Show #016: Geek Princes

The sixteenth episode of our podcast, Paul and Storm Talk About Some Stuff for Five to Ten Minutes (On Average), is now online.

In this episode: Paul swears a lot, is scatterbrained and self-involved, and recounts a tale of charging the mound of a World Series winner; Storm admits to watching cartoons in college, comes perilously close to kissing ass, and gets us all considering who should be the first Chief Nerd.

Audience participation alert! Please respond to the poll below and help us decide on the new US Secretary of Geek Affairs—or post a comment nominating your own candidate.

UPDATE: Bracketed Grand Tourney coming soon (Michael Wiczer FTW)…keep the suggestions coming!

Featured post-show song: “Shoehorn with Teeth” – They Might Be Giants

Show #016: Geek Princes (Some content NSFW)

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[poll id=21]


  1. Posted November 17, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Gosh this poll is gonna be a close one! I can see Ms. Day getting a lot of votes, and of course everyone’s favourite bearded gentleman songster but at the end of the day, no-one is better suited to the job than Mr Information himself, J. Hodg-man.

  2. Posted November 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Awww my proto-minion half-minion didn’t get a mention! :(
    At least Storm did send me an email to tell me how awesome it was! That made my weekend!!!

    The RSS feed doesn’t work properly for me either! It doesn’t update all the time, I use iGoogle for my feeds if that helps.

  3. Ken Plume
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I nominate myself. Who else can bring everyone above together in harmony?

  4. Posted November 17, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Coulton said the same thing about Obama, but I don’t buy that, especially considering his pick of Biden . Furthermore, Obama’s raising taxes on companies making over a certain amount of money stifles innovation, kills tech jobs, and encourages them to send our tech jobs oversees.

    I would go Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) the creator of the GNU operating system and other software that respects users’ freedoms to run the software, study it, change it, share it, and share changes if you wish.

    Nice Team America reference. Watch the deleted scenes – “-You know, you’re just puppets for Kim Jong Il! -No you’re puppets! -No YOU’RE puppets”

    Have you looked at the Wikipedia article “Comparison of video editing software”? I’d direct link to it, but I fear the blog will flag me as spam for too many links, but that’s the exact title of the article – “Comparison of video editing software”.

    Two awesome ending songs in a row. I’m a part of a They Might Be Giants cover band, btw, it’s called “We Might Be They Might Be Giants.”

  5. Posted November 17, 2008 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t think Jonathan would want the job. How about Merlin Mann?

  6. Suzi
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Can I vote for Felicia, Jonathan, John, AND Kaylee?
    Also… Paul and Storm.
    It could be a royal court of geekdom!

  7. Michael Wiczer
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    There are too many great possibilities! First of all, Ze Frank was mentioned in the podcast but should absolutely be in the poll. I think the bigger point is that the one-vote-per-voter poll format doesn’t work for this poll. Some other method should be employed to narrow the options down.

    My vote is for a bracketed tournament of weekly showdowns leading up to inauguration week (a la Jordan Jesse, Go! from, though I don’t really have a good specific URL for the showdowns that they used to do to find out the best zoo animal, but that’s beside the point). I bet a 16 person bracket can be set up, with 8 fictional geeks and 8 real geeks, and it would be a great topic of debate lasting until inauguration week, and ending with the indisputable best choice for secretary of geek affairs. (In terms of logistics, the first two weeks could each have the 4 first round showdowns of fictional and non-fictional seeds respectively, followed by one showdown each subsequent week).

    So… there’s my opinion

  8. Paul and Storm
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Ze Frank added to poll…and just to make things more interested, TWO candidates may now be selected. The showdown is a great idea, though I don’t think we’re quite 1337 enough to do it up all shiny.

  9. buschap
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Oh my gosh. I haven’t thought about Gadget from Rescue Rangers in a while. Kaylee is the real-life incarnation of her.

  10. Andy
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    America needs a paradigm shift in the individuals appointed to high office. The day of the charismatic leader who drives towards polotics over policy is over. We need to fill our government with truly exceptional (though still charismatic) people who can lead us back to greatness. What better way to move in this direction than by appointing a truly remarkable individual who contains within his mind COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE? My vote goes to Hodgman!

    Also, Paul, go watch Rescue Rangers. Seriously. Like, right now.

  11. KingWart
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    what about Trillian from Hitchikers Guide?

  12. Cybermudgeon
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    In the “Real Life” category, two names immediately pop to mind…Alton Brown and John Kovalic. If I was to pick a female, I have to go for the red-haired geek that I lusted after during the halcyon TechTV days…Kate Botello(rrrrrrrr!!!!!).

    In the “Fictional (or possibly “Get A Life”) category, I give you Ponder Stibbons…go read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series to find out more about this Rocket Wizard. Fictional female would be Gilly the Perky Goth from “Dork Tower.”

  13. CaptainSpam
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    (re: the early discussion in this week’s podcast)

    Well… well, okay, the podcast’s been working right the past few weeks. Kinda forgot to mention that. Oops. Was that my whining you meant? :-)

  14. Rich
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink


  15. Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Spock is a great suggestion.

    If you’re going to choose someone from Firefly why didn’t you choose Wash?! Surely he would reign with Supreme geek power! Love that guy

  16. Posted November 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    What, no Randall Munroe?

  17. Paul Maki
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    What, why not Justin Long? I think he’s got the charisma and yet geekness you might need in the office.

    Can’t help but also concur on Alton Brown as well…

  18. Posted November 18, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Uh… Wil Wheaton?!?!

    Not only is he a geek in his own right, he played one of the ultimate Geeks on tv: Wesley Crusher.

    OK, that’s it, the rest of the applicants can go home now.

  19. Peter
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Einstein with a Flamethrower.

  20. Posted November 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I think the obvious choice shows the less extreme and extreme of nerds

    Extreme: Pee Wee Herman

    Non extreme: Jonah Hill and Micheal Cera’s characters from Superbad

  21. Michael Wiczer
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Alton Brown is a fascinating choice. He is unrelated to science fiction and doesn’t have a significant web presence (am I wrong about the significant web presence? I’d be really happy to hear that), yet his geek-ness is unquestioned. I think that really strengthens his candidacy since he can more effectively act as a liason between Geekdom and other cabinet posts. Also, imagine the Secretary Alton Brown/Undersecretary Mo Rocca team!

  22. Zac
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I had problems with the RSS feed as well. Would only get new podcasts maybe every other week.

    I could have voted for two people? I didn’t realize that! Choosing between Coulton, Hodgman, and Ze Frank is still too difficult.

  23. Daniel
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow. That Rescue Rangers comment was random. Maybe you guys should do a show on comfort cartoons.

    I think you answered your question with this week’s post-show song. John Flansburgh and John Linnell would make great joint Secretaries of Geek Affairs.

  24. Mrs Flibble
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Robot Roll Call:
    Bureau of Chuck Norris Jokes: Weird Al & Uncle Floyd
    Department of Homeland PWNage: Simon Pegg, the Amazing Randy, Penn & Teller
    Committee 4 Uberness: Steve Coogan, Cary Elwes (in smoking jacket, fez & meershaum pipe)
    Best Cabinet EVAH: Jamie & Adam (Mythbusters) & Lisa Simpson.

  25. Shauna
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I second Ken…just Ken’s nomination of Wil Wheaton.

  26. Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Wil Wheaton should definitely be in the running, but if you want to get REAL geeky, I think Larry Lessig deserves some mention for getting the entire Creative Commons ball rolling. Or would Lessig be more of a nerd than a geek?

  27. MattM2G
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Walter Bishop from “Fringe”

    (I also submitted this via Twitter!!)

  28. Heather
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Wow, some awesome suggestions in the other comments.

    Fictional geek nominees for cabinet posts (both real and made-up):

    Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius for Ubersecretary of Mad Science. Or maybe she’ll just take over the world, while she’s at it.

    Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Crow T. Robot for Joint Chiefs of Space Operations.

    Encyclopedia Brown for head of CIA and FBI, of course.

    Col. Samantha Carter for Director of NASA and the Secretary of Incredible Brainiacs.

    Napoleon Dynamite: Secretary of Agriculture.

    Jeeves for Chief of Protocol.

  29. Ann
    Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Since John Hodgman has written not one, but TWO books on complete world knowledge, I find him the obvious choice. However, MacGyver most certainly needs to be involved in the administration somehow. I vote we put him in charge of Dept. of Homeland Security b/c I firmly believe there is NO problem that duct tape and a swiss army knife can’t solve and damned if I wouldn’t feel safer with him out there defusing bombs with bubble gum and paperclips (amusingly enough, MacGyver has been my nickname pretty much through HS, college and now my job).

    Re: software: my co-worker (who does more of the video editing than I do) suggests Final Cut Express, says it’s pretty comparable to FCP especially for what you are describing.

    Also, the Rescue Rangers/Tail Spin/Darkwing Duck triumvirate was the holy grail of all afternoon cartoons.

  30. Posted November 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m the only one that will even think this, but I’m going with Sarah Rue. Besides, I’ve seen “Idiocracy”, so I know she can hold such a high position.

  31. Abby W.
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    I’m all about the Alton Brown, I must say. He not only presents seemingly useless factoids about food products in an entirely fun and exciting way (fun and exciting if you’re a geek who’s feeling peckish), but he’s been known to drop random references to Monty Python. Monty Python in tandem with the fat content of an avocado, people.

    But while we’re on the Star Trek train, I would have to say that Wesley Crusher was not nearly so hardcore as Lt. Cmdr. Data. The cool factor of being an android did obscure his geekiness a tad, but I maintain that beneath his cold metal exterior beat the heart of a total nerd..

  32. Posted November 19, 2008 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Spock because he’s reliable and, assuming Leonard Nimoy is not required to be present, it won’t get in the way of anyone’s music career.

  33. Posted November 19, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Dunno if it’s been mentioned, but MC Lars would be a fantastic choice. If you know not of him, look into it, post-haste!

  34. Posted November 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    “Encyclopedia Brown for head of CIA and FBI, of course.”

    Hell yes! I second this nomination. We need to get him in charge of these STAT!

  35. Posted November 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Oooooh imagine a CSI style show but with a grown-up Encyclopedia Brown as the main character.
    Hell, he wouldn’t even need to be grown-up, it would still rock.

    Like a non-British Jonathan Creek. If you haven’t heard of it, look it up! Best show ever! Beats all the CSIs, SVUs, NCISs of the world hands down.

  36. Posted November 20, 2008 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Oh I remember liking Jonathan Creek!

    Anyway, I just popped by to mention that a friend bought ‘cookies’ to lunch today, and they turned out to be things surprisingly similar to Jaffa Cakes. They’re called Soft Cakes, and I can’t remember the brand but they’re available in Migros. (But then, so are Pim’s, which redirect to Jaffa Cakes in wikipedia, so it’s not as if we were short of Jaffa Cakes alternatives.) Also, they are actually orange flavoured and not apricot, which fits better with the NZ-English perception of the word ‘Jaffa’,

    (By the way, Percephene, I’m right before your proto-mini-minion in the gallery, and feeling especially dejected because Storm never emailed me to say how awesome it was.)

  37. Ann
    Posted November 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of, when is the little minion due, ‘Cephy?

  38. Posted November 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I was told to try Jaffa Cakes when I went to the UK and I remember thinking they weren’t anything like jaffa flavoured. Makes more sense when you explain it Angelastic! Thanks!
    And awww :( I thought your minion shot was great! I love the effort you put into the props too! Mine is lazy ole photoshop, I didn’t even bother taking a new picture, that ones from my facebook gallery.

    Ann: Jan 2nd. So anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks from now! I’m getting *very* uncomfy now!

  39. James Collins
    Posted November 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Linus Torvalds

  40. Posted November 21, 2008 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Well most of my ‘props’ were photoshopped (well, not actually photoshopped, since I haven’t pirated photoshop) the only thing I did was buy a T-shirt, write ‘MINION’ on a piece of paper, and attempt to look dejected. Then I noticed my glasses were lopsided, so I decided to cover that with a picture of an eyepatch.

    I think they decided it wasn’t awesome because I also sent a photo in which Paul and Storm were my minions.

  41. Posted November 21, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Sarah Vowell would be great, since she is a nerd about American history and democracy. And Paul Collins, since he can write about history and digress into cool nerdy topics like phrenology.

    And the Department of Nerds should call on all nerds to ask what they can do for their country.

  42. Rich
    Posted November 21, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Wil Wheaton: yes
    Wesley Crusher: no

    Yes, I know Wil played Wesley. I have forgiven, but not forgotten.

  43. Michael Wiczer
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    What about Madeline Kahn? I don’t know if there’s anything specifically nerdy or geeky about her that I can think of, but I’m pretty sure she was amazing, and nerds probably recognized her brilliance more than other demographics… excuse me, I think I have to go watch Young Frankenstein.

    P.S. Tonight’s show in Boston was a blast. Thanks Paul and Storm!

  44. frostyservant
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    No offence to the qualified and accomplished field of candidates, but Randall Munroe is the obvious choice.

  45. Altruist
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I move to nominate Rick Moranis! His role in Spaceballs proves his experience in the realm of Geekdom!

  46. Michelle
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Guys, I am a little disappointed. According to my brother and most of my male friends, if you were an adolescent teen in the 80’s you had the hots for Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper) even if you thought The Wonder Years was the dumbest show on earth.

    Since then she earned a degree in math from UCLA(graduated with honors). Then she wrote several books to encourage girls to get into math.

    I think she exemplifies your descriptions. She’s a math geek, has enough social skills to survive in Hollywood, is a real person, and I have it on good athority (my husband) she’s still HOT.

  47. Posted November 24, 2008 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I think Simon Pegg should be the British Geek Ambassador.

    Madeline Kahn unfortunately is no longer with us. Though I would vote for her.

    Sarah Vowell is a good historian. I have read her Assassination Vacation and The Wordy Shipmates about the Puritans. She can replace Doris Kearns Goodwin as Presidential Historian

  48. Michael Wiczer
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    How ’bout Patton Oswalt? Or Brian Posehn.

  49. Jack F
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Few people besides Paul will understand this, but I too was excited to meet Don Tollefson somewhere around 1980. (He was giving out key chains or some other junk at a local bank.) We also had the considerable thrill of meeting Vernon Odom (another Action News reporter) when he covered Bill Green’s run for mayor of Philly in 79. Green sat on our porch and talked to my mother, but she was far more interested in getting a picture of Odom.

    Paul, I just know that you were wildly excited as a child if you saw the Action News van driving around. I bet even today you still get a tiny repressed thrill if you see one.

    (One of these days we’ll have to talk about other Philly celebs of our childhood like Dr. Shock and Captain Noah. Let me know when you’re ready to do a cover of “Send Your Pictures”.)

  50. Paul and Storm
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    @Jack F:

    “There’s that news van again…”


  51. Jade
    Posted November 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    John(s) Linnell/Flansburgh. L would epitomize it, but I’m not sure if he’d want the job. Make it work, Paul and Storm!

  52. David Egyud
    Posted December 1, 2008 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Tom Lehrer – the ORIGINAL geek: he’s smart, he’s funny, he’s musical, he’s taught math and science, and he’s politically minded. Who else would be a better pick for a government position overseeing all things geeky/nerdy?

    Also, how about Kevin Smith?

  53. Posted December 1, 2008 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    1. Patton Oswalt
    2. Brian Posehn
    3. Bruce Campbell
    4. Jeff Albertson (a.k.a. Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons)
    5. Professor Frink
    6. Phillip J. Fry
    7. me, the great Luke Ski, dammit.

  54. Neal
    Posted December 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I think your premise of Obama being the first geek president is flawed, and would have to call that one for Nixon, easily.

    You’re talking about a guy, having scholarships to Harvard and Yale but his family couldn’t afford the train tickets, he went to a closer local college, denied from the only fraternity, and in true Revenge of the Nerds fashion, rallied the outcasts, started his own, and shortly became student body president.

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