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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 or click the contact us link on our website waitwait.npr.org. There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows right here the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago or our upcoming show in Orlando, Florida on February 12. The weather should be good. And check out the latest How To Do Everything podcast. This week just in time for Christmas Eve, Mike and Ian help Santa in gift giving and hand-to-hand combat.

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

SCOTT HENRY: Well, hey, there. This is Scott Henry calling from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

SAGAL: Minneapolis, a great place.

HENRY: So thrilled to be here.

SAGAL: What do you do in the great city of Minneapolis?

HENRY: Well, I'm a project manager at Polaris.

SAGAL: I know Polaris. The make snowmobiles and they make great motorcycles these days.

HENRY: It's like working at a toy factory.

SAGAL: It's really awesome. If you have any of those spare Indians motorcycles lying around and you'd like to give it away.

HENRY: If we can work out a deal on limiting, you know, the fund-raising drive.




SAGAL: Bill Kurtis, Scott, is going to perform for 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 go?

HENRY: Let's do it.

KURTIS: This snack machine's cruel and unbending. My needs it is misapprehending. This is a mistake, I don't want a rice cake but the software decides what it's?

HENRY: Vending.

SAGAL: Yes. A new quote, "smart vending machine" uses facial recognition technology to identify users. It can then select or deny snacks based on your medical records or current diet.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, that's awful.

SAGAL: Turns out robots aren't so much a threat to the future of mankind as they're just big metal mean girls.


SAGAL: Trust us, this thing is smart. You go up to it and it's like, the vertical stripes are not fooling anybody, tubby.

POUNDSTONE: Wow, that's a horrible idea. Who will buy machine like that? I don't like that idea.

SAGAL: I don't like it either, but presumably, I mean, people who might want some external controls because they know that they shouldn't be going to the snack machine...

MAZ JOBRANI: Who has a vending machine at their house?

SAGAL: Well, it would be at their place of work. Some of us who have jobs have vending machines there.

POUNDSTONE: I employ myself and I'm going to talk about this at my next meeting.


SAGAL: I think you should. Have one of those installed.

JOBRANI: You should email yourself about this.

SAGAL: Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: We fly off exploring the stars. We're looking for planets like ours. Our rovers made passes through clouds of stray gases, there might've been life upon.

HENRY: Mars.

SAGAL: Mars, yes.


KURTIS: He is so good.

SAGAL: This week NASA announced that the Mars Rover Curiosity has recorded a burst of methane lasting for longer than two months. A sign that life might exist on Mars and also according to the legal boilerplate, a sign that Mars should consult a doctor. In any event, NASA is as reluctant to jump to any conclusions since the last time Curiosity recorded methane, it tried to blame it on the old abandoned Mars Rover sitting over there.



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

KURTIS: I'm a holiday party regretter, for bad fashion I need an abetter. I'm feeling the pull of some bold colored wool. I'm renting a big ugly...

HENRY: Sweater.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Nowadays Christmas sweater's as much a part of the holiday season as presents under the tree and Black Friday murders. If you're not wearing a Christmas sweater, it means you hate Christmas. But why spend 50 bucks on something you'll only wear for a couple of weeks out of the year? Fortunately, Rent the Runway is offering rental Christmas sweaters with patterns so Christmasy it will look like Santa himself barfed on your chest.


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

KURTIS: Scott ran circles around us for a perfect score, 3-0.

SAGAL: Congratulations Scott. Well done.


SAGAL: Thanks so much for playing. Stay warm.

HENRY: Thank you. Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


NICK LOWE: (Singing) It looks like Christmas, Christmas, at the airport. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.