The Cemetery Angel

Below are the notes/script of Season 2 Episode 14 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

  • Recommendation Segment
    • Red Rising
      • My Fiancee and I got in to a sci-fi book series about a miner on Mars. In this future, mankind has colonized the solar system. This future society has a pyramid structure where the ones at the top get to reap all the wealth and those at the bottom are given a life of struggle and sacrifice. The Martian Miner named Darrow is given the chance to escape his life of suffering and subjugation. What follows is one of the best paced action sci-fi stories I have ever heard.
      • I’m currently on book 5 titled Dark Age. The author Pierce Brown is currently working on book 6.
This cover art for Dark Age is by the artist Sam Burley

Just a heads up, this week’s episode was emotionally difficult for me. It may also be a bit emotional for you. That is why I kept it short.

  • A Hospital in Arkansas
    • Little Rock Arkansas 1984, a man who calls himself Jimmy is laying frail and weak in a hospital bed. No one has come to visit Jimmy since he has been admitted and because of fear, no hospital staff will enter his room unless absolutely necessary. Jimmy has been diagnosed with what was then called GRID (Gay-related immune disease). This disease was later called HIV/AIDS. At the time in 1984 little was known about HIV.
    • As Jimmy lays on his death bed suffering alone and calling out for his mother, a stranger hears him. The stranger is at the Little Rock Hospital to visit a friend. Her name is Ruth Coker Burks. She notices that despite his cries, the nurses and other hospital staff are avoiding Jimmy’s room.
    • For reasons unknown to even herself, Ruth decides to console Jimmy. He only weighs around 100 pounds. Ruth notices he is so pale it is difficult to discern his body from the hospital bed sheets. Jimmy tells Ruth he wants to see his mom and Ruth goes to the nearest Nurse’s station to relay the message, and even call Jimmy’s mother herself.
    • The nurses laugh at Ruth and tell her that no one has come to see Jimmy and that no one will. When Ruth contacts Jimmy’s mother she refuses to see him.
    • Ruth returns to Jimmy’s bedside at which point the young man said “Oh mama, I knew you’d come.” Of course Ruth doesn’t correct Jimmy. Instead she accepts Jimmy’s palliative care, staying by his side for 13 hours until he dies.
    • Ruth contacts Jimmy’s mother to tell her that her son has passed away. She is horrified to learn that his mom won’t even claim Jimmy’s body.
    • After being rejected numerous times, Ruth is able to find a funeral home that will accept Jimmy. However, they won’t touch his body and will only cremate him.
    • Ruth pays for the cremation and places Jimmy’s ashes in a cookie jar and places the jar in her family cemetery.
    • Burks began to receive regular phone calls, initially from hospitals and later from AIDS patients themselves, ultimately contributing to the care of over 1000 people over three decades.
    • With assistance from her daughter, Burks buried more than 40 AIDS victims in her family cemetery.
    • While her patients were still alive, Burks helped take them to appointments, obtain medications, apply for assistance, and arrange their funerals. She also kept supplies of AIDS medications such as zidovudine in her pantry, due to many local pharmacies not providing it.
I was scrolling through Reddit the other day when I saw this meme. Something told me to look in to this woman’s story. Since then I have been brought to tears reading about her compassion.
  • What Society Saw
    • Due to her work with AIDS, Burks and her daughter were shunned by their local community, and on two occasions crosses were burned in her yard by the Ku Klux Klan
    • Burks received financial assistance from gay bars in Arkansas, including the Discovery Club in Little Rock: “They would twirl up a drag show on Saturday night and here’d come the money. […] That’s how we’d buy medicine, that’s how we’d pay rent. If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.
    • In 1988, Norman Jones, owner of the Discovery Club, created Helping People with AIDS, where Burks worked for several years.
    • After the passing of the Ryan White CARE Act in 1990, which made care for people with HIV and AIDS more readily available, Burks struggled to find employment in the field due to her lack of professional qualifications, although during Bill Clinton’s presidency, she did serve as a White House consultant for AIDS education.
    • Burks’ patients lived around two years beyond the national average life expectancy for men diagnosed with AIDS at that time, catching the interest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, which sent researchers to investigate.
  • During the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, she used her salary as a real estate agent to care for AIDS patients whose families and communities had abandoned them. Due to the stigma surrounding the disease at the time, she was often the patients’ only caregiver until they eventually died. She is additionally recognized for burying more than forty AIDS victims in her family cemetery in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
  • I typically like to have episodes that are interesting, educational, exciting, humorous, and even scary.
    • I don’t think I’ve ever done such a serious episode, but when I read about Ruth’s story on Reddit, I felt like I had to do an episode on her.
    • While reading about her I got emotional multiple times. Yes it is tragic to learn about so many lives lost (as of 2019 about 32.7 million people died from AIDs-related illness since the beginning of the epidemic), but what got to me was the seemingly endless amount of compassion shown by Ruth.
    • I can quite pessimistic when it comes to people, so when I learn of a story of compassion where I can’t conceive of any ulterior motive it chokes me up.
    • When asked what compelled Ruth to go in to Jimmy’s room back in 1984 she replied “I don’t know what made me do it. I’m pretty sure God asked me to do it.”
    • I like to think, whether you believe in a higher power or not, what made Ruth go in to that room was pure empathy. It was an instinctual drive to comfort someone who was in need. Ruth didn’t have the power to save Jimmy’s life or even take away his pain, but she did have the power to make him feel less alone in this world.


If you want to learn more about HIV/AIDS you can visit


der kluge Hans

The following are notes from Season 2 Episode 13 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast. If you prefer to listen to this content just mosey on over to my Podcast hosted by by clicking: Who’d a Thunk It?

  • Recommendation Segment!!!
    • For this episode I wanted to recommend a book I listened to this past winter: Sapiens.
    • I think I would call it an educational book, but it doesn’t feel boring like most educational books might. It is about the story of man as far as we know it and a bit about where we are going (our future).
  • The Realm of the Scientific Method
    • In November of 1859 Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published and sold out immediately. This publication introduced the world to the theory of evolution.
    • In the decades that followed humanity’s world view began to shift.
    • Evolution provided so many answers to scientific questions (namely biology), it proposed contradictory claims to religious world views, but perhaps the most astonishing change the Theory of Evolution had on the world was its ability to spread among the common man therefore influence how the vast majority of humans saw the world.
  • A Time of Discovery
    • Because of Darwin’s discovery, everyday people began to show an increased amount of interest in animals.
    • One such everyday man, Wilhelm von Osten, began ponder the intelligence levels of the animals around him. Wilhelm von Osten was a gymnasium mathematics teacher, an amateur horse trainer, phrenologist, and something of a mystic.
    • Wilhelm von Osten took one of his prize stallions named Hans and trained him to communicate by tapping his hoof. In time, Hans was trained to solve math equations, identify colors, read and spell, and even identify musical tones. When asked to do so, Hans the stallion was providing answers that rivaled the intelligence of most humans during that time.
    • Von Osten would ask Hans, “If the eighth day of the month comes on a Tuesday, what is the date of the following Friday?” Hans would answer by tapping his hoof eleven times. Questions could be asked both orally, and in written form.
    • Wilhelm von Osten would write a problem on a chalk board, display it to Hans and wait for Hans to start tapping his hoof. Using this method, Hans was able to give a correct answer about 90% of the time. Whenever Hans tapped his hoof the correct number of times, Wilhelm von Osten gave the horse a tasty treat.
  • The Skepticism of Psychology
    • News of this incredibly intelligent horse spread fast. Everyone was talking about Clever Hans (or “der kluge Hans” in the original German language).
    • Von Osten exhibited Hans throughout Germany, and never charged admission. Hans’s abilities were reported in The New York Times in 1904.[3]
    • the German Government launched a formal investigation. A total of 13 people were asked to look in to Clever Hans and to see if any fraudulent behavior was afoot, or to see if Hans really was a genius horse.
    • Among this panel of 13 investigators was a Circus Manager, Zoo Director, Veterinarian, Calvary Officer, and a they were all lead by the Philosophy/Psychologist Carl Stumpf. Together they were known as the Hans Commission.
      • This commission concluded in September 1904 that no tricks were involved in Hans’s performance. They were ready to declare Hans a genius horse until a student at the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin named Oskar Pfungst decided to throw his 2 cents in to the investigation.
  • The psychologist Oskar Pfungst – decided to run more tests on Hans and Wilhelm von Osten by:
    • Isolating horse and questioner from spectators, so no cues could come from them
    • Using questioners other than the horse’s master
    • By means of blinders, varying whether the horse could see the questioner
    • Varying whether the questioner knew the answer to the question in advance.
  • Pfungst ran a lot of trials to rule out as much as he could.
    • First he separated Hans from Von Osten. Hans was still able to get the answers correct without Von Osten present which ruled out fraud. So Von Osten wasn’t deliberately trying to hoodwink the public.
    • But then through more trials Pfungst found that Hans’s level of success depended upon whether the human questioner was within eyesight and knew the answer themselves.
      • So if Von Osten (or anyone else asking the questions) was given a chalk board with a question on it, but wasn’t allowed to look at the question themselves, Hans had about a 6% success rate.
      • Also whether the human questioner did or did not know the answer was irrelevant if Hans was unable to see the questioner.
      • If Hans could see the person asking the question AND that person knew the answer to the question then Hans gave the correct answer about 90% of the time.
  • So here’s the point where I ask you, my listeners (and/or blog readers) to think. How is Hans able to get the right answer so often under these specific conditions, but when these conditions aren’t met he only gets 6% of the answers right?

=============Think for a second. You got it? ============

  • Pfungst concluded that through Wilhelm Von Osten’s training method, Hans was very clever, but not how you think.
    • No, Hans did not understand math, language, or music.
    • Instead, Hans was able to read the human questioner’s body language to determine at which hoof tap he was expected to stop.
      • As the horse’s taps approached the right answer, the questioner’s posture and facial expression changed in ways that were consistent with an increase in tension, which was released when the horse made the final, correct tap. This provided a cue that the horse could use to tell it to stop tapping. The social communication systems of horses may depend on the detection of small postural changes, and this would explain why Hans so easily picked up on the cues given by von Osten, even if these cues were subconscious.
    • So by human standards Hans was no genius, but he was able to read body language MUCH more fluently than us humans.
      • I bet Hans was a killer at the poker table. lol horse humor
    • Von Osten disregarded these findings. Dismissing Pfungst’s meticulous use of the scientific method to determine the source of Hans’s success, Wilhelm Von Osten went on to tour Europe with Hans. They continued to gather large crowds.
  • The rigor of Pfungst’s trials and the detail of his observation are considered classic early examples of experimental design in behavioral psychology.
    • After Pfungst had become adept at giving Hans performances himself, and was fully aware of the subtle cues which made them possible, he discovered that he would produce these cues involuntarily regardless of whether he wished to exhibit or suppress them. Recognition of this phenomenon has had a large effect on experimental design and methodology for all experiments whatsoever involving sentient subjects, including humans.
    • The Clever Hans Effect has also been observed in drug-sniffing dogs. A study at University of California, Davis revealed that cues can be telegraphed by the handler to the dogs, resulting in false positives.
    • Pfungst’s final experiment showed that Clever Hans effects can occur in experiments with humans as well as with animals. For this reason, care is often taken in fields such as perceptioncognitive psychology, and social psychology to make experiments double-blind, meaning that neither the experimenter nor the subject knows what condition the subject is in, and thus what their responses are predicted to be. 
  • So the world of Psychology grew quite a bit from the story of Clever Hans, but what happened to the horse himself?
    • After von Osten died in 1909, Hans was acquired by several owners. After 1916, there is no record of him and his fate is unknown.
    • Although highly unlikely (more like virtually impossible), perhaps “der kluge Hans” is still out there somewhere, tapping his hoof in beautiful symphony of music or solving mathematics’ greatest problems.
  • Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers! Check out the accompanying blog post for a visual component to the episode, link in description.
  • Until next week! Catch you later 🙂


If you prefer to listen to this content just mosey on over to my Podcast hosted by by clicking: Who’d a Thunk It?


Silent Winged Flying Coffins

Below are the notes to Season 2 Episode 12 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

  • The Coolest Tourist Shack west of the Mississippi
    • I was a junior in college when my mom suggested she and I travel to see my Aunt (as well as my grandparents and cousins) in Las Vegas. Mom booked the flight over my winter break. While there my mom got the idea to drive to Phoenix Arizona to meet other friends and family.
    • So mom rented a car and we drove 5 hours through the desert together. Luckily I have a good relationship with my mom, because most guys wouldn’t be able to stand such a road trip.
There is a 2012 movie called The Guilt Trip starring Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand. The plot is all about the nightmare of being stuck in the car with your mom as an adult guy for a really long road trip.
  • But I had a lot of fun with my mom. I actually loved the desert landscape, the bizarre desert communities, and the hours of listening to each others’ music of choice.
    • But without a doubt the most memorable part of our trip was on our way back to Vegas.
    • Just north of Phoenix is a town called Peoria Arizona where, if they had their own newspaper, a tumbleweed might make the front page.
    • As mom and I were passing through we spotted a faint silver glint in the air with the backdrop of that pretty pale blue cloudless desert sky. I said “what is that? Is it a plane? It’s so small.”
    • Then my mom noted “but there is no sound, no engine noise.”
    • Five minutes later my mom spotted a big white makeshift sign made out of plywood. In big black lettering the sign said “GLIDER RIDES, NEXT RIGHT”
    • My mom has always been an advocate for new experiences so she decided right then and there: We were going to ride in a glider.
    • I vividly remember the the shack that the glider operation was run out of. Standing on the wind and sand worn floor boards under the ramshackle roof I felt like I was on the Australian outback. The friendliest employee was a big white cockatoo that stayed up in the rafters saying “hello!” every 60 seconds.
    • Mom and I waited for a few hours for each of our turns in the engineless flying vehicle, but it was worth it.
    • The glider we rode in was small, just meant for about 2 people. In the front was the pilot and in the passenger rode directly behind him. The glider was towed in to the air by a metal cable attached to a motorized airplane. Once at an acceptable altitude, the cable was detached. At which point the heavy-set glider pilot turned to look at me with a sinister grin and said “Alright! we are now hundreds of feet in the air with no engine. Better hope I don’t have a heart attack!”
    • I thoroughly enjoyed flying through the air with hardly any sound. and at one point the pilot let me experience 0 G… it made me want to throw up, but I’m glad I got to experience it.

Home – Pleasant Valley Airport – when I googled the glider ride place, this is the website it led me to, but I don’t think the glider place is open any longer.

  • The Combat Glider
    • I thought this glider technology was cool to experience, but I couldn’t think of a practical use for gliders past recreational fun.
    • Little did I know that aviary glider technology was used by the military for stealth operations. Using a glider meant No engine, no noise, and very little chance of the alerting the enemy.
    • Apparently during the invasion of Normandy, D-Day, there was a company of Glider men who launched a massive operation to deploy troops behind the enemy lines.
    • These crazy SOB’s flew over one of the largest and most dangerous military operations in human history in canvas covered engineless aircraft. The only sounds they must have heard were the engines of other aircraft, non stop gunfire, and hundreds of explosions going off beneath them. All this knowing they physically couldn’t just turn around and fly home. They were without any propulsion so they were on a 1 way ticket behind enemy lines.
    • The glider pilots had no weapons, no parachutes, and no second chances. They were behind the wheel of what would come to be known as the flying coffins of WW2
    • For the benefit of stealth, these specialty trained pilots and soldiers got in to notoriously dangerous and unreliable aircraft. To the axis anti-aircraft gunners on the ground they were especially easy targets as they couldn’t make quick maneuvers to evade fire.
    • These silent winged warriors were history’s first ever stealth air fighters. Although incredibly dangerous, the gliders were present for every major allied operation:
      • The Invasion of Sicily
      • The Liberation of France and Holland
      • The Battle of the Bulge
      • The Crossing of the Rhine River in to Germany
      • and they were present for many operations in the Pacific against the Japanese
    • Their jobs were so dangerous that Senior officers wrote off glider missions as dead the minute they took off.
  • The Tactics
    • When Aviation was first invented in the early 1900’s in North Carolina, the Wright Brothers used a glider to fly. When motorized flying was invented, gliding technology became less popular. It was mostly recreational sports that kept gliding going.
  • The first use of gliders in combat was thought up by Adolf Hitler himself during his siege of the Belgian Fort Eben Emael.
      • General Karl Student of the 3rd Reich led an elite force of Luftwaffe paratroopers to invade Fort Eben Emael in the experimental and untested combat glider. Hitler’s gamble payed off. 780 Belgian soldiers surrendered. Only 6 German soldiers were killed. And then Hitler had a straight shot to France with no opposition in his way.
      • Hitler knew the advantage glider technology had over paratroop tactics. Where paratroops dropped in a widespread area, taking time to regroup and be battle ready, gliders landed all vehicles, equipment, and troops in the same area. Glider missions could be carried out with much more speed and efficiency.
  • The allies primarily used the Waco CG 4A glider. It was a massive piece of machinery. They were nicknamed Silent Wing.
      • The Waco CG 4A glider could carry 13 fully equipped soldiers, a 4 man crewed jeep, or a 75mm howitzer with supplies and ammo.
      • The Waco’s were towed by Douglas C47 airplanes. They were towed by a cable that double as a communications wire between the airplane and glider before the glider detached.
      • Unlike motorized airplanes, gliders don’t really soar. Instead of a flight, it is more like a planned fall.
      • The Waco glider pilots were towed up to about 500 feet above their landing zone. After being detached from the airplane, pilots had about 20 seconds to decide where to land.
      • If WW2 airplanes were metal eagles, WW2 gliders were bricks with wings.
Imagine it: you are 500 feet up hurling through the air in a giant metal box with no engine. 13 smelly paratroopers are behind you putting their lives in your hands. You get a radio transmission from the pilot of the C47 plane that is towing you stating “alright, we are nearing the drop zone. Detaching tow cable now.” You feel the force of the plan leave your glider and the weightlessness of it all come through your feet. You have 20 seconds to pick a 400 foot field to land in. You took down for the controls you have at your disposal and see this….
  • I’m convinced the men who volunteered to get in to these gliders were nutcases. 6,000 allied troops were trained as glider pilots. They were given the possibility of an officer’s pay and the opportunity to fly. They were daredevils.
      • If the thought of “planned falling” in a giant metal “flying coffin” didn’t convince you how crazy combat gliders were, let me tell you about the Snatch Pick-Up tactic.
The C47 plane is flying with a tow pole and cable handing beneath it. On the ground is an undamaged glider. Just ahead of the glider are two tall stakes with the glider’s tow cable hung between them. The C47s pilots were so good they could get their tow cable in between those stakes and tow the undamaged glider (with passengers) to safety.
  • The C-47 planes would fly in to enemy territory with a tow pole hanging from the belly of their aircraft. They would look for undamaged gliders that set up their tow cables to be intercepted. Then the C47s would tow the Waco gliders (typically full of troops) back to safety, like a reverse glider take off. What a legendary maneuver that would be to see in real life.
  • For operation Overlord (that’s the D-Day invasion of Normandy) the glider pilots were up against their greatest threats. Normandy Beach was armed to the teeth with anti-aircraft guns and the fields, where it would have been most opportune for gliders to land, were full of traps.
    • They were known as Rommel Asparagus. The German army set thousands of 10 foot metal spikes in the ground that would impale the gliders and their passengers.
    • If that wasn’t enough, some of these spikes were strung up with wired explosives.
    • If you have watched any WW2 documentary or read in to the allied invasion of Normandy, you know secrecy was of the utmost importance. So radio silence was necessary. On June 6th 1944, 867 gliders carried nearly 4,000 allied troops (plus equipment) across the English channel to land in fields as small as 400 feet.
    • A heavily fortified Nazi gun nest was causing massive casualties on to the amphibias troops on the beach. So a Waco glider was tasked with transporting a light tank behind the gun nest’s position. Attesting to the efficiency of glider operations, the tank was able to take out the gun nest within 2 minutes of landing.
Glider pilots of Operation Overlord
  • The glider pilots that took part in the successful mission of D-Day got a special Air Medal with a big G in the middle.
    • The G officially stood for Glider, but the pilots went on to tell anyone who asked that it stood for “GUTS!”
  • The more I do this podcast and read up on history, the more I understand why it is cliche for old guys to be big history nerds. I’m quickly turning into a grandpa who sits on the couch and watches WW2 documentaries all day.
    • WW2 is the largest known war in human history. The amount of stories that come out of it are seemingly endless. Be prepared for more WW1 and WW2 episodes on this podcast.
    • Until next time Who’d a Thunkers!


What it was like to land behind enemy lines in a glider on D-Day – We Are The Mighty

The 327th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) during WW II (


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Behind Josey Wales

Below are the notes to Season 2 Episode 11 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

  • This weeks media recommendation ties directly in to the main topic.
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales movie
    • My father was born in the early 60’s. Although I believe most of Clint Eastwood’s movies can be enjoyed by any generation, my father’s generation enjoys Clint’s work more-so, especially MEN of his generation.
    • So I’ve seen my fair share of Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns, Dirty Harry movies, and the movies Clint has made in the 21st century. But my favorite film of his is The Outlaw Jose Wales!
    • This 1976 movie is on the top of the list for many Western enthusiasts
    • Here is the plot **SPOILER ALERT**
      • Josey Wales (played by Clint Eastwood himself) watches helplessly as his wife and child are murdered, by Union men led by Capt. Terrill. Seeking revenge, Wales joins the Confederate Army. He refuses to surrender when the war ends, but his fellow soldiers go to hand over their weapons — and are massacred by Terrill. Wales guns down some of Terrill’s men and flees to Texas, where he tries to make a new life for himself, but the bounty on his head endangers him and his new surrogate family.
      • It is great movie. Check it out for yourself. I believe you can rent it for like $3 on Amazon Prime.
Clint Eastwood in movie art for the film ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’, 1976. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images) – My dad had this movie poster on his carpentry work bench in the house I grew up in.
  • Although Clint starred in and directed the film, he didn’t write it.
    • The movie was based on a book titled “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales.” The book was written by a man calling himself Forrest Carter. This episode is going to be about him, the man behind Josey Wales the character.
  • Forrest Carter
    • Forrest was a half-Cherokee cowboy author from Texas. His empathetic writing painted him as a kind soul who was regarded as a Hippy back in the 1970’s. His writing featured concepts of cultural acceptance and respect for nature.
    • Along with writing Josey Wales in to existence, Carter wrote “The Education of Little Tree.”
    • The story of Little Tree takes place during the fifth to tenth years of the boy’s life, as he comes to know his new home in a remote mountain hollow. Granpa runs a small moonshine operation during Prohibition. The grandparents and visitors to the hollow expose Little Tree to supposed Cherokee ways and “mountain people” values.
    • The Education of Little Tree was written as a memoir recounting Forrest’s own real-life experiences growing up in southern Appalachia with his native American grandparents.
    • This story was accepted by an actual Cherokee Indian and taught as literature in Native American classrooms for decades.
    • The Education of Little Tree was praised by Oprah Winfrey and Carter himself was on his way to becoming a beloved American Author… but he had a secret.
Forrest Carter
  • Asa Earl Carter
    • Although he denied it all the way to his grave, Forrest Carter was just a pen name. His real name was Asa Earl Carter and there is a good reason why Asa Carter wanted to keep his name and his past a secret from the world.
    • Asa Earl Carter ran for governor of Alabama in 1970 and was a public advocate for white supremacy.
    • He was a rabid segregationist who was an infamous racist propagandist in the 1960s. A leader of the White Citizens Council (a group dedicated to opposing desegregation and one that was generally considered to be a front group for the Ku Klux Klan) of North Alabama, Carter was the head of a “klavern” of the Ku Klux Klan. He was an unofficial speechwriter for segregationist Governor George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama and candidate for the Presidency (1968, ’72).
    • Asa Earl Carter wrote white supremacist literature, and was a major contributor to “The Southerner,” a white-supremacist publication that he edited and published first under the aegis of the racist White Citizens Council.
White Citizens’ Council leader Asa Earl Carter denounces school integration in Clinton, Tenn., on Aug. 31, 1956.
  • I do believe ignorance plays a major role in racism, and I try to keep that in mind. I like to think all racist people could change if they were just able to experience enough of life to let them realize, we are all in this together. But that’s probably just wishful thinking and with a track record like Asa Earl Carter, one might think the guy was just simply riddled with hate. I mean that is a terribly impressive resume for a white supremacist.
    • After Carter’s real identity came out it became clear that Carter did NOT have Cherokee Grandparents and that his book of tolerance and love of nature was a work of fiction instead of a memoir. “The Education of Little Tree” ranks as one of the great literary hoaxes of American literature. 
    • It also became clear to the public how a hippy half-Cherokee cowboy from Texas was able to capture the spirit of the southern confederate so well in his book The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales novel. He wasn’t any of those things.
      • He wasn’t from Texas, but Alabama
      • He wasn’t an orphan. His parents raised him and lived in to his adulthood.
  • I should note that it was reported Clint Eastwood had no idea of Carter’s actual past when he agreed to make the Josey Wales movie. Clint was approached by the alias Forrest Carter. The likeable loving hippy cowboy.
  • And this leads me to one of my favorite ethical dilemmas: should we separate the art from the artist?
    • Josey Wales is one of my favorite movies, but I now know it was written by a white supremacist… True, Carter seems to have had some sort of life changing experience that made him forsake his hateful past, but he still did all those terrible things and wrote all those terribly racist speeches. Not to mention he hid who he was. Instead of courageously facing his past mistakes like his own character Josey Wales, Carter just ran from them.
    • Be for warned here, I don’t have an answer to the question: should we separate the art from the artist… but I think it should be asked more often.
    • If we reveal their past actions:
      • Does Bill Cosby’s multiple award winning comedy career suddenly become Unfunny?
      • Do Michael Jackson’s records suddenly become audible trash?
      • Don’t get me wrong, I think both of those men’s actions were abhorrent, but should we just ignore all of the great things their art has done for society? Should the charities they donated to over the years give back all that money? How far should we as a society go in condemning their actions? Should we scrub the history books so it appears they never existed?
      • What about other important people from History? Churchill said that he hated people with “slit eyes and pig tails.” To him, people from India were “the beastliest people in the world next to the Germans.” He admitted that he “did not really think that black people were as capable or as efficient as white people.”
    • Should we hate Winston Churchill? Or should we recognize that he won a World War AND that he held racist beliefs? Should we rewrite all the history books?
      • IDK. I don’t have the answer.
    • If you went back with a fine toothed comb and looked at everything I said in my life and all of that information was present in your mind this very second, I’d be willing to bet all the nasty things would stick out and you’d want to stop listening to this podcast immediately. You’d probably be disgusted.
      • But I’m no longer the same disrespectful and disgraceful teenager I once was.
  • Like I said, IDK the answer. But I wish people would ask it more often. The dilemma is probably more present in our cancel culture society than it has ever been.
The carpet bagger political cartoon
  • The real life Carpet Bagger
    • Now to end the episode I’d like to highlight a character from the Josey Wales film.
    • In the movie there is a big raging river and a Ferry set up so people can cross said river. The man working the Ferry is a deceptive character. His name is Sim Carstairs and he encounters Union and Confederate soldiers both on a regular basis.
    • Sim comes across a con-man known as the Carpet Bagger.
      • In the history of the United States, carpetbagger was a derogatory term applied by Southerners to opportunistic Northerners who came to the Southern states after the American Civil War, who were perceived to be exploiting the local populace for their own financial, political, and/or social gain.
    • The Carpet Bagger fraudulently tries to sell snake oil to Sim to pay for his Ferry ride. While they are conversing, Sim explains that he survives being among 2 opposing sides of the Civil War all the time by being two-faced.
    • ===play clip audio on podcast===
    • \/ Watch video below on Blog Post\/

You know in my line of workyou gotta be able either to sing ‘The Battle Hymn Of The Republic’ or ‘Dixie’ with equal enthusiasm… dependin’ upon present company.” – Sim Carstairs

“Can says as I blame you for that. Only good business to play it safe.” -The Carpet Bagger

  • Dixie is a Southern Song while Battle Hym of the Republic is a Northern favorite.
    • This scene has permeated through the fog of my childhood memory. It always stuck out to me that in order to survive a person would pretend to care about one cause or another. I revered the survival tactic, but the film portrays Sim as a weak and slimy character. Maybe it says something about me that I respected such a character at a young age.
    • But I also appreciated the symbolic connection between Sim’s deceptive way of life and the deceptive life Asa Earl Carter led.
    • Both Sim and Carter walked to the beat of 2 opposing sides’ drums when it suited them best.


This video is what convinced me I could make a podcast on the Josey Wales movie and the writer behind the movie.

If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 42 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

  • Spotify – Google Podcasts – Apple PodcastsAnd pretty much anywhere else you get your podcasts!
  • If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at


    Helmet Graffiti of Vietnam

    The content below is the script/notes from Season 2 Episode 10 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

    Weekly Recommendation: I just started digging in to the Jack Reacher book series. I watched the Tom Cruise movies that started to come out in 2012 and thought they were OK movies… but the books are pretty cool. Plus there are a ton of Jack Reacher novels and novellas, so if you are like me and have tons of time on your hands, that is a definite plus.

    Breaking the mold of what a writer should write in a novel, Lee Childs often writes “Reacher said nothing,” in his books. Where most authors would give a better description of the characters reaction to let the reader know what kind of person the character is, Lee Childs writes Reacher in this way so the reader can project whatever reaction they see fit on to Jack Reacher. It is a writing style that shouldn’t work… but it does.
    • Government Property
      • This past Sunday I played a friendly poker game with a couple college buddies and my soon-to-be Father In-Law
        • Side note: I am now engaged to be married.
      • In between hands we were all drinking brewskies and drinking whiskey, so you know there was good machismo banter going around the poker table.
      • At one point my Fiance’s dad said “You know what happens if you get sunburned in the Navy while on duty?”
      • We all looked at him blankly.
      • “You get court marshalled for destruction of government property!”
      • I later looked this up and while I’m sure soldiers have been threatened in this manner, it would not hold up in military court. Threatening soldiers with legal repercussions if they get sunburned is nothing more than a scare tactic used by NCO’s.
        • “You are not government property,” said James Klimaski, a civilian attorney who practices military law. “You’re still a human being. You still have free will, even in the military.” -Interview from
      • However, Article 15 (damaging government property) is a real offense. In this episode of Who’d a Thunk It? I’ll be talking about a very public defacing of government propery that occurred back in the 60’s and early 70’s. This episode is about Helmet Graffiti during the Vietnam War.
    • We’re people, not machines
      • It is a common misconception that in order for a team to operate as a cohesive unit, there must be uniformity throughout.
        • For example: My high school football coaches forbid us from having any article of clothing out of the ordinary and punished players for wearing their socks too high or too low.
        • Psychology suggests that too much uniformity is actually detrimental to a teams ability to perform and that diversification, when kept in check, is the way to go.
      • Most modern militaries side with discipline and uniformity. They make their soldiers wear uniforms that all look the same and strictly forbid them from altering their uniforms.
      • The Vietnam war is really the first time soldiers were documented putting graffiti on their helmets.
        • Of course this was technically NOT allowed as it is defacing government property. Not to mention the camo on modern military uniforms is there for a reason: to help soldiers blend in to their surroundings. Altering that camo increases a soldier’s likelihood of being spotted by the enemy.
        • So why did Vietnam soldiers do it?
      • In 1879 the American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman addressed to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy with the following speech.
        • “I’ve been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
        • Suppress it! You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!
      • It seems the men who fought in Vietnam shared a similar mentality as General Sherman. The Vietnam war was notoriously gruesome.
        • The Americans were a large military force in a country on the other side of the world fighting in a war they didn’t want to be in. Drafted soldiers made up 25% of the American soldiers in Vietnam.
        • The terrain made tanks useless and strategic bombing ineffective.
        • The US Soldiers, although backed by a technologically superior world super power, had to resort to gritty guerilla warfare.
        • The collective psyche of the troops sort of shed the rigidness of their military training and discipline. They started to break the rules.
        • The mentality as far as corrective repercussions from their superiors when they did things like Defacing their Helmets was “What are they going to do, punish me by sending me to Vietnam?”
    John Wayne signed helmets during his visit to the 7th Marines at Chu Lai in June of 1966 (SSG Fleetwood/Marine Corps/National Archives).
    • Individuals
      • The helmet graffiti allowed the troops to take back some semblance of individual self through this unique expression.
      • After all, America’s society does value the individual much more than most Asian cultures.
      • Putting Graffiti was a form of rebellion against the war.
        • They wrote “Born to Die,” “I’m not a tourist, I live here,” and “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald now that we really need him.”
        • Personally, I equate this helmet graffiti to the rebellious and often lude cartoons and doodles my elementary school buddies and I drew. We vandalized our school books in a very similar fashion.
        • Of course we hadn’t been subjected to the horrors of war, so there is that major difference. But the crude style and sense of humor of the Vietnam War Helmet Graffiti, to me, is very much like the doodling of boys going through pubescence.
        • Perhaps that is because, like boys going through the existential transformation of puberty, these Vietnam soldiers were men going through an existential transformation in to something entirely different. Perhaps the crucible of warfare changed them and this helmet graffiti was a way to express that.
    Pretty self explanatory
    • How it was seen
      • The commanding officers tried their best to keep this crude helmet graffiti out of the public eye as a majority of it was Anti-War. With all the protests back in the states, the American Military industrial complex was losing favor from its public.
      • Vietnam had a LOT of journalists covering the carnage. Whenever one was spotted, officers attempted to keep all helmet graffiti away from the cameras.
      • But as all the images on the blog post will attest, they were not very successful.
      • Journalist Horst Faas took a photograph of 19 year old Larry Wayne Chaffin of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The headband on Chaffin’s helmet read “WAR IS HELL.” Horst Faas would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize.
    • Today
      • Although it was almost unheard of before the Vietnam war, soldiers are still caught putting graffiti on their helmets today.
      • Perhaps the soldiers of today also feel they don’t belong at war.
      • Maybe that makes sense in a world that has progressively been trending toward peace for centuries.


    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at


    Revered… Inaccurately

    The following are the notes from Season 2 Episode 9 of the Who’d a Thunk It Podcast. More is discussed in this blog than is read aloud in this podcast episode.

    • Who was Paul Revere?
      • Paul Revere was born in Boston’s North End at the end of 1734 (the exact date is unknown) to a French Huguenot father who ran a silversmith shop and a mother from a local family.
        • That word “Huguenot” refers to French Protestants who fled France to escape violent prosecution from the Catholic French Government in the 16th and 17th centuries.
        • I wanted to explain this because one can see a connection between why Revere’s father fled to America and why Paul would be willing to side with the colonists during the American Revolution. They both were being oppressed. His father was being religiously oppressed, and Paul for political and economic reasons.
      • The young Revere was educated in reading and writing in school before completing his training as an apprentice to his silversmith father. At age 19, Revere inherited the business upon his father’s death. But he left the business briefly and enlisted in a provincial army in 1756 during the French and Indian War. So the American Revolution was not his first military experience.
      • Paul was a colonial Boston silversmith, industrialist, propagandist and patriot immortalized in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem describing Revere’s midnight ride to warn the colonists about a British attack.
      • He died of natural causes on May 10, 1818 at the age of 83 at a time when the average life expectancy was 30 to 40 years of age. He left five children, several grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren. The son of an immigrant artisan, not born to wealth or inheritance, Revere died a modestly well-to-do businessman and a popular local figure of some note.
    • This is who Revere was. Below is the poem that made him famous. For the Podcast I’ll be reading the beginning and end, while skipping the bulk of the poem’s mid section. It is along one, but in this blog post I have included the entire poem.

    THE FAMOUS POEM: Paul Revere’s Ride

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – 1807-1882

    • Note: When Revere died, Longfellow was only about 11 years old.
    This image was taken in 1868. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the “Fireside Poets,” wrote lyrical poems about history, mythology, and legend that were popular and widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day. 

    Listen, my children, and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.

    He said to his friend, “If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
    Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
    One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

    Then he said “Good night!” and with muffled oar
    Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
    Just as the moon rose over the bay,
    Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
    The Somerset, British man-of-war:
    A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
    Across the moon, like a prison-bar,
    And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
    By its own reflection in the tide.

    Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
    Wanders and watches with eager ears,
    Till in the silence around him he hears
    The muster of men at the barrack door,
    The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers
    Marching down to their boats on the shore.

    Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
    Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry-chamber overhead,
    And startled the pigeons from their perch
    On the sombre rafters, that round him made
    Masses and moving shapes of shade,—
    By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
    Where he paused to listen and look down
    A moment on the roofs of the town,
    And the moonlight flowing over all.

    Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night-encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
    That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
    And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
    A moment only he feels the spell
    Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
    Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
    On a shadowy something far away,
    Where the river widens to meet the bay,—
    A line of black, that bends and floats
    On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

    Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
    Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
    Now he patted his horse’s side,
    Now gazed on the landscape far and near,
    Then impetuous stamped the earth,
    And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
    But mostly he watched with eager search
    The belfry-tower of the old North Church,
    As it rose above the graves on the hill,
    Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
    And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height,
    A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
    But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns!

    A hurry of hoofs in a village-street,
    A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
    And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
    Struck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet:
    That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
    The fate of a nation was riding that night;
    And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

    He has left the village and mounted the steep,
    And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
    And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
    Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

    It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
    He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
    And felt the damp of the river-fog,
    That rises when the sun goes down.

    It was one by the village clock,
    When he galloped into Lexington.
    He saw the gilded weathercock
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
    And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
    Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.

    It was two by the village clock,
    When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
    He heard the bleating of the flock,
    And the twitter of birds among the trees,
    And felt the breath of the morning breeze
    Blowing over the meadows brown.
    And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
    Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket-ball.

    You know the rest. In the books you have read,
    How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
    How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
    From behind each fence and farmyard-wall,
    Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
    Then crossing the fields to emerge again
    Under the trees at the turn of the road,
    And only pausing to fire and load.

    So through the night rode Paul Revere;
    And so through the night went his cry of alarm
    To every Middlesex village and farm,—
    A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo forevermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

    • The Legend
      • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as well as having one of those really cool names you have to say in its entirety every time you say it, could write one heck of an epic poem.
        • “A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
        • A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,…”
      • That is poetic gold. It really did immortalize Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride years after his death. The poem written about Revere’s ride was so popular that it was taught in American public schools.
        • I didn’t have to look this up. I remember being taught the accounts in this poem as if they were facts.
      • But it turns out the American Public school system got it wrong. That night did NOT happen the way we were all told.
    • April 18th, 1775
      • Paul’s mission was to warn the militiamen of Lexington and Concord if the British attacked. That is true.
      • But he never said the famous words “The British are coming,” like all the reenactments us American’s have seen.
        • I don’t actually know where this idea came from, because the line wasn’t in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem either.
        • During the 1770’s everyone considered themselves British. The citizens at the time may have distinguished themselves as colonial patriots or loyalists… but they all considered themselves British. Because they were… they had all recently immigrated to the Americas and/or they were still technically part of the British Territory that was America.
        • So if Paul Revere actually did say “The British are coming,” it would have been very confusing and wouldn’t have accomplished much at all.
        • Instead, Revere and his compatriots referred to the British army as “The Regulars”
      • Ok so far I’ve only said that 1 word out of the story is off, but all my fellow middleschool classmates and I were shown an image of Paul Revere riding around the streets on his horse yelling at the top of his lungs… that is not how it went down.
        • This was a covert intelligence operation. Instead of yelling on the streets (which would have gotten him captured by British authorities immediately) Revere went specifically to known colonist patriots and most likely whispered the news.
        • But I understand why this part of the story was doctored. You try getting a bunch of kids excited about a guy traveling to peoples’ houses at night and whispering news in their ear… much more exciting sounding if he is frantically racing around shouting at people in the middle of the night.
      • Now the biggest inaccuracy was that Revere didn’t complete his mission. He actually failed miserably.
        • The lanterns that Revere supposedly saw as signals for whether the British were coming (One if by land, Two if by sea) well Revere didn’t even see those lanterns.
        • Those lanterns were set up to signal this message, but it was Dr. Joseph Warren (a different son of Liberty) that received the message.
        • But Dr. Joseph Warren wasn’t the one who sent the message to Lexington and Concord, instead he sent a man named William Dawes. Dawes was the first Son of Liberty to set out on the Midnight ride. Revere joined him later. They warned Lexington together. Then Dawes and Revere were detained by the British/Regulars. They never made it to Concord.
        • It was Samuel Prescott who warned Concord. There were numerous riders that night dispatched to warn all sorts of towns…
        • This means Revere’s contribution was minimal compared to other riders that night. In the time between his failed midnight ride and his death, people forgot about his contribution to the revolutionary war. Revere’s Midnight ride wasn’t even mentioned in his Obituary.
    • So why do a podcast on this topic?
      • To sum things up, the Midnight ride was an impressive intelligence operation during the revolutionary war. The colonial army’s spy network showed great organization skills and that they could carry out such an operation affectively.
      • It seems that years later a talented poet heard about this impressive operation, picked the coolest sounding name out of those who were involved (Revere) and used that name to construct a more interesting narrative to grab the attention of the largest audience possible.
      • For 200 years, the American public schools then taught this narrative as fact to the youth of the nation. Now everyone knows the fabricated version of the events of the Midnight Ride instead of the actual facts.
      • The reason I wanted to do a podcast on this is because stories like this have changed how I view the world. Stories like this helped me realize a few truths:
        • Doubt can be a debilitating thing if it goes unchecked in the human psyche, but if used properly it can be a powerful tool for uncovering the truth.
        • Education is important and usually benefits society, but it is an institution run by human beings. Therefore it is susceptible to error.
        • Educate yourself, but never trust blindly. Put a little bit of doub in to everything. If it is worth while, it will withstand the doubt.


    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at



    The following are the notes from Season 2 Episode 8 of the Who’d a Thunk It Podcast.

    • Welcome Who’d a Thunkers! Season 2 Episode 8 of this podcast will be about NASCAR.
    • Experience Recommendation Segment!!!
      • From now on I will be including a recommendation segment in every podcast where I recommend a TV show, movie, video game, book, or some other form of story/experience.
      • This episodes Experience Recommendation is a book titled EDUCATED by Tara Westover. It is an autobiography of Tara’s childhood. She was raised without a Social Security number, birth certificate, and never went to public school. Her family were devout mormons who believed more in preparing for the end times than succeeding in modern society. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I have.
    • A good friend from college requested I do a podcast episode on NASCAR and I viewed it as a challenge. What tasty morsel of interest could I flesh out of a topic I had little to no interest in?
    • Well I was surprised to find that the world of NASCAR is chock full of stories that broadened my understanding of American History.
    • Intro
      • When NASCAR became a sport back in 1948, the attractive idea was that people could watch every day cars like Chevys, Fords, and Plymouths race around at 150 MPH on a track. Instead of seeing these cars obey the speed limit, get stuck in traffic, or pick up groceries, people enjoyed watching them dangerously speed around corners and occasionally crash or flip through the air.
      • Now speeds at the Daytona 500 go over 200 MPH all the time.
    • Origins
      • NASCAR started out on country dirt roads in the south of the United States.
      • Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, and Buddy Shoeman were some of the OG racers that started out not on a sanctioned asphalt track, but speeding down dirt roads evading the police.
      • These men hauled illegal moon shine across the United States trying to avoid government agents.
      • Most of these moon shine haulers were teenagers who saw the illegal smuggling as a thrill as well as an opportunity to make some money.
      • But surprisingly, Agent Joe Carter later went on to say how much fun he had chasing these boys in their suped-up cars.
      • One of the feats expected of a good moon shine driver was to complete a high speed 180 U-turn on a 16 foot wide back country road.
      • There is a movie that added romanticism to this moon shine hauling. It is called Thunder Road and it came out in 1958.
      • But the reality of Moon Shining, at least from those who lived it, say it was less of a spectacular thrill and more of a dangerous necessity.
      • Back in the 30’s to 50’s, the south east United States was very poverty stricken, especially rural communities. Most families had a moon shine still in the woods behind their house so they could feed the 8 kids they had to care for. These moon shine driver’s took such dangerous risks on the road because them making a successful haul made the difference between their family eating or starving.
      • Making the moonshine was a tough gig for these southern country folks so getting it to market without being confiscated was of the utmost importance.
      • They hired moonshiners with inconspicuous cars that went fast.
      • The drivers would strip out the interior of their ’39 Ford cars as so to fit as much moon shine as possible without it being visible from the windows. Hauls ranged from 100 to 180 gallons of White Lightning sealed in big clear mason jars.
      • It was common for drivers to invest upwards of $1,000 in their suspension just so their cars could bare the load.
      • But what they really put their money in to was the engine under the hood. Their runner cars needed to be able to haul the extra weight and still be able to out run the Government agents.
      • Known as the Revenuers, these government agents were stuck with economically efficient cars. The agents didn’t stand a chance as their government issued cars had a top speed of about 80MPH and were being dusted by moon shine drivers going 150MPH. Their only hope was to confiscate a bootlegger’s car to fight fire with fire.
    • So there was an economic situation down south that lead impoverished people to crime to get by… that is nothing new to society by the way. But then this underground society started enhancing automobiles past the point of officials out of necessity. So what do you think happened next to make this culture of crime jump to an official sport?
      • Well these testosterone filled young guys with their suped up cars started having metaphorical pissing contests among themselves to see who’s car was fastest. Rumors on which bootleggers car was the fastest started circulating right away so it wasn’t long until they started holding competitions.
      • On the weekends, when they weren’t running moon shine, the bootleggers would race each other to see who was fastest.
      • Usually on a Sunday, when the moon shiners were taking a religious break from working on their moon shine stills, the bootleggers picked a field in the middle of nowhere, cut a dirt track, and placed bets on who had the fastest car. No grandstands, no checkered flags… just a couple of hillbillies settling disputes over who had built the fastest machine.
    • THAT is what I find fascinating. THOSE are the races I would have LOVED to attend.
      • Just a dirt track, cheap or no stands, and knowing the guys driving the cars were the ones who built them.
    • Well those bootleggers seem to be having a grand ol’ time in that field and the farm boys and factory hands started to take notice. You see, they too had a knack for improving automobiles too and they wanted a piece of the action.
      • Pretty soon the tracks were surrounded by crowds looking for something fun to do after church on Sundays.
      • It didn’t take long until Dirt Track Stock Car racing had become an American Pass time. The crowds roared every time a driver would play dirty by knocking another car out of the track or up against the wall.
      • The sport was ruthless at times with drivers riding with revolvers strapped to their dashboards. The racers themselves were typically regarded as roughnecks. It took a long time before stock car racing could any kind of media attention.
        • One thing that helped was Louise Smith, also known as the First Lady of Racing, Louise joined stock car racing when it was at its most ruthless. She did more than just held her own, despite animosity from every male racer, Louise won 38 races in her career.
        • Louise was the victim of more deliberate wrecks than her male opponents, but She left the sport with the reputation of being tough as nails.
    • The Big Three of Detroit (that being General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) started to recognize the marketing value of having one of their cars win in NASCAR races.
      • Especially in the south, if a car won on Sunday, the sales for that brand of automobile would skyrocket on Monday.
      • The result this sales trend had on the American automobile industry is still seen today.
      • Car manufacturers started cranking out what came to known as American Muscle Cars like the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, and the Plymouth Barracuda. These macho names became a trademark for muscle cars.
    • Now I’m not a very big car guy, but these muscle cars are the coolest kind of car you can buy, and I had no idea their design was heavily influenced by NASCAR.
      • And I was born in the early 90’s but back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when these titans of the road were being made, the car manufacturers were targeting younger American men. Their only question when they went to pick them up from the dealership: “how fast does it go?”
      • These beautiful muscle cars were sold so that wannabe racers could request custom parts to fulfill their exact racing desires, AND the cars were usually being sold under warranty… That meant these young guys were treating brand new muscle cars like race cars (effectively destroying the car) then taking them back to have the parts replaced…
      • The American Muscle car was wildly popular in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s until insurance rates and emissions rates turned them in to relics of the past. I love to see the glint of joy in my dad’s eye when he talks about his high school days of driving up and down his town’s main drag for no other reason than to drive his car again. And how he describes dozens of his classmates in their own cool muscle cars doing the same thing.
    • To me, NASCAR has always seemed kind of lame. Where other sports test the physical capabilities of the participants, I always imagined NASCAR racers as weak and slow.
      • My reasoning: “I mean, they only have to drive cars right? How hard could it be?” But That isn’t the reality of this sport.
      • It is full of amazing stories from the past and I realized the immense determination, technical skill, and grit these drivers possess in order for them to compete.
    • I think I will have to do more episodes on NASCAR in the future. I read about so many stories of racers getting 2nd degree burns, broken wrists, and other painful injuries, just to power through the pain and finish their race.
    • I’ve included some visual aids and a YouTube clip of a mini NASCAR story on the accompanying blog post. I’ll include the link to that in the description. Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers! Until next time.
    Just a short video from the Atlantic that I came across. I wanted to include the story of Wendell Scott in honor of Black History Month.

    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at


    LoFi: Music’s Blank Canvas

    Below are the notes for Season 2 Episode 7 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast. Enjoy 🙂

    • LoFi: Music’s Blank Canvas
      • In the words of my dad:
    • What the heck is Lo-Fi?
      • it is an abbreviation of the words Low Fidelity
      • To understand LoFi, it helps to fist understand Hi-Fi…
      • In audio, “fidelity” denotes how accurately a copy reproduces its source. In the 1950s, the terms “high fidelity” or “hi-fi” were popularized for equipment and recordings which exhibited more accurate sound reproduction.
      • High fidelity is a term used by listeners, audiophiles and home audio enthusiasts to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound. … Ideally, highfidelity equipment has inaudible noise and distortion, and a flat (neutral, uncolored) frequency response within the human hearing range.
      • So Hi-Fi is when audio doesn’t include the scratches and bumps that come with reproduced sound. Because you’d think people would just want to hear the polished version right?… Well LoFi flips that notion on its head.
      • Wikipedia defines Lo-Fi as: a music or production quality in which elements usually regarded as imperfections of a recording or performance are audible, sometimes as a deliberate aesthetic choice.
      • When people ask me what Lo-Fi is or why I listen to it, I typically give them a short description: It is like elevator music, but better.
        • But, depending on how well I know the person asking, I tell them how it makes me feel… what I get out of it.
        • Music is an art. To use another form of art, painting, as an analogy: Most paintings try to get the viewer to feel something or connect with them. Where most music does the same, To me, Lo-Fi just gives me a blank canvas. And I think a lot of people could agree with me on that because Lo-Fi is very commonly played when people are trying to concentrate on something else or study for a test.
        • Instead of pointing my mind at a particular image or emotion, like most other forms of music, LoFi gives my mind the perfect audible setting to create my own art OR type out my own essay OR maybe just play video games.
        • I’m no expert on the subject, but in the past, I have thought: Perhaps LoFi is the product of the ADHD generation.
        • When you press play on any of my podcast episodes, the very first sound you hear is a part of one of my favorite Lofi songs; Solitude by Dekobe and the very last thing you will hear is another one of Dekobe’s songs titled Raining. I chose LoFi for my Podcast in the hopes it would get you, my listeners, in the right headspace for my content. That, and because Dekobe gave me permission to use his music over an Instagram post lol. He seems like a cool guy.
      • To give you a better idea of what Low Fidelity music sounds like, listen to this sample from the Song Luv(sic) part 1 by one of the most respected LoFi artist Nujabes.

    ==========Play Audio Clip==========

    • Now I want to tell you about the guy who is unofficially responsible for creating this unique sound.
    • R. Stevie Moore- Father of Lofi:
      • When Moore was just a young boy he came up with the idea of recording music by himself at home.
      • He was inspired by his father’s musical career as a base player for just about every major country star to wander through Nashville Tennessee.
      • As a teenager Moore had access to a cassette tape player where he jammed out to some of his favorites like the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
      • Moore soaked in the sounds of early rock-n-roll and it wasn’t long until he started recording his own music.
      • By the late 1960’s he was cranking out full albums.
      • Being able to play Bass, guitar, keyboard, percussion, and do vocals, Moore was able to create every aspect of his music. He just overdubbed his own playing on to a track to create a full song all by himself.
      • Even after overdubbing up to about 10 times, you can still make out the first recording on a track.
      • Moore didn’t invent home recording, he wasn’t the first to do so, but he did take the practice to new heights.
      • This was Moore’s hobby. He already had the instruments, tapes weren’t too expensive so it didn’t cost him much. He did it by himself so he didn’t need to work around others’ schedules… so he did it A LOT.
    • Moore estimates that he has written somewhere between 4 and 5 THOUSAND songs so far.
      • How does he write so much – How does he record so much??? He doesn’t discriminate. Where most artist will pick and choose what they release to the public, R. Stevie Moore releases all of his music, warts and all.
      • He says “Cause bad music is brilliant. It’s a diary of sound.”
      • Artist like the Talking Heads and the B-52’s were influenced by Moore.
      • For over 40 years, Moore was scarcely seen playing music outside of his bedroom. He was a hermit.
      • But in 2010 his career took a turn. He joined a band and toured the world. From large-scale festivals to dive bars. R. Stevie Moore was no longer an obscure album in the Record Store. He was The Father of LoFi.
    Great Big Story did a piece on Moore. check it out!
    • Bless R. Stevie Moore. The genre that came out of his playing helped me through my masters degree.
      • It was during my own hermit year of 2017 when I found LoFi.
      • I think I typed “music to study to” in the YouTube search bar. Before that, BlueGrass was my go-two concentration genre.
      • But it is a bit daunting to get in to. Like any new realm, it helps to have a guide.
    • My Favorite LoFi:
      • Instead of playing an absurd amount of audio clips from a bunch of different songs on this episode, I urge you to Check out the accompanying blog post for the links to my favorite artists. But in case you are just listening, here are a few:
        • I already mentioned Dekobe as his music is the intro and outro to every Who’d a Thunk It? episode. He is a little known artist from Canada. Look him up, DEKOBE
        • L’Indécis is a pretty popular LoFi artist. His sound is incredible.
        • Blazo is a Polish producer who makes Jazz style LoFi.
        • The artist Nujabes, from the clip i played earlier, is amazing. Nujabes is widely regarded as one of the best in the genre. The Japanese artist produced the soundtrack for the hit anime Samurai Champloo. Tragically in 2010 he died in a traffic collision in Tokyo.
        • But probably the most popular way to get in to LoFi is not by looking up an individual artist or track.
    • Just look up a live stream. There are tons of Lo-Fi playlists that play on a loop on Youtube for free, 24/7. At any time of the day or night you will find hundreds of other people listening for various reasons and occasionally typing in the chat to one another.
      • Arguably the most popular LoFi live stream is ChilledCow, but there are others like Chillhop Music and Lofi Geek. Next time you have some chores or errands to do, put on some LoFi. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how tranquil the music can be.

    Below are some individual LoFi tracks for you to enjoy 🙂

    L’Indécis is a pretty popular LoFi artist. His sound is incredible.
    Here is another one of my favorites from Dekobe. He is from Mississauga, Canada. HERE is his SoundCloud. The intro and outro to every episode of my Podcast are from Dekobe. He gave me permission to use his music over an Instagram post lol. He seems like a cool guy.
    I love cooking to this track. Blazo is a Polish producer who makes Jazz style LoFi.
    Part of my Cooking LoFi playlist
    Part of my Cooking LoFi playlist
    I have to include a Nujabes song on here, otherwise it would be sacrilegious lol. Nujabes is widely regarded as one of the best artist in the genre. The Japanese artist produced the original score for the hit anime Samurai Champloo. He deid in a traffic collision in 2010 in Tokyo.

    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at


    Hodge Podge of Ideas

    The following are notes from Season 2 Episode 6 of the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast.

    • Howdy Who’d a Thunkers!
      • For this episode I wanted to delve in to the rejects pile. You see, I have tons of ideas I would love to present to people for this podcast, but not all of my ideas make it past the final cut.
      • Whether I couldn’t stretch a concept to a full length episode, or the medium of an audio podcast wouldn’t really mesh with the concept, or simply because someone else has already covered the topic in great detail… I present to you, my Hodge Podge of Ideas!
    • So you can TIME TRAVEL…
      • When do you go to?
        • Renaissance –
        • Turn of the 20th Century to be an Outlaw in the wild west
      • Do you have space travel too? Because earth is hurtling through space at an unfathomable speed. If you travel through time and NOT space… even it is just a 1 day jump in time… you’ll end up stranded in outer space.
      • Do you bring back a boom box to blow people’s minds?
      • Or better yet, learn an instrument and play melodies that are world famous now, but back then it would just blow them away and they would worship you as a musical genius
      • Every day I walk for 1 or 2 hours in the park with my dog. The other day I was listening to some heavy metal and I wondered:
        • What would this music do if it were played at high volume for an ancient Viking army preparing for battle?
        • Food for thought
      • EXURB1A video: Unlimited Rice Pudding – YouTube
    This guys go in to MUCH more detail than I ever could for this thought experiment.
    • FEMTO Photography
      • I love comic book super heroes and I have since I was a little kid.
      • Science has been doing miraculous things for a long time now, but this one Ted Talk I watched showed a new technology that can actually allow man to harness the power to see around corners.
      • The video blew my mind because I could actually grasp the concepts the speaker was trying to tell me.
    • What Super Power do you pick?
      • As I said, I am a big comic book guy so the question has left my lips quite a few times.
      • There is a good Would You Rather question on the subject:
        • Would you rather have the ability to fly or invisibility?
          • I find this Would You Rather is quite revealing about whomever participates. Flying is fun, but invisibility opens up a lot of mischievous opportunities.
      • My super power would be to stop time whenever I choose and for however long I choose. Add in that I could allow anyone of my choosing to join me in the halted time and it is perfect.
        • I could gain entry in to just about anywhere.
        • Make my weekends last as long as I like.
        • I could even pause time during an argument to formulate the perfect response with a cool head.
        • The possibilities are endless!
    I got the super power idea from this corny movie from 2002.
    • Wingsuiting is so dangerous. People die at such a high rate, yet the ones who practice it seem so dedicated to the sport.
    • In a story segment with HBO Sports hosted by Bryant Gumbel, a famous Wingsuiter was going to do a low risk flight as a demonstration for the story. During the run he shattered both his shins on a rock…. and was back wingsuiting within months.
    • Are we as humans so attracted to the idea of flight that we will risk our lives just to experience 1 small version of Flying?
    Bryant Gumbel is
    • Cashier’s Spike
      • The other day I was lying in bed when a peculiar concept decided to knock on the inside of my skull until I wrote it down.
      • You know those metal pegs you see at diners, and some restaurants? The ones that the cashier uses to hold your receipt when she’s finished ringing your bill up?
      • Whatever you call it, a Cashier’s spike, a receipt holder, I thought of it as a metaphor for how we catalogue memories for a day.
      • The receipts are our memories. Instead of pieces of paper documenting exchanges of money, we save memories of happiness, intrigue, sadness, anger, and so forth.
      • The receipts are taken off at the end of the day and are sorted. The spike remains.
      • People say we are the accumulation of our memories, but I don’t think that is true. We aren’t the receipts that are sorted at the end of the day… we are that metal spike. We are the one that sorts them.
    • The Great Eastern Brood
      • And lastly I want to tell you about a unique natural phenomena: the periodical cicada.
      • This year 2021 marks the 17th year since the last emergence of Brood X (roman numerals) also known as The Great Eastern Brood.
      • Back in 2004 I was just a little kid who had just graduated from 4th grade in elementary school. I remember visiting my grandparents Nen and Papa over the summer, and I remember seeing huge swarms of these black flying bugs all over the place! Each and every one of them made about as much noise as those annoying noise-maker toys that little kids love so much.
      • That was Brood X, the Great Eastern Brood of the periodical cicadas in the United States.
      • Magicicada species spend almost the full length of their long lives underground feeding on xylem fluids from the roots of deciduous forest trees in the eastern United States.[4] In the spring of their 13th or 17th year, mature cicada nymphs emerge in the springtime at any given locality, synchronously and in tremendous numbers. After the prolonged developmental phase, the adults are active for only about 4 to 6 weeks.[5] The males aggregate into chorus centers and attract mates. Mated females lay eggs in the stems of woody plants. Within two months of the original emergence, the lifecycle is complete and the adult cicadas disappear for another 13 or 17 years.
      • Part of The Great Eastern Brood’s territory is back where I grew up in South Central Pennsylvania. Now I live in Pittsburgh at the western end of the state which is part of Brood VIII’s. Brood VIII emerged in 2019 and won’t emerge again until 2036.
      • But I will be sure to go back to my hometown area to witness this rare natural spectacle.

    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at


    Living Together: Symbiotic Relationships

    The following are notes from the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast.

    • The first time I lived alone was during the year of 2017. I was a graduate student at Shippensburg University. I lived in town on the main street and walked to my night classes.
      • Before that year, I had only ever lived with a roommate or my family as a child. Being the social extrovert that I am, I was worried living by myself would be too lonely for me. And while at first I felt a bit alienated from friends and family, I learned to embrace and eventually love the solitude of it.
      • Living alone is AMAZING. I only wore pants if I left the house. All other times I was in boxer briefs and a plush robe. The word loneliness took on a whole new meaning as I found joy in just sitting down and writing stories, drawing illustrations, and reading books in my free time, of which I had plenty. Being around other people gives me energy and joy, but it turns out that other people are a major distraction. Being alone is what allowed my creative side to find outlets to express itself. That year of living by myself is why I started writing stories, which became a blog, and eventually this podcast.
      • But life doesn’t always allow one to live by themselves and when I graduated from Shippensburg U with my Masters Degree(with a 4.0 GPA I might add), I had to find a job. And if I wanted to afford the cost of living, I needed a roommate too.
      • I found a job in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where my good friend Sean was still living with his parents. Sean was happy to split rent with me and for about 2 and a half years we lived together in a financially symbiotic relationship.
    • Symbiosis doesn’t just exist when two people can’t afford to live alone.
      • In fact, most people, when asked to give an example of the word, would probably picture a more complex relationship such as the ones found in nature.
    • National Geographic breaks it down quite nicely: “Planet Earth is inhabited by millions of species—at least! Because different species often inhabit the same spaces and share—or compete for—the same resources, they interact in a variety of ways, known collectively as symbiosis. There are five main symbiotic relationships:” 
      • mutualism, –
        • both organisms benefit from the relationship
      • commensalism, –
        • one organism benefits from the relationship, and does not harm the other
      • predation, –
        • This one is hard to think of as a symbiotic relationship, but it is. Predation is when one organism straight up feeds on the other
      • parasitism, –
        • one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life.
      • and competition. –
        • contest between organisms for resources, recognition, or group or social status.
    • These 5 main types are helpful to categorize symbiosis in your mind, but what I find to be actually fun is to examine the complex symbiotic relationships in nature.
      • I watch a lot of nature documentaries and I’ve jotted down a few of these symbiotic relationships that really blew me away.
    • NEMO
      • First, lets start with a simple one that may sound familiar…
      • We’ve all seen or at least heard of the Pixar movie Finding Nemo.
      • In the beginning of the movie Nemo’s dad Marlin explains the real-life symbiotic relationship between the clownfish and the marine plant Anemone.
      • the anemone provides the clownfish with protection and shelter, while the clownfish provides the anemone nutrients in the form of waste while also scaring off potential predator fish.
      • In Africa there are men who venture out in to the wilderness in search of honey from wild bees. But the landscape they have to traverse is vast. Trying to find a wild beehive up in the trees in such a large area is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
      • But these honey hunters have an untamed helper. The Greater Honeyguide is what they call a small brown bird.
      • The men call to the bird in their unique manner and the bird replies from a particular direction. The honey hunters follow the birds calls until they come upon a wild bee’s nest.
      • Smoke is used by the honey hunters to send the bees in to emergency mode, tricking the bees into thinking their hive is on fire. This allows the men to harvest the honey with less stings.
      • In return, the men leave leftover honey for the Greater Honeyguide to eat. That is their share.
      • Studies have shown with the help of the birds, the men are 3 times as likely to come home with honey.
      • Other animals help humans forage for food like dogs, falcons, and cormorants, but the Greater Honeyguide is unique in that it is not domesticated.
      • NPR’s Food for Thought interviewed a researcher on the ground who said: “They’re definitely not domesticated, and they’re in no way coerced,” says Claire Spottiswoode of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “And they’re not taught in any conventional way as well. Humans are not deliberately going out there and training honeyguides.”
      • The story of the Greater Honeyguide is the extremely rare instance where a wild animal works with a human, but it isn’t the only case.
      • In the small Ethiopian town of Harar, villagers have used a unique strategy to protect their livestock from predators.
      • Spotted Hyenas are welcomed by the townspeople and are even fed meat scraps in exchange for security.
      • Hyenas have a jaw strength around 1,100 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) or 7,500 Kilo Pascals and are known to take down prey as large as a 1,700 pound or 800kg buffalo. Hyenas are a species that frequently have to go toe-to-toe with Lions in order to eat out in the wild. Yet, these extremely adaptable and powerful Hyaenidae roam through Harar without issue from the humans that live there.
      • In fact, some Harar residents have passed down the practice of feeding the Hyenas for generations and it has now become a tourist attraction. For a fee, you can travel to Harar and feed a Hyena from a stick jutting out of your mouth.
      • In the small municipality of Laguna Brazil the fishermen wade in to the Atlantic Ocean to about knee high. They are there to catch plump silver fish known as mullets. But the water is too murky and the fish to fast for the fisherman to catch on their own.
      • So they don’t even bother looking for the mullets. Instead, they look for friendly dorsal fins of bottlenose dolphins.
      • The dolphins chase schools of mullets towards shore then signal the fisherman to cast their nets by slapping their heads and tails against the water. This allows the fishermen to bring home a full haul of mullets and breaks up the schools so the dolphins have an easier time catching individual fish.
      • Plus, most fishermen will toss a few fish back to their sea bound mammalian helpers.
    • All three of these mutually symbiotic relationships between man and beast have something in common: no one involved seems to know when the tradition began. The men of sub-Saharan Africa don’t know how long their people have listened to the Greater Honeyguide bird.
    • The men of Harar Ethiopia don’t know how long they have been feeding Hyenas and the fishermen of Laguna Brazil don’t know how long they have fished with the dolphins. All of them just say they have passed down the tradition for generations. It almost makes you think that at one point, man grew alongside nature, instead of just plowing it to the ground to pave asphalt.
    • Planet Earth is our home. We like to think it is just our home, but we share it with countless other life forms. Every single one of us life forms are trying to survive as best as we can. Our initial instinct may be to try it alone, but these symbiotic relationships suggest we may fare better if we work together.
    • So maybe finish you day with the mindset of being open to nature and the opportunities it brings your way.
    • I don’t expect you to go outside and talk to song birds to try and start an evolutionary branch of humans that talk to birds for food. But I do think this world would be a better place if we started to view the natural world as a whole as our home instead of just something to tame.
    • CREDIT

    If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

    If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at