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Bluff The Listener


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 Roxanne Roberts, Negin Farsad and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host, the man who has never been impeached, Peter Sagal.



Thank you so much, Bill. Right now, it is 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 are on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.

DAN COFFEY: Hi, Peter. This is Dan Coffey from Hopkinton, Mass.

SAGAL: Oh, Hopkinton. I know it very well. What do you do there?

COFFEY: I work in the movie adjacent industry. I'm in a role in media processing, and it's much simpler just to say you're welcome for your streaming content.

SAGAL: Oh, well, thank you very much.

LUKE BURBANK: Could you make some more Netflix, Dan? Because I just got to the end of it.


SAGAL: And I'm very bored.

COFFEY: No comment.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, Dan, it is a pleasure to talk to you. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Dan's topic?

KURTIS: (Imitating chicken clucking). Chicken.

ROBERTS: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Chickens are proof that God loves us because he made the most delicious bird incapable of flying away. This week, chickens made the news. Our panelists are going to tell you why. Pick the real story, you'll win our prize - the winner of your choice on your voicemail. Ready to play?

COFFEY: Ready.

SAGAL: All right, first, let's hear from Negin Farsad.

NEGIN FARSAD: Chickens have been underestimated despite being too chicken when it comes to issues such as crossing the road or bar fights, they're actually quite advanced in the realm of vocalization. In fact, we have long known that chickens have more than 30 types of vocalizations. There's buck, buck. And then there's Bah-gawk, bah-gawk (ph) for example. What we didn't know is that the CIA of the United States had been using these 30 distinct warblers to send secret messages to a vast spy network in South America. That's right. Chicken calls as a spy tool seems even more absurd than the wigs they wore on the Americans. But it's true. Apparently, trained chickens could be embedded without any notice in certain underdeveloped countries where, according to a CIA spokesperson, chickens run the streets. Leaked classified CIA documents indicated that high-pitched warbling, which in chicken life means that a hen is about to lay an egg in CIA terms, meant the drop is proceeding. Staccato chatter indicated a large Class A drug shipment. Problems arose when spies confused actual chicken talk with spy chicken talk. Sometimes, you'd have a Keri Russell type walking by a coop, hearing a frenetic warble that meant an asset had run afoul, only to discover that an actual hen was in heat. Since the chicken vocalization catalog has leaked, chicken sounds have been retired from service. The chicken, whose vocalizations are credited with the takedown of El Chapo, was recently awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Cross. All she had to say to that honor was bah-gawk.


SAGAL: Chickens with their multifaceted vocalizations used to send messages among spies in South America. Your next scoop from the scoop comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROBERTS: Addison Rae Easterling got two chickens for her birthday in October, and now all hell has broken loose. The 20-year-old TikTok star, with the following of 70 million, named her hens, Sugar and Spice and created an adorable hip-hop chicken dance in their honor. So millions of her teenage fans decided they, too, must have backyard chickens, Except not everyone has a backyard or even room for one chicken, much less two. Millions of Easterling's fans adopted chickens, chicks and even a few roosters, many without their parents' consent or knowledge. Quote, "I walked into her bedroom, and there was a freaking hen in her closet," Maryanne Sheere (ph) told "Good Morning America." She was very cute, very fluffy and very smelly. Sheere's 14-year-old daughter was allowed to keep the chicken on the back porch of their Denver home. Easterling told GMA that she always tells her fans, I love you and said she wants them to love their chickens too. Quote, "if that means you can take care of them, that's great. And if that means loving them enough to let them fly away, that's perfect, too." And yes, Sugar and Spice already have two million TikTok followers of their own.

SAGAL: A major TikTok star gets two chickens and creates havoc in homes of teenagers around the world. Your last poultry post comes from Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: The Internet is a terrible place, but it did prove itself useful recently as a forum for scientists to debate the most important question of our time, how hard would you have to slap a chicken in order to cook it? The answer is extremely hard. It all started when someone on Reddit posed the question, if kinetic energy is converted into thermal energy, how hard do I have to slap a chicken to cook it? A physicist did the math and came up with a number, 3,725 miles per hour. The problem is that would also liquefy the chicken and probably the arm of the person doing the slapping. So case closed, right? Well, not quite. A follow-up up question was posed, how many light slaps would it take? That number penciled out to 23,034 totally normal slaps of a frozen chicken would be enough to do the trick. Things didn't end there, though. A variety of youtubers have been building chicken slapping machines to test the theory. Sadly, the experiments have been largely unsuccessful, just showing gross footage of pulverized bird carcasses and providing one more reason that you don't want to type spank your chicken into Google.


SAGAL: OK, Dan, we saw a story about chicken in the week's news. Was it from Negin, chickens used to send messages to spies in South America, from Roxanne, a TikTok influencer who got two chickens and caused havoc in teenagers' homes around the world or from Luke, a physicist who says you can cook chicken by slapping it? Which of these is the real story?

COFFEY: Oh, man. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'm going to go with Luke's story about slapping chickens.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Luke slapping his chicken. I totally understand that. It's uncomfortable, very popular on the Internet these days. I can imagine. All right, you've chosen Luke's story of chicken cooking by chicken slapping. To bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in the real story.

PARKER ORMONDE: Theoretically, you could slap a chicken and it would carry enough energy in that one slap to cook the entire chicken.

SAGAL: That was Parker Ormonde. He is the physics major who invented the chicken slapping theory. You've won our game, in addition to winning a point for Luke.



COFFEY: Great. Thank you.

FARSAD: Good job.

SAGAL: Thank you so much, Dan, and good luck in Hopkinton.

COFFEY: Thanks very much.


ZAC BROWN BAND: (Singing) You know I like my chicken fried, a cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right and the radio up... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.