Judge John Hodgman Episode 236: A Little Dockey


Judge Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse clear out the docket, taking on the right way to share a suitcase, how to order at restaurants without infuriating your server, and "The Game".

If you hurry, you might still get tickets to Bailiff Jesse's World Tour of Several American Cities with Bullseye! Our Manhattan, Philly and DC shows are sold out but there are still a handful of tickets left (as of this writing) for:
Wednesday November 18 - Cambridge MA with Barney Frank, Mission of Burma and Lamont Price
Thursday November 19- Brooklyn NY with Tavi Gevinson, David Cross, Aparna Nancherla and Pharoahe Monch

See you there!



I live for the applause, applause, applause

I always applaud in movies because, while the actors are not there to enjoy my appreciation of their work, a lot of work did go into making a movie. It's like when I was young and growing up in a religious household, my family would say grace before meals. But we wouldn't just thank God, we would also thank the farmers and the people who had to work hard to bring us that food (including anyone who did prep). Though the people who worked to grow and pick our food won't ever know that we were sending them thanks at every meal, our prayers at least made us appreciative of their hard work and made us less likely to waste that work.

I think that applauding at a movie theatre is the same thing. A lot of people worked really hard to make that movie. The majority of those people (minus the actors, directors, and producers) don't get much recognition for that work. It costs me nothing to applaud their efforts. Just sending good vibes, man.

More appreciation is better than less because human beings should be appreciated

My favorite group moment

My all-time favorite group moment, like the Judge's, involves the Star Spangled Banner. Back in 2001 I had tickets to see the San Francisco Giants play some other baseball team (probably the Dodgers) in late September. After 9/11 the baseball season was temporarily halted and the game ended up being played in early October. The National Anthem was performed that day by a master whistler. There was a moment when a lot of us thought maybe it was a joke. (And if you pause to think or try yourself, it seems like it would be physically impossible to whistle the Star Spangled Banner.) Anyway, the whistler started and as he whistled more and more people joined in singing until, by the end, there were over 40,000 people singing (and one person whistling) the National Anthem. It was unexpectedly moving. Singing a song and sharing a special moment with 40,000+ people (which is almost the population of the city where I grew up) is not something a normal person does many times in their life.

Of course, this was still when we were still standing united in the face of an attack and before the then-current administration used it as an excuse to start a war against an unrelated third party. But I refuse to let that tarnish my memory of that moment.

Bike helmets

After listening to your discussion of bike helmets, I feel moved to make you aware that wearing a helmet is not nearly as important to biking safety as is the rider's style of riding. The style of riding necessary for safety was summarized in a recent Quartz article as 'riding like a woman – specifically, riding slowly, away from car traffic. http://qz.com/544089/heres-a-way-to-reduce-bike-accidents-ride-like-a-wo...

Like Judge Hodgman, I think riding a bicycle in automobile traffic is insanely dangerous, and would never do it. I ride my bicycle around my neighborhood here in Seattle, always staying on the sidewalk, which is legal to do in Seattle. Not only is it obviously much safer to ride separately from the cars on the road, the sidewalk also provides a much smoother, and thus safer, riding surface than the car-battered street. Naturally, I always yield to pedestrians by slowing to walking speed or coming to a stop, though in our quiet neighborhood it is not difficult to choose routes where I rarely encounter people on foot.

I get a bit frustrated at people who insist on helmets on the assumption that I'm riding in the unsafe fashion that many men, and some women, do. If, as your correspondent claims, his wife is riding at high speeds among car traffic, then of course she should wear a helmet. But if she is riding a bicycle as I do, at very low speeds and separate from car traffic, her risk is in fact very low. Were I to hit my head while riding, my head would be protected, but of course that is an argument for wearing a helmet constantly. I prefer to be realistic about the actual risks of my activities.

Thank you for your attention.

Lola in Seattle

I get a bit frustrated when

I get a bit frustrated when cyclists fail to see the relationship that cars are to cyclists what cyclists are to pedestrians. It's safer for you to be on the sidewalk because you're the one controlling the largest (only) machinery in the space. The safety of the pedestrian is determined by how well the cyclist shares the sidewalk, just like the cyclist's safety on the road is determined by how well the car shares the road.

Not to mention that in many cities people actually use the sidewalks, which makes cycling on them "insanely dangerous."

Let's be realistic about actual risks. I suggest that you read the article you linked to again. The article that ends with: "But just to be clear, this doesn’t mean you should leave your helmet at home. For any individual cyclist in a crash, a helmet can still make the difference between life and death."

Style has nothing to do with it. You can cycle on generally empty sidewalks and avoid car dangers. This is not a universal perk, and the article you link to isn't arguing that you are the safe rider compared to the unsafe styles of nearly everyone else. It's simply pointing out the need for infrastructure that allows cyclists to travel in safer conditions.

Actual risks

What I mean to say is, if the court wishes to make a judgment on biking safety, then the route and the style of riding may be more pertinent than whether or not the cyclist is wearing a helmet.

Actual risks

Hi. You'll just have to take my word for the fact that I share the sidewalk very well. I really do always slow to walking speed or come to a stop and walk my bike when I encounter a pedestrian.

As I mentioned in my comment, if I were to be in an accident and fall on my head, a helmet would protect me. If I were to fall on my head when walking, sleeping, or having dinner, a helmet would also protect me. But the study cited indicated that whether or not helmets were mandatory had no influence on the actual risk of head injury, only style of riding and safe riding routes did:

For all injury causes, sex was associated with
hospitalisation rates; females had rates consistently
lower than males. For traffic-related injury causes,
higher cycling mode share was consistently associated
with lower hospitalisation rates. Helmet legislation was
not associated with hospitalisation rates for brain,
head, scalp, skull, face or neck injuries.

Always Wear a Helmet When You Ride

I don't care how fast or slow you ride. I don't care if you right "like a woman" or "like a man". I don't care if you ride in traffic or on the sidewalk (which is extremely dangerous if not illegal in a lot of places).
As Jesse said, there are an endless number of things that can happen that are totally out of your control that can take you down. A short list, in no particular order: another errant cyclist, wet leaves, dogs, squirrels, rabbits and other small animals, a mechanical failure, a tire blowout, something falling in the road in front of you, someone stepping out into the street/sidewalk without looking, a child running into the street, and so on. If your head hits the street/sidewalk from about 6 feet up in freefall, that is really going to do some damage.
Bike helmet standards are designed to protect you from a fall of about 6 feet since that is how far your head would typically fall before it hits something if you were knocked over. The standard doesn't address the speed or skill of the rider, their style or route.

If you ride a bike, you need to wear a helmet. If you don't think you need to wear a helmet, you probably also don't think you need to wear a seatbelt when you are in a car. And from working with our local fire department, I can assure you, you are wrong on both counts.

The woman should have more than 50% of a suitcase

I understand the idealism of splitting a suitcase 50/50 between a man and woman, but until society does not put extra pressure on female appearance she should get more space if she must share a suitcase. Does the male need as much machinery to style his hair? Does the male need a larger toiletry bag that not only carries hygiene products like toothbrush and deodorant, but make-up and cleansing products to try and achieve ridiculously high standards of skin quality? Does the man have to pack period supplies? Does he need an extra accessories bag to protect earrings, bracelets, or necklaces? Does the male require shape ware undergarments? If the female bravely chooses to flout societal expectations of beauty of her and she chooses to pack clothing article for clothing article identical to the male, then in that case you could argue that the average male should get more of the suitcase because typically his clothing is larger in size. But from the description of what the guy in this case was describing of his partner trying to sneak in, it sounds like she is trying to maintain some semblance of typical societal female appearance expectations. I am going to assume that this male enjoys the appearance of his mate, but does not fully appreciate the extra money and time it costs her (aka the beauty tax). Please don't impose on her an additional space tax.