164 – Ugly Duckling

Sure, we all loved The Little Mermaid growing up, but did you know how horrific the original story was?! In today’s episode, Lauren takes us through some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen, his lonely life, and strange proclivities. [Hint: You never wanted him as a houseguest!] Later, take a quiz called “Princesses and Peas”!

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[Music: 1) Danny Kaye, “Wonderful Copenhagen/Hans Christian Andersen,” 1952; 2) Frau Holle, “Ascending Souls,” 2017. Courtesy of Frau Holle, CC BY-NC 3.0 license.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]