Sunday, May 31, 2015

What Are We Doing?


The gang of three ask themselves a simple question: What are they doing? And betwixt the interruptions, the semantic debate over startups and upstarts, and the loquacious foibles, they arrive at an answer: Making a podcast. Duh!

 

But what does it mean to be a podcaster? Why would one broadcast himself to the world? To Zach, the answer is simple. If you have something to give, then you have to give it. But to Ethan it’s more complicated. He thinks that first you have to figure out if you have something to give. 

 

They’re just a couple of divas, carrying along the tradition of divas being divas. Like Siskel & Ebert. Key & Peele. Bert & Sis. No, Bert & Jean. No! Bert & Ernie! There we go. Divas are an important part of an organization. Just ask Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, Google Executives and all-around broheims. Jonathan Rosenberg says:

 

“Not all difficult employees are knaves. In fact, some of most difficult are exactly the people you should fight to keep. I call them the divas. So exile knaves, but fight for divas!

 

Whereas knaves act the way they do because of low integrity, divas do it because of high exceptionalism. They’re extraordinarily talented and think they’re better than the team (and they usually are!), but they still want the team to win. What’s important is that their contributions match or exceed their egos.”

 

Beswide the fact that Ethan is tired, in sprite of it even, he and Zach manage to answer some important questions. What does the show need? Good iTunes reviews. Who’s better, Nietzsche or the Nazis? Nietzsche. What’s the greatest place in the world? Laguna Matata. What’s the greatest sport of all time? Whale Polo. Is it okay to sell out? Yes. How are Ethan and Zach doing? Well, the audience doesn’t really need to hear it.

 

 


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Belying Truth (Honesty in the Age of Information)


Ethan grossly claims that it’s impossible to be perfectly honest. Zach broadly counters that those who are naturally better (smarter, wealthier, etc.) will be more honest. Because the truth is actually pretty nice for them. The Trio elegantly agrees that everyone should just be herself. But Ethan takes issue with the matter of selfhood. He thinks that everyone is hiding something. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for example. Everybody knows that he’s hiding some deep dark dirty detestable secret. In this case, and for all eternity, this secret shall be known as: The Peanut Butter Reveal. In other words, he secretly spreads peanut butter between his butt cheeks. It’s true. 

 

Zach realizes that Ethan is concerned primarily with the sin of omission. In other words, people are dishonest because they neglect to state the entire truth. It’s not so much the “nothing but the truth” that bothers Ethan. It’s the “whole truth” that bothers him. In politics, the truth is treated like the village bicycle. Everybody gets a chance to reveal some petty personal preference of her own. Like what Hillary Clinton eats at Chipotle. Politicians embody dishonesty by catering to everyone. But this is only because the stakes are too high for pure honesty in this day and age. Then again, pure honesty can be measured both quantitatively (how much do you tell the truth?) and qualitatively (how juicy are the truths that you tell?).

 

Ethan drops a bomb after pressing the wrong button. Oops. Nobody can be honest with himself. And a zillion people would agree with that! So says Zachrates … He who spreads peanut butter (and the word!) between his butt cheeks (and the world!). But butt butter is no match for The White Light. Like with those people who die and see themselves from the outside looking in. Certainly they understand themselves in a way that goes beyond the mere living. Nay! There’s a limit to how much one can understand his body. Or a roller coaster, for that matter. Think about it. In order to fully understand the roller coaster, you would have to ride it infinite times! You can’t experience an entity to its full extent. Therefore, nothing can be known. So honesty is a moot point. Thanks a lot, Ethan!

 

We’ve simply forgotten what practicality means. Something being true on a practical level is not the same as something being true on an absolute level. Take lawyers, for example. They operate in a world where absolute truth doesn’t even exist. They are able to create truthiness through the opinions of jurors and judges. 

 

Ethan encourages stasis in an effort to find the common denominator of all problems. And although he doesn’t succinctly state it, he believes that the root of all evil is the misapplication of knowledge via language. Zach says the root of all evil is discontent. Y’know? Lack? Rejection? Being eaten! The Holy Trinity: Brain, Hand, and Butt. Not to mention, the fourth member of the trio: Peanut Butter!

 

 


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Men's Rights Movement


Huh?!? There’s a Men’s Rights Movement? That’s right! They even have an acronym: The MRM. So they must be legit…

 

Zach asks a very simple question: “What won’t men d—“

Ethan interrupts him: “There’s a lot that men won’t do for sex... That was your question, right? Ah, never mind. I don’t care. As I was saying…”

 

Despite Ethan’s interlocutory brashness in this episode, Zach manages to make his point: Some men are so devastatingly unsexy, that they are willing to feminize themselves in order to get laid. But not just to get laid, to be loved as well. These men parrot the Feminist Movement and agree to unfair marital arrangements, give up their civil and social rights, and regress into a dark dungeon of despair. Just to subdue the wanton will of Woman. 

 

Want an example? Why, just look at penguins! When the sexiest male penguin locks in the lone lady penguin on a floating sheet of ice, the lowly other male penguins resort to necrophilia. That’s right, they have sex with dead penguins… Then again, some male penguins sit on the eggs. And some male penguins are decidedly homosexual. And male seahorses carry the eggs inside them! Buuuut…female praying mantises eat the males after sex. Sooo… What the heck does the animal world have to teach us, anyway!?! Gosh!

 

Ethan thinks the MRM is silly. But then again, he thinks all movements are silly, and that everyone should just stand still for once. Or join the Anti-Movement Movement. The AMM. (It’s legit.) That being said, Ethan believes the Feminist Movement has very practical and sensible goals. And that there is progress to be made, whilst maintaining what is essentially different about the genders. 

 

Zach and Ethan find agreement in the notion that beauty may not always rest in the eye of the beholder. In other words, beauty is partially objective. (They agree on that? Go figure!) But no sooner have they agreed than they descend into unwonted manliness, staking out caves and bashing trees with clubs. Uggh! That’s the sound that a real man makes! Zach eats a poop sandwich, has sex with himself, and starts a video hosting service called MeTube.com.

 

 

The Trio just barely brush the surface of this massively complex and delectable debate. There is a fierce community of YouTubers (MeTubers?) who have much more to say on all of these issues. Here are just a few…

 

On the MRM side:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/girlwriteswhat

https://www.youtube.com/user/SandmanMGTOW

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVRQqUgDRBevsDGOeE1DL3A

 

And on the definitively non-MRM side:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/lacigreen

https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnaAkana

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Uhn0GOuErIBhOA3T79Mkg

 

 


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

This American Death


Ira Sass hosts This American Death, a show where real-live dead people tell their stories. In tonight’s episode, you’ll meet Randal Donaldson, a Wall Street stock broker who left behind two kids and a wife. His death was one for the ages, coming amidst a cycle of depression and hypertension that ended in a massive heart attack. Randal finds himself in a 3 foot wide by 8 foot long by 10 foot high room, with smooth black stones lining the walls. All he can remember is a white light, and then a cool, cozy black fist that squeezed him from head-to-toe. And yet, after all that, Randal doesn’t even believe he’s dead. No, he imagines he’s still living the life of a polygamous transgender wife.

 

 

But in reality, he has been transported to a lavender-colored, oval-shaped cavern. And it turns out that Randal was collectively seen as a pretty bad guy before he died. Getting in dirty with law firms like Shoemaker and Smishshmotzel, and Merck and Sanford. And smuggling money to The Canary Islands. But in reality, Randal was just trying to get his businesses off the ground: Facegrinder.com. and The Goobook. The two million dollars were meant to rescue the miners and the canaries. In the end, Randal tempted his partners with the promise of an outside-bird named Enza. But at the last moment, someone opened a window. And in flew Enza. 

 

 


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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Afterlife, if Any (aka Death…It’s Not So Bad)


Here’s a quickie for ya! No, not that kinda quickie. A 25-minuter, no more/no less. Zach insists on it, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep his promise. Is that why he and Ethan spend the first five minutes talking about longies, undies coming offies, ovaries in a bowl, a miniature clone version of Ethan, Jupiter Ascending, and Zombie Jesus Christ? No, it’s just that their topic tonight is kind of a downer: Death!

 

To Zach, death is just a concept. So is time, for that matter. And memory…And matter! Plus, we have the entire animal kingdom to turn to for inspiration! But to Ethan, death is the loss of sensation and memory…And matter! He’s a bit troubled by it. He carries a tadpole’s worth of concern, if you will. (I won’t!)

 

Zach’s just a material girl, living in a material world. And he thinks that nobody’s born and nobody dies. Ethan, on the other hand, believes that we’re all just a bunch of eternal forces that inhabit a body. But when you die, you become one with everything, and lose the essence of what makes you different.

 

Ethan and Zach discuss their respective graduation days. Zach didn’t go, because he had to go to summer school. But Ethan remembers it just like it was yesterday. Only, it wasn’t. These days, it’s just a bunch of neurons firing. Or is it a picture of a bunch of neurons firing? 

 

“What about the will to live?” Ethan asks. “You mean the sex drive?” Zach responds. 

 

Ethan maintains that you cannot divorce pleasure and pain from life and death, respectively. But Zach says that the ego is the only barrier to a natural, everyday occurrence that should cause no one any fear. He would know…seeing how he experienced an ego death of his own! (The White Light!-Ha-cha-cha-cha-cha!)

 

“Death may not be all that bad,” Ethan allows, “but there’s still reason to avoid it. There’s a lot to like about being alive, and time, and all that other nifty stuff.”

 

“What are you really afraid of?” asks Zach. “It’s all just a practical matter. Decide what to do with your land and your money and your body after you die. Don’t let some petty fear get in the way of your duties.” 

 

When you die, you can finally let go of all the secrets you held while you were alive. Not to mention, the loneliness! Ethan believes that loneliness only exists when you’re alive. Like a warm gun…Or was that happiness? Zach took Lady Loneliness out on a date one time. He let her pay for the cab. But it came out of his bank account. Weird…

 

Ethan tries to end the episode. But Zach insists on stretching it out like an old pair of undies-offies. He’ll finally get the chance to state his points at The Death Cafe (www.deathcafe.com). Like his point about The Youth in Asia. Or his point about Sue. A side. Pick a side, Sue! Stop dilly-dallying!

 

 


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Friday, May 8, 2015

The Big Questions


In disorder of importance, these are The Big Questions. The ones we will return to over and over again, whether you like it or not. Zach and Ethan provide their rapid-fire answers.

 

1. Nature vs. Nurture?-Zach goes with Narture. Or Nurtare. He feels offended that he has to choose a side. As if he’s being told, “You’re either with us or against us” by George W. Bush. Ethan defends the question, then begs it, then dodges it, then defends it some more. Nature and nurture are both complicated matrices. It all comes down to assigning blame and guilt. Punishment and forgiveness. The correct answer is … It’s both! But why? Ethan says there is no difference between the two. Zach says it all comes down to Adnan Syed. Obviously! Ethan and Zach agree (whaaa?) that he’s guilty. And assuming he’s guilty, the question becomes, was he born a monster or did he become one because of his environment? And Ethan maintains that the two scenarios are indiscernible. Zach compares the question to a car. What causes it to move, the engine or the gas? Ethan says it’s like the chicken or the egg. Zach is clearly better at metaphors.

 

2. Monism vs. Multiplicitism? Is everything one thing or is everything a bunch of different things? Ethan says everything is one thing, but allows for the possibility of infinite things arising from that one thing. He compares himself to Spinoza, who said that there is a single substance with infinite attributes. Zach calls himself a paradoxicalist. There are certain questions that the mind simply recognizes as a paradox. If there’s only one thing, then numbers don’t exist. Ethan gets hungry and starts talking about bread. And then, in a moment of famished honesty, admits that he only decided on monism because he wanted to eliminate the subject-object distinction. The great philosopher, Zachrates, has a deep thought: the very word, “decision,” is closely related to the word, “to cut,” implying that there are, in the end, multiple things. But Ethan counters that every word he is forced to utter is simply a necessary evil of multiplcitism. In other words, they are attributes of the single substance known as the universe, which can never truly be spoken. This is not really such a new idea. It stretches back as far as the Pre-Zachratics. 

 

3. Is the universe infinite? Just another issue about numbers, says Zach. Infinity is a mental construct. Therefore, nothing is infinite. Infinity is the mental act of putting one thing next to another and saying that you can do that infinitely. But what Ethan means is, will the universe continue expanding infinitely? And in order to ask the question, he has to defend the very notion of time itself! Zach insists on the limits of knowledge. But just because we can’t know what will happen, doesn’t mean that nothing will happen. In fact, something will happen! It’s just like The Hubble Deep Field, says Zach. Obviously! For the rare listener who doesn’t know, The Hubble Deep Field is a photo of a tiny dark spot in the universe, assembled from multiple images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in the nineties. The result: buttloads of distant galaxies!

 

4. Optimism vs. Pessimism? It all cums back to vagina for Zach. If he’s close to vagina, he’s an optimist. Otherwise, he’s a pessimist. So he’s a circumstantial optimist. Or a determinist. Or a vaginist. But more importantly, he’s a quadinist, always getting caught up in the Number 4. Number 4. Number 4. Number 4. Thou shalt not kill, right? Ethan’s a wary optimist. He admits that pessimism is useful. And the question is useful because it drives much of what Ethan does. Finally, Ethan and Zach agree (whaaa!) that they are different. Ethan’s definition of optimism arises from his awareness of the world, as a whole. While Zach’s definition arises from his awareness of himself, as a part.

 

5. Free will vs. Determinism? Not answered.

 

 


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Therapy Session Podcast


Join host, Fig Newman, as we get a sneak peek inside the office of a real life psychiatrist. The Therapy Session Podcast (TSP) makes all this possible by providing a platform for mental health patients and professionals to express themselves publicly. Dr. Sanders and his client, Michael Dadididinucci, have agreed to record their first therapy session together. And the result is just remarkable. A written description wouldn’t do it justice. So you’ll just have to listen as the magic unfolds.

 


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Friday, May 1, 2015

Mental Illness 3 (It's All in Your Head!)


Zach explains where mental illness comes from, citing the commonly accepted notion that it is a physiological phenomenon. But also pointing out that mental illness can be useful. It can serve a purpose. Ethan agrees with him (for once), mentioning the creative juice of bipolar (not) illness. Zach talks about Will Hall, of Madness Radio fame, who has Schizophrenia and has managed to succeed in spite of it. What’s the difference between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia? But why does that matter anyway, when you can have your cake and eat it too with schizoaffective disorder!

 

Ethan tries to avoid the word, “illness,” substituting “bunny rabbits” instead. Zach suggests that brain damage is a mental illness. Justine disagrees vehemently. And Ethan agrees with her (as usual). He says that what sets a mental illness apart from brain damage is that there is no known origin for mental illness. 

 

Zach says: In Jungian psychology, all mental phenomena are teleological. Depression is the ego responding to negative circumstances of life. So depression is not actually an illness, it is a response to the world. Ethan thinks this is absurd. And plenty of people would agree that mental illness is purely a physiological phenomenon. Justine saves the day by seeing the truth in what Zach is saying, but asking, at what point do we pathologize depression. And why do we still feel like crap afterward?

 

Zach plays Socrates. Or Zachrates, as it were, worrying about the wetter wobble water. And claiming that the grass is always greener on the Zach side of the fence. Ethan tries to get everyone to take up arms, with or against mental illness. What do we do with it? Is it even a problem? Ethan mentions suffering, then explodes creatively all over the places. Vis-à-vis Vincent van Gogh. Take the down with the up, says Justine. Know thyself, says Zach. 

 

Does religion cure mental illness? Not the gunpoint style of religion, though. Can you really cure it? Zach speaks of the phases of life of a plant. Why? We may never know…What we do know is that the plant becomes too big. You can cure mental illness by finding the cause and becoming one with it. Like Luke Skywalker. Obviously! Justine hits the table, but learns to embrace it. 

 

 


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