Gee, I wonder why they would say such a thing …

Oh, yeah – this:

He is prepared to meet with no preconditions,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

Or this:

Mnuchin said Thursday that Trump had made clear “he would sit down with Rouhani with no condition.”

Or this:

Or there was this:

We’re not saying the trend in the UK is any more pronounced than in any other English-speaking nation. The article just references the UK because it’s from one of their tabloids. I’ll bet the percentage would be even higher in the USA.

Most popular: Jasmine, Rex, Belle

  • I believe Jasmine and Belle, but …. Rex??? Sounds like a Brit thing.

Least popular: Dopey, Goofy, Donald

Just out of curiosity, I looked this up in the Social Security database:

  • Jasmine experienced a surge in the 70s and was a top-50 girl’s name for two decades (1989-2008), but has steadily been dropping in popularity since then. It is now at 136 and has fallen in each of the last four years.
  • Rex has never been popular, but has experienced a very slight uptick since 1996. It is still unpopular, and is not among the top 500 male baby names.
  • Belle was essentially non-existent for eight decades (1935-2015), but has experienced a slight resurgence in the past three years. It’s important to recognize, however, that the name is still profoundly unpopular and has not yet cracked the top 800 female baby names.

In general, Americans are not naming their children after Disney characters. There was one exception about a quarter of a century ago, as far as I could see. The name Ariel experienced a tremendous surge in 1990 and 1991. The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, so that seems directly correlated.

Could you have won any of these wacky bets on last night’s debate?

Example:

Will any candidate say a curse word or be bleeped?

  • Yes +500

=====================

On a more serious note: Here are the odds to win the Democratic nomination.

  • Elizabeth Warren is now the favorite with the bookies.
  • How bad are things for Cory Booker and Beto? They have worse odds than Hillary Clinton. In comparison to other candidates from the Golden Age, they are still slightly ahead of FDR.
  • Andrew Yang is still low, but surging. He has pulled into a tie for fifth with Pete Buttigieg.
  • DeBlasio has worse odds than Oprah, Michelle Obama, and the hippie chick. As he well deserves.

Obviously, those odds are based on more than the polls.

(SIDEBAR: Tulsi Gabbard, who did not qualify for the debate, is polling better than two of the people who did, Klobuchar and Castro.)

He has also said, on the same topic, but perhaps a bit less truthfully:

I’m not a vain person. … But I look better under an incandescent light than these crazy lights that are beaming down”

The stable genius at his Fayetteville rally

Yup, he’s commenting on the type of lighting that makes him look better – precisely what a guy would say if he wasn’t vain!

Oh sure, I believe him. I just figured that Wilbur Ross woke up one day and thought, “I’m going to tell our weather scientists to stop telling the truth.” Yeah, he just did it as a goof. What a rascal! Funny, funny little guy. After all, Wilbur just has that wacky sense of humor, and the Secretary of Commerce has nothing more important on his plate.

One detail in the original story was especially damning for Ross’s role in the scandal. Apparently Mulvaney did not tell Ross to start firing people if they failed to comply. The little weasel added that detail on his own!

As I said, funny guy!

An old, old pic of the lead singer of the Plasmatics.

Wendy and I were born in the same hospital, three months apart. She grew up about two miles from me, although those two miles were all water, a large bay of Lake Ontario that split our neighborhoods into completely separate communities that never mixed. Mine was suburban, barely escaping urban. Hers was rural, trying to be suburban.

After childhood, our lives were very different. By the time we were 16, she was hitchhiking around the world and I was probably still trying to organize my baseball cards, possibly up to the “D’s.” By the time we reached our late 20s, she was working in porno and sex shows, and I was probably still on the “M’s.” By 1998, as we were about to turn 50, I had already retired, having raised two families, and was enjoying my new life as Uncle Scoopy as she was putting a bullet through her brain.

There were probably times when I envied her adventurous life and her eventual international fame, but in retrospect, my incredibly boring path through corporate America was a much better choice.

The headline sounds jokey, but the truth is quite different from what you might think. They do contain taurine, which can come from bull semen, but they use taurine that has been synthesized in a lab. PETA says Monster Energy Drink is appropriate for a vegan diet, unlike blowing a bull

Actually, this raises an important question. Can vegans blow a bull if they don’t swallow? Asking for a friend.

OK, I admit it. It wasn’t “for a friend.” I prefer blowing a bull to drinking Red Bull. It’s more fun, and also tastes better.

My favorite of these pretentious euphemisms is “curate.”

My grandchildren have curated several dead grasshoppers in the garage. My uncle curated coins. I have curated many pictures of naked celebrities. Here’s one that really exists online: “Nearly every major news organization is using Twitter’s new lists feature to curate tweets about the earthquake.”

Right.

Dudes, I am not a curator.

The true meaning of any word has two components, denotation and connotation. For example, “average” and “mediocre” mean exactly the same thing in terms of denotation, but have different connotations, so that “average” is absent of any implied judgment, while “mediocre” is used as a pejorative. “Curate” and “collect” may be very similar in denotation, but have different connotations. In that case, “collect” is the neutral word, while “curate” is approbatory and respectful.

If you run an art museum, and you go through hundreds of possibilities, selecting only the most worthy, and you have complete professional responsibility for their presentation and preservation, based upon your specialized training and experience, then you are a curator.

If you put a few pics or tweets online, or even if you put millions, as I have, you’re just “collecting” or “organizing” them, or “assembling a collection.” You ain’t a friggin’ curator, sparky.

“Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.” 

The Washington Post, August 29, 2019

“I swear as a Biden, I was standing on the battlefield at Camlann Plain, when Mordred began clearing the foliage with napalm and strafing King Arthur’s forces with tactical nukes. Brian Williams was there; he’ll back me up. After the battle, I pinned a medal on Arthur’s top knight, Sergeant York, when he begged me to stop and give the medal instead to Bob Hope for all he did for the troops.”

Ms. Robbie takes a shower in the beloved cinema treasure, I.C.U. She was 18 when it was filmed.

The writer/director, Aash Aaron, finishes pretty close to the bottom of IMDb’s ratings. He earned a 2.4 for this movie, and a 2.6 for an earlier film called Vigilante, also starring Margot Robbie. That was quite an auspicious start to his career! Of course it was also the start of her career, and she seems to have done OK.

On the other hand, he must be very close to the top in alphabetical order, whether it is ordered by first or last name.

Speaking of alphabetical order:

When I was a kid there were two guys who competed to get the last entry in the Rochester phone book every year. One would be named Zzy Zzyrski, so the next year the other guy would have a new number, and he’d be listed under Stanley Zzzyk, or something like that, so old Zzy would get a different number, add some more z’s to his name, and reclaim the bottom spot the following year. (I’ve made up those exact names, but the story is otherwise essentially true.)

Looking for weird stuff in the phone book was just one of those little things that made it fun for me and my friend, Mike Dwyer, to grow up. At one point he called me “Zizzy Zizzuriski,” which is how we imagined old Zzy pronounced his name. We’d look for people with odd names and call them with annoying questions in which we pretended to misunderstand who they were. We’d call up a guy named Karp, e.g., and tell him we wanted to buy some carp for our parents. We’d look to see if any local TV personalities had listed numbers, then make nuisance calls to them. Man, we were assholes. My favorite was when we called the guy who was the announcer of the local pro wrestling broadcasts and asked him if we could watch the rehearsals. (This was back in the days when they were still pretending the results were not scripted.) We actually managed to get the guy quite flustered when we started to ask him tough questions, like “OK, we know how the referee could have missed the guy pulling a blackjack from his shorts. After all, that manager was distracting him. But how could you miss it when we could see it on your broadcast? And why don’t you guys just play the tape for the referee?”

Those people in the Bahamas must have some seriously weak minds. Marianne is kind of the nation’s designated wack-job, isn’t she?

That strategy is brilliant. Or we could use a nuclear bomb. No, the mind thing is better. It least it won’t do any harm.

The Onion had a funny take on this: Marianne Williamson Deletes Tweets About Using Mind To Control Weather After Realizing Nation Unprepared To Wield Such Great Power

Hilarious. In order to prove his point, he presented a weather map that showed the storm’s impact clearly ending in Florida – with what appeared to be a hand-drawn line extending it into Alabama! He could not seem to recall who drew the line that altered the map.

Gee, I wonder. I’ll bet it was the same dog that ordered that guy’s porn and ate my homework.

Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, responded: “He has no clue what he’s talking about, or what is plotted on that map. At the time of that cycle, Alabama was at even lower risk than before.”

(A tiny sliver of Alabama had been indicated potentially at risk in some possible scenarios in the very early forecasts, but had been removed from the affected area more than 24 hours before Trump’s comment.)

“As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920