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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The French Revolutionary Calendar (Entry 500.EX...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Saint Helena Submarine Plot (Entry 1096.PS7...
In which Napoleon Bonaparte is disrespected by John's mom, but almost rescued by an English smuggler in a steampunk submarine. Certificate #37796.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (Ent...
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.
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.
The Transcontinental Airway System (Entry 1327....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Checkerboarding (Entry 210.NU2653)
In which the U.S. government pixelates the American West with land grants to railroads. Certificate #6798.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monrovia, Moravia, Moldova, Moldavia (Entry 805...
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.
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.
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.
Secret Order of the Double Sunrise (Entry 1122....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Rachel (Entry 1024.GN2917)
In which John opines that Jennifer Aniston's ubiquitous 1990s-era cut was America's "last hairstyle." Certificate #24193.
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.
The Pig War (Entry 939.MK0511)
In which the United States and Britain take up arms over one potato-hungry pig. Certificate #43259.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.