At the height of the Cold War a series of debates in a model kitchen in Moscow (true story!) led Nikita Khrushchev to visit the US on a whirlwind publicity tour. The Soviet leader hobnobbed with politicians, celebrities and business tycoons, soaking up all that America had to offer, often with a few choice remarks along the way. However, there was one place he wasn't allowed to enter: Disneyland. Join Ben and Noel as they take a closer look at Khrushchev's doomed quest to meet America's most famous mouse.
Allegations of U.S. voter fraud have made the rounds in recent years -- but, once upon a time, these were much more than allegations. Join the guys as they explore the massive voting fraud operations that riddled U.S. politics throughout the 19th century.
Whether you're royalty or a roaming vagrant, a President or a pauper, one thing's for sure: At some point, you'll have to use the restroom. While sanitation isn't often brought up in polite conversation, it plays a vital role in human health, and over the centuries various civilizations have come up with some pretty innovative ways of staying clean. Globally speaking, the bidet is one of humanity's most popular sanitation technologies -- it's spread across Europe to Asia and beyond. So why don't Americans use these? Join Ben and Noel as they crack the case.
You've heard of mooning -- the practice of bearing one's butt as an insult -- but where did it come from? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into the deadly story of the world's first recorded mooning, along with some other notable moments in keister history.
If you're like most English speakers, the first thing you think of when you hear the name "Fido" is, of course, a dog. But why? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the story of Abraham Lincoln's favorite pooch, and how this little yellow pup became one of the first dog memes.
Almost 48 years ago, Pirates pitcher and notorious party animal Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while under the influence of LSD. How did this man accomplish one of the rarest feats in baseball history while, by his own admission, tripping balls? Join the guys as they dive into the story of that legendary afternoon, along with the parts of Dock's legacy that are too often forgotten in the modern day.
On the first listen, Maryland's old state song sounds pretty innocuous. There's the usual lauding of the state, a refrain based on "O Tannenbaum" and so on. Yet the lyrics of this song refer to "Northern scum" and call for out and out war with various oppressors. So what gives? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into the strange origin story of "Maryland, My Maryland".
When confronted with a home invasion, Max the gorilla brought international fame to the Johannesburg Zoo and briefly became the city's most famous crime fighter. He received numerous endorsements, and a statue was erected in his honor. But what brought Max to this level of celebrity? Join Ben and Noel as they delve into the story of Max the crime-fighting gorilla and the disturbing cultural context that made South Africa regard him as a symbol of justice that too often eluded the average citizen.
Often called "The Napoleon of the West", mainly by himself, Santa Anna was a legendary, larger-than-life politician, general and exile. While hundreds of stories have been told about this man, one in particular stood out to Ben and Noel: Santa Anna lost his leg not once, but twice to enemy forces. And, once upon a time, he held an elaborate funeral for his fallen leg.
Inarguably the most well-known Wookie in the Star Wars universe, Chewbacca also bears a strong resemblance to another popular creature in American culture -- the towering, hirsute cryptid known as Bigfoot. So much so, in fact, that during filming the studio (allegedly) became very concerned for the safety of Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca onscreen. While filming Return of the Jedi in the forests of the California redwoods, guards accompanied the costumed Peter Mayhew so that Bigfoot hunters wouldn't shoot him. So what's the big deal with California and Bigfoot? Tune in to find out.
Born in Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte rose from obscurity during the French Revolution, crowning himself Emperor of France in 1804. This brilliant, ruthless tactician changed the course of French history. Despite his meteoric rise and bloodied fall, Bonaparte still needed to grab lunch once in a while. That's when the rabbits got him.
California was admitted to the United States as the 31st state in 1850, but it acquired its unique name much, much earlier. Join Ben and Noel as they trace the strange story behind California's name, from the fiction that inspired it to the loss and rediscovery of the story and, of course, adventures on a legendary Amazonian island.
Like many ancient cultures, the civilizations of Mesoamerica had a vast and rich history of unique cultural practices, spiritual beliefs and ceremonies, some of which may seem bizarre to people in the modern day. In this episode, Ben and Noel examine a common practice from ancient Mayan culture: the ritual alcohol enema.
Today Vermont is known for its progressive politics, beautiful forestry, Bernie Sanders and Ben and Jerry's. It's not a state you'll hear much about outside of the US and, for many Vermont natives, that's just fine. But once upon a time, Vermont was a very different place -- in fact, for a number of years, it was an independent Republic. How did this come about? How did it become part of the modern United States? Tune in to find out.
Located about 1500 miles to the east of the Phillipines in Micronesia, Guam is a small US territory with a tiny population, beautiful beaches and an incredibly complicated history. For almost four centuries it was a colonial possession of Spain -- but that all changed in 1898, when Guam, in a strange series of misunderstandings, became a possession of the American government. So what exactly happened? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the bloodless, somewhat ridiculous, capture of Guam.
In 2012 a student in Salinas, California, startled genealogists when she claimed that all Presidents save one were actually related. Could it be true? Join Ben and Noel as they dive into this strange claim, separating fact from fiction while tackling what it means, exactly, to be related to someone. (It's all relative.)
Despite being pretty rare in comparison to other denominations, the U.S. two-dollar bill is one of the most storied notes in American folklore. So why do some people think it's lucky? Why do others think it's bad luck? Join Ben and Noel as they explore the bizarre evolution of the two-dollar bill.
The Day of the Dead is a longstanding traditional celebration in Mexico, and currently hundreds of thousands of people associate it with a gigantic parade -- you know, like the one they saw in the James Bond film ''Spectre''. There's just one strange twist about that parade: before the movie, the procession didn't exist. Join Ben and Noel as they trace the weird evolution of this event from fiction to the real world.
It's become one of the strangest anecdotes in modern American history -- numerous sources will swear to you that, in a last-minute panic before reaching customs, legendary musician Louis Armstrong had Richard Nixon's unwitting assistance smuggling a hefty amount of marijuana through US customs. It's bizarre (and pretty hilarious) if true... but how true is it? Tune in as the guys get to the bottom of this bizarre American fable.