No. 382: "Missing Inaction"

No. 382: "Missing Inaction"

No. 382: "Missing Inaction"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Feb. 10 2000 3:30 AM

No. 382: "Missing Inaction"

Steve Forbes has apparently dropped out of the presidential race. How can you tell?


Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday's Question (No. 381)—"Aho, Aha!":

Yesterday's news about Esko Aho is great for women. How so?

  "If two nonsense words can become a Fortune 500 CEO, why can't a woman?"—Francis Heaney


"I have no idea, but I'll bet there's already a series in the works for Oxygen."—Daniel Radosh (Alex Balk, Matt Sullivan, and Matt Heimer had similar answers.)

"Esko Aho, the '80s new wave band, has decided to reunite after its one hit song was successfully used to sell cargo pants."—Matt Sullivan

"I'm trying to answer, really, but I can't get past that yellow box on the left, the one that links to MSN stories on 'The real Ashley Judd' and 'How to tone your tush.' "—Jon Delfin

"I dunno if you can print it, but it's $34.99 from Good Vibrations, ladies."—Colleen Werthmann


Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

I don't do this very often, but in lieu of the usual wrap-up, I'd like to take a moment for me. Something happened a couple of days ago, one of those things where life tests you, and you find out what your made of, and how it's not enough. Oprah blew me off.

OK, one of her minions. And in my Ethicist capacity, which isn't really germane here, but who else am I going to talk to?


I got the call. And I failed.

An Oprah show producer called to talk about my appearing on a special program they're preparing called "Should There Be a Law?" The way this would work: People so profoundly scarred by human tragedy that they can barely wait to go on TV and talk about it would recount their misfortunes and call for new laws to prevent future TV shows. Or future tragedies; one or the other. The producer gave this example: On a hot Texas afternoon, a baby sitter leaves her infant charge in the car while she runs into the mall for four hours, and the baby dies. "Well," says I, "I'm pretty sure it's already illegal to kill babies, even in Texas. And I for one am against that sort of thing. But who will you get to defend the sitter's action?" Lots of people, I'm told, think you shouldn't impose your morality on others. "But isn't that the whole point of civilization?" I ask.

It was downhill from there. Finally, she said that they might do better with someone who takes more of a legal approach. Like that blowhard Alan Dershowitz.

I think that's what she called him. Or was that me?


Insufficiently Oprahesque. I'm kvelling.

Finnish Up Answer

By defeating Esko Aho in a runoff election, Tarja Halonen became Finland's first woman president.

Aho, called the "Kennedy of Finland," was backed by conservative politicians and businessmen. At one rally, he acknowledged that he found it "difficult to put himself in the shoes of ordinary people."

Halonen, 56, is a different breed of Finn. She quit the evangelical Lutheran church—the denomination to which 85 percent of her fellow Finns belong—to protest its policy of not ordaining women. The former head of Finland's Gay Association, she lives with a longtime boyfriend and has no plans to marry. She defended the European Union's move to isolate Austria, while Aho said it shouldn't meddle in the internal affairs of a member country.

RIP Extra

Dead at 52, magician Doug Henning. An excerpt from his New York Times obituary:

In 1992, he announced that he and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a spiritual adviser, would build a $1.5 billion theme park near Niagara Falls, Ontario. Dubbed Veda Land, it would be the first theme park concerned with spiritual enlightenment and would include a levitating building and a journey into the heart of a rose. The project's status is uncertain, but Henning predicted that "Once Elián gets a look at that levitating building, he'll forget all about his father."

He is survived by his wife and former assistant, Debby.

(Note: Elián business added by News Quiz.)

The Incredible Power of the Internet and Federalism Extra

First sentence in yet another piece of junk mail received this morning: "Are You Tired of Spending Countless Hours Searching for Pictures of Nude Celebrities?"

Last sentence, same spam: "Due to certain restrictions, this product is not available in the state of Washington."

"Israel Is Real" Ongoing Extra

Herb Terns is still soliciting better slogans than the Israeli Ministry of Tourism's: "No one belongs here more than you!"

Best new slogans to run Thursday. 

Common Denominator

Sex too brief, wages too low, media too pandering, and these pants make me look fat.