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What do I do with 15 pounds of cornbread? Where do song lyrics live in our brains? Why are we here? How did people get answers before Google? How often should I vacuum? Do wedding pianists get anxious? When are my vegetable plants ready? Can I skip the parts about farming in Anna Karenina? John Green and Hank Green answer your questions!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

[Dear Hank and John intro music]

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 podcast where two brothers answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, I've been going on a lot of hikes lately.

John: Yeah?

Hank: I love it, I love getting out there in nature. Weather's been really nice in Montana. A little hot, but like, it's, you know, it's been cooling off too. It's been beautiful here! And so I've decided that I would make a mix for me to listen to while I'm going on my hikes.

John: Yeah?

Hank: Does that sound like a good idea to you?

John: It sounds like a reasonable idea if you want to drown out the natural sounds of birdsong and joy and nature.

Hank: [chuckles] Right?

John: Just listen to Drake.

Hank: No, uh, nope, I've been listening to just three songs over and over again- the theme song from Peanuts TV show

John: Uh-huh.

Hank: Zombie by the Cranberries, and Without Me, from Eminem,

John: Mmhmm

Hank: I call it my trail mix. 

John: [chuckles] that's- it's so tortured.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Our- So our cousin Braxton started listening to the podcast, he sent us a great email- because he's not familiar with the opening bit, right?

Hank: Yeah

John: Like, he's a new listener,

Hank: uh huh.

John: And he doesn't know that there's an opening bit where you tell an- like, the longest most tortured joke possible for the least money punchline you can deliver. 

Hank: [laughs]

John: And so, in every episode of the podcast, because your jokes are so barely jokes, Braxton has been thinking that this is a real thing that you've really been doing, 'cause he didn't recognize that it was a joke and he keeps waiting for the payoff so he's like, why-why did they stop talking about Hank hiking?

Hank: [laughs]

John: It doesn't- why did they start with the Hank hiking and then just abandoned it completely?

Hank: They just moved right along. I mean, I have never ever received a single piece of positive feedback on the dad joke segment. No one has ever told me that they like it.

John: No!

Hank: You maybe-

John: No!

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Hank: one time liked one of the jokes and I've never- that's the only piece of positive feedback - I'm gonna keep doing it, but like not because it's wanted.

John : Yeah, I mean, one of the great things about you, Hank, is that, while you do thrive off of external validation, you don't need it.

Hank: [laughs]

John: You keep going with whatever hare-brained scheme you believe in, because, like, you have this intense amount of - I'm gonna say this as generously as I can- self belief.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Get you someone who looks at you the way that Hank-

Hank: No! Don't, don't say-

John: looks at Hank. 

H: Oh God that hurt, [groans] oh oww [groaning/ laughing noises]

John: [laughs] All right Hank, in news of what I would have tweeted this week: I would have tweeted about the death of Toni Morrison which made me incredibly sad. As you know, Hank, she's one of my favorite writers- one of my first favorite writers when I was a high school student, the only one of that crop of favorite writers who remained a favorite throughout my adult life so far.

Hank: mm-hmm

John: And the world is just a lot poorer without her voice in it, but what a gift she gave us in books like Beloved and Jazz and Song of Solomon and The Bluest Eye.
Hank: And they're still out there to enjoy, to be enjoyed, in all of the different book formats. 

John: I believe that is correct. also I just heard that Catcher in the Rye is coming out as an e-book for the first time, so congratulations to the Salinger family on jumping on this hot, hot train that is e-books. Still not available as an audiobook-

Hank: Wow. Wow.

John:  you know, don't want to go too far, don't want to head too far down the road of digitization. 

Hank: Jeez, that's wild.

John: Well. Yeah. I mean. Let's answer some questions from our listeners! This first one comes from Emma, who writes, "Dear John and Hank last night I made some extreme mistakes." I've been there Emma. 

Hank: Oh yeah, yeah.

John: "I told my grandma I thought the cornbread she made was really good."

 (04:00) to (06:00)

John: I have actually been there too, but I don't usually associate-

Hank: That was a mistake, yeah

John: those two experiences.

Hank: Yeah.

John: "This morning my grandma showed up at my house with three entire trays of cornbread just for me.

Hank: Wow?

John: "I now have fifteen pounds of cornbread in my possession. I weighed it. I really hate wasting any food but how in the name of God am I supposed to eat all of this before it goes bad. What do I do with all this cornbread? Emma."

Hank: Well whatever you do, get ready to do it once a week at least. This is now your life. 

John: No no no no no. 

Hank: You think that- OK, no?

John: I think you call your grandma and you say, "I, you know, it's funny 'cause I liked it the first time."

Hank: "But I hate your cornbread now?" No.

John: But- yeah like

Hank: I think, Emma, what you've got to do is you've got to call your grandma up and tell her that you liked the cornbread, and you weren't lying, but now you hate it because, uh, you had tongue surgery, and it's really upsetting, it's too coarse for your tongue.

John: Yeah, they just moved all your taste buds around and now things that used to taste good taste bad, and suddenly you love the taste of that sea anemone at the sushi restaurants, it's weird.

Hank: Yeah.

John: No! What you do in this situation, Hank, maybe instead of thinking about the future, let's just think about this fifteen pounds of cornbread.

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: You have your friends over for a flippin' cornbread party. 

Hank: Cornbread bonanza.

John: And if you don't have any friends, what an occasion to make some. Like, everybody loves a cornbread party. 

Hank: (laughs)You just put fliers up?

John: Emma-

Hank: On telephone poles? Cornbread! Free cornbread! Come over to my house! I'm Emma!

John: I was gonna suggest like a Facebook event

Hank: Sure, Ok, yeah.

John: You know, just create the Emma's Cornbread Extravaganza 2019 and just-

Hank: Mmm. I don't know how Facebook works.

John: see where it goes. I also, I haven't been on Facebook in like five years. Do they still-

Hank: Yeah.

John: Do they still have the thing where your second cousin has a lot of very strong opinions, but also is involved in multilevel marketing? 

Hank: [laughs] Just go to 

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Hank: Is that still a thing?

John: Yeah. Ok, here's another idea, Emma. Just go door to door with fifteen pounds of cornbread.

Hank: The nice thing about cornbread is that it goes well with lots of other things. 

John: Yeah. 

Hank: So you'd say to your friends, "I've got a bunch of cornbread. Bring complementary dishes." And then you get fed other things.

John: Right. 

Hank: You get corn. And you get bread.

John: Yes! Yeah, what- 

Hank: [laughs] the two major things that go with cornbread!

John: [laughs] Yeah, I don't know quite how to make the potluck work, but I feel like we've given Emma the idea and now we can move on.

Hank: This next question comes from Charlotte. It's gonna be a quick one. It says "Dear Hank and John, Where do song lyrics live in our brains? I'm on a car journey with my boyfriend and we are both flawlessly singing along to a playlist titled 'Feel Good Hits of the Aughts'. How do we do this?" Look, I do not know why I know all the lyrics to Call Me Maybe, I do not know why you know all the lyrics to Hips Don't Lie by Shakira. You do, and we don't know how brains work. It's a marvelous mystery, and we're really far away from understanding it at all. Where do we put lyrics in our brains? I don't know. But it doesn't seem to have an adverse effect on our lives, so just love it. Just, like, sing along to Maroon 5 in your car with your boyfriend and love every moment of it. That our brains are marvelous and so is that- I can't remember the guy from Maroon 5's name. Johnny Lake.

John: Adam?

Hank: Adam Levine! 

John: Adam Levine.

Hank: Adam Levine. Good job, John.

John: We did it together. Are you sure it's not Adam Lambert? Is that a different fellow?

Hank: That's a different fellow. 

John: Ok. Great. I also do not understand the neuroscience of the earworm. The only thing I want to add to it is that Hips Don't Lie is a really good song

Hank: Eeyeah.

John: And because it became really popular, sometimes maybe people maybe overlooked it and failed to recognize what a great song it was 

 (08:00) to (10:00)

John: But it is a great song and, like at its core, is an observation that I think is deep and real and super true. Ok we're gonna move on.

Hank: Wait. John. Can't- wait. 

John: No.

Hank: Can hips lie? Are you making the case that hips cannot lie?

John: I'm making the case that hips don't lie. 

Hank: They don't, but-

John: Alright this next question comes from Asher, who writes "Dear John and Hank, I was at my sister's volleyball game recently and a stranger came up to me. This woman claimed to be my second grade math teacher. I had no memory of her being my math teacher."

Hank: Oh Gosh.

John: Wait. Do second graders have math teachers?

Hank: Yeah!

John: My second grader just has one teacher, who teaches math and everything else. 

Hank: Mmhmm. I don't know.

John: But, it's possible that this person was your second grade math teacher. Not all schools are the same. "I didn't want to be rude so I just pretended to remember her." Well, Asher, welcome to adulthood. [both laugh] That is actually the definition of being an adult. You just roll with it. You just play along. That's like- I think, from what I can gather about adulthood, Hank, that, like, it's mostly just playing along. 

Hank: Yeah, no, we do what is expected of us. I don't know that that's even an adulthood thing. I think that's just a human thing. 

John: No, but like when we're in a business meeting, and somebody's talking to us about the integration of multiple verticals into a single vertical-

Hank: Oh yeah. Oh god, yeah. 

John: Like, I am one hundred percent just playing along. I have no idea what anyone is talking about.

Hank: I was in one of those this weekend with a guy who works in the video game industry and I was just like, look. I've played video games. That's all I know. Everything else that we are going to talk about re: video games is going to be me guessing a lot about what you might be meaning. 

John: Oh, yeah. I mean, at a minimum. I feel like I'm in meetings about my area of expertise, like about educational video and the whole time I'm like, "Uh-huh, yeah, oh. Absolutely. Yeah, of course!"

Hank: "I guess, yes! Let's do that!"

John: "That's a priority... for our future investment integration strategy."

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Hank: Yeah, investment integration strategies are really important, John. Those good IISs, as they call them. 

John: [laughs] God, that's the other thing is that everybody has these shortcuts that I've never heard of.

Hank: Uh-huh.

John: Like I was in a meeting last week where at least 400 times people talked about OTT and DTC and I was just like, "Wha-? Excu- What? OTT? Oh-" and OTT means over the top which- 

Hank: [yells] Which also doesn't mean anything!

John: [laughing] Right, exactly! So I'm literally- in the meeting, I'm Googling OTT and it says "OTT means over the top" and I'm like ok, that's super helpful-

Hank: Yeah! [laughs]

John: And eventually I find out that OTT basically means TV that isn't like transmitted-

Hank: Cable. Yeah.

John: via TV. It's like, everyone's TV in 2019 is OTT.

Hank: Yep. Yep. 

John: They should just say, like, regular TV, you know, Netflix, Hulu, etcetera. 

Hank: [laughs] Uh huh! 

John: They should stop calling it OTT and just call it RTV- Regular Television.

Hank: [laughs] 

John: Alright, this has gotten way out of control. And-

Hank: Look, we're professional business people and we know all about FTP and DCC and uh- 

John: [laughs] 

Hank: GWH

John: Oh, yeah.

Hank: We've got it all. That's Games With Hank, my gaming channel.

John: GWHB, GWHB, he was a big, he was a president. 

Hank: [laughs]

John: No it's GHWB. I messed, I even I- [laughs]

Hank: [laughs] Hundo P.

John: Nope. Nope. I can handle any shortening except for that one. And like also, Hundo P, like so many brief flashes in the linguistic pan only lasted for about an hour and you're still using it which is even like levels of cringey that I can't even fully get into.

Hank: I can't help myself, John! I'm hundo p hundo p man!

 (12:00) to (14:00)

John: All right. We have a breaking, pressing question that we need to get to immediately, it's from Anonymous, and they went to great lengths to actually anonymize their email address, so that they could send us the following email which I will read in its entirety, "Dear John and Hank, Why do you think we're here, like on Earth? Bye."

Hank: [laughs] Anonymous, I have good news for you. We- you don't need to anonymize that message because of how everybody- everybody is thinking about that. They're thinking about- and if they're not, they're hiding from it. 

John: Yeah, Anonymous, we used to have these great stories about why we were here that we relied on very deeply and that informed our understanding of, not just like the big universal questions but also of like how to orient everyday life, and which days to work and which days to rest and so on.

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And for a lot of people, those stories are not working as well as maybe they did 500 years ago. Now that's not to say that those stories had no down-sides. They had considerable down-sides. But, I think we are in a lot of cases, a lot of us are living in a world without stories that work as well for us when it comes to human meaning. 

Hank: Yeah, and I think that we also used to be able to sort of look to something to tell us the answer to this question, and there's a lot of value in that-

John: Right.

Hank: And now I think society in general asks us each to answer that question for ourselves. And that is very freeing and that's sort of a wonderful thing, but it is also like, Who am I to know the answer to that question? 

John: Right.

Hank: And because of that I feel like I don't have the ability to answer this question for you, Anonymous, like I think that to some extent now is the time in history when we all get to figure that out for ourselves- not to say that you can't like, look to other people for guidance on that-

 (14:00) to (16:00)

Hank: But, I think every person figures that out a little bit differently for themselves. 

John: Yeah. I mean, my answer to that question may be different from yours. But my answer to that question is that I feel like I'm here to pay attention- to try to pay attention, to try to understand the universe and my place in it. And then I also feel like I'm here to participate in this big, you know, 250 thousand year old project of our species around how do we alleviate suffering, how do we address systemic injustice and individual injustice that we see in our communities and also in our individual lives, and like, those are the things that motivate me and those are the things that give me meaning and structure to my life, but I think, I'm not sure that either of those is universal, you know?

Hank: Mmhmm. Yeah and the thing I'd add to that, and that I think that you would agree with is that like, there's also a component of just like being joyful about the things that we get to do while we're here.

John: Yeah.

Hank: And so, part of that joy is helping other people and there is joy in that and part of that joy is doing fun things with people you love and part of that joy is listening to Hips Don't Lie because it's a very good song -

John: Totally.

Hank: And revelling in the sort of marvel of like, human creation and of just like the natural world and you know, physics and what we know about things now. There's all kinds of sources of joy but then there's also- I think that there's, you know, there's a bigger bit to it, you know, the non hedonistic stuff of like, you know, how do we continue this story and what is the story of, like, what is the trajectory and the sort of understandable story of the human condition and how do we add to that in a way that, you know, aligns with how we imagine the way that the world should be. 

John: Alright, so I'm going to summarize it, Hank.

Hank: Mmhmm. 

 (16:00) to (18:00)

John: Our meaning of life-

Hank: Mmhmm

John: The reason we think we're here-

Hank: Ok, Hips Don't Lie
John: Is joy-

Hank: K.

John: That's Hips Don't Lie. Attention-

Hank: Mmhmm

John: To the lyrics of Hips Don't Lie. And Justice for the song Hips Don't Lie which has long been unjustly maligned.

Hank: [laughing] Right and also making sure that the Hips Don't Lie is spread equally across the world and that everyone has access.

John: [laughing] Right, that's part of justice.

[both laugh]

John: But no, I think that's actually a pretty good summary of what we think. And then the last thing is that we are in a moment in human history where we are deciding together whether we will be able to have species-wide goals and what those species-wide goals will be. Like the millennium development goals that the UN created were a first step in that direction and then I think the global goals that we have now are another step but we have a lot of other decisions to make collectively about- are we going to be able to work together as a species to achieve our goals whether that's going to Mars, or limiting climate change to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

Hank: [chuckles] Yeah.

John: The latter seeming less likely than the former. This next question comes from Stephanie!

Hank: [laughs] 

John: Who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Before the internet, how did you settle an argument about something easily Google-able today?"

[both laugh]

Hank: I mean, yeah. It's kind of wild, but like there were all these times in our lives when we just didn't know the answers to things.

John: Yeah! No, usually the argument just wouldn't get settled. 

Hank: It used to happen all the time! And those moments where you're like, "Oh God, is it Adam Lambert or Adam Levine?" you'd just be like, "Welp, I guess we don't know."

John: So, there were reference books. Like, even back in our ancient days of the 1980s there were libraries that contained lots and lots of reference books so if you really needed to know what the all time record was for touchdowns in a playoff game in the NFL you could go and look that up at the library. 

 (18:00) to (20:00)

Hank: Yeah. That information was there somewhere. This next question comes from Ellie, who asks "Dear Hank and John, I am ashamed and disgusted."

John: Hmm!

Hank: "I am a millennial home for summer break, and I just vacuumed my room for the first time since I've been home, which is also the first time I've been home for an extended amount of time since last year. I emptied the vacuum and it was so full that I insisted on immediately vacuuming again. As a twenty year old learning to be a functioning adult, how often do I need to vacuum? I don't live in, like, a dusty region, and I don't have pets. Please don't judge me based on my carpet, Ellie." John, I'm asking this question to you because I do not know the answer. 

John: I mean, Ellie seems embarrassed about only vacuuming once a year-

Hank: [groans] Yeah.

John: But I don't think I vacuumed between the ages of 22 and 28. 

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, I recently vacuumed my office, and it was definitely the first time in a year. It was the first time since the governor of Montana visited my office which was when I vacuumed last, before that. Uh, because, you know, the governor was coming over.

John: [laughs] Humble brag. Who - wait, who was visiting to cause you to vacuum for a second time?

Hank: Well, Katherine came into my office and then she stood in the doorway and then she turned around and left, and I later asked her and she was like, "I can't go in there anymore."

John: Yeah.

Hank: And I was like, "Ok. Well I guess probably I should have an office that my spouse can enter." So, you know. 

John: That is a reasonable ask.

Hank: Katherine is more important than my governor, ultimately. No offense, Steve Bullock.

John: Wow, alright. Bold take. What was Ellie's question? Oh! Just vacuum every couple months and you'll be fine. And also, like, dust is natural and unless you have an allergy it's not that bad. 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I mostly did it because there was a lot of like, propellers, you know what I'm saying? 

 (20:00) to (22:00)

John: Hmmm

Hank: Little, you know what I mean-

John: Oh, yeah. Sure. 

Hank: like propellers from the trees. They had all gotten in over the fall and I had left them. Then I wanted them to be gone. 

John: Sarah came into my office the other day and she said, "Why are all of these dead flies on the ground?" and I said, "Because they died."

Hank: [laughs] That's funny because my answer to that question, Katherine can confirm this, would be, "What dead flies? I don't see anything in here!"

John: [laughs] I have the same problem, actually. When I was in my 20s, my roommate - my amazing roommate Shannon - she would stand with me in the living room of our apartment and she would put her arm around me-

Hank: [laughing] You've told this story before.

John: and she would say- I have?

Hank: [laughing] Yeah.

John: Well whatever. It's new to Braxton. And she would say, [both laughing] she would say, "Now I want you to point at all of the trash in this room."

[both laughing] 

Hank: Yeah, John and I have trash blindness. Some people have face blindness-

John: [laughing] It's very rare. But it's super real.

Hank: Just dirt, dust blindness. It's totally real.

John: Super real.

Hank: I mean like, I just don't see things. And I'll be like, "Katherine, where is this?", and she'll be like, "You walked by it four times this morning" and I'm like-

John: Yeah.

Hank: I was looking at where I was going! I don't look around!

John: Yeah.

Hank: I'm trying not to trip!

John: Yeah, this must be genetic. It's genetic because I have it too. Alright, this next question comes from Sarah, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Do you think wedding pianists ever get anxious about playing Here Comes the Bride? Because if they mess up, like everyone is going to know. Sarah."

Hank: [laughs]

John: I thought this was a great question, Hank-

Hank: It's not, like, when I'm singing one of my songs -

John: Yeah!

Hank: And like I mess up, nobody knows. No one knows my songs!

John: Exactly. Like, that's the great thing about being a pianist is that you can mess up and nobody knows that you messed up except when you're playing Here Comes the Bride-

Hank: Yep.

John: And everyone's like hyper-attuned to it. 

Hank: Mmhmm. And also, you just messed up the most important moment of this person's life. 

 (22:00) to (24:00)

John: No. No-

Hank: At my wedding, John, speaking of, like, a thing like this happened, where the guy who was running like the DJ session, who's a friend of mine, I don't know why I just called it the DJ session. 

John: Yeah.

Hank: He was playing the music at the wedding-

John: That's more like it. 

Hank: And he's a friend of mine and we were, Katherine and I were having our first dance, and he tripped over a cord and unplugged it while we were having our very first dance together as a couple, and I imagine he will never forget that, and like, never will I either, but, like,  you know, it's a thing to remember. I probably wouldn't remember anything about the first dance otherwise. 

John: I remember nothing about my first dance because it went smoothly.

Hank: Yeah!

John: You want something to go wrong, so at least you can implant the memory somewhere.

Hank: That's right. 

John: What is it about humans and only remembering mortification? 

Hank: I don't know, John, but I stomped on a chocolate milk in middle school.

John: Yeah, I mean I remember [laughing] yeah. I remember every, every single mortification of my entire life with a clarity that I cannot remember, like what I had for breakfast. 

Hank: Oh yeah. What did you have for breakfast?

John: I had a bagel. 

Hank: Ah!

John: Because I had to get ready for a workout and I was like, eh, if I eat 400 calories I'll feel so much better during the workout even though I will negate the workout. Let's move on. Yes, they feel, yes I'm sure they feel anxious. Everybody feels anxious at a wedding! That's what makes it such a heightened, weird thing. 

Hank: Yeah. It wouldn't be special if everyone felt calm and relaxed! That's just watching TV! [laughing]

John: I did not have a moment- I did not have a moment of calm on my wedding day. Maybe driving out, like the departure [both laugh] ah, it's stressful. 

Hank: No. Yeah. John, I've got a question that maybe you can answer. It's from Frederica, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I recently moved apartments and now I have a balcony for the first time, so naturally I bought a bunch of vegetable plants, and they're doing amazing!"

John: Hmm. 

 (24:00) to (26:00)

Hank: "One problem. How do I know when they're ready? Like my chilli plant has a lot of chillies on it and they're huge! But are they done?" This sounds like a great problem. "Are they going to turn red, or do I have green chillies? Are they going to fall off by themselves? Are green chillies just red chillies that were harvested too soon? What about bell peppers? Hungrily, Frederica."

John: [laughing] Yeah, this is a little bit difficult.

Hank: [laughing] There should have been a little sign that came with your peppers.

John: Yeah. 

Hank: There should have been-

John: There should have been a little sign that came with your peppers that tells you how many days until they're done, or that came with the seeds if you planted them from seed. But it is actually pretty difficult to tell with peppers sometimes-

Hank: [surprised] Oh!

John: because the fruit forms, and for a while the skin is quite thin and when the skin is thin they're totally edible, they're delicious, but you don't get as much, like, bang for your pepper buck-

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: as if you wait for a little while. But then if you wait too long, they get eaten, or they rot from the bottom, or lots of bad things can happen. As far as hot peppers, at least from what I know, like a serrano or a jalapeño is great when it's green, and eventually it'll turn red and it'll still be really good, and if there's a flavor difference, I don't have the sophistication to taste it. 

Hank: Mm!

John: Just pick your peppers. Do not wait, do not wait-

Hank: I didn't even know that jalapeños turn red!

John: They will, yeah I mean, my jalapeños at least do. 

Hank: Yeah, no, I just looked it up, it's true!

John: I will say this though, Frederica, do not wait for your peppers to fall off the plant. 

Hank: [laughs]

John: This is not a-

Hank: Yeah it's not an apple situation.

John: Well also, don't wait for your apples to fall off the tree. [laughing]

Hank: I guess that's a good point, yeah. 

John: It can be hard to learn when to harvest something, but after it has fallen off the plant is too late, at least when it comes to peppers. 

Hank: Ok. John, you know so much about gardening. I love it! 

John: Well-

Hank: You need to have a gardening podcast. 

John: I mean I don't. I don't need a gardening podcast and also I don't know anything about gardening, it's just I know much more than you don't know. 

 (26:00) to (28:00)

Hank: Alright, well I know nothing. Which reminds me John, that this podcast is brought to you by red jalapeños. They exist? They're just green jalapeños but a little bit older. They're just like, just a little wiser for the time. 

John: Today's podcast is also brought to you by Adam Lambert. Adam Lambert! I believe he is a musician. 

Hank: [laughing] Yeah, I think so too. This podcast is also brought to you by Hundo P! 

John: Nope. Nope.

Hank: It's trying so hard to hold on that it bought a sponsorship in a podcast.

John: [groans] Oh. God. I mean, if it had bought a sponsorship I probably would have turned down the sponsorship opportunity. 

Hank: [chuckles] 

John: Today's podcast is additionally brought to you by dust blindness. Dust blindness! It's a Green brothers - it's an inherited trait. Hank, Adam Lambert rose to fame after American Idol and he is now the lead singer of Queen.

Hank: Oh! 

John: Which I should have known. And now that I'm looking at pictures of him, I get it. I get it.

Hank: Wow, Adam Lambert's eyebrows are definitely the lead singer of Queen. 

John: Yeah, he's got good eyebrows, but he has really good eye makeup. Which I think is very impressive.

Hank: Yeah. 

John: Alright. Let's move on to another question from our listeners. 

Hank: This next one comes from Adam Lambert's eyebrows. "Dear Hank and John" [both laugh] "people keep talking about me and I'm just a normal body part. Why does everybody talk about me all the time. Gosh dang it."

John: It's a compliment. It's hard to feel that way sometimes because sometimes like, any attention doesn't feel like a compliment because it just feels like a lot, it feels like a lot of sensory input-

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: Which starts to feel kind of scary and overwhelming, and I totally get that, Adam Lambert's eyebrows, but people really do like them-

Hank: Yeah, they like you!

John: This isn't ironic-

Hank: Mmhmm!

John: And they're not being mean. There's no malice in any of this. people just like you. 

 (28:00) to (30:00)

John: Which is awesome. And you're great. And keep doing what you're doing, preventing dandruff from falling into Adam Lambert's eyes.

Hank: [laughing] And emoting. This next question- 

John: Oh, that's the main thing! I always forget that eyebrows have a secondary function. 

Hank: This next question comes from Liberty who asks, "Dear Hank and John" but again, mostly John, 'cause I need help with this-

John: K. 

Hank: - also. "I'm reading Anna Karenina."

John: Yeah.

Hank: "Is it ok to skip the bits about farming?"

[John laughs]

Hank: "Please say yes. The book is really good but crop yields are so boring. The statue of, Liberty."

John: [laughs] Yeah, I guess so, I mean, of course the book belongs to you, and how you read it is up to you, and I think sometimes we do get so caught up in, I don't know, treating books as like sacred objects that we forget that they are entertainment, even great novels like Anna Karenina. Maybe especially great novels like Anna Karenina

Hank: Right, yeah, that's totally true. 

John: I do think that the farming stuff in Anna Karenina, or the whaling- the other famous example of this is the whaling stuff in Moby Dick-
Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: I think that stuff serves a purpose, like, it's not just creating atmosphere. It's also helping us to understand like the daily lives- the daily work lives of the people at the center of these stories. But yeah. At some point, like, it may not feel relevant to you and you also may feel like you've had enough of it, and then I think you can scan. Absolutely. I don't think that like, if you skip a few paragraphs of Anna Karenina that means that when you finished it you haven't really read Anna Karenina, you know? 

Hank: [laughing] It doesn't count, you can't mark it down- don't put it on Goodreads, you're a liar!

John: Right, like, these are all such stupid things that we've gotten caught up in with books and I wish I could just like, free people from all of the expectation that comes with reading.

 (30:00) to (32:00)

Hank: Yeah. It's so true when it comes to books like Anna Karenina that, going in, I have a very different level of expectation that's almost like I'm reading this because I should or I need to or like, it's academic, or like 'cause I need to- this is how I sort of express my identity or, like, become a more sophisticated human when- it's a book! And sometimes I'm really surprised when I read a book like that and it's just really fun and good! 

John: Right.

Hank: And that you forget that you're like, "Oh, it's really fun to read these books because of how they're good books. That's why they're so famous."

John: Yeah, M.T. Anderson has talked before about how in literature sometimes we create this idea that the opposite of a hard book is a fun book-

Hank: Mmm.

John: And that means that, like, hard books can't be fun. 

Hank: Yeah. 

John: Because they are the difficult, challenging, brilliant books. And a lot of times, those books are really, really fun. And also, by the way, a lot of times the books that are dismissed as being merely fun are really, really good. And can help be a balm and a comfort in this world and can help us to feel less alone and use figurative language in all kinds of interesting ways and I just wish we could kind of put that aside, and I know that those categories have evolved over the decades for a reason, but I also think that, man, it makes people's reading experiences such a bummer. Like, it makes them think about reading as a chore instead of a joy.

Hank: Yeah. And I oftentimes pick up books that I have heard the name of over and over again and I think that it's going to be like an academic reading experience and then it's just a fun- it's just a great story that makes me think, and I enjoy it.

John: There are parts of Moby Dick that are so flipping fun and good, but you do have to work to get there. 

Hank: There's also work. 

 (32:00) to (34:00)

Hank: I, for fairness, am not talking about Moby Dick, which I have never read and probably won't-

John: Ahh, I mean the window hasn't closed, man.

Hank: It's true. I have many years to go. I have a lot of decades left in this body, John. 

John: Let's hope. This next question comes from Therese who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I have a simple question, which has been bothering me for some time, and it is only your fault. What is La Croix? I have no idea how to spell it." Therese spelled La Croix "L-E-C-R-O-Y" which makes total sense. 

Hank: Yeah.

John: Sort of an expansion of the name Leroy. "I am from Norway. Drøbak [spoken very drawn out and probably mispronounced] if Hank wants to google it." 

Hank: [laughs]

John: "And I have never hear of La Croix before. Thanks, Therese." By the way, Therese, you're welcome for my excellent Norwegian pronunciation. 

Hank: [laughs] I'm not going to- I don't even want to type it in 'cause as soon as I'm looking at Google Earth I am completely incapable of podcasting. 

John: Oh, they have an aquarium!

Hank: Well, there's definitely no La Croix. So that's the one thing that we know for sure.

John: [laughs] You know what, I was going to make fun of Drøbak and now I just desperately want to move there because I'm looking- 

Hank: [chuckles] Looks lovely.

John: -at the Google Earth images, and it looks so lovely, and also I can't make fun of any place that has healthcare for all of its citizens and-

Hank: Also, you live in Indianapolis, so you can't make fun of any place. 

John: Oh, that's not true. I can still make fun of my hometown of Orlando, Florida. 

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, no Drøbak looks like a lovely place that I would love to visit. Especially this weird island fortress! 

John: Yeah, Hank and I went there on Google Earth, and I have to say that after spending five minutes in Drøbak on Google Earth, I was like, "I think I could spend the rest of my life in Drøbak." But, don't quote me on that. Anyway Therese, I'm moving to Drøbak. And I'm bringing La Croix with me. That's my big plan for resettlement in Norway, is that I'm going to introduce y'all to the fine, fine world of zero calorie slightly flavored bubbly waters. Emphasis on the slightly. 

 (34:00) to (36:00)

Hank: Yeah, so John, he's going to be a La Croix magnate for the fjordlands. 

John: Yes!

Hank: And that is- that is your life now. 

John: That is what I do.

Hank: It's like southern Norway so it's probably nice- it's probably warm most of the year. Right?

John: Yeah, what's the weather like in Drøbak in February? I'll tell you what, it's lovely today.

Hank: Yeah, it is very nice today [laughs] I'll take that.

John: Ok, right. We didn't say how it's spelled. It's spelled L-A space C-R-O-I-X. It's named after a town in Wisconsin. 

Hank: Yeah. It shouldn't even be pronounced "La Croy" because it's a French thing. But we've taken French names and made them more American sounding. 

John: Yeah I guess you've never been to Milan [pronounced MY-lan] Tennessee or Peru [pronounced PAY-ru], or Lima [pronounced LIE-ma] Ohio-

Hank: Or Cairo [pronounced KAY-ro]. Yeah. 

John: KAY-ro. Yeah, the list is endless of Americanized names. Like, we can flatten out anything. 

Hank: [laughs] It's time for [singing] a million dollar idea, another million dollar idea. Someone on Twitter said that this was a million dollar idea! [back to speaking voice] It's from Joanna, who says, "Million Dollar idea: Workout class, on scooters."

John: [laughs] Like paddle board yoga but for those rented scooters? 

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, I assume that it's for the rented scooters. The Birds, the Lime- is Lime one of them?

John: Yeah.

Hank: Away is the suitcase company. That's different. 

John: I think Adam Lambert has just started one called the Lambos. 

Hank: [laughs] The Lamborghinis of electronic scooters because there must be something different about them. Except that they're all exactly the same.

John: Right, no this is high- it's a luxury scooter. Wait 'til you see it. 

Hank: Yeah, you'll break your ankle exactly the same amount of times. 

John: So, this is not a million dollar idea.

Hank: No.

John: It is a- it's a solid 8 thousand dollar idea. Like, I think that you could get people to go to a few of these classes. Because people will do anything that you call fitness. 

 (36:00) to (38:00)

John: But, I don't think you're going to get to, like, Orange Theory, Soul Cycle-levels of success with this concept. 

Hank: And who needs that level of success though. What I really want is to be able to do my yoga and see the town at the same time. And if that's available in Drøbak, Norway, then I will sign up. It looks especially dangerous in Drøbak where there are lots of hills and very, very curvy roads. 

John: I know that I am romanticizing Drøbak a little bit, but I want to move there so bad. Like, I just, I really- I know that geographical cures don't work, but maybe this one would work? 

Hank: [laughs]

John: Alright, Hank, we've got a couple things to get to, in terms of responses and corrections before we get to the all-important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. I guess the most important thing, and really the only thing, is that we have received a lot of responses-

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: For instance, Florent wrote in to say, "Dear John, as Hank was mostly silent on the issue, how can you ever support Elsa on the Giant Stone Abraham Lincoln 2020 ticket, she ran away from the throne and covered her entire country in deep, deep, deep snow. Flabbergasted, Florent." Also, Nathaniel wrote in to say, "Dear John and Hank, I don't know what's wrong with you, Elsa cannot run for president in 2020. In the movie Frozen which came out in 2013, Elsa is 21, in 2020 she will be 28. She can run for president in 2028 when she will be 36, or at least she could, if she were a natural born United States citizen, which she is not."

Hank: [laughs]

John: Alright. Obviously we're going to have to change some rules to allow Elsa to become the vice president to Giant Stone Abraham Lincoln in 2020. But I, for one, think that it's the right time to change the United States's constitution, because we have the kind of, like, solid, calm, leadership that will only mess with the constitution in totally acceptable ways.

 (38:00) to (40:00)

Hank: [laughs]

John: Like, for instance, making it legal [laughing] for cartoon characters and giant stone statues to run for president. 

Hank: [laughing] Yeah, I mean, who makes the laws? We make the laws. Who makes the laws?! We make the laws! 

John: Alright Hank, it's time for the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: The most important news from AFC Wimbledon is that right now, especially if you live in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the European Union- quick, while that's still true- you can go to - , or just google AFC Wimbledon crowdfunding, and you can own part of AFC Wimbledon. You can join me in owning part of this magnificent third tier English football team. And in the process you can get anything named after yourself. A urinal. A stair. A seat in the stadium. Or you can get it named after one of your friends or enemies. It is a magnificent crowdfunding campaign. Check it out. And also, it is going to be what allows AFC Wimbledon to move back to where they belong, in Wimbledon, in their community, and write the last great chapter of this incredible story. So check that out. However there is also a season that is happening.

Hank: Mmhmm?

John: Do you want the good news or the bad news, Hank?

Hank: Well, the good news. 'Cause I know the bad news already.

John: Mmhmm. 

Hank: Which is that you lost a game.

John: The good news, is that, as you'll recall, there are two teams in league one, and this is a tragedy, it's a real shame and I don't ever root for anybody to fail, that are starting with negative twelve points. 

Hank: Yes, that's great news.

John: Of those two teams, one, Bolton Wanderers, are in such bad financial shape that they are playing almost exclusively, like, sixteen and seventeen year olds, for real.

Hank: Oh wow. 

John: And yet, somehow, their sixteen and seventeen year olds managed to eke out a draw in one of their two games of the league one season so far-

 (40:00) to (42:00)

John: Meaning that Bolton now have negative 11 points. Bury still have negative 12 points. And also haven't yet played a game in league one. It's not clear what's going to happen there. So that means that, like, right now, despite the fact that AFC Wimbledon have lost both of their first two games, both by the score of two to one, which if you remember last season is a score line we lost by a lot-

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: We are only in eighteenth place. We are actually doing better than we were last season at the end of the season when we finished in twentieth. So yes, it is true that we have lost our only two games and that in those two games we have not looked, I would say, terribly convincing as a league one football side. However!

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: I mean, as long as the teams below us lose by more, I am happy. I don't care if we end the season with zero points, as long as there's teams that end with negative points and two other teams that end with zero points and a worse goal difference. I do care a little bit. That would be quite a bummer. But we're doing our best, and right now our best is not great. 

Hank: And according to my Google, you're playing the Dons- the franchise currently plying its trade in Milton Keynes-

John: That is correct.

Hank: Soon, and that's a big deal game. And they appear to have won their first game-

John: Yeah. 

Hank: So, they're in the very middle of the pack right now.

John: Yeah, so that is obviously a highly charged game, anytime-

Hank: Did I make it up that they were going to go down?

John: No, they went down to league two, but then they bounced back up.

Hank: Oh, they came back. Ok.

John: Unfortunately. I guess I do root against one team. Anyway, they, yeah they came back up. They're in league one now. 

 (42:00) to (44:00)

John: We're going to play them twice in the league one season and then also we drew them in the purportedly random draw of the first round of the Carabao Cup, which is like the third time we've drawn them out of eight possibilities- it's ridiculous. It's obviously- if it's randomized, I'd like to see some statistics. Anyway. So we're going to play them twice in the league one season and then we also drew them in the first round of the Carabao Cup which means that we're going to play them- by the time this podcast goes on the air that game will be over one way or another. Obviously it would be nice to go to the second round of the Carabao Cup or whatever it's now called, but it's not the most important thing this season.

Hank: I see, I see. Well this week in Mars news, scientists have been trying to figure out just how bad the radiation experienced by future Mars-bound astronauts might be, in ways that we might not have expected, and the results are-

John: Oh.

Hank: ehh, not great! So this study was funded in part by NASA and carried out by a team of scientists at U.C. Irvine. They exposed mice to low doses of radiation over six months to simulate the kind of radiation that someone travelling on a spaceship to Mars would be exposed to and over those six months, the scientists studied how the mice were behaving, looking at how they socialized and how well they learned new information; and compared to mice that weren't exposed to any radiation, the radiation mice were more stressed, and they also appeared to have a harder time learning and remembering things.

John: Oh.

Hank: The mice also showed limited signaling in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, and complex cognitive functions. And based on these results the researchers say that a crew of five Mars-bound astronauts, in that crew they would expect to have one astronaut at least, show these kinds of cognitive issues. But of course, this is a mouse study. Doing translation from mouse results to human results isn't straightforward especially when we're talking about something as complicated as the brain which is obviously very different in humans than in mice. Plus, the effects of radiation likely vary from person to person. 

 (44:00) to (46:00)

Hank: But! Even with the challenges of translating mouse brains to human brains, it does give us some more, you know, solid ideas of what we might be looking out for, with risks and what we should be concerned about when flying out to Mars. So maybe everybody should just wear their tinfoil hats and that'll - for clarity, that won't help.

John: Is that in just getting to Mars, or that in getting to Mars, being there and getting home?

Hank: That's just getting there. So one of the-

John: Oof.

Hank: Yeah. And that's the worst part of it, so when there's nothing to protect you ever, is when you're in interplanetary space. You know, you're never in the shade of the planet, you're like, always exposed to cosmic radiation. That's super not ideal. And once you're on the planet, you can probably live a fair amount of the time underground or have other shielding around. But there's sort of thoughts about how could we create places for at least scientists on those missions to sleep in areas that are more shielded. But, regardless, you know, there's a lot of radiation out there and it definitely does have an impact on human health. 

John: Has it had any kind of impact on the people who've had long term experiences in space? Like, do we have enough data yet about astronauts who have lived on the space station to know how seriously they've been affected? Like, I know there was that twin study where one twin stayed on earth and the other twin went to the space station for a year, but just in general, I would think that we have enough astronauts now to know if there are, like, big, big health concerns. 

Hank: Yeah, I mean we definitely see DNA damage. We also see that damage being repaired. 

John: Ok.

Hank: Once they come home. But like, repair is not 100 percent and so like, there is a known reality that astronauts, just like jet plane pilots are at higher risk from cancer because they spend more time out of the sort of best areas for radiation protection. 

 (46:00) to (47:12)

Hank: And that is a risk that those people live with. But, as far as I know, this understanding of like, cognitive impacts is new and not something we have studied in people-

John: Hmm. Interesting. 

Hank: Yeah.

John: I love Earth.

Hank: Earth is great, John. Earth is great. I was just thinking about Leon Muss this week. I tweeted at him and he didn't tweet me back. But uh-

John: Yeah, I don't know what that guy's been up to lately.

[both laugh] 

Hank: I do miss him. I'd like to see him more often. 

John: [outro music plays] Alright Hank, well thank you for podding with me. Thanks to everybody for their questions. You can always email us at . We love your questions. We're sorry for all the ones that we didn't get to. But thank you for emailing them. Hank, you do the credits.

Hank: [laughs] This podcast is edited by Josef "Tuna" Metesh. It's produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our editorial assistant is Deboki Chakravarti. Our head of community and communications is Victoria Bongiorno. The music you're hearing now and at the beginning of the podcast is by the great Gunnarolla. Dear Hank and John is a co-production of Complexly and WNYC studios. And as they say in our home town-

John and Hank together: Don't Forget To Be Awesome. 

[music ends]