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Each week, Ben and Steve dole out a fresh heaping of totally random, often unbelievable, yet mostly true stories from around the world and throughout history. Each never knows what the other will bring, so join us as we expose the deepest reaches of... who am I kidding? We're not here for depth, we're here for entertainment. Welcome to The Nonessential Podcast!
 
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Superfluous

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Superfluous

Jeanette and Alena

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Welcome to Superfluous with Alena and Jeanette! These scrappy gals will be sharing only the best non-essential information with you! Through two vaguely related stories they will fill your head with facts you never knew you wanted, but deep down you really need. Only the good stuff. Just the froth. So get ready to be just a little bit smarter about something that probably won’t do you much good- Superfluous! Podcast Music by Jeff Stovall: https://soundcloud.com/backhousetranscendental
 
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Episode 54: Superfluous Book Club: Moonwalking With Einstein Our first book club! We read the fantastic book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer In this episode we discuss the book. Don’t worry if you haven’t read it, we will give you the cliff notes. But if you would like to read it, it will enha…
 
If you were a good girl or boy in 1858, maybe your dad would spend a nickel to buy you the hottest, most desirable candy of the day: Hard peppermint "humbugs." The candy that featured plaster dust, and maybe poison. Sources: Elliott, Jenny. How Tainted Treats Led to a Halloween Tragedy in 1858. Atlas Obscura. How Tainted Treats Led to a Halloween T…
 
Wet Straw is the story of a man who just wants to live a low-key life of enjoyment and entertainment. But each night when he goes to bed, his past comes back to haunt him. Then the story ends and Ben pulls the 'ol switcheroo. Check it out. Source: Matheson, Richard. "Wet Straw" from Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson.…
 
Episode 53: The Rubes: Machines and Cubes Rube Goldberg Machines and Blindfolded Rubik’s Cube How can you make that easy task way harder? Alena tells us about the man behind the machine, Rube Goldberg. Jeanette tells us about solving Rubik’s Cubes while blindfolded and the insane memory skills that it entails. First Superfluous Book Club pick: Moon…
 
Steve's daughter is only two, and he's pretty sure she's not killing people. The protagonist of this week's story, however, has some sneaking suspicious about this ten year old. Check out TheCusterWolf's 'I Think My Ten-Year-Old is Killing People.' Source: https://creepypasta.fandom.com/wiki/I_Think_my_Ten-Year-Old_Daughter_is_Killing_People…
 
Over the July 4 weekend in 1966, three friends from Illinios left for a day at the beach. They were seen buying magazines and sunscreen, and seen lounging on the beach until around noon, when another couple noticed the girls enter the water and get on a boat. They were never seen again. Sources: What is the Likeliest Solution to the Indiana Dunes M…
 
Episode 52: Abominations in the Attic VC Andrews and Blanche Monnier Jeanette tells about the author VC Andrews, who is responsible for warping a whole generation of readers (Gen X I’m talking about you…) Alena tells us about a REAL flower in the attic, the tragic story of Blanche Monnier Flowers In the Attic book review: Flowers in the Attic (V.C.…
 
In the 1970's, a small city in Ohio became ground zero for a mysterious and threatening series of anonymous letters. As it turns out, the accusations these letters made weren't comlpetely untrue. Source: Has the anonymous author of the infamous Circleville letters been unmasked? - CBS News The Creepy Letters That Exposed A Town’s Juiciest Secrets —…
 
Have you ever wondered what happens if you sit in a dark room and stare at a screen for too long? No, because it's well documented. Have you ever wondered what happens if you do that, and then follow some weird cultish advice on how to alieviate your strained vision? Well then check out this week's episode: 'Computer Vision Syndrome' by Tale Foundr…
 
Episode 51: Urine Luck! Jeanette “does her own research” to see if drinking urine improves your health (spoiler: she does NOT drink her own pee). Alena tells us about the latest hustle of using your own farts to make those dollar dollar bills. Meth Pee Story: Jessa Reed - Meth Pee - This Is Not Happening - Uncensored King of Farts: King of Farts Ba…
 
When the new kid's new friends let him in on one of the town's deep, dark secrets, he insists that the trio investigate it for themselves. This week, Ben dips his bucket back into the bountiful creepypasta well with Shadowswimmer77's The Legend of 'Ol Mother Cleaver. Source: The Legend of Ol' Mother Cleaver | Creepypasta Wiki | Fandom…
 
Most people believe in some sort of superstition, whether it’s throwing salt over your shoulder to keep the devil away, or preventing bad luck by not walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror. It may seem silly, but these superstitions have been around for thousands of years and are passed down from generation to generation like grandma’s keepsak…
 
In 1904, St Louis hosted the United States of America's first Olympic games. The games coincided with the (not so) shockingly racist centennial celebration of the Louisianna Purchase and World's Fair. Amazingly, the Olympic marathon managed to outshine that entire trash fire. This week we talk about the first and last time an Olympic marathon was e…
 
We all try to stay healthy and exercise, but the holidays tend to add a few extra pounds to our waistline. Throw in a pandemic or two and staying healthy is tops in our minds. Well, we’re here to help. You see, throughout history, various cultures have had the same problems and came up with some unusual food combinations to become healthier. From d…
 
Ben wraps up 2021 with the light-hearted story of Nannie Doss, who was also known as the Giggling Granny. Sounds wholesome, right? If you're wondering what she finds so funny, ask one of her many ex-husbands to let you in on her joke. The punchline's a real killer. Source: https://allthatsinteresting.com/nannie-doss-giggling-granny…
 
The yule log, which wasn’t a log at all, but instead an entire tree, is originally a Nordic tradition dating back to medieval times. The burning of the Yule log is one of the oldest pagan rituals, which was lit to entice the sun to return as part of the Yule festival in Scandinavia. On this episode, we explore the history of the yule log and why pe…
 
Santa Claus's gift bringing at Christmas time really began in northern and central Europe before spreading to other parts of the world. And some of the things that spread with him were his little helpers. We're not talking about the elves, although they did come along for the ride, no, we're talking about his darker little friends, the ones who han…
 
Trigger Warning for Violence and Sexual Assault against women. This week, Steve takes a look at a guy who owned a bakery in a small Alaskan community near Anchorage, and thus, couldn't possibly be up to anything bad. At least, that was law enforcement's take on avid hunter and serial killer Robert Hansen. Sources: Robert Hansen, The "Butcher Baker"…
 
Episode 50: Lady Buds; Interview with Chiah Rodriques In this episode we are joined by our good friend, and total badass, Chiah Rodriques! Chiah is a cannabis grower, business owner, artist, and mom living in Northern California. She was recently featured in “Lady Buds'' a documentary about women in the cannabis industry. She talks to us about lega…
 
If you ever though working for Santa for no real compensation while being isolated from the rest of the world sounds like a jolly-old time, check out what happens when you break one little rule. With the holidays ominously looming on the horizon, Ben gets accidentally-topical with this week's show. It's Santa's Other Workshop by KillaHawke1. Source…
 
Mistletoe has long been a romantic, fun Christmas tradition, but it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the plant is sort of gross when you think about it. On this episode, we look at how a plant that sucks nutrients from its host tree became the symbol for sucking face at Christmas.By Melanie Dellas and Karen Lacy
 
Every house has its quirks, its moans and groans, its creaks and cracks. Most people attribute these sounds to the house settling or the wind blowing against the windows and walls. However many people believe there’s something just a tad more supernatural to blame it on. Some blame it on brownies, some point the finger at elves, but in Russia and t…
 
As America celebrated Thanksgiving, millions of people prepared their tables with roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, they turned on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and some football, and gathered ‘round the table to sing the traditional Thanksgiving Day song – Jingle Bells. On this episode, we look at the history behind one of the holiday season’s …
 
Episode 49: Meat on Meat: Cram That PieCaken Up Your Turducken Hole Just in time for Thanksgiving, Alena tells us what meats you can cram into other meats. She also covers historic meat cramming in days of yore. Then Jeanette tells about how to get away with making just one massive dessert all mashed together. Please like, subscribe, and leave a 5 …
 
This week, Steve tries something different. Or rather, two of our normal things smushed into one. We've got two real mythological creatures from different parts of the globe, but also include a creepypasta for each. It's the Nuckelavee followed by the Curupira on this week's show! Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuckelavee https://creepypast…
 
Have you ever gotten bored of being so good at cards? Are you no longer welcome at poker night because your friends find you insufferable? Maybe you're just looking to lay it all on the line in a high-stakes game of... high/low? Well you're in luck! This week, Ben reads the anonymously-written A Deck of Cards, which outlines just you can go mano a …
 
At the last minute, Richard and Belinda Cowden decided to take their family camping over Labor Day weekend in 1974. When they failed to arrive for a family dinner a few nights later, Belinda's mother went looking for them. What she found left more answers than questions. Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowden_family_murders…
 
When you think of dowsing or using divining rods, most people’s minds automatically go to the two-pronged sticks used to find water. And that’s true, that’s what they are said to do. But what most people don’t know is that divining rods have been used for thousands of years around the world to find metal, the depth of oil in the ground, hidden tunn…
 
Episode 48: Hot Gossip of the 80’s Jeanette gives you the truth about the biggest celebrity gossip of the 80’s: Richard Gere and Gerbiling, Mikey’s death by PopRocks, and Rod Stewart’s upset stomach. Then Alena tells us about Pazuzu Algarad, the Suburban Cannibal Killer. Please like, subscribe, and leave a 5 star review! Podcast Music by Jeff Stova…
 
This week, Ben brings an original, if untitled, creepypasta to the show, and Steve struggles to make fun of it. Could it actually be good, or could Steve have just been distracted by Thursday Night Football? Technically both can be true. A text version of the story can be found here: https://thenonessential.libsyn.com/episode-151-story-text…
 
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