Spanish Villagers Jumping Over Babies
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Hey, welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. One of my favorite things about working at the BPP is that someone's always got your back. Times of trouble and strife, someone's always there for you, holding out the little trampoline, in case you jump off the high wire. This is the context in which we enter the next segment.
IAN CHILLAG: We are not those people.
MARTIN: Yes, you are, too. You'd better be, otherwise, who are you? Ian.
MATT MARTINEZ: I left my trampoline at the desk.
MARTIN: Ian Chillag and Matt Martinez have joined me in studio for a little something we like to call The Ramble.
(Soundbite of music)
MARTIN: What've you got, Mr. Chillag?
CHILLAG: OK, Harrison Ford is nothing more than a running dog of the CIA.
CHILLAG: That's my - no - according to unhappy members of the Communist Party in Russia, where the newest Indiana Jones feature has just opened. Now, you know, there is kind of a Cold War plotline. He is no longer up against the Nazis in this one. He's sort of racing these KGB agents to find a skull endowed with magical powers. But that's not a fair characterization of Soviet history in the Cold world - in the Cold War, say communists in St. Petersburg who issued a letter of outrage. I guess the crystals skulls that they were chasing were not actually endowed with magical powers.
CHILLAG: They say your work in this film is an insult to the Soviet and Russian people who remembered the difficult '50s...
MARTIN: The difficult - difficult...
CHILLAG: When our country was concluding its reconstruction after the Great War but did not send merciless terrorists to the U.S.A.
MARTIN: Mm hm.
CHILLAG: You have no future in Russia anymore. Speaking plainly, it is better for you not to come here. You will be beaten and despised. That's a quote.
CHILLAG: Yeah, and apparently the communists there aren't the only ones with a problem with the film. Some archeologists in Australia from the Archaeological Congress are having a problem with Indy as well. I think that's kind of always gone on. Claire Smith of the congress said "Indiana Jones" is an ethical nightmare. He violates international laws, runs rampant through ancient sites, all in the name of glory.
MARTIN: Come on.
CHILLAG: But nobody would've ever found the Ark of the Covenant without him, so I mean, you can't throw out the good with the bad.
(Soundbite of laughter)
MARTIN: Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
CHILLAG: Also, I think, like, you know, Indy also inspired a lot of people to become archeologists, and they probably aren't, you know, destroying tombs and stuff, so...
MARTIN: I think he's done more good than bad for the world of archeology, but what do I know?
MARTINEZ Well, you don't have to get a Philly cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz.
MARTIN: We do know that.
MARTINEZ: Little known fact. Little known fact, if you ask sandwich makers, they'll give you provolone or Swiss, but the question really is, why would you? As an article states, the Cheez Whiz pretty much makes the Philly cheesesteak what it is supposed to be, and it's really considered a classic Philadelphia street food, and cheesesteak, slices of grilled beef, onions, Cheez Whiz.
MARTIN: I am dumb for not knowing this, that those sandwiches are made with Cheez Whiz?
MARTINEZ: Cheez Whiz.
CHILLAG: Well, you can get them with all those cheeses Matt mentioned, but I thought cheese was the - you know, I'm from Philly. I thought Cheez Whiz was the most popular, but I like American. So...
MARTINEZ: Yeah. Well, a story in the Philly Enquirer is questioning the preeminence of Cheez Whiz. A recent philly.com poll asked, what cheese belongs on a cheesesteak? And the wiz finished third. American edged out provolone. There were 5,700 votes cast and...
MARTIN: It's not even cheese.
MARTINEZ: It's considered treason, I guess, but just a little bit of reality check here. This is a little bit of history of the cheesesteak. According to the story, the first cheesesteak appeared in the 1930s. It was invented by Frank Olivieri's uncle Pat, and it didn't have any cheese on it at all. Olivieri owns Pat's King of Steaks, and he said cheese came along in the '50s, just about when Cheez Whiz was hitting the market. So I'm guessing that Cheez Whiz should be the standard for the cheesesteak.
CHILLAG: It must have been confusing for people when the cheesesteak didn't include cheese at all.
(Soundbite of laughter)
MARTINEZ: Just a steak. Hey, guess what? It's baby jumping time in Castrillo de Murcia.
MARTIN: Ah! Been waiting all year.
MARTINEZ: Can I give it my best Castilian accent?
MARTINEZ: Castrillo de Murcia. How about that?
MARTIN: Oh, that's good. That was a good lisp. Sexy Spanish lisp. Please explain.
MARTINEZ: Thank you.
MARTINEZ: Well, there's this annual ritual to ward off the devil. The village babies are neatly bundled close together on a mattress, and then the adult men of the community dress up as the devil to leap over the squirming babies. It's like Evel Knievel, except instead of jumping...
MARTINEZ: Buses, you are jumping babies, and there is no motorcycle. They've been doing this since 1620.
MARTIN: No babies ever get hurt, does it report?
MARTINEZ: No word.
MARTIN: No word. No word on that. Yeah. So it's Memorial Day, and this is a time when we remember those who have been killed in service. We have a memorial of a different stripe today, however. The inspiration for the ever patient Mommy character in the "Family Circus" cartoon, she died of Alzheimer's disease on Friday. Her name was Thelma Keane. She was 82 years old.
Keane's husband, Bill, was the one who created the ubiquitous story of the mundane joys and misadventures of their family life through the characters of Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, PJ, and Mommy. The cartoon appears today in 1500 newspapers. Bill Keane says he gives all the credit for his success to his wife who became his business manager after the strip first launched in 1960.
It's a lovely cartoon strip. I very rarely found it funny, but it was something that I thought was - it was sweet, mostly. So we remember on this day Thelma Keane who was 82 years old. Hey, folks, that's your Ramble. These stories and more on our website, npr.org/bryantpark. Thanks, guys.
CHILLAG: Thank you.
MARTINEZ: Thank you.
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