Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Twenty Years Later: A Cynical Musical Interlude
The Bangles "An Eternal Flame", their biggest hit, released in 1988:

By 2008, the poet-narrator's "eternal flame," whom she married in 1990, has left her after succeeding at his career (success being a district manager in a repair-shop-directed auto parts chain) for a 24-year-old whom he met at a coffeeshop in Indianapolis, IN, during a national sales meeting and who "rocked his world." In 2008, our poet-narrator has been single for 6 years and has begun dealing with empty-nest syndrome as the only child from her "eternal flame" relationship (born ahead of the marriage) has left to go to school in San Francisco.

She's got nothing left, just a mother nearby who has given up trying to console her daughter and a couple of people whom she calls every couple of months, trying not to impose upon them but ultimately proving too morbid for a return to their early friendship, which she sacrificed to her husbands' interests (now, they're married and raising children and don't want to relate to her experience).

Pleasant dreams.

Friday, September 05, 2008
The Singular of Data Is Anecdote
Well, not really, but the Sarah Palin thing has really affected the base. How do I know? VenomKate has gone all-Palin, all-the-time (I need room for one more link, so here it is).

Previously, she'd been down on the party and down on Bush, but now she's onboard for Old Dude/Naughty Librarian 2008.

Thursday, September 04, 2008
I'm Stuck In The Reagan Years
A bit of perspective from tonight's IM conversation with gimlet:
    gimlet: so are you busy hoping for audacious change?
    Brian Noggle: Dude, I'm stuck in the eighties. I want bodacious change.
    gimlet: that's pretty rad
    Brian Noggle: But I'd settle for gnarly.

Meanwhile, In The Comments
A self-described anarchist/libertarian embraces government mandates when they improve his quality of life.

Once in a while we get real discussions here on MfBJN, and sometimes they don't involve grief-stricken parents.

Book Report: The April Robin Murders by Craig Rice and Ed McBain (1958)
This book comes from early in McBain's career, and it's not even really a McBain book. Instead, it's McBain finishing a book started by another author. However, unlike Robert B. Parker taking over a Raymond Chandler novel, McBain's mannerisms and stock characterizations don't appear. Maybe it's too early in his career and he didn't develop the stock. That said, this is a Craig Rice book that Ed McBain worked on.

It's a little pulpy bit about two New York street photographers (who have had other capers in previous books) who decide to move to Hollywood to get rich and famous. Bingo, the brains of the outfit, almost thinks he has control of the situations and is atop things, but he's not. Handsome, the athletic and good-looking part of the duo, seems to follow Bingo's every word, but he has a tendency to go above and beyond his instructions in a beneficial way. Ergo, the characters have a sort of double-effect to them. On one hand, they seem buffoonish, but might only seem buffoonish on the surface.

In a series of events, they're sold a mansion by a con man whose receipt carries the actual signature of the presumed murdered former owner. Then, the housekeeper and caretaker is actually killed in the house. As the duo run through their cash reserves hiring attorneys and whatnot, while trying to figure out who killed the previous owner, who killed the housekeeper, and whatever happened to April Robin, the starlet who first owned the house.

An amusing little book. I enjoyed it and wouldn't mind reading the straight-up Craig Rice books in the series.

Books mentioned in this review:

Proud Moments in Cinematography
I lost several moments of Sarah Palin's speech last night and didn't catch the next paragraph after the John McCain uses his career to promote change because the cutaway shot went to a camera focused on a woman's bosom:

Nice, tight shot

Which the cameraman widened as quickly as he could, but ultimately too late to save me from near hysterical laughter:

Widen!  Widen!  Widen!

You can enjoy it for yourself:

It occurs with about 8:30 to go.

I bet that cameraman got a talking to. Or a promotion to the CCTV security team.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Voting Maxim
I'd rather be governed by a rich man or a man who married rich who went into the government than a man who went into the government and got rich.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The Race to 10% Is On
Three sales tax increases are on the ballot this time around for St. Louis County.
    Joseph Goeke, Republican director of the St. Louis County Election Board, said this would mark the first time that a county ballot included three such proposals.

    "We went back through the records and couldn't find another," he said.

    The three taxes, if passed, would apply countywide, not just in the unincorporated areas. Two of the taxes would affect every consumer; the third would affect only those who spend more than $2,000 on out-of-state purchases.
Notice that this would only prove to be a .75% increase to all sales in St. Louis County if these pass, not including sales taxes by your municipality or "community improvement district" (aka unaccountable unelected bureaucracy enrichment zones).

A couple more penny increases each season, and suddenly we're talking real money, I suppose.

Sunday, August 31, 2008
Book Report: The Case of the Mischeivous Doll by Erle Stanley Gardner (1963)
This is a Perry Mason novel. It clocks in at like 140 pages. I understand Gardner dictated two of these a month or something. As such, you should expect it's a formulaic read, albeit one that's pleasing.

This one details a plot where an heiress's double approaches Mason to make sure she's not getting chosen to be a patsy in something. She's got an odd story to tell, and when a man appears dead in her apartment during her apparent kidnapping, Mason has to determine if his client is in on it.

On a side note, the 1960s technology that doesn't appear so dated for this novel: the speaker phone. When Della hooks it up, it reads just like the speaker phone in the conference room where I used to work. 45 years later, it doesn't read like they're playing eight track tapes.

And an odd note about the edition I have: it's a Walter J. Black edition, but mine has a dustjacket. This is the first of the Walter J. Black editions I have of anything that has a dustjacket. Did someone slip a dustjacket for the same title over this one, or what?

Books mentioned in this review:

If Only I Were Given The Opportunity
I wish I could, just once, run into Nancy Pelosi on the street, just so I could approach her and ask, "Mrs. Reagan?"

Good Book Hunting: August 30, 2008
We walked to a yard sale yesterday; unfortunately, it was one of those where the sale items are jumbled into boxes for you to paw through. Even the four or five boxes of books. I got through two of them, but gave up in disgust. One cannot maintain control of one to two children while pawing through unsorted books whose vendor cannot even bother to put the spines facing up.

So I only bought three books and a DVD; that will teach them.

Garage sale books on August 30, 2008
Click for full size

I got:
  • The Deal, a novel of Hollywood. Don't know why.

  • Heat, a novel by Mike Lupica that I didn't recognize.

  • A collection of short stories by Flannery O'Connor. I read the title story in college and remember it, but didn't care for it. Maybe I will appreciate it now that I'm older. Or maybe it just sucks.

  • The Fast and the Furious on DVD. It was fifty cents. I've never seen it. Now, I will see it someday, but probably not soon.
Mrs. Noggle got a record which she can rip to MP3 format, probably sometime when they're up to MP12 format.

Poverty and Doomsday
In a four color insert into the Suburban Journals (online here), Metro continues its apocalypse now threats should it not receive a new tax-backed slush fund.

No service west of 270! No Metrolink trains after 8pm (spooking the suburbanites who would go to a ballgame, I suppose)!

Take heart, citizens! Even if you don't pass the taxes, not one executive phony-baloney job will be lost and no budget will be spared on preparing promotional items for future tax increases!

Metro has its priorities, after all.

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