Thu, 24 April 2014
There's never been a more violent time to be alive than RIGHT NOW!!! Watch the news and it's clear: we are a doomed species, and it's all because we are violent. Never have we seen such horrible acts of crime and cruelty. Only...that is not at all true.
The truth is, we do live with violence in society, but just how bad is it? That's our topic this week.
We begin with the news...watch and you can easily believe "OMG, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA IS OUT OF CONTROL! I'M MORE LIKELY THAN EVER TO BE A VICTIM OF VIOLENT CRIME!!!" We discuss whether or not that's true. It is true that violence in America does exist, and that we have a reputation for being very violent. But are we any more violent than England, Greece, or really anywhere in Europe?
After that, we move on to ourselves, discussing whether or not we are, or have ever been, violent individuals. Find out where we stand on violence in media (television, movies, video games, and music). Can these things influence violence in society? Then we move on to this question: "What do you think causes someone to be a violent person or to commit a violent crime?" (Does one necessarily have to be a violent person to commit a violent crime?)
There's no denying that some people have a certain obsession with violence, whether it's being violent themselves, or attracted to violent things. We ask each other why we think that is before talking about the first violent thing we remember seeing.
The stories of some lives are told in scars -- we can both point to scars on our bodies as reminders that we were once young and stupid and willing to try things we knew would most likely fail. But do we carry any scars obtained through violence? Find out! Also find out, on a scale of one to ten, how much we fear violence being committed on us or on someone we love.
One cannot deny America's obsession with guns. Does gun ownership or a lack of gun control contribute to violence? Also, will humans ever grow out of being a violent species (or are we even a violent species now)?
We close out the show with two questions about violence:
We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode and your feelings about violence. As always, feel free to comment!
Wed, 16 April 2014
There's a good chance you're listening to this podcast at work...or on your way to or from work. If you saw any social media posts about this episode, you probably saw them during work hours, on breaks from tasks at hand. Most of us work a lot; it's something we've talked about on Men in Gorilla Suits quite a bit in passing, but we've never dedicated an entire episode to working. That changes today...
We kick it all off by talking about the first job we ever had, and then we roll into the best job we've ever had. Of course, if we talk about the best job we've ever had, we really should talk about the worst job -- and we do!
If you've watched the teaser for this week's show, you know that at least Christopher has had a lot of different jobs. Shawn is no different. Neither of us are strangers to manual labor. We devote a little time to discussing what we've brought from construction and warehouse jobs over to our office gigs. After that, we share some good job interview stories.
A good manager or shop foreman can make even a not-so-great job better. We talk about what makes a good manager and whether or not we've ever worked for people fitting our descriptions of a good leader in the workplace.
Work enough, and you're going to meet some people you'd probably never have met on your own. We spend some time talking about some of the more "interesting" people we've ever worked with and share some of our stranger on-the-job stories.
We spend one minute each in a lightning round, listing as many jobs as we have had in 60 seconds. (Christopher racks up over 30 in that minute. Check out this video for a sneak peek.):
Some people almost seem bred to complain about work. We devote a bit of time to why we think so many people complain about their jobs, and then we talk about our dream jobs...and why they are our dream jobs.
With many jobs being automated or shipped overseas, we discuss what we think is the future of jobs as we know them before wrapping it all up with the dreaded job interview question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
We'd love to know where you see yourself in five years -- feel free to share your work stories in the comments.
Now...get back to work!
Tue, 8 April 2014
Beam aboard this week as we talk about...Star Trek!
We begin by talking about our entry points into the world of Star Trek...and then discuss our first memories of the show. We round out our geeky intro with a few minutes dedicated to our favorite incarnations of the series.
After that we talk about how much of the approximately 727 hours of filmed Trek content still holds up. From there, it's on to the worst thing about our favorite versions of the show. Who's the best character (and worst) in the history of the show? Listen and find out! We close this section out with some talk about what frustrates us about Star Trek.
Find out why we think the franchise has survived as long as it has, and why it keeps going. The "What's the most fan boyish thing you've ever done in relation to Star Trek?" section is a riot when it's Shawn's turn to talk. He wasn't kidding when he said, "No matter how fanboyish you've been about Trek, Christopher -- I have you beat!"
If you listen for no other reason, listen for the answers to this question: "Why is Worf so easy to beat up?"
We close out the episode on a couple more serious notes:
Assimilation is futile; take a moment out of your day to talk about the best (and worst) of Star Trek in the comments.
Wed, 2 April 2014
The human need to celebrate things is this week's topic. So many of us go through life jumping from celebration to celebration. We kick off this episode talking about why we have such a need to celebrate things...before asking each other if we look for reasons to celebrate anything and everything.
But let's slow down a moment and clarify things: what constitutes a celebration? Does it have to be a recurring, formal thing...or can celebrations be a small thing appreciated in a moment? From there, we move on to discussing the strangest things we've celebrated.
It seems there's some new celebration almost every week: Pi day, Pancake Day, and so many others. We devote some time to acknowledging social media's role in a myriad celebrations people mention online. (For example, today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, meaning this!) More than social media, though, celebrations are big business. We spend some time discussing how money factors into so many celebrations.
Humans love having reasons to celebrate the things they do: we spend a little time talking about things we do to celebrate accomplishments like finishing another novel or ending big projects at work (Christopher spent part of last weekend after a big project playing this in celebration of wrapping up a big thing at his job). Even though we have celebrated some strange things, there are some celebrations we just do not get...and we discuss them for a few minutes.
Even death has become a celebratory thing in its own way, with many swapping out "funeral" for "celebration of life." But is that just a fancy way of saying funeral...or are people really celebrating after one is gone for good?
If you listen regularly, you know we don't stay maudlin too long -- we jump from talking about death to...weird celebrations like this one. After discussing some of the stranger celebrations we know about, we move on to discussing how celebrations differ in other countries; i.e. is St. Patrick's Day the rowdy plastic green fest in Ireland as it is in America?
Finally, we close out the episode by talking about our favorite celebrations.
We'd love to hear what you think about celebrations in the comments...so have at it!
Wed, 26 March 2014
It's been a good week for comic books: Hellboy turned 20, and Neil Gaiman's latest Sandman story is out -- making it 25 years with still the occasional Morpheus story. It also marked the week when we thought, "How the hell did we get to 59 episodes and not talk about comic books?!"
We couldn't go another week without fixing that problem.
We kick off the episode talking about why comic book properties are so valuable in recent years before moving on to talking about why one comic book movie (Avengers) made more than the entire comic book industry in a year. With comic book characters becoming more mainstream, we harken back to the days when many hid their comic book fandom...or kept it secret in the hope it never blew up to something popular. Then we step even further back and talk about the first comic books we remember reading.
While in the past, we devote a bit of time to the first characters or series we really got into. After that, we talk about well done comic book adaptations to other media...and not-so-well done adaptations.
Want to know our favorite series and character of all time? Listen in (Christopher couldn't limit it to just one...and he cheats and adds something he forgot before this podcast even begins!) Next, we talk about certain pop-culture icons and their love of comics...to the point of even working in the industry (Kevin Smith writing Green Arrow, for example). Does that help or hurt the industry? Was Maus the point where comic books stopped being "just for kids"...or was it sooner or later -- and what do we feel signaled the change? When comics were mainly aimed at kids, what were the silliest story lines out there?
Find out where in their history we feel our favorite characters were tops...as well as the most underused character in comics. (We call this section, "An Ode to the Awesomeness that is Solomon Grundy." And some others, because -- again -- Christopher couldn't pick just one...)
We close the episode with two questions:
Wed, 19 March 2014
We've mentioned several times on the show how we were both afraid of everything as kids. But were we ever brave? Bravery and courage are this week's topics, beginning with our definitions or bravery and courage (i.e. are they the same thing?). From there, we move on to our first acts of bravery and courage.
But it's not all about us: we spend some time discussing why society seems to admire bravery so much before asking if we're a braver society now than our grandparents' generation? How about the generation coming up -- are we braver/more courageous than them?
Say "bravery" and so many people envision a soldier. Are soldiers brave by nature -- find out what we think. Say "bravery" to others, and it evokes an image of a guy saying "Hold my beer," before another trip to the emergency room. At what point does bravery cross the line into stupidity? Is there anything wrong with not being brave and opting for safety?
Near the end, it's back to us: find out the most courageous and then the bravest things we've ever done. We close the episode out with this question: "Do you think society will become more brave or less brave in the future?"
As always, we'd love it if you were brave enough to comment...or even leave a rating of review for Men in Gorilla Suits on iTunes or Stitcher.
Wed, 12 March 2014
You may have noticed that the entertainment industry kind of likes remaking things. Stuck for an idea -- why not reboot an existing property? It's been going on for longer than you probably think. Hell, many of Shakespeare's works were remakes!
We start off the episode talking about the first remakes we remember seeing. From there, we move on to discussing why we think movies and TV executives are quick to reboot old shows and remake the same movie over and over. Many remakes don't make their money back...so why do they keep coming back?
Next, we discuss the gritty reboot (think Cabbage Patch Kids done by Tarantino). What do we think about this kind of reboot -- and what are the best (and worst) gritty reboots we've ever seen? Find out what existing property we could not believe was made into a movie or TV show. Listen, and find out what existing property we would like to see remade.
The Internet is full of people coming unhinged when something they cherish is remade (Where the Red Fern Grows: The Revenge of Old Dan and Little Ann, Part VII!). But for all the whining, do reboots and remakes take something away from the original? ("The Ghost of Matlock and Indiana Jones team up with Shaggy and Scoob and solve mysteries. Corey Feldman is attached!")
Note about the sound: We had to record the last two episodes through Skype, so the quality is a bit lacking, but...sometimes that's what it takes to get a show out weekly. (Who knew we'd have an ice storm the day after it was 85 degrees one Saturday?) We might have to do one more Skype show before getting back to in-person with better sound...thanks for listening!
Wed, 5 March 2014
Wall Street and big bankers...power-hungry politicians...people all but rioting for big sales items in stores during the holiday season -- it seems like greed has reached new heights, but has it? Find out in this week's episode.
We begin with two questions:
After that, we discuss scams. Movies would have us believe that a big part of a scam is the challenge, but is that the case in the real world?
Greed manifests in ways some people don't consider. Jealousy is a kind of greed; we take a few moments to make our case for this and then discuss if we're the jealous types.
Greed has destroyed lives and toppled societies, but at what point in everyday life does greed become a destructive force? Can greed ever be a good thing?
Many say America as we know it was founded on greed -- is this the case? If so, just how intertwined is America's relationship with greed? Should we actually feel pity for greedy individuals, as though it were an addiction? And is it greedy to put one's needs before others?
Each year, many people read and watch versions of that Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Is Ebenezer Scrooge's epiphany realistic? Why has the story endured for such a long time?
We wrap up this episode discussing types of greed many might not consider greedy, before closing with this question: Is greed something that needs to be fixed...and if so, how do we fix it?
We're not greedy about letting you have your say -- feel free to share your thoughts about greed in the comments.
Wed, 26 February 2014
Think of all the things on your to-do list. Think about it in morning traffic. You're not even at work, but you're already thinking about all that waits for you. What about the things on yesterday's to-do list that you pushed to today? Then there are all the things you have to do after work, instead of doing the things you'd rather be doing. If reading this opening sounds familiar to you, this week's show is about something you're probably fighting: stress!
We kick it all off by discussing the first stress we remember experiencing. Then...
Stress sticks with humans. In the animal world, many animals stress in the moment of fighting or escaping and then go back to just existing. We don't do that; the more cognizant of the world around them and the possibilities contained in that world, the more stressed animals become. Humans top that list. So...we dedicate some time to talking about what separates us from other animals.
This isn't all about animals and other humans, though; we ask each other if we consider ourselves stressed individuals before discussing what actually stresses us out.
Then we move on to others, talking about how big we think stress of the unknown plays into a person's current stresses. Some people seem to be stress magnets, but when looking at them, they create unnecessary stress in their lives. We devote some time to why we think some people actively create unnecessary stress in their lives before moving on to this: "How much do you think lifestyle, or want for a particular lifestyle, plays into stress?"
It's not that we think stress is silly -- it's clearly a real thing for so many. If we lived in certain parts of the world, we'd definitely be more stressed. Fortunately, nobody is going to kick in our doors and execute us, so...we ask: what are valid stresses for those living in suburbia? After that, it's on to talking about how much things people can’t change affect stress. And it wouldn't be fair to close the episode out without asking how we can all defeat stress?
So settle back and breathe deeply -- it's not so bad. And...let us know what stresses you out in the comments.
Wed, 19 February 2014
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!