News Quiz

No. 329: “Ladies Foist”

“Please be a lady,” Sen. Jesse Helms chided Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., in a Senate hearing room Tuesday. Then he sicced the cops on her. What had Rep. Woolsey done?

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

Wednesday’s Question (No. 328)–“Hello, Wieners”:

A study by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that kids are four times as likely to do it on Halloween as on any other evening. Do what?

“Turn off the television and go outside.”–Neal Pollack (Peter Carlin had a similar answer.)

“Strangle another child with a gummy worm.”–Nell Scovell

“Pick up a bacterial infection from hanging around the undead.”–Merrill Markoe

“Can I give a shout out to my peeps? Yo, yo, what up Shacky and T? Keepin’ it real in da H-town.”–Jon W. Davis

“Trick or treat. And frankly, the number seems a tad low to me.”–Tim Carvell

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Many responses remark on our sedentary youth, barely able to leave the couch, let alone the house, sedated by the television, the Nintendo, the ennui, the Quaaludes. Budget cuts have eliminated sports programs in many urban schools. And bicycles, once the vigorous instruments of suburban freedom, are rarely spotted in the playground; parents fear for their kids in heavy suburban traffic. Most bicycles are now sold to adults, all too often wearing ill-advised spandex pants.

Another HHS study cites the immobilizing effect of the car. A report on the increased rate of obesity in America (from 1 in 8 in 1991 to 1 in 5 last year) shows the biggest increase–67.2 percent–in the South, with a hefty 101.8 percent gain in Georgia. The cause: not grits, cars. Atlanta’s sprawl keeps people sitting in their cars for hours, encouraging them to eat fatty fast food and run down kids who, bloated and logy from their indoor lifestyle, bike-less and slow, staggering along on foot, slowed by 35-pound backpacks, make easy targets and a sickening sort of “squish” sound. It’s like dodge ball, but with an actual Dodge.

Screech of Bats and Brakes Answer

On Halloween, kids are four times as likely to be fatally struck by a car. Trick? Treat? The study is a little vague in its conclusions.

Get It off Your Chest Extra

I give the expression of dismay; you give its object.


1. “Shock, horror, disappointment.”

2. “There are phenomenal shenanigans and accusations.”

3. “They’re full of blackish, horizontal lines and some have worms in them.”

4. “So fat and windy that they sit, with some exceptions, like hefty neglected lumps.”

5. “It’s another reason to move to Sweden.”


1. Russ Johnson, amateur pinball historian, reacts to the news that WMS Industries is shutting down its assembly line, leaving Stern Pinball as the last manufacturer of the beloved game. (But go ahead and make up an Atlanta Braves joke if you like.)

2. Bohdan Krawchenko, a Ukrainian democratic activist, is dismayed at his country’s rigged presidential elections. (Note to translator: What is Ukrainian for “shenanigans”?)

3. A Fox executive is disappointed with the way their new shows look on television. No, wait. I’m wrong. It’s a letter-writer to the New York Times who’s having trouble with his organic carrots. (Probable cause: The “wonderful world of the carrot rust fly.” Prognosis: excellent.)

4. A U.S. senator is disgusted by his colleagues. Or perhaps Times columnist Martin Arnold thinks a lot of books are just too darned big. (And on a personal note, it’s just so sad when any lump is neglected. I think that’s the message of that new Meryl Streep movie where she plays a heroic violin teacher.)

5. Another American has had it with his HMO. Or an unnamed beverage industry executive hates Coca-Cola’s plan to put temperature sensors in its vending machines to automatically raise the price of a Coke on hot days. (But he wasn’t so snippy about my plan to affix temperature sensors to Meryl Streep.)

Common Denominator

Razor blades.