Monday in Tokyo, Tomonori Ikeda, a 30-year-old clerk, looked out his office window on Shinjuku-dori Avenue, not far from the Imperial Palace, and saw a man covered with blood running and using a cell phone. What had just happened?
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Monday's Question (No. 463)—"TK Day":
Recently G.W. Bush signed a proclamation making June 10 a special day named for a particular person, and not everyone is pleased. "They carefully worded this thing to make it look like they've just got a good guy here, and so the state of Texas can have a party for him," said an irate Professor Bruce Lincoln of the University of Chicago. What's the name of this special day, and how does G.W. suggest we observe it?
"Dick Cheney-a-palooza. 'Actually,' W. told the press, 'it was Dick's idea. We asked him to draw up a list of Texas heroes, and—who knew?—Dick wound up at the No. 1 spot.' To mark the special day, Texans were encouraged to slap a welfare recipient."—Tim Carvell
"Gerald Ford Day, on which we should abstain from golfing in favor of having strokes and tongue infections."—Charlie Glassenberg
"For your Phil Gramm moment of silence, you absolve yourself of the overbearing hand of government. Then you can go back to leaving your Medicare and Social Security beneficiary mother to drive to work at the federally subsidized farm on the interstate to pay the tuition for your son at the University of Texas."—Anthony Wright
"Karla Faye Tucker Day. Pump a friend full of electricity today! Who knows? You might just create a superhero!"—Alex Pascover (Tim Carvell and Mary Anne Townsend had similar answers.)
"Mr. Lincoln should just learn to accept a compliment, and enjoy Bruce Lincoln Day with the rest of us."—Richard Nikonovich-Kahn (similarly, Jon Drumwright and Barry Johnson)
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One way or another, many quiz participants looked for a Lieberman angle. Consider this: William Bennett called him "arguably the best Democrat in the Senate." Jerry Falwell said he's "an excellent choice." And the ghost of Sammy Davis called him "My kind of Jew, a swingin' swingin' cat." Or maybe that was from Scary Movie. (I'm not suggesting that these folks are news quiz participants, but wouldn't that be fun? To have a ghost play quiz! A ghost who palled around with Sinatra?)
On the upside, by 6 p.m. yesterday, there were 14,000 Lieberman postings on AOL chat rooms, with half of them containing anti-Semitic slurs, says the New York Times. (Where did the paper get those numbers? Did some poor intern have to read 14,000 AOL postings? Does AOL employ some kind of high-tech Anti-Semitic Slur Counter?) I haven't felt this brave and righteous since Nixon gave New York travel tips to his daughters.
It seemed unlikely that Gore could find a Democrat more right wing than himself, but he managed to pick a VP who supports vouchers for religious schools and cuts in the capital gains tax, opposes affirmative action, and endorses anything of benefit to the insurance companies that funnel him rivers of cash. Lieberman dreams of an America with less violent TV shows and more nuclear submarines. Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, called Gore's choice evidence of his "getting to the middle." Of what? Some comical far-right thing, perhaps including a reference to Mussolini or a big scary dinosaur, although those large extinct lizards had at best only a rudimentary political system?
Despite the approval of the most reactionary members of society, the anointing of Lieberman has some clear disadvantages. It is now almost inevitable that Elie Wiesel will be invited—encouraged!—to spout more sanctimonious blather on … yep, here it comes … "It's a special day not only for the Jewish people," he said, "but for the people of Texas, for whom I proclaim today 'Elie … ' " No, no. He did say the first bit, but not the second. And would that he'd said both, for that would tie everything up neatly and bring us back to today's question.
Wrap Up Plus! More Fatuous Twaddle From Elie Wiesel
"Now the political system is open to all men and women, of all ethnic origins," he said. "Why, look at all the African-American senators! And our many female presidents," he did not add.
Spitting on the First Amendment Answer
G.W. Bush urges you to celebrate "Jesus Day" by doing charitable deeds and having sex with a leper except for the part about the leper.
"Jesus Day challenges people to follow Christ's example by performing good works in their communities and neighborhood," reads the proclamation issued by the Texas governor with the idiosyncratic view of the Constitution.
Phil Baum, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, called the proclamation "an egregious and blatant violation of the spirit of the First Amendment."
G.W. is "mindful of the longstanding tradition of governors in both parties to honor individuals and organizations for their good works through greetings and proclamations," says Linda Edwards, a spokeswoman for the governor. "And besides, he's generally too drunk or too bored to know what the hell he's signing," she did not add.