News Quiz

No. 274: “Chants Taking”

Over the past few days, these demonstrators shouted: “Down with the dictator,” “Oh Great Leader, shame on you!” and “Jerks!” Who was protesting what?

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Monday’s Question (No. 273)–“Fun With Ambiguity”:

Here’s a headline from this weekend’s New York Times: “Swerve and Sharp Elbow Cost a Hotfoot the Stage.” What’s the lead?

“Wayne Gretzky reverts to old ways in ill-fated Cats cameo.”–Justin Warner

“Lawrence Olivier in a posthumous revival of Hamlet.”–Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

“Things got ugly in Iowa today when Elizabeth Dole suddenly shouted, ‘Off the stage, m*****f*****,’ and sent George W. Bush reeling, in a scene eerily reminiscent of her husband’s 1996 tumble.”–Richard Nikonovich-Kahn

“Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle opened Pecksniffian frippery holus-bolus Friday, as House Republicans vowed to roughhew the spittoon.”–Bob Bruce

“The Riverdance craze came to a bizarre ending last night as the show’s star Michael Flatley was pummeled to death by audience members at a Sturgis, S.D., biker rally.”–Markus Beeby

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Randy’s Wrap-Up

Putting aside “stage” as a horse-drawn conveyance, a popular delicatessen, a part of a rocket, and an opportunity to mock Gail Sheehy (who seems to get a free ride from News Quiz participants), this question all but demanded the invention of a violent theatrical event, and that’s not easy. Violence may look magnificent on screen, but on the theatrical stage it’s phony baloney. (Violence among theatrical people, on the other hand, can be entertainingly savage, cf, All About Eve.) In all the hullabaloo about violence in popular entertainment, movies and television were often chastised, the stage never. (Although a friend who toured as a showgirl in Sugar Babies once saw Mickey Rooney naked, as vicious a blow to the senses as one is likely to survive.) Nudity on stage can be powerful, and is still protested, but not as powerful as the frightening glimpse I had as a child of Ethel Merman in Gypsy. Now, if you could get the ghost of Ethel Merman and the undead Mickey Rooney to strip to the waist for 10 rounds of bare-knuckle action, that would be truly frightening stage violence. And a shoo-in at next year’s Tonys.

Hell on Wheels but Unrelated to FDR Answer

“Tom Steels of Belgium, who had already won two sprints in the Tour de France, badly wanted to win the sixth stage today because it ended in the French town of Maubeuge, just across the border from his home.”

A little later, we learn:

“In a tumultuous finish, Steels crossed the line first. … But minutes later the Belgian was disqualified and placed 172 because of his aggressive and dangerous tactics. After swerving to cut off Jan Svorda, a Czech with Lampre, Steels dug his right elbow into Cipollini a few times just before the finish line.

“The elbows could be pardoned as a common offense, but the swerve was too blatant a piece of interference.”

“Another triumph for the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team!” the story did not conclude.

Two Places in Connecticut Extra

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation operates both the Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, financing the latter with revenues from the former, an arrangement that could easily be reversed if the public, sated on gambling, suddenly grew enthusiastic about museums. With that in mind, can you tell which of the following are from the museum, and which from the casino?


1. “Bull-A-Rama”

2. “The Wampum Club”

3. “Meaningful change through the power of training”

4. “Fast Track, Wild Thing and Pequot Wampum”

5. “The 185-foot Observation Tower”

6. “The 12-foot figure of the Rainmaker kneels with bow and arrow aimed at the heavens to bring down the rain”

7. “One of the original teen idols, Paul Anka”

8. “Children bring home a dyed sample”

9. “Smash Factory–Two words: HANG ON!!!”


1. Museum. It’s a part of Schemitzun 99, the intertribal powwow, along with the Eighth Annual Feast of Green Corn & Dance, and the World Championship of Dance & Song. If only Paul Anka could somehow participate.

2. Casino. It seems to be the tasteful name for some kind of high-roller area, “the ultimate club for Keno, Slot, Bingo and Table Game players.”

3. Casino. Part of the “mission” of the operation is “to help advance the personal and professional growth of the members and employees of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation through business-driven educational development.” And for my money, nothing promotes “personal growth” more than MBA jargon and a job as a pit boss.

4. Casino, of course. These are various scratch ticket games.

5. Museum. After a traditional blessing by tribal elder Laughing Woman and the ceremonial ribbon cutting, the 185-foot glass-and-stone structure opened to the public this past June 18.

6. Casino. “This is a must-see, high-tech show presented with majesty and beauty in the Town Square.”

7. Casino. His height is not given, although he is presumably shorter than both the Observation Tower and the Rainmaker. Three shows only, July 23, 24, and 25. Tickets: $38.50 and $60.50. Mr. Anka is not a Mashantucket Pequot; he is a Canadian.

8. Museum. Although at $60.50 a ticket, you’d think they’d let the kids bring home a piece of Paul Anka’s toupee. Rather, it is part of a demonstration of how natural dyes can be extracted from indigenous plants and used to decorate basketry, clothing.

9. Casino. Some kind of ride in the amusement park section. “This hilarious speed adventure is loaded with whack-o-matic fun for everyone. Join escaped employee, Bob on a wild and crazy VIP tour of a zany automobile smash factory. Bob will lead you through wild underground caverns, hilarious test tracks, and dangerous derby-styled action. Hold on tight … this is not your average, run of the mill tour or ride!” Incidentally, tribal elder Laughing Woman, although laughing, is in no way associated with whack-o-matic fun.

Tim Carvell’s MyTwinn™ Follow-Up

A friend of mine wanted to do a story on them–his plan was to order the doll, dress it exactly like him, and then carry it everywhere, noting strangers’ reactions–so he ordered one. It arrived and looked utterly unlike him. Not even close. What it looked like was a standard, creepy doll. Which gave rise to speculation that maybe, rather than actually tailoring dolls to look like your child, the MyTwinn Co. simply hires child models who look uncannily like their dolls.

Common Denominator

No business-like show business.