And now for something a little different, here are a few topical questions to test your ability to retain the flotsam and jetsam that float past our event horizon during any given week.
I would have made these True/False … but we’re sort of flunking those tests these days.
1. A U.S. government intelligence project, code name “Red Disk,” made news this week for what reason?
a) It was used in a failed attempt to hack into Russia’s bureau of elections; it instead hacked into the county clerk’s office in Moscow, Idaho;
b) It was created to warehouse demographic information of registered Republicans in states that voted for Hillary Clinton;
c) It was discovered that the project’s 100 gigabytes of top-secret data were accessible on the internet without even a password for protection.
2. According to an enlarged still photo taken from a grainy black-and-white video, evidence suggests:
a) The Apollo moon landing was faked because there appears to be a long-haired man wearing a trenchcoat facing Neil Armstrong;
b) The fathers of actor Woody Harrelson and Sen. Ted Cruz are shown together in Dallas on the day of the Kennedy assassination;
c) The earth is flat, since a sailboat with a single passenger is shown slamming into a “wall” of sky at the edge of the world.
3. President Trump says the infamous “Access Hollywood” live-mic video might not be real. This has caused which reaction:
a) An onslaught of social media responses asking if the president is lying now, or was he lying last year when he apologized for his comments;
b) Used T-shirts worn by women with the saying “TRUMP CAN GRAB MY (P----)" are selling like hotcakes on eBay;
c) Billy Bush is attempting a television comeback.
4. The city of Ashland purchases 500,000 plastic bags a year for what purpose:
a) Preventive measure. They’re bought to keep them out of the hands of merchants, as part of the city ordinance preventing the use of plastic bags in stores;
b) Use as “booties” allowing home-buyers to walk through open houses at city-sponsored affordable housing efforts;
c) Dog poop.
5. Amazon is in testing stages of various new projects. Which of these is NOT one of those projects?
a) A version of the Alexa device specialized for businesses that would eliminate the need for several office workers;
b) A self-destructing drone that would minimize the risk of injury should Amazon’s package-carrying units malfunction;
c) A service that would allow delivery personnel entry to your home when you're not there.
6. James Tracy, a professor fired from Florida Atlantic University, is suing for reinstatement because he says his free speech protections were violated. What is the subject matter of the comments in question?
a) He suggested making Florida a “Sanctuary State” where all undocumented immigrants can work in currently unfilled, low-salary jobs;
b) He started a petition to change the name of the school, since “Florida Atlantic” re-enforces the notion that its students aren’t smart enough to know they’re not near the Pacific Ocean;
c) He wrote a blog questioning whether several mass shootings had taken place, and claimed parents of so-called murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary were in it for the money.
7. The engagement of Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle has spawned which conspiracy theory?
a) She is marrying him to escape her parents Mary and Manny Markle, and siblings Sparkle Markle, Mark Markle, twins Simon & Gar Markle, Fritz, Flicker and Fred Markle;
b) He is marrying her in a long-range plan to have one of their children eventually become president of the United States — and then bring “the Colonies” back under English rule;
c) It’s all a ploy by U.S. television and British tabloid executives to increase the ratings for “Suits” while turning front-page attention way from the boring William and Kate.
8. Ivanka Trump reportedly sent her father into a tizzy last week by saying which of these statements:
a) “I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express recently. It’s good to spread the wealth among American companies” (about her hotel choices);
b) “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. … I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts” (about Roy Moore);
c) “I’m honored to have played a small part in expanding the vocabulary of the average citizen” (about dictionary.com’s choice of “complicit” as its Word of the Year).
Answers: 1. c; 2. a; 3. a; 4. c; 5. trick question — it’s all of them; 6. c; 7. b; 8. b
— Mail Tribune copy editor Robert Galvin can be reached by a) carrier pigeon; b) that thingamajig next to the doohickey; or c) email at email@example.com.