No. 272: "The Old Ways"

No. 272: "The Old Ways"

No. 272: "The Old Ways"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
July 9 1999 3:00 AM

No. 272: "The Old Ways"

Yesterday Bill Clinton did something that no American president has done since FDR did it on vacation in 1936. What?


Send your answer by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to

Wednesday's Question (No. 271)--"Stop the Pressing":

On Wednesday, the Future Homemakers of America made a startling announcement. What?

"We're leaving you for Mia Hamm. Make your own goddamned dinner."--Beth Sherman (Greg Diamond had a similar answer.)


"George W. pulled strings to join in '68."--Mac Thomason and Stephen C. Shakle

"We're not wearing any underwear!"--Betsey Brock

"President Kennedy has been shot!"--Daniel Radosh

"Fuck the gravy; let's go to Arby's!"--Tim Carvell


Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Just because an organization drops off the cover of Vanity Fair or People or the Saturday Evening Post doesn't mean it has ceased to exist. Boy Scouts, fraternities, drum and bugle corps, anti-Semitic croquet clubs with a deep bronze suntan hungry for a thick steak with a fried egg on top and a cigarette to settle the digestion! Is that a reactionary bastion, a pathetic anachronism, or something truer, something with enough confidence to survive without media ratification. As that housewife club thing turns out--reactionary bastion. But I admit that when a drum and bugle corps marches by playing the Star Wars theme, I get a lump in my throat. Then I vomit into the gutter, and after that I'm OK.

Old Whine in New Bottles Answer


They're changing their name to Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

The FHA was founded in 1945 to teach teen-age girls how to keep house for their husbands-to-be. Much has changed since then, and teen-age girls are now a quaint relic of a bygone day, or perhaps it's husbands and houses that are the quaint relics. But there is a relic and, by God, it had better be quaint.

In 1973, the group began admitting boys, who now are 45,000 out of a total membership of 220,000. Its current mission is to teach career development, community service, leadership, and balancing family and career.

All Talk No Action Extra


The first subscription solicitations have been mailed out by Talk magazine, marking the official return of Tina Brown, as welcome a development as the renewal of bald eagle hunting. Impressively vacuous, the Talk mailer is short on specifics--it mentions neither a single forthcoming article nor any writers--so we can only speculate about the magazine itself. But judging by the mailer, Talk will be good, not bad; exciting, not dull; the sort of thing people are interested in, rather than something they ignore.

And, judging by that mailer, Talk will be much, much more:

Will There Be Lots of Adverb-Adjective Pairs?

Yes. "Interestingly different. Refreshingly provocative" Reversing these duos would have given a whole other impression. "Differently interesting" sounds like naked pictures of someone in a wheelchair; "Provocatively Refreshing" implies an overly aggressive breath mint. Avoiding this error bodes well for Talk.

Can We Expect Clapped-Out Neologisms?

Yes: "spinmeisters," "digerati." I'm not "intellectually adventurous, provocative, funny, wide-ranging, or visually engaging," but if it were "spinerati" and "digemeisters," wouldn't you be more likely to subscribe? But there's still time to correct this before the first issue "closes."

Anything for the Reader Who Enjoys Meaningless Dichotomies?

Yes. "It makes elite subjects accessible. And accessible subjects elite."--I'm pretty sure the former involves a hidden camera in Miss America's shower, and the latter involves some animal (a pig? a monkey?) wearing a crown and a velvet cape. "You'll discover the extraordinary side of the ordinary and the usual side of the unique." I have no idea what this means. But I'm sure they do up at Talk, and I'm eager to learn. That must be what they mean by "provocative."

What About Reminders That This Year Is 1999?

Yes. Three in a four-page pamphlet, including "new millennium" and "new century," but no mention of July giving way to August, or 8 o'clock to 9. We'll have to wait and see. But I can't wait! Or see! My eyes! My eyes! I joke. It's my quick and agile wit (see below).

Any Mention of That Crazy Viagra?

Just one, part of the "spectrum of society--from the street to the suite." So there's room to improve here, and I'm confident they will.

Can I Look Forward to Shameless Pandering to the Reader?

You mean, like this: "Only a select few will receive this exclusive invitation. Why you? Because you're ... Someone with a curious nature, an acute sense of style, a level of sophistication that matches our own, and a quick and agile wit. Someone who is 100 years young today!" (Except for that last bit, which I added on account of my, wadda ya call it, quick and agile wit.)

Adam Sandler's Ongoing R&D Extra

Participants are invited to submit actual quotations that sound dirty and adolescent enough to be dialogue in his future projects. While sophisticated double-entendres are permitted, single-entendres are preferred. Perhaps this example will stimulate a response, if you know what I mean:

"I'm here to say I hope she will go all the way. I will go all the way with her."--Patrick Moynihan endorses Hillary Clinton, July 7, 1999

Mike Madden's Good News Extra

"Kids Turn Innocent-Looking Cigars Into Stogies Laced With Marijuana"--headline, some paper in south Jersey

Common Denominator

Future Homewreckers of America.