No. 255: "Sorry, Right Number"

No. 255: "Sorry, Right Number"

No. 255: "Sorry, Right Number"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 8 1999 10:17 PM

No. 255: "Sorry, Right Number"

On Sunday, Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening and his wife, Frances, released a statement that began: "Early this morning, we received a call that every parent dreads." What did the caller say?


Send your answer by noon ET Wednesday to

Monday's Question (No. 254)--"Too True To Be Good":

I give the New York Times headline; you give a one-sentence summary of the story: "Presidential Hopeful Displays Humanity."

(A tip of the Hatlo hat to Daniel Radosh.)


"In an unscripted campaign moment yesterday, Steve Forbes was seen taking a sip of water."--Scott Douglas

"Steve Forbes brought a small tribe of Pygmies to a press conference just because they looked 'so brown and cute.' "--Tim Rogers

"Steve Forbes was arrested Sunday for exposing himself during a Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon."--Neal Pollack

"Steve Forbes befriends a crippled child, predicts this Christmas will be 'the best ever.' "--Peter Carlin (Mary Anne Townsend had a similar answer.)


"Lyndon LaRouche to wed."--James M. Frisby

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Like cartoon superheroes, each candidate has but a single attribute, generally as useless as the Green Lantern's illuminability, or greenability, or whatever freakish power he had. Has? Had? Is he still running? Steve Forbes is rich. Pat Buchanan is cruel. George W. is hollow. Al Gore is wooden. Elizabeth Dole lacks spontaneity, which is a lot like being wooden only if you poured a few drinks into her, she'd loosen up, but he'd dissolve in some hideous yet unspectacular chemical reaction. But just as most comic book readers move on to other forms of literature (despite Art Spiegelman's unconvincing plea that "they're really illustrated novels"), most voters in a mature democracy demand more from candidates than a packaged personality and a glib slogan. Wait, sorry, excuse me--as it turns out, no, they don't.


Albert Schweitzerian Answer

John R. Kasich stuck around after a meet-and-greet to help his hostess bury a dog.

Backing out of the driveway to go get ice for supporters of the Republican long shot, Linda Kaiser ran over her Shetland sheep dog, Magic. Not wanting to delay Kasich's march to the White House, Kaiser put Magic's corpse in the barn.

After the guests had departed ... well, let Linda tell it: "I killed my dog and he buried him. He said, 'If I ever told my wife I left without burying this dog, we'd be divorced. Get a shovel.' He's human, a nice person. He revealed himself as a real person. I can't imagine Elizabeth Dole or George W. Bush burying my dog."


Bedroom Farce Extra

All dialogue taken from yesterday's White House Conference on Mental Health. All stage directions unfairly imposed.

The vice presidential mansion. THE PRESENT.

COSTUME NOTE. The men all wear unattractive blue suits; the women wear unattractive navy blue dresses, or vice versa. Everyone remains fully dressed throughout.

(CURTAIN UP on Tipper Gore in a comically oversized bed, the sort of thing you'd find in a Feydeau farce or on the Sonny and Cher Show. She looks radiant. Something is moving beneath the bedcovers.)

VOICE (from under the covers): I don't want to monopolize this ...

TG (ecstatic): I'm happy to say that it worked.

(MIKE WALLACE emerges from under the covers, his "hair" tousled. He looks pleased with himself.)

MW: I was lower than a snake's belly.

TG: No one could do that any better than the sunshine of all our lives, our first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

(Hillary Rodham Clinton emerges from under the covers, happily disheveled.)

HRC: If I had any voice, I'd break into "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and dedicate it to Tipper.

(Bill Clinton emerges from under the covers.)

BC: It's been so long since we've come together.

(AL GORE emerges from beneath the covers. He looks a little uncertain.)

AG: I'm anxious to follow instructions carefully, but to depart from my destruct ... or, to depart from my instructions, I want to say I hope you can see how proud I am of Tipper.

(TIPPER points to Bill's lap.)

TG: You might want to go over now.

AG: Yes, ma'am.

(AL GORE disappears back beneath the covers.)

TG (to AG): It's important. Because you're a man and you come forward and you can help so many men.

BC (with rising delight): No couple in public life has ever done as much to try and figure out how to help families.

AG (from under the covers): What I hear you saying is that anyone who talks about how important it is for families to stay together and be strong ought to also be supportive of families in this situation.

BC: I sort of feel like an anticlimax!

(MIKE WALLACE perches on the president's shoulders.)

MW: I feel better up here than ever in my life.

BC: How much did you weigh?

(All laugh affectionately and begin singing Stevie Wonder songs.)


Merciless Quibbling Extra

" 'All the world's Michael Jacksons now go by Mike, simply because of one androgynously desiccated freak,' asserted M Pesca in his wrap-up yesterday. Or not ... You'll notice on the front page of today's New York Times a reference to Lt. Gen. Sir Michael Jackson of Britain, commander of NATO's Kosovo peacekeeping force."--Gina Duclayan

"Another Michael Jackson who hasn't relinquished his name is a well-known Los Angeles talk radio host."--Richard A. DeCamp

Mike Madden's Headline Haiku

Say hello to
Sucker for kissing.
Obsession with vacuuming
Has complex roots.

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 3, 1999 (Features only)

Common Denominator

They'll show you theirs.