No. 392: "A Touching Story"

No. 392: "A Touching Story"

No. 392: "A Touching Story"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 2 2000 3:30 AM

No. 392: "A Touching Story"

"This is something any member of the public could have felt while handling, pushing, grabbing … ," said Jeffrey Lamken, a U.S. assistant solicitor general, to a skeptical Supreme Court Tuesday.


"At least in my experience, people don't take it out and feel it," Justice Ginsburg demurred.

"It does seem to me that another passenger does not have the right to start squeezing my ... ," argued Justice Kennedy.

In this case, Bond vs. United States, who squeezed what?

(Note: For responses to No. 392, the penis-free zone is invoked.)


Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday's Question (No. 391)—"Double Shot":

Fill in this pair of blanks as John McCain contrasts himself with his opponent: "I am a Reagan Republican who will defeat Al Gore. Unfortunately, Gov. Bush is a ______ who will ______ Al Gore."

"Multimillionaire; marry."—Neal Pollack


"Gook; torture. (McCain then added, 'Sorry, I just had another flashback to my POW days. Have I mentioned that I was a POW?')"—Michael Manella (Tim Carvell, Beth Sherman, and Daniel Radosh had all but identical answers.)

"Reagan Republican; defeat. 'So maybe it doesn't matter if I win the primary after all. Now let's go abort some babies.' "—Francis Heaney

"Napkin; Burger King. (Oh gosh I really blew it. These Mad Libs are so hard. I'm much better at Connect Four.)"—Winter Miller (similarly, Tim Olevsky)

"Actually, the quotation is correct as rendered. The gaps indicate moments when McCain's boundless rage rendered him momentarily speechless."—Tim Carvell


Click for more answers.

Peter Carlin's Wrap-Up

Forget what McCain said. What mattered happened next, when he steered his Straight Talk Express up river, into the heart of darkness that is the Republican Party, to terminate Gov. Bush's command (-ing lead). But while he had long since learned the ways of the battlefield, no combat experience could prepare McCain for the horror he encountered when he arrived at Bush's jungle encampment: the hollow-eyed, chanting natives who considered Bush a deity; the ritual slaughter of the donkey; the gruesome sight of decapitated human heads (Lamar Alexander! Dan Quayle! Elizabeth Dole!) on posts. "Oh, he gets a little out of hand sometimes, it's true," chattered a wild-eyed, barely coherent William Kristol as he led McCain through the village. "But he's a God, man! A God!" Climbing the steps into the temple, McCain discovered Bush lying on a bamboo mat on the concrete floor and drew his sword, preparing to complete his mission. "I'm a uniter, not a divider," Bush murmured as his lifeblood drained away. "The compassion, the compassion."

I and Thou Answer


"I am a Reagan Republican who will defeat Al Gore. Unfortunately, Gov. Bush is a Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore."

McCain's nicely cadenced assertion was a part of his speech in Virginia titled: "We Are Not at War With You Fanatical Right-Wing Religious Maniac People, Only With Your Leaders, Who Were Apparently Assigned to You at Random and in No Way Reflect Your Beliefs." Or perhaps it wasn't.

To make this distinction, he was obliged to name some good guys of the Christian Right and came up with convicted Watergate felon Chuck Colson. That's just sad.

To distinguish between too-radical right-wing Christians and just-radical-enough right-wing Christians, McCain declared, "Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right." In what sense is Louis Farrakhan a leftist? I don't recall Marx's theories playing much of a part in the Black Muslim worldview.

G.W.'s response: "This is a political game that Sen. McCain is trying to play by pitting one group of people against another." And so it is. The game is called an "election." You try to get one group of people to "vote" for you, while the other group will vote for your opponent. That McCain will stoop to anything.

Chris Kelly's James Bond, Food Snob Follow-Up

If you want real good eatin' in a Fleming book, you want the beginning of Goldfinger, where Bond goes to Miami and eats so many Alaskan king crab legs chased with pink Champagne that he makes himself sick.

Here are the prettiest lines of food writing I've ever read; they're from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (Poultry and Game Birds):

Thanks to modern scientific techniques, the birds we buy today are rich in nutrition, low in fat, and reasonable in price. Whereas once we had to wait for spring broilers, summer fryers, fall roasters, and the stewing hens of deep winter, we now have an endless supply of tender wholesome poultry all year round.

Al Petrosky's Petty Complaint Extra

This "Send your answer by noon ET ____day" has been eating at me. Why must we define all things in terms of precious Eastern time? Have you ever been in traffic in San Francisco or Seattle at 5 p.m. local time on a night they're hosting Monday Night Football? All so some Jets fan can get a school-night violence fix? And when the president makes his State of the Union speech, which is over by 9 p.m. PT at the latest, they pre-empt Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the West Coast anyway because some ditz in Passaic will sponsor a write-in campaign if she isn't among the first to see the episode. Can't Slate, a left-coast institution itself, make some concession to the time-zone challenged? How about this—just once!—as reparation: "Send your answer by 9 a.m. PT ____day" ?

Common Denominator

Once a frat boy …