Pop Of King (4) – In my book; It’s no contest – (4 października 2003)

I want to welcome you to the First Annual Hollywood Babble-On Competition. But before we get started, I have to be honest and say I’m a little disappointed with how this turned out.

I had it all built up in my mind: how tough it was gonna be, how it was gonna win a cult-like following and turn into this big Internet thing, like Riding the Bullet.

Yep, I had big dreams. But then, basically, I wimped out. I mean, it was my first time, and I was afraid nobody would get the answer, and so Babble-On No. 1 is really easy. If you get the answer right, you could win one of 12 signed copies of my new novel, Wolves of the Calla. If you get the answer wrong, well, you need to get out to the movies more.

First, the instructions, presented to you in the proverbial nutshell. You are looking for the name of an American sports landmark, past or present. If you get the answer, don’t be a wiener and post it on the Net. No, put it in a letter, first-class snail mail, 37-cent stamp (come on, ya piker, you can afford it), and mail it to First Annual Hollywood Babble-On Competition at EW. (For the address, and the official rules of this contest, see the small type that the lawyers made us put at the bottom of the page.) You’ll be able to name the landmark by identifying the movies that are the source of the quotations that follow. Write the films in order, 1 to 15. The first letters of the titles, in order, will spell what you’re looking for. If a title starts with an A or a The, ignore it. Thus A Walk in the Sun be-comes Walk in the Sun, and the letter you’re looking for in that case would be W. Got it?

There are a few toughies here, but as I say, in most cases I wimped out and made it easy. And if you don’t get all the letters, you should still get enough to come up with the answer. One warning: Even if you do get the answer correct, you may not win a book; EW will draw 12 correct answers at random from the entries, and I’ll be disappointed if at least a couple hundred of you don’t get it right.

Are you ready? Okay, put on those cute little thinking caps. And don’t whine, because, I repeat, most of these are really, really EASY. No. 12, for instance, is a total gimme-if you miss that one, go to the back of the room and wear the big conical cap with DUNCE printed on it. And remember, you don’t need to know the names of all the movies to win; just the name of the landmark, printed on a sheet of paper along with your name and address. The snail-mail postage will cost you less than half the price of a really cheap lottery scratch ticket, and you might win a really great book by, ahem, one of America’s modern masters.

And next year’s puzzle will be tougher. Promise. Meanwhile, here are the quotes.

1. Two, three years ago, it was just another snake cult.

2. Parker, I don’t want any heroics out of you, all right? Catch it, put it in the air lock, and get rid of it.

3. Beat ’em or burn ’em, they go up pretty easy.

4. Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to.

5. You got the lanes going east, you got the lanes going west. You also got the lanes going straight to hell. A lot of people have died on it…

6. You’re luggage.

7. Just tell ’em bring an ambulance or a hearse if you’re going to kill me.

8. That wasn’t flying! That was… falling with style!

9. Welcome to Nightmute.

10. Let’s face it, Jake, you’re practically a movie star.

11. Hey, Trina, Bree. Yeah, listen, I could use a quick $50. You got a commuter for me? Terri-fic!

12. Mother! Oh, God, mother! Blood! Blood!

13. We need to schedule more events where someone gives me a really big fish.

14. You’re tearing me apart!

15. Don’t give me this beam-of-light shit, because I don’t buy it. What would you say if I were to tell you that, that I don’t believe you took any trip at all, to Iceland or Greenland or any-where?

See? Easy. Didn’t I tell you? And remember what I said earlier on: If you’ve got the answer, DON’T be a wiener! KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

The answer-for those of you who need it-in my next column, three weeks from now. In the meantime, remember-a great day starts with a great breakfast.