RL150 - Dog Beatles

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: Moose ate the trees, referring to situations where moose would show up in their front yard and eat John’s mom’s Japanese maple trees and she would try to swish them away.

The show title referrs to John and Merlin bantering about The Beatles at the beginning of the show and imagining which dog race each of them should be represented by.

The episode starts with a short song by Kirby Krackle in the melody of a known metal hit:

Roderick on the Line Line Line Line Line Line. Talk John Roderick

Today is a momentous day because it is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. It is also their sesquicentennial episode, which is a great word Merlin wishes everybody would learn and use. It is an honor to even be nominated to that and it is even better to share that with Thomas Jefferson! 150 years ago exactly on this date, Thomas Jefferson became president (no, he did not) and he was responsible for the Northwest Passage, which was an amazing contemporary TOP 40-band in the 1970s (it was an album in 1981) that used to play at Anderson’s cattle companies. Not too much later they came out with Johnson’s wax. There you go, a little history lessen for the listeners, Merlin and John are helping so many people already!

Merlin didn’t even think he would get a single episode when they started this. There are people out there who have listened to all 150 episodes multiple times, which comes out to about 1500 hours of listening time, not including the ones they have not released. They say it takes 1500 hours to become an expert. Turns out!

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

John’s mom swishing at moose in her front yard (RL150)

For a while, John's mom was plagued by moose in their front yard. They would come in the winter and eat all of the trees. Moose are always grazing, they like to eat portions of young trees and sometimes John would look out the window and see one big bull moose and 9 different cows and calves on their property. That sounds very cute and John thought so as well, but his mom got mad at them because they were eating her little Japanese Maples or whatever she decided to plant the year before. John has a couple of very strong images burned into his mind of his mom in a housecoat with a broom running out the front door and swishing at the moose. The bull moose are like 7 feet tall (2,10m) at the shoulder.

There is no thing more hilarious than the look of complete blasé on the face of a moose when confronted by a woman in a housecoat. They would just be standing there completely unfazed, slowly chewing her trees down to the nub while she would be going ”Skat! Skat”, swishing her broom at them. They would look over their shoulder, but they were so bored that it would take them a full minute just to turn their head, which drove his mom even crazier. John was standing there at the front porch, doubled over in laughter, completely unwilling to join the fight. Every summer we should plant trees and nurture them all summer long just as moose food and to recreate this drama every winter. If you would find an alligator in your Japanese maple, you would be less inclined to sweep it away.

Mega-Tsunamis in Florida (RL150)

Merlin lived in Florida for a really long time and, because he wants to grow as a person, he doesn’t just want to beat up on Florida, but Florida gives us so much to beat it up about and it doesn’t seem to mind. Merlin is very careful to always refer to his part of Florida as the Suncoast, which is very generous of him because that is what they put on the sign at the Interstate Highway. Merlin went to Junior High and Highschool in Pasca County at large and New Port Richey in particular. Every city has a slogan that is on the cop cars and other places and you don’t really notice it until you notice it. New Port Richey’s slogan is ”Gateway to recreation”. At first it sounds really good, but then you realize that they are the gateway to recreation. There is not a lot here, but once you pass through here, you might find something. It is right over the next rise, but there are no rises in perma-flat Florida.

Tsunamis are multiple problematic weather events all wrapped in one and Merlin is quite freaked out about them. You don’t just get a hurricane, but a hurricane plus an earthquake. You could have a mega-tsunami that was generated by an earthquake far far away and if there is an earthquake in Japan it could make a big wave, like Merlin’s daughter slushing around in the tub and making super-waves: She gets the cycles right and goes with the water, then a little bit against the water and then with the water again and it will be all over the floor and Merlin gets to clean it up. Merlin’s undisclosed location is far enough uphill for a tsunami, but a mega-tsunami? Big part of the giant Western part of San Francisco where Merlin lives, but nobody has ever been to, is just sand dunes. The Marina is built on wrecked ships. That is true in Seattle, too: The area where all the sports stadiums are was originally just where they would put their poop, but then the auto dealerships came in, there was a Hooverville for a while, and little by little they just threw all their broken furniture and dead horses into the mud-pond and said ”You know, what would look good there is a baseball stadium!” That is part of the evolution of every city: You have a poop-hole, throw some dead horses in it and then build a baseball stadium.

The auto mall is a canary in a coal-mine. It is interesting that they are all in the same place, because it assumes that when people are shopping for cars, they just want to drive down one long lonely strip. When they were to build Disneyworld, they went in as the Reedy Creek development group, named after this nominal little creek there, and under all these different shadow organizations and shell companies they were able to get so much land for so cheap. Had they said that they were Disney, there would have been some hold-out who had wanted a million dollars for their two palm trees. Auto malls work like that, too: They just go where no-one else wants to go.

All the way across the Atlantic in the Canary Islands off of the coast of Africa there is an unstable volcanic face. Over the years it has created an unstableness to itself, either through volcanic action or erosion, and it is today a giant mountain where its entire West Face is at an angle too steep to support its own weight. In the grand tradition of Leonard Nimoy, it is only a matter of time before the entire mountain collapses into the sea and when that happens, it could potentially, or will absolutely, depending on which television program you are watching, create a 300 foot (90 m) tall tsunami wave that will go all the way across the Atlantic ocean. There is nothing in Florida taller than 300 feet, the tallest point is Britton Hill with 345 feet (105m). The wave is also going to inundate Charleston, Savanna and New York City, it is going to be a wave of devastation. Florida has nowhere to run. All the people in New York City will be frantically scrambling at the beginning of World War Z and they will all try to get into their stolen Winnebagos and drive inland, but in Florida there is nowhere to go for their 20 million people.

At some point Merlin lived in Tallahasse, which is very near Georgia, and he had family back on the Suncoast, which is a 4-hour drive. From the East Coast, like Palm Beach or Miami it would take you 8 hours to get out of the state. Every dumb spring-break kid wants to go to Key West, they get into their car in Lutz or Elfers and start driving, but then they realize that this is a really long drive. When you finally hit the end of Florida you think you are soon in Key West, but now you get to the super-slow part.

There was a mega-tsunami in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. It was a giant landslide caused by an earthquake that generated a wave up to 1720 feet (525m), the highest wave ever recorded. If you take into consideration that there is nothing taller than 300 feet in Florida, 1700 feet is a big wave. Florida is the third most populous state in the US (after California and Texas) with almost 20 million people and they are all trying to figure out what they are going to do if a 300 foot wave was going to approach. Some of them are going to go into their big boats and head toward the wave, which would be the smart move. Some of them are going to try and get over to Tampa and this wave will just be going to be right on their heels. It would go across Florida and when the water would subside a few days later, it would scour all of the road-side flat-roofed one-story malls. It would be a clean slate, we would be back to dunes and we could start all over again build a railroad down there. Thomas Edison and P.T. Barnum would come down and build a hotel. John and Merlin should get their friend and physicist Grant Balfour (?) involved, because he knows a lot about Florida and has been there most of his life. He is also an editor and a scientist and they could help a lot of people by talking to Grant. Nothing John is up to would preclude their enterprise, because enterprise is the foundation of America.

Merlin introducing food thought-technologies to John (RL150)

Merlin has introduced John to multiple food thought technologies before. This includes making bacon in the oven (before it was called the bacon method) and the concept of weekend-morning Dim Sum ordering in quantities you cannot possibly think you are going to finish and then just doing it. Merlin has never not finished the Dim Sum. John also thinks that he got the Make all the Bacon philosophy from Merlin, although he is not sure whether they arrived at that together or whether it is part of their big American heritage. Merlin is surely not a person who makes half a pot of coffee. When it is time to make another pot of coffee, he makes an entire pot of coffee. Sometimes when people make coffee at John’s house they make 4 cups of toy coffee. What are you doing? All that work! You put all that English on it and you are getting 4 cups of coffee out of it? John is not afraid to take coffee that has been sitting there for a couple of days, take it on the road and drink it. He actually happens to think that whatever that mold is that develops on coffee has a kind of psychoactive quality during the first few days. It puts a little spin on the ball! We probably laughed at the first guy who ate an oyster or the first gal who had a mushroom, but now John is enjoying coffee mushrooms. Think of the first person who hated peanuts so much that they mashed them so hard it turned into peanut butter!

Merlin remembers George Washington Carver very much because it was the first biography Merlin ever read as a child. He was the creator of peanut gin, a thing that revolutionized the South. They would make Ash Trays or Rear View Mirrors, but he made peanuts out of Sweet Potatoes. Jimmy Carter got elected on the strength of that platform. It was an amazing time and the mother of invention. That is innovation! In Alaska, the prime example might be moose: You gotta take what there is a lot of, and in Merlin’s case that is noodles and you make it all!

Swizzle sticks (RL150)

There was a time when Swizzle Sticks, the little plastic sticks to stir your drink with, were an amazing feature on the American landscape. In bars they would put a little swizzle stick into your drink to stir your drink, but they were also an item of swag because it would be embossed with the name of the bar or the airline, which made it a very popular collector's item and you could amass an enormous collection of swizzle sticks from around the world. There are surely collections out there, sitting on mantels, and John is hoping to find somebody’s swizzle stick collection in a thrift store, but he never found one. In the 1970s there were swizzle sticks everywhere and in Alaska one of the big tourist sellers was a moose turd, which looks exactly like one of those chocolate Easter eggs wrapped in foil, but made out of compacted grass. They would dip the moose turd in polyurethane and put it on a swizzle stick. Those so called moose nugget swizzle sticks were a big item and you could get them in any airport in the interregnum between gold and oil. They are horrible and they look like poop on a stick. Using the pet rock theorem, if we can put a moose nugget on a swizzle stick, who wouldn’t want moose nugget ear rings?

Imagine you are meeting someone for a blind date and she is wearing moose nugget earrings! It just says ”local gal”, but it was a very popular item. The 1970s were a very unusual era! Whatever happened to them? It comes probably down to cost-cutting, but also to the McDonalds problem: They used to make an adorable little swizzle stick with a golden M at the top and a tiny spoon at the other end. If you would hold a rubber band between your thumb and your middle finger, put the arches into the rubber band and pull back, the swizzle stick would fly 50 feet and you could really harm a person with one of these. It was like a hand-crossbow. This is the way America works and this is what has to change. It is one of these second order urban myth things. Are you going to use a McDonalds stir to snort cocaine? People sure heard that and they had to get rid of it because now the urban myth was bigger than the thing. It was exactly the right dimensions of a coke spoon, maybe that is where they derived the design of coke spoons from. Who knows? Chicken and egg!

War movies, The Longest Day (RL150)

So many things have changed during our livetimes. The other day, Merlin sent John a beautiful picture of a deluxe VHS set of the classic WWII D-Day invasion movie called The Longest Day, the one John used to watch with his dad. It is an amazing film with an all-star cast. There are a lot of comedic actors in it, playing dramatic roles. Red Buttons is in it! It is one of these casts where you think that this is one of those Brad Pitt movies where everybody and their mom is in it and it is just going to be terrible, but these famous actors just do some small parts and everybody was acting their pants off. It is a big budget film and unlike later WWII movies, they still had access to actual hardware. If you are John's type of person who is looking at the planes in those scenes instead of what the actors are doing underneath, then you will notice in a lot of the later WWII movies that they only have 3 planes and they keep flying them by in different configurations, particularly when they use the wrong plane, like when the Germans come in Piper Cubs. It is very frustrating for John, like if they would have toy guns in war scenes: It doesn’t even make any sense! The Piper Cub is a consumer plane! John doesn’t even want to be one of those civil war re-enactors who is like ”That is the wrong belt buckle!” The problem is that if you know a lot about a thing, it is hard not to be that guy. Not only did they only have 3 planes, but these were the only three F4U Corsair left in existence in 1962 and that makes John very sad. During the time The Longest Day was produced, you could buy a P40 Tomahawk for $14, if you could put the gas in it. There were surely a lot of people on the set who had actually been at D-Day even though they were just working as gaffers or something, but it is impressive!

Merlin’s 21 minute Chicken method (RL150)

Now for the love of Christ, can we talk about the chicken? Merlin has a family and they usually buy a big bag of chicken breast from Costco. You need a frying pan with a lid and some chicken:
1. Heat up the pan to medium, depending on how hot the stove it. When it gets to temperature, put a little bit of Canola oil in there, not a lot of it, but just so they can scoot around. You could use butter, but Merlin tends to add butter later. You put the chicken breasts in for one minute. They are going to kind of brown a little bit, but not exactly.
2. You flip them over and put the lid on the pan and you let it just sit there for 10 minutes on a medium-low heat. Don’t touch them, do not lift the lid.
3. At the end of the 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let them sit there for another 10 minutes

Merlin has done that 5 times now and they have never not been flawless. You don’t have to be that crazy guy with their fork, poking at their chicken, but you put them in there, you brown it, you flip it, you let it sit. It is such a great recipe for men because we are stupid and fiddle with food while it is cooking. Merlin’s #1 tip: Don’t play with the meat! Don’t poke it, don’t prod it, don’t scoot it around, just let it sit there. With that, Merlin is taking away all of John’s cooking moves. Is this ”Merlin’s 21 minute chicken”? Will that work with a steak? For a steak Merlin get’s the pan super-hot, he unplugs the smoke detector, heats the inside oven up to 350, browns the steak on each side, seasons it, finishes it in the oven for not very long and treats it like a tiny roast. How do you know it is done? When it smells like food. If it doesn’t smell like food, it is not food yet. If it smells like food, it is probably food!

Merlin just learned about brining, small scale brining, and it is pretty fun. John knows about big brining, like a turkey or something, but it is part of John’s campaign that he is against Big Brian.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License