Previous: 012 - Tree Climbing Strategies
Next: 014 - Jurassic Mars



View count:199,567
Last sync:2020-08-22 06:45
How do you make friends? What's your favorite planet? What would happen if you fell into Jupiter? Is it all downhill from 30? What sports did you play? If you could be a prodigy at any one thing what would it be?

Edited by Nicholas Jenkins.Theme music by Gunnarolla.

 Intro (0:00

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank.

Hank: It's a podcast where my brother and I, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon and this week's Dear Hank and John is a little bit different. How is it different John?

John: Well, we are actually sitting across from each other in my office here in Indianapolis because you have been kind enough to fly here just so we can do some IRL podcasting.

Hank: Eye to eye, face to face.

John: Yes.

Hank: Head to head.

John: Yes.

Hank: How do we prove to them that we're actually sitting here together?

John: Hmm. We could make a high five.

Hank: High five.

(Clap noise)

John: Could you hear that? It was legit.

Hank: What about this one?

(Clap noise)

John: Oh you're right, it's so easy to fake.

Hank: Yeah, I was just clapping that time.

John: I think people will just be able to tell because the vibe is gonna be different.

Hank: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Hank: We'll be more frustrated with each other and more angry and more, I think, despondent.

John: Hank, that reminds of what a funny podcast this comedy podcast is. Hank, would you like a short poem for today?

Hank: I, it doesn't matter.

John: 'Cause you're gonna get one. This is a very short poem, to make up for the longest short poem I read a couple weeks ago. This is called You Fit Into Me by Margaret Atwood. Are you familiar with this poem?

Hank: No.

John: Oh it's a good one, are you ready?

"You fit into me
Like a hook into an eye
A fish hook
An open eye"

Hank: That was a short poem.

John: Very short.

Hank: I like Margaret Atwood. That's my kinda poem.

John: Yeah well, Margaret Atwood's your kinda, your kinda writer for sure. She's great and I, I've always liked that poem because there's so much "You complete me" and "You fit into me" and "We complement each other" poetry out there that she sets your expectations up pretty carefully and you're just picturing this, you know, this needle and this thread and then, and then you're not.

Hank: Yep.

John: Alright. How are you Hank? What's going on, what's new?

Hank: Well I just flew to Indianapolis.

John: Yeah.

Hank: So boy are my arms tired.

John: Oh God. Cancel the podcast.

Hank: Yeah, which it's a lovely place! I will say that your office is a place where I will never let my employees go because they will see how poorly I treat them in our not very nice office. It's very nice here and your house is lovely, your family's lovely and your town is lovely. It is Indianapolis, the airport is amazing. 

John: We have an amazing airport.

Hank: And you have good cookies I've heard-

John: Great cookies.

Hank: -but I haven't been able to try them yet. I'm looking forward to these great cookies. 

John: Yeah.

Hank: And my parents are here and my wife is here; it's just family, good family time.

John: Yeah.

Hank: It's enjoyable.

John: No it's beautiful and we're very happy to have you here, thanks for coming. We've been here because it's the annual meeting, or semi-annual meeting for, the web store where you can find merch and...

Hank: We don't have any Dear Hank and John merch.

John: We don't have Dear Hank and John merch.

Hank: What a disaster for this particular moment where we're talking about...

John: It would be great to have something to advertise however you can go and buy Hank and John stuff, from phone cases to jewellery to t-shirts to posters. Check it out at Today's podcast actually sponsored by

  Question 1 (3:26

John: So, you wanna answer some questions?

Hank: I think that's probably a good idea since it's what we do.

John: Can I ask the first one?

Hank: Sure

John: "Dear John and Hank." This question is from Brooke. She writes "I am a freshman starting high school this year. I'm also starting in a completely new school. What are some ways to make new friends?" I feel like this question was designed for me, Hank, because as you know I have made one friend in the last twelve years, my friend Chris Waters, my best friend.

Hank: A person who you made friends with completely outside of the environment of school.

John: Yes but I made the one, I made one friend.

Hank: Yep.

John: That's the first time I've made a friend since school. So I'm pretty proud of myself, and then I'm also very good friends with his wife, Marina Waters, but I met her through him.

Hank: Right.

John: In fact all of my other friends are either people I work with or people I met through Chris. So my first recommendation would be, Brooke, to make friends with Chris. I mean he's amazing. He will introduce you to tons of people. No, no, none of your fellow freshmen in high school. They'll all be adults, so that would probably be weird. Let's, let's try to find some better advice than that because I don't think that's good. Hank, what's your advice?

Hank: It's hard.

John: It is hard.

Hank: And in my experience it is, it is, also, it was never something that I did intentionally until I was an adult. It was always something that just soft of happened to me, and I think that's okay. But I definitely found myself hanging out for a long time with people I didn't really dig that much. And then I would find, like, one person who I'd actually get along with and then latch onto them and spend all my time with them, which is fine.

John: Mhm.

Hank: And that's, you know, your quintessential best friend. And then finally it took me, you know, until like senior year of high school until I had, like, a group of friends who I, who I felt like I would have been friends with them even if I hadn't just been thrown into a situation with them that sort of, like, created the friendship.

John: Right. I mean, there's a lot of like, friendships of convenience. Not just in high school, or college, but also in adulthood. But, you know, my main recommendation is to try to be nice.

Hank: Yeah!

John: The great line in the movie Harvey: "In this world Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. For years I was smart, I recommend pleasant." (Hank laughs) I... It can be very hard to be nice, especially when people are mean you you.

Hank: Mhm.

John: But, I believe that if you are, if you, you know, if you try to be a good friend, if you try to be a good listener, if you try to ask questions and become genuinely interested in the lives of the people around you, some of them, not all of them unfortunately, but some of them will in turn, you know, treat you the way that you are treating them, and I believe that good friendships can come out of that. But it is not easy, and I think the main thing that I would say is that, like, it's also, you also have to remember that, like, it's not easy for anybody else, either. Even the people who maybe seem like they're popular, or seem like they're comfortable or confident, probably aren't nearly as comfortable and confident as they, as they appear to be. But it isn't easy and I think that you should, you know, it's okay to be scared, but also bear in mind that, like, it will get easier, it will get better. Like in the same way as, you know, your first day doing anything is not as easy as your hundredth day, you know, once you're settled in that new school, things will get, things will get easier. But I wish you well, and certainly, listeners of Dear Hank and John, if you happen across Brooke at your school, be nice to her. She seems like a very sweet person.

  Question 2 (7:26

Hank: We have another question. This one is from Chris, who asks "Dear Hank and John. I understand and respect your passion for the planet Mars".

John: I'm going to have to stop you right there Hank. I am not at all passionate about the planet Mars, Chris.

Hank: This question is for Hank. He said that. He says that this question is for Hank. It's for Hank, just for Hank.

John: Yeah but I just, I feel like I'm being excluded from the podcast so I just wanna establish right now that I have no passion for Mars. There are very few cold, dead rocks I care less about.

Hank: "As our closest neighbor in space", Chris says, "it is hard not to be fascinated by Mars, unless you are John Green. However, I wonder if it isn't becoming just slightly passé to care so much about the inner planets. With the huge amounts of data streaming from New Horizons, Cassini, and other explorers in the outer solar system, would you consider focusing some of your attention on that Great Beyond, capitalized by the way. The data will be coming in for years and years so there will be lots of new things to study, discover and learn about. What do you think?"

John: Oh, that's a great idea, Chris. Anything to get us to stop talking about Mars would be welcome, even if it means having to talk about Jupiter. 

Hank: There are lots of really fascinating things going on past Mars, I agree. There are nice things about Mars. It is a fairly hospitable place, in terms of the rest of the solar system.

John: I prefer Earth

Hank: Yes, Earth is definitely... But you're not gonna like, it's very difficult to send a probe to the surface of Venus where it rains sulfuric acid. Not a good place to hang out in, it's the hottest place in the solar system. You don't wanna go there.

John: What about Mercury?

Hank: Mercury is also inhospitable.

John: Isn't it hotter than Venus 'cause it's closer to the sun?

Hank: It's hotter on Venus because of the greenhouse effect of Venus because Mercury doesn't have an atmosphere and so it actually gets hotter on Venus where the atmosphere...

John: Hank I don't like to disagree with you when it comes to hard science stuff but I read something on the internet about how the greenhouse gas stuff, that's not even true.

Hank: (Laughs) We're gonna get back to Chris's question. (Laughs) Not gonna... OK. John is joking, by the way.

John: (Laughs) You became visibly anxious when I said that.

Hank: (Laughs) Oh my goodness, we have a guest!

John: Oh! A very special guest!

Craig: Oh, hello.

John: It's (Singing) "Wheezy Waiter". He's pulling up a chair right now.

Craig: You are legally required to sing that when I enter a room.

John: Can we hear him over there?

Hank: Yeah, you have to be on this this side. So Craig Benzine, Wheezy Waiter has just joined us. We're talking about which planets are the most fascinating.

Craig: Which planets are the most fascinating. In our solar system?

John: Yes.

Craig: Okay.

John: What's your favorite planet in our solar system? Let's just all go around and say.

Hank: Except Earth. No, you can't pick Earth.

John: Ugh.

Craig: Saturn.

John: Saturn?

Craig: Yep.

Hank: Mars

John: You know if I can't pick Earth, in a way there's seven equally dead and meaningless rocks.

Craig: (Laughs)

Hank: (Laughs) Well, several of them aren't, in fact, rocks. Just to be clear.

John: Don't they have rock cores somewhere?

Hank: No.

John: You're telling me that there are planets that have no solidity.

Craig: Just gas?

Hank: I did not say that, I said that they didn't have rock cores.

John: What do they have?

Hank: Liquid or solid hydrogen and helium.

Craig: Is that Venus? Does Venus have that?

John: Wait, so you're telling me there are planets that are just liquid helium.

Hank: No, I'm saying that Jupiter and Saturn and Neptune are just gassy things and so we're not sure what's in the middle because they're awful big but we think that it's probably just really, really tightly compressed things that would be gas, if they weren't so tightly compressed.

John: So you're telling me that I couldn't stand on Jupiter, it would be like standing on a cloud.

Hank: Uh, no. Standing on Jupiter would be like falling into a cloud that became so dense that it crushed you.

John: Mmm.

Craig: That doesn't sound like fun.

Hank: Don't do that.

John: Once again, Earth, the number one place to live in the solar system.

Craig: Are you saying Saturn's like that too?

Hank: Yeah, yeah all the gas giants.

John: Alright, no. OK. So in that case my favorite non-Earth planet is gonna have to be the Moon. (Hank laughs) It's close, it's very close to Earth, which is great, and then also it's relatively hospitable because we had astronauts on it.

Craig: But it's also not a planet.

Hank: This is a thing that we could, we could play semantics and say, you know, by the definition, any definition...

John: Alright, then my favorite non-Earth...

Hank: No! Actually there are people who argue that the Earth-Moon system is actually a binary planet system.

John: Like, two planets.

Hank: Yeah.

John: The Earth is one and the Moon is the other.

Hank: Yeah.

John: Alright, if the Moon is a planet I'm gonna pick the Moon. If the Moon is not a planet I'm gonna stun everyone and pick Mars.

Hank: Yay!

John: But only because the others only because the others are so useless. Like would the solar system or any aspect of human experience be in any way different if we eliminated all seven of the other planets?

Hank: Yes, very, very different.

John: How, tell me.

Hank: Just the fact that we would have had no planets in the sky would have made it much more difficult to figure out the, how, like, our place in the Universe. Having those other planets be these weird things that were moving around, that was the impetus for the scientific revolution, like, that's how we figured out how gravity works, that's how Newton determined many of, like, many of the things Newton figured out.

John: I'm pretty sure an apple fell on his head and that's how he discovered gravity.

Hank: I, though I do love your question though: how would science have proceeded differently if we hadn't have had these objects in the sky behaving so strangely that would have allowed, that allowed us to figure out the rules of gravity and motion.

  Question 3 (13:22)

John: That's a great... Let's move on to another question.

Craig: (Laughs)

Hank: (Laughs) How long are you here for Craig?

Craig: Well I'm leaving as soon as you guys are done with me here.

Hank: (Laughs)

John: Okay, so this question is from...

Hank: Alright, you're not going to a plane, you can drive home.

Craig: I can drive but I do have, I do have to be somewhere.

John: This question is from Steven who asks "Dear John and Hank" and apparently Craig. "I've just turned 30. As demonstrated that I listen to your podcast and watch your videos, I'm still clinging to some semblance of youth but my wife tells me it's all downhill from here, is she right?" First off Steven, there's lots of adults who watch our videos and listen to the podcast. Thank you for being one of them. Secondly, I can report as a thirty-seven year old, that in fact it's not all down hill between thirty and thirty-seven, because I've, I have found my thirties, and I'm not just saying this because I've had this, like, strange good fortune of professional success, I've found my thirties to be an A+, number one decade. If I had to rank my personal decades, completely forget about, strip away like all, all professional successes or failures, just, like, relationships and personal experiences, relationship with the world, feeling of comfort, and satisfaction with the experience of being alive, I'm gonna rank them, ready?

Hank: OK.

John: Thirties, ten to twenty, twenty to thirty, zero to ten. Zero to ten is last because I didn't know what the heck was going on. (Hank laughs) I was just, like, "This is terrifying." That was pretty much, until I was ten years old I essentially never had an emotion other than fear.

Hank: That's, I don't remember that about you but I was very, very young. You, sometimes, like, it's interesting sitting here across from you because I realize how much you talk. (John and Craig laugh) You can just go on. Craig, Craig, rank your decades.

Craig: OK. I have to actually agree pretty much exactly with John, exactly. I think my thirties are my favorite because all of the social anxiety that I felt in my twenties and all of the uncertainty of, like, where my life was headed is kind of gone and not, and not just because my career, again not just because my career is really, I've had good fortune in my thirties, but because I feel more, I guess I feel more certain, like... Or the things that used to bother me don't bother me as much anymore. Like, like, like, if I, you know, say something stupid in a conversation, like "Nyeh. Whatever. There'll be other conversations." Like stuff that you, that annoy you when you're younger, I think, just kind of are glossed over when you get older, to me anyway. It feels like, like I feel more comfortable in my own skin.

Hank: I have... So being a third person who has experienced success in their thirties I'm going to try and come at it from a different angle and say that I feel like most of my friends are also that way. They feel like they've found more of their place and more of what, like, they feel comfortable with and, like, who they are. And it really, I think, like it's strange and I'm interested to see what my forties are like because maybe it'll be even better and I should ask some 48 year olds and be like "Hey, how's the forties going?" And see, maybe it just keeps getting better from, like, every, until you get to be the time when you're dying and then it might be a little painful and sad. Yeah.

Craig: I expect, I expect that the, that it'll be more of like the thirties, it'll just, I'll just be older. That's what I...

Hank: Just thirties but older until, until, you know, until you...

Craig: Until I'm gone. I mean, I will have kids eventually which will change things quite a bit but...

John: There is a drastic, drastic drop off in quality of life around ninety.

Craig: Yeah.

Hank: Yeah, yeah. That sounds about right.

John: I've never, I've never spoken to someone who said "Alright, I'm gonna rank my decades. Best, my nineties. They've been amazing."

Hank: I, I just wanna say that I find it interesting that, I've forgotten his name.

John: Steven.

Hank: That Steven has said that he's trying to, he's holding on to some vestige of his youth which is, which is evidenced by his listening to our podcast. Are we a way for people to hold on to their youths? Are we just for young people, John? I feel quite not young. I feel like a thirty-five year old.

Craig: You guys are a bunch of old men.

John: You know what I...

Hank: By you guys you mean the three of us?

Craig: Yes, yes.

John: You know what I've just noticed, Hank?

Hank: What?

John: You can just talk and talk and talk and talk. (Craig and Hank laugh)

  Question 4 (17:49)

John: We've got another question. This one comes from Alex who writes "Dear John and Hank. What clubs or sports did you participate in high school and/or college?"

Hank: Let's ask Craig as well. You go first.

Craig: I'm from a very small town so I was able, there wasn't a lot to do other than sports so I was able to participate in a lot. I participated in basketball, football, and track, mainly.

Hank: Wow.

John: Were you good at any of these?

Craig: I was pretty good at basketball.

John: Yeah.

Craig: But then, but then by junior year I wasn't tall compared to everyone else so I, I quit.

John: Oh, so you didn't play in college or anything?

Craig: No, I did track all the way up through senior year but, of high school, but then, but everything else I didn't make it past junior year.

John: Yeah. Hank?

Hank: I played hockey in high school, roller hockey.

John: Right, I remember that.

Hank: And that was the only sport I've ever played, except for, like, ultimate Frisbee in college which was not organized in any way. It was an excuse to, it was a thing you could do while drinking beer.

John: Yeah.

Hank: You can kind of play ultimate Frisbee and drink beer at the same time.

Craig: Great sport.

John: I mean, not at a professional level.

Hank: No, no. Certainly not. And as far as clubs, I was like in an art club in high school, I was in the AIDS awareness club in high school. In college I was in, like, an activism, activist club that was sort of just angry about the way that America treats the rest of the world and also the institution of capitalism. So I was sort of, like, that was my main thing in college which is an interesting, I've had an interesting progression from that.

John: Yeah, I wouldn't say you've completely abandoned that.

Hank: No.

John: I said at your wedding, and I would stand by this, that of all the communists I know, Hank loves money the most. (Craig and Hank laugh) I, I also would like to point out that you were in the marching band.

Hank: Oh, yes, I was. I didn't actually march, though, because the first year of marching band I broke my foot and so I was, I was behind and so I was in the pit. I played the pit percussion. And I also was, for a while, the high school mascot, Willie the Wildcat.

John: That, which is wonderful. I mean, I can only imagine how good of a Willie the Wildcat you must have been. You're very...

Hank: You know, looking back, I could have been better. I feel, it's one of the things that I regret. That like, I had this opportunity and I was wearing... But, like, I was very self-conscious, which is strange because I was wearing a costume. No one knew it was me.

John: Yeah.

Hank: But I was very self-conscious and I feel like I could have been a better Willie.

Craig: What would you have done differently?

Hank: I think I should have danced more. I should have, like, played with the children in the audience and, like, and, you know, just been more energetic. And I mostly just walked around and was like "Hey."

John: You know, I'm also surprised that you didn't dance more, because I happen to know that in 1998 you were voted best dancer by your fellow students at Winter Park High School.

Hank: But I never did it with the wildcat costume on.

John: You only did it at prom.

Hank: No. I did it in the marching band. Like, when we were in the stands, I would, like, totally dance, but when I was wearing the Willie the Wildcat costume, I felt self-conscience. It's very strange and I do not understand it. 

John: That is fascinating. I was mostly an ultimate Frisbee player.

Hank: Oh.

John: And I was, I would say ninth best out of the eleven starters. And then I also, I was very involved in Academic Decathlon, this weird quasi-sport where you participate in ten different academic events, from economics, to speech, to taking a history test, and you have to have, each team has to have 3 A students with GPAs above 3.5, 3 B students with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5 and 3 C students. And really, of course, like, you, the difference between a good Academic Decathlon team and a great one is its C students, because everyone has smart A students. And I was a C student for our Academic Decathlon team, and in fact, when I was very close to getting a 3.0 GPA, a teacher, who will remain anonymous, but who also worked with me on the Academic Decathlon team said "I can't help but notice that you're doing quite well in physics this year." And I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Well I just want you to know we don't have a spot for you as a B student on the Academic Decathlon team." (Hank laughs) So, I threw Physics.

Craig: You threw it?

John: I threw it. I got a D in physics so that I could maintain my C student status as an Academic Decathlete and thereby help my school at the national tournament, which that year was in Newark, New Jersey, where I very briefly, but very intensely over the course of about four hours while drinking six wine coolers, fell in love with a young woman from Oklahoma, who as it turned out had a boyfriend. But, that is a different story.

Hank: Fascinating.

Craig: I had no idea how corrupt the-

Hank: Yeah.

Craig: -the Academic Decathlon was. Or whatever that was.

Hank: (Laughs) Yeah. And I'm sure that that has had, I mean... Never mind.

  Question 5 (22:53)

Hank: This question is from Calvin who asks "Dear Hank and John. Do you think it's possible for society to promote a good thing, such as a healthy diet or active lifestyle, without stigmatizing those who don't fit that description?" I think this is interesting particularly from the public health stand point of cigarette smoking, because a lot, I feel like a lot of the way that we dramatically decrease the amount of cigarette smoking in America was by sort of having a negative image of people who smoked cigarettes. And I, definitely, like, rem... like... And I guess I still to some extent have that where I'm like "Oh!" I, you know, like, "Oh. You smoke cig... Oh! I don't know how to feel about that." Which is, of course, you know. It's, it's...

John: Well I think that it's a little different. Like I mean, I grew up with the Mar... I grew up smoking cigarettes and I quit in 2002 and like, you know, I grew up with the Marlboro Man, and like Joe Kool, the camel, who would smoke cigarettes in magazine ads in magazines I liked and everything. But I, and I do think that, like, by shifting the image of the smoker from a cool cowboy and/or a cartoon camel, to, you know, people who die of lung cancer and tuberculosis, you certainly, I think that that resulted in less smoking. I think it's very different that when you're talking about obesity or weight, that if you stigmatize...

Hank: But at the same time

John: I don't think stigmatizing obese people has in any... Which we have been doing for two centuries. I don't think it has decreased obesity.

Hank: Right. Definitely not. Yeah.

Craig: I... I think with smoking, a difference is it's obviously, and always a choice to smoke. With obesity, sometimes it's, you know, it's genetics. Sometie it's not controllable, so it's a little more of an if, if...

John: It's also, It's also not a very good reflector of health. Like, BMI, the ratio between your body weight and your height, like is not actually that good a predictor of health outcomes. Like, what is considered, people who live the longest are actually people who are what is considered to be overweight, at least in many countries. So I don't, I think this, like, this whole idea, that like some how stigmatizing fatness is going to lead to a healthier country is ridiculous.

Hank: Well the other thing, yes. The other thing is, is feeling bad about yourself does not tend to lead to less poor decision making.

John: Right. Yeah, I mean I quit...

Hank: Bad health choi... Like, feeling bad about yourself leads to more bad health choices.

John: Right. When I quit smoking, I quit smoking not because smokers were being stigmatized. I quit smoking because people were telling me I could do it.

Hank: Right, right. And the other thing is that it, with smoking it is a thing that is addictive and the goal is to not have people start, because once you start it is difficult to stop. Where as food is something that all people need to be eating.

John: I will say, as far as an active lifestyle goes, that I do think that we need to, we should promote activity in people who, you know, are able to be physically active, because that is, at least according to Dr. Aaron Carroll, the host of Health Care Triage, who is the only person I know who is a health care economist. You know, Aaron certainly feels like exercise is the, by far the biggest thing that we can do for public health today.

Craig: I will say, personally, I just recently in the past, like, year or two, started jogging a lot, and exercising a lot more, and I feel way better than I have, like, most of my life. So...

Hank: You look real good too.

Craig: Oh, well. Thank you, thank you.

Hank: I think it's just mostly your eyes, though. You have beautiful eyes.

Craig: Well, I exercise my eyes. So...

Hank: Tell me about your eye exercises.

Craig: Well, I watch the Vlogbrothers.

Hank: We always pop across the screen, we're always, like, moving from one side to the other.

Craig: A lot of jump cuts going on there. On a giant screen. I watch on a wall projection. Yeah, everyday.

Hank: Do you lift eye weights?

Craig: (Laughs) Yes, I do.

Hank: Do you put, with fish hooks?

Craig: Con... Like very sticky contact lenses.

John: You know, after my orbital cellulitis, I did have to do eye exercises.

Hank: You did?

John: Yeah.

Hank: Oh wow.

John: I couldn't see out of my left eye for the longest time and they, yeah. I did, it wasn't muscle exercises, but it was focusing exercises, where I would be like, well I guess they can't really see what I'm doing right now. (Hank laughs) That's the downside of the in-person podcast, Hank, is that I forget that they're not seeing what I'm seeing, which, by the way, what I'm seeing right now is Hank. And Craig. Hank wearing a pink shirt. Craig wearing a PBS Digital Studios shirt, always repping the brand. And I just realized now that Hank and I are wearing nearly identical gray jeans.

Hank: Correct.

  Question 6 (27:48

John: OK. I think we've got time for one last question before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. This question is from Joanna who asks "Dear John and Hank. If you could have been a child prodigy at any one thing what would it have been?"

Hank: Oh. Could I keep that skill throughout life?

John: I assume so. That's how a child prodigy usually works.

Hank: Right. So...

John: You don't forget how to play the piano.

Hank: Yeah. I just, I feel like it would probably be some kind of musical instrument.

John: Which one?

Hank: Accordion.

John: Are there child prodigies in the accordion?

Hank: Maybe not.

John: Yet.

Hank: Yet.

John: Was Weird Al Yankovic a ch... an accordion prodigy?

Hank: You know, I doubt that Weird Al Yankovic could ever... Like he's a good accordion player, but I don't know how good he is. Maybe. He's very, very good.

Craig: He's just one of the only famous ones. 

Hank: Right. 

John: Is it, and this is a genuine question for the members of the Dear Hank and John community who are well connected to the world of professional accordionists, is accordion something where you can achieve an acute level of excellence? Or is it more about, like style? You know.

Hank: I think it's something you can achieve an acute level of excellence at. I mean, you look at the accordion. It looks very complicated. It's got like eighty thousand buttons on one side.

John: I think that's an exaggeration.

Hank: And it's got a piano on the other side. I think, I think it's in the, I think you can have one with up to ninety-two, or a hundred and eight buttons.

John: OK.

Hank: And if so, that's a lot of buttons. And if you want to be able to use all of those buttons, I can't, I can't imagine what's going on in your brain to even know where all those buttons are and what they do.

John: Sure.

Hank: So, yeah, I think that, I think that... I think that you can continue becoming a better accordionist every single day, for the rest of your life if you wanted to.

John: Mmm. Craig?

Craig: Do I think that you can become a good accordionist?

John: No, what would your child prodigy skill be?

Craig: Ah. I've been thinking about it. I guess either story telling, like writing. Writing, I think.

John: There aren't a ton of writing prodigies. There are some, like Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 19. You know John Keats was a very good poet by the time he was 17 or 18. But, yeah. I mean, it's not something that people tend to be pro... particularly precocious at when they're kids. 

Craig: Yeah, I think I was,  I liked it. English classes were my favorite, especially when the teacher had us write short stories and I think I was pretty good at making the other students laugh with my short stories.

John: Yeah.

Craig: But they weren't, they weren't Keats.

John: Right. Yeah, well I mean, I recently reread one of my stories from college, thinking that I could use it to write, just as a framework for writing a new book, instead of having to write a whole book, which seems like a lot of work. And I remember this story as being pretty close to brilliant, and I reread it and I was like, sadly, there is not even a salvageable dependent clause in this entire sixty pages. (Hank laughs) So, I certainly was no writing prodigy. I guess, like, if I could be prodigious at anything as a child, it would have been math, because I find math to be such an interesting language. But, it's also a language that I feel like I speak, or can use only, only little bits of. You know, like I speak math at a five year old level. But I'm fascinated by the beauty of it and I think it would help me to appreciate Mars better, and this sort of, you know, the vast, vast, vast majority of the universe, which is outside of direct human experience. I feel like, you know, being able to speak math helps you to interact with, with that universe, as well as the human universe, a lot better. And I regret, like, not having a better sort of facility with mathematics, even in adulthood. But, you know, it is something that I've spent a lot of time trying to learn about as an adult. But I wish that I'd just, like, picked it up when I was eight.

Craig: I would have said math, but I was a prodigy at math.

Hank: Oh, right. You didn't, you already have that one.

Craig: Mhmm.

John: Hank, you were kind of a math prodigy.

Hank: Not at all. Not at all. 

John: No, I remember you knew like, you could do your multiplication tables in like, third grade.

Hank: Yeah, sure that kind of math. But that's not the kind of math I want to be prodigious at.

John: No, you want to do, like, the calculus.

Hank: Calculus, and yeah.

John: Geometry.

Hank: The interesting stuff.

John: Yeah. The stuff like my friend Daniel Biss does where he proved that a triangle is really just a kind of circle. (hank and Craig laugh) That stuff is amazing. It's mind blowing. Or, like, understanding why, you know, trees have symmetrical leaves and stuff.

Hank: Yeah.

John: I don't know. There's so much, there's so much beauty out there that you don't get to appreciate if you aren't aware of, aware of it.

  News from Mars (32:38

John: Hank.

Hank: Yes.

John: Speaking of beauty that often goes unappreciated, what is the news from Mars this week?

Hank: Do we want to say goodbye to Craig first?

Craig: I probably have to go, but I really appreciate you guys having me on this podcast.

Hank: Yeah, so thank you to Craig, Wheezy Waiter, for joining us., also the host of The Good Stuff,, also the host of Crash Course: World... Crash Course: "Regular" Government and Politics on

John: "Regular" government mostly being American government.

Hank: (Laughs) Yes, American government.

Craig: American, yes.

Hank: Yes. Normal, like American cheese is the regular kind, regular kind of cheese.

Craig: Yeah, the standard global cheese.

John: Our global, our global listeners have no idea what American cheese is, but let me assure you, friends, you also don't want to find out.

Craig: No.

John: It's only gonna disappoint you.

Hank: So, Craig, thank you very much for joining us.

Craig: Yes. Thank you for having me.

Hank: Enjoy, and go home to your lady. Give me a hug.

Craig: I will. Oh. We're hugging.

Hank: We're hugging.

John: OK. We're gonna hug it out.

Hank: Good to see ya.

Craig: Good to see ya.

John: Thanks. Yeah, say hi to Chyna for me.

Craig: Happy podcasting.

John and Hank: Thank you.

Hank: Alright.

John: Hank.

Hank: Yes?

John: What is the news from Mars this week?

Hank: This week in Mars news, John, have you ever wanted to have your name on the surface of Mars?

John: Yes.

Hank: 'Cause you can have that.

John: Really?

Hank: You could do that right now. NASA's sending a mission to Mars, soon, and included on that mission will be a very small silicon chip that they will be etching people's names into. And I just signed up and had them etch my name into this chip that they're gonna send to Mars.

John: How much does it cost?

Hank: It's free!

John: What?

Hank: It's free!

John: Where can you go to sign up?

Hank: You have to go to

John: Go to and you can have your name etched onto a silicon chip that will be on Mars. Will it stay on Mars?

Hank: Yeah.

John: Forever?

Hank: Yeah. 

John: Nope, incorrect. Because in forever the universe will just die.

Hank: (Laughs) OK, for at least a billion years.

John: Yeah, well, I mean unless Mars gets hit by a gigantic comet and that silicon chip comes flying and hits Earth and kills somebody.

Hank: Oh, yeah. Then it would be on Earth in a person's head. With your name.

John: (Laughs) I want to sign up for that.

Hank: Yeah, you could do that.

John: It's totally free?

Hank: Yeah, it's absolutely free.

John: You're telling me that NASA is just giving away naming rights to Mars?

Hank: No.

John: Because AFC Wimbledon charges a lot for them. (Both laugh)

  News from AFC Wimbledon (35:12

John: That's great. Congratulations. In AFC Wimbledon news, AFC Wimbledon just had an evening of Paper Towns, where the manager and several of the players and lots and lots of AFC Wimbledon fans decked out in their AFC Wimbledon gear and went to a theater in south London and all watched the Paper Towns movie together, and then made me the sweetest, most awesome video about the experience, which you can find on my Twitter, And it was really wonderful. Also, Hank, Callum Kennedy, you know Callum Kennedy, AFC Wimbledon left-back, hero of the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys, the fictional version of AFC Wimbledon I play FIFA with. Callum Kennedy scored a goal against Cambridge United. Only three points from three games so far, worrisomely. But Callum Kennedy scored a goal for, against Cambridge and he did a celebration that has gone viral, in which he attempted to recreate the velociraptor run from the movie Jurassic World. And if you have not had a chance to see that, you should, because it is a thing of true beauty.

Hank: That sounds, that sounds enjoyable to me. John, I have a question. There's one goal from Callum Kennedy in this game. I'm assuming that it was not the only goal scored in that game. 

John: Indeed it was not. Sadly, there were two goals scored by Cambridge. (Both laugh) Hence, hence the zero points that came out of that game. So three league games so far for AFC Wimbledon, one win, two losses. That means three points out of three games, not where we'd like to be. But, the season is young; hope is the thing with feathers.

  Conclusion (37:11

John: What did we learn today, Hank?

Hank: We learned that John, when he's sitting across from you, it really does hit home how much he talks.

John: Today's podcast is brought to you by Hank. Hank, making fun of me for talking too much, even though, I bet if we did the math, he talks more on Dear Hank and John than I do.

Hank: Today's podcast is brought to you by the person who is actually going to do the math. Person who's actually going to do the math, you are an amazing fan of this podcast and I can't wait. Put it on Twitter.

John: Today's podcast is brought to you by your thirties. Your thirties, underrated.

Hank: Today's podcast is brought to you by Wheezy Waiter.

John: We also learned that both Hank and I played ultimate Frisbee, as children.

Hank: Yeah, we learned that John intentionally threw his physics "game", so that he could participate in another "game".

John: Well I wouldn't really call the study of physics in high school a "game".

Hank: You know your "game" though.

John: You mean my grade?

Hank: Yeah! Like your game, like this is... Like it's all, like it's a phrase.

John: Like my physics game is strong? 

Hank: Yeah

John: Oh okay. I didn't know that we were speaking so colloquially. And of course we also learned that Hank, if he'd just had the chance, would have been a brilliant young accordionist.

Hank: No, I probably wouldn't have been, but that's what I want.

John: To have been, yes.

Hank: And then I can, then... Man, wouldn't it be amazing if The Perfect Strangers, if I like, if I was like a rocking accordionist? 

John: For those of you that don't know, Hank, in addition to being a Vlogbrother, the host of CrashCourse, the co-creator of VidCon and DFTBA Records, is a rockstar, and his current band is Hank Green and The Perfect Strangers. 

Hank: And they unfortunately are not headed by a lead singer who also plays the accordion. 

John: Tragically, Hank is unable to play the accordion, which is the reason that Hank Green and The Perfect Strangers will always be a bit of a niche band. 

Hank: (Laughs) Really holding us back.

John: If only you could only play the accordion, you guys would really breakout onto the Billboard charts.

Hank: I think so. You can participate in Dear Hank & John by sending us questions to This podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, the theme music is by Gunnarolla, and as they say in our hometown:

Both: Don't Forget To Be Awesome!