Men in Gorilla Suits

Flower w/ Inspirational Saying - MiGS38 (Classic): Last Seen…Helping ThemselvesOh, 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_classic_03.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 12:53pm EDT

Empty swing - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 215: Last Seen…Being ChildlessA very busy week, so we'll get right to it. This week we are talking about being childless...

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Here's what we talk about (Shawn made Christopher seriously laugh so hard he cried in this episode):

  • Who was the first childless couple (or person) you knew?
  • Did it strike you as strange that they didn't have children?
  • When you were younger, did you think you'd have children when you got older?
  • We are both childless. Are you childless by choice or because of biological issues?
  • Have you encountered people who INSISTED you'd have children? (And how did you react?)
  • Have you ever been told, "But you can still adopt?"
  • Do you think your life lacks anything with the absence of children?
  • What are some advantages (and disadvantages) of not having children?
  • Millennials in America have been knocked for things as ridiculous as a decline in sales of bar soap. And a BIG criticism is they are not having children as much as previous generations. Why do you think that is?
  • Is it greedy to not have children?
  • Why do you think some are so insistent that others have children?
  • In the future, do you think we'll see more or fewer childless people?
Direct download: migs215.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Dinosaur among ruins - MiGS32 (Classic): Last Seen...Talking History

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...

Direct download: migs32_classic_02.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT

A field of Bluebonnets - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 214: Last Seen…Talking about TexasIf 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.

Direct download: migs214.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 1:05pm EDT

Classic Episode: MiGS16: Last Seen...Working Obsolete Jobs

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!

Direct download: migs16_classic_01.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT

Tea leaves and a cup of coffee - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 213: Last Seen…Drinking Coffee and Tea6:00 a.m.

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:

  • What's your first memory of coffee?
  • What's your first memory of tea?
  • When was the first time you remember having coffee?
  • When was the first time you remember having tea?
  • Do you have a preference: coffee or tea?
  • Why do you think coffee and tea are such popular drinks?
  • What's the best cup of coffee you've ever had?
  • What's the best cup of tea you've ever had?
  • Have you ever gone a long time not drinking coffee?
  • When it comes to iced tea: sweetened or unsweetened?
  • Do you think people rely on coffee and tea a bit too much?
  • What's the future look like for coffee and tea?
Direct download: migs213.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

Lightbulb - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 212: Last Seen…Talking about IdeasMen in Gorilla Suits started with an idea: "We should do a weekly podcast."

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:

  • What's the first original creative idea you remember having?
  • Where do you get your ideas?
  • Do you do anything with most of your ideas?
  • I've heard people say the ideas are the important part (i.e., I have the idea, you write the book, and we split the profits!). Do you agree?
  • How important are ideas?
  • What's the best idea you've ever had, creatively?
  • What about in life?
  • What's the worst, creatively?
  • In life?
  • Has anyone ever stolen your ideas?
  • What was the last idea you executed on?
  • What's more interesting: ideas or execution?
Direct download: migs212.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 10:21pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 211: Last Seen…Being Weird

Balloon faced woman - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 211: Last Seen…Being WeirdA list of the weird things we talk about this week...as we talk about...weirdness:

  • When did you first become aware of weirdness or weird people?
  • Have you ever been called weird?
  • Do you think you're weird?
  • I've met people who try to be weird. What would motivate a person to be weird – and does weirdness for the sake of weird work for you?
  • Who is the weirdest person you know?
  • What is the weirdest thing you've ever experienced?
  • Why are people attracted to weird things?
  • What are some of your favorite weird things?
  • Describe yourself when you were at your weirdest?
  • Can weird things ever become normal or even mainstream?
  • Over time, have you become more normal or more weird? (Why?)
  • Will there come a point where nothing is weird anymore?
Direct download: migs211.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 3:36pm EDT

Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 210: Last Seen…Talking about Talent

Violinist - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 210: Last Seen…Talking about TalentThis week's talking points:

  • What was the first talent you discovered you had?
  • What was the first talent you wish you had?
  • Can talent take the place of hard work and practice?
  • Can hard work and practice eventually trump talent?
  • Who is the most talented person you know?
  • Who is the hardest worker you know?
  • Is there one that's better than the other (talent vs. hard work)?
  • Which do you possess more of? Talent Or work ethic?
  • Is it better to be lucky than good?
  • Is it better to be good than prepared?
  • Is it better to be prepared than trained?
  • What's one talent you'd like to develop?
Direct download: migs210.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

Shawn as Dumbledore and Christopher as Snape - Men in Gorilla Suits Ep. 209: Last Seen…Talking about Fan FictionBusy week this week, but there was still time to turn us into Dumbledore and Snape for the episode art! Here's what we're talking about this week: Fan fiction!

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  • When did you first become aware of fan fiction?
  • Why do you think people create and consume fan fiction?
  • Do you consume much fan fiction? Why or Why not?
  • Have you written fan fiction?
  • If you could only write fan fiction -- and only from one property at that -- what would you choose to focus on?
  • Fan fiction has a bit of a reputation as being sub-par writing. Do you find that to be true?
  • More than a couple writers have taken issue with fan fiction from their work...while others don't care. As a writer yourself, where do you stand on that?
  • How much does emotion play into the success of a work of fan fiction?
  • All right, let's go there. Slash/shipping/whatever we're into this year. What's up with that?!
  • A lot of people have consumed fan fiction and not known it. Any examples of mainstream pieces of fan fiction.
  • What's your favorite work of fan fiction?
  • What's the future look like for fan fiction?
Direct download: migs209.mp3
Category:Pop Culture -- posted at: 9:54am EDT