Reader contest: Searching for Osama.

Reader contest: Searching for Osama.

Reader contest: Searching for Osama.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Dec. 26 2001 3:30 PM

Reader Contest: Write An Osama-Hunt Palindrome!

What better way to ring in 2002?

Does the coming year, 2002, remind you at all of 1991? Consider these amazing coincidences:

1991

2002

U.S. president is named George Bush

U.S. president is named George W. Bush

U.S. is at war against Saddam Hussein

U.S. may go to war against Saddam Hussein

U.S. economy is in recession

U.S. economy is in recession

Federal budget is in deficit

Federal budget headed for deficit

Kennedy's secretary was named "Lincoln"

Lincoln's secretary was named "Kennedy"

Whoops, that last pairing was from the list of similarities between the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations much-cherished by adolescents during the 1960s. The most striking and mystical similarity between 1991 and 2002 is that the sequence of digits denoting each one constitutes a palindrome. Next year, a mere child of eleven will be able to boast that he lived through two palindromatic years, an accomplishment that, in 1991, would have required the boaster to be at least 110 years old.

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In honor of this calendric oddity, Chatterbox invites readers to submit palindromes about the search for Osama Bin Laden, which, sadly, seems destined to stretch into the new year. As in Chatterbox's previous two palindrome contests (concerning Super Tuesday and the post-election frenzy in Florida), submissions may not be obscene or libelous, and should be sent to chatterbox@slate.com. Winners will be announced next week.