Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, June 12, 2004
I've Been Working Here Too Long

I found myself thinking of the dashboard in my truck as the interface.

I need IT Intervention.

So-Called Watch

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in a story entitled Slay, Blunt butt heads over early voting plan:
    However, Blunt, the favored Republican candidate for governor, said the law merely set the framework for early voting but did not give statutory authority for it. It also did not provide funding for early balloting, a possible violation of the so-called Hancock Amendment, which requires the state to pay for anything that it is requiring local jurisdictions to do. Early voting would cost about $2.4 million, according to estimates from local officials that Blunt compiled in 2002.
I think this writer is trying to use so-called as a synonym for "law commonly known as", which is rather funny, since the writer probably doesn't know it by any other name.

This link was sent to me by reader John F. Donigan, who seems to lament the fact that officials from the city of St. Louis want election day to last two weeks, and might have a law to stand on. Donigan writes:
    KMOX ran a story in which the picketers stated that Blunt wasn't allowing early voting because he was a Republican. Blunt answered with something on the order of "You could come to me as the most Republican-voting city in the state, (not that I can think of one at the moment) and I'd still have to say you can't do it." The picketers responded with It's our right 'cause we want it!

I cannot take an experiential historical perspective to know if these sorts of shenanigans have always been a part of the electoral process; I suspect though that politics now trumps government in ways that it has not before, and in ways that will ultimately lead to the implosion of the Great Experiment.

Those Without Sin Seen at Quarries, Loading Their Pickup Trucks

Man, talk about a bad year. Now Rush Limbaugh's getting a divorce from the lovely Marta.

Drug addiction, a jerk-smearer potential prosecution, and a divorce. The only way it could get worse if Marta reveals that Limbaugh cheated on her. With the pool boy. In exchange for drugs.

(Link seen on Drudge.)

Friday, June 11, 2004
One of These Does Not Belong With the Other

A story I saw on Drudge: Researchers Exposed to Anthrax:
    At least five workers developing an anthrax vaccine at a children's hospital research lab in Oakland were accidentally exposed to the deadly bacterium because of a shipping mistake, officials reported Thursday.

    Officials with the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute said none of the researchers has shown symptoms of infection since the first exposure about two weeks ago, but each is being treated with precautionary antibiotics.

    The researchers believed they were working with syringes full of a dead version of anthrax, hospital spokeswoman Bev Mikalonis said. Instead, they were shipped live anthrax by a lab of the Southern Research Institute in the Frederick, Md., Mikalonis said.
Parents, does the children's hospital where you take your children have a research lab where researchers work with deadly toxins better known as weapons of mass destruction? You would assume not, but I guess you can't be sure unless you ask.

Sounds Like An Old Joke

So an old joke tells us about the child who kills his parents and begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan, but one woman in Virginia is apparently using it as a defense strategy:
    The only woman on Virginia's death row doesn't deny that she deserves punishment for having her husband and stepson killed so she could collect insurance money.

    But paying the ultimate penalty, says Teresa Lewis, is too much -- especially considering the men who actually did the deed will live out their lives behind bars.

    "I don't think it's fair for the triggermen to get life, and I got the death penalty," she said, speaking by phone through a glass partition at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

    Lewis pleaded guilty last year to arranging the slayings of her husband and stepson to collect a $250,000 insurance policy.
The punchline: the caption beneath her photo:
    Lewis: "I just feel like I have something to live for. I've got a daughter here."
Apparently, she's not finished.

No laughs, of course, for the absolute pathology involved in saying she shouldn't die because she has something to live for, apparently unlike her husband and stepson.

Do You Bleed Pink?

Former hockey great Mario Lemieux tells Pittsburgh that if they don't buy his socialist self a hockey arena, he might have to sell the Penguins. Because unemployed steelworkers should provide his millionaireness with benefits to his business.

He claims he has three offers, but I would think he's bluffing, or he's counting bar talk. NHL Hockey is not exactly a sellers market these days.

If the Shoe Is on the Other Foot, Wear It

Zudos to Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who demonstrates through his review of The Chronicles of Riddick that he truly has dizzying intellect:
    In the grand hall of a mothership that resembles a mid-century Chrysler on steroids, the Lord Marshal mentions that the Necromonger army is composed of forced converts from other religions. So maybe "The Chronicles of Riddick" is supposed to be a parable about American imperialism, sweeping other cultures into its maw.
Let's see, we have a culture that either converts, enslaves, or kills other cultures that do not adhere to its tenets, and that culture represents American imperialism? One man stands against them, but Williams doesn't enlighten us to whether that one man who fights reluctantly against the hordes illustrates the struggle of stringy-haired Berkleyans, French diplomat sophisticates, or the Arab street. Wholly schnucking deconstructionism, fatman!

His college professors must be awfully damn proud of him.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
It's Already Too Late

Belatedly, Michael Williams learns a devastating drawback to blogging:
    One of the difficult things about hanging out with people who (occasionally) read your blog is that they're already familiar with all of your A-list material (and, let's face it, I use most of my B- through M-list material here, too).
Reminds me of this one time I stood beside a former rugger who was busy popping the heads off of crawdads....

Still Lamenting the Obsolescence of My #9 Jersey

A hockey tidbit. Jeff Gordon, in today's Tip Sheet in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writes:
    How can St. Louis host a diving championship and not invite Tyson Nash?


I'm calling it officially! In November, my vote will cancel out Bruce Springsteen's in the presidential election! I called it! You'll have to find your own celebrity to thwart.

Oh, I know how it works. I can't cancel it out because he'll vote in New Jersey and I'll vote in Missouri, and we'll vote for different electoral college members. But still, symbolically, he's all mine.

Youthful Ingenuity

Suicidal Youths Turn to Hanging Instead of Guns!
    A new report finds that suicidal young people are less likely to use firearms to take their own lives, but the survey finds little comfort in the trend because they are turning to more readily available methods.

    In the last decade, suffocation -- notably hanging -- has overtaken firearms as the most common way for adolescents to kill themselves, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Time to start banning the clothesline for the Children!

(Link seen on Drudge.)

It's a Knick-Knack, Paddywhack

Now that some research has indicated that dogs understand language, up to 200 words, how long will it be before they can vote in California?

Just wondering.

Warm Spittle for the Freshly-Turned Earth

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Sylvester Brown, Jr., says:
    It's wrong to speak ill of the dead.
He then goes on to bury Reagan, not to praise him, and speaks ill of his policies and contributions to the world and the United States. Somehow, he villifies McDonalds inappropriately and I guess blames Reagan for modern America's victim culture, well, no, he blames Reagan for leaving sharp objects and soft, tasty Big Macs lying around for sheepish citizens to consume in bulk. Or something.

This guy has a full time position as a newspaper columnist.

I'd blame Reagan for that, but unlike Sylvester Brown, Jr., I listen to my elders (excepting newspaper columnists) , and I wouldn't mean it.

Intel CEO Cries, "More Socialism, Please!"

At least, that's what I hear when a CEO of a profitable company wants the Federal Government to fund his R & D.

So let me get this travel, which only will be profitable in the long term, should be open to private capital and research, but chip and computer design, which yield profits now, should be funded by Mississippi citizens who live in tar papered hovels, or Montana citizens in kerosene-heated mobile homes?

Suck it up, pinko. Your duty to increase your shareholders' wealth and your own bonuses does not come at the expense of the U.S. Taxpayer.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Who is putting pop-under ads under blogs?

Examined at Pop-Up Mocker.

Hubba Hubba, and I Mean that in an Intellectual Sense....Mostly

Michelle Malkin has a blog.

Instapundit Favors Increasing Social Security Benefits!

He's written a column for Tech Central Station about why governments don't fund research dedicated to increasing longevity. You have to read between the lines, but Professor Reynolds is actually advocating an increase in Social Security benefits! Because heaven knows that the age of funding has not kept moving upward at the same pace as longevity, even the natural way. So if you add two or three decades (or centuries) at the end of life, Social Security will be dished out at a maximum of something like seventy-five, meaning the codgers willdraw it for half a millenia. Is that what he really wants?

On a serious side, though, if the government funds the research, it will have to provide the resulting cure to everyone in the population. Our electorate would, unfortunately, expect nothing less than immortality funded by tax money.

Couple that with disparate availability of the drug (and I do assume it will be a drug) between developed nations and underdeveloped nations with a large birthrate and less love of life than we have, and suddenly you have the makings of World War V or World War VI or World Wars V-IX. Werd.

Adhering to the Highest Standards in the State

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports about the difficulty Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., has in firing a deputy:
    As a dispute escalates over discipline of wayward deputies, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is trying again to fire a deputy who kept his job after smashing into another car and fleeing while intoxicated off duty.

    Clarke is attempting to build a perjury case against Deputy Victor Erato III, whose dismissal was overturned by the county's Personnel Review Board.
Swell. Drinking and driving and leaving the scene of the accident. In retrospect, it does seem harsh to hold some blue collar working law enforcement official who has a chance of getting shot every day to a higher standard than the state's attorney general, Peggy Lotsalager.

On the other hand, why does the Personnel Review Board and so many other oppose standards of behavior for law enforcement officials? Do they want to have authorities that citizens can easily disrespect?

Steinberg Begs for Public Delinking

In his column today for the Chicago Sun-Times, Neil Steinberg begs for a public delinking from Musings from Brian J. Noggle:
    Don't you feel sorry for Wisconsin? I sure do. So close to Chicago, yet still an isolated nowhere of cows and dogtracks and cheese, populated by those who never got their lives together enough to move here. Wisconsin is like the dim brother who lives in the basement and nobody talks about. You don't want him teased.
HOW DARE YOU, SIR? That's it, turn the fans on high and point them south. SHARE THE DAIRY AIR!

I would publicly renounce Steinberg and delink him, tossing his endorsement of my genuis into the Chicago River from the Wacker Street bridge in full view of the Chicago Sun-Times building, but no one would notice, except perhaps a cop who would fine me for polluting. How would he know?

Sympathy for the Devil

I kinda feel a certain pity and outrage on the behalf of Courtney Love on her charges:
    "CJ" has obtained a copy of a brand new charge filed against Courtney Love. And this time it involved assault with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury. The charge stems from an incident last April 25th, to which Los Angeles Police responded. According to documents from the District Attorney, Love assaulted a woman by the name of Kristin King by throwing a bottle and a metal flashlight at her.
Hey, I have seen Kiss of the Dragon and Daredevil, both of which depict homicide via stick pins, so the next time some prick bothers a woman, is it assualy with a deadly weapon likely to produce great bodily injury? Or what about shoving someone and they fall over? If applied with great enough velocity, the earth will kill you.

I guess the answer is, "Yes, if the prosecutor wants to intimidate you into pleading to a lesser charge."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
One More Reason to Not Like Java

It's an unstable, immature language for desktop applications, and people die from it.

(Link seen on Fark.)


Hugh Hewitt has the story of a visit by Toby Keith and Ted Nugent to a base in Iraq as part of a USO tour.

Thank you, gentlemen; you're proxies for us stateside, showing our appreciation for what our soldiers are doing.


Ever overheard a conversation when two people whom you don't really like gossiped about you? That's what I think of when I read this piece in Slate: Swingers: A guide to the swing states: Missouri.

    Like all Midwesterners, Missourians believe they reside in the most authentically American of places. I grew up in Kansas, just a few miles across the Missouri state line, and I'm guilty of this Midwestern indulgence—I'm fond of telling my wife, who's lived in New York, Texas, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., that she has yet to reside in the United States. What distinguishes Missourians, though, is that they stake their claim to genuine, right-thinking Americanness on more than mere geographical middlingness or plainness of speech. Show-Me Staters marshal reams of scientific data to back up their assertion of pure red-bloodedness.

    Texas brags that it's a "whole other country," but Missouri proudly declares that it is the whole country. Talk to a Missourian about the state's politics for more than a few minutes, and the words "microcosm" or "representativeness" are likely to surface.
Not if you talked to me, you coastal pipsqueak. I don't think Missouri is a microcosm or representative of the whole country any more than New York City, Washington, D.C., or Boston are. I do think that we in the Midwest understand better the regionalism of the country, that is, the properly federal nature of the United States. Becuase we know ourselves and because the media continually run as contrast a loop of the coastal, self-important mindset--which excludes the views of residents from elsewhere because it doesn't recognize they exist, or because it thinks that its postmodern intelligence and relativistic morality supercede the rubes, we recognize and understand the difference. But I digress. And I'm not smart enough to summarize the mindset of millions of people based on a three-day swing through the state.

I got chips like dandruff, brother, and coastal commentators brush them off rather glibly.

Is it just me, or is Slate becoming as unreadable as Salon these days? I admit freely, at the possible expense of the mounds of junk mail the Republican Party sends me, that I read Salon daily in the late 1990s. I found its writing edgy, hip, and concerned with culture, the arts, and affording me a different perspective. Heck's pecs, I even bought stock in Salon, for crying out loud--stock I hold to this day because I would spend more on broker's fees to sell it than I would get for it. But somewhere a little before it started requiring commercials, it became a one bongo drummer, thumping an uncompelling political beat.

Slate's about one bad day from losing my daily traffic, too. Cosmo types psychoanalyzing the quaint states that comprise the majority of the union and desecrating the dead rather repel me.

And Slate hasn't yet dissed Wisconsin yet.

Something Special in the Air

Aaron, of Free Will Blog, casts a critical eye and two rhetorical fists of iron upon the airline industry:
    It's something of an illusion to suggest 9/11 caused their problems. That's only a popular excuse for today: Despite air travel growing an average of 7% a year throughout the 90's, the airlines still struggled, and are still struggling today to deal with passenger drops from the Gulf War. In 1991. They weren't profitable in 2000, either.

    There are only two possibilities here: They are either incompetent, or the demand for the massive infrastructure they're trying to float simply isn't there. In either case, they suck at doing business, as demonstrated by last year's debacle, asking workers to take a 15% paycut to avoid bankruptcy, while simultaneously increasing their own bonuses to run away with more tax money in their pockets.
We're sucky crony capitalists, Aaron. We understand laissez-faire, where one company's (or industry's) weakness, failure, or strength means more opportunity for others.

Look at the Pretty Birds

Hey, I am from Milwaukee. I know all about the flying rat problem upon which Whitney Gould reports in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Aggressive and messy, gulls are the new urban menace:
    Like something out of a Hitchcock movie, they're lined up along the rooftops of buildings, on parking lots, on grassy plots, on the gravel wasteland left behind by demolition of the Park East Freeway spur. Gulls. They're everywhere, it seems - and so are their droppings.
Think that's the problem? No, sir, it's just a symptom. I got your real problem isolated:
    Scott Craven, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says a good food supply is part of the attraction in urban areas. "We've created a wonderful habitat for them after they were beaten back for years by egg and feather collectors and persecution," he says. "This is their rebound."

    The birds are protected by federal law, but when they reach nuisance levels, their eggs can be removed with permission of state and federal wildlife officials. In extreme cases, such as Manitowoc's, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has given local officials permission to shoot limited numbers of gulls.

    Andy Paulios, a state Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager, said the best approach is for communities to monitor gull numbers, recognize that the birds are here to stay and then work for a consensus on where they can be tolerated and where they cannot.
To summarize, the problem has three parts:
  1. Daft ecologists who think it's mother nature's appropriate retribution to Man.

  2. Federal law and requirements for permission slips from daddy Fed and mama State to take action.

  3. Bureaucrats who recommend more bureaucracy to solve the problem.
Class, is this story an example of a man versus nature or a man versus overbearing state authority conflict?

Back to Our Irregularly Scheduled

Pop-Up Mocker programming.

Monday, June 07, 2004
Hockey Heaven

  • Tampa Bay Lightning win Stanley Cup. In a hard fought, nail-biting series, Khabibulin proves the better goalie over Miikka Kiprusoff. Story

  • Brian Noggle wins Great Hockey Pool 2004. It's a little pool run by a former co-worker. Since I picked Tampa Bay to win the cup, with their victory I edged out some late competition. It's my second win in two years, marking the beginning of a dynasty. Of course, I've gotten much better at it now that we're not playing for real money.

  • Milwaukee Admirals sweep Wilkes-Barre / Scranton to win the American Hockey League's Calder Cup. Ah, my hometown team, the first hockey team that I ever saw play a game. Led by a lifetime minor-league goaltender, the Admirals hoist their first championship cup, bringing honor to my hometown and all 40 hockey fans in Milwaukee. Story
Regular blogging should resume tomorrow now that the Stanley Cup finals are over, and the NHL for that matter.

Another Head to Head Matchup

Sure, we've pitted Tommy Lee Jones against Michael Ironside to see who's the tougher, and we've matched Ani DiFranco against Pink to see who's the grittier authentic singer, but now we've got a monumental battle of epic proportions: Who's the tougher vampire slaying hottie?

Buffy "The Vampire Slayer" Summers


Anita "The Vampire Executioner" Blake

Both of them have frequent romantic dalliances with members of the supernatural, but I can forgive that. Gee, Buffy's perky and endowed with super powers which leaves her with martial arts skills and super strength. However, Anita Blake can raise the dead and doesn't mind usign firearms from time to time (every couple of minutes, almost). Advantage: Blake!

Full disclosure: I read the Anita Blake books in the mid nineties and had a crush on Anita Blake, who would be a perfect woman except for her undead fetish. I've only seen the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and haven't seen much of the television series. Because face it, Buffy's an also-ran.

Sunday, June 06, 2004
Book Review: Schott's Original Miscellany by Ben Schott (2002)

I bought this book as part of my "5 for $5.00" annual rejoining of the Quality Paperback club, which means that after shipping and handling, I only paid $16 total. And it's hardcover, not paperback. But that's enough about the pricing.

The book reminds me of The Book of Lists with a little less verve. Schott has collected numerous lists of trivia and has compiled them. No chapters. No themes. Just a hard dose of trivia for some of us to mainline before the shaking starts and our withdrawal begins. Still, I remember a couple of things from the book and I'll spring them at odd times or to ensure that the North Side Mind Flayers trivia night team emerges victorious.

So do I recommend it? If you can get it cheap, or if you can borrow it, or if you're into this sort of thing. It's not a compelling read, but it is something you can pick up during commercial breaks when watching sports on television and can put down again when the action resumes without losing your place.

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