I've learned something of questionable value over the past couple of days: The President of the United States likes to make a hand gesture by extending the index and little fingers. He likes to make this gesture very very much. Above, he is making it during his second inaugural parade. Below, he extends those digits after being introduced by Secretary Rice prior to addressing the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education.

There's another distinguishing attribute to these pictures, and that is the facial expression. It is as though Bush has just thought of the most wonderful joke, one that he intends to keep to himself. Or perhaps it's the gesture itself that's the joke. At any rate, something pretty damn amusing is going on. Once you start looking for these pictures, you'll find that they're not exactly scarce. Below is my personal favorite, a twofer with the prez doing his best Robin Williams impersonation.

So, the gesture itself? Well, there are two separate meanings. One is the corna gesture, or 'devil horns', a curse or a salute to Satan. This, of course, is the more entertaining interpretation of the sign, one that allows me to point you towards wacky yet delightful web sites like Signs of Satan..

The more boring interpretation is that of the 'hook em horns', a physical gesture of support associated with the University of Texas football team, the Longhorns. Not nearly as much fun as being the Heavy Metal signal for 'more cowbell', but it's the interpretation that Bush gives, so we'll go with it.

Here is my question. What makes the 'hook em horns' gesture so darn amusing, and why is Bush making it in front of the Queen?

from The Telegraph

When I posted the above a few days ago, I mistakenly described it as a reverse bird, I meant inverted, but WTF, it's all there, along with the goofy grin. White tie night with the Queen, so I guess it's just natural to be thinking about the Longhorns. Football season is just four months away.

Incidentally, my wife (and probably everybody else) thought I had photoshopped the picture. I filed the whole thing away under P for ponderous and forgot about it. And then yesterday Aristocrat Paul sent me this photo from Salon.

And there it was again, plain as day, and apparently, twice as funny.

I don't know a lot about royalty or etiquette, but I don't think this is the way you want your leader to act around another countries matriarch.

[Aristocrat] Paul's comment is worth quoting here. "Try holding your hand that way for a second and see if you agree with me that there is no way it could be unconscious or accidental. If he had only posed for one picture that way it would be one dumb joke, but twice, that says he thinks it's funny."


2007, Mark Hoback