No. 208: "Favorite Things"

No. 208: "Favorite Things"

No. 208: "Favorite Things"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 18 1999 3:30 AM

No. 208: "Favorite Things"

Urine-absorbing disposable diapers, mistake-eradicating liquid paper, bullet-stopping Kevlar--what's the connection?


by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer to

Monday's Question (No. 207)--"Samaranch Hand":

As it prepares to convene in Switzerland this week, the International Olympic Committee has invited a well-known American to join its reform panel. Who and why? (Question courtesy of Andrew Staples.)

"The Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, because of his grace under pressure and his unimpeachable sense of fair pl--What? He did? Oh, never mind. Can you get me tickets to The Lion King for my 10-year-old?"--David Rakoff (Bill Franzen and Eliot Cohen had similar answers.)

"John Glenn. Anyone who can take a junket on the space shuttle is all right with the IOC."--Dwight Lemke

"The ubiquitous Alan Dershowitz. Because he's ubiquitous."--Dr. Jonathan E. Snow

"Whoopi Goldberg. It's a trap: They're going to push her into a pit and cover it with a steel plate in order to prevent her from hosting the Oscars. It's far-fetched, but a guy can dream."--Daniel Radosh

"Phil Knight, but only if he agrees to bring 20 pairs of Air Jordans for each committee member, plus some hookers. In return, Nike becomes the official shoe of the IOC Reform Committee."--Tim "Deathly Afraid of Freeways" Carvell

Click for more answers.

Do dark and brooding News Quiz participants regard any effort at reform as insincere or just the IOC's? What about AFSCME DC37, the New York municipal employees union? What about the New York Police Department's recent plan--what was it called? oh yeah--Pride, Respect, or I'll Shoot. No, wait, it was CPR: Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect. How's that working out, by the way? Here's how: According to a New York Times survey, 51 percent of all New Yorkers (72 percent of African-Americans) believe most of the police use excessive force; 70 percent think the police often engage in brutality against blacks; 60 percent think that the mayor's response to the Amadou Diallo shooting has made matters worse. The mayor's press secretary said everyone in New York is just wrong: "The poll numbers seem to be driven by false perceptions." That's a kind of reform plan. And by "dark and brooding," I, of course, mean appealing and simpatico.


News Quiz Time Line

  • First slam at Eleanor Clift--March 16, 1999
  • First reference to Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis--March 16, 1999
  • First use of phrase "monkey ass" (not alluding to Landis)--March 16, 1999

Honest to God I'm Not Making Up This Answer

As Greg Diamond, seeking the moral high ground, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has invited Henry Kissinger to join the reform panel, for reasons that utterly confound me. The secret war in Cambodia? The overthrow of the Allende government? The harassment of Daniel Ellsberg?


Also invited, Jacques Delors, architect of the European Union, and Fiat tycoon Giovanni Agnelli. Samaranch told the Milan-based Gazzetta dello Sport that the new IOC would include 35 representatives each from international sports federations and national Olympic committees, "plus a group of athletes of great prestige and some global personalities of unquestioned fame." A lovely phrase, that: unquestioned fame. Like Idi Amin or Cher.

The Price Is Right Extra

Match each dollar amount with the item it buys.



1. $1,099

2. $7 million

3. $3.5 million

4. $5.25 million



A. "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap's back pay from Sunbeam.

B. Bonus payment to Philip Morris CEO Geoffrey Bible.

C. Amount left on contract of fired New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari.

D. Panasonic's high-tech toilet seat.


1-D: The "personal hygiene system" advertised in today's Times features "intimate washing, heated seat, air dryer."

2-C: Off to a 3-17 start, Calipari will likely get to keep the money. Of his former bosses he said, "I do believe that they care about me." None of his players was heard to say the same about their ex-coach.

3-B: Bible's bonus, a reward for his part in the settlement with 46 states, was approved by the head of the compensation committee, John Reed. As co-chair of Citigroup, Reed got a bonus of $7.8 million. That's called "empathy."

4-A: Dunlap, the dismissed CEO says he's owed the money; the company says he's not. Sunbeam, incidentally, does not make a personal hygiene system, but for enough money, Dunlap will come to your house, give you a sponge bath, and fire your mother.

Common Denominator

Don King. (Oh, right--you kill one guy and I suppose that makes you a murderer. People are so judgmental.)

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