Episode 183: David O. Russell, George Saunders, and Experiments with Cale

Director David O. Russell steals the show...The Velvet Underground's John Cale experiments with a list... Writer George Saunders weighs man purses and messenger bags...Comedian Nick Kroll tries to mix Oktoberfest and Yom Kippur - then has to flee Germany...We learn about the birth of Texas Oil Boom and drink a slick cocktail...And there's a new French dessert to swoon over...Plus, brilliant hatchet jobs, a viola-nt joke, and a trippy track from Foxygen.


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Episode 182: The Best of 2012

This week, a look back at our best moments of 2012: Jon Hamm dives into dark matter… Ed Asner answers your etiquette questions (and his cellphone)… We toast a historic Niagara fall… Folk rock icon Rodriguez rises from the dead… Alison Pill (“The Newsroom”) lists her favorite behind-the-scenes stories… Ramblin’ man Todd Snider recalls his brush with Nascar celebrity… And country singer Iris DeMent takes us home with a dinner party soundtrack…Plus “pretzel dumplings,” lucky underwear, and an OCD joke from James Franco.


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Episode 181: Patti Smith, Bryan Cranston, and Drinkable Shrubs

This week: An encore rebroadcast of one of our listener’s favorite episodes orf the year. Punk icon Patti Smith dreams of little black dresses… “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston builds green houses, not meth labs… Zosia Mamet (Girls, Mad Men) picks other ‘against-type’ actors… we inhale the tale of the original “smoke-filled room”… and novelist Nathaniel Rich finds a rhino with all the answers. Plus: drinkable shrubs, a new track from Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, and the fastest road in the USA.


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Episode 180: Jamie Foxx, Macklemore, and Gollum’s Grandparents

This Week: Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx plays Django and table tennis… JEOPARDY! champ Ken Jennings answers our *etiquette* questions (minus the buzzer)… “Thrift Shop” rap stars Macklemore & Ryan Lewis spin a playful party playlist… “The Splendid Table’s” Lynne Rosetto Kasper is haunted by the ghost of Christmas-party past… “The Hobbit” FX mastermind Joe Letteri traces Gollum’s family tree back to Sherlock Holmes… And speaking of which, Rico learns to think like Sherlock Holmes. Plus: Brazilian food rising, monkeys with no rhythm, and zen dogs.


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Episode 179: Beck, Modern Family Values, and Love’s Songs

This week: Pop star Beck Hansen’s new album looks great on paper… Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” offers etiquette advice… Darlene Love, singer of Xmas soul classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” lists non-awful yuletide tunes… We sing the praises of Leonard’s Cohen’s “Hallelujah”… Top chefs debate if food should come with footnotes… and we learn how “Gone With The Wind” brought Jimmy Carter and MLK together. Plus: paper beats air, a nutty joke, and Destiny’s *other* child.


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Episode 178: Fred Armisen, Fishy Business, and Kinky Etiquette

This week, “Portlandia’s” Fred Armisen cops to working blue… legendary satirist/musician/Governor-to-be Kinky Friedman serves up Texas-sized etiquette tips… rockstar classical organist Cameron Carpenter thinks outside the Bach box… We toast an infamous Alabama pest… Fish fraud!… And “Kumare” documentarian Vikram Gandhi teaches you how to become a guru. Plus, a ‘Fun.’ joke, Da Vinci Code: Rhode Island, and your letters… all the way from Kyrgyzstan.


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Episode 177: Tony Hawk, Benh Zeitlin & Incorrigible Ethels

This week: Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk does some extreme couchsurfing... "Beasts of the Southern Wild" director Benh Zeitlin on axe-painting... Controversy-courting essayist Katie Roiphe offers advice... author Susanna Moore dines in wartime Berlin... Brendan learns the difference between jerks and Ethels... and SF band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down give us a tune that gets you up, keep you up. Plus the history of a New-Wave Band Aid, the science of Xmas music, and sherry wine: it's not just for Grandmas anymore.


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Episode 176: The All-Food Episode

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Episode 175: Wyatt Cenac, Tilly and the Wall, and Kubrick’s Kitties

This week: “The Daily Show“‘s Wyatt Cenac walks among us… “Life of Pi” author Yann Martel takes us on his favorite literary journeys… pop band Tilly and the Wall set the mood with a party playlist… How NOT to feign interest in arthouse cinema… We pay tribute to dunker-in-chief Daryl Dawkins, a.k.a. “Chocolate Thunder”… Stanley Kubrick gets a close-up… and ‘Classic dining’ makes a comeback. Plus: Turkey Day etiquette, flying cellos, and fashionable headlines.


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Episode 174: Jon Ronson, Eric Idle, and Flying Leotards

This Week: Monty Python’s Eric Idle leads us in song… Writer Jon Ronson plays sidekick to a real-life superhero… Folk icon Iris DeMent shares a homey party playlist… Adam Pally of TV’s “Happy Endings” swings from the rafters… Kale invades Thanksgiving… and The Evens play The Odds. Plus, the birth of the leotard, video games NOT named “Halo,” and bedtime tales for dogs.