Episode 245: Steve Martin, Stradivariuses, and Switchel

This week: Steve Martin puts on a show as well as a concert …  Emily Posts’ progeny pocket dial us … Switchel, a.k.a. Herman Melville’s fave energy drink… Filmmaker Davy Rothbart celebrates beautiful losers – in basketball and life …  A British Invasion of radio pirates  inspires a rum cocktail – naturally.  Plus, a two million dollar puppy, mute violins, and Papercuts you won’t try to avoid.

“Shoot the Violinist” – Margaret Batjer


The Millionaire's Mastiff

Small Talk

A Tibetan Mastiff puppy recently sold in China for two million dollars. It probably does not have actual lion's blood, but don't tell the new owner.

The Rocking Pirates and The Rolling Wave

A History Lesson With Booze ®

In the 1960s, British rock music was everywhere - except on British radio. A group of DJs took to the sea to broadcast pirate radio stations (until The Man got the message).

Davy Rothbart Declares Victory For Beautiful Losers

Guest List

Author-filmmaker Davy Rothbart comes from a small town - as does the winless high school basketball team at the center of his new film "Medora." He lists some other winning losers.

Steve Martin: Maker of Bluegrass, Maker of Faces

Guest of Honor

The writer, movie star and comedy legend talks about his award-winning music… and reveals his ultimate Super Bowl joke.

Up with Switchel, Herman Melville's Energy Drink

Main Course

Somewhere between a vinegar shrub and modern ginger ale there was switchel - a ginger-apple cider vinegar-sugar drink, beloved by New England farmers and other 17th century types. Now this heritage beverage is being made again.

Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning. Courtesy of The Emily Post Institute.

Etiquette on Call: Pocket-Dialing The Posts


This month The Posts advise on times when haircuts are more important than family, making offers you don't actually intend to follow-through on, and using children as scapegoats - but it's all in the name of politeness. Really.

What Makes a Stradivarius Special?

Chattering Class

Something in the Italian air 300 years ago produced the world's most extraordinary and precious stringed instruments. Violinist, concertmaster, and "Strad Fest" curator Margaret Batjer, tries to explain the magic.

Papercuts are Still Knocking at Our Door

One For The Road

Papercuts' first record since 2011 leads off with a warm single that will help to get you through to spring.

Playlist: Episode 245


Music from this week's show.