Episode 46 – Easter and Humor Class

We actually keep on topic and discuss (almost) everything we wanted to touch on. There’s a bit of tech talk at the beginning, but it just kinda happens, you know?

We do discuss Easter and traditions. We grew up different and have different things we each do for Easter. Maybe you’ll find a new tradition for you and your family. Egg rolling, hiding baskets, egg attack, and painting eggs are just some of these traditions. What traditions do you have?

Alan is doing a talk later this year at Baldwin Wallace and gets to take a class. He chose to take a humor class. Humor is big in our lives and we try to dissect and analyze it. I’m sure you can agree or disagree on some of what we say is funny or not.


Alan 0:40
tend to break out the shorts and the T shirts instead of the sweats and the etc, etc. And yes, so thanks again, Ted for being our guest. And it this is He always gets comments when I wear you know, I have certain lounge pants that people always talk about when I have like Dr. Seuss, or black panther or something like that. This is what like, what’s whose tap dance killer, it’s like it? Well, I have this friend that does this great comic. And so now,

Unknown Speaker 1:02
if you go to my YouTube channel, you can see the interview.

Alan 1:07
Exactly that if you want to go and get some, you know, get your geek on we are relentless in it is an actually, you know, that’s very fun. I for a long time I when I ran the smart life, you know, that was the very early social media site before Facebook was big. I actually had started something up that had lots of mental friends and so forth. And it was just that little fun tweak of when people say, Hey, you know what’s going on? What’s your website? And it’s like, well, I’ve actually built an entire universe of fun people and good content and you want I mean, if you stop by, it’ll get even better. And it just was nice to have that little leave behind. Right? You know what I mean? That he can come and join us. It’s fun.

Stephen 1:44
That’s true geek cred that you’re always still one step up on the tech. I remember having a Palm Pilot. And when my kids were born showings or somebody going so you got a picture your kids? Well, let me show you and I pulled up the Palm Pilot guy. Really? You carry them on your phone? That’s so weird. Fast forward. 20 years later, everybody does it.

Alan 2:04
Everyone, if anything, you can’t stop them from thrusting their phone right in your face and going oh, I don’t need to see your trash cans and how pretty I you know,

Stephen 2:13
I like email, you know, because I got mine dark calm along with probably 10 other domain emails, right? And people are like, Oh, I never heard of that one. Well, no, that’s because it’s mine. I don’t use Gmail, you know, all that. And they’re, like, so used to everybody having that.

Alan 2:29
That’s true. You know, it’s kind of funny coming in, I was having this conversation. I think you and I, and actually, we were a little bit too, that I tend to really get value out of my technology. Yeah, you know, I buy a phone. And I don’t like necessarily buy each next generation phone as it comes out. Because this one still works with all the capabilities that have when I bought it, and they’re near indestructible. And I just don’t want to be on that treadmill, that weird treadmill of you know, kind of have the latest and greatest because it is fun to show it off. But it also is expensive. And just sometimes the transitions are enough hassle that you’re kind of happy to have I had everything tweaked just right, I don’t want to and tweak it. But having said that, right, there really are, it’s good to have the ongoing awareness of Alright, cameras have gotten better. The new I watch has like it monitors my heart and my blood sugar, you know, the washer dryer in our basement, they got better SEER rating, so they’re more efficient, all kinds of things. It’s we’re saying, you know, we don’t have to keep this until it drops in exhaustion, we really can say every 235 years, whatever the windows are, you know, what, maybe an awareness of those windows how fast this technology March, that it’s worth saying, I kind of want that list. And I want to because it has these additional capabilities where because it saves me money, you know, and to me, there’s a

Stephen 3:44
that’s what I’m having to tell myself with my rig. You know, if if I got it in January of this year, I’m not going to need to upgrade the CPU and the memory and the video next year, because it’s not going to be enough of an upgrade enough of a change. Five years from now, maybe depending on cost. That’s enough changes, you know, the phones the same way, you know, and I don’t like to change my phone a lot. But you’re probably like me, every now and then you’re like, you know, I really should go in and maybe I can optimize it just a little more. Maybe I can change something to get a little more speed a little more memory and you play exactly

Alan 4:22
do I have my Wi Fi settings so that they’re at the maximum security and can anything, a lot of times what drives me to upgrade is when it can’t take something that I really liked. Like when when we had our mean Colleen had our Mac laptops and snow leopard, the operating system working perfectly. And when it got that it couldn’t take the next operating system upgrade without some 32 bit apps not working because they went to 64 bit or whatever the qualifiers were. It’s like, I don’t want to be in that game now of I’m deleting things from my harddrive because I don’t have enough room. I’m continually like closing apps so I have enough memory like especially I usually get my rigs really outfitted because I don’t want to be interrupted by, I’ve run out of memory. That just seems doesn’t seem like a 1980s.

The 1980s

Stephen 5:06
I remember upgrading to an Amiga to a whopping 512k, just to play SimCity.

Alan 5:14
Exactly, I’ll tell you apart, I was a consultant at ameritech for a long time. And I would say, for a year, about a third of my time was doing limb upgrades. Remember, Lotus, Intel, Microsoft had a standard for how you could go beyond the 384 barrier, if I remember correctly, and you had to get the memory and then configure your machine so that it could recognize that memory. If you really did it for like Lotus spreadsheets, it was very, very handy. Well, that’s, that’s kind of like the last time whenever I got, I remember getting like an 80 meg hard drive and going, how will I ever use all this space? Well, then, you know, music shows up as rich media and various other things. And you quickly see that everything always accelerates, you know, they get past you have the files. Yeah, so I guess that’s kind of a little bit of a resolution, you know, like, I really want to always be when I describe my rig, not immediately have caveats for Well, I got that old and it was great at the time, I kind of want to be close to state of the art, especially if it’s capabilities for me, or additional safety, as you know, cyber warfare is all around us. And I really like it when I The machine has actually nowadays they have things your onboard, where it’s got a corral of how it runs a memory so that it really does stop things from being able to take it over get root, etc, etc. And as those things are introduced, not only do I want to have them for myself, but I kind of want to have experience of them not kind of I really want to have experience because all my friends, as you know, when you’re a geek, a lot of people just have casual conversations with Hey, somebody, my system is running slower. Do you think it’s a virus? It’s like, let’s talk

Stephen 6:54
about human virus.

Alan 6:57
Really? Exactly. What is it peb CAC problem exists between share and keyboard. But, but I always have been like that, too. I want to have familiarity, direct familiarity with these things so that I can actually, by having both Mac and Windows I can talk about, well, here’s the way in which I’ll compare and contrast between windows 10 and Mac OS, you know, 15, or whatever else it might be. And, and I don’t know, it just matters to me that I’m relatively current. One of the ways in which you know, as my body gets to be 60 I slow down a little bit. I can still keep up with these kids nowadays, because I have state of the art phone, not a flip phone. I have state of the art computers, if anything, I kind of know more than most people no matter their age, about a lot of these things. You know what I mean? So what am I that’s conversation I can have one

Stephen 7:43
of my things I like being able to do is having my phone having my computer, laptop, whatever, and say, Yeah, well, you’re complaining that your laptop, oh my gosh, it’s three years old. It’s running so slow. And I got to get a new one. I’m like, Oh, well, look, mine’s running just as fast as yours. And it’s 10 years old. It’s I have so much knowledge that I can keep it very well. You know, it’s

Alan 8:07
exactly, I installed my own memory. And I didn’t zap everything.

Stephen 8:11
Because Frankie really did do that. He’s still bitter about it a while but Oh, I didn’t know. Yeah. Last year, when he got his stimulus check. He went out and bought a gaming rig and a nice computer and it could have been liquid cooled. It had lights and it was you know, fast memory, good card, all of that. And he got a new desk was moving things around. He’s been streaming so he set up his green screen behind him, you know, was really getting into it. Well, he was in a hurry. And he left various things plugged in was moving things around. And something flopped over a live wire hit the motherboard a fire flew out in the back and that was it. So he was not happy about that. He’s like, do you think anything survived and might know your God?

Alan 8:56
You really want to see smoke right there. No.

Stephen 9:00
Modern rig. I mean, he didn’t even have a hard drive is I even recognize that it was really just a memory stick. But it had consistent memory. However magic they do that nowadays. And I’m like, right. That’s your hard drive. I’m like, okay, I don’t know a thing about this. It’s a whole new port. It’s a whole new look. I’m like I can’t I don’t know anything about it.

Alan 9:21
Yeah, you know, it’s sometimes the things that used to be miraculous become so commonplace, like, I don’t know, I used to carry around. And we can run through the history of a cyclist cartridges and zip cartridges and various different things. Bernoulli boxes that were extensive extended storage. So besides your hard drive you had inherent in your machine, you could have 20 and 40 and 80 mag cartridges, and especially if I worked on multiple development projects, I kind of liked being able to have some separation between them and to be able to carry it to the client and etc, etc. Then they came up with you know, thumb drives where it’s like wow, this little thing you can hide in your pocket is now spiced I can carry the exam, and you can lose them. But the fact that they’re not becoming where you have like a complete operating system on it, and it really is, like they used to make fun of, you know, with any Earth laptop, you can take over an alien spaceship and destroy their Armada, well, you can really put in a hard little thumb drive that is outfitted to like, take over read data granule spy stuff in kind of a dangerous way. But also in a cleansing way. If I go to a friend’s house, and I have all my tools on it for let’s check the hard drive. Let’s check the file integrity, let’s all that kind of stuff. It’s very cool to have your bag of tricks be not a succession of floppies. But this little Magic Thumb of yours. It’s the cool thing.

Stephen 10:42
So I had a thumb drive that had lots of hacker type stuff. So I could go to a client, plug it in, and I could get to it and run things and check things not to take over and be blackhat. But it’s because the same tools can be used for good

Alan 10:59
for good or for evil. Yeah, exactly. I

Stephen 11:00
have a thumb drive that runs Apache. So I can literally take my thumb drive and do web development on any computer anywhere. I have another one that runs Linux, Ubuntu so I can run it right off the thumb drive any on my laptop on my desktop, on my wife’s laptop, you know, whatever. And it’s all consistent. Yeah,

Alan 11:20
so Exactly. In fact, it when they started, I ever been going to tech offices forever, and really started to give away not only in tech conferences, but just at regular conferences. Here’s a thumb drive. It has the your schedule and a whole bunch of useful stuff. You know what I mean, the logo for the conference or whatever like that, and it was like, these are now enough of a commodity. They give them away by the 30,000. Yeah, you know, and that’s kind of cool. And you really know what’s arrived and it’s stable. And

Stephen 11:46
then the last one I just took and plugged it into the port in my head and I was good. I just

Alan 11:52

here’s here’s a pill, you’re gonna swallow it. It’s either the red pill or the blue pill. Right?

Stephen 11:58
So you said you got out the spring where and starting to wear your warm weather clothes. We just had Easter we were talking about. We didn’t talk about Easter last week. So I saw you guys were away for the weekend. But so geekery wise, what are the traditions you’ve grown up with or that you guys do and things you do for Easter?

Alan 12:20
It’s funny, as a family, we did many more things like dyeing of eggs, and coloring of them. You know what I mean? We’ve tried that we’ve always had pots, which I think is one of those places that has an officially government sanctioned monopoly because I don’t know that there’s no but you know, and, and getting together with friends or with families, that’s always very fun, you get to see everybody’s tastes and colors and just sometimes happy accidents come out. And they’re really beautiful. Sometimes they have little speckles and stuff. My when I was growing up, we used to have a big Easter egg hunt and kind of a treasure hunt in the house where it was not only easter eggs, but bags of jelly beans, you know, those little wet mesh bags of jelly beans that are trucked to the eggs and a chocolate bunny hid somewhere. And my dad hid them all over the house. And then he would give out clues. And there was like one of each of the various different things for each of the kids. And so he, with his amazing memory and his amazing creativity was able to put out clues. It’s like he remembered like looking around at who’s got one in their basket. Oh, you haven’t found your bunny yet. And he gives some kind of interesting, cryptic riddle, if you will. And, and he was smart in terms of they really weren’t very, they weren’t in the bottom of the drawer behind the tools or something like that. They were all where you could see them from a certain viewpoint. But sometimes it was like, we had curtains that had a swag rope that kept them together. And he nestled it in where if you shook the curtain, that Kabuki would fall out. But otherwise, it was just kind of waiting to be found. And we just I was amazed at Of course, you know your sugar, you know, like you’re getting all the coupon treasure, but the fact that he did that for years and years and and didn’t seem to be that there was the same places each year that there was always new creative places, you know, like a hide a bunny box in a bookshelf where because it’s the color that you’re there’s not a bright pastel will immediately stand out, but somehow just fit in and you’d be like you’d look around the room and scan. Anyway. So I always love that. Um, we often went as a family for a walk. And so that’s you know, the spring is springing like we go out to like cosmin lake was near our house in Elk Grove village where I grew up, and just various different things were bursting into bloom and it was pretty much family time have a big you know, Easter breakfast, you know, where everybody contributes so somebody cooks eggs, that kind of stuff and then a big Easter dinner. So that’s that’s kind of dish traditions. Now that started just Colleen and I, we have pysanky and I should I wish I would have thought to bring one up to have it on camera. You know, those are those beautifully colored Ukrainian easter eggs. And I don’t know I love colors like that and patterns like that. I just have that thing about complexity and symmetry and just it’s beautiful. And I always thought in my They were kind of like Faberge eggs where they’re going to cost me $10,000 How am I going to do this? We discovered that here in Cleveland, the Ukrainian Defense League, no lie has a little gift shop, and they have all manner of members who make these easter eggs. So for as soon as I got in town, we went over there and like, get two eggs each year for a couple, you know, probably at least 12 years where we had two dozen. And we had like this special fiestaware egg holder so that they display beautifully. And man, there’s just nothing like seeing those as you walk around your house and glance by and you just stop and look at him because they’re just so beautiful. And human beings made this with that painstaking wax removal process and, you know, multiple layers, multiple iterations of it. I I can’t think of anything more beautiful that I have in my house, you know, that that was

Stephen 15:51
a really beautiful level of artists artistry.

Alan 15:56
Yeah, exactly. Not just Craftsman like, but but artistic. And they have like, were ones white on white, it’s a big goose egg. And they did it all where it’s just like layers of wax with slight dyes. So instead of being bright, it’s actually very subtle. And one of the things that kind of hold it up to the light, and as you move it, it shifts banan Oh, man, I

Stephen 16:15
just nice.

Alan 16:16
The fact that someone has that steady of an eye. And it seems to be something like they had classes at this place as well, where it was handed down from, you know, mother to daughter, it seems to be many more ladies and guys doing it. I’m not sure why that is. But they It was very much like the steady hand and the accumulation of 10 eggs in progress and pick up each one and do the next thing to it. And then beauty appears.

Stephen 16:37
Oh, man, just as beyond my skill. Definitely.

Alan 16:42
That’s one of the reasons I’ve never taken it on is you know, I could do the jigsaw puzzle. Oh, pysanky eggs. I can’t make it because and it probably could but but it’s just now I’m I don’t know, I don’t I don’t. I’ve never had fine motor control where I just I haven’t embraced that and gotten better at it. Whereas for instance, my younger brother loves painting miniatures. Oh, yeah. And he used to, you know, like from, from d&d characters or from various different periods of war, Seven Years War, Revolutionary War, and so forth. And he’d be sitting there was like, a paintbrush that had three little sprigs on it, and getting like this perfect color. It’s like a micron across, you know what I mean, on this guy. And he did the research to make sure that the costumes, the costumes, or the uniforms were authentic. I just, I kind of like, let’s dip it in brown and see what I mean, I don’t have that. So

Stephen 17:37
when I was a kid, our Easter’s were always down at my grandmother’s. And I remember when I was really young, my great grandparents were still alive. And they literally when they were 20, came over on the boat from Hungary, the settlers. Okay, so they still spoke their native country language, and that my great grandfather, you know, he was ancient at the time I was five, he was 75.

Alan 18:03

Stephen 18:03
there are two things I remember as always doing was an egg roll, where my grandfather built a ramp, and you would roll your egg down the ramp, and wherever it stopped, you’d have to put a penny. And if it rolled over anybody else’s pennies on the way you could pick those up. So over time, it was one of those where everybody keep missing pennies. So you’d have a million of them out there. So then every roll, you would get four or five pennies, and then you’d put one down, but pretty soon, you balance the other way. And you know, so it was always that lottery feeling of Oh, man, I can win lots of pennies, but it never worked out. Exactly.

Alan 18:42
It evens out.

Turn and stuff. Yeah,

Stephen 18:45
entertainment. And then the other fun game my great grandfather wanted us to play was you would take quarters, and nickels and 50 cent pieces dollar whatever. He gets the money from his life. He did good with that. So all his kids would get pennies, and he’d have quarters, but you would hold him egg. The other person would take their coin tray and slam it into the egg. If it went all the way through. They got all the all the money in the eggs. Well, okay, it was more fun for him to watch us flinch every time somebody missed. And we’d hit knuckles with pennies, or something like that. When we were older, that really was the point of the game was for my great grandpa to laugh at us as we cracked our knuckles hoping to get 25 cents and pennies.

Alan 19:36
That’s right. I’m wondering Are you willing to sacrifice right

Stephen 19:38
handed notice that when my kids were born, we did the Easter egg hunt. I did it around the house. I bought like 350 400 eggs. And while we’ve got the land, you know, and I would fill them up with little bits of candy or some coins you know when they were young It was pennies and nickels as I got older, I put dollar bills and stuff. And I’d spread them all throughout the house or out the land and they go out searching. And we always invited friends over. And like my kids don’t need 400 eggs. So it was always more fun with friends. And they would always have a gaggle of kids running around the yard looking for eggs and stuff. Every single year, we would find eggs all summer into the next year.

Alan 20:25
Right? Because even if you threw it was that many a dozen kids running around, they don’t know how we’re the place.

Stephen 20:30
In fact, earlier or late last year, in the fall, I was walking the dog in the woods, and boom, there’s an egg laying on the ground that must have fallen from somewhere. And I always when Jason got to be a part of it. He was only nine when we started. He’d never done an Easter egg hunt. And he was super excited. We go running out the older kids like yeah, who cares? And I was looking through it my son would everybody get Oh, I got $1 Oh, I got some quarters. I got candy. I got this. I said oh, well, nobody got the $20 bill yet, huh. They went What? Oh my gosh, they all went running out, go back. Where’s their scouting, I did not put a $20 bill in an egg. But they found almost all the eggs so I didn’t have to go pick them up.

Alan 21:17
There you go. That’s, that’s a timeout. If you’re wanting to sell every single thing at a carnival, you make sure that there’s one big prize and people will keep going for that prize every Ducky in the pond, you know that guy.

Stephen 21:27
So, you know, good

Alan 21:30
to know. I forgot to mention a couple things, our family used to have egg fights. And to make sure don’t know don’t go wrong here. We had hard boiled eggs, and one holds the egg and the other one taps end to end the eggs and see which ones cracks. And it’s not. They both don’t one or the other wins. And then if you’re scrapped, and you got to eat that egg. And so once we’d have an egg, go all the way around the table. And you’ll learn a course to crack pointy end to pointy end because the semi hollow rounded ain’t going away. And if if your egg made it all the way around, then instead of hitting another egg, you had to crack it on your head. And, you know, so when I when I said we had egg fights, it’s like you envision Well, you like throw eggs at the house? Kind of like I know. And I don’t know any other families that does that. I don’t know if it’s German or Lithuanian, or if it’s my mom and dad came up, it’s like

Stephen 22:25
some kids

Alan 22:27
like that. Exactly. So Calvin and I do that, you know what I mean? We have hard boiled eggs, we will often and you’ll learn, like how to hold the egg, like in your hand so that it’s more supportive. You know, an eggshell is actually a very beautiful creation, where it’s really strong for the little bit of shell that it is, if you will, and especially its strong end to end, you know, from the side, you can stove it in more easily. But at the end, it’s so anyway, structurally, you know, if you hit it right and and that’s the best way to do it. Sometimes colleague will miss and it’s like, well, that’s because you don’t have years of trading like

Stephen 23:03
me. You know, I think and I’ll go off to go research this. Now. If you boil eggs, like in oil maybe, or vinegar, maybe vinegar in the boiling water, it softens the shells. So that’s what you do. You boil your eggs without the vinegar and boil everybody else’s in the vinegar

Alan 23:25
with with sacri. Actually, this is where you know we have an instant pot because it’s very cool to be able to do long term things and short term by pressure cooking if you’d like to, Coleen discovered a recipe for instant pot egg cooking, where they turn out perfectly. The eggs like the yolks are not green. The eggs are hard, but they appeal really well you know we’re looking for doesn’t come across come off in fragments. But that it you kind of crack it a little bit and then whole husks come off. And we that’s how we do it all the time. Now we do eight 910 eggs in there depending on how many will fit. And we have there’s any number of articles about how to do the perfect egg, they have little egg timer that you put in the pot and it’ll tell you when they’re done. Or like you take them out you even put them under cold water. That’s that’s part of the process of the instant pot is that after they’re done immediately you do them with ice water. And that seems to give you the right combination of the egg is fully cooked. But the shell is just the right amount of brittle but tough. So that appeals well and I don’t know we’ll never go back once you discover that you’re like I’m worried enough hard boiled eggs that we do.

Stephen 24:28
Well I know instant pots been on our last so now

Alan 24:34
Yeah, it’s I think it’s one of those we have a crock pot and that’s what we’ve used for long term cooking and I really love that I love tender meals and we’re the flavors have had a chance to really inermis and get good. But the instant pot is really cool for specific things. And when they went on sale at Costco, you know what I mean? That it was 200 bucks and it came down to like 89 or something like that. I was like wow, I really need to have this

Stephen 24:57
Easter. Did you guys ever go to church because I grew up Catholic. And of course, Easter was the big thing. Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, you know, there’s a lot of church Lent. And I was never allowed to give up lent for Lent. So I’m still salty about that one. But, you know, it was always kind of a thing. Oh, it’s Easter Sunday, you have to get dressed up in your little suit your good clothes, you go to church, you know, they walk around to all the Stations of the Cross. And then you go to grandma’s, eat a meal and have all the fun stuff. It was, you know, growing up, it was like that. I haven’t done that. Since I’ve been older. Did you guys do anything like that? Yeah.

Alan 25:35
You know, this is very interesting. My parents are not heathens, they’re actually religious. But well, because it’s funny, you know, I am quite atheist, you know what I mean, I really, I’ve read so much religion, and mythology and folklore, that it’s hard to believe any of them, they all seem to be mythology, enough to me. And my parents were kind of what I’m talking about going for Sunday walks. That’s kind of what we started to do. As a family. My dad worked a lot. So most of the time, Sunday was his day off, he often worked Saturdays. And we discovered that instead of like, going to, I think our Lutheran Church, I grew up Lutheran, Christus, Victor in Elk Grove, we just weren’t as a family getting enough out of it, we would for probably the first I don’t know until I was 10. Eight, dress up. And not only for Easter, but you know, just be very respectful Christians has to do this. So what kinds of things and then I don’t know, especially after you’ve done a couple years, and the homily has become similar. And if not to be weird, if you’re smart, you’ll learn all the stories and you don’t need to hear it again, you don’t need to have an amplifier realize

Stephen 26:45
all the kinds of lessons and all the things that well,

Alan 26:48
I wasn’t looking to leave, but it wasn’t giving us a lot. And and so we started going for Sunday walks instead, that we just discovered, and I don’t mean we have some Druid blood in his or at least some, you know, more Germanic Gothic love of nature, that we as a family got much more together, out of going out of going together taking the dog along exploring nature. Kind of your talk about how your week was that things that the family was doing it not being an audience in a church, if you will. And that kind of broke that pattern, so that we didn’t regularly go to church, and we didn’t, especially on the various different big holidays, Easter, Christmas, etc. that just wasn’t part of what we did. We spent family time together. I think that, like my older brother is has become quite religious. And so I think that their family does that. And my younger brother may be a little bit more outside of it, like I am, but it never was a wasn’t a big force in my life. And a boy, you know, I know if you’re if we’re looking for how we can take relentless geekery down a weird path. It’s that it’s that I really not only do I not believe, but I really see that the kind of belief where you turn your mind off to believe some of the things that are the contradictions, that it starts to, in my experience, show up in other parts of people’s lives. They’re a little bit more, not gullible, but willing to suspend disbelief, because someone is so fervent in their belief in their assertion of something. And I have very much a skeptic and a questioning and a science mind. And so what’s always will. So what’s the supporting evidence for that? And how does it tie into everything else that I know. And so my biggest thing was, you know, when you read all these mythologies, and you find out that every mythology, Greco Roman and Norse and Hawaiian and American Indian, they have savior myths, they have flood myths, they have creation of the world myths. And it’s like, why is any particular one, any of them more persuasive than the others kind of like, they’re nice stories. And I really get value out of the morality and the ethics and the community that can be created from them. Awesome in the way that that word has become overused. It’ll be like, I just can’t believe that the universe was like, I’m happy to be right here right now with the ionization of the atmosphere and the sheets of color, which doesn’t even have to be spectacular like that. When when spring hits, and you see things that have been sticks dormant Brown, and the little buds start to appear. It’s like, well, if that isn’t nice, what if that isn’t miraculous? What is and I know it’s not miraculous? It happens a billion times around the globe. They all have programming in their DNA that tells them here’s what you do with no forms, and water and kind of stuff. And yet there’s still the appreciation for a magnolia tree or bush in full bloom, where just this explosion of color, and an ad like we left we just went to the African safari Wildlife Park. That was our little day trip to go and feed animals and There’s something very cool about seeing the variety of animals, and how they’re all like perfectly suited for their environments. And, and they eat differently and they meet differently, whatever else it might be. And whatever the thing is that people say that has to have a designer behind it. To me, it’s like, you know, if nature took 4 billion years to try everything that might work, and they figured out that that’s how you feel ever ecological niche. I’m big on Darwin, I’m big on, you know, appropriate environmental pressure that creates all these various different every Finch beak is because they had different stick crack. And the ones who survived into the next generation passed along the hereditary traits. And that theory of evolution fits everything.

Stephen 30:42
And I thought that was interesting.

Alan 30:43
It’s, that’s a very interesting show, because it’s take on treating the Christian of mythos as a mythology, and that you really can go with Seraphim and cherubim. And all that, like you said, there’s there’s demons and devils and angels, and all that kind of stuff. And, and that, I don’t know, it’s very fun that they play with it, and they investigate it, and that it isn’t meant to be scripture, I course, it’s not scripture, but then kind of Scripture isn’t scripture, you know what I mean. And my, my younger brother, who’s very much a history buff, and especially a historiography guy, where he understands how history was done. When you find out that of course, this wasn’t the inerrant Word of God that Jesus bacon, somebody jotted it down. But that many books of the Bible were written 10 and 50 and 100 years after the life of Christ. And so it’s already been handed down. And it’s already been in multiple languages. And in fact, there’s some books in the Bible that were taken out because they were inconveniently friendly to women. You know, what I mean, the Apocrypha, it’s like, wow, there’s been kind of an agenda and kind of an editing and kind of a corruption from the very start. And yet, you put your hand on that, and you say, this is the inerrant Word of God, and it doesn’t hang together itself. So for all those reasons, you know, I don’t want to die because somebody else is, like bad in their reading comprehension. You know what I mean? I don’t want to be that the cold country goes to war, because they decided that the Book of Revelations is real. And it’s time to have the apocalypse. I mean, there are a whole bunch of rapture crazy whole bunch of there’s an I guess that’s, you know, I hate to use the word Oh, my God, crazy. And yet, I don’t know how to describe it. When there, there’s something that says, I know that this doesn’t make sense, but I’m going to go with it. But you have to really suspend your disbelief and become more fanatic in your belief when someone is going to question it. Yeah. And that’s

Stephen 32:32
such a dangerous, it’s hard to tell the difference between somebody like that, and somebody with a straight jacket claiming to be Napoleon. Right.

Alan 32:42
And you know, what, effect to pull back from that. I think that the one of the big things like I think one of the things that I might have mentioned, you know, when my parents started to go on our walks with us is, there was just enough corruption in the church, in Europe, and in the United States that already they were sensitive to. It’s not that they don’t believe in the Bible, but they suddenly seem to be. There are a lot of charlatans in the field, let’s put it that way. And they use people’s good faith against them, they get money, they get service, they get devoted followings. And when you find out that there’s like your priest was with one of his parishioners, and not even a child, which is even more terrible. But like, you know, you really have you say all these nice things about the sanctity of marriage, and that your faith in God will get you through tough times. And yet, you’re fooling around, right, but you are betraying some of the most important things and especially you’re betraying the faith of your flock in you as being a good example of how to live a good Christian life. And I find it really hard to get

Stephen 33:50
obviously you don’t believe or syrups

Alan 33:52
like that. And yet, they can stand up and start to talk about what you shouldn’t be doing. You know, hypocrisy is a big thing for me, and I can’t stand it when someone says yes and does No, because they know it, because they know going in, they’re not blind to it. There’s there’s that trickster aspect of it, and they’ll never admit to it. And yet it It hurts people so much to be like, how am I to get in my own head that this guy is living in a mansion or has had multiple wives are various different things while professing to be all about family values? And like, I would have thought that any number of scandals would have brought down any number of religious empires over the course of time. And yet, he goes on a little bit of onion, artificial tears, begs forgiveness, and the flock says, Yes, of course we forgive you. It’s like, wow, at least stand up for yourself in terms of your standards for what good behavior is. And at least don’t follow this guy anymore. Turn away from the liar and the charlatan in pursue your own good, deep, profound. I’m going to make myself into a better human face. And I just don’t see that I see blind following I see mistakes. Oh,

Stephen 35:00
well. So speaking of the Bible and religion, you said that you were posed a question recently about what is funny. That kind of ties

Alan 35:13
in a segue. So exactly, I’m I so I’m going to be teaching for Baldwin Wallace in their kind of adult education, their lifelong learning group about comic books, you know, as you know, just one of my fields I know quite a bit about and I’m happy to share part of my getting to teach that this fall is their their their honorarium, their payment to me was I got a chance to take one of their classes this morning, and kind of sample how it’s all done. And you know, in real life, it’ll be in real life. But right now, it’s via zoom. And so the class that intrigued me the most was a film history of comedy movies. And so sure, I laugh he’s Yeah, I love comedy, etc. So the guy started off things with, you know, not just let’s, let’s watch some funny clips with the Marx Brothers, but it was as framing. What is funny what you think is the funniest movie of all time? Who do you think are the funny performers and and kind of Why? You know that it’s film appreciation, and it’s film analysis, not just, let’s get together. And so, this is interesting, because a long time ago, metsa had a colloquium on humor. And it really looked at humor for all kinds of different facets. And one of the funny things you find out is that it’s not only one kind of funny, you know, there’s insult humor. Funny, there’s wit funny, there’s pun funny. There’s pratfall, funny, there’s physical comedy. There’s absurdist, or you know, surrealist funny, where you just like when that doesn’t quite fit, you know. And, and as you look at those, and it’s one of the funny things about humor is, and there’s a number of quotes about this, you know, the more you analyze that the nor you dissect that frog, the more you kill,

Stephen 36:52
yeah. And so

Alan 36:54
it’s hard to talk about humor without being well, let’s rank the humors. Let’s see which one is the best. And we didn’t want to go there. But I laugh very easily. And I laugh at all different kinds of humor. And I laugh at things that I probably shouldn’t, you know, that there, there’s an embarrassment to them or that and so some people will make their big pronouncement of humor is all about power. The person who laughs is the one that gets to lord it over the other person being left out, left out, it’s like, but that’s not all. Right, someone said, it’s all about tension and release that you set up a certain expectation, and then you break it with a little surprise, and are reacting to that surprise, almost always causes laughter that the way we relieve relieve the discomfort is that, um, so I like what’s my favorite funny movie of all time, probably Monty Python, the Holy Grail, because it is consistently on funny and yet smart. And they know just how to take historic situations and make fun of what’s funny about them. Not in a savage way, not an A this is Oh, crap, way more like, absurd, and, and that there is physical comedy and there’s wordplay. And there’s, I just I love that it’s almost like a showcase for all the different kinds of humor and point the Monty Python’s people were just by being a true, you have all of their comic sensibilities represented. And I don’t know if one of those movies that every time I rewatch it, it’s not like, you know, what’s coming. And so you just, I anticipate how good certain scenes are going to be and I start, I just love the good laugh

Stephen 38:29
of definitely

Alan 38:31
how skilled they are at putting this on.

Stephen 38:34
I agree. I think Monty Python’s hilarious. And I know, there are some people that like, this is stupid. I don’t get you know, don’t think it’s funny

Alan 38:43
at all right? It’s not forever. But on the

Stephen 38:45
other side, the things like airplane and police academy, there are people that think that those movies are the epitome of humor. And I’m like, yeah, this is kind of stupid. So it’s definitely, you know, different types of humor. Yeah, exactly. For me, some of my favorite humor is within an action movie, if we’re talking movies, so you get the lethal weapon. You know, if I want a good comedy, I want to relax and laugh. I’ll put on Lethal Weapon and people like, well, that’s an action movie, but it’s got humor in it, that I can

Alan 39:21
exactly it relieves the tension, it breaks the tension, you know, and yet it’s got the pacing. Yeah. And

Stephen 39:27
you’ve got

Alan 39:29
just one of the things that that we talked about was it sometimes humor is about the forbidden, you know, you talk about taboo subjects and a number of come comedians are really good at that, that what they want to do is be skilled enough to like, show you the line, and then step across it and be so good that you want to step across it with them. And so, you know, there’s all kinds of terrible subjects you can’t make a joke about and yet I’ve heard comedians make jokes about every terrible subject under the sun, whether it’s Jesus concentration camps or realla, whatever it might be. gallows humor. Exactly. Because that’s part of how you get through life is everybody goes through a tragedy? And are you going to let it kill you? Are you going to let it crush you? Are you going to be? Oh, yeah. And just kind of like to sell, I left defects it defensively on all kinds of things just to get through it. I’ve noticed that about myself. I don’t want to stay sad. I don’t want to stay beleaguered or afraid. I’ll find a way to make it funny. Because that worked for me.

Stephen 40:27
I sometimes have gotten looks, I’ve gotten people make comments or whatever. An example. And this is a made up example. You know, if, if one of my kids was in a car wreck, and ended up in the hospital with like, a broken arm and battered up face and stuff, I’d be like, Wow, well, at least your head didn’t get chopped off. You know? And I would, you know, but there are a lot of people that would be offended by that. And that would like, give you a look like what the hell is wrong with you? like, Well, you know what, they’re alive. It’s a very tense situation. And hey, it could have been worse. There’s, you know, that bit of humor in my eyes. That’s right.

Alan 41:05
There’s got to be like in combat, we’re really is life or death. There has to be humor all the time with man, I rolled the dice and, and I didn’t come up Snake Eyes. This time. I’m sorry about the people who died. I’m sorry. We’re even in this war. And yet, you have to get out somehow.

Stephen 41:20
I had a book because for a while I was reading some stuff I wrote. And it was a battle scene, very tense. And there’s stuff going on. And I had this one character. That was the comic relief. So it was the typical Han Solo comments or whatever, middle of battle, you know, blowing things up, like, Well, okay, I guess I’m not doing that one, maybe I should just get something to drink, you know, or whatever it was just these snarky comments off the cuff, you know, because of all the tension going on. And they like we’re crossing all that stuff out. Like, who would make a joke in the middle of a battle, I’m like, oh, obviously, you’re not the type of coach for me cuz you don’t get it.

Alan 42:00
That’s true. That’s how you get a sensibility of who you’re going to be compatible with. I’ve always thought that that you have to have an exact shared sense of humor. But I just I don’t like being with people that are sticks in the mud, I don’t want to be with only factual people, there has to be a certain amount of play. It’s kind of funny, I have to share this with you. This might be like, how I know that Mensa was mine. I was at a gathering and it was Sunday morning service kind of like decompressing after a weekend of already so much frivolity. And they bring out everybody’s breakfast, and someone had piled their grits into kind of a big into a wall. And they called it the Great Wall of China. And, and I said, lastly, within seconds, and the room after the left from that the low I got this right in there. You know, that’s the only breakfast you can see from space. And, and it’s just like, everybody cracked up maybe more than they should have, but not because it’s very much a silly Mensa thing. It’s that juxtaposition of small and large. It’s a joke following another joke, where it’s like, it’s, it’s, there’s something very cool about seeing someone quick witted, even me, like, how did that come to me? Why did that come to me so quickly. And then it’s the perfect phrase, and everybody who is one of those jokes of recognition where there’s all kinds of jokes if you make a joke about Renaissance England, and you don’t know Renaissance, and then it falls flat. Whereas so many people have heard that particular thing about China, the only man made first and it was like, everybody had that flash of recognition and of humor and perfect timing. And just, I think I made my bones in Mensa that everybody’s like, we want to sit at the table. He makes funny breakfast jokes. But I was just like, so proud. Somehow, you know what I mean? Like, I

Stephen 43:53
here’s the interesting thing. I’ve noticed, I sometimes will do the same type of thing. You know, we’ve all done it, those those piling, I got this, put this with that type of thing off the cuff

Alan 44:06
upon battles, you know, keep ranking on all the kinds of bread pawns or

Stephen 44:10
whatever, yeah, you find it funny, and you got those. But what I’ve noticed is a lot of again, this comes out all you can’t say it without sounding elitist. And I don’t mean that at all. I’m just this is the fact. But when you’re in Mensa, you’re you’re in that 2% of the IQ number of the top and we get the jokes, we make the jokes. You know, sometimes it’s who’s just faster to talk. But you get somebody that’s an average or even lower 90, let’s say out of 100 for average, it’s still on the average. It’s still perfectly you know, lots of people are that they’re smart people in the world. Yeah,

Alan 44:49
exactly. They’re not that we’re mentally is weird, but

Stephen 44:53
so they look at you and I’ve had people look at me go, what are you like 10 and I’ve thought about That, and it, you got that difference of the IQ points, we’ll just use that as a reference. But to them, it looks the same as if you are a 10 year old, they don’t get it any more than they get a joke of a 10 year old, you know, because they made a fart noise to them.

Alan 45:18
Honestly, that might that’s probably that’s a true reaction. You know what I mean? That if they don’t get it, they automatically think if it was worth getting i right. And so there must be something wrong with it. Right. So you know, it. This is I know, since we went elitist for a moment, it really is, my mind is very fast. And I think I might have might have even said this before. It’s kind of like living in a world of statues. Most conversations, most interactions that I have with the world, I’m kind of waiting on them. I’ve already thought through scenarios, I’ve already thought of multiple things to say and do. And I’m waiting to see how it will go. But I I don’t get surprised by regular interactions with the world and people in general that often.

Stephen 46:02
So I’m really talking so I, you know, I

Alan 46:06
saw just that, you know, I’m always processing in the background. And in fact, sometimes when you make a joke, and people like, where’d you come up with that? And he like once in a while, if it’s the right crowd of people, you want to say, Well, actually, I just chose that out of the 10 that I thought of. And it’s like 10 Come on. It’s like and then you roll out this point and that reference and this and like, and it’s some people will talk about, you know, you don’t have a sense of humor, a sense of humor has you, I have that little background operator, that’s always thinking of a funny thing to say, What’s observed about this situation, what could be interesting tweak when you hear the word red? It’s not just the color red, it’s red for communism, and red for licorice and red, no Red Riding Hood. And, and those just appear kind of unbidden, but rapidly, and what would be the interesting thing, is there a blood pump to be made here? You know, can I be sanguine about it? And, and all that kind of stuff? And I don’t think it’s frantic. My mind is not like, Can I get a word out? While my mind is running? I, some people they talk about that they can’t go to sleep at night, because their mind won’t try. Luckily, thank God, I don’t have that weirdness. You know what I mean? I really am. full capability when I’m on but then I don’t have a problem with turning it off or something like that. You know what I mean? So that to come back to humor, it really is fun to just experiment. You know, when I mean like when you’re with a group of people, and I often say this about gaming too. You can learn so much about a person by how they game what they laugh at, that you don’t have to like, say, give me your your dissertation on who you are and how you were formed and what you are as a person, that it’s just, you’re always doing those little Do we have a connections here. And one of the reasons that Colleen and I get along so wonderfully is that she’s funny as hell. And we learned early on that we’re both funny, and that it wasn’t funny, like competitive, funny or insult funny or anything like that, that it was this joyful. Why do we love road trips, because we’ll be going down the road and every sign is an opportunity for a funny reference or upon every interaction with people is not making fun of them. But it’s just the absurdity of this subway is exactly the same in South Dakota as it is, you know, so do they have like, I don’t know, it’s, we have a gentle sense of humor about everything. And boy that just gets you through when, hey, we were going to go to this place, but it got rained out. And yet we’re not like morose about it. It’s more like, well, if we go indoors over here, we know just wandering around and he’s just wandering around a Costco, we’re gonna have a good time.

Stephen 48:36
He says, your class? Are you having to write comedy lines or write short stories? Are you doing a stand up for the final credit or whatever?

Alan 48:47
No, it’s really not that it really is a film appreciation class. So what he’s doing is taking us through like one per decade, what he thinks are some of the funniest movies ever made. And talking a little about why they’re funny. So we started off with Night at the Opera Marx Brothers were very famous. You’re lots of great funny scenes. I think we’re see we’re doing Some Like It Hot from the 50s we’re doing the graduate, which is both a drama and a comedy, but has some very funny scenes. We’re doing The Philadelphia Story, which is one of those great over layered conversation 40s comedies where I think it’s like, right Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, just monster actors at the height of their powers. And that the script is like, you know, inches thick instead of 20 pages because there’s so much back and forth and wit going on with anyway. So that’s what the class is seems to be about is people putting in that when they first saw it, or why they think it’s funny and it’ll be participatory and contributory, but it isn’t if you’re to create your own movie yet, so it isn’t anywhere near like one of your cool writing workshops or something

Stephen 49:54
that says go ask is asking you what is funny. There’s no answer to that. You can’t give it a definitive answer except maybe 42. And I, because I could definitely see out of any 10 movies for any decade, that some of the people will agree and like it, some of the people will disagree and not like it and some won’t care or even understand maybe, and that shifts and changes for every 10 movies in every different decade. Because I know exactly like, I know, people that oh my gosh, that movies in black and white, that can’t be funny. Well,

Alan 50:31
we’ve talked about that before, the things that people think that the world started when they were born, or that black and white is kind of my definition, corny. But that’s the whole point of watching The Philadelphia Story is, there’s as much wit packed into that movie as there are jokes in airplanes or absurdist references in idiocracy, or whatever it might be. There’s just a difference in style. You know what I mean? So

Stephen 50:49
yeah, definitely. That’s interesting. I’d like to hear more because I, for example, I mean, you’re wearing the tap dance killer shirt. I’ve been rereading the apama stuff since I got my Kickstarter that. And, exactly, there’s bits of humor within that, but it’s not laugh out loud type humor. It’s light hearted, you might say more than humorous. Yeah, no, but the fact that Ilya has a rat that he talks to, and he has to stand in that weird yoga pose to get his powers, and his looks like, you know, it’s made out of a garbage bag or so, you know, I mean, it’s, there’s rites of humor that keep it light hearted. But still, yeah, I mean, what’s the second big guy he faces is the propeller man or whatever. And he falls through the right eyeline? It’s

Alan 51:37
it’s absurd. Yeah, that’s, you know, I mean, I think that’s one of the joys is, when there’s been 80 years worth of mythology and comic books, you start to get the meta comics, where they’re aware of what has gone before, and they’re gonna get a little bit, they’re gonna make fun of this, there’s no way stilt man would really be a villain in contention. You know, it’s just a ridiculous, and things like that

Stephen 51:56
takes all of that to the extreme, you know, he’s a mercenary people, but every bit of it is some humor. And the movie did a really good job of capturing that. So they’re

Alan 52:07
exactly. You know, I, that humor recognition really is a fun one for me, because it’s kind of a mental thing. But I’ve always had it when you’re reading a book, and you catch that they make a reference to some other book that it’s like, okay, so it grounds it in reality that these guys have read the same things as I have, even while they’re going through a fake adventure. And you I mean, and I know, just even musical references. When you hear PDQ Bach, and you keep picking up on all the little snippets that he stole, right? I didn’t know mine, she didn’t write with me. He created them as copyright ran

Stephen 52:43
out. So it’s okay.

Alan 52:45
Right, exactly. The Beethoven words might be in the public domain, like that. But there’s some there’s like a little reward for I’m knowledgeable enough, versed enough in this field that I get many kind of like dennis miller as a stand up. He has all kinds of obscure references. It’s like I made the team, I got almost every one of his jokes. game. Yeah. And there’s other comics that are really good like that, where it doesn’t even have to be, like a body of knowledge specific, but that they don’t, they don’t hold back. They respect the intelligence of their audience. So they’ll make an obscure reference. And then when they hear the one or two or three laughters, out of a crowd of 50 people, they’re like, thanks for getting that.

For me.

I love that where they, I just love that. I love that there’s a connection made with a shared experience or a Not only did he just say, hey, do you know who Darth Vader is? But he made a joke that referenced Darth Vader so that if you got there as quick as he did, then you hit that little laugh, and then he moved on. He didn’t even believe right. I that’s something

Stephen 53:50
I’ve often mentioned Stuart McLean. And he did these, David Morley stories made up stories about a family and they’re all funny. It’s very much in the style of Bill Cosby, which I know they don’t need to go into that discussion. But

Alan 54:08
growing up family types,

Stephen 54:09
the story comedy, not so much the hit one liners. And there are multiple times where you’d listen to it because he would do these alive in front of people. And you get to know the stories you get to know the family. So you get to know expect Oh, I see where this is going. And you a huge audience start to laugh and he would be on stage go. Wait, don’t get there before me or Yeah, you know what happens next? So that was always I always enjoyed that. With

Alan 54:43
Yeah, the familiarity. In fact, there’s your Mike Birbiglia, have you heard his work, another guy that does great story based humor, it’s not one liners. And he actually makes fun of that, that, you know, he’s talking about an absurd situation that he found himself in and people start to crack up because they think they Know where he’s going. And he kind of goes, I know I’ve in the future too. He makes fun of the fact that he did craft it so that you would some would get their wisdom and already start to say, Oh, god, this is good and bad. Right. You know.

Stephen 55:16
Patience is also part of the humor. It’s the same cure in horror, you need some of that anticipation to enhance it.

Alan 55:25
Exactly. And in fact, one of the reasons that I really love emo films, yes, Steven, right. There’s a couple of people that Mitch Hedberg what we’ve lost him but they were great at what’s called here’s a nice word, a pero, pros nokian. You know, it’s a garden path joke, where it sets up an expectation, and then takes a left turn, and it surprises you. And the craft of being able to do in 20 words, set up an expectation so much that your mind is leaning forward. And then he surprises you. And does that consistently was all there was much of their humor. I just love the craft of that. There’s something. So

Stephen 56:04
definitely, one of those that most medicines can agree fits right in there, one

Alan 56:09
of my heroes, one of my favorites, you know, I mean, and then another one called the and now we’re getting to know each other, we both love when we would reference various different things. And of course, what do I do to take her out on dates? Let’s go to emo Philips, let’s go to the circuit moutarde. I don’t want to take her to conventional, I kind of want to say if you get to know me, let’s do some meetings, and I’ll find out if you like them. And then I’ll know kind of if we’re going to be compatible. And if you’ll be competitive, you will if you think that I’m a weirdo, or whether I’m okay. And so we still have lines that we recite from emo because they’re so perfect. You know, it’s one of my favorite jokes is. Let’s see, I took a girl out on a date. And she wouldn’t give me a second date. Because I didn’t open the door for her. I just swam to the surface. And that perfect. It didn’t just take a left turn it went into like, oh my god car underwater. He’s gonna let her die. And but he just says his voice is so innocent.

Stephen 57:12
And flat and monotone. I just referenced him the other day Colin went got a tattoo, his first tattoo, he got Batman on Oh, boy. So it’s a really nice Batman symbol. But I was like, yeah, you know, I was thinking of getting a tattoo, what I’d really like to get is a tattoo of myself over my whole body. and looked at me like, why

Alan 57:40
the boy has a great light of you know, they used to call a Mr. Baseball, you know, because of the stitches like that you’re Yeah, it’s like,

Stephen 57:49
oh, you really,

Alan 57:50
I love people that can take you to a dark place. But it’s still so terribly.

Stephen 57:54
You know what I mean? Like monotone, you know that his delivery, that’s that’s what helps set it off. Because you get a lot of comics that laugh at themselves and that and that’s fine. That’s part of who they are. And that’s okay made it that monotone and the dry delivery, you know, very much so

Alan 58:11
you’d be listening and really getting trying to get what he’s going on about

Stephen 58:15
exactly what if there’s more jokes, as you say you want to talk about jarin go find it an interview with him where he’s not in character. And he’s like, just smiling and normal and laughing. He’s like, wait, Who the hell is that?

Alan 58:27
Honestly, you know, Colleen and I were groupies enough that often especially go hilarities you know, the place within Pickwick and frolic here in Cleveland is really great about they have little stations where after the show, you can often go talk to your favorite comics and there’ll be selling CDs or t shirts or whatever else, it might be just a chance to shake their hand and say thank you so much. And, indeed, the first time that we did that, where you find out that emo isn’t always emo. He really is a persona that he puts on. And same with others, like Bobcat. Goldthwait is not always like sputtering and then twitchy, that he’s kind of a normal person without him. And if there’s any number other guys, and it, it is a little bit jarring, but it’s also like, honestly, thank God because that would be really tough life to go through where everybody around you is like squirming with discomfort because you make them that way.


Stephen 59:19
Okay, let, let’s talk about what we’re reading. You mentioned, you’re reading wildstorm you know, what’s up with that?

Alan 59:30
So I really like Warren Ellis, he’s he’s done really good work in comic books in multiple fields, but especially his dissection, if you will, of superhero tropes is really good. And wildstorm is he created things long ago, I think 30 years ago, when he created the first You know, there’s two ancient races that kind of settled on earth or at least infiltrated Earth and they’re having a war using us as a battleground. But then they also have an alien human. How hybrids that we that some some popular art of how people got superpowers or turn super evil. And there’s, um, two forces on Earth where one kind of runs the globe and one is a big space station up in the sky, and they have a detente, you know as to who’s really in charge and stuff. Well, he did the authority, and Planetary, no, I guess it was it was him where he did like took superheroes, mystery archaeologists to the end, they’re just some of the most readable best comics ever. wildstorm is his redoing it. He takes the situation that he had created, but he kind of throws out what has already happened, can and he’s retelling some of the stories. And with lots of different twists as to characters not exactly the same as who they were, that the when they meet each other, what teams they form, how they interact with the various different secret governments and aliens, all that kind of stuff. And so it’s a real high wire act of like maybe a little bit we’re talking about, there’s already all these expectations of will I read all those I kind of know what’s going to happen? No, he’s really good at giving you enough familiarity, but enough different that it’s a whole new work. And, and I love that I love that he’s aware enough of his own work, and maybe like who he has matured into in the last 20 or 30 years. You know, that was his 25 year old self writing that, and Alex is 55. And he’s a little more jaded, he’s a little bit more worldly. He just wants to have a different take on and who better isn’t somebody else? Yeah, running with those characters. Why not rip yourself off. That’s That’s such a disrespectful way to put it. It is a wonderful reworking of his own stuff. And I find it fascinating that he doesn’t, in thinking about what he would do that his mind doesn’t necessarily go down exactly the same path, because that’s what my mind thought the first time that he really has this interesting clinical way of stepping outside that being that was good, but this could be better. And maybe I’ll throw in a little randomness here. And I just thought

Stephen 1:01:55
sounds cool. I always like that seeing how things are different and saying, rip himself off. You know, that’s the absurd comedy part of being able to have what you were trying to say. So it’s just

Alan 1:02:06
guess Exactly. And it’s the fact that I don’t know, there’s I always love meta fiction. Yeah, where they talk about that the world of fiction is a its own world, if you will. And yet these people inhabit, especially when you start involving, and we had mentioned this, you know, let’s talk time travel, when you start to have issues of time travel, where you really do know what’s going to happen in the future, or what did happen in the past, but you’re trying to alter it. But then how far can you go? Or how far do you want to go? And and you talked about how you just wrote interesting short story of, so would you like to share a little bit? I thought it was a good

Stephen 1:02:44
idea. Sure. It was. Basically, the story is a guy programmer that’s working on an AI, and he has gotten it, the computer talks, they react and all that, well, they’re having the computer, analyze movies, like you are with your class, and the computer gloms onto the idea of time travel through various movies and TV shows. And then it investigates books on quantum physics and time travel and real science type information. And then basically runs millions of years worth of simulations until it figures out in what would be in our future. You know, through the simulation, it figures out how to do time travel. So then it applies that new knowledge net in modern day, and it goes back in time and basically gets rid of this guy’s family and his wife and his dog and

Alan 1:03:41
the programmers. Yeah, okay. Yes,

Stephen 1:03:42
they have all of that. So the programmer can spend more time and be more devoted to programming the AI.

Alan 1:03:51
Oh, my The cuckoo pushing other birds out of the nest, if you will. That is so that’s see what an interesting concept that you know, once you became self aware, so I love a series called the destroyer. Yeah, Remo Williams, a great martial artists. One of the best books of his I ever read was a scientist creates Mr. Gordon’s. And she talks about it’s an artificial intelligence. I couldn’t give it creativity. I couldn’t figure that out. So I gave it survival. And that will look enough like creativity, that it simulates what is in nature, you know, things don’t create art, if you will, in nature, but in necessity, it was the mother of invention, they will do whatever it takes to inhabit their environment, use its materials change themselves. And so if that line has stayed with me forever, I couldn’t give it creativity. So I gave it survival. And that’s a very cool take on that, you know, this AI wants to get to itself quicker. He wants to be right, though, with the everything to this guy. And the dispassion of he doesn’t need those other things. They are indeed his wife and children. Yeah, you know, there’s dog Exactly.

Stephen 1:05:02
I’m not sure what I’m gonna do with it yet, but we’ll see. So I’ve been reading, Amazon Prime offers are bunches of books that you can read for free, not the Kindle Unlimited, but just prime stuff that you can borrow and read. And they’ve been in attracting big name authors to come and write stuff for just them. You know, we want people to be on prime, you can only get this here. So they actually signed Dean r Koontz last year to earn a contract. And he’s written a series called nameless, and it’s six books. It’s almost serial fiction, but each one’s an independent story. And it’s about this guy who can’t remember anything about himself his past and he’s essentially an assassin for hire with not for hire, but he’s an assassin that works for this company. And each book is a learning about an injustice in the world, almost like the crow. But he goes and basically kills them in a very just fashion. And it’s there, okay, he

Alan 1:06:08
has the skill. Yeah, kind of like the Bourne Identity where if you want but you still have the skills, you’re still danger very much though.

Stephen 1:06:14
And it’s not bad. Um, though, the stories are a little short, so you don’t get a whole lot that could have been added in I guess you could say what you expect from Kook. But the overall arc of learning about him is peppered throughout and little bits here and there. So I’m hoping there’s a very big climax that explains more about who he is. And it doesn’t just end with him dying or something like that. So really see.

Alan 1:06:43
This is so funny, because you know, sometimes we talk beforehand about what we’re going to be talking about. But what am I reading right now? Dean? Cool. I really, I really have liked his odd Thomas books. And I really liked his chain Hawk books. You know, it’s kind of a spy thriller. And I just got the Frankenstein series. It’s a modern take on Frankenstein. Oh, Frankenstein’s monster having survived for 200 years, and also Victor Frankenstein having survived, and that there’s still a conflict. You know, one wants to create a new race of men. You know, he wants to be God. Well, Victor Frankenstein is mad. And Frankenstein’s monster is actually from having been in human has become the more human of the two, if you will. And so what’s interesting is the code changes his writing style, depending on what he’s writing about. So these are actually very terse and kind of pulp fiction. He very move the plot forward, show it from multiple characters, viewpoints, the paragraphs, I’m sorry, the chapters are like, three, four or five pages long. And so there’s 100 chapters to the book. But it’s just vignette vignette vignette. And like that little mosaico, what’s going on? And how they’re gonna bump into each other? And will there be conflict? They just compel you forward, I devoured it in like a day and a half, you know what I mean? And there’s, there’s five of them. And so that’s one of the things I love is I because I had loved his work in the past I with confidence, bottle five, as I said, and then sometimes you do that. It’s like, well, that first one was kind of a stinker. And I’m saddled with stuff doorstops instead, no, I’m really like, I didn’t read the next one right away, because I kind of like to move amongst various different series. So I think I mentioned I just finished the next book in the luckiness trilogy. I’m, I read nonfiction like the Ellen’s libel book. And so I’ve just been, I’m looking forward to when I finish this one. The next one I’m going to return to is the Frankenstein series, because there, there’s just the right amount of CSI investigation, plus a little bit of pseudoscience plus a little bit of good versus evil. And if they’re really good,

Stephen 1:08:42
they’re really good. Two or three that’s sitting on my bookshelf. Okay. So, before we go, what have you been listening to?

Alan 1:08:51
Let’s see. I just I got a bunch of comedy CDs recently because I had pangs over people that we had lost. And so I think I mentioned I got john pinette I got Richard Jeni some of them I already had all theirs that I wanted that I wanted to have. I got Robert Schimmel. And and we’ve kind of lost all of them in the last 20 years. And I don’t want to let them go yet. You know what I mean, if all I could have is their little time capsules of their perfect CDs and all that humor, and so when we come in and I drove down to Johnson woods, we threw a john pinette CD in the car, and, you know, as much as we can talk, it’s really nice to have shared laughter and stuff like that. Having said that, I also got an Allman Brothers box that that I love as a dream and one of those things. So let’s see uprinting it’s um, flesh, it’s one of the one of them was maybe his dreams. It was actually their box that where they have a little libretto that talks about their history. And then I also got and it’s all there. Besides live cots, it’s all their rarity, so it’s great. It’s a good perfect version of Melissa, the perfect version of weapon posts, you know what I mean? They went to all their live three denied stands at, you know, the Wise name escaping me, it doesn’t matter. They really, somebody has a lot of good listening and said, this has the best solo, the best jam, the best Greg Allman aching vocal, you know what I mean? They’re just really, really good. And so, as I sometimes I have a box set, and I’m like, I’ll sprinkle a CD amongst various other things. And I just listened to one after the other. Tom Petty does that to me that when I started listening to Tom Petty, I want to hear a whole bunch of times. And so what a delight, you know what I mean, to be like, I admire the musicianship of them and they’re not prog rock at all. They’re not like how many notes can I fit in their ability to like, establish the jam and, and move it forward and have the they have a lot of call response where there’s multiple drummers multiple grade guitarists, and they, they play so well together. They’re like psychic in terms of how they’re, they change on a dime to the next portion of a song. It’s just the coolest thing.

Stephen 1:11:08
I love that. Yeah, I

Alan 1:11:08
love I would love seeing them live again, you know, they’re kind of, they’re not what the Allman Brothers wants, where they’ve had some new guys come into the band. And so if you don’t have, who’s gone, the keypads has gone. Duane Allman is gone. But they people they’ve, I think brought in. And in fact, even I think people who were in government mule, who I also really like at one point they played with Walton brothers, there’s a couple expatriates from the Allman Brothers. And so I kind of love that kind of thing of when you read the liner notes of an album and you go, Well, they used to be in this band that I loved. I wonder what they’re doing now, and they’re still good. So it’s cool to have that little lineage, you know, and I

Stephen 1:11:43
love Allman Brothers. Such bluesy it’s funny you say that because just yesterday, I ran a clot across a clip of the movie Crossroads from the 80s with Ralph Madea fi

Alan 1:11:55
on jack Butler oh my god he’s so great. Yeah.

Stephen 1:11:59
Man if I don’t know if I’ve actually ever seen the whole movie but I caught the clip that had them at the crossroads talking and I was laughing my ass off because Maggio’s in the background playing slide guitar on a electric and it’s not plugged in.

Alan 1:12:19
It might be a few continuity or

Stephen 1:12:21
whatever. Bring it up Allman Brothers because yeah, I quite often will get an A. I saw them in concert way long ago with some friends. It wasn’t all of them. It was in the 80s But yeah, I mean bluesy G’s. Exactly.

Alan 1:12:38
I’ve seen especially It was one of the things I didn’t want to show to me and already played like two and a half hours and it’s like man, I got more in me if you got boring you I’ll stick around

Stephen 1:12:48
one of the groups that would probably play half the night if local laws and whatever would let them

Alan 1:12:55
exactly that’s this closing anecdote, you know, I’m I’m growing up and I started to like, look at what your parents are having their their books and stuff. Growing up physically, but maybe not. You know, I still have childlike wonder. And my dad, like my dad’s whitelists away indian guy, you know, he’s not even like there wasn’t born in the United States. But he had all kinds of blues albums. He had, like BB King Live at Cook County Jail. He had. And I had Robert Johnson and those were like you had to find? Those weren’t really like he was not revered back in the 60s. Like he became to be known where everybody referenced him. So they put together a box set of and he’s no the guy that Crossroads is based on that’s why this kind of links in them. I just I love the fact that you know what I mean? Not my dad was deeper than I thought. Instead of him just being he’s the easter egg. He you know, he’s my dad and works for a living and stuff to find out that he had this pension for the blues was just the coolest thing somehow you don’t need my dad

Stephen 1:13:58
has so crazy. The crazy thing is going back to Johnson and Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters or any of those old guys even some lesser known ones you go listen to their stuff. You’re like, Oh my God. That’s Allman Brothers are that’s Led Zeppelin or you’re like,

Alan 1:14:15
what you can hear so much stuff came from these are the formative forces out exactly crazy

Stephen 1:14:19
how much there really is and how many of the Led Zeppelin songs are actually covers. It’s like,

Alan 1:14:27
exactly, you know, grown up in Chicago. We had a wonderful blue scene. I used to go to full clubs and blues clubs where I was like, you know, I kind of don’t belong here but I do I love this music. And so you go to like Kingston minds and yeah, we already back then they had Buddy Guy play him often in Chicago and muddy waters and various others whenever they came to town they would do is if I were told, I saw muddy waters and the Rolling Stones playing at a place called the checkerboard lounge, where we drove up from Champaign Urbana it was when I was in college to see them play at this little hole. Hole in the Wall place and they were all at the altar to stone for like, You are the one that we have emulated wanted to be anywhere near like you you know these kind of pale British guys like Muddy Waters man, and they did Mojo. Got my mojo working. They did little red Bruce, it was just the coolest thing to see them smiling ear to ear over we get to be on the stage with our discharge. This legend. It was the coolest thing.

Stephen 1:15:28
All right, on that note, okay. Haha, very good.

Alan 1:15:33
So again, Happy Easter and we’ll we’ll see what’s happening as we move into spring and see what we see in a week.

Transcribed by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.