News Quiz

No. 242: “Reading Is Fundamentalism”

Kicking off a $7 million ad campaign, gospel singers, children, and evangelists poured out of a giant copy of The Book, an updated, “cool” version of the Bible. But, says The Book’s promoter, televangelist and former presidential candidate Pat Robertson, “Our goal is not to sell Bibles. It is to make Bible-reading cool and American.” Participants are invited to devise other ways to achieve that goal.

Send your answer by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to

Wednesday’s Question (No. 241)–“A Very Special …”:

A recent episode of a popular TV series was postponed because it was frighteningly like an actual, front-page event. Now the network says it will go ahead and broadcast the show’s season finale, although it too is disturbingly reminiscent of that same event. How will the listing in TV Guide describe the big show?

Dharma and Greg (ABC; 8 p.m.): Dharma gets her toe stuck in a bowling ball and shoots BBC newscaster Jill Dando in the head.”–Tim Carvell

Friends (NBC; 8 p.m.): A puffy, besotted Chandler dissolves his Cabinet–again! Also: Phoebe decides to learn to ski.”–Bill Wasik (Robert Rothman had a similar answer.)

“Drew’s Uncle Charlton makes an ass of himself at the convention.”–Bob Ringle

Ally McBeal: A horrific school shooting provokes discussion and soul-searching among the Boston legal community and the nation. Ally frets over her uncertain love life and her biological clock.”–Ananda “Hear, Hear! Death to the Autoreplies!” Gupta

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Head cheerleader Andie Pamerson decides to remove her breast implants because they’re possessed by demons.”–Steven Kiefer

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

“Map maker, map maker, make me a map.
Find me a find, catch me a cat.
Map maker, map maker, make up your mind,
and make me a perfect map!”

 –from the Broadway musical Fiddler Somewhere in the General Vicinity of the Roof

The news event most participants played with was, of course, the bombing of the Chinese Embassy. This story contains two sure-fire comic ingredients (at least for 12-year-old boys): incompetence and destruction. Thus, Roadrunner. Thus, the string of successes on Late Night With David Letterman involving the dimwitted demolition of culturally evocative objects–Running Stuff Over With a Steam Roller, Dropping Stuff off a Five-Story Tower, Crushing Stuff in a Hydraulic Press, Dropping a 1,000-Pound Weight Onto Stuff, Crashing Into Stuff With a Locomotive. With one fleeting exception, when he shot up, and later blew up, his own cue cards, Dave shunned firearms and explosions. Just not funny. If he were alive today, he’d never get a show on the WB.

Buffy the Vampire Answer

I don’t have a copy of TV Guide around, but the New York Times described Tuesday’s episode this way: “Cordelia likes the new watcher.”

Last month, the WB pulled “Earshot,” an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Sarah Michelle Gellar stumbles onto a mass-murder plan by fellow students. This past Monday, the network announced that it would run Buffy’s two-part finale, “Graduation Day,” chockablock with gun-toting high-school kids.

“We are airing the episodes. There are no plans to pull them,” said Julie Kingsdale, a WB spokeswoman owned by Time Warner Inc. No, wait: It is the WB and not Kingsdale that is owned by Time Warner. Under current U.S. law, human beings cannot be owned and must instead be rented.

A Personal Tribute From Jon Delfin

To the shame of my closest friends, I am now hooked on Buffy. Been watching since December. My favorite episode so far was the one where Armageddon was the “B” story. Last night’s best moment (which I suspect won’t travel well out of context) was when the prom emcee thanked Buffy for saving so many students’ lives that “our class has the lowest mortality rate in the history of the school!”

Augmented Quotations Extra

(Each final sentence added by News Quiz.)

  • “If you do the procedure correctly, it’s very safe. And right after surgery, I take the fat I sucked out and fry up a couple of eggs.”–Dr. Alan Kling defends liposuction, despite a few regrettable deaths.
  • “This product is made with fur from animals that may have been killed by electrocution, gassing, neck breaking, poisoning, clubbing, stomping or drowning, and may have been trapped in steel-jawed leghold traps. Or by improperly performed liposuction.”–Warning label that would have appeared on fur coats had Beverly Hills approved Proposition A.
  • “Instead of Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘talk softly and carry a big stick,’ we have yelled and carried a toothpick. And so I announce my intention to undergo penile enlargement, and as long as you’re down there, let’s go for the scrotum enhancement.”–Retired but not retiring, Newt Gingrich assesses our Kosovo policy.
  • “Supposedly everybody was watching, and in reality no one was watching. But then again, who wants to see Newt Gingrich get his penis stretched?”–Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln assesses security failings at the Energy Department.

Tech Talk

Slate has ordered the autoreply shut off. There is, however, little they can do about the fawning farewells to Robert Rubin.

Common Denominator

Chinese takeout.