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KCRW Here Be Monsters

KCRW Here Be Monsters

Podcast KCRW Here Be Monsters
Podcast KCRW Here Be Monsters

KCRW Here Be Monsters


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  • HBM154: Ancient Roman Recipes
    Sally Grainger was originally a chef, but in her 20’s, she was gifted a copy of an ancient Roman cookbook called Apicius. Apicius is a bit of a fluke.  It shouldn’t have survived the 2000-ish year journey into the modern era, but it did.  And in this episode of Here Be Monsters, Grainger explains how Apicius persisted due to being a favorite text for monks-in-training to practice their gilding skills.  And thus, this fascinating book of recipes (featuring cooking instructions for boiled ostrich soup, complex sauces, and cucumbers stewed with brains) is still feeding people today.While cuisine today might seem distant from ostrich soup, Grainger thinks that Roman food often gets inaccurately portrayed as overly decadent or overly spiced.  Cooked correctly, the cuisine is quite balanced, she says.  And in her book, Cooking Apicius, she uses her knowledge of ancient Roman life to put the recipes in context for a contemporary kitchen and contemporary cooks. Also, on this episode, Jeff also reads from a 1932 English translation of Apicius by Joseph Dommers Vehling, which is available in the public domain thanks to Project Gutenberg. Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black SpotHave you seen the new HBM stickers? They’re beautiful.  Get yours here.  As of publish date: if you buy 4, one of them will be free.  The discount gets applied automatically when you add them to your cart.
  • The Straight and Narrow
    In 2012, a street preacher walking three small dogs tried to convince Jeff Emtman of his way of thinking about gender and the afterlife. In this Here Be Monsters brief, Jeff shares the short essay he originally wrote about the dinner party where they attempted to make an uneasy friendship. Jeff re-edited the essay in 2022 and gave pseudonyms to the main characters (“Cliff” and “Sophie”). Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black SpotHere Be Monsters is an independent podcast supported by listeners and advertisements from small businesses. If you’d like to support the show, consider sponsoring an episode, or becoming a supporter on Patreon. Some other news: 1. Album of German field recordingsThe recordings from the last episode (HBM153: Klänge from Berlin) are now available as an album.  Listen and purchase here.2. New HBM stickers are here! They’re beautiful, screen printed, die-cut, clear vinyl versions of the “HBM” logo.  Available for purchase on the HBM store. Patreon supporters can get some for very nearly free by following the instructions in this post.
  • HBM153: Klänge from Berlin
    The composer Pauline Oliveros thought there was a difference between hearing and listening.  She defined hearing as a passive act, something done with the ears.  But she defined listening as something active saying that listening happens in the brain.  Sam Parker is a recordist who takes inspiration from Oliveros’ words and work.  About six years ago, on an episode of Here Be Monsters called Sam’s Japan Tapes, Sam shared dozens of recordings he made during his first (and only) trip to Japan.  He released those recordings under the name Observance as an album called Japan, 6/21 - 7/14.On this episode, Here Be Monsters host takes two trips to Germany, and records the sounds of Christmas in Berlin, New Years in Saxony, and many hours of people and birds just going about their daily lives in the late winter and early spring. Before Jeff leaves on his first trip, he calls Sam Parker back, to ask for recording advice before the trip, and Sam offers three tips: Take lots of time.Capture moments of everyday routine. Trust your instinctsThe recordings on this episode are available as an album called “Field Recordings: Germany, 2021-2022” and it’s available for purchase on Bandcamp, under Jeff Emtman’s The Black Spot moniker.  Until June 30th, 2022, all profits from the sale of this album will be donated to The International Committee of the Red Cross. Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: Remixes from the recording session in HBM049: Sam’s Japan Tapes.Photos: Jeff EmtmanThank Yous: Sam Parker, Johanna Gilje Sponsor: HBM’s Patreon SupportersHere Be Monsters’ supporters on Patreon send a small monthly (or yearly) donation to help cover Jeff’s living expenses, pay contractors, fees, taxes, etc.Listener Kit Roberts supports HBM on patreon, saying “I’m a patron of HBM because no other podcast has ever made me feel like this one does…so small and singular and yet connected to everything all at once.”Thank you so much, HBM Patrons.👽👉Become a patron👈👽Recordings heard in this episodeMM:SS - Description.  (📸 means there’s a photo in the gallery)08:45 - Train to SeaTac airport.09:45 - Announcements on an Air France flight.11:00 - Turbulance and people rustling.12:30 - Berlin's Brandenburg Airport13:15 - A brown swan hissing and chirping13:30 - Boats rubbing against wooden piers and a small dog barking.14:15 - Cars driving on cobblestone streets.14:45 - Ice Skating at Berlin's Alexanderplatz 📸15:30 - Swing ride with metal chains at Alexanderplatz. 📸16:00 - Riding on the subway, then walking up several flights of stairs.18:45 - Radio playing advertisements, news, and christmas music20:45 -  A Christmas Eve service in a cathedral with a speaker reading a children's story.21:30 - Christmas carols playing as people mill around.22:00 - A wedding party in front of the Brandenburg Gate.23:15 - A Christmas exhibit with a lit up polar bear and fog machine.24:00 - Birds chirping in Berlin's Mauerpark as people walk by.25:00 - Crunching frosted leaves on a cold morning.25:30 - Walking through a forest in the Saxony Region of Eastern Germany.📸26:15 - Whistling through hands in the forest.27:00 - Buying 5 kilograms of potatoes from a vending machine as a dog barks.📸27:30 - Mountaintop shop selling hot drinks and snacks in Czechia.27:45 - Chopping kindling. Distant fireworks echoing through the hills in Saxony.28:30 - Snaps and pops of a small fire29:00 - Distant fireworks to celebrate the start of 2022.29:30 - Close fireworks echoing.30:00 - A strong wind blowing on a mountaintop in Saxony.📸30:30 - A tree swing creaking.31:15 - 6AM on the outskirts of Berlin.  Traffic starting, crow screaming.32:45 - Captive pigeons fluffing their feathers and cooing at Hasenheide Park34:00 - Slow motion recording of a sudden hailstorm.34:30 - A motorized billboard in a subway station35:00 - Accordion player performs in a subway station in Berlin's Mitte neighborhood.37:45 - Applause after a play.38:15 - A small bird singing several songs.39:30 - Church bells ringing.40:45 - Wind flapping the torn domes of the Teufelsberg listening station as people sing.📸43:00 - Walking through the forest near Teufelsberg as bikes pass.
  • HBM152: Dirt Becomes You
    What do you want to happen to your body when you die?  It’s a touchy topic where tradition, religion and death denial all come into play.  But across much of the world, there are just two options: burial and cremation, which both have substantial ecological impacts. In 2019, Washington State passed SB 5001, which legalized several new options for deathcare. In this episode, host Jeff Emtman visits Return Home, a facility in Auburn, Washington that’s using one of those new options, called “Natural Organic Reduction” (NOR) which is commonly called “human composting”.  Return Home has built the world’s largest NOR facility to date, with 74 available individual vessels.  Their process (which they’ve trademarked as “Terramation”) takes about two month to complete, and involves dressing a deceased person in a pressed cotton gown and placing them a bed of organic material, and left to naturally break down using active composting techniques that bring the contents of the vessel to well above 100° Fahrenheit for much of the composting period. The techniques used by Return Home were largely inspired by Katrina Spade, a death activist and the owner of Recompose, another NOR facility located near Seattle.  Spade was one of the people who strongly advocated for the passage of SB 5001.There’s currently one other NOR facility in Washington State: Herland Forrest in Wahkiacus.  Currently two other states, Colorado and Oregon have legalized NOR.  NOR’s future isn’t known.  It’s new and still relatively rare. Do enough people want to be composted to have it be a viable business model? Each of these companies have different approaches to their process.  Return Home’s model relies on scale.  They wouldn’t disclose the exact cost of building their facility, or how many simultaneous descendants they’d need in their facility to be profitable.  As of publishing, they charge $4,950 for their process and they have 15 of their 74 slots occupied.  And in some ways, the full ecological benefits for Return Home’s process also rely on scale.  In a follow up email, CEO Micah Truman stated that “We calculate our inputs as follows. Our electricity bill each month is about $1,700, and is sufficient to Terramate 74 bodies. This comes to $22 per body. In current gas terms ($5 a gallon at present) that is roughly 4 gallons of gas, which is about 1/8 the amount of gas used for cremation. The number is actually quite a bit better than that, as our electricity bill also powers our entire facility, not just the Terramation equipment.”When asked about the relative emptiness of the facility, Katey Houston (Return Home’s Services Manager) said, “The funeral industry is so slow to change. When cremation became a thing, it took sixty years to become mainstream.  The fact that we’ve served just over thirty families now in four months, is quite amazing.  And we’ve continued to grow month-over-month, and that’s all I can ask for.”Thank you Hannah Suzanna for help with research for this episode. Here Be Monsters is an independent, listener supported podcast.  Consider supporting the show on Patreon. Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: The Black Spot and SerocellSponsor: Sleep With Me PodcastSleep With Me is a podcast that helps you fall asleep.  Host Drew Ackerman tells tangential stories, reads old catalogs, makes metaphors about washing machines, and does other calming things all in pursuit of slowing your mind down and letting you drift off to sleep more peacefully.  Subscribe to Sleep With Me on any podcast app.
  • HBM151: Blowgun Time Warp
    Season 10 of Here Be Monsters starts and host Jeff Emtman hallucinates his adolescence while working long hours.  Scenes from middle school dances, dawn bus rides, the basement, and ( most crucially), a late-night raffle at a hardware store.Do you like Here Be Monsters? Tell your friends, support HBM on Patreon, and have your boss sponsor an episode.Producer: Jeff EmtmanMusic: Serocell and The Black SpotSponsor: RadioLabAre you curious about the world, but also want to be surprised, and even moved? Radiolab experiments with sound and storytelling allowing science to fuse with culture, and information to sound like… well, music. Join hosts Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser for an experiential investigation that explores themes and ideas through a patchwork of people, sounds, and stories. Listen to Radiolab

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