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 Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine, Peter Sagal.
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PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you. So much for the reserved New Englander thing. It's great to be here in Portland, which is the hipster capital of Maine.
SAGAL: It's terrible now. The grizzled old lobstermen have to wear t-shirts saying, "My beard is not ironic."
SAGAL: So everybody was all excited this week about the successful landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, and two of the mission's engineers, Bobak Ferdowski and Adam Steltzner, known to the internet as the Mohawk Guy and the Elvis guy, became famous as the Sexiest Nerds Ever. We'll have them join us later, so they can explain to me how exactly how that is done.
SAGAL: But first, it's your turn to reach out to a strange place and see what you can find. The number to call 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!.
DEVON MOORE: Hi, this is Devon Moore, and I'm calling from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
SAGAL: Beautiful Santa Fe, what a great place.
MOORE: I know.
SAGAL: And what do you do there in that paradise in the desert?
MOORE: I am about to get a graduate degree in counseling, and I also take care of horses.
SAGAL: Do you practice counseling with the horses?
MOORE: You know, they're the better listeners, I have to say.
SAGAL: So, wait a minute, do the horses then counsel you?
MOORE: They do. They give me really good feedback too.
AMY DICKINSON: Do they ever say, "Oh, I'm afraid our time is up?"
MOORE: They do.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Devon. Let me introduce you to our panel for this show. First up, it's an author and humorist and a resident blogger now at cartalk.com, of all places. Mr. Tom Bodett is here.
TOM BODETT: Hello, Devon.
SAGAL: Next, the woman who writes the syndicated advice column Ask Amy for the Chicago Tribune, Ms. Amy Dickinson is here.
DICKINSON: Hi, Devon.
SAGAL: Finally, an author whose latest is the book, "Alphabetter Juice," Mr. Roy Blount Jr.
ROY BLOUNT JR: Hi, Devon.
SAGAL: Devon, for our first game today, we're going to play a new game that we're calling?
KASELL: The Newsmaker Olympics.
SAGAL: They're giving out medals in London left and right, but what if you have no physical skill whatsoever? What about the rest of us? So this week, we're giving out gold medals for achievements in current events. Guess the winner two times out of three, and you'll win our prize, Carl's voice on your home answering machine.
Carl, what is the first medal we're awarding?
KASELL: Gold medal for sticking the landing on an alien planet. But a bronze medal for boring landscape photography.
SAGAL: Who won these medals?
MOORE: The Mars Curiosity.
SAGAL: Yes, the Mars rover called Curiosity, very well done, yes.
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SAGAL: Everybody was so thrilled when we managed to land the biggest and best rover ever on Mars. Of course, nobody was happier than the rover itself, because it managed to get off this ridiculous planet.
SAGAL: The first thing it did upon arriving on Mars was to check for Kardashians.
JR: It said - I don't know whether it was a tweet or whatever, but it said an odd thing when it landed. It said Gail Crater, I am in you.
JR: I guess if it just missed if would have said Gail Crater, I'm not that into you.
SAGAL: It's an amazingly sophisticated probe, this is true. It's got this laser on it that can incinerate rocks and instantly test the smoke. It's got, like, GPS and radar so it can navigate. It's got the Yelp App so it knows where to eat.
SAGAL: We're all celebrating this, but it's kind of sad for the rover. You know, before it left it's like, yeah, I'm so excited to go to Mars. I'll be the coolest robot ever when I get back. And they're like, yeah, good, OK.
SAGAL: Time to climb in.
JR: It's not going to ever come back?
SAGAL: How do you propose to get it back?
JR: I don't propose to get it back. I'm not a rocket scientist.
BODETT: Well, it's nuclear powered right?
BODETT: And it's got a little laser. So it can, like, spend eternity just sort of just dubbing around and zapping rocks. I mean, what more does a robot need, when you think about it?
DICKINSON: Peter, you upset Roy with the whole thing with the robot not coming back.
SAGAL: I'm sorry. Really?
DICKINSON: You've upset him now.
JR: I just got to know it well.
SAGAL: Carl, right now we have another gold medal. What is it?
KASELL: The winner of the Gold Medal in Unsubstantiated Accusations, Tax Returns Division.
SAGAL: Who won this gold for insinuating that Mitt Romney hasn't paid any taxes for the last ten years or so?
MOORE: That would be Harry Reid.
SAGAL: Yes, Harry Reid.
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SAGAL: Very good, Devon, Harry Reid.
SAGAL: The Senate Majority Leader - the Senate Majority Leader - said that "someone" told him that Romney is not releasing his tax returns because he hasn't paid any taxes for many years. And everybody goes nuts over this.
The RNC, the head of the RNC responded by calling Harry Reid a, quote, "Dirty Liar," right? And President Obama responded to that by calling Mitt Romney, "Romney Hood." That's supposed to be a play on Robin Hood. The idea is that Romney will take from the poor and give to the rich.
But Romney Hood? Romney Hood? It sounds like a wonderful place to live.
SAGAL: Welcome to the Romney Hood, where every car has an elevator.
JR: Romney Hood sounds like the nature of the man. You're attacking my very Romney Hood.
SAGAL: But the real shocking part of the story was that Harry Reid did something interesting.
BODETT: What I love about it is - I mean they could have done worse. I think it's just payback for the Obama birth certificate thing. Let's just make some wild claim about the other side and then say well why aren't you producing it, why aren't you proving it? I mean, they could have said Romney has no middle toes.
DICKINSON: Who told you that?
BODETT: And he says I do too have middle toe. Well prove it. We've never seen your toes. Why won't you...
BODETT: He won't show us his toes.
DICKINSON: Coward. Such a shoe-wearing coward really.
BODETT: I mean what kind of American doesn't have middle toes. I ask you. I think the American voters have a right to know.
JR: The American people. You know, he may have fungus.
JR: Have you ever seen those really awful toes?
BODETT: Well that explains why he's always wearing shoes at all of his appearances.
JR: Yeah, exactly.
DICKINSON: He does tend to wear them, yeah.
SAGAL: This is going to be a Super-PAC ad by Monday.
DICKINSON: I know.
SAGAL: All right, very good Devon. Here is your last medal.
KASELL: A Molten Gold Medal for Synchronized Icecap Melting.
SAGAL: So what won the gold for bringing the heat this summer?
MOORE: Global warming.
SAGAL: Yeah, the weather basically.
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SAGAL: Very good. You know what? You know when you sit around and you talk about how boring it is to talk about the weather? Oh, it was dull, we just chit chatted about the weather. Well, the weather has heard that, and the weather decided to be more interesting by trying to burn us alive.
SAGAL: July was the hottest July ever recorded in the United States, even hotter than the Dust Bowl years. Technically, that's just for the lower 48 states. OK, technically, it's just the lower 47, because Oklahoma melted.
BODETT: It's going to take some adjustment. You know, a lot of things as the warm weather moves north, you know there's other insects and funguses that we've not seen before showing up. I was in my woods last week and there was this fungus on my trees that I'd never seen before. And I pulled it off and it was a banana.
SAGAL: You're going to have to adjust to it. The first seven months of 2012, so far, makes 2012 the hottest year every. Next year is going to be hotter. But we have to look on the bright side: you can get "tan mom" level tans in one minute outside. Instead of frying an egg on the sidewalk, the egg will now come out of the chicken already fried. That's good.
JR: And the chicken.
SAGAL: And this will be great, all the Winter Olympics athletes in two years, they'll be able to dress in bikinis too, so we'll finally get...
SAGAL: We'll finally get curling the attention it deserves.
DICKINSON: Yeah, awesome.
SAGAL: Carl, how did Devon do on our quiz?
KASELL: Devon, you had three correct answers, so you win our prize. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Well done. Thank you, Devon, for playing.
MOORE: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.