Judge John Hodgman Episode 217: Battle of the Podcast Stars


That's my verdict, that's my ruling! Judge John Hodgman rules on dressing cats in shirts, obnoxious behavior at Mexican restaurants, and more.

Judge Hodgman is setting up camp in the internetless hills for the summer, so we won't be releasing a new episode next week. But we'll return on Wednesday the 17th with all new episodes featuring Bailiff Jesse and Summer Bailiff Monte Belmonte!



"There are no more sharks left in the world to jump"

Is the best thing I have heard all year, and I listen to lots of great stuff. I would buy that shirt! Maybe shorten it to "There are no sharks left to jump" to make it fit better on a shirt...

"I got that out of my system in college"

I disagree with Judge Hodgman's interpretation of the drink refusal incident. I certainly think that responding with "What's that supposed to mean?" was unnecessarily hostile, but there's totally something judgmental about claiming that drinking is something one has outgrown. (That was my first interpretation of Jay's refusal.) Does anyone else feel this way?

There's nothing wrong with saying, "No thank you. I don't drink." But it definitely rubbed me the wrong way when I heard the phrasing that the guy in question used to refuse a drink. You could just say no and, if pressed, say that you don't drink. Nobody with any manners would push the issue after that. I, however, would likewise have felt spoken down to if someone implied that drinking was something that I simply hadn't "gotten out of my system." Not drinking is a respectable choice, but I think the phrasing in the case made it seem as though it's also the transcendent choice. In other words, both parties (Jay and the boyfriend) were tactless given the circumstances.

I agree that both parties

I agree that both parties were unnecessarily rude and aggressive about the issue. If you don't want to drink, just say "No thanks" and leave it at that. You don't also need to be passing judgement about whether other adults choose to drink or not. I thought these people were all friends? Anywhere outside of a fraternity or bachelor party, no one is going to force you to drink anything you don't want to.

I'm not a big drinker and I also happen to actually enjoy a club soda with lime when I'm out, since I don't drink much soda either. It wasn't until many, many years after I started doing this that I discovered that "club soda with lime" is the secret codeword for "recovering alcoholic" (which I am not), maybe that is why no one has ever pressed the issue with me. All the friends and family that I hang out with know I'm just not a big drinker and no one makes an issue of it.


Listening to your docket clearing. Morgantown has a public transportation system known as the "pod cars." So someone could have been listening to your podcast in a pod car.


Poor Leah!

Two dumb dads is right! Yes, I am big fans of you two dumb dads and their podcast, but for this I HAD to write. Poor Leah, pregnant with child and you accuse her of calling her husband dumb and treating her pregnancy and upcoming birth as a game. She didn't say dumb - she just said he was a terrible secret keeper - there is a big difference. His job right now is to make her happy, so if she says she doesn't want to know the sex, his answer to that should be " Yes, dear, I totally agree." (Same goes if she says it's hot when it's only 60 degrees out!) I didn't want to know the sex of our child because I knew delivery would be the hardest thing I would ever have gone through and not knowing the sex of the baby would keep me excited and motivated to be strong through the delivery. All 16 hours of it. And NOTHING can be more exciting than the nurses handing you a baby and announcing, "It's a GIRL!" It's an added element of surprise and emotion that is irreplaceable (though probably not missed by those that choose to know early.) Not knowing kept things fun during those last difficult months when nothing fits and you can't feel your toes because of the swelling. I think you owe a nice big box of bon-bon's in the mail to Leah, begging her pardon.
Meara's Mommy in Columbia, MO

To Aaron re: leaving door unlocked

Hey Aaron, how about have a little respect for your wife's feeling of safety and lock your damn door. She has to go around in the world while female, so I understand why you don't get it. But just... lock your door. It doesn't matter how statistically likely it is that you might suffer a home invasion because someone sees you leaving and notices that you didn't lock the door. What matters is that she, coming home to an unlocked house containing an intruder, will bear the worst of it if it happens, and I bet that's what she's worried about. These things DO happen and they're horrific. Just lock your door. It's not that hard.

Couldn't care less. . .

Actually, my favorite variation on this was uttered by a southerner as, "that don't bite my ass". I had to ask him to repeat that twice - and then I made him explain it to me. ("I don't care")

Door key issue

Get a $25 real estate style key holder and screw it to the side of their house. Or, just find a good hiding place for a spare key.

Finding out if you're having a boy or a girl

As a physician I wanted to let you know that it is very often not medically necessary to find out the sex of a baby so unless we look, even in an ultrasound, we don't know. Having both delivered babies and had my own, I have to say that there is a very joyful extra excitement to having the baby's sex be a mystery and as a new parent, I was frankly more interested in my child's temperament and health than whether I was having a boy or a girl.

Certainly, if there is a reason to do chromosome testing, etc, you will find out whatever your preferences going in. For most straightforward pregnancies, a simple "I don't want to know" means no one finds out.

Could/Couldn't Care Less

I follow the British English conventions regarding "I Couldn't Care Less". However, I never took issue with the alternative "I Could Care Less", assuming that it was made with the intent of conveying sarcasm; " Oh yeah I Could totally Care Less about ."

Not finding out the gender of the baby...

My husband and I didn't find out the gender of our baby (until we met her) and it was great! Of course, to each his own! I hope you both are happy with whatever decision you make. And congrats!!


We didn't find out the gender of our baby until he came out, and it was very easy for the ultrasound tech to not reveal it to us. But I agree. They need to get on the same page. I personally think preoccupation with fetal genitalia is strange. Let's wait until the child is out of the womb before imposing gender norms on it.

Oy! Too hard on Leah!

My wife and I did not find out the gender of our daughter prior to her being born. As two women, the process of getting pregnant was very methodical and controlled for us, as well as filled with strife due to various additional difficulties with conception. Not learning whether we were having a boy or a girl gave us a little serendipity and joy in a process that had been very stressful. I would totally recommend not finding out the gender if the process of getting pregnant was difficult for someone for whatever reasons.

Still, even if the process had been easy, I wouldn't have wanted to find out the gender in advance. Rather than mountains of pink sparkly crap, we received from generous family and friends a variety of gender neutral clothing and accoutrements for our baby. (Aside: if you don't find out the gender of your child, they will be dressed solely in ducks for 3-6 months.) Now that our daughter is 3, I'm glad we held off the tsunami of pink for even just 9 months.

Also: Parenting is a damn slog! Let Leah enjoy her last moments of wacky freedom before her child strips her of everything in her life that is interesting and not covered in bodily fluids. Just kidding. Mostly.