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An Awesome & Mighty Thing, This First Ever Lawyers, Guns & Money Podcast Is

[ 66 ] January 25, 2013 |

It features Yours Truly and the Farley fellow you see primping there in preview—or wearing a hat, now that I had to re-upload the video—and we’re talking about The Hobbit. You’re … welcome?

It goes without saying that there are kinks to work out—if only because I’m in charge of the production—and that while many Internet Traditions are honored, some are violated. Case in point: the blog’s beloved ampersand is a monstrosity in the font the rest of the credits need to be in. (I promise that sentence will make perfect sense once you watch it.) An “enhanced” audio file will be available shortly, though I can’t vouch for the quality of said “enhancements” because we haven’t figured out what they’ll be yet outside of “enhanced.”

But fear not! You’ll learn many things in this podcast, including (but not limited to) which of you lot inspire us to invent gang signs just so we can throw some in your honor. And also many things about The Hobbit.  Enjoy!

[Rob] Apparently I make extremely effective martinis…


Comments (66)

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  1. SEK says:

    (And before anyone says anything, I know I need to stare at the green dot in order to fake eye contact, but as you know, I’m a lip-reader, so it’s doubly difficult for me because whereas everyone else wants to make eye contact with the image on the screen, my eyes drift down another few inches.)

    • Orange Man In Ohio says:

      You also need to stay closer to the camera. For much of it your tiny head was very distracting. I’m not sure if it works better in the 24fps version of the podcast than the 48fps one.

  2. dick gregory says:

    Starting small then.

  3. Jameson Quinn says:

    Any links for an RSS feed? Extra points if there’s an audio-only version. Some of us need exercise listening.

  4. Robert Farley says:

    Well, that’s just a fabulous still, isn’t it?

    • SEK says:

      I’m trying to figure out how to change it, but the Great Google tells me you’re basically stuck with what you’ve got. I’d rather that first frame be the still, but hey, at least we caught you preening?

      • SEK says:

        (I’m also not a fan of the artifacts on the right side of screen. I spent a few hours eliminating those fuckers from the original, and then they insert some more after the fact?)

  5. SEK says:

    Also, those of you hearing folk, I’m approximating what’s considered “normal hearing range,” so if it’s too loud or too soft, just tell me and I can adjust it. (I probably overcompensated and made it too soft, then re-overcompensated and made it too loud, rinse, repeat …)

  6. Robert Farley says:

    Apparently that martini was extremely effective, given how much drunker I am at the end than the beginning.

  7. Erik Loomis says:

    I just want to point out the superiority of SEK’s beard to Farley’s. Based on this, I assume he has better hats than Rob as well.

    • elm says:

      When he pulled out the stick at the end, I was sure he was going to bring out the awesome-est hat that would part anything Farley has ever worn to shame.

      I suppose if he put the stick on his head, that would actually do the trick. (Or, for that matter, put his head on the stick…)

      • SEK says:

        In all honesty, I forgot I had my old walking stick back there until I noticed my fancy copy of The Hobbit on the bookshelf behind me when I was dominating the screen. I turned to grab the book, noticed the stick, then cursed fortuity for showing me just how little planning awesomeness would’ve taken.

    • Bill Murray says:

      From the small photo on the front, I thought Farley was talking to Zach Galafinakis

    • rea says:

      You’d think they were baseball players, with all that facial hair.

  8. Jeremy says:


  9. Leeds man says:

    What is an Assistant to the Regional Manner?

    Also, The Hobbit is a kid’s book. A damn good kid’s book, but no His Dark Materials.

    • SEK says:

      Damn it! So, 45 minutes to render, another 45 to upload, then the fact that I misspelled “manager” can be wiped from the earth. (Not to mention I did something similar earlier, only to my own name.) Video editing is hard.

  10. Book says:

    Can we let the jingle be our podcast equivalent of Your Moment of Zen? There has to be a great Republican snippet to go along with each episode.

    • SEK says:

      We’re actually planning on taking a tour through the Library of Congress’s archives with the music, using a different public domain song whenever the mood strikes us. You, however, are more than welcome to do with that music what you will, as it’s in the public domain.

  11. SV says:

    Awesome! (And so is your beard, Farley, don’t listen to them.)

  12. Barry Freed says:

    What the hell is Farley doing around 2:14? It looks like a lost sketch from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

    • SEK says:

      Rob actually did that, but I — shall we say — “heightened” the effect with some quick edits and volume adjustments. It’s actually the part of it I’m happiest with, and not just because it looks like I’m going to be gored by a righteous, nerdier-than-thou bull.

  13. Anonymous says:

    While I can see Farley’s point about “The Hobbit” being more political, I think he makes too much of it. In the context of the rest of the story, the films pretty clearly invite the audience to see Saruman’s position not as a not unreasonable strategic calculation, but as a sign of evil/corruption. Similarly, I think SEK’s analogy with Flutie is interesting, but that it still assumes a more political logic than I think is warranted in the story: if the position in the LOTR is that that the good guys are out of all options except the desperation hail mary with Frodo as the qb, well, that once again means that what happens in LOTR is simply a political/strategic decision of people who are acting with fairly few options. Such a reading, however, seems to me to be at least in tension with the more mythical (and moral) perspective I think is at work in both the books and the films.

    • gmack says:

      Ack. For those who care, the above was me.

    • SEK says:

      The Flutie reference is more classroom-Scott than blog-Scott, because it’s one of those ideas that I have, seems to work, and decide to test out by slamming on the gas and launching myself over the cliff. (Imagine a current student’s reaction to a Doug Flutie reference and there you are, airborne, moments from slamming into some profound cultural ignorance.) Point being, I do think in Fellowship Gandalf tries to sell his little saviors to the manly men in a way that resonates with the Flutie reference: all the pressure of a desperate moment’s brought to bear upon a tiny man who, after the fact, everyone knew would come through …

      … but I’m not going to follow through with this line of thought because it supports Rob’s argument, not mine. The Hobbit is about the naive, almost willful misrecognition of retrospectively obvious signs, whereas Lord of the Rings is the panicked aftermath of the previous failure. Again, though, this is Rob’s argument, and I’m SEK, and I don’t approve of this message.

      • rea says:

        Do current college students have any notion of who Doug Flutie was? His famous “Hail Mary/Flutie” pass came in ’84, back when I was only 30 and most of them weren’t born.

        • SEK says:

          That was my point. You go off the cliff because your reference, no matter how relevant, requires more explication than it’s worth. I’m probably being unclear, though, as I edited the podcast, meaning I timed and sequenced the opening credits, meaning I’ve had “The Hungarian Rag” in my head for the better part of the past 24 hours.

        • John says:

          Some of them certainly do. It’s still probably the most famous play in college football history, it gets replayed a lot on TV, it’s referenced a fair bit in popular culture, and Flutie didn’t actually retire that long ago – some of the students might actually remember his end of career drop kick for New England in 2005.

          I’d guess that students who are fairly serious football fans (which is a substantial percentage of the male students) would get the reference. So maybe 20% of a class?

    • SEK says:

      And now that I think about it, I’m clearly a danger to society. Loomis only talked about a stick, whereas I actually possess one.

      • Barry Freed says:

        Loomis only talked about a stick, whereas I actually possess one.

        But no head. Clearly this was all planned years in advance, Mr. Acephalous.

        • SEK says:

          I actually wrote under the pseudonym “A. Cephalous” when I started blogging back in whenever it was. I thought it was really clever until a biologist blogger at UCI who was fairly prominent, but whose name I can’t remember for the life of me, said over beers one night that when he told his colleagues about my blog, their response was, “So he’s, what? A talking squid?”

  14. Hogan says:

    Even a joyless academic might chuckle dryly over this.

  15. Dave says:

    I love how that delved into a Star Wars discussion. I’m probably going to spend my whole weekend watching them in that order.

    I haven’t read The Hobbit or LOTR (I’m a bad geek). The first time I watched the LOTR Trilogy my impression was kind of meh. Visually pretty good but the story was a bit flat for me, not to mention ridiculously long. So I had pretty tempered expectations going into The Hobbit, as did my friend who enjoys the books. Perhaps because of that my expectations were exceeded. I didn’t have any problems with it visually. And while I’d agree that Mr. Jackson could learn to edit more efficiently, the pacing wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m actually looking forward to the next two movies.

    I also enjoyed this discussion. And frankly, I enjoy listening to long discussions about film or other pop culture art than I do politics. I want my politics as brief as possible. Even though they get good people to do them, Bloggingheads tv just doesn’t hold my attention for too long. So I welcome more podcasts. But if they turn to the purely political, keep em as short as possible. Oh, and if you do one on Batman (particularly the Dark Knight trilogy), I will geek out hardcore on this place.

    • SEK says:

      Now that I’ve figured out the basic technology — which isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it’d be — I’m going to try to do one every week or two, especially once Mad Men and Breaking Bad return. But I’m always game for Batman, so no doubt he’ll make appearances too.

      • Vance Maverick says:

        I’m incapable of watching bloggingheads videos, but I must congratulate you on your choice of the Official Woody Allen Credit Font. Will you be able to get Saul Bass for the titles of the next one?

        • SEK says:

          My dirty secret — well, one of my many — is that editing my own was the first time I’ve ever watched one. I think there’s a benefit to that, given that whatever failings the genre has, and from what I gather, they are many, I’m unaware of them. If nothing else, mine will be a little unpredictable.

          Also, of course, because I’m in them, and you never know what strange and improbable event might befall me on camera. (I was hoping a basketball would come through the window, but alas, it was raining so no one was on the court.)

  16. You’re doing a Game of Thrones episode, eh? Would you be interested in another participant?

  17. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Just wanted to say, that I enjoyed this. Not a huge Tolkein fan, haven’t seen the Hobbit yet (though I loved animated version) but found the discussion interesting. I was only disappointed in the lack of a cameo by one of Scott’s neighborhood children involving a basketball or some such. Also, for some reason I always pictured SEK much older. Anyways, this was fun.

    • SEK says:


      Also, I think I’m the wee babe of LGM by a fairly large margin, unless someone is lying to Facebook.

      (And I too wanted to have a basketball hit the sliding glass door mid-session, but when I mentioned that to my wife, whose garden is their greatest victim, I was told of the necessity of changing my mind, so I never wanted that to happen, nor will I ever want it to.)

  18. swearyanthony says:

    You know, SEK says he doesn’t want to make it about race, then goes and has a discussion of Tolkien that only involves Men. Not an Orc or an Elf to be seen.

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    Прекрасный презент любимому человеку – какой он?

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  22. […] Hobbit movie better than the first, and while I didn’t hate the first, I wouldn’t say that it’s improved upon subsequent viewings. The Desolation of Smaug probably has the fewest “coming of age” moments in the entire […]

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