No. 396: "True Concessions"

No. 396: "True Concessions"

No. 396: "True Concessions"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 9 2000 3:00 AM

No. 396: "True Concessions"

Praising his supporters for all they'd accomplished, Bill Bradley said: "Despite our lack of victory tonight, there's so much that every one of you who became a part of our campaign has to be proud of." Like what?

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

Tuesday's Question (No. 395)—"Tourist Retraction":

"My brain hurt when I was done," said one woman. "There are some completely new terms to me," said another. "I can understand everything that's been explained so far, except for the ramp," said a man. All three were enjoying one of the country's newest tourist attractions. What?

"Frankly, I'd expect that man to have been a little more sensitive upon leaving the Smithsonian's new 'History of the Americans With Disabilities Act.' "—Tim Carvell

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"The inflatable exit slide from Southwest Airlines' recent landing on a Burbank Street."—Susan Babcock

"They're obviously describing the loop-de-loop-filled Vocabu-Coaster at Six Flags Over William F. Buckley."—Peter Carlin

"Molly Ringwald. (This was actually my answer to yesterday's News Quiz, but I missed the deadline.)"—Terri Gradine

"Sounds to me like it was some kind of ramp, n'est ce pas? Some kind of incomprehensible, brain-attacking ramp."—Greg Diamond

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Most responses conjured up some kind of theme park. But up until quite recently, a tourist attraction was not necessarily conceived as such. Instead, it might be a place of great natural beauty (Niagara Falls, perhaps, or the scenic overlook across the street from the Beatty-Bening house); or an oddity of nature (like the balancing rock or Mayor Rudy Giuliani's haircut); or a historic site (the Gettysburg battlefield or Strom Thurmond's … well, you get the idea, and actually that last one would be all three, wouldn't it?). Of course, tourist attractions have always included the man-made—the seven wonders of the ancient world for example, although the Colossus of Rhodes had at best an inadequate gift shop. Perhaps the most important guide for travelers is this: Any attraction built deliberately to attract is not likely to be all that attractive. That is, EuroDisney was built to lure in the out-of-towners, but the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built for the people who lived there (or at least for King Nebuchadnezzar and that crowd), not just to suck money out of the pockets of bored Phoenicians—you know: assuming they had pockets.

Just Lean Back and Open Your Head Wide Answer

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The Rose Center for Earth and Space—it's a planetarium and much, much more—at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The architecture is wonderful, the star show is by most accounts impressive, and the crowds are enthusiastic, but some of the exhibits leave visitors more confused than enlightened. Bad exhibits? Dimwitted visitors? In the mind-boggling vastness of space, who can tell? Perhaps Tom Hanks: He does the star-show voice-over in his manly I Love Any Old Crap NASA Shoots Into the Sky voice. (Quite different from his World War II and Steven Spielberg—That's What Makes This Country Great voice.)

To counter visitor confusion, the museum hired a whole other museum (a little one) to create a fleet of mobile computer carts. Human "explainers" push the carts around, and when they run into someone who seems befuddled, the "explainers" explain—the red shift, how a radio telescope works, how a movie such as What Planet Are You From? ever got made. Of course, there are some questions even museums of science can't answer.

And You Think You Have a Lot on Your Conscience Extra

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From an Associated Press story on entertainment mogul David Geffen:

Geffen was a key force behind such performers as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Eagles and Jackson Browne. As producer of the movie Risky Business, he cast Tom Cruise in the role that made the young actor a star. Geffen's financial backing helped launch Cats on Broadway.

Remember: Charles Manson is behind bars while this guy is walking around free.

Al Cloutier's Fun With Online Translators Extra

Here is yesterday's question double translated—into French then back to English.

"My brain wounded when I was made," the aforementioned a woman. "There are some completely new limits with me," said others. "I then to include/understand very who am explained up to now, except the slope," said a man. Each of the three appreciated one of newest attractions of tourists of the country. What?

Fun With Phones Ongoing Extra

There's still time to call (800) 578-7453, a Brown & Williamson Tobacco number. They'll play something for you, ask you to improve it, and beg you not to sue them like all those other heartless bastards. Or not. But either way, you're invited to submit the first four lines of that improved version. Best responses to run Thursday.

Common Denominator

Stephen Hawking's brain, Katie Couric's ass.