RL10 - They usually come in the mornings

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

(Show Notes Forthcoming)

The show title refers to the Community Service Patrol that usually doesn’t come in the middle of the night, but in the morning.

During the Merlin says he wants to hear the story how John hit himself on the head with a hatchet (see RW74).

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

John making a chocolate cake (RL10)

John has been eating pumpkin pie and what was left of a chocolate cake. He had made a Duncan Hines chocolate cake because it had been bumping around the closet, sitting down knowingly and producing 15.000 calories of chocolate cake for himself. It was actually a birthday cake for a friend that he kept the majority of. He cut a portion of it, gave it to her in a Tupperware container and said ”Happy birthday!”, but he kept most of it. She was standing there and said ”That is my birthday cake, right? Are you going to give that to me to take?” and John said ”I’ll give you some!”, he cut off a healthy portion for her, but not the majority.

The other day John was at a party, he had been making a pot of coffee in the other room and he addressed the room with ”Anybody want a cup of coffee?” before he noticed that he was just holding a Starbucks cup. ”I got the last little bit here, if anybody wants some”, but there were no takers. Even when John was a drinker, if someone had walked through the party and said ”I just made a pot of coffee, does anybody want one?”, he would have said ”Hell yes! This is the best party I’ve ever been to!” Coffee, Mustangs and hand-jobs, who says no to that?

Asking too many questions (RL10)

During his wife's pregnancy class Merlin learned that he should never ask if he should take the dishes, because nobody will say ”No, please save them for me!” or never ask if anybody wants a glass of water, because everybody always wants a glass of water. John’s pet peeve is when you are making dinner and someone asks ”Would you like something to drink?” Whenever he makes dinner, John’s lady friend would ask him if he would like something to drink with dinner and of course the answer is always the same ”Yes, I would!”

Merlin says that only in China do they not drink while they eat and that is a humorous issue. They are doing a different thing because they consider broth a cocktail. The follow-up question is always ”I’m going to have some lemonade, would you like some lemonade?” and John will have to say each time ”I will have what you are having every time. Don’t ever ask me if I want something separate!” Merlin wondered whether John ever wanted something different and whether she has a reason to fear him, and: Yes, she has a reason to fear him because she is chained under the sink.

Just a few days ago she asked him if he is doing his podcast and if he ever thinks that she is going to hear what he is saying about her, and John said ”No, of course not! Why would I make it harder on myself by thinking about how she is going to receive something he said through the Internets?” and having said that he is right now thinking about how to phrase this because she is going to listen to this 2 seconds after it comes out.

John is helping people (RL10)

Merlin explains that John is here to help people in a legend and myriad way. Just being there, offering her something in a metal bowl wiped clean with a damp cloth, is offering her help on levels that both of them may not even know she in particular needs. With pillow talk, with wiping off the seat, with quarterly brushing his teeth, John is obviously helping her in certain ways. In the same sense that he would not take the pillow talk and put it into an RSS feed, John is giving her a kind of reframe and a grace note, a sotto voche, an ex libris, something that she will be able to take away that would not have come up while she was licking her bowl.

This happens to him in his writing, too: As soon as he is sitting down trying to write about particularly politics, all the humor goes out of him, which is terrible and he just writes this really pedantic and pedagogical blah-di-blah. He can throw down 25 pages of this stuff, but as he reads it back his own eyes glaze over at the first re-read because he is thinking that this is going to flip the pancake.

Part of the reason that he is stuttering and sounds garbled is that he has been eating a lot of cake and he hasn’t been sleeping through the last 4 nights. Merlin has a very strong position on eating and sleeping. It is like masturbation or saving money: You can do too much! There is a balance to be struck there if John is eating and sleeping the right amount. Merlin is reading a book right now called ”Thinking: Fast and slow” It sounds like a TED talk an it is like that, but good. The author has come up with the term Availability Heuristics, meaning that it rains every time you wash your car. There are two levels of thinking we can do. What is happening to John right there is what they in the music business call Feedback: John is hearing himself thinking and thinking about himself thinking and he is not really being John, but Meta John, who is not as interesting as John Prime.

Merlin says that John should think fast, because when he thinks slow is when he gets fucked up. He is in big fucking trouble every time he thinks. He is a smart guy and shouldn’t have to think, which is absolutely true. There are plenty of fish without buying extra net! Thinking has never solved any problems for John or gotten him out of trouble, but it is always the thing in between sleeping and doing, it is a big tar baby. They have been accused of racism a lot on this program, but probably just by blacks. Merlin’s concern is the politics thing. He went to what is regarded a pretty good school as far as public colleges are concerned, the Florida version of a good school, like the Florida version of anything.

Things with Fashion in the name (RL10)

Anything that has fashion in the name is necessarily not fashionable. Merlin has been in line at the Walgreens waiting for his prescription and he saw a ”Fashion contact lens case”. Fashion is one of those words that is the opposite of what is there, except fashionistas who are genuinely fashionable and also revolutionary. John doesn’t use -ista a lot, but who does -ista to a lot of words is Bruce Vilanch, like ”Like us movieista” Out of respect for the Sandinista John doesn’t squander the -ista suffix.

Merlin’s High School (RL10)

Merlin applied to three schools: The public University of South Florida in Tampa, which is like a High School with ash trays, then a school called Ralence in Orlando (?), a fancy lad-school with lots of theater and stuff and he applied to the one he got into. He could never afford to go to the one in Orlando, although they gave him a big grant.

The essay Merlin wrote that got him accepted was ”Why the US should not be in Nicaragua” He was so interested in his own opinions about those things that he almost used that as his essay to get into the good school. For some reason on the fast-thinking level he could never tell you in a million years why he did this, but he sat down at his manual typewriter and wrote a 3-page essay called Plumknuckles. It was a slightly humorous essay about how his family wanted him to quit cracking his knuckles and he made a fantastic version what would happen to him if he kept cracking his knuckles. It was marginally funny, but not by today’s standard.

They told him that he was a 5%-er, one of those helmet kids they were pretty sure is going to have to leave, but they were going to give him a shot thanks to the essay. He failed two classes when he was a Senior: Ocean Science and Music Theory. The essay matters, but in John’s cases the essay might have been what saved him from even getting into some kind of reform school. John wonders why Merlin didn’t apply to a school outside of Florida, but the reason is dough. The school he went to, out the door including food and the bunk, the whole nine exclusive of books, was $5000-6000 a year. Merlin had ocean science in high school, taught by a very small man whom he had a lot of problems with. They studied salinity for 14 weeks because people kept answering false to salt.

Skinks, shrews, ravens and crows (RL10)

John has never seen a skink because he is from the North and there are no skinks. Instead they have shrews. Back in 1999 before he moved to California Merlin saw a skink when he went out to the mailbox. Its tail was missing and it looked like a pointy snake with little arms, which was really weird and felt like it was telling him something. John is not sure he would take that as a harbinger for anything, but there are crows that come around and he definitely takes them as harbingers.

Crows are bigger than you think, but ravens are much bigger still. Merlin gets freaked out by a bird’s little eyes more and more the older he gets. A raven will have a very different profile than a crow, they have a Roman nose, they are big and black, and they can open doors, like introduce you to producers, and you can find one in your bathroom.

Maybe John Flansburgh is a raven? He is pretty polite! If John would quit overthinking this bullshit, he could sit down and literally write the next Animal Farm, except that it might be about the music industry vis-a-vis birds. Most people in the music industry are blue jays or finches. The most prominent bird in the music industry is the… (inaudible)

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License