Episode 67: Our 2016 Guide to Christmas

Ho! Ho! Ho! This week on Off the Chain Dave and Steel are joined by their old friend Jordan to discuss all things Christmas. The three of them share Christmas memories, cover their gift giving guide (with lots of help from Oprah), give a quick run down of the best/worst Christmas movies ever made, share great Holiday music from the Jenson Family, Neil Diamond, Eef Barzelay, and the Jackson 5, and drop some Seussian book wisdom.

Links

Gift Giving Guide

Christmas Movies Appraised [by Jordan, mostly]

BEST

  • Die Hard
  • Home Alone
  • A Christmas Story
  • The Original Grinch [animated]
  • White Christmas
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Elf
  • Rare Exports (Finnish movie)
  • Saint Nick (Sint)
  • Scrooged
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Joyeux Noel (WWII Christmas)
  • Rocky IV (Rocky fights Drago on Christmas day)

WORST

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
  • Gremlins
  • The Home Alone sequels
  • Jack Frost
  • Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn is Santa’s older, loser brother, Fred)

DISPUTED [BEST & WORST]

  • Hook
  • Jingle All the Way

OTC Festivities & Feasts

Recommended Eats & Drinks

  • Darigold Eggnog. It’s the best there is. Available in both original and old-fashioned varieties. [Dave]
  • North African Christmas! Don’t eat the same old doldrums. Try making and enjoying something from North African this year, like this spiced pie dish. [Steel]
  • Turon
    Turon

    “We always eat food white people don’t eat or even know what it is. Things like lumpia, pancit, ginataan, polvo, puto, pan de sal, leche flan, sinigang, champurrado, etc. Oh and turon! Oh my gosh turon. You guys would like turon. It’s a big chunk of plantain wrapped in a flaky pastry, coated with sugar syrup and then fried in butter. It’s so sticky and gooey sweet delicious. So good! Reminds me of Christmas! Also ube cake, white rabbits, chocnut.” [Jordan]

Unchained Melodies

Book Wisdom

Dave shared the final lines of Dr. Seuss’s immortal “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Episode 66: Collections

Dave was out on vacation for a while, so Steel invited his old buddy Jack Bangerter to fill in for a week. The two of them talked about the latest news in the world of sports hair, ran through a segment of small talk (toilet recommendations and drawings of Buraq!), talked about collecting and collections, shared great music from Donovan, Beck, Herb Alpert, and Greg Brown, and Jack shared some hippy futurist poetry from Richard Brautigan. Enjoy!

Links

Sports Hair

Some really great specimens collected here.

Small Talk

Unchained Melodies: Artists We’ve Collected

 Book Wisdom

Jack shared Richard Brautigan’s poem “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace,” from his 1967 collection of the same title.

Featured image: Jack’s painting of Puppy as Buraq.

Episode 65: The Art of Photography

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s sister-in-law Jennie Bastian, an artist and professional photographer. Together they talk household pets (cats. vs. dogs), take questions from listeners throughout the great state of Illinois, ask Jennie a bunch of questions about her upcoming show on Fear and her photography practice generally, share great music from Mulato Astatke, Gasper Nali, American Wrestlers, Smog, Tim Maia, and Camp Cope, and Jennie shares some dreamy book wisdom from Gaston Bachelard.

Links

Unchained Melodies

Book Wisdom

Jennie shared a brief passage from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 classic The Poetics of Space, which examines the phenomenology of architecture in beautiful and moving ways.

Featured image: Jennifer Bastian

Episode 64: The Party! Party! Party! party

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Spencer to discuss the latest in Vin Diesel news, their favorite fringe presidential candidates, historical also-rans, and fringe political parties, revive Lost the Plot, share outsider classics from Daniel Johnston, Dan Reeder, The Toadies, They Might Be Giants, Congress-Woman Malinda Jackson Parker, and Leonard Cohen, and hear the calming anti-road book wisdom of the Honku.

Links

Perpetual Candidates and Favorite Third Parties

Unchained Melodies: Outsider Music

Book Wisdom

This week Spencer enlightened us with “Honkus,” anti road-rage haiku poems by Aaron Naparstek.

Episode 63: On Nerdery and Games

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Dave’s gaming buddy Zac Beus. Together the three discuss their nerd bona fides, Zac and Dave’s love of board games, a few of Steel’s numerous fringe Game of Thrones theories, and share epic fantasy music by Leonard Nimoy, Rick Wakeman, and Ninja Sex Party, and drop some book wisdom by George R. R. Martin.

Links

Board Games We Recommend

Game of Thrones

Our rightful king

Our religious leanings

Our favorite Character

Unchained Melodies: High Fantasy Edition

Book Wisdom

We shared some frequently highlighted passages from George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones book series.

Episode 62: Eye on the Gold Chain [Rio Olympics 2016!]

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s old friend Jack Bangerter to talk all things Summer Olympics. We talk about our lack of world-class talent, they also throw in a segment of small talk (this week featuring edible crayons, demonic chimpmunks, and metallic hydrogen) and then spend a solid 40 minutes reliving all the great moments from the Rio Olympics 2016 and suggesting some really outstanding improvements to the lineup of events for future games. We also present to you an Unchained Melodies made up of our ideal medal winning songs and bring to you some ancient Greek poetic Book Wisdom from Pindar, whose Olympic Odes are among the earliest records we have of athletic greatness. It’s a gold medal performance, this week, for sure.

Links

Small Talk

Mastery of these three topics are sure to make you the center of any late summer social gathering you might be lucky enough to attend. You’re welcome.

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Personal Olympian Connections

  • I took an art class with Alev Kolter, and Kelsey Card was a student worker in our son’s daycare last year. Had no idea that either were Olympians until after the games ended, though. [Steel]
  • I met Michael Phelps at a karaoke bar. We sang The Turtles’ classic hit “So Happy Together.” I feel directly responsible for at least 5 gold medal perfomances. [Dave]
  • I accidentally stepped on Jeret “Speedy” Peterson’s finger once and he stood up and punched me in the face. It didn’t really hurt but it broke my sunglasses. I was wearing them indoors, so I guess all’s fair? Also, my uncle, mom’s sister’s husband, Jim Osborne won a bronze medal in the 1968 games in Mexico City.

Favorite Athletic Achievement

Favorite Failures

Unchained Melodies: Olympic Anthem Replacements Edition

Book Wisdom

This week Steel shared the ancient Greek poet Pindar‘s victory ode: “Olympian 12“: For Ergoteles of Himera Long Foot Race 466 B. C.

Episode 61: That One Time at Band Camp …

This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s old friend Liz Feezor. Together the trio discusses the recent political conventions leading up the US presidential elections, ask Liz all about her career in HR, recent misadventures in Colombia, her past life as a member of the University of Oregon marching band, and her ongoing expertise as a style/fashion blogger. We also play great drum music by Wilco, James Brown & Clyde Stubblefield, Beyonce, Radiohead, Fela Kuti, and Van Halen, and Liz shares some book wisdom about the art of writing from Stephen King.

Links

On Cargo Shorts & the RNC

On Cargo Shorts Generally

On Khizr Khan

Unchained Melodies: Drum Line Edition

Also, this:

and this:

Book Wisdom

Liz shared a brief passage from Stephen King’s classic writing memoir On Writing.

Featured image: Liz playing caixa (a Brazilian snare drum) at Trolloween in Seattle in 2011.