Guess what? Pets are returning to the White House for the first time in 4 years! We don’t know about you, but we’re very excited to have some furry first pets again.

It’s hard to imagine a president without a pet, but the Trump family had none; not even a gold fish.  In fact, Donald Trump is the first president since James K. Polk to not have any pets while in office. For those wondering, that’s over 150 years.

The return of presidential pets to the White House got us thinking about the fact that there are a lot of animals around the world that have, and have had, more clout than us (and you).  

This week on the Carolina Snowflakes Podcast we take a look at some of these animals and their corresponding rise to celebrity status. Naturally our first stop is with presidential pets. We’re all familiar with the more recent pets in the White House, but did you know about Benjamin Harrison’s alligators or Martin Van Buren’s tiger cubs? How about the pygmy hippo kept by Calvin Coolidge? Or the raccoon named Rebecca kept by Coolidge’s wife? There have been a slew of various animals housed by previous administrations; some tame, some insane. Some were even forced out of the White House by congress.  

Even among the more tame presidential pets there’s interesting tidbits of famous firsts. For example, did you know that George W. Bush’s dog Spotty was the only pet to reside in the White House under 2 different administrations? Or that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first person in the U.S. to own a Siamese cat?

After wandering the fur-covered halls of the White House, we hop across the pond to Great Britain where we take a look at a cat named Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Yes his name is Larry and yes he has a title. Larry is not only famous, he’s got a very important job and it’s a job that has been around since the 1500s!

It’s not all cats and dogs this week, however. In fact, we wrap up this very special episode with a look at some of history’s most beloved and heroic hoofed animals--including the Korean War horse named Sergeant Reckless. Reckless was a decorated war horse who held official rank in the United States military. She clearly had more clout than any of the rest of us and her story is one you don’t want to miss.  

So snuggle up with your favorite fur babies and tune in to hear all about these amazing animals (and more!) in this week’s episode, “Animals With More Clout Than You”.  

November 22, 2020

Ep. 18 Snowflakes Snow Thanks!

On this week's episode we give thanks to the people, places and things that have shaped our lives. In many cases these very things still continue to shape who we are and who we want to be. Laugh along as we reminisce on our childhood Thanksgiving day celebrations and find out how we've learned to navigate the weirdness of family gatherings filled with far too many casseroles.

Of course this year we'll be gathering with only ourselves and we suspect some of you will be doing the same. We're thankful for you, btw. So grab your favorite Thanksgiving snacks and tune in as we unfold our Snowflakes Snow Thanks!

On this week’s episode we take a look at the grossest house in NC. They say a person’s home is a reflection of their personality and general state of being, but what if a home is a reflection of even more? What if the home is also a reflection of the atmosphere of the community where they live and their community’s willingness (or lack thereof) to help?  

Such would be the case of Pazuzu Algarad, a self-proclaimed Satanist from the small Winston-Salem suburb of Clemmons, North Carolina. Pazuzu’s home was his horror-filled castle and what it contained was so disturbing that no one wanted to intervene; not even the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.  Deeply held religious beliefs and fear of a literal Devil kept most everyone away.

That is, until the bodies were discovered. Pazuzu’s story made national news when bodies were found buried in the yard of his suburban home. Bodies that remained undiscovered for years despite multiple reports to law enforcement and families missing loved ones and fearing the worst. Despite national news attention, the story of who Pazuzu Algarad really was and what he represented within the community of Clemmons, NC was unknown until the premiere of a 5-part documentary series called “The Devil You Know”.

Through the combined efforts of filmmakers, journalists and local newspaper reporters, the real story of Pazuzu Algarad began to unfold. Interviews with neighbors and friends paint a picture of a troubled young man who fell through the cracks of every protective system designed to stop bad things from happening.

Listen in as we tell the story of the grossest house in NC and how a community systematically failed to prevent it from becoming a graveyard.

 

References:

“The Devil You Know” documentary. Directed by Patricia Gillespie, narration by Chad Nance, Viceland/ViceTV,  August 2019.

Nance, Chad. “John Pazuzu Lawson…The Boogey Man Cometh”. Camel City Dispatch, October 6, 2014.

McDowell, Ian. “Devil in Pazuzu Algarad case wasn’t Satan: Viceland Miniseries criticizes Forsyth law enforcement”. Yes Weekly, August 27, 2019.

 

Chad and Carissa’s upcoming work:

“Life in the Sacrifice Zone” documentary. Anticipated release in late 2021. Trailer: https://youtu.be/qTcCybFHtFo

“America’s Hometown” documentary. Currently in post-production.

 

Special thanks to Chad Nance for answering our questions.           

November 15, 2020

*Bonus Episode* Parler Tricks

In recent weeks Facebook and Twitter have seen a mass exodus of politically conservative users. You may have noticed some of your friends or even family members announcing their departures from the “oppressive” realm of mainstream social media to something called Parler. To their loyal users, Parler is a place for free speech and the sharing of ideas. To us, it’s a hot mess of misinformation, misogyny and a right-wing echo chamber filled with spam. It’s also rather glitchy.

Tune in to this week’s bonus episode called “Parler Tricks” as we discuss the who, the what  and the why of social media’s recent #twexit to Parler and find out what we saw while we were there.

This week on the Carolina Snowflakes Podcast we were placed on academic probation because “We Flunked Out of Electoral College”. 

It’s a complex institution with rules and measures that don’t make much sense at all. Add in 50 states with 50 different ways of implementing standards and it’s no wonder we earned a failing grade.  Is this the best voting system America has to offer?

Listen in as we examine the who, the what and the why of the most convoluted and confusing method of voting that exists in the free world. Who came up with this mayhem and what were they thinking? Can we yell at them?

No matter what, we can safely say that our 9th  grade Civics class did us wrong in how the Electoral College was portrayed. They missed a few very important points--like how the system is rooted in racist origins. Oops?

Interestingly, the majority of Americans don’t even support the Electoral College and haven’t for numerous decades. So why does it still exist and what will it take to change it? Learn about this and more as we examine recent and not-so-recent American elections in which the Electoral College vote didn’t align with the popular vote. Do you know how many times this has happened? We do!

We also take a look at the use of polling in predicting political outcomes. How do they continue to get it so wrong year after year? Maybe we aren’t the only ones to earn a failing grade around here.

So put on your thinkin’ caps and grab a snack cause we’re nerdin’ out with all things Electoral College.

Catch up with your favorite podcast hosts in this week’s episode of the Carolina Snowflakes, “One of Us Really Did Go on Dr. Phil”.

This week we sit down for a colorful interview with a very special guest named Billy Ray Charles, a self-proclaimed Qanon follower, die-hard Trumper and grand American patriot. These are his words, not ours. Prepare to laugh your rear off as Billy Ray shares his unique insights into the greater workings of Hollywood’s liberal elites.

Then, find out what your favorite Snowflakes have been up to over the last few months and hear all about Amanda’s exciting experience participating in the audience of the Dr. Phil show.  Stick around to find out what Dr. Phil is like when the cameras aren’t rolling.

And lastly, listen in as we discuss the newest members of the Snowflake household: William, Harry and Earlene. Three sassy tabby kittens who have wiggled and purred their way right into our hearts. Yes, we adopted 3 kittens. What were we thinking?

 

 

In part 5 of our Black Lives Matter series we take a look at the representation of black people within media and how such representation has impacted the perspectives of white consumers as well as shaped how we treat persons of color.

2020 bore witness to the cancellation of 2 major, racially biased television shows: COPS and Live PD. Both shows were fraught with racial discrimination at the hands of law enforcement and were routinely (and rightly) criticized for their over representation of black people as violent criminals. COPS in particular boasted a 95% arrest rate by their 33rd season; meaning 95% of aired segments concluded in the arrests of persons encountered by law enforcement during filming. The show also depicted 10 times more violent crimes than the national average; with most crimes shown being committed by young black men. We look at how these shows have shaped white people’s perceptions of black people and particularly black men in an epically negative way.  It comes as no surprise that these shows have also shaped how law enforcement is perceived; often as heroes to white people and as upholders of law and order. This is what happens when police officers are the ones in charge of determining each episode’s final edits.

We also examine black representation in media in the form of large, televised award ceremonies. Most are aware of the #oscarsowhite phenomenon within the realm of movie-making, but did you know the music industry’s Grammy Awards are arguably just as skewed towards whiteness?  In 61 years of annual ceremonies, the Grammy’s top title of “Album of the Year” has only been awarded to 10 black musicians. In addition, it’s been 12 years since a black artist has been awarded the top title. How is this possible? We look at who sets the standards of excellence when determining Grammy winners and the subsequent flaws (and ironies) in these determinations.

What’s most surprising to us is when the world of law enforcement and black musical artistry collides. Such is the case with rapper Mac Phipps, who was sentenced to prison for 30 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Prosecutors in the state of Louisiana used lyrics from a few select songs written by Phipps in order to paint him as a crazed criminal, hell-bent on murder. A majority white jury found Phipps guilty and sent the talented, rising star to prison based on a few words taken out of context. How is this real life and how is it happening right under the nose of everyone around?

We conclude this episode with a call to action for our listeners. Particularly in the times of COVID-19, it’s important to support black artists and black artistry. We’ll provide you with a handful of pandemic-safe ways to help and provide a few websites and places to visit that directly support black creators.

 

References and Resources:

“Headlong: Running from Cops” Podcast, Dan Taberski.

Vilanova, John, “Not Simply The Best. The Grammy Awards, Race, And America” (2019). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 3474.

“Mac Phipps, Lyrics On Trial And a Legacy of Injustice in Louisiana”. NPR. Sidney Madden & Rodney Carmichael. October, 2020.

 

www.blackartinamerica.com

www.shoppeblack.us

www.webuyblack.com

 

 

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