No. 303: "Decline and Fall"

No. 303: "Decline and Fall"

No. 303: "Decline and Fall"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Sept. 15 1999 3:30 AM

No. 303: "Decline and Fall"

"That was a miserable year, when I watched a great man, a man I love more than life--you know, one of the really fundamentally solid, decent people--go from 92 to 38 in a very quick period of time." Who watched whom go from 92 to 38 what?

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

Monday's Question (No. 302)--"It's Back":

"It's back, and we used it this summer. But they don't want us to use it too much. It's not going to be a big deal." Who said this about what?

"Doctors at Kaiser Permanente talking about the hospital's heart-lung machine."--Jon Greenberg

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"The Indonesian military on ethnic cleansing."--Kenton A. Hoover

"The president; speaking about use of the Delta Force to combat oddball religious groups and political dissenters who have it coming."--Chris Thomas

"The promotion director of Sony's music division; about Jennifer Lopez's butt."--Francis Heaney

"It was the caption for last Tuesday's Family Circus, where Dolly is showing Jeffy the family crack pipe."--Noah Meyerson

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

The most popular response (the one all the cool kids are writing) plays with the "malathion" (yeah, right) the city is spraying throughout New York to kill "mosquitoes" (wink, wink) that transmit "encephalitis" (go on: pull the other one). It makes one nostalgic for the fear of LSD in the water, fluoride in the water, and saltpeter in the cafeteria food, presumably to create a docile population of human slaves with excellent teeth who keep hallucinating that they're uninterested in sex.

There is a difference between canny skepticism and dumbbell skepticism. The latter is unearned and knee-jerk: "They're all a bunch of crooks." It's a form of self-aggrandizement whose effect is to make the skeptic feel knowing. The former is informed and terrifying: "The president was willing to let hundreds of thousands of people get slaughtered in Rwanda." Its effect is to make the skeptic want to throw himself out of a 10th-floor window.

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Of course, there really is fluoride in the water, the government really did test hallucinogens on unknowing human subjects, and sexual vitality can be diminished by watching television. At least in prime time.

HelpMe off the Field and Into the Answer

New York Jets coach Bill Parcells said this about the use of instant replay to challenge an official's call, a rule change instituted for the new National Football League season that began Sunday.

The Jets, many fans' preseason pick to make it to the Super Bowl, lost their season opener and the services of four starters including quarterback Vinny Testaverde, out for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

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This concludes the News Quiz coverage of the 1999 NFL season. Next up: NASCAR reaches out to gays, Jews, and Patricia Duff.

AndrewStaples' Yet More News Quizzes Extra

Adding reference to Australia (as suggested by the folks at Excite) leads to the Brisbane Airport's monthly quiz.

Sample: What is the second busiest domestic air route in Australia currently?

(Probably not the one into Dili. Because that wouldn't be domestic. Right?--Ed.)

SickFish Follow-Up

"We trout fisherman consider this an extremely threatening situation that you make light of, especially since it is the Colorado DFG that is largely responsible for the proliferation of the disease. A couple of years ago, the Colorado DFG decided to go ahead and stock thousands of trout that it knew had been exposed to the disease; wouldn't you know it, the disease soon showed up in wild trout in Colorado and other states. Now they're gonna spend $80 million to study it. Go figure."--Steve Hellerman

"Oh, fine, it's OK to slander the fish in the name of a quick laugh, but there is a whirling disease in trout. The poor little guys just swim around and around in a circle until they die. And it's all our fault for genetically engineering them and raising them by the thousands in hatcheries."--Kate Wing

(My apologies to any afflicted fish I may have offended, and to those who love to kill them.--Ed.)

Clarification

George W. Bush will disclose all campaign contributions on his Web site; he will not let major contributors post saucy photographs of themselves on a page called the "Bare-Ass Eagle Club."

CommonDenominator

Skepticism about just what Rudolph Giuliani is spraying for, praying for, howling at the moon and baying for. (Look for News Quiz Music, a hot new CD in stores this Christmas, if the man doesn't stop us.)