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Who's Carl This Time?

Carl reads three quotes about brilliant innovations: The man who created both the comb-over and a great salad; Abe Lincoln's annoying email habits; and before it was "squeezably soft."

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PETER SAGAL, Host:

Today we bring you one of our most requested shows. It includes the famed battle in Berkeley between our own Paula Poundstone and food writer Michael Pollan.

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CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ in Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell, and here's your host, at Cal Performances in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, Peter Sagal.

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SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Thank you, Carl. We are happy to be here in northern California where...

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SAGAL: Yes, that's where we are. Where forty or so years ago, everybody was stoned all the time, and that's why they dreamed of a world in which there was only peace and love and happiness and hemp clothing. Then, about twenty years ago, things changed. People here started dreaming about a world in which the same little electronic box to order and make friends and listen to Portuguese Fado music on the elliptical machine.

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SAGAL: And we thought about that and we realized, it's the same people. They never went straight, they just got venture capital.

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SAGAL: So on today's show, we are going to talk about technology, high, low and really low. It's a special innovation-themed WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! You can still play. The number 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MICHELLE DAVIDSON: Hi, this is Michelle. I'm from Phoenix, Arizona.

SAGAL: Hey Michelle, how are you?

DAVIDSON: I'm great. How are you?

SAGAL: Well, we're good. What do you do there in Phoenix?

DAVIDSON: I am a mom and I'm a political consultant.

SAGAL: A mom slash political consultant.

DAVIDSON: Correct, yes.

SAGAL: Does your experience dealing with young children help you deal with candidates?

DAVIDSON: Oh you would not believe what I have learned from my kids.

SAGAL: Really?

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DAVIDSON: The diapering skills alone are so helpful.

SAGAL: I know, just cleaning up after.

TOM BODETT: What kind of mom are you, a hockey or soccer?

DAVIDSON: Well, both my kids are still in diapers, so I'm really just more of a...

PAULA POUNDSTONE: You can still shoot them across the floor with a stick.

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DAVIDSON: I'll keep that in mind.

SAGAL: Michelle, let me into you to our panel this week. First, say hello to author, humorist and the man responsible for everything you'll find at bodett.com, Mr. Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Hello, Michelle

DAVIDSON: Hi, Tom.

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SAGAL: Next, it's the comedienne whose new CD "I Heart Jokes" is out on iTunes, Amazon and her website paulapoundstone.com, Paula Poundstone.

DAVIDSON: Hey, Paula.

POUNDSTONE: Hey, how are you?

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SAGAL: And finally, it's television personality, Mo Rocca right there.

DAVIDSON: Hi, Mo.

MO ROCCA: Hi, Michelle.

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SAGAL: Michelle, welcome to the show. Now you're going to play Who's Carl this Time. But this week, instead of the week's news, all of your quotations will be about brilliant innovations. If you can correctly identify or explain two of these great leaps forward, you will win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to go?

DAVIDSON: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right, here is your first quote.

KASELL: He used to comb the thin strands of hair forward. Out of all the honors voted him by the Senate and people, none please him so much as the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath. He constantly took advantage of it.

SAGAL: Now that, I'm sure you know, was the Roman historian Suetonius.

DAVIDSON: Oh right, yeah.

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SAGAL: He was describing a man some consider to be the father of the comb-over.

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SAGAL: Who?

DAVIDSON: Would that be Julius Caesar?

SAGAL: It was Julius Caesar.

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SAGAL: What a guy.

DAVIDSON: Yeah.

SAGAL: Conquered Gaul, overthrew the Roman Republic, gave us a totally kickass salad.

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SAGAL: And now we can credit him with inventing the comb-over. At least that's according to Gersh Kuntzmen, author of "Hair, Mankind's Historic Quest to End Baldness."

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SAGAL: He says the Romans, in particular, were terrified of losing their hair. They tried everything from hippo fat to "salves containing the urine of young foals."

BODETT: Boy, that doesn't work.

SAGAL: I can tell you, let me...

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SAGAL: And the smell, oh, that was a bad period. Anyway, in fact, Caesar was obsessed with his hair, or lack thereof, right up until the moment of his death, when he looked up at his assassin and said, "Et toupee, Brutus?"

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ROCCA: So...

SAGAL: I apologize.

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ROCCA: So when people...

SAGAL: Yeah, I deserved that. That's fine. That's okay.

BODETT: Can you imagine how the lives of bald men throughout the millennia would have changed had Caesar just been bald, left his hair alone.

ROCCA: Yeah.

SAGAL: Just let it go.

BODETT: Yeah. I mean he was Caesar; he could have done whatever he wanted.

SAGAL: I find it kind of amazing to think of Caesar, who we think as truly one of the great men of history, as being so vain and insecure. I mean, all of the sudden I'm picturing him standing there, like, "Does this toga draped this way make me look fat?"

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BODETT: It makes you wonder how it might have influenced, like, architecture. I mean if he had Rome built so that people couldn't really look down on the top of his head.

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SAGAL: Yeah.

ROCCA: They don't have tall buildings. It's just...

BODETT: Right. Tall buildings didn't come really until the toupee made the scene.

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BODETT: When you think about it, there could be a connection there.

SAGAL: Speaking of great leaders, Michelle, here is a quote from and 1862 speech by Abraham Lincoln.

KASELL: I believe there is no precedent for my appearing before you on this occasion, but it is also true there is no precedent for your being here yourselves.

SAGAL: Good line, right? Well, right after that apparent big laugh line, in the written copy of the speech, Lincoln used something to indicate he was joking, the first known use in history of what?

DAVIDSON: Can I have a hint?

SAGAL: Yeah, well if you really want to get it, you have to turn the paper sideways.

DAVIDSON: A parenthesis.

SAGAL: A parenthesis used in a special way with another with the same...

DAVIDSON: Oh, oh, a smiley face.

SAGAL: Right, an emoticon.

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DAVIDSON: Oh my.

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SAGAL: A little known fact, Lincoln invented the emoticon.

DAVIDSON: Wow.

SAGAL: In a transcript of President Lincoln's remarks on that occasion, after that surefire laugh line, applause and laughter is noted, followed by a semicolon then closed parenthesis, right. And at least one historian of document says that then, as today, that symbol was meant to indicate a sideways winking smiley face, an emoticon.

DAVIDSON: Oh.

SAGAL: We knew that Lincoln was eloquent. It is a surprise to find out he could also be cloyingly annoying.

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ROCCA: I'm imagining IM'ing with Lincoln now.

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SAGAL: This also...

POUNDSTONE: Were there any indications of that in Gettysburg Address?

SAGAL: Well, it does explain something. People have been puzzling about this. In the second inaugural, in the manuscript, right after the famous line "but let us judge not, that we not be judged," there is the notation in Lincoln's hand, LOL.

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SAGAL: So...

ROCCA: With malice towards none, LOL.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROCCA: ROTFLMAO.

SAGAL: Exactly.

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BODETT: I'd like to see his little IMs to General Meade, you know. WTF?

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ROCCA: Yes, exactly, WTF?

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ROCCA: That's great.

SAGAL: Michelle?

DAVIDSON: Yes.

SAGAL: For your last innovation, please listen to this advertisement from 1935, read for you by Carl.

KASELL: Guaranteed 100 percent free from splinters.

SAGAL: What product was finally offered squeezably soft and splinter-free?

DAVIDSON: A hint?

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DAVIDSON: Please.

SAGAL: Mr. Whipple got splinters in his fingers.

ROCCA: Oh my god, wait, oh my gosh.

DAVIDSON: Oh, it's the sponge. No, wait.

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DAVIDSON: Oh, toilet paper.

SAGAL: Toilet paper, yes, of course, toilet paper.

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DAVIDSON: Oh, what else.

BODETT: It took until 1935?

SAGAL: Amazingly.

ROCCA: Geez, what my grandparents went through.

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly. The next time some television commenter starts telling you that things are just as bad now as the Great Depression, don't you believe it.

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SAGAL: We're much better off. In 1935, it was the Northern Company that gave mankind another great leap forward, splinter-free bathroom tissue. It took its place along the first shark-less bathtub.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The first pants which bent at the knee.

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SAGAL: And this was important, Fruit of the Loom's historic decision to stop making its underwear from actual fruit.

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SAGAL: Now, of course, we've moved beyond toilet paper, we do it now with an iPhone app.

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ROCCA: The iWipe.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did Michelle do our quiz?

KASELL: Michelle was perfect, Peter. She wins our prize.

SAGAL: Well done, Michelle.

POUNDSTONE: Wow.

SAGAL: Congratulations.

DAVIDSON: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

DAVIDSON: Thank you for having me.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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