In The Know

People sometimes think I’m well informed, because I’m lucky
enough to be heard on NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.” For those of
you who don’t know, it’s a weekly news quiz show. I get to be a part
of a panel of three, about once a month or so. I lose a lot, even
though I study the news on the weeks that I’m on. Although, the study
sessions are a bit brief sometimes. How much I know about the world is
directly related to how much of my attention is gobbled up by the
goings on of my family life. Things have been rocky at home of late.
It’s a lucky thing I’m not on “Wait, Wait…” this week. I know
almost nothing. I know there’s a witch running for Senate, but that
may just be seasonal. If election day was at a different time of year,
she may have been an elf or a Pilgrim. I know that, in France, High
School students have joined others in the streets to protest the
retirement age being moved to sixty-five, which means they think way
farther ahead than Americans. In Santa Monica we have High School
students who won’t graduate until they’re sixty-five. Thank goodness
our High School students don’t worry about retirement. Surely, good
news does not await them on that topic. If the current French High
School students retire at sixty-five, and come here on vacation,
they’ll find eighty year old college educated Americans beating the
fuck out of each other for the chance to bus their tables.
I do listen to NPR often. I don’t pick a program. I just turn it
on and listen to what’s there. I end up catching “Market Place” a lot.
I’ve easily heard 100 economists interviewed. They never seem to be
out of work. Still, I don’t really know anything about the economy. I
can tell when they play a happy little song, or a sad little song. It
doesn’t much matter. My personal finances are governed by my mood
swings, not sound advice. I can go from feeling broke to feeling rich
without the slightest change to my bank balance.
I have three teenagers. Life at home is a bit volatile right now.
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to again focus on the events of the
outside world, but I have a feeling it’ll be like missing a soap opera
for a while. The story won’t have moved along very far with or without
my watchful eye.


  1. all240s says:

    Forget the economy, Paula. Buy a few common stocks and require each to have a durable competitive advantage of some sort, and hold them forever (but don’t overpay). Read the first four editions of “Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham. You Tube Charlie Munger on anything. For spending when you retire (don’t EVER retire), be 100% (or 98%) common stocks and decide how much you can safely spend each year using the Yale Endowment Spending Rule. Continue to underspend your income.

    For music, channel Virgil Thomson, paraphrasing or quoting, “Wanda Landowska plays harpsichord better than anybody plays anything.” This may be an understatement.

  2. laugh4ever says:

    Paula, I have admired you and followed your career for a long time. I just spent 2 hours looking at your You Tube clips, they are halarious. You are so talented and down to earth. I was searching for the NPR show and started reading about Wait Wait Dont Tell Me – of which I listen to each and every Saturday afternoon. If your not on the show, I tend to switch it off, you make the show. And – dont down play your knowledge – I heard the last lightening round- You got a “Perfect” score young lady.I admire you so much – I taped two of your shows from your earlier years – the best joke , Was when the pilot says Dont you just hate the people on the right – just look at them… etc..Why arent you coming to San Diego? Well keep up the good work – and now I know where to get CD’s of your humor – Thx. L4E

  3. Batman says:

    Paula, You are my favorite panelist on Wait Wait. The fact that you provide such funny and insightful responses without necessarily following all the news stories is more evidence of your intelligence and wit. Thank you very much for all your time on that show. I have your album……I want more. I do appreciate the work involved in fresh, funny material. Thank you again.

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