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Playlist: O'Dark 30 episode 84 (2-32)

Compiled By: KUT

Caption: PRX default Playlist image

KUT's O’Dark 30 is all over it again this week with the best from the world of independent radio production. Every Sunday at midnight on Austin's KUT 90.5 and also at 4pm on digital KUT2 we present 3 hours of a little bit of everything from the world of independent radio production.

Episode 84 (2-32) includes Ad Absurdum...Views and Brews: Conversations at the Cactus Cafe--Jazz and the Spiritual Journey through the music of John Coltrane...History of the Tator Tot...Humankind: Passengers (Hour Two)...Hey We're Back: Episode 6...You Look Lonely...Sharks, Tigers and Other Wild Creatures You Don't Want to Mess With...Never Ending Chase...Remembering Barbara Jean by Patrick Presby of Blunt Youth Radio

History of the Tator Tot

From Northwest News Network (N3) | 03:50

Tater Tots: From Cattle Feed to Retro Cache

0214ghtots1_small Tater Tots: From Cattle Feed to Retro Cache Idaho Bureau Feature: 0214GH_Tots.wav (mp3) Feature 3:27 02/14/08 GH/cd [HOST INTRO] Northwest locavores?or local food advocates?would likely resist adding Tater Tots to their menu of regionally produced foods. But local they are. Those crispy potato nuggets were invented on the Idaho Oregon border, from what had been?cattle feed. Yet the Tot has transcended it?s humble origins. It?s now appearing in trendy bars and restaurants all over America. Guy Hand explains. (SOC @ 3:27 followed by movie dialogue & music to 3:49) [SCRIPT] (Sounds at drive-in) (Loudspeaker Girl) Welcome to Fancy Freeze. Go ahead and order whenever you?re ready. (Hand) Could I just get a small Tater Tot and that?s it? (Loudspeaker Girl) Sure, it?s going to be $1.58 at the window. (Hand) My relationship to Tater Tots is pretty much limited to burger joints. But Atlanta Journal-Constitution food columnist John Kessler has found their appeal to be much broader. (Kessler) . . . because there is no guilt, you just enjoy it for what it is however deep-fried it can be. (Hand) Kessler set out a few months ago to learn the history of Tater Tots. It all started in 1954, with Idaho native Francis ?Neef? Grigg . . . (Kessler) He and his brother Golden Grigg founded the Ore-Ida company. The company was named because it?s on the border between Oregon and Idaho. Basically he and his brother were trying to perfect a way to make frozen french fries?that was their core product. But after they trimmed the french fries there was a lot of left-over. (Hand) They?d been feeding that left-over to cattle. But then Neef Grigg got an idea. He chopped that potato scrap, seasoned it, pushed it through holes cut in plywood, and fried it. Grigg then took about 15 pounds of this new concoction to the national potato convention at the fancy Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami, Florida. (Kessler) He bribed his way to the head cook and arranged to have the Tater Tots cooked, placed in small saucers, and distributed on the breakfast tables for sample treats. And I?m reading right out of his papers: ?These were all gobbled up quicker than a dead cat could wag it?s tail amidst comments of where did these delicious morsels come from and where do we get more.? (Hand) Tater Tots would soon become a staple in nearly every school cafeteria, truck stop, and frozen-food section in America. (Napoleon Dynamite music fades in) That?s not cattle feed. This might have been the end of the story, if not for a little movie called ?Napoleon Dynamite.? (Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack) Jock: Napoleon, give me some of your tots. Napoleon: No, go find your own. Jock: Come on, give me some of your tots. Napoleon: No, I?m freakin? starved. I didn?t get to eat anything today. The Idaho-based movie kicked the Tot into the 21st Century and into the mouths of a new generation. Again, John Kessler: (Kessler) I think it was Napoleon Dynamite who separated the tater and the tot so it just became tots. You know, when you talk to people who are under twenty or so they tend to say Tots rather than Tater Tots. That youthful sheen gave the Tot what Kessler calls ?retro cache.? And once that happens, he says, ?the fine dining crowd can?t be far behind.? (Kessler) Someone wrote to tell me about the black truffle Tater Tots at some restaurant in Boston. (Hand) In Washington D.C., well-known chef Michel Richard does a foie gras Tater Tot Ravioli. (Kessler) . . . which just blows my circuits. I just can?t even imagine what that is. Closer to home, Leslie Kelly, a Seattle restaurant reviewer, says Tots are also popping up on Northwest menus. (Kelly) There is a new restaurant in Ballard called Zayda Buddy?s. And they have a hot dish casserole which Tater Tots is featured prominently. You don?t even want to know how many calories is in that dish . . . (Napoleon Dynamite music) It's important to note, however, that Tater Tots, handled improperly, can be dangerous. Last Christmas Eve, a flaming pan of Tater Tots set alight a Boise kitchen. Luckily that kitchen was located in a fire station. Returning firefighters quickly subdued the blazing Tots. I'm Guy Hand reporting. (Napoleon Dynamite Soundtrack) (Napoleon) Are you going to eat your Tots? (Pedro) No. (Napoleon) Can I have ?em? ### Copyright 2008 Boise State University WEB: ?Chefs take the humble Tater Tot to the next level? by John Kessler: http://www.ajc.com/search/content/eveningedge/stories/2008/01/15/kessler.html The History of Ore-Ida: http://www.oreida.com/funzone/history.aspx Napoleon Dynamite, the official website: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/napoleondynamite/ PHOTOS: Frozen Tater Tots: 0214GH_Tots1.JPG

Humankind: Passengers (Hour Two)

From Humankind | 59:00

With federal support for public transit hanging in the balance, this sound-rich series (two one-hour documentaries) examines how our personal transportation choices - private cars vs. public transit - can have a significant impact on quality of life and on the environment.

And with rising gas prices here at home, and instability in the Middle East, what effect do our choices have on America’s dependence upon foreign oil? What is the experience of drivers battling congested traffic (perhaps while listening to public radio)? Why are so many young people now flocking to trains and buses, instead of cars? And what is the potential of public transit to stimulate economic growth by providing jobs, and increasing property values along transit routes? Hear stories of passengers in many venues (from gas stations to train stations), plus diverse experts in fascinating new transportation trends. Two one-hour documentaries by David Freudberg, produced in association with WGBH/Boston.

Passengers_small For the first episode of this series, see Humankind: Passengers (Hour One).
About 70% of all oil consumed in the United States supplies the transportation sector. The vast majority of this fuels our cars and light trucks. What impact does this pattern have on our environment, and on America's independence from foreign oil? What specifically is the effect on the air we breathe - and public health - when we fire up the ignition of our car? Do we make "indiscriminate use" of cars, in certain cases when walking or public transit (if available) would suffice? And for users of public transit, which modes are most energy-efficient and climate-friendly? What related public policy choices will America face in the near future?

Segment 1: What is the global warming footprint of cars vs. public transit? Story of a family seeking a low-carbon lifestyle. Also, hear the views of transportation experts, the Sierra Club, the president of AAA, and others.
Segment 2: Gas taxes you pay at the pump go into a huge pool of federal transportation funds. How should the money be divided up? Plus the emotional issue of high-speed rail, pro and con.

What should be the split between funding for highways and for transit services? Congress is expected to weigh in this year. Does transit contribute to job creation? What are the consequences for climate change, in which transportation is a major factor? And how might auto-centric cities adapt?

HEY WE'RE BACK: Episode 6

From Jonathan Katz | Part of the HEY WE'RE BACK series | 05:49

Episode 6

Bigredsmall_small In episode 6, I experience a rude intrusion into my otherwise sedate life. It happens while I am holding for some help from my bank. Then we hear freelance journalist Dan Snider speaking with a civil engineer who has been asked to design a tunnel connecting the two cities of Newton and Wellesley in Massachusetts. The towns are less than ten miles apart, and the construction has become extremely controversial. Finally, I try and track down an old friend from Chicago ? a guy I knew so well. But if you don't stay in touch with someone, you can lose a piece of who you were.

You Look Lonely

From Sage Tyrtle | Part of the True Stories series | 08:52

A true story. When my best friend broke up with me, I wished her dead. Then she had a brain hemorrhage.

Marta_small When I was 12 years old, I was the ugliest kid in school. I was the fattest kid in school. I was the kid that didn't even get a Valentine's Day card from the nice Christian kids. And so one day I'm standing in front of the classroom, waiting for class to start, and this girl walks up to me. She says, "You look lonely. I see you every day eating lunch by yourself in the library. I think you should come and eat lunch with me, and my friends."

So begins this true story of my very first best friend. When our friendship eventually exploded, I wished her dead every day for two weeks straight. And then she had a brain hemorrhage. Funny and sad, this real story will resonate with anyone who ever had to go through the perils of seventh grade. 

Sharks, Tigers and Other Wild Creatures You Don't Want To Mess With

From The Humble Farmer | :57

There are things on this planet that are best left to themselves

Lobster_from_shine_small There are things on this planet that are best left to themselves

Never Ending Chase

From Salt Institute for Documentary Studies | 07:40

Following one day in the life of Maine's Black Bear Monitoring Team, which braves bear dens in order to count the number of new-born cubs.


Following one day in the life of Maine's Black Bear Monitoring Team, which braves bear dens in order to count the number of new-born cubs.

Remembering Barbara Jean by Patrick Presby of Blunt Youth Radio

From YouthCast | 08:26

Pat remembers his step-mother, Barbara Jean, from the first time they met, to the last time he saw her. Though the 11 years in between were sometimes hard for Patrick – including a turn to juvenile crime – he remembers the care she gave him, and her incredible capacity to forgive.


The Blunt Youth Radio Project in Portland, Maine also includes a program at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, a juvenile detention facility. This program helps with literacy skills, computer skills, and is also– shhh!– a fun extracurricular for the students. The features are usually personal essays geared toward helping the writers in their rehabilitation, or they cover an aspect of detained life. One of the most famous Long Creek stories, "What's In the Food?" was actually featured on This American Life.
This essay is by Patrick Presby. Pat remembers his step-mother, Barbara Jean, from the first time they met, to the last time he saw her. Though the 11 years in between were sometimes hard for Patrick – including a turn to juvenile crime – he remembers the care she gave him, and her incredible capacity to forgive.
Today, Patrick is doing well and is a proud father to his son.  He lives in Gray, Maine. Read a really nice profile about him and other students doing work in the Dominican Republic in the Portland Press Herald, where the above photo is from. Listen to some more work by Long Creek kids on PRX. 
The orginal feature can be heard (and bought!) here