How Allied prisoners used a Ouija board to escape a Turkish prison camp in World War I

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In 1917 a pair of Allied officers combined a homemade Ouija board, audacity, and imagination to hoax their way out of a remote prison camp in the mountains of Turkey. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the remarkable escape of Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, which one observer called “the most colossal fake of modern times.”

We'll also consider a cactus' role in World War II and puzzle over a cigar-smoking butler.

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Oklahoma outlaw Elmer McCurdy had a career that lasted 100 years -- two-thirds of it as a corpse.

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In 1976 a television crew discovered a mummified corpse in a California funhouse. Unbelievably, an investigation revealed that it belonged to an Oklahoma outlaw who had been shot by sheriff's deputies in 1911 and whose remains had been traveling the country ever since. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the postmortem odyssey of Elmer McCurdy, "the bandit who wouldn't give up."

We'll also reflect on a Dutch artist's disappearance and puzzle over some mysterious hospital deaths.

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Dancers in the house

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.

A roving. shifting company of dance and performance artists is nudging its audiences to think about home differently -- by bringing one-off, site-specific performances to houses, live-work spaces and tiny apartments all over the Los Angeles area. Meet homeLA.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast's ASOIAF book club - FeastDance #5

Janos Slynt over a barrel

The Boars, Gore, and Swords book club reading of the Boiled Leather chapter order combining George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons continues onwards. On this week's "Mugs, Thermoses, and Tea Cups," Ivan and Red cover Samwell I (AFFC 6), Jon II (ADWD 8), and Arya I (AFFC 7). They discuss Sam Tarly's manga collection, the Watch's method of handling managerial disputes, and the best Arya scene to not make the show.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

What Would Happen if We Stopped Eating Meat?

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Today we go to a future where animal products are banned. It’s one that lots of listeners have asked for so here you go. We talk about what happens to the land, the animals and the humans in this equation.

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In this episode we discuss the arguments in favor and against banning meat. How does that impact culture? Why should we do it? Does it help or hurt the environment? Can you really grow meat in a lab? And is that meat vegan?

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The love affair that inspired the Rolls Royce hood ornament

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TV Dreamland

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.:

When TV producer Phil Savenick started collecting vintage TVs and TV memorabilia, he didn’t anticipate that he’d end up with what he now calls a “dreamland of televisions” in the living room of his West Los Angeles home — or that he’d end up helping the family of the man who invented TV heal some old wounds.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast's A Song of Ice and Fire book club continues

Tyrion Drinking

The Boars, Gore, and Swords book club continues with the Boiled Leather chapter order combining George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. On this week's "Holes Want Filling," Ivan and Red cover Cersei I (AFFC), Tyrion I (ADWD), and Daenarys I (ADWD), and discuss ceremonial robes that didn't make it to television, Cersei's continued fall down the priorities ladder, and which actors are too dignified to be stuck in a wine cask.

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To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter@boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

When Today's Teens Run for Office

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Today we try to figure out what happens when our future presidential candidates have thousands of Tweets and Tumblr posts and Instagrams in their online record.

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What happens, when today’s teens start running for office? When their entire internet history is there, searchable, for us to read? What if these teens Tweet something at 15 that they might regret at 45? Do we learn to accept that their opinions have changed? Or do we go through every candidate's entire social media history to find dirt on them? Does that tactic still work in the future? Or do we all just throw up our hands and admit that teens have bad opinions and that hopefully those opinions have changed?

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Could a dead Gettysburg soldier be identified by the photograph he held?

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After the Battle of Gettysburg, a dead Union soldier was found near the center of town. He bore no identification, but in his hands he held a photograph of three children. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the efforts of one Philadelphia physician to track down the lost man's family using only the image of his children.

We'll also sample a 9-year-old's comedy of manners and puzzle over a letter that copies itself.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast talks Netflix's Stranger Things

Netflix's Stranger Things

This week on the podcast, Boars, Gore, and Swords takes a break from the A Song of Ice and Fire book club to watch the first episode of Netflix's Spielbergian horror sci-fi series Stranger Things. In this installment of What You Should Be WatchingIvan and Red discuss the shows's many references, what constitutes a solid creeping monster jump scare, and ill-fated emotional attachments to burly diner cooks.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

What if all drugs were totally legal?

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In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast continues the A Song of Ice and Fire book club

Ash-and-Iron Wife

The Boars, Gore, and Swords book club forges on with the Boiled Leather chapter order combining George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. In this week's "Ghost of Sand Snakes Yet to Come," Ivan and Red cover the chapters "The Prophet" and "The Captain of the Guards." They discuss the religious importance of drowning, weapon-based objectophilia, and which European landmarks found their way to Dorne.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

The story of Donald Crowhurst, who tried to fake sailing around the world in 1968.

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In 1968 British engineer Donald Crowhurst entered a round-the-world yacht race, hoping to use the prize money to save his failing electronics business. Woefully unprepared and falling behind, he resorted to falsifying a journey around the world. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe the desperate measures that Crowhurst turned to as events spiraled out of his control.

We'll also get some updates on Japanese fire balloons and puzzle over a computer that turns on the radio.

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Belushi, Bette and Beverly Hills

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.: The process by which one place stops being home and another starts -- it's a mysterious thing. It happens, most often, when we're not paying attention. And sometimes, as it did for comedy writer and transplanted East Coaster Janis Hirsch, it happens in stages. First she started to feel at home in Los Angeles; but it was only later, after a series of addresses and a run-in or two with Bette Davis, that she landed in the exact place that would be, finally, her home.

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Why the founder of Mother's Day came to hate the holiday

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Anna Jarvis organized the first observance of Mother's Day in 1908 and campaigned to have it adopted throughout the U.S. But she then spent the next 40 years bitterly fighting to control every aspect of the holiday. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow the evolution of Mother's Day and Jarvis' belligerent efforts to dictate how it should be celebrated.

We'll also meet a dog that flummoxed the Nazis and puzzle over why a man is fired for doing his job too well.

Show notes 

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast begins the A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons combined chapter order

Orell Warg'ing

Instead of individually covering the fourth and fifth books in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the  Boars, Gore, and Swords book club is reading the Boiled Leather chapter order organized by Sean T. Collins. The new order combines the concurrently occurring events of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons into one massive undertaking. In this week's "World of Wargcraft," Ivan and Red get into the books' respective prologues. Catch up on previous book club episodes, going over the previous novels as well as the Dunk and Egg stories.

To catch up on previous television seasons, the A Song of Ice And Fire books, and other TV and movies, check out the BGaS archive. You can find them on Twitter @boarsgoreswords, like their Facebook fanpage, and email them. If you want access to extra episodes and content, you can donate to the Patreon. Read the rest

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