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.

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 Great Green Wall

Below are the notes/script for Season 2 Episode 4 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

  • The Great Green Wall
  • The world’s human population has been growing exponentially for as long as our history books can remember.
    • The human race hit it’s first recorded 1 Billion mark during the year 1804. It took thousands of years of innovation and reproduction to reach this milestone.
    • Then, just over 100 years later in 1927, we reached 2 Billion.
    • And after that, the rate of growth accelerated at an alarming pace, 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion 1974, 5 billion 1987, 6 billion 1999, and in October of 2011 we reached 7 Billion…. and the number just keeps rising
      • That’s a lot of mouths to feed
    • The 2020 census revealed that the continent of Asia makes up about 60% of the world population
    • Africa coming in at a not-so-close second at 17%. But That is expected to change
Image from
  • The rate of Africa’s current population growth is the highest in the world today. It is believed that Africa will increase to over 40% of the world’s population just within 100 years.
    • Africa is facing a massive population boom and this is just the beginning.
    • World leaders and local rulers alike have been making plans to smooth Africa’s transition into the heaviest populated continent on Earth.
    • This episode is about one of those plans. This is about the Great Green Wall.
  • Let me start with a definition: Desertification
    • Oxford defines Desertification as the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.
    • I define it as an area losing all its life-sustaining water by various means.
    • It is important to note: Once an area has succumbed to desertification, there is virtually nothing we as humans can do. It takes thousands of years for massive geological events to occur that might transform a desert landscape into a region capable of retaining water.
  • So let’s talk about how desertification has impacted humans: Everyone knows about the Great Pyramids of Giza, But how about the countless ancient ruins and entire ecosystems buried beneath the Sahara?
  • Harry Pettit from the UK’s DailyMail writes: How humans created the Sahara desert: Farming transformed the grassy plain into an arid wasteland 8,000 years ago. The Sahara desert is known today as a vast, arid plain that is exposed to punishing temperatures and little rainfall. But just a few thousand years ago it was grassy and dotted with lakes.
    • Today, entire Ancient cities lie beneath the Sahara’s sands because of the desertification of Northern Africa. One of the most advanced ancient civilizations farmed the region in an unsustainable way and now it is a dead region. Those ancient Egyptians didn’t know how to stop the expanse of this desert and likely had no clue they were the cause of it.
    • Desertification was devastating to the Ancient Egyptians, and now it is doing the same to modern Africans.
Ancient Roman outpost in Algeria preserved by the Sahara desert.
An ancient tree long buried beneath the Sahara showing what desertification did to forest of the past.
  • LEON USIGBE from the UN’s Africa Renewal project: The Lake Chad “Basin” that covers almost 8% of the continent, spreads over seven countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, and Nigeria. The water body has diminished by 90% since the 1960s due to overuse and climate change effects.
    • That Lake Chad, once one of Africa’s largest freshwater bodies and a source of livelihood for about 30 million, is vanishing fast is no longer breaking news. What is new is the unique and complex humanitarian crisis around the basin, which is among the most severe in the world.
    • “The widespread violence has left 10.7 million people across the Lake Chad region in need of emergency assistance. Most of these people were already contending with high poverty rates, poor provision of basic services like education and healthcare, and the devastating impact of climate change.
    • So desertification isn’t simply solved by having people move away from the desert. The loss of water causes mass chaos. When resources are scarce, war erupts, and water is the most valuable resource to all life on earth.
    • This isn’t just a problem for farmers, it is problem for society as a whole… a problem for all life.
  • Side note: I try to stay neutral on political topics on this show, but when it comes to the environment… I am not afraid to say that I am all for protecting the natural world that we as humans have been destroying at alarming rates.
    • I don’t pretend to know all the science behind climate change and what all factors into the cause of it, but it IS happening. Climate change is real, and it is speeding up desertification around the globe at much faster rates than before industrialization. Now more than ever, we must address desertification. Why not start with the biggest case, the Sahara!
Image from the
  • The Sahara Desert covers 9.2 Million Square Kilometers OR 3.6 Million Square Miles
    • From Coast to Coast along Northern Africa, the Sahara spans over Three Thousand miles
    • It is the largest hot desert on Earth.
  • The Sahara is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Red Sea on the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the north and the Sahel Savannah on the south. The enormous desert spans 11 countries:
    • The Great Green Wall is the idea to plant a MASSIVE wall of trees at the southern edge of the Sahara desert to stop desertification. It is a GIGANTIC international project.
    • Here’s what the UN had to say: The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope in the face of one of the biggest challenges of our time – desertification. Launched in 2007 by the African Union, this game-changing African-led initiative aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel. Once complete, the Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet – an 8,000 km natural wonder of the world stretching across the entire width of the continent.
    • The Great Green Wall is now being implemented in more than 20 countries across Africa and more than eight billion dollars have been mobilized and pledged for its support. The initiative brings together African countries and international partners, under the leadership of the African Union Commission and Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall.
    • By 2030, the ambition of the initiative is to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land; sequester 250 million tons of carbon, and create 10 million green jobs. This will support communities living along the Wall.
  • If you are confused by how this all works, well so was I.
    • At first, I was just imagining teams of laborers trying to plant trees in the middle of the sun-bleached Saharan sands. Which makes no sense, because trees wouldn’t survive that and it would be much too expensive to even try.
    • But the Great Green wall isn’t going to be planted out where the desert has fully taken hold of the environment. The trees will be planted in an area known as the Sahel.
    • I’m simplifying things here, but the Sahel is a region in between the fertile savannahs of Africa and the barren landscape of the Sahara. It’s an area where desertification has started but hasn’t fully set in yet.
  • The Trees planted by the Great Green Wall help by:
    • keeping the soil in place where it used to be eroded by wind
    • providing compost from fallen leaves
    • increase humidity in the surrounding areas
    • provide shade so less water is needed for crops
    • and the tree roots retain water in the soil
      • formerly dry wells along the Sahel region have filled up with water again
  • The project is planting Drought Resistant Acacia Trees so they have a greater chance of survival.
  • The first countries started working on the project as early as 2008. Communities all along the Great Green Wall have seen major improvements in their standard of living.
    • The Great Green Wall provides jobs, not just for tree planters, but because the soil retains more water, farming and gardening jobs are more widely available.
    • New communities have sprung up along the Great Green Wall and old communities have been reinvigorated. The GGW has made produce more available so people are getting better diets, and school attendance has been increasing.
  • Conclusion: Africa’s human population is growing at an alarming rate. The problems that the continent has faced in the past, are only going to become more difficult to fix due to this population boom.
    • Desertification, a threat dating back thousands of years, is now endangering more lives than ever, and its impact is irreversible.
    • To solve this problem, a massive international project is currently underway and it is called the Great Green Wall.
    • This massive project is one of hope, not just for Africa, but for all of humanity.
    • I wanted to make you all aware of it to give you some hope in humanity today.
  • The accompanying blog post is in this podcast’s description. There you will find images that enhance this information as well as show all my sources.
    • I have also included a link where you can contribute to the Great Green Wall.
    • I am not sponsored by The Great Green Wall. This is simply a project I feel very passionate about. It is a very beneficial project for saving the natural world and bringing nations together in the face of adversity. If any of you feel the same way, please help any way you can.



Human VS Robot

  • Human VS Robot
  • Virtually everyone listening to this has played a game against a computer at least once in their life time.
    • Whether it be a simple game of checkers or a high definition $60 video game you have been trying to beat for weeks. Humans play computers all the time. And we’ve been doing it for decades.
    • At first, we humans marveled at our ability to defeat our own creation on whatever game we chose.
    • But we kept improving our computers and that make playing against them more challenging and entertaining.
    • This trend continued until a pivotal moment occurred back in 2017
  • GO: Now allow me to shift your attention to a game you may never have heard of: Go.
    • The game GO is a much older creation of mankind than computers. So old that it’s origins are unknown, but it is believed to be over 2,500 years old. With the earliest written account dating back to 548 BCE in China.
  • It is an elegant game. They say the rules are so simple, it could probably be taught to intelligent alien life. But that doesn’t mean it is easy
    • Go is the most complex game devised by mankind. It has 10 to the power of 80 possible outcomes.
      • For a reference, some games much more familiar to western listeners:
        • Checkers has 10 to the power of 20 possible outcomes
        • And the game of chess only has 10 to the power of 40 outcomes.
HBO’s Vice News
  • In multiple Asian countries Go Officials test young children’s aptitude at the game. If a child shows enough promise, they are taken to special institutes where the children study and play Go as a full time career.
    • Professional Go players may become state sponsored and can be payed handsomely for their prowess.
    • This game has had entire cultures dedicate countless lives to becoming better at playing it for hundreds of years.
    • After thousands of years, millions of players, and possibly the most effort spent to perfect any kind of game play by humankind….
  • In May of 2017, an AI called AlphaGo was pitted against the world champion GO player.
    • The 19 year old Kie Je from Go’s Birthplace, China, was defeated 3 games in a row by an Artificial Intelligence created by Google.
    • Thousands of years of human knowledge was accumulated by a computer in a matter of days. Then that computer executed that knowledge flawlessly to beat the best human Go player in history.
  • Google’s Deep Mind project created AlphaGo to learn. They taught the AI the rules to the game and then made it play against itself millions of times all at once. After a few short days of learning how to play Go from scratch (no institutes, no ancient techniques) AlphaGo had become the greatest player of the game.
    • The Chinese Government was so infuriated by the fact that their champion was being defeated by a product from an American company, that they banned the live stream after the first game.
    • But China wasn’t the only culture to be shocked by the outcome. To many in the Go Community, this was a devastating blow. The game itself has lost many players. The collective human motivation to keep playing Go took a hit.
    • In the years since Kie Je’s loss in 2017 there has been a drop in the number of people willing to practice the game.
  • If a computer program can beat arguably the greatest player of all time after just a few days of existing, then what is the point?
    • Why waste any more resources on a battle that human kind will surely lose? What if they let AlphaGo practice for months or years?
    • As humans, We’ll never be able to catch up.
  • But playing a game isn’t always just about winning or losing.
    • As I said earlier, Although AlphaGo was the most interesting event in Game AI history, it definitely was not the first time humans used computers to play games.
    • A man who calls himself Tom Seven created a much less sophisticated AI than AlphaGo for a research paper he was writing.
  • Tom Seven’s AI named SIGBOVIK 2013 was designed to play Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES) games like Super Mario. With all the games the NES had, there were a lot of different scenarios that SIGBOVIK 2013 ran through.
    • You can watch his videos on YouTube and watch this algorithm work its way through different games through trial and error, trying every single option it could. It is intriguing to watch.
    • The most notable scenario for me was when SIGBOVIK was tasked with playing Tetris.
  • ====Audio clip 1===Top Seven said :”Playing Tetris well requires some thinking ahead and this algorithm does not think very far ahead.”
    • Then SIGBOVIK tested out the Pause feature in the middle of a game.
  • ======Audio clip 2=== “there it was pausing the game for no reason”
    • SIGBOVIK 2013 realizes it cannot win. It is a learning AI, but it isn’t as advanced as what Google’s Deep Thought Project can create. SIGBOVIK 2013 cannot win this game of Tetris. So what does it do?
  • ======Audio clip 3=====”Fast Forward a bit to see how this all ends. It’s not good. So now it is almost done and it pauses the game. Because as soon as he un-pauses he will lose, and really the only winning move is not to play. Thank you.”
    • SIGBOVIK 2013 decided that instead of losing, it would just pause the game indefinitely. It gave up. It quit instead of going on.
  • Some saw this as comical that the poor little AI just decided to give up, but I saw it as tragic.
    • Morbid even.
    • And while human beings have done their fair share of giving up, we also have something called hope.
  • When AI is given a task like Tetris or Go, and is then told Win=Good and Lose=Bad, it will show great intelligence in accomplishing a win.
    • But when the odds are stacked so that an AI cannot win, the AI simply pauses the game, refusing to play. It gives up.
  • THAT is the difference between Human intelligence and Artificial Intelligence.
    • Some players of Go may have given up their dream of being the next best player of the most complex board game, but there are many other players who continue to perfect their play style regardless of AlphaGo’s shocking accomplishment.
    • We have hope. Humans will keep trying even in the face of unsurmountable adversity.
    • Humans may find an unforeseen opportunity in the face of the impossible to overcome an obstacle.
    • Where an AI will simply give up.
  • Kie Je made a statement after he lost his match with AlphaGo: “With AlphaGo, I think my understanding of not only the game of Go, but life, has changed.”

Falun Gong: Part 2

Episode 43: Falung Gong Part II

  • Welcome back Who’d a Thunkers to the second half of my Falun Gong story. Last week I went over how I came across this story via Reddit and the rabbit hole it took me down. I also went over ABC’s report on Falun Gong. But this episode, this half of the story, contains all the juiciest bits.
  • Remember: Falun Gong is also referred to as Falun Dafa.
  • The next source I want to cover is from the Falun Gong themselves, the Falun Dafa Information Center Youtube Channel. They posted a video of their own practitioners being interviewed about their “spiritual movement” as they call it. In the interviews they said:
    • the exercises made them experience unique energy in their bodies.
    • One woman said her first exercise made her feel very relaxed and afterward she felt her footsteps were lighter sort of like a floating sensation
    • They said they weren’t asked for money, nor were they pressured to come back for the next exercises. No one asked for their contact info, rather they found the practitioners to be laid back and welcoming.
    • One of the recurring themes in their interviews is that everyone in Falun Gong is very kind and that is due to the practice’s requirement that all practitioners better themselves and put others before their own self interests.
    • I must say this video was sort of compelling. It made me want to try their exercises, but then
  • The Practitioners talked about the opposition their faith is up against, namely the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
    • One woman said that she and her husband set up an advocacy project (she didn’t elaborate on what kind of project), but it was for Falun Gong. They invited a number of other followers to come to their house to meet and discuss the project. Later that night they found a VM on their landline. The VM was an audio recording of their meeting. They soon realized that everyone at the meeting got a similar VM. This couple called the FBI (). They explained the situation to the FBI who promptly asked if the married couple had any children. They responded by saying NO, and the FBI agent said: “good, because you are going up against a giant.”
    • The practitioners say the Falun Gong movement protests in peaceful ways only.
    • And that the CCP used anti-Falun Gong propaganda to discredit and shame them. This propaganda was everywhere for a long time and was used to justify the CCP’s arrest and detention of bus loads of Practitioners in broad daylight.
  • Keep in mind, during this video, the interviewer and interviewees were both members of Falun Gong.
    • There video ended with this message: For the past 20 years, the Chinese Communist Party has conducted a global campaign to silence and demonize Falun Gong around the world. – Millions of people who practice Falun Gong have been imprisoned, tortured, and even killed in China. – Despite the atrocities and abuse, tens of millions continue to practice Falun Gong throughout China, and in over 90 countries around the world, upholding its core tenets of; Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
  • Lastly I’d like to explain JJ McCullough’s take on Falun Gong and China:
    • He describes this as a propaganda war that involves the public itself. In this propaganda war, there is no land being fought over. As a war of ideologies, our public opinion is the battle ground.
    • JJ says this conflict is “morally ambiguous and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.”
    • The reason I liked JJ’s opinion the most was because he didn’t choose sides. He starts his video by pointing all the reasons he doesn’t like the Chinese Communist Party (their handling of Covid-19 Pandemic, oppression of Hong Kong, support of Regimes like North Korea, and their oppression of their own people).
    • But then JJ says “Falun Gong is not a good guy either. [They] are a cult straight up.”
This is JJ McCullough from the Washington Post.
  • JJ went in to detial about Falun Gong’s spiritual beliefs:
    • Master Li is an interdimensional being with super natural powers
    • He placed a magical force inside all of our abdomens called the Falun. It is represented as the image used for this episode. It is a circular symbol with a Swastika in the middle and surrounding the Swastika are yin and yang symbols.
    • Before you go connecting Falun Gong with Nazis, let me tell you that in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means “well-being”. The symbol has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia. Nazi’s stole the Swastika symbol… they didn’t create it.
    • The Falun allows humans to harness all of the universe’s energy which is known as Gong.
    • Depending on how the Falun rotates in our stomachs, the positive energy of the universe, the Gong, is either being absorbed by us, or is being given by us.
    • In order for people to properly harness this Gong energy, they must do the meditation and breathing exercises.
    • Master Li shows his practitioners how to do these exercises via his many books, videos, and mandatory 9 day seminars…
    • And the Master promises his followers super-human levels of happiness, health, and wealth if they prove their dedication to Falun Dafa.
    • Master Li is waited on hand and foot at his 400 acre compound in upstate NY. His followers basically believe he is god.
The 400 acre compound known as Dragon Springs.
  • His followers even allow Master Li to pick who they will be married to… but no gay love is tolerated.
  • Now I am fascinated by cults, as I think most people are. I’ve heard all about Scientology, NXIUM, etc. .. but why haven’t I ever heard about Falun Gong?
    • Well apparently that is due to Master Li’s vast propaganda infrastructure. Like a lot of cults, Falun Gong uses its most devoted followers as free labor. This free labor is put to use creating the Epoch Times, China Uncensored, Edge of Wonder, and other propaganda/media outlets to obscure Falun Gong’s public image and to sway public opinion.
    • I’ve already said that Master Li and Falun Gong hate the Chinese government because China kicked them out of their country, but that’s not the only reason. I said how Master Li hates “race-mixing” already, but that applies to entire governments.
    • The idea of a communist china offends Master Li because he believes that every race (Caucasian, African, Asian, Latino, etc.) was created by a different god. Therefore the idea of a European political ideology being implemented in an Asian country is evil and offensive to Master Li…
    • Master Li is very xenophobic. He believes that all the races of the world should stay completely separate and never cross-contaminate with each other. That’s why he doesn’t like mixed race people. He was quoted in 1996 saying that mixed race people are “physically and intellectually incomplete.”
    • He and his practitioners believe that in the afterlife, all races will go to our own planets and be a lot happier than we are here on earth, all intermingling.
    • Master Li believes the rulers of the Chinese Communist Party are demons from Hell sent to disrupt the universe. He believes the ideal china is one that is devoid of all foreign ideologies… that includes modern medicine, and modern science.
    • One of the main themes surrounding Falun Gong’s propaganda is that the Chinese government captures Falun Gong practitioners to kill them and harvest their organs. I don’t know if this is true, as China has had some sketchy stories come out about them harvesting death row inmates organs, but regardless, Falun Gong’s stance on the organ harvesting has become a conspiracy theory type stance…
  • I know. This story has Cults, oppressive regimes, AND conspiracy theories…. it is like the Jackpot of Who’d a Thunk it episodes.
    • The Falun Gong believe that their meditation and breathing exercises make their organs extra strong and that is why the Chinese Government targets them…
    • To their credit, Falun Gong did in fact suffer under the Chinese Communist Party. The imprisonment and torture of Falun Gong practitioners is well documented. They aren’t making that up.
    • But the organ harvesting conspiracy theory hasn’t been proven nor has it been investigated by any reputable source. So chances are that it is not true.
    • Just as a little tip, if you are reading an article about China and you see something about systemic organ harvesting. That is a dead give away that what you are reading is just cult propaganda, or most likely so.
    • Their propaganda is making such progress in western countries, namely the USA because the Falun Gong message of Communism is bad and China is a force for evil in the world syncs up nicely with conservatives.
    • But the issue is that Falun Gong don’t believe the CCP is bad because they’ve objectively analyzed their political policies, but they literally believe the CCP is bad because it is being run by Evil Demons sent from hell to send the world in to Chaos….
    • So please, to my conservative friends out there: don’t be duped by cult propaganda. They honestly believe the people in the Chinese Government are demons, therefore Falun Gong’s standard for evidence in the “news” they spew out is very low… Just because they are pro-trump and anti-china doesn’t mean you share all the same views.
    • the latest conspiracy theory the Epoch Times has pushed on their readers is that China created Covid-19 on purpose as a weapon. These stories and a documentary they made had so little evidence to back their claims and included so many debunked theories that Facebook flagged them as misinformation.
    • Also, Falun Gong sees Trump as a divine angel sent from heaven to destroy Communism. They think he is the last nail in the communist coffin.
I wanted to share this. As I was writing about Epoch Times, I went back to JJ’s video and an annoying Epoch Times ad played. It started with the one actor saying “I can’t wait until I get to experience real communism in America.” Then the Epoch Times favorite news anchor guy came on the screen and said “Has this ever happened to you and you didn’t know how to respond? Now there’s hope. Subscribe to Epoch Times for real news” … this is fear mongering horse crap…
  • In Canada, the Epoch Times has gone so far as to deliver news papers to people who didn’t sign up for it and didn’t want it….
This is the unwanted newspaper that claims the Chinese Government manufactured Covid-19.
  • JJ concluded by saying that the idea of Conservative Americans being swayed by an Asian cult sounds bonkers, but there is actually precedence for it. In the 1970’s a cult known as the Moonies came to America. Lead by Reverend Moon who was cast out of North Korea, the Moonies swayed right-wing America on policy. Reverend Moon was a big supporter of Nixon, gun rights, and anti-communism. Western civilization allied with the Moonies because they were both anti-communism, but that was a mistake. The Moonies were an oppressive cult that sexually and physically abused their followers. And the Reverend Moon was found out as a financial crook.
  • So we as the public have heard a lot about China over the past couple of decades because they are quickly becoming the next world power. And that is in direct conflict with the current world power that being The USA. But now our news about china is being muddled down with propaganda from a cult that doesn’t bother to find the truth. Their rationale is that the Chinese Government are demons so why bother with the truth… That’s why I think it is SO important for you all to be educated on this subject. Know the difference between actual news on China and what this self proclaimed God wants you to believe.
  • Falun Gong is weaseling their way in to the conservative mindset, particularly in the US. Even though I don’t consider myself in line with the Liberal or Conservative side of the country, I do recognize they are the two major powers governing our country and I hate seeing either side getting in to bed with a delusional cult. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

That is the end of my Falun Gong story, but remember this is ongoing, so keep an eye out for how this all plays out. If you prefer to read my stories I have included the link to the accompanying blog post in the description.

Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers. Until next week.


Falun Gong: The Cult You Should Be Watching

Below are the notes from Episode 42 of my Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast.

  • Episode 42: Falun Gong AKA Falun Dafa
  • This topic lead me down a unique rabbit hole. Most episodes of this podcast is me finding a topic I find interesting.
    • usually something non-divisive like the song Rainbow Connection or at least something in the past like stories from WW2 that aren’t currently up for debate
  • Then, to turn that topic in to a podcast I research… I watch YouTube videos, read Wikipedia, and a few articles from reputable news sources about that topic. That’s it. That is the recipe I use for the Who’d a Thunk it Podcast…. But this topic, for this episode is different… this topic is current and is on-going.
  • Now, I follow a reddit page that is all about Hong Kong’s struggle against the Chinese Communist Party. I saw a post that talked about the 3 T’s (Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen – 3 Events, 3 stains on the Chinese Communist Party’s reputation and history that they will not talk about). I recognized all 3 T’s and understood why they would be protested by the Chinese Government. But In the comment section someone mentioned the 2 C’s (I found out they stand for Cults and Criticism).
  • Now I understand why Criticism would be on the list of things China doesn’t allow with China’s president banning something as trivial as Winnie the Pooh because someone pointed out that he held a resemblance to Disney’s honey eating bear…. , but CULTS?! What story is behind the connection between the CCP and cults? Those are like two of my favorite things to gossip about: Oppressive Communist Regimes and Cults. Now on this Reddit post I’m finding out the two are connected via China?! !!! I had to dig deeper.
The Reddit post.
  • First I watched a 30 minute ABC news story that was interesting, but something in the back of my head said they were tip toeing around something. Like they were afraid to go deeper.
    • So next I watched a video from Falun Gong themselves titled “In Their Own Words.” I thought: alright, sounds like they are trying to give an un-edited type of perspective on their own group. I’ll give it a shot. It featured people from New York saying how nice the practice is, how much it made their lives better, and how evil the CCP is… but there was ZERO talk about the group’s spiritual beliefs and of course, it had that propaganda stench to it… like they all were pushing something on the viewer.
    • Then, unsatisfied that I had NOT gotten to the meat and potatoes of the subject::: the source I typically look for, that being the the unbiased, yet, interested perspective… , I started reading article after article. Each story either tried telling me how innocent the Falun Gong people were and how evil CCP was OR, every other article just told me how crazy Falun Gong was and how China isn’t that bad…. it was obvious I had stumbled upon something rather big. I stumble upon a battle of sorts that had permeated the internet. The worlds news source was riddled with mostly biased stories, and hardly any middle-of-the-Road takes on the Falun Gong VS Chinese Communist Party’s debacle.
    • That’s when I clicked on the 19 minute long YouTube video that looked the least professional… Titled: “This Chinese Cult is Not Your Friend” – by J.J. McCullough – He is this Canadian guy, like full-on Canadian with the “A-Boot” pronunciation and everything. J.J. McCullough’s opinion on Falun Gong and the CCP most aligned with my own, and it turns out he works for the Washington Post.
    • I just wanted to share this process in particular because it was a VERY different experience from most of of the episodes that I do. This episode is about an on-going Propaganda war between a successful international Cult and a communist government quickly becoming the next world power…
    • Normally I would arrange the information I got from each source in any order I saw fit, as to construct a narrative. But because this topic is ongoing (because history hasn’t yet etched this story’s narrative in to stone yet, with a nice ending everyone can agree on), I’ve decided to just give the information in the same order as I consumed each news source. There won’t be a set narrative. This won’t be a nice story with a beginning and end, and I chose to do that so you the listener can form your own opinion.
  • First let me begin with Google’s definition of a Cult:
    • a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object. –
    • a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
    • a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.
    • I bring up this definition because Falun Gong is widely regarded as a Cult.
  • The ABC’s Foreign Correspondent report gave a good background on the Falun Gong:
    • Started in China in 1992 – based on traditional meditation and breathing exercises called Qi Gong. (chee – gong).
    • When I was Looking in to the exercises myself, I thought: I’d be willing to try them. They seem beneficial and are an ancient practice pasted down by generations to help heal people. I imagine they help alleviate stress… But Falun Gong is different from the Qi Gong exercises.
    • The leader of Falun Gong added a supernatural layer to the Qi Gong meditation.
    • The Leaders name is Li Hongzhi (Lee Hong-Shuh) promises his followers will be able to return to heavenly kingdoms where they once existed before and supposedly teaches his followers how to levitate.
    • By the end of the 1990’s Falun Gong had 10’s of millions of followers. The Chinese Communist Party saw that Li Hongzhi’s movement/cult was commanding more power from the Chinese people than the government and basically tried to shut down Falun Gong.
    • The Chinese Government took 10’s of thousands of Falun Gong members and placed them in to “Re-Education camps” where they were locked up indefinitely. The CCP wanted all members to renounce their new faith.
    • The Chinese Government labeled Falun Gong as an evil mind-controlling cult and to combat it…. they locked Falun Gong practitioners all up in camps, demanded they all act with complete obedience toward the government, and basically the Chinese government acted like a cult themselves…Those are ABC’s words.
    • When the Chinese government started cracking down on his movement, Li Hongzhi got the heck out of dodge. In 1997 he became a US citizen and in 1998 moved to New York State.
    • Master Li got to work setting up a retreat in a rural area; Deer Park, NY. It has been over 2 decades since the Falun Gong leadership moved to the US
    • Today you can see practitioners meditating/exercising in parks, usually with yellow shirts and coats on in Upstate New York. They Believe that this meditating/exercising improves health of the mind and body.
    • BUT One of the main criticisms of Falun Gong is that it encourages its practitioners to rely solely on its exercises and leader for their health. Some practitioners are convinced they don’t need western medicine, and therefore they find themselves in an early grave.
    • ABC interviewed an Australian family who’s mother passed away from a stroke due to high blood pressure. Her mother was on medication, but when she joined Falun Gong she stopped the medication. Her daughter said “it would have taken 2 tablets a day and she would still be with us now.”
    • ABC interviewed Falun Gong’s VP who stated that going to the doctor is not a forbidden thing within their Spiritual Movement. If someone doesn’t go to the doctor, that is their own choice.
    • However, former members of Falun Gong described a social pressure not to seek out Western Medicine, as it was shamed within the Falun Gong community.
    • Personally I understand the VP of Falun Gong’s logic: each individual’s actions are their own choice. That keeps them out of legal trouble. … but
  • Let me read another definition:
  • Other former members described the atmosphere at Falun Gong compounds like Dragon Springs in upstate NY, as oppressive.
Dragon Springs
  • There is a Belief that Master Li can read everyone’s minds at all times and that he “knows” aliens walk among us.
    • Master Li also Believes that “race mixing” humans is an Alien plot to drive humanity farther from the gods. So therefore, to Falun Gong, bi-racial people are demons, or at the very least inferior.
  • Then ABC went in depth on Falun Gong’s political connections. Namely their support for the Trump Administration.
    • Donald Trump has been famously tough on China. That has been a major theme in the Trump administration. Falun Gong therefore sees Trump as an ally, as they see CCP as the ultimate evil.
    • To support the Trump Administration, Falun Gong has been connected to media outlets like The Epoch Times, Honest Paper, and Pure American Journalism
  • Officially Falun Gong and Epoch Times deny any connection between each other, but ABC interviewed a former employee of Epoch Time’s Australian division who says that is a lie, and that virtually everyone who works for The Epoch Times is a Falun Gong practitioner.
    • And you probably have heard of Epoch Times in the form of an Ad because Falun Gong has spent millions of dollars funding social media campaigns for them.
    • The fact finding website has been investigating Epoch Time’s activity on Facebook and found that a network linked to Epoch Times called “The BL (or the Beautiful Life)” have been creating fake Facebook groups and accounts that support the Trump administration.
    • They took pictures from the internet of random people to create these fake accounts. They were sloppy enough to use a picture of the very famous actress Helen Mirren for one of their fake posts.
    • When snopes exposed The BL, they began to use AI generated images as profile pics for their fake account. But AI technology isn’t quite up to the task yet. These had distorted faces with black eyes and drooping eye brows. That shows the lengths the Epoch Times and allegedly Falun Gong will go to in order to sway public opinion.
  • Because getting Trump re-elected was of cosmic importance to them.
    • Facebook Banned the BL and Epoch times from advertising further in August of 2019. Facebook estimated they spent $9.5 Million in ads and reached 55 Million users.
    • Snopes found that the BL network was being run out of Vietnam by former Epoch Times employees, but Epoch Times denied any connections. Once again, that sort-of sounds like Plausible Deniability to me.
    • What does Falun Gong say about all this political meddling? Their Vice President stated that from an organizational point of view they don’t have any policy on how their members should vote. There is no written rule.
    • Although “Master Li” hasn’t been on camera for years, ABC showed a clip of him from 1999 saying: “I only teach people to be good, to be free of disease and do exercises, and to reach higher moral standards. I make people’s hearts better.”
    • In conclusion to what ABC had to say about Falun Gong. They lightly touched on the the supernatural beliefs of Falun Gong, and explained their new shady political involvement (namely their support for Donald Trump and conservative America). ABC also talked to a few families who suffered tragedy at the hands of Falun Gong’s growing movement, and went in to great detail on how they have been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party

That is all the farther I’ll go for this episode. I like to keep my episodes under 20 minutes if possible. But I’m not done with this topic. I have a lot more to say. I consider this topic fascinating and a goldmine of information. Tune in next week to hear the second half of my story on Falun Gong.

In the meantime, I have posted the written accompanying Blog post, the written version of this podcast, on I’ll leave a link in the description.


Tarrare: Gluttony Incarnate


These notes are not grammatically correct. They are notes. But I thought I might start posting the notes simultaneously as the audio podcasts are released. This way I can use visual elements and include links to my sources. This also gives me a chance to show what kind of research goes in to each episode. Enjoy!

  • Tarrare
  • How’s it hangin’ Who’d a Thunkers?!?! Welcome back to the variety Show-&-Tell that is my podcast.
  • I took last week off from everything: work, this podcast, and the greater Pittsburgh area. It was sorely needed. But now I’m back and I’m delighted to get back to this wonderful podcast that I enjoy so much.
  • This week’s episode is about another weird topic from history.
  • —-
  • In 1772 a baby boy was born to a poor farming family in the country of France.
  • FUN FACT: I actually have a French Minor from college that I don’t put to use,, nearly as much as I should.
  • Anyway, this Baby boy’s name was Tarrare and he was a Bon-a-fide freak of nature.
  • He ate A LOT – like a disgusting amount
  • By his teenage years he could eat a quarter of an entire cow… but instead of being a big obese dude as one might expect, Tarrare only weighed 100 lbs. when he was 17 years old.
  • His mouth was absurdly large. He looked like a Canadian character from South Park.
The Canadians of South Park.
  • It was said Tarrare could fit a dozen eggs in his cheeks all at once. Plus his teeth were gnarly with cracks and stains all over them…. gross
  • His stomach was very elastic. You may have heard of a muffin top, well, Tarrare had the THEE muffin top.
  • If he was full, his stomach was a giant ball jutting out of his tiny 100lbs. body, and if he was hungry, his stomach reverted to a big flabby mass of drooping skin around his mid-section. People said he could wrap his excess stomach flesh around his waist like a belt.
  • Mark Oliver from writes: “When he ate, he would blow up like a balloon, especially in his stomach region. But shortly after, he would step into the bathroom and release nearly everything, leaving behind a mess that the surgeons described as “fetid beyond all conception.” – FETID mean smelling extremely unpleasant.
  • And even though most peasants in 18th century France smelled rather ripe… Tarrare apparently smelled god-awful in amongst these already smelly people.
  • -lol—-This guy is sounding like one heck of catch ladies… lemme tell ya!—
  • Tarrare’s flabby belly and cheek skin made him resemble cartoon, but what really sold the look was the visible stench wafting off of his person at all times. Because he subjected his body to so much food all the time, it gave off a great amount of heat. Tarrare was hot to the touch. This made him sweat profusely. This constant sweat made Tarrare smell like an open sewage system and this made him unbearable to be around.
  • This guy was such a burden on his family that they kicked him out. They couldn’t afford to feed their little demonic glutton troll of a son.
  • So after scavenging through piles of trash for awhile, Tarrare realized he could make a profit off of his disgusting appetite. He became a street performer.
  • Tarrare joined a roaming band of performers… they were actually prostitutes and thieves that would put on a show (or perform sexual acts) on people throughout France… then steal from their audience/ sexual partners when their attentions were elsewhere.
  • Our boy Tarrare was one of the main attractions.
  • People gave him baskets and buckets full of apples, eggs, and even wine corks… Tarrare just shoveled it all in to his degusting gullet.
  • Tarrare became famous in Paris for his art of …. packing his obscenely large mouth full of any trash a passerby might be willing to give him to eat. Then he’d gladly swallow all of that unwanted rotten food and garbage, collected their money, and continue to ask people on the street for anything that remotely resembled sustenance so he could eat that too.
  • Tarrare’s street performing reminds me of another performer that I consider nothing short of a hero.. He’s a professional wrestler you may have heard of. Here… listen for yourself:
  • ======TRASH MAN AUDIO======
  • I’M THE TRASHMAN – YouTube If you are reading this, feel free to VIEW for yourself.
  • ===========================
  • Tarrare’s street ART (if you can call it that) worked well until one time Tarrare got an intestinal blockage. He was taken to the hospital where he was given a powerful laxative… this treatment ended in what I can only imagine as an explosive poo.
  • In 1792, Tarrare joined the FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY ARMY.
  • There he was given FOUR TIMES the rations of a regular soldier… but still was seen rummaging through the garbage. People saw him shoving fists full of trash in his mouth from gutters.
  • Tarrare had joined the Army (probably with the promise of free food), but the Army didn’t want him. Like parents, Tarrare’s fellow soldiers couldn’t take his horrible stench and didn’t appreciate how much food he sucked up.
  • Due to his metabolism, if he wasn’t eating or sleeping, Tarrare was tired all the time. This wasn’t just an end of the day kind of tired that you and I experience. He was feeling the full extent of the medical anomaly that was his digestive system hit his energy levels.
  • Tarrare must have passed out a few too many times, because the French army sent him far behind the lines where Physicians Baron Percy and Dr. Courville could examine the other-worldly like specimen that was Tarrare.
  • The doctors subjected him to a series of tests:
  • 1 – They fed him an absurd amount of food which consisted of curdled milk and hard pudding left over from a dozen German laborers. = Tarrare scarfed down the food like it was no problem.
  • 2 – They gave him a live eel to see what he would do. Apparently he really enjoyed the flesh of serpents. Tarrare crushed the eel’s head with his troll teeth and then swallowed the eel whole…
This is an eel skeleton. THIS is what Tarrare had in his stomach and it didn’t bother him one bit…
  • 3 – Tarrare was observed capturing a live house cat and biting in to its stomach to disembowel it. From there, he drank all of the cat’s blood and continued to swallow the cat’s carcass whole. A few minutes later, Tarrare spit up the bones, skin, and fur of the cat just like an owl regurgitating a pellet left from its prey.
  • While all these tests on Tarrare were being done in the name of medical research, he was still technically a soldier in the French Revolutionary Army. No one in the Military was able to find a suitable job for Tarrare, until one French General by the name Alexandre de Beauharnais—- (Bow-ARE-nay) —-had the idea to use him for espionage.
  • The idea was to have Tarrare swallow a wooden box that contained a message inside, written on paper.
  • Tarrare was brought before a number of French Generals, just after finishing another experiment where he consumed 30 pounds of pork liver and lungs. General Beauharnais asked Tarrare to swallow the wooden box. In return, Tarrare was promised a wheelbarrel full of bull organs.
  • Two days after the experiment began, Tarrare “passed” the wooden box with the message intact. He was given his reward of a small wagon load of bull organs, which he scarfed down promptly, then his “talent” was put to use.
  • The French sent Tarrare in to Prussia after making him swallow classified information. Now he was an official spy delivering an important message to an imprisoned French Colonel behind enemy lines. Except Tarrare made for a poor spy. He couldn’t speak the enemy’s language of German, and he stuck out like a sore thumb… because you know… all the trash gargling, ungodly stench, and absurdly large troll mouth.
  • The Prussians captured Tarrare, stripped him down, searched, whipped, and tortured him for a full day before he finally broke. Knowing the message was in his stomach, the Prussian chained Tarrare to a disgusting military latrine for hours until the message box was “passed.”
  • Finally Tarrare laid his golden egg of a message. A Prussian general read it and found that this mission was just another test. The message just requested Tarrare’s contact to relay whether he had delivered the message successfully. In a fit of rage, the Prussian general ordered Tarrare be hanged.
  • Standing at the gallows, noose around his neck, Tarrare started to shamelessly sob. By this time, the Prussian general’s rage had subsided and the sight of his prisoner weeping gave him a change of heart.
  • The Prussian general ordered for Tarrare’s life to be spared, and after more torture, he was set free.
  • Upon his return to France, Tarrare begged Doctor Percy to cure his Polyphagia, so that he could go about life as a normal man.
  • Dr. Percy tried everything he could think of: Tobacco, vinegar, and even opium pills, but nothing was working.
  • Tarrare’s demonic appetite lead him to hangout behind the local butcher where he was seen fighting off stray dogs and wolves for scraps of discarded meat.
  • Back in the late 18th century medicine was still under the impression that bleeding someone would cure certain ailments. This was called bloodletting and it didn’t work. In fact this only made patients more ill. Turns out our blood is pretty important for human life!
  • This bloodletting was being performed at the hospital where Tarrare was being treated. In his downtime, Tarrare was known to seek out the patients undergoing bloodletting so he could…. drink their blood to satiate his hunger. He was even caught in the hospital’s morgue devouring body parts of the deceased.
  • This behavior was tolerated by the hospital staff for unknown reasons. Perhaps Tarrare was such a rare medical specimen that they were willing to let demonic human body feasting slide…
  • But it seems the hospital staff had their final straw when a 14 month old infant went missing from the hospital. There was no proof that Tarrare ate the boy, but rumors were circulating and Dr. Percy thought it best to kick him out all the same.
  • Fours years passed with Tarrare fending for himself in France. There is no record of this time in his life, but with his appetite, I doubt Tarrare had much time to do anything but eat, sleep, and defecate.
  • Once those 4 years ended, Tarrare appeared at a hospital in Versailles with a severe case of tuberculosis.
  • Dr. Baron Percy caught wind that the rarest patient he had ever treated was dying so he fled to Versailles to see him one last time alive. Percy was with Tarrare when he died in 1798 at the age of 26.
  • He wrote that even though Tarrare wreaked to high heaven while alive to the point where the fumes were visible… nothing prepared him for the stench that came shortly after Tarrare’s death.
  • It is quite common for a person’s body to evacuate stool, urine, and saliva shortly after death. This can be alarming when a normal human being dies, but when Tarrare died it was basically hell on earth for everyone’s olfactory senses within a 1 mile radius.
  • Dr. Baron Percy began an autopsy on Tarrare, but had to stop halfway through. He and the other doctors couldn’t stand the stench.
  • What they found during his autopsy, before giving up, was horrifying.
  • Tarrare’s jaw huge and although all of his teeth remained, “the color of their enamel streaked like marble,” and “the molars were much worn away.”
  • With Tarrare’s head tilted back, “the mouth and esophagus formed a rectilinear canal, into which a cylinder of a foot in circumference could be introduced without touching the palate.” Meaning Tarrare’s mouth, throat were gaped to over a foot in circumference all the way down to his stomach… Sounds like he really did look look like a Canadian character on South Park.
  • His abdomin was severely deformed. Tarrare’s digestive system dominated the vast majority of abdominal cavity.
  • The London Medical and Physical Journal – states: “The entrails were putrefied, confounded together, and immersed in pus; the liver was excessively large, void of consistence, and in a putrescent state; the gall-bladder was of considerable magnitude; the stomach, in a lax state, and having ulcerated patches dispersed about it, covered almost the whole of the abdominal region.”
  • Although Tarrare’s actions were at time immoral, and almost always disgusting. The autopsy helped show that he wasn’t just an evil person obsessed with consuming… he was plagued by a freak medical condition.
  • I started looking in to Tarrare’s life with hopes of coming away with a disgustingly comical story to tell on my podcast and blog, but I soon found myself pitying this man.
  • He was born this way, and his family abandoned him for it. He had this hellish appetite and need to consume virtually all that was around him.
  • In summarizing Dr. Percy’s observations, the London Medical and Physical Journal writes: “The young Tarrare was almost devoid of force and ideas. When he had eaten to a moderate extent, and his hunger only appeased, he was quick and active, he was heavy and sleepy only when he had eaten to excess.”
  • As if to say, for most of his life, he was either tortured by awful hunger pains, and when he had eaten his body used so much energy for digestion that his mind went blank, incapable of any real thought. There were only glimpses of who he really was in those rare occasions when Tarrare’s “hunger [was] only appeased.”
  • His story is a tragic one. The only people who cared about Tarrare were only invested in him as a specimen to be observed. No one cared what kind of person he was or what personality he processed.
  • and yeah… I’m just going to leave it on that depressing note.
  • I’ve covered the main points on this podcast, but if you’d like to learn more about Tarrare, I have included an accompanying blog post where you’ll find a script of this episode plus images and links to my sources.
  • I did a similar blog post for episode 10 “The Sacred Band of Thebes.” I think I will publish my notes more often. Link to my blog will be in the description.
  • Until next week Who’d a Thunkers!

Below are the official medical records used to create this podcast/blog.

In 1896 Doctors George M Gould and Walter Pyle wrote;

Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

In it, they wrote of Baron Percy, a man whom met Tarrare, and his impression of the greatest known Glutton the World has ever seen.

“He ate a quarter of beef in twenty-four hours. He was fond of the most revolting things. He particularly relished the flesh of serpents and would quickly devour the largest. In the presence of Lorenze he seized a live cat with his teeth, eventrated it (disembowled), sucked its blood, and ate it, leaving the bare skeleton only. In about thirty minutes he rejected the hairs in the manner of birds of prey and carnivorous animals. He also ate dogs in the same manner. On one occasion it was said that he swallowed a living eel without chewing it; but he had first bitten off its head. He ate almost instantly a dinner that had been prepared for 15 vigorous workmen and drank the accompanying water and took their aggregate allowance of salt at the same time. After this meal his abdomen was so swollen that it resembled a balloon. General-in-chief had seen him devour thirty pounds of raw liver and lungs. Nothing seemed to diminish his appetite. He waited around butcher-shops to eat what was discarded for the dogs. He drank the bleedings of the hospital and ate the dead from the dead-houses. He was suspected of eating a child of fourteen months, but no proof could be produced of this. He was of middle height and was always heated and sweating. He died of a purulent diarrhea, all his intestines and peritoneum being in a suppurating condition.”

This is part of a book from the University of Michigan published in 1820. It is titled The Journal of Foreign Medical Science and Literature, Volume 10. There are just 3 pages on Tarrare (136 to 139).

– Percy also was quoted saying

“The dogs and cats fled in terror at his aspect, as if they had anticipated the kind of fate he was preparing for them.”

“Let a person imagine, all that domestic and wild animals, the most filthy and ravenous, are capable of devouring, and they may form some idea of the appetite, as well as the wants of Tarrare.”

The London Medical and Physical Journal, Volume 42 goes in to Polyphagism, or polyphagia, and how Tarrare was the most severe case in recorded history.

Polyphagia, also known as hyperphagia, is the medical term for excessive or extreme hunger. It’s different than having an increased appetite after exercise or other physical activity. While your hunger level will return to normal after eating in those cases, polyphagia won’t go away if you eat more food.

This last source isn’t an official one, but I still enjoyed watching it. *Language Warning* Tarrare, the Hungriest Man in History – YouTube