Ask Me Anything!

Jon opened up Facebook and Twitter for “Ask Me Anything” questions and, wow, did he get a lot. From politics to the Navy to music to God to coffee, he covers it all in his first solo effort. Keep the conversation going by asking more questions in the comments for Jon to answer.

The intro/outro song of the week is “Ask” by The Smiths, of course. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians this year, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!

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There are 32 comments.

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  1. Laura Gadbery Coolidge

    Thanks for answering all the questions, Jon! Really great format! 

    • #1
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:46 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    If you were a former Reactor Operator in the Navy, why didn’t you go work for a nuclear utility as an SRO when you got out?

    I ask because on my boat, we had RO do just that shortly after he made Petty Officer, First Class. IIRC, he either doubled or tripled his salary.

    • #2
    • February 22, 2020, at 6:54 AM PST
    • Like
  3. Belt Member

    You spotlight new music all the time, but what are some old school stuff that you keep going to back to? Give us a handful of albums (maybe from different genres) that were made before you were born that you really appreciate.

    • #3
    • February 22, 2020, at 8:42 AM PST
    • Like
  4. JayAndersen Coolidge

    Great podcast, miss Stephen but you have what it takes to carry your own show. I think we’re roughly the same age and have similar musical tastes (Pavement, Destroyer, Red House Painters, Slowdive, Ride, the list goes on and on). Where did you first start learning about all of the great shoegaze and indie music? Local record shops? Friends? For me it was buying the UK music weeklies and I have a hunch you read the same. So my question is, if you did read those same magazines were you partial to NME or Melody Maker? Finding out would get Single of the Week from my shabby college dorm in Davis, CA was always a revelation. Cheers, Jay 

    • #4
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:40 AM PST
    • Like
  5. Elizabeth VG Thatcher

    How did you meet your wife and ultimately convince her to marry you? 

    • #5
    • February 22, 2020, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you were a former Reactor Operator in the Navy, why didn’t you go work for a nuclear utility as an SRO when you got out?

    I ask because on my boat, we had RO do just that shortly after he made Petty Officer, First Class. IIRC, he either doubled or tripled his salary.

    After getting out, I really wanted a degree, so I did about two years of engineering classes and worked as an engineering aide at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, about 50 miles west of Phoenix. I also took a few classes in journalism and enjoyed writing on the side.

    Turned out I loved the writing and hated the engineering. And all the engineers, what I aspired to be, were totally miserable. So I switched to a journalism degree with way too many math credits. As it turned out, when I graduated college, engineers couldn’t get hired in my fields (nuclear or defense), so it worked out for the best.

    • #6
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:33 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Belt (View Comment):

    You spotlight new music all the time, but what are some old school stuff that you keep going to back to? Give us a handful of albums (maybe from different genres) that were made before you were born that you really appreciate.

    Beach Boys, “Pet Sounds”

    The Beatles “Revolver”

    Johnny Cash “At Folsom Prison”

    Charlie Mingus “Mingus Ah Um”

    Coltrane “A Love Supreme”

    Sinatra/Jobim “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim”

    Stan Getz and João Gilberto “Getz/Gilberto”

     

    • #7
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:38 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    JayAndersen (View Comment):

    Great podcast, miss Stephen but you have what it takes to carry your own show. I think we’re roughly the same age and have similar musical tastes (Pavement, Destroyer, Red House Painters, Slowdive, Ride, the list goes on and on). Where did you first start learning about all of the great shoegaze and indie music? Local record shops? Friends? For me it was buying the UK music weeklies and I have a hunch you read the same. So my question is, if you did read those same magazines were you partial to NME or Melody Maker? Finding out would get Single of the Week from my shabby college dorm in Davis, CA was always a revelation. Cheers, Jay

    The main place I learned about new music was hanging around record stores and reading music magazines. Also, I’d pick up on new bands from my music nerd brother who was five years older than me, and friends. I learned about shoegaze from a late-night weekend video show called “Night Flight” on TBS and a few other bands on “120 Minutes” on MTV.

    Speaking of Davis, one of my favorite bands of all time came from there: Game Theory, which later became The Loud Family.

    • #8
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:41 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Elizabeth VG (View Comment):

    How did you meet your wife and ultimately convince her to marry you?

    I was teaching a young adult Sunday school class and she came in and I was … distracted. Asked her out at lunch afterward and we dated a few months. Then she dumped me. But about a year and a half later, we met up again (we still were friendly and traveled in the same circles), and totally hit it off. Were married a year later. Hopefully she doesn’t regret it too much!

    • #9
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Thaddeus Wert Coolidge

    That was a really interesting and entertaining episode. I know you’ve been reading lots of classics lately (I read Xenophon’s “Anabasis” because you recommended it, and it was great), so how about giving us a list of what you’ve read so far, and rating them? 

    • #10
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:04 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Thaddeus Wert (View Comment):

    That was a really interesting and entertaining episode. I know you’ve been reading lots of classics lately (I read Xenophon’s “Anabasis” because you recommended it, and it was great), so how about giving us a list of what you’ve read so far, and rating them?

    Hoo boy, it’s a long list, but it is available on my GoodReads account here.

    Anabasis remains one of my favorites. Also loved The Aeneid, Don Quixote, On the Incarnation, and The Odyssey.

    • #11
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:24 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. kedavis Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you were a former Reactor Operator in the Navy, why didn’t you go work for a nuclear utility as an SRO when you got out?

    I ask because on my boat, we had RO do just that shortly after he made Petty Officer, First Class. IIRC, he either doubled or tripled his salary.

    After getting out, I really wanted a degree, so I did about two years of engineering classes and worked as an engineering aide at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, about 50 miles west of Phoenix. I also took a few classes in journalism and enjoyed writing on the side.

    Turned out I loved the writing and hated the engineering. And all the engineers, what I aspired to be, were totally miserable. So I switched to a journalism degree with way too many math credits. As it turned out, when I graduated college, engineers couldn’t get hired in my fields (nuclear or defense), so it worked out for the best.

    That sounds like a good thing. Nuclear engineering and ADD doesn’t seem like a good combination. (Is there a “mushroom cloud” emoji?)

    • #12
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:26 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Thaddeus Wert Coolidge

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Thaddeus Wert (View Comment):

    That was a really interesting and entertaining episode. I know you’ve been reading lots of classics lately (I read Xenophon’s “Anabasis” because you recommended it, and it was great), so how about giving us a list of what you’ve read so far, and rating them?

    Hoo boy, it’s a long list, but it is available on my GoodReads account here.

    Anabasis remains one of my favorites. Also loved The Aeneid, Don Quixote, On the Incarnation, and The Odyssey.

    Thanks for the GoodReads link – that is exactly what I was looking for. And you weren’t kidding; it’s a very long list! Like you, I’ve been delving into Orthodox Christian writings, and St. John Chrysostom is my favorite. A more contemporary book that I really enjoyed is Kyriacos Markides’ The Mountain of Silence.

    • #13
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:44 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. rev1917 Lincoln

    When are you going to read Crime and Punishment?

    You have reminded me that I should re-read Brothers Karamazov and the Idiot.

    • #14
    • February 22, 2020, at 4:52 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    rev1917 (View Comment):

    When are you going to read Crime and Punishment?

    You have reminded me that I should re-read Brothers Karamazov and the Idiot.

    It’s on my list! Just finished my second Dostoyevsky, “The Idiot.”

    • #15
    • February 22, 2020, at 5:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. JayAndersen Coolidge

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    JayAndersen (View Comment):

    Great podcast, miss Stephen but you have what it takes to carry your own show. I think we’re roughly the same age and have similar musical tastes (Pavement, Destroyer, Red House Painters, Slowdive, Ride, the list goes on and on). Where did you first start learning about all of the great shoegaze and indie music? Local record shops? Friends? For me it was buying the UK music weeklies and I have a hunch you read the same. So my question is, if you did read those same magazines were you partial to NME or Melody Maker? Finding out would get Single of the Week from my shabby college dorm in Davis, CA was always a revelation. Cheers, Jay

    The main place I learned about new music was hanging around record stores and reading music magazines. Also, I’d pick up on new bands from my music nerd brother who was five years older than me, and friends. I learned about shoegaze from a late-night weekend video show called “Night Flight” on TBS and a few other bands on “120 Minutes” on MTV.

    Speaking of Davis, one of my favorite bands of all time came from there: Game Theory, which later became The Loud Family.

    Yes, Game Theory had graduated a few years before I started in 1987, not sure if you ever heard them but Thin White Rope was another great Davis band you’d probably like/love. Their Sackful of Silver album is great, including a powerful cover of Can’s Yoo Doo Right. I need to revisit Game Theory, you recommendations are always worth exploring.

    • #16
    • February 22, 2020, at 5:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. The Cynthonian Member

    My brother was a big fan of the Moody Blues back in the day, so I was subjected to their music occasionally. I thought it was over-produced, melodramatic [email protected] You’re probably thinking of “Nights in White Satin,” @exjon.

    • #17
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:39 PM PST
    • Like
  18. KarenZiminski Coolidge

    My grandparents were all born in Finland, so I heard a lot of Finnish as a kid. Finnish expressions I would still recognize include “Be quiet,” “Come eat,” “Come here,” “Go away,” “Go to sleep,” “Bad girl,” and “Good girl.”

    One quick tip re Finnish pronunciation is that the accent is always on the first syllable. That is what gives Finnish that bouncy sound. Like Hel’-sink-i or Tam’-pe-re. Some people may wonder why the accent in Sibelius is on the second syllable. Sibelius is a Swedish name, that’s why.

    • #18
    • February 23, 2020, at 4:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Have you ever uttered the sentence, “Yes, but it’s a dry heat” unironically and in proper context?

    • #19
    • February 23, 2020, at 1:16 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Zed11 Lincoln

    Public Enemy opened for U2? I remember seeing The Melvins open for Rush and thinking, “Who the F thought this would work?” Practically booed off the stage, and should have been.

    PE must have played “By The Time I Get to Arizona.” Really smart to judge the entire state by one dumb governor’s action. I claim zero responsibility for the stupiditude (it’s a word) Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom have wreaked upon California.

    Loved the comment on Greg Gutfeld’s musical acumen. Anyone who loves Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle over the Chili Peppers, knows what’s up.

    • #20
    • February 23, 2020, at 7:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. kedavis Member

    Zed11 (View Comment):
    Anyone who loves Mike Patton/Mr. Bungle over the Chili Peppers, knows what’s up.

    Or maybe they also have ADD?

    • #21
    • February 23, 2020, at 10:39 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you were a former Reactor Operator in the Navy, why didn’t you go work for a nuclear utility as an SRO when you got out?

    I ask because on my boat, we had RO do just that shortly after he made Petty Officer, First Class. IIRC, he either doubled or tripled his salary.

    After getting out, I really wanted a degree, so I did about two years of engineering classes and worked as an engineering aide at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, about 50 miles west of Phoenix. I also took a few classes in journalism and enjoyed writing on the side.

    Turned out I loved the writing and hated the engineering. And all the engineers, what I aspired to be, were totally miserable. So I switched to a journalism degree with way too many math credits. As it turned out, when I graduated college, engineers couldn’t get hired in my fields (nuclear or defense), so it worked out for the best.

    My husband was a reactor operator in the Navy, too; he led training in Idaho and eventually worked at San Onofre, then went for his degree in mechanical engineering. You’re too young to have known him!

    • #22
    • February 24, 2020, at 8:49 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Joe D. Lincoln

    So, were/are you a Nuclear Engineer/Scientist/Technician? I found that kind of surprising. I tried to look you up on Wikipedia after hearing that, but all I found were an actor, a basketball player, and (not wikipedia) some weight loss guru.

    • #23
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:15 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Joe D. Lincoln

    So, once upon a time I was an aspiring coffee snob/hipster, but then I decided I needed to be able to drink cheap bad coffee – to cut down on costs and time (and primarily so it wasn’t such a hassle at work).

    The French Press has always been my favorite, and I think the reason was the coffee oil you get but seems to be filtered away in a drip machine. It seems like a pour over method would have this same problem of removing the oil – does it?

    • #24
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:22 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Joe D. Lincoln

    Hmm, The Cure weren’t moving? It seems like Simon is always dancing around the stage like a crazy man. Yeah the rest of them seem to largely stay in their place, but still.

    • #25
    • February 24, 2020, at 12:23 PM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Stad Thatcher

    Zed11 (View Comment):
    Public Enemy opened for U2? I remember seeing The Melvins open for Rush and thinking, “Who the F thought this would work?” Practically booed off the stage, and should have been.

    One of the worst opening act pairings was Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees. There are conflicting viewpoints on why Hendrix was dropped. I believe the most reasonable explanation was that the Monkees were created to be popular with primarily teeny-bop, young girls, but having Jimi Hendrix open with a sexually-charged performance was a bit much for some parents . . .

    • #26
    • February 25, 2020, at 6:56 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Have you ever uttered the sentence, “Yes, but it’s a dry heat” unironically and in proper context?

    I prefer “but it’s a dry furnace.”

    • #27
    • February 26, 2020, at 10:15 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Joe D. (View Comment):

    So, were/are you a Nuclear Engineer/Scientist/Technician? I found that kind of surprising. I tried to look you up on Wikipedia after hearing that, but all I found were an actor, a basketball player, and (not wikipedia) some weight loss guru.

    My title was Reactor Operator in the Navy.

    • #28
    • February 26, 2020, at 10:16 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief

    Joe D. (View Comment):

    So, once upon a time I was an aspiring coffee snob/hipster, but then I decided I needed to be able to drink cheap bad coffee – to cut down on costs and time (and primarily so it wasn’t such a hassle at work).

    The French Press has always been my favorite, and I think the reason was the coffee oil you get but seems to be filtered away in a drip machine. It seems like a pour over method would have this same problem of removing the oil – does it?

    The oil is filtered in pour-over, but not the flavor. It’s the best of both worlds. One decidedly non-hipster love of mine is black Dunkin Donuts coffee. I was running errands earlier and its what I’m drinking right now.

    • #29
    • February 26, 2020, at 10:17 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Mike O'Connor Member

    @jon, what was your Mesa Mexican restaurant recommendation again?

    • #30
    • February 26, 2020, at 12:57 PM PST
    • Like