Ella Fitzgerald – From Street Child To First Lady Of Jazz

What a voice. What an incredible musical talent. She came out of total poverty and a life as a Manhattan street child. Ella Ftizgerald – the greatest jazz singer ever?

Hear how she got her greatest hit that time she completely forgot the lyrics to Mack The Knife in Berlin.

BTWs include Chick Webb, racism, Marilyn Monroe and Alex’s new favorite expression for something really quiet.

In the moment of meta Alex talks about letting go of enthusiasms.

Lise Nørgaard – Writer, feminist and UTTER BADASS

Lise Nørgaard is a Danish journalist and author who discovered her superpower (writing) and has used it tirelessly to promote women’s rights and social justice.

She also created Matador, the best Danish TV show EVER, and (maybe most importantly) had a pastry named after her.

BTWs include implanted memories and swing dancing.

In the moment of meta Alex Katie shares a story of how she used enthusiasm to defuse an online feud.

Body Disposition – Wanna Be A Tree When You Die?

We hate to break it to you, but you are going to die. What do you want people to do with your corpse?

The most popular options in the west, cremation and burial, are both terrible for the environment, so in this episode Katie talks about better methods for body disposal.

BTWs include voodoo dolls, capitalism and cannibalism.

In the moment of meta Alex talks about enthusiasm for… pigeons?

The Ig Nobel Prize – The Nobel’s Funnier, Dorkier Cousin

Everyone knows about the Nobel Prize but the Ig Nobel Prize is WAY funnier and dorkier. It is given out for science that “makes you laugh and then makes you think.”

The science it awards is cool but the annual ceremony held at Harvard is the funniest thing ever. Especially how they weaponized adorable 8-year old girls to stop speakers from going over time.

BTWs include bee stings, kidney stones and how to hide gold from Nazis.

In the moment of meta Alex talks about enthusiasm for… pigeons?

Steven Universe: Awesome Songs And Healing Spit

Katie brings you some more Hopepunk For Squishy Marshmallows. This adorable kids’ cartoon has superheroes, great songs, healing spit and tons of gags. It also subverts masculinity and promotes queer normativity.

BTWs include Florida’s “don’t say gay” law.

In the moment of meta Alex issues a new challenge.

Rollercoasters – Puke, Screams, Fear… And Fun?

Rollercoasters are scary. And there’s an arms race between theme parks to come up with bigger, faster and wilder rides every year. So why do we love them?

Alex talks about the history, the technology and the fandom of rollercoasters and explores the intersection of fun and fear.

BTWs include puke and syphilis.

In the moment of meta we follow up on last week’s challenge: Get a magazine about something you don’t normally care about and find something cool in it.

Hamilton: Hip-hop history of the American revolution

How can you not love a hip-hop musical about the American revolution where all the founding fathers are played by people of color???

Katie is not just a fan of Hamilton – she is self-proclaimed Hamiltrash. In this episode she talks about what makes the music so great (obviously!) but also about the huge cultural impact that the show has had.

BTWs include Tom Waits, Encanto and the KGB’s hilariously failed attempt to blackmail the president of Indonesia.

In the moment of meta Alex issues a challenge to Katie and all listeners.

Tom Waits: The Weirdest Human In Showbiz

“Is Tom Waits for real?”

That is the question that pops up when you google him and in this episode we try to figure that out. But first Alex gushes over the weirdest man in showbiz and tries hard to get Katie to appreciate his music, his acting, his life and his voice. That last one is an especially hard sell.

Also: THIS IS OUR 25TH EPISODE!!! Not bad for a couple of hosts whose strengths do not include things like perseverance, planning and general sticktoitiveness.

BTWs include artists who play a persona and why Shrek 2 is the best sequel of all times

In the moment of meta Katie introduces a new enthusiandment: Explore adjacent enthusiasm or in other words if you like a thing, check out other things that are like that first thing.

The Jewel Box Revue – Making Drag Mainstream – In 1939!

This incredible stage show had 25 men performing as women and one woman MC dressed as a man. It started in 1939 and made drag mainstream with high production values and incredibly talented performers.

But most of all: Meet Stormé DeLarverie, MC of the revue and the butch lesbian whose scuffle with police was the spark that ignited the Stonewall riots. The word badass doesn’t even begin to cover her.

BTWs include:

  • Why the “Mr.” in front of the performers’ names was SO important
  • The Stonewall Rebellion
  • How men wearing women’s clothes will surely lead to the downfall of western civilization
  • The dogs’ secret plan to take over the world

In the Moment Of Meta, Alex once again stans Swedish statistician Hans Rosling’s work on compiling data that shows that the world is getting better in many ways and uses Rosling’s work to quiz Katie.

Links

Bioshock – Our Grossest Episode Yet

Bioshock is much more than a computer game, it’s also a cracking story, a philosophical exploration of free will and a devastating critique of libertarianism. It’s also gross, scary, intense and a buttload of fun to play. Alex would know, he’s played it for well over 200 hours.

BTWs include:

  • What is art and what is not
  • Exploding cans of… human droppings
  • The intense competition to be the dumbest US congress member (Watch out for the Gazpacho police!)
  • Each host’s favorite Cards Against Humanity card

In the Moment Of Meta, Katie celebrates how humans fixed the hole in the ozone layer and tries to get on board with the idea that the world is getting better and better in so many ways. Also, we talk about a horrible parasite that used to infect millions of people and has now been nearly eradicated.

Links