Questions & Answers: Volume 9

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Podcast Transcript

As I do every month, I went to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus to meet with the Augurs. I met an old priest, and I asked him, “Quo die est felicissimum?”

He looked at a flock of birds that appeared to be flying in a circle. He saw a cloud float past the sun, and he noticed that the sacred chickens had paused in their eating. 

Having read the signs, he turned to me and said, “Primo Saturni in Augusta.”

As getting advice from chickens and clouds can’t possibly be wrong, stay tuned for Questions & Answers: Volume 9 on this episode of Everything Everywhere Daily.

Let’s kick things off with a question from the Discord server, and yes, the show does have a Discord server for all of you who want a place to hang out while playing video games. The link is in the show notes:

FatYankee asks, Sometimes your episodes correlate with the release date. Some are a history of the holiday, like Canada Day, but others correlate in a broader sense, like American Flag history on July 4th or a father/son-themed episode aired on Father’s Day.

How do you decide which special days get such an episode? Do you limit these types of episodes so as not to become a daily history podcast? I love these types of episodes and hope you add a Count Chocula episode in time for Halloween. Thanks, Gary, this podcast is my first listen to every day.

FatYankee, you basically nailed it. 

There are only a few days on the calendar that are meaningful to people, and most of them are holidays. There are a few days people remember when something historic happened, but as you get further away from the event, we tend just to remember the year it happened.

In the case of holidays, it would be sort of weird to do a history of Saint Patrick’s Day in September. It makes a lot more sense just to release the episode on Saint Patricks Day.  

However, I don’t necessarily want to be straight-jacketed by having to have every episode associated with a particular date on the calendar. Many of my episodes have nothing to do with any particular date. Some topics from ancient history have no dates associated with them that we are aware of. 

There is also a marketing angle to doing that. Some podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts, will promote podcast episodes around certain holidays, and people often search for those episodes on those dates. 

So, yeah, sometimes I do release episodes associated with a specific day, but that only happens a few times a year. 

If anyone has a suggestion for a particular holiday or national day in your country that you think would make a good episode, don’t hesitate to send me your suggestions. 

Sylvain Charbonneau asks If you could change one thing in professional sports, any sport, what would it be?

One of the first things I’d do is put a hard salary cap in major league baseball. Baseball is the one North American sport without a hard salary cap, and it results in massive differences in payroll between teams.

For example, the Philadelphia Phillies this year have a payroll of $215 million dollars, while the Oakland A’s only have a payroll of $33 million. I’d institute a cap as well as a floor because right now, teams can make good money by losing by just not spending money on players.

I would also take an extended break in the middle of the baseball season for a single-elimination playoff tournament. This would be taking a page from the single-elimination tournaments which are held in Europe, like the FA Cup.  Like the FA Cup, I’d allow minor league teams to take part as well, with major league teams getting a buy to later rounds. 

One thing I like about the way European sports are organized is that there are multiple trophies that a team can contend for each year. 

Another thing I’d change is the odd way Major League Soccer signs players. Technically, every MLS player is signed by the league, not the team, which is bizarre. Each team also has odd rules about the amount that can be spent on which position, so defenders are usually underpaid. 

Chuck Ferraro asks, How many items are on your list of future episodes?

As of the moment I am writing this, I have 919 show ideas on the master list of future shows. 

Not all of these ideas will see the light of day. Some might get rolled into other topics for an episode that covers a bigger subject. 

Before I started the show, I began with a list of 100 show ideas, and many of those ideas I still haven’t done episodes on. 

The list tends to grow in fits and starts. I’ll sometimes do an episode that will spawn five other episode ideas. Sometimes I’ll just be watching TV and come up with an idea. Other times I’ll be having a discussion with someone who has a good idea, and I’ll take out my phone to add an idea.

Alex Ketner asks, What is Your Mt. Rushmore of Packer players?

That is a very difficult question. Would it be the people who had the biggest impact on the franchise? Would it be my favorite players? Would it be the best players?

I’m going to go with a mix of those and say Reggie White, Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi, and Aaron Rodgers. 

Honorable mention goes to Sterling Sharpe, Don Hudson, Curly Lambeau, Bart Starr, Brett Farve, Tony Canadeo, Jim Taylor, Dave Robinson, Forrest Gregg, and James Lofton.

David Kessler asks, What inspired you to start making podcasts?

I was a very early Internet user, and I can remember listening to very early Internet audio on software like RealAudio. 

I was part of a live videogram streaming program back in 2000 before podcasting was even a thing, and I would stream music to my Everquest guild around that time using Shoutcast on Winamp.

I co-hosted a podcast called This Week in Travel starting back in 2009, and I was appearing as a guest on podcasts as early as 2007. 

I have always been comfortable speaking. I was a very successful competitor in speech and debate in high school and college. 

Podcasting, I guess, was a natural thing for me to do. 

I’m also just a big believer in podcasting. Hearing someone’s voice is far more impactful than just reading an article from someone who is nothing more than a name online.

Amanda Carlin asks, “What are some of your favorite sites in the US that you think are underappreciated/recommended/visited?”

I’d have to start with Alaska. Most Americans, and in fact, most Alaskans, haven’t explored much of the state because most of the state is difficult to reach.  

When people visit Alaska, they will usually take some sort of cruise along the inside passage and then maybe go up to visit Denali National Park. These are all wonderful things, but there is a whole lot more to the state than that. 

One of my big recommendations is Wrangell/St. Elias National Park. It is one of the parks that can be reached by car, and it is also the largest national park in the United States. It is larger than Switzerland. I had a great time there, glacier hiking, and it should be a part of any Alaska visit.

In the lower 48 states, I’d recommend places in the middle of the country that are often overlooked. 

My first would be Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. This is a highly overlooked national park in the grasslands that has some of the most accessible bison, mule deer, and wild horses that you’ll see in any national park. It is also located right off Interstate-94, so it’s easy to reach if you are willing to make the drive.

I’d also recommend Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The island is technically part of Michigan, but it is easiest to reach from Northern Minnesota. The park is mostly wilderness, and it is one of the best places for backwoods camping in the US. It is the least visited National Park in the continental United States because it is an island and because it is closed in the winter. 

Another great spot is Antelope Canyon in Arizona. It is on Navajo land, and you have to be on a guided tour, but it is well worth it if you are in the Four Corners area.

Benjamin Arndt, no relation, asks, What’s the best travel experience you’ve had after making a wrong turn?

It wasn’t a literal wrong turn, more of a metaphorical one, but I had a flight scheduled from Samoa to Tonga. At the time, the countries were on opposite sides of the international date line. 

The flight was a weekly Air New Zealand flight that started in LA and stopped in Samoa and Tonga on the way to Auckland.

Because of the dateline and time zone difference, I accidentally read my ticket wrong and thought the landing time was the takeoff time. 

When I arrived at the airport in Apia, I literally saw the plane taking off and realized what had happened. 

I went back to the guesthouse I was staying at and had to try to get my ticket changed to the next flight in a week.

I ended up spending the next week on the island of Savai’i, which I otherwise wouldn’t have visited. I had a great time, Air New Zealand was sympathetic and changed my ticket, and it was an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had if I had made the flight.

Sam Robinson asks, What is the most interesting topic that you don’t think you’ll ever do an episode on?

Last month I said that I’d probably never do an episode on the Kennedy Assassination. That simply has to do with the fact that no matter what I say, I’ll have to deal with very passionate people who will find fault with anything I say.

However, there are a host of topics that I haven’t done episodes on yet, that I would like to do at some point in the future. 

At some point, I’ll do an episode on quantum physics and one on the standard model. 

I have an episode covering the various Chinese dynasties that has been staring me in the face forever, and I have several covering various South and Southeast Asian empires. 

Ultimately, whatever topic I do an episode on, it is something that I have find interesting, I have to have some knowledge about it, and I have to be able to explain it in such a way that it can be understood by a wide variety of people.

That’s it for this month. If you want to ask a question for next month’s Q&A just join the Everything Everywhere Daily Facebook group or Discord server. There you can get a sneak peek of what the next day’s episode will be, and can talk with other listeners.

You can find links for both destinations in the show notes.