New podcast site!

Hi guys, I’m going to separate my new podcasting stuff from the older travel stuff.

You can find and follow here –>

(There will be a couple of repeats at first, but then I’ll get to new posts!)


Saturday Night Fever

Cue the Bee Gees.

Before the White Sox moved into their new Guaranteed Rate Field (arguably the most boring field name of all the Major League fields), they were located at Comisky Park, which operated from 1910-1990. Comisky Park hosted three All Star games and four World Series, including the infamous Black Sox Scandal of 1919. There were also non-baseball events held at Comisky Field as well, including many concerts, soccer games, and even some NFL games, back when the home town team was the Chicago Cardinals.

But did you know that back in 1979, Comisky Park was host to ‘Disco Demolition Night?’ Yes, you read that right. A local radio DJ was hosting an event to attempt to sway the public’s perception towards disco music. And this would go down as one of the most memorable nights in Comisky Park history.

Thursday July 12, 1979. The White Sox were scheduled for a double header against the Detroit Tigers. Steve Dahl, a local radio personality, was leading the charge against disco.  Fans, if they brought a disco record to the game, got in at a discounted rate, just 98 cents. Between the two games of the night, Dahl led a chant of ‘Disco sucks!’ to a crowd of nearly 70,000 fans. A large box of disco (and other genre) records was dragged into the field and blown up. A riot ensued.

The team at Grimlet’s Undone look into what led up to this night, as well as the ramifications for disco music as a genre that followed. Listen to this episode here.

Cue the AOL sign on sound

I was born at the perfect time to experience the wonders and difficulties of American Online (aka AOL). When my family first got dial up, my mom made it so that my sisters and I could only use the internet for an hour a day each. Internet access was not available everywhere like it is today. Because you had to literally call the internet when logging into AOL, a parental control could be set up that your internet ‘call’ was dropped after a certain amount of time.  Now, my mother’s logic in this was twofold. One, we wouldn’t spend nearly as much time in front of the computer (on the internet at least, Sims was a different story). And two, we wouldn’t commandeer the landline for the entire night. It’s weird to think that some kids don’t know what dial up is. Does that make me old?

Anywho. Since it was too early to reasonably expect all homework to require internet access for, most of what I did on the internet was talk to my friends on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Almost everyone my age has a wonderful first screen name. skirocket4, runswitscissors, behndblueyes16, kickflipz182, hyperchick121212, thegamefreak122. Mine was kaligo772. I have no idea why. I think I just ended up combining a whole bunch of letters until I found something I thought sounded cool. When my friends asked me what it stood for, I told them it was an inside joke with my sister. When one of my sisters asked the same question, I said that it was an inside joke with my friends. Perfect cover story.

I personally was super awkward in middle and high school so I tended to stay away from anyone I thought was even the slightest bit cute or appealing in any way. But a lot of people I know  did some major flirting on AIM. Some even went so far as to print out their conversations with the people they were crushing on. And lucky for us, The Mortified Podcast is a place for these to be shared with the world. At live events, people read their awkward childhood writings with the world. This includes printed AIM conversations. Yes.

Listen to Tyler’s unrequited love story here

A Narrative in Four Parts

Would you give a kidney for a family member? A close friend? An acquaintance? What about a complete stranger?

Over 100,000 people in the United States are currently awaiting a kidney donation. One person is added to the list every 14 minutes. Most of the kidneys donated come from deceased donors. But in 2014, 5,538 came from live donors. Out of those, only 725 of these are unrelated donors. That’s only thirteen percent. That’s what makes the story of Elizabeth and Mary so uncommon. They don’t know each other, they don’t even live in the same state.

Lea Thau of Strangers explores the world of altruistic organ donation, following the story of Elizabeth and Mary. This includes the pressure that Elizabeth faced, both from people who were confused at her decision to go through a major operation and the fact that Mary wasn’t exactly the typical recipient. And Elizabeth was the target of a social media frenzy after their story came out. Why? Partially because altruists make us uncomfortable. Seeing someone do something selfless for a stranger puts our own generosity into peril. Yes, you might volunteer one Saturday every month at your local community garden, but that’s nothing compared to giving an organ.

This four part saga intricately examines the journey of Elizabeth and Mary, the complications faced along the way, and the aftermath.

Part One . Part Two . Part Three . Part Four

Executive Order 9066, 75 years later

During World War II, over 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants were sent to internment camps across the west. Almost two thirds of them were American citizens.

75 years ago this past February, Executive Order 9066 was signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These two episodes of Stuff you Missed in History Class explain the multiple factors that led up to Executive Order 9066, including the discrimination faced by Japanese immigrants even before the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. No person of Japanese descent was safe from this EO. This includes children who were adopted by white American families, the elderly, and the infirm.

Part two of this history explains the conditions in the camps, as well as reasons that some citizens were eventually released from the camps. It also outlines the difficulties that persons of Japanese descent faced even after they were released from the internment camps. Eventually the Federal Government issued an apology and decided that reparations were warranted in 1988, signed into law as the Civil Liberties Act under President Ronald Reagan.


You can listen to Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

One of the internment camps, Manzanar has been preserved by the National Park Service, and can be visited today. Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange documented the conditions within the camps as well. Some of Lange’s photos can be viewed here, Adams’ here.

Eco-activism vs. Eco-terrorism

From the late 1960s to the 1990s, being an environmentalist was not seen as a political issue.  Environmentalism has only recently become a partisan fight. The first EPA administrator, William D. Ruckleshaus reminds us “Well, when EPA was created…by President Nixon’s recommendation to the Congress, the issue of the environment was a very nonpartisan, bipartisan issue. There wasn’t a lot of dispute over the need to protect public health, protect the environment.”The EPA was formed in 1970 by a republican Nixon administration, democratic President Jimmy Carter signed Superfund into law in 1980. Even republican President George H. W. Bush ran on a platform of environmentalism, criticizing his opponent Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis on the state of Boston’s Harbor.

So why has environmentalism become a partisan issue? It’s partially because of Republican’s stance regarding government interference in industry. Now that things aren’t as bad as when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, or a Donora, Pennsylvania smog that left 20 people dead, or Picher, Oklahoma, a town that was evacuated because of extensive lead poisonings and even cave ins on people’s property. These specific events can all be pointed to as examples of what needed to change. Climate change is a completely different ball game. There isn’t a fulcrum point that can be referenced as the turning point. It’s kind of like proving that a chemical is a carcinogen. It takes YEARS and extensive testing to get a chemical into Group 1 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s list.

Why is that important, you might ask. Because people drawing attention to the problems of climate change are often brushed off by those who have a stake in denying it. They face backlash over their tactics and are often labeled ‘eco-terrorists.’ This strong wording has linked environmental activists with those who targeted the World Trade center on 9/11 and continue to target innocent individuals all over the world.

This episode of Outside/In shows how environmental activism was received in the 60s, 70s, and 80s versus how it is received and portrayed today : Episode 32: The Fantastic Mr. Phillips