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Who's Bill This Time?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. Calm down. What's all the hullabaloo about? I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, both to this show and multiple Airbnb guests who demanded their money back, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thanks once again to our fake audience, which we are delighted to report have all been fake vaccinated. Later on, we're going to be talking to Kemp Powers, who has been nominated for two different Oscars this year - one for writing "One Night In Miami," one for co-directing Pixar's "Soul." He is a true hero of the pandemic. Just as we were running out, he gave us what we needed most - two more things to watch.

So don't wait. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

Hi, you're on. WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

JEN VOGL: Hi, Peter. This is Jen calling in from Yardley, Penn.

SAGAL: Yardley, Penn.? Where exactly is that, Jen?

VOGL: Oh, we're just across the river from Trenton, N.J.

SAGAL: Oh, lucky you.

VOGL: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Just to be able to wake up in the morning and see across the mist-covered Delaware, the spires of Trenton in the distance. What - it's paradise on earth. What do you do there in Yardley?

VOGL: Well, I do corporate due diligence, which is a fancy way of saying that I basically Facebook stalk Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs.

SAGAL: You Facebook stalk Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs?

VOGL: Yeah. So we make sure that mergers and acquisitions are going OK, and people aren't paying for terrorists or paying bribes, so just making sure everything's on the up and up.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. So you're, like, Facebooking with a Russian oligarch and saying, sir, are you in the up and up? And everyone's like, da (ph), and the merger goes through?

VOGL: (Laughter) Well, a little more than that.

SAGAL: (Laughter) All right. Well, but that's the general idea, though.

Well, welcome to our show, Jen. Let me introduce you to our fabulous panel this week. First up, the a features writer for the Style section of The Washington Post. It's Roxanne Roberts.




SAGAL: Next, a comedian doing actual live standup in front of people at Laughs Comedy Club in Seattle April 30 to May 1. It's Alonzo Bodden.




SAGAL: And a comedian bringing awareness to Asian American justice issues with her family's YouTube channel, Old Korean Dad Stories (And Sometimes Mom). It's Helen Hong.


HELEN HONG: Hello. Hi, Jen.


SAGAL: So, Jen, you're going to play Who's Bill This Time? Of course, Bill Kurtis is going to read you three quotations from the week's news. If you can correctly identify or explain just two of them, you will win our prize - any voice from our show you might choose on your voicemail. Are you ready to go?

VOGL: Let's do this.

SAGAL: Yeah, let's. Let's do this. Here's your first quote.

KURTIS: It's like a very heavy beached whale.

SAGAL: That was the man in charge of removing a ship that got stuck where this week?

VOGL: That'd be the Suez Canal.

SAGAL: Yes, you're right.


SAGAL: A gigantic container cargo ship got wedged sideways in the Suez Canal on Tuesday, completely blocking all traffic in the world's busiest shipping lane for what could be weeks. They say it was an accident. The ship was somehow blown into the side of the canal. But we've heard the audio where the captain is saying, hey, guys, watch me Tokyo drift through the canal.

HONG: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Now, this accident has captured the attention of the world because it is exactly what we all worry about when we try to parallel park. Oh, God. I'm stuck here, and I'm blocking 10% of the global economy.

ROBERTS: But isn't this, like, a huge ship?

SAGAL: It is a very, very big ship.

ROBERTS: Like, how big?

SAGAL: Well, Roxanne, it's so big (laughter) that it got stuck in the Suez Canal.


SAGAL: Actually, everybody has gotten a crash course on, like, container ships. And it turns out container ships have, for the last 10, 15 years, gotten much, much bigger. So this particular ship, we are told, is as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

BODDEN: But how do you explain to your boss - like, this is classically you have one job.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Yes.

BODDEN: You have one job. What do you - you know, boss, there were waves. Didn't expect waves in the water. Oh, it was windy. Yes, I have a ship as big as the Empire State Building, but, you know, a breeze hit it on the side. There's really - there's no explanation for this. It's like you start, first, boss - let me tell you first, I quit. Now, let me tell you what happened.


ROBERTS: See, that's the thing I don't get because they move so slow that for this to get wedged sideways, somebody - maybe they were all drunk or something because you would have thought that someone would have noticed that it was listing off, you know, to the side.

BODDEN: I don't know the education you need to be a ship's captain or to pilot one of these ships - how many years of college and navigation and all. But I do remember in kindergarten, they gave you like a little thing, and they gave you blocks. And the square block went in the square hole, and the triangle went in the triangle hole. So when you see this straight canal, you're like, hey, maybe we should go straight with the ship. Maybe sideways ship doesn't fit through straight canal. Just go back to basics.


SAGAL: The best thing though is, like, this has brought the world together. We're all watching this slow-motion disaster, and we're trying to suggest ways to fix it. Like, the entire world is a neighbor dad now. It's like, hey, have you tried just rocking it back and forth a bit there?


SAGAL: Forward, then reverse. See if that helps. Good.

All right. Here is your next quote.

KURTIS: There's no DeJoy in the place tonight.

SAGAL: That was Senator Dick Durbin. He was making a terrible pun about whose new plan to, quote, "revitalize" what?

VOGL: Oh, the U.S. Postal Service.

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: When Louis DeJoy was appointed to be postmaster general under the last president, he denied widespread accusations that he was trying to destroy the post office. So this week, he triumphantly unveiled his new management plan, saying, now I'm trying to destroy the post office.

The 10-year plan is called, of course, Delivering for America. And it calls for innovations such as longer delivery times, higher prices and shorter office hours. He tried to work in a provision calling for mail carriers to pee on your lawn as they walked by, but that would require having to let them drink on the job, so he didn't want to do that.

BODDEN: Didn't he pay his bribe money to Trump? Like, why does he still have a job?

SAGAL: Well, that's kind of - I'm kind of like - I admire him because as we all remember, he was hired under President Trump. And everybody said that this guy is going to destroy the post office because they don't want to have ballots in the election, and the Republicans just hate the post office. And then, of course, Trump lost the election and left office. And you're like, dude, you can go home. It's over. But he's like, no. He is so committed to his mission of wrecking the post office that he's going to see it through.

BODDEN: Then they should mail him his paychecks.


SAGAL: I want to point out something. We all know this guy's name. Our caller Jen knew this guy's name. You should not know the name of the postmaster general. It's, like, not a thing that should come up. If you know his name, there's a problem. It's like when you know the name of a ship. Something has gone wrong, right? Nobody ever says, you know, oh, remember the S.S. Deborah incident, where it got to where it was going without blocking any canals?

HONG: Oh, man. He's the Ever Given of U.S. government right now.

SAGAL: Mr. DeJoy, if you're listening, this is how you fix the post office. Instead of calling them stamps, call them crypto stampcoin (ph), and idiots will pay thousands for them.

BODDEN: Millions.

SAGAL: Millions, even.

All right. Here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Is the U.S. overrun by chipmunks? Because I'm pretty sure they're the only ones that actually eat it.

SAGAL: That was a man named Jay Hibbs on Twitter. He was asking a very reasonable question about the good news that there is no longer a shortage of what inexplicably popular cereal?

VOGL: Shrimp Toast Crunch?


SAGAL: Yum. Oh, God. I remember - it brings back such memories of when I was a kid and being horribly punished. No, not that. It was the other cereal story in the news this week.

VOGL: There was another cereal story?

SAGAL: There was another cereal story. I know. It's like, you only...

HONG: Believe it or not.

SAGAL: You have so much bandwidth for cereal stories. I understand. This is a different cereal. I'll give you an interesting fact about this cereal. It involves neither grapes nor nuts.

VOGL: Oh, God. Grape-Nuts.

SAGAL: Grape-Nuts. Yes. How did you guess?


SAGAL: It's great news for everybody. The Grape-Nuts shortage that you were not aware was happening is now over. America's favorite breakfast gravel was gone from stores due to COVID-related supply chain issues, as well as high demand since it was winter, and a lot of people were stockpiling it to spread on the ice when their cars got stuck.

BODDEN: How do you run out of something that no one eats more than once?

SAGAL: (Laughter) That's the question.

ROBERTS: Alonzo, inexplicably, I agree with you. But apparently there are massive Grape-Nut fans, so much so that during the great Grape-Nut shortage of 2020, people paid huge amounts...

HONG: What?

ROBERTS: ...On the black market to buy these.


ROBERTS: No, so much so that the company is going to reimburse people for the black market price.

HONG: No. Like, go on eBay and...

SAGAL: Yes. It's all true.

HONG: ...And pay, like $300...

SAGAL: Everything Roxanne has said is true.

HONG: ...For a box of Grape-Nuts?

BODDEN: Are they sure people were eating it? Or is this like something you pack around drugs so dogs can't smell the drugs or something?


BODDEN: Like, you know, it's got some other use that we're not aware of that these people are using it for, so they really needed Grape-Nuts. It's the only thing that throws off a drug dog, is fresh Grape-Nuts.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Jen do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She did so well. With three wins, she deserves a box of Grape-Nuts.

VOGL: Oh, no.

SAGAL: Oh, no.


SAGAL: Jen, thank you so much for playing.

VOGL: Thanks, Peter. Thanks, Bill. Thanks, everyone. Bye.

SAGAL: Take care.

ROBERTS: Bye-bye.


NINA SIMONE: (Singing) I want a little sugar in my bowl. I want a little sweetness down in my soul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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