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What do I do if my spouse wants to shave his head? Why are there birds at the airport? What if I'm not as well read as my boyfriend? 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 about death where me and my brother, John, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Hey, John, how are you?

J: I am okay, Hank.  I don't know if you're aware of this, but um, I have just announced that I have a new book coming out in October.

H: Oh, yes, I--that's completely new information to me.  I had no idea, John.  

J: Well, would you like to ask some questions about it, because I'd be happy to answer them.

H: I feel like you're not allowed to answer any of the questions.  Every time anybody asks--

J: I'm allowed to answer whether it's available for pre-order now.  It is.  And I'm allowed to answer when it is going to be published: October 10th.  

H: John, are all copies going to be signed?

J: No, not all copies will be signed.  However, 200,000 or maybe hopefully slightly more will be signed and there's a special ISBN for the signed copies, but if you pre-order from your local bookstore, you should be able to get a signed copy no problem.  That's not a promise, because a lot of pre-orders won't be signed.  It has a large first print run, but um, that's what I would do it.  I would pre-order from my local bookstore, if it were me.  

H: Mhmm.  I should go do that right now.  I'll see you later.  This was a good pod, John.

J: I enjoyed it greatly, Hank, and you know what, if you wanna cancel the pod so that you can pre-order Turtles All The Way Down, my new book coming out October 10th, that is just fine by me.

H: Okay.  Well, I'm not actually going to do that, 'cause I feel like I have an obligation to do something else first, and also my local bookstore will be there this afternoon when I go there.

J: So one of the characters in this book, Hank, is a small time poet, you know, like a 17 year old kid poet, not like a grown-up poet, so I thought maybe I would read one of his poems for the short poem today from the book.

H: Ohh, that's special.  So, we're getting a little sneak preview.

J: I don't want to get in trouble with my publisher, who's constantly screaming at me never to answer questions about the book or say anything about it, but um, I am going to read you this poem that was submitted by an anonymous user, something something something.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

It's called "Last Ducks of Autumn".  It's possible that I've read this before, by the way, in an earlier episode of the pod, and turned it into an anonymous user then, too.  If so, I apologize.  The poem's called "Last Ducks of Autumn"  

The leaves are gone
You should be too.
I'd be gone if I were you.
But then again, here I am,
Walking alone in the frigid dawn.

"Last Ducks of Autumn" by Davis.  

H: Hmm!  Hmm!  Hmmm!  Um, was there slant rhyme in that?  Was that 17 year old poet really into Dickinson?  

J: Yeah, I don't feel like I can talk about that--I'm just gonna--let's move on to questions from our listeners.  

H: You're not gonna--you're  not gonna give--that's all the insight we get, John?  Okay, this one is from Danny, who asks, "Dear Hank and John," This is obviously for you.  "I'm moving to a city for nursing school, Portland, Oregon, that has not just one, but two professional soccer teams: The Timbers, the mens' soccer--"

H&J: And the Thorns.  

H: Yeah, womens'.  Oh, you knew this, okay.

J: Yeah, I did.

H: "I've always wanted to have a local soccer team to root for and I plan on attending the games, but my question is, how do I attend the games without looking -slash- acting like an obvious newbie?  Is there behavior I should avoid so I don't act disrespectfully?  Is there some sort of abridged version of soccer game play rules -slash- fouls that I could look into to understand what the heck is going on?  Bath bombs and goalies, Danny."

J: Well, I mean, the Portland Thorns were founded in 2012, so I would argue that all of their fans are relatively new to the team.  The Portland Timbers are not that much older, you know, like, the great thing about soccer in America is that everybody's new.  

H: (?~3:59) just joining up right now.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

It's like, fairweather fans, and it's like, well, no, it's just this one season.  

J: Yeah, I mean, of course there are the occasional, like, there are lots of die-hards who will be like, oh, I've been a Timbers season ticket holder since way back in the halcyon days of 2009, but um, I actually find one of the things I really like about soccer fandom in the US is that it's very welcoming and open and inclusive.  There's always an element of like, uh, you know, do you even know the rules or the culture or whatever, but the cool thing about you know, being part of a soccer culture that's relatively new is that it's still forming itself.  It's still deciding what it means to be a Thorns fan or a Timbers fan and I think that's, I think that's really cool, so learn a couple songs and you'll be fine.  In fact, I've attended a Portland Timbers game and so I know most of their songs.  There aren't that many of them.  Henry still sings one of them, "When I root, I root for the Timbers," which, you know, I don't think it's gonna go down in history as one of the greatest soccer songs, but there, I taught you one.

H: Yep.  That's pretty easy.  

J: Just use that one.  You'll be fine, Danny.

H: I almost am tempted to ask, like, what do people do all game during a soccer game, but, John, I'm not gonna ask that question, because I like hockey and I go watch hockey, and I know exactly what you do.  It's a very similar kind of experience, I assume.

J: Yeah.

H: 'Cause there's a lot of like, a lot of like, back and forth and not a lot of goal scoring, so they're similar in that way, and what you do is you, like, get food and you talk about stuff and you like, are watching the game but you're also hanging out and it's not just about the game, it's also about who you go with and the people that you meet when you're there, so yeah, it's kind of strange to think, like, okay, I'm gonna become a soccer fan and I'm just gonna sit here for three hours.

J: Right, it's nice to go with friends, for sure.  It's only two hours, that's one of the other benefits of soccer, but um, but it is nice to go with friends, but I also think it's a good way to, you know, it can be a good way to meet people.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

It's not a good way for me to meet people because I am way too introverted to ever strike up a conversation with someone at a soccer game, but it's a good way for some people to meet people, I'm told.  Anyway, Hank, I guess the Portland Timbers are our MLS team now, whether we like it or not.  That's who we root for.

H: That's--yep, that's our people.

J: When we root, we root for the Timbers.

H: And I don't root much.

J: And you know what?  That means, Hank, that we've just made enemies of the vast majority of American MLS fans, so suck it, people of... Kansas City?

H: That's a good guess.

J: I don't even like you, residents of...Las Vegas?  Not totally sure who has the MLS franchises, to be perfectly frank with you.

H: Yeah, I feel that, John.

J: I know Orlando has one.

H: Oh, what's it called?

J: I believe it's called Orlando City FC, which is hilarious because having lived in Orlando for--

H: Really?

J: --12 years, Hank and I can both attest to the fact that not once was it ever referred to by anyone living there as a city.  

H: Orlando City is a weird, yeah, that's weird.  Yeah, and instead of FC like it is in the UK, it's SC for 'soccer', that's yeah, interesting.

J: They should have called it Orlando: A Collection of Suburbs.

H: Yeah.  

J: SC.

H: Orlando Loosely Knit Together Community that Exists Mostly in the Form of Roads

J: And Collective Imagination.  This question comes from Mason, who writes, "Dear Hank and John, How do you get a teenager who doesn't want to drive to drive?  Thanks, I guess.  This is my mom's question.  Mason."

H: Wait, wait.  Who's mom?  What?  

J: Mason's mom is wondering how do you get a teenager who doesn't want to drive to drive.  

H: Oh.  Oh.  So Mason's mom was like, Mason, that podcast you listen to? 

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Ask them a question for me about you, lazy Mason who doesn't want to drive.

J: I--So I don't think that it's Mason is lazy.  I'm just purely theorizing here, obviously, we don't have a ton of information in this question, I think Mason is rightly afraid of the power that comes with driving.

H: Sure, it is a very dangerous thing that we do.  Probably right up there at the top.

J: Actually, there was a study that came out a couple days ago that showed that preventable deaths in the United States are rising dramatically, not because of our healthcare system or anything like that but entirely because of two causes, one being the opioid crisis and the other being distracted driving, so people texting while driving.

H: Oy-yoy-yoy.

J: It's possible that Mason just wants to keep texting and correctly thinks that you cannot do that while driving.

H: You cannot do that while driving.

J: I did want to emphasize that statistic though, Hank, because I think all of us have moments of distracted driving where we think, like, oh, well, this is okay.  It's not.  It's one of the single greatest public health problems in the world today.  It is a very serious problem.  Do not get on your phone while you're driving.

H: Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.  I see it all the ti--I see it so frequently and it--I just, I--the other day, we were crossing the street and it's a four lane street and there's, and one like, one car in one of the lanes stopped and then the car in the like, far lane didn't, and so we like, stood there in front of this car as this other car com--like, this person was on their phone and I was like, this is me and my wife and my child and I was just like, you just like, like, in a slightly different situation, that could have gone very, very bad.

J: Yeah.

H: And I was really, really upset about it, but, but to Mason's question, I mean, wh--I mean, how long are we gonna have people driving anymore, even?  Like, when does it actually become--for many people in the world, it is not necessary to have a car at all, and already we have Uber and it might be cheaper for many people to just Uber around rather than drive, and you don't have to worry about parking, you don't have to worry about owning a car, which is an expense and also, also like, work.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Like, you have to maintain this thing, and you have to buy it and you have to figure out how, like, all that stuff is a cost, not just the cost of the vehicle, so and then, soon enough, we will have self-driving cars and then you really won't need one, and it's sort of like, like, imagining the way that stick shifts are today, like, some people can drive stick and I can't, I feel like in the future there'll be people who can drive and people who can't, and it will be just as weird to know how to drive as it is currently to know how to drive a stick shift.

J: I mean, I think your utopian vision of autonomous cars flooding the market in the next three years is a little unrealistic.  I'm just gonna go ahead and say that, and I also don't know that the solution for Mason is necessarily to just wait.

H: Just wait!

J: So, Mason, it depends on why you don't like driving, but if you--but for me, I remember being very stressed out about driving when I was 15 and 16 because I was like, this car weighs a lot and it seems kind of like a miracle to me every time a car accident doesn't happen.  Like, every time I am at an intersection, I am astonished by the fact that this has been successfully navigated by all parties involved, and that is a good--not a bad thing to be thinking about.  It is not a bad thing to be remembering, in my opinion, but I think like, driving gets better, like a lot of things, the more you do it, the less stressful it becomes, so I would recommend baby steps.

H: Baby steps!  

J: I'm a big fan of baby steps, Hank, as you know.  

H: Absolutely, John.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

This question comes to us from Sarah, who asks, "Dear Green Brothers, I am currently staring at the grey speckled walls of an airport and I was wondering, why are there so many birds in here?"

J: Yeah.  Right.

H: "How did they get here?  Are they pre-check?  Is this a thing?  Verba-verba-verba," I don't know what that means, "Sarah."

J: I think it means 'words, words, words'.

H: Ahh, good, good, good.  Um, yeah, I mean, how do you think birds get places?  They gotta go to the airport!  

J: Uh, that is incorrect.

H: They gotta, they're going on vacation or maybe it's work, I dunno.  Pleasure.  Business.  Whatever.  All the same reasons people are at the airport.

J: I mean, I'm trying to yes...and you, but it's such a stupid joke.  I don't know what to do with it.  Okay, yes, and, also um, they check their little bird bags.  It's very--hold on.

H: Yeah!  Yeah, they check their little bird bags!  

J: Yes, and the birds are uhhh, I'm not very good at this game.  I was, Hank, I was a terrible, like, I was the worst improviser in all of the improv classes I ever took.  People would be like, I....what?  Huh?  And I would just, I would freeze a lot, but not while playing the improv game 'Freeze', just, I would just freeze.

H: John.  Yeah, yeah, I apologize, John, I shouldn't have thrown you into that deep dark improv water there, with the birds checking their little tiny bird bags.

J: The funny thing is, all the listeners to this podcast are telling themselves amazing jokes that I should be telling right now.

H: Oh yeah.

J: And I'm hyper-conscious of that.  I'm literally the least qualified person listening to this podcast currently when it comes to making birds in airport jokes.  Even though I know a lot about airports.  The truth is that airports are constantly exposed to um, air.

H: The weird thing to me, John--

J: Yeah?

H: Is like, aren't airports like the most secure building we have except for like, jails?

J: Right, yeah.

 (14:00) to (16:00)

H: Like, it's not easy to get into an airport.

J: No, the doors--

H: I can't just walk--

J: Yeah, I mean, how hard is it, like, the doors are always closed.  The boarding--the moment the boarding door closes, it cannot be re-opened, believe me, I have asked many times.

H: Yeah, like, the jetway is like an airlock, right?  It's like, on one end, there's a door, and on the other end there's a door, and if there's a bird in there, open the outside door and let it go that way.

J: Also, is there a place in contemporary life worse for birds than an airport, like--

H: You know, I don't know that that's true. Actually, I think if I were a bird, I might really like living in an airport.  It depends on the kind of bird you are.

J: Oh, oh, oh, yeah, living in an airport maybe, but I'll tell you what you won't like, getting to the airport, because of all the jet engines that will suck up your body--

H: Yes.  Yes.

J: --and kill you.

H: Once you're in there, you're safe, but when you're out on the tarmac, that's not a good spot, yeah.

J: No, that's what I'm saying.  Getting into the airport is one of the most dangerous moves a bird can make.  Now, maybe life inside the airport is awesome, although I suspect not, I suspect there's like, one bird catcher employed by every airport who's like, out there trying to get you and it's like a children's picture book situation, you know--

H: Oh, yeah.  Yeah.

J: --where like, the bird just wants to be free and there's this evil dogcatch--birdcatcher who's like, out trying to get--it's a great premise for a children's book, but it's not an easy way to live your life.  

H: Yeah, I mean, you don't get rained on, that's nice.  The climate is controlled and I imagine there's lots of snacks around.  People never finishing their Pringles at the airport, but uh, which is--

J: Sure.

H: Which is why, like, when I--sometimes I see like, like, there's a family.  This isn't like, one bird.  This is like generations of birds happening here.  

J: Oh, I think you've, I think you've just uncovered what it is, Hank.  

H: What is it?

J: It's not that birds are always coming in to the airport, it's that once upon a time, there were two birds in the airport and now, years later, we're on like the ninth generation of swallows.  Like, the swallows that you see currently in the Detroit airport, I assume that Sarah is in the Detroit airport.  

 (16:00) to (18:00)

I've seen birds in a few airports but mostly in the Detroit airport.  I think like, the birds that you're seeing in that situation, not only--they have never known life outside the airport.

H: Right, yeah!

J: Nor did their parents, nor did their grandparents.  Those birds got in pre 9/11 when airports were basically just like, open to the world.  

H: Just swiss cheese!

J: That's right.  That's what happened.  We figured it out.  We have solved it, Sarah.  

H: That's where the birds came from.  Also, they're flying to their vacations and work trips and some of them are in bird first class and some of them are in bird coach and it's sort of like a weird societal division between the birds.

J: Great--great callback to your bad joke.  This question comes from TJ, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I've heard that the largest fear from scientists about the polar ice caps melting is, in fact, that there might be ancient bacteria that we have never been exposed to before inside that would be freed once melted."  I don't know that that's the largest fear from scientists, but it's certainly the largest fear from hypochondriacal scientists like myself.  "I was wondering how true this might be and how much of a problem it would cause if we don't know how to combat the diseases that might be unearthed by the melting of the polar ice caps, especially now that we've pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.  Sorry for the new fear of possible death, TJ."  TJ, don't worry, you didn't add any new fears of death to my life, buddy.  I've been worried about bacteria that are hiding that will be revealed by the climate for literally decades.  

H: Uh, so TJ.  Situation is depends on what you mean by ancient, because, like, if there are like, bacteria--if like, co-evolve with their hosts and viruses and fungi and all these things, so like, if there's something that's like, from pre-human times, it's very unlikely that they'd be able to infect us, just because we have a lot of systems for dealing with bacteria, but there is--there are concerns.

 (18:00) to (20:00)

For example, sometimes you have, you have like, anthrax will do this, like, an ant will die infected with anthrax and then it will get all up in the animal and then they'll get buried under permafrost for a long, long time and then it'll get unearthed and suddenly that, the anthrax spores are like, whoo-hoo and go off and mostly they kill reindeer but occasionally it kills people.  The big one that like, that scares me is like, smallpox has been eradicated.

J: Smallpox.  Smallpox.

H: There's no smallpox on Earth, except in laboratories.

J: Oh boy.

H: But--

J: How--can smallpox survive frozen for a long time?

H: It can and has. The last time this happened was like, the turn of the last century, so like, in the 19--early 1900s.  A body that was infected with smallpox, like a--that had been buried in a grave, like, melted out--

J: For how long?  For how long?

H: I don't know how long it had been.  I can't--

J: Okay.

H: I don't have that information in my head.  I wish I did, but you, yeah, that person then, there were then people who got smallpox from that, and that's a bummer because smallpox is easy to deal with if you know you're about to get it, but hard to deal with once you get it.

J: Um, Hank, on this front, though, I just wanna say something that I think is generally true, which is that it would obviously be very bad if smallpox came back to human beings.  That would be a huge problem. 

H: Correct.

J: But we already know for a fact there is no question that climate change is going to be a huge problem that affects and likely shortens the lives of many, many millions of people, so I think part of what we are doing when we imagine these kind of apocalyptic scenarios associated with climate change is almost like trying to use human psychology to understand the scope of what we're talking about, because it's really, really hard to understand the scope of what we're talking about.  Like, it's really hard to understand how small changes over long periods of time will have profound effects on many people, but it's really easy to imagine like, smallpox running rampant through a population, so I think it's almost a way of trying to like, trying to like, give it a form that makes sense to us, and like, makes us feel adequately like, oh, we have to deal with this.

 (20:00) to (22:00)

H: Yeah, maybe.  Yeah.  Like--but I don't really like that strategy.  I would prefer to say like, here's the whole situation--

J: I agree.

H: Um, and I also haven't heard scientists being like, the biggest problem we're gonna face is smallpox from global warming!  I haven't really heard that one.

J: No, I just think, like, on the--but on the margins, not within scientific communities, but on the margins of people, like, trying to understand it.  I agree, it's not a good strategy.  I just think, like, maybe that's part of what's going on.

H: Alright, John, this question comes from Emily, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I have naturally curly hair.  Occasionally, I straighten my hair.  If, on the day that I die, my hair is straight, will I be buried with my hair straight or will it be washed and styled in my usual curly way?  Thank you, Emily."

J: Well, I really appreciate you coming to us, Emily.

H: Yeah.  Experts.  Experts are here.

J: With your question for mortuary scientists, because I don't know if you know this, but Hank, just as I was briefly in divinity school before dropping out and deciding I didn't want to be a minister--

H: Nope.

J: Hank was briefly in mortuary school--

H: Nope.  Not--nope.

J: --before dropping out and deciding that he didn't wanna run a funeral home, so I'll just give this one to Hank.

H: Incorrect.  Well, have you--I think, like, whatever you want!  Like, write it down first, and everybody will do what you wanna do, but I think, yeah, that's how it works, right?  But I assume most people don't.  Most people aren't like, put me in this suit and like, do my hair this way and I wanna be wearing this watch.

J: Yeah, what does your will say?

H: Oh, God, not--none of that.

J: Yeah, definitely not.  My will is just like, um, uh, I believe it says something like, uh, just make sure that Hank gets nothing.  

 (22:00) to (24:00)

H: Hank will inherit my stereo boombox and nothing else.

J: Ah, there's a little note inside my will that says, 'Hank, if you had not stolen and sold my baseball cards on eBay when we were children, you would be a wealthy man right now.'  

H: But instead, here's my stereo boombox.  I just--I remember specifically like, think--when I was young, thinking about, like, when I was like, eight or nine, thinking about like, if I died, who would get my boombox, because it was like, my favorite thing in the world.  It had like, two tape decks and it was, you know, had big speakers and you could fill it with like, 8,000 D batteries and you could take it portable and I remember being like, man, I gotta make sure I know who's gonna get this if I go.  

J: Yeah.

H: And like, one, like, and like, like, you know, I don't know if you were on the shortlist, John.  

J: Oh, I don't take it personally, don't worry.

H: Now I'm feeling like maybe you shouldn't be.

J: That doesn't bother me.  Um, I--

H: Alright.

J: I want you to be happy and if that means not leaving me your boombox, I'm okay with it, although I guess you won't be happy, almost by definition.

H: I wonder what that stereo boombox is doing now.  

J: Uh, I have a pretty good guess.  

H: Aw.

J: I have a pretty good guess that it turned out to die before you turned out to.

H: I guess that's alright.  

J: It is somewhere in a landfill gathering dust.

H: Oh, no, I can't imagine it's gathering dust.  It's probably sealed to the outside.  It probably hasn't been touched by air in a decade.

J: It'll be discovered in like, 2,000 years as people are digging through our remains, looking for a cure to smallpox.  

H: Yeah, don't dig for a cure to smallpox.  It'll just be--

J: I'm just kidding, smallpox is not coming back.  It is the s--I would argue the single greatest achievement in the history of the human species is the eradication of smallpox, and I'm very proud of it, and it's not coming back, we did it.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

H: That's right, let's take credit where credit is due, humans!  You got it!  You did that thing and that was a good thing!  

J: God, we do so many things poorly but we did eliminate smallpox and we're close to eliminating polio.

H: Ah yeah.

J: And it makes me th--and one day, we will eliminate malaria and I--all of my hope is in our ability to kill things.  

H: Yeah, good.

J: It's what humans are best at.  Extinction.

H: Usually, usually bad, but sometimes, we do extinction the right way, John.  

J: That's right.  We do extinction every way.  Poorly, well, in the middle, we've got it covered.  If you need to go extinct, you've found the species for you.

H: Oh man,I--well, boy, I--if that were only the case.  There are quite a number of species that I would totally eradicate, absolutely.

J: That's true.  That's true.

H: People are always like--

J: We're not as--yeah, yeah.

H: People are always like, what--like, all species serve a purpose.  Well, like, why, like, what purpose do ticks serve?  And I'm like, well, my problem is with your first premise.

J: Right.

H: Not--no, they're like, sure, yes, they have a niche in the ecosystem, but like, a tick, like, if every tick died, everything would be fine.  Everything would be better for everyone if every tick died.  They--

J: I agree.

H: They exist for their own benefit and no one else's.

J: You know, Hank, we need to start an organization, an anti-tick organization that just says no more ticks.  Just, humans, you have killed thousands and thousands of species.  Focus your killing energies on ticks.  Let's find a way to make them into burgers.  Then we'll kill them in five minutes.  Are we still talking about birds in airports?

H: No, I think we're talking about peoples' dead hairs.

J: What?  We're--w--today's podcast is brought to you by ticks.  Ticks: On their way out if Hank has anything to say about it.

H: Except for, this podcast also additionally being brought to you by's new series, The Tick, based on Ben Edlund's comic book series.  

 (26:00) to (28:00)

It's very good and should not be eradicated.

J: You know what I--just, briefly pause the sponsorships, Hank.  I thought for a second there you were going to do our first actual sponsorship.  By the way, we're gonna have actual sponsors on the podcast.  We don't know how we're gonna integrate it yet, but um, we finally had some actual sponsors reach out to us and we were like--they were like, we know that you're not too commercial and we were like, we'd like to be.   So I hope you won't mind us selling you matresses-slash-websites-slash-Amazon's new series The Tick, but we will make it clear when we're being paid to say something, because you know, we'll read the copy in a way that makes us sound like we don't mean it.  No, I'm just kidding, we'll make it clear.  To--so back to the point though, today's podcast is also brought to you by the Portland Timbers.  The Portland Timbers: America's #1 Oregon Mens' Soccer Team since way back in 2009.

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by fake sponsors.  Fake sponsors: Not going anywhere!  Even if we have some real sponsors!

J: Yeah, but we're--we are not--we are gonna say yes to some real sponsors, because it will help us--

H: Yeah, but we're gonna keep doing the fake ones.  That's what I said on Twitter, like, we're thinking about it.  People were like, as long as you don't get rid of the fake ones, 'cause I like that part.

J: Oh, I'm glad people like that.  That's a good--that's positive.  Okay, Hank, do you have another question for me?

H: I do.  This one is from Meredith, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I just recently got into a relationship with a lovely boy and it's going very well so far.  The only problem I have is there is somewhat of an intellectual disparity between us.  He's an English major attending your alma mater, John, who absolutely adores reading and has read more books than I can fathom.  I, however, having dyslexia and ADHD, don't tend to enjoy reading as a pasttime, because it quite literally hurts my brain.  I think I've so far been able to maintain the illusion that I'm decently well-read, but I'm afraid he will soon find out that I'm not and be very disappointed.  

 (28:00) to (30:00)

He frequently makes references to classic literature that I know nothing about, and I sorta just smile and pretend like I know what's going on.  I know that I'm smart in lots of other ways and that's valuable, but this is something that's really important to him, and I want to be able to talk with him about it.  Please provide me with advice and/or summaries of important books that I should know about.  Wish I had a better sign-off, Meredith."  Alright, John, The Great Gatsby, what's that one?

J: Uhh, Gatsby turned out all right in the end.  It was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust trailed in the wake of his dreams that temporarily, hold on, let me Google the rest of the quote.  Um, basically that's all you have to say, though.  If you're talking about Gatsby, you just have to say uh, you just have to quote that line, what foul dust that floated in the wake of his dreams, I didn't even get that part right, that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elation of men.  Who among us does not know that feeling of temporarily, the temporary closing out of one's interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men?  Um, that's actually one of the feelings that I know the best--

H: Oy-yoy-yoy.

J: --That I have seen rendered on the page the least, but yeah, that's all you need to know about Gatsby.  Gatsby turned out all right in the end, it was what preyed on Gatsby, it was that foul dust trailing in the wake of his dreams.  Do you need any others?

H: Uh, what about Old Man and the Sea?

J: Oh, a man goes out to see, spoiler alert, catches a fish, but then, the catching of the fish almost destroys him.  It's man vs. nature at a time when Hemingway believed that somehow, it's--to me, Hemingway and especially Old Man and the Sea is extremely like, it like, constantly contradicts itself.  Like it has a constantly shifting opinion on the relationship between man and nature that I find annoying, but lots of people find brilliant.  

 (30:00) to (32:00)

H: What about like, Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment?  

J: Okay, I've only read one Terry Pratchett book, so, on a world that is flat and disc-like--

H: Yeah, okay.

J: Uh, uh, that's all I've got.  

H: Nothing about just wizards or wars or stabbings and (?~30:29)

J: Uh, wizards and other things as well, other things as well happen.  So, one of the--like, so I would say, actually, one of the secrets to this whole thing, this question is um, that uh, everybody, in my experience, everybody I've ever talked to seems smarter than me because I have a different set of like, illusions and a different set of understandings than they do, and whenever they say something that I haven't read or seen or looked at or whatever, I feel like an idiot, but of course, like, I don't have access to their entire encyclopedia of references.  Meredith, I think that like, whether or not you have read Old Man and the Sea has very little to do with either how smart you are or how effectively can contextualize yourself in the universe.  I just don't think it's that, I say this as a writer, like, I don't think reading any individual book is that important.  

H: Yeah, I mean, it's--it's--yeah.

J: I just don't.  Like, and I think there are lots of ways to engage intellectually with the world and I bet your boyfriend understands that or else he should.

H: Yeah, I mean, there's something to be said for having cultural experiences and that can be any kind of media, but it can certainly be books.

J: Yeah, yeah.

H: But also lots of people have really great relationships that like, were raised in different countries and never watched any of the same TV shows or read the same books, because they were reading in different languages.

 (32:00) to (34:00)

Like, it's totally possible to have a relationship without like, 100% of your interests being shared and, but I do think that it's good to be honest about that sooner--yeah.

J: Yeah, the thing that I would just suggest is to find places where you can connect to each other, you know, cultural stuff that you can connect, whether it's art or TV shows or whatever and connect.

H: Yeah, and also like, yeah, don't let it get you too down if it's--like, like, there's--Katherine was a big fan--is still a big fan of musicals and also like, some old movies and will also always sort of look at me askance when I'm like, I do not know that thing you are referring to and she will like, be a little bit of like, a little bit proud, like, looking a little bit down on me, but like, it's all in good fun and does not mean that like, she thinks that I'm a bad person or that--and, and yeah, so if, just because like, you don't have that thing in common and just because like, there may be some polite joshing around it does not mean that like, oh, you're so like, uneducated or whatever to, so like, and if it's the kind of thing that is gonna mess a little bit with your confidence, I think also be honest about that with them.

J: I agree.  Hank, we need to get to an important issue that many people brought up after a recent episode of the podcast.  It's obviously a contentious topic and one that I think I actually wasn't in on this episode and if I had been, I think we would have handled it a little differently and maybe a little less dismissively, but I just want to be honest about it.

H: Uh-huh, alright.

J: --and acknowledge the feedback that we got which was overwhelmingly negative about the biting of popsicles.  Connie writes, "Dear Hank, John, and Travis," Once again, Connie, I was not in on this conversation so you can just say 'Dear Hank and Travis' because I was not involved.  "I'd like to point out that biting popsicles is a better way to use popsicles if your goal is to cool down.  If you wait until a bit of the popsicle melts before licking it off, you are allowing the popsicle to absorb heat from the sun.

 (34:00) to (36:00)

This means that less of your body heat will be absorbed over the entire eating of the popsicle.  Pushing the problem even further, consuming sugar kicks up your metabolism and makes you warmer anyways.  Popsicles are instant gratification for little overall gain.  It seems like you should be drinking water and consuming hot things instead to make you start sweating.  Evaporation is a cooling process.  Please check out the link below," and then there are a lot of sources.  So.  There you go.  

H: Indeed.  Wow.  Wow, yeah, cold is, whoo.  Ahh.  Mm.  Yes, there are a lot of things.  I'll say, fine, then just swallow a bunch of ice cubes, if that's what you want.

J: Uhh, well, okay.  I don't want to raise more hackles though on the biting popsicles issue, so I will just say that I have no opinion on this matter and I think that people should use their popsicles in whichever way they want?

H: Yeah, I apologize for everybody who felt that my treatment of popsicle biters was--but I think that that was in the, that was in the--oh no.  Where was the--?  Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that was--okay, I got--I remember now.  I thought that was like, a Patron exclusive or something.  It wasn't.  Everybody got that one.  Um, yeah, that was our Podcon promotion episode, but yeah, use popsicles however you want.  

J: This question comes from Sarah, who might be my wife and writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm in need of some dubious advice.  My husband wants to shave his head.  For the past year now, he's been telling me again and again that he just wants to know what his head looks like, but--"


J: "But what if it grows back different?  What if it decides not to grow back at all?  What if it looks weird?  Also, if you want a reference point, he looks like Hank but with dark brown hair."  I mean, this very well could be my wife!  

 (36:00) to (38:00)

H: I mean, that's, yeah, that sounds like--that sounds a little like you!

J: "PS: I haven't seen any tweets from Leon Muss lately.  Has he lost his passion for his mission?"  I wouldn't say that he's lost his passion for his mission because Hank made a big to-do about how I would eventually lose interest in Leon Muss and I'm not willing to give him the satisfaction.  That's all I'm saying on that topic.  Hank, what do you do when your spouse wants to shave their head so that they know what their head looks like, but you are worried that it will grow back different or not grow back at all?  

H: Um, I think that you should be worried about what he will look like when his head is shaved, and also maybe that he will like it so much that he will keep doing it, and you won't like it, because maybe it's a real good, maybe it's a good, maybe it's a good feeling on that--just having the air on it.  I don't know, maybe it would be, and maybe he just would like to not have to handle, deal with all of the hair coming out of his noggin, but uh, but it's not gonna come back weird.  It's gonna come back normal and there's pretty broad like uh, set of data supporting that, including every person who's ever shaved their head, so that's--that--you shouldn't be too concerned about that, but you--but I would, you know, make sure that it's like, okay, if this is about you just learning what your head looks like, let's together, we will make this sacrifice and we will learn what your head looks like, 'cause that's apparently something--I mean, it's kind of a weird thing to not know.  Now that you've said it, now that you have made this argument to me, I'm like, okay, I don't know what my head looks like.  I've had this head my whole life and it  has always been covered in hair.  I don't know what's under there!  There could be like, a weird, like, pattern of moles that like, is in the perfect shape of a turtle and I would never know, and so, like, absolutely maybe this is something that he just needs to know about himself and he's tired of not knowing, but--

J: Hank, I'd like to point out one thing that's very--that's a real consideration here that nobody's mentioned yet, which is that if you shave your head, it will definitely contribute to hair loss.

 (38:00) to (40:00)

You will lose all of those hairs.  

H: Uh, yes, yes, the hairs will be lost, but it should not inactivate any of the current follicles. 

J: I don't know what those words mean.  I was just trying to make a joke.  I also just wanna say that if you do find that you shave your head and you have moles in the exact shape of a turtle, that maybe we could use that for the cover of my new book, Turtles All The Way Down.

H: Yeah, well, maybe th--I mean, I can photoshop that for you if you want.  

J: No, no, no.  No.  No.  God, why did you create--now it is an inevitability that someone will make that and it's terrible, terrible news for me.  This is one of the worst things that came from this week's podcast.

H: Uhhhh, yeah, but I would--if I were you, person who asked the question, I don't have it in front of me, just make sure that you like, agree that there's a time limit on the head shaving.  If you really don't like it, like don't like the idea, then you know, his--his hair is in some respects, your hair.

J: Uhhh, mmm.  I don't know that I agree with that.  Like, I don't know that marriage is a fusing of the hair as well as a fusing of the soul.  I don't even really think marriage is a fusing of the soul, for the record.  I just wanna go out and say that I'm not totally convinced on Hank's position in re: spousal hair.

H: That's how it works.  That's how it works, is you get the joint bank account and then everybody is in charge of everybody else's hair.

J: Yeah, nope, nope, nope.  I know lots of happily married people who actually don't have shared finances, even.  It's--it's a subject of great interest to me, because Sarah and I have had shared finances like, three weeks into our relationship.

 (40:00) to (42:00)

H: Yeah, Katherine and I used to have a whiteboard where we would keep track of who owed who what and then at the end of the month, we'd sort of balance it out and it'd be like, ten bucks.  It's a lot of extra work.

J: Right, no, yeah, the moment we moved in together, we were like, uhh, let's just go ahead and mix all the books together and also, just get the one bank account and in some ways, marriage was the smaller step.  Once you've mixed your library with someone else's library, it becomes very, very difficult to break up.

H: Ooh, wow, yeah.  Alright, John, I take back my comment about how a spouse owns their spouse's hair.  

J: Yeah, great, good--really good retraction.  Uh, Hank, it's time to get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  What is the news from Mars this week?  

H: Um, John, if you go onto--if you go onto YouTube, you know about YouTube?

J: Yeah.  Oh, yeah.

H: There is a new video that--it's basically fan art.  As far as I can tell, this was not produced by NASA.  There's this video called 'Vivid Mars' and it is, it is footage of both the launch of the Mars reconnaisance orbiter and also some of the amazing pictures it has taken on the red, er, of the red planet, because it's orbiting the planet.  The high-rise camera is one of the heaviest, biggest cameras we've ever sent to a planetary mission and this video cuts together these amazing beautiful images with some really great music and some good st--footage of MRO heading to the red planet and man, if you just--it's really super HD, you gotta, like, open it up on the full screen monitor or on your TV or something and just spend these three minutes watching this video, because it makes me feel very good feelings about us as a species and about the beautiful universe that we live in.

 (42:00) to (44:00)

It's called 'Vivid Mars'.  It's on a YouTube channel called k-a-m-i, kami, and it's just frickin gorgeous, it's like, wow!  They did an amazing, amazing job of putting this together.  

J: I will do that right after we get off this podcast because that sounds lovely.  I also have news from AFC Wimbledon.  In fact, for--considering that it is still the off-season, I have an astonishing amount of news from AFC Wimbledon.  First off, AFC Wimbledon have a new kit manufacturer, Hank.  As you know, all the big clubs sign kit deals with like, Nike or Puma or Underarmor or whomever and AFC Wimbledon's new kit deal is with Puma.  Puma, the maker of those shoes that Hank wears every time he's doing a concert.  

H: Uh, yeah, I have to wear, I mean, I don't, I usually wear my boring shoes, but when I need to look good, I put on my Pumas.  It's true.

J: That's right.

H: It's true.

J: That's right.  Puma, by the way, is welcome to sponsor this podcast as well as AFC Wimbledon, but we're very glad to have them joining the AFC Wimbledon sponsorship family, alongside the video game Football Manager,, and of course, me.  Also in news from AFC Wimbledon, Dom Poleon has left the club for Bradford City.  Another striker leaves the team.  Tom Eliot left earlier this season, now Poleon's left.  It's--(gibberish) Neal Ardley did say, 'We feel that we are strong enough in that departmet to let him leave', but I--who exactly is making us strong in that department?  We still have the Montserratian Messi, Lyle Taylor, but can he score goals alone?

 (44:00) to (46:00)

Can he score the 30 or 40 goals we would need from him?  I don't know.  I'm a little nervous.  It's nervous times.  There's been a lot of selling and not a lot of buying yet for AFC Wimbledon, and lastly, probably the most important news, Hank, you may remember that there was a petition by certain people to have the Wimbledon greyhound stadium where they do the greyhound races, listed as an architectural masterpiece so that it could never be taken down and turned into AFC Wimbledon's new stadium?

H: Oh my God, yeah.  

J: And then because of the English election, there's a rule in England where, you know, they only have six week election periods as opposed to America where elections never end and then when they do end, the results are in dispute for the rest of all time?

H: Yep.

J: In England, they only have like, a six week election cycle, so you cannot make any kind of big decision within six weeks of an election--

H: Right, mhmm.  

J: --so that you're not seen to be umm, uhh, yeah, so that you're not seen to be like, trying to influence things or whatever.

H: Sure, sure.

J: So, the decision was delayed and delayed and delayed because of this election business that's been going on in the United Kingdom, but finally it came out that the greyhound stadium is not going to be listed.  That should be the last major hurdle between AFC Wimbledon and final real let's-get-some-boots-on-the-ground-and-cut-some-ribbons-and-start-to-dig permission to--for AFC Wimbledon to build a new stadium in their historic homeland, so that's very, very exciting.  

H: Mhmm, that is--I--do it, man.  So you--so, so, what's the thing that they sing?

J: They sing 'Show me the way to Plow Lane'.

H: Yeah.

J: So they've gone now 25 years without a home in their home.  

 (46:00) to (48:00)

You know, they used to have the stadium for many years called Plow Lane and it was taken away from them and then they had to groundshare with Crystal Palace and then the club, of course, was taken away and moved to Milton Keynes and it's--so they sing this song, 'Show me the way to Plow Lane, I'm tired and I wanna go home, I had a football ground 20 years ago and I want one of my own' and I think the most unexpected result possible from that song would be that they are actually going home to Plow Lane, but that seems like what is gonna happen.

H: Yeah.

J: So they've truly showed the world the way to Plow Lane and hopefully, for that 2019-2020 season, Hank, you and I and all of Nerdfighteria will be in that stadium to celebrate their first game.

H: Everybody!  Every one of us.

J: Everybody.  Everyone from the whole world.  I will charter all of the planes.  

H: No one can go anywhere else that day.

J: For that day--on that day, all the planes go to London.  You look--you go to the airport and the birds and the humans are all only going to London.

H: And all the birds will be stuck in the airport, completely unable to go their destination, wherever that was.

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

H: John, we learned that a nice, cool Earth is keeping some infectious diseases locked away so that people can't get them.  

J: And that, thank you, cool Earth.  You're the best.  You're so cool.

H: Thanks.  Thanks, Cool Earth, you're supercool.

J: We learned that driving is dangerous and scary, but is still currently a necessity for a lot of people.

H: We learned that John was never, ever going to inherit my stereo boombox, which now is locked deep, silently, and darkly somewhere underground.  

J: And speaking of that, we learned that Hank was briefly a student of the mortuary sciences.

H: No, that's--no.  Don't start rumors, John.  

J: Oh, sorry.

H: We learned that I may or may not have a bunch of turtle moles on my head.

 (48:00) to (49:31)

J: Oh God!  Thanks for listening to this podcast.  You can email us at  Send us your questions, we always appreciate it.  

H: Yeah.

J: Hank does the credits, not me, so I don't know how to do the rest.

H: Yeah, this podcast is produced by Sheridan Gibson and Rosianna Halse Rojas.  Our social media person is Victoria Bongiorno.  Nick is--Nick Jenkins is our editor who makes all of us sound way better and funnier than we actually are.  We have a Patreon at where you can support this podcast by which we mean we use that money to pay for things at our company where we make SciShow and CrashCourse and stuff, 'cause it doesn't take that much to run this thing, and um, and you all can, you can also get our weekly Patreon-only podcast, This Week in Ryans there, and if you are wanting to ask more questions, John already told you about our e-mail address, but we are also on Twitter @hankgreen and @johngreen and you can use #dearhankandjohn.  We d--I don't want to end the podcast, John, I just wanna keep talking.  You're my bud, and I, like, but I guess we have to end it.  

J: Not only do we have to--we have to end it but only so that we can go make a different podcast called This Week in Ryans.

H: Oh yeah!  Oh yeah, okay, so it's not over yet.  Well, thanks for podding with me, John, and thanks everybody for listening and as they say in our hometown

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