Fri, 28 April 2017
From 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:
Fri, 21 April 2017
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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!
Fri, 14 April 2017
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:
Wed, 5 April 2017
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!
Tue, 28 March 2017
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Here's what we talk about (Shawn made Christopher seriously laugh so hard he cried in this episode):
Tue, 21 March 2017
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...
Wed, 15 March 2017
If 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.
Tue, 7 March 2017
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!
Wed, 1 March 2017
You wake up in the dark. You don't want to get out of bed. You move in silence to the kitchen to remedy all that ails you with coffee.
Ah, the afternoon. The morning's coffee has worn off. Some return to coffee, but many others resort to tea.
Tea and coffee are the most popular drinks in the world following water. (And, some will argue, behind milk.) But even before sodas and juices, coffee and tea are kind.
Coffee and tea often fuel the Gorillamen, so...we dedicate this week to the beverages of the gods...
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Before we get to coffee and tea, though, a quick note. After 213 episodes, we're temporarily moving Men in Gorilla Suits to an every-other-week schedule. Christopher is moving his other podcast, Not about Lumberjacks, to an every-other-month schedule as he gets his current novel into readable shape. To allow him a bit more focus, we're adjusting the Men in Gorilla Suits schedule until Christopher is done with the book.
And then things will resume as usual.
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What we discuss this week:
Wed, 22 February 2017
Then we came up with a variety of names...just random things that sounded cool. Shawn liked Christopher's idea to call the show "Men in Gorilla Suits." And that triggered an idea in Shawn: to name every episode beginning with "Last Seen..." as though we are not only Men in Gorilla Suits, but FUGITIVES ON THE RUN in Gorilla Suits.
That's it...that's the idea behind it all. Well, that and, "We can just talk about a geeky topic a week..."
Of course, that idea could have gone nowhere without effort. But 212 episodes into the show, we're finally talking all about ideas!
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Here's what we discuss this episode: