Dino Rider

Dino Rider

Dino Rider

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Oct. 3 1998 3:30 AM

Dino Rider

Technically, not a fruit but a member of the squirrel family.

No. 117: "Dino Rider"

By Randy Cohen

I give the headline, you give the story:
"I'm Afraid I'm Riding a Dinosaur" (Freedom Forum Online, Sept. 30, 1998)

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by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer (newsquiz@slate.com).

Responses to Wednesday's question (No. 116)--"Wreck Creation":
The list is: drawing, arts and crafts, watching television, and playing bingo. List of what?

"Helen Chenoweth's hobbies. But you left out screwing married men."--Alex Balk

"Along with 'Lining up for toilet paper under the baleful stares of his drunk and destitute neighbors,' it's a day in the life of Victor Chernomyrdin."--David Rakoff

"Qualifications to get your own show on MSNBC."--Merrill Markoe

"Things to do while awaiting visits from unloving grandchildren and/or death."--Tim Carvell

"The activities that will take up most of our time in the afterlife, with VERY FEW exceptions granted."--Bill Franzen

Click here for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up
It's not the heat, it's the vapidity: There's the common trait many of you saw in these activities, pursuits so crushingly dull that they're inflicted only on those too tiny or too enfeebled to flee--the very young, the very old, or the very imprisoned. It's the activity list for an awful preschool, a heartless nursing home, or a pretty decent state prison. What makes these activities so depressing is that they are without the possibility of transformation. After an hour of arts and crafts, you'll see the world just as you did before the hour of arts and crafts. In television, that stasis has coalesced into a dramatic form. Drama means conflict leading to change--in the characters and in the audience. But the essential rule of episodic television is that things cannot change. The wacky but endearing characters must return next week in the same essential relationships. The natural order must be presented, ruffled, and--22 minutes later--restored. It's like No Exit played for laughs. Or laugh track. Which is to say, watching Veronica's Closet is like making a potholder, but with the possibility of third-degree burns if you grab for something on the stove, like maybe a big pot of soup. So it's the heat and the vapidity.

Answer
Bogus mental health treatments for the elderly that were fraudulently billed to Medicare.
The Department of Health and Human Service reports that the cost of such care rose to $349 million in 1997 from $60 million in 1993; 91 percent of the payments were for dubious services performed by community mental health centers. In addition to false billings, HHS suspects that many doctors received kickbacks for sending patients to these facilities.
Eighty-five percent of the spending on these centers went to nine states, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, a Medicare official, says, "Health care entrepreneurs seem to be alive and well in the South."
Eighty community mental health centers have just been expelled from Medicare.

Misplaced Modifiers Extra
I give the Page One adjectives; you give the section of today's New York Times in which they occurred:

Adjectives
1) raw, salty, radical, aging, huge;
2) raw, glaring, gnarly, friendly, sizable;
3) friendly, grueling, hyper-energetic, young, larger;
4) popular, lingering, gut-wrenching, growing, huge.

27_cleardot

Answers 1) Front
2) Metro
3) Arts
4) Business

27_cleardot

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Randy Cohen used to write Slate's "News Quiz." His most recent book—oh, like you don't know.