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Natalia Zagnut [a notorious up-talker] sits between Prof. Peter Pizzle and Dr. Yoni Babcock. They all hold papers.

VO: …call our toll free number or pledge on-line—your generosity keeps Iowa Public Radio on the airwaves. Let’s get back to our programming—

NATALIA ZAGNUT: I’m Natalia Zagnut, and this…is History Corner.

Public Radio music

NATALIA ZAGNUT: Today we’re live at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art talking to U of I Professor of Women’s Studies and Feminist History, Dr. Yoni Babcock [flashes peace sign to Natalia] and Professor Peter Pizzle, visiting professor of Detrital Miscellanea from Bainbridge Junior Community Center in Bald Knob, Arkansas. I’m sorry, Prof. Pizzle, it doesn’t tell me what area college you’re a visiting professor for…

PETER PIZZLE: No, no. I’m just visiting. I’m working on a text about the early history of the Cedar Rapids area for a large multinational corporation manufacturing various applications, including papermaking, textiles, and food products. Created by nature, advanced through science.

NATALIA: I see. Well I’m glad you were able to drop by and discuss your research. But I’d like to turn now to your co-panelist who will be enlightening us about Iowa City history. Dr. Babcock?

YONI BABCOCK: [Feminist hippie chick] Quit with the doctor stuff, Natalia. We’re all equals, right? [Pokes Pizzle who regards her disdainfully.] Please call me Yoni.

NATALIA: Of course. Now, Yoni, I understand you’re working on a new text about the history of Iowa City, this state’s first capital.

YONI: Actually Natalia, Iowa’s first state capital was Burlington, but a bunch of power-obsessed white Western European male territorial commissioners wanted a more central capital, so they just kinda, y’know, tramped over the Indigenous American camp-fires and said, “Let’s build right here.” Pretty phallo-centric if y’ask me. [Pizzle harrumphs]


PIZZLE: Professor Pizzle.

NATALIA: Certainly, Professor. Clearly you have an opinion on this matter?

PIZZLE: [Aroused and annoyed] Well Natalia, as much as I am titillated by Ms. Babcock’s use of the word ‘phallo-centric,’ it is all I can do to stifle a yawn about Iowa City’s pedestrian history.

YONI: Oh, really? You think Cedar Rapids is more interesting than Iowa City? [chuckles] That’ll be the day…

NATALIA: Tell us about some of the early history of Cedar Rapids, Professor.

PIZZLE: With pleasure, Natalia. Yes. It really all revolves around this first settler named Hopgood Shepherd who…

YONI: [Smugly] Osgood.

Pizzle: I’m sorry?

YONI: I live in the area and I’ve been studying it for quite some time. I think you’ll find his name was Osgood Shepherd.

PIZZLE: Oh, yes, the pedestrian freebooting brother. No, no, Ms. Babcock…

YONI: Yoni.

PIZZLE: No, no, Yoni, I am, of course, speaking of the much-maligned brother Hopgood Shepherd. You see, while his brother and thunder-stealer, Osgood, was trapping and killing animals, Hopgood had begun one of the first sustainable ranching business of the Middle West. Coming from Granola City, I would have assumed you knew better about that sort of thing.

YONI: Sustainable ranching?

PIZZLE: Oui. Just south of Mays Island, named from the prodigious corn plant that covered it —maize — Hopgood set up his beaver sanctuary with an eye to produce a very popular French-styled beaver cheese, which he planned on selling to an old friend of his in that Franco-Rodentia bastion of Dubuque.

NATALIA: You don’t say.

PIZZLE: I believe I just did. However, his dream fell into disarray after he began to consort with a local Sac woman named Dooda Lukalikaladey, which I believe translates to Morning Surprise Girl. She had taught him a sacred dance, which her tribe used to get the buffalo to produce more milk. You see… [Peter gets up to show the dance.]

[Natalia quickly turns to YONI.]


YONI: [With a certain intellectual relief that the previous moment of insanity was over.] Thank you.

NATALIA: Please…tell us something about Iowa City. Something interesting.

YONI: O.K., O.K., I know there’s some interesting crap about Iowa City too. (Both Natalia and Peter regard her patiently as she fumbles through her papers). Here. In 1840, the citizens of Iowa City were totally blown away when the steamboat ‘Ripple’ puffed it’s way up the Iowa River… which… [searching] was… the first boat piloted by an all-female crew!… That’s cool, right? [Pizzle yawns dramatically.]

PIZZLE: [Sarcastic] Fascinating, Yoni. But, while the sycophants of Iowa City were fawning over banal women driving Twain-ian steamboats, Cedar Rapidians led by three real men, David Collins, Regis Kepler and Inigo Palisades, constructed a Viking warship out of cardboard. They called it The Inna Regata Davida. And while they planned on sailing it all the way to the mighty Mississip, the boat disintegrated just south of Bertram. The bodies of Palisades and Kepler were never found — alas they could not swim. But a park was erected at the site their mighty deaths.

YONI: You are totally stoned… That’s not true… Is it? [Natalia and Yoni look at Pizzle.]

PIZZLE: You doubt the veracity of my research?

YONI: Yeah, dude.

NATALIA: [A little flustered] Maybe we can move away from some of this early history and talk about the ethnic settlers.

PIZZLE: [Cuts off Yoni] With pleasure, Natalia. When it comes to early settlers of Cedar Rapids, one must begin with the Czechoslovakians, known as Bohemians, or Bohimies, or simply, Stan, who arrived en masse having all vowels cruelly stripped from their names and left naked on the western shore of the Cedar River.

YONI: [Cuts off Peter] It’s well-known, Natalia, that Iowa City has had its fair share of ‘Stans’ too. In the 1850s, Bohemians settled a section in the northeast corner of Iowa City and called it ‘Pizzlesanidiottown’—

PIZZLE: Pizzlesanidiottown?!

YONI: Makes as much sense as The Inna Regata Davida!

NATALIA: Professor! Doctor! Please! This is Iowa Public Radio! [Pizzle and Yoni glare at each other] Let’s move on… Yoni, tell us about the economic growth of Iowa City.

PIZZLE: I will show you my economic growth.

NATALIA: Right, right, right!  Let’s leave behind economic expansion, and talk about the cultural development of the respective cities?

YONI: I got ya there, Pizzle. Ever heard of a little institution called the University of Iowa?

PIZZLE: I thought we were asked to discuss culture, not breeding grounds for bacchanalian debaucheries.

YONI: Oh come off it [sarcastic] Professor, the University is a model for culture and diversity. [Turns to Natalia] Did you know, Natalia, that the University of Iowa was the first state university to admit women on an equal basis as men? And if you want to talk artistic centers, let’s not forget about Grant Wood, U of I Professor of Art in the early ‘30s.

PIZZLE: Grant Wood? The old man and the pitchfork? A painting that attained notoriety mainly for being the first major work of art to be converted into a paint-by-numbers kit.

YONI: [Yoni’s exasperation rises] What have you been droppin’? ‘American Gothic’ is known for the uncompromising realism of—


PIZZLE: Ah, Yoni, you have a certain feline sensuality about you when you are incensed.

YONI: What?!

NATALIA: Let’s keep moving! How about early private enterprise in the cities? [Natalia looks to Yoni who glares at Pizzle.]

PIZZLE: Please… ladies first.

YONI: No! I dig your gig, Pizzle. I’ll rap about Iowa City and you’ll respond with some… bombastic blathering bile!

PIZZLE: Oh ! You’re an alliterative artist as well! You magnificent minx!

YONI: [Throws up her hands in exasperation] I give up. G’head. I’m finished.

PIZZLE: If you insist. [Turns to Natalia] I’m sure you’re aware, Natalia, that Cedar Rapids’ native Arthur Collins started Collins Radio Company in 1933. The small electronics firm, whose capital initially consisted of two tin cans, established a reputation as a leader in the industrial radio business with the invention of string. Collins Radio became, in 1973, a part of Rockwell Collins, which, interestingly enough, was the same name as a little-known glam rock band who opened for David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust tour.

YONI: [Suddenly interested] Rockwell Collins? The band?… That was the first concert I saw!… They were totally groovy!

PIZZLE: Well, if you must know. Of course my hair was longer then and filled with product. But I slung a pretty mean bottom-end axe, I can tell you.

YONI: You were the bass player.

PIZZLE: The electric bass guitar. Yes.

YONI: Oh…my…god…

PIZZLE: I have been called such, but back then they called me…

YONI: The Pizz?!

PIZZLE: [Shock of recognition] Oh my god. Babs? Babs Babcock?! [Pause a beat, then they jump on each other and make out furiously.]

NATALIA: Oh, goodness. I’m afraid that’s all the time we have today. Be sure to tune in to History Corner next week when our guests will be— [she’s jostled by the snogging couple] Cut it, cut it, cut the mic!

VO: This is Iowa Public Radio!

Sign off music.

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