Our Theme Music


Many have asked, so here is the full story:

Our opening theme music is a track called “Pony Gallop (Morning Surprise),” by the Five Senses. They were a mostly-ukulele jam band out of Montréal, famous for their 4 hour sitar/uke trance sessions and subsequent pancake breakfasts. Sadly, their CD’s were deemed “obscene” by US Customs (a clerical error, one must assume), and all copies were destroyed at the border. Worse, the band had forgotten to hold on to the original recordings. 

The Five Senses finally disbanded when their entire tenor uke section disappeared while berrying in Greenland. Our possession of one tiny fragment of one song is pure luck: Merlin was working at the incinerator where the ill-fated CD’s were sent to be destroyed. He rescued one half-melted disc from the flames, and spent the next year piecing together the 1’s and 0’s—the digital scraps of the once-proud ukelele band’s magnum opus.  read more »


1930’s wandering troubadour Trinket Pills (? - 1939) scored a brief hit on the Wichita charts with his plaintive Ballad of Joey Nickelpuss:

Th’ evil alley boys taunted him,
But ole’ Young Joe made his way.
Terrible crash of bowlin’ pins
Th’ sound of a long long day.

Rags to riches to rags it went,
Th’ boy would rage and cuss.
“Mama ain’t mama for me no more,”
Spit poor little Joey Nickelpuss.

We’re bringing back ‘ole Young Joey Nickelpuss. A generation of children need a hero for these lean times.  read more »

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VSOP Roundup

We’re basking for one more moment in the afterglow of the past three weeks. YLNT VSOP was pure joy.

Future VSOP (YLNT + Hodgman + Coulton) scheduled appearances:

  1. Look for the five of us in paper hats, tending the falcons, at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.
  2. We’ll be teaching a course entitled “Bacon and Bicycles: Critical Perspectives on Quicksilver” at Deep Springs College in 2010.
  3. In December 2011, we hope to sell our predecorated miniature Christmas trees on the corner of 22nd & 9th. Look for the white van.

The VSOP Episodes

I: Selfish Express
II: Faux Tog
III: Faire du camping

Related Ephemera

Session photographs by Ryan Carver
“Selfish Express” production journal
MN State Fair booth poll

Our Guests

John Hodgman (buy his book here)
Jonathan Coulton (buy his poems set to music here)
 read more »

Faire du camping

If “penultimate” meant “last,” this would be the penultimate episode of our VSOP series. Thanks again to John Hodgman, Jonathan Coulton, and the sturdy padlocks on the studio doors that prevented their escape.

This episode will be more interesting than average for: farmers, Québécoises, basket weavers, camp counselors, small business owners, and a capella aficionados.

This episode will be less interesting than average for: dancers, hair stylists, carnies, Renaissance buffs, vegans, and criminals.  read more »

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We’re not very good with money. Our accountants gnash their teeth as each promising opportunity disintegrates into a costly failure. That’s why we’re really excited about the booth we’ve been offered at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. Anyone who’s ever been to a fair knows that you can sell anything to a chunky yokel holding his toddler on a leash. Beer mirror? Check. Giant stuffed Speedy Gonazalez? Check. No seriously, check our basement. It’s full of that crap.

In Parts I and II of our VSOP series with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton, we asked them to help us come up with a guaranteed moneymaker, something that none of the other booths at the fair would think of. They had some really great ideas. In fact, they had too many great ideas. We’re in love with all of them, so we need you to help us choose.  read more »

Faux Tog


YLNT VSOP, Part II! The drugs* have kicked in, and we have reached cruising altitude. Stay tuned for the final, gripping conclusion to the VSOP series next week. Or so.

A partial list of works referenced in this episode, and their creators:

  • “Colonel Heimlich Grows a Beard” (Graham Greene)
  • Mall, Mini-Mall, Strip Mall (M.C. Escher)
  • Shut Up, Hick! (George Carlin)
  • LEGO Group v. Linden (U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Carnival Displacement (Damien Hirst)
  • Dream of an Undiscovered Room (René Magritte)
  • Resuscitation Situation (Jamiroquai)

* Imodium, Dermarest  read more »

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Production Journal: "Selfish Express"


We’re flattered when listeners tell us how “natural” or “off-the-cuff” we sound. Dozens of men and women on our crew toil for weeks to achieve the ralaxed, conversational tone that characterizes our show. If they’ve done their jobs well, even the close listener should be fooled into thinking we don’t do any preparation at all.

But with so many moving parts, things don’t always go smoothly. Here’s a peek at the production journal for our most recent episode, “Selfish Express”:

Oct 7: With just a month before we’re set to record, Adam spills Jamba Juice on the only copy of the script, rendering it illegible. Back to square one.  read more »

Selfish Express

It’s YLNT VSOP, Part I! We convened a special session in San Francisco, featuring guests John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton. Aided by Hodgman’s expertise and Coulton’s hatred of poetry, we finally got to the bottom of our most lingering questions:

  1. Why is Kevin Bacon famously uncomfortable around FAX machines?
  2. How does Adam save the world by not wearing shoes?
  3. What are the slam poet’s secret romantic techniques?
  4. Why are short films so long? And also: vice versa?
  5. Why do alfalfa farmers know so much about the Renaissance?
  6. What food is best eaten deep-fried?

…and many more.  read more »

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Satisfaction Island (YLNT Forum)

In Who Voted?, we discussed the problem of Excessive Realism in Sexual Fantasies: the growing compulsion for our Fantasy Lives to have to conform to the boring strictures of our Regular Lives. A few listeners sympathized, but one brave soul took us on an immersive tour of one of his go-to fantasy scenarios: Satisfaction Island. Sadly, due to a crippling case of ERSF, the island has lost its magic:

For years I’ve had a nighttime fantasy where I’m stranded on an island with an attractive woman. We fill our days with the only activity not requiring a whole lot of equipment and learning. The sex, that is.

I revisited recently, after a long time away from Satisfaction Island. Everything went well, except I felt I had to introduce the situation by first explaining how we ended up on the island, where the others were, and how we got past the initial shock. I had to establish reliable sources of food and water, and explain why the weather is always excellent.

Then I thought about this woman. She would obviously need to give full consent—nay, approach me first—and while I can believe that she would reach out for me the very first night, looking for some comfort, I knew that this would probably make for a rocky long-term relationship.

So I had her wait a few weeks and get to know and like me first.  read more »

Who Voted?


Thousands* of you wrote to us asking for Election Day guidance. Sadly, we don’t have time to evaluate every candidate in every race. Instead, we commissioned the handy YLNT Voter’s Guide you’ll find below. We recommend you print it onto waterproof paper, fold it into a tiny square, and hide it in your mouth as you enter the voting booth.

Of course, this simple checklist can’t cover every scenario. But we did try to make our guidelines as broadly applicable as possible:


  1. Yourself. If you are on the ballot, give yourself the vote. Don’t overthink this one.
  2. Any witch/warlock.
  3. A candidate who gained/lost more than 30 lbs. for a role in a movie or play. (Shows dedication.)


  1. Anyone who has given you a venereal disease.
  2. John Denver. He is dead. And a folk singer.
  3. A “human beatbox.” Filibuster nightmare.

Listen to the episode for many more helpful voting tips, including some Election Day-specific pickup lines.  read more »

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Mr. Owl

YLNT XL! 45 juicy minutes for the price of 30.


Nose harmony, quarters, who’s Capote now?, “He plays you better than you play you,” layers of latex, latchkey ontologies, start shooting your stock scenes now, one water ski or two?


Out-browed, back when it was called Mr. Owl, shared entendres, the recurring mint, each table represents a different decade, a full sparkly thong, Assumption never gets enough of the churning butter jokes, reverse garage sales.  read more »

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You’ve just hopped on the #17 Express and must quickly decide where to sit. In the back of the bus, four teenagers have staked their claim to a dozen seats. An old woman sits next to an open, delicately balanced bag of cat food. Up front, fumes rise from a guy who’s picking his teeth with what might be a knife.

So where do you sit?

If you’ve got your trusty YLNT SeatFinder, decisions like this are a snap.  read more »

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Man School

Now* accepting applications for the Class of 2016! Sample from our wide range of available courses, including Sociology 102: Shaving, Chemistry 206: Principles of Muskmaking, and Techniques in Silent Disdain. Independent study credit (read: drinking alone) is also available. Listen to the episode for lots of exciting announcements regarding our Guest Lecturer series. Remember: early applicants get the good nicknames!  read more »

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Tang Tangs

The parenting of negligence, things you didn’t know about gas stations, ancient aphorisms, tethered to a key, you go in and stay there until you have wisdom, They’ve Got It!, blue sky pie in the sky, Adam tries a little culture jam, Sunday morning habits, hot spring best practices, paddle balls, Erotic Rosary II, your first time at Uggo’s.  read more »

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Where Is the Ham?

Sandwich smiles into the mouthpiece, teenage telemarketing salad days, LonelyWear’s autumn line, the secret of our success (at Macy’s), ham symphony, Karl gets fired from the Geek Squad, acquaintance on final approach, face school.

Important questions raised by this episode:
There were no important questions raised by this episode.  read more »

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