No. 316: "Don't Do It, Deacon Don!"

No. 316: "Don't Do It, Deacon Don!"

No. 316: "Don't Do It, Deacon Don!"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Oct. 7 1999 3:30 AM

No. 316: "Don't Do It, Deacon Don!"

Deacon Don Thomas of the Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ in Fairbanks, Alaska, defends what he does to reach the community: "Yeah, we want to compel people to come to Christ, but at the same time we don't want to intrude on people. I think there's a big difference." What does Deacon Don do?


(Question courtesy of Charlie Glassenberg.)


Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday's Question (No. 315)--"Cool, Calm, Rejected":


"They're taking something that's about as likely to happen as a meteorite falling on your head and telling everybody that it could happen any time," said Dr. Merlin D. Tuttle, about those worrywarts at the New York State Health Department. Name that exaggerated (or not) danger.

"A meteorite falling on your head."--Katha Pollitt and David Feige (Marshall Efron, Tim Carvell, Eric Berlin, Richard Nikonovich-Kahn, Francis Heaney, and Dave Gaffen had similar answers.)

"Paintings containing elephant dung falling on your head."--Merrill Markoe

"Merlin D. Tuttle falling on your head."--Susan Vance


"Being christened 'Merlin D. Tuttle.' "--Colleen Werthmann (similarly, Richard Nikonovich-Kahn)

"I'm taking 3-to-2 odds that he gave himself that name."--Merlin Carvell

"You wake up one bright autumn morning and you're halfway to the subway when you decide to walk to work instead. But you don't go to work. Instead, somehow, you find yourself at the Central Park Zoo. The zoo just opened and there's no one there and it's clear and bright and so quiet you can hear the seals break the water as they circle their pool and the gulls fighting the kept birds for their seed. You close your eyes and think about other mornings, mornings on the boats, back in Nova Scotia. The wet wool smell of your uncles in their Eaton's sweaters and army surplus peacoats and shredded wheat for breakfast and thin ice on the tide pools and diesel as the engines kick in. Then you hear another noise, a cry for help! It's winsome and multitalented Reese Witherspoon, and she's accidentally dropped her new baby in the polar bear cage! You don't think, you just act, and endless seconds later the baby is back in Reese Witherspoon's arms. But something else is bothering Reese. She's crying, but they're not just tears of relief because you saved her baby from a polar bear. Something deeper is wrong. Ryan just isn't the man she thought she married ... he's not real ... like you ... and that's when you get hit by the meteorite."--Chris Kelly

Click for more answers.


Randy's Wrap-Up

When is a threat real and when is it exaggerated for political interest, like the missile gap, or the bomber gap, or the 80 death threats against New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani this year, up from last year's total of 77? That danger is very, very real declared Deputy Chief Daniel Oates, testifying in federal court Monday as to why protests on the steps of City Hall must be limited to 50 people, a limitation set for the first time in the city's history.

"I have to take the position that anyone in that crowd might have some evil intent," said the chief. "And that you are an evil space robot. Taste lead, evil robot! Blam! Blam! Blam!" he did not add.

The chief stressed that this beefed-up security is in no way intended to stifle dissent. Nor is it evidence of a megalomaniac mayor with a puffed up sense of self-importance. Nor is it simply a chance for any city official to indulge a personal taste for martial law, surrounding himself with a hunky praetorian guard, manly men whose manliness glistens in the light of their boots, burnished to a fine sheen by the sweaty exertions of muscular comrades in arms who--I'm sorry. Could you repeat the question?


CaughtUnawares Answer

The New York State Health Department warns that you might be bitten by a rabid bat and not even know it. Merlin D. Tuttle thinks they're a bunch of hysterics. The health department. Not the bats, of whom only 3 percent to 4 percent are rabid, and if they bit you, you'd know it.

The NYSHD recommends rabies shots if a bat is found in the same room with a sleeping person or unattended child, even if it is not known if the person has been bitten or if the bat has rabies or if the child is very nice.

To help sound the alarm, the NYSHD distributes a "Bat Rabies Alert" refrigerator magnet and a poster with a sinister bat silhouette: "If you see me, tell an adult." Says the bat, not Pat Buchanan, who probably doesn't have rabies either.

Bat Conservation International, the organization in whose magazine Merlin D. Tuttle made his comment, says that there has never been a case of rabies from an unnoticed bite. But that doesn't impress the NYSHD's comically named spokeswoman Claire Pospisil. (A name even sillier than Merlin D. Tuttle. Imagine the childhood teasing. There must be days when she yearns for the sweet release of an unnoticed bite from a rabid bat.) "Let's say you wake up in a room and there's a bat in there and the bat flies out the window," says Pospisil, hoping to be taken seriously. "The health department would recommend you get treatment."

The treatment comprises six injections over 28 days and costs about $1,000. If untreated, rabies is fatal.

New York state has recorded only a single bat rabies fatality in 45 years. It was not Pat Buchanan.

TechnologicallyBlessed Extra

A company called Tsu-Tech is promoting the Panasonic Inti-Mist Personal Hygiene System, a high-tech toilet seat. Beneath a headline that makes the indisputable claim "Comfort You Never Expected," is this list of features:

  • Bidet Shower
  • Anti-Slam Seat
  • Heated Seat
  • Dryer
  • Family Shower (Anus Washing)

Now, I don't know about your family, but ...

ChrisKelly's Warren Adler Is Only a Symptom Extra

"My novels explore the mysteries behind love and hate, the darkly amusing, deeply disturbing" blah, blah, blah, I'm so scrumptious, me, me, me, concludes writer Warren Adler about his own work.

Participants are invited to submit other actual examples of writers finding similar delight in their own wonderfulness. Replies to run Thursday.


Encephalitis and elephant dung.