Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell us three stories of someone turning a negative into a positive, only one of which is true.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell us three stories of someone turning a negative into a positive, only one of which is true.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl. We're playing this week with Peter Grosz, Roxanne Roberts and Tom Bodett. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you guys so much. 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 the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MIKE PROVENZALE: Hi, this is Mike from Dallas.

SAGAL: Hey Mike, how are things in Dallas?

PROVENZALE: Very nice.

SAGAL: I bet. So what do you do there?

PROVENZALE: I work at an auction house.

SAGAL: What do you auction?

PROVENZALE: Well, we auction everything, but I work in the sports memorabilia department.

SAGAL: Sports memorabilia, so things like shirts and cards and...

PROVENZALE: Sure and signed baseballs. But, you know, our company does everything - dinosaur bones.

SAGAL: Really?

PROVENZALE: Things like that.

PETER GROSZ: What sport is that?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Mike, it is nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Mike's topic?

KASELL: I always say, when life gives you lemons, rub them in the open wound of an enemy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So things don't always work out the way we want, but it's how we respond to that adversity that defines us. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories of people overcoming disappointment and inspiring the world. Chose the true story and you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. You ready to go?

PROVENZALE: I'm ready.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: Paris, France will always be able to attract visitors with its museums, restaurants and aloof French women who won't talk to you, no matter how many semesters of French you took in college.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: But how do less desirable European cities cash in on tourist dollars? Well, the mayor Groningen, Holland has found the answer. Groningen is one of those unfortunate industrial towns that had its heyday after World War II but has been slowly decaying ever since. And last month, a Dutch newspaper dubbed it "the ugliest city in Holland."

So Mayor Jon Van Olmen(ph) decided to make it official. "We started advertising that Groningen really is the ugliest city in Holland," said Mayor Van Olmen, "and that people should come and see for themselves just how unattractive our town really is."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: The few intrepid residents who remained pitched in with the uglification efforts. They put avocado green wall-to-wall shag carpeting in public buildings. They made everyone in town wear light blue denim shirts and dark blue denim pants.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: All the men grew soul patches and mullets.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: And just last week, they opened an Olive Garden franchise.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

GROSZ: Soon the town was a real crap hole, and curious tourists, they couldn't stay away. They have made more than enough money to repair the town, but are in a bit of a bind. Said Mayor Von Olmen, "If we actually fix Groningen, I'm not sure people will come. We could really use the money though. It's an interesting place to visit but nobody wants to live here anymore."

SAGAL: The ugliest town in Holland. Next up, a story of doing what you can with what you've got, comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Like so many basketball fans, Toby Stevens' March Madness bracket was busted, badly, by the second round, and he lost his bet to best friend Jack Kane, which is why the Rice University business major was wearing boxer shorts on his head to Monday's final game in Houston.

Was he embarrassed? Well sure. Did the CBS cameras love it? You bet. They showed Stevens at least four times during the broadcast. Is he now a budding internet entrepreneur? Well, yes. By the time he got home from the game, Stevens' inbox had more than 1,000 fan emails, including an offer from a venture capitalist to launch a, quote, "head boxers" business.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: In the last three days, Stevens has created a website and sold more than 5,000 units at ten dollars each, available in 100 percent cotton or comfy poly blend. His motto? Think outside the boxer.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Having to wear boxers on one's head leads to a business opportunity. Your last story of making the best of a bad situation comes from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Every little girl dreams of having her very own jumping show cow. Or is that just Regina Mayer of Laufen, Germany? Actually, it wasn't even her. Regina, like anyone else, wanted a horse to ride around the family's farm in southern Germany. "Nein horse" said her parents. "Ja horse," said Regina. "Nein horse." "Ja horse."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Undoubtedly went the debate, until little Reggie gave up and turned her attention to Luna, the cow. Four legs, big head, flanks. Luna was closer to a horse than to nothing, so she went about training Luna to perform like one. With tips from a cow expert in Switzerland, where they have such things as cow experts...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Luna was soon allowing Regina to ride her and even gracefully jumping painted fence rails. Anne Wiltafsky, who trains cows, near Zurich, said Luna's talents are not surprising, and that historically it was quite common to ride cows. Never mind the forgotten exploits of the mounted Swiss army cow brigades, or the stirring battle cry, "My kingdom for a cow."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Regina and Luna are happy to make their own history, galloping through the edelweiss, a girl and her cow.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Mike?

PROVENZALE: Yes.

SAGAL: Here are your choices: from Peter Grosz, how the ugliest town in Holland tried to turn that into a reason for tourists to come there; from Roxanne Roberts, how a guy who was forced to wear boxer shorts on his head in public realized that that could be a hot selling headwear item; or from Tom Bodett, how a girl who was not allowed to have a show horse like she wanted made due with a show cow. Which of these is the real story of someone making the best of a bad situation?

PROVENZALE: I'm going to go with Peter's story.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Peter's story about the ugliest town in Holland. Any particular reason?

PROVENZALE: Once you get an Olive Garden, it's all downhill from there.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: That was the telling detail. I understand. It makes sense to me. Well, actually, this true story got a lot of news coverage and here is an excerpt from some of that coverage.

Unidentified Male: Jumping cows may be the stuff of folklore, but in the real world, this one can be found leaping through the German countryside.

SAGAL: That was from an Al Jazeera English report on Luna, the jumping cow.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PROVENZALE: Unbelievable.

SAGAL: It is, in fact, unbelievable. When you see this, you will think that the whole thing is a hoax. But no, she's out there jumping around on a cow.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So clearly, as you no doubt figured out, it was Tom who had the real story. Sadly, you did not win, but you did earn a point for Peter for his Olive Garden-laden.

PROVENZALE: That's good enough.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Town.

GROSZ: Thank you.

SAGAL: Well thanks so much for playing.

PROVENZALE: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: And enjoy those breadsticks.

PROVENZALE: Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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