Bluff The Listener Our panelists read three stories about someone with a real good reason to move out of their house, only one of which is true.
NPR logo

Bluff The Listener

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

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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

Our panelists read three stories about someone with a real good reason to move out of their house, only one of which is 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 Phoebe Robinson, Alonzo Bodden and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Right now it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

DAVE FARMER: Hey, this is Dave.

SAGAL: Hey, Dave, how are you? Where are you calling from?

FARMER: Iowa, southwest Iowa.

SAGAL: What do you do there in Iowa?

FARMER: Well, I'm a robotic technician.

SAGAL: You're a robotic technician? I didn't know Iowa had robots yet. That's exciting.

FARMER: Well, I travel.

SAGAL: Oh, I see.


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

KURTIS: Just move already.

SAGAL: We all have reasons to leave our houses - bad neighbors, unstable foundations, the sound of a tell-tale heart underneath the floorboards. This week, we read about somebody with a really good reason to move. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the real one and you will win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?


SAGAL: All right. First let's hear from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Jennifer (ph) and Julian Winston (ph) thought they'd found the perfect house. It was a two-bedroom, two-bath in the hippest part of Downtown Toledo, not too far from the Huntington Center, a popular music venue. The house had a beautiful great room, and the den even had a built-in beer tap. All this turned out to be the blessing and the curse.

Every three days or so at 1 a.m. or later, there'd be someone trying to get in with the wrong key or a truckload of guys out front ready to party. After checking the incidents against concert schedules, they realize they had bought the roadie house. Every concert venue has a nearby house where the promoter puts up the roadies and the crew, and these houses are known for epic parties.

The address is always hidden somewhere at the venue that only the roadies can find. We tried to make it work, said Jennifer. Julian put a sign at the Huntington Center saying the party was not at their house, which the roadies took as code for the party is at their house.


BODDEN: One night, a few roadies broke in through a window. When confronted by Julian and his baseball bat, they said they saw the no party here sign, so they knew that's where the party would be. Even when the house was dark and silent? - Julian asked. They just figured they were the first ones there. Damn right we moved, said Julian.

And that realtor that sold us the house, he sold it without charging commission so we wouldn't sue him. God bless the new buyers, and we hope they like rock music.

SAGAL: A couple unsuspectingly buys the roadie house, getting themselves a party without wanting to. Your next story of someone who needs to get out of town comes from Phoebe Robinson.

PHOEBE ROBINSON: When Lewis Whitehead (ph) purchased his pre-war home in Great Barrington, Mass. five years ago, he was assuming this would be the quiet place to retire that he always dreamed of. And it was for three years until a terrible rainstorm that caused major water damage in his den, which he had dutifully turned into a shrine for his beloved Boston Red Sox.

His wife Karen (ph) is a longtime Yankees fan, so she was 90 percent mad about the cost of the damage and also 10 percent like, LOL. After cleaning up the mess in the den with some friends, one of them pointed to the water damage and said, hey, not to be weird or anything, but your picture of Jason Varitek, now, he has a long beard and looks like Jesus.

Lewis and Karen ignored it until they had another group of friends over and another person said the same and then, of course, took a picture and uploaded it to Facebook, where, of course, Jesus Varitek went viral. Pretty soon, word spread that the face of Jesus was inside the house. And before Lewis and Karen knew it, their house was mobbed at all hours of the day and night with Christians and even worse, Red Sox fans.


ROBINSON: Only one catch, Lewis is an atheist and said, you know, if Jason Varitek was Jesus, I'll start rooting for the Yankees.


SAGAL: Your last story of a house not being a home comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: There's nothing so dangerous for peace and quiet as a married man with a really clever idea. Thirteen years ago, Jerry Lynn of Pittsburgh was doing some home improvements, including putting a hole through a wall for a TV cable. How to make sure to put the hole in just the right place? Easy - get a piece of string just the exact length you want, tie an alarm clock to it, then set the clock to ring, then lower the clock into a wall from above.

Then listen for the alarm and then you know right where to drill. Jerry says, quote, "as I was laying it down, all of a sudden, I heard it go thunk as it came loose." Well, no problem. It must have broken when it hit, right? No. The alarm went off. Well, the battery will run out eventually, right? No. And it has not gone off for 13 years and counting.


SAGAL: All right. These are your choices. Somebody moved into a house and had a problem. Was it from Alonzo, the couple who moved into the roadie house where the roadies from the nearby concert venue came to party almost every night? From Phoebe, you had the story of the Jesus Varitek - a picture of the baseball player Jason Varitek that seemed to be Jesus, bringing crowds of pilgrims.

Or from Brian Babylon, the guy who put a clock in his wall and it's been ringing there for 13 years. Which one is the real story of a problem in homeownership?

FARMER: Well, I'm going to say - it's a total guess, but I'm going to say B, the Jesus story.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the Jesus story. All right, well, to bring you the real story, we actually spoke to the homeowner.

JERRY LYNN: People would come over and we'd be sitting playing bridge or something and the alarm would go off. And they'd say, is that an alarm? And we'd say yeah, it's the alarm in our wall.

SAGAL: Yeah, that was Jerry Lynn, the Pittsburgh-area homeowner who 13 years ago, had the bright idea of dropping an alarm clock into his own wall and there it remains. I'm so sorry you were fooled by Phoebe's story. You didn't win our prize, but you did earn a point for her.

ROBINSON: That's great, thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Jerry.

FARMER: Have a good one.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



KESHA: (Singing) DJ, blow my speakers up. Tonight, I'm going to fight till we see the sunlight. Tik tok on the clock, but the party don't stop, no.

Copyright © 2017 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.