The thing about me doing my part last week and going on furlough — something everyone at National Public Radio has to do, part of NPR's attempt to get back to fiscal solvency — is that it allowed me to sit back and watch all the offers of financial aid come pouring in.
I'm still waiting.
But the good news of the previous week was that ScuttleButton has returned, after some technoglitches (and a vacation) that kept it off the Junkie Web site for three weeks. And many ScuttleButton junkies were thrilled — I reprint a bunch of their comments below.
But first things first: It's time to announce the ScuttleButton winner.
And since I was out last week, perhaps some folks forgot how to play? It's easy. Just check out my button puzzle each Friday. Take one word or one concept per button, add 'em up, and arrive at a familiar saying or a name. (Seriously: a saying that people from Earth might be remotely familiar with.) Submit your answer and hope you're the person chosen at random. That's it!
Oh wait. You MUST include your name and city/state to be eligible.
And also remember, the answer does not necessarily have to be political. For instance, the answer to a puzzle a while back was "Minnesota Twins" — not political at all, unless you're thinking Mondale and Humphrey instead of Killebrew and Oliva.
Here are the buttons from the last puzzle before I was banished to furloughville:
I'm the NRA and I Vote — Distributed at C-PAC by the National Rifle Association.
The Pop — A British punk rock group.
Heidi for Governor — Heidi Heitkamp was the Democratic nominee for governor of North Dakota in 2000, losing to Republican John Hoeven.
I'm for Saylor for Congress — A Republican, John Saylor represented Pennsylvania's 12th District for a dozen terms until his death in 1973. He was replaced in a special 1974 election by John Murtha, a Democrat, who still serves.
Button of a man — Not much more I can say. (Anyone recognize this dapper fellow?)
So, when you add I'm + Pop + Heidi + Saylor + Man, you kinda get ...
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man. And just in case you're dying to hear that song again ...
Assuming you've now recovered from listening to that classic tune, it's now time to declare a winner. And that winner, selected completely at random among the correct responders, is (drum roll) ... Alan Burch of Wichita, Kansas.
But, as I said, the best news of the week was the great e-mails that poured in from people thrilled with the return of ScuttleButton. Laurel Stanley of Caenarfon, United Kingdom, writes, "Thank God ScuttleButton is back — Fridays have been soooo empty." "Please, ScuttleButton," begs Deirdre Carroll of Seattle, "don't ever leave me again!" Chris Hagedorn of Tempe, Ariz., writes that ScuttleButton "is back just in time. I was starting to dig through old boxes of political crap to get my fix." Melissa Hamilton of Locust Grove, Ga., says she was "starting to feel like my brain was going to waste" in the three weeks without the puzzle.
John Kirk of London wasn't happy that I compared the return of ScuttleButton to a rescue of "our American way of life." John writes, "ScuttleButton has become an essential part of British life for me too!" And Joel Shapiro of Bound Brook, N.J., says, "If ScuttleButton did not come back, God would stand before you and all your cronies at NPR." Joel has been attending too many health-care town-hall meetings.
But Marilyn Holland of Goodyear, Ariz., summed it up best: "Thank heavens ScuttleButton is back. The terrorists lose."
(Similarly, Brian Francis of Charlotte, N.C., wrote, "The return of ScuttleButton somewhat softens the week-long furlough news, but only because ScuttleButton is so awesome. Take that terrorists!")
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New ScuttleButton puzzle up every Friday.