Podcast Review: The Trojan Horse Affair

Last week, I listened to Serial Productions’ latest podcast, The Trojan Horse Affair. If you’re not familiar with the incident or the podcast, the Trojan Horse Affair, also known as Operation Trojan Horse, occurred in Birmingham, England in 2013/2014 when a mysterious letter showed up detailing an alleged Islamic extremist plot to take over the British school system.  The letter didn’t initially go viral until a chain of events make it gain notoriety and since it’s the Brexit Era, everyone flips out. The school at the center of it was Park View, which over the course of 15 years had been revitalized from a pitiful 4% to a whopping 70+% graduation rate. The “problem?” That school that had been left to die and brought back to life was 98% Muslim with a new Muslim principal who brought in Muslim teachers. When the dust settled, lives were ruined, new laws were enacted, and everything the community worked to gain was lost.

The Trojan Horse Affair podcast doesn’t attempt to prove the letter to be a fake; in fact, it’s universally acknowledged that the letter is a hoax. Podcast hosts Brian Reed and Hamza Syed set out to determine who wrote the letter and why. And while they *spoiler* don’t definitively solve their Whodunit, they make a pretty compelling case piecing together evidence and witness statements about the Who and the Why.

As with any good mystery without a hard conclusion, The Trojan Horse Affair is largely about the journey. For doctor turned journalism student Hamza Syed (a treasure), it’s about setting the record straight while learning to remain objective despite being a person of color and emotionally involved in the story. For veteran journalist Brian Reed (the guy who hosted another fantastic Serial Productions podcast, S-Town), it’s an endeavor in walking the fine line between mentoring newbie Syed while also learning firsthand the racism and Islamophobia that Muslims like Syed deal with on a daily basis. It’s an interesting, compelling dichotomy that you can hear both men figuring out in real-time.

But back to the mystery, which brings forth its own wild journey. Brian and Hamza discover conspiracies on top of conspiracies. They meet with government officials, corrupt town council members, and a weird neighborhood busybody who is clearly an early 2010s Karen prototype without them ever having to say it lolz. And speaking of prototypes, there’s even your classic white lady feminist who doesn’t know when her opinion isn’t f*cking welcome. At one point, the hosts are threatened and have to flee the country and destroy documents. The entire story is somewhat nuts because, at the end of the day, if the person that they conclude was behind writing the letter is in fact who wrote it and their reasoning is correct, then…why is there such a multi-level cover-up going on even though everyone acknowledges the letter was a hoax? (I’m sure you can figure this one out but the number of people involved…yikes.)

The Trojan Horse Affair is 8 episodes, all out now. Each episode is under an hour and you can easily listen to it in a day if you had the time. I definitely recommend checking it out after you’ve caught up on the latest episode of The Broadcast, of course. 😉

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What’s in a Wordle?

I love me my daily Wordle and hope that the NY Times keeps it free forever. This probably won’t happen or we’re about to get bombarded with a million pop-up ads and videos in between every guess, but whatever, I’ll enjoy the ride while we’re on it.

There’s been about 1,329 spin-offs and copycat Wordles and I thought I’d put the more popular alternatives in one place for my and your convenience. Here we go:

  • Wordle2: Similar to OG Wordle, only with 6-letter words and a new puzzle is available every 12 hours instead of every 24.
  • Quordle: Holy crap, Quordle is difficult! There’s a daily version and an unlimited version, so after bombing my first attempt at the daily version, I spent a good two hours on this game on Saturday night. Essentially, it’s four different Wordle games going on at the same time and you have nine tries to guess all four correctly. The word you guess applies to all four at once which adds a new level of strategy. It’s a SUPER fun challenge.
  • Nerdle: Nerdle is probably my favorite out of all of the spin-offs that I’ve done so far. IT’S MATH WORDLE!!!!!! It updates twice a day and you can change it between easy and hard mode to get different puzzles. I’m super into Nerdle, lol. If you’re really into torturing yourself, there’s also Primel, which is Wordle but with prime numbers.
  • Lewdle and Sweardle: Here are your token dirty word, NSFW versions of Wordle. Lewdle sticks with the five-letter format while Sweardle is your classic four-letter words. Surprisingly, I struggle with coming up with five-letter dirty words to use lol. These are fun for playing once or twice for the giggles but they’re not on my daily to-do list.
  • Taylordle and Wordle-BTS: I talked about the Taylor Swift version of Wordle on my 2.2.22 post. Predictably, there’s also one for BTS. I respect that the BTS one is straight to the point with its title.
  • Worldle: This is a very last-minute edition. It’s Wordle meets Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and it’s not easy! Good luck!

There’s a gazillion more copycats out there but those are the ones I thought were the most fun/noteworthy. If I missed any, let me know in the comments! I’m loving this new era of brainteasers being mainstream.

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The Real Weird Crossover: Year 5

It’s that time of year again! Amanda, Shandy, and I were joined by Alice and Martha of The Real Weird Sisters podcast for another two episodes o’ fun. Recording with Martha and Alice is always SO MUCH FUN and we get some really great feedback. We cover a lot of ground during the first part, including TV shows and podcasts that we’re listening to, a quiz about fried foods predicting your age/type of astrological sign, and more.

Official episode description:

It’s our 5th annual crossover episode with The Real Weird Sisters, Alice & Martha! In Part 1, we chat about Australian Survivor, makeup removal, The Trojan Horse Affair podcast, Euphoria, Emily in Paris, Build-a-Bear After Dark, corn dogs, do a quiz, Encanto, same-day birthday statistics, and more. Part 2 will be out next week!

Both episodes are really a lot of fun. I hope you’ll check them out.

On March 1, we’re going to do an episode specifically talking about 80’s movies. The ones we’ve selected are The Neverending Story, The Labyrinth, Working Girl, and Goonies. I’ve only ever seen Goonies so I’m looking forward to finally watching the other three movies. Send us some feedback about those movies and any other 80’s movies you think we’d like to chat about! Our email address is TheBroadcasters3@gmail.com and our voicemail is 331-276-2373.

As you know by now, you can listen to the latest episode below or via jayandjack.comiTunesSpreakerSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, etc. You may have better luck searching for us as “The Broadcast with Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen” since there are a few other shows called The Broadcast.

Happy listening, and thanks for listening!

Listen to “Ep. 6.30 “The Real Weird Crossover Pt1: Five-Timers Club”” on Spreaker.

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38 and 4!

Another birthday week in Casa de Glatfelter is in the books.

My birthday on Tuesday was lowkey but great. Jay, Zach, and Alex let me sleep “in” until 7:45 a.m. while they decorated and made cards. I have to brag on the cards for a minute. Jay told me that Alex wrote all of his letters on his own, only having help with spelling. While Jay was working with Alex, Zach drew and wrote out the entire note on his card without any spelling help. I’m. So. Proud!

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Goodbye, 37!

37 was a weird year, a year of change, but I learned a lot and got propelled forward, so I can’t say it was a bad year. It was just an unexpected one.

I guess milestones like a birthday kinda make people reflect on where they were a year ago. When I started writing this post, I was going to point out how completely, unexpectedly different my life is this year as opposed to last year but then I thought about how different February 2021 was from February 2020 (no pandemic yet), and that reminded of me how different February 2020 was from February 2019 (my office moved at the end of 2019). Yet still, I could argue that today in February 2018 was clearly the biggest difference of all because Alex wasn’t born until February 9, 2018! And on my birthday in 2017, we still didn’t know what was going to happen with our attempt to purchase Perfect House, so we were in the townhouse. My entire world turned upside down when life came at me fast in 2016, who/where I was emotionally, mentally, and maturity-wise in February 2016 was completely different than where I was by the time February 2017 rolled around.

I could go on and on but I suppose the exercise of this post is for a generally anxious person to recognize that different doesn’t need to be sad because things have always been different from year-to-year. Life goes on and that isn’t bad. Embrace it and do what you can to either enjoy or survivor 2022’s ride. See you in February 2023, self.

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Happy 2-2-22!!

I looooove numbers and cool “numbers” days, like when the dates make palindromes or sequential numbers. You may or may not remember that for a long time, I did a blog post for dates with “cool” numbers and called them, “Obligatory ### Post.” They were generally just updates of what was going on in life because I wanted to mark the date. It’s been a long time since I did one of those “Obligatory” posts, though I did manage to do a quick one on 12-22-21.

Anyways, I couldn’t let 2-2-22 go by without some sort of post acknowledging it. Two is, after all, one of my favorite numbers. I cannot wait for 2-22-22, when it’s also a TWOs-day. Yeah I know, I’m a dork. Whatever.

We are in the midst of preparing for family to arrive tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Alex’s birthday, so much of my day was spent doing what I’ve been doing for the past week: cleaning and organizing. It’s been a while since I really went through everyone’s rooms to pull out toys, clothes, trash, etc. I spent Friday – Monday in Zach’s room trying to make sense of the mess. I have NINE bins of LEGOs that I’m going to put in a Kallax (or Kallax-type) shelf. I dropped off six boxes of 18M-2T clothing and toys at SAFEChild this morning, took about 20 books from my bookshelves to help restock our neighborhood’s Free Little Library yesterday, and have a huge box of baby/toddler books in my car to take to our daycare’s book drive. I have been a machine, and I still feel like I have miles to go. I am starting a new job on February 16, so my goal is to finish what’s left on my list (I’m only like 60% through it) by next Wednesday so I can have a week to do things like going hiking and geocaching, haha.

Speaking of geocaching, my geo-friend Linda had a little meet-up event today at a local burger place in honor of 2.2.22, which also happens to be National Tator Tot Day. She called it “Tutus and Tator Tots” and encouraged everyone to wear tutus. I had a good month’s warning to get a tutu and still managed to drop the ball! There were a bunch of people who did wear tutus and they looked fabulous! After the meet-up, I decided to head over to the American Tobacco Trail and go for a little walk since it was really pleasant out today, a nice reprieve from the gloomy cold we’ve had lately, and the rain we’re going to have over the next two days.

I just rambled on for way too long, so if you made it this far, here are some 2.2.22-related things + non-related links that may be of interest to you:

  • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Alex was born at 10:22 p.m. aka 22:22, which I’ve always loved so much. This lucky, stars-aligned, on-a-good-path, destined-to-marry-their-hs-sweetheart-for-60+-years baby was born at 2:22 p.m. today.
  • Taylordle, the Taylor Swift version of my favorite daily activity Wordle, exists, and it’s fucking glorious (and was harder than I thought it would be since I’m not that well-versed in Taylor-land). I will play it for as long as I remember to do so.
  • Everyone is screaming about inflation lately (“Higher prices suck, they do” -Yoda), but no one is holding the rich corps accountable for raising prices simply because people expect prices to be raised. I mean, the dude with the Let’s Go Brandon flag next door needs a reason to complain while ya boi the CEO has to get 31% raise to $20+ mil. But yes, rising prices are “inflation” and not “capitalism” lolololz.
  • Oh cool. Cool, cool, cool, Florida. Wonder who these sniper rifles killed!

That’s it for me for today. See y’all again on 2.22.22 (if not before, obvs!). Stay aligned, on-a-good-path blah blah blah blah blah. 🙂

Posted in Geocaching, Good times | 1 Comment

The Broadcast Ep. 6.28 “Minnie Wears the Pants”

Hello, Happy Monday! A new episode of The Broadcast came out on Friday morning, episode 6.28. We cover a variety of topics on this week’s episode, poking fun at the outrage over Minnie Mouse wearing a suit, (lightly, non-spoilerly) discussing a few TV shows, and marking our incredulousness that someone would choose to literally die to own the libs. Aaaaand we’ve decided to make AITA (Am I the Asshole?) a semi-regular segment on the show this season. See the video below and forgive it’s terrible formatting. It was originally posted on Instagram Stories. Warning: It’s a bit NSFW.

Official description:

Minnie Mouse is changing into a pants suit and the Green M&M is wearing sneakers. The fabric of society is hanging on by a thread! Covid hit a Broadcast household. AITA is going to become a regular segment! We also talk about random celebrity encounters and the dad who’s chosen to die to own the libs rather than get the covid vaccine and a new heart. TV recommendations: The Gilded Age, Euphoria, Search Party, Peacemaker, and Righteous Gemstones.

As you know by now, you can listen to the latest episode below or via jayandjack.comiTunesSpreakerSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, etc. You may have better luck searching for us as “The Broadcast with Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen” since there are a few other shows called The Broadcast.

Happy listening, and thanks for listening!

Listen to “Ep. 6.28 “Minnie Wears the Pants”” on Spreaker.

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Omicron Got (Some of) Us

A little over a month ago, I was feeling anxious and wrote about how it felt like the walls were closing in on our household. Last week, Covid-19 finally, officially, reached Casa de Glatfelter. [I say officially because we are pretty sure Jay had a pretty decent case of covid back in February 2020 but since it was before we knew there was wide community spread in the US and there was no testing, we’ll never know for sure.]

So yes. Jay and Zach both tested positive for Covid-19 a week, week-and-a-half ago. Based on their mild symptoms, we believe they had the Omicron variant. We aren’t totally sure where they got it but the most likely timeframe was two weeks ago on Saturday the 15th, when we went to see Monster Truck Rally in Greensboro, NC, or right after we left when Jay went to visit a friend who owned a store nearby and that friend tested positive for Covid a few days later. But honestly, we’ll never know for sure.

Regardless, we’re grateful that they both had mild cases. Zachary had a cough and stuffy nose that lasted a few days. Jay had exhaustion, a slightly-sore throat, and was achy. He said the side effects from his booster (his first two shots were Pfizer, his booster was Moderna) were much worse and even the exhaustion wasn’t at the level as it was when he was sick in Feb. 2020. And thank God for that because I remember how sick he was for a good two weeks back then, with exhaustion and shortness-of-breath lasting even longer.

Oddly enough, Alex and I never tested positive. I don’t know how we got lucky. Maybe we’d had it before but were asymptomatic. Maybe the vaccines worked and Jay didn’t shed enough virus to get us sick. (Zach was at Jay’s parents for the week so we weren’t around him until Friday and gave him the Covid-pregnancy test after he got home.) Maybe Alex had it when he was sick during Christmas after all and I built up some additional antibodies from then. Again, we’ll never know. But if Covid does come for me and Alex, I hope we’re as lucky as Jay and Zach were.

Stay safe and healthy out there, everyone!

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Book Review: The Guest List

I don’t think I read any books in 2018. I read one book in 2019 and no books in 2020. I read one book (A Wrinkle in Time lol) in December 2021 and that was because I bought it in Dec 2017, carried it around for 4 years, and couldn’t let yet another year go by without reading anything. 

One of my resolutions for 2022 was to read at least 3 books. I feel like one book every 4 months is a reasonable goal. And so, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book I bought at Costco last fall and read it. That book was Lucy Foley’s, The Guest List. It looked like a beach-read version of an Agatha Christie novel, so I figured, “Why the hell not?”

The basic premise of The Guest List is a bunch of rich people, along with your token not-so-rich people, have gathered on a remote Irish island for a super fancy rich-people wedding between a megasuccessful lifestyle blogger and successful “reality” TV star (think MacGyver meets Steve Irwin). There’s a storm on the island and the electricity cuts out. Suddenly, *someone* is dead and there are a handful of people in attendance who could have done it.

But who is dead? And why were they killed? That, my friends, is the mystery.

The Guest List is told from several POVs, which rotates each chapter. We hear from the bride, the plus-one, the best man, the wedding planner, and the bridesmaid. The story jumps around a bit, which took me a second to adjust to in terms of laying the timeline out, but the plot unfolds nicely, albeit a bit predictably. Each character is a bit of a stereotype but I wasn’t looking for a deep-thinker, especially because I started it the day after I found out that I was losing my job. And, to be honest, piecing everything together did require a bit of brainpower when the pieces first started fitting together, and I appreciate that journey.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Guest List. I do love murder mysteries and mysteries in general as well as those YA sci-fi-y type books, lol. I’m honestly not sure what other types of books I like beyond that, haha. I don’t think I like psychological thrillers like Gone Girl. I’m pretty sure The Dollhouse Murders fucked me up on those types of books as a kid, though I should reread that book as an adult and see where my mind went wrong, haha. I think the murderer and the ending were both satisfying and I was kinda bummed we didn’t get an epilogue to find out the fates of five main characters. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, quick read, definitely check it out. I stand by my first impression that it’s a beach-read version of an Agatha Christie novel. I think I’ll put it into our little neighborhood library for others to enjoy.

Oh & speaking of Agatha Christie books, I read a bunch of them in high school but don’t remember much about them other than the famous ones like Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None. I decided to read Death on the Nile before seeing the upcoming movie version. But that’s not next on the list. Next up is Stacey Abrams’ While Justice Sleeps. Has anyone read it?

Please let me know if you have any recommendations below!! I am trying to stay on my reading kick.



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A Broadcast Catch-up!

It’s been a hot minute since I did a Broadcast post. We’ve had several episodes since our holiday break, including our biannual bloopers & outtakes episode. Check them out if you have a chance. I think the bloopers are especially fun. I got new background music and I love it! Our last episode of 2021 (6.24) was live over Zoom and Kayla created a Christmas movies trivia for us. It was so much fun! I laughed SO hard while listening as I edited it. Our first episode back, 6.26, recapped what we did during our month-long break. I hope you give them a listen. 🙂

Moving onto the most recent episode, the title refers to our obsession with the time of year and the weather. We had a really fun time recording it. Here is the official description:

Fact: Being an adult means always commenting on the day, month, and weather. On this episode, the Broads talk about mid-January, How I Met Your Father, Bob Saget’s death, our newest Internet hero, and the greatest headlines Twitter has ever seen. Oh – and the day Colleen has been waiting for her entire life is almost upon us!

As always, you can listen to the latest episode below or via jayandjack.comiTunesSpreakerSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, etc. You may have better luck searching for us as “The Broadcast with Amanda, Shandy, and Colleen” since there are a few other shows called The Broadcast.

As always, happy listening, and thanks for listening!

Listen to “Ep. 6.27 “Can You Believe It’s…”” on Spreaker.

Subscribe (MP3)

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