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The Technician
No Imperfections Noted
The Jeff and Casey Show
Jeff and Casey Time
Casey Muratori
Seattle, WA
A Thousand Easy Paces
"It was nothing that the two grenades in Bob's pocket couldn't take care of, not that he needed them..."
Original air date: May 5th, 2014
Topics. The Megatimer. School shootings. Visual Studio. Thai iced teas. Compulsive basketball players. Train travel. CNN. Andy Rooney. Hotel internet. Malcolm Gladwell. 1000 Easy Paces. Tom Clancy. Missing planes. MH730. Spy novels. Slingshot. Matthew Dunn. The Adding Machine. Read stage direction. Strange Fruit. The Suit. Anton Chekhov. The Seagull.
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Transcript
Jeff:
Jesus.
Casey:
That sounds like some classic
Jeff:
Welcome to the Jeff & Casey Show.
Casey:
Welcome to the Jeff & Casey Show.
Jeff:
We haven’t done this for two weeks so I’ve [inaudible 0:12]
Casey:
I love the MegaTimer, though. I say this every time now but it’s just… It feels good to have it back.
Jeff:
You know what is an awesome feature of the MegaTimer that we’ve never talked about?
Casey:
No, I do not know.
Jeff:
There are 2 switches along the side that turn on the MegaTimer.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
1, and one turns on the backlight.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
But they are mutually exclusive which means you can turn on the backlight with no digital display. It’s just a…
Casey:
Oh, okay. They’re wired… This is like old school NASA technology where they’re like, “We don’t want interrelated coupling systems failures.
Jeff:
Oh, I see
Casey:
It’s like the MegaTimer is mission critical. It’s mission critical. So maybe, you know, for example… I don’t know if you know this Jeff, but school, elementary school and stuff, is a dangerous place now.
Jeff:
It is a dangerous place.
Casey:
I mean, if you believe the modern media spin on this…
Jeff:
Right. And the people doing the training…
Casey:
Basically kids are getting mowed down by machine guns everyday in school. That is the norm is thousands of children…
Jeff:
Are dying…
Casey:
Mowed down by machine guns…
Jeff:
Mainly because the teachers are hiding… They immediately go into hiding…
Casey:
So what I was gonna say is the MegaTimer, maybe they’re thinking, “Alright, look, there’s a lot of situations, emergency situations, where the lights go out.” The power to the school has been cut, Jeff. It has been cut.
Jeff:
Now, it would all make sense if anyone can use the MegaTimer. And I defy someone to figure out the MegaTimer in less than 5 minutes in optimal situations, not be like… I think you’d have to have, like…
Casey:
In a non-panic scenario…
Jeff:
You know those NASA big stimulators where you have to land and, like… That would be like a little simulated MegaTimer emergency where you have to… I can’t do it. Be given 2 weeks off…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
I forget that, like… It’s like… No, you have to press like On, Stopwatch, Cancel, Start.
Casey:
But don’t forget, these are second graders. So they’re way better with electronics than you are.
Jeff:
That’s probably true.
Casey:
Here’s the thing…
Jeff:
Not these kind… If this was a touch thing, I’d totally agree. This is, like… The MegaTimer is like…
Casey:
This is your generation. This is your generation.
Jeff:
This is Radio Shack, right? Yeah.
Casey:
You’ve got a point there. It’s what you grew up with. They’ve never seen anything like this before. They’re like, “What is this…” It’s got the sort of LED-style…
Jeff:
If we took this open, it’s gonna be complete discreet circuitry…
Casey:
Right. So you don’t know how hardcore this MegaTimer is. We said on a previous podcast here… We said, “Oh, we ordered a new MegaTimer because we lost the old one…”
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
And it hasn’t changed at all, right?
Jeff:
That’s true.
Casey:
But for all you know, there’s some, like, serious 007 shit going on here. This could have defenses against the school shit. Like maybe you push the right button and blow darts come out and nerve gase and maybe it’s bulletproof. Maybe it can stop a fucking… You know, a shell.
Jeff:
There’s so much stuff here that is, like, Visual Studio sounding. Like there’s student selector, there’s the team selector…
Casey:
Awesome…
Jeff:
There’s the random button. I like that there’s a button called Random and that’s what you… When we start the show…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
I always press the Random button…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Because it clears out all other settings.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
So when you hear the… It’s choosing a random number.
Casey:
Oh.
Jeff:
I don’t know how to clear it… Like, if I hit Stop and Start, it just starts counting from where it last left off.
Casey:
So if it was on 80 minutes last time for the last podcast, it will just start a new one or…
Jeff:
Yeah, exactly.
Casey:
Whatever.
Jeff:
So I hit Random and it goes into the mode where it’s gonna give you… ‘Cos it just gives you a 4-digit random number. That’s all it does, by the way.
Casey:
Kind of like a Microsoft Run Time Library.
Jeff:
This is totally the Team Selector.
Casey:
4 digits of randomness may be more in randomness than you get from the Microsoft [inaudible 3:59]
Jeff:
So we have our Thai iced teas, we’re getting back to it…
Casey:
So we haven’t addressed this. We kind of got off on the MegaTimer. This is the first time since season 2…
Jeff:
Where we’ve gone full…
Casey:
Where we have returned to the full complement of Jeff & Casey Show paraphernalia, if you will. We have TITs in the studio, ladies and gentlemen. We have Thai iced tea.
Jeff:
So here’s the situation.
Casey:
Yes?
Jeff:
You know when professional sports basketball players and such have… The very best usually have many rituals ‘cos they’re borderline autistic anyway. They tie their shoes…
Casey:
Okay. You know, the only reason I know this is ‘cos you told me. I don’t know… I mean, baseball players, I kind of know they have all these… You know, they get up to bat and do these with their gloves and rubbing their helmet and waving the chicken or whatever…
Jeff:
And it’s just ‘cos there’s so much… Just like pre-loading… And so you try to get into the same… Like Ray Allen reties his shoes supposedly thousands of times before he goes on the court. He just ties and reties…
Casey:
Okay, so there’s OCD shit happening there.
Jeff:
Oh, yeah, definitely. The best shooters have always been like that, have been very… Because the whole act of doing it is like doing the exact precise same motions over and over…
Casey:
So if Ray Allen had been born… If he had been born a rich white kid or something, he’d be in fucking Julliard, being one of those people who’s freaking out about the violin or something… Is that what you’re telling me? It’s like, super compulsive, like, headspace…
Jeff:
When you get behind the scenes books about… Especially basketball players, it’s what comes it comes up a lot in is they remarked on how similar they are to autistic people, not only ‘cos they have all these little machinations they do but also because they’re very insular. Like since they showed the fact that they’re extremely good at something, they don’t have a life… Like really, they go to school and the minute they’re off school, they’re playing basketball ’til they fall asleep. That’s how you get good at something that good.
Casey:
So this is exactly… It’s exactly the person who doesn’t get to have a life really… Practice the violin 24 hours a day and the parents are mad at them or whatever…
Jeff:
So the thing is, that’s what we’re getting back into. It’s like, we’re getting Tai iced teas…. We get the MegaTimer…
Casey:
But we don’t program anything…
Jeff:
No, we’re practicing…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
This is how we get better at it.
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
All I’m saying is we’re exceptional.
Casey:
So in your mind, the basketball player… Like, they go up to this…
Jeff:
We are the Michael Jordan of podcasts…
Casey:
I don’t even know who Ray Allen is, obviously, but they go up to him and they ask him, “What do you do to prepare for a game?” And they’re like, “Well, first of all, I’m 2 hours late to the game…”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
Right? “Second of all, I get myself a Thai iced tea and a glass of water… A bunch of non [inaudible 6:46]
Jeff:
I start playing the game and I forget the rules and I start arguing with somebody else on the bench… And we’re like, gestating [inaudible 6:50]
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Alright, so hey, I wanted to talk about something…
Casey:
Alright. So we’re done with [inaudible 6:55]
Jeff:
[inaudible 6:55]
Casey:
[inaudible 6:56]
Jeff:
We’re gonna show what the Thai iced tea is gonna do for us.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So, I had to take the train to Boston and back from New York recently.
Casey:
Okay, yes.
Jeff:
And I had imagined… And like we’ve talked about, the yacht experience being more bus…
Casey:
Yacht experience?
Jeff:
I’m sorry… The cruise experience…
Casey:
Oh, right.
Jeff:
[ People thinking ] yacht and it’s actually bus…
Casey:
It is bus, that is correct.
Jeff:
Train is like, also bus…
Casey:
In America?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
No, no, yes. I’m talking about the bus…
Casey:
Well, in modern America. In older times in America, it was much like plane travel, all banana cakes. There was like, “Oh, yeah. The grand piano is playing and it’s a party. And there’s a jazz band and whatever…”
Jeff:
This is not happening…
Casey:
That is not happening anymore.
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
That’s true.
Jeff:
So I got on there and I expected…
Casey:
You took the Acela? What were you on?
Jeff:
Yes, the Acela.
Casey:
So you were Boston, then New York, New York to Boston? What? New York to Boston? Roundtrip?
Jeff:
Both sides. Both directions.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So everyone’s like, “No, no. It’s nice. The train’s awesome. You just sit there and work and it’s quiet and all that.”
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Get o the fucking train…
Casey:
Yeah…
Jeff:
And the other thing is, like, “Hey, the whole point is you don’t go to the airport. Nothing goes wrong…”
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
So we get to the goddamned train terminal and our train is cancelled. I don’t know how you cancel a train. I don’t know. It’s just sitting there in the way. I don’t know what they did with it. It doesn’t matter…
Casey:
Where’s CNN?
Jeff:
Yes. Where’s CNN? Where’s the debris of my train?
Casey:
How have they not found this train? Jeff is there. There’s supposed to be a train. There’s no train. And CNN…
Jeff:
It’s a ghost train filled with rats…
Casey:
Where is the train?
Jeff:
Somewhere in the train yard… Anyway, so they’re like, “Alright…”
Casey:
So this is the thing. This is why CNN is going off the air slowly. It’s because they don’t understand that any time something is expected to arrive and doesn’t, they could go into a full 24-hour news cycle, right?
Jeff:
Yeah. Yeah.
Casey:
Where was a conductor of this train? What were his last words? Let’s see if we can get an interview the family
Jeff:
The story is turned to the bus driver… So anyway, we get on this… Because they have to pack us on to the next train…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
It is elbow to elbow…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
People are on their cellphones…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
It’s full banana cakes…
Casey:
[inaudible 9:17]
Jeff:
So I’m like… I go on there and I’m like, “Alright, fine. I’m just gonna focus. I’m gonna do some work. I’ll put headphones on and it’ll be fine.” My expectations, I admit, of the internet on the train, were high…
Casey:
Oh, okay. So you were gonna try and use internet that’s train internet?
Jeff:
I have used airplane internet…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
It is slow…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
But it works.
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
The train internet, turns out… Because it tells you this when you sign in… It is one 3G connection for the whole fucking train. The whole train is on one thing.
Casey:
I feel like it’s kind of like, “We don’t do tunnels. So when we go through various areas…”
Jeff:
I have no idea. And so, I can’t even P4 sync, let alone check…
Casey:
Right. Well, what the fuck, dude. You get on the train, you have something…
Jeff:
I didn’t think about it. I did not think…
Casey:
That part’s on you…
Jeff:
I told you. My expectations of the internet…
Casey:
[inaudible 10:17]
Jeff:
’Cos I’m like, “We’re on the ground.”
Casey:
But the ground is where… Plane is easier, actually, because it can just do… It’s got unadulterated, look up to the sky, the heavens…
Jeff:
I thought there was gonna be, like, some fourth rail with just the internet…
Casey:
No, there’s no rail [inaudible 10:35]
Jeff:
The third rail’s the power. The fourth rail’s…
Casey:
So in your mind, in your world, if somebody pissed on the internet rails, the reason that the connection is spotty because there’s this whole separate conduit running down there with some kind of rotary [inaudible 10:50]
Jeff:
In any case…
Casey:
I feel like that’s a William Gibson thing…
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
I feel like there’s probably some kind of a novel somewhere there is a fourth rail for net connection or something like this.
Jeff:
That’s how [inaudible 11:01]
Casey:
Okay. Alright.
Jeff:
Anyway, long story short, I couldn’t get anything done. I had no media. I read the book that you’re working on, blasted through that…
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
Literally, I’m out of shit to do about 45 minutes into the train except be angry at the other train. And Dawn is, like reassuring me like, “It’s gonna be okay. It’s gonna be okay.” I start to roonie up and…
Casey:
Oh, okay. Alright.
Jeff:
And then everything gets bad and then finally…
Casey:
How many roonies were you at?
Jeff:
Oh, I hit a full roonie on the train.
Casey:
Okay, you are [ at one point a roonie… ]
Jeff:
It’s a 3 and a half hour thing. I ran out of things to do at 45 minutes…
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
So the guy who’s on his phone…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Was like, doing some, like… Reading numbers…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So I started saying numbers at the same time…
Casey:
Trying to confuse him…
Jeff:
Just to be a dick. Anyway, so it got…
Casey:
That’s an asshole move.
Jeff:
So anyway, on the way back…
Casey:
Hold on one second. So one thing I was gonna interject there was that I was prepared, at the beginning of the story to jump in with one of those comments that everyone does. It’s like, “Oh, you don’t. The trains in Japan are awesome. It’s like… These US trains or whatever the fuck…” But actually, it turns out, based on your story, that I cannot make such a comment because the situation that you’re talking about is exactly what happens in Japan if there’s an incident… So if you end up in a situation where there’s a fire in the terminal or something like this, then you get the exact same thing where, like, all the trains are now jam-packed and it’s disaster. So unfortunately, you have a legitimate train complaint. This is a legitimate universal train complaint that you have here.
Jeff:
Okay. So we go. We see the play. We meet your parents, hang out with your parents in the morning, have some breakfast. And I get back and I go, “Okay, to prevent further roonies, I need to get a book to read.”
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But we’re at the train station…
Casey:
Wait, so there’s been 2 hours and 15 minutes of you just roonie-ing… On the way to…
Jeff:
On the way to…
Casey:
So it was like…
Jeff:
Everyone’s mad at Jeff ‘cos I am, like, “Look at that. Why did they misspell that? Can they do this?” Like, everything I can… I get into comment mode where it’s like… You know, where you’re opening the nuts and counting the nuts. That was the full roonie when I’m in that situation.
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
Nothing doesn’t get a comment. “Look at that lady’s purse, it’s bigger than her head,” like just… I don’t like it any more than anybody else does.
Casey:
But it’s what happened…
Jeff:
But it happened.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
So on the way back, I’m like, “I can’t… I’m gonna get thrown off the train if I go full roonie again…”
Casey:
Right. But presumably, on the way back, you will have time… You should have, in theory, have P4 synced… You should have been… You put yourself in a position to use a laptop, have you not?
Jeff:
There’s a whole ‘nother story…
Casey:
What’s the other story?
Jeff:
Okay, this is separate from what I was gonna talk about.
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
We’re staying at the Marriott something there.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Right next to the play house where we see the play.
Casey:
Sure.
Jeff:
I can’t remember which Marriott it is. Anyway, we’re in downtown Boston… It’s kind of near where you got married there. It was in that zone.
Casey:
Okay. Alright.
Jeff:
So I’m there,
Casey:
So near the science museum?
Jeff:
Yes, probably 4 blocks away. Like when we went to go down to the fancy restaurant by the water…
Casey:
Okay. Alright, so you’re near the north end?
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
Okay. Boston people will now know, [inaudible 14:29]
Jeff:
I go there. I check in. I’m like, “Alright, this is fine. I will P4 sync. I will Plex sync some movies and shit to watch…
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
’Cos there is power there. I’m not gonna run out of power on the train…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
Which is nice.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Okay, this is weird. I can’t seem to connect.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
So, one of the things where you connect and then you have to go to the webpage…
Casey:
Oh, right, make sure that you pay your $15 a day or…
Jeff:
Yeah, exactly. I call them downstairs and they’re like, “Yeah, the system that takes the orders for the [inaudible 15:00] was down,” not the internet, the chip where they just want to charge you the bullshit. This was a $400 a night place, mind you.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
It’s not cheap.
Casey:
Oh, yeah. This is what I said. This is what I just said on a recent episode of Jeff & Casey… The one with the whale actually, the whales when we were talking about Blackfish… I said the more you pay for your hotel room, the more likely you are to get fucked on the internet. If you pay $50 a night for your hotel room, you get free internet. You get… If you pay… If the cost of your hotel room is less than what you pay per month in internet charges at home, you will get free internet…
Jeff:
If there are bugs, you get internet.
Casey:
Right. Yeah. I don’t know how that’s possible but that is the truth.
Jeff:
Anyway, I couldn’t get that so I didn’t… Now only did I not have batt, I have nothing.
Casey:
So you’re just completely fucked?
Jeff:
I mean, I could’ve probably gone to a coffee shop but we’ve got to. . .
Casey:
Or like, ask my parents to take the laptop back. Like, “Can you bring this back to your home and…
Jeff:
Anyway, so I go to a bookstore and I just go to buy a book.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
And like, all the books there are all the kinds of books that people buy or read on a train or airplane…
Casey:
So that’s the only business they get anymore.
Jeff:
Thrillers, murders… All this kind of thing.
Casey:
Yeah. Or like, the latest from fucking… That guy with the fucked up hair who always just makes shit up…
Jeff:
I don’t know who you’re talking about.
Casey:
What’s his name?
Jeff:
Oh, Gladwell.
Casey:
Malcolm Gladwell, yeah. It’s like, stuff like that that’s like… its like, “Guess what, the entire world revolves around this new thing I just found. It’s like, you know…”
Jeff:
“A Thousand Easy Paces”…
Casey:
Yes, exactly.
Jeff:
And it’s like the only way to really understand something is to think about it while you walk a thousand paces.
Casey:
Right. Yes.
Jeff:
And I’ve gone back and it turns out that Einstein always walked…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Now, we don’t know if it was a thousand paces but I think we can safely assume…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
So he’s just full…
Casey:
That is actually amazing. What you just did… That’s like a book. That is like his next book, what you just did. It will be like… “So he goes through and he talks about…” It’s not like I exhaustively studied all geniuses. It’s like, 3…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Like, he’ll pick three people in history who walked or might have walked or people have said they may have walked. And then he has, like, the stupid titles about, like, this apocryphal incident that he doesn’t actually have the data for but he’s like… Talking about einstin having trouble coming up with the thing and then on the 999th step, he lifts up his foot and it’s like, “Ah,” right? And then, like, so thus starts the prologue.
Jeff:
It is absolute bullshit.
Casey:
Yeah. So you’re either going to get Gladwell-ed or you’re going to get genre fiction.
Jeff:
Right. And then, the master of the books (for men, at least) in this airport/train station situation is Tom Clancy.
Casey:
Okay. Just because [inaudible 17:53]
Jeff:
Most of the books, almost all the books, are oriented towards women.
Casey:
Okay. Alright.
Jeff:
Like, you look at them and they’re like, “Okay. Yeah, okay.” You’re looking around… What there tends to be is maybe one or two sports autobiographies…
Casey:
In that case[inaudible 18:05] ‘cos the women read more?
Jeff:
Yes, I think so.
Casey:
That’s [inaudible 18:10]
Jeff:
I mean, that’s the kind of common story [ everyone tells ]… Probably Gladwell…
Casey:
Gladwell probably did this at some point. It’s totally wrong but it’s just like, “No, no, no. Women read. Men don’t read.”
Jeff:
Right. [inaudible 18:21]
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
So anyway, Tom Clancy wrote all those kinds of books that were like, the stupid spy books that are written…
Casey:
He’s dead, right?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
There’s no more Tom Clancy?
Jeff:
No, no, no. Well, there’s still Clancy. They like…
Casey:
Holy shit, is his name stamped on shit that’s not…
Jeff:
He’s a brand. Yeah, that someone else has written… I would have probably bought those…
Casey:
Wow.
Jeff:
Now, I’ve read a lot of Tom Clancy’s because they are, like, they’re fairly breakneck. They are really terribly written. I would say that… That’s not true…
Casey:
Yeah. The prose is very difficult in the… It’s tortured, in my experience.
Jeff:
Yes. I don’t find that… I find them to be poorly… Not great written in the sense that everything is his weird viewpoints of the world in parentheticals around what the character is like. You know, “Bob was a company man,” and that’s what… It’ll be like, “Bob was a company man and he knew that his God would never believe in this kind of work.”
Casey:
Alright. Okay.
Jeff:
And then it’ll be like, “Not that he believes in God because he was a Russian.” That would be the parenthetical… Like, there’s nothing that you learn about the character that isn’t in at the end of a sentence with a comma or a parentheses around it.
Casey:
I agree ‘cos… I haven’t read a Tom Clancy since “The Hunt for Red October”, actually. But I do remember, when reading that book, it was just a really arduous read because it had that… It was very Dickensian to me in that it would be like… Okay, the action in this scene is like guy opens door. But it’s 70 paragraphs long of me telling him about his hometown and when he came… And I’m like, I don’t like super pre-loaded fiction like… I don’t like high expository fiction like that. If you want to tell me about his hometown, show me a scene from his hometown. Like, I have a more movie-oriented opinion about how I want my spy fiction to be. I want scenes, not you telling me a long history of monks or some shit, right? So that’s what I remember about it but I haven’t read much Tom Clancy [inaudible 20:47]
Jeff:
I think… Well, the other thing about Clancy is get like, “Bob approached the door. The door was a Boeing 4753, 6 inches thick, 500 pounds… Nothing that 2 grenades in Bob’s pocket wouldn’t take care of, not that he needed them,” that kind of shit, right?
Casey:
You could write a Clancy novel. You have got this…
Jeff:
Oh, well , there’s also… It’s very formulaic in the sense that you usually have… You alternate chapters between good guy/bad guy. So you get like… You kind of comment on the other person as their adversary. And then, they eventually meet at the end that blows up, [ they say in the book ].
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
It’s very… Almost computer-generated.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
That said, I got this book…
Casey:
Now, I saw this. When I walked in, I saw this on the table here and I was wondering if it was podcast or if it was just something that was there ‘cos I couldn’t see the title. Now that I can see the title, I would have known immediately it was podcast.
Jeff:
It’s called “Slingshot — A Spy Catcher Novel”.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
This is a series of books.
Casey:
Called “Spy Catcher”?
Jeff:
Spy Catcher . So Matthew Dunn who apparently once worked for MI-6, this is him… He actually worked there.
Casey:
He looks a little MI-6. I can see that.
Jeff:
So the main character works at MI-6.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
He’s very good with the ladies…
Casey:
Oh, is he? Do you think Michael [inaudible 22:07] the ladies?
Jeff:
I read this…
Casey:
Yes. Why?
Jeff:
’Cos I thought that was the best of the choices I had…
Casey:
That was the best you could do, alright…
Jeff:
It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever read. And all of a sudden, I’m like, “Maybe Clancy was way better than I thought,” ‘cos this guy is totally aping Clancy and everything.
Casey:
Right. Right. Right.
Jeff:
The dialogue is absolutely… Like, there are places like… It’s like, “He pounds the table. ‘Don’t you tell me what to do!’” I mean, it’s like… The craziest… There were several points I’m laughing out loud reading the things.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So I marked a couple. I wish I started early but I just want to read a couple to hit you off with this.
Casey:
Okay. Hit me.
Jeff:
Okay. So the guy from MI-6, his name is Will.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
“As the waiter returns to the inside of the café, Will took a sip of the sweet tea and tried to relax. The aromatic smell of the hookah tobacco wafted across his table and prompted brief memories.”
Casey:
Okay. [inaudible 23:15]
Jeff:
[inaudible 23:17]
Casey:
These are not… When they prompted the memory, it didn’t just prompt the memory and then he briefly thought about it. It prompted brief memories specifically. So we’re pre-selecting from the set of memories that were not long to begin with.
Jeff:
Now, what I’m about to read now… Is one sentence.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
It’s just one sentence.
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
Ready? “He recalled walking through a vibrant and bustling Moroccan souk one evening, following one of his Syrian agents, who was unaware of his presence and was headed to a covert meeting with an Iranian intelligence officer; sitting in a café similar to this one, in Cairo, scouring the buildings opposite to spot the man who planted the band in the café and was waiting for the right moment to blow it apart and to kill the men who were sitting three tables away from him; drinking tea in a Bedouin tent with a Jordanian tribal leader who believed he could help Will negotiate the release of an American aid worker who had been captured by a gang of criminals with an affiliation to an Al Qaeda sell; and eating dates and baklava with the stunning Lebanese woman who told him she was falling for him, when in fact, Will knew she wanted to put a bullet in his head.” That is a page and a half.
Casey:
So…
Jeff:
Of one sentence. That is not super… I can flip to more… That’s not uncommon.
Casey:
That’s not a rare incident.
Jeff:
This one is just particularly awesome in that I noticed it with all the semicolons in it. But…
Casey:
So…
Jeff:
Will’s got a lot going on.
Casey:
Will does have a lot going on. So one thing that’s… You know, I guess I would say… So having written 2 books now, I will say that in general, I feel like something that I don’t see many people do in fiction at all when you read it is… I feel like most authors don’t have a reason why the shit on the page was on the page. Right?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Like, it’s kind of interesting. It reminds me a lot of the game design thing. Like, Jonathan Blow calls this “eating at the sizzler”, right, where it’s just whatever the fuck. You’re just throwing things in there because… I don’t know, you thought that was cool at the time. But you don’t have any concrete reason why this thing has to happen.
Jeff:
It’s not serving to develop the character, any of that?
Casey:
Well, yeah. So basically, you know, I don’t know the context of this particular story that we’re talking about. But that there is a classic example of, like, “Okay, I, A, obviously couldn’t come up with a better way to introduce whatever the background stuff is there that I want to introduce then having the character remember it explicitly.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
So it’s not like a chapter where we see something from this person’s past…
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
We’re just going to like…
Jeff:
He’s just recalling it.
Casey:
He’s fucking smelling a hookah pipe and that’s making him remember other times. So he’s read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Power of Smell” book…
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
Which talks about how the best memory performance comes…
Jeff:
Has to do with smell…
Casey:
When you sniff things.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
Right? And that’s why, like, all of the great mentalists of their day always were sniffing shit all the time.
Jeff:
Exactly. Rainmen stunk.
Casey:
Exactly. Very stinky rain man. No, you’re thinking of… That’s a different Malcolm Gladwell book. “The [ Autist ]” or whatever…
Jeff:
[ The Rainman Stinks ]?
Casey:
Yeah. So yeah, in that case, he [ didn’t do that. ] And then he was just like, “So what was the point of all that stuff?” It’s like, “We wanted to show he had a crazy spy past or whatever,” right?
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
So he just…
Jeff:
At page 600 into an 800 page book.
Casey:
So he just slams a bunch of random shit in there that doesn’t have any… Like, if you were going to do that, right, the cool thing to do would be to have a reason why the thing that he was remembering that shows you his spy past has some payoff later.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
Like why does this woman want to put a bullet in his head or whatever the fuck, like that should’ve been… But in these books, a lot of times, none of that stuff is true. They’re just like… He just thought it was cool, it was like [inaudible 27:28] comic book kinds of shit…
Jeff:
Well there’s an amazing part in here where Cronos, the master…
Casey:
[inaudible 27:37] know who that is…
Jeff:
He’s the master assassin.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Best assassin of all time.
Casey:
I’m sure he is.
Jeff:
When he’s not an assassin…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
He’s a schoolteacher and he stays at home with these two young blonde boys…
Casey:
It’s touching.
Jeff:
And tells them stories.
Casey:
About? A master assassin?
Jeff:
Nope. He’s telling a story about and evil giant earthworm that lives in the black forest…
Casey:
What? Okay, so hold on…
Jeff:
And then a great…
Casey:
Hold on a second. That actually sounds like this book is starting to get good.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
If it was a comedy.
Jeff:
So there’s a giant earthworm that lives in the black forest. And he’s telling… And his sons are like, “Oh, daddy, tell me more.” And he’s like, “Well, there is an evil songbird that comes to the forest and says, ‘I will give you 10 dead cows.’” And the earthworm turns on the songbird and then the mighty… And all of these…
Casey:
Wait, where’s he going to get the cows… Huh?
Jeff:
They’re getting cows that…
Casey:
Who’s getting cows?
Jeff:
They’re getting cows? They’re giving cows to the earthworm.
Casey:
Okay, so the earthworm…
Jeff:
This giant earthworm eats cows.
Casey:
The giant earthworm eats cows.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
The songbird has…
Jeff:
Delivers the cows…
Casey:
So the songbird… I just want to make sure I have this ‘cos it sounds really good. The songbird has procured some cows?
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
He has a line, if you will, on 10 cows that the earthworm can have?
Jeff:
Yeah. And the songbird wants…
Casey:
Is this a bargain? The songbird wants an exchange?
Jeff:
Yes. The songbird wants the giant earthworm to kill the golden eagle. That’s how it works.
Casey:
Okay. Alright. Now why is that? Do the songbird and the golden eagle, have they had a bird feud going? Is there a bit of a falling out between the avian members of this fairy tale?
Jeff:
Yes. The best part of all this is every one of them, like… There is not indirect symbolism. The songbird is literally the bad spy. The golden eagle is the good spy. The earthworm…
Casey:
What about the cows?
Jeff:
That’s the money that’s being traded.
Casey:
Oh, I see.
Jeff:
And the earthworm is the super bad guy in this book. His name is Claus [ Streiber ] and he has some amazing… Pounding the table and says, “I don’t care what you say.”
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Anyway, it’s pretty crazy.
Casey:
Now, so what you’re saying basically is this thing with the songbird, it’s a metaphor?
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
It is a metaphor, Jeff…
Jeff:
Yes, and importantly…
Casey:
It is a metaphor for the larger story.
Jeff:
He goes to make his… He’s supposed to assassinate this world leader…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
And he decides not to…
Casey:
Why?
Jeff:
After making the airplane that the world leader… He arranges for the airplane that the world leader is onto crash. He has taken over the airport that he knows where it’s going to crash…
Casey:
Wait what?
Jeff:
He knows they’re going to survive…
Casey:
But airplanes don’t really crash at airports. They usually just crash into terrain, right?
Jeff:
Well, he set it up ‘cos he’s master assassin.
Casey:
Yes, obviously.
Jeff:
And then, he’s about to shoot the…
Casey:
Wait, but the airplane crashed. Isn’t everybody dead?
Jeff:
No, they survived.
Jeff:
They’re really pulling the limits here.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
So the only thing they can really do after…
Casey:
What’s the… MCH-730? Or… What’s the name of the plane again? It’s got some name that…
Jeff:
I have no idea. Oh, you’re saying… Yeah.
Casey:
They use the call letters of the plane all the time. They’re like, whatever it is… But I don’t remember what they are because I don’t watch CNN.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
But I do go to the webpage everyday…
Jeff:
The webpage is hysterical…
Casey:
And I cut out a picture of it and I sent it to you ‘cos I know you love it.
Jeff:
It’s so crazy.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
So the only thing they have… ‘Cos they found the beep…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And apparently, the beep is the…
Casey:
Twice, Jeff. Twice.
Jeff:
Yeah. They found the beep and then later on, they said they got the beep again.
Casey:
A beep and then another beep.
Jeff:
And you can follow Casey at CMuratori at Twitter and you can get these updates…
Casey:
Not really because you have to follow both of us ‘cos I send them directly to you. So you’d have to follow @CMuratori and @JeffAtRad if you really want a high quality… Or, you could just go to CNN.com and hit F5 because every time you hit it, it will have a new stupid plane fact.
Jeff:
So now that they’re down, they’re going to find that thing. It’ll be over. The only thing to speculate on after this is the afterlife.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Where are these passengers? Where are they now?
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Did they go to heaven?
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
We’re going to look back at the life of all 200 passengers and decide whether they were naughty or nice to determine where they are, based on their religion, speculate artist rendering of how they imagine these things…
Casey:
I don’t think so. I think you are underestimating CNN considerably, okay?
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Because that is actually somewhat farcical, what you are saying. I don’t think they would actually do a, like, afterlife… Now, CNN would absolutely do something ridiculous like do a moment of silence or something. Like, they would do that kind of stuff. But I don’t think they’re going to go that way. But I do think they’re going to stretch this out because I think they’ve got tons of angles they can still continue to milk like the cover-up — What weren’t we told about flight MH-730?
Jeff:
I see.
Casey:
Where are the… So they will find… You know, ‘cos there’s going to be, like, hundreds of crackpots out there who will have crazy theories about what happened.
Jeff:
Yep.
Casey:
And CNN will take every single one of those seriously, right? They will have like a 20/20-style show every night that’s, like, on the trail of flight MH-730 or whatever it is, right?
Jeff:
That’s awesome.
Casey:
And they will press every last drop of olive oil from these totally spent olives until it’s e most rancid silty crap you can possibly imagine.
Jeff:
Oh, God. Anyway, that book is called “Slingshot”. It’s by Matthey Dunn.
Casey:
You have probably just sold a lot of copies for him.
Jeff:
The other thing is the descriptions that they get for the back of the book are also awesome.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
“Great imagination.” “Full throttle suspense storytellling.”
Casey:
Who are they from? Who said that?
Jeff:
Jeffrey Deever and the other one is Lee Child.
Casey:
Are any of these people book reviewers? Or are they just people?
Jeff:
We have no idea. They don’t say.
Casey:
Awesome.
Jeff:
I also like this where they put a little star like one of those starbursts…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
It says, “Thrilling low price”.
Casey:
Wait. It says, “Thrilling low price”? The prices is the…
Jeff:
But it’s thrilling ‘cos it’s a thriller, Casey. Spy catching…
Casey:
Not necessarily.
Jeff:
Spy catching 3.99.
Casey:
They might just be suggesting that the thrilling part is the fact that the price was low.
Jeff:
That could be true.
Casey:
I mean, you don’t know what they’re trying to imply their.
Casey:
No?
Jeff:
But he knew they were going to survive.
Casey:
What?
Jeff:
And then, he’s going to assassinate the world leader with a gun. I’m like, I don’t know what this crazy plot is. All this plotting, he could’ve just blown the plane up.
Casey:
It’s very strange.
Jeff:
Anyway, right at the last minute, he changes his mind.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
And so, in the story, the earthworm does not kill the golden eagle I think is how it went.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
So his kids go, “But what about the songbird? He needs to be punished.” And the dad goes, “You’re right.” And then the master assassin hooks up with Will to go get the songbird. So they… That’s… And it’s all due to his kids saying, “Father…”
Casey:
Here’s the thing.
Jeff:
Yes? I don’t know if…
Casey:
This is a lot like the Whitney Houston song. The children, Jeff, the children are the future. And if we teach them well, which is what this metaphor was doing, they will lead the way, Jeff. They will lead the way if we let them. And he let them. And now, they have killed the songbird.
Jeff:
It’s true.
Casey:
Something people have totally failed to do in the whole history of the cow trade. The songbird has reigned supreme. And yet now, thanks to the secret the children had shared with us, it has been resolved.
Jeff:
Here’s one more that I thought that cracked… There’s a lot. I marked some more but I’ll just read you one more.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Okay. So this is… The plane is crashing right now.
Casey:
It’s crashing?
Jeff:
It’s crashing.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
“Thoughts race through Will’s mind. What will it be like?”
Casey:
Will is on the plane?
Jeff:
Will is on the plane.
Casey:
Why is Will on the plane? We don’t want to know?
Jeff:
It’s a long story.
Casey:
Don’t ask the question. Don’t ask questions, just read the book.
Jeff:
Yeah. Oh, everyone should read this book.
Casey:
Okay. Do you think this should be a bestseller? Just not for the reasons that he would prefer?
Jeff:
That he hopes, yeah.
Casey:
Alright, that’s fine.
Jeff:
“Thoughts race through Will’s mind. What would it be like? Quick as a bullet or a body lacerated by shards of metal? Did he regret anything?”
Casey:
Wait, hold on. Why is a body lacerated by shards of metal different than a bullet? A bullet is one shard of metal lacerating…
Jeff:
But one is quick as a bullet. “Quick as a bullet or a body lacerated by shards of metal? Did he regret anything?”
Casey:
Those aren’t speeds.
Jeff:
Hold on. “Did he regret anything? Yeah, every damn fucking thing. Five yards to the ground. ‘I’ll soon be with you, dad. Finally get a chance to grab that beer together. Is mum with you? Do they have beer where you are?’” I love that 2 yards from the runway…
Casey:
“Do they have beer where you are?”
Jeff:
2 yards from the runway, he was thinking about his father. He got sidetracked by the beer thing, like, “Oh, a beer would be great now. I wonder if they have beer. They probably have beer but not the kind I want.” You know, like it’s one of those places.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
You go in there, you want to get like a lager. And no, just IPA bullshit…
Casey:
Yeah, exactly.
Jeff:
Like [ wheat ] or something…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
I just love that at his death…
Casey:
Heaven just doesn’t seem to have the micro-brews that I want.
Jeff:
Yeah. It’s pretty crazy.
Casey:
So if I may, I feel like this guy and CNN would actually get along pretty well.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
They seem to have similar perspectives on the whole plane tragedy scenario.
Jeff:
[ That’s true ].
Casey:
This is a complex situation with a lot of angles that need to be explored.
Jeff:
Has CNN looked into the beer situation?
Casey:
I don’t know.
Jeff:
I don’t think so.
Casey:
Where exactly… Wherever the…
Jeff:
Well, we were talking about this yesterday of, like… They’re really on the last loop around on this stupid fucking plane.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
It’s not that cheap. I’m looking at it.
Casey:
Yeah? How much was it?
Jeff:
It was $8.
Casey:
I think you overpaid, my friend. I think you overpaid.
Jeff:
Let’s put that aside.
Casey:
That is pretty amazing. I also had a bad run-in with fiction recently, unfortunately.
Jeff:
Okay. Where’d you end up?
Casey:
I went to the theater to see a play.
Jeff:
Is this the play you saw Saturday that was a bit terrible?
Casey:
It is. So I tried to think afterwards… I mean, I’ve seen… You know, I’ve seen up to the hundreds, play-wise. Like probably not 200 because it’s actually pretty hard to have seen 200 plays in your life unless you live in New York.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
You’d have to really work at it.
Jeff:
That’s 4 years every week. So yeah, that’s a lot of work.
Casey:
But I’ve seen, you know… I’ve probably seen a hundred plays, 150 plays, something like that…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
A lot of plays, especially if you counted musicals in there ‘cos I’ve seen 50-some musicals and I’ve probably seen, you know, at least that many or more plays. This was probably the worst play that I’ve ever seen.
Jeff:
Wow.
Casey:
That includes play festivals.
Jeff:
Oh, man.
Casey:
This is actually including… And much like with musicals…
Jeff:
The play festivals, you see stuff, works in progress and…
Casey:
You see works in progress and I’ve seen some… I have seen… Musicals sometimes have an easier job of being really terrible because the music can also be terrible. Like, you have a lot of more ability to really push the awful button when you’re a musical than you do with a play ‘cos a play is fundamentally people standing around, talking.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
And so, there’s only a certain amount of uncomfortable-ness [inaudible 39:29] If people can also suddenly break into song, that just gives you… It’s just a much wider gamut, right? It’s kind of like the whole thing with people talking about 1080p, right? It’s like, you know, you just have so much more resolution to show the image, right? And it’s not that you couldn’t make an equally shitty movie at 480p. It’s just like, it brings out… It’s got this extra… There’s an extra palette that the director has to work with when they have a crisper picture. You can really bring some of it home.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
So anyway, point being, play-wise, this one was probably the worst I’d ever actually seen.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
And it was pretty impressive. It was a play that did have music in it…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
But it was not a musical.
Jeff:
Okay, it was like radio or just a soundtrack to the play?
Casey:
So, they had like a band on the stage…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
That would play music at… I’m not gonna say appropriate times so I’ll just say “at times”.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
So for example, in one case where it was appropriate, it would be like they are at a bar or something and then the band plays some music that would be playing in this bar at the same time.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
So at that point, it’s basically like atmosphere.
Jeff:
Sure.
Casey:
Right. But it is…
Jeff:
For chase scenes, there’s Benny Hill, that kind of thing?
Casey:
No, that’s like the 39 steps or something…
Jeff:
Alright.
Casey:
Which, while I did not particularly love it, it was so much better… I would have gladly sat through that again…
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
Instead of this.
Jeff:
What was the one we saw that we both hated and we were both watching it, kind of amused that the other person was hating it. And if we had shared the fact we were hating it, we both would’ve left. “The Calculator”?
Casey:
“Adding Machine”.
Jeff:
Oh, “Adding Machine”. Yes.
Casey:
Yes. You were too far forward in time. You were close with calculator. The Abacus… So no… So this play… Unfortunately, I don’t really know that I… We’ll see. I don’t want to spend too long recounting it, probably, unless it goes somewhere good because I just feel like it was one of…
Jeff:
It’s just terrible.
Casey:
It was just literally terrible and I don’t know how funny it was…
Jeff:
Well, you started talking about some other fiction. Go to that.
Casey:
Yeah. I don’t know how funny it was… Wait, what did you just say?
Jeff:
Well, you said, “I read some fiction recently…”
Casey:
No, no. I’m talking about this was the fiction I encountered.
Jeff:
I see. I understand.
Casey:
This was a play… So it was set in Apartheid South Africa.
Jeff:
Of course, it was. So it was about that. I’m sure… If you’re going to use such a heightened time and place, it’s gotta all about Apartheid.
Casey:
Hold on. So it was set in Apartheid South Africa. And this play checked off… Like, I can give you a list. I don’t mean Tsekov like the Russian mobster. I mean like check off in a list of things to do’s. I can give you a list of things. And I did this for musicals on a podcast long ago, actually, when we were talking about “Shrek, the Musical”. I kind of alluded to this list for musicals which I do have like, never do these things…
Jeff:
Oh, okay.
Casey:
[inaudible 42:28] it was just like… Just never do them. If you have them in your thing, you better be awesome and know that you’re doing it to reference this thing. Like, you’d better be referencing a tap line not, in earnest, think you are bringing something to the art of tap line because that is not possible.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
There is nowhere to go with that, right? Like dream ballet, don’t do it. It’s bad in Oklahoma. It’s bad now. So anyway, in plays, there’s a list of these things, too. And sometimes, you can get away with it like if you’re going to have a narrator who talks to the audience. Even Tennessee Williams, the plays would’ve been much better if they just cut it because it makes everyone uncomfortable and confused. Like it’s like it makes it hard to get into the scene when there’s someone talking at you and making it a non-fictional experience anymore. It’s like we’re having a discussion before the play about the play. And it just doesn’t make any sense.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
So this thing hit all of those things. It had narration. It had extraneous music happening for no reason on the stage. It had singing songs that were not written for this play in the play.
Jeff:
Okay. Oh, awesome.
Casey:
And they were, like, period inappropriate… And it just did all of these sort of amazing things. Audience participation…
Jeff:
Oh.
Casey:
It racked them all up. And it’s like one of these things where, like… It even got me by surprise ‘cos I’m like… There’s only 3 people in this play. It’s ostensibly, relatively a serious play. I mean, it’s Apartheid South Africa. It deals with adultery.
Jeff:
Okay. Does it have anything going on with the Apartheid part?
Casey:
No, I’m going to get to that in a second.
Jeff:
Goddamn it.
Casey:
So they managed to have a scene with audience participation. I’m like… ‘Cos I thought they couldn’t hit that one. I thought they couldn’t hit that one.
Jeff:
Yeah, that doesn’t seem like you can do that in a serious play.
Casey:
So this play…
Jeff:
Raise your hand if you hate slavery.
Casey:
Right, exactly. To get things started, the person cut the narrator of the play which… Okay, so… It’s all mixed up in my head now, all the horrible things. So there’s one other thing called spoken stage direction which very few plays do but some plays, especially avant-garde plays, they have the characters read the stage direction out loud.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Okay? Now, if you’re the type of person…
Jeff:
The characters or the stage manager? Is it someone… Usually when you’re doing the reading, the director will read…
Casey:
It depends.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Alright? Now, I will say for those of you who are not into theater, I can easily see why you would think that that was just absolutely ridiculous. Right? You’re just like, “That is pretentious theater crap, right? And you’re mostly right. But I will say that there are some super awesome modern playwrights, like people who are just really, really good, like way better than whoever shat this thing out onstage who have done that and it’s awesome.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
There’s a play called [ “The Brother Sighs” ] which is really good that uses read stage direction.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
And it’s awesome. Like, you’re just like, “That’s great. I never would have thought you could do that. You totally can do that. That guy totally rocked it.” He thought of that on the 999th step of his Malcolm Gladwell pacing when he wrote…
Jeff:
He came to it.
Casey:
He came to it. And it was on it. This one, not so. This one has stage direction in the thing. The characters read the stage direction. And there is no reason for it. It’s like the character is like walking around onstage and they just read the stage direction from… It was no reason for it at all. It was completely extraneous. I have no idea why the stage direction was read.
Jeff:
So they would not… So when they changed the scene, they would walk across the thing and say, “Exterior library.”
Casey:
That is not stage direction. That is the setting.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
The stage direction is, “[Filemon takes the dishes from the dishwasher and puts them into the sink.]”
Jeff:
Awesome.
Casey:
Or something like that, right? It’s a character action or description of the setting. So you wouldn’t necessarily say, “Interior whatever, night.” You would say like, “The fog around the bar was heavy,” like that was getting read in this play, as well. So you’re close. They just didn’t read the [inaudible 46:56]
Jeff:
I see. Right.
Casey:
The scene bylines weren’t read. So yeah, so in this play, it opens with the dude saying… The narrator specifically saying, “This is a story that only could’ve happened in Apartheid South Africa.” He says this, literally.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
So he does not imply it. He does not hint at it. He says the worse, “This story could only have happened in Apartheid South Africa.”
Jeff:
Okay. Could it?
Casey:
The story has no reference to in Apartheid South Africa whatsoever except for three interstitial scenes (which do not involve the main characters in any way) where the narrator tells one of the main characters (who does not participate) about something that happened in South Africa.
Jeff:
Oh, I see. That is amazing.
Casey:
It is literally not, in any way, integrated into the plot. It was stunning to watch. I kept waiting for the reason why this thing had to be in South Africa. It did not have to be in South Africa.
Jeff:
That’s amazing.
Casey:
It was amazing. So the whole play was absolutely terrible. The dialogue was awful. The characters were awful. The plot was awful. The music sucked and… Do you know the song “Strange Fruit”? Have you ever heard the song?
Jeff:
I don’t know. That sounds totally familiar to me.
Casey:
The song, “Strange Fruit”, refers to… It’s something that I think people will maybe know the song. Admittedly, it’s a bit obscure today. Like if you asked a 14-year old the song, “Strange Fruit”, they’ll have no fucking idea. “I think it’s by Ke$ha or something,” they’d say.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
But no. So the song, “Strange Fruit”, if I remember correctly because I hadn’t heard it in a while but it’s a song that was, like, about black lynchings, like about black people being hung from trees. The strange fruit was the fact that they were bodies hanging from trees. And I believe it was, you know, a song about [ our Seth ], I’m pretty sure, right?
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
They sing that entire song in the middle of this play. And I’m like, “The play is not about oppression. You failed to include that in the play. You can’t just have what is supposed to be a sad moment for an oppressed minority in a play where, A, there are no oppressors.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
There are no white people on this play, no government officials, no interaction with the government, no interaction with the companies. There are only Black people only living their lives. And they are unaffected. They are literally unaffected. They don’t show a single scene in the whole play.
Jeff:
That’s amazing.
Casey:
It’s so uncomfortable. And of course, because it’s Seattle, uproarious applause at the end of this play.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
I mean, like…
Jeff:
Well, you said it even got good reviews, which is amazing.
Casey:
I find out later that Ben Bradley, the theater critic from the New York Times who I have to say at this point I have no faith in, called it, “A nearly perfect play.”
Jeff:
Oh, my God.
Casey:
So that has caused me to basically say the New York Times no longer…
Jeff:
Can be trusted…
Casey:
I should’ve written you off with Jude Miller. I should’ve been like, “You know what, the whole Saddam Hussein weapons of mass destruction thing, I’m not reading your paper. I’m not reading your fucking paper anymore, alright, ‘cos you don’t know what’s going on. You have no idea what’s going on,” right? This underscored it. It was like, “Alright, now the New York Times is done. We’re going on the website anymore. We’re not reading the articles anymore. We’re done. You have no editorial standards. I do not trust you.
Jeff:
That’s amazing. Well, the play I actually saw was a Tsekov play, coincidentally.
Casey:
Oh, okay. This was not a Tsekov play, obviously.
Jeff:
Right. It would be awesome if…
Casey:
I heard Tsekov plays are extremely laborious.
Jeff:
Yeah, they’re dense. It’s a lot of Russian.
Casey:
I would like to have seen… Was it “The Seagull” that you saw?
Jeff:
“The Seagull”.
Casey:
I wanted to see “The Seagull” when it was here and I fucked up my ticket dates. I was really pissed about that ‘cos I really did want to see it. Nobody performs Tsekov hardly at all. It’s very hard to see Tsekov ’cos nobody wants to see Tsekov, I think, is basically what happens.
Jeff:
Yeah. It’s just it’s long and dense and… I mean, it’s a comedy but in that really dark, weird way where nothing ends up good.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But it’s one of the first plays within a play thing so they do a lot of stuff with that and they do have a little bit of spoken stage direction around that [ part ].
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
It was directed, coincidentally… So a friend of Dawn was in it, that’s why… It was directed by… You know “A Fish Called Wanda”?
Casey:
I know the movie.
Jeff:
Of course. And you remember John Cleese’s wife who was… She’s very prim and proper and she’s like…
Casey:
Yeah, I don’t really remember. I know the character but I don’t really remember the actress.
Jeff:
Right. And it’s her… She was very good in it.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
And she does theater as straight person comedy.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Like, she teaches that.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
Anyway, so she was the director which was just an odd… Alright, crazy, I didn’t expect that for a really…
Casey:
She must be really old now. She was old in that movie.
Jeff:
Yeah. I assume… They didn’t have an updated picture of her but I guess she was a theater actor in England even during that…
Casey:
A thespian, if you will?
Jeff:
Yes. A [inaudible 52:26] remember? Anyway, it was okay. But it was a lot of fun.
Casey:
Well, I’m glad I missed it when it was here because they actually had “The Seagull Project” here which was a thing where they actually gave the actors several months, I think, to work on the play which sounded awesome because normally, actors get 3 weeks…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Right? It’s like, people don’t… I almost never criticize. I only applaud acting in regional theater in general just because you almost have no time.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
The writing, I always criticize ‘cos they had as much time as they fucking wanted, right? But the acting, if it’s good, it’s really a miracle. The people are just naturals at that point because they don’t have any fucking time to get it good, you know?
Jeff:
Supposedly, this is one of the hardest plays to do in terms of… It’s almost all subtext…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So it’s a famous one for actors to act like the characters for weeks and weeks and weeks to get to the point where they’re supposed to just be like… What is said is supposed to be as important as what isn’t. It’s like all that kind of really heavy…
Casey:
So that’s why I wanted to see the one here and I didn’t get to see it.
Jeff:
There’s a very famous production of it in…
Casey:
It’s too bad.
Jeff:
In Central Park. They do “Shakespeare in the Park” and for one of them, they did this [inaudible 53:51]
Casey:
“Tsekov in the Park”.
Jeff:
“Tsekov in the Park”. And it’s kind of crazy… I don’t have Wikipedia in front of me but the cast for that is the craziest cast…
Casey:
Oh, is it like all famous people or something?
Jeff:
It’s like reading, like, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Sean Penn… It goes like that for 5 minutes. You’re just like…
Casey:
Okay. So every single part…
Jeff:
All 15… Like, it’s like there’s maybe 20 people in the play that have lines. Every single one of them is played by an insane…
Casey:
Not just an actor but a very famous actor.
Jeff:
Very famous Hollywood actor so you’re going to get that…
Casey:
That’s awesome.
Jeff:
But it is pretty crazy.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Anyway, it was okay.
Casey:
Well, I think we have wrapped up another ridiculous episode of the Jeff & Casey Show…
Jeff:
That’s right. Okay. Well, if you want us to talk about your favorite novel or play…
Casey:
That’s true. If you would like a piece of fiction reviewed… We kind of wanted to do a piece of game fiction at some point.
Jeff:
Yes, that’s true.
Casey:
But the problem we were having with that is, like, they take 20 hours to play. So it’s kind of hard for Jeff and I to get together and actually play an entire game to get the fiction out of it.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
So I don’t know how we’re going to do that. Someday, hopefully, we can get a chance to do that.
Jeff:
Yeah, we’re going to do and really explore the subtext in Farmville and really go over the subtleties.
Casey:
I wish [ it could ] have been there for Gears of War because Gears of War is kind of interesting in the fact that there’s a ton of cut scenes in it. But they’re like…
Jeff:
I’ve seen a lot of those ‘cos it’s one of our test… Yeah. But I don’t know what’s going on.
Casey:
The best thing about it… I’ll just throw it at the end here ‘cos there isn’t much. I don’t really want to go through the plot of Gears of War ’cos I honestly can’t remember it. It’s so tortured and weird. The most awesome thing about Gears of War is, like, this is a thing that takes place really far I the future, right, and they’ve got all this advanced weaponry and crazy things and planet colonization and all this stuff, right? So there’s like…
Jeff:
A lot going on.
Casey:
I mean, this is far, far in the future. There’s one black dude total as far as I can tell. I think in Gears of War 3, they might have introduced a second one. But there’s on black dude. He is a football player, talks like he’s from the inner city… Right? It is like they didn’t stop to even think about how they would age the racism forward. They just went ahead and go like, “What is the most stereotypical black person’s portrayal?” It was like the robots in Transformers. Remember the racist robots in Transformers? They did that and, like…
Jeff:
Set 200 years from now.
Casey:
Yeah. They don’t stop. He’s full 100% volume that character in the entire fucking thing. And you’re just like, “Seriously, guys? Did you… Is that just what you wanted to do? Nobody…”
Jeff:
Nobody said anything?
Casey:
Yeah, they’re like, “No, it’s cool.” Of course, there weren’t any women in the thing for, like, multiple things, either. So I suppose that’s part of it anyway. But it’s a pretty interesting to that degree, anyways but…
Jeff:
Well, email us at Podcast@JeffAndCaseyShow.com.
Casey:
You should definitely email Podcast@JeffAndCaseyShow.com. If you’ve got something that you would like us to cover, something that you feel like the liberal media…
Jeff:
Is hiding…
Casey:
Is not covering because of their obvious bias…
Jeff:
That’s right. We will take care of it.
Casey:
Don’t send it to Fox News.
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
Don’t trust it to Fox News. You need to come to the real alternative media. You need to come to where shit gets analyzed, reanalyzed, and then analyzed again until it’s completely unrecognizable…
Jeff:
That’s exactly right.
Casey:
The Jeff & Casey Show. We hope to see you here next week.
Jeff:
Yes, we’ll see you next week and we’ll probably do McGruff the Crime Dog. We’ll cover that.
Casey:
We nearly got to McGruff the Crime Dog this time. I feel like we’re nipping at the heels, if you will, of McGruff the Crime Dog.
Jeff:
Alright, thanks, everybody. And we’ll see you next week.
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casey muratori
the jeff and casey show - season 4 - episode 11
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