RL33 - Starts to Slurry

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problems:

  • The Conversion of the Jutes; °
  • maids of scullery, milk, and otherwise; °
  • hacks for avoiding Saturday fires; °
  • Roderick’s Law of Condescending Reverse Obsequiousness; °
  • No Claptons, No Claptons, No Claptons!; °
  • concentric naval circles around the seaman’s wheelhouse; °
  • the decline and fall of one anachronistic 11-year-old impressionist; °
  • Buck Owens, The Second Moog Enthusiast; °
  • yeah, well, The Fantastic Four already did that; °
  • John’s latest observations about windows; °
  • Supertrain to the rescue!; °
  • understanding epidemic famine from inside a moderately tight Methodist tube; °
  • an abridged retrospective of Wendy William Walter Carlos Williams Williams; °
  • dry burgers—you know, for kids; °
  • Merlin can’t even get into his whole Jean Grey Thing;°
  • the hosts’ shared dread of The Bikini Toll; °
  • things from which no good can come; °
  • important steps for qualifying your new Chapman Stickman; °
  • John shot first; °
  • “Shabbos, Wiry Shabbos”;
  • Silicon Valley’s ironic afro aeronautics; °
  • why is this Wednesday different from all other days?; °

Plus: Merlin repeatedly struggles to help John understand a canny but admittedly elaborate plan for interfaith human barter.

The show title refers to the first stage of the recycling procedure employed by Supertrain to turn your household recyclables back into raw materials.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Grooming your nails, boyfriends cheating (RL33)

John starts the show singing his ”Merlin Mann” song and Merlin responds with ”John! Ahaaa” (after Savior of the Universe), but he doesn’t want to make people cringe or be reluctant because the fear the Queen, but anybody who fears the Queen shouldn’t even be listening to this podcast. Merlin wonders if John has other things like that that would be helpful to people in deciding if this podcast is for them, like a Litmus test or some quick tips or in terms of a quiz from Mademoiselle Magazine where you find out if your boyfriend is cheating on you. They had to change name to Madam //(see RL31) and it is much larger now.

Here is a tip for their female listeners: Your boyfriend is cheating on you, almost guaranteed! Why are you getting a pedicure? Who cares? John has strong feelings about not having feelings about nails. Of all the things, grooming your nails is what you can do satisfactorily by yourself with a pocket knife and an Emery board, and beyond that if you spend more time on your nails than that… move on and go check out that fucker at your house that is cheating at you and is probably right now getting a handy. It could be anybody: The UPS girl or the milk maid, and now that women are welcome in all walks of life she could be the meter reader, the mail deliverer. The post woman always rings twice (movie: The Postman Always Rings Twice), especially if you ask like Stallone does (see RL27).

Supertrain (RL33)

Supertrain is eventually going to solve recycling! If it is going to get a second or third claw it is not going to be to fucking sort, but it is going to be to speed up the conflagration. It is going to start with mobile home parks and recycle them with all their contents. Merlin heard something on NPR about a private space rocket, but the Fantastic Four already did that in about 1963, all undercover under he secret legion of doom. John thinks we should just put a private space rocket into space, like he has seen on the Internet recently. The people who announcing it are normally guys with Crew cuts and slide-rules in their front pocket, going ”T minus 7 to initiate second stage!”, but these guys had a handlebar mustache and an ironic afro and they were: ”Whooo, we did it! All right!”

They can put a rocket into space now, but they can’t make a home recycling trash compactor. You should have a thing where you take your cardboard, put it into this thing, and it immediately starts to mash it down into that mush and make a slurry, you put your glass products and it breaks it down into glass dust, you should be able to do the first stage of breaking all that shit down at home so that when the recycling truck comes you just hand them a glass brick, a metal brick and a paper brick.

Merlin can think of almost nothing that he would rather talk about less than recycling. It is literally one of the things he least want to talk about. Let’s go back to scullery maids! A gas-driven giant truck that comes to your house and takes away your dainty imported beer bottles so that somebody who is getting $8 an hour can sort through them on a conveyor belt to make sure they don’t have too much beer in them and will screw up the works. You should not need a truck at all, but you could make that into glass art, that could be the way you slurry. If you want to slurry that into literally a park bench, you could wait until you got 700-800 empty milk cartons and you could literally make a park bench or a table out of it and reuse is better than recycle and slurry is better than reuse.

The slurry is the first stage on the way to then having a second machine in your house which then converts that stuff back into your own printer paper or your own glass bottles. It could make an NPR tote bag! They have Tofurky and maybe the can have Najute, which is jute, but not jute. Maybe New Jute made from high fructose corn syrup, but that might be a little bit ping pong. Not the orthodox Jute, but New Jute. There is a new conservative reform Jute that you can be.

Hasidic ambulances, Jewish culture (RL33)

Merlin though of this when he was in the shower this morning because today is Wednesday and he has to take his shower, not that it matters, but: John talked about a Hasidic ambulance service (see RL32), but who drives on Friday nights? John hadn’t even thought of that! There are kosher elevators because on Sabbath there are all kinds of things you are not allowed to do. There is this wire that goes around the neighborhood (the Eruv) and inside the wire all the rules are off, which is brilliant! It has some kind of God power, but it is Jaweh and you are not allowed to pronounce it. There should be some onomatopoeia for it.

Sabbath elevators… Jews are not allowed to cause a fire to be made, which means: No light switches, no buttons, and even if you turn on the air conditioner you are making a little flame. Instead you hire a scullery maid, called a Sabbath goy, that can turn on the air conditioner for you. Now you have to act like you don’t know they work for you because you certainly can’t pay them that day because it would involve lighting a fire. Maybe there is a place where you just leave money and accidentally drop your address and then people show up and turn on your fucking air conditioning. If you turn your air conditioning on before the sun goes down on the Sabbath you can just leave it on.

The question of who drives the ambulances in the orthodox ambulance service is the question. For everything else you can just hire a goyish person to do, but you can’t have a fill-in driver on Sabbath. Maybe they have a Dominican guy do it for them, but that is like going to the cotton club to get a circumcision. That doesn’t work at all. They are actually developing a driverless car for that.

The Sabbath elevator automatically stops at every floor so you can get on without having to make a fire with the button. It is very inefficient. Merlin would rather take the steps. Maybe that is why Orthodox people all do live in communities together so they don’t have to live on the 47th floor. They tend to live within walking distance of their synagogue so that… the wire is usually around a neighborhood with a synagogue in the middle. There is one of those in Seattle, too. John imagines that this wire has to be hung by a rabbi, or at least there is a rabbi there. It has to be hight enough, but you also don’t want birds sitting on it.

John has not read as much of the Talmud as he should and maybe this is all covered in there. How would you know when you have read enough? Probably when no-one can ask you a question about Judaism where you don’t have the answer at ready hand. Those questions are not explicitly in the Torah, but they are part of the Talmudic tradition. There is a book called The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten, which was very popular in the 1970s with all the diagrams that you would look at as a kid, and all the ladies had armpit hair, which was the first time Merlin saw that (he is talking about the book The Joy of Sex). It was repulsive to John and the people in that book did not look like they were enjoying what they were doing, like they were the last two people getting picked at the key party and neither of them were happy, but they felt somehow obligated to go through all 700 positions.

Maybe they were Logie from Fondue and Steely Dan (?) There was one interesting position where the guy was on his back with his feet up in the air and she was on the outside of his legs, but still somehow on top of him in such a way that she was the boy horse, doing the work.

The problem with trying to understand the Hasidic community is that they don’t go online and tell you all about themselves. Orthodox people of all stripes are generally not interested in letting you know all the peccadillos. As religion gets more orthodox, people are less interested in converting other people and more interested in just blowing it up. Also, your community becomes more insular.

John doesn’t know about orthodox Unitarians. By definition it does not allow for orthodoxy. Merlin thinks it makes you a little faster. They fuck like bunnies. You get them in a lock-in and there is going to be some serious trouble. You are going to want a fucking damp cloth and some dim lights. The song Kumbaya, just saying those words, it kind of sounds like ”Cum on my face” a little bit.

Scullery Maids (RL33)

Merlin is very interested in Scullery Maids, they rank the lowest in the household like being the pissboy or the dishwasher at a restaurant, although they probably don’t have pissboys in a restaurant. In Seattle they don’t have pissboys anymore because they were selling the piss on the open market and it was determined that they just needed to recycle. They say about recycling that it is a scam! John often wonders when he looks into his recycling bin that has newspapers, tin cans, glass, plastic bottles and a cardboard, how this is all going into the right bin.

Merlin looked up what scullery maid means and the images of them on the Internet are unexpectedly hot. They were the lowest ranked and often the youngest of the female servants, often assisting the kitchen maid. John has thought about this for many years: His uncle was a rich man, a member of the 1%, and as he got older, like a lot of these guys, he just wanted to keep making more money. John’s dad, who was not a rich man, but who lived and thought like a rich man, used to say to John’s uncle: ”What the hell are you doing? You are 76 years old and you are working 80 hours a week! Why don’t you stop working, get a young girl, and go sit on a beach somewhere?” - ”You don’t know what you are talking about! I have got poor people to ruin!”

There are so many rich people in the world and most of them still get up in the morning every day to make more money because: ”I am an asshole!”, but there have to be some who have scullery maids to help the kitchen maids. They are doing it right by enacting a medieval fantasy in the castle they have built for themselves on Lake Como. They are actually defenestrating their enemies and they are impaling the heads of the bad guys on stakes around their house. Merlin thinks those are the people who yell at the waitress.

There is something about maids, and Merlin is not talking about French maids, but dirty maids that are on their hands and knees scrubbing a stone floor and squeezing the shit out of some mobs. If John was a very wealthy person, like if Arnold Schwarzenegger had a baby with his maid, that is a crime of opportunity, except if you are a super rich guy why would you not present yourself with that opportunity at every opportunity and staff your house with a bunch of 21-year old Ecuadorean maids? John forgot about the wife thing.

Going out to eat with people to learn about their personality in how they treat waiters (RL33)

If you start any relationship with anybody, you have to go out to eat with them several times because it will tell you a lot about them. If they always order the steak, unless it is a really nice steak, they are probably boring, if they put too much salt on their food without tasting it, good to know, because they are probably reckless and not very good with their judgement, and they will try to be nice to you, but if that person is anything but a complete gentleman or gentlelady with the staff of the restaurant, then they are a fuckstain because they are a small person who needs a disparity in class an power in order to feel like a whole person, and they will fuck you over 11 times from Sunday and suddenly you are the waitress, you are the lady horse (see RL21), and you are not getting a tip.

There is an epidemic among liberal people in their 30s or 40s of condescending reverse obsequiousness to waitresses, which is over-politeness and deference to waitresses as a way of expressing that you understand how hard their job is and you really don’t want to make any imposition on them, but can I please get one more piece of cheese, and I am really sorry to ask, and that is a kind of condescension that liberal people pay when in fact being a waitress is a proud and dignified position, and she wants for you to say what you want with absolute economy of language and get the fuck out of her hair and let her get on with her job.

If your hamburger comes and it is wrong, you just say: ”Miss, I ordered this without the thing and it has the thing!” and if you say it with an economy of language… John has been at dinner with so many people, also from the music business, where John said it just like that, and she goes: ”Oh, okay!” and takes the plate, and person across from John says: ”I am sorry he is so rude!”, which is a big mistake if you do that to John because the waitress just says: ”It is no problem!” and then the person who has corrected John is in for a mini-lecture about how they should a) shut the fuck up and b) how they can be condescendingly over-polite as much as they want in their own transactions with people, but not to impose that bullshit on John’s interactions.

One time John had a guy say to a waitress: ”He has obviously never waited tables!”, a guy who didn’t know John that well, but who John knew for a fact had never waited tables. Han would have shot first in that situation if that was the Old West, John wouldn’t have even stood up, he would have just shot him from under the table. In fact, John has waited tables for years, and this guy is trying to cajole up to this waitress. This culture started in the 1980s when waiters would sit in the booth with you, going: ”Hi, guys! I am Skip, I am your server. What are you going to have today? Some Jalapeño Poppers?” - ”I am your customer and I am trying to have a conversation!” and all these people that are raised in this environment think that that is the dynamic with waitresses.

Fake nice masks evil more than it promotes good! Karl Marx once said: ”The way to hell is paved with apologizing for John Roderick in a restaurant!” Merlin was going to make a philosopher joke, but they are never funny. Merlin thinks that most waitrons enjoy the clarity. If you say: ”I wanted this medium rare, and this is really closer to medium well. Could you take it back and give me another one?” there is nothing unclear about that, and any waiter who has a problem with that and rolls their eyes and says: ”OMG!” is in the wrong line of work.

It is about the denigration of the great class of servers that has happened over the last… Merlin disagrees, he can still make the waitress like him and also be nice about it. The problem is when Merlin goes to the place in their neighborhood where John has been to get burgers, and maybe it is a language barrier or maybe it is the fact that almost nobody can ever understand what Merlin in saying, no matter what, but Merlin said: ”Can I get the cheeseburger medium rare with fries and this is for a kid” (which is code for: ”fucking listen to this!”) ”Is there sauce on that? It is for a kid!” because if Merlin has to walk home with anything that has sauce on it he is going to have to come back and he is not going to be happy.

”I would like nothing on the burger except burger on the bun. No sauce, no cheese, no anything!” and it turned into a Monty Python routine immediately. Of course when it came out it was fully dressed and had everything on it. If they would get his order wrong 7 out of 8 times he would stop going there, if they got it wrong 1 out of 39 times it wouldn’t matter, but getting his order wrong 1 out of 7 times is crazy-making, just enough to make you feel fucking nuts! They took it back and he scraped the cheese and the other stuff off and just gave him a fresh bun and that was the extend of it. But now there was a little bit of cheese on the fries and there was moisture and pooling.

According to John at that point you burn the restaurant down, you stand out in the street, and take your clothes off. Why did Mookie grab that trash can and throw it through the front window of Sal’s Pizzeria? He had enough and it was time to burn it down. Sal wasn’t even that bad, but Mookie had enough. There was a time when John would have worn a hoodie, but now you just get naked. If you get naked first people are less likely to grab a naked guy. Taking your clothes off creates a buffer zone of 20 feet that most good samaritans won’t break.

John’s mom taking her children to Methodist church to experience how i feels to be in a famine (RL33)

When John was a little kid his mom took him and his sister to church because she wanted them to know all the things about people and the world. They want to Methodist church, but Merlin has a problem with Methodists, Lutherans, and a huge problem with Baptists. Merlin doesn’t want John to talk about religions, except in as much as he needs to tell this story. This was in the 1970s and there was a famine in Ethiopia during that time. One time they made a haunted house where you got down on your hands and knees and had to crawl through a succession of tunnels and the tunnels got smaller and smaller until you had to push your way through the last stage of this tunnel and the idea was that that gave you a sense of how it was to be starving.

As a kid John could make no sense of it and when he was getting to the part that was tight it wasn’t tight around his waist even, but just tight around his shoulders, and it didn’t feel like being hungry. That is why they were collecting pennies and old newspapers for the children in Ethiopia. John is pretty sure that the ultimate goal in getting a group of 7-year olds to empathize with people in Ethiopia should not be to try and get them to feel starving. Still today people want you to feel what it is to be starving through documentaries and on Facebook pages.

You could get a little tube and put your finger in it, like a Chinese finger trap. Is that ping pong? Merlin’s kid has one and it is not that hard to get out of it if you really want to. John thinks that is a sex toy. Instead you should buy a tube and some rope, put the tube around yourself and wrap the rope very tight around your middle and then you go outside, sit in the sun and don’t eat for a month. To choose to starve to death is not famine. You can’t choose to join the proletariat, and you have the safety net of knowing you can go inside and have a nosh anytime you feel like it. It is like all the extreme sports like bungee jumping, all this fake peril.

They talk about the phrase ”to be in your wheelhouse”, and explain that the wheelhouse is the small cabin on top of a tug boat where the captain sits and is steering the boat with the wheel. Is there anywhere tighter than the wheelhouse where you can get into? You can be in the bilge, but that is not where you want to be on a boat because that is where the slurry and the oily water goes.

Connecting the scullery maids with a Sabbath goy (RL33)

A lot of people live inside the wire and need their air-conditioning turned on and a lot of rich guys who want to diddle a maid, so Merlin is thinking you can hire a goy maid and trade that for Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn your air-conditioning on. You do a little switcheroo, you say: ”I scratched my back, you get a handy from a lady who knows how to squeeze a mob, but you come over here and flip on the air for me. Maybe you get a phone just for the purpose. That way you are both good. You can go over and donk some Honduran lady who works for the Jutes, Ann May get to have their air-conditioning come on because you are not the governor anymore and your wife is super-mad at you and looks a little bit like a box.”

That is the kind of thing we could be using the Internet for, instead of just sitting around, hitting stars and shit. This was the rare tirade from Merlin where John did not understand any of the logical leaps Merlin was making. He thinks he gets the gist, though, but Merlin doesn’t think John gets anything like a gist, but he is far outside his wheelhouse and may have falling off his fucking boat. Stone soup. Here is the thing: You bring carrots, they bring celery, which doesn’t really help all that much, somebody else brings meat. John always brings the stone to stone soups, but it is stone soup with the scullery maid and air conditioning.

It is a lot like film noir, like Strangers on a Train. How about: ”Throw mama from the train!”? Merlin will kill the person that annoys you, you kill the person that annoys him, they are both better off and they get plausible deniability. This is a Hitchcock thing. Merlin thought John would be doing so much better in following him and he wonders if John has been sleeping. It is not that difficult to understand: If you are a Jewish person who lives in Miami inside a wire and you want your air conditioning turned on, all you have to do is find a very rich man who wants to fuck a maid and then you swap. Plausible Deniability! That is in the Talmut! John needs his medication adjusted, all the ones he hasn’t started taking yet.

Merlin has a lot of respect for Judaism because there is a lot about it that is really interesting. They are surely thrilled to get Merlin’s endorsement. John doesn’t know why when he is imitating an old Jewish man he speaks like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, but that is a close approximation. John sounds like a lonely 11-year old boy impersonating Jackie Mason.

Merlin will some day tell the story of the church talent show. His mom wrote the libretto for it and Merlin did a tour the force series of impersonations that was excruciating, all based on ideas from his mom while he was 11 years old. He added the idea of the very old man that Tim Conway does on Carol Burnett, the shuffles (The Oldest Man), the proto-dorph. Merlin did a lot of the folks that a lot of the people in the 1970s would be familiar with and enjoy, like Groucho Marx, Jimmy Durante, and Jack Benny.

Here is the problem about the window of generation that includes John and Merlin: Is this the window that John yells at the meter maid out of, the window out of which he defenestrates his enemies, or the metaphorical window out of which the Millennials are literally throwing themselves? Or is it the homosexual sill that John likes to sit on (see RL32)? It is all the same window, the one where Eric Clapton’s son fell out into the street. If Merlin’s daughter gets to close to the window he will yell: ”No Claptons! No Claptons!”, just like he is saying: ”No whammies!” She doesn’t know what that means yet. It is a shame that this can not be the title of this episode!

The window of people born between 1965 and 1968. When they were 9 years old they were imitating Jackie Mason, Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, and all these TV-stars of the 1950s. Those people were already 25 years in the past. Merlin was 11 when Groucho Marx died. It would be like 11 year old kids today imitating Sam Kinison and the standup-comics of the early 1980s. It was a smaller world then, and the only channels Merlin had were ABC (12), NBC (5), CBS (9) and that was it. If you get Dayton on 2, that was pretty good and you could maybe watch things at a slightly different time. On UHF they got WXIX on channel 19, which was pretty clever. That was independent and had Creature Features and shit. Then on channel 48 they had PBS. In Anchorage PBS was on the normal channel 7 and channel 2 was NBC.

Charles Nelson Reilly (RL33)

John is fated to be the Charles Nelson Reilly of our generation, he should be out there, having had a career that was somewhat distinguished for a time and then he should appear on talk shows. John’s problem with that is that Charles Nelson Reilly was not a tall man. He was a homosexual and in hat sense he and John are the same. He was great on match game (?). John loved Paul Lynde, but he has a very sad story. He was also homosexual, fairly exaggeratedly so, and his partner fell out of a window at a hotel in Nob Hill and died. Merlin hates stories of couples where one person dies, like Buck Ownes.

Wendy Carlos Williams, Buck Owens, Micky Dolenz, the first Moog synthesizers (RL33)

Buck Owens bought the second ever Moog synthesizer. The first one went to Wendy Carlos Williams the person who did Switched-on Bach and the third one went to Micky Dolenz (from the Monkeeys). Merlin wonders how much it must suck to be Micky Dolenz. The higher up he went, the more he still couldn’t really play drums and it drove him nuts. John had a few moments like that where he was driving crazy by being unable to do something. John has known some drummers who have become very successful in Rock music in spite of the fact that they don’t know how to play drums.

The Fastbacks always had good drummers. John’s friend Jason Finn played in the Fastbacks, also Mike Musburger who once played in The Long Winters. He was not in Superchunk, but MIke Musburger and Jason Finn combined played in every single band. Mike Musburger is from Seattle, not from the South as Merlin thought he was. Duff McKagan played drums in an early incarnation of the Fastbacks. There was one guy with white hair in that band for a long time. Merlin doesn’t care about infographics anymore, but he saw a great one once about how many drummers were in the Fastbacks and when, and it was LOL funny.

Cheap Trick (RL33)

Kurt Bloch was the lead guitarist and John doesn’t think he ever played drums. John once introduced Merlin to him and it was one of the greatest nights in Merlin’s life. John went to see Cheap Trick with him a couple of nights ago. There is this Cheap Trick John Lennon thing: In 1980 John did his last album (Double Fantasy), of which half of it was good, and in the video to the song I’m Losing You he called in Cheap Trick and Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen came in. In the studio already there were Tony Levin and not George Martin, but George Sombody was playing keyboards. John told them about the song, they learned, it Rick wrote the riff, Bun asked him how he should play it and he said: ”Play it however you want!” and they ripped into I’m Losing You. That awesome bridge sounds like a Cheap Trick song with John Lennon singing and it is fucking great.

Chapman Stick (RL33)

Tony Levin was playing a fretless bass, which is the Chapman Stick of bass. John has not played a Chapman Stick, although John Vanderslice in the very early days of John’s association with him had a Chapman Stick player in his band during a time when he did two things: He always sat in a chair, and he always sat over to the side of the stage. This was early days, but after MK Ultra. He had a Chapman Stick player and he sat over to the side of the stage in a chair while the Chapman Stick player sat in the center of the stage and played the Chapman Stick and made some of the greatest bass faces John has ever seen in the history of Rock.

They only let you have a Chapman Stick when you meet the items on their checklist:

  • Is your head shaved? Yes!
  • Do you have a goatee or funny mustache?
  • Do you have weird hair?
  • Extra bonus points if you wear a kilt, especially a utilikilt
  • Teva Sandals? Come on in!
  • Leggins and leg-warmers over the top of those over poleclimber boots? You are in!
  • Turquoise Indian jewelry, as much as you can wear, plus earplugs

The Indie Rock scene of the early 2000s (RL33)

This was during the early 2000s when the big question was if standing in the middle of the stage is too Rock. There was no irony about it: If you are the singer and you are standing in the middle, then you are too singer and you need to sand over on the side. It would be a couple of years before The Strokes and The Murder City Devils caught on, all those bands Merlin and John like, the way Punk was a reaction to those bands. Indie Rock in its early stages was almost entirely reactionary, like a proto-facism. It was not a terrific time for Indie Rock and and not a terrific time to be in Indie Rock either.

All of Merlin’s favorite bands from 1-5 years earlier, bands he liked a year earlier, like Elliott Smith’s record was not that great, Superchunk was not moving him, and Guided by Voices was when he stopped. For 5-10 years there had been a consistent stream of bands that put out album after album. Pavement broke up. After the second Creeper Lagoon record everything went into hibernation. They were awfully good! John’s buddy from the Noise Bomb (?) is friends with them, but everybody is friends with them.

But that was when John came out and made his appearance. It was like coming of age in the early 1990s at the height of 3rd generation feminism. It was the wrong time to come out and it was the wrong time to be a young man. There is no way in hell Merlin wants to talk about this topic.

There is no good that can come of it (RL33)

When Merlin’s family threw them a baby shower, his brother in law whom Merlin loves because he is so awesome, was already three sheets to the wind. He was standing out there, telling Merlin: ”Enjoy it while you can! Because when she turns about 11… it is not going to be fun!” and he told stories about sexting. A long time before that he had taught Merlin a phrase that has stood well: ”There is no good that can come of it!” There are things in the world from which good is likely to come, there are things in the world that may create something that is neutral, but there are things in the world where no good can come of it.

John no longer being 100% pro-bikini (RL33)

As the father of a daughter John just recently thought about bikinis. As an adult male who did not have a daughter he was 100% pro-bikinis, he wouldn’t even have to think about it if you asked him about it, but now he does have a daughter and his feelings about bikinis are fairly complicated and there is a lot to be said for not-bikinis, there is a lot to be said for robes. Merlin is mostly a dickless wonder, but he has never been so grateful to have no libido as now, except for when Jean Grey is involved, but Merlin can’t get into that.

Merlin argues that for millennia men have been scared that their daughters have vaginas and buttholes. Then he 1960s came along, we were blowing stuff up with bombs, we discovered the bikini atoll, and now she got a butt, a woowoo and she is wearing almost nothing. Stage 3 is lower back tattoos: Now you got a vagina and a butt, you are wearing almost nothing, and people can see that you have the terrible judgement to get a tramp stamp, and they still have a butt. Merlin doesn’t follow football, but he knows what an onside kick is.

Now John has challenged Merlin to potentially lose him and most of the gates that keep the salmon from walking up the steps are about to fall down and all of the water… John is still trying to work out that Arnold Schwarzenegger housekeeper story.

John doesn’t want to be the dad who says: ”No bikinis!”, but he also doesn’t ever want her to wear a bikini, which are not incompatible things and that is what every right-thinking man believes, but John doesn’t know how to affect that. Merlin thinks you have to act like you don’t care, it is like offering wine at dinner. Merlin’s daughter will never ever find out how much he hates tattoos because she will use it against him.

John’s ability to quickly figure out people’s insecurities (RL33)

Merlin describes John to people sometimes because they don’t understand John and Merlin has to explain him. Setting aside all the nice things he is saying about John, which is 90% of what he says because John is one of Merlin’s best friends and one of the people he admires most in the world despite the fact John is kind of a dick, but it is hard to understand John until you have been in a room with him. There is that phrase that a shark can smell blood in water, and John has that on a much higher level than a shark.

A lot of people will figure out how to needle him, but John is playing on another level. It is like fighting Professor X in the Astral Plane (in the Marvel Cinematic Universe): John is going to notice something that you didn’t even realize you are self-conscious about yet, and without specifically calling it out you will cry by the time the party is not even over and then you will do it more. It is all in service of freeing people from their insecurity that they weren’t aware of having. Now John sounds like a sex-guru. ”Lose women tightened here!”

A lot of people have gifts, some can throw a football, some can do the maths, some can do an onside kick, some are very good at the balance beam, and if God gave John anything it was the ability to look at someone and in a very short amount of time figure out what their greatest fear about themselves is, and what else is he supposed to do with that? John is like a doctor who can smell cancer! John is like Milton Berle: He takes out just enough to beat them. Most other people are perturbable, and John is generally imperturbable and that is very scary to people.

He sounds like this holly-jolly jovial Burl Ives character who is enjoying some fucking with the computer, but no: When John shows up at the party there are going to be a lot of people crying. John tries to not take it all the way so they are openly crying, but he likes them to be crying quietly, softly to themselves. If it is a true shame, you are going to do it in the bathroom, and John had some shameful bathroom times.

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