So Auntie mentioned she was going on a road trip soon with her boyfriend and was worried about the trip possibly ending in killing one another, likely over what was being played on the radio. Fortunately, the Modern Love Machine and I didn't have too much trouble agreeing with what to fill the air waves during our countless hours on the road.
The MLM is a huge World Cup soccer fan and has helped me get a bit more into the sport this year, and two segments of our drive coincided with two of the US matches -- the match versus Algeria and the match versus Ghana -- of which ESPN Radio graciously provided us coverage during the drive. I know it's been a few weeks, but you may still remember the meeting with Algeria. The match was tied at nil until the 91th minute when Landon Donovan knocked the rebound off a missed shot into the net and all his teammates piled on top of him at the corner of the pitch? I made the mistake of letting the MLM drive during the match and he nearly wrecked the car for screaming his head off when Donovan scored and then proceeded to honk the horn a few times.
While in Florida, we spent part of a day at a place that had go-karts, mini golf and an arcade because the beach was so seaweedy. We won this little guy playing skeeball, named him Donovan Duck and placed him on the dashboard. He was the mascot for our drive.
Unfortunately, Donovan Duck was no good luck charm as the Yanks followed up that dramatic win with a 2-1 loss to Ghana. The MLM was driving again during that match, and though he didn't nearly wreck this time he did end up moping for many miles.
What we really love to fill the dead space in the car are podcasts of Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me, NPR's weekly comedic news quiz (the podcasts are free on iTunes and worth every penny). We always listen to the show if we're in the car when it's broadcast on Saturdays, but I started downloading the podcast replays about seven months ago to get me through some really long drives back and forth across the state of Tennessee. We probably listened to a half-dozen of backlogged podcasts in a row during one particularly long stretch of driving.
When we got to Chicago, we were thumbing through a guidebook that Noodles had left for us at her condo (she graciously let us stay there while she was out gallivanting around Hawaii) and my fingers somehow turned right to the page that mentioned you could observe a taping of Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me at the Chase Auditorium in downtown Chicago (which if you listen to the show you already knew) on Thursday nights. 'Wait, wait!' I said. 'Tomorrow is Thursday!' I never realized what day they actually taped, I just presumed it was Friday or early Saturday morning before the show aired.
Thursday afternoon we scouted out the Chase Auditorium a few hours in advance, just to see if POSSIBLY there were any tickets left. We ran into house manager Don Hall, who told us of the waiting list to get in if anyone with tickets didn't show (since the show sells out about 45 minutes after tickets go on sale each and every week). We were a little early to get on the waiting list, so we waited. It was a Wait, Wait wait wait, if you will. We ended up being numbers three and four on the list. We waited some more. We watched about 400-some-odd ticket-holding fans cram in the lobby for general admission seating. Then came the time to see who off the waiting list would make it in. Let's just say it's a good thing we weren't any farther down the list than third and fourth.
So we made it in. And we found (separate) seats in the third and fourth rows! Which looks like this:
No, no Mo Rocca or Roxanne Roberts or Tom Bodett. We did have Paula Poundstone, P.J. O'Rourke and Julia Sweeney, who were pretty funny although not terribly informed on the week's news. All I can say is it's worth the $22 a ticket or couple of hours of waiting for the Wait Wait wait list if you're in Chicago on a Thursday night. It's waaaaaaaay raunchier and far funnier. Your sides will hurt after laughing for two straight hours. You can get autographs of everyone on stage, or if that isn't your cup of tea, you can have a conversation with Julia Sweeney (she of SNL fame) about peeing in wedding dresses. Yeah, I did that.
They tape two hours' worth of audio for a 50-minute show, which means A LOT got cut. Paula sometimes doesn't make much sense during the broadcasts, but she's much funnier when you get to hear her ramble. We were there for the July 3 broadcast. If you listen to the podcast you won't hear the jokes about how Tang cause erectile dysfunction or anything about the troupe of gay square dancers who happened to be in the audience.
Gay square dancing troupe. And Carl Kasell.
I chatted with a few members of the troupe while we were in line for autographs and photos with Carl. They have clubs around the world and an international association and they take fun field trips outside of practicing their hobby of dance. Clearly they're my kind of people.