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Have we checked in on the bees? What would happen if you lost your big toe? How do you stir hot cocoa efficiently? And more!

 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 about death! How're you doing, John?

J: (laughs) We've cut out all the other bits of the intro? Now we're just a comedy podcast about death?

H: Yeah, we're not even going to do Mars news-

J: Oh we're DOING the AFC Wimbledon news, whether you like it or not. I'm doing alright. It should be added that Hank and I are in real life together right now.

H: Uh huh!

J: We are in Los Angeles for the annual meeting of DFTBA.com, our merch company. By the way, if you have merchandising needs, if you want an "Oh my god, it's burning!" Dear Hank and John T-shirt, for instance-

H: I thought you- if you have merchandising needs, like you need someone to merchandise, like, build you a merch line. Which we also do!

J: Sure, yeah.

H: But in addition to that, if you need like, shirts, pants, hats...

J: Posters.

H: Posters!

J: Coffee mugs.

H: Wristbands! Coffee mugs! 

J: DFTBA.com, Don't Forget To Be Awesome. DFTBA.com. Your source for high-quality merch where you can brag about having excellent taste in podcasts and other media. Um, so we're having a great time hanging out together. I am doing well, mostly. I have strep throat, which isn't ideal.

H: Yeah, that seems not great.

J: The strep throat I cannot recommend in good faith. Also, Gary Shandling just died. 

H: Yeah, and also like 30 other people. This has been a big death week.

J: It's been a bad week for American celebrities.

H: And also Torontoan mayors.

J: And Torontoan mayors. Former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, died. Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel died. Fife Dog, one of my all-time favorite rappers, one of the absolute lyrical geniuses of hip hop in the 1990's. Fife Dog, who wrote "I never need a statue to tell me how nice I am," who was part of a movement within hip hop to imagine a world without forebearers because none of the forebearers they were told were theirs felt like theirs. Just an absolute genius, a member of Tribe Called Quest, that's a devastating loss. And Gary Shandling- if you like Modern Family, or The Office, or any show like it, you owe all of that to Gary Shandling and his groundbreaking show from the 1990s. Also an incredibly generous, funny man, gone from this world at the age of 66.

H: Dang! I guess this is a comedy podcast about death. None of that was very funny, but that is kind of the key to good comedy.

J: (laughs) The funny part?

H: No, where it's not funny ever.

J: Gary Shandling- toward the end of his life, he didn't know he was dying, he had a sudden heart attack- it occurred to me, by the way, Hank, that if I suddenly die, people will have lots of quotes about my death to throw back at me because it's been such a focus of my life.

H: That's true, but you won't care.

J: I might! There's no way of knowing for sure. Anyway, the point being, Gary Shandling, in one of the last interviews he did with Jerry Seinfeld, they did an episode of this great show called Comedians...

H: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee!

J: Correct. And Gary Shandling said that at his funeral, he wants a boxing referee who stands over his body and yells "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" and then just waves his hands and calls it off and says "He's not getting up."

H: I'm pretty sure-- I just want-- Yeah I mean I want to make sure nobody's burying me in a coffin in the ground when I'm still alive. I do want that... referee.

J: Oh that's key, that's key.

H: Yeah there's nothing I want less in the world.

J: And you know who knows for sure whether you're still breathing?

H: A boxing referee?

J: A licensed referee of boxing. That's the kind of expert that I want to attend to my death.

H: They're experts at least in knowing if someone is conscious or not. I'm not so sure about alive and dead.

J: Hank, I almost feel like we should move on to the short poem for the day because it's been so so dark.

H: Sure, I mean is it gonna be less dark?

J: It is, it is. Now Hank, as you know, Richard Wright is one of my favorite writers, great American novelist, but he was also an author of haiku. In fact, he wrote more than 4,000 haikus in his life. If we wanted to, we could have a short poem every podcast for the next what, I don't know, 40 years with nothing but Richard Wright poems. But I'm just gonna read you one instead of reading you all 4,000 of them. It's a nice early spring poem. "An apple blossom, trembling on a sunlit branch, from the weight of bees" It's haiku number 78 by Richard Wright.

H: Well John, we could have a Richard Wright-- If we do a Dear Hank & John every week for the next 76 years, we will still have Richard Wright haikus.

J: I'll tell you my biggest concern about that, is that one or both of us is almost certain to be deceased in 76 years. Don't you think so?

H: You think?

J: Oh yeah.

H: You think we're gonna die?

J: No no no, I think-- I know we're gonna die. I think we're gonna die within the next 76 years.

H: No I'm gonna say both of us are gonna be dead in 76 years.

J: I would only be 115.

H: Uhh huh.

J: That is on the far end...

H: That is on the far end... that is on the outside of the bell curve.

J: ... that's on the far edge of the likely curve (laughs).

H: The far outside of that wave. And you know at 115 you're riding that down the nether regions of the bell curve there, thinking things are okay. Like that woman who did that dance with President Obama. Nobody was happier than her ever in the world.

J: That's true, but I think she was only 104 so she's 11 years short of being able to get through all of Richard Wright's haikus.

H: You forget how much time, like, you get to be 70 and you're like "well, at any moment now" really, and then 90 is like 20 years from that. Imagine all the stuff you get done between when you're 0 and 20. You just get to do all that over again.

J: Right, but in reverse order. So instead of, you know, getting potty trained, you find yourself... yeah.

H: And suddenly you have to have caregivers again.

J: Oh boy. We've gone all the way into the darkness, and what I wanted to do was read a nice little spring haiku about bees so that I could start off with a question from a listener about bees.

H: Okay, let's talk about bees.

 Question One (6:17)


J: Alright Hank, our first question comes from Gabriella who asks, "Dear John & Hank, I haven't heard about the bees in a while. Are they okay or did we just get bored with them? Best wishes, Gabriella."

H: (laughing) I like it. Gabriella, you do understand how it all works in the news media, which is that if there's a problem, and it goes on for long enough, you're just like "well, that's not news anymore, it's not a new problem."

J: It's just still a problem.

H: It's just a problem. And we don't talk about problems, we talk about new problems, because there's a reason we call it the news. The bees are, well according to my morning walks here in Los Angeles, they're great. They're everywhere, they're like, this entire city smells like flowers. And the bees know it. I saw a hummingbird this morning... was not a bee.

J: I was going to say, not an expert in ornithology, but I believe that's a bird.

H: But yeah, lots of bees, all over the place. But I think that Colony Collapse Disorder remains a problem, and it's coming up on the season where we sort of are able to know... It's been winter, so it's sort of not bee season. Not really the farming time of the year in most of America. Though here in California they just keep growing stuff all the time. So yeah, it's a little less in the news because we are not sure how it's going because it's not bee time. So we're going to find out as we get ito spring and summer, we're going to see how the bees are doing compared to last year, and whether or not we're going to continue to have, you know, crops, food to eat, stuff like that.

J: I mean, even more important than that, imagine a future in which that Richard Wright haiku just doesn't make sense to readers because there are no longer either apple blossoms or bees.

H: I read a book recently in which something terrible happens and a person has to remake the Earth, but with far more solar radiation. This is a fantasy, not a science fiction. And so they make all the plants darker in color, and they make them sort of brown, and everybody reads literature from the past, and they're like "could you imagine a green plant, what a ludicrous color to apply to a plant." It'd be like us thinking about like purple plants, being like the whole world is covered in neon purple plants. But what a lovely thing. I'm looking out the window of your hotel here, and I can see a bunch of trees of all sorts, palm trees, oak trees, other trees, pine, deciduous, and otherwise. And what a nice color to have the world covered in.

J: Nice, and it must be said, utterly artificial, as we are currently in a desert.

H: Oh, Los Angeles, it can handle the trees, it's fine, we'll put in a big pipe, bring it over the mountains, pipe all that water over the mountains, it's fine. We'll make it work, we'll make it work. We can do anything, we're Americans.

 Question Two (9:06)


H: We got another question, John. This one from Cara.

J: That was the Trumpiest thing you ever said.

H: This is from Cara, who asks "Dear Hank and John, what is the most efficient way to stir my hot cocoa -Cara."

J: Well, Cara, good news, there is a physics answer to this question.

H: Oh, is there? Did you look this up?

J: Yeah, it involves Brownian Motion. It's the reason why when you blow on your hot cocoa it actually does cool it off faster than if you don't blow on it.

H: Sure, if you say so.

J: I googled it. Cara, a couple things. First off, I don't understand why stirring your hot cocoa makes it cooler than it would otherwise be, but it does. Secondly, this is not something that you should worry about. H: No no, what I think that you should definitely not do is use like a 2-stroke lawnmower to stir your hot cocoa, that would be inefficient. You're right actually, because you don't want to add to your carbon footprint when you're mixing your hot cocoa. So you don't want to do it in a blender.

H: Right, right. Make sure you're not using a jet engine.

J: I would use hand and spoon, or one of those wooden stirrer sticks. But I probably, just for the sake of the environment, use a reusable spoon.

H: Oh yeah, I think the most efficient way to stir your hot cocoa is with a spoon, and your hand. Do not, I repeat do not, involve gasoline or kerosene in any way.

J: Yeah. Just no engines.

H: Yeah yeah. I know Cara that you are profoundly lazy, and that you would like to use a two stroke engine.

J: No she's not. I totally disagree with your characterization of Cara. I've been reading Cara's questions on this very podcast for months now, and she's a very thoughtful, interesting person.

H: Are you sure it's not more than one Cara?

J: Nope, same Cara. And I believe it's actually a Cara (note: switches pronunciation from "cair-a" to "cahr-a"), because I believe it's actually Paper Towns star Cara Delevingne. She writes in every week. Great friend of the pod, we appreciate your support. Thanks Cara!

 Question Three (11:16)


J: We've got another question. This one comes from Sarah and Jenna who write "Dear John and Hank, we're wondering what you would name a baby if you had to name it after a fruit."

H: Hm. There are so many good fruits.

J: I know.

H: Mango. Mango Roth Stiegleman. Stiegleman? With a T?

J: Yeah well first off, I mean I think this would be your baby, so it would be Mango Green, which is a terrible name. Mango Green is a horrible name to give a child.

H: Well Lime Green is worse.

J: Lime Green is bad.

H: Olive Green is actually pretty cute.

J: Olive Green is kind of adorable. If an olive is a fruit, which I'm not sure it is.

H: Olive is a fruit.

J: Doesn't taste like a fruit.

H: What else would an olive be?

J: I don't even think that an olive is a food. I've had this argument with my wife for years.

H: I'm actually with you on that.

J: I think it's more of like a food additive.

H: Yeah it's like a garnish.

J: Yeah, right. It's more like parsley, which I also don't think of as a fruit.

H: Well that's clearly not a fruit, 'cause it has leaves.

J: I also don't think of it as a vegetable. I think of it as a sort of non-food item that sometimes accompanies food.

H: Well parsley is particularly ludicrous, because it doesn't even have flavor. It's literally there just to give you a look.

J: Flat leaf parsley has a little bit of flavor, but I don't think we really need to get into the weeds of that question, because it doesn't address the larger question from Sarah and Jenna, which is what would you name your child if you had to name it after a fruit.

H: I'm going to go with Olive. I came up with a great answer, it's an adorable name. Olive Green. What the frick.

J: I think I'm gonna go with Kiwi.

H: That's cute too.

J: Kiwi Green. I like Kiwi Green. I mean I think it's gonna be hard to lose, Sarah and Jenna. One thing that I would say is I would not go with rectangular banana. Rectangular Banana Green.

H: Or Triangular Banana, also terrifying.

J: We've seen some triangular bananas from Dear Hank & John listeners, which we really appreciate.

H: Yeah thank you for sending us all your bananas on Twitter. I do want to say that it might be a good idea, and I was talking about this on Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig, which is probably going to come out significantly after this podcast, so I'm spoiling it for you, that it's good to name your child something that's already in the emoji bank.

J: That's a great point.

H: So that you don't have to type out the whole name, and they can just put the emoji on the birth certificate.

J: Ideally you will name your child some kind of emoji. I wonder, if you had to pick from an emoji, what you would pick, for a real name, not like a joke name. Like obviously we'd all be tempted by Praise Hands Green. But what would you actually pick?

H: It's funny, that is the example I used on Not Too Deep.

J: Oh really?

H: Yeah. Or you know, everyone would say they're going to do Smiling Pile of Poo Green but nobody actually will.

H: No no. Of course not. I'm opening up my emojis now. Like, what's a good name? Alien Face? Eyeballs?

J: Bikni Green?

H: Bikini Green. Diamond Ring?

J: Diamond Ring Green, that's weird.

H: Caterpillar.

J: Caterpillar Green's super weird.

H: Clover, Clover's kind of nice.

J: Clover? Clover Green. That'll work.

H: Yeah sure. Tulips?

J: Let me take a look at that emoji bag. I actually don't have emojis on my phone. That's how old I am.

H: Are you serious?

J: Apple, they've got Apple Green. Eggplant Green.

H: Like uh...

J: Gwyneth Paltrow's kid. Lollipop Green, that's a little weird.

H: Eh that's cute.

J: Baby Bottle Green. That's like really cute at first, but then it's progressively less useful you know. Like being called Baby Bottle Green when you're a 32 year old executive at a large tech firm.

H: Well then you're just BB.

J: You could be BB Green. We actually have a cousin BB. Uh, Golfing Green.

H: Golfing?

J: Yeah the person is golfing, it's a golfer, Golfing Green. Tennis Green?

H: Tennis Green is a thing.

J: I'm pretty pleased with Yellow Ribbon Green. And then I think I would go with Purple Space Invader Green. If I had to actually make a choice I'd go Purple Space Invader Green.

H: I didn't know there was a space invader. Could we just be like Flag of Japan Green? 2:30 Green, they got the clocks.

J: Yeah, yeah. 2:30 Green. Alright, this is the stupidest thing we've ever done on this podcast, and that's really saying something.

H: Well it's especially bad because I'm totally ruining the great jokes me and Grace made about this.

J: Yeah yeah. Alright Hank, so we got a lot a lot a lot a lot of questions this week about Donald Trump.

H: Aaaah I bet we did. It's the thing where no matter what you're doing, what you're talking about, it comes up. You're like, it's enough that 90% of the news is Donald Trump, could not 90% of my life be Donald Trump please?

J: You know Hank, it's funny, I was thinking about an old line often falsely attributed to George Bernard Shaw, it's not really clear its provenance, but it is a wonderful, wonderful observation, and seems to me to speak to our time brilliantly. The line is this: "Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." I think when it comes to Donald Trump, all you get when wrestling the pig is dirty, and all Donald Trump gets is stronger. I have not seen any evidence that pointing out that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States on many different levels has resulted in any cracks in his support. So we're trying to figure out how to best engage with that in online discourse.

 Question Four (16:47)


J: This question comes from Eric, and it's an interesting one. He writes "Dear John & Hank, we need to have a serious discussion about politics with the entirety of Nerdfighteria." I don't know that that's actually possible, Eric, because you know Nerdfighteria is sort of, it's an amoeba.

H: It's an amorphous blob of different kinds of people.

J: It's an amorphous blob of people with shifting identities. We can disagree on tax rates, on minimum wages, on how much the US government should intervene in different things, and you're right that this is a conversation we need to have peacefully and respectfully, but we also need to set boundaries. You can't expect me to respect the opinion of someone who believes that gay marriage is wrong and should be illegal, or claim as legitimate the claim that global warming isn't a huge man-made problem. Yet those are the viewpoints of all three main Republican candidates. So...

H: This is a difficult difficult thing, and I have the same problem. I have the same problem, but I at the same time want to be able to not hate these people.

J: For me, it's what's going to work? I'm not interested in like the...

H: Right right, well there's the... I see what you're saying, but like it's yes. Yeah. And I think you're right. You continue talking because I am doing poorly at it.

J: So in my opinion, removing people from the conversation or excluding them from the conversation does not lead to change. So making it so that people don't feel comfortable in a space, all that means is that they're going to seek out other spaces where they won't be challenged on those topics. They're going to seek out their echo chambers, and that's true for all of us by the way, not just people who don't think that climate change is man made, which it is. So the challenge for me is how do I engage in conversations where I state strongly that, obviously I believe in marriage equality, I believe that there's a massive overwhelming amount of evidence that climate change is caused by humans, and how do I say that and acknowledge that and make that part of my worldview while at the same time not excluding other people from the conversation which in the end will get me less, will get me further and further away from what I want.

Which is people who can engage seriously with each other on these topics, because I really believe that if you engage seriously, you think seriously, and you look at the evidence when it comes to climate change, or when it comes to marriage equality, the argument goes away. The legitimacy of the anti marriage equality argument goes away and the legitimacy of the "global warming isn't real" thing, that goes away too.

H: Yeah, it's different to have compassion for people when you feel a little bit like the source of their perspective contains not so much compassion. But it's important to remember that people are very different from each other. I have a little bit more sympathy for the global warming thing because it's like, fine, whatever, maybe you feel like this is all a liberal plot to increase the size of government. And sure, that's scary.

But the denial of people's rights just seems very un-American, but it is obviously a thing we did for the last 200 years, and is terrifying that we've done that. And so I try to have sympathy, I try to be compassionate and think hard about, and understand that people have other perspectives than me that does not make them bad people. It makes their beliefs bad, but it does not make them bad.

And I am reminded of a line from Ender's Game, which I just looked up and did not have this in my head: "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him." Particularly poignant because the author of Ender's Game is kind of a homophobic douche.

J: Yeah, no I think... So the other thing I'd add here is that I've seen a lot, in YouTube comments, and just generally in the way that we're talking, people saying "look what's happened to this great country, look how horrible things have become in the United States, this once-great nation." And I think that calls back to a past that just did not exist, right? For the vast majority of American history women couldn't vote. For much of American history, white men couldn't vote unless they were rich enough to own property. For the vast majority of American history, African American men couldn't vote. For the vast majority of America's history it has been a profoundly undemocratic place. Like as late as 1968, most delegates who chose the nominees for the political parties were not beholden to the voters in any way, and that's changed, and that's good. The United States has become a more inclusive country when it comes to governance in the last 50 years, and in the last 100 years, and in the last 200 years, and I just don't buy that there's a place in American that you can point to that was some golden age. Like we're a deeply-flawed country but we always have been.

H: That's all clearly, just, psychology and that's just how we feel about the world, and we're pointing out... it's hearkening back, it isn't pointing out a legitimate thing that we're remembering, it's just connecting with people's emotions. And that's a lot about what this is about, and I think a lot... And then you get into trying to figure out the psychology of every person who's supporting Donald Trump when every person who's supporting Donald Trump has different psychology, different ideology, and different reasons why they're doing it. Some people are just racist, some people are existed about a legitimate businessman in office, even though he's not what I would call a legitimate businessman.

J: Nor in fact a successful one.

H: And some people are just 100% protest vote because the Republican party tried to spread itself a little too thin in how it appealed to voters. And clearly a lot of people got disenfranchised by that process.

J: So I think that the other thing that Eric wanted to point out is is that we talk a lot about Trump and Trumpism, but Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio hold in many cases very similar viewpoints, ideological, especially when it comes to climate change and marriage equality and a few other things that are important to a lot of voters and that are sort of, in my opinion at least, openly discriminatory. And that's an important thing to note, you can's sort of ridicule Trumpism without noting that it is part of a much larger strain of ideology within the Republican party that has, in many cases, broad support among Republicans. I don't think the way to counter that is merely with anger or with outrage, I think the way to encounter it is to try to listen to people and to try to understand them and then to defend your point of view passionately and with seriousness.

H: And I, yeah. We look at this and a lot of this is driven in fact by people objectifying their opponent and it is ludicrous to say we do not do that, we as liberals, as Democrats, we do that all the time.

J: I'm not a Democrat.

H: Or as left- Whatever we are.

J: This just got awkward.

H: All sides do that, we love to demonize our opponents. We're so good at it. And it's been sort of like a joyous thing to ridicule them as a Democrat, as a liberal, for the last eight years because there's been a guy that I like quite a bit in the White House. And that probably didn't do us any favors in the long term.

J: The ridiculing, you mean.

H: Yeah, the ridiculing. Not the presidency, which I quite enjoyed. The last thing that I want to say is, I think we end up looking at this as like a team sport, and we're rooting for our team. And even like we disengage from policy and talk only about ideology and about who's bad and who's wrong, and I think that I've started to feel more than ever in the last few months that it's really important to think of this country as a country. And that maybe governing it is more important than winning. And I don't know that anybody in politics is feeling that right now.

J: That was very beautifully-put, Hank. Let's try to have more policy discussions on Dear Hank & John instead of ideology discussions. I'd love to have a question about what we think the top marginal income tax rate should be, for instance.

H: Well I've got one here from Robin that is somewhat similar, who asks "Dear Hank & John, is Kanye West cocky or confident?"

J: Alright so I have a lot of opinions on this, so...

H: Maybe we should just skip it, maybe it's too much. Is it too much?

J: I don't know, do we have a whole episode to devote to the question? There's some things that I consider myself somewhat of an expert in: Young Adult fiction, the ethics around conjoined twins. There's a few things that I've done a lot of reading about. There is nothing that I have thought so long and so hard about like Kanye's confidence/cockiness. So you should watch Sarah's video, The Case for Kanye West, where she makes the case for him as a contemporary artist whose work is in many ways a kind of performance art. I think that Kayne is often a buffoon. He is often wrong. He is often offensive. He does also often apologize for being wrong and a buffoon and offensive, which is something that you don't see enough these days. I love a good apologizer. He is a provocateur. He understands that in the contemporary media landscape, being provocative is in many ways more valuable than being great. And he is also a brilliant, brilliant manipulator of contemporary discourse and media. I think that he is confident, but I also think he plays cocky because he understands, he understands both the threats and opportunities posed by this image of a cocky African American strong male. And I think he plays with our expectations around that, and so I think it's not a matter of being cocky or confident, it's a matter of transcending both cockiness and confidence in the pursuit of something else that he wants that's much more interesting.

H: And do you think that that is a thing that Kanye West wants only for Kanye West or is that something bigger than that?

J: No I think Kanye West is trying to make a bunch of points to all of us about celebrity, about media worship and about how we treat and imagine and look at black bodies in media and in public conversations. I also think that Kanye West is trying to do what's good for Kanye West and I think that there is an amazing and sometimes unproductive tension there. And I would love for Kanye to be able to let go of what's good for Kanye.

H: Do you think that we could have him on the podcast? Do you think we could get Kanye on the pod? Get him here on Dear Hank & John? Maybe he could bring some news from Neptune. Where would he bring the news from?

J: Here's my closest connection to Kanye.

H: Oh you have a close connection to Kanye? Look at you, you hanging out with Taylor Swift, Kanye West's right around the corner.

J: I am acquainted with Kendell and Kylie Jenner.

H: Oh I'm acquainted with Kanye West's agent.

J: Yeah why don't we just call him? Now that I think about it, we know Kanye West's agent, we should just call him.

H: Yeah I'll just text him right now.

J: Just be like "hey, can you get Kanye on our pod?" It's the 373rd most popular podcast on iTunes today!

H: And we talk, and I want to ask Kanye his opinions on death. Mostly. I just want to know how he feels about the impending demise of Kanye West, a thing that will happen.

J: I would be fascinated to hear, whether Kanye West thinks about death and whether it haunts him at night.

H: Oh why do you think, why else is he doing all this stuff? Why else? Everybodys driven by the same thing, John.

J: No, I don't buy that argument at all.

H: I actually don't buy it either, because I'm not driven by death the way you are.

J: I'm not driven by death at all, because I don't labor under the delusion that somehow work that I do will survive me in ways that will allow me to like somehow escape the universality of death.

H: I don't even think about death, you're always thinking about death.

J: You don't think about death?

H: I very rarely think about death.

J: Really?

H: Yeah.

J: Like your own death or other people's?

H: I think about other people's death far more than I think about my own.

J: I would estimate that I think about my death, I mean you think about it everyday right?

H: No!

J: You go a whole day without thinking about your death?

H: I would say that 90% of the times I think about death is while we're recording Dear Hank & John.

J: Are you serious?

H: Yeah.

J: So Hank I understand that my rumination and obsession with my own mortality is like an outgrowth of my obsessive compulsive disorder, because I recognize those thought spirals as being very similar to the other thought spirals that I get into, but at the same time it seems to me that the only one that isn't crazy, like I understand like when I look at my OCD I see behaviors and I'm like "those are not normal, that is a mental health problem." But I don't feel that way about my obsession with death at all, it feels totally normal.

H: Sorry, well I don't know. People are going to have to let us know in the comments on the SoundCloud and on the Patreon, patreon.com/dearhankandjohn. Do you think about death everyday?

 Commercial Break (31:30)


J: Boy today's podcast is really brought to you by death. Cold, dead, senseless, meaningless death. It is everywhere.

H: Not for the first time is it brought to you by death, either. Today's podcast is also brought to you by two-stroke cocoa stirrers. As powered by gasoline mixed with motor oil. You just post it right down in there into your cocoa and you give it a pull, vriiiiim vriiiiiim and then you get brghghghgh and it's so so efficient.

J: And of course today's podcast is brought to you by death. Death, it's coming for you. It's coming for you and it will not be denied.

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by the end of healthy American political discourse. Welcome to the terrible future. Healthy political discourse, no longer extant in the United States.

J: I just don't think we had a past with healthy political discourse. You realize we had a Civil War! Like people killed each other on a battlefield over bad political discourse.

H: That's true, it's true. And I don't think that people are going to kill each other on a battle field.

J: No, we're not going to have a civil war. No.

H: It's nice, I'm glad to be there. Though I was talking to a person who is an expert and has done mediation for several actual wars, like people on both sides of actual wars, and he was like "none of the other places I went to thought that it could happen to their country." I was like "shut up and stop talking to me." I don't want to know, don't tell me about any of that.

 Question Five (33:07)


We've got a question from Jason. Jason asks, "Dear Hank and John, what are your thoughts on JCPenny's Penny Day Sale, where many products have a buy-one get-one for a penny sale? I personally feel very upset by this."

J: Well here's what I'll say Jason. It isn't a buy-one get-one for a penny, it's a buy-one get-one free sale because pennies are worth nothing.

H: Is this the thing that's upsetting you?

J: I assume so, I assume it's the fact that it just calls attention to the worthlessness of the penny. In this moment, JCPenny is essentially saying "this is such a good deal that we will give you the second item for not nothing, we will take away something that is worth less than nothing. We will take away this thing that you might have that's worth less than nothing, as a kind of charitable endeavor we will take your pennies away from you."

H: I kind of love the idea of a place that the sale is "bring us your pennies and we'll take them," that's the whole sale. And you can buy things as well.

J: Can I tell you the business I hate most in the entire world: CoinStar.

H: Really? Did you know CoinStar is a publically-traded stock? You can buy CoinStar stock on a stock exchange.

J: Well I won't, because this is CoinStar's business model. CoinStar's business model is: coins are so worthless, they are such a bad example of what money ought to do, which is facilitate the exchange of goods and services, that what we'll do is, you throw all your coins into our machine, and all we're going to do is take away 7% of the value of your money in exchange for giving you money in a different form that you can finally use to spend.

H: It is a ludicrous thing that exists, but there's a thing that I very much like about CoinStar. If you go, this is a thing, if you go to a CoinStar, there's like a mesh thing. The smallest one is like a little bit smaller than a dime, and then you lift it up and they all slide in. What happens is all of the stuff that's in people's cardboard box full of coins, all the stuff that isn't coins falls through that and just into a tray. And so you can stick your head in there and look down and see all the stuff that people had in their weird cardboard boxes full of coins. And it's always fascinating to find out what's in there. It's so great, you just look down in there, and look at all that stuff. Look at all that stuff that people have in their boxes full of coins. I love that so much.

J: That doesn't give me any fulfillment. What would give me fulfillment is if we had rational moneymaking that focused on "huh, what could we do to make our money useful to the people on Earth who spend it."

H: What would give me the same thrill, though? If we got rid of CoinStar, if we got rid of all this, if we made all these policies make sense, what would give me that thrill? Where would I go for that "what's in people's coin boxes" thrill?

J: You go over to your friend's house, you open up their medicine cabinet, it's duly fascinating, you have the exact same joy.

H: (laughing) That's awful, John. Don't do that!

J: I do it every time. If I'm at your house, you can rest assured that when I go to your bathroom, I take a quick glance.

H: Oh man I gotta put all my suppositories in the undercompartment. You have a secret compartment in the back of your medicine cabinet. You open up the medicine cabinet, and then you open up the back of the medicine cabinet, and you just reach in the other room where you grab your friend's hair and they're like "aaaah!" It's great, it's fun.

 Question Six (36:50)


J: We've got another question, Hank. I don't... The podcast is so far off the rails that I don't know how to get it back on the rails, but this question comes from Anna. I think the Frozen character, but I'm not positive. And she writes, "Dear John & Hank, my friends and I have been discussing the consequences of loosing (sic) your big toe. They've been telling me that you would have a lot of trouble--

H: Don't make fun of other people's spelling, John!

J: I'm not making fun of their spelling, I think they mean if it became loose.

H: Loosening, just twisting it like three twists? Like twisting it a few times, not like full removal but just like the top of a Coke can? A Coke bottle? It's loosened.

J: Yeah like what if your toe was just loose? If it was slightly loosened. So Anna, I feel that this is an important moment in our relationship. Losing has only one O in it. Loosing, which is also a word, has two O's in it. But I think you meant losing. Losing your big toe. They've been telling me that you'd have a lot of trouble walking if this happened. So what would actually happen if you lost your big toe? Would your life be that different?

H: Uh, yes. It would be hard to walk and it would be very hard to dance in particular, I think. Running, you just... here's an idea. Take a pebble, like some kind of uncomfortably-sized pebble, and tape it, Scotch-tape it to the bottom of your big toe.

And every time you feel that pebble as you walk around, think "I would not be able to put pressure on that place." And imagine how it would feel to walk around. Yeah your big toe does a great deal of work. It is connected to a large tendon that is connected to your calf muscle.

It's one of the muscles in your calf that controls your big toe, and it's a fairly large muscle, and it does a lot of work. You do not want to not have that thing to do that pushing.

J: From a functional standpoint, according to a study published in Clinical Orthopedics & Related Research, amputating a big toe results in little or no disability. So everything that you just said is wrong. At least according to Clinical Orthopedics & Related Research, which I don't know if that's a better source than your thing about putting a pebble on your toe, but I kinda suspect that it is. So it will affect your gait, but it will not result in you being unable to run.

H: Sure, yeah. In the beginning it would be much more difficult. You'd get better at using it, but I do think that if you were, if you really enjoy dancing it would definitely impact your ability to dance. I actually have a lot of toe pain in my pinky toe on my right foot --

J: I mean this must be the 7th podcast where you've mentioned that.

H: I often wish that I could have it amputated but I'm told that it would impact my ability to have a good time on the dance floor. John you know what, how I feel about this podcast today?

J: How?

H: A little bit disorganized, a little bit disconnected, maybe not the smoothest one we've ever done. I feel that we've given no dubious advice at all, absolutely zero. And we talked about my least favorite topic, which is Donald Trump. I just want to not ever do it, and yet there we did. We did it, John.

J: Well I don't think we'll be doing it again. So I hope that those of you who wanted us to do that are satisfied because I can't see us going back to it, at least not in the short run.

H: I just don't wanna do what I wanna do, which is to make myself feel sup-- to talk to a bunch of people about how superior we are, a bunch of people who believe different things than us or support different things than us, and I'm like no, that's just more of the bad thing, where we all talk about much better we are than other people.

J: I don't know what you just said, but I feel dirty and I feel like the pig liked it. [Hank chuckles]

 News From Mars (40:24)


H: Alright, it is time for the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, should I do Mars first? (Sure) Alright, I'm gonna do Mars first. The news from Mars, NASA has released a lovely gravity map of Mars, showing off all the gravitational differences in the different areas of the Martian surface. It also tells us some stuff about the interior of Mars. It's a very pretty image, you can just Google and I'm sure you'll find it. And from these gravitational differences we can tell some different new things about Mars. We can see the effects of the massive Tharsis volcanoes when they erupted and basically crushed down the Martian crust, crushed down the crust. We can see constant sublimation and condensation of CO2 at the poles, and we can see how much all the massive amount, trillions of tons of CO2 is affecting the gravity of Mars. And also we can tell that Mars, as we suspected from a study I think back ten years ago, that Mars actually has a liquid outer core, just like Earth. So Earth has like a solid inner core and a liquid mantle and then the crust, and so we think that Mars has also a liquid outer core which raises the question why, if it does, does it not have a magnetic field. Because the inner core inside of this liquid core, the solid inner core, isn't spinning for whatever reason, and if it were, it would make a very different planet, Mars would be. Probably potentially a planet with a lot more surface water. So raising a lot of questions about Mars and also answering some questions, and a fascinating image you should check out because it's pretty and you can see how the tremendous effects of Mars's large massive volcanoes. The biggest volcanoes in the solar system, and also best volcanoes in the solar system, because everybody knows, Mars is the best. John, what's your news?

 News From AFC Wimbledon (42:25)


J: Well, Mars is not the best because AFC Wimbledon is the best. Hank, have you ever read Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins?

H: Oh my god. Was it the best of times and the worst of times? No, I haven't. I just think maybe--

J: That's all I needed you to say.

H: I haven't read the book though. Charles Dickens, he was the one with like Tiny Tim?

J: It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.

H: Is it good and bad news?

J: It was the worst of times.

H: But now it's the best?

J: No unfortunately it remains the worst of times because AFC Wimbldedon, you'll recall Hank, their new stadium, going back to Wimbledon, back to Plough Lane, it was unanimously approved by the Merton Planning Council until yesterday when London Mayor Boris Johnson decided that all of that--

H: What? Why did they even elect a Russian?

J: Decided that all of that was irrelevant, and that by the way if you want to see a picture of what an English Donald Trump would look like, Google Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson--

H: He also hates love and joy and happiness.

J: He called the stadium plan in, and now there is going to be a second hearing. It is not an end, Wimbledon will continue to push for a new stadium, and it may well happen, but it will probably be the work of the next mayor. So that is the discouraging news, and it is really discouraging because of course AFC Wimbledon's long-term plans to return to their neighborhood, to be back at Plough Lane... It was looking great, and now it's looking slightly less great. And yet, it was the best of times. It was the best of times because down one-nil against bottom-of-the-league York City, AFC Wimbledon were basically in a position, Hank, 70-minutes into the game, down 1-0 to the worst team in the league, they were basically in a position where it just, the playoff dream was dead. And then there was an own-goal, my favorite kind of goal. It's the equivalent of a game being won by waterlogged pitch, and own goal, it's just a beautiful thing, and this was a beautiful goal.

And then in the third minute of three minutes of stoppage time, Jake Reeves -- Hank, I believe I've shown you the goal.

H: You have, I saw. People should go Google the goal.

J: Go look at AFC Wimbledon versus York highlights on the YouTube because this is astonishing.

H: It's a nice goal.

J: In the last minute of the game, Jake Reeves takes the ball down on his chest from 30 yards outside, and he loops in a ridiculous volley.

H: It's like it curves, it's like it says to the air "I'm not so sure about how you work, I've decided that you're going to work this way today."

J: It was a wiffle ball of a goal!

H: It was, and I like how he kicks it. He's just sorta like "eh."

J: It was like Jake Reeves -- not our best player, but a solid English fourth tier professional soccer player -- in the last moment of the game, chested the ball down and thought to himself, maybe I should do that thing I know how to do. And then proceeded to do it.

H: Yeah you hit the very upper left hand corner of the net.

J: Maybe I'll hit both the crossbar and the post as the ball goes into the net from 30 yards out. But first I'll kick it so high that it's like 700 feet above the air.

H: Above the air?

J: Yeah it's not even in the atmosphere, it's in outer space. But then thank God the forces of gravity are such that it was returned from near Earth orbit to the goal and Wimbledon won 2-1, 1-0 down to 2-1 up. That's the way we're gonna win the cup you get for winning the playoffs. I am very excited, we've got Hartlepool, also a bit of a bottom dweller. Hartlepool, I once saw them play Swindon Town, they weren't particularly impressive but did get a draw. Hartlepool next, and then just eight games remains in AFC Wimbledon's season. It's been a great season, if very frustrating from this news from London's mayor. I really think  you should Google him by the way, he is something to look at. And, you see what I mean?

H: Oh wow, he looks like the guy in the Pit of Despair from Princess Bride.

J: He does a little bit. Well he made a bad decision. So there is darkness, there is light, and ever the two shall coexist long may they both reign. AFC Wimbledon, Hartlepool, tomorrow (or yesterday as you're watching this, listening to this). Yeah, big game. Big big game.

H: Alright John. We've got a couple of updates from the community out there. We've got one: "Hank if you ever come to California" -- which I'm in California right now -- "you can eat at In N Out Burger and enjoy some sesame seed free burger buns." I knew this about In N Out Burger, and it's one of the things I love about In N Out, and I love it, thank you very much for the tip, and I'm sure I'll get to In N Out while I'm out here. Though I'm trying not to eat it everyday.

J: Aaaa--

H: Oh, I wanted to do just this other one from Rachel. J: Okay, go.

H: We also have this from Rachel, who says "AFC Wimbledon is playing in the same league as Stevenage FC, and Stevenage is the town where the ESA ExoMars Rover (companion to the recent ExoMars launch) is being designed and built," so maybe I should become a Stevenage fan John.

J: No no no no.

H: When was the last time you--

J: (starts coughing)

H: When was the last time you played Stevenage? What's wrong with Stevenage?

J: First off, I mean, and I say this with great, immense respect for Rachel, um, you don't want to be a Stevenage fan.

H: Why not?

J: Well for one thing they're 22nd in League 2.

H: Well does that mean that they aren't going to be in League 2 next year?

J: That means there's a reasonable chance that next year you could be supporting a semi-professional club.

H: I believe in them, though. I believe in them, John. And that's what it's about.

J: Hank, if you want to become a Stevenage fan and you want to have the Hank Green stand at Stevenage's stadium, which is called Broadhall Way.

H: I could be a fan of the Boro. That's what they're called, the Boro. That's their nickname.

J: That's because they're from a borough, like every other club in League 2. Yeah you could be a Stevenage supporter, and I,  you know what, I would support you completely, I think that that would be great for both of us. Just so you know where Stevenage is, it's there. It's in this part of London, er England.

H: Oh it's in part of, or it's pretty near London.

H: It looks like it's London-ish.

J: Yeah, I'm not an expert.

H: I am also not what you would call an expert on the local geographies of the UK.

J: It's about 30 miles north of central London. Hank, I would rather you be an AFC Wimbledon supporter than a Stevenage supporter, but I would rather you be a Stevenage supporter than not understand the beauty of football at all. H: Alright well I would rather you be a Venus supporter than not understand the beauty of the exploration of our Solar System at all.

 Outtro (50:00)


J: Alright Hank, so what did we learn today?

H: We learned that you think mostly, most of your time is spent thinking about either death or Kanye West.

J: That's completely untrue, it underestimates how much time I spend thinking about AFC Wimbledon.

H: Alright, you've got the three things John. The three things.

J: And of course we learned that it is not efficient to stir your hot cocoa using a lawnmower.

H: No absolutely not, it's also very efficient to get your merchandise needs fulfilled at dftba.com where we have OMG IT'S BURNING shirts.

J: And shirts and mugs and lots of other stuff available at dftba.cmo, our only actual podcast sponsor. And of course we learned that if Hank had to name a baby after a fruit, he would name it Olive Green.

H: No, Praise Hands. Map of Japan, no, Flag of Japan, John.

Both: Flag of Japan Green.

J: Oh what a future that kid would have. What's your name? Flag. That's weird, what's your full name? Flag of Japan Green.

H: It's so easy to just emoji that person (unintelligible). Alright, John, we got--

J: I am The Proud Nation of Brazil Green.

H: Oh, difficult times in Brazil, John. Thank you for listening to our podcast, thank you for performing in this podcast with me, John. It was an excellent performance, I'm glad you read your lines so professionally as if they were not written at all.

J: Well Hank it's been a pleasure as always to spend an hour in your company even if the recorder had to be on for this hour. Our podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our intern is Claudia Morales, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps us out a lot with questions and many other things. The theme music is by Gunnarolla, and as we say in our hometown--

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.