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 his week with Roxanne Roberts, Bobcat Goldthwait and Brian Babylon. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl.
SAGAL: Thank you everybody. 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 the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
LEE ZIRNHELD: Hi, this is Lee, calling from Fairbanks, Alaska.
SAGAL: How are things in beautiful Fairbanks?
ZIRNHELD: Well, let's just say there's a reason tourism comes to a screeching halt in December.
SAGAL: Yeah. We were there in August of 2011. We had a wonderful time. Beautiful place that you live.
ZIRNHELD: Yeah, I noticed you came in August.
SAGAL: Lee, 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 Lee's topic?
KASELL: It may be that my heart is two sizes too small.
SAGAL: We have met the enemy in the War on Christmas, and it is us. This week, our panelists are going to tell you three stories of people who are threatening ruining Christmas for the rest of us. Guess the true story; you'll win Santa Carl's voice on your voicemail. Ready to play?
ZIRNHELD: I'm ready.
SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: You know how rich people stay rich? By being incredibly cheap. This month's tale of Scrooge-like scrimping comes from Newport Beach, California, where wealthy yacht owners are threatening to cancel their annual boat parade and light display to protest a dock rent increase.
Homeowners typically spend thousands of dollars to decorate their boats and houses for Christmas. This year's crop include a reindeer carousel, Santa in a hot air balloon, and penguins dressed for a luau. But all that is endangered by a tiny proposed hike in dock fees.
Yacht owners paid the rock bottom price of $100 a year for two decades, the equivalent of a rent-controlled penthouse in Manhattan, and are facing hikes of $250 to $3,000.
So, Bob McCaffrey, head of the Stop the Dock Tax, wants a boycott and no Christmas lights. His neighbor Pete Pallette told the LA Times he has mixed emotions, but he will go dark unless the hike vote is delayed. Quote, "otherwise, game on." The modern translation for "bah humbug."
SAGAL: The yacht owners of Newport Beach threatening not to decorate their yachts for Christmas unless they get a break from taxation. Your next story of a holiday grinch comes from Brian Babylon.
BRIAN BABYLON: Every year, the Park Slope Co-op in Brooklyn hosts a Santa photo op for the members' families. If you're not familiar with the Park Slope Co-op, it's an organic grocery store for people allergic to corn syrup and fun.
BABYLON: This year, the co-op took its healthy eating mantra a step too far. They hired a skinny Santa. According to the co-op, quote, "Santa realizes he hasn't been a good role model for kids in the past, so he's cut processed wheat and diary from his diet."
BABYLON: Gone is his bowl full of jelly belly, gone are his chubby red checks, gone too is his giant synthetic suit. As a co-op parent, Tony Minor, describes in the Village Voice, "My kids completely lost respect for Santa. There's nothing fun about a guy counting calories. Plus, his bony knees made too many toddlers cry."
SAGAL: A skinny Santa at the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn. And your last story of someone trying to spoil Christmas comes from Bobcat Goldthwait.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Port Talbot, Wales, like many towns all over the world, has a manger in its town square, with animals, wise men and baby Jesus. And after requests from another religious community in town, the Jedi, it now has a manger showing the medical deck on the asteroid colony of Polis Massa, showing the birth of Luke Skywalker.
GOLDTHWAIT: However, local vandals did not take too kindly to the space-themed nativity and stole baby Luke Skywalker from his cradle.
Jedi Porter Barron, the group's leader, turned to the local media in an effort to have Baby Luke. "It disturbs the force, in these times that all faiths are not respected equally, and myself and my brother and sister Jedi knights have been deeply hurt by the lack of sensitivity and attention that has been shown by the local authorities in helping return Baby Luke."
Mr. Barron added, "Also, the Luke doll wasn't even ours. It was on loan to us from a Jedi chapter from Hartford."
SAGAL: All right, one of these stories may ruin somebody's Christmas. Is it, from Roxanne Roberts, how the yacht owners of Newport Beach might go on strike and not decorate their yachts? From Brian Babylon, how a food co-op in Brooklyn has hired a skinny Santa to demonstrate better nutritional ideas? Or from Bobcat Goldthwait, the vandalism of a Jedi manger? Which of these is the real story in the week's news?
ZIRNHELD: Man. I so want the skinny Santa to be the right one, but I'm tempted to go with Roxanne, but then I know so many people have.
GOLDTHWAIT: Hey, what's that?
SAGAL: Hey, wait a minute.
GOLDTHWAIT: I thought what we had was special.
GOLDTHWAIT: You crazy little minx.
ZIRNHELD: I think I'm going to go for the canceled boat parade.
SAGAL: You're going to go for the threatened to cancel boat parade.
ZIRNHELD: Yes, the threatened.
SAGAL: That's Roxanne's story. Despite the fact that she's led so many, as you say, down the road to perdition, you're choosing Roxanne's story. Well, we spoke to one of the people involved in the true story.
RUSH HILL: There was an attempted boycott of the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. If anything, it hardened the council to move forward because it irritated them.
SAGAL: So that was Rush Hill, the Mayor Pro Tem of Newport Beach, California, talking about the threat of withholding Christmas lights on the yachts. By the way, I just want to say that even though I knew which really story it was, I used to a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op, and I totally believed Brian's story. I was, like, yep, that's what they do.
SAGAL: Nonetheless, you were smarter than me. You picked Roxanne's story. That means you win our prize. Congratulations, you will get Carl's voice on your home voicemail. Well done.
ZIRNHELD: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.