The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hereditary Genius

Posted on | July 8, 2012 | 48 Comments

Reagan, 9, and Emerson, 11, with their Dad at the
Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Va.

Among the numerous hassles which convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin imposed on my family with his “I-know-where-you-live” call to my wife’s employer was the necessity of disposing of our old refrigerator. This meant moving the refrigerator down a flight of stairs, loading it onto a pickup truck and then putting it in a dumpster.

Choosing the dumpster as the refrigerator’s final destination was our 19-year-old son Bob’s decision, about which my wife was skeptical.

“How are we going to lift the refrigerator that high?” Mrs. Other McCain asked, obviously doubtful about our ability to raise that heavy monstrosity far enough to clear the top of the nearly seven-foot-high dumpster, when the only available manpower was her, me, Bob and his 13-year-old brother Jefferson.

“Don’t worry — we can do it,” Bob said. “Trust me.”

A sanguine temperament in action is a marvelous thing to behold, and the question that puzzles social scientists is whether such things are a matter of nature or nuture. Are distinctive personal traits — as in this instance, my son’s confident “can-do” spirit when confronted with a seemingly impossible task — the result of environment and upbringing, or are they an expression of genetic heredity?

Both factors obviously matter to some extent, and I’m not a social scientist, so there’s no obligation for me to come up with a definitive answer as to the exact role played by genetics and environmental factors in determining personality. However, I was obligated to get rid of that refrigerator, and had confidence in Bob’s plan for getting that done, even though he hadn’t bothered to explain what his plan was.

First, we wrangled the refrigerator out of the kitchen, down a flight of stairs, out the front door and onto the truck, an accomplishment in itself. When we got to the dumpster, Bob directed my wife, myself and Jefferson to get under one end of the refrigerator, while he slid the other end off the tailgate of the truck. If you’ve ever seen the famous image of the Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi, that’s the basic explanation of how the rest of Bob’s plan worked.

And it did indeed work.

Afterwards, as my wife and I were riding together in the truck, she said, “You sure do have a lot of confidence in Bob.” But why shouldn’t I? Bob and his twin brother Jim — indeed, all of our six kids — have in general accomplished anything they set their minds to, and if Bob says he knows how to move the refrigerator, why should I doubt him?

The boy scored 98 on his ASVAB tests, and the Army recruiter thinks Bob will make a Green Beret, which naturally worries Mrs. Other McCain, but I’m not worried at all. Who should really be worried? America’s enemies, knowing my son will soon be coming after them.

Moving the refrigerator was just one of the hassles we had to deal with after Brett Kimberlin pulled his “I-know-where-you-live” trick. Another was that my wife wouldn’t let me post this video of 13-year-old Jefferson celebrating his “superior excellence” in eighth grade.

The last question in that interview was kind of a pop quiz, and Jefferson passed with flying colors. Nature or nuture? A little of both, I say.

Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown



48 Responses to “Hereditary Genius”

  1. Dianna Deeley
    July 8th, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    Yes, it’s astonishing how a little studying and a lack of procrastination will improve almost any result.

    BTW: Voice training for him, please, or he’ll have the voice made for print!

  2. Quartermaster
    July 8th, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    Nature sets the bound, but nurture and self discipline determines how far you go within those bounds.

  3. Stogie Chomper
    July 8th, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    Wow, that’s a quote worth repeating!

  4. JeffS
    July 8th, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    Clearly, Bob has studied Archimedes!

  5. Dianna Deeley
    July 8th, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

     “Give me a lever and a place to stand!”

  6. Stogie Chomper
    July 8th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Jefferson is a very handsome young man!  

  7. crosspatch
    July 8th, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    That Marine Corps Memorial holds special significance for me.  My step mother’s brother died on Iwo Jima.  He survived the battle and as they were gathering everyone up in his unit to prepare to leave the island, he was shot by a sniper that somehow managed to survive.  His family took it very hard, in fact, there was a book written about how his family took it.  His sister, my step mother, carried the flag given to her family literally to her grave.

    If you place that boy in the context of that memorial, he has a lot to live up to.  That isn’t something to be taken lightly.  Within a week of that picture being taken, most of the people in that scene were dead.

  8. Dandapani
    July 8th, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

    Did you have a certified air conditioning tech pull the refrigerant out before you dumped it?

  9. Pathfinder's wife
    July 8th, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

    LOL…not just a wee bit proud of those kids, eh Papa? 😉


  10. richard mcenroe
    July 9th, 2012 @ 12:18 am

     His Daddy likes Zepellin; there may be a finite amount of improvement possible.

    Oh, crap, there goes “Immigrant Song” again.  Most wasted dynamite opening outside of AC/DC’s “TNT”…

  11. Anamika
    July 9th, 2012 @ 12:23 am

    You call that genius?  Clearly, the standards are set  low. No wonder American exceptionalism is fast becoming a thing of past.

  12. Anamika
    July 9th, 2012 @ 12:27 am

    McCain is not particularily know for his environmental conservation. Perhaps that’s hereditary too. My guess is that thought didn’t even enter is “genius” son’s head.

  13. Anamika
    July 9th, 2012 @ 2:08 am

    The boy scored 98 on his ASVAB tests

    Being 1 in a 50 in an aptitude test among high school students who might want to join the military, doesn’t make one a genius.

    Let him try to repeat the same in a more generalized test like SAT*. That would stand a better evidence for claims of his brilliance.

    * Most people who excel in academics at a young age do not choose a path in the military. Ask John Kerry.

  14. richard mcenroe
    July 9th, 2012 @ 2:42 am

     Looks like Annamika broke out the well-aged bile tonight, quoting a man who killed a two year old to disparage our military.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    July 9th, 2012 @ 7:41 am

    And what, Sir, is wrong with Led Zeppelin – the keepers of The Blood, Thunder, And Hammer Of The Gods!?!

    And what is wrong with The Immigrant Song – the call to battle of all of us who are descended from the great Viking Race!?!

  16. Bob Belvedere
    July 9th, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Well, this Bob has studied Fields [W.C.].

    ‘Give me a fifth and a bar to lean on!’

  17. Bob Belvedere
    July 9th, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    Say what you want about the adults, but leave the kid alone.

  18. Jaynie59
    July 9th, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    Hey, Genius?  Did it ever enter your puny little liberal mind that it’s environmental rules that cause more useful stuff like old refrigerators to get dumped in the first place?

    I tried getting rid of a perfectly good fridge after renovating my kitchen.  I couldn’t give the damn thing away.  Even the local charity wouldn’t take it.  I ended up paying movers to come out and move it into my garage and I used it as a beer fridge.  I could do that because I had a place to put it.

    Think of all the crap that ends up in landfills because of stupid environmental regulations.

  19. Red
    July 9th, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Tut tut Anamika tut tut. Bashing the young is unbecoming of most seasoned adults. You’re an adult right?

  20. Red
    July 9th, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    I’m glad TOM’s kids are blissfully oblivious to the petty slings and arrows of those that troll. 

  21. Quartermaster
    July 9th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    She also broke out the well aged idiocy as well. The ASVAB score is percentile. 98 means that 99% of the rest are below him. Many people don’t know the ASVAB is actually a type of IQ test. Anamika is just demonstrating her well known, and well aged, ignorance and stupidity.

  22. Anamika
    July 9th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm


    The ASVAB score is percentile. 98 means that 99% of the rest are below him.

    You are utterly wrong. 98 percentile means 98% of the people are below him. Which means he is in the top 2% IOW “1 in a 50” (98 centile = top 2 % ) as I stated above.

    (As such there is never such a thing as a 100 percentile; the max you can score in  ASVAB would be 99, not 100.)

    Anamika is just demonstrating her well known, and well aged, ignorance and stupidity.

    Now, thank me for eductaing you about percentile. And apologize.

    PS. I thank you for you service, and hope that your level of intellegence fell below 50 percentile in the Armed services tests. Otherwise I pity the US Military standards.

  23. JeffS
    July 9th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    Well done!

  24. JeffS
    July 9th, 2012 @ 4:11 pm
  25. JeffS
    July 9th, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

     Tut tut, Anamika, tut tut!

    The ASVAB is graded on the Bell Curve.  Ergo, Stacy’s progeny is well to the right of the median, close to 3 standard deviations out.  This is a significant score in any context, but highly so with the ASVAB. 

    Your misrepresentation  merely underscores your ignorance, bigotry, and general trollism. 

    Tut tut, Anamika!  Your hatred and rage are clouding what little reason you already possess.  Tut tut!

  26. Anamika
    July 9th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm


    I already said, he is 1 in a 50 (98 percentile) who took that exam.

    What the f— are you talking about….

    Or do you share hereditary traits with the clearly ignorant Quartermaster (who posted a weapons grade FAIL of a comment above)?

  27. Red
    July 9th, 2012 @ 4:37 pm


  28. The Damn Dirty RINO
    July 9th, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

    Brett Kimberlin has done less damage . . ….

    Hat-tip. . . . to the online conservative movement than conservatives themselves. For all his ferret-like maneuvering and the SWATtings that have taken place against his detractors — whether he’s directly, indirectly, or not at all involved…

  29. Dandapani
    July 9th, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    Me?  I resent that remark.  I’m no liberal.  I did study to be a certified tech, though.

  30. JeffS
    July 9th, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

     Tut tut, Anamika, tut tut!

    Study and reflect upon how the Bell Curve is populated, and you shall be enlightened.  Until then, you can only wallow in your ignorance.

    Tut tut, Anamika!  Know the difference between scale and distribution, and you shall be free.  Tut tut!

  31. Roxeanne de Luca
    July 9th, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    I took the SAT once.  Didn’t study, didn’t take a prep class.

    I “dialed toll-free” on the math portion and got 3 questions wrong on verbal.  My AP tests were all 5s, across the board.  My LSAT was, sniffle, in the mere 98th percentile.  (I re-took it later and got a 179.) 

    So let me know when you’re going to call me a genius.  I wait with bated breath for you, troll of the ages, to admit that a conservative might have a brain.

  32. Roxeanne de Luca
    July 9th, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    That was directed to Anamika, and I’m just proving that he will use any excuse, no matter how thin or pathetic, to disparage the intellects of his opponents.  Let’s see him try to attack me. 

  33. Anamika
    July 10th, 2012 @ 2:11 am

     JeffS, please don’t dig the hole too deep, down the bell curve slope. Gauss would be rolling in his grave.

    Please relook at percentile as it relates to the Bell curve. The >98 Stacy’s son got is hispercentile NOT the actual score out of 100 (or percentage). Hence there is no additional Bell curve grading that needs to be applied to determine his percentile score.

    98 percentile means that  the person’s score falls in the top 2% of the sample who took the test.

    Now some basic arithmetic, you might be ignorant of:

    2% = 2/100 = 0.02 or also 1/50 (1 in 50)

  34. Anamika
    July 10th, 2012 @ 2:28 am

     The only time I took the GRE exam (with minimal, 2 week, preparation at home), I got a 800/800 in  Quantitaive ability and 790/800 in Analytical. (But only a 650/800 in Verbal.) My percentile in Quant/Anal was 99%, the highest you could get.

    I don’t consider myself a genius, why would I consider you a genious? That’s the flawed argument made by Stacy; proclaiming a 98* percentile score and moving a heavy mass to trash a hereditary genius.

    *98 percentile implies that there is certainly 1% of people who scored better than you in the test.

  35. Anamika
    July 10th, 2012 @ 2:38 am

     My point is simple; Stacy son is extraordinary, but not exceptional (forget ‘genius’).

    Now why did you think that I would attack you and disparage you?  You jump like you didn’t get a good lay in a fortnight. Good luck finding someone or something. I don’t have a dick and I’m not interested.

  36. Bob Belvedere
    July 10th, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    Indeed!  Very well done, Miss WOOT!

  37. Anamika
    July 10th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

     I wouldn’t blame Jaynie. Like it or not, education strongly correlates with liberalism.

  38. Pathfinder's wife
    July 10th, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Hey twerp: my kids scored 98 and 95 on their ASVAB, 1900 and 1750 on their SAT, and 35 and 32 on their ACT (the second kid isn’t the best test taker, but she made up for it by having a 4.0 GPA with AP classwork in high school).  So there’s a bit of inside info on my family (would you like to know the scores for my husband and I?  what we all got on the Mensa IQ tests as well? how about what sort of paradigms were used to evaluate our parents — we have to after all, make the case for ourselves, right?).

    So, allowing for the variables of individual kids taking a battery of different tests and different locations on the space time continuum, this just might put a bit of a kink in your argument.
    I might also mention that it is perhaps, given the status of collegiate excellence, higher education debt bubble, and job prospects for new graduates, a rare form of common sense to at least enter into something that gives you on the job training (on many levels) and a regular paycheck — and while MREs and CHUs aren’t exactly fine dining and five star accomodations, it beats eating Ramen noodles in a leaky rental with 10 other people (who swipe your cell phone and run up a huge bill) trying to make ends meet while getting that Womyn’s Studies degree at Guru U.

    Hmmmm, maybe the military isn’t the choice of the stupid after all.

    What IS stupid is your stupidly blinker visioned arrogance and foot stomping….or is it something like whistling past a graveyard???  Because yes, we are all just the little people in the end, at the mercy of the bastiges that rule us all…but those “brainless grunts” as you like to think of them Ana-panda are in the end, more valuable even to your Democrat betters like Kerry than you are, with your high SAT scores and womyn’s study degrees — they have a valuable purpose you see Annie…and you ultimately do not (other than your vote and your tax dollar if you have one, and perhaps how well you can be herded into rabble rousing for a specific party or canidate — just remember: if you rouse too much your canidate will call out those combat boot wearing neanderthals just as easily as his/her opposition).  Must suck to know that deep down inside huh?  Oh the pain of being one of the beautiful, enlightened beings…and your own lords and masters hold those camo wearing troglodytes in higher regard than you…or such is the pity and woe of the world!


  39. Red
    July 10th, 2012 @ 11:13 am


  40. Red
    July 10th, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Stacy, you should post about your progeny more often. It brings out the finest in some people 😉

  41. Pathfinder's wife
    July 10th, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    Yet you are holding up test scores which could also be accused of being rather arbitrary and incomplete to the task of pinpointing “genius” in an attempt to set new parameters with which to disprove his claim.

    The smog of irony certainly lies low over the city today. 

  42. Anamika Reddy
    July 10th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

     It seems you top me, in the task of saying nothing while saying much.

  43. Anamika Reddy
    July 10th, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

     With respect to truth, Quartermaster and JeffS did (in the parlance) ‘kick the hornet’s nest’; their initial volley, stimulated return fire; and also, was itself ricocheted, to embed painfully into the abundant flesh of their buttocks.

    Roxeanne (and you?) now attempt to erect a screen of smoke and fog, and also diverse amusements, in order to divert attention from the actual events; at the least, you attempt to warp the significances of those prior actions, and go so far as to decry the attention which I choose to give to the matter at hand.

  44. Pathfinder's wife
    July 10th, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    Methinks you’re saying much of little — and of course none of this muddle is ever your fault.

    At the very least, own up to it.

  45. Pathfinder's wife
    July 10th, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    Veritably, this is perhaps so — but at the very least I manage to make myself feel better.   In the end, there likely is no other good reason to say anything.

    So at least I have a touch of self knowledge when I blather, which is probably a good thing.

    You?  (ehem, this is merely a rhetorical question, by the way)

  46. Dandapani
    July 10th, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    Do not defend me.  You’re no “friend”.  A liberal edumacation yields a liberal.  I’m an Engineer with a couple of degrees and am no liberal.

  47. JeffS
    July 11th, 2012 @ 12:42 am
  48. Mrs. The Other McCain
    July 11th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    Wow!!!!  All of this over a freak’in frig!  Wow, just WOW!!