No. 278: "Interest Rate"

No. 278: "Interest Rate"

No. 278: "Interest Rate"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
July 21 1999 3:16 AM

No. 278: "Interest Rate"

Tuesday's Question (No. 278)--"Interest Rate":
Fill in the blank as Carleton S. Fiorina, 44, the newly announced CEO of the $50 billion Hewlett-Packard company, meets the press: "My ________ is interesting but really not the subject of the story here."

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

Monday's Question (No. 277)--"Summerize":
Trent Lott, Ronald Reagan, and Steve Martin did it when they were young, and this summer more than 400,000 people will attend camps to learn how to do it better. Do what?

"Let's just say that somewhere Dr. Joycelyn Elders is smiling."--Tim Carvell (Daniel Krause, Chris Thomas, and Norman Oder had similar answers.)

"Liven up a crowd, or a Klan rally in the senator's case, with the smooth, lilting sound of a banjo."--Brooke Saucier

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"Flirt with Larry King."--Barbara Lippert

"Ronald Reagan was young?"--Alison Rogers

"If I remember camp correctly, surrendering completely to an arbitrary and irrational authority under the threat of violence."--Charles Star

Click for more answers.

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Randy's Wrap-Up

Largely ignoring Trent Lott--good advice for all--many News Quiz participants assumed that shorthand for Ronald Reagan is senility, and shorthand for Steve Martin is the old arrow through the head bit, which he performed back when he was still--oh, cruel, cruel participants!--funny. Martin has indeed been in many bad movies recently, and he certainly benefited from Tina Brown's editorial policy of publishing anything at all if it was written--or dictated over the phone--by a celebrity. But there is another reason, more tragic and ironic, why this gifted and imaginative guy seems less funny lately. Comedy relies on surprise. A joke sets up a chain of logic, and then subverts it in a surprising and delightful way; that's the punch line. A comic persona embodies an unexpected way of seeing the world. But the more successfully a comic does this, the more familiar his point of view becomes. And finally, after years of exposure to even the liveliest comic mind--and Martin certainly has one--we can all make up our own Steve Martin gag or Trent Lott denial or Ronald Reagan unworkable budget policy. His way of seeing things is too familiar to surprise us, too predictable to be funny. And so a comedian's success creates his failure. That, and appearing with Chevy Chase.

Give Me an "A," Give Me an "N," Give Me ... Oh, Just Give the Damn Answer

All three men were cheerleaders.

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There are more than 3.3 million active cheerleaders in America--if they weren't active, they wouldn't deserve to be called cheerleaders--97 percent of them are women.

The network of training camps, competitions, and uniform manufacturers that make up the "spirit industry" is described as "a virtual circle of cross-marketing," by Jeffrey Webb, CEO of Varsity Spirit Corp., a company big in all three areas.

Maintaining a single cheerleader can run $5,000 a year in equipment, travel, and entry fees--tough on a parent, but far cheaper than the high-priced world of NASCAR racing, where the cars can't even talk, let alone spell out mood-boosting words letter by letter while leaping into the air. On the other hand, some spectators are disappointed that cheerleading contests include so few fiery collisions.

It's an Orderly and Predictable Universe Extra

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"I think I also have an obligation to deal with the hurt and the harm done to these police officers who were put in a position where they had to kill your son."--Rudy Giuliani, on the radio, hectoring Margarita Rosario, the mother of an 18-year-old, who was one of two men lying face down when the cops shot them 22 times

"Quite sensitive and quite honest."--Rudy Giuliani, evaluating his comments to the dead boy's mother

"There's no point in moralizing whether this is a good or bad thing."--Gene DeWitt, advertising executive, on a whole other subject

Ongoing Domain Name Extra

The domain name WebInvest.com is already registered by Kenneth L. Riffle, but OneBornEveryMinute.com is still available.

Participants are invited to submit a similar pair--a domain name that is already taken along with an amusing and available alternative.

You can check the availability of domain names at http://{{www.eHost.com/domain_reg/index.html.#2:http://www.ehost.com/domain_reg/index.html}}

Replies due by noon ET Thursday, July 22.

Common Denominator

The old arrow through the head bit, the old autoeroticism thing.