© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Panel Round Two

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 Roy Blount, Jr., Faith Salie and Charlie Pierce. And here again is your host, at Centennial Hall in Tucson, Arizona, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thank you all so much. You're the best. But 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!

NIKI BROOKS: Hi, my name is Niki. I'm calling from Salt Lake City, Utah.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in beautiful Salt Lake?

BROOKS: Um, pretty good.


SAGAL: Would you say ambivalent?




SAGAL: Well welcome to the show, Niki. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Niki's topic?

KASELL: Kiss me, I'm Irish.

SAGAL: St. Patrick's Day is not about getting wasted.


SAGAL: All right, it's not just about getting wasted. It can also be used for good. Our panelists are going to read you three stories of how the Irish holiday has recently become a time to make the world a little bit better. Guess the true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to go?


SAGAL: Let's hear first from Charlie Pierce.

CHARLIE PIERCE: They don't take St. Patrick's Day lightly in that Hibernian hideout we call Las Vegas, Nevada. The one thing they won't abide is jaywalking and careless driving, because they want everybody crossing the street to be alive when they get there to lose all their money. And that apparently is especially true on the Saint's day.

They have arranged to have appropriate seasonal mythology working to guard the patrons headed towards their city's multilevel pots of gold along the strip. This Saturday, members of the Las Vegas Police Department will work traffic control dressed as leprechauns.


PIERCE: The wee folk will be stationed at various intersections and they will ticket both drivers and jaywalkers. The fines can total up to $190. It is important for pedestrians to pay attention, although why people in leprechaun suits would draw the attention of anyone who's already in Las Vegas is beyond me.


PIERCE: Also, do not attempt to go after their Lucky Charms, they'll shoot to kill.



SAGAL: The Las Vegas police pretending to be leprechauns, scampering about in the crosswalks, to increase pedestrian safety. That's from Charlie Pierce. Your next story of the pluck of the Irish comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: Not wearing green this St. Patrick's Day? Lois Goodman will fix that in a pinch. No, she really will. She will pinch you hard, because she's on a mission to save lives.

Last year, on March 17th, Lois, a 59-year-old who loves St. Patrick's Day so much that she calls herself, quote, a St. Patty's Fanati, boarded her regular Cincinnati bus to head to work. Wearing her usual holiday getup: green boa, green leprechaun hat and a t-shirt that says "Erin Go Braless," she...


SALIE: ...handed out homemade shamrocks to other passengers who weren't wearing green. Lois repeatedly tried to offer the blue-uniformed bus driver a shamrock but got no response. "I thought it was pretty rude he didn't even answer me when I was just trying to spread some cheer," remembers Lois.

Seeing no other recourse, she gave him a significant pinch just as he swerved into another lane of traffic.


SALIE: Turns out, the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and Lois' lucky pinch made him wakeup and scream in pain and saved the lives of all 67 passengers aboard the bus.


SALIE: Now, Lois pinches non-green wearing grinches every chance she gets and suggests others do the same. "Some may find it annoying," she admits, "but I call it Irish consciousness raising."


SAGAL: Pinching to save lives in Cincinnati on St. Patrick's Day. And your last story of a St. Patty's problem solver comes from Roy Blount, Jr.

ROY BLOUNT: St. Patrick's Day in Killarney, Wisconsin has for many years featured a pageant depicting how that saint banished all the snakes from Ireland. This year, the town is out to exercise reptiles for real. Killarney, a bedroom community outside Oshkosh, isn't plagued by serpents but by a plethora of Japanese spotted toads, which began as a high school science project and has ballooned into a civic crisis.


BLOUNT: In a press conference this week, Killarney Mayor Carl Deisendorf, in character as this year's honorary St. Patrick, spokes as follows: "be damned if these warty little blaggards haven't invaded our homes, our shops and our places of worship, and devil the dog or exterminator man can dislodge the little spalpeins."

"But let's see the buggers withstand the force of Gaelic music now. 'Tis this very weekend we'll be parading up and down Killarney's every street and byway, blasting away with all traditional instruments. We'll have them little gobs of Satan riverdancing into the glomen."


BLOUNT: "Sure and it's a darling scheme and another Guinness all around."


SAGAL: So, here Niki are your choices. From Charlie, police dressing as leprechauns to dance about gaily in the pedestrian crosswalks, so as to attract the attention of drivers. From Faith, a woman in Cincinnati who will pinch everybody who's not wearing green just to make sure they're awake. Or from Roy: Killarney, Wisconsin getting rid of the plague of Japanese frogs with Irish music. Which of these is the real story for the St. Patrick's Day weekend?



BROOKS: Those all sound pretty festive.


SAGAL: They are.

BROOKS: I think I'm going to have to go with Faith's story.

SAGAL: Faith's story of the woman who saved a busload of passengers...


SAGAL: ...by pinching a man for not wearing green and is going to do it again. Is that your choice?

BROOKS: That's my choice.

SAGAL: Well, all right then, you're choice is Faith's story. We actually spoke to the person at the very center of this story.

MICHAEL LEMLEY: I dressed up as a leprechaun and what we expected to happen was drivers to actually stop for the leprechaun and if they didn't and they drove by me, I had friends waiting down the street that would give them tickets for not yielding to the pedestrian.

SAGAL: That was Officer Michael Lemley of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Aye, the leprechaun himself.


SAGAL: So I'm sorry, but obviously the true story was the one told by Charlie. However, you have earned a point for Faith for her very charming story of the luck of the Irish.

SALIE: Thanks, Niki.

SAGAL: So thanks for playing, Niki.


BROOKS: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.