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.

Icebreaker: Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings – Jeopardy! champion and author of the new book Because I Said So! – relishes a spiritual joke.

Small Talk: Patt Morrison
L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison reveals the conclusions of a new multinational study: monkeys can’t keep a beat.

A History Lesson with Booze: General Order 11 and The Civil War
This week in 1862, Union Major-General Ulysses S. Grant issued his infamous General Order Number 11 — ordering every Jew in his three-state territory to evacuate, on suspicion of war profiteering. Clearly, war gives rise to some shameful episodes. But this tasty winter drink isn’t one of them:

“The Civil War,” as liquified by Edward Winfield, bartender at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, KY.

In a mug, add:

  • 1 oz. bourbon (from the South)
  • 1 oz. apple brandy (aka “Apple Jack,” beloved in the North)
  • 1/4 oz. of honey or dash of sugar

Add hot water and stir… until it finally, at long last, becomes a unified whole.

Guest List: Joe Letteri

Visual effects pioneer Joe Letteri currently leads the standard-bearing FX team at WETA Digital in New Zealand. He’s won four Oscars for his groundbreaking work on “Avatar,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and “King Kong.” You can see his latest efforts in “The Hobbit” (just in case you’ve been living in Mordor for the last year — it’s in theaters now). He lists some groundbreaking digital characters who paved the way for his own most precious achievement:

Guest of Honor: Jamie Foxx

It’s hard not to like something about Jamie Foxx, since he does everything. After making a splash on the sketch comedy show “In Living Color,” he went on to movie stardom in “Any Given Sunday,” “Collateral” and the Ray Charles biopic “Ray” (he has an Oscar to show for that last one). somehwere in there he also scored a couple of rap and R&B Grammys. Jamie’s new movie – the Tarantino-directed revenge western “Django Unchained” – opens this week. He talks to Brendan about going back to square zero, Tarantino’s “Yentl,” and a girl called Wanda.

Eavesdropping: Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rosetto Kasper does a splendid job hosting public radio’s other food-centric show, the James Beard-award-winning “The Splendid Table.” But there was a time when she hadn’t quite honed her hosting skills. We listen in as she revisits a cringe-worthy Christmas past.

Main Course: Brazilian (Food) Boom

Brazil’s about to become the center of the sporting universe: in 2014 it hosts the world cup, then a couple of years later, the Olympics. But food forecasters are also expecting big things from Brazil: Gourmet magazine and the trend-watchers at Technomic predict we’ll be seeing lots more Brazilian dishes and restaurants in 2013. Rico heads to the Brazilian buffet Pampas Grill in L.A. to learn more about the cuisine from manager Daniel Villoria.

Etiquette: Ken Jennings

Back in 2004, JEOPARDY! contestant Ken Jennings became a game show phenomenon: over five months, he won 74 consecutive games, and answered over 2,500 questions correctly (both U.S. records). Which got us wondering… can he handle your etiquette questions? Turns out he’s pretty good at that too, damn his eyes. In his new book, “Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids”, Ken demystifies and debunks all matter of parental “wisdom.” For us, he offers tips on when it’s appropriate to be a smart-Alex… and then throws down his game show gantlet.

We’re always looking for new etiquette questions. Would you be so kind as to send them to dinnerparty@americanpublicmedia.org? Thank you very much.

Chattering Class: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes

Turns out Sherlock Holmes’ seemingly ‘super-human’ thought processes are not fictional impossibilities, but real methods that we can use in our lives. Psychology columnist Maria Konnikova schools Rico in a few of Holmes’ signature tricks: an orderly “brain attic,” and a curious disposition. (Maria’s new book “Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes” comes out January 3.)

Dinner Party Soundtrack: Macklemore

Hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have ridden their smash hit “Thrift Shop” to the top of Billboard’s rap charts… Their album “The Heist” is one of the most popular in the country… and now, the ultimate honor: telling our listeners what to listen to. Just in time for the holidays, they serve up a soundtrack that’s perfect for romancers, magic dancers, your Uncle Larry, lonely hearts, and anyone who loves a banjo. Yes, this is freaking awesome.

  • “The Girl from Ipanema” by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto
  • “Sister Winter” by Sufjan Stevens
  • “Magic Dance” by David Bowie
  • “Cowboy Boots” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (NOT “Jimmy Iovine”)

Other Music In this Week’s Show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

The Wedding Present – “Signal”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham – “When Sorrow Encompasses Me ‘R$ound”

Vitamin String Quartet – “Civil War”

Bruce Broughton – Theme to “Young Sherlock Holmes”

Howard Shore – Theme from “The Hobbit”

James Brown – “The Payback”

Atlantic Five Jazz Band – “Christmas Waltz”

David Rose – “Holiday for Strings”

Tommy Dorsey – “Satan Takes a Holiday”

Os Mutantes – “Panis et Circencis”

Merv Griffin – “Think!”

David Arnold & Michael Price – “Sherlock” theme melody

Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto – “The Girl from Ipanema”

Sufjan Stevens – “Sister Winter”

David Bowie – “Magic Dance”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Jimmy Iovine”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Cowboy Boots”