Rumor Flies

We got the sauce

Rumor Flies comically addresses the origins, evolution, and veracity of your favorite rumors, myths, and misconceptions. Tune in for more research, stories, and unsolicited commentary! Participation encouraged.

Filtering by Tag: rumor flies

205 - Animals: Sorry, Armadillos

This episode of the Rumor Flies Podcast is one of the best ones we have ever done. I am proud of it and think that it is a great example of what we strive for every week when the podcast is released. It was clean, concise - for the most part, and entertaining. Our goal is to make every episode like this and continue to build on it to make the best podcast possible.

As far as the topics go, the Lemmings committing suicide shook me to my core. The fact that someone set up these animals to jump off a cliff into their own demise breaks my heart. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Disney movies to fill my own cynical mind but it’s hard for me to ever justify something like that. Not to mention the movie won an Academy Award!

I have to admit my favorite segment of the episode was teaching Ryan and Greg a thing or two about history. It’s not very often that I get that opportunity, so it felt good to flex my history muscles for once on this podcast. I do believe there is something to be said about Ostrich’s and Roman soldiers burying their heads in the sand. There is some parallel there that I would love to know more about and see if they are actually related in some fashion.

Overall, I loved this episode. It was a topic that we discussed covering in season one buy couldn’t make it fit. It ended up being one of our strongest episodes and one that I will point to when people want to know what our podcast is all about. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we did. Stay tuned, bigger and better things are in store for the rest of the season.


204 - Cold War ft. The Eastern Border

Greetings, Comrades!

Firstly, I have to apologize for the sound quality on my part - after the recording, it turned out that skype had used my camera microphone instead of my normal one and I hadn't noticed. Then again, this episode now had an authentic Soviet vibe, and you should be happy anyway, because happiness is mandatory.

Secondly, Ryan told me that this is where I can write about what I forgot to tell or what else could I show you. Except urging you, comrades, to go and check out my show, there's also two more sites that you could, and totally should check out.

For you move fans out there - visit it's a place where you can view Soviet movies with English subtitles. Legally. And for free. And of all genres. So, definitely give that a try, I know Greg will spend many hours there. Don't forget to check out the cartoons section and take a look at Vinni Puh! He gets the honey and doesn't fear anything!

And, continuing the space theme - this is where you can see Soviet artist works, depicing the "bright communist worker's paradise - in SPACE!" and that's amazing - as sci-fi was the official genre in the USSR, and we all were huge space nerds.

Finally, there's the unofficial motto of the Soviet man. Pickle EVERYTHING! (And this is a kind-of addition to the food episode. :D ) Even green pine cones. And I urge you yo try this out: Get 1 lither of volume worth of green pine cones - must be new one's, while they're still soft. Then boil a lither of water, and when it's hot, pour it on the pine cones. At that point, they - and the water - should turn brown. Then you remove the water, boil another batch - this time, with a kilogram of sugar in it, place the pine cones in a jar, and pour the boiling water (with tons of sugar in it) over the pine cones. Seal the jar, place it in a cold place and wait until winter. Great Soviet cough medicine. Also, the weirdest jam you'll ever try.

So, that's about it. Not much more to add here - but you know, you can always listen to The Eastern Border and find out whatever else you wanted to know. Oh, and if you ever visit Riga, Latvia I'll take you on a tour.

Do Svidaniya, Tovarischi!

203 - Food: Salty over Coffee

Hey there,

So the food one. Once again, I was not present, so naturally I'm the ideal candidate to speak about this episode with authority! As always, it's fun to learn about the little facts/corrections that affect things we interact with every day. In this one we researched coffee, the ever-deadly “Chubby Bunny,” the mysterious pink goo, and more. I want to focus in particular on the McDonald's “pink goo” because it is surprisingly relevant with a lot of conversations happening right now about the media, peoples' agendas, and how misinformation gets propagated (especially during tense political elections/debates/etc.). Jeeves! My soapbox, please.

The “pink goo” was, as Ryan put it, another “facebook share.” While this is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of people are once again calling attention to how much of an echo chamber the internet can be. Add in how we tend to surround ourselves even more than usual with like-minded people on social media and it's easy to see how people can put on the earmuffs. One major movement we have seen involves food. We have seen the rise and scrutiny of terms like, “farm to table,” “organic,” “all natural,” and a general trend towards questioning “processed” foods. These trends tend to ebb and flow, but right now we are definitely seeing a lot of marketing and even ideological trends surrounding how we acquire and prepare our food.

The pink goo played into this trend like crazy. Many people, already skeptical about the kind of food we get at a place like McDonald's (real talk: we all know what we are eating when we get fast food. Pink goo or not, we all know it's terrible for us, but that's not why we eat it. Just had to make that point). It's no surprise that when people went on facebook one day and suddenly saw a bunch of their friends who shared the same leanings towards health and food sharing this “fact” about McDonald's that they did no research and just shared it blindly. It fit their world view, it didn't surprise them, and it was popular enough that “it was probably true.” To be honest, I would not have been surprised in the slightest if it turned out it WAS accurate.

Anyway, this was long winded and ever winding, but I don't feel like going back to make this more concise so deal with it. My point is that once again we see how all these factors – the internet echo chamber, our propensity for surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, and the tendency we have towards “meh, sounds right” - contributed to the propagation of yet another completely fabricated claim that went viral. Who knows how many people still believe it's true. Just something to consider.



202 - The Anarchist Cookbook

This episode ended up being much more personal to me than I had expected or hoped. It's strange, the man who had inspired me as a pre-teen rebel ended up becoming an inspiration for me as a twenty-something reluctant adult. Obviously, these inspirations were for far different reasons, but it's a bit interesting how the story panned out. Everyone seems to get one window for other to look into them. Gene Wilder will never be seen as a great novelist, even if he trumped Shakespeare. Daryl Hannah will never be primarily known as the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel  Alliance, even though it may be a far nobler act than playing an android. And sadly, I doubt William Powell will ever be known as a truly caring educator, as he was during the majority of his life.

Of course, those close to him will know the true Bill Powell, unlike me or any other people that have not met this low-key author. However, just from reading his great shame, The Anarchist Cookbook, I can tell that this man has always been curious and eager to disseminate knowledge. Yea, lots of it was bullshit. Yea, the rest of it was dangerous. It made people listen, though. I could only imagine what it would take to get dozens of people writing to the director of the CIA about your little, profitable act of rebellion without getting thrown in prison immediately. This 19 year old became a lord of the underground. He was THE fucking punk. But it meant nothing to him shortly after.

We wish our little podcast could open the window from the other side of William Powell, but we can only slightly crack it. I wish he could be our mascot. A person who realizes that, rather than inciting negative emotion by flirting with violent practices, teaching someone why people become so violent may have better results. This man who fed multiple generations of rebellion actively worked to be his own cycle-breaker. And he did it in the places that needed it most. The areas that may be more prone to exploitation an indoctrination of children. He knew that a child's mind, once solidified, is incredibly difficult to reshape. So he began shaping them reasonably, and training others how to shape. 

Our thoughts go out to Ochan Powell and the rest of William's family and friends. We hope you wouldn't have hated this episode, Bill.


201 - Disney: Moral Fixation

Season two is here and we couldn’t be more excited to be back in the swing of things. Our first ever episode was about Disney so the subject always holds a special place in my heart. Even with all the different topics we cover and the numerous fans of the show we have spoken to, Disney was almost always one of the topics of conversation.

Covering Disney media this year brought me a little more out of my comfort zone than season one. That’s not to say I can’t hold my own in Disney trivia, but Walt Disney World itself is what I pride myself in knowing more than the average bear.

When it came to doing the research, it was like strolling down memory lane of my childhood. Watching some of the films or some of the clips online brought a wave of emotions that I don’t get form anything else in the world. It was like watching home movies. Like I’ve said before, Disney is a huge part of who I am so it never felt like research or homework.

As far as the topics go, I went down the rabbit hole when it came to researching both Snow White myths/rumors associated with it. Digging into research of the history of cocaine was not something I expected, especially with the subject at hand. Also, learning about the artist who drew the phallic gate on the cover of the Little Mermaid put to rest some of my own previous misconceptions about the subject matter. See, even I learned something I didn’t know from this episode.

The most interesting topic for me was about Jessica Rabbit and her subliminal nudity. I had no idea something like that was true, as I’m sure most people assumed with the topless woman in The Rescuers. I learned the truth about that long before the podcast but Who Framed Roger Rabbit was not a film I had seen since I was younger. When Ryan told me about the reference to Alice in Wonderland written on the bathroom wall, I almost fell out of my chair. Little snippets of movies like that serve as their own form of history of the company and to know someone even referenced Michael Eisner puts into perspective the movies of that era. I don’t think something like that would ever see the light of day in 2016.

These Disney episodes are something Ryan, Greg, and myself always love doing. It means our podcast is back in full force, and it’s one that we always love spending countless hours diving into to get the most information we can. Disney Media is its own beast so I am glad we segregated these topics into their own episodes. Now to complete this trifecta, we are going to cover the man himself for season three.

We hope you enjoyed our kickoff to season two. I wanted to give a special thanks to all of you who came out and supported us for our release party. It was an astounding success and each one of you brought us a little more pixie dust to carry with us throughout the rest of the season. Have a magical day.  


109 - Remedies: How Carrots Won the War

Greetings, listenerland!

This episode really gets to the heart and soul of the podcast. Almost every episode that we have done is rooted in some sort of remedies or old wives’ tale. When it came time to hash out what we were going to cover it was really exciting to see the podcast, in a sense, come full circle.

That was until we started to research these topics on hand. Apparently people took these rumors, myths, and misconceptions for face value and just ran with it. Thanks a lot science.

We assumed that things like lemon juice dying hair, ginger being used for motion sickness, and tomato juice neutralizing skunk smell would be easy to cover with no problem. We could not have been more wrong.

Finding the origins of these remedies also proved as a daunting task. They have been passed along orally from various sources that we almost needed carbon dating to find any mention of them as we scoured high and low. This was also coupled with the science itself was frustrating so it kind of became a moot point. We found some mentions sporadically but nothing concrete enough to present their evolution.

The one topic I was very glad that we covered was the chicken pox for oatmeal. That was the lone subject that I could vouch for personally. It was a home remedy I used when I was a kid when I caught the chicken pox virus. I can confirm that it did work and the younger me could not be happier.

Even though the research was heavier and more involved than previous episodes, we really enjoyed dismantling these remedies and approaching them as subjectively as possible. It’s hard not to be skeptic approaching these from a science oriented perspective, but we were pleasantly surprised with the end result. We hoped you learned something from this episode because we most certainly did. If nothing else, we hope to be educational and informative. Thanks a lot for listening.



108 - Body: Cracking Knuckles and Power Licking

The body. Another general topic we plan on revisiting because there are so many pervasive and offbeat myths about what we can and can't do with (or to) our bodies. Cracking knuckles was an obvious pick for this week – people constantly refer to it, and even more interestingly, most of these people often say something to the effect of, “I think cracking your knuckles is bad for them,” or, “I'm pretty sure that's not true.” They often follow up with some answer to what is happening when you crack your knuckles, but even then they are still going off vague memories or something they thought they heard.

People seem to get that there is this myth/debate, but we still (yes me included) do not bother looking it up and then doing what we all do best: making commentary on something we don't really get. In my opinion, this is the space where rumors/myths are born and most definitely propagated. Baldness, shaving, etc. also follow this concept. People have a notion that it may or may not be true, but still make claims or at least vague ones. It's really interesting to me.

Last little thing I want to touch on: The Blue Angel. This was one of those that at first I thought, “Really? I know we can be silly and/or obnoxious, but are we REALLY going to cover this?” But ultimately, I still laugh at fart jokes, so I caved. Fact of the matter is a lot of people know this myth and few have been idiotic enough to test it, so we felt it was time to set the record straight and let you watch other idiots try it so we all (your favorite Rumor Flies Guys and our lovely listeners) don't have to.

Anyway, hope this was some fun food for thought. Have a great week and thanks as always for listening!





107 - Drugs: "Butt Hash"

Drugs is one of those things that people have very strong convictions about, and they rightfully should. You don’t have to look hard to find someone who wants to talk about the legalization of marijuana or how drugs are a tragic downfall of society. It’s such an encompassing word that has many different avenues to travel down that it’s almost like arguing about religion

With that in mind, we tried to strictly narrow down our field of study to hallucinogens. Outside of jenkem, which was a wild ride of stupidity, all of what we talked about were Schedule I controlled substances. We will be revisiting drugs in the next two seasons; specifically diving into uppers and downers. 

From an ethical standpoint, we really wanted to emphasize that we were basing everything we covered on scientific facts without imposing our personal opinions. I don’t feel that was relevant to the podcast and didn’t serve any benefit for any party involved.

Now for me personally, this episode was fascinating. Coming into this episode, I knew a fair amount about drugs and some specifications about their LD50. But getting the physical numbers on things like overdosing on MDMA or weed really put into perspective how specific chemicals react with our bodies and how much our bodies can take of different hallucinogens. I really enjoyed Ryan talking about the amount of THC that has been added over the years to marijuana. I was floored to learn how potent it is today compared to what people experienced when it became a mainstream drug. Once I started researching more about ecstasy, it completely shattered my previous notions about what it does to our brains and serotonin levels. Overall, it was a great learning experience.

When it came to licking toads, I wasn’t surprised to learn that people have constructed “user guides” on how to properly extract psychoactive substances. On top of that, it was no surprise that people created the abomination that is jenkem as a means to get high. I guess when you’re in a pinch to get your fix, anything is possible even if it involves your own urine and feces fermenting in an open space. 

All in all, covering this topic was fun and informative. It was a fine line for us to walk with giving out information on what can be a taboo subject at times. We hope you enjoyed the episode and look forward to jumping back into more myths about drugs in the near future. 


106 - Death: Heads will roll with Heavy Souls

Hey everyone. 

This was an interesting episode (aren't they all though?). In basically every episode we feature someone or groups of people dying, but this one focused more on the rumors and myths many of us have heard surrounding this often terrifying and eventual reality. Like most things, we deal with it with curiosity, some reverence, and of course, humor. 

What I found fascinating about these topics in particular is many of the myths stem specifically from religion and general 19th/early 20th century mindsets. There was a lot of goings on that people weren't equipped to empirically study yet - and I do not mean that with the typical condescending tone of, "Everyone used to be dumb and didn't understand science." The fact is a lot of the tools weren't available and (this is probably the biggest cause of misinformation) our understanding of the human body was incredibly rudimentary until the later into the 20th century. Even now we still barely understand what's really happening under the hood, so it's easy to imagine why people were incredibly confused when they'd see their deceased loved ones had apparently grown more hair and longer fingernails. 

My favorite part was, without question, Ryan's reading the story of Languille. He worked it ahead of time, channeled his inner Dan Carlin (penalty shot I know), and delivered a beautiful, tragic episode in two brothers' lives. What made this moment so satisfying wasn't just the content, but how he really did display the reverence and gravitas of the situation. Radio, podcasts, any sort of audio-only format can be an incredibly powerful tool for storytelling that's also very limiting, so when you experience something truly visceral like that (Josh and I sure did), it's incredibly impressive. 

So that about wraps it up. Thank you as always for listening, and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Cheers.




104 - Sports: Trippin' Pitchin' is Driving me Madden

Finding myths and tall tales in sports is not a very daunting task if you follow them closely. Most people know Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan; two great athletes who revolutionized their sport and have so many different stories about them. As a lifelong sports fan and someone who grew memorizing stats and collecting football cards, I was elated Ryan and Greg were game to record an episode revolving around sports.

The hardest part about this episode is deciding which avenue I wanted to steer us towards that would be fascinating but also add some flair for everyone to enjoy. I wanted a healthy mix of renowned sports myths, but bring to the table some lesser known stories that haven’t had a lot of light shed on them. That’s why I was drawn to the legend of Wade Boggs pounding beers and he military officer who was poisoned from a golf tee. Doc Ellis was an easy choice as well, in addition to Gaylord Perry. I felt like we had a nice cocktail of different lores that people would find interesting.

The one subject I was most apprehensive about bringing up was Rudy Ruettiger. There isn’t so much a myth about him as how big of an inspiration and legend he was to many people of that era. After the movie in 1993, his fame blew up and people found him an inspiration that gave him his big break into a successful career as a motivational speaker. My personal goal here was to get to the facts about Rudy and see what he actually did on the field as opposed to how he was portrayed on the big screen. You can see in the show notes the actual footage of him playing and how, like most things in the world, it was exaggerated and embellished for the sake of narrative.

This podcast is about finding facts and using those facts to contradict well known beliefs. While I may have my own personal feelings on each individual subject we covered, I think we did a damn good job presenting those realities for people to make their own judgments. Did Doc Ellis really throw a no-hitter on LSD? Did Boggs actually consume 107 beers? In the end, we couldn’t undeniably prove that they did but what we did do is show you how these stories become embodied into society as a “matter of fact” and present the case that sometimes the truth isn’t quite as fun as the narrative. But in the end, everyone loves a good story, right?

This is my longwinded way of saying that I hope you guys took as much out of this as we did. I learned a great deal more than I had originally anticipated, as Greg and Ryan would absolutely agree they enjoyed this despite their preconceived notions. I would invite all of you who may find the subject dull or mundane, give it a listen. You me be surprised how much you enjoy it. Much like a curse derived form the cover of a video game, stranger things have happened.


103 - History: Everyone is Terrible and Revere was a Quitter

Dear lord this was a hard one for me. I have a degree in history and obsess over it regularly, so naturally I felt like I needed to "strut my stuff." Ryan and Josh were awesome/flexible and set me up as a host that evening because they recognized how much this subject meant to me. If you've listened you now realize how excited I get, which often leads to incessant, high-speed ramblings. 

One of the challenges of this episode for all of us was how to shorten it. We ran two hours, over double our usual target time. It taught us a lot about how to treat each subject and how many topics to pick for them. In the case of history, we learned that 5+ "myths" is just too many. With that fact in mind, we look forward to further refining our show. 

Personally, I had to deal with the fact that I'm used to writing papers and having historical debates. What does that mean? Covering. Your. Tracks. And covering your tracks takes a LOT of time and sourcing. There's this strong temptation in every debate or discussion I have to fend off opponents or critics before they even step forward, which leads to dry spells and a break in flow, even if it is sometimes (and often it isn't) effective. This show was very fun for me, but it also showed a lot of flaws in applying how I "do" history to a radio show - I REALLY look forward to working on my methods and improving them for our next show. 

Lastly: The subjects. I hope you all enjoyed what we covered. We are very proud of one potential pitfall we planned for: being too broad. We focused on a particular time and location for our first history-focused episode of Rumor Flies. The subjects were meant to be fun and generally known. Paul Revere was particularly fun to cover because of how well-known and totally inaccurate Midnight Ride reads (Yeah yeah yeah poetic license whatever WE DEMAND THE TRUTH!). 

Anywho, we hope you enjoyed the episode and this blog post. Let us know what you think and thanks for checking us out!