Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Bluff The Listener

Our panelists tell us three stories of a Welsh farmer and his prizewinning rutabaga, only one of which is true.

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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 PJ O'Rourke, Paula Poundstone and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, host: Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. 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!.

LAURA GENTRY: Hello, this is Laughing Laura from Marquette, Iowa.

SAGAL: Laughing Laura?

GENTRY: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Okay.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, I figured that was going to happen. All right.

GENTRY: I'm a teacher of laughter yoga.

SAGAL: You are kidding me.

GENTRY: I am not.

SAGAL: We understood that laughing yoga, which we talked about last week on the show, is the practice of yoga in which you don't actually bend yourself in interesting ways, you just laugh.

GENTRY: Exactly. If you can laugh and you can breathe, you can do it. It's the best exercise.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Laura, so is there any actual yoga involved?

GENTRY: Yogic breathing, that's it.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: I can do this.

SAGAL: Look.

GENTRY: You can.

SAGAL: I think we should not look a gift horse in the mouth.

LUKE BURBANK: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Let's just proceed.

PJ O'ROURKE: Okay.

SAGAL: Laura, you're going to play our bluff game, and that means that our panelists are going to tell you some stories, only one of which is true. Carl, what is Laura's topic?

KASELL: Once upon a time, there was a Welsh farmer who grew a giant rutabaga.

SAGAL: This week, we read about a farmer in Cardiff, Wales, who broke a record with his giant 85 pound prize rutabaga. That was amazing enough. But what caught our attention is what happened next.

Each of our panelists is going to finish the story of the Welshman's monstrous rutabaga. But while the rutabaga is real, only one of the stories is. Guess that true ending to the story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering or voicemail or whatever you might have. Ready to play?

GENTRY: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear the story of the rutabaga from PJ O'Rourke.

O'ROURKE: To be precise, the rutabaga weighed 38.9 kilograms. Unfortunately, EU Root Vegetable Regulations Article 21 Section 47 limit individual rutabaga size to 36 kilos, thus preventing sale of the rutabaga within the European Union. This was a shame because rutabaga prices, as with many commodities, are nearing record highs: 46.2 Euros per kilo.

Furthermore, because Neale's rutabaga seed had cost ten cents, British Inland Revenue ruled that he had made a 24,000 percent profit growing the vegetable.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

O'ROURKE: And what with the 28 percent value added tax, he owed the government $6,720.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

O'ROURKE: Neale sought a free market solution, engaging in a complex series of credit swaps with sovereign debt derivative traders, and you know the result from this week's headlines. The entire assets of Greece's Central Bank is one giant rutabaga.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The rutabaga causes tax problems for the farmer in question and ends up in Greece, propping up their economy. Your next story of a Welshman's rutabaga comes from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: Ian Neale's giant rutabaga seems to have struck a chord in many. Just days after he posted pictures of it online, people began showing up on his farm to see the amazing root vegetable for themselves. "Naturally, I let them come by for a rutabaga visit," says Mr. Neale.

"But one day, I look out and see some young folks bowing down to the thing. They appeared to be worshipping it." Within a few weeks, a bewildered Neale had crowds of rutabaga worshipers on his farm. Valkiere Page(ph) visits the rutabaga once a week. "I don't know that I'd call it worshipping," she says, "I just confess my sins to it and ask it for help."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "It doesn't judge me."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "It just feels good to be with the rutabaga. It has changed my life. I will never eat another vegetable."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "I already don't eat meat. Honestly, I'm hungry," says Jason DeBride.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Shifting a small pebble from one side of his mouth to the other.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "I'm here to ask the rutabaga for help." Those visiting the rutabaga seem to leave serene and satisfied. Diana Perry walks happily towards me, explaining, "Look here, I've been visiting the rutabaga for only two weeks, and I used to walk kind of funky, you see, with my foot turned out like that. Now, I walk like this. It's all the rutabaga."

"It's the hard times," claims Neale. "People are going around the bend. It's got to be. I raised an enormous cucumber two years and no one so much as dropped by to say hello to it."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The rutabaga inspiring people to come, treat it with reverence and worship. Your last story of a Welshman and his rutabaga comes from Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: Neale says he was shocked when he realized just how massive the Brassica napobrassica he'd cultivated was. But things got even weirder when the retired farmer received a personal video message from none other than Snoop Dogg.

Yes, that's right, the Snoop Dogg, also known as rapperus americanus.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Snoop recorded a YouTube video praising Neale's horticulture and offering him backstage passes to an upcoming show in Cardiff in exchange for green thumb tips on how the rapper could also grow giant, um, vegetables. That's right, vegetables.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: In what obviously was just some weird unrelated coincidence, the Dogg Father recorded the video message in front of a backdrop of hundreds of marijuana plants. Neale says he's flattered by the attention but is passing on the chance to meet Snoop, claiming he's more of a country and western fan.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BURBANK: Snoop reportedly took the brush off in stride, spending the afternoon playing video games, eating pizza rolls and contemplating how weird it is that we, like, have fingers.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right. Here are your three choices, Laura.

From PJ O'Rourke, the rutabaga causing the farmer in question tremendous tax problems, and him giving it to Greece. From Paula Poundstone, the rutabaga inspiring, well worshipers to come and pay it obeisance. Or from Luke Burbank, Snoop Dogg himself being inspired by this feat of horticulture to ask the farmer for help with his own backyard growing projects. Which of these is the real outcome of this giant rutabaga being grown?

GENTRY: I'm going to have to take Luke's story because I saw Snoop Dogg's video myself.

SAGAL: Okay, you're pretty confident. Let's see if you're right. Let's listen to this.

SNOOP DOGG: What up, a shout out to my homeboy Ian Neale in Cardiff for breaking the world's records for the biggest vegetable. Come see your boy, Snoop Dogg. I got two tickets for you when I get to town.

SAGAL: That was rapper and gardener Snoop Dogg.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Giving a shout out to farmer Ian Neale on YouTube. You're right, you saw it, and you knew it. Congratulations, you got it right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Well, Laura, you have, in fact, won Carl's voice. Congratulations, you've done it. You've also earned a point for Mr. Luke Burbank for his telling of that story. Well done.

GENTRY: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you for playing.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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