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How far can you get making only right turns? What's the proper response to being constantly serenaded? Does fire have mass? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hank: Hello, and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

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

Hank: It's a comedy podcast about death where two guys, Hank and John Green, who are brothers, 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?

John: Well, Hank, I'm just back from a long bike ride and I seem to have, uh, injured myself in my- the seat area. I would say, broadly speaking, the sort of uh-

Hank: Hmm...

John: I guess what I- I guess- I guess if it were in my privates, if you will.

Hank: [laughs] I like the idea that the seat is the part of the body that is the part of the body that sits on the seat. So you put your seat on the seat.

John: And the whole everything that touches the seat is the seat. That is my theory. And that whole part hurts. Um-

Hank: [laughs]

John: So I'm just trying to uh-

Hank: I'm sorry.

John: Just trying to-

Hank: Gonna work through the pain.

John: Not focus on it too much. Hank, Hank, Hank, Hank, Hank.

Hank: What? What?

John: Hank.

Hank: What?

John: Do you remember during our last episode, or maybe a couple episodes ago, I don't know when it happened- Do you remember that you said that you were going to burn all the copies of a book-

Hank: Oh god, yeah-

John: That- Because it talked about how pythons lay eggs?

Hank: Uh huh. Yep.

John: And of course you knew that pythons didn't lay eggs.

Hank: We are going to start with this. Ok.

John: Because they gave live birth.

Hank (talking over): Gave live birth. Uh huh.

John: Well, Hank-

Hank: [groans]

John: We got, really for the first time, corrections to a mistake you made. So rare on Dear Hank and John.

Hank: [sad laugh] Oh boy.

John: I'm just gonna- I'm just gonna-

Hank: We got-

John: Highlight one out of the many because it turns out you could have just Googled this. There's tons of pictures of it. This one comes from Ishmael, who writes: "Dear John and Hank, I cannot help but notice a glaring error near the beginning of the latest episode."

Hank: Yeah.

John: "Approxiately two minutes into the episode Hank describes a passage from a children's book that mentions a python and her hatchlings-"

Hank: Yep. I- we- yep.

John: "And Hank says pythons give live birth and don't have hatchlings. That's incorrect."

Hank: Oh god.

John: "Pythons do indeed lay eggs."

 (02:00) to (04:00)

John: It's almost like Hank should trust what's in books instead of what's in his mind. That wasn't from Ishmael, that was from me.

Hank: [laughs] It's true. It's true. Uh, boas give live birth.

John: Ok, well that's not an excuse-

Hank: Boa constrictors, not pythons.

John: What we were talking about it-

Hank: I know, I know. I'm aware. I'm aware. It's just I'm explaining how I got confused.

John: Alright, alright.

Hank: [sigh]

John: Well I am delighted-

Hank: Good old, good hatchings.

John: I am absolutely delighted by this situation.

Hank: Oh, I bet. I mean, frankly, I- Hey, we- I- Well, the only reason it hurts so bad is that I spent so much time whining about it.

John: Oh, yeah.

Hank: Uch.

John: I know.

Hank: So just never, never whine. I guess is the solution to that problem.

John: Yeah.

Hanks: Thanks for starting with that, John.

John: Oh, it's my pleasure.

Hank: Did you not- did you not have a poem?

John: Oh I do. I have one.

Hank: Or?

John: It's a haiku by Kobayashi Issa.

Hank: Ok, hit me.

John: Everything I touch/ with tenderness, alas,/ pricks like a bramble.

Hank: Dang!

John: It's hard out there. It's hard out there for Kobayashi Issa and other haiku writers. A lot of suffering.

Hank: Yeah. Man, I touched-

John: A lot of disappointment when you try for the tender touch is, Hank, sometimes you find it just comes with a bramble.

Hank: Yeah, I tried to tenderly touch a python live birth- live birth python babies, but it just hit that hard egg shell.

John: [laughs]

Hank: That's my poem for the day.

John: Hank, I'm really excited to get to the questions from our listeners. We've got some great questions this week. Um, and uh,

Hank: We did!

John: And this is my favorite one. Can we start there?

Hank: Mhm.

John: Alright. We've also got some great sign-offs this week. Some great name-specific sign-offs. This question comes from April, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I deliver babies for a living. As you probably know from experience, human babies are wonderful and amazing, but not always cute. This is especially true at the beginning when they're purple and wrinkly. I know it gets better, but sometimes new parents are a little shocked by their offspring's appearance."

 (04:00) to (06:00)

John: "My Dutch mom has a saying for this which basically translates as 'ugly in the cradle, but pretty at the table.'"

Both: [laugh]

John: "Is there some catchy phrase like this in English that I can use with new parents? Showers and the cruelest month, April."

Hank: Oh, good sign off. I- Ok- first of all when you say "I deliver babies for a living," that really sounds like you put them in a truck and FedEx them around town.

John: Yeah, well that is my assumption. How else would you deliver them?

Hank: I don't- You're delivering them to someone from somewhere to something. It's really you deliver a baby from one end of a person from the other end is the most of the delivering that happens.

John: [sigh] I mean my kids listen to this podcast. I'd like you do be as vague as possible.

Hank: [laughs] K, that's- that's just, that's it. That's the sitch. Um, you, John, were you surprised by the way that your baby looked when it was, uh, when it was first-

John: I mean, look Hank, this is a podcast that is going to be publicly listened to but also that potentially my own children will one day.

Hank: Alright.

John: So they were both beautiful and amazing and they looked like actual gods.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

John: Like tiny cherubs. They looked like they had been painted by Michelangelo. I was astonished by their beauty.

Hank: Ok. Uh, samesies. Um. Yeah. But with like a cherub painted by Michelangelo, except with the head of an almond. That's just uh-

Both: [laugh]

John: Oh man.

Hank: Um.

John: I'm sure Michelangelo never painted a cherub and I'm going to get into a lot of trouble for that.

Hank: We definitely- I definitely didn't have any of the people- there were lots of lovely people around, and none of them said to me "don't worry. He'll look better tomorrow."

John: Yeah, I don't think you should say that because then you'd make the problem worse, April.

Hank: And I don't think you should say that because then you're saying. Then you're saying, like, "Just so you know, I'm aware of how ugly this thing is." You don't want to say that. Maybe they aren't thinking that their baby is super ugly. But, uh, but I- if they do look to be in distress, if they're asking questions like "Is it supposed to look like that?" Yeah, give them some security in the fact that their baby is normal. But, ya know, sometimes they're not pretty at the table. Let's be honest.

John: I think the first words that every baby should hear upon birth are "ugly at the cradle, but pretty at the table." Like after someone's gone through all of that effort to give birth, I think it's really good if the very first thing that you hear about your baby is the word ugly.

Hank: [grossed out noises] Oof, wow.

John: Yeah, I absolutely agree. You just give reassurance. If people are like "is my baby ugly?" You can just be like, "No, it looks like a regular baby." You can just say what Hank said the first time he met his nephew Henry, "Well, it's a baby."

Hank: Yep. Yep, that's what that is. This next question comes from Jamie, and we need to get to it, so I'm going to have it be the second question because I got- I got this thing that I'm shaking at my microphone right now [crackling sounds] because I was so entranced by this question and by my inability to have had it previously, Jamie asks "Dear Hank and John, I come to you with an urgent matter. I can't sleep at night without knowing. How are hot dog buns pre-cut if they are stuck together in the package?" So I went and bought some hot dog buns, John.

John: Yeah.

Hank: And I haven't opened them. And I had never thought about this, but it's true. So they clearly like, like there's a machine that just like lays out the buns like four at a time, but they- when they get cooked, they bake together, so that they- this isn't like every hot dog bun, but if you get the cheap ones it's like this. So they bake together, and, uh, they're all stuck together, and you have to pull them apart. But when you pull them apart- ok so- ok so here's what I've noticed. I've got the four in my hand. The two on the outside are cut on the outside. So it's clear how that happened. A blade just went into the outside two buns. So I'm going to tear those two off because like that is obvious how that occurred.

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Hank: And then I've tored that off, and now we've got- OK and that one- and now we've got these two ones on the inside, which are both of their- now that the outside buns are gone, the outsides are both the sealed sides. So what we have is: in the middle- and I'm sticking my finger in them right now- they have been cut by a single blade that went right down the middle of the four hot dog buns, but was not quite the width of the two hot dog buns, so that blade went in the hot dog bun butts and out the hot dog bun mouths, and then if you open them you see that this slice has gone through both of them and, uh, and, that, and all the way through, so it-

John: Yeah.

Hank: So it goes all the way through. It's not just that it's like sliced on the outside, like the butt sliced too. So the blade- the blade comes in through the middle of the hot dog buns, then you get four pre-sliced buns. And this one actually you can tell that the blade went way further through one of the buns than the other one because this one is almost two pieces of bread and this one is really secured together. And now I have lots of hot dog bun crumbs on my desk. So-

John: Well, Hank, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you answering this question in the form of a podcast where we can't see any of the things that you're talking about.

Hank: Well, you know what a hot dog bun butt is!

John: It really adds to the experience.

Hank: You know the situation. Like you're not confused by what a hot dog bun butt is. I'm not confused by what your seat is. We're all on the same page.

John: You know what. Our listeners are a lot smarter than I am. Hopefully they will be able to follow what you just said, as far as I-

Hank: We'll post a diagram on the Patreon!

John: Alright, we will post a diagram on the Patreon. Hank's gonna work up an infographic to help you out there. That's Uh, Hank, we have another question 'cause of Caroline, who asks "Dear Green Brothers, what is the proper response to being constantly serenaded? See, many members of various musical acts have written a song prominently featuring my name, including The Beach Boys, OutKast, Fleetwood Mac, Brooks and Dunn, Chicago, and of course, Neil Diamond.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

John: "While I love my name, I've come to expect a specific reaction to it. Is there an optimal facial or verbal response? Like frequently those serenading me act like they are the first to ever think of this idea, while too they struggle through the lyrics which of course Caroline has memorized. I don't mind so much when my good friends burst into Neil Diamond on each side of me." I would mind the hell out of that. "But when the random store clerk hears your name and bursts into song like it's the eighth inning at Boston's Fenway Park, what's a person to do? Sweet, Caroline."

Hank: [laughs]

John: Great sign off.

Hank: Good sign- yup. Uh, boy. First of all, I want to say that last night laying in bed I Googled-

John: [singing] Hands...

Hank: Indeed it's not-

John: [singing] Touching hands...

Hank: It's- Oh god. Please stop. Please-

John: [singing] Reaching out...

Hank: Like not only is it you singing-

John: [singing] Touching me...

Hank: Which you said you wouldn't do anymore.

John: [singing] Touching you...

Hank: But it's you singing this, this song!

John: [singing] Sweet Caroline!

Hank: Don't do it.

John: Bum bum bum!

Hank: NO! No, no.

John: I'm sorry, what was the question?

Hank: [sigh] Oh my god. Katherine hates the bah bah bah so much. She hates them so much.

John: I mean, to me, it's not even Sweet Caroline without the bah bah bah.

Hank: It's just like- don't bah bah bah! There's horns. They're doing it. And why does everyone say "so good"? It's not even in the song.

John: It's so good.

Hank: Uh.

John: It's cause the song is so good! I'm sorry, what were we talking about? What was your answer?

Hank: My- I was- I was saying that I spent a little time and I Googled that indeed, like I didn't know that OutKast had a song about Caroline.

John: Yeah.

Hank: Or that Brooks and Dunn did. I didn't even know what Brooks and Dunn was. But there's a lot of songs about Carolines, and that is a kind of blessing. But my guess is that all you hear is Sweet Caroline. You don't hear people-

John: Right.

Hank: Like burst out into OutKast. And if you did, you'd probably be like "Oh, thank the Lord for not singing Sweet Caroline right now. A little bit of variety in my life is fantastic."

 (12:00) to (14:00)

John: Right.

Hank: But there's something I think in particular about Caroline where you immediately that song stuck in year head because it's somehow become so ingrained in culture thanks I think largely to Red Sox fans, but-

John: No, no.

Hank: No?

John: It's not for Red Sox fans.

Hank: I don't know, man.

John: Hank, I just want to point something out real quickly, which is that Caroline doesn't even mention the best song about her name.

Hank: Oh my gosh.

John: Which is the Old Crow Medicine Show song "Caroline," which Sarah and I almost had as our first dance at our wedding until we realized that it is about a brother and a sister.

Hank: [laughs]

John: But it is a great song. It is worth looking up. "Caroline" by Old Crow Medicine Show. A total winner for your name. I do think that this would be difficult. Most blessings, Hank, are complicated blessings and being named Caroline is certainly one of them. I think that I would just, um, I think that- when it was a store clerk or something, I think I would just say "You know what, I've, um, I'm familiar with that bit."

Hank: Nope. Deeply disagree. Uh because, because you don't want to make some stranger like have a less good day.

John: [sigh]

Hank: Just because like-

John: But then you just-

Hank: Like then they're be like "Oh yeah I'm a frickin' idiot and I should never talk to people ever."

John: Oh, so you don't think people- So you're one of these people who thinks like don't educate the world one at a time, just suffer a little bit every day.

Hank: Well, I mean, yeah I guess if you're going to the same store over and over again, like just stop and like they serenade you every time, stop going there. But yeah maybe just uh maybe just have a different name sometimes. I guess you got to give them your ID.

John: That's a great idea.

Hank: And then they look at your ID and then they're like "Ah, Sweet Caroline, hey girlie, BAH BAH BAH"

John: No, no, no. No, you just go- No, when people look at your ID they're going to see Caroline whatever-your-middle-name is Debussy. I bet that's Caroline's last name. And you can just be like "No, I go by Dubs."

 (14:00) to (16:00)

Hank: "I go by Dubs."

John: Because that's how you shorten Debussy, I believe. I believe that's how the original Debussys did it, they started going by Dubs. So I would just- that's what I would do, Caroline, I would just like when you're asked, ya know, "What's your name?" at Starbucks, just be like "It's Dubs."

Hank: Yeah, or you can have like a like- here's the idea. You have a button and it says "I serenaded Sweet Caroline." And then every time someone does it, you just give them a button. That way-

John: That's a great idea.

Hank: Not only is it fun for all, but it costs you extra money.

John: That's- I- Hank, that's the best idea so far. Keep a bunch of buttons that say "I serenaded Caroline Debussy with Sweet Caroline" and then maybe have a couple that for the OutKast song, just in case. Just in case.

Hank: Just in case. Just for roses. Oh gosh, there's a lot of- It's not even that particular that good of a rhyme. I don't know what Caroline is such a great song-

John: I think the last syllable hits so hard and it feels like the last syllable of Caroline has always felt like a celebration to me. I've always been predisposed to Carolines, by the way. As you know Hank, there's something about that name that has always rather captured me in the way that the name Katherine captured Colin Singleton in my second novel. This next question is from Brandon, who writes: "Dear John and Hank, so a friend of mine recently got his driver's license and he's a great driver except for one thing. He is always nervous making left turns." Do you remember that Hank?

Hank: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John: It was terrifying when you first started out.

Hank: Sure, yeah.

John: "So I'm curious how far can you get making only right turns? Curious friend, Brandon."

Hank: John do you know that UPS takes 90% left turns?

John: I only wanted to read this question so I could share that UPS fact.

Hank: Yeah in 2012, they just stopped making left turns. They were like we're done with that. That's too much work. We're gonna-

John: Well, they figured out it was more fuel efficient to make three right turns, not every time, but most of the time-

Hank: Yeah.

 (16:00) to (18:00)

John: Than it is to make one left turn. And so, uh, in certain big city situations, the GPS just says to make 3 right turns. So- I- Brandon, I think that's no problem. I have no issue if your buddy wants to treat the world like a UPS driver and just do three rights instead of one left.

Hank: [laughs] Just go around a big- Well, they also like you- the nice thing about being a UPS driver is like you got software that's planning your route for you.

John: Right.

Hank: So you gotta go everywhere anyway. So there's gotta be a way to get there making a bunch of right turns. They do make left turns sometimes, but 90% of the turns they make are right turns.

John: My long time mentor, Ilene Cooper, who you know is not a young person and has probably been driving for I don't know I'm going to say 30 years so she doesn't get made at me, um, Ilene has like never makes a left turn. She has a strict policy that if she's going to have to make a left turn in a drive, then she's just going to take the train.

Hank: [laughs]

John: So your friend is not alone. UPS drivers and Ilene agree: Right turns are the way forward.

Hank: Practice makes perfect, John. This next question comes from Valerie, who asks: "Dear Hank and John, earlier this year, I got accepted to my first choice university program at the fart- as the fart of the start of the fall- As the start of the fall gets nearer I think that I'm going to start getting cold feet. So I guess my question is: Is it normal to feel extremely unqualified going into university? I know that I got into the program and that I earned my place in the program, but I can't shake this feeling. Hiding in the freezer to avoid summer melt, Valerie."

John: Yeah, I mean, by the way Valerie, um I think that feeling my accompany you through the rest of your life. At least-

Hank: Yeah, get used to this one.

John: It has accompanied me through my entire life where I have always felt like a complete imposter and like I uh just don't- I am not qualified to be doing the things that I'm doing and that at any moment the world is going to figure that out and the public shame that will befall me will be unlike anything that any human has ever experienced.

 (18:00) to (20:00)

Hank: [laughs] Oh, wow. Uh, that's a, that's, well hopefully it's not that bad, but I- John has a gift for hyperbole but also for anxiety, so who knows which one it is. Um-

John: It's true, it's true.

Hank: A little bit of both is my guess.

John: Remember that woman who made that extremely inappropriate tweet about HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa right before getting on an airplane and by the time she landed she'd been fired from her job and her husband had divorced her and all of her children had disowned her and she was a pariah on the social internet?

Hank: Yeah.

John: I think about that every time I write a tweet and then I remind myself, "OK, well, but this tweet isn't horrible, so like probably nothing bad is going to happen because I'm not saying something that's like terrible and lamentable." But the truth is, all of us make mistakes Valerie and at any moment the public could come for you and destroy your reputation.

Hank: [laughs]

John: What was the question?

Hank: I have a huge problem- we're going to get back to you, Valerie, I promise- but I have a problem where like I'll- like if I post something even a little bit controversial, I have to check like 5 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour like to make sure that I didn't do something super wrong or that I'm not-

John: Right, or that something that you wrote wasn't taken out of context or that it wasn't hurtful in a way that you didn't anticipate.

Hank: Right, yes. Yeah. And like that's, that's a lot of work for a frickin' tweet. Anyway...

John: It's uh- I mean- Uh, the internet has become I think for most of us, um, a place that does not relieve anxiety necessarily.

Hank: [giggles] That's for sure.

John: But-

Hank: Um, yeah, I-

John: But back to Valerie's question.

Hank: Yeah, I think it's really easy to be anxious about something you aren't doing yet.

 (20:00) to (22:00)

Hank: The worst part for me of any time I'm gonna perform is sitting backstage waiting to perform and that's where you're at right now. And that's where a lot of people were at until just now, basically. So it's very likely that Valerie is at school now. Um, but, uh, that that like not knowing how it's gonna be and imagining all of the ways it's going to go wrong, that is in part like your brain preparing you for a new experience, but it's also like you can't control it so it's like unpleasant. Focusing on like, like achievable objectives that are like: OK, well I'm going to go to school, here's how like, here's something I can do to make myself a better person in the meantime. Or, um, or like once you are there, you're still going to be feeling this but in different ways. There's always this sort of like the next thing that you're worrying about. But focusing on sort of like how you are growing and how you have grown and giving a little bit of look back at like how much more effective and intelligent and knowledgeable you are than you were, you know, four years ago, which has been probably been a pretty big time of change for you, I'm guessing, if you're an incoming freshman.

John: Yeah, or if you're anybody else, really. I mean four years should represent a significant amount of change, even to a 40 year old man. By the way, thanks for the birthday wishes, Hank. I'm just kidding, you didn't wish me a happy birthday.

Hank: I called you on the phone and I wished you a happy birthday.

John: I meant on today's podcast. I want birthday wishes all month long.

Hank: Happy Birthday, John. I know it was your birthday, however long ago that was, forever ago.

John: It was quite a while ago, quite a while ago.

Hank: Get over it, you old man.

John: Um, Hank, I've got a question for you. It comes from Jackie and Josh, who write: "Dear John and Hank, as we are sitting on our back porch enjoying a fire on this chilly August evening. It's 64 in the suburbs of Chicago. My fiance Josh and I are wondering, does fire have mass? It seems to be weightless as you're watching it."

 (22:00) to (24:00)

John: "Is it even possible to measure the mass of something that's so volatile? Flameo hotman, Jackie and Josh"

Hank: Does that just mean like "catch on fire, attractive men"?

John: I believe it does, yeah. I think that's the technical Latin.

Hank: Flameo Hotman. It depends on what you mean. Like, there's a lot of conversations of what fire is or like what is fire made of. Ah, and that's like- so there is- in a way fire is a chemical reaction. And in that way, it doesn't have mass because it's not really a thing, it's an activity. It's like running doesn't have mass, it just is a- it's a verb. Uh, so in that way, not really. But like fire is made up of particles and those particles- and energy- and both particles and energy have mass or have mass equivalence. So yeah. Fire- the stuff that you're seeing for the most part is like glowing smoke. Smoke that is so hot that it is glowing. And-

John: Really?

Hank: For one way or another, for one reason or another. And it's complicated-

John: Is that right or is this like pythons giving live birth? I'll never trust - I can't trust you ever again, I'm afraid.

Hank: I'm pretty sure this is right. I'm pretty sure that this is right. That like there is like little particles of smoke and they are so hot and they are so energized that they are producing light in various ways and the ways in which they are producing light are I think pretty complicated but I don't know. But they are particles. And so those things- and currently why they're going upward is because they are surrounded by very hot gas that has been heated up in the fire and that gas is moving upward and it's carrying those particles with it. And as cold air  sort of rushes into the fire, that hot air is hotter and it's less dense and so it's moving up because colder, more dense air is push pushed underneath it. So gravity is the reason why fire goes up.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

Hank: Uh and in- when there's no gravity, fire doesn't go up and you can actually see videos of fire on the space station and it forms a sphere, which is weird. The, um-

John: It seems like a dangerous game, to light a fire on the space station.

Hank: [laughs] Yeah. They control it pretty well. They have little fire boxes.

John: I would hope so. Hey Hank, slightly off topic, uh, did you know you can actually eat python eggs? The eggs that you didn't think existed? They're about twice the size of a chicken egg and they have more yolk in proportion to white than a chicken egg does and a stronger, richer taste. But other than that, there's not much difference. People love eating python eggs. I'm looking at some python egg recipes right now.

Hank: Wow. I mean how often do pythons lay eggs and can you just farm pythons for eggs?

John: Um... uh.... um...

Hank: You're not- You don't know the answer.

John: No, as far as I can tell, Hank, people only raise pythons to eventually release them into the Everglades to create a non-native invasive species that can go to war with alligators. That's my understanding.

Hank: That's good.

John: This one comes from the siblings Crowell, who write: "Dear John and Hank, Recently my sister and I went to our local hipster mall," What?

Hank: What?

John: I'm sorry-

Hank: There's a hipster mall?

John: What?

Hank: Do you shop for hipsters?

John: Yeah, I'm surprised to learn that there is such a thing as a hipster mall. The malls near me still all have Spencer Gifts inside of them. Uh- "To our local hipster mall to catch a screening of Rushmore." Even more surprising.

Hank: Wow, yeah.

John: "Both of us have been longtime listeners of the pod and we both thought the recommendation of the film was too great to pass up. We enjoyed the film thoroughly, but found ourselves in profound anticipation of the quote, "I ain't even here sergeant, I'm in Cheyenne, Wyoming." Much to our surprise, it wasn't even in a quintessential instance in the movie as a whole. While we have since made peace with being misled with what we thought was the most iconic quote in Rushmore, how can one make peace with being misled by those we look up to?"

Hank: [high pitched] Why?

John: "Che cavolo stai dicendo, the siblings Crowell." I hope you guys didn't just make me curse in Latin.

Hank: Uh, I- how did you mislead people? You said there was a quote in a movie and then there was a quote in a movie.

 (26:00) to (28:00)

John: The whole thing makes to me- to me, the whole thing that makes Rushmore great is that many of the best lines are not presented with like "and now we will cut the music so that the character can say a line and then like CSI-Miami style put their sunglasses on." Like I love, I love that there are so many great little lines in that movie that you might not even notice til your second or third viewing. I apologize if I made it seem like it's a critical moment in the movie. It's not. Like it's a play within a play moment, and- But I just love that line. I love that line. Um, so I can't really apologize because I'm not really sorry because I think that's what makes Rushmore so great, but it does have other great lines for sure, and don't worry, the next time that I'm working on a book, I'm sure that I'll quote all of them to Hank while we are podding.

Hank: I really need to watch this Rushmore movie, John. I assume that it is about, uh, the presidents, uh, murder mystery.

John: Oh my god. Oh my god!

Hank: South Dakota.

John: How? How can? Ok, so, there's- the most amazing thing in the movie, I think I've even told you this before. The most amazing thing in the movie happens very early on where the Bill Murray character says to Max Fisher, "What's the secret, Max?" And Max says "The secret?" And Bloom says, "Yeah, you seem to have it pretty figured out." And Max says, "The secret? I don't know. I guess you just gotta find something you love to do and do it for the rest of the life. For me, it's going to Rushmore." And like the idea that like Max Fisher has figured out his passion but it's going to this one particular high school is just perfect.

Hank: Ok. That does sound good. That does sound good. I would like to have a passion. Uh, I have many. I would like to have a particular passion.

 (28:00) to (30:00)

John: Oh my god, what I would give for Hank to have one passion.

Hank: What would that be like? What would that even be like? I sometimes I see like people who just tweet about one thing, and I'm like "You! Person who loves this one particular weather satellite! How do I be you?"

John: [laughs]

Hank: How do I just love that one-

John: Yeah, I mean, I just wonder if those people in real life, though, on a day to day basis, if they're always thinking about that one particular weather satellite or satellites in general or whether if like they also have like other interests, they don't share those interests with the public. I would like for you to have one driving public facing interest, so that I wouldn't have to have so many jobs being the tail to your many comets.

Hank: [laughs] Could my like one public facing interest just be going on Jamaican holiday?

John: Oh my god, that's so obviously the phrase of the week.

Hank: No it's not! That was so good. Nobody knew!

John: No, it wasn't. Everyone knew. Everyone knew.

Hank: Everybody forgot.

John: It wasn't even close.

Hank: Everybody forgot that there even was a phrase of the week. They didn't even remember it existed.

John: The only way they didn't know that was the phrase of the week is if they had forgotten there was a phrase of the week bit that we are doing for a little bit to see if it worked. Which it probably isn't. Um, we had a phrase of the week, which is Jamaican holiday, which Hank wedged in there with all of the subtlety of Donald Trump getting eight tenths of the way through a speech and realizing he hasn't said anything about building the wall.

Hank: [laughs] I felt good about it. I felt good about it.

John: Well, I think that it's a definite loss. I think it's a definite win for me. But that said, today's podcast is brought to you by Jamaican holidays. Jamaican holidays: I actually don't think Hank has ever been on one, but Sarah and I go on one every year.

Hank: Oh my, I didn't know that. Today's podcast is also brought to you by hot dog bun butts. Get yourself a four pack. Put your finger right down the middle. Say, "That's how they do it." Hot dog bun butts.

 (30:00) to (32:00)

John: And today’s podcast is additionally brought to you by the sphere of fire on the International Space Station. Yet one more reason not to be an astronaut.

Hank: And finally this podcast is brought to you by python eggs. Hot, fresh, and tasty. Available at your local python egg eatery, special for your favorite Jamaican holidays.

John: Hank, we do have a real sponsor today. It's Fracture, which people can find at It is a really cool service. Um, so Hank I have all of these pictures on my phone, right, and then I have all of these pictures from when I was a child that are just physical pictures. But the pictures that are inside of my phone, I can't really do anything with them very effectively because they are inside of my phone. Fracture sort of solves that problem, both of those problems, really, by printing photos onto glass. And they come- it's really cool- they come with this backing and they come with the screw, so you just screw it into the wall. You place it onto the wall and there is your family photo or your photo of your car that only makes right hand turns or whatever it is. 

Hank: I actually got some Fracture prints that have not arrived yet. After they arrive, we will probably do another one of these for Fracture, but-

John: I have- I have gotten my Fracture prints, and they are really, really cool. So we have a little wall in our house where we have family pictures and, you know, other stuff, like pictures of great grandparents and whatnot, and they look really good there. So they've become part of our collection of family photos in the hallway in our basement.

Hank: What did you print out? What did you get printed?

John: Oh, just pictures of the kids, you know.

Hank: I got Mars, mostly.

John: Are you serious?

Hank: Well, I got two of Mars. I got one of Orin.

John: You could have gotten a picture made of anything from Fracture and you picked- oh I know-

 (32:00) to (34:00)

John:  What's that- Hank you found your one passion. It goes all the way back to your Mars exploration website when you were fourteen. It's not your family. It's not making online videos.

It's not podding. It's frickin' Mars.

Hank: Well I thought maybe you'd get at least one of Lyle Taylor or something.

John: Oh, that would've been cool. I didn't think of that. But, yeah, you can go to now and get a Lyle Taylor picture ready to put on your wall. That works especially well if you are Lyle Taylor.

I know he's a big fan of the pod. But also if you're not.

Hank: And I mean they come in a huge variety of sizes. And the smaller ones are pretty cheap. Like you don't have to lay down a bunch of cash on this. And then it goes all the way up to really huge and more expensive ones. The nice things about these smaller ones is that like it goes sort of straight- like you can actually log in with your Instagram and have all of your Instagram photos there and be like I want these six Instagram photos and you can kinda like space them out on your wall so they take up a large area without costing a bunch of money.

John: Yeah, I have to say, Rosianna did that. She did the ones directly from Instagram and then had them printed and I was astonished genuinely of the quality of the picture that eventually came, so I was really impressed by Fracture, and you can check them out at

Hank: And when you're there, there's a little survey that you fill out and you tell them that you heard about it here at Dear Hank and John, and then they'll know.

John: You can also say you heard about it on Dear John and Hank, and that will confuse them.

Hank: So there's just that one podcast link that says Dear Hank and John because we haven't changed the name of the podcast, though it's looking increasingly likely that we eventually will in 2028.

John: Let’s get back to questions from our listeners. This question comes from Laura, and I think you're going to love it, Hank, because it gets into something deep, ominous, dark, and deadly. “Dear John and Hank, Here’s the thing: so a mermaid is half-fish and half-human right? What do mermaids eat?"

 (34:00) to (36:00)

John: "I know that fish often eat other fish and that’s completely acceptable, but as someone who is half-fish and half-human, would the thinking and feeling human part of a mermaid feel cannibalistic eating a fish? If a mermaid does feel cannibalistic eating fish, assuming they have fish friends like Ariel does in Little Mermaid, then would said mermaid be disgusted by their fish friends for eating fish? Additionally, would a mermaid be able to survive, get enough protein, etc. on a vegetarian type diet with what they have available in the ocean? Do you think that a mermaid considers shellfish, such as clams and muscles to be part of her own species or distinguishes these as edible food sources without guilt?” Hank, there are many good questions within this questions to unpack, but to me the critical one is do we make a distinction between species and like order or class or genus when it comes to cannibalism?

In short, Hank, was it cannibalism for humans of the Homo sapiens species to eat Neanderthals of the other human species? Is that cannibalism if you eat a different species of human? Because Neanderthals and Homo sapiens did coexist.

Would it have been cannibalism to eat them?

Hank: Uh, I mean, so I’m going answering this question, uh, but before I do, I gotta say that fish are not as closely related as we are with Neaderthals. Like there are lots of fish that are much more distantly related than that. So there are a lot of fish. Especially when you are talking about shellfish, which aren’t even fish, they’re molluscs.

John: Right, right.

Hank: That’s a totally different thing. But, anyway-

John: But like can a clownfish eat a parrot fish or are they too tight?

Hank: Well, I don't think either of those fish eat fish, but-

John: Well, hypothetically, Hank, hypothetically, can a clownfish-

Hank: Well, yeah, well, can a shark eat a shark? Can a great white shark eat a hammerhead shark and be like “no big” and I think yes. I think absolutely yes, no big. But-

John: So can a member of the Homo sapien species eat a member of the Neaderthal species and not have it be cannibalism?

Hank: I don’t think it’s cannibalism but I still think it’s like really wrong. Mostly just like the killing.

 (36:00) to (38:00)

John: Well it definitely- it definitely happened. Cannibalism was super common for almost all of human history.

Hank: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No. I think that-

John: You think it’s wrong.

Hank: I think mostly the killing is wrong. Like if you come across a dead Neanderthal, I don’t know. It gives me the willies, that’s for sure. I’ve got the willies.

John: I don’t think it’s wrong, Laura. I think that you can eat whatever you want to eat as long as you don’t kill it. And if you’re gonna eat something that did get killed in order for you to eat it, then you should be emotionally and morally ready to have killed that thing. That's basically what I think.

Hank: But I will say that I think I wouldn’t be a problem for a mermaid to be a vegetarian. Like I think that they could pull that off.

John: Oh so much seaweed, and the seaweed is - it’s high in protein. Seaweed’s got everything in it.

Hank: It’s good stuff, that kelp. Uh, but, I do a little worry about like how do you cook underwater?

John: Oh, that’s a great question, Hank.

Hank: Cause you definitely everything is sushi if you’re gonna be a mermaid.

John: Yeah. And everybody likes sushi but nobody wants sushi all the time.

Hank: No. Just take it down to one of those deep sea vents where it’s hot and weird and cook it. Just hold it over the vent.

John: I mean this is a very adventurous hypothetical mermaid that we've got. I mean the good news is that there are no mermaids. Wait- God- I’ll tell you what if my daughter does listen to this she’s going to be devastated.

Hank: Does Alice think there are mermaids?

John: Alice is so funny. She- The only things that she believes in are leprechauns, which she believes are real in Ireland, no matter how many times I tell her that they are made up and they are definitely not real. But she will be like, “dragons were never real, daddy.” And I’ll be like, “that’s right.” And she’ll be like, “unicorns are not real.” And I’m like “that’s right, Alice.” And she’ll be like, “but leprechauns are real.” And I’m like, “no, they aren’t.” And she’s like, “they are in Ireland.” And I’ll be like, “no, they’re not in Ireland. They’re not real anywhere.” And then she’ll say, “and mermaids are real.”

 (38:00) to (40:00)

John: And I’ll be like, “yeah.” And she’ll be like, “but very rare.”

Hank: [laughs] Well, what are we to tell her different?

John: I mean-

Hank: I don’t even know where pythons come from.

John: At some point we’re going to have to break the news. Did you ever listen to that episode of This American Life where the poor kid whose parents had never quite broken the news about unicorns was at a college party and uh they were discussing endangered animals and the effects that humans have had on biological diversity, and she asked, “are unicorns extinct or just endangered?”

Both: [laugh]

John: Maybe the best advice we can give that young person who is headed off to college is that unicorns were never real, so now you’re totally ready for your first year of university.

Hank: Uh, yeah. Well now also we have a- Is there like a special label on iTunes for like “Alice can’t listen to this one.”

John: Yeah, like 6 and up.

Hank: It’s like the E except that it’s just an A. It’s just like “no Alices.”

John: Hank, before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, we have a couple more things to mention. Most importantly, we need to give you, I need to give you an update. You might remember Clara. Remember?

Hank: Yeah.

John: Clara, who lost her vitally important shared journal on the Greyhound bus.

Hank: Mhm.

John: Clara, whose name I was convinced was Clara. I misread the question, her name was Clara. First I want to apologize, Clara. Secondly, she wrote in to say, “Dear John and Hank, Thank you for answering my question.

I was ecstatic when I heard it. I wanted to let you know that we found the notebook.”

Hank: YUS.

John: “Also, I wanted to let you know that John’s advice was helpful because I found it in my room.”

Hank: Claraaaaaaaaaaa!

John: [laughs]

Hank: Come on!

John: Clara. You gotta look in your room before you call Greyhound.

Hank: Or Dear Hank and John!

 (40:00) to (42:00)

John: No, that’s the- Definitely contact your friendly local advice podcast before you call anybody else.

Hank: Good job, John.

John: We also got some name-specific sign-offs that I want to read, Hank.

Hank: Yeah, yes.

John: We got a great one from Kat, who signs her emails off “Curiosity hasn’t killed me yet, Kat.” Uh, we’ve got a great one from Tyson, who signs off his emails “Of Tyson Men.”

Hank: [laughs] I really like this one from Mary, who, uh, signs off, “Eat, Drink, and Be, Mary.”

John: Oh that’s great.

Hank: It’s great.

John: It’s gold.

Hank: It’s so good because it works both ways.

John: And someone wrote in that their mother has an amazingly British name-specific sign-off, “The Crown, Jules.”

Both: [laughs]

John: I also want to thank Alex for sending in a couple suggestions for my daughter Alice when she’s old enough to be writing emails. I very much like the sign-off, “With love or malice, this one’s from, Alice.”

Hank: Good, good, good. “Not allowed at the Vatican palace, Alice.” What did Alice do?

John: That’s probably also gonna be true. Hank, is there any way that I could go first? Because I have incredible news. I have the most exciting news that you could possibly imagine.

Hank: Did you score a point?

John: We scored- Hank, in the last two games, AFC Wimbledon scored, wait for it, six goals.

Hank: Goals are possible! They were just saving them up!

John: Goals R Us. After scoring one goal in the first three games of the season, uh, just kidding, the first four games of the season, and no goals in the previous like six games of last season, AFC Wimbledon scored two goals against Doncaster Rovers to win their first league game. Before that, someone on Twitter had sent me a very mean message, “What's the difference between AFC Wimbledon and a triangle? A triangle has three points.” And that was very mean.

Hank: Ah!

John: And I just want to say that that was mean, but you know what? Now AFC Wimbledon has four points. Four league points. That’s pretty much all you need to stay up.

 (42:00) to (44:00)

John: Um, a critical win against Doncaster Rovers. And I’m really excited about it. It means that AFC Wimbledon are well out of the relegation spaces by one point. Um, and, uh, yeah.

Right where we need to be. Four points after four games. And then, uh, last night as we are recording this, the Dons played in the all important Checkatrade Football League Trophy, which is one of these like, uh, ya know, one of the cup games that isn’t about the league, it’s like a different competition where all the teams in England play each other, and AFC Wimbledon started a team that can only be described as pretty much all children.

In many cases, literally.

Hank: [laughs] Uh huh.

John: In many cases, some literal children played. But they played very, very well. They scored four goals and won 4-3. Goals scores included Egli Kaja, Ant Hartigan, who is 17 years old and just signed a professional contract, and Cody McDonald.

So very exciting to see the young players from Wimbledon get a chance to play and play so well. 4-3 victory, 2-nil victory, 2 goal- uh 2 wins on the trot. The Dons are going up, Hank. Next season, the Championship.

Hank: Alright. Or this season. You just gotta win more.

John: Yeah, we just have to win a lot. Yeah. We’ll see.

Hank: You just gotta win a whole lot. John, you know what a big problem about going to Mars is?

John: Is it that the fuel weighs so much and you need to like extra fuel to push the fuel that weighs so much?

Hank: That is one of the big ones. But a lesser known one is that omega-3 fatty acids are essential oils, not in the meaning of essential oil that you have heard of, but essential meaning that we can’t make them ourselves, but our body needs them. So we have to eat them. And they actually break down over time.

 (44:00) to (46:00)

Hank: They are not stable. And if you try to just put um in a pill, eventually they turn into other stuff. And so basically scientists are like, “We need to bring something with us that can make these things.” And-

John: Yeah.

Hank: And also in general, when you’re going to Mars, you want to save every atom and turn it into something useful, and so that means like when you’re peeing, like that pee, you’re going to take all the water out of it and you’re going to drink that water again. But then you’re going to be left with some other stuff. A lot of urea, for example. You want to use that.

You want to turn it into something useful. Well, some new research has taken that urea and combining it with carbon dioxide, which is, you know, we exhale it, and also there’s lots of it on Mars, and yeast as well as a cyanobacteria, which all together can turn urea and carbon dioxide into two different things. One, omega-3 fatty acids, which you could then eat and be like “this is delicious and I sprinkle it on my toast this morning” or spread it on my toast I guess.

And the other like basically polyester, so that you can use that to, you know, it’s just a plastic you can use in like a 3D printer to turn into, you know, whatever the 3D printer needs to make. So, uh, this research was, uh, presented by Clemson University’s Mark Blenner, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. And the hope is that in the future, cause like right now it sorta all gets tied up inside of the yeast, inside of this little fungi one celled fungi thing, uh, that not only will we be able to sort of like get those yeasts to leave it behind in some way that we can get it without having to kill them, but also that we could potentially engineer them to be making very specific molecules, and that would allow us to create better plastic that would be more useful and also better stuff for eating.

 (46:00) to (48:00)

Hank: So yeah. All the- We needed to have some of the nitrogen- urea to make some of those things.

John: Great.

Hank: And now we’ve got- and now that’s happening. So yeah. You can watch a video about it that’s on the-

John: Oh- I- No.

Hank: It’s on the- produced by PBS Digital Studios on the Reactions channel.

John: Thank you, but no. Is there- I don’t- I can’t- I don’t know if I can.

Hank: There’s like pictures of like, ya know, urine sample vials, there's no one peeing.

John: Oh boy. Oh boy. That- I mean that- Nothing has made me not want to go to Mars quite like knowing that I’m going to get my omega-3 fatty acids from the part of my pee that I’m not drinking.

Hank: [laughs] Did you know, John, that on the International Space Station, the US side of the Space Station has a urine recycler, and so they take the urine and they go through a whole process and then they drink it. But then on the Russia side of the Space Station, they don’t have one of those, so what do you think they do?

John: Uh, do they just shoot it out into space?

Hank: No, John, they put it in a giant bag and bring it over to the US side of the Space Station and put it into our machine.

John: [laughs] Oh man. Space. The final frontier in so many ways.

Hank: Oh, space. What are we gonna do with all of this pee?

John: Hank, what did we learn today?

Hank: John, we learned that mama python and hatchling do kiss waggling ‘round and you shouldn’t burn books.

John: And we also learned that hot dog buns have butts that get cut somehow.

Hank: We learned that UPS takes 90% right hand turns, and that Ilene Cooper takes 0% right hand turns because she’ll just take the train, thank you very much.

John: Left hand turns. She doesn’t take any left hand turns, to be clear.

Hank: Sorry, it’s very confusing.

John: And lastly, we learned that Hank does not have one passion, but it would be nice for his brother if he did.

Hank: Yeah.

 (48:00) to (48:54)

John: Hank, thank you for podding with me. We’re off now to record This Week in Ryans, our special podcast that we do every week where we talk about a Ryan who lately hasn't been named Ryan, over on You can find out more over there if you want to join in on This Week in Ryans, the worst eight minutes of your week.

Hank: Dear Hank and John is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our Community Manager is Victoria Bongiorno. It’s edited by Nicholas Jenkins. Our music is by the great Gunnarolla.  You can email us at

You can find us on Twitter, @hankgreen and @johngreen, easy enough. And as the say in our hometown,

Both: Don’t forget to be awesome.