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June 3, 2024 23 mins

Once more, it's time for a weekly dose of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and Weirdhouse Cinema listener mail...

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
Hey you, welcome to Stuff to Blow your Mind Listener mail.
My name is Robert.

Speaker 3 (00:13):
Lamb and I am Joe McCormick. And it's Monday, the
day of each week that we read back messages from
the Stuff to Blow Your Mind email address. If you
have never gotten in touch before and we'd like to
give it a shot, this is the week right on in.
It's contact at stuff to Blow your Mind dot com.
Anything you want to write us about is fine. We appreciate,

especially if you have something interesting to add to a
topic we've recently talked about on the show. Let's see
a little note at the beginning of today's episode. This
is going to be running on the Monday of a
week that will begin some vault episodes that we're running
for a little summer break. Rob and I are doing
for a couple of weeks here, and then we will
be back with all new stuff for you the weeks

following our out.

Speaker 2 (01:00):
That's right, and so keep the listener mails rolling in
and yet respond to some of the cool stuff you
hear about in the Vault episodes and the Weird House
Cinema rewinds. We're going to include a few extra of
those in there. They're also going to be some Monster
Fact omnibus episodes for those of you who want to
experience the short form episodes in like a longer format.

Speaker 3 (01:21):
All Right, I think I'm gonna kick things off with
this message from Lauren about our episodes on the Parrotfish.
Lauren says, Hi, Robin Joe. She begins by saying some
very nice things about the podcast, says she's been listening
in hopes that we keep it up for several more decades.

We'll see if that's possible. We will try, Lauren says. Anyways,
the following is a tale that is perhaps only interesting
to me. I purchased this tropical fish shower curtain liner
a few months ago. I always face the patterns inwards
in order to enjoy them from the inside. At first,

I was pleased, until very quickly I noticed this one
outstanding fish that gave me the he begbis, so much
so that I considered taking it down and hanging up another. Ultimately,
I was too lazy to swap it out and simply
lived with the fish in the corner, trying not to
think too much about what it may or may not
get up to in its free time. After listening to

your episodes on Parrotfish, I thought, hold the phone, no way,
what do you want to bet and lo and behold.
After a quick investigation, I was able to identify the
creep that had been weirding me out for months. Now,
now I can put a name to it and know
its habits, I feel much better about its continuous presence
in my life. Thank you for helping me to better

understand the world. I am of the general philosophy that
the more we know and seek to understand, the less
we fear. Thank you for being amazing kind regards Lauren.
And then Lauren attaches a picture of the shower curtain
liner and how do you know, Yep, it's a coral reef.
There's like a sea turtle swimming along their tropical fish
all around, and then peeking right out from a little

niche in the coral there is just the goofiest looking
parrotfish with this big toothy grim like hey guys.

Speaker 2 (03:15):
Yeah, And it's accentuated by the fact that all the
other sea creatures on this shower curtain are in pure
side profile, but the parrotfish does appear to be like
creeping in towards the bathe or gazing at the bathe
and making this weird look. So it's understandable that this
fish looks a little suss as they said, I.

Speaker 3 (03:36):
Would love to know the thinking of whoever designed this.
Let's just put one creepy little parrot fish in there,
just peeking out, saying, what's up?

Speaker 2 (03:44):
All right? This next one comes to us from Peter
on the subject of dust Peter Wright, High, Robert and
job and listen to your podcast for a number of years,
but this, like it is for many who write, is
my first time emailing you both. I was inspired by
your listener Jenny, who wrote recently about the dust storm
in Sydney in two thousand and nine. I too have

a memory of another Australian dust storm. This one was
in Melbourne in February nineteen eighty three. A quick search
will bring up some videos pictures of news reports at
the time. I was only three years and three months
old at the time, but have a clear memory of this.
It could well be my earliest memory, which ties in
with one of your other episodes on early childhood memories.
Thanks for all the entertainment you provide cheers, Peter, and

there is the photo.

Speaker 3 (04:31):
Yeah, this is another one where if you look up
the photos, it does look suitably apocalyptic because you can
see in some of them like that. Because sometimes when
you see photos of the front of an advancing dust storm,
it's just against like you know, a plane, or like
a or a desert kind of environment, so there's no

real sense of scale. But this is over a crowded city,
so you can see all these buildings and that gives
you a real scale. It's just like a mountain is
advanced sing on the range of mountains actually is advancing
over the land. It's gigantic. And again, as we talked
about with the dust storms in those episodes, I can't
imagine what this would be like if you didn't know

what it was like, if it surprised you and you
didn't have the context of like, oh, yeah, this is
a dust storm, I'm familiar with it.

Speaker 2 (05:21):
Well, Peter, thanks for writing in with your experience and
this inspiring photo.

Speaker 3 (05:27):
All right, we got some responses to our Vault episodes
on the Beaver. This is from someone who called themselves Lovecat. Hello,
I really enjoyed this episode. You guys do so much
quality research. I hope you know it's appreciated. Thanks for
doing the hard work. I particularly liked the discussion about

orange teeth and stick displays. I had no idea. I
spent a few years in Houston, Texas at the end
of the nineties and swore I saw a beaver hanging
out under an overpass on brays by you. I mentioned
it to a coworker who told me that the critter
was actually a neutria or cooipu. Say what, I looked

up this beast and what Indeed, if you haven't yet
veered off course and discovered that myocastor kipus has grooved poop,
well maybe you should. Thanks again for all you do.
Love kat Rob. I found a picture of a nutria
to attach to the outline here, and I could see
how you could mix them up with the beaver because
they're similarly large, large hairy rodents that can sometimes be

quite wet. You know, they're both semi aquatic rodents, and
I believe both have orange teeth. I think the nutria
has orange teeth, or at least in some cases has
orange teeth as well. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (06:47):
Yeah, And the time was you had to go to
South America to see these, but they've been introduced to
various other parts of the world.

Speaker 3 (06:54):
Yeah, They're invasive throughout many places. And I remember when
I was in Louisiana people talking about the the plague
of the nutria really because they would tear up landscapes. Essentially,
they would cause erosion that messed with how water flowed.
Like I think they eat up the roots of plants
at the edges of water, and so they'll just cut

through marshland, killing all the plants and just turn it
into essentially open water.

Speaker 2 (07:21):
Yeah. Yeah, and we may have to come back and
do a follow up to the beaver episode and cover
some other rodents of unusual size.

Speaker 3 (07:28):
Yeah. I read something somewhere about people trying to create
recipes for cooking with nutria meat.

Speaker 2 (07:35):
Well, yeah, that I mean Louisyannens could could figure it out, right.
There are a number of culinary traditions there and in
imported culinary traditions that I think you could make make
some meat out of the nutrio for sure. Mm hmm.
All right. This next one is a topic suggestion from Martin. Hey, guys,

just recently I found myself in an interesting spot. I
was thinking about the concept of improvisation, and at first
I thought, oh, yeah, I know what that is. Of
course everybody does, until I rhetorically asked myself to explain
what it is and quickly realize that I can't and
I mean not can't thoroughly explain more as in failed
completely after mumbling three or four half big thoughts. And
that's when I wanted to ask you, would you be

interested in doing that as a topic. I mean, what
actually is improvisation? Is it really spontaneous or just always
rooted in past experiences and therefore also a learned and
prepared response. Just quicker? Do animals do that? Do we
always improvise or never or something in between. Maybe this
prompted you to question yourself as much as it threw

me into a pit of uncertainty. I'd love to someday
listen to you to tackle this thing. All the best
in greetings from Germany, Martin. Well, Martin, I have to
say yes and to that suggestion, we could easily do
an episode of an improvisation.

Speaker 3 (08:58):
I think this is such a great suggestion. In fact,
I've considered doing exactly the subject before. I guess we
never quite got there yet, But it's been on my
list for a while. I think about it a lot.
When you know, when I play music, sometimes you improvise
and it's hard to really understand what you're doing. Even
when you're doing it. You're like, how is this coming

out of me? What am I am? I? You know,
there's some kind of sense I have that It does
rely a lot on sort of subconsciously chaining together little
bits of memorized phrases and stuff, things that already exist
in little groupings in your mind and you sort of

just chain them together and vacillate between them. But I
don't know, really, I would love to look into the
research on that.

Speaker 2 (09:48):
Yeah, Yeah, sounds good. We'll put it on the list.
Thanks for writing in.

Speaker 3 (09:51):
Okay. This next message is from Chris and it's a
suggestion for the Monster Fact Chris says, Hello, Robert, writing
in with a suggestion for the short form Monster Fact series.
I think there would be at least a few short
form options when covering the Inder saga from Orson Scott

Card from the for Mix the ant like hive mind
that's already a threat in the original novel, and the
history of them and Earth is explored in some of
the prequel novels written later to the Peccininos. I think
on Lusitania, whose life cycle involves an execution that ends
in them becoming sentient trees, to the descolatavirus, which is

ultimately found to be in every life form on a
distant planet and is beneficial to their life cycle but
lethal to humans. There's certainly more to be looked into
in this series as well. This is one of my
favorite series of books, having read all of roughly nineteen
of them so far and starting to reshare them with
my kids. Regards Chris, Thank you, Chris. I only ever

read the first book of that series, but I do remember,
and it's been a long time, but I remember being
very interested in the aliens in it who there's kind
of a twist that makes them more sympathetic in the end,
even though most of the novel is about fighting a
war with them. But if I recall correctly, yeah, the
hive Mind conceit was that they were really difficult to

fight in battle because they don't have the sort of
informational coordination constraints that humans do that they can all
sort of be on the same page about how tactics
and strategy are shifting at the same time.

Speaker 2 (11:36):
Yeah, yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat with you.
I've only ever read the first book, and I really
enjoyed it, but for some reason I didn't press on
and read the next few. I've heard especially great things
about I think what two and three, And I think
then there are also some things in like Ender Shadow
and so forth that are maybe a little more for
the devoted fan. But yeah, I've also been thinking about

these recently because my son hasn't read them, so it
might be something that we could re explore. And if
I do re explore them, yeah, that could be something
that could spill over into the Monster fact. I think
the only other thing by Orson Scott Card that I
read was the Worthing saga, which is a really I
remember it as being a really entertaining far future space
colonization saga involving hot sleep, where the the the the

the form of cryogenic sleep that you undergo while traveling
interstellar distances works, but it is like unpleasant. It is
like it is a sleep, but it's like a hot sleep.
And that's where the title came from, because I think
at one point this or one of the stories in
there was called a hot sleep. Anyway, hot sleep is
always stuck with me every now and then. You know,

all of us experience a little hot sleep. So anyway, Chris,
thanks for writing you in the suggestions.

Speaker 3 (12:49):
Yeah, thank you, Chris.

Speaker 2 (12:58):
All right, this next one comes to us from Jeff writes.
I recently enjoyed the Before You Could Remember of Vault
episodes and they made me think of the twenty fifteen
sci fi series Dark Matter, not to be confused with
the new series of the same name currently on Apple.
I just watched the first episode of that as Jennifer
Connelly in it always terrific. Oh anyway, Jeff goes on

the premise of this twenty fifteen Dark Matter is that
six humans wait from cryos sleep on a spaceship with
no experiential memories and no idea why they are there.
Through the course of the series, the blank slates unlock
the mysteries of their previous lives and have to decide
what to do with that information in who they want
to be in the present. The characters do retain language
and skills, but are otherwise stripped of their operating systems.

Who are you really? Without any knowledge of your habits, successes, regrets, relationships, drama, etc.
What would it be like to be completely free of guilt,
hard lessons learned and strategies for coping with the world
and yourself would what have you forgot your religion or
lack thereof, or that you're a vegetarian or what political
team you're on. When the Hugh Lauri series House Not

House was on, I became obsessed with determining if deep
down House was a good person, not whether through his
actions he was responsible for manufacturing a net goodness in
the world, but whether he was a man in pain
trying to do good in the only way he found palatable,
or really was the mean spirited jerk he appeared to
be on the surface and just found problem solving to

be the most effective way to entertain himself. I had
to unsatisfyingly conclude that it depended on who wrote a
given episode as a fictional character that was the only
true source of his motivations, and I don't believe all
the writers agreed on the issue.

Speaker 3 (14:42):
That's kind of interesting in itself. I never really watched House,
but I'm familiar with the premise. But yeah, I don't
think I realized that there was this kind of tension
in the different ways he was portrayed. But I guess
that's often the case in a show that has one
character being written by multiple writers.

Speaker 2 (14:59):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I could see that being an issue.
I know, I've seen it come up with shows like
Weirdly Enough, like The Simpsons, Like would Lisa Simpson really
say this or do this? You know, even in a
comedy series like that, it's so long running, we grow
so attached to the characters, even if they are ultimately
there as joke delivery systems, that when they do step

out of line with what we expect from them due
to multiple writers, you know, ultimately like generations of writers
using them, you know, we can have a strong emotional
reaction to that.

Speaker 3 (15:31):
Well, it also gives you an even deeper appreciation for
cases where there are stories created by multiple different writers
who do manage to have what feels like a continuity
of character in the end, like they all get the
character well enough that it always feels like the same
person despite different people writing. That's kind of makes that
seem like a miracle.

Speaker 2 (15:51):
Yeah yeah, And of course people are going to have
different outlooks, like you hear this all the time with
like actors and original character creators, you know, who disagree
on would this character have done that? The most recent
what I was reading about was when Kirk kills the
SETI worm in Wrath of Khan Like apparently, like Gene
Roddenberry didn't like that that one moment. He was kind

of picky about that. He's like, Kirk wouldn't have done this,
you know. And I think I've read some of the
things where where there were disagreements with the actor on
whether this is something Kirk would do. So is always
fascinating to think about, all right, But the email continues,
there's a lot to unpack in this since we had
to pause and go through it a little bit. Okay,
it continues. I don't think I'm built to be a

particularly good person. My first instinct is rarely to do
the brave or most compassionate thing, like forcing myself to
jump into cold water, even though I know I will
ultimately enjoy the swim. I have to fight my programming
to do good, and not because it's intrinsic to my character,
but because I intellectually believe that kindness is the most
advantageous plan for all of us as a species, and frankly,

I enjoyed the selfish blast of positive brain chemicals I
get when I actually managed to present as a decent
human being. Over the years, I've applied various patches and
worked rounds to my operating system, which I hope have
made me a somewhat less bad human. In context of
the show, would I lose all my progress in the
game save of my life? It seems implausible that simply

wishing I were a better person has fundamentally altered my
core systems. The series touches on some of the above,
but it is mostly just an enjoyable sci fi action show.
It has a distinctly unsettling, sorry rob Canadian feel to it.
No I love I don't know what that means. I
love an unsettling Canadian field of things. That's why I
watched all those Outer Limits episodes.

Speaker 3 (17:35):
Maybe Jeff is apologizing for inadvertently impugning Canadian things as unsettling.

Speaker 2 (17:40):
Oh okay, well, fair enough, Key connities alien planets seem
to be overrun with snow and suspiciously familiar conifers, and
maybe the production value is not of the highest order.
Not all of the characters are equally interesting but it
is fascinating to watch which ones choose to seize the
opportunity to actually think about who they were want to be,
and which are happy to defer to their most primitive

cranial machine language. My favorite character turned out to be
one of those I initially found to be quite off putting.
Watch it for the characters, occasional nuggets of philosophy, and
the real page turner of a plot, and try to
overlook the dodgy effects in some of the sets. A
word of warning, the show wasiles mercilessly canceled after a
season ending cliffhanger, so there is no resolution, although by

that point I think the show had mostly run its course.
Thanks again for your time and the free therapy session. Also,
I second the suggestion of Cherry two thousand for weird
House treatment. That's a fun one, Jeff.

Speaker 3 (18:37):
That does sound interesting. Jeff, I don't know this show,
but yeah, I mean that and your subsequent thinking about it,
Like what you know if you're stripped, basically, if your
memories and experiences, what kind of person does that leave you?
Operating as a There's sort of an implication that, like,
maybe that's the real you underneath the part of you

that is without all of your memories and experiences. But
I don't know if that is actually any more a
real version of you than the version that has all
the memories and experiences.

Speaker 2 (19:10):
Yeah, yeah, but it's it's food for thought. I'm gonna
have to I'm gonna have to look this one up.
I mean, I think I remember seeing the thumbnail art before,
but just look glancing at the cast. Yeah, a number
of familiar contemporary Canadian actors that I like her in it,
so worth checking out. In fact, I'm noticing just right

off the bat Amanda Brugel is in it, who I
quite like. And she is also in the new series
called Dark Matter. So a lot of you probably remember
her as Pastor Nina on Kim's Convenience, but she's been
in a lot of things like The Handmaid's Tale, Infinity
Pool and so forth.

Speaker 3 (19:47):
Okay, well, again, thank you Jeff for letting us know
sounds worth a look. Okay, this last message is from
David da It says, Dear Robin Joe, longtime listener, first
time writing in. I think I've been listening since the
P versus n P episode whenever that was, uh, that

was many years ago. In the recent Weird House Cinema.
I was amazed that you dedicated two full episodes to
a movie allegedly titled Highlander two. Part of my bafflement
is that, while I've heard many rumors, I'm quite sure
that no such movie was ever made. I saw Highlander
when released in nineteen eighty six in the theaters with
my friends in college. In the overall dismal quality of

fantasy genre movies of the eighties, it was a relative gem.
The supposed plot of Highlander two is that instead of
being a mysterious immortal, the hero is an alien from
the planet Zeist, and his friend whose head was cut
off simply returns to life, only to be crushed pointlessly
by a giant spinning fan blade. Of course, even a
moment of introspection reveals this is completely ludicrous. No, the

far simpler explanation is that you're experiencing a mass hallucination
or subject to some kind of Mendel effect, as the
movie itself said, there can be only one in any event.
To the actual point of my email, which was my
additional surprise that when discussing Sean Connery, you didn't mention
his role in a movie that certainly qualifies for weird House. Zardawes,

Sean Connery in a bikini, flying stoneheads, bored immortals, what's
not to like. I don't think you've covered Zardas yet
as part of weird House, so I'm proposing it to
be added to your list. Thank you for the many
hours of informative and entertaining podcasts, David, Oh, thank you, David. Yeah.
I don't know whether we'll get to Zardas on the
show or not, but Zardas I have seen it and

it is indeed super super weird.

Speaker 2 (21:40):
Yeah. Yeah, I don't think we even discussed it on
that Highlander two episode. In part because Sean Connery's filmography
is so extensive, we realize a lot I can cover
it all, so we only covered like a slice of it.
The more the sort of I think we did, we
didn't leave the eighties like we did eighties plus, and
then realize we're definitely gonna cover some sort of Sean

Conry movie at some point in the future, and we'll
cover the rest of it perhaps.

Speaker 3 (22:05):
Then Okay, does that wrap things up for today?

Speaker 2 (22:08):
I believe it does. I think we'll go ahead and
shut the mail bag here but we're gonna let it
accumulate over the next couple of weeks, So write in
with anything that's on you know it crosses your mind,
current past, future episodes of stuff to blow your mind,
a weird House cinema, any of the short form Wednesday episodes,
you name it, you know, just to chat in general.
You have sci fi recommendations, hard science recommendations. You know

we're up for it, So right in. We'd love to
hear from you. What else can we tell you in
the meantime? Oh yeah, follow us on social media. Look
us up on Instagram. We have an account there. Let's see.
If you want to join us on discord email it's
we'll send you a link. If you're on Facebook, join
the Facebook group you can find it has to enter.

It pretty straightforward, and wherever you get the podcast, just
make sure that you're receiving your downloads and that you
are subscribed. That's probably the most important thing that keeps
us going huge.

Speaker 3 (23:04):
Thanks as always to our excellent audio producer JJ Posway.
If you would like to get in touch with us
with feedback on this episode or any other, to suggest
a topic for the future, or just to say hello,
you can email us at contact at Stuff to Blow
Your Mind dot com.

Speaker 1 (23:25):
Stuff to Blow Your Mind is production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts from my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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