Halfwit History

30 - We Wish You a Merry Fishmas

January 06, 2020 Jonathan & Kiley Season 1 Episode 30
Halfwit History
30 - We Wish You a Merry Fishmas
Halfwit History
30 - We Wish You a Merry Fishmas
Jan 06, 2020 Season 1 Episode 30
Jonathan & Kiley

This week Kiley goes sings a carol from the trenches, and Jonathan goes fishing for living fossils.

We also got new recording equipment! While also being more clear, this episode (and future episodes) will be louder to reflect the industry standard. Sorry if you don't read this before adjusting your volume!

Topics: The Origins and History of Silent Night, The Discovery of the Coelacanth

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com  

Show Notes Transcript

This week Kiley goes sings a carol from the trenches, and Jonathan goes fishing for living fossils.

We also got new recording equipment! While also being more clear, this episode (and future episodes) will be louder to reflect the industry standard. Sorry if you don't read this before adjusting your volume!

Topics: The Origins and History of Silent Night, The Discovery of the Coelacanth

Music: "Another Day" by The Fisherman.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and visit our website at www.halfwit-history.com!

Reach out, say hello, or suggest a topic at HalfwitPod@gmail.com  

Support the show (https://www.ko-fi.com/halfwithistory)

spk_0:   0:01
In some cases, the strip of death between the trenches even came alive with pickup soccer games. As soldiers navigated around the shell craters and barbed wire in the no man's land

spk_1:   0:11
that just adds an extra spice to the game.

spk_0:   0:13
It's like park or end Soccer all combines Becca, who wouldn't want that?

spk_1:   0:48
Hi. And welcome the happen history. I'm Jonathan,

spk_0:   0:50
and I'm Kylie.

spk_1:   0:51
And this is a show where we are still catching up. But we're making progress. This'll be a hat trick for us. Three in a day.

spk_0:   0:59
Yeah, actually. Wow,

spk_1:   1:01
if I can finish editing before midnight. Not gonna

spk_0:   1:03
happen. Right? Almost midnight now. So? Well, we tried. When

spk_1:   1:10
Any updates? Yes. Oh,

spk_0:   1:13
I'm a dummy. I did a dumb what happened? I was so proud of all my main or facts. But main became a state in 18. 20 not 18. 21. Why? Why I was so close. I pulled all of that out of, like, my fourth grade learning because that was when we learned about our state.

spk_1:   1:31
You mean your life, your life that you recite all you've remained knowledge whenever you can.

spk_0:   1:36
That doesn't happen.

spk_1:   1:38
Uh, it's not ridiculous. Well, I got an update to

spk_0:   1:42
no good. We're recording a new equipment. Oh, yeah, Fred, about that.

spk_1:   1:48
She forgets about the boom arm in the mike in her face

spk_0:   1:50
because that area we just met, like, 20 minutes setting it up

spk_1:   1:53
so much time, but hopefully

spk_0:   1:55
will be worth it. Yeah, fingers crossed.

spk_1:   1:58
They let it let us know. Anyway, you can for this. Sounds good.

spk_0:   2:02
Feel weird because I feel like I'm about to eat a microphone, but that's fine. If it works, I don't know. I think we kind of foamy and then crunchy in, like, a bad way.

spk_1:   2:13
I don't think you should attempt this at all,

spk_0:   2:14
you know?

spk_1:   2:17
Okay, So what week are we on

spk_0:   2:19
the week of December 23rd through the 29th? We're so close, guys. So Christmas.

spk_1:   2:24
Yeah, OK, what date do you have?

spk_0:   2:28
Oh, um, I have December 24th 18. 18.

spk_1:   2:32
Who? I have December 23rd 1938 0 so you go

spk_0:   2:37
first. Do? All right. So in honor of Christmas this week, hem er last week, I think ish ago. No. Two weeks ago. I want to talk about the origin and history of one of my favorite Christmas carols.

spk_1:   2:52
But we did this good King Wenceslas.

spk_0:   2:55
Oh, that's not my favorite

spk_1:   2:56
ones. The slightest loss Bosley Slava's lost

spk_0:   3:02
wasn't any Pokemons losses. Just get my notes of the maker of this lost lost. Anyway, this is one of my actual favorite cousins. Okay, I just want to talk about King Wenceslas. I didn't want to talk about the Carol per Se before. This'd is the Carol. Don't roll your eyes at me, bozo, huh? All right, so silent night are still I knocked is in. The German was first sung at the's ST Nicholas Parish Church in Oberndorf, Austria, on December 24th 18 18. Cool. The story goes, supposedly that in 18 18 a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps, and on December 23rd they arrived in over Dorf, which was a village near Salzburg, where they were to re enact the story of Christ's birth in the small Church of ST Nicholas. Unfortunately, the ST Nicholas Church organ wasn't working and would not be repaired before Christmas. Some sources attribute it to mice, while others blame rust. So who knows? Maybe the mice were having a little snack on the insides of the organ.

spk_1:   4:14
The rust probably didn't help if it was there,

spk_0:   4:16
right, either

spk_1:   4:17
the rust nor mice helped.

spk_0:   4:19
I'm inclined to believe the rust because we'll get to it. Okay, Because the church Georgia organ was out of commission. The actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant Pastor Joseph More in a meditative mood. And instead of walking street to his house that night, he took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village, and from that hilltop more looked down on the peaceful, snow covered village, reveling in the majestic silence of the wintry night. More gaze down at the Christmas card like scene. His thoughts about the Christmas play he had just seen made him remember a poem he had written a couple of years before. That poem was about the night when Angels announced the birth of the long awaited Messiah to Shepherd's on a hillside. More decided those words might make a good carol for his congregation. The following evening at their Christmas Eve service, the one problem was that he didn't have any music to which the poem could be sunk. Whoops. So the next day, a k a Christmas Eve morning, More went to see his friend Franz Egg Xavier Goober, who was a schoolmaster and a church organist in the neighboring town of ARNs. Dorf Gruber only had a few hours to come up with a melody, which could be sung with a guitar accompaniment because organ was out of service. So they now had a Christmas Carol that could be sung without the organ. And on Christmas Eve, The Little Over and Dorf congregation heard Gruber and more sing their new composition to the accompaniment of Gruber's guitar. So that's adorable. Okay, but that story is possibly a bit of hyperbole and a little bit of like fiction thrown in there because a couple of the things that I was looking at said, like, had this story as, like fact. And then that I was looking at the Wikipedia page and at the very bottom it has, it has something along the lines of like the inspiration for the song is frequently attributed to this story of looking out over the peaceful town and stuff. The first time this has appeared is in like a 1930 book or something like that. Oh, so

spk_1:   6:28
highly doubt that was the primary.

spk_0:   6:30
Yeah, I don't know. It's cute and feel good and very on point for the season. So, according to friends, Gruber, the man who came to repair the organ well known organ builder Carl Murata. Apparently he really liked the tune because he heard it like being hummed and stuff. Andi took the composition home with him to Diller Tall, um, from there to travelling families of folk singers, these stressors and the Rainer's included the tune in their shows. The Rangers were already singing it around Christmas of 99 18 19 because apparently they got around fast, and they once performed it for an audience that included Franz, the First of Austria and Alexander the first of Russia. Big? Yep, while included them. It wasn't just them.

spk_1:   7:23
They are big themselves.

spk_0:   7:25
Yeah, and then in 18 34 the Strawser family performed it for the King of Prussia. And then in 18 39 the Ranger family debuted the Carroll outside of Trinity Church in New York City and by the 18 forties. The song was well known in Lower Saxony and was reported to be a favorite of Frederick William, the fourth of Russia. Yeah, over the years, because the original manuscript have been lost more, his name was for gotten. And although Gruber was known to be the composer, many people assumed the melody was composed by a famous composer. I guess I thought that Gruber had come up with, like, more of the lyrics than the the tune itself. No. So it was. The melody was variously attributed to Hayden, Mozart and Beethoven, none of the above. Luckily for Gruber, I guess, and more Ah, manuscript was discovered in 1995 that was in Moore's handwriting and was, like, signed by him and dated. It was dated by researchers to about 18 20 which would make sense considering I was composing 18 18. And it states that more wrote the words in 18 16 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in In Mario Fart in Austria. And it shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 18 18. So he made all these little notes on this single manuscript about like when it was written in stuff. Most people are not that meticulous anymore. No people barely date their work that they turn in

spk_1:   8:54
well. Except for Kylie's mother, who writes down every role she ever roles only played E and G together, plus all the modifiers.

spk_0:   9:01
Well, it's not even just heard IIHS role. She was recording everybody's dice rolls.

spk_1:   9:05
It was funny, hilarious. We bought her a notebook that she could write down everything. And by God, did she take it literally.

spk_0:   9:13
We've played like two games at this point, and she has, like five pages

spk_1:   9:16
of notes anyways. Back to Christmas carols.

spk_0:   9:19
Love you, Mom. So this is the earliest manuscript that exists, and it's the only one that's in Moore's handwriting. Go eso. Without this, he would be lost in terms of the song,

spk_1:   9:30
but now he is immortal.

spk_0:   9:32
I was going to say, and now he's found, but that's okay. So during the 18 thirties and forties, the melody change slightly to become the version that's more commonly played today, apparently at some point between being song on Christmas Eve of 18 18 and being widely performed by the singing families that were going around and like making it more well known. Several notes were lost and others were changed, possibly for leg ease of like singing, for the people were forming in that kind of thing. But for anyone that's interested, I googled original Silent Night melody and found a kite, a site called Silent Night. Get it right. I wish

spk_1:   10:09
I had. That was

spk_0:   10:10
really funny where you can find images of sheet music for the original melody, and it has some extra like Flor. She kind of things in it and then, like the meter for a couple of different stanzas are different slightly, but it's still the same tune. It just has slight modifications.

spk_1:   10:29
When you said that it was more, uh, fancy What? What did you say?

spk_0:   10:34
I said flourishes.

spk_1:   10:35
Lurches had more flourishes. I was desperately trying to find a way to say Silent Night to the tune of Toss a Coin to your Witcher.

spk_0:   10:42
Oh, no

spk_1:   10:45
desperately searching. But I don't think there's enough syllables in Silent Night to do this.

spk_0:   10:50
We just finished watching the Witcher, and now none of us can get that song that ever had stopped going to your witch? Nope.

spk_1:   10:59
Sounds awful.

spk_0:   11:00
Yep. Um,

spk_1:   11:01
also call into you witch.

spk_0:   11:04
That's even worse, Okay? For many years, the Silent Night Association in Over Dorf, Austria, has been trying to promote the use of the original Gruber melody. And despite some urban legends, which claimed that the Carol was forgotten by the composer's after its first performance. There are several Gruber arrangements of the Carol and one arrangement by More, which is the one that was found later so that clearly didn't forget it. And anyway, it wouldn't be a good enough excuse for changing someone else's work, right, in my opinion, anyway, can't justify it. But being like, well, they forgot it. They didn't forget it. It's fine. Moving on a little bit. In 18 63 nearly 50 years after being first sung in German, Silent Night was translated into English by John Freeman Young and eight years later, that English version made its way into print in Charles Hutchins is Sunday school him know as of the present. It's been translated into over 300 languages, with many different arrangements for various voices and ensembles, although Wikipedia says 140 based off a book dated from 2000. But I found numerous sites that are more recent than 2000 that all say 300. So take your pick, guys. I guess I really have no way of collaborating. Exactly how many languages the song has been translated into. So fun Fact the lyrics. I

spk_1:   12:26
closer for the end.

spk_0:   12:27
Well, I have one for this specifically. Okay. The lyrics that we sing in English of a modified a bit as well. The literal English translation is silent Night, Holy night. Everyone sleeps alone watches only the beloved holy couple Blessed boy and curly hair sleep in heavenly peace Sleep in heavenly peace. Nice. It doesn't translate Great. Like literally.

spk_1:   12:51
This is the only version I will sing From now on.

spk_0:   12:53
You're Lord are right So silent nights, buns, onion, churches, town squares and even on the battlefield during World War One, Um, when during a temporary truce on Christmas Eve, soldiers saying Carol's from home. Silent night was known around the world by 1914 and it was sung simultaneously in French, German and English by bitter enemies. This Christmas miracle has become known as the Christmas Truce, and the story goes that on Christmas Eve of 1914 huddled in the trenches of northern France, a British century saw glistening light on the German parapet peeking over the edge of the trench. The British were amazed to see Christmas trees lining the German side of the battlefield faintly, they could hear the unusual sound of song reaching across the no man's land between sides. And while the words weren't familiar, everyone in the British Trench could recognize the melody of Silent Night. When the German soldiers finished singing, their foes broke out in cheers. Used to return fire. The British now replied in song with the English version of the Carol. I think you're adorable. When dawn broke on Christmas morning, something even more remarkable happened in sporadic pockets around the 500 mile Western front. Unarmed German and Allied soldiers tentatively emerged from the trenches and cautiously crossed the no man's land toe. Wish each other. Merry Christmas. That's nice. Yeah, it's really nice. Political leaders had ignored the call of Pope Benedict, the 15th to cease fighting around Christmas, but soldiers in the trenches decided to stage their own unofficial spontaneous armistice anyway,

spk_1:   14:27
because people are better than leaders.

spk_0:   14:29

spk_1:   14:29
I haven't hammered that home in the last few episode

spk_0:   14:32
yes, agreed wholeheartedly, British Corporal John Ferguson wrote of the encounter between his C Fourth Highlanders and the German forces, saying we shook hands, wished each other Merry Christmas and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. Here we were, laughing and chatting to men who only a few hours before we were trying to kill you. And actually, I saw a couple of pictures on, like some of the Web sites I was looking at specifically for this story on like there's there's pictures of them like, Hey, you don't talk like chatting and like, grinning and sharing food and stuff. And I'm like, I wouldn't have believed it if there hadn't been like pictures. That's

spk_1:   15:09
something that a lot of people forget when it comes to war of any kind. Is that not everybody on the other side is a demon?

spk_0:   15:17
Yeah, yep. Especially when, like, it's drilled into you that the other side is bad. And you know what? All of that

spk_1:   15:24
you have to stop. That's what propaganda is for. Don't you feel bad killing? And then you don't do what the leaders want, Ugo.

spk_0:   15:30
Yeah, Um, Anyway, the soldiers exchanged makeshift gifts like cigarettes, chocolate, sausages, liquor and plum pudding. And they likely swap stories of other miseries of war, which you know. Yeah, so many German soldiers in Hope lines who Plains, who played law hoop lines, Um, even rolled barrels of beer they had seized from a nearby brewery across the no man's land to the British trenches, where, according to the British soldier, Frank Richards, they raised chose to one another's health and United agreement. That French beer was rotten stuff. Possibly my favorite quote that's a French beer is a rotten stuff. I've never had it. So I wouldn't know off the fridge Ward, No for their wine anyway, you would think the beer. Wow. I feel like you can only sell in one area.

spk_1:   16:22
And I feel like you can also trust the Germans on beer.

spk_0:   16:25
Yeah, that's true. Maybe they're just snotty about their beer. And maybe,

spk_1:   16:30
I mean, very probably. But you can trust the Germans about their beer.

spk_0:   16:35
Fair enough. Speaking

spk_1:   16:37
of Germans, quick aside, we are, for some reason, charting on the German history charts right

spk_0:   16:42
now. We won't be after this episode when I but you're all of their place names.

spk_1:   16:46
I mean, we've actually talked about German things a few times in the last few

spk_0:   16:50
episodes. You. Maybe that's why maybe you're getting

spk_1:   16:53
it started with our Hanukkah episode, which I find a little ironic, but

spk_0:   16:57
oh, okay. Moving on. Thank you

spk_1:   17:01
to the German people who have us charting. Oh, boy. Come on, America. Catch up.

spk_0:   17:06
Yeah. Really? I've, um Okay, So in some cases, the strip of death between the trenches even came alive with pickup soccer games as soldiers navigated around the shell craters and barbed wire in the no man's land.

spk_1:   17:19
That just adds an extra spice to the game.

spk_0:   17:21
It's like park or end. Soccer all combines Becca, who wouldn't want me? I don't want to get that. I don't want to die, but it's fine. Unexploded shells. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Yes, that's what I'm fun up. No, there's You know what? There's a reason men let women have long lives and men. Absolutely. With that comment right there. So German Lieutenant Johan Eamon recalled, we marched the goals of our caps. Teams were quickly established for a match on the frozen mud, and the Fritz's beat the Tommies 3 to 2, where soldiers like a real leather ball to kick with their waterlogged boots, tin cans and small sandbags would device nice. They're very, you know, resourceful. Yes, that's what I'm looking for. I'm trying to say impromptu and like, That's not That's not not what I'm going for it. I mean, it was an impromptu game, but that's not the phrase. I was looking for him,

spk_1:   18:17
didn't you,

spk_0:   18:17
anyway? So not every fighting man, particularly those who had just seemed their comrades killed in action, felt moved by the Christmas spirit. Gunfire continued to be exchanged in certain locations along the front, and in some unfortunate cases, soldiers were killed by enemy fire as they emerged from the trenches in the hope of a day of peace. So whoops. It's not all sunshine and rainbows,

spk_1:   18:38
but it was for a good amount of time.

spk_0:   18:40
Yeah, and if you're lucky enough to be in an area where everyone got everyone took that moment to get along good. Yeah. So the unsanctioned truce concerned high ranking officials. Um, and they were afraid of their men might lose the will to fight and outraged others, including one young German corporal who would launch the next World war. Such things should not happen in wartime. Adolf Hitler scolded his fellow soldiers. Have, you know, German sense of honor left? Yeah, so that's fun.

spk_1:   19:12
But here, read these fairy tales.

spk_0:   19:13
Yeah, Yes, read these fairy tales. So as the sun set on Christmas, the fighters retreated to their respective trenches. A news. A few ceasefires held until New Year's Day. But in most locations, the war resumed. On December 26. At 8:30 a.m. In hoop lines, Captain Charles Stockwell of the second Royal Welsh Fusiliers fired three shots into the air and raised a flag that Red Merry Christmas. His German counterpart raised a flag that red thank you. The two men then mounted their parapets, saluted each other and returned to their sawed in trenches. Stockwell wrote of his counterpart, then fired two shots in the air, and the war was on again. So despite the return to the war, it's truly impressive to see this kind of like kinship, even if it's temporary, and how a common sentiment can really bring people together. Oh yeah, yeah. So who knows? If the Germans had saying something unfamiliar to the British and the French. Would they have replied?

spk_1:   20:15
Probably not.

spk_0:   20:16
Yeah, And if they hadn't and thereby signified their openness to this potential truce wouldn't have ever occurred. Probably not. That's what I think. It seems pretty unlikely. So it's I'm just very impressed by the togetherness that music can bring in, even in a time of literal war, war in fighting and killing and death.

spk_1:   20:36
Very cool.

spk_0:   20:37
Yeah, and I actually I had, like, heard that this, but I I think I had thought it was a fake. Like I I think I thought that it was just like a cute story that people told. I don't think I realized that it actually happened, so it's pretty cool. However, like all good things, I got to bring it down. In true Kylie fashion, I'm going to follow grouper and more to the very end.

spk_1:   21:01
I'm just gonna pre face and say that mine didn't follow people to the end.

spk_0:   21:04
Good job. Uh um, So Gruber married three times and fathered a dozen Children. A lot of kids, the rooms where he lived and worked can still be seen on the second floor of the orange door schoolhouse.

spk_1:   21:15
Are you sure It wasn't the Nagato. Meet our Hans Gruber. Oh, you die hard Christmas stuff. Yeah,

spk_0:   21:24
I saw, like, half of it. For the first time ever. This Christmas,

spk_1:   21:29
she claims to be a purveyor of Christmas movies. Well, I'm joking. I don't really think I heard that much, so

spk_0:   21:37
I just happened to take place that Okay, I will say, though, as a lover of Alan Rickman, I really should have seen it. We're sorry. Right? Talking

spk_1:   21:49
rumors, residents. That was not Nugget told me. Get not

spk_0:   21:52
Nakatomi Tower. Um, Okay. Second floor of the arts or school houses where he lived, and you can still see his rooms. Apparently, in 18 39 the Gruber family left orange door for Highline, which is just south of Salzburg. And he his grave now lies next to the family's former home there. And it's a door under the Christmas tree each December. Okay, that's cute. Um, Moore's final resting places in the tiny alpine ski resort of wah grain. Walgren, Walgreen, Long green. Mm. Um,

spk_1:   22:26
I can't see your notes.

spk_0:   22:27
That's true. And I definitely cannot get them to you with all of these. Boom are. It's

spk_1:   22:33
a veritable jungle in

spk_0:   22:34
it. That's a little

spk_1:   22:36
scam. Mechanical jungle.

spk_0:   22:37
I have. Ah, I have a cord like going up under my armpit because it's too short to reach to the computer. Otherwise,

spk_1:   22:43
we did this for you.

spk_0:   22:44
It's fun. Right? Um so more is buried in the Alpine skiers were of Walgreen, where he died penniless in 18 48 groups. Yep, he actually not. Oops. He donated his modest, earthy fortune to the education of Children and

spk_1:   23:04
community. Oh, heck, yeah,

spk_0:   23:05
yeah. So if you're gonna go out penniless, that's a really good way to do it. It's really nice. Um, And today the Joseph More school stands as a fitting memorial only yards away from the grave of the man who wrote the words heard around the world. Yeah, so a little bit on Silent night, like more presently, Silent Night was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011 presumably because it's a thing, but you can't touch it. I was having the wording on That was really weird, and I didn't want to modify it because it's not an object. It is in fact, an intangible saying because it's a song, so but it's still awkward warning. Um,

spk_1:   23:46
you can't touch it, but it touches your heart.

spk_0:   23:48
Ah, gross. So it's been recorded numerous times throughout many genres of music and constantly shows up as a top contender for poles of the most popular or the greatest Christmas carols. The version sung by Bing Crosby in 1935 is the fourth best selling single of all time. Whoa! Yeah! Fun fact for anyone interested, the number one best selling single of all time is White Christmas, also recorded by Bing Crosby in 1942. And it sold somewhere around 50 million record.

spk_1:   24:24
That's a bunch.

spk_0:   24:25
Yeah, a lot. I think the next one up was something my Elton John something he wrote for the death of I want to say Marilyn Monroe. And then it was. Prince knows, for instance, Diana. So you got wind. I want to see colors of the wind, but that's not right. That's a Disney song anyway. It a little weasel like 35 million. So like White Christmas is like way out there. Yeah, so additionally, Silent Night is the most recorded Christmas Carol in the U. S. According to Time magazine. By crawling through the records of the U S. Copyright office, which offers digitized registrations going back to 1978.

spk_1:   25:03
You crawled through digital space.

spk_0:   25:05
I did not. They did it. Okay. Yeah, Well, I was not that dedicated. I'm sorry. No, but I found that article about it. It was like, Great. Thank you.

spk_1:   25:13
Was it like v R was electron?

spk_0:   25:16
Oh, stop it. You you how punched your notes.

spk_1:   25:23
I see how it

spk_0:   25:24
is. Um, okay. Oh, right. So by metaphorically crawling the records,

spk_1:   25:31
there we go

spk_0:   25:31
at the U. S. Copyright office, which offers digitized registrations going back to 1978. The collecting data. Um Oh. And then they collected data on every Christmas album recorded. Since that time, there have been 733 copyrighted recordings of Silent Night since 1978. Wow, that's nearly twice as many as joy to the world, which is a distant second with 391 recordings, huh? Yeah. So to determine the secularity, like if it was more heavily leaning towards, like religious audiences versus non religious yes, time measured the likelihood that a song appeared on the same album with either. What child is this? Which is a decidedly devout song or Jingle Bell rock, which is pretty much as polar opposite. So the joys of those two songs apparently was like arbitrary but proved in trial and error to offer the clearest dichotomy like between, like audiences. For those two songs, there is the most, I guess, degrees of separation. So in True Christmas spirit, Silent Night, aptly bridges that that great divide it co headlines with just about everyone. Ugo. So no matter your background or your beliefs, Silent Night is sure to please anyone in You invite over to your Christmas festivities. And now I'm really tempted to have a silent, night themed Christmas party next year and just play every version of Silent Night that I could get my hands on.

spk_1:   27:00
And we have half the people dress up as Ally and half the people dress up his axis

spk_0:   27:05
and then

spk_1:   27:06
write knows World War, right?

spk_0:   27:07
It was well over one. Yeah, let me shoot each other.

spk_1:   27:09
No, we play soccer.

spk_0:   27:11
Okay, That's not our

spk_1:   27:12
core obstacles.

spk_0:   27:13
Oh, less fine. Because they we could do that and play laser tag. Sure. Anyway, so this is my last little tidbit about silent night in Austria's stealing Knocked is considered a national treasure. Traditionally, the song may not be played publicly before Christmas Eve, and any commercial use of the carol is forbidden. Who? Yeah, so can contrast to the situation in most other countries. Am us where you're likely to hear Silent Night playing in the local shopping ball or even, um, over the radio or as a TV commercial? It definitely holds a different standing in Austria. That's cool. Yeah, some guys over here, you hear it so many times you just want a break. Whatever it's playing on, Um, um, nevertheless, Silent night enjoys a revered position among Christmas carols all over the world. No matter what what it may be called, or in which language, it may be performed. And that is the story of Silent Night. Very cool. Very late. Happy holidays to everybody. Yeah, yeah.

spk_1:   28:19
My topic is on December 23rd 1938 Marjorie Courtenay Latimer sends a letter that leads to the discovery of a living silicon which was thought to be extinct for 66 million years. Are

spk_0:   28:34
you gonna tell

spk_1:   28:34
me what a silicon tits? Because I have no idea. You may recognize it as mispronouncing its name as coelacanth. Still, Jonah Milk. Okay,

spk_0:   28:43
up blank slate here. There's nothing behind these eyes. It's midnight.

spk_1:   28:47
It's one of those where the O and the E are connected. So they just kind of making you

spk_0:   28:51
know. Yep.

spk_1:   28:52
So it's silicon? Yep. I'm gonna preface this with a thank you to Peter Tyson, the editor in chief of Nova Online by WGBH Boston and PBS for a wonderfully written article titled Ancient Creature of the Deep, about the discovery of the silicon, including transcripts of the letter sent between Miss Latimer and Ah, Jail Bea Smith.

spk_0:   29:14
Very nice.

spk_1:   29:15
There was cool seeing like their their actual communications to each other, not just like offhand comments about their communications to each other.

spk_0:   29:22
And this is why I do the job I d'oh because I get to play with those things all the time and the place I mean, stare at longingly and then carefully took away.

spk_1:   29:33
Okay, So Marjorie Latimer was a curator of the Natural History Museum in East London, South Africa. She would regularly scour fishing boats for new specimen of ocean life to bring back to the museum. And one fateful day she spotted a blue fin sticking out of a pile of sponges, shark and many other fish. She cleared away everything around the fin and found a five foot long fish with an armored skull, multi colored scales with flecks of gold, nearly completely blue crystal ball sized eyes that reflected light much like a cat's eyes at night and most peculiarly four limbs.

spk_0:   30:11
Wait, are we sure this is a real story? It sounds very fake.

spk_1:   30:17
It sounds fake. So she immediately knew that this fish must be preserved and keep it intact as long as it took to get another scientist to see it. This is the letter that she sent to jail Bea Smith, a chemistry professor that was apparently very well known for his passion in ichthyology, which is the study of fish.

spk_0:   30:37
Very nice. I did not know that. Yeah,

spk_1:   30:39
I had to look up how to spell ick theology, and it scared Kylie when she was doing a research because it's very loudly went ex theology.

spk_0:   30:47
Yeah, like Google's the Google speaking thing. I just like jumped.

spk_1:   30:53
All right, So the letter says, Dear Dr Smith, I had the most queer looking specimen brought to notice yesterday, the captain of the trawler told me about it, so I immediately set off to see the specimen which I had removed to our taxidermist as soon as I could. I, however, have drawn a very rough sketch and am in hopes that you may be able to assist me in classing it. It was trawled off the chill alumna coast, about 40 fathoms. It's It is coated in heavy scales, almost armor like the Finns resemble limbs and are scaled right up to the fringe of the filament. The spine is dorsal has tiny white spines down each filament. Note the drawing inked on red. She attached the drawing

spk_0:   31:34
Very nice. That's very useful.

spk_1:   31:36
Yes, I would be so pleased if you could let me know what you think, though I know just how difficult it is from a description of this kind wishing you happiness for the season. Yours sincerely, M. Courtenay Latimer

spk_0:   31:48
All right.

spk_1:   31:49
It would almost be two weeks before Smith would read this letter, realizing that sending his own letter may already be too late, he sent the following message via telegraph ahead of writing a letter himself. It said in all caps or maybe I don't know if there's a distinguishing mint between caps or not in

spk_0:   32:06
telegraphs are always sent in all caps. Okay, so yeah, I think at that point

spk_1:   32:10
most important preserved skeleton and Gilles of fish described. And then he ended up going home and writing his letter. That was dated the third of January of 1939. Dear Miss Latimer, thanks for your letter of the 23rd which has just reached me. Your news is most interesting indeed. And I am very sorry that I am not Ingram's town. The This is where she thought he was,

spk_0:   32:33
that why it took so long to get to him?

spk_1:   32:35
Yes, or I would have come over to see your fish within a short time. I shall be away for some time. And I am hoping you saved gills and viscera of the specimen like its insides. Since they are most important if all that was buried, you may still be able to save the gills. At least I cannot hazard a guess at the fish at present. But at the very earliest opportunity, I am coming to see it from your drawing. In description, the fish resembles forms which have been extinct for many a long year. But I am very anxious to see it before committing myself. It would be very remarkable should it prove to be some close connection with the prehistoric. Meanwhile, guard it very carefully and don't risk sending it away. I feel it must be of great scientific value with kindness, regards and best wishes for the new year. Your sincerely jail Bea Smith. Unfortunately, Latimer could not have preserved the whole fish and its internal organs for as long as it took the letter to arrive. She laments that it was her biggest regret that she had to sacrifice the internal organs, the viscera in order to correctly preserve the outer features and skeleton.

spk_0:   33:45
I mean fair,

spk_1:   33:46
but you just kind of how taxes only work. Yeah, there are ways to preserve the organs. And actually Smith had sent another letter at some point when she said that, no, that they had tossed out the organs to preserve the rest of it. He sent another letter back saying that tell me which dump it's in. I was personally scrounge for them myself, and she responded that unfortunately, the refuse was always already taken away.

spk_0:   34:09
Oh, fishy. Something's fishy. He

spk_1:   34:13
was very, very keen and getting his hands on these organs.

spk_0:   34:17
I mean, I don't blame him. Like if it's like something like previously thought to be extinct, like big, every bit of it that you can to, like, authenticate. It

spk_1:   34:30
s so he was super upset that this one away. And it actually he even cited that it was part of the reason that he took another month, the end up coming and seeing the specimen because he was just so disappointed that the

spk_0:   34:40
organs were gone. Oh,

spk_1:   34:43
he also didn't want to have started stirring all of this commotion in the scientific community. I guess he told like a few people that possibly that there was a prehistoric find.

spk_0:   34:53
Oh. Oops. So should have kept your mouth shut, Bud.

spk_1:   34:56
I don't think he said much of anything, but he did start saying something. So he was going to be really disappointed if he wasn't able to identify it from the remains. Yeah, but once he received a scam a sample of the scales and gills from Vladimir, he could not hold back his excitement any longer. These were most definitely scales from a being that had been thought to been dead for a 1,000,000 years. The silicon Mmm. His life noted that he had prepared himself to leave because of all the excitement stealing himself before entering to see the taxidermy. He described the moment he saw it for the first time. As although I had come prepared, that first sight of the fish hit me like a white hot blast. It made me feel very shaky and queer. My body tingled. I stood as if stricken to stone. Yes, there was not a shadow of a doubt scale by scale, bone by bone fin by fin. It was a true silicon.

spk_0:   35:49
Wow. He's very convinced. Yes, I'm still No, I'm just I'm like in conspiracy land over here. Going. It can't be riel.

spk_1:   35:58
We'll stay there for a bit. So his goal was set. He needed to find another specimen so that he could see its internal organs.

spk_0:   36:06
Good luck, my dude.

spk_1:   36:07
He knew one fundamental truth from his last encounter. And that was that. The people who know the most about fish are not eggs. Ecologists like himself. No, it's fisherman.

spk_0:   36:18
I would agree with that statement. Yes.

spk_1:   36:20
So he went all along the South African coast putting up our shores and flyers of what the silicon looked like, and a large £100 reward that he would give to anyone who catches the fish and keeps the body intact.

spk_0:   36:33
Nice. I like that. All the fishing I'm doing and started you to try and get all these stupid fish to complete the stupid quest.

spk_1:   36:40
Oh, my goodness,

spk_0:   36:41
yeah, I really enjoy that. Gentleman takes longer to do his notes than I do, because it means I get to play starting Valley while he finishes. His notes

spk_1:   36:48
also means my notes

spk_0:   36:49
about it.

spk_1:   36:50
It also means my notes take longer because I keep looking up and watching her playing a video game.

spk_0:   36:56
Usually he looks up and

spk_1:   36:57
I'm fishing. That's very accurate.

spk_0:   37:00
I could

spk_1:   37:01
surprise you haven't gotten a C like instant star, do

spk_0:   37:04
I? You know what? I don't think they're in the game

spk_1:   37:07
right now. You don't think they're in real life either. I

spk_0:   37:09
think they're fake. It's all a lie.

spk_1:   37:12
So Smith waited not so patiently for 14 years before he got a call. Oh, a fisherman named Ahmed Hussein from the Camaro's islands just north of Madagascar caught what he called a gum Bessa, which the fact that they had a name for it meant that the scholars had been blind to its existence for much longer than the common fishing photo

spk_0:   37:32
of South Africa. What seizes?

spk_1:   37:35
They had a name for it,

spk_0:   37:36
right? Yeah,

spk_1:   37:36
and it wasn't. What's the scientific community call? Yeah. Yeah. So Smith took the specimen and dissected it. It was extremely oily inside. It had no air sac like organs at all, meaning it generally lived really deep in the oil was used to survive those pressures. It had the hard armored skull that he had seen in the taxidermy. And once he cut it open, it was just filled with a jelly like substance in the front, in thick fatty substance around the brain case. The brain, however, was no bigger than our thumb knuckle.

spk_0:   38:08
So it's not very smart. Probably not.

spk_1:   38:11
But if it really did survive for millions of years, it really doesn't need to be.

spk_0:   38:16
It has a very high constitution, but of very low intelligence

spk_1:   38:21

spk_0:   38:23
that you'd appreciate

spk_1:   38:24
that I did. To be fair, most of our listeners probably did as well.

spk_0:   38:29
Yeah, I feel like we

spk_1:   38:31
have a very specific demographic. Yes. So the four legs that we mentioned earlier ended up being more than just that. The front two were clearly paired pectoral limbs and the back to were clearly paired pelvic limbs.

spk_0:   38:44
Oh, dear.

spk_1:   38:45
Due to this finding, he imagined that it must be adapted crawling along the ocean floor. It's the missing link. That's actually what he thinks it is.

spk_0:   38:54
Oh, boy. All right. We came from fish people, guys. Raw fish is

spk_1:   38:58
so. Smith also noted that he was surprised not to find a normal fish spine, but a note accord, which is a hollowed out, oil filled casing around a spinal cord. This feature proved just how ancient the biology the fish was due to it not being found in modern species. Interesting, because a note accord is a precursor to a mammalian backbone.

spk_0:   39:22

spk_1:   39:24
or not even the 1,000,000 but a

spk_0:   39:26
gray like a spinal spine. Wow! All right, interesting, curious Aaron curious.

spk_1:   39:33
So that was pretty much all Smith needed before writing what was possibly one of the most scientifically important books of the century for anyone interested in biology, zoology, ichthyology or evolution. Because Smith did claim that this was the missing ancestral link between ocean and land life. And it was not a fossil, but it was alive and well.

spk_0:   39:53
See, the reason I've been Conspiracy Corner is because I don't remember ever learning about this. And I feel like if it really was as important as all that, I would have heard about it at some boring time

spk_1:   40:06
in my education. Well, I'll take you out of Conspiracy Corner because it's really

spk_0:   40:10
Oh, well, then I'm just ignorant. That's fine.

spk_1:   40:13
I figured I'd let you hang on for a little

spk_0:   40:14
bit. Just use Let me linger and doubt and look dumb to enter on. Who knows

spk_1:   40:21
a chose route. I chose to hold on to that information till we got to the missing link part.

spk_0:   40:26
How rude. How wound as Steffy. Jose, how rude!

spk_1:   40:31
I was thinking how woud like Jar Jar Binks. Oh, dear God, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Probably also had the brain of a thumb knuckle.

spk_0:   40:41
Yeah, right.

spk_1:   40:43
So many others would goto and go on to study the ceiling. 10th over the years, possibly one of the most interesting finds post Latin Bern Smith Discovery was the finding of a silicon egg. It was about the size of a large orange and contained a fatty embryonic wall. It was assumed that, like most fish, they carry the eggs for a period of time than lay a clutch and let them hatch. But a discovery in New York in 1975 confirmed something else entirely. A preserved female at the Museum of Natural History was found to have five eggs. Insider

spk_0:   41:17
When the

spk_1:   41:18
team dissected one of the eggs, they discovered a five inch long, fully developed scales in all baby silicon that had eaten away at some of the fatty embryo. Oh, this was enough to prove that once again, it was separating itself from a normal fish, as this is all of the signs of a live birth.

spk_0:   41:37
Whoa! Um, grilled Quick question. How big is this fish?

spk_1:   41:43
Ah, the one that Latimer found was five feet long.

spk_0:   41:47
Okay. All right.

spk_1:   41:48
And it's like normal fish proportions. It's not like a barrack kudo where they're really slim.

spk_0:   41:52
Right? So it's, like, kind of chunky. It's big. Okay. All right. It's bigger

spk_1:   41:58
than you in every way.

spk_0:   42:00
Oh, no. Oh, I don't like that I, um That seems unfair on many levels. That's that's, um, mildly concerning. I don't want to see

spk_1:   42:14
one of these in real life. So currently it's still debated as to whether or not the silicon is actually the missing link. But with all of this evidence nearly un evolved from its prehistoric family, the missing link theory is, at the very least, highly compelling. Wow. Yeah. So I think it's kind of funny that we went from you talking about Silent night, a very Christian creationist thing to a very evolution thing. We're good at dichotomies.

spk_0:   42:40
Yes, it's a fun juxtaposition.

spk_1:   42:43
So that's the story of how the silicon or the lad Amiriyah chill Uman a Smith Nick if you couldn't tell by those two names, Smith Smith named the Fish after Marjorie, Vladimir, Vladimir and the location. She found it, which was the Chilumpha River.

spk_0:   43:01
Every time you say chill, ou know, I keep thinking of, um, crap DeLuca. Yes, that one. So a

spk_1:   43:10
side note. It's also one of the bases for one of my favorite Pokemon, the relic UNT

spk_0:   43:16
Oh boy,

spk_1:   43:17
which almost looks like it was exactly sketched off of Marjorie's sketch that she sent to Smith.

spk_0:   43:23
Oh, jeez.

spk_1:   43:25
So good job to the guys that po. Come on, you're game freak. Because I do think that they looked at this original sketch to make elegant.

spk_0:   43:36
I mean, it wouldn't surprise me.

spk_1:   43:37
Yeah, And it pretty much has, like, the exact same history in the Pokemon world as it does in the real world, which I like a lot of times they base Pokemon off of real creatures. Yeah, but like, they were pretty much like this is a cool enough in real life animal that weaken. Just plop it in.

spk_0:   43:53
Yeah, I feel like then, like I'm surprised there isn't like a platypus in Pokemon, right? Yeah, that's what that's what surprises me. Also, like things like the platypus exist. How were we? Also like, I don't understand why people like, oh, like things like unicorns can't exist like that was never really. There's a frickin mammal with a duck bill, a beaver tail and, like, poison poisoning feet with little barbs, like

spk_1:   44:23
legs, eggs.

spk_0:   44:24
What's so weird about a horse with the horn of unicorn? I mean, we have rhinoceros, they have horns like, why is that so farfetched?

spk_1:   44:33
What's so crazy about official legs. Kylie

spk_0:   44:36
Touche. Uh, one thing that

spk_1:   44:40
I somehow Oh, I think I just skipped over a bullet of mine. What? Um, one other thing that really makes it to me at least convincing that this could be a missing link. Ancestor is the last major finding that was found in the dissection was that the fish contains central arteries something not found in any other fish. But in all tetrapods, which is beings of four legs, including by a beetle beings such as humans.

spk_0:   45:10
Ah, Steve, you said that I

spk_1:   45:12
would have believed you. Lies, lies, lies.

spk_0:   45:18

spk_1:   45:19
was literally the singular bullet before I said the missing link like that, it was fine.

spk_0:   45:26
Well, I tried. I tried to swing it.

spk_1:   45:29
You did it. It's okay.

spk_0:   45:32
Yeah, well,

spk_1:   45:33
OK, so Bilbo just really loudly growled at something in its sleep just once.

spk_0:   45:45
Just a singular growl.

spk_1:   45:48
High. So onto our call to action.

spk_0:   45:51
Are you going to say it that way? All the diamond

spk_1:   45:53
old to action. No, please don't. I won't. You okay? Great. Okay. So you can find us. Ah, uh, a complete brain part. You can find us at halfway history on Facebook and Twitter and you can find us out.

spk_0:   46:17
You're having a really hard

spk_1:   46:18
time. My God, You think we didn't do this three times this week?

spk_0:   46:22
Yeah, I know, right?

spk_1:   46:24
And you can find us on patri on at Half Wit pod. I will also likely be at the end of the month beginning February. Just kind of like redoing our patri on.

spk_0:   46:35
Oh, yeah.

spk_1:   46:36
So it

spk_0:   46:36
was good.

spk_1:   46:37
Yeah, I I think there's a better way to use will utilize it. So you can also find our email at half. What? Pot at gmail dot com

spk_0:   46:47
and our website. It's half What? Dot history. Knope Dotson.

spk_1:   46:53
Also, I normally wait for you to say what to do with the email.

spk_0:   46:56
Oh, right. Um my that

spk_1:   46:58
again. We haven't done this three times this week.

spk_0:   47:01
It's like past.

spk_1:   47:02
It is past

spk_0:   47:03
midnight. It's past midnight. I'm sleeping. Um oh, God. Oh, um, email. Right. So if annual like to send us, um, comments, suggestions, topic ideas or just, you know, say hi or something or, you know, if you have some, like, burning correction that you absolutely have to give us, you can join my friend Ashley, who constantly text me corrections about what we've messed up. Which reminds me. I probably do You have another correction? Because she sent me one this afternoon. But I have not forgotten

spk_1:   47:37
what it was. Swoops out. Sorry, Ashley Lips So you can find our website at half wit dash history,

spk_0:   47:47
that pesky dash

spk_1:   47:49
and make sure to send ah rating or review on whatever you're listening on, if you can. Ah, Or more importantly, just share an episode with your friends. Hopefully, this episode sounds really nice with their new equipment.

spk_0:   48:04
Yes. And it was all worth it. Yeah, fingers crossed. Yeah. So definitely please let us know how the audio sound. Because

spk_1:   48:15
through Twitter, facebook, whatever, whatever. You have better access to email.

spk_0:   48:20
Yeah. If we if we put this giant investment in all of this stuff, that sounds worse. I'm gonna be so sad. So maybe

spk_1:   48:27
let us down gently, if that's okay.

spk_0:   48:28
Yes. Yeah. Please be nice.

spk_1:   48:31
Okay. Are we ready for Oh, no. We have to thank the fishermen for the use of our theme song. Another day.

spk_0:   48:38
Oddly fitting this time around.

spk_1:   48:40
Yeah, Fishermen Have you know he's from Greece. So Darnay would not have caught a silicon They're located in South Africa. And in Indonesia, there is one sub species of silicon. Thin Indonesia.

spk_0:   48:55
Wow. Yep. But anyway, he's a fisherman. So there's that.

spk_1:   48:59
Yes. And his Soundcloud is in our show. Notes?

spk_0:   49:03
Yeah. Check him out.

spk_1:   49:04
Okay. Are you ready for fun, Fax?

spk_0:   49:06
I was born ready. I

spk_1:   49:08
know you tried to shove one in the middle of the episode.

spk_0:   49:10
I should I start to and there you can hear me.

spk_1:   49:14
All right. Mine is in 18. 51. I can read mine while you look for yours. Sure. Okay. So kind of going along. The little bit of our last episode where all of Francis Drakes log books were burned in a fire. We're going to go back to December 24th of 18. 51 where a fire destroys 35,000 volumes in the U. S. Library of Congress.

spk_0:   49:37
Yeah, takes. That's Ah, yeah, that was bad. Bad, bad, bad

spk_1:   49:44
years. Now,

spk_0:   49:45
sure. Um I'm also going to hearken back to, um last week's episode on December 23rd 18 93 the opera Hansel and Gretel. Bye. Engelbert Humperdinck and his sister Addle Hide Wet premiered in Y Mark conducted by Richard Strauss and I have the name Humperdinck. Bold ID. And, like, underlined because I absolutely cannot believe that that was someone's actual realized,

spk_1:   50:15
Not the other last name. Wet Humperdinck Wet.

spk_0:   50:19
Yeah, I guess I didn't catch that one. I just saw Humperdinck. You went? No.

spk_1:   50:24
You sure that this isn't the conspiracy corner? You're just making up names.

spk_0:   50:28
No, I so wear.

spk_1:   50:29
I know. I'm kidding

spk_0:   50:30
you also, But like the first name Engelbert. Okay. I just I thought it was a funny first.

spk_1:   50:36
It is

spk_0:   50:37
a funny first, but then until

spk_1:   50:39
we can't say that because their dank. But we can't say that because of our gracious German listeners charging us currently.

spk_0:   50:46
That's true. Ah, and it wasn't why Marceau. Yeah, Although I do. I really do want to throw in a second fun fact.

spk_1:   50:53
Okay, do it.

spk_0:   50:54
Okay. December 29th 18. 52. We're just hanging out in the 18 hundreds. Emma Snodgrass Snodgrass was arrested in Boston for wearing pants. How

spk_1:   51:03
dare she?

spk_0:   51:04
I know, right? What a what a calamity.

spk_1:   51:07
Anyways, thank you for listening. This has been our show. As always. I've been your half wit,

spk_0:   51:12
and I'm your historian

spk_1:   51:13
and I hope we sound better toss

spk_0:   51:44
a kind of your witch. Oh, Valley of plenty.

spk_1:   51:49
Oh, God, I'm leaving that one in.

spk_0:   51:53