Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Problems with the Libertarian Party

As I might have indicated before, I'm not a member of the Libertarian Party for several reasons. VodkaPundit hammers on one of the themes: Libertarian foreign policy. In the Utopia projected by the Libertarians, we could disengage from the world and only respond when attacked, and only in defense. Invasions would be almost entirely out of the question. I'm far more Machiavellian than that. Sometimes decimation is too lenient.

The Libertarians also need to understand that some laws do need to be in place, and that the government can serve some purpose in its arbitrary nature to resolve disputes among citizens and to set guidelines.

I went to see Michael Badnarik speak when he came through St. Louis. He spoke to a bunch of us in the basement of a pizza parlor, and we talked for a while about some issues wherein I wanted to know pragmatically how he would handle things. Eventually, the conversation turned into a monologue, as it often does with idealogues, and he came around to privatizing or eliminating the air traffic control system.

But how will the airplanes keep from colliding, either my beautiful wife or El Guapo asked.

People stay in their own lanes on the roads for the most part, the politician said.

But the government paints the lines, I replied.

Hah! My second-best dig at a candidate for the presidency. First, of course, was in 1984 when I attended a Mondale speech in St. Charles, Missouri, when I led the charge of people tearing the Mondale signs apart and penning our own Reagan signs to wave. Much to the chagrin of the gifted program teacher who brought me during a school day. I was 12. I would say I was born conservative, but I was a premie, which doesn't seem to be a conservative viewpoint at all.

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Smacking Down Professionals, Too

After turning the glare of my trivial knowledge onto Harvey of Bad Money and Blackfive of Blackfive for their old movie misquotes, I turn my attention to a professional: Russell Scott Smith of the New York Post. Although I thought I scored a direct hit, I must admit that Scott Smith Russell, or Smith Russell Scott, or whatever concatenation of first names represents the name on his or her Social Security card, only mischaracterizes a movie trivium when writing about the current "buy an imaginary girlfriend on eBay" shtick. The article says:
    She had been watching the 1987 movie "Can't Buy Me Love," starring Patrick Dempsey as a dorky high schooler who pays a cheerleader $1,000 a month to date him.
The deal's not for $1000 a month, which indicates more than a month's worth of salary. Instead, Ronald pays $1000 to purchase a new outfit to replace the one that the soc girl has ruined, and only after intense negotiation beside the steps to the school do they agree to limit their faux dating to a single month. So the $1000 is a one-time fee, much what losers find on eBay.

So the pros only misrepresent the facts, instead of just getting their throwaway lines wrong. I'm not sure I am encouraged.

Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, All The Same

Taranto leads to Boston Globe story about "Little John" Kerry. Little John's been lacing up the skates to play hockey in New Hampshire and soon Michigan to show he's one of the guys. Since Missourians are not hockey fans--the St. Louis Blues, the River Otters, the Springfield Spirit, and other teams notwithstanding--John Kerry's willing to do what it takes to prove he's down with us homies in the MidWest:
    "I guess I'll ride a bucking bronco or a bull or something," Kerry joked. "I'm game. Whatever they got."
What the johnk do we look like to this coastal freaking cosmopolitan liberal botullism-imbibing nutbar? A bucking bronco or a bull or something?

I am speechless. I have nothing snarky to say. He didn't even invoke the Missouri mule. What we all like here is a ro-d-o! Excuse me while I go punch a cow.

Mizzou, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, California, it's all the same to Massachusetts-area dilettante senators.

Good thing I am not reading more of this damn Boston paper's story, with its allusions to Jean Carnahan as a real Senator or that St. Louis could shake up 800 people when brought together by St. Louis mayor Frankie Slayer and the entire Democrat machine to greet Little John, or I might really get irritated.

Don't Give My Opponents Ideas

Fark links to a story which I find personally very frightening: Tempers Flare During 'Taboo' Board Game.
    The party game wasn't the only thing taboo. Three men were arrested on felony charges after a game of Taboo went awry at a Conway home.

    Officers were called to the home Sunday after two men threatened others with guns because they were losing the game, in which one teammate gives clues about certain subject matter, but using certain words is taboo.
Sorry, guys, I know I can be unsufferable when I play this game because I am Olympian and you're all Little League, but there's no need to draw down on me.

True story:

Clue: "She was a historical figure...."
Brian J. Answer: "Joan of Arc. Next, please. Come on, we're on a deadline here."

Putting a couple of slugs in me is the only way to stop me at Taboo. Better make them high caliber, because a .22 or .38's not going to shut me up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Doing Johnny Ashcroft's Dirty Work

Susan Murray has an op-ed piece in the Washington Post wherein she posits that reality television is making America more comfortable with a surveillance society. And then she says:
    But reality TV does play a crucial role in mitigating our resistance to such surveillance tactics. More and more of these programs rely on the willingness of "ordinary" folk to live their lives in front of cameras. These people choose to have sex, get married, give birth, compete for prizes, work, fight, weep and brush their teeth in front of millions. We, as audience members, witness this openness to surveillance, normalize it and, in turn, open ourselves up to such a possibility.

    Some of us have a desire to become reality TV celebrities; others set up a blog or a webcam.
Dammit! Now that we've been fingered as undercover operatives, do you think the checks from the federal government will stop?

Also, will someone please call for a Congressional inquiry to find out who leaked our undercover operation?

Ten Ways To Get Fired

Yesterday, I pointed out Ways to Annoy Your Co-Workers.

Today, I'll help you out if you just want to end it all: here are Ten Ways to Get Fired.

The article, like the other one, takes the standpoint that you shouldn't do these things. I was rather hoping for how-to guides.

I've only been fired once, and the day after my last day the boss called to ask why I wasn't at work--but that's a long, albeit amusing story. Buy me a Guinness sometime and I'll tell you about Bob "I Own The Business." One of my coworkers brought in doughnuts everytime she got fired. Me, I took it as an opportunity to stay home and look for a better job. What was my point?

I Don't Think That Means What You Think It Means

Instapundit links to a Wired article about outsourcing. It's an even-handed treatment, but the author quotes an Indian programmer:
    Aparna Jairam isn't trying to steal your job. That's what she tells me, and I believe her. But if Jairam does end up taking it - and, let's face facts, she could do your $70,000-a-year job for the wages of a Taco Bell counter jockey - she won't lose any sleep over your plight. When I ask what her advice is for a beleaguered American programmer afraid of being pulled under by the global tide that she represents, Jairam takes the high road, neither dismissing the concern nor offering soothing happy talk. Instead, she recites a portion of the 2,000-year-old epic poem and Hindu holy book the Bhagavad Gita: "Do what you're supposed to do. And don't worry about the fruits. They'll come on their own."
She's quoting the Bhagavad Gita? The Bhagavad Gita? That, and the particular quote, is particularly funny and ironic.

Here's the Brian's Notes version of the Bhagavad Gita, kids: Prince Arjuna is a little reluctant to enter a war where he has friends and relatives on the other side. He's a bit reluctant to go into battle because he doesn't want to slaughter them. His charioteer, Krishna, happens to be an incarnation of a deity, and he spends the poem convincing Arjuna that it's his duty to go into battle and slaughter his friends and relatives because that's how the his life is scripted. So Arjuna does. I'd imagine this quote is Krishna giving a pep talk, probably before revealing one of his majestic and terrifying forms.

With that context, make of the quote what you will. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of Java!

Note: Don't take this post as demeaning to the Bhagavad Gita or Hinduism. Go read the whole thing, as they say. It's an interesting piece, and describes an eastern worldview that I don't entirely share. It's got certain truths in it, though, and as from any philosophical work, perhaps you can draw something from it to apply to your own life.

Perhaps You Don't Understand The Point

The Biz Journals e-mail newsletter I get links to this story with the headline Don't play blame games: When blame is thrown around, it prevents work from being done.

I think this guy doesn't understand the point: to not do work and get away with it.

It's not a bug of the blame game, it's a feature.


I don't know what Wonkette is, and I don't visit the site that frequently, but adding it to the blogroll seems to innoculate you against getting blogrolled by snide simpletons.

Balloon Juice has the details.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Blogger Offers Encouragement

The front page of offers this encouragement: Wil Wheaton, anonymous blogger, makes good. It could happen to me, too!

More likely, the "it could happen to me, too" would apply to the poor template design and permalink zaniness that Blogger's own blog demonstrates.

Say Nay, Kid

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, local government officials want to change the name of the ballpark from Pac Bell SBC Your Name Here! Park to Mays Field at Your Name Here! Park. To honor Willie Mays, the Say Hey Kid. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

SBC and the Giants organization are resistent to the idea. I can understand SBC's reluctance. The Giants will come around, though, once they realize that in ten years they can sell both names, making it Your Name Here! Field at Your Name Here! Park.

And in fifteen years, they'll be selling the players' names. "Listen, kid, to play in the National League, you've got to take the name given you. You'll be Yahoo! Google, or you'll be playing in the Grapefruit League for the rest of your life."

I Had To Quell Free Speech In Order To Save It

According to the New York Post, Al Franken physically attacked a LaRouche supporter who was dissenting from the views of Howard Dean.
    "I got down low and took his legs out," said Franken afterwards.
I don't get the joke, Alfrie, but I generally don't. Were you making some point about how you think Republicans show false machismo by picking on small national threats, or something too sublime for me to imagine?

Only Ten?

MSN has Ten Surefire Ways to Tick Off Your Coworkers on its Careers site. Hey, I took a look because I thought I might pick up some new techniques. Unfortunately, this little document is about things you might do that might tick off your co-workers and why you shouldn't do it. I don't do the ones listed here.

I have, however, inadvertently stumbled across other surefire techniques to, if not tick off, at least raise hackles of, co-workers and office mates. So might I suggest the following:
  • Audible smacking of gum.

  • Real-time audio commentary to whatever sputteringly shocking news story you are looking at on the Web. Also, do this for at least six hours a day.

  • A messiah complex, wherein you exclaim to anyone who is listening that you are the greatest job title that ever was, but low how they mistreat you. Oh, how sorry they will be when you're gone. How lonely they will be in the silence of the whining.

  • Answering questions that weren't asked and then vigorously defending your position to a startled co-worker. Remember to get angrier if he or she agrees or tries to appease you.

  • Clearing the nose and the throat with gusto. Every couple of minutes.

  • Vigorous scratching and appropriate relief noises, particularly if you can bare the skin to scratch.
I am sure my former office mate could add more to this list, but until the doctors break through his catatonia defense mechanism, we'll never know.

Monday, January 26, 2004
Heather Gains Some Geek Cred

In my continuing quest to shape Heather into a more well-rounded geek, tonight I forced her to watch The Last Starfighter.

So feel free to stop by her blog and to remind her, via comments, Greetings, star fighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.

A couple of episodes of Doctor Who (with Colin Baker) are next in her education.

The Perfect Storm

In the 1980s, it was global cooling.
In the 1990s, it was global warming.

With a new decade laid before us, we should expect some new blight upon us, a pox brought upon humanity by technology and the rising standard of living around the world.

Oh, but no. The best they can do for the 2000s: global cooling caused by global warming.


(Link seen on Drudge.)

Mrs. du Toit Concurs

Mrs. du Toit, whose retirement was shorter than an athlete who retires in his or her prime, concurs with my assertion that workers in danger of being outsourced should loosen up and make themselves more marketable.

Great minds, or at least the mind of a wanker and a du Toit, often, or at least once, move in tandem.

Hey, You're Not Barbara Ehrenreich!

Over at the Independent Women's Forum, bad Charlotte takes issue with a piece in the New York Times Magazine that resins up the bow for the poor in America, particularly one woman whose tragic life story runs a gamut of poor decisions and short-sightedness. As it is in the New York Times Magazine, the author blames her miserable life on America, not on her miserable self.

As soon as Barbara "Nickel and Dime Bagged" Ehrenreich is back from her next indiscretion that could prevent her from getting a job at Wal-Mart, perhaps she could comment. Maybe we should hope she does not.

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