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Limericks

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or you can click the Contact Us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. You can also check out our WAIT WAIT quiz for your smart speaker because if Jeffrey Toobin can have fun all by himself, so can you.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

LEAH HONEY: Hi. This is Leah Honey (ph) calling from Houston, Texas.

SAGAL: Hey, Leah. How are you?

HONEY: I'm doing OK.

SAGAL: And so what do you do there in Houston?

HONEY: I am a flight controller for the International Space Station here for NASA. So I...

SAGAL: Get out. Really?

HELEN HONG: What?

HONEY: Yes, I get to help the astronauts figure out how to fix things when they break up there.

HONG: What?

SAGAL: Really? Really?

HONG: That is so cool.

DULCE SLOAN: You run spaceships, friend?

HONG: What?

MAZ JOBRANI: So when they say, Houston, we got a problem, that's you.

HONEY: That's me. Well, I'm part of it (laughter). It's a big team.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: Wow.

SAGAL: Can you give me an example of the sort of problem that the astronauts call down with and you had to fix?

HONEY: Well, my group is responsible for the toilet, so we get a lot of those calls 'cause they want to fix that thing fast when it breaks.

HONG: Oh, no.

SAGAL: Wow. So you are basically an interstellar plumber?

HONEY: Pretty much.

SLOAN: Don't accept that, Leah. Don't accept that, Leah.

HONEY: (Laughter).

SLOAN: You didn't go to all them schools and get all of them degrees to be known as an intergalactic plumber. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. She is a sanitation engineer.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Leah, it's kind of an honor to talk to you. I've never spoken to people who fix toilets on space stations before. This is pretty awesome. But you're here to play the Listener Limerick Challenge. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a big winner. You ready to play?

HONEY: I hope so.

SAGAL: All right. Here is your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: Of the platypus, one thing I know. They lay eggs. But to mammals, they grow. But now here's a write-up that they also light up. Just turn off the light, and they...

HONEY: Glow?

SAGAL: Yes, glow.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

KURTIS: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: This week, we learned that nature's biggest freak is even freakier. New research shows that the fur of the platypus grows green and blue under UV light. They theorize that the glow might help these nocturnal animals in low-light conditions such as raves.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Now, last year, the same team of researchers discovered biofluorescence in flying squirrels, yet another triumph for the Northland College Department of Shining a Black Light on Everything.

HONG: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: There should be a house music DJ named Platypus. Do we have that or no?

SAGAL: If there isn't, there will be now.

HONG: DJ Platypus (laughter).

JOBRANI: (Imitating beat). Everybody glow. (Imitating beat).

SAGAL: OK, Leah, here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: In dinosaur days, rodents struggled, as running and hiding they juggled. Exhaustion was thorough, so back in the burrow, they all got real close, and they...

HONEY: They snuggled.

SAGAL: They snuggled.

KURTIS: Yeah.

SAGAL: Exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Scientists are thrilled by a new discovery of ancient fossils that show rodents cuddling. It's so cute to think of all these little ancient mice snuggled together until you look at the picture and remember that's what they were doing when they were murdered by dirt.

HONG: (Laughter) Aw.

SAGAL: The discovery of these rodents snuggling in groups from two to five has been called a game-changer by experts and an orgy by people who are way too into this.

HONG: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It gives scientists rare insight into the social behavior of these ancient animals. But can you imagine if you were found fossilized in your sleeping position in about 75 million years? Why, this specimen appears to have fallen asleep watching "Cupcake Wars," wearing what looks like underpants from 1997.

JOBRANI: You know, they're trying to make mice cute like the cartoons did. And I don't know if you've seen mice in person or rats in the subway. They're just not cute.

SAGAL: It's so funny 'cause this is, like, so cute when it's a fossil, so horrifying when it's in your bread drawer.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, Leah. We have one more limerick for you. Here it is.

KURTIS: While her husband's off pulling a plow, it is Bessie I'm holding tight now. I got stressed by the news. She caressed me with moos. To calm down, I am hugging a...

HONEY: Cow.

SAGAL: Yes...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: ...A cow.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SAGAL: An animal rescue in Arizona has several cows available for hugging, which is why it took them so long to count their votes. Just be careful about that one cow who walks up to you and says, hey, watch out; I'm a hugger.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Proponents of cow hugging, which started in the Netherlands, say that it's an amazing stress reliever. It releases oxytocin in the brain. It reduces anxiety. It's also a great way to do that other stress-relaxing thing, imagining eating a cheeseburger.

HONG: Aw.

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

HONG: Hey, did you guys hear this past week about the emotional support Canadians?

SAGAL: No, please tell me about emotional support Canadians.

HONG: Oh, my gosh. It was a meme going around that someone was like, hey, emotional support Canadians are available to you Americans this week 'cause we know you're going through it.

SAGAL: Right.

HONG: And I was like, which Canadian, though? And that's how I feel about this cow business. Like, how cute is this cow?

SLOAN: What if it's baby cows? I don't know about a whole cow. That seems like - listen; is there any way that y'all could just dispatch a man to me?

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SLOAN: That would be way more helpful than some heifer.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Bill, how did Leah do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Houston, Leah has no problem. She got them all right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)

SLOAN: Ay, (imitating air horn).

SAGAL: Well, congratulations, Leah.

HONEY: Thank you so much. It's been fun.

SAGAL: Leah, thank you so much.

KURTIS: Thanks, Leah.

SAGAL: Keep the station flying.

HONEY: (Laughter) Will do.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.