Bluff The Listener
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 Roxanne Roberts, Luke Burbank and Mo Rocca. And here again is your host at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: Right now it's time for the Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our games on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
KEVIN CATES: Hi, my name is Kevin Cates. And I'm calling from Kalamazoo, Mich.
SAGAL: Kalamazoo, Mich? I love Kalamazoo, a fine city there in Western Michigan.
SAGAL: Are you at one of the many universities based there?
CATES: Well, actually I'm a medical student at a brand-new medical school - the Western Michigan University Stryker School of Medicine.
SAGAL: That's good. And what kind of medicine are you most interested in?
CATES: I'm not sure. I kind of want to do primary care with, like, underserved patients. But that can mean a lot of things, so...
CATES: That's not usually something that gets applause.
SAGAL: Yeah, it's true - no, these are nice people. Usually, I understood the more popular concentration in medicine was diseases of the wealthy.
SAGAL: But that's good, too. Kevin, 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 Kevin's topic?
KURTIS: I'm so sorry.
SAGAL: Apologies - they're like a magic spell that lets you get away with all the horrible things you just did. This week, we read about someone in the public eye being forced to say I'm sorry. Our panelists are going to tell you about it, but you have to pick the one story that's real. Do that - you'll win Carl Kasell's voice lying to your callers on your voicemail.
SAGAL: Ready to play?
CATES: Yep, let's go.
SAGAL: All right, here first is Luke Burbank.
LUKE BURBANK: Air travel can be trying as it is, so the last thing you need is someone - in this case the pilot - giving you the hard sell over the intercom for one of those multilevel-marketing scams. But that's precisely what happened on a recent Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Houston, forcing CEO Richard Anderson to issue the following apology - we at Delta deeply regret our pilot's decision to use the intercom to let our valued passengers know that they could make thousands of dollars from home simply by hosting fun candle parties.
BURBANK: Anderson wrote on the company website - I mean, yes, I'll admit it, it sounds great to make money by inviting your friends over to buy something they already need. And yes, we'd all love it if our commute was just walking to the mailbox each month to pick up our check. But flight 2046 out of Salt Lake was neither the time nor the place to have that conversation and certainly not over the plane's PA system. I've talked to Jeff, the pilot in question, who now realizes how unprofessional his behavior was. Although in his defense, he only needed to sign up eight more people before he qualified for one year's free use of a Dodge Stratus, or candle car as it's referred to in the industry. To make it up to passengers on the flight, Delta's offering them free airfare anywhere in the U.S. provided that when they land, they're willing to attend a short low-pressure informational session about vacation timeshare opportunities that could be perfect for them and their family.
SAGAL: Delta apologizes for one of their pilots bringing multilevel marketing to the friendly skies. Your next story of someone trying to save face is from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Police in Morecambe, England, were forced to apologize after they issued an APB - that's all puns bulletin - last week when someone pilfered eggs from a chicken sanctuary. Quote, "we are asking for assistance with an eggstraordinary crime.
ROBERTS: We have scrambled the troops to - (laughter) - to try our best to detect this crime. We can't have people ducking justice."
ROBERTS: But Tina Wilkinson, who runs the charity sanctuary called Hedwig's House, was not amused. Quote, "after the post went up, people were saying that even police thought I was a joke. I was very upset and felt like giving up the charity." Never underestimate the power of a nice old lady if you ruffle her feathers.
ROBERTS: Police Inspector Banks-Lyon personally apologized to Wilkinson, reports U.K.'s Visitor. And another Facebook post appeared, quote, "it has now been brought to our attention that the humor used in this post has not been interpreted by all with the original intent in mind, which was to try and identify the offender. And we would like to apologize for any offense that this has created."
SAGAL: A police department in Britain apologizing for too many egg puns.
SAGAL: Your last story of an overdue apology comes from Mo Rocca.
MO ROCCA: Finally, after 20 years, Canadian songstress Alanis Morissette has apologized for her misuse of the word ironic.
ROCCA: In the song "Ironic," she defined the word as (singing) like rain on your wedding day...
ROCCA: ...A free ride when you've already paid. Isn't it ironic, she asked? No, said Oxford English dictionary editor Oliver Pusey.
ROCCA: Irony is a disparity between what is expected and what actually happens. If you lived in Seattle and held your wedding in Death Valley specifically to avoid rain, but then on your wedding day, it was sunny back home in Seattle and rained in Death Valley, well, then that would be ironic.
ROCCA: As for paying for a ride that was in fact supposed to be free, that's not a matter of irony. That's a matter for the Better Business Bureau.
ROCCA: And a black fly in your Chardonnay is nothing to sing about in the era of the Zika virus.
ROCCA: "I realize now," conceded Morissette in a statement, "that my lyrics describe events that aren't ironic but merely crappy."
ROCCA: Pusey is now meeting with Faith Hill. We want to know how any kiss results in centrifugal motion, meaning fleeing from center. Or did she mean to say that kissing results in a sensation of centripetal - center-seeking motion? For the sake of her own perpetual bliss, we hope the latter. For the record, Mr. Pusey has not kissed anyone in 30 years.
SAGAL: All right...
SAGAL: So this week, we read about somebody doing something wrong which needed an apology. Was it from Luke Burbank, Delta Airlines, one of whose pilots tried to enlist the passengers in multilevel marketing, from Roxanne Roberts, a British police department which made too many twee ponds about an egg caper, or from Mo Rocca, Alanis Morissette finally apologizing for completely misunderstanding the meaning of the word ironic.
CATES: Oh, I hope that it's Alanis Morissette. But my love for puns makes me want to choose the pun one.
SAGAL: You feel that excessive puns is something that people should apologize for?
CATES: I really don't.
SAGAL: Well, the audience seems to agree with you. So you're going to go with that one?
SAGAL: All right, well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in this actual apology.
KIRSTIE BANKS-LYON: Somebody went and stole some eggs. So we decided to publicize on the Facebook page. We did use a lot of puns around the eggs.
SAGAL: That was inspector (imitating British accent) Kirstie Banks-Lyon...
SAGAL: ...Of the Morecambe area police in Britain, talking about their pun-based apology. Congratulations Kevin, you got it right. You have won a point for Roxanne simply for being truthful.
ROCCA: Wow, that story...
SAGAL: And of course, won our prize - Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Congratulations.
CATES: Wonderful, thanks. Yeah.
SAGAL: Thank you, and good luck on the medical career.
CATES: Thank you, bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M SORRY")
BRENDA LEE: (Singing) I'm sorry, so sorry that I was such a fool.
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