Scott Joplin, The King Of Ragtime, Also Wrote Operas (Cool Weird Awesome 663)

Today in 1868, at least on paper, Scott Joplin was born, though his actual birth date is probably a different day. He's best known for his groundbreaking ragtime works like "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer," but Joplin also wrote two operas. Plus: today in 2013, musician Dave Mustaine of Megadeth composed an unforgettable tweet about a "cool building" in Wisconsin. 

By |2021-11-24T06:53:57-05:00November 24, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |

Massachusetts Is Putting Solar Panels On Highway Sound Barriers (Cool Weird Awesome 656)

There are countless efforts underway to bring more green energy into the world, and some of them are in some unusual places. Like a project in Massachusetts that’s going to try mounting solar panels on those sound-absorbing barriers on the sides of the highway. Plus: today in 1859, New York City is host to what's believed to be the first ever baseball game between two Black teams. 

By |2021-11-15T06:39:59-05:00November 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

The Undertaker Who Developed Automatic Phone Dialing (Cool Weird Awesome 648)

Today in 1892 a phone system that made automated calls - no switchboard operator - began operating in Laporte, Indiana. The first automatic dial network happened, as the story goes, because of a business dispute between two undertakers. Plus: today in 1882, the birthday of John Baxter Taylor, Jr, the first Black American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Edmonia Lewis, A Sculptor Who Brought Her Subjects To Life (Cool Weird Awesome 631)

On Indigenous Peoples Day, here's the story of sculptor Edmonia Lewis. She was born in the 1840s to a Black father and a Chippewa mother, and became the first Native American and Black woman to become an acclaimed sculptor. Plus: Happy Thanksgiving to our listeners in Canada. It’s a big country, except for the exhibit known as Little Canada, which features miniature versions of some of the country’s most famous cities, landmarks and attractions.

When Countries Stayed Out Of The Olympics, They Held Their Own Olympic-Style Games (Cool Weird Awesome 589)

The Olympic Games are supposed to bring the countries of the world together, but that isn't always what happens. Several times the Games have been canceled, and at other times, boycotts have led some countries to hold their own alternative competitions. Plus: we mark the birthday of the great Black scientist and inventor Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.

Stephen Bishop Explored Mammoth Cave And Shared It With The World (Cool Weird Awesome 557)

The man now known as “First Guide & Explorer of Mammoth Cave," had been enslaved in the 19th century and sent to explore what was becoming a hot tourist site. He set the bar for every guide who came after him. Plus: today in 1976, a baseball game at the Houston Astrodome was called off... due to weather?!?

By |2021-06-15T09:18:25-04:00June 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Henry Brown Escaped From Slavery By Mailing Himself To Philadelphia (Cool Weird Awesome 507)

On this day in 1849, Henry Brown escaped slavery from a Virginia plantation in a very unusual way: he arranged it so he could hide in a small wooden box that was sent to Pennsylvania. Here's some of his story. Plus: it was on this day in 2011 that a paramedic rescued a doctor from a fiery car crash, 30 years after that same doctor had helped the paramedic survive as a newborn.

By |2021-03-29T08:13:24-04:00March 29, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Montana’s One-Of-A-Kind Mail Carrier (Cool Weird Awesome 496)

Mary Fields was the first Black woman to receive a Post Office contract to deliver the mail, and in the Wild West, no less. Here's a little more about a pioneer who definitely made some history. Plus: the story of a sibling who found a practical use for her identical twin.

By |2021-03-15T08:45:15-04:00March 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |

The Butler In A Box Was A Smart Speaker Before There Were Smart Speakers (Cool Weird Awesome 487)

You know about the Echo and the Google Home, but do you know about the Butler In A Box? It was a voice-controlled smart home device in the 1980s, and could do many of the same things our smart speakers do today. Plus: it's the birthday of Dr. Mark Dean, a computing pioneer who helped create some of the most important technology we have, and also saw the future of technology quite a few times.

By |2021-06-11T08:34:05-04:00March 2, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Mount Everest May Soon Be Getting Cleaner, And More Arty (Cool Weird Awesome 472)

Sagarmatha, aka Mount Everest, is the world's highest mountain, and the site of a growing environmental problem. A new initiative wants to remove trash and recyclables from the peak and turn some of them into art. Plus: a year after its founding, the Black Art Library is bringing new attention to great Black visual artists and is itself an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

By |2021-02-02T08:29:14-05:00February 2, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |
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