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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.


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Episode 173: The All-Book Episode

This week: It’s our first ever ALL-BOOK episode - a whole hour of fun with literary luminaries. MacArthur ‘Genius’ Junot Diaz probes the mind of a young cheater…LeVar Burton - beloved host of “Reading Rainbow” - offers life advice for book borrowers… British heavyweight Martin Amis lets his dogs out… And indie queen Miranda July tells us about a print relic… Plus, fun footnotes from T.C. Boyle, YA phenom Leigh Bardugo, and a guy named Shakespeare.


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Episode 172: Stephin Merritt, Vengeance Eating, and Alka-hol

This week, an oldie-but-very-goodie! Stephin Merritt’s attraction to love… Actress Amy Brenneman adjudicates listener etiquette… A vengeful lunch with Joel Stein… an Alkaholic drink… Neil deGrasse Tyson defends space… Bill Plympton’s favorite animation… and a 3-song prescription from Dr. Dog. Plus: Aggie yells, a Dinner Party Timeout, and a cross-word joke from singer Cate le Bon.


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Episode 171: Ben Gibbard, Jens Lekman, and Fake Presidents

This week: Ben Gibbard, of the band Death Cab For Cutie, goes solo… Political comedian W. Kamau Bell lists his favorite fake presidents… Swedish rocker Jens Lekman tells of his fake almost-marriage… Advice for debate-watchers and couch-crashers from the Emily Post Institute kids… Top chef Michale Cimarusti makes a big deal about little fishes… and John Paul Getty III’s ear-ie kidnapping. Plus: a new track from Kanye West, the science of disgusting, and trampolines ‘cross the Seine.


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Episode 170: Martin McDonagh, Ed Asner, and Real American Cheese

This week: Playwright & “Seven Psychopaths” filmmaker Martin McDonagh laughs in the face of death… TV legend Ed Asner calls us out… Mary Elizabeth Winstead lists some sobering cinema… ‘5 under 35’ honoree Justin Torres reads from his celebrated novella… New Yorker critic David Denby divines film’s future… and Brendan seeks the real American cheese. Plus, a historic Niagara fall, a crushed dinosaur dream, and a wild new track from Tame Impala.