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!
Wed, 12 February 2014
Some people do things because they enjoy it; others do things because they feel entitled. Like anything, entitlement can push one to greatness...or make them one of the most annoying people you may ever meet. This week, we feel entitled to talk about entitlement!
We start off chatting about whether or not we felt entitled to anything as kids, and if that changed as teenagers. It seems many believe entitlement is a feeling reserved for the young, but after talking about the past, we talk about the most entitled people we've ever met: adults!
With social media, everyone has a platform -- and many adults spend a lot of time online pushing their opinions on others. Are those people entitled to an audience no matter what they say, or are we within our own rights to shut the ranting poxmonkeys down? (Our answers, here, are probably pretty obvious by referring to the obnoxious blowhards demanding we listen as "poxmonkeys.")
Moving on from there, we discuss unsolicited criticism and ranting in general: why do people do this, and can any good come from it? Many believe anything said online is deserving of a contradicting rebuttal. When Popular Science removed comments from their website because they grew tired of recurring arguments derailing conversation, there was outcry. We take a moment to discuss why people feel so entitled to having their say, before moving on to asking if the Internet has contributed to a sense of entitlement to any and all opinions being thrown about with no regard to others. Often, with this kind of entitlement, anger lies at the root; we discuss the relationship between anger and a sense of entitlement.
Entitlement comes in all shapes and forms. If one wins the lottery, or even makes a lot of money on their own through hard work -- some family and others feel entitled to a cut. We share our thoughts about whether or not others are entitled to the fortunes of others.
Many creative people feel they are entitled to making a living doing what they love most, and that those who work cheaply (or for free) are not entitled to anything because they've undercut the way things have been done for years. We share our thoughts as writers on this, arguing that creative people are really nothing special and that to expect earning a living simply because you really love doing something is a strange sense of entitlement in its own right.
Politicians have done a great job in recent years branding things they don't like as "entitlements." We devote some time to discussing if these programs are good or bad...and if they are entitlements at all or simply basic rights. After that, we ask if humans are entitled to anything, simply for existing. Finally, we close the week's show by sharing what one thing we would make an entitlement if we had the power.
Despite all that's said in this episode, you're entitled to your opinions; feel free to share them in the comments.
Wed, 5 February 2014
One year ago, we loaded the very first episode of the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast. Since that day, we've produced a weekly show without fail...in large part because we live by our motto: "Chill the fuck out, and make the damn thing!" We've made 53 damn things so far, and have plenty more in store for year two. We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a year's worth of episodes than by talking about the power of taking it easy and making things you love.
We kick it all off by talking about our motto and discussing the things we've made since starting the podcast. Obviously, we've made 53 weekly shows, but we prove that if you just chill out and focus, there's time to make even more things that make you happy. After that, we talk about the best things we've ever made! (It's not surprising that those things are current things that came along, in part, since we really embraced our motto.)
It's easy to tell people to take it easy and make things, but we take it a step further by devoting some time talking about how we find time with busy schedules to make things. It's also interesting to us how the motto of taking it easy and making things has permeated our own lives...how something that just happened over the course of a couple episodes has now become a mantra we live by. We spend some time talking about others areas in our lives that have benefited positively by our motto. And since this is a one-year anniversary show and a new year for the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast, we talk about some of the things we plan to make in the next 52 weeks!
Our motto is broken into two parts (1. Chill the fuck out... 2. ...And make the damn thing!). We spend time talking about the first part of the motto, asking if we've found ourselves taking it easy even more since the motto came to be. After that, we devote some time to the most important thing the motto has done for us...and what personal improvement we've made as a result of making the Men in Gorilla Suits podcast.
Thank you all so much for listening to this show, and any others you've checked out! We would do the podcast regardless of who listens, but we push ourselves even more knowing there are people out there listening and replying. Big shout out to CM Stewart, whose replies are always very appreciated, interesting, and fun. We love the discussions that come out of doing shows as much as putting shows together, so please: always feel free to join in the discussion in the comments!
Wed, 29 January 2014
"Who are you?" seems like an easy question to answer, but it's often more difficult to sum up who you are quickly. Do you talk about where you were born and raised, or do you talk about work? Your hobbies, faith (or lack of faith), and other things that define you? Favorite foods, music, movies, and other things? We kick off this episode with this very question and discover that it's not so easy to sum up one's identity in an elevator speech.
Childhood undoubtedly plays a huge part of one's identity. We spend some time discussing the one experience from early in our lives -- more than any others -- that is responsible for who we are today. Next, we talk about other influences on who we are and what effect those influences have had on how we carry ourselves today...and how we interact with others.
Some people carry physical identifiers of who they are on their bodies. We talk about the tattoos we have, what they mean to us, and if we'd like to get more. From there, we ask if individuality is a western ideal -- a bigger thing in America than in other countries? History is full of countries that attempted to stifle individuality. Is there an advantage of a society that puts more stock in everyone together for everyone, or does it take a nation of individuals to make a nation work best?
Individuality is an ever-changing thing, even if one can be -- on some level -- the same good or bad person they've been since they are young. Even into adulthood, asking "What do you want to be when you grow up?" can bring what matters most to us to the surface. We ask each other what we still aspire to be. (It's a rare moment when something we say is something we believe should be what everyone aspires to be, but it's safe to say we both believe that Shawn's answer to this question should be everybody's answer.)
We wrap it all up asking each other is we turned out how we thought we would. Find out if we became the people our childhood selves thought we'd be...
As always, we'd love to hear your answers to any of the things discussed in this episode. Let's start with "Who are you...?"