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 P.J. O'Rourke, Tom Bodett and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thank you so much. Right now it is 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're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
SARAH BALDWIN: Hi. This is Sarah Baldwin calling from Rockland, Maine.
SAGAL: Oh, terrific. How are things going in Rockland, Maine?
BALDWIN: It's getting cold here.
SAGAL: Yeah, yeah. And what do you do there near the shore?
BALDWIN: I own a company called Bella Luna Toys. I'm an online retailer of wooden and natural toys.
SAGAL: Oh, how awesome. That's really great. I used to like to get those for my kids. And they'd be bored, but I'd play with them 'cause that was cool.
SAGAL: Well, Sarah, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sarah's topic?
KURTIS: Best Birthday Party Ever.
SAGAL: It's hard to have a really cool kids' birthday party these days. Ponies aren't cool anymore. Clowns are terrifying. Magicians aren't cool anymore. Nor were they at any time.
SAGAL: This week we read about a birthday party activity that really will make your child soiree stand out, if you were to be able to throw it yourself. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize, any voice from this show on your voicemail. You ready to play?
BALDWIN: Ready as I'll ever be.
SAGAL: Well, first let's hear from Tom Bodett.
TOM BODETT: Papa, can we go to the scary zoo and swim with the man-eating crocodiles for my birthday again this year? Those won't be crocodile tears shed in the German town of Friedberg as fathers reply - nein, Gregor, nein, Nora, (speaking German).
BODETT: The tears are all too real since the courts handed down their decision on Thursday to forbid children from swimming with the alligators and crocodiles as part of the crocodile zoo's jungle party birthday package.
BODETT: What's most stunning about the decision is that no children have yet been maimed or eaten at the zoo. It's just something the courts think might happen when wiggly kids mix with predatory reptiles.
BODETT: These kinds of sweeping regulations are meant to come the day after the tragic stupid thing happens - but not in a nanny state like Germany. The whole thoughts-and-prayers stage of the regulatory process is lost on them.
BODETT: It doesn't mean all the fun is gone from the jungle party. Parents can still swim with the crocs and gators while the kids watch. There's always the chance Dad will be dragged underwater and make that funny face or lose an arm. And some lucky kid might have a jungle guinea worm emerge from a leg weeks later in a jungle birthday bonus.
SAGAL: Kids no longer, sadly, allowed to swim with the crocodiles at a zoo in Germany.
Your next story of birthday fun comes from P.J. O'Rourke.
P.J. O'ROURKE: Anybody can have a pirate-themed birthday party. But how about a Somali pirate-themed birthday party?
O'ROURKE: That's what Tamara and Philip Hecker of San Diego, Calif., through for their 10-year-old daughter Chloe. The kids took inflatable Zodiac boats out to a real freighter that the Heckers had rented for the afternoon.
O'ROURKE: Chloe and her friends got to attack the ship with Nerf guns and Super Soakers and climb aboard. There, they looted an entire cargo container filled with candy and cake. Then Chloe blew out her birthday candles by launching 10 emergency flares into the sky.
O'ROURKE: It was a great experience for Chloe's whole fifth-grade private school class, Chloe's mother, Tamara, told a reporter from The San Diego Union-Tribune. And the kids only held us hostage for a little while, and the ransom demand was only $1,000.
SAGAL: A Somali pirate-themed party in San Diego.
SAGAL: And your last story of a party you'll never forget comes from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: Little girls want to be princesses? Fine, said the British Women's Historical Association. We'll give you the real history and see how you like that. The British princess experience - think Medieval Times meets Lifetime Channel - has a decidedly feminist take for girls 10 to 12. Set in a drafty manor house just outside of London, the girls don itchy ceremonial robes and are each assigned a rural character to play complete with a script. So from her prison cell, the girl playing Eleanor of Aquitaine explains why her husband locked her up for 12 years.
ROBERTS: And Boleyn recounts how she fell head over heels for Henry the VIII and then actually lost her head.
ROBERTS: Then comes Bloody Mary, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Victoria and more all with the dark side of the crown. The girls meet Princess Diana who they chase with flashing cameras and, finally, Queen Elizabeth herself, who explains that her feet always hurt and she hates wearing hats.
ROBERTS: Not everything is sad. Everyone gets cake and a tiara at the end of the party.
SAGAL: All right, here are your stories.
SAGAL: One of these is or was a real birthday party possibility for a child of yours, perhaps. Was it from Tom Bodett, the chance to swim with crocodiles at a zoo in Germany; from P.J. O'Rourke, a Somali pirate-themed party with Super Soakers and a tanker; or, from Roxanne Roberts, historically accurate queen for a day for your young little queen of your own? Which of these is the real story of a birthday party theme we found in the news?
BALDWIN: Well, I love the idea of the British princess party, but I'm going to go with the crocodiles...
SAGAL: The German crocodile.
BALDWIN: ...Germans banning the kids from swimming with the crocodiles.
SAGAL: All right. Then your choice, then, is Tom's story. Well, we spoke, as we often do, to a reporter who had covered this story.
JANISSA DELZO: A German zoo allowed minors to swim with...
DELZO: ...Crocodiles as part of their birthday party packages.
SAGAL: That was Janissa Delzo. She's a science writer for Newsweek, and she was telling us about the German zoo and their crocodile swim parties.
SAGAL: Who say the Germans don't have a sense of humor?
SAGAL: Congratulations, Sarah.
SAGAL: You got it right. You got a point from Tom. You've earned a voice from anyone here on the show on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing and congratulations.
BALDWIN: Oh, great. Thank you. It was fun.
SAGAL: Thank you. Bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE YOUR LATER ALLIGATOR")
BILL HALEY AND HIS COMETS: (Singing) See you later alligator, after a while crocodile. See you later alligator, after a while crocodile.
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