Episode 127: Patton Oswalt, Dinner for Breakfast, & Pre-Holiday Post Etiquette

This week: Patton Oswalt rocks our public radio world… A travel list from essayist Sloane Crosley… A shot-less heist inspires a shot-full cocktail… The “Rules of Regifting,” according to etiquette royalty… Author Jay Kirk tells the tale of Barnum versus Britannia… a dinner party soundtrack from Kathryn Calder of the band The New Pornographers… and Rico gets a brief history of breakfast.

Icebreaker: Adam Spiegelman
Comedy mogul Adam Spiegelman — host of the cult movie podcast Proudly Resents and producer of the “game show to go” Dream Tweet — shows us, in joke form, why there’s no business like show business.

Small Talk: Jake Silverstein

Jake Silverstein, editor of Texas Monthly, tells us about yet another legal wrangle over Christmas displays on state property. This time, though, garden gnomes are jumping into the fray.

A History Lesson With Booze: Crime of the Yen

This week back in 1968, one of the coolest capers in criminal history went down, when a thief in Japan made off with 300 million Yen without firing a shot. Learn all about the notorious heist, then pound down this cocktail it inspired.

THE FUZZY SCREW BOMB, as devised by Jon Francis (with Mike Jin) of Far Bar in LA’s Little Tokyo:

In a pint glass, over ice, pour:

  • Sapporo or another light Japanese beer (or substitute orange juice) til you’re about 1.5 inches from rim.

Meanwhile, in a separate shot glass, pour :

  • 3/4 oz Soju
  • 3/4 oz Peach Schnapps

Lay a pair of chop sticks, parallel to each other and about a half-inch apart, across the top of the beer glass. Sit the shot glass on the chop sticks. Then pound the table until the chop sticks separate and the shot glass drops, bomb-like, into the beer (NOTE: spillage will occur). Drink quickly and feel like either a million bucks or 300 million yen, whichever’s worth more at the moment.

Guest List: Sloane Crosley’s Travel Muses

Sloane Crosley’s sharply-observed writing has appeared in the New York Times and GQ, and her bestselling collection “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” is now being wrought into an HBO series. Recently she struck off into new territory, publishing a Kindle-only travel essay called Up the Down Volcano, about her (mis)adventures on the slopes of an active Ecuadorian volcano. Sloane provides a list of travel art to inspire your next journey… like for instance:

Etiquette: The Posts

Lizzie Post and Daniel Post-Senning, great-great-grandkids of Emily Post and two of the folks behind the new 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette,” return for a Holiday-themed manners primer. Apparently, your Auntie’s repulsive sweater must be worn at least once, but it’s also okay to re-gift…if you follow the rules.

Eavesdropping: Jay Kirk

Jay Kirk’s debut book “Kingdom Under Glass” tells the strange-but-true story of turn-of-the-century taxidermist and explorer Carl Akeley. But it’s also about humanity’s weird — and often one-sided — relationship to the animal world. This week, we overhear Jay read a dinner-party-worthy excerpt… about a circus elephant that sent Brits into a nationalistic fervor. (“Kingdom Under Glass” is out this month in paperback.)

Main Course: Breakfast in the Afternoon

Food trend-spotters Andrew Freeman & Co. just released their list of what they think will be on our plates next year. One standout: Breakfast foods – for lunch. Rico meets up with food historian Linda Civitello to learn why we eat certain foods at certain times of day… and to chow down on fried chicken and waffles .

Weekend Alibi: Meghan McCarty

Thanks to expert sleuth Meghan McCarty, you’ll never again show up to a dinner party with nothing interesting to say you’ve done. This weekend’s alibis: Santa’s Cool Holiday Film Festival, Commendable Commercials in Boston, and Major League Dreidel in NYC.

Guest of Honor: Patton Oswalt

Comedy superstar Patton Oswalt claims his work ethic’s keeping him afloat, and it shows. After voicing the gourmet rat in Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” Oswalt starred in the dark crit-hit Big Fan, penned the essay collection “Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland,” and held a recurring role in “United States of Tara” (among other gigs.) This week, his new film “Young Adult” (from “Tara”-alum Diablo Cody and her “Juno” collaborator Jason Reitman) opens in wide release. He talks to Brendan about unshakeable adolescence, American values (and value meals), and butt-kickin’ music outros.

Dinner Party Soundtrack – Kathryn Calder

Kathryn Calder sings and plays keys in The New Pornographers and just released her second solo album “Bright and Vivid” to stellar reviews. She took a break from her ongoing tour to suggest a few songs that’ll make your next dinner party, well, bright and vivid.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Aaron Jermome – “Reel Time”

The Bunnys – “Hey! Chance”

James Brown – “Funk Bomb”

Druganaut – “Black Mountain”

Men At Work – “Down Under”

Unrest – “So Sick”

H.M. Royal Marines Band – “Rule Britannia”

Beirut – “Elephant Gun”

Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”

Caetana Veloso – “Baby” (from the Tropicalia soundtrack)

ABBA – “Knowing Me, Knowing You”

Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”

Kathryn Calder – “Who are You?”

Led Zeppelin – “Immigrant Song”