A federal judge has ordered Republic, Mo., to make a change in its official city seal. What change?
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Tuesday's Question (No. 274)--"Chants Taking":
Over the past few days, these demonstrators shouted: "Down with the dictator," "Oh Great Leader, shame on you!" and "Jerks!" Who was protesting what?
"The few disappointed members of 'John Kasich for President.' "--Beth Sherman
"Wait, has The Nation's annual cruise left already?"--Greg Diamond
"Let me guess: Cineplex Odeon has raised prices another quarter, hasn't it?"--Tim Carvell
"Off the Bermuda coast, student dolphins angrily picketed their corrupt undersea government, before turning violent and eating the minister of plankton."--Steve Bodow
"Wow, I knew that Texas fans were upset about Juan Gonzalez not starting the All-Star game, but they really have to chill out."--Aaron Schatz (Charles Star had a similar answer.)
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Other people's chants, particularly when chanted in translation, sound a little silly. But some of our own anti-battle cries have been a little lazy, perhaps because of the too-easy rhyming of "four" and "war"--as in "one, two, three, four/ we don't want your stinking ..." well, you know. Indeed, anything that employs counting seems cheap. As comfy as it is to be led from "two, four, six, eight" to "smash the state," it is kind of the "Roses are red, violets are blue" of crowd inciting. Disappointing, really. "No justice, no peace," barks out a fierce equivalency, although to the uninitiated it may sound like a list of the two things the crowd is rejecting: justice and peace. Paired phrases do have rhetorical vigor, particularly in the call and response of "What do we want?" (something good!), "When do we want it?"--there's the problem; the answer is so predictable. It's not like we want it by mid-February. There was a briefly popular in-group incantation (if by in-group we mean me), an acknowledgement of how crowded a demonstration could be: "La Raza Unida Is Standing on My Feet-a!" but when I chanted it--and I did--it was thought to denote a lack of seriousness, which it did not. But I should have known better. If airy persiflage went down well at street demonstrations, Noël Coward would have had a whole other career.
Off the Pigs, Well Maybe Not "Pigs," but Definitely Off Answer
Pro-democracy student demonstrators at Tehran University are calling for a faster movement of the government toward democracy and the rule of law but still within the framework of an Islamic republic. And they're not too happy about being beaten and killed by police and vigilantes.
Other chants included: "Army brothers, why kill brothers?," a cry of the Islamic revolution two decades ago, "Filthy Swine!" "Death to America!" "People are miserable! The clerics are acting like gods!" and, if my Farsi is any good (and it's not), "Giuliani, although uninvolved in Iranian affairs, sucks."
Live Free or Lightly Salted Extra
A senator bolts the Republican Party and a beloved advertising character is recalled to duty. Two unrelated stories? Perhaps. Or maybe a single story about a place called America and a company called Planters. OK, that's two things again, but the challenge remains: Which of these remarks refer to Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, and which refer to Mr. Peanut?
1. He is "a leverage point to talk about the quality, taste, and fun that separates us from other nuts."
2. "There is a certain integrity to him, as amusing as that sounds."
3. Believes that Ronald Reagan's critics "weren't qualified to kiss the hem of his garment."
4. "Our research shows [him] to be seen as a regular guy, everyman."
5. His grandfather was "a died-in-the-wool Republican. He said he'd vote for a gorilla on the Republican ticket if he had to."
6. He is considered "a party animal, but dignified."
7. "People, especially young people, realize that his appearance is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, with a fun edge."
8. At age 11, "bet a friend who lived down the road and had a farm, a dollar versus a chicken that Eisenhower would win the election."
9. Makes frequent references to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
10. Thinks Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are "probably gay" but looks forward to seeing them have sex in Eyes Wide Shut.
11. Received letter from GOP Chair Jim Nicholson and found it "petty, it's vindictive and it's insulting."
1. Mr. Peanut.
2. Mr. Peanut.
3. Sen. Smith.
4. Mr. Peanut.
5. Sen. Smith.
6. Mr. Peanut.
7. Mr. Peanut.
8. Sen. Smith.
9. Sen. Smith.
10. I believe that was me.
11. Sen. Smith.
(Note: All Mr. Peanut comments from some ad guys quoted in the Times. All Bob Smith comments come from his speech Tuesday in the Senate.)
The Katzenberg settlement.