Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Snarkical Indecision
When presented with a story like this:
    A truck driver hauling more than 17 million bees was killed in an accident on Interstate 55.
I am torn as into which direction I want to snark.

Do I wonder Is this part of the great bee assassination conspiracy that's killing all the honey bees, or do I wonder Whom will the bees sue? and make a list that includes the truck company, the makers of the guard rail, the family of the dead truck driver, and the makers of Honey Nut Cheerios just because General Mills has deep pockets?

The possibilities are endless.

Friday, May 25, 2007
Book Report: Outlaw of Gor by John Norman (1967, 1982)
As you know, I bought Tarnsman of Gor and this book so that I would have read the first pentagor of the John Norman fantasy series before I lit into the last half of the first 10. Here, I read #2, the Gor book for 1967 (although my copy is a later reprint with cover by Boris Vallejo).

In this, Tarl Cabot returns to Gor after seven years on Earth to find his home city of Ko-ro-ba destroyed and its citizens scattered--including his father and his love Talena. He also finds himself in unheralded armor, meaning he's an outlaw. He ends up going to Tharna, a city where women rule, and leading an uprising.

The book is the weakest of the first five, clearly a setup for the longer story lines that took place after the first one succeeded. Still, it's short and it's still a neat piece of fantasy. I articulated to my wife that good fantasy is very different from suspense/crime/mystery fiction in that when you want to find out what's coming next, you really don't have any idea. These books are like that; they contain enough detail into the world that you know Norman isn't making it up as he goes, but as you go, you're learning something about the setting and the laws that govern it. You really can have a sense of wonder you don't get from other kinds of fiction.

So I'm ready for the sixth book in the series one of these days.

Books mentioned in this review:

Obvious Restraint
So the family of the Cardinals pitcher who died while driving while intoxicated have announced its lawsuit pantheon:
    The suit seeks unspecified damages "over $25,000" from Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood, the owner and driver of a parked tow truck that Hancock hit, and the driver of a car the wrecker had stopped to help.
Over at, David Nieporent does my schtick and helpfully identifies some other lawsuit targets:
    * The cell phone manufacturer; Hancock couldn't have been talking on the phone if they hadn't been so negligent as to invent it, or if they had placed warnings on the side of the phone about not using it while driving.
    * Hancock's girlfriend -- she was on the other end of the phone. Plus, he was driving to meet her.
    * The owners of the bar he was driving to in order to meet his girlfriend. If they had been closed, he wouldn't have been driving there; if they were easier to find, he wouldn't have had to give his girlfriend directions.
    * The car rental company; Hancock was driving a rented SUV... because he had just had an accident in his own car. If they hadn't rented him the SUV, he couldn't have been driving it.
    * Anheuser-Busch, it goes without saying; no alcohol, no accident.
    * The Cardinals, for not trading him to another team; if he hadn't been in St. Louis, he couldn't have crashed.
Leaving aside that Mr. Nieporent missed some of the obvious big laffs (Missouri Department of Transportation, for building/maintaining the road, and the legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower, for passing the Interstate thing in the first place), I am not going to participate.

For although the family and their helpful attorneys deserve all the scorn and ridicule we can muster, one suspects that their threshold for slander--at least enough to threaten a lawsuit--is probably very low indeed.

Addicts Have To Steal
SUV crashes into store, perhaps in attempt to steal guns

With gas prices so high these days, vehicles are forced to a life of crime.

Or maybe it was planning an invasion of Venezuela to liberate some sweet crude.

(Link seen on Ravenwood's Universe.)

Your Rights Today
Because one's inalienable rights fluctuate daily here in America, I thought I'd provide a quick cheatsheet of what is or is not allowed today, May 25, 2007. Please, go by the cheatsheet and do not try to reason out what the authorities will let you do from day to day nor try to apply common sense, as these two mechanisms will lead you astray.

  • Your dog pooping on the lawn: CRIME.
    If your dog evacuates itself outdoors, as animals are known to do, you could be cited and given a ticket for it. In some areas, you can go to jail for not having a pooper scooper when you walk your dog.

  • Leaving dog poop on a political opponent's doorstep: LEGAL.

    Seriously. So dog poop is a bad thing, a health or aesthetic hazard when a dog leaves it behind as a matter of its lifecycle, but it's not art. Or political metaphor. That, my friends, trumps health or ethical concerns regarding feces and urine.

  • Flyers with, you know, words on them: CRIME.
    A felony, no less. Sure, the circumstances of the case are off-putting; it was a vendetta, and it expressed a moral sentiment that our revered betters in the government don't often believe, but the girl is probably going to get jail time for pamphleteering.

Perhaps if you're walking your dog, you will not be in trouble if you bring political flyers for it to poop on, or perhaps you're protected from sensationalist hate speech prosecutions if you poop on your pamphlets before passing them around. Regardless, proper poop application seems to be the determining factor here.

Poop is protected speech, but words are not, except in those cases where poop is not protected speech. Ladies and gentlemen, the first amendment of your constitution as it stands today, May 25, 2007.

(One link seen on Instapundit.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Slandered by ZoomInfo
ZoomInfo, some sort of professionalesque personal search engine, crawls the Web and turns me up as working for almost any blog "company" where I appear on the blogroll. This leads to this particular bit of slander:

Brian J. Noggle, DotNetNuke Developer

DotNet Nuke developer? I dare say NOT.

Satan Worshippers, Metal Heads Suddenly Flush
If you're hoping to buy the latest Slayer CD this morning, forget it; it's going to be And you wondered sold out before today is done, as will a lot of Jack Daniels and black candles:
    For the second time in a week and the sixth time in the past seven months, triple digits have been drawn in Pick 3. The numbers 6 - 6 - 6 were drawn in the May 22 evening Pick 3 drawing. This is the second time this combination has been drawn in the past two months. The triple 6 combination was drawn in the March 22 midday drawing.
Jeez, it's bad enough that I have to worry about fools and the corrupt in the world. I'd rather those with demonic powers not revel in their power so obviously.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Book Report: Certain Prey by John Sandford (1999)
Well, that's what I get for having too many books on my shelves. I read the sequel to this book in February, completely unaware that I could have read them in order were I more organized.

This is the book that introduces the elite assassin Clara Rinker into Lucas Davenport's life. An attorney hires her through an intermediary to kill the wife of the man she wants. When the intermediary tries to blackmail the high-powered attorney, she calls the assassin back. They develop a friendship based on being sociopaths who happen to be women, and that's all spoiled when Davenport investigates the growing number of dead bodies.

The book is paced better than some Davenport novels, since it moves quickly throughout instead of a leisurely pace and then a hyperkinetic last hundred pages. However, the story does hinge on some coincidences and leaps of faith that made me go, hmmm. And contrary to what I said in previous book reports, there is a "hum" spelled out in this book, so the introduction of the aside utterances began and evolved gradually, I guess.

Still, a good enough read.

Books mentioned in this review:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Cronies Love Taxpayer Capital
Local development leaders support economic bill:
    Saying it offers more good than bad, regional economic development leaders on Monday expressed support for a maligned piece of legislation sitting on the governor's desk.

    The bill, known as HB327, is a wide-ranging economic package worth $100 million in tax credits aimed at stimulating job growth, venture capital and development of blighted areas. But it also deals with an odd mix of issues, including ticket scalping, beef-cow subsidies and biodiesel tax credits.
Wealthy developers get tax relief, individual citizens and families get....somewhere to go spend whatever money they have left over to enrich the wealthy developers and the government.

Monday, May 21, 2007
How Can You Lose What You Don't Have?
Paris Hilton drops appeal

Fearing The Converse
Well, that's a relief, almost:
    A big rig whose trailer was stolen was actually hauling 28 pallets of commercial "shop vac" style vacuum cleaners and not five tons of fertilizer as authorities had announced, police said Monday.
Until one begins to wonder how many shipments of bad things haven't bothered the authorities because they only thought the criminals had gotten shop vacs.

Sweet Home Missouri
It wasn't me, it was my evil twin brother:
    Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or who is who. The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having sex with the same woman. And according to the woman's testimony, she had sex with each man on the same day. Within hours of each other.
Double ew.

Send In The Trauma Counselors
Now that there's a name for the honeybees' disappearance:
    It's called colony collapse disorder.
The surviving honeybee population needs professional, certified help to allow it to feel its pain and to move on.

(Link seen via Instapundit, an academic blogging in Tennessee. Since he sent some traffic my way this weekend, I thought I'd return the favor.)

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