Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sunday Miscellany

I'm getting a bit of a later start than usual this morning, having slept late after enjoying the annual stress excitement of putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. This is always a happy time, when the makers of Valium rub their hands in glee at the prospect of a spike in sales as ol' Bilbo tries to make strings of lights light properly, and then continue to remain lit once carefully threaded onto the tree. This is not an easy chore, and it does have its drawbacks ... including several calls from rap "music" artists and drunken longshoremen complaining about the foul language.

But the tree is finally up, and it looks nice ...

So I'll just declare victory and move on.

Two things on which to comment today:

First, this report from CNN on the least-corrupt nations in the world. You might be interested to know that the nation judged by the independent, nonpartisan global watchdog organization Transparency International ("the global coalition against corruption") to be the least-corrupt of all is ... New Zealand. The most corrupt title was a tie between Somalia and North Korea, and the United States ranked 24th (out of 183). This is sobering, considering that we tend to pride ourselves on the quaint concept of equality under the law. One wonders how we'll fare when the survey is conducted next year, after the purchase of the presidential election. You can read the entire Corruption Perceptions Index report here.

Turning to a bit more pleasant topic for lists, we look at the most popular baby names for 2011. According to the data compiled by, the top ten names for baby girls this year were:

1. Sophia;
2. Emma;
3. Isabella;
4. Olivia;
5. Ava;
6. Lily;
7. Chloe;
8. Madison;
9. Emily; and,
10. Abigail.

The top ten boys names for 2011 were:

1. Aiden;
2. Jackson;
3. Mason;
4. Liam;
5. Jacob;
6. Jayden;
7. Ethan;
8. Noah;
9. Lucas; and,
10. Logan.

At least the girls weren't hit with monikers like Apple (the daughter of Gwynneth Paltrow) or the famous Moon Unit and Dweezil (daughter and son of Frank Zappa). As it turns out, a significant number of parents who decide on names for their children based on popular trends or ideas that are no longer relevant later suffer from "baby name remorse." You can read about that unhappy subject here.

And that's enough for this cold, foggy winter morning here in Disneyland-on-the-Potomac. Time to finish decorating the house, get the holiday letter finished, and generally do all the other weekendy stuff we usually do.

Perhaps even relax a bit. Stranger things have happened.

Have a good day. Have it with a minimum of corruption. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

Jayden is such a weird name...

Your tree is lovely....

allenwoodhaven said...

Your tree is beautiful! Great job!

Sorry that Bilbo isn't on the list of names; perhaps next year...

Mike said...

I think your tree needs a lit star on top.

Amanda said...

This is making me want to put up a tree too! We're not going to be here so I thought I would skip all that 'excitement'.