Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, January 21, 2006
What Gives?
All right, I am getting a lot of referrers which list a local file as entry page. These files have a variety of names which seem to make them computer-generated, such as:


These come from a variety of ISPs around the world, including a great number here in the states.

What the heck is up with that?

Book Report: Wild Pitch by Mike Lupica (2002)
This book was on the deep discount rack at Barnes and Noble for only $1.00 when Heather and I made our way in to spend the season's gift cards. Only $1.00. I read Full Court Press in April 2004 (that long ago already?). I enjoyed that book and thought I would buy another. I did.

Wild Pitch tells the story of Charlie Stoddard, a pitching phenomenon with the 1980s Mets who blew his arm out and then served as a journeyman for a number of years. Five years out of baseball, Stoddard spends his days chasing women and booze, earning a living making appearance at sports memorabilia shows. A particularly vigorous sexual escapade throws his back out, and his partner puts Charlie in touch with a Chinese therapist who can not only fix Charlie's back, but also his arm.

At the age of 40, Charlie tries to put his life back on some sort of track, reconnecting with the ex-wife he wronged, the son who doesn't acknowledge him, and perhaps just to feel the thrill of pitching...and maybe even winning....again.

Lupica's deft characterizations of the lightly-comic people populating his books (damn, I tried to avoid characterizations of characters, and ended up with people populating....) drive the story along. I sympathized with the understated themes of redemption and growing older and maybe even up. The focus of the winning isn't winning it all, it's playing to win.

Man, this Lupica fellow is good. I'm looking forward to reading more of his novels, and they're sports novels, with nary a body to be found.

Book Report: Suspects by William J. Caunitz (1986)
This book is gritty. A police procedural written by a former cop, set in New York City of the middle 1980s, the grit is in everything. The cops talk gritty, the scenes are gritty, and the grit gums up the smooth operation of the narrative, preventing me from really connecting with the inchoate characters.

Tony Scanlon lost a leg in a shootout, but thanks to the favors and back-scratching that grease the wheels of the Job, he gets to remain with the force as a detective squad leader in a backwater precinct. The precinct's quiet is shattered when someone hits a well-known and well-loved police lieutenant who's wired into all of the benevolent associations. Scanlon leads his team of detectives on the investigation, delving into the unspoken-of world of police parties complete with hookers, gambling, and booze, the world of police getting freebies on the arm, the world where police amputees with issues only find solace in the arms of hookers. Did I mention this was a gritty book?

William J. Caunitz was no Ed McBain, no Joseph Wambaugh, and not even really Tom Philbin. He throws a lot of material into the book, a lot of flashbacks, subplots, and all of his notes. The book isn't unreadable, per se, but it could have been trimmed to about sixty percent of its current heft to great effect. Perhaps this book could serve as a gateway to police procedurals for Tolstoy scholars. I don't know; all I know is it took me too long to read this book.

After a couple hours of off-and-on looking at the Mensa Intelligence Test, I'll stand pat with 19, the minimum level for genius.

Not as good as Sandy, but at least I beat Bucci.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
When Nonfiction Writers Take Liberty
As much as I hate to admit it, I enjoyed Mark Morford's column "I Wanna Be A Crackhead Author: Hello, I am an ex-hooker heroin addict with AIDS who eats live puppies. Please read my book". A taste:
    I shall start my story humbly, meekly, just like JT LeRoy and James Frey. Small town, somewhere in Idaho or maybe rural Montana, brought up by a sadistic pedophiliac Pentecostal preacher father who only has one good arm and a decimated colon, and a narcoleptic mother with 17 cats who sucks down cases of Tab and reads the "Left Behind" books as nonfiction and who passes out every night in a Percocet haze watching endless reruns of "Knight Rider."

    Me and my two sadistic, ADD brothers will sneak off to the local zoo for days at a time and sleep with the monkeys and torture penguins with fireworks. I will suck on my first bong at age 4 and will be stone drunk by 7 and will regularly black out by age 10, but not before impregnating my pothead babysitter and stealing her credit card to buy a Game Boy and a small Cessna, which I will promptly fly all the way to Mexico before crashing into a tortilla factory and breaking my spine in 12 places and rupturing my kidneys, which I will pay a Mexican mafia doctor named Mannie 50 bucks to swap with black-market kidneys stolen from unwary tourists. Oh my yes. I can see it now.
It's not exactly discouraged in college narrative nonfiction writing classes that you enhance your memories or history to make a better narrative that's more gripping, illustrative, or humorous than the events that have actually happened to you.

Why, even I, your humble unreliable narrator have embellished certain things in my own essays to make a point. For example, I created this whole beautiful wife thing out of whole cloth, culminating in a fictional pregnancy to increase my traffic (or I have invented the invention of her to prove a point about embellishing--sorry if this paradox has caused unKirkian patched PCs to shut down and free the Enterprise crew and Harry Mudd).

The key, though, is to know a limit between embellishing and fabricating. In one, you're exaggerating for effect something that really happened, and in the other, you're exaggerating for effect something that didn't really happen.

I only hope that I know the line. If not, I hope to be very celebrated and successful with my undiscovered deception.

Monday, January 16, 2006
Athletic Team Fears Offending Satan
Name could be big change:
    At the least, it seems likely the word "Devil" will be dropped, as it already is in some official team references. Then a decision has to be made whether to continue associating Rays with the sea creatures or to connect with the sun. Or there could be a new name, such as the Tampa Bay Tarpons.
You know, that's one redskin you don't want suing you in the court of law. Because he sues for your soul.

Blog Yee-Hawd
McGehee of Yippie-Ki-Yay, piqued because any time I feel like it I can beat him in Outside the Beltway caption contests, has decided that I am not worth trifling with:
    Anyone getting more traffic than me wouldn’t notice me trying to pick a fight, and if I pick a fight with someone getting less traffic than me, he and I would be the only ones to notice.
Not true, sir; I proclaim this an official MfBJN Blog Yee-Hawd, and my glorious army of reader (singular) vow revenge!

Go get him, honey. He wouldn't hurt a pregnant woman.

Too Bad the Only Fan Here Is Pregnant
24 Drinking Game

Jeez, one could get lit just from the promos during football.

Sunday, January 15, 2006
Conan O'Brien Skirts McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform
By making fun of the elections in Finland:
    Finland's president finds her traditional support among women and the Social Democratic Party base, but lately to the surprise of many Finns — and her opponents in Sunday's election — she has gotten an endorsement of a different sort.

    The redheaded late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien has been promoting President Tarja Halonen's re-election bid as part of a long-running joke about their supposed physical similarities.

    "Why do I support Tarja Halonen? Because she's got the total package: a dynamic personality, a quick mind, and most importantly — my good looks," the comedian, whose show is broadcast on cable in Finland, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Another Trauma for Brett Favre
Man accused of using credit card of star NFL quarterback:
    Phoenix man was arrested Thursday after allegedly using a credit card account belonging to Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre more than 40 times, authorities said.
Some Green Bay fans will go to extraordinary measures to ensure that Favre does not retire, including ensuring that he needs the paycheck to pay his credit card bills.

Doubtlessly, radio call-in shows in Wisconsin are now figuring this into their calculations about whether he will return next year.

Another Award for Brett Favre
Readers' List: Best acting performances by athletes.

Brett Favre wins it for his performance in There's Something About Mary.

Doubtlessly, radio call-in shows in Wisconsin are now figuring this into their calculations about whether he will return next year.

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