RL31 - Our Orange Franklin

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problems:

  • Addressing the ersatz physicians of midwestern Christian aristocracy; °
  • The He-Man John Roderick Haters Club; °
  • goose-stepping at Schützenfest; °
  • enjoying a fancy meal at Sclerotic McStuffingtons™; °
  • Le Petite Mal Mort de «Mademoiselle»; °
  • the awkward moment when Olive Garden stops regarding you as “family”; °
  • some dueling freedoms of a very young America; °
  • how Merlin became a youthful “Senior”; °
  • why John started crying when he learned that the trains never really ran on time °

The show title refers to the Kimpton Boutique hotels where they have almost-ironic art and sometimes they might have a bust of Benjamin Franklin, but it is painted orange.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Continental breakfast (RL31)

It is early. John doesn’t have enough coffee. Merlin got one, but he doesn’t like it. John has that problem a lot, but he can overlook it in situations like this when it is early and Merlin also assumes that John can’t afford to become a coffee snob in his line of work because he doesn’t know where he will wake up tomorrow and he can’t spend three hours trying to find an artisanal coffee place. John might be at a Holiday Inn Express where breakfast consists of a crescent and some jam and jelly, but no raspberry jam, but just those in the marmalade family like orange jam.

Merlin doesn’t want to live on any fucking continent where that is a breakfast. It is only a breakfast in the American middle section. Europe is the titular continent of the continental breakfast, and it does have those elements, except it has been perverted and pasteurized in America. In Europe the continental breakfast has fresh orange juice, a pot of delicious coffee, a hard-boiled egg, some blood sausage, a piece of calf-brain sliced thin, and then there is not a crescent roll, but a croissant or a hard brown nutty roll, some German door stop roll called Das Doorstoppen, and several platters of the kind of meat that has olives and pistachios in it.

A continental breakfast on the continent is a wonderful thing, but here in America it is some Minutemaid and a crescent with some marmalade and you don’t get an egg. Generally in Germany you have Frauen that take a little pride in what they are doing. They wearing a costume and sometimes they have a doily in their hair and they make sure you are comfortable and that you have enough coffee. Merlin thinks that sounds like a totalitarian Geisha, or maybe a Bavarian Frau Haupfer (?). They don’t have those in America, they just have old ladies.

How to address people correctly (RL31)

Frauen is women while Fräulein is a girl. In America they have all different kinds of words for women, some of them silly, some of them being slurs, and Merlin heard that in France they have not only done away with Mademoiselle, but they have banned it. It is all madame now because it was insulting. There was also a movement to replace Miss in America with Ms. Merlin thinks that Ms is the young woman’s version of Doctor. If you call anybody Doctor, very few people will be mad. Merlin learned this in church. In the church of Christ area in the Midwest if you don’t know what to call somebody you will always call him Doctor because he is probably one of those dipshits who has been to the seminary.

Where the river comes through town and the guilt falls right off the trees, the land of milk and apologies, there you call you minister Doctor. In Merlin’s church there was this one guy who insisted of being Doctor, named Doctor Khaderall who was the wise man of Merlin’s church, the head of the elders. You got elders and deacons, it is like the Senate and the House of Congress. If you would call Doctor Khaderall for Mister Khaderall you would be in trouble.

If you meet somebody in church circles or circles of academia and you call them Doctor nothing can go wrong. Worst case they say: ”No, Doctor Katz is my father’s name, you can call me John!” If you call a young woman, an uber-girl for Miss Katz she is going to be happy, if you call her for Miscats you are opening a whole box of cats. John’s dad’s version of that was to call everybody counselor because there was a 90% chance that anybody he met on the streets was a lawyer. There is Your Highness and Your Magesty, but Merlin doesn’t know the difference.

Merlin has a pinch-nerve and is in an excruciating amount of pain right now. He is talking a lot today because he is trying to talk away the pain. He has done that for 45 years and it hasn’t helped.

Merlin’s German is limited to asking people where things are, like: ”Können Sie mir wagen where Bibliothek?” John’s German is confined to the absolute minimum, but he likes to sit and listen to people talk German. Merlin is not going to go ping pong, but there are three languages where everybody sounds mad no matter what: German, one of them is technically a culture with two languages Cantonese and Mandarin, and the third one is Russian, a culture which former incarnation had 10 timezones. John guesses the second one is stand-up comedian because the only other time human beings speak that way is when they are furious. ”What is the deal?”

When two people speak Mandarin it sounds beautiful because there seems to be a familiar version of Mandarin that is very musical. It is a super-tonal language and therefore the pitch is important to distinguish different words. You might mean to say ”Frau Waitress!”, but you might end up saying ”You are a cocksucker!” just because you changed your register a little bit. John will never understand how to speak a tonal language, except he speaks Indie Rock.

Before they had their child and didn’t have time to do anything Merlin would go to a YMCA gym at 5:30am and do his workout and Merlin would sit in the sauna where everyone would spit on the floor in front of you. Two heavy Russian guys who were pals sounded like they wanted to split a woman, they sounded furious, but that is how that language is with all the consonant sound in Russian and German. John adds that the culture maybe one of argumentativeness. There are lots of languages like this, like famously Italian people. Is there any language where everybody is getting along? Like Bellinghamese (reference to Bellinghaming)?

When you are in Scandinavia and people are talking it is just the sound of a well-oiled machine. Whenever they have a Lutheran minister from Scandinavia he sounds like the Swedish Chef, but John argues that in reality it is more German-sounding. They don’t raise their voices at each other.

There are many things you can get wrong, even without tonality. If you got Frau and you like a little bit more Wasser, you call to the waitron at the restaurant, what do you say to get the attention of a lady in her 50s at a waffle house and you want her to come over to the counter and give you some more coffee? John says ”Miss!”, which is exactly what Merlin says. It is the waitress version of Ms. You don’t say Madam or Lady or as Merlin’s grandfather used to do Pft, but you say Miss based on the old-fashioned assumption that if you are a 50-year old waitress it is because you never found a husband.

Old people like to act like they are young, and young people like to act like they are important. But you can put a stop to that pretty fast. When you say ”Miss!” and they say: ”Umm, it is Ms!” you just keep looking at hem for a while without saying anything back. It is not a hard look, but you are just letting that hang in the air. It says also: ”I am just here and I am not thinking about this, but now your are!” They might as well have said: ”No, please call me Superman!” or Lex Luther.

There are plenty of things that John welcomes being corrected on, but people in the world who second-guess his word choice? He does not welcome other people’s input into the words that he has chosen. He doesn’t need a copy editor standing out on the other side with some kind of commentary. Merlin is very carless and fast-talking about a lot of things, but sometimes he has chosen a word very carefully because not only does it mean a thing as closely as possible to what he is trying to say, but most importantly it doesn’t mean those 10 different other things, which is why he didn’t chose any of those 10 different words.

The other day John was in a conversation with a young lady, talking about a third person, saying something to the effect of: ”He is a really nice guy, but his arrogance gets in his way sometimes!” - ”Don’t you mean his excitability?” It doesn’t mean a lick of sense. She was trying to steer John into the direction of being nice and in the process of trying to do that she was also butchering the meaning of what John was saying. That kind of corrective like you are talking to a Kindergartner is surprisingly common now and John just sat there expressionless and the room got quiet and then he said: ”I know the difference between those two words!” and she looked down into her lap.

As Joz Wheaton (?) would say: ”Let’s get in a time machine and go back 30 seconds before you said that!” John just read that in Wired Magazine. Some guy and in production staff said: ”Right here we should put a line where he says: I am getting too old for this shit!” and Joe said ”Let’s get in a time machine…” which is a wonderful way for a person in power to say something. It is so much nicer than: ”You are an idiot!” and throwing your coffee in their face.

Schützenfest in Freckenhorst (RL31)

At one point about 10 years ago John was in a little town in Germany called Freckenhorst, sitting in his hotel room in the afternoon, as he heard the dulcet tones of some tubas in the distance. Nothing gets him down out of his hotel room like the sound of tubas in a small German town because when the Germans get out the tubas, something is going to happen, that is how the shit starts in Germany. They are getting their Lederhosen on and they are loading their guns!

John was walking around this town, following the sound of the tubas, they were all coming from behind a tall wall, and John was circling around, trying to find a way in and he found a town hall building and went through a gate and over a hedge or something, and he got into a big yard that was full of guys dressed in pretty elaborate costumes. The tubas were going and the beer was flowing and John walked over, trying to make himself inconspicuous on the side, just watching what everybody was doing.

They were wearing hats with big feathers in them and very military uniforms, and the bar tenders were two 15-year old teenage boy serving beer. People were looking at John out of the corner of their eyes until eventually a guy came over and asked John what he was doing here because he was clearly not from here, speaking a little bit like Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes, except higher pitched. This was a private event, but the guy invited John to stay and have one beer, so he took him over to the bar and John got a Coke which everybody thought was hilarious, and now all these guys were talking to him.

It was Schützenfest, which is the shooting festival where everybody dresses up like Napoleon and it is a summer festival they have. It is very fun, a big beer-drinking occasion which most holidays in Germany are, rooted in the idea that they are all hunters.

All of a sudden everybody got very excited and they were turning to look at the city hall and on the balcony of the city hall a very well-dressed man stepped out with an attractive young lady and a couple of little girls. Everybody formed up in ranks and John’s tour guide told him that this was the duke and that this was not the city hall, but the duke’s house and this was the big moment. The two teenage boys who were serving beer were the duke’s sons. All these guys were the town’s people and they formed up in ranks and started marching around the yard.

As they walked past the duke the broke into goose stepping, which was the only time in John’s entire life when he saw spontaneous goose stepping happening. John was the only outside observer at this party and he was really flabbergasted, primarily that he was meeting these German aristocrats, and then the goose stepping brought it over the top.

As the evening progressed and it turned into some serious drinking John had many long conversations with those guys about how they missed Hitler because he wasn’t that bad. Too bad about the Jews. Nobody in this town was conscious of genocide, but they have lived in the same 600-person town their whole lives. They just remember when they were on top. Every person in the world thinks that 30 or 40 years ago was better than now. Merlin says that for a lot of people for 100 years things stayed the same and they didn’t just sit around, saying: ”I wish Norman Lear was still making TV shows!”, but there was a lot of sameness.

The different culture in the American North and South (RL31)

John can’t imagine that throughout history there wasn’t always a guy who came into town and said: ”It is the latest greatest saddle!”, or ”This is the newest way to make a horse shoe!” and as soon as that was adopted the new horse shoe was adopted and there was still some guy sitting on a hay bale saying: ”Man, in my day, horse shoe making was an art!” Sentimentality is a basic human thing. You can read books going back all the way and people were complaining that it ain’t as it used to be. It is the most common response!

In America, too: By the time of the Civil War the conflict between the North and the South had been going on from the very beginning and it was already 150 years old, so the South wasn’t just: ”Don’t push us around!” Slavery had been around for a long time and had even happened in the Northern states, but they had stopped doing it a long time before the Civil War. The conflict between the North and the South was rooted in the fact that the South was settled by aristocracy. The people who settled in Virginia were the 2nd and 3rd sons of royalty in the UK who were not in line to inherit the mansion. They were rich, they were the cavaliers, they had class and money, they rode horses, and they farmed. They were sword fighters who had gallantry.

The people who settled in the North were puritans and had an extremely different culture that was very dismissive of this cavalier gallantry, they had a work-ethic, they were industrious, and that conflict between the prudish finger-wagging North and the swashbuckling South was written in the cards from the very beginning. People in the North came to America for religious freedom while people in the South came for entrepreneurial freedom. They had for a long time no interest in breaking ties with England. Their choice was either to stay in England and be the third son of the duke or come to America and be the new prince of your 50.000 acre farm in Virginia.

Those two totally different cultures that did not see eye-to-eye were contemptuous of each other from the very start. You see that in the continental congress when they tried to write the constitution. The attitudes from the delegates from the Carolinas vs Massachusetts came from a completely different place and it is amazing that it could happen at all.

The trains didn’t run on time under Mussolini (RL31)

The thing that everybody always says that Mussolini was a bastard, but at least the trains ran on time. Despite all the concentration camps and the marching through the streets with torches, at least the trains ran on time. It is primarily spoken by intellectuals who are trying to say that there is a good side to fascism, the classic New York response, that you can’t dismiss fascism out of hand, shorthand for trying to understand how these systems worked and how there was a Soviet union for 80 years. Merlin adds that it was a reasoning for culpability, where you go: ”How can people sit around and let these awful things happen?”, but the reason the people didn’t rebel was that they didn’t have the weapons and the trains ran on time.

John’s friend, the author Wesley Stace, performer under the name John Wesley Harding, his father was a professor living in Italy and he had the tremendous insight recently that this statement had been spoke ironically, that the Italians were saying that not only did fascism commit all these brutalities, but the trains didn’t run on time, they have never run on time, not under Mussolini nor now. It flips the meaning of the statement upside down and when Wesley explained it John burst into tears of joy, it was so profound because this had been garbled in translation and his entire life people were saying it to John as an apology for fascism.

Merlin observed that both the ping pong and the talk about Hitler had largely fallen to the side lately, but John will talk about Hitler all day.

European nobility (RL31)

Merlin wonders about Your Majesty and Your Highness and remembers that John said in the past something that a baron is a member of the aristocracy, which is part of the oligarchy, the ruling tribes, while the monarch is a king, a ruler, a single pontiff, he high guy or gal. There are a lot of words to describe all the permutations of the born class and they can get very confusing. You can say the wrong thing pretty fast in that world.

Like most Americans, John has always been fascinated by European nobility and he is over-awed by it in one way, like: ”Wow, really? You are a vice-count? Oh, man! How cool!”, but on the other hand he is an American and the second that somebody stepped in front of him in line at the post office because they were an aristocrat, he would be: ”What? No way! Step to the side, fool!”

John once said that even Bono has a boss (see MSHOW), in the context of saying that everybody has somebody they have to please, and in fact in royalty there is always somebody over you. What a bureaucracy there is to this stuff! There is a page Royal, Noble and Chivalric ranks which to Merlin seems like noble inflation. Certainly in Europe, where Queen Victoria, Tsar Nicholas and Frederick Wilhelm were all first cousins who had the same grandmother, and they were fighting World War I almost like a family dispute.

Everybody is a little German. Even Merlin’s friend Grant from South Africa is somehow weirdly related to German royalty and almost everybody on the planet is somehow almost German royalty! The Germans had a lot of little principalities and the nobles there held onto their autonomy a lot longer. In UK there was the king of England and you could be the duke of Umbria, but the king was the one in charge. In Germany they maintained their little borders a lot longer. If you had a 3rd daughter and you were trying to marry her to somebody and somebody said they were the prince of Yugoslavia while somebody else said they were the vice-count of some German hole in the wall, some bend in the river in Thuringia, you picked the German over the Yugoslav!

The difference between Your Highness and Your Majesty according to Wikipedia: Your Majesty is the second person form of address for somebody who is greater than a prince or princess. Your Highness is the second person appellation for the king or queen. Merlin goes through the list of nobility ranks again and they conclude that Bono is at least a duke, which John thinks of as the highest nobility under the royal family.

Merlin moved to California to work at a dot-com job and of course it was a debacle. On the Daily Show every correspondent is a Senior Correspondent. At one point one of the great indignities that Merlin brought upon himself in his ”career” at the dot-com where he had been for the grand sum of maybe 9 months, making pretty good bank. John asked if they had a ping pong table, but it is called table tennis. Their boss Bob Prince, who might as well have had a Snidely Whiplash mustache and giant bags with dollar signs running out of the place, was so used to being a guy who made the trains run on time.

Merlin getting promoted to senior web-producer (RL31)

One time Merlin told him that his people were working a lot and it was California and he should get some silly stuff for the office, like a Fruit Loops dispenser, and Bob said: ”You are kidding me!” This was a man who owned all of his businesses in Florida which is a states rights state, and he pretty much treated people like states rights. They ended up with a ping pong table, an electronic dart board that made noises in the middle of the room, like a fad from the 1960s where you get it, you bring it in, and then nobody touches it and it just takes up space, because if you are sitting there and playing fucking ping pong or Bob would hear the dart board going ”Score!” you could just be doing bong hits in the office!

Merlin was already making pretty okay dough for it, but he was greedy and wanted more because they hadn’t had their IPO cash-out yet and even though he didn’t have any direct reports, he did get a promotion to senior web producer. He and the only other web producer go to be senior web-producer even though they were the only two web producers. That is like High King, King of Kings. Maybe Merlin was an arch-vice-count.

The impact of World War I and World War II (RL31)

Merlin is impressed that John knows fucking shit-tons about all of this stuff, but he doesn’t particularly love any of it and he thinks it is probably silly that there is a duke and an arch-duke. What if Ferdinand had just been a duke? We probably would have stayed out of trouble, but he was next in line. Merlin doesn’t know much about World War I except that the geography of Europe used to be much more interesting. The big point of Woodrow Wilson’s solution to world problems after World War I was that all these different ethnicities of people didn’t have autonomy and didn’t rule their own countries, so he was going to give everybody authority over themselves. Of course everyone else on the victorious side of World War I didn’t like that idea at all and they thwarted him, but they used it as a justification to do what they wanted and perverted his idea and he got walked all over.

Before the war Austria-Hungary controlled all of Central Europe and they took it all apart and gave part of Hungary to Slovakia, part of it to Ukraine, a big part to Romania, a part became Yugoslavia, they might even have given a part of Hungary to Austria. Strasbourg went back and forth between France and Germany many times. After World War I that area went back to France and the Germans wanted it back in World War II.

When you talk to people in Hungary about World War II it is the most amazing cultural disconnect. Coming from America you think everybody has the same story about World War II. ”The Germans were bad and we all fought them. The end!” You don’t even have space in your American mind for many different narratives, but there are so many different stories about World War II depending on where you are. The Hungarians think of World War II as a very minor episode relative to World War I, which is the big war to them, and World War II is just a continuation of it because Hitler went to the Hungarians and promised to give them back all the land they took from them. They were still really pissed about it and were like: ”Whatever you say!”

It is very nuanced. People who worked at BMW probably thought Hitler was pretty great. Also the Germans who lived in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia felt like they were going home. Merlin says he has to change the podcast from the Philosophy section in iTunes to the History section. When he first met his friend Grant from South Africa in 1986 he thought those guys must really love the ANC, but actually a lot of people think of them as a terrorist organization because a lot of what they did was blowing things up. You might be really pulling for apartheid to go away, but then your shit gets blown up.

The politics in South Africa keeps John up at night because there is so much to not understand about that part of the world. Merlin blames the Dutch, one of the numerous reasons he does not want to get started on the Dutch.

Kimpton Boutique Hotels (RL31)

Merlin sometimes thinks too much about hotels, but he doesn’t mind hotels. He likes a Marriott, although there are surely even bad Marriotts because there are bad everythings, they are run by Mormons, and there is a portrait of two Mormons in every Marriott. John hardly stays at a Marriott, but he has been turned on to Kimpton Hotels recently. You walk in and there is not just one superfluous tube-shaped fuck pillow, but there are four furry fuck pillows per room and some not-quite ironic art like a framed tarot card on the wall. It looks like Dwell Magazine, but a baroque version of it because there are too many fuck pillows.

Those are boutique hotels, the W kind of thing where they get a urine-soaked hobo-hotel and clean it up and put in some green apples. Sometimes they will have a bust of Benjamin Franklin, but they will paint it orange, like: ”Woa! What? It is orange!” Merlin wonders if we are now already in the month of May, so he can ask: ”Is it postmodern?” John doesn’t even know what that means anymore. He used to feel like he really knew what that meant. Merlin is not sure he knew what it meant in 1988, but he definitely doesn’t know what it means now. It is like Fahrvergnügen, which is the joy of driving, but that is a pretty elastic resource.

Olive Garden (RL31)

What about Hospitaliano? John never knew what Hospitaliano means, but until very recently he had never been to Miami. Merlin explains that it is the spirit of what they would like you to think you are getting in an Olive Garden. One of Merlin’s friends recently pointed out that the logo that says Olive Garden in green letters does not have olive branches around it, but those are fucking grapes. Think about that for a minute! John has only ever been to the Olive Garden one time. There was no Olive Garden in Alaska.

When Merlin was in college they discovered there was something you could order off the menu unlimited salad and bread sticks for $6. You could get a fucking bowl of Alfredo sauce for $2 and for a total of $8 you can sit there for 4 hours and get high on breadsticks and free salad refills. Merlin is surprised that John hasn’t been to Olive Garden more because he likes a hearty meal and he seems like a man who can put away from groceries.

There is a place in Seattle called Buca di Beppo, a chain restaurant where they serve you big platters of spaghetti. Merlin thinks that place is shit, he had a YLNT summit at the one in San Francisco and it was one of the silliest meals he ever had in his life with a fake high service thing. John has eaten there a few times, that is his Olive Garden equivalent. It is putting on airs, but Olive Garden does that, too! As they are seating you they walk you through the kitchen and the floor is just worn down into a trough from all the tourists walking through the ”kitchen”. What you really want to know is that a lot of strangers have passed where your food is being made!

Merlin thought that Olive Garden’s catchphrase was ”Hospitaliano!”, but he is now seeing on their epileptic website that keeps changing that their slogan is: ”When you are here, you are family!”, which by extension means: ”When you leave then fuck you in the eye!” John put Hospitaliano into Google because he had no idea what that is, and the first thing that comes up is Olive Garden. There is also a Hospialiano man, but that sounds like the worst superhero Merlin has ever heard. In the Urban Dictionary it says that it is a subset of authente cante (?), a derogatory slang referring to the average American commercial idea of what Mexican food should taste like, together with bouleversement. How do you pronounce that? Blumpkin?

Chain steak restaurants (RL31)

This drives Merlin absolutely crazy. A shitty chain restaurant will cut corners on every conceivable thing and then act like they are doing you a favor. It is all fucking microwaved anyway! John finds it very hard to eat in a chain restaurant. There are no Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Sizzler, or Claim Jumper in Seattle proper, but they are all located just south of town in the South Center mall area right next to each other on the same road. Do they have a Sclerotic McStuffingtons? There is no difference between an Outback Steakhouse and a Claim Jumper.

The waitresses wants to sell you a load of shit in 45 minutes where she is super-friendly to you while she tries to foist blooming onions on you and upgrade you to a Mud-Pie Milkshake and get you the fuck out of there so she can get another load of fat-asses in there. The food isn’t terrible, John will eat a steak at an Outback Steakhouse, but the damage to his psyche! They have Artisanal Steaks restaurant and El Gaucho.

The other night John was out with some mutual Rock musician friends. Merlin’s name came up when one of them said that he missed Merlin and was planning to call him up. They went to see the Avengers movie at the big Paul Allen owned Superplex, the Cinerama, and afterwards they decided to get some steaks and John suggested the El Gaucho, but it was midnight and they couldn’t go there, so they went up to a new fancy restaurant where the waitresses have neck tattoos, but the steaks are $45. It was no El Gaucho and there was no man in a tuxedo cooking that steak on a cigar.

At 13 Coins the clientele is definitely part of the fun, but you can get a full fancy meal at 3am, like a Steak Oscar with Crab. It is the go-to for John if he has somebody from out of town and he wants to show them a restaurant where at 3am you can get Steak Sinatra with Fried Clams and cheese poured over it while the guy sitting at the table next to you is wearing a pink suit with a Fedora. Frequently you see a small entourage that is there with somebody who considers themselves a rapper or a sports star or a sex professional manager. You often see girls in very tall lucite shoes, sometimes with live gold fish in them. Lately the quality of the food has declined from its former glory of one quart of Half & Half in everything and they have started to skimp on the Half & Half a little bit.

At the El Gaucho last night, and this is the thing about Capitol Hill, John’s foot wasn’t even in the door before somebody shouted: ”John! Hey!” because it is his old neighborhood and if it is a new restaurant with $45 steaks and the waitresses have neck tattoos it is a pretty safe bet it is going to be full of people John knows.

The Roderick Haters club in front of the Rock club (RL31)

Later on at night he was standing out in front of a Rock club when people were pouring out, and a little group of people, 3-4 guys, gathered who decided they were the ”I Hate John Roderick” club. They all said: ”I hate you!”, but they didn’t go away, but they wanted attention.

One way to get to somebody, whether it is to make them pay attention to you, this is a classic move of those fucktards in the seduction community, you don’t have to make somebody like you or love you, but you just have to make somebody feel strongly about you, which is probably why so many women have the terrible taste to be obsessed with you. A lot of people will try to reach a person by saying: ”I will give you this one pole of the feeling strong thing, I will try to make you love me!”, but the opposite of love is indifference, it is not hate.

Their problem is that the focus of their anger, in this case nominally John Roderick, doesn’t care. It is like a cat that wants you to notice it so that they then can ignore you. Those are the middle-aged Indie Rockers who have lived long enough to imagine they have some beef with John, that he did something to them at some point. They are trying to express the ”I remember when your band opened for my band!” energy. John is not talking about the young kids in skinny jeans because those will come up to John and give him one white rose. They are all very good and John is generally an old man to them.

It is the guys who are 35-45 years old and who have been playing guitar for a long time and some of them have been very successful, and it isn’t even a case where John stole their girlfriend, but just that John shouldn’t be entitled to be the way he is and there should be rules. There are people whose girlfriend Merlin has stolen.

They talk about how people are spelling hip like hippppp and how people can’t text in sentence case, but when you talk to them hey speak like normal humans. Merlin never saw this coming and it was a tough transition, but he is finally at a point where he can look down his nose at this stuff. It is like how a lot of women don’t really discover their true power in life until they stop being in the game based on their sexual attraction. They get super powerful after they get to menopause because: ”Fuck everybody! Fuck you!” and Merlin loves that, rather than the ones hanging out with the lucite heels, pulling their face back like the lady in Brazil.

One of the problems with being a guy with a certain statue is that as you get older you get more attractive because the grey hair and the wisdom in your face makes you more appealing and you are never free from being a highly sexually charged object. You need a bit larger statue than John has, he is sandbagging here! Merlin thinks John’s challenge is that John makes a lot of men feel strong feelings and they might not understand their strong feelings. A lot of people confuse their strong emotions and hate can feel like love or vice versa.

All these people in the ”I Hate John Roderick” club all had chubbies, as much as they can in those tight pants. How do you have a club about indifference? That would be the Senate! What is going on with those nut-jobs in Congress? Hotel soaps? Really? John thinks Merlin has to sound angrier. John could turn a yelling match into bad standup-comedy by using a slightly different tone of voice. As an example he reads from Merlin’s document about the royal and noble ranks in Europe and reads it as if he were angry.


Merlin keeps thinking about that lady in the window (see RL30), it really haunts him.

Merlin had a pinched nerve.

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