What a great way to get taxes lowered! Get your land-owning husband to agree to lower property taxes if you ride naked on horseback right down main street. That's just what Lady Godiva agreed to do in 11th century England in order to get her tight-fisted husband to lighten up on his tenants. But is it true or just another mini-myth? Listen in, Buzzkillers!
Robert Sherrod was the pioneering journalist who portrayed the Pacific battles in World War II, and risked his life in doing so. In a time when stark battle news was largely kept from the American public, Sherrod convinced President Roosevelt to allow a grim documentary entitled With the Marines at Tarawa to be released to the general public, over the objections of Warner Brothers (who produced the film). This was perhaps the first instance in modern media history that some of the horrors of war were shown at home.
It's an exciting and romantic tale: a future Roman hero had to be cut out of his mother's womb as she's dying in childbirth. The procedure is later named after the famous baby who survived -- Julius Caesar. Alas, the story is as mythological as the one about storks delivering babies down chimneys. Hang on, I just heard a tiny thumb and a muffled cry coming from the living room...
We usually hear that surgery and medical treatment during the Civil War was backward butchery. But was it? Let's cross over the inter-sphere to listen, as historian Nic Hoffman from Kennesaw State University tells us how complicated it really was. Here we go.
We discuss: medical care before the war; the shock of Civil War carnage and how medics initially reacted; and changes in medical treatment and surgery because of the War. Listen and learn!
Cold War Berlin was a tense place, and certainly not the place to make an embarrassing gaffe in a major speech. So it's a good thing that President Kennedy didn't call himself a jam doughnut while speaking to a massive crowd in front of the Berlin Wall. Imagine the warning bells that would have gone off in Washington DC and Moscow if Cold Warriors suddenly thought, "oh no, we're in a pastry war"!
After his first speech as prime minister, Winston Churchill's "blood, toil, tears, and sweat," got shortened and re-arranged. As "blood, sweat, and tears," it's become one of the most quoted Churchill-isms. But like some many of these "quotes," the idea of "blood, sweat, and tears," has been around for centuries, and used by many writers and military leaders. Listen as we explain it all on Quote or No Quote!
The Great Escape (1963) is in the pantheon of World War II films, and deservedly so. Generations of Buzzkillers have grown up watching Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, and other film stars try to outsmart their captors at Stalag Luft III. But How true was the "Great Escape" story that became a best-selling novel and box-office smash at the movie theater? Listen carefully, or Professor Buzzkill will send you to the cooler!
We interview Professor Marcus Rediker about his new book, Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist. Benjamin Lay was one of the most famous anti-slavery protesters in colonial Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. He agitated against slavery and the slave trade in very unusual ways, and was eventually kicked out of his church, the Quakers, for his actions. He was also one of the pioneers of political boycotting of certain consumer goods. Professor Rediker tells the story of one of the most interesting men of the early 18th century, and learn why he deserves more attention from historians!
I live a happy life. I really do. I've got Lady Buzzkill and the Buzzlings, a fulfilling career, and money in the bank. But I guess I never knew true happiness until I was asked to be on The Reality Check Podcast, also on the Entertainment One network. The Reality Check is the weekly podcast that explores a wide range of controversies and curiosities using science and critical thinking. We talked about historical controversies and curiosities, and this bonus episode brings you that show. Please subscribe to The Reality Check wherever you get your podcasts, and go to their website to get all their social media info.
Was Civil War Union General Joseph "Fightin' Joe" Hooker's last name the origin of the slang term for prostitute? He had a perhaps undeserved reputation as a party animal, but did that reputation actually add a new word to the language? Listen to this classic Buzzkill episode to find out!