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Interesting If True
24 minutes | 2 days ago
Interesting If True - Episode 30 - This One's A Turkey!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the show that’s finally angered someone with the power to strike us down… I’m your host… ish, this week Aaron and with me is the turkey I’m prepping for Thanksgiving. The rest of the hosts are all off in the world in varying degrees of unwell. And yes, there’s some ‘rona, but also some not ‘rona. So if you’re thankful for the laughs this show provides stop by facebook.com/interestiniftrue and wish Jenn, Jim, or Shea well, I’m sure they’d appreciate it. Jokes and plees for sympathy likes aside, being sick sucks but as far as we know everyone is doing well and will be back to regale you with strange and silly stories shortly. And with that, let’s go to the archive, Jenn; You can never be too rich or too thin, right? So, since many of us who briefly cared no longer do, let’s talk about diets and how silly and useless they are. Also some crazy and potentially dangerous a few in years past were. Weird diets are by no means ONLY a thing of the past of course. I’m not talking about the vegan lifestyle, gluten-free (whether needed or not) or the no processed/no sugar thing. Just a few current ones by people we’ve heard of: There’s the Master Cleanse (which is a diet consisting entirely of tea, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper) used by Beyonce, Demi Moore and singer Ashanti (to name a few). Trump-buddy and Mr. Super Bowl Tom Brady created his own diet the TB12 (1 guess what the TB stands for) that peddles baseless and weird claims such as “the “right foods” are “alkalizing” and “anti-inflammatory.” Alkaline foods lower his pH level, he writes, which can help with a range of ailments, from boosting low energy to preventing bone fractures.” Which is…not true. (It’s not technically an unhealthy diet, he’s just making up shit about what it does.) Finally, the really adorable and charming actor from Parks & Rec who was swallowed whole somewhere in another Galaxy by this new White Man(™) conservative evangelical, Chris Pratt touts the benefits of the Daniel Fast, a biblical based ‘wellness based’ program. To keep it simple, it’s a 21 day restrictive fast and 40 days overall, was developed by mega-church pastor Rick Warren, and involves lots and lots of prayer. Ok, so now that we’ve discussed that weird diets are obviously a thing of the present, let’s discuss some of those of the past that crank up the weirdness to 11 and a half: In the 1920’s cigarette brand Lucky Strikes created one of the most famous early advertising taglines: “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” “Light a Lucky Strike when you are tempted to eat between meals. They satisfy the craving for sweets and rich pastries. That’s why thousands now reducing (dieting) smoke them constantly.” – Lucky Strike ad, 1928 And don’t think this was only focused on the ladies and a slim figure only. Nope, it also promised to keep men strong, fit and athletic! Please note health promise at the bottom the advert So moving forward just slightly in time but probably not really in healthiness, let’s discuss the diet craze of the 40’s-early 70s: SPEED! And boy was it prevalent. If the name Susanna McBee doesn’t ring a bell, she was an undercover journalist who helped bring to public attention to just how many mama’s had little helpers. She published a piece in 1969 that detailed exactly how easy it was to keep an amphetamine addiction going strong. From Smithsonian Magazine online: “Susanna McBee walked into the office of a doctor she’d never met before, submitted to a three-minute physical, and walked out with hundreds of colorful amphetamine pills. Then she went to another—and another—and another. At every doctor’s office, she was prescribed diet pills containing the potent stimulant, sometimes handed to her by doctors before she’d even spoken a word.” A quick bit of history: Benzadrine, one of the most popular brands, had been used since the 30s for assorted issues just as sinus congestion (No joke, it was a cotton ball soaked in the drug and inhaled through an inhaler. You didn’t need a prescription to get a Benzedrine inhaler, and some patients soon realized that they enjoyed the inhaler’s stimulant effects more than a clear nose. They started prying open the inhaler, taking out the cotton, and either eating or injecting the drug.) and nerves, alertness and PTSD for World War II soldiers. Of course PTSD had yet to be coined as a term yet, instead it was referred to as “combat fatigue”. The US of course weren’t the only country to hype up their soldiers and then assign goofy euphemisms. Germany gave their troops meth and called it an “alertness aid”. Japanese kamikaze pilots also juiced themselves up before their final mission. So anyway, an unexpected side effect turned out to be a substantial decrease in appetite. So after the war ended and the men came home, their women took up the Benzadrine banner and wives had never been slimmer and kitchens had never been cleaner. Smith, Kline & French, the company who produced Benzadrine, hired scientist Charles Ivy to determine the effects for this as a potential diet aid. Considering how Ivy was the scientist who introduced and headed the program to keep the troops supplied with the pick me ups, unsurprisingly he concluded that amphetamine was 100% safe for weight loss. SKF went on to diversify its amphetamine business, peddling the drugs for both weight loss and depression for decades. Finally, my own personal favorite of the ye olde timey weight loss plans! It’s something of a buddy system, so that’s always more encouraging. It starts with a pill…containing a tapeworm egg! Once it hatches the idea is that it eats part of whatever the person ingests, helping you to both lose weight and not worry about pesky calorie counting. We have the Victorians to thank for this particular parasitic plan. They of the whale bone corsets and the ideal “perfect 16in waist”. Seeing as that is physically impossible without fashionable torture devices, it’s not surprising they turned to… let’s say unconventional methods. This particular stradegy still exists today, at least as an IDEA. There are many legends of early Hollywood starlets using this method to keep the pesky pounds off (side note: I remember an episode of the old E channels show Hollywood Babylon discussing an early actress who, while taking a bath, was shocked to notice the worms slithering out of her into the water), but for the most part they are unable to verified or outright exaggerations. There are also persistent rumors today of Mexican clinics who, for a couple of thousand dollars, will give you a “full tapeworm treatment”. These claims are dubious at best, plus a visit to few countries with loosey-goosey water purifications and food safety laws would do pretty much the same thing. So it turns out the tapeworm trend may have been more urban legend than actuality. And of course, the creepy little critter isn’t in your tummy just taking a few bites of your meals, it is actually absorbing necessary nutrients and other things that you actually need. To finish this up with some fun facts, as infestations by tapeworms are actually a real thing, here are some historical methods that were used to cleanse the host. (Effectiveness not guaranteed.)Per Snopes: “Tapeworms are hard to get rid of. They had the person starve himself for days. Then they set a bowl of hot milk in front of the person. He had to keep his mouth open. After a while the tapeworm began to come up his throat ’cause he smelled the milk. They kept moving the bowl further away until the tapeworm was completely out. Other versions of how to draw out a tapeworm include placing milk, cookies, and a hammer near the afflicted person’s anus for a few nights and letting the tapeworm gorge himself into complacency on the treats. Once this has been accomplished, the cookie is withheld. When the worm comes all the way out to demand, “Where’s my cookie?,” whoever is stuck with worm-watching duty that night bashes it with the hammer. An alternative vermifuge calls for 29 steaks and a hammer: The patient eats a steak for 29 days in row, then fasts on the 30th day. The worm becomes closely acquainted with the hammer when it emerges to demand its T-bone.” Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Enter Patreon Story Title Here Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! This wasn’t just live-to-tape, it was wiki-to-tape! Check out the details here if you’re interested https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emu_War Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts… turkey. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
34 minutes | 16 days ago
Interesting If True - Episode 28 - Good King Shea
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that is better than yours. I’m your host this week, Shea, and with me this week, as always, the ever amicable Aaron I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that I’m a king in my own mind… and that might just be enough… The Orange Oligarchs Ostracism We have been living in an Orwellian horror but it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel, though who really knows. This past year has revealed that real-life rulers were sometimes more akin to villains in storybooks: orange oligarchs, crazed witches, sleazy morons, and murderous families. Whether these rulers were born that way or the job drove them to do dastardly deeds, a number of monarchs throughout history exhibited signs that something wasn’t quite right. For some, it was just a strange quirk here or there. For others, a debilitating problem that left them unfit to rule their own lands. No one can deny that, despite the perks, being a ruler is complicated. Access to massive riches can corrupt you. You must make decisions that determine the well-being of entire populations. All the while, there are people out there who probably want nothing more than to see you dead. This could lead anyone to develop warped priorities. SO today I will learn you about some of the strangest rulers and royals throughout history, what made them that way, and how it might have affected the country they ruled. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Elagabalus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elagabalus Elagabalus, who took the throne in 218 AD, was a lesser-known Roman Emperor whose behavior rivals that of the most vicious, cruel, and self-indulgent rulers of all time. A devotee of the Syrian god he was named for, Elagabalus brought the deity’s cult to Rome and tried to make it the main religion of the empire. He wasn’t above physical aggression, either; Emperor Elagabalus stories have him harming unsuspecting guests while they dined and even depict him as making human sacrifices. But he got the most attention for his private life. Elagabalus had multiple wives as well as a husband, and some reports suggest he was transsexual and enjoyed dressing up in traditional female garb. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, consider this: Elagabalus was only 14 when he became emperor, but the good times didn’t last. At the age of 18, the young emperor was slain by his own soldiers. Elagabalus has a laundry list of weird behavior such as; He chained naked women to chariots, like horses, and whipped them as they pulled him around. He released poisonous snakes into the audience of the gladiator games and watched as crowds panicked and died from poisonous bites. He tied dinner guests to a water wheel to watch them slowly drown. He tossed gold and silver from the balcony of a tower and reveled in commoners fighting and dying over the money. He let loose lions and leopards during a feast.(This was his idea of a prank because all the animals were rendered harmless but this was unknown to the guests) He filled positions in the government based on the sizes of the men’s penises. When his chief adviser warned him that he should live a moderate life to prevent revolt over the effects of his taxation, he stabbed the adviser to death. My favorite contribution of his maybe the whoopie cushion, not officially attributed to him. He loved pranks so instead of seating his guests on cushions, according to Historia Augusta, “some of his humbler friends he would seat on air-pillows instead of on cushions and let out the air while they were dining.” The cushions deflated, and the flabbergasted guests would slide under the table without anything to support them. Who wouldn’t have wanted to off this guy after all these hyjinx… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Prince_Sado http://www.historynaked.com/prince-sado-korea-coffin-king/ Born in 1735, Prince Sado’s, crown prince of Korea, brutal treatment at the hands of his father, King Yongjo, led to a life of perversion, violence, and despair. Sado suffered from delusions and nightmares from the age of 10, and things got worse as he grew up. His constant quest to impress his father drove him to madness, especially considering his father may have been equally crazy and hell-bent on torturing his son. After the birth of his second son Sado’s grip on reality was starting to slip, historians believe that an attack of measles may have been the cause. Sado believed he could see the god of thunder, and had an irrational fear of the sky. Sado was convinced he would be blamed by his father for any thunderstorm that hit the country.He was obsessed with Taiost magic, in particular the book known as the Jade Spine Scriptures.He would take hours to dress and choose clothes. Entire outfits were burned as a spirit offering. His clothes became associated with the weather, and would please or displease the sky gods on criteria only he could understand. Despite this Yeongjo began sending Sado in his place for more and more official duties, especially the ones Yeongjo did not want to do. This included supervising the torture of imperial prisoners, which did not improve Sado’s mental state. By this time his sanity was at an all time low. If there was any sort of stressful event or tragedy, it was expected that Sado would deal by killing a string of servants. Sado is reported as saying, “It relieves my pent up anger to kill people or animals when I’m depressed or on edge.” That’s what we need in a leader! It has been recorded that Yeongjo asked Sado why he was committing the crimes he had, to which Sado replied along the lines of, “Because I’m in pain! You are my father but do not love me.” He also began drinking heavily, which was a serious breach of Korean society. By 1762, everyone in the palace- family or servant- was in danger. The body totals are unknown, but reports are that multiple bodies had to be carried away from the palace he was in every day. Sado didn’t even seem to know he was killing people as he was in a semi-lucid state most of the time. Sado turned his dangerous attentions to his younger sister, and repeatedly tried to seduce then rape her. Something had to be done. On July 4, 1762, Sado was summoned before Yeongjo. The crown prince was stripped of his title and was ordered to get into a rice box, which was a large heavy wooden chest. The lid was shut, and Sado was left to swelter in the searing July heat. Sado lasted for eight days in the chest, with no food or water and died screaming for mercy. It’s easy to get rid of a crazy despot just follow these steps One – cut a hole in a box Two – put your Dick Prince in that box Three – Never open the box https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alexandra_of_Bavaria https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20190516-the-princess-who-thought-she-was-made-of-glass Women can be just as strange as men, luckily this next royal never harmed those around her, physically at least. Princess Alexandra of Bavaria had some weird quarks and may have been the first documented sufferer of “The Glass Delusion.” Alexandra never married, and instead was appointed abbess of the Royal Chapter for Ladies of Saint Anne in Munich and Würzburg; this was a religious community specifically for noble ladies. Alexandra suffered from a number of psychological eccentricities, including a fixation with cleanliness as well as wearing only white clothes. In her early twenties, she notably developed a delusion that as a child she had swallowed a grand piano made of glass, which remained inside her. She was convinced that any sudden movement would shatter the instrument. She was said to walk sideways through doorways and corridors to avoid breaking. Although the princess’s delusion has become a part of her quirky reputation, scholars speculate she suffered from something Robert Burton calls “The Glass Delusion” in his psychological study, The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1612. The Glass Delusion is thought to be a form of melancholy in which the sufferer believes they are made of glass. Another notable victim is King Charles VI of France who did not think he’d swallowed any fragile instruments, but rather believed his body to be especially breakable. Alexandra devoted much of her life to literature and passed away un-shattered at the ripe old age of living in the 1800’s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_VII_of_Denmark https://www.factinate.com/people/44-unhinged-facts-about-king-christian-vii-of-denmark-the-mad-dane/ In 1766, Christian VII of Denmark became king at age 16, and seemed to never act a day older for the rest of his life.Though King Christian VII of Denmark technically held absolute power over the Scandinavian nation, by the end of his life his disturbing mental issues—not to mention a particularly awkward cuckold situation—made him ruler only in name. By the time the young prince reached his teens it became apparent that he was mentally ill, possibly with “schizophrenia as argued in doctor Viggo Christiansen’s book Christian VII’s mental illness (1906).” According to his doctors, his frequent masturbation bordered on unhealthy. He played pranks on his grandmother, putting pins in her throne and throwing things at her. He ran wild through the streets with his friend and his mistress, destroying shops and patronizing brothels. He built his own torture rack and had himself tied to it and flogged. When visiting dignitaries would visit and bow to the young king, he would leapfrog over them. Described by modern scholars as a bully, he would slap those he disagreed with across the face. As he regressed further and further, his doctor, Johann Friedrich Struenseé, saw a chance to swoop in and gain power. Struenseé had himself appointed to Christian’s cabinet and seduced Christian’s wife. Struenseé maintained his spot as de facto ruler until Christian’s equally manipulative stepmother persuaded a very weak-minded Christian to have Struenseé and the Queen arrested for their affair. From that point on Christan was nothing more than a puppet to his stepmother. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Zhengde https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhengde_Emperor https://www.chinafetching.com/zhengde-emperor-zhu-houzhao Zhu Houzhao was made Emperor of China when he was the ripe old age of fourteen. He was an excellent study of Confucian literature, and most of the ministers thought he would grow into a fine and benevolent emperor. Boy, were they wrong! Despite all his good Confucian teaching, and all the best intentions of all his advisers and ministers, The Zhengde Emperor had very little interest in actually ruling. What he was interested in, however, was women. At one time, his personal harem was so large that many of the women starved to death from lack of supplies. And, what began as a zoo outside the Forbidden City was converted to house women for the Emperor’s own amusement. And as if all of that didn’t sate his ridiculous appetite, he frequented brothels in the city as well. Now how does one rule a country when they are busy with pleasure all the time? How about hiring a bunch of eunuchs to do it for you. So that’s what he did, after taking power he immediately handed over control of his government to a group of eunuchs, so he could devote himself to pleasure-seeking. Oh, but that’s not all. Oh, no! Not only was the young Emperor obsessed with women, he was also frankly a little thick and irresponsible. He took up the luxurious lifestyle he thought he deserved. Often, he’d be out hunting tigers for weeks at a time, and one time he was so badly mauled that he couldn’t appear in court for a month. Beyond that, one time, he thought it a good idea to store gunpowder in his palace during the lantern festival. What you would expect to happen most definitely did. He caught his palace on fire, and burned it to the ground. He would leave the Forbidden City for months at a time, living outside of it, refusing to come in for court meetings. He paid very little attention to court matters, wouldn’t see any of his ministers, and ignored all their petitions. He just wasn’t about that politician’s life, man. In time, the Emperor became notorious across the empire for his childish behavior. There are accounts of him setting up a fake commercial district outside of his palace, sort of like a living museum, and ordered his entire palace to staff it. They were forced to dress up as merchants and commoners, just so the Emperor himself could play at being a commoner and wander around, shopping, with tons of money… like the commoners did, right? Anyone who didn’t comply would be punished and swiftly fired from their position in court. In an appropriate end to Zhengde’s life, he died from an illness he caught after his pleasure boat capsized. https://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch/ludwig/biography.htm https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/06/the-125th-anniversary-of-the-death-of-king-ludwig-ii/100085/ What kind of list would this be without talking about my favorite crazy king, King Ludwig the 2nd of Bavaria. King Ludwig II’s most lasting contribution to world history might be the construction of Neuschwanstein, the German castle that inspired Walt Disney’s design for both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s signature castles. This is also evidence of one of his most famous quirks, but definitely not his only one. Ludwig was born in 1845, and spent his childhood dressing up, play acting, and isolating himself from the rest of the world. He became king at 18, without any training or experience, and shied away from the job for the rest of his life. Ludwig retreated to his lavish castles and fully invested himself in his fantasy world, hiring set designers instead of architects to create his castles. He imagined himself as Parzival, a medieval figure associated with the Holy Grail. When banks threatened to seize Ludwig’s property, the government declared him insane and deposed him. The day after he was imprisoned, he was found dead under mysterious circumstances, along with the psychiatrist who declared him mad. https://allthatsinteresting.com/insane-rulers#10 https://www.tudorsociety.com/madness-juana-castile/ Juana la Loca, as she became known, was Queen of Castile. Joanna of Castile was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, famous in America as the Spanish royals who sent Christopher Columbus on his western voyage. Joanna married Philip I of Burgundy, son of the Holy Roman Emperor. She was very devoted to her husband, and gave him six children, all of whom went on to be emperors or queens. Despite this being an arranged marriage, Joanna fell deeply in love with Philip (he was named Philip the Handsome, after all) and didn’t take his sudden death well. Joanna earned her title “Juana La Loca” for her obsession with her husband. After his sudden death in 1506, she refused to be separated from Philip’s dead, embalmed body. She kept it in her room and even traveled with it. Her son, Charles, eventually took power from her and confined her to a nunnery for the rest of her life. There, she became convinced that the nuns were trying to kill her. “It seems to me that the best and most suitable thing for you to do is to make sure that no person speaks with Her Majesty, for no good could come from it,” Charles wrote to his poor mother’s caretakers. I hope our listeners learned something, especially what pitfalls to avoid once you become a monarch. I learned that I’m super excited to see what the history books will write about the reign of our current administration and if we will be able to compete with the kings of yore. Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Prince of Patrons, Paddy Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! Welp, now I know a ton of weird stuff about poorly named Kings. Thanks Shea! To keep this royal mess of a show going I’d like to talk about an entirely different set of royals… the self-made kind! Now, before I begin I want to say that this was initially going to be two shorter tales until I fell down a rodent hole of unusual size. So, this is the first installment of my new series on micronations. Stay tuned for some truly weird stuff! I mean like, wow. Anyway. They say a man’s home is his castle. I guess “they’re” a little sexist, but also, what happens when a home isn’t up to the task? Well, then it’s time to declare something your castle, or fiefdom I guess, depending on how hands-on a roll you want to play in the upkeep of your new domain… You can take the direct approach like Prince Paddy Roy Bates who, together with his wife Princess Joan, founded their own fledgling nation on September second of 1967. Formerly a major of the King’s Royal Army, having served at the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy and with the Eighth Army in North Africa, Paddy was no ones chump. So when his favorite pirate radio station, Wonderful Radio London, went off-air he knew he had to rise up as a leader of men so no longer would he or his people be without free jams! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderful_Radio_London And so Ol’ Roy set out to take Fort Roughs… the derelict WW2 off-coast platform in the North Sea just far enough off the coast of Suffolk as to be in international waters. Paddy easily defeated the local population of… Jack Moore and his daughter Jane, the previous squatters who, until recently, were pirate radio… pirates. The original builders of the platform having long left that area of space for parts unknown… or, you know, home because the War ended and there weren’t any more German U-boats to look for. Having run off the all-too-happy-to-leave pirate broadcasters Paddy declared himself not King but Prince, because of humbleness reasons, his wife Princess, and their son “His Royal Highness Prince Michael” who was thereafter referred to as Prince Regent. And thus began the glorious reign of the Lord, Lady, and the young-master, Bates. Unfortunately, heavy is the burden of the crown and Bates, despite having the equipment, never got around to reestablishing a radio station. Still, for years there was great peace and prosperity throughout the land, all acre of it… until zee Germans arrived! Alexander Achenbach, whose name I swear to someone’s god I haven’t made up, declared himself the Prime Minister of Sealand after Prince Bates refused to turn it into a casino. He then hired a rag tag team of Dutch and German mercenaries to storm Sealand while its regents were on a diplomatic mission to England securing… groceries and the contents of their P.O. Box. And so, in the early morning hours heavily armed mercenaries Red Dawn’ed Sealand on jet skis, speedboats, and helicopters. They quickly took the platform and a hostage, the young Prince. But, as Eli said, there are none who know the land better than the prince! Michael somehow escaped his captors and, using caches of weapons stored throughout Sealand, retook his nation for her people. And now we have an international incident… kinda. See, Achenback lead the charge himself and because of his previous dealings with Prince Bates he held a novelty Sealandian passport… so Bates charged him with treason against the mer-lion crown and held for about $35K. And here’s where it gets weird. See, Sealand was beyond 30-nautical-miles, or 6 clicks, off shore and therefore in international waters. So Germany’s attempts to work with the UK to get their citizens back was met with a stiff upper lip and little else. Without other options, Germany sent an official diplomat to negotiate for Achenbach’s release. And that’s the sticky wicket as the Brits say. See, sending an official diplomate was to Bates–and a number of official international bodies–a de facto recognition of Sealand’s sovereignty. Of the states… statehood, Bates stated: “We have never asked for recognition, and we’ve never felt the need to ask for recognition. You don’t have to have recognition to be a state, you just have to fulfill the criteria of the Montevideo Convention which is population, territory, government and the capacity to enter into negotiation with other states. We can and we have done all these things. We’ve had the German ambassador visit at one point to discuss something: that was de facto recognition. We’ve had communication with the president of France many years ago, but we have never asked for recognition and we don’t feel we need it. After weeks of negotiations Achenbach was released for… free. He would go on to establish a government in exile known as the Sealandic Rebel Government. F*cking splitter. And so life was returned to normalcy in Sealand… or so they thought. Over the years Prince Bates had established a number of Sealandic hallmarks of nationhood. They had a flag, coin money that he minted from… either bits of Sealand or Esty. Not sure. They had a national anthem… instrumental. And they had the aforementioned passports, of which Bates had sold some 150,000 world wide. Sadly the passports had to be recalled in 1997 because the terrorist government in exile, lead by outlaw minister Achenbach, were using Sealand passports to launder drug money from Russia and Iraq. Based in Madrid the group had fake Sealandic license plates, diplomatic immunity, and international relationships with citizens in Hong Kong and rebel leaders in the middle east. Despite the setback of accidentally facilitating an international drug cartel Sealands contributions to the international community would continue to grow. Most in sport. Sealand didn’t have the population to support its own soccer, rugby, football, fencing, ultimate Frisbee, table tennis, or Kung-foo teams. But it gladly allowed athletes who, for whatever reason, couldn’t compete for their own nations to carry the banner of Sealand. The Sealand National Football Association, for example, is a member of the Bouvelle Federation-Board, a football sanctioning group for non-recognized member states of FIFA. In 2004 they played Finland’s football team to a 2-2 draw. In 2004 Darren Blackburn of Oakville, Ontario (nice place btw) ran marathons under the Sealand flag. In 2007 Michal Martelle took Sealand to the Kung Fu World Cup in Quebec City winning two silver medals. In 2008 Sealand hosted a RedBull skateboarding event. And in 2013 mountaineer Kenton Cool placed Sealands flat at the summit of Mount Everest. Eventually the Prince would grow tried of his duties and tried… and failed… to sell Sealand to the Pirate Bay. Eventually time would catch up with the crown, as it will for us all, and Prince Paddy Bates was forced to retire to England where he would eventually die of Alzheimer’s in 2012. The beloved monarch’s passing drew attention and condolences from citizens, friends, family, and even other world leaders like Her Majesty, Queen Anastasia Sophia Maria Helena von Rubenroth Elphberg of Ruritania. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bates_(Sealand) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Sealand#cite_note-Essex-17 https://sealandgov.org/shop/ https://reason.com/2012/10/15/the-world-mourns-prince-paddy-roy-bates/ Outro I’m Shea, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-host Aaron Before we go, this week I learned that having a big nose is not an excuse for not wearing a mask, I still wear underwear. We will talk at you next week. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
38 minutes | 23 days ago
Interesting If True - Episode 27 - Out In Left Field
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that vies to be your new national pastime now that the nation, and baseball, are dumpster fires. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me is Shea; I’m Shea, and this week I learned that blowing on the wine in your coffee mug will help convince the rest of the Zoom people that your tea is hot. Baseball! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Lawson https://www.wired.com/2014/10/fantastically-wrong-lawsonomy/ http://www.lawsonomy.org https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/lawson https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lawsonomy https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/29967/11-notes-alfred-w-lawson-founder-weirdest-university-ever https://www.wuwm.com/post/manlife-documentary-explores-lawsonomy-its-last-crusader https://www.manlifethemovie.com This week I learned about a sports. The world is on fire so I thought I’d pass the time with America’s great pass-time — not letting your own object stupidity get in your way. So I “got into the game” as they say and I started early — late 1800’s early. You know, when it was about the sport! Before the league and its helmet rules made everything lame. When manly-men played a manly game then went home to do other, also probably manly, things like build airplanes that don’t fly, starting magazines no one wants, or opining on the nature of reality and how much like Jesus you are. Just baseball stuff. And so our story begins with Alfred William Lawson being born on March 24, 1869. An amazing event he described as “…the most momentous occurrence since the birth of mankind.” He died November 29th, 1954, about which he said nothing. ‘Cause he was dead. He was a professional baseball player, aviator, and utopian philosopher… it was before players had twitter. Iono. Of himself Lawson wrote, in the 3rd person because he’s a nutcase, “his mind responds to every question, and the problems that stagger the so-called wise men are as kindergarten stuff to him. To try to write a sketch of the life and works of Alfred W. Lawson in a few pages is like trying to restrict space itself. It cannot be done.” And he’s not wrong. It took me nearly three pages to chronicle his various failures. His baseball career was from 1888 to 1907 when he played… the… ball… position… I guess, perhaps one of the base positions… but, definitely one of the two. He played for the most appropriately named team ever, the Boston Beaneaters until 1895 when he transitioned to management. In 1908 he founded the Union Professional League to rival that other league, the… “M”, “L”, something… but it went under a year later because he was broke, baseball is expensive, and no one wanted to play with his weird beans. Aside from a short, beanie, baseball career Alfred fancied himself an aviator. And by aviator I mean magazine publisher. He started Fly, later renamed Aircraft, and printed interesting articles about the new and exciting world of disobeying gravity until 1914 when the magazine, like his Union league, folded. He was one of the first people to envision commercial air travel, even coining the phrase “airline.” Then, the War. During the war he learned to fly the Sloan-Deperdussin, and the Moisant-Bleriot monoplanes. For what reason, who knows. He also designed three aircraft for the U.S. Military. One became a test craft, another managed to get funding, but the third never left the drawing board because that economy-wrecking Wonder Woman had to go and defeat Ares, allowing the Armistice to be signed, ending the need for newfangled bombers and sending Lawson Aircraft Corporation the way of the dodo, Union Professional Baseball, and yee-oldie aviation magazines. Undeterred by his track record of not being a super-good leader of industry Lawson began development of the Lawson L-2, an 18-seat commercial airliner that he flew some 2000 miles from Milwaukee to Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo-Syracuse-New york City-Washington, D.C.-Collinsville-Dayton-Chicago and back to Milwaukee creating some real buzz for the development of his 26-seater, the Midnight Liner, and I’m sure the first “what’s with airplane food?” jokes. Interestingly, back in the day everything tasted like boot anyway so most of the punchlines were about dressing your salad in an unpressurized wind tube. Thanks to his amazingly multi-city tour Lawson raised over a million dollars to build the Midnight Liner. Which he began work on in 1920… yeah. So six years later when the depression eased he was finally able to secure the 100k he needed to begin the work to spend the million dollars of government funding on his amazing new airliner. Which he completed in 1926, loaded with 56 people, and immediately crashed. And so went the Midnight Liner the way of the dodo, Lawson Aircraft Company, Union Professional Baseball, Fly magazine, and his reputation. Realizing he was as good at flying as he was at stick-ball Lawson finally invested in his other erstwhile hobby: bullshit. Lawson became a philosopher and pseudo-religious leader spreading the good Lawsonion word. Because that’s what he called the philosophy and religion he founded, Lawsonomy. In the Lawsonomy Trilogy, the three books with weird fonts that make up the foundation of his philosophy, teachings on physics, and of course the origins of his Lawsonian religion, he says of his own brilliance, having finally understood the zig-zag-and-swirl, it was apparent that “About every two thousand years a new teacher with advanced intellectual equipment appears upon earth to lead the people a step or two nearer the one God of everybody”. Continuing, again about himself in the 3rd person: “If Lawson should die today, posterity will honor and glorify him as no other mortal, because he has given mankind the true base from which to start an edifice of super-knowledge of the universe and its laws.” That super-knowledge would, of course, include economics. See, he wanted a system of Direct Credits from the government. To his mind Banks were the root of all evil, especially the Great Depression. So in his world the government issues you credits for the value of land and property. Kind of like money, but not. And if your confused, don’t worry, it’s a tricky topic. As Lawson explains “economics is a side partner of physics…like a couple that can’t be separated.” So you’ll need to take that money and zig it all the way up your zag before you can understand his great theories. Fortunately, in 1943 he founded the Humanity Benefactor Foundation and the University of Lawsonomy in Des Moines and began offering degrees in “Knowledgian.” Now, you can be forgiven for not having heard of Lawsononian physics. On a count of it being absurd nonsense or whatever but I think he was on to something. See, instead of math and science, both of which are tricky—especially when applied to mechanically defying the pull of the Earth—Lawson went with what he called “Natural Law.” Which he said included biology, psychology, and economics. Also energy doesn’t exist. Without energy to explain movement and so on he based his physics on the concept of “penetrability”, “suction and pressure”, and of course the foundational principle of “zig-zag-and-swirl” a theory which he considered to be on-par with Einstein’s theory of Relativity. See, when he was a kid he noticed sucking and blowing moved dust in the air. Therefore… Lawsonic physics were based on principles of “Suction” and “Pressure” acting upon substances. “Substances,” by the way, are everything, ever: air, “other gases,” solids, liquids, “mentality,” heat, cold, light, sound, electricity the “ether of outer space,” and something called “lesether.” See, our planet swims in the great ether, but lesether, because it’s… wait for it… less dense than ether, it’s called lesether. It’s lowered density creates a suction at the north pole into which all manner of stellar debris falls. Per Lester, lesether is: “supplied directly by the Sun in currents of various density and also by solid substances which are drawn into the Solar System, such as meteors and other cosmic debris which are dissolved into gases by contact with the atmosphere of the Earth.” Energy had no place in Lawsonic physics: “There is no greater load of misconception that Science has ever had to shoulder than the unprovable theory that somewhere, somehow, and in some shape, there exists a substance called Energy that causes movement. No such thing exists anywhere and Science should expunge the fallacy without delay.” The useful nutrients are absorbed by the planet and it’s life, the rest are flushed out of the planet’s butt, also known as the South Pole. (Interestingly, the poles being the planets mouth and anus was not a new idea, John Cleves Symmes had proposed this nearly 100 years earlier). Lawson even proposed academic expeditions to the planet’s northern, gaping maw to over 500 world leaders, colleges, and intellectual societies. To all of which he attached certifications of his own sanity — a thing all great thinkers do for surezies. Now that you know what’s up the real excitement can begin. See, as substances achieve maturity, or “equaeverpoise” or “a perpetual movement of matter” you can apply these theories to the human body! Inside the body, equaeverpoise is called “lawonpoise” and with proper raw vegan dieting, good hygiene, rest and exercise, you’ll live to no less than 200 years! At his school students labored over his grand three books, but also the some 50 supplemental books he wrote which were, of course, the only books allowed to be on campus. They came with titles like MANLIFE, a book he wrote in 1923. Exams were just recitations of his books and were held not by semester… but after the 10 to 20 years he estimated it would take to understand his great mind. And, after 30 years and a handful of passed tests you would be given the title and degree of Knowedgian. So, I took a look at the books, titled Lawsonomy, Mentality, and Almighty, which have 29, 40, and 23 chapters respectively. The longest of those chapters appearing to be about a page and a half if it were single spaced. Most paragraphs are single sentences, which are themselves almost entirely declarative statements. For example: Man grows up from seed. Before I explained PENETRABILITY in MANLIFE in 1923 no one seemed to know the cause of capillary action. The two foregoing paragraphs should clear up that problem for you. Those paragraphs are: The menorgs have built in each cell of man a minute suction and pressure pump which acts for the cell as the heart acts for the entire body. The menorgs have balanced the entire system so well that the combined pull and push of all the cells of the whole body equals the pull and push of the heart’s power plant. What’s a Menorg? As best as I can surmise, they’re angles. So that’s all terribly confusing. Good thing he’s a professor how eh? And so the academic life was going well for Lawson, that is until the IRS and a few other federal abbreviations’ investigations shut the school down in 1952. During the investigations, unable to teach, fly, or have other useful skills, he couch surfed around the country living with various “acolytes” because the IRS can’t take what you don’t have I guess. In 1954 he would be called before the United States Senate for one such investigation. Basically, the Senate was real curious about why his Benefactory non-profit was buying up post-war weapons, munitions, and machinery and then selling it for a profit. In response he began explaining Lawsonian philosophy until the Senators became so frustrated with the proceedings that they just let him go. Leaving the meeting, Lawson supposedly called the affair “the damnedest thing I’ve ever heard of in all my life.” To which one senator retorted, “I don’t know whether we’re talking about the same thing, but I’m inclined to agree with you.” The University remained open, but lost its status as a non-profit forcing Lawson to sell it to a developer who turned the site into a stripmall. Having started and run into the ground a number of careers, businesses, and actual physical objects, Lawson died penniless and not at all Jesus, in 1954. His legacy is mostly failure and his religion and teaching now little more than a dying cult. In fact, you can see the story of his last disciple, a 90-year-old man named Merle, in a documentary made about the cult called MANLIFE from Cow Lamp Films. So there ya go. Physics are nonsense, the zigs and the zags are all the matter. And that’s what I know about baseball now. Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Dirty Balls https://baseballrubbingmud.com/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_rubbing_mud Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! We have all heard superstitious stories from the sporting world, from Wade Boggs’ chicken obsession to Serina Williams not changing her socks during a tournament. Now I don’t know if you would consider this a superstition but did you know that every major and minor league baseball game uses the exact same mud to dirty their baseballs before play? You heard that right, dirty balls… I’m sure there are some baseball fans out there that can quote MLB Rule 4.01(c), which states that all baseballs shall be “properly rubbed so that the gloss is removed,” I am not one of those fans. It turns out a brand new ball has a glossy finish and often pitchers will have a poor grip and occasionally the ball can get away from them. This was true back in 1920 when Ray Chapman, Cleveland Indians shortstop, was killed by a wild pitch to the head. After the tragedy, MLB tried to improve player safety. It needed something that would help a pitcher’s grip without damaging the ball’s surface or dirtying it so much that it would be difficult for hitters to see. Teams tried shoe polish, tobacco juice, dirt. Nothing worked well and more often than not scratched the hell out of the ball. Photo of Lena Blackburne (center) with Eddie Collins (left) and Ty Cobb (right) In the 1930s, though, Philadelphia Athletics third base coach Lena Blackburne found the answer. He rubbed a baseball with mud found near his childhood home in Palmyra, N.J.—special mud, smooth, almost creamy, gloppy without being especially gooey. It’s a geological thing, Bintliff says: There’s a high clay content in the soil, an oddity for the area, plus brackish water from the tributary mixing with “cedar water” dripping from nearby trees. Perfect conditions exist for only about a mile. Blackburne realized that a single finger dipped in mud would yield enough to spread across an entire ball, removing all of the dreaded shine without discoloring the surface. And, crucially, this mud neither dribbled off nor sat heavy on the cover. Instead, it permeated the cowhide, perfect for improving grip. If you waited just a minute, any lingering muck would fade and it would be hard to tell that the ball had been treated at all—unless, that is, you were the pitcher, who would immediately be able to feel it. The Special Mud was a huge hit with the Philly A’s and soon other teams were eager to try the mud out. Somehow, this secret special mud exploded in the MLB world and by the 1950’s every major league team was using the same mud form the same secret hole. And now for nearly three quarters of a century, a special variety of Jersey muck, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, has been removing the sheen from baseballs for just about every professional baseball team in the country. Blackburne’s mud business, along with the secret of the mud’s source, was willed to his close pal, John Haas, who had worked with Blackburne on his mud-finding exploits. Haas eventually turned over the enterprise to his son-in-law, Burns Bintliff. Burns in turn passed it on to son Jim and his family. Each July the Bintliff crew heads a boat out to the “ole mud hole” and scoops up hundreds of pounds of the “Magic Mud”, enough for one season. Then the precious product rests in barrels until the next spring when it’s packed and shipped to each of the major league teams, minor league teams, most independent leagues and many colleges in time for opening day. It isn’t simply a matter of shoveling the mud and packing it into tins. No, it’s a process—a little art, a little science, plenty of patience. “It’s like wine,” Bintliff says, joking only slightly. Good mud needs to mature. It needs to be cleansed. (“Clean mud,” he’ll have you know, is not a contradiction in terms.) When he brings the stuff back to his house, he first runs it through a strainer, removing any twigs or leaves. Then, it has to sit. Mud is mixed with the right amount of water and deposited into bins the size of trash cans. Over the course of five or six weeks Bintliff will siphon off excess liquid and rerun the mud through the strainer. Finally, the water will have fully drained, and the mud should be ready. It will feel more like cold cream than pudding, with any trace of grit removed. Mix a dollop with a tiny bit of water (or spit, as some equipment managers do), and it will be just perfect for rubbing up a baseball. He used to send it to teams in spray-painted coffee cans, but in recent years he’s made the upgrade to plastic containers with labels. Bintliff now has a modest backyard, just enough room to fit four mud bins at a reasonable distance from a small patio table. When he married Joanne in 1989, though, they didn’t have any outdoor space. Instead, they had to store the mud inside—and the only space large enough was the laundry room, which, despite the practicality of its tiled floor, is hardly where anyone might want to keep giant containers of mud for weeks at a time. Mud is not a lucrative business. This might seem self-evident and strange: It’s mud, but it’s an essential piece of a multibillion-dollar business, a feature without which an official baseball game cannot be played. Bintliff makes more money from it than his dad, but that’s not saying much. When Sports Illustrated did a short piece on his father in 1981, each can of mud was $20, and every team ordered two per season. In 2019, a can goes for $100—in keeping with inflation, plus a little extra—and every team orders four. Modern baseball has been kind to Bintliff: More home runs and more foul balls mean using more balls, and each additional one requires additional mud. “Every time we see a foul ball hit, it’s like, cha-ching!” Joanne says. But you can multiply $100 by 30 teams by four annual cans and see that it’s only around $12,000, not enough to make anyone rich (or even particularly comfortable). Bintliff has worked to expand the business, selling to softball teams and Little League, but this only goes so far. The family has never been able to live on mud alone. For decades Bintliff worked the graveyard shift as a printing press operator and Joanne was a typesetter for the same company. Now, they’re both semi retired; Social Security is enough to pay the rent while mud is enough to cover everything else. Bintliff plans on retiring soon, and like his ancestors will pass on the legacy to one of his youngest, Rachel. She grew up loving to play in the mud and has always been in it “For the love of the game.” Maybe it’s a bit early to sell everything in hopes of hitting it big in the mud world but I know of worse jobs than playing in mud pits. Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
31 minutes | a month ago
Interesting If True - Episode 26 - The Specter of Sam
Welcome to Interesting If True’s very special Halloween edition. Where the scariest thing ISN’T the fact that we have microphones. I’m your host this week, Jenn, and with me are: I’m Aaron, and I’ve learned that married life and coupled life isn’t really all that much different… except the paperwork. So. Much. Paperwork. I’m Shea, and this week I learned that every Sarah is descended from a single trisarahtops dinosaur. If we go off air, it’s because ancestry.com doesn’t want you to know this and they are trying to shut us down. The 70s were a different time… and let’s not visit the Isle of Wight. https://obscurban-legend.fandom.com/wiki/The_Sandown_Clown https://www.cryptopia.us/site/2018/11/sam-the-sandown-ghost-clown-england/ https://www.astonishinglegends.com/al-podcasts/2020/7/25/ep-183-sam-the-sandown-clown https://www.historydisclosure.com/two-children-close-encounter-strange-humanoid/ Ok, folks, today I bring you a story of the magic of childhood. And by magic I think I may mean nightmarishly bizarre. A few things to keep in mind whilst I regale you with my story. Remember being a little kid? Perspective is different. Ever heard of the 70s, LSD was in the tap water and falling from the sky. You know the British? All lunatics. So to begin: this story was first reported in the January/February 1978 edition of The BUFORA Journal. What bastion of journalistic strength is the The BJ? Well, for starters it’s an acronym for The British UFO Research Association. (It’s at this point in the story Steve has left the building.) But let’s not be hasty, this is definitely not your mother’s flying saucer story. This is the story of 2 children, a young girl of about 8 who is known only as ‘Fay’ and an unnamed boy of about the same age and their experience with… Sam the Sandown Clown. The setting is the Isle of Wight, one of the smaller of the British Isles, at Lake Common in the little town of Sandown. While walking around a golf course they heard a noise similar to an ambulance siren. They followed it across the golf course and through a hedge leading to a swampy field adjacent to Sandown Airport. The noise stopped. https://www.cracked.com/pictofacts-1939-the-sandown-clown-wooden-astronaut-from-isle-wight/ Hut description: The being invited the children into his hut. The children crawled into the hut through a flap. The hut was divided into two levels. The lower level had a blue-green wallpaper and covered with a pattern of dials. Also, it had an electric heater and some basic wooden furniture. The upper level was less spacious and had a metallic floor. He told them that he fed on berries that he collected in the late afternoon without indicating where but indicated that he had a camp or a base in the mainland he could go. As far as drinking is concerned he drank water from the nearby river once he had cleaned it. The children talked to the being for about half an hour and after saying goodbye they rushed out to tell the first person that they had seen the ghost. The man they spoke to just laughed assuming it was all just made up. Most probably lacking any other reference to their experience the children labeled the being as a ghost. A few weeks later, the girl (Fay) told her father of her experience. At first he did not pay too much attention but started to be convinced due to the extraordinary level of detail of the account. The boy also supported the girl’s description of the incident. So…WTF, right? A few potential suspects tossed out include: A fairy, ghost, or other type of paranormal or supernatural creature A robot An extra-terrestrial A hoax A shared hallucination, or folie à deux A mentally deranged man-child in a hideous space marionette costume attempting to befriend a pair of unsuspecting children for unknown reasons Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. A Sexy Series Of Competitive Interrogatives Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! As we gear up for Halloween—such that it will be with a plague on—I’ve dug out my Finn The Human onesie for its… I think the sixth, annual “getting me out of a real costume” celebration. But that’s not to say I didn’t look for a new costume… Unfortunately, they were all sold out of Sexy Pear-shaped onesies. Which is just as well, those skimpy costumes probably aren’t the best call considering it’s 35 degrees below zero out right now. On the other hand, what is a stiletto in the winter if not one, giant, cleat? AmIRight ladies?!? Speaking of ladies, this article isn’t meant to sexy shame. If you’ve got it and want to flaunt it, that’s great. Basically, you do you! Still, the Halloween section of most stories is ready to go by mid-July these days because since the early 1970’s when capitalism realized that selling kids candy is as easy as… taking candy from a baby… except backwards… the commercialization of Halloween has exploded. So what does late stage capitalism have to do with sexy Halloween costumes? Well, for that we need to remember that capitalism and feminism are frequently at odds with one another, and that the gays love a good scantily clad street party—who doesn’t really? A brief, pre-70’s history… Nicholas Rogers, a history prof at York University who has written about the history of Halloween connected sexy Halloween costumes to pre-Victorian Hollow Masses. From a Time.com article: “There is a long tradition of costuming of sorts that goes back to Hallow Mass when people prayed for the dead, […] But they also prayed for fertile marriages, and the boy choristers in the churches dressed up as virgins. So there was a certain degree of cross dressing in the actual ceremony of All Hallow’s Eve.” So there’s a bit of a historical precedent for all of this but it didn’t really take off until some fantastic queens fabuloused it all up. From Halloween expert and author Lesley Bannatyne: “There started to be these outrageous gay Halloween parades in the Castro District, Greenwich Village and Key West,” Bannatyne says. “Combine second-wave feminism with outrageousness and a general atmosphere of freedom, and you have this perfect storm of more outrageous costumes.” Of the expressions our historian Rogers says: “There was a general attempt to capitalize on what seemed transgressive, and because it’s a night of transgression you can get away with it without it being seen as particularly offensive in any way.” Pausing, he continued: “Except for the Christian right, but they think everything is transgressive anyway.” So how did it happen? Juliet Lapidos of Slate.com echoes Bannatyne’s comments by with the following: The Halloween parade in New York City’s Greenwich Village began in 1973 as a family-and-friends promenade from house-to-house organized by a local puppeteer and mask-maker. It quickly became a neighborhood-wide party, however, and since the Village was New York’s de facto gay district, the gay community cottoned to it. The event, with its drag outfits and otherwise rebellious costuming, became famous in New York and across the country, as did similarly bawdy Halloween parties in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood and in West Hollywood. So now we’ve got a sorted history of sexing up Halloween. Some Queens making it fab fun time for adults, and the Halloween industry realizing that those adults have more buying power than the average 12-year-old. In her 2012 thesis, “The Rise of Slut-o-ween,” Elizabeth A. Greer explains how “marketing began to increasingly target adults as stores sold both costumes as well as other Halloween products like carving pumpkins and house decorations to attract a broader audience with increased purchasing power.” Mix this with your standard Boomer sexism and you get things like the 2006 THE PINK DRAGON IS FEMALE, Halloween Costumes and Gender Markers by Aide Nelson. This paper is… ok… but not heavily cited. What I’m more interested in are her raw numbers. Of the 469 children’s costumes they looked at the ones girls were nearly all princesses, queens, or cheerleaders and all of them designed to make your daughter look like one of Netflix’s Cuties. Toys’R’Us sells costumes of 82 different “occupations”, 44 of them typically female but nearly all of those include mini-skirts. So naturally the generations that came after the late 70’s grew up with Halloween being little more than a hyper-commericalized, and for most girls and young women, hyper-sexualized “holiday.” And how that we’re all caught up to date on why Halloween has become so sexy… capitalism and sexism… let’s play# Slut-o-ween As we gear up for Halloween—such that it will be with a plague on—I’ve dug out my Finn The Human onesie for its… I think sixth, annual “getting me out of a real custom” celebration. But that’s not to say I didn’t look for a new costume… Unfortunately, they were all sold out of Sexy Pear-shaped onesies. Which is just as well, those skimpy costumes probably aren’t the best call considering it’s 35 degrees below zero out right now. On the other hand, what is a stiletto in the winter if not one, giant, cleat? AmIRight ladies?!? Speaking of ladies, this article isn’t meant to sexy shame. If you’ve got it and want to flaunt it, that’s great. Basically, you do you! Still, the Halloween section of most stories is ready to go by mid-July these days because since the early 1970’s when capitalism realized that selling kids candy is as easy as… taking candy from a baby… except backwards… the commercialization of Halloween has exploded. So what does late stage capitalism have to do with sexy Halloween costumes? Well, for that we need to remember that capitalism and feminism are frequently at odds with one another, and that the gays love a good scantily clad street party—who doesn’t really? A brief, pre-70’s history… Nicholas Rogers, a history prof at York University who has written about the history of Halloween connected sexy Halloween costumes to pre-Victorian Hollow Masses. From a Time.com article: “There is a long tradition of costuming of sorts that goes back to Hallow Mass when people prayed for the dead, […] But they also prayed for fertile marriages, and the boy choristers in the churches dressed up as virgins. So there was a certain degree of cross dressing in the actual ceremony of All Hallow’s Eve.” So there’s a bit of a historical precedent for all of this but it didn’t really take off until some fantastic queens fabuloused it all up. From Halloween expert and author Lesley Bannatyne: “There started to be these outrageous gay Halloween parades in the Castro District, Greenwich Village and Key West,” Bannatyne says. “Combine second-wave feminism with outrageousness and a general atmosphere of freedom, and you have this perfect storm of more outrageous costumes.” Of the expressions our historian Rogers says: “There was a general attempt to capitalize on what seemed transgressive, and because it’s a night of transgression you can get away with it without it being seen as particularly offensive in any way.” Pausing, he continued: “Except for the Christian right, but they think everything is transgressive anyway.” So how did it happen? Juliet Lapidos of Slate.com echoes Bannatyne’s comments by with the following: The Halloween parade in New York City’s Greenwich Village began in 1973 as a family-and-friends promenade from house-to-house organized by a local puppeteer and mask-maker. It quickly became a neighborhood-wide party, however, and since the Village was New York’s de facto gay district, the gay community cottoned to it. The event, with its drag outfits and otherwise rebellious costuming, became famous in New York and across the country, as did similarly bawdy Halloween parties in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood and in West Hollywood. So now we’ve got a sorted history of sexing up Halloween. Some Queens making it fab fun time for adults, and the Halloween industry realizing that those adults have more buying power than the average 12-year-old. In her 2012 thesis, “The Rise of Slut-o-ween,” Elizabeth A. Greer explains how “marketing began to increasingly target adults as stores sold both costumes as well as other Halloween products like carving pumpkins and house decorations to attract a broader audience with increased purchasing power.” Mix this with your standard Boomer sexism and you get things like the 2006 THE PINK DRAGON IS FEMALE, Halloween Costumes and Gender Markers by Aide Nelson. This paper is… ok… but not heavily cited. What I’m more interested in are her raw numbers. Of the 469 children’s costumes they looked at the ones girls were nearly all princesses, queens, or cheerleaders and all of them designed to make your daughter look like one of Netflix’s Cuties. Toys’R’Us sells costumes of 82 different “occupations”, 44 of them typically female but nearly all of those include mini-skirts. So naturally the generations that came after the late 70’s grew up with Halloween being little more than a hyper-commericalized, and for most girls and young women, hyper-sexualized “holiday.” And how that we’re all caught up to date on why Halloween has become so sexy… capitalism and sexism… let’s play Name That Smeksey Costume This is a quick quiz. I’ll ask a host to identify a costume from the manufacturer’s “please don’t sue us, this isn’t copyright infringement we promise” description. If you mess it up another host can steal your treats! Now, I will say at the outset that not all of these are specifically sexy costumes. The search for quiz-fodder was for weirdly named costumes but you can’t search for any costumes anymore without at least seeing the sexy version of it. We’ll go in track-order because it will make editing easier, so, Steve, Shea, then Jenn. Shea, what is the “Evil Midweek Cutie” costume? Wednesday Addams Jenn, what is the “Pubescent Frog of Silent War”? TMNT Shea, giving you the first properly sexy one, what is “Sexy Dead Assassin”? Lady Deadpool Jenn, what is a “Speedy Mouse” costume? Not Speedy Gonzales, it’s Sonic Shea, if your wife dressed up as a “Sexy Factory Girl”, what would the costume be? Sexy Oompa-Loompa… yeah. Jenn, who is the “Supporting Burger Wife”? Linda Belcher of Bob’s Burgers Shea, if you were to dress up as a “Hot Zone Honey” how excited would Jim be? I mean, what would you be dressed as? Sexy Firefighter Jenn, if you were to dawn a “Candy Factory Cutie” costume, who would you be? Gender bent, sexy, Willy Wonka Shea, if you were to dress up as a “Pretentious Pup Snatcher” who would you be? Sexy Cruella Deville Jenn, you’re a content maker, but if you dressed up as a “Creationary Woman” who would you be? Sexy Eve Shea, let’s say you dressed up as “Donna T. Rumpskaker”, who are you? Sexy, gender bent, Trump Jenn, if you “Notionless” who would you be? Sexy Cher from Clueless Shea, if you dressed up as “Space Walker” who would you be? Yep, Sexy NASA Astronaut bodysuit… Alright, that does it for our sexy-weird Halloween quiz. I hope you all enjoyed it. Tonight’s victory, and the treats, go to… and the tricks are on… and… https://www.huffpost.com/entry/a-brief-history-of-sexy-halloween-costumes_b_4158119 https://time.com/3547024/sexy-halloween-costumes-history/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2000.tb00194.x https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/sexy-halloween-costume-history_ca_5db5ff07e4b05df62ec163c8 Outro Transition to outro… I’m Jenn, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
38 minutes | a month ago
Interesting If True - Episode 25 - Goes In Your Snout!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that always makes it up to you with a good time. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I’m Steve, and I read recently that microdosing LSD makes one more productive and creative at work. But I also learned that a microdose of LSD is a lot smaller than I thought it would be… I’m Shea, and this week I learned that before crowbars were invented, crows had to drink at home. I’m Jenn, and this week I learned about magic mushrooms and reindeer. Did you know that reindeer in Alaska liked to eat stoner mushrooms? Like for real. Shamans of the area would collect urine from the stoned out reindeer and ingest that as a secondary high. Clears up Santa’s flying reindeer, doesn’t it? A quick word about last week’s missing show and this week’s longer show. Weddings are hard and despite the planning that I promise we all did, I dropped the ball, and last week’s show didn’t air. Therefore, this week’s show is longer! I know it’s not the same, and my apologies for that, but hopefully this kinda makes up for it. Back to regular programming next week! Shea, take it away… Psycho Shaman Stuff https://www.sciencealert.com/a-native-american-shaman-s-bag-from-1-000-years-ago-contained-multiple-psychotropics A recent discovery in Bolivia has taught us that Native Americans living in South America over 1000 years ago had quite a powerful medical tool kit. Well, I say medicine… these drugs can certainly make you feel better. What anthropologists found was the largest number of psychoactive substances ever found in a single archaeological assemblage from South America. Drugs and paraphernalia were found in a pouch, stitched together from three fox snouts, yes I said fox snouts. the leather bag contained two wooden tablets for grinding psychotropic plants into snuff, two bone spatulas, a woven headband, and a tube with two human hair braids attached, for smoking hallucinogenic plants. “We already knew that psychotropics were important in the spiritual and religious activities of the societies of the south-central Andes, but we did not know that these people were using so many different compounds and possibly combining them together,” said anthropologist Jose Capriles of Penn State. Archaeologists weren’t specifically searching for psychotropics, but rather an evidence of human habitation in the dry stone shelters of the Sora River Valley Bolivia. There, in a cave, Cueva del Chileno, they found a leather bundle. Radiocarbon dating of the leather wrapping put its age at around 1,000 years old. The team took a small scraping of the material coating the inside of the fox pouch and analyzed it using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. They found that the pouch could have contained four or five different plants – but definitely at least three. “Chemical traces of bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine, harmine, and cocaine, including its degradation product benzoylecgonine, were identified, suggesting that at least three plants containing these compounds were part of the shamanic paraphernalia,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “This is also a documented case of a ritual bundle containing both harmine and dimethyltryptamine, the two primary ingredients of ayahuasca [a plant-based psychedelic tea].” Bufotenine is a powerful hallucinogen found in some “magic” mushrooms and secreted from some well-licked frogs. Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is an intense naturally-occurring psychedelic. Harmine is a hallucinogenic alkaloid found in some plants and we all are familiar with coke. Of course, it’s impossible to gauge from this sample how the plants were prepared, but it does show that the inhabitants of the Sora River Valley knew about the plants’ properties 1,000 years ago. The owner of this bag was likely a shaman. These spiritual leaders were the ones who knew how to use plants to reach an altered state of perception in order to communicate with the spirit world/get real high. “None of the psychoactive compounds we found come from plants that grow in this area of the Andes, indicating either the presence of elaborate exchange networks or the movement of this individual across diverse environments to procure these special plants,” said archaeologist Melanie Miller of the University of Otago. “This discovery reminds us that people in the past had extensive knowledge of these powerful plants and their potential uses, and they sought them out for their medicinal and psychoactive properties.” Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! High Patron Dogs http://bit.ly/2YwBqKG I love a bit of woo, especially when it explains interstellar travel’s relationship to the Iraq war – patrons are in the know, are you? But there’s been a steady tide of rising pot woo. As more and more states and countries legalize the market for pot, and sadly, pot-related woo is growing rapidly. I’m going to do a story at some point on CBD and chronic pain but frankly, that’s a full episode. Instead, I’m going to narrow the focus some to the emerging market of animal-CBD. You won’t have to look far to find dog biscuits with CBD. Or oils, foods, liquids to be mixed into water bowls, enemas, or eye drops for Fido. Most are designed to help your dog with his 1st-world puppy-problems like stiff joints, irritable personality traits, glaucoma, or nervousness… which totally isn’t because they know their owners are willing to chemically experiment on them. So, what’s the big deal? First of all, regardless of its source, CBD doesn’t work on its own. It needs key additional chemicals to “activate” it’s questionable healing properties. This is why human products are often sold as 1-to-1 THC/CBD. Of course, THC is only legally allowed to be sold in a few places whereas CBD is unregulated by the FDA and generally ignored by other federal groups. Depending on manufacturing, source, or sales processes it lives in a nebulous legal place following a June 2018 FDA approval for CBD containing derivative designed to help epilepsy. Apparently, this works, but the key phrase there is “derivative.” Pet foods, treats, and “natural” cures are almost entirely unregulated and you’ll find various kinds of CBD for Chewy damn near everywhere. But does it actually do anything? Spoiler alert, no. No, it doesn’t. Unless you want a dead dog, in which case, yes, it can do something. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has reported a more than 700 percent increase in calls related to marijuana to its poison center in 2019. And while this isn’t conclusive, I think it helps to frame the discussion. Marijuana – also known as Cannabis sativa – is comprised of somewhere between 66 and 113 different cannabinoid compounds. Of these, recreational use of marijuana is sought after for the psychotropic “high” produced by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When made for humans we often jokingly refer to THC-treats as brownies. But we all know chocolate is bad for dogs… Also grapes, avocado, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, coconuts or their oil, macadamia nuts, xylitol (found in gum), and active-yeast dough. The more you know… Crucially, the list also contains THC. Weed is known to be bad for dogs, causing marijuana toxicosis which can cause inactivity; incoordination; dilated pupils; increased sensitivity to motion, sound, or touch; hypersalivation; and urinary incontinence. A veterinary exam can reveal depression of the central nervous system and an abnormally slow heart rate. Less common signs include restlessness, aggression, slow breathing, low blood pressure, an abnormally fast heart rate, and rapid, involuntary eye movements. In rare cases, animals can have seizures or become comatose. Of course, those last bits are dependant on quantity, but it doesn’t take much more to go into full-on death. Because of this most pet “friendly” CBD products are made from Hemp. Another hippy-woo favorite. I’m not going to go into the value of help, I think it’s pretty well known for making durable clothing, fantastic ship-sails, tough rope, and desirable papers. It’s used for pet treats because, in addition to marketing benefits, it’s naturally low in THC so it can squeak in under most regulations. That said, help CBD is even less well studied than pot-CBD. The studies I read were to do with pot-THC, but some used help-CBD as controls. From a study called “Pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in dogs,” in Drug Metabolism and Disposition, by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. They gave 6 dogs between 16 and 24 kilos 45 or 90 mg of intravenous CBD and later 180mg of raw CBD orally. Then drew a ton of blood at regular intervals. In a nutshell, all of it was out of the dogs in 24 hours, with the largest drop seen in the first 360 minutes. Basically, the update of CBD by cells was for shit at between 0.67 and 0.02 blood/plasma ratios. So if you gave the drugs to the dogs to prevent arthritic pain, you best be feeding them 180 mg every hour… From a study called “Comparison of Acute Oral Toxicity of Cannabinoids in Rats, Dogs and Monkeys” published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology; they had a few hundred rats they gave CBD/THC 1.0ml/100g of body weight by dissolving it into sesame oil. They all died in a 10 to 36-hour timeline. For the dogs, they used a handful of Beagles. They were given their drugs orally at different levels. After 45 minutes of administration all the dogs were sick and the one who received the highest dose, 5g per kg by weight, died. They used 22 monkeys with more or less the same numbers, THC/CBD by weight. All became sick, one became hypothermic the same way half the rats did, none were prostrate. Apparently, it gave them Anorexia too. The animals that lived all showed signs of massive depression in about 10 days. In, Possible Drug-drug Interaction in Dogs and Cats resulted from Alteration in drug metabolism: A mini-review published in the Cairo Journal of Advanced Research by Japanese veterinary scientists found that, among other things, giving your dogs pot-derived supplements would royally fuck the efficacy of any drugs they might already be on, to the point of almost certain fatality. So, I think the takeaway here is, don’t give your dogs people food, or people drugs. While you shouldn’t take medical, legal, or veterinary advice from a podcast the science, while in its infancy, is pretty clear. THC especially, but yes, CBD, will kill your pets if you give them enough. Closing things out with an anecdotal story, of the options you’ll find in stores you’re likely to see CBD pet supplements from Canna-Pet. They make cannabis-derived treats for cats and dogs, MaxCBD capsules, food, etc. In 2015 the FDA sent them a warning letter saying that they needed to stop making blatantly false and unverified claims like: “We find medical benefits, behavioral benefits, prolonged life, reduced stress, and improved quality of life with our pets,” or We Recommend Canna-Pet™ as a daily food additive for all pets, but especially for those with arthritis, allergies, anxiety, or behavior issues, compromised immune systems, diabetes, digestive issues, nausea, chronic pain, cancer, seizures, and those receiving palliative care,” or “Antitumor, Antiepileptic, Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory, Bone stimulant, Analgesic, Anti-depressant, Antibacterial, Antipsoriatic, Antidiabetic, . . . Anti-nausea, Anti-anxiety, . . . Antipsychotic, . . . Immunosuppressive.” or finally, “For pets with extreme issues, who require larger doses of CBD. Most commonly these are pets suffering from seizures, although we often see pets with cancers and aggressive tumors, severe chronic pain, and in end-of-life care using our MaxCBD products.” Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. We Love Beer but Humanity Loves Psychoactives. https://www.livescience.com/49666-prehistoric-humans-psychoactive-drugs.html https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202501/ https://psychedelictimes.com/the-search-for-soma-the-ancient-indian-psychedelic/ https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ayahuasca/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182612/ Welcome to my second half of Weird, Stoned History (ree, ree, ree…). That’s right, in case it hasn’t been fuzzily clear, this is our episode on the things that make us feel even better (or crazier) than beer. I’m here to discuss a phenomenon we’ve referenced on several occasions: you put a group of people together and we will find a way to fuck ourselves up. That’s right! I’m talking about the history of psychedelics and humanity and how at certain points we found that sort of shit (capital letters) REAL IMPORTANT. To start things off, pretty much as long as we’ve been bipedal and can use our front limbs to dig, grab, and put randomness in our mouths, we’ve been enjoying the fuzzy-wuzzy or freaky-deaky feelings from the weird shit we can put in our face-holes. For example, Spanish researchers have found evidence of the use of psychoactive substances in prehistoric Eurasia. From livescience.com: “The evidence shows that people have been chewing the leaves of a plant called the betel since at least 2660 B.C. … The plant contains chemicals that have stimulant- and euphoria-inducing properties, and these days is mostly consumed in Asia.” (Betel juice, betel juice, betel juice!) Obviously, this is not a huge surprise to any of us who know other people. As long as our social group isn’t composed completely of Evangelicals or Mormons or dead people, we understand that humanity is in search of things to make us not have to mentally deal with our current situations. (Tragically, the European Middle Ages peasants had limited to no access to opiates.) From my very favorite new website ncbi.gov: “Psychedelics may be the oldest class of psychopharmacological agents known to man. Important examples of these substances include a substance used in ancient India known as Soma, which was highly revered and is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, with numerous Vedic hymns written in praise of Soma.” Alrighty, the first question of the tour: what exactly is Soma? From, no shit, psycheldictimes.com, comes this excellent description on a very well done webpage: “Celebrated in both Hindu and Zoroastrian traditions and scripture, this beverage — which is talked about at length in spiritual texts like the Vedas — is widely thought to have been a potent psychedelic, and it was certainly of immense importance in religious ceremonies. These vivid descriptions paint a picture of a plant extract that was known for increasing awareness, imparting visionary mystical experiences, and helping those who took it to feel strong sensations of bliss, light, poetic inspiration, and immortality. The true origins of the soma beverage have been lost in the millennia since its use, but that has not stopped modern-day scholars from putting out many fascinating theories about what specific plants and effects these ancient people were so enamored with that they held them at the core of their religious practice.” (TLDR: We don’t know what’s in it, but it’s amazing so we’re gonna fake it and try to make it.) Expanding on that, one of the earliest Western quests to ride the Soma wave involved the amanita muscaria, a mushroom that is very much the fairytale standard for fanciful, pixie hang out-type mushrooms. R. Gordon Wasson, a man with a fantastically diverse resume (American author, ethnomycologist, botanist, anthropologist and Vice President for Public Relations at JP Morgan and Co. banking institute), was one of the first modern authors to, using this adorable lil shroom, tackle the slinging of the real Soma drink. Wasson started on his path of researching trippy edibles on his 1927 honeymoon trip to the Catskill Mtns. where he and his Russian-born wife, Valentina, per Wikipedia “chanced upon some edible wild mushrooms. Fascinated by the marked difference in cultural attitudes towards fungi in Russia compared to the United States, the couple began field research that led to the publication of Mushrooms, Russia and History in 1957.” (pause for Aaron repeating the title in Russian accent) Now, that’s not terribly interesting until you learn that he and his wife decided to travel to Mexico to study the religious use of these mushrooms with the native population. (I’m sure that was a hell of a thing.) However, it gets even MORE interesting when you learn this particular mind-bending trip was funded by none other than the CIA. More specifically, ‘supposedly’ (wink, wink) by MK-Ultra. MK-Ultra, if you aren’t familiar, is the honest-to-goodness, real CIA-led experimental program to investigate the use of mind-altering drugs as a form of mind-control. Their cocktail de jour was ‘lysergic acid diethylamide’, or our dear friend LSD. The story of MK-Ultra a subject that would require its own episode, so moving on… LSD is a much more modern mind trip, having been synthesized by Swiss scientists in the 1930’s. But it made to the US in time to help create some of the best music and movies we ever produced and spawn some of the more fun cults and wacky religious offshoots we’ve ever been blessed with. (Again, gonna have to an entire episode to cover of those.) So yeah, speaking of mind-wacky, what are some of the other early natural fuck-you-uppers that led early peoples to altered states? How about one of my favorite examples of the ‘I don’t care what the other side effects are, will it make me smell sounds?’ themes throughout civilization: Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca, in case you aren’t familiar, is a hallucinogenic beverage enjoyed by many indigenous tribes of the Amazon Basin. It’s made by combining a leaf that contains a potent mind-altering substance (DMT) and a vine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which work synergistically with DMT to produce a long-lasting hallucinogenic experience. So one fucks you up, the other one keeps you that way. It was used in many traditional religious ceremonies, was considered sacred, and dates back to at least 1,000 years ago. And, of course, when the Europeans showed up they obviously wanted in on the party. Records referencing Ayahuasca from missionaries and conquistadors date back to the 1500s (called ‘work of the devil’ by the lame-ass missionaries) and has continued to be of interest to Westerners until the current times. A couple of Brazilian churches who still incorporate the brew in their services have even made it to the US. In fact, the Supreme Court voted 2006 to allow the use of ayahuasca by the UDV (the church known as União do Vegetal) under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Ayahuasca retreats are also a thing you can do, and now there are even a few open here in the states. It’s very popular with the kind of people who would drive me crazy in a conversation. This is also the point where I talk a little bit more about the additional side effects of ayahuasca and why working housekeeping at one of the retreats would a fucking nightmare. Need another hint? One of its other names is La Purga. Per the Australian Alcohol and Drug website (FYI, Australia has no specific laws against ayahuasca, so it’s legal), “the effects begin in approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, with maximum intensity from 1 to 2 hours. The effects last from 4 to 6 hours.” In addition to the sought after the euphoria, it is usually accompanied by intense, repetitive vomiting, profuse sweating, diarrhea, anxiety and fear, and paranoia. (No thanks) It is also being studied, however, for possible long term usage being used to help literally rewrite brain chemistry. A paper from NCBI.gove titled ‘Sub-acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on effect and cognitive thinking style and their association with ego dissolution’ discusses possible evidence that ayahuasca may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of mental health disorders and can enhance mindfulness-related capacities. So, in conclusion, throughout all of our known history, we’ve enjoyed a love affair with substances that alter our reality, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be ending anytime soon. Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
22 minutes | 2 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 24: We Make Beautiful Music!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that brings all the synthesis to the yard! That’s right, our waveform is better than yours. Something… something… charge… something… https://www.patreon.com/iit ;) I’m your host this week, Aaron, and this week I learned about MES or Musical Ear Syndrome. This rare and delightfully named symptom of hearing loss causes auditory hallucinations in the form of high-pitched elevator jungles. It’s like getting the soundtrack to going deaf literally stuck in your head—it is not ideal. And as ever, with me this week is the See No Evil to My Hear No Evil, Shea! Hey Everyone, I’m Shea, and this week I learned that a stormtroopers favorite store is the one next to Target. As for Speak No Evil, we promise she’ll be back soon! The next few shows are going to be pre-recorded because weddings don’t leave a lot of editing time. When we’re back at the end of the month we’ll thank patrons, give updates, and maybe tell a story or two. In the meantime, here’s this… Music To Your Earholes Listeners may not be aware of this but Shea is a person who enjoys the musics. He’s a fan of, if I understand the terminology correctly, the hips and the hops and, maybe, the Ricks and the rolls. (that ‘typo’ is for you, single show note reading hero) He’s also an accomplished music maker, having sung for the actual Pope, and braver still, on YouTube! As for me, I know so much about music. The most really. The bigliest beats. That’s not true… Actually, I know basically nothing about music. Luckily Ashley made the wedding playlist and Pandora handles the rest for me. That’s not true either. I don’t think I even have Pandora installed anymore. I really only listen to Podcasts. And it’s with that high regard for the incredible, varied, and profound art of music I give you: the story of this weird music thing I found on Google! (This is probably where Shea will tell me how well known about this is and how I’m late to another music thing… it’s what foxes say all over again…) Most of the music searching I do is for free-to-use music for podcasts like this one. Thanks Waine! Otherwise, I’m hopeless. So hopeless, in fact, that recently while intending to search for how to add her playlists to the wedding live-stream (also, go home 2020, you’re drunk) Google thought I was doing research for the show and gave me historical results for music streaming services. And with that odd soiree into my media and cultural blindspot, I give you, the Dynamophone Telharmonium! Our story begins in June of 1867—which in addition to this story saw the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, Dr. Lister’s papers on antiseptics in The Lancet, Alfred Nobel patented dynamite, and oh yeah, Canada became a country eh! (Oh yeah, they signed them-thar Articles of Confederation on July 1st dontcha know. Told those British hosers to take a hike eh. Aw but not really though, they’re ok, even if their beer is warm.)—anyway, back to 1867 and the birth of Thaddeus Cahill. Little Thaddeus would grow to study Physics of Music at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio while working as a Congressional clerk. Graduating with a law degree he became obsessed with the idea that electricity and machines could make and transmit music! Basically, he was the Shawn Fanning of his day. “Shawn Fanning”? He’s the guy who made Napster… yeah… there’s no reason you should know his name. At all. Eventually Thaddeus would make the Telharmonium! Considered one of, if not the, first electrical instruments – the organ was also called the Dynamophone. Thaddeus built his fantabulous contraption in 1896 and in 1897 submitted his patent “The Art of and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically”. His machine was pretty cool. I likened it to Napster earlier because I’m getting older now and so are my jokes, but the idea was more or less the same. The machine was built to electro-magnetically synthesize music and distribute it over the telephone networks of the era. The first patent attempt was initially rejected but Thaddeus, being a trained lawyer, eventually won out and was free to spend… basically… the rest of his life, building a machine that he hoped would be able to produce, as 120years.net puts it “a universal ‘perfect instrument’; an instrument that could produce absolutely perfect tones, mechanically controlled with scientific certainty.” 120Years.net is a very cool website by the way, we’ll definitely come back to it for future stories but you should go check it out, it’s cool! And that’s me saying that. ~A His goal was to make simple the production and pattern of the sounds of any and all instruments, individually or en masse, thereby rendering them obsolete! A man after my own heart really… I mean, why not let a robot do that for ya? I learned how to play the trumpet. It was… spitty, and certainly no more fun than TypeDrummer.com, the website Google randomly sent me to when I searched for “free music keyboard app”, but who am I to suggest spending years learning to hit things with sticks and precision isn’t “worth it” or “a super cool skill that I’m totally not jealous of” or… whatever. How, Thaddeus had a bit of a challenge on his hands. Making stuff “clank good” wasn’t especially difficult but sending signals over the Victorian phone lines was… awkward. It had been done, to degrees, before. Notably the “Musical Telegraph” created by Elisha Gray, one of the inventors of the telephone, in 1874. Of Gray’s machine, and to differentiate his own to the patent office, Thaddeus said: “practically useless. No person of taste or culture could be supposed to derive any enjoyment from music rendered in poor, harsh tones, with uneven power, and absolutely without expression or variation.” Basically, he wasn’t a fan. No, Thaddeus’s grand machine needed to be… grand..er! So be build a maschine of such tremendous might no obo or chello or… I dunno, one of the tuffer instruments… could hope to defeat. It was $200,000 yee-oldie dollars of metal, tubing, and droppable base! The Mark I weight 7 freaking tons. The Mark II, 210 tons and it took up 60 feet of New York’s “Telharmonic Hall”, which was 39th and Broadway apparently. They gave like… one… concert there before everyone realized what a massive pain in the ass it was to load the 30 railroad carriages required to move the damn thing. The Dynamos that turned in the Telharmonium where the size of small yee-oldie children… as see in this picture of one that’s the size of that kid next to it. Basically this thing weighed a bajillion tons and was never going to replace a violin or the sometime-sexy-Russian-spy-lady who plays it! The device was large, consumed massive amounts of energy, and a small army of child-labor to change parts, but it sounded goooooood… Also, there aren’t any surviving recordings of the music itself. This is, as best as I could find, a youtube-faithful-level recreation… Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TunkjJvbrHs Well, ok good by yee-oldie birds-go-on-your-feet standards. He wasn’t exactly set up for 192kbps, lossless, wav files… Of the Telharmonium Mark Twain would say, from Mark Twain: A Biography, Albert Bigelow Paine, 1912: “I recall two pleasant social events of that winter: one a little party given at the Clemenses’ home on New-Year’s Eve, with charades and storytelling and music. It was the music feature of this party that was distinctive; it was supplied by wire through an invention known as the telharmonium which, it was believed, would revolutionise musical entertainment in such places as hotels, and to some extent in private houses. Apparently he was real proud of his typewriter, phone, and so on, so naturally, super-cool musical thing! Unfortunately for the Telharmonium, and Thaddeus’s company, in addition to being a pain in the ass to store, power, and maintain, it was also super difficult to play. How difficult? Well, you’d only have a slightly more difficult time learning to play an Electro Who-Cardio Floox… The actual instrument was an organ, with a keyboard glued to it, also with extra pedals, and like 900 rows of levers, switches, and stops. Basically, it was more horror-noir set design than instrument. There was also a problem with cross-talk. Cross-talk is, basically, the idea that the signal from one source bleeds into or overtakes the signal from the desired source. In the case of podcasts with hosts who recorded in the same pre-pandemic room, you may faintly hear host A in the background while host B talks because host B’s microphone picked up the echo of host A not shutting up and that stuff is really hard to remove, even with the Spectral Healing tool and smart-noise removal… umm… about that Audition CC thing… Thaddeus was direct-to-tapping his tracks on the equivalent of Optimus-Potato. It was big, powerful, and stupid. The reality of the thing is that the signal from the Telharmonium would overtake the signals of… random people talking to their families or coworkers and suddenly those crucial instructions for shutting down the reactor became a tin-y robo-rendition of Auld Lang Syne. So that wasn’t great. Apparently it was bad enough that it affected the stock exchange sufficiently to cause AT&T to stop working with Thaddeus. Also, there was… you know… the radio. By 1914 wireless radio was the thing and it didn’t take a 200 ton, rolling back-out causing, behemoth to produce. Sadly the Telharmonium never took off and the company folded. But the next time you stream… umm.. WAP… that’s one… that’s a song… or umm… Hey Kirby… remember the yee-oldie strong men whose shoulders that subscription service was built on. The science, the labor, the mustaches… Also, yeah WAP is totally in there for SEO reasons and not because it’s the only recently viral music I can name. But if you didn’t get the Kirby bit, watch this awesome muppet music video about a cat! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T_KKiQiolk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Cahill https://encyclotronic.com/synthesizers/misc-instruments/telharmonium-r1500/ https://daelectronicmusic.wordpress.com/history/telharmonium/ http://120years.net/the-telharmonium-thaddeus-cahill-usa-1897/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telharmonium Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Aaron is going to Lose Quiz! Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! Since we all know our favorite host of the show is a bit deaf I thought it would be fun to make him listen to some awesome instruments and answer questions. Get Ready to Lose! Our first instrument is a weird ons as there is no record of it being built or played, first described in the mid 1600’s by Athanasius Kircher, a German scholar and inventor. It was first called the Katzenklavier and had it been built, what would make the sound of the music? Here is a clip of a modern digital version of the instrument being played… Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxEHi6Mlzmk -Cats, Katzenklavier also means cat organ. This is a hypothetical musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that they cry out when a key is pressed. The clip I played was a cruelty free recording by sound sculptor Henry Dagg who created a 21st century Cat organ using squeaky toys. Audio Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_organ#:~:text=A%20cat%20organ%20or%20cat,when%20a%20key%20is%20pressed. Dutch artist Walter Willems has recently reimagined the standard drum kit by replacing all the drums with an interesting alternative. This material was said to give you nightmares if taken before bed but now instead it will impede your ability to sleep. Listen to this clip and tell me what the drums are made of… Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL9BrZ-zUpQ -Cheese, I don’t know why entirely, but yeah… cheese. A full drum kit where all the drums are cheese but the cymbals are still cymbally. This woodwind instrument is incredibly rare and the largest and lowest pitched in its family with tubing reaching over 49 ft in length. Its lowest note being C0, one octave below the lowest C on a standard piano. At 16 hertz, this is below what is generally considered the range of human hearing. This instrument is call the the hyperbass _______ . What family of woodwinds is it from? Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=849IAjXnQjo -Flute, the hyperbass flute This aptly named flautist foghorn is a relatively new instrument and, according to early reports, the tone is still under refinement as it’s a bit growly. We don’t care. It’s massive and weird, like me. The most known of the instruments on my list was invented in the 20’s as technology swept across the country. It consists of a box with radio tubes producing oscillations at two sound-wave frequencies. Pitch is controlled by moving the hand toward or away from an antenna at the right rear of the box. This movement alters one of the inaudible frequencies. The instrument was used in recordings by the Beach Boys and in the soundtracks of several science fiction films. What is it called? Audio Link: https://www.youtube .com/watch?v=K6KbEnGnymk -The Theremin, I gave you a picture of the Badgermin which is just a regular theremin that someone shoved up a badger. And also a pic of a regular guy playing the instrument so you can get an idea of how weird it looks. Not so much a single instrument but an orchestra from Vienna the Das erste Wiener Gemüseorchester is a group of musicians who all craft their own instruments before every concert. Founded in 1998 it consists of ten musicians, one cook, and one sound technician. What are the instruments crafted from? Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZQqu8M-EGs -Veggies!! The instruments are constructed with carrots, celery, peppers, squash, zucchini and other raw vegetables prior to the performances. Their sound is amplified with the use of special microphones.Following the performances, the leftover vegetables and off-cuts are cooked into a soup for the audience. As of March 2019, more than 150 types of instruments had been invented since the band’s inception and include carrot xylophones, radish bass flute, pumpkin drums, leek violins, onion maracas, and many others. The earliest known example of this instrument is a Chinese drawing from the 3rd Century BC. Often seen as a lower class instrument it consists of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue or reed attached to a frame. Used world wide in many cultures you can even hear it being played by my favorite band The Who in Join together. The frame is held firmly against the performer’s parted teeth or lips, using the jaw and mouth as a resonator. The note or tone produced is constant in pitch, though by changing the shape of the mouth it can resonate differently. What is this instrument? Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXzLQon_XuQ -The Jew’s harp, also known as the jaw harp, mouth harp, gewgaw, guimbard, khomus, trump, Ozark harp, Galician harp, or murchunga. In 1999, archaeologists excavating a temple discovered the skeleton of a 20-year-old sacrificial victim who was clutching two skull-shaped figurines. Historians initially thought the clay sculptures were mere toys and they were catalogued and stored in a museum warehouse. It was not until years later that someone decided to blow into the clay device. These clay whistles were exclusively used in several zones of ancient Mexico and belong to a very unusual family of Mexican resonators that are not well known and which can produce special sounds imitating animal calls. The Aztec death whistle is Mexico’s most terrifying instrument found yet, because it makes the call of what creature? Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9QuO09z-SI -A human scream. They recreate a human scream in both pitch and decibel level that has to be heard to believe.Other theories propose that the whistles were used in war to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. A one of a kind magical instrument located in Luray Caverns, Virginia, was created in 1956 by Leland W. Sprinkle who worked at the Pentagon as a mathematician and electronics scientist. This organ produces eerie haunting tones over its 3.5 acre range and is still played regularly to visitors. The organs keyboard is attached to rubber mallets that strike what, to make this organ play? Audio Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsKUUn29tSs -Stalactites, they are spread over a 3.5 acre area throughout the cave and each one was individually tuned by Leland with his set of tuning forks. Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
28 minutes | 2 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 23 - And I ran So Far Away...
Welcome to Interesting If True, the best podcast I make my wife listen to. I’m your host this week, Shea, and of course my co-host, Aaron! I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that the hardest part of going for a run isn’t the running, it’s putting down the Doritos… and getting dressed… and leaving the house… and running… Few updates this week. We still need to record an episode of 4 More Beers, apologies on that but real-life happened, but don’t worry—we’re on it! It’s another two man production this week. Jenn is under the weather and Steve is on vacation for a bit. Jim may be around once life allows but he’s doing his best not to actually be Mr. Flaming Pants, send him your well wishes. While Shea and I love doing a buddy-show we’re going to try to fill the empty seats with some guests in the coming weeks. No spoilers now but it’ll be good. It’ll be good… If you’ve enjoyed the show so far please do us a solid and leave a 5-star review wherever you listen! Worlds Fail The 2020 olympics were unfortunately moved to next year to keep athletes and spectators safe from the current pandemic, this shows great preparation and forsite from the officials and a compassion that definitely wasn’t seen back in the 1904 Olympics, especially if we’re talking about the marathon. The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri from July 1 to November 23 at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. The city of Chicago had won the original bid to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis would not accept another international event in the same time frame. The exposition organization began to plan for its own sports activities, informing the Chicago OCOG that its own international sports events intended to eclipse the Olympic Games unless they were moved to St. Louis. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, gave in and awarded the games to St. Louis. So St. Louis wasn’t as prepared as we are nowadays and they were competing with the World fair at the same time. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition or world fair was celebrating the Louisiana purchase and as the Olympics were only a few years old many of the events were lost in the chaos of the city. The president of the world’s fair actually declined to invite anyone to the opening ceremonies so on July 1st he did it himself in a humdrum “ceremony.” The participants totaled 651 athletes – 645 men and 6 women representing 12 countries. However, only 42 events (less than half) actually included athletes who were not from the United States. This is just a small peak at the craziness that came during the olympics that year but I want to focus on the main event! The first organized marathon was held in Athens at the 1896 Olympics, the start of the Games’ modern era. The ancient games, which took place in Greece from around 776 B.C. to A.D. 393, never included such long-distance races. The idea for the modern marathon was inspired by the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, with the news of an important Greek victory over an invading army of Persians in 490 B.C. After making his announcement, the exhausted messenger collapsed and died. To commemorate his dramatic run, the distance of the 1896 Olympic marathon was set at 40 kilometers or 24.85 miles. Official course 1904 Marathon If you take away anything from this story I hope it’s that no matter how hard you try, you can’t mess up nearly as well as they did here. To start, the officials made a great decision and designed a course that could easily break an athletes ankles. the 24.5 ish mile course—which one fair official called “the most difficult a human being was ever asked to run over”—wound across roads inches deep in dust. There were seven hills, varying from 100-to-300 feet high, some with brutally long ascents. In many places cracked stone was strewn across the roadway, creating perilous footing, and the men had to constantly dodge cross-town traffic, delivery wagons, railroad trains, trolley cars and people walking their dogs. Also for some reason the organizers thought it would be better to hold it during the afternoon instead of the morning, my guess is they wanted to have an audience even though most people were at the fair… This became a very dumb idea as athletes were forced to run in almost 90 degree heat. There were only two places where athletes could secure fresh water, from a water tower at six miles and a roadside well at 12 miles. James Sullivan, the chief organizer of the games, wanted to minimize fluid intake to test the limits and effects of purposeful dehydration, a common area of research at the time (I love being a guinea pig). Cars carrying coaches and physicians motored alongside the runners, kicking the dust up and launching coughing spells. This is only the start of the race, they have 25 grooling miles of this yet to go. Len Tau (AKA Len Taunyane) and Yamasani (AKA Jan Mashiani) from South Africa. Fred Lorz led the 32 starters from the gun, but by the first mile Thomas Hicks edged ahead. William Garcia of California nearly became the first fatality of an Olympic marathon we he collapsed on the side of the road and was hospitalized with hemorrhaging; the dust had coated his esophagus and ripped his stomach lining. Had he gone unaided an hour longer he might have bled to death. John Lordon suffered a bout of vomiting and gave up. Len Tau, one of the South African participants, was chased a mile off course by wild dogs, he and his team mate Mashiani, were also the first two black men to compete in the olympics. Félix Carvajal trotted along in his cumbersome shoes and billowing shirt, making good time even though he paused to chat with spectators in broken English. On one occasion he stopped at a car, saw that its occupants were eating peaches, and asked for one. Being refused, he playfully snatched two and ate them as he ran. A bit further along the course, he stopped at an orchard and snacked on some apples, which turned out to be rotten. Suffering from stomach cramps, he lay down and took a nap. Carvajal could have been the least prepared runner. A cuban postman who lost all o, hitchhiked to St. Louis, cut off his trousers, trying to make them look as close to running shorts as possible, also he hadn’t eaten in 40 hours, hence the need for a snack. Félix Carvajal and his cut-offs Sam Mellor, now in the lead, also experienced severe cramping. He slowed to a walk and eventually stopped. At the nine-mile mark cramps also plagued Lorz, who decided to hitch a ride in one of the accompanying automobiles, waving at spectators and fellow runners as he passed. Hicks, one of the early American favorites, came under the care of a two-man support crew at the 10-mile mark. These men by the way were not his coaches, just some guys who I call free range scientists. He begged them for a drink but they refused, instead sponging out his mouth with warm distilled water. Seven miles from the finish, his handlers fed him a concoction of strychnine and egg whites—the first recorded instance of drug use in the modern Olympics. Strychnine, in small doses, was commonly used a stimulant, and at the time there were no rules about performance-enhancing drugs. Hicks’ team also carried a flask of French brandy but decided to withhold it until they could gauge the runner’s condition. Meanwhile, Lorz, recovered from his cramps, emerged from his 11-mile ride in the automobile. One of Hicks’ handlers saw him and ordered him off the course, but Lorz kept running and finished with a time of just under three hours. The crowd roared and began chanting, “An American won!” Alice Roosevelt, the 20-year-old daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, placed a wreath upon Lorz’s head and was just about to lower the gold medal around his neck when, one witness reported, “someone called an indignant halt to the proceedings with the charge that Lorz was an impostor.” The cheers turned to boos. Lorz smiled and claimed that he had never intended to accept the honor; he finished only for the sake of a “joke.” Hicks, the strychnine coursing through his blood, had grown ashen and limp. When he heard that Lorz had been disqualified he perked up and forced his legs into a trot. His trainers gave him another dose of strychnine and egg whites, this time with some brandy to wash it down. They fetched warm water and soaked his body and head. After the bathing he appeared to revive and quickened his pace. “Over the last two miles of the road,” wrote race official Charles Lucas, “Hicks was running mechanically, like a well-oiled piece of machinery. His eyes were dull, lusterless; the ashen color of his face and skin had deepened; his arms appeared as weights well tied down; he could scarcely lift his legs, while his knees were almost stiff.” Thomas Hicks, assisted by his trainers. He began hallucinating, believing that the finish line was still 20 miles away. In the last mile he begged for something to eat. Then he begged to lie down. He was given more brandy but asked for tea. He swallowed two more egg whites. He walked up the first of the last two hills, and then jogged down on the incline. Swinging into the stadium, he tried to run but was reduced to a graceless shuffle. His trainers carried him over the line, holding him aloft while his feet moved back and forth, and he was declared the winner. It took four doctors and one hour for Hicks to feel well enough just to leave the grounds. He had lost eight pounds during the course of the race, and declared, “Never in my life have I run such a tough course. The terrific hills simply tear a man to pieces.” To finalize: 1st- Thomas Hicks- After rat poison and brandy 4th- Felix Carvajal- After taking a nap 9th- Len Tau- After being chased by wild dogs and running barefoot. 12th- Mashiani- DQ- Fred Lorz Took a cab DNF- William Garcia Just about died DNF- John Lordon Couldn’t stop puking DNF- Sam Mellor Too many cramps Only 14 runners crossed the finish line and around 25 were strewn about the course in various stages of decay. https://www.boredpanda.com/1904-olympic-marathon-st-louis/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1904_Summer_Olympics https://www.olympic.org/st-louis-1904 https://worldhistoryproject.org/1904/7/1/games-of-the-iii-olympiad-held-in-st-louis-missouri Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Other Terrible Sports Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! To follow Shea’s marathon of misery I bring you… why you shouldn’t work out, or, how to die in the process. So, since they stopped feeding people rat poison and booze marathons have become safer. That said, they still kill between 0.6 and 1.9 out of every 100,000 people who run an officially sanctioned marathon. Dying during a marathon is a proud tradition over 2500 years old, going back to the first marathoner, Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Atheins to deliver a message and then fell down dead. I guess no one told him about FedEx. The tradition continues today with Harry Vroulis, a 74 year old runner who… first of all, you’re 74, knock it off, but sadly he died January 19th, 2020 of a heart attack during the Houston marathon. Of the deaths listed by running on wikipedia, about 40, half of them are American. Because we’re the best at everything, including eating cheese burgers to train for a marathon. Avoiding running is why humanity invented the wheel, learned to train riding animals, and I assume, shoot. It’s why I learned to shoot—so that I don’t have to run from anything. According to a BBC article I found, if you run a marathon, you’ll probably die of heart failure, shin splints, micro-fractures in your joints, dehydration, or a tiger. Who knows, you’re not in the safety of inside, you’re in the tiger-infested outside. Let’s face it. Running sucks. So let’s talk about cycling, running’s still-terrible-but-at-least-there’s-a-seat cousin. The most dangerous sporting event on Earth takes place on the aptly named Isle of Man, because you have to have big-ol balls to enter this hot mess. Sexist jokes aside, in an era where everything comes with a warning label, from packages of peanuts warning you about them containing peanuts to chainsaws advising you not to try to stop the moving chain with your genitals (yes, that’s real) it’s a wonder the Isle of Man TT, or Tourist Trophy, is even allowed to happen. The event first happened on Tuesday 28th, May, 1907 as the International Auto-Cycle Tourist Trophy race. Auto-cycle being the yee-oldie term for motorbike… because bikes that are powered by you are just bipedal locomotion. The race has happened nearly every year since though they did take a breather for WW2. After the war the event was folded into the Grand Prix (now MotoGP) until 1970. See, the Prix folks wanted more money just for racing, and these things called safety measures, but the TT folks knew that paying people was a terrible way to make money and crashes are the only reason to watch a race. Today, the Isle of Man TT is considered the most dangerous sporting event or race on Earth. The race was divided by motorcycle CCs and since I don’t know what that means we’re skipping over it. From wikipedia I gather it’s kid’s bikes vs. roided-out speed bikes. You know, stuff that goes fast enough to kill you. The track follows the Sneafell Mountain Course, which is about 40 miles long, with 219 turns, and covers much of the island. Eventually the course was modified to make it… more… twisty and turney and thereby, somehow, safer. The death toll however does not back this claim up. To date, well… 2019, they took 2020 off too… there have been 252 fatalities associated with the race. Unofficially, that number is 260. I guess it takes some time to add them to ESPN or whatever tracks this stuff. It should also be noted that the 260 number only includes racers. If you add spectators who failed to dodge a flying motorcycle, the number goes way up. The course was difficult from the onset. Even with yee-oldie coal powered I assume auto-cycles people died. Today you can get a Kawasaki that does over 200 miles an hour… and then do that. James Hiller, in fact, registered 206mph on the famous Sulby straight. Which is insane. Of note is one death, that of Steve Mercer. He was killed in a head-on collision. See, earlier in the race Dan Kneen fatally wrecked so police hopped in a flag car and speed to the scene… forgetting to mention to the other racers that, as they flew down the streets at over 150mph, a car was going the other way at rescue speeds. They collided and he died. So far the UK has lost over 200 people, leaving “not specific but with a Union Jack flag” in second place with 64, the Isle of Man have lost 18, and the remaining countries haven’t broken double digits. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_marathon_fatalities#:~:text=In%202016%2C%20a%20systematic%20medical,controlling%20for%20age%20or%20gender. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-43211447 https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/isle-man-tt-deaths-how-16189114 Outro I’m Shea, and this week I learned a blue whales anus can stretch approximately 3 and a half feet, making it the 2nd largest asshole, just behind Mitch McConnell. I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. We’d like the extend a special thanks to our newest patrons: Doom Jason, who upped his pledge to… neekid pics of Shea level I guess? Just kidding Jason, we won’t do that to you. Thanks! Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
43 minutes | 2 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 22: A League Of His Own!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that will make you the best player of the worst sports. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I’m Steve, and this week I’m wondering how I can simultaneously always want to watch, learn, or do something else before bed, but then never leave bed? I’m Shea, and this week I learned that goth anti-vaxxers refuse to listen to the Cure. Enter Story Title Here Ok Shea, this one’s for you. I’ve finally learned about sports… Not tried, of course, but I read about them online. Oh yes, I’ve put on my finest pair of pigeon-cleats and went for a jaunt in marry ol’England to partake of their finest sport… Kottobas – Antiquity Of course, if not for the Greeks we wouldn’t have the wonders of Dwile Flocking. It’s… let’s say predecessor… probably, Kottobas was a favorite circa fourth and fifth centuries BC. To begin one must first tap a new vat of wine and serve to friends and enemies alike. Once the goblets near empty, contestants would assume the sporting position… reclining on there dining table, and deftly flick the remaining wine sediment from their glass at a target. Apparently success in Kottobas was a precursor to success in affairs of the heart — because those who competes in the wine-games sees only 10s. Pulling Your Goose The Mid-17th century was a glorious time for animal based sport – and masterbation jokes. To begin pulling your goose you need some rope to tie it up with and a horse. The goose is hung by its feet from a tree or whatever and contestants take turns riding the horse at a full gallop and try to grab the goose’s head. The goal, because everything back then was terrible and covered in the blood of the innocent, was to pull the gooses head off. Thereby forever enshrining your position as a master head puller and also, I assume, winning you the goose-head. Also you’re, “crowned” as the “king” for one whole year with a crown and mantle. At the end of his “king” reign, he has to indulge his “subjects” to a feast of beer, cigars and bread pudding or sausages that is held either at his house or the local pub. Kings compete with each other to become the “emperor”. The event is still practiced today in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Though use of a live goose was banned in the 1920’s. Though purist still argue that half the challenge was the bird flapping about, and a flaccid goose just isn’t as much fun to pull on. Dwile Flonking – 1960 First things first, we’re going to have to get into a gaming mood with a rousing round of Dwile Flonking. One of the more recent inventions of English sport, Dwile Flonking comes from Norfolk, min-1960… and almost certainly a pub. The rules are simple enough. You and 24 of your closest friends get together and divide into two even teams — the stupidest person of the group, or as the rules specify a “dull-witted person,” is picked last and becomes the Jobanowl, or referee. From there players dawn their sporting apparel of a porkpie hat, a collarless shirt, trousers tied at the knee – which you’ll want to keep on for the next event – hobnail boots and a pipe (smoking optional but helpful). To start the round the jobanowl tosses a sugar beet into the air to decide who goes first, yells “Here y’go t’gither!” and then both teams set out on the task of hitting each other in the face with beer-soaked rags. The trophy is ultimately awarded to the team least able to keep their balance. Stinging Nettle Eating A Stinging Nettle is a plant, the Urtica dioica, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant. Also it’s covered in giant, asshole-y, spines covered in… I dunno, some kind of poisocain I guess. Anyway, it will cause you the break out in a terrible case of boils and itchy terribleness. So naturally, The Bottle Inn in Marshwood, Dorset UK, has spent the last 40 years holding the annual Stinging Nettle Eating contest. Apparently two farmers once argued over who had the longest stinging nettles… because life is terrible. Unsure how to … you know, measure… the nettles they figured the best way to find out whose was best was to eat them. Competitively. Ferret-Legging Ferret-legging, or snake-cat juggling as it’s sometimes called… by me… dates back to the prosperous days of… 1970’s coal miners in Yorkshire. Don’t think about it, they didn’t. The game is one of endurance and fortitude and only the most brave will prevail. To play one first needs pants. Then you use some twine, or a zip tie, or whatever you have handy to cinch your pant-cuffs around your ankles. Finally, you put two ferrets in your pants. Did I mention you’re not allowed to wear underwear? Yeah, that’s a rule because drinking. The exact origins of the sport are hotly disputed by Englishmen, who have yet to discover something they didn’t want to lay claim to, and drunk Scotsmen. According to Marlene Blackburn of the Richmond Ferret Rescue League, which is not so much a league as a group of people trying to stop the ferret-legging-league, says the game originated in pubs. Because fucking of course it did Marlene. The goal is a simple one: have ferrets in your pants longer than the other guy. Then you win… a bunch of inoculations I guess. The rules have evolved over time. For example, you’re not allowed to drug the ferrets. Also declawing and tooth filling are specifically disallowed. Finally, you’re not allowed to be drunk. Which… boggles the mind. The sport is said to involve very little “native skill”, simply an ability to “have your tool bitten and not care”. according to former world champion, Reg Mellor, who is credited with instituting the practice of wearing white trousers in ferret-legging matches, to better display the blood from the wounds caused by the animals. You are allowed to try to dislodge ferrets which have latched on to your willy but only from outside the pants. So basically, the only play you’ve got is to punch yourself in the crotch and hope you hit the pissed off animal in your pants and not your own dick. But not’s not just about dicks! No, no, the putting-animals-in-you-pants sport fans are a woke bunch who created ferret-busting for the ladies. The goal here being… to put a ferret down your shirt and hope they don’t eat your boobs. Sadly, like many sports, the ladies league saw declining attendance and was ended shortly after its introduction. For many years the record stood at 40 seconds. Set in 1972, Donald Katz, known as the King of the Ferret Leggers seemed unbeatable. So amazing was his ability to ignore a ferret eating his dick that his story would be immortalized in print in 1987. The like titled book was pushed by Random House, because they’ll literally print anything. Unfortunately for Donald, all the dock-knowing was for naught as his record would be unset in 1977 by Edward Simkins from the Isle of Wight. Edward was basically the Michael Jordan of having ferrets in your pants. He shattered the standing record of 90 seconds and established his own mighty record of five hours and ten minutes. His claim to the title is debated by some though, as he only had one ferret in his pants for the first four hours before adding a second for the final 70 minutes. While he did sustain a couple of very serious bites, so unbothered was he by the ferrets in his pants that he also competed in arousing game of darts. Having set the bar almost unbearably high Edward was sure he would remain the king of angry trouser-Mustelidaes. But no! For now the fire had been lite and challengers abounded. Somehow. Somehow there were people who challenged him. Retired miner Reg Mellor of Barnsley set his own record of five hours and twenty-six minutes on July 5th of 1981 at the Annual Pennine Show in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. He had practiced since his youth – yeah, since his youth. Basically, he’s the Tiger Woods of having a wild, uncontrollable, trouser snake… oh. Sadly, his career of having ferrets in his pants had gone largely unrecognized until his world record was set. Of the victory he said his many years of hunting ferrets outside Barnsley, where he had grown accustomed to keeping them in his trousers to keep them warm and dry while working in the rain (I guess because “sack” technology had not yet been invented) was vindicated. Mellor’s trick to success was to make sure the ferrets were well fed before he put them in his pants. Because it’s easier to clean ferret shit out of your socks, than your chewed-up manhood out of a ferret. In 1986, before a gathered audience of 2,500 spectators, Mellor attempted to beat his own record and the “magic six-hour mark — the four-minute mile of ferret legging.” After five hours most of the attendees had become board and wandered off and workmen began dismantling the stage despite his sparkly-pants objections. Sadly, Mellor was unable to set a new record that day. According to Adrian Tame of the Sunday Herald Sun, Mellor retired after that experience, “disillusioned and broken-hearted,” but with his dignity and manhood intact. Fear not, the ferret-legging-league is still going strong. The current world record for having pants full of pissed off animals goes to headmaster Christine Farnsworth who beat the six-hour mark in 2010 – and raised nearly 1000pounds for first responders doing it! Sadly the proud and noble tradition of stuffing animals in your pants seems to be fading. According to a 2005 report published in the English Northern Echo newspaper, whether due to a “lack of brave contestants or complaining wives”, ferret-legging is now “a dying sport” that is being replaced by ferret racing, in which the animals race through a plastic pipe. Having known some ferrets, I’m sure at least they appreciate the sports evolution. There is still an annual competition held at the Richmond Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Richmond, Virginia. For our northern listeners, there’s also an annual ferrets-in-your-pants competition held in Winnipeg. The event is overseen by, and held to raise money for, the Manitoba Ferret Association. They make sure no ferrets are hurt… or choke on dick-tips I guess. Ferret-legging indeed made it to the big leagues. During his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in May 1996, actor Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) spent much of the interview with Leno talking about ferret-legging, which he identified as “a new Australian Olympics event.” Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Smart Like a Patron-Fox Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! The patron story this week is a toss up. A fox-toss up that is. 17th century Germans had fallen hard for Fuchsprellen. Or as it’s more pronounceable-known name, Fox Tossing. Exclusively available on the MDCLXXII-box. A popular blood-sport in Europe Fox Tossing was exactly what it sounds like. You got yourself a Fox and you tossed it up in the air. There were some equipment, like long swaths of cloth used as slingshots. The motion being more or less what you see when a group of people is using a blanket or parachute to launch a person into the air. It was popular among the aristocracy as a “mixed sport” or one that you could play with your wife. Fox tossing would take place in an arena, usually either created by setting up a circle of canvas screens in the open or by using the courtyard of a castle or palace. Two people would stand six to seven-and-a-half metres (20 to 25 feet) apart, holding the ends of a webbed or cord sling known as a Prellgarn or Prelltuch – or it’s friendlier, less animal-murdery name ‘bouncing cloth’ – which was laid flat on the ground. An animal such as a fox would then be released from a cage or trap and driven through the arena, and the challenge I guess, came as the animal ran across the sling. If you pulled on the ends as hard as you can, at just the right time, you could achieve fox-lift off. The highest throw would win the contest… as judged by whoever owned the castle I bet. Pretty sure they didn’t have a 7-11 style height stick anyway. Expert competitors could achieve throws of as high as 7.5m (24 ft). And, like all good games, there was a multi-player mode. If you wanted to get everyone involved all you needed were more slings to lay in parallel so that the animal would have to run the gauntlet of several teams. I could find any info on if you got points for tossing a fox that landed on your sling, but I gotta assume it’s less because a concussed fox isn’t as quick as a terrified one. And yes, concussions were not the only result. More often than not the animal died… and if it didn’t, the Pope and some dwarfs hit it with sticks. In Vienna, March 1672, the Swedish envoy Esaias Pufendorf, witnessing a fox-tossing. He noted in his diary his surprise at seeing the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I enthusiastically joining the court dwarfs and boys in clubbing to death the injured animals; he commented that it was remarkable to see the emperor having “small boys and fools as comrades, [which] was to my eyes a little alien from the imperial gravity.” … if only he knew. It wasn’t all fun and games though… sometimes it was terror. Like all good games there was DLC, like Augustus’s 1648 contest in which 34 boars were driven into the enclosure “to the great delectation of the cavaliers, but to the terror of the noble ladies, among whose hoop-skirts the wild boars committed great havoc, to the endless mirth of the assembled illustrious company.” Apparently, heavy animals that are willing to murder you make for poor sport. Which is also a good reason not to install 3rd party user-mods. They might gore you… or eat you. Apparently, the same patch came with a wolf mode. Wolves are much larger and angrier than your average fox. No notes from that event are available, I assume because everyone was too busy running for their lives to put quill to paper. Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 21 - Who Let The Cats Out?
Welcome to Interesting If True, episode 21, the one where we’re finally old enough to drink! I’m your host this week, Shea, and with me is… Aaron. I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that adding salt is basically just sprinkling really specific, tiny, gravel on your food. Round Table Now that we can pull a stool up at the bar it’s time for the glorious return of the Round Table… or IP Table as the case may be until 2020 sobers up. Being a fully grown, worldly podcast, we’ve got a few things to announce. First, the return of the round table, which is, I think, going pretty well so far. Second is that we’ll be recording an episode 4 More Beers this weekend, so look for that in your podcast feed soon! Updates on live shows are pending some Slack conversations but we’ll let you know as soon as we know. Now that we’ve got a back catalog of sorts we’re also going to start properly promoting the show so make sure you give us some love on the Twitters, Facebooks, or wherever else you can! We’ll be posting fun stuff and hope to interact with all of you. Speaking of ways to interact with the show, leave us a voicemail at (513) 760–0463 and don’t forget to let us know if it’s ok to play on the air. We’re also going to be visiting other studios and maybe, just maybe, dragging some guests back with us. More on that in the coming weeks. With all of that out of the way, Shea, what are you drinking? Idioms For Idiots An idiom is a phrase that is common to a certain population. We use them every day, sometimes without even realizing that what we’re saying is nonsensical without the implied and widely accepted meaning behind it. What you might find Interesting If True (look I used the name of the podcast in a story!) is that most idioms had literal meanings back before time obscured this bit of history. I’m going to be teaching you listeners some of the origins of our favorite phrases. Barking up the wrong tree might be the easiest to figure out without using the internet, so lets start there. Of course now it describes when someone is trying to achieve something but they’re doing it in the wrong way. As you can assume it originally referred to a hunting dog literally barking up the wrong tree after its prey had moved on. The phrase fly off the handle currently means to lose your temper suddenly and unexpectedly. This makes perfect sense because before mass production and safety standards occasionally your axe handle would come loose and fly off the handle as you were chopping wood. Makes perfect sense why we would now use the phrase as a way to describe risky behavior with unpredictable results. An old nautical term has weaved its way into our language, feeling under the weather. Nowadays it means you’re not feeling 100% or you’ve caught a cold. But in the past when a sailor was feeling ill, he would go beneath the bow, which is the front part of the boat. This would hopefully protect him from adverse conditions, as he was literally under the bad weather that could further sicken him. Therefore, a sailor who was sick could be described as being “under the weather.” To turn a blind eye is to refuse a known truth, you can see many examples in world wide politics. This, however, has a great story to how it came about, we can actually pinpoint who said it first and when. Horatio Nelson was a British Admiral in the late 17th century before he became a national hero, during his service he took French shot to the face and lost most of his vision in his right eye. Years later in 1801 he led an attack alongside Admiral Sir Hyde Parker in the Battle of Copenhagen. Parker communicated to Nelson at one point, via flags, that he needed to retreat and disengage. Nelson, however, was convinced that he could prevail if they pushed onward. Nelson then, holding the telescope to his blind eye, pretended not to see the signal—making a sly comment to a fellow officer about reserving the right to use his blind eye every now and again. The British did win the battle in the end FYI. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Nelson/Victory-at-Trafalgar In the early 1700s, while working on his anti French play Liberty Asserted, English dramatist John Dennis invented a device that imitated the sound of thunder. The device was very similar to how we make the sound now, a suspended large metal sheet that is then struck with a mallet. Unfortunately the play flopped. Soon after, Dennis noted that another play in the same theater was using his sound-effects device. He angrily exclaimed, “That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder, but not my play.” The story got around London, and the idiom to steal someone’s thunder was born. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dennis_(dramatist) Here is a double! Straight from the horse’s mouth and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth come from the same antiquated practice. From the horse’s mouth meaning you have information directly from the source which is the highest authority, and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth meaning to find fault with something that has been received as a gift or favor. You see before carfax and police reports the only way to assure you we’re getting a good ride was to look in its mouth. According to the internet and veterinarians you can tell alot about a horse by looking at its mouth, age, health, diet, etc… So when purchasing a horse the buyer would often look straight in the horse’s mouth. Also, as it is today, it’s rude to inspect a gift for faults as it would be to look the gift horse in the mouth. Giving the cold shoulder means to coldly turn your back on someone which seems like it was how the phrase originated, but you would be wrong. Etymologists think the phrase originated from medieval etiquette. After a feast, hosts in England would subtly signal that the meal was over and it was time to GTFO by serving a cold slice of pork, mutton, or beef shoulder. A nice little snack for the ride home, I kind of wish we would bring this one back, I always want a sandwich… And to go home. A really weird idiom that swapped meaning as time rolled on was blood is thicker than water, today we take that meaning as family/race/nationality is stronger than anything else. Originally the idiom was a bit longer “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” with covenant referring to friendship. In other words, it was your friends—your blood brothers, if you will—who were with you through thick and thin. That’s wrong… Or rather not entirely backed by proof. I decided to dig into the original idiom and I can’t find any early references. But, according to H.C Trumbull in his 1893 book The Blood Covenant – A Primitive Rite And Its Bearings On Scripture: We, in the West, are accustomed to say that “blood is thicker than water” ; but the Arabs have the idea that blood is thicker than milk, than a mother’s milk. With them, any two children nourished at the same breast are called “milk-brothers,” or “sucking brothers”; and the tie between such is very strong… But the Arabs hold that brothers in the covenant of blood are closer than brothers at a common breast; that those who have tasted each other’s blood are in a surer covenant than those who have tasted the same milk together ; that “blood-lickers,” as the blood-brothers are sometimes called, are more truly one than “milk-brothers,” or “sucking brothers”; that, indeed, blood is thicker than milk, as well as thicker than water. https://archive.org/stream/bloodcovenantapr027440mbp#page/n7/mode/2up We can draw some pretty obvious conclusions from that so maybe I wasn’t entirely wrong. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/147902/original-meaning-of-blood-is-thicker-than-water-is-it-real I could be at this until the cows come home so I’ll wrap up for now. I hope the proof was in the pudding and you all learned something today. If not, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, we’ll be back next week. https://www.inklyo.com/english-idioms-origins/ Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Pliny the Patron Poisoner Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! Following up from last week’s mentions of Pliny we’re left with a few remaining factoids that should all be taken with a grain of salt… For example, Pliny’s cure for… all poisons apparently. From Pliny’s Naturalis Historia from 77 A.D., he says: After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day. Difficult names aside you may notice some salty language that I just used… no, not that salty. Salt! From the sources I could find all agreed that, insofar as anyone can tell, Pliny thereby coined the term, “with a grain of salt”… kind of. As translated above he said “addito salis grano” or “after having added a grain of salt” whereas the phrase we’re accustomed to seeing now would be, to overlay English grammar, “cum grano salis”. Interestingly, the Latin word “sal” means “salt” but also means “wit”, which changes the phrase to “with a grain of wit” or “with a grain of caution”. I should mention that these translations and phrases are the American idioms. In British English the phrase is “with a grain of salt, pip pip, cheerio, keep a stiff upper lift, calm, and cary on Gov’na” I believe in full. An alternate account of the history of the phrase goes to Roman general Pompey who was trying to make himself immune to poison by ingesting small amounts of it, each dose with a little salt to help swallow the, what I assume to be, powdered Iocaine. Unfortunately, Mithridatism—or dosing oneself with non-lethal amounts of a poison in pursuit of immunity—is not a great plan. In legend, the king of Pontus Mithridates V feared poisoning after his mother assassinated his father with poison. He began dosing himself like Vizzini until the inconceivable happened, he built up a lethal dose of…something, and died. Or so the Roman legend goes. As for the… you know… truth, mithridatism is dumb and hardly ever works. While it is possible to build up an immunity to some stuff most often, taking micro-doses of poisons will either make you mildly ill until the substance is flushed out of the body, or stay in the body and build up until you die. Basically, that’s not how your immune system works, and even if it was, heavy metals aren’t infectious biological agents. Moving last Latin and Greek the earliest English reference I could find was in John Tapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, from 1647 wherein he said of the books This is to be taken with a grain of salt. No doubt we’d have gotten along as well as two folks separated by nearly 400 years can. The sources I found all politely decline to explain his meaning, but I think it’s pretty clear. Centuries later in 1908 America. The Athenæum, a literary journal, said: Our reasons for not accepting the author’s pictures of early Ireland without many grains of salt. Not long thereafter the English version of the phrase sees print again in England in F. R. Cowell’s Cicero & The Roman Republic in 1948: A more critical spirit slowly developed, so that Cicero and his friends took more than the proverbial pinch of salt before swallowing everything written by these earlier authors” Now, regardless of the origin, the phrase is synonymous with “what about I’m about to say is nonsense and you should treat it as such” or as we like to call it, most of my stories. For those wondering how much to take something with, a pinch of salt, or any spice, is generally considered the amount that can be easily picked up between the thumb and forefinger. With granulated salt specifically, this is about 60mg. Outro I’m Shea, and this week I learned that a vanilla soy latte is a type of 3 bean soup. I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. We’d like the extend a special thanks to our newest patrons: Revan Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
29 minutes | 3 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 20: Snake Juice!
Welcome to **Interesting If True**, the podcast that slithers right into your ear holes and fills them with the wonders of yee-oldie medical stuff. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I’m Shea, and this week I learned that when you wear a mask with a big beard you look like an underwear ad from the 70’2 I’m Steve, and I’ve learned that the only place where I’m considered “essential” is at work, during a pandemic, so I can fix people’s computers, so they can keep shopping on Amazon… etc, etc, etc. ### There Be Oil In Them Thar Snakes! Today’s show will slither in under the bar I’m sure… because it’s snake oil! I’m a funny. Snake Oil really has two histories. One of moderate efficacy in a better-than-nothing sense. And another of screwing people out of money, health, and often life with fake cure-alls. The history of snake oil is a miss-mash of nonsense that’s impossible to put into a straight line, but in general, it goes something like this: 1. Boil stuff, maybe a snake, 2. … 3. Profit. So, let’s begin with, you guessed it, yee-oldie terrible doctors. The records are, of course, a bit of a mess and my research was not helped by my inability to read Chinese. Snake Oil seems to have two origins. One with folks like Pliny The Elder, and another in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I should differentiate Traditional Chinese Medicine from TCM as it’s now known. Today’s TCM was created largely during the Great Leap Forward when people were dying by the millions and there was no real help for them so the Chinese government basically just made some nonsense up to placate the suffering. On the other hand are curatives that were used, traditionally, by the Chinese for hundreds of years. Much like yee-oldie western medicine most of this was rubbing dirt on you then hoping your dick doesn’t fall off. Before we dive into oils and how to apply them, what was Pliny’s cure for blindness? That’s right, pickled snake skins! And for extra bad cases of not being able to see reduce the remainder of the snake to ash, mix that with the skin oil then rub that in your eyes daily until well visoned. So, snake oil. Despite its common meaning today O.G. snake oil was actually better than nothing. Made from the oils released when boil-rendering a Chinese Water Snake, snake oil was rich in omega-3 acids that can reduce inflammation. 1 A Californian psychiatrist with a background in neurophysiology, Richard Kunin, analyzed snake oil from San Francisco’s Chinatown, and the oil of two rattlesnakes he bought. His findings were published in the 1989 Western Journal of Medicine, this write up being from a Scientific American 2 article. He found that Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies. “Snakes and fish share one thing, they’re both cold-blooded animals,” Kunin says of Omega-3 fatty acids found in snakes and salmon etc. A similar, but more recent study, from the Japanese National Food Research Institute found that the Erabu sea snake—used in Japanese Snake Oil and a relative of the Chinese water snake—contained significant amounts of beneficial omega-3’s that did some interesting in encouraging stuff to mice in clinical trials. The researchers saw reduced inflammation, increased stamina and brain activity, and reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and depression. All of which is a major contributing factor or Omega-3 fatty acid woo, which is another show I’m afraid. The takeaway is, there’s something to EPA, but it’s not better than, say, a paracetamol. In the early 19th century Chinese laborers built America’s Transcontinental Railroad. For the Chinese laborers Snake Oil was often used topically on the arthritic or after a long day’s work. The work was back breaking, the pay meager, and the working conditions all but a war-crime. The few westerners who worked with the Chinese laborers quickly took to using the Snake Oil offered to them and it developed a reputation for efficacy at a time when the best medicine really was laughter… and I guess, whiskey. Unfortunately, Chinese Water Snakes—as the name would suggest—are not native to the American west. But Rattle Snakes are. And so now-notorious Snake Oil salesmen like Clark Stanley or ex-magician John Austin Hamlin began making their own concoctions. Sometimes using Rattle Snake oil, sometimes using whatever oil they could get their hands on like Sassafras, or… you know… crude. Soon “patent medicines” were all the rage. You could find ads for them on the backs of newspapers and magazines. Or being sold by a cart by a flim-flam man. Basically, exactly what you’re picturing when I say turn of the century snake oil salesmen. Interestingly, this is where Coca-Cola got its start. John Hamlin, launched his liniment in 1861. It caught on far more quickly than his magics did. As seen in the ad on your screen, it could cure: > rheumatism, neuralgia, toothache, headache, diphtheria, sore throat, lame back, sprains, bruises, corns, cramps, colic, diarrhea, and all pain and inflammation. Which does beg the question, if it cured “all pain” why list headaches and so on? Ahh, yee-oldie marketing. Unlike the Chinese Snake Oil, or the oils of other charlatans like Clark Stanley (who we’ll get to shortly) Hamlin’s Wizard Oil, as it was called, was not merely rendered snake fat, no, it included: 55% straight grain alcohol, 40% essential oils like camphor (a tree oil used topically to this day), and the rest was a mixture of ammonia, unidentified alkaloids, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. Hamlin is the snake oil salesman you picture. Hell, he popularized the cain-waving, top-hat sporting, fast-talking, smooth salesmen snake oil would come to typify. 3 Eventually his claims would run afoul of the Secretary of Agriculture who reported him to the U.S. District Attorney for the North of Illinois. Specifically, that it could cure cancer. > Cancer — Hamlin’s Wizard Oil will check the growth and permanently cure a Cancer if treatment is begun in the early stages of its development and faithfully continued for a long enough period of time. We have knowledge of a number of permanent cures of Cancer by the use of Hamlin’s Wizard oil. 4 He also claimed it could cure hydrophobia, pneumonia, and tumors once they’d be surgically removed. It was said to be good for ulcers if taken internally and deafness if taken… ear…ally. Speaking of cures for deafness and the previously mentioned Pliny the Elder, panel, what was his go-to cure for deafness? That’s right, rose pedals, oils, and hog jiz! 5 Just, jerk off a pig right into your ear. Yep. Clark Stanley became famous in 1897 when he published an autobiographical… pamphlet… called “_The Life and Adventures of the American Cowboy, by Clark Stanley, Better Known as the Rattle Snake King_”. 6 Yes, that’s all title. According to the book he had learned of the healing power of rattlesnake oil from Hopi medicine men. Which was, of course, nonsense. Eastern mysticism hadn’t made it big in the west yet so people were still trading in the ancient wisdoms of Native Americans when they needed to hawk stuff. Stanley would eventually find his way to the 1893 World’s Exposition in Chicago where, before a ruckus and enthusiastic crowd he boiled live snakes in a caldron to skim the residual oil off for onlookers. Joe Schwarez, the direct of McHill University’s Office for Science and Society, said of the showman:7 > “[Stanley] reached into a sack, plucked out a snake, slit it open and plunged it into boiling water. When the fat rose to the top, he skimmed it off and used it on the spot to create ‘Stanley’s Snake Oil,’ a liniment that was immediately snapped up by the throng that had gathered to watch the spectacle.” Given Stanley’s success there were, of course, imitators, like Miller’s Antiseptic Oil or simply “Lincoln Oil” Soon fraudsters began marketing their oils by their own names, or made up names that invoked imagery appealing at the time. But the writing was on the walls. The various potions offered by charlatans often did little good, more often, they did real harm. As doctors began accepting the germ theory of disease criticism grew of homemade and marketed cure-alls. In 1905 Collier’s Magazine published a scathing article admonishing patent medicine as nonsense and those selling it as fraudsters. 8 The public outrage led to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1907. In 1917 the FDA seized a shipment of Stanley’s Snake Oil and tested it for ingredients and efficacy. They revealed that the Snake Oil contained mineral oil, red pepper capsaicin, turpentine, camphor, and its fatty oil content was beef tallow. Snakes, it would seem, need not apply. The Snake King was arrested and charged with fraud and after pleading no contest was fined $20—the equivalent of about $500 today—for “misbranding” his product by “falsely and fraudulently represent[ing] it as a remedy for all pain.” Snake Oil’s fate was sealed. It was now regarded as poppy-cock and snake oil salesmen charlatans. The first written derogatory usage of the term “Snake Oil Salesman”, according to NPR, is in Stephen Vincent Bennett’s epic 1927 poem John Brown’s Body, “Crooked creatures of a thousand dubious trades … sellers of snake-oil balm and lucky rings.” So there ya go. Yee-Oldie GOOP turned semi-efficacious Chinese-Japanese snake-based Icy Hot into the commonly understood definition of being full of shit. 1. [History or Snake oil, Pharmaceutical Journal](https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/blogs/the-history-of-snake-oil/20067691.blog?firstPass=false) ↩︎ 1. [Collectors Weekly](https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/how-snake-oil-got-a-bad-rap/) – [Scientific American Article](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/snake-oil-salesmen-knew-something/) ↩︎ 1. [Wikipedia entry listing ingredients](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlin%27s_Wizard_Oil) ↩︎ 1. [Culinary Lore quotes about cancer](https://culinarylore.com/other:hamlins-wizard-oil-the-cancer-curing-liniment/) ↩︎ 1. [Pliny the Elder, Latin Library, 1 AD-100AD, National Histories](https://www.loebclassics.com/view/pliny_elder-natural_history/1938/pb_LCL418.121.xml?readMode=recto) ↩︎ 1. [Google Books Excerpt](https://books.google.com/books?id=Aiw-KntGPrgC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=hopi+indians+clark+stanley&source=bl&ots=qYqJJ_wh-E&sig=ACSXlxs6wjTuUY_3d4Rdv9-gU-s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eKMXUoHIIvf_4AO6v4DoCg#v=onepage&q=hopi%20indians%20clark%20stanley&f=false) ↩︎ 1. [NPR Report on Stanley](https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/08/26/215761377/a-history-of-snake-oil-salesmen) ↩︎ 1. [Museum of Quackery archive of Collier’s Magazine article](http://www.museumofquackery.com/ephemera/oct7-01.htm) ↩︎ 1. [Ancient Origins](https://www.ancient-origins.net/history/snake-oil-0011317) ### Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at [Patreon.com/iit](https://www.patreon.com/iit) where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show **4 More Beers**, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at [InterestingIfTrue.com](https://www.interestingiftrue.com) Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of [Wyoming AIDS Assistance](https://www.wyoaids.org), a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. ### The Thirsty Cardinal **Interested in what we have to say about this story?Good news, it’s available right now to** [**subscribers at Patreon.com/iit**](https://www.patreon.com/iit)**!** I have been quickly moving through my library with this covid in the air, and also snow because why not. I realized I have most genres represented but severely lack trashy romance novels. With some research I was able to dig up a gem called “The Cardinal’s Mistress,” and boy was I happy. “The Cardinal’s Mistress” is a story as old as time, or actually as old as the catholic church. First published in installments in Trento newspaper back in 1910, that is a newspaper in Trent, which at the time was in Austria. The story is about Emanuele Madruzzo (the fictional Cardinal of Trento during the papal reign of Alexander VII in the mid-1700s), his mistress Claudia Particella, and their sad love affair. Madruzzo wants to resign his office and legitimize the relationship, but the pope won’t let him. The couple has many enemies who seek to destroy them. The evil Don Benizio could help them, but only if Claudia will yield to his lust. She says, “No way!” Assassins are recruited to kill her; finally they succeed in drugging her wine and she dies. The end. In addition to the gripping plot, the book is filled with lots of anti-church rants and portraits of the greed and vengefulness of the clergy. I managed to find a quick excerpt for you to enjoy. This is when Don Benizio, the bad guy, tries to seduce our fair Claudia. > Don Benizio wept like a boy. And like a boy he knelt at Claudia’s feet. With broken phrases, interrupted by terrible groans which burst from his breast, with words which were in turn puerile, disordered, suave, and terrible, with the desperate gestures of one who has been crushed, he begged love, pardon, pity. > “Do not cast me into the abyss. Do not make me drain the bitter cup of vengeance. Cast a ray of your light into my darkened soul.” > Then phrases of mystic adoration hurtled past his lips. (Hee! Literary commentary mine). “I will build you a secret altar in the depths of my conscience. You will be the Madonna of the temple within me. I will be your slave. Strike me, despise me, beat me, open my veins with a subtle dagger, but grant me the revelation of yourself, grant that I may speak to you, grant that I may lose myself with you in the supreme illusion.” > But Don Benizio’s eloquence did not move Claudia. Then the priest returned to thoughts of vengeance. > “Ah, you do not listen to me, shameless courtesan, harlot. Well, I shall come to get you in this same castle. I shall let the common brutes of the market-place satiate their idle lusts on your sinful body. You shall be the mockery of the unreasoning mob. Your corpse will not have the rites of Christian burial. You will be cast into the field of the Badia with the witches. And when the hour of your agony comes, when, trampled on, transfixed and rent by the blows of the mob, you shall implore aid and succour with the eyes which now so disdainfully regard me, I shall be the evil demon of that supreme hour, I shall come to torture you with memories of me, to gloat in my triumph.” You may have gathered from the synopsis and the excerpt that this is not great literature, nor would you expect it to be, given its author. I haven’t mentioned the author yet as you may have noticed, that’s because this is the only novel the author wrote. You see back 1909 the author was working in Trent as a secretary to a trade union organization, and assisting the editor of the local socialist newspaper Il Popolo and its weekly supplement La Vita Trentina. For La Vita Trentina he wrote a serial, the extravagantly titled Claudia Particella, l’Amante del Cardinale: Grande Romanzo dei Tempi del Cardinale Emanuel Madruzzo. Apparently the story was popular with the readers of the magazine, but with the passage of time it was forgotten. This author went on to become famous in other ways, mainly politics where he would go on to start and lead the national socialist party and in 1922 would lead the March on Rome where he would take power and become the longest running PM in Italy. Is the author ringing any bells? Steve? You see back before he became a scary power monger, Benito Mussolini wrote a romance novel… It faded from view until Mussolini became famous as Il Duce, at which point it was resurrected and published in book form in Italian, German, and English in 1927. But Mussolini’s status as celebrity author was short-lived. In 1929, he made a truce with the Vatican when he signed the Lateran Treaty. Among other things, the Vatican acknowledged Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States and Italy recognized papal sovereignty over Vatican City and paid £30 million to the pope in compensation. At that stage, it seemed a good idea to pull The Cardinal’s Mistress out of circulation. Before becoming hard to find, like today, the great american poet Dorothy Parker wrote a scathing review; > ”When I am given a costume romance beginning, ‘From the tiny churches hidden within the newly budding verdure of the valleys, the evensong of the Ave Maria floated gently forth and died upon the lake,’ my only wish is that I, too, might float gently forth and die, and I’m not particular whether it’s upon the lake or dry land.” Some even postulate that this is the book about which she famously quipped, “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force,” but that is more likely to be Atlas Shrugged. – [https://www.biography.com/news/benito-mussolini-the-cardinals-mistress-novel#:~:text=The%20Italian%20dictator%20described%20%22The,novel%20for%20seamstresses%20and%20scandal.%E2%80%9D&text=Benito%20Mussolini%20made%20an%20early,a%20journalist%20and%20political%20polemicist](https://www.biography.com/news/benito-mussolini-the-cardinals-mistress-novel#:~:text=The%20Italian%20dictator%20described%20%22The,novel%20for%20seamstresses%20and%20scandal.%E2%80%9D&text=Benito%20Mussolini%20made%20an%20early,a%20journalist%20and%20political%20polemicist). – [https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4102540-the-cardinal-s-mistress](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4102540-the-cardinal-s-mistress) – [https://oddbooks.co.uk/oddbooks/musso.html](https://oddbooks.co.uk/oddbooks/musso.html) – [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini#Formation_of_the_National_Fascist_Party](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini#Formation_of_the_National_Fascist_Party) ### Outro I’m Aaron, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at [InterestingIfTrue.com](https://www.interestingiftrue.com). Music for this episode was created by [Wayne Jones](https://youtu.be/TkBeWQc9NSc) and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms.All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. ### Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our[web](https://www.interestingiftrue.com), [Twitter](https://twitter.com/interestingif), or [Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue) pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! – Website: [https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com](https://www.interestingiftrue.com) – Patreon: [https://www.patreon.com/iit](https://www.patreon.com/iit) – Facebook: [https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue](https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue) – Twitter: [https://twitter.com/interestingif](https://twitter.com/interestingif) – **Donate to** **_WyoAIDS.org_** – **Voicemail: (513) 760–0463**
28 minutes | 3 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 19: Nukatron vs. Tunguskazilla!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the show that’s here to teach you something, but we won’t guarantee it’s worthwhile. I’m your host this week, Jenn and with me are all three of the Stooges: I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that Russia is basically Europe’s less-responsible Florida. I’m Shea, and this week I learned that you see Lesbian parents, and you see Gay parents but you don’t really see transparents. I’m Steve, and all trucks have beds, but not all beds are for sleeping… Camping is harder once you reach a certain age. Another rousing story of weird… history…eee! That’s right, I’m back and I need some Aaron-Russian-accent and possible pan-dimensional destruction. So with that in mind, June 30th of 1908 was a total blast in Eastern Europe. Don’t believe me? Just ask the thousands of people in the roughly 900 mile radius who witnessed a giant fireball and explosion. Well, they’re dead now, but we have over 700 first person accounts to check out. Of course, as you may know, I’m talking about the massive Siberian boom known as the Tunguska Event. (Named for the Stony Tunguska River, the area where it was centralized was so remote that the first scientists didn’t reach it until 1927.) It had the estimated explosive power 650 – 1,000x greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and flattened roughly 80 million trees. http://bit.ly/2KDaEgr http://bit.ly/2NsG1YI http://bit.ly/2NuBKEk This story has been making the rounds of ‘craziest unsolved mysteries’ for decades, and a lot of brains better than mine, this is still one of those stories without a real ending. Despite it being generally agreed upon a massive space rock was involved, even today there is no scientific consensus on what exactly happened. Farmer Sergei Semenov was having breakfast that morning only about 40mi from the epicenter: ‘‘I was sitting in the porch of the house at the trading station of Vanovara at 7 a.m. and looking towards the north . . . suddenly the sky appeared like it was split in two, high above the forest, the whole northern sky appeared to be completely covered with blazing fire. At that moment I felt a great wave of heat as if my shirt had caught fire… after a minute, there was a loud bang in the sky, and I could hear a mighty crash. Subsequently, I was fiercely thrown to the ground about 5-6 meters away from the house and for a minute or two I lost my consciousness.” The closest seismic recorders were over 600 miles away but picked up strong readings for over an hour. This same type of equipment registered tremors as far away as England (where the luminosity created from the event kept the skies so bright a person supposedly could ‘read a newspaper’ at midnight). More first hand reports describe a fireball in the sky, larger or similar to the size of the sun, a series of explosions “with a frightful sound”, followed by shaking of the ground as “the earth seemed to get opened wide and everything would fall in the abyss. Terrible strokes were heard from somewhere, which shook the air.” The indigenous Evenks and Yakuts believed a god or shaman had sent the fireball to destroy the world. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded both seismic and atmospheric waves. Days later strange phenomena were observed in the sky of Russia and Europe, such as glowing clouds, colorful sunsets and a strange luminescence in the night. Luchetkan, a member of the indigenous Tungus people of the region, whose relative herded reindeer in the area of the blast, recalled, “Of some reindeer they found the charred carcasses; the others they did not find at all. Of the sheds nothing remained; everything was burned up and melted to pieces—clothes, utensils, reindeer equipment, dishes, and samovars…” Even today the area where the explosion itself happened, despite no actual impact crater, hasn’t fully recovered: So what exactly happened? There are a lot of good, and not so good, theories floating around so let’s discuss a few: 1.) A Collision with a Black Hole (or antimatter): According to this theory, first suggested in year 1941 by Lincoln LaPaz, the Tunguska event was likely caused by the annihilation of a chunk of anti-matter entering our atmosphere. While it may explain the lack of debris from a ‘splodey asteroid and the observed luminous phenomena, the existence of anti-matter “chunks” is considered theoretically impossible. The tiny black hole theory (first suggested by American scientists Albert A. Jackson and Michael P. Ryan in 1973) is also full of…holes. Most specifically, the planet would have an ‘exit wound’ somewhere around the North Atlantic as the black hole plowed through the middle. 2.) A Comet (or at least a piece of one): Pretty popular one. Danish researchers have explained that this explosion may have been caused by a large fragment that fell from a comet passing close to Earth. Kaare Lund Rasmussen and his team from Geoscience Research Institute reached this conclusion by examining century-old peat samples from the region. (Because it was apparently a swampy comet?) They postulate that it was mainly composed of ice at this point, which explains the lack of debris. However detractors claim a space object made mostly of ice would have been incinerated long before it came so close to the Earth’s surface. 3.) Agda, the local Thunder God: Personal favorite. Akulina, an Evenki woman, who was closer than 20 miles to epicentre at the time of explosion, recounted her experience to scientists. ”A mighty wind flattened our tent, while we had been sleeping. A brilliant ourburst of light blinded us, the wind was breaking trees like they were sticks. As a rising whirlwind lifted us off the ground, I lost consciousness”. After she woke up, she remembers seeking her husband, Ivan, being lifted up by blast, and slammed into one of the remaining upright trees, 130 feet from the remnants of the camp they had slept in. He died few hours later from fractures, shock and blood loss (one of only two known human fatalities). ”Our reindeers also vanished, and we haven’t found them since”. The shamans of her village immediately chalked this up to the actions of a miffed Siberian Thor. “Dissatisfied by the tribal disputes, Agda reputedly sent ”demons with shining eyes and fiery tails”, to punish the disobedient Evenki men.” The villagers took this seriously. Immediately after the event, the area was declared a sacred and forbidden zone by Evenki tribesmen, who then reportedly expelled or killed dozens of Soviet scientific expeditions that ventured into the area over the next several decades. 4.) Nuclear powered UFO, apparently driven by joyriding teenaged aliens who promptly crash it. Of course, everyone from dime store sci-fi pulp novelists to the X Files tried to link this to ALIENS. Good luck disproving this since evidence doesn’t seem to be real important. When it’s all said and done, however, the generally agreed upon theory is that on the morning of June 30, 1908, a large space rock, about 120 feet across, entered the atmosphere of Siberia and then detonated in the sky.” says Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in his decade-old study. Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and donating. Tsar Bomba Interested in what we have to say about this story? Good news, it’s available right now to subscribers at Patreon.com/iit! It’s da Bomb yo! Jenn did a story about a Russian explosion then tapped me for a patron story. And because I’m completely secure with my masculinity, I choose a bigger explosion. Much bigglier. The biggest explosion in fact! Because I have absolutely nothing to compensate for, comrade. Steve likely knows this story, what with being a history buff and all, but for the rest of you, I’d like to introduce the Russian Tsar, known as Bomba. AKA, Big Ivan, codename Vanya. Tsar Bomba was a product of the times. It was 1961. Starting on a Sunday, 1961 was, as MAD Magazine pointed out, a strobogrammatic year (meaning if you flip it over it’s the same!), Dwight Eisenhower gives his last address to Congress warning of the growing military-industrial complex—which totally didn’t fall of 60 years of deaf ears—and in Canada, despite being a committed Western partner, Trudeau sold China 60 million dollars of grain (about 1 billion at current prices and inflation) to help alleviate starvation from the Great Leap Forward. But we’re concerned with the cold war and Russia’s need to make everything bigger. The USSR recognized it needed to up its nuke game to swing as much dick as the USA—you know, basic Cold War stuff. So in Autumn of 1954 what is now the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and long-ass names began research into how to make the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima look like fire-crackers. And so, Tsar Bomba was built. Bomba was a 27 metric ton, 8 meters long and 2 meters tall hydrogen bomb. It was so big that the Tu-95V (a Russian cargo plane) had to have it’s bomb bay doors and fuselage fuel tanks removed just to fit the damn thing. The parachute itself weighed almost a ton. The chute was only added to slow the bomb’s descent such that the flight crew would have a 50/50 shot at out running the blast all action movie style. The aircraft was also painted with a special, reflective, heat resistant paint meant to stop it melting. Now, we need to talk about scale. The bombs dropped on Japan, Fat Man and Little Boy—which, can we take a moment for these names, what the fuck?—were approximately 20 and 15 kilotons respectively. We know the story, cities were demolished, an estimated quarter million people died, and everyone involved basically looked at the person next to them and said “wow, we should never do that again”. The bomb Khrushchev wanted would have been 3000 times as powerful if scientists and advisers hadn’t talked him down to a mere 1570 times as powerful. So… fast forward to October 30th, 1961, and it’s testing time. Bomba was flown over the remote Sukhoy Nos, the tip of an island in northern Russia. It’s latitude is just above Canada, about mid-Greenland above western Russia. The Barents Sea separates it from Finland and Sweden—I’m guessing about 1500 miles away. Basically, in the arctic circle. The bomb is dropped at 34,500 feet, or 10,500m, and detonated at approximately 4000 meters. By this time, the aircraft that dropped it was about 70 miles away… When the bomb exploded it… it destroyed everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30EoIh2kADk The blast radius was larger than Paris. The explosion was, depending on your source, between 50 and 60 megatons. Not only is this still the largest explosion a human has ever caused, it wasn’t even on the charts back in the day. They had some math but the realities were until outside imagining. The airplane that dropped it was about 130 miles away by the time it went off but the blast wave caused the aircraft to suddenly drop over a half mile. Luckily the pilots righted things and managed a safe landing. Ground zero was a veritable hell-scape. They did the math and predicted that a fireball would hit the ground. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t insane-bizzaro land math they forgot to account for the fireball being nearly 5 miles (8km) wide. Then you have the add the bomb’s blast wave, which was so strong it hit the ground—annihilating everything—and bounced off, pushing the fireball upward. Basically, the explosion exploded. The mushroom cloud was 42 miles high, that’s seven mount Everests. It went right on past the stratosphere and into the mesosphere. Once finished growing the peek was 59m (95km) tall and 25 miles (40km) wide at the base. The US geological survey sensed the explosion three different times as it echoed around the world and initially registered as a 5, 5.5 on the Ricketier scale. The nearby village of Severny, about 35m (55km) away just ceased to exist. For hundreds of miles wooden houses collapsed and brick houses lost their roofs. One observer saw the flash, though tinted goggles, nearly 300 miles away. The shockwave was felt in the Dikson settlement which was 430m (700km) away. Windows were shattered over 500m away. Thanks to the effects of Atmospheric focusing or lensing—where atmospheric densities on the blast-wave are refracted horizontally, like light through water—windows were blown out of buildings in Norway and Finland. A soviet camera man said “the spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural.” If you want to see for yourself there’s a link in the show notes to a Russian documentary on YouTube with footage: https://youtu.be/nbC7BxXtOlo?t=1349 Beyond the ‘splody problems Tsar Bomba was a radiological nightmare. It still, today, accounts for more than 10% of all radioactivity from nuclear explosions. The blast was greater than the combined force of all the weapons used in WWII, including Fat Man and Little Boy, combined. Or, put another way, it had a yield of about one quarter of the 1883 Krakatoa eruption. Which seems like a lot until you realize that they built in a uranium super-charger of sorts that could have doubled its output. Basically, this was the thermonuclear equivalent of someone pulling out a grenade launcher at an actual, literal, pissing contest. Everyone in the area immediately put their dicks away, ran for the hills, and swore never to question Ivan’s masculinity again. https://nypost.com/2020/08/28/russia-releases-previously-unseen-1961-footage-of-largest-ever-nuclear-explosion/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba Outro I’m Jenn, and I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-hosts. Find out more about the show, social links, and contact information at InterestingIfTrue.com. Music for this episode was created by Wayne Jones and was used with permission. The opinions, views, and nonsense expressed in this show are those of the hosts only and do not represent any other people, organizations, or lifeforms. All rights reserved, Interesting If True 2020. Join The Discussion To contact the show, get more content, or interact with other listeners, visit our web, Twitter, or Facebook pages. Of course, we’d love a 5-Star review wherever you get your podcasts from! Website: https://www.InterestingIfTrue.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/iit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interestingiftrue Twitter: https://twitter.com/interestingif Donate to WyoAIDS.org Voicemail: (513) 760–0463
35 minutes | 3 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 18: Life, Death, & Whiskey!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that wants your lucky charms—and is willing to ply you with whiskey until you give them up! Jenn wanted to call this one “Two Guys One Whiskey” but I didn’t want to remake the artwork…. 0_o I’m your host, Aaron, and this week I learned Jenn is a dirty, pant-burning, liar face: I’m Shea, and this week I learned that I’m not lazy, I’m just an off-season hibernation innovator. The Year was 1828—a leap-year starting on Tuesday for Gregory and Sunday for Julian (the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar at this point), saw the Turkmenchay peace treaty (between Russia and Persia), the feral child Kaspar Hauser was found in Nuremberg, and Andrew Jackson was elected the 7th President of the United States. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh there was an explosion of anatomy! Well… an explosion in the study of anatomy. Famous smarties like John Bell, Alexander Monro, and Robert Knox all studied human bits there. First, if you’re not familiar with Robert Knox, don’t worry, we’ll get there. Second, there is now a market for human bits in Edinburgh. Before we go to the worst farmer’s market ever, a bit about Scottish law. It was illegal to make a body of course, and grave or funeral home robbing was generally frowned upon. So what was an enterprising “resurrection man” to do? Resurrection men, by the way, where the purveyors of fresh corpses that totally, for sure, honest, never robbed graves. Turns out it was legal to steal a body, just not from someone or a hole in the ground. So if you could find yourself a ward of the state, orphan, etc, and get their body from the… body… cart, probably, it was yours because you can’t steal what isn’t technically owned. Two of such Resurrection Men were William Burke and William Hare who sold corpses they… “farmed” I guess, to Robert Knox for dissection and lecture. In the summer a body fetched 8 pounds. In the winter 10 as nature’s refrigeration meant you could fiddle about inside someone longer and with more frequency. From a practical standpoint, this also meant that protecting graves was good business. Guard towers and fences of course but you could also commission a stone slab to be placed over the grave until the ground was frozen or the body was… too ripe to pick. Iron cages built over graves were another popular option. These had the dual feature of preventing robbing as well as eliminating any “pet cemetery” concerns the family might have. Speaking of family, Hare and Burke had wives and family. Burke had an abandoned and a current wife. While Hare married a woman described as a “hard-featured and debauched virago”. A virago, by the way, is an old term for a belligerent, ill-mannered, scolding, self-righteous, shrew. Or, a yee-oldie “Karen”. Dedicated drinkers and assholes all, they soon found themselves in need of coin. Hare’s renter died of dropsy owing him $4. So, like ya do, they waited around until the family gave the body to the gavers, then opened the casket, took the body, filled the casket with wood and rocks and shit that 100% sounds like a body when if you move it, then sold the man’s corpse at Edinburgh University. I want to take a moment and pause here to say that they didn’t have a pre-existing agreement with anyone. They’d just heard that those nutters in the ivory towers liked fresh meat and were willing to pay for it. So, corpse in hand, they Weekend At Burniesed a body around until an underclassman directed them to Robert Knox who paid $7 for it. One of Knox’s assistants told the duo that the anatomists “would be glad to see them again when they had another to dispose of” and just like that, industry was born. Now, in their defense Burke and Hare didn’t set out to become serial killers. They were just assholes, greedy, drunken, assholes. But when Hare’s next lodger Joseph, a miller, was stricken ill there was concern about being able to further rent if it became known a plague-ee stayed there. So they did what you do and gave the man whiskey until he was so ill as to be delusional and bed ridden, then put his pillow in the less traditional location of, on top… with force… and waited until profit happened. And it did, Knox rewarded the men with $10 this time—business was, as they say, good. A note here. Burke was on top of Joseph while Hare smothered him. To them, it was to prevent movement and sounds, to CSI types it meant his chest was compressed preventing lung expansion. This suffocated Joseph without leaving attack marks or other at-the-time detectable signs of murder. Such suffocations would become the dastardly duo’s modus operandi. The order of the next handful of murders is disputed but in a nutshell Hare had a bed for rent and Edinburgh had plenty of travelers. There was an unnamed Englishman who came to town to sell kindling and matches who fell ill with jaundice at Hare’s house. They got him sympathy-drunk then did the pillow-pile-on until they were $10 richer. They plied Abigail Simpson, a passing salt seller and pensioner, with enough booze to kill her then took her body to Knox while it was still warm. Having discarded her clothing Hare later noted that “Dr Knox approved of its being so fresh … but [he] did not ask any questions”. In February or March Hare’s wife invited another woman into their home and plied her with enough whiskey to pass out. Hare then covered her with a mattress and returned the next morning to find her suffocated. Bank. So April rolls around and Burke picks up two women at a bar and promises them breakfast at his brother’s house, where they drink two _more_—the story specified “more”—bottles of whiskey and pass out. Hare joins Burke for what he thinks is gonna be a randy time when Burke’s wife busts in the door and accuses him of an affair. So again, Burke and Hare do the only logical thing, instead of admitting to the affair he was totally trying to have they insist it’s all for… something else. The duo lock their wives (oh yeah, one of the women was Hare’s wife) in the kitchen and murder Mary Paterson, the passed out girl and sell her body. The wives … that’s the end of that part of the story so in true choose your own adventure style you can pick from: They saw what Burke and Hare were all about and decided it was best to just let it go, Figured “it’s only murder for profit, not like he’s cheating on me” and everyone lived happily ever-after, or, They were women in 1828 so no one bothered writing their bit of the story down. As for Mary, her body was delivered, warm, to Knox. They told Knox’s assistant she’d drunk herself to death so… they took the body. Because “why not?” I guess. Knox was delighted at the body and stored it in whiskey for three months before dissecting it. Also because “why not?” I guess… In mid 1828 Mrs. Haldane, whom Burke described as “a stout old woman” stayed with him so he gave her too much whiskey and killed her. Then, some time later, her daughter came looking for the missing woman, so Burke offered her whiskey to drown her sorrows… then he killed her. Then there was Effy. She was a “cinder gatherer”. They dug through people’s trash to find stuff worth selling to other, weirder, people. So he lured her into a barn with offers of whiskey and killed her. Come June the duo killed “an old woman and a dumb boy, her grandson”. The grandmother they killed in the usual fashion but the boy, being mute, they just normal-style, whiskey-free killed because, again, these people are just the worst. Each warm body would fetch $8 at Surgeons’ Square—a farmer’s market for bodies. Yes, really. Toward the end of June Hare made some more money and was starting to dress a little too well. Enraged to be left out Burke and Hare came to blows and wouldn’t reconcile until October over a nice cup of, you guessed it, killing people. ‘Twas harvest season and the two were intent on just that. They killed a wash-lady, one of Hare’s in-laws who stayed just a little too long, and a mentally disabled, crippled, boy from town. The boy’s name was James Wilson, 18, and he was known in the town, standing out for his limp. Which is why one of Knox’s students recognized him. Obviously, this was a problem so Knox elected to dissect the boy well ahead of schedule… for… innocent person reasons. He also removed the body’s head and feet before showing his students the autopsy. Which is, again, just for like… science and stuff. Still the damage was done and rumors began to spread about Knox and his unsavory deeds. The final victim would be their undoing. Killed on Halloween—of course—Margaret Docherty was a middle-aged Irish woman Burke had lured into a lodging house and offered her whiskey. At one point he left the woman with his wife while he went to fetch Hare. Meanwhile, two additional lodgers, Ann and Hames Gray, were kinda put out by all of this and asked the others to stay with Hare instead and left to do… something… while the rest moved their stuff to Hares. Later, upon returning, the Grays saw both men, their wives, and Margaret dancing drunk in the street. At some point Hare and Burke got into a fist fight, because whiskey, but they quickly reconciled, because whiskey. Finally, they killed Margaret and put her body in a pile of hay at the foot of the lodger bed… because whiskey. The next day the Grays returned to pick up some stuff they’d forgotten the night before. Eventually they got into the room and, looking around, found the
29 minutes | 3 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 17 - Thee Ye-Olde Finale Quize!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that can’t get away from ye-olde medical stories no matter how hard we try. It’s funny, but yeah… sorry all! I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I’m Jenn, and if you happened to watch Netflix’s Witcher series, I learned something new about it this week. The cursed, prickly-faced knight who turned out to be Ciri’s father is not a creation of the Witcher Universe. He’s actually based on a Brother’s Grimm story called The Hedgehog Boy. I’m Shea, and this week I learned that if you pick up and put your ear up to a live crab you can hear what it sounds like to be attacked by a crab. Crazy Medical Nonsense of Yesteryear Quiz http://bit.ly/2IZhlYD I’ve spent some time talking about woo-woo nonsense, laughing at the ridiculous claims modern woo’s make about the curative power of bleach in your butt, porous stones in your hoohaw, or ward off the evil autistic spirits of vaccination. But what about the time before modern medicine? What about when seemingly intelligent people were recommending bloodletting and porcupine fucking?.. Ok, I don’t know that the last one is real, but it’s easily the most erotic of acupuncture… And so, I present the “Crazy Medical Nonsense of Yesteryear Quiz” – bonus points are available on each question if you correctly guess if the “treatment” is still recommended by nutjobs. There are 14 questions that all draw from the same answer pool, pictured below. Pair the cure described with the ailment listed for a chance to win! 1. In 1530, the egotistical, loud-mouthed, Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus, proposed that patients should be dosed with mercury salts to make them urinate and drool. Some of Paracelsus’ contemporaries recommended dosing a patient with mercury until the patient drools three pints of saliva—a sufficient volume to get rid of what common 16th-century disease? Syphilis! Paracelsus believed that syphilis was caused by invisible particles transmitted from one person to another—a good guess, given syphilis is caused by the microscopic bacteria Treponema pallidum—and that drooling copiously would flush the particles out of the patient. Even though mercury might kill syphilis bacteria in less-active infections, it might also kill the patient by causing ulcers, kidney failure, and brain damage. Bonus: Nope, a quick google reveals that if it’s still used, the nutters are quiet about it. Most discussion of mercury in woo circles is about how it’s in vaccines and will give you autism. 2. Friar Agustín Dávila Padilla recorded in 1596 that an aging fellow cleric was ordered by doctors “to use a drink that in the Indies they call chocolate. It is a little bit of hot water in which they dissolve something like almonds that they call cacaos, and it is made with spices and sugar.” What were the doctors trying to cure with this delicious drink? Kidney disease. Dávila Padilla delicately relates that the cleric was suffering because “his urine was afflicted.” Bonus: Despite “medical professionals” as far back as 1662 denying its efficacy chocolate is used to this day to treat things like: reducing cholesterol, raw coco for coughing, reduced natural insulin, lower blood pressure, antioxidants, preventing cancer, blood flow improvements, protecting skin from UV rays, preventing tooth decay, as a painkiller, and “good for your brain” … just about the only thing these woos and I can agree on is that chocolate can “improve moods” 3. The chocolate-loving friars wouldn’t have approved of their British contemporary John Gerard, a botanist who published The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes in 1597. In his herbal, Gerard recommends that juniper should be “boyled in Wine and drunke” to remedy what? “Delayed Menstruation” Or as it’s more commonly known, being preggers. Gerard was unusually blunt when recommending a juniper concoction to “bring downe the menses with force, draw away the after-birth, expel the dead childe, and kill the quicke”—that is, terminate a late-term pregnancy. Historians believe that Tudor women must have used abortifacients like juniper—which is known nowadays to cause miscarriages in cows—because illegitimacy rates were surprisingly low for an era without the pill. Bonus: Oh yeah. In addition to helping you pass drug tests apparently, juniper is still used for: relief from snoring, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, colic, chronchitis, heartburn, acne, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and various constitutional ailments, including: EBs (Elephant-butterfly), Eagles, Tigers, and Bears – oh my!, and as a Mind-body-emotional curative as prescribed in an excerpt from a 1898 book on nonsense. The fourth edition of Dr. Willis’s 1675 book “Receipts for the Cure of All Distempers” the famous-even-after-death Willis recommends combining powdered peony roots, amber, and “a man’s Scull, prepar’d” to treat what? Apoplexy (stroke). Human bones, blood, and fat were such popular remedies in the 17th century that King Charles II regularly took “the King’s Drops”—a distillation of human skull. The rationale for treating strokes with skulls was the homeopathic idea that like cures like. Despite his drops, King Charles died of a stroke in 1685. Bonus: isn’t used today, at least that I could find… 5. Shortly after King Charles died, his successor King James II commanded Sir Gourdon in 1686 to share an elaborate curative recipe of “Agrimony Roots, Primrose Roots, Dragon Roots, Single Peony Roots, the Leaves of Box,” mixed with “the black of Crabs Claws prepared.” This mixture was to be mashed, boiled, and then drunk daily for three days before the new and full moons. Pourquoi? Rabies… because why not. Gourdon says should drink their crab claws and peony roots in milk. It was incurable until Louis Pasteur invented a vaccine in 1885. Bonus: Again, not that I can find in this specific preparation, though elements are still commonly used. 6. In 1718, the English apothecary John Quincy published his Compleat English Dispensatory, which includes a recipe for a syrup sweetened with honey, cloves, and ginger, mixed with morning glory and the “Roots of Hermodactyl”—the colchicum plant. What was Quincy trying to cure? Gout Because it was the 18th century in England and everyone was living high on the hog! Quincy might’ve been on to something by including colchicum. The plant contains colchicine, which is prescribed nowadays to stop gout’s pain and inflammation caused by the buildup of uric acid, which can be caused by diet or genetics. Unfortunately, being wicked stupid, gout sufferers of the time often welcomed the pain: Quincy’s contemporaries believed that being a rich-man’s disease gout protected its sufferers from developing other diseases. Bonus: Well… the colchicine is, kinda. This could go either way. 7. In 1744, British doctor Thomas Aery prepared a tincture for a 26-year-old widow, made of a “few Drops of this blood-warm was to be used frequently.” By preparing this tincture, bleeding the unfortunate woman from her arm, and restricting her diet to water-gruel and fresh broth, what was Aery trying to treat? Get stabbed in the eye with a fork. Yes, really. Aery only reports that “she received a Wound in the Cornea of her right Eye, by the Spear of a common Fork.” Despite having her eye washed by Aery’s tincture, being bled regularly, having her scalp blistered, and eating a restricted diet, the young woman recovered enough after two months that she could see “the right Side of Objects a little darkened.” Bonus: Bloodletting? Oh fuck yeah that still happens. While it can be used to treat things like polycythemia or hemochromatosis (too much blood, and too much iron in the blood respectively) it’s obviously quackery of the highest order when we try to treat things like the common cold, genetic ailments, stress, and pretty much whatever else. 8. In 1758, Patrick Brydone was pleased to write about one of his successes. Brydone reported that Robert Haigs, a 45-year-old laborer from Coldinghame, was cured after he “underwent the electrical shocks in the common way. After having received about thirty or forty very severe ones, he grew pale, and staggering for several steps, would have fallen over, had he not been supported.” What illness required Haigs to be “strongly electrified”? Malaria Brydone cheerfully reports that, after shocking his patient until he couldn’t stand, poor electrified Haigs went “without any anguish symptom … for the space of four months.” Bonus: Yep, electro-shock is still used as a treatment for things though it ranges wildly from “maybe that works” to full on cure-by-torture. 9. In 1761, the New England surgeon Mr. Strong first took “fine sea salt, which was plentifully sprinkled and rubbed” onto the patient. Then, he plastered the man with a poultice of burdock-root and made him vomit by drinking a mixture of saffron, water, and white ash bark. Two days later, “the patient was perfectly cured,” which Strong attributed to the salt. Rattlesnake bite. The colonist had been “bitten by a rattlesnake in the left foot, between the great toe and the next.” After slicing open the wound, Strong rubbed salt into it—literally. Which is why they all would have died if the local native americans hadn’t helped out… Bonus: Yep. Epsom salts aside, salt rubs are still used as natural exfoliants, a terrible sunburn treatment, itch relief, gum disease, and somehow, dry skin. 10. In 1828, surgeon Henry Perry starting first with bloodletting—“either by means of cupping or leeching”—and blistering, Perry next dosed the patient with the emetic antimony—“carried so far as to keep up a continued nausea, without producing actual vomiting.” Next, he dosed his patient with en
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Interesting If True - Logo for Episode 16 - The Sweet Raspberry Blues!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast you’re listening to. I’m your host this week, Shea, and with me are: Aaron… Steve… I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that bananas are actually berries, but beavers are not. I’m Steve and it turns out that fruity pebbles are not, as I had been led to believe, a gay rock band. Feeling blue for raspberries Seeing, or rather not seeing, that I am completely color blind, I thought talking about color would make the most sense. Also with the way the world has been turning my thoughts turned to hypocrisy, and that’s where this story was born. With fake news and double talk rampant in the USA I decided to pick apart the most glaring problem facing us in the world today. What flavor is blue raspberry when real raspberries are red? One of my favorite slushy flavors and a mainstay in most gas stops was first seen by Steve back in the olden days of 1970. Before gaining it’s new unnatural color, ice pops we’re the popular ice treat of the day, like otter pops. The popular flavors of the past we’re very similar to flavors now, cherry, watermelon, strawberry, regular normal rasberry. Which you may have noticed, not me, that they are all various colors of red. Originally cherry and strawberry were different shades of red, watermelon was a pink shade and our original raspberry was a deep red wine color. All was well in the world of frozen treats and those with color vision could reliably figure out their flavor before tasting it. That all changed in the early 70’s when the FDA banned E123 and FD&C Red No. 2, for those of you not in the world of cheap food dyes, this was the deep red wine dye used to color raspberry pops. Also known as Amaranth, the dye could provoke severe reactions, and was deemed a possible carcinogen. The future looked bleak for our burgundy berries. Due to new technology in food science during the time, new sources of food dye and color we’re popping up all over the market. A cheap blue coloring was sitting in the warehouses while cooks and creatives tried to figure out what would look good blue, not very many things are blue in nature and thus a bit off-putting to a public unaware of its flavor. Well the ice pop Barron’s of the day had an idea, they had a colorless pop and a new color… After some really creative thinking from the PR and marketing department they found the Rubus leucodermis, known as the whitebark raspberry or to some savvy botanists out there, the blue raspberry. Image on your phone now. After some careful research/asking my wife, I have come to the conclusion that those still aren’t blue, maybe a dark purple but definitely not the brilliant blue swirling at the corner store. Brilliant blue, coincidentally, is the color of the dye used, FD&C Blue No. 1. So before the age of information fact checking the color of a blue raspberry was a bit harder to check and children around the world we’re happy to have their favorite flavor back, even if it meant you looked like you had a roll in the hay with Papa Smurf. I’m Sweet Enough Already Sugar! Delightful little granules of goodness. The only white crystal I like to sprinkle on things more is MSG.d But is it vegan? Or even vegetarian really? The answer for most people is “yes, of course, I’m no major general but that’s not an animal it’s a mineral!” and for the most part, they’re right. A few listeners probably said “nope, bone char” and… they are also, for the most part, right. It’s a good bet the second group of hypothetical respondents I turned into an introductory segway are, or are at least dinner-party-our-wives-arraigned-without-telling-us-until-it-was-too-late-to-back-out friends with, a vegan or vegetarian. I’m going to gloss right over the merits for or against eating meat so we can get to the sweet stuff: sugar! Most sugar consumed in America and similar nations like Canada, the warm-beer conglomerate formally known as the UK, Germany, Australia… probably… some other ones, get most of their sugar from beets. These are large, white, beets by the way, not the red ones most people think of or this quote is about: > “The beet-root, when being boiled, yields a juice similar to syrup of sugar, which is beautiful to look at on account of its vermilion color” That’s 16th-century scientist Olivier de Serres, who discovered a process for preparing sugar syrup from the common red beet. Unfortunately, his process never caught on. It would take some significant scientific progress in Germany and America before sucrose from beets was commercially viable. Fortunately, since the 6th century BC (though I’m willing to bet longer) people have been nomming on sugar cane. Both plants will yield sucrose that can be boiled down rendering crystallized sugar, molasses—though beet molasses is just awful and typically used by breweries or as animal feed—and some byproducts. From there it’s refining time and this is where things can get a little… beefy. Beet sugar is…sugar. Default white table/confectionery/rock sugar. While “newer” in the industrial sense, because beets need a ¼ of the water of sugar cane, once the extraction processes became economically viable it very quickly became the default. Even in places with naturally occurring sugar cane like Egypt. Brown sugar, however, comes from sugar cane. Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it, light brown has less. Simple as that. That said, there are plenty of places that add molasses to white beet sugar to make cheap brown sugars. Cause… why not I guess. To get white sugar from molassessy molassessy cane sugar, you need to refine and filter it. This is where bone char comes in. Bone char is exactly what it sounds like. You get yourself some bones and you burn the hell out of them, crucially, in a low oxygen environment. Of course there are massive machines to do this but if you wanted to make bone char at home for fertilizer or any other use (there’s a lot actually) put a bunch of beef or pork bones—but no spines or skulls, we don’t want Creutzfeldt-Jakcob disease—into a campfire and let’em go until all the soft organic matter is completely gone. From there, smother the fire and bones with pellets, wheat hulls, extra-coarse sawdust, anything that will deprive the area of oxygen but allow the slow continued burning of white-hot coles. The organic matter will burn away leaving a residue called Dipple’s oil. What remains solid are black, ashen bones that if they aren’t already, will fall into a silken dust with any amount of pressure. This happens at around 700C or 1,300F. Bone char can be used the same way as activated charcoal in filters so you can filter out impurities like molasses content. It’s been used with wax to increase the lifespan of leather (added bonus: it makes a black pigment good for soldier’s leathers), used in making petroleum jelly, and even coats the ESA-NASA Solar Orbiter (heat shielding). But back to sugar. Bone char filters decolour sugar. Beef and pig bones are relatively cheap and in some applications the bone char filters can be cleaned and reused almost indefinitely. So they were popular for a while… The use of pork bones caused an uproar in the American Jewish community when it became known that they used to make some char. Though none of the char remains with the sugar and sugar is therefore considered pareve by most Jewish people sugar manufacturers largely switched to entirely beef-based char. All that said, only about 25% of sugar in American and the EU is filtered with bone char. This is largely due to cheaper, less controversy-inspiring, options like activated charcoal or ion-exchange resins, and that only cane sugars require a decoloration anyway. So, if you want vegan sugar you can find it and it doesn’t have to be expensive, brown, GMO-free, all natural, nonsense from Whole Foods. White granulated sugar from beets is going to be vegan by default and most cane sugars are filtered without bone char. Of course, cane sugars are also just so, so proud of being cane sugars they add it to their labeling and branding, making them messy to avoid if that’s your thing. Is there a difference? No, not really. Most chefs consider molasses from cane superior because it’s a primary product, not made through additional steps or with cane-based additives. Beyond that the pompous-knobs on the internet seem to think beet sugar has an “earthy, oxidized aroma and burnt sugar aftertaste, whereas cane sugar is characterized by sweeter aftertastes and fruity aromas” which is impressive as after processing they’re literally, chemically, the same. I suppose an argument could be made for flavor differences in other applications like fermentation, but in those cases more of the original material makes it into the pot eh. Not a lot of folks rushing to make rum out of beet pulp… In the end, you can buy some pretty expensive, certified vegan, sugar from Trader Joe’s Organic or Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar… or you could just double check you got sugar from beets and not cane sugar, and you should be fine. Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of listeners like you Interesting If True is a proud supporter of Wyoming AIDS Assistance, a registered 501(c)3 charity that provides support to Wyomingites living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at WyoAIDS.org and thank you for listening, sharing, and do
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 15: The Long Road To Recovery
Welcome to Interesting If True, where we actually trust doctors and scientists, despite the stories we cover. I’m your host this week, Jenn, and with me are (introduce each host and their blurb) I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that birds are the most medically… applicable… animal. Like, they’re great when… applied 0_o I’m Steve and I’m learning as I age that I should not have spent the last 10 years primarily on my ass. Now when I do pretty much anything I spend the next couple of days recovering. https://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=1918086 https://www.blackresearchcentral.com/articles/the-black-history-of-anesthesiology https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/how-we-fail-black-patients-pain Pain ain’t funny Time for some medical facts in history! REE Ree ree…As we previously covered in episode 10 (Guns, Germs & Garfield), it was well into the 19th century surger that was a really terrible undertaking. I covered the yuckiness that was surgical work before the germ theory of disease was understood, so now let’s talk about what happened to help the experience be a little better than a last resort of unbearable agony, where the best you could hope for pain was a swig of whiskey and a swift surgeon hand. Let’s travel back in time to mid-1800s. In those days, itinerant performers roamed the countryside as entertainers (since streaming services were literal streams at the time and people were so bored they had a dozen children). In addition to horrifying puppet shows and probably doing terrible things to farm animals, one ‘comedy’ routine involved demonstrating the silly side effects of nitrous oxide (laughing gas). As humans are wont to do, upon seeing the performers having a fun time completely out of their heads, the audience members wanted in on some of that action, too. This brings us to 1842, in the surely bustling metropolis of Jefferson, GA (nah, it was a rural dirty hovel). This is the home of pharmacist and physician Crawford Long. Now, Jefferson, Georgia was having itself some ether parties, since apparently cow tipping had yet to be invented. When being invited to one of these said parties, Dr. Long was asked pretty, pretty please by his buddies if he could find a way to whip up some extra nitrous oxide, him being the cool pharmacist friend and all. But Dr. Long was all, ‘nah, bro, I know THE STUFF.’ and instead introduced the party to sulfuric ether, a “compound he himself had found suitably diverting”. Party at Crawford’s! Anyway, it was soon pretty clear that hopped up on ether, the partygoers giggled and stumbled and slammed into furniture, themselves and the floor, but surprisingly, felt no pain. Once he sobered up, Dr. Long began to ponder on the implications of that. Well, next ether happy hour (or March 30, 1842)) Dr. Long decides to put his buzzed hypothesis to the test. One particular fun time party guy, James Venable, had a tumor on his neck and what do you know? Dr. Long had James sniff some ether and excised that tumor with no apparent pain. Eureka! Fun Americana roadside attraction side note: The town of Jefferson, GA has a museum and mural dedicated to Doc and the Tumor. Per roadsideamerica.com and Jeff: I passed through town before the museum opened, but the anesthesia mural is visible from the street. The mural is excellent – a combination of bright colors, dramatic expressions, and a grotesque cyst. [Jeff, 08/27/2011] Now, you may possibly have heard this story already. As a native Georgian, I vaguely remember this in my 7th grade Georgia history. Long is often considered the ‘Father of Anesthesiology’, but he isn’t who made it mainstream. The story always ended with something like: Dr. Long was still not fully convinced of his discovery and delayed publishing his findings. But that’s not the whole story. Before I fill in the gaps with the kind of history that isn’t taught in schools, here’s a very brief runthrough of how anesthesia became widespread: Only two years after Long removed the party tumor, a Hartford, CT dentist named Horace Wells also attended a laughing gas show and had much the same idea as Long. He performed quite a few successful demonstrations, but when it was time for the big show at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston things went somewhat awry. “Descriptions of the patient’s response to the extraction of his tooth are fairly consistent. According to Wells, the patient experienced some pain, but later stated that the pain was “not as much as usually attends the operation.”4 Wells attributed the failure of complete insensibility to the fact that he had withdrawn the bag too soon.4 Some observers considered it a “humbug affair.” A similar description was provided by Taft: “A tooth was extracted from one person, who “halloed somewhat during the operation, but on his return to consciousness, said he felt no pain whatever.” Curtis thought the patient did not appear to experience any pain, but some of the students believed it was an “imposition.” (Dr. William) Morton was more dismissive, “Dr. Wells administered the gas, and extracted a tooth, but the patient screamed from pain, and the spectators laughed and hissed.” Sadly, poor dejected Horace gathered up his toys and went home. But dismissive Dr. Morton (who had actually once practiced dentistry with Wells) took the idea and ran with it. He began to work with ether and was soon practicing with it on patients. Just two years after the embarrassing performance from Wells, Dr Morton did his own presentation at Massachusetts General Hospital, having added “aromatic oils” and no references to poor Wells. This time there was a different ending, and by the Fall of that year the hospital’s chief of surgery used ether in the first official leg amputation under anesthesia. There followed quite a bit of angry old white man controversy for the title of official discoverer. Dr. Morton was the loudest, after he patented his smell-good ether and hoped to make a fortune. When visiting New York City for a legal battle with chemist Dr. Charles Jackson, Morton had a seizure and died. He did sort of have the last laugh in this though. The story is Jackson saw Dr. Morton’s headstone, which gave him (Morton) credit for the discovery and Jackson promptly went insane. He spent the remainder of his life in an asylum. Saddest ending was poor Dr. Wells, who I guess never got over his failed shot at success. He became addicted to chloroform and, when confined to a NYC jail cell, soaked a cloth in said drug, severed an artery and quietly bled to death. But we’re not quite finished. Let’s swing back around to Dr. Crawford Long, who was apparently too timid to publish any findings after ‘party tumor’ and for all Georgia classroom intents and purposes stopped everything but surely hardcore laughing gas parties. Again, that’s not exactly the story. ‘Party tumor’ was March of 1842, but in July of that same year he again performed a surgery with ether anesthesia. But here is where we enter the ugly part of history. This is when Dr. Long decided he needed to make sure the ether was really working and began to experiment on slaves. Remember, this is rural Georgia in the 1840’s. I found this information on blackreasearchcentral.com. As an aside, I didn’t realize I was going to discover this until I started researching this episode, but couldn’t not share this. Our history is white-washed enough. The July surgery involved a young slave boy who needed two toes amputated. Apparently he had been severely burned and with infection surely setting in, at least this was not frivolous. The first surgery went well, with Long noting: “...the operation was performed without the boy evincing the least sign of pain.” Fantastic, right? Well, we have to remember the second, control, toe. From the records of Brazialian anesthesiologist Almiro dos Reis Júnior: “The boy agreed in being submitted to anesthesia. Long put him to sleep and amputated one toe with no patient reaction. Incredibly as it may seem, to prove the action of ether, he amputated the second toe without anesthesia. This time the boy has desperately shouted and thrashed about so violently that Long was forced to restrain him to finish the procedure; only then he was convinced that ether was responsible for the lack of sensitivity and not the mesmerian forces he thought he had.” (side note: to prove the boy really felt no pain in the first surgery, Long requested a letter from a Mrs. Hemphill of Jackson, GA, the boy’s master.) As awful as that is, now at least Long has his answer right? No more experimentation without the benefits of anesthesia, surely. Unfortunately, that’s a big no. There are records of Long conducting such surgical experiments as late as 1845, with this one involving another boy who needed two fingers amputated. From the records and what I have read, it doesn’t appear that Long tried to be needlessly cruel (he was no Dr. Menegle), but he was reflecting the prejudiced mindset of the times. Most educated white doctors assumed it scientific fact that black people did not feel pain like white people. In fact, that sort of internalized racism is still demonstrated today.From an article published in Jan of 2020: ‘40% of first- and second-year medical students endorsed the belief that “black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s.” What’s more, false ideas about black peoples’ experience of pain can lead to worrisome treatment disparities. In the 2016 study, for example, trainees who believed that black people are not as sensitive to pain as white people were less likely to treat black people’s pain appropriately.” One more example of why the enslavement of a huge portion of our country’s population has lasting ramifications, even though slavery was made illegal a century and a half
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 14: Medieval Medical Mediocrity!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that’s interesting, if not pigeon-friendly. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are: I’m Shea, and this week I learned that triscuits are the perfect snack if you have ever wanted to eat wicker furniture. I’m Steve, and I’ve spent the previous 10 days reliving my bachelor days, except that now, I had to take care of two dogs and two cats who really missed my wife and daughter. Feeding them 5 times a day helps. That way they’re always glad to see me. I’m Jenn, and this week I discovered the perfect example of irony: Eliot Ness, leader of the Untouchables and figurehead fighter for the Prohibition, died relatively young (at 54) and destitute due to…wait for it…complications from alcoholism. And with that delightful look back at ye-olde things that could kill you miserably… lets dive into a story… if you were a patron. But if you’re not don’t worry, we only reference it once and you can always get in on the joke at https://www.patreon.com/iit for only a buck! ‘Tis Time For Another Rousing Round Of Medieval Medical Mediocrity! BBC Coverage Source Material from Casebooks Selected Quotes from CNet Article – Probably the best read btw ;) Medicine and Magic in Elizabethan London: Simon Forman : Astrologer Wiki Today’s story comes from the prolific notes of a 17th century “healer,” which was, until recently, untranslated. To mark a decade of the University of Cambridge’s Casebook Project – a project to revive old manuscripts – scholars translated the notes of Simon Forman and Richard Napier from shitty-doctor-handwriting-ese to legible English. “The project opens a wormhole into the grubby and enigmatic world of 17th-century medicine, magic and the occult.” ~ Professor Lauren Kassell of Cambridge’s History and Philosophy of Science Department. And so, without further ado, I give you… Tawdry Tales of Terrible Triage (age age age age!) First, dear panel — which is how I shall henceforth refer to you, because fuck it — should you find yourself suffering from malaise circa 1590, what footwear would best ease your weathered, dilapidated, 16-year-old husk of a body? That’s correct: Pigeons. Image of Simon Forman. He was an ugly, ugly man It was suggested that patients put the bodies of dead pigeons against their own: “a pigon slitt & applyed to the sole of each foote” for health. Though today’s animal-conscious woo’s settle for onions in their socks but nothing beats a little squab-squish eh? Simon Forman Back to our tail. Simon Forman, a man already so learned that he needed Oxford not… or he couldn’t hack it even in the “maybe pigeons are shoes” era,either way, he dropped out of Oxford. Choosing to travel for his indefinite spring break, he found himself enjoying London’s famous nightlife. Coupettes (a Champagne Pina Colada Google says people in London stereotypically drink), Spotted Dick, and of course Yersinia pestis, or as listeners might know it: ye-olde European-super-death. Luckily he cured himself in 1952 and immediately opened his own, unlicensed, medical establishment. Yes, unlicensed in a time when “pigeon-shoes” was above-board. Also, he was widely considered a quack in a time when “pigeon-shoes” was advice people not only took but also considered other uses for – like a pigeon tie for stiff neck. Panel: If Jenn went to see a ye-olde doctor she would surely be diagnosed with Hysteria. What might a hysterical woman complain about? That’s correct, heart break. Heartbreak and also family game-night style beatings. The case of one Elizabeth Church, 46: “Was much troubled in her mind for one that she had loved long & ago who is now married & she meeting him of late told him that if her old husband dies that then she will marry him, but she meant it not as she told me because that his wife is living. Her husband is 80 years old & does whip her & scourge her black & blue egged on by his child.” Way to bury the lead Simon… Of the ills of the “matrix,” his term for the uterus, he wrote women appeared to “lacke betwen the eyes and the nose & blushe as though she had wept moche.” Side note: If you’re weeping Japanese tea you should see a real doctor. Yeah, enjoy that written word joke. That ones just for you dear show notes reader. Just you. Among his estimated 2000 annual consultations were commoners, courtiers, at least one archbishop, and Mrs. Mountjoy – Shakespeare’s landlady. But why so popular? Because as well as being an accomplished healer, Simon was an astrologer! In fact, astrology was kind of his whole deal. Again, Professor Lauren Kassell “Channeled through the astrologers’ pens are fragments of the health and fertility concerns, bewitchment fears and sexual desires from thousands of lives otherwise lost to history.” Apparently, when you went to see Simon and Richard – Richard being Simon’s protege Napier, a county rector by day (clergyman) – the pair would read planetary positions as you described your aliments to judge the effects of stellar motions – often called sun or star rays (not to imply they thought of the sun as a star) – on your health. I guess the whipping and the fun-for-the-hole-family scourgings were asymptomatic… and you know, womany problems or whatever. Frustratingly, while I joke about “womany problems” according to the study’s estimates over 55% of his patients were women. So, you know, fuck trying to take literally most of your patients seriously right? Ahh, tradition. According to Forman the understanding of women’s diseases began with diagnosing pregnancy. If a woman was willing to speak of her sex life he explicitly states in his teachings that she is not to be trusted. Also, if she won’t speak of it all she’s a whore and is, therefore, not to be trusted. Also the menzies didn’t matter. Nor did tasting her pee – though that is an area where Simon and Robert differed for Robert took getting – and keeping – himself a jar of lady-pee real serious. The one thing on which they both completely agreed was that only the stars revealed the truth: “we have throughe longe experiance observed by our astrologie the rulls to be moste true and certaine when we have here set down to judge by.” That is, if the planets align… and if she has milk in her sin-bags, she might or might not be pregnant. So… you know… out with’em for science! So Astrology… The majority of the entries in Forman’s and Napier’s casebooks — some 95% — concerned the moment at which a client consulted them. This was horary astrology: a type of interrogation in which the practitioner drew up an astrological chart for the time at which a question reached him, whether asked in person or received by letter – Though he often drew figures for both. While they calculated the zodiac positions as carefully as possible given the time of the event, they typically just used the positions of the planets at high noon.because it’s an exact science. While I could pull astrology references from the likes of Dante Alighieri (in Paradiso, the final part of the Divine Comedy), or even Plato, I think Sheldon said it best, to paraphrase: Astrology, the mass cultural delusion that the sun’s apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth, diagnosis, or per Simon your postage, somehow affects your person. And if there’s one thing we do know, it’s that Eve “did heckel a snake” and therefore the Moon means women deserve cramps. He also had 14 recorded cases of pesky diseases only women get — because, remembering that Eve was a snake-whore — women bits cause most diseases and women rightfully get 70% more diseases. Amen. Moving to the 1570’s things are going well for Forman. As he taught Richard what he called medicine, Simon became a student of the Occult Arts! And why not, he already had Robert, so… young-priest covered eh. Once established as a good witch, he did want successful healers do: franchise! He opened an alternative medical/occults practice in Billingsgate, which is a place near London probably. And yes, that’s “alternative medicine” when you could diagnose someone with a star chart and a straight face… Once his new practice was open, he declared himself a Surgeon as well (typically seen as a very different profession at the time). He soon drew the attention of the Company of Barber-Surgeons (now the Royal College of Surgeons of England) for killing someone. Hard to believe it took this long… I mean, plenty of people he saw died, but this one, he extra killed. He would serve several prison sentences of independent length. Because prison sucks he objected frequently to being in prison and in 1603 he was both freed and given a license to practice medicine from Cambridge. Because fuck it why not. There’s actually a game based around this bit of his crazy ass life. Called Astrologaster from indie dev Nyamyam, the comedy game follows “Doctor” Forman who treats patients by reading the stars. The Astrology is for show though as his real plan is to work his way into communities, gaining patients by word of mouth. By asking people about friends and family he would appear to have knowledge from beyond, convincing them to write him letters of support, the end goal being to win full … “doctorship” I guess. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpjyo5lP7Qc&feature=emb_logo A business plan used by charlatans, alternative-medicine practitioners, homeopaths, acupuncturists, and perhaps most successfully, chiropractors – fake it ’
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 13: The Caribou of Formosa
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that totally promises to be as good and important as that popular show you listen to—except not really. I’m your host this week, Aaron, and with me are Jim and Shea! I’m Shea, and this week I learned a fun new game to play with your spouse during quarantine, it’s called “Why are you doing it that way?” There are no winners… I’m Big Gay Jim, and this week I learned that the same policy that bans the Confederate Flag on military bases will also prohibit the rainbow flag, so…two steps forward, and one step back? The Formosian. Nope, not a new show on Sci-Fi, though I’m sure it’d be at the Formomo-st front of their line up. Eh? eh?! Yeah, I’m funny. No, Formosa was what the ye-oldie western world called Taiwan. How ye-oldie? Well our story might begin in 1679… ish, and probably southern France… ish, with the birth of someone not named George Pslamanazar. Not-George, whose real name is lost to time, is generally presumed to have been born to Catholic parents and grew to attend a Jesuit academy where he learned that Japan existed became fluent in Latin thanks to his “uncommon genius for languages”. Quotes from Not-George primarily come from his memoirs, which you would think would include his name, but don’t. Where one might find a memorial moniker there are only asterisks. Because by the end of his life, his name didn’t matter to anyone, least of all himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t have an uncommon genius for… knowing Irish stuff. Being a Jesuit at the time was not ideal, so to travel safely he would tell people he was an Irish Catholic pilgrim journeying to Rome, this also frequently meant free meals, a place to sleep, and maybe gifts of coin or beer. Basically, it was as good as traveling got before Uber. Sadly, he would often meet Irish travelers—or just people who knew literally anything at all about Ireland—and his lack of ability to speak or sound Irish, or know Irish things caused him to quickly be discovered as a fraud. He bounced around some, staying anywhere that would accept him until his easily-to-discredit-even-before-Google lies caused him to be run out of town. He tried to pretend to be Japanese for a while, but he had the same problems of… not knowing anything about Japan. It was the early 18-century when our story begins in earnest. In 1702, which began on a Sunday and saw the printing of London’s first non-English news paper, the founding of the Delaware colony, and the East India Company settling on what is now Con Son Island in southern Vietnam. As much as I know you love my year facts, they actually matter today. See, thanks to the East India Trading Co., colonization, and a handful of wars, travel to Asiatic locations and consumption of Asian culture was all the rage in England. Especially when it made English culture look good by comparison because of… you know… Imperialism. And that, friends, is why George Psalmanazar was welcomed with open arms to all the finest dinner parties. You see, George was a native of the island of Formosa. Not… France, Formosa. And despite his fair skin color, blue eyes, and Dutch accent, he was, like totally and for surezies, Formosan. And not just Formosan, but of their upper class don’t’cha know! So George just… appeared… one day in Holland claiming to be a Formosan official. While his ruse was likely terrible he met the right person. Sensing that there was a buck to be made Scottish clergyman William Innes accepted George’s story, baptized him, and set out to introduce him to the Bishop of London. For Innes it was bragging rights to have converted someone from so far away. For George it was about being the toast of London. Which this very much made him. Everyone was chomping at the bit to learn about how much better they were than the people of the wondrous and far away land of Formosa. George, for example, often ate with his bare hands and insisted on eating his meat raw, after all, he was a “savage”. From his memoirs: I fell upon one of the most whimsical expedients that could come into a crazed brain, viz. that of living upon raw flesh, roots and herbs; and it is surprising how soon I habituated myself to this new, and, till now, strange food, […] whilst my vanity, and the people’s surprize at my diet, served me for a relishing sauce. When asked about how he came to Holland he endeared himself by playing against peoples prejudices. He would tell people that he had been made the captive of a Jesuit missionary. Which was well received by everyone except the Jesuits. George’s life of wandering and BSing was finally starting to pay off so he extra doubled down on everything he did. He created a Formosan language. As he knew that Japan was a thing when he created a Formosan alphabet he did so out of nonsensical, Asian-esque, pictographs. Naturally, Formosan had the good and right number of 26 characters. As a gift to the Bishop of London George presented the Lord’s Prayer “translated” into Formosan. Amy Pornio dan chin Ornio vicy, Gnayjorhe sai Lory, Eyfodere sai Bagalin, jorhe sai domion apo chin Ornio, kay chin Badi eyen, Amy khatsada nadakchion toye ant nadayi, kay Radonaye ant amy Sochin, apo ant radonern amy Sochiakhin, bagne ant kau chin malaboski, ali abinaye ant tuen Broskacy, kens sai vie Bagalin, kay Fary, kay Barhaniaan chinania sendabey. Amien. Now, if that sounds like nonsense to you it’s because it is. He would often speak in his “native Formosan” to the delight of his patrons but because he didn’t even know how Japanese or Taiwanese sounded, much less were spoken, he basically just did a super-racist version of speaking in tongues. He would pray to the sun, told people of Formosa’s 10-month calendar, and while lecturing to prospective missionaries at the Royal Academy, he told grand tails of cannibalism and human sacrifice. When asked about daily life he would make up wild claims such as Formosan women smoking pounds of tobacco daily and everyone being super-duper, all-the-time, into opium. So much so that gifts of it were common, which was convenient, because by this time he’d developed a rather intense opium habit himself. Formosan dress was… awkward. Check your podcast player. Men and women wore animal skins and kimonos, though open at the front. Peen and vagoo was covered with Flava-Flave style, giant dishes. Poorer Formosans had to use bark or clam shells. Men often had beards, married women wore masks in public, and widows wore wreaths in their hair. It truly was a zany land! Things were going well. So well that he wrote and sold out his first book, “An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, an Island Subject to the Emperor of Japan”. Published in 1704, full text is available here: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/ecco/004775536.0001.000?view=toc The book was hastily written and entirely nonsense. He used words and phrases Spanish Conquistadors brought back, calling Formosa’s capital “Xternetsa”. He detailed long running wars with China (keeping in mind that Taiwan was, at the time, a Chinese territory). Of course his people won that war only to be conquered by Japanese forces lead by, for some reason, a Chinese man named “Meryaandanoo” who sought to be Emperor. Also none of that is even remotely true. He claimed that the Formosan holy book, the “Jarhabadiond”, required 18,000 children to sacrificed annually to their terrifying God. Which caught the attention of folks he’d been telling that Formosa was sparsely populated. To cover his tracks he claimed Formosan men took many wives, impregnating them all annual but giving most of the male-babies up for sacrifice. Because if you’re just making stuff up anyway, why not? By now though, people are starting to question his authenticity. George was quick on his feet though and had an answer for nearly all rebukes. When asked why he was so obviously Dutch he told people that as a member of Formosa’s elite he lived underground and therefore his skin was pale due to lack of sun. He was challenged to a historical debate by Jesuit Father Fontaney—who had been to China and knew people who had actually been to Formosa. George accepted and more or less won the debate because Fontaney was a Jesuit. While Fontaney did have a fact or two to work with, George had bigotry on his side so easily won. His critics grew louder until in 1710, either George’s supporters or George himself under another assumed name, printed a pamphlet titled “An Enquiry into the Objections against George Psalmanazar of Formosa” which, of course, cleared him of all wrong doing. Still, fewer and fewer people were buying what he was selling. For example, in 1711 Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s Spectator published an April Fools’ article announcing George would be in a play: in the Hay-market an Opera call’d The Cruelty of Atreus. N.B. The scene wherein Thyestes eats his own children, is to be performed by the famous Mr. Psalmanazar, lately arrived from Formosa: the whole Supper being set to kettle-drums.” Being a better liar than business man (yep) George had forsaken rights to his book in favor of a one-time pay out. While sizable at the time, opium is expensive and George was broke. George would eventually wrote a confession titled “Memoirs of ****, Commonly Known by the Name of George Psalmanazar” in which he detailed his lies and tried to set the record straight. It would be posthumously published and largely ignored in 1765. He would spend the rest of his life toiling at various kinds of writing, often taking dictation or transcribing books for 12 hours a day. Eventually he began marketing fine ch
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 12: Strings & Things!
Welcome to Interesting If True, The podcast my wife begrudgingly listens to in order to support my hobbies. I’m your host this week, Shea, and with me are Aaron, and Jenn! I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that cats are the primary predators of modern dinosaurs. I’m Jenn, and this week I learned that when actor Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile, Armageddon) died he had nearly a dozen pets, including a cat named Dribbles. Strings and Things Today’s episode comes to us from the back of the junk drawer. There are things around us every day that often get shoved into the junk drawer of life so today I’m organizing and unpacking facts about wires and cords. Maybe next week I can find some cool stuff about halfway used pens or old chapsticks. Largest Loopholes How big do you think the largest loophole is? It’s hard to imagine anything huge being hidden in cities all over the world, but look up and you might just see the huge loophole over your heads. Winding its way 18 miles around Manhattan is a thin translucent wire stretched above the skyline, hardly noticed, is an eurvin. An eurvin or eurv plural, is a symbolic wall that allows Jews to, essentially break some of their laws on Shabbat. Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath and goes from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night. In the simplest of explanations, Shabbat symbolises the seventh day of creation when God rests. During this observation members are told to refrain from working and rest, and when I say no work I mean no work, no turning lights on, no cooking, no lighting fires, even no carrying things outside of the home, this includes pushing a stroller or carrying your keys. Under Jewish law on Shabbat, it is forbidden to carry anything—regardless of its weight, size or purpose—from a “private” domain into a “public” one or vice versa, or more than four cubits (approximately 6 feet) within a public domain. Private and public do not refer to ownership, rather to the nature of the area. An enclosed area is considered a private domain, whereas an open area is considered public for the purposes of these laws. It became obvious even in ancient times, that on Shabbat, as on other days, there are certain things people wish to carry. People also want to get together with their friends after synagogue and take things with them—including their babies. They want to get together to learn, to socialize and to be a community. Given the design of many communities in the past, many neighborhoods or even cities were walled. As such, the whole area was regarded as “private,” and carrying allowed. That, however, wasn’t always the case. And today, it is an obvious impracticality to build walls throughout portions of cities, crossing over or through streets and walkways, in order to place one’s home and synagogue within the same “private” domain. The Answer is the Eruv The answer is a technical enclosure which surrounds both private and public domains and thus creates a large private domain in which carrying is permitted on Shabbat. Or as I call it, the giant flying loophole! Two Pennies for a Hangover When I told you I was going to talk about wires today I doubt you would think about homeless shelters. Back in the late 19th early 20th Century the Salvation Army operated the first homeless shelter in London. Back in those days the poor and destitute didn’t have anywhere to go and had to hunker in a corner or find outdoor shelter for warmth. The Salvation Army had a great idea to help those less fortunate and set up Coffin Houses. For four pennies, a homeless client could stay at a coffin house. He received food and shelter and, he was allowed to lie down flat on his back and sleep in a coffin-shaped wooden box. The client was given a tarpaulin for covering. What made this unique is that it was the cheapest homeless shelter in London at that time that allowed its clients to lie down on their back and sleep. For a more extravagant price you could get a bed, but most popular and cost effective was the 4 penny coffin. Now for down on their luck individuals who may have lost all their money or, more often, drank their money, there were a few cheaper options for you to choose from. At the lowest and most basic was the one penny sit up where a homeless client could get food and shelter from the cold in exchange for a penny. He was allowed to sit on a bench all night, but was not allowed to sleep. Or if you were lucky enough to find another penny you could pay for the 2 penny hangover, it was like a penny sit-up except that a rope was placed in front of the bench. The client was allowed to sleep when he leaned on (or hung over) the rope during the night. He was not allowed to lie down flat on his back and sleep.The principal reference for such an establishment is George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London of 1933: “At the Twopenny Hangover, the lodgers sit in a row on a bench; there is a rope in front of them, and they lean on this as though leaning over a fence. A man, humorously called the valet, cuts the rope at five in the morning. I have never been there myself, but Bozo had been there often. I asked him whether anyone could possibly sleep in such an attitude, and he said that it was more comfortable than it sounded — at any rate, better than bare floor.” Also I have read that the valet would promptly cut the rope at 5am and kick everybody out for the day. You probably heard 2 penny hangover and had flashes of a rough night in your younger days and rightly so. Many believe the term hangover came from the practice of these houses. Many times sailors would get shore leave and immediately go into town to spend all their money on drink and gambling only to find themselves “hungover” in a coffin house the next morning with a headache and empty pockets. Also thought to be the origins of the phrase “sleep on a clothesline,” or so tired I could sleep on a clothesline, also. When A cat isn’t a cat We can’t talk about wire and cord without talking about strings! And who would have thought strings could be so interesting! But how does a cat fit in to all this you ask? Back in history and even today we use a product called catgut, catgut is used in many applications. Back when Steve was little it was used for many string instruments such as violins before steel became stronger and cheaper to produce. High end tennis rackets are still often strung with catgut even as synthetic become more popular. Even many stitches and sutures use catgut as it will naturally dissolve. The truth, if your cat is sitting with you as you listen, and is demonstrating concern, you can tell your pussy not to worry; it isn’t, and never was, made from actual cat guts. Theoretically, you could use your cat’s intestines to make catgut string, but when compared to the string you get from cows and sheep, it’s not worth the trouble. A cow intestine can produce catgut string that is up to 160 feet long. Your cat’s intestine is small potatoes compared to that. As I just said, it comes from the intestines of cows. Mostly cows, these days. Sometimes from sheep, pigs, or even horses…but cow catgut is the biggest current industry. When cows are slaughtered for meat, the intestines are saved and processed. The part we want in order to make catgut comes mostly from the submucosa and the externa layers. These two layers contain the collagen, which is what we’re looking for. Collagen is found throughout the bodies of mammals and some other vertebrates. Wherever structural strength and elasticity is required in soft tissue, you may find collagen there. Skin, for instance; strong and elastic. The intestines also need to be strong and elastic for when we eat a lot of food, in order for the intestines to stretch without bursting, and then to contract back to normal size after food passes. This collagen is made up of strong, stretchy fibers. The intestines are usually slit in half, thirds, or quarters, lengthwise. This would make different thicknesses for different uses. These are then soaked in a series of solutions and caustic solvents, which dissolves away all the tissue except for the strong collagen fibers. Once all these fibers are clean and pure, it is then stretched, twisted, and allowed to dry under tension. What remains is catgut string; pound for pound, one of the strongest strings there is. In that regard, it’s stronger than a comparable weight of steel wire, in fact. You’re still wondering why it was ever called catgut, I’m sure. Well, the “gut” part is obvious, it’s made out of guts, which itself is a very old word. But the “cat” part actually started out as “kytte” (pronounced “kit”). A kytte was a medieval-era mini-violin. It was so mini that it was stored in the pokett ( [pokytte] 15th century), which was derived from the Old French poque, or bag. Traveling minstrels could whip out their kytte, play a lively tune or three, and then put their hardy instrument back into their pokett without worrying about the delicate frailty of a normal-sized violin. These instruments were the perfect mingling of a horsehair bow rubbing against a cow gut catgut in perfect concert with each other. Catgut (kytte gut) is so named because it is gut that is used to string your kytte. Simple as that. It has nothing to do with felines whatsoever. There you go! The story of catgut. Mid-Show Bumper Thanks for listening to Interesting If True, if you like what you heard and think your friends might too, share us on the socials, leave us a good review wherever you’re listening, or subscribe at Patreon.com/iit where, for as little as a dollar a show, you’ll get a patron-exclusive story each week, episodes of our sister show 4 More Beers, outtakes and more! You can contact us, find out more, and see what else we do at InterestingIfTrue.com Thanks to the patron support of l
33 minutes | 5 months ago
Interesting If True - Episode 11: Over Engineered Mice
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that traps your interest by baiting with self-gratifying humor… wait… Speaking of traps, I’m Aaron and I’ve checked mine and this week I caught a wild Yeti! I’m Shea and this week I learned a great money saving tip; When you are at a fast food restaurant, ask for a water cup, now when no one is looking go outside and help yourself to some free mulch! My yard is starting to look pretty good. I lured in an ever-illusive, Steve! I’m Steve and I’m soon to re-learn what it’s like to be a bachelor. Not-God help me. And I’ve finally mastered by fab-call and spotted a be-speckled Jim! Build A Better PodTrap And with that, I’ll start this week’s show with a quote that’s commonly accepted to be true, “build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” A phrase is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in the late nineteenth century. But it’s actually a misquotation of the statement1 If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods. Which is… yee-oldie long and I totally get why we shorted that to the easier to understand platitude. Because you’re not a talentless hack! You’re one of the nearly 5 thousand mega-geniuses who apply for a patent for a “better mouse trap” every year in America. For those interested, the common mouse trap with it’s too-easy-to-trip, spring and snare-trap murder-bar, was invented in Lititz (I’m going to pronounce this as “lit tits”), Pennsylvania—which sounds like a great place—by John Mast in 1899, which started on a Sunday, was the year Leibig’s Extract of Meat Company invented the beef stock or bouillon cube, and marked the end of 400 years of Spanish rule over Cuba. So now you know that stuff about 1899.2 Enjoy. All that said, John’s mouse trap may be the most famous but it isn’t the first—even of its type. The spring-loaded bar mousetrap—the little bit of wood with a spring-loaded finger-breaker stapled to it—was created by William C. Hooker in 1894. 1894, of course, began on a Monday, saw the founding of the International Olympic Committee at the Sorbonne, and was the first year Coca-Cola sold in its iconic bottles.3 There, now you know that too. Ha! The board-and-springbar mouse trap persists to this day as the mouse trap. It’s in cartoons, it’s cheap to make and sell, and it just works. By breaking the mouses neck—usually instantly—the mouse issue is… resolved. They come in standard mouse size, giant rat-size, and 6.02 meters. That last one being the largest working trap, built by Dietmar Weides in Germany4, because sometimes you need to trap-murder an elephant I guess. But enough about what we already know. I’m here to talk about the “better mousetrap” if there is such a thing. I do want to add here that “better”, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder… or… insane inventor—as the case is gonna be a couple of times. I’ll try to do this better/insane complement-sammich style and wrap humane traps around the… not… that… traps. Check your podcast player for chapter markers, I’ll add sad faces to the murder-y chapters so you can skip’em if you like but let’s be honest here, most people don’t make the “wow look at this mouse trap” list by being super cool about stuff. So starting with a human—as long as you check it this century—trap is the see-saw box trap. These traps were invented… a long time ago… and work by luring a mouse into the box such that it can’t escape until you release it. The box usually has a hole the mouse can climb into then as it approaches the bait the box’s “floor” seesaws with its weight blocking the hole. A tiny clasp keeps the seesaw in place and the mouse is trapped and can be relocated.5 The first seesaw trap, more commonly known as a “Perpetual trap” because you can empty and reuse it almost indefinitely, is at The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading. A few years ago Curator Ollie Douglas was preparing for a show about yee-oldie animals and wanted to feature the nearly 160-year old “perpetual mousetrap” created by Selsey-based inventor Colin Pullinger—who boasted the trap would “last a lifetime”. True to his claim, Ollie dug the box out of storage to find it full of very, very ex-mice. Mr Douglas added: 6 “It was designed about 155 years ago. And here it is, still capable of catching mice, even though it was not baited.” The seesaw style trap is often lumped in with the “walk the plank” style traps. These worked by luring a mouse onto a board over a bucket of water. The mouse’s weight would tip the precariously balanced board sending it to Davy Jones’ Locker. Early on in the modern anti-mouse race companies began marketing glue based traps. I guess figuring the American population was all about the Quicker Picker Upper, they’re probably fork over big for the Slower Painfulier Usul-er. Yeah, I said “Usul-er”… I dunno, there aren’t any good “U”-mouse puns so I had to pull from the base and go for a mouse shaped shadow. Deal with it. Anyway, they were wrong. Glue traps are a horror show. They’re usually just an adhesive bit of paper or cardboard meant to attract mice with bait centered on the surface. When the mouse approached the glue trap would… be glue… and the animal would stick to it and slowly starve to death centimeters from food. Often then becoming a stationary platform for mites and other terrible plague-esque crap you don’t want in your house. Also what the f*@# that’s horrible. Glue traps are less common now and widely denounced as just terrible… because they are. But what if you want to mix it up? You know, the best of boxes and murder. For that we need only look to the Victor Mu-mu-mu Multi-Kill Electric mouse trap. This plastic mailbox-looking murder-box attracts mice the normal box-way, with bate, but builds in all the best heart-stopping advances of our modern electrical age. Once in the trap the boxes sensors fire a 3-second, mouse-murdering, C Battery-powered, dose of death through your new furry friend. Once discharged, the Multi-Kill’s Roomba-like refuse detection system and corpse-shuffling robotic arm will scrap what’s left of Mickey into the easy-to-empty mass mouse grave dust bin—that holds an impressive 10 corpses for only $180 USD! And yeah, you bet our capitalist asses there’s an Amazon Affiliate link in the show notes where you can get the Multi-Kill for 50% off and free shipping! How’s that for a boot-“Quake”-‘in deal! It’s funny… cause Quake… and that thing is actually called the “Multi-Kill”. Mu mu mu mu multi-kill! Ok, but what if you want the best of both worlds? Technology, humanity, you know, snowflake stuff? Sure, I’ve got that. It’s called the RaspiTrap, and unlike the trap I chose to leave out that uses a series of pulleys and a rasp—you know the woodworking tool—to… dissolve… your mouse problem, this modern delight is based on Raspberry Pi. 7 RaspiTrap is simple, elegant, that people with too much time on their hands or far too unhealthy an obsession with rodents, can build. I’m talking real Caddyshack levels of obsessive here. To get started you’ll need a 3D printer, a Raspberry Pi, mouse-accessible WiFi, a few expansion circuit boards, a cheap webcam, an infra-red camera and LED, a few servos, some coding experience, a rechargeable power pack or un-chewable 5V power source, a mini-SD card (optionally large if you want to save on-trap time lapse video), and a CnC machine while not required is advised. Now all you have to do is download and print out the AutoCAD or SketchUp files from the link in the show notes, load RaspiTrap to your Pi—I recommend using Etcher for this, it’s great—wiring up your servos to the mouse-door, before finally putting the IR camera on one end of the box and the LED on the door. When the mouse walks in to get the cheese it blocks the IR sensor which causes the system to close the door and text you that a mouse has been caught. Now I know what you’re thinking, “wow, that’s a lot of doing to catch a mouse!” and yeah, you’re right. Not everyone has the moral fortitude to learn to code for mice. I get it. It’s expensive and time consuming and, statistically, you live in America so you’re not doing that. Finally, what if I told you that you could have the best of all these options!? The time-tested reliability of the spring mechanism, the having walls-ie-ness of the box trap, and the food-chain-position reaffirming machination of that Open Source time-skink, and the cold, calculated murderiness of the mouse-electric chair? For this we’ll have to reach all the way back to the beginning of our story and the very origins of mouse traps themselves. The year is 1882 (Friday, Briton signs the Married Women’s Property Act allowing women to own property… yeah, that was only 138 years ago… let that sink in, and the 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow… yeah, not 1812, full-o-facts on this one). Anyway, the year is 1882 and if Ralph Waldo had actually said that thing people might just have been on their way to see Fredonia—You just know they tried to tall it Freedonioa but no one could spell—Texas where J. E. Bennet patented his mouse trap. This trap used a box, or open mec
45 minutes | 5 months ago
Interesting If True - Episodes 10- Guns Germs and Garfield!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the show where we celebrate our Independence with gross medical procedures and murder. I’m your host this week, Jenn, and with me are (introduce each host and their blurb) I’m Shea, and this week I learned that you pee on a jellyfish sting, not a jelly stain… Also, I learned I’m not allowed at Perkins anymore. I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that boiling water is a great way to kill any bacteria in it… and make sure that the millions of tiny corpses you’re drinking are properly cooked. I’m Steve, and today I saw something on Reddit that bears repeating by @francismmaxwell: Let’s paint a picture. Say you’re Jewish, walking in Germany & see a statue of Hitler. You’re upset & want it torn down. Only for someone to say ‘how dare you? My ancestor was a nazi. This is my heritage’ Crazy right? Well, this is a reality for black people every day in America… SCIENCE! in History-ree-ree-ree… As I briefly mentioned earlier, I spent most of the weekend of the 4th camping with family on a lake. Now, camping with a bunch of dogs, children and no running water will definitely give a personal appreciation of the little things after a while. Little things like hand washing and antiseptics. (After watching my oldest nephew drag up a long-dead fish to camp and all the other kids played with it for a bit, never after appearing to wash their hands, I was ready for a bleach bath.) So today I have decided on a tale that involves history, science, health, and (since it was just July 4th) the assassination of a US President. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3468637/ http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/josephlister https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A._Garfield https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/dirty-painful-death-president-james-garfield To start off our story, let me introduce you to the Right Honourable Lord Joseph Lister, British surgeon, scientist, and lifelong fan of serious mutton-chops. Born in Essex 1827, he was a brilliant and fastidious man. He was also drawn to medicine, surgery in particular, from an early age. Luckily for him, he had been born a white man, so that is what he did. In fact, he had quite an impressive career pretty much from the beginning. In 1846, he was present for the first surgery performed under anesthesia at 19. By the time he was 25, he had become a fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. His bright career trajectory (and surely his magnificent chops) led him to be suggested for employment to James Syme, Professor of Clinical Surgery in Edinburgh. The men hit it off so well that Lister quickly moved up the ranks from assistant to house surgeon to marrying Syme’s eldest daughter, Agnes. (Not to disparage the marriage; apparently they were very close and loving. She was bright and learned in her own right and he was happy to have her join him in his work as a lifelong lab partner… since being a woman that was the best she could hope for.) By 1860 Lister had moved to Glasgow and had begun reading about Pasteur’s work on microorganisms. Now the idea of bacteria or at least teeny-tiny things that affected things in the real world like fermenting beer or causing food to rot was pretty much established in the scientific community by this time. Lister, however, took this idea to a new level. (Apparently it was acceptable at the time for microbes to affect inanimate objects, but there was a lot of pushback to the idea that could affect people. I’m assuming it was partly the ‘we’re made in God’s image’ thing that has made evolution so hard to swallow.) Anyway, working as a surgeon, Lister wondered if that was potentially what was causing wounds to become infected. At this point in time, no one knew exactly what caused infections and they were RAMPANT. (Literally, buckets were used to catch pus in hospital settings.) It was speculated the wounds themselves caused sepsis, gangrene, and the assorted other types of infections and not, say, the total lack of understanding of cleanliness. So doctors and surgeons never washed their hands or equipment or changed from their bloody clothes. In fact, being covered in gore was were considered a status symbol and the mark of a “true surgeon.” Luckily for humanity, in addition to being a brilliant scientist doctor, Lister was also apparently at least a little squeamish. He said “thank you, no” to the idea of a career filled with pus buckets and bloody everything and set about trying to find a preventative cure. Directly from britannica.com: “Upon learning that carbolic acid was used as a disinfectant in the sewers to kill parasites, Lister wondered if these compounds might be safe to disinfect the skin. He began to use carbolic acid to clean his hands, instruments, and bandages before, during, and after surgery. In 1869, Lister invented a new technique by filling a pump sprayer with carbolic acid to be used in the operating room.” He basically carbolic acid-ed everything, all the time. And guess what? It WORKED. In the hospital he oversaw, deaths from surgical infections dropped from about half of all patients to around 15%. He soon began touring hospitals in Scotland and England demonstrating his techniques and published his findings in 1867. By the mid-1870s many countries in Europe had embraced the technique and surgery became something that was actually helpful and survivable. A couple of quick fun side notes about Lister: this sterilization process also led to him proving sterilized equipment could be left in the body.“Using sterilized silver wire, he treated orthopedic injuries. Lister also adopted the usage of sterilized catgut for internal sutures.” Also, the “mouthwash that kills germs that cause bad breath”? Yep, Listerine was named after Sir Joseph. Ok, moving away from Britain, Lister, and scientific progress, let’s travel across the sea and a bit of time to the United States. Most specifically, July 2, 1881, in a Baltimore train station. Nervously milling about in this station was a mentally ill unemployed lawyer who was on a mission of revenge. His name was Charles Guiteau and apparently the voices in his head (who were sometimes God) had convinced him that his destiny was to work for the US government and when he was denied, he took the next logical step: assassinate the president. Since it was 1881, of course, this was the recently sworn-in James A. Garfield, a man who in no way resembled a lazy, fat orange cat or our current lazy, fat orange president. In fact, he sounded like a helluva guy. He had been a union general during the Civil War and was vehemently opposed to slavery. He was said to be charming, eloquent, and energetic and a devoted family man. Also, fun fact, the only US president to be the first person to solve a math theorem. Trump, he was not. So Garfield was in the train station on his way to a beach vacation on the Atlantic seaboard with his family. It should also be noted there was no Secret Service. In fact, he was traveling with no security at all and was basically just strolling the platform with his family. Well, of course, as he was preparing to board, crazy lawyer Guiteau breaks through the crowd, firing at Garfield. The first bullet harmlessly grazed his arm, but unfortunately, the second passed the first lumbar vertebra of his spine and lodged in his abdomen. He hit the ground, mostly paralyzed but fully conscious and in great pain. I want to interject that the following information was mainly taken from the book James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series: The 20th President by Ira Rutkow. Back to the situation at hand: Guiteau was apprehended at the scene and that’s enough about him for now, back to Garfield. Now of course the shooting of the president brings all the doctors to the yard, but these docs were definitely NOT better than yours. The head of Garfield’s medical team was quickly determined to be a former military surgeon, Doctor Willard Bliss. Now in a hilariously unique example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the name I just rattled off did NOT include his title. What now? Yes, his actual name is Doctor Willard Bliss, so he is technically Dr. Doctor. Anyway, for a man with such a serendipitous name and occupation, he apparently had absolutely no sense of humor and was a rigid, narrow-minded old man. And so begins a really, REALLY shitty few months for poor President Garfield. Focused on finding and removing the bullet, Bliss and the other doctors stuck their unwashed fingers in the wound (which, as we have discussed, is a terrible idea) and literally dug around over the course of a few weeks, all for naught and without applying the numbing power of ether anesthetic. The main reason behind the probing was to remove the bullet, as it was thought that leaving buckshot in a person’s body led to problems ranging from “morbid poisoning” to nerve and organ damage. Turns out the bullet was quite the slippery escape artist, and the dirty-finger probing and surgical attempts to locate it turned the three-inch deep wound into a 20-inch-long incision, beginning at his ribs and extending to his groin. It soon became a super-infected, pus-ridden, gash of human flesh. And since Dr. Doctor and his team of Sweeney Todds weren’t making much headway, the press was soon putting out a call throughout the country for medical professionals, and just anyone really, to join in on the goddamn awful treatment of this poor man. One group of naval engineers, responding to the reports of the President’s terribly high fever, attempted to make the first air conditioner. It worked by using a fan over blocks of ice, which makes sense and did kinda cool the room, but unsurprisingly did absolutely nothing for a raging fever. One article happened to land in front of a young inventor, one Alexander Graham Bell. He has invented the telephone by this p
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