No. 450: "Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up"

No. 450: "Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up"

No. 450: "Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
July 4 2000 2:30 AM

No. 450: "Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up"

Experts say that new federal regulations expected to be announced this summer are unlikely to revive a worrisome practice, popularly known in Montana as "shoot, shovel, and shut up," because many residents have embraced a high-tech alternative method. Of doing what?


Send your answer by 3 p.m. ET Wednesday to

Friday's Question (No. 449)—"… Brave, Clean, and Rehnquist":

Fill in the blank from Chief Justice Rehnquist's decision in Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale: "The general mission of the Boy Scouts is clear: 'To instill values in young people.' The Boy Scouts seeks to instill these values by having its adult leaders spend time with the youth members, instructing and engaging them in activities like _______________."

"Cunnilingus."—Francis Heaney


"Hazing the uncool Scouts."—Fred Petrick

"Staying eight feet away from sinners."—Adam Bonin

"Hate, intolerance, and love of God. And arts and crafts."—Charles Star

"Who cares? The day they dropped the musical theater badge, I quit."—Peter Lerangis


Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, was born in London on Feb. 22, 1857, with far more names than anyone needs and a hyphen that today seems merely showoffy. He joined the army in 1876, which did not require one to praise the Lord and renounce carnal interest in those of the same sex. In 1884-85 Baden-Powell became noted for his use of observation balloons in warfare in Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and the Sudan (still Sudan). Had there been TV news in those days, footage of his exploits undoubtedly would have been underscored with "Up, Up, and Away," and millions of Bechuanalandians and Sudanese would have grown sullen and morose. For 217 days, from Oct. 12, 1899, to May 17, 1900, he defended the besieged town of Mafeking (now Mafikeng), in spite of famine and disease, holding off a much larger Boer force, becoming an national hero and earning a promotion to the rank of major general. Had there been television in those days, his exploit would undoubtedly have led to a lucrative sneaker endorsement deal, had there been sneakers. Instead, he returned to England in 1903, where he learned that his military textbook Aids to Scouting was being used for training boys in woodcraft and lord knows what else. It did not require a balloon for Baden-Powell to observe that he was on to something here, perhaps something in short pants and a jaunty neckerchief. Scout troops sprang up all over Britain, and for their use Baden-Powell issued Scouting for Boys in 1908. Two years later, he retired from the army to devote himself to the Boy Scouts, and in the same year he and his sister Agnes founded the Girl Guides as part of what some feared was an elaborate breeding scheme. It wasn't. At the first international Boy Scout Jamboree (London, 1920), he was acclaimed chief scout of the world. He wore short pants and looked adorable, but this did not prevent him from dying on Jan. 8, 1941, in Nyeri, Kenya. Baden-Powell always intended scouting to be a wholesome paramilitary organization with no more—and no less—homosexuality and prayer than in any English boarding school, and it is.

Be Prepared for the Answer


"The Boy Scouts seeks to instill these values by having its adult leaders spend time with the youth members, instructing and engaging them in activities like camping, archery and fishing."

As I understand it—and I'm no lawyer or trained homophobe—Rehnquist believes that former Eagle Scout James Dale's very existence constitutes a powerful anti-camping, archery, and fishing message.

Or as Justice Stevens more courteously puts it in his dissent, "It is plain as the light of day that neither one of these principles, 'morally straight' and 'clean,' says the slightest thing about homosexuality. Indeed, neither term in the Boy Scouts' law and oath expresses any position whatsoever on sexual matters … and B.S.A.'s broad religious tolerance combined with its declaration that sexual matters are not its 'proper area' renders its views on the issue equivocal at best and incoherent at worst."

Quoting Justice Brandeis, Stevens adds, "We must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles."


"He said 'erect,' " Justice Thomas giggled, or perhaps he didn't.

Despite this decision, the Scouts continues to offer merit badges in theater, art, music, sculpture, cooking, gardening, reading, and leatherwork. For a complete list of merit badges, click here.

Holding Fourth Extra

Which of the following are actual Independence Day commemorations advertised in Sunday's New York Times?

  1. Macy's™ Fourth of July Fireworks and Swimsuit Salebration.
  2. Target Stores™ encourages all Americans to applaud Target Stores'™ contribution to the restoration of the Washington Monument (soon to be the latest Target™ outlet).
  3. Tommy Hilfiger's™ American Running Series Four-Mile Run in Central Park on the Hottest Day of the Year When the Human Heart Can Explode Like a Roman Candle.
  4. Tom Hanks™ importunes all Americans to contribute to a national World War II memorial: ("Isn't it time someone had the courage to speak up for a really popular position, one with the support of the wealthiest and most powerful forces in the society?" asked no one in particular, but putting this in quotation marks will, I hope, make Hanks look even more like a flag-waving, Spielberg-pleasing blowhard. Incidentally, the plan calls for building a WWII shrine on the moon, which should please Hanks' NASA buddies. Or perhaps it doesn't. Is this question too long?)
  5. John McCain's™ Old-Timey Bombing Run Over Hanoi.
  6. Ralph Lauren's™ (nee Lipschitz) Early American Jewless Quilting Bee.
  7. Free Patriot's Head Mug With Every Happy Meal at McDonald's™: Sip a Soda From the Skull of John Adams!
  8. Congress Shall Pass No Law Infringing on the People's Right To Drive SUVs at Your Ford™ Dealer's Gas and Gas and Gas and Go Sale!


1-4 are essentially genuine. That is, authentic holiday ads that are exaggerated and mocked; 5-8 are cut from whole cloth, the same way Betsy Ross made our glorious national flag, now available in convenient kerchief, T-shirt, and bikini form.

Schedule Note

In order to give my fingers an extra day to heal from an anticipated fireworks mishap, the next quiz will be on Thursday. The deadline for replies to today's quiz is 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Common Denominator

Gay-bashing, but in the great outdoors.