Podcast Show Notes — Episode 10 (May 19, 2014)

When Albert Marr joined the South African army in 1915, he received permission to bring along his pet baboon, Jackie. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow Jackie’s adventures in England, Egypt, and Belgium, his work for the Red Cross after the war, and his triumphant return to Pretoria in 1919.

We’ll also meet a Rhode Island lighthouse keeper’s daughter who saved the lives of 18 people over a period of 48 years, and present the next Futility Closet Challenge.

You can listen using the player above, or subscribe on iTunes or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset.

Our original post about Jackie the baboon infantryman ran on June 14, 2011.


Here’s Jackie in Johannesburg in 1919, on his way home. Note the knife and fork. More photos, including one of Jackie saluting, can be found at the website of the South African Military Veterans Organisation of Australasia (see the gallery at the bottom of the page).

Our main source for the segment about Ida Lewis is Lenore Skomal’s 2002 biography The Keeper of Lime Rock. Some images:



One of the soldiers she saved during her fifth rescue, on March 29, 1869, remembered, “When I saw the boat approaching and a woman rowing, I thought, She’s only a woman and she will never reach us. But I soon changed my mind.” Her brother Thomas said, “Ida knows how to handle a boat. She can hold one to wind’ard in a gale better than any man I ever saw, wet an oar, and yes, do it too, when the sea is breaking over her.”

Here’s the lighthouse in 1869, the first year of her fame:

At 14 Ida was accounted the best swimmer in Newport, and at 15 she had finished her formal schooling but rowed her siblings to Newport and back each day. Her father said: “Again and again, have I seen the children from the window as they were returning from school in some heavy blow, when Ida alone was with them, and old sailor that I am, I felt that I would not give a penny for their lives, so furious was the storm — yes sir. I have watched them ’til I could not bear to look any longer, expecting every moment to see them swamped and the crew at the mercy of the waves, and then I have turned away and said to my wife — let me know if they get safe in, for I could not endure to see them perish and realize that we were powerless to save them. And oh you cannot tell the relief when she cried out: they have got safe to the rock, Father. It was a mighty weight off my mind, I can assure you. I have seen Ida in the bitter winter weather obliged to cut off her frozen stockings at the knee.”

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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

7 Responses to “Podcast Show Notes — Episode 10 (May 19, 2014)”

  1. Rikk says:

    Not an entry to the challenge, but all the collective nouns for birds in the corvid family sound quite ominous or fantastical:

    – Murder of crows
    – Unkindness of ravens
    – Parliament of rooks (much like owls)
    – Scold of jays
    – Clattering of jackdaws (also a clattering of choughs)
    – Tiding of magpies (much like the rhyme, “one for sorrow, two for joy…” etc.)

  2. Mark says:

    In the podcast, you asked listeners to take a survey. Could you add the URL of the survey (as well as the other URLs you mention during the podcast and the podcast e-mail address) to the show notes? For the latter, a standard header or footer would work. That would make things easier for those of us who can’t quickly jot down the addresses while we’re listening.

  3. Jim says:

    Just thought I’d throw in my two cents about the question of introductions. I’m an American but when it comes to introductions and last names are included as a part of the introduction, it’s not necessary to say “I’m John Smith, this is my wife Jane Smith and these are our kids, Jeff Smith and Joe Smith.” It’s much more efficient to say “I’m John Smith. This is my wife Jane and these are our kids, Jeff and Joe.”

    It’s really only generational in that with younger generations, it becomes less likely that the woman will take her husband’s name.

    Alternatives to the way you do it include not using last names at all, or each of you introducing yourselves.

  4. Dave K says:

    From the fitness world:
    * vanity of bodybuilders
    * contort of yoga practitioners
    * infirmary of crossfitters

    * yap of chihuahuas
    * splay of ferns

  5. jeffman48 says:

    I was going to write about the introductions, but I see that Jim (above) has mentioned my major points.

    I would say it might be generational, as to my 65yo mind, I could not detect even a bit of disrespect in the way you are introduced and therefore I’m puzzled as to just who might.

    On the contrary, the obviously affectionate banter and easy camaraderie during each podcast leads me to think that you both genuinely appreciate each other and your respective contribution.

    I would stop agonizing and over thinking it and just continue with what feels right to you both. It certainly works.

    I’ve followed the site for years and I’m thrilled to find this terrific podcast. Keep up the good work.

  6. veronica says:

    In the spirit of Ida Lewis and giving credit where it’s due, I do think that you should introduce Sharon with her first and last name. I understand that in an informal introduction it’s acceptable to say “Hi, I’m Adam X and this is my wife, Eve.” But since this podcast is in the public domain (like t.v., newspaper, scholarly articles, etc.) and Sharon does contribute a lot to the podcast, she should be formally recognized for her contributions.

    In regards to the “generational differences” I do see many of them as socially accepted slights towards women. Which is an underlying theme of the struggles of Ida Lewis.

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