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How do you learn new things as an adult? Oral surgery advice? Worrying about hexagons and etc!

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

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

H: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother, John, answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Hey John, how are you this week?

J: I'm alright. I just came from my two-year-old daughter Alice's, a parent-teacher conference analyzing her progress in school thus far.

H: Mmm, mhmm.

J: She's, you know, she's just turned two so it's a little early to declare victory but there was widespread agreement that she is a genius.

H: (Laughs) That's great news! Though also probably, possibly troubling. Like genius can come with its own, with its own troubles.

J: Sure, but she's the smiley kind of genius. She's pleasant, she's social, she knows essentially every word. No, I couldn't be, I couldn't be prouder of Alice. I have to tell you there is nothing more surreal than being in a parent-teacher conference for a two-year-old child because, of course, there is very little to say. (Both laugh). She eats with both her hands, that's the level of, like, that's the level of analysis that we can get into.

H: That's not nothing.

J: But otherwise things are OK here in Indianapolis. I'm still struggling a bit to find a new medication regimen that will work for me with my mental health disorders but otherwise I'm well, the family is well. Yeah. Sarah's in Washington, D.C., right now for the Art Assignment so I get to be with the kids 24 hours a day which is, you know, it's a thing. It's mostly fun and really, really rewarding. I'm lucky that I like being a dad. How are you, Hank?

H: I'm good. We just had our VidCon, like, big planning meeting with all of the VidCon staff so that ended literally moments before we started recording this podcast which is why I was a little late and John has been waiting for me. Sorry, John.

J: And I assume the summary is that VidCon will be great next year, and that everyone should get their tickets now at

H: VidCon will indeed be great next year. And everyone should, indeed, get their tickets at Now available at!

J: Speaking of which, Hank, it's not just the time of year when VidCon tickets become available, it's that magic time of year that in Vlogbrothers world we call Pizzamas! 

H: It is currently Pizzamas.

J: A two week period in which you and I make videos back and forth every day and also there are Pizza John items available at that you can pre order, but only during Pizzamas. So if you would like a Pizza John shirt - if you don't know what a Pizza John shirt is, don't worry, you're in a huge majority of Americans and other people - but if you would like a Pizza John shirt, or a leaning tower of Pisa John shirt or any number of other Pizza John items, including Pizza John shoelaces, you can check that out at Hank, today I don't think we need to do the sponsoring thing because I think we've just actually had a sponsored podcast.

H: Dude, what? When? How? What? Oh. Yes, yes! By, uh, by VidCon and by Pizzamas.

J: Yes, yes.

H: Do you have a short poem for us?

J: I do, it's called "Poetry", it's a special poem just for you, Hank, by Marianne Moore. Again, the title is "Poetry". You must bear in mind the title, "Poetry," as I read you the poem.

"I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine."

Poetry, by Marianne Moore. Published in The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore, published in 1967.

H: Where do you think cynicism comes from, John?

J: Well, uh, the word comes from the ancient Greeks. Where do I think the idea of cynicism comes from? Well, I mean, I think it comes from suspicion. I think that we are born rightly suspicious of one another and of the universe. Suspicious that perhaps the universe is not overwhelmingly interested in what happens to us.

H: Alright. Let's do a question! That was my question, and John answered it.

J: God, this is such a great comedy podcast. I just- is it- you know, I listen to comedy podcasts all the time, and what always I find myself thinking is "Well, this one's actually funny." And that's the big- that's their big structural advantage over us, Hank.

H: Well, you know, John, uh, sometimes it's okay to be structurally at a disadvantage, and I'm fine with that. You know, I think we've put ourselves in a place where we are incapable of success in this particular genre, and that's alright. Growing outside of our current growth seems unnecessary to me. I want this to be super indie. I want it to be an indie underground comedy podcast that isn't funny.

J: It's like when-

H: And that's the only way to do it, is just to not be funny, ever.

J: Yeah, that's the most indie comedy, is the comedy that doesn't even try to be at all funny. One of my favorite comedy performances of all time was Andy Kaufman reading the entirety of The Great Gatsby.

H: Yeah, we're just, we're not as good as Andy Kaufman at this.

J: No.

H: But we can endeavour to try, and to list our podcast as comedy, and then talk about existential difficulties and the origins of cynicism. And, boom! Boom! Like, you know, a tenth of the way to Andy Kaufman. 

J: I'd say like maybe a thousandth. But let's answer a question from a listener. 

H: Okay.

 Question 1 (5:53)

H: This one is from Erin, who says "Dear Hank and John, As a proper adult (I think) I would love some dubious advice. So I've been to University and come out the other side and one thing I now know is how much I still don't know. My study has always been focused on one area - Art and Curatorship and Education - but I want to start learning about other areas of life and I don't know where to get started. Where do you start learning about science and poetry and language and maths as an adult, especially if those subjects are your worst at school?"

J: Well that's sort of the life story of my education. I think most of it happened after college, or at least outside of my two areas of study, English Literature and Religion, because I paid so little attention to school when I was in it. It was rather wasted on me, unfortunately. So for me the best way in was books. I don't think that's true for everyone. I think there's great YouTube channels now and I think you can follow, hopefully CrashCourse could be helpful, but also there's things like MinutePhysics and lots of other channels. But for me it was books, and there are lots and lots and lots of books that seek to introduce you to physics, or biology, or to chemistry, and they can be somewhat tough going at first, but I don't know, that was my way in. Hank, how bout you?

H: I agree, and, yes. The difficulty is always that sometimes you will read something and you'll be like "Well, that is clearly above my pay grade, and so can we take a few steps back?" Finding the things that are really written for the lay person to sort of create the structure on which you can build your knowledge of a topic is always the hard part. I tend to actually end up doing that on Wikipedia a lot. And like I will just get interested in a topic and I will read the Wikipedia page. And the nice thing about Wikipedia is that like in a moment you can click on the thing that you don't understand, and you don't even have to type it into the search bar, and you're reading the article, and you're like, "Okay, now I have to, like- I don't quite get this, but there's this thing is clearly the part of this that I don't understand and so I need to understand that part."

 (08:00) to (10:00)

H: I also think that it is really valuable to look at what you do understand and use that as a structure on which to build into other areas, and so, sort of like a, uh, you know, a mold spreading across a piece of bread as it were.

J: Yeah.

H: So you can take over the whole piece of bread, but you start from where you're at. You know, you start from where you already have a deep understanding, where you've penetrated the bread and are extracting nutrients from the bread and you understand that deeply, and then you move into other areas more on the surface and then go deeper until you've consumed the entire piece of bread and made it inedible to man.

J: Yeah. I don't know if you're not allowed to eat mold. I think you can eat mold, I think it just might make you sick. Yeah, so for instance if you've studied art and curatorship, you might have studied something involving perspective in Renaissance painting or whatever, and that can be a way into big, interesting questions in geometry. Like an example of this for me is that I read a David Foster Wallace book, Everything and More, because I really like David Foster Wallace but the book was about infinity, and how some infinite sets are larger than other infinite sets, which is an important part of my novel The Fault in Our Stars. And even though a lot of the math in the book was over my head and in the end it turned out some of the math was, in fact, wrong, I was really, really fascinated by the way that David Foster Wallace could link things that I already knew about, in literature or in folklore, to things that I didn't know about in, for instance, Calculus and Set Theory.

H: Yeah, and I find the more that you know about something, if you start small, the more that you know the more you want to know, and the more interesting it all gets at every level.

 Question 2 (9:40)

J: Okay, Hank, we have a question from Louisa. This is a vitally important one, and very time-sensitive. "Dear John and Hank, I need to have my wisdom teeth removed in the near future. Do you have any tips on how to prepare for, and recover from, oral surgery?"

H: Well, do not forget to have a person, the person who's picking you up and taking you home, because of course you cannot drive home, to have their cell phone ready to film you so that you can have that for the archives. Don't necessarily upload it onto YouTube, but it is a nice thing to show around at dinner parties, because there's nothing like being completely, completely trashed on oral surgery medication.

J: That is the number one thing you have to remember, is to video tape the immediate aftermath of you waking up. It's vitally important. There are some other things - you know, making sure you don't get an infection that kills you, etc. - but videotaping the moments after you wake up from oral surgery, absolutely vital. So, you've come to the right place, Louisa, as you can already tell from Hank's excellent advice, because I've had 11 oral surgeries, so I am an expert in preparing for and recovering from oral surgery. The first thing that I would say is that getting your wisdom teeth taken out, as oral surgeries go, not that big of a deal. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Unless you've got some serious impaction or something, basically you're going to want to take the pain medication as soon as you're supposed to so you can stay ahead of the pain, and you probably won't need it for more than a day or two. You're going to eat some grits and some milkshakes (don't suck through a straw). Listen to your doctor, and just change out the bloody gauze now and again and you're gonna be fine. It's nothing compared to what I've had.

H: I had a moment after my wisdom teeth got taken out where there was some food stuck in the hole. Do your best not to have that happen. So, stay off the solid foods for as long as they tell you to, and use that little injecty thing. Fill it up with body temperature water, and make sure you clean out your bloody holes, in your mouth.

J: Yeah, just be sure to clean out your bloody holes Louise and you'll be fine.

H: and also I will say make sure you have the person who's filming you be a person you can trust.

J: Yep. Yeah, cuz you don't want them uploading that to YouTube without your permission. So Hank, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, when I woke up my surgeon said "are you a religious man?" And I said, "yeah, you know, somewhat." And he said "I ask because when I gave you the sedation, you crossed yourself once which seemed pretty normal, but then you continued to cross yourself for three or four minutes until finally a nurse just had to hold your hand down. (Hank cackles) Because he couldn't get into my mouth because I was too busy crossing myself.

H: Yeah, the power of Christ compels you. (John chuckles) yeah, like you were unconscious.

J: Yeah, but I really really wanted to make sure as I was going down that I was well-settled with the lord.

H: I after my wisdom teeth came out, watched the entire Godfather trilogy, which is still a trilogy that I have not seen as far as I'm concerned because I remember nothing of it.

J: Well I can summarize it for you. The first two movies are arguably the two best films ever made, the third movie is maybe the worst movie of all time.

H: Ah, well. That was disappointing.

J: So just watch the first two.

 Question 3 (13:28)

H: Alright John, we've got another question. This one is from Udy (?) who asks "Dear Hank and John, every homeroom in school, someone from my homeroom is responsible for bringing in food because lunch is often a lot later in the day. Somebody brought in a bag of potato chips recently and I ate a lot of them and one of my friends criticized me for my eating style, saying I should eat potato chips with only two fingers instead of three so that the potato chip dust concentrates more on two fingers and it is easier and more fun to lick it off. I refuted this--"


H: What's wrong?

J: Oh god, first off oh my god your dinner is burning. We're like halfway through the podcast, I completely forgot.

H: Well we're way... this is a different podcast, that was last podcast. This person has already set up their cell phone to scream for us.

J: I know, but somebody's dinner could still be burning, Hank. We have to stop this question right now. You do not. Ever. Lick. Your. Fingers. Ever. Period. Ever. No! No.

H: John and I are gonna disagree on this one. I'm licking my finger right now.

J: (horrified) Oh god!

H: There it is, we're doing it. Uh-huh (finger in his mouth) there's my finger.

J: Oh god! Are you currently in the shower? (Hank laughs) Cuz that is the only time when it's remotely acceptable. Have you just applied Purell? You do not, unless you are absolutely certain that your hands are quite clean, you do not lick your fingers.

Hank, can I tell you the thing that bothers me most about the National Football League? Which is a sport here in the United States in which large men play with a ball, mostly with their hands. Anyway, what bothers me most is there's this position called the quarterback and every single NFL quarterback immediately before the hiking of the ball, they lick their fingers. All of them. It's the most horrifying thing because these are men who are sweating, they're touching other people's sweat and blood and god only knows what else and then they lick their fingers before every single play. It's a miracle that all of them don't have norovirus every week. I'm sorry to feel so passionately about this but I just feel we need to stop this question right now and say it is not OK to lick the potato chip dust off your fingers.

H: I think that one of the principal joys in life is being able to ingest bacteria and not die. And that's something that we do constantly every day. If you eat food, lick your lips, touch things, if you're-- you know you went in the White River and drank literally thousands of people's feces John. It's OK.

J: Hopefully just hundreds.

H: At least hundreds, probably thousands.

J: yeah.

H: It is alright. It is OK to-- that we have, you know this relationship, we have an immune system and it functions very well and if you do not have an immune system problem, you can lick the potato chip dust off of your fingers, and John you are going to disagree with me and that's OK. We're going to agree to disagree on this one and I'm gonna continue to like you as a person.

J: I think that might be the most dubious advice that you have ever offered in the entire history of this dubious advice podcast.

H: You know, people have been licking their fingers since the beginning of time. It's literally a cliche, "finger lickin' good!" It has in the three word cliche, the description of what finger licking is and the word good. It's not bad.

J: Do you know what all of those people from the beginning of time who licked their fingers have in common?

H: They died of various diseases that were not caused by finger-licking.

J: They're dead. You were on the right track, but they're all dead. Every single one of them. They're finger-licking dead. (Hank Guffaws) Let's move on. Utie (?), respectfully, just don't. Just don't. It doesn't matter if you're licking two fingers or three fingers, just don't lick the fingers!

H: Well, OK, we're-- I agree that it doesn't matter which fingers you're licking. John and I can agree on that point, but Utie (?) has a second part of the question, which was "how can we agree on important things like who should be the next president or if Darth Vader was ultimately good, when we can't even agree on how many fingers we should eat potato chips with?"

J: Oh I see, so the underlying question is like "given how difficult it is to come to a consensus on very basic things like whether we should lick our fingers to death, should we-- how are we ever going to come to consensus on more complicated topics?" The answer to that question I think is with a very large data sample. Like, in a very large conversation that is inclusive.

H: So, the wisdom of the crowds.

J: Yeah, I think that we govern better and we live better when we learn together and listen to each other and include as many voices as possible in these big conversations about what we should do and why, and I think, by the way, that if we included every possible voice, there would be widespread agreement that you shouldn't lick your fingers after eating potato chips, but let's move on.  

H: Or we could just compromise, average it out, and say that you should be eating with one and a half fingers.  

J: And that is almost precisely the argument that the United States Congresspeople make against compromise.  

H: What, are we gonna cut everybody's fingers off just to--everybody's only gonna have one and a half fingers at the end of this conversation.  I threw my pen.  I was angry.

J: Yes, it's not a sound argument, but it is one that I often hear from Congresspeople.

 Question 4 (19:42)

J: Let's move on to another question, Hank.  This one's from Alex. He writes, "Dear John and Hank, This is a pressing question that has been haunting me for the last few days."  Oh, oh, for days!  I was expecting years.

H: Days.

J: "Why are bananas hexagons?"  Well, I would argue that bananas themselves are not hexagons, that they're rather circular, but the peel--

H: Yes.

J: --is rather hexagonocal--hexagonacal?  Hexagonacal?  Professor McGonagall? 

H: Hexagonal.

J: Oh!

H: And, yeah, I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't--like, I want a banana in front of me right now, 'cause I'm not sure that bananas are hexagonal or that they certainly--I'm not sure that they would be universally hexagonal.  I mean, there are lots of hexagons in nature, though.  It is a very strong shape.  It is the shape that--it is good at having a large surface area to volume ratio.

J: Why is it-oh, that's why--so if something is like a shape that appears a lot in nature, it's often because it's a strong shape?  Explain that to me.

H: Well, I mean, like, for example, if a bee wants to build a honeycomb, they want that thing to be structurally sound.

J: Sure.

H: And, you know, like, grids of hexagons just are really good at stress load, so they, like, they have lots of different little points where the stress, like, if you compress them, it's like, there's no one point that has a ton of stress on it, it shares the load between a lot of different points, and the--but like, yeah, the reappearance of certain shapes over and over again in nature is very interesting and very weird in that it follows, you know, mathematical patterns that we established before we found them in nature is very interesting, and is sort of above my pay grade.

J: Is that what John Nash wrote his Nobel prize winning paper on?

H: I do not think so.

J: Okay.  Well.  What do I know.  So, Hank, let me ask you a question, this may be a stupid question, but uh, if a hexagon is good, does that mean that an octagon is better and it's just that like, bees aren't smart enough to have figured that out?

H: Well, uh, first, it would not be bees, it would be just sort of the process of evolution that quote, unquote "figured that out", just trial and error, and what worked, and stickin' with what works.

Uh, but, I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't think that an octagon would be better, there might be a shape that would be better, but hexagons are really good at stress load, and at like, the amount of material you have to use per thing in nature, so it lets you use less stuff to have more--

J: Alright, so, basically, we're gonna have to get a real expert in industrial engineering on this podcast to answer that question.

H: My--the important thing that I have to say here is I don't know, and I think that it's important that I say that more often.  

J: Okay, good, I will look forward to finding out about that next week.  In the meantime, we need to answer a couple more questions from our listeners before we get to the amazing news from AFC Wimbledon and also the news from Mars, which is a cold dead rock in the middle of space.

 Question 5 (23:10)

H: I do have another question.  It's from Monica, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, For my senior year of high school, I decided to take AP Government class.  So far, I've very much enjoyed the class and discussions that we have.  I took the class because I feel that as an American, it's important to understand our government and politics.  I'm very interested in voting in the upcoming presidential election.  I know both of you feel strongly about voting, so I was hoping you could explain the process that I will have to go through in order to vote, including everything leading up to voting and the actual action of voting itself.  Thank you."

J: So, Monica, you get to something important about voting, which is that it's stressful and it's a little bit overwhelming and it feels complicated and often it is a little bit complicated, especially in the United States, perhaps even, arguably much more complicated than it needs to be, because there are forces in the world that would like a person that is as young as yourself not to vote.  

H: Yeah.

J: And those forces are at times, very powerful, so it depends on where you live.  In some places, you can register to vote on the day that you vote.  In some places, you can vote early, and so you have to look up the rules in your particular state, but in most places, you have to register to vote.  You can do that at a DMV or a library.  I like to do it at the library, because then you get to get books as well, so it's kind of a double win, and um, or you could do it at the post office, there's lots of places you can register to vote.  You can also do it through the mail, I think.  It depends on where you are, though.

H: Yeah.  Also, the nice thing about all of this is that we now live in a world where you can type in the name of your state and "register to vote" and oftentimes, you can just do it on the Internet, so--

J: That's true!

H: Yes.

J: There's always the Internet, I keep forgetting about the Internet! That's a great point.

H: Yeah, it's because when we registered to vote you literally couldn't... like, in order to figure out how to register to vote... like, I only did it because there was a table at my college that was like "register to vote" and I was like "yeah. yeah, I'll do that" and that's kind of crazy that it used to be so hard and now even if you can't do it on the internet, it will tell you how to do it and give you a number of options for how to register to vote if you've never registered. And there's nothing bad about registering to vote. People will say "oh no, you're gonna get jury duty" no, you will get jury duty whether or not you register to vote, it's not like you're registering for jury duty, that is a completely different list of names. And then as far as the process goes, I am at a point in my life, and luckily Montana has laws with regards to this, that I don't go to the polls anymore. Now I think that every person should do that at least once in their life, like go do the thing, but now I just absentee vote even though I'm not absentee and there's a word for that that escapes me at the moment--

J: Early voting.

H: Early voting! They just send you an envelope in the mail, you sign up for them to send you the envelope and you do it, there's a little thing to sign on the thing to make sure I did this, and not some person who lives in my house, and then you sign on the outside of the envelope, and you follow all the instructions, and it's--you get time to think about it, and you know, if you don't know what one of the ballot initiatives is, you can look it up on the Internet, the whole process, if you do a lot of research, takes like, an hour, and like, to, like, that's obviously not gonna be what you do if you go to the poll, and you like, have to like, look at the ballot, what it's gonna be, before you do it, and do all that research beforehand, so early voting is really nice if your state allows it, and I suggest that, you know, going to the polls is a unique experience and one that I am glad that I have done, but early voting is super easy and not stressful at all.

J: Yeah, so I find going to the polls a little bit stressful, 'cause you have to stand in line and stuff, but you can bring a sample ballot with you.  That's what I do every year, I bring a sample ballot with me that I print out from the Internet, and I have filled out my sample ballot already in advance, so I know the answer to all of the questions about who I'm going to vote for before I get to the voting booth.  Now, I will say that I made a mistake in my first presidential vote, which was embarrassingly late in my life, it was in 2004, I made a mistake and I just raised my hand and said, "I have made a mistake, I have voted for the wrong person for president," and someone came and they spoiled my ballot and they allowed me, you know, and then you get to vote again.  It was a little bit embarrassing, but I learned that it's, in fact, very easy and not a big deal.  In general, all of these things are stressful because they are unknowns, but they are not difficult and there are people there at every step of the way who want you to vote, and the most important thing, I would say, is this is the way we have in the United States of your voice being heard.  It is not a perfect way, and I think right now, the political system in the United States is not perfect. It's not particularly high-functioning, but like, this is the way, so it is vitally important that you do it, and not just, I would argue, in the presidential side of things, but also way down the ballot.  I mean, who are you going to vote for for comptroller turns out to be a very important and interesting question, and so take a little time to do your research, to learn about the candidates, to learn about their positions, and to learn about the parties that they represent, and vote not just for president, but all the way down the ballot.

H: And an interesting thing has happened in America because of both gerrymandering and because people who are more liberal tend to think more nationally, and people who are more conservative tend to think more locally, that we have, you know, we are entering an era where we may end up having a lot of Democratic presidents and a lot, like, a vast majority of Republicans in local government, and that becomes a difficult country to manage.  It becomes, like, it starts to feel like there are two different forces running the country, and that--that tension between local government and national government becomes that much more intense, and that tension is always going to exist and is kind of meant to exist, but event--like, I worry a great deal that, you know, a lot of people don't think at all about their local politics, especially if they, like me, live on the Internet, and that we end up in a world where no government gets done because all government--because state and local government have--are continually at odds with each other.  

J: Yeah, that's an interesting observation.  I am less--I am less convinced that there is a sort of national Democratic majority than a lot of people are, obviously, we'll see in this presidential election cycle, but I do think that there is a disconnect for people who live on the Internet that they don't think about local politics the same way that other people do, and we need to. We need to think more about local politics.  I think that is a huge issue. I also share your concern, Hank.  As you know, I am a massive fan of stability, I think stability is the most underrated political resource, and that's easy for me to say being in a stable position of power, but um, but I really do, I think like, government that works is extremely important.  It's more important in the end than like, like, for instance, like, government that works is more important to me than the question of whether we should have lots of government regulations or not that many.  Like, having a highway bill every year, which we had for, you know, 55 years until this sort of gridlock descended upon our federal government, having a highway bill every year is really, really important.  More important, in the end, than the highway bill being perfect, and I worry that we have moved away from government that works toward government that seeks to be perfect or ideologically rigid and in that process, we have lost a big part of kind of the United States' competitive advantage of always being a place where we fix our bridges.

H: At the very least.  

J: I'll tell you what, man, being a country that has good bridges is incredibly underrated.  I have been to a lot of countries that don't have good bridges, and it really slows down commerce and also everything else.  It makes everything harder, so here's to good bridges.

 Commercial Break (31:50)

H: This episode of Dear Hank and John brought to you by good bridges.  They are underrated and lovely and, you know, functional, practical, sometimes grey concrete, but man, do we use them all the time. Not only when we drive over them, but also when we buy food at the store.

J: And today's episode of Dear Hank and John is also brought to you by Pizzamas.  Pizzamas!  Going on now at 

H: Today's episode of Dear Hank and John is brought to you by potato chip dust.  That stuff that is somehow perfectly evenly distributed over every single potato chip that makes it taste just the right amount of salt and just the right amount of vinegar.

J: And of course, today's episode of Dear Hank and John is, as always, brought to you by death.  Death!  The certain consequence of licking your fingers.

 Question 6 (32:40)

J: Alright, Hank, one last question, this one's from Dale.  He writes, "Dear John and Hank, December 21st is when my son will be born into this world, and I'm really excited and cannot wait to see him and hold him, but how do I know I'm going to be a good dad?  I mean, I think I will be.  So my question is, how do you know how to be a good dad?"

Now, you might think that this question's more for me than for Hank, but we, as it happens, we both have a good dad, a really good dad, and so perhaps we can draw on some of our experience of having had a good dad in answering this question, but as far as my own experience at being a father goes, I would say the main thing that I try to do, and I don't know if this is right or wrong or what, I don't really believe anybody when they give parenting advice, the main thing that I try to do is to love my kids and to help them know that they are safe.  When they're an infant, you know, that's relatively easy, it just means holding them, it means comforting them when they cry, showing superhuman patience when they wake up at 3:30 in the morning and won't stop crying and when I lose that patience, walking away rather than like, you know, screaming at them.  But then, as they get older, I think it's the, you know, for me at least so far, it's the same thing, just with a slightly more complicated organism that I'm parenting, but I think, you know, it's interesting to think about our dad, Hank, because I think that both of our parents were uncommonly or still are uncommonly good parents.

H: Yeah, I--what I felt like was that my dad tried to help figure out who I was, and helped me figure out who I was, and that meant when I showed an interest in something, supporting that, and when I, you know, like, when I adopted identities, being supportive of them and being enthusiastic about those things himself, and wanting to be a part of the things that I was a part of, and now, of course, eventually, that felt like it was overbearing and I was like, ahh, Dad, you're trying to always get all the stuff and too supportive, stop being so dang supportive, Dad, but um, but for the most part, I really do help--I really do feel like it helped me figure out who I was and become me and become comfortable in me and that was really important.

J: Yeah, I think that's exactly right.  I think both of our parents have been that for us.  They always wanted us to live our dreams.  They never wanted us to live their dreams, and they um, they were always, you know, very supportive in us figuring out our dreams and even when our dreams were not typical or maybe easy, easy dreams, they were always very supportive of them.  One thing your comment reminded me of, Hank, is when I was going through a very rebellious phase when I was in 9th grade, I bought the Nine Inch Nails album Pretty Hate Machine.

H: Oh, yeah.

J: Great album.  And, um, but it has a lot of explicit lyrics in it and everything.  My dad was like, do you mind if I listen to that?  And I was like, no, it's fine, man, yeah, but you're not gonna like it, it's really hardcore, and my dad listened to the album and infuriatingly, he came into my room, and I remember he said, "This is so good, I'm gonna have to get my own copy." It was the most effective way to completely, like, de-fang all of my, like, you know, teenage rebellious rage for him to be like, you know, some of the lyrics are a little bit provocative, but I really enjoy the music.  

H: Yeah, I mean, it is a really good album.  I inherited that from you, I think.  Either that, or I ended up with Dad's. 

J: Yeah, I don't think Dad really liked it.  I think he was just proving a point.

 News from Mars (36:38)

J: Alright, let's move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Hank, what is the news from Mars this week?  

H: Hey, John, have you ever felt like boy, I want somebody to put me on top of the largest bomb ever and shoot me into outer space?  Well, NASA is looking for its next round of astronauts.  They have officially open--they will be officially opening up applications to become an astronaut.  The qualifications are surprisingly accessible.  You only need to have a BS in a science-related degree, and it helps if you have some experience flying planes, but not completely necessary, and also you will have to pass their physical, because being an astronaut is a physical activity.  They will accept between 8 and 12 astronauts for this round, and those people might be the people who end up being the astronauts who go to Mars on the very first manned Mars missions, which would be pretty exciting, which are planned for the 2030s, but you know, that's just a plan.

J: Hank.  Are you going to apply?

H: No.  Definitely not.  I would not pass the physical, I probably couldn't just because of my colitis, and also I get seasick really easily, and also I am afraid of death.

J: Yeah, I am also not going to apply. I don't think that I would make it very far in the application process when they are like, uh, how do you feel about living with six people for a year?  Are you a pretty emotionally stable person?  I would be like, I'm out.  

H: Yeah, nope.  Nope.  Definitely not.  We do have, John, a friend who is applying.  

J: Wow, that's exciting!  

H: Yeah, Destin from Smarter Every Day.  He is--

J: Whoa--and he would be a great astronaut, actually.  

H: Yeah!  He would, and he's working hard toward that goal, he wants to make it happen.

J: That--that would be so, so cool to know an astronaut would almost be better than being an astronaut.  

H: Uh, it definitely would be better than being an astronaut, though, at the same time, I--that would make me extremely nervous, just--

J: Yeah.

H: I mean, less nervous that doing it myself, but very nervous.  

J: Yeah, agreed.  I love Destin very much, and I also love his family.

 News from AFC Wimbledon(38:54)

J: Can I tell you the news from AFC Wimbledon, Hank?

H: Yeah, go ahead and do that.

J: It's darkness.  It's pure darkness.

H: Oh, no!  I thought you said it was exciting!

J: Yeah.  No, no, no.  I was lying.  I was trying to get people to make it to the end of the podcast.  The truth is darkness.

H: Oh, no.

J: Uh, as you know, Hank, last year, AFC Wimbledon advanced to the 3rd round of the FA Cup where they played Liverpool Football Club, the team I've supported since I was a kid.  It was an amazing night, I flew to London to go to the game, and it was just a wonderful thing.  This year, that won't be happening, because AFC Wimbledon lost in the first round of the FA Cup to a team from the league below them called Forest Green, which is not even a football team, it's a color. 

H: Oh, no.

J: I know.

H: Oh, man.

J: They lost to a color, Hank.  They lost 2-1, entirely, in my opinion, because noted Montserratian international Lyle Taylor did not score a goal for the first time in several outings, so you know, in some ways it's bad news, I mean, in fact, in almost every way, it's bad news, but I try to find the silver lining, and this is it. This means that we can focus all of our energy on winning League II, on advancing up to League I, so now we don't have any distractions, we don't have any other competitions, the focus is all on us the league games.

This weekend for me, the past for people who are listening to this, AFC Wimbledon play probably the biggest team in League II, Portsmouth, which has a, like a 20,000 seat stadium, tens of thousands of people go to their games every week, it's really exciting to be able to play a club like Portsmouth, so that should be a great outing for AFC Wimbledon supporters.  Hopefully we'll get a win.  They're very near the top of the table, so if we can beat a club like Portsmouth, I am going to start to think about thinking about thinking about thinking about dreaming.  So, um, I will be only five removes from properly dreaming about going up to League I.  So, that is the news from AFC Wimbledon.

H: Well, I'm sorry to hear that, I guess.

J: Yes.  Well.  Life is full of disappointments large and small and you just have to adjust to them and move on.  

H: Alright.  Um, but is that--does that count against your points to lose to a team so bad?  

J: No, because it's a completely different competition, so it does not count for or against points. 

H: So that's good then.

J: Well, it's bad because if you make it to the third round of the FA Cup, then you can play a big team like Liverpool and you can make more money in one day than you make in the entire season, but--

H: I see.

J: But it doesn't matter, because that's not what happened, so, um, so it goes.

 Outro (41:44)

H: Alright, John, well, what did we learn today?

J: Uh, I mean, we learned that hexagons are surprisingly strong and that there is something that Hank doesn't know.  

H: We learned that voting is stressful but early voting just isn't.

J: And of course, we learned that finger-lickin' good is finger-lickin' dangerous.  

H: Now I want some fried chicken.  This has been Dear Hank and John.  John, that's the guy who's chuckling in the background.  I'm Hank.  And thank you for joining us today.

J: Our theme music is by Gunnarolla, our podcast is edited by the brilliant Nick Jenkins, and as we say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.

H: And we also forgot to say you can send us questions at or #DearHankandJohn on Twitter.  I'm @HankGreen and he's @JohnGreen.  

J: But of course, no one is listening now, so no one will send in questions this week.  

H: Dang it. Get nothing, nothing!  

J: Alright. That was a good... good podcast.