Ask the grumpies: Favorite podcasts redux

Leah Asks:

How do you feel about podcasts? do you have a favorite podcast?

We both like podcasts.  They are especially great for commuting.  #1 likes them better than books on tape for short commutes because podcasts are generally easier to jump in and out of than are books.  Especially superficial podcasts can be good for doing boring data work.  Apparently we haven’t answered this question in 5 years!

Here’s some previous lists of favorites:

Favorites in 2010

Favorites in 2014

Favorites in 2016

Some from 2018

If you like book podcasts, definitely check out the above links!  #2 is still really into book podcasts.

In addition, some new ones (none of these are affiliate links and I just pulled the first link off google so they’re all different places–listen wherever you get your podcasts):

Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.  I LOVED this one and am a little sad it’s over.  I do have the book though!

Dear Hank and John (I have actually been listening to this since it started, so it might be on a previous list)

The official Taskmaster podcast.  (This is my current commute listen.  I love it so much.)

Young House Love has a Podcast seems to be on a permanent hiatus, but I listened to all of them!

By the Book Podcast

The Trypod, though to be honest I stopped listening after Ned said something sexist and then his apology was cringy.  He’s not there anymore so I will probably go back eventually if I run out of Taskmaster and Dear Hank and John episodes.

Linda T Says:

I hate podcasts. I am a visual learner and can read faster that they speak.

maya agrees:

OMG–YES! I always feel curmudgeonly–because I’m like I don’t want to waste my time on your subpar banter…

Debbie M adds:

I think I could like podcasts, though without visuals, my mind tends to wander. What I hate is a lack of editing. I will never watch anything live, and most podcasts do have a lot of rambling. This is part of why I love “Dear Hank and John.” Highly edited! But also interesting.

Ask the grumpies: Thoughts on Prairie Home Companion?

Leah asks:

Do you have strong feelings about Prairie Home Companion?

Not fans.  I will turn it off if it’s on or leave the room.  Oddly I did like Garrison Keillor’s morning poetry bit before we found out he was a bad person.  #2 disliked it less than does #1.

Ask the grumpies: Favorite NPR show?

Leah Asks:

What’s your favorite NPR show (current or classic)?

Trump made it really hard to listen to the news, so most of our listening stopped.  I replaced my commute radio listening first with music and then with podcasts about things I don’t care in the least about.

That said, I used to really like Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and The Splendid Table.  Occasionally This American Life, though usually that’s too deep for me.  And even though Garrison Keeler is a problematic jerk and I never liked Prairie Home Companion, I did like his little poetry minute thing.

Grumpy Nation, what are your favorite NPR shows, current or classic?

Ask the grumpies: Bath towel or bath sheet?

Leah asks:

Bath towel or bath sheet?

I’ve never heard of a bath sheet.  Let me look up what that is.

Ok, Professor Google says it’s what you would guess if you had to guess– a bath sheet is a big bath towel.  We both like big bath towels.  So I guess #1 uses both because she mainly gets bath towels/sheets as presents from her MIL and beggars can’t be choosers. (Also #1 is grateful and they are very nice and thoughtful! It started ~20 years ago when #1 mentioned to her MIL that MIL’s towels were so much nicer than anything #1 could find.  The answer turned out to be JCPenny’s.).  #2 uses bath sheets and has since she can remember.

Grumpy nation, how big are your bath towels?

Ask the grumpies: Ethics of eating peanut butter at parks

Leah asks:

My kids (and I!) love eating peanut butter. We frequently pack it for park picnics and the like. I do clean my kids’ hands after eating and try to clean the table. What are your thoughts on the ethics of this given peanut allergies?

I mean, it’s probably not a big deal because people with peanut allergies that would be triggered by leftovers on a park bench are probably very careful.  (My kids have a cousin with a deadly peanut and less deadly but still dangerous tree nut allergy, but he’s not triggered by trace particles.)  But also… it is very easy to switch to almond butter or sunbutter (or, if the kids are really lucky, cookie butter) for school/outdoor things.  We still have peanut butter and other peanut products at home.

So… we haven’t intentionally packed peanut butter for outside or school stuff since DC1 was born, or maybe before that because when I was pregnant with DC1 they were recommending pregnant women avoid peanut butter (now they recommend the opposite).  The most frequent mistake both on our side and from teachers is stuff like snickers bars.  You just kind of forget they have peanuts.

There are tons of allergies out there that are dangerous for people and you can’t be careful about all of them.  You have to think about the cost-benefit calculations given what you know.  If you know there’s a kid with a deadly allergy, then obviously don’t bring that thing.  Peanut is one of the easier ones to decide on because it’s relatively common among deadly allergies and there are so many reasonable substitutes.  It’s like wearing a mask in public even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense– it’s easier for me to pop on a mask before going to a seminar than it is for me to try to figure out what the covid 19 prevalence is these days and make a “rational” decision based on that information.  Like, putting on a mask is not hard.  Getting a CO2 monitor and checking every room’s ventilation while they’re being used is harder.

Ask the grumpies: Do you loofah?

Leah asks:

 Loofah/Scrubbie or washcloth or hands to clean your body?

#1 I guess a washcloth or nothing?  Depending on if it’s a bath or shower.

#2 Loofah

Ask the grumpies: What’s something that seems basic in your field that others outside your field don’t know

Leah asks:

What’s something in (insert comment authors field here) that seems basic or important to you but others outside your field don’t know?

Marginal tax rates is a big one.  A lot of people think that if you make more money, all of a sudden all of your previous money is taxed at a higher rate and you could actually lose money.  That’s not true.  Only your new money above the tax bracket gets taxed more.  The money you earn below that bracket gets taxed at the exact same amount.  The only way you would lose money is if you had a tax rate higher than 100%, which we don’t.

How insurance works is another.   That’s a bit more complicated, but it’s also magical.  See the linked post if you want to learn more.

Then there’s just standard stuff like sunk costs.

Grumpy Nation, what’s basic in your field that people outside don’t know?

Ask the grumpies: What job did you want when you were a kid?

Leah asks:

What did you want to do for a job when you were a kid?

#1:  I wanted to be a biologist because I liked science and water and so on.  Then I saw a NOVA episode on Nancy Wexler and Huntington’s Chorea and wanted to be a genetic engineer.  Then I did an internship in genetics in high school and realized it was insanely boring.

#2:  I thought I might like chemistry, and I also thought that I’d like to be an astronaut and a rock star.  (I did not become those things.)

What about you, Grumpy nation?

Ask the grumpies: Luxury or roughing it on vacation?

Leah asks:

Is it better to indulge in some luxury on vacation (for example, getting a king sized bed or a fancy rental car), or do you prefer to “rough it” so home feels more luxurious?

#1:  I can’t tell you what my revealed preference is on this because the only time we tried to take an actual vacation we inadvertently caused a pandemic through our hubris instead (not really– correlation is not always causation unless you’re the protagonist in a work of fiction).  I’m pretty sure the house we rented was in a good location but not as nice as our current house, which is pretty par when you live in a nice house in the middle of nowhere.  I remember when we bought our house out here, for the first time going to conference hotels was no longer nicer than where we lived (previously we’d lived in ancient urban apartments or dorm rooms).

In general, I think we have a minimal standard of what’s good for travel– in NYC that may be a tiny hotel room, in the rural Midwest it might be a nice AirBNB.

I am not at all a fan of roughing it.  Count me out of hiking trips unless there’s a cabin with running water and electricity involved.

#2:  We do not “rough it”.

Ask the grumpies: Favorite breakfast cereal? Or favorite breakfast food in general?

Leah asks:

Favorite breakfast cereal? Or favorite breakfast food in general?

Leftover cold pizza!

For cereal I like various kinds of muesli.  I don’t like having sugar for breakfast and it seems like almost everything is sugary.

If I’m feeling fancy, I like breakfast tacos or breakfast burritos.  Or an open face toasted cheese sandwich with a runny egg yolk.  Yum.  Avocado toast also good.  Ricotta toast too.