TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 518: There’s an APPellate Court For That

Patrick brings the case against his dad, Rudy. Rudy says he has a billion dollar idea for an app. Patrick says this app will never work!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 518

Transcript

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week, "There’s an APPellate Court for That." Patrick brings the case against his dad, Rudy. Rudy says he has a billion-dollar app idea. Patrick says this app will never work! Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide.

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

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[Door shuts.]

john hodgman

I've heard it said many times: the original is often the best. Bring the original Judge John Hodgman back! Not necessarily on all future devices, but the ability to download it would be sweet. Judge John Hodgman subsonic, as good as it looks in its 3D colors and electrotunes, just doesn't have the same feel as the original. Bailiff Jesse Thorn, please swear the litigants in.

jesse

Patrick and Rudy, please rise and raise your right hands.

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[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

rudy

I do.

patrick

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that he rarely orders apps for the table?

rudy

Yes.

patrick

I do.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Look at these two adorables, actually raising their hands! That's what I get now that we teleconference on this podcast! I can see you, Rudy, and you, Patrick, actually raising your right hands as instructed! Father and son adorables! [Someone laughs quietly.] Alright. For an immediate summary judgment in one—first of all, you may be seated.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

And, uh, thank you for not actually standing up. For an immediate—'cause it seems like you might have! For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors, can either of you name the piece of culture that I referenced as I entered the courtroom? Let's start with you, Patrick. You are the young man who seeks justice before this court. What is your guess?

patrick

Boy. Um...

john

You will not get it.

patrick

Yeah. Is it a—

john

It's an En Vogue situation.

patrick

Some sort of, like, a HP ad?

john

Like you're never gonna get it.

patrick

[Stifling laughter] Like a—some sort of a— [Someone chuckles.]

jesse

Not this time.

patrick

Like a weird, like, Eastern European ripoff of the—

john

[Singing] Not this tiiime...

patrick

—Mac/PC ads, but for HP or something? [Someone hums.]

john

Ah, I liked your reference there! I'll add that. Mac vs. PC ads. I find in Patrick's favor... Sorry, Rudy... [Multiple people laugh.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

john

[Stifles laughter.] Rudy—Rudy, how's the reception up there at Big Toad Road?

rudy

Big Toad Road, clear as... crystal.

john

Coming in loud and clear from Big Toad Road, unnamed state, USA, presumably. [One or both litigants laugh.] Before we were recording, Jesse—of course, all the fun stuff happens before we hit record on any podcast; that is the truth. And I learned that Rudy, Patrick's dad, lives on a road called Big Toad Road, and he didn't want me to mention it, 'cause he's afraid of podcast paparazzi— [Jesse laughs.] —paparazzing 'round his home there!

rudy

That's right.

jesse

TMZ reports on all our past litigants. [Laughs.]

john

Let me—let me just say, to all those listeners who delighted in using Google's satellite to find that pool in Maine that I said probably didn't exist, and had to prove it to me... Do not hunt down Patrick's dad.

jesse

No.

rudy

It's okay, because it's actually technically called Big Toad Way, so they probably wouldn't find it.

john

Oh—! Well, there we go. Now all the secrets are—all the IP is going out— [A litigant laughs.] —being revealed now. Which is, in fact, part of what we're gonna discuss here in a moment. But! Do you have a guess, sir, as to the source of my quote?

rudy

I—I have no idea.

john

You're never gonna get it.

rudy

I was hoping you would do something from Cheers I might recognize, but... so my guess is that it's— [Someone sighs.] —something post-1985 cultural reference, which by definition I would not get.

john

It is post-1985. It is, in fact, from 2009. And the reason you are never going to get it is this website that I am quoting from, uh, is no longer extant. I actually got it via The Internet Archive. January 2009, a blog post on a website called Conversations.Nokia.com, the official Nokia phone blog. Specifically, [pronouncing the colon] "The History of Nokia Part 2: Judge John Hodgman." Now, Judge John Hodgman is not the thing—the actual thing that is being discussed in the quote portion. Specifically, I was quoting Adam F. from the comments of this blog post. Adam F. was saying, "I heard it said many times the original is often the best. Bring... blank... back." Now, this blank—which you might take another guess at; I'm giving you a lot of hints, giving a lot of chances here. Big Toad Road deserves it. This thing that I am referring to, this blank that I am asking you to name, is considered by some to be the first mobile app. Certainly one of the first and most popular mobile games that was put onto the Nokia 6110 mobile phone in 1997. The game was created by Taneli Armanto. Can either of you name the game? I know that there are Judge John Hodgman listeners screaming into their email machines at me right now. But we're gonna give Patrick and his dad Rudy a chance to guess.

patrick

Is it Snake?

john

Is it Snake? And Rudy, what is your guess?

rudy

No idea.

john

Snake is correct! I—I ruled rightly. It is—I rule in favor of Patrick. But since we're beaming in all the way from Big Toad Road, we will not grant the summary judgment, 'cause neither of you technically got the cultural reference. And now we will hear the case. Before we begin—Rudy.

rudy

Yes.

john

Thank you for joining the podcast. Do you have—I—I love podcasts, myself. We just finished our incredible MaxFunDrive, supporting our community of many podcasts. If MaxFun were looking to invite to its community of podcasts, I don't know, a podcast on ultimate Frisbee, is there one you would recommend?

rudy

I can think of several. You really want the best one? [John and Jesse crack up.]

john

You know what? I don't care if it's the best. I just wanna know, is it the most popular?

rudy

Well, the most popular happens to be the best. It's called Sin the Fields, and it features, uh, Patrick Stegemoeller and another guy. Tad Wissel.

john

What is it called? Patrick, this is your ultimate Frisbee podcast?

patrick

Yeah! It's called Sin the Fields.

john

Sin the Fields!

patrick

Sin the Fields. It's—

john

Sounds scary!

patrick

Yeah. It's a sort of deep reference from within the ultimate community that—

john

Whoa.

patrick

—it makes it impossible—outside of just the fact that it's about ultimate Frisbee, but that—

john

It's a deep ultimate Frisbee cultural reference?

patrick

Right. So it just makes it impossible to market to anyone outside of the handful of people who actually care about ultimate. But, uh, you know! You gotta stick—[stifles laughter]—gotta stick with your brand.

john

I gotta give credit for your dad, 'cause that was the other thing that happened before we started recording, was Rudy did a very dadly thing and recommended your podcast, and I wanna recommend it to all of our listeners. What do you play—what kind of—what ultimate Frisbee position do you play? Is that a thing?

patrick

Yes—!

john

Power forward? Strikeback? [Someone chuckles.]

patrick

I'm a—I'm a handler.

john

Spin—spin thrower? Plate spinner?

jesse

A handler.

crosstalk

John: A handler? Patrick: A handler.

patrick

Yeah.

john

Oh! Yeah.

jesse

I actually have a pretty serious rivalry with, uh, Patrick. My podcast Bag The Chains is about frolf. Frolfing.

patrick

Mm.

jesse

Um, and I have nothing but contempt for ultimate Frisbee and its podcast. [Someone laughs quietly.]

patrick

There's a lot of bad blood there.

john

One of the great rivalries.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

Ultimate Frisbee and Frisbee golf. It's a li—you know, I gotta say... In a world in which Frisbee golf exists, as well as regular Frisbee, it's a lot for your sport to declare itself the ultimate. [Jesse and the litigants laugh.] That's a big move that I never really felt was justified. I don't think—

jesse

And that's—John! That's to say nothing of halftime shows featuring dogs doing incredible Frisbee catches, which is by far the king of all Frisbee sports.

john

That seems ultimate to me. I don't know that it—anything can go—that is ne plus ultra in the Frisbee world. But... it's fair. It's established that that is its name from now on. Sin the Fields. S-I-N the Fields.

patrick

S-I-N. Sin the Fields. Hosted by myself and my, uh, incomparably named podcast partner, Tad Wissel. [John and Jesse laugh.] Um, which is his real name. Just, uh—yeah. [Stifles laughter.]

jesse

Did he get that name because his parents anticipated he would grow up to be an ultimate Frisbee enthusiast? [Laughs.] They're like, [stifling laughter] "It's—it's either that or water polo."

john

Tad—

jesse

Tad Wissel (hWhistle).

john

—hhWhistle! Anyway, I guess we gotta hear this case. I would love to talk about Tad Wissel of—[stifles laughter]—of—the ultimate Frisbee, uh, athlete and podcaster. But we're here for you, Patrick! 'Cause you have dragged your own father into court, all the way down from Big Toad Road, seeking justice. What is the nature of your dispute?

patrick

My father Rudy keeps pitching this app—

john

Mm-hm!

patrick

—uh, that's not a good app. [John snorts, Patrick stifles laughter.] And it's—it's really—it's really creating some friction. Um, I don't know if you would like me to define what I think the app concept is, or let him get the first in.

john

No, no, I will—I'll give it to the creator. I don't need you to steal his IP.

patrick

Right.

john

Uh, I'll give it to the creator—a fair chance to elevator pitch me in a second.

patrick

Mm-hm.

john

But when you say, Patrick, that Rudy, your dad, is pitching this app idea... He's pitching it to, what, venture capitalists, titans of industry, app developers? Who is he pitching it to?

patrick

Mostly just loved ones—

john

Mm-hm.

patrick

—whose time that he gets to spend with them is limited, and he... consciously decides to use it pitching over and over again this app.

john

Uh—okay. [Jesse laughs.] And how long has this been going on? This app pitching. I mean, does it go back to the time of Snake: 1997, the Year of the Snake!

patrick

No, it's—it follows on the heels of Snake. I'd say about 2017? Summer 2017.

john

Alright!

patrick

So about four years now is how long this has been going.

john

Alright. Alright.

patrick

You correct me—correct me if I'm wrong on the timeline there.

john

No, I wanna—let's turn it over to Rudy. Rudy...

rudy

Well, first I would quarrel with his characterization of how frequently I am mentioning this, much less pitching it. I think I pitched it... once. [Chuckles.] And after that, I'm just sort of more taunting them with it. But—

john

[Laughing] Okay!

rudy

Yeah. Taunting 'em with their failure to—to cash in on the opportunity that I gave them.

john

Right. You—but—uh, but no one else has taken up the opportunity. It's not like they've missed the opportunity. The opportunity remains to be taken.

rudy

The opportunity is still out there. Yes. It's—although I think we're sort of blowing it wide open by doing this podcast, so someone—someone will—certainly one of your astute listeners will pick it up, I have no doubt. Become an [inaudible].

john

Well, I'm gonna ask you to describe the app. And...

rudy

Okay.

john

I don't know. Jennifer Marmor, maybe we should just bleep it all out? Just to protect his IP? [Multiple people laugh quietly.] Just—just a long—

rudy

No, no—

jennifer marmor

I mean, this show will then be 50 minutes of one long bleep.

rudy

[Chuckles.] No, it's okay. They had their chance.

john

Oh, I'm going—that's right. The world has had its chance. Rudy—[laughs]. You've already revealed your son's podcast. I think you revealed his last name. You've corrected me about the name of your road; it's Big Toad Way. You are definitely triangulatable at this point. [Rudy laughs.] And I—and I am—urge the listeners of Judge John Hodgman, an honorable group if I've ever met one... Do not go find Patrick's dad. He's a good dad who deserves his privacy. And he's got a—by the way? A great ceiling fan. Love a ceiling fan in the background. Good for you, Rudy. I'm leaning in your favor at this point. And also, he's got some IP. Don't steal his IP! Okay? This is an opportunity that Rudy has extended to his son Patrick, and by the end of this podcast Patrick is going to have to take it up or drop this legacy in the dirt. Like a used Frisbee that's no good anymore. Rudy. What is the nature of the app?

rudy

Okay. It's actu—it's a very simple concept, actually. Alright. So you start with a virtual bar. You know. An online gathering place. Make it look like a bar. Right?

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

rudy

And then you have some mechanism for people to, uh—to go off and have conversations with each other in the bar. Right? So—!

john

Alright. Right.

rudy

You're hitting it off with someone in a bar—

john

So like a—so like a booze Zoom so far.

rudy

Booze Zoom. Right.

john

[Enunciating] Booze Zoom. Booze Zoom.

rudy

Right. And the value—here's the value added. So you're hitting it off with somebody in a bar. You wanna buy them a drink.

john

Right.

rudy

So how do you buy a drink for somebody at a virtual bar? Well—

john

You Venmo them.

rudy

—this is what the app does. So Jack and Jill—

john

PayPal...

rudy

Jack and Jill are talking, hitting it off. Jill says, "What are you drinking?" Jack says, "Gin tonic." Jill says, "Great! Next one's on me." Alright? Jack goes into his kitchen. Makes himself a gin and tonic in his kitchen.

john

[Laughing] Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

rudy

Two buttons get pressed. Six dollars leaves Jill's account. Five dollars goes into Jack's account.

john

Yes.

rudy

With a modest stipend for the website operator. And with any luck, 20 minutes later... you know, it happens again the other direction. Everybody's happy. Just solid gold. Gold.

john

What is it called?

rudy

It's called Rudy's Place. [Jesse laughs.]

john

Mm-hm?

rudy

I don't know what it's called!

jesse

Okay, I'm back on board!

rudy

I—[laughs].

john

Yeah. I—

rudy

I don't know—I don't know what it's called. That is the—

john

I mean, look. I'll tell you something. Now that you know that—now that it's called Rudy's Place, what I wish, honestly, nothing more, is to buy you a drink. Well, I want to transfer you a lot of money to develop this app. I love this idea so much now that it's called Rudy's Place. If only there were some existing way for humans to transfer money to other humans using online... but that hasn't happened yet, 'cause you invented it, apparently! [John and one or both litigants laugh.]

jesse

Well, John, that's—you're overstating the situation here! Uh, Rudy has invented something. He's invented adding a bar-themed skin to Zellee.

john

[Laughs.] That's the other one! The—has anyone ever used that cash transfer thing? That's the one my bank wants me to use.

jesse

Yeah, it's the one that lives inside your bank.

john

Yeah... So Rudy, let me—I—I'm... I think this is a lovely idea, and I get it. But—so, are you talking about—the lucky developer of this app, in your vision, would create a virtual conference space like a Zoom or a Google Hangouts, or—what we're using now. Right? But there would be a little button down below that would say—you would be encouraged to drink an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. It is a social place. Where strangers meet? Do strangers come? Can they drop in, sort of like a Clubhouse situation?

rudy

Um—I assume so.

john

Right. Right.

rudy

Honestly, what I just described to you is the full extent of the thought I've put into this app. So—

john

[Stifling laughter] Okay.

rudy

I just threw it out there to Patrick and his sister Brigid, and a couple of their cousins of similar age, when we were at a—a extended family shore vacation. And I thought they would snap it up, and I was surprised that they just scoffed and mocked it.

jesse

You thought they would snap it up on the basis of the fact that they are what is known as "app-aged."

rudy

Sure. [Laughs quietly.] Whatever that is.

john

Patrick, why did you scoff your dad?

patrick

Why—

john

Why did you, and your sister Brigid, and all of your cousins down the shore, have a scoff party and laugh at your dad for pitching this app?

patrick

You know, I think that—uh, you have to—[stifles laughter]—you have to take into consideration my father's history with technology. And his present, current situation with technology. And just that I—the fact that he would be pitching an app, in and of itself, was a humorous idea. And then when that pitch seemed to disregard, uh, multiple decades of preexisting apps, and companies, and websites— [Someone coughs or stifles laughter.] I think PayPal was founded in... 1998? Or something like that? So, um—

john

It was invented by Snake. Snake invented it the next year. Snake became sentient and invented PayPal. Yeah.

patrick

Right. Right. [Chuckles.] Um—

john

That's tech—that's history of technology. That's just science.

patrick

[Laughs.] So at a surface level, that was I think where the—the initial scoffing came from. And, you know, maybe it's uncharitable for a bunch of app-aged individuals to just scoff at the mere idea of a, you know, a more distinguished, older person pitching an idea for an app. Uh—

john

Rudy, I just want to say that I don't know what "app-aged"—This is the first I've ever heard this term, ever, either. So...

rudy

Thank you.

john

Both Jesse and Patrick are making fun of both of us now. Is this a real term, or one that you guys just made up in the chat to make fun of us? Patrick and Jesse? Youths?

jesse

No, I think it's a—it is a bit of illustrative language that I created to illustrate, uh, Rudy's description that he pitched this app to Patrick, his sister, and some of their cousins, who are all about the same age.

john

Gotcha.

jesse

Which is—seems to be, from my perspective, what Rudy understands venture capitalists to be. [One of the litigants chuckles.]

john

Yeah. Rudy, do any of—may I ask if Patrick or Brigid or any of the cousins have a background in investing, or developing... apps?

rudy

Uh, hmm... Certainly not—

john

I mean, Patrick, what do you do for a living, aside from being an ultimate Frisbee podcaster?

patrick

Well, my side gig, in addition to being an ultimate Frisbee podcaster, is I'm an attorney.

john

Okay. Gotcha. Rudy, go on. What about Brigid, or any of the cousins?

rudy

I think some of the cousins might be a little more involved in technology. But I'm just assuming that someone who's in their 20s and gets excited about an idea can take it and run with it.

jesse

When you say they might be a little more involved in technology, do you mean that, like, [stifles laughter] they bought one of those refrigerators with a screen on it or something? [Someone laughs.]

rudy

I don't know. From my perspective, everybody's more involved with technology than I am, so...

jesse

Let's take a quick recess! And hear about this week's Judge John Hodgman sponsor. We'll be back in just a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

It's the Judge John Hodgman podcast, and as always our show is brought to you by you: the members of MaximumFun.org. Never more so than now after the MaxFunDrive, our gratitude to every single one of you. We're also grateful this week to have the support of SunBasket. Known the world over as the only meal service delivery outfit co-founded by my friend Tyler from college.

john

Now, Jesse, I had a question about that.

jesse

Is your question, "Did Tyler once wear a holographic puffer jacket when we went to see David Cross at the Punch Line in San Francisco?" [Stifling laughter] 'Cause if so, the answer is yes, and it was very embarrassing.

john

That was on my list of questions. I didn't think we'd have time for it, so I'm glad you answered it. Thank you.

jesse

Okay. [Stifling laughter] Was it, "Did—did Tyler win The Amazing Race one time?" 'cause the answer to that is yes, too.

john

Uh, I didn't even know to ask that question; this Tyler is an amazing person.

jesse

He is.

john

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jesse

Mm-hm.

john

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jesse

Yeah. I had not tried it yet, and then I tried it, and I was like, "Oh, Tyler, this is really good." [Laughs.]

john

I only ask 'cause I'm gonna tell a little story about that later in this episode.

jesse

Okay.

john

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jesse

Yeah.

john

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john

Right.

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jesse

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john

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jesse

Wow.

john

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jesse

Let's get back to the show.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

So—[sighs]. Patrick, let me just understand. The issues are, you—I mean, when I said, "Why were you scoffing your dad?" basically you said, "This is a—" You know, to summarize. "The idea itself is dumb, and my dad doesn't understand technology, so he's pathetic." Mean! I'll say mean. That's a hard scoff. Explain to me—and to your dad, who loves you—and to the members of the audience, who are maybe thinking about investing their hard-earned cash at this moment, [stifles laughter] who have not yet seen the flaw in the plan of Rudy's Place... What do you see as the flaws in this app?

patrick

Well, I think partially because... after you hear the concept for the first time, one of the first things that springs to mind is about the only way that this could become profitable is if it was used for some illegal activity, illicit behavior, something like that.

john

Uh-huh.

patrick

And again, the idea of a—a—you know, a... someone inadvertently pitching a new, you know, Silk Road, or something like that— [John laughs, Patrick stifles laughter.] —is, uh—you know, [inaudible] best intentions, ending up in this situation, that's... pretty funny.

john

I believe the new Silk Road is called Big Toad Road, from now on. [Everyone else laughs.] That is the new—the new home of the Dark Web.

rudy

It's actually made of gravel, but...

john

[Laughs.] So it's basically a Dark Web application with sinister uses. What else? What other—your other arguments? What would you caution someone before investing in this new app?

patrick

Well, there's also just a lot of competition in the online dating app space right now, I would—I would imagine. I mean, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, presumably other ones that I don't even know about. [Chuckles.] Um—

john

What's the favorite online dating app among ultimate Frisbee players?

patrick

Oh, just being an ultimate Frisbee player.

john

Wow.

patrick

Because there's only seven of us, anyways.

john

patrick

So you can—it's a—[laughs]

john

It's a—it's a cluster of friends.

patrick

Yeah.

john

Yeah, I see. Okay.

patrick

So there's that. And then also, again, as we've already pointed out, the functionality already exists easily, in so many different ways, with Venmo, with Zelle, with PayPal. So you're already trying to box out multiple industries at once here, to try to turn a profit on this.

john

Rudy, I may have misunderstood. I just felt like what you were proposing was... a place where everybody knows your name.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

Where you can go to forget all your troubles.

rudy

Mm-hm!

john

And you just hang out in a convivial atmosphere, and if you feel like being nice, you buy your friend a drink within this ecosystem called Rudy's Place. I didn't get the impression—and maybe I'm wrong here—is the idea that people will—would... date out of this experience? That they are buying drinks for each other to lead to in-real-life or virtual hugging and kissing?

rudy

I can't speak to that. I mean—

john

Okay. [Inaudible.]

rudy

People do whatever they wanna do! My—

john

Right. Whatever happens at Rudy's Place stays at Rudy's Place, right? [Jesse laughs.]

rudy

Exactly! Exactly—

jesse

Look, just making your way in the world today takes everything you've got! [Multiple people laugh.]

rudy

The only value added that my idea offers is that there is a conviviality involved in buying a drink for somebody, and then returning the favor if—if you're still talking ten minutes later. And there's a social lubrication that occurs there, and this would offer that. That's my pitch. That's it.

john

Well, Rudy, you pitched it to Patrick and his sister Brigid, and all of his cousins by the dozens and his aunts down there on the shore.

rudy

Mm-hm.

john

The market spoke. It said, "Scoff."

rudy

Right.

john

To quote the great Megan Amram, who wrote that line for me in Parks and Recreation. Uh, why are we even still having this conversation? Patrick accuses you of bringing this up time and time again. You have said that you are merely taunting them at this point. What is going on?

rudy

I continue to think that it's a billion-dollar idea. If somebody would just do it. Now, this was all pre-pandemic! I mean...

john

Do you think it's changed now?

rudy

I think it made sense before the pandemic.

john

Right.

rudy

I think during the pandemic, people actually couldn't even go to bars. It would've been just absolute solid gold, multi-billion dollars.

john

How would the app be making money? Would Rudy's Place be taking a percentage of every transaction?

rudy

Yes. Yes.

john

I see.

rudy

Or maybe just stealing the data and selling it to hackers somewhere. I don't know.

john

You're nothing if not honest and forthright. Thank you.

jesse

[Chuckling] Yeah.

john

[Stifling laughter] Appreciate that.

jesse

If only we could get Google to be so frank.

john

[Laughs.] Rudy's model is, "Sure, I'm evil!" That's—yeah.

rudy

Yeah!

jesse

[Chuckling] Yeah.

john

Right. Why not? So we have a—we have evidence of your taunting. Or reaction to it, in any case. We have an affidavit from Patrick's aforementioned sister, Brigid. I'm going to read a—a shortened version of it here for you now, to put it into the record. "Dear Judge Hodgman, “Patrick represents the dozens of family members and friends who have found themselves barricaded in the corner of a family party—" [Someone laughs quietly.] "—stuck in an argument they don't want to have, trying to explain the basic components of apps to a man who still pays for his email account." Oof. Damning. Damning evidence. _[_Jesse is laughing quietly.]

john

"Every critic makes him more adamant. As he sees it, genius is often misunderstood. “It's made even worse knowing that my dad has no plans to create this app! He's just frustrated that no one else is willing to commit their lives—[stifles laughter]—to the million-dollar idea he has handed us." Now, I think that must be a typo. Because Rudy, you said it was a billion-dollar idea, correct? [Jesse cracks up.]

rudy

At least. Yeah.

john

Alright. That's a typo, Brigid.

rudy

Yeah.

john

You might wanna—you might wanna double-check. Give your things a proofread before you send them in to Judge John Hodgman. Continuing from Brigid: "So without a chance to be proven incorrect, [stifles laughter] his commitment to the idea is unrelenting; it's been years. Rudy's Place is half—" Oh, boy. Brigid's really—is Brigid a lawyer, Patrick?

patrick

No, but she's showing some chops.

john

Yeah. What does she do for a living, if I may ask?

patrick

She does fundraising for children's hospitals.

john

Well, I bet she gets some money. 'Cause she is bringing it home here. Listen to this: "Rudy's Place is half of a terrible idea—" [Someone laughs quietly.] "—that deserves no one's time or attention. But it has somehow become the hill my dad is choosing to die on. I don't know if it's a quixotic pursuit of greatness now that he's retired, or a bizarre way for him to process his deep misunderstanding and fear of technology. [Stifles laughter.] “But either way, it's ruining our family's beach trips. Any support you can provide is deeply appreciated." Signed, Patrick's sister Brigid. Alright. Rudy, I wanna ask you about this last paragraph in particular.

rudy

Okay.

john

How do you respond to the accusation that this is a quixotic pursuit of greatness now that you've retired? And/or a bizarre way for you to process your fear of technology. Do either of those statements have any resonance with you?

rudy

Uh, not the former. Maybe the latter. [Inaudible.]

john

That latter being misunderstanding or fear about technology. Tell me [inaudible].

rudy

I wouldn't say misunderstanding or fear. I would say understanding and loathing.

john

Ah!

rudy

I don't like technology. I don't like the Internet. So I guess, honestly, this is really just a way of sort of taunting my—the younger generation with the absurdity of the culture that they have been forced to live in. [John laughs.] That's really what it is.

john

You're doing it—you're doing it for the lulz. [Jesse cracks up.] You're trolling your children. And their cousins! With this idea which you don't truly believe in, because it produces pleasure for you.

rudy

Well, now, wait! Now, wait. [Clears throat.] I still believe in the idea! [Jesse cracks up again.] The fact that it is ridiculous and grotesque is not mutually exclusive with it being a billion-dollar idea on the Internet.

john

Rudy, it says here that you retired last year from a career in energy and environmental policy, and you are now pursuing a doctorate PhD in philosophy focusing on technology, the thing you claim to hate!

rudy

Yes.

john

Why are you taking this doctorate in technology?

rudy

[Laughing] You really wanna go down this road? [Patrick cracks up.]

john

Yeah, I wanna go down that Big Toad Road! [Stifles laughter.]

rudy

[Stifling laughter] Okay—

jesse

Let's meet the toad, baby!

rudy

Okay—

john

I'm gonna ride 'til I can't no more! [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.]

rudy

I—I mean, to—[laughs]—we can spend a lot of time on that. I guess I—I'm pursuing the theme that technology is reducing the human self to an aggregate of commercial data. It's empowering totalitarian surveillance states. It's reducing mental functions to replace judgment with obedience. It's erasing the notion of objective truth, where information and truth are just what feels good, and since people spend their whole lives staring at screens, it turns out what feels good is rage. So... I could go on.

john

I like this podcast a lot. [Rudy chuckles.] You know, Judge John Hodgman began as a segment on Jesse's podcast here on the Maximum Fun network, Jordan, Jesse, Go! And then it spun off into its own podcast. So I kinda feel like maybe, Patrick, the solution here is for your dad to have a segment on Sin the Fields. [Patrick laughs.] Where he—you know what I mean? Where he just talks about the danger and evils of technology. You're not—are you talking about podcasts in the—in your portfolio of woe that you just laid out there for us, Rudy?

rudy

I—okay. At risk of sounding like I'm sucking up, I will say I do like podcasts.

john

Mm-hm.

rudy

Podcasts are probably the closest that the Internet comes to actually fulfilling the promise that it made 30 years ago.

john

Mm-hm. Back when Snake was invented. Mm-hm.

rudy

Mm-hm.

jesse

It is the most superhighway-like of the Internet's information. [Patrick laughs, Jesse stifles laughter.]

john

So—so, okay. So you—podcasts themselves are not just a—a vehicle for rage and obedience and totalitarianism.

rudy

Right. Not—well, not this one. Not yet, anyway.

john

So—[sighs]. Patrick, what do you—what—what do you want me to rule in this situation?

patrick

Well, I think that Brigid really hits the nail on the head here. Getting at the deep irony of how this man who loathes technology, uh, burden-shifts technical know-how onto all of those around him, as evidenced by the—just everything that went into getting this podcast appearance in the first place—is now essentially trolling his family, and becoming the monster that he claims to be trying to save the rest of us from.

john

Yes, but he's not using technology to do it. [Someone laughs.] He's stoking rage for his own enjoyment in person. The way it used to be done. [Patrick laughs.]

jesse

Classic meatspace trolling. [Everyone else laughs.]

patrick

So I would like you to rule that, um—you issue an injunction on him continuing to pitch this app idea. Which, despite what he has said earlier, is... one of the three things that he talks about with the rest of the family at this point.

john

He misrepresents how often he brings up Rudy's Place.

patrick

This is correct.

rudy

Only when we get together. [Patrick laughs.]

john

Okay.

patrick

This is true; he's not sending blast emails out to people. It is mostly—it's an analog pitch. It's an in-person pitch, I'll give him that.

john

What are the other two things that are in his repertoire for conversation down the shore?

patrick

Um, the tension between his love of seafaring craft and his fear of sharks.

john

Great.

patrick

And— [Someone laughs quietly, Patrick stifles laughter.]

jesse

I mean, easy answer to that one: Gonna need a bigger boat!

patrick

Right. [John laughs.] You actually have no idea how scarring just even quoting Jaws is for him. He's—he's still got deep Jaws trauma.

rudy

It's true.

john

Sure!

patrick

And, uh, I would say the other one is probably extolling the virtues of the 1970s Minnesota Vikings defensive line.

john

This is three great dad conversations. I mean... I dare say you're lucky to—you know, you're lucky to have a—a dad. And a relationship with your dad that is positive. Most people who have those things get one dad conversation. This is three great topics!

jesse

Yeah. Usually when you're talking to your dad, you don't get—you have to talk about big block vs. small block. Something like that. You don't get to talk about the Minnesota Vikings' legendary Purple People Eaters!

rudy

Thank you!

patrick

To be clear—to be clear, I'm not asking that you make him not my dad. That—I don't know if you have the jurisdictional capabilities to do that. [Jesse and John laugh.]

jesse

Thank you for clarifying that, Patrick! [Laughs.]

john

I hadn't considered that.

jesse

[Laughing] Counselor so stipulated!

john

I do—I forgot that I do have that power. [Jesse and Rudy laugh.] Rudy, if I were to rule in your favor, how would you have me rule?

rudy

Um, I have to say, having heard Patrick's... plea, there... I don't know if this ever happens on your podcast, but I realize—he's made me realize that I have been, uh, expressing my technophobia, and taking it out on innocent people like Patrick and his sister and their cousins.

john

Oh, because he said that you were—you were, like, trolling them.

rudy

Yeah!

john

Yeah.

rudy

Whatever that means.

john

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just to point out—uh, I love that you love your son, but I said it first. It's fine if you wanna credit him. [Patrick laughs.]

rudy

Okay. Well, thank you!

john

But I really teed that up for him.

rudy

Yes.

john

But go on! Please say—continue saying your touching things.

rudy

I'm gonna give the credit to my son, though.

john

I'll give that IP away.

rudy

Okay. I have to concede that I should probably... stop! Because I'm not honestly pitching a billion-dollar app to them anymore. I'm just taunting and tormenting them for being young Internet people. And that's not their fault. So I don't know—here's what I would like, though.

john

Yeah.

rudy

I would like to—you can reverse your charge to your listeners that they not take this idea. Open it up. Any of your listeners wants to take it and run with it, please do. But you need to order them that if they do it, they have to call it Rudy's Place.

john

Absolutely so ordered!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Even before I make my verdict, which now seems a foregone conclusion, but... we'll have to see.

jesse

John, that's a—that's a Creative Commons CCRP license. [Stifles laughter]. Uh, it's a standard sublicense that you can use it for commercial purposes, but you have to call it Rudy's Place.

john

And if they make a billion dollars on it, sir, can they buy a superyacht?

rudy

No! Please.

john

Oh! Why not?!

rudy

Because I hate superyachts. I don't want to—

john

Somehow I knew that!

rudy

I don't want to be part of somebody getting a superyacht.

jesse

Yeah. Too big of boat, John.

john

Yeah, but—it would seem that of all the boats, a superyacht might be the—the most shark-proof! [Jesse laughs.]

rudy

Yes. [John stifles laughter.] Superyachts produce more carbon than a small country. So... But that's a whole nother topic.

john

One last thing before I go into my chambers to make my decision. Rudy, when Patrick and Brigid and their cousins by the dozens and their aunts down by the shore... scoffed your idea initially and ongoing, how did it make you feel?

rudy

Honestly I was surprised the first time. Because I—I thought, and continue to think, that it was a commercially viable idea. Um... Didn't make me feel upset in any way.

john

Okay.

rudy

But I—I—you know... [Sighs]. I would like to reserve the right, if possible, to bring it up... occasionally. [John laughs.] Just occasionally! I can't just let it go. [John laughs.] Especially if somebody does it! It becomes Rudy's Place, and—and is a billion-dollar—someone becomes a billionaire, then I certainly have to be able to taunt them.

john

Well, that is a different situation. Yes. If a listener to Judge John Hodgman takes the idea of Rudy's Place, calls it Rudy's Place, runs with it... you get to keep the money, as long as you don't buy a superyacht. But Rudy himself retains bragging and taunting rights. Fair enough?

rudy

That sounds fair.

john

Alright. Now, as to the decision as to whether you're ever gonna mention this idea again in the future or not, that remains for me to decide. I am going to go into my chambers now, which I'm a little embarrassed to say are here on my superyacht. [Rudy laughs.] I'm going into the planetarium in my superyacht. I'll be back in a moment with my verdict.

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Patrick, how do you feel about your chances?

patrick

You know, I mean, I think I'm a little... unclear on exactly what the ruling is going to be, or what even the terms of the ruling could be, based on the admission that my father Rudy just made. I feel that, particularly with the great assist from Brigid, we've made a very compelling case that both, uh, this is not an app that is going to be successful, and that it's basically impossible for us to conclude anything other than that he's just tormenting us at this point by continuing to bring it up. So I think with those two pieces of evidence established pretty well, I think that the judge will rule in our favor.

jesse

Or, to use the language of your podcast... You're ready to kick a field goal! [One of the litigants chuckles.] Rudy, how do you feel about your chances?

rudy

Uh, I feel... I feel a little chastened, as I—as I listened to Patrick, and Brigid's affidavit, and the judge, and came to realize that I have just been tormenting this younger generation for something that's not really their fault. On the other hand, I don't—I feel pretty confident that this is a good idea—that the judge will believe that it is potentially a good commercial idea. So as long as I'm still allowed to mention it... at least once a year, I'll feel okay.

jesse

Rudy, do you know that you basically invented the hot Silicon Valley-guys-talking-to-each-other-on-the-phone app, Clubhouse?

rudy

[Laughs.] I—I'm not gonna be responsible for the use that people make of this thing.

jesse

[Laughs.] Okay. Patrick, you've been making fun of your dad's idea this entire time, and he's basically literally describing the hottest startup app in the world. [Patrick and Jesse laugh.] I mean, it's not bar-themed, or called Rudy's Place, but I think we can all agree that that would make the existing app better! [Jesse and Patrick laugh.]

patrick

I will agree that Rudy's Place is certainly a better name than Clubhouse.

jesse

Well, we'll see what Judge Hodgman has to say about all this when he comes back in just a moment.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

[Pouring rain, accompanied by thunder and/or crashing waves.] Griffin McElroy: We have wasted this world. Our magic put a storm in the sky that has rendered the surface of our planet uninhabitable. But beneath the surface... well, that’s another story entirely. Music: Sweeping synth music. Griffin: In a city built leagues below the apocalypse, survivors of the storm forge paths through a strange new world. Some seek salvation for their homeland above. Others seek to chart the vast undersea expanse outside the city’s walls. And others still seek... what else? Fortune and glory. Dive into the Ethersea, the latest campaign from The Adventure Zone. Every other Thursday on MaximumFun.org, or wherever you listen to podcasts. [Music fades out.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, we're taking a break from the case. Let's talk about what we have going on. First of all, John, we have an important priority here.

john

Please.

jesse

Our thanks to everyone who has become a member of MaxFun.

john

Absolutely. The generosity of spirit and gesture that you showed us over the past two weeks is just astonishing, mind-blowing, mind-reconstructing, and then mind-re-blowing. So, so grateful to be part of this community with you, you listeners and members who have supported Judge John Hodgman and all of the Maximum Fun community so meaningfully. Over the years, and over this last MaxFunDrive in particular. We know that it's been a challenging number of months. And we're really, really touched by your support. I just wanna say I'm—I'm continuing to have fun mispronouncing the names that you sent in. The members who upgraded or boosted to the Leadership Squad level or above, or who simply showed me reasonable proof of their vaccination. Thank you for being a good citizen. I will continue. I've got a huge—as I always do every year—a huge list of people that I will be thanking over the coming days. I have to let you know that the offer is now closed. You don't—you'll have to wait 'til next MaxFunDrive if you haven't gotten your name on the list and a confirmation from me already, we'll see you at next MaxFunDrive. So that's continuing to go on, and that's on my Instagram page, @johnhodgman on Instagram. Also on my Instagram page—what am I, 95? [Sighs.] Also on my Instagram, [stifles laughter] you will see a post of the last "Get Your Pets" that I did during the MaxFunDrive, which I'd like to draw your attention to. It's always fun to do "Get Your Pets" on Instagram. We meet with a lot of listeners there, and a lot of amazing cats and dogs and other pets. But we had a surprise appearance—Jesse, I'm not sure if you saw this. I truly did not know this was gonna happen, that Aidan, the kid who co-runs the Spirit Halloween wiki?

jesse

Yeah.

john

Jumped onto "Get Your Pets."

jesse

Oh, now we're talking.

john

With his various cats, and his one-eyed dog, and his frogs and turtles, and his mom. It was an incredible, incredible moment. I really—go check it out, over at Instagram.com/johnhodgman. You can see it archived there on my... Instagram TV tab? I don't know what the words are for these things.

jesse

Yeah.

john

But the thing that I really wanna plug just in this moment, Jesse, something very important to me... is a show called Antiques Roadshow.

jesse

Uh-huh.

john

That I went on. Jesse, did you know this?

jesse

Go suck a lemon, John. Go suck a lemon.

john

[Cackles.] I got a call—out of nowhere! Me! Just a casual fan of the roadshow! Love it!—saying, "Would you like to be on the Antiques Roadshow on our celebrity edition?" And after I stopped weeping for... for the work that they must have done calling all those people before they finally got to me— [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] Felt so bad for them. Uh, I said yes, and you can check it out at PBS.org. It's a great episode! But the thing that I wanna talk about—I brought some original art from one of my favorite artists to be appraised. Alice Provensen. Alice and Martin Provensen are the authors of a whole bunch of great children's books, including one of my favorites that I've recommended time and time again, which is Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm.

jesse

Oh, what a wonderful book that is. Such a—such a wonderful book.

john

Yeah. I'm gonna give that a big old plug. And I'm also gonna say, apologies to Norton Juster! Because when we talked about The Phantom Tollbooth the other week, I couldn't remember the name. And a number of listener—the name of the author, that is. And a number of listeners wrote in to say, "Hey, uh, you dummy, it's Norton Juster," and boy, oh boy. I didn't even know enough about Norton Juster's life! Norton Juster was born in Brooklyn. He was in the Navy, posted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where I used to go be on television sometimes, 'cause that's where Steiner Studios is. [Stifles laughter.] And then when he got out of the Navy, he got together with Jules Feiffer, and he made something called The Garibaldi Society, which was this fake secret society, and the whole point of it was to reject anyone who applied for membership. [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] And then—and then he was an architect his whole life, and then he moved to Northampton, Massachusetts! Home of WRSI The River, where Monte Belmonte holds down the morning show. And he lived there and just passed away this past March. And I had no idea that Norton Juster was a member of the Pioneer Valley community, never mind this really fascinating, interesting life, and all the other books he wrote besides The Phantom Tollbooth, which, honestly, if you're gonna write one book, that would be enough! But he did a lot of other amazing things, and I do apologize to his family and his memory for not knowing about them.

john

And speaking of the Pioneer Valley, one last thing. The place where I discovered Alice and Martin Provensen and so many great children's book authors that I didn't know about when I was a very young parent, was right there in Hadley, Massachusetts. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! It's an amazing resource. And now that museums are opening up, and this happens to be International Museum Day... if not the Eric Carle Museum, think of a museum near you where you might want to take a child who is in your life. Because it's a really wonderful thing to do, and we're so lucky that we're able to do it, thanks to vaccines! Anyway, Jesse, what do you have going on?

jesse

Oh, just the usual stuff. Everybody should come check out my comedy podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go! And, uh, look. While we were not doing any plugs during the MaxFunDrive, [stifles laughter] we—we did get a few more non-sports trading cards in the Put This On Shop.

john

Oh, boy!

jesse

So go to PutThisOnShop.com

john

Here I go. Here I go!

jesse

If you want to get—well, let's see what we got. Well, number one, we still have some Dark Crystal cards. Uh—[stifles laughter]

john

What—those aren't sold out yet?! I'm gonna change that right away.

jesse

No, we've—we've honestly—we've gone through so many boxes of them. We still have Rad Dudes cards.

john

Yeah.

jesse

We got some new Yo! MTV Rap cards. Uh, we still have some cards from Dinosaurs, the TV show. [Both stifle laughter.] And Bill & Ted cards. But probably second most importantly, we have ALF cards. And most importantly, we now have Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home cards. [Laughs.]

john

Wow!

jesse

The best Star Trek thing ever.

john

That's the most San Franciscan of the Star Treks!

jesse

It's the—[laughs]—it's the only Star Trek thing I truly love. There's other Star Trek things I've enjoyed, don't get me wrong. [Laughing] But I truly love Star Trek IV, because—remember when Sco— [Scottish accent] "Hello, computer!" [Laughs.]

john

I was just—when Scotty holds up that computer mouse, and says— [Scottish accent] "Hello, computer!" [Jesse laughs harder.] [End of Scotty impression.] I tell you what, listeners. Get on this. Go to PutThisOnShop.com. If any one of you out there gets a Star Trek: The Voyage Home card set that has a card of Scotty talking into the computer mouse, like Jesse was just saying, send me a picture of it, and I'll—I'll send you a special prize. I don't know what it's gonna be yet. But I will send you a very special prize. So don't miss this opportunity to get a very special prize. Go to PutThisOnShop.com.

jesse

Look. Get something beaut—like, get some ALF cards, but then look through the other parts of the store and get yourself something beautiful; you deserve it. Okay?

john

Absolutely! I don't want to change Put This On Shop just— [Both stifle laughter.] —to be a Dark Crystal and weird trading card shop. There's incredible stuff there!

jesse

I mean, I'm glad to sell ALF cards. Don't get me wrong. [Stifles laughter.]

john

Sure! That's not—yeah!

jesse

Everybody loves the alien life form from planet Melmac. [Laughs.] Let's—let's get back to the show.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman reenters the courtroom and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

How old are you, Patrick?

patrick

I'm 28.

john

Twenty-eight years old. When I was in my 20s, when I was your age, it was—oh! Just, uh, two years after Snake was loaded onto the Nokia 6110. And—but around that time, you know, we had the Internet. And there—and someone we knew was dating an older fella. And he had the idea for creating what we now know to be a social network. It had not existed before that time. And this guy Barry, he wanted to create a place where people could hang out together online. And he hired two younger people to consult on this project with him, to create this website where people could hang out together online. And they ultimately parted. Because—[stifles laughter]—Barry insisted, against their objections, that this online meeting place should be called, um... HangoutTown.com. [Stifles laughter.] And I agreed with those younger people at the time. But Barry was right! We—the idea of people hanging out online had not been invented yet! And Barry did it! HangoutTown.com! And if only he had gone forward with that terrible, terrible, terrible domain name, maybe he would be—and maybe he is now a multibillionaire! I don't know! I'm just saying, historically, I have a bad time evaluating business ideas. Around the same time, I was on a bicycle in Central Park, in New York City, where I live. Jonathan Coulton, my friend, was on the bicycle next to me. We were biking together! Like friends! In a French movie. And as we biked slowly along, he says, "I have an idea for an online business. This business—people don't have time to cook."

john

Bear in mind, this is around the time—you know, 1998 or so. "People don't have to cook. The business I am proposing is that we send perfectly portioned ingredients to people at their homes, as a meal kit. And they make the food at home." This dude invented SunBasket right next to me. Sorry, Jesse. I know that SunBasket is the creation of your friend from college. But I'm just saying that Jonathan Coulton was right there, on a bicycle with this idea, 15, 20 years early! And—and it is the idea that allows podcasts to exist! And you know what I told him? "It'll never work." "Hangout Town won't work. Proto-SunBasket won't work." Then Jonathan Coulton came to me a few years later and said, "You know what exists? Podcasts—" and I said, "—will never work!" I'm glad I was wrong. In all cases. To me this idea, I have to tell you, Rudy, does not seem good. But then Jesse started saying it was basically Clubhouse in another form, and I'm like, "What do I know? What do I know?" So I can't evaluate the business savvy of getting in on this idea on the ground floor, or even the basement or the second floor. I don't know! I don't know if this thing'll work. Sounds—it sounds like it doesn't need to exist. But then, plenty of things exist that don't need to, in any case. That is not the wisdom I can offer you.

john

The wisdom that I can offer is this: Patrick, you have an interesting dad. Rudy, you live—what I've taken from you is that you like to live in—in tension, between opposing ideas. You know. You have this loathing of technology, and strong feelings about it. And yet rather than just throw it all aside and go out and run a horsepower farm, and ignore technology altogether, you are taking a PhD—using technology, presumably, these days—in order to learn how to hate technology more! [Rudy chuckles.] You love ships and hate sharks! A normal position. And yet your hatred of superyachts is such that you would refuse that protection. You would rather die by shark than own a superyacht. You are a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. A football team. And yet you have, even before it's begun, the most popular segment on the most popular ultimate Frisbee podcast in the world. That's good stuff. That's interesting. I'm sure Patrick and Brigid and all of the cousins and everybody else appreciate that about you. And I don't think you deserve to be scoffed for pitching this idea once. [Stifles laughter.] 'Cause you—you almost were telling the truth for a second. You had a moment of clarity where you realized, "Yes. I pitched the idea once. I got scoffed. And now I'm coming back at them again and again just to bug them." You opened the show that way! [One of the litigants chuckles.]

john

You have stared into the technological abyss, and whether you know it or not, you are stoking rage in order to get attention for yourself, and to get lulz out of it. That's trolling, my friend! Look it up. Look it up on the Encarta CD-ROM Encyclopedia. Trolling. [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] You are now operating not in good faith, but in bad faith. Now, I—I'll give dads a lot of latitude to bug their children on this podcast. It is one of the few consolations that we enjoy as we shuffle off into irrelevance and... the grave. But. This has been going on, on and off, for... seven... 2017, 18... You know how terrible I am with subtraction. [Beat.] More than four years. You gotta knock it off. Gotta knock it off with Rudy's Place. The market has spoken. Patrick and his sister and his cousins and his aunts, they don't want this thing. They don't want it. They're not gonna make it. Now, you've chosen the right path. You've come here. I hate to call it this, 'cause I know how you feel about it, but basically the Shark Tank of fake Internet law podcasts. You were right to give this idea to the Judge John Hodgman listenership. Maybe among them, there'll be someone who will be able to crack this code, make a billion dollars, give you the taunting rights, and not buy a superyacht.

john

I am... ruling in the children's favor. You must relent. I hate to take away one of the topics of conversation. [Stifles laughter.] But the other two are so great! I—there's just so much you can do with Minnesota Vikings and sharks and boats. But I have to stop your bad-faith torment of your children. In light of your own words! Your own understanding of how technology sparks the use of rage as a—a dopamine hit. And you gotta cut yourself off from that. I absolutely encourage you to come up with another app idea. [John and someone else stifle laughter.] That would be fine. But in the meantime, Rudy's Place is now... the public square. The public domain. Judge John Hodgman listeners, go for it. Make it happen. I will donate $100 to a pitch that makes sense to me. Eugh. Why am I doing this? hodgman@maximumfun.org. [Jesse and someone else laugh.] If you can make sense of this idea... I will—I will invest $100 of my own money! That makes me the Chris Sacca of this podcast. Patrick? At the same time, I order you, don't scoff at your dad! You're lucky to have an interesting one. And also... you gotta give him a segment on the podcast. [Patrick laughs.]

john

You gotta, at this point. Everyone's dying for it! People are writing me right now! The segment on Sin the Fields, Rudy's Place, the top segment on the number one ultimate Frisbee podcast. This is the sound of a gavel.

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[Dial-up modem tone.]

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

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[Door shuts.]

jesse

Patrick, are you satisfied with this verdict?

patrick

Absolutely! I don't think I could ask for anything more. Uh, I would certainly appreciate the judge's ruling that I need to not scoff at my father, and appreciate him, because I certainly do appreciate him, but I can always appreciate him more. Because he is very interesting, he's a very loving father, and I can't have asked for anything more for one. So as far as I'm concerned, I've come outta here, uh, with a father, and potentially now another great segment on my podcast, so a win-win for me!

jesse

Rudy, how are you feeling?

rudy

Uh... [Sighs.] I think it's fair. I might need a little clarification, because... there will be moments when I don't have to say a word, but just... raise an eyebrow, and they'll know what I'm thinking. And whether that constitutes— [Jesse bursts out laughing, Rudy stifles laughter.] Whether that constitutes a—a prohibited taunt or not, is—is something that I, uh—I might need a further clarification on.

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[Door opens and shuts.]

john

Here's my ruling on that, real quick. [Jesse laughs.] You can raise your eyebrow whenever you—god-or-whatever-damn please, Rudy. And if Brigid or Patrick comes to you, or any of those cousins, and they say to you, "You're thinking about Rudy's Place, aren't you?" you just say... "What? No, I'm not!" [Jesse and Rudy or Patrick laugh.] "I'm—I'm thinking about ethics in gaming journalism!" [Jesse laughs.]

rudy

Fair enough!

jesse

Well, Patrick, Rudy, thanks for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Kicked-back funky synth loop. VO: The 2021 pin sale has begun! Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the MaxFunDrive. This is the last year for a while that we’ll be doing pins for MaxFunDrive, and the fifth year that we’ll be selling pins and donating all proceeds to charity. The past year proved what we already knew: that having access to the Internet at home is a necessity for work, school, healthcare, and keeping in touch with family and friends. So the proceeds from this year’s pin sale will go towards EveryoneOn, a nonprofit working to bridge the digital divide. We’re grateful that with your support, we’ll be able to help low-income folks gain access to affordable computers, Internet services, and digital literacy programs. The sale will run until May 28th. Folks at the $10 monthly level and above will have access to all of the pins from the Drive. That’s 38 pins, one from every show on the network. We also have a special 2021 MaxFunDrive pin that all members can purchase. Go to MaximumFun.org/pinsale for more info. And to learn more about EveryoneOn and support them directly, you can go to EveryoneOn.org. [Music fades out.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books. Before we dispense Swift Justice, our thanks to Jen Cunningham for naming this week's episode, "There's an APPellate Court for That." If you'd like to name an episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook! That's where we ask for your suggestions. Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and @hodgman, hashtag your Judge John Hodgman tweets #JJHo, and check out the Maximum Fun subreddit—that's at MaximumFun.Reddit.com—to discuss the episode! We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to follow us there for evidence and other fun stuff. Our producer, the ever-capable—and always with a made bed... Jennifer Marmor. [John laughs.] You can see her bed behind her in the video conference now.

john

Very well—very well—you got—look. In the age of Rudy's Place, you gotta look good! You gotta come correct!

jesse

Yeah. Jennifer's bringing decorative pillow game! Okay. Now let's get to Swift Justice—I can never figure out what to do with them when I'm asleep. Decorative pillows. I'm like, "Do I just put it... on the floor? That seems weird."

john

I put it—I—

jennifer

I put it on my desk chair.

john

Yeah. I put one between my knees. I'm a side sleeper.

jesse

Oh, that's smart.

john

Yeah.

jesse

That's smart; that's good for your back. Now, Swift Justice, where we answer your small disputes with a quick judgment. Jennifer from Arizona says: "My husband insists on seasoning the cast iron pans every time we use them! We can't just clean them and put them away. We have to clean them, oil them, and bake them in the oven for an hour." [John laughs.] "It's an argument every time."

john

Yeahhh. Jennifer's husband, you don't know what you're doing with a ca—that's not how you take care of cast iron pans over time. You season them once. And then after each use, you sleep with them between your knees. Everyone knows this. [Jesse bursts out laughing; John stifles laughter.] Nooo. I mean, I—I saw Jesse Thorn shaking his head there, too. It's not sleep between the—sleep with them between your knees. You just gotta clean them, and then you give 'em a little bit of oil! A little oil coating. And that's it! Right, Jesse?

jesse

Yeah. I mean, you don't even have to give them a little oil coating, frankly. The whole point of cast iron is that once it's seasoned, as long as you're not cooking something super-acidic in it for a long time, or really scrubbing it with a Brillo pad, that you can just cook with it indefinitely, essentially rinsing it out between uses, and it will get better and better over time.

john

Yeah. It's beautiful because it's imperfect, not because you're trying to perfect it every time. You know, you can make errors in a cast iron pan. You can mess a cast iron pan up, and then reseason it. You know, to paraphrase David Rees, uh, the author of How to Sharpen Pencils—and also the co-creator of Dicktown on Hulu; Bit.ly/dicktown—uh, the pursuit of perfection is the way of sadness. So... take it easy on your pans! If it looks dry— [Drops to a whisper.] If it looks dry, add a little oil. Add a little oil between uses if it looks dry.

jesse

That's fine with me.

john

[Quiet but no longer whispering] Right. Okay.

jesse

That's it for this week's episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small. We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful ukulele chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

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—audience supported.

About the show

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