Unkillable

Lachimann Garung was a member of the British-American army during WWII.  The trench he was defending came under attack by Japanese troops with grenades.  Garung caught and returned two, but the third one took off his arm. Whereas the average person would be down for...

Roses Are Red… , with Fan Theory World

Violets are blue, I don’t want our arranged marriage, so I’m having you exiled and imprisoned and yes, I’m willing to go to war over it.  The story of Blanche of Bourbon and Pedro the Cruel is hardly the stuff Hallmark cards are made of. You’d be able to guess that...

Amazing Races

LeMans, Grand Prix, Bathurst, the Indy 500, car races are big business around the world, but there was a time when people believed these new horseless carriages were a novelty item, too flimsy for such an activity.  In 1908, a race was organized to prove otherwise, in...

Physician, Test Thyself

When you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. This philosophy is okay when it comes to loading the dishwasher, but maybe not when you’re trying find the cause of venereal disease. But no one told that to John Hunter. Medical types in the...

This Means War?

Mankind has waged war for many reasons: land, oil, a pretty face, a wooden bucket, you name it.  How did a pig put the US and UK on the brink of war in Canada?  Who declares hostility over watermelon?  And what about the Golden Stool? Admittedly, some of riots, but...

It’s A Small Plate After All

For someone in my generation or younger, it strains the imagination to think that yogurt, bagels and pizza were once weird ethnic foods.  My mother has a story about seeing her first bagel when she went off to college and there was a line in a Muppet Show episodes...

Christmas Spirit (and Monsters and Other Fun)

(No episode next week.) The other weekend, after attending a menorah lighting at a local tea house, my husband and I joined a parade of monsters talking down the sidewalk.  There were vicious satyr-like manimals with sticks in their hands and wicker baskets on their...

Meeting New Peoples

A few weeks before this recording, an American missionary in a kayak made it his goal to bring Christianity to the people of North Sentinel Island.  The people there live an anachronistic life, similar to that of other cultures in the stone age. In the few brief...

Format War Veteran

There are many important decisions that shape our lives and by which we judge other people.  Coke or Pepsi? Rolling Stones or Beatles? New York or LA? Cats or dogs? iPod or Zune? That last one was pretty easy for the vast majority of people.  The competition between...

Baptism by…

Baptism announcements in church newsletters are not usually cause for much excitement outside of the initiate’s family, certainly not a matter for the state supreme court.  Unless you’re a particular Syrian-born man who claimed that the church in Tulsa, OK where he...

Surprise Polyglot

Like all things, English has changed and developed over time. Though it began as a German language, many words are taken from Latin and French. The grammar is also from other Germanic languages, but neither is it much like that of Romance languages. Romance languages,...

Read A Rainbow

What do the missing words in the following book titles all have in common?: The ___ Mile, Where the ___ Fern Grows, The ___ Letter.  Need a clue? Here’s an easy one: Fifty Shades of ___. That’s right, all of these books these have colors in their titles, like a...

Panto to Python – a history of British Comedy

“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created.  This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”  Thus begins Douglas Adams’ Restaurant at the End of the Universe, sequel to his culture touchstone The Hitchhiker’s Guide...

Words You Can’t Say On TV Or Radio, with JoChristie

Hollywood in the 1920s was haunted by a number of scandals, like the murder of director William Desmond Taylor and alleged fatal sexual assault by movie star "Fatty" Arbuckle, which brought widespread condemnation from religious, civic, and political organizations....

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept 15 to Oct 15. Join us in celebrating cultural touchstones and famous people, as well as learning things like the distinction between Latino and Hispanic. The first thing we need to do is to clear up some confusion on...

Banned Books – Kids, YA, LGBTQ

From Shel Silverstein inciting cannibalism to a book about a baby penguin that's consistently among the most challenged and banned books, we look at children, young adult, and LGBTQ books challenged or banned for silly reasons. See part one for full show notes.

Banned Books – The Classics, with Oh No! Lit Class podcast

This week's special guest is Megan Dangerous from Oh No! Lit Class. Walk into your local library this week and you’re likely to see a display of books that have been banned in different times and places for a variety of reasons.  Standard choices include Animal Farm,...

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