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Brain Fodder Vol. 4

Monday, October 29, 2012 - 02:15 PM

Mug of cider (Andy Mills/WNYC)

In honor of Halloween, a spooky tale to chill your bones, a toasty cider recipe to warm 'em back up, and a scary-sounding web series that's actually a comedy.

Lynn Levy

Lynn recommends a spine-tingling episode from one of her favorite podcasts:

I am addicted to The Memory Palace. In the past, these nugget-sized, beautifully told historical stories have made me laugh out loud on the subway platform and, yeah, fine, tear up a little at my kitchen table -- but this episode is the only one (so far) to send a cold shudder of fear down my spine. What you do is, wait until everyone in your house is asleep, then sit down next to a dark window, put on your headphones, and listen.

Andy Mills

If you catch a chill (from spooky tales or blistery weather), Andy's got a warming antidote:

Since it is autumn, I’d like to share my favorite seasonal beverage.

What you'll need to make it:

  • Apple Juice
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • Candied Ginger slices
  • Bottle of whiskey
  • An orange
  • An apple

Instructions:

  1. Dump a bunch of apple juice into a big pot, then put it on the stove. Heat it up to a simmer (not a boil!).
  2. As steam starts to rise, drop a handful of those cinnamon sticks and cloves in there (the more the merrier).
  3. Put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes with occasional stirring.
  4. Once the cinnamon sticks sink, drop in a handful of candied ginger, stir some more, cover and wait some more.
  5. While you are waiting, cut that orange in half. Squeeze the juice from one half into your pot, and slice the other half up to use for garnish. Slice the apple up for garnish as well (I like to sprinkle cinnamon on 'em).
  6. Snack on any of the apple that is left, and take another happy pull right out of that bottle of whiskey, beam with pride at how you are a master chef.
  7. You'll know the cider is ready when the cloves have begun to dissolve and everything has sunk to the bottom of the pot (the longer you wait, the tastier the cider will be). When you decide it is ready, pour a double-shot of your whiskey into your favorite coffee cup, then fill the rest of the cup with your hot cider and dress it up with the orange, apple, and candied ginger. (Do not pour the whiskey into the hot pot! Mix it in cup -- this will allow you to adjust each guest's whiskey preference, and the size of the cup).
  8. Drink it, share it with your friends, and feel great about the world for a moment.

Sean Cole

The graveyard has been calling to Sean...

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d proffer my new favorite webisode series called "Graveyard." It’s not what you think.
 
Lil’ context: a bunch of us at the show are big fans of TJ & Dave. You may have heard of these guys. They improvise an entire, 50-minute, one-act play without stopping to sold-out crowds in both Chicago and New York. Just the two of them -- no script, no plan, no audience suggestion -- playing all of the characters for almost an hour. It’s a feat of theatrical acrobatics (aka “theacrobatics”).
 
Both TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi are successful actor/improvisers in their own rights, with their hands in a lot of performance pies. You may have seen TJ and Peter Grosz in those ads for Sonic Drive-in (two guys sittin’ in a car, crackin’ wise, eatin’ burgers). Dave came up through Second City in Chicago and does a lot of film, TV, and now… internet. "Graveyard" is a series of short, web-only video vignettes staring Dave and Christian Stolte, and when I first happened upon a random episode I had no idea what was happening. Dave sits behind the security desk at an office building. Christian is wearing a janitor’s uniform. Christian asks Dave a series of “this or that” questions out of a glossy magazine: chocolate or vanilla, red or blue, big girl or skinny girl, and so on. Finally Christian says “God or no God?”

“God,” Dave says. And then “Uh, no, no, no God, no God.”

Christian: No God.

[PAUSE]

Dave: I’m sorry. God. God.

[PAUSE]

Christian: Meat or fish?

Dave: Meat.

The entire thing lasts one minute and six seconds. 28 seconds of that are credits.

It was only after watching a second episode that I figured it out. Dave and Christian (or Damon and Pete as their characters are called, respectively) are working the graveyard shift in an office building. Every night, they’re the only ones there. Or put another way, they only have each other. Because it’s late, and because they’re alone, all of the workaday existentialism comes out. Is there a God? What’s it all for? They’re don’t propose any answers. In fact, they barely realize they’re asking such significant questions. That plan could easily yield something dark, or at least pretentious. But in Dave and Christian’s hands, and those of director Ron Lazzeretti, it’s face-breakingly hilarious. I’m sort of describing this backwards, though, because the brilliance of "Graveyard" is that it’s a comedy first, Trojan-horsing lots of the problems of being a person. That tension is my favorite aspect of TJ & Dave too. In fact, it’s my favorite aspect of Waiting for Godot. I sound a little hyperbolic I know. (I’ve had a lot of coffee.) But, like Waiting for Godot, "Graveyard" mirrors our daily, and nightly, lives in one significant way: nothing happens, but so much is said.

Here's episode #1 from Season One:

Chris Berube

Chris is reading up on a subject that makes his skin crawl:

Nothing freaks me out more than taxidermy. It's weird - why do we stuff and mount animals as though we have conquered them? There's a fascinating new book by Rachel Poliquin called The Breathless Zoo that looks at how taxidermic history says a lot about our culture's relationship with nature. It also posits that taxidermy says a lot about how the West has historically viewed the rest of the world. For example, in the colonial era, much of taxidermy showed dangerous animals pouncing, to underscore how "risky" and "exotic" colonized nations were perceived to be. It's an unsettling read.

Kelly Slivka

I've been on a Netflix rampage with the BBC's "Life of Birds" series. I'm not especially into birds, but like many nature-lovers I feel a peculiar affection for David Attenborough. I'll watch anything he narrates. This series was made in the late 90s, so it's not hi-def and not widescreen. Yet it's still completely mind-blowing, and not merely because birds are, in fact, amazing.

The series has made me appreciate how lucky we are to live in the age of slow motion filmography. To slow down time to watch a hummingbird's frenetic fluttering or an albatross running to take off for flight -- we can see each ruffle of the feather, the look in the animal's eyes, the mastery it has over its body. I wonder, if Thoreau and Lord Byron and even John Muir were as enraptured with nature in times when you only saw it at blurred distances in far country, what would they think of it as we see it now? The best guess at an answer I've heard comes from a friend of mine: "Audubon, etc., would have had an aneurism."

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Comments [5]

upholstered headboards

A headboard is something that you do not realize how much you would enjoy until you own one. Many individuals enjoy sitting in their bed at night to either read a book or watch some TV before go to sleep. If you do not have a headboard, you are forced to lean against the hard wall. I do not know about you, but my back can not handle that for long, I think so. If someone have a headboard attached to your or our bed, if, you can comfortably rest up against it instead. While all headboards are a comfortable alternative to resting up against a wall, upholstered ones or you are by far the softest and most comfortable.

Nov. 14 2012 04:41 AM
Mattis

For those who have not forgotten the "Fact of the Matter" this again gets at the heart of the issue of Yellow Rain, and what was wrong with the podcast from a third party perspective.

Radiolab has so much to answer for.

http://www.citypages.com/2012-11-14/news/behind-laos-s-yellow-rain-and-tears/5/

Nov. 13 2012 07:33 PM
upholstered headboards from DHAKA

A headboard is something that you do not realize how much you would enjoy until you own one. Many individuals enjoy sitting in their bed at night to either read a book or watch some TV before go to sleep. If you do not have a headboard, you are forced to lean against the hard wall. I do not know about you, but my back can not handle that for long, I think so. If someone have a headboard attached to your or our bed, if, you can comfortably rest up against it instead. While all headboards are a comfortable alternative to resting up against a wall, upholstered ones or you are by far the softest and most comfortable.

Nov. 03 2012 11:21 PM
taralej

Kelly Djanka :D

Nov. 02 2012 03:51 PM
Laura from Alabama

When are you going to respond to complaints about your Yellow Rain piece and subsequent revisions? Stop producing pieces until you rectify this injustice.

Oct. 30 2012 02:25 PM

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