They're noisy, they're antiquated, and they smell terrible, and now says Donald Barry, assistant secretary of interior for fish and wildlife and parks, they "are no longer welcome in our national parks." What won't we be seeing at Yellowstone? (The Jagger-free zone is invoked.—ed)
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Wednesday's Question (No. 423)—"No Motto What":
The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the state of Ohio must stop using a motto it displays many places, including on some official stationery, on tax returns, and on a bronze plaque in the sidewalk just outside the Statehouse in Columbus. What is the banned motto? (Question courtesy of Peter Carlin.)
"With corn all things are possible."—M.G. Lord
"Jesus Christ! Where did all our industry go?"—Charles Star
"I Hate the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."—Floyd Elliot
"Who's the baddest cat around? Taft! You're damn right."—Greg Diamond
" 'Ohio, the other white state.' Oh, wait, that's Idaho. Always get those two mixed up."—Sharon Stern (Mike Zurer had a similar answer.)
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Ohio, the 17th state (chronologically, one presumes, not in terms of quality) is nicknamed the Buckeye State no doubt because its state tree is the buckeye and its state bird is the flying buckeye (or the cardinal or blue jay). It is also nicknamed the Mother of Presidents because seven were born in Ohio, including Benjamin Harrison, whom most people forget even was a president. An eighth, William Henry Harrison (also forgettable) was living there when elected. And a ninth, Ronald Reagan, is said to have heard of Ohio. The state boasts the only pennant-shaped state flag, perhaps because someone didn't read the assignment carefully, and even so, this hardly seems worth boasting about. The Hopewell people established an early civilization in the region almost 3,000 years ago. They were called Mound Builders, perhaps because the state tree is the buckeye. Ohio enjoyed a boom in settlement after the Revolutionary War when the government paid off many veterans with land grants in what was then the Northwest Territory. Soon Ohio became part of the East, so the joke was on the Revolutionary War veterans. During the Civil War, it would become a part of the North, confusing matters still further, in what would eventually result in the Erie Canal, and of course, tire factories. Ohio is an Iroquois word meaning "something big" which could have been used to describe William H. Taft. But not to his face. In 1955, the Ohio Turnpike was open to traffic, derived from the French trafficare, to traffic (which doesn't help matters much), and of course, Rutherford B. Hayes.
In God We Trust This Answer
"With God, all things are possible."
Siding with the American Civil Liberties Union and its plaintiff, the Rev. Matthew Peterson, a Presbyterian minister from Cleveland, a three-judge panel held that the words had no secular purpose and appeared to be a government endorsement of the Christian religion. This reversed a 1998 decision that allowed Ohio to display the motto as long as it did not cite its biblical origin. Ohio took the motto in 1959 from the book of Matthew.
Monkey Say, Monkey Die Extra
Dead at age 27, Michael the lowland gorilla, one of only two apes able to use American Sign Language. He is survived by Koko, the other big talker, not a suspect at this time. Below, what may have been Michael's last words.
"I love you, Helen Gurley Brown."—T.G. Gibbon
"Hey guys … watch me do this!!"—Kurt E. Irwin (Tim Olevsky had a similar answer.)
"Swim fruit sky truck. Banana. Hello? Kitty. Banana!"—Peter Carlin (similarly, Jay Austin)
"I wish Henry Kissinger was here so I could kick his ass."—Steven Davis
"Do not speculate irresponsibly about my last words."—Charlie Glassenberg
"Please don't bury me in this gorilla suit."—Richard Primoff (similarly, Peter McArthur and Michael Jennison)
"Look, it's Dian Fossey!"—Beth "Tell my parents I was killed by poachers" Sherman
"That's not Elián in that photo! [Sob. Die.]"—Michael Manella
"Aaaaaaigh! No! Not the mallet! Not the mallet! Nooooooo!"—Tim Carvell
"Tell Koko her screenplay still stinks."—Peter O'Toole
"Sell ... Microsoft!"—Peter Lerangis
"Really, Koko, she's just a friend from work."—Sophie Pollitt-Cohen
"Please, no! Not the House of Pain!"—Katha Pollitt
"O great ape lord, please let me live long enough to see the première of www.modernhumorist.com. Oh, I forgot, I can't read, I can only speak sign language. Well, forget it then."—Greg Diamond
"Since he was so talented, I suspect his last words were, ' 'Tis a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done. 'Tis a far, far better place that I go to than I have ever known' than the simpler, 'Crap! Poachers! I've been shot!' "—Ellen Macleay
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Contempt for neighboring states, particularly Indiana where, it seems, the residents are all quite foolish.