91 episodes

An unholy amalgam of politics, historical anecdotes, cocktail recipes, performances by talented people, and interviews with people who are doing interesting things with their lives.

Mass for Shut-ins: The Gin and Tacos Podcast Mass for Shut-ins

    • News
    • 4.9 • 292 Ratings

An unholy amalgam of politics, historical anecdotes, cocktail recipes, performances by talented people, and interviews with people who are doing interesting things with their lives.

    049 - Race to the Future with Kassia St. Clair

    049 - Race to the Future with Kassia St. Clair

    Kassia St. Clair, author of the 2017 best-seller The Secret Lives of Color and the Sunday Times Book of the Year follow-up The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History (2019) joins me to talk about her new book, Race to the Future: The Adventure that Accelerated the 20th Century. It's the story of the utterly bonkers 1907 auto race from Peking to Paris, which didn't let things like the fact that roads and gas stations didn't exist stop some adventurous competitors from trying it. All 8000 miles of it. 
    The widescreen artwork accompanying this episode is Kassia's map of Russia, laden with thread and post-it notes, which she references during our chat.
    Please support Mass for Shut-ins, an independent and ad-free podcast, via Patreon. Contact me on Bluesky at edburmila.bsky.social.
    Thanks: Kassia St. Clair, the bands that contribute music (IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

    • 55 min
    Minicast G2: Dundee United

    Minicast G2: Dundee United

    In 1972 a middling team from the Scottish Premier League played four exhibition matches in Nigeria and distinguished itself so profoundly with its pitiful play (and boorish attitude) that its name became a synonym for stupidity. Grousing about how much your host country sucks while losing 4-1 to a team of amateurs called "Stationery Stores FC" leaves a pretty profound impression, I guess.
    The comedian through whom I became aware of this fantastic story is Nabil Abdulrashid. 
    These podcasts are ad-free and self-produced; I value your support on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ginandtacos.

    • 8 min
    Minicast G1: The Flying Boy trick

    Minicast G1: The Flying Boy trick

    Question Kyle and Question Jennie join me as we discuss the 18th century fad of using the emerging understanding of the phenomenon of electricity to entertain. Men who considered themselves worldly natural philosophers and amateur scientists found it relatively easy to blow the minds of party guests by demonstrating some basic concepts that we're too jaded to appreciate today. Nowhere was this made clearer than with the Flying Boy stunt, aka the Hanging Boy. A child or small adult was suspended from the ceiling with non-conductive silk ropes. Then, electricity would be introduced into the lad's feet and guests would amuse themselves by making objects stick to him or watching him discharge tiny bolts of lightning to metal wires. 
    We lament the death of planning live entertainment for social events and consider the possibility that the time is right to bring back the Flying Boy. 

    • 33 min
    Minicast F3: Operation Washtub

    Minicast F3: Operation Washtub

    Perhaps you've heard of Operation Gladio, the infamous post-World War II NATO program to train "stay-behind" agents to fight guerilla-style against a future hypothetical Soviet invasion of Western Europe. Believe it or not, the United States Air Force, briefly in partnership with the FBI, devised exactly such a program it carried out in Alaska between 1951 and 1958. This went beyond the planning stage - it was actually implemented. At least 89 civilians in Alaska were paid, trained, armed, and prepared to do...something...if the USSR charged across the Bering Strait and occupied what at the time was a US Territory.
    Here is the exhaustive five-part FBI tell-all on the now-declassified project. 
    These podcasts are ad-free and self-produced; I value your support on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ginandtacos.

    • 8 min
    048 - The Apple II Age (with Laine Nooney)

    048 - The Apple II Age (with Laine Nooney)

    Dr. Laine Nooney (NYU) joins me to discuss the early days of personal computing - particularly how people figured out what to do with home computers after they became convinced that they needed one - in their 2023 book The Apple II Age: How the Computer Became Personal. If you were alive in the pre-internet era, this book is both a great trip down memory lane and a new way to think about the usual hagiographic "Great Man" retellings of the early years of the industry. If you're a bit younger, you'll get great insight into just how not obvious it was what in the hell we would do with computers at home, even though it seemed like everyone wanted one.
    Please support Mass for Shut-ins, an independent and ad-free podcast, via Patreon. Contact me via twitter (@edburmila), at least for now. I am on Bluesky at edburmila.bsky.social as well.
    Thanks: Dr. Laine Nooney, the bands that contribute music (IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

    • 43 min
    047 - The Great American Transit Disaster

    047 - The Great American Transit Disaster

    Professor and author Nicholas Dagen Bloom joins me to discuss his new book The Great American Transit Disaster: Austerity, Autocentric Planning, and White Flight (University of Chicago Press). You know transit is a mess in the United States but take my word for it: after reading this book you will understand how and why in a brand new way. If you think you already know the story, you don't! 
    Question Cathy is traveling the world, so Question Kyle and Question Jennie pinch-hit for her in a truly stellar Mailbag. Half of the Mailbag is included in this episode, and then the rest is available as bonus content on patreon, because capitalism.
    Please support Mass for Shut-ins, an independent and ad-free podcast, via Patreon. Contact me via twitter (@edburmila), at least for now. I am on Bluesky at edburmila.bsky.social as well.
    Thanks: Nicholas Dagen Bloom, QK & QJ, the bands that contribute music (IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
292 Ratings

292 Ratings

crodica ,

Not your mom’s political podcast

I learn something new with every episode.

James16201 ,

He tweeted something stupid

Why would I listen to a whole podcast?

nee jersey ,

Gin tacos

This

Is

A

Good

Podcast

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