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April 12, 2024 25 mins

Tracy and Holly talk about how much Tracy loves eclipses. They also discuss their favorite TV jingles for the game of Life. 

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff you missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio Habby Friday. I'm Tracy B. Wilson and I'm
Holly Frye. I'm hoping that at this moment I have
safely returned home from a successful trip to see the

total solar eclipse a bunch of us. As we're recording this,
we're going to go to Texas. By the time it
comes out, we will have gone to Texas and come back.
We selected a place in the path of totality that
seemed like it had a better chance of not having

cloud cover than like the parts of New England that
the path of totality is going to go through, which
would been much closer, and also places that we felt
like we could get to in a reasonable way to
do this last time total solar eclipse. Same essentially group
of people. We went to Columbia, Missouri, and it was great,

and we did have a little bit of cloud cover
that was making us nervous, but the clouds cleared over
the sun just in time for totality to happen. And
this is why I don't really get behind the criticisms
of the people who were like, well, this five eighty
five BCE eclipse would have been so late in the

day probably they wouldn't have even noticed that the eclipse happened.
I think they would have noticed because the total solar
eclipse did not feel like a cloud covering up the Sun. No,
I have another thought, but keep going. Yeah, okay. The

comparison between the eclipsed sun and not eclipsed son was
a lot more dramatic than like a cloud blue in,
even a big cloud blue in or a storm blue in.
It became really eerily quiet, and then nighttime animals started
making nighttime noises. It was really one of the It

was just like a profound experience. This is fascinating to me. Yeah,
I don't get moved by them like that. Well have
you I have gone and traveled. Oh yes, okay, and
I'm like neat. Yeah, and it's neat. But that's like
then I'm ready to rock and roll. It's time to go.
But I love that people get so excited about it.

It's just one of those things where I'm like cool,
because I love astronomy and stuff. You would think I
would be like you, guys, everybody shut up, this is
really important. But well, it's not a sculpture. It's not
a piece of art. Vishal Lebron did not touch it.
So yeah, that's I don't know. And I also like
I do, especially in the wintertime, Like in the wintertime,

a lot of times I will try to hike at
the warmest point of the day, which a lot of
times is going to be in the late afternoon. So
a lot of times I am returning home from hiking
as the sun is setting. And I still think, I
still think that would have been something that would have
been noticeable. So I just like, just me personally, I

don't really agree with the argument that like probably the
armies would not have noticed an eclipse, if eclipse if
it was starting late in the day towards unde sunset.
Now this is where my other thought comes in, Okay,
because I hear you it is a dramatic like visual thing,
but you're not fighting hand to hand combat when you're
seeing them. I guess that's also true. Like that's that's

the mitigator for me, is like if I were engaged
in combat, I would be like, cool, it's dark. I
don't have time to look at that, like I might die.
But I don't know enough about how how their flavor
of combat played out to know how much of that
really was like what I'm envisioning largely from film and

occasional woodcuts, versus like if they were just sitting around
waiting for the next maneuver, Right, I don't know that
would be that would be the shifter in that one.
But I don't know. I guess yeah. Well, and then
there's also the argument of like, there probably wasn't an
eclipse like that. Some of the papers that I read
doing research for this were very stride. They were like,
the eclipse is a fiction. Yeah. I have more questions,

but they're kind of personal in nature, and you might
not want to answer them on the show. Well, we
can clut them out if okay, because this is pure curiosity.
I'm just I have been peppering portracy with questions today
for I don't know if I'm just super tired, so
I've become a toddler and I have a million ques.
When you say an eclipse for you is a very
profound experience, like profound in what way? Like what is

your takeaway? Do you feel differently about the world or
the cosmos in your place in it? Or is it
profound just in like the starkness of its difference from
day to day life. So I will confess that when
I was in maybe third grade, there was a total
annular eclipse that crossed North Carolina right where we lived,

in the path of totality. And if I'm remembering this correctly,
this happened during the school day. We all went outside
and watched it with little pinhole cameras made of index cards.
I also remember another solar eclipse that I feel like
was maybe a partial solar eclipse that we did something

similar in the yard at home because it was not
a school day. Neither of those when I was a
child really struck me as anything impressive at all, and
I was like, as I don't know why you're out
here making me look at these things through index cards.
It's a shadow like why why I could be playing. Yeah.

So then this one that was in twenty seventeen, which
a group of us went to Columbia, Missouri together, I
was sort of like, this just theme seems like a
cool thing to do. At that point, I had not
seen an actual total solar eclipse within the path of totality,

and I had just seen this total annular eclipse before
which that makes like a ring around there's still a
ring of sun visible, and so I kind of went
sort of like feeling like it would be a fun
thing to do, an interesting and we went out to
this It was sort of a wildlife preservation area and

it was a whole group of us together. The people
that I was with were all people who were very
interested in what we were doing. One person background in
a related field, gotcha, so like to this person personally,
I think would have been particularly affected. So some of
it was witnessing all the things that happened when the

sun disappeared, right because we had picked a point, we
were close to the longest duration of the totality, so
there was enough time in the state of totality that
like interesting things happened around us involving how the animals
behaved to what we were doing. And then part of
it was also like how much it struck other people

that I was with, So I sort of by osmosis, right,
you're part of the group dynamic. Yeah, And then also
there's just the part of like witnessing this thing where
these the fact that we have eclipses. It all only
happens because of the position of the moon and the
Earth and our relation to the sun, and if if

that alignment was not what it is, we would not
have them. So yeah, it was a lot of stuff together, gotcha, gotcha. Yeah,
it just feels momentous. Yeah. I will also just have

a note that I did try to find good pronunciation
guidance for this episode, and boy, like some things I
found Greek pronunciations for don't actually know whether the Greek
pronunciation now would be remotely like right, the Greek pronunciation then.
And also they were names of people that weren't necessarily

in Greek to start with. And then similarly, sometimes there
are Latin pronunciations that's maybe totally different, and then you'll
have English pronunciations, and then sometimes just no pronunciations by
anyone reputable seeming to say anything about any of this.
So like, we did try, but I'm not gonna say
that anything that we did would pass some kind of scrutiny.

I say, a person who's say entire PhD is about,
you know, this region of the world in the sixth
century BC. Right, Well, I mean we have talked about
pronunciation so many times, and it also comes down to you.
I bet during the sixth century bce. Not everybody said

it the same way. Yeah, yeah, we have. We We've
gotten some pronunciation corrections recently from things that I'm like,
I'm not sure what you are trying to tell me,
because there are two at least pronunciations for the thing
that you are rhyming it with, and I don't know
which you are mirking with. Yeah, yeah, I mean that

happens all the time. It's Yeah, there's a fun thing
I've probably mentioned before, uh for my Star Wars dork,
but Dave Felony, who is I forget his exact title,
but he's, you know, the Grand Pooba of Star Wars
creativity at this point. But he started doing a thing
that I found really fascinating and kind of cool. Which

is it like if he's being interviewed and a thing
comes up that people have pronounced differently in Star Wars
at various times in the course of the interview, he'll
use both pronunciations. I love this because he's like they're
both valid, and I like, that's fine, we all know
what we're talking about. And I was like, oh, this
is very genius. Yeah yeah, yeah. Some of the things

we hear from folks about I are sort of equivalent
to like the word wat er. Most of us in
the US say it sort of similarly to water, right,
which has a D in it and not a T,
which is not how it's spelled. But then there's like
variations on just that, Like there are people that say

it more like water. Yeah, well I can't even do it.
Uh so, Yeah, there's just there's so much difference in
accents and how people's mouths work. I will once again
invoke the great Facebook crayon war. Oh, people got so mad,
which we had to. That word came up on a
recent episode and it was on me and I was like,

oh gosh, I hope this doesn't happen again. I know
everybody says it differently. I say it crayon. My spouse
says it closer to cryon, which is the pronunciation people
got the most angry about when they were fighting about
the pronunciation of crayon on our Facebook. This is so
long ago, but was so dramatic. We both still remember

it was. Really I was just like I did because
we had done one on the history of Krayola creons,
and I certainly didn't know what an incendi or topic. Well,
I think the only thing that's happened recently that even
compares to that is the fight p people had about
whether The Velveteen Rabbit is an appropriate book for children

and whether you should interpret it in a way that
is happy or sad, and people got verbally violent about it.
People feel ways about things. They sure do, they sure do,
thats what's up? I'm you know. I always go the
hippie route of like, both points are valid. Yes, we
can all say it however we want, because nine times

out of ten in context is perfectly clear what you're
talking about. To just understand what the person meant, then
mission accomplished. I also just love the variance of audio
musicality of people saying things different ways. Oh me too,
I think it's beautiful. Often when I'm like, oh, that's
how you say that. That sounds pretty indifferent than the
way I say it, or like, ooh that sounds really

forceful and different than the way I've ever heard it.
I love those Yeah, yeah, not everybody does. No. I
follow a bunch of through hikers on TikTok because while
I do not think I will ever through hike anything
difficult myself, I do like to watch other people doing
it and the different ways the people will say the

thing I say as the Appalachian Trail, and sometimes fighting words. Yes,
sometimes there will be people that talk about how they're
on day fourteen, and a lot of them I've noticed
just start saying the at so that they won't have
to deal with it. But like, no matter how anybody
says it, there will be a bunch of people in

the comments being ugly about it. And I'm like, this
person is walking, do you understand how far they are
going to walk? What if this was not what we
were focused on? I feel like this, I mean, we're
getting now into the shades of like why do people
have to yell at each other on the internet? But
like my variation on this recently, it's not about pronunciation

but about various cooking accounts and like the refusal to
acknowledge that people have different taste oh, in different ways
of preparing things right, And it'll be like, I'm listen,
if you ever just are bored and need entertainment and
like your television's broken, go to the New York Times

cooking post and watch people yell at each other under
them because it's literally like it's not even like ooh,
I didn't like this. It's like I made this and
it was garbage and I hate you and I'm not subscribing.
Like it literally escalates to this like wild level in seconds.
And then you know, if someone goes, I made this
and I actually thought it was pretty good, there's a

herd of people who want to tell them that they
clearly have the palette of like a badger and they
shouldn't be allowed in a kitchen. And like it's never
just like, oh, I don't that doesn't work for me.
It's always like, and you are a monster and you're bad. Yeah, yeah,
you probably cook with crayons. I know. This is one
of the ways that I feel really conflicted about like

where we are and the ability to communicate with each other,
because I think the Internet and social media have made
it possible for people who did not have a community
before to find a community. Yeah, but it's also made
it so much easier to just be ugly, and ugliness
is such a big part of like the internet culture
at this point, and I don't love it. I'm like, hey,
what if we all remembered we're all on the same

planet with the same sun and the same moon. We're
all here together. We're all trapped on one rock hurdling
through space. Be cool, and that's where we'll end this half.

We talked about Milton Bradley and the Checkered Game of
Life this week. Yep, there have been so many versions
of this game, even in the modern versions where I'm like, yikes, yeah,
there was on the original. On some of the original

versions there was a square you could land on that
kind of encouraged things like playing the stock market and
speculation that got taken off. And even in the modern ones,
I remember, and then I thought I may have misremembered
and been experiencing a cerebral event something that I then

went and looked at ads, and it was in the ads,
which is that you used to get sent to a
poor farm, which is sucky. That's yeah, the whole thing
is sucky. The newer versions of Life are a trip
because like, you don't get cash you used to, like
I remember Life being one of those games like Monopoly
where you would get lots of paper involved, and now

the newer ones have you get like a debit card essentially,
and it's like I think they even have a partnership
with Visa. Yeah, and it's like about They always say
that it is about teaching kids financial responsibility, but it's
also like, I don't know, the whole thing is weird anymore.

I don't think we played a lot of the Game
of Life. I mean I have played it before, but
I feel like it was a game that like somebody
who baby sat us at or something like. I don't
think it was a game we had at home. Yeah,
I mean I wonder too, because like the Game of Life, historically,
as we grew up playing, it was very gendered. Right.

You had a car that was either pink or blue
if you were a boy or a girl, and you
had little pegs that represented you and the other people
in your family that were all either pink or blue
for the same reasons. And I'm like, that's not really
today that I mean, are there other colors I haven't investigated.
I don't have no idea, But I also one. I

did love the ad campaigns for the Game of Life
because they're preposterously funny. Right, It's like a ten year
old going I had twins and just like a lot
Oh yeah. I also just have the get Lucky with
the Game of Life jingle on in my head on repeat.
The whole time we've been recording this. Oh yeah, mine
is you can be a winner at the Game of Life.

Oh I forgot that one. I love that one. That
was my favorite, even though the actual ad is probably
one of my less favorites in terms of how it
plays out. But it's very funny. I will say this though,
which makes me sound like I was a ruthless child,
and I was in some ways because I did not
want to play the Game of Life. Okay, I was
a monopoly kid because I wanted to destroy all I wanted.

I was that monster child that wanted to build up
every one of my properties to the point where like
Dubai would look on with envy. And then I wanted
to charge people. I remember charging somebody who did not
have the money to pay me when they landed on
my square. I was like, you can keep playing. I'm

not going to bank, but you will be racking up interest.
What a monstrous kid. So I in my memory, my
paternal grandmother had two board games at her house when
my brother, cousin and I were of the age to
play them, and those were Battleship and Monopoly, and my brother, no,

my cousin, and I would gang up on my brother.
Oh yeah, alliances and and upset him so much. Sorry, sorry, Matt,
I'm very sorry that that Rad and I were so
bad to you playing Monopoly as children. I feel like
that's always how it went. It was always me and

my cousin ganging up on my brother, and then my
grandmother would be like, y'a'll be nice. But that's not
how that works. Those don't foster niceness. No. Well, and
that whole game has its own story of it being
a game originally that was about the grossness of capitalism
that then became a game that celebrates capitalism. There's a

whole that's a whole other story. Yeah, there's lots of
other work out there on there. That article from The
New Yorker that Jim Lapour wrote, who is a history professor,
made an interesting point that I hadn't considered about the
game of life, which is that you're not the way
you're competing with other players is not in a way

that directly impacts them. You're on your own journey and
you're just trying to get through your stuff fastest, unlike
something like Monopoly, where it is a little more ruthless
and like you're trying to take down other people, and
I was like, oh, that's an interesting thing I had
not thought about. Although, of course, in the actual game
of real world life, if your only goal is to

acquire wealth, you are probably going to take down other people.
That's a different matter. And there are also a number
of awesome board games that are cooperative and everyone and
playing is working together to achieva goal. Yes, yeah, that's
I feel like. That is how I like to play

video games now. Like I don't love the games where
you just drop in and get you know, destroyed by
somebody randomly, right, I really like the ones for a while.
When when the first version of Battlefront two is out,
I'm almost reluctant to bring up Battlefront because it's going
through a little rough moment right now. But they used
to have a setting that was called Play All Maps,

and basically Brian and I would make sure we run
the same team. We would hit play All Maps and
we would spend like four hours just running around the
Star Wars universe together, you know, trying to shoot droids,
which was a very good date night for us. Yeah,
and I would like to do those again, but yeah,
I don't. I don't so much want to fight with
my friends in games the way I did when I

was a kid. Now I've gotten to be such a
hippie as an adult and like everybody be kind. Who
can adopt the most cats? That will be my board game. Yeah.
We So there's a game. I think it's called The
Tea Dragon Society. I'm doing this for memory, and it's
been a while since I've played. But it is a game.

You have these little dragons and tea. It is a
card game. And I was playing it with some friends
and three of us were interested in, you know, having
a good time with these adorable dragons and their tea
and flowers and et cetera. And Friend number four sort
of created an engine like he was actually playing the game,

like playing it to win. He created an engine with
the cards so that every turn he got all of
the stuff. And we were just like, we are not
we do not have the same goal for our This
is not the same game. Noh. So anyway, I don't

do many board games these days, not for lack of interest.
It's just hard to like find a time when people
I would want to play with can all be in
the same place. Right. Uh, you know, we're all a
little probably silly levels of busy, but maybe maybe that
will be a mid year resolution for me. I'll add in, Yeah, yeah,

I do. I do play some board So we've gotten
requests for a history of board games episode that's like going,
can I get a history of the sun? Yeah, and
big this is maybe gonna be ironic since we just
I just wrote six impossible episodes on etiquette manuals, which
was like, admittedly from the beginning, like this is a

very eurocentric etiquette manual thing. I feel like it would
be a huge disservice to that topic to have it
be really eurocentric. And I also don't feel like it's
possible to be more global with it and have it
fit into an episode. There's so much so like that

is something that I've thought about and that's where I
landed on it. Yeah, that's tricky. I hope if this
is your weekend coming up, that you get to maybe
play a game with somebody that you like playing with
and that has similar objectives and approaches to those games
to you. If it's not your time off coming up,

we hope that you still get to have a good
time and maybe play a game. Sometimes I can fit
a game in on a weeknight. If you are trucking
along through life and getting relaxation and being kind, we
hope you reach happy old age. We will be right
back here again tomorrow with a classic, and then on

Monday there will be another brand new episode. Stuff You
Missed in History Class is a production of iHeartRadio. For
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Tracy V. Wilson

Tracy V. Wilson

Holly Frey

Holly Frey

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