Here's a headline from this weekend's New York Times: "Swerve and Sharp Elbow Cost a Hotfoot the Stage." What's the lead?
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Thursday's Question (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?
"Told an aide named Ickes to stop giving so many crazy ideas to his wife, goddammit."--Peter Carlin (Jennifer Miller had a similar answer.)
"Had sex with a member of the class of '00."--Bill Gammons
"Packed the selection jury for a new dime design."--Steve Bodow
"Bill Clinton reviews the FDR section of his legacy checklist: 'Cheat on wife' ... been there. 'Get into European war' ... done that. 'Die in office so unimpressive vice president can be elected' ... Maybe I'll just visit an impoverished Indian reservation."--Sean Fitzpatrick
"Visited an Indian reservation. Pat Buchanan followed immediately behind, handing out smallpox-infected blankets and bottles of whiskey."--Floyd Elliot
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"President Attends World Cup Final, Enjoys Two Scoreless Hours." That's the headline that didn't run in Sunday's papers, suggesting that, contrary to many News Quiz responses, Clinton's portrayal as prancing national satyr is ended. Further evidence: At the end of the match, when Brandi Chastain tore off her shirt, ABC did not go to a split-screen shot of the president drooling. Which was only fair, because he seemed to be salivating less over America's new golden girls than over his giant tub of fried something or other--popcorn? Clams? Chihuahuas?
If ABC's coverage of the big game is portentous, Clinton's place in history is as the fatty boy we first elected: Every time they cut to him, he was eating junk food. There was a guy beside him--Secret Service?--who poked him in the ribs whenever he was on camera; his goofy stare would flit from his trough of nachos to the playing field. Apparently schoolchildren of the future will learn anecdotes of Clinton and French fries, like those heartwarming stories of President Taft's giant bathtub. Filled with chili.
There are, incidentally, no known photographs of FDR with any sort of junk food. But activists are determined that the new Roosevelt statue in Washington will depict him eating a bean burrito.
Is That a Pocket of Poverty, or Are You Just Glad To See Me Answer
As a part of his Poverty '99 Road Tour--and the tour jackets, incidentally, are way cool--Clinton visited the Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian reservation in Pine Ridge, S.D., making him the first president to set foot on a reservation since Franklin Roosevelt visited some Cherokee in North Carolina more than 60 years ago.
Clinton's determination to eradicate poverty is consonant with the welfare "reforms" he championed so vigorously, his determination to raise the minimum wage so high that it's nearly possible to live on it, and his commitment to do something or other for the 43 million Americans who lack health insurance.
Here's the slogan that's not emblazoned on the back of those jackets: "Casino Gambling--Is There Anything It Can't Do?"
A perverse practice played for laughs in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and for terror in voodoo cults is now a freakish gift for children: You can buy a tiny duplicate of yourself. Or someone you love. Or, presumably, hate.
For $134.95, the MyTwinn "artisans" will make a posable, 23-inch doll that bears a frightening resemblance to your daughter.
To order, send a photo and fill out a questionnaire that's pretty much a police Identikit. There are 26 pictures of eyeballs in assorted colors; circle the one closest to your child's. There are, however, only six choices on the skin tone chart, from "porcelain," to a suspiciously light "dark brown." There are also hair and eyebrow charts and a sketch of a face upon which you draw birthmarks, moles, and freckles. "Pierced ears, cleft chins or dimples are not currently available."
"MyTwinn dolls are created to be more child-like than doll-like, which makes them more fun to play with. They are soft cuddly and durable; and they become a treasured keepsake for years." Isn't this the sort of thing no longer available in Times Square?
The other business here is to make you a steady customer for doll-and-daughter outfits at around $50 to $100. The catalog, filled with photographs of overly cute little girls and their grotesque simulacra--identically dressed!--is deeply disturbing. Deeply. I'm not kidding. Deeply.
Near the end of the catalog are the MyTwinn Boys. Not for the fainthearted. And, in a chilling retroactive Dorian Gray bargain, "[G]randmothers can also have a MyTwinn doll made to resemble them when they were 3-12 years old." And alive.
The MyTwinn workshop is in Colorado; the Ramsey family, same thing. Read more about it and order a catalog of your own, if you've got the guts, at www.mytwinn.com.
Alex Balk's Good News Extra
"Al Gore Should Pick This Jew for His Running-Mate."--Richmond Times-Dispatch headline over Ben Wattenberg's column on Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman
Sex on wheels.