Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Post-Dispatch Headline Writers Fail Spelling Saving Throws
What, don't these guys even care anymore? Perhaps they're not reflected in the paper itself, but here are two egregious errors today:

Aggrevation, indeed
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Electronic payments can save you $150 a year, lots of aggrevation

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Man accussed of 29 counts of child sex abuse in custody

Aggrevation? Accussed? Can't they even afford spell-checkers down there on Tucker?

Friday, October 19, 2007
Book Report: Unfair and Unbalanced: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky by Patrick M. Carlisle (2004)
The cover of this book compares the author to Dave Barry on speed; if that's the case, that explains why this author outran the funny.

The book is a collection of humor pieces that depend upon continual tropes of drug use, sexual situations, bashing conservatives, and....well, that's about it. If you cannot buy into the voice, you don't get into the mirth. I didn't buy into the voice, so I didn't really care for the book.

The less said about it, the better, I guess.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: Lori by Robert Bloch (1989)
You know, this is the same fellow that was the contemporary of Lovecraft and whose representation was slain in the Lovecraft story of "The Haunter of the Dark." I picked the book up because I recognized the name. It's also the fellow who wrote "That Hell-Bound Train", which I read as part of some anthology or another in the past.

However, this book is nothing to write home about.

It's a quick enough read, but it's because I skimmed some of it and read some of it while watching a hockey game (!). So that tells you something about how engaged I was with the language and the plotting.

It probably would have made a decent short story, but it's inflated to novel proportions with digressions and time wasting. Let's see: Lori's having bad dreams. And some voices. Her parents are killed on the day she graduated from college. She has what appear to be memories/dreams/visions of a medical facility. And people are dying when they become involve in the mystery.

Ultimately, the resolution is a head slapper. Not unpredicted, but without some resolution and without the certainty that the author wanted you to think about some of the things and wonder. More like the sense that stuff just got dropped thoughtlessly.

There's better Bloch out there. From my current point of view, it's all better.

Hey, look, a link where you can buy it:

Books mentioned in this review:

Brian's Nightmares
    SWAT officers expected to find a victim shot to death, drugs and a belligerent armed suspect when they surrounded the home of an unsuspecting couple, but found they were only a part of a false emergency call caused by a teenager who hacked into the county’s emergency response system, authorities said.

    As officers swarmed the home with assault rifles, dogs and a helicopter, a Lake Forest couple and their two toddlers inside their home slept unsuspectingly.

    On March 29 at 11:30 p.m., authorities allege, Randall Ellis, a 19-year-old from Mukilteo, Wash., hacked into the county’s 911 system from his home and placed a false emergency call, prompting a fully armed response to the home of an unsuspecting couple that could have ended tragically.
Couple that with the fact that in the next twenty years we'll have SWAT teams with robots on them:
    The National Defence Force is probing whether a software glitch led to an antiaircraft cannon malfunction that killed nine soldiers and seriously injured 14 others during a shooting exercise on Friday.
Jeez, who's going to need Terminators when you're going to have defective software and pinheaded hackers playing potentially deadly pranks?

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Shirking My Duty
Study: Parents avoid vaccinating young children.

Like most, I, too, avoid vaccinating my young child, preferring instead to have the pediatrician do it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Every Murderer Has Means, Motive, Opportunity
In this case, one suspect lacked motive, so we could eliminate them from the whodunit:
    Authorities had no motive for the shooting.
Well, we'll have to look elsewhere for our perpetrator, then, Hercule.

Pronouns Without Antecedents
Police, teens split on need for them

The need for police or the need for teens? Silly reader, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline writer is relying on the often overlooked grammatical precept of the implied antecedent, in this case, "curfew."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I'm Shocked, Shocked I Tell You
Sunset Hills project wants tax break:
    The Sansone Group has proposed constructing an office-retail complex to replace the 35-year-old Holiday Inn motel-Viking banquet center on the northwest corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Watson Road in Sunset Hills.

    The developer is seeking $12 million in government assistance for the $48.2 million project. The aid would be via tax increment financing and transportation development and community improvement districts. Each district would levy one-cent sales taxes.
This is already not newsworthy, ainna? As the contracts are written in English, so they come with hands extended for money from the citizens of the "growing" or "revitalizing" area.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Hedges
Story: Alorton police chief grazed in shooting.

    Police chief Robert Cummings was grazed in his arm by a bullet apparently fired by another man during a drug stop, Illinois state police said today.
The Post-Dispatch does not completely eliminate the possibility of a self-inflicted wound.

Book Report: Treasures of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism by Earl A. Powell III and Florence E. Coman (1993)
It's a stretch to claim I read this book, since most of its contents are postage-stamp sized (almost) representations of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, but it has some introductory text that explains the background of the movement and its exhibitions in Paris in the 1880s. So I gleaned that bit of knowledge as well as determining that my second favorite Impressionist, far behind Renoir but still second, is Mary Cassatt.

So if you're into Impressionism, it's a good little book to show some of what's included in the National Gallery of Art's collection.

Books mentioned in this review:

I Warned Her
In this blog's very first post, I warned about the provisions in rescue group contracts that you signed to take a pet from them:
    When my wife and I wanted to adopt a rescue dog, we had a hound visit our house, mainly to see if it wanted to eat our cats. The rescue volunteer provided a packet of information about dogs and a contract we would have to sign to take possession of the pooch. The contract included house inspections at will of the rescue group. It could also take the dog back at any time if it found our conditions “unsuitable, which includes but not limited to…” a non-exclusive litany. If we lost the dog; we’d pay the rescue group a thousand dollars, even if we “lost” the dog ten years hence when it died and we did not notify the rescue group in 1 (one) week.
Obviously, Ellen DeGeneres is not an avid MfBJNer:
    Ellen DeGeneres is in the doghouse with a pet rescue agency after giving a pooch away to her hairdresser because it didn't get along with her cats.

    The talk show hostess and her partner Portia de Rossi adopted Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix, on Sept. 20. But when things didn't work out, DeGeneres gave the dog to her hairdresser.

    In doing so, DeGeneres violated an agreement with the Mutts and Moms dog rescue agency by not informing them of the handoff.

    When the agency called DeGeneres to ask about Iggy, she said she found another home for the dog. The agency sent a representative to the hairdresser's home Sunday and took the dog away.
The entertainment industry takes note:
    DeGeneres went public about the situation Monday while taping an episode of her show to air Tuesday. She admitted she didn't read all the paperwork involving the adoption.
Ellen DeGeneres does not read her contracts.

Monday, October 15, 2007
Book Report: Raiders of Gor by John Norman (1971, 1982)
This is the sixth book in the Chronicles of Counter-Earth series, and if you've been reading the blog for the last year, you'll know that I've read the first five somewhat out of order. Also, if you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed that I have read 51 books since the last Gor book I read (Outlaw of Gor, May).

I enjoy these books because Norman puts a rich tapestry into them; I don't know if he's keeping the details correct from book to book, but he has layers and layers so that sometimes the books trend into the academic about Gor. But these digressions make the fantasy world a tapestry upon which the action takes place. And, oh, the action. Plots move forward, the pacing keeps one reading one more chapter even after the sane have gone to bed.

In this book, Tarl Cabot becomes a slave while headed to Port Kar where he's supposed to meet a slaver there who serves the Priest-Kings. The slavery experience causes him to question himself as a Warrior, and he forsakes his honor to become a pirate captain. Then Gorean things happen, slave girls dance, and war occurs.

Really, the books seem to fall into Tarl going somewhere in the guise of another caste so he can view the world differently and Norman can show us different aspects of it. But they seem to work.

This book has some passages that are notably the same as earlier passages; that is, a couple sentences of exposition here and there reappear. Also, the book alludes quite a bit to people and characters from earlier books. Personally, I'm having trouble keeping up, what, with reading a pile between the books; I can't imagine what it was for someone reading these as they came out some year or so apart.

But I'll continue reading; I have 4 more to go in the first 10.

Books mentioned in this review:

Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Noggle Edition, I
Hit the kids who are bigger than you from behind with a Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox full of dirt.

A tactic that I employ often to this day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007
Some Animals More Equal Than Others, Poor Things
Stunning finding reported in Reader's Digest:
    A February report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that taking antioxidant vitamins actually increased a person’s risk of dying by up to 16 percent.

    . . . .

    But in 47 randomized trials involving almost 181,000 adults, researchers found that taking vitamins A, beta carotene and E, alone or in combination, actually increased a person's risk of dying by up to 16 percent.
Personally, I find my odds daunting, but at least they're not 116% chance of dying.

Good Book Hunting: October 13, 2007
This week, we stopped at only 3 sales because we had prior commitments. However, I found something.

An abbreviated trip
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  • Firefly; it cost $10, which is more than I would normally spend on media at a garage sale, but all the cool kids like it.

  • The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation; some Christmases ago, Heather bought me the second season for Christmas and we watched it together. Now we can continue that tradition, probably sometime after our next generation is done.

  • Metropolis on videocassette; I've never seen it and it's supposed to be something. I want especially to see if Fritz Lang anticipated a lot of unemployed computer contractors and a declining economy after the non-event of a computer bug.

  • Guerilla PR Wired; anyone who can combine wires, Kalashnikovs, and marketing must have something interesting to say.

  • Six Sigma; I can read this and review it on my other blog. Maybe you've heard of it,

  • A pair of history books from the 1930s, Origins of the American Revolution and The Growth of the American Republic; it was odd to see these amongst bins of cartoon, animation, and film books, but the seller said they'd been his father's.

  • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethus; If I'm going to use and abuse books, I should get some consolation, should I not?

  • English Literature to 11660, a textbook; bought from some former teacher/professor who was unloading a pile of text books and original materials. If they had been hardbacks, particularly the original texts, I would have bought far more.

  • Gangbusters by Michael Stone; a true story about a NYPD Homicide Unit took down a gang.

  • Quick Lit: Plots, Themes, Characters, and Sample Essays for the Most Assigned Books in English and Literature Classes--Written by Students for Students; of the 35, I've read 27. And, truth be told, I don't have trouble telling apart the Great Literature I've read; instead, I could use a resource that helps me keep track of the various and sundry genre fiction I read. Oh, right, that's this blog for the last couple of years.
You'll notice the single John D. Fitzgerald book to the right for the boy. Just like his daddy, he acquired without really knowing what's on his shelves, and Me and My Little Brain is the only one of the Great Brain series he owns. Now, temporarily, he owns two.

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