Episode 218: Jonathan Lethem, Alt-J, and the Fab Four’s Freda

This week:  Jonathan Lethem goes to New Jersey … Alt-J are kind of over triangles at this point … The Beatles’ secretary gives a peek into music history … Restaurant trends, from bars to bathrooms …   Astronaut agriculture … Miss Manners is not telling you to lie, boast, and start rumbles … A tempest in a cocktail glass … Populist experimentation (in film) … And letters from listeners like you.

“Octopus Soldier” – Aaron Aites & Audrey Ewell


Spaceship to Table Agriculture

Small Talk

Reyhan Harmanci is the senior editor of Modern Farmer, so it makes sense that she brings us news of some very modern farming: growing food in space.

Tinkering with Hurricanes and Drinking 'Stormfury'

A History Lesson With Booze ®

A US government project to weaken hurricanes wasn't too successful - but it did manage to scare Fidel Castro.

Experiencing the Experimental with Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites

Guest List

The film-making pair behind "99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" collaborate on a list of their other favorite experimental films.

Good Ol' Freda Witnessed Musical History from Within

Chattering Class

Freda Kelly was the personal secretary to The Beatles for the band's entire career. She was a first-hand witness to musical history - but has waited half a century to share what she'd seen.

Jonathan Lethem Weighs "Dissident Gardens" and Jersey Homesteading


Jonathan Lethem takes us to the rural farmland of New Jersey in this excerpt from his new novel, "Dissident Gardens."

Bon Appétit Foodist's Edible (and Audible) Restaurant Trends for 2013

Main Course

"Foodist" Andrew Knowlton has sipped and supped his way across the country, seeking out the best and buzziest new restaurants. He gives us a report on trends he discovered along the way -- like what material's being used for bars, now that all wood has been reclaimed.

Miss Manners Minds Our Listeners' Business


We talk to Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners herself, about the lost art of discretion and her own etiquette lapses (or lack thereof).

Alt-J Make Major Impact, with Minimal Crash

Guest of Honor

UK band Alt-J shot to stardom over the last year - but even alt-rock stars need nannies.

Coincidences, Conspiracies, and Other Listener Feedback

Listener Letters

Our listeners talk back about spookiness, sentence spacing, and more.