Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about people finding a successful plan B.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR and Chicago Public Radio, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Mo Rocca, Roxanne Roberts and Charlie Pierce. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thanks everybody. 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're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

PAIGE SCHRAM: Hi, this is Paige Schram from St. Paul, Minnesota.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in St. Paul?

SCHRAM: It's a beautiful time to be in Minnesota.

SAGAL: It is. And how often can you say that?


SCHRAM: Well, we love it here in the summer because we don't go outside in the winter.

SAGAL: I understand. I've been there myself. Well welcome to the show, Paige. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Paige's topic?

KASELL: Uh-oh, time for plan B.

SAGAL: Things don't always go the way we hope they do. That's why it's important to have a backup plan. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories of people who did not give up when their first shot at success failed. Choose the true story from this week's news, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to play?

SCHRAM: I'm ready.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Charlie Pierce.

CHARLIE PIERCE: The economic downturn in Nevada and the environmental crisis in the Gulf have met on the site of a failed casino project in Laughlin and everything's coming up oysters. Last fall, the developers of the Golden Horseshoe Casino complex went bust with nothing but the foundation holes dug.

Undaunted, last week they reconstituted themselves and purchased the land as Scale Models Aquaculture in order to build Nevada's first functioning oyster farm. Yes, friends, prairie oysters. We've seen the devastation rot in the gulf, said company president Walter Welk(ph). This will provide our restaurants with a steady supply of oysters as the tourist season heats up.

Scale Models plans to expand the complex to include not only oysters but scallops and fish as well, making the complex the largest aquaculture facility west of the Grand Banks. Casinos have always loved to have fish coming through door, said Wanda Kelso, director of the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce. Now we're going to send the fish to them.

SAGAL: A casino becomes an oyster farm in Laughlin, Nevada. Your next story of a backup plan comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: (Singing) How do you solve a problem like sciatica?

The sisters of the Marienkron Abbey in Austria have the answer, and a profitable one at that. Initially, the cash-strapped nuns hatched a chicken breeding business, but that failed. The chickens were presumably too chaste.

The nuns then decided to convert their convent into, naturally, a massage parlor. Their five-star spa is alive with the sound of high pressure jets pummeling guests with chilled mineral water to stimulate the skin. At 100 euros a night, the nuns are doubtless singing...

(Singing) So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, shiatsu for you and you and you and you and you.



SAGAL: Massaging nuns, trying to make a buck that way. Your last story of plan B comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Thomas Shandal Smith(ph) thought he was a Harvard kind of guy. And so the high school senior was shocked when every Ivy League college, the only schools he applied to, denied admission or put him on a wait list. Within days of the bad news, the computer whiz created, devoted to helping other overachieving students stuck in college limbo.

Within two weeks of launching the site, more than 50 universities bought ads to woo the students. The website even caught the eye of Harvard admission officers, who were so impressed by Smith's entrepreneurial qualities that they rescinded their denial and offered Smith a spot in the class of 2014, which he rejected.

SAGAL: All right, let's review your choices.


SAGAL: From Charlie Pierce, a bankrupt casino becomes an oyster farm. From Mo Rocca, a group of nuns, not being able to bring any income to their convent opens a day spa with massages. Or from Roxanne Roberts, how somebody rejected from Harvard and other Ivy League schools created a profitable business catering to other rejectees. Which of these is the real story about a plan B?

SCHRAM: I think I'm going to go with the massaging nuns because that sounds really cool.


SAGAL: Does it sound, though, enticing?


SAGAL: Wow, it sounds like you'd make a habit of it. All right, well that's your choice, Mo's story of the massaging nuns. We spoke to a journalist who was able to inform us about the truth of this story.

ERIC WESTERVELT: The nuns now offer deep tissue massages, fitness classes and a mineral water treatment involving high pressure jets to stimulate the skin.


SAGAL: That was NPR's Germany and Austria correspondent Eric Westervelt reporting to us from Berlin. Congratulations. You obviously got it right. Mo, in fact, had the real story. You earned a point for him by picking his story. But more than that, you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will massage you with high pressure jets. No, that's not right.


SAGAL: I'm sorry.

ROCCA: It's premium members only.

SAGAL: Yes. He will record the greeting on your home answering machine or voicemail. Congratulations, well done.

SCHRAM: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.

SCHRAM: Bye-bye.

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