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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. We're playing this week with Faith Salie, Peter Grosz and Negin Farsad. And here again is your host at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., Peter Sagal.

PETER GROSZ: Thank you, Bill.



Thank you so much. 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 are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

BILL VILLA: Hi, Peter. Hi. This is Bill Villa, and I'm here from the hamlet of Hoboken, N.J.

SAGAL: Hoboken...


SAGAL: What do you do there in Hoboken?

VILLA: I am a long-distance bus driver. I travel all over the country with a bus.

SAGAL: Really? So you drive - like, if somebody's taking a tour to, say, Washington, D.C., or out to some other city, you drive...

VILLA: I've been all over the country. I've been up and down from Maine to Florida, including Canada. I even drove a bus to Chicago once.

SAGAL: Really? Who was chasing you?


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

KURTIS: I'm a ten-dollar Bill.

SAGAL: Ten dollars can still be a lot of money these days. Why, it's the president's net worth, and he's a billionaire.


SAGAL: This week, we heard about somebody getting exactly $10 in an unusual way. Our panelists are going to tell you the story. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play, Bill?

VILLA: No, but let's do this.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: That's a good attitude. First, let's hear from Negin Farsad.

NEGIN FARSAD: Red Bull - an energy drink known to me as that drink I used to mix with really cheap vodka in college, so I could get drunk but with an aftertaste of cough syrup - is in the news. You know their slogan, Red Bull gives you wings. You also know it doesn't actually give you wings. But a bunch of Canadian people didn't know that. And after waiting and waiting for wings to sprout out of their backs, presumably, well, they ate poutine and watched a curling tournament.


FARSAD: One of them sued and won. Red Bull - or as they call it in Canada, le Red Bull...


FARSAD: ...Agreed to pay 10 Canadian dollars to each person harmed by the wing claim.


FARSAD: But the most Canadian thing about this lawsuit is that it was a virtual copy of an American lawsuit. The only difference in the Canadian lawsuit is the additional gripe that Red Bull didn't provide sufficient information regarding mixing the drink with alcohol - information like, mix this drink with alcohol or...


FARSAD: Mix this drink with alcohol, and you won't notice the flavor so much.


FARSAD: Or mix this drink with alcohol, and Jerry Fiddler (ph) from your freshman year dorm with the excessively smelly socks won't seem as smelly and will even seem cute enough for a quick make-out session for which you'll be embarrassed the next morning.


FARSAD: Regrets - I have a few.

SAGAL: Canadians...


SAGAL: ...Who are disappointed that Red Bull did not actually give them wings get $10 apiece. Your next story of somebody getting 10 whole dollars richer comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: When Nicole Bromley-Klute (ph) of Kensington, Md., decided to begin her outdoor mindfulness practice, she had a plan. She dropped her kids off at school, got into her favorite silver Lululemon jumpsuit, slathered her face in nontoxic zinc oxide and went to the local park. She closed her eyes and sat criss cross applesauce under a tree. I usually suck at meditating, Nicole says. But I just got so in the zone with noticing my breath. She was so in the zone, in fact, that she ended up meditating for half an hour. When she opened her eyes, she saw that her empty matcha latte cup was filled with dollar bills and change amounting to $10.


SALIE: Kids were pointing, and a tourist was taking selfies with her. Nicole was confused at first. I knew I didn't look homeless because Lululemon is so expensive...


SALIE: ...She says. It turned out that with her geisha-white sunscreened face and her silver getup, folks in the park were mistaking her for one of those living statues.


SALIE: Nicole reports, I left to do my cardio at SoulCycle and told all my friends. Two moms joined me the next day, and we made $37.


SAGAL: A woman meditating in a park was so still, people thought she was a performance artist and gave her $10. Your last story of 10 big ones comes from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: Matthew Timberger (ph) of Joplin, Mo., is an amateur treasure hunter, spending nights and weekends chasing down rumors of lost or buried riches. But earlier this summer, he got very excited when his 2-year-old son pulled an old, crumpled piece of paper out of the sandbox he was playing in. At first, I was just going to throw it away, Timberger told The Kansas City Star, because it didn't seem important and because my son had wiped his nose on it. But then Timberger realized that the paper was actually an old map with strange symbols and writing, including the phrase, location of the most valuable treasure in all of Joplin.

He immediately thought, could this be the legendary Joplin millions? In 1867, a million-dollar train shipment of gold from Fort Knox to Salt Lake City was stolen outside Joplin, but the thieves and the gold were never found. Timberger was so convinced that he had struck literal gold that he sold a show to the Discovery Channel - a documentary called "The Hunt For The Joplin Millions." And this week, he set off to the location where X marked the spot, armed with a backhoe and a camera crew, and he started digging. It took 10 seconds of digging six inches to the ground before he discovered a small plywood cigar box labeled Brian Jordan's (ph) stuff - do not touch. No girls allowed.


GROSZ: He opened the box to discover not millions of dollars of gold but a few coins, a Rubik's cube, an ALF sticker and a slightly bent George Brett baseball card. The value of this buried treasure - a paltry $10. When the results were published in the paper, an elated Brian Jordan said, hey, they found my stuff. I've been looking for that since third grade.


GROSZ: Timberger is making the best of his embarrassing situation by repackaging his TV show to be called "The Failure Of The Hunt For The Joplin Millions."

SAGAL: The buried treasure of Joplin...


SAGAL: ...Turns out to be just $2. So let me summarize your choices, Bill. From Negin Farsad, Red Bull pays out $10 to people who really thought that they were going to get wings from it. From Faith Salie, a woman meditating in a park arises to discover that people thought she was a performance artist and tipped her 10 bucks. Or, from Peter, treasure hunters looking for the Joplin millions. Which of these is the real story of $10 earned in an odd way?

VILLA: Lord, have mercy. OK. I'm going to go with Faith's answer because I believe the possibility of someone just standing there doing nothing and all of a sudden getting money thrown at them. That sounds logical to me.

SAGAL: Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to a reporter who's covered the real story.


K THOR JENSEN: After drinking Red Bull for four years, a Canadian man named Michael Attar filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.

SAGAL: That was K. Thor Jensen. He's a reporter for Newsweek talking about the Red Bull settlement.


SAGAL: I'm afraid you didn't get it right. But I got to tell you, I didn't believe it myself.


SAGAL: So you have, however, earned a point for Faith, who successfully fooled you. And thank you so much for playing.


VILLA: Thank you very much for having me, Peter. Take care.