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.


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.


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.


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.

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Episode 169: Anna Kendrick, Kevin Nealon, and the Perks of Being a Pittsburgher

This Week: Oscar-nominated actress Anna Kendrick sings of adorkability… SNL alum Kevin Nealon blesses us with etiquette advice…”The Perks of Being a Wallflower” creator Stephen Chbosky talks of time and place… Okkervil River runs through a party soundtrack… Here comes the (terrorist) bride… And the Primanti Sandwich goes national. Plus: We witness the birth of a clean machine, shine a light on art, and learn the history of comedy.

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Episode 168: Tim Gunn, Rian Johnson, and Salman Rushdie

This week, “Looper” director Rian Johnson rolls the bones… “Project Runway’s” Tim Gunn dresses down America for dressing down… Salman Rushdie talks fatwas and fake hair… famed author Sherman Alexie makes a Protest… A “Simpsons” writer’s favorite odd adaptations… And NYTimes photographer Todd Selby turns his camera on cooks. Plus: How corn helped thaw the cold war, and the official “best word ever.”

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Episode 167: Martin Amis, Divine Comedies, and the Mother of Bad Ideas

This week, literary luminary Martin Amis lets the dogs out… Top Chef Susan Feniger celebrates the New Year… satirist Simon Rich lists divine comedies… San Fran band The Fresh and Onlys serve up a sweet soundtrack… The Posts return to explain the art of good goodbyes… and fashion editor Diana Vreeland gets her close-up. Plus, skimming stones, rolling cows, and the most naive narrator in the world.


Episode 166: Anjelica Huston, Doomsday Planes, and Things about Chicken Wings

This week: We revisit one of our favorite episodes...Actress Anjelica Huston reveals her secret good-luck charm ... Writer-provocateur Caitlin Flanagan blends etiquette, therapy, and cake... "The Artist's" James Cromwell talks quiet... Chickens with four wings... Greeks invade Britain... We toast the end of the world... A poem from imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo... Plus, nurture-over-nature, and a Major find from the Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

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Episode 165: Junot Diaz, One-Shot Wonders, and Orange Wine

This week, Pulitzer-winning author Junot Diaz bares the soul of a cheater… Actress Emily Blunt explains dolphin romance… Music video director Natasha Pincus picks some one-shot wonders… We toast the peaceful fallout from the only wartime aerial bombing of mainland USA… Financial etiquette from Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch… Orange vintages add color to wine stores… And the unsung heroes of Fall TV. Plus: a new Grizzly Bear track, laffs from artist Wayne White, and lap dances in the high courts.


Episode 164: Marjane Satrapi, Fran Lebowitz, and Pizza Brains

This Week: “Persepolis” author/filmmaker Marjane Satrapi laughs in the face of death… satirist Fran Lebowitz plays Nanny to America… author Emma Straub narrates a Hollywood fable… multi-Oscar-winner Ve Neill makes up a Makeup list… and Brendan inhales info about air. Plus, a visit to Philly’s Pizza Museum, the high-cost of Tsarist-era beards, how to lose yourself, and indierockers Nude Beach expose their dinner party playlist.