John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way.



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Latest Episodes

#148: McLaren of Theseus

January 23rd, 2021 · 107 minutes

John gets quizzed on abbreviations as Merlin revisits his early career working for The Man. California has a lot of things you're not allowed to buy.

Then, there's some haircut updates plus some quick advice on knowing when to take a break. Merlin thinks just ""wearing a mask"" doesn't make you a good boy, and John thinks he's pretty good abou…

#147: Pan-Pan!

January 8th, 2021 · 91 minutes

Things kick off with a cameo and Merlin's abortive attempt to make a connection.

Next, John reeds Merlin the riot act on his unintentional use of red receipts. Merlin pleads nolo contendere but, as you can imagine, this does not dissuade John from explaining how he broke some cockamamie social contract. The complexities and risks of asynchron…

#146: Rogue Rice

December 24th, 2020 · 93 minutes

Things kick off with (surprise, surprise) some complaints about Skype, alongside ruminations on what might eventually replace it as the podcaster's app of choice. Also, please don't asterisk your first-person swears. It's unseemly.

In some important John-centric Follow-Up, the listener is brought up to speed on the status of his eyeglasses an…

#145: The Opposite Mistake

December 11th, 2020 · 87 minutes

Things kick off with John's dissection of Merlin's bespoke automated filler text. This leads to a fascinating discussion of Lorem Ipsum, type specimens, and lexical anomalies.

Which, of course, leads to a look at Tenet (available in cinemas everywhere now). John has some sports analogies, and Merlin found himself rewinding a lot (in the cin…

#144: The Other Side of the Owl

November 26th, 2020 · 98 minutes

Things kick off with some new hardware, an examination of hair hats, and a look back at a self-similar fast food clown.

John has questions about Merlin's projects.

In the extended members-only episode, John and Merlin talk about making art. Go to to become a member today.

(Recorded on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

#143: The Shape of Time

November 12th, 2020 · 95 minutes


(Recorded on Saturday, November 7, 2020)

#142: The Threshing Machine

October 29th, 2020 · 75 minutes

Things kick off with a discussion of election plans. What a time.

In an addendum to a previous topic, John talks about what it was like to actually attend the infamous Action Park as a kid. This leads to a discussion of the roller coasters and thrill rides that Merlin adores and young John very much did not.

In the extended members-only epis…

#141: The Panopticon of Frasier

October 15th, 2020 · 83 minutes

Things kick off with a post-mortem on the recent song challenge as well as an extension of that challenge that requires input from you, the listener. Hit us up at @RecDiffs with #listen.

John goes a little meta to interrogate how Merlin's brain functions and wonders where a catch phrase actually started. Mayb…

#140: I Know What to Do in a Tree

October 1st, 2020 · 76 minutes

In follow-up, John has extensive clarifications regarding the importance of saucing the pasta in accordance with his instructions. So, of course, he also has some more instructions. Ultimately, John just wants to help you, the listener.

Moving on to kids and eating, your hosts contrast their views on how to manage a constantly moving target. M…

#139: Everything's a Competition

September 17th, 2020 · 97 minutes

John quickly puts the kibosh on Merlin's idea for a special theme episode.

John has Follow-Up on his self-imposed egg homework and invites some friends for a socially-distanced meal. Merlin's kid attends a socially-distance birthday party. What a fun time to be alive, huh?

John's usual method of remembering a song fails him, and Merlin bemo…