Who's Carl This Time? Carl reads three quotes from the week's news. This week: The State Department raises the alert level to vague; the Nobels finally get interesting; and CNN unveils a new odd couple.

Who's Carl This Time?

Who's Carl This Time?

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Carl reads three quotes from the week's news. This week: The State Department raises the alert level to vague; the Nobels finally get interesting; and CNN unveils a new odd couple.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here's your host, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody. Thank you. I feel the same way. It is pretty great to be back here in New York in Carnegie Hall. We have got a great show for you today. The Honorable Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, will be by later to answer our questions.

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SAGAL: By the way, in the honor of Mayor Bloomberg, who, as you know, is a media billionaire, we're going to institute a new feature for the first time in our Not My Job game. It's called, you know, you actually can buy a clue.

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SAGAL: But your call to us is still free. It's 1-888-Wait Wait, that's 1-888- 924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant to this week's show. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

AMBER MERCHANT: Hi, this is Amber Merchant in Tucson, Arizona.

SAGAL: Tucson, one of the more beautiful places in the country. What do you do there, Amber?

MERCHANT: I work for the local nonprofit Catholic health care network (unintelligible).

SAGAL: Really? So you're part of the great Vatican conspiracy to make people healthy?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MERCHANT: I like to think that that's the pope's ultimate goal, but you never know.

SAGAL: You never know. Well good for you. Well, welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week onstage at Carnegie Hall. First, say hello to a writer for Boston Globe magazine and author of the new book, "Idiot America," Mr. Charlie Pierce.

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CHARLIE PIERCE: Hello, Amber.

SAGAL: Next, it's one of the women behind the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" column, Ms. Roxanne Roberts.

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ROXANNE ROBERTS: Hey, Amber.

SAGAL: Finally, an author and humorist who's audio book, "It's Just Like I Told You: 25 Years of Comments and Comic Pieces" is available at iTunes and Audible.com. I mean, Mr. Tom Bodett.

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TOM BODETT: Hi, Amber.

SAGAL: Amber, you're going to start us off with a round of Who's Carl This Time. Of course, Carl Kasell is now read you three quotes from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you'll win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your home answering machine. You ready to go?

MERCHANT: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right, here is your first quote.

KASELL: This is not about deterring people from traveling. We're just suggesting that perhaps they shouldn't linger.

SAGAL: That was a United States undersecretary of state speaking on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. He was letting us all know, in the vaguest possible terms, that we might want to be careful if we go where?

MERCHANT: Europe?

SAGAL: Yes, Europe, very good.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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SAGAL: Here she goes. The State Department has issued a travel warning for Europe, but won't tell us what it is, or even that we shouldn't go.

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SAGAL: It's like they've swapped Obama's soft diplomacy for a new strategy: passive aggressive diplomacy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh. You're going to Europe. Okay, if that's what you want.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No, go. I'm sure it'll be fine. Fine. No, go.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: In essence, the State Department is telling us to go to Europe, but don't do anything people do in Europe.

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SAGAL: Like visit popular museums or tourist attractions or - we love this - go to airports or train stations.

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SAGAL: Great, well you know, we had this tour of Tuscany planned. We'll just do it by swinging from tree to tree. That will be fine.

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SAGAL: And they're pointing out, there are safer alternatives to the big tourist sites. You know, forget the Hunchback of Notre Dame, here's Alice at the flower shop with a lazy eye.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She's very colorful.

PIERCE: Yeah, so there's always the leaning Applebee's of Pisa, which I really love.

SAGAL: Exactly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Is the issue lingering? Is that the problem? If you went really, really fast...

SAGAL: Yeah, well that's...

PIERCE: If you did the Louvre in like 10 minutes...

ROBERTS: Ten minutes, exactly.

SAGAL: Exactly.

PIERCE: Bonjour, monsieur. We have the audio tour and we have the roller skates.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: By the way, you can still go to EuroDisney, because even al-Qaida doesn't want to go there.

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SAGAL: Oh, come on. All right, very good, Amber, here is your next quote.

KASELL: How dare you come and greet me after what you did in Barcelona.

SAGAL: That was what author Mario Vargas Llosa said to another famous author right before socking him in the eye, 30 years ago. This week, Vargas Llosa was either forgiven or rewarded for that act when he won what?

MERCHANT: The Nobel Prize?

SAGAL: Yes, the Nobel Prize for Literature, very good.

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SAGAL: Vargas Llosa punched famed author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the face, because, biographers say, Marquez had, quote, "consoled" Vargas Llosa's wife when Vargas Llosa wasn't around.

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PIERCE: Was she particularly unhappy?

SAGAL: She was...

PIERCE: Or was he just consoling?

SAGAL: We assume she needed consoling because nobody was lying on top of her at the time.

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SAGAL: It made her sad.

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SAGAL: The award comes, this one came on Thursday, it came after they gave the physics award to two Russians who had spent their time doing things like levitating frogs and using Scotch tape in their experiments. That's true. So the Nobel Prizes are becoming like the VMAs.

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SAGAL: It's all about scandal and characters. They'll have fashion reporters outside the ceremony in Oslo, saying things like, well, that's a very nice blazer. Whose elbow patches are you wearing?

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SAGAL: And then, just when they give, like, Vargas Llosa his literature award, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is also a laureate, of course, is going to jump up on the podium, and say, Imma let you finish, but Cormac McCarthy wrote the best novel of all time.

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SAGAL: It just occurred to me, you know, half our audience isn't going to know who Cormac McCarthy is and half of them have no idea what I'm talking about in the first place.

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BODETT: The older I get, the faster the sun sets on my Nobel ambitions.

SAGAL: Really?

BODETT: Unless they start giving out a Nobel Prize in woodshop, I think that...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah. Amber, your last quote is from Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times giving her review of a new cable news show that debuted this week.

KASELL: The ickiness factor may subside.

SAGAL: So what new show has an ickiness factor?

MERCHANT: Something to do with hoarding?

SAGAL: Something to do with hoarding?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: No, they got rid of this one pretty quick.

SAGAL: No, no, no, no, it's sticking around.

ROBERTS: Drop the D.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, oh, oh.

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SAGAL: I don't want to pressure you on this because not watching cable news, I think, is a sign of virtue in these times. But you have no idea what the show was?

MERCHANT: I have no clue. Yeah, I have no clue.

SAGAL: It's the new show, it's "Parker Spitzer," "Parker Spitzer." It's hosted, of course, by columnist Kathleen Parker and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. CNN, it's been hard for them. They've been pummeled by the opinion shows on MSNBC and FOX in primetime. So they got - they decided to hire two smart opinionated people to really hash out the important issues in an intelligent style. It's sort of like All Things Except that Prostitution Scandal Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: The best part of the whole thing was the segment they've created for the show called, Guilty Pleasures where the host and their guests go around and they say, my guilty pleasure is. We all watch and we're all like, okay, Eliot Spitzer, let's go. And Eliot Spitzer says, well, my guilty pleasure is NASCAR.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: NASCAR he said.

BODETT: Well, whom among us does not...

SAGAL: Yeah, who among us. That's why he resigned? I don't remember it that way.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Actually, if you pay as much money for NASCAR as you do for his real guilty pleasure, you actually get to drive the car.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

ROBERTS: Did you watch it?

SAGAL: I did watch parts of it.

ROBERTS: Yes.

SAGAL: And it's not bad. I mean, Eliot Spitzer is a very smart man who's been involved in public issues his whole life. He's very personable. Kathleen Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist, again, tremendously accomplished person. But it's weird. It's like you have Eliot Spitzer on a show and the only reason anybody cares about Eliot Spitzer these days is because of his huge scandal that we all learned about him. It's like, what a waste. It's like hiring Pamela Anderson to read to the blind.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Use your assets, CNN.

ROBERTS: What would you have him do?

SAGAL: Well, that's a good question.

BODETT: A fair point, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did Amber do on our quiz?

KASELL: Well, Amber had two correct answers, Peter, and that's enough to win our prize. Congratulations.

SAGAL: Well done, Amber.

MERCHANT: Yay.

SAGAL: Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Timed glee. Good for you. Thank you so much for playing, Amber.

MERCHANT: Thank you for having me.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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