Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Eulogy For A Microsoft Mascot

From a 2008 show in Seattle, panelists Paula Poundstone, Adam Felber and Paul Provenza have a lot of fun with the death of the Microsoft mascot.

Copyright © 2010 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. And here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you so much. Listen, for many years now, this show has completely been ignoring our listeners' taste, preferences or good judgment. And frankly, it's worked out pretty well.

KASELL: But that, Peter, ends today. This week you, the listener, get to produce our show, although you are limited by your raw materials, mainly us.

SAGAL: We asked you all to submit your favorite WAIT WAIT moments for the last few years. What follows this hour is the result. Everybody wins. You get to hear the stuff you like best. We get to take the week off.

KASELL: And we begin with the single-most nominated WAIT WAIT moment. It happened during a show we taped in Seattle in June of 2008, with panelists Paula Poundstone, Paul Provenza and Adam Felber.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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

M: Hi.

SAGAL: Hi, who's this?

M: I'm Molly Ewing, and I'm calling from Denver.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Denver?

M: Beautiful. Hot.

SAGAL: Hot, really? Wow.

M: Yeah.

SAGAL: So the ski season is finally over.

M: Yes.

SAGAL: Molly, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play "Who's Carl This Time?" Carl Kasell, once again, will read three quotes from the week's news. If you correctly identify or explain two of them, you win our prize. Ready to go?

M: Yes.

SAGAL: All right, here's your first quote.

KASELL: Disappointed. Backwards. Unusable. Totally confusing. Pathetic. Completely odd. Weird. Scary. Slow. Garbage. Not usable. Crapped up. Crap. Absolute mess. Craziness. Terrible.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: According to MacDailyNews, those were just some of the highlights from a long flame email a couple of years back. It was describing the writer's experience using Microsoft Windows. In fact, this week, the author of the email got so frustrated, he quit Microsoft completely.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Who was it?

M: Bill Gates?

SAGAL: Yes, Bill Gates.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: This week, more than 30 years after he founded Microsoft, Bill Gates officially turns in his badge and cleans out his cubicle. He's now going to go try to make something of his life.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Gates' departure from the software behemoth is not expected to result in any huge changes at Microsoft. They will still be an implacable force for evil.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: But on the occasion of his departure, some people found this 2003 email; it was revealed in some court documents from the antitrust case. In it, Gates complains at great length, with the most bitter frustration and anger - much like any of his customers - about his experience trying to use the Microsoft website to download software. Gates said, quote: This site is so slow, it is unusable. Others pointed to his even more angry, 1999 memo, titled simply, Clippy Must Die.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: I've seen that video of them putting Clippy in a car. "Hey, where are we going?"

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Who's Clippy?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: One day the engineers at Microsoft said, you know, the people using our products, they're frustrated, they're angry, but they're not insane with rage. How can we focus their rage? How about if just in the middle of doing something, an animated paperclip pops up on the screen and says: Can I help you? What are you doing? Oh, can I see?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Geez, there's a lot of trees out here.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Tell...

M: I don't think we're anywhere near Redmond anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: What is that, cannoli?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: What are you digging? What are you digging? Can I help you dig?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: Oh, you got a baseball bat. Do you want to learn how to play baseball? Maybe I could help you with that?

M: It looks like you're digging a grave. Is this a business grave or a personal grave?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: So he's an animated character that you didn't like?

SAGAL: Yeah, basically.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: We'll explain later.

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