News Quiz

No. 228: “Still Not Sure”

At yesterday’s ceremony honoring the Teacher of the Year, Bill Clinton recalled that his sixth-grade teacher once told him, “If you don’t learn the difference, I’m not sure whether you’re going to be governor or wind up in the penitentiary.” What difference?


by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer to

Monday’s Question (No. 227)– “Vile”:

Fox TV is planning to fill hundreds of plastic vials. With what? Why?

“Oh, no. This isn’t a promotion for The PJs, is it?”–Tim Carvell (Dennis Cass, Charles Star, and Doug Strauss had similar answers.)

“Peas–one per vial. The vials were then labeled ‘Monday–lunch,’ ‘Monday–dinner,’ ‘Tuesday–lunch,’ etc., and loaded onto the Ally McBeal catering cart.”–Dale Shuger (similarly, Tim Carvell, Liz Mason, Noah Meyerson, and Norman Oder)

“With colored water. Look, Mr. Groening, we agreed to promote Futurama, but we never specified how, and we think this will work.”–Greg Diamond (similarly, Steven Davis)

“Something they call ‘Hume Juice.’ “–M. Pesca


“The vials are part of a promotional campaign for the May sweeps special When Soda Goes Flat IV.”–Doug Strauss

Click for more answers.

Daniel’s Wrap-Up

Last month, Fox TV announced the creation of two new children’s cable channels: Boyz and Girlz. Fox President and CEO Rich Cronin called this separate-but-equal programming an effort to “superserve” children, adding, “We will not stereotype in any way.”

Which is more than the News Quiz can promise about Fox. To judge from your answers, the entire outfit is nothing more than a dumping ground for lurid videos of anorexic lawyers attacking pretentious investigators of paranormal cartoons, presided over by an immoral tycoon. Which only proves that sometimes the easiest jokes really are the most satisfying.


Off the Deep End Answer

To celebrate the final episode of Melrose Place, Fox plans to fill hundreds of plastic vials with water from the MP swimming pool, as Jon Delfin presumably did not know when he submitted what he thought was a joke (click). The vials will be used as prizes in radio station giveaways and other contests, according to TV Guide.

Yeah, I know Randy never takes his ideas from TV Guide. Nor does he often stoop to the crassness inherent in the combination of “Fox TV” and “plastic vials.” The truth is this question could have been yet more vulgar. I refrained from including TV Guide’s report that the water was initially stored in “giant jugs.” Godspeed, Heather Locklear.


Gag Reflex Extra

The bad rap on New Yorker cartoons is that they are inscrutable. The more depressing truth is that they are often simply mundane. Try to identify which of the following captions are from urbane New Yorker cartoons and which are from a syndicated strip you wouldn’t be caught dead reading, The Lockhorns.


1. “I’d like to read from a prepared statement.”

2. “Look, I’ve denied it–can we move on?”


3. “I think you might qualify for federal disaster relief.”

4. “Maybe we should consolidate our finance companies.”

5. “What’s your exit strategy?”

6. “Why would I want to watch Crossfire? I’m living it!”

7. “Let’s focus on what we do best–eating out.”


8. “Congratulations–you were the topic on all this week’s talk shows.”


1. The Lockhorns. Leroy arrives home drunk. In the hypothetical New Yorker version, a husband is caught in bed with another woman.

2. The New Yorker. A husband is caught in bed with another woman. May also have appeared in Playboy.

3. The Lockhorns. Loretta emerges from the beauty parlor. In the New Yorker version, a precocious child surveys her friend’s demolished sand castle.

4. The Lockhorns. Loretta pays bills. In the New Yorker version, precocious children play Monopoly. Could have appeared in this week’s “Money Issue.”

5. The New Yorker. A prisoner addresses his cellmate. In the Lockhorns version, Leroy addresses a friend as their wives drag them to the opera.

6. The Lockhorns. Leroy and Loretta watch television. In the New Yorker version, a cat and dog watch television.

7. The New Yorker. A couple enters a cafe. In the Lockhorns version, Leroy surveys Loretta’s home-cooked meal.

8. The Lockhorns. Situation unclear. In the New Yorker version, the situation is also unclear.

Common Denominator

World’s Most Videos Attack.