RL335 - Fifteen things

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • Uncle Bob and his brother Albert Einstein (Family)
  • Podcasts about other art forms (Podcasting)
  • Merlin’s current look with long hair (Merlin Mann)
  • The time when John had long hair and a missing tooth (Style)
  • John’s mom’s hairstyle (Parents)
  • People wanting to open restaurants (Money)
  • John not doing all 15 things at the news stand (Early Days)
  • Do you wonder why? (Attitude and Opinion)
  • John’s daughter wanting to correct people's grammar (Daughter)
  • Comic book talk (Comics)
  • Game of Thrones (Movies)
  • Bugsy Malone (Movies)

The problem: John just sits and nods, referring to John listening to his mom's world views and not always agreeing with her.

The show title refers to John's job at the news stand when he was required to do 15 things every day, but he only did about 12-13 every day because he was lazy and didn't care enough.

The episode starts with a few seconds of harp music.

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

Uncle Bob and his brother Albert Einstein (RL335)

It is very early, even a little bit early for Merlin. It has been a long time since it had been this early. Merlin is early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Is it Maya Angelou who rises? Or maybe Bette Midler? Gwendolyn Brooks is the one that Jazz is June (reference to her poem We Real Cool), whereas Albert Brooks is the one who lost all his nest egg (reference to Lost in America, The Nestegg principle). He is John's Uncle Bob Einstein's brother Albert Einstein (see RL239). ”Auntie Jen - Open the door and Let’Em In” (lyrics by Paul McCartney ”Auntie Jen”). Merlin is canceling the show.

Whenever Homer Simpson puts on reading glasses he is about to do something very stupid and funny. Also, any episode that has the great Albert Brooks will be a very good episode (He was in 7 episodes, credited as ”A. Brooks”). Merlin’s daughter knows about that, she is an aficionado, and it would be like a drinking game if Merlin and his daughter watched The Simpsons, which they currently don't. It is not every episode, it is not like Fibber McGee and Molly or like Rob Petrie falling over the Ottoman, which happens every episode.

Doing podcasts about other people's art (RL335)

One of John's friends has a podcast about the Simpsons, called The Simpsons Show, and he has those friends who have a podcast about Star Trek (Adam Pranica and Ben Harrison). Pick a thing that somebody else made and do a show where you talk about it is a popular style of podcast. There is one about The West Wing (called The West wing Weekly), John knows both those guys and one of them was on the West Wing (Joshua Malina was on the show, the other host is Hrishikesh Hirway). John asks Merlin what he would pick if he would do a podcast with the premise of talking about a thing someone else had made, which Merlin finds a very good, but difficult question, because if he had his druthers it would be Monty Python or Mr. Show.

Why is there no Mr. Show podcast? John and Merlin are halfway there because they quote them in almost every episode and give them so much free publicity. They also give publicity and shout outs to R.E.M., the films of Francis Ford Coppola, and The Beatles all the time and are responsible for 1% of their fame. They are on Merlin’s notional list.

Merlin's problem is that when his critical faculties melt down a little bit he will turn into that Chris Farley character from Saturday Night Live, like ”Oh, remember when they did that one thing, the parody of Jesus Christ Superstar? Wasn’t that funny?”, but it is not going to be probative. Merlin and John could argue about The Beatles all day, they used to do it! What about Wilberforce (Marvel comic)? ”SNIKT” could be a bit (the sound of the claws coming out of Wilberforce's hands).

The sound they make when they go back in is ”SNAKT!” They go ”SNIKT” when they come out and ”SNAKT” when they go back? Going out cuts the skin every time, but going back in feels like it would really hurt. Imagine if in the middle of one of those fights you get a little bit of an inflammation in your arm and then the knife has to go back in? John always thought going out would be the painful thing, but now he is realizing ”SNAKT” is basically the sound of it going back into your bones.

Merlin is going to cover this on his Wilberforce podcast. There is 100% absolutely enough Wilberforce knowledge and theory and wondering why to make a multi episode podcast! You could do a limited series and you could easily do episodes just on the evolution of his powers. When they first made Wilberforce those things came out of a glove attachment. Also: He is Canadian! Then why is he so mad? They did some stuff to him, at least in the redcon. They made his bones out of adamantium!

Merlin’s current look with long hair (RL335)

Merlin just sent John a current picture of himself and asked John for his opinion about his new look. He looks a little bit like Florida man, or like he just got thrown out of the Eagles, a little bit Uncle Randy. Like a bad touch Uncle Licky (see RL36)? There are children in the background of the picture! He looks a little bit like he is living in his van down by the river. If John was lost in America somewhere in a non-coastal area, anywhere from Eastern California all the way to Western New York, and he encountered Merlin wearing that Dickie's jacket with that Narragansett Beer patch and that Wilberforce button, he would ask him for directions.

Merlin seems like the type of guy who would know directions and would know the nearest place to get a bite to eat. He is probably handy with a wrench, but John wouldn’t get in his van to help him find his puppy, even if he had gummy bears. The fact that Merlin even asked him to get in his van to help him find his puppy would be reason enough to call the cops. Merlin has coached his daughter on the method where the person comes in and is all jacked up when they really want to get somebody in their van, like ”Oh my God, oh my God, your dad said to come help me find a puppy! Get in the van!” It is that moment of duress when you get a little bit confused.

Merlin didn't have a haircut for close to a year and sometimes he doesn’t shave for a little while. This picture was from the day of the annual school carnival where they volunteered. Merlin’s lady friend also suggested him to grow a mustache again, but: ”The devil you say! I can't grow a mustache!” John finds Merlin’s mustache great! It is a little gray and a little blond.

A lot of people don’t know that your Mustache doesn't end at the end of your mouth. They make that rookie error that is the difference between a porn star and a pirate. Merlin has a bigger ’stache than the Dread Pirate Roberts and it goes out further than his mouth. He had trimmed it and thought it was fun to shave off a lot of stuff. You can have some fun with it and leave some parts but not others, or you can make yourself into an Ersatz Backstreet Boy or a John Waters at the end.

Merlin’s button on his jacket actually says ”SNIKT”, which is the sound of the claws coming out of Wilberforce (Wolverine). John was making a joke earlier, but Merlin instead produced a photograph and is talking about his mustache without even acknowledging the fact that he was wearing a button that says ”SNIKT” That is not a misprint, and John is pretty close to knowing Merlin after all these years.

Merlin’s daughter likes to go early when they go to the carnival because you get chances at better prizes earlier. Merlin took a shower, he did the trim, the prep, the setup, but he didn’t put product in his hair, which is the missing element in that picture. He did condition, which makes your hair silky and smooth, but you got to put a little bit of some schmutz in it to shape it a little bit more.

As he was done he came out and to his family: ”Tadaa!” and the results were very split in the household. Uncannily, surprisingly, his lady friend was like ”I love it!”, but the other lady in the house said: ”Get back in there and disappear your face hair! That is bad! You are not going to school like that!” She might be change-averse, and Merlin knows he was. One time his mom got a haircut and he was bawling and saying something like ”You don't look like my mom anymore!”, the kind of thing a kid says.

There is one side of Merlin and there is the other side and if you cut this picture right in half or put your hand down the middle and you look at one side and then look at the other side, you see two completely different guys. It lacks a certain symmetry. One guy is looking one way and the other guy is looking the other way. Merlin lets his hair grow just to see what happens. He wants to have long hair one last time in his life and who knows! Sand through the hourglass.

The time when John had long hair and a missing tooth (RL335)

The last time John cut his long hair he thought it was the last time and that was it. He was not going back because he had grown it for a long time and it never once looked good, so he made a note of it! John can cut his hair because he has executive function for his hair, but he is not sure if he is ever going to really be done.

Merlin has some photos of John from the time when Scott Simpson and Merlin went on Luke Burbank’s show and John was there. It was a local radio show that had been on since Christ was a corporal. The takeaway was: ”Luke Burbank does a show every day! How does he do it?” But look at them now! How many shows have they done?

Merlin has photos of John from around that time with very long hair and it is tremendous! He used that for show art because he was not going to use the photo of himself. It was the tooth times (when John was missing his front tooth), back when Scott Simpson looked like he was working for NASA in the 1960s. He looked like the nicest guy on the lacrosse team, the guy who couldn't take a hit that and who ended up being the manager, the one guy they rule out after there is a party, because it wasn’t him. He was one of the Gingham Brothers with a V-neck sweater. John looked like somebody who was living under someone else’s van and Scott looked like a guy who sat in a chair while other people played flag football.

John’s mom’s hairstyle (RL335)

John’s mom has focus, she has got eye of the tiger, but did she change her look over time? All through the 1970s she didn't keep her hair in a beehive, but she would get her hair done. She never had a perm. In the 1960s people spent a lot of time thinking about their hair and in the 1970s a lot of the women who worked with John's mom had their hair parted in the middle and ironed straight, not like Dorothy Hamill, but long straight hippie hair like Cher. John’s mom always kept her hair up and never long. It didn't ever go down and curl, but not like Secretary Wedge or anything.

In the 1980s her hair got a little bit more professional because she was more professional. Once she got into management she started wearing suits and had more like a Geraldine Ferraro kind of look. Merlin’s mom almost had a post-modern female leisure suit in the 1980s, a two piece with a jacket, a pant, a blouse and some jewelry. That was a professional look! John’s mom wore matching skirt and blazer and she wouldn’t wear pants to the office because she is a member of a certain generation. She had a little necktie and she went in, kicking ass and taking names.

Until 4 years ago John's mom continued to dye her hair, a lovely Ginger wedge, because she found the natural color to be an unattractive grey. John would just sit and nod, as he so often does. It is one of the things he learned very early on: Just sit and nod and listen to how her gray was an unattractive gray. John would just say: ”What is an unattractive gray?” and he would listen to what an unattractive gray was as opposed to an attractive gray. John thinks that all gray is the same.

His mom was saying that the gray was in contrast to other colors in her hair and she was very convinced of this. Eventually John said: ”Why not give it a try? Why not just let it all go gray? You are 81 and grey hair seems appropriate.” and she did and it is striking and beautiful and wonderful. Merlin loves that look! She realized she is not an unattractive color of gray, but her gray is amazing.

The problem is that John never gets credit for these things. He is proved correct again and again as regards to his mother and her worldview, and yet it is never recorded in the giant ledger. The whole time he was nodding he was not agreeing, but he was only in acknowledgment of what she was saying. It is the same nod like when she would come downstairs and say ”I think I am going to subdivide my house into four apartments by building a wall here next to the stairs!” John would go ”Mhmmm” and he would listen and say: ”Well, do you have a desire to be a property manager?”

People wanting to open restaurants (RL335)

When John was in his 20s, a lot of his friends were working as baristas, waiters, sommeliers or some other kind of service job as a way to continue to be a musician, an actor, or a visual artist. Along the way they felt like they weren't going to make it as an artist and that their career was actually waiter, barista, or sommelier. The transition happened in their 30s where they realized: ”I am a great waiter and I wait in very expensive restaurants and I can still act in stuff when it comes up.” It was a big transition from their 20s! When John was in his 20s he worked the (magazine) shop.

John got asked by Sean (Nelson) to join Harvey Danger, he made the first Long Winters record, he went on tour and for two years he made $100 a night. His mom let him live at her house and he had a lot of advantages that not everybody had, but it was also a blow to his dignity to live with his mom and a lot of his friends had a lot more dignity. They could have lived with their mom, too, but they wouldn't! A big part of how John transitioned from working in a shop to not working in a shop is that he swallowed his pride and took the parental charity for a couple of years during a period where he was making $100 a show and was paying four dudes.

During the time his friends were starting to say ”I am more of a waiter than I am a musician!” they would always come to John and say: ”I am going to open my own place!” They had a plan that they would detail to John and it was always a cafe. John would say: ”Do you like working in restaurants?” - ”Mmm, no! Not at all!” - ” Opening your own restaurant basically means you would be working in a restaurant 80 hours a week instead of 26 hours a week!” - ”Well, yeah!” - ”Think about that: Your entire life now would be working in this restaurant that you owned and the only advantage would be that you own it, but it is just restaurant work, except with all the stress!”

Owning a restaurant comes with so many new shitty responsibilities over which you have virtually no control. It is very costly to start a restaurant. There are all these rules of thumb about how many restaurants go out of business in six months. Would you take any other job just managing a thing? Would you manage a plumbing supply store? You like food, you like cooking, maybe even hospitality as an industry, nominally, but all your money is on the line and on top of that now you are Mr. Manager.

One of John's friends is the manager of a place and every day he has to manage some employee who is crying because of a normal part of the job, for example somebody said: ”Miss, can I have some ice cream?”, but the person behind the counter was not a Miss and didn't want to be described as a Miss. He spends an inordinate amount of time not managing the store, but managing people's feelings. When John was working in shops no one managed his feelings or gave a good goddamn about his feelings at all. Their management job was already really hard just making sure there was milk, like ”We are out of milk!" - "Oh fuck, that was your job!”

Restaurants in Seattle today are politically progressive restaurants with a $15 an hour minimum wage. Some restaurants are committed to political progressivism and those didn't really exist when John was working. He worked in restaurants owned by gay people or people of color, but they were not politically progressive, they were also exploitative of their staff. Some of the scariest and meanest people you will meet in your life are prep cooks. It is so hot, they are so mean, they have knives, most of them have done time, and they are very angry.

Around the time Kurt Cobain killed himself John got fired from his job at a stock brokerage and started working in an Irish bar. At one point the cook waved his spatula at him and said: ”Kurt Cobain killed himself because he thought it would be cool!” He was in the midst of a rant about Rush, he was throwing grease all over the place, and he was disparaging the memory of Kurt Cobain. At the time there was a real front of house / back of house divide. Today you can’t even say front of house / back of house anymore because it harkens back to slavery. You don't want to be a field person versus a house person.

People keep wanting to open their own cafes because they realize they have reached a ceiling in waiting and they think it is time to really cash in on that lucrative food service business. No matter how good you are as a waiter, no matter how nice the restaurant, it will top out at a certain point because you can't serve that many people in a night. If you have the super freshest ingredients you can't have a giant menu. If you have this amount of square footage available, you don't have all of the options.

If you are going to charge $600 for dinner, the people are going to expect that you are only waiting on four tables. You can't have 15 tables and bring people their Fettuccine Alfredo and charge them $600 for food and wine. It peaks, it tops out, and they think they are going to open their own place, but all they have to do is look at their own boss to know that is a bad idea.

John not doing all 15 things at the news stand (RL335)

One of the turning points for John at the news stand was when his boss came in one day and said: ”Your job isn't that hard! Either do it right or you are fired!” - ”Huh? My job seems really hard!” - ”It is not! You are working at a magazine store. There are 15 things you have to do. Do all 15 of them! You are doing 13 of them every day and the two that you are not doing are changing, which indicates that you are capable of doing all 15!”

He would say: ”Why isn't the Wall Street Journal out on the stand?” - ”Oh, it is right here, I just was about to get to it!” - ”No! When it comes in it goes out immediately because we sell them to people and if they don't see them they will keep going.” - ”Yeah. But I mean…” and then the next day he would say: ”Why are we out of Winston's?” - ”Oh they are right here, I just didn't unwrap them yet!” - ”No! You do all 15 things! Not 12! You get to 12 things and you feel like it is time for a break or your job here is done. Either do all 15 things consistently every single day or I will fire you!”

John was so mad! He went home and thought: ”Fine! Fucking fire me! I don't care! I don't need your fucking job, Mr. Magazine Store Manager, proxy for the industrial capitalist state!” John sat there, chewing on his knuckles, and: ”Tomorrow I'm not even going to go in! Tomorrow I'm going to walk past and I'm gonna flip him the reverse piece sign FUs!” and he would have a coffee at the coffee shop next door and he would sit there with his feet up on a chair, but in the middle of the night John realized: ”Wait a minute, I like this job! I only have to do 15 things and I can spend the rest of the day snarking at people when they come in to buy Winston's or the Wall Street Journal!" John went back and he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to pull this off, but he was willing to give this a try!

Doing all 15 things was against his feelings because he had to confront the fact that he felt 12 things was good enough. He felt they should make some allowances because John had a lot of stuff to think about. Still, he tried to do all 15 things and he was able to. Whenever he thought ”I have done 12 things! I put out the Manchester Guardian, I have been doing this cash register all morning, I have put out the Time Magazines, I guess I should also just do the last two things!” and he did them every day and when he thought: ”Meh… ” he would say to himself: ”I'm going to get fired if I don't!” and that was enough of a motivation because he realized he liked the job and pretty soon he was good at the job.

Five months later the manager said ”You are doing great!” and literally no one had ever said ”You are doing great!” to John in anything he had ever done. A couple of weeks went by and he said: ”I need somebody to do the books. How do you feel about that?” - ”I never did the books on a thing!” - ”I think you've got what it takes!” He trained John to do all the deposits and keep all the books and John has never been happier. He sat in the back after his shift and did the accounting. He was in heaven! He was a big cheese! He did that for about a year and one time he went in and said: ”I want a raise!” - ”No!” - ”Okay, fine!” He didn't even choke on his dignity.

Do you wonder why? (RL335)

This is a literal transcript of that segment of the episode.

  • J: Do you wonder why?
  • M: Oh just so much! It is an affliction I wonder why! It is so bad because certainly like anyone today I wonder why about big things, but it is the little things… There has been a white pickup truck parked near our house with about 14 one by six big boards in it and it has been parked there for nine days. I've counted! And I wonder why that truck has been parked there for nine days. Ask me if I want to wonder why! Why why why! Why she ran away! I don't want to wonder about the truck and the boards. I don’t want to wonder about that, but every time I get home and look out the window I go ”Heh!” We are up to ten now! Ten days for boards! I don't want to be… John, do you wonder why?
  • J: Well, of course I wonder why.
  • M: I feel like you wonder, and in the dreaming hours you sometimes are wondering why.
  • J: Well I wonder why all the time! My entire thing is wondering why! And I realized that that puts us in the decided minority of people in the world because I don't think most people wonder why.
  • M: Is it making us happier? It is not!
  • J: No! And there are people listening to this show that wonder why and there are probably a lot of people listening to this show that don't wonder why because… just the odds are that people don't wonder why. I think there are more people that don't wonder why than that do. And I think it's important that some people wonder why because you've got to have a certain amount of wondering why, but what I can't understand and I have never been able to understand is how you don't wonder why. If I could run a 100 yard dash I would probably wonder what it was like to not be able to run a 100 yard dash, unless I was somebody who didn't wonder why.
  • M: You might wonder something practical. You might wonder why I can't run that faster.
  • J: I don't think so! If you didn’t wonder why I don't think you would wonder why you couldn't do that!
  • M: Do you think it is a type?
  • J: The wonderers?
  • M: Yeah. That there's wonderers and wonderersnot?
  • J: I do. I think we are the wonderers. We are wondering.
  • M: I think, and this is part of wondering why, you branch off into a personal mind map in all the different directions. One of the complications of being a wonderer why is: ”Is it a shocking incuriosity of that particular pie slice of humanity?” I don't know if it's that.
  • J: No, I don't think so!
  • M: Could be certainly your pipes and your wires. Like you and me got pipes and wires that are doing all kinds of stuff like making the mind maps, but could it be that you have been acculturated, trained, habituated and did you used to wonder why maybe and now you don't wonder why and that has made all the difference. Why do people stop wondering? Do they stop wondering? I wonder why that is!
  • J: In our culture right now there is a lot of ”I wonder why things are the way they are!”
  • M: ”I wonder why things aren't the way I think they should be!”
  • J: A lot of people in our circles think about justice and wonder… Well, not necessarily! There are people that think about justice that don't wonder why, but they know! But there are some people that think: ”Why is there injustice? I wonder why not everyone sees this justice thing the way that I do!”, as opposed to not wondering why, knowing why somebody doesn't do that.
  • M: Feeling that is existential certainty, almost?
  • J: Well, sure of course, because ”Why doesn't this person share my beliefs? Because they are a bad person!”
  • M: So you no longer wonder why about that because that has been established.
  • J: ”They are a bad person, I have evidence for it, so I don't wonder why. I just know what they are”, whereas some of us are like: ”I wonder why! I wonder why!” You have got all the people in the world that aren't wondering why, they are just knowing, they are just knowing how things are, and then there is a much smaller group that is like ”I wonder why! I wonder why!”
  • M: You do it long enough and you get into a real broken liberal arts state where you go ”Heh, I wonder why I think like that!” or ”I wonder why I see like that!”
  • J: You were just doing that a second ago! I wonder if… so ”I wonder if”, also.
  • M: You can't really wonder if until you wonder why! When you wondered why a little bit you start geting a little bit of ”I wonder if” and guess what, sometimes you turn that laser beam back on yourself!
  • J: You were just saying: "I wonder if I wonder why!” because I have been acculturated to wonder why rather than wondering why is a thing.
  • M: Now I'm wondering whether
  • J: Well you are wondering whether! You wondered if, and then you end up wondering whether! And that is the thing, that is where we are, but there are a lot of other people that are on that treadmill because they know why and we would look at them and say: "You think you know why. But I wonder if you think you know why, because it is not in your nature to wonder why, you get information and then you know why!” and across the board I see it all the time: ”How do you not wonder more about why?” and the response is ”I don't have to wonder because here is why!”
  • M: And now here is me wondering how, a little bit. I wonder how we differ on that. I wonder how they got to that level of certainty.
  • J: Also, you wonder how, I wonder how. How did you get enough proof that you no longer wonder why? But the thing is I don't think they ever wondered why! Maybe it is acculturation or maybe it is… M: Maybe it wasn't encouraged. I wonder when they were never encouraged to wonder why. I wonder when one gets what is needed to want to wonder why, or to have no other option than to wonder why.
  • J: I think people are discouraged from wondering. This is the thing about proofs. If you go to a place where they say ”Here is a thing and here is why!” and you go ”Mhmm. Okay!” and then they go on to the next subject ands say ”Here is another thing, here is why!” It is not that you are encouraged, but it is that you are discouraged from ever asking why.
  • M: We already have an answer for that. Let's just memorize this and we'll move on to the next thing.
  • J: Whereas some of some of us are lucky or maybe have the instinct… in my school I was much more also being fed the ”Here's why”’s, but I was like: ”I wonder!” Maybe that came from around the dining room table at night where people said ”Well, here is a thing and here is the opposite thing, what do you think?” and I was like ”I wonder what they want! I wonder what I'm supposed to think here!” and they're like ”Haha!”
  • M: You eat dinner from time to time with a couple of people who were pretty sharp in thinking about how the world fits together and they probably had their reckons. I think about the comedian John Mulaney and talking about having two parents that were lawyers and how that would affect their dining room conversations. He makes a funny bit out of it. But there are certain kinds of people that like: It isn't necessarily that you want to throw a ball or teach him how to make a soapbox derby, you want to sharpen them like a knife at dinner and maybe give them an eating disorder, but at dinner you are going to ask some difficult questions.
  • J: Yeah, at dinner or in the course of a day…
  • M: They just might not suffer for your bullshit, that could be part of dinner!
  • J: They don't suffer it, but they also say things like: ”Why did you do that?”
  • M:They are wondering why!
  • J: … and they don't say: ”That's against our rules, don't do that!”, but they would say ”Why did you choose to do that?” and then in the course of watching you squirm on the end of your fishing line they would eventually get to the behavior that they were hoping you would do, but in the meantime you had to make it through the minefield of trying to explain why, while they wondered, and even they were wondering why even though they knew the answer, they still were wondering.
  • M: They could anticipate that there is an answer you don't want to give because, let's be honest, little kids don't always know why they do anything. There are just the baser instincts of like ”I just wanted the chocolate! That is the reason I did it!”
  • J: Seems pretty simple!
  • M: But then you get a little bit older. That's how humans are! A lot of humans will find a reason why they did what they did. There is maybe even some science about this. This is a thing! Most of us do things and then later on figure out why we did it. I think that's science! Now I wonder if I got that right!

John’s daughter wanting to correct people's grammar (RL335)

John’s daughter has recently been introduced to grammar. Of course John has always tried to speak to her using correct grammar because he tries to use it in the course of his own life. He is often humorously flamed on the Internet for mispronouncing words and making up words, but aren’t all words made up? Let's be honest: Words are just combinations of other words from other languages that somebody made up at one point. ”What are you going to do? Marry a dictionary? Let John talk! Let the man talk!” Grammar is important to John and his daughter has now got the idea of it, while they had never talked about it before as a thing. They just said: ”Here are the ways that you could talk. Here is an example of a way you could say this sentence”

Now she is at a school where they talk about grammar. On the way to school today, they were just driving along, she said ”I like to correct people's grammar, but I try to have it be people younger than me like for instance six and below.” She let that sit in the car, hoping that John would say: ”Oh no, correcting other people's grammar is amazing and super-fun and really good for them. You absolutely should! Don't confine it to four year olds! Just jump into any conversation where you hear that they have made a mistake or where you think they have made a mistake, irregardless of whether their message was received in a way that you could parse and understand. If you and I [sic] don't have grammar or you and me don't have grammar, it is really important to just jump right in!”

Instead a pause went by and John said: ”The way people talk is very personal to them and it is generally not our place to correct other people, not only in grammar, but also in manners. Other people are doing their lives and we are responsible for managing our own words and behavior. If somebody else is using the fork with the wrong hand, or if somebody else doesn't send you a Thank You note it, it is not our place to correct them, and it doesn't obviate the need for us to continue to obey those rules!” It did not quite line up with her innate sense of justice because if they didn't send a card, why should we? If they use bad language or bad grammar or bad behavior, why are we over here having to do it? It seems unfair! He got ice cream, and he was rude!

By the time John dropped her off at school it was inconclusive. She was considering the possibility that correcting 5 and 6 year olds was not her job, but she hadn’t bought entirely into John’s argument. It is an ongoing process and he has a pretty good idea why she wants to: She wants to be boss of the world. Every morning she goes ”SNIKT!” and John says ”Put the little knives back! We are not going to need those at school. You don't need your fist blades!” (reference to the comic Wilberforce, Wolverine)

Game of Thrones (RL335)

Merlin continues to talk about some plot points of Game of Thrones. On the way to school he had talked with his daughter for 10 minutes about the importance of the Nymeria attack. She has not been witness to all of the Games of Thrones and that is why he is walking her through this after he had explained last night's episode over 45 minutes. She hasn’t seen them, but she has seen video, she has read things, and she has dolls. They had looked at which map of Westeros and Essos they would get for the house.

Bugsy Malone (RL335)

John and his daughter recently watched Bugsy Malone and she had a lot of penetrating questions, but John has decades of pouring over Bugsy Malone in order to come up with some theories about how and why and she was asking the right guy. It is almost like asking John what he thinks about Hitler. What an opportunity she has given him! ”Dad, do you have any opinions about Hitler?” - ”Well…” They close the show by singing ”We could’ve been anything we wanted to be” from the Bugsy Malone song Bad Buys by Paul Williams. What a weird movie!

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