Judge John Hodgman Episode 42: Driving Miss Drowsy


Austin brings the case against his good friend Ethan. A year ago, they drove cross-country from Santa Cruz, California to Brooklyn, New York. Austin says that during the trip, he experienced "car lag," a variant form of jetlag. Ethan says the very idea is absurd. The argument has driven a wedge into their friendship.

Is car lag real? Only one man can decide.




Lord, I love me a podcast

Lord, I love me a podcast that makes a casual cultural reference joke to Foxy Grandpa. Keep up the good work, you rascals.

A better argument

Since Ethan provided such lame arguments against the existence of car lag, I'll step up and provide a better one. The rule of thumb for adjusting to jet lag is one day per hour of time zone difference. If they covered two time zones in two days, that falls well within the limits for avoiding jet lag. If he had been in a car going several hundred miles per hour, that would be a different matter.

That said, Austin could well have been fatigued and have had disrupted sleep patterns for other reasons beside "car lag." He was sitting in one place (the car) for a long period of time. His everyday routine had been disrupted. He was eating crummy food, and for all we know was staying in crummy motels and uncomfortable beds. There could even have been engine fumes in the car. Any of these could have caused the problems he encountered.

From the docket-clearing segment - About That Database?

First off, I'm not some usage nerd (OK, I am, but I'm not a strident one) - I think Judge Hodgman's ruling on how to alphabetize contractions was wise and just and correct. My question is more about the listener's "database of every movie [he's] ever seen."

A modern database (where "modern" means "from the past fifty years of human history") has several advantages over the stacks of paper, papyrus, and clay that preceded it. But the essential advantage - the one that makes all other database features possible - is its ability to automatically index and sort information.

If your listener is manually sorting his movie data, then I have to think that he's using a "database" in the same sense that complainant (defendant?) Austin was a "Communications Officer" on the cross-country drive in the main case.

I just had to put that out there, because I'm not completely UN-strident.

I enjoy your podcast immensely, and Jesse's "Sound of Young America," too. Thanks for all you do,



For what it's worth to the court record, I commonly experience a form of automobile-related fatigue I like to call "Carcolepsy." Not related to Circadian rhythms, though.

Stuff Yo Should Know Deserves credit

Hello Mr. Hodgman,

My name is Sruli, and i recently started listening to your podcast,
Judge John Hodgman.
Let me give a little background on how i found your podcast: i was
listening to "Stuff You Should know podcast", and at then end of "How
the Autobahn Works", you appeared as a guest, and it was revealed that
you too are an avid listener of Josh and Chuck, just as I am. After
listening to that segment, which was extremely interesting and
informative, i googled your name, and eventually found your Skype-like
courtroom podcast.
Anyway, on your podcast about the cross country trip, and whether or
not there is such a thing as car-lag, you referred to- not once, but
at least three or four times, to Münchausen syndrome and Malingering.
I'm assuming that you only learned what those are, or at least that
they were on the forefront of your mind, because you obviously just
listened to the podcast by Stuff You Should know" entitled how
Munchausen Syndrome works, which was just released a couple of weeks
I feel that you should definitely give credit to Chuck and Josh, or at
least honorable mention.
Please take this in to strong consideration.
Always a fan, Sruli

re:Stuff deserves credit

That's Judge Hodgman to you, sir.

And if he went crediting every source of his voluptuous knowledge base, we'd spend 75 minutes of what is now a 30 minute podcast on CREDITS. John (we're on a first name basis) has already expressed his disinterest in buzz marketing in the past, I think this should be enough to indicate how he'd feel about nearly dedicating his show to "credit ... or ... honorable mention."