Hey Penn! Long time listener, but I'm new to the site. I have been on the hunt for a Penn & Teller deck of cards. Do you guys have those? That may be something you have in Vegas but I'm in NC and don't know when I will make it back out there.
I'm a courier and I listen to your SS podcast every week, usually a few times over again, while I'm driving. I am contributing $25 toward Director's Cut. I don't need any rewards package, I just wanted to thank you for making my days better with your podcast. I miss Bullshit!, and one day I look forward to seeing you and Teller live (upon re-reading that, I hope you know I mean the live performance, not stalking you and watching you live your private lives). I want to help make you really creepy, not be really creepy myself. Thanks for all your hard work, and if my paycheck could afford to contribute more, I would. Congratulations on getting so close to your goal. I'm hoping others will contribute last minute with me and help you make this dream a reality, or at least a fictional representation of a bad person on screen.
I would like to add one more movie to your list of movies that have fucked up America: The China Syndrome. Because of that movie and the subsequent Three Mile Island incident, America stopped building nuclear reactors. Bummer!
Also, in response to your comment that everyone should have purchased Hitler's artwork so he would have become an artist instead, I would like to bring a book to your attention. It is called The Iron Dream and was written by Norman Spinrad in 1972. It was nominated for the Nebula Award, but lost to an Isaac Asimov book. The premise is that Hitler became a (pulp) science fiction writer, and the book is one of his novels, along with a literary critique. It is amazing to read, especially when you consider that Spinrad is an excellent writer who wrote an entire novel as if he were a hack. Check it out if that is something that would interest you.
Thank you so much for all the entertainment you have brought me over the years! I have loved your act ever since you and Teller first came to my attention in the 80's. Keep up the good work - you make the world a better place with your comedy and magic.
I believe I have a good answer to the "why not 'The Led Zeppelin' " question. In short: it's because it sounds like a person's name.
While I think you are right that, grammatically, it should be acceptable to say "the Led Zeppelin" because it is a group (like "The Jefferson Starship") how things are socially acceptable to pronounce or say is determined by common useage, and clearly the common usage became "Led Zeppelin". And the reason I believe that it became common usage is because it sounds like a person's name (and you don't put "the" in front of person's name--as you pointed out, it's not "The Bob Dylan".) Because they dropped the "a" out of "lead" and "Zeppelin" is not an object that is commonly referred to (so it sounds like a last name), without thinking about it people treated it or thought of it as a proper name--some dude named Led Zeppelin--and so they dropped the "the." It became common usage, especially among fans, and so now you sound like an unhip jackass if you say it the grammatically correct way.
This also explains why it's "Pink Floyd" and not "The Pink Floyd"--it sounds like a name--some dude named Floyd who is pink.
Penn, we do a TEDx event on Broadway every year, and I'd love to have you be part of the lineup this time.
It's a really great day of speakers centered on the topic of making Broadway the best it can be. We sell out the New World Stages biggest theatre, we get a lot of NYC media attention, and we have a very influential and fun crowd in the audience. A really good stage for a speaker, and of course, with some luck, all speaker talks could end up on TED.com.
It's a lot of fun, and we'd love to have you. Maybe we could talk in more detail on phone or email.
I used to work for Make-A Wish of Utah. Just want you to know that the wish making process each child goes through is designed to be a special "magical" experioence that ellicits the child's true wish. If they have chosen to meet Penn & Teller then they are not only not having second thoughts, they and their family are thrilled to be there. They are having the experience of a life time and you should not only be honored but just as excited. Quite often the fulfillment of a wish can be a turning point in a Wish Kid's treatment. It provides a much needed distraction from the pain, fear, and helplessness the child experiences in the hospital and the hands of kind and loving nurses and doctors but strangers in a very scary place. Many times I hear the from parents that the wish saved their child's life. It created the optimism and positive attitude for the entire family so critical to treatment. Thanks for being generous with your time and talent to meet with Wish Kids and their families. Iit makes a huge difference in their livies.
Ian Mann was a friend of mine. In an attempt to help raise awareness for his family's fundraiser, I posted a piece on reddit directed at the atheist community. It is currently on the front page of r/atheism, so I thought it might be of interest to you. The following is my post:
I was never truly close with Ian (the deceased husband and father) and Brianna (the widow and mother of two), but I certainly consider them friends. I've known Brianna since 7th or 8th grade, and Ian since 9th. Although we never became close growing up, they've both always struck me as genuinely good people. In recent years by the powers of facebook, I've come to know Brianna and Ian better than I would have ever had a chance to otherwise. For that, I am grateful to Mark Zuckerberg, which is a dubious feeling.
Ian is a good-hearted person who constantly seeks truth. These are two qualities sorely lacking in the world today. Though we differ in spiritual beliefs, I admire an atheist's pursuit of truth. This quality makes you more valuable to the planet than the vast majority of people who subscribe to organized religion. Unfortunately, the admirable qualities that make a person unique, such as commitment to truth, can sometimes serve to isolate them in relation to those who are more religious and traditional. Many of us, including agnostics and people with non-traditional spiritual beliefs, lack the community support provided by belonging to a church or local organization.
Atheists commonly claim that religion does more harm than good. That the world would be better off without organized religion. I tend to go back and forth on this issue, but my question is: What happens when tragedy strikes a young family lacking the support enjoyed by churchgoers? Even a dead-inside, lip service Christian still reaps the benefits of community support when their husband is run down by a drunk driver. Why should atheists have to lack what borderline useless humans enjoy?
Thanks to the internet, just because someone rejects organized religion, that doesn't mean they have to lack support. Maybe the more traditional forms of support provided by a church community are off-limits, but support from like minded people worldwide is not. Why don't we give the world an example of how generous we can be within our community? Organized religion is always getting the credit for charitable donation and philanthropic work. It's time we change that perception.
Anything you can do, from donating your money to simply sharing the family's story and fundraising page (twitter, fb, reddit, etc), please do and know your efforts are aiding the noblest of causes.
hey penn. my name is James Gelber. Im 25 and have been a long time fan. I just wanted to say thank u for making me not afraid to be atheist. i use to think i couldn't tell anyone how i feel about the subject and now im more secure with my views then ever before. your book god no taught me alot about being true to myself. anyways im a musician and i just joined the band hemlock from las vegas nv. they are doing their 20 year anniversary show at the las vegas country saloon on aug 31st and was hoping u guys were performing at the reo but from what i see, there are no dates. would have liked to see you guys perform. but if u have free time u should stop by. would be nice to meet a hero. thanks again penn.