BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Brian Babylon, Roy Blount Jr. and Helen Hong. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you. Than you so much. Right now it's 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 are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME!
DAVID HOKANSON: Hello. This is David Hokanson from Omaha, Neb.
SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Omaha?
HOKANSON: Hey. They're all right - kind of rainy, but it's fall so that's how they're supposed to be, right?
SAGAL: That's true. And what do you do there in Omaha?
HOKANSON: I'm a data analytics consultant.
SAGAL: What in the world is that?
HOKANSON: (Laughter) Basically, analyze data and then help my clients make business decisions that will help achieve their objectives and goals so...
SAGAL: Well, that's very nice. Well, welcome to the show, David. It's very nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is David's topic?
KURTIS: Pride goeth before the fall-eth.
SAGAL: Sometimes your greatest strength can become your weakness, especially if your greatest strength is literally physical strength you got from taking steroids because then you get back-ne. And who wants that? Our panelists are going to tell you about someone whose power became their downfall. Guess the one who's telling the truth, and you win our prize. Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail - are you ready to play?
HOKANSON: I'm ready.
SAGAL: Well, all right then. Let's hear first from Helen Hong.
HELEN HONG: As anyone who's ever seen a spy movie knows, a thick beard can make a great disguise. And for years, Gal Vallerius remained safely anonymous behind his long, lavish whiskers. The French drug kingpin used his plentiful face fur to blend in with the hipsters and criminals who knew him only as OxyMonster. But as David Letterman and Joaquin Phoenix can tell you, there is such a thing as too much beard pride. Vallerius was so enamored with his own luxurious chin blanket that he entered himself into the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Texas, an international gathering of furry-faced men and the rash-faced women who love them.
HONG: Hoping to compete in the full beard, 30.1 to 45 centimeter category. Vallerius and his full-on facial follicles were caught entering the country on route to the event. It was the Frenchman's first time traveling to the States and gave U.S. authorities a prime opportunity to nab him. Evidence found on his computer could put the bearded drug dealer away for life. I don't know anything about the other stuff that he did. But as far as his beard goes, it's really awesome - long and bright red, said one of the contest organizers. It's unclear whether Vallerius will be allowed to keep his impressive face mane while in custody. But chances are this Duck Dynasty will ultimately be cut short.
SAGAL: A drug lord from France so proud of his amazing beard that he came to America for a beard contest and was nabbed - your next story of someone hoisted out of their own petard comes from Brian Babylon.
BRIAN BABYLON: Brian Keywell is known all over Colorado as the most creative cannabis maker in the mountains, with his edibles, candies and lotions commanding the highest prices. But last month, he and his wife Kim finally figured out the holy grail, a weed you don't have to smoke or eat. You just have to touch it. But when it was time to sell their masterpiece, five delivery trucks arrived at his lab. Five employees loaded the product. And as it turned out, five drivers forgot to wear gloves.
BABYLON: One driver was found 40 miles away parked at a Wendy's blasting rap music, and his truck was empty.
BABYLON: He says, I think I gave it away to some nuns.
BABYLON: Or they looked like nuns. Another ended up in Utah. He said Chance the Rapper was telling him through the radio to go to Salt Lake City and bring pot to Mormons because, quote, "they looked like they needed it."
BABYLON: All told, Brad lost $60,000 worth of product and one truck because one driver now just sends some selfies from some place he won't identify except it has palm trees in the background. Quote, "I guess I'm like Icarus. I got too high, and I touched the sun, said Brad. Except wait - touching it is what got me high. I should have - no, wait. What happened?
SAGAL: A pot genius goes too far by making touchable weed. Your last story of someone petard-ed on their own hoist comes from Roy Blount Jr.
ROY BLOUNT JR: If there's ever been someone with a feel for mice, it's Shiva McNeese of Kenosha, Wis. As a girl, she discovered she could go into a home plagued by mice and sense where the little fellows were hiding and lead them out. At first, she performed this service for friends for free. Then she began to charge and expand, but she always said she did not seek fame. She did not want her business to scale. However, she reckoned without a squeak of a mouth.
BLOUNT JR: For the last year or so, we learned this week, Shiva has been followed by mice wherever she go. The profile of Shiva that appeared in the Kenosha Sun bulletin this week was far from flattering. The mouse whisperer, said the headline, has become a loud mouth. It caught her standing on a downtown street corner surrounded by mice and screaming, go away, mice. A neighbor was quoted as saying, "she knows what mice want, all right." Unfortunately, it's her.
SAGAL: All right, here are your stories. Each of them are about somebody who did something really well, but it ended up costing them. From Helen Hong, was it a drug lord from France who came to America to show off his amazing beard at a beard contest and was nabbed? Was it, from Brian Babylon, a genius pot maker who made touchable pot and screwed up his entire business? - or, from Roy Blount Jr., the mouse whisperer who attracted too many mice?
HOKANSON: I'm kind of leaning toward the first one, the guy from France.
SAGAL: All right. You picked Helen's story of the drug dealer who got nabbed because of his beard. Well, we spoke to someone who covered the real story.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
OLIVIA SOLON: He wanted to attend the World Beard and Mustache contest, and the police captured him at Atlanta Airport.
SAGAL: That was Olivia Solon, a senior reporter with The Guardian talking about Gal Valerius and his fateful beard contest. Congratulations, David. You got it right. You won a point for Helen just for knowing the truth.
SAGAL: And of course, the voice of Carl Kasell on your voicemail - well done, sir.
HOKANSON: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE MAN WITH TEH WEIRD BEARD")
RAY CHARLES: (Singing) Straggly, raggly hair on his chin. Battered and tattered and ugly as sin. Eagle-eyed and floppy-eared, he's the man with the weird beard.
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