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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Frank “The Gorilla Hulk” Molinaro–the most ‘jersey shore’ US athlete in Olympic history, got bitten while wrestling. He narrowly lost out on a Bronze medal to an Italian guy (born in Cuba) also named Frank (heart breaker) [Steel].
Dave is out for a bit because his wife just had twins, so Steel hosted this episode solo. To remedy Dave’s absence, he brought on two old friends: Kate Kelly and Ashley Sanders. Together the three of them discussed the Virtues (Night) that initially brought the three of them together, shared small talk stories touching on staged child abductions for TV morning shows, dental dams, and failed sperm banks for geniuses (genii?), talked about their current obsessions (changing our minds, the Internet/AI, Charles Rezikoff), had a segment of expert testimony in which we discussed Planned Parenthood, ghostwriting for a legal firm, revealed where Kate gets her iconic cat-eye frames, parsed the definition of style, and gave our male listeners six life-changing style tips, among other things. As if that wasn’t enough, we also played great music by powerful women like Sia, Toni Braxton, Matson Jones, Dar Williams, Nina Simone, and Thunderbitch, and closed with some powerful book wisdom from Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.
I am on an email listserv for media stuff in NYC and the other day, an email came over the server from The Today Show asking for parents who would be willing to to let their kid be pretend-abducted on national television while a child abduction expert watched and analyzed what the kid did so he could give the kid and parents TIPS later on how to … be abducted better? Anyway, they were offering 15 minutes of fame and maybe, they didn’t know, a couple of martial arts classes if they could swing it? The response was amazing. [Ashley]
In another galaxy, on another podcast far, far away I explained what a dental dam is to a pretty large live audience. So, that is my life now, I guess. [Kate]
This week Dave and Steel are joined by one of their oldest friends, Mark Eliason. Together the three of them discuss Mark’s untreated tuberculosis, wow each other with some great small talk topics ($100,000 trash men, the long history of professional farting, and intermodal freight transport), ask Mark a bunch of questions about Bane & Company, his three advanced degrees, and his longstanding love affair with Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr., play six songs by U2, and hear some Wright brothers inspired book wisdom from David McCullogh’s biography of the aviation pioneers.
This week Dave and Steel celebrate recording their 50th episode of Off The Chain (our golden anniversary!) by running through several listener questions, playing another round of Lost the Plot, sharing some all-time great contributions to small talk, playing timeless music by The Beatles, Otis Redding, The Refreshments, and Quasi, and sharing some book wisdom from John Steinbeck. This one’s a classic.
2 episodes: seven people: Aaron Peck [46, 45], Matt Brown [37, 36], Zac Beus [35, 34], Josh Harder [32, 31], Julia Dauer [30, 29], Rosie [40, 17], Ryan [7, 6]
1 episode: ten people: Dan Jennejohn , Jarom Sidwell , Eric Vivier  Rose & Emeline [22 — No DAVE!], Jon Stoffer , Alan Stoffer , Oliver Bendorf , Arianne [brief cameo in Ep 18], Amy (Scott) Anderson 
EPISODES WITH GUESTS: 40 of 50!
EPISODES WITHOUT DAVE: 1
EPISODES WITHOUT STEEL: 1
TOTAL NUMBER OF UNIQUE GUESTS: 21 [7 women in 10 episodes, 14 men in 30 episodes]
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Unchained Melodies Data
231 Songs in the Spotify Master playlist by 200ish bands.
Most Common Letter Names for Bands We’ve Played:
M, C: 16
A, R: 13
L, P: 12
Least Common Letter Names for Bands We’ve Played:
I, X, Y, Z: 0
Q, U: 1
E, O: 2
The Penuma, a silicon Penis Implant, is real. James Elist, an LA surgeon, is the only person approved to use it by the FDA and has inserted it in about 1300 men.
This week Dave and Steel were joined once again by their old friend Spencer to discuss the perils and joys of home ownership, what cities of the future will look like, share some fantastic ideas for small talk (laying the heat when you next play Uno, gold-plated donuts, and Bigfoot hunting), share great music from Coldplay, Cake, Clem Snide, The Shins, The Fruit Bats, and Vajra, and Book Wisdom from Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace.
A recent Wired MagazineFuture of Cities feature.Highlights: pneumatic tube garbage cans, cable cars in Medellin, informal transit system in Nairobi.
The World Future Society [Futurist magazine]’s weirdly super-specific predictions. Highlights: Traffic congestion will increase by more than 30% in 18 U.S. cities by 2030 [topped by Raleigh, NC of all places!]; Biofuel-powered hypersonic jets will shuttle passengers between London & Tokyo in less than 2 ½ hours by 2050; Dubai’s airport will be the busiest in the world, serving over 75 million passengers annually by 2015.
BBC predictions. Living street lights, farm scrapers, robo-taxis, etc. Pretty sensible, really.
CNN predictions. Top 10 future engineering predictions: super deep basements, floating sea cities, High-rise or rooftop farms, 3D printed homes, buildings with their own micro climates, huge bridges that span entire cities, spaceports with easy access to the Moon / Mars, super high buildings — cities in the sky, underwater cities, collapsible / stackable living pods
Dave’s old neighbor Rosie joins us for our latest episode, in which we discuss times we pretended to be something we weren’t, share some small talk stories featuring some incredible characters, describe some of our most memorable literary personas, take some ‘everyday questions’ with Rosie, play great songs by The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Phish, Jefferson Airplane, Bruce Springsteen, and Loggins & Messina, and hear some book wisdom from Benjamin Hoff’s wonderful little book The Tao of Pooh.
This week Dave and Steel are joined by Dave’s old neighbor Matt Brown. Together the trio discuss their coldest ever nights, cover some important small talk topics (French Scrabble champions who don’t speak French, achievement beards and Bastrop, Texas’ Chicken Refuge), have the first ever segment of OTC Debate, and play great Wonka-approved music from Mary Lou Lord & Semisonic, The Flaming Lips, The Silver Jews, Cibo Matto, Woods, and Abner Jay before Dave closes the episode with some book wisdom from Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.