No. 475: "Eurekaaaaaahhhhh …"

No. 475: "Eurekaaaaaahhhhh …"

No. 475: "Eurekaaaaaahhhhh …"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Sept. 9 2000 12:00 AM

No. 475: "Eurekaaaaaahhhhh …"

When Dr. Arthur Demarest of Vanderbilt University fell into a hole in the jungles of Guatemala, he made an astonishing discovery. "No one has found anything like this since the turn of the last century!" he enthused. "I have a book in press that I'll have to revise." What's the now outdated title of that book? 


Send your answer by 6 p.m. ET Sunday to

Wednesday's Question (No. 474)—"Two, Four, Six, Eight …":

The summit meeting of 150 world leaders begins at the United Nations today, and thousands of demonstrators have gathered across the street at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza for some of the 91 protests for which permits have been granted. Give a slogan shouted in the plaza and who chanted it.

" 'We don't know who most of these world leaders are!'; chanted by Teen-agers for Increased School Funding."—Francis Heaney


" 'We shall understate!'; the girls of Miss Porter's School."—Floyd Elliot

"Mimed aggressively by the Federation of Unemployed Mime Artists (FUMA)."—David Oakes

" 'Extra tickets? Extra tickets?' Except they were more like muttering than shouting, and this was at the U.S. Open rather than the United Nations."—Greg Diamond

" 'We're the word of God, and we've come to say
the Catholics are the ones who know the only way!
If your country's down with the Va-ti-can
then you don't need to worry 'bout your fellow man
You can persecute those other faiths
'cause when it comes down to the judgment they'll be burned away!
It's the pope, John, P-A-U-L
Kiss a ring and eat a wafer or burn in hell!'; the N.Y. Archdiocese JV cheerleading squad."—Kate Wing


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Randy's Wrap-Up

According to Maria Dahlin and Petra Tøtterman's short biographical sketch (but long enough to require two people to write it), Dag Hammarskjøld (or skjöld) was much more than a plaza. Born on July 29, 1905, in a small town in Sweden, he was raised in an aristocratic family that dates back to the 17th century. (But then again, whose doesn't? Or back to the 16th, or 15th or, well, the Pleistocene I should think. I mean, where does it stop? Or start?) He began his political career as a secretary in the national Bank of Sweden in 1936 and was soon appointed undersecretary of finance. (Presumably there was some sort of party with the words "undersecretary of finance" spelled out in icing on what must have been a rather large cake.)

After World War II, Hammarskjøld moved into the Foreign Affairs Ministry. (I believe they mean "moved into" in the sense of getting some sort of job and not in the sense of sleeping on a couch and taking sponge baths in the sink in the men's room down the hall after some trouble in his private life.) His concern with international matters and the respect he gained among other diplomats within the Organization for European Economic Cooperation led to his nomination as secretary-general of the United Nations in 1953. (There must be more to it than that, but Dahlin—or perhaps Tøtterman—is mum on any devious maneuvering for the job.)


As a "keeper of the peace," he was significant in preventing tension spots from escalating to uncontrollable conflicts—in the Suez in 1956, Lebanon in 1958, Laos in 1960-61, and the Congo in 1960-61. (Is it just me, or weren't there actually wars in all those "tension spots"? Not that I'm blaming Hammarskjøld.)

Shortly before midnight Sept. 17, 1961, a DC-6B of the United Nations with 16 people aboard crashed in the Rhodesian bushland near the Katanga border. On that plane were Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Or perhaps not. Maybe the passenger was Hammarskjøld. (Why yes, it was.) The puzzling circumstances surrounding the crash elevated the tragedy to one of the 20th century's greatest diplomatic mysteries. (Can you name another?) Was Hammarskjøld's plane sabotaged? Could it have been pure accident at that time of animosity toward the United Nations and its works? Or was it one of those missiles that keep appearing off the coast of Long Island bringing down airliners, but maybe the missile went through some kind of time warp? Maybe it was. Just maybe it was.

You can find out more about Dag Hammarskjøld without amusing parenthetical comments here.

Shouted in Unison Answer


Many groups, with and without permits, came to jeer but stayed to cheer the magnetic presence of New York's mayor … wait, sorry, I was thinking of this scary dream I had. There were many demonstrators, and slogans chanted included:

"Say no to China!"—A pro-Taiwan group

"Stop persecuting the Falun Gong."—400 members of the Falun Gong

"Death to Khatami."—The People's Mujahadeen and Iranian opposition group

"Rajavi yes!"—National Council of Resistance (another anti-Iranian government group)

"No more caviar and Iranian rugs while our brothers are kept in jail!"—New York City public advocate and mayoral hopeful Mark Green (less an awkward chant than an inadequately rousing speech)

"There is no peace without Yaweh's 613 laws of peace."—Some religious group from Texas with a limited sense of euphony

Common Denominator

The inconveniences of diplomacy.