On the geniuses who out themselves

I went to high school with a genius. In daily life, he offered scant evidence that he possessed a beautiful mind. But we knew he had a 165 IQ, because he kept telling us about it. Whenever he failed a math test, and once when someone corrected his pronunciation of Michaelangelo’s famous Sixteenth Chapel, he reminded us of his giant brain number. “That’s on a test,” he would say. “Not just an estimate.” We wondered whether he was simply lying or if his parents had told him in some irrevocable mistake. If that wasn’t it, then somewhere in town there was an educational psychologist whose license needed revoking. We loved to talk about this question.

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Ben Carson’s rap ad makes the wrong kind of sense

"I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] this big for putting them in."

“I got a six-figure check for separating twins / I got a [bleep] like that for putting them in.”

By now you have heard of Ben Carson’s rap ad, which is playing on urban radio stations across the southeast and in waiting rooms throughout hell. You can listen to it here, or just wait to hear it bumping from a Buick Lucerne. It’s possible Carson should not have made a rap ad. The circumstances that led him to do so seem fortuitous: self-described “Republican Christian rapper” Aspiring Mogul, aka Robert Donaldson, sent a song to Carson’s campaign manager after seeing the biopic Gifted Hands. The Carson campaign put Asp-Mo’s song on its Facebook page, and from there it was a logical step to collaborating on a rapping campaign spot that goes like this:

Vote and support Ben Carson / for our next president to be awesome. / If we want to get America back on track, / we gotta vote Ben Carson, a matter of fact.

Those are the two couplets by Aspiring Mogul that made it into the one-minute ad; the rest is sound bites—I guess samples—from Carson’s speeches. There is also a flute loop. From a certain perspective, it makes sense that Carson would release a rap ad. But from another, better perspective, it makes no sense at all.

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On my ostensibly kind face

Famous people I don't recognize get excited.

A drunk person makes everyone happy.

This morning I took my breakfast at the Press Box, as is my wont. I was talking to my server about her sister’s novel when a drunk man interrupted us, waving a beeper. He was wearing a Carhartt jacket and a human costume one size too large, which turned out to be his skin. He had the outgoing cheer of a person still up from the night before and the repetitive speech patterns of the more serious partier.

“Oh yeah?” he said, in response to the server’s claim that her sister lived in the Bay Area. “What’s this?” He waved the beeper closer. “What is this?”

“A beeper!” I said. “That’s amazing.”

It did not sound convincing to me, but he was fully convinced. He talked to me for a long time. He never felt like what he was doing was inappropriate, and when finally I rose to flee he thanked me for appraising his beeper and shook my hand.

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New Harper Lee novel is bad news for kids named Atticus, good news for dicks

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Yesterday, Harper Collins released Go Set a Watchman, the newly-discovered sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Set 20 years after the events of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning original, Go Set a Watchman finds Scout a grown woman, returning from New York to visit her father Atticus Finch, who has become an aging racist. I repeat: Atticus Finch is racist in the new book. That’s an unfortunate turn of events for people who named their children Atticus, as the New York Times reports. I should definitely feel bad for those literary-minded parents and their Atticuses, too, but schadenfreude persists.

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Combat! blog returns from dead, rotates gently, pities self

The Epley Maneuver, which feels as good as it looks

The Epley Maneuver, which feels as good as it looks

Close observers of Combat! blog will note that it ceased to exist for the last several days. That’s because I have been what doctors call super fucked up. Two weeks ago today, I woke in a cold sweat with the room spinning about me. As is my practice in such situations, I vomited, went back to sleep, vomited, tried to work, vomited, and then conceded that maybe I should see a doctor. I am fully insured thanks to the dread Obamacare, but my doctor was booked for weeks, so I went to the clinic for people without insurance. They diagnosed me with an ear infection and prescribed antihistamines. I spent the next few days in bed and mostly recovered; I would get really dizzy and fall over if I looked down and to the left or if—heaven forfend—I rolled onto my left side in my sleep. But mostly I was okay.

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