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Bluff The Listener


From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Korva Coleman. We're playing this week with Moz Jobrani, Amy Dickinson and Mo Rocca. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Korva.


SAGAL: 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!

AMY GROFF: Hi, this is Amy Groff, from Indianapolis, Indiana.

SAGAL: Hey Amy, how are you?

GROFF: I'm doing good.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. What do you do there in Indianapolis?

GROFF: I'm a former civil engineer turned domestic engineer.

SAGAL: Oh really?


SAGAL: And do you find that your experience in civil engineering helps you with the challenges of home life?

GROFF: I'm just dealing with the poo at a different source.

SAGAL: I understand.



SAGAL: Amy, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Korva, what is Amy's topic?

COLEMAN: Snacks, they're not just for making you fat.


SAGAL: Our snacks do so much for us. They expand our waists and give our breath that fresh, cool ranch scent.


SAGAL: But they have the potential to do so much more. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories about people finding new uses for snack foods, only one of which is true. Choose the true story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to play?

GROFF: I sure am.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON: Anybody who has ever buried her face into a bag of Cheetos - something of course, I've never done - knows the cheesy food snack is the perfect cure for just about any ailment. But now, thanks to an enterprising young woman with way too much time on her hands, we know that Cheetos can also cure the worst malady of all: pale, colorless and lifeless lips.


DICKINSON: Gwendolyn Gallagher explains, "So, I lost my job and I'm, like, you know, hitting the Cheetos pretty hard. And I had this orange gunk all over my lips and I couldn't get it out for, like, three days or something. I went to a club and my friends kept asking to borrow my lip gloss. So I'm thinking, hey, if I could turn this staining crap into long-lasting lip color, I'd make lots and lots of people happy. I mean, it beats coloring your lips with a Sharpie, right?"


DICKINSON: Frito-Lay would not provide her with a secret recipe for Cheetos, so she has made her cosmetics the old fashioned way, one crushed up bag of snack chips at a time. She mixes the orange powder with melted jelly beans for her "Don't Give Me No Lip" lip gloss. The leftover powder is perfect for the matching eye shadow.


SAGAL: Cheetos powder becomes an attractive lip gloss. Your next story of an off-label snack use comes from Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: When Chicago handyman Peter Lichman got married, his wife agreed to take in his two cats and tolerate his love of the Cubs. But she would not, under no condition, allow him to indulge in his Twinkie habit. "A buddy of mine knows a guy who can get them wholesale. One weekend, we took his truck and filled up the back with Twinkies. They taste as good today as they did then."


JOBRANI: In 2006.


JOBRANI: So, his relationship hanging in the balance, Lichman went with his heart. But what to do with the leftover Twinkies stored in his garage? He found his answer while redoing his bathroom. While retiling his shower, he ran out of caulk. Squeezing out the last bit of white adhesive reminded him of another creamy white filling, and before his wife could stop him, he broke into a case of Twinkies and start squeezing. Several boxes later, his bathroom shower was completely retiled with Twinkie filling. "It was surprising easy. The hardest part was not licking my fingers or eating the leftover sponge cake, but I did it. I kept my vows."


JOBRANI: As word got out about Lichman's Twinkie-caulked shower, he's been getting requests to do more cream and frosting repair jobs. "I got a woman on the northside who's having me insulate her kitchen with Nutella. That stuff tastes great."



SAGAL: Twinkie cream as caulk. That was a very authentic Chicago accent, Maz.

JOBRANI: Thank you. Yeah, I just kind of, yeah, yeah, not really.

SAGAL: Yeah, that was good. Your last story of snack repurposing comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: Honey Buns in prison.


ROCCA: It's not what you're thinking. Inside Florida's prisons, Honey Buns, those indestructible mounds of glazed glob, are being used for everything it seems. Birthday cakes, sweeteners for hooch wines, even currency. Yes, Honey Buns have become money buns, for bribing, for betting. One inmate paid his public defenders in Honey Buns after they saved him from the electric chair. Prisoners have come to blows over them. How do you kill somebody with Honey Buns? Force them to eat five of them.


ROCCA: Honey Buns, so much more than a nickname. As for Snowball, Ho-Ho, Ding Dong, Suzie-Q and Little Debbie, they're still just nicknames.



SAGAL: All right. Amy, here are your choices. One of these snack foods is being repurposed from its original destiny. Was it from Amy Dickinson, how Cheetos powder is being used as lip gloss? From Maz Jobrani, how the filling in Twinkies is now an effective caulk for your plumbing jobs? Or from Mo Rocca, how Honey Buns are now currency and treats in the Florida prison system?

GROFF: They're all interesting.

SAGAL: They are.

GROFF: But I'm going to have to go with Mo's.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Mo's story?




SAGAL: Mo wants to know why you're picking him?

GROFF: Because the Cheetos thing is gross.


GROFF: And I'm just disturbed to think that Twinkies could be used as caulk.

SAGAL: All right, your choice is Mo's story. So we spoke to someone who has a very intimate knowledge of this story.

MICHAEL CARUSO: There's one inmate that buys 10 Honey Buns per week. We got quite a bit of healthy food in there, but they don't buy it too much.

SAGAL: That was Michael Caruso, he is an inmate who runs the canteen at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution in Florida, where he sells up to 60 Honey Buns a day. Congratulations, Amy, you got it right.


GROFF: Excellent, thank you.

SAGAL: By the way, I just want to say in passing that it's wonderful we live in a country where we can call up a prison in Florida and say, "Hi, we're a news quiz from NPR. We want to talk to one of your inmates about the Honey Buns." And they say, okay.


SAGAL: Anyway, you have earned a point for Mo Rocca because he was so honest. And you've earned our prize, Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail, answering machine, whatever you got. Well done.

GROFF: Thank you.


SAGAL: Congratulations.

GROFF: Thank you very much.

SAGAL: Bye-bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.