No. 444: "Lièger Time Activity

No. 444: "Lièger Time Activity

No. 444: "Lièger Time Activity

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 20 2000 3:00 AM

No. 444: "Lièger Time Activity

Trouble with rampaging thugs linked to an event held Saturday in Liège, Belgium, led to 850 arrests, 56 injuries, and threats of sanctions from international organizations. What event?

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Send your answer by 10 a.m. ET Wednesday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Friday's Question (No. 443)—"Forging Ahead":

Named for the Roman god of fire and metalworking (and a symbol of Birmingham, Ala.), the Vulcans are a loose-knit, eight-member team whose leader trained as a concert pianist and now works out with Stanford's football coach. What is the Vulcans' mission?

"Make their son Tiger the best damn golfer the world has ever known."—Beth Sherman

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"To cover for the NYPD when they've decided that a parade is 'hands off.' "—Charlie Glassenberg

"Vulcan's Reveal Mission: More bands like Sleater-Kinney, less like Celine Dion. Stage 1 infiltration of mainstream media outlets has begun."—Jon Drumwright

"Penis? Their leader was a penis? Hahahahaha!!"—Doug Benning

"I don't know. What do you think their mission is?"—Francis "Dr. Freud for a Day" Heaney

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Vulcan is the Roman name for the god of the forge. (If he were your team mascot in high school, you'd probably cheer: "Who can? Vulcan!" if you even bothered to go to games instead of just hanging around outside the 7-Eleven with your hoodlum friends.) The Greeks called him Hephaestus, which eliminated all those stupid cheers. He was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera). One story has it that his mother was so disgusted with him that as soon as he was born she threw him into the sea where he stayed for nine years. In another version of Vulcan's childhood, he broke his leg when his father kicked him out of Olympus. Neither account says much for Olympian family values. Vulcan may have been rescued and reared by some nymphs and Nereids who took him to a cave and taught him to make things out of metal, including thunderbolts for his father (forgive and forget). He also made Pandora out of earth and water; it's amazing what you could do in those days with just a few simple ingredients. (Nowadays, try even finding a decent tomato!) Eventually, Vulcan married Venus but, despite the alliteration, it didn't work out. In an unrelated incident, he helped at the birth of Athena by splitting the head of Jupiter (Zeus) with an ax. Today, of course, few people go to a blacksmith for obstetric services. Vulcan's five most famous creations were the armor of Achilles, the arms of Aeneas, the shield of Hercules, the scepter of Agamemnon, and the necklace of Harmonia, which while not a weapon, proved fatal to all who wore it. I believe I have a pair of trousers like that.

A Very Brief Briefing Answer

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The mission of the Vulcans is, in the words of New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino, "to prove that Mr. Bush has enough global brainpower to be president." And you think you've got a tough job.

The Bush foreign policy team is lead by Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice, and Bush thinks she's the greatest: "She's fun to be with. I like lighthearted people, not people who take themselves so seriously that they are hard to be around." Besides, "She's really smart!"

Smart, indeed, but they bonded not over foreign policy but over baseball. He showed her his display cases full of autographed balls; she told him stories about Willie Mays, whom her mother taught in high school. At their next meeting, he worked out on a rowing machine, and she ran on a treadmill while offering her views on geopolitics. She's really smart! She believes that what Bush lacks in knowledge, he makes up in "good instincts." Ms. Rice, raised in Birmingham (hence the Vulcan), is able to explain things aloud. G.W. likes that. It's lighthearted.

Extra Credit—can you name the other seven Vulcans?

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(Richard Armitage, Robert Blackwill, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dov Zakheim, and Robert Zoellick.) Double your score if you can also name what piece of exercise equipment each uses when he talks G.W. through foreign affairs.

Deborah Wassertzug's Dining and Traveling Extra

So you're thinking of visiting the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland. Here's some information I picked up on the Web.

Animal Species

We have a lot of local wildlife in the Bonavista area. We do not have a lot of big animals; most are small. Some examples:

Edible—Rabbits, Moose, Black Bears

Non-Edible—Squirrels, Weasels, Foxes

Bird Species

Because of our marine climate, we have many marine and land birds. A few are listed below:

Edible—Turr or Murre, Eider Duck, Puffin, Bull Bird

Non-Edible—Gull, Storm Petrel, Gannet, Flumar

Ugly Couples Ongoing Extra

Participants are invited to submit the least attractive word pair they can find in a newspaper or magazine, article or ad. (Why should we make a distinction, Condé Nast doesn't?) Citing the source and offering a brief explanatory phrase are welcome. One other rule—no full names of detested people or groups, i.e., Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, General Electric. We're going for the odd combo not the ad hominum. Scariest pairs run Friday.

Illustrative Example (Void Where Prohibited by Law)

Interactive Yoda: FAO Schwartz ad, New York Times, June 6. I'm not sure what it does, but I'm certain I don't want it to do it to me.

Common Denominator

Star Trek in general, "live long and prosper" and/or "boldly go" in particular.