No. 495: "And the Portions Are So Small"
"The hours are no good, waits are too long, and the people are rude." Who said this about what?
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Monday's Question (No. 494)—"Get Carter?":
In a letter sent to 75,000 people, Jimmy Carter announced that he has given up something he's been doing since he was 11 years old. What?
(The wanking-free zone is invoked, or whatever zone you kids need to protect you from the temptations of hackery.)
"Chain letters."—Peter Carlin, Aaron Haspel, and Adam Green
"Boy, talk about Gore not being to hold onto his base!"—Greg Diamond
"Diverting government peanut subsidies into a slush fund to pay for his whores."—Brooke Saucier
"Caring about the poor and the homeless. 'Let 'em fend for themselves!' Carter added, in his new job as editor in chief of Condé Nast's Lucky magazine."—Tim Carvell
"Christian worship. Imam Abdullah Rahman Carter looks forward to seeing all his old church friends on Fridays at the new Islamic Center of Central Georgia."—Charlie Glassenberg (Steven Davis had a similar answer.)
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Thinking about the Jimmy Carter Library—and I was—raises this question: Why a library? It's not a rule that ex-presidents must open a library. Just seeing the words "Ronald Reagan" and "library" in the same sentence makes my head hurt. (As does the pair "Ronald" and "Reagan" and the words "monkey" and "pilot"—because I'd hate that, being on a plane, maybe I'm going to Spain or someplace, and I'm like at 35,000 feet, and the intercom crackles to life, and this voice says—"This is your pilot, Capt. Monkey …" Even though it's a talking monkey and probably really smart, I'd be pretty unhappy. Even if I weren't going to Spain, but maybe just Florida.)
Why not a Jimmy Carter Presidential Restaurant? People like eating out. He could name dishes after important events and people in his administration—the Khomeiniburger? With a side of Bert Lance something-or-others? And for dessert some funny food named after Three Mile Island. And then instead of ordinary coffee, some bitter caffeinated beverage that reminds you that at least he stopped a major weapons system, the B1 Bomber, unlike a more recent southern president which you could have with cream or milk or half-and-half.
Because, see—have I established the wacky premise?—it's not like some federal law that every ex-president has to open a library. The National Archives has plenty of old cardboard boxes to store the presidential papers right in Washington. Carter could open up some whole other thing that would be funny because it would be so unlikely—a chain of brake and muffler and frozen yogurt shops? That would taste awful even without those dreary policy papers, or perhaps the yogurt would make your car perform poorly—either way, funny!
Actual Carter Library Fun Fact: "Restrooms are to the right of the entrance and down the stairs. Telephones and water fountains are in the same area along the corridor."
You can confirm this here or by turning right at the entrance and going down the stairs. Although why you should doubt me, I don't know. It can't be much fun going through life so suspicious. Perhaps you should get some professional help for this problem you have trusting anyone. Have you an unusually small penis of some kind? Such was the problem with President Carter, but he overcame it and went on to establish both the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. You can see a lifesize replica of the presidential penis by turning right at the entrance and going down the stairs. Or perhaps you can't. Is it possible that I've fabricated this unlikely tale to further erode your trust? No, it is not. I did it simply to entertain you.
To better enjoy the Carter library: Hold the phone up to the water fountain and say, Guess where I'm calling from? A waterfall! Telephones and water fountains are in the same area along the corridor.
How about a Jimmy Carter Presidential Massage Parlor? It is an unlikely juxtaposition and would allow you to make a funny remark about a sexual activity just like a professional funny remark maker! Enjoy!
Wade in the Answer
Jimmy Carter, a third-generation Southern Baptist and the first born-again U.S. president, has ended his association with the Southern Baptist Convention, because its "increasingly rigid" doctrines violate the "basic premises of my Christian faith."
His announcement came four months after the convention rejected women as pastors and two years after it demanded that wives be submissive to their husbands. (And, on a personal note, I'd like to add that throughout their history, the Southern Baptists have been on the wrong side of everything—civil rights, the Vietnam War, women's rights, gay rights.)
Mr. Carter will continue to serve as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., which, while affiliated with the convention, does not adhere to all of its doctrines. Maranatha Baptist allows women to serve as deacons, Carter said, and it would not have any problem with a woman as pastor.
The Rev. James G. Merritt, the convention president, was saddened by Mr. Carter's decision, but he does not expect a mass exodus. More than 41,000 churches belong to the convention, and while a handful have left, many more new churches have been built.
President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Sen. Trent Lott, Southern Baptists all, joined Mr. Carter in condemning the reactionary policies of the convention and in announcing their own break with the group. No, wait, sorry, they all just shut up about it and went along as if nothing had happened. My mistake.
The Last News Quiz Party Invitation Extra
Please join us for the wake marking the end of News Quiz.
We will gather in New York on the day after the presidential election, Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., in the swelegant upstairs room at Novocento, 343 West Broadway, between Broome and Grand.
First drink on us (assuming there is no last minute move from the antitrust division of the Justice Department).
After the party, should dire circumstances prevail, those so inclined can head up to Penn Station to join Alec Baldwin on the train to Canada.
Randy Cohen used to write Slate's "News Quiz." His most recent book—oh, like you don't know.