News Quiz

No. 326: “Scents and Sensibility”

“This is a dream for me–to find the soft parts and touch them and even smell them. It’s very exciting.” Who said this about what?(Question courtesy of Jamie Smith and Andy Aaron.)

Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to

Thursday’s Question (No. 325)–“Wrapped Attention”:

In a TV commercial running in Houston, friends cover a Diane Keaton look-alike in bubble wrap then roll her down a hill and through a sprinkler. We don’t find out what’s being advertised until the end, when the tag line comes up. For 500 points and the game: What is the tag line?

“George W. Bush: The courage to laugh at women on death row. The creativity to carry out the execution in bold new ways.”–Jake Tapper (Jennifer Miller had a similar answer.)

“Arrive moist and fresh. Fly Federal Express.”–Merrill Markoe

“Everybody in Packing Materials. The Gap. (You forgot to mention she was lip-syncing “Helter Skelter.”)–Floyd Elliot (similarly, Michael Mannella and Al Estrada-Berg)

“A year later this footage was found. The Blair Witch Project II.”–Paul Krug

“We’re adding new diagnostic procedures each day. We’re your HMO.”–Kim Day

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Many News Quiz participants suggest that the entire Bush campaign is an ad for which we do not know the product. Sure, this is cowardly, intellectually dishonest, and an insult to the democratic process, but it’s also thrifty, and that’s important, too. (Not important to G.W., who enjoys Scrooge McDuckian campaign funds, but important in ways that will be revealed at the end. Of something.) As long as G.W.’s policies remain ambiguous, every TV ad is a stealth Bush ad. Any commercial that features some kind of cool car driving through some kind of perfect landscape implicitly says: Let G.W. (the driver) take the nation (the car) into the future (it’s just over the next fashion model). Or the ad when the Wagnerian soprano (G.W.) spears (anti-missile system) the cell phone (bad schools?) of a discourteous opera fan (affirmative action? The Taliban?): I think that means he wants to cut taxes for his rich friends. You can’t be overly literal. This thing works subconsciously, like workfare.


“Shop together, play together, eat together.”

The ad is for the Mills Corp.’s 10th and newest mall, each organized around the theme “total experience,” by which is meant a combination of shopping and entertainment, by which is meant a chance to buy stuff at Foot Locker and then play a video game. The malls combine discount shopping, high-tech amusement arcades, theme restaurants, and 24-30 screen multiplexes showing the same teen-sex comedies, but on 24-30 screens.

The reason we don’t know why they’re being so mean to Diane Keaton until the end of the ad? “That was very deliberate. The idea is to give a sense of intrigue that this is a new type of experience,” said John Parlota, executive vice president of the ad agency that produced the spot. “Of course, when people find out it’s just another crappy mall, they get pretty damn mad, but by then, I’m miles away,” he did not add.

Weekend Weddings Extra


  • Duke weds Duke
  • Connecticut College weds Duke
  • Duke weds Montclair State
  • Yale weds Yale
  • Mount Holyoke weds Princeton
  • Harvard weds New Hampshire
  • Dartmouth weds Penn
  • Rutgers weds Fordham
  • Barnard weds University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado weds University of California, Davis
  • Penn State weds North Carolina State
  • St. Francis weds St. Francis
  • Davidson weds Davidson


“The bride owns and manages olive groves in Tuscany.”

“In the summers he is a fly-fishing guide.”

Beat the Odds:

The bride, 39, graduated from Harvard Law. The groom, 31, graduated from New Hampshire College; he is an antiques dealer.

Common Denominator

Content-free George W. campaign.