Omnibus

Omnibus

By Ken Jennings and John Roderick

Twice a week, Ken Jennings and John Roderick add a new entry to the OMNIBUS, an encyclopedic reference work of strange-but-true stories that they are compiling as a time capsule for future generations.

Episodes

Episode 262: Soapy Smith (Entry 1178.2T0313)

In which Alaska chooses to make a cheerfully lawless gold rush villain into a beloved folk hero, and Ken wonders if he's married to a dice-rolling confidence artist. Certificate #35570.
28/05/201h 5m

Episode 261: Chick Tracts (Entry 214.RO0116)

In which history's most widely read theologian is revealed to be an eccentric Los Angeles cartoonist and conspiracy theorist who looks like Slim Pickens, and John notices that religious pamphlets mostly appear in places where bad things happen. Certificate #31387.
26/05/201h 17m

Episode 260: The Joy of Cooking (Entry 676.EZ2410)

In which a Listerine label-printing company publishes what goes on to become the most popular cookbook in American history, and Ken imagines Wall Street Journal portraits of seafood. Certificate #38738.
21/05/201h 12m

Episode 259: Love (Entry 737.GA0514)

In which one of the great Pop Art geniuses of his century accidentally becomes a one-hit wonder with an iconic bit of typography, and John regrets never entering into an arranged marriage. Certificate #37350.
19/05/201h 4m

Episode 258: The International Cable Protection Committee (Entry 654.IS4316)

In which we are reminded that the modern global communication network still relies on unwiedly physical cables running along the sea-floor, tempting Russian spies and itchy whales, and Ken enjoys the word "gutta-percha." Certificate #34332.
14/05/201h 5m

Episode 257: Grade Inflation (Entry 542.JB0807)

In which the phenomenon of "illusory superiority" causes a gradual creep of ratings and reputations in every field, from maple syrup to dunks to dress sizes, and John is universally praised by his rideshare drivers. Certificate #45417.
12/05/201h 13m

Episode 256: Tanzanite (Entry 1277.IS5411)

In which a consortium of gemologists tries to persuade vacationers of the hottest new thing in jewelry, which Ken considers to be the Sammy Hagar of birthstones. Certificate #48596.
07/05/2058m 53s

Episode 255: Etchings (Entry 428.GN3907)

In which filthy Restoration comedy, Horatio Alger, and a sensational murder trial conspire to create a very odd pick-up line, and John requires an extra syllable in "Tijuana." Certificate #2793.
05/05/201h 1m

Episode 254: The Wild Goose (Entry 1432.MT0823)

In which John Wayne buys a decommissioned minesweeper as his luxury yacht and it outlasts its more famous French sister ship, which is probably now full of slugs. Certificate #28232.
30/04/201h 5m

Episode 253: (LIVE) The Wreck of the Titan (Entry 1446.EZ2734)

In which a failed periscope inventor predicts the greatest disaster of his time with apparently paranormal accuracy, and special guest Aimee Mann is warned away from the supernatural in no uncertain terms. Certificate #27264.
28/04/201h 2m

Episode 252: Prairie Schooners (Entry 975.NU0703)

In which the west is won by long fleets of covered wagons "sailing" on to the Oregon Territory, and Ken thinks it was mistake to capitalize the Northwest Passage. Certificate #18089.
23/04/201h 0m

Episode 251: Ferdinandea (Entry 461.RV1620)

In which the European powers scramble to claim an infant pile of basalt in the Mediterranean, and John wonders how steampunk the Libyan submarine fleet might be. Certificate #50204.
21/04/2046m 37s

Episode 250: Green Funerals (Entry 549.1S3113)

In which John describes environmentally friendly modern alternatives to burial, and refuses to apologize for leaving an urn full of ashes under his piano for a decade. Certificate #37628.
16/04/201h 6m

Episode 249: Bode's Law (Entry 138.JB2212)

In which amateur algebra experts figure out where the planets in the solar system should be, and are (briefly) proven right, and Ken gets his hair cut by a ghost. Certificate #36737.
14/04/2058m 54s

Episode 248: Genoan Insurance (Entry 522.MT0634)

In which the modern insurance industry is born when medieval Italian merchants form syndicates to manage risk, and Ken manages risk by making people order pancakes. Certificate #46598.
09/04/2059m 30s

Episode 247: Streaking (Entry 1234.RV1615)

In which dumb campus fads return to the American spotlight in 1973 thanks to a mild winter and legions of nude undergrads, and John gradually remembers his own complicated streaking history. Certificate #41916.
07/04/201h 10m

Episode 246: The De Havilland Beaver (Entry 328.DE0203)

In which the Great White North is serviced and explored by the greatest bush plane of all time, and Ken decides that aircraft shouldn't be named after bugs. Certificate #35435.
02/04/201h 9m

Episode 245: Mesoamerican Ball Game (Entry 778.JB3122)

In which pre-Columbian civilizations spend thousands of years banging each other up with heavy rubber balls, and John tries to replace professional sports with stick-fighting. Certificate #28586.
31/03/2059m 39s

Episode 244: Naked Came the Stranger (Entry 823.MT2538)

In which a droll Long Island reporter and his newsroom buddies accidentally create one of the all-time great dirty books, and Ken is skeptical of the nudist lifestyle. Certificate #50150.
26/03/201h 4m

Episode 243: Sadie Hawkins Day (Entry 1094.GN3912)

In which a hippie-hating cartoonist accidentally creates a (slightly) gender-equalizing campus tradition, and John spends hours poring over newspaper bridge columns. Certificate #44390.
24/03/201h 20m

Episode 242: Chinook Jargon (Entry 215.1C1413)

In which a very old Native American trading pidgin becomes a regional language and 20th-century slang, and Ken goes to a movie theater that basically confessed to genocide. Certificate #5725.
19/03/2057m 48s

Episode 241: Patagonian Giants (Entry 907.MT0627)

In which the world's tallest tribe, if they even exist, are enslaved by Ferdinand Magellan and downsized by subsequent visitors, and John reminds us of the importance of good posture. Certificate #33392.
17/03/2054m 44s

Episode 240: Bill W. (Entry 122.NU0603)

In which one rough night for a traveling salesman in Akron, Ohio births a new spiritual approach to addiction recovery, and Ken suggests some interesting anagrams for post-human Presbyterian listeners. Certificate #19544.
12/03/201h 29m

Episode 239: Hikikomori (Entry 587.1K2225)

In which a generation of traumatized Japanese young people increasingly decide never to come out of their bedrooms, whereas John insists on dying alone. Certificate #50644.
10/03/201h 8m

Episode 238: Cow Magnets (Entry 289.JL0118)

In which we learn that ruminants are eating a lot more metal nowadays than they used to, and that Ken would like to have a gravel spoon at dinner. Certificate #28929
05/03/201h 3m

Episode 237: Longitudinal Film (Entry 734.PS9010)

In which British documentarians and Austin slackers alike use the movies to unveil the mysteries of aging and mortality, and John leaves a series of women waiting for him at train stations in Spain. Certificate #48149
03/03/201h 19m

Episode 236: Hands Across America (Entry 565.PR1121)

In which the 1980s fad for charity pop singles inspires an ambitious geographic stunt, and Ken plans a foolproof way to assassinate Jamie Farr. Certificate #26004
27/02/201h 13m

Episode 235: Operation Just Cause (Entry 869.EZ4510)

In which the bizarre 1989 American invasion of Panama kicks off our modern era of on-the-nose Pentagon naming conventions, and John is reminded of a dominatrix, as usual. Certificate #19345.
25/02/2052m 19s

Episode 234: Trafalgar vs. Carmania (Entry 1325.IS2314)

In which the First World War begins in an unexpected fashion, with two ocean liners blowing holes in each other off the coast of Brazil, and Ken gets gaslit into buying a tuxedo. Certificate #32056.
20/02/201h 7m

Episode 233: The Dogon (Entry 369.DE0419)

In which an African tribe proves so eager to please that they convince generations of ethnographers that alien visitors from Sirius are real, and John gets annoyed that ancient astronauts never invented baseball. Certificate #26731.
18/02/2058m 12s

Episode 232: Cincinnati Chili (Entry 223.2K0440)

In which an early fast food boom, Greek immigration, and (of course) the World's Fair conspire to trick Ohioans into redefining "chili," and John gets justifiably upset about bananas on spaghetti. Certificate #24598.
13/02/2049m 4s

Episode 231: Snow Valley, Oklahoma (Entry 1182.JB2419)

In which a Vermonter with an ill-conceived dream brings skiiing very briefly to the Sooner State, and Ken attempts to secure his family some very rare Pokemon cards. Certificate #17398.
11/02/201h 12m

Episode 230: The Tootsie Pop Indian (Entry 1317.LA0312)

In which an American candy company refuses to honor a longstanding bit of playground lollipop lore, and Ken tries to calculate the homeopathic healing power of Tootsie Rolls. Certificate #33486.
06/02/201h 9m

Episode 229: Chastity Belts (Entry 209.LV2113)

In which Renaissance satirists and modern amateur historians accidentally create a physiologically impossible medieval device, and John has a theory about locksmiths and cocaine. Certificate #49406.
04/02/2055m 19s

Episode 228: Coppicing (Entry 276.PS8015)

In which a forgotten medieval art of tree-harvesting is revived by the sustainability movement, and Ken blames the coming environmental catastrophe on "sugar energy." Certificate #22560.
30/01/2049m 29s

Episode 227: Harry Dexter White (Entry 1428.LK0817)

In which the American architect of post-World War II global capitalism turns out to have a dark and traitorous secret, and John imagines he would be a huge hassle for his spy handlers. Certificate #25923.
28/01/201h 12m

Episode 226: The Death of Trolleys (Entry 320.GN4519)

In which we find General Motors and its corporate co-conspirators not guilty on the charge of killing American streetcar lines, and Ken gets very excited about funicular railways. Certificate #14871.
23/01/201h 1m

Episode 225: George Bush's Crack Dealer (Entry 524.JB1808)

In which the president of the United States lies to the nation about how he got three ounces of crack cocaine into the Oval Office, and John is asked to leave a crime scene. Certificate #34620.
21/01/2056m 9s

Episode 224: Backgammon (Entry 090.EX2816)

In which an ancient Mesopotamian board game briefly becomes a 1970s signifier for glamour and sophistication, and Ken's life is changed by an intense childhood game of Clue. Certificate #31179.
16/01/201h 7m

Episode 223: Masquerade (Entry 763.PS10424)

In which an outsider artist hides a rabbit by a statue and thereby gets a million people to start digging up the English countryside, and John "man-solves" a Satanic temple. Certificate #14162.
14/01/201h 8m

Episode 222: The Tech Model Railroad Club (Entry 1282.1C1220)

In which a room full of MIT train nerds becomes ground zero for modern American hacker culture and computer architecture, and Ken blames Star Wars for ruining children's toys. Certificate #33564.
09/01/201h 1m

Episode 221: Byzantine Rhinokopia (Entry 170.JB4102)

In which the Byzantine throne is contested by various Machiavellian schemes willing to mutilate the noses of their political rivals, and John reveals which Marx brother he is most sexually attracted to. Certificate #34954.
07/01/2049m 0s

Episode 220: Fort Knox (Entry 493.2CH0913)

In which a World War I army camp in northern Kentucky is chosen to house over $200 billion in gold bullion, and Ken proposes nationalizing America's safety deposit boxes. Certificate #2504.
02/01/201h 6m

Episode 219: Induced Demand (Entry 637.EZ1704)

In which we learn why new highway lanes, no matter how spacious, tend to fill to capacity within weeks of opening, and John takes on a hypothetical megacorporation called Goober. Certificate #38938.
31/12/191h 6m

Episode 218: The Leafblower (Entry 707.DA0414)

In which ecologically problematic outdoor power tools accidentally become an official part of the Omnibus, all because John's neighbor refuses to call "Leafbusters." Certificate #25458.
26/12/1953m 41s

Episode 217: The Christmas Pickle (Entry 220.IS0108)

In which a Spokane antique store creates a fake Bavarian holiday tradition from scratch, and John's beard makes him look bigger. Certificate #31503.
24/12/191h 7m

Episode 216: The Max Headroom Intrusion (Entry 767.JB2415)

In which we examine the broadcast-jamming fad of the 1980s, including a puzzling incident involving a masked Chicago prankster, and Ken wants to be a font cop. Certificate #29692.
19/12/191h 23m

Episode 215: Interferon (Entry 652.PS10303)

In which a strange, sticky new protein is declared—on the basis of very little evidence—to be a cure-all in the war against cancer, and Ken refuses to make the necessary sacrifices to become a skateboarding star. Certificate #40478.
17/12/1957m 38s

Episode 214: Ada Lovelace (Entry 737.PR3118)

In which a 19th-century countess overcomes her father's scandalous celebrity and her mother's love of parallelograms to become the world's first computer programmer, and John comes to regret renaming Alexa. Certificate #46507.
12/12/191h 21m

Episode 213: Square Dancing (Entry 1211.JB2111)

In which we learn that America's love affair with do-si-dos is a relatively recent and artificial form of nostalgia jump-started by Henry Ford's hatred for jazz, and Ken misremembers "krumping." Certificate #42537.
10/12/1955m 51s

Episode 212: The Toyota Hilux (Entry 1323.JG0119)

In which an oddly named model of Toyota pickup becomes the truck of choice for Marty McFly, Top Gear fans, polar explorers, and ISIS. Certificate #16197
05/12/191h 2m

Episode 211: The Duchess of Bedford (Entry 383.PR2301)

In which one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting atones for her gossip scandals at court by inventing a brand new meal, and John blames museum docents for all his schedule problems. Certificate #48479.
03/12/191h 3m

Episode 210: Mother Jones (Entry 675.MK0333)

In which an Irish immigrant pretending to be an old lady becomes a star of the American labor movement, and Ken ponders the death of middle initials. Certificate #12952.
28/11/191h 10m

Episode 209: The Rite of Spring Riot (Entry 1076.EZ2613)

In which Ken blames the weirdest ballet premiere of all time on class warfare, bad hair and costuming choices, and anti-Russian xenophobia, and John renames the sport of gymnastics. Certificate #31616.
26/11/191h 9m

Episode 208: The Ambassador Bridge (Entry 039.EZ4705)

In which one canny Detroit billionaire manages to gain sole control of the linchpin of American foreign trade, and John repeatedly insists he is not giving advice to terrorists. Certificate #36634.
21/11/191h 9m

Episode 207: Grass (Entry 546.MK0639)

In which lawns are revealed to be covering three times as much of America as any other crop, and Ken explains why the tallgrass prairies of the 19th century produced no great tennis players. Certificate #31632.
19/11/1946m 2s

Episode 206: Fern Fever (Entry 462.JB0816)

In which Victorian England becomes obsessed with the beautiful fronds and sexy lifestyle of ferns, and John brings the Arts and Crafts movement to the grunge era. Certificate #31358.
14/11/1957m 49s

Episode 205: Porfirio Rubirosa (Entry 1087.1K1210)

In which a Dominican diplomat cozies up to one of history's worst dictators, marries the two richest women in the world, and creates our modern image of the macho "Latin lover," and Ken tries to revive some slang from 1980s sex comedies. Certificate #41003.
12/11/1959m 10s

Episode 204: No-Fault Divorce (Entry 840.MK1009)

In which Ronald Reagan, of all people, introduces a new legal philosophy of marriage and divorce to America in 1970, though it takes New York forty years to catch up. Certificate #27256.
07/11/191h 1m

Episode 203: Earth-Two (Entry 391.RV2101)

In which a single 1961 comic book births a multiverse and reshapes our modern understanding of parallel dimensions in art as well as life, and John wistfully fantasizes about an honest Hitler. Certificate #46819.
05/11/191h 19m

Episode 202: Faces of Death (Entry 447.JB1616)

In which the "mondo" shock movie craze of the 1960s inspires a morbid megahit that turns out to be more hoax than documentary, and monkey brains make their big-screen debut. Certificate #41907.
31/10/191h 0m

Episode 201: Haitian Zombies (Entry 561.ZC1412)

In which the origins of America's favorite 21st-century horror trope are traced back to the miseries of Caribbean plantation slavery, which is a huge bummer, and John ponders the role of squash in the afterlife. Certificate #49964.
29/10/1957m 43s

Episode 200: Government Cheese (Entry 541.1S1718)

In which an American dairy surplus and some dubious policy decisions creates a processed welfare staple of the Reagan era, and Ken reveals his favorite lunchmeat. Certificate #24553.
24/10/191h 3m

Episode 199: Johnny Appleseed (Entry 060.SS0203)

In which one of America's great folk heroes is revealed as a Swedenborgian mystic, a land baron, and⁠—to John's mind⁠—a 19th-century weed dealer. Certificate #36692.
22/10/1950m 50s

Episode 198: The Gossamer Albatross (Entry 540.PS5506)

In which humankind's dream of flying with the birds leads through all manner of weird ornithopters and flying bikes to a very low-altitude crossing of the English Channel, and John aces the Pepsi Challenge on a boat. Certificate #20913.
17/10/191h 13m

Episode 197: The Texas Zombies (Entry 1292.MT2424)

In which an unscrupulous Michigan music promoter dispatches fake versions of one of the great bands of rock's British Invasion, and John wages his own copyright battle against a legendary pioneer woman. Certificate #51274.
15/10/191h 3m

Episode 196: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Entry 1000.ES0905)

In which the chaos of Europe around 1900 produces a literary hoax that powers a century of anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, and Ken shares his distrust of sports stadiums. Certificate #42869.
10/10/191h 18m

Episode 195: How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin? (Entry 603.RV0511)

In which scholasticism gets roasted for its obsession with thorny, possibly pointless theological questions, and John explains the difference between escalator angels and hobo angels. Certificate #39095.
08/10/1956m 34s

Episode 194: Oblique Strategies (Entry 856.RO1202)

In which music legend Brian Eno and an artist friend develop a tarot deck for beating writer's block, and Ken uses lateral thinking to determine that John and Mary were goldfish. Certificate #26638.
03/10/1955m 52s

Episode 193: Fritz Stammberger (Entry 1215.NU1317)

In which a mountaineering legend disappears in Pakistan, his game show icon widow becomes convinced he's secretly a spy, and John dresses like the worst kind of CIA agent. Certificate #31997.
01/10/1959m 13s

Episode 192: Ticker Tape Parades (Entry 1306.ES0609)

In which America's love for French celebrity guests and her abundance of corporate litter combine to create an iconic New York tradition, and Ken ponders what to do with a giant Styrofoam version of his head. Certificate #9509.
26/09/191h 4m

Episode 191: Icelandic Incest (Entry 615.DE2722)

In which a helpful new phone app is developed to prevent Icelanders from dating their cousins, which may tragically keep them outside of the "Goldilocks Zone" of inbreeding. Certificate #20625.
24/09/1948m 28s

Episode 190: Sliced Bread (Entry 1172.MK0652)

In which the canonical greatest innovation of modern life turns out to be a result of uneven toaster technology, and John builds the worst soapbox racer of all time. Certificate #50925.
19/09/1959m 49s

Episode 189: As Slow as Possible (Entry 075.2P0308)

In which a German church organ perform a John Cage composition so slowly that the concert will last 639 years, and Ken has an opinion on who the horniest characters are in Middle-earth. Certificate #24524.
17/09/191h 2m

Episode 188: Juggalos (Entry 677.IS6015)

In which a horrorcore rap-rock duo from Detroit accidentally creates a global army of misfits and outcasts, and Pearl Jam gets John thrown in jail five times. Certificate #32373.
12/09/191h 12m

Episode 187: MSG (Entry 813.LK1434)

In which a combination of Cold War paranoia and good old-fashioned racism convince America that deliciously "umami" Asian food is actually killing them, and Ken eats kelp in a kayak. Certificate #21879.
10/09/1955m 23s

Episode 186: The Battle of Palmdale (Entry 104.EZ2047)

In which two overeager fighter pilots chase down a runaway drone over Southern California, accidentally lighting much of the state on fire, and John wants to be a marshal of some kind. Certificate #31303.
05/09/191h 8m

Episode 185: Alexander von Humboldt (Entry 605.CO0203)

In which an adventurous Prussian polymath single-handedly revolutionizes modern science, and even helps kick-start the liberation of South America and the environmental movement, and John and Ken ponder their own inevitable disappearance down the memory hole. Certificate #41705.
03/09/191h 0m

Episode 184: Florence Lawrence (Entry 705.MT0210)

In which a vaudeville baby whistler becomes the world's first movie star and goes on to invent the electric windshield wiper, and Ken's knowledge of Ogden Nash insults finally comes in handy. Certificate #52050.
29/08/191h 13m

Episode 183: Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins (Entry 795.PS1912)

In which many of the most commonly taught grammar and usage rules in English are revealed to be arbitrary, made-up, out-of-date, or all three, and John explains why Miss Manners should be in charge of the Internet. Certificate #41607.
27/08/191h 12m

Episode 182: Biosphere 2 (Entry 124.IS6517)

In which an eccentric metallurgist with a theater troupe begins one of the strangest science experiments in history and learns that humankind might not be ready for Mars yet, and Ken watches Jeff Bezos injure a fig tree. Certificate #34308.
22/08/191h 16m

Episode 181: Lottery Winners (Entry 736.HE1305)

In which we follow the history of government games of chance from ancient China to today's bankrupt Powerball millionaires, and John grifts his elementary school out of a side of beef. Certificate #32943.
20/08/191h 21m

Episode 180: Fotomats (Entry 494.LV2342)

In which a bygone errand, developing vacation snapshots, becomes so widespread that it gets its own chain of drive-thru kiosks, and Ken's mom looks great in a red knit jumper and gold polyester turtleneck. Certificate #38597.
15/08/1955m 17s

Episode 179: Gold Hats (Entry 537.PS2103)

In which four mysterious cones are unearthed from proto-Celtic Europe, perhaps holding untold secrets of the calendar and cosmos, and John is surrounded by the happy nudists of the Danube. Certificate #23490
13/08/1948m 51s

Episode 178: ARkStorm (Entry 067.PS9303)

In which a periodic "atmospheric river" from the Pacific Ocean threatens to put a quarter of Californians underwater in the very near future, which scares Ken so much that he decides to drill holes in his couch. Certificate #23973.
08/08/1955m 45s

Episode 177: The Monkey Selfie (Entry 803.MT2220)

In which the legal and creative rights of a crested macaque are debated on the world stage, and we learn Ken wants to look like Popeye. Certificate #2720.
06/08/191h 8m

Episode 176: The Onion Futures Act (Entry 867.NU1105)

In which two savvy farmers try to corner the market on onions by buying up the whole Midwestern supply, and John compares Gerald Ford to a Jesuit. Certificate #25671.
01/08/191h 6m

Episode 175: Bob Dylan's Christian Period (Entry 138.AC1631)

In which rock's most cryptic genius shocks the world by being "born again," releasing three uneven gospel albums and annoying a lot of concertgoers. Certificate #39323.
30/07/1959m 37s

Episode 174: Canning (Entry 180.LK1219)

In which doomed Arctic explorers and a spiritualist's vacuum sealer help revolutionize the science of food storage, and John reveals that his "dueling scars" are actually from drinking cold canned pasta. Certificate #42072.
25/07/1956m 56s

Episode 173: The Four-Color Map Problem (Entry 495.NU2653)

In which over a century of mathematicians are unable to solve a geometry problem straight out of a coloring book, computers provide their first ever math "proof," and Ken challenges John to map a donut. Certificate #28876.
23/07/1950m 36s

Episode 172: The Church of the SubGenius (Entry 222.AC1605)

In which a fictional pipe-smoking salesman invents a new quasi-religion for ironists, Discordians, and weirdos, and Ken believes he could have prevented the Trojan War. Certificate #31147.
18/07/1957m 2s

Episode 171: The Rural Purge (Entry 1091.PS6503)

In which CBS cancels a full slate of country-fried programming, reinventing TV and marginalizing rural America, and John somehow watches an awful lot of Hee Haw. Certificate #36841.
16/07/1950m 29s

Episode 170: Peak Phosphorus (Entry 911.PS9703)

In which one of the key nutrients for all life on Earth washes inexorably into the ocean all day every day, which really stresses Ken out. Certificate #52178
11/07/1955m 57s

Episode 169: John Dee (Entry 325.DA0202)

In which Queen Elizabeth's top astrologer dreams up the British Empire, solar power, and possibly even James Bond, and then loses his whole reputation to a charlatan with no earlobes, leading John to create a list of scientists who should have stayed in their lane. Certificate #44269
09/07/1956m 8s

Episode 168: Quonset Huts (Entry 1023.PS6103)

In which the U.S. military builds hundreds of thousands of weird half-cylindrical shelters out of corrugated steel, and Ken reports on what they would look like with stained-glass windows. Certificate #35704
04/07/1954m 11s

Episode 167: Droodles (Entry 382.AC0212)

In which we remember Frank Zappa's favorite 1950s fad, brought to you by the inventor of Mad Libs, and John remembers why people actually thought a Sasquatch lived on top of the Space Needle back in foggier times. Certificate #48261.
02/07/191h 7m

Episode 166: Furries (Entry 508.GN2716)

In which hundreds of thousands of people dress in big plush animal suits as a hobby, identity, or fetish, and Ken explains the secret Family Feud notebooks of his childhood. Certificate #26505
27/06/1958m 12s

Episode 165: Town Line, New York (Entry 1323.2C0617)

In which a tiny village secedes from the United States to join the Confederacy and forgets to rejoin for almost a century--even though it's in upstate New York just miles from the Canadian border. Certificate #42052.
25/06/1953m 18s

Episode 164: Cold Fusion (Entry 242.PR2004)

In which two of the world's smartest electrochemists get fooled by a botched experiment and the promise of fame, and John reveals that GPS mysticism is his pseudoscience. Certificate #19668.
21/06/191h 3m

Episode 163: The Kamehameha Colonists (Entry 681.IS4204)

In which over a hundred of Honolulu's elite private school students are shipped off to some of the world's most remote islands on a top-secret government mission, and Ken wonders if sea turtles can feel dread. Certificate #22194.
19/06/1952m 39s

Episode 162: Maraschino Cherries (Entry 758.PR0819)

In which we learn how a historical delicacy of Croatia got bastardized into a staple of American cocktails and sundaes, and John is upset when his third grade teacher pays him in ice cream instead of cash. Certificate #28197.
13/06/1955m 55s

Episode 161: Cursive (Entry 307.DA0508)

In which we trace script handwriting from ancient Egypt all the way up to the modern culture wars, and John and Ken argue over the ugliest cursive capital letter: is it J or Q? Certificate #32892.
11/06/1958m 22s

Episode 160: Lilly Pulitzer (Entry 1007.LK1227)

In which the messy orange-eating of a runaway heiress creates a colorful new summer look for American women, and Ken goes way too far with his Kennedy assassination theories. Certificate #12306.
06/06/1944m 50s

Episode 159: Bone Wars (Entry 141.PS14107)

In which America's two greatest dinosaur hunters ruin their lives in an unhinged battle of spite and revenge, which John finds extremely romantic. Certificate #24269.
04/06/1950m 16s

Episode 158: Pattie Boyd (Entry 148.DE2402)

In which two of the greatest rock guitarists of all time pine after the same woman, each marry her in turn, and somehow stay friends. Certificate #42401.
30/05/1954m 54s

Episode 157: The Reindeer Wizards (Entry 1049.DE1811)

In which we remember the 1950s charity drive to raise reindeer funds for a tribe of Scandinavian telepaths--a problem they really should have seen coming. Certificate #37239.
28/05/1948m 19s

Episode 156: Trapper Keepers (Entry 1331.IS0816)

In which a re-designed school binder becomes a mandatory school accessory and one of the great marketing successes of the 1980s, and Ken spends hours looking at erasers shaped like sushi. Certificate #31310.
23/05/1953m 15s

Episode 155: Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr. (Entry 1229.MT1125)

In which an Esperanto-loving stage mom raises America's first celebrity child prodigy, who writes one of history's most famous poems before vanishing into a cloud of bigamy and scandal. Certificate #35551.
21/05/1955m 51s

Episode 154: Plymouth Rock (Entry 955.EX3321)

In which John visits one of the most underwhelming (and breakable) landmarks in American history, and explains why its entire history is almost certainly made up. Certificate #33004.
16/05/1949m 12s

Episode 153: Tortilla Chips (Entry 1320.GN4226)

In which America discovers Tex-Mex food at Disneyland, leading to the invention of Doritos and "extreme" snack foods, and Ken has clam chowder in his car. Certificate #42729.
14/05/1953m 4s

Episode 152: Private Wojtek the Bear (Entry 988.HO1308)

In which we follow an army of exiled Polish soldiers from Siberia to Iran to Scotland, and learn why they taught a Syrian brown bear to carry ammo and eat cigarettes. Certificate #41871.
09/05/1939m 23s

Episode 151: Hotel Detectives (Entry 601.GN4321)

In which we learn about palming doorknobs, spotting bunco artists and fornicators, and other old tricks of the "hotel dick" trade, and John steals some room service pizza. Certificate #51720.
07/05/1942m 44s

Episode 150: The Charge of the Light Brigade (Entry 208.GN5009)

In which a series of underqualified officers and vague, sweeping gestures lead to a terrible military debacle, a good sweater, and a catchy poem, and Ken expresses some skepticism about Captain von Trapp. Certificate #38694.
02/05/191h 2m

Episode 149: The French Revolutionary Calendar (Entry 500.EX1202)

In which the freethinkers of the Enlightenment take a stab at designing a 100% secular timekeeping system from the ground up, and John wants to be called "Goldenrod." Certificate #44270.
30/04/191h 1m

Episode 148: Killer Rabbit (Entry 686.LV1106)

In which we go through the weird list of things glimpsed by noted paranormal researcher Jimmy Carter, including a hissing marsh rabbit and a UFO that the Air Force wants you to think is barium. Certificate #21432.
25/04/1953m 51s

Episode 147: Ted Danson in Blackface (Entry 1283.JB2317)

In which one of the most beloved sitcom stars in America tries out the worst comedy idea of all time, and John has a theory about anti-Semitism in the Aliens movies. Certificate #22400.
23/04/191h 5m

Episode 146: Breastaurants (Entry 152.IS1321)

In which we explain the squeaky-clean tawdriness of casual dining chains that put all the servers in tank tops, and Ken wonders if you can eat hot wings ironically. Certificate #37739.
19/04/191h 2m

Episode 145: Mussolini's Nose (Entry 819.PR3033)

In which a chronically ill British woman decides that God wants her to kill a fascist dictator, and Ken and John argue over whether or not an assassination plot needs a chalkboard. Certificate #16114.
16/04/1956m 28s

Episode 144: Wide Skis (Entry 1431.LK0429)

In which, after centuries of stagnation, the sport of skiing is revolutionized in a matter of three years, and John is forced to sign a hand-written waiver. Certificate #34056.
11/04/191h 7m

Episode 143: Cocaine Hippos (Entry 238.JB4021)

In which the rivers of Colombia teem with African hippos due to the excesses of a long-dead drug lord, and Ken suggests introducing Welsh corgis to the Amazon rainforest. Certificate #37768.
09/04/1947m 16s

Episode 142: The Smoot (Entry 1178.1K0626)

In which an MIT fraternity prank creates a new unit of measurement and annoys Boston police, and John wins a million dollars on an imaginary quiz show about Maine. Certificate #50326.
04/04/1948m 19s

Episode 141: The Garden of Earthly Delights (Entry 515.SS0611)

In which a Dutch painter creates surreal hellscapes so mysterious and full of butts that no one knows what he was even thinking, and Ken explains why bagpipes are very, very erotic. Certificate #17086.
02/04/1956m 38s

Episode 140: Breezewood, Pennsylvania (Entry 153.JG0506)

In which a funding impasse and clever fast food franchises put a one-of-a-kind stoplight right in the middle of a Pennsylvania interstate, and Ken misremembers who built the Lincoln Highway. Certificate #31424.
28/03/191h 8m

Episode 139: Indigo (Entry 634.GE0913)

In which Sir Isaac Newton adds an extra color to the rainbow to make his mystical, musical math come out right, and John has strong feelings about Satan's marital status. Certificate #26015.
26/03/191h 10m

Episode 138: Egg-Cracking Machines (Entry 398.JE1711)

In which John goes to the Caribbean, learns how cruise ships crack 20,000 eggs in a week, and begins to comparison-shop the amazing Rube Goldberg inventions involved. Certificate #27021.
21/03/1957m 13s

Episode 137: Jeanne Calment (Entry 176.2C0416)

In which an indomitable woman from Provence defies actuaries by living to be 122 years old, shadowy Russian forces try to discredit her, and Ken predicts which Saturday Night Live cast members will be centenarians. Certificate #43762.
19/03/191h 13m

Episode 136: Anything Into Oil (Entry 056.EX3729)

In which one tech company's fondest dream—to turn Butterball turkey offal into light crude oil—remains tantalizingly out of reach, and John and Ken worry about whether they're recycling waxed paper correctly. Certificate #26207.
14/03/191h 9m

Episode 135: Tippi Hedren's Fingernails (Entry 1311.DE2112)

In which a Hollywood ingenue survives her encounters with birds, angry lions, and creepy directors, and survives to become the godmother of one of America's great immigrant business empires. Certificate #28046.
12/03/191h 5m

Episode 134: The Cheesesteak War (Entry 211.PR2306)

In which a hot dog vendor and an anonymous cabbie invent one of the all-time great American foods, giving Philadelphians classic choices like "Whiz or provolone," "wit' onions or wit'out," and "xenophobia or not." Certificate #6594.
07/03/191h 11m

Episode 133: Geomagnetic Reversal (Entry 524.JB3709)

In which the Earth's magnetic field turns the North Pole into the South Pole every few hundred thousand years, and John and Ken discuss what effect this might have on the aurora borealis, ski-bum turtles, and North Dakota tourism. Certificate #41220.
05/03/1954m 39s

Episode 132: Mike the Headless Chicken (Entry 787.MK0616)

In which one seemingly doomed Colorado rooster lucks into a kind of zombie Charlotte's Web scenario, and Ken and John disagree over whether a "meat puppet" is a kind of food. Certificate #21086.
28/02/191h 7m

Episode 131: Honest Dick (Entry 596.EX2208)

In which the most trusted man in the state of Kentucky disappears with tobacco sacks full of the state treasury, and John and Ken discover which prominent U.S. government official is almost always a Latina. Certificate #23421.
26/02/191h 10m

Episode 130: Freighthopping (Entry 500.AM0812)

In which the American railroad provides a semi-legal travel network for millions of migrant laborers, and John explains how a sufficiently blond mustache on a young hobo can ward off evil. Certificate #14946.
21/02/191h 5m

Episode 129: The Foreign Legion (Entry 490.2S1519)

In which the French army accepts thousands of rogues and ne'er-do-wells from all over the world, giving them white helmets and a whole lot of wine, and Ken suggests a new method for reheating Hot Pockets. Certificate #36749.
19/02/191h 6m

Episode 128: Jacqueline Cochran (Entry 238.RV1214)

In which one driven girl from the backwoods of Georgia changes the face of aviation, Ken roasts astronaut Scott Carpenter, and John skips class to judge an essay contest. Certificate #39584.
14/02/191h 10m

Episode 127: The Bodies of Mount Everest (Entry 138.JE1316)

In which travelers to one of the most dangerous places on earth leave so many casualties behind in the "Death Zone" that they literally become part of the map. Certificate #7505.
12/02/1958m 38s

Episode 126: (LIVE) Yngwie Malmsteen (Entry 753.JE1022)

In which a skilled but self-absorbed Swedish musician leaves his homeland to become a guitar god, and John explains his theory about how neoclassicism ruined rock. Certificate #26394.
07/02/1935m 0s

Episode 125: (LIVE) Extremely Overdue Library Books (Entry 445.2T0413)

In which countless scofflaws, including George Washington, rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in library fines, and Ken takes home a "spite book." Certificate #29342.
05/02/1942m 24s

Episode 124: Flagpole Sitters (Entry 474.1S1013)

In which Syrian ascetics and American steeplejacks alike enjoy the weirdest fad of all time, and Ken angers marathon runners. Certificate #45561.
31/01/191h 13m

Episode 123: Samantha Smith (Entry 1178.IS1106)

In which a fifth-grader from Maine becomes a diplomatic sensation after writing a nervous letter to Moscow, and John remembers the only fan letter he ever wrote. Certificate #35519.
29/01/191h 9m

Episode 122: The Twins of Benin (Entry 1353.GN2524)

In which we learn that one very specific region of West Africa produces more twins than anywhere else on earth, which could be due to heredity, yams, or, in Ken's mind, a mysterious glowing meteorite. Certificate #29437.
24/01/191h 10m

Episode 121: The Kilogram (Entry 686.DE2513)

In which the dreams of the French Revolution are finally fulfilled by modern physicists eager to re-define science itself from scratch, which probably triggered the alien landing in May 2019. Certificate #37545.
22/01/191h 9m

Episode 120: Trucker Culture (Entry 1343.MT2514)

In which a gas crisis and an early social media network conspire to make long-haul truck drivers national heroes, and Ken gives a big 10-4 to a heroic trucker named "Fuzzy." Certificate #25007.
17/01/191h 5m

Episode 119: Vice Versa (Entry 1393.EP0423)

In which we read the Victorian novel that, a century later, would start an avalanche of body-swapping movie comedies, and John tries to debunk the blind prophet Tiresias. Certificate #30972.
15/01/191h 14m

Episode 118: Queen Victoria's Grandchildren (Entry 1020.IS1418)

In which we follow up on the forty-two offspring of the "grandmother of Europe," including the one who led Germany into World War I and the one who might have been Jack the Ripper. Certificate #26374.
10/01/191h 1m

Episode 117: Cumberland vs. Georgia Tech (Entry 305.RM1219)

In which a revenge-crazed football coach runs up a 222-0 score against a squad of random law students and townies, and John explains why his go-to comedy move is dropping his pants. Certificate #26347.
08/01/191h 12m

Episode 116: Track 61 (Entry 1324.EZ0808)

In which Franklin Roosevelt builds a secret, private train station under the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and John almost defects to East Germany in a gaily colored ski jacket. Certificate #33725.
03/01/191h 1m

Episode 115: Snowflakes (Entry 1181.PS14716)

In which a Vermont farmer unveils to the world a natural beauty of crystalline perfection that's been hiding in plain sight, and Ken and John decide to slander Buzz Aldrin for some reason. Certificate #16919.
01/01/1951m 15s

Episode 114: The Turboencabulator (Entry 1348.IS2811)

In which we study the spurving bearings and hydrocoptic marzlevanes of the made-up machine that brought technobabble to the masses, and John actually encourages Ken to talk about Star Trek for a change. Certificate #45305.
27/12/181h 10m

Episode 113: Thomas Nast (Entry 825.JB1534)

In which one Gilded Age influencer puts Santa at the North Pole because he hates slavery so much and runs New York's most powerful man out of town on a rail because he hates the Irish so much. Certificate #33423.
25/12/181h 11m

Episode 112: The Christmas Truce (Entry 220.LK0214)

In which peace and holiday good will break out on the western front in 1914, partly due to the work of suffragettes, and it changes the tourism industry forever. Also, Ken defends fruitcake. Certificate #31405.
20/12/181h 4m

Episode 111: Telling the Bees (Entry 1285.PR2413)

In which we explore one of the weirdest funeral superstitions of pagan Europe, and John explains why he likes to retell Aesop's Fables from the bad guys' point of view. Certificate #44411.
18/12/181h 0m

Episode 110: Patrick Nagel (Entry 823.SS0115)

In which one artist redefines eroticism for the MTV generation, and John gets stuck with a very overpriced piece of Duran Duran memorabilia. Certificate #31513.
13/12/181h 10m

Episode 109: Robert Smalls (Entry 1176.DE2315)

In which a South Carolina slave seizes a heavily armed Confederate ship and sails it to freedom and instant celebrity, whereas Ken doesn't even own a hatchet. Certificate #38760.
11/12/181h 5m

Episode 108: Marmorated Stink Bugs (Entry 761.LV1120)

In which a hard-to-kill Asian insect arrives in America and discovers a delightful new predator-free life eating our produce, hiding behind our picture frames, and making everything smell like cilantro-infused sewage. Certificate #30979.
06/12/181h 2m

Episode 107: Ghost Forests (Entry 527.EZ1724)

In which Ken accidentally goes on vacation to a long submerged, 2,000-year-old forest, and John explains the value he can add to a rugby game or campfire. Certificate #1751.
04/12/1857m 25s

Episode 106: Scrappy Doo (Entry 1115.PP0302)

In which 1970s and 1980s TV is overrun by an avalanche of orphans, runaways, and other wisecracking moppets, and John reveals that Oscar the Grouch is a witch in a "fursuit." Certificate #37500.
29/11/181h 12m

Episode 105: The Qibla (Entry 1016.PS5517)

In which the Islamic practice of facing Mecca in prayer becomes a thorny theological and geographical question, particularly for Muslims in Alaska, French Polynesia, or low-earth orbit. Certificate #2405.
27/11/181h 17m

Episode 104: Pumpkin Pie (Entry 1008.JH0406)

In which we consider America's favorite gourd as a botanical mystery, a symbol of autumn, a Civil War flashpoint, an Illinois monoculture, a delivery vehicle for condensed milk, and an instrument of Starbucks-related misogyny and class warfare. Certificate #36525.
22/11/181h 8m

Episode 103: Deep-Fried Turkeys (Entry 325.JN0432)

In which the Cajun cooking fad of the 1980s spawns a hazardous new holiday favorite, and Ken's wife flips us the bird. Certificate #30269.
20/11/181h 10m

Episode 102: The Cagot (Entry 173.2K0527)

In which a tiny French minority in the Pyrenees is shunned and hated for reasons no one can quite remember, and John pronounces the words "goose foot" more capably than Ken. Certificate #28287.
15/11/1850m 53s

Episode 101: Jennens v. Jennens (Entry 671.NU2711)

In which the notorious "Miser of Acton" forgets to sign his will, and for over a century thousands of people--including Ken's family--become convinced they are rightful heirs to his $300 million fortune. Certificate #23502.
13/11/1858m 2s

Episode 100: Wild Man Fischer (Entry 472.GE1612)

In which a troubled street performer becomes a beloved musician and helps found a landmark record label, Ken buys a booby-trapped painting, and John critiques the storytelling of celebrity children. Certificate #49895.
08/11/181h 22m

Episode 99: The Doomsday Flight (Entry 372.AM0214)

In which the U.S. government tries to ban a Rod Serling TV movie for inspiring too many mid-air extortions, all of which can be foiled by knowing the right trivia fact about Denver. Certificate #41961.
06/11/181h 19m

Episode 98: Albert Pierrepoint (Entry 938.ES0914)

In which a Lancashire grocer and pub landlord becomes the most skilled executioner of all time, and John explains the best part of being guillotined. Certificate #21776.
01/11/181h 3m

Episode 97: Bridey Murphy (Entry 818.JB1414)

In which a Colorado housewife and her tractor dealer friend jump-start the 1950s "reincarnation" fad, and Ken ponders whether or not he was "Endora" in a past life. Certificate #29314.
30/10/181h 11m

Episode 96: The Letter J (Entry 714.1CH0910)

In which a 16th-century jack-of-all-trades judiciously joins a jaunty new Johnny-come-lately to our jargon because he's just so jazzed about Jesus. Juxtaposed with John's jumbled jeremiads and Jennings's juvenile jokes. Certificate #23082.
25/10/1845m 50s

Episode 95: The Ballads of Ossian (Entry 094.PR2017)

In which Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, and Goethe go nuts about a best-selling blind Celtic bard who might not even exist, and John writes his first Tolkien fanfic. Certificate #28002
23/10/181h 13m

Episode 94: Brown Sound (Entry 158.MT1517)

In which military scientists, flush from their success annoying Manuel Noriega with Doors music, try to find that one elusive noise that will liquefy their enemies' bowels. Certificate #42964.
18/10/1857m 46s

Episode 93: Second Sleep (Entry 1122.ZC0401)

In which John and Ken learn that they share a "chronotype," but disagree over whether it's natural to spend an hour or two every night sitting naked in a chair. Certificate #38846.
16/10/181h 11m

Episode 92: The Hollow Earth (Entry 593.JB2607)

In which we ponder two questions: are we living on the inside of a concave sphere? Or is someone else down there, possibly with skimpy outfits and pet dinosaurs? Certificate #19429.
11/10/181h 3m

Episode 91: Pokemon Go (Entry 958.GE0702)

In which the biggest media franchise and the biggest augmented reality game of all time cause us to consider Zionist trading cards, the allure of wooden boats, and the feng shui of construction workers. Certificate #41843.
10/10/181h 19m

Episode 90: Tsar Bomba (Entry 1345.MI0104)

In which the Soviet Union detonates the biggest bomb in human history, and Ken imagines Nikita Khrushchev as a pro wrestler and a Bond villain. Certificate #20568.
10/10/1854m 40s

Episode 89: The Blue Men of the Sahara (Entry 136.PS10704)

In which we meet one of the last nomadic people on the planet and admire their dress code, and John identifies strongly with a camel that roars when loaded heavily. Certificate #42973
10/10/181h 14m

Episode 88: Dancing Mania (Entry 315.LA0515)

In which mass hysteria strikes the town squares of medieval Europe, John imagines the rigors of jute underwear, and Ken wonders if aliens ever start orgies. Certificate #21161.
10/10/1852m 25s

Episode 87: Mail Trucks (Entry 749.2S1114)

In which the world's largest, boxiest truck fleet ages into its fourth decade, and John hunts for an elusive postal mascot from his childhood.  Certificate #35752
10/10/1854m 0s

Episode 86: Albanian Bunkers (Entry 029.RV0615)

In which we learn why one of Europe's most isolated countries is dotted with hundreds of thousands of domed concrete pillboxes, and also why zombie movies are thinly veiled racism. Certificate #46673
20/09/181h 7m

Episode 85: (LIVE) Disco Demolition Night (Entry 356.AC1919)

In which the war between album-oriented rock and its mortal enemy disco boils over into the worst baseball promotion in history, and Ken reveals what 1970s music they play in heaven. Certificate #25815.
18/09/1858m 42s

Episode 84: Jefferson, State of (Entry 671.NU2655)

In which a huckster and meteorite-hunter, facing a business disaster, starts a still-brewing secession movement on the Oregon-California border, and also we contemplate who all the Looney Tunes characters voted for. Certificate #26085.
13/09/181h 6m

Episode 83: The Hilbert Hotel (Entry 587.LK0207)

In which we learn what happens when an infinite number of tour buses arrive at an infinite hotel with no vacancies, and decide whether or not this is worse than the guest services at the Eagles' Hotel California. Certificate #44261.
11/09/181h 7m

Episode 82: Anita Bryant (Entry 159.PR0913)

In which a minor 1950s celebrity births America's modern cultural war, and Ken gets to complain about his two least favorite things: bigotry, and orange juice. Certificate #31531
07/09/181h 3m

Episode 81: The Fourth Crusade (Entry 495.2T0203)

In which a medieval crusade to Jerusalem goes off the rails and ends up sacking the world's greatest Christian city instead. Certificate #11758.
07/09/181h 12m

Episode 80: The Anarchist Cookbook (Entry 045.RV2210)

In which an angry teenager in his local library produces a counterculture classic of booby-trap design, leading to John being suspended from junior high for anarcho-capitalism. Certificate #33047.
07/09/1855m 6s

Episode 79: The Saint Helena Submarine Plot (Entry 1096.PS7719)

In which Napoleon Bonaparte is disrespected by John's mom, but almost rescued by an English smuggler in a steampunk submarine. Certificate #37796.
07/09/1846m 50s

Episode 78: The Berkeley Pit (Entry 115.PS8806)

In which John welcomes the microbes from a Montana copper sludge pit who will surely inherit the earth, and Ken announces how many syllables a dog's name should have. Certificate #50365.
07/09/1849m 40s

Episode 77: Inversion Goggles (Entry 659.IS2916)

In which we study the human brain's terrifying capacity for adaptation, via upside-down cigarette lighting, weird-smelling houses, and "stoner" voice. Certificate #37104.
07/09/1853m 37s

Episode 76: The '59 Les Paul Standard (Entry 466.PS3302)

In which John explains why there are only 643 of the greatest guitar ever made, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica pays $2 million for a Fleetwood Mac hand-me-down. Certificate #30784.
07/09/181h 4m

Episode 75: Ea-Nasir (Entry 390.LV1913)

In which Sumeria's shiftiest businessman keeps all his hate mail around for four thousand years, and Ken gets accused of counterfeiting by a local bookstore. Certificate #27107.
07/09/1849m 43s

Episode 74: Michael Rockefeller (Entry 1078.MI0303)

In which one of America's richest young men gets really into New Guinean tribal art, and ends up getting really into a New Guinean tribe. Certificate #7628.
07/09/1852m 15s

Episode 73: The D-Day Crosswords (Entry 318.PR2019)

In which a British newspaper mysteriously spends June 1944 printing top-secret World War II spoilers, and Ken fails to amuse John with a lengthy anagram about a sex scandal. Certificate #29294.
07/09/1859m 39s

Episode 72: The Barefoot Bandit (Entry 098.DE2510)

In which John runs down the history of serial burglary, beginning with gentleman jewel thieves and ending with a plane crash in the Bahamas. Certificate #39409.
07/09/181h 1m

Episode 71: Greek Fire (Entry 548.IS6402)

In which the Byzantines save their empire by inventing the flamethrower, John clears up a misconception re: how many roads go to Rome, and Ken clears up a misconception re: how many herbs and spices are in KFC. Certificate #10403.
07/09/1852m 27s

Episode 70: Skyscraper Helipads (Entry 1170.IS6008)

In which John blames the boring skyline of Los Angeles on Regulation Number 10, an ill-conceived attempt at making every building in the city accessible by helicopter. Certificate #38095.
07/09/1852m 9s

Episode 69: The Voyager Golden Records (Entry 1403.JU0113)

In which NASA gives aliens a weird gift basket (opera arias, a welcome from a Nazi war criminal, a lousy map, and absolutely no nipples!) and Ken gossips about wife-swapping astronomers. Certificate #34914.
07/09/181h 16m

Episode 68: The Truman Reconstruction (Entry 1343.LK1428)

In which a piano starts to fall right through the floor of a second-story dining room, and as a result, the White House gets a balcony, a bunker, and a bowling alley. Certificate #47967.
07/09/1855m 19s

Episode 67: Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (Entry 1412.JM0503)

In which two art-world provocateurs fly to Scotland and burn through a record amount of cash in just two hours, and John sings his least favorite novelty song of the 1980s for us. (Hey!) Certificate #5888.
07/09/181h 3m

Episode 66: The Washing Bear (Entry 1411.LV2025)

In which John explains the secrets of raccoon hygiene, Ken mistakenly shows up with a ukulele, a straw hat, and a football pennant, and ferret lovers unsubscribe in mass numbers. Certificate #29158.
07/09/1843m 53s

Episode 65: The Transcontinental Airway System (Entry 1327.PS4304)

In which the post office builds a path of giant yellow concrete arrows stretching across the continent, and John questions the sobriety of the pilots of Montana. Certificate #34096.
07/09/1842m 19s

Episode 64: The Tri-State Tornado (Entry 1339.JE3023)

In which the most devastating twister in American history tears through 235 miles of the Midwest, tossing around trees, railroad tracks, and popcorn stands. Certificate #9101.
07/09/1857m 44s

Episode 63: Christian Science Reading Rooms (Entry 220.HB0202)

In which a Boston woman falls on an icy sidewalk and discovers the secret of the universe, and listeners are encouraged to seek out the most heretical book in their local metaphysical lending library. Certificate #51449.
07/09/181h 11m

Episode 62: War Rugs (Entry 1411.SS0604)

In which we travel to the "graveyard of empires" to witness the birth of an exciting Soviet-era art form, and Ken learns he should have saved the satin bomber jackets of his childhood. Certificate #39950.
07/09/1859m 27s

Episode 61: The Koryo Saram (Entry 692.JE2907)

In which tens of thousands of Koreans are forcibly relocated to the deserts of Central Asia and ordered to grow rice, and John refuses to relocate to Kotzebue or Yakutat even though he has a free plane ticket. Certificate #16823.
07/09/1854m 30s

Episode 60: Billy the Pygmy Hippo (Entry 122.JB4024)

In which Calvin Coolidge gets a frisky gift from Liberia that ushers zoos into the modern age, and John and Ken fantasize about being president and still sleeping all day. Certificate #47159.
07/09/1852m 19s

Episode 59: The Boysenberry (Entry 148.LV2519)

In which a California backyard botanist creates a mysterious new fruit, resulting in one of the century's biggest food fads and reinventing the American vacation. Certificate #36525.
07/09/181h 0m

Episode 58: Prisencolinensinainciusol (Entry 988.1C1423)

In which the world's catchiest song teaches us how English sounds to overseas ears, and Ken mispronounces the French word for "slithy." Certificate #35645.
07/09/1858m 49s

Episode 57: The Conqueror (Entry 264.LK1255)

In which an eccentric billionaire has the terrible idea to cast John Wayne as Genghis Khan, and a "who's who" of Hollywood gets showered with both bad reviews and radioactive fallout. Certificate #17145.
07/09/1855m 28s

Episode 56: The Bugatti Chiron (Entry 162.EC0911)

In which a Volkswagen marque invents the super-car, new acceleration and deceleration records are set, and Ken asks where John was conceived. Certificate #24968.
07/09/181h 6m

Episode 55: The St. Martin Fistula (Entry 1227.PR2027)

In which a French-Canadian "voyageur" suffers three indignities: being blasted with buckshot at point-blank range, becoming a full-time medical guinea pig, and having John call him the world's first "human fondue set." Certificate #42453.
07/09/181h 5m

Episode 54: The Preppy Handbook (Entry 981.DE2211)

In which John traces "preppy" fashion from Buckingham Palace to Hyannis Port to Kinko's, and Ken wonders if everyone on post-collapse Earth owns a navy blazer. Certificate #31310.
07/09/181h 3m

Episode 53: Duchenne Smiles (Entry 385.PR1513)

In which we examine how flight attendants smile, baby chimps play, botox treats mental illness, and Oscar the Grouch was a harsh wake-up call for Gen X kids. Certificate #42013.
07/09/1858m 31s

Episode 52: The Port Chicago Disaster (Entry 967.AC1940)

In which a Victory ship full of ammunition ignites a three-mile fireball, which in turn ignites the biggest mutiny trial in American history. Certificate #32844.
07/09/181h 3m

Episode 51: Gordon Lish (Entry 726.2C0113)

In which Raymond Carver becomes a literary superstar largely thanks to one brilliant, heavy-handed editor, and Ken and John share a very controversial Blade Runner take. Certificate #24875.
07/09/181h 8m

Episode 50: Spanish Fly (Entry 1195.SS0713)

In which a poison made from dried beetles becomes a schoolyard legend as an alleged aphrodisiac, foreshadowing our modern age of creepy predator celebrities and erectile dysfunction infomercials. Certificate #31327.
07/09/1854m 3s

Episode 49: The Moon Illusion (Entry 806.JB3126)

In which we learn why the moon looks so much larger at the horizon, whether your fingernails can out-race Portugal, and whether Ken or John has the better Axl Rose impression. Certificate #18042.
07/09/1852m 30s

Episode 48: Tylenol Murders (Entry 1354.IS2915)

In which John runs down the disturbing history of product tampering, from Bromo-Seltzer to baby food, and listeners are strongly discouraged from committing murder. Certificate #27765.
07/09/181h 2m

Episode 47: William Rufus King (Entry 688.LK1734)

In which a U.S. vice-president spends his entire six-week term dying in Cuba, and Ken reads some fun, flirty letters from future president James Buchanan. Certificate #39087.
07/09/1855m 55s

Episode 46: Backyard Blast Furnaces (Entry 091.EZ2220)

In which John explains why it's a bad idea to smelt iron on your deck or patio, a seemingly obvious life tip that seems to have escaped Chairman Mao. Certificate #30148.
07/09/1856m 18s

Episode 45: The Washington Generals (Entry 1411.HE1212)

In which we celebrate a basketball team that never gets to celebrate, because they've lost to their rivals 17,000 times. Certificate #46102.
07/09/1856m 25s

Episode 44: Checkerboarding (Entry 210.NU2653)

In which the U.S. government pixelates the American West with land grants to railroads. Certificate #6798.
07/09/1845m 24s

Episode 43: Bir Tawil (Entry 126.EZ2010)

In which Ken confesses that he might have caused a land grab in the middle of the Nubian Desert. Certificate #50204.
07/09/1850m 1s

Episode 42: Hypercolor (Entry 611.GE3703)

In which we revisit 1991's briefest, brightest fashion fad, and John ponders what to do with our nation's biggest problem: awkward middle-schoolers. Certificate #26275.
07/09/1853m 3s

Episode 41: The Angels of Mons (Entry 047.PS9111)

In which an unsuccessful horror writer accidentally rewrites the history of the Western Front, and Ken is clearly annoyed at having to learn the history of the Western Front. Certificate #21873.
07/09/1854m 31s

Episode 40: Canadian Floating Feet (Entry 178.RV2013)

In which sneakers keep washing onto the beaches of British Columbia with the feet of mystery people still inside, may God rest their soles. Certificate #27174.
07/09/1834m 6s

Episode 39: Vending Machines (Entry 1387.DE0228)

In which Ken runs down the list of everything that could ever be bought by putting coins in slots, from religious awe to banned books to pancake mix. Certificate #16697.
07/09/1849m 59s

Episode 38: Call Signs (Entry 176.1S1007)

In which we learn why US radio stations start with a K or a W, and how to get hold of Ken's dad in case of a national emergency. Certificate #28337.
07/09/1839m 39s

Episode 37: Hachiko (Entry 559.PR2006)

In which a Scottish policeman, a Tokyo professor, and Mary Queen of Scots have very loyal dogs, but a young John Roderick does not. Certificate #24139.
07/09/1847m 52s

Episode 36: (LIVE) Lake Missoula (Entry 697.GN0710)

In which a prehistoric ice dam breaks and 500 cubic miles of water reshape the Pacific Northwest. Certificate #17528
07/09/1828m 54s

Episode 35: (LIVE) Tuvan Throat Singers (Entry 1351.PS13704)

In which Ken attempts to teach a new superpower--Central Asian overtone singing--to John and a live audience. Certificate #40632.
07/09/1839m 14s

Episode 34: Milli Vanilli (Entry 789.JB2704)

In which a German record producer hires two male models to lip-sync his hits, leading to--girl, you know it's true!--one Grammy, one class-action lawsuit, and one tragic death. Certificate #35145.
07/09/1859m 32s

Episode 33: Mary Anning (Entry 050.PS3420)

In which a working-class woman becomes one of the greatest scientists of her age, discovers dinosaur poop, and sells seashells by the seashore. Certificate #36073.
07/09/1843m 18s

Episode 32: S.S. United States (Entry 1213.JB0926)

In which an aluminum-heavy cruise liner falls on hard times, and John and Ken can't decide if "Blue Riband" is actually French or not. Certificate #39390.
07/09/1849m 14s

Episode 31: Rubber Barons (Entry 1087.EZ1613)

In which Ken describes the nouveau riche of the Amazon rainforest, and John has a conspiracy theory about scarecrows. Certificate #25284.
07/09/1845m 22s

Episode 30: Father Coughlin (Entry 284.MT2309)

In which a fiery Canadian gets 30 million Depression-era listeners for his little fascist radio show, and Ken and John pledge fealty to Martian invaders. Certificate #29423
07/09/1850m 15s

Episode 29: The Noid (Entry 840.PR0415)

In which a claymation terrorist with inexplicable bunny ears disrupts pizza, takes hostages, and wins America's heart. Certificate #29250
07/09/1851m 3s

Episode 28: The Zuider Zee (Entry 1458.NA0104)

In which the Dutch battle their oldest enemy: the Waterwolf. Almost certainly the Omnibus's last entry (alphabetically). Certificate #31078.
07/09/1847m 46s

Episode 27: London Bridge Is Down (Entry 733.2K0934)

In which we make plans for the longest-awaited death in human history, and wonder how many Welsh corgis it takes to pull a gun carriage. Certificate #34884.
07/09/1852m 53s

Episode 26: Back Masking (Entry 091.EP0427)

In which John investigates whether or not segassem terces naitnoc sgnos kcor, and Ken wonders why Satan would own a toolshed. Certificate #30148.
07/09/1846m 13s

Episode 25: Megafauna (Entry 772.JB4015)

In which we learn which Ice Age animal is named after the human nipple, and which modern animal fills John's soul with bloodlust. Certificate #47448.
07/09/1844m 46s

Episode 24: Oneida (Entry 866.MT2230)

In which a socialist preacher invents a tricky birth control technique he calls "male continence," leading directly to the lazy Susan and the assassination of an American president. Certificate #34322.
07/09/1844m 30s

Episode 23: The Bellamy Salute (Entry 112.HE0616)

In which Ken blames a crucial bit of fascist iconography on the most successful magazine premium in American history, and John knows the lyrics to "Alaska's Flag" but refuses to sing it. Certificate #37863.
07/09/1841m 9s

Episode 22: Hat Etiquette (Entry 571.1C1104)

In which John strongly admonishes future listeners not to get sloppy with their headwear, if they have heads. Certificate #25200.
07/09/1839m 24s

Episode 21: Death Discs (Entry 319.MK1610)

In which the gruesome deaths in early 1960s teen ballads are variously blamed on capitalism, Marlon Brando, chastity, and giant clams. Certificate #34312.
07/09/1851m 43s

Episode 20: Mutual Assured Destruction (Entry 820.JE5022)

In which the human race barely survives the 20th century. (Well, not all of it, obviously. Picasso didn't, for example.) Certificate #27008
07/09/1847m 23s

Episode 19: Mummy Brown (Entry 817.PR0716)

In which the bodies of ancient kings are ground up to fertilize lawns, power locomotives, and paint portraits. Certificate #37891
07/09/1845m 13s

Episode 18: Thomas Midgley (Entry 786.ZC0508)

In which the world's worst chemist gives everyone lead poisoning, and then puts a hole in the ozone layer as an encore. Certificate #25185
07/09/1847m 34s

Episode 17: Paris Syndrome (Entry 901.JS1002)

In which twenty tourists a year have a psychological breakdown because the most magical city in the world is a little disappointing. Certificate #507
07/09/1846m 44s

Episode 16: The Sentinelese (Entry 1134.LV2024)

In which John introduces us to the world's last uncontacted tribe—but not literally, because that would be illegal. Certificate #13568
07/09/1840m 51s

Episode 15: Kohoutek (Entry 692.JU0113)

In which a Czech astronomer is hailed as the hero of 1973, only to have his discovery flame out by not flaming out. Then he gets very seasick on a cruise. Certificate #31644
07/09/1840m 39s

Episode 14: Monrovia, Moravia, Moldova, Moldavia (Entry 805.GN1032)

In which John shares the soothing geographic mantra that has got him where he is today: sitting in a bunker teaching 30th-century cockroach-people how to tell medieval Central European principalities apart. Certificate #18088.
07/09/1856m 20s

Episode 13: Heil Honey I'm Home! (Entry 577.PR1413)

In which an upstart British television producer finally answers that age-old question: why don't more classic sitcoms star Adolf Hitler? Certificate #42615.
07/09/1840m 27s

Episode 12: The Darien Gap (Entry 315.EZ3328)

In which a single highway is paved all the way from Alaska to Argentina--except for one pesky 66-mile gap right in the middle. Certificate #14458.
07/09/1833m 55s

Episode 11: Secret Order of the Double Sunrise (Entry 1122.EC0105)

In which QANTAS begins a top-secret 33-hour nonstop flight between Australia and Ceylon at the height of World War II, right under the noses of the Empire of Japan. Certificate #12248.
07/09/1842m 12s

Episode 10: Newton's Cradle (Entry 835.1C1311)

In which thousands of soulless corporate executives put little steel toys on their desks but still feel dead inside, and Ken finally learns how those little drinking birds work. Certificate #31932.
07/09/1843m 43s

Episode 9: Gadsby (Entry 511.PS6928)

In which our two hosts study a book that runs fifty thousand words without a solitary display of our writing plan's fifth symbol. Certificate #6442.
07/09/1852m 53s

Episode 8: Water Wars (Entry 1414.PS6301)

In which Los Angeles stands revealed in all its unquenchable thirst, and is pronounced by John and Ken several times the fun, old-timey way, with a hard 'g'. Certificate #33935.
07/09/181h 1m

Episode 7: The Tesseract (Entry 1291.EP0318)

In which Ken and John struggle to imagine four-dimensional space with the same ease that the inventor of the pitching machine once could. Certificate #28910.
07/09/1850m 6s

Episode 6: The Rachel (Entry 1024.GN2917)

In which John opines that Jennifer Aniston's ubiquitous 1990s-era cut was America's "last hairstyle." Certificate #24193.
07/09/1857m 49s

Episode 5: Smell-O-Vision (Entry 1177.AM0521)

In which the aromas of tobacco, coffee, and lavender, meant to revolutionize the motion picture industry, end up nauseating audiences instead, and Ken spoils a 57-year-old surprise cameo. Certificate #18585.
07/09/181h 0m

Episode 3: The Olympic Marathon of 1904 (Entry 865.1C0924)

In which the world's most prestigious sporting event goes disastrously wrong, and a Cuban mailman takes a nap. Certificate #28924. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
07/09/1859m 31s

Episode 4: The Pig War (Entry 939.MK0511)

In which the United States and Britain take up arms over one potato-hungry pig. Certificate #43259.
07/09/1855m 5s

Episode 1: The European Starling (Entry 431.PS8403)

In which an eccentric Shakespeare buff releases two birds in Central Park, and thereby screws up an entire continent's ecosystem. Certificate #27603. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
07/09/1843m 51s

Episode 2: Defenestration (Entry 326.2K0933)

In which throwing people out of windows is strongly endorsed by many hot-headed Czechs, but opposed in no uncertain terms by Ken's great-great-great-great-grandfather. Certificate #32146.
07/09/1838m 16s

The Omnibus Project

Ken and John provide a time capsule of whimsical recordings for future generations, commemorating the human race's triumphant achievements and its beautiful mundanities. There's no way you want to miss out on these strange-but-true stories.
07/09/1810m 43s

Omnibus: Trailer

Twice a week, Ken and John add a new entry to the OMNIBUS, an encyclopedic reference work of strange-but-true stories that they are compiling as a time capsule for future generations.
07/09/182m 8s
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