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



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Latest Episodes

#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…

#138: Their Terrible Butts

September 3rd, 2020 · 87 minutes

John has Follow-Up on the name of an Australian rock, and Merlin learned New Zealand's true name from an old Split Enz song. Doesn't seem all that difficult to call things by the old name, but what do we know?

Merlin did not watch any educational YouTube videos, but John is just asking the question. A glimpse into Merlin's perilous journey into…

#137: The Fifth Flavor of Entertainment

August 20th, 2020 · 95 minutes

This week finds John perusing some of Merlin's homework. This leads to a discussion of the benefits and risks of educational tourism. Will there be any Math on this Math test?

John presents a new "Secret Brit," but it turns out that there is a Turns Out. For some reason, your hosts are really putting The British Empire on blast. Merlin is kind …

#136: The Left Side of the Diving Board

August 6th, 2020 · 80 minutes

Things kick off with John rejecting some of Merlin's canny improvements to the doc. The doc really needs some work.

It doesn't get any easier as Merlin attempts to do a normal podcast thing, but John keeps stepping on his bit. John does that. Anyway. Thank you.

John has some follow-up on his haircut situation as well as sharing some im…