Who's Carl This Time
PETER SAGAL, 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.
CARL KASELL: Thank you, Carl, thank you so much. We've got a fun show for you today. We've got Billy Collins, the poet with the folksiest name since Sylvie O'Plath, and the former U.S. Poet Laureate. We're very excited to have an actual poet on the show because as you all know, metered verse plays a large role on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! In fact, Carl has prepared a special ode to welcome Mr. Collins.
There once was a poet from Nantucket...
SAGAL: That'll do, Carl.
SAGAL: That'll do because poetry, after all, is built on subtlety. If you'd like to have Carl recite anything you like on your outgoing message, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT, that's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
GARY VARNER: This is Gary Varner from Bryan, Texas.
SAGAL: Hey, Gary, how are things in Bryan, Texas?
VARNER: Well, they're pretty much East Texasy.
SAGAL: What do you do there?
VARNER: Well, I'm a professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University, which I want to emphasize is in our neighboring city of College Station, Texas.
SAGAL: Right, so you're in Bryan, you're calling. Now Texas A&M, the Aggies, yes?
VARNER: Yes, Fighting Texas Aggies.
SAGAL: Yes, famous for football, and one of your famous alumni is the governor, or the former - the current governor of Texas, Rick Perry.
VARNER: Uh, yeah.
SAGAL: Do he take any of your classes in philosophy?
TOM BODETT: I was just going to ask that.
VARNER: Way before my time. I've only been here 23 years now.
SAGAL: Oh, absolutely, yeah. Well, let me introduce you to our panel, Gary. First up, contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and the host of Sirius XM's daily "News & Notes" show on the Entertainment Weekly channel, it's Faith Salie.
FAITH SALIE: Howdy, Gary.
SAGAL: Next, the comedian who'll be performing at the Carolina Theater in Durham, North Carolina, on December 6, it's Paula Poundstone.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Hey, Gary.
SAGAL: Finally, humorist and blogger who will be appearing with StoryTellers on a Mission on November 14 in Brattleboro, Vermont, it's Tom Bodett.
BODETT: Hello, Garry.
SAGAL: Gary, you are going to start us off with "Who's Carl This time." Carl Kasell of course is going to re-create for you three quotations from this week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize, Carl's voice on your outgoing message, voice mail, home answering machine, whatever you've got. Ready to play?
VARNER: Yeah, let's go.
SAGAL: Let's do it. Here's your first quote.
KASELL: To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever had a baby?
SAGAL: That was one of the many pressing questions asked of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a hearing this week exploring the disastrous rollout of what?
VARNER: The Obamacare website, which had some personal financial information problems.
SAGAL: It did. It had all kinds of problems, yes, the Obamacare website, very good, yes. You did a good job.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The Congresswoman who asked if men can have babies was Republican Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, who was either asking about a provision in Obamacare that forces single men to buy insurance with maternity care, or she was fact-checking her husband's explanation of where that new baby came from.
BODETT: I was dubious that it was as bad as they said, so - and I do have insurance, but I went online, and I went directly there, and it said, you know, individual or business. I clicked individual. And it went to the thing, and it asked for some information. So I'm just seeing how it goes, and by the time I was done, I'd given them two of my credit cards, and I'd canceled my current insurance, even though I liked it.
BODETT: But it worked great.
POUNDSTONE: But you already had insurance, and you weren't really going to buy insurance from the exchange?
BODETT: No, I was just seeing how the website worked.
POUNDSTONE: Well, it's guys like you that are mucking it up.
BODETT: I know it, it's true.
POUNDSTONE: It's rubber-neckers, gawkers like you. Let the people who need it go use it.
BODETT: I do the same thing on Amazon.
SALIE: I thought - I kind of found Sebelius' performance to be inspiring because when she was doing - when she started doing the eye-rolling, at one point she was like whatever.
SAGAL: She did say that. She was like whatever.
SALIE: I thought I, too, can testify in front of Congress someday.
POUNDSTONE: You know, years ago I used to get this - from like my union, they used to send a thing offering me this insurance. And I thought, you know, I should get that, it seemed responsible, you know, I'll sign up for that insurance. And then it turned out that it covered almost nothing. But I didn't know that. I just thought I was doing a good thing.
I had auto insurance at one point that was so limited that it was if my agent my car.
SAGAL: Only him, it only covered...
POUNDSTONE: Then legally he had to apologize. That was...
BODETT: I had personal injury insurance one time. My head had to actually come off.
BODETT: There was a - but it had to be completely off...
SAGAL: Before it would kick in.
BODETT: Before the decapitation clause would come into play.
POUNDSTONE: And then you had to be able to fill out a form after it came off.
SAGAL: Let me just check in with Gary to see if he's still awake. Gary, you still awake?
VARNER: Still here.
SAGAL: All right, awesome.
POUNDSTONE: You know why Gary's still here? Because he's a philosophy guy. You know what I mean?
SALIE: He's mulling this over.
SAGAL: He's used to people droning on. All right.
POUNDSTONE: Gary, that's not how I meant it. That was strictly Peter.
SAGAL: Gary, your next quote is from an NSA official.
KASELL: We are really screwed now.
SAGAL: That official was reacting to the shall we say unhappiness expressed when news came out this week that the NSA has been spying on whom?
VARNER: Yahoo! and Google?
SAGAL: Very good, yes, Yahoo! and Google.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: We're just going to say - we're just going to say Google because who cares about Yahoo!? The Washington Post reported this week that the NSA figured out a way to tap into the lines that connect Google and Yahoo!'s data servers and their users. The operation is called Muscular, which is just wishful thinking on the part of the NSA IT guys.
SAGAL: The previous project was called Operation Has a Girlfriend.
SAGAL: Now here's the thing, though. I mean, the NSA, we've been hearing all this stuff, they've been tapping all of our phones. Big deal, we all text anyway. Now they went after Google. Nobody messes with Google and gets away with it. So just look for stories of NSA operatives drowning because Google Maps told them that the nearest Starbucks was four miles offshore, OK.
SAGAL: All right, Gary, here is your last quote.
KASELL: I've been alive since, probably, like, uh, 1988, and I haven't seen them win a Game 6 since now.
SAGAL: That was a Boston man after celebrating quite intensely for a few hours after whose big win this week?
VARNER: The Red Sox.
SAGAL: Yes, indeed.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The Red Sox victory in six games will make Red Sox fans even more insufferable, which physicists had said was not possible. Once the Red Sox were perennial losers with pretentions fans who invoked them as a metaphor for the futility of all human endeavor. Now they're the Yankees with beards.
SALIE: But it's time for them to shave, right? They shaved now; they won. I shaved when they won.
SAGAL: Well, I appreciate that. I think it would have been very disturbing to see you walk in like David Ross(ph). That would've been very upsetting.
POUNDSTONE: You know, Johnny Cash said that he was going to wear black until the Vietnam War was over, and then when the Vietnam War was over, he didn't stop wearing black.
BODETT: No, then he said it was about prison, guys in prison, right?
POUNDSTONE: No, then he just said I look good in black.
BODETT: I got a lot invested in my wardrobe.
SAGAL: Carl, how did Gary do on our quiz?
KASELL: Gary, you had three correct answers, so I'll be doing the message on your answering machine or voicemail. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Well done, Gary, thank you for playing.