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Should I contact the guy who owns the plane on which I was born? Are art and content different? Does it matter that the guy I'm dating has a six pack while I eat a lot of tacos? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

HG: Okay, exciting thing: on December 9th and 10th in Seattle Washington, we're going to be holding the first PodCon, a convention and conference of podcasters and people who love podcasts. We're doing it in partnership with Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor from Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead and the McElroy brothers of lots of different podcasts.

John and I will be there doing a bunch of stuff including a live Dear Hank and John.  But, in order to know the full extent of what we can afford to do, we're launching it with and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.  You can find that right now at  There are several different ticket levels and also a bunch of perks for people who can't attend, including and audio collection of absolutely everything that happens at the event. PodCon: for people who love podcasts. Coming to Seattle in December.  I hope we will hear you there and also see you there.  And now, on with the pod.

[intro music]

HG: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

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

HG: It's a comedy podcast about death where two brothers give you advice that is doubious, answer your questions, and bring you all the weeks news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.

I'm Hank. This is John. How are you John?

JG: I'm alright. Uh, you know, Hank, I have to tell you the honest truth which is that there is a little bit of me that wishes that in addition to having, like, opted out of Twitter, I could just not have my daily thoughts consumed so much by certain, uh, political leaders in the United States. But this is the reality that I'm living in right now and I'm just trying to make a go of it here at Grover Cleavland High School.  Do you get that reference?

HG: I don't. I do not.

JG: Oh my God.  It's to the best movie ever.  I can't believe you've never seen Rushmore.  

HG: [high pitch, questioning] I have seen it, I think?

JG: Oh my God.  Even the idea that you don't know whether you've seen Rushmore is deeply upsetting to me.  That's honestly worse that if you just hadn't seen it.


 (02:00) to (04:00)

HG: I, I, I accept that that is the case.  Do you want to know what's happening in my life, John?

JG: I do, very much.

HG: A young man who lives in my home, he is six months old, has learned how to grab my glasses and throw them across the room.

JG: Oh, yeah-

HG: So that's, uh, yeah- He'll put them anywhere: in his mouth, if there's poop nearby he'll try to get it in that.  And, um, so I basically am getting ready for needing multiple pairs of glasses.  This podcast is unfortunately not brought to you by Warby Parker but there may be some, uh, some dealings with them in the future and by dealings I mean I'm going to maybe buy some glasses from them.

JG: Uh, I don't know that having, like, 17 pairs of back up glasses is the best strategy.  I think you've just got to keep you face out of your kid's maw.   

HG: That's un-possible.  He's too cute for that. He has- It's a, it's a maw that needs a face in it.

[JG laughter]

JG: Alright, I don't have any, uh, I don't have any short poems for today because I want to leave plenty of time at the end for the incredibly exciting news from AFC Wimbledon. So let's just jump right in to questions from our listeners, Hank.

HG: Alright, this one is from Amanda who asks:

[HG Reading] De-ah Hank and John

HG: it's DEAH so she wanted me to say it that way and I did. Um

[HG Reading] I'm currently a private tutor in elementary aged kids and some of my students don't even have grammar instruction but those who do tend to struggle with it. Many ask why they need to know it, I tell them that it is important to understand how english works as a language because it will make their reading and writing skills better but honestly I'm mostly just tryna get em focused on their work. Uh my question is this

HG: I'm skipping some stuff

[HG Reading] How does technology change what grammar and for that matter spelling and writing instruction look like in schools and how do I convince my students that its important?
Yours, Amanda

JG: I think grammar that is important because what we're trying to do when we communicate with each other is communicate clearly and technology can help with that...

 (04:00) to (06:00)

...but it can't construct a sentence for you yet. Um, there's something about a really well constructed clear concise transparent sentence that is just absolutely magical

[Hank laughing]

and makes you want to do whatever the sentence tells you to do and that, to me, is the secret of language. If, in this world, if you can write a good email you can get a lot of things done. 

HG: I definitely think that yes, I think that that is 100% and I think that when I'm looking to hire someone I'm looking at writing skills, even when the job is not uh, involve a lot of writing like, when I'm reading a cover letter like I'm looking at that and I know that, like, that is important. But, I don't know that its necessary for me to know how, like, to be able to diagram a sentence for me to be able to write a good one. 

JG: I don't know that its necessary for you to be able to diagram a sentence but you do need to understand what different parts of sentences do and how they do it and...

HG: Yeah

JG: ...why they do it and until that stuff is just kind of like deeply engrained and it is second nature, you do have to think about it. You know, like, I was talking with Henry yesterday about verbs and I was like "so what is a verb Henry?" and he said "a verb is something you can do". And I thought that was an interesting idea but then I was like "Alright, so whats the verb in the sentence 'Henry is awesome.'?" and he was like "well I don't know". 

[HG laughter]

And understanding like, what is, what 'is' does as a verb and what it doesn't do, I think is actually kind of important.

HG: Yeah

JG: Uh, I agree that, look, when I was an elementary school student I thought that grammar was the stupidest thing in the world second only to algebra. Uh, but, I, I use it now and I think a lot about it now, and not only because I, I write books but also because I write emails and love letters and lots of other things. 

HG: Yeah, and I, and you gotta know where that, that comma goes and if you understand where the clause is then that really helps with where that comma goes.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

JG: Alright Hank, I can't believe you didn't ask the following question first because it is [Hank laughing] obviously the most critical question we recieved this week. Its from Alicia, or Alisha, or Aleesha, I don't know how to pronounce your name I apologise, I'm just gonna call you Ryan. 

[JG Reading] Dear Green brothers, I was born on an airplane and before you ask, [Hank lauging] no not a commercial airplane [HG: Oh of course] but rather a small passenger plane, [disbelief noises from Hank] specifically a Piper Seneca III.

JG: I.. this is the only sentence in the email, Hank, that specifically uh seeks to explain the circumstances [HG laughter] in which this birth happened, which I find fascinating. 

HG: Uh, I'm looking at pictures of Piper Seneca IIIs John and I gotta tell ya there's not a lot of room to have a baby on there. 

JG: OK, the other thing about Piper Seneca III, Hank, that really struck me, uh [HG: Yeah] is that it doesn't have that big of a range. Like, its not like you can get in a Piper Seneca III and fly around for five hours [Hank laughing] so like.. when, when the person who birthed you got on that plane, were they already in labour?

HG: [Laughter] Was that the goal? Uhh

JG: Was it an incre-, or was it an incredibly short labour, or alternately like, were they already in labour and they were trying to like, get somewhere? Like, maybe, for instance, a hospital where, uh, you could have had a safer delivery but in the end it all went down in the Piper Seneca III. Like, the Piper Seneca III, it just, it, its a very, very small plane.

HG: Yeah, so I've looked up the performance specs for the Piper Seneca III, uh, [JG: yep] it has a, a range of about 1000 miles and a cruise speed of about 216 miles per hour. So we're talking about, tops, you could be in that plane for 5 hours before it had to land. So you're n-, and if you're coming, so you're never gonna be more than two and a half hours from an airport...

 (08:00) to (10:00)

so if you, if you, your, your mother [JG: right] went into labour right in the worst possible time, 

JG: Right

HG: You would have had, like, you turn around and you could go back, or you could go all the way to the final destination.. It happened fast. This was a fast, and it happens sometimes, sometimes you're like "oh my water broke" and then you're like "ah theres a baby head coming out of me". Like, its unusual, and its a good thing usually when it happens, uh, but usually you're not on an airplane at the time. So we, I think we've gotten, for the most part, to the bottom of it, it was a quick labour.

JG: It was a quick labour but I do have a follow up question, which is that this plane only seats five passengers, um, if you..

HG: [Laughter] And, but it landed with six

JG: I was gonna say like, I'm such a, I, I, I feel very strongly about plane safety, as you know Hank, and I feel very strongly that you should follow the rules of plane safety, even if those rules don't necessarily make sense, and I would be freaking out if we started with five passengers and for the last hour we had six because I would be like "That is, the Piper Seneca III is not, it is not designed for the sixth, this new creature! [Hank laughing] I did not sign on for a flight with this thing" [HG: yeah]. Alright, anyway:

[JG Reading] For a few years now I've been trying to find the plane that I was born on, as it is one of my life goals, I haven't come very close until about two months ago when I recieved more information about it. The info I got was the plane's tag number, which you can search up online and you can find out where it is now. Here's my problem - the tag number I got says the plane crashed a year before I was born.

HG: Woooaaahh.. creepy

JG: Which, which she then dismisses immediately by saying "Obviously that's not possible seeing as I was born on it" but wait 

HG: Or wait..

JG: I mean, or is it?

HG: Unless

JG: Unless, its totally possible and you're living in an alternate timeline and things just got really weird

 (10:00) to (12:00)

HG: Or or or, sometimes planes crash and then they fix them. Sometimes its not like, its like a, like, its like a car crash, sometimes you can, sometimes it can be ok. 

JG: Yeah, uh, one of my other rules, uh, when it comes to plane safety is that I do not get on previously crashed planes.

HG: So John let me tell you a quick story, I know that we're still in the middle of this question, but when I was in Haiti I got on an airplane, it was about the size of a Piper Seneca VI or III, it might even have been one, and um, but, I think smaller even, and I got in the plane and I was like "Hey, whats up pilot man" and I was like sitting in the passenger seat because like, that's how small this thing was.

[JG: mhmm].

HG: Um, so just doing my best to not touch anything because like, I had a steering wheel in front of me, terrifying

JG: Yeah

HG: And I was like, bantering with the pilot and I was like "So how long you been doing this?" and he was like y'know decades and I was like, "and obviously like, never crashed so I shouldn't worry about anything" and he was like "actually" and I was like "no don't say actually, don't do that", and he had, his plane had crashed like two weeks ago. And he had knocked out..

JG: That thing??! 

HG: Not that plane, but the plane that he was flying, and like, he like, showed me the missing teeth in his mouth that had been knocked out

JG: Oh my god

HG: in the plane crash that he had recently been in. [JG: Oh god]. And I was like "well, was it a stormy day? Tell me all the reasons why that day is different from this one."

[JG laughter]

HG: Like, all of them, and ugh, it was a fine, it turned out to be a very beautiful and comfortable flight that I did not puke on at all. Anyway...

JG: I'm looking at the interior of a Piper Seneca III, and Hank, let me tell you, I would not want to give birth inside of this aircraft

HG: [Laughter] Oh man we're gonna have to put up a bunch of pictures on the patreon aren't we.

JG: On the other hand, uh, it is, its a nice plane. Now I personally do not believe in flying uh, twin, uh, planes with two propellers, its just its not in my, uh, its not one of my...

 (12:00) to (14:00)

there's just not, I don't, I actually I don't even wanna talk about this anymore lets move on. Ok 

[JG reading] Upon more searching I may have possibly found my plane, but it is now owned by an elderly man and I found him not via the airplane tag number search but through creepy googling. 

[Hank laughter]

[JG reading] Should I contact this man and ask him about the plane and explain how I got his phone number, or is that too weird? 
Just trying to find my plane, Alicia

JG: First off, Alicia, as far as I can tell, the one thing that we know for sure in this story is that this is not your plane. 

HG: [Laughter] Well that's definitely the case, it is an old man's plane. Uh, 

JG: Its either an old man's plane or it is a plane thats in like, lost in the mountains of Alaska that you were born on six months after it was lost. I suspect that it is the old man's plane and I am not an old man myself- he said hopefully, I don't know how old this elderly man is, [Hank laughing] you didn't explain, its possible that you're 16 and you think 39 is elderly. But if I were the owner of a Piper Seneca III, which is one of the things I hope most in life never to become, uh I would be absolutely delighted if a child who was born on my uh aircraft wanted to come and see the plane on which she was born.

HG: But if you do that, I have one piece of advice, which is to bring a portable handheld blacklight so you can maybe find some amniotic fluid and see exactly the spot where you came out. 

JG: [Long sigh]

HG: [Laughing] I think that'd be fun! I think it'd be really interesting.

JG: No, it is I mean, life is a miracle

HG: Maybe don't show the elderly man what you find

JG: Here's, I, I don't think, I think the elderly man is gonna be psyched about this ninety nine times out of a hundred, and then like, the one percent of the time, its just a crotchedy old person who was gonna miserable about whatever you mentioned to them.

 (14:00) to (16:00)

JG: I wouldn’t necessarily Bring up the creepy googling part I would just be like, “Eyy (?~13:59) fellas I notice you have my plane.” And if they ask you can just be like “oh, I was just searching on the internet,” old people don’t really know what the internet is, so you don’t have to worry about that.

HG: Totally. They’re not gonna know how creepy it was, just be like “Ah it was the internet. I just looked you up on um...” and then make up the name of a website uhh like um “Cobular”

JG: [Laughing] that’s a pretty good name for a website is taken? It’s not-

HG: [Laughing]

JG: It could be home for our new google- our new search business is available Hank,, The hot new website from the Green brothers.

HG: It’s where you can find all your lost planes

JG: is a great idea for… that sounds like a proper made up company. 

HG: What does cobular mean in Spanish? It must be nothing or else it would be taken. Well I have a guess what copular means in Spanish.

JG: I’m gonna look it up

HG: It’s copulate. It’s to copulate

JG: [Laughs] Okay, well we’re not doing- this is cobular which is a completely different company and is a made up word. Like you know, uber

HG: [Wheeze, laughing] 

JG: Or lyft with a y, it’s just a made up company named cobular, it’s our exciting new um e-commerce project that we can’t tell you about. Just kidding, it redirects to Boom. 

[HG: Reading] This question comes from Drew who asks dear Hank and John, this June I am marrying the love of my life, however we’re having difficulties finding great items for our register industry, what are some amazing items you wish you had on your registry when you got married? Also why does dftba not have a registry option? 

HG: Thanks for bringing up our e-commerce systems and by dftba I’m sure you mean, (?~14:55) Drew. [Breath]

 (16:00) to (18:00)

JG: Hank

HG: What do you like-

JG: Of the things you got for your wedding, are there any of them that when you look at them, you think about the person who got you that fondly. Cause that’s what you really want. Like you want something that, it’s not something that’s useful- it also connects you to somebody you love.

HG: [deep breath] John, you’re reaching… terrifying close to a thing about me that I’m not super proud of, which is that I don’t really think about things enough after you know,  10 years of marriage to have any connection to any of the items that I was given for my registry, including the ones that you purchased for me.

JG: I have no idea what I got you, don’t feel weird about that. But do you remember like, are there things that you got for your wedding that have proven useful to you or do you not even know what you got at your wedding versus like what you got at target 6 months later?

HG: I know that I got my silverware and my plates from my wedding and we do use those all the time. I don’t know who bought them but I am glad to have them and they’ve lasted us a long time.

JG: Yeah

HG: Things have broken but not so much that we can’t like that we don’t have like a good and full set and they were purchased at Macy’s and we had our registry at Macy’s and I believe that’s where our knives came from as well. I will say a very good knife is something that I didn’t get for a long time including from my registry and I wish that I’d gotten at my registry

JG: Yup

HG: My most used appliance in the house is my Soda Stream which turn regular water into carbonated water so that I don’t have to buy carbonated water and I would-

JG: Don’t tell that to our future sponsor’s LaCroix 

HG: Uh yes, well you get the excellent pamplemousse flavoring uh, you can’t get that without Lacroix. 

JG: Ok

HG: And… that’s their new tagline, [marketing voice] “If you have a Soda Stream, you’re never gonna pamplemousse without Lacroix!” and brought to you by Lacroix everyone.

JG: It’s surprising to me that you don’t work in advertising but uh okay so-

HG: But I do! I do work in advertising…

 (18:00) to (20:00)

HG: I just do it badly. [Laugh]

JG: [Laughs] Hank, I agree that, not your silver silverware, if you’re a fancy person with actual silver, like that in my experience you never end up using but your everyday cutlery, your everyday plates if you don’t own that stuff already, you can register for that stuff and people will be happy to get it for you and if you probably- hopefully but if you do own that stuff, then you might be in a situation where you don’t actually need to register for that much stuff in which case maybe you could just raise money for your honeymoon, if you wanna go on a nice honeymoon 

HG: Yep

JG: Or raise money for a charity that you care a lot about and have people donate. You know, farm animals through (?) International or something like that, I’ve know a lot of people who do that and I think it’s very cool.
The gift that I received Hank, that meant the most to me through the years, 

HG: mhm

JG: So Sarah’s gotten an uncle, uncle Baxter and Baxter’s an amazing guy and we received these- we didn’t register for them, we just received them one day- these monogrammed highball glasses that you know, you drink these mixed drinks out of-

HG: ooo

JG: That you know, you drink these mixed drinks out of and I was never a person who like- I-I-I never even knew what a highball glass was, you know like when I wanted to make a mixed drink, I drank it out of my Alvin and the Chipmunks glass

HG: [Laughs]

JG: From 1986 just like a regular American, you know. But when I got these monogrammed highball glasses that have our shared initials S and JG on them- by the way, I should add that Uncle Bax did not get us like 4 monogrammed highball glasses or 8, he got us like 40 and I’m not exaggerating. In fact I’ve broken

HG: [Laughs]

JG: A lot of them over the years and the great thing is that there’s this like box that essentially has an infinite supply-  [Both laughing]

JG: in our basement. There is a box of infinite supply of monogrammed highball glasses and every time I drink a glass of scotch or something I’m like, “Man, Uncle Bax, he knew the person I was gonna become before I did”-

HG: [Laughing]

 (20:00) to (22:00)

HG: I like the idea of infinite supple of something. Like something that might now- just like look, you never have to worry about this again. You- like you can break one of these every day like (?) your drink every time, like I’ll have ANOTHA! 

JG: Well you don’t wanna (?) your drink every time. I mean we would run out of them if we did that. But yes, I understand that- you’re correct in theory

HG: You know what occurred to me is w-what if I just registered for stuff on amazon pantry, like paper towels and baked beans

JG: [Chuckle]

HG: Like things that I really need.

JG: No, but like the whole idea of the wedding registry is that it’s stuff that lasts. Like stuff that you buy once in your life, anyway- that’s my understanding of it.

HG: Like I get that, I guess

JG: [overlapping] I really like that

HG: You know-

JG: I gotta say, we just got rid of our plates we had after 10 years because I had to photograph my food every day for 100 days and by like day 98 Sarah was like “we’re getting new plates.”

HG: [Laughing]

JG: And I was like why? And she was like our plates are horrible.

HG: Wow-

JG: And- and they were kinda horrible so we’ve got all new plates. 

Hank, I’ve got a new question for you:

HG: Okay

JG: It comes from Sam. [Reading] He writes: ‘Dear John and Hank, what are your thoughts on the word “content” in reference to internet video. I’ve heard a lot of people dislike it but I’m not totally sure why. Is it because it commercializes art? Are art and content different? JENGA!’

[Normal voice] Sam, what a great sign-off.

HG: [Laughing] Is “jenga” something you say while playing Jenga? Like everytime you put the thing on the top, you’re like ‘JENGA!’ Like Uno or something or is that just…

JG: I’m not totally sure, it’s been a while- I gotta confess Hank, it’s been some time since I’ve played Jenga and it’s been even longer since I’ve played Jenga by the official Jenga rules. 

HG: Jenga is a really great made up word like cobular

JG: It’s-it’s not as good as cobular. Maybe cobular would be our version of Jenga!

HG: [Laughing] But it’s made out of corn 

JG: Oh that’s pretty good- it’s not great but it’s headed…

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