This week, Lucius Flatley, urbane connoisseur of things clever and insightful, introduced Proust’s Questionnaire to the coffee-shop seminar. He informed the group that this questionnaire was originally a 19th-century parlor game invented by Antoinette Faure, daughter of the president of France, and consists of a series of personal questions asked of prominent people, to which pithy replies are expected.

Lucius asked his listeners to present a few questions, together with the answers, that might be asked of a few well-known people. The results were varied.

Sen. Larry Craig: What is the trait you most admire in others? “Good looking footwear on men.”

Secretary Janet Napolitano: What it your greatest regret? “Saying ‘the system worked.’”

Bill Clinton: What woman do you admire most? “The next one I see.”

Tiger Woods: What man do you admire most? “JFK. He got away with it.”

Rush Limbaugh: What are your two greatest fears? “1. To be outed; sand 2. The truth.”

Karl Rove: Which person do you think was the greatest US president? “Dick Cheney.”

Roman Catholic bishop: Who is eligible for heaven? “Only those that oppose same-sex marriage.”

Capt. Sully Sullenberg: What do you think heaven might be like? “A complete absence of Canadian geese.”

Congressman Charlie Wrangel: What talent would you like to have that you don’t possess? “The ability to handle my tax reports honestly.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “What person you’d most like to have as a seatmate on one of your flights to California? “Ronald Reagan – he’d fall asleep for the entire trip.”

Gen. David Petraeus: What would you like to have for Christmas? “Another medal to finish out the ninth row on my uniform.”

Pope Benedict XVI: What was your most embarrassing moment? “When my teleprompter quit while I was explaining why priests should remain celibate.”

Dick Cheney: What is your greatest regret? “Not being able to recall for 75 separate times under oath – any conversations about Valerie Plame and her job with the CIA.”

Maine CEO of FairPoint Communications: What job would you most like to have? “Manager of the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas, with a free ticket to get there.”

General manager of Pike Industries in Westbrook: What talent would you most like to have? “The ability to mine rock and crush gravel without noise or dust.”

Sen. John McCain: What running mate would you select other than Sarah Palin? “Next time I would go with Madonna.”

Vice President Joe Biden: What person would you most like to spend the night with? “Anyone who would listen without interrupting.”

Manager of the Red Sox: What is your greatest need? “Babe Ruth.”

Coach Bill Belichick of the Patriots: Why did you decide to run on fourth down?“I thought it was third down.”

Sarah Palin: Why, and when, did you decide you wanted to be vice president of the United States? “Because I could see Russia from my kitchen and when my husband won his first dog sled race.”

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina: What is your favorite exercise? “Hiking in the Appalachian Mountains.”

Jesse Jackson: What would you say to St. Peter upon arriving at the Pearly Gates? “Are the accommodations here separate but equal?”

Rudy Giuliani: What was your most embarrassing moment? “When my third wife caught me wearing drag.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: What are your favorite three words? “No, no and no!!”

Libby Mitchell, president of the Maine Senate and candidate for governor: What would you cut out of the budget to meet Maine’s shortfall? “Clean election funds for male gubernatorial candidates.”

Nestle Waters CEO: What is your favorite beverage? “Anything but Wells public water.”

Bernie Madoff. Do you have any regrets? “Yes, that I got caught.”

Sponsor of TABOR: What would you like to have most? “A state-wide referendum every week.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe: What do you like most about your job? “Getting my picture on Time magazine because I couldn’t make up my mind.”

Gov. John Baldacci. What is your greatest fear? “To lose more hair.”


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