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Where all all the dead birds? Should I really live each day of my life like it's my last? Am I a fraud for being a social chameleon? And more!

 Intro (00:00)

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 talk about death, answer your questions, bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon, and give you dubious advice.  I did it in a different order today, John.  

J: I like how you're mixing it up, Hank, it's very bold, it's refreshing, it's innovative, I love it. 

H: How are you doing?

J: I'm well, I'm well.  We're recording this podcast on a Monday.

H: Yeah.

J: It's a beautiful day here in Indianapolis.  Everything is going well.  How are you?  

H: You say you're well, but you don't sound quite like normal.

J: Well, I'm a little bit tired.

H: Okay.

J: And, uh, I did go for a five mile run this morning, which is a little bit exhausting, but no, on the whole, and also, I was in New York this weekend, which was also a little bit exhausting.  Very fun though.  My long-time publicist and your friend as well, Hank, Elyse, got married.

H: Oh yes.

J: No, I was there to celebrate her wedding, which was lovely, but I also am a little bit tired, and what is new in your life?

H: Oh, I don't know if anything at all is new.  I had a baby shower this weekend.  We received baby gifts.  It was lovely.  People were very kind.

J: I believe we sent some things to you as well.  I don't know if you've received them yet.

H: I did.  I sent you a text message about how very very nice it all was.

J: Oh, well, as you can tell from the way it was wrapped up, it was mostly me who did the work.  

H: Well, it was a very very sweet gesture.  Not the just the stuff, but also you--there were lots of nice little notes as well.  So, we're really lookin' forward to it.

J: Yes, the thing that I'm most excited about is that we got to pass down the little DFTBA Nerdfighteria onesie that someone gave me back in like, 2009 before Sarah and I even knew we were gonna have a kid.  Hank, can I read you a short poem of correction for today?

H: Yes, you may.

J: Yeah, so, these days, at least for a little while, we're doing short poems that also take the form of corrections to things we got wrong in previous podcasts. Today's short poem of correction comes from listener Andrew, who writes, "There are no Pokestops at high schools.  For legal reasons. Trust me, I work at Niantic. Which, for the record, since we're making corrections, is pronounced Niantic." A short poem of correction from listener Andrew who is employed at Niantic, or possibly Niantic, I still maintain that nobody knows for sure how it's pronounced. It's named after a ship that fell into the bottom of the ocean.

H: Is it really?!

J: Oh yeah.  I believe so.  I'm not actually positive about that.  Now, great, I've already introduced an opportunity for a new correction.

H: Oh, is it an anagram of the--of Titanic?  

J: One of these days we're gonna get everything right in this podcast but not today.  It does look like it's an anagram of Titanic except that it doesn't have enough T's in it.

H: Yeah.  Also has too many N's.

J: There's a couple things keeping it from being a proper anagram of Titanic.  Alright, maybe we should--

H: Oh, goodness gracious.

J: Maybe we should move on to some questions from our listeners, Hank, as--

H: Yeah, we gotta get ourselves into the portion of the podcast where it's okay to be wrong.

J: Yes, right, the dubious advice portion of the podcast, where the only thing that we are endangering is the lives of the people who take us seriously.  By the way, never follow our advice.  I hope that we've made that clear over the years, but there's just, there is no worse idea.

H: Well, John, I can see in our shared Google Doc that you are highlighting all kinds of stuff.  So maybe you know what you're doing.

J: No, that's how I ju--that's just how I read.  I highlight as I read on the internet.  Do you not do that?

H: I do as well.  I try not to do it when we are sharing a Google Doc though, because then it's--it can be kind of confusing.

J: Okay, yeah, I see you doing it.  It's actually super annoying when you do it, but when I do it, it's very helpful.

 Question One (3:48)

Okay, Hank, our first question comes from Mimi who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Where are all the dead birds?  After 20 years on this Earth, I've only just realized, I never see dead birds, but I see live birds everywhere.  Where are the dead birds? Any help would be appreciated, because their absence has become vaguely panic-inducing to me."  Hank.

H: I mean, I gotta say, have you ever been to a grocery store, 'cause they're full of dead birds.  Just so many dead birds.

J: Oh, you mean like dead chickens.  But I--I believe that she means like,--

H: Or like any restaurant, Thanksgiving is centered around a dead bird.  We basically praise them like--yeah.

J: Chik-fil-A.

H: There's a whole restaurant just for dead birds.  

J: Um, I don't think she's talking about dead birds that you eat, I think she's talking about, you know, songbirds and blue herons and most of all, pigeons.  
H: Well, I--yes.  So pigeons die in crevasses, and so they are--they find a little place to go die and I know this because we have one of those places at our old apartment where there would always be a dead pigeon and we'd be like, take the dead pigeon out and then there'd be another one, and it was like, this is just a place where pigeons go to die, it's like a pigeon graveyard, perfect little spot, they just loved to go die there.  But--and birds, I think, get eaten a lot, so small birds, if there's cats around, they will get, you know, taken around, hidden by the animals who eat--skunks and raccoons will also eat dead birds.

J: Sure.

H: But also live birds if they are not feeling well and are slower than normal, so there are lots of things that will eat them, take them away, but also I think that a lot of birds actually, they go and die and they find kind of places to be alone to die, which is interesting, though, also, if you, you know, if you are a person who looks to find dead birds, there are lots of places where you can go look, particularly buildings where they fly into in windows and will sometimes land on ledges that are higher up than ground level and they'll just be full of dead birds if you want some.

J: Uh, yeah, I mean, I actually happen to know where all of the pig--the dead pigeons are.  There may be some tiny subset of them that are, you know, in a crevasse next to your old apartment, but almost all of the dead pigeons are underneath the Western Brown Line train stop in the City of Chicago.  

H: Yeah, yeah.

J: And I used to wonder, like, where are all the dead pigeons?  And then once I moved to the Lincoln Square neighborhood in Chicago and started walking under that train stop every day, I learned that all the dead pigeons, thousands of them, are under that train stop, and I think you're right that animals eat them, that's the other thing that happens to them, but mostly my belief, Hank, is that a lot of birds, when they die, their bodies and their souls both disappear from the Earth at the same time, and are placed into an otherworldly realm, but I don't have good data on that, that's just kind of what I suspect.  

H: Yeah.

J: But as far as the dead pigeons go, Mimi, I don't know if you live in or near Chicago, but regardless of where you live, if you're in the United States, when a pigeon feels that they are approaching death, they begin a great migration that ends underneath the Western train stop on the Brown Line in Chicago, so anywhere in the United States, the continental US, that's where all the dead pigeons go.  But as for the other birds, I believe that they, that their bodies and souls are taken to an otherworldly realm.  Hank, should we move on to another question?

 Question Two (7:27)

H: Okay, John, this one is from Anonymous, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, As an American Muslim high school student, I am often asked why I don't celebrate Christmas as the people telling me this believe that it is no longer a religious holiday.  I often like to give funny and mischievous answers to these questions.  However, I cannot seem to think of many for this particular question.  Can you help me out?"  John, can you help this person out?

J: Yeah, I mean, if--first off, if it's not a religious holiday, how come there are so many people telling me that it's a religious holiday? Like.

H: What?  Okay, so can we--can we--if you're saying it's not a religious holiday, can we recognize the first syllable of the word?

J: Yeah, I mean, first off, right, let's--we need to find a word for it other than Christmas if it's not gonna be a religious holiday anymore.  Secondly, the answer I would actually give to this question, Hank, is that even if Christmas is not a religious holiday, it's a terrible holiday.  Now, Hank, as you know, I have a longstanding opposition to Christmas.  I think it is a like, a weird and totally ineffective and inefficient mish-mash of different like, mythologies that make no sense when they collide together, but the biggest problem I have with Christmas is that I have a serious problem with gifts.  So what I would say, Anonymous, is I would say, like, I don't love gift holidays, because they are economically inefficient, because they result in me getting a lot of things that I didn't want and giving people a lot of things that they didn't want, and so what I do instead is not celebrate this holiday, regardless of whether it is secular or religious, because it is cray-cray.  

H: I just--I disagree with you on some of the things that you have said.  I think that gift-giving is not an economic activity.  It is a surrogate for the showing of appreciation for other humans and love and that's--

J: Well, then, it should be--it should always involve gifts that cost nothing or very little to make that are like, made by hand with the sweat of your brow and with love rather than like, picked up at Target at midnight on Christmas Eve.  

H: John, this is America.  The clearest surrogate for value and appreciation that we have is obviously the US dollar.  

J: Well, then, we should only give dollars for Christmas. Actually, I wouldn't have a problem with that, Hank. If we--if you either give a present that you worked hard on that's some kind of like, craft or handmade thing that it captures your love for someone, or you give them cold hard cash. I have no problem with Christmas. Unfortunately, what almost always happens is that you pick up a copy of Connect Four for somebody at Target at midnight on Christmas Eve and you're like, remember how you like board games that are really easy? And then they're like, no, I don't.  I don't remember that.  

H: No, that wasn't me.  That wasn't me.  

J: Oh man.

H: Uh, yeah, I don't feel like I have a particularly good solution for this somewhat complicated problem in fact.  Christmas is--it has--there are a lot of ways in which Americans have come to feel that Christmas is an American holiday and not a religious holiday, and that is actually fairly separate from the truth, despite the fact that we have a hard time actually recognizing that.

J: Yes.  I totally agree with you on that.  I think it's really important to understand that Christmas is not an American holiday, because Christianity is not the American state religion.  It never was, this country wasn't set up that way, and it never should be.  I'm also sure that in Anonymous's life, this is one of many examples in which they have to grapple with a country that expects you to be a certain kind of way to be properly American, which is, of course, deeply offensive and wrong, and again, it always has been, like, the United States was never this--this idea that the US was at one point, like, a quote unquote Christian nation is just ludicrous, it's just not true.  There was never that time.  It hearkens back to a past that doesn't exist, like so much radical regressivism.  It hearkens back to a past that didn't exist, so it is very frustrating, but if you're trying to deal with it in a funny or mischievous way, which I applaud, I would just say that I'm opposed to gift-giving. That should shut down the conversation.  

H: Not religiously.  I just think it's an economically bad idea.  

J: Yeah, actually, you know what, Hank?  I wanna just--I wanna really quickly back up a little bit and be serious here for a second and say that I'm not always opposed to gift giving, I'm just trying to have fun on the podcast.  Like, for instance, I don't know if you know about this, Hank, but I recently received a gift of 378 Snickers bars, and it meant the world to me.  So, I do wanna just pause and say how grateful I am to my friends at the Mars company for the gift of those 378 Snickers bars, which truly is the gift that keeps on giving because no matter how many I eat a day, there still seem to be a lot.

H: Very sad for you when they finally run out.

 Question Three (12:44)

We got another question, it's from Dayo, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Whenever I hang out with friends, I act in a certain way.  I crack jokes and I get all hyper, but when I'm with a different group of friends, I kind of notice that I act very differently from how I am with my other friends.  I'm more mild than wild.  I'm worried that there will come a time when all of us will hang out and I will lose control over who I am and my identity, or they will think that I'm fake because of this.  Also, I find myself admiring people who act the same around everybody.  Their personalities never seem to falter.  Am I being fake?  How do I find out who I am independent of my friends or other people?  How does anyone truly "be themselves"?"  Well, at the end there, we got to a question that is unanswerable, but I will say that I'm just like you.  I am totally a social chameleon and when I'm with one group of people, I act the way that they do and I feel like I just try and fulfill peoples' expectations and I find that to be fun and I find that to be part of who I am, that I act different ways in different situations around different people, and I don't think that that's a contradiction at all.

J: Yeah, I don't know, Hank, if you listen to Invisibilia, but they had a great podcast about personality and the way that we think of personality as this monolithic thing that doesn't change, that doesn't response to circumstance, when, of course, that isn't the truth. That isn't the truth about people, like, we all contain multitudes, we're all shy in some circumstances and not in others, and you know, angry in some circumstances and not in others, and that personality is way less stable than we believe it to be because the idea that it isn't stable is kind of terrifying.

H: Right.  Yes.  Yes, and Dayo definitely feels that feeling and I think that we are often told to, you know, "be ourselves", and that can be very difficult when we are trying to build this conception of who we are and then who we actually are defies that expectation.  

J: Yeah, how do you do--how do you deal with that, Hank?  Like, how do make sense of like, a self that feels like it can't get pinned down, that you can't really identify what makes you, you?  By the way, I am asking this because I'm writing about it, and if you could solve the problem for me, that would be a great assistance.

H: Um, I read a--so, it's probably the first, like, real novel I read.  I guess I should say that Jurassic Park is a real novel, but the first difficult novel I read was Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and there are a number of characters in there that are this way, and that--and that is, in a way that was very appealing to me as a young person, and I think this is also true of a lot of books that I like, that was praised as a skill that people were using to their own advantage and to the advantage of their society, and different characters, some of them were using it primarily to their own advantage and some of them to the advantage of society, and so that made me feel really, like, kind of proud of my ability to change in different situations.  There were definitely times when I felt ashamed of it, when friends would be like, why are you acting different? Why are you not acting like yourself?  And realizing that yes, because I was in a different social situation, I was acting different than they were used to, and so I certainly have felt shame about that and that I, you know, and like I'm faking to some extent, but I think that it's like, the me who I am is a fun game to play and I can--I should and can--I can and am able to--I should be able to and I am able to adopt different ways of being, and that's something that I can be proud of, not something that I should be afraid of.  

J: So what makes you, you is essentially nothing, or the youness of you, is constructed partly by you, partly by forces outside of you, and that's just something that you're able to accept?

H: Well, it's a thing that I consider to be me.  To be a big part of who I am.  Now, also, I have--there are things that I don't ever like, that I--that aren't personality that I think define me more significantly than my personality, like my values and like my philosophy of how I should live and how the world is, and those things, when they get called into question, are a lot more uncomfortable for me.

J: Okay, that's actually very helpful, thank you.  Let's move on to another question--that was a totally selfish series of questions, but I enjoyed listening to you talk about it anyway.

 Question Four (17:41)

This one comes from Peter, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Have you noticed that Hank and John would fit pretty well in place of the words 'Stacey's Mom' from the song 'Stacey's Mom'?  Love, Peter."  

H: Hank and John have got it goin' on.  Yep.  Yep.  

J: It is true, but--

H: It sure is true.

J: I can't help but notice that 'John and Hank' would also fit, it just wouldn't rhyme anymore.  'John and Hank have got it goin' on'

H: Nope.  It would be bad.

J: I'm--I don't actually know the song.

H: I--well, you did a good job. Yeah, if it were John and Hank, it would have to be 'John and Hank have got it goin' ank' and that doesn't make any sense, so it pretty much has got to be 'Hank and John have got it goin' on' and that is--whoo.

J: I mean, couldn't it be 'John and Hank have got a yellow tank'?

H: 'John and Hank have got a yellow tank' yep.  

J: Yeah, that's pretty good.  Um, I mean, I've always wanted--I guess actually I'd prefer a purple tank.  If I'm gonna have some kind of tank, I want a purple, a big, beautiful purple tank.

H: Alright, well, I am looking forward to the fanart.

J: I am also looking forward to the John and Hank have got a purple tank t-shirt, available soon at

H: Oh man.  Oh goodness gracious.  

J: I'm gonna--just real quick, Hank, I'm gonna look up the lyrics to Stacey's Mom and um, I'm gonna let you know--oh my.  The um, the video is predictably--here we go.  Uh.  I--I--I mean, I have to say, this--just reading the lyrics here on the Google Play music site, I can't help but feel this isn't the most sophisticated pop song ever written, but it'd basically be 'Hank and John have got it goin' on' repeated four times and then 'Hank, can I come over after school, we can hang out by the pool.  Did John get back from his business trip?  Is he there or is he trying to give me the slip?'  Oh my God, it's like this was written by an algorithm.  

H: Oh, Fountains of Wayne.  

J: I mean, it's a great--don't get me wrong, it's a great song, but like so many pop songs, it completely falls apart when you try to read it as poetry. Um, okay, I think we should move on, because now that I read the rest of the lyrics, I realize that I really don't want that song to be about you and I at all.  

H: I think it would have to be fully from the top down restructured for Hank and John.  

J: Yeah, we'd have to Weird Al it for sure.  So, uh, let's move on to another question from one of our listeners.

 Question Five (20:27)

H: Alright, this one's from Dana who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I have a slightly death related question for your comedy podcast.  I feel like the phrase 'live each day like it's your last' has been haunting me.  I keep hearing it in media and conversations and it makes me wonder, how's that possible?  If I knew that today was gonna be my last day, I would wanna spend the day having awesome adventures and doing new things with my family and friends.  I would not want my last days to be spent like my days currently are, wake, school, study, sleep, work, repeat.  I'm not saying that I don't enjoy life, I just don't necessarily enjoy it on a daily basis.  How does one actually live each day like it's their last?  Is it possible?  Why do people say this?"

J: Yeah, I mean, there are lots of cliches that I think contain terrible advice, but this might be the worst one, because of course, if you are actually living each day like it was your last, you wouldn't be having like a bunch of awesome adventures, you'd spend most of the day weeping and desperately trying to make sure that you said goodbye to all of these people you loved and also are my affairs in order, is there anything that I can do to make matters a little bit better for the people I love after I'm gone?  I just think that it's the stupidest idea, like, if you live each day like it's your last, for one thing, you're gonna be really sad most days, but for another thing, you're also going to be like, I have the same problem with carpe diem, Hank, because if all you do is seize the day, this day is the only day, all I have is the present, then you're never planning for the future, which is a big problem, because there is almost always a future.  Like, it almost never is your last day, so like, you wake up the next day and you're like, boy, I really probably could have prepared slightly better for today.

H: I, well first, I think that you are correct that if you live each day like, as if you are going to die tomorrow and you know this fact, then you're going to spend every day calling your family and they're gonna be like, oh my God, no, you're not dying.  Secondly though, I think that yes, the seize the day is more the expression that is trying to be gotten across, not that it is your last, but that it may as well be, and you are right that only one out of like, 30,000 days will be your last day, and that's pretty good.  Oh, no, more than that.  More than that.

J: Yeah, and I think you should celebrate this fact.  I think that, like, if you in all likelihood have a future to plan for, at least part of your day should be spent preparing for that future, like, school is a good example of this.  Like, I found college to be pretty fun, but I was also conscious of the fact that I was in college partly so that I could, you know, enjoy adulthood more, and I don't regret that investment of time at all.

H: No, I--and I like to live each day as if I will live a long long time, and I just--I looked it up 'cause my rough math, I was not sure of, and it turns out that, John, it's less than one in every 30,000 days.  It's on average, 1 in every 27,375 days will be your last.  If you live in the US.

J: So, but you--you could get 30,000 days, it's not like a completely unrealistic number.

H: Oh, sure, sure, yes, yes, it's often, often, yes.

J: I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed for 30 grand, that would be--that would seem like a victory to me.  Uh, but yeah, I don't think that you should live every day like it's your last, I think you should live every day as if you are going to have a long and productive life.  The other thing is that if you live every day like it's your last, you never save anything.  Like, not just money, but you don't save anything, because like, it's all goin' away.

H: Yeah.  

J: I just--I don't have that free-spiritedness inside of me, Hank. I am the least free-spirit I have ever met.

H: You are pretty, uh, you're a pretty confined spirit, John.  And I also, like, I wanna say that I spend a--like, a huge amount of my days investing in the future.  Like, for example, this podcast isn't gonna go up until next week, and so if I was gonna--

J: Yeah.

H: --live my--every day like it was your last--my last, I would not be recording this podcast, so I'm planning for the--

J: No, respectfully, I wouldn't either.  I enjoy it, but I don't enjoy it nearly that much.  

H: Oh, yeah, it'd be really good, it'd be like, hey, so John just found out he's gonna die tomorrow, so we decided to record a podcast for you.  This is--it's gonna be a little bit of a more macabre Dear Hank and John than usual.

 Question Six (24:41)

J: Which is saying something.  Alright, Hank, let's move on to another question from our listeners.  This one--by the way, you can e-mail us at, we always forget to say that, Hank, and yet somehow people find a way, which I appreciate, but it's is our e-mail address.  Okay, Hank, this question comes from Sidney, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I need some dubious advice on a very important grammatical issue.  It's how to shorten the term 'as per usual'.  People usually say 'usual' out loud as 'use', like, 'as per use.' "

H: What? What?

J: By the way when Sidney says "people," I think Sidney is referring to her peers who I'm guessing are 24 years younger than I am. Anyway, "how do you spell the yoozh in 'as per yoozh.' Does this make any sense? I just want to be able to write 'as per yoozh' without writing in parenthesis 'I shortened that from usual' " [both giggle] I mean Sidney, you are my hero on every level. I love every part of this question.

H: I think it's pretty clear, it's y-o-o-j.

J: It's not y-o-o-j! If you write "as per yooj" people will actually pronounce-- they'll have to like pause and they'll be like--

H: As per yooj.

J: Is that--

H: Oh, yeah!

J: Is Donald Trump saying 'huge'?  What is happening with as per yooj?  No, you've gotta get the shhhh in there, so I'm gonna y-o-o-s-h.  As per yoosh. Nope, that doesn't work either.

H: Nope, definitely not.  Definitely not.  It's yooj, it's y-o-o-j.  W-o-g-h.  As per woodge.

J: That's whoosh. That's an existing word, w-o-o-s-h, we can't use an existing word.

H: I said g, I said g-h.  

J: G-h.

H: G-h. But anyway.

J: Okay, I'm gonna go--

H: As per yoosh also works.

J: I'm gonna go with u-d-g-e-e.  The second 'e' is silent. It could be pronounced ud-gee, but I think that it will get across 'yooj'. This is an incredibly difficult question, Hank. This might be the hardest question we've ever been asked to answer on Dear Hank and John.

H: Y-o-u-s-h. As per yoush. Nope, nope. As per yoush. As per yooj. Yoo--with a 'j'.  

J: You gotta get the yooj.

H: Y-o-u-z-s-h.

J: Y-o-u-z-s-h. I mean, that--that is definitely wrong. I'm looking at it, I just typed it out, it's--you're close though. I think the--

H: It's also more letters than 'usual', just to be clear.

J: Well, yeah, no, there's definitely no way to spell it with fewer letters than are in 'usual'.

H: No, y-o-o-j!  

J: Y-o-o-j. Yooj. But doesn't that--doesn't yooj sound like Donald Trump saying huge?

H: It does, it does, yes.

J: You've gotta get the 'sh' in 'yoosh'. Is it y-o-o-s-h? That's yoosh. Dangit.

H: As per--I--y-o-o-j-s-h?  As per yoojsh?

J: I don't dislike y-o-o-j-s-h although it looks very weird.

H: [wheezing laughter] Yes I agree it looks very weird.

J: I mean, I don't think that--I don't know if this is gonna be entertaining to our podcast listeners, but you should really see Hank and I's shared Google Doc right now.  It's hilarious.

H: Oh, oh, oh, I got it! 

J: It's just Hank and I desperately typing out things that sound vaguely like 'as per youzh', so somewhat on this topic, Hank, when my books are publish--are trans--are published in languages with other alphabets, especially in like, Russian or countries where there is no 'j' sound, they use a mix of the like, d and x sound to make the j of like, Dxonn, basically, it's like Dijon and so like, there's the 'sh' sound of the 'x' like letter and the 'd' sound of 'd', and so they usually translate my name is such a way that I can sort of read the Cyryllic alphabet but I always read it as like, this book is by Dijon Green, and I think we're running up against a similar problem, which is that the Latin alphabet has no way of saying 'as per yoojh', which I'm almost gonna suggest, Sidney, that even though it's gonna make you feel like an old fuddy duddy, you just spell out 'usual', because I don't think there's any way that we can get to 'usze' with our alphabet.  

H: What--J--what about--what about the o with the umlaut?  

J: Oh!

H: Like, y-umlauted o-j-e.

J: Oh, that's brilliant, it's brilliant.  Wait, what are you--how are you spelling it? 

H: Y-umlauted u, j-e.  

J: J-e.  With an umlaut, as per üje.  No, that's still 'j'.  As--but maybe it's--

H: It's still yuje.

J: Y--umlauted u--

H: But like, luge?!  'cause what I'm hearing is--

J: --s-h-e.  yüshe.  

H: I can't type an umlauted u, apparently, I don't know how to keyboard.

J: Sidney, we've figured it out, but it does involve an umlaut, and I don't know if that's on your iPhone keyboard, but I would go with as 'yuze'--I don't know why I assume, by the way, that Sidney has an iPhone and types on an iPhone.  It's like, I feel like I know her, although I don't, but as per yüshe with an umlaut is the way.  That's the way.

H: Yeah.  Maybe just umlauted u-j-e.  

J: Oh, that's good. Umlauted u-j-e. That's simple, it's fewer letters than usual, it also, it's--as per üje. Nope. I don't like the 'j'. I'm gonna stick with y-umlauted u-s-h. Maybe s-h-e.  

H: Well.  Well, it's possible that we've spent enough time talking about this.

J: Well, I almost feel like we should start a spin-off podcast, um, where we just decide upon new spellings for abbreviations.

H: I'm into it.  

J: Or how to pronounce things, like, Hank, do you ever wonder how to like, remember back in the day, when instead of saying 'brb', if someone was gonna be gone for a while for a while from the internet, they would write 'afk'.

H: Mhmm, sure.

J: Away from keyboard?  

H: Yep.

J: I always used to pronounce that in my head as afk.  

H: Sure.

J: But I've never known how to pronounce brb, you know?

H: Burb.

J: Is it burb?  Is it brub?  

H: Burb.  

J: Burb.

H: That's--that makes sense.  It's interesting when we look at words that don't have vowels, the noise that we put in, I talked to a linguist about this one time, as this sort of like, what we call like a neutral vowel sound, I don't know if we call it that, but in English, it's a--it's sort of a 'u' sound like uhh, and like burb, b-b.  And actually, if you listen to English very systematically, the--that's most of the noises we make are these 'uhh' noises and we don't even think about it, but like, if I just said 'about', it's--that's an 'a', but in fact, I just said 'uh-bout'.

J: Right.

H: And it's like, so it's more of a 'u' noise than an 'a' noise.  Who knows why and how linguists figure this stuff out, but I was fascinated to talk about it and that is a really good story I told.

J: That was a really great story, but it wasn't as good as the 12 minutes that we spent analyzing how to write 'as per yuzh'. 

H: Oh man, I feel like we're--we're probably at--I feel like we're at a low questions per episode right now.  

J: Yeah, we haven't--this has not been our best work.  

H: Yeah.

 Commercial Break (32:24)

J: Today's podcast is brought to you by our best work, you didn't get it today.

H: This podcast is also brought to you by Stacey's Mom.  She has a purple tank.  

J: And she also has it goin' on.  Um, it's easy to forget that Stacey's mom has it goin' on because they only remind you about it sixteen times over the course of the song.

H: Well, I mean, but--

J: But she does.

H: It's important to tell you, because you're so distracted by her purple tank!

J: It's true, I mean, it's weird because like, why do you really wanna hang out with Stacey's mom, is it because you think that she's beautiful, or is it because you wish to acquire this purple tank that she's driving around.  Who knows?  

H: Or maybe just spend a little bit of time in it.

J: Today's podcast is also brought to you by the Western Brown Line El Stop in the city of Chicago, containing all of the world's dead pigeons.

H: And finally, today's podcast is brought to you by the noise 'uh'. The noise 'uh': it sounds like a u-noise but it's really just everywhere in everything we say all the time. Uh.  

J: Speaking of which, Hank, can we go ahead and answer one more question from our listeners?

H: Oh, sure.  

 Question Seven (33:28)

J: Great.  This one comes from Rachel, who asks, "Dear John and Hank, Are people who have a large internet presence and/or have lots of information about themselves available on the internet bothered when fans ask them questions that could have been found on their Wikipedia page?  For example, I was curious about how Hank learned so much about science, but then I realized I could Google it instead of waiting to ask if we ever met."  

H: Yeah.  I get that so much.  People e-mail me long e-mails that clearly took a significant amount of time to write, to find out information that is right there if you just type in--just the three words that you were looking for.

J: Yeah, but I think they ask you precisely because they don't want to get the information from these sources.  They want to get the information from you.  Like, I have a theory about this that we really enjoy learning from people much more than we enjoy learning from machines.  Like, I like to get my news from people.  I know that it's biased and I know that it's, you know, not particularly efficient system, it's not the only news source I use, but I really enjoy hearing peoples' take on the news as they're telling me about it, and I think that's like a human thing.  We wanna interact with people much more than we wanna interact with Wikipedia pages.  That said, it does sometimes get a little bit annoying, but I also don't feel like people should have a resp--I mean, if they're--if it's for like, a school report, that's one thing, but if I'm having an interaction with someone, I don't feel like they should, you know, have a responsibility to look me up on the internet before we hang out, that's weird.

H: Oh, no, I agree with you, but there are times, like, for example, when the dates for when VidCon is are on the website and people e-mail me asking me--

J: Oh yeah.

H: --what the dates for VidCon are, and I'm like, I just--I don't know what to say.  Like, this is not the efficient way to get this information.  If I e-mail you back, it will take a very long time.

J: Right.

H: In comparison to the amount of time it would have taken to go to and look at the dates that are on the info page.

J: Yeah, no, I agree with you about that stuff.  Slightly off topic, Hank, why is your Wikipedia page so much better than my Wikipedia page?  Like, like, what devil did you make some deal with in order to get, like, one of the best biographical Wikipedia pages on the whole freakin' internet, while my Wikipedia page with gratitude to everybody who has contributed to it, is a dumpster fire.

H: I don't know what you're talking about.  Oh, wow, it is nice.  Look at this chart.

J: I know.  Your Wikipedia page has a chart, and then they sort of like, imported the chart onto my Wikipedia page, but it doesn't look nearly as good.

H: Oh, no, no, it doesn't.

J: Yeah, I know, and your Wikipedia page is truly, truly excellent and I am profoundly--I would be lying if I didn't like, say that I am profoundly jealous of it, because I am.

H: Well, I'll tell ya, John, I haven't looked at my Wikipedia page in a long time, though, the last time I did, I did fix something.  I remember being like, that's not true.  That's not true!   That's not a true thing.

J: I saw my friend Matt de la Pena last night, and I went to his Wikipedia page before I met up with him, he's a great author, he won the Newberry Award this year for his brilliant book Last Stop on Market Street, but um, I was meeting up with Matt, I just wanted to remind myself whether his first book had come out the same year as mine, because I remembered that, but I wasn't sure if I was like, misremembering it, so I went to his Wikipedia page, and um, that led me to another Wikipedia page about one of his books where the first sentence was something something something and the book was also selected as a New York Times Public Library Book for the Deez Nuts and that was it.  Somebody went to the Wikipedia page, just added the words 'Deez Nuts', replaced the word 'Teenage' and that was it.  That was it, that was their--that was what they chose to do with their one wild and precious life.  

H: Here is something that looks like Wikipedia vandalism but is not.  Under the Brotherhood 2.0 section of my Wikipedia page, it says that our videos feature lots of different things and the final thing in the list of things that those videos featured was 'intercourse between giraffes as the thumbnail for videos'.

J: Mm, yeah, that's just not something I'm super proud of, but it is true.

H: Yep, nope, that's--they did decide to put that right there just at the last thing, just so it really sticks in your mind.

J: Well, what can you do, Hank?  Life is full of regrets, and it's hard to regret those videos because they got like 40 million views.

H: I mean, John, I gotta get money for Snickers somehow.  It's not like they're just sendin' them to me for free.

J: It's true, it's not like they grow on trees or just arrive at your doorstep, 378 at a time, because you're not me. Okay, Hank, let's move on to the all-important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. What is the news from Mars this week?

 News From Mars (38:36)

H: NASA is testing out its new space launch system. This is the new gigantic rocket that will carry astronauts to deep space in the Orion capsule.  This space launch system is going to be bigger than the Saturn-5 rocket that took astronauts to the moon, and it has big giant engines that are very similar, in fact, almost exactly the same, as the engines that took the space shuttle up, but there will be more of them, and they are running them at a higher thrust amount using a different controller brain thing to figure out, you know, how exactly all of the fuel goes into the thing, and how they adjust the amount of thrust that's being generated.  So they tested this thing out, it's amazing, you can watch a video of it, it's just seven straight minutes of this thing just blasting out energy, and it worked great.  They got it up to like, I don't know what this means, but they got it up to 111% thrust, so that seems impossible, but they ran them for the space shuttle at 104, 106% thrust, so I guess that that's a thing that you can do, and it operated well.  It seems it didn't damage itself at all, and it's a step toward a future as a deep space society getting humans outside of near-Earth orbit and maybe to the moon, maybe to an asteroid, maybe to Mars. 

J: Alright, well, we will put--try to put that video up on the Patreon page so that you can enjoy it, seven minutes of pure energy being released into the atmosphere. Sounds like a fascinating watch.  

H: It's really loud.

 News From AFC Wimbledon (40:25)

J: Yes, I can imagine. Um, in AFC Wimbledon news, Hank, AFC Wimbledon have acquired their first point of the league one season.  

H: Oh! Huh. Got a tie?

J: It was not a moment where AFC Wimbledon bathed themselves in glory, Hank, however, they did draw nil-nil against Northhampton away. Always good to get an away point, that's a pretty good result. On the other hand, Northhampton is near the bottom of the table. AFC Wimbledon, however, Hank, is now off the bottom. Sheffield United is in last place, with 1 point for the season after four games played. AFC Wimbledon also has one point for the season after four games played, but has a slightly better goal differential so we have begun our inexorable march from the basement to the top.  

H: You start at the top, alphabetically, went all the way down to last, and now you're--

J: Yeah.

H: You're gonna claw your way all the way back up.  

J: Well, it's really important to actually to have had this bad run of four games, Hank, so that at the end of this season, when they play Drake's 'Started from the Bottom, Now We're Here', it will be more--a more powerful thing.

H: Right.  Yeah.

J: So I'm--I remain--I was gonna say I remain optimistic, but that is far too strong of an adjective.  I remain--I remain conscious of the fact that unlikely things have happened.

H: Yes.  Yes.

J: How's that?

H: Well, it's a thing that happens every day, John.

J: Yes.

H: Everytime I'm driving my car and I look in front of me at the car in front of me and I look at its license plate, I think, what are the odds that those numbers would be on that car right in front of me, and there's nothing special about those numbers, but those numbers in particular, it's just very, very unlikely, and it happens every day.

J: The odds are phenomenally low and yet, the unlikely happens all the time.  That's a big part of what makes human life so beautiful, and also a big part of what makes human life so terrifying.

 Outro (42:31)

Hank, what did we learn today?

H: Oh, goodness gracious.  I don't know.  

J: I also--I've--I mean, I'll tell you the main thing we learned, we learned that it takes two full grown adults a solid 20 minutes to spell the youje.  

H: Uh, I learned where all the dead pigeons are.  There's like six or seven of them at my apartment building, and 30 billion in Chicago, underneath a train station.

J: I mean, that's not even an exaggeration.  There are actually 30 billion of them.  We learned not to spend every day as if it were your last.

H: Yes, yes, in the course of today's podcast, we learned that John Green spends every day as if he will have more days.

J: Oh, yeah, definitely.  Definitely.

H: Oh yeah, definitely.  And finally, of course, we learned that Stacey's mom has a really nice purple tank.  

J: It's an amazing tank.

H: And it'd be nice if we appreciated her for her accomplishments rather than just, you know, her--what she looks like.

J: Indeed, it is not easy in the United States, even with our relatively lax gun laws, to acquire a weaponized vehicle.

H: Yeah, no matter what the color.

J: No.  I mean, in fact, I wonder if there is a purple tank on Earth.  Allow me to Google it.

H: Purple taaaank, who can do it--purple tank top?!  No, I don't want a purple tank top!

J: Oh, yeah, it's almost exclusively purple tank tops, but there is one purple tank.  

H: Ah those--Ahh--

J: Photo of the day, pink for peace.  No, purple for peace, please.

H: Well, it's pretty purple.

J: Not seeing--I'll tell you what, Hank, I see a lot of purple tank tops.  Maybe--yeah, we've clearly--there's just--it's a very popular color for tank tops. But there is one purple-ish tank in Slovenia.  I wish I could tell you the city name, but unfortunately, those letters do not go together in a way that can be pronounced by human tongues.

H: That does--that uh--yes, I think that it's pronounced uzhe.  

J: I thought you were actually gonna take a crack at it, but no, no, you went for the easy joke.  Thank you for listening to today's podcast.  You can email us, once again, at  If you wanna support this podcast, we'd appreciate it, you can go to, we have fun live shows every month for our Patreon subscribers.  You can also get lots of other cool stuff.  Our podcast is edited by 
the great Nicholas Jenkins, our theme music is by Gunnarolla.  Hank, I missed a few things.

H: Rosianna Halse Rojas helps us out with questions. Our intern is Claudia Morales.  You can e-mail us at

J: I just said that.

H: And as they say in our hometown...

J: I definitely just said that.

H: Did you say all those things?

J: That one I nailed.  I've said it like, three times in the podcast.  I've actually only said it twice, but now, I have a strong brand relationship with exaggerating, so I exaggerated because now that's my thing.  

H: Well, I was distracted while you were talking to me by this pink tank, which maybe we'll put on the Patreon page as well. 

J: Yeah, it's a beauty.

H: As they say in our hometown...

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