Music legend Linda Ronstadt plays a game called "They said we were mad at the academy! Mad I tell you!" Three questions about strange, but real, patents in recent years.
Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. Here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl.
SAGAL: Thanks everybody. In 2007, WAIT WAIT went to San Francisco, where we met one of the great modern pop singers, Linda Ronstadt.
KASELL: She joined us, along with panelists Paula Poundstone, Adam Felber and Sue Ellicott, and started by talking about the glorious 70s.
SAGAL: Did you ever miss, once you had sort of made this change into the 80s into smaller venues and different kinds of things, different kinds of music, did you ever miss the...
LINDA RONSTADT: Oh no, I like to play for the smallest audience possible. It's just hard to get paid. Also, for entertainers, after we got into those big coliseums, we didn't go and see each other's music anymore. We didn't go - in the old days when I used to play at the Troubadour, which was a little folk club that held 300 people, in Hollywood.
RONSTADT: You know, we all went and saw each other. I saw every single night and every show of Jackson Browne and James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and Elton and, you know, Carole King, whoever was through there singing. So, we could be influenced by each other, but after we got in the coliseums, well nobody wanted to - you know, first you can't park and you...
RONSTADT: It's hard to go to those places. And it sounds awful. You know, the last time I went to see, I think it was Prince. I went and saw the Purple Rain tour, because I have such a slobbering - I could slobber for Prince...
SAGAL: Oh sure, who doesn't.
RONSTADT: I slobber for him. He's really good.
SAGAL: Well, Linda Ronstadt, we are so delighted to have you here. We have asked you here to play a game we're calling?
KASELL: They said we were mad at the academy. Mad, I tell you.
SAGAL: That is what we call our occasional foray into the world of odd inventions. We're going to ask you three questions about some rather strange but real patents taken out in recent years. Get two right, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their home answering machine. So Carl, who is Linda Ronstadt playing for?
KASELL: Linda is playing for Rochelle Caruso of Sacramento, California.
SAGAL: Ready to go?
RONSTADT: I'm playing for what?
KASELL: For Rochelle Caruso.
RONSTADT: What do you mean I'm playing for her?
SAGAL: Now, the way it works is if you get two out of three correct, Carl will record a home answering machine message or voicemail, whichever, for that person, who wrote in and...
RONSTADT: I thought he'd record it for me.
RONSTADT: That's what you said backstage. I want you on my answering machine.
SAGAL: Maybe that's between...
RONSTADT: People are really tired of hearing me talk.
RONSTADT: I'll trade you. I'll sing yours if you can talk mine.
ADAM FELBER: Oh, go for it.
SUE ELLICOTT: That is a deal.
RONSTADT: I'll call you back some day.
RONSTADT: I won't know any answers.
FELBER: I'll call you back some day.
RONSTADT: Because I don't watch television. I never know anything.
SAGAL: OK. First, an invention from 1965 to help with the pain and difficulty of childbirth. Is it A: a specialized turntable that helps spin the baby out by centrifugal force?
SAGAL: B: a fake, cushy rubber uterus that you can place the newborn in so it has some familiar surroundings for its first day or so of life? Or C: a soundproof birthing helmet for the mother so her screams won't disturb the baby?
RONSTADT: It was the middle thing.
SAGAL: The middle thing, the rubber uterus.
RONSTADT: Like rockabye baby, it rocked and...
SAGAL: It was a little uterus, you put the baby in...
RONSTADT: ...womb sounds and...
SAGAL: Yeah, you stuff it back in, because you buy into the whole theory that the baby is shocked by emerging and therefore...
RONSTADT: It's pretty shocking.
SAGAL: I've never gotten over it.
SAGAL: That's your choice, the fake uterus.
SAGAL: No, I'm afraid it was actually the centrifugal turntable.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: How does that work?
SAGAL: Well I'm going to leave this to your imagination. It's called the apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force.
SAGAL: Patented by the...
RONSTADT: My children were adopted, so I wouldn't know what this is, never having had a baby.
SAGAL: Really? Well, let me tell you, having attended a childbirth or two, we could have used a fast spinning turntable.
ELLICOTT: What if it's breach?
SAGAL: A series of targets around the room with different point values.
SAGAL: It would have been really great.
ELLICOTT: Did they start it at 33 and if it wasn't good enough, whack it up 78?
FELBER: Suddenly the mother's scream sounds so much higher pitched.
SAGAL: You have two more chances to get something right. Let's see how it goes, Linda. Here we go. Next question: there are a lot of patents for useful software, as you can imagine, including which of these?
RONSTADT: I don't know anything about this.
SAGAL: One of these things really exits. A: a software program that automatically pixilates the dirty bits of pornographic pictures, so religious people can safely look at them?
SAGAL: B: a program that automatically senses when your cat is walking on your keyboard and turns off the computer?
SAGAL: Or C: a program for shy people that automatically generates provocative messages for chat rooms?
RONSTADT: God, I don't know anything about computers. The cat thing.
SAGAL: You're going to go for the cat thing?
SAGAL: You're right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
ELLICOTT: Now, Peter, is the program called Paws?
SAGAL: No, very good, it's called Paw Sense.
FELBER: I don't recommend it.
FELBER: Because my cat was unable to send email for a month and was very angry.
SAGAL: Here we go, last question. These are tough times. Here's a recent invention devoted to making you feel more secure. It is A: a driver actuated flamethrower for your car, to deter carjackers?
SAGAL: B: an electrified bra, to foil sexual assaults...
SAGAL: ...or just too-forward suitors?
POUNDSTONE: I have that. I have to recuse myself.
SAGAL: Or C: a new kind of house siding in camouflage patterns so as to make your home less visible to would-be burglars?
RONSTADT: It has to be the electric bra.
SAGAL: It has to be the electric bra?
SAGAL: A little battery pack on the hip? Or maybe...
RONSTADT: I don't know. I don't know; I hardly wear one.
POUNDSTONE: No, it clips.
SAGAL: What have we learned about you? What have we learned about you tonight?
RONSTADT: OK, I just wore one tonight. But mostly, unless I have to go be out in a professional thing, you know...
RONSTADT: I'm from the 60s, drugs, sex and rock and roll, no bras. It's the thing.
POUNDSTONE: You said you didn't drink.
RONSTADT: I don't drink. I don't not drink because of a moral thing. I don't drink because I'm allergic. If I could drink and it made me feel good, I probably would. You know, I probably would drink a lot.
RONSTADT: I would have probably had a couple of stiff ones before I came on.
SAGAL: If we could, we'd be drinking now. But no, you're choice is the electrified bra.
SAGAL: I'm afraid it was the flamethrower.
RONSTADT: But that can't be legal, you couldn't...
SAGAL: Well, it's legal in South Africa.
RONSTADT: Well it's dangerous.
SAGAL: Where it's invented. It's called The Blaster. It was invented in South Africa.
SAGAL: Carjacking remain a problem there. But you can get it, maybe. Carl, how did Linda Ronstadt do on our quiz?
KASELL: Well, she needed at least two correct answers to win our prize for Rochelle Caruso, but Linda had just one correct answer.
ELLICOTT: But will she still be singing for Carl?
POUNDSTONE: Linda, I have to tell you something really important.
RONSTADT: What's that?
POUNDSTONE: I remember riding in the back of a truck, listening to "Desperado." And it's such a fond memory and such a great song. And I have the "Nelson Riddle" album with you and I love it so much. It's a great thing that you made both of them.
RONSTADT: Thank you.
POUNDSTONE: See, that's the key to the whole thing.
RONSTADT: Thank you, that's nice. And Don Henley sang "Desperado" better than I did, because he wrote it.
POUNDSTONE: I enjoyed your version very, very much and that's the one we used on our truck.
RONSTADT: Oh good, well thank you.
POUNDSTONE: With the flamethrower.
FELBER: And the electric bra.
POUNDSTONE: Yes, very much so.
FELBER: That was a good truck. I remember that.
SAGAL: Linda Ronstadt is one of the greatest singers in America in pop music. What a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you so much.
RONSTADT: My pleasure.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.