No. 167: "East/West"

No. 167: "East/West"

No. 167: "East/West"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Jan. 6 1999 3:30 AM

No. 167: "East/West"

Fill in the blank. Bernard Salick's entrepreneurial ideas may play in California, but they'll never make it in New York, says Warren Enker. "Not too many people want ____________ at 4 a.m., so it's not that great a gimmick."

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

Thursday's question (No. 166)--"AC in D.C.?":

Rule 12 of the Senate Impeachment Rules states, "At 12:30 o'clock after noon, or at such other hour as the Senate may order ... the legislative and executive business of the Senate shall be suspended, and the secretary shall give notice to the House ... that the Senate is ready to proceed ... in the Senate Chamber, which chamber is prepared with accommodations for the reception of the House of Representatives."

Fred Graver and Betsy Steyer Graver ask: What sort of accommodations? 

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"Fatal."--Alfa-Betty Olsen

"Real-time stock market big board. 'Another thousand points off the NASDAQ,' remarked Republican Bob Barr, 'and we'll nail that slick sumbitch.' "--Jim O'Grady

"Trained monkeys with trays of wine and cheese."--Joe Lengieza

"A small, dark room filled with the screams of innocent Cambodians. Oh, no, wait. That's Henry Kissinger's accommodations in hell. Never mind."--Tim Carvell

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"I don't know, but I'm sure it's a waste of my tax dollars (my grandfather's philosophy on everything)."--Matt Sullivan

Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Most replies envisioned a community of corrupt, childish, lubricious egomaniacs--much like Lord of the Flies, but with overt sex and more guys who look like Piggy.

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Or, to put it another way, perhaps the reason the president risked in-office eroticism rather than taking her to a nice hotel is that there is no nice hotel. Not the right kind of nice hotel. If we live in an age of rampant infidelity (generally the most popular kind, by the way), it is in spite of the failure of the free market to provide seductive accommodations. Oh, there are hot-bed motels out near the airport, a lovely thing for those who can only function sexually in 1972; the waterbeds and mirrors must be a great comfort. It's like bad pornography expressed as architecture.

In France, there are romantic rooms available for passionate afternoons well away from any flight path. In Tokyo, where the apartments are small, there are "love hotels" in a goofy and playful variety of styles. In New York, where the apartments are small, there is Starbucks. Manhattan hotels cater to the business traveler; there are high-resolution fax machines but low thread-count sheets. And neither is available just for a languorous afternoon.

Or to put it another way, why is there no hotel toothpaste? In their restless effort to offer the guest simulated luxury, hotels provide a sewing kit, soap, shampoo, body gel, a Bible, a robe, and a shower cap, but no toothpaste. Why not? Just say you were a dentist seeking a stolen hour of bliss; where would you go? Just say you were a congressman who looked like Piggy and cared about the Constitution, sensual delights, and good oral hygiene; what kind of accommodations would you want?

Fred's Follow-Up

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"While the imagination runs the gamut from the Hunter Thompson-esque 'Ether ... and a fax machine' to the Van Halen-esque 'no red M&Ms!!!!,' we are reminded of a real memo we once read, written by a secretary at Paramount, describing the accommodations demanded by Barry Diller in his hotel suites. 'A box of fresh butterscotch candies must be present on the desk. Shake the box--you'll be able to hear if they're fresh or not.' "--Fred Graver

Financial Headline Helper Extra

Attention business reporters: Get a head start accumulating the clichés demanded by the new European monetary system. And you general readers can get a leg up on the stories you'll want to skip all through 1999. Help yourself, courtesy of News Quiz.

EUROPEN FOR BUSINESS: Now that the money is a different color, foreigners will be able to buy a lot more things, or perhaps a lot fewer.

ON A EUROLL: With the new international money, everyone finally knows what everything costs--it's all surprisingly affordable, apparently--and they're buying it.

EURONLY AS RICH AS YOU FEEL: Buying stuff is making everyone happy, even when it turns out they'd misread the price tag--they thought it was in pesetas--so now everyone is in debt but euphoric.

NO PUBLIC EURONATION: A cold splash of reality from the Washington Times, insisting that poor people not be made to feel good at the expense of rich people feeling better.

EURO, EURO, EURO YOUR BOAT: A lot of people are sailing those huge factory trawlers up to the North Atlantic to mock the Swedes and Danes for missing out on all the shopping. Stupid Danes.

ISN'T IT EUROMANTIC: It's tough to explain to the noneconomist, but wealthy people turn out to have a lot of fun and some sex, as predicted by John Maynard Keynes. This is good for the French. Or perhaps bad.

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