Panel Round Two

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More questions for the panel: Russ Feingold's hometown bonafides, a smokeless Oktoberfest, Dazed and Unionized, and Cambridge finds a new way to infuriate its drivers.


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 Mo Rocca, Kyrie O'Connor, and Charlie Pierce. And here again is your host, at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, Peter Sagal.


Thank you.


SAGAL: Thank you, Carl. In just a minute, Carl ain't no rhymestone cowboy in our listener limerick challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call 1-888- Wait-Wait. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Mo, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough re-election fight, so he made an ad showing that after all these years in Washington, he's still at heart a Wisconsin guy, standing in front of his same old house back home. Except if you look close at the ad, you can tell he used what to make it?

MO ROCCA: Photoshop?

SAGAL: Close enough, he used green screen. He used green screens, you know, these are used in TV and movies to film things that are either too expensive or impossible to create on a set. Like Indiana Jones rafting down a waterfall, or Jack Bauer running from an exploding car, or Tom Cruise passionately kissing a female lead. And now...



SAGAL: Too soon?

ROCCA: Not soon enough.

KYRIE O: Not soon enough.

CHARLIE PIERCE: Not soon enough.

SAGAL: So now apparently the Feingold campaign needed the powers of a Hollywood effects team to recreate their candidate standing in front of his own house. Asked about it, Senator Feingold said, quote, "You want me to actually go to Wisconsin? My God, have you ever tried to find a decent wine list there? You're not going to print that, are you?," unquote.


SAGAL: Charlie, while a new smoking ban in Germany is good news for many, organizers of the Oktoberfest fear it's going to have a negative effect on their big annual festival. Namely, they're worried about what?

PIERCE: Well, they can't be worried that people won't drink because that would be stupid.

SAGAL: No, no, no, they're not worried people won't drink.

PIERCE: Wow, I'm going to need a hint on this one.

SAGAL: Right. So here's the things, like if everybody is smoking then everything smells like cigarette smoke.

PIERCE: Right.

SAGAL: If everybody's not smoking?

PIERCE: Nothing smells like cigarette smoke.

SAGAL: And so?


PIERCE: Everything smells like something else.

SAGAL: Right.

PIERCE: Everything smells like the inevitable charming byproduct of drinking a lot of beer.

SAGAL: Exactly right.



SAGAL: They're afraid that if nobody is smoking, everybody will be finally able to smell what Oktoberfest really smells like.


SAGAL: So in past, the smell of...

ROCCA: Putting the led in lederhosen, in other words.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: So in the past, the smell of stale beer and regurgitated stale beer has been masked by a pleasant cloud of cigarette smoke over everything. But no more, this year's revelers will smell what the magazine Der Spiegel calls the stench beneath the usual stench.


SAGAL: Or in German, de untersmell.


SAGAL: They have a word for everything you know. Scientists, they have a solution, in some beer tents, they'll be pouring, believe it or not, bacteria on the floors that they say will eat the smell of beer and sweaty Germans.


SAGAL: That is a very undiscriminating bacteria.


PIERCE: These bacteria, by the way, will be the size of Labradors by the end of it.

SAGAL: They'll have to be. They'll be like, no more, I'm stuffed.


SAGAL: Charlie, one of America's largest workers unions, the Teamsters, recently welcomed a new industry into the fold. What new industry?

PIERCE: Organized crime.


ROCCA: New, new.

PIERCE: Oh new? Oh new? I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Wow, I know that, like, airline attendants are already in the Teamsters. I know that.

SAGAL: Right.

PIERCE: They gave me a badge one time.

SAGAL: This is about getting high, but not that way.

PIERCE: Pot dealers, medical marijuana dispensers?

SAGAL: Well, close, medical marijuana growers.


PIERCE: Really?

SAGAL: Yeah. This is what happened. Oakland, California recently became the nation's first city to legalize pot cultivation on an industrial scale. So that means the pot growers there are starting to unionize. Pot growers of the Teamsters Local 70 will enjoy reduced hours, full benefits and a salary jump of nearly $10 an hour from what they had.

But, as you know, there's a catch. They're a union. They'll also have to comply with union work rules. For example, while anyone can smoke the joint, only union members can roll it, light it, and pass it.


SAGAL: And only the shop steward can bogart it.


PIERCE: You know, though, Peter, this is really going to take some of the starch out of those Teamster picket lines.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah.

PIERCE: I mean, they're not really going to be quite as tough as they - yeah, man, this is terrible.

CONNOR: Yeah, it's okay, really, just another problem. Whatever.

ROCCA: Yeah, how are they going to find the energy to even organize?


ROCCA: Is anyone going to show up at the meetings?

CONNOR: Well, they'll think about it a lot.


SAGAL: Mo, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, traffic cops have begun a new program in which they're adding something to parking tickets in an attempt to take a little bit of the sting out of them. What are they adding?

ROCCA: Maya Angelou poems? It's Cambridge, I don't know.


SAGAL: You're awfully close, actually.

ROCCA: Is it something that's really cloying?

SAGAL: It is, it's a little cloying.

ROCCA: Is it just - I don't know, is it like a thought for the day?

SAGAL: It's more like a pose for the day.

ROCCA: A pose? Oh, is it a yoga pose?

SAGAL: Yes, little printed yoga poses...


ROCCA: Oh, my gosh.

SAGAL: ...on the back of the envelope.


SAGAL: You send the ticket back in. If you thought that getting a parking ticket could not be any more annoying than it is, welcome to Cambridge. The illustrations of calming yoga poses are, no joke, the project of the, quote, "artist-in-residence" with the Traffic and Parking Department of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

CONNOR: I want that job.

SAGAL: There is one. There is one. His other project, we assume, painting calming landscapes on the side of tow trucks. It's like, oh that tow truck is taking my - oh, it's a sunset.


SAGAL: Locals, strangely, are not soothed by the new ticket envelopes. Quote, "It's not working," one resident told the Boston Herald, speaking while in a pose called the Enraged Taxpayer.


SAGAL: It involves flexion of the middle fingers.


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