Good News On this week of less-than-fun headlines, we dig up three pieces of good news: Don't Make Me Come Back There; A, Like, Revelation; Whip Smart.
NPR logo

Good News

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Good News

Good News

Good News

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

On this week of less-than-fun headlines, we dig up three pieces of good news: Don't Make Me Come Back There; A, Like, Revelation; Whip Smart.

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm carnivorous anchorman Bill Kurtis.


KURTIS: And here's your host, at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, Peter Sagal.


Thank you.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Seriously, I thought you guys were mellow. What is this?


SAGAL: This is our second week here in San Francisco. And I am pleased to announce that our show has been bought by Google.


SAGAL: Now, don't worry. Our show will be the same. But once the deal goes through, after every question, we have to pause - one minute in silence to let you Google the answer.


KURTIS: And don't even think about Bing.


SAGAL: Today, though, you're going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. 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.


SAGAL: Hi, who's this?

KANTER-GROSCAN: Liz Kanter-Groscan (ph) from Tucson, Arizona.

SAGAL: Hey, Liz Kanter-Groscan. How are you?

KANTER-GROSCAN: I'm well, thanks. And you?

SAGAL: I'm fine. So Liz Kanter-Groscan, one of those great, you know, old, Mexican names, I guess.


SAGAL: From Tucson.

KANTER-GROSCAN: Yes, exactly - native.

SAGAL: Native. Now, where are you from?


SAGAL: Detroit.


SAGAL: What brought you to Tucson?

KANTER-GROSCAN: Life change.

SAGAL: A life change is the kind that doesn't involve surgery, right? That's the...


SAGAL: No. OK, good.


LUKE BURBANK: Life change is kind of the conversational yellow light, Peter.

SAGAL: Really?

BURBANK: Proceed with caution.


SAGAL: I understand.

KANTER-GROSCAN: (Laughing) No, no, really.

SAGAL: Liz, let me introduce you to our panel. First up, the host of the public radio variety show "Live Wire." It's Mr. Luke Burbank.


BURBANK: Hey, Liz.

SAGAL: Next, the woman behind the syndicated advice column Ask Amy. It's Amy Dickinson.





SAGAL: And lastly, host of the Morning AMp on and a comedian hosting The Moth at Martyrs' in Chicago on July 29th. It's Brian Babylon.


BRIAN BABYLON: Hey, Liz. How are you?

KANTER-GROSCAN: I'm doing great. How are you?

BABYLON: I'm doing great.


SAGAL: Now, Liz, welcome to the show. I probably don't need to tell anybody this, but this week has been full of pretty bad news. So we thought this week, for a change, we'd start by digging up some good news deep beyond the headlines. So Bill Kurtis is going to provide some dramatic interpretations of good news that you may not have heard this week. Your job - figure out what it is. Ready to play?


SAGAL: All right. Your first piece of good news comes from the automotive world. Bill?

KURTIS: If you don't pipe down back there, I'm going to pull over, kick you out, and leave you in the median to be raised by squirrels.


SAGAL: Bill was dramatizing a feature of the new Toyota Sienna minivan that will help people everywhere more effectively do what?

KANTER-GROSCAN: Eject their kids from the car?


SAGAL: I hope Toyota is listening 'cause that is a great idea.


SAGAL: You've got the automated doors already. All you need is some springs, and you're done. No, no.


SAGAL: This is slightly less extreme. For you, the driver, is saves vocal strain.

KANTER-GROSCAN: No - microphone, intercom.

SAGAL: Yes. Yes.


SAGAL: It is a new speaker system...


SAGAL: ...That helps you yell at your kids. You've got the system that Toyota calls Driver Easy Speak. They say the built-in microphone that's connected to the rear speakers ain the van is there to help drivers more easily speak to passengers without turning around. But you know that 80 percent of the conversations will be no, we are not there yet.

this is slightly less extreme.

SAGAL: Now, all they need is a mechanized arm so you can threaten to smack them too without taking your hands off the wheel.

BABYLON: What happened to the good old days when there your dad would pull his own finger and lock the windows? That's how he would, you know, have you stop cutting up


BURBANK: So here's the thing, though. We apparently have an obesity epidemic in this country.


BURBANK: And yet, turning around and yelling at their kids is how most dads get their only exercise during the week.


BURBANK: So we're getting rid of that one thing.

SAGAL: That's why the right side of their neck is so much more muscular than the left side. Honda - this is true - has a new, built-in vacuum cleaner so you can just, you know, suck up all those old Cheerios.

BABYLON: Can I say something about that?

SAGAL: You may.

BABYLON: I have married friends with kids, and their cars are so filthy. It's like half of M&Ms and, like, you know, perforated edges of paper and, like, a sock. Ain't nobody got time for that.

SAGAL: Not the kids, Brian.

DICKINSON: Oh, Brian is like that. See, he's like that single guy you hate, you know? He comes, his clothes are all pressed.

BABYLON: (Laughing) No.

DICKINSON: He got a good night's sleep, you know. We hate you.


BURBANK: That van, if you describe - it has a built-in cleaning system. It has a microphone. It has the DVD players. It's so much nicer than your house at some point, right.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: You're never leaving the van. You are voluntarily becoming homeless at some point.


SAGAL: OK, Liz, for your next bit of this week's good news, please listen to Bill.

KURTIS: Like, you know, umm, yeah.


SAGAL: According to a new study, the people who talk that way - with lots of, you know, uhh, you know, like - well, those people actually what?




SAGAL: They may well be, but that's not what the study says.


SAGAL: What's that Lassie? Do you know the answer?

KURTIS: That's a lifeline.


SAGAL: Trying to tell you.

DICKINSON: Timmy's in the well.

BURBANK: The answer's down a well.


KANTER-GROSCAN: They have meaning - they help you gather your thoughts.

SAGAL: Exactly


SAGAL: That's exactly right. In fact, the people who say those things are smarter.


SAGAL: That's the answer.


SAGAL: And you found the reason. The idea is - and this is according to a new study from the University of Texas. It's called - and this is true - "Um... Who, Like, Says 'You know.'" And it suggests people who use those words are actually - it's not that they're too dumb to think of real words to say. They're taking extra time to think about what they say. NPR has been editing it's broadcasts to make our talent sound smarter 'cause that's what we thought we needed to do. We no longer have to thanks to this study. So here, for the first time, is NPR unedited. Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Siegel.


ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: And finally, the SNP, like, 500 closed on, um, a record high. Reactions were, like, mixed or something. This is NP, like, you know, R.


BABYLON: See. But no, but see, once you put that this is NPR at the end, it makes everything smarter. You can just do whatever you want to do. Hey, you want to come back to my house? No. This is NPR. OK. I'll come back to your house.


BABYLON: It works.

BURBANK: The problem is as a person who overuses - was, like, in the study?

SAGAL: Like, yeah. It was in the name of the study, yeah.

BURBANK: It's really hard to not - even right now, everything in me wants to use like. And I'm trying not to. Once you start thinking about it, it becomes, like, impossible not to do it.


SAGAL: I know.

BABYLON: Hold on. Why wasn't this true, like, when Valley girls were doing that back in the mid-80s?


SAGAL: So like...

BABYLON: That was real popular.

BURBANK: Moon Zappa was really the Stephen Hawking of her time.

BABYLON: Yep. Yes she was. Thank you. Thank you, Luke Burbank.

SAGAL: I believe Moon Unit now runs Hewlett-Packard. So there you go. All right, it's time for your last bit of good news. Bill.

KURTIS: I want you to become well acquainted on first name terms with my favorite and most cherished part of my body.

SAGAL: Bill was quoting from a very popular book that we now know is going to be made into a movie. If you saw the trailer this week, everybody was so excited. What is it?

KANTER-GROSCAN: "50 Shades Of Grey."

SAGAL: "50 Shades Of Grey."


SAGAL: The trailer for the bondage-themed movie was premiered to much fanfare - where else but that cesspool of sin "The Today Show."


SAGAL: For the occasion, they made it a big deal. They promoted it. Everybody got in on it. Al Roker.


SAGAL: Al Roker did the weather with a skintight, leather suit and a ball gag.


DICKINSON: What about Willard Scott?

SAGAL: Willard Scott was actually - came on and he brought on some 100-year-old people and lightly whipped them.


SAGAL: People were excited - whatever the quality of the book - that, you know, this new kind of sexual expression has become mainstream. But then you think about it, and you realize as good as that may be, it now means your grandma has a safe word.


BURBANK: I think this book has scandalized America because, I think, for a lot - a lot of people aren't doing that kind of stuff. And now, if you're a suburban house dad, and you...

BABYLON: Suburban house dads do the most, I'm sorry.

BURBANK: ...And you find that your wife has a copy of this, you can't believe that that's a thing that could possibly happen in your life. You're sort of really excited, and you feel a lot of pressure to build a dungeon.

DICKINSON: I know a marriage...


BURBANK: Which is hard to do. First of all, the permitting on a dungeon is terrible.

DICKINSON: Terrible.

SAGAL: How did Liz do?


KURTIS: Liz, good for you.

SAGAL: Congratulations. Well done, Liz. Thank you so much.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.