Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Our broadcast signal serving the St. George area (KUER 90.9) is operating on low power. Our broadcast signal serving Emery County area (88.3) is off the air. More information.

Who's Bill This Time?

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm legendary newsman, Bill Kurtis...


KURTIS: ...filling in for Carl Kasell. And here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Thank you everybody. Thanks, Bill. Thanks everybody. We got a fun show for you today. We got professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins. He will join us a little later on. You may be skeptical, but I promise he will steal your hearts, leaving a large hole in your chest.


SAGAL: It's charming but gross. You might be wondering where Carl is this week. We're lucky to have Bill, but still, Carl is off receiving an award. He has been named North Carolinian of the Year by the North Carolina Press Association.


SAGAL: That is so great for him, not only because of his long career but because he's actually from New Jersey.


SAGAL: And faking that southern charm for these many decades really worked out for him.

AMY DICKINSON: It got him the girls.

SAGAL: It did.


SAGAL: We still have his voice waiting for you. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

BRAD SMITH: Hi there.

SAGAL: Hey, who's this?

SMITH: My name's Brad.

SAGAL: Hey Brad, where are you calling from?

SMITH: I'm calling from South Dakota, but don't hold it against me. I'm actually from San Francisco.

SAGAL: I don't. It's all right. I like South Dakota. I've been there.

SMITH: Bless your heart.

SAGAL: It's nice.

CHARLIE PIERCE: Are you on the lam or something?


SMITH: I should be on the lam.

SAGAL: How did you go from San Francisco to South Dakota?

SMITH: My husband actually has family out here, and there was an illness in the family and that brought us out here for a while. And then we ended up having an extended stay, so we've been here about a year. We're hoping to get back to California soon. Please God.


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show. Let me...


SAGAL: Welcome to this respite from your living hell. Let me introduce you to our panel this week, Brad. First up, a humorist and blogger for, who will be hosting Spell Check, a spelling bee for grownups at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, Vermont on April 6th, Mr. Tom Bodett is here.

TOM BODETT: Hello, Brad.

SMITH: Hey, Tom.


SAGAL: Next, it's the woman behind the advice column Ask Amy and author of the memoir "The Might Queens of Freeville," Amy Dickinson.


SMITH: Hi, Amy.


SAGAL: Finally, it's the man behind Esquire's politics blog and a contributor to Grant Land, Charlie Pierce.

PIERCE: Hey, Brad.

SMITH: Hey, Charlie.


SAGAL: Brad, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Bill Kurtis filling in for Carl Kasell is going to read you three quotations from the week's news. You job: correctly identify or explain two of them, you will win our prize, Carl's voice on your voicemail. Read to go?


SAGAL: Your first quote comes from NPR's own Steve Inskeep.

KURTIS: Whaaa?


SAGAL: That was young Mr. Inskeep, reacting to the news that what tiny island nation might destroy the European economy?

SMITH: Cyprus.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed, Cyprus.


SAGAL: Very good, you got it right.


SAGAL: Cyprus, a small island off the coast of Greece, sold itself as sort of the Cayman Islands of Europe. It's a tax haven for Russian, quote, "oligarchs," which is Russian for waste disposal consultant.


SAGAL: What did the Cypriot banks do with the money, all this Russian billions of dollars that they took in? They decided to invest it in Greece.


SAGAL: That's right. Let's give it to Greece.

PIERCE: Buy low; sell high.

SAGAL: That's right, let's give the Russian mobsters billions of dollars to Greece because it takes too long to actually flush $30 billion down a toilet.


DICKINSON: But wait, aren't you supposed to like not mess with mobsters' money? I don't know.

SAGAL: That's potentially a problem for them. So they're deep in debt. They need to pay off their debt, right. And they come up with this great idea, just take a chunk out of everybody's bank deposits, like 7, 10 percent off the top, including the Russian mobsters.


SAGAL: Here's the thing, the Russian mobsters, they don't know how to threaten an entire European country.


SAGAL: It's Europe. It's different. They tried putting a horse head in somebody's bed. It just ended up being Ikea meatballs. You know, it's like...


DICKINSON: Can we spare them some Kardashians?


PIERCE: It's not unit of currency yet.

DICKINSON: Oh, it's not.

BODETT: I'm not using them.


PIERCE: Can I get change for a Kim?

BODETT: Oh god.



SAGAL: If you break a Kardashian, what do you get?

PIERCE: You get two Lohans.

SAGAL: There you are.



SAGAL: Your next quote, Brad, is from the head of a political party, talking about the one thing, the one little thing that went wrong in last year's election.

KURTIS: Our message was weak. Our ground game was insufficient. We weren't inclusive. We were behind on both data and digital. And our primary and debate process needed improvement.

SAGAL: So if they can just fix that, who will be fine?


SMITH: The Republicans will be.

SAGAL: Yes, yes.


SAGAL: That was Reince - no, I'm sorry.


PIERCE: Reince.

SAGAL: That was Reince Preibus or is it...

PIERCE: Preibus.

SAGAL: Anyway, no, he is the head of the Republican National Committee, which released its own quote, autopsy, on the last presidential campaign, which involved both talking to hundreds of voters and strategists around the country and also cutting open the body of Mitt Romney.


SAGAL: It turns out, there's nothing in there but a couple of rusted gears and a lot of Cream of Wheat.


SAGAL: So they just sewed him up, apologized, and he went on his way. The report said the Republicans were perceived as being increasingly old, white and out of touch. The report...

PIERCE: Speaking as someone who's old, white and out of touch, I object to that thoroughly.


SAGAL: So, you know, they say they need to hire a Latino to do outreach to the Latino community, which is exactly what Republicans always do when they've got a job they can't handle themselves. They hire a Mexican guy.


SAGAL: So the Republican Party wants to appeal to the youth. Maybe they need to rebrand themselves in a more youth-friendly way. We have some ideas.

KURTIS: The Biebertarian Party.



KURTIS: Forever 61.



SAGAL: Or maybe?

KURTIS: The Republican Party, it's finger repub-licking good.



SAGAL: All right, Brad, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: Jurassic Park, here we come?

SAGAL: That was London's Guardian newspaper, celebrating a new scientific project that wants to do what?

SMITH: Wants to - gosh.

SAGAL: Well, I'll give you a hint. The quote itself is a hint, because what did they do in "Jurassic Park?"

SMITH: Exactly.


SAGAL: Wait a minute. Have you not seen "Jurassic Park?"

SMITH: You know, I'm a little embarrassed to say, especially since I'm an actor. No, I have not.

SAGAL: Boy, I'm sorry but...

SMITH: They bring extinct animals to life by cooking the DNA.

SAGAL: Exactly right.


SAGAL: Yes, they brought extinct animals back to life. That's what they want to do.


SAGAL: Scientists are excited because advances in DNA technology may make it possible to revive extinct species, like the dodo, the Great Auk, the GOP.


SAGAL: Before you ask, no, they can't do dinosaurs, because the DNA from dinosaurs is too old, it's degraded. It's going to be things like the passenger pigeon, the Pyrenean Ibex, a kind of antelope that just went extinct in 2000. So instead of Jurassic Park, it will be more like "Welcome to 15 Years Ago Park."


SAGAL: As the music swells, a pigeon flies by.

BODETT: Chased by a spotted owl.

SAGAL: Exactly. The list of 24 animals they want to revive has some cool ones like the mammoth, the saber toothed tiger, but mostly it's just birds, including a variety of large flightless birds that used to live on islands, until people showed up and ate them. They didn't know, because there were no predators, to run away from the hungry looking people.

DICKINSON: Here's what bothers me about this whole thing.

SAGAL: Yeah.

DICKINSON: It's sort of like the scientists haven't seen "Jurassic Park." Because remember the movie? It's like...

PIERCE: The passenger pigeon is not going to eat you.

DICKINSON: Saber tooth tigers?

BODETT: Right. Yeah, what could go wrong? I mean...

DICKINSON: Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?


SAGAL: Well, you know what's going to happen. They're going to bring back the dodo and they're going to bring back the saber tooth tiger and put them in the same room. Like, "Oh no, we should have anticipated that."


PIERCE: Either that or they're just going to mix it up and you're going to wind up with a saber tooth passenger pigeon.


PIERCE: It would very hard to fly.

SAGAL: That will have a fighting chance though. Bill, how did Brad do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Brad was perfect, got them all right.

SAGAL: Well done, Brad.

SMITH: Thank you.


SAGAL: Thank you for playing, Brad. Bye-bye.

SMITH: Bye guys. Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.