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Panel Questions

BILL KURTIS: **** From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news game. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Aida Rodriguez and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill remembers Germany's Weimar Republic in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924.

Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Paula, Fast Company Magazine looked into one of the persistent mysteries of office life, why, no matter what, we can't control ourselves in the presence of what?



SAGAL: Now that's not right, but you're just forcing me to ask you is this a problem that you have, that you cannot control yourself in the presence of Wite-Out? You start whiting out everything?

POUNDSTONE: No, I mean, just when I know it's there. I'm sloppy.

SAGAL: Yeah. Is that...

POUNDSTONE: Because I go, well, I can always white it out if I have to.

SAGAL: Is that what you do instead of pressing the home button on your phone? You just Wite-Out the screen if you - no, it's not Wite-Out.

POUNDSTONE: Can you give me a hint, Peter?

SAGAL: Well, let's see, Marie's birthday was just last week. So it's probably still good.

POUNDSTONE: Bringing in their cakes or eating the brought-in cake.

SAGAL: Eating the free food in the office. I will give it to you.


SAGAL: Yes. It just seems why is it that all of us are helpless...


SAGAL: ...If there's free food in the office? And if you've worked in an office, you know that anything edible, no matter how old or gross looking, will be devoured...


SAGAL: ...From week-old-birthday cake to that caribou carcass the vultures are finishing.



SAGAL: According to a psychologist from the Cleveland Clinic, the reason we just can't resist this food is in part because office food is free, and thus it appeals to our innate desire to get a good deal. It's like yeah, that single M&M has been stepped on so much it's now part of the carpet, but it's free. Pry that baby up.

KURTIS: How much does this study cost that gave us this whirlwind discovery...


KURTIS: ...People like free food and cake?


SAGAL: We've got it solved.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, we're getting to the bottom of that.

SAGAL: No, this was not a study. This was Fast Company Magazine wondering about this question, calling up a psychologist and getting guesses as to why it's true because it is true if you've ever worked in an office. I mean, the stuff you would never eat, even at home - you're like, oh, my God, that bagel has been out, sitting out all day. I'm not going to eat that. At the office, we're like, oh, bagel.

POUNDSTONE: No, usually you cut it in half.

SAGAL: And then you eat it up.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah. No, everybody does that. They like to cut that thing in half, and then later stroll by and eat the other half.

SAGAL: That's absolutely true.


SAGAL: I came up years ago with a theory to describe that. It's the theory of the plausibly segmented donut. And the idea is, like, you can't eat a whole donut. That's terrible for you. You'll gain weight. But if you cut the donut in enough parts and eat them with enough time between them, it doesn't count as eating a whole donut.


ADAM BURKE: By the way, the theory of the plausibly segmented donut is Marianne Williamson's...

AIDA RODRIGUEZ: I was going to say that (laughter).

BURKE: ...Solution to health care.

SAGAL: It's her latest bestseller, yes. Aida, Jimmy John's, Sonic and The Cheesecake Factory all have foods topping this year's list of what?

RODRIGUEZ: Carcinogens.


SAGAL: You're close. I'm going to give it to you anyway. Basically, medically inadvisable food.



POUNDSTONE: I've never heard that phrase before...

SAGAL: Yes, medically inadvisable.

POUNDSTONE: ...Medically inadvisable foods.

SAGAL: Every year...

POUNDSTONE: I want to open a restaurant named that.


POUNDSTONE: There'll be lines around the block.

SAGAL: Well, every year...

POUNDSTONE: Would you like a large?


SAGAL: Need you ask?

KURTIS: I don't know. Let me ask my doctor.

SAGAL: The Center for Science in the Public Interest does this every year. They announce a list of the worst things you can get at popular restaurants. And they call it the extreme eating awards. The list highlights the worst things you can order, for example, including the Cheesecake Factories cinnamon roll pancakes, which they say are - have the equivalent of two and a half days worth of saturated fat or are the same as eating 11 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Also featured on the list is Jimmy John's 16-inch giant gargantuan sandwich, Chili's five-meat Big Boss burger and Taco Bell's Big Ass Meat Sack.


POUNDSTONE: That's a misprint of some sort.

SAGAL: We made that last one up. But if you started salivating, seek help.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, you did make that up. That's not real.

SAGAL: We did make that up. There is no Big Ass Meat Sack.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: Although I am sure - give them a year, man.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, right. You might want to trademark that now.

SAGAL: I know.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Food, glorious food. Eat right through the menu. Just loosen your belt two inches and then you work up a new appetite... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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