Bluff The Listener

Aug 24, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2014 12:58 pm
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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. We're playing his week with Adam Felber, Kyrie O'Connor, and Paula Poundstone. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


KASELL: Thank you, Carl.



Right now, it's 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!

SARAH WERSAN: Hi. My name is Sarah Wersan, and I'm calling from Ridgecrest, California.

SAGAL: Ridgecrest, California?


SAGAL: I've been to many places in California but not there. Where's that?

WERSAN: We're over 100 miles from Bakersfield.

SAGAL: You're 100 miles from Bakersfield?


SAGAL: So is that out, like, where, in the desert, in the eastern desert of California?

WERSAN: Yes, it is, in the Mojave Desert.

SAGAL: Mojave Desert, and what do you do there?

WERSAN: I look for work.


SAGAL: This is just a crazy notion, but if you're looking for a job, shouldn't you go to where there are people?


WERSAN: Yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Sarah. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Sarah's topic?

KASELL: Time for school.


SAGAL: It's the fall, a lot of kids are going to college either for their first time or maybe to return, and it is exciting for them because we found out something that is going to make this the best year ever for one group of lucky students. Guess the real campus upgrade, and you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail, whatever you may have. Ready to play?


SAGAL: Let's hear first from Adam Felber.

ADAM FELBER: Overflow housing can be a total drag. Sometimes freshmen get packed in three to a room or foisted off into some nearby dingy motel with a Yelp rating of negative three stars. But if you're one of 30 students at Columbus Ohio's Capital University, your overflow housing this year will be slightly less of a drag as you move into rooms at Fort Rapids, Central Ohio's largest indoor water park.

Forget the stuffy academics over at nearby Zoombezi Bay, Fort Rapids has it all. Students will get free access to frolic on all three major slide complexes plus the 30-person hot tub. Dude, you will barely be able to make time for it all, not to mention the studying.

Sadly, the awesometacularity will come to an end before the holidays, as Capital University is expecting to have enough dorm space by then, and then the party will be over, at least until next year's overflow housing in well-appointed rooms just above Barney's Burgers, Beer and Babe-O-Rama.


SAGAL: Capital University in Ohio housing students in a water park. Your next story of a reason to celebrate going back to class comes from Kyrie O'Connor.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: Francis McGuinness(ph) surveyed his cafeteria tray: salt-baked beetroot with burrata? Check. Onion tart with baby leeks and goat curd? Check. And the cafeteria worker dishing it up: celebrity uber-chef Gordon Ramsey. Welcome to Southwestern University, where the students aren't lured just by the pretty campus and small classes but by the five-star cuisine.

It's a new generation, says Dean Bob Wiltenburg(ph) with a shrug. You can't schedule English Comp 101 at 8:00 am, and you can't serve mystery meat. In addition to bringing in a rotating cast of TV star chefs, the school offers round-the-clock artisanal coal-fired pizza delivery, high-end cronuts in the dorm lobbies and kombucha and cupcake happy hours.

Remember, said the dean, these kids have grown up in the foodie culture. Chefs like Ramsey are their folk heroes. We had Hunter Thompson; they have Mario Batali.



SAGAL: Gourmet food from Gordon Ramsey being served up at Southwestern University. Your last story of an exciting development at school comes from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: College is a busy time when, in addition to academic studies, many students are discovering who they are, where they fit into the larger world and how to do their own laundry. Successful scheduling requires prioritizing, and sometimes parents don't make the cut. University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, offers their students tools for managing those pesky parental relationships through their adviser programs.

The adviser's office sends an array of customized form correspondent to the students' parents. The students choose from a list of messages for text: A, love you; B, thriving in this academic environment; C, you were right about everything.


POUNDSTONE: Instagram photos: A, I'm the one in the way, way back; B, that's me in the football gear; C, I'm Asian now.


POUNDSTONE: Handwritten notes, birthday cards, financial requests: I'm going to need another two grand because: A, I guess I've been going to Starbucks more than I realized; B, I have a gambling addiction, but I'm handling it on my own, you'd be proud of me; C, just send it, I don't want to worry you.


POUNDSTONE: Students seem really happy with the results. The student-parent relationships have really been strengthened by the tools, and the parents have no idea that the students aren't actually writing the notes. Most parents have never seen their child's handwriting, so that works for us.


POUNDSTONE: I liked it, says student Cole Massiaro(ph). There were some problems, like now they're coming to see me play football, and I don't play football. But I'll talk to my advisor about it. She could send maybe some injury tweets.


SAGAL: So here are your choices. One of these things is really happening at a university somewhere in this great country. At Capital University in Ohio, students are being housed, yay, in a water park with all-access passes. From Kyrie O'Connor, students at Southwestern University are getting gourmet food in the cafeteria. Or from Paula, at the University of Puget Sound, the university is helping kids communicate correctly and fruitfully with their own parents. Which one is the real story from the news this?

WERSAN: I'm going to say A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Adam's story about the kids in the water park.


SAGAL: That sounds pretty good to me, too, as a former college student. Well, to find out the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in the real story.

NICHOLE JOHNSON: They do get free access to the indoor water park on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


SAGAL: Well done, you were correct. You in fact picked the correct story. Adam had that true one. You have earned a point for Adam just because he was truthful and convincing. But you've also won our game. In fact you will have Carl's voice on your home voicemail, well done.


WERSAN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

WERSAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.