Reconcilable Differences

Reconcilable Differences
John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way. Hosted by John Siracusa and Merlin Mann.
48: Slim Pickings in the Terrarium
Mar 23 • 151 min
Merlin gets his time in the barrel as John disabuses him of his self-styled situation as “the dumb one.” Merlin tries gamely to change the subject to how status works in improv, but finds his knife further sharpened in the bargai…
47: Now I Dream in French
Mar 7 • 124 min
This week’s first topic is self-driving cars and how soon they’re likely to be ready, as they say, for prime time. Later, you’ll find The Spoiler Slot filled with a discussion of the 2016 movie, Arrival.
46: Some Form of Ballast
Feb 23 • 110 min
Main topic this week is ***Valentine’s Day***. Why Merlin hates it, and why John thinks it has its purposes. Why is tonight’s Holy Day of Obligation different from all others, and why exactly did John have a mat?
45: The Blood is Normal, Right?
Feb 8 • 111 min
Main topic this week is **John’s Cautious Tech Optimism**. How does John see technology’s role in potentially bringing out our better angels? Why is dystopian sci-fi so depressingly myopic? How much does technology ever really c…
44: Assistant Manager Material
Jan 26 • 131 min
For the main topic, your hosts address Money on the Internet. How have technological and cultural changes altered our idea about what’s valuable and how much people are willing to pay for it?
43: Pack Mule with a Checkbook
Jan 12 • 117 min
The main topic this week is Dad Stuff. Dad Jokes, Dad Hats, and Dad…everything. In particular, when did Dad Jokes become a thing, and exactly what part of that label is supposed to be so bad and insulting?
42: The Punching in Me
Dec 22, 2016 • 100 min
The main topic this week is Merlin’s documentary obsession. Turns out: there are a lot of turns-outs. John and Merlin explore what’s so tantalizing (or off-putting) about some documentary films—as well as the whole genre as a thi…
41: Jingling Keys
Dec 15, 2016 • 180 min
Lots of follow-up on Free Will, including thoughts on Heisenberg, tail-chasing, and provocative recent scholarship on whether what we see is “reality.” Around 01:45:00, we fire off the spoiler horn for a discussion of season 1 of…
40: Slippery Slope to Dr. Manhattan
Dec 1, 2016 • 113 min
The main topic this week is _**Free Will**_. While Merlin has concerns about bong talk and living in a fingernail, John quickly gets things refocused on people’s garden-variety defenses of free will and where they probably come f…
39: Rocks Aren’t Magic
Nov 16, 2016 • 116 min
This week’s main topic covers teaching kids about technology_ When, how, and what should young students learn about computers at school?
38: The Monkey God Situation
Nov 1, 2016 • 108 min
The main topic this week has Merlin probing John’s thoughts on the idea of a thing being “wrong within normal parameters.” John calls someone a “super doof,” and both hosts share their strategy for not ending up on a desert islan…
37: A Useless Angle for Swordfighting
Oct 18, 2016 • 105 min
The main topic this week is whether we’re living in a simulation (and how we’d know it).
36: The Ragged Edge of What’s Possible
Oct 4, 2016 • 84 min
The main topic is solo parenting. Facing The Shoe Crisis, thrice ruining the dinosaur eggs, and finding yourself in a Staples line that’s literally not moving. Is fear and anxiety really such a smart and time-tested motivator?
35: A Lot of Them Are Tricks
Sep 21, 2016 • 118 min
The main topic this week is “magic and superstition.” What delights (or angers) your hosts in a magic show? Why can’t Cardini get rid of those cards?
34: All These Assistant Principals are Now Dead
Sep 6, 2016 • 131 min
The main topic this week is high school reunions. Or, at least it starts out that way.
33: Survival Bucket
Aug 25, 2016 • 91 min
The main topic this week is ratings and reviews. John talks about how he drinks eagerly from the fire hose of product recommendations as well as sharing his perspective on how he thinks about his epic OS X reviews in retrospect.
32: Pigs and Bunnies
Aug 9, 2016 • 99 min
The big topic this week? Sauce. More specifically, John walks us through how he cooks, stirs, and deploys delicious spaghetti sauce at scale. A general discussion of cooking practices reveals that Merlin is probably America’s gre…
31: Backsolve From Your Urges
Jul 28, 2016 • 106 min
The main topic this time is ‘Evolutionary Biology’. John runs through some common misconceptions, and widespread errors of analogies. Merlin candidly admits that he still doesn’t really understand what he doesn’t understand.
30: Captain of the Living Room
Jul 14, 2016 • 101 min
This week’s main topic can be roughly called, “my part of the couch.” More specifically, why are your hosts so piqued about how hard it is to have nice things—let alone their own things—in their respective households?
29: Six Fax Machines
Jun 30, 2016 • 117 min
The main topic this week is The Future. Merlin can’t contain his fascination and admiration with how John’s rationality and long view of history has colored and redirected his own conceptions about what the future holds.
28: Getting to Know a Broken Person
Jun 16, 2016 • 126 min
The main topic is repping, a pickup of the frequent theme of a program Merlin does with Another John.
27: The Morning Prompts
Jun 2, 2016 • 100 min
Things really kick into high gear as your hosts finally (FINALLY) go toe-to-toe on the hot topic of iOS app quitting. Why Merlin is so mad at John and why John insists Merlin is still wrong.
26: One Dollar Cat
May 19, 2016 • 122 min
The main topic this week explores how a young John first began measuring the parameters of the world. How can we tell if something is true? Are Bigfoot, telekinesis, and space travel each really a thing?
25: Zarro Droogs
May 5, 2016 • 201 min
The main topic this week is—wait for it— _drugs_. In particular, the listener is treated to an epic tour of the “four toadstools” that mark Merlin’s journey with the forbidden pharmaceutical wild side.
24: I Will Outrun Death and Thermodynamics
Apr 21, 2016 • 162 min
Things kick off with a discussion of Star Wars. In particular, there is extensive discussion of your hosts’ preferences regarding fan restorations of the original trilogy. Next, the spoiler horn fires off for a detailed examinati…
23: A Sprite Man
Apr 7, 2016 • 130 min
The main topic is *sense of humor*. How, where, when, and from whom did the boys learn what make them laugh? How come British things seem extra funny? Why does Lisa need braces?
22: Jericho Turnpike
Mar 22, 2016 • 135 min
This episode focuses on cars and driving. First, there’s the automobiles that their families did or didn’t drive and why. Then, John educates Merlin on the evolution of car design. This leads to more personal thoughts on their ea…
21: Throg the Important Caveman
Mar 10, 2016 • 118 min
This week’s main topic is meeting your heroes. Who do you wish you could meet and why? John marvels at Merlin’s comfort with his many celebrity connections, and Merlin gives some handy tips on not acting like a total creep.
20: Stove Vigilance
Feb 25, 2016 • 94 min
This week’s main topic is ‘trust your mechanic’. How to survive working with the experts who diagnose and fix your problems. John’s not a Dead Kennedys fan, and Merlin’s just so irrationally mad about the state of his oven.
19: Four Toes
Feb 11, 2016 • 118 min
This week, John and Merlin talk about the value of exposing yourself to new or uncomfortable ideas, before moving on to their main topic: _how and when to recommend things to other people_.
18: It’s Devastating
Jan 28, 2016 • 112 min
The primary topic this week is names and naming. Merlin struggles in vain to pronounce John’s name to his satisfaction, John reveals his middle name, and the boys dive deep on the lore, reality, and complexities of how both peopl…
17: Don’t Touch the Banana
Jan 14, 2016 • 132 min
After a discussion about The Game, which Merlin has finally watched all the way through, the boys tackle the topic of jobs. They discuss what they did or didn’t learn from them, and how their younger work lives shaped their futur…
16: Ancient Bird
Dec 17, 2015 • 126 min
John probes Merlin about why exactly he’s so interested in remembering and recording his whackadoodle dreams. We learn, for example, that _Permiso_ delivers 3 to 5 surprises per day.
15: Emotional Swimsuit Season
Dec 3, 2015 • 114 min
This week, your hosts cover TV buying decisions, the legacy of Star Wars, thoughts on holidays, and how to not end up raising Dudley Dursley.
14: Children’s Shoes
Nov 19, 2015 • 113 min
This time out, John and Merlin start with a consideration of parenting advice and (surprise) the Star Wars prequels. Then, the wardrobe is opened for a discussion of clothing. What your hosts choose to wear and why…
13: The Mickey Suit
Nov 5, 2015 • 156 min
This episode, John and Merlin have a spirited debate on netspeak and emoji talk (🤕👹😭), then address the Wonderful World of Disney (World), including what makes it great and what keeps it relevant.
12: Hobbit Tendencies
Oct 22, 2015 • 159 min
The centerpiece of the episode is a lot of talk about _travel_, focused on the myriad reasons your hosts find it so terribly difficult. Observations on helplessness, motion sickness, money, and the titular “Hobbit tendencies” eme…
11: Frog Board Room
Oct 8, 2015 • 92 min
John ruefully updates us on the stressful state of renovations to his house—and how his quest for quality collides with whatever passes for quote-unquote craftsmanship today.
10: That Darn Cat
Sep 24, 2015 • 177 min
The boys settle into a detailed exploration of “Merlin’s world of music.” From AM radio (through a pillow speaker) to abortive accordion and trombone lessons to impersonating Pete Townsend through the Bacon Ray years.
9: Late Bloomer
Sep 10, 2015 • 130 min
This week’s main topic focuses on the many aspects of being a “late bloomer.” From secondary sex characteristics and serial social prickliness through figuring out how to be in a family and studying the anthropology of the opposi…
8: Devouring Essence
Aug 27, 2015 • 143 min
John educates Merlin about the first-person shooter game, “Destiny.” Merlin feels overwhelmed, while John says we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
7: 50 Shades of John
Aug 13, 2015 • 132 min
This week, John and Merlin do some follow-up on John’s picky eating and his family’s failures at meal planning. Both men cop to loving soup. Then on to the big topic: how does John’s mind work, and how did he get that way?
6: Mud and Gaffer’s Tape and Broken Lenses
Jul 30, 2015 • 109 min
This time we learn that your hosts and their families are both/all screwed up and hopeless in different ways. Merlin is weird, but not bulimic; John is picky, fretful, and hopeless; and children continue to be a problem that cann…
5: Shiny and Chrome
Jul 16, 2015 • 101 min
This week is dedicated to a spoiler-heavy look at Mad Max: Fury Road. If you haven’t seen it, treat yourself to a cinema viewing as soon as you can. John and Merlin’s world is blood and fire.
4: Ohio Intervention
Jul 2, 2015 • 91 min
John probes Merlin’s spotty history with video games, then sketches out the current console landscape. Merlin is assigned preliminary homework to start catching up.
3: Helena Sell
Jun 18, 2015 • 143 min
This week, John and Merlin finally set themselves to the task of beginning to argue about their differences.
2: Thrown to the Wolves of Puberty
Jun 11, 2015 • 108 min
John and Merlin discuss the origins of the show, including their contrasting approaches to authority, conformity, and contrariness. Also, Merlin credits John with helping him become less horrible, and John deposes Merlin abo…
1: We All Ruined It Together
Jun 3, 2015 • 129 min
In this inaugural episode, John and Merlin begin framing the conversation on exactly *how they got how they are*. From the dungeons of Usenet to the dragons of roving bullies, origins are explored, and differences are provisio…