All Episodes

June 1, 2024 40 mins

How much would you pay for an egg? Would you kill for one? In today's classic episode, join the guys as they explore the strange story of the Gold Rush, the Common Murre and Farallon Island -- the site of California's Egg War

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Don't call it a comeback ridiculous historians, or wait, please
do because this is our weekly classics episode. How much
would you pay for an egg?

Speaker 2 (00:10):
Oh, can't be, can't cost more than what? One hundred dollars?

Speaker 1 (00:14):
Well, it's an egg, Michael, what could it be? Ten bucks? Man?

Speaker 2 (00:18):
Eggie Weggs. Remember that you've seen Pluck clockwork Orange. I
always loved it when he talks about Eggie Wegs. It's
so cute sounding. And there they are cute little fellas,
aren't they little? You know, very egg like? What would
you call that spherracle? Not really, it's really egg shaped.
People's people refer stuff as being egg shaped ovial avu ovular,

(00:38):
which does in and of itself that the etymology of
that is egg over ova ovo.

Speaker 1 (00:45):
Yeah, and so we're asking in this classic episode, how
much would you pay for an egg? Also, Max, give
me some traumatic music.

Speaker 2 (00:56):
Dramatic music.

Speaker 1 (00:59):
What's you're cute way?

Speaker 2 (01:01):
Some guys said, yes, yeah, yeah, I mean, you know,
given the option of no eggs, Yeah, you know, I
had a hard boil I've I've been finally grown up man.
I like hard boiled eggs. Now I think I might
try deviling them one of these days. I have always
been anti deviled eggs because of them, both the egg
and the Mayo content, both of which I have grown
to like. I kind of like Mayo now, so maybe

(01:23):
it's hey, listen, let's not ruin this. I've come so far.
Don't ruin eggy eggs for me.

Speaker 1 (01:31):
San Francisco's egg Wark.

Speaker 2 (01:32):
It's a thing, Dude, Eggers like, not not David Eggers,
you know, the writer or the filmmaker. There's two Eggers.
I always get them confused. But yeah, it was a
thing people risking life and limb to, you know, basically
spulunk hillside, you know, on the side of these serious

(01:53):
cliffs to do something a little sketch, if we're being honest,
which is to steal eggs out of the nests of
sea birds. I think in a lot of these situations, right,
I think you are correct. Let's get into it.

Speaker 1 (02:09):
Ridiculous History is a production of iHeartRadio. This is Ridiculous History,

(02:37):
a show based in Atlanta, a city that loves brunch.
I promise I'm going somewhere with this. Hi, my name
is Ben.

Speaker 2 (02:44):
My name is Noel, and Ben egg me up before
you go go.

Speaker 1 (02:49):
There, we go there we go, Lego my egg go.

Speaker 2 (02:53):
Give me back my eggs.

Speaker 1 (02:55):
Yes, okay, well after the show, you'll.

Speaker 2 (02:57):
Pry these eggs from my cold dead hands.

Speaker 1 (03:01):
Eggs. Right, when you think of brunch or when you
think of breakfast, you typically think of a few things,
and one of the main stars of the breakfast pantheon
is going to be the humble, ubiquitous egg. Are you
an egg.

Speaker 2 (03:14):
Fan, Benedict Florentine omelet scrambled, a poached egg fan of
recent times and not like a good old boiled egg myself,
So yes, yes, I am an enthusiast.

Speaker 1 (03:25):
You're an enthusiast nol. Earlier before we hopped on air
for this episode, we were talking about the type of
food preparation known as deviling, right, you were, and we
had to look it up because it's strange when you
think of deviled eggs or deviled ham, and there's a
curious story for that, but that is not the subject
of today's episode. Today's episode hinges upon the importance of

(03:52):
eggs and you being an enthusiast right bit of an egghead.
You've been in situations where you have to wait in
line for brunch or something, but you're not the type
of guy to fight over an egg, are you.

Speaker 2 (04:03):
I also very rarely will wait in line for anything.
If the line's too long, I'm moving on in the line.
And that's that's the words I live by. But no,
I mean, you know, you notice how whenever there's a
storm here, especially like a snowstorm, what's the first thing
to go in the grocery stores?

Speaker 1 (04:21):
They run through the dairy and the bakery.

Speaker 2 (04:24):
In the middle, and the bread, the eggs, and the milk,
food staples, and back in San Francisco, California, during the
gold Rush time in the early eighteen fifties, a really
really really important staple food, a very very crucial source
of protein during a time where that was very scarce

(04:44):
because the gold Rush brought out thousands and thousands of
prospectors to San Francisco, which at the time was a
relatively small city that just did not have the infrastructure
or the resources to support those people.

Speaker 1 (04:58):
Right because the niners as they were often called, these
gold rush prospectors were coming from across the country to
gamble on the chance of striking it big by discovering
a vein of gold. And as we know now, it's
true that some people did find gold. Most did not.

(05:20):
We should be very clear about that. But as NOL
has begun to paint the picture for us here, what
they all found was a very difficult environment to live in.
You know, there were a lot of people asking for
the same resources, and as we've seen in other historical instances,

(05:42):
this triggers inflation. This trigger's price gouging. The otherwise humble
food stuff known as the egg, available throughout the country
everywhere else, became a relatively rare and high priced commodity.

Speaker 2 (05:58):
It's true, like you say, you know, everyone wasn't going
to strike it rich. In fact, most didn't. In an
article from the San Francisco Gate by Gary Kimia, he
describes as phenomenon as that there was more money to
be made from quote mining the miners than from actual prospecting. So,
you know, to fill that demand, little food huts, kind

(06:19):
of fly by none operations came up overnight, and all
kinds of different businesses sprung up in order to capitalize
on this boom. And one thing they needed were cooking ingredients.

Speaker 1 (06:32):
Right, and there's an excellent article by Emmily and Rude
writing over at time called the worst that can happen
when egg prices get too high. In this article, she
discusses some of the specifics and nuts and bolts of
this skyrocketing food situation. One of the primary commodities that

(06:54):
shot up in value was the egg, and it rose
to the price of a dollar per egg in the
eighteen fifties, which is crazy expensive now, but let's consider
that in our time, that's roughly the equivalent of thirty
dollars per an egg.

Speaker 2 (07:11):
Man, I don't think I could ever want an egg
that much.

Speaker 1 (07:15):
No, I don't, you know. I don't know what I
would do with it. I would feel bad eating it.
I would feel like I have to put it in
a like a box or a terrarium. But I ans.

Speaker 2 (07:25):
We have to remember here too, this was not the
price was not that way because it was necessarily a delicacy.
There just weren't enough to go around, so it was
a scarcity.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
Issue mm hmm. And there was still a good shipping
infrastructure in place at the time, so eggs were being
shipped in by the millions from across the Pacific, even
all the way from the East coast, and it still
was not enough to satiate the teeming mass of people there,
and that's why San Francisco eventually turned its eyes west

(07:57):
to the islands of the Pacific, to a very specific island.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
That's right. There is an island, or a system of islands,
just about thirty miles outside of the Golden Gate in
San Francisco called the Farolons, and they are actually the
site of the largest colony of sea birds anywhere in
the contiguous United States. And those birds are the common mures.

Speaker 1 (08:22):
Yes, the common mrs are the star of today's show.
The The islands themselves are home to a little less
than four hundred different species of birds, and the birds
at this time were doing quite well because during the
maritime fur trade, Russian sealers seal hunters got rid of

(08:45):
the vast majority of the mammals that would be there. Right,
that's right.

Speaker 2 (08:51):
But still to this day these islands are home to
tons of different marine creatures, sea lions, elephant seal which
can grow to be the size of like a van,
and swimming around the edges you got great white sharks, yes,
and whales, which I think would be so cool to
see in person. There's actually an article in the New

(09:12):
York Times where Bonnie Sui takes a whale watching expedition
out to these islands and spots all kinds of fantastic wildlife.
The islands were called the Devil's Teeth back in the
early eighteen fifties by sailors, and that's because they were
particularly treacherous and they caused quite a few shipwrecks. And

(09:37):
it's true these are very intense, jagged looking cliffs. I
think the highest point is almost three hundred feet And
they were actually formed between eighty to one hundred million
years ago when the Pacific plate collided with the North
American plate. And they weren't always islands, they eventually drifted

(10:00):
and became islands because of plate tectonic activity. In fact,
they were largely responsible for blocking the view of the
San Francisco Harbor to Spanish galleons that would sail through
there for over two hundred years.

Speaker 1 (10:13):
Yeah, and now, thankfully, we'll give you a spoiler alert here,
friends and neighbors. Now, thankfully the marine mammals have made
a return to the island. But in the mad eighteen
hundreds this population was in serious trouble, which was good

(10:33):
in the short term for the birds. It was literally
for the birds of the time I was waiting on
that one. And so Noel's let's go back to what
you mentioned. Specifically, we're looking at a bird called the
common mure m rr. It's an auc a uk. This
large auc sits upright on sea cliffs, and people will

(10:55):
describe it as the northern version of a penguin. And
we've got some pretty we've got some pretty cool info
on it, courtesy of the good folks over at Audubon
dot org, nol and I and our super producer, Casey Pegrin.
I can't believe we forgot to shut them out at
the beginning. No, it's cool. We saved it. We saved it.

(11:17):
We say it's a cold open. So these these birds,
according to this stuff we were watching before we went
into the studio today, they look kind of awkward on land.
Not a pun, but it could be.

Speaker 2 (11:29):
Yeah, there's sort of like these unwieldy penguin like creatures
and they do fly pretty poorly. They're much better at
swimming and diving to catch fish. And they nest on
these really really steep and slippery cliffs on the side
of these islands, and it's really a thing to behold.

(11:50):
Ben there are thousands and thousands of them nesting in
really close quarters on these super treacherous cliffs. Not very
comfortable situation at.

Speaker 1 (12:01):
All, right, right, and not particularly inviting to us humans
unless we are driven there out of desperation. In these nests,
most importantly, they have eggs. They typically have one egg,
and the incubation period is about twenty eight to thirty

(12:21):
seven days. After that, the young when they're born, they
leave the nest between fifteen and twenty five days later.
The eggs themselves, however, are very interesting and they do
not look in any way related to the chicken eggs
that were so common and so familiar to the San

(12:42):
Franciscans of the time.

Speaker 2 (12:43):
Well, first of all, they're about twice as big, and
they are oddly pointed on one end.

Speaker 1 (12:50):
Yes, they are puriform, which is the word we learn
for today's episode.

Speaker 2 (12:54):
Oh my gosh, I don't know that one ben, it's.

Speaker 1 (12:56):
What it sounds like. On the ten. It's that slightly rounded,
pure midlight top. They look like cone heads. Yeah, the cones.

Speaker 2 (13:03):
That's what they look like. But they're also quite beautiful.
They are speckle, they can be light blue, and apparently
some ornithologists believe that each one had a unique speckled
pattern that allowed them to be identified by the parent.
Because they're nesting in such close quarters, if they didn't
have some distinguishing factor, it might be hard for them

(13:24):
to know which egg belonged to them.

Speaker 1 (13:26):
Yeah, it looks kind of like a Jackson Pollock painting,
and I think a new one on every egg. And
I think you and I were both surprised when we
learned that there had been intense research into the reasoning
behind this egg shape and design. So originally people believe
the shape of the egg was an adaptation to prevent

(13:47):
it from rolling off the cliff.

Speaker 2 (13:49):
That's right, and that sort of evolved over time. It
was debunked in the mid nineteen hundreds when naturalists believe
that the egg's shape would allow it to roll in
the perfect arc that would keep it from tumbling off
of the cliffs, like you said. But then a British
ornithologist named Tim Burkehead published a study Leaven twenty seventeen

(14:11):
that sort of debunked that one. He says, it's a
combination of cleanliness and protection. Because the common mirrors are
such horrible, horrible, ghastly flyers. They can careen into other nests,
and his theory is that the shape allows it to
make better contact with the ground, therefore offering more protection

(14:35):
against potential collisions.

Speaker 1 (14:37):
Yeah, increasing surface area. And we should mention that this ornithologist,
Tim Burkhead, has studied mirrors for forty four years.

Speaker 2 (14:46):
He knows his mirrors.

Speaker 1 (14:48):
He's the Mrror guy. I always have so much respect
for someone who has a specific area of expertise, and
he's almost fifty years into the burg game man. He
also has some great points. I appreciate that you mentioned
cleanliness because, as he's quoted in this article from Audubon,
the other feature of mir breeding ledges, says Burckhead, is

(15:08):
that they are invariably filthy. Sometimes it's like going into
a pig sty.

Speaker 2 (15:14):
It's like a toilet, it's like a mountain toilet.

Speaker 1 (15:17):
There are a lot of things, but they wouldn't be
great roommates these mirrors. He says that the guano and
dirt that encrust an incubating egg can clog up the
pores that allow chicks to breathe and also cause infection.
And that's when he found that it wasn't just the
rough shape of the egg, but It was also the
concentration of pores and where they occur. The greatest concentration

(15:39):
of pores from your egg is around the egg's large
blunt end, and it's raised above the ground by that
downward angle tip.

Speaker 2 (15:46):
Okay, we've derailed ourselves with some really fascinating stuff about
the science behind these creatures and their eggs, and a
little bit about these islands.

Speaker 1 (15:54):
But what was the deal ben with.

Speaker 2 (15:55):
The situation the scarcity of eggs that caused folks to
rave these treacherous waters and these slippery slopes to get
those delectable eggs.

Speaker 1 (16:12):
So this is where the entrepreneurial spirit kicks in. Six
men decided to profit from these eggs that were just
a little less than thirty miles off the coast. In
eighteen fifty one, they sailed to the Farallon Islands. They
decided that they owned the islands. They gave themselves ownership.

Speaker 2 (16:32):
Just you can do that, you could, apparently, I guess
you just got to like defend it, right, which which
we'll get into in a minute.

Speaker 1 (16:40):
Right right. They gave themselves company shares and they started
attempting to take these eggs, with the intention being to
sell them in San Francisco despite their strange appearance. Oh
and we almost forgot the coolest part about the eggs.
The blood red yoke.

Speaker 2 (16:58):
Blood red yolk and apparently a slight fishy taste. But
it hit like gangbusters because apparently the chickens, what little
there were in San Francisco, were eaten, so there were
no more hens to lay eggs, So this was a
really big deal. They had a source relatively close by,
although a treacherous trip to get there and to get
him back, and the guy that that headed up this

(17:21):
expedition was a guy by the name of Doc Robinson,
and he was a pharmacist and he and his crew
made this journey and described it as being a hellish
experience and decided they were not going to do it again.
But they would, you know, start a company and hire
people to do it for them. And that was the
impetus for the Egg Company.

Speaker 1 (17:42):
Yeahs of creativity.

Speaker 2 (17:44):
It's also been called the Pacific Egg Company Ink Pacific
Egg Company, Incorporated. But it was the first of its
kind and it very quickly bred kind of copycats that
were like, Hey, you can't own a whole island that's
not your island, and we're gonna come.

Speaker 1 (18:04):
At you, right. Rival firms began to rise to the
marketplace these At the beginning, the egg company was doing
quite well. As Noel said, they were going like gangbusters.
They were climbing up these stiff, sleek cliffs and then
they were getting swarmed by all the birds there. Then

(18:27):
they would gather the freshest eggs in really brutal way.
They would stomp on the ones that were days old.

Speaker 2 (18:33):
Yeah, so that they would have to lay a new
eggs because, like you were saying, these birds typically only
lay one egg per season, but you know when you
smash it, they're gonna lay another. One My favorite part
about this, and try to imagine this, folks, they had
these special shirts called egg shirts with egg pockets, and
so you got these pictures of these guys with eggs
stuffed in their shirts. And I found a picture actually

(18:55):
from a newspaper from a Richmond, Virginia newspaper from a
eighteen ninety five and it shows a man falling to
his death while having one of these bizarre looking egg
shirts on. He just looks totally I don't know, kind
of misshapen and bloated with eggs all the while while
these common mirrors are looking on completely disinterestedly.

Speaker 1 (19:18):
Yet the demand alone egged them on in this dangerous mission.
I do not apologize for I'm going to have to someone.

Speaker 2 (19:25):
You must be stopped too.

Speaker 1 (19:27):
Late, man, I'm holding your hostage. I have all the eggs.
So by the early eighteen sixties they did have not
just some rival firms, but serious competition. And as we
alluded to earlier, the egg company's claim on these islands
was pretty dodgy, tentative at best, because just four years later,

(19:50):
President James Buchanan had solidified the federal government's claimed to
the land for a lighthouse. So they were going up
against the Feds, and it all came to a head
on a summer day in eighteen sixty three.

Speaker 2 (20:05):
Just to add a little point of clarity, they were
kind of little zones in these islands, and some had
more of the eggs than others. True northern part was
considered far less productive in terms of eggs and was
a lot more treacherous, and doctor Robinson's egg company occupied
the less treacherous, more productive part of the island. So

(20:28):
there was a group of interlopers, shall we say, largely
Italian in Greek.

Speaker 1 (20:35):
Folks independent Italian eggers. They were originally called.

Speaker 2 (20:38):
Exactly, they were independent Italian And there's an interesting political
side note on this that we'll get to to a second.
But they row up Doctor Robinson's folks yell at them saying,
you know, they says something like land at your own
peril or something like that, to which these interlopers respond
that they were going to land in spite of hell.
And then they returned the next day to give that

(21:00):
a shot.

Speaker 1 (21:01):
And the paper loved this. The papers were calling it
a war in earnest at the Farolons. We have a
quote from here at seven o'clock yesterday morning, they tried
to land, this being the Italians and the Greeks, but
were warned off by the foremen of the egg company
and five other employees. The latter say that the Italians

(21:22):
then commenced firing on the Americans. Several volleys were exchanged.
Edward Perkins, one of the Americans on shore, was shot
through the stomach and died in a few minutes. Thereafter
a number of Italians were seen to fall into the
boat simultaneously with the firing on shore, which is strange
because we can feel some racial tension or some ethnic
tension that the paper is putting in there. Ultimately two

(21:47):
men were killed in the conflict, one on each side,
so one of the egg company members and one of
the Italian eggers. The leader of the independent folks, the
one who most probably said we're going to land here
in spite of hell, was ultimately convicted of murder and
sent up the river to the state prison for a year.
Just a year, just a year, which makes you makes

(22:09):
you wonder. And this, even this did not stop the
demand for these eggs, which were also that yoke was
twice the size of a chicken egg.

Speaker 2 (22:18):
So it was pretty nutritious, a lot of bang for
your buck, but pretty pricey, like you're saying earlier, with
the inflation rate, putting in about thirty bucks an egg,
although you could get a dozen for a dollar in
certain circumstances. But because of the work that it took
to get these things, and like you know, people did
fall to their deaths to the great white shark infested waters,
no one was going to part with these things for

(22:40):
any less than top dollar. There is a really fantastic
comic that a writer and illustrator from San Francisco named
Eva Chris anth wrote on her blog Farrell on egg
war dot blogspot dot com. She's got all kinds of
really great chronicler of this whole story. Yeah, and she
talks about that racial tension. She has a panel that
this describes three different men. What kind of man would

(23:03):
risk his life for a seabird egg? She asks, you
want to read a couple? Yeah, let's read a couple.
The first one says this, It's got a picture of
his man mustachioed, a fair haired man. And this is
the speech Bubble says, Like many other Northern Italians and
the years before unification, I fled the forced conscription of
the Austrian army. Instead I fought alongside Garibaldi in Brazil democracy.

(23:26):
I was a fool. Now I see the democracy as
just an illusion, like justice, salvation and gold. For how
many men will realize such riches? From Brazil? I took
a job on a whaling ship, the most beastial work
on earth besides this, and when gold was found in California,
our ship came here.

Speaker 1 (23:43):
And this is coming specifically from a blog in reaction
to an earlier NPR piece by the Kitchen Sisters that
details the war. This blog piece from August twenty sixteen
is called what MPR left Out.

Speaker 2 (23:58):
Because she was actually interviewed in that piece for two
hours and feels like the Kitchen Sister's piece, which is
really cool and richly sound design, is really really interesting.
It does leave out this racial angle entirely.

Speaker 1 (24:09):
Right right, and it's a very important part of the story.
So our second person says he has a larger mustache,
darker hair. He says, I fought for Greek independence from Turkey,
and we did free ourselves into hunger, chaos and a
corrupt Bavarian monarchy in Athens. If you only knew what
a mess Europe is now, and all because of man.

(24:31):
But now, in this strange new land, rich in water,
rich in animal life, rich impossibility, I finally feel free here,
I dream again. Am I wrong to feel hope? And
we have one other paneling.

Speaker 2 (24:44):
The last one is a clean shaven man with a
nice pork pie hat kind of situation. He says that
this is really sad. He says, the tax collector in
Medina tightened up its grip on my farm and my family.
They finally seized the land the day after my son
died malaria. My wife went mad and stabbed the tax collector.
Then she took her own life. I do not know

(25:06):
what will happen to me in California, but I pray
that it does not get worse, because trust me, things
can always get worse. And what this comic and most
of the content on this blog is really about is
the fact that these men that were a working for
the egg company in the first place, or going independent,
trying to go independent and fight against the egg company

(25:28):
and their dominance, their stranglehold over this island, they were
just desperate and willing to do the work.

Speaker 1 (25:34):
Yeah, that's the thing, because you will hear differing opinions
from various historians and researchers on the nature of these eggmen,
these eggers. As recently as two thousand and five, an
author named Susan Casey described the Eggmen as mafioso in
her book The Devil's Teeth. This seems like more of

(25:57):
a subjective belief rather than something's backed up with primary documentation, because,
as chrisanth points out, there was not a mafia presence
in California for nearly a century, and in the early
eighteen hundreds, most of the immigrants to San Francisco who
came from Italy, came from northern Italy, which did not
have a mafia. That's right.

Speaker 2 (26:18):
And the thing is like this egg war, it's not
really referring to this one battle. I mean, the battle
was kind of like it bubbled over and there was
actual violence, but there was always little scraps periodically, and
there was always that vying for the best real estate
on this island. Because the egg company didn't own the island.

Speaker 1 (26:35):
Right, not really, they can't go against the Feds with this.

Speaker 2 (26:38):
Had the most manpower, I guess.

Speaker 1 (26:40):
And to show how tense this situation was, there were
also egg pirates, literal egg pirates. There were some. There
were some folks who said, you know, why should we
have to go risk our lives on the slopes when
we could hang out here on the water and just
take eggs from boats that were on the way back
to sanm fd Cisco.

Speaker 2 (27:00):
I read, I'm trying to find the story, so here
it is. Yeah, it was in the time piece. Apparently
one expedition during this nesting season for these birds, they
would get five hundred thousand eggs, which just goes to
show like how damn many of these things there were.
Because again, typically these birds were only laying a single

(27:21):
egg per season.

Speaker 1 (27:23):
And this had and as you might assume, detrimental effect
upon the breeding population, this was not a sustainable practice
over the long term.

Speaker 2 (27:35):
No, the populations dwindled from hundreds of thousands of birds
before the egging began in the eighteen fifties to fewer
than thirty thousand.

Speaker 1 (27:49):
Luckily for us, this story of ridiculous history does have
a happy ending because the birds are still around with
the hundreds of other seabird species that continue to live
and breed on the island. We're gonna go ahead and
tell you it's kind of tough to get there.

Speaker 2 (28:06):
It's really tough to get there. And it has been
declared a National Wildlife Refuge site, and it is pretty
much uninhabited except for a small research station, and the
birds are protected. And you can ask for permission to
go to the island, but that is very rarely granted.

Speaker 1 (28:22):
Acounting right the you and I would definitely have to
put some planning into it. You can see footage of
people arriving to the island, and one of the things
that struck me was after they sail out to the island,
they have to get in a different boat and be
lifted via crane onto the island. Crane is in a
human built crane, not a bird. That would be infinitely cooler.

Speaker 2 (28:43):
That'd be cool, but completely absurd. And you know, sweep,
sweep the leg.

Speaker 1 (28:48):
Sweep the sweep the leg. I can't believe. Did you
just cobra kai.

Speaker 2 (28:51):
Reference us hy cobra kai you sir.

Speaker 1 (28:54):
So what we do also want to point out here
is that despite their success in regrowing the population and
recovering the population of the common mure, the fact remains
that as we record this, there are fewer common mures
on the island than there were before the Gold Rush,

(29:16):
more than one hundred and fifty years ago.

Speaker 2 (29:18):
Yeah, and there had been around four hundred thousand. There's
another stat that I saw, and it dwindled down to
closer to six thousand because of this just rapacious behavior
by these eggers.

Speaker 1 (29:30):
And I have to say, I I don't want to
put you on the spot here, Nol, but it's very
interesting to me that you're pro egg because you're so
anti bird.

Speaker 2 (29:39):
I am very anti bird. I also when I eat chicken,
I don't like to think of what it used to be. Yeah,
I do like chicken, though, Ben, do you know what
actually finally put a stop to this unchecked egging.

Speaker 1 (29:53):
Well, I hope this isn't a Quiztor segment. I'm gonna say,
chicken far me.

Speaker 2 (29:59):
You got it. Chicken farming became a thing in nearby
Petaluma and became a huge industry, and that took the
pressure off for getting that sweet, sweet protein thankfully.

Speaker 1 (30:11):
Yes, and this felt like a too little, too late
situation initially because, as we said, the population had dropped,
but luckily the birds were able to recover. And after
this titular event, this war, which lasted historian's guests around
twenty minutes. Actually yeah, still not the shortest war in history,

(30:33):
but that's a story for a different day. After this war,
the eggers continued to work on the island for another
couple of decades, about twenty years, until they were finally
evicted in eighteen eighty one. But the tree didn't stop
even then. It persisted for a number of years afterward.

Speaker 2 (30:51):
Yeah, and even today, I mean I've heard of people going,
you know, they visit San Francisco or know about like
they called summer gull egg season or something like that.
So you can get you can get fresh gull egg.
It's probably super illegal. It's poaching, I think, right.

Speaker 1 (31:05):
Would you have ever eaten a goal egg?

Speaker 2 (31:07):
I don't know think. I think the most exotic egg
I've ever eaten was a quail egg. I don't know.
I don't see why not. It seems like they taste weird.

Speaker 1 (31:17):
I don't know. If it's not an endangered species, I
think egg wise, I would generally be okay. But also
when we have been traveling, whether for work or weather
for fun, anytime we're near a large coastal area, goals
are like the roughest characters you're gonna meet. Now.

Speaker 2 (31:35):
I was actually in San Francisco a little less than
a month ago for work, and goals I think are
probably the source of my bird phobia. When my grandfather
when I was a kid, my grandfather would have the
gulls swarm me on the beach. So when I was
in San Francisco, I always can what look a scance? Yeah,
you would throw breadcrumbs in the I have this memory
of being a little kid and seeing these things dive
bombing me from the sky, and I think that is

(31:58):
the source of my But when I'm out west, I
always look askance at those creepy guys. I feel like
they're always trying to come at me, their eyeballing me
from the side and plan their attack.

Speaker 1 (32:10):
That's a harrowing experience. Man, this is the first time
you told me that story. I'm glad you're okay.

Speaker 2 (32:15):
It might all just be coming back to me now,
like literally this moment I finally see the source. It's
like I'm being flooded with all this emotion and memory.

Speaker 1 (32:22):
I can tell. I can tell it's written in large
font in your body language. But I promise you this
Casey and I and hopefully you as well fellow listeners,
will protect you and will not throw bread at you.

Speaker 2 (32:36):
Please don't.

Speaker 1 (32:37):
Ben. I really enjoyed this episode.

Speaker 2 (32:38):
I thought this was a really fascinating story with a
lot of fun little side nuggets. So I think we
can wrap it up, but I would love it if
we could do a couple of listener mails.

Speaker 1 (32:49):
That sounds like a great idea.

Speaker 2 (32:51):
You want to do one each, that sounds good, sir.
I will go first bend to get mine out of
the way, because mine is a message of shame. Jay
Robert jose I wrote in very kindly, and he mentioned
this about our four g T forty Enzo Ferrari versus
Ford the second podcast episode, and he had a little

(33:12):
correction for me. He said, quote you mentioned that cars
in the twenty four hour Lamon went around two hundred
and fifty miles per hour. At that time nineteen fifty,
only one car had broken the two hundred miles per
hour barrier. It was the Sunbeam one thousand hp back
in nineteen twenty seven. But until nineteen eighty seven no
other car hit two hundred miles per hour. With the
Ferrari F forty, the time period you mentioned in the

(33:34):
podcast was circa nineteen fifty. At that time, the average
lap times of a Laman's car was eighty nine miles
per hour, with the fastest laps being done at one
hundred and two. Small detail, but I'm a little bit
of a petrol head, thank you, And I'm just going
to read you my response that I wrote to Jay
Robert Hi there. First off, let me put on my
best Homer Simpson voice when I say, oh, I am admittedly,

(33:55):
and I even admitted on the podcast not a petrel head,
and somehow got that stat utterly wrong, I'll be sure,
and mentioned on the next one we record, thanks for listening,
and here I am doing that thing, so thank you
very much for the correction. You're absolutely right, and yeah
I screwed up.

Speaker 1 (34:11):
Don't beat yourself up. And then thanks for checking out
if I want to, okay, well if you I'm not
going to throw bread at you either way. We had
another We had another mentioned that in the two thousand
and sixteen la Mond that we mentioned Towards the end
of that episode we said Porsche placed first. Porsche placed
first in its class, and Ford placed first and third

(34:34):
in its class, so it was not all a hard
luck story. But thanks so much for writing in, sir.
We have one other email that fascinated all three of us,
Casey Nole myself, and it is from a Umi. Hello,
I'm a big fan of the podcast. My name is Yumi,
and I'm a Japanese American raised in the US, but
born and currently living in Japan. I just finished listening

(34:55):
to the CAPS episode and I wanted to comment and
share some insight into a I'm an English teacher but
a believer in descriptivism over prescriptivism when it comes to language,
which I love that point. I completely agree with you. Now,
umy continues. As I teach in an English school that
allows non native teachers, we all use the texting app

(35:16):
line capital L I N E, which is Japanese in
predominant form of texting in Asia. But on top of that,
my main source of understanding emoji use actually comes from
my experience with dating apps. I used a few internationally
popular ones. I live relatively close to Tokyo, so I
had a few observations I think you might find interesting.
I'm not going to read the whole thing, but I'm
going to do some excerpts here. The hands folded together.

(35:39):
These are used to mean pleased by Japanese people, often
put at the end of the request. It's the suggested
emoji when I type please into the line app. The
eggplant emoji, which is infamous here in the States, by
the way, was, says a Umi, universally used by creeps
outside of Japan, as well as mixed Japanese people, but
Japanese nationals have no under standing of the racing meaning

(36:02):
unless they have friends overseas. Same with the peach, and
she goes on to talk about how the tear or
splash emoji in Japan is used when someone is feeling awkward,
much like other sweat drop emoji.

Speaker 2 (36:15):
That's an anime all the time too. Whenever you see
someone that's struggling with something or stressed out, they'll have
little sweat lines coming out of their faces exactly.

Speaker 1 (36:24):
And umians by saying another important note, not everyone uses
standard emoji anymore. For example, users of Line will use
their own emoji set called stamps or stickers. There are
tons of them, and users can even purchase special large
when specific to shows and games they like. I've attached
screenshots of my own apps showing just the original set

(36:46):
which we checked out, and a Umi ends it by saying,
hope you have a great day, regards, thanks so much
for writing to us. I find the evolution of language,
especially in the realm of emoji, endlessly fascinating.

Speaker 2 (36:59):
Oh absolutely, and I just think too, it's interesting that
the set that comes stock on you know, most phones,
iPhones at least, are you know, there are some characters
in there that are pretty intensely Japanese and that I
am still not. Like, there's a couple of food items
that I don't even think I've ever seen before. One
thing that's funny, and you've probably experienced this too, my

(37:21):
girlfriend has an Android and I have an iPhone. Our
emoji sets do not match. When I send her something
that looks a certain way for me, it does not
look the same for her. And there are a few
that have problematic differences. Yes, yeah, agree, Like there's one
that's sort of the Spanish dancer lady doing like a move,
and on her end it's a little like a little

(37:43):
boy doing like a bee boy doing hip hop dance
moves like break dancing.

Speaker 1 (37:47):
Is so strange because I used to have an Android too,
and I would notice this in when we were in
group chats or something, or when I was texting someone,
or I would receive a text and I think, what
the what the hell is this is this? What story
are you telling me? I thought we were going to
meet at the barbecue place.

Speaker 2 (38:05):
There's another one that like, when it comes on my end,
it looks like an eye roll. And I said something
to her about something that happened with my daughter that
I thought was just talking about, you know, being a
dad and saying something dorky, and she sent me this
iroll and I'm like, that's so mean, But it was
not that didn't look that way on her end. It
looked like a wide eyed or happy face or something
like that. So you know, careful Android versus iPhone users,

(38:27):
you might be sending mixed messages and not even know it.

Speaker 1 (38:30):
And give somebody the benefit of the doubt if they
send you something that you think is crazy town, that's true.

Speaker 2 (38:37):
Elephant's in the screenshot of what it looks like on
my phone back to her, so that we're on the
same page. We've kind of learned to do that.

Speaker 1 (38:43):
That's a good policy, and that's where we're going to
end our listener mail, but not our show. We of
course want to thank Casey Pegrud, and we want to
thank Alex Williams for composing that fan favorite theme, and.

Speaker 2 (38:57):
Regular contributor Laurie L. Dove who wrote one hundred and
fift years ago men killed for the eggs of these
birds on how stuff Works.

Speaker 1 (39:04):
And most importantly, you, specifically you, not a general yes,
you and you listeners for tuning into another episode of
ridiculous history. I really hope that you enjoyed this episode
about the egg bore, because in our very next episode,
we're going to be diving into another bit of food

(39:26):
crime history.

Speaker 2 (39:27):
Yeah, with the as sordid tale of bootleg Margarine.

Speaker 1 (39:33):
I wanted to remember we were talking about this. I
wanted to use the phrase butter smuggler just because it
sounded cool. I like it, but it's Margarine.

Speaker 2 (39:40):
I know it's okay, though you still say a butter
comes up.

Speaker 1 (39:44):
Yeah. Yeah, I'm gonna spoiler. We're gonna be waiting to
slip that one in there, and we might even have
a surprise guest who you may ask, will this guest
be Well, there's one way to find out.

Speaker 2 (39:53):
Yeah, come hang out with us. Thanks guys. For more
podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Ridiculous History News

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Noel Brown

Noel Brown

Show Links

AboutStoreRSS

Popular Podcasts

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.