TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 497: Grocery Store Quilts

Bedmaking, ice cream sandwich bread, Game of Thrones series finale thoughts, bagel consumption, and more! Plus toddler questions a new segment!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 497

Transcript

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. We're in chambers this week to clear the docket. With me as always is the man they call the Scallop Prince of Maine... [John laughs.] ...Judge John Hodgman.

john hodgman

[Sighs.] Hello! Welcome, everyone, to listening to this podcast. It is I, John Hodgman, joining my friends Jennifer Marmor and Jesse Thorn in two distinct locations in Los Angeles. I of course am in the solar-powered studios of WERU, headquartered in Orland, Maine, broadcasting on 89.9 on the frequency modulation band out of Blue Hill, Maine. It is—well, the time doesn't matter to you. You're gonna start listening to this whenever. But what you need to know is we started recording ten minutes late. For two reasons. One, I needed to finish my chicken fingers that I was having for lunch in the parking lot of WERU. And that was delicious. I was almost gonna skip lunch, Jesse, but then I was like, "I'm going by the gas station that has the good chicken! I gotta get some."

jesse

Yeah, nothing wrong with chicken fingers! They're a classic for a reason.

john

Yeah. Not after the record, before the record, so I'm all fueled up.

jesse

Probably the best of the finger foods.

john

That's right. I would agree. I would absolutely agree. But then we had to pause—

jesse

With apologies to ladyfingers. [Pause.]

john

Oh, are those the—like the spongecakes?

jesse

Yeah. It's like a soaked spongecake, I think.

john

A soaked spongecake? What are they soaked in, rum?

jesse

Yeah, or maybe cappuccino? I don't know. Something like that.

john

You have your cappuccino ladyfingers, you have your rum cappuccino ladyfingers, and then you have your plain rum ladyfingers. In any case, we also had to pause... to wait for Leafie to go away. [Leafie has been faintly audible in the background for some time now.] Leafie the Leaf Blower, as you know if you were listening last week, has been fired from the Judge John Hodgman family.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

No longer allowed to be on the podcast, due to scaring Cocoa last week. And Leafie was—Leafie was making a real racket outside your window there in Los Angeles, Jesse Thorn.

jesse

Yeah, Leafie's still here. I mean, I can't promise that you won't hear Leafie, but Leafie was immediately outside my window for some time.

john

Yeah, like, Leafie knew what Leafie did. And Leafie was coming back.

jesse

Yeah, it was sort of like Leafie was throwing rocks at my window. You know? Little pebbles?

john

[Laughs.] Well—

jesse

Like, [high-pitched] "Please, let me back in!" [Back to his usual voice.]

john

Let me tell everyone in the listening audience. You will never hear from Leafie again. We are—[stifles laughter]—we are restructuring our schedules to record on non-Leafie days. [Jesse laughs.] So if you hear Leafie today, let your ears soak it in. Leafie's vengeful buzzing. Let your ears soak it in, 'cause it's the last time you're gonna hear Leafie. So mad at Leafie. You know who I'm not mad at? Not mad at my friends who are on the Zoom with me. I can see you. And I'm not mad at, uh, Engineer Joel Mann. If I am the Prince of Scallops, Joel is the King of Scallops. How are you, Joel?

joel mann

Good, Judge.

john

I have some good news for you.

joel

What?

john

After last week's scallop talk...

joel

Yeah?

john

I went to the supermarket on the way home. Guess what? You may not know this. You—you can buy—you don't have to buy a gallon of them.

joel

What?!

john

Yeah. You can—you can get just a few.

joel

No!

john

You can order as many or as few scallops as you want.

joel

Come on. Stop it.

john

I got a dozen, and that was all I needed, thank heavens. [Jesse laughs quietly.]

joel

Wow.

john

And they were delicious. They were great. And they were right off the boat, too. It said on a little card, taped up. "Fresh today." And they were very good. [Leafie is getting louder.]

joel

Awesome.

john

I don't know if they got 'em from your guy. David Tarr? Is that the name of your scallopman?

joel

That's the guy.

john

He goes in the water.

joel

He dives. Yes.

john

He—yes. He goes in the cold Maine waters.

joel

All winter long.

john

All winter long, and grabs them, just to give you a—

joel

A gallon.

john

Just to hand off a gallon to you.

joel

Yep.

john

You have to give me some of those scallop-freezing tips that you promised me. Case I get into too many scallops this winter. [Joel chuckles.] Alright, anyway, we got some justice to dispense. It's not Scallop Talk. That's a separate podcast. [Joel chuckles, John stifles laughter.] Jesse Thorn, what's going on? What's on the docket? [Pause. Leafie is... very audible.]

jesse

Hold on one second.

john

Is Leafie back??

jesse

Yeah, Leafie's back here, right—right outside the old winder.

john

You know what? Just power through it! Leafie's last hurrah. Go ahead.

jesse

Alright! I'll do it! Here's something from JB. She says: "When my partner makes the bed, he tucks in not only the top sheet but also every blanket, quilt, and bedspread in use. I believe this makes the bed both uncomfortable and aesthetically unpleasing. It also puts stress on the fabric of our quilts and bedspreads."

john

[Incredulous] What?

jesse

"We've been married for 20 years, so I guess you could say I'm made my bed and now I must lie in it."

john

Mm.

jesse

"But I'm hoping for a decision that bedspreads, quilts, and other covers aren't meant to be tucked in."

john

Hoo. Some fancy wordplay there from JB. I appreciate that. Jesse Thorn... you have three small children.

jesse

That's true.

john

Is there making of beds in your house? At all?

jesse

I will straighten out the bed.

john

Yeah.

jesse

When I get up out of it in the morning, but I don't even re-tuck sheets. I just straighten them out, and pull the duvet up.

john

Right.

jesse

And the main reason that I do that, frankly, is because I know that otherwise, my dogs will be getting into the sheets and trying to dig holes in the sheets, and I would prefer that they try and dig holes in the duvet.

john

Yeah. They're hiding from Leafie, the malevolent leaf blower. You gotta—

jesse

Sure! Or looking for bed squirrels.

john

That's true. That's always a possibility. [Laughs.] You gotta flip the mattress twice a year to shake out those bed squirrels. You know that, right?

jesse

Sure.

john

Alright. I'll tell you—I'll tell you listeners who are shopping the Hodgman Collection at Brooklinen—hey, that's a plug. They didn't even pay for.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

I'll tell you shoppers who are shopping the Hodgman Collection at Brooklinen, you all know the color of my sheets. Slate gray. And then I got that—that stripe, that gray and white striped duvet cover. Do you know how I make my beds? No. You'll never know. You'll never—you'll never be able to replicate it perfectly. I will keep some secrets, thank you very much! But yeah, I mean, it's just—I—in a normal situation—but Jesse, in a ideal world, what would you consider to be a properly made bed? What is tucked in? What is not tucked in? In the platonic world of Jesse Thorn's, uh, bedclothes headcanon?

jesse

I think—well, first of all, I like to use a top sheet. That will be tucked in. And I think in a situation like a summery situation—

john

Yeah.

jesse

—I don't think it's inappropriate to tuck in a light blanket.

john

Mm-hm! Yeah!

jesse

I think that can make for a nice presentation. Like if you're using, like, a quilted cotton blanket or something like that?

john

Yeah.

jesse

Like a knit cotton blanket, maybe. That kind of thing seems appropriate to tuck in. Tucking in a feather duvet is a little goofy to me. And—

john

That seems a little too much.

jesse

And I'm not ready to dismiss JB's argument that tucking in the quilt puts stress on the fabric. Uh, I have some quilts—

john

You noticed that I highlighted that phrase for ridicule.

jesse

Yeah. I have some quilts that are family heirlooms.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

That I like to put out on my bed because they remind me of, you know—I have some that each of my—one that my maternal grandmother made, or was actually made from pieces that my maternal grandmother cut and sewed.

john

Yeah.

jesse

And I have one that was made by my paternal grandmother and her mother.

john

Yeah.

jesse

For my birth. And I like to have those out. I also have a few, like, 19th-century ones. I know what you're thinking. What am—what do—who do I think I am? Famous quilt collector Ken Burns?

john

I was thinking that. [Stifles laughter.] I got confused. I thought for a minute I was on the wrong podcast.

jesse

Google "Ken Burns quilts," by the way, 'cause the man has some amazing quilts. [Stifles laughter.]

john

Right.

jesse

I'm not—like, you think I'm joking, but I am a hundred percent on board with Ken Burns, famous documentarian, and his collection of American quiltwork.

john

Well, quilts are works of art!

jesse

But yeah, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to want to protect your quilt. And not to tuck it in tautly. If it is an actual, you know, family piece, a handmade piece.

john

An heirloom.

jesse

If it's just something—yeah, I mean, if it's just something that you, you know, bought at the grocery store in 1997, I'm... I'm not that worried about it getting tucked in.

john

[Laughs quietly.] Also, maybe time—you don't need those grocery store quilts anymore. I think they've done their work. If you've had them in ninet—

jesse

If—

john

Yeah.

jesse

Yeah. I mean, if anybody out there is a Zoomer, us Millennials remember when they sold quilts at the grocery store. [John laughs.] "You might be a Millennial if..."

john

I will say this. I—alright. I'm glad that you stood up for JB, in her worry for her quilts. And I would agree with you. If they're an heirloom quilt, if they're something special to you, you know, put—just—even putting them on the bed constitutes potential damage. Definitely you don't need to stretch those things out. I would say a regular blanket or whatever, that—I don't think that that's a real issue. If it's a grocery store quilt or blanket. I think you're gilding the lily, JB. The fact is that what your partner is doing—your spouse of 20 years or more—it's a very old-fashioned look, and a very formal look, to my mind. And I would think that it would not suit a duvet cover which itself suggests a kind of rumpled casualness. But if you've got the bedclothes to make that look good, and your spouse wants to make it look good, I say let him make it look good! I appreciate that it's not aesthetically pleasing to you. But on the other hand, you lied. You said, "I've made my bed, and now must lie in it." No! You have not made it. Your spouse made it! Your spouse... made... the bed. Do you have any idea, JB, what kind of gift that is? A spouse who makes the bed? I know that one of the spouses in my spousal relationship does not appreciate what a gift it is.

john

[Laughs quietly.] Takes it for granted! That one of us is going to go ahead and straighten that duvet cover every morning! I wanna get married to your spouse, JB! It's just like picking songs on the radio when you're driving in the car. The person who does the work gets to choose how to do it. And I would just say I'm sorry that it's not to your liking. Before you go to bed, just go in there and pre-untuck. Pre-untuck for a little while, and let that drift into your eyes before you get into your bed. Loosen up those sheets and blankets.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Here's something from Pierce. He writes: "Several months ago, under duress, I had to describe what the non–ice cream parts of an ice cream sandwich are. I said, 'Ice cream sandwich bread.' My girlfriend, after laughing at me, said I was wrong. She Googled, and said they're called wafers or cookies. Please order my girlfriend to recognize that 'ice cream sandwich bread,' though not in wide usage, is the superior name!"

john

[Laughs, sighs.] I gotta say, I really love this first sentence. "Several months ago, under duress, I had to describe what the non–ice cream parts of an ice cream sandwich are."

jesse

[German accent] "Tell us what you call the non–ice cream parts of an ice cream sandwich! Tell us!" [Stops accent.]

john

That's an incredible—that—there are a lot of different stories in that one sentence. You know what it reminds me of? One of the best first sentences in fiction. Gabriel García Márquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude. "X number of years later—" I can't remember the number of years. But the rest of this is off the dome. "X number of years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía remembered the time his father took him to see ice." Pretty good. I haven't picked up that book in probably 25 years. Remember that first line. There's a lot of stuff going on in that line. I like the story behind this, Pierce. You spin a good tale. I don't know. First of all, an ice cream sandwich is a sandwich. It's meat between bread, obviously.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

Would you call the—those brown—the tops and bottoms of an ice cream sandwich, a classic rectangular ice cream sandwich—would you call that a wafer? Or a cookie?

jesse

Well, first of all, you know what kind of ice cream sandwich I'm eating, John. I'm eating an It's-It!

john

It's-It!

jesse

The real San Fransisco treat.

john

A—yeah, that's right. [Chuckles.] They call it that because the ice cream is mixed with Rice-A-Roni.

jesse

[Laughing] Yes. Exactly. [John laughs.] Um, I only recently had Rice-A-Roni for the first time, because my wife accidentally bought it when trying to buy yellow or Spanish rice.

john

Yeah.

jesse

In a box.

john

Yeah.

jesse

And she bought the Rice-A-Roni version. I had no idea it was a mix of noodles and rice.

john

It's a pilaf!

jesse

[Laughing] What a weird product!

john

It's a pi—it's a rice pilaf, that's all! That's—that's what makes it Ron—that's the Roni in the Rice!

jesse

Nothing reminds me of a cable car cresting a hill like a mix of rice and rice-shaped pasta.

john

[Laughs.] Wh—

jesse

Anyway.

john

That—looking—Zoomers? This is an X'er talking to you. You have no idea what we're talking about. You did not grow—you are perhaps the first generation to grow up without any jingles worming their way into your head from television commercials that you were forced to watch during afternoon screenings of... What was—my afternoon thing was Star Blazers. On channel 25.

jesse

[Laughs.] That just sounds made up.

john

No, it's really real. I'll tell you—I'll tell you this. This is the Rice-A-Roni jingle. [Singing] "Rice-A-Roni! The San Francisco treat! Ding, ding!" [Speaking] And if—and maybe—

jesse

Yeah, it's a cable car bell.

john

Maybe later in the podcast if we have time, I'll sing the Star Blazers theme. As a treat.

jesse

You know what, Jen? On our way out, play one of the bell ringers from the cable car bell-ringing competition that's an annual tradition in San Francisco— [John gasps.] —and one of the best things about cable cars.

john

Yeah, let's do that, too. Let's—we got all kinds of teases. People are gonna listen to this whole episode, I have a feeling, Jesse.

jesse

Yeah.

john

This is probably the first one people are gonna go all the way through. Anyway. You like an It's-It. Describe to the listener—and frankly, refresh my memory—what constitutes an It's-It?

jesse

An It's-It is a San Francisco–based—or I should say Bay Area–based. They're actually I think in Burlingame. Uh, frozen confection. With a kind of light ice cream in the middle, sort of an ice milk–type situation.

john

[Shuddery] Ooh.

jesse

Two chewy oatmeal cookies on the outside.

john

Right.

jesse

And the whole thing is dipped in chocolate. It comes in a variety of flavors.

john

Right.

jesse

But I would argue the classic flavors are vanilla and mint.

john

It's kind of a chocolate-enrobed chipwich, without chocolate chips.

jesse

Yeah. But the—but the—but—mm... I mean, there is a chocolate-enrobed chipwich version of the It's-It.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

It's-It makes a separate product that is what you're describing. What I am describing are chewy oatmeal cookies, rather than chocolate chip cookies.

john

I understand. Okay. By the way, It's-It, get—get on this program!

jesse

I know.

john

Get on the program of sponsoring this program. Come on. Look. Okay. It's-It has a cookie on top, cookie on the bottom. I'm talking about classic—

jesse

Now, John. If you're asking me about the classic ice cream sandwich, like right now in my freezer I have an ice cream—I have a box of an ice cream sandwich called FatBoy Junior.

john

Mm-hm!

jesse

Which are wonderful ice cream sandwiches. I would call the outside cookies. And I'm—I would be comfortable with "wafers" as well.

john

I don't know, Jesse Thorn, 'cause I'm think—I'm thinking of like, school cafeteria. School cafeteria—

jesse

Yeah!

crosstalk

John: Uh, like, rectangular—two chewy—yeah. Jesse: I would call that the cookie or—yeah. I know exactly what you're talking about.

jesse

I think that's a great ice cream sandwich. The worst version of that—we were just talking about this on Jordan, Jesse, Go! the other day. The worst version of an ice cream sandwich, like the equivalent of that gallon jug of red drink that costs 45 cents at the grocery store—

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

jesse

Uh, that version of an ice cream sandwich is still a great treat.

john

Oh, I do—you know, I rarely go for sweets, but I do enjoy an ice cream sandwich. And in some ways, I feel like the sort of lower quality the better, as far as I'm concerned. Like true high school cafeteria.

jesse

Yeah, one that comes in a paper wrapper that just says, "I C Sandwich" on the outside in big block letters or whatever.

john

[Laughs.] Exactly. And when I think of that—'cause see, I think you guys are too fancy. When I think of that, I'm thinking of a very specific, thin, brown... thing... that has a—

jesse

It's kinda mealy.

john

It has a mealy—a mealy—that's exactly right, Jesse! Mealy texture! That is very specific to it and nothing else. It's it!

jesse

Yeah.

john

In its own It's-It way. And I don't consider it a wafer, which I consider to be crisp, or a cookie, which I consider to be more substantial. I'm gonna call it—I've never heard a better phrase for it—"ice cream sandwich bread." For that instance. I think that Pierce is correct. [Jesse laughs.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Ice cream sandwich bread! It's great!

jesse

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

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

It's Judge John Hodgman. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn, and of course every episode of Judge John Hodgman is supported by all of the members of MaximumFun.org. You're keeping the lights on here at MaxFun, and we could not appreciate you more. Every single person who's gone to MaximumFun.org/join to become a member, thank you very much. We're also, this week, supported by our friends at... Babbel!

john

Jesse... Thorn. May I ask you a question?

jesse

Of course.

john

Qu'est que ce passe se? Jesse? Qu'est que ce passe se?

jesse

Uh...

john

That's right, I—I'm sorry. You don't speak French, do you? That is a—that is a French phrase that literally means, uh, "What is it that passes itself here? What's going on?" [Both laugh.] They make it very complicated.

jesse

Yeah.

john

What is it that passes itself here, Jesse? What's happening?

jesse

Well, Babbel is an app that helps you learn languages in your free time! Maybe when you're taking your little walk around the neighborhood, or, uh, maybe when you're having lunch by yourself at your, you know, kitchen table. You can put those headphones on, grab your phone, fire up Babbel, and learn, like, dozens of languages!

john

"Déjeuner" is French for "lunch," Jesse.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Oh, thank you.

john

Do you know what "breakfast" is in French?

jesse

What?

john

"Petit déjeuner." Little lunch.

jesse

Oh! [Chuckles.] That's nice.

john

Yeah. Learned it on Babbel.

jesse

It doesn't matter why you want to learn a language. Maybe you want to talk to someone important in your life in their native tongue. Maybe you're looking forward to traveling in 2021. Maybe you're trying to keep your brain sharp. Maybe you want to get a promotion at work, and it's a valuable skill, if you work at a company with multilingual persons. Any of those are a great reason to pick up Babbel.

john

Babbel is the language-learning method designed to get you speaking your new language within weeks, with daily 10-to-15–minute lessons. Listen to this, Jesse.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

"Empiezas con palabras y frases. E luego las oraciones se vuelden gradualmente mas complejas. Pronto estaras practicando conversaciones breves." [Sighs.] "You start with words and phrases, and then the sentences get gradually more complex," like that one! And soon you're practicing short conversations.

jesse

And Babbel's interactive dialogue and speech recognition technology helps to improve your pronunciation and accent. Not that you need any improvement with your Spanish pronunciation, John. [Jesse laughs, John snorts.]

john

I'm a little—I'm—tengo que—tengo que practicar, un poco. Sa—yo se.

jesse

[Laughs.] So you feel confident when you speak. And the good news is Babbel's offering our listeners three months free with the purchase of a three-month subscription, with the promo code "Hodgman."

john

Visit Babbel.com, and use promo code "Hodgman" on your three-month subscription. That's B-A-B-B-E-L dot com to use promo code "Hodgman." I'm gonna go practice my Spanish.

jesse

We're also supported this week by our friends at Ruby Coffee. They're a very small coffee-roasting company based in Nelsonville, Wisconsin—which, John, is a city of 191 people.

john

And it's a city? [Stifles laughter.]

jesse

Of whom—yeah, that's—

john

It has—it has a mayor and everything?

jesse

That means—that means that like, a solid 5% of the city works at Ruby Coffee Roasters. [Laughs.]

john

That's fair! It's also the town council, I'm sure.

jesse

But this is a business run by a guy who was working in one of those fancy, coastal elitist–type fancy coffee roasting places, and said, "You know what? I would like to do this back home in Wisconsin." And so he set up shop in Nelsonville, and makes some of the greatest coffee in the world! We have literally—so I was talking to—there's this guy named Jesse who works there.

john

Yeah.

jesse

He's a listener to this program. That's how this all happened. I was talking to him. He said Judge John Hodgman listeners have bought almost a thousand pounds of coffee from them.

john

Woo!

jesse

Since we started talking about Ruby. And it is amazing stuff. It comes right here to my house. And my wife the coffee snob loves it to death.

john

Let me tell you. This is really, really, really good quality. But it's also... good—it's good coffee in a different sense, in that it is sourced from a variety of direct relationships with farmers, and small coffee import/export companies, who work directly with small farmers. They're coffee's roasted to order, it's always fresh when it arrives at your doorstep, the menu rotates seasonally to reflect the growing and harvest seasons. You're always getting the freshest stuff. And it's a subscription, right, Jesse? How does that work?

jesse

Yeah, you can get—well, you can—certainly you can just buy a few pounds of coffee if you'd like to.

john

Or a thousand pounds.

jesse

You can also subscribe—yeah, exactly. You can also subscribe, and when you subscribe, you can either just take the roaster's choice, or you can tell them what kind of coffee you like. You like fruity coffee, you like chocolatey coffee. Whatever your preferred flavor profiles are, they will accommodate them in your subscription.

john

Let me tell you what my thing is this month.

jesse

Number one, it's huffing.

john

I do. I—

jesse

You've gotten really into coffee-huffing. [Laughs.]

john

I love smelling the beans. I love just walking around with my nose in that bag like I'm an old mare in a feedbag. [Sniff, sniff, sniff.]

jesse

Yeah.

john

Yeah. But then I—but I also drink it! And my blend right now: Natamaya! Natamaya comes from El Salvador, and it's a really intense and wonderful, fragrant combination of cola, black cherry, molasses, and fudge. And you know that I don't like fudge! I don't care for fudge at all. Readers of Vacationland know.

jesse

No.

john

But I like it in my coffee! It tastes good. And one of the reasons I like Natamaya so much—I confess I went to their little fact page, and I learned that in their processing of these beans, they are not only fully washed... They are sun-dried on patios. [Jesse laughs quietly.] These beans have the life! These are—[laughs]—these are—these are beans that come from a small family estate in El Salvador. And they spend their time waiting for you out basking in the sun of a beautiful patio. It looks like a really nice place. Natamaya.

jesse

This is like the coffee bean equivalent of those Japanese cows that get massages.

john

That's exactly right. Jesse, I just had a terrible thought.

jesse

What's that?

john

Well, how many pounds of coffee have Judge John Hodgman listeners bought?

jesse

About half a ton.

john

Yeah. I was joking that maybe one person would buy that amount, but I just had this terrible thought. That maybe, uh, listener Jeremy, who's always taking the leaves off the radishes and trying to sneak his way into the podcast—

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yeah, right, sure.

john

—might have bought a thousand pounds of coffee on his own. Just to get us to mention him in this ad read. Oh! Jeremy, you did it again!

jesse

That's probably what happened. Go to RubyCoffeeRoasters.com, and use discount code "JJHO" to get 20% off your first shipment of any prescription, or 15% off a one-time coffee purchase. That's RubyCoffeeRoasters.com, and the code is "JJHO"!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. We're clearing the docket this week. I'm in Los Angeles. Judge Hodgman in Orland, Maine, with the great Joel Mann. Here's something from Ethan. He writes: "In May of 2019, I organized a betting pool for the final season of Game of Thrones. One question was, 'Who holds the Iron Throne at the end?' My friend Nick claims he is correct in arguing that no one claimed the throne, because: 1) Drogon melted the literal Iron Throne, and 2) The Iron Throne is symbolic of the Seven Kingdoms, which were dissolved. I argue that 'no one' is an unacceptable answer, because Bran became King of Westeros. I ask that you order one party to concede defeat and award damages to the victorious party." Presumably in the—in the—[laughs]—in the form of what is called the Dork Throne.

john

[Laughs.] The Dork Throne is at stake!

jesse

It's made of melted 20-sided dice, by the way. [John and Jesse laugh.]

john

Uh, yeah. That's a good point. Maybe people don't know what the Iron Throne is. Joel, do you know what the Iron Throne is?

joel

No.

john

Joel. Here's the thing. Aegon the Conqueror, the first of the Targaryen kings, conquered the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

jesse

You remember him from Ghostbusters, right?

john

That's right. [Laughs.] And in the television show Game of Thrones and the George RR Martin novels A Song of Ice and Fire. In the fantasy world in which it takes place, there's a place called Westeros. There are seven kingdoms in it. Aegon rode—his dragon to King's Landing, beat them all at war, took control of all of the seven independent kingdoms—except he didn't actually take control of all of them, Joel. Dorne—the Kingdom of Dorne resisted his rule for centuries after. But still he claimed that he was the king of all seven kingdoms. Technically later those became eight and nine, as there were some changes. And then all the swords that were surrendered to him by his opponents were melted down and forged into a throne of swords called the Iron Throne. Got it now?

joel

I always wondered why I didn't watch that. Now I know.

john

It's a good show.

joel

Yeah.

john

It's a good show.

joel

Sounds like it.

john

Yeah. Take a look. It's good. It's a great book. Great series of books! It occurred to me, Jesse, that George RR Martin is a fan of this show. And someone that I have had the pleasure of meeting from time to time. Indeed, he sent me a text out of nowhere just to say, "Happy Thanksgiving!" on Thanksgiving. It was very touching.

jesse

That's very nice.

john

And I thought, "Well, I could ask George RR Martin's opinion on this," but then I remembered, this not only deals with the television series, not the books, but also the final season of the television series, and I don't think anyone has told George RR Martin that that—that that happened. [John and Jesse laugh.] I think he's being—[laughs]—I think that the information that the television series, uh, had a final season and is now over, is being hidden from him as he works on the final books.

jesse

Yeah.

john

So I'm forced to go with my own knowledge and expertise in the history and lore of Westeros. And I will say, uhhh, that Nick is correct! At the end of the TV series, that dragon Drogon melts that whole throne. So no one's sitting on that chair. And at the end of the finale, I don't remember the—all of the Seven Kingdoms being disbanded, but I know that the North seceded and became a kingdom unto itself, as it once was, way back when. Sansa Stark demands that it become an independent kingdom. And while she should be and is, as far as I'm concerned, [stifles laughter] the rightful Queen in the North, instead her younger brother Brandon Stark—Bran—became named King in the North. Rigged. Rigged election, I say. Not the way I would have done it. But then again, it wasn't my job! [Stifles laughter.] To finish that incredibly ambitious story. I'm glad I don't have to! I'm glad I'm not those guys who made that TV show. I'm not—I'm glad I'm not George RR Martin for that reason. It's a hard landing to stick. And both the show and the books have meant a lot to me, and I will say that as someone who was pretty well steeped in the lore, I think Nick is correct, and I think Nick is also—deserves this win of the Dork Throne, for sheer boldness! Dorkness favors the bold! [Jesse laughs.] I mean, to go out there and say, "No—no one." That's such a—a snarky answer to give. Like—it's like, "Mm, you know who I think is gonna be the king at the end of the books? No one. I think they're gonna form a constitutional republic or something!" Contrarian. I like it, Nick. In the Game of Dorks, either you win or you lose. And Ethan, you lose.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Can I tell you something about that last episode of Game of Thrones  and the conclusion of that grand tale?

john

Sure.

jesse

I love the television program. I haven't read the books yet.

john

Yeah.

jesse

Look forward to reading them at some point in the future, but I—I love the television program. Watched every episode of it. Was thrilled. My favorite dramatic television program in many years. And the other day, I was reading a article about media of some kind, that mentioned the finale of Game of Thrones. And I thought back, and I realized that I could not remember—[laughing]—who had won in the end.

john

Well, now I'm thinking, like—I just said that Sansa should have been the Queen of Westeros, but she demanded independence for the region of Westeros known as the North. Maybe she is Queen in the North. I'm not sure I know exactly how it ended. I know Bran was named King. I'll tell you what, listeners: Please stop writing your emails right now. I promise you I will look it up on Wikipedia. I promise you. I will do penance. I will walk through the streets of Blue Hill, Maine, naked, as the townspeople chant, "Shame!" at me. You can trust that this will happen. Please don't correct me. I got the basic contours correct. And by the way, uh, Nick is right, and Ethan's wrong still. Doesn't change anything. I won't overturn the outcome, because it won't change. Won't change the outcome.

jesse

Here's a dispute from Valerie. She writes: "Like you, my husband is crab-conscious, because we keep kosher. But he is also, now, carb-conscious. Previously on a Sunday, Miles would have two everything bagels with cream cheese, [stifling laughter] but recently he decided he only wants one and a half everything bagels with cream cheese." [Jesse and John laugh.] "I took the extra half bagel and froze it to save it for next week, but he only wants fresh. I then decided I knew how you would rule. If I prepare his bagels, he must eat the remaining half the following week. But if he prepares his own bagel and a half, he could throw the extra half away. Although I am really bothered by the waste."

john

Mm.

jesse

"What say you, Judge Hodgman?"

john

First of all, Joel, you may not know this, but "crab-conscious..."

joel

Yeah, what is that?

john

That's a reference to a running gag that we have going in some ad reads for another partner of Judge John Hodgman, the great Sun Basket. A food delivery service and recipe delivery service. Prepare—how would you describe it, Jesse?

jesse

It's the only... food delivery service... co-founded by my friend Tyler from college.

john

That's right. [John and Joel chuckle.] And in any case, uh, I mis-read an ad read and thought that—[laughs]—they were having special menus for "crab-conscious" eaters. When it's of course "carb-conscious" eaters. Kind of a running gag. In any case, uh—[laughs]—Valerie's husband, Miles, is carb-conscious. So he is cutting down his two-bagel-a-Sunday routine— [Jesse and John stifle laughter.] —to 1.5 bagels.

jesse

I mean, that's a 25% reduction.

john

It is a 25% reduction, except for when you remember that every bagel has about one million carbs in it. [Jesse laughs quietly.] As someone who has been genuinely carb-conscious [stifles laughter] right up until we went into the pandemic—right up until that moment, I had been carb-conscious and basically carb-free for almost a decade. I can tell you right now that there is a lot of carbs in a bagel. 'Cause when I eat a bagel, my head is spinning with sugar. Hoo! So exciting. I jump—I jump up in the air every time I eat a bagel. And they're delicious! But they are a pure carb bomb. I mean, nice try, Miles. But I'll tell you— [John stifles laughter, Jesse laughs.] Uh, I don't think you're gonna get what you're going for here. Now, Valerie says that she guessed what my judgment would be. Let's set aside the nutritional aspect of this, or the dieting aspect, or whatever. Just in terms of, uh, Miles wants a fresh half a bagel, and Valerie wants to freeze that extra half a bagel, she predicted that I would rule that if she—it's sorta like the, uh, making the bed. If she does the work of preparing the bagels, she can freeze that half a bagel. And serve it to Miles next week. But if he does it—if he does the work of preparing the bagels—he can just throw it away. Jesse, do you think that Valerie has predicted my judgment correctly, or incorrectly?

jesse

Well, I think everyone here has failed to consider what I see as the central issue, which is that bagels are inherently wasteful because someone has thrown away the center of the bagel!

john

[John snorts.] [Beat.] How dare you? [Jesse laughs.] How—how dare you?

jesse

[Laughing] Sorry.

john

You're still a Millennial!

jesse

[Laughing] That was very dumb.

john

I mean, I know you're a dad. I know you're entitled to make these jokes, technically. But you have no gray in your beard. I can see it! Your beard is luxuriously brown and healthy, and youthful. You've got a twinkle in your eye. Listeners will not be surprised to learn that you are wearing a jaunty kerchief. Neckerchief.

jesse

Yeah.

john

You're still a young man. You don't have to do this, Jesse. Plus... bagels don't—! When you—! [Sighs.] You can say that about a doughnut. That is a weird dad joke. But you get a real bagel, like from the Bagel Hole in Brooklyn? There's no hole there. It all swells up. There's no—

jesse

Yeah.

john

You can't put a—you can't see through a bagel. In any way. Unless you've got some very specific, weird superpower. There is an issue, though, that no one has contended with. Which is A, Miles is absolutely correct. A frozen bagel is fine, but it is nothing compared to a fresh bagel. That is a very reasonable distinction to make. And in terms of, like—if you're only gonna put a certain amount of bagels into your hole a week, you deserve to have the one that you want! Or the one and a half that you want. Or the two that you want? [Sighs/groans.] 'Cause here's the thing. Valerie is absolutely wrong. About my judgment. I would never make the judgment that she who puts in the work gets to decide to freeze the half a bagel. It's just... I get where you're coming from, Valerie, and I appreciate your listenership, but that is a cumbersome judgment, because I had to sit down, like, with a—some scratch paper to figure out... "Alright, I'm serving one and a half bagels. And then I'm freezing this half. Then next week I just get one whole bagel, and augment it with the frozen half. Then the next week I gotta go back to the two bagels, and split—" It's too much work. It's too much work, Valerie, I'm sorry. Especially when the solution is right there. One bagel! One bagel, Miles! One. That's all you need—that's all you need of a Sunday. Look, I was a young man. Jesse, I was a young man. There was a period of time when I was in my twenties, living on 104th Street. And all my friends had a—had small studio apartments in the same building. Jonathan, Christine, Catherine. We were all the—Liz. We were all there, and we'd all get together on a Sunday and get bagels. And sometimes, I would eat two bagels with cream cheese. Sometimes I would. Everything bagels, of course! They're the best.

john

That was in my twenties, when my metabolism was probably at its highest. And even then, I was like, "Mm, this is... too many bagels." One bagel. That's all you need. Sorry, Miles. Especially if you're trying to reduce carbs. That's a really good way to reduce carbs, is not eat bagels.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

There are few food products that suffer more from staleness or freezing than a bagel.

john

Right.

jesse

I mean, a frozen bagel—a frozen and unfrozen bagel, you can toast it, and then you get a passable toasted bagel.

john

Correct.

jesse

But if you have to toast a bagel, it's not a very good bagel.

john

That's right. Jesse, you and I both know that the Bagel Hole in Park Slope does not offer toasting. Because their bagels are always warm when they come out. They are the best bagels that I've ever had in my hands, and in my mouth, and in my stomach. But I am saddened to inform you, Jesse, that I personally can no longer go there. Because I made the mistake of reading the Bagel Hole's Twitter page. So, look. [Stifles laughter.] People who love bagels... Go and eat whatever bagel you want. The best bagels in the New York area—indeed, I would say the world—are at the Bagel Hole. But do yourself a favor. Don't ask too many questions. Just get those good bagels, and remember we're all neighbors.

jesse

I wanted to thank our producer Jennifer Marmor, who reminded me that there's a pretty good bagel available near my house.

john

What is it?

jesse

Shout out to Belle's Bagels.

john

Belle's Bagels.

jesse

Yeah.

john

Hm!

jesse

Not the—not the world's greatest bagel. It's less good than the Bagel Hole.

john

Right.

jesse

But for Los Angeles, a city with surprisingly few good bagel options, it is a real solid bagel.

john

Here comes Cocoa, getting on the lap!

jesse

Yeah...

john

I like it. I like Cocoa to feel that this is a safe place to come, now that Leafie has been banished.

jesse

Exactly.

john

That's right. Welcome, Cocoa. We'll give you—you can feed half a bagel to Cocoa! How about that?

jesse

[Laughs.] She'd eat it! I mean, honestly, she'd try and eat it if it was made out of wood.

john

[Sighs.] There's no bagel for me to get here in Maine. It's just not—not an option. Not an option.

jesse

No, it's not worth it. Not worth it. Have some scallops.

joel

Portland has a great bagel shop. I can't remember the name, but they're really, really good.

john

Okay!

joel

But you gotta go to Portland.

john

Yeah. I don't mind going to Portland. What do you put on it, a little scallop spread?

joel

Yeah. Yeah.

john

Little smoked scallop?

joel

Yep.

john

Mm-hm. Good.

jesse

Let's take a quick break. When we come back, questions from toddlers!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

James Arthur: Hi, I’m James, host of Minority Korner, which is a—? Speaker 1: Podcast that’s all about intersectionality. It’s hosted by James with a guest host every week. Speaker 2: Discussing all sorts of wonderful issues; nerdy and political. Speaker 3: Pop culture— Speaker 1: Black, queer feminism. Speaker 4: Race. Sexuality. Speaker 5: News. Speaker 6: You’re gonna learn your history. There’s self-empowerment. And it’s told by what feels like your best friend. Speaker 2: Why should someone listen to Minority Korner? Speaker 7: Why not?

promo

Speaker 8: Oh my god. Free stuff. James: There’s not free stuff. Speaker 1: The listeners of Minority Korner will enjoy some necessary LOLs, but mainly a look at what’s happening in our world through a colorful lens. Speaker 2: People will get the perspective of... marginalized communities. Speaker 1: I feel heard. I feel seen. Speaker 9: Like you said, you need to understand how to be more proactive in your community, and this is a great way to get started. James: Join us every Friday on MaxFun, or wherever you get your podcasts. Multiple speakers: Minority Korner! Because together, we’re the majority. [Music stops.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, we're taking a break from clearing the docket to talk about what we have upcoming. You know, it's the holiday season.

john

Yes.

jesse

You're a celebrated author. How can people get copies of your books to give as gifts?

john

Well, my latest book Medallion Status is now out in paperback, as is Vacationland, its predecessor and something of a companion piece. They have two—they both have beautiful covers by our friend Aaron Draplin. And the words in 'em aren't terrible! I'll say that. And if you're thinking of giving a gift—a gift of those two books together... it could be worse! You could do worse. They're available wherever books are sold or loaned, but if you're taking them out of the library, please return them to the library. Don't give them to somebody else. As I am hiding in the woods of Maine for the foreseeable future, uh, you—I will not be going on tour, obviously. But you could get a signed copy from two places in particular. One is Books Are Magic. My home bookstore down there in Brooklyn, New York. BooksAreMagic.net. You can go buy one. They have a bunch of signed ones already. If you want me to personalize or inscribe one, we are working out a way for me to do that. And then you can also go to a place—a home store here in Maine, called Leaf & Anna. And they're online as well. And they have a lot of books and stuff that make for great gifts and stocking stuffers, including copies of all my old books! The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All. If you go to LeafAndAnna—that's "leaf" like, "Make like a tree and leaf," "and" like... "and," "Anna" like, uh, the palindromic name—you will find my stuff there, and you can request a signature or personalization there as well, and they will get it to you. The sooner you do it, probably the better. 'Cause let's just say, uh, the mail—the mails are a little overburdened at the moment. We wish all of the postal workers and delivery people who are getting us stuff this year many, many, many thanks, and best wishes for their safe and happy holidays. They're making it all possible, and I'm very, very grateful.

john

Finally, in terms of building a new and better future, you can join me every Sunday until the special run-off election in Georgia, calling into Georgia and helping voters make their voting plans. By phone. It's a lot of fun. Especially because I'm not doing it on my own. I'm doing it with this really wonderful group of democrats in Somerville, Massachusetts, my home commonwealth. I was brought into this group by listener Zach, and every Sunday at three PM, I am going there. We all meet on Zoom. We all give each other a pep talk. And then we get to the phones, and then we come back, and we talk about how it went, and then we go off to have our Sunday evening dinners. Bit.ly/CALLGEORGIA. B-I-T dot L-Y slash CALLGEORGIA. All one word, all capital letters. And that will lead you to the place where you can sign up for a shift or two if you wanna give it a try. And I hope that you will! It's a lot of fun. Chuck Bryant came on the Somerville call, Jesse Thorn! And he's there in Atlanta. It was a real treat. We were very excited to have Chuck, a native Georgian, to call Georgia. So that was a lot of fun. What's going on in your life, Jesse Thorn?

jesse

We've got some cool guests on my public radio show and podcast Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. It's a holiday special this week on the show that actually features the McElroy brothers, who will be discussed later on in the program—in this program—as well as some other really cool holiday-themed stuff. Just had my friend Roman Mars, from 99% Invisible, on the show. And coming up, a great interview in the coming weeks with John Wilson, who is the creator and director and I guess host—although he never appears on camera—of a show called How To with John Wilson that is my favorite thing of the year. I just love it so, so much. If you haven't seen it, it's on HBO Max. I can't recommend it enough. And it's the only television show of 2020 that features a real life shot of a woman putting a pigeon into a Duane Reade bag.

john

[Snorts.] That's, uh—that's rare company, for sure.

jesse

Let's get back to the docket!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. This week, we're clearing the docket.

john

Last week, in the episode "A Gallon of Scallops," which someone wrote me a letter saying, "If you are pronouncing 'scallops' in the New England style, 'scallops,' (rhymes with 'dollops') why are you not saying 'a gallon (rhymes with 'pollen') of scallops'?" Joel, would you say "a gallon (pollen) of scallops (dollops)"?

joel

No.

john

No. "Gallon." (Rhymes with "Alan.") That's just the way it is! In any case, we dealt with the important question last week, "Is butt leg?" Question mark. Is butt leg? [Jesse and John laugh quietly.] Now, a grown-up asked this question. But you, Bailiff Jesse, suggested that it sounded like a question a toddler might ask, and I agreed with you. So we asked listeners to send in some actual, real-life deep questions posed by human children in their lives, in a segment I am calling... "Cool Babies." You know why I call it, "Cool Babies"?

jesse

Because that's a phrase that we definitely invented ourselves? [John laughs, Jesse stifles laughter.]

john

That's right. That's my proprietary phrase. [Jesse laughs.] It's a reference, of course, to our friends the McElroy brothers, and My Brother, My Brother and Me on the MaximumFun.org/network. In their introduction, they make a reference to the fact that their show is not for children, so babies who listen to it are cool. And it occurred to me— [Jesse and John laugh.] They say it every week. For years. A decade or more. Right?

jesse

Yeah. Always. It's always funny. [Laughs.]

john

It's always funny! What's up, cool babies? "What's up, you cool baby?" I think is the actual phrase. But then it occurred to me, uhhh, the brothers have a podcast. Each individual brother has a separate podcast, often with their lovely spouses. They've also got a podcast with their dad. And Sydnee's got a podcast with her sisters. It's a whole—it's a family affair! But all those brothers have babies! Where are the babies' podcasts?! Why haven't they started—

jesse

Yeah, I wanna hear the babies' podcast.

john

Why don't they just leave those children in a room with a microphone running, and mint podcast money? 'Cause they're recording it! And call it Cool Babies! It's on brand! I've suggested this to them many times. They've never taken me up on it, to my knowledge. So I'm taking it—I'm taking the IP back. Cool Babies. That's our thing now. It's this segment! Jesse Thorn, did anyone write in with profound questions from their cool babies?

jesse

Yes, John. [Stifles laughter.] Many people wrote in with profound questions from their cool babies. Marley wrote in to say that her four-year-old asked the question: "Do bees have hands?"

john

Ooh. This one actually got me to thinking. I mean, bees don't have hands, 'cause they don't have arms. They've got legs. Right? But what—

jesse

I don't know, spoken like somebody who's never seen the hit film Bee Movie, starring Jerry Seinfeld.

john

[Cracks up.] You're right. You got me pegged.

jesse

Starring and written by Jerry Seinfeld? I think he also wrote it?

john

Well, it was his idea. I don't know that he wrote the screenplay?

jesse

Okay. He just thought bees should have a movie; they deserved it.

john

He—he—he—I don't think that I'm making this up. 'Cause I think he said it in an interview. But it would be obvious to anyone who has observed the course of Jerry Seinfeld's long and storied career. He was sitting around one day, and goes, [Jerry Seinfeld impression] "You know, B movies are a thing! Why don't they make a B movie about a bee?!"

jesse

Yeah.

john

That's the best Seinfeld I could ever do. "A B movie—!"

jesse

Yeah.

john

A B movie is like a—a schlock horror movie, a Roger Corman production. "Make it about a bee!" It writes its—he didn't have to write it, Jesse, 'cause it writes itself. And he hired someone else to do the work for him.

jesse

Maybe he had a show business meeting that he thought was gonna be what they call a general. One where you go in and just meet somebody.

john

Right.

jesse

But it turned out to be a movie pitch meeting. So he just pulled his notebook out of his pocket, and flipped through until he saw the word, "movie."

john

[Laughs.] In any case, I did start to think—thanks to Marley's four-year-old—as to what bees have on the ends of their legs! Do they have little hands? That would be creepy. No. Their forelegs have antenna cleaners, and their hind legs have what are called pollen baskets, for collecting pollen! And the pollen basket is made up of three distinct structures. The press, brush, and auricle. A-U-R-I-C-L-E. They don't have a fortune-telling, uh—[laughs]—Grecian woman of ancient times attached to their back leg. It's a A-U-R-C-L-E. [Correcting] A-U-R-I-C-L-E. Brush and auricle. "Brush and Auricle" is gonna be the name of the new subway tile restaurant that I open, featuring new American cuisine as well.

jesse

Blake's four-year-old Lincoln has several questions, so this is gonna be kind of a lightning round here. "Do bears eat wolves?"

john

Uhhh—[laughs]. N-no. I don't think they do. What do you think, Jesse?

jesse

I do not believe that they do, no. "Is a three-leaf clover bad luck?"

john

[Snorts.] Given how things have gone in the past couple of years— [Jesse laughs.] —and the prevalence of three-leaf clovers compared to four? I'm gonna say yes. Bad luck.

jesse

"Do witches poop?"

john

Great question, Lincoln. Great question. Witches... poop. They are human. They're not immortal monsters like Draculas. Jesse Thorn?

jesse

No.

john

Do Draculas poop?

jesse

I don't see why they would.

john

Yeah. I say—

jesse

Seems like a waste of their time.

john

Yeah. I—I—

jesse

They could be spookin' around.

john

That's right. They don't poop—Draculas don't poop 'cause they're too busy sucking. That's what I say.

jesse

Yeah. They eat blood.

john

That's right. They suck it. Suck it, Draculas.

jesse

You know what I think a Dracula should suck?

john

No, what?

jesse

A lemon.

john

[Laughs.] That's right. That's right! Go suck a lemon, Drac.

jesse

Speaking of poop, by the way, Ryan's two-year-old Ari asks: "Why do you poop so long?" [John laughs, Jesse stifles laughter.]

john

Uh, this is not a profound question. [Jesse laughs.] But it shows that Ari—they're starting to notice a few things.

jesse

Yeah.

john

You know what I mean? They're starting to notice, like, uh, Dad poops—takes a long time to poop. And I guess it's possible that Ryan has IBS.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

But my guess would be that he takes his time in the bathroom for the same reason I used to, and arguably still did, since I became a parent: I deserve a private life.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

I need some time with a closed door.

jesse

Yeah.

john

Ari, if you're listening, it's not that your dad doesn't love you. But he needs a break from you, from time to time. The sooner you understand that, and respect those boundaries, the better it's gonna be for you guys.

jesse

Here's something from Sarah. She writes in to say: "Okay, I don't really have a toddler question. But I do have a toddler fact. This morning, Lucas—four years old—told me that, quote, 'Armadillos are really hard to dream about.'"

john

[John exhales sharply.] Yeah. Lucas. Tell me about it. [John and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

This is a problem that everyone—everyone goes through this period. It's a normal part of human development, where you have this realization and have to deal with it. Work it through. And if you don't have a priest to talk to about it, you know, or, uh, you talk to a teacher, a parent, um, a police officer, a fireman, you know—if you don't have any of those things... you know. It's gonna be tough for you!

john

I love the idea that Lucas is settling his head down into his pillow and thinking to himself, "Tonight I'm gonna do it. Tonight I'm gonna dream about an armadillo." That'd be a— [Jesse and John laugh.] Maybe he's a lucid dreamer, and the only thing he can't picture is an armadillo. But otherwise, he gets everything he asks for. That would be better than seeing through a bagel! That would be an incredible superpower. If you could lucid dream every night, and choose your dreams? Choose any animal to see? But the one that you can't make is an armadillo? I'd think that would be a good trade-off. You're too young to know about trade-offs. But... you'll learn someday. Keep dreaming lucidly.

jesse

Finally, listeners Jonathan writes: "My four-year-old asks me if I know every character he sees on screen. For example, 'Daddy? Do you know Batman? Daddy? Do you know Obi-One Chinobi?'" [John and Jesse laugh.] "But in October he asked, 'Daddy? Do you know the Harvester of Souls?'"

john

[Cracks up.] Wow! I didn't know what the Harvester of Souls was. Aside from the Grim Reaper. Death, the fate that awaits us all. Eventually. But Jonathan sent along a link, and apparently the Harvester of Souls... is a stand-up animatic Halloween decoration that is sold by Spirit Halloween. [Jesse laughs quietly.] One of the big Halloween supply houses. I will—[laughs]—I will describe it to you. Are you on this page there, Jesse?

jesse

I—not only—I'm—[struggling][John laughs.] I am stunned into silence, not just by looking at this picture of the Harvester of Souls, which is genuinely upsetting.

john

[Laughing] Yeah.

jesse

But even more upsetting and confusing than that picture of the Harvester of Souls—

john

Uh-huh. Yeah.

jesse

—is the existence of the Spirit Halloween Superstore Wiki. [Laughs.]

john

Yeah, I know!

jesse

Which has almost 1400 pages!

john

Yeah! Just—

jesse

This piece about the Harvester of Souls has 55 comments on it!

john

I had no idea that there was a Spirit Halloween Superstore fandom that would support a wiki! Look, I'll give you the description, and then we'll get into—[laughs]—you know, section two, "trivia," about—[laughs]—trivia about Harvester of Souls.

jesse

There's a picture here at the bottom, John—

john

Yeah.

jesse

—that's labeled, uh, "Harvester of Souls misplaced in Reaper's Island Village display."

john

[Laughs.] Misplaced?!

jesse

Can you imagine the embarrassment if you accidentally put a Harvester of Souls into a Reaper's Island Village display? That's like one of the greatest Spirit Halloween Superstore blunders you could make!

john

Okay, obviously the Harvester of Souls image will be shared on the Judge John Hodgman Instagram page at @judgejohnhodgman. But since this is still an audio medium, I will simply say that it is: "An animatronic sold by Spirit Halloween for the 2020 Halloween season. It resembles a tall, hooded, vampire-like creature." I don't know what "vampire" is. "Vam-pire..." I don't know what that is. Holding a—

jesse

Yeah. It looks sorta like a zombie to me.

john

Yeah, maybe, or kind of a Frankenstein's... thing? Yeah, I don't know.

jesse

Sure.

john

"Tall, hooded, spooky creature holding a young girl with black hair and a pink-colored dress. Upon activation, the creature lifts the girl upwards, as the head of the girl rises and the phrase is spoken." "The phrase." I don't even know what that is. [Jesse laughs quietly.] "Fog then spews from the mouth of the girl, and is inhaled by the vampire-like creature, as green LED lights illuminate the fog, giving the effect of the girl's soul being inhaled." Jonathan! [Stifles laughter.] Why are you letting your child look at the Spirit Halloween wiki?! This is terrifying!

jesse

Yeah, it's really upsetting-looking.

john

Especially if you misplace it. By the way, Jesse, did you know the codename for this animatronic is "Strawberry"?

jesse

[Laughs.] Oh, it says that right here in the trivia section!

john

[Laughing] That's right.

jesse

You know how you care for it? Spot clean.

john

[Laughs.] "The arms with girl slip down after numerous activations. This is caused by the belt stretching out over time." Just you know. That's—I wouldn't call that trivia.

jesse

Yeah.

john

But I would call that, uh, handy information to have if you're gonna invest 300 clams into this... creature. Whatev—Jesse, would this count as a Dracula, would you say? [Pause.]

jesse

Yeah, I guess this is a type of Dracula.

john

Ugh. Hate it. Don't let your child look at this again, Jonathan! But I think you got a great Halloween costume planned for next year, where you walk around as a hooded Dracula, and your child wears a pink nightgown, and you lift your child up every now and then and suck green fog from him. Or her. Or them. Alright, I'm—I'm—I'm calling it. It doesn't get better than the Harvester of Souls. That's our proprietary segment, "Cool Babies." That's our IP. [Laughs.] Well, I mean—that's [enunciating] our IP. Intellectual property. RIP to the Harvester of Souls. Before we roll on credits, Jesse, I have one letter that I would like to read on a different subject—well... You know what, Jesse, read the credits. Read the credits, and we'll drop that in as a surprise, as a mid-credits sequence, like this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe or something.

jesse

Ooh, I like this idea! Should I also slip into the credits a half-joke?

john

[Laughs.] Sure. Go ahead.

jesse

The docket is clear. That's it for another episode of Judge John Hodgman. Our producer is Jennifer Marmor. Our engineer here in Maine is Joel Mann, program and operations manager at WERU Community Radio in Orland, Maine. You can listen to WERU at WERU.org, and you can follow Joel on Instagram! His handle is @TheMaine—M-A-I-N-E—Mann, M-A-N-N.

john

Jesse, let me just jump in here with a surprise, mid-credit sequence! Surprise!

jesse

Wow, didn't expect to see you, Nick Fury!

john

[Laughs.] So this is just—I just wanted listeners to know that listener Sarah in Toronto, who had written me an email full of all kinds of interesting cat facts—she wrote in to correct me. She is not a veterinarian. I'm sorry. She was a veterinarian assistant for eight years, and she would be happy to send you all the cool cat facts you want, if you just email her. Her email is info@cleopawtra.ca. That's .ca for Canada. You can figure out how "Cleopawtra" is spelled. That's her cat-grooming company! She also sent me pictures of Sophie, her one cat, and Captain Jack Sparrow Harkness, the other cat, together cuddling. And that Captain Jack Sparrow Harkness has one eye. It's incredible. We'll post that on the Judge John Hodgman Instagram. Now. That's that. Will there be a post-credits sequence? You have to wait 'til the end to find out. Resume credits!

jesse

Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and @hodgman. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo, and check out the Maximum Fun subreddit to discuss this episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org.

sound effect

[Cable car bell ringing.]

jesse

We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast. [Cable car bell fades out.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Post-credits surprise sequence! You knew this was coming. I just wanted to thank listeners Jillian, Rebecca, Trish, John, Other John, Michael S, Matt J—I don't normally read the last names, but this guy's name is Thaddeus Diamond, which is one of the greatest names I've ever heard. [Jesse laughs quietly.] Plus a bunch of others who came in as I was driving to the studio today. To write in and confirm that they also, like I, had older relatives who ate Vicks VapoRub as a cold remedy! I—you may remember from last time, I was saying that my mom claimed that her mother fed her a spoonful of Vicks VapoRub when she had a cold. And my mom has not been alive for some time, so I could never—it seemed so impossible, especially since the jar says, "Not for human consumption," that this could be real. I thought it was a fake memory. But many people wrote in to say, "No. My mom, or my uncle, or my grandmom, did." Many of them in Pennsylvania like my mom. But others from Canada, parts of the Midwest. It's not like it was regional. It was really widespread. It was the hydroxychloroquine of its day. In fact, Alice wrote in to say that her great grandmother, Jesse, ate a spoonful of Vicks VapoRub every day! [John and Jesse laugh quietly.] Not just for colds! Every day, as a supplement!

jesse

Yeah.

john

She lived to be 99 years old.

jesse

And she was actually named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most mentholated woman.

john

[Laughs.] Matthew T wrote a really disturbing letter about—about a good friend from college, he says, used to eat Vicks VapoRub for fun when he was little! Not just grandmas! Kids!

jesse

Wow.

john

Matthew's friend used to dip his fingers in and eat it right out of the jar. And he claims that years ago, Matthew's friend showed Matthew an old picture of the friend sitting at a table during Thanksgiving dinner, around 1970, age two, with an open jar of Vicks VapoRub next to his plate at the table. Matthew's friend reported, quote, "It felt like I was eating pure light." [Jesse laughs.] "Like it was making my mouth and throat glow."

jesse

Like the child whose soul is being harvested!

john

[Laughs.] It's—that's spooky! Hey, children! Don't—and parents! Don't eat this stuff!

jesse

Wait! What's going on in this other photo? [Jesse and John laugh.]

john

There's another photo—I don't have the photos. I only have the descriptions. Matthew, you should get your friend to send in these photos. I really want this for the Instagram page. Matthew says there's another photo that shows his friend's empty plate, as well as the empty—[disgusted sigh, stifling laughter] gross... The empty jar of Vicks VapoRub that he had cleaned out with a dinner roll. [Jesse laughs.] Quote Matthew, "He loved the stuff. He did say, however, that it took him a very long time to learn how to ride a bike." I'm not sure what the— [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] That may be correlation, not causation. But yeah. Don't eat Vicks VapoRub, anybody. Alright, that's it. That's the end of the surprise post-credits sequence. There's nothing left coming up. I am definitely not going to sing the Star Blazers theme, at any point. This is the end of the podcast. For real. You can trust me. You're gonna sit there and try to listen and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, but it'll never come. Jesse, it was great to see you.

jesse

You too, bud.

john

Jennifer Marmor, great to see you. She's just nodding. Joel Mann.

joel

Are we done?

john

[Laughs.] Alright! That's it! [Joel, Jesse, and John laugh.]

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About the show

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