Who's Carl This Time
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 New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, guys. It's great to be back in New York City. It's great to be back in New York City. People call New York City, the city that never sleeps. Well, we take that as a challenge. We've got a very interesting guest for you today. He's a master of the claw hammer style of banjo playing, which I'm told is a very interesting fact.
SAGAL: He's got a new album with the singer Edie Brickell. Carl, what is this guy's name again?
KASELL: Steve Martin.
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SAGAL: Oh, are you guys banjo fans? That's great. Well, you know, we'll see if he has any other interests to talk about. In the meantime, we are interested in hearing you play, give us a call. The number, of course, is 1-888 Wait-Wait. That's 1-888-924-8924. It is time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
SEAN HAWKINS: Hi, this is Sean Hawkins from New York, New York.
SAGAL: Hey, Sean.
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SAGAL: You're not calling from a cell phone in the back row, are you, Sean?
HAWKINS: No, I'm not.
SAGAL: And what do you do for fun here in the greatest city on earth?
HAWKINS: Well, lots of stuff, probably my favorite hobby is cooking, though.
HAWKINS: Yeah, surprisingly enough, with all the great restaurants.
SAGAL: I know. And your kitchens are so tiny.
SAGAL: So you are like - you have to use like an Easy Bake Oven, don't you? I've seen your apartments.
SAGAL: Sean, welcome to our show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning," and the host of "My Grandmother's Ravioli" on the Cooking Channel. It's Mr. Mo Rocca, right there.
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MO ROCCA: Hi, Sean.
SAGAL: Next, a comedienne whose new CD, "I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells Them In Boston," is out now. Paula Poundstone.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Hey, Sean.
SAGAL: And a humorist and blogger at cartalk.com, Mr. Tom Bodett is with us.
TOM BODETT: Hi Sean.
SAGAL: Welcome to the show, Sean. You are going to play Who's Carl This Time. Carl Kasell, of course, will begin our show by recreating, with the powers of his voice, three quotes from this week's news. Your job, of course, explain or identify two of those things. Do that, and you win our prize. Ready to go?
HAWKINS: I'm ready.
SAGAL: Your first quote comes from Martell Webster of the NBA's Washington Wizards, it was a tweet he aimed at his former teammate Jason Collins.
KASELL: Proud of you for being you. That jump shot is still kind of weak though.
SAGAL: Jason Collins made big news this week when he said he was what?
HAWKINS: He is the first openly gay NBA, or professional athlete.
SAGAL: Very good, yes.
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SAGAL: He is in fact, gay. And he came out in a cover story in Sports Illustrated, very good. NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay. And America reacted to the news with a strong, unanimous reaction: Who is Jason Collins?
SAGAL: Well, he is - he's been sort of a journeyman center, but it's important because he's the first gay male player, the first openly gay male player in one of the four major sports - basketball, baseball, football or hockey. This was a huge step forward. Hockey players were like: Hey, guys, we're one of the four major sports.
ROCCA: You know, I don't get it. You play a sport with a basket, and everyone assumes you're not gay. You ride a bike with a basket and everyone assumes you are gay.
BODETT: I think it's a wonderful development. Just after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, that's like the last time I checked the gay agenda. And I wonder where does this put us on the gay agenda now?
SAGAL: I mean, they have really gotten everything they have ever wanted.
BODETT: Right. I mean, I lost my...
SAGAL: That's pretty much it.
BODETT: I lost my copy. So...
SAGAL: I understand.
POUNDSTONE: Yeah. Well, apparently, the Boy Scouts are still holding the line and that's what's important.
SAGAL: I know. A few people protested, though. The reaction was not entirely positive. There was one guy on ESPN who called out Collins for being sinful, unlike more upright, virtuous basketball players like Kobe Bryant.
ROCCA: I hope that this opens the door, though, so that one very brave male figure skater can step forward and say: I'm straight.
SAGAL: There you are. That will be a great day.
SAGAL: All right, very good. Your next quote is from an electrical engineer named Robert Metcalfe making a prediction back in 1995.
KASELL: I predict, it will catastrophically collapse in 1996.
SAGAL: Turns out Mr. Metcalfe was spectacularly wrong about what, which turned 20 years old this week?
HAWKINS: Wow, the internet?
SAGAL: Yes, the internet.
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SAGAL: Very good.
SAGAL: It's now 20 years old. The internet has been around for years as a government and military system. But 20 years ago this week, we met the World Wide Web, and all useful work stopped forever.
SAGAL: These days, the system of information sharing that was intended to help academics collaborate on projects across distance, well, is now mostly about sex. But of course it is, it's 20 years old.
ROCCA: But it still can't drink.
SAGAL: No, I know. Next year, it turns 21, exactly. That will be great. You go on to check your Gmail and it vomits in your lap and is like, I'm sorry, man.
POUNDSTONE: You know what, the internet has certainly given cats something to live for.
SAGAL: That's true.
POUNDSTONE: My cats didn't have a shot at a career until the internet showed up.
ROCCA: It's a real pathway.
SAGAL: Think, though, especially for our younger listeners who may not have been there. Imagine what life was like before the internet. A hashtag was just where they put the price on your bag of weed.
SAGAL: If you had a Facebook, you were a serial killer.
ROCCA: And broadband was just a bunch of old ladies singing together.
SAGAL: Now, Robert Metcalf who Carl quoted a minute ago was not the only person to make a prediction about the internet. Carl went back into the news archives to find more. This was from Paul Krugman back in - the economist of course - back in the mid-'90s.
KASELL: By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machines.
SAGAL: Now, to be fair to Mr. Krugman, he was just bitter because he had paid $50 to become a premium member of Porn By Fax.
ROCCA: It's fax with three Xs at the end.
SAGAL: Exactly. All right, Sean. Here is your last quote. It is from a spokesperson from a company called Virgin Galactic
KASELL: We anticipate that most of our passengers will not require motion sickness medication.
SAGAL: That was perhaps wishful thinking, because after a successful test this week, Virgin Airlines or Virgin Galactic will soon be offering trips where?
HAWKINS: Into near earth orbit, right?
SAGAL: Very good. Yes.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Outer space for lack of a more specific term. Very good.
SAGAL: Virgin Galactic announced that the rocket test went so well this week that they expect to offer commercial space flight as early as next year. That's one small step for man, $200,000 for a rich guy.
ROCCA: Can I just say, only on NPR does someone answer near earth orbit.
SAGAL: He is at home and he's going, it's not technically space, it's really the upper ionosphere. I mean, the way it will work is passengers will train for three days to just go on a two and a half hour flight, most of which will be taken up with going up and coming back down. There's no place to go up there.
BODETT: It's like going to Chicago.
SAGAL: Are you guys interested in this, going into space, near earth orbit?
BODETT: I'm going to wait for the price to come down.
BODETT: You know, once orbits get in on it, sub-orbits.
SAGAL: Here's the thing for me, right now we're all excited. Oh, my god, commercial space flight. People used to feel that way about airplanes. Oh, you can get in an airplane and fly across the country. We're going to get bored. It's going to get annoying, right? Well, you can always pass the time by pulling out your free copy of Space Mall.
POUNDSTONE: Yeah, they are going to give you a little television. And when you get bored of looking out at the galaxy, you can watch, "Everybody Loves Raymond."
SAGAL: Yeah. Carl, how did Sean do in our quiz?
KASELL: Sean, you had three correct answers, so you win our prize.
SAGAL: Well done. Well done, Sean.
SAGAL: Thanks for playing.
HAWKINS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.