The Phony Campaign

2007-11-15 Update

We're seeing a trough in the waves of phoniness hits at the Google:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony556,000-373,000
"Ron Paul" phony428,000-513,000
"Barack Obama" phony399,000-489,000
"John Edwards" phony373,000-509,000
"John McCain" phony343,000+152,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony313,000+137,000
"Mitt Romney" phony299,000+120,000
"Fred Thompson" phony293,000-131,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony188,000+24,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony181,000+85,100

Also, Ron Paul has relinquished his brief stay at number one.

The phoniest thing we've noticed over the past few days is from our personal phony favorite, John Edwards. Mickey Kaus is suitably amused/offended over this idiotic "promise" from a recent Edwards ad:

When I'm president, I'm going to say to members of Congress, and members of my administration, including my Cabinet, I'm glad that you have health care coverage and your family has health care coverage. But if you don't pass universal health care by July of 2009, in six months, I'm going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.

Mickey deems this a "disingenuous display of substanceless bravado" since (as even an alleged lawyer like Edwards should know) the President has no power to take away health care from anyone. He concludes: "It's a phony threat from a ..." (Teasing us to finish the thought ourselves, but nevertheless resuting in a hit at the Google.)

C'mon folks. John Edwards deserves a much higher position here.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:21 AM EDT


[Amazon Link]

Back in 2004, Ken Jennings won 74 consecutive episodes of Jeopardy! … and lost the last one, to Nancy Zerg. According to Wikipedia his winnings over this period came to $2,522,700. I'd always watched Jeopardy! off-and-on, but Ken's streak turned it into a must-see. Ken was funny and smart. My favorite anecdote (fortunately remembered accurately at WikiPedia):

During game 53 of his streak, Jennings was given the clue "This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker." Without missing a beat, Jennings replied, "What's a ho(e)?" Trebek replied "No", caught the audience's laughter, and said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, they teach you that in school in Utah, huh?" (The correct response was "What is a rake?")
In addition, Ken was living my fantasy of going on Jeopardy! and cleaning up.

So this book (once it came out in paperback, anyway) was an automatic buy. Ken relates the story of his Jeopardy! experience, from watching the old Art Fleming version, to his tryout, and the highlights of his appearances, with special emphasis on hist first show and his last.

But wait, there's more: the subtitle is Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs. So, interspersed with the Jeopardy! tales, Ken also delves into the history and some current manifistations of popular trivia. Understandably, as a competitive sort, he concentrates on contests: college competitions, the 50-hour trivia marathon in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, bar-based contests. (Ken plays one night on a trivia team at a bar in Weymouth Mass.)

You might not expect this book to be very well written … but it is very well written. Ken has a keen observational eye, a fantastic memory for telling details, and he's funny and clever. Interspersed in each chapter are little trivia questions you can try yourself; answers at the end of the chapter.

Ken blogs here. Also recommended.

Last Modified 2012-10-16 5:48 AM EDT