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Dear Hank and John now with 100% MORE JOHN! Here we discuss what to do when a young relationship is endangered by different goals, whether memory implants would be awesome or awful, and how to pick books and TV shows in a world of infinite content.

 Intro (0:00

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

John: Or as I like to think of it, Dear John and Hank. I'm back!

Hank: It's the podcast where Hank and occasionally his brother John answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all of the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, how you doing?

John: I'm doing well, I'm a little tired. I'm still recovering from the last couple of months, but on the whole I am well. How are you, Hank?

Hank: I'm good. I'm also tired. you can tell by my voice that I...

John: Yeah, it's a tiring time of year for us, Summer. It used to be the time of year when we relaxed and played together, making games of our own creation, me always winning them by changing the rules midway through even though you, despite being younger, were stronger and smarter and more talented. I always held the rules of the game which made me a winner. But these days it isn't a place where we just relax and play games where I make the rules, these days Summer is a stressful time of year where we must play a series of games involving rules made by other people.

Hank: And also Winter, and Fall, and Spring.

John: I feel that Winter, and Fall, and Spring are times when I am home with my family more, and I get to make the rule in my own home, at least with my wife. The children don't get to make rules and it's great fun to control them.

Hank: Do you have a poem?

John: I do have a poem for today. It's called Never Again The Same, it's by James Tate. Hank, I apologize in advance, this isn't the shortest short poem you've ever heard in your life, but I think it's a good one, OK?

Hank: OK.

John: Alright.

"Speaking of sunsets,
last night's was shocking.
I mean, sunsets aren't supposed to frighten you, are they?
Well, this one was terrifying.
People were screaming in the streets.
Sure, it was beautiful, but far too beautiful.
It wasn't natural.
One climax followed another and then another
until your knees went weak
and you couldn't breathe.
The colors were definitely not of this world,
peaches dripping opium,
pandemonium of tangerines,
inferno of irises,
Plutonian emeralds,
all swirling and churning, swabbing,
like it was playing with us,
like we were nothing,
as if our whole lives were a preparation for this,
this for which nothing could have prepared us
and for which we could not have been less prepared.
The mockery of it all stung us bitterly.
And when it was finally over
we whimpered and cried and howled.
And then the streetlights came on as always
and we looked into one another's eyes-
ancient caves with still pools
and those little transparent fish
who have never seen even one ray of light.
And the calm that returned to us
was not even our own."

That's a poem by James Tate, Never Again The Same. More or less the way that I've felt coming home after the last two months of crazy travel and the calm that has returned to me does not even feel my own. Sorry for the long short poem, Hank, but it's a good one right?

Hank: Yeah, it was wonderful. It was definitely not the lyrics to an Elton John song.

John: Yeah, I mean I've noticed that in my absence the short poems have been pretty terrible. Nothing against the many wonderful guest hosts you've had, but they don't have a gift for short poetry.

Hank: Yeah. That's something that you, you know, that you in particular are very good at.

John: So remind me Hank what this podcast is all about. I know it's about AFC Wimbledon and Mars and poetry, but I believe that there is a fourth component.

Hank: Yes, the fourth component is that we answer questions and give dubious advice, John.

John: Oh God, I love dubious advice. Where are we starting today, Hank?

 Question 1 (3:49)

Hank: We're gonna start with Russ in London who asks, "Dear Hank and John, according to the notes app on my phone, I have 23 books on my must read list, 25 films, 6 TV shows, 21 theater shows and 34 bands to check out on Spotify. My RSS reader shows probably 200 articles a day from webcomics and video games to philosophy and politics, this is all too much. I'm piling up more information than I can take in, I'm stressing myself out, at the same time the world is full of brilliant people making beautiful insightful things. I love to learn about those things and I'm really interested in lots of areas. As two crazily productive people with varied interests, how do you decide what to let through the filter so you don't get overwhelmed?" Ooh.

John: What a great question from Russ. We do live in an era defined by the overabundance of information and everything else. How do we choose what to discover in a world where there is so much that might be discovered?

Hank: Yeah, I don't, I don't even know.

John: I'm really bad at that actually.

Hank: I read quite slowly, so I can't even take in that much media. I do have a diverse set of interests, but I don't really have a diverse set of media consumption habits. Like, I watch one TV show at a time pretty slowly.

John: What are you watching right now?

Hank: I'm watching the second season of Orange is the New Black, which I'm quite late to.

John: Oh, you know what's coming up at the end of the second season of Orange is the New Black? Spoiler alert! The Fault in Our Stars.

Hank: What do you mean by that?

John: I mean that some of the characters read and discuss the book The Fault in Our Stars, written by me.

Hank: Oh, I think I maybe... No, yes. Indeed I am watching the third season of Orange is the New Black.

John: Yeah, that doesn't have anything written by me in it, but it's still good.

Hank: Um, yes. I don't know. It's hard to keep track, but yes.

John: You know what I'm watching?

Hank: What?

John: Is the third season of the television program The Americans.

Hank: Oh yeah, I've heard that's good.

John: Which is the best TV show I think I've ever watched.

Hank: Well you're not helping Russ here, by potentially adding a new series to his must watch list.

John: Aw, man. Well... And the other thing that Russ needs to do is bear in mind that Paper Towns the movie isn't even out in the United Kingdom yet, so he needs to add that to his list. (Hank laughs) Russ, I mean you need to put aside those 25 films immediately and focus on consuming the media that is the Paper Towns movie adaptation. Um, yeah. I mean I think that the only thing you can do is to forgive yourself for all of the amazing things that you will never learn about, and to try to focus with energy and passion and joy on the things that you will learn about. So, you know, I don't read 100 books a year like I used to in my early 20s, but I try to read books that I really like and if I don't like a book, frankly, these days I just stop reading it because I know that there's so many books on my to-read list. So, that would be my main recommendation is to kind of forgive yourself and to, you know, when you find something that you like, hold onto it and get excited about it and share it even if it means that it's gonna add to someone else's reading list.

Hank: Absolutely, and have it be about the process, like don't, you know, like thinking about the future of your media consumption habits is. you know, you're spending time thinking about that rather than just enjoying the media which is the kind of the purpose of them. Just read the books, don't worry about the books that you might read and I, frankly, if we're talking about a list, that's one thing, I've bought a lot of books I haven't read. They just sit there and I'm like "Wow, that space viking book is probably really good, but I probably won't ever read it."

John: Yeah, but that's OK. I mean... I don't know, we're all gonna die, Hank, as is frequently pointed out on this comedy podcast. We're only here for a brief glimmer of time and I don't think that when you're on you deathbed, you're going to look back and think about all of the things that you didn't read. Hopefully, you'll think about and be lifted up by all of the things that you did read. So Russ, you're gonna die, and in the meantime, you might as well try to find joy and pleasure where you can. Hank, can we move on to another question?

Hank: Yes, we can.

  Question 2 (8:17)

John: Alright, this one is from Matt, he writes, "Dear John and Hank. A friend of mine whom I have known for years, has started reading Ayn Rand." Oh, this is terrible news. This is terrible. I'm concerned about Matt, but I'm mostly concerned about Matt's friend. "It's irritating for friends and family." I don't doubt it, Matt. "But more than that, those ideas hurt everyone and everything around whoever spouts them." So true. "He's just begun this. How do I help him realize that this path is not good and is a detriment to this planet? Thank you very much." Ah, it's so rare that I find someone who hates Ayn Rand as purely as Matt and I do. First off, thank you for your question, Matt. It's really moving, it's profound, and it gets at the heart of literature in the United States, which is that Ayn Rand is the worst, is the worst author in print today. And you want to talk about books that shouldn't be on your to-read list, how about you just knock off The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, boom, saved yourself 2,500 pages. I can summarize it for you nicely, which is that if you imagine a world that is different from the world that actually exists, then always acting selfishly would make sense. However, we don't live in that world that doesn't exist, so it doesn't, you know, so Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are both irrelevant to our actual lives as actually lived. There's something incredibly exciting about reading Ayn Rand for the first time, because you feel inevitably like the characters who are at the center of the stories, you feel like a special snowflake, you feel like, you know, the world is aligned against you and if only, you know, things were fair and just and everyone acted according to their will, you would rise to the top as inevitably you should. But the difficult thing is realizing that everyone experiences that when they read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead which is precisely why those books are so popular and still in print. But yeah, I completely agree with you, Matt. All I can say is that usually, in time, people abandon objectivism and when they don't, you abandon them.

Hank: I'm just gonna leave that one all to John, 'cause I know very little about these books. Well, actually, I'm super interested in actually reading them and I would if they were not so large, because I want to see the techniques used to make people get so riled up about this worldview and so, like, they just, like, eat it so deeply that it then, for many people, affects them for their entire lives and then you hear, you know, people who are super smart who have been affected by this and then bec... go on to become quite successful talking about how these books influenced them. And I think in some ways, it creates good business people because it, not necess... not like, good for the world, but good for business, good for a particular business, because it makes people feel very empowered in their selfishness.

John: Right, right.

Hank: And so, when I... I get discouraged when I, you know, when I read that some, that many very powerful people have this worldview, and it's just, it's very upsetting, because it basically requires you to believe that most people are just-

John: Inferior.

Hank: -are un... are inferior. That is the correct word, yes.

John: That they are fundamentally less than you. You, of course, always being the one who isn't inferior, you, the one who has read this book. Yeah, no, there's a guy running for President of the United States who's literally named after Ayn Rand. Um yeah. So I think, you know, this is a place where I have especially strong feelings, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and I should say, because it is true, that I might be wrong and I often am wrong and, you know, it's totally possible that I'm completely wrong about Ayn Rand, but I do have incredibly strong feelings about her work. Let's move on, Hank, because I feel like this comedy podcast has taken, it again, a turn for the darkness.

  Question 3 (12:39)

Hank: Alright, well, Robert asks, "Dear Hank and John," this question is for me, apparently. "Hank said that he would not go to Mars given the chance." Because, to be clear for those who weren't listening, because of nausea and also fear of death. "But if you had the chance to have a Total Recall style memory of Mars implanted into your brain, would you?" Of course I would! Yes!

John: You would?

Hank: Yeah, that'd be amazing!

John: That's a terrible plan.

Hank: Why? What? Really?

John: Have you seen the film Total Recall? Like, do you, are you familiar with the movie?

Hank: Right, well, that has nothing to do with the way that the memory was implanted into his brain, it was all about previous occurrences of his.

John: No, Hank, things go terribly wrong when you have implanted memories, period, all the time, every time. Have you never read a dystopian novel, never get a memory implanted!

Hank: But, if it just came to me right now, without anybody else having been on Mars, then I would get to know all kinds of things that would be new to science. I would have an obligation to science to get this memory implant.

John: You know, I was just having breakfast with a friend of a friend, and we were together recalling terrible things that have happened to us over the years that now feel almost like pleasurable memories. Because, you know, like you have this wild experience that at the time is very unpleasant, I was remembering, for instance, this sailing trip that we took in Sweden with really good friends of ours, and one of whom, by the way, is a fan of Ayn Rand, and I don't know, maybe a listener to this podcast, and so maybe I've just offended him terribly, but he, regardless, we're still really good friends even though we have different worldviews, and we were on this sailboat in Sweden, Hank, and it was August and my wife had brought a bikini and I had brought a nice pair of swim trunks, except that it was actually like, -45 degrees Kelvin. It was colder than absolute zero, and it was just unbelievably awful. By the way, when I say degrees Kelvin, people get really mad, so...

Hank: Yeah, well, also when you say below absolute zero.

John: Well, yes, exact... Now I've infuriated the Randians and I've also infuriated the people who believe in science and so really, we're down to an incredibly small audience. So, anyway, it was extremely cold in Kelvins, and... But somehow, I have fond memories of this trip, even though at the time, I enjoyed, you know, I basically spent three days feeling cold and nauseated, occasionally playing this Swedish card game called Plump, and it was generally horrific. We went to one island that was occupied by nothing but rats, but it was occupied by so many rats, it was just an unfathomable number of rats per square inch, so that when you walked to the bathroom, which was the only building on the island, you would walk past literally thousands of scurrying rats, scurrying all over your feet, which had to be, you know, clothed in very, very large boots, because it was so incredibly cold in the Swedish August and yet, somehow I have really fond memories. So I feel like the other thing I would say about you wanting to get these memories implanted is that the memories would, in a way, be a lie. They would inherently be a lie, like, memory is incomplete and deceitful, so I'm not sure that it would be scientifically useful.

Hank: That's true. There is truth there. There is truth in that very, very, very, very, very, very long story that had nothing to do with, nothing at all to do with Mars.

John: (Laughs) It's funny, I always make fun of you for being the king of tangents, but in fact, I just, I just did the worst, I did the worst tangent we've ever had on this entire podcast.

Hank: Just was like, rats. So many rats. Rats everywhere.

John: Does anyone wanna hear the story of my time on a sailboat in Sweden? Answer: no. I'll tell you anyway, don't worry. Fear not, faithful listeners, I have returned with tales from Sweden in 2008.

Hank: No, I mean, I think that there are a lot of memories that I would like to have implanted in me, like the memory of... Like, we could take Russ, and we could say, let's just implant the memory of having read those 25 books, and you don't have to read them.

John: First off, he only had 23 books on his must-read list, you have a terrible memory. Secondly, I think when it comes to giving Russ advice, we've gotten way distracted and we need to focus on the core advice, which is that Russ, along with the other people of the United Kingdom, need to make sure to see the Paper Towns movie when it comes out in August.

Hank: Alright, John. You wanna give us a question?

 Question 4 (17:36)

John: We're gonna go with this question from Jessica. Jessica writes, "Dear John and Hank. My boyfriend of three years and I had a very serious conversation recently, during which we articulated a dilemma that we both suspected. He really wants children and I really don't. He said that at age 20, we are too young to break up because of a potential future issue, but it's making it hard to picture a future with him. Do we break up now because of this difference or wait to see if one of us changes our mind?" Well, first off, Jessica, please bear in mind that all of our advice is dubious.

Hank: Yes.

John: So do not make decisions based on our dubious advice. However, I have lots of dubious advice to dispense on this question, but I'm gonna let you start, Hank.

Hank: Oh wow. Well, I would just say that, like, it's about this person that you have in your life and this relationship and whether or not you want to work on it. You know, and part of working on that relationship is coming to agreements about disagreements, coming to, and if you don't feel like you can do that, then that's...

John: Well, but this is a big disagreement.

Hank: Yeah, right, if you don't feel like you can come to an agreement on the disagreement, then, you know, it does indeedm, would likely lead to a lot of unpleasantness in the future.

John: Yeah, but they're only 20, to be fair. I feel like at 20, you don't have to make a decision for the rest of your life about having kids.

Hank: Agree.

John: Either way.

Hank: Yes.

John: Unless you are actually pregnant or have a child. Hank, if I may tell another really long tangential story? When Sarah and I got engaged, before we got married, we got married in a Catholic church, so we had to go to this thing, the Catholic Engaged Encounter, which was a weekend-long, like, marriage counseling thing. Now, I wanted to run screaming from this monastery place where we had the Catholic Engaged Encounter the moment we drove up, and there were many weird and terrible things about it, but it was really useful and a lot of the things that, like, people talked about that weekend are stuff, are things that Sarah and I still talk about, but anyway, at one point during the Engaged Encounter, there were like, eight or nine engaged couples, and we had to stand back to back, and then they said raise your hand if you want children, and then you turned around and you saw if your partner had their hand raised, right? Sarah and I were the only couple that had even discussed this and so there were three or four really intense fights that happened in public immediately after this turnaround, where one person would say to the other, what do you mean, you don't want to have children?

Hank: Wow.

John: And I was like, you guys really probably should have discussed this before your Catholic Engaged Encounter. So, in a way, I'm happy, Jessica, that you're talking about it now, because I do think that it's an important thing and it certainly, if you're gonna spend your life together or have a long term partnership that goes through your child raising, likely child raising years then it's important, but like, I don't think that you have to come to any consensus when you're 20, and I don't think that you should be holding yourself to decisions that you make when you're 20, if you don't have to. I feel the same way about being 37, by the way. I feel like you should be allowed to change your mind in life, and one of the things that, in a partnership, in a marriage, is like Hank said, like, figuring out how to navigate disagreements, figuring out how to navigate different worldviews and different priorities that will inevitably come up in a marriage, so I wouldn't worry yet. That's my opinion. But I would worry before your Catholic Engaged Encounter, I'm assuming that you're Catholic.

Hank: I, yeah, I mean, there's much life ahead of you and it does...

John: Hopefully. Maybe not, Jessica.

Hank: Oh, my God. Oh my God.

John: It's all fleeting.

Hank: Oh my God.

John: You could be at the end. You think you're at the beginning, but you could be in the second half.

Hank: So now we know how John's mind always and continually operates.

John: It always returns to the darkness, Hank. To the yawning darkness that lasts forever that awaits all of us. Thanks for coming to Dear Hank and John, a comedy podcast sponsored by our friends at Death. Death. Defining the human experience for 250,000 years. Death. What would life be without it?

Hank: This podcast, John, I wanna say is also brought to you, the listeners, by Marzipan, the product of food that people sometimes shape into other food type products, and also, according to the one time that I Googled Marzipan in order to have a picture of Marzipan from Homestar Runner, into little tiny babies, which is extremely, extremely creepy and there's a whole thing on Marzipan Babies that I don't know if that got shared on Facebook or something, but when you Google Marzipan, there's lots of tiny babies the size of your hand and it's really terrifying.

John: I guess my concern with the Marzipan sponsorship is that I just don't see how it's ever going to be actually enacted, whereas the Death sponsorship seems to me totally doable. Should we answer another question?

Hank: I think we should answer another question.

  Question 5 (23:08)

Hank: This is from Rachel, and you used this world earlier in the podcast, and I think that Rachel and everyone needs some clarity from specifically John Green. So Rachel asks, "Dear Hank and John. Can you please explain the proper use of nausea, nauseated and nauseous?"

John: Sure, I will explain it. Nausea is a noun, like, the nausea that one feels when one is on a boat in Sweden is the proper use of nausea. And then nauseated and nauseous are synonyms that people act like aren't synonyms because they want to impose rules of grammar that are ridiculous.

Hank: Ah!

John: Is that fair, Hank?

Hank: I have no idea. I had been told that there was some difference between those two, and by apparently these prescriptivist d-bags.

John: Yeah, I mean, why be prescriptivist, we all know what nauseous means, we all know what nauseated means, technically nauseous, you know, ought to mean, you know, a thing that makes you feel nauseated, like, you know, the ocean is nauseous when you are on a sailboat and it makes you feel nauseated, but that's ludicrous. We all know what nauseous means, like, if something makes you feel nauseous, you're... It's fine. It's fine. Nothing is going, nothing fundamental about the language is going to be deeply affected by us just accepting nauseous also meaning nauseated. For me, like, language exists to communicate and it should be as clear as possible and when ambiguity is introduced from, in language, we need to find ways to make it clear, but like, you know, all the time we use language in ways that are far more confusing than nauseous and nauseated, and somehow, we get by. Like, when I say, like, "Hank, there is a bear and it is going to kill us." You don't like, pause, and say, "But John, do you mean, like, a bare person, like, do you mean a naked person, do you mean a weight that we must bear that's going to kill us?" No, you just, you understand from context that I'm referring to a large mammal that is going to kill us, and so there's perfect clarity in that sentence, so I just, I feel like we need to just let language be unless we're introducing problematic ambiguities.

Hank: You have it, there you have it, directly from a person who makes words for a living, so we can have that.

John: I try very hard not to make words. I try to use existing ones. I'm not Shakespeare.

Hank: You make some words. 

John: I do occasionally make a word when I have to.

Hank: Have you ever coined a word that has become, you know, used in broader English? Bufriedo?

John: Uh, bufriedo maybe, although I didn't coin that, it comes from my actual high school, like most of Looking for Alaska. I guess the word that I created that is most often seen as a typo and people e-mail me all the time and say, "There is a typo in your book Looking for Alaska" is suident, which refers to a death that is possibly a suicide and possibly an accident. But that hasn't really caught on, except that people think it's a typo.

  Question 6 (26:42)

Hank: I have a question from José, who asks, "Dear Hank and John. If you two could replace any famous duo"

John: Yeah.

Hank: "Who would it be and why?"

John: Wait, now, would we in this situation, would we be becoming a famous duo?

Hank: No, we would... Yes. We would be becoming a famous duo that already exists. Like, we would be Batman and Robin or the Wright Brothers.

John: Yeah, I mean, not the Wright brothers, obviously, because one of them died in an airplane accident, and just knowing me, it would probably be me.

Hank: Well, in addition to that, we'd have to fly planes a lot, which is something neither of us really enjoy.

John: Yeah, I don't even like being a passenger in a plane, let alone being responsible for the air flight. I'm also not really into engineering or construction, which were the other two things that the Wright brothers had to spend a lot of time doing.

Hank: You know, John, I had a dream before VidCon that I was the pilot of a plane, and I crashed it and killed everyone, because anxiety.

John: I know what that's a metaphor for. Being the pilot of the plane that is VidCon. I'm gonna say Simon and Garfunkel, but I call Simon. I'm Simon.

Hank: Oh. Oh, wow, wow.

John: I have a beautiful singing voice, I write songs, and then you harmonize with me, occasionally, and then eventually, I kick you out of my band and I go into a wonderful solo career, I have a nice, not permanent, but nice marriage to Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, and I live happily ever after and you have very curly hair.

Hank: How about Hall and Oates then and you get to be Oates?

John: I'll take Oates. I don't mind being Oates. Oates has had a good life.

Hank: I actually know very little about Hall and Oates, except that I like their music a great deal.

John: Is that who you'd pick, you'd pick Hall and Oates?

Hank: No. No.

John: What would you pick? What... Pick a duo.

Hank: Let's pick, let's replace Watson and Crick and then not be total d-bags about it.

John: Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. We'll replace Watson and Crick and we will acknowledge the contributions of other scientists, especially women, to figuring out the structure of DNA.

Hank: Yeah! And also not be racists.

John: That's good, that's a good policy. I have to say, one of the best science books I've ever written was unfortunately written by either Watson or Crick, I can't remember which one, and it's about the discovery of the double helix and of course, it's, or the figuring out of the double helix, I guess it wasn't discovered. And you know, it's of course, in retrospect, like, I didn't know this at the time when I was reading it in high school, but it's a completely sort of fabricated account that puts Watson and Crick at the center of things in ways that they really weren't, but, oh, but it's a good read. It's not fair that you should be able to both be a good scientist and a good writer, but it was a good read.

Hank: I've never read that, and to be totally fair, it's Watson who has been the crazy sexist racist guy. I know...

John: Let me look up and see if it was, let me see who it was that wrote the book. It was, I think it might have been, I think it might have been, I think it might have been Crick.

Hank: Let's see.

John: Uh, it was Watson. 

Hank: Yeah, I figured it was Watson. He lived longer.

John: Anyway, very enjoyable books.

Hank: He's still around.

John: Even if he turned out later to be a d-bag. I mean, so many good things are made by so many bad people, Hank. This is something that I've been struggling with in general. We talked about it before on the podcast, but many good things are made by bad people.

  Question 7 (30:07)

Hank, I have one last question for you. This comes from Presley, who you know, as the Crash Course fan who really inspired us to rethink Crash Course in 2012 at VidCon when she was probably 8 or 9 years old and she told us that she was using Crash Course to learn history and biology and chemistry and we, that was really the first time that we realized that Crash Course could be like, a proper educational tool.

Hank: Yeah, and also that it had a much broader demographic than we were expecting.

John: Yes, much broader. Presley asks, "If you could witness any moment of history, which would you witness?" It's a good question. It's a big question, and there's a lot of things to consider. Are you witnessing, just like, one day or one hour or do you get to hang around for a few years to figure out some things that happened?

Hank: Well, I think Presley said moment, right? Presley said moment?

John: Moment. A moment. So is there some critical juncture in history that you would like to be able to witness? Now, we're assuming here, I think, that you're able to travel with antibiotics, all the things that you will need to prevent yourself from getting some past scourge.

Hank: Right, that you won't, you can't be hurt and you can't affect the situation, I think is implied. So the situation can't affect you and you can't affect the situation. You are just witnessing it.

John: I love it. It's a great question.

Hank: I mean, I think that I would have to defer to a historian, I'd have to go to, I'd have to like, poll a bunch of historians and say, like, "What do you guys want me to witness, because I don't know enough about this." I wouldn't put that decision up to me, because who am I? I'm just a videoblogger.

John: Yeah, well, let's actually, if there are any historians listening to this podcast, we'd love your input on this. You can e-mail us at and let us know what moment of history we should witness, because obviously Hank and I are both-

Hank: Yeah.

John: -a little unsure on this one.

Hank: Right, but I mean, my fir... I would love to ha... like, it would be a really amazing thing to be there to witness Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon, because then I would be on... And I'd like, get to be on the Moon, suddenly. Hopefully like, not being effected by the entire, like, the lack of atmosphere, or, or I could be there for the moment in history when Curiosity landed on Mars, and then I'd be there and I'd get to watch that, and that would be pretty epic. I, hopefully, I could bring a GoPro.

John: Oh, God, it's always space with you, you know? Why wouldn't you go back to 2002 and be able to witness the moment that AFC Wimbledon were created-

Hank: Oh my God! (Hank laughs)

John: -out of the ashes of Wimbledon FC? The most important moment in world history. 

Hank: Um, yeah. I mean, there's also like, what would you think about being able to witness Jesus, John?

John: Oh, I'd be in favor of that. I think that you could learn a lot, I mean, my initial thought was, immediately went to the moment that Muhammad and the Islamic community in exile in Medina sort of settled with the Meccans to allow a return to, an annual return to Mecca, which is a critical moment in Islamic history, and one that we don't know a ton about, that's one moment, and then the other moment, yeah, would be the crucifixion of Jesus, just because, well, for one thing, like, it would establish a lot of things about the historicity of Jesus's life and whether there was a Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified and if so, for what and all of that stuff. I would love to be there for that for that day, although I'm sure that it would be unpleasant.

Hank: Yes.

John: Yeah. Those are the two things that initially come to mind because I am, you know, most of my interest in history and understanding of history is from, you know, the history of religion, but also, I don't know, the moment the Buddha reached Nirvana, sitting under a tree? That would be really interesting, like, to watch someone reach Nirvana. I don't know. There's a lot. There's a lot that I wouldn't mind seeing from the past as long as I could bring antibiotics.

Hank: The... Oh man, it would be so cool to be able to bring back a sample of the biology of the day and like, know more about their flus and...

John: Yeah, I mean, if I could take a camera, I would love to go back in time to dinosaurs-

Hank: Oh, yeah.

John: -and just take some pictures of T-Rexes because Henry would freak, like, that's my five year old son, he would freak. He would, if I was like, "Oh, Henry, I went to the Jurassic Period and here's a picture of an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex" he would flip.

Hank: Well, I mean, technically, you're talking about prehistory now. I was thinking of history, but if we're talking about pre-history, then wouldn't you just go and witness the Big Bang and be like, okay, there it is.

John: Yeah, I don't know, I wouldn't go back all the way back to the Big Bang. I think that, I mean, the Big Bang was like, the only interesting moment in the history of time for several billion years.

Hank: Well, you could kind of say that it was the only interesting moment in the history of time, because time has been awfully boring as an institution since then. Time hasn't changed at all.

John: Sometimes I think about the fact that there was no time before the Big Bang and my head starts to hurt, like, when I think about how there's supposedly no edge to the universe. Can we move on Hank to the news from AFC Wimbledon and Mars?

Hank: Your problem there was the word "before" in dealing with the, you know, the creation of time.

John: Right, like, yeah, exactly. That even that sentence is incorrect, that there was no time before the creation of time. Yeah, it's hard to get your head around the idea of time being created, but it was. It will also cease to exist in the fullness of time, like all things. Let's talk about the news from AFC Wimbledon and Mars.

Hank: And now I'm wondering if time will actually cease to exist, but I'm not gonna go there, so let's talk about...

John: Of course it will, Hank.

Hank: Let's talk about... Because everything ceases eventually, even time. I don't know, I don't know that that's true, I'm not sure that we know whether or not that's true.

  News from Mars (36:20

Hank: But let me tell you some news from Mars. Are you ready for it?

John: Oh my God, I'm so excited.

Hank: Alright, well, the Curiosity rover celebrated its 3rd birthday on Mars last week, though actually on the day that this podcast is being recorded, it is officially the 3rd birthday of the Curiosity rover on Mars, which is exciting and as we discussed last week with Felicia, it sang itself Happy Birthday today.

John: That's wonderful. That's really lovely. You know what else has turned three?

Hank: What?

John: Like, a billion humans, just this year, no big deal, whatever. Now, you're not gonna impress me with turning three, Curiosity.

Hank: Well, that's not actually our Mars news, which comes from an older mission, still operating in orbit around Mars. The European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter has been photographing Mars for over 11 years, and this week, they released a video. It's really cool, it's frickin' gorgeous, that they compiled from the data and photographs collected by the Mars Express Orbiter. It's a 3D render fly-over of Mars' Atlantis Chaos region using stuff from the high-resolution stereo camera. It's super, super gorgeous and the only thing I wanted from it was for it to be longer so that I could continue flying over the surface of Mars, and you can virtually fly over the surface of Mars yourself. All you've just gotta go to YouTube and search for Atlantis Chaos and that is Atlantis Chaos, yes, that is what it's called, that's a pretty cool region of a pretty cool planet.

John: I'm sorry. I wasn't listening for the last three minutes because the first minute of that was so incredibly boring.

Hank: Atlantis Chaos, John!

  News from AFC Wimbledon (38:10)

John: In AFC Wimbledon news, our long international worldwide nightmare is at last coming to an end, Hank, and AFC Wimbledon will begin their League 2 campaign this Saturday as we're recording the podcast, August 8th, against mighty Plymouth.

Hank: So last Saturday for the people listening to the podcast.

John: Well, yeah, I guess, which is a little bit problematic, because I won't be able to know the results.

Hank: Oh, yes.

John: I'm going to look into the future, and I am going to predict that AFC Wimbledon beat Plymouth 3-1, two goals from Adebayo Akinfenwa, the Beast, and one goal from George "Francombstein" Francomb, who is a doctor, not a monster, and we win three-nil and in the North stand, which, as you know, Hank, is no longer called the North Stand, it's called the John Green stand, because I'm sponsoring the stand. Did I tell you about that?

Hank: Yep, you did.

John: So in the North stand after George "Francombstein" Francomb scores the third goal, they're going to sing my name and I will weep. That is my prediction for the game.

Hank: Okay. Well, I'm...

John: Victory. Victory, glory, the opposite of Chaos, order.

Hank: Well, in the comments on SoundCloud or just on Twitter, you can let us know how John fared in his predictions of AFC Wimbledon's first game of the season, did I say that right?

John: God, we'd better win.

Hank: You'd better win. 

John: Oh my God, can you imagine? We've got to get off to a good start, Hank, this is a huge deal.

Hank: Well, I mean, really the good news about this season starting is that now you will have actual news to share with us.

John: Oh, I've had news all summer, are you kidding? The resigning of Akinfenwa, a hugely important thing, the sponsorship of the North stand by noted American YA novelist, John Green. There's been a ton of stuff happening at AFC Wimbledon. And by the way, in, I would predict, three weeks, the biggest and most stunning AFC Wimbledon news ever will be announced on this podcast and it will definitely beat whatever your Mars news is for that week, but it's not time for that yet. First, they have to take on Plymouth and then on Tuesday, August 11th, they're taking on Cardiff City in the Capital One Cuppity-Cup-Cup, which is very exciting as well. Cardiff City, Hank, a proper Championship team, like, they're in the second division of football in England, so it's just, it's an incredibly exciting time to be an AFC Wimbledon fan, but then again, I... Exactly, I know what you're thinking, Hank, it's always an incredibly exciting time to be an AFC Wimbledon fan.

  Conclusion (40:53)

Hank: And that is the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. And that is also the end of the podcast.

John: Thanks so much for listening to today's podcast. What did we learn today, Hank?

Hank: Oh, gosh. You always ask me that question and I never take any notes so I forget.

John: Well, we learned how John feels about Ayn Rand.

Hank: We did learn about that, and we learned that when you're 20, you don't necessarily have to come to an agreement with your partner about life changing huge things, but you should come to those agreements before you go to your Catholic Priest Approval Ceremony thing. What was that?

John: There were, there was no priest there, but yes, that's a beautiful notion. What else did we learn? By the way, neither Sarah nor I is Catholic, I should probably mention that at some point in the podcast. Which made the Catholic Engaged Encounter particularly interesting, because we were learning a lot about Catholicism while we were also encountering our engagement. You know the other thing that we learned, Hank, is when you go to Sweden in August, don't take a bikini, because it's gonna be cold. It's gonna be negative Kelvins cold.

Hank: Oh my God. And we learned that negative Kelvin exists.

John: Thank you so much for listening to Dear John and Hank, you can leave questions for us at and we'll try to answer as many as we can in the coming weeks. I'm returning for good! I know that you guys are going to miss the amazing co-hosts that Hank has had, but uh, I'm home for a while now, which means that at least for the foreseeable future, you're stuck with me.

Hank: This podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our theme music is by Gunnarolla, you can find us at, this podcast is available wherever podcasts are sold, and as we say in our hometown...

Hank & John: Don't forget to be awesome.