No. 251: "Now Even Reformier"

No. 251: "Now Even Reformier"

No. 251: "Now Even Reformier"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 1 1999 10:37 PM

No. 251: "Now Even Reformier"

Rabbi Gary Bretton Granatoor of New York's Stephen Wise Synagogue, at the forefront of today's Reform Judaism, says, "There is a group in the synagogue called Morei Derech, which means role models, and they are lay people taking on responsibilities that in the past many congregants felt professionals had to do." What responsibilities?

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(This question courtesy of Beth Sherman.)

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Send your answer by noon ET Wednesday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Thursday's Question (No. 250)--"Musa vs. Ake":

On Wednesday, Musashimaru defeated Akebono to become the 67thyokozuna. Why is this noteworthy?

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"No kidding!!! Man, one of these days I'm gonna get cable TV!"--Craig Aranha

"Because the New York Times says so."--Daniel Radosh

"Because Musashimaru is actually a ring-tailed lemur."--Molly Shearer Gabel

"By dominating sumo, the Americans have finally got the Japanese back for beating us in manufacturing."--Charles Star

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" 'Because there is no Wednesday on the Japanese calendar,' said Encyclopedia Brown, as Taylor sputtered with rage. 'Your story's a fake. Therefore, you're the real jewel thief!' "--James Poniewozik

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Few things are more amusing than the national games of other countries. Even the box scores are funny, so comical are the names of the athletes. (Although Brazilian car soccer is brilliant: Small cars ram a huge ball into a goal. It looks ultra-American, like demolition derby with a higher purpose.) But for sheer tedium, nothing can rival our own national pastime. When you are in the field, more than 50 percent of that half of the inning is spent doing nothing: The pitcher is simply holding the ball. And when your team is hitting, you spend nearly all that time sitting in the dugout. Thus, for any player, 75 percent of the game is spent doing nothing at all.

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Of course, the four 12-minute quarters of a professional basketball game take two and a half hours to televise, but at least in the NBA they have the decency to call that downtime what it is: a TV commercial.

Baseball is also, incidentally, the only sport where players can smoke during the game; you used to catch appealing glimpses on television of some professional athlete puffing away. It made a welcome change from the spitting. I think a lot more people would watch figure skating if they let the athletes smoke. And diving. And sumo.

Gaijin Answer

For the first time in the 300-year history of sumo, a foreigner became grand champion by defeating another foreigner.

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Both are Americans, from Hawaii, of Polynesian and Samoan ancestry. In 1993, Akebono became the first non-Japanese yokozuna. Wrestlers from Argentina, Brazil, Korea, and Mongolia are also currently active. A few foreign rikishi--wrestlers--have become popular, but some critics charge that they prevail through sheer size rather than agility. Musashimaru weighs 473 pounds.

Neck and Neck Extra

"I just read Chris Kelly's ad hominem remarks about George Lucas and his neck. Let Chris K. put his own neck on the line. Is it scarf-worthy? Maybe he should have it pierced with silver or something. We all have necks. The question is, do we stick it out? Do we risk it? Or is it just a love item?"--Alfa-Betty Olsen

Tim Carvell's Can You Top This Bloated Indulgence Extra?

Participants are invited to find a sentence in an actual publication that embodies conspicuous consumption and fatuousness better than the following, from last week's New York Times "Home" section:

"Today, the urinal has taken its stand alongside the bidet and the working fireplace as the latest must-have in the well-appointed bathroom suite."

Submissions due by noon ET, Monday, June 7.

Headline Haiku

In Cosmic Blasts, Clues
Of Things to Come
In Tests on People
Drug Is Found Just

New York Times ("Science Times"), May 25, 1999

--Chris Hammett

Common Denominator

Fat jokes, Pokémon, Ono, Bono.