Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell us three stories of secret messages, only one of which is true.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Roy Blount, Jr., Paula Poundstone and Adam Felber. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl. Thank you 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.

GARY SENDER: Hi, this is Gary from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

SAGAL: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania seems to have a lot of these towns that just sound lovely.

SENDER: Well, actually before it was a town called Blue Bell, it was originally Pigeonville.

SAGAL: Pigeonville.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROY BLOUNT: I thought it was something else.

SAGAL: So that was probably an improvement.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Yeah.

SAGAL: Well welcome to the show, Gary. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Gary's topic?

KASELL: Beep Bi-di-beep Beep Beep.

SAGAL: Don't know what Carl means. That's because he's speaking in code. So it sends a message only to his followers. We heard a story of somebody using code in an unusual and very public way this week. Each of our panelists are going to tell you three stories of secret codes. Only one of them is telling the truth. Guess the true story; you will win our prize. Ready to play?

SENDER: Absolutely.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: Leggo my political influence. When Dennis Red Gallagher was in bed with the flu for the better part of a week, not surprisingly, he got bored with hours and hours of daytime television. Until he noticed something a bit odd in a commercial repeatedly aired for Eggo Waffles. "At first I thought I was out of my head with fever, but by the fourth time I saw it, I was sure. If you look at the waffle on the guy's plate, it says no Obama in a pattern of squares darkened by butter and syrup."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "It's only on for a second, just after the guy hugs his kid and the puppy licks his face." Kellogg's PR Vice President Emma Heinzing claims that Eggo toaster waffles - available in your freezer section - are a delicious breakfast or anytime nutritious snack and that syrup and butter are distributed with the intent of enhancing the visual appeal of the waffle itself. Any resemblance to any other type of message within the tasty waffles squares is purely coincidental. In what Kellogg's claims to have been an unrelated story, Ellie McGee, food designer, was fired and the commercial pulled.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Secret messages in waffles on TV. Your next story of a hidden message comes from Adam Felber.

ADAM FELBER: When you talk about the band Phish, man, you have to talk about the juicy extended jams and the culture, the fans with the Ph man, following the band with the homemade goods and doing drugs and doing strong financial analysis on Larry Kudlow's show and - wait, what?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: That's right, Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak and Company recently went on Kudlow's CNBC show and dropped a startling number of Phish references in a seven-minute segment, which is, of course, much shorter than most Phish songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Greenhaus' analysis of inflation fears included sly shout outs to such songs as "Backwards Down the Number Line," "Fast Enough for You", and "Free." Greenhaus tipped hit hand on his favorite met band's message board right before his appearance, posting the note: put on CNBC right now. To which most fans replied: why? I'm already wearing a poncho, dude.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Anyway, Greenhaus isn't resting on his laurels. He vows that next time he'll somehow figure out an ingenious way to cram in a reference to Phish's new single, which is tentatively entitled, "The Commodity Pricing is not a Necessary Indicator in Inflationary Pressure Shuffle."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: CNBC commentator getting a lot of Phish songs into his comments. Your last story of a secret code comes from Roy Blount, Jr.

BLOUNT: What caused some 300 people, many of them armed, to gather on Culp City, Colorado's Memorial Plaza this week? Corvis McKendrie, whom other Culp Citians describe as a character, swore to the Associated Press that, "it was Flickie, my nephews' gerbil. I helped the boys wire up Flickie's little exercise wheel, so when he ran around in it, he turned another thing that jiggled another thing that pointed to words at random. Then we hooked that up to the Tweet. It was the boys' science project."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: What went out over Twitter, at any rate, was this message: "Emerge neighbors, denounce old lies in government as revealed here. Yes, freedom rises on Memorial. Gather like eagles next noon by excellent code known."

Corvis McKendrie absolutely insisted that neither he nor his nephews noticed that the first letters of those words spell out: End Oligarhy from Glenn Beck.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: The people who assembled, however, had noticed it, including the misspelling of oligarchy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: "That helped convince me it really was from Glenn Beck," confessed one of the assembled multitude.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT: "I was ready to rise up, damn that Corvis."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All righty, then.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Here are your choices. You could have picked up a secret message from one of these sources. From Paula Poundstone: a waffle commercial with the little squares in the waffle spelling out a political message. From Adam Felber: from an analyst on CNBC who is also a Phish fan. Or from Roy Blount, Jr...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Let me get my head around this. A secret message from Glenn Beck, as transmitted on Twitter from gerbils.

BLOUNT: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which of these is the real story of the secret code in the week's news?

SENDER: Well Paula and Adam's stories both seem quite plausible. But actually, I know a lot of smart people who really like jam bands. So I'm going to go with Adam's story about the...

SAGAL: The Phish.

SENDER: Fan on CNBC.

SAGAL: All right, so that's your choice. You chose Adam's story about the Phish band on CNBC. So, we spoke to somebody who has a particular connection to this message.

MIKE GORDON: The Phish fans, they like it because they feel like they're getting these smoke signals that not everyone gets and there's this whole other level of communication.

SAGAL: That was Mike Gordon. He's the bassist in the band Phish. He was talking about CNBC's Dan Greenhaus, who's a fan.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Mike's new album "Moss" is out now. You got it right. Obviously, Adam told the truth. It was, in fact, that story. You have both earned a point for Adam and won our prize. Carl Kasell will record a greeting on your home voicemail.

SENDER: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: With a secret message, if you like.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

SENDER: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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