Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Drastic Flu Vaccine Shortage! Everyone Panic NOW!

And a special tip of the hat to the media, who've apparently discovered that the national health industry does not routinely order two doses of flu vaccines for every man, woman, child, cat, and dog in the country. So when the media whips the populace into a frenzy because of the dangers of influenza, and then hits them with the headlines

Flu Vaccines Running Out:

You People Gonna Die

it creates a run on the flu vaccines. A run by able-bodies and healthy adults who aren't risk. Good work, fellows. So then elderly and exteremely unelderly (children) people don't get a flu shot because Joe Athletic Yuppie got it instead and those at-risk members of the population start dying, the media can run the headlines

Flu Killing People:

Current Administration, Capitalism Accomplices

Oh, the humanity!

Not that I want to plant a seed in your heads, dear journalistic activists, but did you know that the local branch of the bank down the road from you doesn't have enough money to give to all its depositors if they all came at once? That's right. Why don't you run a headline like

Banks Short of Cash:

They Don't Have Your Money

It's your duty to bring this to the attention of the public. They have a right to know about scarcity and allocation without understanding the reason why so they can decide to panic mindlessly as needed.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this oversight.

Friday, December 12, 2003
Words By Which To Live

Neil Steinberg relates wisdom in his latest column:
    Elias wrote an excruciating book about surviving Auschwitz. I heard her five years ago, so can't quote her, directly, but she ended her speech by saying something like this:

    I have this dream. I dream I am walking up to my family's home in Czechoslovakia. The windows are all lit up, and I know that everybody is well, and there, home, waiting for me. And then I awaken, and it's so sweet, because they were all there, clearly, and so sad, because it was only a dream. And that is what I'd like to tell you today -- if you are lucky enough to be going home later, and the lights of your house are bright, and your family is all there, waiting, you should stop and savor it as the precious gift it is, because someday it too will be just a dream.

Reality Check reports:
    ALL THAT JAZZ: In the film "Erin Brockovich," Julia Roberts played a working-class mom with a penchant for short skirts who, despite being constantly underestimated by men, ultimately manages to secure the largest class-action settlement in American history. But according to the Wellesley News, an all-female jazz band hired locally during the filming of Ms. Roberts's latest film has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the actress and her production company, saying that they were paid half what an all-male band was getting in the same film. As band member Jeanne Daly told the paper: "I find it amusing that we have to 'Erin Brockovitch' Erin Brockovitch for [the] hypocrisy of gender discrimination."
I find it amusing that the band member confuses Julia Roberts, the actress who portrayed a real litiguous activist in the movie Erin Brockovitch, with the title character and real person Erin Brockovitch. Since Jeanne Daly also confused proper noun 'Erin Brockovitch' with a verb, I'd say she's probably a confused individual.

Where's the Racial Sensitivity?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the Ricky Clemons scandal at University of Missouri, and relates this anecdote about Ed Stewart, an assistant athletic supporter or something:
    "Ed come home, every time he come home, he be like, 'Them crackers shaking. They going crazy. They don't know what to do. They shaking. They can't talk to Ricky. They're like some crackheads running around there.'"
How sweet. He lets out some racial epithets, and the johnking St. Louis Post-Democrat publishes it.

Heaven forbid a white person say any six letter word that begins with n, ends with r, and has a double consonant in it. Were I to say I like Nutter Butters, certain segments of the population think I am deni-oppressing not only members of a different race, but the women therein.

Where's the sensitivity for my easily-bruised feelings? Why are cracker, gaijin, bleach blood, and haole allowed and nigger isn't?

Rhetorical question. It's because we're crackers and deserve the abuse. I matriculated with a degree in English. I learned these things in college.

Thursday, December 11, 2003
Book Review: Black Alley by Mickey Spillane (1996)

Wow. 1996 this book was published. A Mike Hammer novel. A two-fisted, hard-boiled detective novel, something straight out of the pulps. Right before the dot-com bubble. This isn't a Perry Mason novel from the 1960s, which you can lose yourself in because it's timeless and only when you concentrate do you notice they're not using computers. Mike Hammer knows of all these things and ignores them because he's a throwback.

Mike Hammer's older, but he wouldn't admit it. He's also been shot up and is recovering, although not as fast as he would with strict, or even any, bed rest. A dying war buddy lets Mike know he's hidden billions in stolen mob money and challenges Mike to find it. It was bad enough that the mob shot Mike up, but once they think he knows where the stolen billions are, they squeeze. So does the IRS. And Mike can't hold a gun, so he's got to go on his reputation and his balls. And those of his secretary Velda, whom Mike realizes he ought to marry.

Wow. 1996.

The style's definitely a throwback, but the character also recognizes his age and that the world's changed around him. Outstanding. Of course, Ayn Rand liked Mickey Spillane, so who would I be to argue. It's a little weird to have a hardback Mike Hammer, though. This book definitely belongs in a dimestore format, in the mass market paperback. After all, Mike Hammer's a product of the 1960s, same as Mike Shayne, Shell Scott, and Parker. They just didn't have Stacy Keach to lend them credibility with a television character in the 1980s and 1990s (well, Parker did, but they changed the name and the focus of the character in the Mel Gibson movie).

I liked the book, and I read it relatively quickly. I don't want to spoil it for you, but the good guy wins. Thank genre fiction.

Words of Whizdom

Source: Forbes:
    John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers mused that no significant company in the Web era would be created "east of Reno."
When's that earthquake due to put Reno on the new west coast?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Introducing Johnk

All right, I can't leave it alone.

However, I am introducing a new placeholder for that most unwordly of unwordlies, the dreaded f-word which appears on this blog slightly less than The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. All three of my regular readers know I prefer schnuck as a stand-in, based upon an essay I wrote some time ago about the need for better, more creative cursing. That essay's lost to antiquity, but the message lives on.

And so in honor of John F. Kerry, indistinguished (some politicial office holder or another) of (some tiny, self-important coastal state), I introduce johnk, a single syllable which can capture every sort of meaning the f-word can, and with less shock among women and children and definitely more mockery of the Democrat party.

Plus, let's savor the word itself. A single syllable word with a nice, hard terminal consonant rox. Try it: Johnk!. Ooh yeah. And if you slur the first syllable, it can be haughty and French-sounding. Zzzzhonc! That's a twofer you don't get with an unvoiced labiodental fricative.

As an addendum, I wish to say to the driver of that red Aztek that ran a red light on Hanley to cut across three lanes of traffic to make a left turn from the right lane this afternoon, Johnk you, you johnking heinzingjohnker. I hope the Jaws of Life bite into your candy-apple vehicle and find half a worm.

Oops, I Am Revealed

So I am reading this piece in the Implement change to overcome workplace anarchy", mainly because I transposed the verbs when I read the headline, and it says:
    I'd seen it before with other teams. It was another "Lord of the Flies" situation. The leadership vacuum had created a breakdown in moral behavior. Like in William Golding's famous book, "The Lord of the Flies," the group had deteriorated into anarchy, with some members resorting to cruel control tactics to assure their own dominance and survival. Newcomers were mistreated, positive acts were sneered at, rude and cruel treatment of teammates prevailed, management's directions were ignored or challenged, and customers were barely served.

    The circumstances leading up to this situation, were predictable: a weak leader, or a series of many leaders over a short period of time; a hardened, cynical group of workers; a few positive employees; a band of negative employees, who filled the power void with intimidation and retaliation as their weapons; and some fence-sitters, who kept their heads down and their mouths shut.

    The new leadership team had to take back control and restore order and civilized behavior. But where to start? First, we needed to get a clear picture of what we were dealing with. I lead the management team through a process to determine where each member of the team fit: positive leaders, negative leaders and fence sitters. As we stood back and took a look at the finished product, the picture emerged -- most of the employees were either fence-sitters or positive, with only a handful of negative, bitter leaders at the other end.
and I thought, "Great, a bunch of MBAs hired from outside the company with no real knowledge of the way the software works but has so damn fine book and spreadsheet theories, so they hire a hotshot consultant to troubleshoot our attitude. I hope I'm in charge of the trust fall when this nutbar goes down so I can catch him by his necktie."

The new management's probably just preparing for layoffs anyway.

So now you know what sort of co-worker I am. As I explained to El Guapo, maybe Cagey, and certainly my other co-workers, I am the worst case scenario guy. Whatever the company-wide e-mail says, you come to me and I'll augur the worst possible scenario from it. Worse than you could think of, werd.

Roeper Ruins Another Day

Johnk you, Robert Roeper. You've ruined my day again by asserting in your Chicago Sun-Times column that:
    Actress Joey Lauren Adams, the squeaky-voiced girlfriend in "Big Daddy" and the Amy of "Chasing Amy," was arrested Friday in San Diego on suspicion of drunken driving after she allegedly kept running into a curb in a gas station. She's 38, and how did Joey Lauren Adams get to be 38?
It's a lie. It must be a lie. How can the women I lusted for in my age group be nearing forty?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Book Review: Eat the Rich by P.J. O'Rourke (1998)

If you read one economics book this millenium, this should be it.

O'Rourke redoes his Holidays in Hell schtick by visiting, and examining the economies of, a number of disparate nations. Sweden, Hong Kong, Tanzania, Russia, Albania, America (well, Wall Street), and Cuba. He rates them as good capitalist, bad capitalism, good (in 1998) socialism, or bad socialism. Each location gets its own chapter, and he visits each. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't go to Albania to discover how it's doing in capitalism, but O'Rourke's nuts. And a good writer.

I don't have any bones to pick with it. Read it. An amusing composite of research and travel with commentary that I agree with. Hey, I paid $8.00 for the book in a used book store. That should tell you how much I appreciate O'Rourke.

A Bit of Perspective

For those of you lamenting your workplace positions and the drudgery you face, bear in mind that somewhere in Michigan, Curtis Joseph didn't play hockey, but he got paid $48,000 for his day's nonlabor anyway.

Pleasant dreams.

Monday, December 08, 2003
Good Google Hitz

Wow, I am number six on Google for john kerry fuck. Sweet. But you know what's better?

In a couple days, I will be the only Google hit for "hot john kerry naked pix".

Kooky, baby.

On the AM Radio

On Sunday, while frantically scanning the AM band for the Packers game, I uncovered Real Oldies 1430. Ahhhh.

Friends, the FM band in the St. Louis area has consolidated into a half dozen "Greatest Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and Now!" station, each of which distinguishes itself by playing the eighteen song nationalized playlist in a different order! The Great Oldies Shift has stripped fifties and early sixties music from the dial, instead focusing on the decade popularized by That 70s Show and the "retro" Reagan era.

So I'm happy to see a station still playing the older stuff, and on AM radio. That's how this was supposed to sound, with a hint of static. Man, I hear it and I hearken back to my youth, back in 1964, cruising for girls with Bob Greene. No, wait, that's a little before I was born, but rest assured, you damn kids, AM radio was not.

So pardon me while I dabble in some of my own nostalgia and some borrowed. You kids wouldn't appreciate the subtle hiss of a groove either. Get offa my lawn, or I'll beat you with the frozen hose.

That Movie Would Make A Great Book

In the Washington Times op-ed piece entitled U.N. troop fantasies, F. Andy Messing and Elizabeth M. Stafford argue that the U.N. can't be trusted with keeping any peace worth keeping.

However, this sticks me in the craw:
    In addition, the Pakistani contingent in Somalia looked at the Somalis with contempt and committed various human rights violations, including beating the Somalis with sticks. These actions led to Mohammed Farrah Aideed's group ambushing and killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. As a result, U.N. authorized UNSCOM to take all necessary measures against those responsible for the armed attacks. This later contributed to the deaths of American soldiers in the tragic incident recalled in the film "Blackhawk Down." [sic, and emphasis mine]
What, is Mark Bowden Alan Dean Foster, coming along and writing novelizations of screenplays? Or do the authors of this piece think the only way to connect with their thoughtful readers is to tie the incident to a Josh Hartnett or Orlando Bloom movie? Pah!

Sunday, December 07, 2003
Firing the F-Bomb Cruise Missile

So Senator John Kerry has launched the f-bomb:
    "I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything'? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f - - - it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did," Kerry told the youth-oriented magazine.
Oooh. He's young, hip, and aggrieved, and has used this word undoubtedly only after his advisors told him it was okay. Some people might disagree with the leader of the free world using the f-word, but I got no problem with it; I'm from the North Side, wherein the f-word was a part of my vocabulary in the third grade and in frequent rotation therein (much to the disgust of Danny H, my sophisticated fourth grade friend).

No, what bothers me is that Kerry deploys it against a sitting president. I expect that's how he would be as a president, too, a stretch just inside the limit of my vast and fertile imagination. He'd save his wrath for internal opponents, and people who disagreed with his policies. Not against external threats or the pompous politicos and despots who would like to lay low our very civilization.

So if a leader's going to display controlled psychopathy with the f-word, I'd rather he use it in appropriate places. In the imperative tense, such as to the United Nations, to Little Kim, to Jack Chirac. Or as an alternate pronunciation for the unvoiced labiodental fricative in the names of Arafat or Kofi. These uses of the f-word I could support.

But for JFK the lesser, I would offer the word in its imperative reflexive, but he prompts me to a North Side Stream of Cussingness, which is a stream of common swear words, grouped and repeated, not in a particularly clever fashion, but with feeling.

Spike 'Em

Boeing's trying to flex its corporate extortion privileges. If the government spikes the ill-conceived contract to "lease" tanker aircraft, Boeing will lay off 500 voters.

Blow it out your exhaust vent, Boeing. I grow weary of the influence you peddle over taxpayer dollars with the threat or offer of jobs. Sorry to the 500 who'll have to find other jobs (which they will; it's time they learned you ain't the only fish in the sea, just the biggest plankinton-and-krill sucking sea denizen of the blue). But Boeing, you've been taking tax abatements to come into a community and then being a "good corporate citizen" by throwing some crumbs to good local causes and supporting other local corporations--particularly sports teams (Heaven forbid we are deprived of your glowing logo during the national anthem at hockey games).

Me, I pay my taxes to be a good citizen. And then I go to hockey games. You just have to go to hockey games.

What's my point? Oh, yeah. Big corporations sux, and so do the governmental playas who coddle them and who then hump big corporate legs. 500 jobs for $200 billion tax dollars. A pox on the politicos who thought this was a good idea.

Can't I Read It Anymore?

Over at Opinion Journal, Michael Judge reflects upon the articles in Playboy, given that magazine's fiftieth anniversary celebration:
    Playboy's editors take a bow for being at the forefront of every liberal cause of the past half-century, including civil rights, equal rights, gay rights, birth control, gun control and abortion. Call me naïve, but somehow I think these social movements would have taken place with or without a magazine that was nearly named Stag Party.

    Worse yet, Mr. Kaminsky has rounded up the usual suspects to decry the brown shirts currently running the country: "America's leading literary light," Norman Mailer, says with a straight face that the Bush administration went to war in Iraq because "an escape was needed from our problems at home." Not to be outdone, Hunter S. Thompson claims that he's "personally embarrassed by the fascist sink these [expletive]-eating greedheads from Texas have plunged us into." With Manson-like flair, he goes on to say, "Those pigs deserve to be boiled in their own oil."

    Forgive me, Ms. Wolf, but perhaps the least offensive thing in this issue is the centerfold of
    Playboy's 50th Anniversary Playmate, Colleen Shannon, whose turn-ons include "vinyl, positivity, supportiveness, artistic abilities, and a good sense of humor."
Geez, do you mean it's like Harper's, a magazine I can no longer read? Why, I shall become enraged, shall write a piece to the editor, and shall take up my righteous anger and.....

Wowza, check her out!

I'm sorry, you were saying?

Just in Time for the Holiday

Neil Steinberg, in his Friday column, examines how nations review their own histories and concludes that the United States owes no apology for dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

He begins:
    There is a museum in Tokyo dedicated to Japan's ample history of warfare. But if you visit the plainly named Military Museum, you will find no reference to the grotesque medical experiments the Japanese army conducted in World War II or the sex slaves it kidnapped. The Rape of Nanking, when rampaging Japanese troops raped and murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese, is airbrushed into the "Nanking Incident'' and the facts are said to be uncertain. Civilian deaths aren't mentioned at all until the Americans begin firebombing Tokyo in 1944.

    This is par for the course. In Japanese textbooks the relentless quest of military domination that so marked that nation's conduct in the 20th century gently morphs into a brave struggle for independence against a hostile world.

    Nor is the museum a relic of the equivocating past. It opened just last year. "The museum's jingoism begins in the very first room,'' wrote Howard French in the New York Times. "There, a saber adorned with gold braid, an ancient relic from the Imperial Palace guard, hangs, dramatically lit, above a block of text glorifying 2,600 years of independence, secured by valiant warriors against unnamed invaders.''
Click the link and consume the entire column.

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