Our word for today is a favourite with Senator Cruz of Texas. According to the (Internet) Urban Dictionary it refers to, “something lame, dead-end, a dud, insignificant; especially something with high expectations that turns out to be average, pathetic, or overhyped.” A more exhaustive explanation might include the simile of a hamburger with no meat patty. (Lenten suggestion, with nothingfries and water.) This would be a nothingburger definition of a nothingburger.

The latest examples are any of the endless series of lame, dead-end, dud, insignificant revelations about various Trump appointees having met the Russian ambassador in Washington — along with, apparently, everyone else in Washington, or at least, everyone on the right descending edge of Charles Murray’s Bell Curve.

Alternatively, a nothingburger might be like any of who-knows-how-many franchise combos which centre on a meat filling which, under laboratory examination, turns out to be at least half soya filler.

The question becomes an interesting one, for observant Catholics. At what point can we be sure that the actual meat content of a Something Burger is so low that it will count as a nothingburger for the purposes of Lenten abstinence?

Now, I have no opinion on the allegations raised, via leaks from Obama holdovers in Deep State, against Trump’s minions, beyond observing that they are all nuts. I have no memory of having met Ambassador Kislyak myself, but fear that when my staff consult the charred remains of my dayplanner, they may discover that we discussed the USA election, NATO’s logistical arrangements, and the political situation in eastern Ukraine, on seventeen occasions between July 21st and November 8th, 2016. Fortunately, I am not a Trump appointee, so the world may never know.

He is a very charming man, incidentally. Who knows I need more money.

And not a nothingburger at all, or more precisely, not a consumer of nothingburgers, as I judge from his formidable girth, and the tightness of his shirt collars. Whatever one might say against the old KGB, from whose ranks Kislyak ascended, they didn’t leave their operatives hungry.

Turning from Bell Curves to Pareto, and my old saw about the “rule of thumb” (based on the numerical ratio between thumb and fingers), about 20 percent of everything is opposed. Example: make a list for any purpose and you will find that 80 percent of entries arguably belong on the list, and the rest don’t. This will remain true no matter how many times you edit the list. It is one of the interesting things about nature, and it explains much otherwise inexplicable to science. Given about eighty years of the next century, I could write a book on this. One might even say that it is on the 20 percent that seems totally irrelevant that the life or use of the 80 percent depend.

Or vice versa, from a thumbic point of view. No matter how you focus your reading, four-fifths will prove to be a waste of time. Just nothingburgers, like today’s Idlepost.