This American Life Podcast – Episode 644 Reflection

On the days I do not take the train to work for one reason or the other I listen to podcasts.  Most of the time it’s My Favorite Murder with Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, which as I have mentioned in other posts, fuels my anxiety!  So when I need a little break from that, I either listen to SERIAL (currently on and off with Season 3,), Levar Burton Reads, or This American Life.

I started listening to This American Life a few years ago during the time I started listening to the first season of SERIAL with the story of Adnan Syed (which if you haven’t listened to it, you should!).  Anyway, the different stories on This American Life podcast that I have heard really get you thinking. The many stories and experiences that are shared on this podcast can range from things like a woman going out into the streets to confront men and their cat-calling, people talking about the crazy relationships they’ve been in, and how libraries can actually be a form of “The Room of Requirement” (if you don’t know that reference we can’t be friends! LOL – and also that episode [#664] made me cry at the end).  I haven’t listened to all the episodes, there are way too many! But the one I was listening to this morning was so good!

It’s call Random Acts of History, episode 644, which includes a story of some high school kids from Castlemont High in Oakland, CA and their experience learning about the Holocaust in the early 90’s – The Miseducation of Castlemont High. There was an incident where a group of students from this school got kicked out of a movie theater that ended up being in the media for quite a while, and ended up with Steven Spielberg visiting the high school! Give it a listen.

Overall, the full episode consists of people’s experiences and thoughts when they learn something about history that they never knew, or find shocking in some way or other.  I’m sure everyone has had a moment like this in their lives. I think that is why I’m so obsessed with historical fiction and non-fiction about the WWII era, because when I first learned about the holocaust in high school, and watched documentaries and what not, I was shocked that a person, a leader, could be so damn evil!  And I would question why God let the suffering of so many innocent people happen (I grew up Seventh Day Adventist, google it). As a teenager I really had no choice but to go to church or I would get the guilt trip from my mom later. And I remember bringing up this topic in my youth group class (me, who was always the super quiet girl, and still am) and asked the question of why did God let this happen?  I can’t remember exactly what the youth pastor told me, or what other people in church told me, but it had to do with “God’s plans”, and that these people were being punished because in the Bible, the Jews crucified Jesus and their people would suffer for many generations. This is the answer I had to be content with and accept. As an adult though, I still don’t really accept it.

Listening to this episode, I learned that there is a theory in which Jewish people owned slaves, and were part of slave trade. Which I thought to myself, “WTF, I didn’t know that!”.  Not that that in any way merits the way they were treated during the holocaust, but for sure it’s an interesting theory I was unaware of, and I say “theory” becase apparently this is a very controversial topic in the Jewish community.  Every time I read or watch something pertaining to the holocaust, Jewish history, and the Nazis, whether it is historical fiction or an actual documentary, I never once came upon the theory that at some point in history, Jews were involved in the enslavement of people.  Again, this is no way merits how they were treated, there were millions of innocent men, women, and children that lost their lives because of the asshole who was Hitler (aka Old School Voldemort). I know that human beings are not perfect. I am definitely not perfect in any way.  If you want to get biblical about it, we are all sinners, but we do not deserve to be treated inhumanely because we are different. Unless of course you’re a serial killer like Ted Bundy or Hitler (blog post on Ted coming soon!).

I quickly did a Google search and found an interesting article about the Jewish community and slave trade: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/jews-and-the-african-slave-trade/

Definitely check it out if you have a Holocaust, WWII, Jewish history obsession like me.  The article mentions some other references too, which I’ll definitely be looking up. There is also a list of books on this same website of recommended Holocaust books:  https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/10-holocaust-books-you-should-read/

I love that as an adult I have the liberty to learn about what I want and have an endless library at my fingertips.

Have you ever had a “WTF” moment when learning something you never knew about history? Or something you thought you knew and understood, and come to find out there is a whole different version of things?  Please comment and share!


Salty Bitch Vibes

So, tell me about yourself.

If that’s not the most hated question on planet earth then I don’t know what is! Am I right?! Every time I’ve had to answer that question in the past for an interview I start to get spicy pits, sweaty palms, and I usually don’t have any idea what to say except that I’m a motivated, quick learner, team player, blah blah blah!

  1. I’m really not a salty bitch – I’d say half salty/half sweet 🙂
  2. The name Salty Bitch derived partly from a podcast I listen to all the time: My Favorite Murder.
  3. I’m a mother of one talkative little toddler who drives my husband and I crazy sometimes, but of course we can’t live without her!
  4. I’ve lived in Southern California all my life. Can’t see myself anywhere else – except maybe Oregon or Ireland!
  5. I went to CSU, Long Beach for my B.A. in Communication Studies and for my M.P.A – Masters in Public Policy and Administration.
  6. I love reading (obvi!) Wish I had more time though, and that I could mute my toddler sometimes #SorryNotSorry
  7. My favorite genre is historical fiction (specifically WWII novels) – my husband jokes that I love Nazis -__-
  8. Other favorite genres include true crime, contemporary fiction, some fantasy, mystery, and self-help occasionally.
  9. I used to want to be a Librarian when I was little – and also a Paleontologist, and then an Interior Designer.
  10. I used to have a makeup blog, and also a food blog. I stopped buying makeup by the tons, because I got over it. I still love food, but don’t make time to cook as much – but I plan to change that!
  11. I started drinking coffee when I turned 30!
  12. I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist church (where my SDA people at?!) – but now I’m a heathen and I don’t attend church anymore. I’m sure I’ll be struck by lightning some day.
  13. I’m Mexican, married to a Colombian (also my high school sweetheart, crazy right?!)
  14. I’m a Harry Potter nerd, but I’ve only read the series once!
  15. I’m a Disney nerd too!
  16. I LOVE the Parks and Recreation T.V. series! – Ron Swanson and April Ludgate are me in a nutshell (half salty/half sweet 🙂
  17. I have one sister. And people always tell me I should have another child so my daughter can have a sister or brother (maybe, we’ll see!)
  18. I have 3 tattoos – my mom only knows about one. Did I mention I’m Mexican and my mom is a Seventh Day Adventist (google it)
  19. I’m 35 and I’m still scared of my mom #MexicanProblems
  20. I’m just here to talk about books, coffee, food, places to eat, bookstores and libraries to visit, and other nerdy things.

Tell me about yourself! Comment below 🙂


Bookworm Beginnings

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Does anyone ever ask you how you became a bookworm? Do you remember what sparked the joy of reading for you? Was it a particular book? A relative? A teacher?

I grew up with books all over the house all the time. My dad was an avid reader. He had books from all kinds of genres, sci-fi, horror, comics, true crime, biographies and autobiographies, history and who knows what else.

My dad took my sister and I to libraries all the time! The librarians knew our names, waved and smiled when we walked in, and it was just a normal thing. I really miss those days. I know I’m not alone when I say that “library book smell” is a real thing and its the best.

Aside from frequent library trips, my sister and I got to go to author signings, Ray Bradbury and Clive Barker were the main ones I remember! At the time of course I was more into E.B. White, Shel Silverstein, and R.L. Stine (Fear Street!). However, I recall some of my earlier childhood author favorites included Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, Maurice Sendak, and Dr. Seuss of course.

Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, even when my dad passed away, reading was something I still enjoyed. I recall doing an extra credit assignment in high school in which I had to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and write an essay. And I feel like that was the first book that really had an impact on me (I haven’t read it since and probably need to re-read). I was surprised how much I loved it!

I’m grateful my dad played such a huge influence on my love of reading and really embedded the importance of it to my sister and I. And I’m even grateful for the chance I had to do that one specific extra credit assignment. I’m sure if I read The Alchemist now it might mean something different to me, but that’s what’s so great about books. At different chapters of your life, you can relate to a book in so many ways. Sometimes they inspire you, make you cry, laugh, or just feel good.

“We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.”