News Quiz

No. 33: “Victory or Death”

No. 33: “Victory or Death”

By Randy Cohen

“The cost of failure will be high. The ultimate result will be foreign dominance,” said Commerce Secretary William Daley on Wednesday. What sort of failure?

by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Wednesday’s question (No. 32)–“Rainy Day Fun”:

The list is: Drink antifreeze; eat a lot of loquat seeds; swallow an 18 inch stick; walk in front of a tour bus. List of what?

“What happens to Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer on the final Seinfeld.”–John Koski

“Oh boy! Now this is really getting weird. This is the exact list of things I’d sooner do than sit through five minutes of My Giant.”–Jon Hotchkiss (Jon Delfin expressed similar loathing for a Shelley Long sitcom.)

“Options that Sylvia Plath considered and rejected because they didn’t have that special ‘this is all my husband’s fault’ quality.”–Nancy Franklin

“What you must do if you wake up and find you’ve accidentally spent the night making wondrous, tender love with Sen. Jesse Helms.”–Meg Wolitzer

“The extras (over and above the standard Haftorah instruction and chicken kiev/poached salmon for 50) in the new Busch Gardens ‘Extreme Bar Mitzvah’ package.”–David Rakoff

“The rarely played second verse of a song by KC and the Sunshine Band:

Drink antifreeze,
Eat a lot of loquat seeds,
Swallow an 18 inch stick,
Walk in front of a tour bus,
Get down tonight,
Get down tonight.”

Andy Aaron

“This one really stumped me. I mean REALLY stumped me. SO I DID IT. The antifreeze was a kick. One big swallow, and I sputtered out, ‘HEY, I’M IN THE FRIGGIN’ RAT PACK!’ I didn’t have any loquat seeds; in fact, I don’t know what they are. So I ate my own seed. Never did it before; won’t do it again. I’m chalking it up to being under the influence of antifreeze. (I’m chalking up my late-night phone calls to Gene Siskel to that, too.) I swallowed the stick–here’s my thought: That should have been on the list before the loquat seeds. Then I walked in front of Willie Nelson’s tour bus. Guess what? Willie’s got loquat seeds!”–Fred Graver

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Randy’s Wrap-Up

Ask a grotesque question, you get a grotesque answer. Or a Fox prime-time special. Which tonight means both World’s Wildest Police Videos (Is that the one where the Rio police department executes homeless orphan boys? Wild!) and World’s Scariest Police Stings (And is there anything more amusing than entrapment? Kids, hurry and finish your homework!). It’s a perfect Rupert Murdoch product–police excesses as entertainment. Now if only there were a way to do it live, in Florida, and charge admission. Giulianiland? Get me Michael Eisner. And a cold compress.

Artificial African Answer

Causes of death among exotic animals at Disney’s new Animal Kingdom theme park.

Among the dead–four 4-month-old cheetah cubs (kidney failure from drinking ethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze); two Asian small-clawed otters (the loquat seeds); a black rhino (the 18 inch stick); and two West African crowned cranes (hit by “safari-vehicle” tour buses in separate incidents). Disney officials say the rhino did not eat the stick while at the Animal Kingdom.

According to the April 7 Orlando Sentinel, the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched an investigation into a string of animal deaths at the park.

“At this point in time, we haven’t found any intent or any violation of humane standards,” said Capt. Jerry Thompson, the commission’s statewide inspection coordinator. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but we don’t find it highly unusual to have deaths in the captive wildlife industry.”

Animal Kingdom, an $800 million venture eight years in the making, opens in Florida April 22. Disney officials note that many of the 1,000 animals in the park are not dead.


“Out to get me? Oh, no, no, no. We enjoy good friendship with everybody around here.”–Giacomo Turano, after a 500 pound chunk of steel and concrete fell onto his (unoccupied) seats at Yankee Stadium

“Who would put it past George [Steinbrenner] to do something like this?”–Frank Albano, talk radio caller and Yankee fan

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