Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, November 05, 2004
Everyone Needs a Hobby

In this story, entitled "Rogue pilot ruffles feathers on migration", we discover that some people do their part to improve the world by flying planes to lead migrating cranes south for the winter.

And sometimes those crazy calhouns get upset:
    As a pilot, crane impersonator and chief executive officer of Operation Migration - the whooping crane migration organization - Duff's emotional well-being relies upon making sure his cranes are happy and healthy.

    So when a rogue ultralight pilot recently sneaked up behind his craft and cranes - as the whoopers were migrating south over Illinois' Lee and DeKalb counties - Duff's mood darkened.

    "For the most part, the ultralight community has been very respectful" about the crane project, he said. If they see Duff and his flying family coming, they get out of the way and land.

    But this time, an unidentified pilot decided to come in for a closer look.

    "I'd seen them ahead of me - maybe about a mile or so in front," he said. There were two crafts, he said. And they moved off to the side.

    Not long after that, he noticed that his birds were falling out of formation and trying to fly ahead of him.

    At first, this didn't ruffle him too much.

    The cranes see Duff and his plane as their parent. And, like any kid, they'll occasionally challenge their sire's authority. When young cranes do this during migration, they fly ahead.

    But this time, Duff said, the birds looked more frightened than sassy. That's when he realized something was wrong.

    He was being tailed.
Man, there's so much snark to be had that I only have time to offer a sample:
  • In its white papers, Operation Migration probably describes itself as the leading migration organization which delivers value in a rapid-flight market or something. The migration organization.

  • In addition to oppressing women, killing dissidents, and funding terror, most Middle East societies probably don't personally lead migratory birds to their winter (or wet season) habitats. Time to liberate some seedcrackers.

  • Dude's wife, if he's married, has probably resigned herself to marriage with an adulterer, whether that's the case or not. Come on, "Honey, I'm going to fly the birds to Texas this week"? She's probably even mad at him for not lying better.

  • The fellow, in addition to being the leading defender of cranes, is also the leading proponent of an annual season on ultralights.
Bah, that's enough for now.

Rolled a 1 on d6

For those of you who are paranoid enough to want a secret door but are trusting enough to buy one off the shelf, on your credit card, there's Hidden

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Blasting Bush? Blasting Us

Drudge proclaims that UK PAPERS TRASH BUSH and displays the cover of the Daily Mirror, which features a headline How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB? (See it here.)

My friends, that's not a blast at Bush. That's a blast to those of us who voted for Bush, and indirectly a blast all of America.

Whether Americans who agree with the sentiment know it or not.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Michael Moore, Depressed? Are You Kidding?

I've seen speculation on blogs this morning and heard it on the radio that Michael Moore must be depressed this morning. If you think so, you're crazy.

Michael Moore has achieved greater infamy and fiscal success in the last four years of his ranting and raving (mostly raving) about George W. Bush. A John Kerry presidency would have proved limiting for Michael Moore's "talents." Fortunately, Michael Moore can continue now with the "work" that has proven so lucrative for him.

Will Darren Sharper Testify?

If the maelstrom of lawsuits comes, will Green Bay Packer safety Darren Sharper testify, as an expert for the defense, upon the theft of an election that was a guaranteed Kerry victory based on the unrelated and certainly non-causual occurrence regarding the Redskins' wins and losses preceding a presidential election?

If so, the Republicans should call Manny Ramirez to testify that 2004 is an outlier, wherein historical streaks come to an end.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
How Cool Is That?

In an e-mail with a friend, I just referred to Israel as the Middle East's oldest democracy.

How cool is that? That would be a legacy for a president, ainna?

An Attack on Free Speech

I don't know which is worse, the headline "Dutch filmmaker accused of ridiculing Islam slain", with its passive voice implication that maybe he had it coming to him since he was, after all, accused of ridiculing Islam, or the first paragraph:
    A controversial Dutch filmmaker accused by Muslims of ridiculing their religion was stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam on Tuesday, shocking the Netherlands where the killing was denounced as an attack on free speech.
Pardon my Midwestern simplicity here, but I think that a more basic right was violated somewhere along the line. But to some people, the metaphor's more important than the concrete, and the abstract more important than the specific, and you cannot suffer along with the oppressed dead guy if it's just murder--but if it's suppression of free speech, it's just like Bush's America!

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

The Funniest Thing on the St. Louis County Ballot

    Preposition A: Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended so that any County assistance of value, whether direct or indirect, to development of a professional sports facility, requires prior to any assistance being given that the County Auditor first prepare a fiscal note and that the governing body proposing to take action to provide financial assistance hold a public hearing and that the financial assistance be approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the County voting thereon?
Jeez, in the last ten years, they've built or funded a new hockey/basketball arena, a football stadium, and a baseball stadium. This will pretty much eliminate a new professional dog racing track or perhaps an Olympic venue.

On the other hand, if this passes, it will be funny to see how the politicos in power deal with the trigger in the St. Louis Rams' current lease that they can leave if the Edward Jones Dome falls out of the top ten facilities in the nation. Undoubtedly, the County and the city will find money to refurbish professional sports arenas without a pesky hearing.

Michael Moore of Video Gaming

Spare us the enlightened citizens' re-education through First Person Shooters. From the Entertainment Weekly profile of the forthcoming Halo 2:
    Clearly, there are political and religious dimensions to Halo 2 that were absent from the first game. ("You could look at [the story] as a damning condemnation of the Bush administration's adventure in the Middle East," admits Staten.) Such provocative themes were bound to come under the scrutiny of Microsoft's legal team. Even as the game was getting its final polish, lawyers forced Staten to change the name of an alien antagonist, arguing that it carried Muslim overtones. Staten objected. Nonetheless, some of the voice actors (who include Michelle Rodriguez, Ron Perlman, and Miguel Ferrer) were called back to rerecord dialogue only weeks before the final version was delivered.
My knee jerk reaction is to condemn it out of hand, but hey, he's a storyteller, and he can tell the story he wants. We in the West allow people to express themselves and seek to better our own consciousnesses by understanding other cultures, even those completely at odds with our way of life.

Hey, that's well and good. Just so we don't forget that our culture affords tolerance and certain parts of ours does not, and our culture, though imperfect, is better than the peak of Islamicism and we defend it.

(Link seen on The Bleat, which is a daily column from some obscure Minnesotan newspaperman.)

In Order to Form a More Perfect Punned-It-Ocracy I

The friendly woman at the gym did really say that the friendly staph was there to serve us?

In Order to Form a More Perfect Punned-It-Ocracy II

I guess, then, as the opposite of disenfranchised voter, an enfranchised voter is a voter whose product, votes, is available in many different locations, such as several different polling places or states.

Monday, November 01, 2004
McClellan Wants a Draft

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bill McClellan favors a draft for important reasons:
    The military used to be the Church of the Second Chance. If a youngster got in trouble, he was often given the choice - the military or jail.
I think that's the only actual reason why he favors a draft. The rest is a ramble.

Steinberg Didn't Say That, Did He?

It looks like Neil Steinberg said this:
    That isn't enough, however. Christianity never seems happy unless it is on the march, and why be satisfied practicing your faith when you can also try to impose it upon others?
Outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.

Your One Stop Paranoia Shop

Okay, so read this bit in Ann Althouse's Dick Cheney's Hawaiian visit:
    5) Another very pretty girl whom I could only conclude was a Secret Service groupie. She came in and as I gave her a lei she held up her Bush Cheney sign and asked where she could get autographs from Secret Service guys. I pointed them out to her but told her I didn't know if she'd have any luck. I saw her after the event and she had managed to get several!
So here's the question from your shidoshi of paranoia:
    What can someone forge with a Secret Service agent's signature?

And Next....

Note to Pediatrics: Instead of banning BB guns and paintball guns because FOUR CHILDREN A YEAR or fewer die from them, how about we focus first on the more dangerous schnucking STAIRCASES and BATHTUBS, which kill far more?

Because they don't look like EEEEEEEEVIL GUNS? Okay, then, as long as we understand the real goal here.

Coming soon in this month's Musings magazine: a study about how deadly raging academic stupidity is. Never mind the study or the methodology, the press release announcing the study is the important thing.

Book Review: MENSA Think-Smart Book by Dr. Abbie F. Salny & Leris Burke Frumkes (1986)

I picked this book at a yard sale some years ago and have just gotten around to it now. It's a thin book, 124 pages, broken into chapters that provide different puzzles/means of cognition and intelligent ways to approach them. Memorization tips, visual skills, and whatnot.

It's an interesting little book, with nice little tricks. However, it's not going to put me over the cusp into the warm embrace of Mensa, mostly because the book doesn't cure lazy. But if you're motivated to improve your thought, it's a quick enough read.

Interesting Occurrence

As some of you know, I was home in Milwaukee this weekend. As some of you in Wisconsin know, John Kerry and George Bush are holding simultaneous rallies in downtown Milwaukee (please don't anything blow up).

I knew about the Kerry rally the minute I walked down Wisconsin because I was accosted by Kerry volunteers on every corner who wanted my attendance.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have known about the Bush rally if I hadn't seen it on the news.

I hope this smacks of a certain amount of desperation to get bodies--that Bush has already filled up the convention center and that Kerry needs street people to fill the plaza outside the Starbucks. But who knows? One sees what one wants to see.

Channelling Pejman

I feel so Pejmanic posting this love poem, but he started it with all the poems he's posting these days. So here's on with which I became reacquainted this weekend:

by David Gilmour

Cruise you are making me sing
Now you have taken me under your wing
Cruise, we both know you're the best
How can they say you're like all the rest

Cruise, we're both travelling so far
Burning out fast like a shooting star
Cruise I feel sure that your song will be sung
And will ring in the ears of everyone

Saving our children, saving our land
Protecting us from things we can't understand
Power and Glory, Justice and Right
I'm sure that you'll help us to see the light
And the love that you radiate will keep us warm
And help us to weather the storm

Cruise, you have taken me in
And just when I've got you under my skin
You start ignoring the fears I have felt
'Cause you know you can always make my poor heart melt

Please don't take what I'm saying amiss
Or misunderstand at a time such as this
Because if such close friends should ever fall out
What would there be left worth fighting about

Power and glory, justice and right
I'm sure that you'll help them to see the light
Will you save our children, will you save our land
And protect us from all the things we can't understand?
Power and glory and justice for all
Who will we turn to when your hard rain falls

(Lyric source.) It's from his album About Face, and somehow I think this 1984esque song probably meant it as satire.

I, on the other hand, remember the feelings I had when I sat in a stadium in southwest Missouri and an A10 flew over. An ugly machine crafted only to rain fire and death. Even though I knew this, I was happy that our technology is better than theirs. All of them others theirs.

The Deity Speaks?

It's rumored at Powerline that Brett Favre has spoken:

    UPDATE: Hah! It's true what they say about Karl Rove. Dusty Tryggestad writes:
      Actually, my mom recieved a recorded message from Brett Favre supporting Bush. Reference was made to today's win vs the Redskins. I would imagine this is playing all over Wisconsin.
    I think this could make the difference in Wisconsin. I mean, really.
St. Louisians, this is not the equivalent of an Ozzie Smith endorsement; this is Jack Buck and Kurt Warner (2000) telling you to vote for a candidate.

If true.

Sunday, October 31, 2004
Book Review: Judge Me Not by John D. MacDonald (1951)

I bought this book from my aunt at our semiannual yard sale, and I insisted upon paying her the whole blooming quarter because I don't want to have her come begging from money from us when Social Security collapses. Also, I like John D. MacDonald.

I have to admit that this is the most exciting tale of a City Manager I've ever read. Of course, the city manager and his assistant are going to rid a small town of the syndicate, which this book charmingly misspells as maffia because it was written before the Godfather came out. The Maffia don't want to go cleanly, and before the 160 pages elapse, murder, kidnaping, and other various mayhem erupts. Also, there's a fair amount of sex.

I grew up on these potboilers, or at least kettlewhistlers, and I've forgotten how much fun they are to read (and they're very instructive, too; for example, one can learn a lot about how to treat members of the opposite sex, particularly women of the night with hearts of gold). So I ventured to Downtown Books this weekend and bought a couple more.

I wonder if John D. MacDonald, churning several paperback originals a year throughout the 1950s and 1960s, could imagine how well his books would hold up so that some punk kid in the 21st century would read them and find inspiration.

I bet he didn't.

Book Review: Interior Desecrations by James Lileks (2004)

I bought this book on the remainder rack at Borders for $1.00. It's by a relatively obscure columnist from Minnesota....

All right, all right, I bought the book full price, okay? Lileks gets his fifteen cents of my money. Not that he needs it with his following, wherein acolytes daily stoop at his altar and do whatever his voice commands them.

The book features photos of mod (er, sorry, slang from the wrong decade) rooms depicted in interior design magazines from the 1970s interspersed with Lileks' wit. Undoubtedly, most of them are outliers on the stylishness scale, but you've got to see them to believe them. Sure, it's a rip-off of an X-Entertainment feature from a couple years back, but hey, Lileks has the pull to get it into print.

That aside, I liked this book more than I liked The Gallery of Regrettable Food because man, I can remember what it was like in the 1970s. A lot of the rooms in the book were in finished basements or in attics turned into additional bedrooms. Who has those now? Out here in the suburbs, houses are carefully crafted to have no space into which you can expand.

Also, this book reminded me of my red velvet table. You see, when I was in middle school, my family received a houseware which was essentially a cable spool wrapped in a shaggy red fabric. It's a trailer park thing, you dig? When we moved into an actual house, we brought it along. I took it to college. I brought it home from college. I moved it to my apartment. Hey, it was a functional piece of furniture, of which I had a full eight in my apartment. Then it ran (or rolled) headlong into my wife, who has taste.

So I could relate better to this book because, quite frankly, but a birth a couple decades too late, I could have decorated like this. Actually, some of it's kind of interesting. So I might yet. Also, Lileks's text is shorter and more less linear than in TGORF, where he examined entire cookbooks in detail and each section ran on beyond its natural lifespan. With only a photograph to go on, Lileks' quick humor fits better. Also, I read it in a night.

And I have a collector's edition, which contains an incomplete word wrap erratum in the the author bubble on page 11. So run out and get yours before they correct it in the next printing. I read this book in Milwaukee, though, a city where no one can spell anything anyway, so this error was only one of many, many I encountered this weekend so I'll let Lileks off easily by not crippling his Web host with a Briantrickle from this review. Hey, it's almost the least I could do.

Watch This Space

Here's a story in the New York Times: Ethnic Clashes Erupt in China, Leaving 150 Dead. What ethnicities?
    Violent clashes between members of the Muslim Hui ethnic group and the majority Han group left nearly 150 people dead and forced authorities to declare martial law in a section of Henan Province in central China, journalists and witnesses in the region said today.
I don't think China will have a long term problem with Islamicism because it will take extreme measures early. So take some comfort, fellows, that Sharia law will never encircle the globe, for even if we cannot stop it, there are other competing civilizations that can and would.

Book Review: Highlander: The Element of Fire by Jason Henderson (1995)

I bought this paperback (oh, the horror, the horror!) from the local library for a quarter. Heather and I, although we're upper middle class, we're the evil upper middle class who buy books second hand so the poor starving artists don't receive their pittances and from the library for less than the books are worth as sort of another tax break for us. Muhahaha!

So what you've got here, basically, is a book about immortals that was published ten years ago based on a movie that came out twenty years ago. Wrap your heads around that. Man, where was I ten years ago? Working as an assistant editor at a magazine and moonlighting as a produce clerk, which is where I was when I got the call that my father died. Man, that's a heavy thing to come up from a cheap little multimedia tie-in book like this, but wow, has it been ten years since that syndicated television show aired? Yessir.

This book, which might have been the first in the series, features the characters from the movie and the series and they run about, lopping off other immortals' heads, which really means that the immortals are only mostly immortal, but if you don't know the mythology of the bit before you pick up the book, you probably wouldn't pick it up in the first place, even for a quarter. But I digress....don't I?

Unlike the first movie and most of the episodes of the television series I saw, this book takes place entirely in the past, with an old immortal who thinks he's a god and who doesn't understand the rules of the Game, which to be honest I'm not entirely sure of, either. But he vows revenge on Duncan and Connor Macleod. 220 pages later, it doesn't work so well.

Sorry to ruin it, but the Highlander lives on to fight in other books in the line. It's not a bad junk read, a bit slow in spots, and I sometimes get the sense that the author has done just enough historical research to mention but not really give much sense of place. But the flaws with the book--that it's written with a definite sense of being adapted from television and lacking in proper setting and mood--come with the genre.

Giving Capitalists a Bad Name

Special invective to James Mosby, undoubtedly what Ayn Rand would call a moocher, for this outburst reprinted in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch Business story entitled "Companies can call the shots on office space":
    "It's an unfair playing field," said James Mosby, a vice president with the commercial real estate firm Colliers Turley Martin Tucker.

    "There's a lot more office space than there are tenants ... I think it will swing back in the other direction in the future," he said. "But whether it's 12 months or 24 months, I just can't say."
Undoubtedly, Mr. Mosby and his firm desperately need corporate tax incentives and other handouts to continue constructing empty office buildings and parks. Still, Mosby plays to the Post-Dispatch's favorite type, that of the wealthy businessman or corporateman who only thinks it's fair if he holds the scarce resource and can demand exorbitant sums for it, preferably from the poor, widows, and orphans.

However, allow me to speak for my small cadre of small-time capitalists without offices downtown and without commission seats, luxury boxes, or connections with the ruling families of our community--and by small cadre, I mean me--when I say, "Shut up and scratch your own back for crying out loud."

Easy Target

I stopped reading an article entitled "Lawyers argue over $50 fee designed to replenish fund that helps poor", before I got to the "The Internationale". Actually, I stopped pretty much after the first couple of paragraphs:
    What's $50 to a lawyer? A nice lunch or a designer tie?

    For many lawyers, $50 amounts to not even one billable hour.

    But a proposal to assess members of the State Bar of Wisconsin $50 to help pay for civil legal services for the poor has led to a pretty strong debate among attorneys.

    Without the $50 assessments, the foundation that helps fund legal service programs will be broke and out of business soon, said Deborah M. Smith, past president of the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation.
I didn't make it to the part at the bottom where the socialism-loving journalist decides that she's going to kick in any of her salary to help out. But then again, as a crusading journalist out to reallocate the funds of other people, she's contributing enough just framing stories in a right-minded fashion.

Goalie Is Juxtaposition In Hockey and Soccer

While I was in Milwaukee this weekend, the Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer team lost their home opener on Friday night to the Chicago Storm.

But apparently there's more to the story. Because check out this account of the Milwaukee Admirals hockey game that took place the very same night:
    Wave goaltender Brian Finley played the entire game and turned away 31 shots by the Grizzlies. Utah goaltender faced 22 shots and made 21 saves.
No wonder the Wave were challenged; their goalie was playing hockey in Utah instead of playing soccer in Milwaukee!

I caught the Admiral game in Milwaukee on Saturday night and have to say that the kid handles skates, pads, and pucks pretty well. I wonder how he does on the turf.

Do you think this would be a good cover letter to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel with my resume and a value proposition that, as a junior sports writer, at least I can tell the sports and the teams that play them apart?


Just received this important message in my junk e-mail box:
    A week ago, we sent you an email asking for help debunking anti-Bush documents. After receiving hundreds of responses, it become clear that all the documents were actually real: the Bush/Cheney DUIs, the Ken Lay letters, and even the bin Laden memo. For more information visit the documents page: <link removed>.

    We also received hundreds of emails from concerned bloggers that eloquently expressed the problems with the Bush administration. And as we traveled across America campaigning for Bush, we learned more than we wanted to know about Bush's policies. We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people.

    As a result, we are abandoning our support of Bush and officially endorsing John Kerry for President. You can read more at the Yes Bush Can web site:
    <link deleted> We deeply regret our misguided support and apologize for our previous email. This will be the last email we will send directly to bloggers. If you want to join us in supporting Kerry, you can find out more here: <link deleted>.

    Thank you for your understanding,

    Yes Bush Can
I'd blame it on the Democrat counterpart of Karl Rove, but unfortunately this as diabolically genius as they can do. Diabolically third grade.

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