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Bluff The Listener

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Brian Babylon, Roxanne Roberts and Peter Grosz. And here again is your host, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford, Illinois, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Carl. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

JOHN HOLSTROM: Hey, Peter, this is John Holstrom, calling from Telluride, Colorado.

SAGAL: Telluride, I've been there. It's gorgeous. Are you into all that skiing and hiking stuff that you people do?

HOLSTROM: Sure. We do all of that. We do just about everything here in Telluride.

SAGAL: I know. It's a great place.

HOLSTROM: You name it, we've got it.

SAGAL: Except for affordable housing.

HOLSTROM: Except for affordable housing.


SAGAL: Well, you'll get that some day. John, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is the topic?

KASELL: Woof, woof, read all about it.


HOLSTROM: Oh, great.

SAGAL: Now, you may be putting newspapers down for your dog, but it turns out they're not just using them to do their business, they're also reading them. We heard from some dogs that we know that there was a story in the news this week that got them, the dogs, all excited.

Each of our panelists are going to read you a story that we think would be of great interest to the dogs in your life, but only one of them is true. Guess that real story; you'll win Carl's bark on your home answering machine or voicemail.


SAGAL: Ready to play?

HOLSTROM: Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: All right, the first story that the dogs got all excited about will be from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: It's a cold, cold world for a flea without a dog. Instead of nestling in the warm fur of, say, a German shepherd, a troupe of trained circus fleas fell victim to highpet-thermia in the frigid weather of western Germany last week.

Three hundred performing fleas were found frozen in their enclosure at an open air fair in Mechernich-Kommern, the first time, said director Robert Birk, that he lost all the insects at once. Although fleas can jump like crazy, it wasn't enough to save them from the freezing, or should I say fleezing temperatures.

Quote, "it's hard to know when minus temperatures will be fatal for them," Birk told the BBC, "but the show much go on, and it did, with 50 fleas donated in time for Sunday's performance."


ROBERTS: "And no," Birk insists, "it was not an April Fool's Day joke."

SAGAL: A flea circus gets killed, making the dogs either excited or sad, depending on how they feel about fleas. Your next story of dogged reporting comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: Tika Tech Electronics has developed electronic wired pants to combat symptoms of restless legs syndrome, AKA RLS. "The pants run an electric current through your legs, giving them a light lobotomy," says CEO and founder Tika Latory.


BABYLON: "Everything in initial tests was going great," she says, "but dog owners reported a change in their dog's behavior when the owners would wear the pants." What change, you may be asking, the tradition of good old-fashioned leg humping.


BABYLON: Marcus Kinsey, test subject of the electric pants and owner of Yummy Boo-Boo said, "Yummy used to hump my leg all the time when I came home from work. I mean, he could hump through a pair of corduroys."


BABYLON: "But now, when I wear the pants, he just looks across the room at me like I slipped some organic dog food on him."


BABYLON: It turns out, the dogs were feeling an electric current from the pants on their underbelly and doggie parts.


BABYLON: A lead scientist at Tika Tech gave a statement saying that they're going to go back to the drawing board and fix this problem so that dog owners can fight RLS and dogs can get their hump on at the same time.



SAGAL: All righty then. Electric pants getting in the way of a dog's social life. Your last story of news that got tails wagging comes from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Every dog loves to play fetch, except for that part where your owner only pretends to throw the ball but hides it behind his back. That is not cool, man.


GROSZ: Last week, there was some strange news, though, for dog owners. When a shipment of tennis balls overturned on a highway near Akron, Ohio, dogs from all over the area were drawn to the accident site, howling and licking their lips voraciously.

After questioning from local authorities, the Wilson Sporting Goods Company was forced to admit that their new tennis balls are made with a polymer containing real cowhide. Yes, just beneath that weird fuzzy yellow stuff made out of god knows what is a layer of salted dried cow skin.

Then at this week's Stan Smith Invitational Tennis Tournament in Sarasota, Florida, things got intense. During the mixed doubles finals, a pack of salivating wild dogs burrowed under the walls of the stadium, snuck past security and overran the court.


GROSZ: A panicked crowd scattered all over. Frightened ball boys ran for their lives. The ravenous rovers even chased one ball boy up the umpire's chair.


GROSZ: Luckily, the incident ended without any harm. "At first, I was pretty scared," said ball boy Sean Ravitz, "but then I realized they were just after my balls."



SAGAL: So here we go. One of these stories is true, John. Would the dogs be excited about the story about the entire flea circus being wiped out in Germany by a cold snap? That's from Roxanne Roberts. From Brian Babylon, electric pants for restless leg syndrome, making it hard for dogs to express their affection. Or from Peter Grosz, a new kind of tennis ball with cowhide that made the dogs very excited indeed. Which of these is the real story in the week's news?

HOLSTROM: You got to be kidding me.


HOLSTROM: I'm going to go with Roxanne I think.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Roxanne's story of the flea circus biting the dust?



SAGAL: I understand. All right, we spoke to someone who is familiar with this story.

MIKE KETT: There are very, very, very few circuses left that actually use live fleas. A lot of times people, they would just use dead fleas.


SAGAL: That was Mike Kett, also known as Professor Marvel of Professor Marvel and his amazing flea circus. Congratulations, John, you got it right. You earned a point for Roxanne Roberts and you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home answering machine.


HOLSTROM: Great. Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you.

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

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