We’ve got some bittersweet news. The sweet part: Spencer and Jordan rejoined us for another terrific episode. The bitter part: it’s our last ever Off the Chain. This week, our old friends and frequent guests Spencer and Jordan come back for one last ride, in which we give some pro-level small talk advice (including, for the first time ever, a list of topics to avoid), do a segment of Lost the Plot with the classic rom-com Death Race 2050, answer questions from our beloved listeners, and play conclusion worthy music by Beck, Blue, The Beatles, Tom Brosseau, and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.
Our deepest thanks for following us over the past few years, everyone. We’ll be back soon with a new podcast, which we’re planning to call Theme Song.
Topics to Avoid
‘My kid has lice’
‘So, it turns out it wasn’t a mole it was a tick’
‘So, let me guess that person’s ethnicity or country of origin’
This week Dave and Steel are joined by Dave’s physicist friend Jason. Together the three of them discuss proton therapy, Jason’s top three physicists of all time, describe the new “Physics Hair” calendar they’re working on, answer Dave’s questions about fringe physics concepts, give parenting tips, play science-themed music from The Flaming Lips, Elton John, They Might Be Giants, Modest Mouse, Coldplay, and William Onyeabor, and share a classic story from Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
This week Dave and Steel are joined by Steel’s friend Sigrid. Together the three of them discuss transportation options for families with tons of kids, Dave and Sig’s shared loved of drawing and illustration, play a few rounds of Indie Band Name Balderdash, present another edition of Small Talk, share great nighttime driving music by De La Soul, Lisa Hannigan, The War on Drugs, Phil Collins, R.L. Burnside, and Phosphorescent, and drop some book wisdom from the late, great David Rakoff.
This week Dave and Steel by Dave’s high-rent lawyer friend Grayson. Together the three of them discuss quick favorites from this year’s NBA playoffs, do a special legal-themed edition of Ask OTC, rank the on/off chainness of various categories of things, play angsty music from Bleached, Fugazi, The Misfits, The Hotelier, PJ Harvey, and Teenage Bottlerocket, and share some immortal book wisdom from JD Salinger’s much beloved Holden Caulfield.
Unchained Melodies: Angsty Edition
This week Dave shared a brief passage from J.D. Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye.
This week Dave and Steel were joined by Jack Bangerter to talk about the best haircuts and best names of the year, share spring musical memories from 2007 and 1997 by Okkervil River, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, Rihanna, Wyclef Jean, Ben Folds Five, and Soul Coughing, and share a moving springtime poem by William Carlos Williams.
This week Dave and Steel are joined by their old friend and marketing professional Alan Stoffer, who fills us in on top-level marketing strategies, what it’s like to live in Silicon Valley, the joys of having your garage rented out to a guy named Darrell for $1000/mo, and why he’s so relieved not to have to talk about sports at the office anymore. We also do another segment of Lost the Plot (this time it’s a romantic comedy!!!), share great music to train to by The Who, Flo Rida, Cold War Kids, The Japandroids, The Very Best, and J Roddy Walston and the Business, and drop some book wisdom from a western novel by John Williams.
It took Steel three weeks to get this episode edited (which explains all the Valentine’s Day references in early March) but we’re back! This week Dave and Steel make a new induction to the OTC Hall of Fame (congratulations public libraries!), give you some new topics to discuss in another installment of Small Talk, praise two everyday heroes, shared six great songs from Esmé Patterson, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Saintseneca, Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam, Dr. Dog, and Keaton Henson, and drop some book wisdom by the satirical French novelist David Foenikos.
OTC Hall of Fame
This week we’re inducting the public library into our Off the Chain Hall of Fame! The greatest idea in the history of Western civilization? The last bastion of pure idealism in the United States? Yes and yes. We think you’re great, public libraries. Thanks for everything!
This year we’re trying something new (and awesome). We asked six of our friends to join us for a recap of the year that was, with each of them covering a subject that they’re an expert in. We’ll be bringing you our 2016 in review in two episodes (this week and next), but this week we were lucky to be joined by Rosie (the social issues that defined 2016: populism, political rhetoric, violence, and environmentalism); Jordan (the year in music, featuring songs from Mick Jenkins + BadBadNotGood, Camp Cope, Mitski, Big Thief, Pinegrove, and Snarky Puppy); and Rose (the year in books & reading).
Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 DNC
Theresa May setting out a vision of Conservative leadership as socially responsible and humane (gasp!)
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.
Steel recommends using AMAZON SMILE to give a small percentage of your Amazon purchases back to charitable causes. If you’re looking for a worthy recipient, he suggests either the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council or the Friends of Lorine Niedecker.
Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn is Santa’s older, loser brother, Fred)
DISPUTED [BEST & WORST]
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]
“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]
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.