"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 29 June 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Host with the Most



Dear Des Moines,


Thanks so much for your recent

inquiry about hosting the Games.

We have had many fine

applicants, and it's clear from

your letter that Des Moines has

many excellent features that

warrant serious consideration.

However, due to some concerns

about your application, we have

decided that another candidate

more closely matches our

exacting criteria.


As you may know, the IOC has

come under a great deal of

international scrutiny following

a number of alleged bribery

scandals. Even so, you may rest

assured that your lovely gifts

of salami and cheese have been

consumed and thoroughly enjoyed.

Members of the committee were

especially impressed with the

decorative sterling spoons and

shot glasses. And the

marshmallow Ambrosia salad was a

unique surprise. These

delectable items certainly make

your city very enticing indeed!



(We thought you should know that

several committee members are

partial to mayonnaise, a

regional delicacy at which we

understand your city excels.)


We appreciate your openness to

hosting either the summer or

winter Games, and we applaud

your ambitiousness. Still, it's

important to note that the

winter Games generally require

not only a dependable supply

of snow but also a certain

amount of elevation gain,

normally what one would consider

mountainous. It has been our

experience that the luge

competition is singularly

awkward and uninteresting in the

flats of the American Midwest;

likewise, alpine skiing and

bobsledding become somewhat

tedious. As far as the summer

Games are concerned, we have no

doubt that the Des Moines

Municipal ("Olympic-sized") Pool

could accommodate many of the

swimming events, although we

fail to share your enthusiasm

regarding the versatility of the

new wading pool.


While Des Moines' numerous

parking lots and flagpoles are

also civic virtues of the

highest order, there are still a

number of deficiencies in your

application. Without going into

a great deal of detail, we feel

these will become readily

apparent if you take a close

look at past host cities such as

Moscow and Atlanta.



We will keep your application on

file and trust that you will

show the same kind of

discretion that we value in our

winning cities.


Please be advised that members

of the committee may request

additional information from you,

such as the tuitions at local

schools and the availability of

full-warranty kitchen appliances,

to help your application along.

While this information may seem

irrelevant, the committee does

in fact require it — don't

ask. Suffice it to say that our

protocol in the decision-making

process is highly sophisticated

and very difficult, we've found,

for outsiders to grasp. Please

understand that any hopeful

city, town, or village must

comply in order to qualify to

host the Olympiad.


Finally, understand that this

particular committee does not

review proposals for adding new

sports or activities to the

Olympic schedule. Although

snowball fighting,

pig wrestling, and turtle

racing both sound quite

compelling in theory, to be

perfectly candid, we're guessing

they lack a certain televisual

appeal. Still, we'll be glad to

forward these ideas to the

Exhibition and Competition

Committee. Heck, they approved

the biathlon (skiing with guns,

for crying out loud), right?



We'll definitely consider Des

Moines for future Olympiads.

In the mean time, we feel

duty-bound to assure you that

your unsolicited gift of a

subscription to Beer of the

Month Club will have no direct

influence on the committee's

ultimate decision. Even so, at

least one German secretary is

very pleased with a certain

microbrew from Ames.


Best wishes,



courtesy of E. L. Skinner

[Purchase the Suck Book here]