Men in Gorilla Suits (pop culture)
Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 41: Last Seen...Listening to Music

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 41: Last Seen...Listening to MusicWhat music did our parents listen to when we were younger, and what was the first music we ever owned? Find out right at the start of this week's show. Also find out if either of us ever played a musical instrument. After the trip to the past, we leap to the future, discussing the musician or band that never lets us down...and the band that, when on it, is as good as it gets, but has also recorded some of the worst music out there.

From there, we delve into dislikes, leading off with the band or style of music it seems everyone says one must like, but we don't like. Then: it's time for a moment of hate...find out what band or musician we could do without. (And yes, we said hate. Normally, not our kind of thing, but once Christopher opened his mouth and discussed is irrational hatred for a particular musician, things took a bit of a dip into Negativeland.) You know we usually lean toward positive, though...to the point of ridiculously positive at times. We leave the dislike and hate behind and talk about music's effect on our writing.

Music is a time machine of the mind -- we then talk about the musician or band that transports us to the time we listened to them most. Find out what songs we can't help but like, as well as our guilty pleasure tunes. (Not that we are ones to really care what people think of our musical choices, but we all have those songs that are considered bad that we instead love.)

What do we listen to most these days? How has our tastes changed -- what musicians or bands did we once listen to all the time that we have simply left behind?  Find out our biggest music 180s, the bands we once couldn't stand that we came to love. Then it's time for the one-minute lightning round as we rattle off some of our favorite songs (and forget so many others)! The episode closes with what effect music has on us.

We'd love to hear your answers to any of these questions in the comments.

Direct download: migs41.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:12pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 40: Last Seen…Running the Government

It may sound like a high school civics class, but this week...we're all about government!

We jump right in by asking if America has the best system of government, or if others out there have better ideas? That leads to a discussion about what form of government is the best...and what we feel is best. Of course, we also discuss the worst kinds of governments that have existed and are still out there.

Then, a bit about education: how much government was taught to us in school, and how involved were the classes? Were they biased or open to all kinds of ideas? Did they help us, or have we forgotten all we learned? Do we feel like we learned something, but still ended up lost in a sea of people who didn't?

Next, we get a bit more philosophical. Does a transparent or secretive government best serve the people? Could a complete lack of government actually work? And because Shawn led the charge with this epsisode, could a government like the one in Star Trek ever become real...and if so, could it work? Sticking to fictional governments, we talk about how close or far we are from Orwell's 1984, before wrapping it up with the ideal government we would create, were we put in charge of the world.

(In the end, it is decided: Facebook and dance fighting are the only systems that work! Okay, maybe not, but we do mention dance fighting and the structure of social networks like Facebook as a system of government.)

Direct download: migs40.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 3:16pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 38: Last Seen…Helping Themselves

Oh, 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.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 36: Last Seen…Being Superstitious

Don't walk beneath that ladder, and do be careful with that mirror -- you wouldn't want to break it and find yourself dealing with 7 years of bad luck! This week, we're all about superstitions and luck!

We begin the episode asking each other if we're superstitious and what was the first superstition we remember hearing (it's probably pretty common, and we bet your mother's back was not broken by your actions on a sidewalk). Were we superstitious when we were younger? Find out! After that, we ask how our perceptions of things have changed over the years.

Then we get a little more specific: can superstition be a low-level mental illness, like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or is it just a thing people do? What influence do different cultures have on superstitions (we give examples we've seen). Then...we move on to luck!

Find out if we consider ourselves lucky people and if there are ways to avoid "bad luck." Is bad luck just a person's lot in life or can things be done to make our own luck?

We close with the silliest superstitions we've ever heard and answering this question: "Who's the most superstitious person you know?"

So avoid the black cats, pick up a penny, and listen to this week's show! (And let us know if you have any superstitions in the comments.)

Direct download: migs36.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 35: Last Seen...Making Art

We're loading this week's show (all about art) a little early. The episode begins by asking the question: what is art? Is writing, photography, film, and dance art? What about video games? (Okay, so those specifics come a little later in the episode.) After establishing what art is, we discuss our earliest memories of art, including the first great works of art we ever saw.

After that, we get into actually creating art. Does one have to be creative in order to make art? Can art be taught? What's more important: creativity or ability? Then it's back to specifics: who are some of our favorite artists? What are our favorite works of art? What's the strangest art we've ever seen?

Then we stroll through the modern art gallery of the mind, asking if modern art deserves the reputation it gets from some people -- and we ask if art critics are good or bad for art? We wrap it up chatting about what we think art will be like in 100 years.

We'd love to hear who some of your favorite artists and works of art are in the comments!

Links to some of the artists and works of art mentioned in this episode:

Direct download: migs35.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 8:09pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 34: Last Seen…Traveling

What compels some people to never leave their hometown, while others crave a nomadic life without a home the moment they can take off on their own? That's how this episode begins; find out where the Gorilla Men fit into that spectrum. Hometowns are common things for most of us, but some people move about or travel so much, answering "Where are you from?" is difficult. We discuss that for a bit before traveling to our next point: the benefits of travel...

Are there benefits to traveling even a little bit? How about traveling a lot? Obviously, there are -- and we discuss them...but we also discuss the drawbacks. Then we get personal as we talk about other countries we've visited and the most interesting places we've seen in our travels. Of course, as writers, we take a side trip into this question: can writers believably set stories in places they have never visited...and how writers can go about doing just that. Then we hit the road!

The Great American Road Trip: we're biased when it comes to road trips -- we love them! Christopher goes as far as making the argument that there is no shame in not having seen many different countries when there is so much to see in the states. We talk about road trips' effect on our writing and reminisce for a moment about the best road trips we've ever taken.

Then it's back to the big, wide world as we discuss our dream destinations and places we'd love to visit that would make others say, "You're crazy for wanting to go there!" Finally, we wrap it all up by discussing our favorite places to travel.

We'd love to hear your dream destinations or favorite trips in the comments!

Direct download: migs34.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:55am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 32: Last Seen…Talking History

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.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 31: Last Seen…Laughing

<p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.meningorillasuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/migstitlecard31.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-670" alt="Comedy mask." src="http://www.meningorillasuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/migstitlecard31.jpg" width="475" height="275" /></a></p>
We're not talking about the mechanics of humor this week -- we're talking about <em>why</em> we laugh. Is laughter really the best medicine? We talk about our first memories of laughter (and would love to know yours). Along the way, we realized there are dark corners when it comes to laughter; we walk down the alley and discuss at what point we began laughing at more...raunchy things. There are things guaranteed to make us laugh every time we see them, and we tell you what those things are.

Why do people laugh at things they feel are taboo? The Internet: is it good or bad for laughter? Why can something as fun as laughter also be seen as an insult? We also talk about why some people laugh when they're nervous. Are comedies really all that funny? If so, what comedies make us laugh the most? Find out <em>who</em> makes us laugh the most! We close it all out talking about the hardest we've ever laughed and our favorite things about laughter.

We're not saying this episode is a laugh-riot, but hopefully it will make you appreciate laughter on a much deeper level.
<p style="text-align: center;">* * *</p>
If you haven't visited Men in Gorilla Suits since the last episode, we posted some of our favorite videos that can be found online right here. And...here are some other videos mentioned in this episode (remember, we never claimed to have high taste in humor):

<strong>Mr. Sparkle Makes Shawn Laugh:</strong>

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dnaLRbbc-54" height="315" width="420" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<strong>LA Beast Drinks Three Bottles of Sriracha Sauce and [WARNING] Vomits. Big Time! (NSFW):
</strong>

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/toJDo046mm4" height="315" width="560" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<strong>Beavis and Butthead at the Hoover Dam (NSFW):</strong>

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/T2cIGYpFA68" height="315" width="420" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<strong>Will Sasso Michael McDonald Vine Bit:</strong>

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/djPq-QI4mjs" height="315" width="420" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe>

Direct download: migs31.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:56pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 26: Last Seen...Talking Sports

Defend the wicket and pile up the Atlas stones -- this week, we're talking sports! Obviously, we're talking about some more obscure sports in that opening line (to Americans, anyway), but trust us: there's plenty of talk about football, baseball, and that other sporting event Americans clamor for: lumberjacking!

Wait -- basketball...we mean basketball. (Even though hockey's probably mentioned most...because hockey is BEST!!!)

But don't think this is a talk all about games and stats and players because...well, we probably couldn't sustain sports radio-esque chatter like that for an hour. (At least Christopher couldn't.) Instead, listen to Shawn talk about striking out at T-ball and find out what Christopher once did to get much more than a red card in a soccer game. At the same time, we chat a little bit about the sports we have actually succeeded in pulling off...sometimes to levels of actual proficiency. Shawn talks about the sport that saw many broken bones for him, while Christopher talks about the sport in which he's "pretty fast, for a big guy..."

Sure, we talk about athletes and teams that have impressed us, but we also talk about some weird sports -- and things some argue are sports at all. We wrap it up talking about how sports geeks aren't much different than geek geeks; in fact, Christopher makes the argument that anyone playing in a fantasy league of some sort just might be more of a geek than someone playing Dungeons and Dragons.

It's more fun than SlamBall...and SlamBall's pretty fun, right?

RIGHT?!

Direct download: migs26.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 25: Last Seen...Turning 25!

Now we are 25! If episodes were years and the podcast were a person, we'd finally be getting lower auto insurance rates. We'd have enough years of adulthood beneath us to have the confidence to do bigger things. We might still get goofy on the weekends, but we'd have a better idea of what we wanted out of life. While the podcast isn't a person, it's a good analogy: we have enough experience working together to now look forward and know what we want out of the show. We'll always be goofy, but we're more confident and ready to focus on more than simply producing weekly episodes. We know we can do that -- now it's time to make things even better!

The episode isn't quite like a "looking back" episode of a sitcom, but it's all about the show: our favorite episodes and our favorite things about doing a weekly show. Our least favorite things about Men in Gorilla Suits. Things we'd change, and things we're proud of. The prevailing sentiment of this episode is just doing the things you want to do! So many times, we talk ourselves out of the things that stick around in our heads and later regret never doing them. In its own way, this episode has some inspirational moments. Along the way, we talk about our process for producing shows and how we decided who does what. (Hint: we let it all happen naturally -- we have never so much as had even a short meeting about the show.) We talk about all our mistakes and successes. In the end, this episode is a celebration of friendship and the benefits of making something on a regular basis.

So...Thank you to everybody who's listened to the first 25 episodes. We'd love to hear your hopes for the next 25 in the comments!

Direct download: migs25.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:46am EDT