Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Wealthy Owners, Profitable Ball Club Cannot Fulfill Promises Made to Get Public Money Without More Public Money
The St. Louis Cardinals want the taxpayers to throw more good money after bad--for the Cardinals owners to catch, of course:
    As the new Busch Stadium continues to attract sellout crowds, the crater next door that was once the old stadium continues to do what it has done since the season's first pitch: gather dust.

    Team officials have promised that the site one day will be Ballpark Village, a bustling collection of shops, restaurants and condominiums that will transform downtown St. Louis. To get a tax break from the city, Cardinals executives three years ago committed to spending at least $60 million to develop two of Ballpark Village's planned six blocks.

    Now they are back, pushing for a $650 million project on all six blocks. But with that renewed ambition, comes an outstretched hand - more public financing. A look at similar projects shows that the taxpayers' burden could well exceed $100 million.
I would be almost be happy if this proved to be an expensive lesson to governments who would spend their constituents' money to pamper sports teams. However, like all other boondoggles before it, I expect this will ultimately only prove to be expensive.

The Only Possible Rejoinder
Iraqi PM set to visit Iran:
    Iraq's prime minister announced plans to visit Iran on Monday, just days after his deputy returned from the country, accompanied by several top officials.
Whereas some people will no doubt say, "We toppled Saddam Hussein to make a little Iran?", I can only rebut, "Well, it's a free country."

Friday, September 08, 2006
Which We Is That?
Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy today attended an immigration rally, which means an amnesty for illegal immigrants rally in Washington to show his support for the cause. However, his speech proffers a possibly ill-interpreted turn of phrase:
    And if we can't get this Congress to pass fair immigration reform now, we'll elect a new Congress in November that will pass it.
No doubt the we means the naturalized citizens and I, but given that he's speaking before a crowd that could, quite possibly contain some non-naturalized gente, doesn't it sound almost as though Edward Kennedy is exhorting illegal aliens to vote Democratic in November?

One could easily make that mistake, couldn't one?

Metaphor Failure! Metaphor Failure!
In a story about how Macy's will revitalize downtown when its preceding Famous-Barr gave up and lie curled in a fetal position at the corner of 6th and Olive, we have a gusher:
    "This is exactly the punch in the arm downtown needed," she said. "I think this is just the beginning. Famous-Barr had been here for years. Then Macy's took it over and, boom, they brought it back."
There you have it. Macy's is giving downtown a punch in the arm. Sorta like the bigger kids in gym class. No word on when Macy's will demand the lunch money of downtown, but all corporations do, sooner or later.

Thursday, September 07, 2006
Gut U.
How hard can you expect a university to be when it's URL is

Christopher Hitchens Won't Need To Bother
Debra J. Saunders speaks ill of Steve Irwin:
    Irwin did not deserve to die -- but his death can hardly be considered a surprise. It was the predictable end that followed the marriage of a dangerous hobby with a dangerous conceit -- and better Irwin than the baby.
Poor form, Debra.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Book Report: Executive Blues: Down and Out in Corporate America by G.J. Meyer (1995)
I have been waiting almost a decade to read this book, ever since its excerpt appeared in Harpers when I still read that rag. I remember recognizing that Meyer was a St. Louisian, as was I. I read the hints of his heartbreak of losing his cush executive job and thought the excerpt was interesting enough to warrant further attention. Unfortunately, I waited a decade until I found a used copy at the JCC book fair for a buck (autographed, too!) before I could delve into it.

What a bunch of sour grapes.

The book spans 1991 and 1992 after Meyer is laid off from a vice presidency at J.I. Case as their communications leader. He'd been laid off previously from McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis from a similar position. The book purports to delve into the new uncertainty in the marketplace for super-executives of billion dollar companies and how hard their lives are when they discover that sometimes at-will means at-won't-anymore.

I mean, the guy's laid off, but he's shocked at the prospect for starters and lacks any imagination for anything other than landing another equal position at another billion dollar company. Atop that little bit of hubris, he attempts to indict corporate America for being what it is. That is, he resents (he actually uses that word) corporate America for not feeding his addiction to power and a big salary. Which corporate America somehow corrupted him into.

Jeez, the one thing I learned from the excerpt was to always downplay your current/recent positions so you don't overqualify yourself for lower positions in that time of desperation. I could have stuck with the excerpt and had all I could learn.

On one hand, I come from another generation and another industry, raised in a turbulent world of dot-coms and tech companies where your expertise matters more than your pedigree and where it's expected or okay to work as a contractor or to bounce around. Also, I've not worked for many of the big companies, particularly at the highest echelons, but that makes it easier to project a future that's no more turbulent than the past. As I work in a "fluff" job myself--QA, like communications, is a nicety and not a necessity when it comes down to struggling for a profit--I accept my tenuous position. But someone of the boomer era in the late 1980s, no doubt this would have been terrifying.

But the resentment and the indictment on every page, interspersed with the longing for the irrationally exuberant perks of that upper echelon, really ground on me so much that I didn't enjoy the book as much as endure it. Do I recommend it to you, gentle reader? Perhaps, if as a historical document whose advice and situations are anachronisms to study, yes; or perhaps as a moral fable of how not to grow to accustomed to the current gravy train in your life and to have something upon which you can fall back, yes. Maybe even as an indictment of hiring English majors for anything, anytime. But this book is hardly a serious study engendering serious attention. It's like Nickel and Dimed (by Barbara Ehrenreich, which was also excerpted by Harpers in the same era); it's an indictment of capitalism by people who purposefully refuse to understand it.

Books mentioned in this review:

Monday, September 04, 2006
Important Safety Tip
When travelling to Japan, do not ask the tattooed native if he/she is a member of the jacuzzi unless you like finger prosthetics.

Sunday, September 03, 2006
Mac Attack!
Well, the Kansas City Star has once again snipped yours truly for its editorial page.

They excerpt this post as follows:
    Roger that, good buddy
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I’m proven otherwise: Blogs are CB radio with permalinks. And we know how much CB changed the face of citizen media in the 1970s. It spawned a number of books, three "Smokey and the Bandit" movies and "Convoy." Some of its slang lives on, but you don’t see many cars with the antennae on their roofs anymore, do you?
I'd like to think I was pointing out that bloggers can, and sometimes do, find themselves more important than they are in mass culture.

Perry Mays takes it seriously.

Who Needs an Act of Congress?
I hereby proclaim the first full week in September Capitalist Week.

It's only fitting to be longer than Labor Day, since capitalism has done more for this country than organized labor.

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