No. 176: "Wrecking Ball"

No. 176: "Wrecking Ball"

No. 176: "Wrecking Ball"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Jan. 21 1999 3:30 AM

No. 176: "Wrecking Ball"

"It did the Vice President and me a lot of good to pick up those hammers and crow bars and tear something down," President Clinton said Monday. Tear what down?


by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer to

Monday's question (No. 175)--"Dis Incentive":

"This is a horrible thing that's going on," says Franklin Spinney. "All it's going to do is reward the pathological behavior that created the problem." What's going on?

"The Academy Awards."--David Finkle (Jennifer Miller and Daniel Krause had similar answers.)


"The Super Bowl."--Lois Ambash (similarly, R.C. Leander)

"But Furby LOVE play! Teach Furby play again, then singing!"--Kate Wing

"Mr. Spinney is arguing that the Make-A-Wish Foundation actually encourages children to get sick."--Tim Carvell

"I'm giving the dogs free run of the pantry. Is that wrong?"--Doug Ingram


Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

To many of you, the horrible thing that's going on is going on in Congress. Of course, if we had a parliamentary system, the president would simply call for a vote of confidence and--one way or another--we'd swiftly move on. If we had the metric system, we could easily calculate how far we'd moved on. If we had a decent system of public education, filled with healthy children enjoying universal access to medical care, easily reached by high-speed maglev trains driven by bioengineered dogs fed on the limitless bounty we farm on the ocean floor, then we'd all learn that metric system and reward ourselves by zipping off on our unicopters to the space port for our two week vacation on the moon. I'm sure these are just some of the visionary ideas the president will be propose in tonight's State of the Union address. Along with school uniforms.

Bang for the Buck Answer


President Clinton's proposed defense budget.

His suggested massive increase in military spending, the biggest in two decades, is a dreadful way to strengthen America, says Pentagon analyst Franklin Spinney. No major adversary has emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A swollen military budget robs the nation of resources for education and other actual needs. It subverts reforms in the Pentagon's culture of waste and inefficiency. Spinney also argues that the increasingly complex weapons under consideration are too expensive to be purchased and maintained in adequate numbers. "Spending more money the same way isn't going to fix anything," he says, criticizing what he calls "Versailles on the Potomac."

Either/Or Extra

  • "We believe that killing is not an acceptable management tool for us."--Either Bill Gates is announcing a policy change at Microsoft, or Richard Avanzino is promoting humane animal shelters for the SPCA.
  • Tara Road, by Maeve Binchy; River's End, by Nora Roberts; and A Sudden Change of Heart, by Barbara Taylor Bradford.--Either they're just not trying at the National Book Awards, or there's a new kind of giveaway in specially marked cases of Coca-Cola.
  • "My monument has won!"--Either this is a line in a gay porn remake of Spartacus, or architect Peter Eisenman is delighted that some good has come out of the Holocaust--he got a commission.
  • "After this past week, when people here say Yankee trash, they think it's redundant."--Either yet another person is offended by Mayor Giuliani's swaggering know-nothingism or ... oh, wait, it is Mayor Giuliani's swaggering know-nothingism.



The Japanese cell phone death story attributed to someone was actually submitted by someone else.

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Top target: bad movies.

Correction of Correction

The lack of specificity in the previous correction rendered it ineffectual. The story was actually submitted by Jennifer Miller.

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