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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 Tom Bodett, Helen Hong and Peter Grosz. And here again is your host at the lovely Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga., Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. And...


SAGAL: Thank you, tiny group of people. Did we leave a door open?


SAGAL: How did you people get in here? Right now, it is 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.

MITCHELL MILLER: Hi. This is Mitchell from Chattanooga, Tenn.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Chattanooga?

MILLER: Oh, great.

SAGAL: And are you, like everybody else, holed up in your apartment holding off the zombies?

MILLER: Well, I just got back from Korea two weeks ago, so I've self-isolated myself. And so yeah.

SAGAL: Wow. How's that going? Since you've been doing it for a while, do you have any tips for those of us...


SAGAL: ...Whose quarantine might lie in our future?

MILLER: Binge-watch a lot of stuff.

TOM BODETT: How's your toilet paper supply, Mitchell?

MILLER: My parents let me crash here after I got back at their place, so this supply is great.

SAGAL: Oh, you're not just trapped inside. You're trapped inside of your parents' house.





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

KURTIS: I am Thighmaster.

SAGAL: Gadgets to help us get back in shape go back ages, ever since Sisyphus and his fitness rock. But this week, we heard about an exercise gadget gone wrong. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Ready to play?


SAGAL: First up, let's hear from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: For months, Wendy Krantzen (ph) told the employees at the Gold's Gym in Simsbury, Conn., that they needed to fix that old treadmill in the corner. It would make weird noises and shake at any speed above five, Krantzen told connecticutonline.com. I knew it was a matter of time before something bad happened. And on Monday, something did.

Gym patron Brad Feldman (ph) was running slowly on the treadmill. But when an attractive woman began running next to him, he cranked the machine up to a 10. The old machine's belt immediately snapped, shaking it violently and propelling Feldman backwards completely out of control and through the open door of the gym's classroom, where Sasha's (ph) 10 a.m. Zumba class was wrapping up, knocking over Gabrielle Ruliano (ph) and sending her sliding out of the door on the opposite end of the classroom into a cleaning crew worker, Frank Carver (ph), who knocked over his mop bucket, spilling water all over the floor at the precise moment that two delivery men walked through the door hauling a shipment of 20 fully inflated exercise balls, which made the men slip, sending the balls flying all over the gym, where one of them knocked over nutritionist Theo Washington (ph), who was carting a case of a hundred spent banana peels...

HONG: (Laughter).

GROSZ: ...Away from the smoothie station at the cafe, which launched the banana peels into the sky just as manager Robin Janis (ph) was walking out of her office, writing an email on her phone. And she slipped and fell on the banana peel, resulting in her sending an email before she was finished composing it.

HONG: (Laughter).

GROSZ: It was a tragedy. Gym management responded to that incident by taping a sign to the treadmill that read, machine out of order. May we suggest running outside?

SAGAL: A treadmill breaks and havoc is wreaked at a gym in Connecticut. Your next story of a workout widget comes from Helen Hong.

HONG: CrossFit, the high-intensity workout craze that was ubiquitous five years ago, seems to be dying down, but not before taking casualties out with it. Faced with dwindling membership at his CrossFit gym, No Pain, No Gain, No Brainer, owner Scott Schneider (ph) devised a marketing stunt to be conducted in the large parking lot of his gym. Thirty CrossFitters (ph) would flip 30 giant tires at the same time in one massive, muscly, meathead move.

I had to hit up three different farms across two different state lines, said Mr. Schneider. You can't just use any tires. They've got to be giant tractor tires, and the best place to get those is farms. Once the tires were acquired, 30 volunteers were invited from the gym's membership. But having failed to achieve the number, the stunt was then opened to newcomers who had never before attempted a tire flip.

One of the newbies struggled mightily to get his giant tire upright. When he finally did, he proudly took his hands off the tire to gesture to the spectators and watched as his tires started to roll away, right out of the parking lot and into a busy six-lane main street.


HONG: The giant tire hit a vehicle, which then hit another vehicle and then another vehicle. You know. When all was said and done, a seven-car pileup and a downed utility pole which caused a blackout for 12,000 local residents was the result. Although Mr. Schneider's business insurance will cover most of the damages, many locals joked that the gym should be he named No Pain, No Gain, No Way In Hell Should They Be Allowed To Flip Tires Anymore.

SAGAL: A CrossFit truck tire gets loose from a CrossFitter and causes a huge traffic accident. Your last story of an exercise accessory comes from Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Free-range chickens and pigs are the most desirable chickens and pigs because we can imagine them careening around pastoral landscapes, leading lives of discovery and self-improvement before being gradually introduced to their roles in the food chain.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

BODETT: But how, you wonder, can we be sure they are actually ranging around in their freedom? The answer - for pigs, at least - is pedometers, step counters, pig Fitbits. The farmers make them wear them to prove they are free-range. You think your training goals are complicated? Imagine if you had to achieve your 10,000 daily steps while still ensuring you had a nice plump hinder and marbled ribs. Plus, everyone around you is as fat as you are and getting fatter.

At some point, if you are a pig, you have had enough of the madness. You may even want to burn the whole insane system to the ground. That's what one enterprising pig on a farm near Bramham Leeds in the U.K. tried to do on Monday.

Fire crews from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue responded to a blaze at the farm, which they determined was caused when a pig ate and digested a fellow pig's pedometer. Firefighters believe the copper from the pedometer's batteries reacted with the pig's excrement and dry hay to ignite the fire. It's not been determined where the pig learned the chemical principles required to stage such a stunt.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

BODETT: There were no reports of free-ranging pigs from nearby technical colleges or libraries, so it is possible it was just a random and totally awesome day in the life of a pig.

SAGAL: All right. Here you go. There was a piece of exercise equipment that caused a problem. Was it, from Peter Grosz, a treadmill that broke in a health club and caused, well, a cascade of accidents; from Helen Hong, one of those big tires they pick up at CrossFit that rolled away; or, from Tom Bodett, a pig's pedometer which, once pooped, caused pandemonium?


SAGAL: Which is the real story we found in the week's news?

MILLER: I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with C because you believe that people would want to know that information. All right. You chose Tom's story. Well, we spoke to someone who was quite well aware of the details of the real story.

MINDY WEISBERGER: A pig pooped out a pedometer, and copper from the battery started the fire.

SAGAL: That was Mindy Weisberger, senior writer for Live Science, talking about the pig pyromaniac. Congratulations, Mitchell. You got it right. You earned a point for Tom. You've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing with us today.


BODETT: Thank you, Mitchell.

SAGAL: Bye, Mitchell.

MILLER: Thank you very much. Bye.

SAGAL: Stay inside. Bye-bye.


JOE ELY: (Singing) Oh, baby, you drive me crazy. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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