Stevie Wonder Went On Tour To Make Martin Luther King Jr. Day A National Holiday (Cool Weird Awesome 696)

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we look at how music legend Stevie Wonder and his song "Happy Birthday" helped raise awareness in the effort to create a national holiday in Dr. King's honor. 

Richard Nixon Once Had The White House Guard Dress In Fancy White Uniforms (Cool Weird Awesome 690)

In early 1970 President Richard Nixon introduced new uniforms for the guards at the White House - European-style suits that Americans thought looked better for movie ushers or marching bands.

By |2022-01-07T08:23:32-05:00January 7, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

After The Civil War, William Oland Bourne And Veterans Organized A “Left-Armed Corps” (Cool Weird Awesome 654)

For Veterans Day, we have the story of the "Left-Armed Corps," Civil War veterans who'd lost right arms in battle and were re-learning to write left-handed. Poet and newspaper publisher William Oland Bourne organized penmanship contests to encourage their writing, which he believed would help them find jobs and support themselves and their families as they returned to civilian life. Plus: you can learn about the veterans of World War II through a miniature golf course in Texas. 

John Hanson, The Guy Who Was Sort Of President Before George Washington (Cool Weird Awesome 650)

Today in 1781, the first U.S. president, John Hanson, was elected. Of course, being a U.S. president in 1781 was very different from the job George Washington, the first president under the U.S. Constitution, would hold eight years later. Plus: the University of British Columbia has a robot named Robby to paint all the lines on its sports fields. 

By |2021-11-05T08:03:48-04:00November 5, 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.

Fort Blunder, The Military Installation Built In The Wrong Country (Cool Weird Awesome 646)

Today in 1816, the US military awarded to built a contract for a fort next to Lake Champlain, near the border with Canada. For years crews worked to make the fort strong, until one day when they realized there was a big problem. Plus: people on Tumblr say today is the 1000th birthday of a medieval monk's brother named Werner. 

By |2021-11-01T11:27:46-04:00November 1, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , , |

The Statue Of Liberty Sat In Pieces Until A Crowdfunding Campaign Got The Job Done (Cool Weird Awesome 644)

Today in 1886, the U.S. dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York. It was hard times when Lady Liberty first arrived in the country, but eventually a 19th century-style crowdfunding efforts raised enough money to raise the statue onto a pedestal. Plus: the statue came from France, and if you head to Paris you'll see that city has a Lady Liberty too! 

By |2021-10-28T07:49:53-04:00October 28, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Grace Bedell, The Girl Who Got Abe Lincoln To Grow A Beard (Cool Weird Awesome 635)

Today in 1860, an 11 year old wrote to not-yet-president Abraham Lincoln, suggesting he grow some whiskers because "your face is so thin." Later, a bearded Abe visited the letter writer, Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, and showed off his new look. Plus: today in 1957, an unusual demonstration in Port Washington, Wisconsin: the “Power Mower of the Future”!

By |2021-10-15T08:51:51-04:00October 15, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Indiana Bell Rotated And Moved Its Office Building – And Kept Working There During The Move (Cool Weird Awesome 634)

This week in 1930, a phone utility in Indianapolis started moving its headquarters and rotating the building 90 degrees, all while keeping service going for customers and workers in the building. Plus: a state with no sharks brags that it has the fewest shark attacks of any state. 

By |2021-10-14T06:51:53-04:00October 14, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

A Liner Note Detective Wants The World To Know Something About The “London Calling” Cover Photo

The famous cover of The Clash's landmark album "London Calling" was taken on September 21, 1979, according to the liner notes. Except that Dave Marin, a concertgoer who was there when the photo was taken, has a concert stub that says September 20th. And he's spent decades trying to get the world to notice that the album credits are a day off. Plus: today in 1940, a bomb explodes in London, and the locals decide to turn the crater it left behind into something special. 

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