Grooving Mountains Jonathan Coulton reworks "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to be about things that aren't high enough. Just kidding, this game is about real and fictional mountains.

Grooving Mountains

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OPHIRA EISENBERG: This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm your host, Ophira Eisenberg, here with puzzle guru Greg Pliska and our house musician, Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Let's meet our next two contestants. Nick Venturelli, you're a first year medical student.

NICK VENTURELLI: Yes, I am.

EISENBERG: And - what - last week you held a brain?

VENTURELLI: Yeah, I did.

EISENBERG: How was it?

VENTURELLI: It was pretty cool. Like, we had to saw open the skull and then pull out the brain. And then you have it in your hands and you're like, that's a brain. It looks just like you'd imagine. It was pretty amazing.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Caitlin Davis who is in a premed post-doc program. See what's happening here? You are premed - he's a medical student. Caitlin, is there something you want to ask Nick about your future?

CAITLIN DAVIS: I asked him all about holding the human brain, and I'm feeling much more confident about anatomy lab, which I'll be taking next year.

EISENBERG: Oh look at you getting - you're like already top of the class.

DAVIS: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is a music game called Grooving Mountains. And because it's a music game, I'm going to toss it over to Jonathan Colton.

JOHNATHAN COULTON: Thank you, Ophira. We have taken the song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and rewritten it to be about things that aren't high enough. No, that's a joke. That's something - that sounds like something we would do, but that's not what we've done. We've actually changed the song to be about real and fictional mountains. So buzz in when you know which mountain I'm singing about, and the winner will move on to the final round at the end of the show. You ready?

VENTURELLI: Yes.

DAVIS: Yes.

COULTON: OK. (Singing) Listen baby, this one's really high - highest in the States. It's a bit Alaska, baby. Thanks a lot Obama, you changed its name to the Native American version.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nick?

VENTURELLI: That is Mount McKinley.

COULTON: It is Mount McKinley.

VENTURELLI: Or Denali.

COULTON: Or Denali - that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Keep going, Frodo. Toss that ring over this volcano in Mordor.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nick?

VENTURELLI: Mount Doom.

COULTON: Mount Doom is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Because Moses he got the Ten Commandments here. He told his people not to fear. Then they're in the desert 40 years. Don't worship golden calf here, babe.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nick?

VENTURELLI: Mount Sinai.

COULTON: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Remember the time we stood in line? I told you, you should always FastPass it, darling. Galactic rocket in Disneyland, zig and zag through the dark - babe, this ride is my jam.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nick?

VENTURELLI: Space Mountain.

COULTON: Space Mountain, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I love Space Mountain.

COULTON: Space Mountain is a terrifying, terrifying ride.

EISENBERG: So scary.

VENTURELLI: So scary.

EISENBERG: I don't know if I would still enjoy it. I feel like I may have crested past my roller coaster years.

COULTON: You've crested past your roller coaster years?

EISENBERG: I don't know. I haven't been on one in a long time. Now life is like a roller coaster to me - sad, scary.

COULTON: You don't need a ride because your life is...

EISENBERG: Because I wake up screaming.

COULTON: ...That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing) How crazy that when this big volcano blew, Pompeii didn't have a clue. Eyewitness accounts were few. Save for one from Pliny the Younger.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Caitlin?

DAVIS: Vesuvius.

COULTON: Vesuvius, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) Because there are some birds, and there are some bees, and some cigarette trees. It's a song you might write on a sugar high. It's where the hobos go when they die.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Caitlin?

DAVIS: "Big Rock Candy Mountain"?

COULTON: Yes, that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Not a real mountain, by the way.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah.

COULTON: Apparently a fake mountain.

EISENBERG: But it's supposed to be amazing.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Now, that mountain's supposed to be amazing.

COULTON: Yeah, it's amazing. It's made of rock candy.

EISENBERG: It's made of rock candy, supposedly they - with streams of liquor.

COULTON: Streams of liquor - yeah - cigarette trees...

EISENBERG: Now they're vape.

COULTON: ...Who doesn't love a cigarette tree?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Are they vape trees too - little tiny vape trees?

COULTON: Yeah, probably vape trees now.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing) Because Hera and Zeus hung out on top of me. I'm big in Greek mythology, close to Thessalonikic and the name of a camera brand too.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nick?

VENTURELLI: Mount Olympus.

COULTON: That's right. Mount Olympus.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Greg Pliska, how did our contestants do?

GREG PLISKA: Well Caitlin had a valiant rally at the end there, almost getting to Mount Rainier (ph), but I'm afraid - Catlin, I'm sorry - Nick is our winner. And we'll see Nick in our final round at the end of the show.

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