Tag: Podcast

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban–Adaptations

Movie week! You know the drill. This week we discuss the actors and choices made by the production studio for what I (Hale) think is one of if not my absolute favorite Harry Potter movie. We kick off the episode with a promo from Hark! The 87th Precinct Podcast. Come join the conversation.






Joe Bae:



From Alcatraz to Azkaban–A History

Alcatraz 1.jpg

You can smell the salt in the air, despite the inability to see much around you. That infamous San Francisco Bay Area fog is making it impossible to see even the beautiful golden bridge only a few miles from you. The locals promise you the fog will lift, and the sites will be beautiful, but you can’t imagine any fog this thick clearing in time to see anything, anytime soon. You’re visiting the Golden City in June, and yet it is still ice cold on the water.

Suddenly through the fog, The Rock comes into view. You can see the silhouette of the buildings on Alcatraz Island, and guess many of them are the prison itself. Your first thought is that it looks like a hauntingly twisted replica of France’s Mont-Saint-Michel, with its singular high tower, keeping watch over the rest of the island. Even from afar, the graffiti atop the water tower is glaring. You struggle to read it, and fixate on it. As your ferry pulls into the dock on the island, you get your first real look at the tag on the tower:

Peace and Freedom. Welcome. Home of the Free. Indian Land.

There are rumors that Alcatraz was originally used as a fishing station by local Indian tribes. According to the first Spaniard to map the island, Juan Manual Diaz, there was no sign anyone ever occupied the isolated island in the middle of the bay, except birds. He deemed it “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” or “The Island of the Pelicans.” Over the next few years, the Spanish would build several buildings on the island. Interestingly, (Anya if you’re reading this, this one is for you) the origin of the word “alcatraz,” according to a book from 1915, is Arabic. It was often used in reference to alchemy, meaning a “recovery of valuables from a retort” or basically, the process of separating the valuable material from a mineral after a process of purification (The Rock). As the book thoughtfully notes, this is an interesting origin of the word, knowing what Alcatraz Island eventually becomes: a rehabilitation prison.

In 1846, the Mexican government gave the island to William Workman, a settler from (my own home state) Franklin, Missouri. He jumped on a Santa Fe Trail caravan and migrated to what is now New Mexico, where he became a smuggler. He and his family traveled to California, where they landed as one of the original settlers of Los Angeles. Workman was granted Mexican citizenship after his work commanding parts of the Mexican army during the Mexican-American war. He, in turn, gave the island to his son, Francis Temple, who sold it to the future Governor of California, John C. Frémont for the lofty price of $5,000 (upwards of $150,000 in 2018) in the name of the US Government. Frustratingly, Frémont never paid the five grand, and Temple sued, to no avail. In 1850, President Millard Fillmore set the land aside for the US Military. Around this time, the US began studying the stability of the island to be used as protection for the San Fransisco bay. Construction began quickly, and ended in 1858, when the first army battalion arrived.

When talks of secession began to stir around the country, the governor of Oregon feared that California and Oregon would fall to southern sympathizers, and asked President Lincoln for fortification of the West Coast. Immediately, the US Army replaced the commanding officers at Alcatraz, and they turned the island into an arsenal for the US Military. In 1868, through the Spanish-American War, the military began using Alcatraz as long-term prisoner holding. In the seventies, the definition of “long-term prisoner” expanded to include “troublesome Indians” or American Indians that would not submit to involuntary removal from tribal land, or forced assimilation.  In the book The Rock, a collection of newspaper articles written in 1915, it describes one particular “troublesome Indian”: “One of these was a boy about sixteen who arrived in full Indian costume. He was taken to the barber shop where his beautiful long hair was cut off…” (August 3). The italics are not in the original. They were added by me for emphasis. These are real people, with a real culture that Americans stripped from them.  But I digress… On the podcast, we will discuss (rant about) this issue extensively when we get to Three Day Road.


By the early 1900s the makeshift prison on the island was becoming overcrowded. Mainly at this time, the prisoners were associated with the military; some were deserters, some were civilians that committed crimes as they traveled with the military, and also POWs. Nearly two-hundred prisoners were transported to Alcatraz the night before the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in 1906. Alcatraz itself took little damage; a pipe burst and the original lighthouse was damaged. They later decided to tear down the lighthouse, and rebuild. However, the coastline was severely damaged, and many of the jails around the city, including the famous San Quentin, caught fire. There was an actual discussion of if it would be better to leave the prisoners in their cells to burn to death, or if they should be released. Eventually, the prisoners were evacuated, and wandered homeless for two days before they were transported to Alcatraz Island, where they would wait out the week.

In 1907, The Rock officially became a military prison. This time period was the beginning of the building of the large cell blocks. The cell blocks were completed in 1912, and at the same time the builders demolished the military barracks to the ground level, creating a moat-like defense system on the island. Later, the first floor was incorporated into the cell block, leading to legends that there was a dungeon beneath the prison.

During the First World War, conscientious objectors to the war and draft dodgers were held at Alcatraz. One famous objector, Philip Grosser, highlighted the inhumane treatment in his book Uncle Sam’s Devil Island. There are accusations that the PTSD he obtained from his time in the prison led to his suicide in 1933.

In 1933, the island was turned over to the US Dept. of Justice, and turned into a federal penitentiary. The initial idea of the prison was to hold troublesome prisoners from other penitentiaries around the countries. The first batch of 137 prisoners arrived by railroad on August 11, 1934, pictured below. 60 US Marshals and FBI agents guarded the prisoners as they arrived in handcuffs. The original staff has 155 members, highly trained in security protocol, but not rehabilitation. In the early years of the prison, the US experimented with the newest technology of the day. The prisoners were surrounded by early metal detectors, but they often overheated and had to be turned off. The gun gallery guards were given machine guns, shot guns, hand guns, grenades, and gasses to maintain order in the prison.


Unsurprisingly, the citizens of San Fran were not thrilled with hardened criminals, mainly professional gangsters, being held just off the coast of the city. The police chief cited 17 different cases where military prisoners escaped the island in previous years. A woman’s club protested the prison by organizing separate swims out to the island to prove how easily the swim was achieved. Of course, nothing ever came of the protests, and the island continued to house “the worst of the worst” criminals.

Now for the fun part… Whaaaatttt? It’s already been a fun read! I know. But it is about to get funner. More fun? Anyway…

Alcatraz is more famous for the prisoners it held, than its history. Some of the top names of prisoners that spent much of their lives here are Roy Gardner, the last American train robber; Henri Young, the man who stabbed another prisoner to death with a spoon; Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, the last public enemy to be taken to the island; James “Whitey” Bulger, or the Robin Hood of Boston; George “Machine Gun” Kelly, not the rapper, of course; and Meyer Harris “Mickey” Cohen, a featherweight boxer arrested for tax evasion with ties to our hometown, Las Vegas. A famous inmate we must talk about is the Birdman. After a tough life and years of imprisonment, he was imprisoned at Leavenworth Prison. While there, he was isolated in solitary confinement, where he began to collect a colony of canaries, and author two books about them and their diseases. He was later transported to Alcatraz where he served the majority of his sentence, before he died in a hospital for prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. Of course one of the most famous is Al “Scarface” Capone, enough said. I should mention here that an outrageous number of these inmates had ties to my hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, or several miles west in Leavenworth, Kansas and the federal penitentiary, or south to Springfield, Missouri. In short, gangsters come from KC. Fun fact: KC is still full of gangsters. 😉

220px-Al_Capone_in_1930      mgk

Speaking of gangsters… Let’s digress from the famous inmates for a minute to talk about history again for a second. Let’s talk about the Battle of Alcatraz. After an unsuccessful escape attempt by bank robber Bernard Paul Coy and five accomplices, overtook the prison. While one man, stationed in the kitchen as the cleaner, called for a guard to let him out to return to his cell, another attacked the guard. They released two other men from their cells. Coy opened some bars in the gun gallery, and with the help of weight loss, squeezed between the bars into the gallery. Armed with clubs, keys, guns, grenades, and gasses, they took block C and D, releasing the prisoners, before securing the yard. They took officers hostage, and attempted to move outside to use them to barter with the boatman at the dock. After all of their hard work, they were finally foiled by a jammed lock, and were forced to shoot it out with the incoming guards. Afraid the guards would testify against them if they surrendered, the inmates open fired on their five officer hostages. While a few of the inmates returned to their cells, the ring leaders decided they would not surrender and continued firing on advancing guards. Finally, the warden cut the electricity. Because of the positioning of the prisoners at the top of the cell block and with the weapons they obtained, it was nearly impossible to attack. The only option? They called in the motha’ fuckin’ US Marines. The Marines came up with a strategy to drive the prisoners into a corner by drilling holes in the roof of the cell block, and drop in live grenades. The prisoners avoided injury by falling into position in the corner of the cell block. Eventually, they sent in armed officers, guns a-blazing. The bodies of the escapees were later recovered in the corridor in which they were cornered.


Another famous inmate includes Frank Lee Morris,  known for his multiple escape attempts from other penitentiaries. He was supposedly tested multiple times for his IQ, and was positioned at the top 2% of the country. He used his smarts to aid him in his multiple escape attempts. It was him who convinced the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence, and Allen West to attempt an escape of the island. This escape attempt is also the most famous in the history of the island. There is some suggestion that the men had been imprisoned together before, and possibly knew each other. They were assigned adjacent cells in 1961, and worked on their escape plans through the night. Over time, they made the ventilation vent in their cells bigger using a makeshift drill from a broken vacuum, saws they found on the prison grounds, and spoons. They masked the holes by using cardboard and paint, and covered their noise by having Morris play his accordian. I just have a few questions… How in the world were the guards so careless they obtained these materials, and it wasn’t a bit obvious that there was an accordian playing all night? Did the guards not care because the island is inescapable? I. Just. Don’t. Understand.

Anyway… They opened their vents enough to crawl through, to create a work room inside the walls, atop their cells. In the workroom, they fashioned life preserves from raincoats, and made a raft. They used parts of the accordian to inflate the raft. Finally, they climbed through the ventilation system to the grill on the roof, where they would made their escape.

The night of the escape, West had some problems with the grate on his vent. By the time he made it out, the others were gone. He returned to his cell and went back to sleep. In the morning, West cooperated with guards to avoid further punishment. He revealed the escape plans, and preparations. By then, Morris and the Anglins were long gone, and only the papier-mâché heads they made of themselves remained. Guards later revealed that they had, in fact, heard the escape attempt when the grill on the roof crashed to the floor. When they heard no other sound, they did not investigate. I mean… what?! What even is this place?

A full search of the coast was immediately put into place. The coastguard found the remains of a paddle, the raft, and several life preserves, but no bodies were ever recovered. They also found one of the Anglin’s wallet, containing names and addresses of friends and family. The FBI concluded while it was possible one or more of the escapees could have made it to land, it was unlikely, due to the water temperature and the strength of the current in the bay. The FBI website says, “We officially closed our case on December 31, 1979, and turned over responsibility to the U.S. Marshals Service, which continues to investigate in the unlikely event the trio is still alive.” However, the US Marshals still classify it as an open investigation, and as recently as 2009, according to NPR, the Director told NPR that he was still regularly obtaining leads in the case and they are actively pursuing them.

Since then, Mythbusters have tested their escape and found it possible they survived. Evidence was released that the FBI did find footprints on an island nearby where the boat was found. The FBI once said the plan was to steal clothes and a car when they got to land, and there were no cars stolen in the area that night. That was later disputed. Anglin family members suggested they met with their brothers at the prison where they paid off the guards. Family and friends of both the Anglins and Morris claimed they have met with them since the escape. There is suggestion that they all ended up in Brazil. According to this CBS article, John wrote a letter to CBS San Fransisco saying, “My name is John Anglin. I escape from Alcatraz in June 1962 with my brother Clarence and Frank Morris. I’m 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer. Yes we all made it that night but barely!” This led to the FBI reopening the case. The letter also told the paper that Morris died in 2008, and Clarence died in 2011.


Another huge moment for the island came after the prison closed in 1963. In 1964, for four hours, a group of forty Sioux Indians, journalists, photographers, and a lawyer occupied the island. This was a publicity stunt for a movement to increase media attention on the Civil Rights protests already occurring in San Francisco. They claimed the US Government offered them 47 cents per acre when they originally took the island from the Indians, and they were offering to pay the government back in full: $9.40. Under threat of a felony charge, they left. In November 1969, after the loss of the Indian Center in San Francisco, and threat the island would be turned over for commercial use, another symbolic occupation took place. Though only 14 of the attempted 89 occupiers actually landed on the island at first, nearly 400 occupied it at its most populated time. This number came after many friends and family of the occupiers, supported by many artists and interest groups brought supplies to the occupiers. This occupation lasted 19 months before it ended peacefully, and lead to much of the graffiti on the island.


The history of the island was as much for me and my interests as it was for you. My own personal experiences will be continued in next week’s blog post, along with a comparison to the fictional Azkaban.




Works Consulted

Fund, United States Disciplinary Barracks Pacific Branch Improvement. The Rock. 1915, https://books.google.com/books?id=_T1OAAAAYAAJ.

Thompson, Erwin H. The Rock: A History of Alcatraz Island 1847-1972. Department of Interior. Denver, Co.

“Full History.” Alcatraz History, Ocean View, http://www.alcatrazhistory.com/.

“FBI History.” Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rovi Corporation, web.archive.org/web/20080708204018/http://www.fbi.gov/fbihistory.htm.

Sullivan, Laura. “Escape From Alcatraz And A 47-Year Manhunt.” NPR, NPR, 21 Sept. 2009, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112746496&ps=cprs.

“Alcatraz Inmates Survived Infamous 1962 Escape, Letter Suggests.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 24 Jan. 2018, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/alcatraz-inmates-survived-infamous-1962-escape-letter-suggests/.


Harry Potter 3-Background

Now that you’ve heard our thoughts on the third installment in the Harry Potter series, lets dive a bit deeper into the background that inspired this text. We discuss prisons, time-travel, and werewolves, oh my! Check it out and come join the conversation.






Joe Bae:



Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Recipies

IMG_1571This month we have two different drink recipes, and two different chocolate recipes! Our food this month is inspired by two major moments in the Harry Potter series. In their third year, team Chosen One meet their first dementor! Thankfully, Professor Lupin is on scene, and provides the necessary chocolate to help them overcome the intense cold and overwhelming sadness and hopelessness the dementors leave wizards with when they leave. This month, we decided to make our favorite chocolate recipes! Hale made (according to the internet) the BEST brownie recipe ever. It’s a brownie! I, Victoria, made chocolate ravioli. I have suggestions…

In year three, Hogwarts students are finally allowed to visit Hogsmead! This is the entirely wizard filled village near the school. The team visits the local pub (as one does) and tries butterbeer for the first time! So we decided this month, we’re drinking our version of butterbeer!


  • Butterbeer
    • 1-1/2 oz butterscotch syrup (recipe follows)
    • 1-1/2 oz apple crown/apple whisky
    • 1/2 oz butterscotch liqueuer
    • 1 cup ginger ale, cold
    • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Butterscotch
    • INGREDIENTS:2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 4 TB salted butter
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup hot water


  • In a tall sauce pot, combine sugar, the first cup of water and butter.
  • Turn on heat to medium low and stir until sugar melts.
  • Once the sugar has melted, stop stirring and turn up the heat to medium high.
  • Bring to a boil, swirling the pan to keep the mixture moving.
  • If needed, use a wet pastry brush to wash down crystals that form on the side of the pan.
  • Cook until the mixture is golden brown and caramelized, making sure to pull it off the heat before it burns.
  • Add the baking soda and stir it in (the mixture will bubble up).
  • Slowly pour in remaining hot water and stir until smooth.
  • If the mixture separates when the water is added, reheat it over low heat and stir until any sugar clumps melt.
  • http://vintagekitty.com/boozy-butterbeer-recipe/#recipejump


Chocolate Ravioli


  • 1200g Heavy Cream
  • 800g Dark Chocolate

Heat cream to boil and add chocolate. Stir until completely melted. It will be thick. Place in freezer.


Pipe ganache into Fouille de Brick and wrap. Puncture with toothpicks to hold in place, or use egg wash to secure two pieces of pastry together around ganache filling. Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes.

I made my own Fouille de Brick, but I highly suggest buying it. It can get pricey, so it is probably okay to substitute fyllo dough for Fouille de Brick. I have never tried it, but the pastries are similar. Brick dough is just a bit thinner.

Fouille de Brick (Brick Dough)



  • 240 grams high gluten or bread flour
  • 45 grams durum flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk dry ingredients together, and wet ingredients together, then combine them and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate mixture overnight. Place a non stick pan on the stove at low heat, even over a double broiler if possible. With a pastry brush, lightly brush mixture around pan in a circular motion on a thin, even layer. The best layer is one you can see through. When the mixture starts to crumble and lift around the corners, gently pull up on the corner and lift the pastry from the pan in one, clean motion. One batch makes about 40 sheets. Clean sheets up, and fill with mixture.

Hale’s Brownies: https://tasty.co/recipe/ultimate-brownies

  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, plus more, softened, for greasing
  • 8 oz (225 g) good-quality semisweet chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate, 60-70% cacao, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup (90 g) unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Grease a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) dark metal pan with softened butter, then line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with softened butter.
  2. Combine the chopped chocolate, ¼ cup (30 g) of cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a heatproof liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter just comes to a vigorous simmer, about 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Immediately pour the hot butter over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, then set aside.
  4. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. It will be similar to the texture of very thick pancake batter.
  5. With the mixer on, pour in the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture and blend until smooth.
  6. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Sift in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and use a rubber spatula to gently fold until just combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until lightly puffed on top, about 20 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking pan from the oven using oven mitts or kitchen towels, then lightly drop the pan on a flat surface 1-2 times until the brownies deflate slightly. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the brownies comes out fudgy but the edges look cooked through, about 20 minutes more. The center of the brownies will seem under-baked, but the brownies will continue to set as they cool.
  11. Set the brownies on a cooling rack and cool completely in the pan.
  12. Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled brownies out of the pan. Cut into 24 bars and serve immediately.
  13. Enjoy!




Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-Analysis

Continuing our discussion on the hugely popular Harry Potter series, listen to our opinions on the third novel in the installment. We talk pirates and rum (don’t ask), murder and murder mysteries, friendship, and justice… and fan favorite Lupin. Come join the conversation!






Outro-Joe Bae:



The Handmaid’s Tale Adaptations

Join us for a discussion on the differences between the book and the show! Is season 2 a believable continuation? Were the roles casted correctly? Hear our thoughts on the prolific novel’s newest adaptation, with a shoutout to our friends at Unassigned Reading Pod.






Joe Bae:



Episode 3.2-Handmaid’s Tale Background

Now that you are all caught up on our thoughts on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, check out some of the information we found relevant to the series. Victoria discusses puritanism and witch hunts, Anya discusses Atwood herself and Phyllis McAlpin Schlafly nee Stewart, the inspiration for Serena Joy, and Hale discusses the history of forced adoptions. This episode showcases some of our podcasting friends, Frankenpod! Check it out and come join the conversation.






Joe Bae:



Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

It is a phrase that means rebellion. It is a phrase that means resistance. It means dissidence, and upheaval. It means friendship, and solidarity. It means “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!” Most of all, it means hope.


It also doesn’t mean what you think it means.

What started off as a schoolroom Latin joke, has now become a rallying cry of feminism and rebellion. People have tattooed the phrase on their bodies. Think about that! People have permanently tattooed a fake Latin phrase onto their body, because it means so much to so many people. It serves as a reminder that someone out there will always be there to be your friend. It means you aren’t alone.

Of course, like many others, the phrase served as an interest for me as I read the book. Waterford tells us that someone was messing with our narrator, and the phrase is nothing more than that. Even if it is fake, it doesn’t take away from the meaning projected onto it by Handmaid’s Tale fans. So I wanted to give this iconic quote a closer look.

According to both Vanity Fair and Refinery29, the phrase is actually a joke from Atwood’s school days. It is grammatically incorrect, and uses two words that are not Latin at all: ‘bastardes’ and ‘carborundorum’. According to both articles, neither of these words exist in true, ancient Latin. The correct translation would read something similar to “Illegitimi non carborundum” or don’t let the illegitimate grind you down. It just doesn’t pack the same punch.

‘Carborundorum’ is actually a word, it is just an English word given a Latin ending. According to the OED it was first used around the 19th or 20th centuries, with some suggestion it could have been used as advertising language made up to mean “to grind” as in like grains into flour.

The correct version of the phrase, Illegitimi non carborundum, is actually recorded in history. It is attributed to American slang in the early 1900s, and was used as a rallying cry in WWII. Oddly enough, the phrase most recently has appeared on a plaque on former Speaker John Boehner’s desk.

Illegitimi Non Carborundum

Regardless of how bad the Latin is, or how many words are made up, the phrase has meaning to some people. Language changes based on usage, and meanings of words change all the time, i.e. literally. As humans, we have a need to communicate effectively and efficiently, and we tend to make up new words all the time. Imagine asking your great great grandmother to google something for you, or to search the web!

Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum means something to us. It means hope.




Handmaid’s Tale Analysis

Novelist. Poet. Critic. Essayist. Inventor. Instructor. Activist. Feminist.

That is who wrote this amazing dystopian novel. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has changed people’s lives. It has inspired resistance. Feminists everywhere have adopted the story to serve as a warning. We hear often that dystopian novels give us a glimpse of the extremes of which our society can resort. In 2018, the surveillance of 1984, technology of Brave New World, and censorship of Fahrenheit 451 have never been more prevalent. However, Atwood’s dystopian novel gives us insight into fears of limited women’s rights, and reproductive rights. This book, however unsettling it may be, is worth the read.






Joe Bae:



Mini-Episode 2-Harry Potter Candy

This is all about the candy. No. I mean that literally. We’re just talking candy. Stick around at the end of the podcast to hear from our podcasting friends LadySh!t with Lily and Britt Podcast!


Limes: Intro




Joe Bae: Outro