Episode 75: Ken, Yakov, and an Ornamental Hermit Walk Into a Bar …

Cartoon by Sigrid Peterson

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.


Small Talk

Unchained Melodies: Music for a Long Drive at Night

Book Wisdom

Sig shared a passage from David Rakoff’s novel (in verse!) Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish .

Featured image by Sigrid Peterson

Episode 68: 2016 in Review, part 1

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).


Social Issues

Political Rhetoric

Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 DNC

Theresa May setting out a vision of Conservative leadership as socially responsible and humane (gasp!)


Subscribe to journalist Torie Rose DeGhett‘s “This Week in War” newsletter for weekly updates about violent conflict around the world.

Unchained Melodies: Favorite Songs and Albums of 2016

Book Recommendations

Our Top Children’s Books of the Year

Steel’s Poetry Tips

Finally, Rose has been writing a young adult fantasy book, Lesser Demons. Check it out on her site and share your feedback!

Featured image: Basil Bunting, from the cover of The Poems of Basil Bunting.

Episode 54: Everything You (N)ever Wanted to Know About Babies

This week Dave and Steel bring back their old friend Amy (Scott) Anderson. Together the trio discuss epic meltdowns, some amazing things that have they’ve been dying to share with each other during Dave’s paternity leave, talk (for a long time) about babies and parenting, share great music they’ve been digging recently by AURORA, the Strumbellas, Pinegrove, AdriAnne Lenker & Buck Meek, and Whitney, and Amy drops some impressive book wisdom from Paul Kalanithi’s touching memoir When Breath Becomes Air.


OTC Quick Hits

Assigned Reading

Unchained Melodies: Songs We’re Into Right Now Edition

Book Wisdom

Amy read a moving passage from Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air, in which a dying father gives his final message to his infant daughter.

Featured image: Things not going so well for golfer Jordan Spieth, whose Masters collapse inspired our epic meltdown opening segment on this episode.

Episode 30: The Skunk & Following People, Expert Testimony: Lexington, Kentucky Edition, Ask OTC, Unchained Melodies: Songs About Animals, and The Seed Beneath the Snow

This week Dave and Steel are joined once again by their friend Julia. Together they share stories of spying and following people, quiz Julia about all things Kentucky and ancient Greece, answer listener questions about Vin Diesel, eighteenth century literature and college, share great music from Beth Orton, Hayden Thorpe, David Gray, Joanna Newsom, Warren Zevon, and CocoRosie, and Steel shared a passage from Ignazio Silone’s novel The Seed Beneath The Snow.


The Skunk

Dave recommends the children’s psychological thriller The Skunk by Mac Barnett.

Expert Testimony


  • Check out Vin Diesel’s fake beard in his new witch-hunter movie.
  • Carry your book in a wagon when you go to college kids. That is all.

Unchained Melodies

Beth Orton — Dolphins

Hayden Thorpe — Goodbye Horses

David Gray — One with the Birds [Bonnie “Prince” Billy cover]

Joanna Newsom — Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie

Warren Zevon — Werewolves of London

CocoRosie — Werewolf

Book Wisdom

This week’s edition of Book Wisdom comes from Ignazio Silone’s The Seed Beneath the Snow, the third novel in his Abruzzo trilogy, which also includes Fontamara and Bread & Wine.