Episode 41 – The Last Hurrah

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Happy Cinco de Mayo! Time to blast it to the rafters, baby. Tomorrow I can start clean living. Today’s the Last Hurrah! We’ve all been there – binging right before we begin a clean slate. Last time, I swear. I’m gonna live so differently after this. I’m gonna be so damn good. ‪Thing is… that’s not really how life works. ‬ It’s Such a Crock. ———————————————————————Tune in for the CrockCast tomorrow night at our link in bio. Or listen to Such a Crock on your podcast app. #crockcast #podcast #lasthurrah #cincodemayo #cleanslate #cleanliving #doover #freshstart #binge #binging #gooutwithabang #extreme #ramadan #vacationmindset #diet #diets #justchill

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The Last Hurrah is Such a Crock! Crockcasters discuss Mardi Gras, timeshares, and the TV show Lost to show why. Welcome to our forty-first episode of the Such a Crock podcast!

This week we are focused on “the last hurrah” … That feeling of wanting to slide in on an opportunity before a big “something” happens. Whether it’s a shopping spree before moving to a less cosmopolitan area or an untamed bachelor party, the last hurrah is SUCH A CROCK.

To get you in the mood for this week’s topic, why not give Bebe Rexha a listen? Her music video is appropriately titled!

Cinco de Mayo – Opposite of Ramadan

We recorded this episode on the fifth of May; so one day after Star Wars Day.

Katherine noted that this was a kind of happy accident, with the Mexican holiday of feasting, parades, and music bumping up against the famous month of Muslim fasting. She wondered if Muslims do a kind of “last hurrah” before the big month, and explored various religious traditions and how they approach fasting.

Mixing some stories of her own childhood or college-aged excess in with the sometimes complicated cultures of self-denial across many world religions, she leaves the topic with a kind of beautiful thought.

We don’t normally like rain, but if you aren’t allowed to drink water all day, mightn’t you love a little sun shower?

If you’d like to learn more about fasting itself, check out this article at Britannica.

What Makes Mardi Gras a Crock?

Riffing on Katherine’s idea, Michael talks about Fat Tuesday — better known as Mardi Gras — the famous “last hurrah” for Catholics before the start of Lent.

Lent is a forty-day period in preparation for Easter. Starting on the fasting day Ash Wednesday, Catholics are supposed to not eat meat on Fridays for about forty days… Which is way less hardcore than some of the religions Katherine talked about in her section.

What makes Mardi Gras a crock is around some of our perception of it, and the culture of New Orleans.

Like… If I say “Mardi Gras” what comes to mind?

For many, it’s wild and drunken parties; or girls flashing their breasts for colorful beads.

It turns out that you don’t necessarily have to flash to get beads! That rumor is SUCH A CROCK!

In fact, it’s only one part of New Orleans that’s super wild at Mardi Gras. Other parts might offer beads if you just ask for them. Who knew?

But most insidious?

At a New Orleans blog, he learned these tidbits:

“A lot of those guys who look like drunken frat boys on Bourbon Street are really carrying badges,”

and

“… flashing in the family-oriented Garden District, for example, is likely to get you free room and board at Orleans Parish Prison. And dropping one’s trousers in the street is ill-advised in any area.”

Can we rely on anything any more?

What about timeshare salesmen?

Vacation Mindset is SUCH A CROCK

Katherine shares with the world her crazy mindset shift when going on vacation.

Michael talks about entering a parallel universe where he doesn’t care about prices the second he enters the airport.

And then there was the time with the timeshares. Okay, two times.

In order to get favorable pricing on Hawaiian vacations, our intrepid duo may have, on a couple of occasions, agreed to sit in on timeshare sales pitches. We won’t ruin Katherine’s story here, but just know she had previously thought Michael the more rational one.

What about timeshares themselves? Are they SUCH A CROCK, too?

Let’s ask the experts!

The Finn Law Group, which specializes in timeshares, posted some eye-opening statistics on their website. What do you think?

  • The average rescission rate is 15% – essentially identical to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare following a sales presentation
  • 85% of all buyers regret their purchase, citing reasons including money, fear, confusion, intimidation, and distrust
  • 41% of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but ended up doing so; 30% were neutral prior to buying, but came to regret their decision
  • 95% of all buyers go back to their resort and sales team for more information after the sale, usually within one to three days, seeking more information about maintenance fees, resale options, and pricing alternatives

So… confusion, regret, buyer’s remorse, and good old intimidation.

If you think timeshares are SUCH A CROCK, though, wait until you get a load of Michael’s story about people who lived in Hawaii for six years.

That’s right!

It’s about Lost.

The Finale of Lost was SUCH A CROCK. Literally.

Lost was the definition of the big budget, widely watched, appointment television show. The pilot alone cost 14 million dollars, and even the White House pressed pause when the show came on each week.

Unfolding for six seasons, Lost was a unique combination of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and other dramatic genres. At its best it was beautifully constructed, and half the fun was watching the secrets of the show — so carefully hidden for those six years — unfold.

So when the series finale didn’t answer every question, some fans were understandably miffed. The Lost finale as it aired on ABC was polarizing. Some critics thought it was the best episode of the season; others, like Salon.com, put it in the worst finales of all time category.

Like it, don’t like it… Doesn’t matter. Our whole concept of this last visit to the island was SUCH A CROCK!

Why? It wasn’t actually the end.

I mean, the episode was called “The End” but it wasn’t the actual end. Another episode, twelve minutes of question-answering long, is featured on the DVD set alone.

So Michael gets all excited that maybe it’s on Hulu, as there is an extended length version of “The End” up there; just long enough to be it.

He leaves the podcast ready to find out if it is true.

It isn’t

BUT!

We tracked down the final twelve minutes on YouTube. We hope it’s everything you ever dreamed of (or will at least answer a question or two about polar bears or Walt):

Thanks as always for supporting us! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or just give this episode a listen:

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Episode 31: Scams

It comes as no surprise that scams are a crock. Still many scams are full of shockers. So, Michael and Katherine are psyched to share some especially stunning examples.

Heart healthy?

Heart Healthy or Scam Stealthy

Michael kicks off the Crockcast with a scam close to the heart – heart health, to be specific. It’s all about oatmeal. On many oatmeal packages and ads of all kinds, there’s a claim about heart health. But it turns out this claim is really just a scam. Many packaged oatmeals include added sugar and process out much of the fiber present in raw oats.

Funny how simply putting oats into packaging adds levels of BS to a formerly innocent product. Sure, packaging adds value to a product. But only in that it enhances the company sales pitch. It can actually decrease the value to the consumer. That’s because packaging often scams consumers with misleading claims.

Fyre Festival Fracas


Katherine packs the middle for the podcast this week with a topic that’s twice-the-size. She does double duty with the fascinating story of the ultimate millennial scam, the 2017 Fyre Festival. Creators, Billy McFarland and JaRule took about 10,000 millennials for a scam-soaked ride.

This video along with instagram posts and tweets from the models inviting fans to join them “at the Fyre Festival” was all it took to sell out the entire event in 48 hours. Impressive salesmanship on the part of Billy McFarland. He was, in fact, a brilliant salesman. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit too fond of booze, delusional lies, and blinding oneself to harsh realities with “positivity”.

This video portrays the potential Fyre Festival as a gorgeous, luxurious experience. But the festival reality manifested all these promises on the flip side – the dark side. We’re talking cheese sandwiches instead of sushi and hurricane survival tents rather than the promised villas. Listen to the CrockCast – Scams to hear the rest of this scintillating scam story.

Scam New Parents = Child’s Play!

New parents are notorious for neurotic tendencies. Blame it on lack of sleep, desperation, or even just the chaos of infancy, but new parents are suckers. They especially fall for products that claim to solve problems. Case in point, the wedge. Click here for a NY Times article all about it.

Turns out this piece of foam, often sold to new parents in the hospital when their baby is born and are most vulnerable, is a scam. Hospitals charge up to $150 for these useless wastes of money. Check out the CrockCast this week to hear all about it.

Share the Crock Love

Thanks for letting us bring you Such a Crock every Monday of the month! Please help us out by showing your support and sharing the love. Just Subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts then follow us on Instagram. Also, our fledgling Twitter can really use a your attention and love. Send us tweets and we’ll tweet back atcha loud and proud! Thank you for all your Crocktastic support. We appreciate and love you mucho!

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Ghosts

Episode 20 – Ghosts

This week’s Crockcast explores ghosts of many kinds. Turns out that even though they may not exist in the corporeal sense, ghosts can inhabit behaviors, body parts, careers, and just plain old assholes. Who knew? Well, Michael and Katherine – that’s who.

Ghosting = Breaking Up Passive Aggressive Style

Michael jumpstarts the podcast with Ghosting – which he calls a self defense mechanism. He also points out that the practice of ghosting has become popular. In fact, it’s gained popularity as a breakup method ever since the impeccable Charlize Theron pulled it out of her sexy toolbelt to kick Sean Penn to the curb in 2015.

But no matter how common it becomes, one thing’s for sure – turning into a ghost just to get out of a date is a CROCK!

The Ghost of Careers Past

Next up on the Crockcast, Katherine talks about the ghosts of previous jobs. It was a surprise to her when Geoffrey Owens, of Cosby Show fame, was publicly maligned for bagging groceries at Trader Joes. As if an honest day’s work is anything but honorable and all good.

All jobs are worthwhile!

Speaking of good, Owen’s story has a happy ending. In fact, the ghost of his former career shows up thanks to Tyler Perry and a brilliant idea. Listen to this week’s ghostly podcast for all the deets.

Scammers, Houdini’s Wife, and Seances

Houdini and his wife had a deal beyond the grave – find out more on Crockcast – Ghosts

The podcast shifts into more traditional ghost stories at this point with Michael’s disdain for psychics. He just doesn’t get it! What kind of people fall for this? M wonders. Well, lots of kinds, of course! That’s because people are always looking for “answers” and are afraid of death. Michael illustrates this himself with some fascinating examples of clairvoyant hiJinx and scammers from beyond the grave.

Ghosts = Honor in Our Hearts

Katherine rounds out the ghost Crockcast with a story about heart transplants. She got the idea from a British documentary show called Mindshock: Transplanting Memories. It explores stories of heart transplant recipients who experience a ghost of their heart’s former owner. This happens in many ways from memories to tastes.

Literally & Metaphorically

But most meaningfully to Katherine, is the story of a man whose heart transplant literally changed the course of his career. He went from blue collar worker to published poet. You can hear more about it on Such a Crock podcast Ghosts, blaring from a headphone near you.

We hope you’re having as much fun with Such a Crock as we are! Don’t be a ghost! 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!

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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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Auto Updates

Episode 6 – Computer & Phone Updates

Automatic updates are such a crock! In today’s podcast, Michael and Katherine discuss how computer and phone updates bedevil on a near-biblical basis.

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Computer & Phone Updates

Automatic Windows Updates are SUCH A CROCK

Michael shares the story of his “$1,500 paperweight” … aka Alienware PC.

An automatic Windows update knocked out his computer. That was bad enough. But then the good people at Microsoft sent him a link to fix it. Things got even worse from there. Turns out, Microsoft Help sent him a broken link. You can’t make this up.

Thus, an automatic Windows update killed our hero’s computer. He brought it to the local Microsoft Store. There, Michael learned that automatic update knockouts are common killers. The Microsoft Store volunteered to fix the computer “for free”. But even after that, it’s still pretty darn dead. Had the update been a choice, he might still have a working PC. But like many computer and phone updates these days, it was automatic. The kiss of death.

What you THINK about these updates is SUCH A CROCK

Katherine shares the truth behind automatic updates… And it’s fascinating.

“A common perception is that updates merely fix defects. However, one study indicates over 80% of maintenance effort is used for non-corrective actions. This perception is perpetuated by users submitting problem reports that in reality are functionality enhancements to the system. More recent studies put the bug-fixing proportion closer to 21%.

“Sometimes called a patch, an update is a set of changes to a computer program or its supporting data designed to update, fix, or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, with such patches usually being called bug fixes, and improving the usability or performance. Although meant to fix problems, poorly designed patches can sometimes introduce new problems sometimes called software regressions. In some cases updates even break the functionality or disable a device.”

Learn more at The Balance: The Difference Between Software Updates and Upgrades

Planned Obsolescence with Computer and Phone Updates is SUCH A CROCK

Michael finds Apple just as annoying for computer and phone updates.

For instance, in a different new laptop tribulation, he rants and raves about the new MacBook Pro’s lack of USB ports.

USB ports are universal necessities for most people. Do you charge your phone? How about record with a mic? Pulling these ports deprives you of access to these common computer needs.

We wrapped up the podcast with an ode to last week’s serving size discussion. Specifically, Michael tried a 100 calorie serving size packet of tasty cashews. Turns out that’s about a handful of yummy.

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