As a long-time watcher of the TV show "Happy Days" and an admirer of Henry Winkler, I'm very familiar with Ponzi and his schemes. But if you really want to see a Ponzi scheme, there's no better place to look than at the weekly ScuttleButton puzzle.
It's where I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site every Wednesday. Your job, other than to send me your Social Security and bank account numbers, is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
For years, a correct answer chosen at random would get his or her name posted in this column, an incredible honor. Now the stakes are even higher. Thanks to the efforts of the folks at Talk of the Nation, that person also receives a Political Junkie t-shirt. Is this a great country or what?
I should also say that since ScuttleButton has now begun to appear on the TOTN web site, more and more people are discovering the contest for the first time. Thus, you may see some repeat puzzles from years past.
You can't use the comments box at the bottom of the page for your answer. Send submission (plus your name and city/state — you won't win without that) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, by adding your name to the Political Junkie mailing list, you will be among the first on your block to receive notice about the column and the puzzle. Sign up at email@example.com. Or you can make sure to get an automatic RSS feed whenever a new Junkie post goes up by clicking here.
By the way, I usually reveal the answer — and announce the winner — on Wednesday's Junkie segment on TOTN. So you should get your answer in by Tuesday.
Here's the answer to last week's puzzle:
(Man dressed as a chicken) — That's Bill Clements, the Republican nominee for governor of Texas, during his winning race in 1978.
Ed Koch for Mayor — Koch, a Democratic member of Congress from Manhattan, was first elected mayor of NYC in 1977.
A — This button was obtained at an Anarchist Party bookstore in lower Manhattan in the early 1970s.
(Picture button of Margaret Thatcher) — The former Conservative Party prime minister of Great Britain.
So, when you combine chicken + Koch + A + Tory, you kinda get ...
Chicken cacciatore — a familiar Italian dish.
And the winner, chosen completely at random, is ... Susan Daigle-Leach of Prescott, Ariz. If she can prove she's a U.S. citizen, she wins a TOTN t-shirt.