Happy Cybermen Day

I doubt “Cyber Monday” is much of a thing any more, really; back around the turn of the century, people did a bunch of Christmas shopping at work the Monday after Thanksgiving because their employers had fast Internet connections, and if people had Internet at all at home, it was dial-up (I can’t believe I have to explain this, but we are twenty years on). Now, everyone has a faster Internet connection in their pocket and the shopping apps on their phone, so you can buy what you want when you think of it.

I recycled this post from Facebook, where I originally posted this image five years ago. I don’t really do The Facebook any more; it’s for old people. Actually, no, I am an old people; it’s just that Facebook has, perhaps by its own design, gone from a place to share quips and pictures of your dog to the common Internet comments section, except starring people you actually knew sometime as the rando trolls.

I have signed up for MeWe, but it lacks (so far) a critical mass of people I know to make it worthwhile.

So, gentle reader, you get the bulk of my blat-something-into-the-aether communication efforts for the nonce. And occasional recycled content when appropriate.

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Apparently, I Am Not Eligible To Start For Denver Today Either

NFL rules wouldn’t allow Colin Kaepernick to help COVID-19-stricken Broncos:

The Denver Broncos not having any quarterbacks available Sunday may have been seen as an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick to play in the NFL again.

But that was never a possibility, as league rules mandate that acquired players must remain in COVID-19 isolation for six days before joining their new team.

You mean someone might have been actually interested? Nah, bro, we were just working his name into a headline again:

Then again, Denver, along with every other team, has never seemed interested in reaching out to Kaepernick.

The guy has been out of football for three years now. Let it go.

You know whom the Broncos wanted to bend the rules so they could play? A coach:

The Denver Broncos are starting undrafted rookie practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but the team wanted their starting QB to be Rob Calabrese, their offensive quality control coach for the past two years, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Denver felt that Calabrese had the strongest command of its offense and he could run the system better than anybody, sources told ESPN. The league denied those requests that were made throughout the day Saturday, saying that the Broncos could not activate a coach to their active roster. The league doesn’t want coaching staffs being storage areas for potential players, sources said.

Considering that the Broncos are playing the New Orleans Saints, who are starting gadget quarterback Taysom Hill again this week, it would almost be worth turning it on to see who does better. However, the Red Packers are playing at the same time, so Nogglestead will be tuning in to see the team that the Packers defeated in Super Bowl I instead.

UPDATE: Sorry, the quips keep coming, so I’ll add them:

  • Where is José Oquendo when you need him?
  • “And starting at quarterback, Sarah Fuller!”
  • I told my youngest, who broke and dislocated my finger with a football pass that he needed to suit up. Strangely, and disappointingly, enough, my boys are nominal Broncos fans because the oldest had friends in kindergarten who were Broncos fans. My boys have grown since then, but they still sleep under Broncos blankets and the youngest, at least, has not yet outgrown Broncos apparel. He did not believe me about having to start for the Broncos. So if the Packers game goes badly, we might well end up watching former Packer Taysom HIll.

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The Book Accumulation Points of Brian J., Explained

I explained book accumulation points last year (almost two years ago, actually).

But I failed to explain one of the reasons why the stack of books has gotten so tall by my reading chair.

It’s because my current black cat Isis defends them.

I try to reach for the books, and she bites me.

Actually, she bites me for so many reasons. Such as doing the laundry (she is no longer satisfied with The Arena of Isis; now, she insists upon jumping on the bed whilst I’m folding laundry and batting and trying to bite me).

I don’t know what it is. The black cats are all so sweet and friendly until they come to me, and then they become mean.

Actually, she does not defend the side table that much. I was just trying to use it as an excuse to justify my own habit of laying aside books to finish later, when later might be years.

Isis actually prefers to jump on my lap when I am reading and inspect books by rubbing her cheek against them. Clearly, she favors heavy hardback books which scratch her better than Executioner paperbacks or saddle-stitched self-published works. But she prefers those to nothing at all.

And then she hops off and runs away, only to return minutes later to hop up and inspect the book again.

Sometimes, though, she will settle into my lap for a long-Isis-time of a couple minutes. But I am not to pet her. Otherwise, she will bite me. Ibit.

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Book Report: Eat The Cookie… Buy The Shoes by Joyce Meyer (2010)

Book coverAs you might recall, gentle reader, I ordered this book from ABC Books in May right as the lockdowns were ending here in southwest Missouri. Although I started The Power of Positive Thinking before I picked up this book, I finished this book first–back in September. I didn’t review it before now because I wanted to do a little comparison of them as I did, and I wanted them to be fresh in your mind when I did so. Of course, if you’re reading this first, some of the comparisons won’t make much sense. Not that these book reports make much sense or are much actual “book reports” in any sense of the word anyway.

So. Joyce Meyer, if you’re not familiar, runs a successful (prosperous and it reaches a lot of people). I think she started out at a small church in the St. Louis area and then went national, whether just from attending large conventions and writing successful books or whether she got into television which springboarded her to national prominence (or at least the success she has enjoyed). In the St. Louis area around the turn of the century, though, her company employed a lot of IT contractors, so I knew a lot of people who had done some work not with her but on her business anyway.

At any rate, the subtitle of this book is Giving Yourself Permission To Lighten Up. So the focus on the book is, again, not heavy theology but rather explaining that you can enjoy your life and be a Christian. It does not focus on giving or service, but on enjoying what you’re given without feeling guilty about it. So if you want to come charging in with judgment blazing about prosperity gospel, you can make a case, I suppose, that this book does not emphasize Jesus telling someone to sell all his goods and follow Him.

However, the book does focus on the scriptures where Jesus and the disciples relax from their labors. Also, the Psalms. In contrast with The Power of Positive Thinking, or maybe not so much, the book does not really look to using prayer and positive thought as a tools for success but rather as a respite from the tasks and efforts the world requires–as well as some material things, like buying a pair of shoes (which I don’t understand, because I’m a male) or eating a cookie (or a whole pie, which I do understand as I am, well, me). Although these are material and sensual pleasures, the book highlights verses from the Bible which indicate it’s okay to enjoy life in the material world as long as it’s not your primary pursuit.

It’s written to a lower reading level than The Power of Positive Thinking, more conversational. Shorter paragraphs. Modern. The balance of supporting anecdotes come from Meyer’s own life and not so much from other people who critics claim did not exist. The book didn’t change my life, either, and I didn’t like it as much as the Peale book, but I can see how they’re on a continuum and what role they play amongst Christians. Whereas the Peale book might have had the hope and perhaps the effect of bringing back to the church some non-practicing Christians, the Meyer book is targeted to practicing Christians, I bet.

I have a Joel Osteen book around here. I expect I’ll find it very similar.

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On the Plus Side, Christmas Letters in 2020 Are Easy

Actually, it’s not true here at Nogglestead, fortunately. As my grandmother mentioned that she liked reading my letters and read them several times, I took to writing her once or twice a month, so I have a good running commentary of 2020 in almost real time. The real challenge, of course, will be distilling 2020 down into a one pager. It’s easier looking back at the end of the year, when the first four or five things I remember become the contents of the Christmas letter. With all this extra information at my fingertips, I have to prioritize.

Which will give me an excuse to put it off until it’s almost too late, at which time I will put in the first four or five things I think of just to get it done.

Never let it be said that I lack a process or procedure for writing the annual Christmas missive. Do let it be said it is not a good process or procedure.

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Book Report: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (1952)

Book coverThis book might well represent the longest time between reads on my shelves. I read it in late middle school or early high school when I got this copy, perhaps from the flea market up the hill from the trailer park or perhaps from my grandmother. Or maybe I am confusing it with How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie which I got about the same time in paperback Given that I inherited a copy of that book from my grandparents, that’s probably the provinance of this book as well–my grandmother was high up in the local Toastmasters, after all, and this would probably fit into that curriculum. Re-reading it in 2020 would put it at about thirty years, give or take, between readings, which beats out Dinosaur Time and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel which I read as a child and then read to my children. Captains Courageous, as you recall, represents the longest elapsed time between when I got the book and when I read it at 30 years. Although I did pick this book up in 2012 when my beautiful wife and I tried the habit of reading books to each other in the evenings. We did not finish this book at that time, so it really is thirty some years between completions.

At any rate, I picked up this book earlier in the year because I thought I could use a little positive thinking. My interest in the book waxed and waned throughout the year as did my application of the lessons in it.

Continue reading “Book Report: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (1952)”

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Book Report: Hunters of Gor by John Norman (1974)

Book coverAs I mentioned, I last read a Gor book in in 2014. I’m not saying it’s old, gentle reader, but then-frequent commenter John Farrier and now-frequent commenter Friar overlapped. Wow. Friar is moving into nomination to the MfBJN Commenter Longevity Hall Of Fame, second only to Charles Hill (PBUH). Higher than my own sainted mother who passed away when this blog was but six years old. Rob K. and Gimlet could unseat him, but they don’t comment that frequently. But that’s neither here nor there, but it’s probably more interesting to think about than this book.

After the previous seven-year hiatus from the Gor books, and I said:

So I was disappointed with this book, and I’ve got at least three remaining on my shelves. I might pick up another one soon–before 2021, I would hope.

So that became a twee goal of Brian J. If it weren’t for twee goals, I would have no goals at all. With a month to spare, I picked this volume up and….


I was disappointed with Captive of Gor because it was not a Tarl Cabot story; instead, it focused on a woman who was not a very likeable character who had some chances for redemption, perhaps (sorry, I read it seven years ago and cannot be remember exactly), but she chose poorly instead each time that option came around. I have mentioned before (see also book reports for Vienna Days, 2007, and Clemmie, 2010) that I really end up disliking books with unredeemable protagonists who just make their lives worse through poor decisions after some success (shut up, Ted!). Which might have carried over, but the degradation of women in the book was a part of it, too, perhaps.


This book is about 60% explaining slavery on Gor and treating women slaves poorly (although the male slaves do not fare well, either). The female slaves crave the domination, and they’re happy in their servitude when they give into it. Which is a bit of an extreme presentation of traditional roles of the sexes, but, eesh. Not so much. Perhaps liberals think the newest Supreme Court justice is into this. But probably not.

The other 40% is a pulp story of Tarl Cabot going into the untamed forests in the north of the Gorean continent to find his True Love from the early books (I mention in my report on The Priest-Kings of Gor, 2006, that I did not read the series in order, my memory of the saga is soggy). He has lost the home stone of Ko-Ro-Ba and has been cast out of Ar and is now a merchant in Port Kar. To be honest, I didn’t remember much of the continuing saga as I went along, so some of the reminisces and probably foreshadowing (the assassin probably lives, and I’ll probably read about him in the next volume, someday). But he has heard that the wild women, the Panther Girls, of the forest have her, so he sets up an expedition with a galley and some trusted people to go looking for her. The leader of the city-state whom formerly employed Tarl, the leader of Ar, is also looking for his daughter in the north forests. Tarl dreams of finding the daughter first, triumphing, and elevating himself to the highest levels of Gorean aristocracy, and the book repeats this a bunch. I thought perhaps it was setting itself up for some counter-narrative when Cabot himself gets captured as a slave, but, no. After a series of set pieces and reversals and betrayals, Cabot alone hunts his enemies who have taken the leader of Ar and his retinue slaves and are headed to their exfil point but Cabot hunts them down. At the end of the book, a bunch of slaves are manumitted, but many of the women return immediately to slavery at the hands of their beloved former masters. And Tarl returns as the Bosk of Port Kar, leading into another book which I will likely read before another seven years pass. If only because I set another alarm.

At any rate, the book moved all right, although perhaps that’s because I was skimming a bit.

But one thing stuck out, and I flagged it:

In hunting, one often fells the last of the attackers first, and then the second of the attackers, and so on. In this fashion, the easiest hits are saver for last, when there is less danger of losing a kill. Further, the lead animals are then unaware that others have fallen behind them. They are less aware of their danger. They regard as misses what may, in actuality, be hits on others, unknown to them.

I flagged it because Gary Cooper tells his barracksmates that this is the way to kill turkeys in Sergeant York.

So if I have learned anything this month, it’s how to kill a line of turkeys or Gorean slavers on the march.

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Sounds Better Than A Bomb Cyclone, Anyway

UK Weather: Britain braces for 48-hour snow bomb as temperatures set to plunge to -5C.

Maybe bomb cyclones only hit the Ozarks.

I am thankful to live in times and in a society where meterologists use bomb as a metaphor, and we are not so accustomed to the concrete realities of actual bombs exploding around us with enough frequency to see what a ridiculous metaphor that is for weather which is in the range of normal.

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Not Quite As Good As Culturally Conscious Via Cartoon

My beautiful wife was playing some playlist in the kitchen whilst cooking. I heard a song and said, “That’s Bach, ainna?”

She said it was.

I don’t know if she was impressed or not–I always assume she is impressed with every utterance and impressive bit of trivia I know. So I immediately ruined any positive impression by admitting I knew it because it was the song that played when you went into the church in the Commodore 64 Friday the 13th video game which I played a bit in my youth. In a pirated copy downloaded from a l33t BBS somewhere, which is the only way a kid in a trailer park got games to play that he didn’t have to type in out of magazines himself.

“It must have been a Lutheran church,” she said.

I was going to post about it earlier this week when it happened, but I needed to research it as I did not look to see what it was and didn’t want to have to go through random Bach songs to find it.

But last night, I discovered it on the LP A Solid Brass Christmas.

It’s Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis 140).

Which I recognize because it was in a video game I played over 30 years ago.

It’s kind of like knowing classic works because they were in old Looney Tunes cartoons. But in 8-bit Commoodore SID chip sound with a dash of software piracy thrown in for spice.

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Shocking Internet Searches My Children Perform

So the youngest boy has a laptop provided by his school that includes monitoring software that gives us insight into the sites he’s visiting and the searches that he’s conducting. The older boy, who has a laptop issued by the public school, has no such software installed; what happens in Public School, stays in Public School, you know.

But what I found on my youngest son’s search list was SHOCKING and DISTURBING.

Continue reading “Shocking Internet Searches My Children Perform”

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Missed It By That Much

The description of the suspect from Saturday’s post on a shooting at Mayfair Mall was:

“Preliminary statements from witnesses indicate that the shooter is a white male in his 20s or 30s,” Weber told reporters. “Investigators are working on determining the identity of that suspect.”

Turns out:

Police had said Friday that witnesses described the shooter as a white man in his 20s or 30s. But Weber described the suspect as a 15-year-old Hispanic boy. His firearm was recovered during the arrest.

Hey, I understand the mix-up. Everyone under 35 looks like a damn kid to me, so I can easily confuse someone who is fifteen for someone who is thirty and vice-versa.

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Why Is The Focus Not On The Former St. Louis Blues Player In The Picture?

Candace Cameron Bure calls sex ‘the blessing of marriage’ after backlash over handsy pic:

Candace Cameron Bure is reflecting on backlash she received from Christian fans who took issue with a photo of husband Valeri Bure cupping the actress’ breast on Instagram.

Valeri Bure played for the Blues in a handful of games when I was heavily watching the team in the early part of the century. As such, he is first and foremost a St. Louis Blue, not the husband of a childhood televisions star.

Kind of like I think of Paul Kariya and Wayne Gretzky as St. Louis Blues. And anyone who ever played for the Packers is a Packer unless they go to the Bears later, in which case ::makes Italian kiss-off gesture::.

I don’t care that there isn’t an Italian kiss-off gesture in Italy. They don’t have Bears fans in Italy. If they did, they would have one. One which Francis of Assisi would have developed.

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On Francis of Assisi by Professors William R. Cook and Ronald B. Herzman (2000)

Book coverThis is another one of the turn-of-the-century six hour lectures that I bought this autumn. I have been tearing through the six hour ones at a pretty good pace (see also The Search for Intelligent Life In Space, The Ethics of Aristotle and The Aeneid of Virgil). It’s the first lecture series that I have heard where two professors tag-team the lectures, each speaking in turn. One is a professor of history and the other is a professor of English, and they combine to keep the series rolling.

The course talks a bit about the historical context–twelfth century Italy, which is about to undergo its Renaissance, but which is still medieval in many ways but with a rising merchant class. In many ways, the lives of the people have not changed that much in the millennium since Christ, so the Biblical metaphors of a shepherd and whatnot are still real and concrete to the people of the time. Into this world, a son of a wealthy merchant undergoes a religious experience and sheds his wealthy background to become a poor itinerant preacher and practicer of charity who triggers a bit of a revival within the Church (now known as the Catholic Church since Luther was not so fortunate and a bit hot-headed).

So Francis gets the blessing of the Pope for his ministry and ends up founding an order that would have quite an impact even unto today. The professors begin and end the series by talking about how Francis remains in the popular culture, imagination, and ministry to this day.

The lectures include:

  1. Why Francis of Assisi Is Alive Today
  2. The Larger World Francis Inherited
  3. The Local World Francis Inherited
  4. From Worldly Knight to Knight of Christ
  5. Francis and the Church
  6. Humility, Poverty, Simplicity
  7. Preaching and Ministries of Compassion
  8. Knowing and Experiencing Christ
  9. Not Francis Alone–The Order(s) Francis Founded
  10. Not Men Alone–St. Clare and St. Francis
  11. The Fransiscans After Francis
  12. A Message For Our Time

So I learned a bunch about Francis (although I have forgotten alread his birth and death years, but it was very late 1100s and early 1200s) and a bit about only slightly pre-Renaissance Italy.

These lectures continue to remind me how much I can learn–that is, how much I do not know–and how quickly I can learn when I delve into something new.

Unfortunately, I have also just started a 36 lecture course on The English Novel, which is something I already know a bit about, and The Re-Current Unpleasantness is already limiting my time driving, so it might be some time before you see another post like this, gentle reader. Rest assured, in the interim, I will be reading pulp and genre fiction instead of the many learned tomes I own and might actually be getting dummer as we go.

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Milwaukee Natives See The Headline And Think “Mayfair”

Police: 8 injured in Wisconsin mall shooting; suspect sought.

Of course it’s Mayfair Mall:

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber gave no motive for the attack at the Mayfair Mall in a brief update about three hours after the 2:50 p.m. incident near an entrance to the Macy’s store. He said the extent of the eight victims’ injuries was unknown, but all were alive. He added that the shooter was “no longer at the scene” when authorities arrived.

“Preliminary statements from witnesses indicate that the shooter is a white male in his 20s or 30s,” Weber told reporters. “Investigators are working on determining the identity of that suspect.”

* * * *

“Preliminary investigation has led us to believe that this shooting was not a random act, and was the result of an altercation,” said police, who added that the mall was now cleared and secure.

It’s easy to guess as it’s about the only mall left in the Milwaukee area and because it has been in the headlines for a couple of years for incidents including brawls and a police shooting earlier this year that triggered the now-customary “protests.”

Kind of like the Galleria in St. Louis; it had a reputation for being upscale, but its central location allows Sumdoods to congregate there, and we only hear about it outstate when there’s trouble every year or so.

A number of mall owners have entered bankruptcy here recently. I have to wonder if the mall as a concept is dead.

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The Recreated Elementary School Posters of Nogglestead

Some years ago, when my beautiful wife was in the hospital overnight (probably after emitting a boy), I asked her if I could bring her anything.

“Tristan,” she said, referring to her white cat.

Well, I could not bring the cat to the hospital, so I picked up a stuffed white cat for her. It has bounced around the bedroom and perhaps her office since and was not turned over the the boys as the other stuffed animals from our youth were (okay, mine, amongst them Edwin, Pooky, and a large bear I received for Valentine’s Day once–I have since reclaimed Edwin, and the bear is in our closet as the boys have outgrown stuffed animals mostly, but apparently we parents have not, and how did this all of a sudden become about me?).

At any rate, earlier this week, someone turned down the bed in the master bedroom (yes, we turn down the beds in the evenings and clear the decorative pillows from them before bedtime–I started doing this when my wife was traveling a bunch for work, and I wanted to give her a more upscale feeling when she came home). In addition to not doing it the right way–that is, my way, the person put Tristan II between the pillows, which would not have worked at all as that’s where Athena sleeps at night.

So I put it in the crossbar of the canopy bed (minus canopy, because they’re expensive, and we stripped my sheers-held-in-place-with-magnets solution one of the times we converted the canopy bed to a sleigh bed or a mere four-poster bed) to recreate the poster that was on the walls of pretty much every classroom in Carleton Elementary and many offices besides.

It’s been there for a number of days without comment. Perhaps I need to pin or tape paper with the “Hang In There” text.

Or, more likely, now that I have amused myself (and perhaps you, gentle reader), perhaps I will just take it down and put it back on her dresser.

Also, I suppose I will have to stop calling you gentle reader as you have learned that I still have a stuffed animal or two in adulthood and will probably come rough me up for my lunch money.

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