Who's Bill This Time
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. That's right. I'm gazing at Uranus. I'm the Hub-Bill (ph) Telescope, Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody.
SAGAL: Great show for you today. Later on we're going to be joined by Andy Richter, second banana to Conan O'Brien but first banana in our hearts. But first, this was a really proud week for NPR. We finally went viral, as the kids say. One of our editors at NPR Washington accidentally posted photos and a story about his baby daughter Ramona and his cat on the official NPR webpage.
SAGAL: And the nation was transfixed. Who is Ramona? Why doesn't she want to be hugged? What is this weird fascination she has with cats? And people loved it. You know, it was our first-ever clickbait.
SAGAL: So NPR will now be routinely posting personal items to its official page, quote, "accidentally."
SAGAL: There will be Robert Siegel's "Twilight" fanfiction, Audie Cornish's Instagram of Cornish's Audi and Susan Stamberg's real recipe for cranberry relish, which includes a pint of hash oil.
SAGAL: So if you'd like to become a viral sensation right now, give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAITWAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
ERIN HARDY-SMITH: Hello, how are you?
SAGAL: I'm fine. Who's this?
HARDY-SMITH: This is Erin.
SAGAL: Hey, Erin. Where are you calling from?
HARDY-SMITH: I'm calling from Detroit, Mich.
SAGAL: Detroit? We love Detroit.
SAGAL: We were just there earlier this year.
HARDY-SMITH: Right. Yeah. I missed you guys.
SAGAL: Oh, I'm sorry.
HARDY-SMITH: But next time you come, I'll be there.
SAGAL: All right. I got to tell you, Detroit is looking fine these days.
HARDY-SMITH: Isn't it looking beautiful? Yeah.
SAGAL: It really is something.
HARDY-SMITH: Yes, it is.
SAGAL: Yeah. The only problem is it's getting so nice you're going to lose your reputation for being absolutely tough.
HARDY-SMITH: I know.
HARDY-SMITH: I think we can maintain. I think we can.
SAGAL: Well, all right. Welcome to the show let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up is a humorist and author, most recently of "Save Room For Pie," it's Roy Blount Jr.
ROY BLOUNT JR: Hey.
SAGAL: Next, the comedian who will be performing at The Laugh Cellar in Santa Rosa, Calif., on October 21, it's Helen Hong.
HELEN HONG: Hi, Erin.
SAGAL: And finally, a comedian who'll be performing at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Mo., on March 3, it's Brian Babylon.
BRIAN BABYLON: Hey, Erin. Hey.
SAGAL: So Erin, I bet you know how this works. Bill Kurtis is going to start our show by recreating for you three quotations from the week's news. Correctly identify them or explain them. Do that two times out of three, you'll win our prize. You ready to play?
HARDY-SMITH: I'm ready to play.
SAGAL: All right, your first quote is someone's message of uplift and hope to the suffering people of Puerto Rico this week.
KURTIS: "Have a good time."
SAGAL: Who was that?
HARDY-SMITH: Donald Trump.
SAGAL: Good choice.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: With their island practically destroyed by the hurricane - no electricity, fuel, no running water even - the good people of Puerto Rico did not think anything could descend from the sky worse than that hurricane.
SAGAL: And then, like that threatening theme from "Jaws," they heard "Hail To The Chief."
SAGAL: So you may remember - it's been a long week - Donald Trump got a lot of grief about his administration not paying attention last weekend as Hurricane Maria descended on the island. So after some deliberation, he immediately sprang to action on Sunday by dedicating a golf trophy to the people of Puerto Rico.
SAGAL: Well, technically half of it 'cause he also dedicated it to the people of Florida. You don't want to spoil anyone with a whole trophy on their first hurricane.
BABYLON: You know, I'm trying to think, for that guy, like, what - it has to be drugs.
BABYLON: And I'm going to tell you this. And I'm honestly - 'cause I sit at home, I think, you know, I know drugs.
BABYLON: I know a lot about drugs. You know, I'm undercover. I can't go into it. So I know about drugs.
BABYLON: But I think - if I had to put a bet on what drug he might be on, lithium.
BABYLON: Honestly, if I - if you had to, like - my educated guess on all the knowledge I know, all the research I've done, lithium.
BLOUNT JR: He's just got the golden touch. Wherever he goes, he just says the right things. Like...
BLOUNT JR: ...Roger Miller once said, my uncle had the Midas touch. Everything he touched turned to mufflers.
SAGAL: So because he got - maybe because of all the criticism he got for the golf trophy thing, the president went to Puerto Rico where he, among other things, praised the people of Puerto Rico for their death toll. He said it wasn't a, quote, "real catastrophe." He told them, hey, you're busting my budget. And then, he tossed rolls of paper towels to desperate people. He distributed aid with all the charity and grace of the Phillie Phanatic with a T-shirt gun.
BABYLON: No - no, honestly, Peter, if you go back to the footage, he was doing basketball...
BABYLON: ...Flick of the wrist...
BLOUNT JR: Shooting a free throw.
BABYLON: ...Like a free throw.
BABYLON: And I honest - that's lithium, man. Like, when you...
BABYLON: He - you don't know what he was seeing.
SAGAL: All right, Erin, for your next quote, here's a very senior administration official talking about the president of these United States.
KURTIS: "He's a moron."
SAGAL: That, at least according to NBC News, is how who described the president?
HARDY-SMITH: That would be Rex Tillerson.
SAGAL: Yes, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
SAGAL: So on Wednesday, NBC News reported that the secretary of state had called his boss a, quote, "moron" in a meeting with senior military people. And the president immediately shouted, fake news. And sure enough - this is true - NBC had to correct its report. Tillerson, they said, did not call the president a moron. He called him a bleeping moron.
SAGAL: And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, well, moron - that's actually pretty mild for the president. But remember, Tillerson is a diplomat.
HONG: I like these throwback insults. Like, between moron and dotrard, I like that we're going back to, like, an older era of insults because...
BLOUNT JR: Older, more gracious times.
HONG: Yeah, exactly.
HONG: So civil.
SAGAL: I don't know if you saw this. But on Wednesday, after the news broke, Tillerson was forced - can't imagine by whom - to go out and give a press conference where he denied the story. But he didn't deny the story. He didn't actually say he didn't call him a moron. He said, well, I don't worry about that sort of thing. He did say, though, that the president is, quote, "a smart man." Can you imagine the negotiation that took place to get to smart man?
SAGAL: Secretary Tillerson, we need you to go out there and say the president is brilliant. And Tillerson's like, OK...
SAGAL: ...How about, he is able to dress himself every morning?
BLOUNT JR: Yeah.
BABYLON: They probably had something, man, like his, like, cat hostage or something.
BABYLON: You know, it had to be like something like - hey, we have your cat.
SAGAL: Well, this is one of the great mysteries. Why doesn't this guy just quit? He doesn't need the money. He doesn't need the job. And what people are saying is that he has been urged to stay by other senior officials. It's this flood of chaos from the White House. And Tillerson, along with Generals Kelly and McMaster, are there to put a finger in the dike. They have to do that 'cause we all know Mike Pence would never do that.
SAGAL: At least he wouldn't do that without his wife there. You know his standards. For your last quote, Erin, this is a little different. But in the end, it's probably no less important.
KURTIS: "Rolled oats, brown sugar and maybe nuts - no feelings."
SAGAL: That was Bloomberg News reporting on the surprising ruling from the FDA that a granola company can no longer list what as an ingredient?
HARDY-SMITH: Can no longer list what as an ingredient for granola?
SAGAL: I'll give you a hint.
HARDY-SMITH: Yeah (unintelligible).
SAGAL: It's also - it also, this happens to be what makes a Subaru a Subaru.
HARDY-SMITH: What? Oh, jeez. How about another clue?
HARDY-SMITH: I don't have a Subaru.
SAGAL: No, it's all right. Well, I'll just give you the answer because you've already won. The ingredient you can no longer list on your granola is love.
SAGAL: It's true. You can't list love any more.
SAGAL: The Massachusetts-based Nashoba Brook Bakery has been including love on its list of ingredients on the package on its granola for years, sandwiched in between standard granola ingredients, like rolled oats and post-consumer recycled cardboard.
SAGAL: But this week, the bakery received a stern warning from the FDA demanding they remove love because, quote, "love is not a common or usual name of an ingredient," unquote. The letter went on, there is no love in this granola.
SAGAL: It turns out this whole time, your granola was only a snack with benefits.
BLOUNT JR: Sometimes people say things like, I love onions, but onions don't love me.
BLOUNT JR: Sort of like that, I guess.
SAGAL: Yeah, a little bit - little bit like unrequited love, yeah.
BLOUNT JR: You can love granola, but don't count on it to call you late at night.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Erin do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Two out of three for Erin - that means she wins.
SAGAL: Thank you, Erin. Thanks for playing.
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