Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Sad Testament
So, how many of the's Worst 50 Beers have you had?

My total:
  1. Busch NA
  2. Steelback Tango
  3. Black Label 11-11 Malt Liquor
  4. Sleeman Clear
  5. Steelback Silver
  6. Michelob Ultra
  7. O'Douls
  8. B-40 Bull Max
  9. Coors Non-Alcoholic
  10. Olde English 800 3.2
  11. Pabst NA
  12. PC 2.5 g Low Carb
  13. Natural Light
  14. Tuborg T-Beer
  15. Steelback Link
  16. Jacob Best Ice
  17. Natural Ice
  18. Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager
  19. Gluek Stite Light
  20. Miller Sharps
  21. Camo Genuine Ale
  22. Coors Aspen Edge
  23. Diamond White Cider
  24. Molson Ex Light
  25. Hurricane Ice
  26. Hurricane High Gravity Lager
  27. Labatt Sterling
  28. Milwaukees Best
  29. Tuborg T-Beer Citrus
  30. General Generic Beer
  31. Outback Chilli Beer
  32. Busch Ice
  33. Molson Kick
  34. Blue Ice Beer
  35. Cave Creek Chili Beer
  36. Tuborg Super Light
  37. Tooheys Blue Bitter
  38. Pabst Ice
  39. Fosters Light
  40. Hek Original Lager Blonde Beer (Blue label)
  41. Old Milwaukee Ice
  42. Fosters Ice
  43. Lucky Lager Force 10
  44. Zhujiang 10°
  45. Bootie Light
  46. Schlitz Red Bull
  47. Archa
  48. Bud Light
  49. Matt Accel
  50. Genesee NA
I have drunk 6 of the worst beers in the world. I don't know whether to be proud or ashamed.

Retaliatory Strike
Oh, yeah?

McGehee's right. His new self-portrait does make him look like a Klingon:

McGehee: One Hot Klingon
A cross-dressing Klingon at that.

Friday, May 19, 2006
You Can Download Anything
Ginned-up story of the day: Using Internet for drug deals is not unusual, authorities say:
    While the wide array of drugs seized from a student's car this week at Lutheran High School South struck authorities as unusual, the suspicion that a supplier used the Web to get them here was not.
No word on the obvious use of that dangerous technology the automobile in the lead, but there's that demon Web.

Authorities indicate that with a broad enough band, you can download drugs right into your computer:
    Investigators said they have indications that some of the seized drugs were obtained from Bosnia via the Internet.
But thanks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for recycling this story from 1995 and reprinting it. One must wonder if a glance through its archives would have found a story a little over a hundred years ago explaining how madams were using stagecoaches to get women to their cathouses.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
You Couldn't Find a Better Union in a Fark Photoshop Contest
Pop-Tarts Presents American Idols Live! Tour 2006.

Someone out there in marketingland has a subversive sense of humor.

Recursive Logic Error
Looks like everyone's running with this story today: Study finds we're human-chimp hybrid.

Revel in the logic, friends. It's GNUs Not Unix all over again. We, humans, are a cross between humans and chimps. The humans that they crossed with the chimps were a cross between humans and chimps. Which in turn must have been human and chimp hybrids.

Sloppy headlines reveal sloppy thinking. And we get a lot of that in the papers today, ainna?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
That's How You Get Them To Fit Into The Vase
Some creative pruning of firearms:
    He brought a rifle to school Monday. The stalk had been cut off the gun. Benton was arrested.
(Link seen on Ravenwood's Universe.)

Boeing CEO Doesn't Wear Horsehair Shirt, Self-Flagellate to Post-Dispatch Reporter's Satisfaction
The CEO of Boeing gives a speech at Saint Louis University, sponsored by the Boeing Institute of International Business at SLU's John Cook Business School. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Boeing chief skips mention of scandal in speech:
    Boeing Co. Chairman Jim McNerney's first public speech in St. Louis was filled with historical references: Lewis and Clark, the real story behind the invention of the Post-it and why aviation pioneer James S. McDonnell set up shop here nearly 70 years ago.

    However, in his speech on Tuesday, McNerney steered clear of a recent development in Boeing's history: a $615 million settlement with the Justice Department that allows Boeing to avoid admitting wrongdoing and criminal prosecution on corruption charges.
"Reporter" Tim McLaughlin goes on to list a number of scandals and shoddy business practices that preceded the CEO's assumption of the Chief Executive post. McLaughlin then throws in an aside to why he thinks the CEO should half turned the collegiate appearance into a weepy, mea-culpa Oprahesque piece of failure and redemption at the audience's pity:
    Not mentioning the scandals and the subsequent tentative settlement in the speech was notable, given that McNerney left 3M Co. to rebuild Boeing's reputation.
That's nothing but a self-justification for this particular story list of anti-Boeing bullet points.

Meanwhile, we at MfBJN note that McLaughlin didn't bother to mention the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's declining circulation or job cuts in this article. We have to wonder why not?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Fails Compare-and-Contrast Exam
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch today makes equivalent two statements from two very different men (Guards on border: Bistate leaders splitting on plan).

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt:
    "As commander in chief of the Missouri National Guard, I stand ready to assist in the border control efforts the president outlined and know that Missouri's men and women in uniform are more than prepared for this challenge," Blunt said.

    "Missouri's National Guard personnel have answered the call of our federal government many times in the past and were among the first in the nation to help the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast last year. It is a high honor for me to be associated with such a committed group of patriots," he said.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich:
    But Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said that after five years during which Bush had largely ignored immigration issues, he should not seek to boost border security in a manner Blagojevich said would be at the expense of homeland security.

    He said Bush had already left National Guard units underequipped and stretched too thin, and he expressed concern that the Guard would be weakened further if it were now asked to police the borders, said his deputy press secretary, Abby Ottenhoff. States rely on the National Guard to respond to disasters at home.

    The governor called for more answers from Bush about how he plans to protect states if Guard units are diverted to the nation's borders.
Of course, they have two different biographies.

Matt Blunt:
    Matt Blunt, Missouri’s 54th governor was elected on November 2, 2004, carrying 101 of Missouri’s 114 counties.

    Governor Blunt was born November 20, 1970 in Springfield, Missouri. He attended public schools in Strafford, and graduated from Jefferson City High School prior to entering the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

    Prior to his election as governor, Matt Blunt served as an active duty Naval Officer, as a member of the Missouri General Assembly (District 139) and as Missouri’s 37th Secretary of State.

    Governor Blunt graduated from the Naval Academy in May 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in history. He went on to serve as an Engineering Officer aboard the USS JACK WILLIAMS (FFG-24) and as the Navigator and Administrative Officer on the USS PETERSON (DD-969).

    Governor Blunt’s active duty service included participation in Operation Support Democracy, involving the United Nations blockade of Haiti, missions to interdict drug traffic off the South American coast, and on duties involved in the interdiction of Cuban migrants in 1994.

    During his Naval career, Governor Blunt received numerous commendations, including four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals.

    Governor Blunt is the only statewide official in Missouri history called to active military duty in wartime, serving for six months in Operation Enduring Freedom, America’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He is currently serving as a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves.
Rod Blagojevich:
    Rod R. Blagojevich was sworn in as the 40th Governor of Illinois on January 13, 2003. As Illinois' chief executive officer, Gov. Blagojevich is working aggressively to create jobs, build stronger communities, provide Illinois families the tools they need to improve their lives, and restore the people's confidence in state government. Gov. Blagojevich's top priority is ensuring access to quality health care for every child in Illinois. Nearly 250,000 children in Illinois are uninsured and many come from working and middle class families who earn too much to qualify for programs like KidCare, but not enough to afford private health insurance. That is why Gov. Blagojevich proposed and signed legislation creating the All Kids program. All Kids makes Illinois the first state in the nation to make sure every child has access to comprehensive and affordable health care coverage. Illinois' uninsured children will now have access to doctor's visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Parents will pay monthly premiums for the coverage, but rates for middle-income families will be significantly lower than they are on the private market.
Let's cut through the first three quarters of Blagojevich's "biography," since they're really nothing more than campaign promises. For substantive biographic information, we get:
    Prior to his election, Gov. Blagojevich was a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. During his tenure, he prosecuted domestic abuse cases and felony weapons charges, which made him a strong advocate for tougher sentencing laws when he was elected to the General Assembly in 1992.

    In 1996, he was elected to represent Illinois' 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. While a congressman, he secured funding for after-school tutoring programs and distinguished himself as an advocate for education. He was also a leader in the fight to establish a Patients' Bill of Rights, to assure prompt access to mammograms, and to require higher safety and care standards at nursing homes.
So one of these governors has served in the military, and one of these governors has served himself in the government employ. Personally, I'd take the insight from the one with actual experience in the field more than the insight from the one whose insight runs to electoral campaigns.

But I'm not a real journalist, so I'm missing the beauty of the direct opposition of their viewpoints and how they build drama and conflict into something that's much of a story with which to begin.

Let It Be Known
Whereas Musings from Brian J. Noggle is sort of grateful for the traffic represented in its semi-dominant position as seventeenth in the Google search for where to buy heroin in oakland ca, we on the staff prefer to think our law enforcement officials have more competence than to simply monkey-type searches in the search engines as part of a complete investigation.

Thank you, that is all.

Book Report: Sharky's Machine by William Diehl (1978)
Continuing what only appears to be 70s Week here in the MfBJN book review department: I bought this book at the Kirkwood Book Fair for $2.00 because I recognized the name from the 1981 Burt Reynolds movie and thought that, since it was only $2.00 for a stated second printing, it might be worth something Of course, since I seem to be falling into collecting books that are the sources of movies (more to come from the Kirkwood Book Fair where I fell), I guess it is worth that to me, even though I'm not making a killing on these books. Perhaps it's just my way of reading the pop culture that everyone talked about some years ago.

At any rate, this book depicts a narc cop (Sharky) who gets put on vice detail when one of his narc stakeouts takes a deadly turn. Once in vice, he gets a case to run, complete with supporting personnel (the "machine" of the title). A simple investigation into a prostitution/blackmail stakeout leads to a presidential candidate looking to unseat President Ford bankrolled by stolen World War II gold.

The book starts out Ludlumesque, but about 300 pages into its 370 page length, the book goes Hollywood. You can almost hear the pens of the Hollywood people signing the option while Diehl was still writing. Nevertheless, the book represents some interesting, accessibly 70s pseudo-pulp. The book relies on a third person limited omniscient narrator, but cuts back and forth betwene characters and even begins with the 1944 theft of gold to engage the middle-aged reader of its day. Equal parts MacLean, Ludlum, and 70s film detective fiction, this book satisfied me. For a couple bucks, who could go wrong?

Of course, you cannot expect to get a stated Second Printing for a couple bucks like I did, gentle reader. You should expect to pay $30 or $150 or something so as to inflate my perceived value of my own collection. If you're not buying the stuff off of Amazon courtesy the handy links below, it's the least you could do.

Books mentioned in this review:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Life in Canada
Share this moment with that special Canadian in your life.

Pancho Villa 2006
So the plan is to put 6,000 of our military troops on the border in advisory sorts of roles. Am I the only one who looks at this and sees the possibility for an escalation of sorts?

Because it's one thing for those reputed Mexican Army incursions to barnstorm across the border and pop off a few rounds at U.S. Border control officials, but it will be another thing entirely to have an exchange with the United States military. As a sometime fiction writer, I can see how easily one or more of these sorts of incidents would lead to a hot pursuit into Mexican territory, and suddenly we have a whole new another Mexican Expedition underway.

It's easy to forget, with our current public education-enforced historical myopia, just how ultimately unpeaceful our relationship has been with Mexico.

Update: Okay, so I'm not the first to remember Pancho Villa.

Monday, May 15, 2006
Headline of the Day
Charity freeze money collected from raffle sales

To someone at the Post-Dispatch, no doubt charity is the plural of the original Latin charitum.

And if you click through the link to the story, note that it deals with one of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's current crusade stories. On any given day in the last week or so, you can find the front page of banging on the drums in its current outrage kit:
  • The Overland mayor who, after a close election, wants to throw out some of the city officials (today's story: Hearing on Overland police chief to begin Tuesday). The Post-Dispatch, the people's paper, sides against the elected representive of the people on behalf of unelected officials and cheers all sorts of procedural moves and an ultimate trip to the judiciary to thwart the rabble. Go, team! (For a complete list of stories and attendant column inches regarding this small municipality in the last month, click here.)

  • A somewhat dubious charity called Gateway to a Cure that has run expensive raffles in the area for the last ten years. The Post-Dispatch has run articles digging for dirt for over a month now. They've not uncovered a smoking gun, but they have gotten another investigation of the charity. Kudos to the Post-Dispatch for ensuring that a struggling charity has to pay legal defense bills. (For more stories from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the charity, click here.)
    Full disclosure: Heather and I rented a hall from this guy's brother for our wedding reception, so for the price of a low rate, I've obviously sold the integrity of the blog. We never got our Shania Twain CD back from the brother after he played that innocuous "From This Moment On" for our first dance, so perhaps I ought to jump on the bandwagon and pillory the charity owner.

Border troops would be temporary, US tells Mexico

Because they'll only be on the border before the invasion.

Sunday, May 14, 2006
Missing the Bigger Scandal
CNN tries to gin up the old outrage that Report: Mentally ill troops forced into combat, wherein only troops who aren't down in the dumps go off to war.

No, CNN, you're missing the bigger scandal: The American military is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by sending those troops off to war without their emotional needs dogs.

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