Men in Gorilla Suits (pop culture)

Anxious man - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 218: Last Seen…Being AnxiousBecause the last couple episodes have been loaded later in the week, we figured we'd load this one early. Here's why:

Sometimes we record episodes and, while making the damn thing, we know it's going to be a bit better than most episodes. Sometimes we're actually funny; other times, we're quick to thoughts and sound like we know what we are doing. Sometimes, we are very open about things -- maybe even too open for some.

This episode might be a bit of all those things as we talk about something not unknown to the world: anxiety!

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We begin with this: have we ever had problems with anxiety? (That anxiety is this week's topic, the answer should be pretty evident.) After that, we talk about the first person we knew who struggled with anxiety.

Find out what makes us panic...and if we've ever had all-out panic attacks. Then we talk about how we deal with anxiety.

We're guessing we all know somebody who struggles with anxiety to various degrees. We chat about what we do to try to help those people...and then discuss the dumbest things that have caused anxiety in our lives.

Lives eventually end. Death is a source of stress for many people. We talk about whether or not we often think about death -- and if it makes us anxious when it's on our minds.

Finally, we wrap it up with this: what is the cure for anxiety (or does a cure even exist)?

As always, feel free to comment on this week's episode below.

Direct download: migs218.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:50am EDT

Old Christopher and Shawn - MiGS 123 (Classic)

This Men in Gorilla Suits Classic episode is about aging...

As you read this sentence, you're getting older. Now you're even older than when you started reading this entry. You can step away and turn your head, hoping to not be reminded that you are aging, but time marches on.

Forward...

Always...

This week, we're talking about aging!

We begin by talking about the first time we realized that childhood was temporary -- that one day we would become adults. But aging is not all bad...we discuss the first time we were aware of our bodies aging in positive ways. After that, though, we talk about some negative things we're felt or experienced as we've aged. We also talk about age-related problems we've noticed...and age-related problems that scare us.

Hundreds of years ago, we'd probably be dead by now. We devote some time to the positive and negative effects of longer lifespans in modern times -- and then talk about how old we want to live to be.

We also chat about some benefits of getting older and whether we consider ourselves old, middle aged, young, or something else entirely.

We wrap up this episode on the front lawn (chasing off those damn kids!) to discuss whether or not we are, indeed, getting "too old for this shit!"

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about aging in the comments.

Direct download: migs123_classic.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:51am EDT

Two women talking - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 217: Last Seen…Talking about AdviceFrom a young age, most of us heard advice. Maybe some of it was actually good. But there comes a time when, later in life, you've either figured things out or you're simply not going to. And there are enough people doing marginally better than you who love to tell you and others how to live life...because they aren't doing such a great job with the adulting thing themselves. Knocking you makes them feel better about their lives.

And then there's us, two guys who offer one bit of advice at the end of every show. We don't expect you to take it, though...as you'll hear, we're not the biggest fans of advice...

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Christopher is headed into the storms of East Texas for the annual writing retreat he does with a friend. So, in an effort to get the episode out, here's what we discuss this week:

  • What is the first advice you remember hearing?
  • Why do you think people like giving advice?
  • How do you go about giving advice?
  • Do you like receiving advice?
  • What's the best advice you've ever received?
  • What's the worst advice you've ever received?
  • What are your thoughts on unsolicited advice?
  • Where (or who) do you go for advice?
  • Has advice ever changed your life or the way you look at things?
  • How has the Internet -- particularly social media -- changed advice?
  • What are some problems with giving or receiving advice?
  • If you could give your younger self one bit of advice, what would it be?
  • Is there one bit of advice you'd give for society in general?
Direct download: migs217.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

This Men in Gorilla Suits Classics episode goes back to Episode 55: Urban Legends...

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The stories often seem too perfect ("...and then the doberman was choking...on the burglar's finger!"); the reassurance it's fact is shoddy at best ("I'm serious -- it's true! It happened to my cousin's best friend's boss' daughter's tuba instructor!")

The urban legend.

What is it that makes some stories endure for lifetimes, and how does the Internet play a part in their spread today? That's what we're talking about this week.

We begin the episode by discussing the most recent urban legend we've heard; in Christopher's case, it was told the night before recording this episode, proving that far-fetched stories are definitely not a thing of the past. In fact, we discuss how we live in the golden age of half-truths and bogus stories; in part, because they are so easy to share through social media. After discussing why we believe urban legends are so easy to spread, we talk about how urban legends can still endure when sites like snopes.com and other sources for answers exist.

Urban legends endure despite how ridiculous many of the stories are -- belief is more important than fact where they are concerned. We ask (and answer): "What human need do urban legends serve?" Then we step back in time and share the first urban legends we ever heard.

Some urban legends cross the line and become not just stories to share, but deep beliefs people insist are true to the end. Dispute these people's claims or present facts and it doesn't matter -- they are all in and nothing can change them. After devoting some time to that, we discuss a couple urban legends we've believed, if only for a short time. Moving on from there, we share the craziest urban legends we've ever heard.

It's clear urban legends are a big part of the human experience. Many tales, even before the age of the Internet, spread and became things people insisted were true all around the world. With Shawn and Christopher both moving about in their youth, they saw it first hand: almost every town seemed to have their own weird killers killing in the same manner as the town where they lived before, and on the outskirts of those towns there always seemed to be railroad tracks where -- if you turned your car off and sat on the tracks as a train came your way (usually at midnight) -- ghostly children who died in a bus crash would push your car to safety. We close out the episode asking each other if urban legends will ever die?

We'd love to hear the craziest urban legends you've ever heard -- share away in the comments!

Direct download: migs55_classic_04.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

Hand plane and curled wood - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 216: Last Seen…Doing It ThemselvesOn February 7, 2013 we decided to do something on our own: start a podcast. In that time, we've started other shows, made things, and learned new stuff.

With access to so much information, it's fairly easy to learn the basics of even difficult repairs and builds. Maker culture seems to hang in the air; we, as a species, simply like making and repairing things.

Consider the many TV channels dedicated to home improvement. Hell, there's a channel called DIY.

DIY is not simply an 80s punk ethic. Every day, so many people make and repair things on their own...or with the help of a community of like-minded people. Doing it yourself is the topic of this week's show.

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Here's what we talk about this week:

  • When's the first time you did something yourself that someone else usually did for you?
  • Do you consider yourself DIY?
  • Is DIY synonymous with thriftiness? Are all DIYers cheap?
  • What's the coolest DIY project you've ever seen?
  • The worst?
  • What was the thing you tried to do yourself that you really shouldn't have? Were you successful?
  • What was your most successful DIY project?
  • What's something you've never done yourself that you think you could easily do, but don't for whatever reason?
  • What's one project you'd like to try doing for yourself?
  • Does technology make DIY easier?
  • What's the future of DIY?
Direct download: migs216.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

Flower w/ Inspirational Saying - MiGS38 (Classic): Last Seen…Helping ThemselvesOh, hello there, you wonderful, magical being, you. What's that sour face for -- don't believe us? You are magical...and...if you have just $99.99 to spare for our 20-cassette self-help system, you'll realize your full potential! Don't buy it, and continue to be miserable: the choice is yours. Salvation is just a credit card number away...

This week, we're all about self help! Now, we should clarify that there's nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself...even pay for help if needed. It's just, if you're going to take that step, it would seem a professional therapist might be a bit better than someone making up a pile of bullshit about how quantum physics works in an effort to sell you on yet another self-help system...

We begin the episode by talking about what image comes to our minds when we mention "self help." Then, we discuss whether or not any self-help book or system has ever helped us. After that, we leap into self-help things we've been subjected to in some manner. (It's probably pretty clear at this point that we're not the biggest fans of people preying on desperate people and selling them "help" in Holiday Inns across the country. In fact, Christopher is one degree away from someone fairly well known who "helps" people, but is really just out to take people's money...so we speak from some certain experience.)

While on the subject of self help, why not talk about Scientology and other religions that are little more than a pyramid scheme? Are they really out to help people, or is it all about pushing their own agenda? On a smaller level, we ask if there are self-help gurus who actually want to help people more than they want their money. Then we ask if self-help systems have a high percentage of success, or if they are just a scheme to help those running a system make a lot of money.

Then it's time to talk about some of the more outrageous claims made in the self-help industry. You could probably call this section of the podcast, "It's no secret how Christopher and Shawn feel about The Secret!" While hammering those who know nothing about science (but use junk science to back their claims), we roll all over certain health gurus who also make ridiculous claims in their grab for cash.

But while we don't spare the majority of an industry from ridicule, we do acknowledge the marketing machines behind the self-help industry...and how they have used social media to expand their empires. After discussing how easily people are swayed by "facts" that aren't facts, we ask the biggest question of all: "Is there any value at all in the self-help industry?"

We'd love to hear what you think about self help in the comments, and...we hope this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits helps you. If nothing else, we offer it for free!

Direct download: migs38_classic_03.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

Empty swing - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 215: Last Seen…Being ChildlessA very busy week, so we'll get right to it. This week we are talking about being childless...

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Here's what we talk about (Shawn made Christopher seriously laugh so hard he cried in this episode):

  • Who was the first childless couple (or person) you knew?
  • Did it strike you as strange that they didn't have children?
  • When you were younger, did you think you'd have children when you got older?
  • We are both childless. Are you childless by choice or because of biological issues?
  • Have you encountered people who INSISTED you'd have children? (And how did you react?)
  • Have you ever been told, "But you can still adopt?"
  • Do you think your life lacks anything with the absence of children?
  • What are some advantages (and disadvantages) of not having children?
  • Millennials in America have been knocked for things as ridiculous as a decline in sales of bar soap. And a BIG criticism is they are not having children as much as previous generations. Why do you think that is?
  • Is it greedy to not have children?
  • Why do you think some are so insistent that others have children?
  • In the future, do you think we'll see more or fewer childless people?
Direct download: migs215.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Dinosaur among ruins - MiGS32 (Classic): Last Seen...Talking History

We once stepped back in time for this classic episode...

And, for those of you wondering, "When will Christopher be done with his damn book?!" it's flowing...but new chapters are happening as well. So...who knows. (But words are piling up!)

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This isn't a boring history lesson, or an episode chock full o' trivial things like, "Hey, did you all know the first person to kill at the Battle of Hastings -- in 1066 -- was a juggler?" (<----- That's for real, right there! Don't mess with jugglers!) This episode is about our relationships with history. What many deem to be a boring subject really isn't when you consider how much the human mind lives in the past, whether it's a head full of nostalgia or thinking about your place in the universe...that's all history!

We begin the episode with a bit of personal history, discussing the first time we remember even thinking about the topic. Also, who (or what) got us interested in history? With that beginning, we move on to our favorite periods of American history and world history. Many "man on the street" interviews make it look like Americans know very little about history...we spend some time discussing if that's true before moving on to what history even is.

History takes hold more when it's presented as a story rather than a bunch of dates and events we must commit to memory. We talk about how this affects our perception of history, and then move on to how history is covered: is history really written by the winners, or are there places one can go to find all sides of a story? What are the best sources for understanding history -- and what are the worst? Where do we go when we're in a mood to take in some history? We close it out with the best representation of history -- and the worst -- we've seen in popular media.

If you're a history buff, we'd love to hear your thoughts about history...and if you think history is just a boring subject, we just might change your mind...

Direct download: migs32_classic_02.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT

A field of Bluebonnets - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 214: Last Seen…Talking about TexasIf you've lived in Dallas long enough, you see a certain pleasure in this episode about Texas being #214 (the classic Dallas area code). But is Dallas indicative of the Lone Star State, or for a true taste of Texas does one need to gaze upon a field of longhorn cattle? Is Ft. Worth more "Texas" than San Antonio, or must we all bow before the capital of Austin? Or is Texas something else entirely?

This week we're talking about Texas in all its glory (well, most of its glory). Like any state, it has its problems -- but a place so large really is like a country unto itself full of many wonderful things...

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We begin with a simple topic: when did we first move to Texas? We each moved to Texas young enough to have experience with Texas public schools. Find out if we were impressed with the educational quality of the schools we attended.

After that, we chat about the various parts of Texas we've lived in...and visited. Keeping with that theme, we also devote time to the best town in Texas in which to live...and the best place to visit.

People from other places have their own ideas about what Texas is like. When they visit, it's often up to people living in the state to show them the "true" side of Texas. Find out where we take people to show them what the Bluebonnet State is all about.

After that, we talk about the best -- and worst -- things about living in Texas. And we wrap it all up with the weirdest thing about the state.

Direct download: migs214.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 1:05pm EDT

Classic Episode: MiGS16: Last Seen...Working Obsolete Jobs

Welcome to Men in Gorilla Suits Classic: an old episode as Christopher finishes a book...and while Shawn gets even more buff at the gym.

Oh, sure, Shawn might play the humble card and be like, "No big..." but he's lifting closer to 20 tons a night than 15 -- enough that Christopher started lifting puny weights on work breaks today.

Speaking of that Christopher guy...thanks to all those who understand that him finishing his book is important. He really hates missing a week of Men in Gorilla Suits. In fact, he ALMOST posted the episode recorded a couple days ago and was then about to email Shawn saying, "If we get back to getting things done by mid-week and even double up on episodes, we can stick to the weekly thing!"

Because this IS a pretty impressive unbroken chain.

At the very least, you get this old episode...

Thanks for understanding...

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Ah, to live the life as a National Hockey League rover, or to entertain the cigar-rolling masses as a Lector. To pump gas or serve as the director of photography on pornographic movies. To open your own Blockbuster Video store franchise or manufacture cassette tapes. These are jobs...some totally obsolete, some on their way out...

This week, it's all about jobs that no longer exist: some long gone, and some we've seen die in our own time. We talk about jobs that are fading, many jobs shoved into one catch-all job, and even discuss why outsourcing may not be the evil many believe it to be. (We might not be in the majority on this one.) We discuss how the "Good ol' days," were only good for some, and why our jobs these days is to simply figure things out. Of course, Shawn works Star Trek into the discussion, and Christopher entertains what a future in which computers write novels might be like. (Smash Gerbils reference goes to Deacon McClendon.)

We wrap it up by discussing how the Internet and nostalgia have brought some obsolete or dying jobs back -- kind of a grudging praise for...the Hipster! Also, wanna be a blacksmith? It's still a better option than many jobs that are on the way out! Don't believe us? Then give this episode a listen!

Note: This episode was recorded under the influence of copious amounts of caffeine (Shawn) and a couple Martinis (Chris). It's a bit frantic and wacky, and that, dear listeners = fun!

Direct download: migs16_classic_01.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT