Thu, 4 September 2014
Don't let Shawn and Christopher singing part of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" scare you away from this week's show. This week is all about cover tunes, so singing just had to happen.
(Yes, there is more than just "Freebird." You'll get bits from these Neil Diamond tunes: "Sweet Caroline," "Coming to America," and "Turn on Your Heartlight." Shawn busts out "Let's Stay Together," by Al Green, and Christopher impersonates Jello Biafra doing "Viva Las Vegas." Shawn gives us Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," and we both sing a line from the dreadful "Pina Colada Song." Also, hear Shawn do James Brown's "Living in America" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine).")
Now that we've scared you away, on to the show description...
We begin by talking about the first cover tunes we ever heard and then go into the appeal of cover tunes.
Some say cover bands just copy and make money from other artists. Is that true; do they deserve the bad rap, or can a good cover band capture an experience that may be too expensive or no longer possible to attend? Is it smarmy to make money from another artist's work?
MTV had a hit with its show, Unplugged -- in which bands played acoustic sets. It's common for a cover band to take a louder song and turn it acoustic. What is it about going acoustic/unplugged that just seems to work with many cover tunes? Is it really as simple as shifting a loud tune soft, or a soft tune loud -- or does it take something more to do a great reinterpretation of a song many know and love?
YouTube has made it very easy for bands to gain attention through cover tunes. Find out our thoughts about covering songs to bring attention to yourself.
Can a cover tune be better than the original? We sure think so -- and we share the tunes we believe have achieved this. Then: a 60-second lightning round in which we name all our favorite cover tunes. After that, we discuss songs that we feel could never be properly covered or reinterpreted.
We wrap it up with two questions:
We mentioned that we'd post a link to the song Christopher wants to hear covered. Here it is, Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks - "Lock Up Your Daughters"
Not a cover, but the mashup of Justin Bieber and Slipknot we mentioned.
We'd love to hear which cover tunes you think are good, bad, and ugly in the comments below.
Wed, 27 August 2014
This week, we're talking about addiction.
We begin by talking about the first time we became aware that addiction was a thing. Not necessarily that it was good or bad -- just that it existed. From there, we move on the the first addict we ever knew.
We then discuss if either of us have ever faced an addiction -- and if so, have we overcome them?
When people hear the word "addict," their minds usually go to someone using very hard drugs. We ask this: is "hard drug" addiction really any different than more common addictions, like alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine? Can someone use a hard drug recreationally? What makes some people addicts, while others can use for a while and then move on?
We often talk about media on the podcast; this week we ask how addiction is portrayed in the media: better, worse, or the same as real life? After that, we wonder if there is such a thing as a functional addict.
Non-substance addiction also hooks some people (things like shopping, television, gambling, etc.). Are those things as damaging as substance abuse? Next, we talk about the commonality among addicts.
We wrap it up with a short, but serious question: is there an answer to addiction?
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments below!
Wed, 20 August 2014
Christopher thought for sure that a show titled Generations would result in Shawn spiraling into Star Trek talk, but somehow we avoided that. Instead, we spent an hour talking about generational differences -- mainly focusing on Millennials, Gen X, the Baby Boomers, and our grandparents' generation. Truly an episode that has something for everyone.
We kicked it off by asking which generation we consider ourselves to be part of...as well as some of the traits of the generations. From there, we talked about how our generation differs from our parents' generation and our grandparents' generation.
While there have always been differences with each new generation, there was a time when those born of the generation before were not too much different: they often listened to the same music, had the same goals, and just did what those who came before them did. Somewhere along the way in the 1900s, that trend changed. We devote some time to discussing what influenced those changes.
It seems inevitable that there comes a point in one's generation where they look at those behind them, shake their heads, and shout, "You damn kids get off my lawn!" (Okay, maybe just metaphorically.) Ours is a generation that seemed to swear we would never do that, but a quick scan of Facebook reveals we're becoming "those older people." We ask if the pull toward becoming a curmudgeon is natural as we age and...if we feel ourselves becoming crusty old men before our time.
After that, we talk best and worst: best and worst traits of our generation, our parents' generation, and our grandparents' generation.
There is a generation nipping at our heels: the Millennials. We devote some time to discussing if they deserve the bad rap they get (coddled, no attention span, wanting to be praised for ordinary tasks), or if that's just an unfair perception of other generations on them. Continuing the Millennials talk, we move on to what we think are the best and worst traits of Millennials.
It's not uncommon for an older generation to look down at the generations after them and say, "They're just not that bright..." Looking at reality television, people attached to their smart phones, and other distractions, many say we are getting dumber as a species. Is that true, though?
We wrap up the episode with this question: "What do you think the generation being born right now will be like in the future?"
As always, we'd love to hear what you think about this topic. Have your say in the comments below!
Wed, 13 August 2014
Ask many people what constitutes a subculture, and some will say people on the outskirts of society. But...just by listening to this episode, we'd argue that you're part of a subculture. Despite all the talk about podcasting being mainstream, it still hasn't broken through. It's still its own little thing.
If you like a particular style of music, attend a specific kind of church, work at a certain kind of talent...you're probably part of a subculture. So what is a subculture? We begin this week's episode discussing exactly that.
From there, we move on to discussing if we consider ourselves part of a subculture -- and if so, which ones? After that, we talk about what happens when a subculture becomes mainstream. Does a subculture inherently lose something when it becomes widely embraced?
We take a step back to discuss the first subculture we remember seeing and then move on to the subcultures that interest us the most. Are there any subcultures we just don't get? Listen and find out! Also: Are the subcultures of youth today really different than they've been in the past?
We dedicate some time to what draws people to subcultures, before discussing if subcultures can be damaging -- even dangerous -- to their members. After that, we talk about subcultures that don't exist that we'd like to see.
We close out the episode with this question: "If you had to live the rest of your life surrounded by only the members of one subculture, which one would you choose?"
Take part in podcasting/blogging subculture and leave a comment below!
Sun, 10 August 2014
Remember that time we dedicated an entire episode to Star Trek? It's one of our faves...and Christopher isn't a die-hard Trek fan. (He became a fan through his wife and friends who love the shows.)
Before and after each podcast, we record our chatter to get material for the little drops we do after the outro music each episode. This time around, we ended up talking enough about Star Trek that it's become a supplemental, 15-minute episode on its own. So here it is in all its glory!
The first minute is all about snoring, but then the Trek talk begins. Somewhere in there, Shawn brings up a Riker boner.
Later, we talk about the skin-tight suits, and Shawn reminds us all of the toilet-clogging prowess of Bolians.
That's what you're missing if you don't listen!
Wed, 6 August 2014
It's a topic that will never die in America -- perhaps because it's a huge part of America's identity: immigration. Recently, immigration is back on the news in the states, as children from Central America are being held at the border. Like the hatred of immigrants from China, Italy, Ireland, and other places in the past, many vilify an entire group of people as a massive burden on America. It's something that interested us enough to dedicate an entire show to immigration; after all, most of us aren't more than a couple generations away from coming to America ourselves.
We begin by asking each other where our ancestors lived before coming to America. After that, we get into how far removed we are from someone coming to America in our own families. Want to know what influences from other places we remember as kids? Listen and find out -- as well as finding out if any of those influences still linger.
When most people think about immigration today, they think of people coming into the states from the south. We live in Texas, a state that has the longest border with Mexico. In our politics to the state’s culture, things from south of the border play a big role in Texas. Find out if we think we benefit from our neighbors to the south...or if they are they a problem!
Sticking to that mentality of branding an entire people...some people think the wall between the US and Mexico can’t be tall enough; others say we should have completely open borders. Find out where we stand. (Spoiler: We lean toward compassion.)
Want to know how immigrants have affected the neighborhoods in which we live? Listen and find out! Also: once here, some believe immigrants should give up their cultural identity and become one with the Melting Pot that [supposedly] is America. Is there truth to that, or are we Americans because we have kept some of who we once were with us into the future?
Pundits and politicians frame stories about immigration in the hope of getting others to think like they think at any cost. Where does our view of immigration come from? We share that answer and then talk about the coolest [non-family] immigrant we've ever known.
What do we think is the short-term and long-term future of immigration? We talk about that before asking: will there be a day where we’ve ventured into the universe, but still keep that, “Those damn Maxillians…coming to Ameraxis and ruining our way of life!” mentality?
Climb, tunnel beneath, or go through the comment fence and let us know what you think abut immigration!
Wed, 30 July 2014
It took 78 episodes before the mistake happened. With no backup sound, we lost an entire episode. Lesser podcasters would have rerecorded, but we...we built a time machine! We traveled back in time and rerecorded this episode. The fact you are listening is proof!!!
Then we were all like, "Why share the secret to the Israel/Palestine conflict -- let's talk about time travel!
And so, that is what we did...
We kick the episode off asking each other if we believe it will one day be possible for humans to travel through time? (Spoiler: we do!) Then we go back in time to our youths, asking when the very concept of time travel was introduced to us.
Humans love time travel stories, and we move on to the best time travel fiction we've come across!
For some, though, time travel is not fiction -- it's "real." We then discuss the best claim of "true" time travel we've heard. Then, moving on and forgetting what we meant to talk about, we traveled back into this very podcast to talk about the worst time travel story. (Poor Superman!)
Time travel is fun to think about, but if it were real -- and people knew it existed -- it would be a pain in the ass. If you don't think so, listen to us talk about the societal implications of time travel. Then we move on to the most interesting time travel theories we've heard.
Most time travel stories take great liberties with the physics of time travel. We dedicate time to the dangers of time travel popular fiction rarely considers.
Want to know where we would visit if we could travel through time with the very time machine we made to record this episode? Find out! And stick around to see which historical figure we'd pull from the past to the present...and what we'd show them in modern times.
Finally, we wrap it up with this question: If you had to travel to another time in the past, but the trip was one-way, where would you choose?
Even if you don't have a time machine, by replying in the comments below, you can lock down your moment in time. We'd love to hear what you thought of this episode and any answers to the questions posed in this show.
Wed, 23 July 2014
"You're either with us, or against us."
Christians are right. No, Muslims are right! No, atheists are right!!! NO, SCIENTOLOGISTS ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My politician is better than your politician. My sports team is better than your sports team. East Coast/West Coast!
Polarization. Us vs. Them. Is it tearing us apart? That's what we're talking about this week.
We begin with our first memories of "Them" as the opposition. Find out what "Them" we feared as kids. Then we talk about why so many big-issue topics are framed as "Us vs. Them" -- and how driving the urge to take sides is for humans.
There are some strange Us vs. Them arguments out there, and we devote some time to that before discussing how much the Internet has played into this mentality.
Next, we move on to what we see as the most dangerous polarized topic out there right now, before stepping back a little bit and discussing Us vs. Them in the geek community.
We get it: sometimes it's hard to not get dragged into these battles. We discuss Us vs. Them battles we've been pulled into, and then we talk about those we actually agree with.
We close this week's episode with this question: What's the solution to stopping such polarizing views?
So take a side and tell us we're wrong or right in the comments below...because, apparently, there can be no middle ground. Even though that's really what this week's show is all about.
Wed, 16 July 2014
It's easy to look at other times in history and think, "Man, I would have loved to have been alive back then to see all those new things come to be," or "Things were so much simpler back then." (Back in the times a papercut could mean a life-threatening infection.)
It's often only after we've lived through a time that we can see it for what it was. The Gorillamen would argue that we live in the most interesting times...in part, because we've never seen a boom in technology like we have today. We are one with machines...and it will probably only become moreso in the future. That's what we're talking about this week.
We begin by stepping back 20 years, to 1994, and asking what our impression of high tech was back then. Then we step back to 1984 and ask what machines we interacted with at the time. Leap back to 1994 to discuss what machines we interacted with then.
Once we lay that down, we compare 1964 - 1984 in terms of technology, and then 1994 to today, to see which saw the most growth in new tech.
We've always interacted with technology, even if the "tech" was just a rock used to break something open. Today, though, the tech is far more advanced, and there's no denying we've given a lot of our thinking over to computers. We talk a bit about how much time each day we spend interacting with a "smart" machine (computer, smartphone, tablet).
As we stated in the opening, we often don't see what's right in front of us as it's happening. We devote a bit of time to where we think our interaction with machines will be in 20 years.
We wrap the episode up with two questions:
So jump on your machine and let us know what you think about all this in the comments below...
Wed, 9 July 2014
It's a rare topic we're apprehensive to talk about, but there was a little, "Hmmm...are we really the best people to discuss religion?" in the air when we started this one. If you listen, you know that Christopher is a life-long atheist and that Shawn is agnostic. Maybe not the best people to talk about religions and sacred beliefs. Or...are we?
We begin by defining what we mean when we talk about "religion" -- and then we discuss why we think people are religious. From there, it's only fair to establish if we are now, or have ever been, religious people.
Next, we talk about what we think is the best thing about religion...and the worst thing about religion. From there, we talk about our thoughts on those who are not religious.
Anyone with an Internet connection knows there are those out there -- religious and not religious -- trying to win others over to their sides. Find out if we think that's worthwhile...or just a wasted effort? (Also, you will hear what might be the funniest/craziest attempted conversion story you will probably ever hear.)
The Quran contains over 530 instances of cruelty and violence; The Bible has over 1300! Wars have been launched in the name of religion for centuries. Is religion dangerous? (Find out where we stand.)
As polarized as many have become, some say science and religion cannot coexist. But...can they? We spend some time talking about that before addressing another sweeping statement that's not too hard to find online: has atheism and a strong trust in science become its own kind of religion?
Many have said that without religion there would be no morals. Find out if we believe that is true? (Hint: Shawn tells Christopher that he's one of the most moral people he knows.) Many others have come to say in recent years, "I'm not religious--I'm spiritual." We discuss that before talking about what we find to be the weirdest religions.
And we wrap up this week's episode posing this question to each other: "If you had to pick a religion to follow, what would you pick?"
As always, the comments are your playground -- have fun!