i am not making this up podcast – Tracy S. Morris
Summary: A look at the stories we tell about history and what they say about us.
In this episode, we delve into William Buckland, a pioneer in Paleontology who was more than a little obsessed with Poop.
There are some family history stories that you just know you should take with a grain of salt. Like the one about how your ancestor was bffs forevah with George Washington. Or the one where you are omg we totes swear a descendant of a queen. Or at least an Indian princess.
Depending on who you ask, Thomas Jefferson is either much loved, or the founding father you love to hate. Not only did he write the Declaration of Independence, but he also presided over the Louisana Purchase and pushed for the Lewis and Clark expedition. On the other hand, he sat out most of the revolution as an ambassador to France, wrung his hands over how awful slavery was while being one of Virginia’s largest slave owners, and had an affair with one of his slaves (who was also his late wife’s teenage half-sister). On the other hand, no one ever talks about how Thomas Jefferson kept a vicious sheep on the white house lawn when he was president, or that the sheep went around murdering people.
May Pierstorff, a little girl made famous for being mailed to her grandparents. Back when it would have been an adventure, not a police report. 100 years ago was a simpler time. A time when you could pin postage on your four year old’s coat and send them on a mail train to Grandma. Back then people would laugh about it and go “Oh, You!” Now trying something similar would probably lead to a phone call and a visit from Child Protective Services.
Aluminum Christmas Trees were a big industry before this show came along. In 1964, one of the hottest selling items around Thanksgiving was the aluminum Christmas tree. The Aluminum Specialty Company manufactured an estimated 150,000 trees that year. Then in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas aired. By 1970 the Aluminum Specialty Company had shut down all production of aluminum Christmas Trees. In this episode, I discuss how and why a tree made entirely of metal became popular, and why (beyond Charlie Brown) it fell out of favor.
Susan B. Antony and Nine Friends managed to vote for Ulysses S. Grant. For her trouble, Anthony was arrested, sent to court and fined. She swore she would never pay the fine, and she didn’t. Today’s podcast is about all the people who drew a line, so that tomorrow we can stand in one to vote.
It’s the season of ghosts, ghouls and goblins. So let’s tell a story. This is the story of Julie, or possibly Julia Brown, or possibly Black, or maybe even White. A Voodoo practitioner said to have taken a whole town with her when she died. Or maybe that was just coincidence. You know how these stories go.
No matter how he looks, we know Columbus as the guy in that hat. Rightly or wrongly (and these days, everyone considers it wrongly) Columbus is known as “The Man Who Discovered America.” For many of us, that is how history is taught: Columbus set out to prove that the Earth wasn’t flat, landed in the Caribbean and said “whoooo hoooo! New world!” The truth is a little (okay a lot) different.
A well-worn Hollywood plot is one where the President’s daughter is kidnapped, so a hero has to rescue her. In real life, this never would have happened to Alice Roosevelt. Not just because her father, Teddy Roosevelt was a badass who could have rescued her himself. But also because the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and Alice could rescue herself.
The library of Alexandria may have contained between 40,000 and 400,000 scrolls in it’s heyday. On September 2, a fire destroyed the National Museum of Brazil, taking with it 90 percent of the museum’s collection. This included recordings of dead languages and zoological and botanical specimens. When we think about large, destructive loss of accumulated knowledge, we think of the burning of the Library of Alexandria. But the burning of the library may be a myth. The library may have actually burned more than once. Or it may not have burned at all, instead gradually declining into obscurity. Editorial Note: Apologies for this show being over a week late. Due to the changes in the household from the oldest child starting first grade, I’m figuring out my new work/life balance. It’s going about as well as one can expect. Editorial Note 2: I received an e-mail stating that I pronounced New Madrid Fault incorrectly in the last podcast. I’m not from the St. Louis area. I am from the Arkansas Ozarks, however. So I pronounced it the way I hear it local to me, (Mah-Drid). According to this article from the Riverfront Times, that is the correct, local way to say it. But I’m also told in the e-mail that locals pronounce it Mae-Drid. Sounds like even in that region, the word might be contentious.
Missouri’s distinctive “Boot heel.” When Thomas Jefferson envisioned westward expansion, he wanted the new states to be neat and orderly, unlike the 13 colonies. Jefferson wanted each state boundary to lay along latitude and longitude markers. As anyone who has ever seen a map of the United States knows, that’s not what happened. So why do the 50 US States look the way they do? A number of reasons ranging from natural boundaries (mountains, rivers and oceans), transportation boundaries (railroads) politics and even the preference of the state’s residents. In this podcast, we look at one of the stories that make up a state’s boundaries – how Missouri got it’s distinctive “boot heel.”
One of the two man-eating Tsavo lions. Scientists believe that a combination of encroachment and disease drove the lions to attack humans. The attacks came in the night. Monsters came into the very tents, undaunted by campfire and torchlight. The monsters dragged fully grown men from their beds, taking them away in the night to satisfy their bloodlust. It sounds like the plot of a horror film, but this really happened. The monsters weren’t eldritch beasts straight out of Lovecraft. They were lions. And we had a hand in making them the man-eaters that they were.
The archaeopterx is considered the link between dinosaurs and modern birds. A Chickenosarus might resemble one of these extinct creatures. After working as a consultant on Jurassic Park, a paleontologist wants to bring back the dinosaurs. Clearly, he didn’t pay enough attention to the movie.
Inspired by the holiday, and by my Arkansas Razorbacks Baseball Team going to the college world series (where, despite my wishes in the podcast, they did not win) I focused on the history of Baseball for this episode. Or what we think we know. Because once again, while I am not making this up, someone else did.
For something that could be considered the poster child for processed food, hot dogs have a very organic origin.