RL38 - With My Mind Bullets

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • John having ants in the sink (Vermin)
  • John taking his bathtub apart (House)
  • John’s bathtub desk (House)
  • Too many STOP-signs in America (Supertrain)
  • Merlin’s neighborhood (Merlin Mann)
  • ComicCon (Comics)
  • Ravens and crows, communicating with animals (Pets)
  • Toxoplasmosis, how many cats can you have? (Pets)
  • Scrapbooking (Factoids)
  • John taking a bath with his daughter (Daughter)
  • Parenting styles changing with generations (Children)
  • Merlin with a soul patch or a mustache (Merlin Mann)
  • Merlin is growing as a person, stupid doesn’t stick to him (Merlin Mann)
  • John getting Slim Jims from a guy on an airplane (Travel)
  • Supertrain HQ on Red Rock Island (Supertrain)

The Problem: John needs a private island and a new bathtub, referring to John having taken his bathtub apart and finding it hard to put it back together again.

The show title refers to John communicating to animals and other humans with help of his mind bullets that he is on Earth for a reason.

John is good, just a little mad.

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

John having ants in the sink (RL38)

see Vermin!

John taking his bathtub apart (RL38)

John has two bathtubs in his house and one of them was in need of some repair. He took it apart to repair it and has since been using the lesser of the two bathtubs. While the bathtub was dismantled a spider of the kind that uses a flat web took residence in it and made a web in the bottom. John doesn’t know what it is hoping to find, maybe a monkey is going to fall into it? John does not let other people go into this bathroom, it is dad's inner sanctum, and female guests are directed to a different bathroom.

Now there is this spider in John's bathtub and he has no beef with the spider, it is not bothering John, it is waiting for monkeys to fall into its net, and no girl is going to go in there, scream that there is a spider in John's bathtub and force him to deal with it, so John and the spider have reached a comfortable rapprochement. John’s only question is: Why is the spider not eating these ants in the middle of the night? His conclusion is that spiders don’t eat ants because he has never seen a spider eat an ant and he has spent a lot of time watching spiders. Merlin really likes spiders. He doesn’t know if this is somewhat wife’s tale (not to work ping pong), but for some reason to Merlin a spider feels like good luck.

Taking apart a bathtub is a tremendous amount of work, which is why it is still taken apart, it is like trying to restore a FIAT: It is very easy to take a FIAT apart. Merlin has never seen an MG together, but he has always only seen MGs that somebody had started working on and never finished. They take them apart, they think they are going to drop a Chevy 350 in them and then they have a bucket of parts in the garage. That is what has happened with John’s bathtub. He took it apart, he realized that other things needed to be fixed while he had the bathtub apart, and pretty soon John was building a 7-sided lighthouse made of dreams.

John’s bathtub desk (RL38)

John's major bathroom with the electronic bubbles was currently under construction. John never had ladies in there holding a drink and running their fingers through their hair (see RL37) because he has never allowed anyone to bring a drink into his bathtub other than himself. There is only room on his bath desk for one drink. John has a bath desk made out of a serving tray from the thrift store that a man servant would use to bring your continental breakfast and your copy of the London times. It is big, but not big enough because these trays are meant to go on your lap while you are sitting in bed and they do not span a bathtub.

Whenever John is using the major bathtub on a typical afternoon he will have a large mug of coffee and a secondary drink: Either an Arnold Palmer, a Fruity Pleaser, or a Smoothie if it is really the hot season. He will bring a plate with the main sandwich and a lesser meal like a scone or a snack, as well as a stack of magazines, a stack of unfinished crossword puzzles and sudokus, his pen and a notepad. That is basically it! Merlin can’t believe he doesn’t do that, once he got past the utter insanity of that.

John had bought this serving tray for $1 at a thrift store, he beefed it up with some supporting cross-members and two big load-bearing beams and he keeps it next to the bathtub. When he wants to get into a bath he will start to draw the bath, take the tray downstairs, load it up with all his bath accoutrements and then he bring it back up, climbs in the bath, put his little table down and he will be there all afternoon.

The lesser bathtub requires a constant attempt to keep it comfortable, but John has worked it out. When he grew up John had a bathtub where he could turn on the slightest trickle of very hot water, like at a Buddhist retreat, which was very hot and kept the bath at an even temperature. As the bath cooled, it replenished and rejuvenated, it was a homeostatic drip. John doesn’t understand who came up with the terrible design of these faucets that you have to crank all the way over to full to get it to be hot.

What if you want a little bit of hot? You cannot get it! It is what you find in hotel rooms and Merlin often has trouble understanding those. Some hotels have a separate dingus for the temperature and for the pressure, like an accelerator and a steering wheel. John’s mom had the most confusing shower / bath Merlin had ever used in his life. It had seven handles and there once was an incident…

People should have the power placed into their trust to determine how hot they want their water and how much water they want. It is part of the overall problem of the paternalism that is rife in America.

Too many STOP-signs in America, Supertrain (RL38)

There are a total of six STOP-signs in the entire United States that are absolutely necessary and every other STOP-sign in the country is a total waste. Unless you are a 95-year old man and you left the house thinking ”How many people can I run over before I die?” whenever you arrive at an intersection without a STOP-sign you are going to look both ways and if there is another car you will make some determination who is going to go. But here is this freaking STOP-sign and everybody has to stop and stand there like cows, being controlled by this piece of aluminum.

John hates this world! In the world of Supertrain there will be no STOP-signs and it will be much harder to get a driver’s license, just under the level of going to medical school and harder than to be a lawyer. John has had a lot of hands in his mouth and he only wants the highest qualified dentists who have gone through astronaut training because he has yet to meet a doctor who knows what the hell they are doing! If Kirsten (see RL37) needs a ride she will hop right in and the DDS (Dentist) takes her where she needs to go, but a dentist who went through astronaut training will not name their daughters Kirsten. You might have to go to Texas to become a dentist because that is where the astronaut school is.

Skateboarders and bikers seem to not see STOP-signs as a form of active resistance. If you tell them how irresponsible it is to be coming down a 20 degree angle hill and blow through a STOP-sign on a busy street where people are walking with their kids and their dogs, they will say ”Yeah, but you know what cars do?”

John as a pedestrian back in the 1990s

In the 1990s John spent 15 years living in Seattle without owning a car (His first car probably being the tour van of The Long Winters, see NT11) and he is embarrassed at what kind of pedestrian he was. First of all he was wearing a soul patch, which makes you a target right off the bat. It was a blond little tuft that he would stroke when he was thinking deep thoughts. It had been so long since John had had a car that he didn’t even remember what it was like.

John didn’t look at people in cars as being in the same species as he was. People in cars were eating antibiotic-treated beef while John was walking the streets of Seattle with a soul patch, eating only lightly steamed vegetables. John would step out in front of a moving car, turn his head slowly, and glare at the driver until they not only came to a stop, but didn’t squeak their brakes. There were multiple times where John would put his hand on the hood of somebody’s car and eyeball them as he was walking past. He was such a dick and it was based on the concept that pedestrians not only have the right of way, but they are also morally right.

John was a young person who did not understand that one day he would be driving a car and people would walk across the street, looking at him, not anywhere near with the self-righteous glare that he used, but they would just be looking at John as he was waiting at a light, like ”What are you looking at? Keep walking! Get out of the road!” Back in the days he would be the one to loap across the street, taking his sweet time.

With that sorted history, when John sees a bicyclist blow through a STOP-sign who has big earrings like sink stoppers or Grommet Lobes, with his bike messenger bag and his Loud Pipes Save Lives bumper sticker, skinny jeans, one of them rolled up and tucked in his sock,he is going ”You little prick!”, but then he remembers what a prick he was.

Merlin's experience from San Francisco

Merlin is a pissy San Francisco pedestrian, but he also tries very hard to be a very considerate driver. He moved to a fruitcake city because he wants a certain quality of life and because we are living in a society, to quote George Costanza. John wondered if Merlin was a lawful good or lawful neutral, but Merlin is a ranger who is probably chaotic. Merlin believes in laws and he needs the law and the monkey web for sure.

The population of bicyclists as a group has adopted an anarchic approach to traffic laws and they are mostly assholes. There may be some deeper Weltanschauung, but for the most part there is a sense of entitlement that comes from absolutely nowhere. The question is if riding bicycles attracts assholes or makes assholes. Merlin can’t tell the difference! Does business development exist to attract douchebags or did the douchebags create business development? It is a gordian knot! John did not graduate from college, but he still thinks that business development attracts assholes.

Drivers cutting off pedestrians

Merlin has a friend who sometimes crosses the street despite knowing that it is going to be a tough street and knowing that it is near the time of day where the sun is in people’s eyes. They are blowing through STOP-signs and if the cars are driving really fast the other direction they will hit them with a handful of pennies.

If that would happen to John he would pull up the emergency break to do a four-point slide stop and he will be out of the car before the car stopped moving. Good luck chasing them through the park! It is like the Viet Cong: They know where the rabbit holes are while John is sitting there in his white pickup truck.

He might very well get hit by some dick, because the law is so clear: When a train stops, you stop! Do not cross the plane of the back of the train with the front of your car, but sit there like a fucking gentleman and wait until every person, every old lady, every little-aged man with his adorable daughter got off that train. You sit there and you don’t make a face!

If a car goes by you too closely and takes a corner when you are about to step off the sidewalk to cross the road, John will kick the car really hard in the quarter panel and act like it hit him. You can actually do some damage to the car. They will look in the real view mirror and see you grabbing your leg, riving in agony. Half the time the car will stop and the person will get out and say that they are so sorry and you can walk it off and say ”It is cool! Just watch where you are going!” Other times they speed off and then it will haunt them!

There are very few people who do a very bad thing one time. If you make yourself a lady horse, you don’t do that one time. You have to have a first time, but for all kinds of bad diddling, you don’t just go ”Oh, that is fine, I have had my six-pack and now I am done!” Instead you escalate! People learn and grow, but at the same time it is very unusual that someone learns or grows as they get older, really.

Back when John had a soul patch he was kicking people’s quarter panels and pretending that they had run over his leg all the time, but he doesn’t do it anymore because he has learned and grown and when a car cuts him off now he will just say ”You will get yours down the road when the birds come to peck out your eyes!”

Merlin’s neighborhood (RL38)

Merlin’s neighborhood is in the 90th percentile of walkable neighborhoods, although there is a sleight incline and if you were differently abled it could be hard to get down to the beach and all the way back up. Hills are ableist! They recently re-did the big park across the street that the soldiers ran out of (see RL2). It took them a long time! At first it was somewhat melancholy for Merlin because they knocked down the playground where he had played with his kid, but they brought it back up and it is great. Merlin got a new app on his iPhone that helps him identify birds and the howling he heard could have been a gold-shouldered or red-tailed hawk, or it could have been a private from Virginia from when they knocked down the tombstone.

ComicCon (RL38)

John recently went to ComicCon which is an extension of a larger problem he used to see in Indie Rock quite a bit: The mistaken idea that everyone is an artist and if we just clear out all the things in the way of certain people, the art they make will be beautiful. They need to get free and art will pour forth! That is a terrible idea and not true at all! Not everyone is an artist!

At ComicCon you see a million people who have been told their whole lives that what they are doing qualifies as art. They have been congratulated for doing things that are not art, now they believe that it is art, and people are encouraged to congratulate them for it. Last week (see RL37) John was on the fence with the Bronies and he still is. There might be stuff in them that he doesn’t understand, there is stuff at ComicCon that he knows he doesn’t understand, and there is absolutely stuff that is presented as art that is not art!

Ravens and crows, communicating with animals (RL38)

One of John's friends in Seattle was recently attacked by a crow on a Downtown street. Merlin confuses ravens and crows, but they have different faces. Ravens can pick locks and do simple coding, John had a website designed by a team of ravens once, while crows are slightly less sophisticated but also very social. As John’s friend was walking along, a crow (John said raven) swooped down in her hair in the middle of a busy street. She was trying to figure out if the crow was protecting his nest, but crows don’t nest on a sidewalk in the middle of town.

Both ravens and crows talk to each other at night to compare notes. John's friend might not even have done something to personally offend that particular crow at that moment, but she might have been impolite to crows in general and they might have targeted her. Crows are a highly sophisticated borg!

John told his lady friend that she needed to start doing what he does, which is that every time she sees a crow, particularly one that flies down and lands on eye-level, she has to look at the crow and say ”Hello crow!” eye to eye. She has to show respect, but she will also be saying ”I see you, motherfucker! I see you!”

The guy in the 1980s not being able to catch and tag ravens

In the mid 1980s there had been an incredible feature article in the Sunday supplement of the Anchorage Daily News, saying that we don’t really know that much about ravens. We don’t know where they sleep at night or really anything about them, considering that they live all around us. The same is true for the crows.

For many years John and his mom got in their cars at dusk and chased the crows as they congregated in trees at the South end of town. Once all of them had gathered in one massive crow parliament (it was not a murder of crows) with tens of thousands of crows, they all left together and flew out of the city to the mountains. John and his mom were chasing after them in their cars, literally driving as the crow flies, communicating to each other on their phones, but they have never been able to find where they went.

This guy from the newspaper article in the 1980s had invented a gun that would shoot a net and he went to a certain mall in Anchorage where the ravens all congregated at the dumpsters and he captured 10 ravens. As he drove up in the same van the following day all the ravens split. He went to a different mall across town, captured another 5 ravens, and the following day, no matter what mall in the city he went to, the ravens split as soon as he drove into the parking lot. He rented a different van and repeated his experiment, but soon he found that he could not drive into a mall parking lot in any kind of van or the ravens would split.

It got to the point that the ravens recognized his face city-wide and he started wearing masks. Then any time a crow saw a person in a mask they split. He tried Cheetos and got a couple of ravens with that, but then they wouldn’t eat Cheetos anymore. All summer long he chased these ravens, trying to capture enough of them to tag them and let them go to have a significant case, but they thwarted him on every turn and he could never get a system down to capture and tag ravens. Whatever he tried, within a day every raven in the city knew about it. That was just the beginning!

Two ravens stealing a box of raisins

One time John watched two ravens steal a box of raisins. One of them landed in front of John’s niece when she was two years old and had a box of raisins. He hopped close to her, just right out of her reach, she dropped the box of raisins and started to crawl to the bird, and he hopped back just right out of her reach again. She continued to crawl toward him and as she got away from the box of raisins, the other raven swooped in behind and started eating the raisins.

She turned around, saw the other bird, went back to the box of raisins, the bird started hopping back, she followed the bird, and the first raven went in and ate from the raisins. These two birds ate her entire box of raisins playing ”I’m right here! You can catch me!” back and forth until all her raisins were gone. Now she can’t eat raisins anywhere in the city, even if she is wearing a mask.

John being very experienced with crows

John has very deep and wide experience with ravens and crows. In Alaska ravens stand 4 feet (120 cm) tall, they wear very nice outfits when they come to the DMV and they are a completely integrated part of Alaskan society. Merlin has a lot of very good friends who are ravens and some of them are extremely smart and articulate and almost all of them are very clean. He really hates the casual discrimination against crows and ravens!

Crows are much more common in Seattle than ravens. John would never say on a podcast that any bird was stupid because they could be listening. He doesn’t know if the ravens in Alaska are communicating with the crows in Seattle, but it is possible! They are operating on a much higher level than anybody wants to admit. It is their world and we are just living in it.

Merlin has been beguiled by many animals, by ants, spiders, crows, and ravens, and he has been annoyed by the deafening Grackles of Austin, a band which Josh (Rosenfeld of Barsuk) just signed. Merlin used to be able to eat spicy food and now if he eats spicy food he is going to be reading a lot. He knows that and he accepts that some things change in life. Another thing that changed in his life is that he used to think very little about birds in general. If there was a bird in front of him, he would say ”That is a bird!”, but now bird-eyes freak the living shit out of him. No matter how big the bird is, the eyes will always be beady, and that chills him out.

John communicating with animals

John does not get freaked out by birds because he feels like he is meant to be here on Earth, they are meant to be here and John establishes with all animals and with all living things including humans that he is here for a reason and they can either aid him or be defeated. This is not something people intuit, but that John communicates with his mind bullets.

People commonly call Starlings for Grackles. Grackles are native to the Americas, but Starlings are imported from Europe and therefore they have Starlings in proliferation. It is a true story that there was some fruitcake who wanted to have all the birds of Shakespeare in Central Park in New York (see also OM1) He released 100 Starlings in the 1800s and now there are billions of them. What could possibly go wrong?

Based on his personality, background and learning, John can for the most part go head to head with an animal in an environment of mutual respect. He is not going to mess around with a rabid animal though, despite having enough information to deal with a rabid animal better than 85% of the population. Depending on how far the rabies has progressed, the only way to deal with them is with the blade end of a shovel. John would not kill a rabid animal instantly because it might just be a pet that has eaten some laundry soap. He would definitely think about it twice if it is foamy spittle.

There is a certain power in the ability to commune with animals. When it is finally time for the Supertrain generation to arrive, John will harness some of this power and talk to a spider who can make a monkey net or possibly a common grackle who could go out and figure things out on John’s behalf as an agent for him. It will be part of the Supertrain program! It is a natural system that we have intruded into with by our overthinking and we are now separate from animals in a way that is not entirely necessary.

Dances with wolves is a classic example of a man communing with animals and they find a shared commonality. He was not sending the wolves on errants exactly, but it was only a matter of time before he and the wolves were snuggling up around the fire and telling stories from their childhood. Dances with Wolves is the movie that beat Goodfellas at the Oscars, but John doesn’t follow the awards. Merlin follows Martin Scorsese. The wolf seems like an obvious thing to commune with. In The Avengers there is a team of these characters…

John's mutual understanding with birds

John and the crows and other birds of Western Washington are working towards a mutual understanding and it is only a matter of time. They got their eyes on him and they need him on their team. Crows do not come and rustle John’s hair on a Downtown street, but they are going a block or two ahead of him and checking it out to make sure that everything is cool and then communicate back, which is good for everybody involved. John believes that it is beneath their dignity for him to throw them a bread crust. They would happily starve rather than have a human throw them food. They can feed themselves!

John is not a mole inside of human society on behalf of the birds and the birds are not betraying their own culture by reaching out to John either. They recognize him as a kindred spirit, as a human they can deal with, and they are keeping it on the back burner because they have a man on the inside, but in the meantime they will go their separate ways. If it comes down to it, they can go to John for council and if there is some human-bird-war they can go to him.

Are the owls trying to tell him something?

There are no birds in John’s house except for the owls that periodically appear in his bed (see RL26). It should tell John something or push him in a direction, like it could be his 40 Days in the Desert type situation or his Road to Damascus. Unlike a lot of prophets to whom Jesus appeared on the Road to Damascus and who will go unnamed, John not a Mohammad type person who is going to write a Koran.

John is going to get a lot of letters from people who are angry that he took Mohammad’s name in vain, none of whom will actually be Muslims, but they will be a bunch of Liberals from Bellingham who are upset on behalf of other non-Muslim listeners. What could be more ping pong than protecting somebody on their behalf? It is the ultimate condescension and it is at the core of our leftist society.

John does not know what the owls want and he is not going to speculate, but he is just waiting. It all leads to something and he understands at this point that he does not have all the information. It is all the more reason to look birds in the eye because maybe one day one of those eyes is going to flash. John is open to Bronies, he is looking at birds, he is checking for spooks in the corners, and he got the owls that don’t talk.

Somewhere in there is a through-line and they have to keep doing this show because they can help a lot of people. John has clearly tapped into something very significant! He knew he was an important character since he was very young, but he never felt it as a weight, but it is a responsibility.


John has been working on his relationship with the raccoons of the Northwest his entire life, but although they understand one another they are still inscrutable to John. He does not have the power to command them, but they definitely want to engage. They have long conversations, but then they put their little hands together and do their little Namaste bow and they are off into the darkness. It is not a relationship John tries to shape or move in any direction, but he is just waiting and watching and keeping. Every once in a while they meet in a dark alley and John says ”Hello!” - ”Namaste!” and they will go their separate ways.

Animals protecting John from dying

John starts to say that even if he dies and all of this collected wisdom just evaporates and Merlin interrupts him and does not think he will die, but it is conceivable. Someone will probably take him out, he has surely already crosshairs on him. It will not be an animal, because the animals know and have probably protected him thus far in ways he may not even know. That spider in John’s bathtub could be a Charlotte’s Web in an E.A. Wilson (Merlin probably meant E.B. White) type situation. The monkey net could be there because John is not supposed to be in the bathtub. Maybe there is lead in that tub and it would make him stupid if he licked it! He is eating stuff very close to the lead!

You can buy a kit at Walgreens to find out how much lead there is in the bathtub and in Merlin’s tub from 1928 there are shit-tons of lead. They haven't replace much and their furnace might even be original. You worry about it when you first get your kid, but you won’t worry as much later. They don’t bathe their daughter because of the lead. It was easy in the early days because you would just wash the child in a bucket and there is no lead in buckets by and large.

Toxoplasmosis, how many cats can you have? (RL38)

Merlin starts to talk about the crazy-cat-lady (which is ping pong) disease (toxoplasmosis) that is in the poo of the cats. Certain animals need to have a host inside of another animal. It is a bacteria or something that is in cat poop that colonizes the crazy cat ladies’ brains so they keep cats and become incubators for the cat poop bug. It is okay to have a cat or two cats, but three is the maximum number of cats that a sane person can have and it is already real iffy. If you are getting close to the 10 cat level, it is time to start thinking about stuff.

When your cats die you have to get rid of them. First you stop cleaning up the poop and then you stop getting rid of them when they die. When you have more than 5-40 cats and they are dying, if you are not get ridding of the bodies on a fairly regular basis, it is time to start looking at yourself.

Cats are like tattoos: How do you know when to stop? Once you got one, fuck it, you might as well get nine! For tattoos the border to crazy is one. Merlin is going to get letters!

Before that guy in Florida changed face eating (see RL36) as a meme forever, cats were eating people’s faces when the people died. The original face-eating meme was that people died in their house with 15 cats and the cats ate their face. The slightly fictionalized song called Marie Provost by Nick Lowe is about a silent film star who got eaten by her dog after she died. ”She was a winner, but she became the doggy’s dinner” Lowe was still developing as a lyricist at this point. There is a lot of power in these animals and you can be for them or against them and it seems crazy to Merlin not to leverage the way this could benefit everyone, especially people that you eventually want to smite.

Scrapbooking (RL38)

Scrapbooking is code for hoarding. There is no scrapbooker who is not also a hoarder. Hugh Hefner had been keeping scrapbooks since his teen years and he came up to 3000 scrapbooks. He got a room in the Playboy mansion of all the scrapbooks he had been keeping since the 1930s.

John taking a bath with his daughter (RL38)

When John’s daughter was a very little person he used to take her in the bathtub with him. He had a sandwich, a coffee, a smoothie, a newspaper, and this little zygote sitting on his knee. She didn’t die! The one fear of course was that she was going to poop, but she never did because again: They looked at each other and there was an understanding. Never had a man in the boat! Merlin had one very tiny one that they all felt a little bit bad about. Some people make it sound like that happens all the time, but there are also a lot of people who do a terrible job of raising their kids.

Parenting styles changing with generations (RL38)

Parenting style switches with every generation. After a generation of strict parents there will be a generation of lenient parents who feel like their parents had been too strict. John is a new generation of strict parents and he does not want his child to think it is okay to do anything.

John does not want her to feel guilty or have any self-doubt or any fear of anything other than her father. It is strictly ”Fear of dad!”, like ”What is dad going to say about this?” Merlin can’t think of a possible way that could go wrong, it is foolproof! He is already introducing his daughter to all the birds and she has never known a world in which she was not held up to birds and told to say ”Hi!” The birds know that she is the heir.

Merlin with a soul patch or a mustache (RL38)

Merlin used to have a soul patch in the early 2000s and he looked so stupid. John says Merlin looks great in a mustache because he looks like the prince in the Princess Bride. When Merlin was younger people told him that he looked like a cross between him and Michael Palin, but now he is hideous and a grotesquery. If he grew a mustache right now he would look immediately like if The Dread Pirate Roberts (from The Princess Bride) had aged a little bit.

Merlin is growing as a person, stupid doesn’t stick to him (RL38)

Merlin has given up on the Buddhism because he doesn’t have time to sit, it is boring and it has got a lot of rules, but he still wants to evolve to the point where stupid is not allowed to stick to him. He calls it Dr. Phil-ism: He is stupid-teflon, which might be the awesomest rapper-name ever: MC Stupid Teflon! Merlin does some rapping: ”Look at me and you can see, stupid is not allowed to stick to me!” that sounds like The Fat Boys or something that would be happening at a gathering of the juggalos or at a corporate event: ”Let’s bring up Bob Hendersen to do his rap!” John thinks Merlin was talking about The Hold Steady (see story about John’s article about The Hold Steady in RL318), but that is going on the card with the religion and Merlin is going to cut all that out. Merlin can’t believe John isn’t into them, but John doesn’t like Bruce Springsteen.

John getting Slim Jims from a guy on an airplane (RL38)

see Travel

Supertrain HQ on Red Rock Island (RL38)

John is a wealthy Rock star and he is not going to do a fucking Kickstarter for Supertrain, because people are going to see that coming a mile off! He is going to do some substantial James Bond villain type shit to bootstrap Supertrain. There is an uninhabited 6 acre (25 tm2) island in the middle of the San Francisco bay that recently was on the market for $20 million and the other day John read an article in the real estate section of a newspaper that will go unnamed that said that the price of this island had been reduced to $5 million. This is the island over by Sausalito near Alcatraz, over by Angle Island and Tiburon (actually it is just South of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge)

For a lot of people in San Francisco $5 million is just the interest payment on their boat. John is super-mad that he doesn’t have $5 million because he would be buying that island right now if he worked for Apple or some other company down there that was paying people billions of dollars. It would be an incredible place for an evil genius mega mansion. It would be an incredible villain island, it is literally red and from an angle it looks like a pirate ship. You would be living on that island in a one-story house with a lot of glass and a helipad and you would be so evil over there! It would look like a mansion, but then underneath you would have hundreds of guys all wearing jumpsuits running back and forth. It is the only privately owned island in the San Francisco bay and why does John not own this already?

Their podcast has a large constituency and some of those people are software billionaires who are right now sitting in an unfurnished house on the couch that they brought from their college dorm. They have a poster of a white Porsche on the wall, the entry way of their house is three stories tall, but it has no furniture and they are sitting in a bean bag chair, listening to Roderick on the Line, thinking ”God, I should buy that island for John Roderick!” If John had that island, that would be the first sign!

The island is probably an Indian burial ground and there are entire armies of dead soldiers that spooked the previous owners in the middle of the night and they split. The island has been undeveloped all these years, but John’s experience enables him to make a Détente, a rapprochement with whatever spooks there are. He will tell them that this island is going to be the headquarters of Supertrain, the evil empire John is building that is not evil, but chaotic good, which is often mistaken for one another, and the first thing they would need to do was to put the kibosh on some of the spooking and get the spooks back into a comfortable place.

If John had to burn some sage for that, he will. He is not going to put up any prayer flags or anything like that, but if they need a water feature, even if they are on an island in the middle of a bay, John will put up a little drippy water feature if that calms them. Then they can get to work building a network of tunnels and a big Frank Lloyd Wright style house on the top.

The secret of doing this correctly would be: As you are building a network of tunnels you make a big show out of making the Frank Lloyd Wright style house at the top be zero emissions. You get solar panels, you get a solar-powered elevator and everybody will think that you are a super-good billionaire. Your house will be so green that it will generate power and you will fucking give it away! They would orient the green technology to make it visible from the San Rafael bridge and as people are driving to work in San Rafael, they are thinking about what kind of billionaire you are.

Someone bought the island in 1964 for $49.000. John spent that much just lighting his cigars with $100 bills and he doesn’t even smoke cigars, he just lights them and throws them out the window. John has had weed grass enemas that cost more than $49.000!

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