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Panel Round Two

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Tom Bodett, P.J. O'Rourke, and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill loads the limerick cannon with rhyme balls. It's the Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, there's more questions for you from the week's news. Tom, if you want to be taken seriously as a business, as an enterprise, you have to respond to your customers. That's why what big organization just set up a complaints department for the first time?

TOM BODETT: The Internal Revenue Service?


SAGAL: Oh, no.

BODETT: Darn. They could use one. I mean...

SAGAL: Well, this - we were talking about this institution last week. They've been corporatizing, it seems, surprisingly. Last week, we talked about a personnel problem they had.

BODETT: Oh, al-Qaida.

SAGAL: Al-Qaida, yes.




SAGAL: Amazingly enough they're continuing down this corporate route...

P.J. O'ROURKE: Would you ever drop a complaint in that box?


O'ROURKE: Tom, so to speak I would. How about a 500-pound complaint with a fuse?


SAGAL: Now al-Qaida, as we've seen is kind of becoming like Comcast but less evil.


SAGAL: And they're finally listening to their customers. It's about time. It is the worst when they tell you they're going to bomb you between 9:00 am and noon and they don't show up until 4:00. I mean, I could've been doing other things with my day, al-Qaida. The idea is that they're taking on sort of these quasi official roles in governments. In the Middle East they want to look legitimate. So according to al-Qaida quote, "the complaint should be in writing, provide details and give evidence." And never ones to pass up an opportunity to do marketing they add quote, "check this box if you'd like to receive exciting updates and offers from al-Qaida, alQuaida.com or wholefoods.com.


O'ROURKE: There goes a sponsor.


SAGAL: And if you want your terror attack delivered free, you have to sign up for al-Qaida Prime.


SAGAL: Tom, there's a new source of shame, good news, for those of us who enjoy shame according...

BODETT: Oh, god, I grew up Catholic. They've come up with more?



SAGAL: But according to a column in Wall Street Journal this week, you're not alone in feeling shame about it. What is this particular habit that you have that you don't need to feel ashamed about because everybody does it.

BODETT: Oh, god, do I have to say these all out loud? OK. I...


BODETT: So it's a habit we all have that we kind of feel ashamed about and we shouldn't anymore.

SAGAL: Right. Well, because so many people do it. It's like, well, it's time to admit that you only got through 25 shades of grey.

BODETT: Oh, don't finish books that you start.

SAGAL: Right. Half a book syndrome.

BODETT: Oh, god, I've never felt ashamed about that.


SAGAL: Yeah, apparently everybody...

BODETT: I found one thing I don't feel ashamed about. That's incredible.


O'ROURKE: You know, now so you can take that into confession.

BODETT: Right. I know.

O'ROURKE: You can say, Father, I have not finished. And if it's - there's one book you're supposed to finish but if it's any of the rest of them, you're good.


SAGAL: Yeah. No, and apparently so many of us, because we're all over-stimulated with too many distractions have all these books piling up. We've read half of them and we can't quite get back to them. Maybe we don't like them but we feel guilty that we haven't finished it. It's tough, I mean, but you can manage it. If somebody wants to talk to you about that book that you're supposed to be reading, you didn't finish it, you can just fake it. You can extrapolate. It's like, oh yeah, I love "To Kill a Mockingbird." It was so sad when they finally killed that mockingbird.


BODETT: Well, I buy far more books than I read and I have - they're stacked. I have gone by this rule for years. If you have a book, whether you've started it or not, if you've read some of it or at least the jacket copy and it's been on your nightstand for six months, you can claim to have read it at a dinner party.



O'ROURKE: I am three-quarters of the way through "Atonement." It is at the peak of the action where the criminal is there and the father is there and the daughter is there. And is it going to be rape, is it going to be murder, is it going to be mayhem?

ROBERTS: That's not "Atonement."

O'ROURKE: And I decided - that's not "Atonement"?

SAGAL: We all know that.


O'ROURKE: OK. Well, it was this other - or "Saturday" or whatever...

ROBERTS: "Saturday," yeah.

O'ROURKE: ...that was "Saturday." OK. And I realized at that moment, I didn't care what happened to any of those people.


O'ROURKE: I just didn't care. I just plain - they were made-up people anyway. It's just a novel.

SAGAL: Well, yes, I mean, I'm Jewish of course, you know, I never...

O'ROURKE: They're guilty about everything


SAGAL: Yeah. And more to the point, we only read half the bible so...


ROBERTS: You know what?

SAGAL: I understand it takes a real left-turn in the second half. Am I right about that?


O'ROURKE: It's kind of a surprise ending, yeah. I won't wreck it for you.


SAGAL: All right.

O'ROURKE: No spoiler alert here.

SAGAL: OK. I've been avoiding seeing the movie because I don't want to ruin it. Eventually I'll get around to it.

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

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