Puzzle Guru John Chaneski leads this final round in which every correct answer is the name of a real or fictional doctor, most of whom you shouldn't go to for medical advice. Except maybe Dr. Who. Bonus trivia question: On The Muppet Show, who led the house band and played the keyboards?
Satin-voiced singer, adventurous songwriter and theater provocateur Nellie McKay has frequented NPR airwaves, but never before like this. Normal As Blueberry Pie, McKay's fourth record, was made in tribute to the legendary singer and actress Doris Day. So naturally, being a trivia show, we wanted to see just how much McKay knew about the icon.
McKay discovered Day's work in an unusual way. While in high school, she went to an animal rights protest at the Baltimore Aquarium, and afterwards, while waiting for the bus to take her back home to the Poconos, she happened to wander into a record store. Her eye caught a photo still from Romance on the High Seas, Day's 1948 film debut, and it was love at first sight. A bit of an old soul herself, McKay said she connected with Day's music, acting and life story immediately. "In gym class, I'd try to put [Day] on, and they all wanted to listen to Destiny's Child," she told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg.
While McKay has lent her voice to a previous episode of Ask Me Another, now it was her turn in the puzzle hot seat, and she was up for the challenge. To test the extent of her Doris Day fandom, we called upon a worthy opponent: Tom Santopietro, author of the biography Considering Doris Day. Together the two Day devotees demonstrated their savvy for her films, her phone demeanor and her shout-out in an indelible song by a little band known as Wham!
Plus, in the web extra on this page, hear what music McKay listens to when she wants to relax, and why she brought a pair of leopard-print, "second-hand love-cuffs" to give away to the grand winner as a prize.
On whether she uses iTunes
I don't have a playlist, because I abhor technology. I think it's done far more harm than good.
On the music (on vinyl) she listens to when she wants to relax
I was just in Mississippi, and I picked up some Stanley Turrentine, and some James Booker and a wonderful album...about a British Pathé in the West Indies, and it goes into the whole history there from the '20s to the present. It's got a wonderful range of musical styles. It was great to travel through Appalachia listening to that African three-against-four rhythm. It was completely unapropos.
What's up with those handcuffs, Nellie?
Love-cuffs. I got them at Goodwill. They're gently used. They still have the keys, which I think is quite rare.
In the video below, McKay performs the pop standard, "The Very Thought of You," which Doris Day famously sung in the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn.
This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.
There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?
Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year, can't be traded by banks in China, after officials announced a ban on the practice Thursday. The exchange rate of Bitcoin took a hit following the news. Chinese citizens are not forbidden from using the currency.
From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports for our Newscast unit:
"China is the world's biggest market for Bitcoin and has helped drive its explosive appreciation this year. Today, though, the People's Bank of China appeared to prick the Bitcoin bubble here.
"China's central bank said Bitcoin is unsafe because it has few controls and makes it easier to launder money and finance terrorism.
"The bank said: 'It does not have the legal status of a currency, and it cannot and moreover should not be allowed to circulate in the market as a currency.'"
Frank says that after the central bank issued its ban, "the price of Bitcoin fell from a daily high of about $1,240 to about $920, according to BTC China, a Bitcoin trading platform here."
The Bitcoin currency is unregulated and can easily cross international borders. Its lack of ties to a banking system give Bitcoin a degree of anonymity that has led critics to say it eases transactions in the drug trade and other illegal markets.
As Reuters reports, "Chinese nationals are major participants in the [Bitcoin] market and hold an outsized share of the total number of Bitcoins in circulation. Shanghai-based BTC China has recently become the world's largest Bitcoin exchange by volume."
A Utah couple recently tested the spreading acceptance of Bitcoin, by conducting all of their transactions, in the U.S. and abroad, in the digital currency. On WBUR's Here & Now, Austin Craig describes one of their first purchases:
"I have a cousin that's a dentist, and I had a toothache right before we were leaving on our trip. So he agreed to see me, and I set him up to take Bitcoin. And then a couple days ago he called me, and he was like so, I haven't cashed in my Bitcoin, and I just checked the balance and it's really high now."