Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Bluff The Listener

Our panelists tell three stories about the surprising origins of common things.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

CARL KASELL, host: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Peter Grosz, Roy Blount Jr., and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, host: Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Thank you so much. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

TED PEASE: This is Ted Pease from Logan, Utah.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Logan?

PEASE: Well, you know, I just heard that applause and I don't get that when I get in my classroom.

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Hey, can we all applaud for Ted.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: There you go. So I'm assuming you teach something depressing and sad?

PEASE: Yeah, journalism.

SAGAL: Oh yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well Ted, welcome to the show. You're going to play out game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Ted's topic?

KASELL: Oh, that's how they make that.

SAGAL: We rarely stop to wonder what it is we're shoving into our mouths or slathering on our skin: where it comes from, who made it, and how? If we knew those answers, well we'd still eat it. We're Americans.

Anyway, this week our panelists are going to read you three origin stories of things we commonly use. Guess the true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Okay, here we go, Ted. Let's hear first from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Makeup artist Jeremy Ridgewell is the unexpected darling of New York Fashion Week, thanks to his innovative looks. Especially his glow in the dark eye shadows on the runways of Jason Wu, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein.

His secret? Radioactive waste, mixed with ground mother of pearl and organic dies. Quote, "I got the idea when I worked as a medical technician by day, drag queen at night," he tells Women's Wear Daily.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: "I needed something that really popped onstage." His makeup caught on with downtown hipsters. Quote, "they were really into the irony of it," and got noticed by fashion editors earlier this year. Ridgewell won't says exactly where he gets the waste, but stresses there's only trace amounts of radiation in the makeup, less than a chest x-ray.

And most models, he says, have no problems with his product, except for the acid green eye shadow. Quote, "That kind of freaks them out, but I tell them that fashion is all about taking risks."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: A glowing form of makeup, made from radioactive waste. Your next unusual background story comes from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Next time you are really high and wondering how they get the cream filling into a Hostess cupcake or how much wood a woodchuck could actually chuck, don't contemplate where that weed you just smoked comes from, you might not want to know the answer. Residents of the Chu Valley, a remote region between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have a rather unorthodox method for harvesting their hash.

First, a highly trained - pun intended - individual gets completely naked and rides on horseback through a dense field of pot plants. After a few hours, when both the rider and horse are covered with a thick layer of resin and sweat, the sticky brown substance is scraped off their bodies, pressed into bricks and sold to eager customers. "Dark Side of the Moon" CD not included.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: So, the good news is if you've ever smoked this stuff and though, "man, this tastes like the sweat of a stocky central Asian man and his horse," you were right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: The potent product, known as plastilin, is extremely popular with locals and is reported to be the only type of marijuana that definitely does not give you the munchies.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Pot resin scraped from the naked skin of central Asian horsemen.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROY BLOUNT: Well summed up.

SAGAL: Yeah. And your last behind the scenes revelation comes from Roy Blount, Jr.

BLOUNT: Honey bees, alas, are a threatened species. So maybe it's a good thing they no longer have a monopoly on making honey. This week, the Food and Drug Administration announced approval of a new form of honey, induced from rabbits.

Put Peter Cottontail in a cubicle with room only for him and a conveyor belt carrying a mixture of carrots and nasturtiums and the rabbit will chew and chew and continue to chew long after he is sated and ceases to swallow. The result in overflow is conveyed to special vats, where it steeps, along with organic enzymes and natural sweeteners

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: Until viola, bunny honey.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: Too much of an ick factor for you? How do you think bees make honey?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right. Here then are your stories. Somebody out there is using either, from Roxanne, glittery makeup made from radioactive medical waste. From Peter Grosz, they're smoking pot that's made from a resin scraped from the naked bodies of horsemen. Or from Roy Blount Jr., bunny honey, made in a process so gross I don't want to go over it again.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which of these is the real story of a strange but true origin?

PEASE: You know, I love them all.

SAGAL: Yeah.

PEASE: Who wouldn't like bunny honey or a sweaty horseman? But I have to go with the glow in the dark toxic waste.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: You've got that look Roxanne that you sometimes get. All right, your choice then is Roxanne's story of the glow in the dark makeup made from medical waste. The audience, at least part of them, seems to agree with you. All right, we actually spoke to someone who can tell us about this remarkable product.

MICHAEL ALDRICH: Workers would run through the hemp fields naked and gather up

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ALDRICH: And scrape it off later.

SAGAL: That was Dr. Michael Aldrich, author of "The High Times Encyclopedia of Recreational Drugs."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Talking about the central Asian horsemen who would run through the fields, or ride through them, until their bodies were covered with pollen and dust, which was then scraped off and made into a potent resin.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Makes you want to eat some bunny honey, doesn't it?

SAGAL: It really does.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, as so many have been before you, you've been seduced and misled by Roxanne Roberts, but you did earn her a point. Thank you so much for playing.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: And Roxanne, I'm sure you're grateful as well.

Thank you, Peter.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!