Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about a tribute gone wrong, only one of which it 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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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Our panelists tell three stories about a tribute gone wrong, only one of which it true.

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Helen Hong, Alonzo Bodden and Roy Blount, Jr. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. Thank you so much. Right now - right now I say, it is 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.

SCOTT RANDOLPH: Hi, this is Scott Randolph, calling from the brainy borough, Metuchen, N.J.

SAGAL: Metuchen, I know where Metuchen is.

RANDOLPH: You even know how to pronounce it.

SAGAL: I do. I'm a born and bred New Jerseyan. Of course, I would never live there in a bet, but I know about it.


SAGAL: Scott, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Scott's topic?

KURTIS: That didn't go as planned.

SAGAL: Now, we all want to pay tribute to the people and things we love, like how the Lincoln Memorial honors Abraham Lincoln or how the Washington Monument pays tribute to Glynn Washington of the show Snap Judgment. This week though, we read about a tribute gone wrong. Our panelists are going to tell you all about it. Your job - pick the real story because only one of them is. You will win our prize - Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Are you ready to do this?

RANDOLPH: I am ready.

SAGAL: Let's hear first then from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: No good deed goes unpunished, or maybe you should just be careful what you wish for. Pick your cliche, just don't say white pride. Meyer Middle School in River Falls, Wis., wanted to raise $100,000 for a new fitness center and were looking for donations. With the help of Royal Credit Union and generous donor Roger T. White, they reached that goal and as a thank you decided to name the facility the Roger T. White Pride Fitness Room as presented by Royal Credit Union. Now, that's a mouthful and it would never fit on the T-shirt. Once this was pointed out to principal Chuck Eaton, he thought they should just shorten the name to White Pride Fitness Center.


BODDEN: Well, he must have thought too much because once the name hit social media, the outreach was swift to follow. This is terrible or what culturally insensitive person let it slide. And these are just the comments we can print. You can imagine some of the others. Not everyone was upset. One supporter wrote, why is it some people need to decide what others do and why is it called racist, asking how much did you donate to the middle school? This man give his money and has a right to have his name on the facility. Well, rather than spending a lifetime debating that question, the school superintendent proudly announced the kids will be working out at the Roger. T. White Fitness Room as presented by RCU. So pride does go before the fall.


SAGAL: No more White Pride Fitness Center in Wisconsin. Your next a story of good intentions going back comes from Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: The town of Wyomissing, Pa., is plenty proud of their most famous former resident Taylor Swift. To honor this favorite daughter, the town built a guitar-shaped sculpture which plays her music 24-7, and last week they turned it on. While at first it seemed the only flaw was aging Mayor Tom Brunson awkwardly attempting to sing along with the lyric I can make the bad guys good for a weekend...


HONG: ...It soon became clear there was a bigger problem. At first, it was just one dog howling, said one resident.


HONG: But within minutes, every dog in town was howling along with the songs. The dogs didn't stop all night. While town residents tried their best to shake it off, shake it off, the bad blood with the howling canines came to a head when a pack of wolves was reportedly drawn to the town by the sound. The plug was pulled. A statement read although we love Taylor, we are never, ever, ever getting back together with her musical monument.


SAGAL: The sculpture singing all of Taylor Swift's big hits attracts a canine fan base. And your last a story of an attempt to honor someone becoming dishonorable comes from Roy Blount Jr.

ROY BLOUNT, JR.: Last week, the Fighting Opossums of Opassa City, Ala., high school were set to play for the district basketball crown. On the morning of the game, their coach, big Fred Cope, was in a bad auto accident. Though thrown free by the initial impact, he returned to his burning car in a vain attempt to save the Opossum's four-footed mascot Opie. The car blew up. Coach Cope was flung into the air again and hospitalized. That night before the game, the Fighting Opossums swore to win and win big as a tribute to their banged-up coach. And yet they played bad - took careless shots, didn't dive for loose balls, gave up easy layups and wound losing 54 to 18. And yet after the game, the players felt somehow justified. Every time I went to shoot, said one of the team's co-captains, I thought, Coach Cope risked his life for opossum?


BLOUNT: Yeah, the other co-captain put in. Coach always said play smart. How smart is nearly dying for opossum?


BLOUNT: Yeah, we could always get another possum, but we had to play without a mascot or coach. Next year, let's have a different animal - a bear - and so on into the night.

SAGAL: So these are your choices...


SAGAL: From Alonzo Bodden, how an attempt to honor a donor who helped out a middle school in Wisconsin ended up with the White Pride Fitness Room, from Helen Hong, how a musical statue of Taylor Swift in her own town just attracted all the town's dogs or from Roy Blount Jr., how an attempt to win this game for old - good-old coach ended up badly when they realized good-old coach was kind of an idiot. Which of these is the real story of an attempt to honor someone that did not quite work out?

RANDOLPH: I am torn between the Tyler Swift memorial...

SAGAL: Yeah.

RANDOLPH: ...And the naming of the gym. And I think I'm going to go with the Tyler Swift memorial.

SAGAL: So you're going to go with the Taylor Swift - it's not Tyler Swift...


RANDOLPH: Taylor - well, what do I know? I...

SAGAL: I don't - apparently not...

RANDOLPH: ...Stopped listening to music in the '70s.

SAGAL: So you're going to go with the Taylor Swift memorial that sang and all the dogs really, really were bothered by it. That's your choice?

RANDOLPH: That's my choice.

SAGAL: All right, well, we actually spoke to a reporter who covered this story.

DEBRA ELIASON: It was supposed to be the Roger T. White-Pride Fitness Center. If it had been the Johnson Fitness Room, we never would have had this.

SAGAL: White pride - or not.


SAGAL: The now formerly named White Pride Fitness Center in Wisconsin was, in fact, the true story. So I'm sorry, you were fooled by Helen. First time out, she just seduced you with her lies.

HONG: Yeah.

SAGAL: So you did not win. You earned a point for Helen though. Thank you so much for playing with us.

RANDOLPH: Oh, my pleasure.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


MERLE HAGGARD: (Singing) I never been nobody's idol, but at least I got a title. And I take a lot of pride in what I am.

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