Ask Me Another Again Later

Apr 13, 2018
Originally published on September 7, 2018 11:50 am

Step aside, IBM supercomputer Watson: The future of trivia is here, and it's a Magic 8-Ball. Host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton answer yes-or-no trivia questions, then compare their answers to those of the classic lo-fi toy.

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While Lauren and Lance get ready for the final round, it's time for Jonathan and I to play a game. This is called Ask Me Another Again Later. Art Chung, how does this game work?

ART CHUNG: Ophira, I'm going to ask you and Jonathan questions with a definitive yes-or-no answer. Then we'll ask a magic eight ball what it thinks.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

CHUNG: At the end of the game, we'll find out who scored the most points. Here we go. Did the Cannes Film Festival create an award specifically for Samuel L. Jackson which was never awarded again? Ophira?


EISENBERG: So the Cannes Film Festival created a award just for Samuel Jackson once - for him. It was never awarded again because...

CHUNG: That's the question.

JONATHAN COULTON: What would the award be for?

EISENBERG: Best use of a curse word?


CHUNG: Best movie about snakes on transportation?

EISENBERG: Probably. Why not? So I'm going to say yes.

CHUNG: OK. Jonathan?

COULTON: Yeah. Best being devoured by a smart shark?



COULTON: Another award you might have...

CHUNG: Spoiling...

COULTON: ...Give it to...

CHUNG: "...Deep Blue Sea."

COULTON: Sorry, I spoiled "Deep Blue Sea" for everybody.

CHUNG: Yes. For everybody.


CHUNG: All right. Let's ask the magic eight ball. The magic eight ball simply says yes. Very mellow. The answer is yes.


EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah.


COULTON: All right.

CHUNG: In 1991, he won the award for his performance as a crack addict in Spike Lee's film "Jungle Fever." The award was created specifically to honor that performance, and it's the first and only time it was ever awarded. All right. Here's your next question. The oldest man to ever win an Olympic medal is John Copley. At 73 years old, he earned a silver medal at the 1948 Games in London. Was his event fencing? Jonathan?

COULTON: Well, I'm trying to - OK. He's 73. I feel like there are not too many events you could win as a 73-year-old.

EISENBERG: Tug of war?

COULTON: I'm not sure that's an Olympic event.


EISENBERG: I think it was in '48.

CHUNG: You don't have to tell me if it's...

COULTON: No, I know.

CHUNG: (Laughter).

COULTON: I'm just trying to figure out if it - because I feel like it's possible that a dashing, 73-year-old swordsman...


CHUNG: Uh-huh.

EISENBERG: ...Could win in fencing. I think would actually make a great movie because there's all these hot-shot, up-and-coming kids who think they're really great at fencing, but they've just learned the modern, garbage way.


COULTON: And he's an old-school gentleman...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: ...You know, who has learnt (laughter) swordplay from the old people in Europe. I don't know. Somebody else...


COULTON: ...Will write it.

CHUNG: Right.

COULTON: The movie. But I feel like...

EISENBERG: This is good, right - because all the young fencers are going to be jumping around like jackrabbits...

COULTON: Yeah. They're all wearing sunglasses and listening to their iPods.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

CHUNG: This is 1948. But, you know, the equivalent.

EISENBERG: Right. Exactly. They're singing in their head.

COULTON: Singing in their head - yeah.


CHUNG: So you're saying yes.

COULTON: I'm saying yes, it's fencing.


CHUNG: Ophira?

EISENBERG: I'm going to say it's synchronized swimming.

CHUNG: So you're saying no.


CHUNG: And the eight ball says, my reply is no. The answer is no - it was not fencing.

COULTON: Son of a...

CHUNG: It was engravings and etchings.


COULTON: Engravings and etchings?

CHUNG: Yes. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics held arts competitions as well...


CHUNG: ...As sports competitions.

COULTON: Well, that's...


COULTON: ...Crazy talk.

CHUNG: Other categories include architectural design and town planning...


CHUNG: ...Instrumental...

COULTON: Town planning?

CHUNG: ...Instrumental and chamber music and, self-referentially enough, medals and plaques.


CHUNG: You could win a medal in medal...

EISENBERG: So you could engrave your own plaque?

CHUNG: Yeah.


CHUNG: Yeah. Here's your next question. Does Vermont have a law protecting clotheslines from being banned? Jonathan.

COULTON: There's a law saying that nobody can make a law banning clotheslines?


EISENBERG: Don't they have any laws about double negatives?


EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: I feel like if it is true, there's a really interesting story behind it...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: ...Because somebody was going around banning clotheslines for nefarious purposes.


COULTON: Yeah. So I'm going to say yes, that's true. Basically, if I can write a movie script around it, then yeah. It's true.


CHUNG: Sounds good. Ophira?

EISENBERG: Well, it's just so weirdly worded that I feel like if you guys were going to write a fake one, you would say, does Vermont have a law that permits clotheslines instead of a law against...

CHUNG: Against banning...

COULTON: Sort of a meta approach.


COULTON: Based on the question, you're going to say...

EISENBERG: Yeah. Yeah.

CHUNG: So you're saying yes.


CHUNG: The eight ball says outlook good, which we will take as yes.

EISENBERG: So I would take it as a yes.


CHUNG: The answer is yes.



CHUNG: It's for environmental reasons. Clotheslines are specifically protected from being banned along with other energy-saving measures such as solar power.

EISENBERG: By the way, have you ever taken frozen jeans off of a clothesline in the winter? It's hilarious. They're, like, totally frozen. And you can, like, throw them, and they just still stay in the shape of jeans.


EISENBERG: It's great.

COULTON: Is this what you did in Canada?

EISENBERG: This is what we did in Canada. My mother would not use the dryer. The dryer was only for storing things.


CHUNG: All right, here's your next question. Is eating turkey more likely to make you sleepy than other forms of poultry?

EISENBERG: Whenever we have Thanksgiving at my family everyone does get sleepy specifically after the turkey, but my mother does inject it with codeine. So hard to say. I'm going to go with it. I'm going to say yes. Turkey is especially high in tryptophan, and that makes you sleepy. Yes.


CHUNG: Jonathan?

COULTON: I have heard the same thing, that it's tryptophan in the turkey...


COULTON: ...That makes you sleepy. But for all I know it's a myth. I'm going to say no.

CHUNG: You're going to say no?

COULTON: Even though it's against my better judgement.

CHUNG: Everything you believe?

COULTON: Everything I believe.

CHUNG: All right, the eight ball says it is certain.

EISENBERG: Sounds like a yes.

CHUNG: Do you want to change your answer, John?

COULTON: No, I'm going. I might get a point.

CHUNG: All right. The answer is no. Jonathan was right.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Well done.

COULTON: Black is white. Right is wrong.

CHUNG: In fact, turkey contains less tryptophan per ounce than chicken or even swiss cheese. So if you're sleeping on Thanksgiving, there are many other culprits.

EISENBERG: So you pass out after eating chicken cordon bleu.


CHUNG: Just too much. Well, that's the last question. And the winner is - it's a three-way tie.

EISENBERG: Oh, fantastic.

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