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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

140 – Don’t You Forget About John Hughes

Our recent sojourn to the Windy City reminded Julia about the brilliant writer/producer/director John Hughes– so allow yourself to be transported to the suburbs of Chicago to recall some of the greatest coming-of-age comedy films from the 1980s-1990s. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Pretty in Pink”!

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[Music: 1) Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” 2010; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

138 – The Atari Age

PRESS START! This week, Julia visits one of the most heavily-trafficked collections in the archives at The Strong to give you the rundown on pioneering video game company Atari. We’ll talk video arcades, famous games, the shift to home consoles, and of course, the Video Game Crash of 1983. Dig out those spare tokens you have in your junk drawer– we’re going to the arcade! Later, enjoy a quiz called “Go, Dog, Go!”

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[Music: 1) David Crane’s Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, Activision for Atari 2600, “Main Theme,” 1984; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

136 – THE CELL

This week’s topic goes under the microscope as Julia presents the basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known organisms. [Get ready to be hyper-aware of what’s going on inside your body.] We discuss organelles, cell division, types of cells in humans, and much more. Later, enjoy a quiz called “Cell Block Tango”!

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[Music: 1) John C. Reilly, “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago, 2001; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]