Episode 53: Sebastian Junger, Evil Machines, WWII Food

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Sebastian Junger/Courtesy sebastianjunger.com

This week: Sebastian Junger joins Afghanistan’s band of brothers… a devilish Okie spawns the parking meter… and Rico gets a (tiny) taste of rationed food during WWII. Plus, a joke from author/satirist Gary (“Absurdistan”) Shteyngart… and Cults to join.

Icebreaker: Brezhnev goes for the gold Absurdistan author Gary Shteyngart teaches us the Russian equivalent of the blonde joke: the “Brezhnev” joke.

Small Talk: Spirit loses baggage, the limits of limitless, and funnies go postal
The staff at Marketplace tell you about some news items your dinner guests probably missed. Like the CEO of Spirit Airlines defending the idea of charging passengers for carry-on bags, thereby starting the “rumpled chic” trend. [MPR listeners heard NPR weekender Guy Raz wondering why Alaska is dumping its water on India.]

A History Lesson With Booze: The Birth of the Parking Meter and the “Meter Walk
This Week in 1935, Carl C. Magee joined Benedict Arnold and John Wilkes Booth in the annals of American villainy. The ex-newspaperman invented the “park-o-meter” and proceeded to rake in the hard-earned nickels of Oklahoma City’s befuddled residents. His first victim? A priest! Go cold with rage as you hear the history of Carl’s nefarious machine… then slug down this potent shot to warm yourself right back up:

THE METER WALK, created by Moe Hannouni, bartender at the possibly haunted Skirvin Hotel Bar in Oklahoma City, OK.

In a shot glass pour:

  • 1/2 oz. Irish Cream
  • 1/2 oz. Goldschlager liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Rumple Mintz

Drink it down quick. Race out in the cold to feed the meter. Suddenly remember it’s the middle of summer. Be tipsy anyway.

Guest of Honor: Sebastian Junger
Extreme journalist Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) shares his war stories after spending months embedded in one of the most dangerous places of the world – Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Junger’s documentary RESTREPO and book War take us into the trenches with the young men of the Army’s 2nd Platoon, who undergo daily firefights, suffer tremendous casualties, and forge a rare brotherhood. When not musing on the meaning of sacrifice, Junger gives us some advice: Don’t ask him about his next book.

The Main Course: Peacetime Rationing
For the rest of the Year, London’s Imperial War Museum hosts The Ministry Of Food — an exhibit detailing how Brits ate and cooked during World War II, when the island nation basically couldn’t import anything. Katie Fluester of the Museum’s Kitchen Front cafe gives Rico a small taste of World War II cuisine — not including, thank God, the mashed-potato cookies.

One For The Road: Cults- “Go Outside”
The band Cults is so secretive they might as well be one. Stay tuned for their full album…in late 2012?! In the meantime, enjoy this sunny single, perfect for checking your last emails on a Friday afternoon and bolting to an outdoor concert.

Music On This Week’s Show:

The Sea and Cake – “The Argument”

The Wedding Present- “Signal”

LInk Wray- “Jack the Ripper”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Jimmie Grier – “Every Little Moment”

Galaxie 500 – “Parking Lot”

The Baskervilles – “It’s a Red Fade That Leaves In A Warm Way”

Andrew Bird – “Take Courage”

Talking Heads – “Life During Wartime”

Cults – “Go Outside”