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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Mo Rocca, Tom Bodett and Negin Farsad. And here again is your host filling in for Peter Sagal at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Mike Pesca.



Thank you, Bill. Thank you. Right now it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game, which means - as the title implies - that we need a listener. And you could be that listener. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air.

Hello. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

TREVOR CHARON: Oh, it's me. Hi. My name is Trevor Charon, and I'm calling from Minneapolis, Minn.

PESCA: What do you do up there - yeah.


PESCA: What do you do up there in Minneapolis?

CHARON: So much. To pay the bills?


PESCA: Yeah.

CHARON: I am a multiunit restaurant manager. And then I am also a broadcaster at a community radio station here in town.

PESCA: But is that it? Isn't there more?


PESCA: Well, Trevor, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you sort truth from fiction, like an earnest juror or a diligent librarian. What's the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: I'm about to get medieval on the floor on your [expletive].


PESCA: Medieval Times - not just a delightful family dining experience, also a period in history marked by handsome nights and gross diseases. This week, we heard about something medieval making a comeback. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the real one, and you will win our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play, Trevor?

CHARON: I am the most ready.

PESCA: Excellent. Since you're the only one here, I'll take it.



PESCA: First up, Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: Imagine walking into a Nike store run by the gang from "Monty Python," and suddenly, chainmail athletic footwear doesn't seem so odd. Described as neither shoe nor sock, the PaleoBarefoots, which really are basically chainmail socks, create the sensation of running in your bare feet. Made of stainless steel mesh with no insole, arch support or protection from the cold, Paleos are for running on rough terrain - or water - and are meant to reconnect the feet with the earth and the runner with his or her Stone Age ancestor.

Among the innumerable health benefits, improved balance and naturally realigned posture. Of course there are hazards, which is why a tetanus shot every 10 years is recommended for every purchaser. But the upside from this German-made product - of course it's German made - far outruns the downside. According to spokesman Jorg Peitzker, although you get dirty feet, it is a real experience, even sensual. Think back to your childhood when every puddle still was an adventure. As for how it affects your workout, you will be running more lightly. You'll switch to a gliding, groping style, says Peitzker in a statement clearly not made in the last two months.


PESCA: So there we have running gear fit for a knight - but not Phil Knight - from Mo Rocca. The next story of a return to olden times comes from Negin Farsad.

NEGIN FARSAD: Everyone's favorite form of medieval slaughter is back. The guillotine has been reimagined by a French company as a kitchen appliance - obviously. The Kitchen Executioner, as it's called, isn't just a clever marketing tool capitalizing on the trendy popularity of such things as the French Revolution and public brutality, which are, like, always trending on Twitter.


FARSAD: But makers of this new food processor claim that it revolutionizes cooking by bringing the drop blade accuracy of the beloved guillotine into home gastronomy. Condemned vegetables are held securely with stocks...


FARSAD: ...At the bottom of the frame as the blade falls forcefully, cleanly decapitating the vegetable. If you often make uneven and needlessly nonviolent veggie slices or if your wrists get tired vanquishing your vegetables with those mini swords - I think they're talking about knives...


FARSAD: ...Then the Kitchen Executioner is the perfect at-home assassin. The Kitchen Executioner comes with a beautiful, glossy recipe book from revolutionary France with recipes like, off with with her head - of lettuce.


FARSAD: This is so stupid.


FARSAD: Napoleon Bona-pate (ph)...


FARSAD: Beef Bourguig- no, don't kill me.


FARSAD: The reign of terr-iyaki (ph)...


FARSAD: ...And of course, for dessert, death by chocolate.


PESCA: Let them eat cake or a fruit salad from Negin Farsad. And your last story of a blast from the past comes from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Modern hearing aids are a marvel of technical sound processing allowing the hearing impaired to stay tuned to the conversations around them. The problem with all that technology is that it can cost north of $6,000 and puts help out of reach for many. Enter the RAM horn, Restorative Audio Modulator. Modeled after the ear horn and made for centuries from tin or brass into shapes of various funnels and bugles, audiologist Sarah Moore's company Speak Up uses 21st-century 3-D printing units to produce custom-fitted ear horns.

For as little as $30, these parabolic plastic cones use archaic technology to capture the sound and direct it into the ear canal. Models vary in size from the French horn-like Horn O'Plenty for the severely impaired to the diminutive pipsqueak, which can be worn on a lanyard around the neck. The Miles Davis, with its triple-valve tuning, has been a big seller with the aging boomers. They're a great conversation starter, said RAM user Bill Ford (ph), what I could hear of it.


BODETT: Moore adds, another wonderful thing about the Restorative Audio Modulator is that it works in both directions. If Dad can't hear you call him for dinner over "Matlock," you could always pick up the RAM device and use it like a trumpet. And if that doesn't work, you can hit him with it.


BODETT: Haha - no, we don't condone hitting with it. But you could.


PESCA: OK, Trevor - to recap, you've got Mo's chainmail socks. You've got Negin's Chicken Executioner (ph). And there from Tom, we heard about that fugue for ear horns (ph).

Which one is real?

CHARON: Oh, this is so hard because I want all three of them to like me so much. But...


CHARON: I am going to say it's Negin's story with the guillotine kitchen appliance.

PESCA: OK. Well, the good news is you can start a Kickstarter for the other two. They're all good ideas.

CHARON: Oh, I'm on it already.

PESCA: But to get the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the true story.

MARK REMY: So these shoes are basically made of sort of a chainmail, like the medieval armor.

PESCA: That was Mark Remy, the creator of dumbrunner.com and a frequent contributor to Runner's World. And I'm sorry, Trevor. I heard your audible sigh of disappointment.


PESCA: We will spare you from the Kitchen Executioner. But it is true that you did earn a point for Negin. Thank you for playing with us and goodbye.

CHARON: Goodbye. Thank you.

FARSAD: Thank you.

BODETT: Thanks, Trevor.


ARETHA FRANKLIN: (Singing) Chain, chain, chain - chain, chain, chain - chain, chain, chain - chain, chain, chain - chain, chain, chain - chain, chain, chain - chain of fools. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.