Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Puzzle Me This

I got one of those Mensa calendars for as a Christmas gift. You know, the ones where every day has some brain-teasing puzzle. Some of them are fun, some are really hard, some are hard to figure out what the hell they want, and some are just dumb.

The puzzle for January 6 asked what the following five things have in common:


Time’s up. They all rhyme with major car rental companies. This Mensa guy writing the puzzles is so smart, why couldn’t he come up with a word that rhymes with “Alamo?”



It’s a number most closely associated with Joe DiMaggio, for hitting in 56 consecutive games in 1941. An impressive feat, often cited as The Record That Will Never Be Broken. (Much as Ruth’s 60 and 714 home runs, and Gehrig’s 2,130 consecutive games played were prior to being broken.)

No one has ever made a serious run at DiMaggio’s record; maybe it really will never be broken. Still, it covered a period of approximately two months, during which time DiMaggio hit less than Ted Williams did for that entire season. (.406) You want to talk about a streak, how about 56 years? That’s 20,454 days. Good weather and bad. Good health and bad. Good jobs and bad. Or, sometimes, no job.

That’s how long my parents have been married. Today. And they’ve had to put up with me for almost 53 of those years. Now that’s an impressive streak.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Saw a couple of interesting statstics on the news last night.

82% of Americans approve of Barack Obama's job performance.

27% of Americans approve of George W. Bush's job performance.

This means 9% of Americans approve the job performance of both Obama and Bush.

What the hell movie are they watching?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Reading Between the Lines

Still working my way to full speed, but one recent news item demands comment.

Karl Rove, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, has "debunked" the idea that George W. Bush can't--er, I mean doesn't--read, pointing out the hundreds of books the Decider has read over the past few years. Some, like the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, have pointed out how many of the books serve only to either buttress Bush's already formed opinions, or to comfort him as he contemplates his legacy as a president who leaves office only slightly more popular than oral surgery.

They're missing the point. Why is everyone assuming Bush actually read all these books, just because Rove said so? Is it due to the extraordinarily high level of trust Rove has earned from his career of truthfulness?

We have numerous accounts, spanning many years, from people in a position to know, telling us George W. Bush isn't much of a reader. Now that it's image burnishing time, we get an opposite opinion from a man who will lie about the time of day just to keep in practice. Considering how much actual presidential work Bush has subcontracted out to subordinates, isn't it more reasonable to assume some White House functionary actually read most of these books, then wrote executive summaries for Shrub to read, the presidential equivalent of Cliff Notes? Does anyone really think a man who has to move his lips to read could cover as much literary ground as Rove claims for Bush?

Probably the same people who think Saddam Hussein helped the 9/11 terrorists and believe the Community Reinvestment Act created the housing bubble.