Who's Carl This Time



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Carl Kasell reads three quotes from the week's news: Secretary of Misstate, Hello City, Phoning It In.

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CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. And here's your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.



SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. You're expressing what I'm feeling. We've got a great one for you today. Later on, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich will be by to talk about his new book about the Washington, D.C. media and political elite and explain to us why we are not in it.


SAGAL: But before we do that, there's something as an old science-fiction geek I am so excited about. This week, NASA announced that Voyager 1, the space probe, launched 35 years ago, became the first human artifact to reach interstellar space, which is very cool. And I don't know if you remember this, but it's carrying a gold phonograph record with music and greetings in many languages. So now that it's left our solar system, Voyager's mission is to search for an alien hip enough to still have a record player.


SAGAL: It's programmed to look for a creature wearing, like, eight-legged skinny jeans, you know.


FAITH SALIE: And a hoodie.

SAGAL: A hoodie, yeah. Well, whatever device you're using to hear this, give us a call, the number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first caller. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!



BEAL: My name is Janet Beal, and I'm calling from Torrington, Connecticut.

SAGAL: Oh Torrington, OK. That's in - where is that, in central Connecticut, or are you further south? I'm trying to remember.

BEAL: No, we're actually in the northwest corner.

SAGAL: Oh, you're up in beautiful Litchfield County.

BEAL: Yes.

SALIE: I was just there two weeks ago in Torrington.

SAGAL: Were you?

SALIE: Yeah, at a bed and breakfast.

BEAL: And you didn't visit.


SAGAL: OK, Janet, let's introduce you to our panel this week. First up, an author whose newest book, out soon, is "The Baby Boom," P.J. O'Rourke.



SAGAL: Next, a contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning" and host of Entertainment Weekly's afternoon show on Sirius XM, it's Faith Salie.

SALIE: Hi, Janet.


SAGAL: And next a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" and the host of "My Grandmother's Ravioli" on the Cooking Channel, the new season premieres October 2nd, it's Mo Rocca.


BEAL: Hi, Mo.

MO ROCCA: Hi there.

SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Janet. You're going to play Who's Carl This Time. Carl Kasell 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, Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Are you ready to play?

BEAL: Oh, I'm ready.

SAGAL: OK, here is your first quote.

KASELL: Why is America going to war with Siri? She's just an iPhone app.


SAGAL: That's a good question.


ROCCA: And she might be able to tell us where the chemical weapons are.

SAGAL: I know.

ROCCA: So don't go to war with her.


SAGAL: Now that was a caller on the radio station Power 105.1 in New York City, getting even more confused than the president when it comes to war with whom?

BEAL: Syria.

SAGAL: Yes, of course, Syria.


SAGAL: So the president goes on TV Tuesday night. He looks in the eyes of the nation, and he says my fellow Americans, I got nothing.


SAGAL: Now, he was planning to argue for what Secretary of State John Kerry called a, quote, "unbelievably small strike on Syria." It would be called Operation Irritating Gnat...


SAGAL: ...and would be designed to provoke the Syrian military to say, did you hear something.

ROCCA: The unbelievably - so he said it was going to be an unbelievably small attack, but then Barack Obama said well, no, we don't do pinpricks. So what do we - do we do purple nurples? What do we do?


O'ROURKE: Noogies, there's noogies.

SAGAL: It's going to be an unbelievably small war. It's going to be like shock and aw...


O'ROURKE: I thought it was like a bad Dirty Harry, like a really bad Dirty Harry movie. It's like Obama going, like, drop the gun, and the guy going well, what about if I gave the gun to a friend.


SAGAL: This is what happened. This was something, this was a solution that John Kerry stumbled into. He said, you know, just off the cuff if Syria wants to avoid a strike, they should hand over their chemical weapons immediately, but they're never going to do it. And Syria said OK, fine, we'll do it.

SALIE: But only if Russia tells us to.

SAGAL: Right. It turns out the only thing stronger than the threat of military force is the urge to annoy John Kerry.


ROCCA: And didn't he also, by the way, the idea - the reason he stumbled it, it was a reporter who asked, I think.

SAGAL: Yeah.

ROCCA: And then he said oh, wow. I mean, it's almost like improv diplomacy.

SAGAL: It is.

ROCCA: Hey, I need an idea.


SAGAL: I need a Middle Eastern nation, a dictator, and a funny job. Can anybody...?

ROCCA: And don't say proctologist.

SAGAL: All right.

SALIE: I think this could work, though, because basically he was making a sarcastic dare, right?

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, yeah.

SALIE: So maybe he could stumble into something else. Like a reporter says what could North Korea do for us to lift the sanctions? And he could say, oh, you know, I don't know Kim Jong Un could give up the plutonium and take Dennis Rodman back and never return him.

SAGAL: Right.

SALIE: And then we all win.


SAGAL: Yeah. Isn't it amazing, though, that John Kerry could pull something out of his butt, and it wouldn't be a stick? Who knew?


SAGAL: OK, Janet, here is your next quote.

KASELL: Banzai.

SAGAL: That was how several dignitaries reportedly greeted the news that what would be held in Tokyo in 2020?

BEAL: The Olympics.

SAGAL: The Olympics, yes, very good.



SAGAL: Yes, you've got it. Big Olympic news this week, starting with the fact that the 2020 Games were awarded to Tokyo, the most crowded and expensive city in the world, which means we can look forward to new events like the Four Meter Run and the Javelin Drop.


ROCCA: Every time you say 2020 Olympics, I'm imagining Hugh Downs with a gold medal.


SAGAL: I know. But even better news this week for - when we knew there was going to be an Olympics, but we didn't know if there would be wrestling, and there will be. They got a reprieve after being kicked out of the Olympics. Now they're back in.

SALIE: But it's Japan, so it's going to be Hello Kitty wrestlers, right?


SAGAL: And wrestling does promise to make changes, so it's more fan friendly. For example, the medal matches will be held in Jell-O. Meanwhile, and this is great, a Japanese sports medicine professor is advocating that in the 2020 they add the sport of Hide and Seek.

ROCCA: Oh, my gosh.

SAGAL: He's a competitive player himself. He said it's a great sport because anyone can play, and you don't need any real skills except standing very still. In fact, last year's world championships were won by Miko Kashutiri, who died in 2003.


SAGAL: Janet, here is your last quote.

KASELL: It has fingerprint recognition. I'll sleep easier knowing that if my phone gets stolen, they'll likely chop off my hand too.

SAGAL: That was someone who calls himself The Mongoose on Twitter, talking about the new what that was announced this week?

BEAL: IPhone?

SAGAL: Yeah, iPhone, yes, you got it right.



SAGAL: Apple product launches are just not the same these days. Instead of Steve Jobs telling us how something is insanely great. Now we've got his successor, Tim Cook, coming out and saying, look, to tell you the truth, you people stare at your phones too much anyway. They're doing these big product launches because they have to, not because they have anything cool. It's like oh look, the new iPhone has a better camera. Everybody was bored, other than Anthony Weiner, and he's like really?


ROCCA: I really wish that the president had asked for the unveiling of the new iPhone to be postponed.

SAGAL: Well, you know what happened? You know what the new iPhone came from? Somebody said John Kerry, I mean, could the iPhone be any better? He says, yeah, well they could put fingerprint recognition on it, but they're not going to do that. Apple agreed.


SAGAL: Fingerprint recognition, that means you can now unlock your phone with just one touch of the screen rather than the incredibly time-consuming four that we now have to do. They must sit around at Apple and try to make up things that they convince you are inconvenient so that they can charge you for a new phone that solves a problem. So it's like oh, wow, it's so inconvenient to have to pull your phone out of your pocket. That's why the new iPhone comes without pants.


SAGAL: Carl, how did Janet do on our quiz?

KASELL: Very well, Peter, three correct answers. So, Janet, I'll be doing the message on your home answering machine.

SAGAL: Well done, Janet.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.