Interesting If True is a variety podcast hosted by a panel of comedically-inclined friends over beers about whatever interests us each week. If you're tired of quiz shows only having real answers, or true crime shows being serious about their mysteries, this is the show for you! Listen as rotating hosts Aaron, Jenn, Jim, Shea, and Steve tell stories, investigate mysteries, take quizzes, and generally have a good time. Join us for a beer and a laugh each Friday for your very own pod-friendly Friday Afternoon Club. Visit us at www.InterestingIfTrue.com or support the show and get more content at www.Patreon.com/iit
The Worst Year
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that isn’t the worst podcast, it’s just a tribute.
I'm your host this week, Aaron, and with me is Shea!
I'm Shea, and this week I learned that horses get farted on more than any other animal.
Quick announcements. The last few shows have come out a few days after our stated Friday release. Part of this is because, due to work and life schedules, Thursday has become the de facto recording day, and getting the show recorded, edited, reviewed, documented, and prettied is usually more than one evening’s work — especially as we’ve exceeded our 30min target runtime now… for like 2 months solid. With that in mind, our new plan is to release Monday mornings. Patrons are likely to get their episodes — complete with exclusive stories and outtakes — Sunday or whenever the production process is completed.
This week asks a simple question: if you tickle a yeti, does he grunt? … Shea?
This Week’s Beer
Is the Salt Creek Citra IPA From friend-of-the-shows Brendon! Thanks, buddy.
America IPA at 7.7% ABV and too few scores to do the math on.
* Aaron: 9* Shea: 9
The Worst Year
So, 2021 was not ideal, but everything’s relative. Let’s talk about the worst year.
Some of you may have an idea of where I’m going with this because you listen to Scathing Atheist and thereby Citation Needed.
1816 — The Dawn Of Jussssstinian’s Suckage
To be clear, 1816 sucked. Nearly 2020 levels of suckage. Per Noah, it led to famine, mass migration, and Mormonism. Mount Tamboura in Indonesia erupted in 1815 and put 100 cubic Kilos of Mount Tamboura into the atmosphere. The island basically just died. The dust that entered the atmosphere caused lowered global temperatures, known today as the “little ice age” for good reason. Sulfuric fog, acidic rain, and massively polluted water killed crops and starved entire contents. India lost its monsoons. China found them. Even artwork from the time got… bleak. So anyway, millions of people died and that’s a real downer.
Still not the worst.
For the worst year, we need to go back another thousand and change…
Welcome to 536 A.D. The world is a gross, illiterate, dumpster fire. The revival of the Roman Empire was… not going as planned. There was famine, plague, oh, and the sun was blocked out to a near-biblical degree for 18 months. Real cats and dogs living together, real wrath of god stuff.
536 is such a terrible year, in the middle of a terrible decade, that I’m not even going to try to bury the surprise of it all in my usual low-hanging comedic fruit way. There’s no need. Each day in 536 was worse than the previous, delivering a nearly endless supply of terrible to punctuate this essay.
A lot of what we’ll talk about comes from records made during Justinian’s attempt to reunify the empire. He traveled with poets and scholars to record what he hoped would be his exploits — rather than the string of seemingly unending uprisings and secessions it actually was.
Well… ye-olde writers and ice cores, dendrological records, and historical metallurgy.
It should be noted that when I say “reunify,
Zap, Pow, Right In the Kisser!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that’s cooler than your uncle.
I'm your host this week, Shea, and with me are my two favorite people, Steve and Aaron
I'm Aaron, and this week I learned that all moms are, technically, bodybuilders…
I'm Steve, and yesterday I learned about Wordle and it’s a damn good thing you can only do one puzzle a day.
HL1: Burning Ring of Fire!
Good news everybody! The leader of Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov — you may remember him as the guy who was too mean to a puppy, for Putin — has urged the lawmaker to finally close the Gates of Hell now that he’s done doing donuts on Satan’s lawn.
Look at your phones now for a pic.
Gurbanguly, in 2019, shot his shot for YouTube fame by doing donuts next to the Gates in a bid to disprove rumors he was dead.
The Gates of Hell opened in 1971 during a Soviet drilling operation looking for natural gas. Uninterested in a skylight, Satan just collapsed the whole damn operation, drilling equipment and all, leaving a 230 foot wide, gaping hell-mouth that’s been burning ever since.
The Gates of Hell, or as they’re less Biblically known, the Darvaza gas crater, is a roughly 65-foot-deep crater. The collapse of the drilling equipment left all that gas they were after venting into the atmosphere. Fearing the noxious methane leak geologists at the time decided to fix the problem by adding fire. They expected it to burn out in a day or two… it’s still burning.
Of course, it smells like a burning Hell pit so living nearby is not ideal, but the pit is Turkmenistan’s largest tourist sight. The president is betting that putting out the flame and collecting the gas is worth more than the foot traffic so… we’re finally going to do something about the environmental mess that is, essentially, a man-made eternal flame-hole.
* https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019–08–07/turkmenistan-president-rally-car-hells-gate-dispel-death-rumours/11392246* https://www.sciencealert.com/turkmenistan-s-president-wants-to-close-the-gates-of-hell-which-has-been-burning-for-50-years?fbclid=IwAR3fPezAV5WAIAf38xjKTZnfQlE-QtNX-nh8VVXKFk8f9Nyp-8Xc3npDYb4
3 Centuries Later…
I’ve often said of the Catholic Church that if you put something in their complaint box today, they’ll get to it in a few short centuries…
Turns out I was right.
In 1730 the church was made aware of a grave injustice — no, not the kiddie diddling, we’ll have to wait until 2312 for them to do anything about that if this timeline holds — I’m referring to that most evil of topics, most sinful of events, Vivaldi’s “Il Farnace.”
The Opera was banned in the northern-Italian city of Ferrara in 1739 by Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo because Vivaldi, a conscripted Priest, had stopped going to Mass and was said to be in a relationship with those most vexing and depraved of creatures, a woman, called Anna Grio.
This effectively ended Vivaldi, leaving one of, if not the, most influential Baroque composers to die in exile a pauper.
Now, some 300 years later, Ferrara Archbishop Giancarlo Perego attended the opening of “Il Farnace” in Ferrara — which is as close to a mea culpa as you’re going to get from the Catholic Church.
Careers Dying Hard...
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that’s kicking 2022 off right — by taking the piss out of the ’80s!
I'm your host this week, Aaron, and with me are:
I'm Shea, and this week I learned that there are literally no rules saying your New Year’s resolution can’t be for evil.
I'm Steve, and you should rewatch Highlander too.
Round table this week starts with a very good Happy New Year to all our fantastic listeners.
It’s pretty cool that we’re still able to do this and despite changes in hosts, branding, topics — really all the things — you’re still with us. Thanks to everyone who listens, shares, and supports the show! Your support means the world to us of course, but it also allows us to donate to a good cause like WyoAIDS. If you’d like to find out how to join the ranks of our good year-having, charity-helping, supporters check out https://www.patreon.com/IIT and, for as little as a buck a show, you’ll get a patin-exclusive story each week! It’s basically twice the weekly us, and that is, apparently, something you enjoy ;)
And with 2022’s inaugural Patreon pitch out of the way, let’s have a beer!
Speaking of new things, it’s Headlines 2.0!
I wanted to restore the headline segment to talk about the nonsense, of course, there will be a bunch of that in 2022 I’m confident. But also to talk about some cool stuff. So, in keeping with the format of the show, these will be brief, fun, and hopefully, not entirely depressing.
That’s No Moon…
An international team of astronomers has released an image of what, at first glance, is a star-filled night’s sky.
It’s (not) Full of Stars
The image is actually of some 25,000 supermassive black holes! The giant star-eaters live at the center of galaxies. Now, I know what you’re thinking — how do you take a picture or something that devours light? Well… you watch the stars it eats and image the accretion disk around it with a network of 52 radio telescopes using LOWFAR (Low-Frequency Array). Then you spend years working the data out.
This is the result of many years of work on incredibly difficult data. […] We had to invent new methods to convert the radio signals into images of the sky.”Francesco de Gasperin
Lead researcher Francesco de Gasperin, Universität Hamburg, Germany.
The LOWFAR signals can be in the 3MHz range and distorted by signals up to 30MHz.
It’s similar to when you try to see the world while immersed in a swimming pool, when you look up, the waves on the water of the pool deflect the light rays and distort the view.”Reinout van Weeren
Study co-author Reinout van Weeren, of the Leiden Observatory.
The image, which is massive but still only makes up 4% of the night sky in the northern hemisphere, was created with supercomputers correcting each portion of the image, every 4 seconds, over the course of 256-hour observation.
The Pew Research Center has released new figures on American religiosity and, surprising no one I’m sure, it continues to wane.
Basically, the Trump administration and their brazen bigotries combined with god’s apparent impotence in the face of Covid have left folks questioning organized religion.
Christmas Carol War!
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that looks like Santa
I'm your host this week, Shea, and with me are:
I'm Aaron, and this week I learned that the Bible specifically forbids Christmas Trees, thanks, Joshua.
I'm Steve, and I'm recording remotely because of reasons…
This Week's Beer
Fruitcake Dunkle from Altitude
* Aaron: 5* Shea: 6?
Christmas Carol Quiz Time
* #1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hj3U18FHgQ* #4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVzOve8T39w* #7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is4NQkUN3AI* #8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqfIEQKnkJU* #11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpfHSqLXePI* #12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhTnDaEmA5k* #15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTrWyQbhQRE* #18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca5wXojemRM
* Thurl Ravenscroft sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" . . . and was also the voice of a very popular cereal mascot for over 50 years. Disneyland fans will know him as the bust second from the left on the Haunted Mansion! Who was the mascot?* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hj3U18FHgQ* Hint: He was great at it. * Tony the Tiger* The Roman Catholic Church condemned what 1952 song because they thought it promoted ADULTERY?* "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"* They backed off after 13-year-old singer Jimmy Boyd explained that "Santa" is really just the kid's dad.* One of the most recognizable holiday tunes, this carroll was originally sung around Thanksgiving when it was written in 1857.* Jingle Bells* We have all heard this song but we may not have heard this version. On the Heavy Metal Christmas album who is heard singing a little drummer boy?* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVzOve8T39w* Hint: he had to take time off killing hobbits to record it. * Christopher Lee * What do the songs; Winter Wonderland, The Christmas Song, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Let It Snow!, and Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree all have in common? * They were all written by Jewish people.* Benjamin Hanby's classic christmas song written in 1864, was inspired Clement Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," and was the first song to mention Santa Clause.* Up on the Housetop* Rockin Around the Christmas Tree has been covered by tons of different artists but it's original recording was from 1958 by Brenda Lee who was surprisingly young. How old was Brenda when she recorded this classic hit?* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is4NQkUN3AI* 13* According to the Guinness World Records, the first song ever played in space was what christmas song on December 16, 1965? Astronauts Walter Schirra and Tom Stafford used a harmonica and a bell — also the first instruments in space — to perform the song aboard NASA's Gemini 6A space flight. It was part of a prank — they claimed the music was coming from a strange, flying object that looked a lot like Santa Claus.* Jingle Bells* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqfIEQKnkJU* What band currently has the record for most Christmas number 1 singles?
Bright Orange Clowns
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that doesn’t clown around…
I'm your host this week, Aaron, and with me are:
I'm Shea, and this week I learned that gonorrhea would have been a good name for a diarrhea medicine.
This weeks beer:
Green Chili Ale - Soulcraft Brewing
* Style: Chile Beer* ABV:5.2%* Score: Needs more ratings* Aaron: 7* Shea: 8
Green Chile Ale captures all that you love about fresh roasted chiles. A deep, roasted aroma greets you and a wonderful chile flavor follows. Serrano chiles are added to create a bright flavor and heat. English hops provide light bitterness and floral notes that let the big chile flavor shine. The finish is crisp and slightly spicy. Many people know Colorado for it’s majestic beauty, but not many know of the deep affection for chilies. Of the most coveted are Pueblo Chiles, enjoy with breakfast, lunch, or dinner and taste the difference.Beer Advocate... or the can... can't remember... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A Clown, a Firefighter, and a Policeman, walk into a brothel…
No, that’s not the start of a joke… but the start of a series of jokes that I cannot believe I haven’t made before.
I grew up not far from here. I’ve been to here.
So, I’m going to tell this epic Snyder style — that is, in too many, long, disjointed, nonsensical parts. And thanks to Shea, this show will also be in unsettling monochrome.
Part 1 - Ill-Fame
The year is 1855 — unless you’re a political history blogger on Medium — the place is Toronto, and the topic at hand is drinking, fighting, whoring, clowns.
But before we bring in the clowns, we need to talk about Toronto. I’ll assume most folks know it’s in southern Ontario, Canada. At least, when I talk about where I grew up most people seem to know where Toronto is, from local cowboys to colleagues in Taipei (I use it as a nearby landmark for the inevitable introduction-question “so, where are you from?”).
What you may not know is that it was settled in 1750 as Fort Rouillé, a French trading post. Established properly in 1793 it has a current population of 2.7m (6.5-ish if you count the surrounding area), sits a mighty 250 feet above sea level, is the capital of Ontario, has long been a hub of Canadian commerce, culture, and politics — and has Yonge Street.
Yonge St. is a major thoroughfare connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Simco. Which sounds impressive I suppose, Guinness Records certainly thought so, until 1999… The road is 56km, or 35mi, long but is known for being “the longest street in the world” at 1,896km (1,179mi) because it was confused with Highway 11.
And with that myth put to bed, let’s talk about Yonge Street circa 1855 and the bar our clowns are walking into.
Still a long way from being “Toronto The Good” — because of its Victorian sensibility and temperance — Toronto was then a thriving trade town with hundreds of bars and brothels, most conveniently located on Yonge Street. This is the bit that you won’t find on the board of tourism website but was the reason a bunch of ye-oldie, horny, clowns were checking it out.
S.B. Howes’ Star Troupe Menagerie and Circus had jumped in and lead Joey, the clown Meyers, just got his cut of the take.
The Elephant In the Room
Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that slaps... I dunno, I work at a high school and this was some new slang I learned and am probably using incorrectly.
I'm your host this week, Shea, and with me is:
I'm Aaron, and this week I learned that the Descendants are a band. Apparently.
Round Table and Beer
The round table this week... is that we're back in the studio and can finally have another beer together.
Soulcraft Brewing: Raspberry porterSalida Colorado
* Aaron: 8* Shea: 8
I’m not sure what the impetus to do a story on female gangsters was but I found myself in an internet hole filled with awesome stories of female gangsters that made some pretty big waves in their day, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring them back into the light and entertain you all with some badass ladies.
We could start with some more contemporary women such as Griselda Blanco, recently played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2017’s Cocaine Grandma. Griselda has a terrifying and bloody story complete with torture and hired hits during the heyday of cocaine use in the 70/80’s. But I was feeling something a bit less bloody and a whole gang of women sounded cooler than just one angry bloodthirsty drug queen. I went back pretty far in history to find a notorious syndicate run exclusively by working-class women.
PICTURED -Top row, left to right, Alice Diamond, "Queen of Thieves"; Maggie Hughes, deputy; Laura Partrdige; bottom row, left to right, Bertha Tappenden; Madeline Partridge, Gertrude Scully.
One all-female gang ruled part of the gangland underworld for almost two centuries, the 40 Elephants. Definitive records show that the Elephants operated between 1873 and the 1950s, but there is some evidence to suggest that the gang’s origins can be placed as early as the end of the 18th century. The gang’s name is not as cryptic as it may sound: the number
is a rough estimate of its membership and the choice of animal is due to two factors: that they all lived around the Elephant and Castle pub in Southwark, and – more significantly – on leaving shops with their stolen goods under their clothes, the sheer volume of garb made them look like elephants. Only women were allowed to be members and they were almost all exclusively from a working-class background; they rejected the jobs that people like them were condemned to do and instead, similarly to the suffragette movement, they took matters into their own hands. However, instead of fighting for the right to vote, the Elephants wanted something more immediate: financial independence. They would steal clothes and jewelry, sell them on for far less than they were worth, and distribute the earnings amongst their community, providing their families with a lot more than they could otherwise hope to.
Photographs from a 1916 article in Popular Mechanics show the garments shoplifters wear to make their work easier. Via/ Internet Archive
Many a husband lounged at home while his missus was out at work, and many an old lag was propped up by a tireless shoplifting spouse. Some of these terrors were as tough as the men they worked for and protected,"Brian McDonald
Said Brian McDonald, who uncovered details of the criminals when researching for his new book, Gangs of London. Cool aside,
Started listening to W4W in the tail end and naturally segued into this podcast. I learn a lot from their well researched episodes. They deserve so many more listeners. Keep it up guys! I hope everyone (Jenn especially) stays healthy and safe or recovers quickly if currently sick during this crazy time.
Awesome Second Act
I listened to WfW for years, met the hosts at a conference, and genuinely consider them the kind of people I would commit crimes if they needed something. They are not just incredibly kind-hearted and intelligent, but they know how to turn those qualities into an entertaining show. I've cried until I couldn't see straight, and almost peed myself laughing in the same episode of the old show, and that was before they knew what they had going on.
In a world full fake missile alerts over Hawaii, fake news on TV, opinions treated like truth on social media, the IIT crew seeks to inform and entertain with quirky, off the wall tales (thoroughly researched of course) to pass the corona-time with. Hey it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, so kick up your feet and give this podcast a listen or two and you might just learn something.