Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, May 06, 2005
Got Nothing

As is often the case, I follow a day featuring an Instalanche with a day of nothing, just so I can sqander those residual hitz on emptiness.

Still, you could always click over to Draft Matt Blunt 2008 to see some of the reasons why Missouri Governor Matt Blunt would make a good president in 2008. Here are two to start:
  1. He's not Rod Blagojevich.

  2. He's not Jim Doyle.

Ironically, It Probably Worked

Forest fire 'biggest in 20 years': Landowner clearing burning site of grass ignited blaze:
    A landowner clearing grass from his campfire and debris-burning site to make it safer ignited a massive forest fire that consumed 3,900 acres in central Wisconsin yesterday, the state Department of Natural Resources said today.
Now that he's burned everything around his campsite to the bare earth and has removed the natural diet for herbivores which dangerous predators eat, he's probably got the safest campsite in Wisconsin. But nothing to do there.


Here's something for your Friday morning mirth: Baby Got Book

It's funny, it's earnest, and it not mockery. Beautiful!

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005
There's Reality, and There's Administration

Benton Harbor, Michigan, school officials prohibit a marching band from playing "Louie Louie":
    A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band was told not to perform "Louie Louie."

    Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.

    In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district - even though the marching band wasn't going to sing it.
That the lyrics aren't really raunchy didn't factor into the decision, apparently.

Another Surveillance Camera Triumph

Small explosions outside the British consulate in New York:
    Two "improvised explosive devices" made from "novelty-type grenades" have exploded in front of the building that houses the British Consulate in New York City, police and officials said.
Surveillance cameras, on duty, didn't prevent anything:
    Authorities were reviewing video from security cameras in the area, and no arrests have been made, Kelly said.
There, citizen, do you feel safer knowing that governments and other entities are putting cameras throughout public spaces for safety's sake? They didn't prevent this "bombing" and they haven't even provided leads yet.

Marquette's Mascot Symbolizes Its Ideal

Marquette Warriors mug My wife hates this mug. I've had it for over ten years, and it's been the workplace mug. You know the one, the one that gets rinsed out some days, but some days that step's overlooked. As a result, the inside bears the stain of thousands of cups of coffee. The outside's fading, too, and some of the images are flaking off. But I won't replace it this year.

I graduated from Marquette in 1994, the last year that Marquette used the Warriors as a mascot. The leaders at Marquette felt that Warriors was demeaning to Native Americans; just remember that when you call a Native American a warrior, it's like calling a black person a, well, one of those names. Or so the leadership of Marquette thought.

So in 1994, Marquette's mascot changed to the Golden Eagles. Because eagles don't sue, I guess. The move angered a number of alumni and certainly didn't impress the students. The controversy had percolated for a number of years, including polls among the students for new names (somehow, suggestions such as Jumpin' Jesuits and Fighting Octopi didn't make the student poll, and the most innocuous mascots did).

So I've held onto this cup, and a t-shirt that no longer fits, because it had the image and mascot which I associated with Marquette. Now that the university has put on a show of considering a new mascot, including a return to the Warriors, it has come up with something more abstract and more inane than Golden Eagles:

Marquette Gold


I guess it is important that your mascot symbolize and make concrete your ideals. Once, it was tenaciousness, hardiness, and other admirable traits. Then it was, what, freedom? Flight? Now, it's

I even wrote a column for the Marquette Tribune in 1992 defending the Warrior:
    Through These Eyes #6: The Great Mascot Controversy

    In the interest of saving the university some money, I would like to make my contribution to the "Name the Mascot" competition. There's no need for them to go throwing away money to a private consultant, even though I realize they just stuck us for ten percent more for just such academic emergencies. Let that much-needed cash go to making some dean's office more competitively decorated like that of other schools.

    Okay, the Native Americans got a little bent out of shape that the university used an image of a Native American for a while there. I know what great strain and emotional upset some of them must have gone through attending basketball games and seeing the mascot, even if it was a descendent of the original Native Americans. This great debate is not limited strictly to the campus. All over the country, groups of Native American are protesting the use of their heritage on athletic teams. I mean, I can understand. I abhor the New York Yankees. How dare they?

    So now the university needs a new, non-offensive mascot. Something that can be identified with the Warrior. I humbly submit the following. How about a white man dressed in skins carrying a club? Think about it, a nice barbarian figure for our sporting events. No, wait. That might be deemed too something-ist for our school if we featured a White European Male mascot like that. Besides, it is not a sort of figure easily identifiable with a Warrior. We'd hate to be mistaken for the Marquette Neanderthals.

    Okay, idea two. A nice knight figure. In armor. A chivalrous warrior. No, wait. That's still a European figure. Besides, some Arabic or Islamic groups might get angry because every few years a bunch of these guys would get together and try to take over the Middle East, or select parts thereof. Okay, check this out. An African tribesman. With a spear and paint. No, can't do that. The African Americans would have the same objections as the Native Americans.

    Well, how about a samurai in his battle robe and armor, helmet adorned with ox horns, quiver, gold-studded sword, his ancestral crest, the whole bit? Maybe a neat little pseudo-seppuku when the sports team is down? Oh, there's that blasted heritage argument again.

    How about that lone American warrior, the cowboy? Why not, Rick Fields classifies that historical figure as a warrior in his book The Code of the Warrior. Since I'm running low on ideas, why not? A six-gun and ten gallon hat, idealizing the American spirit of independence and swift justice. Uh-oh, wait a minute. Cowboys tended to shoot Native Americans, didn't they? Maybe this version of our mascot wouldn't placate them so well....

    I have to admit, I'm getting a little frustrated here. When I think of a Warrior from history, I tend to think in terms of different heritages like that, and that's already proven to be taboo. Either the Warrior was the member of a distinct ethnic group that can and will be offended, and/or they killed people of an offendable group.

    I mean, that's the way I see it. Of course, that is ignoring the common denominator among all Warriors, which is some sort of hardiness and bravery, a willingness to risk their very lives in pursuit of what they thought was right, the skills of life and death intertwined into a person who would kill or die for honor and justice. The Native American Warrior did this. Maybe having a brave as our mascot is not so much a way of spitting on a race of man and saying "Nyah nyah, you injun," as it is a way of showing respect for a gallant breed of our species and the finest their culture produced. Or, I guess we could have Patty Smythe mousse up her hair and paint her face up and start singing, "Shooting out the walls of heartache, bang-bang..." But that might get a bit expensive.
Sorry, honey, the mug will go on for at least another decade. But I won't make you wash it.

Other thoughts:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Dr. Brian Performs a Humor Transplant

Laura Bush at the White House Correspondents' Dinner:
    He's learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse.
Blogosphere reaction:
  • But on Saturday night, Laura Bush set a new standard. After interrupting her husband and telling him to sit down, she did a stand-up routine that included what was probably the first joke told in earshot of a president that involved him and a horse's phallus. (John Tierney, New York Times)

  • The First Lady resorting to cheap horse masturbation jokes is not much better than Whoopi Goldberg trafficking in dumb puns on the Bush family name. Unlike many Beltway and Manhattan commentators, I do not think the Wonkette-ization of the White House is a good thing. (Michelle Malkin)

  • So, thanks, Laura, for leaving us with that picture of George with a horse's penis in his hand! (Ann Althouse)

  • (countless others)
Good gravy, people, get a .... well, control of yourselves. Do I need to diagram this humor on the blackboard?

  1. He tried to milk a horse, but grasping the teats of the animal didn't produce milk because it was a horse.

  2. What's more, it was a male horse. You see, even if it had been a cow, Bush's folly would have been for naught!
For crying out loud, the teats and the phallus are at different ends of the beast, and the joke makes no mention of handjobs or masturbation.

JFC, what kinds of things do you have in your DVD players that led you to this conclusion?

Personally, I am outraged enough with the whole concept of milking which requires manually grasping bestial teats. Perhaps this explains the preference I have had for beer over milk ever since elementary school. But do we have to always drag the level of discourse into the gutter when we could leave it, well enough alone, in the udder?

(Unfortunately, I have Wonkettized this post, since hers is the blog where I found the transcript without, surprisingly, added sexual connotations.)

Holiday Greetings

Happy Star Wars Day from Michele Catalano.

That's No Pooch

You know, they say that dogs are pack animals....

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Rasputin Lives! Well, Not Quite

The Madison County, Illinois, Coroner is awful quick to call it suicide:
    Franklin E. Carver, 67, of the 2700 block of Greenwood Lane, shot himself five times - three times in the head and twice in the chest - inside his home Wednesday, but none of the shots was immediately fatal, authorities said. Carver then got into his customized van and drove 10 minutes to the Clark Bridge, where he parked in the bicycle lane and jumped off the south side of the bridge as a frantic motorist called 911 from a cell phone.

    "This is probably the most unusual suicide case I've ever seen in my career," said Lt. David Hayes of the Alton Police Department. "It's a bizarre case; it really is."

    The Madison County coroner said Monday that preliminary autopsy results indicate Carver, who had several convictions, died of drowning. During the autopsy, performed Sunday, doctors pulled five small-caliber bullets that had lodged in Carver's body. The three shots to the head did not penetrate the skull, while one shot to the chest missed vital organs and the other struck the liver.
Mystery readers and writers want to hear more about this "frantic motorist" who called 911.


I am less Republican than Dustbury:

I am:
"Congratulations, you're a swing voter. When they say 'Nascar Dad', they mean you. Every Republican ad on the TV set was made just for your viewing pleasure. Don't you feel special?"

Are You A Republican?

The Love Songs of Brian J. Prufrock

I grow old . . . I grow old . . . I shall buy a CD box set of Hall and Oats.

Monday, May 02, 2005
My Geekiness Makes Me Weak

I watch this over and over again: Sith Apprentice on Atom Films.

(Link seen on Ipse Dixit.)

Practical Joke of the Day

The laws of economics have really pulled a good one on the AFL-CIO:
    AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney, who is facing challenges from some of the labor federation's largest member unions, yesterday acknowledged that the organization is financially squeezed and may have to lay off a quarter of its workforce.
If only those employees had a union....

(Link seen on Asymmetrical Info.)

More Brains

Special nod for creative presentation to the folks at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who chose an unflattering picture of Pope Benedict XVI to accompany this story in Sunday's "News Analysis" section:

Pope Benedict XVI
Click for full size

Jeez, I would have guessed that as a movie still from a zombie movie. What the heck? Would it have hurt so much to include a dignified photo?

Eh, probably. Akin to sunlight on undead journalist flesh.

Book Report: Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story by Paul Aurandt (1977)

I inherited this book, but it is marked fifty cents, so my aunt must have gotten a fairly good deal on it at a yard sale. It's probably worth that much, but not more. For those of you who don't know, you damn kids, Paul Harvey is the Internet for radio. His news programs are full of folksy, mostly true eye-twinkling stories of Americana interspersed with drop ins for macular degeneration medicine and expensive bed systems. Sort of like Charles Brennan's show on KMOX, except with wit, charisma, and intelligence. Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story features longer bits that tell an anecdote or story about a known or unknown historical persona. Once again, the stories Paul Harvey tells are as true as the Internet: probably true, but don't base a doctoral dissertation on the premise or anecdote.

This book captures 81 stories of that nature. Paul Aurandt, Paul Harvey's child (not a love child left behind in Indiana, either; Aurandt is Paul Harvey's last name) collects them, and although I don't know if it's really the case, I suspect he wrote them. Did Paul Harvey read them on the air? Who knows? The style, unfortunately, reflects that tone and pacing, though.

Unfortunately, the pacing of a short radio program doesn't translate well to the page. It's too short and choppy. I've a similar complaint to Charles Osgood for his collections of The Osgood Files. It's odd, though, that radio doesn'tt ranslate well, whereas television vignettes of similar duration--such as Dennis Miller's rants or Andy Rooney's minutes--do. Were I that interested, I would break down and scan the programs for variations in rhythm displayed when the speaker knows he cannot see the audience and they him.

At any rate, the book was a quick read, easy to pick up for a short duration of reading, and engaging in that these stories want you to guess before the conclusion whose story you're reading. So it's a short time waster, brain fodder, and probably eighty percent or more accurate.

Post-Dispatch Beats the Merger Drum Louder

Do it for the jurors!
    But perhaps nowhere would such a merger be more welcomed than in the city's courts, where the average juror repeats service every 39 months. That kind of civic burden is unheard of elsewhere in the St. Louis area.
No, wait, who would benefit from a merger?
    In his inaugural speech last month, Mayor Francis Slay suggested it might be time for the city and county to reunite. St. Louis split from the county in 1876.

    Rejoining the two could save money for both by combining services such as fire and police. It would also go a long way in helping officials share the burden of parks and stadiums enjoyed by residents across the region.
The city wants to "share the burden" of parks and stadiums (and arenas) with neighboring areas. The city could use the money, and undoubtedly is really very sorry about leaving the county in 1876, when it didn't want to waste its money on the surrounding area.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch continues to bang this drum on its own to, well, drum up support for the idea, but I don't think it will (and sincerely hope it won't) convince the more populous county to link up with a carcass whose politicians have sucked it dry and are still hungry.

Well-Informed Journalist

Group Pushes Restricting of Cold Medicine:
    An association representing more than 36,000 pharmacies is issuing guidelines for possible federal legislation to restrict sales of cold medications containing a substance often used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine — or "speed."
Amphetamines are speed. Methamphetamines are crank.

But that's just the word on the street, as filtered by a blogger who only hears the silence on the cul-de-sac.

Meanwhile, the media gives play to a group espousing more regulation. Shocker. Put out the Drudge siren. Speaking of which, why does everyone call the rotating light image the "Drudge siren"? Sirens make a sound. The Drudge Siren does not. Why does the blogging world insist upon destroying the semantic difference between light and siren.

Brian Sides With Big Business, Again

CNet reports that Cities brace for broadband war. Why a war?
    A hundred years ago, when Louisiana was still literally in the dark, residents of Lafayette banded together to build a city-owned electric utility where once there was little more than swampland. Today, at the dawn of the 21st century, it is hatching plans to lay out its own state-of-the-art fiber-optic broadband network.

    This time, the city's futuristic ambitions are challenged not by the rigors of geography but by obstacles of business: specifically, telecommunications giant BellSouth and cable provider Cox Communications, which claimed the region as their own years ago. But the historic coastal community, known for its eclectic culture and rhythmic Zydeco music, is not about to abandon the pioneering spirit that begat its visionary reputation.
So who's resisting? Aside from advocates of a limited government, who think that governments shouldn't waste vast sums of money on gee-whiz gimcracks that benefit a limited number of residents, the businesses whose customers the local government is turning into government dependents:
    Across the country, acrimonious conflicts have erupted as local governments attempt to create publicly funded broadband services with faster connections and cheaper rates for all citizens, narrowing the so-called digital divide. The Bells and cable companies, for their part, argue that government intervention in their business is not justified and say they are far better equipped to operate complex and far-flung data networks.
You know I agree with the businesses here. Just because the government can provide a service doesn't mean it should. Who on the green, green earth would want all of their Internet traffic going directly through routers and servers managed by the government? I guess those who would get it free and would eventually fight tooth and nail, complete with sob stories about how little Timmy wouldn't get his educational Internet or streaming media, should the government ever need to cut the superfluous expense.

Sunday, May 01, 2005
Poor Balance Checkbook on Backs of Missouri Phone Customers

The short item in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, bearing the innocuous-sounding title "Additional fee on phones starts Sunday", but it tells a story of the creeping socialism of modern life:
    Beginning Sunday, Missouri telephone customers will pay an additional universal service fee to help subsidize telephone service for the poor and disabled.
Not that I am entirely without heart, but when did schnucking telephone service become a right necessitating public subsidy?

Let's take bets....what's the next thing that the government will subsidize or force us to subsidize through service fees?
  • Cable television?
  • Cellular phone service?
  • Cellular phone service for The Children?
  • Internet connections in every home?
  • Trips to the doctor and free prescriptions every time you get a sniffle?
  • Professional landscaping services?
Yes, number 5 is very popular, but watch for the others to sneak in while we're fighting against free health care.

Spot the Spurious Assertion

Gentle reader, I present to you this review of Ntozake Shange's novel Betsey Brown and ask you to spot the spurious assertion within.

Here's a hint:
    But even if they had shared temporal as well as physical space, the Smiths wouldn't have invited the middle-class, African-American Browns for a stroll in Forest Park.
Because whites, dear friends, are inherently racist, and if you're presented with a white character from America before 1960 (and beyond, if the white character votes Republican or Libertarian or anything to the right of the middle of the Democrat party, to the present day), you can certainly assume that off-page characterization would include racism.

Perhaps I am speaking out of school, friends, as I have neither seen the movie version of nor have I read the book Meet Me In St. Louis (because, as you long time readers know, I am not a St. Louis partisan who would invite someone to meet me in this metro area; I am more of the We're In St. Louis, Now What? camp). So perhaps the DVD's deleted scenes have the Smith family's participation in the Klan's rites, or maybe the book presents a stark view of how the normal white family in the early 20th century hated and oppressed black people or wouldn't be seen publicly walking with them, for crying out loud.

Or one could assume, as I do, that the author of this piece wants to inject that little poison into the common thought, that all white Americans have always been embarrassed or oppressive of their black fellow citizens. Because once this truth is accepted, we white Americans must guiltily attone until Sisyphus perches his rock.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Senseable Spending Could Drive Missouri Further into Mediocrity

STATE SPENDING LIMITS: Trashing our future:
    THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE approved a bill this month that is guaranteed to sink Missouri further into miserly mediocrity, while the rest of the country passes us by.

    It would enshrine in the Missouri Constitution the shortchanging of our public schools, the decline of our state universities and the neglect of the poor and sick, abused children and the mentally ill.

    Over the long haul, it would undercut the state's economy, kill jobs and make Missouri a poorer, meaner place to live. It might increase crime, too.

    The committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit increases in state general spending to the rise in state population, plus the rise in consumer prices and medical inflation. It would require a vote of the people to spend more than a smidgen over that limit. The effect would be to freeze spending at about today's shriveled levels.
I cannot begin to comment coherently upon this editorial. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch encourages unbridled growth the of state government apparatus and, undoubtedly, of the wealth transfer from everyone who is not dependent on government for basic luxuries to those who are (that is, the "needy" or "state employees").

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