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How do I dad? Are expiration dates just suggestions? What do I call the people I work with? Do I really need to get drunk on my twenty-first birthday? And more!

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: It's a cold open, John. 

John: You wanna do a cold open today so, uh, that must mean there's big news. The last time we did this I think it was because I was announcing the creation of Leon Muss on Twitter.

Hank: Yeah.

John: Uhhh the biggest news in the history of our projects together. So I assume we only do cold opens for big moments. 

Hank: Yeah, not only was it the creation but also the announcement that he had a very active Twitter profile which has continued, despite--

John: Yeah, no.

Hank: --despite my belief that it was not going to. Though I still hold out that in a year's time there will not be a lot of Leon Muss happening in the world but who knows, who knows. 

John: First off you're completely wrong about that. Secondly, I assume we're doing this cold open so we can announce the Snickers thing. Is that what we're doing it for?

Hank: Definitely not. No. It's even bigger news than the Snickers thing which I guess we can talk about later if you really want to.

John: I'll hold off on the Snickers thing. I am definitely going to talk about it but what is this bigger news than the Snickers thing.

Hank: Uhh well for today, we are announcing - I am announcing - uhh for people who are not extremely careful watchers of the Hankschannel channel, that Katherine and I are going to have a baby human child. 

John: I'm so excited!

Hank: A little person, we're gonna be parents. And it's probably going to happen in late October which is why I am not going to be at Nerdcon Stories as people have been asking me: "Hank, you're not on the guest list of Nerdcon Stories, WTF?" That's what's going on. Uhh, this uhh.

John: Wait that's - I mean the fact that you're not gonna be at Nerdcon Stories is a very very small detail in what is a very wonderful turn of events. I am so excited Hank, and I have to tell you, our kids are so excited.

Hank: Oh yeah?

John: There is widespread, widespread talk at home about what the baby is going to be like. Is it going to throw up? Is it going to throw up white or green or yellow? 

Hank: Oh, great.

John: Lots and lots of baby talk at our house, so I am so happy for you and very excited and that is worthy of the cold open but I'm wondering if we can move on to my Snickers news.

Hank: Uhh, before we do that, I just wanna give a brief message from Katherine which is that while I chose this public, weird life, she didn't, and it's stressful enough to be a pregnant person without feeling like the whole world is watching and thinking about you. So she just wanted me to put that out there so people would behave with that in mind. And uhh we are very happy for all the people that are very happy for us though, so thank you, thank you all very much.  

J: Yeah, no, everyone's excited for you, but it is an important thing to be able to have privacy within your family and to have a family life that's separate from your public life.  I know that's hard to ask when you have a public life, but it is really important, so should we move on to the intro?

H: Yes!  


H: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

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

H: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother John, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Marvs and AFC Wimbledon. Did I say Marvs?  How ya doing, John?

J: I'm doing well.  Mostly--Hank, do you remember in our last episode, how I mentioned that I dearly want to have some kind of corporate sponsor in my life?  

H: Mhmm, Mhmm.

J: Well it just so happens that this very week, 478 Snickers bars arrived at my office.

H: How did this magical thing occur?

J: The nice folks at Mars sponsored VidCon, and while I was talking to them at a sponsor party, I mentioned that I am a longtime supporter of their company via my affection for Snickers bars.  Apparently, this went up the chain somehow, and so a refrigerated box full of delicious, cool Snickers bars, 478 of them, arrived at my office yesterday, and first off, I just wanna say, thank you to my personal sponsor, Snickers.

Secondly, I just wanna say, other companies looking to sponsor me, please feel free to send me 478 of your products.

H: Um, so what you're saying is that you were just having a chat at VidCon, first of all, I have to say, like, we sell all of the sponsorships out of my office, we have those relationships, we have lots of co--and never did it ever cross my plate that an option for a part of the VidCon sponsorship was just a gigantic like, house size box of Snickers.  That didn't show up on any of the deals, and I'm a little frustrated that apparently all I had to do was have a conversation with somebody.  This is like the weird life of a public YouTuber, where it's just, people are like, hey, yeah, you like our thing?  Here, have a--have two years worth of them, if--

J: I wouldn't say that 478 Snickers bars is two years worth of Snickers bars.  I'd say it's closer to--it's a solid month, though.  I mean, I'm gonna have a great month of August, let's put it that way.  

H: I like Snickers very much, but 478 Snickers bars is like, ten years worth of Snickers.

J: Mm, I'll report back next week and tell you how it's going.  I'm trying to think of what else--So, Hank--

H: But, I have to thank the people at Mars--no, to the people at the Mars company, not the people of the planet Mars, I must say, I really, really, like Peanut M&Ms.  A lot.

J: I--by the way, I also love Peanut M&Ms for the record, if the people at Mars are looking to have this be an ongoing relationship.

H: No, no, shh, no, hey, hey!  This is-- This is-- stop steppin' on my communications with the Mars people.

J: Uh, Hank, I'm wondering if there are other products out there that you would like to receive 478 of.  

H: Yeah, if I could receive like, if I could receive like, 478 Hartford Whalers Hats.

J: Are you a fan of the Hartford Whalers?

H: Well, I like them because they have a really nice logo and also they don't exist anymore as a team.

J: Right, so that does somewhat--that makes it a slightly less good investment from the company's perspective, just because they no longer have a brand to promote.

H: I completely disagree.  They have a tremendous brand to promote, it's Hartford Whalers merch.  Merch for a sports team that doesn't exist anymore is exactly what people like me, who like logos but not sports, is looking for.  Are looking for.

J: I myself, I'm a longtime fan of my Chevrolet Volt. I've had my Volt since 2012 and I would love 478 Chevrolet Volts.  

H: If the Niantic Company could send me 478 Pidgeys, that would be fantastic, 'cause that would really help me with the leveling up.

J: I mean, if we're requesting 478 Pokemon at a time, Hank, I can provide you with 478 Pidgeys. They're sitting there in my frickin' list of Pokemon right now. What I need is 478 Jolteons or whatever. Vaporeons. Where are my 478 Vaporeons, Niantic? I feel like I'm the greatest ambassador for your product ever. In fact, Hank, while we've been recording this podcast, I've been studiously catching Rattatas, which grow in Indianapolis like an actual weed.

H: Naaah, that doesn't sound great. We--you know, every Pokemon is important though. You can't say that one is important just 'cause--less important just because there are lots of them.  That's not a very nice way to feel. Just because they're successful animals and are weird, weird, you know, human habitats, Pidgeys and Rattatas and Drowzees, they've been very successful in the places where we live, and that's fine.   I think we should reward them for their success.  

J: I tell you what else I'd enjoy, Hank.  478 pairs of the sweatpants that I wear.  I just--I'm sorry, I'm stuck on how many Snickers bars I received, and it's given me hope that I'm really just a request away from the 478 Diet Dr. Peppers that I desperately need to go on living.

H: What about--wait a second--what about if we could get a brand deal with the US Mint and they could send us 478 hundred dollar bills?  I mean, I feel like that's a--yeah.  Is that an option?  Are they open to brandings, the US Mint?

J: Today's podcast is sponsored by the US Mint.  The US Mint, providing you with high quality hundred dollar bills since 1881.  

H: Do you know when the hundred dollar bill first went into circulation, John?

J: Yes, Hank, it was 1881, everybody knows that.  

H: Everybody knows that.

J: I also--not that I want in any way to problematize my relationship with the Mars company, maker of the greatest candies in the history of the world, but there are some other candy companies that I wish would also sponsor me.  

H: Okay.

J:  The makers of Fun Dip.  If I could have 478 Fun Dips, that would make me really--

H: I like Fun Dip because you put sugar on sugar and then you eat it.

J: Big League Chew. I would love 478 pouches of Big League Chew.  

H: 478 Abba Zabbas, please. Maybe 478 Watchamacallits?  

J: Ah, God, I love a good Watchamacallit.  Who makes Watchamacallits?  Why aren't they sponsoring us?

H: Probably Mars.  Can I get 478 Pockys? Some Pockys, please?

J: Hank, Watchamacallits are made--

H: Packages of Pocky?

J: Watchamacallits are made by the Hershey company. 

H: Oh.  Oh.

J: We need to reach out to them.  If anybody listening happens to be the CEO of the Hershey company, let me just say that next to Snickers bars, Watchamacallits are my favorite candy bars. Hank, we need to move on, this is not ultimately a podcast about us trying to acquire 478 items.  It's ultimately a podcast in which we answer our listeners questions and provide them with exceptionally dubious advice.

 Question One (10:36)

H: Alright, John, we have a question here, it's from Hank, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm gonna be a dad soon and I'm terrified, help."

J: Hank, broadly speaking, I have three pieces of advice.  The first is, you know, to take care of the kid.  When they are little infants, that's most of what they need is just care.  It's like quantity time over quality time.  The second piece of advice, I believe I've given this before on the podcast, is to only read one parenting book.  I don't actually think it matters which one you read, but just only read one, because if you accidentally read two or three, there will be all this competing advice in your head while you're trying to parent at 3 o'clock in the morning and you'll be like, am I supposed to change this diaper and then put them to bed or am I supposed to change this diaper and then feed them and then put them to bed?  Just read the one book, so that you're not fighting with yourself in your head at 3 o'clock in the morning, and the third piece of advice I will give you, when my son was born, I remember calling Mom and Dad and saying, "I am sorry, because this whole time, I thought that parenting me was a joy, minute by minute, in your life and that my presence was a constant gift to you," when in fact, like, it--parenting is a joy and the presence of a child is a gift, but it's also lots and lots of work, especially when they're little, because the amount of waste that they produce, the number of diapers that they go through, is just astonishing and they don't know what time it is and all that stuff, so, it's a lot of work at first and they don't give you much back, because they can't really respond to stimulus except by crying, but I'm so--I'm still--I'm so excited for you.  So that's my advice. The other piece of advice I would give you is not to listen to anyone's advice, which is also a great piece of advice in general on this advice podcast.

H: Especially on this advice podcast, yes.  Uh, I've got a question here, John, that I feel like is tailored more to your expertise than mine, and since we've already decided that this podcast is gonna be the ones where--one of the ones where you talk more than me, let's just do it.  It's from Tatianna, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm currently studying to be a nurse and therefore often encounter people at the worst times of their lives.  At these times, I'm sometimes asked whether I believe in God and as an atheist, these moments bring me a lot of anxiety.  I completely understand that they're looking for comfort in a time of desperation, but feel it's wrong to lie to them.  I am simply at a loss as to how to react in these situations.  Any dubious advice would be greatly appreciated."

J: Yeah, I think this is difficult, but ultimately, it might not be a matter of lying, it might be a matter of stating your beliefs in a way that's respectful, you know, like, by saying that you think care and love is important at difficult times and that you've seen a lot of people find that care and love from religious places or turning it around and asking them what they believe or where they find strength or saying that, like, I also think that you can just say, "I'm not an expert on that stuff, I'm a nurse, I am not a spiritual advisor, however, here at the hospital, we do have wonderful chaplains and would you mind if I called one for you or would you like to talk to one of the chaplains?" I think using the resources at the hospital is--or, I assume that you're at a hospital, given that it sounds like you're with people when they die, but most places, that people die in do have some kind of chaplaincy service, so I would encourage you to take advantage of that, because when I was a chaplain at least, I was always very grateful when I was called in in those situations.  

H: Excellent.  Hit me with one, John.  I have nothing to add, of course I have noth--I--yeah, it does seem a little bit like, hey, that's--I'm not qualified for that question.

J: Right.  

H: Like, I'm here to stick a needle in your arm, I'm here to take care of you, I'm here to keep you healthy, not here to advise you spiritually.  

J: Yeah.  Knowing what your job isn't is as important as knowing  what your job is, I think.

H: Absolutely.

 Question Two (15:07)

J: Alright, Hank, we've got another question, this one comes from Raoun, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I don't know what to do when my friends keep forcing me to get Snapchat.  I don't really wanna get it, mainly because I don't know how to use it nor will I use the app a lot.  Any dubious advice?"

H: Raoun, you have no idea how much you will use Snapchat once you have it.  You don't kn--and you might be right, maybe you won't use it, but you don't know.  I--like--the--so, first, you have the right to do whatever you want, but this is some dubious advice for you, which is that not knowing how to do something is a terrible reason not to do it, because then you would do nothing ever, so obviously using Snapchat, not necessarily the most adventurous thing that you will--that you might say, like, I don't know how to do that, I'm not gonna do it.  Snapchat, it's a little bit dif--user unfriendly, it's a little bit, huh, Snapchat--it's a little bit user unfriendly, but you know, the only way to know how to use it is to use it, and what I have discovered about Snapchat is that it is a kind of--it's a way to personalize communication in a impersonal world of communication. I think oftentimes when we are texting with each other, it feels very functional, it feels sort of robotic, and of course, emojis can help with that, and I think that's why emojis are so popular and successful, but Snapchat allows you to create a thing for your friend and send it to them and kind of like make a little present, make this digital present that is going to be, you know, exist for a short amount of time, but it's a little thing that you can send to them and communicate that way, and so your friends just wanna send you a little present sometimes, and they can't, and that frustrates them, because they're sending presents to everybody else that they--in their little social world, and not you.  But, again, it's your choice, but--

J: It's your choice, but it isn't really, because Hank feels very strongly that you need to get Snapchat, because Hank is a ambassador for Snapchat.  Hank is essentially an unpaid employee of Snapchat.  

H: Can I get 473 Snapchats, please?

J: It's 478 Snickers bars, for the record.  Those last five Snickers bars, when I eat them, in early September, will be very important to me.  I would add to this, you may not use Snapchat a lot, I, for instance, don't use it at all, really, but you will enjoy the filters, even if you don't use Snapchat, the filters are fun, so I think get it for the filters, and no, Snapchat did not pay us to say that, but yes, Snickers did send me 478 Snickers bars, so when I say that Snickers is delicious, I am biased but I am also correct.

 Question Three (18:00)

H: #Spawn.  We got another question.  

J: Hashtags.

H: This one's from Erin, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, In one month I will be leaving home to attend my first year of college in a different state.  I'm just beginning the process of packing up all my belongings and clearing out my room.  During this process, I have unearthed some interesting and many embarrassing artifacts from my life so far.  Among these artifacts are old journals filled with Harry Potter fanfiction I wrote when I was in middle school.  My question is, what should I do with these journals filled with terrible fanfiction?  They are extremely embarrassing in content and in quality of writing, and if I leave them at home, I run the risk of my parents finding them and reading them, but if I take them to college with me, I run the risk of my roommate finding them and reading them.  Any dubious advice would be appreciated."  Oh my.  Oh, what a true quandary, John.

J: Yeah, this is a difficult one, I mean--

H: You gotta--Erin, I mean, you need like a safe, like a fire safe that you only know the combination to wrapped in chains and zip-ties.  That's the true only secure method of storing anything, it's just lots of zip-ties.

J: Everybody knows that if you wanna preserve your middle school writings, the key is zip-ties.  No, I think that you should leave it at home, because I think even if your parents do find it and read it, ultimately, they won't be like, embarrassed, they will still be impressed, because parents have such a low, in my experience, anyway, my parents have such a low bar that I have to jump over for them to be proud of me, so I think just the fact that you use like, periods and commas and capital letters in appropriate places, they'll just be like, this is the best fanfiction I've ever read.

H: Well, you don't know how embarrassing they are in content, though.  But I do wanna say to Erin, I think it's remarkable that you're so certain your parents haven't read them yet.

J: Yeah, that's the other thing. Right, just leave them at home, where your parents have already enjoyed them. 

H: I--uh, it's been a long time since you wrote those things, who knows, who knows what you--what violations of privacy occurred.

J: Yeah, I'll tell you what, though, I think it--I think it is a dangerous dangerous game to bring those with you to college, Erin.  

H: Oh, yes, very.  I would not.

J: I think that you're sort of--I think if you bring those to college, ultimately you're sort of playing the Game of Thrones, you're either gonna win or you're gonna die.

H: Also, how do you have space to take stuff to college with you?  I remember taking stuff to college, I was like, well, if it doesn't fit in this duffel bag--

J: I remember when I got to college, I had three books with me, and I put my three books on the bookshelf and my roommate looked over at me and he said, "You have three books?"  And I was like, no, no, man, I have more than three books, I just only brought three books, and he was like, "You brought three books to college?" and I was like, yeah, yeah.  And then he proceeded to like, roll in, you know, like three bookshelves full of great American novels and I was like, ohhh, I've made a terrible miscalculation.  

H: Oh my God.  What--what?!  You don't have time to read for fun at college!  You just gotta--

J: Yes, you do.  You better, because that's the core of my audience.

H: I guess that's true, I guess that's true.  

 Question Four (21:33)

J: Oh man, Hank, let's go to another question.  This one comes from Kristine, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, A question for you: my roommate believes expiration dates for eggs and butter are a suggestion, whereas I was raised to follow expiration dates.  Is he right, and if so, how can I tell when eggs and butter are expired?"  Really great question.  Now, Hank, as you know, I am a longtime supporter of expiration dates, but after supporting them, a bunch of people wrote in to say that expiration dates are in many cases making the problem of food worse, because it creates so much food waste.   So I was wrong about expiration dates, and now you are going to continue by correcting me.  

H: Yes, in many cases, they aren't even expiration dates.  They're sell-by dates, so that the date at which the store shouldn't sell them after, not the date in which you shouldn't use them after.  Obviously, if you buy butter on like, the last of the sell-by date, you don't have to throw it away the next day.  They expect that you will have that butter for at least a couple of weeks.  Both eggs and butter are two examples of things that are very difficult to eat after they've spoiled, because they smell awful.  Like, if you crack open a rotten egg, you're gonna know, because it produces like the oxidation that's happening inside of there is gonna produce a bunch of hydrogen sulfide or the bacteria--action of the bacteria in there, and hydrogen sulfide is the thing that we are very good at being able to smell because it's very toxic and you know the smell of hydrogen sulfide, it's that stinky rotten egg smell, and butter also has--it's very similar to like, rotten milk, like, milk that has gone bad.  It's sour and yucky and, but like, butter l--both of these things are things that last a very long time and throwing them away because they have passed their sell-by date is definitely a way to waste money and food.

J: Okay, related question, Hank.

H: Yes?

J: Just out of curiosity, about how long after receiving a Snickers bar in the mail can you eat it?  

H: Uh...I'm very curious, I'm gonna Google it.  

J: Even assuming that I enjoy two Snickers bars a day for the next, mm, you know, 240 or so days, I'm wondering, do I need to give some of these Snickers bars away, or can I keep them all?

H: I think that you can just keep them all.  My guess is that they'll stop being as good, they just will be a little less fresh.  I had a Snickers just the other day, it was a--I don't--I have no idea how old this was, I literally just found it sitting around the office, and it was one of the like, individually wrapped little ones for like Halloween-times, and I had like, three of them, and two of them were like, you know, normal, and then one of them was like half hard and I was like, hmm, this is a little crunchier than usual, but I ate it, I ate it, and it was just fine.

J: Hank, uh, if I--if we could just back up real quick.  I am not okay with you saying negative things about Snickers in any way, even implying that you had a less than perfect Snickers experience endangers by really important relationship with the Snickers company.

H: Alright.  

J: By the way, it was funny when you said I had a couple of those mini-Snickers yesterday, because I should emphasize, this is 478 full size Snickers bars.  And I had five of them yesterday.

H: Oh, no, that's a lot of Snickers, John, that's like--that's like half your daily calories in Snickers.

J: I know, it was actually all that ate.  I'm gonna try to see if you can lose weight only eating Snickers bars.  

H: Ahh, that sounds like a real good plan, John.

J: Well, they have most of the things that you need.  Protein, carbohydrates, Vitamin C, I assume.  

H: Does...Snickers...have...Vitamin...C?  Ask the internet?  2 milligrams!  .2 milligrams!  

J: That's all you need.  You don't wanna have more than .2 milligrams a day.  It's well, I mean, first off, I'm getting way more than .2 milligrams, because I'm eating several of them a day.  

H: You also get .2 grams of trans fat.  

J: And I--my understanding is that um, the trans fat is the stuff that's really good for you.

H: Oh, yeah, that's the super--that's the super--you should rub it all over your skin and eyeballs.  

J: Okay, let's--I--we're veering dangerously close toward it seeming like I am not incredibly grateful for these 478 Snickers bars, so I wanna emphasize that I am profoundly grateful, and that I think--I will say, and I'm not saying this because of influence from the Snickers company, that I think it's a little bit ludicrous when people eat these nutrition bars, these quote-unquote nutrition bars that have the exact same nutritional qualities as a Snickers bar.

H: Mhmm, yeah.  

J: And then they're like, oh, but it was a Clif bar.  And I'm like, right, but that's the exact same thing.  

H: It is just a candy.  It's like, I often run across granola bars and I'm like, that's actually a cookie.   That's a cookie.  

J: Yeah.

H: It's a bunch of chocolate chips!  It's a bunch of chocolate chips inside of a bunch of grain.  

J: It's delicious, it's great, I don't have any problem with a granola bar, but don't try to pretend that it's healthier than a cookie, it's the same thing as a cookie.

H: It's just a cookie.  It's a cookie that you're supposed to eat while you're outside for whatever reason.  This is an outside cookie.

J: This is a hiking cookie.  It's a cookie for hikers.

H: Lemba spread.

 Question Five (27:09)

Anyway, John, I made the Lord of the Rings reference, now I feel like a nerd, I gotta ask you a question, it's from John, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Is one allowed to refer to their superiors in a workplace as a co-worker or to their inferiors at a workplace as a co-worker?  Does this create a power imbalance or a power equality that is undesirable to parties involved? Thank you for all your work."

J: The first thing that I would say is that you are definitely not allowed to refer to your 'inferiors' as your 'inferiors'.  

H: No, that's not a thing.

J: That's not okay.  

H: I think that people do sometimes call those people 'subordinates', which I also feel like is just awful.

J: Ugh, that's terrible, that's terrible.  

H: Oh man.  Subordinate to me!

J: No, I think you're allowed to call--yes, you're allowed to call them co-workers in my opinion, at least, I mean, we have a somewhat weird office, but I call everybody here co-workers. And I assume they call me a co-worker, but I think you can also refer to people who are your bosses as your bosses, but I don't think that you can refer to them as 'superiors' or 'inferiors', at least not here, because it just creates--it creates a hierarchy that I don't think is helpful to the running of the organization.  Like, we aren't the army.

H: Yeah, yeah, I think that the--so, so, different workplaces are different, and the safe bet is to go, if you're talking about somebody who's at the same level as you in your company, the safe bet is that those people are your co-workers and then if there are other people you can call them colleagues and that is safe, but I think there are some people who would feel, in like big corporate structures, who would feel sort of weird about calling someone who is, you know, their boss's boss, a co-worker, but you can still call that person a colleague.  That person works at your company and you work together on the same project.  

J: But if you work at Amazon, can you call Jeff Bezos your colleague?  

H: Not really.

J: Not really.  You know what I mean, like--

H: No, but you can call him your co-worker?

J: No, you can't call him your co-worker.  I'm saying that our advice is so dubious that I already disagree with it.

H: Yeah, yeah.  So, what do you call that person?

J: I think you have to call Jeff Bezos...Jeff.  

H: Just call him Jeff?

J: Yeah, I think you just have to be like, you know, I was at dinner with some of my co-workers...and Jeff was also there.  

H: Yeah, well, yes.  I think you kind of can--it's very weird to me, I was just at Comic Con, and there was a lot of like, single-naming happening, when referring to particularly famous people, and I was like, Patrick who?  And people would just be like, you know, Patrick.  Patrick was there.

J: Patrick who?  

H: It was Patrick Rothfuss, who--yeah.

J: Ohhh.  Patrick Rothfuss is a great man.  I'm not sure that he's quite gotten to a place where he's the only Patrick.  

H: Yeah, yeah. Uh-huh, uh-huh, though I did--I was in an elevator with Joss, which is--

J: Now, Joss is the only Joss.

H: Well, first of all, his name is Joss, which is pretty weird.

J: Yeah.

H: Secondly, he's the only Joss, I mean, if I say I was in an elevator with Joss, then I was indeed.  You know what I'm saying.

J: I--however, I, when I do not know someone, I always work very hard to say their first and last name in conversation, because I think if you don't, you sound like a jerk.  Like, frankly, if you were like, "I was in an elevator with Joss," it makes you sound like you're his friend.

H: Yeah.

J: And I find that kind of problematic.

H: Right.  Because clearly not, though do you wanna hear the whole story?

J: Not really, but I can tell that you're gonna tell it regardless.

H: So I was leaving a party that Joss--Joss, my friend, Joss, had been at, and I heard that he had been at the party, but I didn't see him and I was like, aw bummer, and then I was walking back to my hotel, because I had had enough of that noise, it was not the most pleasant place that I'd ever been, and me and my friend Laura were walking down this causeway that was sort of limited in size, and there was this group of people that were walking quite slowly that had clearly just come out of the party, and Laura and I were walking much more quickly, 'cause it was bedtime, and she like, sort of like, had to push past them to get us through, and as we got far enough away that they couldn't hear, I had to tell Laura that she had just kind of shoved Joss Whedon, um, and she was like, what?!  And I was like, that happened.  It happened.  You touched him and a little bit pushed him out of the way.  He was the sweaty one.  And she turned around and looked and she was like, yeah, yeah, yep, yep, yep, yep, that's what happened, and then I went on to get into the elevator to my hotel and they caught up while I was waiting for the elevator and we got to the elevator together and the--and one of the people that were hanging out, she recognized me and was like, are you Hank Green?  And I got to be Hank Green in front of Joss Whedon, which was--made me feel special.

J: But not to Joss Whedon, I mean, it wasn't like Joss Whedon looked at you and said, "Are you Hank Green?"

H: No, he sure did not.  No.  In fact, I did not say it because I was terrified and so I didn't say anything at all, so I feel like Joss might have not known that I knew who he was at all, which probably is not a thing that matters to him, now that I think about it.

J: No.  No, it does not matter to him, and also, as is always the case with any kind of celebrity interaction, you have way over-analyzed the situation.

H: Yes. Yes! Definitely!

 Question Six (32:46)

J: Okay, let's move on to another question from one of our listeners, Hank, this one comes from--

H: But I've got more to say about Jo--no, I don't.

J: Oh God.  This one comes from Kathy, who asks, "Dear John and Hank, My 21st birthday is coming up on August the 2nd, and everyone is telling me that it is incredibly important that I get drunk.  They say everyone should be drunk at least once and that you really should do it on your 21st birthday, because it is a rite of passage, etc, but my question to you guys is, do you really think it's that important?  I don't really want to get drunk.  I hate the idea of being drunk and not being in control of myself or in a situation, and also alcohol tastes bad."  First off, Kathy, alcohol does not taste bad.  Maybe--

H: Well, I mean, you're--

J: Maybe you don't like the taste of some--

H: Pure ethanol tastes bad.

J: Maybe pure ethanol tastes bad.  Maybe you don't like the taste of some alcoholic beverages, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, okay?  There are some delicious alcoholic beverages out there.  Have you ever had a really top quality margarita?  I'm eventually going to get to the fact that you don't need to get drunk on your 21st birthday, but I just wanna disagree with your premise a little bit first or a really, really good Old Fashioned, a well-balanced Old Fashioned with really top quality bourbon?

H: Ugh.

J: There is nothing wrong with the taste of alcohol. 

H: Yeah.

J: That said, you don't have to get drunk on your 21st birthday, what a ridiculous idea.

H: Yeah, uh, I gotta say, an Old Fashioned is not for me, but have you tried a Zima?

J: Mmm.  

H: I just got--gotta get one of those Mike's Hard Lemonades or like a Strawberry Wine Cooler, like some Boone's farm?  Yeah.  Oh yeah.

J: These might be the three most embarrassing things that you've ever said in your entire life, Hank.  The last five minutes of this podcast has been some of the lowest quality Hank I've ever received in my entire life. 

H: I just--John, I just want 438 Zimas!

J: First off--

H: I'm trying to get us a corporate sponsor here!

J: You need to memorize the number of Snickers bars that I got.

H: How many is it?  It wasn't 438?

J: 458.  

H: Oh, God, it's hard to remember all this.

J: Second off, if anybody sends 458 Zimas, I will be so happy, because Hank may say that he likes Zima, he might remember something from the 90s when he enjoyed a Zima, but he does not wanna drink 458 Zimas.  No one on Earth wants to drink 458 Zimas.  By the way, I'm not even sure they still make Zima, Hank, so nobody probably even gets this joke.

H: If I got 458 Zimas, it would definitely be because somebody went back in time or somebody's just sittin' on a stockpile from 2007, 'cause I think that's the last year they made 'em.  

J: Oh wow, yeah, production ceased in October of 2008, so going back to our question of when food spoils, I'm not sure that you really wanna enjoy 458 eight year old Zimas.

H: Especially 'cause it would take me like, several years to finish all of them. I will say as someone who is currently not drinking, but I have enjoyed drinking, I do like to get a little bit tipsy on occasion, but again, just like your--just like our previous Snapchat friend, you don't know whether you'll enjoy something until you try it.  Of course, that's not necessarily a reason to do it.  

J: I mean, you can say the same thing about crack cocaine.

H: Right, right, like, and I'm--I like, am not--like, people are like, you gotta try skydiving, it's so fun, and I'm like, no, no, never.  That is not who I am, and if it's not who you are, that's fine, but it is--I would suggest, of course, doing whatever you wanna do, but if you wanna try drinking, just have a glass of white wine and see how you feel about it.  Don't like, put a bunch of pressure on it.  It's just a--it's a thing that some people do and enjoy and you might as well try it.

J: I also think, like, I find the American obsession with binge drinking really weird and scary, and I think that it's great if you can go out on your 21st birthday and have a glass of red wine or even split a bottle of red wine with a friend or something, or white wine, or rose, which is the best of both worlds.

H: I just have to say that as--if Kathy doesn't like the--doesn't think she likes the taste of alcohol, like, white wine, is like, not a lot going on, which I really like.  It's cold, it's like a--it's basically Sprite if you get like a really sweet Riesling and then it's like a very approachable first step.  Whereas red wine, it always seems to me like, ahh, there's a whole lot goin' on here.

J: Hank is trying so hard to get Kathy to drink on her birthday, I mean, this peer pressure is way worse than the peer pressure that she's getting from her friends.  Anyways.

H: All I'm saying is you gotta find a Zima!  Get yourself a Zima and you'll be so happy that you did.

J: Drink an eight year old Zima on your 21st birthday.  I would say, like, I think it's fine to go out on your 21st birthday and celebrate the fact that you can drink legally, but being responsible about that is the reason ostensibly that you're allowed to drink legally, right?  So, I think, like, the coolest thing you can do is, in my opinion, is either not drink or go out and have a couple glasses of wine with your friends and enjoy it and go home that night and not wake up the next morning vomiting or whatever, like, it is a health problem to drink to the point of extreme intoxication.  It is a risk to your health, it is a danger to your health, and I want to underscore that.

H: Yeah, yeah.

J: I do not want to be part of the romanticization of binge drinking in American culture.

H: And it's--and I don't think--And it can be a very overwhelming thing, especially if you've never done it before, to think that that's what drinking is, because that's what we romanticize and that's what we think of as like, the 21st birthday celebration, when in fact, that is not what drinking should ever be, ever.

J: Yeah, but I mean, it's a--it is very closely associated, alcohol consumption and binge drinking in the US are so closely associated. Hank, we need to answer one more question before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  

H: John, I feel like, I feel like you're criticizing me for having said the wrong number of Snickers bars, but I feel like you have said different numbers?

J: Yeah, I've probably also been inconsistent.  All I know is that there are between 438 and 478 Snickers bars currently in my home and that yesterday--

H: Oh, they're not even at your office, they're at home?!  You brought them home just for you.  

J: Of course I brought them home.  You think I'm gonna share them with all the people who work here?  

H: Oh.

J: Those are my Snickers bars, Hank.  

H: I feel like if you have that many Snickers bars...

J: The letter, to be clear, was not addressed to 'everyone who works at John's office', the letter was addressed to me.  

H: Okay.  Alright.

J: Sarah and the children are also not welcome to have any of them.  Those are my Snickers bars.  

 Question Seven (40:14)

H: Alright, John, maybe one more question.  This one's from Eddy, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I recently went through some old Vlogbrothers videos.  I stumbled across a video from January 2009 with the title 'President Barack Obama Inaugurated: Some Historical Background.'  In this video, John offers, "Maybe someday, I will tell you the story of how the declaration of independence almost didn't happen because a dude got drunk in a bar."  I know this is maybe seven years too late, but I really wanna hear that story."  Hey, me too, John!  

J: Yeah, so about that story.  It turns out to be something of a historical legend that is not true.  So the reason I never told the story is because in the comments of that video, a bunch of people were like, I can't believe John bought into that legend, it totally isn't true, here are some reputable sources, so I'm backin' away.  I backed away seven years ago, and I'm just gonna keep backing away...

 Commercial Break (41:13)

Which reminds me, Hank, that today's podcast is brought to you by quietly backing away from your seven year old mistakes.  Quietly backing away from your seven year old mistakes: the only real strategy.

H: Today's podcast is also brought to you by the use of the word 'jokes' as if it means cool, a thing that we thought that we were creating, but in fact already existed and so we also backed quietly away from that. Back in 2008.

J: And furthermore, this podcast is brought to you by babies. Babies! Babies! Yes! Yes!  

H: Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. And finally, of course, this podcast is brought to you by Zima. Bottled cold fresh malt liquor, available in 2008.  

J: Oh man. The poor folks at Snickers didn't even get a sponsor spot.  

H: I think they should be happy.  I think they got enough. I feel like.

J: I hope we've done a good enough job talking about how much we enjoy receiving 400 odd copies of something for us to get 400 odd copies of something else in the mail sometime soon.  In the meantime...

 News From Mars (42:26)

Hank, it is time for us to discuss the week's news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Would you like to go first?

H: Sure.

J: By the way, no short poem today, we just--we--

H: Oh yeah!  That didn't happen!  

J: What can you do.  Life moves on.  We were too busy talking about the all-important Snickers news.  

H: Yeah, yeah, and all of our 400 odd whatsoevers.  Well, if I could have 400 of anything, John, it would be Mars Curiosity Rovers.  

J: Yes, that's what Mars needs.  It needs more mini-vans.

H: So there is currently on the surface of Mars that extraordinary piece of technology, the Curiosity Rover, among other things that the rover can do, it can shoot Martian rocks with laser beams, vaporizing the surface of those rocks and then it can detect and sniff up the chemicals that come off of the rocks and do some spectroscopy on it to figure out what's in the rocks, the chemical composition of Martian geology and it's great.  So, every once in a while, we beam new software to the Curiosity Rover, it's basically like you updating your Xbox, new firmware, new hard, new software, not new hardware. It'd be really nice if we could beam new hardware to it but we can't, and we just sent a software update to the Curiosity Rover that allows it, instead of needing to wait for humans to tell it when to shoot its laser and where to shoot its laser, which, of course, takes a ton of time, because we are really far away from Mars and it takes, you know, like 15 to 30 minutes for our signal to get there. So instead of waiting for all that time, the Curiosity Rover now has an algorithm that allows it to decide for itself where it should shoot its laser beam and what rocks to take measurements of, which is gonna save time, and it's gonna allow us to do more science faster on the red planet, and that's exciting.  How--and the good news is, for people who are concerned about robots that can choose for themselves where to shoot their laser guns, that this one is very far away and humans are not nearby it, so you're safe.

J: Yeah, I mean, that was gonna be my first question. My second question, however, is let me give you a hypothetical situation.  

H: Okay.

J: Imagine, if you will, that we create software that essentially allows machines to have a consciousness.  

H: ...sure.

J: And now, imagine that we are able to update the Mars rover so that it gets a software update essentially giving it self-awareness.  Giving it consciousness, okay?

H: Mhmm, okay.

J: In that situation, would you attempt to argue that there is a person on Mars?

H: Um, I mean, not until this moment, but now that you've brought it up, absolutely!  In fact--

J: Alright, well--

H: In fact, it's already done, it's already making autonomous decisions.  I don't know that we can't say that there isn't already currently a person on Mars.  

J: Well, see, I had a feeling that you were gonna get there eventually, so  I just wanna say right now that the bet that we made is whether or not there will be a human being, as defined as a member of homo sapiens.

H: Did we? I'm not sure that we said that.

J: On Mars before 2028.

H: I think we said person.

J: I do not think that we said person, so I am just--I wanna establish that A: machines are not people (yet), and B: the bet is whether a homo sapiens will be on Mars by 2028 and I am not putting at risk what I think of as the most important issue in my life right now, which is whether we are only 12 short years away from having a podcast called Dear John and Hank.

 News From AFC Wimbledon (46:44)

In AFC Wimbledon news, so, as you know, Hank, right now, it's the preseason.  AFC Wimbledon is getting ready for their third tier campaign.  Right now, literally right now, as we're recording this podcast, they are playing in a pre-season friendly match Crystal Palace, their longtime South London rivals, Crystal Palace currently play in the premier league.  AFC Wimbledon play two leagues below in league one, so this is definitely a game where you would expect Crystal Palace to win.  It's a preseason game so there's tons of substitutions, they don't always play their best players, etc, however, Crystal Palace scored early in the first half, Connor Wickham, really great player, scored that goal, and you know, it was looking like the natural thing was going to happen, AFC Wimbledon was gonna lose to a much stronger squad, but then, the Messi from Montserrat, the Christiano Renaldo of the Caribbean, Lyle Taylor, Lyle Taylor scored a goal in the 38th minute to make the game tied at 1 and the second half just started, so it's 1-1, very encouraging preseason news for AFC Wimbledon, and I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed that we can go in to the start of this season feelin' good, feelin' excited, and feelin' like we can stay up in league one.

H: So I feel like (yawn), sorry, John.

J: Why are you yawning?

H: I just didn't have enough oxygen in my brain.  

J: Okay.

H: I feel like I didn't get a lot of updates on, you know, like, AFC Wimbledon like rebuilding its team in the time before--

J: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that AFC Wimbledon has signed a ton of new players yet.  Next week, I will be giving you an update on the overall kind of the lay of the land with the squad, but frankly, we should be fine.  We have Lyle Taylor, he does nothing but score, and that should be enough.  We'll see.  I'm a little worried as well about the fact that we haven't signed a ton of new players at League One level, but maybe the core of the group is good enough for League One.  We shall see.  

H: Alright, alright.  I have no idea how soccer works.

J: Frankly, neither do I, but I love it.  I also have no idea how Mars works, but I like that as well.  I will remind you though, Hank, that this week, as is the case every week, Leon Muss over at Twitter,, is doing the hard work to make sure that humans do not go to Mars until at least 2028.  

H: Well, he now has 9,077 followers, John, including many people I know personally as friends, so.

J: Well, you may not know this, Hank, but Leon Muss has actually become the world's leading anti-Mars exploration advocate.  

H: Uhh.  Well.

J: There is no one on Twitter with more followers whose job is primarily centered around making sure that humans stay on Earth until at least 2028.  

H: I do--I really feel like creating like, a Swindon Town Twitter, like, @SwindonMustBeatAFCWimbledon, like that's the only thing this Twitter is about.  

J: You know Leon Muss's newest tactic, Hank, I don't know if you're familiar with this, but Leon Muss has become strongly pro-Moon exploration.

H: Oh, great.

J: Leon Muss is like, wait, what happened to the moon?  Let's bring back some moon exploration.  Why all this emphasis on Mars so far away, so cold, so distant?  The moon, very habitable.  

H: It's uh...well, it's close by.  There's no doubt about that.

 Outro (50:40)

What did we learn today, John?

J: Hank, the most important by far is that we learned you're going to be a father.

H: Yes.  Yeah, it does seem like all the other things that we learned might be a little bit less impactful by comparison.  I'm not really sure how to follow that one up.

J: Yeah, no, I mean, that's definitely the biggest news.  Of course, the second biggest news is we learned that in the coming weeks or possibly months, but I suspect weeks, I'm gonna be eating a lot of Snickers bars.

H: Yeah, you may have a whole Snickers baby.  And we learned that Jeff Bezos, if you work at Amazon, is not your colleague, he's just Jeff.

J: Just Jeff.  And lastly, we learned that Hank really really really wants you to get Snapchat.  

H: And have some Zima.  

J: Hank.

H: I'm just a pusher.  I feel real bad.

J: Hank has wholly devoted his career now to advising you to drink Zima while using Snapchat filters.  

H: Does actually sound like a pretty good time.

J: No, it doesn't.  That sounds like a terrible time, not least because Zima is going to make you sick on account of it being at least 8 years old, possibly more.  Thank you for listening to our podcast.  You can send us questions at Also, you can now send us questions at, thank you to Sammy, who with her friends from our forum at YourPants started the Dear Hank and John Tumblr,, they have very generously given us access to, so we can now see your questions there as well.

H: Because well, lots of people have been sending questions to, but the e-mail address is

J: That said--the e-mail address one more time is  That is the place to email us.

H: Don't--don't--yeah, that's the place.  The--our podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps out with questions.  Our intern is Claudia Morales.  The theme music that you're hearing right now is from Gunnarolla, and as they say in our hometown...

J&H: Don't forget to be awesome.