. A handy table condensed some of the highlights:
Ani DiFanco? It's just a typo, I know, because a later cell of the table (most important album from high school) spells her name right (while getting the name of her album Little Plastic Castles wrong). But jeez, it sort of proves the generational gap, wot, that they couldn't tell at a glance the misspelling?
Or perhaps I am the only one who straddles the generational gaps like a gymnastically-inclined squid.
To celebrate, I switched from the AM oldies station today and put on some Vag Rock. I'm I am not a pretty girl.... that is not what I do.... I ain't no damsel in distess..... and I don't need to be rescued....
Deploy the DiFranconator!
I know that United States forces in Iraq have played American rock and roll as a form of psychological warfare against the islamofascists. When confronted with taunts of against their manhood and Metallica, many Iraqis charged out like rabid animals and were quickly shot down.
Imagine how much more madder and crazier they would have been if our guys played Ani DiFranco. If the decadence of American rock and roll offended them so, it could only be more effective to have a woman singing to them that she's enthusiastically conflicted about sleeping with copious amounts of men and women.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Reminder to IMAO Judges
Attention, IMAO judges:
Remember, if Heather wins the IMAO T-Shirt Babe contest, there will be plenty of celebratory Guinness to go around.
Remember to vote as though a Daley sent you.
Thank you, that is all.
Wishing What I Got
Today's Google Search: i wish i never won powerball.
Your humble narrator is currently the 36th hit.
Remember, wish for what you have, and you'll be happy. Or content, or perhaps blithe.
Kudos to the Washington Post editor who entitled this op-ed column, which explains why we should not take to heart Kerry's youthful indescretions when considering his fitness for leadership, "Prince Hal vs King Henry".
Message: John Kerry was born to be king!
Who's Not Their English Major? Say It!
From Crescat Sententia we have a rebuttal of sorts to the list included here. Crescat lists its top 99 books/series of all time.
Here's how I fared on its enlightened reading, with the books I have read in bold and those I have on my to-read shelf in italics:
2. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishigruo
3. Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
4. The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene
5. All The King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
6. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
7. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
8. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
9. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
10. Syrup, by Max (Maxx) Barry
11. Emma, by Jane Austen
12. The Dirk Gently Series, by Douglas Adams
13. Ada, by Vladimir Nabokov
14. The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
15. 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
16. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
17. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
18. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
19. Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov
20. Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, &c., by Orson Scott Card
21. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
22. Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk
23. Ana Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
24. The Three Musketeers Series, by Alexandre Dumas [The Three Musketeers, anyway.]
25. The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri
26. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera ["Strip!"]
27. Tess of D’Urbevilles, by Thomas Hardy
28. High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby
29. Howard’s End, by E.M. Forster
30. Lullaby, by Chuck Palahniuk
31. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
32. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
33. The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene
34. Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbon
35. My Antonia, by Willa Cather
36. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
37. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
38. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
39. Song of Fire and Ice, by George R.R. Martin
40. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
41. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Doestoevesky
42. What Maisie Knew, by Henry James
43. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
44. Galveston, by Sean Stewart
45. If On a Winter's Night a Traveller, by Italo Calvino
46. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
47. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
48. Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
49. Youth in Revolt, by C.D. Payne
50. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
51. Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
52. Big Trouble, by Dave Barry
53. Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood
54. Villette, by Charolotte Bronte
55. The Last Chronicle of Barset, by Anthony Trollope
56. Phineas Finn, Phineas Finn Redux, by Anthony Trollope
57. Darlington’s Fall, by Brad Leithauser
58. This Real Night, by Rebecca West
59. The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino
60. Summer, by Edith Wharton
61. The Unconsoled, by Kazuo Ishiguro
62. Cecilia, by Frances Burney
63. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
64. Dangerous Liaisons, by Choderlos de Laclos
65. Mr. Scarborough’s Family, by Anthony Trollope
66. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
67. A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster
68. The Duke’s Children, by Anthony Trollope
69. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote
70. Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot
71. The Dumas Club, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
72. Baudolino, by Umberto Eco
73. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
74. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
75. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
76. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
77. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
78. The Manticore, by Robertson Davies
79. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammitt
80. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
81. Good Morning, Midnight, by Jean Rhys
82. The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
83. Sula, by Toni Morrison
84. The House in Paris, by Elizabeth Bowen
85. The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt
86. The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen
87. Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
88. The Discworld Saga, by Terry Pratchett
89. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
90. The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West
91. Possession, by A.S. Byatt
92. The Island of the Day Before, by Umberto Eco
93. God Knows, by Joseph Heller
94. The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein
95. Candide, by Voltaire
96. The Vagabond, by Colette
97. Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding
98. The Fencing Master, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
99. Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
Ban Raw Materials, Says Expert "Red" Adabsurdum
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
At issue is a chemical called pseudoephedrine. It's an active ingredient in more than 80 over-the-counter remedies that are sold everywhere from gas stations to grocery stores. But pseudoephedrine also is a key ingredient in most recipes for meth, a powerful stimulant often called ice, crystal or crank.
Missouri last year toughened existing regulations on how much pseudoephedrine a store could sell to an individual customer, and added new restrictions on where those cold pills could be displayed. As a result, meth cooks and their helpers now must shop at dozens of stores to get the thousands of pills needed to make even a few ounces of meth.
Police at the summit said that without tougher regulations, the explosive increase in small meth labs will continue in Missouri and throughout the Midwest. Although most of the nation's meth is made at a small number of large drug labs in Mexico and California, Missouri and the states it borders accounted for more than half of the meth-lab raids and related seizures last year.
Legitimate purposes and rights are a threat to security. Just stand in your stall and bleat a little until its your turn, veal.
Budget Crisis in San Francisco Because People Obey Law
The City of San Francisco is running into budget problems because drivers just aren't racking up the fines anticipated, reports the San Francisco Chronicle:
Until your dentist appointment runs over fifteen minutes, or you don't know the lottery-style system of proper side-of-street parking (stay overnight in Milwaukee, eh?) and suddenly you're paying $250.
The silver lining, if you're looking for something positive to say about profligate spending outpacing revenue: The anticipated shortfall is only $4 million dollars in the $352 million dollar deficit San Francisco's running this year.
Monday, April 26, 2004
Brock Sides of Signifying Nothing is a hat man. He even mentions Mr. Hats in Memphis, which is oddly enough where I purchased my current preferred black fedora. I've only been to Memphis twice, but the last time I was there--some six years ago (?!) I got my Dobbs. I would have gotten it at Donge's, in Milwaukee, but they closed down seven years ago. A pity; I had gotten my first three fedoras there.
At any rate, here it is, my primary hat, worn outdoors with or without trenchcoat:
(Oh, yeah, and to Arkansas with James Lileks, who said intemperate words about bloggers and fedoras.)
Here's my writing hat of the last few years, a brown Berlesoni I picked up at an estate sale for a couple bucks:
But the brown fedora faces competition from the new beachcomber's hat I bought in Florida this March:
So, what are you wearing?
MSN Dating offers this helpful article: 9 romantic gestures that'll knock her socks off.
Note to the relationship expert who titled this piece: Men are not trying to get women's socks off.
Let us men know when you get to more relevant garments.
Thank you, that is all.
You Only Thought They Had Everything
Remember all those times you couldn't think of what to get those special someones on your gift-giving list? You thought they had everything?
You were wrong. Odds are, that special person doesn't have one of these Subversive Cross-Stitch creations.
Until this Christmas, right?
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Google Search of the Day
Hey, I am number 2 for the Google Search
But who would search for that, using proper query syntax and all?
Attention, journalists: I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am going to be FAMOUS now!
Dear Consumer: Just Say No
In another attempt to save the consumer from himself, the Illinois Attorney General is cattle-prodding the Illinois legislature to the rescue. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Typical sob lead:
"I thought it was a good deal for me," said Rogers, 45, a former postal worker in Chicago who is on disability. "I knew I'd had some credit problems ... so, I figured, 'Yeah, my credit must be bad.' I figured this was the punishment."
After more than two years of paying $409 a month on the car, Rogers learned that he had actually been approved for a 9.25 percent loan from a lender. Unknown to Rogers, the dealership had then added the additional 11.7 percent itself, raising the final cost on the $17,000 car by almost $7,000.
21% on a car? Jesus H. Gonzalez, but that's a damn high rate to pay. Come to think of it, $17,000 is a lot to pay for a vehicle, especially at 21% interest. It took me almost four years to run my credit cards up to that amount, but that included a night at a "Fantasy Suite" establishment which included an in-room swimming pool, sauna, waterfall, and complimentary bottle of champagne. A lot to spend for one person, but at least it wasn't $17,000. What's my point?
Oh, yeah, you, Joe Stupid Consumer, are an IDIOT to spend that much on a car at that rate of interest and assume it's the best rate without shopping around. Fortunately, the Daley State will come to your aid and will straitjacket business because you, the consumer, are mad.
"I asked the dealer why he was charging my client a higher rate than the one approved for my client," says Mitchell Stoddard, an attorney in St. Louis County. "And he looked me in the eye and said: 'We gotta pay our bills.'"
I have sympathy for the business in this case because 1.) it's someone taking a shot at making money, and 2.) it entered the contract with its eyes open, unlike the less-than-savvy consumers you defend. But the intelligent don't need government, or crusading "journalism," protection. They understand the free, voluntary exchange in any business transaction.
We'd also prefer you not pollute the swimming pool with more legislation and regulation, thanks.
At Least There Were No Casualties This Time
Today's top story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Rams' Little is accused of DWI.
At least he didn't kill anyone this time.
Here's what I wrote when he was sentenced for killing Susan Gutweiler in The Cynic Express(ed) 3.02:
Last October, Leonard Little, intoxicated Star Bonecrusher of some sort or another for the St. Louis Rams, ran a red light in his great big new Mercury Decimator sport utility vehicle and, true to his title, rammed a smaller car that was quite lawfully making its way through our downtown St. Louis streets. Susan Gutweiler died from it.
Gutweiler, a mother from Oakville, a suburb to the southwest of St. Louis improper, died because she was in the right place—crossing an intersection according to all applicable traffic laws—at the wrong time, when a local footballer on the sixth-rate tax abatement and corporate incentive money hole that passes for an NFL team in this town happened out at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong blood alcohol content and at the wrong speed. And she died, as the Post-Dispatch put it, “later of her injuries.” Suffered when two tons of blood alcohol content and metal compacted her proletariat car.
At least the media have not been silent throughout the debacle. Although Gutweiler’s family will have to go on without a mother and a wife, at least Leonard Little’s story is being told. The St. Louis Rams, when their coach Dick, capital D-I-C-K, Vermeil has taken time to reflect on crime and punishment in the United States, issued a frank and thought provoking statement that the St. Louis Rams are not afraid to embrace all members of their team, even those who get lit and run down actual practicing members of Family Values.
No, the St. Louis media have emphasized the claims from Little’s attorneys, therapists, and other millennial swamis that Little needs to get back to work making the bountiful dollars that those of us here in the inner ring suburbs can imagine only remotely. It’s part of the healing process for him to get back out onto the field crashing into other felons and earning the adulation of a public which bemoans the collapse of society and the dearth of character in strangers but doesn’t confuse the man’s personal life with the great job he does. No, Leonard Little just wants to move on, find closure, and put it all behind him that she got in front of him. Susan Gutweiler would probably have wanted to move on, too, if she weren’t dead.
I know, I know, I should probably calm down. After all, the St. Louis court today handed down the punishment for Leonard Little. Ninety days in jail—NINETY DAYS IN JAIL--and four years’ probation. And the conditions of the probation are pretty strict, I’ll admit. No booze, no bars, no intoxicating substances. After all, the Post-Dispatch does emphasize that he faces testing. It’s already obvious that he doesn’t have the decency, self-discipline, or common sense not to drive intoxicated without someone, maybe like a gruff-but-with-a-heart-of-gold coach, on his case(where’s Billy Martin when you need him?). It’s not as though Leonard Little, the Leonard Little who’s the linebacker for the St. Louis Rams, wrote a Word Macro virus which crashed e-mail servers or anything; he just struck someone down dead.
I don’t want to calm down. After the decision, the only quote from the victim’s family and the only outrage I have heard so far, is that someone should take justice into his or her own hands. That’s it. Just a heated little quote certain to paint the family as unrealistic and possibly vengeance seeking. I couldn’t blame them. After all, the mishmash of judicial and legal wisdom has decided that Susan Gutweiler’s forty-seven years of life are worth ninety days in jail, less than two days per year.
Maybe I am just cynical. Not nearly as cynical as the buzzing cloud around Leonard Little, the sycophants that tell him and us that it’s not his fault and that somehow it serves the greater good for society that the Little boy can drive about freely and play football, but I’m getting there.
To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."
Heather L. Igert,
Kim du Toit,
on the Noggle Library.
"Brian J. Noggle apparently forgot that the proper design for a tin foil beanie calls for the shiny side out."
Sharp as a Marble.
"I'm weeping openly right now. Thanks for hurting my feelings, pinhead."
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07/10/2005 - 07/16/2005
07/17/2005 - 07/23/2005
07/24/2005 - 07/30/2005
07/31/2005 - 08/06/2005
08/07/2005 - 08/13/2005
08/14/2005 - 08/20/2005
08/21/2005 - 08/27/2005
08/28/2005 - 09/03/2005
09/04/2005 - 09/10/2005
09/11/2005 - 09/17/2005
09/18/2005 - 09/24/2005
09/25/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/02/2005 - 10/08/2005
10/09/2005 - 10/15/2005
10/16/2005 - 10/22/2005
10/23/2005 - 10/29/2005
10/30/2005 - 11/05/2005
11/06/2005 - 11/12/2005
11/13/2005 - 11/19/2005
11/20/2005 - 11/26/2005
11/27/2005 - 12/03/2005
12/04/2005 - 12/10/2005
12/11/2005 - 12/17/2005
12/18/2005 - 12/24/2005
12/25/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/07/2006
01/08/2006 - 01/14/2006
01/15/2006 - 01/21/2006
01/22/2006 - 01/28/2006
01/29/2006 - 02/04/2006
02/05/2006 - 02/11/2006
02/12/2006 - 02/18/2006
02/19/2006 - 02/25/2006
02/26/2006 - 03/04/2006
03/05/2006 - 03/11/2006
03/12/2006 - 03/18/2006
03/19/2006 - 03/25/2006
03/26/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/09/2006 - 04/15/2006
04/16/2006 - 04/22/2006
04/23/2006 - 04/29/2006
04/30/2006 - 05/06/2006
05/07/2006 - 05/13/2006
05/14/2006 - 05/20/2006
05/21/2006 - 05/27/2006
05/28/2006 - 06/03/2006
06/04/2006 - 06/10/2006
06/11/2006 - 06/17/2006
06/18/2006 - 06/24/2006
06/25/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/02/2006 - 07/08/2006
07/09/2006 - 07/15/2006
07/16/2006 - 07/22/2006
07/23/2006 - 07/29/2006
07/30/2006 - 08/05/2006
08/06/2006 - 08/12/2006
08/13/2006 - 08/19/2006
08/20/2006 - 08/26/2006
08/27/2006 - 09/02/2006
09/03/2006 - 09/09/2006
09/10/2006 - 09/16/2006
09/17/2006 - 09/23/2006
09/24/2006 - 09/30/2006