No. 90: “A and Q”

No. 90: “A and Q”

No. 90: “A and Q”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
July 31 1998 3:30 AM

No. 90: “A and Q”

No. 90: "A and Q"

By Randy Cohen


I give Mike McCurry's answer; you give the question from yesterday's White House press conference.

Answer: "He is a human being. I don't think that would be a surprise to anyone."


by noon ET Thursday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Tuesday's question (No. 89)--"Blue Lacuna":


Fill in the blank. Robert Poirier, whose company will rack up $1 billion in sales next year, says, "The average American is in a grocery store two to three times a week. I'd like people to start thinking that if they haven't got __________, then there's something missing."

"Dry-roasted songbirds."--Merrill Markoe

"A Chiquita banana bearing the Cincinnati Enquirer seal of approval."--Chris Thomas

"Anything better to do."--Daniel Radosh (Dan Simon and Adam Bonin had similar answers.)


"A homeless person sleeping in his shopping cart."--Chris Kelly

"Jesus."--Tim Carvell (similarly, Matthew Singer)

"At least one item from the National Grocers Association list of 'The 100 Greatest Canned Goods of the 20th Century.' "--John Solomon

"Everything."--Jim Hopkins (similarly, Todd Kaderabek)


Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

If the primary intent of a work is to incite desire, it is either pornography or a commercial. And while shopping does provide a reliable sense of accomplishment, the feeling often fades as soon as you get your purchase home, in that economic variant of post coital tristesse known as buyer's remorse. But sex is not grocery shopping--at least in most municipalities, where prostitution is illegal and there are strict limits on what you may do to a flank steak in even the most broad-minded market. Other evidence that sex is not shopping: Brothers and sisters may visit Dagostino's together. Few Food Emporium customers sink into blissful slumber even after getting mushrooms for 79 cents a pound. On the other hand, having someone ask, "Delivery?" only embellishes either experience.

Stop and Smell the Answer



Only 25 percent of Americans regularly buy flowers, compared with 60 percent of Europeans. Poirier, the head of U.S.A. Floral, wants to get those numbers up. In his drive to dominate the $14 billion flower trade, a rapidly consolidating field, Poirier acquired 14 smaller distributors this year. "We're not certain where all of it is going," said Alvaro Varela, a competitor, "but the trend is probably unstoppable at this point."

Most flowers sold in the United States are grown in Ecuador, Colombia, and Costa Rica. Within the space of 24 hours, they are harvested, shipped to Miami, X-rayed by Department of Agriculture inspectors, and trucked to florist shops.

SAT Practice Extra

Read the three short passages below and then answer the question at the end.

Adam Gopnik's Things Tina Brown Loves

1. "Tina loves ideas"

2. "She loved courage"

3. "Tina's eternal love of controversy"

Mark Green's Things Al D'Amato Is

1. "An election-year opportunist"

2. "A shakedown artist"

3. "Dangerous"

4. "Unprincipled"

Various Critics' Things The Negotiator Is

1. "A high-octane summer sizzler"

2. "A powerful, explosive, action-packed thriller"

3. "A superb, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller"

Question: Who can "spot a phony a mile away"?

A. Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey

B. Al D'Amato

C. Mark Green

D. Tina Brown

E. Adam Gopnik


The American reading public (or D).

Schedule Note

Tomorrow is the deadline for "Steven L. Smith's Casting Couch," your chance to suggest actors for S.L.S.' dramatic re-enactment of the Ken Starr investigation.

Disclaimer: All submissions will become the property of Slate and will be published at Slate's discretion. Slate may publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.