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Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Also, check out the Wait Wait Quiz for our smart speaker. Bill and I ask you the questions, and you win fabulous prizes. We are using the third definition of fabulous there, meaning having no basis in reality, mythical.

JESSI KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

BRITTANY SUE HINES: Hi. My name is Brittany Sue Hines (ph), and I'm calling from Chicago, Ill.

SAGAL: Hey, Chicago - once the city right next to mine, now an exotic destination I haven't been to in years. How are things going there?

HINES: It's fine.

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It's fine. That's about as good as we can hope for. What do you do here in Chicago when you're allowed to do it?

HINES: Well, when I was allowed, I was an actor. But I'm also a youth theater educator, which has surprisingly transitioned well online.

SAGAL: How is it possible to teach kids theater over Zoom or whatever you use?

HINES: I mean, everybody just wants to kind of create. So I think just gathering a bunch of kids on Zoom and letting them come up with their own material and letting them perform it - the world is my oyster on Zoom, apparently.

SAGAL: I'm so glad to hear your attitude. Well, welcome to the show, Brittany. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a big winner. You ready to play?

HINES: I am.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. Here is your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: All my head bobbing's not just for show. Is it caw or just caw? I don't know. As you see, there's much strain in my tiny bird brain. There is plenty of thought in this...

HINES: Crow.

SAGAL: Yes...



SAGAL: ...Very good, Brittany.


SAGAL: New research shows crows are capable of conscious, self-aware thought, something scientists have previously only seen in primates and humans. So when crows are eating that rotting possum corpse, it's not instinct. They actually thought that's what they'd like to have for dinner. Now all we need to do is crossbreed a crow, which can think, and a parrot, which can talk, and the bird's first words will be, wait. Why do I want a cracker?


KLEIN: That's terrifying.

SAGAL: It's a little terrifying. We've always known that crows were smart. They use tools, for example. They're - but they're very smart, apparently. They have the kind of, like, awareness of time and place and memory that we've only seen before in primates.

KLEIN: Well, it's just that crows are so creepy. And now to know that they know they're creepy...

MAZ JOBRANI: The Counting Crows might have actually been counting.

SAGAL: That's true.

BRIAN BABYLON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Very good. All right, Brittany. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: Going to and from work, brains reboot. Plus, you might finish projects en route. As you're working from home, we will let your minds roam on your virtual morning...

HINES: Commute.

SAGAL: Yes...


SAGAL: ...Commute.

KURTIS: Commute, yes.

SAGAL: If working from home has you missing the rush of morning traffic or the smell of the six people crammed next to you on the evening train, Microsoft has your back. A new update to their Teams software package recreates the sensation of a daily commute by forcing you to start and end each day by yourself, reflecting on your job and swearing at the idiot in front of you.

So the idea is that it doesn't make you actually drive around till you get on your meeting. It gives you, like, time at the start of your day and at the end of your workday to reflect, even though you're not leaving home, right? The software prompts you to set goals for the day, and the evening gives you space and time to replay over and over that awkward moment when you accidentally said, love you to your boss.

JOBRANI: Isn't that just a meditation app? The problem is, when we used to commute, you would - you could kind of zone out, you know, listen to the radio, whatever. So you should take the time. But Microsoft doesn't need to create a new thing to tell me that. Just tell me to get off my stupid computer...


JOBRANI: ...And go look at the trees, look at the crows outside or something.

KLEIN: Yeah. Wait. Who made this - Microsoft?

SAGAL: Microsoft, who have brought us so many good things.

KLEIN: Who brought us something called Windows. Open your window.

SAGAL: Yeah. The first meditative break was when Microsoft Windows wouldn't work for hours at a time.

KLEIN: (Laughter) Yes.

SAGAL: All right. Here, Brittany, is your last limerick.

KURTIS: Far from earth, flaky skin's a disgrace. You need night repair cream for the face. The shuttle's in motion, so put on this lotion. We're launching our skin care to...

HINES: Space.

SAGAL: Space...

KURTIS: Space.


SAGAL: ...Yes.

KURTIS: Yes, it is.

SAGAL: NASA this week announced they were partnering with Estee Lauder to send 10 bottles of Advanced Night Repair face cream to the International Space Station. This seems foolish, but remember - in space, it's always nighttime. You'd be a fool not to use Advanced Night Repair face cream. You'll launch looking like Buzz Aldrin. You'll return to Earth looking like Zendaya.

JOBRANI: I'm sorry. Are they spending money to just send the cream, or is someone on their way, and they're, like, please take this cream?

SAGAL: Well, the cream is going up in a regular resupply mission to the space station, although the makers of the cream, Estee Lauder, paid NASA $128,000 for this basic product placement.

BABYLON: This sounds like an elaborate Instacart order.


SAGAL: And a wrong one.

KLEIN: I was just going to say, though...

SAGAL: I just ordered one bottle. You sent me 20.

KLEIN: The pressure on people to look good - I'll say people, but I think mostly women - to look good while they're in space being astronauts is really depressing.


BABYLON: But you know what, Jessi? I'm going to be honest with you. If you have never put on face cream in zero gravity, you just drop - you just spray the little droplets, and it floats around, and you just float your face into the droplets.

KLEIN: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Brian, how would you know?

BABYLON: Oh, I've had this dream for a while.


SAGAL: Bill, how did Brittany do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She got them all right - a perfect score. Way to go, Brittany.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Brittany. Great job.

HINES: Woo-hoo.

SAGAL: And as a big fan of Chicago theater, I hope I see you on a stage around here pretty soon.

KURTIS: You bet.

HINES: Thank you, Peter.

SAGAL: Take care.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.