Income Taxes

The content below is from Episode #160 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week I recommend you watch the 1998 *classic Simon Birch
    • It only has 44% on rotten tomatoes from critics and 77% from audiences
    • It stars the kid from the first Jurassic Park movie Joseph Mazzello, Ian Michael Smith (as Simon Birch), Jim Carrey, Oliver Platt, and the forever-babe Ashley Judd.
  • Here’s the plot
    • Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith) and Joe Wenteworth (Joseph Mazzello) are boys who have a reputation for being oddballs. Joe never knew his father, and his mother, Rebecca (Ashley Judd), is keeping her lips sealed, no matter how much he protests. Simon, meanwhile, is an 11-year-old dwarf whose outsize personality belies his small stature. Indeed, he often assails the local reverend (David Strathairn) with thorny theological questions and joins Joe on his quest to find his biological father.
  • SPOILER ALERT from here on out.
  • If you want to watch Simon Birch without knowing how it ends, skip to the main event on the blog or for the audio people, skip a minute or so ahead.
    • This movie is sad as hell. It hilariously traumatized me as a kid because of how tragic it is.
      • Simon Birch dies in the end. The main guy, whom the movie is named after dies. This lovable wisecracking philosopher you grow to love throughout the movie dies leaving his lonely friend behind. It’s sad as hell. … but that’s not the most traumatizing part.
    • Joe’s mom, played by Ashley Judd, dies a horribly traumatic death.
      • Throughout the entire movie Simon has a crush on Joe’s mom (and who wouldn’t… its 90’s Ashley Judd, shes a 12).
      • It is how she dies that was so shocking my mind repressed the memory.
      • You see, there were just about 4 things Simon Birch cared about in this movie: being pissed off at god for being born with dwarfism, his buddy Joe, Joe’s hot mom, and baseball.
        • but because of Simon’s condition, he can’t play sports. He is too small and fragile. It’s also why he thinks he will never get to be with a beautiful woman like Joe’s mom.
        • Well towards the middle or end of the movie there is a moment where Simon’s reluctant baseball coach is forced to put Simon in the game. Simon goes up to the plate and the audience can tell they are setting it up for Simon to actually hit a home run.
          • I remember watching with such anticipation and excitement for the Simon the underdog to slug one out the ball park. The movie goes to slow motion, the pitch is thrown, and little 11-year old dwarf Simon Birch smacks the ball harder than anyone had ever hit a baseball. It was epic. I remember my whole family watching this on VHS rental from Blockbuster at home and cheering for the little guy…
          • But the cheers didn’t last long…
          • Because the first positive thing to happen in Simon Birch’s life, this awesome home run he’d been dreaming about for so long turned out to NOT be a home run, but a fowl ball.
          • It went flying across the field and smacked Ashley Judd’s character (Joe’s mom, Simon’s crush, Simon’s bestfriend’s mom) right in the damn temple. She was dead instantly….
          • TRAUMATIZING for a little kid LOL. I was like 10 years old when I watched it.
          • I looked to my dad in shock saying “you can’t die from a baseball can you?!”
          • My mom, the nurse, said “oh yeah, blunt force trauma to the temple, you bet you can die from it.”
  • I mentioned how I repressed this memory. Well it all came flooding back a few months back when I saw a Facebook reel.
    • There was a meme going around where people took the Mentos Freshmaker commercial theme music and played it over various scenes from movies and TV shows. Welp… they did it to Simon Birch (click link below)

I laughed so damn hard at that clip. I rewatched it so many times. I had to share with you guys, the Who’d a Thunkers. And I thought it would be a good recommendation segment.

It is definitely dark humor, but OMG I think it is comedy gold. Nay, comedy diamond.


  • Everyone hates taxes.
    • Even those who think they are a necessary evil when living in society, and support them theoretically, still don’t enjoy paying them on a practical level.

“The power of taxing people and their property is essential to the very existence of government.”

James Madison, 4th President of the United States
Anyone remember a certain tea party?
  • Taxes and America have a weird relationship.
    • Being over-taxed is the main reason America exists as an independent nation. Think about the Boston Tea Party. America’s main source of revenue was import and export taxes.
    • But then America had a change of heart… unfortunately.
    • Income Tax specifically came around in the late 1800’s with the Civil War.
      • The country was hit hard by the bloodiest conflict it had ever seen and so the Revenue Act of 1861 was passed with the help of the Lincoln administration. It made anyone with yearly income of $800 or higher to pay a flat tax.
      • In 1872 the Revenue Act of 1861 was rescinded.
        • The income tax wasn’t proportional to population and some found it contradicted the constitution. So the government’s right to charge these kinds of taxes was disputed by the people.
        • Unheard of today to see a government be granted power during a crisis and when the crisis is over have the government let go of that power back to the people… remarkable.
    • But that didn’t last long. In 1913 the 16th Amendment was passed.
      • Like all amendments, tis a bit too wordy for the common man such as myself so let me give you the highlights:
        • “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
      • The dirty 16th allowed the government to charge our income and didn’t allow for any loopholes. And it seems this was sort of a pandora’s box moment. Sure, congress has repealed amendments before (refer to Prohibition [18th amendment] and the end of prohibition [21st amendment]).
        • But no one in their right mind is predicting the government to give up all that sweet cash money they make off the backs of the working man.
        • Honestly, (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this), but I can see income tax making sense on certain things. Like celebrities, politicians, and other professions we all collectively hate, but don’t take away the income of those blue-collar workers busting their asses all day long.
        • But I understand you can’t just tax some and not others. It’s either all or nothing, otherwise it opens the door to financially imposed prejudices.

“…but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Benjamin Franklin
  • Taxes and Death go hand in hand.
    • The 16th Amendment called for a 1% tax on people with incomes over 3Gs per year and a 6% tax on people with incomes over 500Gs per year.
    • Those percentages pale in comparison to just a few years later in 1918 when incomes over 1Million per year were taxed 77%… 77%!
      • Can you guess what would cause taxes to jump so much in so little time? What was happening in 1918?
      • Oh, just a little thing known as World War 1, the Great War, the War to end all Wars.
  • After the war in 1922 the top tax brackets were taxed 58%, which is lower… but still majority. The tax rate kept dropping until 1929 when the top bracket was taxed 24%, which is still alot, but much more manageable.
    • Until… can you guess what started to happen not long after WW1? … you may have actually gotten this one wrong…
    • In 1932 during the Great Depression the top margins were taxed 63% because the US government (and most of the world) was reduced to that of beggars because of the stock market crash.
The scary numbers
  • Right after the Great Depression was WW2 and you know the government wasn’t going to let up on the income tax when they needed to kick the crap out of the Krauts on one side and the Japs on the other.
    • It wasn’t until the 60’s (1960’s that is) when taxes started to drop again.
    • Where there is death, there are taxes. In times of war, in times of crisis, taxes go up.
  • I said that you can’t tax some and not others right… well that isn’t always the case.
    • Some rules make taxes lower for certain people. The poor are taxed less than the rich, that’s the basic one. But there are also tax breaks for college students (because the government allowed student loans to screw us financially already LOL). And Parents are taxed less because they have the future of America to look after. On a basic level, these tax breaks make sense. The government is investing in the country’s future by allowing those less fortunate or those trying to better themselves a little more wiggle room. On paper, it is a good move…. but practically it doesn’t always work that way.
    • There are concerns that these strategic tax breaks allow for unintended loopholes that make the system less fair. People worry the current tax system favors the mega-wealthy.
      • I’m talking about your Uncle who works in sales and owns a boat, he’s probably paying taxes out the wazoo. No, I’m talking about CEO’s of giant monopolies somehow paying less taxes than your little old grandma.
      • Reference this article on loopholes that benefit the rich.
  • I think it is overall a good thing that our government isn’t always run by the same people.
    • Everytime the administration changes they tweak the system one way or another.
    • They increase economic growth, close loopholes (such as with alternative minimum tax) to make the system more “fair”, or influence some combination of the two.
  • I remember the adults bitching about taxes even when I was a little kid and didn’t know what the heck taxes even were.
    • I remember the shit-eating grin on my Papa’s face (RIP Papa) when my mom told him I got my first paycheck from a legit job.
      • LOL he smiled a sinister smile, looked me right in the eye, and said “a Tax Payer huh? Welcome to the club!”
    • But when you look back you realize it could be worse.
      • Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for our bloated government having less power. I say stick it to the man every chance you get. Work with your local (non-big corp) accountant to make sure you aren’t giving those big wigs a penny more than you legally have to.
      • But recognizing that things could be worse does grant one a little bit of comfort of mind in the form of gratitude.



Unit 731

The content below is from Episode 159 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This episode’s main topic is dark, very dark. In this episode, Unit 731, I will be talking about torture, mutilation, and treatment of human beings as if they were “logs.” But all of this actually happened and I think it is important for people to know about it.
    • You have been warned. This is mature content. Viewer and listener discretion is advised.


  • Before I get into the main topic, I would like to recommend something light and happy in contrast to how dark this episode is going to be.
    • This week I recommend you watch the Kill Tony. It is a live comedy podcast that I have been obsessed with.
    • The weekly live show recorded live from Austin Texas and the world, with your hosts Tony Hinchcliffe and Brian Redban.
    • It is hilarious. Tony has a live band, a couple of mics, and a live audience. He pulls names out of a bucket and gives whomever he pulls out, 60 seconds of uninterrupted time to do a comedy standup routine. When the 60 seconds are up, Tony and usually a guest comedian interview the aspiring comedian that probably just BOMBED on stage.
    • The show set up makes every episode unique and enjoyable.
    • If the aspiring bucket comedian does well (a rarity) then great. Everybody laughs.
    • If the aspiring bucket comedian does poorly (the usual outcome) Tony and the guest comedian rip into them. This also makes everyone laugh.


Unit 731

Xinhua via Getty Images -Unit 731 personnel conduct a bacteriological trial upon a test subject in Nong’an County of northeast China’s Jilin Province. November 1940.

  • I’ve talked about World War 2 quite a bit on this podcast. It is important to know just how much suffering came out of the largest war this planet has ever seen. It killed 3% of the world’s population at the time.
    • “War is Hell” –General William Tecumseh Sherman, a leader of the Union army in the Civil War.
    • No part of WW2 lasted longer than the Pacific Theater. From Japan’s attack on Manchuria in 1931 to September 2nd, 1945 when Japan officially surrendered to the United States.
    • Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 drastically changed the country. It created a civil war, famine, and estimated 3.9 million Chinese (mostly civilian) perished as a direct result.
      • In the end 10.2 million Chinese died until the Soviets stepped in to “liberate” China in 1945.
    • During this genocide and mass rape of China, a biological warfare unit simply known as Unit 731 managed to stand out as even more cruel and brutal than what was already happening around them.
    • What started out as a truly beneficial public health research agency, eventually became a human disease factory. The diseases that were cultivated at Unit 731 had the ability to wipe out human life… all of it. And how did they create such biological weapons?
      • A virtually endless supply of human test subjects they saw as nothing more than “logs.”
    • Japan started its biological weapons program in the 1930s, partly because biological weapons were banned by the Geneva Convention of 1925; they reasoned that the ban verified its effectiveness as a weapon.[1] Japan’s occupation of Manchuria began in 1931 after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.[11] Japan decided to build Unit 731 in Manchuria because the occupation not only gave the Japanese an advantage of separating the research station from their island, but also gave them access to as many Chinese individuals as they wanted for use as human experimental subjects.[11] They viewed the Chinese as no cost research subjects, and hoped that they could use this advantage to lead the world in biological warfare.[11] The majority of research subjects were Chinese, but many were of different nationalities.

This is another warning. The topics I’m about to discuss include rape, mutilation, and some of the most vile treatment of a human being. Please, if you don’t want to hear about these topics just turn off the podcast now.

Here are some of the worst experiments carried out by Unit 731. They are some of the most horrific war crimes ever committed and they basically received no punishment.

Unit 731’s Harbin facility.

  • Rape was common in Imperial Japan’s expanse across the Pacific Theater. Unit 731 was no exception.
    • But instead of the beastial lust driven rape common among Japan’s combat units, Unit 731 used rape as a tool to further their understanding of biological warfare.
    • If a female captive was the right age to become pregnant, the beings operating Unit 731 would have her forcibly impregnated. A pregnant human guinea pig has more potential for insight into a biological weapons effectiveness.
    • After the female captive was pregnant they would be intentionally infected with various diseases, have parts of their bodies crushed, shot, exposed to chemical weapons, and beaten. After this abysmal suffering, the mother would be disected and the fetus would be examined.
    • These experiments seemed to have drastically improved medicine for pregnant women after the war.
      • Documentation of the experiments were destroyed before Unit 731 was shut down. However, the witness accounts say it happened. And the innovations in healthcare for pregnant women that came out of Manchuria support witnesses’ claims.

Unit 731 Medical Table

A Unit 731 doctor operates on a patient that is part of a bacteriological experiment.

  • One part of Unit 731 was known as Maruta.
    • Their job was to study the effects of disease and injury on enemy combat units.
    • At first they took volunteers from the Imperial Army for non-lethal diseases that could be easily observed.
    • But as the Maruta team wanted to study more harmful diseases and injuries and as the volunteers started to not show up to be butchered/infected… they changed tactics.
    • Maruta is Japanese for “log.” This unit started using POWs for their research subjects and therefore no longer had to ask for consent.
      • They no longer used any semblance of ethical restraint.
    • Vivisection is defined as:
      • Vivisection is surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure
    • The Maruta team didn’t use anethesia as they vivisected living victims.
    • Mostly Chinese Civillians were infected with cholera and the black plague. Then their organs would be removed before they died. This gave Unit 731 the best insight into the effects of each disease as the organs wouldn’t have started to decompose at all.
    • Other than disease, Maruta team would amputate limbs and sew them back on to other parts of the body to see what would happen. All while the victim was alive and without any sort of pain management.
      • Other victims would have parts of their bodies crushed, frozen, and/or circulation cut off to see how gangrene works on the body.
    • When a victim’s body, or “log” as they were referred to by the Japanese, could no longer provide any insight, they were shot or sometimes they didn’t even bothered… burying the POWs alive. Not a single Chinese, Mongolian, Korean, or Russian prisoner sent to Unit 731 left alive.

Unit 731 Frostbite Test

The frostbitten hands of a Chinese person who was taken outside in winter by Unit 731 personnel for an experiment on how best to treat frostbite.

  • There was a special interest in hypothermia at Unit 731. A man known as Yoshimura Hisato preferred to study what extreme cold did to limb injuries.
    • He would take POWs and force their limbs into freezing water until the flesh was solid. Yoshimura would inspect the frozen limb by striking it with something solid. Unless the limb sounded like striking lumber, the limb would go right back into the ice bath.
    • He would then rapid warm the frozen limb in different ways to see if he could get it to be functional again.
      • He would pour hot water over the frozen limbs. He would also sit the victim next to a fire or simply let it thaw over time.

Bayonet Practice

A Japanese soldier uses a Chinese man’s body for bayonet practice near Tianjin, China. September 1937.

  • To optimize Japan’s fighting forces, Unit 731 was tasked with testing various weapons on living targets.
    • There were many instances of lining POWs up on firing ranges and testing every firearm on them.
    • Unit 731 measured and documented the wound patterns and depths of dead and dying inmates.
  • Bayonets, swords, knives, flamethrowers, gas chambers, nerve gas, and blister agents were used on bound subjects.
    • The military wanted to know the effectiveness of a flamethrower or nerve gas on a clothed victim as opposed to bare skin.
    • They dropped heavy objects to see how the human body is crushed.
    • They deprived inmates of food and/or water to see what would happen to their bodies, to see how long it would take for them to die.
    • They made some subjects only drink seawater until death.
    • They injected animal blood into victims to see how it clotted differently.
  • The invention of the Xray was in 1895 and long term effects not fully known at the time.
    • Unit 731 exposed thousands to way too much Xray and were sterilized or killed from it.
    • The Xray is a complicated procedure. Often the plates weren’t calibrated correctly and victims burned to death on the table.
  • To see what the human body can endure in terms of GForce (to benefit the Imperial Airforce) Unit 731 spun people at forces that are unheard of today.
    • At around 10 to 15Gs subjects lost conciousness and died. They found the younger the child, the less tolerance for GForce…

Shiro Ishii

General Shiro Ishii, the commander of Unit 731.

  • The Imperial military was having a major problem with STDs as it raped its way across Asia. So Unit 731 was tasked with learning more about venereal diseases… especially sythilis.
    • Doctors infected POWs with syphilis and simply withheld treatment to see what would happen. Syphilis can be fatal if not treated.
    • Male inmates infected with syphilis would be forced to rape both female and male inmates to spread the disease. If it didn’t take on, they were forced to rape until the rape victim showed signs of having syphilis.

Children With Unit 731 Researchers

Unit 731 researchers conduct bacteriological experiments with captive child subjects in Nongan County of northeast China’s Jilin Province. November 1940.

  • The end goal was for Unit 731 to develop biological weapons against their enemies such as Allied and Soviet forces.
    • They used tens of thousands of prisoners to weaponize lethal pathogens like Yersinia Pestis (bubonic and pneumonic plague) and typhus. The thought was to drop these on enemy populations and thin out their numbers.
  • reads:

To breed the most lethal strains possible, doctors monitored patients for rapid onset of symptoms and quick progression. Victims who pulled through were shot, but those who got sickest fastest were bled to death on a mortuary table, and their blood was used to transfect other captives, the sickest of whom would themselves be bled to transfer the most virulent strain to yet another generation.

One member of Unit 731 later recalled that very sick and unresisting captives would be laid out on the slab so a line could be inserted into their carotid artery. When most of the blood had been siphoned off and the heart was too weak to pump anymore, an officer in leather boots climbed onto the table and jumped on the victim’s chest with enough force to crush the ribcage, whereupon another dollop of blood would spurt into the container.

When the plague bacillus had been bred to what was felt to be a sufficiently lethal caliber, the last generation of victims to be infected were exposed to huge numbers of fleas, Y. pestis’ preferred vector of contagion. The fleas were then packed in dust and sealed inside clay bomb casings.

Germ Warfare

Japanese personnel in protective suits carry a stretcher through Yiwu, China during Unit 731’s germ warfare tests. June 1942.

  • In October of 1940 the Japanese airforce dropped casings filled with fleas that had sucked the blood from dying diseases prisoners over a Chinese village known as Quzhou.
    • Those who were there saw a red mist descend upon them and then feeling flea bites.
    • 2,000 died in Quzhou from the plague
    • 1,000 died in the next town over after it was brought their from commuters from Quzhou
    • 6,000 people died when the Japanese dropped anthrax on another town.
    • Plans were found that outlined Japan’s intent to do the same to US towns.
  • But in 1945 we dropped Fat Man and Little Boy on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    • The Soviets invaded Manchuria, destroying the Japanese army.
    • And Emperor Hirohito gave his surrender speech in August of 1945
    • Unit 731 was no more.
  • Unit 731 was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes committed by the Japanese armed forces. It routinely conducted tests on people who were dehumanized and internally referred to as “logs”. Experiments included disease injections, controlled dehydration, hypobaric chamber experiments, biological weapons testing, vivisection, amputation, and standard weapons testing. Victims included not only kidnapped men, women (including pregnant women) and children, but also babies born from the systemic rape perpetrated by the staff inside the compound. The victims came from different nationalities, with the majority being Chinese and a significant minority being Russian. Additionally, Unit 731 produced biological weapons that were used in areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces, which included Chinese cities and towns, water sources, and fields. Estimates of those killed by Unit 731 and its related programs range up to half a million people, and none of the inmates survived.
  • It was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部, Kantōgun Bōeki Kyūsuibu Honbu). Originally set up by the Kenpeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shirō Ishii, a combat medic officer in the Kwantung Army. The facility itself was built in 1935 as a replacement for the Zhongma Fortress, and Ishii and his team used it to expand their capabilities. The program received generous support from the Japanese government until the end of the war in 1945. Unit 731 and the other units of the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department operated biological weapon production, testing, deployment, and storage facilities.
  • While Unit 731 researchers arrested by Soviet forces were tried at the December 1949 Khabarovsk war crime trials, those captured by the United States were secretly given immunity in exchange for the data gathered during their human experiments.[6] The United States covered up the human experimentations and handed stipends to the perpetrators.[1] The Americans co-opted the researchers’ bioweapons information and experience for use in their own biological warfare program, much like what had been done with German researchers in Operation Paperclip.[7][8]
  • Its records were mostly burned, destroying any useful information the team had managed to generate in 13 years of research. Researchers mostly slipped back into civilian life in occupied Japan as if nothing had ever happened, many of them becoming prominent members of university faculty.
  • To this day, Japan has not apologized for, and China has not forgiven, the countless atrocities Japanese forces visited upon China between 1931 and 1945. As the last witnesses to this history grow old and die, it’s possible that the matter will never be addressed again.



  • candiedloveappleOP:
    • The japanese abducted chinese civilians, put them into a heat chamber and blasted them with hot air until they had the consistency of Jerky and then they cross referenced the amount of evaprated and collected water with the mass of the corpse before and after being tortured to death.
  • baiqibeendeleted28x·
    • The Empire of Japan is a serious contender for the most evil regime in human history. Their atrocities are just overlooked because Japan is so well liked in the West now (“bu-bu-but this sub talks about them!”, this sub is not representative of real life, shocker).
    • Indiscriminate massacre of civilians. Slaughter of entire cities, torture, inhumane treatment of POWs, comfort women, etc.
    • Over the course of their conquest of East Asia, the Japanese Army forced around 200,000 women into the ranks of “comfort women“. These women mainly came from China, Korea, and the Philippines. Unfortunately this is the one thing I couldn’t dig up the source for, but I distinctly remember reading the firsthand account of a Filipino comfort women who was raped 10x a day. Japan has yet to even officially apologize to them.
    • You think that’s the worst? During the Rape of Nanking, as many as 300,000 Chinese civilians were massacred within a month in a single city. Japanese soldiers paraded around with babies skewered on their bayonets like kebabs. Two Japanese officers held a competition to see who could behead 100 people the fastest and when the score was 105-106 and no one knew who got to 100 first, they restarted the contest, this time to 150 people. Civilians were buried alive en masse. Prisoners were used as live bayonet practice, screaming as the final moments of their life was used for the Japanese to sadistically torment. Tens of thousands of women were raped, most of whom were executed afterward. They dragged entire Chinese families into public squares and forced fathers on their daughters and sons on their mothers for the amusement of Japanese troops. I’m not an easily disturbed guy, but reading this fact for the first time physically made my stomach sick.
    • You think that’s the worst? The Imperial Japanese Army ran Unit 731: a biological/chemical warfare research program in Manchuria where Japanese researchers performed human experimentation on a large scale, using Chinese civilians as the majority of their “logs” (test subjects).
    • Living humans were dissected alive, usually without anesthesia. Subjects had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss and pain tolerance. Those limbs were sometimes reattached to the opposite sides of the body. Subjects had their stomachs or esophagus surgically removed. Subjects were gotten pregnant via rape then infected with diseases to see the effect on their baby. Subjects were forced into the cold to research frostbite then had their frozen limbs chopped off. Subjects were placed in pressure chambers until their eyeballs popped out of their sockets. This one is unconfirmed, but supposedly they placed a women and her baby in a room then heated up the floor to see if she’d step on her own baby.
    • Back in 1995, an anonymous Japanese medical assistant who worked in Unit 731 sat down for an interview with the New York Times and described one such dissection:
    • The entire world still cries over the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to this day. But hardly anyone sheds a tear for the millions of victims of the Empire of Japan.
    • Unit 731, Imperial Japan’s biological/chemical warfare research program based in Manchuria, is among the most disgusting atrocities in human history. Japanese researchers performed human experimentation on a large scale, using Chinese civilians as the majority of their “logs” (test subjects).
    • Some particularly brutal experiments performed on prisoners included:
    • Frostbite testing (upon which the subject’s frozen limbs would be chopped off)
    • Intentional disease infection (infected prisoners were forced to have sex with uninfected to study the transfer of disease)
    • Live targets for weapon testing, including flamethrowers (pic from Nanking, no known pictures of human targets from Unit 731)
    • Forced pregnancy from rape
    • Bacteriological experiments on children
    • Pressure chamber (subjects were placed inside and the pressure turned up until their eyeballs popped out of their sockets)
    • Dissection of living humans beings without anesthesia
    • You read the last one right… the Japanese dissected living human beings. Subjects had limbs amputated, their stomachs or esophagus surgically removed, and all sorts of inhumane procedures to “study” blood loss and pain tolerance. That amount of agony probably can’t even be comprehended, but back in 1995, an anonymous Japanese medical assistant who worked in Unit 731 described a dissection.


JFK and the Coconut

The content below is from Episode 149 of the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast


  • Next Level Chef
    • Yes, it isn’t my typical kind of show and if it weren’t for my wife Shannon, I probably wouldn’t watch any reality competition show like this. But I’m glad I do.
    • It started with the Great British Baking show which is such a happy feely baking show. Then we binged a couple seasons of Master Chef.
    • Well the latest food competition show we are obsessed with is Next Level Chef starring Gordon Ramsay.
      • We love watching Gordon lol
      • I particularly love the fact that he is known for being a hardass on his adult shows, but when he is working with children he turns into the sweetest guy on the planet LOL.
    • The plot of the show: Chefs Gordon Ramsay, Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais recruit talented chefs and take them under their wings as they face unique cooking challenges in a one-of-a-kind culinary gauntlet with the goal of finding the food world’s newest superstar.
    • It is in Vegas and the 3 storied kitchens makes this show unique. There is the basement kitchen which has dull knives and very little options for cooking. There is the the middle kitchen which is like a standard mid level restaurant kitchen, then the 3rd level is a kitchen with REALLY expensive equipment.
      • The contestants don’t know what ingredients they get until they are lowered on a platform through the three levels. So the 3rd floor gets first pick, 2nd floor gets 2nd dibs, and the basement gets the last picked ingredients.
    • Shannon and I enjoy it. I think you might too


  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29th 1917 (During WW1)
    • At the age of 43 on January 20th 1961 he would become the 2nd youngest US President. The 35th President of the country’s history.
    • He would infamously be assassinated on November 22nd of 1963.
    • If you ask someone on the street what the first thing they think of when you bring up JFK, they will most certainly say his death… but the man lived a… colorful life.
    • Today’s eipsode is about one small story from his life, before he ever became president of the Free world.
John F. Kennedy and the crew of PT-109 in the Solomon Islands in 1943. Back row, left to right: Allan Webb, Leon Drawdy, Edgar Mauer, Edmund Drewitch, John Maguire, Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy. Front row, left to right: Charles Harris, Maurice Kowal, Andrew Kirksey, and Lenny Thom. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Above Image:

John F. Kennedy and the crew of PT-109 in the Solomon Islands in 1943. Back row, left to right: Allan Webb, Leon Drawdy, Edgar Mauer, Edmund Drewitch, John Maguire, Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy. Front row, left to right: Charles Harris, Maurice Kowal, Andrew Kirksey, and Lenny Thom. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

  • Many young Americans of all backgrounds volunteered for military service in 1941, including young John F. Kennedy.
    • He was 26 years old when he almost died in action serving in the South Pacific. A Japanese destroyer ran into his patrol torpedo boat. This event lasted like 8 days and when it was all over two heroism awards were given out. Through it all, a coconut was involved. This coconut would go from the waters of the south pacific to the Oval Office.
  • It was one of those dark dark nights with no moon and clouds blacking out the stars on August 1st of 1943. The patrol torpedo boat PT-109 was in the Blackett Strait just south of Kolombangara of the Solomon Islands. PT-109 was under orders to run silently through the night to avoid being detected by enemies.
    • At the helm was skipper Kennedy, a lieutenant junior grade. He scanned the horizon and spotted the “Tokyo Express,” the name US naval personnel gave to the Japanese destroyers tasked with escorting supplies and soldiers to Guadalcanal.
    • PT-109 fired 30 torpedoes at 3 battleships and one escort vessel… none hit their targets.
      • A splendid waste of Tax Payer dollars
  • Then the PT-109 received orders to return to base. Four boats including the PT-109 got into formation to head back to base but still cover their retreat. All was well until one boat suddenly broke off formation to pursue a Japanese target.
    • The ship that broke formation was the only boat with radar capabilities so when it left it left the other three boats practically blind.
    • To make matters worse, the waters of the Solomon Islands have phosphorescent plankton residing within them and the skippers of the blind boats knew that going through these glowing plankton plumes would leave a glowing trail behind their boats. This would be like a giant glowing arrow for aircraft. They were literally glowing targets to enemy aircraft. So they trudged onward towards what they thought was the direction of home base using only 1 of 3 engines.
      • Hopefully the slowed retreat would disturb less glowing plankton.   
John F. Kennedy (JFK) navy PT-109 coconut coffee or die
Oil painting depicting the moment PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri during WWII. This painting hung in one of the cabinet rooms of the White House. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • That night around 230AM, as the 3 boats retreated, Kennedy noticed a black shape coming for the PT-109. At first he thought it was another patrol torpedo boat, but as it came closer he noticed it was a Japanese destroyer vessel called the Amagiri.
    • Traveling at about 40 knots about to collide with the PT-109, Kennedy suddenly tried turning his boat right to aim at the enemy destroyer. He hoped he could get the torpedoes out and strike the enemy, but it was too late.
    • From the time they noticed the Japanese Destroyer to when it struck the PT-109 was about 10 seconds. The Amagiri rammed and cut the PT-109 in half. The impact killed two US sailors instantly. Kennedy had just barely escaped his cockpit and with the 10 other survivors was left floating in South Pacific in the dead of night.
  • The Amagiri sped off and its massive wake put out the flames of the impact. Kennedy was clinging to wreckage from the PT-109 with 4 other members of the crew.
    • He called out for more survivors and heard replies from 6 other men.
    • Motor Machinist Mate Patrick McMahon was badly burned from the PT boat’s fuel tank exploding on impact.
    • Gunner’s Mate Charles Harris was severely wounded.
    • The 6 survivors not by Skipper Kennedy’s side were about 100 yards from the wreckage of the PT-109. But it took Kennedy 3 hours to rescue them in the pitch black night.
    • Once all were together they talked about what to do next.

“There’s nothing in the book about a situation like this. A lot of you men have families and some of you have children. What do you want to do? I have nothing to lose.”  

John F. Kennedy (JFK) navy PT-109 coconut coffee or die
Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy aboard PT-109 in the South Pacific, 1943. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • There wasn’t much debate amongst the survivors, I suppose the dire situation made the sailors much more agreeable.
    • They ditched the PT-109 wreckage and tried for swimming to the nearest island named… I kid you not… Plum Pudding. But Plum Pudding was three and a half miles away…
    • The distance was manageable for Kennedy, who had been on the Harvard swim team. But he also took on the arduous task of towing McMahon, holding McMahon’s belt in his teeth. Several of the other men were good swimmers, but two couldn’t swim at all — they had to be pushed and pulled along on a plank the entire distance.
      • I’m not sure if the two sailors who couldn’t swim were unable to do so because of injury or if they just didn’t know how to swim…
      • but I am always baffled by people who can’t swim. I realize not everyone has the same opportunities as myself and so not everyone gets the opportunity to learn how to swim as a child. But it just seems like such a huge risk like every body of water is a death sentence…
      • It is especially baffling that US Naval personnel didn’t know how to swim.
  • The first to arrive at Plum Pudding island was Kennedy himself, though he was completely exhausted. The survivors of PT-109 quickly dubbed their refuge Bird Island because there was so much bird crap on the bushes.
    • McMahon (the burn victim) had to help Kennedy for the last few yards to shore. Kennedy was that exhausted.
      • I’ve had to drag people in a swim before. It is insanely frustrating, awkward, and just sucks the energy out of you at an astonishing rate.
        • I should note the time I had to drag someone in the water was when I was teenager. My friend Adam and I were swimming in a river in upstate Pennsylvania. Adam got unexpectedly swept underwater and panicked (as I’m sure most people would). To keep him from panicking himself to the point of drowning I approached him and began to drag him to shore. I’m a decent swimmer, but He was punching and kicking and I made very little progress. Luckily my dad was watching from a rock about 8 feet above the water. He jumped in and took over the rescue.
        • So my experience is very limited, but I have a vague idea as to how hard it is to drag people while swimming for just a few yards.
          • Back when I was a teenage athlete working out regularly and younger it was taxing as hell. Now I’m a nearly 30 year old work from home dude that goes to Planet Fitness only like 3 times a week. I doubt I could even swim drag someone a few yards now.
        • I cannot imagine swimming 3.5 miles in the pitch black, in the pacific ocean, in enemy waters, with not one teenager, but a full grown men in tow.
    • Once he had a chance to regain some strength, Kennedy swam to Ferguson Passage. The passage was commonly patroled by American PT boats.
    • Swimming over sharp coral reefs for over an hour Kennedy eventually gave up on the idea of being rescued that night. He began swimming back to Plum Pudding island but the currents that night were deceptively strong. Kennedy nearly drowned trying to get back to his crew before he gave up and settled on Leorava island southeast of Plum Pudding island.
  • Kennedy Island (local name Kasolo Island, also known as Plum Pudding Island), is a 1.17 hectares (2.9 acres), uninhabited island in Solomon Islands that was named after John F. Kennedy, following an incident involving Kennedy during his World War II naval career. Kennedy Island lies 15 minutes by boat from Gizo, the provincial capital of the Western Province of Solomon Islands.
  • The crew spent the night on Plum Pudding island and Kennedy on Leorava island. They regrouped as soon as possible.
    • Instead of sitting and waiting for rescue, they decided to get up and move. They began swimming from island to island looking for water and food.
    • Ensign George Ross accompanied Kennedy in exploring the last island in the chain Naru Island.
    • From Naru they were able to see Ferguson Passage. They sneaked down to the beach and discovered a Japanese wreck where they were able to get their hands on a carepackage full of Japanese candy.
      • Candy may not have much nutritional value, but it has calories and can be a major morale booster.

  • Not far from the Japanese candy, Kennedy and Ensign Ross found a canoe stashed in some bushes and then spotted two guys paddling away in a canoe. They approached the men the very next day and found they were coast watchers for the Allies. There names were Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana.
    • The islanders’ canoe couldn’t carry all the survivors. It could barely hold two men.
      • These allied scouts helped the allies by reporting on Japanese positions, but they did not speak english. So Kennedy thought of another idea:
John F. Kennedy (JFK) navy PT-109 coconut coffee or die
A coconut shell with a message from John F. Kennedy carved on the surface. After the crash of PT-109, Kennedy gave the coconut to two natives to deliver to the PT base at Rendova so he and his crew would be rescued. His father later had the coconut shell encased in plastic on a wood base, and Kennedy used it as a paperweight on his desk in the Oval Office. Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana took the coconut message.
    • This message, after rowing their dugout canoe at great risk through 35 nmi (65 km) of hostile waters patrolled by the Japanese, was then delivered to the nearest Allied base at Rendova.
    • The next morning, the two men returned with a letter from Australian coast watcher commander Lt. A. Reginald Evans. The letter informed Kennedy to travel with the islanders to Gomu Island in Blackett Strait. The islanders hid Kennedy under a pile of palm leaves and paddled him to meet with Evans.  
  • At this point, PT-109 had sank 6 days ago. When Kennedy reached Rendova he told the rescuers they had to let him guide them through reefs and shallows.
    • On the night of Aug. 7, Kennedy signaled the rescue boats with three shots from his revolver and a fourth from a rifle while standing in a canoe. He didn’t anticipate the recoil from the rifle and was knocked off balance, falling out of the little boat and into the water. PT-157 arrived at the rendezvous point and pulled Kennedy aboard.
    • On the morning of Aug. 8, the remaining PT-109 crew survivors were rescued. They reached the US base at Rendova at 5:30 a.m. The ordeal was finally over.
  • The island scouts Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana had enabled the ensuing return to Olasana and the successful American rescue operation on the 7th and 8th of August.
    • Kennedy was awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the only US president to receive such honors. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945.
  • Eroni Kumana died in 2014 at the age of 93 and Biuku Gasa died in 2005 at the age of 82
    • Kennedy later invited them to attend his presidential inauguration in 1961, but the pair was duped en route in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital, by British colonial officials who sent other representatives instead.[5] Another version of the story is that they were turned back by British officials at the airport due to not speaking English.[6] The story from Biuku’s descendants is that the British officials did not want to send Biuku and Eroni because they were simple village men and not well dressed (by the British authorities’ standards). The legend of these two men survives to this day among their descendants in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
    • Another scout, Alesasa Bisili, wrote of his experience during the 1942 Japanese landing at Munda in Scouting in Western Solomons. He expressed sadness and anger over the unjust lack of recognition or award given to Solomon Islanders for their services during the war.
    • However, in recognition of his help, Gasa lived in a house paid for by the Kennedy family ($5,000), National Geographic ($5,000) and the balance ($15,000) by Brian and Sue Mitchell
    • Kennedys also constructed a house for Eroni Kumana. It collapsed in the 2007 tsunami, but Kumana survived the storm.[8]


41:49 The coconut on the desk actually has quite a cool story to it. During WW2, John Kennedy was on a patrol boat which was attacked by a Japanese destroyer. The patrol boat sank and Kennedy, along with 10 other men, swam ashore and hid in the jungle. Kennedy carved his name, location and situation into a coconut and asked a local islander to deliver it to a nearby Australian man. That man was actually a spy who was in contact with the US. The entire party was rescued. Kennedy was saved by the delivery of that coconut. He later received the coconut back from the Australian, had it encased in resin and displayed it on his desk all the way up to his death.


The Battle of Los Angeles

The content below is from Episode 148 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This episode was largely copied and pasted from the 3 sources listed at the bottom in the CREDIT section of the podcast.


  • This week I recommend you go watch some sports.
    • My wife’s cousin John plays hockey. He is a senior in high school so this is the likely the last year we will get to see him play.
    • But they are really fun. I remember the first time Shannon suggested we go see her counsin play hockey years ago. I thought it was going to be a boring thing I was expected to do on a week day.
    • but I truly enjoy the experience each time and I think I’m going to miss it.
    • Everytime we go I get to see my inlaws (company I actually enjoy, sorry, no cliche hatred for my inlaws here). We also get to spectate a sport that is a lot more unpredeictable because they aren’t pros, they are kids. PLUS, you wouldnt’ believe how crazy some of these parents get LOL.
    • The games are fun, it is a family bonding moment, and I feel a little more intune with the community each time I go.
    • So next time your Significant Other, parent, or friend suggests going to a local hockey, football, or any other kind of game… I recommend you go. You might be surprised by how much fun you have and how refreshing it is to change up your weekday routine.
      • Plus, it is always a good opportunity to win some brownie points with your loved ones … or whomever it is that you attend the game with.


  • Pearl Harbor happened on December 7, 1941
    • So that’s why in February 1942, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was still fresh in people’s minds, and major American cities on the Pacific Coast were worried they would be next.
  • On February 23rd, 1942, a Japanese submarine attacked the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara, about a two-hour drive north of LA.
  • All it took to kick off a panic was a weather balloon. 
    • Sound familiar? Weather balloons and paranoia?
    • On February 24, 1942, US Naval Intelligence warned West Coast units that the Japanese might descend on Los Angeles within the next 10 hours. At 1 a.m. on February 25, meteorological balloons were launched 120 miles west of Los Angeles to monitor the weather. An hour later, the balloons showed up on military radar.
    • Mistaking the balloons for enemy aircraft, radar operators sounded the air raid alarm, and by 3 a.m., anti-aircraft gunners in Santa Monica started shooting. Over 1,400 rounds were fired in the confusion, but there were no enemy aircraft in the area, and Japan confirmed after WWII that it hadn’t attacked the city. 
    • But the “Battle of Los Angeles” wasn’t a harmless misunderstanding. Three people lost their lives in car collisions related to the false alarm, and two more perished from cardiac arrest. The FBI and LA County Sheriff also arrested several Japanese gardeners who were falsely accused of signaling to Japanese planes. 
    • That evening, many flares and blinking lights were reported from the vicinity of defense plants. An alert was called at 7:18 pm, and was lifted at 10:23 pm. Renewed activity began early in the morning of 25 February.[12] Air raid sirens sounded at 2:25 am throughout Los Angeles County.[13] A total blackout was ordered and thousands of air raid wardens were summoned to their positions. At 3:16 am, the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing .50-caliber machine guns and 12.8-pound (5.8 kg) anti-aircraft shells into the air at reported aircraft; over 1,400 shells were eventually fired. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but their aircraft remained grounded. The artillery fire continued sporadically until 4:14 am. The “all clear” was sounded and the blackout order was lifted at 7:21 am.[14]
    • Several buildings and vehicles were damaged by shell fragments, and five civilians died as an indirect result of the anti-aircraft fire: three were killed in car accidents in the ensuing chaos and two of heart attacks attributed to the stress of the hour-long action.[1] The incident was front-page news along the West Coast and across the nation.[15]
  • Panic is real people!
  • Within hours of the end of the air raid, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox held a press conference, saying the entire incident had been a false alarm due to anxiety and “war nerves”. Knox’s comments were followed by statements from the Army the next day[16] that reflected General George C. Marshall‘s supposition that the incident might have been caused by enemy agents using commercial airplanes in a psychological warfare campaign to generate mass panic.[17]
  • Some contemporary press outlets suspected a cover-up of the truth. An editorial in the Long Beach Independent wrote, “There is a mysterious reticence about the whole affair and it appears that some form of censorship is trying to halt discussion on the matter.” Speculation was rampant as to invading airplanes and their bases. Theories included a secret base in northern Mexico as well as Japanese submarines stationed offshore with the capability of carrying planes. Others speculated that the incident was either staged or exaggerated to give coastal defense industries an excuse to move further inland.[18]
  • Representative Leland M. Ford of Santa Monica called for a Congressional investigation, saying “none of the explanations so far offered removed the episode from the category of ‘complete mystification’ … this was either a practice raid, or a raid to throw a scare into 2,000,000 people, or a mistaken identity raid, or a raid to lay a political foundation to take away Southern California’s war industries.”[19]
  • Japanese submarines continued to conduct occasional attacks against allied shipping off the U.S. coast during the rest of the war. Sent to American waters in hopes of targeting warships, the submarines managed to sink only a handful of merchant ships, besides conducting a few minor attacks on shore targets. These consisted of a bombardment of Fort Stevens on the Columbia River, an attack on a Canadian lighthouse on Vancouver Island, and two air raids launched from a submarine in an attempt to start forest fires in southwest Oregon
  • After the war ended in 1945, the Japanese government declared that they had flown no airplanes over Los Angeles during the war.[13] In 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History concluded that an analysis of the evidence points to meteorological balloons as the cause of the initial alarm:[12]
  • A photo published in the Los Angeles Times on February 26, 1942, has been featured in UFO conspiracy theories as evidence of an extraterrestrial visitation.[20] They assert that the photo clearly shows searchlights focused on an alien spaceship; however, the photo was heavily modified by photo retouching prior to publication, a routine practice in graphic arts of the time intended to improve contrast in black and white photos.[21][22]Times writer Larry Harnisch noted that the retouched photo along with faked newspaper headlines were presented as true historical material in trailers for the 2011 film Battle: Los Angeles. Harnisch commented, “[I]f the publicity campaign wanted to establish UFO research as nothing but lies and fakery, it couldn’t have done a better job.”[23]



Heavy Gustav

The content below is from Episode 146 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • Hoopla
    • This week I recommend you checkout the app Hoopla or Libby
    • I think I have mentioned this before, but you can get a Library card for free at your local library. If you use that library number, you can read, listen, and watch a massive library of stories for 100% FREE.
    • Libby is an app I’ve been using for years now.
      • I’ve listened to some of my favorite audiobooks like the Darth Bane trilogy, Red Rising series, Ready Player One, and so on.
    • But the other day I mentioned to Shannon that I wanted to listen to Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, but it wasn’t on Libby. She told me there is another app called Hoopla that basically works the same way: log on with your library card and borrow the titles for about a month for free.
    • Sure enough, where Libby didn’t have Contact, Hoopla did. I am amazed by how much I can listen to for free. I feel so blessed to have so much access. Libraries are the SHIT!
    • Contact is a 1985 hard science fiction novel by American scientist Carl Sagan. It deals with the theme of contact between humanity and a more technologically advanced, extraterrestrial life form. It ranked No. 7 on the 1985 U.S. bestseller list.


  • Another WWII episode!
    • Inspired by a scene from Breaking Bad… my favorite drama series.
  • In 1934 Hitler already knew he was going to invade France.
    • The French had constructed the strongest fortification in existence at the time, the Maginot Line, in an attempt to stop the Germans from invading their country.
      • The Maginot line was constructed to avoid the similar destruction that France had suffered in WWI. It was made up of a series of block houses, rail lines, and heavily fortified bunkers.
      • The world saw this Maginot line and thought it was impenetrable.
      • The thick reinforced concrete bunkers built into the earth itself seemed untouchable by any existing weapon.
    • Hitler had a couple ideas to get around this fortification, one of them being the Schwerer Gustav gun.
      • Hitler asked his high command to give him something that hadn’t been built yet. He wanted something that could fire an unstoppable force at the immovable object that was the Maginot line.
  • The Oberkommando des Heeres (German Army high command) asked the Essen weapons creator Friedrich Krupp AG in 1934.
    • Krupp was told to make a gun capable of penetrating 1 meter of steel armor plating or 7 meters of reinforced concrete. They also needed to make this penetrating projectile be fired from a far enough distance to keep the extremely expensive gun protected.
    • Erich Muller, an engineer at Krupp, was put in charge.
      • Erich knew his new project would be a monstrosity, something larger than ever built before.
      • They estimated they’d need an 80 cm (a little over 31 inch or over 2 and a half feet) caliber that would fire a projectile weighing 7 tons and being fired out of a 30-meter (100-foot) long barrel. They knew this sucker would weigh A LOT so they decided to make it deployable on rail tracks.
      • The aiming mechanism, like other railway mobile artillery, would only lift the barrel up or down. In order to aim the gun they would have to position it strategically on a curve in the railway.
    • While drawing up their plans there were proposals for 85 cm and 1 meter (3.2 feet)
    • In 1936 Hitler visited Essen and asked that his gun be battle-ready for the Battle of France.
      • Plans were finished and manufacturing started in early 1937. They estimated completion of the gun would be in 1940, but the insane amount of steel plating needed to create the gun delayed production.

Do you see that image? It is transported via railway… not one railway though…. two…

  • In 1939 a test model was sent from Krupp to Hillersleben for testing.
    • The tests were successful. This monster was able to penetrate the 1 meter (3.2 feet) of steel armor plating and 7 meters (23 feet) of concrete.
  • Hitler and Alfried Krupp met up at Rugenwalde Proving Ground in 1941.
    • Hitler had 2 guns created and the first shot fired from the finished product went off on September 10th 1941 from a makeshift carriage.
    • Then it was tested again in Poland using a 7,100 kilogram (15,653 pound) shell fired at a target nearly 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.
  • While the Gustav Gun wasn’t actually used during the Battle of France due to it not finishing production by the time the Nazis invaded, the invasion was a success.
    • Instead of getting bogged down by the Maginot Line as things played out in WW1’s stagnate trench warfare, German forces went around it, driving their tanks through a wilderness area in neighboring Belgium that the French wrongly assumed would be impenetrable.

We were through the Maginot Line! It was hardly conceivable. Twenty-two years before, we had stood for four and a half long years before this self-same enemy and had won victory after victory but yet finally lost the war. And now we had broken through the renowned Maginot Line and were driving deep into enemy territory. It was not just a beautiful dream. It was reality.”

Erwin Rommel’s Leader of the Nazi 7th Panzer Division
  • While Schwerer Gustav didn’t get to perform in the battle it was designed for, Germany was successful and had A LOT more plans for battle in the coming years, so Gustav would have its day.
    • The Gustav gun was deployed a few times throughout WWII, but the only operation where it was used extensively was in the Siege of Sevastopol (part of Operation Barbarossa) on the Eastern front against the Russians.
    • It was the heaviest piece of mobile artillery ever built and the largest caliber rifle weapon ever used in war.
    • It was designed and developed by the Krupp Family to be a siege weapon.
      • Siege: a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.
    • The fully assembled gun weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes (1,490 short tons), and could fire shells weighing 7 t (7.7 short tons) to a range of 47 km (29 mi).
    • It took 5 weeks and over 4,000 people to get the Gustave gun ready at the Siege of Sevastopol.
  • Those 7 tonne shells could breakthrough 7 meters of reinforced concrete.
    • There was a major downside to this big boy, it took about 500 people just to fire the damn thing and it took about 4,000 more people to transport, protect it, and operate it on the battlefield.
      • About 1,500 soldiers were needed to protect the gun from enemy aircraft.
      • It took 5 days just to assemble the damn thing.
    • By the time the Siege of Sevastopol was over the city was destroyed. The 500 man crew running the gun had fired 48 rounds.
      • The Gustav destroyed several high-value targets, including a munitions depot located roughly 30 m (98 ft) below ground level.
      • Those 48 shots compromised the gun and the 100-foot barrel had to be replaced after the Siege of Sevastopol.

  • After Sevastopol the Gustav Gun was moved to Leningrad and for an entire winter this giant black gun (the largest ever created) loomed outside the city.
    • Before the Gustav could be used at Leningrad the attack was called off, but I feel like seeing this thing outside your city would definitely have some psychological affect.
    • There was a second gun created and used in battle. It was a similar model and named Dora after the engineer Erich Muller’s wife.
      • How romantic. Maybe I will get Shannon a similar present for Valentines day. … now… where do I get an engineering degree, 1,400 tons of steel, and over 7 million Reichsmarks ($24 million USD) worth of funding to make another “largest gun ever created” so I can call it Shannon?
    • Another Model called the Langer Gustav was a 2nd generation model of the Gustav that had smaller shells (1,500 pounds), smaller caliber (52cm/ 20.4 inches), but a longer barrel (43 meters/ 141 feet) for a much longer range (118 miles). This gun could have shot from their claimed territory in Calais France and reached London…
      • Luckily an RAF bombing run destroyed the Langer Gustav while it was still in construction.
  • Third Gen Gustav guns were something from nightmares.
    • The Landkreuzer P 15000 Monster was going to be a gustav gun tank with the 80cm (31.4961 inches) caliber barrel (same size as Gen One), but also was going to have 2 heavy howitzer guns, and MG 151 autocannons for anti-aircraft capabilities. This thing was a small town on tank tracks.
    • Gen 3 Gustav Landkreuzer P15000 Monster was never built. Thank god we beat the Nazis… for a lot of reasons.
      • Some say the 3rd Gen project was scrapped before prototype phase, others say it was a thing of urban myth.
      • But if it was made it would have weighed over 500 tons more than the heaviest tank ever built, the Panzer VIII Maus.
  • The Germans dismantled the Schwerer Gustav before they had lost the war.
    • In the end the Germans realized the Gustav Gun was just too damn clunky. Over 4,000 soldiers were taken off the front line and needed to operate it. It took FOREVER to transport and assemble and once it was finally set up, protected, and manned, its rate of fire was only about 14 rounds per day. It took HOURS to calibrate the damn thing between each shot.
    • Gustav was destroyed by the Germans near the end of the war in 1945 to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army.
      • The weapons ruins were found on April 22nd 1945 in a foest near Auerbach and Chemnitz.
      • After the soviets got a chance to study it, they sent it to Merseburg where the remains were lost.
      • Dora, the 2nd and last Gustav to be used in combat was destroyed April 19th and discovered by American troops a few days later.
      • Today, some of the remains of Dora are kept in the Dresden Military History Museum of Bundeswehr.
  • Schwerer Gustav was the largest-calibre rifled weapon ever used in combat, and in terms of overall weight, the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built. It fired the heaviest shells of any artillery piece.[4] It was surpassed in calibre only by the unused British Mallet’s Mortar and the American Little David bomb-testing mortar—both at 36 inches (91.5 cm)—but was the only one of the three to be used in combat.



IceCraft Carrier

The content below is from Season 2 Episode 27 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

Recommendation Segment

  • This episode features another recommendation from my Fiancée Shannon. Tune in to the audio podcast to hear what she decided to recommend.


  • Well who’d a Thunkers, I hope you like history because I have yet another World War 2 episode for you!
    • Today we talk about the story behind the Project Habakkuk. That’s when a Brit named Geoffrey Pyke thought it would be a good idea for the British navy to make an Aircraft Carrier out of ice.
      • Sounds crazy I know.
    • But That was the level of desperation that people were dealing with during WW2. Technology was taking off yet they were faced with the largest scale war that mankind had ever seen.
      • The world atmosphere during WW2 was nuts and that’s why there are so many unbelievable stories to come out of it.
      • A few episodes back I talked about how the American Military was funding the psychologist BF Skinner to train pigeons on how to guide missiles.
      • WW2 is so insane that one time my buddies and I were playing BattleField V (a WW2) game. My one friend made a comment on how the Nazis were so successful in their Blitzkrieg across Europe because they were all given Meth. That’s why their attacks were so fast and how they could fight for 48 hours straight with no sleep.
        • Another friend of mine laughed hysterically and thought he was just joking… But we all assured him that it is a fact. The Nazis weren’t prescribed meth… they were given it like you would give a co-worker a cup of coffee.
        • THAT is how crazy World War 2 was.
    • Now this Aircraft Carrier made of Ice sounds crazy to us now, but at the time it made more sense.
  • Britain is on an island roughly the size of the State of Michigan.
    • Being an island country came with both benefits and draw backs during WW 2.
      • They avoided a land invasion from Germany in 1940 because they are an island nation.
      • But that also means their imported goods all need to come by sea.
    • So Hitler thought if he couldn’t invade them outright that he would cut off their supplies from the outside world.
      • The Nazis had 1,162 submarines (or U-Boats as they were called). They targeted allied supply ships.
      • They used what was called the Wolfpack strategy and it was very effective.
      • The Brits weren’t able to deploy their anti-submarine aircraft because the U-Boats were smart enough to only engage far out at sea… too far for the aircraft of that day to reach.
    • Aircraft Carriers were a good defense against U-Boats. They could transport the anti-submarine planes to where the subs were hiding.
      • Unfortunately with the mass production of tanks, planes, and hand held weapons there wasn’t enough steel to just make more Aircraft Carriers back in Britain.
  • Introducing Geoffrey Pyke
    • Pyke was an orthodox Jew studying law at Pembroke College when WW1 started.
      • But he gave up his studies to become a War Correspondent. He convinced the editor of the Daily Chronicle news to fund a trip to Deutschland in the year 1914. He wanted to get a better understanding of the German people at the time as they prepared for war with Russia.
      • He travelled to Berlin with an American Passport, But it only took 6 days for his suspicious behavior to land him in prison. There he suffered harsh conditions for 13 weeks until he was able to escape.
      • He was able to make it back to Britain and his tale of an escaped prisoner of war became popular among the British people.
    • Leading up to WW2, Pyke was involved in a few projects against the Nazi party.
      • He sent journalist spies to cities across Germany to interview citizens on how they felt about all the antisemitism. He was able to conduct a decent sized poll and gather some significant data. But Pyke was never given the chance to present his findings to Hitler himself… Hitler was too busy invading Norway.
    • Once WW2 was well underway, Pyke set his sights on transporting troops in cold conditions.
      • He was put on a team of scientists and engineers to design a reliable vehicle for transporting troops through snow. It was dubbed operation Plough.
      • Pyke helped design the M29 Weasel that was manufactured by the hundreds in America.
  • So when Britain was faced with this U-Boat problem, Geoffrey Pyke was a likely candidate to find an out-of-the-box solution.
    • In 1942 he envisioned a large iceberg out at sea. He pictured the top of the iceberg cut on a level line for a runway and the middle hollowed out to store planes.
      • Pyke drew up a 232 page document to be sent in a diplomatic bag to the Combined Operation Headquarters. He gave specific instructions that only Lord MountBatten, Admiral of the Fleet should read its contents. Mountbatten (Member of the Royal Family and Royal Navy officer) must have been impressed with the plans because he immediately shared them with Winston Churchill (the acting Prime Minister of Britain at the time).
    • Now Icebergs aren’t Ideal for this.
      • At first, the ice berg AirCraft Carrier seemed like a lost cause. While ice was strong, it was also too brittle to hold up its own weight and easily lost shape under pressure. Ice also melts, which required Pyke to develop a complex cooling system that continuously pumped refrigerant throughout the carrier to keep it frozen.
      • So he and a team of scientist went to work combining wood chips and ice. The result was what they called Pykrete.
  • Pykrete is much less likely to sink than regular ice
    • It also melts at a higher temperature and is much more structurally strong.
    • Pyke had gotten the idea for Pykrete from an Austrian-American Chemist Herman Mark.
      • One of Pyke’s collaborators Max Perutz wrote “Blocks of ice containing as little as 4% wood pulp were weight for weight as strong as concrete. In honor of the originator of the project we called this reinforced ice Pykrete. When we fired a rifle bullet into an upright block of pure ice two feet square and 1 foot thick the block shattered. In Pykrete the bullet made a little crater and was embedded without doing any damage.”
      • As long as the Pykrete stayed frozen, it was as good as concrete.
    • The British Government was short on funds and resources thanks to the U-Boats so the thought was that it would be a lot cheaper to produce a Pykrete Ship than a steel ship.
      • 1 ton of ice take less than 1% of the energy to produce than 1 ton of steel.
      • Lord Mountbatten was sure the Pykrete idea would work. He presented the idea to generals, Ministers, and even President Roosevelt.
  • Project Habakkuk
    • Although it is my opinion that “IceCraft Carrier” would have been the best name for it… The official name was Project Habakkuk.
    • Churchill approved the idea, code-naming it Project Habakkuk, a reference to the biblical book of Habakkuk: “… be utterly amazed, for I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” (Habakkuk 1:5, NIV)
      • The ship was supposed to be 1.2 Kilometers long (that is over 13 football fields) and 180 meters across (that is almost 600 feet).
      • They decided to build a pykrete prototype in Patricia Lake, Alberta to test the effectiveness on a large scale model.
  • The prototype required a constant refrigeration system to keep cool. If the temperature of the ship rose above three degrees Fahrenheit, it would start to sag and lose shape. Although the pykrete mixture made the prototype stronger than ice, it also required much more insulation.
    • And negating the one major advantage of Project Habakkuk, Steel would still have to be used to insulate the carrier, which would have drained more resources and made it still more expensive. Plus, because the of the sheer size of this behemoth it would be slow and very hard to maneuver.
    • Even though I didn’t see it in any of my sources, I imagine they would only be able to use the craft in colder climates. I mean imagine trying to sale the IceCraft Carrier to the Bahamas!
    • Wood was also in short supply during the war, and building a pykrete aircraft carrier would have negatively impacted paper production. Which the British needed at the time. At the beginning of the war they were cranking out propaganda pamphlets and dropping them all over Europe.
    • Project Habakkuk was great in theory, but terrible in practice.
    • The British turned their attention to more practical projects. What remains of the prototype still lie at the bottom of Patricia Lake along with an informational plaque (thanks to the Alberta Diving Council).
  • The idea of an enormous IceCraft Carrier is really cool to think about, but terribly impractical.
    • And thank goodness they never went through with it. Could you imagine working in a place where it never got above 3 degrees Fahrenheit (that is -16 degrees Celsius)?
    • Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers! Until next week!


It may seem odd that I included this video, but without it this episode wouldn’t exist. I am obsessed with this guy’s ear cleaning videos and he compares a dense earwax material that is made denser by ear hair to Pykrete. One minute and 30 seconds in to the video he talks about Pykrete and Project Habakkuk and after hearing it I immediately started researching lol.

Pigeons and People

The content below is from Season 2 Episode 25 of the Who’d A Thunk It? Podcast.


  • Record of Ragnarok
    • Last week’s recommendation segment was on Netflix’s live action drama about Norse Mythology. THIS week’s recommendation has a similar title, but a very different plot.
    • Record of Ragnarok is a brand new anime series with only 12 episodes available right now.
      • I know Anime is a super niche genre, but when I realized my Fiancée Shannon was enjoying the show as much as I was I thought it was worth recommending.
      • Unlike most anime series, Record of Ragnarok has a SUPER simple plot:
        • All the gods (Norse, Greek, Hindu, etc.) have grown tired of humanity and want to wipe us all out to start fresh. But at the last second before Zeus bangs his gavel declaring all humanity be eliminated, a Valkyrie from Norse mythology suggests they have a tournament (first side with 7 victories wins).
        • The gods pick their line up of their 13 best warriors and humanity can pick from their best 13 warriors (live or dead). Season 1 only covers the first 3 fights.
    • It is simple, fun, and definitely for adults due to the violence, language, and overt sexualization of Aphrodite lol.
This character from Record of Ragnarok is Adam… as in Adam and Eve. He fights Zeus wearing nothing but a leaf for decency and brass knuckles.


  • Pigeons in World War 2
    • If you have taken a Psychology course either in High School or college then you definitely have heard of the renowned Psychologist B.F. Skinner.
      • Skinner was an American Psychologist who studied and conducted experiments out of Harvard University.
      • Early on he worked with rats and discovered that if the rats were given a treat every time they pressed a lever they would press the lever progressively more. He called it Operant Conditioning.
    • Skinner applied his understanding of animal behavior in World War 2, and this may sound like a made-up story, but it is very real.
      • This time, instead of using rats, he used what some New Yorkers call flying rats: the pigeon. How did pigeons play a role in WW2 you ask?
      • Well the Germans had created a modern marvel of destruction: the V2 Rocket.
        • Developed in Germany from 1936 through the efforts of scientists led by Wernher von Braun, the V2 Rocket was first successfully launched on October 3, 1942, and was fired against Paris on September 6, 1944.
        • Soon after Germany’s development in rocket technology, most other players in WW2 were slinging rockets of their own.
    • While rockets proved to create a devastating amount of destruction, they seldom hit their mark.
      • While the militaries of today use GPS guided missiles, back in WW2 times they were 30 years away from GPS technology.
      • Soldiers tasked with launching rockets had to use math to calculate the
        • amount of fuel necessary,
        • the angle the rocket should be launched,
        • wind speed,
        • and possible heavy weather encountered during the rockets approach.
      • That is a lot to calculate. As you might guess the soldiers calculating trajectory on the ground were wrong quite a lot.
      • Remember how I said the first V2 rocket was launched at Paris in 1944?
        • Well, quoting the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum: “the rocket was neither accuratereliable, nor cost effective. On 7 September 1944 the first two operational rockets were fired against Paris, but both failed due to premature cutoffs.”
    • While the Germans were deploying unreliable spies in London to report back on how accurate their rockets were, the US was coming up with more unorthodox ideas for missile guidance: Project Orcon.
      • B.F. Skinner was confident that his Operant Conditioning research could be beneficial to the folks trying to guide missiles. Although many were skeptical of Skinner’s plan, the National Defense Research Comittee granted Skinner $25,000 (about $320,000 today)
      • You see, similar to the rat pressing a lever to get a treat, a pigeon could be trained to pet a specified target in order to be fed. (See video below titled Project Orcon).
    • Skinner made that specified target in to what the US Military needed to destroy, enemy battleships out at sea.
      • He then strapped his trained pigeons inside the head of missiles with 3 screens that showed what the missile was currently aiming at (see image below). Depending on which screen and where on the screen the pigeon pecked, the missile would direct course toward where the pecks were being registered by sensors installed in the screen.
        • On paper it was genius. Pigeons can process visual information 3 times faster than humans and cost virtually nothing to produce. Once properly trained, the pigeons were extremely accurate hardly ever missing their targets during simulated runs.
      • But in October 1944 the project was scrapped. The Defense department thought money was better spent elsewhere like the Manhattan Project, AKA the Atomic Bomb which cost $1.9 billion($23 billion today).
      • Defense officials couldn’t bring themselves to entrust billion dollar rocket projects to pigeons.
        • Skinner himself said that the project was scrapped not because it didn’t work, but because no one took them seriously.
  • Skinner’s Superstitious Pigeons
    • That brings me to the real reason I wanted to do this episode. You see I’ve known about the Missile Guiding pigeons for quite some time. I like to tell people about it while I’m out drinking and socializing. The topic is bizarre, exciting, and involves WW2. I love to talk WW2 over a few brews.
    • But there was another experiment that Skinner conducted after the war that really intrigued me. I recently heard about Skinner’s Superstitious pigeons.
    • I stumbled on an old video hosted by the esteemed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
      • In the video Dawkins explains how Skinner studied pigeons’ behavior in 1947 by placing them in a controlled environment (rather a small transparent box) and feeding them whenever they pecked a button.
      • But then Skinner set the feeding apparatus to feed the pigeon at random. Whether the pigeon pecked the button or not had no bearing on how often the food was dispensed.
    • One might think the pigeons just sat back and waited for their food to be given at random times, but that is not what happened.
      • The vast majority of pigeons in the experiment developed what Skinner himself called superstitious behavior.
      • An example would be that if a pigeon just happened to lift up its right wing when food was dispensed then that pigeon associated the right wing lifting with food. The result was that the pigeon would continuously lift its right wing over and over again until the food was given again. This behavior persisted and further enforced that pigeons false association.
    • What interests me is the implication of these superstitious behaviors and what it means about human behavior.
      • If you think you can’t be compared to a pigeon in this sense you are wrong. We humans are subject to this superstitious behavior just as we are subject to Operant Conditioning.
        • Just as the rats kept pressing the lever for food; Give a patient suffering from pain a button that dispenses morphine in to their bloodstream. It is only a matter of time until they are pressing the button much more than necessary sometimes to the point of overdose.
        • Just as the pigeons displayed nonsensical behavior to be given food; we humans perform all sorts of nonsensical rituals to avoid pain and obtain pleasure.
          • Probably the main difference between humans and the pigeons is the lengths we will go to in our superstitious pursuits. Where pigeons simply make displays with their bodies, we humans create entire industries and institutions around our superstitious beliefs.
    • Some examples of human superstitious behavior
      • Tarot cards
      • Palm readings
      • Knocking on wood for good luck
      • saying “bless you” when someone sneezes
      • Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back
      • Black Cats crossing your path
    • You may think those examples I gave are for children or those more gullible than you, but I would disagree.
      • University of Iowa’s Psychology department provides a definition:
        • Superstitious behavior arises when the delivery of a reinforcer or punisher occurs close together in time (temporal contiguity) with an independent behavior. Therefore, the behavior is accidentally reinforced or punished, increasing the likelihood of that behavior occurring again.”
    • I would argue superstition has invaded just about every facet of our society and given the chance, could destroy it.
      • I’ll end this episode with an example: remember the Salem Witch trials? An entire town allowed themselves to be overtaken with superstition.
        • By the end of the Salem witch trials, 19 people had been hanged and 5 others had died in custody. Additionally, a man was pressed beneath heavy stones until he died.

Yep! I’m ending this one on a cautionary note. Don’t allow yourself to be overtaken by superstition. Build up your mental defenses against it by continuing to learn about the world around you.

Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers!

    • I’m going on Vacation to Jamaica and will not be producing another episode of Who’d A Thunk it? Until July 15th.
    • Sorry… not sorry lol. I’ll be enjoying genuine Jamaican jerk chicken in a hammock over looking the Caribbean sea.



The Nazi Hunting Wizard

The following content is from Season 2 Episode 20 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week’s recommendation segment is simple:
    • anything Sir Christopher Lee worked on or inspired.

NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT: Sir Christopher Lee

  • To me and my generation,
    • he was the Sith Lord Count Dooku from Star Wars and the Evil Wizard Saruman from Lord of the Rings.
    • It turns out his real-life story was much more legendary than either of those fictional characters combined.
    • This episode is about Sir Christopher Frank Tarantini Lee.
    • Just as a heads up to the Blog Readers: I use a TON of images for this episode. I just kept finding amazing images of this man.
      • Plus, there were a ton of memes claiming extraordinary facts about him that I wanted to double check.
  • So let us start by going over his Guinness Book of World Records:
    • Most screen credits for a living actor in 2007 after being acknowledged to have appeared in an incredible 244 film and TV movies.
      • When he passed in 2015 the number had gone up to 282 acting credits (according to IMDB)
      • Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of his acting credits.
        • HERE is a list of Lee’s filmography over the years according to Wikipedia
      • Some of his most notable roles:
        • Francisco Scaramanga from James Bond: the Man with the Golden Gun
        • Saruman in The Lord of the Rings series 
        • Frankenstein’s Monster
        • Kharis the mummy in The Mummy 
        • Count Dracula
        • Lord Summerisle in the British mystery movie The Wicker Man
        • the diver Martin Wallace in disaster movie Airport ’77
        • Count Dooku from Star Wars
        • Count de Rochefort in a couple Three Musketeers movies
        • Willy Wonka’s Dad
        • Emperor of China,
        • the Grim Reaper
        • Lucifer
        • Grigory Rasputin
        • Ramses
        • Vlad the Impaler
        • hosted SNL
        •  Russian Commandant Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov in Police Academy 7
          • Those are just a small fraction of the roles he played. I picked them because they all sound like really fun roles to play.
    • the Tallest actor in a leading role (a record he would go on to share with Wedding Crashers star Vince Vaughan).
      • Lee was 6’5″
    • most films with a swordfight by an actor
      • having dueled in 17 films with foils, swords, and even billiard cues
      • he’s been in everything from cutlass fights on the decks of waterlogged pirate ships to rapier duels in seventeenth-century France to taking on a couple guys one-third of his age with a lightsabers and a fistful of force lightning on the deck of an Imperial Star Destroyer
    • In 2004 he helped set the record for First spoken dialogue in a massive multiplayer online role playing game after lending his vocal talents to the game Everquest II,
    • he played the role of Diz/Ansem the Wise in Kingdom Hearts to set the record for Oldest videogame voice actor.
      • That same year also saw Lee knighted for services to drama and charity before being awarded a Bafta fellowship in 2011.
    • In 2008, he was recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s Most connected actor living after software developed by the University of Virginia that mapped the working relationship between 1,250,000 actors and actresses in the Internet Movie Database determined that Lee was “at the centre of the Hollywood universe”.
      • His networking skills must have been amazing.
  • But even legends have to start out somewhere
    • Lee was born in England during the year 1922.
    • His father was Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Trollope Lee
      • (1879–1941)
      • Lee’s father, was a distant relative of Robert E. Lee and was multi-decorated war hero who’d served as a Colonel in the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps during World War I and the Boer War.
    • And his mother, Countess Estelle Marie
      • (née Carandini di Sarzano; 1889–1981)
      • She was an Italian Countess and descendant of Charlamagne
      • One of Lee’s ancestors on that side was the Papal Secretary of State who refused to attend the coronation of Napoleon and is buried in the Pantheon in Rome next to Raphael
      • Her visage was apparently so striking that her portrait was painted by almost a dozen famous Italian painters
    • Lee studied Classics at Wellington College. He was a champion squash player, an amazing fencer, and spent his spare time playing on the school hockey and rugby.
    • In 1939 Lee quit his job as a desk clerk to enlist in the Finnish Army against the Soviet invasion of Finland. He didn’t see much combat by the time he returned to England in 1940, but this means he did technically fight in the WINTER WAR.
    • When Lee did return to England it was to Enlist in the Royal Air Force to fight against the Nazis.
      • He enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940 and trained with de Havilland Tiger Moths. Just before he was to have his first solo flight, he was diagnosed with a failure of his optic nerve that caused him headaches and blurred vision. Devastated, he was told he would never fly again. But that wasn’t the end of his military career, far from it…
      • He became an intelligence officer in WW2 and was shipped out to North Africa to join the Long Range Desert Patrol (later known as the British SAS)
        • If you have any knowledge of military powers of the world, or have seen a few movies, or even played a Call of Duty game, you know the SAS are some hardcore warriors.
          • Bear Grylls was in the SAS
          • and Christopher Lee was in LRDP the group that came before the SAS
        • Although Christopher Lee himself seldom spoke about his time in the military, history shows that the LRDP were some of the most elite soldiers in WW2.
        • While in Africa they took convoys hundreds of miles behind enemy lines (braving the formidable Sahara Desert) to sabotage Nazi Luftwaffe airfields with espionage, quick precise attacks, and of course… explosives. The unit Christopher Lee fought in (Long Range Desert Patrol) was very effective.
        • After his time in the LRDP, Lee became a Special Operations Executive. This would later be known as Winston Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (it almost sounds like the British were saying “sorry, not sorry” about being on the winning side of WW2.
          • These Special Operations Executives lead small team assaults on Germany’s top secret nuclear weapons sites in Norway.
          • They worked with Eastern European rebel forces to destroy Nazi supply lines that would have given them a chance to defeat the Soviets.
    • Later in the 2000’s Lee was asked by a reporter about his time in the military. Lee (6’5″ legendary war veteran famous for playing some of the most terrifying roles in cinematic history) stopped dead in his tracks, turned to face the reporter and gestured for him to come closer. … This man has played DEATH and he his now focusing all his attention on this reporter that is about half his height.
      • Lee asked “can you keep a secret?”
      • to Which the reporter eagerly said “YES!” Expecting Lee to finally open up about his combat experience.
      • At this Lee leaned down and whispered in his ear “so can I,” and just walked out the room.
    • Records show that when Lee retired from the Military as a Flight Lieutenant in 1945 he was personally decorated for battlefield bravery by the Yugoslavian, Czech, Polish, and English governments. He was also good friends with the Former President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Josip Broz.
  • After the war, Lee started his long career of acting in 1948.
    • Nearly 10 years later in 1957 Lee got his first big hit “The Curse of Frankenstein” where he played Frankenstein’s Monster.
    • In 1958 he played one of his most iconic roles in Dracula, playing Count Dracula.
    • In 1959 he played the Mummy Kharis in the movie The Mummy
    • Then in 1974 Lee played Francisco Scaramanga, the main villian from James Bond The Man with the Golden Gun
Lee looks cooler than cool.
  • Even though he played the villian… Christopher Lee WAS James Bond.
    • Although Lee didn’t get an official credit for inspiring the character, Ian Fleming (coincidentally, Lee’s step-cousin), has admitted that Lee’s days as a spy are what inspired him to create the ultimate super-spy, James Bond
    • Ian Fleming and Lee fought together in the SOE (Special Operations Executives) during WWII.
      • … he WAS James Bond
  • Lee was obsessed with Lord of the Rings
    • Out of the entire cast of the Lord of the Rings movies, only Lee met the Author J.R.R. Tolkien.
      • In a 2010 interview with Cinefantastique, Lee described meeting Tolkien “quite by chance.”
      • “I met him with a group of other people in a pub in Oxford he used to go to, The Eagle and Child,” he said. “I was very much in awe of him, as you can imagine, so I just said, ‘How do you do?'”
    • Because he was a massive fan of the books (quote: “greatest literary achievement in my lifetime.”), Lee was determined to be involved in any screen adaptation.
      • So in the 90’s he started trying out for other Wizard roles.
      • By 1997, he landed the role of wizard Olwyn in the TV series The New Adventures of Robin Hood.
      • When he heard Peter Jackson was making the now-famous Lord of the Rings films, Lee sent him a picture of himself dressed as a Wizard (robes and all) with a note saying “This is what I look like as a Wizard, don’t forget this when you cast the movie.”
        • I love this story because it humanizes Lee and makes you realize he had weird quirks like being a MASSIVE Tolkien fanboy.
  • I’m just imagining these two terrors of cinema giggling together like school boys at slapstick comedy in the form of Looney Toons.
Imagine being so cool you turn down Swedish Royalty. I’ve met Swedish women and they are DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!
  • Lee’s Music Career
    • Going back to Lee’s collegiate education on the classics, he was a classically trained vocalist.
    • When he was 88 years old he came out with an album about his ancestor Charlemagne called “Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross”
    • He played with Manowar and Rhapsody.
    • His single “Let Legend Mark Me as the King” was written by some Judas Priest band members.
Aside from the content of his words, I am in awe by HOW he speaks.
I had to include an image of Count Dooku
  • Miscellaneous Accolades
    • Oh, Lee’s also a master at golf being the only actor to be a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the most prestigious country club in the world.
    • He was married to Birgit Kroencke (a Danish Supermodel for 54 years.
    • He was a Commander of the Order of St. John’s of Jerusalem
      • The Order of St John, short for Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and also known as St John International, is a British royal order of chivalry constituted in 1888 by royal charter from Queen Victoria and dedicated to St John the Baptist.
    • Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire
    • Received the the World Award’s lifetime achievement award presented to him by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003
    • Also was awarded the Unicef Award of 2012 and the Cinema For Peace Award in 2014, which he received from Angelina Jolie
Order of Saint John
  • His characters have executed both Charles the First of England and Louis the Sixteenth of France.
  • He’s portrayed Englishmen, Egyptians, Spaniards, Transylvanians, Frenchmen, Greeks, Poles, Chinese, Indians, Italians, Wallachians, Romans, Germans, Arabs, Gypsies, and Russians, played the lead role in the biography of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
  • He speaks English, German, Russian, Swedish, Italian, and French, can do any English accent he wants, and sings everything from opera and death metal in a hardcore bass voice.
    • Lee’s movies have grossed more than any actor ever – his top five alone grossed $4.4B
    • he filmed every single scene in Star Wars 3 in a single day
    • he’s never received a Best Actor nomination BUT he’s been in 4 movies nominated for Best Picture
    • Lee belonged to three stuntman unions and did all of his own stunts.
      • He even has cool stunt injury stories
        • He once busted his face smashing head-first through an actual plate glass window for a scene.
        • He injured himself falling into an open grave while portraying Dracula, and once had his hand slashed open during a drunken sword fight with Golden Hollywood Era star Errol Flynn.
  • He was a living legend
    • You might point to his incredibly impressive ancestry or perhaps his military training, but after learning about his life you have to realize he was different from most people in a spectacular way.
    • I would have loved to have met him, maybe have a glass of brandy with the man.