No. 350: "USP Sí! ISP No!"

No. 350: "USP Sí! ISP No!"

No. 350: "USP Sí! ISP No!"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Dec. 9 1999 3:30 AM

No. 350: "USP Sí! ISP No!"

On Tuesday the U.S. Postal Service announced that it's done something for the fifth consecutive year. What?

57000_57628_newquiz_egraphic
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Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Tuesday's Question (No. 349)--"Whose Deal?":

This year 10 million free online holiday greeting cards have been sent via Bluemountain.com. About a million of them have something in common. What?

"A swastika."--Evan Cornog

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"Dear New York State Registered Voter, As first lady ..."--Brooke Saucier

"A cuss word is written on the knob of Billy Ripken's baseball bat."--Matt Sullivan

"Nine million Bluemountain.com users opted for the young, skinny Jesus, but around 10 percent of users went for the 'fat Jesus.' "--Tim Carvell

"That goddamned hamster dance."--Matt Heimer

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

News Quiz participants scorn not just electronic greeting cards, but all greeting cards as prepackaged expressions of sentiment for the emotionally illiterate. But isn't that a good thing, meeting a real American need, much as do village scribes in rural India? No. Not to orthodox quiz participants, for whom greeting cards are to genuine manifestations of feeling what Big Macs are to real hamburgers, with some sort of joke about Hallmark and bulimia--and an ugly image that would be, if only I had the wit to express it. (Why isn't there a card!) Perhaps the crime isn't that cards are prepackaged but that they are false--the impersonal disguised as the personal, a mere pretense of affection, like corporate gift-giving, particularly when the company passes out prostitutes who, I'm told by corporate insiders, only pretend to like you. (And which will not be offered after the Mobil Exxon merger. At least not to gay employees: Nothing judgmental, it's a cost-cutting thing.) Or perhaps it's merely a matter of quality. No one seems to mind a nice pre-written Shakespeare sonnet, and that's why I'm going to send one out just for you. Because I--wadda ya call it--love you. Happy holidays.

Randy's Personal Apology to Michael Mannella's Mother

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"Never mind your question. Here's my question: if 'Michael Manella Speaks for Us All,' why the hell can't we spell his name right? You're upsetting my mother!"--Michael "M-A-N-N-E-L-L-A" Mannella

iChristian, iJew, iCaramba Answer

About a million of these electronic cards feature an interfaith greeting, mostly Judeo-Christian holiday cheer--Santa in a yarmulke, a reindeer with menorah antlers, that sort of nonsense.

Purists demurred, acting out their predictable roles in the holiday drama. "It is mistaken and misguided to synthesize the distinct symbols of our two traditions," said Dr. Christopher Leighton, executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies and, I'm guessing, not a medical doctor, but a guy who appreciates an honorific.

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"It is a terrible sign of intellectual and religious confusion," carped Elliott Abrams, author of Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America. "Each of these religions must remain an immutable hodgepodge of customs, superstitions, and prejudices," he did not add.

Also available, Jewish Christmas-tree ornaments--a dreidel, a Mogen David--none of which includes the cheery holiday message: "I'm hedging my bets with the Lord."

Also unavailable, a card showing a couple of Macabees beating the hell out of a yeshiva boy, just like real Christians.

About half of all American Jews intermarry, up from 10 percent in 1970. "And they're all going to hell," Abrams did not declaim, "to the extent that we real Jews have a hell, which isn't much. Not like I'm jealous of the Christians or anything. They've got hell, but we've got Barbra Streisand."

Larry Amoros' Heard at Joey Adams' Funeral Extra

  • "Gee, I guess Gene Baylos'll have to drool on Cindy, now."
  • "Poor Cindy Adams; second husband she's buried. First John Quincy, and now this."
  • "Thank God the Post still has Andrea Peyser!"
  • "Of course he's in hell--he's a friar."
  • "Only in Mount Hebron, kids. Only in Mount Hebron."

Superfluous Extra

Mix and match. Below, a list of things John McCain says are unnecessary for our national defense, and a list of things Judge Franklin R. Weissberg of New York State Supreme Court says are unnecessary for the emotional well-being of a young child. But which is which?

1. The C-130 cargo plane, the B-2 bomber, the Seawolf submarine.

2. Private jets, yachts, obsequious staffs, pandering guests.

Answer

1. Unnecessary for national defense.

2. Unnecessary for emotional well-being of young child.

Least-Believable Assertions Ongoing Extra

Patricia Duff: This has never been about money.

(Or so the petulant divorcée claimed when Judge Weissberg rejected her request for monthly child-support payments of $132,000 from former husband Ron Perelman, ordering her to scrimp by on $12,825 a month for their 4-year-old daughter, Caleigh. His income is between $40 million and $60 million a year; hers is about $2.4 million.)

Participants are invited to submit similar credulity-straining claims--fact or fiction, actual or invented, drunk or disorderly. Replies to run Monday.

Common Denominator

Online porn + Our unreliable ISP = The Christmas that never was.