Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way… Spoiler alert!
We’re going to spend this episode talking about the Game of Thrones finale, and revisit some of our predictions from Episode 38: Endings. So if you haven’t seen “The Iron Throne” yet, go catch up with the rest of the country before listening to this episode.
Did You Hear About that Game of Thrones Petition?
Season 8 of Game of Thrones has been divisive to say the least. While Michael and Katherine may not have been 100% happy with it, they certainly aren’t among the more than one million fans behind a Change.org petition to have it re-made.
“Get over yourselves, people!” says Katherine.
Michael also thinks the concept is kind of ridiculous. “It’s like a petition to change the result of a sporting event.”
Everyone Katherine liked best ended up living; and both of us were surprised that Arya ended up making it to the end.
Michael gleefully points out that he was right about the Night King storyline being wrapped up by episode three… But Katherine also laughs at his thinking that Jaime would be the true hero of the story (or that Cersei’s child would contribute to a great peace). Oh well.
So… How About That Game of Thrones Finale?
Michael largely liked the last season, and thought it was “appropriate.”
Katherine was impressed that they tied up most of the big loose ends.
We discuss some of the fandom’s nitpicking, but ultimately end up in a similar place.
This is obviously a very different episode of the Such a Crock podcast… But we hope you love it anyway:
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?
“A lot of those guys who look like drunken frat boys on Bourbon Street are really carrying badges,”
“… 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.
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.
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):
As a result of a surreal experience at the airport, Katherine magnanimously allows Michael to switch the topic at the last minute – to aging.
The Hallmarks of Aging and Cognitive Decline
Michael starts out our podcast with a list of the hallmarks of aging. You know, stuff like your eye lenses hardening (so you can benefit from reading glasses), declines in fertility or muscle mass… or cognitive decline that begins in your twenties!
Your twenties? Seeing that his brain is quite important to him (and he is decades out of his twenties), Michael looked up an article on Everyday Health on 10 ways to combat cognitive decline. Some seem effective; others a crock.
Physical Activity – Luckily, both our hosts keep active (so presumably they can keep bringing you Such a Crock for the foreseeable)
Education / “hitting the books” – We’re both avid readers, but Michael also suggests taking online courses, and even aspires to get “a whole other undergraduate degree” by stringing extra classes together
Smoking – Quit!
Cardiovascular Health – Kind of a crock; what does this even mean?
Avoiding Head Injuries – Like wearing a bike helmet or strapping in your seatbelt
Eating Well – Michael thinks this is a crock. Whatever fruits.
Getting Enough Sleep
Mental Health – Depression and declines in cognitive health seem related, so taking care of your mental health might safeguard the other
Social Stuff – Buddy lunches, being part of the community, and so on
Stumping Yourself – Katherine pokes fun at Michael for his devotion to Tetris, but she herself does all kinds of wooden puzzles, like this:
Yes, some aspects of aging are inevitable; but all the stories we tell about them — and what people can do with their lives (especially later in life) — are a crock.
Katherine focused on “late bloomers” … Specifically women who did amazing things with themselves and their careers later in life. Women like…
Leslie Jones – At 47, Leslie Jones was the oldest person ever to join the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured performer. Jones joining also marked the first time two black women were on the show at the same time! Oh, and her Olympics coverage…
Laura Ingles-Wilder – The author of Little House on the Prairie started writing the story of her life at age 43. Ingles-Wilder wrote and re-wrote for 20 years before finding a publisher. The last volume wasn’t published until she was 76.
Gladys Burrill – It took her almost 10 hours, but Gladys completed the Honlulu Marathon at 92! She is the world record holder, certified by Guinness.
Grandma Moses – The celebrated American folk artist didn’t even start painting until she was in her 70s.
And more! Helen Mirren, Martha Stewart, J.K. Rowling, and Roseanne Barr all bloomed late. Katherine rejects Michael’s suggestion of (beloved) Sheryl Crow.
NBA All-Star Steve Nash
In honor of NBA All-Star weekend, Michael tells the story of legendary point guard Steve Nash.
In his 20s, Nash was a very good NBA Guard for the Dallas Mavericks, picking up a couple of All-Star appearances. But when he turned 30, the Mavericks let him go; not matching the offer made to him by the Phoenix Suns.
Nash did something very rare for an already good NBA player… He catapulted to a completely different level of excellence in his 30s. Nash earned multiple All-NBA First Team selections, a ton of additional All-Star appearances, but most impressively two — count ’em two — stints as the NBA MVP.
Did the Mavericks do the right thing, statistically? It would have been difficult to predict Nash’s MVP seasons. Nash also joined the “50-40-90” club as its most impressive member. There are only seven players — total — in the history of the NBA who have shot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the free throw line. Only one other player (Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics) has done it twice.
Nash did it four times; all over the age of 30; all in Phoenix.
Valentine’s Day and the Man Crate
This has nothing to do with aging, but we finish off with an adventure into Michael’s Valentine’s Day gift, the Man Crate and sampling many of its exotic meats.
The Crock of resolutions is SO relevant today – New Year’s Eve, 2018. Katherine and Michael discuss advice for sticking to your goals, David Goggins, and fun facts to make the point that resolutions are a crock.
Advice for New Year’s Resolutions
Michael starts with an article about keeping to your resolutions from Psychology Today. Although the “Streep” Michael references isn’t Meryl but rather the author of the article, Peg Streep, Katherine thinks maybe the actress would have had better advice. Also, she’s really talented and isn’t this a lovely picture of her?
Ms. Streep, the author, clearly has her heart in the right place and she provides Michael with a fun setup for meaty discussions about what works and doesn’t with setting goals. You can check out her book about Quitting if her ideas intrigue you.
David Goggins… Man Among Mice
“The core is stable.” -David Goggins, Toughest Man Alive
Katherine shares the story of David Goggins, one of her favorite people on earth. He recently released a book about his incredible life and powerful philosophy. It’s an amazing read and even better if you listen to the audiobook. That’s because Goggins had a buddy read from the book and then joins him in conversation as well. So, the audio book serves as a sort of podcast that takes you even deeper into the wonders of Goggins.
Speaking of Goggins wonders, he helps Katherine make her point about the many ways resolutions are a crock. A man of true purpose, he doesn’t need the excuse of January 1st to motivate him. His purpose in life keeps Goggins achieving his goals as a matter of fact no matter what day it is on the calendar. Listen to the New Years Crockcast to hear more about it.
Michael discusses how his resolution to run 1K miles in 2018 was not a resolution. Is he convincing on this count? Not so much. On the other hand, Michael accomplished this goal and THAT is what truly matters. It was a mighty feat and we’re all proud of him, especially Katherine, who got to hear how hard it was along the way. Congrats, Michael. Here’s to your new non-resolutions in 2019!
Facts Beat Resolutions, Hands Down
Katherine caps off the Crockcast with a fun fact romp from a NY Times collection of their favorite 2018 facts. She curates them to present a select few and aligns each with a typical New Year resolution.
Topics include smoking, sleeping, drinking more water, less phone time, and other fun goals we’ve all considered in our efforts to better our lives and selves.
Thanks so much for listening to our Crockcast! We appreciate you and wish you a glorious and lucky New Year. Make all your dreams comes true – day by day.
Michael and Katherine terrify germaphobes galore with a crockcast annihilation of all things antibacterial. Luckily, they’ll also make you laugh those fears away. Michael even faces some of his own in a failed attempt to prove he’s a Gryffindor. Unfortunately, his horror at the mere mention of sticky subway poles and bananas seal his fate as a wholly verified (and terrified) Slytherin.
Bacteria are the Real Heroes
This special morning edition of the podcast dawns as Michael explains the human body’s Microbiome. Turns out bacteria are critical to our well being. So, how can antibacterial be the hero of any human story? They can’t. According to Michael (with help from the NIH) our body is merely a meat puppet at the mercy of millions of microscopic bacteria.
Many of these bacteria play crucial roles in our health. They are, in fact, life sustaining and make up a large part of our bodies. So, even though they’re tiny with terrible reputations, bacteria are actually the hardest working goody two shoes of our constitution.
Antibacterial Products = Stupid Toxic Crap
Katherine doesn’t mince around about her contempt for antibacterial products. But lucky for her, scientists and experts in the field agree that this billion dollar industry is based on a lie and needs to be banned. The worst culprits, Triclosan and Triclocarbon were, in fact, recently banned by the FDA. It’s likely many of the alcohol based products new moms love to use for toddler dousing and dipping soon will be too. Why this vehement reaction?
That’s because antibacterial agents are proven to cause dire health concerns including hormonal scrambles, developmental challenges, metabolism issues, and cancer. Not only that, they aren’t even particularly effective! Soap and water works just as well, if not better. Thousand of people die every year from antibiotic resistant infections and antibacterials are a large contributor to this growing problem.
Speaking of Immune Systems…
Michael transitions into a probiotics probe. Do they actually work? Let’s cut to the chase…. Nope. Turns out, There just aren’t enough of the little buggers per serving to make an impact on the massive ecosystem of our bodies. We are made of many microorganisms, after all. He explains that in cases of people with gut disorders, probiotics can make a difference but only with the live cultures.
In other words, throw away any probiotics you have in capsule or pill form because a probiotic is ALIVE and needs to stay that way to have any impact at all. That means probiotics can help those who need an extra boost of good bacteria but it’s gotta be livin’ or it’s not worth a crap… and if you’ve got gut issues, we mean that literally.
Chlorine is Antibacterial Too
Katherine brings the podcast around the final bend to talk about being a dumbass. It’s familiar territory for her… almost as familiar as the five minute trip she takes many times a week to her nearby swimming pool. She shares how much fun she has telling all her friends about how because it’s a saltwater pool, swimming doesn’t damage her har or bathing suits as much and she just loves it so much!
But once again, Katherine is simply a fool. That’s because saltwater pools are actually just systems of chlorination. The salt actually creates chlorine in the water! So, after humbly admitting defeat, Katherine investigates a bit further and found out some upsides that remain for her saltwater swimming experience. Thus, it all worked out in the end. As it always does here at Such a Crock!
We love bringing you Such a Crock every Monday of the month! If you love listening, please show your support and share the love, Subscribe at Such a Crock – Apple Podcasts then follow us on Instagram and our fledgling Twitter can really use a boost! Thank you for all the Crocktastic support. We are so grateful for you!
Our intrepid duo seems somewhat divided on this week’s concept, at least to start. Katherine rejects the very concept of a guilty pleasure; while clueless Michael doesn’t seem to know what one is.
But one thing’s for certain…
Guilty Pleasures are SUCH A CROCK
Michael doesn’t seem to know what a guilty pleasure even is. It’s a “you know it when you see it” kinda thing to him.
So he decides to look up some “popular” guilty pleasures on the Internet to get more grounded. According to research cited by Hello! Magazine, 90% of Brits indulge in so-called guilty pleasures, up to four times per week.
He and K run through some of the Hello! hit list. Do they do these things? Often yes. K never seems to feel guilty about any of them, though 😉
Ordering takeaway because you can’t be bothered to cook
Watching Disney films and cartoons as an adult
Falling asleep in front of the television, or at the cinema
Playing on the games console when the kids are not around
Dancing to Meghan Trainor
Napping is NOT a Guilty Pleasure!
Katherine has been a long advocate of an afternoon nap. For years, as a young — if overworked — ad exec, she was criticized for curling up for twenty minutes under her desk or whatever.
But scientists now say that a twenty minute power nap in the afternoon is just what the doctor ordered!
Now there are even napping businesses like recharj that validate her position. Something that makes you more productive is the opposite of guilty, right?
Did you know that worry can literally change your brain structure? According to Psychology Today and WebMD, “Chronic Stress Can Damage Brain Structure and Connectivity”.
All about solutions, Katherine shares a couple of her favorite worry releasers. One of them can even reverse anxiety’s brain changes. Check out this Harvard University Gazette story to see how that works.
But you don’t have to go so far as brain renovation to get some relief from worry. Just take a look at human history! Katherine recommends checking out some Ken Burns for solace. From his Civil War documentary to the Oscar-winning piece he did on the Statue of Liberty, Burns uses narrative mastery and primary sources to bring history alive. History serves as our greatest teacher in times of turmoil. That’s because it shows predictable patterns in human behavior. This can thus help us better understand and accept the confusing and worrying events of today… at least Katherine thinks so.
What are you worried about anyway? At least we’re not getting hit by asteroids.
Did you know that asteroids are zipping by us on the reg?
In the last decade, we’ve had a visitor that flew by the earth at close range – closer than the moon. But what’s even more astonishing? In February of 2013, a meteor actually exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Exploding with the force of approximately 30 Hiroshimas, the Chelyabinsk event injured hundreds… Albeit mostly from broken glass.
The Chelyabinsk asteroid was only a few paces across, but flew at almost 30 kilometers per second. A larger one could cause catastrophic damage… But it would take one maybe two kilometers across to have “worldwide effects”.
From NASA: “Five Years after the Chelyabinsk Meteor: NASA Leads Efforts in Planetary Defense”
Meditation Can Be a Cure for Worry
Katherine stays remarkably chilltacular even while raising a family and working in NYC. How does she do it? Her easiest and most effective method, meditation, alleviates worry and can work for pretty much anyone. Best part is, you don’t need to get a Netflix account or even break a sweat to get all the perks.
So, Katherine shares her years of experience with meditation, and in particular, the Headspace app. We get it if the notion makes you groan. But fact is, meditation WORKS. Want more evidence? Even skeptical articles can’t ignore the profound and positive impact meditation has on those who practice.
Worry is SUCH A CROCK. I mean, we could be getting invaded by a biblical pestilence or something
From Ars Technica: “US invaded by savage tick that sucks animals dry, spawns without mating”
So it turns out that several US states — including our home state of New York — are reporting infestation from the Asian Longhorned Tick.
Each female tick is essentially a clone-bomb of itself, dropping as many as 2,000 eggs. Attacking in swarms, these ticks exsanguinate their victims. Those victims are generally livestock or pets today, but the ticks do carry viruses that can be lethal to humans.
Between near-miss asteroid strikes and infestations of insatiable insects, there are just too many terrible things out of our control to waste our energy, worrying… Don’t you think? Michael does, anyway.
Are all deep thoughts “Such a Crock”? We hope not… Otherwise we might not have much of a podcast.
BUT! There are many excesses of “mental masturbation” that make philosophical and academic thinking seem distant from common sense. This week we look at some of them with a delightful mix of pragmatism and humor.
Antinatalism is Such a Crock
Michael starts off this week with a hoot he found in The New Yorker.
David Benetar is possibly the world’s most pessimistic philosopher. Benetar advocates for antinatalism, a philosophy imagining that we would all be better off if we had never been born. While Benetar would say death, like life, is problematic; we can collectively avoid a great deal of suffering by simply not having any more children.
We’re almost always hungry or thirsty. When we’re not, we must go to the bathroom. We often experience “thermal discomfort” —- we are too hot or too cold -— or are tired and unable to nap. We suffer from itches, allergies, and colds, menstrual pains or hot flashes. Life is a procession of “frustrations and irritations” —- waiting in traffic, standing in line, filling out forms. Forced to work, we often find our jobs exhausting; even those who enjoy their work may have professional aspirations that remain unfulfilled. Many lonely people remain single, while those who marry fight and divorce. People want to be, look, and feel younger, and yet they age relentlessly.
While Katherine’s own stories from her years as an academic are crock enough, at least her experience was real.
Unfortunately a new trend in academia is FAKE. People can buy their ways into academic journals or speaking positions at conferences for about six hundred bucks. As a test, a professor submitted a paper to a “fake academic” conference using the auto-complete feature of his smartphone.
Why might academics lower themselves to this kind of behavior? “Publish or perish.”
Professors-to-be need to publish their work and raise their profiles. Academic journals and conferences thus help them realize their ambitions… But are meant to be rigorous and lined with experts; not pay-to-play.
In a sad turn, Michael talks about an academic model that focuses on the conflicts between different professors, rather than coming to any useful conclusions. The best example might be the student who aces an economics test and a poli sci test… By providing two wholly incompatible answers.
Michael first learned about the philosophy in a book about Pooh Bear; but the concept has since been appropriated by anti-evolution pseudoscientists an their “teaching the controversies” movement. Equal time, right?
… What Makes Your Deep Thoughts so Special Anyway?
Thing is, deep thoughts are not really so precious – even children express them effectively. It could be argued that deep thoughts are best expressed in the most accessible way possible – as simple expressions about everyday stuff.
Captchas has me asking myself questions like…
Are banks stores?
Are stop signs street signs?
Am I a robot?
Katherine points out how deep thoughts happen in our everyday life to bring us laughter even as we ponder their meaning. Then she wraps it up with some gems from the eminent Jack Handy and his SNL genius from the days of yore.
Wondering what it is? Namely, it’s not pasteurized.
Today, it’s more difficult to get raw milk than conventional pasteurized, but it still sells due to health claims not necessarily supported by federal regulators.
While raw advocates claim that it helps with lactose intolerance or allergies, Katherine’s research indicates that this is not the case… And anyway, the societal benefits of pasteurization (i.e. the prevention of widespread disease) outweigh such claims.
Interested in learning more? Check out these links to raw milk studies.
Michael starts his second segment out with a 2007 press release from Starbucks. You might not know this, but Starbucks defaults to 2% for espresso drinks if customers don’t specify a type of milk in their order.
It turns out that whatever kind you’re drinking — whole, 2%, or skim — milk is likely contributing to weight gain.
That’s because, while milk ranks low in glycemic index, your body probably treats it like eating white bread. So why does Michael — crazy over carbs as Katherine is wont to claim — drink whole milk? Maybe he should stick to his goofy nut milk alternatives.
First she tries to trick Michael into drinking “pea” milk (NOT ‘pee’). Katherine then shares her thoughts on the many flavors and consistencies of the various milk alternatives. At last, she wraps up the ranking to the horror, and eventually winner’s circle of her podcast partner in the end.
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.”