Author Topic: End of Year Survey  (Read 12645 times)

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Offline Gilnei

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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 10:43:25 AM »
Naaah, Truthiness is so demodé, it was invented in 2005!  :P

I stand by the Dead Designer, I think that judge's decision was the most fortunate thing to happen to skepticism in 2006.  :wink:
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Offline Dirty J. Martini

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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2006, 02:34:07 PM »
1.I didn't keep track, so I can't really answer this one. There were too many.
2.I liked the "Oh Yeah?" comeback that woos always seem to respond with.
3.Wallace.
4.The textbook guy. I'm glad he brought up all that stuff, but he was a pain to listen to. Talk about grumpy old man! Geeze!
5.Oh wow. It's a toss-up between Uri Gellar and Silvia Browne. I guess Uri isn't giving anyone false hope about their dead relatives - he's just bending spoons, so I guess Silvia wins that one.
6.Too hard to choose.
7.Bush is certainly a top contender for this one.
8.I really feel like this has been the year of the skeptic. Between you guys doing your show, getting Randi on a regular podcast, and Shermer and gang taking on Skepticality, I can't really decide. I think you all deserve a big thank you!
9. I don't remember if this happened this year or last, but that government group that determined that watching porn releases erototoxins into your blood was a pretty good (i.e. bad) one.
10.Finding real testable evidence for dark matter.
11.Again, I have to go with, "Oh Yeah!?"
12.Don't know
13.In both news, and reading and answering email you guys say the funniest things. I think because it's off-the-cuff and not as stuffy as the interview part, and it's all of you being yourselves and is casual, it ends up being the best part.

Offline IRON MAN

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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2006, 10:06:57 AM »
1.Favorite remark made on the show by each panelist:

Perry: "[That] I can [buy], but Atlantis?!"*

I don't remember the exact quote here, but the claim he was comparing to Atlantis seemed just as stupid as Atlantis.  I don't know what it was about this quote that made me laugh, maybe the way he said it, but it just cracked me up big time.

Steve seems to be one of these laid back characters that doesn't come out with jokes very often, but when he does they are always good, and funnier because you're not expecting it, for example, (in a dramatic voice), "You've cracked my code Bernstein!"

I can't think of a specific joke or quote off the top of my head that is my favourite without reviewing every episode, and the same goes for the rest of the rogues.

Bob: Overly optimistic about science sometimes perhaps.  At his best when he gets wound up and really gets going - especially considering how subdued the rest of the cast is generally speaking.

Jay: Anything directed at keeping Rebecca in line. :wink:

Some of the greatest quotes come from the interplay between the characters of the cast, rather than anything they spontaneously come out with on their own.  The Jay/Rebecca thing cracks me up.

Evan: Never seems to say much unless he's got something to say.  But what he does say is well thought out and usually balls-on accurate.

Rebecca Just funny, razor-sharp and cute as hell.  

Also I have noticed it is not uncommon for women on podcasts to talk a little too much and/or interrupt to a degree that disrupts the flow of the show.
Rebecca doesn't do this, she was just perfect from day one - you guys are definitely lucky to have her.



2.Best snarky comment

Rebecca, (the undisputed Queen of Snark): "I have data that's gonna completely change the world, and I have evidence that shows we are in immanent danger of attack from aliens. But you're gonna have to wait until Harper-Collins is releasing it in September."

Re: Nick Pope former minister of UK defence, claims about alien threat.

Almost wet myself laughing. :lol:



3.Most entertaining guest

Phil Plait.



4.Worst interviewee

Neal Adams - what a dufuss.

My father is a cartoonist, (and I inherited some of his talents), and not only does this guy give the profession a bad name, but maybe this is why the suspension of disbelief is so god-awful in DC comics.

I have always preferred Marvel comics for just this reason.  For those not into the genre, they might have trouble understanding the difference, but in the DC Universe you will find really lame stupid stuff like a race of talking apes living on the inside of the hollow Earth, or some seemingly drug-induced garbage like that.  With Marvel - although you have obvious violations of physics and reality that are required for a sufficiently entertaining fantasy universe, you don't have outright blatant mystical nonsense wall-to-wall.

The difference is like a chasm to me - like the difference between the movie Terminator II and Alice in Wonderland.



5.Most annoying/hated psudoscientist mentioned on the show.

Kent Hovind.

I'd rather send my kids to Michael Jackson's house, than Kent Hovind's.



6.Best SGU episode

Couldn't tell you off the top of my head, without reviewing every one, but they just get better and better.  

I also wonder if you should not resign yourself to covering some topics over again.  I notice that recently you guys are tending to say, "We already covered that in a previous podcast", which is of course true.

But still, if a topic is currently in the news perhaps you should cover it again for the benefit of new listeners,  I mean let's face it - it doesn't take long to nail most of the more popular nonsense out there, but some of your best shows were the ones when you were discussing in detail the exact fallacies being used in a specific pseudoscience.  It seems at this point, apart from new nonsense ideas, (and I use the word "new" loosely), you are going to be lacking skeptical material to really get your teeth into.

I certainly understand you not wanting to rehash boring old stuff - but this is also something I am not convinced about when it comes to the JREF.  Randi said he didn't think it necessary to bother going to the trouble of publishing information of all the failed applications for the JREF prize.

Personally, I would love to see all these idiots failing the JREF tests - you guys do videos right?  And furthermore isn't this what the public needs to see more of.  The woo woo whackos love to sweep their failures under the rug - why should we help them by doing the same?

People don't know these people fail - I didn't know these tests were going on at all - and all the time - before I happened upon and actively studied skepticism.  

How many of these tests could a believer watch, and how many lame excuses could they hear before they at least asked themselves a few hard questions?  These are the questions they never have to ask because Montel can brush off one failure by Sylvia quite easily - maybe two.  

But how does a believer brush off hundreds of dowsers who claim a 100% success rate?

I know the rabid true believers can, but it wouldn't take people like me -who actually want to know the truth - the people you can reach - very long to get curious enough to get off their sorry butts and start looking for the truth.



7. Gullible jerk of the year (the person who did the most to confuse the public about science and promote pseudoscience or paranormal beliefs

The problem here is the term, "gullible".  It's a bit hard to distinguish the gullible jerks from the just plain jerks.

Just plain jerk: Kevin Trudeau and his book, "Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About"

Possibly just a gullible jerk:  Larry King - but I doubt it.



8.Cool skeptic of the year (person who did the most to promote scientific skepticism, excluding the rogues, of course).

Richard Dawkins - for international activities and book promotion.



9.Most outrageous illogical statement or pseudoscientific claim

Neal Adams and his expanding Earth theory.

I mean there is some seriously dumb shit out there, but that one came as a total shock to me for reasons independent of the dislike of Neil Adams I already described.  

This nonsense was no better on the scale of stupidity than the flat Earth theory.  In fact it could be poetically described as flat Earth thinking in 3D.

Goddamn I hate that guy.  Pity you guys don't do shock therapy anymore Doc, in his case it might actually help, (and even if it didn't at least it would be fun).



10.Most unexpected scientific discovery

Dolphin "legs".  Merely unexpected - not particularly remarkable in itself.



11."Dude, that's totally weak." (lamest defense of nonsense of the year)

Kent Hovind's court defence? :lol:



12.Most unbelievable but true science or fiction entry.

So many - I can't think of one without reviewing all the episode notes.  TBA maybe.



13.Funniest segment on the show

Interviewing whack-jobs - the segment I love to hate.  

Although I can laugh at home at Steve taking these guys apart, it would be much funnier to hear the rest of the cast have the opportunity to discuss it afterwards.

I don't think you should capitulate to the idea that you are talking behind their back.

Basically, you are buckling under into a scenario where they get to mouth off with their bullshit theories on your show, and never get it analysed post mortem.

This is similar to the situation Kent Hovind enjoys in public debate - he gets to pile a Gish-gallop of horse manure on his opponent - who can't possibly address every point.  Then he gets to walk away and claim victory.

I don't doubt the unopposed whackos you interview send their little army of true believers to your podcast to see how they "whipped" the head skeptic of the NESS.  Don't let them get away with it - it's your show.

Furthermore, if I recommend your podcast to someone else, (who may be a believer), I would want them to at least hear a post-mortem of the logical fallacies used by the interviewee.

As usual these guys are appealing to some kind of social rule, (not talking behind someone's back), to try to guilt you into restricting your offensive on their nonsense - but as I say I doubt they would place any such restrictions upon themselves.

This is very much the case that Dawkins is making against the "special immunity" that religion has against criticism.  Think about it Doc.  Don't be a sucker.

Besides, you don't argue behind their back, you published the Neal Adams e-mail exchanges verbatim, and told people about it on the show.  There's nothing opaque about that.

And what is the effective difference between the cast talking about the interviewee on the podcast and everyone talking about it on the message boards?



Finally, suggest a name to represent 2006 for SGU - i.e. 2006 was the year of the "blank."

The year of the Dawkins Crusade?
The year of the Dover Aftermath?
The year we said to Kent Hovind, "So long, and thanks for all the fish"?
The year that religion had homosexuals feeling a little Haggard?
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Offline cosmicvagabond

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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2006, 03:44:00 PM »
Quote from: "IRON MAN"
The year that religion had homosexuals feeling a little Haggard?


That's just too funny  :lol:
Bold ideas, unjustified anticipations, and speculative thoughts are our only means for interpreting nature... Those among us who are unwilling to expose their ideas to the hazard of refutation do not take part in the scientific game.    ---Karl Popper, "The Logic of Scientific Discovery"

Offline jason

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« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2006, 04:41:13 PM »
Quote from: "IRON MAN"
Neal Adams and his expanding Earth theory.

I mean there is some seriously dumb shit out there, but that one came as a total shock to me for reasons independent of the dislike of Neil Adams I already described.  

This nonsense was no better on the scale of stupidity than the flat Earth theory.  In fact it could be poetically described as flat Earth thinking in 3D.

Check out the ongoing threads on this forum where Neal Adams is personally defending his "theory". Besides the appalling illiteracy of his rebuttals, he's ignoring the hard questions (i.e., anything that contradicts his simple view of the world). What's become painfully clear is that aside from studying the breadth of scientific literature for 35 years (as he claims), he's utterly ignorant of... well, pretty much everything. Perhaps he should been reading material other than (bad) high school science textbooks from the 50s and 60s.
quot;Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick
"Scientific skepticism: the buck stops at reality."

Offline JD

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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2006, 04:47:04 PM »
Yeah, I'd actually like to change my quote of the year for this one from Neal:
Quote
I'm a pretty good researcher .
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Offline Gilnei

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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2006, 06:40:23 PM »
Quote
Randi said he didn't think it necessary to bother going to the trouble of publishing information of all the failed applications for the JREF prize.

Personally, I would love to see all these idiots failing the JREF tests - you guys do videos right? And furthermore isn't this what the public needs to see more of. The woo woo whackos love to sweep their failures under the rug - why should we help them by doing the same?


Agreed, completely.
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Offline jason

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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2006, 08:03:56 PM »
Quote from: "IRON MAN"
Randi said he didn't think it necessary to bother going to the trouble of publishing information of all the failed applications for the JREF prize.

Personally, I would love to see all these idiots failing the JREF tests - you guys do videos right?  And furthermore isn't this what the public needs to see more of.  The woo woo whackos love to sweep their failures under the rug - why should we help them by doing the same?

People don't know these people fail - I didn't know these tests were going on at all - and all the time - before I happened upon and actively studied skepticism.  

How many of these tests could a believer watch, and how many lame excuses could they hear before they at least asked themselves a few hard questions?  These are the questions they never have to ask because Montel can brush off one failure by Sylvia quite easily - maybe two.  

But how does a believer brush off hundreds of dowsers who claim a 100% success rate?

The true believers would simply refuse to watch the videos, self-rationalising them as too negative, or "overly" skeptical. Even if they did see them, they'd tell themselves that whoever failed was simply a fake or self-deluded, whereas it's different for their own power(s). The irony is profound, but so is their own self-delusion.

I'd also suggest that a video of such a demonstration is almost by definition not meant for public consumption, without the express permission of the participants. Airing such material without their consent would be unacceptable, as it would be a breach of their privacy (at least in my opinion).

Personally, I wouldn't enjoy watching these people make fools out of themselves; I'd feel too embarrassed on their behalf. Given our shared human nature, it's only too easy to empathise: could we ourselves have fallen into a similar delusion, if our own life paths hadn't included whatever education or revelation got us into being able to exercise critical thinking?
quot;Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick
"Scientific skepticism: the buck stops at reality."

Offline IRON MAN

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« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2006, 03:57:46 AM »
Quote from: "jason"
The true believers would simply refuse to watch the videos, self-rationalising them as too negative, or "overly" skeptical. Even if they did see them, they'd tell themselves that whoever failed was simply a fake or self-deluded, whereas it's different for their own power(s). The irony is profound, but so is their own self-delusion.


At the risk of derailing this thread I'll just mention a couple of things here.  Firstly I'll reiterate the point that I know the "true believers" are pretty much a lost cause, but I was addressing "Dawkins' third of the population" that is reachable - like myself.

Quote
I'd also suggest that a video of such a demonstration is almost by definition not meant for public consumption, without the express permission of the participants. Airing such material without their consent would be unacceptable, as it would be a breach of their privacy (at least in my opinion).


I was under the impression that anyone could go to the JREF and dig up that sort of info anyway.  But if Randi doesn't have the legal right to air that material, I personally wish he would add a clause in the application that enables him to - especially in this era of Youtube.

Maybe he could start his own website called the Boobtube.  How about the Rubetube?  The Self-deludetube?  

... uh, okay, I'll stop now.

Quote
Personally, I wouldn't enjoy watching these people make fools out of themselves; I'd feel too embarrassed on their behalf. Given our shared human nature, it's only too easy to empathise: could we ourselves have fallen into a similar delusion, if our own life paths hadn't included whatever education or revelation got us into being able to exercise critical thinking?


Actually, I have to do a little backpedal here and admit that Neal Adams and I weren't so different before I became a skeptic.  I guess it's like a reformed smoker getting on his high horse with other smokers - sorry.

Also since he's a member of the forum, it may be inappropriate to be overly direct with some of my opinions, (God, I hope Tom Cruise isn't a member here too).

Like Neal, I have a creative streak that tends to lend itself to freely hypothesising and I've been involved in perpetual motion/free energy/anti-gravity, religious study, network marketing, self-help, and various other nonsense.

It seems to be a double edge sword - an academic nature combined with a creative one and you can come up with a counter-intuitive hypothesis like Special Relativity just as easily as The Expanding Earth Theory.

The difference of course is going the next step and actually checking to see if your hypothesis actually measures up against reality - no matter how good it sounds.  

This is the keystone I was missing all this time.  I mean I knew intellectually that this was how science was actually done - but somehow still didn't fully appreciate the resounding implications of that method, along with the almost unfathomable ability of human beings to delude themselves.

Funny, because even then I had the notion that higher intelligence was a property requiring the following in ascending order:

1.  Memory.
2.  The ability to notice patterns.
3.  The ability to discern real patterns from false patterns.

In other words remembering facts, (no matter the quantity), doesn't make you particularly clever - but it's a start, and ultimately a basic requirement.

Noticing patterns is something I, (and I suspect Neal), have in spades.  This resulted in an ability to extrapolate from minimal information further conclusions, (some quite complex), a portion of which actually turn out to be right.

This is the kind of person who goes down to the patent office every week with an idea he just thought up, to discover it is not a new idea at all.  Still, you could pat him on the back for deriving it from scratch himself - especially if it has proven to be a perfectly useful invention in the meantime.

As an example of this, I can cite several examples from my own life.

While learning the basics of logic gates in electronics class I reinvented the half bit adder, (I didn't set out to do it, the idea just came to me unbidden - in fact I pretty much can't learn anything new without my brain automatically churning out ideas based on the new information combined with what's already in memory - my blessing and my curse).  I showed the teacher before the the class the next day, which just happened to be on the half-bit adder.  Naturally he assumed I had been reading ahead.

No, I didn't call my idea the same thing either.

Experiences like this gave me confidence in my abilities, (and might I say an unhealthy intellectual ego to go with it), even though I can now see I was just as often wrong.  Simply another case of counting the hits and ignoring the misses.

This ego led me to believe that my "theories", (as I called them at the time - which were of course in reality only hypotheses), possibly superseded conventional science.

As I have described, an artistic person really does "see" a bit further ahead a lot of the time.  I mean they actually do "see" things other people don't and they tend to learn very quickly, (just my subjective perception).  This became very much apparent to me and other people from a young age.  I was at the top of all my classes, a year younger than my peers, and often right about pretty much everything most of the time, (again the intellectual ego).

My IQ as far as I can ascertain is actually only about 138, (a figure I would love to exaggerate if only just slightly, since Genius officially starts at 140), but like I say, coupled with an artistic imagination you seem to get a bit of a, "Da Vinci style", edge when it comes to academic pursuits.

Ah, Da Vinci - my goddamned hero.  Pity I didn't notice that he actually used the scientific method as well, and actually tested his ideas.

For myself though - I considered the hypothesising the "fun" part, and would quickly lose interest in practical applications.  As far as I was concerned, my work was over.  I got the emotional buzz of knowing I'd solved the problems of mankind, and one day I might get around to building that free energy device.  Besides, I was onto the next idea anyway.

What I am trying to say is, Neal, and others might actually make good real scientists one of these days if we can just get through to them.  They have genuine ability, they are just missing a relatively simple key component.

Sorry for crapping on off topic - but I have come to love talking about the stupid things I've done in the past - and the stupid beliefs I held.  I ditched the intellectual ego years ago when it became obvious that working my butt off just so I could beat everyone I knew in chess wasn't any kind of life to lead.  

I'm certainly not the smartest guy in the world, and I'm certainly no genius, but I am highly intelligent academically, I am creative, and I can contribute to intellectual discussion.  And I wish Neal could too.

Exploration of a Delusion.



It's my intention to talk further about my spectacular non-skeptical career later on in some other dedicated threads, but I thought you might enjoy learning about the mental process involved in this kind of thing.  Here's one of my invention ideas, the "Inertia Engine", (naturally I never got around to actually building it).  

Oh yeah, one of the cool things about coming up with this kind of stuff is you get to think up really cool names for things. Which you do before you have the actual device naturally. :roll:

I got the idea once watching an out of balance washing machine.  I thought:  This thing is rocking back and fourth because it's got more wet clothes in one side.  Now if I were like that superhero the Flash, and I could grab it after it kicks to the left, and flip it upside down at super-speed, then when it kicked back to the right it would be upside down and kick to the left again.  If I kept repeating the process, flipping it over and over each time, it would move to the left continuously.  

So I designed this to smooth out the jerky motions and simplify the idea.

The dark blue cylinders are electric motors - one on each side for balance rotating together.  The red ball is a lead weight.  The rest is just frame work that's pretty self-explanatory.

The idea is that the motors on the gimbal and the motors rotating the weight rotate with exactly the same period.  If you look closely you'll notice that instead of rotating back past 180º the second half of the rotation ends up on the same side of the device.

If you look from the front you would see the weight going in a figure 8 - supposedly cancelling out any directional motion, If you look from the side you would see it trace a circle/ellipse, once again cancelling in all directions.  But if you looked down from the top you would see the weight trace a bell curve from left to right and back again.  This, in the perpetual motion universe where centrifugal force exists, should propel the "engine" forward in that direction.

This is the entirety of the "mathematical calculations" about which I would speak, "proving", that it works.

Well actually to be fair, I exaggerate slightly.  I was never a far-gone true believer, so I had hopes more than certainty.  But I do feel certain now that the thoroughness of my "calculations" is pretty much on par with anyone else working on a perpetual motion machine.

Personally, I would still love to build this thing just to see what happens and prove to myself that nothing happens - because intuitively it's so damn neat - this is what I still find interesting about perpetual motion/free energy devices, and why I still think they are fertile ground to kick ideas around in, (as long as you are not selling shares or taking it too seriously).

I actually thought such a simple idea must have been thought of before so I worried that black helicopters would be over my house and NSA agents beating down my door if I told anyone, because this is obviously how a UFO works.  Besides, I don't want everyone running down the patent office with my gazillion dollar idea either.

Yes I actually thought this.  I think this is why perpetual motion/free energy is a area of whack-jobbery that people tend to descend into - they feel they can't openly discuss it, and so just like a religious cult they are cut off from people who could help them face reality.

Ironically, now I wouldn't care if someone did make a gazillion dollars off one of my ideas - at least it might get into consumer production within my lifetime, so at least I could buy something cool like this.

But in the end, stuff like this isn't that simple is it?  It would be great to have the old Star Trek impulse drives that don't need anything to push against.  And also only use the amount of energy required to move, (pretty much 100% efficiency).  

And this is the kind of thing you spend the rest of your time thinking about in whackville.  Thinking of all the great uses for your invention, and how it will save lives and improve the lot of mankind, (when you're not busy writing you Nobel Prize acceptance speech that is).

Also you start refining the design when you don't even have a working model.  It's similar to functionality creep in so many ways - something I coincidently, (or not so coincidently), suffer from terribly when I write computer programs.

I should point out that most people doing this probably have the same noble intentions as I, despite the egregious delusion involved.

Like I say, it would be nice to see what an obviously intelligent, imaginative and "science-philic" person like Neal Adams might really accomplish in his life, but alas.


:o I just reread that - Jesus Christ I can crap on!  

Maybe Steve should add a category for long rambling verbosity in a single post on the SGTTU Forum.  I'm a shoe-in.
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Offline queequeg

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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2007, 10:39:09 AM »
From the latest podcast:


Jay:"sometimes when I'm doing it, and i'm halfway through, and I can feel myself, and I'm going on and on...."
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
      -- Voltaire

Offline Mike

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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2007, 01:18:50 PM »
Quote from: "queequeg"
From the latest podcast:


Jay:"sometimes when I'm doing it, and i'm halfway through, and I can feel myself, and I'm going on and on...."


hah, I laughed at that one too.
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Offline queequeg

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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2007, 01:23:26 PM »
Quote from: "Mike"
Quote from: "queequeg"
From the latest podcast:


Jay:"sometimes when I'm doing it, and i'm halfway through, and I can feel myself, and I'm going on and on...."


hah, I laughed at that one too.


It made me feel sorry for his girlfriend for a moment. :-p
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
      -- Voltaire

Offline Mike

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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2007, 03:37:27 PM »
Quote from: "queequeg"
Quote from: "Mike"
Quote from: "queequeg"
From the latest podcast:


Jay:"sometimes when I'm doing it, and i'm halfway through, and I can feel myself, and I'm going on and on...."


hah, I laughed at that one too.


It made me feel sorry for his girlfriend for a moment. :-p


I think the year-end episode is the best one for funny quotes.
Jay: "sometimes when I'm doing it, and i'm halfway through, and I can feel myself, and I'm going on and on...."
Steve (about getting 100,000 listeners): "No it's impossible, it defies the laws of the universe"
Jay (about Tom Cruise): "Oh god, I hate that bastard"
"We're just so damn exciting." - Dr. Steven Novella, MD

 

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