Hide and Peek

There's a new Mr. Missouri Leather! Plus: counterfeit-proof White Castle gift certificates; talking crab rangoon with novelist Lynn Messina; and a disturbing SAT flashback.

Unreal: What is chick-lit? And why does your press release say its demise is greatly exaggerated?

Lynn Messina: Chick-lit was all part of the Bridget Jones fallout. It started with these mid-twentysomething women looking for a man and going out on one-after-another successive terrible dates, looking for humor. Now it has sort of evolved into anything written by a woman under 50.

Who's the more pro-chick-lit candidate, Kerry or Bush?

Newly tanned Mr. Missouri Leather Ron Walters (right) 
hopes outgoing champ Mark Bozif keeps that lighted 
stogie away from the ol' rawhide.
Scott Lokitz
Newly tanned Mr. Missouri Leather Ron Walters (right) hopes outgoing champ Mark Bozif keeps that lighted stogie away from the ol' rawhide.
Washington University grad Lynn Messina
Washington University grad Lynn Messina

I'm gonna have to say John Kerry, because I don't think Bush reads.

Did you write a home-design parody with the hopes of getting fired from Metropolitan Home too?

I told them that my next book would be about a furniture designer, but I swore it had nothing to do with them.

Why did you go to Wash. U.? Is it because you knew the school would one day be ranked higher than Columbia?

I was given a two-hour travel limit from home by my mom, and Wash. U. was as far as I could go. I had no idea there would be so many Long Islanders there.

Which do you like better, St. Louis or New York City?

Um, New York City.

Maybe I should put it this way, then: Which city has legalized gambling and has an arch?

St. Louis.

That's right! And which has better toasted ravioli?

St. Louis, of course. That's also where I discovered crab rangoon, which is quite my favorite. We don't have it here in New York.

Crab rangoon rocks!

Cheese being deep-fried -- how could it not be loved?

No More Multiple Choice

Unreal's stomach took a tumble when we heard that the College Board, those merciless masterminds behind the Scholastic Aptitude Test, has raised the top score possible on the dreaded college-entrance exam from 1600 to 2400, rendering our hungover 800 even more pathetic.

So we put in a call to Kaplan Inc., the Washington Post-owned company to whom worried parents shell out big bucks to prepare their pimple-faced kids for the Big Test. Jonathan Zeitlin, a Kaplan exec in New York City, says the architects added a new section to the test devoted to essay writing and grammar, and subtracted analogies, that classic SAT exercise in mental masturbation. Unreal decided to join the throngs of freaked-out high school juniors who want answers now.

Unreal: The essay section must be handwritten. What if my penmanship is worse than a chimpanzee's?

Jonathan Zeitlin: I have absolutely horrible penmanship. Usually, the worse the handwriting, the smarter the student is. But if it's completely unreadable, they'll have a hard time grading it.

With analogies gone from the test, how will Conan O'Brien ask important questions like "Beyoncé is to did the national anthem as Christina Aguilera is to did the National Football League"?

Maybe he could bust people with bad grammar.

But seriously, isn't this being propelled by a shortage of good analogy writers?

No, that's not the case.

If the new score is 2400 and I made a 1500 ten years ago, doesn't that make me look dumb now?


OK, let's be honest. I didn't get anywhere near a 1500. Can I take the test again to better my pathetic score?

There's a guy in California who has been trying to set the record for the lowest SAT score ever. To get the lowest score ever, you have to be incredibly smart, because you have to be able to figure out every answer that's right and get it wrong on purpose.

That's what I did! OK, here's an analogy: crumb is to bread as a) Lil Jon is to crunk; b) drinking is to college; c) a 900 on the SAT is to spending the rest of your life flipping burgers at Hardee's.

We have a method for analogies called "building a bridge," which means you build a little sentence in your mind. So a crumb is a little piece of bread, but drinking isn't a little piece of the college experience.

I don't think we went to the same college.

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