2nd Annual Cherished Holiday Medley!

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It's our second annual jingly mish-mash episode, packed full of Christmas and other holiday goodies! How have American First Ladies celebrated over the years? Who is Judith, and what bloody act of courage got her inducted as a Hanukkah staple in the Middle Ages? How do traditional gender roles play out during the holidays? What the heck is a SPUG?? All this and more, in our HOLIDAY SPECIAL!!!! Plus, a promise from Heather and Dayna to get back to a regular posting schedule as soon as possible! Our gift to you, dear listener! Happy Holidays!!

Beauty Pageants: A History of Poise, Charm, and Spray Adhesive

The ancient Greeks might have come up with beauty contests (naturally), but modern America perfected them! An awful lot of stuff is crammed in to the history of the beauty pageant as we know it today: Atlantic City tourism, scholarships, segregation, Klingons, and yes, bikini glue. It's a controversial topic, but it's also awfully hard to resist the allure of a pageant queen!

Constance Markievicz: Irish Firebrand!!

Constance Markievicz might have been born into aristocracy and privilege (and then married a Polish aristocrat...), but she had an unexpected burning passion for the plight of the Irish working class and the cause of Irish Nationalism. And that passion led her to load herself down with as many guns as she could find and take to the streets with her Republican comrades! It also led her to British Parliament, via a prison cell...

"Big Bertha" Heyman: Queen of the Con

Bertha Heyman loved to con people, and the more challenging the con, the more she loved it. She immigrated from Prussia in 1878, and then proceeded to take America (and Canada) by storm with a string of elaborate cons from coast to coast throughout the 1880s. She spent time in expensive hotels, draped in finery, and in prisons, where she plotted schemes from her cell. She might not have been strong in ethics, but she had moxie! 

Beatrix Potter: Of Mice and Mushrooms

Beatrix Potter is most famous as the creator of a certain blue-jacketed bunny, but her life was so much bigger than Mr. Mcgregor's garden. She defied her parents and upper class British convention to marry well and settle down to a life of tea and drawing rooms - instead she became a shrewd merchandizer of her own work, and ultimately became a huge force for land conservation in the well-worth preserving Lake District. And she was an expert on mushrooms! What more could you ask for in life? 

Susanna Moodie: Iconic Canadian Chronicler!

Susanna Moodie is well known to English lit majors from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island, but her full life story is even more interesting than the years depicted in her famous book Roughing It in the Bush suggest. Abolitionist, successful writer, independent lady, Ontario brush clearer, and now Canadian icon: Susanna Moodie probably didn't mean to help define the Canadian identity, but she's right up there with Sir John and Gordon Lightfoot!

Sacagawea: Teenage Adventurer!!

You've probably heard at least a little something about this intrepid interpreter who trekked with Lewis and Clark on their famous "Corps of Discovery" expedition in 1805, but there's a lot of myth and mystique surrounding the actual details of her life. This week we give you just the facts, ma'am, along with a look at the mystery and contentious debate around Sacagawea's death. This daughter of a Shoshone chief certainly made her mark on the history and national narrative of the storied American west. And she kept a remarkably cool head while doing it!

Mary Seacole: Superhero Nurse!!

We're pretty sure you'd be hard-pressed to find someone as brave, accomplished, well-traveled, selfless, business savvy, boundary-pushing, and just generally awesome as Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse best-known for pushing her way onto the battlefields of the Crimean War. She fought Cholera with scientific rigour, and refused to let racism stand in the way of her passions. We think you'll end up loving her as much as we do!

Ching Shih: Best Pirate Ever???

Ching Shih is arguably the most successful pirate ever, and you've (probably) never heard of her. From humble beginnings in a floating brothel in Qing Dynasty China, she went on to masterfully command a massive fleet of ships, with the Empire and its allies at her mercy. We think she's a little scary, and a lot impressive!