Episode 15 – Stuff

This week’s Such a Crock podcast revolves around the crockery of STUFF. In many cases stuff is more trouble than its worth. Katherine opens with a prime example of precisely this sort of stuff quandary.

Honest Abe’s Topper – It’s just Stuff

She harkens back to the days of yore when the dapper Prez, Abraham Lincoln, sported an iconic beaver skin stovepipe hat. Today this hat serves as the foundation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum where people gaze upon it with ardor and amazement. Trouble is… it may not be Lincoln’s hat after all. Currently, an FBI investigation in progress holds the fate of this museum in its grasp. In fact, they may go bankrupt and close. Concerned? You can donate to their gofundme if you’re feeling generous.

Stuff #1 The hat in question, made of beaver skin and arousing doubt on its provenance.

 

 Hoarder or Collector of Stuff?

Next the duo discuss some funny personal touchstones about their opposite perspectives on stuff. In order to call it a crock, Michael had to dig DEEP into the recesses of our culture’s worst case scenarios. In other words, hoarders. He horrifies Katherine with tales of hoarding insanity including a woman who not only filled her house with fifty live cats but also 75-100 dead ones, many which she liquified. He also provides an instance of a woman collecting garbage out of dumpsters and then destroying the family fridge with her “collection”.

Comic Books – Controversial Stuff

Katherine and Michael talk a bit about his collections of magic cards and comic books which makes for a fantastic segue-way into the next topic. Comic aficionado, Michael tells the story of Nicholas Cage’s copy of Action Comics #1. It’s a fascinating tale of a rare comic that portrays the introduction of the world’s first superhero for the very first time – Superman. Cage had the comic framed and up on his wall when it was stolen along with some other framed rare comics. Years later the comic appeared in a storage locker and was then sold at auction in 2011 for more than $2million.

Stuff #2 Nicholas Cage cries himself to sleep missing this comic

Michael sees this as evidence that comics can be worthwhile investments. He sees it a validation of “collectors”. Katherine sees it as yet another example of how ownership is a transitory relationship; things don’t last no matter how tightly we cling to them. They get stolen, they deteriorate, and we get bored of them, etc.

Minimalism – You Don’t Need Stuff!

Katherine then lists her incredibly non-judgmental reasons why living a minimalist lifestyle can help make your life better. She’s a big believer in this way of life and highly recommends it. In fact, if you’d like to check it out for yourself, try the movie Minimalism: A Documentary on Netflix or Amazon.com. These guys are drinking the same Kool Aid Katherine purveys and are just as happy and preachy about it as she is.

Stuff #3 See the movie! It’s fab and free!

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Expertise

Episode 13 – Expertise

Michael and Katherine get excited, impassioned even, to share their contrasting views on the crocktacular topic – Expertise.

 
 
 
 
 
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First Katherine comforts all those alleged “experts” out there with their fancy degrees, medals, and framed certificates. Nobody wants to take away these accolades! Relish them. Achievements are rad. That’s a given. Thing is, as cool as they are, such accomplishments only take you so far. In the constantly evolving world we all share, sometimes that expertise can calcify and get old fast if the “expert” doesn’t adjust as needed. But issues of expertise aren’t just the fault of stodgy old farts who are unwilling to learn new things and apply them to their wheelhouse. After all, our culture puts experts on pedestals only to abruptly knock them off for kicks.

Let the Expertise Debate Commence!

The debate between Katherine and Michael launches into full effect from this point forward in the expertise crockcast. Michael claims that experience is for losers, not experts and that he cares only about execution and accountability on the job. These matter much more to him than experience when he’s hiring. Michael even speculates that maybe office jobs shouldn’t require bachelor degrees as the standard minimum when hiring anymore.

While Katherine agrees about the BA becoming less crucial, she disagrees about experience. It’s not so lame, she claims. She cites elite athletes such a marathon runners, with many miles of experience behind them before they can compete at a level that qualifies as expertise. In fact, on the very day of this podcast recording, the world marathon record was broken in Berlin by Olympian, Eliud Kipchoge. This is a runner with true expertise AND lots of experience. He won the London marathon for the third time earlier this year, for instance.

Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record!

Expertise Claims to Fame

Michael expresses skepticism at the notion of expertise without outcomes to show for it. He says “show me the money, baby!” But few can actually back up their claims for expertise in Michael’s experience. On this same note, Katherine chimes in that this is all the more reason to seek expertise, to get those accolades and then nobody can take them away. Do it for the markers, in other words.

Those same outcomes that prove to Michael some semblance of worthwhile ability also serve as self esteem boosters along the road of life. That way when someone like Michael says, “Show me what you can do,” you’ve got something tangible to show. Otherwise claiming expertise is just pissing in the wind. Michael thinks this particular brand of urination caused our culture’s current crisis of conscience when it comes to hiring and assessing resumes.

The Scientific Method & Replication

Katherine does a quick shtick on the Scientific Method and why it’s come more into question these days. She discusses the process thanks to this handy dandy chart below:

Thanks for the chart ScienceBuddies.org!

As illustrated in the method, a crucial element of science is the process of reproducing experiments again after they’re initially done. Thing is, this happens less and less these days because there’s nothing fun and sexy about redoing somebody else’s experiment. Thus, the process of science is in a static state. Katherine cites some tweets scientists passed back and forth on this topic were they bemoan the lack of replication studies. Fact is, without them, the whole notion of scientific expertise lies in peril.

How did the Dinosaurs Die?

Michael then waxes nostalgic for the days of dinosaurs and their sad sad demise. He talks about how the wholly accepted theory that an asteroid destroyed them may just be knocked out by an expert named Gerta. She’s a fascinating character all on her own.

In fact, she might just be the most interesting person in the world, according to MichaelJ. That’s namely because Gerta was the impetus for the nastiest fight in all of academia. Thanks to her expertise as a Paleontologist Princeton Prof she presented an alternate theory to the cause of dinosaur mass extinction in The Atlantic Monthly.

Heartfelt Wrap-up

Katherine quotes Paris Hilton and then summarizes with a passionate plea along the lines of a Jerry Springer “Final Thought”. Thus, the notion of expertise is put to bed for the podcast and it’s time to try something new. This week Michael presents Katherine with a tasty treat test. Luckily she passes the test AND gets some yumtacular goodness in the process.

We hope you’re having as much fun with Such a Crock as we are! To show your support and share the love, Subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts then follow us on Instagram  and our fledgling Twitter could use a boost too! Thank you for supporting the CrockCast. We love you guys! Direct Download

Espionage

Episode 11 – Espionage

Espionage is the coolest – we get it. But it also represents lots of crocktacular acts… things like stealing your boss’s computer or pretending to be something you aren’t. So, Michael and Katherine focus on the crocks while still keeping all the sexy fun parts in their spy stories.

Spy Turned Beat Cop

As sexy as espionage may seem, some spies can’t stand it. For instance, Michael shares the story of Patrick Skinner. As a CIA agent working in Afghanistan, Skinner threw it all away and came back home to become a beat cop. It’s likely the catalyst for this extreme lifestyle shift was a great loss he suffered when his dear friend, a fellow agent, died on the job in Afghanistan.

All the grieving etc. got Skinner thinking that beat cops contribute more to make the world a better place than a CIA agent on the other side the world. Some might say that’s the biggest crock of all… but it certainly helps Skinner sleep at night. So, who are we to judge? Just a coupla crocksters.

Espionage = Corporate Competitive Intelligence

Katherine shares a story from the mid-90s when she worked in advertising and got swept into shifty corporate shenanigans. Although KFlo has never been much of a “good girl” sometimes even the naughtiest of us have to do what’s right. After all, who better to unmask a heathen than a fellow barbarian? Ever wondered what happens when competitive intelligence wins and loses clients in a corporate environment? Listen to this part of the podcast… shhhhhhh.

The Culper Ring

Spying seems like a modern phenomenon but Michael shares the fascinating story of the Revolutionary War spy ring. Under orders from General George Washington, this batch of spies were the first American intelligence agents.

They did crucial work during the war including revealing Benedict Arnold. Surprisingly they not only had a female member but also Hercules Mulligan, owner of the coolest name in the those early American days of yore. The Culper Ring prevented assassinations and protected our beautiful country in her infancy. So, what’s the crock? Well, Michael’s attempt at rapping the Hamilton lyrics relevant to the Culper Ring probably counts as a crock.

Famous & Fabulous False Fronts

Ya think you know someone… but do you? Not according to history. Even celebrities with lots of biographies and articles written about them have secret lives. Thus, Katherine discusses four examples from the WWII era when many famous people secretly worked as spies. These people were uber celebrities that kept their secret spy lives on the down low. Curious who they are? Check out the podcast to find out more. The stories might surprise you.

Best Part of all… Spying Creates Jobs, Baby

What’s the bright side to all this? Michael points out that there’s a major gap in our culture right now with a need for cybersecurity.  In fact, pretty much anyone with a certificate in cybersecurity can get a job in a flash these days. What feels better than being wanted? Well, here’s your ticket to being the MOST desirable candidate on the block. Get yourself an online certificate in cybersecurity and then watch your phone blow up and those emails come rolling in!

We love bringing you Such a Crock each week. So, if you’re having fun too please subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts and follow us on Instagram. Thank you for supporting the CrockCast!

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Cults

Episode 8 – Cults

Cults are SUCH A CROCK

Monday, August 13th…

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Michael and Katherine explore the crock of Cults with a variety of insights. K kicks it off with the Merriam Webster definition and both agree it’s too vague to be helpful.

So, what would be helpful? Katherine has asked herself, “Am I in a cult?” at least a few times… and not just in spinning class. She offers a list of ways to use as a guide when faced with that crucial question.

Many are drawn from a CBS News online article which interviews cult expert, Steve Echoil, head of the International Cultic Studies Association. As Katherine ponders the list, the duo discuss examples of each item as it applies to their own experiences.

In fact, Michael joins the cult discussion with a fond memory from childhood – the world of Dungeons and Dragons. Turns out it was Such a Crock when propaganda pamphlets in his small town pointed to his beloved D&D as a training ground for occult practices.

Check out this cartoon at Chick Publications

But as Katherine and Michael point out, the 80s were rife with accusations of cult practices and devil worship. Such fears were as common in 80s pop culture as parachute pants and Annie perms.

Speaking of the 80s, Katherine just finished watching the wondrous TV show The Americans, a 1980s period piece about Russian spies in the USA. She mentions it because the organization EST, oft called a cult, plays a major role in the show. Turns out EST actually helped lots of people and doesn’t really qualify as a cult.

Michael then brings the cult talk to the finish line with an actual real life cult currently in the news.  Nxivm, pronounced (Nex-ee-um) has been around for about a decade and makes headlines on the reg. That’s not just because they brand their members but also because they have some celebrities all up in there. In fact, that’s exactly what piqued Michael’s interest – a certain Smallville actress who is currently out on bail for Nxivm naughtiness.

Learn lots more with a listen to our podcast this week. It’s a crock that’s chock full of silliness and cult-like experiences. You might learn something but it’s fun to listen along either way.

As always, we’d love you to subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts or followed us on Instagram. Thanks for listening!

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Living a Lie

Episode 2 – Living a Lie

Welcome to Episode 2: Living a Lie for our podcast Such a Crock! this week.

In this episode we discuss the troubling, ever present phenomenon of…

Because Living a Lie is Such a Crock 🔪🎼🍼🍔

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We kick off with a shocking story, then shift into a bit buzzing in recent news outlets. Living a Lie is SUCH A CROCK!

l. Living a Lie Hardcore Style

Almost every day, Katherine sees men in fancy suits snoring on park benches.

One of the sleeping suits I’ve seen on the piers… overcoat and all

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Recalling a similar story, she rockets this week balls-to-the-wall in our first segment. The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception by Emmanuel Carrere serves as inspiration for our first “living a lie”. And it’s a doozy. This particular crock might just be a shock to some because it escalates from a bench nap to a much darker place.

L’Adversaire (The Adversary), Emmanuel Carrère book, 2000

ll. Living a Lie Bad Girlfriend Style

Michael’s story tells of rising clarinet superstar Eric Abramovitz. Abramovitz met then-girlfriend Jennifer Lee while they were students at McGill University. Apparently Jennifer didn’t want him to move away, so when Eric won a prestigious scholarship… She prevented him from taking it. This brilliant young artist did not live a lie of his own making. Lee compromised Eric’s email account. Then she deleted his acceptance letter, and forged multiple replacements… All on the way to costing him a prestigious scholarship worth over $50,000 per year.

The Abramovitz story was widely reported. Here’s a version from the Paper of Record:
The NY Times: A Clarinetist’s Girlfriend Didn’t Want Him to Leave. So She Crushed His Dreams.

lll. Living a Lie Baby-Making Style

Katherine’s childhood heroes Janet Jackson (50) and Bridgitte Nielsen (54) are having babies… And they’re not the only mid life ladies doing this. Gorgeous Rachel Weisz also joins the baby-making party at 48 and so are tons of not-so-famous women. In fact, it’s a trend, and not just in the USA.

Turns out advice from your doc may be the crock in this case. For many years doctors have told women to “hurry up and have kids!” They’ve characterized fertility as a ticking time bomb. But meanwhile, recent relevant data doesn’t back up this claim. Thus, many women have made major life decisions based on recommendations that aren’t timely or relevant to their actual lives. That’s such a crock! Don’t you think?

Further Reading:

Listen now!

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Thanks so much for listening during this period of growing pains for Such a Crock! We’re excited to bring you crocks and chuckles every Monday.

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