General Motors made an announcement Monday involving two important words, one hyphenated, unlikely to show up in any of its forthcoming TV commercials. Which two words?
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Monday's Question (No. 352)--"Pro and Context":
Some key words in a story in yesterday's New York Times were: jumping jack; youngest; "Dream Catchers"; dreamy, romantic, and elegant; a flip, a toe loop, and a salchow. What was the story about?
"Dick Button's sex life."--Larry Amoros
"I think the campaign to rehabilitate Sen. Joseph McCarthy has gotten a little out of hand."--Andrew Staples
"I don't care how 'zesty, light, and delectable' it is, Molly O'Neill's recipe for almond butter tart is just too damn difficult."--Tim Carvell
"A new breakout of that flesh-eating virus. But they tried to kind of, you know, lighten it up."--Francis Heaney
"Whatever it was, at least we can delight in the fact that Abe Rosenthal didn't write it."--David Ballard
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The pose and the prose of journalists have changed since Ben Hecht's The Front Page. Indeed, Hecht's reporters would have balked at being called "journalists." Whether the shift from Hildy Johnson to Abe Rosenthal was a good or bad thing, it must be noted that not even Rosenthal's most passionate detractors have ever accused him of being a fictional character or of writing a sentence like "Crushing all Chechen resistance, Russian troops made their dreamy, romantic, and elegant way to the outskirts of Grozny." Although there are certainly News Quiz participants who'd pay to see him perform a flip, a toe loop, and a salchow, whatever they are, on a rocket-powered hell-cycle leaping a wall of fire. Or failing to leap a wall of fire. Like in the old days in Chicago when … oh, who are we kidding? We miss him, damn it!
Low Coefficient of Friction and Wit Answer
The story was about ice-skating.
By winning the Metabolife World Professional Figure Skating Championship, 15-year-old Tara Lipinski became the youngest professional figure skating champion ever, male or female.
Tara Lipinski is unambiguously female. But neither a boy nor a girl ever won a professional championship at a younger age than she. As you all no doubt understood all along. I'm going to stop over-explaining now. No, now.
According to Times reporter Frank Litsky, Lipinski is a jumping jack. The music she skated to is called "Dream Catchers." Both the skating and the title song were dreamy, romantic, and elegant. Flip, loop, and salchow are the names of the triple jumps she performed, although--and I don't claim to know anything about figure skating--they'd also make good names for cartoon squirrels, male or female.
Xmas Xcess Xtra
You can infer as much about a publication's readers from its ads as from its articles: That's the wacky premise behind this Noel extra. Which of the following were promoted in the New York Times and which in Fortune?
- Chanel 2000 gift card--available in increments of $2,000
- Tourneau watch--$3,600
- Cartier's Pavé diamond heart on gold chain--$10,700
- Van Cleef and Arpel's three-stone ring--from $10,500
- Bergdorf's Rovert Lee Morris ring--$34,000
- Saks chinchilla jacket--$25,000
- Saks necklace--$240,000
All were advertised on Pages 2-4 of last Sunday's New York Times. But, benefit of the doubt, presumably some of the ads are not intended to sell products so much as to instill a frisson of imaginary consumption, the sort of shopping pornography that makes all of us so moist each December.
Alan Keyes on Ice.