There is no better time to troll for dumb news than on a Friday before a three-day holiday weekend. And there is no better time, apparently, to appoint Stanley O'Neal to your board. The mind pauses. Alcoa ( AA), the aluminum giant, slipped the news out there when they thought no one was noticing, but they could have shouted it in the public square at high noon on a Wednesday, and the mind would have taken a brief pause, made an attempt at sober contemplation, and then giggled uncontrollably at the very idea of O'Neal being named director of anything. As Simon Constable pointed out earlier this week: Isn't inviting O'Neal to advise you on the future course of your business a bit like sending your daughter out on a date with Dracula? It's bound to end badly...and probably before morning. When last seen in the public square, O'Neal was busy draining Merrill Lynch ( MER) of its lifeblood. Stan, you'll remember, is the purported bond man who let momentous losses in fixed income splatter a once-proud firm. Merrill's professional identity used to be the bull. Now it's just beleaguered shareholders who say "bull" after Merrill takes another $10 billion or so in write-offs and swears it's the last. One wonders, in the scheme of things, what this man has to contribute to a firm that already has a history of poor management. Perhaps it's a mad inversion of the concept of reflected glory, and the board thinks sitting next to O'Neal will help the other directors gain in stature. Or maybe they have a plan to mail him to the competition, like a letter bomb. One wonders how proud the company is of this move, as they all but announced the appointment under cover of night. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt and promise to reconsider if the aluminum giant suddenly starts making big bets on subprime loans. Dumb-O-Meter Score: 93. Said Alcoa Chief Executive Alain Belda in the top-secret press release announcing the appointment: "Stan is a straightforward leader who focused on improving the operations of the business during his tenure at Merrill as part of his broader strategic vision for the firm," To which my daughter, who would never be allowed out with Dracula, might respond: "Whatever."