162 – “Vancouver, Vancouver! This is It!”

Get ready, volcanology-fiends: It’s time to get explosive with the most intense volcano blast in modern history on the continental U.S. Settle in for the tale of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, along with stories of the people who tracked it [and some noted skeptics]. Later, take a quiz called “Rock Flow”– a quiz about rock/rap collabs and bands!

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[Music: 1) Notorious B.I.G. “Juicy” vs. The xx “Intro” mashup, YouTube user soccerplaya514, 2010; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

161 – 15 (Plus 105) Miles on the Suez Canal

A mule named Sal won’t help you here… Julia digs up some dirt on the major international waterway about which we all keep missing trivia questions. Learn all about the history of the Suez Canal, along with some major global events centering around this manmade border between Africa and Asia. Later, enjoy a quiz called “From C to Shining C!”

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[Music: 1) Giuseppe Verdi, “The Grand March” from Aida, performed by the United States Marine Corps Band, 2002; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

160 – Forever Free: Edmonia Lewis

Since art episodes are becoming our bread and butter… Lauren’s going to teach you all about one of the most famous female artists of the 19th century: Edmonia Lewis [the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame as a sculptor]. Learn all about Lewis’ incredible life, art, and legacy. Later, take a quiz about the Renaissance!

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[Music: 1) Madrigal National Choir & Anna Ungureanu, “Ars Nova and Renaissance” from Guillaume de Machaut’s ballads to Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals, George Enescu Festival, 2015; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

159 – Once Upon a Time…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a delightfully rich recurring trivia topic just so happens to be famous opening lines of novels. With that in mind, Julia endeavored to compile a podcast episode that would cover that very theme. And later, enjoy a quiz called “Take It From the Top!”

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[Music: 1) Stefano Vita, “Once Upon a Time,” 2015. Courtesy of Stefano Vita, CC BY-NC-SA license; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

158 – A Miss Information Guide to Classical Music (with Heather Hurley)

Have you ever wanted to know more about Classical music, but felt you weren’t ~fancy~ enough to ask? Well, you’re in luck, because today, our guest, musician (and current Mental Samurai!) Heather Hurley has all the information you crave. Later, take a quiz on plays and ears called “Playing by Ear”!

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[Music: 1) Ludwig von Beethoven, “Allegretto” from Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

157 – Transvaal Jammies

Let’s be honest, you don’t know what really happened during the Boer War either– but that’s why we’re here! Learn all about the complicated and astounding history of this conflict between South Africa and the UK. [To be fair, it’s not a light one, folks.] But, later!– take a fun quiz about the Dutch!
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[Music: 1) Johnny Clegg & Savuka, “Cruel Crazy Beautiful World,” 1989; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

156 – The Vorpal Blade Went Snicker-Snack!

T’was brillig, and Julia supposed
that she would give a lengthy talk
About some very famous prose
(You should beware the Jabberwock!)

Get ready for a closer look at Lewis Carroll’s well-known nonsense poem Jabberwocky. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Through the Looking Glass”!

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[Music: 1) Donovan, “Jabberwocky,” 1971; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

155 – Our Place in Space

It’s time to cast an eye around our galactic neighborhood and refresh your elementary-school science class memory with this episode on Our Solar System! [Find out what exactly the Oort Cloud is and which dwarf planet was named by an 11-year-old girl.] Later, slake that passion for fashion with a quiz on supermodels!

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[Music: 1) StoryBots, “We Are the Planets (The Solar System Song),” 2013; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

154 – He… Could… Go… All.. the… Way!

During this temporary sports hiatus, Julia brings you a list of famous plays from American football games [both professional and college-level] throughout history. By the end, you’ll finally “get” what situation sports commentators are referring to when they mention “The Catch” or “The Drive.” [Oh, and a preemptive apology to New York football fans– there are a few plays described here that might cause you some angst.] Later, enjoy a quiz called “Flag on the Play!”

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[Music: 1) Styx, “Renegade,” 1978; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

153 – Look, I Made a Hat! (Stephen Sondheim)

Start your vocal warm-ups and stretch those hamstrings–it’s time to PUT ON A SHOWWWWWW! Today, we learn all about the godfather of musical theater: Stephen Sondheim. Hear about his life, his music, and why his songs are so damned hard to sing. Stick around later for “Into the Woods”– a quiz on things you’d find in the forest.

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[Music: 1) Original Broadway Cast of Company, “(Not) Getting Married Today,” 1970; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

152 – The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: Mansa Musa

We’re transported back to 14th century Africa to take a closer look at the Mali Empire and the emperor who was so rich he accidentally created a ten-year-long gold recession: Mansa Musa. Learn about his famous pilgrimage to Mecca [and the Five Pillars of Islam], the learning center at Timbuktu, and how the Mali Empire became so darn great. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Going for the Gold!”

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[Music: 1) Griot B & Schoolyard Rap, “Mansa Musa,” 2018; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

151 – The Big Easy (with Father Brad Doyle)

We’re joined this week by very special guest Father Brad Doyle of The Quizzical Papist podcast, who regales us with the highlights of his favorite city: New Orleans. Julia and Lauren attempt to keep the swears at a minimum while learning about the geography, history, music, food, culture, and quirks of the Crescent City. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Papal Potables”!

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[Music: 1) Johnny Horton, “Battle of New Orleans,” 1959; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

Be sure to check out The Quizzical Papist on iTunes/Apple Podcasts here!

150 – This Episode Can Kill You

Try not to touch, breathe in, or otherwise consume this episode–we’re warning you! This week, Lauren covers some deadly poisons and toxins, and generally loses it about radiation sickness. Later, soothe the burn with a quiz on cure-alls!

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[Music: 1) Alice Cooper, “Poison,” 1989; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

149 – Play Your Cards Right

Quick– how many face cards in a standard deck of playing cards have only one eye showing? If the answer didn’t come to you immediately, you’re not alone. This week’s episode is all about playing card trivia: how cards are made, frequent questions, incredible factoids, and the rules to a card game that has mystified Julia for years. Later, enjoy a quiz called “House of Cards!”

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[Music: 1) Motörhead, “Ace of Spades, 1980; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

148 – The Right to Bear Arms

This week, we learn all about one of the celebrated heroes of the Polish Army during WWII [who just so happened to be a nearly 500-lb bear…]. Lauren tells us the fascinating story of one of history’s greatest mascots, and later gives us a quiz about the wonderful weirdness of MLB mascots!

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[Music: 1) Igor Stravinsky, “Peasant With Bear,” from Petrushka, 2008; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

147 – Come with Me and Es-CAPE!

Welcome back to geography class! Today, we’re covering everyone’s favorite coastline formations: CAPES. [Where are they? What are they known for? And which ones are truly GREAT?] Later, enjoy a quiz called “If You Like Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the Rain”!

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[Music: 1) Rupert Holmes, “Escape (The Piña Colada Song),” 1979; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

146 – That Old Man and the Sea

Finally! Today, by popular demand, we tackle the Grandfather of Masculine Literature: Ernest Hemingway! Learn all about Papa’s accident-prone, globe-trotting life, and get a rundown of his famous novels. Later, bulk up your knowledge on Oscar Wilde with a quiz entitled “The Importance of Being Ernest!”

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[Music: 1) Jimmy Buffet, Live at Wrigley Field, “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” 2006; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

145 – Sacagawea (and the One Time Men Asked for Directions)

Think back to when you were 17– would you have been able to join a government-sanctioned journey to explore a couple thousand miles of wilderness? [No?] That’s exactly what Shoshone woman Sacagawea did in 1805 when she provided assistance to the Corps of Discovery. Refresh your recollection of the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the legacy of one of the most well-known and respected Native American women in American history. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Shoulda Made a Left at Albuquerque”!

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[Music: 1) Tommy Emmanuel, “Lewis & Clark,” 2006; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

144 – Degenerate Art

Our lives today are pretty surreal, folks, so what better time than now to educate you all in a little art history, hmmm? Today, we get into the true weirdness [and the rise and fall] of the Dada and Surrealism movements. Later, take a quiz on Dadas and Papas!

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[Music: 1) Daniel Varsano, Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1,” orig. 1888, rec. 1979; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

143 – Playing with Monopoly Money

Wow–you’ve won second prize in a beauty contest! Collect $10! [ <– If this triggers memories of five-hour-long Monopoly games resulting in a flipped table, scattered pieces, and tears–well, you’re not alone.] We cover the history of the famous board game Monopoly, game-play basics, and the actual rules of the game [which have you in and out in under an hour, Julia swears]. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Advance to Go, Collect $200”!

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[Music: 1) YouTube user GBelair, “Monopoly (NES) Music – Title Theme,” 2009; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]