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We talk briefly about our weekend, which includes a talk that Stephen gave. this leads to a long discussion on education and whether its working and what we can do to fix problems.
Stephen: Oh, there we go. Oh, there we go. Had to give myself a reminder as to what I need to talk about today.
I got my Harry Potter shirt on cuz it’s close to Halloween, which is wizard.
Alan: Let’s see, let’s get that. I got yeah. Okay. Sometimes I forget. I, despite having a, honestly like a 12 port USB thing I sometimes have to swap cables because something require going directly into the back of the mini instead of going through, even though the USB thing is powered and everything, there’s just some shenanigans going on as to whether it detects signal correctly.
And so often I have to swap between. The camera and microphone that I use for our sessions and my relatively new super it’s not, I no longer use the super drive. It’s been slightly superseded by a guy I got from other world computing, cuz it’s supposed to handle every kind of blue Ray, every kind of DVD, Moe type stuff.
But what I’m discovering is it doesn’t handle everything hardware wise. It does, but there’s multiple DVD players out there. But now that we’ve gone on to blue Ray and blue, remember it used to be, you had to know whether it was plus or minus back in and that kinda stuff. It seems that now based on protection and based on format though, I thought there really was one standard.
But as any number of places say, we’re standard, but then we added a few enhancements and if you don’t have those things, so besides QuickTime, which is a pretty standard handles everything thing for the Mac. I have VLC media player, which really is an open source one that seems to handle everything, but you have to go download specific AACS libraries and a config file, depending on what language you are.
So it’ll display menus correctly. And even though I follow the directions, go to the right places, put those libraries, put those files into the right libraries on my machine. I couldn’t watch the next DVD in the Dexter series because the AACS is acting up somehow. It doesn’t like how I have it configured.
So I just, I hate getting to that weird point of it should just work. And yet now they’re starting to differentiate between things. And even though I’m willing to do the research to look things up when you do it, just like it says, and then it doesn’t work. I don’t wanna troubleshoot the troubleshooting.
I don’t wanna have to keep taking deeper
Stephen: and deeper, right? Yeah. Yes. What do
Alan: I have to do to just get a video to play? On my Mac. It’s frustrating.
Stephen: And the more things improve the they say, go back to the advertising, the fifties home saving devices for women to save time, the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher.
And yet here we are in 2020, and they’re finding that people are spending just as much time cleaning as they did in the fifties. So the labor saving device and the same with this VLCs wonderful. There’s our recommendation. That’s the one I use for just about everything, music, video, everything.
But again, every time they make some sort of change in upgrade, you have to go in fus and mess around and get a new Kodak, get a new, this, upgrade this. And every time it gets close to everything, just being simple, easy to work, it changes and you get right back to having to progress to that point.
Alan: Honestly it used to be that like you said, just downloading Kodak. There was the there were very standard things that were out there that everybody had, and then they start having the enhancements. And so I’m beautifully adding them. H 2 64, who knows even why that stuff stays in your head?
I’m pretty sure that’s one of them, but you just learn. And then when it starts to be that those additional enhancements, not only don’t work anymore, but they actually break the things that you added them to, that they interfere somehow with the operation, then it’s so I hope it’s just a matter of taking it out of the library that I put into.
What if in the active using it creates some kind of parameter file config, whatever else it might be. That’s, what’s now unreadable or corrupted. And I then you have to like, am I gonna look for those? Am I gonna find out online exactly what files it adds? Is there an automated cleaner that does that, but don’t take anything else out.
You know what I mean? Eliminate just Oh I, it, sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s I’m gonna watch these Dexter while I’m doing other things. And then it’s the frustration. Yeah weird.
Stephen: And this is a, an argument for the streaming and the cloud based stuff. Because I can go to any of my streaming services on my computer, on my laptop, on my phone, on my Xbox, on my iPad on my Alexa app, all of those are different companies in different, but they, I just go to a streaming service and it just works.
And there’s an exactly. You’re right.
Alan: And actually, it’s funny you just named, why are these things getting neglected because the world is turning its face absolutely. Towards streaming. Yeah. You know that, yeah. The fact that I still have Netflix, not only streaming, but for DVDs, because there are some things the library for streaming is maybe 30 K big, right.
And for DVDs, it’s a hundred K. Because I tend to watch let’s go watch all the X files. They don’t have those online streaming or they, if they do, they put ’em online for two or three months, and then they take them away again. And if you’re working a series that has a hundred episodes and you don’t get through them all there, isn’t more frustrating than having.
Dr ho disappeared
Stephen: because somebody bought it and, oh, and there’s a lot of movies that aren’t available on streaming from the early days, from old time. And it may not be stuff that a lot of people are interested in. The one I looked for was called heartbreak hotel. It’s this boy with his, you ever seen it?
It’s a romance comedy, this poor mother’s divorce. And this boy wants to, she loves Elvis while Elvis goes through town and stops at the hotel. But I was only able to find it on VHS . And it’s a cute movie. So yes, we have everything at our fingertips that other people have decided to let us have.
Alan: I’ll tell you. I don’t know that we, we might, we a hundred plus episodes in now. Yes. Have we worked a lot of S myself and friends, probably at one point, like 10 of us, and then out now down to maybe six. We read about that. The AFI, the American film Institute had put out a list of the hundred best American movies of all time.
What a film education that would be if we watched them all. Kevin friend of ours had a home theater, so he was the host and we started at hundreds. So we work our way up the list to number one. And that’s one of the reasons that you wanted to have DVD instead, because you’re watching, bringing up baby, you’re watching Yankee doodle dandy.
I’m trying to think of some of the earliest ones that really popular ones, that godfather one and two, they have those available somewhere online streaming and it might even be, they have to pay for it, but they’re available. Some things just aren’t right. So we watched, we called our group aficionados AFI, ha FICS and we watched the heck out of all 100 and it was really cool because it’s historic as well as current, you get to see.
Wow. That’s what Jimmy Stewart looked like as a young man. That’s what Burgess Meredith looked like. That’s what and all these no wonder they became a movie star, that performance was fantastic. What you think of? I don’t know who, who really transformed over time, maybe Henry Fonda or something like that.
That if you think of only from on golden pond where the character is a failing old man. He wasn’t that when he was young, when he was doing westerns. Yeah. Gregory, Pakin Gregory Pekin to kill a Mockingbird. You know what I mean? There’s really people that had fantastic careers and you can see why they had star power.
They had such acting ability in such presence on screen and stuff. And seeing how movies developed when you watch citizen Kane, you can. That’s the first time that particular camera movement was done, where it does the simultaneous zoom in and zoom out so that it like, it, it captures your eye in the focus of it and panning shots through a restaurant, not from good fellas, which everyone knows that one, but that was done 50 years ago for the first time.
It’s like, how did they make that camera go through a window in rear window? Yeah. Like that we loved it because it takes a while we were watching two movies a month. And so if you might imagine, that’s gonna take 50 months see that’s five years, almost five years. In the meantime, the AFI said there’s a lot of new movies out.
We’re gonna have to issue version 2.0 of the eight five top hundred. So if I remember right, 23 movies changed a bunch of them got injected. A bunch of them moved around jockeyed for a position and some of them dropped off. So we were very happy to have seen the ones that got pushed off in time, because nothing in the top 20 got pushed off.
It was number 87 and number 93 and that kind of stuff. But then, so we had to revive aficionados and watch those other 23 and then. AFI is really cool. And IMDB does things like this too. After we have finished that we had really gotten into this wonderful routine and we loved each other’s company.
And by the way, we didn’t just watch the movies. It was like, let’s bring in food that goes with the same as the movie. So if you’re gonna be in Casa,
Stephen: Blanca let’s dinner in a movie that was a show for a while,
Alan: like this exactly where you try to find seam food, Colleen was great at it. And she would also wear like seam clothing.
If you’re gonna be in a place, I don’t know, heavenly, she wears her cloud shirt. You know what I mean? And I have lounge pants that go with virtually every movie, but anyway we had all that fun and then we started to do it where they have movies, not only the best films, but like the hundred best comedies, the a hundred best dramas, the a hundred best.
Action adventures, that kind of thing. And so instead of picking any one of those, we just said let’s put all that into a big list, an Excel spreadsheet, and Hey, the random function will say this week, we’re watching this guy and this guy. And and whenever we had duplicates, we just picked him out, cuz we had already seen him, but we were working our way through all of that and then COVID hit.
And so honestly we were doing it up until that two and a half years ago, we were still going strong with this cool idea. And Kevin had pulled back because he sold his house. We no longer had the comfy home theater. So Scott started to host it and you know what, but when he starts to do something that it just gets a little different, not worse, but a little bit different multiple times after a while, people are like, are really gonna keep going, are really gonna do this.
It’s not gotten bad. It just is doing anything for 20 years is a lot . Yeah. You know what I mean? So we haven’t revived it yet. Maybe we will. We’ll all have to be like. Check your vaccine cards at the door. I don’t want it to be, Hey, I saw two good movies and in exchange for that, I have lost my sense of smell.
You know what I mean? I don’t
Stephen: exactly worth it. They do have I know Netflix offered it for a while. I know on the Xbox, they had it for a while, but then Plex, if you’ve used Plex or looked at Plex that you can do a group remote viewing and either have little like zoom pictures, or it just has little bubble heads, they do that with the Oculus.
You can, I’ve sat and watched Dr. Who episodes with people in Oculus. So exactly. In fact Casey, a friend of ours in Chicago, post a thing called a big dark trouble or something like that. Dark, maybe deep, dark trouble. And they do that. They do the MST three K everybody watches the movie and like kind of comments and riffs on it.
Alan: You know what I mean? And especially there’s any number of horror movies that it’s really easy to say, we’re not going as the basement again, are we’re really gonna go, oh no, here. Here’s where the couple that’s doing it. They die. Cuz in every movie with a slasher, if you’re doing it, you die.
Stephen: Since you mentioned horror movies, I’m going kinda bring this up. So I have started my horror movie watching in anticipation of Halloween. I try to watch weeks to go. Yeah. Focused on horror movies, watching a variety, not. My old favorites. I always try and watch stuff. I haven’t watched new stuff and believe me, I have so many freaking horror movies, thanks to the exchange.
Cause you can get ’em for two 50 or five bucks. Oh, I’ll take these 20 horror movies but Reese and I, my friend Reese, we do that horror podcast where we review horror movies. And here’s the shout out. We are coming up to you guys at the end of October to give a talk on horror movies that Reese has watched.
And basically the talk is about the how horror movies are looked down upon and they’ve gotten a bad reputation, but that people are missing the point. And especially our podcast, here’s a bunch of movies that prove horror movies. Aren’t just Friday the 13th movies and stuff like that.
So it’ll be a great talk. So we’re coming
Alan: down. When you come up, you’re gonna be at a library at a college where you’re gonna
Stephen: do that at cam in October. You’re monthly meeting.
Alan: I, it’s funny. I always expect be knowing a little bit we post things on the cam Facebook page and so forth.
The website is more abundant, but, and I hadn’t seen that one for October yet. Congratulations.
Stephen: That’ll be cool. Okay. So we’ll be up there for that. So that’ll be fun and nice and raise. I’ve been trying to convince him for a while to do talks and to write a book, cuz he has watched over 1200 horror movies and made notes like actors and directors and just why it’s good or not good.
And in our podcast, we delve into deeply symbolism and how the music affects things and that the storyline and how it’s different and why this part is really good or not good. And in depth review, not just a review, but it’s movies, you’ve probably never heard of for the most part. Nine out 10.
Alan: See that’s and by the way, for our listeners cam, by the way, is Cleveland area Mensa. Yes. As to distinguish it from Columbus area, Mensa or Chicago area Mensa, which should be CHAM or Chatanooga area, or Cincinnati or ment, which is still cam, but should be, but anyway riff. So they it’s it’s mention, not only we’ve talked about the annual gathering a number of times, which was just out in sparks, near Reno, but many local groups have these local meetings every month and monthly gatherings.
And they are very cool because they vary in all cool topics that we cover. We just had a guy that had fantastic films of his trip to Antarctica. You know what I mean? It’s wow. I don’t know that many people that have been to Antarctica and this guy, he would. Dick. If I remember Dick haw, was it oh That, that he the camera work was great. His descriptions of what was going on was great. It really, some people are excellent wreck on tours of their travels and here’s what it smelled like as well as what it looked like. Here’s how you make a little if you’re amongst a whole bunch of penguins, one thing you notice is there’s a whole bunch of penguin poop what do they call that? Sorry. It’s, there’s a very specific name for bird P right? Guano, exactly that. And so if you have these birds coming there for a hundred years, how 500 years, and every season depositing another layer, there’s stuff there that’s like meters thick and it’s and all you need is a whole bunch of people tramping around on it to release it.
And my thought isn’t that like where the hunt of virus lives, that all these terrible, you don’t wanna breathe that in. So right.
Stephen: So you were mentioning the, a, the AFI films. There’s a collection. We were talking DVDs in that, which by the way, more and more computers do not come with any type of DVD drive and consoles are coming without it’s no
Alan: screaming as it downloads as well.
And so there’s no need to have for sure. Flop drive much less a DVD drive,
Stephen: but anyway, bam. There’s a DVD collection called the criterion collection where they’ve gathered some of the best films. We’ve watched two movies in the podcast. One was the innocence based on Henry James turn of the screw.
And there’s a dozen of those versions of that movie, but we picked this one as the better one. And then we watched the Phantom carriage, which was an old, silent film. That’s in the criterion collection, but it, the special effects for the time are really interesting to watch. Yeah, of course you watch it.
Now you go, wow. That sucks. But when you picture it, it was over a hundred years ago and they have
Alan: 1918 or something. Yeah. Wow. OK.
Stephen: Yeah. And they had a ghost carriage going across the screen and it was see through, so to do that in a silent film era, but even better, this movie is like popular because of some of the stuff that delved into in the cameras and stuff that they did.
And we talk about that, but there. Some groups that have the music disappeared, they’re not sure what the actual mu, but there are several groups that wrote music for the whole movie that you’s supposed to play while watching it. Yes. And they’ve actually performed that music, like in a theater when it was shown around Halloween with the movie old fashioned style, but with guitars and keyboards and stuff.
Alan: It’s and boy digression city today. I just read about a group called Golan that is well known for making spooky music. Yes. And there’s a movie called Susperia I think I, yes. So my Susperia I’m
Stephen: yeah, there’s two versions. But they’re actually gonna do what you just said. They’re touring and they’re gonna be doing the soundtrack from that.
Alan: And if I remember one other movie that they’re famous for, and the fact that this movie is 50 years old, but they’re still around to do it is a really cool thing. Yeah. And another thing to, to talk about horror movies for a bit what movies are gonna give you? Demonstration of how to build suspense, how to use point of view.
You know what I mean? Absolutely. Regular movies, horror movies caught on really quick about how to rivet your attention or how to surprise you, how to let dread build. And then is there gonna be a payoff or is there a false alarm? You know what I mean? They, I have always been very admiring of, I can be watching this at three in the afternoon and I’ll still start it.
Cause they’re so perfectly made at how to do that. You know what I mean? And maybe a little bit of what you’ve said, the, I really don’t enjoy the gore movies. I’ve never liked the hostels. I never wanted to watch certain things. The way I always expressed is I have certain images that I just don’t want in my mind, knowing that I retain kind of everything.
I really don’t wanna have human Cente in there. I don’t wanna ever right. Do that and have to think of it again. But there’s any number of things that are just, they’re so perfectly made with exactly where things were placed in the room and exactly the lighting. You know what I mean? They must have been specialists in how to do lighting, how to do.
Sudden pan shots that just change the perspective and stuff like that. Yeah. And then movies, aren’t only about startling and jump shots and stuff like that. It’s I always make reference to this. If you ever watch the Wicker man, that is two hours of just everybody in the audience going well, what’s going on here.
Oh, it’s bad. Oh man. It’s worse than I ever imagined. and they’re trapped and there’s no escape. And so you’re like, am I gonna just watch this happen? And it really is a great movie for, do you wanna see humanity at its crazed mob worse?
Stephen: we talk about
Alan: that the first Wicker man, not the, yes.
The more current one, the first one’s perfect. And
Stephen: we talk about that. Exactly. Especially I point out the seventies horror movies and some of today’s very much had this. Through the whole thing to the end. Yeah. And they don’t follow the standard three act structure. There’s not so much a beginning, middle and end with a high point and then a down it’s a slow build through the whole thing.
Yeah, sure. Yeah. It’s a different feeling the seventies, because a lot of ’em, especially like the one I first talked about, it was last house on the left where nothing horrific, really, there was a little bit earlier, but it really, the last 10 minutes, there’s a lot of those movies. It’s the last 10 minutes, Texas chainsaw.
You hardly see anything horrific to like the last 10, 15 minutes. And then it’s all the everything at once an explosion. Exactly. Yeah. So it’s a totally different way of telling a story, not the three act structure so much as this build. And we talk about that a lot with whatever we’re watching, we just watched one that.
Poignant for today, these people in upper, Alaska way high up towards the north pole, they uncovered this structure that was like 20,000 years old. And they were deciphering
Alan: it because humanity wasn’t up there before, but,
Stephen: and they couldn’t figure it out. I said, it looked like a predator shack, so it’s just the hunting shack.
Predator comes to earth. He goes to his hunting shack, just like any guy going hunting but what it did, it released a bacteria that started affecting their minds and they ended up starting hallucinate this dear God that was telling them what to do. And they started killing each other.
Yes. And so it’s one of those where the question is it really happening? Are they really seeing a deer guide or is the bacteria in their head? And the funny thing was, I mentioned yeah, because that helicopter landed to give ’em some supplies and that one guy left, and then they’re trying to get on the radio to call the base, but nobody’s answering.
So I’m like. Is the BA base really not answering, or are they imagining that the base is not answering you don’t know? I said, or is it the virus got carried and now it’s spread throughout the world. So these are the last survivors and it was a great movie because it had to open all these questions and it led to a really good discussion.
So there, and it was a buildup right to the end. And they also had a point of view, first person, point of view at the end where people shooting each other, that was way better than the POV from the doom movie, with the rock. It was just really well. Yeah. Yeah.
Alan: Another thing we’re talking about for horror movies is like they, they can be very timely.
When you see a I don’t know I think I’ve mentioned Stu and I used to watch screaming yellow theater in Chicago on Friday nights and creature features on Saturday nights, we were big horror movie fans. And as you go back what were the hammer, horror films of the series.
You know what I mean? There’s traditional monsters like vampires and Frankenstein and werewolves, and those things can’t withstand the future happening. If you really find out that that’s not real and it can’t be real because we’ve explored everywhere in the world and there aren’t any vampire cry or whatever else it might be.
But what happens in the fifties, you start to get movies about aliens, any number of things, where, because we’re in the cold war and that is a getting suppressed as to you can’t trust your neighbors, then there’s invasion of the body snatchers. Or you start to get zombie movies that are in some cases, not only about the zombies, they’re about how would people react in a more yeah, absolutely.
What walking dead is all about the monsters. Aren’t the walkers necessarily. They’re all the people that are willing to do you name it right in order to survive or at the expense of their fellow man, When you get body horror movies the more that you got to, where we were able to do amazing things through surgery somebody comes up with if we could do anything, there would be some crazy people doing those kinds of things in skin or human center, Peter, like we’ve talked about and the effects of, I don’t know, it’s cool that there’s very, there’s all different kinds of horror. There’s not only one kind. It’s not only all slasher movies. It really is. What if it’s claustrophobia? What if it’s yes. That you’re reduced to blindness, but if you can’t make any noise because the monsters
Stephen: track on quiet place.
Alan: Yeah, exactly. So it’s very cool as a demonstration, if you will, of what would we do under trying circumstances? Sometimes that’s what, when Colleen Colleen doesn’t like guns and explosions movies, or necessarily horror. So when she walks in and she’s there’s somebody screaming?
It’s like why do you like this? It’s I’m not a sadist. I don’t like watching people get hurt. It’s that I am interested in. Could ordinary people handle extraordinary circumstances in various different ways and some days, because they are in a crime sometimes because they’ve been kidnapped sometimes, cuz there’s a monster chasing after them.
It’s and not only could they, but if I put myself in their place, some part of what a movie’s trying to do is to get you to be in that movie. You know what I mean to get yourself involved in it. And so I guess I live a relatively normal life. I live in a suburb of Cleveland and I use my computer and I haven’t really had any things where I’m being chased by an unstoppable killer, like it lives or whatever it was I haven’t had. Oh yeah. Or also unreliable narrator movies are very interesting. Because this is know, it’s funny. I don’t wanna mean to get too serious. I think we’ve all had people in our lives that you just can’t figure out what’s going on in their head.
They’re not quite right. They’re not rational, but they fake it enough. They’re sociopath psychopath so that they fake being a human being, but they’re not a good one. And so I’m like, how do I deal with that? How do I confront, do I get away? Do I and movies capture that a lot where you just find out that someone that looks really beautiful or handsome is in fact incredibly villainous, but to use the glamor, the power of their charisma against people and any number of things.
Sometimes the ugliest people are indeed the heroes and heroines. You know what I mean? And I guess you just say heroes nowadays, that outdoor is both male and female, but anyway, I just, it’s very interesting to. See all the different ways in which horror movies get us get to play out absolutely themes as well.
There’s any number of movies about outbreaks even before now with COVID we had it back when it was the hot zone and that kind of stuff. And sometimes they’re not a horror movie, they’re of like a documentary almost they might like, wow, this really could happen. You’re so easy for patients who go through and then boom, in an airport and now we’re living it,
Stephen: Absolutely. If you want a really good documentary that you could say has some horrific element, Idiocracy that’s a great documentary. And for me, one, one of my new favorite movie makers is Jordan Peele for his horror movies. Yeah. He’s done a couple horror movies that I think are just yes us and get out and now.
And I just think they’re really well done and not your typical horror. So I like that
Alan: about him. If anything I know that for instance, in he’s really good maybe in, in an midnight Chaman way of not giving it away. It’s not, you see the murder or kill somebody in the first two minutes, and then you worry about the murderer.
And I should mention this inspired by the NATOs group that Colleen and I were in. We’ve also over the course of our time to be, they’ve been watching any number of directors and just try to watch every single one of their movies, because they’re so good at what they do. Yeah. We watched all the Woody Allens and all the Alfred Hitchcock and all the cone brothers, on all the Paul Thomas Anderson’s and we Anderson cause we weren’t sure. Which was which, so we watched them both. you know what I mean? Isn’t that funny, but that’s going to Alfred Hitchcock again, and he didn’t really do horror movies, but those suspense thrillers, and they had horror, definitely Sunco has horror aspects.
So does frenzy various
Stephen: others or Rear window. Exactly. That they’re really good at what would it be like to be in that situation? Or how do you build, yeah, he used to talk about the McGuffin. You know what I mean? That there’s gotta be something that everybody in the movie cares about and there’s got, it doesn’t even have to really appear.
Alan: It just has to be that you establish that there’s something that there’s something that they’re going after this suitcase full of nuclear secrets or whatever else it might be. And then the whole movie kind of plays around. It revolves around it, even though, and they make fun of it. Then in pulp fiction where there’s a suitcase and you open up and here’s something glowing and is it.
Star material, is it nuclear? What is it? And they don’t even bother to explain Quentin Terino was really good at understanding how Hitchcock used that then. Yeah. That and I guess the number of treasure hunting movies are like that too. You know what I mean? Indiana
Stephen: Jones. Yeah. And like that.
And even though I like all these variety of horror movies, I’m still very excited to see the new Halloween movie. Because they did a quote unquote, another reboot, retro put Jamie Lee in it, even though she was in some other ones in the past that don’t even bother with cannon with Halloween.
Just go and enjoy the movie individually. But the last couple have been a trilogy that are supposed to be direct sequels to the original with Jamie Lee Curtis and all that. The first one in 2018, I thought was fantastic. That really, it was a slasher movie. There’s no doubt about it, but I thought it felt like a good movie with a great story.
And then the one they did a year or two ago that came out, I was so disappointed in because I thought they were trying to make it very political and make a point and a statement. And they brought that out way too strong. I’m like, it’s a slasher movie. It’s not the right vehicle for this statement.
And I thought it ruined the movie a bit. It, the movie did not feel as good as the first one. So we’ll see what this new one coming out in a month or so is compared to the other two.
Alan: Interesting also to geek it up, I know that I’ve read articles that were like, Hey, we attach electrodes to people and skin galvanometers and stuff like that.
And had ’em watch horror movies. And here’s the top 10 that’ll frighten. You the most, an indication of fright is you get heart rate immediately racing and goosebumps and whatever else it might be. And if I remember right it’s ins. There’s certain, that I think that’s it.
Yeah. Yeah. And I’m trying to think let’s see. What’s the one where while people are sleeping, they capture on camera
Alan: activity, and just that there’s some that really unnerved me and that, and then sometimes the sequels capture, what was good about it.
Sometimes they take it off in a new direction and it’s like, why’d you do that? You know it, why didn’t. You don’t have to just do a remake and slavishly follow it, but at least don’t worsen it ALA Highlander, like I’ve said far too many times. Yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean? So like
Stephen: everybody said way too many times and paranormal activity actually surprised me.
I avoided those. I was like, okay, this is gonna be ho, but the first one was really good. And the whole series actually holds up pretty well. There was only one of ’em that I was a little bit like, okay, I’m bored with this one. Yeah. Next or no the ghost, no ghost dimension was good. I forget it was the one with the Spanish kids.
And not because they were Spanish that wasn’t at all. I just didn’t think the story felt as good in that one didn’t combine, but then they’ve done a couple other things lately and I thought they were all really good worth watching, more worth watching than I originally. Interesting.
Alan: And that’s its own genre that whole Amityville horror Hey, we’re moving into a new house.
We’re so happy. Is our dream come true? Dun these are the found footage type movies where it’s all through cameras and and phone cameras, layer, witch. Exactly that, yeah. Even though paranormal activity, isn’t completely like that. It’s a large part that, yeah. So you mentioned the MEA meetings this past weekend, I went to an RG which was nice, seeing a lot of friends, a lot of good things group with on a
Stephen: good for you. Yes, it was a good one. It’s a little longer cuz it’s labor day. I did my talk and so little details on talks for people. We both do talks, we’ve done several each and you improve, you get better, whatever, but There’s always with this talk. There’s always been people that like want to get in my face and argue and tell me I’m so wrong about it.
Okay. And as someone who gives talks you get this feedback and you have to evaluate, and don’t take it personally. I take it as a, what can I learn from this? Why are they reacting this way? What am I not doing right? Or what am I doing? What am I doing? That’s causing this depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Exactly. You don’t just dismiss
Alan: it. You take it in, but it’s not also, they’re all the way true. You get to take it in and take away from it. Whatever works for
Stephen: you. Yes. And that’s for listening that ha is going to give a talk, wants to give a talk. That’s what you gotta do. You gotta take it and evaluate it and get that feedback.
So I think what was being said by this one person at the talk, I was able to come back. Good intelligent responses. Not necessarily trying to change her mind, but why I’m saying what I’m saying. And I also realized that I think the voice, the focus of the talk was maybe pushing and maybe a little too antagonistic for large groups of people that I’m trying to reach So I stepped back and said, okay, now that I’ve done this talk a dozen times, what can I do to soften that? And last time when you saw it the, it was one little thing that clicked was like telling people, this is not the way this isn’t the only thing to that we should, that it’s an option.
And I’ve been using that more. And I think it made it the message clearer. And now I’m like, since this is an option of things we could do with our kids approach it like that, that, no, I’m not saying we quit teaching ’em history or we quit teaching a math. But I don’t think that’s always the best because honestly I know kids from high school graduated valedictorian top of the, okay.
I can’t take him. He did go on to be a doctor and very successful . But overall the kids that did very well and the kids that didn’t do very well are almost all, pretty much in the same space, as far as life goes, how much we’re making, what our families like, where we live, that it we’re all Mo so it didn’t matter how great you did in school.
So I would, I argue that there’s a lot of kids that drop out a lot of kids that don’t know what to do, that can’t go to college and they think now I have to just go do this job. This is another option. So that’s, I think softening that message to the point where it’s no, these other options still exist.
This is just one option that I don’t think we give enough credence to, to prepare kids for. Got it. And I think that will,
Alan: anything else, it’s it doesn’t apply to everybody, but if you see that the kinds of things I’m talking about are what’s happening with your kid. And by the way, we jumped the topic of your talk is how to prepare your kids for the future that we’re in.
Yes. Not necessarily things that we’ve learned about ourselves going through or learned about school until now is really doing a great job about how to make them technically literate how to get their mind around that life is experimentation. Life is, i, and I’m trying not to steer your thunder.
People want to hear your talk. That kind of thing. If people have ideal kids, they’re not looking to be told that they didn’t raise them. Because look at my results. Whereas if anybody is seeing, Hey, my kid is like not paying attention and he’s a sophomore, he’s taught three years of school to go, how do I get him reengaged?
How do I get yes. Him to get some value out of these valuable teenage years that you offer
Stephen: an alternate, a pass. And like with the reading I heard a podcast this morning with a friend of mine who said the same thing I’ve said we’ve seen a decline in reading. We’ve had a lot of adults that don’t read.
So when they’re in school, we shove books at ’em that they may not care about or be interested in that are 150 years old that are hard to read and whatever else. So we wonder, huh? I wonder why people aren’t reading. Maybe it’s cuz their exposure to reading when they’re in school, suck. And one of my new favorite authors is Jeff strand who has written a few multi or middle grade books.
He’s kinda like an adult goosebumps writer horror comedy for the most part. Okay. And there have been teachers that their kids read these books. I don’t know any of his books that are on required curriculum of schools, but these teachers, like these kids started reading that have never read before and they love it.
And they want more. Isn’t that more the point than to say you have to read Tom Sawyer or you have to read to kill a Mockingbird. Because not a pride and prejudice, even worse. It’s a romance in Elizabeth in times and kids are not going to say, wow, that’s the best book ever. Some, yes. Okay. But anyway,
Alan: nothing for me, it’s nothing like me.
It doesn’t speak to me. I
Stephen: okay. Yeah. I know, and I know a lot of teachers would agree with me on this, but they’re being forced to teach kids the pass common core. They’re not teaching kids how to learn and how to enjoy learning and to find parts of what they’re good at. My friend, Scott is amazing at math.
I’m okay. At math, so why, if I’m going to do computer game development. Yes. There’s math being used in music. Yes. There’s math being. But I don’t have to necessarily ACE, trigonometry and calculus. give me the basic math. I can look up the formulas for programming or game development. I can be a game designer and I don’t need all of that.
And I know the person this weekend said but if you knew history and you were doing a game about history, you’d know, I’m like, correct, but I know enough history to know it exists and I can look up what I need. So there’s a difference there. Yeah. Between that’s always things pop into my head the because John Ellen polls wrote a whole bunch of great books about why math does matter and not in a way of I don’t need to understand the physics model behind my video game that I’m designing, but just, there’s all kinds of, he called it.
Alan: Innumeracy the equivalent of illiteracy that if you’re hearing about the budget and the numbers are so big, that you don’t have an idea of how big that really is. People can sell you anything because a million is not a billion, there’s a million seconds and I’m gonna butcher, this is something like 34 hours, a billion seconds is something like 34 years.
And I’m getting I’m Tron. Yeah. The idea just of getting a sense of proportion and when it really starts to matter, then instead of your eyes glazing over, that’s even a condition Tigo, the eyes glaze over that. They talk about that people regularly use make numbers or big terms to make it so that they don’t want you to understand.
But it’s important when you’re looking at statistics are going to be what guides us into how we deal with COVID we deal with the budget, how we deal with when you’re looking at I’m starting my career and I wanna be a millionaire when I retire, how do I get there? The power of compound interest will take you there, but you have to understand that here’s all the ways in which it really works for you.
What really doesn. If you have the discipline to start when you’re 18, instead of buying that wonderful car, you’ll have a million dollars by that time. You’re 65. If you and you contribute a hundred dollars a month or something, if you don’t do it at 18, but do it at 28, suddenly you have to contribute 400 bucks a month.
And I really wish that I had these numbers more at my fingertips because they’re not accurate in what I’m saying, but they’re accurate. They’re if you read the real ones, they’re incredibly convincing about losing those first 10 years of compound interest is just a way to put yourself behind the eight ball forever.
Yeah. So we have to talk about, this is the one marshmallow versus two marshmallow theory. If you have a little bit of delayed gratification to get a big payoff, an extra marshmallow, if you do it, that plays out all through the world that don’t buy a car. When all you’re asking is what’s my monthly payment.
Find out what the total cost of the car is. And that’s a matter of how much is it cost and the interest rate and over how many years, and you, once you just have to like, look at the chart of. Here’s my payment schedule and what’s the proportion of what I’m paying in interest and what I’m paying off a principal.
The real thing that I owe and that you can pay the first two years out of a five year car payment, or especially, let’s say two years out of a 30 year mortgage, and you’ve paid down
Alan: on your principle. Whereas everything else has been, it’s interesting to be like that, to be interest that the bank of course gets its money up front.
The loaner is treated incredibly favorably. So it’s not only about understanding what the real cost is. It’s, there’s nobody loaning you money as a favor. They’re doing it because they’ve got the odd stack in your favor. And one of the best things you can learn to do is, oh no, I’m gonna talk about a historic figure.
Ben figure, Ben Franklin pretty much says live within your means. You know what I mean, pay in cash or do without that. Yeah. Many you enter. Everybody you get outta college, you get outta high school for that matter. And everybody sends you a credit card offer Sears does gas companies do, all kinds of visa.
Stephen: they’re like at 29, 30 6% nowadays, honestly I, haven’t crazy. I will burst with pride, Colleen and I are totally out of debt, no credit card, no mortgage, no car payment, et cetera. It’s so great to have money come in that doesn’t have anybody with their clause into it. Send things out to various different
places. Except for Netflix and Spotify Those choices of our regular payment, we can’t live in a house without power and water. And our utilities, it’s the, it’s not the loans that are unnecessary. It’s not the things that you could have paid for type money
Alan: for them.
The privilege of having this five years earlier is an incredibly bad game. Whether it’s a car or a, a stereo or whatever else, it might be. For that matter student loans Hey, relentless geek degree can be very much current. What, why what’s the big controversy going on about right now is that I ended up with about $7,800 of student loans.
And that was in 1977 to 83, which is which at the time was a ton of money, but it got me through school and I worked every summer. And I I was, I did that so that I wouldn’t have to work 40 hours while I was in school. So I could really be student cetera. And my parents assisted me, which I can never thank them for enough.
Having said that the game has so much change between 83 and now let’s just go with that 40 years. They student debt is one of the few things that can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy court. You know what I mean? They say if we’re gonna give you these reasonably low rates, we’re gonna make it that you can’t just walk away from it.
They change the laws in so many ways. And instead of being government sponsored and. Merciful, they put it into the hands of third party vendors and they became like any other predatory lending area where the interest rates and how much they go up and how much they offer and make it easy for you to get into debt.
You have people coming outta school with 40, 80, a hundred thousand, $200,000, depending on what your degree cost and where you went and what profession you’re going into. And that’s some of the worst stories you read about, why am I getting some part of that debt 10 or $20,000? Relieved is because I got outta school with 80,000 worth of debt.
And I’ve already been paying for 20 years and I still owe more than
Stephen: where I started from. Yes. Yep. Because
Alan: they made it so impossible. I That’s what revolving credit is all about is trapping you in that cycle of death. Yeah. And admittedly, everybody put those loans for the purpose of getting an education.
And it’s not about to me that they got a free ride. It’s that there’s both of these things going on. I don’t I don’t want a someone that I paid my loads off. I paid to the end of the payments that all the debt off. And so I’m one of the guys that could say whatever I went through, why is somebody else getting a free ride?
But what I want is a country that doesn’t have two thirds of its students. So settled with debt, that they do nothing except service debt, instead of starting their life.
Stephen: And it, and arguably. Are they contributing and helping society grow when they’re spending all their work money, paying off the debt to get that job.
That’s why Colin didn’t go to school right away is because he looked at it. He said, here’s the, what I want and about how much I would owe at the end of school. So if I took this job, I’d be paying X amount towards my student loan. I’m like, I can get a job where I’m making more money and none of it goes to student loans.
So why would I do that? And I talk about that in my talk and which is another reason that we have this alternative, that, and I focus on video games and storytelling in video games and writing books and that stuff, because those are skills kids can do in middle school and high school and work on these skills without having to go to an upper college.
And then there’s alternatives for that too edX and multiple other online schools now totally different way of learning. And places aren’t looking for the college degree all the time. If you wanna get a job in video games, doing narrative storytelling and you show them, Hey, I wrote these two novels and made this video game and this text, adventure, whatever, I’m 18 years old with no experience with no schooling, but I have got this experience.
They’d say, we’d like to hire you right now because they don’t care about the college. And there’s more and more of that going on too. Yeah. So I’ll
Alan: tell you that whole thing of, I, I got I was a valedictorian in high school, so I was flooded with offers for college. Jamie, did I get college assistance?
No, because my parents were middle class. I didn’t have needs, I didn’t meet all the needs tests. And compared to athletic scholarships or whatever, I was kinda like really I got a lot to offer the world here, but the guy who’s gonna get it is the golfer, the baseball or the football or whatever.
There’s a whole argument. That’s why I exactly that’s the whole thing. But having said that, then you get like at least like that innumeracy thing that I talked about a moment ago that a lot of good examples are about financial innumeracy and illiteracy, because it’s regularly used against people.
You don’t buy a house that you’re not gonna be able to put furniture in because your house payment is so high. You don’t take out a
Stephen: credit card, arguably though Americans do that. That’s part of our problem.
Alan: So exactly, and I guess I say that not as a, it doesn’t happen, but more as a prescriptive instead of a descriptive, you do that, you’re gonna be trapped in that cycle of debt.
And so the more that we can have, it used to be that there was actually like. Classes in high school that were home economics and some part of it wasn’t learning how to bake fees. It was learning how to go shopping at the supermarket and see how much things
Stephen: cost per ounce balance your checkbook form choice, how to balance your yeah, exactly.
Boy, along with that. And I try not to bring this up in the talk, but I’ve read some articles and seen. Discussions on this is our school system actually effective and successful. We’ve actually only had a school system for a limited amount of time. It’s not like this goes back 350 years and we have proven track record over multiple years.
We don’t, and it keeps changing. So is it really successful in doing what we need for our kids? Arguably my father we think he’s autistic. He does have learning disabilities. He left school in eighth grade. He did not go past eighth grade. He cannot read. And yet he had a job, his whole life, a house, a family, a car.
So can you say that he got all that because a school that he learned what he needed in school? No, he did that all on his own and was able to have a family and all sorts of stuff. So is what we’re doing for our kids. Really preparing our kids for the future. Does, do we need. Seven eight years of history to get our kids ready for the real world.
Is that necessary. And there’s arguments. The weird
Alan: thing to me is how often immediately that’s contentious and people say yes, one or the other, instead of being well, we should have all of that. Shouldn’t we, if you look at, so I don’t know why the United States is so poor about this.
It isn’t that we are the best at everything in the world. Why not look outside of the world and say, where do they have the best graduation rates? Where do they have the best success in life rates? And how could we model ourselves after that? So you go to Finland and they have again, I’m grab numbers outta the air, but they’re not far from accurate 98% graduation rate.
And everybody gets a reasonable job and they don’t have like how they deal with truancy, how they deal with crime, that all of it is very much based on you’re gonna be a member of society. We’re gonna set you up to win instead of. At 14, 16, 18 saying you’re a juvenile delinquent, and we’re just gonna start locking you away more and more and Japan and there’s any number of other countries that in some cases we can look at them as an example that might have gone too far. You know what I mean? If you have absolutely committing suicide because they don’t pass a test, they’re so stressed and that’s right. The incredible stress levels and whatever they do in many countries in Europe, they have there’s routing, depending on how you do on various different standardized tests, you go to various different schools that are Standard college or trade schools, or, you set yourself up to all be successful in life, but not everybody can be a professor. Some people are going to be that they have more mechanical aptitude.
They have more absolutely. I know that we have something similar trade school and so forth, but because everybody in the United States is a potential Einstein. We really, no one wants to hear that their kids are not gifted, but actually normal or, oh my God. Not less than the norm.
and that’s just, people won’t hear it. Even if the best favor they could do for themselves or for their kids is to say, I know my limitations. Yes. And I don’t know I’m a bright guy, but not bright in everything. There’s things that I have steered myself towards and away from based on play to my strengths.
You know what I mean? What, I’m a big guy. Am I gonna be someone that, that works like fine motor skills, like doing jewelry. I don’t know that I have the aptitude for that I and part of not only is it me determining that, but like the whole rest of the world, if you take one of those interesting tests that say, what might you be good at that it of has, what does your mind take joy in?
You know what I mean? Do you like working with numbers? Do you like working with words? Do you like working with your hands? Do you like being outside that we could gain so much from that instead of it being that it’s seen as some kinda like a way of segregating society that it’s hinting towards, this is maybe how you will be happy then of course, what you have to be really careful about is that those tests are designed to not be white, European male oriented, because there’s all kinds of proof about standardized tests and IQ tests that maybe they needed to become.
Cross-cultural that it’s not only a matter of vocabulary, it’s a matter. Reasoning power, pure logic reading comprehension, but then you have to give the right levels for each of those various different things. So it’s not that we’re just trying to make everybody into an Englishman you know what I mean?
Terrible way to say that. But my being posh does not make me successful. You know what I mean?
Stephen: And the, some of the most successful people in the world. Aren’t the mesons, aren’t the 2% they’re a hundred IQ, the average of what the IQ is, but they’ve also found that their strengths are that they’re able to see a goal and focus and do the one thing that makes the next step easier and successful, blah, blah, blah.
Whereas like me, I’m like I’m gonna write a book. Oh, now I’m gonna work on this video again. Cuz that looks cool. And you know what? I need a break cuz I’ve been doing this straight for 17 hours and it is a scattered thing, but I’ve learned to, like you said, embrace that so I can go right on this today and tomorrow, write on a different book.
Yes. Maybe I’d get that first book done quicker, but now I’ve got five books that are all almost done it because I use that. Or, and then evenings, I’ll relax by programming a video game. I know that sounds, but again I could. I learned more about the civil war by reading Harry turtle, doves guns of the south than I did in that I remembered learning in school.
So all of the history books you read in school. Okay. Yeah. So again, I bring it back to, are we really doing what’s good and right. Or are we just doing it because that’s what we’ve always done. So many studied have shown kids would do better in school by starting later because there, there are circadian rhythms for their ages, teenager.
They really hit their peak later in the day. So getting ’em up at 6:00 AM and having school until two, they haven’t even hit their peak for the day. So you’re not even doing the best thing. There are school times, but that’s the way it’s always been. It doesn’t fit, it doesn’t work, but we’re not gonna change it.
And we’re not going to accept the fact that it’s not the best way to do it. It’s how it’s always been. That’s what we’re doing. So if that’s our attitude with just the time school starts and stops. Yeah. About,
Alan: about summer break, about all kinds of things.
Stephen: Yeah. How the math scores. Oh my gosh.
When I was working with Jason on math, he would forget everything from the end of school year to the beginning and be starting with. Like he had never done math before. Oh. And we had to do stuff. And my kids too calling to Megan, we had to do math and worksheets and workbooks throughout the summer just to keep ’em up.
So good. Yeah. What good is taking three months off. If you’re going to have to spend the first two months of school reviewing everything and catching back up. So again, it’s not the best way to do it, is it? And I know people will get mad well and make comments, or, but instead of getting mad, upset, let’s just what is, let’s look at it.
Let’s evaluate it. Everything should be that way. Is this the best way let’s not make it personal? Let’s just figure it
Alan: out. I totally agree. And this is such, I’m just gonna say the saddest thing. So much of how we seem to do things. Politically in this country is decide what we want and then find data to support it.
Not look at the date, see what conclusions it comes to. So charter schools are not new. They’ve been around for 30 years. A lot for the last 20, one of the big things that I was reading after they had been around long enough to start gathering data. They were saying, we are happy to have charter schools.
It isn’t only that publication education can be as successful, which need to be at least as successful. And the only way we have about judging that is standardized testing. So as long as your charter school is not getting worse graduation rates and worse test scores, then you can be whatever school you want.
Even outside of the public education system. Proof after proof in studies said that there were one out of a hundred charter schools that really were like a stem school that were really getting better about math and so forth about about science technology, et C so many of them, the emphasis in those schools is on a political and in many cases, religious viewpoint, and they’re doing worse.
Yes. And why we are accepting of that, that the propaganda, the indoctrination that we’re putting into those programs, so that they’re actually starting off harming our children by having them start off, less capable in life. For so many of the things we just talked about, do they have potential literacy?
Do they have in numeracy are they able to reason rational thinking is a huge thing for being able to listen to someone speak and say, that matches other facts that I know that does not. I’ll ask a question about what doesn’t if it’s totally BS, you need to be able to not only label it as BS and you be able to say here’s why it’s not because this doesn’t follow from that logically, this doesn’t match other data supported by and so forth.
And so the fact that we’ve seen the growth of charter schools and the siphoning away of money from public education into charter stink now vouchers can be used. It’s just amazing to me that we have that acceptance of. Here controversy time, it’s child abuse. How can you say, I care so much about my views being promulgated, that I’m gonna have my student, my child not make a choice in a capable way of all kinds of things in life.
You know what I mean? Them right. And religion, a wonderful and so empowering and can give you a real sense of morality, but it doesn’t do everything. It is not man. And so to say that you’re gonna do that instead of these other important things like learning your times tables. I, it boggles my mind that we’re accepting of that.
Stephen: And we are. And I, and a lot of homeschooling is that way, because a lot of it is religion based that they’re doing it because they don’t want their religion taught to the kids in school or other non religions or the secular viewpoints and stuff taught to their kids. And what lessons
Alan: science is oppositional instead of being, no you have to work on integrating that, that science is real.
This is the way the world works. How do you get your religion to interlace with that instead of being, if I’m gonna believe in religion? I can’t believe in evolution. I can’t believe it’s right. And the earth is not 6,000 years old. You can’t. Read
Stephen: any history that’s about, oh, that’s I’ve seen what reading did the kids do?
Oh, they read Paul’s letter to the apostles. O okay. And that’s not good grammar necessarily let alone a good story or let alone learning to there’s and with what you just said, and. I think everything should be looked at. So we got charter schools. There are some that are doing well, but sometimes the kids don’t pass necessarily all the entrance exams into college.
But because I would argue because most of the college entrance exams are based on what they’re being taught in school that follows the common core. So you might have kids that, like you said, they know how to bank, they know how to tie their shoes and do all that stuff outside of that and learn and think on their own and be able to figure these things out.
But because they didn’t know all these history facts that, oh, they’re not ready for school, not necessarily true, but what honestly, I would, it’d be worth going through those tests to see exactly which of those things are unimportant and should have been passed over versus important. When I’ve seen proposals as to how we should be changing the textbook textbooks in Texas.
Alan: And they’re a huge influence on the rest of the country because their population is large enough that they it’s 45% or something automatically just adopt their standards. You, if you’ve seen some of the things that were proposed, they sure weren’t about being more knowledgeable, being more scientific, being more versed in history.
They were ex exercising, the things that they thought we don’t like that Thomas Jefferson guy, he just happened to be part of the constitution and the declaration of independence and early government. And our third president, it’s weird to like whenever I see only criticism, you have to come back, come back with, but wow.
I so I can see that you really don’t like this. What would you propose? I. And I get stunned silence almost all the time. Oh yeah. Or something they’re only against something and they don’t have an app substitute. And so I would say I’d rather have them learn something than nothing. If you don’t have what you would put in place and how that privately has better results, then I don’t I don’t believe you.
I don’t have you. You don’t make a reasonable case for why we should change what we currently have. Yeah. And I’m waiting for that. I’m waiting for someone to say, we need more of that. We have these textbooks in place and five years now, it’s we really are all better students. Workers, politicians, whatever else the CLA the classifications of things might be.
I don’t want it to be, we’re more like oilman in Texas. I don’t think that’s a model for the entire world. And
Alan: that I run to the stereotype, but some of that boy the amount of bigotry, the amount of Ex exercising from history, things that they don’t want to be in there, even though they really happened, even though they’re really true.
And even though there are some nowadays anything that they don’t like just gets labeled woken dismissed, and it’s wow, I don’t think we can move on as a country. If we really don’t know the civil war happened and that it was fought for these reasons and that the,
Stephen: which there were more than just a nation, is this thing.
There’s more about the civil war than just slavery. That was the big point. And even some of that message of the viewpoints on slavery isn’t brought out right. And strong enough through our classes and arguably. If you’ve got a school district. And again I don’t know this, I didn’t live in one. I don’t know one close by, but there was that movie back in the eighties about the principal who went into that school that was like all gangs and everybody was failing and he had the bat.
Remember that, that guy, I forget he’s called Beringer,
Alan: I think was even called the principal if I remember maybe.
Stephen: Yeah. But he changed everything. Here’s my argument. You can’t say that our school system is right and successful across the board for every kid. When you can have a school district where 85% of the kids drop out and don’t graduate and are dead before the age of 30 are on drugs, Aren are pregnant.
You can’t tell me our system successful across the board. So in that school district, obviously what we’re doing, doesn’t work. What can you do different? And I even bring this up. I would love to find. A school district that I could work with, like that and go into these middle school kids and say, I’m gonna show you how to make a story for a video game.
And you don’t have to know programming and work with these kids and show them that you can do this. And let’s write a story for a book. Let’s do this. And I know this can work and here’s why I know it can work. Here’s name dropping in my other podcast. On my discovered wordsmith podcast. I interviewed Armen Shimerman, who was quirk from DS nine.
But off the camera, we were talking about this. His acting group goes into prisons, juvenile prisons with these boys, and they get them to write their story, write out what your life has been like a memoir. And he said it. And then we bring parents and teachers and local authorities and stuff into the prison for these boys to stand up in front of everybody and read their story.
He’s it is so amazingly powerful. And he’s you would not, you’d be amazed at the number of boys that say, I never thought that people would listen to me. I never thought how powerful this was. Get out of prison, get married, get a job, contribute to society. Don’t go back to prison and say, this changed my life.
Then maybe we should look at this and think about our school systems overall. I’m not saying everything should be changed that people immediately go to I don’t think everything should be changed. Who said that? I didn’t say Janes the same.
Alan: That’s the so common. The response is here’s the possibility.
And because something isn’t everything, it isn’t all, if people are looking for the silver bullet, they’re looking for a total massive change. And instead you have to say it’s not gonna work everywhere, but it’ll work somewhere. So it’s kinda Hey, I couldn’t save all the starfish this one he’s really happy that I saved him.
Yeah. How can you make a system that isn’t only about drastic, like lurching from one big thing to the other, instead of a mosaic of what works. And the understanding the tuning of those things so that we apply the right, like just say like, like a doctor, right? You don’t just prescribe aspirin for everything.
You find out what the condition is. And then you give the appropriate
Stephen: treatment, the appropriate cure. Either that, or you pull out your Sonic screwdriver, oh, you made a different doctor, but that’s for years around here, we’ve had Maplewood, which was a trade school. So kids could go to high school or they could go to the trade school and now we have a stem school, so kids can have choices.
Again, that’s what I, this whole talk I’ve done is about, this is what our education there should be changes in choices, depending on the area, the demographics, the kids various things, not everything works for every kid. Let’s pull out art and band and choir and pull those things out.
And now they’re pulling out wood shop and all this stuff out of it. That doesn’t mean it’s going to make it better.
Alan: Yeah. I’ll tell you. It’s funny. We, again we’ve done this know, more than a hundred times social issues, things in real in the world come up often during our discussions.
And I don’t think that’s because we’re a social Crusader podcast. It’s because if you’re gonna be a geek, a relentless geek, you’re all about, what’s the truth of something. How do I gather data to even close in on the truth? How do I have a hundred different alternatives? What are my chances of throwing darts at the dartboard and picking the one out of 20 that’s gonna work.
One out of 20 don’t you wanna better, your odd don’t you wanna become more skillful in where you put your time and your attention and your money and societies will. And so everything involves that kind of geekery that says I’m not just gonna make a pronouncement and go forward. I’m gonna continually be collecting data on what works and what doesn’t.
And I’m going to continue building a feedback loop so that I see if I’ve started a program, how do I know if it’s getting better or worse over the course of time? And you just have to have that overall dedication to, I’m gonna listen to the truth. I’m gonna read the data. I’m gonna learn enough about statistics to say, this is not causal yet, but it’s definitely correlated.
And the strong correlations is what I’m gonna pursue and the weak correlations I’m gonna stop putting time and attention and money to, I just have to. And it, the fact that we have so many people that are looking for that silver bullet, that one solution that I don’t want to talk about it. I just wanna be the decider.
I don’t wanna become a better decider over time. Like we have to reject that hypothesis. The scientific method would say that stuff doesn’t work. Our schools aren’t getting better unless we put in these things that say, how am I getting better at doing this?
Stephen: You know what I mean? And I know people would say that’s what the common core does it standardizes.
It shows us what we’re learning, but there have been so many problems. And so many parents, so many kids, so many teachers that have lamented all these issues with common core and the problems with it. But it keeps, this is what we’re doing. That tells us the data we need, essentially. It’s look, our school’s doing great.
Cuz we passed the common core. Yeah, because you took away from the kids’ education to teach them how to pass common core for a month. And so not the best.
Alan: I agree. Not the best, but again what have I seen offered as an alternative. You know what I mean? You’re correct. What are they, what are the specific areas that they think are overt taught or under taught?
And what, based on the test that we’re giving them? What are the ways in which we want them to demonstrate proficiency, not based on the test, but made on, based on other things. And it can’t just be because I’m the mother and I love my child and I’m sure that they’re love mothers and I love children, but I know that they’re not equipped to do anything so poorly said what they’re wonderfully most often equipped is to be loving of their child.
And I don’t want it to be that such an important, how we deal with society. Isn’t anecdotal it’s data. And the plural of a is still not data. There’s rigor to data that you have to know how it’s collected and that it really does represent correctly. And that the alternatives offered were covered. The spectrum that is statistically significant.
And we’re in so many ways dying of. We don’t wanna look at the data. We don’t wanna look at it for COVID. We don’t wanna look at it for gun control. When people look at it too closely for COVID you get people objecting to factions don’t work. I know they don’t you’re wrong. You’re so totally. Yes. And yet, if you wanna cite a source from somewhere else, there’s always a quack.
That’s willing to say that. And like that the fact that they can name an exception, it still is an exception. One out of 10,000 times does not mean that we reject it. It means that we get better at eliminating that one, which you know, the other 900, 9,999. They’re really happy with the program that we’ve got going.
And so we’re gonna continue to do the thing that helps the most people, most probably, and probability in statistics are. Why do casinos exist because people don’t do it. You got
Stephen: get it. yes. You got people arguing. I’m not gonna give vaccine cause I’m not a monkey. I’m not a scapegoat. And those things do this, they do that and I’m not doing it, blah, blah, blah, as they take their other medicine that has 500 side effects that could happen.
What’s the difference you’re willfully neglecting, like you said, the data you’re willfully, just being ignorant and hardheaded and it’s
Alan: kinda funny, my insisting on the data that suddenly I put myself into a political party that I put myself into a certain frame of mind that I’m not anti-religious it’s I think that the places where this conflicts, you have to have a way of trying to resolve it.
I don’t want it to be that we stop thinking that evolution doesn’t happen because you know what I’m on. COVID BA 4.5. It has indeed continued to mutate and evolve and we’re having to put up together new vaccines. I just got the latest one. I got the bivalent. Yeah. So that as it continues to mutate in the Petri dish population, we have to deal with the fact that it’s not, Hey, I got my first shot.
That first shot no longer has any effect. What kind of crap are you telling me that was supposed to cure everything? No, it was never supposed to cure everything from the start. We told you the truth and you wouldn’t hear it. And now if you get re rebound COVID or you get whatever else it might happen, it’s not that FCI was lying to you.
It’s not that the government is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. It’s that the world is big and messy and complex in a way that you
Stephen: just refuse to acknowledge. And I’m sure I’m sorry, but that doesn’t change the truth of it. Here’s something a little outside of it, thinking of that.
So if you say, I figured out calculated to shoot a rocket, here’s how much fuel I need and how long it’ll take to get to the moon. And then later you say, okay, I refigured it out. Now it’s gonna take this much fuel and it’ll take this long to get to the moon. You said before it was this you’re lying.
Which one is it? No. We’re spinning. And the moon is moving around us. So depending on when you launch changes, how much fuel you need and how long it takes, because it keeps moving. That’s why we calculate it. Not lying. So yeah it, I wish I understood that there’s such people think that the first thing they think, or the first thing they say that they’re forever held to it.
Alan: And instead, honestly I’m willing to, and I might even say, I’m happy to say, you know what? I changed my mind about that. I investigated more. Yeah. I learned more facts came across the table. We as a whole society learned more and now I think. And instead of hearing, oh, you’re a flip flop in wishy washy, et cetera.
It’s aren’t we still a good student? Aren’t we still a good scientist? Aren’t we still learning every day of our life about how there’s more rele and
Stephen: applied in a new way, obviously is some, we don’t teach our kids well enough if we have so many people that don’t understand how science works with vaccines and things so there’s an, there we go.
That brings it around with the schooling, yeah. Let, to teach ’em. I’ll also, I know they’re way over. I’m sorry. No, great. Yeah we held a salon for five years running called penny university. There was a historic thing where for a pub in England, in order to be to join the conversation, you put a penny in a jar and that kind of gave you the right to speak a.
Alan: So we model ourselves after that. And what we did was we picked a big topic each month and we, I put a whole bunch of questions from every fashion that I could think of about that topic, whether it’s happiness or the Supreme court or travel or whatever else it might be. And then everyone would walk through these questions and we’d exchange a whole bunch of information.
And what I was always trying to get to was not only the information, but what do you know and how do you know it? If you tell us that this is the way the voting system in the United States works and you’re not quite right. You’re not quite accurate. And it’s how did you get confused?
Did you learn it poorly in school? Did your parents teach you wrong? Did you have you investigated yourself? But read
Stephen: it, have you just listened to a wild, crazy maniac, spewing, whatever he wants and said. Yeah, that sounds good to me. Exactly.
Alan: And so at auto far, we must have had a hundred guests over the course of our five years and there was a certain.
Factor, let’s say 10% whatever that, that number all seems to be the fringe element. They not only didn’t have support. They were really angry when you asked them to support what they were saying. It’s everyone knows that. Not everyone because we got O opposite facts over here. I who are you to question me?
Why are you getting in my face about this? I could start naming all the various different things. And it’s wow, whatever part of society it is that acts like that. They just wanna say whatever they want and not be held accountable to it not be like to me. I wanna be able to explain to other people.
Here’s what I think. And if you’re curious, that’s how I came to that. It didn’t just Thunderbolt into me. It was multiple sources and I checked them out. I didn’t just go to Wikipedia. What we’d have to do is go to Wikipedia and read the sources and say that’s an authoritative one. Instead of that, guy’s a nut bar.
You know what I mean? I don’t have the me Oz science. I have the Dr. Fauci science. You know what I mean? So it’s weird to me to have it. It wasn’t weird. It was what I expected that there were people that really didn’t know how to contribute in a discussion like that wasn’t immediately defensive and immediately angry and or that they, if you questioned them, it wasn’t seen as just the friendly, back and forth.
They do the whole, now I’m climbing up and now I don’t like you now. I don’t like it because you didn’t just believe me from the word. It’s because we’ve all arrived here at I’m sixties. Now, when I was fifties, forties, thirties, I already had learned a lot, read a lot, et cetera. And if what you said, didn’t jive with what I had learned it, wasn’t trying to find you wrong, but it was saying, I, what, where did you read that?
So I could go read and be able to compare myself between these two viewpoints. And when it wasn’t a site, a source that they could cite, they couldn’t, it doesn’t not, everything is the law. You don’t have to have a citation and be able to prove it and pound it into somebody else in that friendly way of I’d like to read more, because I’m always curious.
It’s about how some people, they don’t want curiosity, even they don’t want to give somebody else the ability to read and be convinced for themself. That’s a danger to our society. And I’m sorry, my phone keeps ringing because it’s Colleen, because I think that she’s driving back from an early morning meeting.
Oh yeah. So that to, and for all I know, he’s outside the front door and forgot her key and I’ve been keeping hold for 10 minutes. I’m
Stephen: sorry, Colleen. I’m on
Alan: record. I didn’t meet him. I love him. So yeah, I gotta get called the work so well, we didn’t get to a lot of our topics, so we kept going on the one.
Stephen: So we got more to talk about.
Alan: Absolutely. Okay. And we’ll see you next week. All right. See you next week, man. Be care, Steven. Okay.