Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about brand new superheroes, only one of which is true.
NPR logo

Bluff The Listener

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: 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 Roxanne Roberts, P.J. O'Rourke and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: 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.

JAMIE ANDERSON: Hi, this is Jamie from Ottawa, Canada.

SAGAL: Hey, Jamie from Ottawa. Don't have a lot of Canadian listeners - nice to hear from you. What do you do there?

ANDERSON: Well, I'm not a real Canadian. I'm a U.S. citizen, but I did become a Canadian citizen a month ago.

SAGAL: Oh, you did. Congratulations...

ANDERSON: Thank you.

SAGAL: ...Or rather, should I say, go to hell you traitor. I'm not sure how to deal with this.


SAGAL: So when you became Canadian, did you have to learn how to be Canadian? I mean, did you have to learn how to take on a more Canadian attitude toward things?

ANDERSON: Well, I now let people pull out in front of me in traffic.

SAGAL: There you go. That's the first step. Well, welcome to our show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Jamie's topic?

KURTIS: Bill-Man to the rescue.

SAGAL: So the new "Avengers" movie is out this week, and millions of grown-ups will be leaving their kids at home alone to go see it. But this week, we read about a real-life superhero, a vigilante out there doing good, someone who may not be an Avenger, but is still fighting the good fight. Guess the true story, you'll when Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

ANDERSON: I am ready.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Have a pothole problem? Not in the small English town of Bury, where a local artist has come up with an arousing way to get the road hazards repaired. He paints giant (clears throat) penises around them. The potholes will be there for months. The anonymous street artist told Newsbeat, quote, "suddenly you see something amusing around it. Everybody sees it, and either it gets reported or fixed."


ROBERTS: The City Council is not amused, calling the large white outlines, quote, "obscene," quote, "stupid and insulting." The artist, who the press have nicknamed Wanksy...


ROBERTS: Is unrepentant and says his drawings are artistic expression. Quote, "to be offended by that, you must be very prudish." And since you asked, the street penises last about four hours - kidding, actually about a week or two, which is making the asphalt layers very jealous.


SAGAL: Wanksy, who's getting potholes fixed by doing obscene drawings right around them. Your next story about a new, but not necessarily exciting superhero comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: Sidewalks around the world are filled with smartphone zombies, and I'm here to clean our streets. That was the message painted on the side of the Apple Store in Chicago's hip Bronzeville neighborhood. The message was signed The Brick-Phone Bandit. Reports have been flooding in that people who walk down the street while texting have had their smartphones snatched by a middle-aged white male dressed in 1990s cross-color outfits.


BABYLON: He then hands them a working old-school brick cell phone from the '90s, with a charger, no less. According to Chicago Detective Amy Shanker (ph), the stolen phones are returned a week or so later with a note - keep your eyes on real life. And they're always signed, The Brick-Phone Bandit. So far, 14 people in Chicago have been victims of the bandit. His latest victim had their Apple Watch stolen and replaced with a sundial.


SAGAL: The Brick-Phone Bandit haunting the streets of Chicago. Your last story of an unsung hero comes from P.J. O'Rourke.

O'ROURKE: Mulch Man, the compost vigilante of Brattleboro, Vt. Early Friday morning is garbage collection time in Brattleboro, which is probably the greenest, most organic town east of anywhere marijuana is legal. Most Brattleboro residents put their garbage out on Thursday night. That's when Mulch Man strikes. In the wee hours, wearing a camper's headlamp, Mulch Man tips over the waste bin and sorts through its contents. Everything that is biodegradable is then clumped on your doorstep or dumped through your mail slot or, if you've left your car unlocked, piled on your driver's seat. Mulch Man believes in composting - believes in compulsory composting. It's on his anonymous website www.rottingpile. Your compost pile should have a place, or I'll pile compost in your face. Police - this being Brattleboro, Vt. - are not investigating.

SAGAL: So here are your three choices. Which of these is the new anonymous vigilante out there striking blows for justice of some kind? Is it Wanksy, the street artist who gets potholes fixed by drawing rude phalluses on them so they have to be covered over? Is it the Brick-Phone Bandit, who haunts the people who are easy to haunt 'cause they're looking at their smartphones all the time, or is it from P.J. Mulch Man of Brattleboro, Vt., who's rooting through garbage to steal the combustibles and leaving a mess behind?

ANDERSON: Well, I would like them all to be true.

SAGAL: They're all good.

ANDERSON: Yeah, they're all good. I think I would go for Mulch Man because I kind of dig Mulch Man.

SAGAL: You're going to go for Mulch Man, P.J.'s story...


SAGAL: ...Of the compost-minded vigilante...

ANDERSON: Yeah because that sounds like Vermont.

SAGAL: ...Of Brattleboro, Vt. It does sound very Vermonty. I will grant you that. Well, we spoke to somebody to bring you the real story.

JAY BROOKS: For people that are visiting, they can take a picture with the infamous penises that he has drawn around the potholes.


SAGAL: That was Jay Brooks. She is the American representative for She is talking about Wanksy, the pothole superhero who is haunting a nearby town in England. So because you're Canadian now...


SAGAL: ...You understand that you've lost, and you accept it.


SAGAL: But thank you so much. You did earn a point for P.J. for being very convincing. I think Mulch Man does sound very reasonable. And we are so delighted you called us to play our game, and congratulations on your big change.

ANDERSON: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.