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Bluff The Listener

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is, WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Cristela Alonzo, Paula Poundstone and Peter Grosz. And here again is your guest host, who's doing such a great job, we can't actually remember who our regular host is - Faith Saile.

(LAUGHTER)

FAITH SALIE, HOST:

Thanks, Bill. I never get tired of hearing you say my name. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on air.

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

TYLER: Hi, this is Tyler (ph). I'm calling from Cleveland, OH.

SALIE: Hello, Tyler. What do you do in Cleveland?

TYLER: I am an artist and an art teacher at an all-girls high school.

SALIE: Oh, I didn't - my daughter goes to an all-girls school, but she is not in high school. But I was going to ask you, do you see a lot of artwork that is basically unicorns?

TYLER: No, they're all crying all the time and stressed out all the time. So it's artwork around those things.

SALIE: Oh, maybe...

PETER GROSZ: Teenagers.

SALIE: Yeah. Maybe their therapy should be, like, crying unicorns (laughter).

GROSZ: Their therapy should be - they should be forced to just draw unicorns.

CRISTELA ALONZO: (Laughter).

GROSZ: Just chill out and draw a unicorn.

SALIE: Fair enough. Well, thank you for bringing your artistic prowess to join us, Tyler. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell the truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?

KURTIS: City employee, we salute you.

SALIE: City employee - it's not just another job Andrew Yang failed to get.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: This week, we read about something new in the world of city workers. Our panelists are going to tell you about it, Tyler. You pick the one who's telling you the truth, and you'll win the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

TYLER: Absolutely.

SALIE: Great. Let's go. First up, it's Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: The residents of Sarasota, Fla., were tired of hearing all the jokes and negative stereotypes about Florida Man. You know Florida Man. He's always getting into minor scrapes with the law, either because he was drunk or on meth or both, or he got caught breeding iguanas in the employee bathroom at a Waffle House, and he told the police he thought they were just long turtles.

SALIE: (Laughter).

GROSZ: So this week, image-conscious Sarasota Mayor Eric Anice (ph) said no more. He officially unveiled the newest city employee, Florida Dan. Florida Dan is an exemplary citizen. He's gallant to the typical Florida man's goofus. He says things like, Florida Man makes sure his alligator is properly tied up in his yard, so he doesn't get loose and run through his neighbor's christening.

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Or better yet, he doesn't own an alligator at all. Mayor Anice held a rally with Florida Dan this week and made the crowd take the Florida Dan pledge, where he repeated phrases like, I will not mix alcohol with pontoon boating. I will not use gasoline to start my barbecue indoors.

SALIE: (Laughter).

GROSZ: If my parrot gets out of its cage, I will call animal control instead of getting on my grandmother's jazzy and chasing it across a golf course during the Kid Rock Invitational Pro-Am.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: All right. That was upstanding Florida Man, Florida Dan, from Peter Grosz. Your next story of a change for city employees comes from Cristela Alonzo.

ALONZO: Suit up and lace up those skates. No, I'm not talking about hot girl summer. I'm talking about hot counterterrorism summer. In Karachi, Pakistan, a new elite counterterrorism unit is patrolling the streets in rollerblades. Some say it's just a PR stunt, especially because the city is full of potholes, which in this case would serve as the perfect counter-counterterrorism. Also, it's not that great if all a terrorist needs to do to get away is just go uphill. But they do have advantages. Said one roller soldier, quote, "We can even hold on to a car at 75 miles per hour." Another officer on wheels said, it's a new concept for the public. When we started skating, we were excited but also nervous about falling. I think this is a perfect time to remind everyone they do carry loaded guns at all times.

SALIE: All right, that was counterterrorism on teeny, tiny wheels from Cristela Alonzo. Your last story of city employees employing something new comes from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about some innovations that may stay with us long after the threat of the virus has been quelled. French government agencies that deal closely with the public have not only switched the method of interaction to Zoom, but agency employees have been issued hand puppets whose use deescalates the stress of the interactions. When they first gave me a silly, little hand puppet, I vowed I would not use it. But the French public was so much more difficult to deal with during the pandemic, and most citizens already hated the French Tax Authority, explains Marguerite Blanchet (ph), a tax agent in the city of Grenoble. One time, I told a man of his 84,443.50 Euro debt to the French government, and he began to spit at me. We were on Zoom. Still, he was so angry. So I took out my little hand puppet, and I said, Monsieur Francois (ph) does not like when you spit on your phone. And the man became totally engaged with the puppet. Since that time, I use little Monsieur Francois everyday. The French people, they love him. Isn't that right, little Monsieur Francois? See him nodding his head? He says, oui.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Merci, Paula and Monsieur Francois. All right, Tyler, you had upstanding Florida Man from Peter Grosz. You had roller soldiers from Cristela Alonzo and hand puppets delivering bad news to French citizens from Paula Poundstone. Which one is real, Tyler?

TYLER: As much as I wish it can be all three, Florida Dan hand puppet on skates, I do believe that it's the Pakistan story from Cristela.

SALIE: OK, to find out the correct answer, we spoke to a reporter following the real story.

JD SIMKINS: Pakistani police are being issued rollerblades to help fight theft and harassment. It's kind of like a crossover between law enforcement and X Games.

SALIE: There you go. That was J.D. Simkins, a journalist for the Military Times, who wrote about the roller blading police force in Karachi. Congratulations, Tyler. You got it right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

TYLER: Thanks so much.

SIMKINS: You earned a point for Cristela. And you've won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail.

POUNDSTONE: (Imitating French accent) And you ruined my life.

(LAUGHTER)

SALIE: Tyler, thank you so much for playing with us today, and have a wonderful, student-free summer.

TYLER: Thanks, everybody. Take it easy.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Tyler.

SALIE: Au revoir.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M YOUR PUPPET") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.