PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MATT ROMOSER: Hi, this is Matt from Springfield, Mass.
SAGAL: Oh, what do you do there in Springfield?
ROMOSER: I am a professor of industrial engineering at Western New England University.
SAGAL: Oh, that's very cool. So industrial engineering - that's different from, like, product design. You're making, like, machines that build things and stuff.
ROMOSER: Yeah. The way I explain it to people is that the mechanical engineers design the mechanical parts and electrical engineers design the electrical parts. An industrial engineer figures out how to build a million of them a year and get them to the customers on time and handle all the supply chain and all that stuff.
SAGAL: So you are clearly the most important.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show. You are going to play our Listener Limerick Challenge, Matt. And that means that Bill Kurtis right here is going to read for you three limericks with the last word missing from each. Your job is complete that last limerick and tell us about the news story that it's about. Are you ready to play?
SAGAL: All right. Here's your first news-related limericks.
BILL KURTIS: Our lobster feast's slightly postponed because I'm worried that some of them groaned. With weed, they'll be foiled. First baked and then boiled. I feel fine when the lobsters are...
SAGAL: Stoned, yes.
SAGAL: Going out for lobster is a great time for everyone except the lobster, which gets, as you said, boiled alive. One restaurant in Maine is trying to make it better for the lobster by getting them high before boiling them. They do this by filling the lobster tank with pot smoke, or, if the lobster isn't cool with smoking, they'll just give him some edibles.
SAGAL: The woman leading the experiment says it's much more humane than other preparation methods as it mellows them out and gives them a chance to explore life's big questions, such as, am I a fish or a giant bug?
ADAM BURKE: So they cover them in - is it sort of like a Cheech marinade?
SAGAL: Yeah, exactly.
BURKE: It's a much better joke than you give it.
SAGAL: No, they sort of hotbox it. They sort of suffuse the tank with smoke and cover it up.
FAITH SALIE: And it's - the motivation is on the part of the person who's doing it is that it seems more humane?
SAGAL: Yeah. I mean, the lobsters are stoned, they don't care. You know, except for that one lobsters who's like, oh no, I got to work on my graduate school application, you know? The Faith Salie of lobsters is what I'm saying.
BURKE: Are the lobsters there going, man I'm hungry, I could go for some lobster right now?
SALIE: Wait, I thought pot could also make you paranoid if it goes wrong?
SAGAL: Well, that's true...
SALIE: They'll be like guys, guys, I don't trust this.
BURKE: Is it just me or is this water getting hotter?
SALIE: Yeah, exactly.
SAGAL: Here's your next limerick.
KURTIS: If eight-legged beasts you revile, art therapy might be your style. Your fears are replaced by a warm, grinning face. Draw a spider but with a big...
SAGAL: Yes, a big smile. A clinical hypnotherapist says he has come up with a fun new way to help people get over their fear of spiders - to have them draw pictures of them with smiley, friendly faces, the theory being that by humanizing the spider, it goes from a creepy poisonous killer to a friendly poisonous killer.
SAGAL: The only problem is when the spider inevitably bites you, you'll feel the painful bite of both the spider and betrayal.
TARA CLANCY: I don't know about this. If you apply the same logic, you know, with the Mario Kart toad thing (laughter) I feel like there's no lesbians that are now like, well, sounds good.
SAGAL: Meanwhile, Matt, here is your last limerick.
KURTIS: This soda might make foodies blanch. It's A white goopy dill avalanche. Hidden Valley is a blessing. It's more than just dressing because everything's better with...
ROMOSER: (Laughter) Ranch.
SAGAL: Yes. That one you knew it right off.
SAGAL: People say the U.S. lacks its own native culinary tradition, but those people have never spent time in the beautiful Hidden Valley region...
SAGAL: ...Where you can drink ranch dressing straight from its natural springs.
SAGAL: The New York Times this week named ranch dressing as the quintessential American food.
SALIE: (Laughter) That is so sad.
SAGAL: It really is. It's creamy, salty, fatty, oniony, garlicky. We put it on everything, including in toothpaste. And if it makes you thirsty, you can guzzle down a bottle of ranch-flavored soda.
SALIE: Is that true?
SAGAL: It is true. I mean, you're asking, wait a minute, you can't carbonate mayonnaise. Yes, you can. This is America, where just because it sounds terrible doesn't mean we won't do it.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Matt do on our quiz?
SAGAL: Congratulations, Matt...
KURTIS: Three and zero.
SAGAL: ...Well done.
ROMOSER: Well, thank you so much.
SAGAL: Thank you for playing, Matt.
ROMOSER: Thanks for having me.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OLE BUTTERMILK SKY")
MIKE DOUGLAS: (Singing) Ole buttermilk sky, I'm keeping my eye peeled on you. What's the good word tonight? Are you going to be mellow tonight? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.