Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True, But Useless

Did you catch the item on our former Attorney General Mr. Gonzales last week? The man charged with enforcing the law equally for all federal matters was instructed on the DAY HE TOOK OFFICE about how handling sensitive materials was to be done, using safes in secured areas within the Justice Department. That SAME DAY, Mr. Gonzales confesses, he simply took a briefcase full of such materials home. No, he didn't lock them up there - he had forgotten, he says, his home safe's combination. There's not even a record of his having locked the briefcase! His penalty for this careless, to say the least, oversight? Nothing. The folks NOW in charge of enforcing the law found a new kind of defense - being clueless enough to be above suspicion. Really. Come to think of it, that was pretty much Reagan's defense regarding Iran-Contra, and THAT worked out nicely indeed.

I've discovered something lots of older folks may have noticed about themselves. Lots of things about me are kind of....dated. History, sports, music, literature, politics - if I'm saying something that reveals great knowledge, chances are that the knowledge itself is too old to be useful to most people. Since the household now lacks anyone under 50, I don't see this trend reversing. Even the Iran-Contra reference above is more than 20 years old - oy!
Try out the following questions, answers will be found at the bottom. The higher the score, the closer to geezerdom you may be, though it's also possible you've decided to study the broad changes of that long ago epoch, the Twentieth Century.
1. The Eisenhower campaign's nickname for Democrat Adlai Stevenson?
2. Which Ali retinue member FIRST said "Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee."?
3. Of the three tennis-playing Amritraj brothers, the one who played in a James Bond movie?
4. The only Buddy Holly song recorded by the Beatles?
5. The vice president Ford dumped off the GOP ticket in 1976?
6. Jackie Joyner-Kersee's famous sister in law?
7. Boxing middleweight whose fatal beating was written about by Norman Mailer?
8. Elvis' original recording label?
9. Bush I's code name for Bill Clinton?
10. Roman-origin name of the lawyer/hero in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
I could, of course, go on. The downside is, naturally, NOT knowing nearly as much about people who are NOW considered the big change makers. In fact I'm sometimes embarrassed when I do know something that stumps all the elders around me. Nobody likes to be thought of as having a big head, although is it YOUR fault when you just know more than the folks around you who spent their lives doing useful things like knowing how to work plumbing or raising children? These are, I would say, a tough collection of questions to score 100%, but they aren't so daunting to specialists of a given field.
I promised the answers. Here they are:
1. "egghead"
2. Drew "Bundini" Brown
3. Vijay, whose character was also "Vijay". But I dont't quite remenber WHICH movie it was.
4. "Words of Love"
5. Nelson Rockefeller
6. the late Florence Griffith Joyner, "Flo-Jo"
7. Bennie "The Kid" Paret
8. Sun Records (Memphis)
9. "Elvis"
10. "Atticus" Finch, played by Gregory Peck
There you go. And no mention of Richard Nixon (until now), my favorite history guy to go on about, along with Howard Cosell, Howard Hughes, Barry Gordy, Brian Epstein, "Superbrat", "That Big Bear", Brother Malcom, the guy who gave us Michael Corleone, "Clyde Cool" and Marvin. Here's an offer. Big props for anyone who can identify all those in the previous sentence.


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