Today’s debate is a meteorological mashup that is sure to make you shake and shiver. One side comes in a flash, the other comes in a flurry. Be sure to grab your coats and your thickest mittens, because it’s Lightning vs. Snowflakes! Listen as writer and composer Benjamin Weiner brings the thunder for team lightning while actor and clown Tallie Medel brings the heat for team snowflakes! Which meteorological moment will come out on top — Lightning or Snowflakes? 

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Audio Transcript

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MARLEY FEUERWERKER-OTTO: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best--

MOLLY BLOOM: --the show for people with big opinions.


Hi, I'm Molly Bloom, and this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and ask you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is a meteorological mash-up that is sure to make you shake and shiver. One side comes in a flash, the other comes in a flurry. Be sure to grab your coats and your thickest mittens because it's "Lightning versus Snowflakes."

We've got writer and composer Benjamin Weiner here to defend Team Lightning.

BENJAMIN WEINER: I'm all charged up, and I think you know why.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] And we've got educator, actor, and clown, Tallie Medel fighting for Team Snowflakes.

TALLIE MEDEL: Snowflakes, there's nothing like them.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] And here to judge it all is Cassandra from New York City. Cassandra has a collection of, let's say, eccentric stuffed animals. They work in a children's theater. And on top of all that, Cassandra is a triple threat, playwright, songwriter, and dancer. Hi, Cassandra.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Cassandra, can you please describe your stuffed animal collection for us?

CASSANDRA: So I mean, I like stuffed animals that look really-- I mean, other people would call it ugly, but I find them really unique and adorable. I found on Amazon this, like, Garfield stuffed animal, except it doesn't really look like Garfield. It just looks like he'd been run over with multiple cars and then left out in the rain. So yeah, I mean, I had to buy him, of course.



MOLLY BLOOM: So it's sort of a home for stuffed animals that might not get enough love. But you're ready to share your love with them.


MOLLY BLOOM: That's so nice. So you're also a playwright, a songwriter, and dancer. How do you find time to do all of that?

CASSANDRA: Well, I attend a program called the 52nd Street Project, which is a children's theater. And they offer us classes on dance-making, song-making, playwriting. So it's not always at the same time. You have shows, like, to show off what we produce. And it's fun because it's with kids in my neighborhood.

MOLLY BLOOM: That sounds really fun. So can you share one of the things you've created, either a play or a song you wrote or a dance you created?

CASSANDRA: Yeah. So to get started in the program, you have to write a play. I wrote the play when I was, like, 10, but I still like it. It's this kid, he makes friends with his stuffed animal. And they find a portal in the kid's backyard, and they just go through a wild adventure. I don't know. I liked fantasy when I was a kid, so it was really fun for me.

MOLLY BLOOM: That sounds so fun. So the stuffed animals are not merely a collection. They are also a muse--


MOLLY BLOOM: --for you. It's very cool. Will Cassandra side with Benjamin or Tallie? Only time will tell. Cassandra, are you ready to judge today's debate?

CASSANDRA: Yeah, I can't wait.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Before we dive in, let's review the rules of the game. Every debate consists of four rounds of argumentation, the Declaration of Greatness, the Microround, the Sneak Attack, and the Final Six. After each round, our judge Cassandra will award points to the team that impresses her the most. But she'll keep her decisions top secret until the end of the debate.

Listeners, we want you to judge, too. Mark down your points as you listen. At the end of the show, head to our website,, and vote for whichever team you think won.

OK, Benjamin, Tallie, and Cassandra, are you ready?




BENJAMIN WEINER: --for the sparks to fly.

TALLIE MEDEL: And I'm ready for the sparkle of snow.

MOLLY BLOOM: Then it's time for the--

MARLEY FEUERWERKER-OTTO: Declaration of Greatness.


MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, our debaters will present a well-crafted, immersive argument in favor of their side. Then they'll each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. We flipped a coin and, Benjamin, you're up first. Tell us why lightning makes the best cloud capper.



BENJAMIN WEINER: [SINGING] First clap is the grossest.


[SINGING] Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


We're heading into our third hour of softly snowy holiday music, and [YAWNS] honestly, getting just a little bit tired.


Oh, what's that? Looks like the lightning is headed straight for the radio antenna and other--

(SINGING) Dashing through the lightning with the horses made of lightning, Frosty the Lightning Man was a jolly, happy soul.


(SINGING) Deck the halls with lots of lightning, zap, zap, zap, zap, zap, zap, zap, zap, zap.


Well, listeners, I'm not sure what's happening, but I love it.


Well, I loved it, too, because there was 100% more lightning. So let's light things up a little more. For millions of years, lightning has been forking down from clouds to astonish and inspire and generally wow everyone ever.


Yes, you, random person, because lightning happens most places on Earth and can be seen from miles away, unlike some other weather events, (WHISPERS) snowflakes.


TALLIE MEDEL: Oh, you wanted to see me, a snowflake? [LAUGHS] Well, you have to live in certain cool regions, wait for a specific time of year, and then, ideally, find a magnifying glass because I'm very tiny.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Yeah, snowflakes are a little niche, but lightning is for everyone, everywhere.

SPACE ALIENS: Even in space?

BENJAMIN WEINER: Yes, friendly space alien. Lightning has been observed on Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn.

SPACE ALIENS: Rejoicing.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Now listen, my opponent might say some harsh things about lightning, that it's dangerous, that it starts forest fires, maybe that the thunder bothers their floofy poodle Mr. Snuggleton. But listen up, listeners, and Mr. Snuggleton--


--first of all, most lightning doesn't even reach the ground. It zaps around in clouds, minding its own business and looking beautiful.


I know. And yes, lightning can start forest fires because it's about five times hotter than the surface of the sun. But many scientists say that smaller fires actually help keep a forest healthy by clearing the forest floor and allowing for new growth. And if we're talking about danger, I could point out how many thousands of car crashes snowflakes cause every year by icing up the roads. But I think I'll keep things light-ning--


--because, after all, lightning does way more creating than destroying. One bolt contains enough energy to power millions of light bulbs. And it's brought about just as many light bulb moments.

CROWD: Ahhh.

BENJAMIN WEINER: It's inspired amazing stories, from Frankenstein to Harry Potter. That's not a snowflake on Harry's forehead. It's led to scientific discoveries, like-- I don't know-- electricity? It's featured in most religions, from Greek mythology to Christianity to Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, "vajra" means lightning, and it's the force that helps you overcome your fears, maybe even your fear of lightning.


That's right, Mr. Snuggleton. Now let's see what else lightning can do in a little Lightning Round.



Zap, it's a farmer. Lightning zaps nitrogen gas out of the air and into the soil, which helps us grow food to make sandwiches-- yum. Zap, volcano lightning-- lightning is common above erupting volcanoes, making the most epic duo of all time. Zap, it made your grandpa, sort of. Some scientists think that millions of years ago, when Earth was a lifeless rock, lightning strike started a reaction that created the very first life forms, AKA, our great, great, great, great, great times a million grandparents.

So to summarize, snowflakes look cute on a holiday card. But lightning is to thank for everything you ever ate, dreamed, breathed, or did. Plus, it's way more exciting. Thank you, lightning.


MOLLY BLOOM: Zap, indeed, a grand and electrifying argument there for lightning. Cassandra, what stood out to you about Benjamin's Declaration of Greatness?

CASSANDRA: Well, I liked the multiple points he listed out about how lightning is not just something pretty to look at, but it's something that has created multiple things in our ecosystems and in our religion and in our sciences and, generally, just our energy in total. I personally think that the speech really brought out good points as to how lightning is very important for our ecosystems, for our energy, and, generally, just every aspect in society. I think that's interesting to me.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Tallie, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to tell us why lightning puts the volt in revolting. And your time starts now.

TALLIE MEDEL: Benjamin, I've got some issues. You say sleepy in the winter time is bad because of the beautiful music? Benjamin, winter is hibernation time. OK? And also, when you said snowflakes are tiny, I'm 5 feet tall, so that's very rude. Forest fires and scaring Snuffington? Those are bad. OK? Small fires are good. That's true. But, Benjamin, how often are we hearing about small fires? And nice planets you listed-- we don't live there.


BENJAMIN WEINER: Speak for yourself.


BENJAMIN WEINER: You don't know where I live.


MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, all right. Tallie, it's your turn. Please tell us why snowflakes make winter a wonderland.

TALLIE MEDEL: Imagine this.


You wake up for the day. Your eyes flutter open, and your dreams melt away like vanilla ice cream. What day is it? TGI fried pickles, it's Tuesday-- got to go to school. But something is different. The light in your bedroom is creamy and soft, like, again, vanilla ice cream. And it's so quiet.


MOTHER: Hey, good morning, honey. It's a snow day, which means you can sleep in if you want.

CHILD: [GASPS] Snow day.

TALLIE MEDEL: You pull on a hat, gloves, snow pants, boots, socks, shirt, and underwear, in that order, and dash outside. [GASPS] You're in a winter wonderland, and beautiful little snowflakes are falling from the sky.

SNOWFLAKES: [SINGING] La la la la laa.

CHILD: Are the snowflakes singing? Weird.

TALLIE MEDEL: They land on your eyelashes, your nose, and your tongue-- uhh. You look at them up close, and they're gorgeous. The secret to their attractive ways? How they're made. Come on, kiddo. I'll show you.


CHILD: Holy snow-moley, where are we?

TALLIE MEDEL: In the clouds. And hoo-boy, is it cold. OK, so a snowflake is born when a tiny water droplet freezes around a little pollen or dust particle in the sky and becomes a crystal. As the little crystal falls toward the Earth, it picks up other itty-bitty water droplets, which freeze into more crystals. These crystals form six beautiful arms that stick out from the center of the snowflake. And these arms are symmetrical, which means they all look exactly alike.

CHILD: But why is the snowflake kind of, well, broken-looking? It's not symmetrical at all.

TALLIE MEDEL: Because as snowflakes fall from the sky, they often get blown about by wind.


And sometimes, they melt a little bit and then refreeze. Their journey to Earth can be a roller coaster and, boy, does it shape them. But a blustery fall is like living through the ups and downs of life. Our struggles make us more complex and beautiful. [SIGHS] And that's why no two snowflakes are alike.

CHILD: Cool. But can we go back down now?



[GRUNTS] As I was saying, snowflakes are true originals. Every single one is different, just like you and me. There's a great Zen saying that goes, "A snowflake never falls in the wrong place."

CHILD: So like, everything was meant to be?

TALLIE MEDEL: Mm-hmm. Do you know any good lightning sayings?

CHILD: Lightning never strikes the same thing twice.

TALLIE MEDEL: Right, well, that's not true. Lightning often strikes the same place twice. For example, the Eiffel Tower is struck by lightning about 10 times a year. Someone should make up a new and true lightning saying, like, "Lightning strikes and you're out," or "thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening."

CHILD: I think that's actually a line from the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the band Queen.

[QUEEN, "Bohemian Rhapsody"]

FREDDIE MERCURY: (SINGING) Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening, me.

TALLIE MEDEL: Oh, they agree. Lightning is frightening. Meanwhile, I've been struck by thousands of snowflakes, and it's always a blast because snowflakes are fun. Just think of all the magical activities they make possible.

CHILD: Snow sculptures.

TALLIE MEDEL: Snowball fights.

CHILD: Sledding.

TALLIE MEDEL: Snow days.

CHILD: Snowboarding.

TALLIE MEDEL: Snow angels.

CHILD: Skiing.

TALLIE MEDEL: Et-cetera. Lightning, on the other hand, buzzkill. If you're swimming, you got to get out of the pool. You can't fly a kite. If you're playing tag, your mom'll make you come inside. Catch snow on your tongue, and you'll be feeling fine. Catch lightning on your tongue, and you'll be on your way to the hospital. So which will it be, kiddo? Are you Team Snowflakes or Team Lightning?

CHILD: Snowflakes, duh. Snowbody's going to be Team Lightning after hearing all that.

TALLIE MEDEL: How snowtally right you are. Yes-way to snow days.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wow, an uplifting journey down through the clouds-- an excellent, excellent argument for snowflakes. Cassandra, what stood out to you about Tallie's Declaration of Greatness?

CASSANDRA: Well, I think it was a really good speech. I liked all the comparisons that Tallie made, like, how they compared how lightning has never any good sayings, how they're frightening, how they're scary. But snowflakes, they can completely change a terrible day. They create snow days, and they provide joy to the youth. I thought that was really nice.


MOLLY BLOOM: Very nicely done, indeed. [SIGHS] But, Benjamin, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to tell us why snowflakes are mistakes. And your time starts now.


BENJAMIN WEINER: OK, Tallie, thanks for corrupting our nation's youth because--


--listen, snow days are increasing the education gap. You've taught them staying home from school is a good thing. I don't think so. They should be in school learning about cool things, like lightning. You've also told them that there's pollen and dust in snow. So now they can't even enjoy snow any more because they're allergic to it, most of them.

And we're talking about crystals. Sure, it's got crystals. You know what else makes crystals? Lightning-- and you can keep them because they're solid, and they don't melt away like the disappointing, sad, little snowflakes that you love so much.





MOLLY BLOOM: Fiery, electric-- Cassandra, it is time to award some points. Please give one point to the Declaration of Greatness you liked best and one point to the rebuttal that won you over. You get to decide what makes a winning argument. Did one team's jokes make you giggle? Was another team's logic to die for? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Both points could go to the same person, or each person could get a point, entirely subjective and entirely up to you.

Have you made your decision?

CASSANDRA: Yep, I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Tallie and Benjamin, how are you two feeling so far?

BENJAMIN WEINER: Feeling good.

TALLIE MEDEL: On top of the world.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Learning a lot.

MOLLY BLOOM: Me, too. [LAUGHS] All right, we're going to take a quick break. So be sure to stay warm and dry inside.

CASSANDRA: And we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.



MARLEY FEUERWERKER-OTTO: You're listening to "State of Debate," home to rage and rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation.



TODD DOUGLAS: Welcome, welcome, welcome to the monthly meeting of the "State of Debate" Ascot Appreciation Association, you know, those fancy neckerchief scarves stylish people wear? We love them, and that's what this group is all about. I'm Todd Douglas, and I hereby call this meeting to order.


TAYLOR LINCOLN: Thank you. Taylor Lincoln here, number one ascot fan. First order of business, we proudly announce the Ascot Appreciation Association's Star of the Month--


--Fred from Scooby Doo.


Your orange ascot is iconic, and we salute you.

SCOOBY DOO: [LAUGHS] Ruh-right, Fred.

FRED: Like, wow, thanks, everybody.

TODD DOUGLAS: Next up, we're adding a few new rules to the Ascot Appreciation Association's "Ascot Adornment Guide." That's our rule book for how to style your ascot. First, it must be worn around your neck. Second, it must be tied in a way so as to look cool and fancy. Third, it must always be made of silk.


TODD DOUGLAS: Silk, you know, that sleek fabric that's smooth to the touch.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: No. I mean, why do all ascots have to be made of silk?

TODD DOUGLAS: Because silk is the fanciest of fabrics.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Well, Teddy makes his own ascots out of cotton, and they look totally tops on him.

TODD DOUGLAS: Well, a true ascot appreciator would never do such a thing. It has to be silk, or it's nothing.

SCOOBY DOO: Ruh-roh.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Ruh-roh, indeed. Todd, you just made a fashion faux pas in the form of a fallacy.

TODD DOUGLAS: Oh no, I did? Logical fallacies weaken your argument because they clash with truth and clear thinking.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Yup. You made the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. That's when someone has a very strict description of what something is, and they argue that if something doesn't meet that strict definition, it isn't a true example of the thing. Like, if I say no true Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge, and you say, yes, but Patrick does, and he's a Scotsman. Then I would say, well, then, he isn't a true Scotsman.

TODD DOUGLAS: Oh no, you're right. I totally did that, except, in this case, I made a "no true ascotsman" fallacy. You know what? Strike rule 3 from the books. Ascots can be made of any fabric and still be fashionable.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Hear, hear. And that's all the time we have for this meeting of the Ascot Appreciation Association.

TODD DOUGLAS: We'll see you next time on "State of Debate."




SINGER: (SINGING) Boom boom.



SINGER: (SINGING) Boom boom.




SINGER: --Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Smash Boom Best. I'm your host, Molly Bloom.

CASSANDRA: And I'm your judge, Cassandra.

MOLLY BLOOM: And we love getting debate suggestions from our listeners. Take a listen to this biting debate idea from Beau.

BEAU: Hello. My name is Beau. And my debate is hippos versus crocodiles.

CASSANDRA: That debate has some legs and teeth.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll check back in at the end of this episode to see which side Beau thinks should win.

CASSANDRA: And now it's back to today's debate, Lightning versus Snowflakes.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right. And it's time for round 2, the--




For the Microround challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. For Benjamin and Tallie, the prompt was "Superhero saves the day." Benjamin and Tallie must imagine their side as a superhero and describe a moment where they saved the day. Benjamin went first last time, so Tallie, you're up. What do snowflakes look like saving the day?


TALLIE MEDEL: It's winter, and there's no snow.

CHILD: It's just cold, cold rain--


--and lightning-- yuck.

TALLIE MEDEL: When all joy is lost, someone is here to save the day.


CHILLY BILLY: Huh-hey, did somebody say snow day?

CHILDREN: Chilly Billy!


TALLIE MEDEL: It's a bug. It's a grain. No, it's a frozen droplet of water that coalesced around some pollen and turned into a magical sentient, talking ice crystal. It's Chilly Billy.

CHILD: Cool.

CHILD: He's my favorite.

CHILD: Look, it's snowing.

TALLIE MEDEL: Yes, he's the teeny, tiny snowflake surfer, licking a magical icicle wand, turning rain to snow.




Beautiful. [BELL RINGS]

Very cool.



TALLIE MEDEL: When lightning comes around--


--the children scream--


TALLIE MEDEL: --dogs hide under the bed.


When Chilly Billy comes around, the children cheer.


TALLIE MEDEL: Dogs play in the snow.

CHILD: Aww, thank you, Chilly Billy.

CHILLY BILLY: Oh yeah, it's no biggie, my pleasure.

TALLIE MEDEL: Holler for the chillest pixie, Chilly Billy.

CHILDREN: Snow day-- more like snow yay.

MOLLY BLOOM: Chilly Billy bringing a little fun in all of our lives. All right, Benjamin, it's your turn. Tell us why lightning makes the better hero.


BENJAMIN WEINER: For generations, lightning astonished the world.



LIGHTNING: You're welcome.

BENJAMIN WEINER: But one day, everything changed.

LIGHTNING: It's been an amazing 4 billion years lighting up the skies, but now it's time for me to retire.


LIGHTNING: Ah, I am loving this rocking chair.

BENJAMIN WEINER: But sometimes, lightning has to strike twice.

FARMER: Well, shucks, my apple trees just won't grow. If only there was more nitrogen in this soil.

WOMAN 1: La di da la di da la-- ugh, I can't finish this song. If only I had something to inspire me.

WOMAN 2: The forest floor is cluttered with dead leaves and stuff. New trees can't grow. If only there was a way to, like, burn up all this forest trash.


CHILD: Excuse me, Mr. Lightning. You can solve all our town's problems.

LIGHTNING: Me? No, little kid. But you can.

CHILD: What?

LIGHTNING: I was Lightning for a long, long time. But now, it's your turn to wear the suit.


You've got to connect these positively charged particles to those negatively charged particles, and--


CHILD: I'm never going to get it.

LIGHTNING: Nonsense. You just need a spark and some spunk.



CHILD: I got it.

FARMER: My apples, they're growing.

WOMAN 1: My song, I'm writing it. (SINGING) La di da lightning.

WOMAN 2: The forest, it's on fire, but, like, in a good and healthy way that actually benefits nature. Yay.

LIGHTNING: Nice job, Little Lightning.

CHILD: Thanks.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Because sometimes, all you need--

CHILD: Za-za-za-zap.


BENJAMIN WEINER: --is a little lightning.


MOLLY BLOOM: Every superhero needs a training montage, and Little Lightning got theirs. All right, Cassandra, what did you like about Benjamin and Tallie's Microrounds?

CASSANDRA: Starting with Tallie's, I really liked how their superhero saved the day with snow, brought joy to the children and brought joy to the youth. It's a very different contrast from how they painted lightning, just, like, scaring everyone. And Ben's, I loved how his superhero brought, again, many advantages to our soils, our ecosystems.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm-hmm, lightning and snowflakes are both super, indeed. But, Cassandra, only one of these teams can get a point. So it's up to you to decide who's going to get a point for this round.

TALLIE MEDEL: Go ahead and write down snowflakes there, Cassandra.


BENJAMIN WEINER: I don't know. I don't know. I'm having nightmares about Chilly Billy tonight. Let me tell you--


BENJAMIN WEINER: --you got me scared of that little guy.


MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, Cassandra, the criteria are up to you. Was one of these a superhero you'd like to hang out with, someone who you can see saving the day, someone who you could read a comic book, see a whole movie franchise, a happening about whatever it is? It's up to you. Have you made your decision?

CASSANDRA: Yes, I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Fantastic. Then it's time for our third round, the super stealthy--

MEN: Ha ha hoo ha!

MOLLY BLOOM: --Sneak Attack. This is our improvised round where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. Today's Sneak Attack is called "Twinkle, Twinkle, I'm a Star." For this round, each debater should improvise some lyrics about their side to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

All right, we're going to start with Benjamin. Benjamin, please sing us a song for lightning and make it flashy.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Ooh, flash. (SINGING) Lightning, lightning in the sky, you're much cooler, I'll tell you why. You inspire when our minds are foggy. You make us excited, not cold and soggy-- snowflakes. Lightning, lightning in the sky, you're much cooler. Now we all know why.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, beautiful.


MOLLY BLOOM: Well done. All right, Tallie, it is your turn. Please give us your best snowflake serenade.

TALLIE MEDEL: OK, and I just want you to know that my voice is pitch perfect, and enjoy.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent.

TALLIE MEDEL: (SINGING) Sprinkle, sprinkle, little flake. I love all the things you make. Lightning makes the people scream. Those loud sounds are scary mean. Snowflakes are so beautiful. Lightning stinks like yucky mold.





BENJAMIN WEINER: At least it doesn't have pollen inside of it. Talking about mold-- there's another allergen for you.


MOLLY BLOOM: Nicely done, both of you. All right, Cassandra, please think about which side impressed you the most with their beautiful song and award your fourth point. But, please, don't tell us who it's going to-- again, totally subjective, totally up to you. Have you made your decision?

CASSANDRA: Yes, I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Perfect. Then it's time for our final round--


--The Final Six. In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. Tallie, let's hear your six words for why snowflakes should succeed.

TALLIE MEDEL: OK, I just realized I only wrote four. [LAUGHS]


MOLLY BLOOM: It's called efficiency. [LAUGHS]

TALLIE MEDEL: OK, I got it. Here we go.

BENJAMIN WEINER: It's kind of a flex.


BENJAMIN WEINER: "I only need four."

TALLIE MEDEL: --I added two. OK, we got it.


TALLIE MEDEL: Here comes the snow. Let's go! Pretty good, huh? Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Pretty great. I felt the enthusiasm. I felt that snow-day pleasure coursing through my veins.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Benjamin, it's your turn. Give us six words on why lightning is legendary.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Lightning sparks life. Snowflakes contain allergens.



MOLLY BLOOM: Wow, lovely-- so well done. Cassandra, this is going to be a tough decision.


MOLLY BLOOM: It is time to award a final point. Have you awarded your final point?

CASSANDRA: Yeah, I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Are you ready to crown one team the Smash Boom Best?

TALLIE MEDEL: Go ahead. "Tallie" up those points.




BENJAMIN WEINER: I think you could Benjamin them up.


BENJAMIN WEINER: Sounds good if you say it confidently enough.

MOLLY BLOOM: It does, yeah.


MOLLY BLOOM: "Tallie" and Benjamin those points. Are you ready to crown one team the Smash Boom Best, Cassandra?


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, drum roll, please.


And the winner is--

CASSANDRA: --Lightning.




CASSANDRA: It was a very, very close round, a one-point difference. It's very hard for me to choose, but I think lightning brought me more evidence and more points than snowflakes. I appreciated the creativity on both sides.

MOLLY BLOOM: It was a very close debate, only decided by a single point. Thank you for judging, Cassandra.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Tallie, I did love a lot that you did. I loved the song that you sang. You brought a lot of the holiday magic to me, one of my favorite times of year. And I really felt like I was up there in the cloud, learning.

TALLIE MEDEL: Benjamin, I think you did an excellent job. I could tell from the jump that you were going to win--



TALLIE MEDEL: --because it was so well researched. And I think it's so cool all the things lightning can do. I didn't know.

BENJAMIN WEINER: See, we're all learning, and that's the real winner, is our brains.

TALLIE MEDEL: That's right.

BENJAMIN WEINER: Put that into your website, Smash Boom Best.


MOLLY BLOOM: The real winner is all of our brains.


And that's it for today's debate battle. Cassandra crowned lightning the Smash Boom Best. But what about you?

CASSANDRA: Head to and vote to tell us who you think won.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On and APM Studios.

BENJAMIN WEINER: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie Dupont, Ruby Guthrie, Anna Weggel, and Aron Woldeslassie.

MOLLY BLOOM: We had engineering help from Jess Berg, with sound design by Aron Woldeslassie.

TALLIE MEDEL: Our editors are Shahla Farzan and Sanden Totten.

BENJAMIN WEINER: And we had production help from Anna Goldfield, Marc Sanchez, Nico Gonzalez-Wisler, and Lou Barron.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our executive producer is Beth Pearlman. And the APM Studios executives in charge are Chandra Kavati, Alex Schaffert, and Joanne Griffith. Our announcer is Marley Feuerwerker-Otto. And we want to give a special thanks to Austin Cross, Taylor Coffman, Lulu Brandt-Miller, and the 52nd Street Project in New York City.

Benjamin, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout-out to today?

BENJAMIN WEINER: Sure. I would like to give a shout-out to my wife Katie, who works in climate change, protecting all of our natural beauties and wonders for the future.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Thank you, Katie. And how about you, Tallie-- any special shout-outs?

TALLIE MEDEL: I would love to give a shout-out to Imigo, Lira, Olivia, Stan, Edalyn, all my young people, and my hometown community radio station, KRBD Ketchikan.

MOLLY BLOOM: Awesome. And how about you, Cassandra, any special thanks or shout-outs?

CASSANDRA: I would like to thank, I guess, the 52nd Street Project for giving me this opportunity and, of course, Smash Boom Best for letting me judge and learn so many interesting things today.

MOLLY BLOOM: Before we go, let's check in and see who Beau thinks should win the Hippos versus Crocodiles debate.

BEAU: I think hippos would win because they can chomp a croc in half. When's the last time you fought with a croc, chomp a hippo in half?

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent work, Beau. If you're between the ages of 13 and 18 and you'd like to be a judge, or if you're any age and you have an idea for a knock-down drag-out debate, head to and drop us a line. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.


BENJAMIN WEINER: Catch you later.


MOLLY BLOOM: See you later.

SINGERS: (SINGING) Ooh, you're the Smash Boom Best. Who put you through the test? Ooh, you're the Smash Boom Best. Ooh, better than the rest. It's the Smash Boom Best. It's the Smash Boom Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: Anything you'd like to say in response to Benjamin?

TALLIE MEDEL: I mean, honestly, I thought that was really good. [LAUGHS]


BENJAMIN WEINER: You thought I was good.




TALLIE MEDEL: Yeah, me, too.


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