Bluff The Listener
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 Roy Blount Jr., Amy Dickinson and Mo Rocca. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
KASELL: Thank you, Carl. Thank you so much. 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!
GEORGE STROKER: Hi, this is George Stroker from Lemoore, California.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
George from Lemoore, California?
SAGAL: Now, I've been around California, but I've never been to Lemoore. Where's that?
STROKER: It's about a 45-minute ride south of Fresno.
KAREN LAZAR: Is it named after Dorothy Lamour?
STROKER: I couldn't tell you. I just got here.
MO ROCCA: You just - have you unpacked yet?
SAGAL: Are you fleeing somebody?
SAGAL: Should you not be mentioning your location on the air?
STROKER: No, we can talk about that.
SAGAL: All right. Well George, welcome to the show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is George's topic?
KASELL: Company halt.
SAGAL: As Madeleine Albright once said: What's the point of having an army if you can't use it? Sometimes having a big standing army just proves too much of a temptation, even if you don't happen to have a warzone to play in. Each of our panelists are going to tell you three stories about the military used in a non-military way. Your job: pick the real story. First up let's hear from Amy Dickinson.
AMY DICKINSON: Picture the scene at Best Buy on Black Friday. Now wouldn't it be awesome if President Obama sent soldiers into Best Buy with automatic weapons and basically encouraged low, low prices at gunpoint?
DICKINSON: Well, this awesome thing is happening in Venezuela. Times have been tough there lately. They're running out of staples like chicken and toilet paper, and inflation is over 50 percent. So last weekend their president, Nicolás Maduro, took matters into his own militia and ordered the army to occupy a popular chain of electronics stores, the Venezuelan Best Buy, forcing the stores to offer deep discounts, prices so low they had to be delivered on the point of a bayonet.
The president went on state television to explain his unusual Magnum-force economic policy. He said this is good for the nation. Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses, nothing. Let nothing remain in stock. In other words, holy Santa Claus, Venezuela, it's insane.
SAGAL: The Venezuelan army cutting prices at their local electronics retailer. Your next story of the armed forces making a surprise appearance comes from Roy Blount Jr.
ROY BLOUNT, JR.: Mubuku Matobi(ph), son of Swaziland's president, was a ne'er do well. His playboy escapades had become so egregious that his father, Abate Matobi(ph), canceled Mubuku's allowance and foreswore responsibility for his debts. It was time for Mubuku to get a job.
He did come up with a project, an epic film depicting the sweep of Swaziland history. It would need financing, of course. Nice try, said day, no money. OK, said the son, no money. Just lend me the army for a week, which was probably not enough time, as it turned out, to produce a blockbuster.
The cast of thousands battle scenes were spirited but baffling, partly because both sides wore the same uniform.
JR.: Nothing really worked in Mubuku's movie except for the love scenes between Mubuku, playing himself, and Ngala Omala(ph), a stunningly beautiful machine gunner, whose performance earned her a modeling contract. Last week, the two of them were reported in exile on the Cote d'Azure, recasting the whole story as a romantic comedy, tentative title, "Rat-a-Tat-Tat."
SAGAL: The son of an African president borrows the army to make a movie, ends up with a rom com. Your last story about a military intervention of fun comes from Mo Rocca.
ROCCA: Luxembourg's air force has not seen combat since its 1824 border war with Moldavia, which is why the force itself is virtually unchanged. It's still Europe's only all-hot-air-balloon air force.
ROCCA: Colorful, yes, but very expensive to maintain. It's also very expensive to deliver pizza in Luxembourg, a country almost entirely populated by castles atop hills. Quote, the distances are so far it simply makes no sense to spend so much in petrol for the delivery of one lousy pie, says Luxembourg Papa John's branch manager Rolph Gruber(ph).
ROCCA: If only we had a mode of pizza delivery with a less expensive fuel sources, which is why the Luxembourg air force is now sponsored by Papa John's. Pizzas are now delivered by Luxembourg military, and they stay hot. Quote, it's so nice to receive my pizza up in my turret and not have to lower my drawbridge, says customer Baroness Else Schrader(ph).
ROCCA: And so I say to my fellow Luxembourgians, support our troops and call Papa John's today.
SAGAL: All right. One of these stories is true. Is it, from Amy Dickinson, how the president of Venezuela sent in his army to lower the prices at the local electronics retailer; from Roy Blount Jr. how the son of an African president borrowed the army to make a film; or from Mo Rocca how the air force of Luxembourg was used to deliver pizzas to those castles high up on hilltops?
STROKER: I am going to say that it's going to be the Venezuelan military.
SAGAL: The Venezuelan military is your choice. That's Amy story. Well, to bring you the truth, we spoke to somebody who knew about the real story.
DOUGLAS ERNST: Yeah, I don't want a CM-16 pointed at me when I go to get my refrigerator or washer-dryer.
SAGAL: That was Douglas Ernst, he's a digital contributor to The Washington Times, talking about the Venezuelan army's enforced low, low prices. Congratulations, you earned a point for Amy Dickinson just for being honest. You've won our prize. Carl will be doing the voice on your voicemail. Thanks so much for playing.
STROKER: Thank you so much.