All Episodes

Tune in for a new episode every Thursday! Keep your eyes peeled for surprise extras every now and then - and join us on Patreon for even more content available exclusively to our lovely patrons who are deeply loved.

The Life and Times of F. Scott Fitzgerald (The F is for Finisher)

Join us as we learn all about F. Scott Fitzgerald in preparation for our upcoming miniseries on The Great Gatsby! This poor guy had quite the wild life, including writing what some consider to be the quintessential American novel (somehow, the tale of rich people in New York City). Through his work, he strove to answer the eternal question: can a poor boy marry a rich girl?!?! Rachel totals a …

Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Finale: Yumeow Yumeow Yumeow

Today we read and discuss Parts 2 & 3 of The Metamorphosis, the famous tale of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who continues to be a monstrous insect. Theo laughs at child on child crime. Jackie’s attraction to Kafka is unchanged. Rachel delights in her accurate spacial reasoning. Topics include: the Beetleborgs (a Power Rangers knockoff???), Homestar Runner, Nathan Fielder, Stephen's continuing …

Theo Quizzes the Hosts (Patreon Preview)

A short preview of our Patreon Bonus episode this month! Theo designed a diabolical quiz game for Rachel and Jackie, who in turn answer diabolical quiz questions.

Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Part 1: The Hulk of Messing Things Up (a.k.a. The Transformation or Die Verwandlung)

Today we read and discuss Part 1 of The Metamorphosis, the famous tale of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who awakens one morning to find himself transformed into some sort of monstrous insect. Theo gives himself an award. Jackie flails around like a Muppet, as usual. Rachel runs the gamut of hellish experiences at Heathrow Airport. Topics include: Jackie’s feelings towards her great-grandfather, our …

The Life and Times of Franz Kafka: Fighting God

If you enjoy hearing people talk about the life of author Franz Kafka, have we got a treat for you! In this episode, Jackie’s the captain now, and she gets a little too into her Kafka research. She delved too greedily and too deep, and is now officially obsessed with old Franz. Now you get to reap the fruits of her labor! Come back next week to hear us talk about Kafka’s most famous novella, …

Talking to Author Sarah Gailey About Horror, Compulsory Girl Bossing, and Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery

Sarah Gailey, author of the upcoming book Just Like Home, joins us to talk about one of the most famous American short stories of all time: Shirley Jackson’s 1948 classic, The Lottery. Jackie reveals her long, sordid history with technology. Rachel reads a book review from an alternate reality. Theo discusses an affordable delicacy. Topics include: old houses, cottagecore, rollerblading …

How to Scam the French Lottery for Fun and Profit, by Voltaire (Patreon Preview)

You may recall that a few weeks back we briefly discussed how the writer and philosopher Voltaire became a (relative) millionaire. Although we knew it had something to do with scamming the official French government lottery, at the time we believed the answer was, “he bought every lottery ticket.” Rachel has since realized it was a little more complicated than that! Join Jackie and Theo as they …

A (Near) Father’s Day Fiasco!

Ah, June. The time of year when dads near and far are honored for their contributions to our personhood. We interviewed our dads about our childhoods, and theirs, and some book talk made it in here and there. Technological mishaps abounded, but somehow, fiasco turned fiesta, and the party continues. Henry enjoyed being interviewed by Rachel so much that he insisted upon a second interview. Frank …

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias: Talking Poetry with Professor Ross White

Well, well, well, look who we have here - Jackie’s previous poetry professor (and poet), Ross White. We discuss Ross’s favorite poem: Shelley’s badass masterpiece (badassterpiece?), Ozymandias. Rachel insults all poets. Theo therapizes/becomes the executive, legislative, and judicial producer. Jackie continues to have singularly unique experiences. Topics include: Downsizing (2017), tiny …

The Life and Times of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Life’s a Bysshe and Then You Die in a Mysterious Boating Accident

Here's our episode about the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley! A great writer, a terrible husband, and arguably an even worse father. Although he died at the age of 29, he got an unbelievable amount of living done. Listen in to hear about all the shenanigans he got up to! Jackie breaks the news about her disorder. Rachel tells everyone why the episode is about. Theo wishes he’d said “Get a tomb” …

Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism Finale: Impossible Feets

We finally made it to the second/last episode in our Candide miniseries, and what a long strange trip it’s been. Our hero visits El Dorado, England, and Turkey, gaining and losing money and companions along the way. Will he be reunited with his true love (?) Cunégonde? Will he be reunited with basically everyone he’s met throughout the book? Will he continue to believe that he lives in the …

Theo's Birthday Episode (Patreon Preview)

Well, well, well. Look who decided to join Jackie and Rachel on the right side of 30! That would be Theo, our (actual, this time) birthday boy-producer. In honor of this special day, Rachel decided to give him the greatest gift of all: an idea for a birthday episode that he didn't have to come up with himself. We discuss the children's book My Dog Talks by Gail Herman, an age-inappropriate classic …

Premee Mohamed on Writing Sci-Fi Like a Scientist

This week we have another very special guest for you all: author Premee Mohamed, just in time for the release of the thrilling conclusion to her Beneath the Rising trilogy, The Void Ascendant. We had a great time chatting with her about Benjamin Franklin, Science Octopus; things that rhyme with Nyarlathotep; the differences between Canada and America; how to tell if something is YA; recycling …

Mother’s Day Mayhem!

This week we have a very special, very cute episode for you all - we interviewed our moms! Well, we each interviewed our respective moms. Buckle up for some cute stories and wide-ranging children’s book opinions. Theo and his mom issue a challenge. Jackie and her mom learn some surprisingly spooky information about each other. Rachel and her mom actually discuss books. Books mentioned: …

The Poetry of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Feminist, Lesbian, Spitfire, 17th-Century Mexican Nun

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! This week, we’re talking about one of our favorite nuns, the genius author, poet, and scholar Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Born in the mid-1600s, Sor Juana’s work has had a resurgence in the past few decades, and we want to get a little piece of the action for ourselves. (Yes, we know Cinco de Mayo isn’t actually a big deal in Mexico.) Rachel shakes people’s hands just to …

Goosebumps 2: Stay Out of the Basement (Patreon Preview)

Bump Patrol is back, baby. We revisit the book Theo calls one of the scariest of the whole Goosebump canon, and it’s an absolute blast (from the past). Will the kids stay out of the basement as they’re told? Or will they drive the plot forward by very much NOT staying out of the basement? Is Margaret and Casey’s mom having an affair with a cactus? Is Fatso a good nickname for a preteen girl? …

Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism Part 1: A Young Teenage Boy-Man-ish

Voltaire’s renowned 1759 satire of the idea that everything is for the best! Candide, a young German fellow, goes on a series of increasingly worse (and more bizarre) adventures, and does his best to maintain his sunny disposition. Theo reveals the last thing he wanted to do. Rachel is so powerful, despite having clothes on. Jackie plays an ultrasound prank. Topics include: honchxheads, Dune …

The Life and Times of Voltaire: The Pete Davidson of the Enlightenment

Gather round, audience, and we’ll tell you a tale of Voltaire, perhaps the greatest satirist in all of France. Learn why this man kept getting sent to England (a fate worse than death)! Find out which family member he hooked up with! Discover what his friends did with his body after he died! Rachel apologizes for having taken a philosophy course. Jackie comes for Young Thug. Theo declares his …

Yoon Ha Lee on Space Operas and Surviving as a Writer

We’ve got a very special guest for you this week - Yoon Ha Lee, author of, among others, the Machineries of Empire series, and the Thousand Worlds series (with Rick Riordan Presents). Join us as we compare adult SF/F publishing to middle grade & YA, get our PhDs in space operas, and even discuss the appeal of robots. Theo is more honorable than Jackie. Jackie reveals some truly shocking …

Dubliners Finale: The Michael-Killer

We wrap up the final 7 stories of James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’. Somehow, despite the stories only getting sadder, we were more or less beside ourselves with silliness. Sometimes the stars just align that way, and neither soaring prose nor existential dread nor the revelation that one of us had unwittingly done something extremely embarrassing during a previous recording can bring us down. But fear …

James Joyce’s Dubliners, Part 1: Two O’Goofuses

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In this seasonally appropriate episode, we read the first 8 short stories that comprise James Joyce’s 1914 collection ‘Dubliners’. A portrait of middle-class life in the titular city at the turn of the 20th century, things undeniably get weird, and the gang has to figure out how to talk about it without throwing up from sadness. Tune in to find out if they succeed! Theo is …

Optimism vs. Hope: How to Build a Better Future, with Historian Ada Palmer

The return of our wonderful guest, author and historian Ada Palmer! (If you haven’t listened to our first episode with her, scroll back a bit and listen to Romeo & Juliet & Everything else.)  This time we talk about the Black Death, Covid-19 as a historian sees it, and helping each other make a better world.  Topics include: Titus Andronicus, Romeo & Juliet, Petrarch, tranquil souls, the gayest …

Winnie-the-Pooh Finale: A Pig of No Simple Fortune

We read the last five chapters of Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne. Which character is a badass bitch? Which character is the most like Theo?  Which character makes Theo suddenly turn against the book entirely?  Find out if this book gets to remain a classic, or if we decide to fire it out of the canon entirely.  (Or a secret third option?!) Rachel disrespects the wishes of the dead.  Jackie becomes …

Winnie-the-Pooh Begins: Screwing Up Every Day

We read the first five chapters of Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne.  As usual, our hosts have varying degrees of familiarity with this childhood classic.  Does it hold up?  Is it worth having kids just to read to them about Pooh and the gang?  Let’s find out together.  Theo reminisces about the sweet, delicious Pepsi Era.  Jackie is still mad at Capri Sun.  Rachel is being very Central American. …

Romeo & Juliet & Everything Else: A Conversation with Historian Ada Palmer

We have a very special guest for you all today - Professor Ada Palmer, author of the recently-completed Terra Ignota series (one of Rachel’s favorites).  We invited her on to talk about Romeo & Juliet, but, as is customary with our guest episodes, the conversation went in some very surprising directions.  (However, we do recommend that you listen to our previous Romeo & Juliet episode first for …

Valentine’s Day Special: Browning Battle! DTM - Down to Marry

Ah, love.  We love it in all of its forms.  One of those forms is the love between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, both legendary poets, each married to the other.  But which is better?!  In the gladiatorial arena of romance, two love poems enter, but only one love poem leaves.  Rachel stans a cougar.  Jackie is a closeted sexist.  Theo learns that he’s not a learner.

Topics …

Romeo and Juliet, But Make it Funny

Y’all know the drill!  Shakespeare’s classic - boy and girl meet, fall in love immediately, and, through a series of misadventures, die.  Sure, it’s famous, but does it hold up?!  Jackie single-handedly defeats the whole purpose of the podcast.  Theo taints the whole thing.  Rachel helps high schoolers cheat on a quiz.  Topics include: secret societies, chocolate assholes, Ann Hathaway’s …

Cyrano de Bergerac Finale: A Down South Baptizin’

We finish reading the last three acts of Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, and finally find out if this play is a rom, a com, or a dram.  One of our most high concept episodes yet!  The gang processes their first one star review in a very healthy way.  Theo takes a look inside his own head, and doesn’t like what he sees.  Jackie sweetens a baby.  Rachel is bawlin’ out.  Topics include: a donkey that …

Cyrano de Bergerac Part 1: The Monkey of Brioche

----more----We read the first two acts of Edmond Rostand’s classic romantic tragedy, Cyrano de Bergerac.  It’s entirely possible that Cyrano is the coolest guy who ever lived.  Listen in as we lay the groundwork for a familiar-sounding love triangle!  Jackie speaks fluent German. Theo lifts weights with gusto.  Rachel stands up for women.  Topics include: Muppet Babies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire …

1984 Finale: The McDoubleThink is Back

Join us for the dramatic ending of 1984!  At the end of episode 2, Winston had been captured by the party, and thrown in prison.  Let’s see what becomes of him and his gal pal Julia.  Most importantly, let’s see if your hosts fire this book out of the dang canon!  Theo does a seriously amazing job remembering what we’ve read so far.  Jackie sings Fast Car, as is customary.  Rachel blatantly virtue …

1984 Part 2: 10 Years of Punching Experience

Things in Oceania are really heating up!  This time around, our hero Winston gets up to some seriously illegal (romantic) mischief.  Rachel falls down the side of a mountain.  Jackie refuses to put a price on her dignity. Theo gets decked by a fourth grader.  Thoo, if you’re out there, get in touch.  Topics include: Ireland, Cook Out, pirates, No Nut November, goiter treatment tips, a pleasant …

Hot Take #1 - Michael and the Horrifying Ordeal of Being Perceived

The first in our Hot Takes series! Bonus content, inspired by our listeners.

For full context, revisit our Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening episode.

1984 Part 1: The Stupidest Thing Everyone Has Ever Tweeted

Well, a new year has come, and once again we find ourselves in 1984.  Or do we????  Join us as we discuss Part 1 of George Orwell’s dystopian classic.  Theo immediately causes trouble/aspires to become a party man.  Jackie throws her hat in the ring for the Most Confusing Sentence Award. Rachel quotes her favorite politicians.  Theo’s brother makes his podcast debut.  Topics include: the …

Dickens’ The Chimes: Gob Bless Us, Every One

A new year is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than to continue our tradition of joking our way through each of Charles Dickens’ five Christmas Books? In ‘The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In,’ a poor old man learns a valuable lesson about the dangers of tripe consumption. Theo reveals a newer, more sultry side. Jackie wishes we wouldn’t …

A Christery Chat with John Allison

Merry Christmas Eve-Eve, everyone! We sat down (virtually) with John Allison, Eisner award-winning comic book writer and artist, to hash out our thoughts on 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas' by Agatha Christie. We covered the plot in our last episode, so check that out first if you haven't already! Spoilers, of course, abound. And, even better, John gives us an inside look at his creative process. …

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas: If You See Something, Slit Something

We read Agatha Christie’s Christmas mystery (Christery) classic, and share our favorite flavors.  Spoilers for this decades old book abound!  An old man is found dead in a giant pool of blood, after what seems to be a struggle.  Which of his innumerable children did the deed?!  Rachel builds suspense.  Jackie is fine with being either friends or more than friends.  Theo becomes a random word …

Cicero’s How to Be a Friend: Brainless Geniuses

It’s our special anniversary episode! We decided it was high time we figured out if we were doing this whole friendship thing right, so we checked in with the ancient Roman philosopher Cicero. Rachel refuses to relitigate the major theme of The Odyssey. Jackie gets TWO more cats, seriously! Theo reveals what he values above all else. Topics include: limericks yet again, two wolves, the fall of the …

Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: They’re All Pippin

We read that wintry Frosty Rob classic! Here’s the deal: we literally talked about this poem for almost a week after recording. Should we have said some of that stuff during the episode? You decide. Anyway, don’t miss the Marvel-style post-credits scene! Theo is looking for a sugar mama (this is not a joke). Rachel gets s’owned. Jackie munches on some paper. Topics include: sea shanties, French …

Lysistrata: A Newer, More Glamorous, Supremely Seductive Me

We read Aristophanes’ classic Ancient Greek sex comedy, Lysistrata!  It’s good to be back, baby.  Join us as we revel in this extremely crude no-nut classic.  Theo finally keeps his dang shirt on.  Jackie writes a road rap.  Rachel brags about her great rapport with babies.Topics include: a billion dick jokes, No Nut November, a compliment pizza, Lucky Charms, NPR joke books, Lake Wobegon, Monica …

The Little Prince Finale: Mr. Pig Expert

The curtain closes on our reading of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic book, The Little Prince. Appropriately, this episode bounces around between silly, informative, and touching. Join us on this journey through the stars! Theo goes from nasty & rude to touching. Jackie is called Scary Theo & Scary Jack. (Jackie’s cats don’t make the cut.). Rachel tells a seriously gruesome tale.

Topics …

Dune (2021) vs. Dune (1984) with Jess Owens: A Cat with a Rat Taped to It

We hosted a watch party of the (spoilers) BIZARRE 1980s Dune, and then separately watched the 2021 version, and now we’re here to tell you all what we think.  Theo loves David Lynch’s grotesquerie. Jess is Judge Judy.  Rachel shares her favorite group of white guys.  Jackie doesn’t want to talk about Dune ever again.  Topics include: Saw, torture porn vs. food porn, Biblical-level disgusting, …

The Little Prince Part 1: We Like Sheep!

The gang reads and discusses Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s melancholy children’s classic The Little Prince.  Turns out Saint-Exupéry led a surprisingly exciting and sensual life!  Find out all about it in this exclusive episode.  (Our apologies in advance for the probably-offensive attempts at French accents.)  Rachel is the freaking birthday girl.  Jackie’s not very wrong.  Theo forbids his friends …

Halloween Bonus! Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: 90 Kids in a Trenchcoat

Happy Halloween, canoneers! In this spooktacular bonus episode, we read and discuss five selections from Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" series. Infamous for their horrifyingly non-child friendly accompanying illustrations, these lil guys were a staple of late twentieth century childhood (for one of our hosts, anyway).  Theo gets white girl wasted and removes his shirt. …

Frank Herbert’s Dune, ft. Jack Morgan: Little Miss Livermush

Time for some Dune analysis, y’all! (For more plot-centric discussion, check out our previous episode Dune: Our Friends the Worms.). We brought on our good friend Jack Morgan, former comedian/current doctor, to discuss his favorite(?) book. If you want to hear us dig in to the meat of the book, this is the episode for you. Jack doxes his own baby. Rachel schedules a guest well in advance. Jackie …

The 10 Strangest Births in Greek Mythology(?): Zaddy, Zexy, Zeus

In honor of the baby our planned guest just HAD to have on our recording day, we decided to instead record an episode based on a poorly-written blog’s list of the 10 supposedly strangest births in Greek mythology.  Theo brings his A game with all the potty talk.  Jackie DOES NOT misgender an old lady and buys lots of syrup.  Rachel is honestly disgusted.  Topics include: bad Yelp reviews, fart*** …

Dune: Our Friends the Worms

They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it!  That’s right - in ONE episode, we manage to discuss all 800 pages of the sci-fi classic Dune, by Frank Herbert.  (For a more analysis-heavy discussion, check out our later episode Frank Herbert's Dune: Little Miss Livermush.) Today as a guest, we have the world’s greatest Dunespert!  (No, not Frank Herbert.)  Rachel virtue signals about gummy …

Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness: A Conversation with Author Ruthanna Emrys

Today we have a special guest: Ruthanna Emrys, author of the neo-Lovecraftian Innsmouth Legacy series.  Ruthanna gives us a quick rundown of H.P. Lovecraft’s life and work, and we have a great time discussing The Whisperer in Darkness, starring our most gullible protagonist yet (and maybe some aliens???).

Topics include: brains in jars, Star Trek vs Star Wars, Orlando Bloom, secret fish people …

Dostoevsky’s The Dream of a Ridiculous Man: Electronic Jaculas

Today, (most of) the gang reads a short story by Dostoevsky, in which a ridiculous man has a significant dream and won’t shut up about it.  Theo is a birthday boy producer!  Jackie is too old for a milk carton yet too young for a Smuckers jar.  Rachel is insulted by someone who should really know better.  Topics include: the 3 host problem, Wheaties, Count Chocula, Dracula Weekly, Drac of the …

Wuthering Heights Finale: Enough Mush for Two

In this episode, we wrap up the final 9 chapters of Wuthering Heights. Things get weird! Like… so weird it’s honestly astonishing this was written before the advent of the internet. Theo doesn’t know anything about wrestling. Jackie exercises her right to womanterrupt. Rachel has a slight falling out with Nelly Dean. And unfortunately for Jackie, our pronunciation consultant Joshua strikes again. …

Wuthering Heights 2: Minchin’ and Munchin’

In this episode, chapters 10 through 24 are no match for the fearless FTC gang, who continue to unravel the gothic, ghostly tale of Cathy and Heathcliff, along with the useless Mr. Lockwood and the shrewd housekeeper Nelly, who everyone agrees is a huge meddler. Is she a hapless rube forced into the middle of the action by those stronger than her, or is she simply a messy bitch who loves drama? …

Wuthering Heights 1: A Strange Choice of Favourites

In this episode, Rachel and Jackie revisit a book their teenage selves did not truly appreciate, having at the time no taste for the grotesque and cruel - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Now that all that has changed, the gang has no trouble diving into chapters 1 through 9 for your listening pleasure, as well as discussing the brief but brilliant life of its author. Rachel makes a …

Frauds, Plagues, and Terrible Art: a (Mostly) Medieval Chat with Dr. Lotte Reinbold

In this episode we talk to the delightful Dr. Lotte Reinbold, professor of Medieval Literature!  We ask her all our weirdest questions about chivalry, old manuscripts, and which historical figure she’d most want to date, and in return she grants us knowledge. 

Topics include: Dungeons & Dragons, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, Robert Cotton, Tide PODS, Lord of the Rings (as usual), The Canterbury …

Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House

We read the first ever installment of the Goosebumps series by none other than R.L. Stine himself. In Welcome to Dead House, we meet an ordinary 12-year old girl with normal looks and a normal nuclear family who experiences a sudden change in circumstances, then terror ensues. The same description could apply to literally any Goosebumps book, but somehow ol’ Stiney Boy keeps the scares coming! …

Goodnight Moon: In the French Style

In this episode, we discuss the children’s bedtime classic Goodnight Moon, and the life of its author, Margaret Wise Brown.  Rachel puts her law degree to good use. Theo is the proud owner of a very old 2010 Toyota Corolla.  Jackie shares her opinion on Osama bin Laden (negative).  Topics include: antique cars, Jackie’s Opa, 9/11, cuneiform, Bartleby-ing, Long Island, beagles vs. other hounds, …

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight Finale: Even When You’re Right, It Seems So, So Wrong

In this episode, we cover the final section of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as translated by Simon Aritage.  He’s back!  And by “he,” we mean both Sir Gawain and special guest Jacob, from the Underrated/Overhated podcast, so maybe we should have just said “they.”  Turns out they’re both from the same neck of the woods. Sir Gawain finally comes face to face with his nemesis once more.  Jackie …

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight Part 2: The Cheeky Numbles

We read Fitt 3 of the classic English poem, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, as translated by Simon Armitage.  Who wrote it?  We still don’t know.  In this section, Sir Gawain gets involved in a weird bisexual power trip with his mysterious hosts.  It’s odd!  Jackie gets impossible feedback. Rachel gets vaccinated and reveals a hitherto undiscovered skill!  Theo’s just doin’ his thing.  Topics …

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight Part 1: Spider Town

We read the first half of the epic Arthurian romance, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, as translated by Simon Armitage.  (If you’re here from the movie, welcome!)  Sir Gawain plays a “game” where he cuts off a guy’s head, and then that guy gets to cut off his head a year and a day later.  Why did he agree to play that game?!  Listen to find out.  Theo creates a surprising utopia.  Jackie can think, …

A Delightful Chat with BookTuber Jess Owens

We had a great time talking books with one of our favorite book YouTubers, Jess Owens!  Jess tells us how she went from a high schooler who lost her love of reading to starting her own book YouTube channel.  (She also tells us her favorite book world drama from the past year.)

Topics include: Book CommuniTea, international lockdown, giant book collections, carrier pigeons, Nora Roberts, Elin …

A Confederacy of Dunces Finale: A Live Action Shot-For-Shot Remake of The Prince of Egypt

We read the final three chapters of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces!  Hijinks ensue.  It’s time to learn the fate of Ignatius J. Reilly (and every other named character). Jackie stays out of Nebraska - for free!  Rachel puts on her criticism hat, against everyone else’s will.  Theo secretly becomes an e-boy!  Topics include: middle-aged Amelia Bedelia, explosions, Judy Garland …

A Confederacy of Dunces Part 2: Back to Hell, Ron Weasley!

 

We read chapters 7-11 of A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole.  The protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly, gets a job as a hot dog vendor and continues ruining everyone’s lives.  Theo knows all the characters’ names.  Rachel revels in her non-consumption of meat.  Jackie’s valve acts up.  Topics include: hot dogs, dinosaurs, The Hunger Games, bad YA dystopias, Harry Potter, Divergent, …

BONUS: America the Beautiful: July the 4th Be with You

We’ve got a little treat for you all today: short, sweet, and to the point.  The gang discusses the most famous patriotic American song written by a lesbian socialist.  Jackie scams Wal-Mart.  Theo premieres a new piece of music.  Rachel premieres an old nickname.  Topics include: Boston marriages, Pike’s Peak, pre-Christmas Scrooge, Ray Charles, Toby Keith, WAP, Coke commercials, Lin Manuel …

A Confederacy of Dunces Part 1: Speaking of Tools

This week, we break down the first 6 chapters of a cult classic, that great work of New Orleansiana: John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Get ready for some controversy, y’all!  Ignatius J. Reilly is perhaps the worst person we’ve ever had as a main character.  Theo flexes his degree.  Jackie has a hilarious disco night pratfall at a skating rink.  Rachel gets unfairly attacked by a …

Bartleby the Scrivener: Love Home Alone 2

We read Herman Melville’s bizarre short story Bartleby the Scrivener.  Basically, this guy prefers not to do more and more things until he dies.  Is it pro-capitalism or anti-capitalism?  Is Bartleby a pathetic loser, or is he a hero?  Find out what we think!  Jackie sings the f***ing hobbits theme. Theo comes up with a nickname for himself.  Rachel denies an unnamed company free clout.  Topics …

BONUS: This One’s for the Dads: Talkin’ Songs with Big Yellow Praxis

Finally, the podcast name gets the appreciation it deserves! In this episode, our podcast bud Jacob Waller (Big Yellow Praxis, on YouTube) joins us to discuss the car games we played with our dads (and one mum). Jackie’s Bob Dylan impression is back, and she gets corrected about LotR.  Theo gets a little bit nervous, for good reason.  Surprisingly, Jacob makes a dinosaur joke.  Rachel dunks on …

The Wonderful Wizards of Pod Finale: Brother Wizard in the Sky

We’ve come to the end of L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece(?), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!  Dorothy & co. finally reach the end of their journey.  Will she make it back to Kansas at last? (Yes.)  Jackie walks around and looks at stuff.  Rachel puts an end to this charade.  Theo uses friend power.  Topics include: dropping the Baum, Alice in Wonderland, Ellie and Totoshka, Balaam and his donkey, St. …

The Wonderful Wizards of Pod Part 2: Dorothy and the Meat Dog

We read chapters 7 through 16 of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy and her comrades finally reach the Emerald City, and then things *really* take a turn!  Theo gets ready for Halloween.  Jackie calls shenanigans immediately.  Rachel is just a very bad wizard.  Topics include: ragged hay fingers, comradezoning, childhood nightmares, The Lion’s Cookbook, clams casino, septicles …

The Wonderful Wizards of Pod Part 1: America’s Favorite Color

We read the first six chapters of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!  The book is somehow even stranger than the famously strange film.  Come along with us and find out how that’s possible.  Jackie faces the end of childhood and BSes her way into the right answer.  Theo is put on the spot.  Rachel gets gently doxxed.  Jackie’s dog Grover makes a cameo.  Topics include: wizcraft, zards, …

The Crucible Finale: Call Me Father, Because I’m Dad

Wow! What an ending. Come on by and listen to us discuss the final act of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. When Act 4 begins, John Proctor finds himself imprisoned in Salem as a witch. Let’s find out what happens to him together. Jackie confesses to an actual crime. Theo is walkin’ here. Rachel finally tells the tale of the time she was accused of witchcraft. Topics include: traffic stories, …

The Crucible Part 3: The Wurst Witch

Just when we thought we were out, they (witches) pull us back in. Time for Act 3 of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible - the famous courtroom scene. Such drama! Very suspense. Rachel gives off an aura of love. Theo is the self-proclaimed potion master. Jackie knows she’s gettin’ it in somewhere, and is very hard to impress. The gang learns that life’s too short to emphasize weird things. …

The Most Dangerous Game: Death of a Sailsman (with Bekah Best)

Our best episode yet, or just our episode with the most Bests? We discuss Richard Connell’s 1924 short story, The Most Dangerous Game. Big game hunter Rainsford falls off a boat in the middle of the night and manages to swim to an island where he meets the mysterious General Zaroff, hunter of the most dangerous game. Jackie unveils her Mickey Mouse impression. Bekah spills all her hottest …

The Crucible Part 2: J’accuse!

We discuss Act 2 of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. In both Salem and the pod, wild accusations fly left and right! The Proctors have a tense conversation. A weird poppet becomes significant. Abigail’s accusations start to lead to arrests. Rachel doesn’t give a *$#& and Theo can’t believe it. Jackie experiences a miraculous transformation. Topics include: 99 problems, Korean kiss cams, …

The Crucible Begins: The Sweet, Sweet Siren Call of Communism

We discuss Act 1 of The Crucible, by Arthur Miller! Abigail Williams, John Proctor, Giles Corey - the gang’s all here for this fictionalized version of the Salem witch trials. Jackie keeps insisting she’s a beautiful genius. Rachel transforms magical girl-style into Marge. Theo doesn’t like the optics on this. Topics include: Chekhov’s trip to Salem, Cueball Chandler, the hero’s journey, …

Story of the Stone with Jeannette Ng: Heavenly Bureaucracy

We discuss chapters 1, 3, 5, and 16-18 of Story of the Stone (aka Dream of the Red Chamber) by Cao Xueqin, perhaps THE canonical Chinese novel. All sorts of bizarre and amazing things happen! A stone becomes a boy, a flower becomes a girl, and characters we think will be important totally disappear. We have a very special guest with us this week: Jeannette Ng, author of Under the Pendulum Sun, …

A Puddle-Wonderful Springtime Poetry Extravaganza

This week, your hosts read and discuss 6 classic springtime poems! Poems from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Gerard Manley Hopkins, e e cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Dickinson, - ever heard of them? Jackie was just born. Theo gets real hung up on mucus. Rachel knows how many legs various insects have. Topics include: puddles of goo, bears, caterpillars, butterflies, bees, rabbits, …

Parable of the Sower Finale: Still Not Pregnant, Lovin’ It

We finish discussing Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler.  Spoiler: this half is much more uplifting.  Your hosts and producer are trapped in separate, unique dystopias!  What an interesting occurrence that you can’t find on just any podcast.  Jackie doesn’t jump in.  Theo “enjoys” a conversation pit.  Rachel gets bothered.  Topics include: Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn, Bird Box, Lord of the …

Igckens Teaser

A teaser for our upcoming miniseries on the works of Lutwidge Igckens.

Parable of the Sower Part 1: Bebopazaballz

We discuss the first half of Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler. This week, we’re excited to talk about a topical, timely book, for perhaps the first time! For some reason, people have been very interested in reading a well-written, feminist, post-apocalyptic sci-fi book that takes place in the near future… Rachel shares the Good News. Theo saves himself for Pyro. Jackie finally makes her dad …

A Conversation with Author Lindsey Kelk

It’s good to be back, everyone! This week, we have a very special episode for you all - author and podcaster Lindsey Kelk joins us to discuss Pride & Prejudice, but we end up talking about everything else, too. Topics include: bluffing your way through college, rom-coms, the publishing industry, Bridget Jones, Succession, Hemingway’s Gun, bed-sharing, fan fiction, Shakespeare, professional …

Musical Interlude: (Oh Babe) You Disarm Me

Enjoy a new Beowulf-themed song by the Fire the Canon House Band!

LYRICS:

I come in the night and deliver the pain

Mankind’s-enemy descended from Cain

The twilight spoiler, and Grendel’s my name

They set up camp and planned to stay

Oh there was a man-price they’d have to pay:

But then I met a man who changed my ways

I had come

In the night

For a bite

Oh you might …

Pride & Prejudice Finale: Bing Bong’s at It Again

We finish our discussion of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Will Elizabeth and Darcy get together? Will Jane and Bingley get together? What’s going on with Lydia? Theo has some opinions! Jackie reveals her ulterior motive. Rachel reveals what a woman wants to hear. The gang suggests some modest improvements. Stephen passes judgment on a character. We regret to inform you of a disturbing …

Pride & Prejudice 4: Sneaky & Silent (& Looming)

We discuss chapters 35-46 of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Things are heating up for Darcy and Elizabeth! Can these two crazy kids ever make it work? It’s a huge mystery. Theo crosses some people off his list, and experiences a failure of empathy. Nestor the Horse Lord returns. Rachel tells an extremely awkward tale from her past - perhaps she’s the Mr. Darcy of the group after all. …

Pride & Prejudice 3: That’s Podcast Humor, Baby

We discuss chapters 22 through 34 of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Rachel makes her first correction ever. Theo finally learns the main character’s name, and immediately decides he dislikes her. Jackie makes everyone happy. The gang has a big disagreement that they need YOU, listener, to solve. The Mysterious Murder of Count Marigold comes to its shocking conclusion! Theo fancasts his …

Pride & Prejudice 2: Shrubberies & Snubberies

Pride & Prejudice 2: Shrubberies & Snubberies

We discuss chapters 9-ish through 21 of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Mr. Darcy makes some spicy remarks - we’d love to get him on the pod.  A wild proposal appears!  For this book, the gang’s opinions are Rachel’s.  Fans of Jackie’s British accent(s) will have a great time this episode!  Theo makes a fool of himself re: shrubbery.  He also …

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Great Poem. Good.

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day! And it’s also in the chambers of the sea. Jackie tells the tale of T. S. Eliot. The gang fully commits to a stupid bit. We all learn what the J stands for. Theo gives the correct interpretation. Which is your favorite Ninja Turtle? Topics include: Libra energy, Jalfred the Jbutler, Sir Tom Hiddleston, Yu-Gi-Oh vs. Pokemon again, Theo’s weirdhouse, …

Pride & Prejudice 1: Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, Darcy

We discuss up to chapter 9-ish of Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Rachel and Jackie immediately have an argument, into which Theo tentatively dips a toe. One of Theo’s nicknames is revealed! Jackie rejoices in someone’s untimely demise yet again. Jackie and Theo consider Rachel a Babel fish, and Theo seriously disses Lydia Bennet. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are also prominently …

Catcher in the Rye Finale: Some Kind of Epiphany, Somehow

We finish discussing The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. Jackie arrives at the end of her rope, listening-wise. Theo tells everyone how to pull a college entrance scam. Rachel does a reading from the work of an emerging writer. The gang displays their New York City knowledge. Topics include: whistling bores, the Bra Patch, Red Lahbstah, Santadict Clausald, the Young Clarinetists Club, …

Catcher in the Rye Part 1: A Prize for Little G

We discuss The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. “Ol’ One Ball” Salinger. This is our second attempt at recording this episode, because the first try was depressing! Now it’s depressing AND funny, we promise. The gang intersperses Holden Caulfield’s tale with thrilling tales of their own teenage lives. Theo makes a New York joke about on par with his better Yu-Gi-Oh! joke, and Three-o is finally …

Beowulf Bonus: Chatting with Dr. Brad Robinson

We discuss Beowulf: A New Translation, by Maria Dahvana Headley, with Dr. Brad Robinson from Texas State University, aka Rachel’s former AP English Lit teacher. Come for more intellectual conversation than usual, stay for Brad grading your hosts’ and producer’s kennings. Who will get the coveted A+, and who will be stuck with the dreaded A-? Who will tell the most embarrassing story from the …

Beowulf Finale: A Good Guy, a Good King

This episode covers the rest of J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf. We learn what our good friend has been up to for the past fifty years, and whether one can ever be too old for this shit. Theo tells a great Yu-Gi-Oh! joke, and Jackie reveals one of her deepest fears, then humiliates herself. Rachel reveals what would happen if someone told her she was going to have a fate worse than …

Beowulf Part 1: For Bros, By Bros, About Bros

This episode covers the first half-ish of J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf. Jackie shares her murderous daydreams, and Theo tells an okay Yu-Gi-Oh! joke. Beowulf and Grendel share a disarming encounter, about which Grendel’s mother has something to say. Topics include: Beowulf/Breca shipping, good parenting, amateur Frankensteining, and what constitutes a valuable ally.

Podyssey Finale: Playtime is Over

The last 4 books of The Odyssey, as translated by Emily Wilson. Odysseus finally justifies his heroic status, and our podcast finally justifies its existence! It all comes down to this: the final stand-off between our main man and all the hot young guys who want to get with his wife. But also some other things happen after that, which we still have to talk about. It’s a weird, fun time, we …

A Christmas Carol Part 2: That Peculiar Christmas Flavor

This episode covers the final three staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. We look upon the most glorious bro of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Present. Theo loves him. Jackie reveals her favorite post-prandial snack. Scrooge temporarily becomes unbelievably stupid, we play a Victorian party game, and one of us tears up at the end of the book! Topics include: one’s own peculiar …

A Christmas Carol Part 1: Mankind is Our Business

This episode covers the first two staves of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens: bad husband, great writer. The gang blows the perfect segue, everyone reveals a holiday secret from their past, and you get an update on our funeral quilt. Scrooge keeps the same energy, and we admire him for that. Topics include: 15-20 mile walks, comforters, pointed asides to Jeff Bezos, a timely John Kerry …

Musical Interlude: (That'd Be A) Happy Holiday

We're releasing episodes on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! While you wait, here's something to get you in the holiday spirit, a new song by the Fire the Canon House Band!

Podyssey Part 4: Theo’s Revenge

Books 14-20 of The Odyssey, as translated by Emily Wilson. Once again, your hosts channel Odysseus. We told you this would be the end, but our boy takes so long going around Ithaca, creating individually crafted lies for his friends and family, that we have one more episode left! We lied to you. Now you know how Odysseus’ friends and family felt. Topics include: divine shriveling, the rule of …

Podyssey Part 3: Elpenor 2024

Books 10-13 of The Odyssey, as translated by Emily Wilson. Yet again, Odysseus is “forced” to cheat on his wife. We learn where the gang both does and doesn’t tend to keep coins, and Theo reveals an Odyssey-related secret from his past. Multiple people tell Odysseus to leave some cows alone. Odysseus’ crew finds out if it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Topics include: Kevin …

Podyssey Part 2: Polyphemus and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Books 5-9 of The Odyssey, as translated by Emily Wilson. Well, well, well. Finally we learn what Telemachus’ deadbeat dad has been up to for the past 20 years! Jackie and Rachel tell tales of their own past on the high seas, and Theo finally becomes interested in the book. Topics include: a terrible seal plan, our best boy Polyphemus, Ancient Greek feminism, Odysseus taking things way too far, …

Podyssey Part 1: The Telemacheia

This episode covers the first 4 books of Homer’s The Odyssey, as translated by Emily Wilson. Ever wanted to know about Odysseus’ idiot man-baby son Telemachus? Well, you’re about to learn! Other topics of discussion include: bird attacks, frat bro feasts, ancient insults, disguises, and copious amounts of oil.

Content warning: The Odyssey contains discussion of violence, sexual assault, …

Introducing Fire The Canon

Fire the Canon is a podcast that loves literature, but doesn’t take it too seriously. Jackie, Rachel, and Theo will be joking, paraphrasing, and misinterpreting their way through the Western canon. Come hang out with us every Thursday!