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Reconcilable Differences

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John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way. Hosted by John Siracusa and Merlin Mann.
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Reconcilable Differences 106: Tales from the Elder Days

1:33:53 | Jun 12th

Provided it makes it into the final edit, your hosts finally discuss the Japanese Moving Video.
Reconcilable Differences 105: Bastik in a Bastik

1:52:24 | May 29th

For a main topic, your hosts fire off the Spoiler Horn to talk about "Game of Thrones."
Reconcilable Differences 103: Minimum Viable Joke

1:19:03 | May 1st

Merlin needs some help finding an artifact from his youth, and John has beef with whether the artifact is actually funny.
Reconcilable Differences 100: Tungsten

1:48:04 | Mar 21st

This week, Merlin feels a little thin, and John still has to re-position his windows. Every time.
Reconcilable Differences 97: Invisible Work

1:36:37 | Feb 7th

This week's sprawling main topic is "Emotional Labor." Who ends up ordering the birthday cake as well as justifying the ways of boss to employee?
Reconcilable Differences 96: Mr. Scrapie

1:36:56 | Jan 23rd

John confronts Merlin on his disloyalty, and this leads to John interrogating Merlin's newfound fondness for NBA basketball. Yes: sports are discussed.
Reconcilable Differences 95: Shadow Childhood

1:28:39 | Jan 10th

More Project Talk. Merlin introduces the idea of "The Message Gift," and John wonders if Merlin's new desk has memory. Amazon should let you say when a box is from Santa. So much cardboard. Now, the IKEA child's kitchen is in danger of being disappea...Show More
Reconcilable Differences 94: Hiding the Machete

1:48:37 | Dec 26th, 2018

This week's main topic is the long-running ABC reality show, "Survivor." Perhaps you've heard of it.
Reconcilable Differences 93: Forty Gronks

1:48:42 | Dec 13th, 2018

John interrogates Merlin about his heartbeat, and Merlin reveals he’s conducting a personal longitudinal study.
Reconcilable Differences 92: Zoom in on the Fish Head

1:36:58 | Nov 29th, 2018

John helps Merlin understand which places are and are not on Long Island.
Reconcilable Differences 91: Truck Stop Floor Mat

1:33:21 | Nov 14th, 2018

This week’s main topic concerns the Gimlet podcast, "Heavyweight," and how we think about redoing (or undoing) the past.
Reconcilable Differences 90: Cargo-Cult Thoreau

1:38:56 | Nov 1st, 2018

Merlin finally asks John to explain his fondness for apocalyptic literature and media.
Reconcilable Differences 89: Popcorn Problems

1:25:59 | Oct 18th, 2018

In this week’s main topic, John recounts his recent experience seeing "Hamilton" live on stage.
Reconcilable Differences 87: Looking for Something to Manage

1:51:28 | Sep 20th, 2018

John and Merlin argue about the Google doc for a pretty long time.
Reconcilable Differences 86: Horse’s Feed Bag Full of Food

2:02:23 | Sep 5th, 2018

Homework is discussed, and John confesses to once starting the world’s longest book report. John recounts his career of creative abuse of Macintosh skills back in elementary and high school, and Merlin dons his notional 43 Folders hat.
Reconcilable Differences 85: Comedy’s Not Funny

1:47:27 | Aug 23rd, 2018

John has some questions about a podcast Merlin likes, and this leads to a discursive walk through what makes a podcast stick.
Reconcilable Differences 84: Camptivities

1:48:42 | Aug 9th, 2018

This week’s main topic is a goodie: the things only YOU notice.
Reconcilable Differences 82: Summer of Intentionalities

1:45:26 | Jul 11th, 2018

This week's main topic is "Getting Big in Podcasting."
Reconcilable Differences 81: Sixteen-Tile Puzzle

1:35:09 | Jun 28th, 2018

In what ends up being the accidental main topic, John and Merlin dive into the impossibilities of "Keeping House."
Reconcilable Differences 80: Death is an Easy Diagnosis

1:40:59 | Jun 14th, 2018

This week’s main topic finds John interrogating Merlin about the germophobia threat model. Merlin tries to distinguish his carefulness from a three-letter condition, and John reminds us why he doesn’t make lists.
Reconcilable Differences 79: Goofball Island

1:32:29 | May 31st, 2018

This week kicks off with a main topic: Kid Independence Projects. Merlin is trying a new thing, and John admits that he’s "pan-fretful."
Reconcilable Differences 78: Right Above Self-Actualization

1:50:00 | May 17th, 2018

This week’s main topic is tricky to label, but let’s call the jumping-off point, Millenials and Quality.
Reconcilable Differences 77: Prodigal Bird

1:55:39 | May 3rd, 2018

This week, John and Merlin come in hot with an accidental main topic: punctuality.
Reconcilable Differences 76: The Dandelion of Content

2:01:49 | Apr 18th, 2018

John provides much-requested follow-up on Twitter’s recently announced changes. This leads to a broader discussion of free speech and platform ownership.
Reconcilable Differences 75: The Most Popular Meat Grinder in Town

2:09:00 | Apr 4th, 2018

In something like a main topic, your hosts talk about Facebook. Schadenfreude aside, Merlin struggles with why anyone is still there, while John’s not so sure some people will ever leave.
Reconcilable Differences 74: Stingy on the Fives

2:06:25 | Mar 22nd, 2018

This week's main topic concerns The Oscars and the general phenomenon of industry award shows. What makes us get into these things, and who do we pull for?
Reconcilable Differences 73: Ladyhawke Times

2:13:20 | Mar 8th, 2018

For something like a main topic, things turn to trying to talk to kids about…stuff. A "Predestination"-style thought experiment is considered.
Reconcilable Differences 72: The Seventh Alarm Clock

1:48:49 | Feb 22nd, 2018

This week's main topic: "What If Productivity, but Too Much?" In the pursuit of efficiency and professional development, how do you know when you’ve gone too far? And what are the downsides when you do?
Reconcilable Differences 71: Racist Uncle Baby

1:51:59 | Feb 8th, 2018

This week's broad-ranging main topic is lyrics. John wonders how many people care about the words as much as he does, and Merlin considers what happened when Lisa met Chelsea at the knocking school.
Reconcilable Differences 70: Where the Fish Was

1:45:34 | Jan 25th, 2018

John has fence problems, Merlin is riding a weird new vehicle, and the guys discuss “Patriot.”
Reconcilable Differences 69: Concentric Circles of Hangers-On

1:43:35 | Jan 11th, 2018

In this week's Spoiler Slot (starting at `1:04:39`), your hosts discuss "The Last Jedi."
Reconcilable Differences 68: Bellicose Phone Booth

2:10:53 | Dec 28th, 2017

After firing off the spoiler horn at `1:27:12`, your hosts enter the Spoiler Slot to talk about a remarkable documentary called "The Barkley Marathons."
Reconcilable Differences 67: Everything That’s Good About Garlic

1:53:28 | Dec 14th, 2017

This week’s main topic goes into kids and security. Or, more specifically, what kids learn (or don’t) about password hygiene and the broader landscape of basic InfoSec.
Reconcilable Differences 65: The Mustard of My Father

2:01:55 | Nov 15th, 2017

Dad Hole, garbage robots, Northern European runts, and a system forged in the crucible of terrible people.
Reconcilable Differences 63: Five Stars for Jeremy

1:54:59 | Oct 18th, 2017

This week: automated systems and Merlin's new TV.
Reconcilable Differences 61: Rat King of Glue Traps

1:31:36 | Sep 21st, 2017

Main topic this week is Household Pests. The gloves are off as extreme measures are employed to deal with John’s mouse invaders.
Reconcilable Differences 60: Anything Can Be a Smoothie

1:26:13 | Sep 7th, 2017

This week kicks off with some Daisy updates and surprisingly deep dives into online banana quizzes and proper application of The Bristol Scale.
Reconcilable Differences 59: Herbal Bourbons

2:20:01 | Aug 24th, 2017

This week’s main topic is Mid-Life Crisis. What even is it? How do you know if you’re having one, and how many will there be?
Reconcilable Differences 58: Elective Plumbing

1:57:49 | Aug 14th, 2017

This week’s main topic concerns "Liking Things to Be a Certain Way."
Reconcilable Differences 57: Losing my Stormtrooper

2:09:17 | Jul 27th, 2017

This week's main topic is "Taking Care of Things."
Reconcilable Differences 56: Living Inside an Apology with Pie

1:56:24 | Jul 13th, 2017

This week’s main topic is all about "Full Media Blackout."
Reconcilable Differences 55: Dog-Shaped Dog

1:51:19 | Jun 29th, 2017

The main topic focuses on a new addition to House Siracusa. No spoilers, but it’s a pee-poop-nipping machine and a sweet precious angel.
Reconcilable Differences 54: Literally the Least I Could Do

1:49:15 | Jun 15th, 2017

The main topic this week is Housework and House Duties, which John quickly persuades Merlin is, indeed, a trap.
Reconcilable Differences 53: Birds All Day Long

1:51:46 | Jun 1st, 2017

The main topic this week is PIXAR. Specifically, your hosts react to a recent article on whether Disney has “ruined” PIXAR, then proceed with candid opinions on whether or how House Mouse might influence House Luxo.
Reconcilable Differences 52: This Bird Can’t Get Laid

1:37:44 | May 18th, 2017

In this week’s accidental main topic, John addresses his new bird-enemy and the Wile E. Coyotean lengths to which his desperation with living in a drum may drive him.
Reconcilable Differences 50: Barrel Week

2:03:50 | Apr 19th, 2017

In a surprisingly robust main topic, John recalls his youth spent playing handball and many other New York street games that Merlin had assumed were just made up.
Reconcilable Differences 49: Celebrity Outreach Program

1:51:10 | Apr 5th, 2017

This week’s main topic is *Follow-Up*. John has strong feelings about properly crediting the provenance of this segment, and, honestly, he really asks for so little in life. This leads to a discussion of how one’s ideas often develop a life of their ...Show More
Reconcilable Differences 48: Slim Pickings in the Terrarium

2:31:49 | Mar 23rd, 2017

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 bargain.
Reconcilable Differences 47: Now I Dream in French

2:04:40 | Mar 7th, 2017

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.
Reconcilable Differences 46: Some Form of Ballast

1:50:20 | Feb 23rd, 2017

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?
Reconcilable Differences 45: The Blood is Normal, Right?

1:51:28 | Feb 8th, 2017

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 change human nature?
Reconcilable Differences 44: Assistant Manager Material

2:11:06 | Jan 26th, 2017

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?
Reconcilable Differences 43: Pack Mule with a Checkbook

1:57:29 | Jan 12th, 2017

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?
Reconcilable Differences 42: The Punching in Me

1:40:38 | Dec 22nd, 2016

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 thing.
Reconcilable Differences 41: Jingling Keys

3:00:01 | Dec 15th, 2016

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 HBO’s _Westworld_.
Reconcilable Differences 40: Slippery Slope to Dr. Manhattan

1:53:58 | Dec 1st, 2016

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 from.
Reconcilable Differences 39: Rocks Aren’t Magic

1:56:42 | Nov 16th, 2016

This week’s main topic covers teaching kids about technology_ When, how, and what should young students learn about computers at school?
Reconcilable Differences 38: The Monkey God Situation

1:48:46 | Nov 1st, 2016

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 island.
Reconcilable Differences 37: A Useless Angle for Swordfighting

1:45:47 | Oct 18th, 2016

The main topic this week is whether we’re living in a simulation (and how we’d know it).
Reconcilable Differences 36: The Ragged Edge of What's Possible

1:24:30 | Oct 4th, 2016

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?
Reconcilable Differences 35: A Lot of Them Are Tricks

1:58:09 | Sep 21st, 2016

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?
Reconcilable Differences 34: All These Assistant Principals are Now Dead

2:11:05 | Sep 6th, 2016

The main topic this week is high school reunions. Or, at least it starts out that way.
Reconcilable Differences 33: Survival Bucket

1:31:13 | Aug 25th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 32: Pigs and Bunnies

1:39:23 | Aug 9th, 2016

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 greatest microwave wizar...Show More
Reconcilable Differences 31: Backsolve From Your Urges

1:46:32 | Jul 28th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 30: Captain of the Living Room

1:41:25 | Jul 14th, 2016

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?
Reconcilable Differences 29: Six Fax Machines

1:57:24 | Jun 30th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 28: Getting to Know a Broken Person

2:06:26 | Jun 16th, 2016

The main topic is repping, a pickup of the frequent theme of a program Merlin does with Another John.
Reconcilable Differences 27: The Morning Prompts

1:40:54 | Jun 2nd, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 26: One Dollar Cat

2:02:49 | May 19th, 2016

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?
Reconcilable Differences 25: Zarro Droogs

3:21:09 | May 5th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 24: I Will Outrun Death and Thermodynamics

2:42:42 | Apr 21st, 2016

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 examination of The Walking Dea...Show More
Reconcilable Differences 23: A Sprite Man

2:10:50 | Apr 7th, 2016

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?
Reconcilable Differences 22: Jericho Turnpike

2:15:34 | Mar 22nd, 2016

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 early days of driving.
Reconcilable Differences 21: Throg the Important Caveman

1:58:54 | Mar 10th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 20: Stove Vigilance

1:34:07 | Feb 25th, 2016

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.
Reconcilable Differences 19: Four Toes

1:58:31 | Feb 11th, 2016

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_.
Reconcilable Differences 18: It's Devastating

1:52:15 | Jan 28th, 2016

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 people get their names.
Reconcilable Differences 17: Don’t Touch the Banana

2:12:55 | Jan 14th, 2016

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 future employment choices.
Reconcilable Differences 16: Ancient Bird

2:06:02 | Dec 17th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 15: Emotional Swimsuit Season

1:54:00 | Dec 3rd, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 14: Children's Shoes

1:53:00 | Nov 19th, 2015

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...
Reconcilable Differences 13: The Mickey Suit

2:36:15 | Nov 5th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 12: Hobbit Tendencies

2:39:56 | Oct 22nd, 2015

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" emerge.
Reconcilable Differences 11: Frog Board Room

1:32:58 | Oct 8th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 10: That Darn Cat

2:57:22 | Sep 24th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 9: Late Bloomer

2:10:54 | Sep 10th, 2015

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 opposite sex.
Reconcilable Differences 8: Devouring Essence

2:23:02 | Aug 27th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 7: 50 Shades of John

2:12:02 | Aug 13th, 2015

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?
Reconcilable Differences 6: Mud and Gaffer's Tape and Broken Lenses

1:49:16 | Jul 30th, 2015

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 cannot be solved.
Reconcilable Differences 5: Shiny and Chrome

1:41:04 | Jul 16th, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 4: Ohio Intervention

1:31:35 | Jul 2nd, 2015

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.
Reconcilable Differences 3: Helena Sell

2:23:00 | Jun 18th, 2015

This week, John and Merlin finally set themselves to the task of beginning to argue about their differences.
Reconcilable Differences 2: Thrown to the Wolves of Puberty

1:48:33 | Jun 11th, 2015

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 about military school.
Reconcilable Differences 1: We All Ruined It Together

2:09:01 | Jun 3rd, 2015

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 provisionally reconciled.