Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wait, Wait Does Hula Hoops!


For the second time in my career, I've achieved a supreme honor: "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me" on NPR used one of my pieces for humor. Given that I cover Vegas, it's sort of stunning that it doesn't happen more often. Certainly, more stories I've handled have hit the national joke circuit before, but it's not that big a buzz when they're stories EVERYONE covers.

In this case, it became clear my AOL News piece on the potential hula hoop ban inspired this week's "Bluff the Listener" segment when Paula Poundstone (!!!) cited the quote Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony gave me: "These aren't little Hula-Hoops. They're big Hula-Hoops." (Fair's fair, though: The Review-Journal's Alan Choate covered it first, leading to my piece. But the use of my quote indicates the NPR show didn't know.) They even went back to Anthony for a version of this comment for radio.

Listen to it by clicking here. It's about six fun minutes long. Go ahead. I'll wait.

It's particularly fun because I'm in New York at my aunt's and we've got NPR on live as we get ready to depart for Fairbanks, Alaska, on some family business. After thousands of bylines in all these major publications over all these years, my aunt's glee over this odd achievement was still a kick.

In case you're wondering what the first time was for me and "Wait Wait," it was in October 2007 when I wrote for USA Today about a new technology to perform full scalp transplants for bald people using the scalps of cadavers.

[Earlier: My blog post on the original story.]