Episode 23 – Etymology with Naomi and Susie

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In this episode, Johnny hangs out with Naomi and Susie, and reads a letter from Seattle songwriter, Micah Ellison, then Johnny makes them take an etymology quiz.

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Transcript:
JOHNNY UNICORN: It’s Monday, March 12th, 2018, and here’s the news:

Radiohead — you know Radiohead? — they are going on a North American tour.
At least, I think that’s what they said.

[laughter]

Alright, hey, you remember Rachel Dolezal?

SUSAN COLOWICK: Yes.

JU: Okay. She’s back in the news. Netflix is gonna be releasing a new documentary about her. Dolezal will be playing herself in yet another case of Hollywood white-washing.

[laughter]

A new study says that some bones discovered on an island in the South Pacific are very likely to be the bones of Amelia Earhart — hear about this? —

SC: Yes, I did.

JU: — making her the first skeleton to fly around the world.

[laughter]

Mm-hmm. Next news item…is that a new study has found that drinking a cup of tea may make you more creative. “I could’ve told you that” said the guy who invented teabagging.

[laughter]

And finally, congratulations to Walmart heir Alice Walton for retaking the number one spot on Forbes’ list of the richest women. How did she save all that money? You guessed it: shopping at Walmart.

SC: (unimpressed) Yeah.

JU: Shouldn’t’ve closed with that one.

[laughter]

And now, on to the Johnny Unicorn Show!

[MUSIC: Zorznijor, “Johnny Unicorn Show, Theme #21”]
This is the theme for the Johnny Unicorn Show
We go full steam on the Johnny Unicorn Show
Livin’ the dream on the Johnny Unicorn Show
Come join our team on the Johnny Unicorn Show

JU: Welcome to the Johnny Unicorn Show, my name is Johnny Unicorn, and you’re listening to the Johnny Unicorn Show. I’ve got some guests in the studio tonight. I’ve got Naomi Adele Smith…

You can talk. This is the conversational section of the…

NAOMI ADELE SMITH: Oh, I thought you were just gonna say stuff about me.

JU: Yeah. No. I was gonna leave that to you.

NAS: Hello! I’m Naomi Adele Smith. Thanks for having me, Johnny.

JU: What’s your deal?

NAS: I am an event manager at Puzzle Break, America’s first room escape game. I manage our Capitol Hill location. And I sing in the Seattle Jewish Chorale. And sometimes I make curry.

JU: You mind me asking, what is a room escape game?

NAS: So, you and a team of friends, coworkers, or total strangers come to one of our locations and get locked in one of our rooms. You have 60 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles, and try and escape the room before the hour is up. It’s a combination of being forced to use your brain, working together as a team, and having an amazing time. It’s the most fun you can legally have in this state right now.

JU: Okay. And sitting next to her is Susie, who is her mother.

SC: That is correct.

NAS: Susie Colowick.

JU: Susie Colow —

SC: Sometimes known as “Susan.”

JU: How’s it going?

SC: It’s going great. Thank you.

JU: Do you like this setup we got here.

SC: So far, yeah.

JU: Is this weird?

SC: No. It’s not at all weird. It’s very comfy. I’m sitting on a comfy couch next to my daughter. I’ve got some wine. I’ve got my computer. I’ve got everything I need.

JU: Okay. So I’ve got them in here so that we can talk and have fun on the show. I don’t know what we’re gonna talk about. I wasn’t planning on having them. I was gonna just do this by myself.

NAS: We followed you in here.

[laughter]

JU: They followed me in here…

SC: Just like the cats.

JU: …now I just gotta record them. So, I got a piece of mail from Micah. That’s why I’m doing this. You both know Micah.

NAS: Indeed.

SC: Yeah. I just ignored his birthday yesterday, I think.

JU: Happy birthday, Micah. Micah wrote me an e-mail. A very nice e-mail.

NAS: This is Micah Jerome Ellison.

JU: Yeah. He’s a…

NAS: Songwriter…

JU: Writes really good songs.

NAS: Piano player, musical director, software developer. Likes feta.

JU: All around great guy. Kind of a foodie.

SC: And a drinkie.

JU: So, I had an episode before about how I was leaving Facebook, and he wrote me an e-mail with some things…questions and comments. Mostly just comments. But here they are. We can talk about ’em. He says:

“Some thoughts:

My favorite genre of Facebook post is ‘why I’m quitting Facebook.'”

You agree with that?

SC: I haven’t seen very many, cuz most people are not ready to take that plunge. So I haven’t seen very many…but then I don’t have a lot of Facebook friends.

JU: I haven’t seen any since I quit.

SC: Yeah, I’m not surprised.

JU: I don’t know what’s going on. What’s going on in Facebook right now?

NAS: Well, you know, the algorithm mutes out anything that’s not pro-Facebook. So, I don’t think very many people saw your quitting post.

JU: That’s what I feel like. I feel anytime I do anything that isn’t, like, exactly what Facebook wants me to do —

NAS: Have a baby…

JU: Fewer people see it.

SC: Well, I’ll tell you what’s really sad is I kind of quietly quit Facebook weeks ago and didn’t announce it to anybody, and nobody’s asking “where is she?”

NAS: Well did you disappear?

SC: Not entirely. I’m slowly spending less and less time.

JU: You gotta release a podcast about it. That’s what I do.

NAS: See, people don’t know at that point. They think you could still be lurking. I recently discovered that a couple of our friends quit Facebook, didn’t make posts about it. And I like searched for their names and they just didn’t appear.

SC: I see. Are you sure they quit, and they didn’t just unfriend you?

NAS: I’m not sure, but they also unfriended John in that case.

JU: No, I’ve been talking to one of them, so…

NAS: Okay, so you’re still friends.

JU: I think they’re still in the loop. You know, they’re just the type of people that quit things without telling anybody. That’s fine. Everyone’s got their own way.

NAS: And I prefer that. I’d rather just kind of be surprised by someone disappearing.

JU: I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve been doing a transcript. I’ve been hand-transcribing these podcasts.

SC: I did not know that.

JU: Just the last couple. And Micah says:

“The transcript was very nice to have. I can only enjoy being “talked at” for a few minutes at a
time without something visual so it’s nice to switch to reading once I reach that threshold.”

Thoughts:

SC: Well, that’s interesting, because I have gotten to the point where I hardly ever read books. I mean, I still do, but the main thing I do is listen to them. Listen to audiobooks. And I don’t miss having visuals that are related to the books. But I’m usually listening to them while I’m looking at other things. So sometimes I kind of meld in my mind. You know, I’ll associate what I’m listening to with what I’m seeing even if they have really no relationship with each other.

JU: Right. Yeah. Sometimes I listen to music while I’m reading a book and then I associate that music with the story. Okay, then Micah says…(to Naomi) did you have something to add?

NAS: Oh, on the subject of reading vs. listening? I prefer reading. I don’t listen to anything.

JU: You don’t even listen to podcasts.

NAS: No, I’ve been on various podcasts that I’ve never listened to.

[laughter]

JU: How do you know?

NAS: How do I know that I was on them?

SC: Yeah, you may have been edited out.

JU: How do you know they were even released?

NAS: Well, cuz I see it on Facebook.

[laughter]

SC: People say “Naomi, you were great on that podcast.”

NAS: Or they just say “Naomi you were in that podcast. Here’s a link.” And then I don’t click the link.

JU: Alright, next Micah comment. I mentioned feeling uncomfortable with the sound of my voice, and he says: “Feeling uncomfortable with the sound of my own voice on a microphone is maybe 20% of the reason I don’t record.”

SC: But he does record.

JU: Well, he has a little bit…he has a few recordings.

SC: That’s true. He mainly records instrumental.

NAS: Just piano.

SC: Right. That’s true.

JU: “But not feeling a very strong connection with my listeners is probably 50% of the reason I don’t record.” Which leaves 30%.

NAS: What is that other 30% I wonder?

SC: Laziness? (sarcastically)

[laughter]

NAS: Access?

SC: Lack of proper equipment?

NAS: No, I’ve talked to him about recording before, and it’s kind of an ethics thing. Cuz when you record, you have to make some choices about how it’s not gonna be like a live performance. You might record the keyboard separate from the vocals. You might do multiple takes to get one full song. And —

SC: But you don’t have to.

NAS: You don’t have to, but the studio magic is part of what makes people buy CD’s and, you know, buy mp3’s instead of only ever just listening to live performances. It’s optimized to be pleasurable to the human ear, and Micah feels as though it’s sort of a false representation of the actual live performance.

JU: That’s kind of what it sounds like what he’s saying. He says “In terms of artistic validation, no amount of plays can substitute for witnessing even a single attentive face that’s focused deeply on what I’m doing.”

SC: Oh, well that goes along with the not feeling a connection, right?

NAS: Right, with his recording audience.

JU: Yeah, it goes along with it cuz it’s the next sentence in that paragraph. I just stopped.

[laughter]

NAS: So we were talking about the other 30%.

SC: And we’re just speculating.

JU: What’s the other 30%?

SC: Micah has not told us.

JU: I have the opposite thing, cuz I only like recording. I do like performing, but I prefer to have…I don’t like having deadlines, and I feel like performing a live show is the ultimate deadline.

SC: Sure. Cuz once it’s over, it’s over.

NAS: And sometimes the cables don’t work. And then you have a dead line.

SC: Ha ha ha (sarcastically). And sometimes the piano’s out of tune.

JU: That’s fine, we can cut that out.

[laughter]

Okay, the next thing he wrote is, “That said, I hope you’re getting email responses!” I haven’t since this one, so…

[laughter]

SC: That’s why we’re devoting a whole show to it.

JU: That’s fine. That’s fine. “I think one problem with email vs. comments is that email is in a different ‘place’ – like, you can think of any given website as being like a mental building for users, and when you ask someone on your site (or in your podcast) to email you, you’re asking them to run an errand: leave this building, head into the Email Building (which for me is a dusty old place full of unread crap I meant to deal with)…

[laughter]

…then put in the right paperwork so you can get the message out. I wish there was a better way to deal with that problem besides using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. but embedded email forms just still don’t seem to be that great (‘Prove you’re not a robot’), and site-specific forums seem to have gone the way of the dodo.”

NAS: Right, thanks to Facebook, and, you know, all those things you just mentioned.

SC: There are still some site-specific fora.

NAS: But it’s hard for them — I just read an article about this — it’s hard for them to get as many advertising clicks when Facebook just takes their content and shares it through Facebook’s algorithm and everyone just clicks on stuff through Facebook. And so the site isn’t, like, getting as many people going to it or clicking through on their site as they would.

JU: Are we talking about forums now?

NAS: Everything.

SC: You’re saying Facebook is reposting forum content, or Facebook users are?

NAS: Facebook users, but the Facebook algorithm, you know, promotes stuff that people share on Facebook.

JU: Hey, you can move that mic closer to you.

SC: No, it’s fine. I think it’s fine.

JU: Could you move it closer?

[laughter]

I was trying to phrase it in a way that didn’t make it sound like a command.

[laughter]

But you forced my hand. Uh, yeah. Way of the dodo.

[laughter]

SC: The Way of the Dodo. That would be a great movie title.

JU: To use an idiom that has gone the way of the dodo. And lastly, he says, “I’ve added your podcast to my RSS reader…RSS reader so I can follow relatively easily.” This is more of a personal thing: “do you have an RSS reader?”

NAS: Do you?

SC: That’s a personal thing.

JU: I don’t know what it is. Do you know what an RSS reader is?

[laughter]

NAS: That’s a personal question!

[laughter]

SC: Yes, it’s um…RSS is, um…

JU: Really…

NAS: …Super Sexy.

SC: Something Subscr…the word “subscription” is in there somewhere.

JU: I mean, I use like a podcast app.

SC: I think that’s basically…

JU: Which gets it’s data from the RSS feed. But I don’t know what somebody would go directly to the RSS feed for.

NAS: Well, you could…you know, if there was a Calvin and Hobbes website that posted a comic strip every day. You add that, and you get that and the podcasts. You know…

JU: Oh, it’s not just audio.

NAS: Right

SC: Right, that’s true.

JU: Oh, that’s the thing. Yeah. Any data comes through the feed. I don’t underst…I mean, I’ve never used that. I don’t really understand. I kinda understand the idea of the concept behind it, but I don’t…I don’t know how it would look. I haven’t thought that I needed anything like that. I just go to where I wanna go.

SC: Yeah, but I’m sure Micah could probably fill you in if you need to know.

JU: Yeah, hey Micah, fill me in!

NAS: Tell us about RSS.

JU: Feed me some RSS.

[laughter]

Okay. That’s it for this e-mail. Thank you Micah.

NAS: Thanks, Micah!

SC: Thank you, Micah. Happy birthday.

JU: Happy birthday, Micah. Next thing I wanted to do was to record audio (laughing) for a commercial.

NAS: You wanna re-say that part?

JU: No, that’s fine. I’m gonna record audio for a commercial. Now, as the two of you probably know, I’ve been recording an album for the past month and a half. I’m gonna make a commercial for it. And I’m putting together a video with clips of songs. So, I thought right now would be a good time for me to just record the voice-over for that commercial in front of you all. And you can pick it apart. Do whatever you need to do. Feel free to just insult me. Tell me I’m doing something wrong. I’m fine with that.

NAS: Okay.

SC: So are we.

NAS: You want critique.

JU: Yeah. Perhaps. Well, I’m just gonna talk into this microphone, record this audio, and let me know if I’m doing okay.

NAS: During…

SC: You want us to interrupt you?

JU: Not during. Do not interrupt.

SC: Okay.

NAS: Okay. You gotta be specific with us.

JU: Don’t interrupt. This is an actual recording. I’m gonna actually use this. Uh, think we got about 15 seconds…Okay, here we go. Rolling:

“The new album from Zorznijor: ‘Words.’ 99 songs and 4 hours of music, including… That’s ‘Words’ by Zorznijor. Available where most music is streamed.

NAS: Should it be “that is ‘Words'” or “those are words”?

JU: (exasperated) It’s the title!

SC: I think it’s perfect. I think it’s great. But are you just playing one exerpt from one of the songs?

NAS: No, he’s doing like 11.

JU: Yeah, there’s 11…

SC: Oh, okay. That’s fine, then.

JU: 11 of the 99 songs. Yeah. “Including,” and then it’s gonna have…like those commercials.

NAS: (singing) wa-a-a-a-as…so so so so

JU: Not so, but, yeah…

SC: You don’t wanna say, “but wait, there’s more,” and play a few others? No.

NAS: Yeah, you should say it.

JU: Well, that would be cool, but also, I don’t have that kind of time to make…it’s already a 3 and a half minute video as it is.

SC: Ooooh, okay.

NAS: “But wait there’s more” only takes like a second to say.

JU: Oh, you’re saying just put it in the middle of all that stuff.

NAS: But wait, there’s more!

SC: Nah, don’t do that. That’s old hat.

NAS: But wait, there’s even less!

JU: (chuckles) “Hundred songs! But wait, there’s less! There’s only 99 songs!”

[laughter]

SC: That would be good. Yes.

JU: Okay. Alright, I guess I aced that. Now, time for a quiz. Ready for a quiz?

NAS: (mock surprise) What? No!

JU: This is a pop quiz.

SC: Ooh, it’s about pop.

JU: And the subject of the quiz is etymology. You ready? You can’t look anything up.

NAS: Did you say “can” look anything up?

JU: You can’t look anything up. There’s no points or anything. You don’t need to get like an exactly correct answer, but what I do want…and you can just guess. Just guess. The idea is like, see how good of a guess you can make. But what I don’t want is like “Oh yeah, it comes from French.” No, go as far back as the furthest back that a dictionary would go.

SC: Oh, I’m not good at this. This is not something I have studied.

JU: Just guess. Just guessing. Just say, you know, like you say a word, and say “I think that comes from the Greek meaning cheesecake.” And then we’ll see if you’re right. Okay, so the first word —

SC: Speaking of feta.

JU: — the first word: etymology.

NAS: Well, that’s gotta be Greek or Latin.

[laughter]

JU: Well, pick one!

SC: I’ve never studied Greek or Latin.

NAS: Does ology come from Latin or Greek? Cuz they’re always saying like “polyamory…they’re two different…it’s Latin and Greek. It’s gotta be like amoramory…”

JU: Which one’s which?

SC: I think ology is Greek.

NAS: Ology is Greek, so ety must be the Greek word for “word.”

JU: Well, you’re close. It is Greek. It comes from etumon, meaning “true sense.”

SC: Oh! Interesting.

JU: And logia is “the study of.” True sense!

NAS: True sense.

JU: Does that make sense?

SC: No.

JU: Next word: Gorgeous:
“That cake is gorgeous.”

NAS: Yeah, does “gorgeous” mean it looks so good that you wanna eat it?

SC: You wanna gorge on it?

[laughter]

NAS: I feel like that’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Or, there’s gorgon.

SC: And gorgonzola.

NAS: So that’s…Greekish? Italian?

[laughter]

Gorgonzola’s like Italian.

JU: Not everything’s Greek or Latin, you know. Sometimes…

SC: Yes, this could be one of those —

NAS: French?

SC: No, I was gonna say…

NAS: Alien? A monkey made it up. I think it has to do with eating. Or gorgons.

JU: You got an answer, Susie?

SC: I have no answers.

JU: Well, according to this page, it comes from the old French, gor, gorgi, gor, I don’t know how to pronounce it. Similar to —

NAS: How do you spell it?

JU: g-o-r-g-i-a-s

NAS: (with an accent) gorgias

JU: “Of uncertain origin, but apparently connected with Old French gorgias (‘a gorget, ruffle for the neck’) from Old French gorge (‘bosom, throat’).

NAS: Throat, yeah.

SC: Oooh, yeah.

JU: “See gorge.”

SC: Okay, yeah. That makes sense. Sort of.

NAS: So “gorgeous” is like, neck-ruffly.

JU: Sure. But they say…it’s uncertain, so…fun game, Susie?

SC: I should’ve known that.

JU: You don’t like this?

SC: It’s just making me feel really stupid. Alright, what’s the last one.

JU: I don’t care about that, I’m just worried about entertainment value.

SC: Right. Yeah, I don’t think it’s very entertaining. But what’s the last word.

[laughter]

JU: Maybe I’ll cut out a couple of ’em. I hope I didn’t number ’em. The last one is: intrinsic.

SC: In…trin…sic

JU: In, that’s obvious.

SC: Yeah. Trin…trin…trini…Trini Lopez.

[chuckling]

trins….int? Maybe it’s intr and then ins.

[chuckling]

JU: Remember, I gotta transcribe all this.

NAS: Well…but you’re gonna edit it before you transcribe it.

JU: Yeah. Well, I want all this stuff. It’s good stuff. Hearing people thinking. You’re giving me that eyebrow thing, like…

SC: So it’s got two “ins” in it. In-trins-ic.

NAS: Yeah.

JU: Do you think that second in is actually a root?

SC: Probably. But I don’t know what.

JU: Then what’s tr?

NAS: Maybe it’s int-rin.

SC: Well, I was thinking intra. It could be intra-ins. Or it could be in-trins. But I’ve never heard of a word that sounds like “trins.”

JU: Well, you know, it’s probably been modified over the centuries. This should just be the whole show. We should just do this every week.

NAS: So, maybe it’s like inter. Well, intrinsic means “already there,” right?

SC: Yeah.

NAS: “Within.” It’s just like an amalgamation of prepositions.

SC: Sorry, I can’t quite parse it.

JU: I think you’re right – you’re on track with the “amalgamation of prepositions.” It comes from the Latin inter (“within”) and secus (“by, or on the side”).

SC: aaah

NAS: It’s just all prepositions. Yeah.

JU: Woo! (heavy breathing) We made it through that!

SC: I’m just gettin’ warmed up here.

NAS: Yeah, don’t you have more?

JU: No, that took like 7 hours. Do you want more?

SC: No, that’s okay.

JU: I can cut out the first couple, and we can add…well, no, that’s fine.

NAS: No. Moving on…

JU: Moving on to…I believe the final segment of the program, which is “Untweeted Tweets,” where I’m just gonna read some Tweets that I decided not to Tweet but instead to read out loud on this program right here. So here’s the Tweets that I didn’t Tweet in the past week or so. Feel free to chime in with…you can reply to these Tweets. I know you’re not on Twitter, but you can be on Twitter right here in this room by replying to these Tweets.

NAS: Verbally.

JU: Yeah. Okay. Ready?

NAS: Yeah.

JU: #1. New rule: I’m not allowed to go into third section of the Oreo bag until a week after buying it.

SC: I like that. Well, doesn’t it kind of depend on how many other people are eating the Oreos with you? Like if there are 10 people eating Oreos, they might not last a week.

JU: Yeah, I mean.

SC: Right, if it’s your own personal bag, yes.

JU: Or if there’s two people eating it, or three people.

SC: No, that’s a good rule.

NAS: What if you managed to shake the bag so all the cookies from the third section fall into the second section.

[laughter]

JU: Then I feel like that’s not in the spirit of the rule.

NAS: Okay.

JU: #2. I try to keep a low number of followers on Twitter, so that if I make a typographical error in a Tweet, I have more time to correct it before anyone sees it.

SC: That’s sensible.

JU: That’s a very smart thing to do, huh?

NAS: Yeah.

SC: But once you’ve Tweeted, since I do not Tweet more than once a year, I don’t know how this works —

JU: Ho-ho-ho-ho-hold on a second, you have a Twitter? You Tweet?

SC: I’ve been known to Tweet.

JU: You’ve “been known” to Tweet.

SC: But, I’m one of your followers.

JU: (laughing) By whom?

SC: I don’t know. Nobody, probably. But, so can you…oh, well I guess Donald Trump did that. He corrected a Tweet, and then…do you get rid of the erroneous Tweet?

JU: Yeah, you have to delete it. If you’re gonna correct a Tweet, you can only delete it.

SC: You can delete it. Okay.

NAS: You can’t edit it. Yeah.

JU: Yeah. So that’s the thing: if a bunch of people reply, then you’re like “ugggh, I don’t wanna lose the replies,” but nobody ever replies to my Tweets, so it doesn’t really matter…for me.

NAS: Well, sounds like you hit the jackpot.

JU: Yeah, and now that I’ve gotten into this I’m just losing followers every day, so…it’s fine.

NAS: Soon you’ll be at the perfect balance.

JU: I won’t even have to quit Twitter.

SC: It’ll quit you!

[laughter]

JU: Okay, #3. The other day I went on a Twitter rampage. Sorry.

[laughter]

I don’t even remember what that was about. That’s just what that was.

NAS: I think it works well without context.

JU: Okay. #4. If I say I will do it, I will do it. Or at the very least, I will think about doing it all the time.

SC: Mm-hmm. That’s ambiguous. Will you think about it all the time, or will you think about doing it all the time?

JU: I will think about how I promised to do it.

NAS: Yeah. All the time. You’re getting more than what you asked for.

JU: #5. I put very light gauge strings on my acoustic guitar and it was a mistake. I’ve switched back to a heavier gauge string and it sounds so much better.

That’s for the guitar players in the audience.

SC: Yeah, so that’s the guitar that I was trying to play the other day?

JU: Yeah.

SC: I didn’t know you had done that. Oh. Cuz I noticed the strings did seem thicker.

JU: Earlier I had, like, electric guitar strings on the acoustic guitar, which I hadn’t done, so I wanted to see what that was like, but they’re super buzzy. They don’t sound very good.

Okay, #6. I think it’s time to admit that the big rock concert as an artistic endeavor is a failure, and we should stop doing them.

My proposal: bands only play 100-person venues for as many evenings as they can draw a crowd. Extra lodging / vehicle rental a problem? Gov’t subsidies!

SC: (skeptically) Hmmm.

JU: No agreement?

NAS: I mean I agree.

SC: I don’t know about the government subs…well, everybody should get a government subsidy. Well, I have a problem with the whole touring band phenomenon. You know, where people just, you know, burn up so much fuel going from place to place.

JU: No, they’re going on one trip. It’s just they’re stopping a bunch of times.

SC: Yeah, yeah, right.

NAS: But they go on that trip a lot. Like, touring artists go on tour more than just once.

JU: Sure, but you go on one cross country trip a year, or every two years?

SC: But I totally agree with you. I mean, I have thought for decades that rock concerts are a really bad idea. I mean, the sound is never good. It’s never nearly as good as you can get in a small venue or in a recording. So I say they just stay home and record.

NAS: But some people who aren’t you two really like being in a giant room full of other people who all like the same thing as them.

SC: Eh…

JU: Uh-huh.

NAS: Not you two. That’s what I said.

SC: That’s why I go to restaurants.

NAS: It’s not that big. You wanna be around like 10,000 people who love Phish or Harry Potter or something.

JU: Well, yeah. That’s a thing. That’s a thing. But what I’m saying is just technically, I feel like the art of mixing a band in a live venue that’s like a really big venue is just…it must be impossible, cuz it seems like nobody knows how to do it.

NAS: But then that is not the thing that they’re going for. That’s what you guys want out of a concert, but what other people want out of a concert is the photo-op, the t-shirt, the chance to be in a room with 10,000 other people who like the same band as them, like seeing the band in person. They’re not audiophiles.

SC: No, some of them are, but they like that too.

NAS: But not all of them…

JU: It seems like they’re going to see somebody whose main thing is that they make recordings.

SC: Well, that used to be how you’d get the word out about your recordings, really. By showing up in person. But now that doesn’t really seem to be the case. It’s sort of quaint, this whole idea of touring bands, don’t you think, in this day and age?

JU: Well, my thing’s not about touring. I’m just talking about playing venues. I’m just saying play smaller venues. 100-person venues.

NAS: I’m saying that people who want to go to those giant shows want to go them because they’re giant. Some of the people.

SC: They might be giants.

NAS: People who go see Lady Gaga at the Tacoma Dome wanna see her at the Tacoma Dome.

SC: How do you know they wouldn’t wanna see her at…

JU: They wouldn’t rather see her with 100 other people at a tiny place where they can, like, reach out and touch her?

SC: Well, but they might have to pay twice as much.

NAS: It wouldn’t look as cool in, like, the crowd-selfie.

SC: You know, part of the problem is that these people like Lady Gaga, they’re not really considered people. They’re icons. You know?

NAS: (affronted) I consider Lady Gaga a person.

SC: Yeah, but she probably likes having her, you know, distance between her and the fans, so she can just be this persona and do an act, and that’s harder to do when you’re in an intimate setting.

JU: Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that in that setting of a giant arena, where it’s a big production, it seems like the art form has…they can’t get it to be mixed well past a certain point.

NAS: Yeah, the art form of mixing the sound.

SC: So, I think Naomi’s right. I think the music is not the point of those.

NAS: Yeah, people can listen to the CD anytime they want.

JU: Yeah, I think…I agree with that. I just…

SC: But you know, it’s kind of like these huge, professional sports arenas, too, where people will go and they’ll sit in the stands. Of course, now that they’ve got these Jumbotrons and these huge video screens, it’s not as hard to follow the game. But people used to go to a baseball game, and be listening to the radio the whole time, so they knew what was actually happening.

JU: That’s weird. Yeah, I went to a football game once. I went to a college football game once at a 100,000 seat stadium. What a waste of time that was. I couldn’t tell what was going on on the field. I mean, I didn’t understand the rules anyway, so it wouldn’t have mattered, but…

NAS: Did you get a pretzel?

JU: I don’t…no I wasn’t gonna…I didn’t buy any food.

NAS: Then you didn’t do it right.

SC: Okay, so that’s why people go to these big sports events is for the pretzels.

NAS: It’s just really hard to make nacho cheese at home. I’ve done it once. But it took a while.

SC: And the garlic fries.

JU: Yeah, but you can get it at 7-11 and it’s just as good.

NAS: But then you don’t also have a football game and like a giant hand.

JU: Go to a sports bar.

SC: The beer is cheaper at 7-11.

NAS: But you can’t drink it in 7-11.

[laughter]

I mean, there’s that one in Northgate. They probably allow that, but…most 7-11s.

SC: Then you go sit outside the Gas n’ Sip.

JU: It just seems like you just paid a bunch of money to just be in a crowd.

NAS: See, that’s a psychedelic experience for some people. Like, being confused, and not knowing what’s going on. That’s what you’re trying to get out of awesome drugs.

JU: You know, I could spend the same price as a sports ticket for like a professional sports team and go to a big city where there’s a big crowd and just be in a crowd, and go to a sports bar.

SC: Go to a protest. A protest march.

JU: Alright, let’s move past this. This is getting too long.

[laughter]

NAS: This’ll be fun for you to edit.

JU: Yeah. #7. The commercials on Spotify for Spotify premium are kind of like a guy kicking you in the face and trying to sell you the service of not getting kicked in the face.

SC: That’s exactly what it is.

JU: Hehehe… #8. I don’t like trolls. They’re like those kids in gym class who pretend like they’re gonna throw a basketball at your face, but then catch it at the last minute and then make fun of you for flinching.

[laughter]

It’s not clever, and it’s not nice.

NAS: Oh, I hated those kids.

SC: I don’t remember those kids.

[laughter]

JU: So, I’m not the only one who’s had that experience.

NAS: No.

SC: I think it was my family who did that.

JU: Well, that’s all I got. That’s the show. Thanks for sitting down with me.

NAS: Thank you, John, for inviting us in.

JU: Can you get closer to the microphone? You’re way too relaxed. Have you been sittin’ down there like that the whole time?

SC: No, she’s been closer.

NAS: I just moved there. Thanks for having us, and cleaning off the couch so we can sit on it.

JU: Uh-huh. Anytime.

SC: Yeah. This was a good experience. But I think I’m gonna be like Naomi…

[laughter]

JU: Sounds very genuine.

SC: Right. I will never listen to any podcast that I’m on, cuz of that whole, you know, not liking to hear one’s own voice.

NAS: I don’t mind my voice. I just don’t like podcasts.

JU: Man, what a crowd we got here.

[laughter]

NAS: Alright everyone. Hope you enjoy this podcast! I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

JU: Should we close it on a song?

NAS: Alright, yeah.

SC: Sure.

[Naomi starts to sing “Birdhouse In Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants]

JU: (interrupting) A non…non…

SC: Non-Giants song?

JU: Royalty-free.

[Naomi improvises a song]
Talkin’ ’bout George in the house
George is our cat
Talkin’ ’bout George on the bed
George don’t need no hat
Talkin’ ’bout George in the house
George, he’s our cat (George on the bed)
Talkin’ ’bout George in the house (mouse)
George doesn’t need no (a) hat

[MUSIC: Zorznijor, “What Happened to My Hat?”]
I just
I wanna ask you something
Please tell me if you know
What happened to my hat?
Did I leave it at the movie theatre?
Do you remember me wearin’ it out?
Do you remember it in my lap?
What happened to my hat?
What happened to my hat?
What happened to my hat?
Oh
This is a serious question
It’s cold outside
I need my hat
What happened to my hat?
What happened to my hat?
Where’s it at?

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