Pending an appeal in federal court, the election to recall (or not) the governor of California is (or isn’t) just a few weeks away. The campaign itself has been relatively short and so grassroots electioneering has been critical. Much of the effort has gone to door-to-door canvassing and colorful signs for candidates to display in the yards and windows of their supporters.

Now these signs aren’t very big, which is a problem for some candidates, specifically Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must print his last name in very small letters. This puts him at a great disadvantage to more recognizable, large-print rivals like Audie Bock and Paul Nave.

Now imagine how difficult it would be for Arnold if he had to campaign with a running mate. It would be much easier if the first name of the candidate for lieutenant governor shared a few letters with Arnold’s last name. For instance, if he were running alongside the former star of TV’s Major Dad, the sign would read:

“Arnold SchwarzenegGerald McRaney”

Or, if Gary Coleman wanted to run with Albanian Actress Ema Ndoja, they could be:

“Gary ColEmaNdoja”

Below, you will find the first two letters of the first name of potential candidates, and the last two letters of the last names of their potential running mates. Fill in the blank to reveal the name of the complete ticket. California election rules require all candidates and their running mates be television or movie actors. They do not require, however, that the candidates be living, or even for the candidates to have been on this Earth at the same time. The names of candidates and their running mates must share at least three letters. In some cases there may be more than one correct answer. The winner of a McSweeney’s book will be chosen at random from all entries with the most answers correct. Answers are due by noon, Friday, September 19, 2003.

- - -

1. Ja_____________ey

2. Ga_____________ty

3. Em____________hn

4. Ti_____________ck

5. Ca_____________nn

6. Ma_____________es

7. Le_____________er

8. Ra_____________on

9. Wi_____________or

10. Ma_____________en

- - -


Five people had ten acceptable answers to the puzzle, in which we asked readers to form tickets for California Governor/Lieutenant Governor consisting of actors, living or dead, whose names started and ended with letters we provided and which also had at least three letters overlapping in the middle. There was, of course, more than one possible answer for each of these and this led to some pretty obscure pairings (anyone remember Emma Barron and Ronnie Kahn?). Admiring nods to Earl Humphries, Sam Koch, Jay Erdmann, Josh Mictom, and this week’s winner of a McSweeney’s book: Graham Hillard. Honorable mention goes to Bryce Chackerian who had six answers that matched ours, more than anyone, but who just couldn’t come up with a pairing for number nine.

For the record, here are the tickets we had in mind:

1. Jason AlexanDERmot Mulroney

2. Gabrielle AnWARren Beatty

3. Emilio ESTEVEZahn

4. Timothy BotTOMSelleck

5. Carrie FiSHERilyn Fenn

6. Maximilian SchELLen DeGeneres

7. Leslie Ann WarRENee Zellweger

8. Raul JuLIAm Neeson

9. Willie AaMEShach Taylor

10. Matt LeBLANCe Henriksen

No one was able to match our answers for seven or nine.

A few other notes about the entries we received from the aforementioned Fab Five, who were each ten-of-ten.

The California Governor’s race includes at least one adult actress, so we had to allow them on our fictitious tickets as well. Josh Mictom used this loophole to his advantage, forming the team, “Rachel RYAN Cameron.” As many of you are no doubt aware, Rachel is the star of over 150 films, including Splendor in the Ass, Porn on the Fourth of July, Rambone the Destroyer, and, improbably, an instructional video called The Secrets of Making Love to the Same Person Forever.

We also want to acknowledge Jay Erdmann’s pairing, “Ralph BellAMY Jo Johnson.” Amy Jo Johnson, who first burst onto the scene as the pink Power Ranger, is an actress with credits in over a dozen movies and television programs, including most recently, a supporting role on the popular television show, Felicity. Amy Jo was also the subject of one of the most memorable moments on the IFC television series Dinner for Five, a weekly program in which actor Jon Favreau sits down to dinner with other actors and they discuss the business of independent film. One night, his guests included Colin Farrell, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, and _Alias_’s Jennifer Garner. As the main course was served, Jennifer Garner mentioned that she is often mistaken for other actresses, and said that fans frequently ask for her autograph thinking she is Amy Jo Johnson. In an exchange that must have caused poor Amy Jo to bury her horrified face into a decorative sofa cushion, and one that surely told us more about Ben Affleck than we learned in two full seasons of Project Greenlight, the popular star of Daredevil and consensus A-List Beautiful Person exclaimed: “Who the fuck is Amy Jo Johnson?”

At that moment, every single member of the Brain Exploder staff — male or female, straight or gay, married or unmarried — developed an incurable crush on Amy Jo Johnson and we are making it a goal of the Brain Exploder to help make Amy Jo the most powerful woman in Hollywood, capable of crushing Ben Affleck’s career with only the speed dial on her cell phone

Now, we don’t actually want her to crush Ben Affleck because that would be mean and not something that the idealized Amy Jo of our idle-moment daydreams would do to another human being. But we want her to be capable of it.

So from this day forward, anyone who is able to work Amy Jo Johnson into their Brain Exploder answers in a credible way (and I stress the credible part) will receive a special mention on these pages.

It won’t help you win any prizes, but you will be striking a blow for good karma.