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

Anjelica Huston /Photo by: Patrick Randak (NBC)

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.

Icebreaker: Krys Lee

Krys Lee, whose debut story collection “Drifting House” comes out this week, finds some humor in North Korean-American relations.

Small Talk: Jessica Coen

Jessica Coen, editor-in-chief of women’s culture website Jezebel, talks about introducing Greek culture to English universities. That’s Sororities…not Socrates.

A History Lesson With Booze: The Doomsday Plane

This week in 1961, at the height of the cold War, the U.S. created “Operation: Looking Glass” to oversee its nuclear response from above… should the worst happen on the ground. Learn about the special fleet of “Doomsday Planes,” then toast the fact that we’ve never needed to use them with this cocktail:

“If You Push the Button…”, as tested by Derek Brown, mixologist and co-owner of The Passenger and The Columbia Room in our nation’s capital.

Combine in a shaker:

  • 3/4 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Amontillado Sherry
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 – 3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed OJ
  • Dash Orange Bitters
  • Dash Allspice Dram

Strain into a glass – no ice – and hope you never get to the end.

Guest List: James Cromwell’s Silent Types

Actor James Cromwell has starred in TV shows like Six Feet Under and ER, and in films including “L.A. Confidential” and “Babe.” His role as a taciturn farmer in the latter earned him an Oscar nod. In the silent film “The Artist” (up for 10 Academy Awards) Cromwell plays another character whose actions speak volumes: a faded movie star’s loyal driver. So he seemed like a perfect candidate to spotlight notable “silent types” in cinema, those actors who can convey everything with a look.

Etiquette: Caitlin Flanagan

Social critic and writer Caitlin Flanagan (now of The Atlantic) stirs up controversy pretty regularly. Though she says she fits the liberal mold (supporting abortion rights and gay marriage) — she’s raised the ire of feminists by championing stay-at-home motherhood and suggesting sex is a “wifely duty.” Flanagan’s new book, Girl Land, visits another touchy subject: the fraught space between little girl-dom and womanhood. She takes on listeners’ etiquette questions, then tells a story that absolutely takes the cake.

Eavesdropping: Perry Link, for Liu Xiaobo

Chinese writer and activist Liu Xiaobo was represented by an empty chair when he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2010; he was a political prisoner in China at the time. He still is… but his essays and poetry have been gathered in a new book called No Enemies, No Hatred. We overhear the book’s translator – and leading Chinese scholar – Perry Link give voice to one of Liu’s poems called “Alone in Winter.”

Chattering Class: Nature versus Nurture

Jesse Prinz, philosophy professor at CUNY, challenges the contemporary thinking that our genes predetermine our life patterns. He gives Brendan three talking points about nature-nurture from his new book “Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape our Lives”.

Main Course: Our Thing for Wings

Now that football’s back in full swing , it’s worth noting that on Superbowl Sunday Americans consume more food than on any other day except Thanksgiving…and a lot of it is chicken wings. Brendan talks with Tom Super, VP of Communications for the Chicken Council (yes, it exists), about America’s other favorite pastime.

Guest of Honor: Anjelica Huston

Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston first caught the camera’s eye as a model on the 1970’s fashion circuit. She went on to garner acclaim for a slew of roles in films by some of the greatest directors of all time — including Woody Allen and her father, John Huston. Now she’s taking her talents to Broadway (sort of), portraying a veteran musical producer in the new NBC series Smash — premiering Monday. Anjelica tells Rico about Ireland, life in the glare, her fashion days… and her lucky charms.

Soundtrack: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour- “Major”

Danish band The Asteroids Galaxy Tour just released a new album of horn-filled dance pop called Out of Frequency… but it sounds to us like they’re on the right wavelength. The funk-inflected track “Major” is a perfect warm-up for the big game.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Esquivel – “Dancing In The Dark”

MIA – “Paper Planes” (DFA Remix)

Audrey Ryan – “Red War”

Maserati – “Ambassador Of Cinema”

Carter Burwell – “Blood Trails”

William Alwyn – Theme to “Odd Man Out

Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence”

El Ten Eleven – “Hot Cakes”

Ruins – “Loving Recklessly Seeded A Human”

(Traditional) – “Hurry to the Flower Fair”

Roni Size – “Mad Cat”

Link Wray – “Run Chicken Run”

The Pogues – “Wild Cats Of Kilkenny”

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Major”