No. 318: "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien"

No. 318: "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien"

No. 318: "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Oct. 12 1999 3:30 AM

No. 318: "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien"

"You won't hear any apologies from me," said Dr. Stephen Ostroff of the Centers for Disease Control. "Anyone who continues to maintain that there was some mistake here doesn't understand the way science proceeds." What isn't Ostroff apologizing for?


Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to

Thursday's Question (No. 317)--"She's Still Got It":

"We are quite the best country in Europe. In my lifetime all the problems have come from mainland Europe, and all the solutions have come from the English-speaking nations of the world," said Margaret Thatcher in her first speech at a Conservative Party conference since stepping down as prime minister in 1990. Lady Thatcher was inspired to speak by a particular cause. What?


"Raising money for the Pol Pot Leisuredome."--Barbara Lippert

"Oh, when will the western European rappers make peace with the eastern European rappers?"--Francis Heaney

"National If English Was Good Enough for Our Lord Jesus Christ, It's Good Enough for Me Day."--Michael J. Basial

"Pat Buchanan's A Republic, Not an Empire. (She was dictating the foreword.)"--Raymond Chen (Anthony D. Stone, Larry Renbaum, and Eric Akawie had similar answers.)


"PinochetAid concert."--Cathy Christianson

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Reagan and Thatcher present us with contrasting retirement strategies--pathetic senility and rancorous immortality, each in its way a grotesque form of self-parody. We always knew they had it in them. Other figures of the Reagan-Thatcher era chose other retirement plans. Duvalier went with exile to France, Noriega went with prison, and Brezhnev, I believe, is now a privately owned cement factory near Sverdlovsk. What none of them ever does is die in a hideous automobile accident. This defies all probabilities. Every American has been in a car crash. Forty thousand of us die that way each year. Either each powerful retiree is transported in some kind of titanium case or that satanic pact is still in effect even after one leaves office. Either way, great benefits.


Standby Your Man Answer

Lady T. was shaken from her slumber by the plight of Augusto Pinochet.

"Make no mistake, revenge by the left, not justice for the victim, is what the Pinochet case is all about,'' she declared to a packed hall in Blackpool, at the Conservative Party's annual conference.

"Sen. Pinochet," she said--choosing his honorific with the same care ABC News uses when calling its own pet war criminal "Dr." Kissinger--"is, in truth, on trial not for anything complained in Judge Baltazar Garzon's indictment but for defeating communism. "


"What the left cannot forgive is that Pinochet undoubtedly saved Chile and helped save South America,'' she said. "That, and the torture and murder of thousands of civilians, but mostly that," she did not add.

A British court has ruled that the former murderer can be extradited to Spain.

AlCloutier's Franco-Prussian Extra

Sure, all the world's problems come from Europe, but who is able to produce funnier problems, the French or the Germans? At last, science can decide. Using Alta Vista's translator, I've double-translated a passage from the Tsu-tech "Inti-Mist" Family Bidet Web site into French then back to English:

  • Sit Of heating: A seat of heating eliminates "the frosted contact" usually tested when to rest on a seat of toilet cooled by the cold of the winter. You will be astonished and satisfied the comfortable comfort of the seat of toilet of heating by Bidet of Inti-Mist.

The same passages, translated into German then back to English:

  • Lively seat: A lively seat eliminates the "icy note" normally experienced, when sitting on a toilet seat to showers of the winter cooled down. They are surprised at cozy the comfort of the lively toilet seat intimatist bidet and please.

Who is funnier? Ask Margaret Thatcher.

OngoingBail-Out Extra

"As a journalist who writes about pizza ..." Boom. Right there. That's where I snapped off my radio, in the opening phrase of a piece by some twinkly gasbag on NPR's annoying Sunday Edition.

Certain phrases are so potent and evocative they inspire you to hurl the newspaper across the room, or hurl yourself across the room to switch the station, or hurl the cat across the room to ... not that I'd ever do that.

Participants are invited to submit similar examples--from newspapers, magazines, or broadcast news--of what The New Yorker used to call "letters we never finished reading" (or something like that).

Best examples to run Thursday.


Anglo-French hostility.