No. 198: "Chat and Argue Choo Choo"

No. 198: "Chat and Argue Choo Choo"

No. 198: "Chat and Argue Choo Choo"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Feb. 27 1999 3:30 AM

No. 198: "Chat and Argue Choo Choo"

Next month, hoping to re-establish cordial relations, more than 140 congressmen will board a chartered Amtrak train bound for Hershey, Pa. What will they do when they get there?


by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer to

Wednesday's Question (No. 197)--"A Man Has Needs":

Fill in the blank as Bill Press assesses the about-to-be-announced presidential bid of his Crossfire playmate Pat Buchanan. "He is convinced that if Elizabeth Dole stumbles, if G.W. stumbles, in a field of pygmies, he's the giant. This is not just a need for ____________ on his part."

"Frequent flyer miles."--Edward H. Hernandez, Evan Cornog, Deb Stavin, Steve Smith, and Morris Jackson

"Higher speaking fees."--Peter Carlin

"Lithium."--Mat Honan, Sandra Combs (Mark Katz, Judith Spencer, Kate Wing, and Raphael Laufer had similar answers.)

"Liebensraum."--Andrew Staples

"Seeing himself unattractively represented in hundreds of editorial cartoons as a leathery-faced half-man, half-elephant."--Kate Powers

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up


Why engage in a futile act? If it's just plain stupid to continue making rambling, drunken, late night phone calls to Ellen Barkin despite a court order--hypothetically speaking--what's to be gained by running a no-win campaign in New Hampshire? Well, you get your message out, shape the debate, and perhaps gain influence over the eventual winner. That explains the Ellen Barkin thing. But what about Buchanan? Here, it's defeat as self-aggrandizement. He transforms himself from a vitriolic TV gas bag into a candidate for the presidency. That ought to impress Ellen Barkin.

Adoring Answer

"This is not just a need for adulation on his part."

Tuesday, CNN announced that Buchanan was taking a leave from Crossfire, a program friends say he is bored with, much like the American voting public, I add editorially.


In 1996, the feisty reactionary beat Bob Dole in the New Hampshire primary, capturing the state with 27 percent of the vote. This would be difficult to repeat, suggests Kyle McSlarrow, Dan Quayle's campaign manager, because much of Buchanan's 1996 campaign team (including sister Bay) is unavailable, because the field is so crowded, and because the voters have "wised up," I add, quoting only myself, a man who finds simple joy in the phrase "Dan Quayle's campaign manager."

Extra Special

"Let's say somebody is acquitted, and it's one of those acquittals in which the person was guilty ..."--Rudolph Giuliani

Chris Kelly's Anniversary Extra


I'd like to share something that I've been keeping to myself for some time. This is a real letter that was entrusted to me by a friend, and to him by a friend, and I really can't say more than that. Please, read until the end for the shocking denouement.

Oct. 10, 1984

Metro Goldwyn Mayer
10202 West Washington Blvd
Culver City, Calif.

Dear Sir,


I am writing to you with regard to the motion pictures, Hello Dolly, The Way We Were, Superman, Yentl, and possibly more, but at the moment those are the titles uppermost in my mind.

My voice has been recorded and Barbra Streisand's face and name have been associated with the sound tracks and recordings made by the motion picture industry. If your studio is not involved then I apologize and am writing in error. I do not have access to the names of the studios involved in the production of the motion pictures associated with my voice.

My name is Muffin Kennedy. I am the only child of Joseph P. and Gloria Swanson Kennedy. You may remember me from World War II. I represented the United States government on the radio from Chicago, Illinois, and was heard throughout the United States, Europe, and the Pacific War Zone. The subject matter discussed in the broadcasts came from Washington, D.C., and anything said by me was said with the permission of the United States government and Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.

I have been a victim of amnesia since 1947 and unfortunately lost my identity. I have come back to many incidents in my life during the last year and a half.

Barbra Streisand has annoyed me throughout the years with friends of hers. They have entered my home wherever I have lived without permission. They have shocked my person to the extent that I blacked out whatever they were doing.

I have not been paid one penny for the records, tapes, or motion picture sound tracks made with my voice. I did not give permission for anyone to record my voice. I did not at any time sign a contract allowing any studio in Hollywood or anywhere else to use my voice in the production of a motion picture. I do not want my voice used again by the motion picture industry, nor do I want any more songs recorded.

Muffin Kennedy (similarly, Beth Sherman, Jon Hotchkiss, Kate Wing) OK, I made up that last part.

Common Denominators

Anti-Semitism, thwarted erotic desires.

Disclaimer: All submissions willbecome the property ofSlateand will be published atSlate's discretion.Slatemay publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.