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Our Favorite Things

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell, and here's your host, Peter Sagal.


Thanks Carl. Peter Sagal here in the studio this week. All of our panelists and staff are just lying around fast asleep in a tryptophan-induced haze, and frankly they look too adorable to wake up. So instead of doing a new show for you this week, we're going to present to you what here at WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! are most thankful for.

We're not so much about, you know, relatives, family home as we are about, you know, stuff from our show. We prefer it. Unlike your family, our show leaves you alone after an hour. Over the last few weeks I've asked our panelists what they were most thankful for, starting with Roy Blount, Jr.

ROY BLOUNT, JR.: I'm most thankful for owls and people who try to exploit owls for marital purposes.


SAGAL: This came up, and it's not quite as bad as Roy just made it sound, in a question we did a while ago about a wedding that went wrong.

KASELL: Our wedding has just run afoul. The bride has let out a great howl. At Hogwarts it works, but we look like jerks. We trusted the rings to an...


SAGAL: An owl, yes.



SAGAL: A British bride's romantic plans to have an owl swoop down and deliver the rings in the middle of her wedding ceremony were stalled when the owl took the rings and flew up into the church rafters, where it fell asleep.


SAGAL: So the first mistake was holding the wedding in the middle of the day. Owl's are nocturnal. The second mistake? Thinking the Harry Potter books are real.


SAGAL: Once they coaxed the owl down, the wedding went ahead as planned, until the unfortunate Father-Tiger dance.


JESSI KLEIN: Did they have to find - did they have to, like, find the rings in those pellets?

SAGAL: Oh, no.


SMITH: Those owl pellets.

JR.: I went to a wedding where they had a little kid do it. He went down the aisle growling. And they said, why did you growl and he said, I'm the ring bear.



SAGAL: That's adorable.

JR.: Isn't that adorable, yeah?

PAULA POUNDSTONE: We had a pretend wedding for my daughter Tosha when she was nine years old.

SAGAL: Yeah.

POUNDSTONE: And had 50 people attend. It was great. And I decided to have my son, who was at the time like a little over one I think, I decided to have him be the ring bearer. He was at that really koala bear clingy age where I could barely get him off my hip. And then I realized, well, he won't walk over there. So we made a row of Cheetos.


POUNDSTONE: Worked like a charm.

SAGAL: I bet.

KLEIN: My fiance's going to do that at my wedding.


SAGAL: So like I said, we're asking our panelists what they're thankful for. Bobcat Goldthwait, what are you most thankful for?

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Well, funny you should ask. I'm most thankful for the gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven.


KASELL: The purple and pink make it seem as though cooking is girly, which is not.

SAGAL: That was from a successful petition thought up by young named McKenna Pope. She was asking Hasbro to make what popular toy a little less girly for this holiday season?

REKIAH STONE: Easy-Bake Oven.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed. That's right, Rekiah.



SAGAL: Ms. Pope, a 13-year-old girl from New Jersey, wanted to buy her younger brother, about four, an Easy-Bake Oven a present, to ease the pain of having to grow up in New Jersey.


SAGAL: But she was disappointed to find out that all the ovens were pink and purple, and marketed to girls. So response to her petition, which was joined by 40,000 people, including some celebrity chefs, Hasbro has introduced the genderless Easy-Bake Oven. It was very easy to do; they just had to remove the genitals from the back.


SAGAL: We're like...

BRIAN BABYLON: That's what that was?

SAGAL: That's what that was. That's why it always made that noise when you touched that part.


SAGAL: The - now, it's funny, we're trying to imagine these toy executives, like, OK, we've got make the Easy-Bake Oven appeal to boys, as well. How do we do that? It's like, well, we can paint it in cammo and equip it with missiles and tank treads. What does it transform into, you know? It needs a new name. How about the Charzilla?


BABYLON: I don't know, Peter.

GOLDTHWAIT: I'm excited to know that in the future there'll be a lot of young boys who will grow up and cook with light bulbs.

SAGAL: That's true.



SAGAL: Is this how we're going to train them?

GOLDTHWAIT: That is the best way to cook.


GOLDTHWAIT: You know, and they tell you to stay with baked goods, but you can use pork products.


POUNDSTONE: It's a little...


GOLDTHWAIT: Bacon tartar.

SAGAL: Yeah because guys have limited brain power for this sort of thing. So I'm just imagining some kid in the future who grew up with his, you know, gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven. You know, on that first important date, where you're cooking for the girl at home, you've actually gotten her to come over. Just, you know, she's going to be there in 10 minutes, and he's holding the chicken up to the kitchen light and going damn it, it's not working.


GOLDTHWAIT: It's almost...

BABYLON: Wait, do they call it the gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven? That's a horrible name.

SAGAL: Yeah, no I don't think that's its name in the stores.

GOLDTHWAIT: It sounds like there's radiation involved.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: I don't think they're changing the name. I think it's still Easy-Bake, but this genderless model is black and blue and silver.

SAGAL: Yes, that's right. It has a color scheme, and it doesn't have a lot of, you know, girly things about its marketing. And boys and girls will appear in the commercials using it. The boys, of course, they'll use it just the same, except the boys, of course, will take the little cakes they make and go eat it over the sink while watching TV.


BABYLON: I wonder if all toys are going to go down this direction, like the...

GOLDTHWAIT: Definitely, like an Etch-A-Sketch, that's definitely gender specific.

BABYLON: For who?

SAGAL: Is it? Wait a minute.


GOLDTHWAIT: Maybe I'm doing it wrong.



SAGAL: So we have been asking our panelists what they are most thankful for this week. So Mo, what are you most thankful for?

MO ROCCA: I'm most thankful for stereotypes about hybrid vehicles and their drivers.

SAGAL: And this came up in a discussion about a new tax with you and Alonzo Bodden a little while ago.

Jessi, one of the advantages of owning a hybrid car is that you save money, of course, by using less gas. One problem, though, according to legislators in Virginia at least, is what?

KLEIN: One problem with hybrid cars?

SAGAL: Yeah, that they've worked to correct.

KLEIN: That they're too expensive.

SAGAL: Well, it's sort of a glass half full, glass half empty, or gas tank half full, gas tank half empty problem for the...

KLEIN: The gas tank sometimes is half empty.


KLEIN: Peter, I don't know the answer.

SAGAL: Does anybody else know the answer?

KLEIN: I'm twisting in the wind here.

ROCCA: No. It doesn't require a lot of money to fill the gas tank, so their taxes are low.

SAGAL: Exactly right. The problem with hybrid cars is they don't buy enough gas.

ROCCA: Right.


SAGAL: So the owners don't pay enough gas taxes.

ROCCA: Oh wait, so I got that point.

SAGAL: You did.

ROCCA: OK. All right.


ROCCA: Sorry. Sometimes that gets lost.

SAGAL: All right, being green, fine, if you want to go that way, do that, but it doesn't mean you can shirk your duty to pay taxes on stuff you don't need to buy anymore.


SAGAL: In an interview with CBS, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said, quote, we have to be practical. If everybody had a hybrid car there would be no gas tax revenue, unquote. In fact, many on the Virginia Senate Finance Committee thought the measure should be expanded to include fines on people who don't own cars because what kind of lame gas tax dodge is that?


ROCCA: So do you get a tax break if you power your hybrid with coal or just burn wood like in the gas tank?

SAGAL: Yeah, that would be good, I guess, as long as you pollute and pay gases. No, the idea is that because of this they have imposed $100 hybrid fee on every hybrid car. You have to pay a hundred bucks to the state to make up for the gas taxes.

ROCCA: To punish people for saving energy, yeah.

SAGAL: To punish people, yeah. It's only fair to go after hybrid owners and get that extra money because not only are they saving money on gas, they're also saving money on dates that they never have to go on.


ROCCA: Are hybrids unsexy?

SAGAL: Well...


SAGAL: All right, Alonzo is a car guy.

ROCCA: All right, you're taking a stand.

BODDEN: Well, no, I mean women who are real into the green thing, like real greenies would go for you in a Prius, but you don't want that.


BODDEN: You don't want that.

ROCCA: Is that because they'll eat a lot of roughage and - what is it that they're doing that's not...

BODDEN: No, no, they go for the whole thing. You get the whole package with that. You get fleece and funny shoes.

ROCCA: Right.

BODDEN: It's just...

ROCCA: And quinoa.

BODDEN: Yeah, it's not good.

SAGAL: So you wouldn't...

BODDEN: You can't be a bad ass in a hybrid. It's impossible.

ROCCA: You could put a little...


ROCCA: But you could put like fuzzy dice in your hybrid and that would be cool.

KLEIN: I love Mo, that's your idea of what ladies love.


KLEIN: Some fuzzy dice in that car.

BODDEN: Wait a minute.

ROCCA: And mud flaps with like the silhouette of sexy ladies.

KLEIN: We love that.

SAGAL: Oh yeah.

BODDEN: You know, NPR was going to do away with CAR TALK but now that we got Mo Rocca...

SAGAL: Exactly.



BODDEN: I think Mo's ready to take over.

SAGAL: And P.J. O'Rourke, we're asking everybody what they're most thankful for. P.J., what are you most thankful for?

P.J. O'ROURKE: I'm thankful for the perceived, I'm not saying real, but the perceived liberalism of NPR.


O'ROURKE: Because it lets me hog the stage as the only Republican, you know. I am the grumpy Republican.

SAGAL: P.J., were you surprised by the result of the election?

O'ROURKE: No, I wasn't really surprised. You know, it was the dog on the roof, I think, really.

SAGAL: Really, ultimately?


O'ROURKE: Americans love dogs. I he'd put one of his sons on the roof, like we've all been tempted to do that with our kids.


SAGAL: We would've understood. But no, I really wasn't surprised. I was pretty much - I'm not happy. I'm not happy.

ROBERTS: Would you have ever been happy, though?

O'ROURKE: No, no, I'm not happy. I'm a 65-year-old male Republican. We're not happy.



O'ROURKE: Happy is not what we're about.

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