Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Friday, September 09, 2005
SPAMIS, that Microsoft-hating, anti-spam group whose very mention has brought most of my traffic (Google-driven as it may be), has issued another communique, an unsolicited e-mail message which concludes:
    Fully "READY" to Begin Increasing Public Service Announcement
    Emails to 20 Times the Amount of Internet Users by 25 Times the 
    Current Sending Rate & Speed When a Certain Activity Transpires.  
Of course, as I've read too many mystery novels and have watched my share of film noir, I automatically assume that the means something of extortion, but perhaps I am simplistic in thinking that perhaps this SPAMIS group is threatening to send MORE SPAM unless Microsoft comes through with....???

Real World a Harsh Mistress
Perhaps the striking Northwest mechanics should contemplate crawling back to their wife and begging her forgiveness:
    David Pounds, a 22-year mechanic, said he was thinking of changing careers, maybe selling cars. He's had job interviews, but hasn't had any offers.

    "People are reluctant to hire a guy on strike," he said.

    He has also had trouble finding a job that pays as much. Union mechanics made $70,000 a year on average. "The last company I interviewed with, the compensation was a joke," Pounds said.
The last company he interviewed with was probably not relying on government handouts to remain almost solvent, but that's unrelated, no doubt.

Thursday, September 08, 2005
Like a Star Putting On Sunglasses
Nuke Reactors on Campuses Keep Low Profile:
    For University of Missouri tailgaters, the name of the new parking lot down the hill from Memorial Stadium is little more than a curiosity: Reactor Field, a nod to the nearby nuclear research reactor.

    The nation's largest university-based reactor keeps an intentionally low local profile, despite its cutting-edge research into promising cancer drugs.
Nothing says "incognito" like naming a facility used by thousands of unknowledgeable, transient sports fans after the "low profile" nuclear reactor which is plainly visible from Providence (name of road redacted for security reasons).

Any Excuse Will Do
New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms as Water Recedes:
    Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.
Confiscate weapons before a forced migration of peoples. Sounds familiar....

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

Hopefully, This Means Layoffs
Katrina could cost 400,000 jobs: CBO:
    The damage from Hurricane Katrina could include up to 400,000 lost jobs and slower U.S. growth, a congressional report said on Wednesday, as President George W. Bush sought $51.8 billion in fresh aid for the disaster zone.
If the Congressional Budget Office is so sure of the number, perhaps that's the number the Federal government plans to lay off.

Otherwise, they're just pulling smoke out of their arse.

Campaign Finance for the Unreformed - Germany
Here's one of the other things you get when government pays for political advertising:
    A fringe German anarchist party has outraged national television audiences with its election campaign television spot -- a video montage of booze-fuelled chaos, syringes and men cavorting with topless women.


    Rather than offer any presentation of policies, the party's campaign spot spliced together scenes of debauched revellers smashing furniture, pouring beer down each other's throats and groups of couples kissing and groping each other, all set to a frantic heavy metal soundtrack.

    As an officially registered political party, the Hamburg-based APPD, which sells t-shirts on its Web site that proclaim "Arbeit ist Scheisse" ("work is shit"), is entitled to free television air time for its advertisements.
Of course this group is approved. Although embarrassing, it is no real threat to the established order. Anything else simply isn't government-approved.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Book Report: The World's Best Dirty Jokes by Mr. "J" (1976, 1979)
If future archeologists unearth a copy of this tome, they will undoubtedly think that the 1970s were a repressed period. I mean, this book collects some jokes that might have been considered dirty circa 1948, but in the 1970s, mildly off color words weren't shocking enough to cause startled laughter in joke listeners, much less joke readers.

This book was originally published in 1976, but I purchased a special 1979 printing at the YMCA for a buck. Let that be your guide. I bought it at a fundraiser at the Young Man's Christian Association in 2005. Jeez, I knew better dirty jokes in 1979, and I was in elementary school.

It's hard to belive that only a couple of years later, local radio personality Frank O. Pinion released the definitive dirty joke book--which I read surrepitiously during my middle school years. The book featured the famous Willy Nelson joke, which I remember and can recite to this day. But the contents of this book--The World's Best Dirty Jokes, I remind you, gentle reader--I have already forgotten.

Irishman Known For Playing British Man Says Something Disparaging About US in France
So what?

Is it any coincidence he's not a member of our national security or foreign policy team? No, I think it's the lack of credentials.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
The Certainty of Leadership
Nothing is as comforting as the certainty of leaders. For example, we can cull the following list from the story entitled Roundabouts are coming - and traffic flow may never be the same:
  • city officials say

  • officials believe

  • traffic engineers say

  • "They are definitely gaining in popularity," said Larry Hagen of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida.

  • The proliferation of roundabouts could do more than ease traffic congestion, some hope.

  • proponents say

  • some roundabout advocates hope

  • "I'd like to see us go like France," Russell said. "They've got about 25,000 now."
But perhaps I too-easily mock leadership. After all, there's some definitive certainty in the article:
    Columbus Circle, built in New York City in 1904, is considered the country's first traffic circle, and was followed by hundreds more, mostly in the northeast, Russell said. Now, in some parts of the northeast, transportation officials are working to get rid of the circles and replace them with signalized intersections or updated roundabouts.

    "We're currently initiating a program where we're attempting to eliminate as many as possible," said Brendan Gill, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. "Essentially, they're antiquated. They're not built to handle the volume of traffic we're currently handling."
But it's hard to blur and soften the edges of those sentiments, wot?

Monday, September 05, 2005
Book Report: The Power of Judyism by Judy Tenuta (1991)
I bought this book at the Carondolet YMCA book fair. I spent a $1.00 on it, but I justified it on these factors:
  • It's a stated first edition.

  • It's a signed stated first edition, with the inscription "To Stevie - My favorite stud-puppy--bend over! Love, Judy Tenuta".

  • In the late 1980s, I thought Judy Tenuta was kinda hot.
So I picked this book as my most recent nonfiction reading material. It's 212 pages, but those pages make judicious use of white space, drawings, and photography that proved that Judy Tenuta was kinda hot in 1991, in a disturbed sort of way. Hey, I was in my late teens. Disturbed but hot would continue to feed my tastes for another half decade yet. She's also got another luminary of the era, Emo Phillips, in some of the photos. Hey, where did he go? You know, I thought he had a cult following when I was clicking through Hot or Not profiles and saw a lot of chicks born in 1985 continued to appreciate emo. But I digress.

The book, coupled with the last book by a comedienne I thought was hot in 1990 (Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes), defines the difference between humor and shtick. Judy Tenuta, with her Love Goddess persona and accordion, represent one, and Rita Rudner, with her musings on life and pointed pauses with lips pursed, represents the other. One translates well to books, and the other doesn't. One ages well, and one does not--I cannot imagine Judy Tenuta running around with the same observations and act now that she's about to trip 50; however, Ms. Rudner can continue with her observations and pursed lips without missing a beat.

I also thought Judy Tenuta was kinda amusing ca. 1990, too, but come to think of it, I don't know I ever saw any extended performance. I think I saw some promos for MTV or VH1 featuring her, but no specials. Otherwise I might have skipped this particular purchase, which depicts how one should worship her and participate in her religion, Judyism. She inserts observations and jokes about commoners and celebrities as they relate to her, but ultimately, it's only one note played on a variety of instruments and called a symponme.

Not to say that the book was totally meritless, as its value as an artifact of history and my personal life (remember 1991 B.C.--before Clinton?). Still, nothing in the book made me laugh out loud or really chuckle. I didn't rush to my beautiful wife to tell her what Tenuta said. Nor, probably, will I ever. But she was kinda hot in 1990. For someone almost my mother's age.

A comparison of sizes of science fiction ships and stations.


(Link seen on Ace of Spades.)

In A Slightly Related Note
'Transporter' carries holiday weekend.

Did you know that the Transporter drives an Audi? I do, and I've never seen either movie; I did, however, see the trailer for Transporter 2 and noted that the Audi logo on the grill of the car was visible no fewer than 9 times in the two minute trailer.

He Had Five Years To Prepare
Hillary Clinton: "This time, you won't get away with only having been in office for eight months, Mr. President."
    With many blaming the growing scope of Katrina's devastation on the Bush administration, Sen. Hillary Clinton called yesterday for a 9/11-style probe into how the federal government responded to the crisis.

    "It has become increasingly evident that our nation was not prepared," Clinton (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to Bush asking him to set up a "Katrina Commission."

    "The slow pace of relief efforts in the face of a mounting death toll ... seems to confirm that our ability to respond to cataclysmic disasters has not been adequately addressed," she said.
On the other hand, if she does become president, imagine the fun her opponents will have when conducting "non-partisan" commission-based and tax-wasting inquiries like the one she proposes here.

Book Report: The Devil's Code by John Sandford (2000)
Since I didn't group it with the Prey novels I inherited from my aunt (Easy Prey, Chosen Prey, and Naked Prey), I overlooked this book until now, and it worked its way to the back of my "to read" bookshelves.

The book centers upon a series character named Kidd who's a computer hacker. The book is five years old, but it's weathered fairly well; Sandford keeps the specifics of the technology to a minimum. Ergo, he's not made laughable mistakes in the world of 2000 which computer people would spot and it prevents early obsolescence of the book. Also, Kidd gets out of the basement and doesn't spend a whole lot of the book hacking. Instead, he's social engineering, reconnoitering, and breaking and entering. So it's more gripping, less dated.

The plot: a former associate of Kidd's has gotten killed after inadvertantly poking into some conspiracy among NSA or near-NSA types, and he left a message for Kidd just in case something were to happen to him. That something does happen, and Kidd's skeptical. However, Kidd finds himself listed as the member of a non-existent hacker group identified as a high priority target for law enforcement, they force Kidd to investigate and retaliate--not so much out of his sense of vengeance, but his instinct for survival.

It's a serviceable book, better than the Prey series where the main character, Lucas Davenport, field marshals a team as they deal with political pressures and solve high-profile cases. Still, Kidd depends upon a support network, so he doesn't fit the lone wolf archetype in suspense novels. He's also a Democrat, like Davenport, whose political asides tend to run to the sniggering at the Republicans. The asides don't detract from my enjoyment of the book, but I am aware of them.

So it's worth a buck or two in the used book store, certainly. Perhaps even five on the remainder table, and perhaps I'll explore the other books in the series once I get through the hundreds of volumes remaining on the "to read" shelves.

Sunday, September 04, 2005
Paranoia Shidoshi Bows In Respect to Mayor Nagin
Brother Paranoia Shidoshi Ray Nagin saith:
    "Today was a turning point, I think," he said. "My philosophy is never get too high, never get too low. ... I always try to keep my emotions in check and yesterday I kind of went off a little bit. I was worried about that, but it maybe worked out. I don't know. If the CIA slips me something and next week you don't see me, you'll all know what happened."
A marvel of paranoid thought which I admire.

Speaking of which, I haven't posted much about Katrina, neither denigrating foolish government idiocy on one hand or grasping, needling mewling from dependent citizenry on the other hand. And if the CIA slips me something and next week you don't see me you will all know what happened.

I will have gotten too busy doing my freaking job to find a blog entry form or a television camera.

(Although I'd seen this story all day, it was Baldilocks's entry that I saw last before I couldn't take it any more and had to post.)

Lessons from Katrina
Friends and family plan on the cellular phone? Hell, no.

If you and your spouse or you and your friends have contracts with different companies, you'll also be on different networks. Ergo, you'll have redundancy so that if one cellular network goes down, you're not dependent upon it and can call for help if the second cellular network remains operational.

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