John quickly puts the kibosh on Merlin's idea for a special theme episode.
John has Follow-Up on his self-imposed egg homework and invites some friends for a socially-distanced meal. Merlin's kid attends a socially-distance birthday party. What a fun time to be alive, huh?
John's usual method of remembering a song fails him, and Merlin bemoans the weird chronological gaps in what makes it onto YouTube. Fancy restorations of music videos are addressed. John can never remember what he's said in a podcast episode until he listens to it.
A novel musical challenge is posed for the next member episode. Merlin likens John to a passive-aggressive rodent. In a nice way. John saw a movie Merlin loves, but, as usual, Merlin is reluctant to hear what John thought of it.
In what has fast become a regular segment, your hosts complain about where other people keep putting things. Merlin is rethinking his pots and pans strategy, and John introduces a new technology in fancy cookware. John's daughter has a somewhat daring approach to learning how a fire extinguisher works. The most dangerous shoes are the ones that can't move.
As a main topic, your hosts talk about _those_ movies. You know the ones. The ones you discovered when you were supposed to be asleep and you weren't allowed to watch anyway? Yeah, those.
Then, there's the movies and trailers that just scared the bejesus out of you. Before the internet, it was very difficult to find almost anything.
138: Their Terrible Butts
John has Follow-Up on the name of an Australian rock, and Merlin learned New Zealand's true name from an old Split Enz song. Doesn't seem all that difficult to call things by the old name, but what do we know?
Merlin did not watch any educational YouTube videos, but John is just asking the question. A glimpse into Merlin's perilous journey into John's pasta sauce recipe is teased. John job-shames Merlin for some reason. Then, Merlin digs up a _very_ old email exchange with John that, in retrospect, set the tone for their entire relationship.
John has some questions about what Merlin _was_ planning to do before he forgot about the recording. Welcome to the highly specialized and deeply opinionated world of cast iron skillets.
This leads to a riveting tour of Merlin's history with the notoriously finicky kitchen implements, including leaning how to use, maintain, season, and re-season them. It's ultimately less of a tool than a _project_. Which can be fun if you like that sort of thing.
This, in turn, leads to some strongly held opinions about the broader topics of sound kitchen praxis and, as ever, the Sisyphean role one inhabits as the only person in the house who understands how to do things properly.
John speaks passionately about furniture and floors and the various scratches he apparently just has to live with now. What do you expect when you're a Zentradi?
Finally, Merlin went and got a banker's box, and brother, you really do not want him to go and get a banker's box.
(_Recorded on Tuesday, August 25, 2020_)
137: The Fifth Flavor of Entertainment
This week finds John perusing some of Merlin's homework. This leads to a discussion of the benefits and risks of educational tourism. Will there be any Math on this Math test?
John presents a new "Secret Brit," but it turns out that there is a Turns Out. For some reason, your hosts are really putting The British Empire on blast. Merlin is kind of out of it, and John is still thinking about his bug.
There's an aside about nature documentaries and the extent to which they are either "real" or legitimately educational. Still. They can be pretty great.
It's that time of year again, so it is necessary to review some COVID-era Vacation Results. As nice as it is to get everyone out of the house, it's definitely not a normal Summer. But, it remains critical to periodically force children to go places.
Why are we still not throwing _all_ of the assets at the problem? As ever, we have not earned optimism. Also, there is no motorcycle to drive up your steps, and, if there were, it would not be free.
Is this our 1943? John wonders what it will take to get critical mass, and Merlin explores wishlists for the after times.
(_Recorded on Tuesday, August 15, 2020_)
136: The Left Side of the Diving Board
Things kick off with John rejecting some of Merlin's canny improvements to the doc. The doc *really* needs some work.
It doesn't get any easier as Merlin attempts to do a normal podcast thing, but John keeps stepping on his bit. **John** does that. Anyway. Thank you.
John has some follow-up on his haircut situation as well as sharing some important drop cloth advice.
Next up comes a potential new segment called, "Secret Brit." Is that guy English? And what about her? Is she that gal from the other thing? Merlin got out of Russian dashcam videos just in the nick of time. And, also, hey, why is it so difficult for streaming media apps and the hardware on which they run to do the most basic stuff? Just…*why?*
John wants to get Merlin off of the main topic mindset, and Merlin reminds John they *really* need to work on the doc.
In apparently not a main topic, your hosts talk about the state of modern Mac window management. There are things John has just given up on.
Merlin thinks he should maybe learn the basics of *Statistics*, but John thinks he should just learn some *Logic*. Merlin is not here for the Wagyu.
In the extended members-only episode, John and Merlin talk about s03e11 of _Shark Tank_. Yes, the one with the Sullivan Generator. Go to to become a member today.
(_Recorded on Tuesday, July 28, 2020_)
135: Clutch Foot
Things kick off with a huge thank you to everyone who [gave Siracusa their money](http://GiveSiracusaYourMoney.com/), followed by a survey of listener suggestions for the name of the member feed.
In follow-up, John shares some detailed updates on his chronically troubled toe. Merlin finds this content *extremely* challenging.
Merlin relates an upsetting Walgreens anecdote, and John shares his etymological research on when you learn the notes to sing. Merlin can't get his tween to *one-ee-and-uh* with him.
For a main topic, your hosts interrogate some additional axes for choosing media—especially the axis of available attention. You really super-get this when you have a fresh baby. Legacy notions about the dangers of screen time are explored and debated. We can all agree that this is a tough time for kids and connection.
In the extended members-only episode, John and Merlin discuss the 2001 Satoshi Kon film, [*Millennium Actress*](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0291350/). Go to to become a member today.
(_Recorded on Tuesday, July 14, 2020_)