Episode 79: Paul Giamatti, Political Animals, and Moby Drinks

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This week: Golden-globe nominated actor Paul Giamatti tells a tall tale… Whale secretions wash up in cocktails… And we toast the cartoonist who gave birth to two famed political animals. Plus, a joke from troubadour Henry Wolfe and a tune from The Radio Dept.

Icebreaker: Henry Wolfe
Rising singer-songwriter Henry Wolfe sinks his hooks into a joke. (Henry’s album Linda Vista will be out in March.)

Small Talk: Beer Rx, Blockbuster Saves Lives, and Nude Roulette
The staff from Marketplace dig up some lesser-known headlines…like how a chain drugstore in Brooklyn won hipster hearts by offering beer on tap.

Radio listeners heard Reyhan Harmanci, culture editor of The Bay Citizen, tell us about artist Jeff Koons’ overinflated sense of intellectual property rights.

A History Lesson With Booze: The Dem Donkey & The “Jackass Neck”
This week in 1870, staunch Republican Thomas Nast lashed out at certain Democrat-owned newspapers… portraying them as a crazed jackass. Later, he drew his own party as a frightened elephant on the edge of a precipice. Hear how both parties came to embrace Nast’s animal familiars… then throttle this cocktail, based on an equine classic:

“The Jackass Neck” – as drawn up by Alex Bookless, bar manager of The Passenger in Washington DC:

  • 3/4 oz. Grande Classico
  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Weller 107 bourbon (or any high proof – for a donkey kick)
  • equal parts Ginger ale and soda water
  • Orange Peel

Peel the orange in a long spiral (this is the “neck” – a variant of the lemon peel from the classic “Horse’s Neck” drink). Line the inside of a Tom Collins glass with the peel, and add ice. Pour in the remaining ingredients. Share with friends across the aisle – er, bar – and place liquoring over bickering.

Guest of Honor: Paul Giamatti
Paul Giamatti (Sideways, American Splendor) recently won an Emmy for his portrayal of American hero John Adams. Now he’s up for a Golden Globe for his starring role in Barney’s Version — a screen adaptation of one of Canada’s (and Italy’s) most beloved novels. The man who single-handedly decimated Merlot sales in the US speaks to Rico about Canuck fan boys, being a n-oenophile, and his stature.

Main Course: The Great White Cocktail
For centuries, the sperm whale secretion “Ambergris” served as a fixative in perfumes. But recently it’s become the truffle of the cocktail world. The Atlantic’s cocktail writer Derek Brown tells Brendan about his own forays into ambergris drinks, and explains why cocktailians should go to extremes.

One For The Road: The Radio Dept. — “Heaven’s on Fire”
Swedish band The Radio Dept. has been sending out signs of brilliance since 1995. Last year’s under-hyped album Clinging to a Scheme featured smart soft-rock jams like “Heaven’s on Fire” – perfect for starting a quiet revolution.

Music On This Week’s Show:

Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

The Wedding Present – “Signal”

Link Wray – “Jack The Ripper”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

John Philip Sousa / Josef Franz Wagner – “Under the Double Eagle”

Beck – “Jackass”

Sufjan Stevens – “The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders Pt. I: The Great Frontier”

Burning Sensations – “Belly of the Whale”

The Radio Dept. — “Heaven’s on Fire”