Frak That! Ep. 93: ‘Artificial Stupidity’

Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox talk about digital assistant/artificial intelligence mayhem during Episode 93. They begin with a Twitch stream featuring two Google Home devices asking each other stupid questions—and answering them. Randall laughs: “It’s like two Millennials fighting over the friggin’ remote”, referring to the incoherent but continuous banter between the devices.

That leads into a disturbing discussion about the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. A few days earlier, there was a news story about a six year-old accidentally ordering a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies from Amazon when asking Alexa about them. But the saga doesn’t end there. “The news cast playing on the TV in other peoples’ homes who also had the Alexa—the Alexa heard the same language…and their Alexas start trying to order the dollhouse”, Randall explains. “It’s like this chain reaction”.  Frak That! Ep. 93: ‘Artificial Stupidity’

Frak That! Ep. 92: ‘CES 2017’

On the eve of Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox discuss the event that Joe likens to a room of 10,000 screaming kids, each trying to out-yell the other for attention. That’s the media mayhem that has kept him away from the annual tech pilgrimage in Las Vegas since 2008. “You couldn’t drag me there for any amount of money”, he says early in Episode 92.

Among their CES topics: Acer’s $9,000 laptop; the perfect Chromebook for over-weight hoarders; VR porn; drones dropping dead (from short battery life); fido trackers; BlackBerry’s last life; and the great Google privacy scam (you got none).  Frak That! Ep. 92: ‘CES 2017’

Frak That! Ep. 91: ‘Political Resolutions’

After a long Holiday break, in Episode 91, Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox begin the new year by suggesting what resolutions politicians should make for 2017. Joe says that the outgoing president, Barack Obama, should shut his yap and stop acting like a “spoiled brat”. Democrats lost the election, and Obama should stop behaving like the kid carrying his ball from the playground in a tantrum. President-elect Donald Trump must be allowed to fail or succeed without interference. Obama “should just stay the frak out” of the way.

Randall disagrees. Obama has pledged to stick around Washington, D.C., where he should, “please, continue to open your mouth. Be obnoxious. You’re just harming your party’s brand permanently, and I’m perfectly happy with that”.  Frak That! Ep. 91: ‘Political Resolutions’

Frak That! Ep. 90: ‘Rogue One’

Randall Kennedy and Joe Wilcox spend 40 frakking minutes of Episode 90 blathering about other topics before they finally get around to discussing “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, which one of them paid to see. Chalk the other’s viewing to desperation living somewhere where the movie isn’t showing and may not be for some time yet.

Randall isn’t impressed with the lead character played by Felicity Jones—perhaps because he repeat-watched “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” right before “Rogue One”. “Daisy Ridley just grabbed me again”, he says. “It was an amazing performance by her…I was totally transfixed, totally rooting for her by the end of the movie”. By contrast, he feels “no real empathy” for Jones’ Jyn Erso. The charter’s transformation from “whiny Millennial” to “inspiring heroic figure” is unbelievable. “Why would anyone follow her? She’s done nothing to generate that kind of loyalty”.  Frak That! Ep. 90: ‘Rogue One’

Frak That! Ep. 89: ‘The Wonkavator’

On Dec. 14, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump summoned a dozen Silicon Valley CEOs to a summit at his self-named hotel in New York City. Joe Wilcox calls it a meeting with the “King”, while Randall Kennedy makes allusions to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and riding the “Wonkavator” to the top of Trump Tower.

The two agree that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reminds of an insurance salesman. “They don’t look happy at all to be there”, Randall says of Bezos, sitting next to Alphabet CEO Larry Page. Episode 89 is dedicated to these fearless supporters of Hillary Clinton and opponents to all things Trump.  Frak That! Ep. 89: ‘The Wonkavator’

Frak That! Ep. 88: ‘Kiss-of-Death Casting’

Randall Kennedy gets serious in Episode 88 by discussing “a very disturbing trend for me”. He tells Joe Wilcox: “Kiss-of-death casting”—an actor or actress “who is notorious for being part of a series, and it being doomed”. He also observes that this victim series also tends to have a “loyal fanbase”. Randall uses as example: Summer Glau, whose appearance, coincidently or not, on several procedurals preceded their demise.

“Firefly” is first among them, and Randall is rather stunned that Joe has not ever seen the show. “Do yourself a favor” and watch the first episode, Randall says. “It’s one of the best scifi series ever produced”.

“Hold on”, Joe interrupts. “So as a friendly gesture, you’re telling me that I should watch something that’s really good—that’s going to frustrate the frak out of me because it’s over too soon?” (Randall laughs.) “That’s your idea of friendship?”  Frak That! Ep. 88: ‘Kiss-of-Death Casting’

Frak That! Ep. 87: ‘Independence’

Joe Wilcox tells Randall Kennedy how he hitchhiked from Maine to California at age 20 for the sole purpose of sleeping on the beach. That sets off a long discussion about the American independent spirit, and people who don’t like being told what to do. Hello, Episode 87!

Like wearing seat belts, about which Randall makes important observation: “I’m strapped in. I survived the crash. I’ve survived the airbag. But I’m not going to survive some guy named Phil from Panoma—300 pounds—flying through my friggin’ windshield. Thanks a lot, Bud. You killed me…because you didn’t wear your damn seat belt”.  Frak That! Ep. 87: ‘Independence’

Frak That! Ep. 86: ‘Good and Evil’

Mauritius is “an island where people love to go to die”, Randall Kennedy tells Joe Wilcox, who is taken aback by concept “suicide tourism”. Randall is an American expat living in the country located about 700 miles off the coast of Madagascar. During Episode 86, he describes new trend “tourists who come here for the explicit purpose of ending their lives in paradise”. It’s mainly a European-resident thing, among people who visited the island, returned to their dark, gloomy countries, and were depressed by the contrast. They come back to Mauritius to never leave—alive. “It’s frustrating, because the hotels have to deal with the bodies!” Randall extols. For the staff, it’s “‘not another stiff who stiffed us on the bill!’”

Speaking of going to paradise to die, the podcasters spend time discussing the season finale of HBO’s “Westworld”. For Joe, Dr. Robert Ford’s exit is inconsistent with his being God over the robots. “He’d rather die than lose control of this thing”, Randall rebuts, calling the move a “big middle finger to the board of directors”.  Frak That! Ep. 86: ‘Good and Evil’

Frak That! Ep. 85: ‘True or False’

For Episode 85, Joe Wilcox presents Randall Kennedy with the Frak That! equivalent of “Truth or Dare”—meaning: Nothing daring for being wrong. Joe asks his cohost to guess whether popular myths found on urban legend-busting site Snopes are false or not. Like:

  • Woman increased her IQ to 220 by drinking sperm for a year.
  • Doctor strangled a baby born alive during an abortion (and prosecuted for it).
  • Actress Betty White quote says don’t “grow some balls” but a vagina instead.
  • KFC stopped using Kentucky Fried Chicken because of the unhealthy connotations associated with “fried”.

Frak That! Ep. 85: ‘True or False’