Judge John Hodgman Episode 209: Kung Fu Fighting with Jean Grae

Jean Grae

Judge Hodgman clears out the docket, ruling on teenage liars, snuggling with teddy bears, sopping up messes with toilet paper, and more.

This week Bailiff Jean Grae returns to assist with the proceedings! For more Jean, check out her Bandcamp!

Bailiff Jesse returns to the courtroom next week.



Photo of Ted Rico


Don't Listen To The Judge, Shut Off Your Water!

Water is your houses' single biggest enemy. Water damage can cause more problems than just about any other type of incident.
I know many people who have suffered severe water damage to their property due to things happening while they were away. Things like burst pipes, burst or leaking water heaters, bursting washing machine hoses, burst toilet connection hoses.

You should shut off the water at the main valve EVERY time you leave the house for any significant period of time.

I don't have any hard numbers. but here is a quote from an insurance company, "In most areas of the country, the risk of a serious water leak exceeds the risk of a naturally caused flood. [T]he most commonly reported homeowner claim in my experience is water damage. For example, a pipe may burst inside the wall or a hot water heater on an upper level can leak and cause significant damage to the building and personal property."

Another statistic:
Water damage is one of the most frequent types of property damage and property loss insurance claims. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage comes in second place for insurance claims frequency, and in fourth place for homeowner losses ranked by claims severity.

Just because it hasn't happened to anyone the Judge knows, doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and happen a lot. It happened to the letter writer, which is why they are rightfully concerned about it.

As far as the vegetation issue this case related to, I give everything a good drink before we leave, shut the water off, hope for rain, and let nature take its course. The expense of replacing a dead bush is going to be far, far less than the expense of cleaning up after a burst pipe has been spewing water all over your house for 4 days. And think about if it is hot water, then you have a massive humidity and mold situation to deal with.

As an indication of just how much water a burst pipe can discharge, one night in the summer several years ago, my wife left the garden hose pressurized, despite my requests to turn it off and depressurize it when she was done with it. We were woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of gushing water. The garden hose had burst and was discharging water all over the lawn. I made my way through the swampy yard and shut off the hose. We can't be sure, but we imagine it was spraying for 5-10 min at maximum. Our water bill for that month was DOUBLE what it normally is. A burst pipe or hose can discharge hundreds to thousands of gallons of water over just a 24 hour period.

I will repeat my warning, protect your property from severe damage by shutting off the water at the main valve EVERY time you leave the house for any significant period of time.

No stuffed Hobbes? On the contrary

I couldn't understand this for a minute, because my son (who's now 27) had a stuffed orange Hobbes for his whole childhood. But then I remembered that he was actually given a "Tigger" (from the Sears Winnie-the-Pooh collection) by his grandmother. But that tiger was instantly and indelibly named Hobbes by my son, and so that's who he was. No license necessary.

calvin & hobbes

seconded re: jean grae as permanent bailiff. she rules!

also: jjho, sir, the tale you tell of calvin and hobbes is not that of reality meatspace land! the great bill watterson didn't stop producing calvin and hobbes as some kind of coming-of-age cathartic bildungsroman ... he stopped producing the strip after a series of long and noxious battles with newspapers and syndicates regarding formatting constraints, merchandising of his work without his permission, and other creative infractions that came with the success of his work. certainly he did a good job of closing the loop of the strip with the narrative you describe, but the causality is sadly incorrect.

/nerd rage

Steven Universe

Because I like the things that I like and want to share them with people:
Adventure Time is indeed "smart, funny, humane, interesting, with characters who are really rich, and sad, and funny" which I thought was a lovely recommendation.

Anyone who feels that way (esp. the Judge, if we are buzz-marketing freely) should absolutely watch Cartoon Network's Steven Universe, which has the same virtues, and was created by former Adventure Time writer and storyboarder Rebecca Sugar. It's a bit more hopeful than Adventure Time in its darker moments; if I were to describe its main themes, I would say that it is about love, compassion, and the nature of family.

Stuffed Stuff

I slept with 2 "Shirt Tales" bears (They were the things that I guess were popular at one time where you'd buy the front and back design of the animal on this thin fabric and then cut them out and sew them together, adding your own filling) for my entire childhood that I can remember. I didn't take them the college with me out of potential embarassment. Had to have my mom put them in one of my care packages and send them later, because I couldn't sleep. I didn't have a roommate, and every morning I would either hide them under my blanket or put them up on the top shelf in my closet before beginning my day, and to this day (20 years later) I have nightmares about being at school and having someone into my room and realizing my bears are visible. Now my wife and I both have "snuggle pillows" which are simply smaller softer novelty pillows. I was learning environmental biology and US History but I couldn't figure out to buy a small pillow so I could sleep and not have social fears.

Fake internet judge - not

Clarity is important. Judge John Hodgman is definitely not a 'fake internet judge,' which would be a real judge on a fake internet. But he's on a real internet. He is also not an internet fake Judge, which would be a fake Judge ruling in a fake way on a real internet. No, he is a real Judge, passing real judgements on a real internet. The only thing fake about him is the law he rules on.

His correct title, therefore, must be Fake Law Internet Judge John Hodgman.

Unless, of course, he's actually a Magistrate.

Moreover, as this issue involves he himself, Fake Law Internet Judge John Hodgman must recuse himself from Judging in any way on this case.

I love Jesse and all but Jean

I love Jesse and all but Jean Grae should be baliff every episode. She is super-great.

Please use correct proper nouns

New York, New York is a casino in Las Vegas.
The city being discussed should be called by it's proper name 'Gomorrah-on-Hudson'.

Thanks to the Judge and Bailiff Grae

It's Paige, mother of "Leonard". I thank you kindly for ruling in my favor. How grand that we are now thought of as Swiss super-villains zooming around in a Bentley, so much better than Canadian nerds in a mini-van. I am off to dream about my 3 hours of awkward silence!