Nerds: +3: Today is Geek Pride Day--the first Star Wars came out this day in 1977--and it is also Towel Day, commemorating Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's also Glorious 25 May in Discworld. Still, none of this gets you that hot girl who sits in front of you in organic chemistry.
Donald Trump: -5 A month ago he was almost declared President for Life. Now, one Osama Bin Laden death and a middling Celebrity Apprentice finale later, he's just the same old Donald: Tired toupee jokes and teasingly coy comments about still running for president. It's tempting, of course, but why give up the money, glory, and freedom to do whatever you want? I never understood rich people running for president. My goal in life is to be rich enough to buy a yard big enough to piss outside without anyone complaining, and you can't do that in the Rose Garden.
The Office: -4 I tend to give sitcoms a lot of leeway. It's hard to maintain fresh, awesome comedy for more than about three years, and the good ones can stretch it to five or six seasons. A very limited few--counted on one hand--can make it past eight. So while I still enjoy watching The Office, I no longer find it to be all that funny. Interesting, yes, in a soap opera kind of way. But I can't remember the last time I laughed or found anything particularly clever.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Push Sure, he was one of the most bankable action movie stars in the past few decades, and he got to play the governor of California for a while. But then he was accused of fathering a child with the maid. I mean, c'mon. He's a movie star and a politician. The chance of him never having an affair was very, very close to singularity. Plus if the worst thing that comes out about a native Austrian weightlifter is an affair and not narcotics, steroids, or unfortunate uniforms in the attic, he should consider himself lucky. Given expectations, this will probably fade away.
Hines Ward: +2 A famed future hall-of-famer just won nothing but publicity and an Fingerhut-level glitter ball trophy to put in his million dollar mantle by winning a ballroom dancing contest. This is the sort of shit that happens when you prevent football from occurring.
Peace in the Middle East: -10, repeat as necessary The Middle East is full of hope, confusion, history, hate, religion, failed diplomacy, broken dreams, empty promises, and, oh, yeah, oil. Recent events--i.e., Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama's dueling speeches--have probably made things more difficult, although there are approximately ten thousand things in the last five decades that have made things more difficult.
Lady Gaga: +5, wavering She has been everywhere this past week: Saturday Night Live (drawing some of its biggest ratings) and American Idol, not to mention an album sale promotion on Amazon that crashed the servers. But as any former pop stars can tell you, there's a time to capitalize and a time to pull back: there's a certain level of overexposure that risks her being knocked down to a second-rate Madonna...oh. Wait.
Oprah Winfrey: +5 Her talk show ended today, terminating 25 years of a cultural phenomenon. I never cared for her--there are about two dozen reason I am not exactly in the target audience--but she seemed genuine, if a touch naive, in the good things she tried to do with her power. Which, of course, will continue--she owns an entire network, for crying out loud, so we'll still see her every single day of our lives for the rest of eternity.
Dexter and Chloe: +Infinity We took them out for ice cream today. Two dachshunds have never been happier. Or sleepy.
Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom: -1,000 Hey: Newsweek is broke, but I'm still here. So sit and spin, Sidney Harman! I'll plunder what I please!