Who's Bill This Time

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Bill Kurtis reads three quotes from the week's news: Commencement Speaker in Chief, Man Up, and the Rolling Sarcophagus.

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm legendary anchorman Bill Kurtis.


KURTIS: And here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Thank you everybody. Thank you. You've made your point. You've made your point. Thank you. We've got a fun show for you today. Later on, we'll be joined by actress Alicia Silverstone from the classic movie "Clueless." Now she has written a new book on childbearing including some tips on how to get pregnant.


SAGAL: So if you're one of the many people - and we know you're out there...


SAGAL: ...Who like to listen to our show, you know, to get in the mood, you might...


SAGAL: ...You might want to hold off for about 20 minutes until we get to her segment so you do it right.


SAGAL: Hey, here's one way you can fill that time - give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

REBECCA CROSE: Hi. This is Rebecca Crose from Pierre, South Dakota.

SAGAL: You're from Pierre, South Dakota?

CROSE: I am.

SAGAL: I am proud to say that I have been to Pierre, South Dakota.

CROSE: What? Nobody has been to Pierre.


SAGAL: I know. It's a fairly remote place for a state capital.

CROSE: A little bit. Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah. Why did they put the state capital out there?

CROSE: It's a secret state capital.

SAGAL: Really?

CROSE: Yeah.

SAGAL: You just keeping lobbyist from having too much influence by hiding from them?


CROSE: Exactly.

SAGAL: What do you do there?

CROSE: I work in state government.


CROSE: Everybody here works in state government.


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Rebecca. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First, the woman behind the syndicated advice column Ask Amy, it's Amy Dickinson - is here.




SAGAL: Next, a writer for "Real Time with Bill Marr," Mr. Adam Felber.


ADAM FELBER: Hey, Rebecca.

SAGAL: And making her debut on our panel, an actress starring in the upcoming movie "Five Nights in Maine" and the author of the new book "Handbook For An Unpredictable Life," we are proud to welcome Rosie Perez.


ROSIE PEREZ: Thank you.

SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Rebecca. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you will win our prize - our scorekeeper emeritus Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?


SAGAL: Great, Rebecca. Here we go. For your first quote, here is some folksy wisdom.

KURTIS: Just because we have the best hammer, doesn't mean that every problem is a nail.

SAGAL: That was somebody saying just because you have a really big Army and an Air Force and some cool bombs that fly by themselves, you shouldn't always use them. Who was it?

CROSE: (Laughter) I don't know.


SAGAL: That's surprising only because Bill's impression was so accurate.


DICKINSON: It was scary.

FELBER: Yeah. It was like being in the room.

SAGAL: It really was.

CROSE: My guess is it would be President Obama.

SAGAL: Yes it is President Obama.


SAGAL: The commander-in-chief, once again, attended a commencement at West Point. He likes to go there 'cause those are the only students he can order to let him do keg stands.


SAGAL: Mr. Obama laid out his vision for foreign policy. Basically, he won't use the military to solve problems unless he really feels it's a good idea. Great. If the president ran Nike, their slogan would be just do it if it's a good idea, and sometimes don't do it. It depends.


SAGAL: Now - but one of the interesting things in his speech and in interviews afterwards like on Morning Edition, Mr. Obama kept relying on sports metaphors. He talked about quote, "hitting singles and doubles and maybe an occasional home run." He talked about blocking and tackling in foreign policy, advancing the ball to appeal to an international audience. He even did a cricket reference. He said he would not pitch a wicked googly in Syria.


FELBER: Which is a sound policy if you think about it.

SAGAL: It really is. He was even trying to reset our alliances or auditioning for SportsCenter.

PEREZ: I just want to make a comment on your impersonation of the president.

SAGAL: Yeah.

PEREZ: Next time, use a lot of pauses and a lot of uh. And then you'll be right on.


SAGAL: So hold on I - this - I think, Rosie...


DICKINSON: You should do it.

SAGAL: ...I think the nation clamors, Rosie, for your impression of President Obama right now.

PEREZ: Me doing an impersonation of the president? Come on.


PEREZ: The mere thought has you in hysterics.


SAGAL: It's true. Yes we can.


SAGAL: All right, Rebecca, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: You know he should man up and come back to the United States.

SAGAL: That was John Kerry, who sounds suspiciously like President Obama...


SAGAL: ...Talking about somebody who did a big interview from Russia this week. Who was it?

CROSE: Edward Snowden.

SAGAL: Yes. Edward Snowden.


SAGAL: Very good.


SAGAL: Before we get to Mr. Snowden, is there anything more humiliating than having John Kerry tell you to man up?


SAGAL: What does Kerry even mean by that? Is he challenging Snowden to a post-brunch kite-boarding match off Nantucket? It probably took Kerry's aides like an hour to teach John Kerry the phrase man up.


SAGAL: You know, he starts by saying put your man up young master Snowden.


SAGAL: And they were like, no Mr. Secretary. Man is the verb, OK. Snowden did a long interview with NBC News from Moscow. And he sounded a bit defensive. He said he wasn't just an IT guy for the NSA, like you've heard. He said he was trained as a spy with a fake name and everything. The NSA responded by saying dude, when everybody in the office called you Poindexter, that wasn't your codename.


FELBER: And that badge we gave you, nobody else here has a badge reading superspy.

SAGAL: No. He also said he was a true patriot, and he had no relationship with the Russian government. Seriously, he's living in an apartment they gave him, working at a job they found for him and being protected by guards who work for the Kremlin. All right, it's not a relationship. It's an exile with benefits.


FELBER: Maybe he just hasn't noticed that stuff. He never said he was a good spy.


FELBER: Wow. I keep running into the same three guys in sunglasses every day. Weird.

SAGAL: All the newspapers here are printed in a strange code. I must learn to decipher.


SAGAL: All right, Rebecca. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Hindenburg, Kevorkian-esque, Titanic apocalyptic, rolling sarcophagus.

SAGAL: Those were words and phrases that one company felt compelled they had to tell their employees not to use when talking about their products. What company?

CROSE: Google.


SAGAL: No. It's a car company, see. And keep it in mind - Hindenburg and Titanic are two vehicles that came to bad ends.

FELBER: Spoiler alert.


SAGAL: Yeah. Sorry.

CROSE: Would that be GM?

SAGAL: GM, yes.


SAGAL: Very good. You got it.


SAGAL: So General Motors executives knew that they were going to have to deal with a lot of press inquiries after they accidentally killed some of their customers. So they briefed employees on what words not to use with the media. And you heard some of them. Some of the others - widow maker, potentially disfiguring.

FELBER: Were sales people using those words?

SAGAL: Well, that's the crazy thing.

FELBER: 'Cause everybody wants to make commission. I would leave the H-word out, you know.

SAGAL: The Hindenburg.


FELBER: You know, you're trying to close the sale.

SAGAL: Now, if any GM employees are listening, we've come up with some terms that are not on the banned list. So feel free to use them when discussing your fine automotive products. Bill?

KURTIS: Corpse friendly.


KURTIS: Explodey


KURTIS: Chevy Impale-ah.


SAGAL: We're not done.

KURTIS: Lung-stabbing hate machine.


SAGAL: I love that car. That - although, it's not as much fun to drive since they changed it so.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Rebecca do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Rebecca did 3 for 3. She's going to go on that monument in South Dakota.


SAGAL: There you are. Well done. Congratulations, Rebecca.

CROSE: Thanks.

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