Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Bluff The Listener

Our panelists tell us three stories of green living gone wrong, only one of which is true.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with P. J. O'Rourke, Roxanne Roberts, and Alonzo Bodden. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: 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 air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

JOSH EISENBERG: Hi, Peter. This is Josh Eisenberg from Mill Valley, California.

SAGAL: Mill Valley is beautiful, up there in Marin County. I have been there. It's a gorgeous place. What do you do there?

EISENBERG: I'm an attorney in a small elder law practice.

SAGAL: Elder law practice?

EISENBERG: Elder law. Yeah, we handle all the legal issues affecting California's aging population.

SAGAL: Because you're getting older.

EISENBERG: Everybody is. It's definitely a growth area.

SAGAL: I understand, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So, like, you're a normal lawyer, but you have to shout more.

EISENBERG: Exactly.

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

KASELL: It's not easy being green.

SAGAL: We all do our bit to help the environment: turn out the lights when we leave a room, recycle cans, give up bathing. But this week, our panelists are going to read you three stories about what can happen when green living goes too far. Guess the true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your voicemail. Ready to play?

EISENBERG: I sure am.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from P. J. O'Rourke.

P. J. O'ROURKE: The Swedes are the most virtuous people on earth. They are so virtuous it causes problems: what to do with the king in the world's most egalitarian society, where to find villains for the girl with the dragon tattoo, in a country where everybody is good.

Now the Swedes have a new virtue problem, they're out of garbage. It turns out, Swedes are so virtuous about composting organic matter, using the other side of the paper for computer printouts, separating glass and plastic and recycling and repurposing everything that Sweden has no trash.

The Swedes, being such good environmentalists, built green power plants to be fueled by carbon scrubbed incineration of garbage, which Sweden doesn't have. So, Sweden is importing garbage from Norway.

(LAUGHTER)

O'ROURKE: Unfortunately, Norwegians are almost as good at recycling as Swedes, so Catarina Ostlund, senior advisor to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency says, "I hope that we do instead get the waste from Italy, Romania or Bulgaria."

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I think after hearing that, Sweden will declare war on the United States.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The Swedes having to import garbage from Norway because they don't have enough of their own. Our next story of an eco no-no comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Tiffany Stevenson is a dedicated vegan and environmentalist. She lives in a solar-powered trailer in Riverside, outside of L.A., grows most of her food from her organic garden, drives an electric car and strives to be eco correct in all things. That includes her night job as a stripper, dancing under the name "Green Queen."

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: She gave up leather bras and high-heeled shoes years ago, but now her decision to give up plastic, specifically her Lycra g-string, has landed her in court.

In June, Stevenson began wearing woven organic cotton costumes on stage, which earned her an "A" for social consciousness but an "X" from the California State Board of Health. Rules require exotic dancers to cover, quote, "commonly defined erogenous zones" and woven cotton doesn't do that under the club's hot lights.

The dancer is suing the state, claiming that the law violates both her right to work and freedom of expression. She's asking for a million dollars in dollar bills.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: A stripper goes too green with her organic woven g-string. And your last story of a tree hugger holding on a little too tight to the tree comes from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Clay Welkins' attempts to go green have attracted some unwelcome guests. Mr. Welkins converted a diesel Mercedes Benz to run on biodiesel fuel, and he fuels it with used cooking oil from local fast food places.

Now it would seem this is a perfect solution to the high cost of driving, but there is one drawback: animals love the scent of burning used cooking oil. It smells like the hamburgers that were cooked in it. So, like moths to a flame, dogs, cats, the occasional rat, even a few coyotes started following him around and hanging around his car.

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Noticing this, and always being one to turn lemons into lemonade, Clay began Noah's Ark Safari Park Tours.

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: For a moderate fee, Clay drives tourists through the San Diego Wild Animal Park with the guarantee that they will see every species of carnivore in the park.

(LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: No more "the lions were sleeping" or "grizzlies only hunt at night" stories when you go back home. Clay guarantees you will go back with pictures of salivating carnivores right outside the car window.

Things seemed fine for Clay until he was trapped in his own car by two hungry, angry bull mastiffs. Clay found out very quickly 200-pound dogs bred to hunt lions can rip through an old diesel Mercedes pretty easy. Psychologists say Clay will one day recover from his newfound phobia involving large animals in small spaces, and with therapy, he should be fine.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, let's review your choices.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: From P. J. O'Rourke, the country of Sweden gets so good at recycling, they have to import garbage to feed their garbage-fueled power generators. From Roxanne Roberts, a stripper who went so green that she became almost naked. And from Alonzo Bodden, the story of a guy whose biodiesel car attracted too much attention from wild animals. Which of these is the real story of ecology taken too far?

EISENBERG: I think I'm going to have to go with P. J. 's story of Sweden importing trash.

SAGAL: Really, you think so? That's the one.

EISENBERG: I'm hoping.

SAGAL: All right, well we spoke to somebody who had an intimate knowledge of this problem.

VIN VINKVIST: We are importing most of the waste from Norway and a little portion from the U.K. because it's a win/win situation.

SAGAL: That was Vin Vinkvist.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: He is the Director of Swedish Waste Management. Thank goodness he was on tape, so he could not hear P. J.'s version of his accent.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Congratulations, Josh, you got it right. Well done. P.J. had the real story.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: They are importing garbage to Sweden. You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail. Well done, sir, well done.

EISENBERG: Thanks so much for having me, Peter.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

EISENBERG: Bye-bye.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!