Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Code Name: Bloggy Bloggerson

The Secret Service has code names which they use for all of the people that they protect. Each protected person has at least one code name. It would seem that this was their way around identifying their subjects by name in the days before electronic communication transmissions were encrypted and they apparently did all of their communicating by using two tins cans with a string between them. Now that electronic communications are encrypted (wink, wink), they don't really need to use the code names. But it sounds pretty cool (so they think), so they do.

The list-y folks over there at NNDB describe their site as being "an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy, both living and dead. Superficially, it seems much like a "Who's Who" where a noted person's curriculum vitae is available (the usual information such as date of birth, a biography, and other essential facts.)" No word on what NNDB actually stand for, but that's what they do.

And it's a pretty nifty site overall. (I like lists.) They have a list of the Secret Service code names for a bunch of people that they have protected (or are protecting. Doesn't seem so 'secret' to me, so go figure.). I noticed a few things. One, they seem to choose names that sound cool. I envision the name-assigner dude trying out how they sound into his little walkie talkie or into that thing that comes out of their ear and miraculously ends up in the palm of their hand. It has to sound cool when it's said into one of those devices and followed up by either the crack of the walkie-talkie button being released or after they've spoken into their own hand and extended their thumb up as if they're getting ready for the next question on Jeopardy!

They also seem to choose names that all begin with the same letter for a related group of protectees. It's like those families who name all of their kids with names that start with 'Q' or something like that; it doesn't bother them so much, but it does tend to annoy the rest of us after a while. (And really, with the families naming all of their kids with the same first initial, what does that do? Who is that for? Is your memory that bad that you're going to forget the names of your own children unless you can whittle down the 26 possible choices of letters that their names might start with so that you'll have a better shot of getting it right on the first try? Why do you do that? You can't put your initials on anything when everyone in the same house has the same damn initials. I just don't understand the purpose is all I'm saying.)

And, of course, if its possible, they seem to try to choose a code name that is somewhat meaningful or intrinsic to that person's personality or background or something like that. I have no idea as to whether or not a person can reject their code name or not. If I had been given some of these names, I would have rejected them ("Um, no offense, but I ain't gonna be goin' by 'Cherry Blossom' for the next four years. No way."), but perhaps some of those folks liked their names and kept them and that's why they have such a dorky code name. Could be.

Starting with the Bushes:

  • H.W.: Sheepskin, Snowstorm, Timberwolf. (Sarah Palin must have been bummed all of those were already taken.)

  • Barbara: Snowbank, Tranquility (Snowbank? She is woman girth, I suppose.)

  • George W.: Tumbler (As in balance or beverage?)

  • Laura: Tempo

  • Jenna: Twinkle (I'm going to assume that the 'Tranquility' name for Barbara above is the code name for Jenna's twin sister, Barbara, as I didn't see a separate entry. So the Bush twins are Twinkle and Tranquility. OK, then.)

  • Jeb: Tripper (Not to be confused with Tumbler.)

  • Marvin: Tuner (In other news, there's a Marvin Bush.)

  • Neil: Trapline (What the hell?)

The Carters:

  • Jimmy: Dasher, Deacon, Lock Master (Lock Master? What was going on over there?)

  • Rosalynn: Dancer, Steel Magnolia, Lotus Petal (Lotus Petal, eh? Never mind. Now I know.)

  • Amy: Dynamo (Seriously?)

The Reagans:

  • Ronald: Rawhide

  • Nancy: Rainbow

  • Maureen: Rhyme, Rosebud

  • Michael: Riddler

  • Ron: Reliant

  • Patti Davis: Ribbon

See, now that would a nightmare if it were a family. "Kids! Diiinnnnnneeerrr!!! Rosebud! Riddler! Reliant! Ribbon! Get down here before it gets cold!" Ugh.

The Clintons (They really could have been more imaginative, given everything...you know...):

  • Bill: Eagle (Shoulda been Snake. Although 'The Eagle has landed' is comical.)

  • Hillary: Evergreen (Ever green with envy, perhaps?)

  • Chelsea: Energy

This year's Presidential Election folks:

  • John McCain: Phoenix ('Cause he's the Senator from Arizona. How original.)

  • Cindy McCain: Parasol (Ugh. How hoity-toity does that sound?)

  • Joe Biden: Celtic

  • Cindy Biden: Capri (Like the pants?)

  • Barry Barack Obama: Renegade

  • Michelle Obama: Renaissance

  • Todd Palin: Nailin' (Oh, but I kid!! Sorry, I couldn't resist. It's Driller.)

  • Sarah Palin: Denali (It's a mountain and National Park in Alaska. Of course.)

Some of the more amusing names that were listed were the likes of:

  • James Baker: Fencing Master or Foxtail

    Prince Charles: Daily, Principal or Unicorn (Unicorn? How gay is he? Why not Rainbow Brite? Way to 'man it up' there, Chuck.)

  • James Edward: Firetruck

  • Queen Elizabeth: Kitty Hawk or Redfern (Kitty Hawk because she was there when they invented the airplane.)

  • Al Gore: Sawhorse or Sundance (Those are pretty different. How do you go from Sawhorse to being ON a horse?)

  • Alexander Haig: Claw hammer (Jesus! Stay clear of Al, holy crap!)

  • Gary Hart: Redwood (Perhaps a name more suited for Bill Clinton.)

  • Jesse Jackson: Pontiac or Thunder (I'm guessing that Lawsuit and Cry Wolf were taken?)

  • Henry Kissinger: Woodcutter (Another name more apt for Bill Clinton.)
  • Jan Pierce: Forefinger (Again, I'm unfamiliar with who this individual is, but what is up with being called Forefinger? A pointy soul, are ye?)
  • Ron Nessen: Clam Chowder (I don't know who Ron Nessen is, but why he put up with being called Clam Chowder is beyond me. Does he have a wife? What's her name? Vichyssoise? Chicken Noodle? Split Pea?

  • Bebe Rebozo: Christopher (Wait. Is that right? I'd think that 'Christopher' would be the guy's real name and 'Bebe Rebozo' would be a code name, wouldn't you?)

  • Ron Ziegler: Whale Boat (Now there's a term of endearment for you. Whale Boat. Nice. I'm guessing he wasn't necessarily a svelte fellow.

Let's go back to Barry's code name, Renegade. I hear that and I think of the song by Styx. And the lyrics to 'Renegade' are....well, if you think of Barry being the Renegade.....I don't know that it's good necessarily. And if you take the song as whole into consideration, it's really not good at all. But is....interesting? Perhaps?

The jig is up the news is out, they've finally found me

The renegade who had it made, retrieved for a bounty.

Never more to go astray

This will be the end today

Of the wanted man.

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