Wild Blue

Wild Blue

Wild Blue

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Oct. 17 1998 3:30 AM

Wild Blue

Weekend Special
No. 125: "Wild Blue"

By Randy Cohen


I give the headline, you give the story. From the current Airforce magazine: "The Retention Problem Spreads." by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer (newsquiz@slate.com).

Responses to Wednesday's question (No. 124)--"The Old Sniff and Poke":
A just-released report praises the federal government's new HACCP program, and the New York Times concurs, noting, "It is a definite step up from the old sniff-and-poke method." Method of doing what?

"Census taking at old folks' homes."--Brooke Saucier (Eric Zicklin had a similar answer.)

"Having sex in the dark."--Evan Cornog (similarly, Tim Carvell)

"Finding out which room in the mikvah has the freshest guest linens."--Larry Amaros

"Choosing a husband."--Deb Stavin

"Airport security. Just because I didn't want them to X-ray my laptop ..."--Beth Sherman

"I'm not certain, but I bet the old method had a lot to do with how Patrick Dempsey was cast as Raskolnikov in NBC's Crime and Punishment."--Jennifer Miller

Click here for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up
With a question bound to target the old, the infirm, and the morally dubious, it is not surprising that the most frequent target--six references--is 95-year-old former segregationist Strom Thurmond, a man who is all three. So evil, so withered, has he become too easy a foil? Should his sobriquet "former segregationist" be stripped of its irony? Are there bygones that should indeed be bygones? No, there aren't.
Well, yes there are but not Thurmond's bygones. His perfidy did not involve--what was Henry Hyde's felicitous bit of self-justification?--youthful indiscretions. It was not the uncharacteristic one-time act of a few hotheads, like when a New York City cop beats up a black man--OK, bad example. But the point is we scorn Thurmond not for scattered actions but for the persistent expression of profoundly held beliefs, i.e., for being on the wrong side of every issue throughout a record-setting career. (Born Dec. 5, 1902, and first elected to the Senate in 1954, he is both the longest-serving and the oldest U.S. senator. He also holds the record for the longest filibuster, 24 hours and 18 minutes, against the civil rights bill of 1957.)
In an era that rushes to rehabilitate--at least to rehabilitate the rich and powerful--a time when Henry Kissinger is addressed on network television as "Dr." and not as "war criminal," it is nice to see that the "News Quiz" has a historical sense extending back more than five minutes. So let the scourging continue, but perhaps it needn't be restricted to his ass.

Good Eatin' Answer
As Jennifer Miller, Kate Wing, and others know (click here), it is a method for reducing contamination in meat and poultry.
In January, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system became mandatory at large processing plants. It will gradually regulate smaller plants. For the first time, the HACCP sets specific microbial standards and prescribes testing but leaves it to the processors to devise ways of meeting those standards. An Agriculture Department study shows that plants using the new system halved the number of broiler chickens contaminated with salmonella and cut down on tainted pork.

Augmented Quotation Extra
(Each final sentence added by News Quiz.)

"Mink are particularly vicious creatures. They don't have any particular fear and will attack any sort of animal, whether or not they're hungry. But have you ever seen Barbra Streisand in the wild?"--Len Kelsall , mink farmer

"There's no reason why polkas shouldn't be just as popular as rumbas. And dropping a cinder block on your foot--that could be as big as closing your hand in a car door."--Frank Yankovic , the Polka King, dead at 83


"They come back and they're not the same. They go off their feed. They won't settle down. They shouldn't have to go through what they went through. Goddamn your soul to hell, Barbra Streisand!"--Len Kelsall


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.

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