That was the winter that was

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With one week left to go 'til spring, it's time to renew your command of the news stories that dominated the public discourse during the last three months (and a few that hovered under the cultural radar). In this freewheeling quiz, we ask you to separate the harsh facts of winter from some deceptively plausible fiction.

1. On Feb. 21, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) declared, "I feel bad to this day about what happened to Metallica." To what was he referring?
a. The 1986 bus crash that killed bassist Cliff Burton
b. The band's loss of the 1989 Best Hard Rock/Metal Grammy to Jethro Tull
c. The backlash the group experienced due to its anti-Napster stance, which Hatch shares
d. Having to tour with Axl Rose

2. In addition to duct tape and plastic sheeting, how much nonperishable food and water was to be included in the survival kits advocated by the Department of Homeland Security?
a. Three days' worth
b. One week's worth
c. Four pounds' worth per family member
d. A "shitload," a term the department flatly refused to define

3. What is the significance of $10,000?
a. It's the amount stuntman Gary McLarty claimed to have been offered to murder the wife of actor Robert Blake
b. It's the highest estimated value of the black-and-teal wig that was stolen from Cher's concert tour (and later recovered)
c. Both (a) and (b)
b. It's the individual burden each U.S. taxpayer was asked to shoulder for war in Iraq

4. Which of the following exceeded 200?
a The number of votes cast for last-place candidate Alex Lamour in the Feb. 4 Orlando mayoral election
b. The number of concertgoers dead or hospitalized (as of March 7) due to the Feb. 20 fire at Rhode Island nightclub The Station
c. The number of winners who shared $246,625 in the Florida Lottery's Dec. 26 "Fantasy 5" drawing
d. The number of times President George Bush uttered the word "evil" in his Jan. 28 State of the Union address

5. What did Governor Jeb Bush propose doing with the circulating-book collection of the State Library of Florida?
a. Transferring it to Nova Southeastern University in South Florida
b. Auctioning it off to pay for the controversial class-size amendment
c. Dispersing it equally among our failing schools
d. "Getting all Fahrenheit 451 on its ass" 6. Which of the following tragedies was not termed an accident by anyone involved?
a. The shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at the home of record producer Phil Spector
b. The murder of orthodontist David Harris by his Mercedes-driving wife, Clara
c. The drowning of Seattle cell-phone magnate Keith McCaw
d. The publication of John Grisham's latest legal potboiler, The King of Torts

7. Her Best Supporting Actress nod for Adaptation made Meryl Streep the most-nominated female performer in Oscar history. Whose record did she break?
a. Ingrid Bergman
b. Sophia Loren
c. Katherine Hepburn
d. Sir Ian McKellen

8. According to experts quoted by the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, what was likely to fall "just short of torture?"
a. The fate of political dissidents in Zimbabwe
b. The questioning of nabbed Al-Qaeda planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
c. The (marginally improved) treatment of dogs and cats in South Korea
d. The debut episode of the CBS-TV series "My Big Fat Greek Life"

9. Just after Christmas, the Hooters restaurant chain announced that it would slap its company logo on an otherwise unrelated business venture. Of what kind?
a. An outdoor amphitheater in Butte, Mont.
b. An airline
c. A truck driven by rising NASCAR star Tina Gordon
d. An assisted-living center for victims of botched breast-augmentation procedures

10. Why was a state of emergency declared in New York City on Feb. 26?
a. Supplies of the small-pox vaccine had reached record lows
b. Severe snowstorms had stirred the sympathy of the federal government
c. The city's terror-alert level was being raised to "orange," the same as the rest of the nation
d. Half-blind from shingles, a crazed David Letterman was rampaging through Times Square

11. CNN anchor Aaron Brown was criticized for doing what instead of working on Saturday, Feb. 1, the date of the Columbia disaster?
a. Playing in a California golf tournament
b. Attending his daughter's wedding
c. Serving meals at an Atlanta soup kitchen
d. Partying at the Playboy Mansion with Orrin Hatch and Metallica

1. c | 2. a | 3. c | 4. c | 5. a | 6. d | 7. c | 8. b | 9. b | 10. b | 11. a

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