Brian J. Noggle Will Never Be Rich

I admit it, I have had my dreams of being fantastically wealthy. Hey, I subscribe to the The Wall Street Journal and Forbes and their money-glamour lifestyle journals Forbes Life and WSJ. I even get the regional glitterati slicks St. Louis Magazine and 417. You know how you can tell a money-glamour lifestyle journal? Does it have any ads for watches or ads with strangely lit, underfed women in spotlit jewelry? Does it contain advertisements in the cheap ads in the back where an attractive blonde CEO of an executive matchmaking company wants to introduce you to quality underfed women who want spotlit jewelry? You know, I once even worked for a technology startup that gave me stock options, so I had a route to wealth. If only the startup had a route to selling software, I’d have been set.

That’s not worked out. I’m not complaining, mind you. Compared to the life I lived when I was growing up and the things my parents had at my age, I am wealthy. I’ve got a house (two, actually, but I’d be willing to part with one for the right price which is more and more becoming any price), I’ve got a technology company that’s keeping us cash flow neutralish (the house for sale has four bedrooms and a spare room in the basement that could almost be a fifth, and it’s within walking distance of shopping, dining, and arts—write for details!) But I’m not going to have my own private jet nor will I need to get a passport for sure to accommodate my world capital travel.

In the back of a recent Forbes, I saw an advertisement for an advisory service that asked the rich people if they really, really wanted to get really, really rich instead of just being rich. A handy table showed the differences between the megawealthy and the merely wealthy. For example, while the wealthy might have a pretty extensive network of the associates, the megawealthy had only a small network of very important people (no doubt including a paid advisor from the firm advertising). While the wealthy had a lot of stuff and did some things, the megawealthy only did things with the specific intent of increasing their wealth (no doubt including paying an advisor from the firm advertising). The table threw into stark relief why I, Brian J. Noggle, will never be super wealthy and why I might touch upon ultramoney for some time (after Saturday’s lottery numbers are drawn), but I will never challenge Larry Ellison for America’s Cup.

Here are the main reasons I will never be wealthy, and if I do happen into a lottery prize, why I won’t remain wealthy for long.

  • I give a lot away. Every time I hit the Sam’s Club or Wal-mart, I pick thirty bucks’ worth of food or clothing for Crosslines. Whenever the YMCA has a barrel for children’s clothing or a tree for adopted families in it, I participate. I am Friends with 3 separate library systems, including one where I haven’t actually lived, and a number of other foundations and historical societies and whatnot. If I could, I would end up on the super membership levels of each. I think I’m Brewster or something, or maybe I just realize I have enough wealth to redistribute voluntarily.
  • I would buy lots of land and buildings. The pasture and barn beside us went through foreclosure, and I talked to the man at the bank about picking it up. He asked me what I was going to do with it, and frankly, I just wanted it to have it. Maybe I would end up with some horses or cattle in it, maybe I would ask my nineteen-year-old equine-minded cousin with whom I’ve probably not shared a dozen words in my life to live in it and run a boarding stable, maybe I would just have twice-annual hay cuttings. The thing precedes the dream in some cases. I always look at buildings for sale in various regions the same way. What, a two story building in downtown Nixa for sale for $90,000? I’ll take it! Then I can worry about what to put into it. That’s the sort of thinking that has me carrying two houses in a freefalling real estate market. Maybe it’s the way an existentialist dreams, where existence of an asset precedes the essence of an asset. Or maybe I’m just better at dreaming than the actual planning that one needs to be a good steward of wealth.
  • I am a miser until I’m suddenly profligate. I buy off brands at the grocery store, I wear my shoes out, and I wear inherited clothing for a decade (and counting). But when I suddenly find out that I can’t just pump a novel into Kindle without a cover, suddenly I hire a professional graphic designer, buy 10 ISBNs, and go the print-on-demand route even though I know I’ll end up buying at least $250 worth of my own name in print just to spread around amongst my friends. I put off purchasing some repairs and repair items, furniture purchases when we can make do with hand-me-down bureaus with scaring from a puppy chewing in 1985, but when the plant center opens in the spring, I spend $200 on plants, soil, and equipment per trip into town. When I was a youth, it was the same way; I’d put my paychecks in the bank for a couple weeks, and then one night at the mall with an ATM card, I’d blow the whole wad except for bus fare on videos, video games, books, and music (and then I’d fan my purchases out when I got home with the delicious anticipation of what I’d do first).

With all of these foibles working against me and with the other limitations hard-coded into me, I’ll never be superwealthy. Even if I won the lottery or somehow else came upon a pile of money, no doubt I’d burn through it in the aforementioned manners pretty quickly.

Ah, but how much fun I would have in those few years, fanning my purchases out with the delicious anticipation of what I’d do first. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a little time to go through the real estate ads like they were the Sears Wishbook and I am five years old.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Interviewer Underestimates American Can-Do Spirit

In the December 2010 St. Louis Magazine, Robert Meyerowitz talks to author Eric Jay Dolin about his latest book Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America.

Meyerowitz underestimates what the American people can put their mind to when they want to do something when he “asks” (it’s not a question, it’s a viewpoint the journalist wants the author to agree with):

And somehow the beaver survives this slaughter, albeit in lesser numbers—by some conservative estimates, from a high of more than 60 million when Europeans came to North America to around 10 million today. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t eradicate it, or the buffalo or the sea otter.

Despite our best efforts? Well, here are the two common flaws with the question:

  • Talking about historical residents of the continent as “we.” The better to charge contemporary residents of the United States with the alleged sins committed by the forefathers of some small portion of the population.
  • Confusing the result with the intent. Mankind, and Americans, have hunted species into extinction and into near extinction, but in most cases that was not the intent. Trappers wanted beaver skins for hats so the Europeans would look cool. They could make money from the skins. They had nothing against the beavers themselves. When Americans want something eradicated, it gets eradicated. See smallpox. Well, Americans used to, before less intelligent Americans formed People for the Preservation of Pathogens that Kill People and whatnot.

The author of the book responds with:

We came pretty darn close. When you only have 1,091 buffalo left and you had 30 million, that’s a close shave. With beaver we did virtually exterminate them as we swept east to west. Now they’re making a comeback. The beavers, of all the animals, are the ones that are actually doing the best as far reestablishing themselves.

Sure, and now governments kill them as a nuisance when they block up creeks and streams. You know, when they act human and alter the environment to suit their needs. Naughty little beavers.

You know what saved the beavers and let them come back? It wasn’t enlightened consciousness. It was a change in fashion.

The beaver saver

What was my point?

Oh, yes, the interviewer in this case really took the opportunity to pose a flawed, leading statement to a publicity-hungry author. That question was designed to put Man, especially Americans, in a bad light and to elevate the poor beaver and bison.

If we, and by we, I mean people who died centuries before I was born and fewer centuries before most of my ancestors arrived had wanted to spend their best efforts to kill all the beavers, they would all be dead a long time.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Color Treasury of Firearms introduction by Frederick Wilson (1973)

Well, I threatened to read coffeetable books to make my 100 this year, didn’t I? Of course, I’ve been interspersing them all year so I could have something to flip through during football games, but as we get down to the end of the year, I really expose my dependence on these sorts of books to count. Of course, I also do things like count multiple novel volumes (like this) as one book, so I’d like to confuse you into believing it all works out.

At any rate, this book is a collection of photographs of antique arms from matchlocks to wheellocks to flint locks (and with some percussion guns thrown in at the end). It describes in some text the difference between them and shows examples of them, but it really doesn’t seem to have good diagramming to really make it clear the difference. Either that, or I skipped that particular corner of the page to watch a replay. It’s an interesting glance book to the relatively uninitiated (like me), and it might have some more meaning to someone who is an educated aficionado and know what you’re looking at, you might enjoy a little retrospective trip through the history of firearms that this book offers.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

I’ve Read My Share and A Bostonian’s Share

While I’m starting to wonder what I’ll have to do since I’m sitting on 97 books this year and am 450 pages into an 800 page compendium of Heinlein, Massachusetts librarians are issuing a challenge for 2011:

Could you read 50 books in a single year?

The New Bedford Public Library is challenging adults to do just that in its 50 Book Challenge, which runs through Dec. 10, 2011.


Off course, I’m not the standard citizen here. I’m the literary equivalent of the crazy cat lady. Come to think of it, according to those who market pet products, I’m the crazy cat lady equivalent of a crazy cat lady, too.

I think I’ll finish this one local memoir and maybe this collection of sonnets, which will put me at 99, and if I don’t get good push on the Heinlein book, I might have to pick up a coffeetable book or short paperback to make quota.

(Link seen here.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

The Meaning of Education

My 24th State colleague Van has a long post up at his personal blog on the meaning of Education and why modern approaches don’t Educate and are not designed to do so.

He refers to this Cato chart that shows that costs of education have gone up drastically, but the results have not improved:

Does this remind you of the Price is Right Mountain Climber game?
Click for full size

I’ve discussed this very chart with a former classmate at the University, now a doctor of rhetoric and professor at a snowy university himself, and he thinks the expense justifies the outcome as long as the new, expensive education elevates minority students. Think of it as spreading the education around.

Were that true, it would be spending a bunch of money to elevate favored students at the expense of nonfavored students since it would statistically require an offset of lower scores for nonminority students to keep that line flat. But to a raging liberal statist, that’s okay. Education, apparently, is a zero-sum game like wealth.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Film’s Alumni Compare and Contrast

Actors from the film Predator (Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzeneggar) go onto become governors; Actors from the film Predator 2 (Gary Busey, Danny Glover) go on to make Turkish anti-American films (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, Five Minarets in New York).

Actually, since Predator 2 also starred Robert Davi and Adam Baldwin, it cannot have been something on the catering truck.

I shudder because Busey and Glover also starred in the holiday classic Lethal Weapon. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy it unequivocally again.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

A New Municipal Money Stream

Step 1: Illegally collect a fee from “customers” who by law must use your service.
Step 2: Get caught and get told to stop.
Step 3: Keep the $90,000,000 you’ve already collected.

A judge says the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District does not have to refund $90.9 million it collected from a storm-water service charge that he ruled was improper.

Dildine recently decided a refund is not needed because the district used money from the charge to provide storm-water service and comply with federal and state environmental laws. He also said customers did not follow proper procedures to seek refunds. Through the district’s taxes, customers would end paying the refunds to themselves, he said.

In other news, municipal water companies, power companies, and pre-selected, compulsory waste haulers are thinking up the names for the new “fees” they’re about to tack onto your bill, legal or not. After all, as long as they use the money to provide their service, they get to keep it if and when they get caught and called out.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Bad Daddy (Part x of a continuing series)

So my oldest child goes to preschool, and one of the tasks we were warned about in the parental orientation was that at some unspecified future time, he would bring home a Letter Bag and would need to return to school with a number of things that start with that letter to discuss. Wait, let me dramatically re-create the scene for you.

Teacher: And the list of things we don’t want the child to bring to school include toys, gifts or cards for individuals if not for everyone, candy, firearms, books by Al Franken or Barbara Ehrenreich, or anything whose radiation level exceeds 4 microrems.

Parents: Okay.

Teacher: We have the Letter Bag, where the child will bring back things that have the letter of the day in them and will discuss them. For example, if the letter is J, the child can bring in a jelly bean.

Child: A jelly bean? That’s candy. You said I wasn’t supposed to bring candy to school.

At any rate, you get the gist.

So the child today announced that the Awesome Letter Bag was coming home, and with this great power he had great responsibility. Well, he didn’t say that; although he loves Spider-Man at age 4, he’s not versed enough in the mythos to recognize that trope (and he doesn’t use SPIDER-MAN! as a power word or expletive like he uses STAR WARS!). But the letter of the week is C, so his task was to gather things with the letter C in them.

I am a bad daddy because my mind immediately went to inappropriate things that begin with C for a preschooler to bring to school and the accompanying explanations. Things like:

  • Chianti, which Daddy makes us drink on nights where he cooks liver and beans for dinner.
  • Castor beans. Daddy sometimes cooks these after I go to bed and wears gloves and a mask.
  • Cat o’Nine Tails. Daddy has explained the rules as to when junior mariners can be flogged.
  • Chihuahua. Of course, we’d have to get one of those handbag-adapted models. Which leads me to wonder, are those dogs specifically bag-trained?

In the end, of course, I did the right thing and he schlepped off with a number of toys depicting things beginning with C. Because I know that he’s got a permanent record at school, but I wonder if they’re also keeping a permanent record on me, the parent, and they probably don’t share my sense of humor.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Quality Craftsmanship You Can Trust

Some road construction here in Springfield:

* Relocate Weaver at Campbell 450 feet north of its current location. The new section of Weaver will tie in to the existing road about 800 feet on both sides of Campbell.

* Widen Weaver on both sides of Campbell to provide dual left-turn lanes on Weaver.

* Build dual left-turn lanes on southbound Campbell Avenue to eastbound Weaver Road.

* Build a new box culvert for Ward Branch Creek under Weaver west of Campbell; Weaver will be closed at the creek during that part of the project.

* Build new sidewalks along Weaver and a new Campbell pedestrian crossing on the south side of the new intersection.

* Build connections from the new section of Weaver to the old road to provide access to businesses, homes and apartments.

* Install new traffic signals and street lighting at the new intersection

Sounds complicated, but don’t worry: experienced, qualified engineers are on it:

The lead contractor on the project is D & E Plumbing and Heating, Inc. of Nixa, doing the work for a low bid amount of $4.3 million. The project is scheduled for completion by Dec. 1, 2011.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

James Lileks: On Of The Brotherhood

Yes, I know, I think he’s an heretic for his stance on book hoarding, but that doesn’t mean James Lileks cannot be one of the bagger brotherhood. Just a heretical brother:

The clerk started beeping my goods, and I noted right away she was just tossing stuff in the bag. She was also talking with a friend who’d shown up, and they were chatting away in fine style about something or other. When she gave me my first bag I looked into its disordered depths, and sighed: no. So I repacked it. If she saw she didn’t care. The second bag needed repacking, especially since a huge bladder of orange juice was on top of some small easily-crushed items. Framing a bag is a skill, a challenge; it’s like Tetris, except all the pieces are differently shaped. There’s satisfaction in framing a bag properly, and I say that as someone who used to bag groceries for his salt.

I repacked four bags. When I was done I realized that she’d finished, and I hadn’t signed the card-reader, and the person behind me was glaring at me: GET ON WITH IT. So in a matter of minutes I’d gone from Mr. Generous, waving people ahead in line, to Mr. Obstacle. I apologized deeply – almost said “if you’d seen me wave someone ahead a few minutes ago you would know I’m a good person!” but they all say that; all the people who just don’t realize there are other people in the world think they’re good people – and moved along. Ran right into a manager. Now. Do I say something?

Damn right I do. If the clerk had looked new or harried or just plain not cut out for the job, or new at this, let it slide, but when someone stands there babbling away to a pal throwing everything into the bag so the bottle of spaghetti sauce is crushing the muffins, so to speak, sorry.

I jerked a thumb back to the checkout lane. “18 needs to watch the video on framing again,” I said. The manager looked at my bags. “I repacked them,” I said. “The wrong stuff was on top of small stuff.”

“Thank you,” said the manager.

In his Bleat, Lileks wonders if he was wrong to complain to the manager. Wrong or right, I’m the sort of cynic who wonders if Lileks’ complaint had any effect at all. Would the manager really spend even minimum wage money to make that particular clerk go through the orientation video again? Would the manager have a word with the clerk? Would the manager even remember the remark by the time he got back from the loading dock? I doubt it.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

When Alligators in the Back Seat Are Outlawed….

Haw, haw, this is a quirky story:

Kansas City police officers made an unusual discovery when they pulled a car over in a McDonald’s parking lot and found a live alligator in the back of the vehicle.

Kansas City animal control officers were called to the scene around 10:30 p.m. and took it to an undisclosed location.

That’s roughly half the story; I can’t in good conscience quote any more of it, but I will note that it ends by saying the paper doesn’t know whether the driver was issued a citation of some sort.

This sort of story gets my libertarianesque blood boiling. For starters, as a story, it leaves out some vital details. Including by what right can law enforcement come seize your alligator.

Seriously. Is it illegal to possess an alligator in Kansas City, or is it simply illegal to transport one in an automobile? Did the driver violate alligator-restraint laws by not having it in an alligator seat? The paper notes the reptile was only 3 foot long, and you have to be 4’8″ if you’re human to ride outside of a booster seating system.

It’s just a little story, but aside from its nugget nature (Did you know that in Kansas City, it’s illegal to chauffeur a reptile longer than 18 inches?), it really doesn’t address by what right law enforcement seized this animal from its rightful owner (assuming it was seized from its rightful owner, but the story doesn’t say so either way. The article doesn’t evoke any sort of discussion about what animals law enforcement can take to an undisclosed location just because they can. Well, none except the alarum raised by the extremists (those with principles and who want this sort of potentially arbitrary action backed up).

It’s just funny because it’s an alligator in the back seat at a McDonalds.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

A Retired Athlete Wonders What Might Have Been

Stories like this one make me wonder if I would have been good enough to go to the championship:

In February, Scott Hall, a Price Cutter employee, will be in Las Vegas, competing for a $10,000 prize and a chance to appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

His claim to fame? Bagging groceries.

Hall, a part-time cashier/bagger at the Price Cutter store at Grand Street and Chestnut Expressway, recently won the state championship in grocery bagging to advance to the national competition.

Cue the Bruce Springsteen.

I worked at a Shop Rite while I was at the university, and I was the best damned bagger that Shop Rite ever saw. I could keep up even with Trudy and Carolyn, the fastest checkers, even when they were going full speed. Back in those days, brother, the stores did not have a second conveyor belt or turntable to leisurely ride the product to the bagger; instead, the checkers flashed the UPCs past the scanner and whipped the groceries down to the bagger. You had to be fast, or Trudy could break your hand with a can of peas.

I could distribute the goods among bags, I could double bag or even senselessly put paper inside the plastic bags (some people thought that gave the plastic bags the strength of paper bags, but really, it just put four plastic-punching corners in the bag with the focused weight of all the contents). I could face the frozen and the dairy quickly. I could hear a checker call for a price check from all the way in the back of the store and round the corner to the checkouts before the courtesy counter person got her hands on the PA microphone. I walked so fast to handle those price checks that I beat a checker in a race once where she ran.

Ah, but the grocery store was a world of up or out, and I got promoted from bagger to checker to produce clerk. I stayed with it for four years, working between 20 and 50 hours a week and carrying a full college load between shifts (literally: some mornings I’d work 4-7, ride down to school on the bus, attend classes, and ride back to the store for a couple more hours in the afternoon). But even in my non-fulltime days, I was still the best bagger in the store, and even now I elbow the lackadaisical parttimers away from the end of the checkout lane when I’m grocery shopping. A number of stores now feature those conveyances that prevent one from honing one’s skills, but some of the older Price Cutters still have manual ends. I’d guess Hall’s Price Cutter is one of those.

Could I have been a state competitor, champion, and representative to the nationals? I’d like to think so. But the best part of reminiscing about What Might Have Been is the ongoing belief in maybe, and not simply remembering What Was Not.

UPDATE: As seen on Neatorama.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Complicating the Mythos

As a parent, we try to give it straight to our four-year-old son. We explain to him about monsters and their unreality (except for gila monsters) and about dragons and their unreality (except for Komodo dragons). Of course, these exceptions prove the rule we’re trying to instill, and by prove, of course I mean it in the truest sense of the word: they test whether he can believe our assurances that the things we say don’t exist actually don’t exist.

Daddy, are guns real?

Daddy, is Star Wars real?
Star Wars the movie is real, but the events and characters depicted in the story are not real.

You get the gist of our conversations and the hair-splitting things his father does to give him the full texture of the world and the many nuanced layers of reality.

As Christmas time rolls around, he’s starting to think of Santa as part of the narrative of Christmas. Younger children don’t get it, but by 4.5, he’s understanding that there might be something behind the red clad man. So he asks, inevitably,

Daddy, is Santa real?

Well, there’s a humdinger. Santa Claus is part of the mythology of childhood, part of Christmas that makes it magickal for the young and the young at heart. Although sometime in the coming Christmases, his sophistication will demand disbelief, but he could have a couple good years of putting out cookies for Santa and the struggle to stay awake to hear Santa on the roof. I mean, for crying out loud, we even have a fireplace, so he’s not trying to suss out how Santa Claus is coming into a small apartment in the housing projects whose sole sheet metal chimney leads right into the furnace. So I don’t want to blow it already with truth and reason, do I?

Secondly, there’s the vaccination thing. You know vaccinations are about keeping a population safe as much as about keeping an individual safe, right? If I tell the urchin that Santa does not exist, he will bring it up amongst his peers in preschool and Sunday School, injecting doubt into their celebrations. He’ll be Patient Zero in the loss of innocence. They might even fight over it, or at the very least point fingers and make those “Pkooh, pkooh” gun sounds that signal ostracization before they get cliques and Facebook accounts.

So I do what any overly analytical parent steeped in English degree obfuscation and essay exam extension techniques would do.

Saint Nicholas was real, but the Santa Clauses you see today are not the real Saint Nicholas but are rather earthly manifestations of his spirit, incarnations of him.

Great, now I’ve turned the jolly old elf into a sort of Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita, except instead of manifesting a many-headed and many-armed eater of men, Santa is a many-armed, many-headed, many-mall-dwelling dispenser of giftic justice. I’ve added an additional incarnation myth to muddy the birth of Jesus and its celebration. Most importantly, I’ve started the single lie that will lead to others. Is there one current incarnation of Santa, or many? Are the reindeer incarnation of the originals, or are they the immortal reindeer whereas Santas are mortal? What is the selection and succession process like?

Fortunately, something else caught his eye about then, and he asked about litter he saw outside his window, whether God liked the litter, and why man made litter but God didn’t and whether God made the houses under construction on our route. You know, the normal torrent of consciousness a child displays where the parent scrambles to keep up and to provide a chain of evidence and reasoning for everything in the world and some things that are not.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Man Enough

The Internet has produced another list to measure yourself upon, this time some list of 50 things every guy should know from a Web site called Guyism. As you can guess from its presence on a guy Web site, it involves essential skills dealing with beer and babes. Which is only “essential” in college, and sometimes not even then if you’re going on your own dime and have to work to put yourself through.

Still, I took my crack at the 50. They’re below in orange if I can do them, italics if I haven’t but expect I could, and stricken through if I think it’s a dumb essential skill for frat brothers.

Change a tire
Use a charcoal grill
Bong a beer
Throw a punch without looking like a sissy
Fry a turkey
Hook up the cable
Pick-up a woman with a one-liner
Get your money’s worth at a buffet
Some assembly required
Know your local professional sports teams
Pour a beer
Jump-start a car
Throw a football
Haggle for a lower price
Tie a tie
Erect a tent
Cast a fishing rod
Build a fire
Tap and operate a Keg
Use a chainsaw
Paddle a canoe/kayak
Choose a scotch/whiskey
Drive a manual car
Pick-up a girl using your dog as a wingman
Know how to navigate a road trip
Perform CPR
Iron a shirt
Shine your shoes
Do at least ten push-ups on command
Play poker
Parallel park
Unclog a toilet
Upgrade at a hotel
Rally after a big night of drinking
Spot fake breasts
Choose the right urinal
Sew a button
Unhook a bra with one hand
Open a bottle unconventionally
Talk your way out of a traffic ticket
Off-road without flipping the ATV
Buy a gift for a woman
Surf the web anonymously
Spot a liar
Drive in crappy conditions
Change a diaper
Make a drink
Make a mean breakfast

Pardon me while I get my chest thumping on here, but back when I was in college, not only could I do ten push-ups on command, but one afternoon while walking on the college mall with a girl I was trying to impress and another fellow, we were talking about push-ups or strength or something, and I dropped on the grass beside the mall and did ten one-armed push-ups with my book-laden backpack on. Back in those days, I weighed a buck twenty and had read enough Robert B. Parker to think it was a measure of a man to do one-armed push-ups, so I’d trained just for that. I don’t think the girl was impressed at all, but I was and still am.

Now, Internet Guy sites aside, what is the real measure of a man? For this, we must turn to Heinlein. From Time Enough For Love):

Change a diaper
Plan an invasion
Butcher a hog
Conn a ship
Design a building
Write a sonnet
Balance accounts
Build a wall
Set a bone
Comfort the dying
Take orders
Give orders
Act alone
Solve equations
Analyze a new problem
Pitch manure
Program a computer
Cook a tasty meal
Fight efficiently
Die gallantly

That, my friends, is a better list to gauge your Man Point Capacity. It doesn’t feature anything to do with drinking and easy things you can just check off. It includes things you can’t merely check off but must train for and aspire to. The difference between a boy and a man lies somewhere in that.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

In the Name of the King, Review This Meaningless Number!

The government-mandated EnergyGuide from my new dishwasher:

A useless bit of trivia courtesy the FTC

Note the assumptions on the bottom:

  • Estimated costs based on four loads a week. Hey, we eat 3 meals a day here, cook them, and sometimes bake with them. What kind of family does four loads a week of dishes, really? Some fluffy yuppie couple in the city with a standard-sized restaurant dishwasher?
  • Estimated costs are based on 2007 energy costs. Remember those halcyon days? Back before the depression?
  • Estimated costs based on natural gas? Well and good for you city folk, but we’re in the country here. We pay whatever David’s boss tells him to charge us when he fills up our Liquid Propane tank.
  • The standard for “standard” sized washer is not given in actual, you know, cubic feet nor anything.

This number is meaningless, but thanks to the government, IT MUST BE PRESENTED so I can better make up my mind which color suits my decor better and which one looks like its moving and grabbing parts are made of the least cheap plastic.

I wish I could blame this on a Democrat, but I know that the ruling party in Washington is the Entrenched Bureaucrat Party.

(Thanks for the link, Tam.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Filling In The Uh-Oh For Ace

At Ace of Spades HQ, Ace links (indirectly) to this story. The story sez:

Harvard scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have for the first time partially reversed age-related degeneration in mice, resulting in new growth of the brain and testes, improved fertility, and the return of a lost cognitive function.

In a report posted online by the journal Nature in advance of print publication, researchers led by Ronald A. DePinho, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor of genetics, said they achieved the milestone in aging science by engineering mice with a controllable telomerase gene. The telomerase enzyme maintains the protective caps called telomeres that shield the ends of chromosomes.

As humans age, low levels of telomerase are associated with progressive erosion of telomeres, which may then contribute to tissue degeneration and functional decline in the elderly. By creating mice with a telomerase switch, the researchers were able to generate prematurely aged mice. The switch allowed the scientists to find out whether reactivating telomerase in the animals would restore telomeres and mitigate the signs and symptoms of aging. The work showed a dramatic reversal of many aspects of aging, including reversal of brain disease and infertility.

Ace uses the headline “Uh-Oh: Age-Related Disease Reversed In Mice?” and sez:

Why the “uh-oh” in the headline? I don’t know. Just seems so big, possibly, it deserves an uh-oh.

Let me fill you in on the “uh-oh” portion of the program. Why does this suck rocks?

In spite of the advances and eventual application to humans, Congress still won’t raise the Social Security eligibility age.

Because in 2028, seniors will think they’ve earned the right to live 140 years on Social Security after putting in the requisite number of quarters in their 40 of work. FDR promised!!!!

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Althouse Outs

If you buy Christmas gifts from Amazon through Ann Althouse’s blog, there is a nonzero chance she will announce your purchase and let your recipient know what he or she is getting.

We here at MfBJN respect your privacy and will not reveal anything you purchase through our sidebar. If you send us the agreed upon sum in a timely fashion, Steve. Otherwise, everyone on the Internet will learn what size stilettos you wear.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories