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Capers And Control

Running Afowl of the Law, Multiplication Problem, Coming in Second.

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Now here's a story about when an animal was most unwelcome. It came at the end of a Lightning Fill in the Blank round with Tom Bodett in March 2007. Adam Felber and Angela Nissel provided commentary.

A shoplifter trying to make a clean getaway from a Seattle Linens and Things...

(SOUNDBITE OF GONG)

SAGAL: ...was foiled when his girlfriend blanked.

TOM BODETT: Told him he'd snatched the wrong colored towels.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No. Dropped her pet duck.

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: You know, when I'm going to do a caper...

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, here's a warning to all you criminals.

ADAM FELBER: ...how many times did I tell it before we did this job? We rehearsed it time and time again. Don't drop the duck, I said.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Just hold - all you got to do is hold onto the duck and (unintelligible).

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Geez, I can't believe it.

BODETT: At least the lady in Gaza at least strapped the alligators on.

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: You'd think you could belt the duck to you and then it'd be like a hands-free sort of thing then.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Next time I knock over a linen store, no ducks.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: In retrospect, that was the most deeply flawed part of our plan.

(LAUGHTER)

CARL KASELL: If WAIT, WAIT has a favorite animal, it's got to be squirrels. We love their antics, their cute bushy tails and we love the adorable interventions into their natural lifecycle. Here's Amy Dickinson answering a question in March of 2007 with Tom Bodett and Adam Felber helping out.

SAGAL: Yes. In an attempt to control squirrel populations in Palisades Park, California, officials are blanking.

AMY DICKINSON: Injecting them with...

(SOUNDBITE OF GONG)

DICKINSON: ...contraceptive hormones.

SAGAL: You're right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BODETT: Was that a guess?

DICKINSON: I did read the paper.

BODETT: Wow.

SAGAL: She got it right.

BODETT: Awesome.

SAGAL: Yeah, the jimmy squirrels, that ones that (unintelligible) they're going to inject birth control hormones into the squirrels. Officials decided on using injections after they discovered that their earlier plan had failed because the female squirrels were storing the birth control pills in trees and forgetting where they put them.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Couldn't they just get, like, the Beverly Hillbillies to come over and shoot some?

SAGAL: No, this is California. They don't do that.

BODETT: You know, anyplace but - if you could catch a squirrel and hold him still long enough to give him a contraceptive shot, he could also just killed him.

DICKINSON: Right, that's what I'm thinking.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: You can wring his little neck.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: No, no. No, no, this is California. They gave this girl family planning. They did counseling.

DICKINSON: I know. And a talking to.

SAGAL: Yeah, a talking to.

DICKINSON: A very stern talking to.

FELBER: A little pamphlet, tiny little pamphlet.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Tiny.

FELBER: Post-it size pamphlet.

DICKINSON: Right.

FELBER: Pamphlet entitled Straight Talk About Nuts.

DICKINSON: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

FELBER: Thank you. Good night.

SAGAL: And finally, here's a question we posed to Adam Felber in April of 2007, a question which inspired a classic rant from Paula Poundstone. Kyrie O'Connor was also there.

Adam, this week the National Academy of Sciences announced the results of a study. The chimpanzees have done what more than humans?

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Elected the right public servants.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Possibly true.

FELBER: Evolved?

SAGAL: Yes, evolved. Exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: The University of Michigan studied strings of DNA shared by humans and chimps and found that the genes of chimpanzees have evolved in beneficial ways more than that of human beings. They have proceeded further, better.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: How are they - I don't know what they mean by that.

SAGAL: Well, what - I mean, they mean that - well, let me put it this way.

POUNDSTONE: I don't have that much to feel proud about, you know what I mean?

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Yeah, it does kind of take (unintelligible)...

SAGAL: I just took away one more thing.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, exactly.

SAGAL: The chimpanzees are evolving and we're not.

POUNDSTONE: (Unintelligible). So how have they - OK. What did they do? I don't even see what they've done.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It actually has to do with DNA. They're looking at the DNA from the moment that chimpanzees and humans separated from their common ancestor and they're looking at the amount of modifications and evolution in the DNA. And they've discovered more beneficial evolution in the DNA of the chimpanzees.

POUNDSTONE: Well, let me just point this out. Who's looking at the DNA?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

FELBER: Yeah, Dr. Bobo?

SAGAL: I - you seem a little defensive here, Paula.

FELBER: I think she's got a good point. If there is a Dr. Bobo who read this article he's clearly biased.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Bad monkey.

SAGAL: This really is ticking you off I think. Are you...

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, it kind of - it just seems like, oh, first of all, what's the point of the study, number one. I...

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: ...you know, this study...

SAGAL: Just to make us feel worse than we already do, I guess.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, exactly. I don't understand how they're defining evolution then.

FELBER: They're - it's a quantitative thing. I mean, they're just talking about the number of beneficial mutations. Like maybe their beneficial mutations aren't completely super terrific and great, but they have more of them than we do.

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: What is a - give me an example of a beneficial mutation in a chimp.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: How about the ability to grab things with his feet? How's that? Can you do that?

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: There's one.

POUNDSTONE: I don't need to because if I need something I go, hey chimp, you want to get your foot over here?

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: You can bet that right now someone out there is typing a very angry letter with their feet.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: Thanks to Carl Kasell and all of the panelists and guests you heard this week. I'm Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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