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Scared stupid

Sure, America's schools may have hit a bad patch the last few decades or so, but rest easy. Ours is an ingenious kind of nation where the powers of the market can be brought to bear to solve any problem.

And it is in that spirit that an outfit called Monarch Home Video has taken aim at the school market. For only $379.80 retailers can purchase this secret weapon and send it on into local schools to help them all catch up with the Japanese.

And the weapon? Well, it's Ernest _ that highly intellectual "rubber-faced clown of advertising and motion picture infamy," as Monarch's flaks call him.

Here's the scheme, offered by those flaks, in the kind of sentence that would make a good English teacher squirm: "Using clues, dates, measurements and facts, which are written into the script of Ernest Rides Again, students will watch the movie and then try to answer the questions as best they can using whatever resources needed, such as clues from the movie, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc."

It's so good to see Hollywood taking on a good cause.

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