Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you so much.
SAGAL: This week, while we lie around in a haze of tryptophan poisoning, we look back at a time when we were slightly more alert, when we visited Minneapolis in October of this year.
KURTIS: Here's Peter with Faith Salie, Mo Rocca and Tom Bodett in a show we've never aired before.
SAGAL: Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
CHELSEA: Hi. This is Chelsea (ph) from Bethlehem, Penn.
SAGAL: Hey, Chelsea. How are you?
CHELSEA: I'm doing well. How are you?
SAGAL: I'm well. Thank you. What do you do there in Bethlehem?
CHELSEA: I am the director of an LGBT student center at a university here. Woohoo.
SAGAL: Well, that's great. And how are things there on campus? Everybody's feeling good? Everybody's feeling empowered? Or everybody's sort of...
CHELSEA: Everything is great, yeah. It's a beautiful fall in Pennsylvania. And the students are stressed as usual.
CHELSEA: But things are good.
SAGAL: That's great to hear. Well, Chelsea, welcome to the show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Chelsea's topic here?
KURTIS: Here, bunny, bunny, bunny.
SAGAL: Bunnies - rabbits - they're soft and lovable. And when you cut off their foot, they bring you luck.
SAGAL: This week, we saw a remarkable story in the news about bunnies. Our panelists are each going to tell you about it. Only one of them, of course, is telling the truth. Pick that one, you'll win our prize, Chelsea - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?
CHELSEA: Sounds good.
SAGAL: All right. Your first story of bunnies in the news is from Mo Rocca.
MO ROCCA: When Bemidji, Minn., mom Carol Bagnoli decided to stop breastfeeding her son Jack, she faced a dairy dilemma. Cow's milk was too high in lactose; camel milk too low in protein. Almond milk was bad for the environment, and hemp milk just didn't seem appropriate for minors.
ROCCA: But one milk checked all the boxes, bunny milk. Said Bagnoli, bunny milk is rich in riboflavin, and Jack loves the taste of riboflavin.
ROCCA: And as luck should have it, Carol and Jack owned a pet rabbit named Sheila. We were already so close to Sheila, so it felt natural. Each morning, mother and son take turns milking Sheila.
ROCCA: Luckily, we both have tiny, tapered fingers, so getting ahold of Sheila's nipples isn't so hard, especially when they're hard. Sheila's 8 teats produce up to 2 milliliters of milk per day...
ROCCA: ...Which Jack drinks straight out of a shot glass before heading to school.
ROCCA: Quote, "if our teeny, pincer-like fingers are tired" says Carol, "I just use my Visine eyedropper as a bunny breast pump."
ROCCA: If it all seems unorthodox, consider this - before Jack's teeth grew in, he suckled Sheila alongside the rest of her litter. He had such a good latch with her, says Carol. I was kind of jealous. But at the end of the day, it was so nice to have a wet nurse who, when I needed her, just hopped to it.
SAGAL: I really don't know what to say about that one, so we're going to move on.
SAGAL: Your next story of some bunny business comes from Tom Bodett.
TOM BODETT: Drug-sniffing bunnies are not just for Hugh Hefner anymore.
BODETT: When Phoenixville, Penn., mayoral hopeful Dave Gautreau announced in a live candidates forum on Thursday that, if elected, he would look into getting drug-sniffing rabbits for the borough - that's B-O-R-O-U-G-H, borough...
BODETT: ...Police department, he was dead serious. I was dead serious, he confirmed.
BODETT: I would not make a joke about a rabbit if I did not believe it to be true.
But it wasn't a joke. He had read an online article about how the Amherst, N.Y., police department had introduced drug-sniffing bunnies to their force to great effect. Gautreau had even called the Amherst PD for verification and was told the narco bunny story is absolutely true. The drug-sniffing bunnies work well and at a fraction of the cost of the traditional canine approach.
Unfortunately, Gautreau, whose campaign slogan Vote for Goat further confuses matters...
BODETT: ...Appears to have fallen for an April Fool's joke from 2016, which was posted as a serious story in their local paper. That was the end for Gautreau but raises this reporter's admiration for the person who answers the phones at the Amherst, N.Y., police department.
SAGAL: A candidate for police chief believes the solution to their problem is drug-sniffing bunnies in Pennsylvania.
The last story of a bunny sensation comes from Faith Salie.
FAITH SALIE: Wildon Creek Academy in Lexington, Ky., has long been proud of its mascot, the Bouncin' Bunny. The historically all-boys school has embraced its endearing - arguably emasculating - symbol for 79 years, boisterously chanting at basketball games, we will bounce you and kiss our fluffy tails.
SALIE: But in order to boost enrollment, this fall Wildon Creek welcomed a bunch of girls through its now-coed doors. And these ladies do not want to be called Bunnies.
SALIE: As sophomore Annalisa Aubrey puts it, bunnies are gross and make me think of old men in grottos.
SALIE: Plus, they're not intimidating.
With a nod to preserving tradition, the new students began lobbying for a terrifying rabbit-snake hybrid called the bun-ake (ph). Its forked tongue would be as long as its ears. But one kid objected to the biblical implications of a serpent. So to mitigate that, the Young Republicans Club suggested making the bunny-snake part bald eagle, creating the fierce bun-sneagle (ph).
SALIE: But the Progressive Alliance took issue with the jingoistic implications of the bald eagle and wanted to slow things down by injecting a sloth into the mix.
SALIE: Students and alumni went bananas at last week's homecoming game with the debut of the three-toed bun-sneagle-oth (ph).
SALIE: It slowly descended from a giant pole, its feral beak and scales gleaming as it bounced-slithered around the stadium, tossing feathers and fur at its stunned rivals.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: Here are your choices.
SAGAL: From Mo Rocca...
SAGAL: ...A bunny playing an important role in the nutrition of a small child...
SAGAL: ...From Tom Bodett, a police chief convinced there's such a thing as drug-sniffing bunnies and trying to introduce them to his town in Pennsylvania; or, from Faith Salie, the combination mascot, the bun-sneagle-oth...
SAGAL: ...Haunting a high school - which of these is the real bunny-related story from the week's news?
CHELSEA: I have yet to see drug-sniffing bunnies on the street, but I'm going to go with that middle story, with No. 2.
SAGAL: You're going to go with the drug-sniffing bunnies from Tom Bodett? All right.
SAGAL: To bring you the truth, we spoke to a reporter who was on top of this important bunny story.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: At a mayoral forum, one of the candidates proposed drug-sniffing bunnies for the borough's police department.
SAGAL: So you got it right. In fact, that was the true story. Nobody is sorry it wasn't Mo's.
SAGAL: So you win a point. You win a point for Tom just for being truthful. And you've won our prize, the voice of anybody you like on your voicemail. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Thanks so much for playing, Chelsea.
CHELSEA: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF JEFFERSON AIRPLANE SONG, "WHITE RABBIT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.