TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 439: Traffic Stopper

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 439

Transcript

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. We're in chambers this week, clearing the docket. With me this week, the tallest man in the NBA— [John laughs.] —Judge John Hodgman.

john hodgman

I'm actually 5'10" and a half^, which is totally normal size. Pretty much average. [Jesse chuckles.] But you know what, Jesse? I must say I feel 30 feet tall, because I've just gotten back from going in airplanes around the country, presenting my book Medallion Status to various wonderful cities of this nation. I was so excited and thrilled by the turnout. Thank you to all my Famous Corgis, all my Double Corgis, all my Triple Corgi Elites! For coming out and supporting Medallion Status. It was a real thrill to see everybody there. Of course, it's not quite over; this weekend I'm going to St. Paul to join The Wits radio show reunion, and the Chicago Humanities Festival, and then of course, Jesse, you and I are going on the road with Judge John Hodgman in early November. So if you haven't yet had a chance to come out and get your Famous Corgi pin, come see us on the road. JohnHodgman.com/tour. But thank you so much, everybody. It's been such a delight to bring this book to you. And if you haven't heard of it yet, it's called Medallion Status by me, John Hodgman, and you can find out more by going to JohnHodgman.com or Bit.ly—B-I-T dot L-Y—/MEDALLIONSTATUS, all capital letters, all one word. Jesse Thorn, how are you?

jesse

I'm holding on! I'm doing alright! I'm getting ready to—you know, tuning up my concert ukulele, learning a few tunes for our tour.

john

Oh, yeah!

jesse

Gonna be singing on tour. First time singing in public, other than one Judge John Hodgman show, since I was... in Little Shop of Horrors when I was 17 at San Francisco School of the Arts.

john

[Laughs.] You blew it away at that Judge John Hodgman show! I think people are gonna be really, really happy and excited to hear you sing. And I'm gonna be feeling very ashamed of myself, 'cause I don't have any new songs. As of now. As of now, I don't have any new songs.

jesse

You got time! Make it happen. Get it locked in! Get it in your sights, and make! It! Happen!

john

Whoa! That's motivational talk right there!

jesse

Here's something from Hanna. She asks: "I live in a big city, and aim to obey pedestrian street crossing laws. I often see pedestrians starting to cross the street even after the red hand has been flashing for a while, meaning they won't make it to the other side of the street before the light changes and cars will have to wait on them. These pedestrians don't even try to perform a fake 'uh-oh!' run when the light changes. If I see another pedestrian starting to cross the street too late, [laughing] may I get in on the action?"

crosstalk

John: Wow, that took a turn! Jesse: [Laughing] This really took a turn!

jesse

"What if I can get to the other side more quickly than the person who initially started walking across the street too late?"

john

Yeah, here I thought Hanna was just writing in, classic Judge John Hodgman writing style, to shame a bunch of strangers in her life.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yeah, I assumed she was gonna ask for permission to mow them down!

john

[Laughs.] But the question is can she get in on someone who is crossing too late. In other words, if someone is breaking the rule as she defines it, is it okay for her to break the rule, too? Jesse, what's it like there in Los Angeles in terms of crosswalks? Do you get a countdown? Do you get a numbered countdown, or just flashing hand once it's turned from "walk" to "caution"?

jesse

Generally speaking, if there is a hand-type signal, there is a countdown.

john

You see numbers counting down.

crosstalk

Jesse: Yeah. John: Right.

jesse

There are a lot of real dicey street crossings in Los Angeles. Los Angeles, you'll be shocked to learn, is a city that generally privileges motor vehicles over pedestrians. Though not without exception. But they've been working on street safety, and one of the things they do is offer countdowns. And they also have those kinds of crosswalks here in Westlake, where MaxFun HQ is, where there are times when the intersection can only be entered by pedestrians. So they will stop all the cars and you can cross diagonally if you want to.

john

Ooh! [Laughs in a way that conveys "How fancy!"]

jesse

Which also is to protect the safety of pedestrians.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

But yeah, those numbers have been there as long as I've lived in Los Angeles, and I remember when they came in in San Francisco where I grew up, and that was probably when I was a teenager 20 years ago. So those numbers are around, and I gather that those numbers are substantially so that pedestrians can understand the difference between the time a slow-moving person should stop trying to enter the intersection, and the time a more-quickly–moving person should.

john

A nimble little roadrunner.

jesse

Yeah, exactly. I'm a real crosswalk jogger. [Stifling laughter] I'll push the envelope.

john

Yeah! Me too. I mean, I thought I was gonna be one of the people that Hanna was shaming here. Because in New York City and in Park Slope, it's kind of a mixed bag of whether you're gonna get—you know, the walk signal's the walk signal, and then whether you're gonna get just a flashing hand, or a countdown. Just the flashing hand, of course, does leave some... ambiguity about exactly how much time is left. If you didn't see when the flashing hand started, you might not know, exactly. And I know I'm not supposed to, but I will usually—if it's safe to proceed, if I have looked both ways a couple of times and I know I'm not just gonna get mowed down... and I'm by myself and I'm not pushing a stroller or putting anyone else at risk... I will usually move into the intersection, even on a flashing hand. Look, I'm an older fella. But I'm still nimble! I still got it! [Jesse laughs.] And in New York City, the streets are small! You know what I mean?

jesse

Yeah.

john

Even an avenue, that's—you can get across that very easily. It's not like one of your nine-lane death rivers—

john

Jesse: [Laughing] Yeah. John: —of cars that you have there in Los Angeles. Jesse: They just installed a moat to keep pedestrians from crossing Beverly!

john

That's not true!

jesse

No, it's not true. [Laughs.]

john

No. You—I don't know what they're doing there in Los Angeles.

jesse

Nah, it's just sort of a fire pit. Like a little fire pit.

john

What bothers me about what Hanna's saying, though, is that she's trying to have it both ways. She's trying to shame the people like you and me, Jesse—

jesse

Yeah.

john

—who are hopping in there at the last minute. And then she's also trying to say "But I can go with them, right?"

jesse

I think this is a classic "only child, super smart, afraid of conflict" situation. I think she—

john

Really? [John responds with a couple of amused "Uh-huh!"s as Jesse elaborates.]

jesse

I think she doesn't wanna break the rules, and wants to be able to point at others who are breaking the rules and tell parents about it. [Stifling laughter] But I think she also wants permission from the greatest parent of all, John Hodgman. [Laughs.]

john

Parent of all only children. [Grandly] You are all my only children! [Jesse laughs.] [Usual voice] I think you're absolutely right. Hanna, do not compare thyself to others. Do not shame them for making their life choices, which... could arguably be their death choices. Do not use them to shield you from making choices that you, yourself, are making. If you'd find their behavior reckless, you should not join in on it. But if you feel you can cross that street, and you're not putting other people in danger, go for it! You say it's an only child thing; to me it feels like a sibling thing. Siblings... Always like, "He gets a cookie! Shouldn't I get one?" No. Just take your own cookie in life if you can get it. Don't hurt other people. And don't be irresponsible, Hanna. Don't worry about them. Worry about you.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

As a native San Franciscan who grew up with two parents who did not have cars until I was a teenager and didn't, myself, learn to drive until I was like 20 or something like that, I truly in my heart believe that I have—what's the guy from the X-Men that shoots laser beams out of his eyes?

john

Cyclops, Scott Summers.

jesse

I have, like, a Cyclops-like power—in my heart I know this to be true—to stop cars in their tracks.

john

Ha!

jesse

I will enter the crosswalk and I will just look at a car that's coming at me like, "Don’t. You. Dare." I just seize control of the situation with the power of my eyes. [John exhales like an appreciative whistle.] "Don't. You. Dare." And they stop right there, not even at the crosswalk. Eight feet behind the crosswalk. 'Cause they've been intimidated by my eye powers. I'm like Matilda from the book Matilda.

john

Yeah! Folks who haven't seen Jesse Thorn live in concert with Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice or in his own Jordan, Jesse, Go! shows, or just out there in the streets... Jesse Thorn is nine feet tall.

jesse

Yep!

john

He's got a majestic, Rasputin-y beard.

jesse

Yep.

john

And two—not one, but two—of the most beautiful, piercing eyes in pod business.

jesse

Yeah. And I always wear a chainmail shirt, like Isaac Hayes.

john

You don't wear a chainmail shirt, but I do feel like—I could see driving up to you, and you turning and looking me in the eyes, and it would feel like a movie from a 1970s Satanic horror movie— [Jesse laughs.] —where you're about to give me—[laughing] you're about to curse me.

jesse

I had to do that one time at the corner of Mission and Valencia Streets in San Francisco, when I was about 13. This woman in like a Chrysler, like an '89 Chrysler—

john

Yeah.

jesse

—rolled up to the intersection. I was crossing the intersection. I did not give an inch. And she bumped me in the knee. [John laughs.] Just going like three miles an hour. She was stopping, but she just went too far. She—and she bumped me in the knee. And I looked over my shoulder, and it was a lady from church. [John gasps.] You would think I would do what Christ would do in this situation, which is give her a forgiving look.

john

Sure.

jesse

But instead, I gave her a look that warned her: I know where you're headed when you die.

john

[Laughs.] You'd think you would do what Christ would do in that situation, right? Which is make her drink his blood. [Jesse cracks up.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] As in communion! Although I am—I was Episcopalian—

john

Right.

jesse

—so in our church it is a metaphor.

john

I think that—you know, we have a lot of new merch populating into the MaxFun store. You're gonna see a lot of new and interesting merch coming up in the MaxFun store, and on tour. Some really exciting Judge John Hodgman stuff. But one thing we did not think to make, Jesse, was an official Judge John Hodgman Bailiff Jesse Thorn traffic stopper. [Jesse laughs.] It's like a crossing guard–style stop sign, but instead of the word "stop" on it, it's just got a picture of your face. [Jesse laughs harder.] Staring resolutely. I'll tell you what: while supplies last, if you make a Judge John Hodgman Bailiff Jesse Thorn traffic stopper and bring it to the Judge John Hodgman show, you get an automatic Double Corgi enamel pin from me. It's gotta look good, though. You know what I mean? Nice big illustration or photograph of Jesse Thorn's face. Stopping traffic.

jesse

Rick says: "My wife and I live with two decidedly untidy children, ages seven and three. I serve as the treasurer and bookkeeper for our local Quaker meeting, of which my wife is a member, and regularly receive mail and other documents on behalf of the meeting. Currently all incoming mail is left on top of our piano, to be addressed later." [John laughs knowingly.] "When carrying out my duties as treasurer each month, I frequently have to search for the materials I need. They become obscured under other meaningless advertisements, or misplaced by curious children. I propose to procure and install a simple wooden wall-hanging mail sorter. My wife objects on the grounds that our walls have all been recently painted, and should not have anything affixed to them. I seek an order to allow the installation of a reasonable receptacle that will keep safe and organized all incoming documents of value until they are summarily addressed."

john

Listen to Rick over here! He's a bookkeeper and treasurer for his Quaker meeting!

jesse

[Stifling laughter] This does really read like a memo.

john

Yeah, and a piano owner. Alright. I got it, Rick! Say no more, you are a fancy man! [Laughs.] Just kidding. The Quakers aren't fancy at all; they're a wonderful meeting of friends!

jesse

Yeah. Modest.

john

Very modest, indeed. Rick isn't that modest. He's bragging about his piano. But— [Jesse laughs.] And his title. Treasurer and bookkeeper! Jesse, have you ever been to a Quaker meeting or a Quaker wedding?

jesse

I have not ever been to a Quaker meeting or wedding! Although my AP US History teacher was a practicing Quaker.

john

I went to a Quaker wedding. I've not been to a standard meeting, but I gather that the system is more or less the same, and where there are differences, I look forward them—to being enumerated in detail in the many letters I'm about to receive. But the wedding I went to was that of my cousin Christine. My—actually, my wife's cousin Christine. And she grew up in the Quaker tradition, and in the Quaker wedding—as in I believe Quaker meeting—everyone sits in a big circle, and you just sit there silently. There's no one leading it, per se, and you sit there silently until you feel moved by some spirit inside of you to speak what is on your mind. And in the case of the wedding, it's usually people getting up and saying "I remember when I first met the bride and groom, and here's a story," whatever. It's like, almost like a series of really reverent toasts. But the silence would last a long time. You would think, if you were a practicing Quaker, you wouldn't have to sit there and think of something. You'd preload with a couple of good anecdotes. But of course the silence is part of the experience, is really feeling silence with a big group of people. It's kind of amazing.

jesse

Did you see the episode of Catastrophe, the wonderful television program, in which Rob Delaney, my friend and yours, went to a Quaker meeting—

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

—because he needed to be spiritually salved? And he thought maybe he was getting spiritually salved, [stifling laughter] but in the end he just yelled and swore at all of them? [John bursts out laughing, Jesse also laughs.]

john

I have not seen that one, I'm afraid. [Laughs.]

jesse

It's a really good one. [Laughs.]

john

[Sighs.] So anyway, Rick. Bookkeeper and treasurer for local Quaker meeting. You're losing some important documents from the top of the pie-ana (piano). I have this issue myself, which is I take in the mail, and—I have difficulty in my home, being able to put something down and coming back to it even five minutes later. Things seem to get sorted and changed and fall down cracks, or get thrown into other piles, and it can be a little bit frustrating. I share and understand your frustration. I believe that you do need a reasonable receptacle. All human beings deserve a reasonable receptacle for their special Quaker mail. I also feel that wall-mounted mail sorters are—look junky to me. Sorry. I think they look like... junk. Basically it takes, like, the junk pile on top of your counter and mounts it on the wall for everyone to see. [Jesse laughs.] And that doesn't mean it's wrong. If your wife, Rick, thought this would look fine, or didn't wanna protect the recently painted walls, then I would say go for it. But obviously then there wouldn't be any dispute and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

john

One of the things that I did in order—[laughs]—in order to make sure that I could put at least a couple of important things down and they wouldn't walk away—and I'm talking about like, passports and birth certificates. I got a safe. [Laughs.] I love my safe so much. No one's breaking into the house for these things. [Stifling laughter] But I love that I can close this thing and no one is getting at it.

jesse

Yeah.

john

Everyone in my family knows the combination. Do you know what I mean? But it's just too much trouble to get into the safe. And I'm just talking about—you know, it's like a small box with a combination lock on it, and it's heavy. And it's fireproof, too. Putting stuff in the safe and knowing that it's not moving around anywhere is a weird balm upon my soul. This is what I have to do to self-soothe, to quiet the screaming in the back of my head, Rick. And I know that you've got the screaming in the back of your head, too, with regard to your special Quaker bookkeeping correspondence. You should get a box, whether that is a cigar box, or a—some kind of nice basket, or a strongbox, or a safe, [stifling laughter] or a wall safe, or a giant standing safe. [Under his breath] That's what I wanted was a big giant standing safe, but anyway I didn't—couldn't get that, couldn't fit that in the apartment. [Normal volume] But just something where you can sort through the mail and put your stuff, and then put it aside where you know it will not move away. I'm sorry that I can't allow you to have your junky wall-hanging. But unless there's full consent from all parties, you can't just hang something on the wall. That's pretty much true whether it's your mail sorter or your giant Judge John Hodgman poster. Available now in the merch store.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Let's take a quick break. More items on the docket coming up in just a minute on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

john

[Every time John says "Facebook" in this promo, his voice is low and disgusted.] Hey, it's your Judge John Hodgman! You know what? Just for fun, I'm gonna throw another little case onto the docket. This is the case of Firefox vs. Big Tech. Did you know that 81% of web traffic is tracked by Google? And 61% of the top 10,000 websites are watched... by Facebook? Ugh, Facebook. Firefox says that's an invasion of privacy! And I... would agree! That's why the Firefox browser blocks ten billion trackers for users every day. Automatically. Including trackers from Google and Facebook. Firefox... for the win! This is the sound of a gavel.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Firefox for the win! Get privacy at Firefox.com/privacy! I'll say that again. Get privacy at Firefox.com/privacy!

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Quiet rock. Aimee Mann: Hello, this is Aimee Mann. Ted Leo: And I'm Ted Leo. Aimee: And we have a podcast called The Art of Process. Ted: We've been lucky enough over the past year to talk to some of our friends and acquaintances from across the creative spectrum to find out how they actually work. Speaker 1: And so I have to write material that makes sense and makes people laugh. I also have to think about what I'm saying to people. Speaker 2: If I kick your ass, I'll make you famous. Speaker 3: The fight to get LGBTQ representation in the show. Ted & Aimee: Mm-hm.

promo

Speaker 4: We weirdly don't know as many musicians as you would expect. Speaker 5: I really just became a political speech writer by accident. Speaker 6: I'm realizing that I have accidentally, uhhh, pulled my pants down. [Someone starts to laugh.] Ted: Listen and subscribe at MaximumFun.org or wherever you get your podcasts. Speaker 7: It's like if the guinea pig was complicit in helping the scientist. [Music ends.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. We're clearing the docket this week. Here's something from Sharon: "My husband and I travel quite a bit, and I often enjoy the local cuisine. But I wanna bring chili pepper sauce with me so I can put it on my food. He says this is disrespectful and inappropriate. I say if I've had it their way after a week or so, I think it's okay to customize my meals for the rest of the trip. It's better than ordering a burger or a pizza. We were just in Greece, and they didn't have sauce for anything! Next year we might be going to Peru. So I wanna bring pepper sauce because I know the food is meat-based. I like what I like! [Stifling laughter] And I'm not flaunting the additional sauce!" [John laughs.] "So I think it's okay! It's not like I'm covering their food with ketchup. What do you think? Disrespectful, or just fusion-y?"

john

Sharon, I like spicy food. I am like Nick Wiger. I'm a—something of a heat seeker. But in that last line, Sharon, you really are testing me. [Stifling laughter] It's hard for me to rule in favor of the word "fusion-y."

jesse

[Through laughter] Yeah.

john

Bailiff Jesse, do you have a favorite condiment?

jesse

Yeah! [Stifling laughter] I like mayonnaise.

john

Yeah.

jesse

But I think a condiment of this type, that I were gonna bring somewhere... I like a vinegary, not-that-spicy hot sauce, like a Cholula. I'll put that on eggs or something.

john

I love Cholula. I love hot sauce. I love... mayonnaise. I mean, I'm talking about a condiment where you might be tempted to put it on food that it doesn't belong. [Through laughter] You know what I mean? Like— [Jesse laughs.] —just 'cause you like that mayonnaise so much.

jesse

I love blue cheese dressing, [stifling laughter] but I can't imagine myself bringing it with me in a jug to restaurants.

john

[Laughs.] I would have thought blue cheese might be a migraine trigger, Jesse!

jesse

It is a migraine trigger for some people, as are all aged cheeses. Parmesan is particularly a source of potential migraines. But not for me.

john

Oh! Good, I'm glad to hear that.

jesse

So was I, when I—man, when I gave up hard cheese and aged cheeses for like six months when I went on a "eliminate everything" migraine diet, I was like, "I think that if cheese turns out to be a migraine trigger for me, I will just... accept that I will always have a migraine." [Both laugh.]

john

Accept the migraine.

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah!

john

Go with the ‘grain.

jesse

Or just like, move to a place where there's no cheese.

john

Or Peru, where the food is meat-based!

jesse

[Through laughter] Yeah!

john

[Stifling laughter] And apparently they have never heard of any sauces.

jesse

[Through laughter] Yeah. No sauces.

john

[Stifling laughter] Let's pick this apart a little bit here, Sharon.

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah.

john

First of all, I also enjoy a hot sauce. I getcha. I'm with you. I find that food is often under-seasoned to my taste. That doesn't mean that it's prepared wrong. But I usually like more salt and pepper and spice. When it is appropriate to the food that is being eaten, I find that I like to add a little bit more, and I get frustrated when—oh, I don't know, hypothetically, the general store in Maine changes its salt and pepper shakers from the ones that used to actually dispense salt and pepper, [getting heated] to the ones that you have to shake five times to get a single grain out. And then I have to pull the bottom out so I get the pepper out... [Snapping out of it] Sorry, that's a letter to the manager that I should be sending somewhere else. [Both laugh.] Come on, general store in Maine! [Laughs.] Get my salt and pepper shakers back! The ones I like! The ones that dispense the salt and pepper! But. That does not mean that it is okay for me to bring my own salt and pepper... to the general store. I don't think anyone would mind. But it's a slippery slope.

john

I have this question for you, Sharon. First of all, how are you getting through TSA with all this hot sauce? [Both laugh.] [Stifling laughter] You're traveling from place to place! Are you putting it in with your toothpaste? Are you bringing travel-sized?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Are you putting it in a diplomatic envelope?

john

[Stifling laughter] Yeah! Second of all, how do you not know that these places do have sauces?! [Jesse laughs.] They have plenty of sauces in Greek cuisine! The other thing I have to say is what do you know about Peruvian cuisine?! They've gotta have... sauces there for you! There is the combination, I think, of the intrusiveness of bringing your own seasoning to a restaurant—which in the context of the United States alone would be... problematic. It is beyond saying simply, "I know better than the chef how this should be prepared." It is "I don't even think you have the ingredients to make it right." And in the context of visiting other cultures, you may actually—in your self-delusion that these places don't have spice for you—you may be missing out on what these cultures' cuisines are actually offering you. I will put mayonnaise on almost anything. But that is a sick habit of my own. That does not mean it is the right thing to do. What's interesting is that you, Sharon, present this "I like what I like" piece of settled law in the Judge John Hodgman courtroom, and you throw it in my face, and you dare me to tell you that you're wrong.

john

Well, I accept your dare. You're wrong, Sharon! If this were a cis white dude bringing in hot sauce to every restaurant that he went to, everyone in the world would know he was a monster. [Chuckling] It would be automatic! I apologize for saying this, Sharon, but what you're doing is a little bit monstrous, but mostly just robbing yourself of the chance to taste these cuisines and not think that you're above the people who are making them for you. But really to embrace what different culture has to offer you.

jesse

Peru has both aji verde, a green hot sauce, and aji amarillo, a yellow hot sauce.

john

Those are two sauces that you were gonna miss, Sharon! 'Cause you were bringing your special hot pepper sauce. So... immerse yourself into the cuisines and the cultures of this world.

jesse

There is a cultural difference within the United States regarding carrying hot sauce. This was something that came up in the 2016 presidential election when, in an apparent effort to curry favor with African American women, the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton revealed on—I'm gonna say The Breakfast Club, but I might be forgetting where she revealed it—that she carried hot sauce in her purse.

john

Mm-hm. [John repeats this several times as Jesse continues.]

jesse

I think there are Southeasterners, and particularly African Americans, who carry a preferred hot sauce with them. But I don't think that they are carrying them to bring to restaurants where hot sauce is not accepted. You know what I mean? Like, where hot sauce isn't part of the cuisine. They're not like, "Oh, man, this, uh—this chow mein needs more Tabasco."

john

Right. I see what you're saying. And you know, it reminds me that—you know, I had brunch, now—boy, a couple years ago—with the great author N.K. Jemisin, author of the Broken Earth trilogy, an incredible fantasy trilogy that you should read. It's really cool and fun and interesting and challenging and provocative and good. And she's terrific.

jesse

Yeah, well, I'm friends with... her... cousin, comedian W. Kamau Bell. So, there.

crosstalk

John: Yeah! Right! Jesse: We're both friends with important, cool people.

john

Yeah! And I remember now that she had her own hot sauce in her bag at lunch. But we were at like a brunch place, that had hot sauce there. I can allow a carve-out, if there's a cultural tradition that I am not aware of, of bringing your own kind of hot sauce to a restaurant where hot sauce is part of the cuisine. If that's something I've missed, if that's a blind spot for me, that's on me. And Sharon... there you go. I give you that allowance. But going to other cultures, it's an opportunity to learn with your mouth! And have easier time getting through security at the same time. So that's my ruling.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

The whole point of going to Peru is to try out the aji verde!

john

There are all those aji verde factory tours. [Both laugh.] In Peru. [Laughs.]

jesse

Here's something from Amy: "My husband Jay owns a lot of sports caps. He currently has ten. In the past, he's had closer to 20. He often buys them based on the design of the team's logo. While he has some working knowledge of the teams, he's often not a fan. When we go out in the world and he's wearing a team hat, invariably a fan of the team will shout 'Go [Team Name]!' or give him a knowing nod, or want to talk at length about the team in question. I believe this creates a dishonest relationship between Jay and the sports fans with whom he crosses paths. For example, recently in a wine shop, the shopkeeper saw Jay's Pittsburgh Steelers hat and wanted to discuss at length the trials and tribulations of the current season. [Stifling brief laughter] Jay and the Pittsburgh fan spoke for a good five or ten minutes. After we left, Jay admitted he hadn't known about the recent trades and injuries the fan was so distraught about. I'd like Judge Hodgman to issue an injunction on Jay's hat-buying to only buy hats for teams he follows and appreciates as a team! Or to order that he admit to not being a fan when interacting with others."

john

Hm! I hate to talk about another podcast a second time on this podcast. But I made mention of Nick Wiger of the Doughboys before. He's a little bit of a heat seeker. But I do have a story that relates to this specifically, which is that I was in Boston for a live show that the Doughboys did. They were very kind to have me on that episode, where we reviewed—I don't know if it's come out yet, so I won't reveal it—a pizza chain that is very near and dear to Mike Mitchell's heart; cohost Mike Mitchell of course having grown up in Quincy, Massachusetts. And after the show, all of his Quincy fans that you've heard about on the show—the guys that he grew up with in Quincy—all came out to the bar after.

jesse

Momo, Big Hat, Fart-tholomew, all of 'em. [Laughs.]

john

Fart-tholomew! [Laughs.] Danno... Danno's the one I remember. 'Cause we ended up trading hats. The reason that we traded hats was that I was wearing my Quebec Nordiques hat. The Quebec Nordiques, of course, were the hockey team in Quebec City that eventually became the Colorado Avalanche, and you know I'm a fan of sad, neglected, extinct hockey teams, the Nordiques in particular. It had not occurred to me what would happen if a bunch of guys from Quincy saw me wearing a Nordiques hat. This sounds like a preface for violence. I certainly thought it was. [Laughs.] I love all the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but there's a certain kind of dude from Massachusetts who has a certain kind of accent, and a certain interest in hockey, who reminds me of the kids who were mean to me when I was but a young nerd. And here I was, surrounded by all these much larger dudes from Quincy, talking with that accent. Even though I'm from Boston, I have never had a Boston accent! I've always felt like a person without a country. And they see my hat, and they go, "Nordiques! That's awesome!" [Stifling laughter] I've never felt accepted like that by people in Boston in my life! Just because I was wearing a—old Nordiques hat!

jesse

[Stifling laughter] You immediately sent a bullying text to Elliott Kalan.

john

[Through laughter] That's right! I sent a picture with all my new friends! The hockey fans! [Jesse laughs.] One by one, the Quincy boys came up to me and said "That's effin' awesome. Nordiques—why do you have that hat?!" And I would explain! "I'm a fan of extinct hockey." They would try to engage me in conversations about hockey. I would just sort of gently nod them along and try to move along, 'cause if they found—I was concerned that if they found out I didn't know anything about hockey, they might punch me in the neck. But that's not true. My truth was good enough. If I had been asked directly, "Were you a fan of the Nordiques?" I would have simply said "No. I am a fan of this logo, and I love the sad story of all extinct hockey teams, and you can read all about it in my book Medallion Status, available now in hardcover, digital, and audiobook edition." And the result was we had a wonderful evening together. And I eventually ended up trading my Nordiques hockey hat to Danno for his Detroit Tigers baseball hat. Danno, who is from Quincy—and I said "Are you a fan of the Tigers?" And Danno said "No. I just effin' hate the Red Sox so much." We were brothers in that—I'm an only child, but he's my brother.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] We should explain that Danno also stars in that remake of Magnum, P.I.

john

Yeah, of course. Right. Yeah. [Laughs.] In any case, there is no shame in wearing the sports livery of a team that is not your own. Whether that is because you are obsessed with the logo, or you are obsessed with the history of extinct hockey, or whether you just hate the Red Sox that much [laughs] that you need to be such a Boston Mass-hole that you have to wear a Detroit Tigers hat in your own commonwealth. It's fine. It's fine for Jay to own more than one sports hat. I own more than one sports hat, and I hate all sports! Atlanta Flames, Hartford Whalers, Nippon-Ham Fighters. It's fun! They're fun to wear.

jesse

I just sent a patch to our mutual friend Dave Shumka, of the hit podcast Stop Podcasting Yourself, that says "Vancouver Blades."

john

Yeah, sweet! It's fun to wear that stuff, but here's where I think Jay goes wrong. One, Jay doesn't need ten hats, and certainly not twenty. Twenty would seem too many for him to have a connection and a feeling and a story with each one. And I feel if you're gonna wear a hat that is representative of a team that is not your own, you gotta find a way to connect with it. You gotta find a way to say to the person at the wine store, "Oh, I'm not from Pittsburgh actually, but I just love this team," or "I love this logo because XYZ." You don't wanna be in a situation—and I don't think it's fair to be in a situation—where the wine seller wants to talk to you about something that he loves, and you pretend that you love it, too, just to get out of the conversation. That is cruel. That is a kind of lying on your part. It's okay to wear team logos that don't quote-unquote "belong" to you, so long as you make them belong to you and you're straightforward about what you like about them. It is not okay for you to lead someone along to think that they share your interests when you do not. Jesse Thorn, do you think that's fair?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] I've just been busy writing a note to myself that says "Don't let Judge Hodgman see how many hats you have."

john

[Laughs.] Fine. You can articulate a reason for each hat that you have.

jesse

Yeah, that's true.

john

Whether it is the logo, the style, the maker, the place that you found it. The reason it is in your collection, I'm sure you could tell that story.

jesse

I am in fact a part-time professional hat manufacturer, so...

john

Yeah!

jesse

I think I get a pass.

john

If Jay has that connection with 10, 15, 20 hats, I can't argue with that. If you have that connection, great. But don't be out there fronting, Jay. Don't be fronting!

jesse

There's no future in it!

john

There's no future in fronting! Don't be out there wearing a hat that you have no connection to, such that when someone comes to you and says "Do we have this connection or not?" you basically have to sort of nod along and lie and say "Yes" when you don't. Make the connection; be able to articulate it. Go Pittsburgh.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Let's take a break. More items on the docket coming up in just a minute on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Elliott Kalan: Have you ever watched a movie so bad, you just needed to talk to somebody about it? Dan McCoy: Well, here at The Flop House, we watch a bad movie, and then talk about it! Stuart Wellington: Yeah, you don't have to do anything! We'll watch it and we'll talk it. We do the hard work. Dan: Featuring the beautiful vocal talents of Dan McCoy— Stuart: —Stuart Wellington— Elliott: —and me, America's rascal, Elliott Kalan. Stuart: New episodes every other Saturday at MaximumFun.org, or wherever you get your podcasts, dude. Stuart & Dan: Bye byyye! Elliott: Bye bye! [Cheerful outro music.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman! What a thrill we have had clearing the docket this week. But, we wanna remind people of a couple of things. First of all, last week I spent a fair amount of time berating our listeners, hoping to intimidate them into buying your new book Medallion Status. This time, I'm gonna try sweet-talkin' 'em.

john

Okay. I'll allow it.

jesse

[Jesse's voice is now lilting and a bit higher and softer than usual.] Hey, good-lookin'!

john

Eugh... [Laughs quietly.]

jesse

[Jesse maintains the lilting tone.] What are you up to? I bet you're doing something great! Like buying Medallion Status by John Hodgman at your local bookseller! What's that? You went and there wasn't one conveniently on the shelf because they'd already sold out because all the other Judge John Hodgman listeners were intimidated last week? Well, don't worry, you can ask them to order it for you, or you can buy it online! It's a great book; it's an exciting story that's both hilarious and wise! And you know what? John isn't just some dodo comedian who's, for the first time in their life, putting sentences on paper. John was a professional writer for many years before he even became a performer! His writing is eloquent and clear! Like the new E.B. White, but funnier. [Stifling laughter and reverting to usual voice] I'm really—I'm really going for it now. [Laughing] I'm really getting up to speed. [Back to lilting] And he's handsome, too!

john

[Laughs.] I'm speechless. I'm speechless, Jesse! Thank you very much. It's true: I have written a book called Medallion Status. I'm very proud of it. I've been speaking a lot about it because as we know, in this life you have to hashtag #AlwaysBePlugging. This very evening, I will be at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, our old friend Books Are Magic. By the time you hear this, perhaps it'll be too late for you to join us, but fear not! You can always call up Books Are Magic and order a copy of Medallion Status, and if you want it signed and shipped to you, I will go and sign it, and they will go and ship it to you! That's one way that you can get Medallion Status if you wish, and I thank them for their support. And you can go to JohnHodgman.com/tour, where you can see the remaining stop on my book tour, which is the Chicago Humanities Festival, as well as all of the dates that I will be joining my dear friend, sweet-talking Bailiff Jesse Thorn, on our Live Justice tour for Judge John Hodgman. Jesse, where are we going together on tour?

jesse

[Jesse is back to his usual voice.] We're gonna be in Toronto (Tuh-rahn-toh), Ontario on Wednesday, November 6th, known to locals as Toronto (T'ranna). Thursday, November 7th we'll be in Durham, North Carolina. Friday, November 8th in Atlanta, Georgia. Sunday, November 10th, Washington, DC; and Monday, November 11th at Portland, Maine. You can find all those dates at MaximumFun.org, our website, or at JohnHodgman.com/tour. Let me say this, John! You know we're headed to Washington, DC on Sunday, November 10th?

john

I do know that.

jesse

You know who's gonna be there at the show?

john

Nnno.

jesse

Linda Holmes from Pop Culture Happy Hour! [John starts clapping.] Yeah, that's right! She bought her own tickets!

crosstalk

John: Automatic standing ovation. Jesse: She bought! Tickets! [Clapping stops.]

jesse

Imagine how it'll feel to be enjoying the same show as the great Linda Holmes, one of the world's greatest podcasters! Sitting there thinking "I am oriented in the same direction as bestselling novelist and celebrated podcaster Linda Holmes. I'm enjoying the same laughs she is! We're breathing the same air." What a dream! What. A. Dream! Toronto, Ontario; Durham, North Carolina; [stifles laughter] Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, DC; and Portland, Maine. Come see us live on tour. I'm gonna play ukulele and sing songs even though six months ago I had never played a musical instrument in my entire life and had not sung in public since I was 16.

john

And between the Atlanta and the Washington dates, I'm doing a meetup in Philadelphia to check in with all my—my brotherly lovers over there, 'cause we don't have anything official scheduled there but I didn't wanna let you out. So all the details for that and all the stops, JohnHodgman.com/tour. Or the events page at MaximumFun.org. Medallion Status can be found at Bit.ly/MEDALLIONSTATUS. And if you've got a case that you'd like us to hear live on stage at any of these stops and you're gonna be there, make sure you say so in the subject line when you write to me at hodgman@maximumfun.org or write in the form at MaximumFun.org/jjho. Did I leave anything out, Jesse?

jesse

[Briefly nonchalant] Yeah. I've got the Put This On Shop. It's my vintage store on the Internet. PutThisOnShop.com. It features all kinds of vintage and antique items, but especially stuff like beautiful jewels for gentlemen. But also lots of other great goofy stuff. Look. Did I buy two different kinds of novelty eyeglasses at the flea market this past week for the Put This On Shop? Yes. Is one of them the kind with the battery-powered windshield wipers. Yeees. [Stifling laughter] Does it have its original box with some great graphics on it? Yeees! [John laughs.] All that stuff is online at PutThisOnShop.com. It is a veritable flood—buy those glasses, 'cause it is a flood of Biblical proportions of new stuff in the Put This On Shop. It is sweeping away all the bad old holiday gifts you might have bought for yourself and others, and it's a new day at PutThisOnShop.com. And if you use the code "VINTAGEJUSTICE," you will get free shipping on almost everything in the store. So PutThisOnShop.com, and the code "VINTAGEJUSTICE."

john

You wouldn't be listening to this if you didn't enjoy Jesse Thorn. His kindness, his intelligence, his taste, his eccentricities, his obsessions. If you wanna look in—if you wanna peer into the mind of your friend Jesse Thorn, go to the Put This On Shop, an incredibly curated collection of things that are fascinating to Jesse Thorn and intrinsically beautiful to all humans. Go. Go, go! Thank you, Jesse, for all your kind words. Shall we get back to this docket?

jesse

Let's do it.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. We're clearing the docket. With me, Judge John Hodgman. Here's something from Kathryn: "I'm bringing this case against my fiancé Austin. When cooking, Austin likes to move ingredients into small bowls before adding them to a dish. In the past, he's even dared to move things that I've chopped up into small bowls." [John snorts.] "I believe that we don't live in a Truman Show situation, and are not being secretly taped to be on a cooking show. So those bowls simply aren't necessary."

john

Hm!

jesse

"I believe unless the chopped up ingredients take up an unreasonable amount of space on the cutting board, they should remain on the cutting board until added to the dish. This practice reduces the number of dishes to wash. If I win the case, I ask for him to stop with these ridiculous small bowls."

john

Kathryn really thinks that Austin is being pretentious.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

With his love of little ramekins.

jesse

[Feigning bafflement] How could anyone be pretentious about mise en place?

john

[Stifles laughter.] I—I have a note right here. Jesse Thorn, what is your mise en place position?

jesse

[Laughs.] The closest I get to mise en place is that I do try and wash the knife right after I use it instead of leaving it around dirty. [Both laugh.]

john

So for those of you who don't know, mise en place is a French term. It's a culinary term that refers, essentially—I think it literally means "setting in place," but is essentially how you set up the space in which you are cooking to prepare to make the particular dish. And what Kathryn is describing, what Austin is doing, is setting up a very sort of considered, careful, some might say persnickety mise en place, where the individual ingredients—whatever they may be—cut up onions, cut up garlic, brown sugar, chia seeds, I don't know. Think of an ingredient. They are pre-measured before you start cooking, and often placed into little ramekins so that while you're cooking, you just—instead of "Now add three tablespoons of molasses" or whatever and you have to measure it out and put it in, you got the three tablespoons waiting right there. The downside, of course, is A, you have a lot more things to clean up, these little ramekins to go into the dishwasher or to wash by hand. And of course you look like a pretentious jerk who thinks he's on TV. 'Cause that's how people on TV cook.

john

I have no doubt that Austin is pretentious in doing this. No doubt at all. But he's not more pretentious... [dramatically] than Judge John Hodgman! Do I use ramekins? Of course I do. Why? Do I like to pretend I'm on a TV cooking show? Since I was 12. Of course I did. But, does it make the cooking easier if you plan your work and work your plan? It certainly makes cooking a fun, meditative, creative endeavor for me, rather than just an extra layer of [stifling laughter] existential panic on top of all the existential panic that is buzzing in my head all the time. And I would hate it if my wife—whose name is also Katherine! Oh, is she writing in about me? No, this is—that—different spelling. [He and Jesse laugh quietly.] I would hate if my wife tried to ramekin-shame me! I will say that if Kathryn is cooking, Austin should keep his hands off of her ingredients. She has a different style! A no-ramekin style! A "let's just cut 'em up and throw it in" style. But similarly, if Austin's cooking something, there's no reason—so long as he's cleaning up his own ramekins... ram it up! That's what I say.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Ramekins! I'd like to bring out a line of Judge John Hodgman ramekins! And send them directly to Austin.

jesse

Would they be the kind with a flat bottom and ridged sides, like you would make a crème caramel in? Or would they be the kind with a curved bottom, so that you can reach in and grab the ingredient out with your fingers like you were playing Mancala? [Both laugh.]

john

I think the traditional definition of "ramekin" is something more akin to like a crème caramel cup or whatever. I'm actually not fussy about my small little bowls. Hard—I'm sure that's hard for listeners to accept and believe, but I'm not that fussy about it.

jesse

I have a friend named Dan Charnas. Lovely guy. He wrote one of the best hip-hop books there is, called The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. Amazing book. Brilliantly reported.

john

Mm-hm!

jesse

He wrote a book called Everything in Its Place: The Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work, and Mind, that basically presents mise en place as a life-changing innovation. Not unlike your book, The Fantastic Power of Neatening Up or whatever it's called.

john

[Stifling laughter] The All-The-Time Sorcery of Keeping It Clean.

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah. And I have to admit, when he emailed me about this book, I said to myself "Welp! That's not for me, but I wish it the best." So I haven't read it. [John laughs.] But—[laughs] if you are a real mise en place nut, or you're just looking to get your life together, check out Dan Charnas's book!

john

Yeah! Who—where are my mise-en-place-ies at?

jesse

[Chuckles.] Your place-heads. I'm more of a Duplass-head. [John gasps.] [Stifling laughter] I'm all about that Puffy Chair, baby. [John groans.] [Laughs.] Oh, man. One time I saw Mark Duplass at the baseball game.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

And I went over and talked to him. [Stifling laughter] 'Cause I thought we were friendly. But it turned out we weren't. But he was pretty nice about it.

john

What do you mean? You've—you imagined that you had met him and you hadn't?

crosstalk

Jesse: Well, he had been on Bullseye before, and we had had a very nice time. John: Oh, yeah, right.

jesse

But he's a film and television star, as well as an accomplished director and producer.

john

Right.

jesse

He doesn't know Jesse Thorn, bothering him with his family at the baseball game! But he was right there in front of me. He was like, three rows in front of me. I said "I gotta go talk to Mark Duplass. This guy's too handsome for me to miss this opportunity!"

john

Yeah, you gotta go talk to a handsome man if you have a chance.

jesse

So handsome. Here's something from Jeff. Probably very handsome. "My Aunt Shirley logs into the social media account of her husband Randy, [laughing] and comments on the posts of family and friends." Baller move, Aunt Shirley! "Please compel Aunt Shirley to get her own social media account, or refrain from using social media altogether."

john

[Sighs.] You—Jesse, do I remember correctly that your first email address was one that you shared with your mother?

jesse

Yes, that is absolutely true. [Laughs.] JJThorn@sirius.net.

john

I want to reassure younger listeners that this is not what—Jesse's email relationship with his own mom was not sick or weird. This is not uncommon.

jesse

Yeah, this was back when you had to pay extra to get more email addresses!

john

Right. It was not uncommon for people to share email addresses for—especially for spouses to share email addresses, as absurd as that sounds now. Since the whole point of having email and social media is to... [laughing] live a secret life. [Jesse laughs.] But I have to tell all those people who are still sharing those email addresses. Split it up! You gotta split 'em up. Everyone needs their own life. What Aunty Shirley is doing, sharing the social media account of her husband, is identity theft. That's right, Aunt Shirley. We're coming for you. ID theft. Here's the thing: don't ever, under any circumstance, present your work in life—whether that is a piece of writing, piece of art, orrr a comment on a thread—as anything that might be construed as anything but your own. If it can be construed as the work of someone else, it's at the very best confusing, and really it's—uh, I think maybe technically criminal. So Shirley? You're on borrowed time now. I'm gonna call the cops on you.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yeah, we're gonna getcha with one of those hacking statutes.

john

Yeah, we're gonna get you a hacking statue. What's that? A statue of a hacker?

jesse

No, a statute! [Beat.]

john

[Stifling laughter] Oh. Sorry about that.

jesse

The docket is clear! That's it for another episode Judge John Hodgman. We have to stop it now before it gets worse. [John laughs.] [Stifling laughter] This week's episode was edited by Jesus Ambrosio and produced by Hannah Smith! Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and at @hodgman. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets and posts #JJHo! And check out the MaxFun subreddit at MaximumFun.Reddit.com to discuss this episode. You can submit your cases to us at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. If you're in one of the cities that we're on our way to on tour, make sure to mention that when you submit your case. And we'll see you next time! On the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

It's a statue of a hacker with a ukulele. [Jesse blows a prolonged raspberry, John laughs.]

music

A cheerful guitar chord.

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MaximumFun.org.

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About the show

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