Our panelists tell three stories about attempts to improve your commute.
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BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Roy Blount Jr., and Firoozeh Dumas. And here again is the host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Thank you, 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 air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
RAJ CHIMMALGI: Hey, this is Raj.
SAGAL: Hey, Raj, where you calling from?
CHIMMALGI: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
SAGAL: Oh, what do you do there in Baton Rouge?
CHIMMALGI: I'm doing my master's at LSU.
SAGAL: Oh, LSU, of course, Louisiana State. What are you getting your master's in?
CHIMMALGI: Engineering science.
SAGAL: Oh, cool. So are you going to be one of those engineers who build stuff?
CHIMMALGI: Hopefully, if I get a job.
SAGAL: Yeah, well.
SAGAL: What sort of stuff do you like to build?
SAGAL: Oh, you're a software engineer. I was hoping for like, you know, one of those bridge engineers.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Raj. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Raj's topic?
KURTIS: Damn this traffic jam. It hurts my motor to go this slow.
SAGAL: This week, Yahoo banned their employees from working at home. That means that they'll be joining the rest of us enduring hours of traffic or awful bus rides in order to get to work.
But never fear, our panelists are going to tell you about three stories of people who've come up with ingenious ways to improve their morning commute. Only one of these stories is true, but you can use the others anyway if it helps.
SAGAL: First up, let's hear from Roy Blount, Jr.
ROY BLOUNT JR.: Is there anything at all wacky about driving bumper to bumper on the same old highway between the same old home and the same old office and back again five days a week, 50 weeks a year in the same old sensible car? No.
BLOUNT: There isn't anything the least bit wacky about that, unless you've got hilarity riding with you on your smart phone, in the form of Lulu Aooga. The saucy daredevil voice of an interactive app announced this week called Let's Mess Around in Traffic.
BLOUNT: Ask Lulu anything and she'll respond "Aooga" and then toss out a wacky suggestion. "What you say we drive up onto the back of one of them tractor trailers hauling new cars and see if it'll even notice."
BLOUNT: Or "let me hear you make a noise like a run-over roadrunner clinging to your oil pan. Here's a start. Meep. Youch. Meep. Youch."
BLOUNT: Here's the difference between Lulu and Siri. Say "hot enough for you" to Siri and she'll give you the temperature. Say it to Lulu and she'll say, "I'm going to put my feet up on the dash and get some of this fine AC up my skirt."
SAGAL: An app called Let's Mess Around in Traffic, making your commute that much more fun. Your next story of someone trying to make commuting even more enjoyable comes from Paula Poundstone.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Japanese businessmen have found a passion for wa-wa women. Wa-wa women provide comfort and stress relief by breathing and vocalizing sounds directly into their client's ears. It sounds something like wa-wa-wa.
POUNDSTONE: Not surprisingly, the businessmen have taken to using the wa-wa women during their notoriously grueling commute, which is causing additional crowding on Tokyo's Toei subway, fabled for its bulging cars, actually packed in by handlers at the door.
It is a very personal, completely legal service. The wa-wa women do not touch the client, nor use lewd or suggestive language. It's also difficult to keep the service private during the commute, which angers users such as Shinjuku line rider Ahi Hoko Shima. "I'm paying a chunk of yen for this service and a lot of men are getting a contact from my wa-wa woman."
POUNDSTONE: "When she goes wa-wa-boo, and blows right into my ears, they try to move closer." Not everyone is happy about the new commuter comfort trend.
SAGAL: So the wa-wa women of Tokyo, relieving stress on the subways.
SAGAL: Your last story of an attempt to make going to work more pleasant comes from Firoozeh Dumas.
FIROOZEH DUMAS: It's a boy. It's a girl. No, it's whole mass of silicone. Ask any New Yorker, it's hard to stand on your feet during those long subway commutes. Oh, if only someone would give up his seat.
Well, necessity is the mother of invention, and who are most people going to give up their seat for in a crowded subway. In New York, no one, but in China, expectant mothers are still afforded respect, until now, perhaps. You see, women have resorted to buying fake pregnancy bellies just to nab a seat on the subway.
DUMAS: What could go wrong, you ask? Last month, South China Morning Post reported that a woman, who had been trying to have passengers give up their Beijing subway seats, was discovered after the belt came loose and the fake stomach fell to the ground. Oops.
DUMAS: Next time, use Velcro. Note to China, if you see Michelle Duggar, it's probably real.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: So somewhere, somebody is doing one of these things to make the commute better. Was it from Roy Blount Jr., people using a new app that suggests crazy ideas to mess around in traffic?
From Paula Poundstone, the wa-wa women of Tokyo, who ease the stress of taking the subway in that congested city by going wa-wa in men's ears? Or from Firoozeh Dumas, the story of how women are using fake pregnancy bellies to get seats on the crowded subways of Beijing? Which of these is the real story of a commuting easing device?
CHIMMALGI: They all sound like they're true.
SAGAL: So which one are you choosing?
SAGAL: You're going to choose C, the last story. That would be Firoozeh's story.
SAGAL: About the fake pregnancy, just to try to get a seat.
SAGAL: All right. Well, we actually spoke to someone involved in the true story.
ART NEIL: A woman in China attempted to get on a subway using a product that we may have actually sold. We'll have to look at our customer records, but we do a lot of business in China.
SAGAL: That was Art Neil. He is the owner of fakeababy.com.
SAGAL: For all your fake pregnancy needs.
SAGAL: Talking about the fact that he suspects that at least one woman who was caught doing this in China was using one of his products. Congratulations.
CHIMMALGI: Thank you.
SAGAL: You were correct. Firoozeh gets a point simply for being truthful, and you have won our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Well done, Raj.
CHIMMALGI: All right, thank you.
SAGAL: Thank you.
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