This encomium was gushed in a Senate hearing room Wednesday: "I think there are many people who would be due credit, and there are more who would claim credit. But of those who are in a position of authority, I think your name would have to be at the top of the list." Who is praising whom for what?
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Wednesday's Question (No. 374)--"Kids Tough":
Johnny and Luther Htoo, the chain-smoking 12-year-old twins who lead the Christian fundamentalist rebel group God's Army, made a horrible mistake Tuesday. How so?
"Took Alan Keyes' third-place showing in Iowa as a sign that God was truly on their side."—Mike Branom
"Forgot to pick up cartons of Marlboros as they passed through the duty-free shop at the Thai-Burmese border."—John Leary (Deborah "Truly, Truly Terrified" Wassertzug had a similar answer.)
"Sat through 30 minutes of Malcolm in the Middle and didn't laugh. What idiots. Morons. That show's funny. Just ask Variety or TV Guide. It's going to save the sitcom. And your aunt with emphysema. All hail Malcolm."—Jon Hotchkiss
"Land war in Asia. Hello?"—Adam Bonin
"Earth tones."—Mark Greenberg
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I'm not sure which scares me more, the way 12-year-old Luther sucking on that cigar looks like my 97-year-old Uncle Milt in Miami Beach or the way 12-year-old Johnny looks like an 8-year-old girl. Scarier still—the whole Lord of the Flies thing, the monstrous ferocity of child soldiers, or just the idea of adult soldiers obeying kid leaders. There's a weird reversal of authority, like a child commanding a parent. There's something humiliating about it, along with the faint aroma of imminent revenge. Is that how the French aristocracy felt in 1789? But without the Marlboros. And then there's the twin thing. (A hot dog makes her lose control? Hot rod? Hora? Any way you hear it—eating disorder, drunk driving, or dancing frenzy—those were two scary zygotes who grew into one scary TV show. Identical cousins? With the primitive biotech of 1963? I doubt it.) All twins are a bit disturbing, no matter how amiably they tout chewing gum or how picturesquely they take off their tops for Hugh Heffner. Maybe it's because even when you're with only one of them, you feel slightly outnumbered. And you can't shake the feeling that anything you say to Luther, Johnny automatically knows, even if he's miles away, down at the store picking up a carton of Marlboros for Louis XVI. Scary.
Deranged, War-Ravaged Children's Answer
Johnny and Luther sent 10 of their followers to take hostages at a Thai hospital. All 10 were killed.
Described by the New York Times as "an inept band of Burmese rebels," the 10 hijacked a bus and wandered around Thailand, bickering about which hospital to occupy and whether or not to pick up hitchhikers. Once inside the Ratchaburi Provincial Hospital, the group seemed unsure of how to proceed. Still more unfortunately, they launched their raid on Thailand's Armed Forces Day, an occasion unlikely to promote military restraint. Many observers say that Thai soldiers simply executed the rebels.
Johnny and Luther Htoo, not present at the hospital, have about 200 followers, one of many rebel groups hiding in the jungle to wage a guerrilla war against the repressive Myanmar government. Members of God's Army are forbidden to drink, take drugs, or swear. On the upside, the twins claim to have mystical powers that make them immune to bullets and land mines, which more than makes up for not being allowed to swear.
"It never occurs to them that mounting a siege on a hospital is actually wrong," Debbie Stothard, an expert on the refugees, told the Times. "It's as though they came from a different planet and that planet is ruled by the Burmese military regime and their values."
Endless Wrangling About St. Louis Follow-Up
"Mike Gerber's claim that St. Louis is in the East represents a rather pathetic delusion common to the city. Its two most famous natives are T.S. Eliot, who was so determined to be an easterner that he developed a British accent, and Charles Lindbergh, who developed something of a German accent. For what it's worth, everyone I know in Ohio considers it the Midwest. He's right about Queens, though."—Chris Hammett
Adam Bonin and Friends State of the Union Drinking Game Extra
Some suggested rules to enhance your viewing pleasure.
- One drink for every New Yorker in the VIP box with the first lady.
- One beer for every shot of Mrs. Clinton. You will be lucky if you're walking by the end of the night.
- Drink if they show Nino. Double if he's still scruffy.
- Chug, chug, chug if he talks about the rights of gays and lesbians, and they show Janet Reno.
- Two drinks if you can see Al Gore visibly trying to distance himself from the Lecher in Chief (like if he recoils and/or shudders at mention of his name).
- Chug entire fifth if he's wearing the tie Monica gave him!
- One drink for a Ted Kennedy shot. Two drinks if he's asleep. Three if he's scratching himself.
- Drink every time he mentions "jobs." Drink the entire fifth every time he says "blow jobs."
- Shed tear into beer and drink at every mention of JFK, poor little Elián, the homeless elderly, Bobby Phills, the lost Mars Lander, or Clinton's legacy. (Democrats only.)
- One drink every time he asks for money for education; two every time he asks for money for Africa; three if he asks for money to "buy me some lovin'."
- Three drinks if the speech includes interpretive dance.
Matthew Singer's Amtrak-MARC Safety Slogan Postponed Extra
Due to late-breaking State of Union Extra, above, responses to run Monday. But rest assured, he's still eager to wreak an unholy—and yet nonviolent, and yet tasty and nutritious—revenge on MARC, the Balt-Wash commuter train he rides to work. Keep those cards and letters coming in; his wrath is terrible.
Alan Keyes, although not mentioned in this question, is a dangerous loon.