News Quiz

No. 354: “You’re a Dead Man, Charlie Brown”

After drawing Peanuts for nearly 50 years, Charles Schulz, 77 and ailing, is putting down his pen. Participants are invited to describe his final strip. (Question courtesy of Jon Delfin.)

Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday’s Question (No. 353) “Bad-Ass Query”

General Motors made an announcement Monday involving two important words, one hyphenated, unlikely to show up in any of its forthcoming TV commercials. What two words?

“Crash-test puppies.”–Michael Koegel

“Anti-lock and scrotum.”–Tim Carvell

“Bodacious ta-tas.”–Floyd Elliot

“Boutros and Boutros-Ghali, now that he’s turned down the endorsement offer.”–Francis Heaney (Heather Williams had a similar answer.)

“Shit-eating grins.” The announcement was about G.M. execs’$2 1999 holiday bonuses.”–Matt “Ein Nod” Heimer

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Badly planned, poorly made, and apt to burst into flames–no, not prime-time TV (although I, for one, would be more likely to watch Ally McBeal if the law firm were more frequently devastated by fatal explosions, or the nightly news if furious grease fires now and then ravaged Peter Jennings’ hair). Rather, those are the qualities News Quiz participants associate with G.M. cars, despite the company’s demonstrating with its Saturn line that it is quite capable of producing a first-class car commercial. Apparently the news hasn’t reached quiz participants that America has shaken of the malaise of the Vietnam War and the clunky gas-guzzler by invading several small nations and imitating the design and manufacturing methods of Toyota. I suppose that’s not the sort of thing that gets talked about on the IRT or in some dissident cell. But you won’t find it so easy to knock this country and its great corporations with the sort of left-wing philosophy best expressed on a bumper sticker when you don’t even have a bumper! Try slapping a sticker on the conductor’s ass, and he’ll toss you right off your overcrowded, overheated, way-behind-schedule railroad. In the rain. Maybe then you won’t be too good to ride in an exploding Chevy.

Following Orders Answer

Nazi-Era Slaves

Those were the words in a New York Times headline when Thomas Gottschalk, G.M.’s general counsel, announced that the company would likely contribute to a fund to compensate the slave laborers who worked in its Opel division. As the Times notes: “G.M. would be the first U.S. company to accept responsibility for wartime abuses.”

There are thought to be 240,000 slave laborers, most of whom were concentration camp prisoners, left alive; about half are Jews. The Germans used about two million others, mostly Russians and central Europeans, mostly not Jewish, as slaves throughout the war.

In Berlin Tuesday, German industry and government officials announced plans to establish a $5.1 billion fund to compensate slave laborers.

Presidential Presence Extra

Which of these important public events, some actual some not, did President Clinton attend, and which did he blow off?

1. Franjo Tudjman funeral

2. Panama Canal hand-over

3. Running of the Show Girls at Caesar’s Palace

4. Traditional INS New Year’s Day Body-Cavity Search of Terrified Immigrants (Employee who finds the gold coin wins a free turkey.)

5. Full Dress Betrayal of Gay Rights by U.S. Army

6. Ribbon-Cutting at Hillary Clinton’s New York State Bed

7. Ice-Cream-Cake-Cutting at Some Carvel in Ohio

8. Phony-Baloney Bipartisan Pledge of Campaign Finance Reform Press Conference and Fish Fry

9. Meet Barney the Lovable Purple Dinosaur and Gaze in Awe at the Splendors of Capitalism and Universal Studios Tour (Laid on to persuade the little Cuban raft-boy that living in a rich country with plentiful theme parks is better than returning to a poor country and his father.)

10. Ceremonial Presentation of 30,000,000 Human Cattle to Emperor Xzarlac, Dark Lord of the Three Galaxies


1. No

2. No

3. May have attended in disguise, like that Prince and the Pauper thing

4. Not yet R.S.V.P.’d

5. Present in spirit

6. No

7. Rumor is he’ll show up late, sprawl beneath soft-ice-cream tap, and suck it down until he passes out

8. Yes. Except for the fish fry

9. Probably attended by that stooge they use as his double, so he can simultaneously attend and deny having attended

10. Scheduling conflict; Jimmy Carter sent in his place

Gina Duclayan’s Least Persuasive Assertion Extra

“Rather than being ‘toxic,’ urine (which is about 95% water) may actually contain some of the purest water that we can drink.”–from the “Jesus Diet” Web site.