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What should my fun fact about me be? How do Christians and non-Christians get along? Am I too old to listen to this podcast? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

(Intro music)

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 which hasn't been very funny lately.  Or was it ever funny?!  

J: It was never funny, Hank, trust me.  

H: In which we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  John, hey.

J: Hi.  

H: You know what's happening in my life right now?  I gotta tell you some--

J: I thought--you usually ask how I was doing and I have a whole bit prepared.

H: Okay, well you go first then.  How ya doing?

J: I'm doing well.  I don't know if you've ever seen the movie Rushmore, Hank, it's a great movie.

H: Oh my God.

J: There's a moment in Rushmore where the character played by Bill Murray says to a teenager, "What's the secret, Max?" and the teenager replies, "I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life.  For me, it's going to Rushmore," and often in the last ten years, Hank, I have felt that I have unlocked that Max Fischer secret to life and am fortunate that it is not attending one particular high school, but at the moment, I'm a little bit jealous of Max and his singular focus and his ability to understand precisely what he wants from his life.

H: I would also love a singular focus.  Do actual people have a singular focus and also is it a key to happiness?  'Cause it seems like it would be.

J: Well, I'll tell you what, I think the guy who made Rushmore, Wes Anderson, does have a singular focus and it's making Wes Anderson movies and I think  he kind of wakes up in the morning and that's what he wants to do and he doesn't like, sometimes in the afternoon, like, while he's filming a movie, he doesn't like, drift off and think, maybe I'll start a convention about podcasts.

H: Speaking of which, there is very little time left to back the PodCon Indiegogo if you go to  If you're listening to this, there's like one or two days left and--or possibly zero, but there still will be tickets available after the Indiegogo ends, just they will be more expensive and not all of the same things will be available.  So there are a number of things that are only available--anything over $125 is not available after the convention, all those special Indiegogo things, but John, that's not the thing that is exciting to me right now.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Certainly, it's something I'm working on and I am excited about it, but not as exciting as the fact that I just got a microscope.  

J: Oh, I have a microscope!

H: Do you?!

J: Oh, it's amazing.

H: So good.  

J: Dude, when you look up close at the world, it looks totally different.  

H: It's all so--I got--I--I'm--I got really obsessed with fabric recently, John, and I wanted to know everything about it and so I've been doing a lot of research about fabric but one of the problems is like, you know, I wanna know like, wh--how--why things feel different and why they are different and um, like, one shirt feels different from another one and your pants feel different from your sheets and all that stuff, and so I've been doing a bunch of research but it's like, there's just not some--like, you can't do it all until you actually get to look at it, like, there's like reading about it, but then looking at it and a lot of the stitching is so fine these days that you can't really look at it without a microscope so I got a microscope specifically just to look at fabric and I feel like this is my singular focus.  This is my going to Rushmore and all I want to do is look at fabric and talk to people about how textiles work.

J: This is probably not gonna surprise you, Hank, but when I got a microscope, the very first thing that I did was prick my finger and look at the blood.

H: I did look--I did do something that Randall Munroe of xkcd suggests you never do, which is look at the undersides of your fingernails, which I did and I agree, don't do that.  

J: Ugh, that sounds disgusting, no.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

I found looking at my blood very helpful though, because I was looking at like, you know, these millions of cells, or I don't know how many, in a single drop of blood like as I moved the slide around and I just remember thinking like, I bet these cells all think that they are important and interesting in precisely the same way I do.  

H: That is not the case, John.  I can guarantee your blood cells don't have--don't know anything.  They are not even--they are not even nucleated, John.

J: I don't think you can actually guarantee that.  Let's get to a question from our listeners, Hank.  I don't have a short poem for the day.  This question comes from Joey, it is very important and we need to get to it quickly.  Joey writes, "I came home from work today and my front and back yard had been mowed.  What should I do?  Should I be freaked out?  It was a little tall with some weeds and things but not to such a degree that I should be on the receiving end of some kind of lawn care vigilantism, right?  Yours in discomfort, Joey."  

H: Don't go in my yard with your y--I have a story.  

J: I have a story, too.  Who want--you go first.

H: I may have told this story on the podcast or somewhere before, because it--ohh, my goodness.  So I used to live in a house that was a rental and there were three units and one day, my landlord was hanging out and he was like, hey, did you pull up the flowers that were back behind the fence?  And I was like, no, I didn't pull up any of your flowers, no, I don't do like, voluntary yard work, and then another of my neighbors like came out into the back porch area and he was like, hey, did you pull up those--the flowers that were back where the fence and the guy was like, those weeds?  And my landlord was like, no, the flowers that were back there, and he was like, there were some weeds that I pulled, and my landlord was like, well, they were wildflowers from seeds that were thrown at my wedding, 'cause he had previously lived in this house before he started renting it out, and the guy was like, I don't know what you're talking about, but I pulled up some weeds, yeah.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

And the landlord was like, well, they were flowers and you know, we'll do the yard maintenance, like, that's on me, the landlord, not on you, the tenant, and the guy was like, well, now you're just making me feel bad.  

J: Well.  I mean.  I don't know.  It sounds to me like that was two awkward people.  Here's my story.  When I first moved in to--when I first moved to Indianapolis, I was so excited to have a lawn.  I'd been telling--we'd been living in New York, I'd been telling Sarah for months that when we move to Indianapolis, I was gonna buy a lawnmower and be a person who mows their lawn every Saturday and it was gonna make me so happy and at the end of mowing my lawn, I was gonna drink, I don't know, Miller High Life or whatever it is that proper normal Americans in the middle of the country drink and I was just gonna buy all in on being a lawn guy and about--we lived there for about six weeks and I was mowing the lawn one day and I mean, it's just hell.  I don't--it's--it's just as close to hell as I've ever come, to mow a lawn and then to have the grass grow again and then you just think, man, I haven't walked on that lawn since the last time I mowed it and now I'm going to have to walk on it again only to mow it, all summer long.  So anyway, I'm mowing the lawn, there's like, this ditch between my yard and my neighbor's yard and my neighbor only mows up to his end of the ditch, even though he has a riding lawn mower and I am, like, have this, like, you know, this push thing that's battery powered because it's better for the environment or whatever, but it's just not even a very good lawn mower and the guy comes up to me, my next door neighbor comes up to me, puts his arm around me, I turn off the stupid lawn mower, puts his arm around me and he says, "You know, when the Kaufmanns lived here, this was the best lawn in the neighborhood."  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

J: Then you know what I said to him, Hank?  

H: Something I'm sure very nice.

J: I said, "Listen, buddy.  Unless you wanna be Joey's neighbor doing some lawn care vigilantism, back the eff off.  The Kaufmann's don't live here anymore.  You got the Green family.  There's some things we're good at: art, writing for teenagers, choosing interior paint colors--

H: Pretentious video blogs.

J: --and then there's some things that we're not good at.  Like mowing the lawn."  Oh, I was so man, and I mean, here's the thing, Joey.  Ultimately, I think you should be grateful and then the other thing I think you should do is definitely do not mow your lawn for a couple weeks, because it's possible that this lawn care thing will be a regular occurence.  Like maybe somebody really loves mowing their lawn and they love it so much that when they're done mowing their lawn, they look over and they think, you know, Joey's lawn could use a mowing, and then they just go over and there and do it and then they drink their Miller High Life and they're so happy, so why would you make them unhappy by telling them that they can't mow your lawn anymore?

H: I have a backdoor neighbor who snow blows off my car.  So when, like, when a bunch of snow falls, he has a snowblower, like--a leafblower, basically, and he's doing his car and then he goes and does my car and I never told him to do it, I've never asked him to do it, but I have thanked him for doing it, and it just happens and I think he just likes it.  He also, like, he is, in fact, a lawn care professional, that guy, and he has a billboard and I see him on the billboard and then I see him in my backyard and I'm like, there he is, that guy.  I forgot his name.  

 (10:00) to (12:00)

I remember his dog's name.  

J: I mean, the other Joey possibility, Hank, I guess, is that--

H: But I only remember peoples' dogs names, never their actual name, just the dogs.

J: --a professional lawn care service has begun mowing Joey's yard and in a couple weeks, Joey is just gonna get an invoice, and in that situation, Joey, I would recommend that you pay that invoice and continue to enjoy lawn care from a professional.

H: It's nice that you didn't have to set it up, it just sort of automatically happened, though if you don't want to pay for lawn care, you don't have to just because someone has mowed your lawn without you asking.  My goodness.  My goodness.  

This question is from Sarah, who asks, "Sometimes I find myself in a position of having to share a "fun fact" about myself.

J: Oh, yeah.

H: I find the prospect of sharing a single "fun fact" about myself to be somewhat intimidating since it's often the first impression I make to a group of people.  Is it better to attempt to use my "fun fact" to come across as funny and interesting or should I try to make the "fun fact" as forgettable as possible so that I get an opportunity to make a first impression later on?  Tell us a fun fact about yourselves, Sarah."

J: I mean, I just, I hate that question so much.  

H: Not the--not Sarah's question, but "tell me a fun fact about you."  

J: Right, I hate being asked to tell a fun fact about myself.

H: Yeah.  I--John, you know what?  I'm actually really good at the fun fact roundtable. 

J: What is--Hank, Hank, tell me a fun fact about yourself.

H: You know, I invented 2D glasses.  In 1998, I was voted Winter Park High School's best dancer.  

J: I mean, that's true.  It's not the world's fault that most of us didn't invent 2D glasses and most of us were not named best dancer at Winter Park High School in 1998.  I mean, Hank has a huge advantage in this topic because he is, he is the subject of so many incredibly fun facts.  

H: That's nice of you to say.  It makes me feel all warm.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

J: I actually, just to be clear, I'm not totally sure that's a compliment.  

H: I actually--the most recent time I did this was in like, birth class, and I actually did a really bad job.  I wanted to try out something new, so I like, instead of saying like a fun fact about myself, I kind of just talked about like, what I was into, kind of in the hopes that I would find somebody else who was into the same things, so I said like, I'm really into hard science fiction, and I don't know--

J: Oh no.

H: --that everybody in the room knew what that even was, but definitely--

J: Also that's not a fun fact.

H: --no one in the room was also into hard science fiction.  I was basically looking for some other dad who's gonna have a kid the same age as mine, first kid, and we're gonna be like, besties, but alas, it was a bunch of Missoula, Montana hiker and snowboarder folk, because that's who lives here, but I, yeah.  So here's what I want to say to Sarah.  I have a Sarah thing to s--so first thing you gotta know is that if you go first or second, like, nobody's gonna hear what you say because everybody is way too busy thinking of their own fun fact.  

J: That's true.  

H: And, in fact, everybody behind you--

J: That's true, in fact, maybe, maybe you wanna make it, if you--maybe you wanna make sure you go first or second so that no one will remember your fun fact and then make it just an outrageous lie, so it could be like, my fun fact is that on the set of the movie La La Land, I had a brief but extremely intense affair with Ryan Gosling.  We aren't seeing each other anymore,  but for those 48 hours, I have never felt so loved.  Who's next?

H: Oh, God.  My fun fact is that my great-great-grandfather designed the penny.

J: That's great, oh my God!   

 (14:00) to (16:00)

J: I don't even know if that's--Hank, for all I know, that's true and we have the same great-grandfather.

H: Yup, it could very well be true.  Yeah.  Yep.  We have several.  We have, I mean, if you put another great on there, there's like 35 potential people it could be.

J: That's good.  Okay, let's all--let's actually, you know what, Hank?  Let's all just agree to use that fact no matter what.  So that way you'll know if you're ever in a fun fact situation, you'll know if you meet another listener of Dear Hank & John, they'll be like, my fun fact is that my great-great-grandfather designed the penny, and then you'll be like, you listen to Dear Hank & John!  And then they'll be like, oh, no, no, no, my great-great-grandfather designed the penny.

H: I don't know what you're talking about.  My great-great-grandfather was Abraham Lincoln.  He put his own face on the penny.

J: I love it.  I love it.  We've got a solution.  My great-great-grandfather Abraham Lincoln pressed the side of his face against a huge piece of copper and what resulted from that was a coinage that ought to not exist.  

H: It was once useful and no longer is.  I can't--

J: Yeah, I mean--

H: How long have we even had the--have we had the penny for as long as we've had a dollar, because like, how have we had this thing for so long?!  Through so much inflation?

J: Let me explain to you how long--let me explain to you how long we've had the penny. 

H: How much was a penny worth?

J: Hank, Hank, let me tell you how long we've had the penny.  Do you wanna know how long we've had the penny?  

H: How long?

J: We've had the penny so long that when the penny first became the smallest piece of coinage available--

H: Okay, uh-huh.  

J: --it was worth more than today's quarter.

H: Wow.

J: What I'm telling you is that 130 years ago, they survived with the lowest, lowest coin available being worth a quarter and the world did not fall apart and the economy did not suffer and nothing terrible happened because pennies and nickels and arguably dimes are just not good.

 (16:00) to (18:00)

They should not exist.  We should move on to another question.  This one is from Addison who asks, "Dear John and Hank, John, you frequently state that you are a Christian."  I wouldn't say I frequently state it, but okay.  "If you believe that one's faith has eternal consequences as most Christians do, then why are you so okay with Hank's lack of faith?  Hank, how do you get along so well with a brother who has such a different worldview from you?  One foot in the grave, Addison."  Um.  I mean.

H: So yeah, John, I've never asked.  Where do you think I'm going?!  

J: Uh, I mean--

H: Where am I gonna go?

J: I mean, we're laughing and that might be disrespectful and I apologize if it comes across as disrespectful.

H: Yeah.

J: I--uh, yeah, so I--I'm not totally sure I agree with the assessment that um, most Christians believe that one's faith has eternal consequences, partly because the Catholic church has been pretty, what's the technical term for it, I think wishy-washy on the subject of whether only Catholics go to heaven, and I think at this point after Vatican II, I think it's pretty clear that the Catholic church does not hold that only Catholics go to heaven.  As for me personally, like, I often say that I think the question of whether God like, "really exists" is one of the least interesting questions in religion to me and also like one of the least interesting questions in my own personal faith.  I also am not very interested in the question of whether there is an afterlife or what that afterlife would look like or who it would include or exclude, but I am not in any way worried about Hank's eternal soul.  It's just not--it's just not my--that's just not my theology, I guess.   It's just not the way that, I mean, everybody constructs a certain theology that hopefully to them, like, makes sense and is consistent and can be applied in all situations and doesn't have, you know, huge gaping holes in it and I've worked hard to kind of build a faith that I think works for me on that front, but I do not--I am not worried about Hank's soul.  

 (18:00) to (20:00)

I think Hank is a good person and I think that--I think he's good.  I think he'll be fine.  

H: Yeah, I mean, it's--I appreciate you answering this question.  When I saw it, I was like, I would like to hear John's answer to this question, but I also of course didn't want to like, point you and be like, hah, you have to answer this now!  But thanks for asking, Addison, and thank you, John, for answering.  I do, in general, like, as a person who does not have a faith, I often find it weird how focused we get on these questions that seem to me kind of, I don't know, I don't want to say pedantic but a little, like, just a little bit like, there is a much bigger set of questions here about how to be a person and the--and like, the--getting focused on the places where we disagree when we agree on what I think are much more important things, that's how I get along with people who have, quote, a different worldview from me, because we don't have a different worldview.  We have a different understanding of like, of like, the nature of the cosmos a little bit, but in terms of how to act and be a person, I think that that--I think that like, we agree on more than most people I have ever met, so, that is how I get along well with my brother.

J: Yeah.  I mean, the analogy that I use and, of course, always be suspicious of analogies, especially be suspicious of analogies when it comes to religion, but the analogy that I use is imagine that someone is screaming your house is on fire.  

 (20:00) to (22:00)

In that situation, I am not very interested in who's screaming my house is on fire, like, I--maybe it is God, maybe it is a fireman.  The relevant issue to me is that the house is on fire.  My religious faith basically comes from a belief that I have been informed by God through holy scriptures that the house is on fire, and I am trying my best to respond to that, what I would call, like, revelation, but I also understand that lots of people wouldn't call that a revelation, and if they're interested in responding to the house being on fire situation, I welcome their input and assistance, you know?  Like, I don't think we should sit here and have a--like, how many angels can we fit on the head of a pin conversation, I think we should have a conversation that begins like, hey, what are we gonna do about the fact that the house is on fire?  

H: Yeah.  And I, yeah, and in the specific situation of the afterlife, I don't tend to be affected too much by how--what people think is gonna happen to my--me, whatever I am after I die because, of course, in my worldview, nothing will happen for a long, long time, just like, nothing happened for a long, long time before I existed and it's just as sad that I wasn't around for all those billions of years that I won't be around for the next billions, but uh, so that's a bummer.

J: I don't think it's all sad though.  I mean, I--like--

H: Ohh, but I love--I mean, I agree with you, I totally agree with you, but like, I just--I feel like I've gotten to see so many amazing things happen in this short little blink that I've been alive, I'm gonna--and like, it's sad to me that I'm gonna miss so many amazing things that are gonna happen in the future and that happened in the past and also that are happening right now and that I'll never know about because I don't speak the right language or I don't live in the right place or I don't know about the--like, I don't have the same cultural background to allow me to enjoy it in the same way.

 (22:00) to (24:00)

J: Right.

H: That it's just like, we miss out on everything.  That is like--

J: Yeah.

H: --the definition of being a human is missing out on stuff but um, but you know, there's the side effect of appreciating the things that I--that I'm really into, whether it's microscoping my pants or hanging out with my brother, is that I feel like I will be missing out on things after I am gone.

J: So I wanna read you this quote by Toni Morrison and I agree with you, you know, at the end of his life, Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, said in an interview, "I have fallen in love with the world" and I think that there is something really magical about falling in love with the world, because you miss this or you miss that and you miss almost everything but you don't miss everything if you can fall in love with the world, but this quote from Toni Morrison is something that I think about a lot in that context, Hank, she wrote, "At some point in life, the world's beauty becomes enough.  You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it.  It is enough."  

H: And speaking of that, John, I have a question.  

J: Yep.

H: It comes from John, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, How does one get into the ice cream truck business?"  

J: That is right on topic.  Because the ice cream business is also a way of falling in love with the world.  

H: Maybe!  Maybe.  

J: So the first thing, of course, that you have to do is you've gotta acquire an ice cream truck.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

H: And a lotta ice cream.  

J: Now--

H: Like, you also like--well, you don't--I don't think you even need an ice cream truck, John.  You just need a cooler strapped to your bike, but you do need ice cream.

J: Yeah.  You need ice cream and you need some way of keeping it extremely cold.

H: Pretty cold, yeah.

J: Because nobody's gonna buy, you know, a choco-taco that's half melted.

H: Or all melted.  I just, like, yeah, nobody's gonna buy ice cream that isn't ice--it's just like, sweet milk.  It's gonna be hard to sell.

J: Ehh, Alice, my daughter, might buy that, actually.  She'd be into it.  

H: Just like warm sweet milk.  

J: Um, yeah, Hank, how much do you know about the ice cream business?  Is this one of, like, an area of expertise I'm gonna be surprised to learn about?

H: Uh, well, I do wanna say--so John also asked about a number of like, technical like--is--do you like, work for someone else when you have an ice cream truck or are there all independent and it's a variety.  There are some people who own a bunch of ice cream trucks that usually, this starts by someone having one and then expanding their little empire and hiring people to run them but uh, most ice cream trucks are independent businesses.  They are sometimes franchises, so you can, you can get a franchise license for an existing ice cream truck business and they'll help you figure out your business model.  There are also places where you can just look up online to see like, what's the business model of an ice cream truck and how does it work and how do you know if yours is going to be successful or not, but uh, yeah, for the most part, they are independent businesses and it is not a way to make a killing, like, you're not gonna get wealthy as an ice cream truck person, but you might work for yourself and make enough to go and do it just fine, but you do need some start-up capital and that's--that is the, you know, the barrier in most business, like, you need enough money to buy an ice cream truck and to get those speakers on the top that play the music and to get a good ice cream supplier, which there's a number of ways to do that as well, to get inexpensive wholesale ice cream, but yeah, so, you can!  

 (26:00) to (28:00)

It's possible!  It's a thing that people do and can do.  I don't know if it's a thing that is a growth field, though.  Does it feel a little bit like people don't trust ice cream trucks anymore?  

J: Uhh, maybe a little bit, but then I don't think people trust most of the major institutions, like, I'm concerned about people not trusting ice cream trucks as much as they used to.  I'm significantly more concerned about people not trusting democracy as much as they used to.  Speaking of which, Hank, we got a question from Jethro, who writes--by the way, Hank, thank you for that really interesting introduction to the business of ice cream truck sales as not something that I thought we would ever get into around here.  "Dear John and Hank, You were both lucky enough to interview and in one case, meet, former President of the United States Barack Obama.  If you were given the opportunity to interview and meet the current president, would you take it and what would you ask?  Tinkety-tonk, old fruit, and down the Nazis, Jethro.  P.S. Apparently this is how the Queen Mother used to sign off her correspondence."  Oh, God, what do we need to do to become British again?

H: Tinkety-tonk, old fruit!  Down the Nazis.

J: Brentrance!  #Brentrance!

H: Brentrance!  Oh, well, you know, they've got a similar set of issues to us, John, it turns out.  

J: Mm, I wouldn't say that similar.  I wouldn't say that similar.

H: Well, indeed.

J: For a little bit of context, Hank, I--there are a number of people in Britain who have I heart the NHS tattooed on their bodies.  I would ask you very sincerely, is there an American with I heart the American health care system tattooed on their bodies?

H: No.  But I do feel like maybe that is a future like, something that appeals to me a little bit, like, getting my like, my positions just tattooed on my body somewhere.  

 (28:00) to (30:00)

Like, climate change is real.  Respect.

J: Alright, but, to the question.  

H: Yeah.

J: To the question.  

H: To the question.  To the question.  What was the question?

J: Would you interview president Trump and what would you ask him?

H: Ohh.  Right.  I forgot what it was because I didn't want to answer the question.  I don't think that I would.  

J: Yeah.  

H: Like, in all honesty, like, I think that there's a funny answer to this question that I didn't go to, but it's hard for me to be funny around this topic right now.

J: Yeah.

H: But I--no, I don't think I would, like, if I did, like, if I got into a head space where I wanted to, I feel like I would probably only ask him one question and I would ask it over and over again and I don't know what it would be, but it would just be a number of any of the things that he says all the time that is just patently untrue.  Like, like, over and over again, he has said it's very difficult for a Republican to win with the electoral college in place, and I just want to know what he means by that, because it's not true.  It is more difficult for Democrats to win because Republicans are over represented by the electoral college, like, rural areas are over represented by the electoral college, and I'm not saying that like, that, you know, rural areas shouldn't like, represent the, you know, the physical space that they are in and get some extra representation because of how, you know, states--like, this is the United States of America, but that's--it's--like, I'm not arguing against the electoral college.  I think that there's a place for that, we don't need to do that right now.  I just wanna know what he means!  'Cause like, what does he think he's saying and when, like, whenever he says it, it's just like there's so many other things to argue about that are much bigger, like, it's just over and over again, I just like, want to be like, can we just get to the point where we're like, you're like, okay, yeah, I get it, I'm just saying stuff that I'm making it.  I'm just making stuff up 'cause it sounds good.

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J: Well, so I actually think that that's part of a strategy to get you to ask questions like that instead of to engage on other topics and so, it would sort of be a win for him.

H: Right, and probably like, he would just, like, the strategy seems to be to be like, well, you know, like, get a little bit flustered and be like, well, if you don't know what I mean then--

J: Right.

H: Like, I'm not gonna tell you.

J: Right.

H: And so, yeah, I mean, like, I am legitimately curious about some things, but I think that you are right that it, like, I just don't think that it's productive because, like, there just isn't--like you don't--like, it was amazing, like, I asked Barack Obama about his position on legalizing marijuana, like, over--and like, the next day, his answer was news.  It was like, he said something that he hadn't previously said that was like, insightful and was sort of a path forward and like, an understanding of like, the slow process that we have to go through in order for this to eventually happen, and I was like, what a--like, news was made rather than just being like, well, we can't really--like, it doesn't really matter what this guy says, because he says something different the next day.  

J: Uh, yeah, that's one of the reasons I would choose not to interview the president.  The biggest reason, honestly, is that it would stress me out and it would not be that fun and I don't think that it would--so, I would spend a lot of time worrying about it but I don't think that it would move the needle in US political discourse in any way.  I don't think that there's anything that I could say that would move the needle 'cause we're all, to quote Robert Penwarren, "just bubbles on the tide of empire" and so why stress myself out for three weeks about something that won't matter, and when I had the chance to do it with President Obama, I kind of felt the same way, but I also felt like there were a couple of questions that I could ask that would be meaningful to me and that then he responded, I thought, to both of them quite thoughtfully.  

 (32:00) to (34:00)

J: Let's answer a couple more--oh wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

H: Wait, what, what, what, what, what?

J: Hank? Hank?  Hank?  

H: What?  What?  

J: I've just received an e-mail.

H: Oh.  That's weird that you're looking at your email right now.

J: It's from the American quarter.

H: Oh, the quarter.  From the unit of currency.

J: Today's podcast is brought to you by our brand new sponsor, one American quarter, the last coin that should exist other than maybe dollar coins.  

H: I don't completely think dollar coins should exist and I appreciate this sponsorship and I assume that they sent us 378 quarters, which is not a paltry sum, John.  

J: Mm, it's--mm, yeah, it's not paltry.  I wouldn't say it's poultry.

H: It's definitely not a poultry sum.  This podcast is also brought to you by lawn care vigilantism.  Lawn care vigilantism: not technically two words that are words.  Definitely one of them.  I think it's vigilantism?  

J: Mm, it doesn't matter.  It--we read the sponsors however they come in, Hank.  If they want to be lawn care vigilantism, that's fine, and of course today's podcast is brought to you by--

H: That's true, its true.  I did not mean to judge lawn care vigilantism.

J: This podcast is also brought to you by Hank's soul, which is just fine.  

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by John's ice cream truck business: an independent source for all of your delicious warm sweet milks.

J: I think the only thing--just to go back to a previous point--I, even in saying that I think your soul is fine, I fear that I might have offended you by implying that you have a soul, so I'm sorry if that--if that hurt your feelings, but I do think that you have a soul and we are--that is probably something that we do disagree about, but it's not a big deal to us, but I apologize for implying that you have an actual soul.  

H: Yep.  No, you can--I do not mind you thinking I have a soul.  Like, this is not a thing that bothers me.  

J: Great, I'm gonna keep thinkin' it.

 (34:00) to (36:00)

H: I'm wonder--I don't know exactly why it doesn't bother me, but lots of people think things that I don't think that don't have a negative effect on me or the world.   I don't know.

J: Yeah, I think that's great.  I think it's good.  I like that we don't agree about everything, but I actually think that that is one of less interesting disagreements.  We've got really good proper disagreements about, for instance, whether the movie Rushmore is important to see tomorrow.  

H: I uh, I do--I will watch Rushmore, John, and in fact, I would like to watch it with you if that's ever possible.  I think that that would be fun.

J: That would be great, I would love to watch it with you, but it's gonna be a little annoying because I mouth every line of dialogue as it happens.  This question comes from Dini, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I don't know what's happening but whenever Gunnarolla kicks in as I'm listening on Overcast, I get a smile and pep up.  I can't wait for the poem of the day--" Oh, I'm sorry to disappoint you, Dini.  "Get news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, and listen to the rest of the dubious advice that you two dole out.  In short, your podcast is a highlight of my podding week.  The problem is, I'm almost 60 years old--not your target audience.  Does this mean I'm going through a midlife crisis?"  Uh, quick pause.  Nope, no, let's finish the question before I deliver the hammer.  "Should I just stick to NPR and act my age?  Should I buy a Ferrari?  Deadpans and bedpans, Dini."  Right, so--

H: That's a nice one.

J: That's a great sign-off, deadpans and bedpans, I mean, that's--not since the Queen Mum have I heard a sign off of that quality.

H: Not since one question ago.

J: I can only guess that Dini is British, just like I desperately want to be again.  

H: What's the hammer, John? What are you gonna crush down?

J: Uhh, I think it's a little late to talk about midlife crises.  

 (36:00) to (38:00)

As you know, Hank, I feel very strongly that the term 'middle aged' has been inappropriately hijacked by people who are not middle aged.  I am middle aged, because if you double my age, it is an acceptable, if not ideal, life span.  I will continue to be middle aged until I'm about 47, at which point I will become, and this is a phrase I have just made up, I hope that it catches on, young-old.

H: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's like young adult but young old person.

J: Right, instead of being a young adult, which I was when I was 17, when I'm 50 to 68, I will be young old.  Then from like 68 to 80, I'll be old, and then from 80 to hopefully 136--

H: You'll be dead, and then after 136 you will also be dead.

J: No, after that, they're gonna use the cryogenic technology to bring me back and I'm gonna be better than ever.

H: Well, I do want to say to Dini, some people have lived to be 120 years old, by which I mean one person ever has lived to be 120 years old, so.

J: Actually, you know what, maybe that's a good point, Hank, maybe Dini is middle aged.

H: So maybe you are middle aged.

J: I take it back.  Dini, good news, you are middle aged.  Don't buy a Ferrari.  It's just not a good use of your resources.  I mean, pau--quick pause to note that if you can afford to buy a Ferrari, you can probably afford to head over to and throw this podcast some dimes.  

H: That's--you wanna have your midlife crisis on Patreon really.  Like, that's--

J: Yeah, I mean, if you're gonna spend a Ferrari-level money on something, we can get you some amazing perks.  You can get access to This Week in Ryans--actually, that's it.

H: We will, I mean, for a Ferrari, I will make you your own podcast.  

J: Hank, I desperately want you to own a Ferrari, and I want you to own a Ferrari that you are not allowed to sell.

 (38:00) to (40:00)

H: Oh, that is the first thing I would do with a Ferrari.

J: And that you are not allowed to transfer to any other human being, and also, as a condition of you owning this Ferrari--I might buy it for you--as a condition of you owning this Ferrari--

H: No, God, that would be very uncomfortable, no.

J: --it would be the only car you would be allowed to drive around the streets of Missoula, Montana.

H: No, no, nooooooooo, no, no, no, no, nooooo, God, that makes me feel so awkward.  Oh my God, I would--oh God.  I have such a hangup about this stuff, John, like, I--the--

J: Oh, me too.

H: The--like, imagining myself in an expensive car, like, it--and like, it makes me realize that when I look at people who drive cars like that, like, when I'm in Beverly Hills and I see like, Aston-Martins driving around, like, I look inside those cars and I'm like, I don't judge people super harshly all the time,  but right now, you are dirt to me.  Like, this is a disgusting choice.

J: Oh, no.  

H: I just believe that.

J: No.  

H: Like, I have a very hard time imagining people spending $250,000 on a car for any other reason than like, being really hung up on this, like, these weird ideas of wealth and also just wanting to throw it out there at other people and what could possibly, like, and how disconnected do you have to be from reality to spend that--to just evaporate that, all of that power that you have, into this thing that serves you in no way commensurate with its cost.

J: A couple things, Hank.  Okay, couple things.  First off, please stop alienating our most likely big dollar sponsors.  Jesus.  Get your head out of your behind.  We need those people. 

H: I know--I--I--I'm saying it's a hangup I have.

J: We need them when it comes to Project for Awesome time.

H: I know.

J: We need them when it comes time to sponsor a new series of CrashCourse.  Hank.

 (40:00) to (42:00)

H: Yeah?

J: The--Hank, the weird rich people are the people we depend upon the most.

H: I believe weird rich people are our future.  

J: Secondly, whenever I see one of those cars--

H: Treat them well, and let their--they're already leading the way.  

J: Whenever I see one of those cars, I try to tell myself, okay.  Is it not possible that this person has one singular tremendous passion, which is the magic of automotive engineering and they are trying to push it forward through this purchase and it is so important to them and it is the thing that gets them up in the morning the way that I love AFC Wimbledon, which I also waste a ton of money on--well, I wouldn't say 'waste', I would say 'invest', um, like, is--might it not be their AFC Wimbledon, a thing that gives them joy and structure and meaning in a place where they really struggle to find it?  And so I try not--that's how I try not to judge them.  So I'm just saying, Dini, if you want to buy a Ferrari, which is--by the way, it sounds like you don't.

H: See, this is really, really way off the question!  

J: If you want to buy a Ferrari, you know, just have a good long think about it, but it sounds from your question like you definitely don't.  The question is, is it socially acceptable to be a 60 year old fan of Dear Hank and John and the answer is overwhelmingly, unambiguously yes.  

H: Yes.

J: Yes!  Thank you.  We think that is awesome.  It made our day--that's why we read your question and had a fight about expensive cars.  

H: And I don't, like, I definitely don't feel like there's anything about this podcast that's like, particularly youth oriented, right?

J: No, in fact, we devoted like, half of an episode to Kokomo, The Beach Boys' song.  By the way, Hank, we might have gotten 500 emails about Kokomo.  

H: Oh man.  I--yeah.  I'm like, just to be clear--

J: Everyone has heard Kokomo, we apologize to all the people who felt less than human because they felt excluded because we thought they didn't like or listen to Kokomo.  

 (42:00) to (44:00)

H: Yes.

J: That is our bad.  Our bad.  We're sorry.

H: Apparently, Kokomo has had many lives and many forms since it was first released and so, in a lot of children's media especially.  Like, there's a Chipmunks Kokomo, there's a Muppets Kokomo, so there's lots of Kokomo for people to consume as children.

J: Okay.

H: Whether or not they were born in the '80s.

J: Speaking of which, Hank, we need to get to some corrections real quickly before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  

H: Okay.  Okay.

J: We have some vital corrections this week.  

H: We got at least one vital correction.

J: We have three vital corrections and several others that we're not gonna get to because of time.  Kevin wrote in to say, "My son and I were listening to your pod.  He's a pilot in training.  He tells me that when planes crash, their tail numbers can be re-used for other airplanes, but all crashes are still tied to that tail number," so that likely means that the young person who was born in an airplane was born in an airplane that had not crashed, which is probably--good news for her, we are not in a sliding doors multiverse situation.  Also, Kevin and Kristian Selega point out that the steering wheel is not called a steering wheel on an airplane, it is called a yoke. 

Also, I received an email from Beto, who wrote, "Dear brothers Green, In a recent episode of the pod, you talk about rodents and at some point John mentioned how there were no rodents larger than a baby, at which point Hank corrected him saying how wrong he was," and then of course, I freaked out and just kept saying 'nope' and 'stop telling me about these rodents.  Now, Beto points out, "I was born and raised in Venezuela, and as a proud Venezuelan, I cannot let this slide.  The biggest rodent in the world, the capybara, is native to Venezuela and Brazil and is, in my opinion, one of the cutest freaking animals there are.  With all that is happening in my country, I believe we have enough bad rep as it is."

I am--I mean, Hank is laughing, but Beto, seriously, I am deeply sorry and deeply concerned about what is happening in Venezuela right now.  Then Beto sent three amazing pictures of these rodents that--they look nothing like rats.  

 (44:00) to (46:00)

H: Yes, very cute.

J: They look like lovable, huggable, dogs with rodent faces and I have completely fallen in love with them and I just want to state entirely for the record, I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong.  We're gonna post these to the Patreon.  

H: They're very cute, oh my gosh!  They're so cute.

J: Hank, do you want to read the Star Wars one because it was fascinating.

H: Yeah, so our final correction is from Anonymous, who does not want to let everybody know who they are, "Dear Hank and John, Big fan of the pod.  In a recent episode, Hank discussed various clothing (?~44:35) mechanisms of Star Wars and how they appear to have all the same technologies that we have here on Earth.  However, I have worked with the Star Wars license and I have even had the privilege of creating characters that occupy the expanded universe,"  This is very cool that this person listens to the pod.  "During this process, we actually got a lot of notes regarding concepts, phrases, and items that don't exist in the Star Wars universe.  Examples include the term 'refresher' (instead of bathroom) and the conspicuous absence of ordinary paper products."  Do they also not have paper products in the bathrooms 'cause--do they just have the three seashells 'cause I still wanna know how those work.  At any rate--

J: There are no bathrooms, Hank.

H: Oh, the--yeah.  They just have--they just wear--

J: Refreshers.

H: Sorry, sorry, no toilet paper in the refreshers.  "At any rate, I'm here to inform you that in a galaxy far, far away, there are no shoelaces.  During the development of our product, we were instructed to alter a particular character's combat boots to remove any trace of boot laces and replace them with straps.  Since one can find the occasional cord in a Star Wars garment, I am given to imagine that the restriction is largely limited to aglet technology so--" That's the hole that the laces go through, "So while I find it hard to--"

J: No.

H: What?  

J: That's not what an aglet is.

H: Oh, what's an aglet?

J: An aglet is the little thing at the end of the shoelace.  

 (46:00) to (48:00)

H: Ohhhh.  Hahaha.  That's super weird.  

J: Somebody hasn't watched every episode of Phineas & Ferb.  Okay, go on.  

H: So while I find it hard to imagine a more truly trivial piece of trivia, there it is.  Costumes and cannons, Anonymous."  That was fascinating and now we all know.

J: I mean, that is an epic piece of trivia.  Don't be surprised if that pops up in something that I write someday, because that is an epic piece of trivia.  Speaking of epic, Hank, what's the news from Mars? 

H: On the surface of Mars, John--

J: Yeah?

H: There is a fish.  

J: Mhmm.  What?  Really?!  Well, I mean, that is--finally, some proper news from Mars.  

H: I just--I was checking to see if you were listening and you totally weren't, because you just said, "Mhmm" and then like--

J: It took--no, it took me a second.  It just took me a second.  

H: So there are--so there is a paper that just came out about what they are calling halos, and they are basically these areas of lighter geography around (?~47:12) in the--in and around Gale Crater, which is this ancient lakebed that definitely had water in it for hundreds of thousands of years consecutively at the beginning of Mars' history and then was all gone by about 3.5ish billion years ago.  So, that's where Curiousity rover is at and so they're getting lots of very good interesting--I said hundreds of thousands of years, I think.  I meant to say hundreds of millions of years consecutively, so this is like the--fairly new information that Curiosity has given us, that this was a lakebed for a long, long time.  Long, long time, but by 3.5 billion years ago, ish, it seems like all that was gone, but these halos are indicating that while it was no longer a lakebed, there was, at times, flowing water that was laying down these silica sediments, which is what causes the light color and that would have been groundwater seepage.  

 (48:00) to (50:00)

It may have been like, precipitation running like, running down in rivulets, but probably it was groundwater-related and that groundwater would occasionally come up to the surface and then leave behind the silica on the surface and that was happening for much longer.  Now, they haven't made any, like, super statements about how much longer, but we're talking a significant extension of Mars' sort of habitable period where there would have been liquid water either on the surface or very near the surface that biology could have continued existing in, so it's fairly--it's--a new paper just came out and it's exciting stuff.

J: That is cool.  I mean, it's still not quite the same thing as a fish on Mars.

H: No, uh, no.  There's--there's not a fish as far as we know, but if there was a fish, it would not be on Mars.  It would definitely have to be somewhere in, 'cause--or just dead.  Could just be like, somebody just threw a fish really hard and it hit Mars.  

J: I mean, really hard.  Hank, do you know where I was one year ago today?

H: Were you at the Indianapolis 500?  

J: No, I wasn't at the Indianapolis 500 because I had already left the Indianapolis 500 to fly to London to attend the playoff final--

H: Oh, right!

J: --between AFC Wimbledon and hmm, I don't even--Plymouth.  Plymouth.  Plymouth Argyle Football Club, who, by the way, Hank, got promoted this year from League II, so even though they suffered heartbreak at Wembley a year ago today, they have since gone up, which is wonderful news, very happy for them, but of course, here in the Wimbledon fan community, we have all been reliving that magical day where Lyle Taylor, the Messi from Monserrat, the Cristiano Renaldo of the Caribbean, scored a vital goal to put the Dons 1-0 up and then Adobayo Akinfenwa with the last kick of his AFC Wimbledon career, scored a penalty to secure a 2-0 victory.  

 (50:00) to (52:00)

AFC Wimbledon went up to League I, where of course, they finished 15th this year, having not scored a league goal in April, which, when you combine those two facts, is pretty impressive and uh, on the topic of not scoring a league goal in April, they have just signed a new striker who's also kind of an old striker.  He used to play on loan for AFC Wimbledon and his name is (?~50:41), I actually don't know how to pronounce it, but he had a good loan spell for AFC Wimbledon when he was last with the Dons and I'm very excited and hopeful and it is very likely that he has signed because word on the street is that Tom Eliot, the most successful striker for this season's AFC Wimbledon is likely headed to the championship.  He is gonna be headed to a team that just got promoted from League I up to the championship, which is great news for him, but because he's out of contract with AFC Wimbledon, Wimbledon won't get a fee, I don't think, for that, which is unf--for that move, which is unfortunate, but it is good news for Tom and Wimbledon wanna be the kind of club where people are so successful that they can play in higher leagues, although, of course, we would have liked to hang on to him.  So that's the update.  It's been a wonderful, amazing year for AFC Wimbledon and hopefully with this new signing, it will be one more step toward an even better season next year, although, frankly, any staying up would be a victory next year, so.  

H: Well, uh, that's--that is exciting.  

 (52:00) to (54:00)

Did you--did you hear that there were some game worn clothes from those--that final thing being sold on AFC-bay?  Do you know about AFC-bay?

J: No.  

H: Oh!

J: What is AFC-bay?  Is that like an e-bay site that they do?  

H: Yeah.

J: Oh.

H: It's an e-bay site that they do, and they have a bunch of stuff and I recently got something.  It wasn't from that playoff game, but I did get a pair of AFC Wimbledon shorts for you that have the logo on them and were worn by Lyle Taylor in a game.

J: Oh!  Oh!  

H: Because I thought that that would be--

J: Oh, that's great.  Thanks, man, that was nice of you.  I'm excited to--very excited to frame those shorts.  

H: Yeah.  That's pretty cool that we got that DFTBA going on there and then we get to actually--I'm excited to actually see them.  I haven't seen them in real life, so.  

J: Yeah, no, they're pretty great in real life.  I can't wait to take you over to England for a game.  I know it's harder now that you've got the kid and everything but uh, yeah.  

H: John, I wanna thank a couple people.  I wanna thank Roxana for getting the $25 remote attendance perk for PodCon and I wanna thank Brett for getting the $90 actual attendance in Seattle perk and also I wanna thank Parker for getting the $150 which includes a swag bag and also a magical thumb drive that has a bunch of things that the founders of PodCon are creating and also a list--a collection of some of our very favorite podcasts that have ever existed.  So thanks to those folks.  If you want to support PodCon in the final days before we end--we end on Tuesday, so this goes up on Monday, so Tuesday after this goes up, the IndieGoGo will be ending and then will become a website where you can get slightly more expensive and more limited tickets until we actually have a PodCon, which will happen December 9th and 10th in Seattle and I'm looking forward to live Dear Hank and John-ing from there and also doing a bunch of other weird, interesting, fun, and cool things.  

 (54:00) to (56:00)

Hey John?

J: Yep?

H: What did we learn today?

J: Well, we learned that Hank knows a surprising amount, or pretended to anyway, about how to build an ice cream truck business.

H: I just--I'm always obsessed with--I really want to make, like, an ice cream truck but it's donuts, so, uh, I've thought a little bit about that.  I've thought a little bit about it.

J: That's a good idea.  That's a good idea.  

H: Because here in Montana, there's not a lot of call for ice cream all year round.  

J: Right.

H: We also learned that the penny was designed by Abraham Lincoln--Linking?--just smushing his face into a giant metal plate.  

J: Oh, yeah, that is, I believe, now a historical fact.  That's how facts happen now, Hank, you just repeat them over and over again and then they become fact.  And of course, we learned that if somebody is mowing your lawn, just roll with it, man.

H: And finally, we learned that if you are 60 years old, there is a very small chance that you will reach the age of 120 and you will, at 60, be middle aged.  It's pretty remarkable that that has ever happened to, to be clear, only one person ever.  

J: Yeah, but I believe that it's gonna start happening all the time.  We're on the very brink of curing aging if silicon valley weirdo billionaires are to be believed.  

H: We also learned that aglet has nothing to do with the holes in shoes.  It's the thing that wraps it up and when I Googled it, Phineas & Ferb was the second thing after Wikipedia that comes up.

J: Well, they've got a whole song about it, Hank, and after you listen, you will never forget what an aglet is.  Thanks, everybody, for listening to our podcast.  You can find us on Twitter at @hankgreen and @johngreen and you can email us your questions at  We always welcome your questions and are very grateful for them.  We apologize to all the ones we didn't get to.  Also, if you can't get enough Dear Hank and John, we have a new supplemental podcast called This Week in Ryans, where every week, we talk about a different Ryan.  

 (56:00) to (56:41)

You can find out more about that at  

H: This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson.  It's edited by Nicholas Jenkins.  Our social media person is Victoria Bongiorno, who also helps out with the Patreon at  The music that you hear now and at the beginning of the podcast is by the great Gunnarolla, and as they say in our hometown...

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